Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Business Basics: Great Ways to Display and Sell Your Products

When selling a new product, one of the great difficulties a retailer faces is breaking through the wall of preconception. Consumers are by nature creatures of habit, and their loyalty to a current brand is usually very high, which means that you have to work very hard to get past any bias. Effective marketing is a method that can yield great results for your company when done right. Practice these tips to get your brand out in the marketplace.

Isolate Core Advantages

Focus on what makes your particular product better than that of the competition. For instance, the Mr. Clean brand was able to have success with its Magic Erasers despite intense, established competition by emphasizing how its product would not mar wall paint the way existing erasers often did. Focus on what unique advantages your product offers.

Ease the Transition

One truth in marketing is that consumers take the path of least resistance. In other words, the cost of trying a new product or service must be less than the potential risk. It’s for this reason that many companies offer coupons for new items that completely cover the cost of the product. In other words, make a new product as easy as possible to sample. You may even give free samples as a way to promote your product.

Make Benefits Readily Apparent

Core advantages should be apparent just by looking at the product or its packaging. A product that can sell itself does so because the consumer is able to recognize the benefits immediately. As an example, consider removable hooks by 3M. In this case, the brand actually strayed from its standard packaging in order to let the customer see how it worked via a clear plastic bag.

Ensure It Works Out of the Box

A product’s main advantage should be the ability to be ready to go as soon as the consumer opens the packaging. Anything less will harm the consumer’s perception of that advantage.  Make sure that convenience is your new mantra, and find what necessity warrants your device. A great example of entrepreneurship coming from the University of Nebraska Lincoln is a case where engineering students created an easier way to put in track shoe spikes.

Use Promotional Products

A consumer must be receptive to the message in order for it to be successful. A used car salesman viewed as a stereotypical used car salesman will find it difficult to make a sale. A promotional item can generate goodwill and a direct connection between you and your customers, thus making the consumer receptive to your brand. It’s for this reason that insurance companies often give out personalized key fobs and USB flash drives that are imprinted with their company’s name and contact details. You can find promotional products that are specific to your company at

Be willing to think outside the box when it comes to positioning your product. Display and marketing techniques are often the most important parts of getting your product sold. Make a plan to keep your product in the minds of consumers and make it something convenient and easy-to-use.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Tips To Make Your Company Stand Out Online In All the Right Ways

According to statistics, there are more than half a million new businesses going live in the U.S. in any given year. How do you stand out in the crowd? Here are ten tips for helping your business make a splash.

Be Everywhere

Social media is critical, of course, but so is having an up-to-date website and blog. You'll also want fresh newsletters and RSS feeds to keep your customers abreast of any new developments within your company. In short, make sure you're in ads, timelines and inboxes all across the web. Keep your company in people's minds by updating as much as possible.

Know Thy Enemy

Who are your biggest competitors? Do they offer anything you don't? Visit their site and pretend that you're a potential customer. What immediately stands out? Ask yourself these questions and decide what may be a good option for your company, and come up with a plan to compete.

Holler Back

Customers love when you engage them personally, especially if you add a humorous touch. Using funny commercials, advertisements and banners will gain more attention and publicity for your company. These are the kinds of interactions that go viral, so don't be afraid to respond to comments and complaints directly.

Apologize for Mistakes

Speaking of complaints, a lot of companies like to pretend that they never receive any, which does nothing for their image. Try apologizing for any goofs in an open, honest way, and see what that humility does for the customer's perception of your business.

Learn to Navigate SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the way you'll put your business on the virtual map. Get comfortable with software from Google Analytics and SEO Book, which will help you track and analyze how traffic is coming to your website.

Make Every Conversation Personal

Has any customer in history ever expressed admiration for a lengthy customer service script? Ditch the lines and focus on creative, tailor-made service instead. Again, this is how companies go viral and get people talking.

Imitate Your Betters

If you're a fan of a particular business or blog, don't be afraid to copy their example. Many actively encourage it, like the Domo Blog, which offers business analytic and intelligence to help new brands grow.

