Drop us a line...

Send Message

Purple Moon Media

Just another WordPress site
fb ad
Facebook Local Awareness Ads Will Change How Businesses Advertise Online

Imagine sitting on a bench and scrolling through your Facebook news feed. You come across an ad for “Matt’s Pizza Parlor”, and start wondering why that business sounds so familiar. You then look up from your phone and realize that Matt’s Pizza Parlor is right across the street. Your inability to turn down a delicious slice takes over, and you become a Matt’s Pizza Parlor customer for life. Was this ad on your news feed just a coincidence? Maybe in the past, but not anymore. Facebook is revolutionizing the paid media industry with their newest advertising tool, Local awareness ads.

Local awareness ads allow businesses to target nearby customers via their mobile devices. If a Facebook user has “Location Services” enabled on their mobile device, local awareness ads will use geotargeting to appear on a user’s news feed when they are within a certain radius of the business. This service will change the way that brick and mortar businesses advertise online. Rather than simply targeting Facebook users that live within a certain zip code, advertisers can reach individuals when they are on-the-go and physically within a 1 mile radius of the business.

fb ad2

Facebook has made their new tool easy to use, as it does not stray far from the process used to make a traditional news feed ad. Just submit the page or URL that you wish to advertise, type in the address of your business, select the radius in which you wish to target, choose other segmentation options such as age and gender, choose your budget, and start building your ad! There is even a map that visualizes the areas your ad will reach. The local awareness advertising tool was announced in early October and is currently live!

Another exciting feature that Facebook is introducing with local awareness ads is a new call-to-action feature. The new ads allow advertisers to include a “Get Directions” button as the call-to-action for their advertisement. For a brick and mortar store, a “Get Directions” call-to-action is the equivalent of “Buy Now” for an online shop. This feature will route users directly to the business location on their smartphone. It is hard to think of a better call-to-action to increase foot traffic for a brick and mortar store.

fb ad3

It’s easy to see that mobile matters, and any business that doesn’t take advantage of mobile marketing is missing out on an enormous market. Facebook had over 700 million daily active mobile-users in the last quarter alone. At this rate, the amount of users browsing Facebook on mobile devices will soon exceed those using desktops. Facebook’s reported earnings for last quarter reveal that mobile advertising now accounts for two-thirds of the company’s revenue.

Expect these current location-based mobile ads to become a trend in the digital marketing industry. Brick and mortar stores that have previously deemed online ads irrelevant to their niche, no longer have an excuse to ignore online channels. A qualified lead that is within walking distance to your store is too valuable to pass up. Facebook’s local awareness ads should be a huge success, and other paid media players will be eager to jump on board.

You can learn more about Facebook’s local awareness ads and start building your own ads here.

market restaurant
Marketing Your Restaurant’s Website on A Budget

Growing its search presence is something that every restaurant owner should have a basic understanding of and strive to accomplish every day. It is mission critical that a business put its best foot forward when presenting themselves not only to potential patrons, but also to the search engines driving the consumer queries.

Google, Bing, and Yahoo make up the three top Search Engines that any business really needs to be worried about when looking at their internet marketing strategies. Google holds steady as the top search engine in the U.S making up a whopping 67% of the market, Bing’s market share hovers around 17.9%, and Yahoo brings up the rear at about 11.3%. So what does this mean? It means while a restaurant should make every effort to satisfy human visitors, it is equally important to satisfy the needs of crawling search engines who deliver those hungry customers to a restaurant’s doorstep.

Like most small business owners, those running a restaurant look very closely at their budgets and have to make every dollar count in order to succeed. Most restaurant owners do not have thousands of dollars to throw around on marketing strategies but still need to get their business in front of potential customers looking for a great meal and great service.

Here are some great low cost ways you can grow a digital footprint.

 

Keep your website as fresh as your food

Updated, relevant, and original content is a huge step in cementing your web presence. Now I know that coming up with content ideas and executing them can seem daunting but trust me, restaurant owners and their staff have more to say than they know. Have weekly brainstorming sessions with the entire staff and asking everyone to come up with one content idea regarding food, the food industry or anything even remotely related to the food niche will make it fun for the staff and should yield some pretty cool ideas. Remember, the more uniquely valuable content a business generates and shares, the more authoritative that business becomes within its space.

Use that content to post on places such as the restaurants blog, its website, industry publications, local news sites and any and every website that adds value to consumers and the community. If a restaurant is struggling to find content ideas, they can start by looking at their traditional marketing that had been done in the recent past. Many businesses don’t even realize they are sitting on a bunch of offline content that can be re-purposed. Another way is to look online at Q & A sites, review sites, and forums to see what consumers are asking about or interested in and then build content around those items. Creative ideas are all around us, all we need to do is pay attention.

 

Location, location, location!

Don’t be afraid to become the local city expert. Make sure the company’s website mentions the location with content pages that inform people about the local region, its hot spots, family friendly places, and whatever else is relevant to anyone making their way through that given city. The restaurant will find they are getting traffic from people who may not be making a reservation now but could be sharing or bookmarking the site and that is just as important as a one off dinner. Remember, the ultimate goal is to create long term loyal customers instead of one time diners.

