Advertise with the 2012 Long Island Travel Guide

Local hospitality services, retail stores, attractions or restaurants should look into advertising with the Long Island Convention & Visitors Bureau and Sports Commission’s (LICVB) 2012 Long Island Travel Guide. This annual publication, which will be released in February 2012, is a glossy, four-color publication that serves as the official guide to Long Island’s travel destinations and attractions. This publication attracts those visiting Long Island for vacations, getaway weekends, sporting events, destination weddings and more. Event planners and business executives also use this guide to plan leisure activities around their business events or conventions. The Long Island Travel Guide is divided into five sections: North Shore, South Shore, North Fork and South Fork, plus an island-wide overview of things to see and do on Long Island.

There will be 125,000 copies of this special issue distributed throughout the year to subscribers, trade shows, travel information centers, AAA offices, ferry terminals and more. Advertisements will run in the print and Web editions. This advertising opportunity is ideal for lodging facilities, attractions, retailers, restaurants, caterers and other organizations that are looking to target travelers and businesses.

If you are interested in placing an ad, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com.

Flash vs YouTube: What to Use When Embedding Videos Into Your Website

flash-vs-youtube

Recently, Adobe Systems abandoned its development of making Flash accessible on mobile devices. Since no Apple device uses Flash, Web developers are debating whether or not to use Flash at all when embedding videos into websites, blogs and Web pages. On top of the problems Flash creates in regards to optimizing a Web page, the concern of not being able to reach Apple users is huge. With millions of iPhones and iPads sold each year in the United States alone, your business could be missing out on a huge number of potential customers and clients by using Flash to build your website.

This article will explain the benefits and disadvantages of using Flash and other alternatives such as embedding YouTube videos or video objects.

YouTube — The advantage of choosing to embed YouTube videos on your website, rather than Flash videos, is that you can reach every user. No matter what Internet browser or mobile device you use to get onto the Web, YouTube videos are accessible. Bringing YouTube videos to your site can connect your website with the most popular online video community. YouTube offers free hosting for a large number of videos, multiple embed options and top-quality video and audio.

Incorporating YouTube videos into your website can also enhance your overall social media marketing strategy. By having a unique YouTube channel for your company, with videos that can be embedded on your website or blog, your business can tap into one of the most popular services available on the Web. This video sharing giant encourages visitor interaction by allowing viewers to “like,” favorite, share or comment on videos, giving businesses another outlet to interact with their audiences. You can also add friends through YouTube and users can subscribe to your channel. Subscribers will receive email updates each time you post a new video. You can embed a YouTube video into your website or blog by following the instructions here.

However, a disadvantage of using YouTube to embed your videos is that your videos will not be hosted on your server. Instead, you are relying on YouTube’s server. If YouTube is down or experiencing high traffic volume, it will delay the playback of video on your website or cause it not to load altogether. Your video will only load as fast as YouTube is able to load. Another disadvantage is that there are many companies that block their employees from using YouTube while at work. According to a report released by the International Business Times, YouTube is the third most blocked website at workplaces. Especially for B2B companies that are looking to reach other professionals, this can be a major downfall.

Video Objects — By embedding a video object on your website, you can have the video file hosted on your own server. This will give you more control and you won’t have to rely on a third-party server such as YouTube. The benefit of using QuickTime, for example, is that the software is compatible with Apple mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads. However, there is still the issue of not being able to reach all users. For example, if you embed a .mov file, the user would have to have the QuickTime plug-in already installed on their browser in order to watch the video. Apart from mobile devices such as iPhones, most users have Flash installed on their browser rather than QuickTime.

Flash — The main issue with Flash, as we mentioned earlier, is its inability to play on mobile devices. Flash also acts as a roadblock to search engines, so it does not help websites with search engine optimization. However, Flash is still the most widespread video solution. Flash will work for most users and it is recommended as the best cross-browser solution for embedding videos. To still reach the majority of viewers, but also give others the opportunity to watch your video, we recommend using website code to detect if a user has Flash installed. If Flash is detected, the Flash version of the video will be shown. If Flash is not installed, your website will display a YouTube or QuickTime movie instead. This provides a simple alternative for iPhone and iPad users.

