Link building tactics – What lessons can we learn from Interflora?

As you may already be aware the large UK Florist Interflora have been hit by a Google penalty, wiping out the search positions. Interflora have done a great job to cover the gaps left from the drop in organic search traffic, although it may never become clear how much impact the drop had. So what lessons can we learn from Interflora, how have they maintained their success despite the drop and why did they get the penalty in the first place?

Why Did Interflora Get The Penalty In The First Place?

Although it has not 100% been confirmed yet, it is believed that the penalty has been as a result of paying for links. Interflora have tried to get around the penalty by awarding people gifts offline when they blog about their products. Google do state that this is against their advertising policy and are fairly hot on things like this. Google pride themselves on delivering quality search results and although some results are questionable at times, they do have a web spam team dedicated to fighting low quality sites that rank high due to using unnatural techniques.

The reason that the alarm bells started ringing after Interflora had been hit was when bloggers started to tweet that they had been told to remove any links they have pointing to the Interflora site.

Dont Try to Cheat the System

Unfortunately, no matter how much you try you will not out smart Google. The Google Algorithm is constantly changing but the fundamental rules are there to be seen in black and white, you cannot pay for links. The act of giving gifts off line is just the same as paying someone in cash to link to your site.
The only way you can get quality links is by offering a good service and by creating quality content.

What Other Areas Of Marketing Should You Consider?

You may want to consider looking at other areas of marketing. One of the reasons why Interflora did not worry too much about the drop in organic positions is because they had already established their brand using offline material such as print material. Businesses like Interflora that offer gifts that are bought annually rely a lot of repeat customers. Having already got a postal address from the customer and with the person already being the customer you will expect a repeat purchase. This works well in industries such as travel insurance which is a very competitive market.

One area that Interflora do well is social media, this is another area that works well especially as people trust companies their friends have bought from before. Google are trying to get into the social media market with Google+ although at the moment their is not enough users to be essential. Promotional Products and Bags

A great way to market your business is for other people to do it for you. By producing promotional products such as promotional bags customers will put your brand in-front of people that are outside your business.

Article By Daisy Burgess – Professional blogger for offline marketing companies including Bag Store


How To Impress At Industry Trade Shows

Most industries have some form or another of trade industry show and for many this may be their main outing into the wider customer sphere annually. Obviously, this means that impressing and informing is the order of the day – it’s the perfect way to get leads after all.

It may sound simpler than it seems, but it is in fact very easy and there are a number of ways to ensure that you can get that attention, inform those customers and nail those leads.

Planning

The centre of all winning formulas is planning. One of the problems with trade shows is that people tend to see them as a yearly chore. You show up, you stand there for a few days and then go home. However, they provide so much opportunity if you can really impress. Everyone is vying for attention and to get your fair share or more you will need to stand out. Planning is the perfect way to do so. Get your staff together a few months before and brainstorm on the ways you can impress and stand out at the show. You can then delegate and get ready for the event.

Prepare

A little bit of marketing do no harm and informing your current customers and leads that you will be at the show via online newsletters, your website and emails is a good idea. You can also use offline media such as banners to announce your appearance. One of the best ideas is to send out cards or tokens to potential customers offering a free gift if they come to your stall – a great way to engage them.

The Booth

Of course, when they arrive you want to be cock of the walk and this means your booth should flex your marketing muscles. This is where great marketing and advertising comes into play and you require a quality print company to create those roller banners, pavement signs and wide format posters. These are the things that will help you to stand out and you should ask the company for tips on what works and doesn’t.

Your booth should be easily accessible and there should be nothing to obstruct users coming in and around for a look. Essentially, you want to create a rich user experience that gives the people the best impression.  This should also mean staff is looking their best. Smart casual is best as it is most approachable. Also, be sure they are rearing to go and full of energy; this is the sort of atmosphere that makes conversions.

Samples and Promotional Items

Make sure that you have both samples of your product and catalogues for your potential leads, as well as promo items – people love free stuff. These can be anything from pens to note pads and are the little things that encourage people to recollect you.

Gather Information

Try and gather and take in as much information as possible, this can be anything, from writing down the topic of light conversation on the back of their business card when you go, to foot counts and conversions. You can then follow this up with a thank you email for those that came to your booth during the show and if they seemed keen make sure to provide a follow up call in the next day or two.