Hold Giveaways

Everyone likes swag, and there's actually a psychological basis to the success of intermittent reinforcement, where rewards are random and unpredictable. It's easy to use this on customers by holding contests, raffles and sweepstakes where the winner is a surprise every time. Your customers will go crazy for it!

Keep Up With The Trends

Gangnam Style, the bizarre video of a South Korean pop star, was one of the best things to happen to the business world. Everyone from Intel, to the U.S. Naval Academy got in on the endless parodies it inspired, and it brought huge attention to anyone who jumped in the fray. Future fads can do the same for you.

Love Your Product or Service

Why should anyone care if you don't? Don't be one of those CEOs caught red-handed using another brand. Stay loyal to your business and your customers will, too. Advertise your endorsements of your company and explain what it offers in an easy to understand way.

These are just a few tips for making your company stand out in an overcrowded market, especially in the online world. Ultimately, your passion and perseverance will mean more than your marketing, so stay true to your company and you'll be fine.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Overview - What It's All About!

Location, Location, Location

Before 73% of North America was using the Internet, most savvy business owners knew that it’s all about “location, location, location!” Common knowledge says if you sell a useful product or service and are in a visible location for the public to see, chances are, you will drastically increase your sales. Guess what? It’s still about location, location, location, even in the virtual world of the web.  Imagine starting a business, branding your product, and then buying a location without any roads leading to it or any way for people to see it. That would be pretty pointless and a huge waste of money. That is essentially what companies are doing when they create a website and ignore online marketing.  

Almost half of all internet users use search engines on a daily basis to find information.  If you have a website and do not do not market that website online, you are likely missing millions of potential customers on a daily basis.  SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and this is the solution to your invisibility problem.  SEO consists of changes that can be done to your website and to factors affecting your website position, to make your site accessible for search engines and, ultimately, accessible to internet users.  

Right Time, Right Place
What if someone said they could help your business appear right in front of your target customer, right when they are trying to find exactly what you sell? This is what OuterBox Solutions does when performing SEO services on your website.  We help you move to the top of the search engine results when your target audience searches for terms related to your product. However, that is only half of what we do.  Optimizing for search engines only goes so far. OuterBox understands the importance of optimizing for users as well. Our firm has had years of experience developing hundreds of websites, and we are experts in user-friendliness. 

What does this have to do with SEO? Well, a search engine’s job is to offer searchers the most relevant information when people come to them looking for a product, service, or information.  If search engines are constantly offering users irrelevant, hard-to-read, hard-to-navigate websites to choose from, users will stop looking to search engines for answers.  In response to this, search engines strive to offer searchers quality information, factoring in user-friendliness, popularity, and relevance. Being number one in the engines means that Google, Yahoo, Ask, or whatever search engine you show up in, thinks that your business is good, and they want to refer people to you. Imagine search engine rankings as being a popularity contest, and you have just made friends with the prom king. 

Popular By Association
Our clients have reaped the benefits of increased visibility, increased traffic, and constant updates to make their sites optimal for conversions. No longer do you have to worry about your SEO company getting you a little bit more traffic, but not knowing what to do with that traffic.  We have helped our clients move to the top of the rankings for competitive keywords, increasing their traffic, by over 100%. Through our optimization, we have helped our clients increase sales by drastic numbers.  To us, it is simple, but ever-changing. We guide our clients along the road to a better website, leading to better rankings, leading to increased sales in the end. 

Our road is circular instead of straight, and SEO is a never-ending cycle that keeps our clients happy and well-informed of the benefits of such efforts.  What we do works because we are constantly learning, constantly adapting to changes in the world of the internet, and never losing site of the ultimate goal – your company’s profit. 

