Why You Can Catapult Yourself Into Success Through Online Learning

Why You Can Catapult Yourself Into Success Through Online Learning

The Internet has removed our need to leave the house, or to be confined to one specific geographical location in many ways. From online shopping to looking for jobs online, to even searching for romantic partners, having the Internet connection can satisfy a wide variety of individual needs, without even having to leave your house or even to get dressed. Receiving an education is also something that can now be accomplished solely from the comfort of your home.

Many thousands of online courses exist, teaching an almost endless number of skills. CoursesforSuccess.com is just one such website that has hundreds of courses to help improve your professional skill set, allowing you to become a much more attractive option to potential employers in your field.

Previously, online courses were seen as a scammy way to get a few hundred dollars out of people. Now, there’s a wealth of courses online that have been carefully curated by professionals who wish to share their expertise. Even then, there are several accredited universities where advanced degrees can be earned almost entirely via online learning. There is new monitoring technology that allows for secure exam rooms even when testing is done via computer.

In addition, more and more learning establishments are taking their credentials online to serve a wider range of students.

There are numerous benefits to choosing to learn online as opposed to having to go to a dedicated school, such as:

Course Flexibility

Many people choose not to seek higher education because they simply don’t have enough time between the jobs they need to be at and the family they have to spend time with. This alone has been one of the major roadblocks people face in upgrading their skill sets. Simply put, a lot of people cannot take time off of work to pursue education and still support themselves.

Learning online allows you to control when you learn, where you learn, and at what pace. Lessons are pre-recorded so you can view them at any point in your day and in a place where you feel most able to actually absorb what you’re learning.

Increased Access to Support

Since the entire framework of the course is structured digitally, getting in contact with tutors or your instructors is made exceptionally easy, as most platforms have these features built-in. The better online learning sites have live chats where you can receive instant help with any problem you’re having with a specific course, while any reputable one will at least give you all the information necessary to send an email.

Nearly Unlimited Options

Real-life universities and schools can only offer programs for courses they know they can fill the seats for. They have to pay for the teacher, the space, and of course, for the maintenance of the said space. This means there’s a rather limited course selection at any brick-and-mortar institution, since there’s practically no incentive to offer niche courses when you could be filling lecture halls instead.

This isn’t the case with online learning. Since material can be pre-recorded either in video or text format and preserved indefinitely, there’s a lower initial cost in making a course and very little as far as keeping that course on offer. Photography lessons, niche programming languages, or even things like reading body language can be offered by these websites as there’s no pressure to fill seats. Therefore, the amount of things you can learn is of a much wider variety.

All of these points, plus the fact that you won’t be spending resources getting to and from a set location, mean online learning is a very attractive way to boost your resume or to learn practical skills.

Webinar: How to Harness Internet Video Marketing

Emarketed video marketingIt’s Tuesday and we attended a webinar with Firm Media this morning about “how to harness internet video marketing to promote your business online”.

Video Marketing is Useful
The most important thing about video marketing is that it can help create conversions. How exactly does that work? It depends on the planning and execution you put into your videos. The goal is to create quality videos that stand out from the crowd and your competitors. On the webinar, we found out that 75% of customers would rather see a video in place of lengthy text on your website. Search engines also prefer videos if you optimize and use keywords in title tags and descriptions. If you think pictures add a personal touch, think of the impression that videos will make on your customers!

Different Types of Videos
There are a variety of videos that you can incorporate onto your website. Here are some common ones that were discussed:

  1. Testimonials
  2. Introducing your team
  3. Showcasing the user experience of your service/product.

Whether you own a restaurant or an online marketing firm, the benefits of video is that it helps you accomplish something that you CAN’T with copy. If you own a restaurant, a video can really show the ambiance and food that your business has to offer. If you own an online marketing firm, it can add a human touch to what some consider a “sterile and cold” business.

What are you waiting for?

