10 Ways to Generate Leads Online

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The Internet offers countless opportunities for building your professional network and generating leads for your business. Especially for those on a tight budget, it’s important to focus on making the most of lead generation tools and techniques that are readily available on the Web. This article will provide you with ten simple ways you can generate leads online for your business.

  1. Send Out Monthly E-newsletters — Email marketing is hugely effective when it comes to converting leads into customers over time. To maximize your email marketing efforts, it’s essential to keep in touch with your audience using an e-newsletter. Your e-newsletter should contain valuable, timely and relevant content that is intended to keep your audience interested in your organization and what services or products you offer. For more information on writing and distributing e-newsletters, please see our article, “Why Your Business Needs an E-newsletter.”
  1. Offer Free Content in Exchange for Contact Information — By offering valuable content such as guidebooks, e-books and other free downloads on your website and in your advertising, people will be more likely to give up their contact information. Even if it’s just a name and email address, this information is essential to generating leads and future customers or clients. Over time, engaging these leads with credible, valuable content can lead to long-term buying relationships.
  1. Host Webinars — Webinars are online seminars offered by a company to replace an in-person business conference, lecture or presentation. When people want to attend your webinar, they’ll have to enter their name, email address and other contact information, if necessary. This is excellent for businesses because, for every webinar participant, you’ll gain a new lead and a potential customer. The stronger your presentation is, and the better you promote your upcoming webinar, the more leads you will generate.
  1. Advertise Using Pay-Per-Clicks — Pay-per-click advertising is an excellent way to generate qualified leads. Pay-per-click advertising outlets, such as Google AdWords, allow businesses to market to people who are already actively searching for their products or services. Users who click on your ad will be delivered to a custom landing page where they can enter their contact information in exchange for the content or service that was advertised. For more information on pay-per-click advertising, please see our articles, “Interest-Based Advertising,” “A Beginner’s Guide to Google AdWords,” and “An In-Depth Look into Google AdWords.”
  1. Create Effective Landing Pages — A landing page is a single Web page that appears in response to a reader clicking on an advertisement. Landing pages are often linked from social media ads, email ad campaigns or pay-per-click ad campaigns. Landing pages should include brief descriptions of the downloadable content and services your business offers, as well as an image of the content and a short form for contact information. A well-designed landing page is essential for generating qualified leads for your business. Marketers can even measure the effectiveness of a landing page by analyzing the activity generated by the linked URL, such as click-through and conversion rates. For more information on creating effective landing pages, please see our article, “Five Steps to Generating New Business through Web Advertising, Landing Pages and Emails.”
  1. Submit Your Website to Web Directories — Web directories provide valuable backlinks that will improve your business’ visibility and search engine optimization. By listing your business in accurate categories, people who are already looking for information regarding your industry or service will be directed to your website, making them more qualified and targeted leads. For more information on free Web directories and other submission sites that offer backlinks, please see our article, “Why You Should Take Advantage of Free Submission Websites.”
  1. Distribute Press Releases Online — Every time you distribute your press release online, that site will provide backlinks to your main website. This will further direct interested readers directly to your business. Keep in mind that, for SEO purposes, it is vital to distribute press releases that are optimized for your target keywords. For more information on press releases, please see our article, “5 Tips for Writing Effective Press Releases.”
  1. Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile — When used properly, LinkedIn can be a great tool for business networking, developing professional relationships and generating strong leads. For B2B companies, LinkedIn is the ultimate social networking site. The first step is to make sure that your profile is as close to 100% complete as possible. Next, it’s important to boost your visibility and credibility on LinkedIn by contributing to group discussions on the “Discussions” and “Answers” boards. For more information on LinkedIn, please see our article, “Making the Right Connections with LinkedIn.”
  1. Share Documents, Slideshows and Presentations — By sharing your presentations or slideshows on the Web, you can not only boost the credibility and popularity of your business online, but you will secure valuable backlinks to your website. Websites such as Scribd and SlideShare not only rank high with major search engines, but they provide backlinks to lead readers directly to your main website.
  1. Maintain an Active Blog — According to a study done by KBK Communications, B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those who do not. Blogging is essential to any successful marketing and communications strategy, especially in regards to lead generation. Include a clear section for readers to subscribe to your blog via email or an RSS feed. For more information on blogging, please see our article, “Should My Business Have a Blog?

For more information, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.

5 Tips for Writing Effective Press Releases

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A press release is a form of written communication that is meant to bridge the gap between an organization and the media. They are meant to announce newsworthy stories, special events, upcoming promotions or contests and any other interesting and timely content. Using the information from press releases, members of the media can then choose whether to publicize the story. When written and distributed properly, press releases will attract the attention of members of the media and encourage positive publicity for your organization.