Streamlining Your SEO Efforts
You may ask, “Why would I do SEO when I am doing all of this other marketing?” You may want to ask yourself this question instead: “Why wouldn't I do SEO when I am doing all of this other marketing?” Part of SEO at OuterBox is looking at ALL traffic and analyzing ALL of the avenues that your visitors take to get to your website. We can see if that magazine campaign you just ran last week actually worked in bringing people to your site. We can see if you got more conversions from that extra traffic.  Why not have someone watching your back – and your other marketing efforts to let you know if that money you spent advertising on someone else’s site actually paid off? We are here to keep an eye on where your other marketing money is going and if it is paying off for you. We can streamline your marketing efforts by using tracking programs that track where your traffic came from (not just from search engines) and how much traffic and conversions you received from each avenue.  You are about to see how SEO can be the link that connects all of your marketing efforts, making them work for you instead of the other way around.  Let us show you what good SEO can do for you.
Why Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Important?
Think of it this way. A web site is your business' ad, and before your ad can be effective, you have to send it out. By performing search engine optimization on your website you will allow web surfers to find your site and see what your business has to offer. An outstanding website is great to have, but not if potential customers can't find it!
How Do You Perform Search Engine Optimization?
There are many ways we work to boost your rankings. We must first research your businesses market and develop a marketing strategy. We work to find the best keywords for your business and use these keywords in the sections of your website most viewed by search engines. We also build the structure of your website in a way that search engines can easily detect and list all of your pages. We'll also work with you to create web partners. The more relevant websites that link back to your website brings your sites credibility up. For more information, contact us for a free estimate.
How Long Does It Take To Receive Quality Search Engine Rankings?
The time can vary for a search engine to see the updates we make to optimize your website. There are many variables, and these can also vary based on the search engine. We'll keep you up-to-date on the progress of your search engine rankings by providing you with reports on a regular basis. The timeline for results also depends on many website factors such as domain age, amount of content, current rankings and more.
How Can We Begin Search Engine Optimization For My Site?
Let's discuss your needs. You can fill out our free estimate form by clicking here or give us a call at 1-866-647-9218. We'll explain our SEO service and give you more information based on your type of business.

eCommerce Website Marketing: SEO For eCommerce
An e-commerce website needs to be developed in the proper way to be search engine friendly. A search engine frienly website is much easier to integrate a complete eCommerce SEO plan. Many e-commerce sites are disregarded by search engines because they have been put together poorly and search engine optimization basics were not taken into consideration during development. OureCommerce websites are built to optimize your site and allows buyers to find your site. This will drive more traffic to your site which will create more sales! of our main search engine optimization tactics is using a feature called "dynamic titles". Dynamic titles will use your database to change the title of your web site to match your products. Every time you add a new product, the title will automatically be created. Search engines look for variations in page titles and the more unique titles, the better. When you have more titles the search engines see your site as a bigger site. The more content you have, as long as it is relative to the searched keyword, the better your search engine rankings.

Our e-commerce web design stands above the rest. 
Click here for our full list of web design and marketing services

With Google continually rolling out Panda algorithm updates we’ve seen changes in the way eCommerce websites are ranked. Panda updates seem to be focusing heavily on content and on-site optimization. Google is looking for website owners to make their website better, not just build links. Google has said their goal is to make the web a better place and this change is pushing website to become more informative and offer higher quality content.
Content: We’ve seen effects on eCommerce websites that have minimal content, especially on ranking specific product pages. Many eCommerce websites, especially sites with a large amount of products, have weak product descriptions. We’ve seen these pages begin to drop. Other issues arise when sites have a large amount of products with duplicate content. Often similar products may have an identical description as another product on their website. Not only can duplicate content on your own website effect rankings, but also copied or supplied content. For example, many manufacturers provide product databases and product descriptions are sometimes supplied. If you’re using the same product description that other websites are using your chance of ranking is greatly diminished.
To learn more about duplicate content read Google’s page
Category Pages: Many times large amounts of products in a category will create a type of duplicate content. For example you have category A. Now category A has page 1, page 2 and page 3 as you’re showing 15 products per page. Google often ends up seeing this as 3 different pages optimized for the same keywords. This will give 3 pages a third of the weight that one page could possibly have. There are ways around this that we’re not going to get into for technical reasons, but the easiest fix is to show all products on one page. Sometimes this is easy, as in the example above with only 45 products in a category. If you have hundreds of products showing all of them on one page may not be the best option.
Link Building: We hear so much about link building, especially from clients. It’s old school SEO and everyone still wants to submit 100 articles a month and blast content out to the web with their links embedded. Remember, often these articles end up on a page rank 0 page and the incoming links probably means nothing. Our suggestion is instead of blasting large amount of content to other websites, write great content for your website. I’d rather a client post 4 great article a month on their own website instead of sending out 100 questionable pieces. The content on your website can last forever and bring direct traffic to you!
So, what is our link building strategy? Build good content and people will want to link to you. If you can get other people to link to you because they want to you can then focus on making your website better. It then becomes a circle of developing good content, building your brand and letting others link to you.

