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Reflecting Back on 2012

Did you accomplish everything you wanted to this year?   Perhaps you didn't - but I'm sure the year had many highlights.  

We recently looked back on our year and found we did indeed accomplish a lot. Did we do everything we wanted to.

Probably not. 

But that's ok. Taking inventory allows you to reset, make new goals and see how great the year really was.

Here are Luna's top 10 of accomplishments during 2012...

  1. Worked with Many Great People to Launch Many Great Websites
    First and foremost, Luna worked with some amazing organizations in 2012.  Being able to support them in their own business goals has created some wonderful synergies.  As such - we've been able to take their feedback and develop our software platform into something that could only be what it is through user feedback. From websites for the Dental Industry, Children's Health, Fitness and Corporate redesigns - we've seen so many great ideas come to life.
  2. Finished our Software Platform
    It's taken 5 years to complete - but we're now ready to launch our website content management system platform to the world. For website owners who need to manage their website, blog, social media, newsletters, shopping cart, analytics and more - it's all now in one place.
  3. Said good-bye to SEO and hello to Online Marketing
    We technically still engage in SEO - but we're moving away from that term. SEO has become a bad name in the industry for firms that "game" the system to try to get ranked on Google and other search engines. We focus on content creation and syndication - which actually does the same thing - but in a clean "white hat" way.
  4. Launched LunaLytics™ - our Visitor Traffic Analtyics Software
    Many of our customers upgraded their analytics to LunaLytics with rave reviews.  We've even had a few say they like it better then Google Analytics (because of how simple it is) - really?! Thanks for the compliments!
  5. Started a Sales Department
    This may sound shocking - but we've worked most sales opportunities from our operations folk. I personally believe it's a wise approach to have the team members who work in the trenches with our product and services - also consulting potential customers. As we've started to hire business development professionals - we haven't lost this methodology. Our newest team members - even in sales -  know how to build websites just like we do.
  6. Beefed Up Our Disaster Recovery Plan
    No one will really notice a solid disaster recovery plan until your website goes down, your database gets corrupt or you get hacked.  We already had a solid plan in place - but we enhanced it with regional backups outside of Utah.
  7. Migrated our Customers Email to the "Cloud"
    This one goes hand in hand with disaster recovery - but this was also geared towards website performance. By moving our customer's email into a "Cloud" solutions - we were able to offer faster website loading speeds and more storage. You can now get 100GB - yes gigabytes of email storage for cheap!
  8. Created 3 New Modules
    Thanks to the great collaboration of some of our clients - we created a new Help Desk/Support Ticket Module, Amazon Products API module and PayPal MassPay module. Now customers can quickly syndicate Amazon product on their website to earn affiliate commissions while creating wonderful content. Those who need to make payments to website users can do it with PayPal completely automated.
  9. Polished and Upgraded Many of our Software Modules
    Although many upgrades are apparent - many are not. Customers who use our survey module now have built in reporting and graphs.  On the shopping cart - there are more new features then can be mentioned including advanced stock/inventory controls, gift certificates and video for your products.
  10. Upgraded Our Video Studio
    LED lighting is the way to go. With built in color temperature modification, less heat, and ability to dim our light - we're able to offer a higher quality shoot that's more efficient.

We want to thank all of our customers who allow us to do what we love. We look forward to helping you support and grow your organizations in 2013.

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InstaAnger: The Billion Dollar Backlash

What would you do with a billion dollars? I would buy a Gulfstream G650, an on-call pilot and commission Karl Lagerfeld to design my in-flight loungewear. Go big or go home, right? Of course if your name is Instagram (aka FaceBook), a billion dollars only buys a whole lot of controversy.

Since Facebook aquired the popular photo sharing app earlier this year, news media, bloggers and social networks have speculated as to how FaceBook would change Instagram. Many suggested whatever changes were on the way would be for the worse; they were right.

On Monday, Instagram released a new version of its Terms & Conditions, which specifically stated users would '...agree that a business or other entity may pay us [Instagram] to display your username, likeness, photos... in connection with paid and/or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.'

Perhaps New York-based photographer & popular Instagrammer, Clayton Cubitt said it best, opting to tweet a screenshot of the new terms and conditions, dubbing it simply, 'Instagram's suicide note'.

He wasn't alone.

Public backlash was swift with numerous Instagram users opting to delete their accounts and the app. I personally was given the push to finally sign up for FlickrPro.

Although Instagram has now backed away from its advertising plan, promising it would be 'reviewing' the policies that caused the revolt of a typically loyal fan base, the long term damage may already be done.

Despite claims that Instagram's intention is not to sell your photos and the terms having merely been written in broad terms for legal purposes, it's the type of controversy people are unlikely to forget any time soon.

For most of us, the real question is whether or not this policy is something you can accept. Sure, Instagram needs to make money in order to make FaceBook believe it's billion dollar investment was worth the cost. Since I'm not particularly worried about my billion dollar investment, I'm simply left to ponder the interesting, not to mention some potentially concerning issues surrounding who really owns what we believe is 'personal' online content.

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Just Say No: How To Protect Your Brand From Common Social Media Mistakes

Having worked in marketing for several years, I'm noticing an increasingly disturbing industry trend: companies who put their social media accounts solely within the hands of their twenty year old marketing intern.

I understand the temptation to hire a fun, hip 18-20 year old in an effort to go viral. They're young. They have 1,000 followers on twitter who watch their every move. They know the latest trends. And therein lies the problem. While Twitter and social media sites can be a priceless marketing tool, the potential for unintended disaster is far greater than traditional methods of advertising.

Are there exceptions? Yes, of course. If your target demographic is college students, male & female, 18-24, and you're promoting say, a new restaurant near campus, by all means, hire a person who can tap in to that market. 

Before you decide to hire your best friend's daughter's boyfriend's sister who is 'all about' social media, here are 4 simple things to consider...

Branding is about image.

As a business owner, chances are you've spent years developing your brand. Now think back to yourself at age 20. It's probably safe to say you made some poor judgment calls. The difference? Your poor judgment likely didn't have the potential to 'accidentally' reach millions of people.

Branding is about having a point of view.

 

Cloud Computing by Petr Kratochvil

If you're a business owner, I think you'll agree when I say that no one knows your brand as intimately as you. Your point of view, your perception, and your passion has been poured in to this entity over a period of time.

Again, think of yourself at 20 and ask yourself, did you have your own point of view and more than that, did you really have a clue about how to effectively and genuinely oversee that of someone else?

Branding is about knowing your audience.

Social Media should not be (all) about numbers. Having a lot of followers may be great for the ego, but it should never be the goal. Here's the thing: you don't need a million followers, you need the right followers. Sure, your intern may be able to get all of her friends to follow you on Twitter or like you on FaceBook, but if you sell insurance and the intern's friends are tweeting their outfits and fashion blogs, it's likely not going to be a great lead generator.

Maintaining a cohesive brand may mean bringing in a professional.

