Why Your Online Business Needs to Be Mobile Optimized

Mobile traffic currently accounts for about 10% of global Internet traffic at any given moment, according to Mashable. In a separate study, Gartner reported that in 2014, people were using mobile devices more than PCs.

And what are people doing while surfing the web on their mobile devices? Buying!

In 2012, purchases made on mobile devices totaled $6.7 billion – that’s billion with a “B” – and topped $11.6 billion in 2014 and $31 billion by 2015.

That was in 2014 and 2015 imagine today when everyone is on the go.

Sadly, businesses have been slow to respond to this staggering shift in consumer buying patterns. According to Jesse Haines, group manager for Google Mobile Ads, only 21% of all major advertisers had mobile-friendly sites.

Although 66% of the top retail brands in fashion, hospitality, jewelry and other areas had mobile sites, one-third of those websites did not allow consumers to actually buy their products from their sites.

The Astonishing Power of Mobile Websites

Those statistics are staggering. Especially when you consider that mobile websites are the easiest, fastest and most popular ways for your customers to interact with your business.

Mobile websites make it easy for the increasingly mobile consumer to make purchases. Nearly all shoppers polled by Google said they are more likely to buy a product or service if the website is optimized for mobile. And 75% said that they would be much more likely to return if they have a positive experience on your mobile website.

Impact on Brick and Mortar Businesses

It shouldn’t be surprising that when people are on the go, they prefer to spend their money at businesses that are nearby, rather than driving halfway across town. That’s one of the reasons 65% of people said they used their mobile device to find a nearby business to make an in-store purchase, according to Google.

This is especially critical for brick and mortar businesses that depend on local traffic for their livelihoods, such as restaurants and retail stores.

Half of all people using mobile websites said they also use a GPS, Google Maps or another mapping site to find a nearby retail location, according to Nielsen. And 44% said they have accessed the mobile website of retailers they usually shop.

Mobile searches for restaurants have a conversion rate of 90%, with 64% converting with the first hour after conducting their search for a restaurant’s mobile website, according to xAD and Telemetrics.

The Power of Mobile Searches

The trend toward mobility is global, not local. While about 8% of all web searches done in the US are conducted from mobile devices, in Africa that figure is nearly 15% and in Asia, mobile searches have increased 192.5% since 2012, according to Pingdom.

Locally, about half of all local searches are performed on mobile devices, Microsoft Tag reported. And when you mention a location in a mobile ad, search result rates increase up to 200%, according to ThinkNear.

Social Media and Your Online Business

Optimizing your Internet marketing website for use by mobile devices allows your business to tap into one of the fastest-growing and highly-targetable markets in the history of business: Social media.

Apps like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others allow businesses to get their messages in front of exactly the type of consumers who are most likely to buy the types of products they offer. But when these high-converting mobile customers are directed to a website that is not mobile-friendly, 60% will leave without doing anything, according to Google.

Email Applications

While some pundits have announced the death of email, somebody needs to tell people using mobile devices. That’s because about 25% of all people using mobile devices use them to read their emails, according to Return Path. This is especially true for iPad users, who have shown a 73% in the number of emails opened on those popular mobile devices.

That’s significant because it means your mobile website should be fully integrated with email and offer such functionality as capturing email addresses, automatically responding to email requests and offering consumers pathways to your business via their email inbox.

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Optimizing Your Email List Building

Email today has become the equivalent of snail mail 10 years ago. You probably receive one or two things you actually use each day – mostly bills – and the rest goes right in the trash.

Still, until email disappears completely or takes on another form – which it ultimately will – you need to include email marketing as part of your overall marketing campaign.

Fortunately, there are literally hundreds of automated email sites that you can use. Some are free, others low-cost and still others are more expensive. But like anything else, you usually get what you pay for.

Beware of ‘Free’ List Building Software

There are a number of “free” list building programs that you can use. For most of them, in order to fully utilize their services you sooner or later will have to pay something.

Basically, the way they work is that you pay a fee and you “rent” a list of email addresses for a specified period of time. You can send out emails to these addresses and try to market your products. But this is a pretty random approach to marketing. Most of the people on these lists are online marketers themselves, so you probably aren’t going to get much of a response for your investment.