Press releases are a vital component of any organization’s public relations and communications efforts. This article will provide you with five essential tips for writing effective press releases.

  1. Start with a Captivating Title — The title and first paragraph of your press release are two of the most important elements. Since most newsrooms receive dozens of press releases a day, including a strong title and opening paragraph can help yours stand out. When crafting a title and subject line, decide on something that is newsworthy, informative and straight to the point. Your title should hook the reader as quickly as possible and give them a reason to invest their time into reading the rest of the content. Also, make sure that your opening paragraph includes the essential five W’s: Who, What, Where, When and Why.
  2. Don’t Oversell — The goal of a press release is to educate your audience about a newsworthy event, person or organization, not to overtly advertise and promote the product or service. This can damage your credibility. Be honest when presenting the information to your audience and let them decide what to make of it. The content or news that you’ve highlighted in your press release should be able to sell itself.
  3. Be Concise — Never ramble on just for the sake of having your press release appear longer. Ideally, press releases should be one page in length. Since the goal of a press release is to spark the interest of reporters, you don’t want to bore them with a text-heavy piece. Include only what is necessary to the story and do so in a concise, well-written manner. Visually, your press release should also be easy to read. Choose a simple, clear font and an appropriate size and line spacing.
  4. Include Contact Information — What’s the use of a press release if it fails to provide a clear way to get in touch? Always include an accurate business name, phone number, fax number, mailing address, email address and any other information for the public relations contact person or agency.
  5. Proofread All Content before Publication — Take the time to proofread and fact-check all content that your business publishes, most importantly press releases. Before you send your press release out, check for grammatical or spelling errors and make sure that all numbers, facts and names are correct. For more information on the importance of proofreading and flawless writing, please read our series of articles, “Proofreading — The First in a Series of Three Articles,” “Write Like You Mean It: 5 Ways to Use Better Grammar” and “Words Mean Things: 5 Tips to Avoid Spelling Errors.”

For more information about effective press releases, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.

Advertise with The New York Knicks on MSG

The New York Knicks’ audience continues to increase with the team’s success and rising stardom of Jeremy Lin. Your business’ message can now reach an even wider audience by advertising on MSG during Knicks basketball games. Over the last several games, the Knicks are seeing a huge jump in ratings on MSG, compared to the early-season average. From February 4 to 11 alone, there has been a 150% increase in female audiences, ages 25 to 54 and a 43% increase in male audiences, ages 25 to 54. Overall, that’s a 67% increase in adult viewers, ages 25 to 54! Since the majority of this audience is made up of males, ages 25 to 54, we recommend businesses that are looking to target male viewers. Rates to advertise on MSG throughout Long Island, reaching approximately 10,950 households, are at $595.

If your business is interested in advertising or would like to advertise with the New York Knicks, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or email johnzaher@theprmg.com.

Why Your Business Needs an E-newsletter

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A strong e-newsletter is an essential component of any successful business’ marketing strategy. No matter what type of organization or industry you belong to, e-newsletters are a crucial form of communication between your business and past and prospective customers. With the immense popularity and convenience of smart phones, iPads and other electronic devices, email marketing plays a critical role in maintaining contact with customers and clients. Maintaining a consistent e-newsletter program will prove to be a very important marketing asset for your company.

This article will explain the importance of e-newsletters in regards to lead generation, keeping in touch with your audience, content distribution, the importance of providing incentives and capturing contact information.

  1. Generate Leads — Most importantly, e-newsletters can generate leads for your business. Even if your business provides a service or product that people only need at a certain time, by sending them an e-newsletter, you’ll be able to keep your name on their minds. This way, they’ll remember to reach out to you when they do require your services. It’s important to include your contact information in every e-newsletter to ensure that viewers can easily reach you.
  2. Stay in Touch with Your Audience — E-newsletters are the best way to keep in touch with past customers or clients and keep them informed. At least once a month, you should nurture your audience with an e-newsletter. Depending on your industry, you can include articles, press releases, holiday greetings, upcoming events, tips, photos and more.
  3. Distribute Content — The quality of your content is the most important element of any e-newsletter or marketing material. Remember: an e-newsletter that doesn’t contain any valuable or informative content is merely an advertisement. Make sure to develop content that meets your audience’s needs and provides them with information that is of value to them. It’s equally important to include hyperlinks that lead to more specific information, your main website and how readers can take action. For example, a non-profit organization can include a link to “Donate now!” while a law firm may include a link to “Click here for a free consultation!”
  4. Provide Incentives — In order to build your e-newsletter subscriber list, it’s important to give people a reason to sign up. It’s vital to entice your audience to give up their contact information in exchange for some kind of incentive, whether it’s a free download, consultation, special offer or coupons. Those who subscribe to your e-newsletter should be able to receive special tips, news or promotions that others do not. When your readers see something of value, they’ll want to share it with others.
  5. Capture Contact Information — On your main website and blog, make sure that there is a clear box to “Subscribe to our e-newsletter here,” requesting the person’s email address and any other contact information that you require. When people subscribe, you’ll be able to build your network of potential clients. It’s important to keep this contact information in an accurate, organized and up-to-date database.

