Why Your Business Needs a Web Promotion Strategy

The web is the preferred channel for increasing numbers of people who want instant access to information and services whenever it suits them. 72% of searches for products and services are now carried out online, it is the #1 research tool for businesses and half the UK population now go online at least once a day. On a single day in July 2010 Britons spent an eye watering £5 billion online and annual spending on the web is set to grow by 56% to £35 billion in the UK over the next four years (a year on year increase of 12%). Whether you love or loathe the internet, it is an inescapable fact that any small business without an effective web promotion strategy in this day and age is at a serious competitive disadvantage.

Your website is the powerhouse of your online marketing and as a small business owner the time and money spent developing your website will probably represent one of the most significant marketing investments you ever make.

But the sad fact is that 95% of websites fail to get traffic let alone leads and sales. It is simply not the case that “if you build it, they will come”. That is why before investing in a new website you need to have a clear web promotion strategy.

This involves:

Setting measurable objectives
Prioritising the actions that are going to deliver most value for your business
Establishing design requirements from a customer perspective
Carrying out keyword analysis to identify the key search terms that will drive traffic to your website
Building a site structure with search engine optimisation in mind
Analysing your online competition to determine how well positioned you are to compete effectively in your online marketplace
Developing a compelling and distinctive online value proposition that will grab visitors’ attention and make you stand out from the crowd.
Putting together a blueprint for engaging, relevant and high quality content.

Only when all of these elements are in place will you be ready to begin developing your website. Once the site is built you should then configure web analytics and learn how to use the tools and reports to monitor your web performance. Then you will have a way of checking that you are on track to achieve the objectives you set at the beginning and adjust your strategy as you go along.

If you follow this process you should ensure that your website is one of the 5% that are successful in attracting targeted traffic and converting your visitors to warm leads and customers.

Jan Willis is Director of WOW Consulting, an Essex online marketing and website design company specialising in helping small businesses increase their visibility on the web and generate more traffic and leads.

Online Gambling in Atlantic City

For better or for worse, online gambling is coming to New Jersey.

In late February, Chris Christie officially signed into law a bill that legalized internet gambling in Atlantic City.

Initially the bill was vetoed by the Governor because of issues surrounding transparency and taxes. Lawmakers adjusted the text and the amended bill passed by an overwhelming majority in the legislature and earned Christie’s seal of approval.

Here are the basics of the bill:

- Casinos located in Atlantic City will be able to apply for a license to offer online gambling. Only the twelve official Atlantic City casinos will be eligible for the license. No other organizations can offer internet gambling, and face stiff fines if they do. All facilities used for the operation of internet gambling must be located within city limits; only bets that are received by a server in Atlantic City will be legal.

- Players must be “physically present” in New Jersey to place wagers. In the future, New Jersey may develop agreements with other states where internet gambling is legal to permit out-of-state gambling. The casino’s equipment must verify players’ locations before accepting wagers.

- Any games available to play in the casinos can be played online. (For comparison, Nevada only allows poker.) As of now, sports betting will not be protected by this bill, although the state of New Jersey is trying to fight the federal statute barring the legalization of sports betting.

- The bill has all kinds of provisions to keep gambling addiction at bay, such as requiring the prominent display of the 1-800-GAMBLER hotline number, a way to set maximum bets and losses over a certain period of time, and tracking player losses to identify and limit users who may demonstrate addictive gambling behavior.

- Revenue from online gambling will carry a 15% tax. The Christie administration states that about $180 million in revenue for the state will be generated from this tax, but some analysts think this number is seriously overestimated.

The official regulations, which the bill required the Division of Gaming Enforcement to produce, were released on June 3, and are subject to a “public comment period” until August 2 before being finalized. These rules include details such as how a casino acquires the appropriate licenses and procedures for maintaining network security on gambling sites.

So, will online gambling actually benefit the state?

The Good

Revenues from Atlantic City casinos have been on the decline for the past seven years, and online gambling could be what saves the failing casinos. Since 2006, casino revenue has dropped from $5.2 billion to around $3 billion. Online gambling could be a $500 million to $1 billion industry in New Jersey, which may be enough to keep struggling casinos afloat and save jobs in Atlantic City. Further, even though estimates of tax revenue are all over the map, there is potential for online gambling to be a considerably valuable source of money for the state. The casinos will also have to pay a tax to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which will provide further assistance to struggling casinos in Atlantic City.