 

Use Your URL’s to Your Advantage

URL is essentially a websites address. so “www.joesbarandgrill.com” is the URL for that restaurant. The main url is always the same but all of a restaurant’s internal pages, meaning any page other than the home page, should have unique, relevant structures that are descriptive and allow the viewer to create a mental picture of what they might encounter when they click that link. Having organized URL’s is very important. One example would be if a page is about hosting rehearsal dinners in Chicago than the URL should read like this: “www.joesbarandgrill/chicago-rehearsal-dinners”.

Find a targeted key term for every page of the website and make sure the URL structure, the title tags, and the content reflects the chosen term for that page. Then when someone searches for “Chicago rehearsal dinners” that page is deemed to be completely relevant and will be a leading candidate to be served up to the searcher. If one is wondering how to determine which keywords each page should target they can start by making a list of every term they think a person might search for in their local market that is relevant to their business and start matching them to corresponding pages on the website. For broad pages such as “Contact”, the targeted key term can be what are called “branded terms”. Basically a branded term is the business name or variation of. So the URL for the contact page would be “www.joesbarandgrill.com/contact-joes-bar-grill”

 

Title Tags and Meta descriptions

Search engines display your website title in their search results, so aim to have relevant details like the location, kind of food served (like gourmet hamburgers) and the kind of restaurant (for instance, seafood restaurant) in the title of your website. Think of your search listing as you would a traditional ad, where you would want a relevant title and a description that has a hook and is enticing to the reader. Title tags should be no more than 70 characters and meta descriptions should be no more than 170 characters. Make sure that the title tags for each page include the targeted key term, location, and business name written in an organic way that sounds natural. So, if Joe’s Bar and Grill is located in Portland, Oregon and wants to be found for the key term “Portland Steakhouse” the right and wrong ways they would write their title tag is as follows:

 

No – “Portland Steakhouse | Portland Oregon | Joe’s Bar & Grill

The above title tag is outdated, screams of laziness, will be overlooked by search engines, and be deemed less relevant than other sites who appear to be trying.

Yes – “Joe’s Bar and Grill a Premiere Portland Oregon Steakhouse ”

Now this Title Tag is one that would roll off the tongue of anyone telling their friends about Joe’s Bar and Grill. It mentions all of the important information necessary to please the search engines while painting a complete picture to the reader.

 

Remember, each page of a website should have a unique title tag and meta description. This is a simple, free step that can go a long way in search dominance.

 

Target Keywords Sparingly

Each page of a restaurant’s website should target only one to two keywords max and those keywords should be relevant to the content on that page. Work the keywords into the content in a way that naturally fits. A good rule of thumb is if a way to fit targeted keywords into the page naturally cannot be found, then stop and find some new keywords. Having a valuable, user friendly page with relevant niche content is more important than any one key term.

 

External and internal links

Connect all of the site’s inner pages with one another as often as possible where it makes sense. Internal linking is a point looked at by search engines and if done correctly, adds relevancy to the website and value to the reader. Each page of the website should have no more than 2 internal links. The goal is to not look spammy to a visitor and if links are everywhere it won’t give off a sense of trustworthiness. The rule here is to link to another page of the website that makes sense within the confines of the content.

So, if Joe’s Bar and Grill has a page about its history and a section of the content describes how its menu was created, it would be a relevant thought to add a link to their actual menu page. This scenario adds value to the user and makes sense to search engines. Don’t just add a link for the sake of adding one as this approach will ultimately hurt the website in the long run. Just live by this rule: if it naturally should be there then add it, if it has to be thought about then it probably doesn’t belong there.

 

Make the most of your images

Bad presentation can definitely lead to missed opportunities, and this is applicable for both brick-and-mortar and online businesses. Make the most of your images by displaying big, full-color images of the food you offer in your restaurant. Search engine traffic from image search is highly significant. To ensure that your restaurant gets the visibility it deserves, add alt-tags to every single image you have on your website. Most of the times you can do this with the help of HTML code, while other CMS systems like WordPress allow you to add them automatically.

 

Provide Rich Data with Snippets

Rich snippets are a kind of markup that you could add to your web page to provide search engines with additional information. These rich snippets are displayed in search engine result pages. An example of a rich snippet may be the contact details and a map marker. Other rich snippets applicable for a restaurant business include a photograph of a head chef or even a list of working hours.

 

Google plus local listings

An entire eBook can be written on making use of Google Plus for local businesses, but as an initial step, you should register and claim your custom Google Plus URL and corresponding local business page. Google Plus allows a restaurant to share video clips, blog posts, photos, links and even coupons with clients. Remember, if a client really loves a business and posts a review, the review is going to be shared throughout the Google ecosystem.

 

Claim Your local listings

Claiming local listings is incredibly important for the local success of any restaurant. Start with the majors, Google Places, Yelp, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, City Search and even Google Maps and Bing Maps. Make sure each listing has a consistent name, address and phone number or otherwise referred to as a NAP Format as well as the same description of the business, same email address and same contact name on each site. Having consistency everywhere a business is listed adds to the restaurants trustworthiness while inconsistent information will put a dark cloud over the establishment.

 

Enable Social Media sharing

It is now incredibly easy to connect a site to Youtube, Facebook and many other social media platforms. Not only does this provide the consumer with other means to learn about the restaurant, but search engines utilize this social media information in their ranking algorithms. Also make sure your social icons are prevalent on your website, preferably in the header and footer. There are two types of functions your social icons should allow, one that takes the visitor directly to your social network and one that allows the visitor to share, like, or tweet the website information without leaving the page.