Paying for What You Get

You can buy paid advertising — such as banners and display ads on niche-related web pages – in order to attract customers who are already proven to be interested in the type of products and services you promote.

Facebook actually has a very good and affordable Facebook Ads program that does this all for you. It lets you search for Fan Pages and interest groups within Facebook for members who are already interested in your niche.

Targeting Customers on Twitter

There also are many strategies you can use on Twitter to find targeted customers. What you do is to find people you know are interested in your niche and then look at their lists of followers to find people with similar interests and with large groups of followers, then follow those people in the hopes they will follow you back.

Then you can search Twitter for tags for subjects related to your niche, then look for people to follow who have an interest in your niche. You always want to make sure they have a large list of followers so that when they friend you a lot of people can see your Tweets.

Twitter Marketing

Finally, after you have a lot of Twitter flowers, you can market your products and services to them on a regular basis.

A word of warning, however: People who use Twitter tend to are often wary if they think you are just there to sell them something. It’s a social media site, after all, so don’t aggressively promote your products with every Tweet.

Instead, send out a lot of niche related material – such as tips, quotes, stories, and so on – and only promote products once in a while. This allows you to build relationships with your followers and eventually convert them into customers.

Article Writing and Distribution

Another way to build your list is to write articles related to your niche then submit them to article generators. Make sure your articles include links to your home page or squeeze page. Then when people follow these links you have the opportunity to capture their email address.

You also can leave links to you squeeze page on public forums, blogs, blog responses, and numerous other places. Once you get into the habit of leaving a link to your squeeze pages, you will see your list grow quickly, and it will be filling up with people who genuinely are interested in your products and services.

Creating an email list with these kinds of high-quality potential customers is much more worth your while than spending time and money chasing after a list of people who are going to give you a low quick-through rate.

Until email finally turns into something else – and it already is starting to do so – building email lists of potential customers will remain an important way to build your business.

At the very least, your competitors will be doing it, so you need to do it as well. But keep your eye on where people are going nowadays and focus more energy on places such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn.

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The Future of Google Search Engine Rankings

Because everyone is now plugged into the Internet, the way people communicate with each other is faster than ever.

Texting is immediate. Using a social signal to indicate preference is quicker than word of mouth. This type of instant approval has had a profound impact on online marketing. It has killed backlink marketing and put email marketing on life support.

Today’s Internet users – especially younger users – process shorter burst of information more quickly and tend to have much shorter attention spans. As technology improves and speeds get even faster, this trend will only continue in the future.

Backlink Overkill

While backlinks are still helpful in building your sites rankings – especially when they come from authoritative or expert sites – they are aren’t nearly as important as they once were. A decade ago, the number of backlinks a site had was the primary measure of its relevance to Google search engines.

But unethical web users effectively ruined this for everybody by creating commercial and black-hat SEO methods that artificially increased the number of backlinks a particular site had. Google’s Panda and Penguin updates to its search engine algorithm at the beginning of this decade were designed to counteract these inorganic SEO techniques.

Social Approval Signals

After backlinks essentially became corrupted, Google’s search engine development team turned to social approval signals as a more natural, organic way of measuring a web page’s popularity.

While there are still plenty of black hat methods people use to artificially inflate the amount of social signals a site receives – such as creating fake Facebook pages or purchasing “Likes” or “+1s” on Fiverr.com – Google’s search engine is better equipped to detect bot-produced Tweets and other phony social media recommendations.

It also gives more weight to social signals from those social media users who are the most active and who have the largest social networks.

A website’s page ranking now depends on its ability to get visitors to “vote” for the site by promoting it on their social media pages or to their social media contacts. As a result, it’s critical that web page owners make it as easy as possible for page visitors to share pages or give social approval signals.

You should always include buttons on your pages that allow visitors to instantly link them to their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus accounts, as well as to social bookmarking sites such as Digg, Pinterest and StumbleUpon.

If you use WordPress or another popular page-creation site, you can use free drag-and-drop plug-ins to include these buttons on your website. Make sure you display them prominently near the top of the page so that visitors can click on them faster and more easily because not all visitors will scroll all the way to the bottom of your web page.