Budget is almost always a consideration when determining how best to reach an audience. An inexperienced intern may be free, but like everything else, even free comes with a price. You may not pay the dollars up front, but if a poorly thought out tweet or inappropriate picture/video accidentally ends up on the company page, the cost may be much greater. By hiring a professional who can strategically look at your business, your brand and what you hope to achieve, you will have a greater chance of reaching an audience who has a genuine need for the products & services you offer.

*Note: Image is Public Domain. It is not copyrighted, no rights reserved, free for any use. Credit: Cloud Computing by Petr Kratochvil is for any use including commercial purposes without the prior written permission and without fee or obligation.

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How to Spice Up Your Website with Free Images

Creating content for your website is really important. It helps ensure your website will get "indexed" by search engines like Google and Bing.  Fresh, unique and regular content is a must for a healthy website. But don't just build out content for the search engines and ignore your users. Your website visitors will enjoy your blogs and articles more if you provide graphs, infographics, photos and videos.

You can even get free high quality photos if you do a little be of research. So where do you go?

Public Domain Images

Public domain content is any content that has been released with a special copyright that allows other to repost, redistribute and re-use content with or without a license as long as it follows certain guidelines. In many cases there are no requirements - you just have to make sure the content is truly public domain.

So where can you find public domain images?

Just "Google" "public domain" images or photos and you'll find all kinds of great images to use.

One of my favorite places is Wiki-Pedia. Yes Wiki-Pedia has a ton of great public domain images that you can use on your website with and without permission. Just check and see what the original author requires. Sometimes they want credit, other times a link back to their website and in many cases - they're just happy to share.

Another favorite place is Flickr. Many of these authors require an attribution.

A final place that is a favorite is http://www.public-domain-image.com/. The image I used for this post of the zebra - was found there. I'm using it under this rights usage:

This file (Grant African zebra) is in public domain, not copyrighted, no rights reserved, free for any use. You can use this picture: Grant African zebra for any use including commercial purposes without the prior written permission and without fee or obligation.

So happy public domain image hunting!

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What is a Smarter Website™?

Was your website built pre 2010? It may be time for an upgrade. Websites have come a long way and having the right tools to market and manage your busienss are critical to compete in today's online enviroment.

We partner with LunaSoft (our parent company) to build Smarter Websites™?

Here are some things to consider when determining if your website may need to be upgraded:

  1. Editable Website.  You are not able to edit the website yourself.
  2. Mobile/Responsive.  Your website is not mobile/ressponsive. It doesn't look good on all devices like smart phones, tablets and ipads.
  3. Online payments. You have to use a 3rd party to receive digital payments instead of your own branded website.
  4. Screen Size. Your site was built before screen resolutions had grown. You're not taking advantage of the fulll screen real estate you could.
  5. Favicon. If you don't have a quick bookmark favicon - you're kind of behind the times.
  6. Apple Icon. If your users can't make a quick icon for their apple device - same with favicon - let's get you cleaned up.
  7. Mass email. Are you having to constantly export lists to a 3rd party to do an email blast? THat's a thing of the past now.
  8. Quickbooks Integration. Can your approved staff see QBO sales data to support your customers without having a login to QBO?
  9. Too many integrations. Are you having to login to more than 2 locations to maintain your digital presence? It's worth looking at why.
  10. Password protection. Can you easily password protect a page and limit it to only groups you want to share with?
  11. Permissions. Can you create roles for your organization and limit access to the tools on your website as you wish?
  12. Contact Management. Can you and your team view contact information from the web on your site. Do new leads and emails automatically get entered into your contact CRM database?
  13. Analytics. Can you see visitor traffic, browser and operating system analytics from your website dashboard or do you have to login to another system?

These are just a few things that make a Smart Website. Is your website Smart?

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What Exactly Is "Content Strategy"?

In online marketing circles, and increasingly of interest to content creators, and search engines the term “content strategy” has exploded. But does it even mean?

It’s a bit complicated, but at a high-level, Content Strategy and Content Strategists work with web designers, developers, user interface engineers, writers and editors to create a cohesive brand and experience for websites. Content strategy utilizes the best practices of a variety of mediums to suit the needs of site visitors, clients and customers. 

Why Content Strategy? Why is this important?

Creating structured content is a great idea if you’re developing content for the web -- and anyone that is creating anything online is creating content for the web. Knowing where you’re going or when you’re lost is important and a solid content strategy can act as a well lit road map to your goals.

An organized system and taxonomy is also a boon for search engines. Google has confirmed many times that blogging and social media provides them with clean data to search and it allows them to serve relevant ads. It’s in everyone’s best interest to have a clean system and strategy for success.

Another factor to consider is the ability to give a better understanding of who your business is to your customers as well as you and your employees. It creates an environment where both parties, business and customers/site visitors know what is going on and how they serve each other. 

How It Helps Develop a Brand Or Style 

Developing a framework for  the content that you create might sound restrictive, but it can help you generate traffic to your blog  when used in combination with other SEO tools, like keyword mapping and writing for an audience. 

All of this guides us to create strong, complete experiences that people can understand. It strips the fat off of misdirected content and allows us to drill down into what our business are really about. With this focus we’re able to serve customers, clients and site visitors appropriately. 

Having a plan is always a good idea and developing one for a critical part of your business like your website is absolutely essential to successful entrepreneurship.

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Collecting Data About and From Customers

Smart entrepreneurs follow a road-map to definable goals based on data and logical expectations. But where do we get data about what customers want or need? I’ll cover some of the simpler methods of lighting the path to your success. 


Direct Feedback


Direct feedback can come in many forms; a phone number on your site, a contact form, social media (Twitter, Facebook, Yelp!). The key is to make it available and easily accessible. At every turn make contacting you easy and reduce all barriers to direct contact with your customers. 


Keep in mind, it never hurts to solicit help or ask questions of your audience about your products or services. Most customers love sharing their opinions when they feel that they have something to gain, so consider occasionally running surveys with prizes or other brand based incentives like coupons, discounts or VIP treatment. Rewarding feedback is critical. 


Building loyalty and trust in audiences, clients and customers means listening and responding in a ways that are respectful to both parties. If you're receiving suggesting for a particular feature to your website, say requests to blog more about a certain topic it would do you well to take that advice.
Keeping an ear open to overt suggestions is critical but having an ear open to more innocuous ones and paying attention to shifts and changes in an audience is also important. This is usually a job for software, and pattern analysis.


Using Analytic Software to Inform Feedback


If you’re not using any type of analytic software or developing relationships with experts in those fields, you should seriously consider it. The right data software can help you predict changes and shifts in your audience. It can provide counterpoint to suggestions from customers; providing you with “invisible answers”. You’ll also be able to take note of where your traffic generates, what content that you're site is popular for, and where.


Traffic analysis is a big metric and one that you should be considering as it can influence the way you budget your marketing and what competition you may have. In the coming weeks we’ll be going through a great deal of the best practices involved in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) campaign. Needless to say, it’s very important to know and understand how your customers are arriving through your doors, be they physical doors or digital ones. 


It’s very important to remember that the collection of data is key. but shouldn’t cripple or hinder the occasional entreprenueral impulse. Data can give us a plan, but it is our conviction and dedication to our business’ core philosophy that gets  us to where we want to be.

