AmericanMuscle.com – Effective Internet Marketing

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As an active member of a numerous amount of mustang websites, one company that is always helpful and always great to deal with is AmericanMuscle, being an online parts distributor, they have utilized all aspects of internet marketing, causing them to not only be extremely effective, but extremely likeable.

They have an EXTREMELY user friendly and attractive website, with all the best practices being used, from rotating banners that have monthly specials and top sellers/new products, they have all contact information shown, easy access to all facets of social media, and blog access that all gets wrapped up into one extremely well designed e-commerce experience.

Looking at social media, they have an extremely well maintained blog, that follows their projects cars and lets the community help them build them and decide colors and parts, this gets them thousands of comments and engagement on their blog, Facebook, and twitter. One thing that makes their social media so effective is that they dont sell directly, they show off customers cars with parts, a car community loves to see awesome cars so it makes them connected with the community and in turn generates leads and sales from spectators.

My favorite is their forum presence, they offer all forums special discount codes and have reps on every site to answer questions, deal with customer service, and also remain active in general conversation, these are mustang fanatics as well, not computers and it really makes a difference.

I also am signed up on their newsletter, and it keeps me up to date on new parts, new mustang events and fun things alltogether. Also they keep me informed of promotions, give me constant discounts, and allow me to enter into their monthly $500+ shopping sprees, to enter these you just have to follow their Youtube channels or other things, never making you directly promote them. That brings up their Youtube channel, which features how-to videos as well as fun videos humanizing the company as a whole, from taking models out in modded cars doing burnouts and donuts to poking fun at import cars on April Fool’s Day.

I am a very weary consumer most of the time, but even thought I do not buy alot since cars parts are expensive, I can say that they might just be my favorite company out there, and will always remember them when I need that little extra add-on later down the road.

The only thing missing is a good mobile app, which they have been active in discussing with the communty, seeing as it is a costly endeavor they want to make sure it is tailored to the users as best as possible and after reading thought the conversations the only issue arising is people being afraid for their wallets sake with a good mobile app. 

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Utilizing Technology and Mobile at Trade Shows

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The company that I currently work for attends many trade shows throughout the year, spending thousands on marketing collateral that is never really tracked, budgeted, nor targeted. I have come up with my own trade show marketing plan utilizing concepts learned in my strategic internet marketing class, along with my integrated brand promotion class.

The goal of the strategy is to leverage the rising mobile market and allow consumers to view and even purchase any item on the spot. We currently spend a lot shipping sample boxes which then clutter up the tradeshow table and don’t allow anyone to truly focus or become engaged with the product, that’s where tech shines, implementing a tablet with a scrollable and rotating array of products, pricing and links for further info. This opens the table space up and allows for more interpersonal interaction and less clutter and noise.

Secondly relying on cheap gift cards and coupons that get lost, thrown away or wasted is a thing of the past. My plan is to implement a new QR code for each tradeshow, allow the code to link to specials and promotional deals that target the segment of the market attending, this will allow quick transactions, easy tracking and reporting and a fresh and progressive trade show offering.

With the rising mobile market, more users are buying online and this will catch them and reel them in, allowing them to be sold from a direct salesman after they are hooked. Also, the company I work for wants to pursue a new market in the younger more hip demographic, and I believe traditional marketing and coupon codes will not create the level of interest that a new mobile and tech based offering can provide. Hopefully one day I will be able to share ideas such as these, however writing out my ideas proves to give me an outlet to voice my ideas and that will do for now.

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#The Danger of Twitter

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Twitter can be utilized as a very effective social media tool, it can build brand awareness, social interaction, and more, but it can also make the company liable for its employee’s “foot in the mouth” comments. Just in the past year there have been several instances of companies getting negative PR as well as looking ridiculous because of one employee’s tweet. The problem here is that everyone following is usually a fan of the company, so in the end all issues that arise will ultimately harm hot leads.

The first instance was with Chrysler, after pushing its “Imported From Detroit” and American pride angle trying to revitalize the troubled brand it passed its twitter management to an outside company, this came back and really hurt them. One day a employee for the PR company handling the twitter tweeted about Detroits traffic, its drivers and used profanity to completely trash talk the city. Not the best move for a company that takes pride in its Detroit standing.