How Do I Begin? — To send out e-newsletters, invest in an email marketing service such asStreamSend or Constant Contact. These programs provide HTML and text options and will allow you to send professional e-newsletters, alerts and messages to your audience. Using one of these third-party vendors will also increase the likelihood that your email will reach your intended recipients. Another benefit of using a professional email marketing service is that you will be able to identify and track recipients who open your email and click through.

Keep in mind that consistency is key! Ideally, you should be in contact with your audience via an e-newsletter at least once a month. Each e-newsletter should contain unique, current and informative content that is clearly branded with the name of your organization, the date of publication and a strong title. Most readers will choose whether or not to open an email based on the title alone.

It’s also important to honor people’s wishes on whether or not to keep receiving your emails. You must provide a clear opportunity for recipients to unsubscribe since failure to do so is subject to fines.

For any further questions, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. To take a look at our past e-newsletters, and to subscribe, please click here.

Advertise with Newsday Daily Deals

Businesses looking to reach Long Island consumers that are looking for deals and discounts should consider advertising with Newsday Daily Deals. This is a great way to promote your business, create buzz surrounding your services or products and attract new customers.

These Daily Deals are emailed to thousands of addresses, offering discounts of 50% to 90% on things to do, places to eat and shop around Long Island. Consumers who sign-up for the deal can also share it with family and friends through email and social media. Each day’s exclusive deal is also promoted prominently in Newsday and on Newsday.com.

Newsday Daily Deals are unique because there are no upfront costs to participate. Newsday only gets paid once customers pay for the deal and, when the deal closes, your business will receive its share of the revenue. You can also get immediate tracking of results to monitor your deal’s success.

If your business is interested in participating in Newsday Daily Deals, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com.

Should Your Business be Using Tumblr?

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For those who are new to social media, Tumblr is a free blog hosting forum that allows users to share anything from text, photos, quotes, music, audio files, videos and more. Although Tumblr was developed in 2007, it has seen a resurgence in popularity this year, with more than 4.5 billion unique posts published each day from over 30 million blogs.

This article will provide you with an overview of how Tumblr works, how it can help your business and how you can get started.

How Does Tumblr Work? — Tumblr combined elements from Twitter and traditional blogging websites like WordPress to create a site that really embodies the best of both worlds. Like Twitter’s “re-tweet” button, you can “reblog” another piece of content that was already posted by someone else. You can also “follow” other Tumblr blogs and their updates will appear in your dashboard, much like an RSS feed. However, there’s no frustrating 140-character restriction and, like traditional blogging websites, you can display more than just text. Users can share anything from photos, videos, audio files, music, quotes and more.

Tumblr describes itself as “the easiest way to blog,” and its claim is supported by its simplicity and user-friendly features. This microblogging site is so unique because of its clean interface and simple sharing features that allow users to post from their desktop browser, mobile phone or even through email. The Tumblr directory organizes blogs into categories, making it easy for users to discover new content and find new bloggers. These categories include Business, Design, Photography and much more. To ensure that your blog is properly categorized, make sure to “tag your blog” to the most relevant category, under the “Directory” tab of the navigation scheme.

What Are the Benefits of Using Tumblr for Business? — Businesses can use Tumblrto boost their Web and social media presence, stay connected with a greater audience and tap into a very active and unique social media community. Tumblr also works well with search engines, so having an active profile will enhance your overall search engine optimization and online visibility.

Since Tumblr users tend to be younger, businesses that have a younger target audience should take advantage of this website. It’s also important to keep in mind that, with Tumblr, your posts should never be too heavy on text. Short posts that are more visual and include multimedia tend to do much better on Tumblr.

How Do I Begin? — Before jumping in, we recommend taking a look at how other businesses and organizations in your industry are using Tumblr. For example, you can reference these Tumblr blogs for Rolling StoneNewsweek and Sesame Street. While Tumblr has been very successful on these large brands, it can work just as well for smaller businesses. For example, C-Town, a small grocery store in Brooklyn, New York, actively uses Tumblr to share the latest deals and photos of products with their customers.

Once you’re comfortable with how Tumblr works, you can create a profile by clicking here. Businesses should take advantage of the ability to customize their domain name on Tumblr. For example, you can easily change your domain name from yourbusiness.tumblr.com to www.yourbusinessblog.com. Thanks to Tumblr’s high level of personalization, businesses can also customize their template, layout and color scheme using HTML and CSS. However, it’s far easier to choose from the hundreds of themes that Tumblr offers.