Also, try to have a stream of your latest posts or tweets visible on the home page. So if you’re a local bakery and you’re tweeting the moment the bread comes out of your oven, make sure that your tweet is displayed on your website. If you’re a coffee shop and you’re utilizing Facebook to market events, make sure that users can find this information on your website. These are the indications users look for while evaluating a restaurant online.

 

Restaurant directories

The last piece of the puzzle in this guide would be to build an online presence using online restaurant directories and review sites. With the addition of your restaurant to websites like Urbanspoon and Yelp, not only you can ensure that relevant information is published on your profile – you may also benefit from the authority that these websites have developed in the major search engine rankings. Most restaurant review platforms will give you a link back to your original website, and even if the link is no-follow, it lends trustworthiness to your main website.

 

Summing it all up

More than anything else, work for the reader. It is important to consider search engine optimization aspects when creating content for your website, but if it is not relevant to a human visitor or is filled with irrelevant keywords and backlinks, people will not stay for long to read what your restaurant actually offers. While the information shared in this post can lead to some impressive and instant results, it’s important to understand that SEO and web-based marketing is really a deep topic with several layers, so always keep reading and growing to keep yourself updated.

content 2015
Content Marketing in 2015

“Content is king!” is a phrase marketers hear over and over again, but what does it really mean? How does content go from being a thought, or an idea on a webpage, to being heralded as king? In short, content marketing is the way that content gets disseminated and consumed by the masses and is the foundation by which all internet marketing strategies stand on and sustain success. Let’s discuss what content marketing is, how it works, and how someone can start marketing content to their intended audience.

It seems as of late that consumers have become somewhat immune to conventional marketing. People have started using DVRs to skip TV commercials, ignore advertisements in magazines, and don’t even give much importance to online buttons or banners anymore. Smart marketers have realized that conventional marketing techniques are becoming less effective with each passing day and there needs to be a way to reach and retain consumers on a more consistent basis. Even search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing have devalued other more traditional attempts at relevancy, forcing webmasters (for the good of the web) to focus on creating better user experiences and telling better stories regarding their brands. It isn’t enough for a business to try and convince search engines that it is relevant in a given niche. To be relevant nowadays one must be informative on an in-depth level and add value to conversations regarding their specialties.

A smart marketer knows that taking the 50,000 foot view of things regarding their product or service isn’t the right approach and rehashing what others are already saying offers nothing more than fleeting traffic, none of which will truly convert into long term customers. For example, if a business sells “organic dog food” it shouldn’t just try to sell their products to dog owners. It should try to educate dog owners of every aspect about “organic dog food”. Where it comes from, how it’s made, its ingredients, potential positive and negative health concerns, etc. If a product or service is broken down piece by piece there can be dozens of potential content opportunities. If a business delivers ongoing, valuable and relevant information to prospective buyers, it will be rewarded with loyalty and engagement for years to come. Therefore, the focus for any business should be on trying to become the authority when it comes to the subject matter being presented.

What is Content Marketing?

The primary purpose of content marketing is to deliver valuable and relevant material to an audience with the intention of educating and enhancing the user experience. Simply put, content marketing elevates communication with prospects and customers without directly selling to them. Instead of persuading customers to buy products or services, a business delivers information that makes a prospective buyer more intelligent and aware. The concept seems like common sense, but is rarely understood or practiced correctly. What stumps most marketers when it comes to the Content marketing concept is not understanding its four pillars.

What are the Pillars of Content Marketing?

There is a reason the phrase isn’t “Marketing Content”. Quality content must first be planned, scheduled and produced before any marketing can actually happen. This leads us to the four main pillars of content marketing:

  1. A business understanding who it is, what services it provides, and what problems those services solve.
  2. Knowing the audience, how they behave, and what questions they need answered.
  3. Understanding that content comes in many forms. Informative information can come by way of articles, videos, images, etc.
  4. Having the dedication and determination to commit to content frequency and uniqueness.

The mechanics of marketing content may be complex but if there isnt an understanding of these core pillars a content strategy will never get off the ground. There is no use in understanding how to spread a piece of content if it isn’t rooted in these core concepts. Once the four pillars are understood and acted upon, a business can start to focus on the actual marketing part of “Content Marketing”.

How do you market a piece of content?

Understand Objectives

Like every marketing strategy, content marketing also requires an understanding of business objectives. Businesses objectives and goals need to be clearly defined and understood by everyone involved. Determining realistic goals and setting proper expectations is key to a content plan’s potential success.

Develop Positioning

Identify where the audience’s needs and the business’s expertise intersect. This will show the consumer sweet spot and allow for better positioning in front of prospective customers.

Understand the Audience 

When we talk about passing on relevant information or adding value to a conversation, it is not possible without understanding the audience. There needs to be analysis of behavior in order to build specific buyer personas ultimately figuring out what kind of content an audience will be more receptive to.