What makes for the best search engine optimization company and how do you know if they are the right company for you? The best way to know if an SEO company is a good one is to see results. Results are everything and it's what you are after. If they can prove that they have done for other clients what you need done, they should be a good pick.

Guarantees (Watch Out!) - As the saying goes, "if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is". If an SEO company guarantees results, be suspicious. The best search engine optimizer will tell you, there is no exact way to know where your website will be ranked in the search engines after optimization is complete. Search engines do not reveal the exact way that they choose which website is better than another, so know ones knows exactly what will place your site above another. 

Examples - Ask for examples of websites that they have optimized and which keywords they optimized for. They should be able to show you where in the search engines that client is appearing. If they can't give examples, they probably don't have them!

SEO Prices & Value - As with web design services, it's not always how much you're paying but how much you'll get in return. Paying $3,000 a month for search engine optimization that produces results is a much better value than spending $500 a month on optimization that does nothing, of course. Just be sure that the company you go with can produce results. The search engines are powerful tools and your website will gain traffic and business if SEO and website marketing is implemented correctly.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Timed Tweeting: Twitter Now Supports Scheduled Posts

On Monday, October 14, Twitter announced a change that will make advertisers’ jobs a little easier: scheduled tweeting. Rather than logging in to post tweets on holidays or at inconvenient hours in order to reach their target audience, advertisers can pen tweets up to a year in advance. Several other websites, such as HootSuite, have offered this service previously, but it’s the first time that Twitter has offered such a platform on its own website.

This change covers both promoted tweets—those sent to users who match the target-audience criteria set by advertisers—and organic tweets that go to all of a brand’s followers. For example, a company like Bortek Industries, which specializes in industrial cleaning rentals, parts, and services, could schedule a promoted tweet targeting only to Twitter accounts of businesses or individuals who they think may be interested in their services. Or, they could opt for a regular tweet to their followers in the hopes of sparking interest the old-fashioned way.

Either way, it’s simple to schedule tweets of both varieties, and even include images hosted right on Twitter. Here’s a step-by-step look at the new procedure, accessible with a pre-existing Twitter account:

• Log into Twitter Ads
• Click the newly added “Creatives” tab, which is located next to the “Campaigns” and “Analytics” tabs at the top
• Click “Tweets,” then “Compose Tweet”
• Type your 140-character-or-less message into the box
• Click the “Scheduling” tab
• Choose the date and time that you want the tweet to appear
• Click “Schedule Tweet”

As previously mentioned, advertisers can schedule tweets up to a year in advance, and they can schedule a new one to appear once every minute, should they so desire. They can also pre-upload images to appear in their tweets, hosted on Twitter instead of an external service. This is an important note for those who upload photos often, as the address has been shown to encourage more clicks and engagement from viewers than other third-party image-share links.

Obviously, this change makes Twitter’s internal tools a threat to third-party sites that charge businesses for a similar scheduling service; perhaps the site will see a jump in revenue as businesses start to rely on Twitter’s in-house ad services for all of their tweet-sending needs. This change makes advertisers’ jobs easier, too, as they no longer need the help of other websites to keep their Twitter content fresh and engaging.