For the player, low overhead costs mean better prizes and more opportunities to play. Casinos can incent players with free “chips” that have minimal costs for them but give players more opportunities to play and win. The convenience of gambling online allows players to play more with less travel.

BAD:

One of the goals of the bill is supposedly to attract more people to visit the brick-and-mortar casinos, but it is hard to say if online gambling will actually lead to this outcome. One could speculate it could even cause people to go to the casinos less (However, this seems unlikely; the social element and the free drinks are lost in online gambling. Also, research indicates that, at least with poker, internet gaming does not reduce casino gaming.) Advertising for the host casino will be allowed on the online gambling sites, which could possibly encourage people to visit the casino but could also be annoying for players.

Online gambling could be seriously devastating for people who have gambling addictions, or even cause people to develop them, raising financial and moral concerns. Even with all the preventative steps the bill requires, it will definitely be much harder to cut off compulsive gamblers if they can place bets anywhere with an internet connection.

Regardless, it is going to be a while before the casinos can actually kick off their online gambling offerings. The regulations need to be finalized and casinos need to apply for licensure and develop their gambling websites. This means the casinos will not be enjoying this new source of revenue during the 2013 summer season, which could be Atlantic City’s toughest season ever following recovery from Hurricane Sandy.

Why Your Business Needs Web Video Marketing

Build Your Brand

Plain and simple, video is the most engaging content available creating a multi sensory experience for the viewer. No other advertising medium can trigger an emotional response the way video can. As a result, this makes the greatest impact on your prospects and customers.

Video is also the most effective ways to get your face, voice and brand all over the Internet positioning you as a leader and an expert in your field. When people see you, you become real and this humanizes the experience differentiating you from your competitors by putting a face/voice on your business.

Viewers also get to know you through your videos and if they like and trust you, they will want to do business with you. If you are truly sincere in your desire to help others, your videos will convert like wildfire and unlike traditional forms of advertising your web videos have no expiration date!

What this means is that your videos are out there working for you 24/7, educating your prospects about your product or service even while you sleep.

Web Video is a Growing Mega-Trend

I have three words for you, YouTube, YouTube and YouTube. Why does YouTube matter in social media marketing?

-Over 2 BILLION video views per day (double the prime-time audience of all 3 major US broadcast networks combined)

-Every minute of the day, 24 hours of video content is uploaded to the platform.

-YouTube is also the fastest growing search engine currently ranked #2 in the world only behind Google.

-People go there to look for videos to answer their questions, show them how to do something, or review a product or business.

-YouTube has become more than just a place to park your videos. As a social network, it is a place to build an audience where people subscribe to your channel and come back to watch and learn more about what it is you have to offer.

-Videos are also part of Google’s search engine results which means increased visibility as well as becoming a powerful tool driving traffic back to your website, blog or the site of your choosing.

Engage Your Audience With Content That Provides Value

The first step in creating engaging content is to identify exactly who your audience is. Once you are clear on whom you are targeting, the idea is to create messages that resonate with this audience.

This is your chance to educate the consumer about your product or service focusing on the benefits that your product/service will bring. Keep in mind that consumers are generally looking to solve a problem or address a need while in the research phase prior to making a purchase decision. What you need to do is deliver the solution in order to gain their business.

Your web videos can brand you as an instant expert in your field if you can deliver a compelling message that adds value. By educating the consumer you can improve the quality of their lives. Not only does this include information about what you do, but simple tips or strategies that they can implement as well.

Once you gain a satisfied customer, an engaging and powerful content strategy is to capture a video testimonial that can be shared on your website, blog and/or social media site.

Testimonials are potent forms of social proof. 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, so sharing your videos on sites such as Facebook and Twitter become the new “word of mouth.” Users of these sites seek and make recommendations for products and services and share their experiences with friends and followers.

Also, it is important to incorporate a call to action within the web video itself. Viewers need to be told what to do so that may mean visiting your website, picking up the phone to call you or even sharing the video with their friends on the social media sites.

In summary, your web videos can help get you found online, are the most dynamic forms of content that engage your audience and can also be shared in follow up campaigns such as e-mail keeping you fresh in the mind of the consumer.

Local Marketing Guru is a Philadelphia Internet Marketing firm that specializes in helping local businesses establish a complete web presence and dominate their niche online.