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Integrated marketing is a simple concept that is a challenge to implement, but it is one of the most important aspects of marketing a business of any size. Your first step is to develop your company’s mission statement and unique selling proposition (USP). From that, you develop your marketing plan.

It’s important, when establishing your overall marketing plan, to think about how each piece relates to the others.

For instance, you might have a great video marketing strategy, but how does that strategy work with your social media and e-mail marketing strategies? By making each piece work together toward a common goal, you can truly integrate your marketing so that you get more mileage out of every event.

There is no limit to how many different types of marketing you can incorporate into your integrated plan. If you can do it and you want to, you can integrate it. But you have to have someone available to manage the roll out.

There’s no sense running a paid advertising campaign, for instance, if you don’t have a qualified person available to manage your PPC accounts.

So assess your company for strengths, skills, and personnel assets, and take a look at your marketing budget. Is it feasible to do what you want to do? If not, where are the holes? Is there a way to fill them using outside resources? Take a full assessment before you begin your marketing plan and figure out how to integrate each piece before you develop it.

YouTube has announced that they’re going to audit views and crack down on view spam. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been marketing online with videos for any time.

As with any type of online marketing, it is very important that advertisers be able to trust the stats. It’s also important that other YouTube users be able to trust the metrics. If no one can trust the data, then the ultimate price to be paid is lower CTRs and lower advertising rates. That will cut into legitimate video marketing revenues.

But what constitutes a “legitimate” view on YouTube?

Here’s what’s not legitimate: Buying views.

We’ve seen it with paid advertising, with social media of all kinds, and now with video marketing. Eventually, some people are going to get the idea that they can buy short-term success which will translate into long-term profits. It rarely happens, but when it does, there is almost always a backlash and what is gained is quickly lost.

If you are considering buying YouTube views, don’t. You are much better building an audience slowly that will come to appreciate your videos and like and share them, maybe even comment on them.

Don’t get sucked into bad video marketing practices. Do it the right way.

Guest blogging has become the de factor link building technique for some people. It’s become so popular that Matt Cutts recently declared it dead – too spammy. The good news is, it’s not the only link building method there is. It never was.

To be really effective at link building, you have to get creative. That requires a little out-of-the-box thinking, but it also requires some level of understanding how the Internet works.

Here are three easy-to-identify but often underused link building methods don’t involve guest blogging.

  1. Webinars – With webinars, you can list all the information for your webinar on your website. If you promote it properly, you’ll get others linking to your webinars page. Beyond that, offer resources on your website that you promote through your webinars. Your webinar attendees will leave pumped up and link back to your resources page.
  2. Video marketing – You can do essentially the same thing with videos. Create a few outstanding videos, upload them to YouTube and other video sharing sites, and lead people back to your resources page. You can do the same thing with podcasting.
  3. E-books – Write and publish awesome e-books. Create an e-books page where people can download your latest. If these are truly valuable resources, they’ll draw links.

You don’t have to scour directories and go on a guest blogging spree to create great links. Just get a little creative.

Every now and then an idea comes along that seems hokie on the surface but actually turns into a big deal. Twitter comes to mind.

Flipagram promises to be to video as Twitter is to blogging. Call it microvideo production, but it could catch on.

The name makes you think instantly of Instagram. That’s understandable. It is integrated with Instagram. But it’s also integrated with Facebook and Twitter, which means that it could see a lot of users checking it out.

It’s actually a smartphone app – with downloads for iOS and Android.

The essence is Flipagram allows users to create short videos (15 to 30 seconds) using their own photos and music dubbed over them. One question that comes to mind is this, Can users use their own music? If so, then it could catch on with independent music artists, and the marketing value for small businesses will go up immediately, as well.

That’s not to say that you can’t use Flipagram for marketing if you are forced to use music from a pre-established library, but my guess is there will be commercial restrictions on copyrighted material.

I can’t wait to see how users put Flipagram to use and begin to share their videos across their social networks.

All Facebook says it won’t have the same marketing usability as Vine, but I do wonder. What do you think? Will Flipagram become useful to social media marketers?

It’s the end of the year, which means this is the time when online marketing professionals look at the year and see what they did well and what they could have done better before turning their eyes around and predicting the trends for the coming year. Since it’s the law, we’ve decided to get on the bandwagon and make our predictions for trends in 2014.

