Posts Tagged ‘internet marketing’

What You Need to Know About Disclosure and Your Blog

Posted on April 12th, 2012 by chaseweb

The Federal Trade Commission recently passed new regulations requiring adequate disclosure on web marketing strategies and reviews. While it can seem like extra effort, this step is necessary to protect consumers throughout the internet world. If you’re endorsing or reviewing a product on your site, you are still responsible for creating and displaying a disclosure about the product or service, so it’s vital that you understand what your disclosures should display in your blog.

Disclosures are designed to prevent misleading consumers about a product or service being advertised, even if it’s just in a discussion within a blog. These disclosures must be both clear and visibly blatant on the same page of a company blog, to avoid any discrepancy or confusion by the reader. This means you can’t always use hyperlinks that redirect readers to another page.

Stay within the guidelines

To accomplish this, there are a few steps you should take to stay within the regulations and ensure your blog remains customer and federally friendly.

  1. First of all, you need to place disclosures close to or at least on the same page that the triggering claims have been made.
  2. Use text or other visual cues that inform the reader that they need to scroll down or up on a web page in order to view the disclosures.
  3. When text and other data is lengthy and may include videos and pictures, a secondary disclosure is recommended at the end of the blog to prevent any confusion and to stay within regulatory guidelines.
  4. In this case, where you have previously made a disclosure within the same document, you can create a hyperlink to a separate disclosure in order to conserve space.
  5. Other items within your blog cannot distract attention from the disclosure. This means that you can’t utilize advertisements or popups that would cover a disclosure.
  6. In order to make the disclosure as recognizable as possible, include it within a banner or use contrasting colors to emphasize its importance.
  7. If you’re taking advantage of video or audio blogs such as YouTube or even Facebook video uploads, your disclosure should also be in video or audio format. But, it must also remain clear and concise so avoid placing it only at the end of your video or audio blog. Instead, incorporate it into your video in combination with what you’re saying or advertising.
  8. Always use clear language and grammar when disclosing.

While these methods may seem to apply to those advertising products or services through their blogs, it covers every aspect of advertising- from businesses with a company blog to non-profit organizations that are just promoting their efforts.

Keep in mind that blogging and even social media incorporates advertising at some point during the blogging. You may be advertising your own product or another company’s, but it is vital that you take the time to consider what your blog is stating and if you need to reference a disclosure to protect your business or non-profit organization.

Disclosing references as well

Blogs are a great source for advertising in an indirect way. Many blogs cover information related to their company, but don’t necessarily endorse a product or service. While in this situation it may be unnecessary to create a disclosure since you aren’t endorsing a product, you should still post a disclosure that information in your blog is opinion related so as to cover all bases. And if you do post facts, be sure to credit them to a source along with a disclosure. This is something that has been widely overlooked in the social media world as Facebook users (mostly private individuals) post quotes, pictures, or even videos without offering a reference.

Utilizing a reference can be especially helpful in controlling disclosure issues. If you utilize previously posted or even copyrighted data (any internet source complies with copyright regulations) you definitely need to post a reference for any information gathered. This could even apply to consumer referrals that you post or discuss within your blog. Just be sure to protect yourself by giving credit where credit is due.

According to these new regulations, businesses and non-profit organizations need to start creating and applying disclosures to every aspect of their online marketing strategies. Blogs are amongst the most overlooked applications of these regulations, but it’s important to every consumer that they be protected from misleading information. Do your part and tell your readers and customers exactly what they’re getting when they read your blog.

The Secret of Email Marketing

Posted on April 5th, 2012 by chaseweb

As technological advances become more valuable to marketing strategies, many businesses have begun utilizing social media, websites, blogs, and the universal email strategies. While these marketing techniques are a valuable asset to any business, the physical location where your sales take place is still important.

Face to face with the client

Because the internet world has grown exponentially in the past few years, getting customers and clients through your doors and into your store isn’t always a concern. However it is important to remember that many people still feel more secure about dealing with someone when they can not only see and talk to a company representative, but when they can also see and examine the product itself.

This is where the power of email marketing comes into play. What you want your email to do is to get the attention of potential clients. Afterall, their attention is what you really want, and through an e-mail you can provide them with links to your website, inspire them with blogs, and even raise awareness on social media.

The end goal is the hope that through your web interation, you can get them to come to your store to deal with you and experience one-on-one sales. While purchases online are still a valuable source of income, handling and experiencing the merchandise (I’d like to see it for myself before I buy), is still a powerful selling tool. Clients are more likely to buy and thus to spend more money when they’re at a physical location because they feel secure in their purchase. Here, they can converse directly with you or a sale’s associate who is ready to answer any question in a face-to-face environment.

Online and physical presences

Are you offering special things through your email marketing and website, but not at your physical location? Many businesses offer unique sales or items through the internet that aren’t available to walk-in customers. This can sabotage the success of your physical location and decrease a large source of potential sales.

If you have great offers just through your email, but don’t present the same offers at your physical location, customers will likely just wait for that next email before they pay a visit to you, resulting in a loss of sales that you could potentially be making, if you would make the same special offers at your physical locations.

Using your online image to promote your store

Your blogs, email, and social media sites need to send and establish your personal brand image as well. If you separate your online image from your personal image, it can affect your ability to promote either one. In order to be effective, both your online business and your physical business must work together in order to succeed.

Many problems can arise when one presents different or alternative information, sales, or even promotions. Clients will search for the best opportunity, likely choosing the online presence that is easier and more convenient. Unfortunately, this can affect the sales you could be making in your store. Keep in mind that people are willing to buy more and spend more money when they are physically present.

In order to achieve this, your email marketing strategy shouldn’t simply offer deals, but instead promote your business, services, and/or products by offering sales that are available to everyone. Here, you gain the interest of the online world, but still maintain a functional business location where clients and customers can drop in when they need or want to.

Likewise, your physical location should also be prepared to promote your online strategies. Collecting new email addresses from potential leads and customers should be on your to-do list while in the store. You don’t want to force them to give up their information, but it is always good to ask for it. Be sure that your sales representatives are trained to ask for email contact information when someone makes a purchase. Not only does it allow you to send out future sales information, but you can also utilize it to maintain a friendly relationship with your customers by checking up on their satisfaction and offering assistance with any questions about products or issues. Also consider that your offline ads, such as newspaper or in-store catalogues need to actively solicit potential customers to view your online sites as well. Here you can gather email sign-ups, even if those online aren’t presently in your store.

Keep in mind that mobile technology has also revolutionized online marketing, allowing customers to view sales through email and other online marketing while they’re in line at your store. Both your email and your offline marketing should be ready to function together, rather than as separate strategies.

Email is a powerful and cost-effective marketing tool, enabling many business owners the ability to influence and gather potential customers. But, it is vital that both your online and offline marketing strategies work together in order to succeed. Be sure that your business is effectively represented in your store and on the World Wide Web.