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Building Brand Loyalty and Trust

The goal of every business is to solve problems. Any business, regardless of size or goals works to solve problems for it’s customers and clients. 

Customers look for solutions. They search the web for answers to their problems. Daily, for hours at a time. Sometime these problems can be so embarrassingly simple that they avoid asking someone they know; and instead search the web. 


It’s one of the great success of the web. We have created a human knowledge base where all questions have a safe home to be asked without fear or judgement.
In the search for answers, site visitors,  customers and clients will often look for the most reliable solution.

They seek out brands, websites, products that solve their problems in ways that bring value into their lives. This value that business can create in peoples lives give meaning to the interactions that they have with their problems. 


If you’re helped with a problem, aren’t you more likely to have loyalty or trust in a business that will lead you to come back? 


”Win Only When They Win"

Recently Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos introduced a collection of new Kindle products as well their core beliefs on how the company, one of the most successful business in the world, makes money for their customers.

The Amazon Doctrine
Above all else, align with customers. Win when they win. Win only when they win.

This is fantastic. Amazon has built up loyalty and trust amongst customers by continuously align themselves with the goals and desires of those that they serve. 

Trust and Loyalty 

The way to win customers, clients and site visitors is to establish clear goals, with definable metrics, that solve problems. In the case of most businesses it means we push hard at creating pleasurable experiences for our customer and avoid being concerned with competing with others in our field. 


This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place for competition, or analysis. I’ll be writing about ways to define yourself and distinguish yourself from your competitors in the coming weeks. 

The core of your business is always going to be respecting and cultivating trust between you and your customers through positive experiences. With that in hand you’re ready to solve a number of problems you may encounter.

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Alternatives to Blogging

Blogging has continually been seen as the best way to create content for a fledgling small business. If reaching a larger audience and spreading your company's message is of value to you, then blogging is usually the go-to method for conveying your ideas. With it's simple, lightweight form, and low cost of entry, it is remains a fantastic way to connect with customers, audiences and clients. Blogging is one of the best ways to understand a company's brand and philosophy.

But is it the only way for a company to get a message out? And is it always the right fit for a business? 

Writing about your business is all well and good but audiences come in all shapes and sizes, with varying attention spans. The following is a list of alternatives to blogging, but you might also consider them as additions to a robust content and marketing strategy. 

Twitter

Twitter is one of the simplest and therefore one of the most transformative experiences available for customers and small businesses. The ability to reach and engage an audience of willful participants means that anyone interested in speaking directly with customers should have a twitter account. 

Twitter and other micro-blogging platforms create the opportunity to create value for customers by reducing barriers of communication with small (and large businesses). With a Twitter account you can update users about changes in your business as well as use it as a way to solve customer service issues. 


It's also an amazing way to see how your business is fairing in the public eye. A simple search for your business or brands name will let you know how people are reacting to your business. This kind of data can prove incredibly valuable when establishing metrics of success based customer satisfaction.

Linkblogs

Services like Tumblr and Pinterest have huge audiences that are always thirsting for more content. This type of audience member is usually more likely to be interested in design, fashion, or niche topics. If you feel that your business fits into one of these molds than it would prove advantageous to create an account and share content with your audience. 

The ability to monitize this content is difficult, but if strengthening a brand is a high level goal for your small business it's worth considering. A high follower account may lead to customer engagement in a different way. 

 

Podcasts

Content creators who feel a great degree of confidence speaking about their product or business may consider producing podcasts, as they've proven to be an excellent opportunity to answer asked questions or create an ongoing dialogue about a business or industry. 

Developing a content strategy when thinking about a podcast is crucial. The audience, it's size and the topics of interest should be taken under consideration before blindly attempting a podcast. 

That said, podcasts tend to develop strong and loyal followings that can lead to strong brand engagement and crossover audiences. Fans of a podcast are more likely to visit a blog or online forum. This type of loyalty is hard earned but well worth the effort, as it can lead to affiliate sales, as well as advertising as a revenue stream. 

Video

By far the most flexible medium and fastest growing form of online communication is video production. An entire generation is exists that simply expects video. As a promotional tool there is nothing like it, and few things can compare with it. 

Video grants small businesses access to the relatively the same tools, gloss and wonderment that large business have used for years. Producing video for a small business requires some thought and foresight into audience and certainly requires a steadfast adherence to a brand's style guide; but done correctly the opportunities for growth are enormous. 

There are certainly a great deal of options and blogging alternatives available for small business. 

Access to audiences and customers is getting simpler and easier constantly, and those with a firm grip on social media and content creation tools are most likely to benefit. 

So, go out and develop a strong relationship with your customers!

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The Secret To Blogging? Document Your Process

One of the easiest and fastest ways to generate content your website is to blog. But what to write about? The impulse to create lists of content drivel come strong to a beginner, but the secret to the maintenance of quality content that leads to quality traffic is providing solution to problems.

The web and your website is made up of content. The content that we find ourselves searching for usually helps us solve a problem. Perhaps we want to find a 24 hour plumber? Maybe we’re looking for the best place to buy furniture? Or a great chicken recipe? All of these begin with the initial goal of documenting a process for those that are uninitiated.

By writing about your process, be that your businesses methodology or it’s production techniques, you add strength your credibility as a domain expert. If you’re a programming whiz write about your PHP framework experiences, or if you’re a brilliant baker document your process for kneading bread.

The goal of this is two fold. Yes, it rewards site visitors and consumers of content, but the larger goal might be an internal business one. You can see what you’re doing right, and in some cases learn from what you’re doing wrong. Business owners and entrepreneurs that aren’t interested in finding out what they’re weak points are are probably not going to be business owners for too long.

Documenting what you’ve learned about your business via your company blog shows that you’re interested in transparency — a trait that consumers respect and develop allegiances to. Make a mistake? Let your users know. They may already know, and being honest to your customers is always the best policy.

By define a methodology and statement of principles through the content that you create  you give customers, consumers, and users of your site a clear understanding of what you stand for. This will always lead to users choosing to invest time and attention on your business.

Blogging is key in this regard. Any writing instructor will tell you to write what you know. Writing tutorials, or explanations about your process will strengthen your brand and give you the ability to convey a clear message about your business. Do what you do best: be passionate about what you do professionally. Few know more about what kind of flowers to get on mother day than a florist — so why not document that?

Moving forward pay special attention to what business are writing about, who they’re communicating and how that might resonate with you as a consumer. You’ll find that what resonates is a clear and honest tone of wanting to help and solve problems. If you keep that in mind when writing for you company blog — the sky's the limit.

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Real Business Intelligence with Analytics

It doesn't matter what business you're in, the power of data analysis can be a game changer that can teach surprising lessons about your business. Data is the evidence that we have of a strategies success as well as a road map to where we are now and where we’re going. Whether you're already collecting information on your customers or are looking for a way to get started, we hope this quick guide will give you a solid foundation to build upon.

What Can Analytics Teach Us About Our Audience?