Google +

Recognizing how improvements to internet access have increased the importance of social media, Google is taking aim at Facebook and Twitter and is positioning Google Plus to be the premier social media site in the years to come.

Google+ has more applications to businesses as well as to individuals than most other social media platforms. It’s “Circles” method of grouping contacts lends itself easily to marketing toward specific groups of customers. And Google’s purchase of YouTube, the world’s most popular video sharing site, makes the company the web’s top provider of video, the fastest-growing content delivery format in the world.

While Facebook and Twitter continue to be important, your social media marketing programs in the coming years need to include Google+ because it is poised to be the most important social media site in the future.

Google has slowly and carefully rolled out its newest features and has yet to devote its full considerable resources to properly marketing the service. But Google+ has all the tools it needs to become the premier social media site on the internet.

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The Top 4 Ways to Increase Your Website’s Google Rankings

To keep your site’s rank at the top of the Google search engine result pages for your keywords, you need do four things:

  • Facilitate social signaling through creative content creation
  • Optimize your web design
  • Provide easy access to social voting buttons
  • And acknowledge the growing importance of Google Plus

While creating backlinks may have improved your Google page rankings in the past, you are now better served making your pages more popular on social media.

Importance of Authorship Markup

Prior to its latest updates, Google got fooled by unethical web masters who figured out how to exploit its search engine’s emphasis on backlinks. The post-Penguin search engine has numerous built-in defenses to thwart marketers seeking to create fake social signal structures such as bot-produced Facebook “Likes “and “+1s” and commercially purchased social media links. Among these is authorship markup.

Google’s search engine gives more weight to web pages when it can verify they were written by the original author, rather than copied from another or auto-generated by an article spinning program or some other inorganic method.

Adding authorship markup to your high-quality pages will improve your page ranking. Because Google now keeps track of the pages you claim as the author, it can recognize your future pages, give you credit for high-quality content, and give additional weight to pages it is confident are 100% original.

How to Build Authorship

If you used WordPress to create your page, build authorship markup by using the free WordPress rel=author plug-in.

If you used another site to create your page, there are a few additional steps. The first is creating a Google+ account. Make sure to include a photo of yourself when building your profile because whenever you include authorship markup on your pages, your picture will be listed next to your page’s Google search result.

Then simply create a link between your web page and your Google+ account and verify that link via your email. More comprehensive instructions are available on the Google+ set up page.

Social Signals and Page Ranking

Social signals can improve your webpage’s ranking when they come from real, verifiable users of social media and social bookmarking sites. As a result, the more contacts you have on social media, the more likely they are to “vote” on your site, improving its ranking.

Expand your social network by becoming more involved in social media. For web page owners, social media isn’t just a fun way to keep up with family, friends, co-workers, former schoolmates and other acquaintances. Given today’s web page ranking reality, being popular on social media is an absolute necessity to promoting your business or website.

Where to Focus Your Social Media Efforts

If you want to stay on top, you need to raise your profile at least on the Big 6 social media sites:

  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube

YouTube currently is the second largest search engine on the internet. If you don’t already have accounts with these sites, you need to set them up today, especially Google+, and learn how to use them.

Making the Social Media Connection

Next, you need to link as many of these sites together as possible so that an activity on one will simultaneously occur on all the others. WordPress has a free plug-in that can handle most of these sites. There also are commercial programs you can purchase.

It’s also critical that you maximize your social media contacts. A fast way to do this is to always include a link to your social media sites on any type of collateral or content that you produce.

Send requests to as many people as you can, especially those who have some connection to your product niche, such as members of forums, niche-related fan pages, Google+ “Hangouts” and Twitter groups.

Finally, encourage your existing customers to add you to their social networks and incentivize them with a free giveaway or discount. Whenever possible, always ask them to “Like” you on Facebook or “+1” you on Google+.

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Using QR Codes to Make Money with Mobile Marketing

Quick Response Codes, or QR Codes for short, are those funny looking little black and white squibs that you see on subway signs, magazine advertisements and lots of other places these days.

QR Codes are a variation of the bar code – also known as the Universal Product Code (UPC) – which has been used since the 1970s at retail checkout areas. Bar codes also are commonly used for inventory purposes.