There are times for informative videos and experimental viral videos. Today, the point is not to give your best “elevator pitch”. Don’t you think customers are tired of this? It’s a chance for you to convey emotion and show your human side. Your customers can get a chance to meet you before they actually make a connection. This could even be the deciding factor in their decision. People like to actually see and hear WHO it is that will be helping them.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

The Secret to the Best Viral Content

After some technical difficulties, the SEOmoz webinar about viral content was finally underway. When you hear about ‘viral content’, most people think that it’s a weird/outrageous campaign à la the new Old Spice ads. After hearing Rand Fishkin’s presentation of successful case studies, it was interesting to see the real secret behind the most realistic cases of viral content – the content is useful and relevant to their target audience!

Viral success in this case means that the sites are shared and  receive linkage from many different domains. Here are some of my favorite examples of viral success that were presented:

Epicurious
This neat interactive site shows a seasonal map of the US. You can click different states and months to find the best seasonal ingredients during any specific time. It’s a simple idea that’s easy to pull off but not that easy to think of. Kudos to Epicurious!

OkCupid
The popular dating site featured a write up dispelling myths about the success of profile pictures. For example, women seem to get the most responses with a flirty, smiley face. Interestingly enough, men who received the most responses from their profile picture were not smiling. This is an interesting and fun article that even got OkCupid a write-up in the New York Times.

Boston
This was one mildly successful example that could’ve been improved. During the presentation, I thought it was great that it was critiqued so that others can learn about formatting and design when thinking of their viral efforts. The site showcases exciting tidbits about how the CIA used magic and trickery in their tactics.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

So, a Little Bird Told You About Content Marketing…

Webinar Overview
So, I got to hear Joe Pulizzi of Vertical Measures speak today in a Search Marketing Now webcast. Content marketing and link building can be confusing to people as there are certain things to keep in mind:

  • Keep your customers in mind. As Joe put it, don’t just talk about yourself. After all, people aren’t searching for a marketing pitch! They want answers.
  • Marketers are becoming publishers but many are doing a bad job. Their main problem is they have a difficult time separating self-promotion with their ability to provide useful content.
  • The secret to success is not really a secret at all. Most marketers will tell you the key to success is to be an expert in your niche and to dedicate content to customers.

These tips are a lot easier said than done – especially with the third point. So, what are some ways you can be more innovative with your content marketing? Joe provides a list of ideas to “steal”!

Steal These Ideas

  1. Create as much content as possible relating to your niche
  2. Incorporate a helpful video series
  3. Use Twitter as a channel for providing tips
  4. Develop a web or mobile application that is educational and helps solve problems
  5. Share a series on SlideShare

The Big Idea About Link Building

Don’t mix link building with lead generation!

Here’s a good starting point: find a handful of top blogs in your industry. Read them, stay up to date and comment to build a presence. Like I said before, these things aren’t really secrets. The real secret is how to keep consistent and measure your progress.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

The Key to Keywords Overview

Harry Brooks of Search First Internet Marketing moderated the PR Web webinar this morning with Kye Strance of Vocus. It was an educational overview of beginning the keyword process for PR campaign. These tactics can also be the starting point of your SEO or PPC campaign.

A Keyword Advertising Outline
There are three crucial steps that anyone should start with when organizing a keyword advertising plan for a press release.

  1. What is your goal – PR relation purposes or search engine optimization? You can easily have a mix of both by optimizing your content.
  2. Keyword or key phrase research. There are many free and paid programs but Kye gave these 3 examples. Google’s Keyword Tool, Google’s Wonder Wheel and Marketing Samurai. (Maybe it’s just me but I’m a little wary of downloading free SEO software).
  3. Publicize topic. What message do you want to send? Make sure that the content you release matches with your goal(s).

Organic Optimization for Relevant Key Phrases
Organic optimization is a great way to build a relationship with the key phrases that you want. But where do you begin? Whether you offer a product or service, there are hundreds of words (synonyms and misspellings) that can describe your business. As most keyword experts will stress, you want to hit the words that bring you: high traffic with low competition. This is of course subjective for your industry so don’t be afraid to do some snooping research on your competitors. Keyword research is more than just a technique as it becomes an ~*art*~ form when you add your own special touch.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Tips from a Site Reviews Webinar

If you have an SEOmoz Pro account, you can submit your site for review and they just might include it in one of their upcoming webinars. There were about 100 people on the call and it was nice to see something different – analyzing user submitted websites. It’s a change of pace from other webinars who use Zappos and other big companies that make it hard for small businesses to relate to.