One of the basic features of the most analytics tools (Google Analytics, Mint, etc.) is Referral Traffic; this simple feature can provide us with mountains of useful information about how our users are getting to our page. Stated simply: Referral Traffic data lets us know where our users came from. Did they arrive from a Google search? What keywords did they use? Did a notable blog link to us? What time of day are they coming in? What part of the country were they in when they arrived?

This data is invaluable. It leads to understanding and analyzing trends. It can give is a glimpse into seeing how people are searching and finding us, which can then lead to marketing strategies, keyword choices, etc. It may also expose us to market that we weren’t completely aware of. For example, we may find that our Mexican food blog does surprisingly well in San Antonio, Texas, where people search for recipes. With that data, we can begin thinking about what keywords or advertising can be bought to encourage a stronger branding experience for site visitors.

Another feature to keep an eye on is Visitor Sessions. With this information, site owners and site managers are able to see where people are going on their web sites. What links are they clicking? How long are the staying for?

This kind of data can lead us to a fuller understanding of what needs to be changed or modified on your site in order to achieve maximum Return On Investment (ROI) and improve Conversion goals.

Conversion is a marketing term we use to describe when a site visitor reaches any goal. Their goal can be simple such as finding your business' address, ordering a product, or reading an article. We can also have other conversion metrics like newsletter sign-ups, account setup, etc. Understanding conversion is akin to understanding what the overarching goals for your business are.

The best and most reliable way to achieve any of these goal is to collect data. Experiment with change and always strive for a better way of doing things. Here at Lunawebs.com we are experts in the analysis of your site's data. We'll be continuing to write  about the power of data and analytics in the future so make sure that you keep checking back with us!
If there's a topic you'd like to see discussed feel free to send us an email or leave a comment below!


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The Power of Community

Creating new users is always important, but creating an environment for the ones that are already there is equally, if not more important. Anyone that works in client services will tell you that a new client is not the same as an old client that has come back. Making it a point to find new clients or visitors to our site is a worthy goal, but taking care of the people already in the fold is nearly twice as important.

Creating customer satisfaction is critical at every step in the production pipeline of any business. Making sure that your users are happy means that you’re listening, that you’re taking their ideas and thoughts under consideration and that you value you their input. Ever hear the expression “good ideas spread”. This is true especially in business, but more true than ever in the world of the web. People that have positive experiences don’t feel guilt or qualms about sharing that information with people that they like — which will always lead to more clients, and satisfied customers.

In the past business suffered from the deeper pockets of larger businesses  who could afford to run expensive SEO, and keyword marketing campaigns. This isn’t as true as it once was. Search engines like Google and Bing have begun to adjust their search ranking algorithms to incorporate and reflect positive reviews and comments on social networks like Google Plus, Twitter, FourSquare.

Taking the time to define clear goals of customer satisfaction and then gently encouraging them to tell their family, friends and colleagues by proving with incentives can be a surefire way to increase your businesses social media presence as well as your revenue stream.

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Getting Visitors to Your Website: A High Level View

Some people wonder what it takes to get visitors to your website. I wouldn't say anything is really "secret" about SEO anymore - it's just a lot of hard work.

At Lunawebs.com we believe strongly in the power of SEO and Online marketing campaigns. While the work that we do is varied and detailed, here's a high-level view of our methodology to get visitors to your website. I'll develop each of these out in the future with how you can get each of these accomplished.

  1. Research Market & Competition: keyword research, backlink research, existing traffic analytics
  2. Content: Create regular, consistent, unique and relevant content based on research
  3. Post content to website as web page (growing site is wise)
  4. Optimize content: keyword density, meta titles/descriptions/keywords, xhtml tags, images, etc.
  5. Convert content into other formats: blogs, articles, videos, podcasts, newsletters, for further syndication, etc.
  6. Distribute/Syndicate same content (helps build quality links): facebook, twitter, linkedin, news submission sites, press release sites, directories
  7. Analyze results through various web analytics programs such as webalizer, awstats, google analytics, keyword trackers, backlink reports etc.
  8. Repeat
  • For Social Media Marketing - SMM, there are a variety of methods to engage visitors in your brand through contests, advertising, free giveaways, etc.
  • Traditional online marketing has value through PCC - pay per click ads on Google, Bing, Yahoo as well as banner advertising and email marketing.
  • Traditional advertising brings in web visitors as well - direct mail, postcards, TV, radio, billboards, etc.

We believe every website should have a clear call to action (CTA) on the home page to get the visitor to give you an email, phone, fill out form or something to capture a lead.

 We also believe regular newsletters to the leads you capture helps keep the "touches" alive for to keep leads warm.

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Creating Effective Marketing Campaigns for Niche Audiences

Often when creating a business model we assume that appealing to the largest audience possible equals the maximum amount of profits. But the truth is that there is a lot to be said about specializing in a particular section of a larger field.

Moving closer into niche means establishing a clear idea of who our potential customers are. Once we know who they are we can move toward understanding how best to speak to them.  Remember,  thinking about who we’re talking to gives us information about how we talk to them.

As business owners and as entrepreneurs we should constantly be asking ourselves; who this is for? What do we want them to do with the product, service or skill that we’re offering? Asking these questions creates goals for social media, marketing and advertising campaigns, as well as the design and best implementation of a website.

Roadmaps

Once we know who our users speak and communicate we can start thinking about the channels in which to communicate to them. If we’re interested in selling retirement packages, we might be wasting our time developing and creating content for Tumblr or Pinterest. If on the other hand, we’re interested in establishing a clothing brand that  emulates fashion designs in films — then Tumblr and Pinterest are certainly a worthy place to invest our time and attention.

Finding out where users are is important because it can dictate where we place our ads, the keywords that we purchase, the location of billboard advertising, and ultimately how those ads are designed.

Tone and Voice

The way that we speak to our colleagues is not the same way that we speak to our customers. In fact, our customers might have completely different ways of describing their particular niche.

If you speak to a person who’s grown up on the UK, they might be comfortable with the name “Cheesey Pasta”; while an American growing up on the east coast might call the same meal as a “Kraft Dinner”; and I might refer to it as “Macaroni and Cheese”. We’re all talking about the same thing, yet who we are and the environment that we inhabit dictate how we talk.
When we design campaigns we should think carefully about who we’re trying to talk to. By doing this we create an immediate sense of comfort between a brand and a customer. This establish a vital trust that leads to a positive interaction with a product, service or brand.

Regardless of the business that we’re in, our goal is to initiate valuable relationships with our customers that lead to satisfaction for both of us.

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Secrets to Online Success

One of the most vexing questions for entrepreneurs creating new businesses or trying to improve current models is how to be successful online. Regardless of your goals, definitions or metrics of success these tips can act a solid foundation to build a business, brand or marketing campaign around. 



Be Findable

Your customer are out there and they have a problem. Maybe they have a leaky faucet, are interested in learning how to cook, or need to find an apartment, your business has the solution — but you can’t interact with your customers if they don’t know that you exist or if they can’t find you: so make finding you easy.

