/Ramon Ray
Ramon Ray

About Ramon Ray

Ramon is Publisher, Smart Hustle Magazine; Marketing and Technology Evangelist of Smallbiztechnology.com and Infusionsoft. He is passionate about helping small businesses grow their businesses by educating them about technology and marketing best practices.   He is a journalist, freelance writer, event producer (including Small Biz Big Things with Seth Godin), speaker (including the Computer Electronics Show with Guy Kawasaki), emcee (including Association for Enterprise Opportunity Awards with Daymond John of FUBU and Shark Tank) and author.  His third book is Amazon.com best seller “Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing”, (Wiley, Winter 2013).  

Are Your Videos SEO-Ready? 3 Tips for Improving Search Rankings for Video

705_3453589If you’re producing content for the Internet, your top priority is making sure that content is seen. You can tell all of your customers to check it out, but that will only bring those who already know about your brand. To truly attract attention, your content needs to make a prominent showing in search results.

With video content, this process can be much trickier. Videos are, by their very nature, SEO unfriendly. Search algorithms look for text and without it, they can completely miss a winning piece of content. Here are some tips to boost your videos in search rankings.

Offer a Transcript

If you’ve ever visited a TV news site, you’ve likely seen the value in providing a transcript to go along with the video. This gives visitors the choice of watching the video or reading the story, depending on their preference and the technology they’re using at the moment. But TV news sites realize that when you have a transcript to go along with your video, you have plenty of text to attract the attention of algorithms.

Of course, in order for that plan to be effective, you’ll need a video that has the best key phrases for your intended audience. In addition to incorporating those keywords as you write your script, you’ll also need to make sure you’re creating interesting videos that people will want to click over to see in the first place. Continue reading “Are Your Videos SEO-Ready? 3 Tips for Improving Search Rankings for Video” »

By | June 30th, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

4 Changes You Should Make to Your Marketing Strategy to Prepare for the Smartwatch Trend

681_4921096The Apple Watch is here. While it may be one of the most anticipated product debuts of the year, Apple’s smartwatch joins many others already on the market, including Pebble, Samsung’s Gear, and Motorola’s Moto. While the wearables market is still small, the smartwatch trend is expected to take off in the next few years.

For marketers and small business owners, the new trend means screens are once again changing. Consumers have already moved from their desktops and laptops to smartphone screens. Smartwatches will have them checking email, texting, and playing games directly on their wrists. If your business is ramping up its marketing strategy for the remainder of 2015, here are a few changes you should make to reach smartwatch wearers.

Invest in Ads

Perhaps the most obvious way to target smartwatch owners with your marketing messages is through the use of ads. According to Juniper Research, smartwatch ad revenue is expected to increase from $1.5 million this year to $68.6 million by 2019. Advertisers are working hard to ensure ads reach smartwatch wearers at the best possible time to make a connection. This will be done through technology that learns wearer behavior and sends marketing messages based on that connection. Continue reading “4 Changes You Should Make to Your Marketing Strategy to Prepare for the Smartwatch Trend” »

By | June 16th, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

Facebook Adds New Tools for Marketers

1266_4926866Social media is a vital part of business marketing today and sites like Facebook and Twitter are well aware of it. Facebook’s powers-that-be know that if they don’t provide enough options for marketers, they’ll take their campaigns to the competition. As a result, social networking giants seem to constantly be searching for ways to help marketers connect with customers.

Proving its dedication to win the business customer over, Facebook has spent the first part of 2015 rolling out tools to make it easier to advertise on the site. Here are three tools that businesses can now use to deploy and manage successful campaigns.

Ads Manager App

Launched earlier this year, the ads manager app lets businesses manage their campaigns using a mobile device. This app is a follow up to Facebook’s decision to make a mobile-friendly version of its ad manager, letting users track the performance of ads, edit existing ads and budgets, and create ads. A push notification feature will alert campaign owners when an ad timeline is about to end or when a business’s spending limit has been reached.

Unfortunately, the ads manager app is currently only available for iOS. Facebook promises to release an Android version of the app later this year. To add Facebook’s ads manager app to your iPhone or iPad, visit the iTunes Store. Continue reading “Facebook Adds New Tools for Marketers” »

By | May 26th, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

4 Ways Crowdsourcing Can Boost Your Marketing

This is a guest post from Ramon Ray.
1010_4409260As crowdsourcing evolves, brands are getting more creative about using it as a tool for marketing. For a small fee, businesses can rely on the power of large groups of consumers to make their campaigns successful. By working directly with customers, brands build real audiences for their products, with those audiences likely passing the word to their own friends and family members. Here are a few ways you can utilize the power of crowdsourcing in your own marketing campaigns.

Gain Broad Exposure for Events

Imagine if you could sign everyone you know up to post about your campaign on the same day. Thunderclap allows you to do just that. In the days leading up to your product launch or special event, invite online followers and customers to sign up for your Thunderclap campaign. On the designated day, tweets and Facebook posts will automatically execute, allowing you to reach a wide range of people with one big push.