Definitely learned a lot from today’s webinar. Very useful info and I’ve bookmarked some tools for future research. These are definitely some things that you want to consider looking into:

  • Use Open Site Explorer to check the link popularity for your site
  • Learn how changing your meta tags strategy can be beneficial
  • Consider promoting embedded graphs or graphics as a way to get some link love (like Mint)
  • How to use hashtags to connect to more than one anchor link

The favorite part of these webinars is the Q + A section. I found it helpful that Rand Fishkin provided links and resources during the call. The chat box also allows attendees to directly communicate with each other. An hour and a half is a bit long for a webinar but I’m definitely looking forward to more helpful resources.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Are You Developing Your Social Media Strategy?

Another rainy Friday morning in Los Angeles! We began this one with the first out of a series of implementation courses by The Art of Online Marketing and Rachel Perlmutter.

Equipping Your Marketing Tool Belt
From the beginning, a very important point was made and that is: social media is just another marketing channel. Think about social media tactics as another marketing tool. Like other traditional channels, this means that you need to set a strategy in order to realize your goals. A big mistake many make is that they get too caught up in social media without realizing any success. Friends and fans mean nothing if they can’t be translated into real life.

Your Virtual Reputation
Next, when you’re present on social media sites, how do you portray yourself? Do you have a professional picture? Are you comfortable with this picture and profile representing your brand? An easy way to think about this is to think about how you behave at an actual networking event. You want to be friendly and make small talk before pushing your business cards into other people’s faces. At the same time, be wary of the people you meet and see if they are actually interested in providing you with value.

Don’t Waste Your Time

Many may get caught up in the social media marketing hype because it’s “free”. But remember, your time is certainly not free! Self and time management will help make your time spent on social media sites more effective and efficient. Rachel suggests taking an hour or so out of the day dedicated to your social media activities. Who really spends hours on end on Twitter? Except for the Twitterholics, most people will want to break up their time spent into 10 minute blocks. Sounds like great advice for those who don’t want to waste their time.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

5 Social Media Tips for 2010 Webinar with Sally Falkow

Just attended a great webinar moderated by Sally Falkow. Here’s an overview of some great tips she focused on:

1) Use news feeds to push and pull your content.
Make use of RSS (really simple syndication) to push info on your site. From blogs to content pages, search engines look favorably on your links when they show up in news feeds. On the plus side, news feeds can expose your content to new audiences and give your site more traffic.

2) Monitor what’s said about your company.
Whether it’s using Google Trends or a service like NetVibes, it’s important to stay updated on who’s saying what about your company.

3) Measure the effectiveness your social media efforts.
Using Google Analytics, you can track where your traffic is coming from. If your bounce rate is fairly high, you might need to update your content and make it more user-friendly. Make the most out of these tools to measure all your social media and marketing efforts.

4) Use a branded video player.
Video views on YouTube are exploding as users are rushing over to the site over Google for their search needs. By using a service like Veeple, you can track real-time analytics of viewers watching your videos.

5) Integrate a social media newsroom into your website.
It’s a great place for bloggers, journalists, and readers alike. With a newsroom, it’s convenient to organize all your press releases, videos, pictures, and testimonials. Having ‘connect this’ buttons (like Digg and Twitter), makes it easier for readers to share your content.

Stay tuned for the next webinar in January!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

PPC Negative Keywords: Maximizing the Positive Effect

Just this morning, we sat in on a webinar titled, “PPC Negative Keywords: Maximizing the Positive Effect”.  It was hosted by Marin Software and Ken Jurina, the co-founder and CEO of of Epiar, Inc.  Here are some of the gems we plucked from our experience – some we know, but some of it was a kick in the pants to spend more time thinking negative.

Negative keywords instruct search engines to not display your ads, decreasing irrelevant queries, impressions and most importantly clicks and spend.

An interesting reverse logic idea that was mentioned: you may want to consider using negative keywords for legitimate terms.  Maybe these terms are spending a lot of money and bringing lots of traffic but they are expensive and converting poorly.  Other great reasons to use negative keywords are:

  • Expensive conversions
  • Expensive clicks
  • Limited budget
  • Bad brand association
  • Not relevant for the user
  • Quality improvements
  • Lowering costs

An important, sometimes hard to find tidbit for each of the search engines is:  What are their negative keyword limits?

  • With Google – 10,000 negative keywords in Ad Campaign or 5,000 at Ad Group Level
  • With Yahoo – 250 negative keywords at Ad Campaign Level or Ad Group Level
    • Singular term covers plural and misspellings
  • With Microsoft adCenter – 1024 character including spaces and commas
    • Campaign, ad group or keyword level

A major lesson seemed to be that ultimately, a combination of exact phrase broad and maximized negative keywords is the best way to target paid search.  Keep in mind that negative keywords have no impact on exact match terms.

So – I’m sold on the idea of switching to more broad and phrase matching and adding negative keywords to all of my accounts.  After adding broad and phrase match and negative keywords, what can I expect?

  • Your ads will now appear on the relevant long tail phrases
  • Your ads will get better exposure to better prospects, which means increased leads and increased revenue!
  • You can now advertise on long tail phrases where your competitors dare not tread, meaning more cheap clicks for you without the dangers of broad match.
  • Once your ads get impressions deep into the long tail phrases, your advertising reach may double, triple, or more!

OK – great, now how do I build these lists?  What tools are there for me to use?

Manually, using intuition and industry knowledge.

Scan through past referring phrases that did not convert, had bounce rates or were trash

So – In the end, negative keywords is a simple concept, important part of every campaign and can according, to today’s webinar, save up 20-40% on spend.  Wow, that’s a “no-brainer”.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Advanced Business Blogging Webinar by Hubspot Review

bill gatesI attended a webinar today on advanced business blogging by Hubspot. Don’t let the advanced part in the title scare you away. Hubspot, an online marketing company similar to emarketed, does a great job on providing webinars. Today’s webinar focused on blogging and can be viewed here. A few notes about the actual webinar that really made this interesting. First they had a powerpoint of the webinar that can be accessed here through SlideShare and a live video feed of the presenter that was being pulled from Mogulus. You can view Hubspot’s channel here. Mogulus provides a free service and a paid version which removes the advertisements. There were no advertisements on the webinar but when I viewed the video on Mogulus there were advertisements. So I’m assuming that Hubspot is using the free version. They have over 800 viewers on the webinar today! You can view all of their shows on their Mogulus channel or here on their site. Hubspot also integrated their Twitter account into the presentation so you could ask questions through Twitter during the webinar. There were also links to Facebook and LinkedIn as well from the webinar page. These are all free tools that any one can use.  The use of these social media tools was very impressive and is definately something that we’re looking to integrate into our next version of our emarketed site. They were able to utlize these free services which can be used by anyone: Twitter, SlideShare, Facebook, & Mogulus

Ok, lets get into some of the key points from the webinar. A lot of the content which I’m proud to say has been discussed by emarketed in past blogs. Hubspot goes into why you should blog with 5 keys to a successful blogging:

1. Pick your target personas
2. Create a mix of posts
3. Write great posts
4. Sustain it
5. Spread it

One of the great take aways from this webinar is that your SEO (search engine optimization) efforts can start from your blog. You should write content that relates to your products and/or services. One thing to remember though is that SEO takes time and this is the same for writing blog posts. You will not see the direct results of your blog writing for several months. You also have to promote your blog once it’s up. It’s the same for your website which our clients are starting to understand. People will not just magically stumble across your blog when you write content. It must be promoted. Some of the methods Hubspot discussed were the following: post to twitter, comment on other blogs, post to facebook, start building a list of subscribers to your blog. They also had a great tip about using images through Flickr so I took their advice for this blog post. We do not always uses images in blog posts but I can see how it makes the blog easier to read with an image.

For more information regarding the webinar you’ll have to watch it at the following link.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.