For more information, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com.

Spotlight on Advertising: FiOS Holiday Advertising

In the November 8th issue of our e-newsletter, we told you about the “tagable” holiday spots that Cablevision offers during this time of year. Well, now FiOS has entered the game as well. FiOS has two versions of its winter holiday greeting. Each runs for 15 seconds (like Cablevision) and each can be tagged with your company’s logo and contact information at the end. These greetings enable you to build goodwill and improve brand recognition within your community for a minimal investment in TV advertising.

You can run your greeting on FiOS1, Verizon’s local news channel, during weekday mornings (5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.) for only $15 per spot, island-wide. This compares to News 12’s rate of $100. While Cablevision has 740,000 subscribers in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, FiOS now has 202,000 subscribers of their own and this is a good way to reach them. Full-week rotators (9 a.m. to midnight) are $5 per spot. Rotators on other networks will run you about 20% of prime network rates. If you’re looking for specific channels or zones, be sure to contact us for more detailed rate information.

For more information, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or email johnzaher@theprmg.com.

Google+ Opens its Doors to Businesses

Google+

After months of anticipation, Google has finally launched Google Plus Page for Business. Up until last week, Google+ has focused on connecting individual people. However, as of Monday, November 7, Google+ Pages are available worldwide for businesses, global brands, sports teams and celebrities. It is now easier than ever for businesses to connect with their audiences, encourage visitors to recommend their organization with a simple “+1” and send quick and customized updates to targeted groups of people. Also, since people search for local businesses using Google more than any other search engine, the launch of Google+ Pages will give business pages precedence and higher authority in Google search results.

This article will show you how to create a successful Google+ Page for your business. It will also explain how businesses can use features such as Circles, Hangouts, the +1 button, Direct Connect and how you can measure your Google+ performance.

Create a Google+ Page — To create a Google+ page for your business, organization or brand, click here. To complete your page, upload a profile picture and include a description of your organization, your hours, website and contact information. After you’ve completed your business page, be sure to notify other users by clicking “Spread the Word” to share your new page with the public and individual Circles on Google+. You can also share the link to your page on your other social media profiles and include the Google+ icon on your business’ website, blog and email signature.

Businesses can use these pages to share news, photos, videos and links with their audiences. Through the social interaction and networking capabilities available on Google+, businesses can also nourish relationships with customers, clients, potential customers, business connections and much more.

Circles — Google+ makes it simple to sort followers into groups called “Circles.” To add a person into one of these groups, simply drag them into a Circle. When you post text, photos, videos and links to your Google+ stream, you can select which circles to share the information with. Businesses may want to create unique Circles for customers in certain geographic areas, of different ages, industries, languages and more. Using this feature, businesses can then send relevant, customized messages to small, targeted audiences. For example, a restaurant may want to send a coupon on their children’s menu only to mothers in Nassau County. A bar can send a special offer to their “College Students” Circle to send this group a special offer for beer and wings. The Circles feature helps to address a major shortcoming of Facebook fan pages by providing a way for businesses to improve their reach, classification and targeting capabilities through social media.

One restriction to keep in mind is that, unlike with personal Google+ pages, business pages cannot add people to Circles until the page is added first or the user has mentioned the business in a post. Also, Business Pages cannot +1 other pages, nor can they +1 content on the Web.

Hangouts — This unique feature allows Google+ users to engage in live, face-to-face chats with multiple people at the same time. This is an excellent outlet for businesses to directly communicate with their audiences. This kind of personal interaction has never been possible on Facebook or Twitter. To begin, simply click “Start a Hangout” when you log in to your business page. Using your live webcam, you can start a video chat with those in your circles and send notifications to those who may be interested in joining your chat.

+1 Button —To click +1 on a business page, article, blog post, photo or any other form of content is to give it your stamp of approval. You can get the code to include the +1 button on your own website and blog here. Including the +1 button on your Web pages is so important because, according to Hubspot, websites using Google’s +1 button get three-and-a-half times more Google+ visits. Businesses should treat this button in the same manner as Facebook’s “Like” icon by encouraging people to +1 their page and also add it to their circles.