Follow these tips and your show should be all the more successful and your business will benefit from it too.

Cormac Reynolds writes for www.discountbannerprinting.co.uk and has written on numerous marketing topics across the web


How to Painlessly Negotiate Cheaper Broadband Prices

If you’re paying more than you’d like to pay for your broadband service, you may be able to negotiate a cheaper deal if there’s at least one competitor in town. It doesn’t even take great negotiating skills or a long list of justifications, just a few easy steps that will result in almost sure fire lower prices.

Ideally, you have two major ISPs who tend to fight over customers in your area (often sending flyers is an indication), as this means both will be willing to discount the cost of your broadband internet. Here’s a step-by-step process for negotiating cheaper broadband prices.

1. Gather information about your current rates

Find your last three bills and take a close look at them. Know what you’re paying for the plan itself and what your fees are. For instance, you might pay $80/month altogether, of which $65/month is for your broadband internet not including fees and router rental cost. When they tell you they can cut it down to $60/month, you can ask whether this is the broadband cost with or without fees to know if you’ll be paying $75 or $60 per month.

2. Consider bundling services

You might get a discount by simply bundling broadband services with other services like home phone or TV, if you aren’t already, to save money on all of them. It can mean being locked into a particular feature set, however. Look up information on your ISP’s website and the competitor’s website about the available bundles and promotions.

3. Have an idea of how much you want to pay

If you settle for anything they give you, you might not save much. Have an idea of what a great price for your broadband internet service would be and what you’re willing to accept. If you know what you’re aiming for, even a moment of silence and uncertain sound as you consider an offer the representative just made can do wonders. You should also keep in mind what services or add-ons you’re willing to give up in exchange for a lower price.

4. Call the competition and ask for a better price

Now that you know how much you’re paying for your broadband, call your ISP’s main competitor and ask for a better price than you’re paying right now. Be sure to give them the price without fees and taxes included and tell them that this is the base price. Listen to their offer and decide if it sounds reasonable according to what you’re looking for, and ask if it’s a promo rate or permanent.

5. Sign up for the new service or let them know you’ll get back to them

The most effective way to get your current ISP to pay attention is to actually sign up for the competitor’s service. You may even want to go ahead with the switch! If you really don’t want to go with the competitor, let them know you’ll call them back. You can be sure they will keep a note on your file – probably attached to your current phone number – with the price they offered you, so keep a note for yourself, too.

6. Call your current ISP and see if you can get a better price

You may have to call to cancel your service with this internet provider; if so, this is the perfect opportunity. You will likely speak to a representative who asks you why you’re leaving. Tell them the offer you received from another company (you can mention the name or not, it’s up to you). They will probably try to beat it, and it’s up to you whether you want to accept this new price from your current ISP or actually switch to the other provider.

Negotiating by calling a competitor is a very easy way to save money on your broadband internet, and you don’t even have to be pushy or know how to negotiate! By simply considering other options and asking for a better price based on what they offered, you can often get a significant discount on your monthly broadband bill.

Attached Images:

Laura was disappointed with her broadband service so spent time calling over providers in her area.  She soon switched to a cheaper and better provider.


Theories on Colour to Design Good Labels

Did you ever notice that a clear blue sky can do wonders for your mood? Or that a meeting in a white room can make you fall asleep? If so, you have seen just how much colours can affect our emotions. There is a study of this type of effects, and it is known as colour psychology. This is becoming much more recognized as far as how much colour can affect how consumers make purchases.

When you are thinking about your product and label designs, you should definitely consider color psychology. The label for your product is one of the key parts of your marketing, so the colours that you select for it can either make or break your monthly sales.

Below is a partial list of colours and what sort of emotional responses typically are associated with each colour. You should think about what sort of emotion you want to stir in the heart of your consumer. What sorts of colours are related to these emotions? Are you incorporating the correct colours into your labels and marketing materials. If not, you will want to consider working closely with your printing company and overhauling the colours of your labels ad product packaging.

  • White: Relaxed, secure, complacent, light.
  • Pink: Tranquil, relaxed.
  • Green: Peace, happy, relaxed, less stressful.
  • Light blue: Comfort.
  • Blue: Creative, happy, safety
  • Red: Energy, warmth, danger, failure, mistakes. Can actually increase the heart rate.
  • Bright yellow: Danger, irritability
  • Orange: Hunger, vitality
  • Brown: Passivity, security, depression

Next, you will need to think about the colour of the text that you want to put on the label, and the colour of the label itself. If you choose poorly on the colour of the text, you really can hurt your marketing efforts. So you are going to want to think about this very carefully. The vital key to pairing the colour of your text and the background label colour is contrast. You need to have a good deal of contrast between the two. The more contrast there is, the more the text will be able to be read. The higher contrast also will limit the strain on the consumer’s eye. One of the most reliable ways to make this choice is to select a dark colour for the label, and a light color for the text. Generally, black on yellow is the most readable, followed by black on white, and yellow on black. The least readable is white on red.

Keep in mind that selecting the colours for your labels does not have to be difficult. There are many places you can go online that can help you to select the right colours. When you come up with your labels, there will probably be a base colour that you want to have. It could be the colour of your logo, or perhaps a colour that matches with the products that you are marketing.

If you put in enough thought about your label colour and your text, you should be able to come up with some excellent options.

Lawrence Reaves has an extensive background in business and is a contributing author for MaverickLabel.com, a custom printing company offering labels, custom printed ribbons, stickers of all sorts and warning labels.  Go here to see how they can change the look of your business printing.


How Smartphones Are Making Smart Shoppers

According to a new survey by Deloitte, more shoppers will supplement their 2012 holiday shopping with smartphones than ever before. Although a general increase in smartphone ownership accentuated the increase, the biggest reason for the increase is based in the large number of websites that have incorporated their marketing strategies for a smartphone-based audience. 

The figures are in! 

  • 58 percent of customers use their smart phones to compare prices with other stores once inside.
  • 62 percent of people who own smartphones use their Bluetooth technology to locate the nearest store or the store with the best prices.
  • Half of smartphone owners use the internet to check product information
  • 42 percent check the availability of products
  • 45 percent shop online 

Online Sales As Back Up

The trends in smartphone use extend far beyond the figures listed above. Target, for example, has fastened QR codes to the shelves. This means that when an item sells out, customers brandishing smartphones need only point and tap, and the ecommerce software will take them to a secure site where they can order the item online. Panicking shoppers will find relief when they realize the promised remote-controlled car or videogame has been shopped to in-store extinction. 

Social Dining

The food industry has also made moves to cash in on smartphone users. Social dining is in. Sites such as The Connected Table and Screened Dining allow users to decide between the rowdy, full house burger spot with the big line or the vacant sandwich shop that plays all the new techno songs, depending on their social mood, and whether or not they have a report to complete. Not to mention some of these apps incorporate ecommerce software and time your orders, so you can walk to the front of the line, flash your smartphone code, and get down to what you came there to do – eat. 
Grocery Shopping Online

More food for thought: 49 percent of people who own smartphones use them for grocery shopping. If the place down the street has a better deal on this frozen bag of T.G.I.’s shrimp scampi, then it might be time to dump the cart and shift your go-to grocer. Customer loyalty is a thing of the past. The future: Shot and Stop and grocery store shopping apps.

Marketing Smarts

Marketers, listen up. Smartphones have vaulted onto the shopping industry and their use will only continue to increase as we delve further into the millennium.  Put your coupons online, offer deals and discounts to those who sign up to your website, and send e-newsletters with special offers with links to your ecommerce software service. And make sure that your website has been incorporated for those who connect with smartphones. For more ideas on what you can do for marketing strategies, read these fancy bullet points: 

  • Online retailers often offer better deals on items, but shipping is still a factor. According to the aforementioned survey, 71 percent of shoppers are more likely to buy from a retailer that offers free shipping.
  • 56 percent said that they would order from a retailer that offered free returns over one that didn’t, regardless of price. 
  • Shoppers who navigate multiple channels to research their products before buying usually plug twice as much money into the ecommerce software than they would hand to a cashier at a brick and mortar store.

Pella Guadalajara works as a night-shift analyst for online marketing companies, ecommerce software sites, and a myriad of blogs ranging from deep see exploration to Canadian botanists’’ planting methodology. He lives in Vancouver.