This sort of streamlining is par for the course when it comes to Twitter, especially as of late. In August of 2013, the site made another change that could help advertisers who are especially active on the site. Before, responses to tweeted questions would appear with a small “in reply to” link that other viewers could click to get an idea of the conversation they were reading. Now, however, the site automatically links any tweets sent in reply to one another. This means that users can read tweets as a cohesive conversation. This, along with their latest addition of scheduled tweeting, will no doubt aid those who seek to engage with viewers directly.

Adrienne Erin is a social media and internet marketing writer who loves to share the tips she’s picked up over her time spent growing with the industry. She writes regularly for SiteProNews and Search Engine People.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Technology for Protection: What is New on the Scene?

We live in a time where technology continues to advance and improve our daily lives. We all know about smartphones and smart-TVs, but what about smart home security? Like many other areas of our lives, home security technology is advancing as well. Today's smart security systems are a far cry from the burglar alarms of yesteryear. As computer systems advance, so do the possibilities with security systems. Here are a few recent developments in home security technology that can help you keep your home and family safe.

Wireless System Integration

Gone are the days of running wires from one end of the house to the other-- upstairs and downstairs. Wireless technology has made it possible for homeowners to secure the entire home and monitor with pinpoint accuracy. Because wires are not used, sections or zones can be more easily created, thus improving the overall control of the system. Vivint in Los Angeles CA, for example, offers some of the most advanced home management and security with total wireless integration.

Integration with Computers and Devices

Whether it's Newark home security, or way out in the country, today's systems allow the user to connect with their laptop, desktop, or mobile device. With the system software and mobile apps, the homeowner can monitor activity, set schedules for arming and disarming certain zones, and much more. It can even let you control the thermostat at the touch of a button.

Fire and Emergency Integration

Many security systems offer fire and emergency protection services that will immediately contact first-responders when an incident occurs. Combined with the smart technology available in today's systems, these added services can create much faster response times and keep the homeowner instantly aware when a problem is happening no matter where they are at the time. This is especially helpful for those who live in hurricane or tornado areas. Stay a step ahead by being prepared with your own security.

Home Hazard Detection

Besides burglars and fires, modern security systems also provide options for detecting hazards such as carbon-monoxide leaks, furnace malfunctions, or other dangerous household hazards. The homeowner is alerted if any of these dangers occur, and action can be taken immediately to save lives and property from disaster.

Smart Disturbance Detection

In the past, false alarms were common whenever a disturbance occurred near an outside door or window. A thunderstorm, a swaying tree branch, or a wandering crow was enough to set off a false alarm. Some of today's advanced security systems use audio sampling technology in combination with vibration detection to better determine the cause of a disturbance and avoid false alarms.

The advances in home security that exist today may have seemed like science fiction just 10 years ago. The ability to not only receive alerts when there is trouble, but to control various systems of the home remotely from work or while on vacation may seem like something from a futuristic movie. Amazingly, it's not; and it's all real and available today.

October Update from Google Analytics

This month’s Google Analytics updates include a wrap-up of the 2013 Google Analytics Summit, improvements to Mobile App Analytics, a new API, and announcement of ISO 27001 certification. Access Analytics »
New Products and Features Announced at the Annual Google Analytics Summit
Every year, Google Analytics Certified Partners and Premium customers descend upon Mountain View for our annual summit. Google Analytics team members and Google thought leaders share a glimpse into the future of Analytics and our users and partners have the opportunity to network and share ideas. The 2013 theme of the Summit was Access, Empower, Act and several key new features were announced. Learn More.
See The Full Picture Of Your Users in Google Play Using Mobile App Analytics
We recently re-imagined in-app analytics from the ground up, speaking the language that matters to app developers and marketers. As a follow-up from this week’s Summit, today we’re excited to announce that the integration between Google Analytics and Google Play, previewed at I/O 2013, is now available to all users. Learn More.
New Google Analytics APIs for Large Companies
We're thrilled to announce a new set of APIs that will make it even easier for large companies to manage multiple websites. These APIs will streamline the Google Analytics setup process, allowing IT teams to programmatically manage and configure Google Analytics, so teams can focus their efforts on analysis and gaining insights.Learn More.
Google Analytics earns ISO 27001 certification
We’re pleased to announce that Google Analytics and Google Analytics Premium have earned the independent security standard ISO 27001 certification. As one of the world’s most widely recognized standards, ISO 27001 certifies the compliance of the systems serving Google Analytics and Google Analytics Premium. Learn more.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Co-citation and co-occurrence as related to SEO