Your website should have clearly posted contact information, your site should rank reasonably high for keywords describing your business's core competencies. Your locations and business hours should be clearly posted on site, as well as you showing up in search results.

This is step one for any business. If your customers can’t find you, or aren’t aware that you exist  then you don’t have a business, you have a profitless hobby.


Be Approachable

You’ve probably been in the position of searching for a business online. You search for a plumber, a locksmith, a tailor, and find their websites difficult to navigate. You eventually track down a phone number that gets you to either a surly voice, or a voicemail box with a confusing outgoing message.

If you’re like me you move on, because while we’re searching for a solution to our problem we’re also searching for the ability to like a new business.

There really is something magical about finding a business that communicates their understanding of your problems and welcomes the ability to help you solve them.

Being approachable means having a deep understanding of the place where your business and your customers meet. That intersection is what leads to loyalty. It’s why you trust a certain mechanic, or trust a particular hair stylist to cut your hair.

If allow your business to be approached with ideas, questions, or suggestions you create something that is invaluable to any entrepreneur: trust.

Trust and engagement all stem from those first interactions; your website, your customer service, your marketing. All those tiny little details that your competitors forget are what can distinguish your business in the eyes of your clients.


Reward Interaction

Customers arrive at the doorstep of business with problems. Problems so great that they’re willing to part with money to have solved. This can place some people in a vulnerable position. By solving problems for customers we create an environment of confidence in our competence and mastery of our craft.

But a business can’t compete on solutions alone it needs to create an environment of comfort. Social media, online marketing, direct mail campaigns, etc. are all created with the sole purpose of rewarding interaction.

While things like discounts and other commerce based incentives are great it’s important to remember that a key to rewarding customers is listening to them. By actively listening we strengthen our ability to solve our customers problems and therefore power to our company and brand.

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Creating User Profiles for Business Success

How well do you know your customers? It’s an important question to ask because it’s a crucial first step before we start figuring out how to market, advertise, or engage with them.

In the past, we’ve talked about finding out who our users are and how we talk to them, but these techniques are certainly used best when we know who we’re talking to. Taking the time to think about who your ideal customers are to can be an invaluable exercise.


Designing the Profile

We have two options. We can think about who we want our customers to be, or we can think about who they already are. Both of these goals can be covered with this simple technique.

Ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • How old are they? 
  • What kind of work do they do for a living?
  • What websites do they visit on a regular basis?
  • What kind cellphone do they have?  
  • What do they do for fun?
  • What does your customer want for their birthday?
  • Are they in a relationship? 
  • What kind of work do they do? Do they work outdoors or in an office? 
  • Who on your staff would enjoy a conversation with this person? Why?


If we think about people that we know, our family, our friends, our colleagues, these questions are very simple answer. Thinking of those people, people that we know, it can be easier to design an ideal user.

Here’s an example:

Jessica Juniper is a 30 year old mother. She owns a MacBook Pro and has a keen interest in photography. Last year for Christmas she was given an iPod touch that she uses at coffee shops and wifi hotspots to respond to email and check in with friends on Facebook. Often, she shoots video of her 3 year old son that she sends it to her parents and in-laws. She is currently working as an assistant paralegal. She spends her free time with her husband, Mark and their son, Elijah. They enjoy going to the movies and shopping for toys. For the last 3-years she’s been an active runner, using an iPod+ to keep track of her training.

 

 

 

 

Jessica Juniper is not a real person. That image of her is a stock photo, but she feels real. There’s an image in my head of who Jessica is and how I think she would react to marketing or advertising that she comes across.

It’s worth noting that we are not creating or crafting something for one individual user, instead we’re crafting and designing something for a group of users that can be described in simple, but detailed brushstrokes.

The Value of the Profile

It can be lots of fun creating a profile of our ideal customer that can lead a business toward real profits and sustainable gains. Once we can successfully see our customers and potential clients, we can understand what keywords they’re likely to search for, what other products they might be interested in; if we know or can infer what they already own we can tailor experiences around that.

For example, if our site analytics tell us that they’re using an iPhone, we can invest time in designing a mobile site that looks the best on their device. With our profile in hand we can sketch an image of what our users want.

Creating one user profile is valuable, but for maximum results it’s good to think about a few, but no more than 5 as anything more than that can be unwieldy. The user profile is not set in stone either, it can change as more data about the customer or client enters the picture.

Remember, the goal of creating a profile is have a broad understanding of your customer base. This information leads us toward our goal of creating uniquely satisfying experiences for all of our customers.

Posted in <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/advertising-marketing/">Advertising/Marketing</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/branding/">branding</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/content-writing/">Content Writing</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/copy-writing/">Copy Writing</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/online-marketing/">Online Marketing</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/social-media/">social media</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/social-networking/">Social Networking</a> | Post Comment

Company Branding: Why the Little Extras Are Important

When was the last time you received something in the mail that wasn't a bill or an ad for Pizza Hut? Sorry, but Christmas/birthday/holiday cards don't count. You don't remember? You're not alone.

If you're like most of us, the majority of your correspondence, whether  personal or professional, is done electronically. 7 year olds wield iPhones with efficiency rivaling that of any CEO, while my nearly 80 year old father isn't at all shy about firing off multiple text messages to well, everyone, at all hours of the day.

I typically see this as a good thing. It's safe to say, so do you. Not only is it quick and instantaneous, let's face it; electronic correspondence means one less paper you're going to lose, right?

Not so fast.

As much as I love email, my iPhone, and the ability to easily command my entire world thanks to the wonders of Cloud, I miss that personal touch.

I know, I know... A few of you are most likely scratching your heads, wondering why in the world I'm bemoaning a lack of mail or personal touch. I mean, I work for a web design firm, have openly discussed my love of social media, and now I'm suggesting it's impersonal?

Let me explain.

First and foremost, you're building a brand. Am I stating the obvious? Yes. Why? Because this is where many businesses make mistakes. I've never been shy about sharing my belief in the power social media. With that in mind, it is important to realize social media profiles/fan pages should be a portion of that brand.

While a website is a given, investing in logo design services, official company style guide, and company presentation kits should be a priority. Not only will this allow you to showcase your company and services, these seemingly small details can often be the difference between gaining a new client or losing a lead.

I understand that the initial reaction to this type of thing may be, 'I don't need any more junk mail or clutter!' I get it, I really do... but, here's the thing; for all the complaints about so-called junk mail, companies are still sending them out. Why? They work, simple as that.

A few weeks ago I got a call from a perspective client. This is someone I spoke with during my early days at Luna, back in 2010. He had opted to take a hiatus from his side business and was ready to begin again. He had saved my contact information along a couple examples I'd sent to him, and decided to call me. Would it surprise you to learn that I've had several of these calls and/or emails during recent weeks?

We are a culture that is addicted to electronic communication. It isn't going away. It isn't going to change. Yet as tempting as it may be to go 100% digital, don't forget those little extras. In the end, it's a small price that may be the driving force that helps you land your next big client.

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Pinterest? Digg? Twitter? Instagram?: Deciding Which Social Network

There’s no denying that social media can be a very powerful tool in the arsenal of a small business, but with all of the social networks out there to choose from, do you really have to be on all of them? 