Only, we’re going to approach it a little differently. We’re going to list 5 trends that started in 2013 and that we see continuing into 2014 – maybe beyond.

  1. Mobile marketing – Mobile marketing has been on the rise. Two things are necessary for this. The first are responsive websites. By the end of 2014, if you don’t have one, then you’ll effectively be out of the mobile marketing game. Secondly, the growth of smartphone and tablet usage make mobile marketing an all-in effort.
  2. High quality content – Internet marketers should have been focused on this all along, but people tend to focus on whatever Google forces them to focus on. In 2014, that will be “high quality content.”
  3. Social media metrics – Social media is a channel that has finally come into its own. For many websites, social media traffic will eclipse search engine traffic.
  4. Apps development – Who doesn’t love a good app? Again, smartphones and tablets are driving this train. It’s only going to go faster – until it becomes a super train.
  5. Visual content – Images, videos, infographics, you name it. Content is becoming more visual. Don’t expect this to change.

These trends started in 2013, but they’re only going to become more pronounced in the coming year. What do you think?

Cynthia Boris starts off this article with a great question. It seems that 55% of the respondents to a survey said they would trade their laptop for a tablet. Among men, that number is 60%. Among women, it’s 50%. But I wonder what it will be 10 years from now, or 5?

Read down a little further and you’ll learn that 56% said they were more likely to respond to an ad on a tablet than on a PC. Are you ready to advertise now?

If you haven’t figured out yet that mobile advertising is going to be the big shift in the next 5-10 years, then perhaps this article will convince you. Tablet usage is on the rise, and I wouldn’t be surprised if tablets are the big seller this Christmas. I wonder how many people are going to get their first one?

For the final kicker, check out what Ms. Boris says at the end:

The important takeaway here is that a tablet isn’t just a mini-laptop. A flat banner ad isn’t going to cut it on a tablet. You need to think in terms of interactivity, of sound and movement. Whatever you can do (and afford) that gets a customer closer to experiencing your product, the better chance you’ll have of clinching the sale.

And to that I say, “Absolutely!”

If you’ll make your ads interactive, perhaps even including video, then you stand a much better chance of closing the sale. Now is the time to start thinking about marketing to tablet owners.

More and more, businesses are figuring out that telling a story is good marketing. This is evident when you read about these social media hoaxes that people easily fell for, including top social media website Mashable.

In two of the hoaxes, a popular TV show host was behind the event. Both Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel foisted hoaxes on unsuspecting Net citizens.

But I’d like to discuss two other hoaxes on the list:

  1. The Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax
  2. and the Kiss Cam Breakup hoax

In both of these cases, the story itself is what made the hoax go viral. Manti Te’o was a Notre Dame football star who now plays for the San Diego Chargers. Allegedly, his long long-time girlfriend died in a car accident last January, except that the girl reported to have died in the accident didn’t exist. It didn’t stop the American public from latching onto the story and gasping in awe.

The Kiss Cam Breakup is actually a bit funny. Two Grizzlies employees staged a stunt on the Kiss Cam at one of the Grizzlies baseball games. Supposedly, the man wouldn’t get off the phone and kiss his girlfriend for the Jumbotron so she dumped her drink on him.

Stories capture people’s imaginations. True or not, it’s a great way to get people’s attention for your brand. Just be sure that, if you try this, you do it in an ethical way.

Not all story marketing needs to be done by video, but video is a powerful medium, so knock your lights out.

Is your video marketing plan written out or does it consist mainly of you throwing paint against the wall?

This is not a question in a vacuum. It’s a question that deserves an answer. With all the video marketing options available to online marketers today, there’s no reason not to write out your plan and follow your plan as you implement it.

That doesn’t mean your plan won’t ever change. Businesses go through evolutions. That’s expected.

Think of it as like a business plan for your video production team. Your goal is to drive traffic and increase conversions through video distribution. Your plan should address, at a minimum, the following methods and strategies.

  • How often you will produce videos and what quality they will be (include your budget for production)
  • Where you will distribute your video
  • Will your videos be used on your own website?
  • How will you promote your videos?
  • What purpose will your videos serve for each marketing demographic you target?
  • How do your videos fit into your sales funnel cycle?

Video marketing is not a marketing strategy so much as it is a piece of your overall marketing portfolio. It should work together with other marketing efforts to drive traffic and engagement. If it isn’t doing that, it is likely ineffective.

