Use Mobile to Promote Your Bricks & Mortar Business

The Tsunami of mobile device adoption offers a world of opportunity to promote your bricks & mortar business. And it begins with making your website mobile-friendly.
Searches are increasingly coming from mobile devices and Google wants the results to deliver satisfactory experiences for users. Forget page one if you’re not mobile-friendly.

Now, some ideas to promote with mobile:


short code messaging sells burgersIf you’ve ever seen an invitation, on your smartphone or a sidewalk sign, for example, to “text insert a word to 33145 to get your discount coupon” or some other goodie, you’ve seen short code at work. Even a sole-location burger bar can afford to put together a short code campaign. Short code numbers are rented out and assigned to campaigns for periods of time. Big companies often buy a number but most of us take advantage of the “shared” option, where one number can be used by multiple campaigns, each separating itself from the others by the choice of the word you’re asked to text. For a full explanation, with examples and video read my blog post.


twitter feed in WordPress site

Put your twitter feed on your website. Now that you’re mobile-friendly, inserting your feed will display properly and give you double coverage, to both your Twitter and website audience. look over to the right hand column (or scroll down if you’re on your phone) to see one of the widget solutions in WordPress. Learn how here. If your site doesn’t use it, there are other methods.

Twitter Cards are a means of promoting in your feed by creating a card intended either to drive website traffic or encourage downloading an app. For most SMBs the obvious choice is site traffic. Cards, once created, are tweeted, for free to just your followers or to a larger audience with demographics you select, for a fee. Start with free cards to get a feel for the approach. Read my blog post to learn how.

Just as you can boost a post in Facebook you can Quick Promote a Tweet. Read more…


Build a Facebook Audience from Website visitors

All online activity leaves footprints and Facebook offers businesses a method for building an audience from visitors to their (your) website. It’s called a “tracking pixel”, a snippet of code that, when properly pasted into your posts and pages adds any visitor to an invisible list. You may run ads to that audience (very inexpensively) and a look-alike audience can be created by shared characteristics because Facebook knows so much about its users. With a few clicks, you can double the audience for your boosted posts and other ad options. Read our WordPress “how-to”…


Live stream video from your premises using Periscope, an app owned by Twitter. Whether you’re putting on an event or just having a busy Saturday, positioning a Smartphone camera on the action makes live streaming video available to your followers and anyone they share with. You can schedule your stream in advance to build a larger audience. Viewers can like and comment so be prepared to engage with them. Live streaming is a two-way street. To get a feeling for live streaming from a mobile device, download Periscope (and Meerkat if you like) and view some of the available programming. You may choose to save your stream with Periscope for twenty-four hours, time to use your Facebook page and your email list to invite viewers who missed the live event. Your first broadcast won’t likely challenge the one restaurant chain Applebee’s pulled off from Times Square but you’ll be ahead of the competition. More…

The underappreciated QR (Quick Response) code remains a useful tool for engaging visitors, providing expanded product knowledge or just a means to save contact and website information. Unlike the product bar codes  on packaging, QR codes are two-dimensional, containing data across and down, which makes them capable of communicating more information than their one-dimensional sibling. Consumers do morepre-purchase research than ever and many would prefer to begin the buying path without a salesperson. QR code campaigns are also simple to design and implement – and they’re trackable.

Mobile can build your business, is doing it for others every day.


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Short Code Text Messaging – What’s in it for Your Business?

When Ted Cruz announced for President he invited his audience to text “Constitution” or “imagine” to a Short Code. Cruz’s organization collects mobile phone numbers in this manner and can broadcast to the “list”, offering information and asking for volunteers and donations. More recently he did it again during an address at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). He asked the audience to text “GROWTH” to 33733. According to Tatango, which powered the SMS (Short Message Service) program, there were 16,000 opt-ins during the speech. On the Tatango website one of the case studies describes an online cosmetics company using Short Code text messaging to create a database of mobile phone numbers that reached 5,000, from zero, in 24 hours. Interestingly, the number to which they were asked to text “JULEP”, the company name, was the same 33733 that the Cruz camp used last month. And here, my friends, is where it gets interesting. Large companies often choose to own a shortcode and will pay thousands of dollars a year for that privilege. But if your business can’t afford that rent, take heart. You can buy a share of a Short Code. Many users may share one simply by selecting a keyword no one else is using. So “text DriveNBuy to 33733” is separated from the campaign saying “text GROWTH to 33733”.