QR Codes were first used in 1994, when engineers at a Japanese factory owned by a subsidiary of Toyota wanted to create a three-dimensional version of the bar code that could hold exponentially more information and that could be decoded at faster speeds. The first QR Code was used to control the inventory of automobile parts as they moved through the manufacturing process.

How QR Codes Work

Unlike UPCs – which are mechanically scanned by a narrow beam of light – QR Codes are scanned as a two-dimensional image by a semiconductor image sensor. This image is then digitally analyzed by the processor the scanning device.

The processor detects the three distinctive squares at the corners of the image, and – with the help of a fourth smaller square in the fourth corner – automatically converts the image into a standard size, orientation and angle of viewing. The tiny dots are then converted into binary code, which is matched against an error-detecting code.

The binary code can represent anything, such as text or an image, but in most cases it is a Uniform Resource Locator (URL), or an Internet address.

Uses and Benefits

Anybody with a mobile phone or tablet can scan a QR Code. Scanning apps are free and can be downloaded instantly on iTunes, Google Apps, the Android store and elsewhere.

Other apps let users generate and print their own QR Codes for others to scan and be diverted a device to a URL, eliminating the need to the user to copy down and type in a web address.

QR Codes are used widely in advertising. But they also can be used by online marketers to promote offers and to send traffic to web pages. Other uses for QR Codes include:

  • Visiting a Google+ or Facebook profile
  • Showing your branding on textiles such as t-shirts or bags and other articles like mugs
  • Checking in on recommendation services like foursquare
  • Using QR codes in blogs
  • Playing a YouTube video
  • Easily installing an app from the App Store or Android Market
  • Sending a predefined short message (premium services)
  • Sending a Tweet with your content

Mobile Marketing Uses

QR Codes are most frequently used for mobile marketing. They are supported by Google’s mobile Android operating system; in iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod; on BlackBerry devices, on the Windows Phone, and even on the Nintendo 3DS.

Once scanned, QR Codes can use a URL to lead users to website where they can view useful content. This can include expanded product information, locations and store hours of the places where the product can be purchased, and even links to buy the product right away.

QR Codes also can be used for mobile tagging. This is when you capture the reading device’s phone number and automatically send an email or text message either right away or at some predetermined future time. Mobile tagging also can launch a sequence of email swipes designed to build excitement and encourage brand loyalty.

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Traffic Optimization Secrets Most People Don’t Know About

When it comes down to it, making money with Internet marketing isn’t rocket science. All you have to do is use paid or free methods that lead visitor to your offers, then utilize techniques within our content that maximize conversion rates.

Without a doubt, paying for traffic is the easiest way to build your online business. You can sometimes get results within a few hours – or even a few minutes – of launching your paid traffic campaigns. But as soon as the money runs out, usually so does the traffic.

The paid platform most marketers use is Google AdWords. It’s the biggest and most popular. But therein lies the problem: Google AdWords is so big that it’s often really hard to get your offers noticed by consumers. It’s simply so filled with competitors that you either have to spend a fortune bidding on the best keywords or risk getting little return for your marketing dollar.

Plus, Google has one of the worst support structures you are going to find anywhere. It also has built a reputation for being hostile toward affiliate marketers. Google has been known to ban accounts suddenly and without explanation. And they are so big, they can get away with it!

Alternatives to Google AdWords

But Google isn’t the only game in town. For many marketers, Bing and Yahoo offer better alternatives.

While between the two, Bing and Yahoo only account for 29.2% of the search engine marketplace, that’s 29% of billions of online users. And both are not only affiliate friendly, but provide better service.

Best of all, while your competitors are spending a fortune bidding on the best keywords on Google, you can quietly but effectively promote your offers on Bing and Yahoo without overspending on the best keywords.

Less Expensive Paid Methods

Two other little-used but highly effective paid methods are Facebook Ads and solo ads.

Even though Facebook seems to share Google’s contempt for affiliate marketers, its ad program is worth considering because of its ability to provide extremely targeted demographic and psychographic information so you can tailor your offers not only on things like age, gender and geographic location, but also on likes and dislikes, interests and preferences.