Probably not. In fact being on all of them might be a really bad idea.

Spreading Yourself Too Thin

Every time you sign your business up for a new social media service you’re telling your customers that you care enough about a platform to use it. There’s really nothing wrong with that. If you’re a small business owner that’s willing to spend time creating and contributing unique content to a social media network, then it’s a win-win situation for you and your company.

If on the other hand, you’re finding yourself drowning in the labors of running a business and maintaining and creating content for your primary site it you might be spreading yourself too thin.

For business owners the goal for social media is to connect with your customers, either to interact with them directly or to advertise and market your business’ services to them. This is tough to do on one social network, and unless you’re employing a social network expert,  you can find that your days are spent updating timelines, and filling out profile details.

A certain population of your audience *might* want to be your friend or follow your posts on  every social network -- but understand that not everyone does, and adding Social networks to your list is only going to increase the pool of expectant audience members spread across various networks: all of whom interpret the given platform in the different ways.

Diluting Your Brand

By creating accounts on social networks that may not have relevance to your brand you might be doing yourself a disservice. Opening a Pinterest account is probably not going to help your 24 hour plumbing business, using Instagram isn’t going to help document shredding company.  

Before signing up your business for a new service think about how your users will interact with it. What is going to be unique about the content that you create or post? Ask yourself if you could be creating the same content for your site and instead of posting it directly to a social network you can share it instead or make it easy for the content to be shared from your site to somewhere else?

Pick A Social Network That Fits Your Business

So how do you know if you should be on a particular social network? The key is asking if the social network will create a  valuable to experience for your and your users. This implies that you know what your customers and users want, but it also means that you’ve thought about what kind of interactions you’d like to have with them.

Instragram, Pinterest, Digg, Facebook, and LinkedIn are all great platforms but asking yourself how you’re going to create something new and rewarding for your visitors is what’s going to make you a success on those sites .

Final Advice

Our last piece of advice is applicable everywhere online: create great content and audiences will follow you on *any* social network that you choose. Social networks are nothing but micro version of the internet, and what makes the internet a compelling medium is its ability to adapt to whatever a user wants. Remember, always think about how you can add meaning and purpose to your interactions with your users and customers.  Doing that will ensure that you’re doing what’s best for your business *and* your users.

 

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SocialCam 4.0: Six Simple Numbers, 136 Years, & Passion for Social Networking

174465. In a society that's hooked on news regarding a billion dollar mobile app, or debating the morality of CEOs who rake in 63 million dollar bonuses, 174465 is a number that's seemingly unspectacular. On the contrary, this number changed the world.

The year was 1876. The Date? 07 March. The United States issued Patent No. 174465 to Alexander Graham Bell. Given that early enthusiasm was limited at best, disappointing at worst, chances of our ancestors being early adopters are likely slim to none. 

136 years, 6 simple numbers, and billions of people later, many of us lived through the development of the first cellular phone. We remember our cars having home-style telephones. Years later, we camped out to get our first iPhone. A few years later brought a mad rush to be one of the first to own a tablet computer. Today, some of us have gone so far as to purchase a new luxury sedan that doubles as a mobile hotspot, ensuring its passengers are never without the internet.

Unlike its relic cousin once removed, internet-based 'smartphones' provide instant, continual, and relatively inexpensive communication. The fact that you're located in the States, while your best friend is based in Geneva, Switzerland, has now become a non-issue.

Of course, When you look at the history involved, the rise of a mobile picture-sharing app, such as Instagram, is unsurprising. While many will debate the secrets Instagram's success, most will agree on several factors:

  • It provided a users with a simple, easy-to-use platform.
    Its selection of custom filters & minor editing tools offered users additional personalization.
    It offered users the ability to capture, edit, upload, and share their feed, directly on the site, in addition to selective linking to other social networks.

Don't worry... you're not going to be treated to me digging up the horse, solely so I can beat him a bit more. Photo-sharing is old news. Mobile video-sharing, however, is just getting started.

Enter SocialCam 4.0.

Launched in March 2011 by (duh) San Francisco-based internet start-up, Justin.tv, the original SocialCam app was initially like many others. You capture video. You share video. Now? Let's just say that if you're one who's craving an Instagram-esque video app, you need not look beyond this app. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Custom filters
  • Filters with themes
  • Choice of instrumental soundtracks

Full disclosure: yes, everything above can be done without this app. With that in mind, it's also a process. For those unfamiliar, this is a rough overview of what it typically.

  • Capture video with your iPhone.
  • Download an app to add video filters.
  • Buy iMovie to add a title sequence.
  • From here, go through licensing-related work so videos would avoid being blocked on certain website.
  • YouTube upload.
  • By now you need a nap, but you have one final step...
  • Grab that YouTube link, and share with your followers.

What makes SocialCam worthy of a download is well... it's free. Okay, yeah, that's part of it, but, most importantly, this app offers you the benifit of not only being able to do everything I mentioned above, you have the luxury of doing it all within the same app. Not only does it have the tools, it is its own social network. Edit. Upload. Add friends. Comment. Meet people. Whatever. Yet if the thought of giving up outside social networks terrifies you, don't worry; you can register with your Facebook account, maintain your Twitter account, etc.

And the best part about SocialCam? It's just getting started. Additional soundtrack choices are in the the works. Higher speeds are coming. The features we may see by this time next year, is anyone's guess.

I don't know about you, but I am quite intrigued by where SocialCam will go from here. I'll be interested to find out whether they will end up become in video-sharing version of Instagram, or whether some yet-to-be-seen video-sharing app will be the one to command the title of, It app. User interest is high. Technology can only become stronger. If an video-sharing app developer can crack the code to balance a positive user experience with word-of-mouth marketing, I won't be surprised if we're hearing of another billion dollar buyout in the not-so-distant future.

Photo Credit - SocialCam.com

Download SocialCam 4.0 from iTunes

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Tricks of the Trade: Secrets of Highly Effective, In-Demand Content Writers

At one time or another, we've all stumbled upon a horrific piece of writing. Typos, 'text speak', and homophonic errors decorate everything from personal blogs, emails, and in some very unfortunate cases, professional websites. It's no wonder writers who possess a strong command of sentence structure, in addition to being clear and concise are in high demand.

While not all of us are naturally born to be writers, everyone can sharpen their skills! Read on for a few habits of highly effective content writers.

You can be sure they...

  • Understand the importance of error-free writing

The occasional error in judgement, typos that make you want to pull your hair out... As frustrating as it can be, it's all a part of the game. So, what sets a highly effective writer apart from those who are mediocre? They proof read and edit their work.

Confusing sentence structure, poor grammar, and misspelled words, only serve to detract from a reader's understanding. While spelling and grammar check software is a step in the right direction, it's not enough. One thing I've found that tends to help me, is to read my writing aloud. If you're on a Mac, another option is to use the speech function to allow the computer to read it to you. These techniques help you to catch errors that may go unnoticed on a quick read-through done only in your head.

