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Digital Marketing #1

Digital Marketing Guide Part 1| Update June 2016

A Quick and Dirty Guide to Marketing Your Rural Business Online

Whether your rural business is an agricultural venture like cattle ranching or a rural service like solar energy, you stand to benefit from networking, advertising, and selling your product online. Small business owners are often intimidated by the thought of entering the multi-billion dollar digital marketing industry alone, but (with a little know-how) anyone can successfully market their product online.Today, digital search engine optimization (SEO) techniques generate eight times more sales than traditional outbound marketing like mail or print advertising [1]. Tap into these potential sales by following my “quick and dirty” marketing guide designed specifically for rural businesses. For a more in-depth look at the ins and outs of digital marketing, explore the lists of the Internet’s most trusted marketing resources found throughout this guide. 1. The basic of digital marketing are the same as traditional marketing. If you’ve made sales by sending flyers, advertising in newspapers, or cold calling customers, then digital marketing isn’t as foreign to you as you might assume. A pertinent issue for both, for example, is targeting potential customers so you don’t waste your time trying to sell your product to people you will never convince to buy it. When I started recruiting resellers to carry my satellite based high-speed Internet product to rural users in the mid-90s, I conducted extensive research into who my potential end customers were. First, I developed a basic customer profile of who would find satellite Internet useful based on demographics like location and income. Second, I researched the people that fit that profile to discover their Internet browsing habits. I wanted to know everything about my potential customers! Did they hunt and fish? What were their political beliefs? Did they home school their children? Did they stream video and game online? Did they use dating sites? I bet you get it. Just like with traditional marketing, target your advertising by approaching sites that your potential customers frequent based on their lifestyle, hobbies, and interests. 2. The Google algorithm is a complicated mathematical formula that can be (essentially) solved in one easy way. If you know a little about digital marketing, you know that SEO is at the heart of the industry. Almost half of online shoppers begin with using a search engine [2], so getting your product to show up on Google, YouTube, Bing, and Yahoo search is crucial to a successful digital marketing campaign. There are lists of hundreds of small SEO hacks – from using keywords to soliciting a link from a quality site – available online. While these hacks are helpful, you can build a high-ranking site without ever looking at one of these lists by doing one thing: contributing useful content to the web. Although the variables of the Google algorithm are top secret, the intent of the algorithm isn’t. Google search simply wants to deliver useful, high-quality results to users. Don’t sacrifice informative writing for SEO (Google punishes content farm material). Don’t copy and paste text that is available elsewhere. Take a look at the top results for your keywords and then make your site better and more useful than those sites. 3. Sometimes it pays to pay. Pay-per-click (PPC) is a digital marketing model where an advertiser pays a host site a fee every time a visitor clicks on an ad and is redirected to the advertiser’s site. It is, essentially, a way to generate traffic with cash instead of content. As an advertiser, you many run PPC ads on the sites that reflect your target customers’ interests. Search engine advertising – where an advertiser pays to have its sponsored link show up at the top of a search – is probably the most popular type of PPC. Since three quarters of search engine users never scroll past the first page of results [1], claiming one of the top spots is sometimes worth paying for. The usefulness of search engine advertising increases with the size of your potential customer base. Note that, once again, search engine advertising is not a viable substitute for useful content. As many as four in five search engine users ignore sponsored links and skip straight to the organic (unsponsored) results. Remember, with PPC, you have two objectives: maximize the number of customers that click your link and (because you’ll have to pay anyway) minimize the number of noncustomers that click your link.   Google AdWords (https://www.google.com/adwords/) is Google Search’s paid advertising service and its main source of revenue. Because Google claims as much as 90% of global search traffic, it is the most effective, expensive, and competitive search engine to advertise on. Use AdWords to place bids on keywords (high bids win spots), restrict your audience based on demographics like location, and pay per click when a Google Search user chooses your result. Google is the big league of digital advertising, so, if you’re new to the industry, AdWords should not be your first campaign. The cost-per-click (CPC) can top $60 [3] and because you’ll be competing with experienced advertisers in a high traffic environment, the potential to lose money on AdWords is very real. Google does offer a simplified service, AdWords Express, for small businesses.

Upsides: Widest potential customer pool of any search engine; Arguably the world’s best direct response advertising medium Downsides: Highly competitive; Ad space auctions can get extremely expensive RECOMMENDED FOR: Literally any industry, people Google everything

YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/yt/advertise/) is world’s most used video streaming service and the world’s second most used search engine. There are four ways to advertise on YouTube: in-search (i.e. your video shows up in the drop-down results), in-slate (i.e. your video shows up in the suggested videos after another video finishes), in-display (i.e. your video shows up in the suggested videos to the right of another video), and in-stream (i.e. your video plays before a viewer can watch another video). The average CPC/cost-per-view (CPV) bid varies between the four methods, with in-search being the least expensive at around $0.10 per click and in-stream being the most expensive at over $0.30 per view. With costs exponentially lower than, for example, Google Search, YouTube is a good value if you have compelling and convincing video content to share.

