Internet Marketing For Business – What Is Online Marketing? | Online Marketing

What is Online marketing? Online marketing, also known as internet marketing is quite simply the promotion of products or services over the internet. When a business implements online marketing strategies it has a positive ramification on leads and revenue.Online marketing is comprised of a number of components which can be used separately or in conjunction with one another. Whether you have a global or a local market in mind, internet marketing will allow you to attract more visitors to your website and help convert them into qualified leads and increased sales.What is online marketing best implemented with?Social Media Marketing – A consistent and engaged use of Social media networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and your company blog enables you to interact with a much wider audience than your current customer database. By building your brand and product awareness in this way there is the potential for your content to be shared virally and reach an unlimited number of potential customers.PPC – By using pay per click advertising you can finely tune the target customer market you want to attract.Lets say for example you only want your advert to be seen by people aged 25-35, who are engaged and live in San Diego: Facebook allows you to do that.However you can further define your market by selecting hobby or interests that are relevant. The best thing about Pay per Click is that you get exactly the results that you pay for.SEO – It makes no difference if you are looking at a local or global market, ensuring your website is well optimized for your keywords is extremely important if you want to ensure you are well placed in the search engine results. Good SEO in effect drives targeted traffic, customers who are actively searching for your product, directly to your website.List building / email marketing – With the use of opt in forms on your website or your current customer database, building a list of potential customers is an important long-term marketing strategies. Implementing a well thought out email marketing campaign is a fast way to generate leads and drive sales online.Implementing online marketing strategies for your business can be a quick and easy way to improve your companies online visibility and increase traffic to your website. Though it may seem a daunting process when you first start out, internet marketing help and courses can be found online.

Best Way To Invest In Gold

If you have been thinking of investing in gold, congratulations. Why? It shows you think long-term. The truth is that gold has always been a ‘safe refuge’ for investors during times of economic uncertainty. As awesome as global stock markets have been performing lately, the old saying of ‘what comes up must come down’ definitely applies not just to the physical and natural worlds but also to the finance world. Stocks often go through boom and bust cycles. Inflation is always lurking in the background threatening to reduce the value of your hard-earned cash. Governments are not immune from devaluation. These are the key risks investing in gold protects against. You would do well to diversify your investment portfolio by investing in gold. With that said, there are so many ways to invest in gold and precious metals, for that matter, out there. How do you pick the ‘best’ way to invest in gold.The problem with defining ‘the best’Let’s face it, ‘the best’ is a very subjective and slippery term. Maybe this is why salesmen love using the phrase ‘the best.’ Hearing ‘the best’ makes you feel good but chances are you’re just letting your impressions and assumptions regarding the meaning of this overused and abused phrase get the best of you. The sad reality is that what is ‘best’ for your might turn out to be a disaster for someone else. And vice-versa. Moreover, you can’t base your investment decision on what is ‘best’ for a salesperson trying to get you to invest in a particular gold investment option. The good news is that there is a powerful way to define what is ‘the best’ when it comes to your gold investment options: focus on your needs. That’s right-by focusing on what your particular investment needs are, your risk profile, the amount of time and management you’re willing to put into your gold investments, and other factors, you can come up with the best range of options when it comes to owning gold. Keep your needs in mind when examining the different gold investment options listed below.Direct ownership: Physical goldThere is a certain psychological benefit to being able to physically handle the gold you are investing in. Unlike stocks which give you a legal share in a corporation, when you buy direct physical gold, you get to handle the gold. You get to touch it. You get to see it. There is a psychological benefit to this. You simply and directly feel you own something valuable. So far so good, right? Well, the downside with owning gold directly is that you have to worry about robbers. If you think your gold bullion is valuable to you, it is doubly more valuable to people who want to rip it away from you. You have to invest in a home safe or pay to have your gold stored somewhere. Also, you have to get the proper insurance for your gold bullion investment. When it comes