The biggest benefit of solo ads is the price. Your budget go much farther using solo ads as compared to working with a bigger, more expensive marketing platform. And your ads are seen only by people who already have proven to be passionate about your niche.

Secret Free Traffic Methods

Right now, social approval signals are the top measure of site ranking. But creating back links to your web pages from high authority sites still can influence your page’s rankings.

Search engines consider authority sites to be anyplace web users go when they are searching for answers to niche-related questions. They include such site as Wikipedia.com, About.com, eHow.com, Yahoo Answers, and so on. Sites with the suffix .gov and .edu also are considered authority sites by the search engines.

Creating Links from Authoritative Sites

Here’s a fast, easy way to create links to your pages from authoritative sites:

  1. Go to any of these sites
  2. Create an article or comment on an existing post
  3. Leave a link to your pages in the About the Author box

When readers follow that link back to your page, you have a new high-target prospect and your page ranking will improve at the same time.

When you use these traffic generating secrets, you don’t have to spend a fortune promoting your offers or attracting new visitors to your web pages.

If you’d like more powerful marketing tips, as well as a way to generate conversion-ready Internet marketing prospects each month, click here to learn about my done-for-you system.

How to Build Websites for Free

People are often intimidated by building their own websites, because they think you need to know a lot about writing code, graphic interfaces, and other technical issues.

That may have been the case a decade or so ago, but today, anybody can build their own website quickly and for free, once they know a few tricks of the trade.
When you use the free tools and theme templates available at open-source sites like WordPress, building a high-quality website is easy.

“Open source” means that anybody can use it and you don’t have to pay to use its tools. WordPress is very easy to use and even has hundreds of free tutorial videos you can watch that show you how to do every step.

WordPress has thousands of premade “themes,” which are website templates that you can use for free starting right away. It also offers paid themes.

Another benefit of WordPress is that it has a lot of free plug-ins that you can drag and drop onto your website, including such things as creating automated links to your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media pages, polls, and other desirable additions to your web pages.

Plus, WordPress makes it super easy to add photos, images, video, and audio recordings to your website. And you don’t even need to know anything about HTML or CSS code writing. If you can drag and drop, you have all the skills you need to create a high-quality, professional-looking website.

Getting Started with WordPress

The first thing you need to do is create an account with WordPress. It’s free and only takes a few minutes. All you really need is an email address, and you are ready to go.

Go to the WordPress home page and click on the “Get Started” button. Here you can set up your free account and choose a name for your website. You will be sent an email with a link that activates your WordPress account. Now you are ready to build your page.

Whenever you log into WordPress, you will automatically be brought to your Dashboard. This is the place where you create new web pages, choose themes, add new features, and do everything else you need to build and maintain your website pages.

On the left-hand side of your Dashboard, there are a set of buttons you use to create your settings, make changes, and add new elements to your website. The first couple of times you use WordPress, you’re going to want to take the time to learn about these tools by watching the free tutorial videos that explain how to use them.

Creating Your First Web Page

To build your first new web page on WordPress, click on the “Posts” button on your Dashboard, and then click on “Add New.” This automatically generates a new page.

There’s a space for the headline or title and a box underneath for your content. You will also find different icons that perform various functions, including using different typefaces, bullet points, adding links, and adding images and other media.

WordPress will automatically save drafts as you build your web page. Or you can click on the “Save Draft” button. To see what your page will look like to visitors, click on the “Preview” button at any time. When you are happy with the final version of your web page, click on the “Publish” button, and your web page will instantly be posted to your server.

You can edit or modify your web page anytime you want, even after you have posted it online. Changes are automatically updated, so anybody who goes to your page will only see the latest version. You also can delete portions of your website, or even the entire web page itself, any time you want.

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Hiring a Team to Build Your Website

If you are going to hire outside help to build your website for you, the planning stage is probably the most important part of the entire process. That’s because planning is when all the important, global decisions are made.

Even before you bring in anybody to help you build your website, you need to make the big decisions about what should or shouldn’t be included in the site, because modifying your concept later could be a relatively expensive proposition. Once the framework of the site is built, it is more difficult to add new features or alter the overall structure.

So first, you want to determine your core goals:

• What do you hope to achieve with this website?

• Who is your target audience?