Upsides: Inexpensive; Second widest potential customer pool of any search engine Downsides: Conflicting motives (YouTube wants to keep viewers on site with its recommendations, you want to get viewers off site) RECOMMENDED FOR: Industries that already advertise on television

Bing Ad (https://secure.bingads.microsoft.com/) is Microsoft’s paid advertising service that sells advertising on Bing Search and, through a limited partnership, Yahoo! Search. It works like Google AdWords, determining which ads to show based on a combination of CPC bid and click through rate. There is less competition on Bing Ad then on AdWords, which means CPC for advertisers is typically lower.

Upsides: Underrated advertising platform; Inexpensive Downsides: Comparatively small potential customer pool RECOMMENDED FOR: Literally any industry, people use Bing for everything

Yahoo! Gemini (https://gemini.yahoo.com/advertiser/home) is Yahoo! Search’s advertising service. Yahoo claims an exponentially smaller portion of global search engine traffic than Google Search, but those who use Yahoo are typically older and, therefore, wealthier [4]. Yahoo! Gemini ads have a lower conversion (sale) rate than Bing Ad ads, but Gemini is the best way to advertise on Yahoo! Search if the search engine’s demographic is what you are after. There is even less competition on Yahoo! Gemini than Bing Ad, so CPC is even lower.

Upsides: Underrated advertising platform; Inexpensive Downsides: Comparatively small potential customer pool; Users are less diverse than other search engines RECOMMENDED FOR: Products with an older, wealthier target consumer

Baidu (http://is.baidu.com/paidsearch.html), the world’s largest Chinese language search engine, claims one half of all search engine traffic in China [5]. While Baidu does show English language results, it is primarily used by Chinese speakers and, therefore, is only a viable host site for advertisers targeting Chinese-speaking consumers. There are also few studies that show the prevalence of Baidu users outside of China, so Baidu campaigns targeted at Chinese Americans, for example, are risky. Like other search engines, Baidu advertisers compete with one another for CPC bids.

Upsides: Large potential customer base in emerging markets; The advertising potential of the search engine is undiscovered territory. Downsides: Only viable for Chinese speakers RECOMMENDED FOR: International trade

Yandex Direct (https://direct.yandex.com/) is Russia and Central Asia’s largest search engine’s advertising service. The search engine Yandex does show English language results, but it is primarily used by Slavic language speakers and, therefore, is only a viable host site for advertisers targeting Russian, Ukrainian, etc.-speaking consumers. Like with Baidu, there are few publically available studies on the prevalence of Yandex users in the United States, so it is only a valuable host site for advertisers seeking international customers.

Upsides: The advertising potential of the search engine is undiscovered territory. Downsides: Only viable for Slavic language speakers; Users are concentrated in Russia and Central Asia RECOMMENDED FOR: International trade

5. Consider pop-up traffic generators warily, but consider them. Pop-up advertisements have a (let’s admit it, well-deserved) bad reputation. Most Internet users find them annoying as hell (the popularity of pop-up blockers attests to this), and yet utilizing pop-up advertising continues to lead to increased traffic and conversions for advertisers. As one expert puts it, pop-ups are “annoying, but useful” [6]. While pop-up advertising is a proven way to generate heavy site traffic, oftentimes that traffic is less than desirable. Services, like those listed below, use pop-ups to redirect traffic (from, oftentimes, spammy adult or torrent sites) to your site. The traffic that comes from pop-ups is usually low quality, but cheap. If what you need is simple volume, pop-ups are a perfect solution. Pop-ups are most useful for tasks or purchases that are easy to complete, like signing up for an email newsletter or downloading an app. They are also more effective for small, impulse buys rather than for a purchase that must be thought out or carefully budgeted for.   AdCash (https://www.adcash.com/en/index.php) is a top traffic generator in most parts of the world. Expect AdCash to bring your site a lot of traffic, which you may have to sift through in order to blacklist sites that continually deliver dead leads. AdCash charges 0.70 to 1.00 € per thousand views (CPM).

Upsides: Lots of worldwide traffic Downsides: Questionable traffic quality RECOMMENDED FOR: Impulse buys, easy tasks/downloads, and adult content

PopAds (https://www.popads.net/advertisers.html) is another traffic generator giant similar to AdCash. Like AdCash, it redirects a heavy volume of low-quality traffic from mostly adult and torrent sites. Its rates are typically $1.00 CPM and up.