time to sell, you would need to pay assay fees so the company (most people usually sell to a company that buys and sells gold when they liquidate) can be sure that you’re selling real pure gold bullion. Keep these details in mind. They definitely add to your cost. Also, there is a psychological price to having physical gold in your home-you can lose sleep due to the risk of crime.Direct ownership: Gold coinsThe great thing about owning gold coins is that you get to play two investments in one. First, you’re obviously investing in the gold market. At the very least, your gold coins will be worth the price of the gold they contain. Gold prices can change dramatically and you can definitely play the gold market by buying gold coins. The second market you’re investing in when you buy gold coins is the collectible coin market. Gold coins get their value from two sources: the amount of gold they contain and the premium collectors pay for the coins. This is a serious consideration. Why? When you buy your gold coins, you actually pay the base gold value and a premium for the coin. This can be a serious headache when you try to unload your gold coin collection. You might end up losing money if the price of gold remains stable or the same and the collector premium of your coins don’t go up.Gold ETFInvesting in gold exchange traded funds is the safest way to invest in gold bullion. Imagine getting into physical gold without having to worry about burglars or paying all sorts of fees for the storage and insurance of your gold holdings. Exchange traded funds work like mutual funds. They are traded based on net asset value (NAV). Gold ETFs only have one asset and one asset alone: a fixed amount of gold bullion. You basically buy the Gold ETF and play it like a stock investment: buy low and sell high. The advantage to this way of owning gold is that it is very liquid. You can easily buy to get in and sell to get out. The biggest advantage to ETFs is that they make investing in gold very easy. The downside is that you don’t get to physically handle your gold investments. Another downside is that the price of the ETF is tied to the price of gold solely.Gold mining stocksOne of the most interesting ways to play the gold market is to invest in gold mining stocks. You get rid of the headaches of physical and ETF gold investments by investing in gold mining stocks. Your stock might go up higher than the appreciation of gold prices. Why? Your stock might enjoy a ‘market premium.’ This is the extra value placed by the market for hot stocks. With gold mining stocks you essentially get the benefits of playing in the gold and stock markets. The downside, just like with playing the stock market in general, is picking the right company to invest in.Thanks to ETFs and a robust stock market, getting into gold investing is easier now than ever. Keep the investment options’ pros and cons firmly in mind when planning your gold investment moves.

Search Engine and Social Media Marketing: Essentials for Business Owners to Know

Let’s assume for a moment that you own a business and want to go about getting people to find it online via search engines. And we’ll also assume that you want to promote awareness about your business via social media venues such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. It is all-too-easy to become immersed in the sea of acronyms and conflicting information related to search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Often, freelancers and self-proclaimed marketing “experts” even misuse the terms and take important concepts out of context. Add to it the fact that Google endlessly changes their algorithms that determine search engine rankings, and from one month to the next the applicability of the information changes. For the non-technical business owner whose goal it is to spend hard-earned money on a well-targeted campaign for online success, the whole mess of terminology and conflicting information can be exasperating– and perhaps even intimidating.Let’s put it all into relatively plain language that any beginner can grasp. If a word or two eludes you, don’t worry too much. You’ll get the overall concept. Once you have the basics down pat, you can “graduate” to learning more about each topic in more detail.Here we go:Search Engine Optimization, called “SEO”, is a preparatory process of making your website “optimized” for the search engines to properly index the content. When we optimize content for the web, there are some “rules of thumb” that we follow, and there are some absolutes that we follow as prescribed by Google’s own “best practices” standards which Google is kind enough to publicly make available to anyone who cares to do it right. Doing it right is affectionately referred to as “white” hat SEO. Doing it wrong or with the purpose of manipulation and/or exploitation is labeled as “black” hat SEO, much as white and black were colors of hats used in old western movies to represent “good guys” and “bad guys” respectively.PREPARING the site for proper indexing via proper SEO is the first step in effectively marketing the site. As recently as the year 2010, SEO and SEM were lumped together collectively under the term “SEO”, but since that time, the two disciplines have really come into their own respective realms of strategies, techniques, and