  • Know their audience

You're currently addicted to Draw Something and wish to share your enthusiasm with the masses. You jump on your computer, type a brilliant piece of content, and hurriedly post it to the AARP website as a suggested activity for seniors. DrawSomething + iPhone + Senior Citizens? You see where this is going, right? While it is imperative to express yourself well, meet deadlines, and present concise information, if you don't know your audience, your content cannot be effective. Knowing who your readers are, as well as what they're looking for is your best tool in providing content that generates interest.

  • Do keyword research & know how to use keywords properly

Keywords are used to allow search engines to pick up your content/website. A common misconception is that you can fill an article with an abundance of keywords, and achieve results. In reality, this will usually have an adverse effect on your search engine ranking. Strive to make keywords a part of your content, but be sure to use them as an informational tool. Repeating them again and again, (and again), will not help you in achieving results.

  • Pay special attention to headlines and bullet points

Catchy headlines will get attention. Because the majority of readers are limited on time, and additionally may lack patience, headlines and bullet points can be a content writer's BFF. While they may be prone to skip your opening, it's harder for the average reader to ignore the 'important' information he sees highlighted down below.

  • Review, review, and review again

This one simply goes back to understanding the importance of error-free writing. Proof your content once it is finished. Use the spelling and grammar check functions in your word processing software, but be sure to pay special attention to words such as 'their' and 'there'. You may know the difference, however, the spelling and grammar check function may not. When you've done that, step away from the computer for a few hours and when you return, go back and proofread again. Once all corrections have been made, but before you pul your hair out, consider it finished and ready to be published.

Posted in <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/advertising-marketing/">Advertising/Marketing</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/content-writing/">Content Writing</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/copy-writing/">Copy Writing</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/online-marketing/">Online Marketing</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/tutorials/">tutorials</a> | Post Comment

Introduction to Content Strategy

The web we know is changing. The time where we saw it as a group of static pages, brochures for businesses and the services is now in the distance. Where we are now is a much more exciting dynamic and interesting age for people who live, work and run business on the web.

Having a plan is more important than ever, and here’s the truth: your site isn’t going anywhere unless you have a plan for it.

This is where Content Strategy comes in.

Content Strategy is an emerging discipline with constantly changing parameters of responsibility. The simplest way of understanding its various methodologies is to understand that it means making a plan. By my making a plan you’ll move your site’s content and it’s goals from descriptions like this:

“A unique website featuring content about gardening that will sell gardening tools and have a blog.”

to:

“An e-commerce gardening site geared toward tech savvy mid-westerners with daily blog posts video tutorials and links to content in the same knowledge space.”

Content Strategy isn’t just the blueprint for what the site is going to be, but it can also serve as a guide for what the content will be in the future. A guiding map for new hires, and a reminder to old staff and all content creators of the site’s original intention and goals.

When done correctly, content strategy can ease some of the heavy lifting of site design.

It’s Easier When You Know Where You’re Going

Here’s an at a glance list of topics that content strategy can cover:

  • The tone and voice used on the site
  • blog post schedules and best practices
  • A style guide for the types of images included in blog posts
  • A guide for the company’s social media platforms and their emphasis

Starting Steps: Research

As the saying goes, ‘the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’ — and site design and redesign has the same humble beginnings. Our path begins with research.

For a new site, research may come in form of visual references that include images you feel embody your product, business or service. You may also find that compiling lists of the competition’s strengths and weaknesses helps paint a clearer picture of your business by contrast. This type of information will guide us to developing a site and a content strategy with the most recent knowledge of a given field.

Site redesign by their very nature holds a lot more potential. Firstly, there comes the mapped path of previous mistakes. This type of information proves is invaluable. If you’re running analytics on your site such as Google Analytics decisions of platform emphasis emerge. For example, if your analytics software is finding that a large percentage of your site visitors are using iPhone and iPads, then it would be in your best interest to target those users.

Moving Forward

Research is by no means a quick process. It can take weeks of hard decision making. With every decision comes a clearer picture of how things will be done. A guiding principle is to develop a framework for the site to grow. Remember, you’re not creating a rule book, you’re creating a system for organizing the content on your site

This type of planning stretches your ability to adapt to the frequent changes on the web. Be they technological, cultural or philosophical you’ll be better prepared if you have a plan.

We’ll be writing about content strategy in the future so if you’ve got questions or comments feel free to post them in them below!

(image source)

Posted in <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/advertising-marketing/">Advertising/Marketing</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/branding/">branding</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/online-marketing/">Online Marketing</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/seo/">SEO</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/social-media/">social media</a> | Post Comment | 1

Deadly Assumptions: Why A Site Re-Design Is Only Part of the Puzzle

You recently made the decision to re-design your website. You found a great company, went all out, and the wow-factor of the new site is impressive. The work ends there, right? No. On the contrary, you're really just getting started.

While a new design aids in building a brand image, continually adding unique and engaging content provides a hook. Not only is this a great way to aid in increasing site traffic, it can also provide an edge over the competition. When you offer additional value to your visitors, they are more likely to remember you when they're in the market for your type of product/service.

Naturally the question becomes, 'What in the world do I write?' Let's start with one main principle: whatever you create, it needs to provide value.

To get started, you may want to provide visitors with information about why your product/service is important. It is important to realize that this is not the same as an official sales pitch. Make this all about the client. What do they stand to gain? What are their options? How can this make their life easier?

Once you've established the basics, the sky is the limit. You can offer tips and tricks, discuss industry trends, even do opinion pieces on a company blog page.

If you're not a writer, the next question may be, 'How in the world do I crank out content... it's not my day job!' Don't panic. Here are a few tips to give you a nudge in the right direction.

Develop your own voice!
No one is going to dispute that virtually anyone can write up an array of bullet points, throw them on the web, and call it advice... and a early night. The key to great writing is that is often reflects a personal style. Light humor, a couple jokes, even writing in a similar manner to which you speak goes a long way to personalize the information given to your reader.

Analyze problems and provide viable solutions.
With internet being the #1 source most people use for research, it's a good idea to make the lives of your site visitors easier. Do a bit of the heavy lifting in order to provide them with more information. Comprehensive information with as little effort as possible on their part? Most will keep coming back for more.

The last, and possibly one of the most important piece of advice I have is simply this:

Do not advertise your website, your product, or your service within content.
People, particularly those on the internet, have a strong aversion to advertising and blatant self-promotion. While it's appropriate to mention that your product/service can help them to solve a specific issue/problem, do not promote beyond that.

It is natural for content creation to appear daunting in the beginning, it is an important part of helping you to drive your target audience. Engaging with people goes a long way in helping to establish loyal client relationships, while they receive fantastic service and value. In the end, it's a win-win for both parties.

 

(image source)

Posted in <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/advertising-marketing/">Advertising/Marketing</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/branding/">branding</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/internet/">internet</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/online-marketing/">Online Marketing</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/pr-public-relations/">PR Public Relations</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/seo/">SEO</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/social-media/">social media</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/web-projects/">web projects</a> | Post Comment

Social Media: A Party For Your Customers - Part 2: Facebook and Twitter

This entry is 2  of a 3 part series. For the full experience make sure to read:

- "Social Media: A Party For Your Customers - Part 1: Joining the Party".