Upsides: Lots of worldwide traffic Downsides: Questionable traffic quality RECOMMENDED FOR: Impulse buys, easy tasks/downloads, and adult content

Tribal Fusion (https://www.tribalfusion.com/SmartAdvertisers/) is a traffic generator that, unlike a lot of other pop-up services, requires that its host sites adhere to certain quality standards. It, therefore, redirects higher quality traffic to advertisers. Its rates vary from $0.20 to $2.00 CPM [7].

Upsides: Higher quality traffic Downsides: More expensive than the alternatives; Shallower potential customer pool RECOMMENDED FOR: Impulse buys, easy tasks/downloads

Digital Marketing

Money for Nothing: Paying for Bot Traffic and Its Effect on Advertising Sales

In online media, the money comes from advertising and the advertising comes from website traffic.

Website traffic is a very hot commodity

Website traffic is a very hot commodity

Since there are billions to be made in digital marketing, traffic is a hot commodity. In the dot-com spirit of making something from nothing, traffic vendors generate and sell a massive amount of bot traffic, often at great personal profit. As a result, online platforms are saturated with dead leads.

According to Wikipedia, An internet bot which is also referred to as a web robot is basically a software designed to execute automated and repeated tasks and scripts over the internet. Bots are used by some digital marketing companies to deliver hundreds of thousands of traffic to your website by the switch of a button. The reality is that bots are being used to deliver non-human traffic which gives your website a very high bounce rate and no real conversions.

Even well established companies whose marketing departments are filled with the best in the field have trouble reaching real people online.

Heineken received 80% bot traffic in 2013

Heineken received 80% bot traffic in 2013

In 2013, for example, Heineken’s marketing department was shocked to find that only 20% of the company’s paid digital advertisements reached actual humans. The company had spent millions of dollars pitching their product to bots [1].

A 2015 study found that bot traffic makes up a significant portion of every site’s total traffic, although the percentage is lower for most popular sites. On average, 85% of traffic to sites with between 10 and 1,000 daily visits comes from bots. The number drops to 40% for sites with 100,000 or more daily views [2]. Still, 40% is not an insignificant percentage.

Unsolicited bot traffic originates from both beneficial and malicious sources. “Good” bots crawl website content, gathering information for search engines and other organizations. “Bad” bots are auto refresh algorithms that don’t do anything but consume bandwidth and slow down the website. These bots are sometimes used to launch attacks that cripple competing websites.

Traffic generators sell both human and “bad” bot traffic to websites even though the bot traffic is, essentially, worthless. Cheap traffic generators like Auto Traffic Generator, One Million Clicks, Traffic Magnet, and Traffic Programmer use bots to generate traffic on a customer’s website [3].

Google’s AdSense frowns on Fake traffic

Google’s AdSense frowns on Fake traffic

Although this increases the site’s pageviews, it also eats up its bandwidth. In addition, most advertisers and advertising agencies like AdSense and Commission Junction frowns upon bots traffic. In fact, your site can be eliminated from their ad-serving programs if caught sending bot traffic.

“Bad” bot traffic is neither an ethical nor, these days, effective way to increase a site’s pageviews. If the website sells advertising based on pageviews alone (not referrals or commissions), using a cheap traffic generator is a way to increase the site’s advertising revenue. Since the early 2010s, however, quality advertisements are often embedded with code that can detect bots, so a high volume of bot traffic will alienate advertisers in the long run.

A 2014 inquiry by Chrysler into one of its advertising platforms – the food and travel lifestyle site Saveur.tv – allegedly discovered that 98% of Saveur.tv’s traffic came from bots.

Chrysler immediately withdrew its advertising from the site and accused it of conducting “fraudulent activity.” As Bloomberg put it in their 2015 exposé on bot traffic, “Some companies pay for it intentionally, some accidentally, and some prefer not to ask where their traffic comes from” [1].

Sketchy traffic generators sometimes deliver bitter surprises to websites that did not realize they were purchasing bot traffic.

A typical data center where servers are used to run these bot traffic

A typical data center
where servers are used to run these bot traffic

These generators go through numerous reboots and name changes and sometimes disappear suddenly with their customer’s service payments (which can range from $5 to $250 per package of traffic) [3].

Since these generators sell something morally ambiguous to begin with, they do not always adhere to professional standards of business conduct.

If you’re new to websites, try not to fall into the trap of paying for worthless traffic. Although legitimate traffic generators do exist (see our digital advertising guide), they aren’t cheap. One of the greatest misconceptions of the internet age is that the internet is a place where one can make something from nothing. While –for traffic generators that use bots, for example – this is sometimes true, sustainable and legal online enterprises require honest, hard work.