Where your backlinks come from is important, as is the anchor text that is on the link itself. The environment from which your link comes will also have an effect on how powerful the backlink is when it comes to your website rankings. Here is an explanation of how co-occurrence and co-citation work to help your SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

The anchor text of your backlink

This is the text that goes over the backlink when it is pointed at your site. Old anchor texts used to say “Click here”, but more optimized anchor text is going to say something such as, “Find pet samples here.” The anchor text does play a part in your SEO. Google uses it to figure out what your website is about, which is why it is a good idea to have one of your stronger keywords appear in the backlink anchor text.

Your website about pets would benefit more from a backlink that contained the words “pet” or “dog”, etc. But, the link would be even better if it came from a website article about pets. The backlink would be even better if the website were older, well maintained, well attended, and mostly about pets. These are just a few of the environmental factors that affect a backlinks power.

But, your keyword environment is able to affect your backlink power, without much help from the anchor text. That is where co-occurrence comes in.

All about co-occurrence

Let’s say that your backlink has anchor text that points to your pet’s website. The anchor text does not have very helpful anchor text such as, “Find the best ones here.” That is not very descriptive on its own, but in the context of the web page it is in, it may make a lot of sense. The anchor text may also be missing a strong keyword, which would be something such as “pet” or “animals.”

But, even though the anchor text is not helping with regards to keywords, your backlink may still be associated with a strong keyword. If the page that it links from is all about one of your strong keywords, then Google may associated the link with that keyword, even if the same keyword is absent from the backlink.

Here is an example: The backlink points to a PC gaming website. The article it links from is all about World of Warcraft and tips on how to level up quickly. The PC gaming website has tips, walkthroughs and cheats, but the backlink anchor text simply says, “Dungeon maps” on the anchor text. In this case, Google may associated PC gaming with the World of Warcraft game and article. This means that even though the backlink does not contain the words “cheats” or “tips”, Google may still associate that link with cheats and tips.

Check the important places for keyword ideas

If you want to know if keyword co-occurrence is possible, then look at where the backlink comes from. Look at the title, URL, words in bold, subtitle, etc, and look to see if any of your web page keywords are present. If they are, then that page has been optimized for those/that keyword. If your web page is also optimized for those/that keyword, then your backlink with the useless anchor text may still be worth something to your SEO.

All about co-citation

This is the idea that if one web page links to a number of similar pages, then the links are grouped as having one theme. It is hard to explain, and is not an exact science. The idea exists in order to lessen the effect of link spam.

Think about it like this: when you look at a Wikipedia page it is often about one idea, thing, event or concept. At the bottom you will find a bunch of references and links to those references. If you were a search engine then you would guess that all the links in the reference section have something to do with the page topic. That is what co-citation is all about. If your link was within those reference links, then Google would assume that your web page is similar in theme to all the other links in that reference section.

Stopping spammy sites

Co-citation is not an exact science because it would cause a mess if it were. If you were writing an essay, you would reference as you go. But, one reference in one paragraph may have a drastically different theme to the reference in the next paragraph. If Google associated all links on a page with your essay on it, then it would turn into an indexing nightmare.

If a web page has a page full of links that are not really related, then the co-citation rule would make each backlink less powerful. If the web page was full of links that were related, then the links would become a little more powerful (albeit tarred with the same brush).