Next we see Adam Orth, a creative director for Microsoft, not only did he break his NDA over twitter, he used his twitter to talk trash with a friend that in the end was disrespecting all customers that were located in mid-America. Needless to say his tweets and twitter was immediately closed down, and his LinkedIn account was also deleted, Microsoft doesn’t play around.

We come to use twitter as a fun shorthand way of speaking to the masses, and its a great tool, however we often tend to forget the business nature of communication in the process. There are several other high-followed individuals that have over the past year really went into an inappropriate direction and harmed their employers, there will always be damage control, but shouldn’t preventative measures be made to help make things run smoothly?

Twitter is a amazing service that connects users to every facet of the world, but just like traditional means of communication, people sometimes need to think a little more before they speak/tweet out.

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Ugly Websites Get NO Love

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Websites come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, however even to this day we see the constant onslaught of poorly designed, optimized, and maintained websites. The issue that comes about with this is that sometimes underneath that horrible UI or design is some truly great insight to be had. They always tell you not to judge a book by its cover, but this is the digital age! books are e-books now and websites are easily built to be effective, the absence of an attractive website is an issue that has no valid excuse.

Looking at design first, a very attractive and non-overbearing design needs to be instated with a nice guide for everyone to visibly see. There needs to be a short, sweet and unique value proposition to captivate the audience and deter bouncing. Often times rotating banners below the page selector can be very effective, catering towards a wide range of consumers. Connectivity is also key! you need to have synergy across all internet marketing and social media so all extensions of the brand across the web need to be easily accesible.

Another key component is to have the website easy to convert users, whether it be sales, follows, or sign ups for newsletters it needs to be a easy process that will not put off potential leads. There are several tools out there that are so simple to use that not taking advantage of having a fully functional and optimized website can prove to be one of the most monumental mistakes a business can make, online or brick and mortar.

Finally a business really needs to assess their industry and if a app isn’t a viable or smart option, mobile optimization needs to be done! The rise of the mobile marketplace is something that we simply cannot dismiss and making a website that is scalable on mobile platforms as well as responsible and optimized can make not only conversions better, but it can have consumers more interested into exploring your site!

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Video Marketing – Building Relationships

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Recently my class went over the power of video marketing and the various types and parameters that are considered the most effective. This gives me a chance to express my extreme support for video marketing, I feel that not only does my generation not have the attention span to fully become engaged with a company’s message or goals, but with the rise of social media we are greatly influenced by a brand’s ability to connect to us in a comfortable and straightforward manner.

By creating interesting and engaging videos, companies are able to focus on an aspect of marketing that some don’t value quite enough, building equity and relationships with consumers. Salesmen are often viewed as unsavory people to a lot, constantly being sold products can create distaste for a brand that is where video marketing can be beneficial. An example is the Ford Mustang, everyone knows what it is and what the purpose is, however by utilizing world class drift racing icon Vaughn Gittin Jr. they are able to make a fun to watch piece that in turn makes users more prone to invest more time and attention towards Mustang’s in the future.

There’s no sales pitch, no text and no words at all, just pure adrenaline and fun for anyone to enjoy, even MOPAR and Chevy drivers. Many brands bring out informational videos that increase consumer likeability as well as add to the goodwill of the brand.  Video marketing has untapped potential to gain followers, build long-term relationships with customers and that is much more important than a quick sale, with cars brand equity is extremely important as brand loyalty tends to be very high, this is a very high MAO purchase and beating the customer over the head with sales pitches is often ineffective.

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E-Mail Marketing – Quick + Effective

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E-Mail marketing has to be one of the greatest tools in a businesses arsenal, its quick, its effective, and its cheap. The beauty of it all is that you are never preaching to the wrong choir, everyone has opted in and wants to get updates and newsletters from you. That is why the most difficult part is generating a robust email list through lead generation techniques. Once you gain the consumer’s interest you can shower them in a constant stream of content that will not only strengthen your brand, but bring sales and awareness up as well.