Direct Connect — Direct Connect is Google+’s newest feature. By going to Google and searching for “+” followed by the page you are interested in, you will be automatically directed to the business’ Google+ page. For example, if you search for “+Pepsi,” Direct Connect will allow you to quickly navigate to Pepsi’s Google+ Page. Another benefit for businesses is that, when users are directed to pages, they will also be prompted with the question, “Add this page to your circles?” This feature makes it easier than ever to connect with businesses through social networking.

Once you add the Google+ code to your website, you will be eligible to be included in Google Direct Connect. For now, Direct Connect only works with a limited number of pages, such as Pepsi and YouTube, but the service will eventually become available to all businesses.

Measure Your Performance — Google+ offers several tactics to measure how well your business page is performing. Several of these monitoring tools are the Google+ Search, Ripples and Social Analytics:

  • Google+ Search — Businesses should use the search bar on Google+ to search keywords, names, businesses and brands. This can help businesses monitor what is being said about their organization or industry on Google+, help resolve customer service issues and connect with customers and potential customers.
  • Ripples — The Ripples feature on Google+ lets you see who is sharing and resharing your content. For example, businesses can monitor who has shared their posts and connect with these users.
  • Social Analytics — Analytics measures +1s and how engagement on your site changes. You can also see demographic information about the users who have +1ed your site.

The exciting news is that Google+ is still adapting, with more changes soon to come. To learn more about Google+, read our article, “Google+’s Advanced Technology Addresses Facebook’s Shortcomings.” For more information, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com.

Spotlight on Advertising: DirecTV Advertising

DirecTV is a national satellite service provider and broadcaster. Since 1994, they have only been capable of selling national ads due to the nature of satellite broadcasting. However, they have now developed a new technology as part of their household-addressable platform that enables regional advertising. The satellite signal can now send down local ad spots and store them in the consumers’ DVR boxes, until the time comes for the spots to insert themselves into national programming. The local insertions will be seamless.

In 2012, they will begin offering sales in 25 designated market areas (DMAs) across the country, including New York. For the first time, local advertisers will be able to target DirecTV subscribers in only the wider metro area around New York City, rather than the whole country. The New York DMA covers southern New York, including Long Island, northern New Jersey and parts of Connecticut. Approximately 270,000 DirecTV subscribers in the New York DMA will have the ability to receive local ads.

This offering will present a new option for advertisers used to Cablevision, FiOS and Time Warner.

For more information about DirecTV advertising, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or email johnzaher@theprmg.com.

An Overview of Google Business Solutions – The First in a Series of Three Articles

google

With its wide variety of cost-effective business tools, it’s no wonder why Google has secured its position as a global superpower on the Web. Google Business Solutions are a collection of services that are specifically directed at businesses and webmasters. Google offers tools to meet the needs of organizations and businesses of all sizes and boasts over 30,000 search and 3,000,000 Google Apps customers worldwide. This article, the first in a three-part series, will provide you with an overview of Gmail, Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Google AdSense, Google Chrome, Google Places and Google+. It will be followed by “An In-depth Look at Google AdWords” and then an article on “5 Additional Innovative Business Tools from Google,” which will focus on Google Offers, Google Engage and more.

Productivity

Gmail — With dozens of email providers to choose from, deciding on Gmail should be a no-brainer. This user-friendly email provider allows you to communicate and collaborate with reliable and secure Web-based tools. Gmail provides you with more than enough free storage space, significantly less spam, built-in text, voice or video chat and much more. You can also access Gmail from any phone, regardless of which device you use, to access your email on the go. For businesses, another comforting feature is that Gmail is entirely safe to use. Gmail uses HTTPS encryption to keep your mail and information secure.