You’ve got a great video marketing plan and have started working it to your advantage. Good for you. Does it include YouTube? It should, and to make the most of your YouTube video marketing, be sure to include these three easy-to-implement tactics.

  1. Enable video embedding – If you want your videos to get maximum exposure, you’ve got to allow embedding. I’ve seen a lot of businesses shoot themselves in the foot by disabling video embedding. Embedding allows bloggers and other business owners to showcase your videos on their websites, which gives you great exposure and opens you up to more potential customers.
  2. Keep your videos short – Few people want to watch an hour-long video, even on a topic that interests them. Keep your videos under three minutes, if possible. Shorter videos get more views, and they’re more likely to be embedded.
  3. Share your videos – Don’t just upload your video on YouTube and forget about them. Share them. Spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to give your videos maximum exposure all around. Yes, even Pinterest allows you to pin videos, so put it out there.

These three simple and easy-to-implement video marketing tactics will give you greater impact and exposure beyond the interface of YouTube.

What format your content takes is far less important than whether or not your content is worth consuming. You can create mediocre video content and it’s just mediocre video content, but if you produce great content, then it doesn’t matter if you make a video out of it, publish it as textual content, produce a podcast, or create something else out of it entirely. Great content is great content.

But what qualities does great content possess that separates it from everything else? That’s what I’m going to tell you right now.

Great content consists of these six necessary qualities:

  1. Fresh and original – Your content must be unique. It should also be relevant while appealing to the needs of people right now. Don’t serve up stale, overused content.
  2. Quality, not quantity – You can publish every day as long as you are able to publish high quality content that is fresh and original. Otherwise, don’t publish every day.
  3. Write great headlines – Headlines serve one purpose. They are to get readers to read your articles. If they don’t do that, then they aren’t great headlines.
  4. Brand yourself – Great content is best when it is identifiable as a brand. Put your signature on it.
  5. Be honest – Your audience expects nothing less. Don’t pull a bait and switch, and never try to cover up a mistake. Just be transparent. Be honest. If you do that, you’ll earn your audience’s trust.
  6. Get it out there – No matter how great your content is, if no one can find it, it won’t matter. Publish and promote. Get your content in front of people’s eyes.

If you want to be known as a publisher of great content, make sure every piece you publish (no matter the format) contains these six necessary qualities.

Online marketing allows you to make liberal use of images for your marketing efforts. In fact, it’s been proven that images can enhance your message dramatically and lead to greater lead generation results. Here are 5 ways you can use images to increase your online marketing efforts and make them more effective.

  1. Pinterest – You’ve likely heard of Pinterest by now. It’s the “visual” social media site. You pin images that your followers can like or re-pin. Using Pinterest makes your brand a very visual brand.
  2. Blog Image Optimization – When you write a blog post, include an image. Blog posts with images get read more often and are more shareable on social media.
  3. Facebook Page – Don’t just build a Facebook page. Make it visual. At the very least, add your website’s header to your Facebook page so your branding is consistent.
  4. Social Media Enhancement – Add images to your social media posts. Whether you are active on Facebook, Google+, or another social network, visual posts are more shareable, likeable, and readable.
  5. YouTube Marketing – Video marketing is one of the best visual online marketing tactics around. Just as images enhance your blog posts, videos add another dimension to your content marketing.

Don’t settle for a run-of-the-mill marketing plan. Make your online marketing more visual.

When it comes to video marketing, there aren’t many hard and fast rules. But there is one rule that you should always keep in mind. Before I tell you what that is, here are five principles you should strive for in your video marketing efforts.

  1. Optimize your videos and video channels – Video optimization is all about ensuring that your videos are found by the very people you want to find them. Video optimization means giving your videos the right titles, tags, and descriptions.
  2. Quality doesn’t mean HD with SurroundSound – Make sure your videos have a basic level quality to them, but they don’t have to be professional Hollywood grade. They just have to hold your audience’s attention.
  3. Make your videos engaging – Engage your audience with videos that inform and entertain.
  4. Increase your content – You don’t need to start a new video channel every time you get a bright idea. You can add more video content to the channel you already have.
  5. Give your videos a branding element – Branded videos don’t necessarily mean you add your logo to the beginning and end of your videos. You can brand them with the content, but do brand them.

All of these are important principles for video marketing, but the most important thing to keep in mind is consistency. Produce consistent high quality content that engages your audience and brands your company.