Kate Funk is working as a freelance writer at where everybody can control and coordinate content writing process, from choosing your own writer to accepting or rejecting the final work result.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Top 5 Most Successful Social Media Campaigns and Why They Worked

Say goodbye to billboards and phone ads. The internet age has officially arrived, and with it, companies are turning more and more to social media to increase their presence and expand their reach to customers. Here are five of the most successful social media campaigns and why they worked.

5: Lays

Chip eaters across the globe were afforded the opportunity of a lifetime when Lays offered a million dollar prize for new and unique flavor suggestions. Not only did they receive valuable customer feedback and all but guarantee the success of a new, popular-voted product, but their brand was all over social media as the public fought and campaigned for their favorites. Who doesn't want a million dollars?

4: Oreo

In 2012, Oreo decided to express their support for LGBT rights by posting an image of a six-layer Oreo cookie decorated like a rainbow flag. The response was swift but polarized. While some applauded their stance, others decried their morals and suggested boycotts of all Oreo products. Despite the controversy, however, Oreo's sales didn't flag a bit, and they also enjoyed more than 23,000 comments on their Facebook page in less than 24 hours. That number almost tripled by the end of the year. Scandals sell.

3: Heineken

When trying to expand your online presence, it's easy to use social media tools like GroSocial. That said, it's even easier to just blow up some balloons. The Brazilian arm of Heineken decided to blow up a single green balloon for every "like" they received on their Facebook page. Their followers couldn't resist, and this simple, funny stunt wound up attracting enough attention that Heineken had to call off the campaign because their offices were filled to the brim with green!

2: Heinz

Heinz decided to take a direct approach with their customers when they created a fun Facebook quiz for the masses. Not only did they offer prizes and goody bags for participation, but they also created an app that made the entire experience easy to download and share, with additional incentives for every friend-of-a-friend referral. In the end, their Facebook fanbase welcomed more than 10 million visitors and 30,000 new followers, and all it took was a willingness to reach out and have fun with the people who bought their products.

1: Red Bull

Trying to stand out from the crowd, Red Bull sponsored an ambitious skydiving project in 2012. They followed the efforts of Felix Baumgartner, a professional daredevil who jumped from 24 miles above the Earth's atmosphere and became the first man to break the sound barrier without the help of helicopters or spacecraft. Red Bull's exposure through this move was immense: Their name ricocheted through social media as awed spectators tweeted, tumblred and blogged about it, and their Youtube chronicles of the event were watched by more than eight million people. Everyone from NASA to CNN had an opinion on the jump, and the Red Bull brand was all over it. Sometimes you have to take a big risk to enjoy a big reward.

These are just a few of the ways social media has benefited companies smart enough to utilize it. Whether you're an established brand or an up-and-coming business, make sure you don't underestimate the power of an online presence

Monday, October 14, 2013

SEO Principles: 5 Enduring Strategies For Small Businesses

If your SEO efforts have thus far been less than fruitful, you may want to reconsider your current strategies. With search engines making frequent changes to their algorithms, it can be difficult to maintain rankings using “trendy” or fleeting strategies. Replacing these techniques with enduring and long-lasting strategies will help your business find success.

Seek Out Local Citations

Citations play a key role in local search rankings. What does this mean for your business? Essentially, local search results provide you with an opportunity to rank for challenging keywords, such as “pizza.” With local results becoming more prominent in the search results, it is vital for small businesses to seek out local SEO opportunities. This consists of listings or directories that include your business name, phone number and address. It is also important to ensure that your citations include the correct information.

Create a Google+ Local Page

Any local SEO company will tell you that creating a Google+ page for your business should be an essential part of your SEO campaign. Google’s local search results include links to the company’s Google+ Page as well as any Google reviews customers have left. In fact, Google has implemented a new bar at the top of the search results page that displays local relevant businesses according to their Google Reviews ratings. In other words, the higher your company’s ratings are, the higher it will rank. Creating a page for your business is crucial and is something that will provide your company with benefits for years to come.