• How will you know when you have achieved these objectives?

Before you bring anybody else on board, you need a firm understanding of the exact results you want your website to produce. As you move through the website creation process, this vision will remind you of what you wanted to accomplish in the first place.

Although there will be many things that will change during the creation process – like specific design features, different applications, and your unique content – your core goals will remain constant.

Building Your Team

You are going to make the global decisions and direct your managers to implement these into action. As the head of your business, you are going to have a lot of issues that you need to resolve.

Usually, you won’t have time to deal with the thousands of details involved in your website’s creation. So you are going to need help.

Once you have settled on your website’s global core goals, it’s time to find somebody to manage your website creation for you. This project manager will then report back to you regularly with developments so you can make the biggest decisions.

It’s best to find somebody with a lot of technical experience so they can easily communicate your vision to the web designers, developers, and programmers who will actually be building your site.

Following Your Lead

The project manager will use the core goals you identified to create the first important document: the project charter. This is a concise and nontechnical document that will guide the process of creating your website.

The project charter will include critical information about goals, target audience, feature requests, and any other important information to develop your site. It’s different than your core goals in that the project charter is a constantly changing document.

That’s because experienced collaborators will be offering their suggestions and ideas about how to effectively turn your ideas into reality.

Other Important Blueprint Documents

Once you approve the project charter, your project manager can meet with web designers and developers to produce blueprints for each page.

In website creation, these blueprints are known as “wireframes,” and they include such things as diagrams of complex web applications, or workflows, and technical specifications that can guide your web development team.

The next document to consider is the site map. This defines how users will navigate your website. It includes such things as a list of pages within the site, links, and a
hierarchy of page organization.

Once these blueprint documents are completed, the project manager can then work with the technicians to begin building the first prototype of your website for your approval.
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4 Tips for Getting the Most from Your Email Marketing

There are a lot of critics who say email marketing isn’t as effective as it once was because more people are using mobile devices and texting to communicate with each other.

Young people today text and tweet rather than read emails, so a lot of younger customers don’t even have email accounts, only smart phones and social media.

While there’s no question that social media, texting, and other communications platforms are more popular than email, the principles of email marketing can be applied to practically any format.

So, even if email isn’t as popular as it once was, these same strategies can help you connect with customers via Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and even mobile marketing.

Here are some universal email marketing tips that will help you build your subscription list with plenty of loyal, enthusiastic customers:

1. There’s More to Life than Opt-In Forms

While the opt-in form is one of the best ways to capture contact information, it’s not the only way. If you already own your own business, you probably already have a loyal customer base. Why not give them an incentive to give you their email address by offering special offers, discounts, or rewards?

You also can invite your social media contacts to join your list and invite them to recommend you to their social media contacts as well.

Another option is to promote your list in forums and chat rooms, or post articles or blogs related to your niche subject and include a link back to your opt-in form in the “About the Author” box. If you offer your customers something they find valuable to be a part of your subscription list, then you can grow your list very quickly.

2. Keep On Testing

A/B testing, also known as split testing, is when you send out two versions of the same email with one slight variation to see which one converts better. For example, you could send the same email with two different headlines.

Or, you could change the Call to Action slightly and record which one gives you with the best responses. From that point on, you can incorporate the successful version in future emails and achieve better results.

3. Marketing Only to People Who Want Your Products

It doesn’t do you any good to market to people who aren’t interested in your products. One way to weed out those who aren’t interested is to use a double opt-in to make certain that only people who really want to be on your list are added.

A double opt-in is when you send a second email to somebody who signs up for your list to confirm their subscription. It eliminates people who don’t really want to be on your list (and it also helps avoid spam complaints later).

You can also send another email at some point in the future – such as in six or nine months – asking your list members to confirm that they want to continue to receive emails from you.

4. You Can’t Afford to Ignore Social Media

Cross promoting your website on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram increases your chances of connecting with your customers.

You can invite people on your subscription list to “Like” your Facebook Fan Page, follow you on Twitter, and add you to their Google+ Circles, for example.

This gives you the opportunity to exponentially increase your potential points of contact with your prospective customers.

Check out our lead generation system by clicking on this link now to learn more about improving the profitability of your business.