Build the Content

This is the most important stage of the process. A business needs to think about its existing content, both on and offline. All current content should be audited in order to get a sense of whats been missing from the conversation. Most businesses are sitting on loads of offline content that can be re-purposed for online consumption.  You also need to asses the current state of content marketing in your organization and answer a few questions:

  • What is the current budget for building out content?
  • What form will the content take i.e. imagery, articles, etc.?
  • Is content getting produced in-house or by a 3rd party?
  • Who will edit and optimize the content pieces?
  • How many pieces a month is required to own the conversation?

Map out the Landscape

Knowing where to share content is just as important as knowing what content to produce. Content can be more or less successful depending on the channel chosen to disseminate it. Sharing content via social networks must be navigated carefully as sharing via Twitter is radically different than sharing via Facebook, Pinterest, or YouTube. There needs to be a clear vision on where certain material gets shared and who will manage those channels. One thing to note is that any content marketing strategy should be supported by smaller grassroots activities. A great way to start supporting a strategy today is to actively engage in discussions on forums and professional sites such as Linkedin, Maven, or answering questions on Quora. These ways of engaging provide rich voice spread out in many conversations and adds to a businesses authority on a given subject. Time should be made each day to take part in these supportive efforts.

Develop a Schedule

It is important to make a plan to get everything done. You should develop a production schedule and editorial calendar. There are many calendars available online that can help you get started. Here is a great article by Hubspot showing how to set up an editorial calendar in Google Calendar or try this great editorial calendar in Excel to get you started – Sample-Content-Marketing-Editorial-Calender

Develop Key Performance Indicators, Benchmarks, etc.

It is important to continually measure content marketing efforts. Decisions without data are just assumptions and should be avoided at all costs. The business needs to decide what key items indicate progress or regression. As well as how the campaigns will be reported on and to whom.

Regardless of the marketing strategies you use, content marketing needs to be a part of your core marketing campaign. It should be integrated with all the marketing strategies you’re using. Quality content plays an important role in every form of marketing, including Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Pay per Click, Public Relations and more.

disney
A Review of Disney Villains Unleashed Blogs

Last month, Walt Disney World Resort held a different kind of Halloween special event, Villains Unleashed. Villain’s Unleashed is an after-hours special event featuring no less than 50 Disney villains, a show inspired by Oogie Boogie himself with a spectacular fireworks show. As with every new Disney event, many bloggers had a lot to say, but the key to making a successful event blog is to describe the event and give balanced feedback.

Here are some highlights on what the top bloggers in Orlando had to say:

 

Behind The Thrills

This was a mostly pleasant review of Villains Unleashed. Behind The Thrills gives an astonishing amount of detail on the reasons Disney had for holding the event. The best comment from this blog acknowledged that the event was an attempt by Disney to add a special event that could be enjoyable for both older kids and adults— a market held very well by Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights and Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream.

While the review is not entirely positive, the blogger displays knowledge about the industry and what Villains Unleashed meant for Disney.

 

Inside the Magic

Inside the Magic provides not one but two great blogs on the event. The first article provides detailed coverage on the event, from the opening show and food to face painting and the Hades’ hangout. The second article exclusively covers Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse Show and why it was a welcome change for some guests.

Inside the Magic has the best quality videos of the biggest live shows at the event: the opening stage show with Hades and Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse. Inside the Magic also had video coverage of Hades’ on stage singing along with a cover band, which was not mentioned by other bloggers.

The videos and the amazing details on the event made me want to be at Villains Unleashed, as it is one of the most positive and fun reviews.

 

The DIS

Being one of the negative reviews on Villains Unleashed, The DIS keeps it professional by giving equal attention to the good aspects of the event. One of the best comments from the blog was personally asking for reader’s opinion while realizing that the event was not awful for everyone who attended.

This left a lasting impression as a personal but also professional blog that offers great detail on the event itself, while also focusing on the issues many guests experienced at Villains Unleashed.

 

All Ears

Unlike many well-written negative reviews of the event, All Ears’ review of Villains Unleashed was a little too personal. Check out their worst negative comment on Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse Show below.

“Wow, and not a good wow! If this show had been anywhere else except Disney, it might have been acceptable, but it was not. In my opinion, this was not family friendly, though it did live up to its billing as “freaky!” I talked to several families I know, and they all were extremely disappointed and left shaking their heads. Take a look below at some of the tamer acts. I’ve spared you several of the more risque photos.”

The review read a little too much like a complaint that should have been left at Guest Relations. There was little to learn about the event itself in this blog post. The blogger does not go into detail on what made the show inappropriate for families, which is something that would have been key to learn about.

 

Walt Disney World News Today

Walt Disney World News Today provided the longest, most negative rant possible out of all of our listed bloggers’ reviews. The two hour podcast really drove home a point that the bloggers did not enjoy the event at all. There was hardly any content on the event itself, aside from the end, where they featured a clip of the opening show (where Hades introduces the 50 villains at the event and Villainy in the Sky fireworks display. This podcast was the most disorganized and unstructured review by far. The worst comment was a sarcastic suggestion for Disney to make an intern draw on hotdog buns to keep stands from running out of villain buns— an unnecessary comment that added no value to the podcast.

Bloggers dragging on and on about minor details that were not the main focus of the event is not the most constructive way to do a review.

 

Touring Plans

Touring Plans did a great job of crafting a negative blog, with a focus on issues in the event, and even possible solutions— which is something many bloggers who hated Villains Unleashed did not do.

While the blog does take the position that a great many things went wrong at Villains Unleashed, they do take the time to give positive feedback, like on using lanyards instead of wristbands. Overall, the entire review does not appear one-sided.

Touring Plans has a blog review that focuses on the good and the bad, with just the right combination of positives and negatives, with a look forward to experiencing an improved event in the future.

 

WDW Magic

WDW Magic released one of the most structured, short-and-sweet negative reviews on Villains Unleashed. Their blog starts with an objective rundown of the event, followed by the pros and cons of the event. Their blog is full of great video and photos, adding depth to the review. WDW Magic’s Villainy in the Skies is a phenomenal, high quality sound and visual coverage of the fireworks show.

The professional feel of this blog is astounding. The blogger never got too personal, even with the pros and cons, creating great blog credibility.

 

Adventures by Daddy

Adventures by Daddy is a shining example of a positive but personal review. The blogger has a unique focus on Disney fans who dressed up as villains and DJ IGG NITE’s work for the event’s dance party. It was nice to see something a little different from most bloggers. Adventures by Daddy’s best comment was a very reasonable statement on how fun the event was, in spite of Disney’s mistakes, and a look forward to a better event next year.

This blog mentions the mistakes made but also focuses on a few different highlights of the event which make it worth reading.

 

Mouse Steps

Mouse Steps’ review starts off negative and does not have many positives to offer, following. Again, this makes the review sound more like a drawn out complaint, rather than a review of Villains Unleashed. The worst comment went over the long  3-4 hour wait times to see characters and then mentioned that they did not feel like waiting 20 minutes to see one character. Comments like that add no value to a review of an event like Villains Unleashed where you are bound to wait some length of time for characters due to popularity.

The blogger detailed more negatives about their experience than what was at the event itself, which did not make for an interesting read.

 

The Disney Food Blog

While the Disney Food Blog’s coverage was a review about the food a week before the event, the pictures and descriptions captured the spirit of the event. They managed to cover most of the food and drink offerings at Villains Unleashed, except the Evil Queen drinks with a special glowing apple inside.

The combination of pictures and simple but informative descriptions of the food offerings made it a good foodie review.

 

 

Not many bloggers had many good things to say about Villains Unleashed. However, the most successful blogs detailed the positive aspects of the event and possible solutions for what went wrong.

pinterest hotel
10 Ways Pinterest Can Be Used for Hotel Marketing

Since its launch in March 2010, Pinterest has become one of the fastest growing social networks on the planet and grown its user base to over 70 million. It’s also now the second largest social traffic driver behind Facebook and accounts for 25% of all retail referral traffic. The highly visual nature of Pinterest makes it a perfect platform for hotel marketing and showing potential customers all the beautiful rooms, views and features that you offer. So given the visual opportunities that the hospitality industry presents we’ll be looking at 10 ways hotels can use Pinterest.

1. Generate Direct Sales

The latest statistics suggest that Pinterest shoppers spend twice as much as Facebook shoppers making the Pinterest world a fantastic source of potential customers. A pin can have short term and long term value for your hotels, driving both page views and orders several months after its original pinning. By creating a Pinterest account and growing your following, you can start tapping into its huge user base and generating additional direct bookings for your hotel today.

2. Increase Brand Awareness

In addition to generating direct sales, Pinterest is also a top tool for increasing brand awareness. According to Piqora CEO Sharad Verma “Pinterest is gradually becoming the Google of the visual web”.  By pinning regularly and showcasing images from your hotel on Pinterest, people will become increasingly familiar with your brand. This increased brand awareness is great for long term sales because when customers are planning a visit to the area where your hotel is based, your brand will be the first thing that they think of and you’ll be be much more likely to get the booking.

3. Establish Authority

In addition to pinning images of your own hotel, you can also use Pinterest to showcase your local knowledge by pinning images of local landmarks or images that highlight interesting local facts. Doing this will help you establish authority with Pinterest users which in turn builds trust and confidence in your brand and increases the chances of them booking through you instead of your competitors or OTA’s.

4. Promote Events

Pinterest is an excellent place to promote specific upcoming events. Promoting exciting events (such as bridal fairs) your hotel is hosting or sponsoring weeks in advance by pinning some eye catching images can easily go viral and get the event in front of thousands of targeted users.

5. Drive More Traffic To Your Site

Your website is a fantastic place to provide potential customers with more information and generate online bookings. With Pinterest now driving more web traffic than Twitter, you can easily increase traffic to your hotel’s website by pinning regularly.

6. Increase Engagement With Your Audience

Pinterest users are very social and you can use the platform to ask your followers questions or receive feedback. This will then provide you with valuable customer insights that you can use to improve the services you offer at your hotel. All you have to do is create images that ask Pinterest users to rate your hotel or create images with specific questions and they’ll respond with their comments.

7. Run Competitions

Social competitions are a fantastic way to quickly increase brand awareness and with Pinterest  deploying contests, sweepstakes, & successful promotions is extremely easy. A hotel has dozens of potential promotion themes all encouraging community engagement helping your brand reach more customers, friends, and fans through pinmania!