If you don’t have three minutes (and that would be sad) know that a shared Short Code could cost you $50 a month versus $500, plus far less costly message fees since hundreds or thousands of users sharing a Short Code makes for huge volumes of messages – and the greater the volume the lower the cost.
Dedicated Short Code vs Shared Short Code
So, what can you do with a Short Code? In London, drivers may purchase a ticket to bring a car into downtown by texting to a shortcode and saving the response to demonstrate that they’ve paid the fare. restuarant3But you’re just as likely to see a Short Code on a sidewalk sign outside a burger joint, inviting you to text for a coupon and bring it in.  If you’re wondering if this isn’t a lot like invitations to sign up or register with an email address you’re not wrong. This is an additional channel, not an exclusive one, and

 either direct mail or social media. And how likely is that percentage to increase? Nearly everyone has a mobile phone and entering a simple keyword trumps entering a name and email address on a tiny keyboard. This chart from Tatango sets out survey results:

Email-Marketing-vs-Text-Marketing-Statistics   In Canada, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) manages the assignment of Short Codes, leasing them at $500 per month to eligible applicants. Their site offers a FAQ that answers many questions a potential user might have. They also suggest that marketers use the term text message versus Short Code, because the former is broadly familiar. If you are interested in support in exploring the use of Short Code/text messaging in your marketing please get in touch.

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A Facebook Ad Audience from Site Visitors – How To with WordPress

Facebook makes it possible to create a list of visitors to your website so that you may:

  • Build a Facebook ad audience to which you can advertise, and
  • Create a “lookalike” audience based on the nature of your visitor pool, to extend the target audience for your ads.

in a site, using a recommended plugin to make short work of the job. Naturally, sites not built on WordPress can also take advantage of the program and we will address that in a separate post. The image below is a capture from the website home of the plugin. Step one – download the plugin .zip file. Then, in your WordPress dashboard, select “Plugins”>”Add New”. There are two ways to install a plugin. One uses the search bar to find and install. The other uses the Add Plugins selection “Add Plugins”. This is the right choice when you have downloaded a plugin zip file to your computer. You will be asked to browse to that file and install it. In seconds you will be asked to activate it.

Once activated the plugin will appear in the dashboard sidebar on the left and it’s here that you will determine where to install the conversion pixel. Click the plugin name to open your options. I chose to add it to both pages and posts so that any visitor viewing any of that content will be captured to my audience list.


The process works when the conversion pixel code is pasted into posts and pages, either as you create them, or by opening existing content in the editor and adding the code where the plugin has created a place at the bottom of the page. Once you’ve pasted it, don’t forget to update the post or page. If you don’t the code won’t be added:


As I have found with other code samples that will be used time after time (like the Twitter follow button),  saving code to a text file, from which you can copy and paste repeatedly, saves time and grief as you use it over and over. But hang on, where do we get the conversion pixel code?


Facebook walks you through the steps here. You may choose from a number of conversion categories, each of them explained if you click on the name, such as the one underlined in red. If you follow the steps outlined you’ll end up creating the conversion pixel you need to copy and paste into your site content. Then it’s a matter of allowing time to pass while your audience numbers build. When you’re ready, return to Ads Manager and select “Conversion Tracking” where you’re invited to create your ad:


Feel free to use the comment box below to ask a question or rate the value of this post, and thanks for visiting.

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Twitter Feed In WordPress

A client recently asked about adding a Twitter feed to a website. I know he chose a WordPress theme when the newest site was built and many millions of other sites are built on it too. So, not surprisingly, there are a number of solutions, some using code, some using Plugins or Widgets, some free, some with premium options and so on. For the purpose of this post I selected a simple plugin-widget that was as simple as install, configure settings and save. The result is visible in the right hand margin, above my post collection.

I made my selection and in the WordPress dashboard selected “Plugins”, “Add New”. Enter the exact name of the plugin in the search box and hit enter.


In seconds I was invited to activate the plugin. Then, because this particular solution is a widget, I clicked on “Appearance”, “Widgets”. The display that results shows my installed widgets in alphabetical order on the left, and the locations in which I might choose to display the Twitter feed on the right. In this image you see both the widget named on the left and the location I selected, in the Primary Sidebar between my share buttons and my post list.


FeedSettings There are a few settings you can tweak to choose a colour or add a border, yes/no to a scrollbar and of course the Twitter handle for the feed you want to appear. I chose “netvideomaker” to display my tweets, leaving off the @ sign. the image at left is a partial view of the selections available.  I mentioned at the top that this particular solution requires no API or code but clearly there is a “Twitter Widget ID”. Since I didn’t insert it I have to assume it comes with the plugin installation.

For the moment I’m satisfied with this straightforward  approach to displaying my feed in the sidebar of my posts and pages. But I said it isn’t the only solution. Elegant Themes has a post on the subject that presents a number of alternatives, with illustrations.

Pinterest for Business

In only five years, Pinterest users have created one billion boards. More than 14 million articles are pinned every day, 80% of visitors are on a mobile device and two-thirds of all the content people Pin is from a business website. Rumours persist that they are developing a “buy” button. If you sell anything that should make your hair stand on end. Yikes.

