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by Allen T on January 21st, 2016

Google is testing a new search feature that would pull messages from a Gmail account in response to a regular web search.

Email marketing is already one of the most effective channels available. If Google’s new search experiment catches on, email marketing campaigns may be the next big SEO tool.

Even if a subscriber barely paid attention to an email campaign when it was sent, the addition of inboxes to a standard web search would mean that same subscriber would be able to re-discover a relevant email campaign at the precise moment when he or she is looking for related content.

Google's plans should give all email marketers reason to think about "inbox stickiness." Simply put: even if a subscriber didn't connect with a particular message, relevant, engaging content might keep the campaign out of the trash and in the inbox where it can have a second life in searches.  (Contactology).

From Allen's Desk....

We will post tips and tricks of maximizing your online marketing campaigns in this and future months.  Our goal is to make you more aware of the power of targeted, customized, online campaignmarketing and in the process, make your campaigns more relevant, interesting and readable.

Were also developing a cool auto responder function (aka:drip) to email campaigns, which will make it easier to send targeted, topic specific emails automatically to your opt-in respondents, once certain criteria is met. Example: You send a birthday greeting on their special day, or you send a follow-up letter once a trial offer is extended. 

If there are questions or feedback you want to give, please reply below in our feedback...all comments will be viewable by all viewers.

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by Allen T on January 12th, 2016

Know Your Competitors...And Know More About Yourself ! 

What exactly is a competitive analysis? It simply means assessing and having a good handle on who your competitors are, what value they provide, understanding their (and your) strengths and weaknesses, and where your business fits in. Do you really need to do this? Yes! We know you’re strapped for time, but this exercise is worth every minute you’ll spend on it. Competitive analysis is one of the key areas you need to understand in order to succeed.

According to Fleisher & Bensoussan’s, Methods and Techniques for Analyzing Business Competition, “Competitor analysis is an essential component of corporate strategy. It’s argued that most firms don’t conduct this type of analysis systematically enough… As a result, traditional environmental scanning places many firms at risk of dangerous competitive blindspots due to a lack of robust competitor analysis.” Sounds formal, but true. However, thorough competitive analysis is not hard to do.

The priority order/steps to competitive analysis goes something like this:
  • Define and know your industry
  • Know your customers and potential customers
  • Know specifically what type of customer needs your product or service
  • Know who your competitors are
Spending time really looking at your competition and where you fit can help you target your marketing efforts, but you need to answer the following questions first to get started. Based on your particular business, you might want to add others:

Who are my top competitors? There are likely other companies in your area who provide similar services. Are you continually competing against the same companies for business? These are your biggest competitors and you should focus your efforts here first.

How does my product or service stack up to the competition? Take an honest look at their offerings. Is your quality commensurate? Do you have similar offerings? If you have a niche product that your competition doesn’t, can your competitors actually become a source of referrals for you? What is the unique value you provide that competitors don’t or can’t? Emphasize these benefits in your marketing. Remember that these benefits might not be the product itself, but could be something like a longer warranty or free replacement.

Is my pricing high or low for the market? If your pricing is too high, you could be losing customers; too low, and you’re leaving revenue on the table. This doesn’t mean you have to price exactly the same as your competitors, it just means you should be able to justify your price based on the value consumers get from it. If your product is 100% organic, or you have stellar customer service, customers may be willing to pay more.

Who else am I competing with? Most businesses have a host of indirect competitors as well direct. Start to think more broadly about your business. If you operate a movie theater, you are indirectly competing with anyone who offers entertainment. A house painter might be competing against a landscaper for home improvement dollars. While this seems overwhelming at first, these indirect competitors can be good marketing partners. Can you strike a deal with the house painter to recommend your landscaping company to his clients?
Thanks to Vertical Response for providing the data for above. 

by Allen T on December 15th, 2015

Happy New Year Everyone,
We were so busy in January, that were posting our January Blog the last days of the month.

In this months VideoBlog I'm talking a little about SEO strategies...a few tips on getting your Search Engine  plan in action.  Of course this includes talking about developing a plan of action, undertaking a competitive analysis and the importance of developing original content (over generic or repurposed marketing farm content).  Of course I plug our own marketing services and our own increasing use of client provided artwork or text to help in the process.   I like the artwork above...don't just have a video on YouTube (our favorite host), but have ORIGINAL content that is targeted to your own unique markets. 