8. Promote Tourist Attractions

Your hotel’s features are just one of the many factors people consider when planning to visit a location. Beaches, night life, restaurants, museums and other tourist attractions are all things customers will think about before deciding to stay at your hotel. You can use Pinterest to promote all these tourist attractions & local businesses authoritatively selling your local area to potential guests by pinning relevant images as well potentially gaining local backlinks from businesses you are showcasing.

9. Offer Exclusive Deals & Discounts

Deals and discounts are one of the best marketing tools you can use to increase your hotel bookings. By offering exclusive deals and discounts to your Pinterest followers, you can generate lots of additional exposure as people will re-pin them and share them with their friends on Pinterest which results in more bookings and sales for you. Instead of focusing deals and offers through OTA’s you can market those offers on Pinterest potentially putting heads in beds and keeping the fees.

10. Increase Customer Retention

One great thing about Pinterest as a marketing tool is that once a person follows you, they’ll see every new photo you pin. This means even if they’ve used your hotel in the past, you can constantly communicate with them and increase the chances of them using your hotel again. These repeat bookings are an excellent way to boost your long term hotel profits.

 

So what’s the bottom line?

As you can see, when used in the right way, Pinterest can be a powerful marketing tool for your hotel that increases brand awareness, builds authority, drives sales and much more. In January 2012 Pinterest drove 3.6 percent of all Web traffic referrals, more than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined so if you’re not already on Pinterest, make sure you get an account and start pinning today so that you can enjoy all the benefits it has to offer.

link build
Link Building, a Way of Life

Say the phrase “Link Building” to a room filled with SEO’s and you will get a very different response from each one of them. No other term in Search Marketing stirs the pot more than “Links” and the ways by which we procure them. How we attain links is something that varies from one SEO Pro to another but whether you are vacationing in Grey Town or Skiing on White Hat Mountain there is one underlying premise that holds true to both sides of the map and that is, building links is not something that should be done “one off” or even at a given time within a strategy. Enhancing your link profile is something that is happening all the time, all around you.

For me as a Search Marketer I tend to think of everything I do as “Outreach”! If you think of your job as an Optimization specialist it all entails reaching out to someone or something. Every program that you run, from basic SEO fundamentals where your creative on-page implementations are geared towards reaching out to search engines and visitors alike with the goal of pulling them in and keeping them interested. To Local SEO where the goal is to provide a consistent presence within your given region, reaching out to local end users through sites where your business responds to reviews and ratings. Especially in Content Marketing & Brand Engagement where reaching out to webmasters and a growing community is essential to sustainability. All of our efforts have some form of reaching out to someone or something somewhere.

Forms of Outreach that Lead to Links:

Website Structure – Having an easy to navigate, clean, user friendly site reaches out to your visitors and helps them feel comfortable with you and your brand. Focusing on the journey of the end user will always benefit you in the long run and users who enjoy being on your site will always share it with someone.

Social Engagement – Link building isn’t just acquiring links from one site to another. Mentions and Citations are also valuable and sometimes more important means of being linked to online. The more people you reach out to socially the more conversations get started which in turn will lead to more natural linking opportunities.

Content Marketing – Marketing your content reaches out to those interested in valuable information within your niche. If you provide relevant, informative content to communities that need that data you will have created shareable content that will earn you quality links.

Local SEO – Creating a solid presence within Local Search reaches out to those in need of what you have to offer locally. Consistent messaging and great service will lead to an increased number and of user reviews and higher quality scores as well. With sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor becoming mainstays within the local search process, having large quantity of high quality reviews will bolster you link profile for sure and increase your bottom line of course. Oh and don’t forget to respond to every review you get, good or bad!

Becoming linkable is something that evolves throughout every stage of your strategy and if you pay attention to the little details within each nook and cranny of your marketing plan you will be building quality relevant relationships which in turn results in awesome linking opportunities that makes sense to you, the visitor and of course to Search Engines.

boring biz
How Your Boring Business Can Generate Quality Content

Do you really believe that your industry is so boring that no one will want to read anything about it? Web content has created a go-to wealth of information for potential customers across industries. Content marketing works and it can work for your business, no matter how yawn-inducing you believe it to be. So, how do you develop quality content in your oh-so-boring industry? We have created four rules to guide you through the process.

 

Rule 1 – Develop Customer Personas

First, you need to realize that, although boring, your product or service must be useful to somebody, somewhere. Right? Of course. If it were not, you would not be in business at all. Now, you need to ask yourself to discover who that somebody is. And where they are. And what they do. And everything else about them. You need to create a character, let’s call him Mr. Somebody Who Buys the Stuff I Sell. You will want to discover the reason why Mr. Somebody is your customer. What need does he have that your business fulfills?  Now, sit down with Mr. Somebody over coffee. Imagine what you would tell him about your business. Think of things he might not already know about your business. Mr. Somebody is your captive audience, he wants to hear about what you do and sell. He will, of course, have questions for you, too. Hint – these questions can be found in your Frequently Asked Questions list. Don’t have one? Sit down with your customer service representatives or call previous customers and actually ask them what questions they have. Use your conversations with Mr. Somebody and his questions to create articles. In creating this persona, you have introduced yourself to the very people who find your business is not boring. So, speak to him, give him what he wants, and he will keep coming back for more.