Although most Gmail features are free, businesses can purchase a flexible plan of $5 per month to access a variety of premium features that include Google Docs and Google Calendar. Google Docs allows you to securely store all Web-based documents, spreadsheets, drawings and presentations online. This feature also provides real-time collaboration, which allows users to edit these files at any time, so you will always have the latest version. Google Calendar is a Web-based calendar application that allows businesses to manage meetings online and minimize costs. You can send event invitations, share your calendars company-wide or between specific co-workers, invite guests on mobile devices and much more.

Google Chrome — Google Chrome is a Web browser that combines a minimal, user-friendly design with sophisticated technology to make browsing the Web faster, safer and easier. Most people use their Web browser more than any other feature on their computer for searching for information, shopping, reading the news, watching videos and more. Therefore, it is essential to have a high level of security, speed and stability, which Google Chrome has mastered. Google Chrome is designed to be as fast as possible, up-to-date with the latest security updates and simple to use. Best of all, this Web browser is completely free to download on any computer.

Web Marketing

Google Analytics — This powerful Web monitoring tool provides users with rich insights into their website traffic and Web marketing effectiveness. Using Google Analytics, you can analyze data and determine which ads, keywords and other factors are most effective in driving traffic to your website and optimizing your Web presence. By consistently monitoring the information provided by Google Analytics, businesses can adapt based on what works and what doesn’t. Ultimately, this tool will help you create higher converting websites and strengthen your online marketing efforts.

Google AdWords — Google AdWords lets you create and run ads for your business with a custom budget. Ads are displayed under “Sponsored Links” alongside the search results when someone searches on Google using one of your chosen keywords. This tool is so effective for businesses because you are advertising to an audience who is already interested in what you have to offer. In addition to text ads, you can run display and click-to-play video ads on Google AdWords. For more information on how to use Google AdWords, please read our article, “A Beginner’s Guide to Google AdWords.” Look out for our next article, which will include a more in-depth look at the features and options available for businesses on Google AdWords.

Google AdSense — Google AdSense is a free platform that places AdWords ads on non-Google websites. AdSense allows Web publishers to earn revenue online by displaying ads on site search results, websites, mobile Web pages and mobile apps. By simply allowing others to place targeted Google ads on your website, your business can earn money. While displaying these Google ads, AdSense also lets you provide a Google search bar to your site users. By placing this search box on your site, visitors can search the Web directly from your website. Also, you will receive a “Top Queries” report that shows you what your visitors are searching for on your site. By reviewing the 25 most common searches conducted through this Google search box, you can identify additional topics, keywords or information to add to your site, based on what your customers or clients are searching for.

Google Places — Google Places is an excellent tool for allowing businesses to get found on Google for free. Since 97% of consumers search for local businesses online, it is essential for your business to be found in search results. Over 90% of the local business Web pages on Google have not been claimed. Claiming your business page will put you at an advantage since local business results appear at the top of search results on Google when someone searches, using a certain location. By simply registering your business with Google Business Center, you can help potential customers find you on Google Places. On your Google Places page, you can include your location, contact information, photos, videos and any other information that you would like to communicate to your audience. Customers or clients can also leave reviews on your Google Places page.

Social Media

Google+ — Now open to all users, Google+ is a relatively new social media giant that has taken the Internet by storm by reaching 10 million users in its first 16 days, from June 28 to July 14. Google+ improves upon the features of existing social media outlets. Like Facebook, you can create a profile, complete with personal information and photo albums, comment on other users’ content and share posts. Google+’s “+1” button also works the same as Facebook’s “Like” icon. Like Twitter, anyone can follow you and you may follow any user by adding them to your “circles,” no matter who they may be. The “Circles” feature allows users to organize contacts in specific groups. For example, you may have a circle specifically for friends and then one only for business contacts. Google+ also has many other unique features such as Hangouts, Sparks and Huddles. The Hangouts feature allows users to engage in live, face-to-face chats involving multiple people at a time. Sparks delivers popular content from across the Internet on any topic you choose. Huddles, available on Google+ Mobile, is a unique group messaging feature that allows multiple people to chat in one place.

Businesses can also benefit from including the “+1” button on their website and blog. For more information on Google+, read our article “Google+’s Advanced Technology Addresses Facebook’s Shortcomings.”