It is becoming an absolute necessity to tailor your message to different client markets and those who do so, are experiencing better returns and higher conversions.  It might demand more preperation, research and testing...but getting a few, quality (and qualified) leads is BETTER than getting a bunch of non-qualified, non-responsive names in your inbox. 
Book your updated "INTRO VIDEO" for 2014 and have our experienced field producers update your story for the new year. 

Companies without an intro video are becoming rare.  We are experts in this format and helped pioneer the "intro" format. 

Call today to find out more.   925-439-0434

Visit us ONLINE / social links here: 

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by Allen T on November 10th, 2015

 Note: A more detailed version of this article has been published here: "Inbound Marketing and the Next Phase of Marketing on the Web" by Brian Halligan, July 2010. (Google Search).

When I talk with most marketers today about how they generate leads and fill the top of their sales funnel, most say trade shows, seminar series, email blasts to purchased lists, internal cold calling, outsourced telemarketing, and advertising.  I call these methods "outbound marketing" where a marketer pushes his message out far and wide hoping that it resonates with that needle in the haystack. 

I think outbound marketing techniques are getting less and less effective over time for two reasons.  First, your average human today is inundated with over 2000 outbound marketing interruptions per day and is figuring out more and more creative ways to block them out, including caller ID, spam filtering, Tivo, and Sirius satellite radio.  Second, the cost of coordination around learning about something new or shopping for something new using the internet (search engines, blogs, and social media) is now much lower than going to a seminar at the Marriott or flying to a trade show in Las Vegas. It's Time to Transform Your Marketing.  Rather than doing outbound marketing to the masses of people who are trying to block you out, I advocate doing "inbound marketing" where you help yourself "get found" by people already learning about and shopping in your industry.  In order to do this, you need to set your website up like a "hub" for your industry that attracts visitors naturally through search engines, the blogosphere, and social media.  I believe most marketers today spend 90% of their efforts on outbound marketing and 10% on inbound marketing, and I advocate that those ratios flip.

The best analogy I can come up with is that traditional marketers looking to garner interest from new potential customers are like lions hunting in the jungle for elephants.  The elephants used to be in the jungle in the '80s and '90s when they learned their trade, but they don't seem to be there anymore.  They have all migrated to the watering holes on the savannah (the internet).  So, rather than continuing to hunt in the jungle, I recommend setting up shop at the watering hole or turning your website into its own watering hole.

by Allen T on October 14th, 2015

Advertisers think that consumers want to have a deeply rooted connection with their company offerings, but the fact is that advertisers want to have a connection with their consumers/clients.  Advertising clients think that social media platforms are perfect advertising platforms because they want to be able to measure and classify all communications with the consumers and sell their story, products or service in the most cost effective way possible. Consumers/customers see Social media as a tool, a convenience, a trend, an exciting technology playground...but they will only utilize it if it presents relevant, engaging, multi-dimensional content and is a positive, entertaining experience.

Don't underestimate the power of production value either.  Consumers are demanding a message and visuals that get their attention. The days of putting someone up against a concrete back office wall and then rolling the video camera...won't keep interest or eyeballs.  Utilizing the simple white screen background can have great results...without breaking the bank. (Just ask Apple). The focus must be on message, content, professionalism and cleanness (uncluttered).

Content Is King...was chanted as the marketing mantra in years past.  This has not changed, but has become more important and relevant. Advertisers/Clients must capture their message and deliver it cleanly, professionally and clearly.  This doesn't mean that one has to invest in high-end graphics, after-effects or spinning or whirling text titles...(Although a great animation never hurts. )  Clients/Advertisers need to focus on the message, delivering video blogs with sincerity and passion can have more sway than the slickest (and usually) most expensive Adobe After Effects animation. 

It boils down to these few truisms...Advertisers need to offer an experience that has value, entertainment that has value, or goods and services tied to the Social Media engagement that has value. Advertisers have to earn the interest of the consumer if they want to be relevant in an interactive environment. It's a technology enabled communication platform/s driven by consumer use. It's not a advertising sponsored platform. As soon as companies/advertisers focus on splashing their latest pricing, promotion or service without paying mind to delivery, content, believably or without being mindful of their audience...their message gets lost among the millions of others.  That does not make for good return on investment.   (Special thanks to Chuck Ryant for inspiring this rant).






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