methods. SEO is “passive” but essential to the marketing process. It’s very important that a website is optimized well, but not “OVER-optimized”, which is a term used to describe sites that are intended to manipulate search engine results.Periodically Google makes changes to the rules that website managers (webmasters and marketing people) are to follow. Minor changes are often unnamed, but major changes are typically named to call attention to them, and to categorically address the types of changes being made so web professionals can “talk the talk” and be on the same page with respect to what types of marketing efforts are affected. Some of the Google names for their algorithm changes, for example, are “Caffeine”, “Panda”, and “Penguin”. Cute as these names sound, they each encompass a set of rules and criteria that are affected by the change. For instance, the most recent Penguin 2.0 change will impact over-optimized sites in the search engine rankings.Optimization generally involves adjusting text and link characteristics of a website to include text position, keyword choices, site structure, page titles, keyword density, keyword dilution, and many additional considerations. That’s where the rules-of-thumb and absolutes come into play. Again, Google provides pretty clear guidance on what’s acceptable and what are considered no-no’s.SEM is Search Engine Marketing. It’s the active process of promoting a site on the search engines. If a site is marketed without first being optimized to some extent, then the site is being promoted without being properly prepared, sort of like broadcasting a TV commercial without editing it to clean it up.SEM comes in two basic flavors: subscribed and organic.Subscribed SEM includes things like pay-per-click, pay-per-impressions, pay-per-placement, etc. Sites that use paid links to promote the site will take a hit with Penguin 2.0 if the links are determined to be spammy links.Think of subscribed SEM as similar to term life insurance: you’re “covered” as long as you pay your premiums (assuming ethical link sources), but when you discontinue your monthly payments, your search engine presence from subscribed marketing sources simply goes away, just like a term policy lapses if you quit paying your premiums.Organic SEM, on the other hand, is achieved by creation of additional, independent web content such as blogs, articles, online press releases, videos, directory submissions, landing pages (not “doorway” pages), proper page mapping, and many more elements of unique, original content. Each of the organic marketing content must also be optimized prior to employing them for marketing purposes. You can see where this can become a time-involved process.Organic SEM is not a “busy work” effort to put a bunch of junk up on the web with keywords and links. It involves creating value-added content that is appealing and useful to people who do keyword searches for the topics you want your site to be found under, so there is dual relevance: Information for people, and keyword merit for search engines to sink their teeth into. The marketing content must be original, meaningful, and unique. The value of the organic SEM to your business is that there is a connection of links that point from one source to another, funneling traffic to your site and elevating your site’s rankings in search engines due to quality link merit as well as the resulting traffic component of the web content. Again, there are rules-of-thumb and some absolute “dos and don’ts” related to organic SEM. Think of organic SEM more like a whole-life insurance policy– There are costs to do the marketing, but over time the accumulation of the original, independent web content doesn’t go away, and the end result is often times PERMANENT (or relatively solid) staying power for your website and content-much like how in a whole life policy, the cash value eventually generates enough interest to cover the premiums.The up-side to subscribed SEM is that it’s relatively instantaneous, though typically more expensive. The down-side is that it is short-lived for the money you spend. It goes away as fast as it started.The up-side to organic SEM is that (if it is done properly) it is effective in producing long-term, residual results that drive a positive return on investment while saving money. The down-side is that it can take longer to get established depending on market saturation, industry type, geo-targeting, and several other factors.BIG caution here: The SEO/SEM and SMM fields are ridden by fraud and deception. Since it’s essentially advertising, there’s no ethical guarantee that a service provider can legitimately make for specific page placement or results. If you think about it, that makes sense. There are only 10 organic spots on Google’s page 1 for a given set of keywords. So assuming that there are more than 10 companies worldwide (as well as other content that relates to your industry) that do what you do, and assuming that at least 11 of them are also paying for marketing, how can an SEO/SEM provider “guarantee” page 1 results for a particular search term? In short, they can’t– Not ethically, at least. But that doesn’t stop many of the THOUSANDS of freelancers and SEO companies out there from making “empty promises in the dark”.Even subscribed marketing isn’t guaranteed. Someone else can potentially come along and be willing to pay more money for the spot you want. Regarding SEO and SEM, in a nutshell, it’s “buyer beware”. Everyone wants your money. Trust no one based on just their say-so. You need to be comfortable and confident in the relationship with the provider you choose, as well as the track record they’ve established with other clients. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. Don’t make the mistake that many business owners do and make an emotional “buy” decision based on a sales pitch full of promises. Talk is cheap. Make sure whoever you are considering is able to show you meaningful results from a portfolio of other clients. Lots of people read a book and can “talk the talk”. Remember: this is YOUR business and YOUR marketing dollars… so the provider you pick needs to prove themselves to earn YOUR confidence.Okay, end of sermon.On to Social Media Marketing:The old expression, “word of mouth is the best form of advertising”, has been a universal truth forever. People are much more inclined to buy based on the unsolicited or trusted advice of friends & family than they are from a paid ad intended to persuade or sway opinion. Our physical world has a parallel world online: banking, dating, shopping, etc. Think of Social Media Marketing (SMM) as word-of-mouth online. Developing an audience of fans, friends, and followers via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. allows you to build RELATIONSHIPS with clients. That means creating a following of people who become interested in the “stuff” you post as it relates to their culture and their interests. The problem comes with many social media marketing companies (or at least that’s what they label themselves as, since it’s a big money-maker) who try to use social media as a point-of-sale. If every post, every pin, and every tweet is some kind of spammy, self-promotional solicitation that pimps your business to folks, expect your social media efforts to fail miserably.Likewise, if you measure social media success simply by the number of “likes” and “follows” you get, you’re missing the mark completely. If you don’t know any better, the marketing company can pull the wool over your eyes pretty easily by citing the quantity of likes and follows as the determining metric for your success. The number of people who “like” you has zero correlation to dollar sales. Yes, it provides an indicator, but there is no direct conversion between a “like” and a dollar… period. And the number of likes, in itself, is as meaningless as the number of total hits your website gets. It’s the QUALITY of the hits that matters, not the QUANTITY.Unfortunately in society today, “Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll” sells these days. In terms of marketing and general search engine traffic, then, if a website owner puts out ads and content that promotes “free sex”, for example, the site linked to will undoubtedly get lots of hits. But there will be zero buyers if the site isn’t providing or selling what the seeker is looking to find. Some unscrupulous marketers can artificially generate large traffic to the site via such unethical means (though not quite so exaggerated as the example I use here for illustration purposes). Nonetheless, without looking at the analytics data such as bounce rate, time-on-site, time-on-page, keywords used, etc. the raw traffic score is meaningless on its own.We use other (different) metrics to evaluate SMM results as they pertain to ROI, but the analytics must be examined in a relevant context in order to make management decisions as to how to engage and employ ongoing SMM marketing efforts. Otherwise it’s just “busy work”. Right along those lines, many business owners just do “busy work” posting blogs and such themselves, thinking they’re doing something good for their marketing efforts (and trying to save a buck by not paying a qualified, experienced marketing person), but unless the content is optimized and strategically applied to their indexed web presence, it amounts largely just to wasted time.Another Big Caution here: There are a lot of freelancers who enjoy dabbling around with Facebook and Twitter, and they think that they can get away with charging businesses a lot money to make small-talk online via social media. Well… They CAN-because even though they don’t know how to apply social media within a business context, neither does the typical business owner who pays the bill. So is it fraud? Or is it simply ignorance on the part of the marketing freelancer? At the end of the day, the results are the same: the business owner is out a lot of money with no ROI. Just because someone is comfortable and well-versed with making posts and tweets via social media, it doesn’t make them qualified to do your social media marketing. If they’re a self-proclaimed “expert” who posts a lot but who can’t apply SMM to your SEM efforts, they you’re essentially paying them to enjoy their own hobby. They may have the best of intentions, and they may believe that by generating lots of “likes” and “followers” they’re achieving something, but unless it dovetails into your other marketing, they’re just spinning your wheels. Consider these points:
As a passenger on an airplane, recognizing a “good landing” doesn’t qualify you to be a pilot.