Rule 2 – Show Off Your Own Personality

Mr. Somebody won’t linger over his latte, if he feels that he is not talking to a real person. ‘Boring’ subjects can quickly become unbearable when written without enthusiasm. Remember, you are providing information that is useful, that your customers want to know. If your competitors are offering the same information in a more readable format, whose do you think they will settle down to read?

Rule 3 – Get the Look

Write like you speak. Have a conversation with your reader. Do not overwhelm them with page-long paragraphs overflowing with data. Break it down into easily digestible sections. Provide headings for those sections so, your reader can decide what they want to read. Use bullet points, highlighting and text boxes to give your reader the information they need quickly. Don’t make them search for their answer.
You should not, however, overgeneralize. The internet is full of general information about everything and anything. Give your customers what they want; specific answers to their questions about your product or service. And give it to them in a conversational format.

Rule 4 – Stay Current

Whatever your industry, there is news that surrounds it. Keep yourself abreast of new releases, changes, and controversy in your market. This can give you a ton of ideas for blog content. Even better, this is just the stuff that your customers want to know about. Of course, they will come to you for your take on the subject because, in implementing the first two rules, you have developed a more personal relationship with them. Knowing that your company is current on the latest trends in the market will increase consumer confidence, as well.

Rule 5 – MAKE IT Enjoyable

Finally, stir it up sometimes. Encourage your customers to read regularly by giving them something to look forward to. There is no reason your ‘boring’ industry blog cannot be an absolute blast to read. Make it funny by inserting humor where appropriate. You can even poke fun of just how mind numbing information surrounding your business is. Make it controversial by stating an opinion about a controversy in your field and asking your readers to respond. Find experts in your field who would be willing to contribute quality content or respond to an interview. Involve your readers. Ask for feedback and comments. Regularly seek their opinions, new questions, or concerns. Let them know that they are part of this conversation and they will keep coming back for more.

web dev blog
How to Get High Quality from Low Cost Web Development

Every business owner wants to keep their costs down and the web development department is not immune to this thought process no matter how vital it is to a project. Lowering your overhead is more than ok, in fact as a business owner if you’re not constantly thinking of ways to lower your costs then you really need to get out of being in business and find another hobby. However while being cost conscious is your job the key to not tanking your future for the sake of savings is to  simultaneously lower costs while keeping quality high especially when you are using outsource development teams. So how can you accomplish this? Well have no fear here are 5 things you can do to ensure you’re getting the quality your project deserves without breaking the bank.

1. Use an established 3rd party

Finding developers through your cousin or one of your employees is a one way ticket to trouble town and trust me that is not a nice place to live. Using sites like odesk.com or elance.com are great places to start but even some other gem sites likehire-web-developers.com or ifreelance.com can garner some great results and they are free to start your accounts, post jobs and start looking at candidates. Make sure you look at how long the contractor has been on the site, how many jobs they’ve had and what the ratings and or reviews were for those jobs.

2. Interview, Interview, Interview

Once you have some applicants to your job contact each one and set up a time to talk that is convenient for you both. You may be up late as some contractors live in far away lands that are wide awake while you’re snoozing, so try to be flexible and drink lots of coffee if you can. When you do start to talk with a contractor ask as many questions as you can! Ask for a portfolio, references as well as how they would manage the project if they were hired. Ask about communications and how often they would happen as well as any milestones and or roadblocks you may have.

3. Get in the Driver’s Seat

Google drive is free and will allow you to keep a very detailed roadmap of your clients projects. Here is a link to my project tracker that we use its already built and ready to go for you…you’re welcome. http://bit.ly/Vtlu79

4. Meet and Meet Again

Set regular meetings with the developers and make sure you are going over over every task whether completed or not as well as referencing any future tasks that me be on the horizon. Make sure you are being descriptive and try cover every base. A good general rule of thumb here is to pretend you are explaining each task to a child, that way you will ensure that your message is understood. Also don’t just talk over skype do screen sharing with tools like join.me and create mockups easily with sites like gomockingbird. With a mixture of solid communication, mockups and screen sharing your project is on the way to success.

5. Be Generous

Many of these new developers you have working for you have costs of living equal to what most of us spend on coffee and snacks every month, so if you want them to work their tails off for you don’t be afraid to offer weekly and monthly bonuses ranging from $25 usd to $100 usd. You will see how far this type of generosity will go and not only will your project get done right and on time but you will now have a development team willing to go the extra mile for you and trust me that can come in handy some day.

We hope these few quick tips can help you get better results from your web development team!

content blog
What to Ask before Hiring a Content Creation Firm

If you’re a business owner, it is likely that you simply don’t have the time to do much other than run your business. Updating your website can wait until later, right? Wrong! These days, relevant content is king, and regularly publishing content is a simple and inexpensive way to market your business. But, what do you do if you can’t spare the time to consistently update your page?

Hiring a content creator or consultant is a great way to insure that your pages remain updated and fresh. However, it is important to note that hiring a consultant is a significant business decision. You will want to hire someone who is a great fit within your company that maintains a wealth of knowledge and confidence on the subject at hand. Before officially hiring a new team member, ask the following questions.

How much experience do you have? To be good at anything, you need to have experience. This rings true for all industries, from accounting to zoology. The most experienced content marketers have around 10-12 years of experience, but the average individual will most likely have only a couple. Keep the importance of experience in mind throughout the hiring process.