Creating and developing a SEO strategy will benefit you in the long run

Creating and developing a SEO strategy will benefit you in the long run

In summary, your best bet to driving real human traffic to your new or existing website is developing a SEO strategy for organic search and ranking. Next, link your site to trusted and reliable sites. And finally, consider a fan page on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest just to name a few. And yes, you should consistently update your blog with well researched postings that are helpful to your audience.

[1] http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2015-click-fraud/
[2] http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Humans-Surpass-Bots-Website-Traffic/1013398
[3] http://growtraffic.com/blog/2015/01/top-10-traffic-generator-applications-web

Digital Marketing

10 Best Digital Marketing Tools of 2016

Whatever you’re selling, your rural business will benefit from networking, advertising, and making sales online.


The multi-billion dollars digital marketing industry is alive

Small business owners are sometimes intimidated by the thought of entering the multi-billion dollar digital marketing industry alone, but these foolproof marketing tools make the process simple.

    1. Hootsuite


Year after year, Hootsuite is social media management’s undisputed top contender. Its online dashboard interface supports simultaneous management of over 150 social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.

Hootsuite lets users schedule updates across all networks, monitor and delegate brand-customer interactions, and gage customer response through integration with Google Analytics and Facebook Insights. It’s free for up to three social media accounts.

    2. Buffer

This social media management system supports Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.


Buffer is free for up to four social media accounts

It’s an easy-to-master and inexpensive system that boasts the net’s best scheduling tool. Even if a business is not always actively monitoring its social networks, scheduling can give a business the appearance of having a constant presence on them. Buffer is free for up to four social media accounts.

    3. iContact

The award winning email marketing program iContact features a diverse artillery of tools, including sign-up forms, list management, autoresponse, design tools (template or HTML), tailored frequency,


Includes streamlined interface for the beginners

and impressive social media integration.

As a company, iContact’s brand presentation and reputation are impeccable. As an email marketing tool, iContact offers all the classic tools with a streamlined interface perfect for beginners.

    4. Constant Contact

The email marketing tool Constant Contact features drag and drop design,


Features drag and drop design and coupons

automated emails, and easy-to-use advanced features like coupons. Although more creative marketers might find the program’s rigid features limiting, Constant Contact includes a range of attractive, responsive templates that make email marketing a breeze for beginners.

    5. Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a sophisticated social media management system


Only for Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn & Facebook

that supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ accounts. Without leaving the system’s well-designed dashboard, Sprout Social users can send and receive messages Or publish posts across multiple accounts.

Sprout Social lacks integration with social networks outside Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. While many small businesses aren’t present on other social networks anyway, Sprout Social does not support complex social media strategies over diverse platforms.

    6. Audiense

Audiense is a Twitter dedicated system that includes a number of


Focuses on marketing stats than content

analytic features including lists of key industry influencers, tweet schedules that post when follower traffic is highest, a database of hashtags your followers use most often, and automated direct messages.

Audiense is focused on marketing statistics more than content generation, so pairing it with Hootsuite or Buffer yields the best results. SocialBro also free if your business has less than 5,000 followers.

    7. Tweepi


This is a dedicated Twitter management system

The dedicated Twitter management system Tweepi finds and adds potential customers by, for example, automatically searching through the followers of competing businesses. Tweepi also manages a business’s current followers by, for example, automatically deleting inactive accounts.

Tweepi is one of the web’s most comprehensive Twitter managers. It lets a business curate its audience by reaching out to promising potential customers and weeding out dead ends.

    8. Social Mention

Social Mention is a free social media search engine that scrapes


It crawls more than 100 social networks during a search

social networks in real time to deliver useful social media analytics. During a search, it crawls more than 100 social networks including Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. It’s like Google Trends, but for social media.

With a single click, Social Mention can discover the number of unique social media accounts discussing a keyword, the reach of said keyword, the frequency of keyword mentions, and the sentiment of those mentions.

    9. IFTTT

IFTTT, which stands for If This Than That, is a free tool that lets user


IFTTT has 230 diverse channels

automate their social media responses. With the IFTTT app, users can, for example, automate congratulations for LinkedIn work anniversaries or automatically send a tweet whenever new content is added to a business blog.

IFTTT is integrated with 230 diverse channels including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. It can be used by itself, or in conjunction with Hootsuite or Sprout Social.

    10. DNTX

DNTX is a traffic redirect service that purchases vacant domains and,


The redirected traffic marketplace

when visitors try to access that domain, redirects them to their advertisers’ sites instead.

Compared to pop up advertising, DNTX is a less invasive way of generating inorganic traffic. It is also affordable – the cost per click of DNTX can be as low as $0.002. Also, most of DNTX’s host sites are American, so the service is especially useful for accessing domestic customers.

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