As a tax payer, recognizing that the government’s deficit spending is bad policy doesn’t make you a budget analyst.
As a Facebook user, creating a page and writing content that gets a lot of “likes” doesn’t make you a social media marketing expert.The last bullet point is true for many (if not most) of the solicitations from people who label themselves as consultants and offer to do your social media campaigns, too. They may feel that they are an expert based on getting “likes” and followers for their posts, so the thought may occur to them that they can make some money doing it for other people, and so they hang a shingle on their door to advertise themselves as social media marketers. But looking at one or two data points out of context does not qualify them to do the job any more than admiring a smooth landing makes them qualified to fly a plane– or even just land it. There’s so much more involved, just as there is with being successful online.With regards to promoting your business, most of the unqualified freelancers and consultants charge much less, so the temptation to spend your money with them is much greater. Everyone loves a bargain, right? But if the money you spend is thrown away without obtaining the anticipated results, how much of a bargain is it? It would be much better to spend more money that produces a solid, positive, and compounding return on investment. The old expression, “To make money you have to spend money” is around for a reason. Spend your money wisely. Ask a lot of questions of any provider you consider hiring. If they seem to stumble, can’t put things in context with your overall marketing, or just end up “talking in circles”, don’t even THINK about handing your business over to them. They’ll fail. You’ll fail.Again, Buyer Beware. Challenge your provider (tactfully, of course) to establish their credentials and credibility with you before you engage in a contract that might bind you for a year.As you can see, SEO, SEM, and SMM are all different components of your business’s effective online marketing strategy, but they’re all related and they’re all essential. Hopefully now the wording and concepts make sense, and you can pursue delving into finding a service provider who competently integrates the three in a concerted effort to add customers and sales to your financial future.

Dolls, Figurines and the Value of Role Play

What is it that girls’ dolls and boys’ figurines have in common? Admittedly they both have heads, arms and legs, and look vaguely but not entirely human. Girls’ dolls tend to be about a foot in height at least, whereas most boys’ figurines are around six inches tall. There doesn’t appear to be any particular reason for this height discrepancy apart from the physical requirements that girls’ dolls have, in that they tend to wee, whereas boys’ toys tend to carry guns, which can be made in miniature as they tend not to work, requiring the boy in question to supply the necessary sound effects and explosive consequences.The answer is that they both help children to develop their role playing experiences and opportunities, and as such, are a hugely valuable toy in developing children’s awareness of themselves as individuals and the makeup of the world around them. Children need to practice role play, and are doing so almost the whole time, whether you are aware of it or not. Their mimicry of you as an adult is a form of role play, their use of dolls or figurines to act out situations, conflicts, opportunities or groups is also a valuable role play exercise.It is often in opportunities such as these that children have the freedom to try out new ways of approaching situations, see things from the other person’s perspective and understand that the other person even has a perspective at all. Children, and adults, usually learn better by doing, rather than merely observing. Having said that, children are excellent observers. Once they observe a situation, whether in real life, on television or in a book, children take on board the ideas, the characters and the conflicts, and mull them over in their heads. They will quite happily dress up as their favorite characters and prance about with a colander on their head, a pair of shorts draped over their shoulders and a wooden spoon in their hand, bravely taking on the might of the linen bin monster who is lurking at the top of the stairs.But these games should not be dismissed as merely childish. To the child, everything is very much more real than we adults can appreciate, and children often learn valuable ideas in such situations as these – especially when they are playing in a group. Sets of figurines, in particular, lend themselves very well to group play, and if they are based on a particular television show or book, then all the better.It is when children play in a group at role play that people’s roles are discussed and defined, and the rules laid down. Whether this is as themselves as the characters, or with their dolls or figurines, they will have a firm understanding of their roles, and the rules, before the game begins. Teams are formed, strategies devised, conquests achieved and lessons learnt. They don’t realize it, of course, and the moment you congratulate them all on such a fine educational learning experience they’ll probably sell their dolls and figurines and take up macrame instead.