Generally there are 3 types/formats to follow:

1) Newsletters – Inform + educate

2) Promotions/Invitations/Surveys

3) Announcements

I find from personal experience at my work (e-commerce based) that the promotional e-mails are the most effective towards bringing about sales and referrals. A simple 10% while reminding consumers that a holiday is coming up, or that winter is coming and hoodies are half off tends to take a warm/cold lead and heat things up a bit. The trick with these is to follow a few best practices when creating the e-mail as the general public gets flooded with e-mails daily and tends to dismiss alot of information.

Starting with just the subject line, we want to captivate the audience to open the e-mail, but not sound crazy and come off as a spam message, keep exclamation marks and caps lock out of here! Give a call to action, but tie it in with a deadline to create a sense of urgency and you will hopefully create a quick sale at that moment. Following general web design principles and making the advertisement visually appealing and easy to navigate and utilize is key as well, you want users to be able to click, buy, and recieve as effortless as possible, because lengthy processes just cause abandoned carts.

In the end you want to tie it all up in a social media campaign as that reigns supreme these days, integration across all media and marketing channels can be a very good strategic move, and with e-mail marketing you are going into the digital arena and everyone loves a cohesive message and campaign these days.

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The Diverse Nature of Conversions

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The other night in my marketing class we went over the generation of leads and, the conversion process. We identified several different types of conversion and it made me wonder how businesses can utilize several different types of conversion goals simultaneously and reap rewards. Do many businesses simply go about simple conversion tactics that go in-line with their marketing and business strategy? Or do some tend to not leave their eggs all in one basket and diversify thus hedging the probability of a failure in captivating and acquiring leads.

We know that one conversion that is quite favorable is sales, but that is just the end game, so many other types of conversions lead to a much longer and much more profitable future for companies such as:

  • Likes
  • Follows
  • Shares
  • Newsletter/Email sign-ups
  • Comment/Interact

Likes, follows, and shares are all integral to social media and having an online presence, by doing this you strengthen the brand and in turn create interest, and will always be able to stay connected with your potential customers. Newsletters and e-mail sign-ups can be extremely valuable, instead of getting a conversion of a sale, you are maintaining a relationship with the consumer to not only give them relevant information, but inform them about sales, products and other things that will increase the CLTV (Customer Lifetime Value). Comments and interactions are great leads as well, they help you gauge the effectiveness of your program/campaign immediately and you aside from just getting criticized or praised, you can interact with consumers and in turn cater an experience that will further the engagement and in turn nurture your relationship. So while sales are king in the financial realm, I believe all other types of conversion are much more beneficial, we live in a digital age where connectivity is key.

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Mobile Users are KEY

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This entry is a response to reading “Forget about social Media for a moment. What’s your mobile strategy?” by Brian Solis

This was a very intriguing post because it shows just how quickly the market fluctuates, when I was entering college all we heard about was how social media will be the most important aspect for years to come, and now the focus has yet again shifted and those quick enough to prepare for the trends will reap the benefits. Mobile is growing and with the rise of the tablet we are seeing that average consumers are now buying on the go, they are buying with ease on their tablets and they are browsing with mobile devices as well. The rise of the touch screen is what makes the mobile experience so favorable, navigation is simple, intuitive and responsive.

The article brings up many points, and the one that stuck out to me is USABILITY! You want your users to have a pleasant and focused experience or else they will leave and never look back. Its all in the creation of a good UI creating a focused experience that works, a usable site that is quick to traverse but doesn’t over complicate things. Contain your site, dont crowd everything all on one page, make it flow right and allow the customer to easily access what they desire with a visually appealing interface that works with the device being used (Android,iOS,Windows8, etc)

Most websites have a ridiculous amount of links and pages to access, however most of that is not needed when on a mobile device, the screen size is also a factor to think of when you are trying to generate ad revenue. Don’t make your ad’s obtrusive and ruin the experience, find creative ways to provide your users with catered ads that are organic with the flow of your site/application. Most sites are starting to switch over if they havent, and those who do not will lose a large audience in time, we have reached the age when everyone uses mobile devices as opposed to computers and it is exciting! The last big thing was social media, and now social media and mobile usage can be used in harmony and integration can make all new possibilities for companies.

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