In the video below, Kevin Knight from the partnerships department talks about how to make “beautiful” pins, create thoughtful descriptions, and help pinners take action.

In this video he talks about the art of making boards and what he says reminds me of the advice generally given to businesses learning social media marketing. Remember that you arent’ advertising, you are sharing a persona and hoping to attract a following of folks who share your interests and values. 

For more solid information and additional content links, read Chris Crumm’s article on WebProNews.

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Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged

Mobile-friendly websites to get ranking boost

Whether you provide, pay for or DIY SEO, April could be the cruellest month. Toward month end, Google will roll out a mobile-friendly ranking system for search. Given the explosive growth of search on mobile, not being mobile-friendly could cost you most of your investment in SEO. We Canadians lead the world in searches per capita and the 82% of Canadian business sites that are not yet mobile-friendly are making life awfully easy for the 18% that are.

Social media marketing aims to create new revenue, ultimately, by using multiple means to deliver increased website traffic. This graph, from Google’s “trend” site, demonstrates just how big a deal SMM has become in less than a decade:

You can get a pretty good idea of the state of your site just by visiting on a mobile device. Google’s top suggestion is to, you might have guessed it, Google your site on a mobile device. A while back they introduced what they call a mobile-friendly label, which either appears or does not in your search listing. Look for the words “Mobile-friendly” under the url.


You may also choose to use Google’s tool. There’s nothing complicated about it. You are either “awesome” or you aren’t. If you flunk the test and use WordPress, Google offers a link to support for getting yourself fixed.

notMobileFriendly250If you don’t use WordPress and fail the test Google provides a few questions, each linked to supportive content. Regardless of how your site was built, if it matters to your business you need to find and implement a solution. Google suggests the following are key to getting the mobile-friendly label:

  • Avoid software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Use text that is readable without zooming
  • Size content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Place links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

Should you be among the startlingly high number of SMBs that DON’T HAVE A WEBSITE (!!!) consider beginning with a WordPress or other responsive theme. We use Genesis in WordPress and as we’ve pointed out, we got “Awesome” on the test.


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44 Pro-recommended Social Media Tools

It isn’t often that I find so much useful in a single post. This is a rare exception and it’s no surprise that it comes from the SocialMediaExaminer. is an app that installs in your browser. When you find content you want to share you can use it to create a link to the content AND create a personalized call to action to accompany it in your share to whatever common platforms you’ve given Sniply permission to connect to. My first effort, visible across the bottom of the screen capture links a post on this site to the blue button.



When I tweeted the sniply, a link was automatically inserted to deliver a visitor to the blog post. Here’s what the tweet looked like:


Clicking the link brings up both the SME content and my sniply call to action, as the first image above describes. The red arrow in that image and the red oval above were both added in a second recent find, namely AwesomeScreenshot, available for Firefox, Chrome and Safari, lets you capture what you’re viewing and mark it up, then save it.
To view the SME content visit my Twitter feed – @netvideomaker.

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Goals in Google Analytics

I am no longer surprised when a new client or prospect admits to not having opened their site analytics in, well, maybe never. That doesn’t discourage most from tweaking the site and hoping for the best. The environment of the web provides the best opportunity ever for measuring the results of our actions and any professional marketer will tell you that analysis and measurement are essential. So, lets talk about setting goals in Google Analytics.

You open analytics and you want to see what your visitors look at, how often, how many pages, visit duration, and bounce rate. You manage to find “users flow” under the “Audience” selection in the left hand column. You get a lovely, quite artistic image that I find virtually useless. Here’s an example:


You can export this to PDF among other choices but I find it frustrating no matter where I look at it. Fortunately, there is a simple solution for anyone with administrative access. You can create a goal and once done view the data in an entirely different presentation:

firstGoal600This format presents columns of data from number of sessions through new visitors, number of pages viewed and so on and each column can be sorted, so if you want to see what pages have the highest bounce rate, sort it from high to low.  There are many goals available pre-made and ready to import. This is one. It’s called the “content analysis dashboard”. Notice that across the top I’ve blown up the word “Admin” to show you where to go to access goals. The screen you see has three columns. This image is of the third, furthest right, and in the list of selections I’ve underscored “Goals”.


Selecting “Goals” brings up another screen:

goalAssortmentYou can spend a while here, selecting categories and looking at the various goals available to import. When you make a selection and press “Import” you will shortly see the word “Success” appear top centre of your screen. Return to “Reporting” (seen at the top of the next image) and under “Dashboard”, select “Private”. Any goals you’ve imported with appear and be accessible. In this case it’s the “Content Analysis Dashboard” we selected from the screen above, where it is the first goal described.