For more information, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com.

Advertise with Cablevision this Thanksgiving and Holiday Season

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With the holiday season just around the corner, Cablevision is offering holiday greetings for your organization to celebrate with local viewers. These “tagable” spots are produced by Cablevision and are customized with your business’ logo and contact information. They each run for 15 seconds and enable you to build good will and improve brand recognition within your community, for a minimal investment in TV advertising. Depending on whom you want to reach, your business may benefit from advertising with popular networks such as News 12, Nick and Fox News. For those who are looking for wide coverage, we believe the most efficient use of your budget should include island-wide ads on News 12. Weekday spots from 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. cost $100 per unit, while full week rotators (9 a.m. to 12 midnight) are $25 per unit.

For those who require more specific targeting, we recommend choosing to advertise on specific networks rather than these broader News 12 island wide ads. For example, if you want to target families with small children, you may want to advertise on Nick. For targeting older or more affluent audiences, businesses will be more successful advertising with a network such as Fox News. These specific network ads cost between $10 and $30 each, depending on the network and zone.

Cablevision also offers spots for holidays such as Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter and more. Advertising rates are similar to those above, but contact us for more detailed information. If you are interested in running any of these ads for your business, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com.

Using Web and Social Media to Promote Your Event

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Whether your business is planning to host a seminar, fundraiser, workshop or a Webinar, Web and social media outlets can serve as powerful and inexpensive tools to promote and market your upcoming event. Especially for those on a budget, Web and social networking sites can provide free publicity and visibility for your organization. When promoting an event, your goals should be to spread awareness, boost attendance and generate excitement.

This article will provide you with a multifaceted approach to using various Web and social media outlets to market your events. Our recommendations include using online event calendars, posting press releases on free submission websites, sending e-blasts, creating events on Facebook, updating Twitter, using LinkedIn and continuing to promote your event, even after it has ended.

Event Calendars — Submitting your event to free online calendars is one of the most valuable methods of promoting your event online. Dozens of local newspapers, magazines, television channels and radio stations have websites that host calendars of events. These calendars often offer free postings and give the public a useful tool to search for things to do in their area. Event calendars are highly targeted since your event will be organized according to what category it belongs to. For example, if you are holding a benefit dinner for your non-profit organization, you can ensure that your event listing will appear in the “non-profit” and “fundraiser” categories. When you post your event on these calendars, be sure to include your business’ contact information, the event’s location and any other important details. Very often, these media outlets will also use their online calendars for their television, radio or print outlets.

Free Online Event Calendars:
www.nymetroparents.com (regional)
long-island.newsday.com (regional)
www.eventful.com

Press Release Submission Websites — Whenever your organization is hosting an event, it is essential to create and distribute a press release to notify your target audience, the general public and members of the media. You should include a description of the event, its location, contact information and a powerful headline. When creating this content for online distribution, it is important to use keyword-rich language and to include as many relevant links as possible. These links should lead to further information, a specific offer or a landing page on your website. Once your content has been created, distribute your press release on the Web using the following websites to create buzz and get the word out. For more information on free submission websites, read our article, “Why You Should Take Advantage of Free Submission Websites.”

Free Online Press Release Submission Websites:
www.longisland.com (regional)
www.prLog.com
www.openPR.com
www.pressmethod.com
www.pr-usa.net
www.PR.com
www.PR9.net
www.pressabout.com
www.PRUrgent.com

E-Blasts — E-blasts are emails that are sent out to your clients or customers that notify them of a special deal, promotion, event or other news. When promoting events, we recommend using e-blasts because they can quickly deliver content to a large number of people. E-blasts are also much cheaper and easier to distribute than traditional print advertisements. To begin, we suggest signing up for a program such as Stream Send or Constant Contact. These email marketing programs will allow you to create and send e-blasts, as well as e-newsletters and any other professional emails. Once you’ve signed up for one of these programs, create an email with a description of your event and a powerful subject line. Having a strong subject line is so vital to your email marketing success because the majority of people choose whether or not to open an email based on the subject line alone.