 

Facebook: The Living Room Party

Facebook can be, and is definitely used in a variety of ways. From disseminating information to saying hello to old friends.

The most rewarding use of Facebook for users comes from not being bombarded with information. Users of Facebook tend to see their stream as akin to a living room party and a small gathering of friends. It’s mostly people they know, providing them with status updates and interesting links to content that they care about.

Using these as a starting point, we can build a foundation of how to create engagement with Facebook users without spamming them. Feel free to let people know quickly and concisely what you’re business is up to. Have a new shipment of a product coming out? Are you interested in getting feedback for future products or sending out a survey? Facebook is great for all of that.

As a general rule of thumb if you’re just starting out, do your best to avoid overt and constant Calls To Action. Yes, the goal is to have them buy a product from you, but if all you’re doing is selling trying to sell them something, then it can feel a bit abrasive. Think about it this way, if you invite someone into your living room and all they want to talk about is their business, you might feel at a loss for what to talk to them about.

When you do have a call to action make sure to create a clear incentive. Consider coupons or discounts available only to Facebook users. Make sure that you’re always rewarding your users and customers, so that they feel that the same when they’re purchasing your products.

 

Twitter: The Loud Cocktail Party

Twitter is fast. It’s the speed-dating of social media. Twitter is the place where people are gathering around, shouting bits of conversation at one another. Every now and again people go off and have “@replies and conversation with people. But don’t let the brevity fool you. Answer a question quickly or wittily and you’ll find that you’ve gained a follower, or a person who may be interested in your business.

A good strategy for gaining follower is to search for questions and help people out. If you run a plumbing business you may find it rewarding to answer simple questions that you get al the time. It may not generate a quick customer but it will create brand loyalty and customer acknowledgement in the long run.

The party doesn't end there of course, make sure to join us in Part 3, where we'll discuss effective blogging and some basics of mailing lists.

 

Social Media: A Party For Your Customers - Part 3 Blogging and Mailing Lists 

Posted in <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/advertising-marketing/">Advertising/Marketing</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/blogs/">blogs</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/branding/">branding</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/email/">email</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/online-marketing/">Online Marketing</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/pr-public-relations/">PR Public Relations</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/social-media/">social media</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/social-networking/">Social Networking</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/tutorials/">tutorials</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/web-projects/">web projects</a> | Post Comment

Social Media: A Party For Your Customers - Part 1: Joining the Party

If you’re a small business owner looking to utilize Social Media as a tool to strengthen your brand or market your business, it may be difficult to tell the difference between Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and general purpose blogging. From a distance all social media can look the same.

We’d like to provide you an absolute beginners guide to understanding interactions in social media.

You Don’t Need To Be Everywhere At Once

It can feel a bit overwhelming having to deal with all of the social websites out there. It can be daunting and scary. We suggest that you not worry so much about all the things that are out there and instead focus on one that fits your personality and business best.

One of the simplest and easiest ways to think about social media is as a party. You’ve probably already thought about how you’d like to engage with your customers, or promote your products. Let’s take the party analogy a bit further and explore how we can use social media best.

 

Let's get started with Facebook and Twitter in "Social Media: A Party For Your Customers - Part 2: Facebook and Twitter"

Posted in <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/advertising-marketing/">Advertising/Marketing</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/blogs/">blogs</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/email/">email</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/internet/">internet</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/online-marketing/">Online Marketing</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/seo/">SEO</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/social-media/">social media</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/social-networking/">Social Networking</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/viral/">viral</a> | Post Comment

Video Made The Internet A Star

Here at Lunawebs we encourage video use by offering our clients a competitively priced in-house video production studioSmart entrepreneurs and successful business owners realize that offering video clips on their sites and dedicated YouTube channels is a killer way to market their business as well as raise brand awareness.

Take into consideration that YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world and you’ll come to the realization that video is more powerful than a lot of marketing efforts you may already be engaged in.

If you’re a business owner and live in Utah you’re probably aware of a small blender manufacturer that skyrocketed to the top of YouTube video views, as well as public consciousness with their viral video “Will It Blend”. The company, Blendtec, did something small and simple; they created a video about their product and reaped tremendous results from it. There’s no reason that you can’t do the same.

Why Video?

Video has the power to transform a lifeless brand into a dynamic and energetic source of valuable information, at an incredibly small cost. All of this is in addition to adding the polish of professionalism to your brand.

Compared to other forms of communication and social media, video inherently has more appeal. Most customers and online visitors are more likely to watch a poorly shot video all the way through, than read your best blog post, and depending on your personality, it’s arguably easier to create video than it is to create other forms of content.

If you’re an entrepeneuer or business owner who lives, breathes, and thinks about their business and is proud of what they’re putting into the world Ñ and you’re not creating video for the web Ñ you can’t start soon enough.

Questions of Quality

Guerilla Low-Cost

In video production the quality of your work is directly related to your tools. It’s perfectly acceptable to create video for the web on your phone. With the increase in camera quality in today’s smartphones that might be a option for you if you’re striving for an off-the-cuff, rough and tumble approach.

If you decide to go this route, pay particular to your environment and quality of sound. Sound, strange as it might seem when discussing a visual medium, is the indication of quality in video production. People will sit through a low-quality video if the content is compelling and the sound is audible enough for them to understand, but they will leave quickly if it’s too difficult to hear what you’re saying.

If you’re going to go guerilla video style, remember that environment is critical and should be reflect your business and brand. If you’re the owner of a gym or a skateboard manufacturer it probably won’t harm your business too much to shoot a video on your phone. On the other hand, if you’re a wedding photographer, or car parts manufacturer you might lean towards something more professional.

Mid-Range to Professional

While camera equipment can be moderately expensive to purchase, there are often rental houses that can provide you with better quality for less money up front. The Lunawebs competitively priced in-house video production studio will cover a lot of your production and post-production needs.

The distinction between the low-cost approach and the mid-range to professional one is the focus on details. Techniques like camera moves, digital intermediate color correction and great sound in an outdoor environment are all skills that require precision and finesse.

Take heart in knowing that producing high-quality professional grade video is easier than it’s ever been. Planning and thinking ahead will save you time and money, so take a few moments to really think about what you want to do and say with your business. Think about how you’d like to be represented and how the video that you create will be an extension of your business and brand.

With those ideas in hand you should be able to deliver content that your customers and users find interesting and compelling.

In future posts we’re going to be talking a lot about video and other ways to enhance the polish and quality of your brand online.

Your feedback and questions are always welcome, so feel free to send us an email about what you’d like us to discuss or just let us know in the comments section.

Posted in <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/advertising-marketing/">Advertising/Marketing</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/blogs/">blogs</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/branding/">branding</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/internet/">internet</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/online-marketing/">Online Marketing</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/social-media/">social media</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/video/">video</a>, <a href="https://www.lunawebs.com/sample/category/viral/">viral</a> | Post Comment


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