For more information, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.

Spotlight on Advertising: Advertise on Golf Scorecards

Advertise on Golf Scorecards

Long Island businesses looking to target golfers and more affluent male audiences can advertise on golf scorecards. Bench Craft Company offers advertisements on scorecards that feature local businesses at courses throughout Long Island, including Millpond, Middle Island, Bergen Point, Pine Hills and Rock Hill. Businesses featured on these scorecards receive constant attention during the round of golf and also after the game, since these cards are usually taken back to the home or office for further review.

A large percentage of golfers are business owners or prominent decision makers for businesses and 75% of them either recommend, order or approve of products or services for their business. Many of these golfers also play 4-5 rounds throughout the year. If you advertise on golf scorecards, you can put your business directly in front of this audience.

If your business would like to advertise on golf scorecards, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or info@theprmg.com.

Advertise with the B103 Weekend Special

Advertise with B103, playing Long Island’s Greatest Hits on 103.1 FM, this weekend for only $15 per spot. This opportunity is for this Saturday and Sunday only- no minimums required. If your business is interested in advertising on the radio this weekend with B103, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group as soon as possible at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com.

How to Monitor Facebook and Twitter Success

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5 Simple Steps to Keeping Track of Your Business’ Facebook and Twitter Progress

By now, most businesses have realized the importance of using the social media giants Facebook and Twitter to better market themselves and connect with their audiences. However, even if your business is actively using these social networks, you may not be getting the most out of your efforts. To truly measure ROI and effectiveness of your social media marketing, it’s essential for businesses to implement a monitoring program. By keeping track of your progress, it will be easier to see what is working for your business in regards to social media, and what needs to be changed.

This article will explain the basics of monitoring key metrics of Facebook fan pages and Twitter profiles.

1. Know What to Look For — Monitoring several social media channels can be time-consuming, especially when you don’t know what you’re looking for. It’s important to keep the following questions in mind when analyzing social media metrics and data:

  • What are people saying about my business, brand or products on social media? Look out for both positive and negative comments and respond to each accordingly.

  • How many users are seeing my social media content? To determine your organization’s reach on social media sites, it’s important to keep track of how many fans, followers or connections you have.

  • How effective is my social media content? Out of your follower base, how many of these people are really engaging with your content? Keep track of how often users are interacting with your posts and how many users are repeatedly communicating with your page.

  • How is the activity level on my profiles? To promote interaction, always encourage your fans and followers to share their opinions, answer questions and discuss topics and ideas. As comments come in, it’s important to respond to both positive and negative replies in a timely and professional manner.

2. Use “Insights” to Monitor Your Facebook Fan Page — While it’s important to keep track of how many Facebook fans your business has, this isn’t where your monitoring should end. Analyzing the “View Insights” tab on your Facebook fan page is an essential tool to measuring your business’ success on Facebook. This tool will provide you with information on new likes, lifetime likes, monthly active users, post views, post feedback, weekly total reach and more. The newest metric, “People Talking About This,” represents all user-initiated activity related to your page. This counts unique wall posts, comments, likes, shares, check-ins, etc. It’s important to analyze this metric over time to be able to judge the effectiveness and reach of your business page.

3. Use HootSuite’s Social Analytics — HootSuite is a popular program that allows you to monitor keywords, manage multiple social media profiles and analyze custom analytics such as follower/fan growth, brand sentiment and more. With HootSuite’s Social Analytics feature, you can track Twitter brand mentions, measure your follower growth on Twitter, examine Facebook “likes” and demographics and more. While HootSuite is a free program, there is a paid premium service for users who need to manage more than five social media profiles, or need more detailed analytics reports.

4. Use Social Mention to Measure Progress — The program Social Mention offers valuable influence-tracking features for your business. It allows you to easily track and measure what people are saying about your company, products or any other topic in real time. Social Mention also measures the following essential social media metrics:

  • Strength — Strength is the likelihood that your brand is being discussed in social media networks.

  • Sentiment — Your sentiment is the ratio of positive social media mentions to those that are negative.

  • Passion — Passion refers to the likelihood that individuals who are talking about your brand or product will continue to do so.

  • Reach — Reach refers to your business’ range of influence or the number of unique authors referencing your brand, divided by the total number of mentions.

Users are able to monitor their growth in these areas through daily social media alerts and Social Mention’s search and analysis service.

5. Keep Track of Your Progress — To determine the long-term effectiveness of your business’ social media marketing, it’s essential to measure your progress along the way. We recommend having a neat, organized spreadsheet to update key metrics such as your number of Facebook likes, followers-to-following ratio on Twitter, number of comments and interactions and other key statistics available to you on Facebook Insights, HootSuite and Social Mention.

For more information about how to monitor Facebook and Twitter, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.