Your e-blast should include a small blurb about your event, a link to more information, multimedia (if necessary) and your business’ contact information. Always keep in mind that you don’t want to bombard your contacts by sending an excessive amount of emails. We recommend sending out an initial e-blast to announce your event, a reminder when the date is approaching and a follow-up email after the event has ended.

Facebook — Facebook, the most widely used social media website, offers several areas to promote your organization’s event at no cost. For example, the Facebook Events application is one of the most powerful marketing tools this social media giant has to offer. By creating a Facebook Event page, you are providing your audience with an interactive hub of information and conversation surrounding your event. Once you are logged in, you can create your Facebook Event here. Include a profile picture, fill out all information, upload multimedia (if applicable) and begin inviting friends. When you are creating your page, make sure that the following “Event Options” are checked off:

• Enable the event wall
• Enable the event photos, videos and links
• Allow guests to bring friends to the event
• Show the guest list

Once all of these options are checked, guests will be allowed to invite their friends to your event, write on the page’s wall and upload their own photos and videos. It is important to periodically encourage your friends to spread the word by using the “Share” and “Post to your Profile” buttons. These buttons will post an event invitation directly on the user’s personal Facebook wall. For more information on how to use Facebook to build your business, read our article, “10 Steps to Getting the Most Out of Facebook.”

Twitter — Considering its immensely powerful viral capabilities and communication features, it is essential for your business to break into the world of Twitter. There are a variety of ways to reach your target audience and market your upcoming event using this microblogging network. Before you begin tweeting about your event, you may want to create a customized hashtag (#). On Twitter, hashtags are used to mark keywords or topics in a tweet. By including relevant hashtags in your tweets, they can be categorized and found more easily in the Twitter Search Engine. For example, if you are planning to host a Webinar on social media, your hashtag may be “#SMWebinar.” Be sure to include this hashtag in any tweet relating to your event and encourage people to do the same. Thus, a sample tweet may be, “We are excited to host our first Webinar on social media today! #SMWebinar.”

When using Twitter to promote your event, another tip is to mix up the content in your tweets. If you are continuously tweeting the same thing, your followers will be disinterested with the same information and become inclined to “un-follow” you. To build a variety of tweets related to your event, you can try asking questions related to your event, tweeting the sign-up link or links to any press releases, posting photos related to your event or re-tweeting what someone posted about your event. You can also ask people to share your event by including, “Please RT!” (please re-tweet) to increase awareness on Twitter. For more information on how to use Twitter to promote your business, read our article, “Secrets to Twitter Marketing.”

LinkedIn — LinkedIn offers several opportunities to market your event to personal connections and other business professionals. After you are logged in, you can create and manage your events here. Once you’ve created your event and completed all relevant information, you can invite up to 50 people from your personal network. Since you are limited to 50 invitations on LinkedIn, you should send personal emails to the rest of your connections with a brief invitation and a link to your event. When someone RSVPs, the notification will appear on their home profile so all of their connections will be notified of your event as well. As the administrator of your event page, you can keep track of your RSVPs and monitor any comments. You may also send individual invitations and promote your organization’s events using the discussion boards of LinkedIn Groups. Submitting events to LinkedIn is another quick, simple and cost-effective way to spread your message and boost your attendance. For more information on how to use LinkedIn to build your business, read our article, “Making the Right Connections on LinkedIn.”

Continue Promoting After Your Event — Don’t stop marketing your event just because it has ended! There are still a variety of ways to promote your organization, encourage attendance at future events and nourish communication with your guests. Always thank your attendees through social media updates, emails and, if practical, personal messages. Upload any photos you may have taken to Flickr and your social media profiles. On Facebook, make sure to “tag” people if they appear in your photo album. This interaction will encourage involvement on your fan page and help to keep it interactive and fresh. If you recorded any videos at your event, make sure to upload them to your organization’s YouTube channel and embed them on your website. Another good way of continuing to promote your event is to write a blog post or an article on how it went and what you learned. Always encourage feedback and suggestions from your attendees on all of your Web and social media profiles.

For more information, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or info@theprmg.com.