You don’t have to have an enormous online following to be effective. In fact, a small group of extremely loyal followers is often more effective than a large group of vague acquaintances. The free version of Thunderclap requires a minimum number of signups for the campaign to go live but a paid version has no minimum, at a cost of only $45. Continue reading “4 Ways Crowdsourcing Can Boost Your Marketing” »

By | May 7th, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

Which Is More Important: User Experience or Security?

437_3017933A user-friendly website is essential for success in business today. Sites must not only be easy to navigate on PCs, but on smartphones and tablets, as well. Complicating all of this is the increasing pressure businesses feel to ensure all interactions are as secure as possible. In an ideal world, businesses would be able to balance both without sacrificing one for the other. Unfortunately, many businesses today are forced to weigh usability against tightened security when building apps or redesigning websites.

But with the ongoing threat of data breaches, businesses can’t afford to stop paying attention to security. Brand reputation is at stake. Without an easy-to-use website, though, they may not be able to build a high-impact reputation in the first place. It’s important that business strike the right balance between both to keep customer safe without creating a complicated user experience.

User Experience vs. Security

When a consumer navigates your site, there’s likely a specific purpose. A customer may be interested in learning your store hours or directions, searching for information on pricing, making a purchase, or one of many other goals. If information is the end goal, your website’s navigability is the most important thing, since customers will likely grab information and go. In that case, the only time you’re likely putting customer data at risk is if your site is hacked or you’re collecting information. Continue reading “Which Is More Important: User Experience or Security?” »

By | April 23rd, 2015|Business Technology|0 Comments

5 Strategies You Should Add to Your Email Marketing Campaigns

609_3546844As social media marketing has grown in popularity, marketers have gradually lost focus on one of the best ways to reach customers on a one-on-one basis. Email marketing is still extremely relevant, however, offering brands an opportunity to connect with customers using coupons and special offers. Data analytics has made it possible for brands to be more effective than ever in their efforts, learning what works and what doesn’t in order to craft more successful campaigns.

But technology has only made the email marketing landscape more competitive. To truly improve click-through rates and increase conversions, brands have to be proactive. Here are five strategies that can help your email marketing campaigns succeed. Continue reading “5 Strategies You Should Add to Your Email Marketing Campaigns” »

By | April 14th, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

The Social Media Lie: How Not to Make Yourself Crazy with Twitter and Facebook Marketing

1019_4270607For a business of any size, it’s difficult to escape the constant recommendations about online marketing. If you want to reach customers, they say, you have to use social media. Set up accounts on Twitter and Facebook and business will explode.

Unfortunately for too many small businesses, this isn’t the reality. They fall into the social media trap, thinking that they can’t go wrong as long as they have accounts set up. In fact, having a social media presence can be worse than no presence at all if it takes an entrepreneur in the wrong direction. Here are four reasons some small businesses fail at social media.

  1. They Don’t Have Time

Once a social media account is setup and a business begins promoting it, the pressure is on. If all you do is blast out marketing messages to your followers, you’ll lose them quickly. Instead, you should start uploading interesting content that helps customers connect with your brand. This takes time—a commodity most small businesses have in short supply. Soon enough, customers visit a page, only to find it hasn’t been updated in months. This makes a brand look outdated and out of touch, making a worse impression than if there were no social media presence at all. Continue reading “The Social Media Lie: How Not to Make Yourself Crazy with Twitter and Facebook Marketing” »

The Startup Playbook: 10 Ingredients to Starting Your First Successful Business

680_3379997Each month, approximately 543,000 new businesses launch with the hopes of becoming one of the few who survive long term. With so much competition, it’s more important than ever that entrepreneurs have the right combination of features in place from the start. Here are ten ingredients every startup needs to succeed.

Research

Before you begin putting your new business together, you should set aside time for research. Carefully study the market and compile data clearly demonstrating your idea is not only unique, but meets market demand.

Timing

Timing often plays a crucial role in a startup’s success. It’s important to launch at the optimum time for the market, but you should also avoid delaying too long. Many innovative ideas have been killed by someone else coming out with the same product or service just a little faster. Continue reading “The Startup Playbook: 10 Ingredients to Starting Your First Successful Business” »

By | March 10th, 2015|Starting a Business|0 Comments

Zero Dollar Marketing—How to Build Buzz with No Money

1019_4616159To grow, a business needs to get the word out. But to get the word out, a business needs money. Without the funds in place to launch a full-scale marketing campaign, how can an entrepreneur compete with the big dogs?

Fortunately, you don’t have to have a big marketing campaign to reach customers. There are more ways than ever to get the word out without spending a fortune. Here are a few ways you can generate buzz for your business on a limited budget.

Dispense with the Conventional

When you consider marketing options, you likely think of a few of the most popular ways to market. This includes hiring a firm, sending press releases, and deploying multiple social media updates. You should instead consider ways your brand can stand out. What unique features does your product or service have that can be used to build buzz? If you can find a way to make your social media updates stand out, you’ll be more likely to connect with customers. Continue reading “Zero Dollar Marketing—How to Build Buzz with No Money” »

By | February 27th, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments