Are You an Online Advertising and Marketing Criminal?

Your Internet Marketing Can Land You In a Cell Like This One.

If you run your business as a sole proprietorship and are planning to market using the Internet, speak to your lawyer. Ask him if he agrees that once you start a marketing campaign, you should change the form of your business from a sole proprietorship to a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). Doing this means that your business, but not you, can be held responsible for any misfortunes with your Internet marketing that leads to a lawsuit – in other words, an LLC lowers your personal liability risks. Jail Cell

Internet marketers have to understand that there are legal boundaries for Internet marketing and advertising, often under Federal Agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

As an Internet marketing firm, Webociti keeps abreast of regulations governing Internet marketing and advertising.

What Kinds of Things Does the FTC Regulate?

All kinds of things and following are information about FTC enforcement.

Fake Reviews

New businesses have little or no track record for ratings or testimonials, leading those new to Internet marketing to buy made up reviews of their company and its goods or services.

Is this practice legal? Not according to the FTC. In past cases, judges hearing cases related to fake reviews said they are “false and misleading.”  The FTC has successfully sued businesses that bought fake reviews as violators of the Federal Trade Commission Act – so far no one has gone to jail and a jail term for buying fake reviews is unlikely.

What Laws Govern Online Marketing and Advertising

The same consumer protection laws that are used for brick and mortar stores apply to businesses that use the Internet for marketing, advertising, and sales. This puts into play the FTC Act’s ban on “unfair and deceptive practices” into play as it applies to Internet marketing.  A summary of the FTC’s regulations for Internet marketing include,

Advertising, including those found on company websites and how a company uses social media must conform to the following three principles of advertising law,

  1. Advertising must not be misleading or untrue
  2. Advertisers must have evidence to back up product claims. This is called “substantiation.”
  3. Advertisements must be fair. Fairness is evaluated by checking if the ad has made or is likely to make a consumer suffer an injury that they could not reasonably escape, is in violation of public policy, or is unethical and/or unscrupulous. One ad that fits this category is the infamous Joe the Camel advertising campaign that the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company ran. The FTC allowed the ads to run, despite the proper claims by many non-smoking advocacy groups that the ads were unfair and made smoking appealing to children with the use of a cartoon character – Joe the Camel.

What is a Business’s Responsibility For Consumer Privacy?

One thing that consumers insist upon is respect for their privacy. Some consumers fear the loss of their privacy and do not engage in online commerce. However, the Federal Trade Commission has important guidelines and legislation for consumer privacy protection. There is a specific law for protecting children that is a federal law enforced by the FTC. This law is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule that allows parents and not advertisers have control over the kind of information collected on anyone 13 years old or younger. While it is obvious that this rule applies to sites for kids, it also applies to sites that are general in nature and can be viewed by a general audience that includes kids covered.

While Internet advertising has the best-targeted audience at a lower cost than traditional advertising, it is governed by the same rules and laws that govern radio, TV, and print advertising and marketing. Keeping up with advertising laws,  making sure content creation is current, and safeguarding consumer privacy is hard to do while running a business at the same time. This is why so many companies across the United States work with Webociti  in Atlanta, Georgia. Call me,  at 678-892-7157 for more information about how we can help you with the legalities of your site.

Till Next Time,

Joe

 

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Upgrade Your Mobile Marketing

The 4 Essentials You Need to Make Mobile Marketing Work

Mobile marketing is an area that many Internet marketers don’t pay much attention to. They believe that their website is mobile-friendly – sadly, many Internet marketers are wrong.

This is tragic, as smart phone owners are great potential customers, they are young, well-educated, and have high incomes – all traits that Internet marketers want to market to. To the left is a chart from the Pew Research Center from a study done at the end of 2014, when 2015 data is available Pew will update their findings.

Study after research study has proven that the majority of smart phone owners do Internet research before buying a product online or going to a particular store.

How can you tap into this titanic, plentiful marketplace?

You need a plan. Marketing to different age groups requires different messaging as does most of the other categories. Often, sellers may conduct more than one marketing campaign at the same time targeting different groups of prime prospects.

The 4 Essentials of Mobile Marketing

For local businesses, Internet marketing is the most cost-effective way to come up on the first page of local search results and get new customers.

  •      Small Bites of Information
  •      Focus on Local Search
  •      Location – Based Services
  •      Geotargeting

Small Bites of Information

A study done by Microsoft in 2015 found that while humans excel at multi-tasking the average attention span has dropped by 12 seconds to a mere 8.25 seconds, in contrast, the tiny brained goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds.

When it comes to viewing website your potential customers spend a mere 10 – 20 seconds on a site. They only read 25 percent of text on the page. If you were to ask your website visitors how long they stay (or check it out free on Google Analytics ) if the time is short, fit your text to their attention span. This is one of those cases where more is less.

Focus on Local Search

Your mobile ready website is important. Include your address and phone number on your site. If you are downtown, tell people that. If you are across the street or near a local landmark tell visitors that as well. Include a link to a map to your location if it is not automatically included by Google Maps. It is beneficial to let customers know if you are near public transportation – if you are, say it. For example, “we are located just one block from the Brown line stop on Seacrest Avenue.”

Location – Based Services (LBS)

Location-based services use the GPS ability of smartphones and other sophisticated technology to find you. While one of the most used of LBS is entertainment such as restaurant reviews and reservations, movie times and reviews as well as buying tickets online, it is now becoming more widespread to include all kinds of applications including,

  • Local news
  • Points of Interest
  • Directions
  • Getting a ride from a car service like Uber (use their app)
  • Local advertising online when using a smartphone or other portable device

LBS comes in two flavors, Push and Pull. Push provides users with information from their service provider although it is not asked for at that time. Pull services require users to make a request for information or services.

If the putting together of the essentials for mobile marketing is something you would like Webociti to help you with, contact me. My phone number is 678-892-7157.

Till next time,

Joe

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Not Mobile Optimized? – You Lose the Race for Local Searchers

Not Mobile Optimized? – You Lose the Race for Local Searchers

From time to time I have written here about the importance of optimization of your site for mobile device users. If I haven’t convinced you that you need to be mobile optimized, take a look at the following stats.

  1. On May 15, 2015, Google announced that “More Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.” 
  2. Nearly 7 billion people use mobile phones approaching 90 percent of the population of earth.
  3. 80 percent of Internet users own a smart phone
  4. 72 percent of consumers surveyed want mobile-friendly sites
  5. 53 percent of mobile searches are by consumers looking for local goods or services
  6. According to  MediaPost, “Mobile shoppers put ease of use foremost when it comes to mobile shopping sites, with 48% of respondents citing it as the most important quality of a mobile site they visit.”

Together or separately, the above six statistics offer compelling reasons to make sure your website is mobile optimized.
Mobile Optimized

Tips on Mobile Market Optimization

Some of these tips require that you are knowledgeable about how mobile sites work. If you need assistance call me at Webociti. The toll-free number is 888-685-4910. Or, you can schedule a call with us here.

Remember back in April when Google announced that regarding web search rankings mobile-friendliness became a factor in ranking? Well, optimizing for mobile makes Google and its bot army happy with your site – an important factor for your overall Internet marketing campaign.

Tip 1 – Mobile SEO

The design for mobile websites should be responsive website design (RWD). RWD is a particular way of designing a site so that is viewed optimally and delivers a good interactive experience with as little resizing, scrolling, and panning as well as easy navigation. Page speed for loading and navigating have to be quick – mobile users are not necessarily a patient bunch and many will look for a faster site than yours if yours takes too long to load.

Tip 2 – Content

Making things shorter is not a good idea, but making content concise is. Mobile users want content that is both impactful and scannable by the human eye and brain. Get read of clutter and be sure you format in a way your audience appreciates – information should not be removed if it is relevant, but content should be offered in chunks that are bite-size and easy to consume.

Using images is a big draw on mobile devices. I recall a statistic that said conversions were as much as 60 percent higher for mobile sites with images. Caution here though – make sure the images do not slow your load time.

Use video too. Conversion rates are even higher when you do with click-through rates increased by 200 to 300 percent.

Social Media

Did you know that in 2015 there are more than 1.69 billion social media accounts that are accessed exclusively through smartphones? Don’t forget about your social audience when you craft and put up social media content.

Try to find social media platforms that offer mobile-friendly apps and add-ons that you can easily tie your brand into.

Also, be visual as discussed in the tip for Content.

Mobile optimization is the way local marketing is headed. If you need any help give us a call at 678-892-7157 or visit us at Webociti.

Till Next Time,

Joe

 

 

 

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Local Search and Your Business

Local Search and Your Business

By Joe Mediate

Local Search

Not too long ago, I shared information about local search optimization. Even so, the number of inquiries I get from strictly local businesses across the country that want to rank first in national search results is much too high – in most cases, the only number one search page results should be for local search inquiries.