From PPC advertising to video marketing, and everything in between, you’ll need to monitor your analytics to see how effective your campaigns are working for you. Without measuring your efforts you don’t know what to change.

So, what if you do watch your metrics and you notice that you are getting a lot of traffic from a particular geographic region. Does that matter?

Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn’t.

If you aren’t targeting that demographic area in your content or consciously striving to get business from that area, then you might ask why you are getting a lot of traffic from that area. There could be a number of reasons why you’d get traffic from a specific geographic area without consciously targeting that area.

For instance, maybe someone in that region has taken a liking to your content and shares it on a regular basis.

There could be other reasons why you are getting traffic from that region. Maybe you mention a certain area in your blog posts a lot and don’t realize it.

Your first step is to research the issue and see if you can determine why you are getting that geographic traffic. Secondly, ask if it is hurting. If not, find a way to capitalize on it. If it is hurting in some way (for instance, traffic from that region doesn’t convert or leads to a lower conversion rate), then your challenge is to find a way to turn that into a positive.

You can do the same thing with other demographic elements (age, gender, etc.). If it doesn’t hurt, find a way to capitalize on it.

E-mail marketing services provider Constant Contact conducted a survey of small businesses and asked them how running their businesses today is different than it was five years ago. There have been some interesting findings as a result of the survey.

For instance,

  • 59% say it’s harder running a business now
  • 84% use more online marketing tools
  • 51% say it’s important to be a locally-owned business vs. 42% five years ago
  • 98% use e-mail marketing today vs. 64% five years ago
  • 87% use social media marketing vs. 10% five years ago
  • 72% expect revenue increases in 2013, however, 56% do not expect to hire new employees in the next six months
  • 55% say the biggest impact on their business in five years will be the economy; 18% say mobile and search marketing technologies

These certainly are interesting findings. The fact that small business owners are turning to online marketing tools to grow their businesses today means a lot. In five years, I expect that 84% to grow to over 95%, possibly nearer to 99% or 100%. If you look at the e-mail marketing number (98% of small businesses today), that’s where I’d expect all Internet marketing numbers to be in five years. I wouldn’t be surprised to see video marketing and mobile marketing to be a bigger part of the survey by that time.

What are your thoughts?

If you publish your videos to YouTube, you should tie those videos to your Google Analytics account. Doing so will allow you to track important metrics for your videos and see what’s working and what’s not with regard to your video marketing efforts.

To add YouTube to your Google Analytics account, all you have to do is go to YouTube and click on My Channel in your profile settings area (HINT: Click the down arrow in the upper right corner near your avatar). Next, click on one of your videos. Under the video title you’ll see a small box labeled “Channel settings.” Click on that button. Scroll down to where you see “Google Analytics account ID.” There should be a text box next to that label. Copy and paste your Google Analytics account ID into that box and click the blue Save button.

Adding your YouTube videos to your Google Analytics account allows you to see how many visitors, unique visitors, and page views each of your videos gets on a regular basis. If you perform any marketing campaigns to drive traffic to your YouTube videos, that will be a very important metric for you.

Video marketing is getting better all the time. YouTube and Google Analytics are two reasons why.

Back in 2005, Yahoo! purchased Flickr, the world’s first major photo sharing website. Then, nothing happened. Many users thought they screwed it up. Well, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer is on a mission to ensure that Flickr is improved upon.

The company has announced that all Flickr users now have 1 terabyte of storage space.

That’s huge.

With that much storage space, you can upload one photo per hour for forty years and not use up your space. So has Flickr become a great place for uploading and sharing your photos again?

Maybe. The real test will be if users start using the site again. A lot of people left after Yahoo! purchased the site. But if you can upload that many photos for free, then I’d say it’s still a great place to store your photos for using on your website or blog.

But that’s not all. Yahoo! has also improved the look of Flickr, giving it some new features.

Your homepage is now a gateway to everything you care about, and all the photos Flickr has to offer. Our new Activity Feed combines your friends’ recent uploads with activity on your own photos, and all in a beautiful design that lets you share and interact right on the page.

You really should check it out. Flickr’s new look is awesome. And for video marketing, it’s just as awesome. You can now upload videos up to three minutes long.

If you’ve been waiting for live streaming to come to YouTube, then you can relax. If you have more than 1,000 subscribers to your YouTube channel, then you can engage in live streaming video right now.

This is an awesome opportunity for serious video marketers.

YouTube has been the forerunner in video sharing and video marketing since its inception in 2005. Now that it’s owned by Google, the opportunities for marketing are even better. It’s not just a video marketing platform. It’s a video storage and video sharing platform with huge, HUGE SEO benefits.

Your audience will surely value the live streaming experience. If you produce an informational segment in your niche at a specific time every day, week, or month, then live streaming is perfect.

The WebProNews article highlights some of the features of live streaming on your YouTube channel:

  1. Real-time transcoding in the cloud
  2. Multiple camera angles
  3. Closed captioning
  4. Support for multiple devices
  5. And much more

If you thought YouTube marketing was good before, it just got a lot better. Video marketing is a great way to introduce new clients to your products or engage with new leads. Live streaming video takes the benefits of video marketing and multiplies them.

There is a new art form, and a new marketing strategy, that involves using a variety of media to tell separate stories of the same characters or worlds. It’s called transmedia storytelling.

Transmedia storytelling is different than cross-media storytelling. With cross-media, you are telling the same story. With transmedia storytelling, you are telling separate stories of the same characters that run parallel. Many new entertainment brands are using transmedia storytelling by incorporating the following media to present worlds in different ways:

  • Blogs
  • Social media
  • Websites
  • Podcasts
  • E-books
  • Movies/film
  • Mobile apps
  • Theater
  • And more

The big question is how can businesses take the principles of transmedia storytelling and apply them to marketing and branding?

Like a lot of things, there’s not just one way to do it. But it takes some creativity and thinking outside of the box to pull it off.

For instance, why not create a character or mascot that represents your business? Then you can give that character a voice by choosing someone to play that character in a series of entertainment videos where your brand, product, market niche, or customer need is the central message.

Next, set up a Twitter account where you tweet in the voice of the character.

Make your mascot the central character in an e-book.

Blog in that character’s voice daily.

When you go about these ordinary marketing activities, be sure that you are adding value to your audience’s lives. Entertain them while you inform them. Make it fun.

We’ve talked about Google+ Hangouts before, and we’ve talked about YouTube marketing too. But did you know you can integrate these two features to make them both more powerful?

Google+ Hangouts is like Skype. You can host a web conference with up to 10 people (with Skype, it’s 25). However, Google+ Hangouts has some additional features that Skype can’t touch.

For instance, you can share documents with the other webinar participants in real time for free. You can share your computer screen and use Google Drive to share your documents. You can also click the “ON-AIR” button once your Google+ Hangout is underway and record your Hangout live. Let’s see you do that with Skype!

But it doesn’t stop there. You can easily share your Google+ Hangout with all your friends on YouTube. That makes your webinar available to your YouTube channel’s followers and the billions of YouTube users who search for videos on a daily basis.

Once your web conference on Google+ Hangouts is shared on YouTube, you can then share it on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other social media site you are a member of.

Google+ Hangouts is a free feature that is a part of Google+. It’s a powerful business tool for video marketing.

Marketing your brand through YouTube is one of the most powerful media for marketing on the Internet, but what is the true value? Is it traffic? Rankings? Brand reputation?

The truth is, most of the benefit you get from marketing your videos through YouTube is with brand management, not traffic or rankings.

The Truth About YouTube Traffic

In the FAQ section of this lengthy blog post, the author gives an example of a YouTube video marketer who showed over 400,000 views on their YouTube videos in December 2012 but received only 19 referrals to their website as a result of those videos.

If that doesn’t shock you, it should.

The amount of traffic you can expect from your YouTube videos is relatively low. Why? Because people don’t go to YouTube to find videos that promote websites. They go there to find a video to watch for entertainment or informational purposes.

YouTube And Search Rankings

If you upload videos to YouTube hoping to increase your website’s search engine rankings, you’ll be disappointed. You could see a rise in your brand’s search rankings, but it will likely be your YouTube channel – especially if you upload a lot of videos and if you share them on your social media accounts or embed them on your website.

Video embeds from YouTube help YouTube’s rankings, not the site on which videos are embedded.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you want more rankings for your brand name, YouTube could be a place for you to make that happen. Just know that you’ll be ranking your YouTube channel, not your website.

YouTube And Branding

Your best bet for using YouTube for marketing purposes is to upload videos that have a strong branding message to them. Try to make your videos informative and entertaining. If you can do both and still get your brand in front of your audience, then you’ll be golden. That’s what YouTube is all about.