Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Media Promotional Opportunities

Local businesses face the task of finding creative ways to connect with their local clientele. Fortunately, local Web marketing can offer a variety of solutions to reach your audience. In the November issue of Website magazine, for instance, Allison Howen discusses the three tiers of local web marketing.

According to a recent study by strategy and communications agency Cone Inc., 85% of consumers research online before purchasing services or products so it makes sense to utiize local search-based advertising, such as Google Places and, both of which
offer free services and increase both online visibility and foot traffic into a brick and mortar store. This is the first tier she covers in her article.

For those with a budget, tier 1 also includes Google Adwords Express, a locally targeted advertising program designed specifically to increase exposure to local businesses. Other directory-based advertising platforms, such as superMedia and, also offer cost effective ways for small businesses to be noticed by their local prospects.

Daily deal promotions are the second tier in Allison’s article. Groupon and Living Social are primary examples of deal promotion platforms. These sites have grown in popularity and are particularly trendy during these times of economic difficulty. The article warns, however, of numerous reports of local businesses collapsing under the overwhelming demands that can go along with a successful Groupon promotion. If you are willing to assume the risk, and are able to convert one-time visitors into steady or long-term customers, daily deal vendors should be a part of your web marketing mix. Website magazine lists popular daily deal vendors online at

The third tier includes social media advertising such as a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a LinkedIn group. For example, creating an advertisement on Facebook is straight-forward and relatively inexpensive and can reach targeted audiences (age, interest or location) with little effort. Twitter is still evolving its advertising options, but currently, with a minimum budget of $5,000 a month, it is not a viable option for a small business.

There are many ways for local business to capitalize on the Web. Local Marketing Source provides useful information and lists 10 Tips to Market a Local Business Online. While the traditional marketing tools still have value in a local market, businesses will need to rely more on Web platforms to stay connected in the current market.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In a remarkably short period of time, we have all become familiar with the words, “There’s an app for that.” But when it comes to building apps for our businesses, it can be difficult to know which kind of app will best suit your needs.

Diane Buzzeo, CEO and founder of Ability Commerce, discusses in the November issue of Website magazine, three parameters to consider when reviewing an app platform to deliver your message to the largest number of consumers. These considerations are accessibility, performance/features, and cost/profitability. The results of this analysis will help you determine whether to create a native or web-based app.

Native apps are those written specifically for the mobile platform, i.e. iPhone, Android or Blackberry. Some are still being written for Windows Mobile, but we’re not sure how long that will last. Web apps are made to run from the web on any platform using a web browser.

In regard to accessibility, live native apps are a much more functional tools, however, the user has to download each individually, and with three popular mobile operating systems, companies need to commission three different versions of the same app to grasp the largest available audience.

Web apps are more accessible, but at the cost of performance standards. This may be improving with new technology that will work with future devices to eliminate the need to continually update its mobile app for the three major mobile operating systems. The move to HTML 5 may also impact these apps in the future.

When determining performance/functionality needs, a native app is a much more suitable choice for complex or graphics-heavy content, but consider web apps a better choice for broad accessibility and searchability. Web technology may soon close the gap with native apps performance by offering video and animation features through the typical Web browser.

Cost is always a concern with any marketing tool and native apps are a larger investment. They are sold through a centralized location, such as the Apple Store or the Android Marketplace. The drawback to these markets is that they maintain ultimate control over the distribution of your content. Because Web apps are directly accessible via the Web, there is no need to download from a central location.

For a great list of comparative benefits to these two types of apps, visit Jason D. O’Grady’s blog on zdNet.

Although native apps seem to have the current market, it will be interesting to see what the new technology will make happen in the future of web apps.