Say you are an eco-friendly dry cleaner and want to improve your online marketing. If you are located in Yuma, Arizona what good is it to be number one in national results? In fact, you may be hurting your efforts by not embracing local search.

For example if you neglect local search in your Internet marketing strategy, you may be on page 4 or 5 of local search results despite ranking high nationally. This stems from most local businesses optimizing their sites for local search. Here are some tips and facts I want to share with you.

Why Local Search Optimization is Essential to Your Business

Each month Google handles,

  • More than 100 billion searches per month
  • There are more than 117 billion monthly unique visitors
  • More than half of the searches originated from a smartphone or other mobile device

Interesting, but why are these statistics relevant? These are for Google USA. I thought you might find the sheer number of searches and searchers interesting, but the most important stat for a local business owner is that more than half of searches start on a mobile device. These are local searchers for the most part and if your site is not optimized for mobile device users or optimized for local search, you are not going to win many new customers.

Some Tips for Local Search Optimization

  1. Use local landmarks. For example, if you are across the street from a local landmark, mention it on your site. A statement like, across the street from Landmark Hotel. Of course, include your address and phone number too.
  2. Use social media to reinforce your website. Start pages on Google+, Facebook, and other social media that caters to folks who need your services and products.
  3. Customers need encouragement from local businesses for posting reviews. Make this request on your website and all your social media. Respond to customer posts quickly. Thank them for their business and tell them you hope to serve them again. If the response is a valid criticism respond politely and explain how you plan to fix the problem and ask for another chance. American’s are forgiving people and using social media this way enhances your ability to turn clicks into cash. Never post a fake review – most times you will be found out and reaction from Google will be unpleasant.

Getting and keeping a high local search ranking is hard work. Content must be updated regularly and optimizing is an ongoing process. Many small and medium-sized businesses seek help from Webociti. No matter where you are, my staff and I can help you with local search optimization. At Webociti, we help companies create branded connections with their customers. Our local search experts will help you identify opportunities to become more focused on capturing the  and, therefore, more successful. Just complete the Request Form or Contact us to get started at 678-892-7157.

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Important Changes In Google Local Search

Important Changes In Google Local Search

It was just a few weeks ago, in early August 2015 that Google announced a major change in Google local search results. It was made very quietly and seems to have gone almost unnoticed by many in the Internet marketing industry, and DIY marketing folks.

On August 7, 2015 Google changed Local Search Engine Results from a “local pack” of 7 local businesses to only a three pack. The screenshot below only returns three businesses in Roswell, GA for the category auto repair, the map shows scores more, but you have to click on the button below the three businesses that are part of the three pack marked More Auto Repair.

Google Local Search

Look closely above; notice anything else that has changed?

If you see that addresses are no longer listed you are a winner! Or maybe a loser if you were consistently appearing in the seven pack. Now, to get your address searchers either you can click on “directions” or “website” which is found to the right of the listing.

Any other changes that you notice? Not only are addresses no longer available, neither are phone numbers appearing. This means for a searcher to call your business they have to click through to the listing or go to your website for your phone number.

There are more changes – for instance store hours are now listed, but Google+ links are removed. It is paradoxical that Google removed the G+ links as they recently announced an effort to have local businesses claim their page officially and verify it.

Another new innovation for Google is that it rolled out the smaller packs in both the United States and internationally at the same time.

In addition, business hours with both opening and closing times are now displayed in the new 3 packs.

Google also has stopped calling the reviews “Google” reviews and now the search engine simply calls them ‘reviews.’

Remember how when you scrolled over the local listings the local card for a business is revealed? Now, you can foggetaboutit! That’s over, you now must click through to the secondary local page.

Searchers will eventually learn that if you click anyplace other than a SER website they will get more local listings and a map. Each page has 20 local listings and there is no limit on how many pages a user may visit.

On mobile local search the address is gone, but a new option replaced it, a big fat ‘call’ button.

Why the Change?

For now, Google confirms the changes in Google local search but has said nothing else. Some industry analysts believe it has to do with the May 2015 incident where Google maps returned the White House as well as Howard University as racist terms. Google will not confirm or deny that this was the reason for the changes.  (Read more)

What is Next?

With the probability of a business that was in the top seven under the old system, but not in the 3 pack under the new system, the importance of great content combined with great search engine optimization, becomes more important than ever. The competition to make it into a three pack is more than intense, and many companies will engage outside specialists for Google local search optimization.

Webociti is an Atlanta based marketing firm that works with Internet marketers all across the world. Webociti specializes in Internet marketing optimization including local search optimization. Call us, at Webociti to learn more our number is 678-892-7157.