When you select that goal what you see next is a series of columns providing different segments of the data from the “Users flow” screen. I selected the top right offer and was presented with what you see in the second image in this post, with page visits and related data in an easily digestible, sortable format.

Now you have access to hard information about how your site is used and can make informed decisions about what content is working for you and what isn’t. Like anything else you’ve worked at learning, spending time in Analytics is its own reward.

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Exploring Google Analytics

Working at a client site, asked to deliver a top line on their site’s performance from Google Analytics, I was reminded that many website owners don’t look at site performance, ever or infrequently and not in any depth. Yet they make tweaks, add and remove content, change colours and so on completely without input as to what is working or not working already. Back at the home office on a Saturday morning I assign myself the tast of exploring Google Analytics. I opened up the report for this site (thanks to the Analytics plugin for WordPress) and then started a YouTube video, available below, in which Stasia Kudrez, President of SEM Training, walks her audience through the A-B-C’s of Google Analytics, with examples from one fictional and one real website. I highly recommend doing what I did. Use the video pause button to follow along in your analytics. Unless you’re already very well versed in this tool I guarantee you will learn valuable lessons.

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Twitter Cards for Business


There’s a new tool in town and no matter what you’ve heard, it’s not me. It’s the Twitter Card, a business card-looking combination of image and text intended to increase website traffic and conversions from Twitter. The cards are free if you select only your followers as the audience, and you probably should for starters. If you later decide to reach a larger, targeted audience, you can ante up budget and set dates and so on. To get started, visit Twitter Ads, register, with a credit card that won’t be charged for a followers-only card campaign, then click on “Create a Campaign”. If you’d rather learn how to do this from the source, Twitter’s Brendan Zhang hosts the webinar I viewed, which you’ll find here. You will have to trade some personal info to get to the slides. Or you could stick with me for a few more minutes. From the dropdown options select “Website clicks or conversions”. Keep your eyes up on the next screen. What you want is the navigation link named “Creatives” at the top of the page. Click it and select “Cards”. With the new page open, select “website” from the four choices across the top. You’re going to be asked for four things:

  • an image – 800 pixels wide and 320 high. I’ll show you my first one in a minute:
  • a URL to send followers to, in my case a blog post on this site
  • a headline, up to 70 characters in length
  • a CTA, chosen from a dropdown list. I chose “Visit Now” because I was linking to a web page (blogpost)

You should have no difficulty with the rest of the process. It’s just filling in blanks, and it looks like this:

webcard_build_screenYour first attempt won’t say “edit image” under the first chore – “Card image”. Mine does because choosing to edit my card was the only way to get this screen up. The others will be blank until you populate them and the call to action (CTA) will be yours to select. I said I’d show you my image. That’s it on the right in the centre of the card. Built in PhotoShop with a free graphical element. For a better look and the story behind why I wanted to do this today, visit this link. That’s it. Please feel free to comment or ask a question in the space below.

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Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged

Share One Thing in Social Media Marketing

OneThingbetter social media marketing
If you follow social media marketing you know that advice often comes in the form of “Nine Tips” and “Seven Tools”. Some of it is great content. What if we SMmarketers decided to contribute one thing whenever something special raises its head? We’d all get better, we’d all be move valuable to clients in our markets, we’d all bring clients more customers and more revenue. Why not? So, join with me in Tweeting #OneThinginSMM and let’s see where it goes. Remember to tweet early and often. (Feel free to add your one thing as a comment below. I’ll be sure it gets shared.)

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Twitter Advertising – “Quick Promote”


If you’ve ever promoted a post on Facebook you’ll get “Quick Promote”, new to Twitter advertising. You may not know it but Twitter offers an analytics service that is at the heart of this new option. Here you find the activity and engagement performance for all of your tweets, according to the date range you select. Using it you can identify what tweets are doing best organically and choose to promote one or more, set a budget and await the results. You can read about it here, where a short video illustrates the process and gives you the url to the analytics page. If you run Twitter on the computer you use to visit, and if you’re signed in,your information will default automatically. For more on social, mobile, video, 3-D printing and virtual/augmented reality, click the image.

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Email drives visits for Best Buy Kiosks

Joining Best Buy’s Reward Zone is likely during one purchase or another and today the rewards can be welcome. Their video kiosk program came to a 7-11 nearby recently and to promote it they sent a coupon code for up to five free DVD rentals. That created awareness of a service down the street.  And it guarantees that, for $1. 50 an evening (DVD vs BluRay at $2.00),  we’ll be visiting with some frequency, compared to Rogers on demand price of nearly four times that.  So, in-store lead capture generates email offers that create foot traffic and ongoing revenue. Well done.

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Building Landing Pages

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