Invest in Quality Content

What is a website without content? Even a small business needs to ensure that their website is providing some kind of value to their visitors. The only way to accomplish this goal is to invest in quality content. From your company’s mission statement to the posts in your blog, you need to ensure that you are providing your visitors with information that answers their questions or piques their interest. Regardless of any updates search engines make to their algorithms, quality content will always be valued and given more weight.

Take Advantage of Social Media

There is evidence that social media signals play a role in search engine rankings. Ensure that you have created accounts on the most popular social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+. In addition to providing you with SEO benefits, these websites will also offer you with a chance to interact with your customers or potential customers. In turn, your followers will be more likely to spread the word about your company or share your best content.

Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews

Reviews are an integral part of local search results. When customers have a positive experience with your company, encourage them to leave a review of your business. There are many prominent review sites around the web, and each one can play a role in the ranking of your website in the search results.

With the vast majority of web users relying on search engines to find businesses and information, using SEO to improve your company’s rankings will play an integral role in the success of your business. Implementing strategies that will withstand the test of time will ensure that your company not only achieves high rankings, but maintains them as well. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Microsoft Surface Pro 2 - Tablet with Laptop Specs

I couldn't help myself when I saw the Surface 2 Pro had a full copy of Windows 8 and a processor that supports laptop applications.

The ARM architecture-based Nvidia Tegra 4 with Windows 8.1 RT on the cheaper Surface 2 provides a longer battery life, but there’s a lack of support for the classic x86 Windows programs, so you’re limited to Metro-style tablet-centric apps. In addition, the device runs slower than the Surface Pro 2 with the full-blown laptop-use x86 architecture-based i5-4200U CPU and full x86 Windows 8.1 Pro Edition.

However - really stupid is the software that doesn't come with the Surface PRO 2. That annoys me.

On the software side, the Surface 2 Pro is indeed better because of the aforementioned more robust Windows applications support as well as better compatibility with enterprise environments, but Microsoft tries to justify that advantage over the Surface 2 by including a free Office suite on the former. Out of the box, you get free of charge a copy of touch-optimized Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 RT including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook apps.

The price is definitely steep. I don't think I can justify a grand for one of these bad boys.

Technical Specifications

Surface Pro 2

Starts at $899.00

Surface 2

Starts at $449.00


Windows 8.1 Pro
Windows RT 8.1, Microsoft Office 2013 RT3


Dimensions: 10.81 x 6.81 x 0.53 in
Weight: 2 lbs
Casing: VaporMg
Color: Dark Titanium
Physical buttons: Volume, Power
Dimensions: 10.81 x 6.79 x 0.35 in
Weight: 1.49 lbs
Casing: VaporMg
Color: Magnesium
Physical buttons: Volume, Power

Storage & Memory

64/128 GB    256/512 GB4
4 GB RAM      8 GB RAM
32 GB or 64 GB4


Screen: 10.6 inch ClearType Full HD Display
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (widescreen)
Touch: 10-point multi-touch
Durable display
Screen: 10.6 in
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (widescreen)
Touch: 5-point multi-touch
Durable display

CPU & Wireless

4th generation Intel Core i5 Processor
TPM Chip for enterprise security
Wireless: Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy technology
NVIDIA Tegra 4
Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
Bluetooth 4.0 technology

Battery Life

7-15 days idle life
Charges in 2-4 hours with included power supply
Up to 10 hours6
7-15 days idle life
Charges in 2-4 hours with included power supply

Cameras, Video & Audio

Two 720p HD cameras, front and rear-facing
Stereo speakers
Two video cameras on front and back
3.5 megapixel front-facing camera
5.0 megapixel rear-facing camera
Two microphones
Stereo speakers


Full-size USB 3.0
microSDXC card reader
Headset jack
Mini DisplayPort
Cover port
Full-size USB 3.0
microSD card reader
Headset jack
HD video out port
Cover port


Ambient light sensor
Ambient light sensor


1-year limited hardware warranty
1-year limited hardware warranty

Surface Pen

Not included