What type of content marketing campaigns have you been a part of in the past? Ask your content partner for writing samples or for a writing portfolio. A portfolio is great at indicating where core strengths lie and whether past projects relate to what your company needs. It is also a great way to find out if they have any experience in the industry.

Do you understand the basics of content marketing? This should be a fairly obvious question to ask. If you hire someone who isn’t actually qualified to perform the job you have requested, you’re wasting money. It is as simple as that. In terms of content creation, you should look for someone who can at least explain to you the difference between content marketing and social media.

How do you measure success within a content marketing strategy? Of course, you’ll need to know if the measures you are taking to continuously update your content are actually effective. Anyone who neglects to analyze metrics will not help you achieve your end goal. How do you use content to market yourself? If your interviewee does not know how to brand their own personality, they will not know how to brand you. Check to see if they use social media or if they belong to any reputable online communities. Do not just jump into a contract with a content marketer or consultant simply because they tell you they’re good at their job. Make sure you analyze their strengths, weaknesses, personality and portfolio to ensure that their capabilities are a perfect match for the needs of your business.

intern
6 Tips on How to Get the Most out of Your Marketing Internship

Don’t be afraid of unpaid opportunities

If you look at an unpaid marketing internship as a financial investment in your future, you will be satisfied with the return. I understand that unpaid internships are not right for everyone. Many potential interns have financial obligations that make such an opportunity unfeasible. However, if you can swing a part-time unpaid marketing internship along with school and a job, go for it! The opportunity cost forgone of working a paid job or internship can be made up with the knowledge and preparation you will receive through a valuable unpaid opportunity.

I had both unpaid and paid internships during college, and my unpaid internship was by far the most rewarding. Many unpaid opportunities come from small businesses that may not have the financial resources to compensate their interns. However, working and learning with a small team can often be more rewarding and hands-on than being a paid intern at a large company and getting lost in the corporate shuffle.  So, next time you are browsing opportunities and see “unpaid”, think before you scroll.

Don’t be scared to turn down the wrong opportunity

There seems to be a point in every college student’s career, usually during junior or senior year, where there is a mad rush to gain experience before being thrown into the “real world” upon graduation. During this period, the pressure of gaining experience can outweigh the desire of learning from a company you love. This causes many students settle for internships that stunt their growth as a marketing professional.

At Purple Moon Media, our goal for interns is not to maximize work output, it is to prepare them as a professional in the search marketing industry. We want interns to learn as much as possible during their time at Purple Moon Media and at the end of that time, we want to get them a job in the industry. If you are interviewing for a marketing internship and do not feel that the employer is passionate about improving your skills as a professional and making you more attractive upon hitting the job market, you might want to reconsider that job offer.

Don’t try to be the smartest person in the room

Now that you have accepted the right internship opportunity, it’s time to get started! The main purpose of your marketing internship is to LEARN. Unfortunately, I have seen too many interns make the mistake of being overconfident with their industry knowledge. When an unfamiliar question is asked or task assigned, reserving questions in order to illustrate perceived knowledge hurts an intern’s development.

Any decent search marketing professional hires interns in order to teach them. We don’t expect you to be an expert, we hired you specifically because you are NOT an expert, and we love teaching! Trying to impress a senior member of your team can stunt your growth as a professional. Taking the initiative to take on a marketing internship as a college student has already impressed us so don’t worry! Just relax, ask questions, and enjoy the ride.

Become a sponge

No, not literally. Soaking up all of the knowledge being passed around in a workplace is important to an intern’s development as a search marketing professional. A majority of learning opportunities come from listening to experienced members of the search industry in action. Some of these opportunities occur in situations in which you may end up saying nothing at all. I have sat in on conference calls, meetings, brainstorming sessions, and workshops where I simply sat back and observed. Often, these instances ended up being important for my growth as a marketer. These experiences can be the most valuable of your marketing internship so sit back, listen, observe, and take notes.

Read. Read. Read.

With so many great search marketing blogs available, you should never have an excuse for not learning during every moment of your internship. In the fast-paced world of search marketing, there may be times when you find yourself without an assignment and some extra time on your hands. This isn’t time to play solitaire, its time when you should continue learning. Read blogs such as SearchEngineJournal.com, SearchEngineWatch.com, and SearchEngineLand.com to keep up with the latest industry news. Listen to SEO podcasts such as SEO Rockstars or The SearchFellas Podcast for professional insight on search marketing tactics and topics.

Support your fellow interns

A marketing internship is a learning opportunity to prepare you for the industry in which you are working in, not a race against co-interns to fill the next available full-time position.  Be kind, create relationships, and share knowledge with other interns that you work with. As a professional in the industry, I am more excited when I see an intern teaching peers about a topic than when I see that an intern is the first to finish a project. In digital marketing, fitting a company’s culture is a huge factor in the hiring process. Supporting the people that you work with during your internship will help get you noticed and make you an attractive hiring candidate. Remember, these are the people that will be working in your industry, and together you are the future of the search marketing industry.

 

At Purple Moon Media, our interns are a key part of operations. They do not get coffee. They help with the everyday operations that keep our business going. We learn just as much from our interns as they learn from us. If you are seeking a marketing internship, a current intern looking for advice, or just want to chat, feel free to contact me at msimeone@purplemoonmedia.com.