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Digital Marketing #2

Digital Marketing Guide Part 2 | Update June 2016

A Quick and Dirty Guide to Marketing Your Rural Business Online

7. Consider redirect and content discovery as less invasive ways to generate site traffic inorganically. Another way to bring traffic to your site inorganically (i.e. not with content) is to buy redirect traffic from a third party. A third party service like DNTX purchases vacant domains and, when visitors try to access that domain, redirects them to an advertiser’s site instead. While pop-ups often work counter to what a visitor is trying to accomplish online, relevant redirects can help a visitor find what he or she is looking for online. DNTX (https://www.dntx.com/) boasts one billion clicks per month, so expect a high volume of traffic from this service. The CPC of using DNTX can be as low as $0.002. Most of DNTX’s host sites are American, so the service is especially useful for accessing domestic customers.

Upsides: Inexpensive, domestic traffic Downsides: Less aggressive than pop-up advertising RECOMMENDED FOR: Any industry could benefit from redirect

Content discovery is, essentially, highly targeted banner advertising. A third party service like OutBrain crawls the content of its host sites and, in a banner, recommends related content or products from its advertisers to the host site’s visitors. Content discovery mimics host content in order to direct visitors offsite.   OutBrain (http://www.outbrain.com/) has an impressive list of host sites that includes some of the Internet’s premier media properties (think CNN, People, etc.). While OutBrain generates high traffic volume and high conversion rates, its CPC can reach as much as $5.00 [8]. If you’re using OutBrain, be prepared to give up a lot of control since targeting is determined completely by OutBrain’s algorithm.

Upsides: Highly targeted; High quality traffic from “name brand” sites Downsides: Expensive RECOMMENDED FOR: Media ventures

8. Definitely use social media. Carefully consider advertising on social media. Having a social media presence is absolutely essential for every brand in this day and age. Advertising on social media, however, is not as cut and dry. While sites like Facebook give advertisers the ability to reach over a billion potential customers, most of these same sites have infamously low click-through rates (CTRs) when compared to the alteratives. Because social media collects and organizes large amounts of information about its users, social media campaigns can be highly targeted. If your product is, for example, one that can only be enjoyed locally (think restaurants or small farms), social media campaigns can be restricted accurately by location. Just note that, once users get on social media, they aren’t anxious to get off. Users looking to catch up with friends may overlook your advertisement among the latest Facebook gossip.   Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/business/products/ads) has 1.4 billion monthly active accounts [9] worldwide. Facebook is the most popular social network in the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Oceania. There are two types of Facebook advertising: display ads and newsfeed ads. The average CTR for a display ad is 0.04%, quite low. The average CTR for a newsfeed ad is 2.09%, comparable to AdWords [10]. The average CPC for Facebook is around $0.30 [11].

Upsides: Widest potential customer pool of any social network Downsides: Highly competitive RECOMMENDED FOR: Accurate targeting makes Facebook effective for local businesses

LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/advertising) has 350 million active accounts worldwide [12] and half of all college graduates in the United States are on LinkedIn [13]. Because its demographics are skewed towards professionals, LinkedIn campaigns only work for certain products (think corporate work-related purchases). Note that LinkedIn requires a minimum bid of $2.00 CPM or CPC and a minimum daily budget of $10.00, so you could end up paying LinkedIn a lot of money to market your product.

Upsides: Best social network to reach corporate decision makers Downsides: Expensive; Less diverse potential customer pool compared to other social networks RECOMMENDED FOR: Businesses that sell to corporate clients

Twitter (https://business.twitter.com/solutions) has 290 million active accounts [12]. Twitter users are typically highly engaged, as the microblogging platform promotes exchange over browsing (i.e. users will be posting more than they’ll be creeping). At approximately $0.30, its CPC is comparable to Facebook’s, but marketers praise Twitter’s traffic as higher quality [14].

Upsides: Highly engaged traffic Downsides: Prices comparable to Facebook, but Twitter’s potential customer pool is smaller RECOMMENDED FOR: Any industry, but particularly entertainment ventures

Pinterest (https://business.pinterest.com/en/promoted-pins) has 73 million active accounts [12], mostly in the United States [15]. Four fifths of Pinterest users are female [16] and nearly a third of rural dwellers use the social network [17]. Demographically, then, the site is ideal for advertisers selling products that rural females in the United States would enjoy. Visual appeal is a must for advertising on this media-rich network. The average CPC for a Promoted Pin on Pinterest is around $0.60 [18].

Upsides: Pinterest users are looking for something to buy or do already and, therefore, are open to advertised products Downsides: There’s currently a waiting list to purchase Promoted Pins; Less diverse potential customer pool compared to other social networks RECOMMENDED FOR: Crafty, feminine, or visually appealing products

Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/advertising) has around 200 million unique visitors per month, 8 million of which use Reddit accounts [19]. The network’s users are often highly tech and gaming literate and drawn to products in those fields. These users are, however, often young (think high school age) and, therefore, lack credit cards and extensive funds. Reddit charges $0.75 CPM and $0.03-$0.15 CPC [20].

Upsides: Inexpensive traffic; Underrated network Downsides: Young users; Less diverse potential customer pool compared to other social networks RECOMMENDED FOR: Tech products

StumbleUpon (http://ads.stumbleupon.com/) is a discovery engine that recommends web content to its users based on peer sourcing. It also recommends content that advertisers have paid to have it pass on, through Paid Discovery. With around 30 million active users [21] and a CPC of as little as $0.10 [20], StumbleUpon can bring a lot of cheap traffic to your site. Be wary that users tend to click through recommended sites rather quickly, so it may be difficult to engage customers once they land on your page.

Upsides: Inexpensive traffic; Underutilized network Downsides: Disengaged users RECOMMENDED FOR: Any product that is novel or attention catching

10. Constantly track and tweak your success or failures. If you’re new to digital marketing, you might have to adjust your strategy a few times before you get it just right. The best marketing strategies are constantly evolving based on what generates results and what does not. Use free tools like Google Analytics and Google Trends to track and tweak your success along the way or pay for more in-depth analysis. Google Analytics (http://www.google.com/analytics/) tracks and reports website traffic. Use the program to distinguish traffic patterns and determine which marketing campaigns generate the most traffic. Analytics is a freemium services, meaning the basic program is free to all users.



Google Trends (https://www.google.com/trends/) tracks popular search terms temporally and regionally to show which keywords are popular at a given time and place. Use the program to select SEO keywords or to track the effect your campaigns have on Google searches.



WordStream (http://www.wordstream.com/) measures the success of PPC advertising campaigns like paid search. WordStream’s software analyses a business’s PPC strategy in real time and makes suggestions to improve that strategy. It costs $2,750/year.

SEMrush (http://www.semrush.com/) analyses the SEO keywords and search ranking of competing sites to determine what brings success. SEMrush’s software efficiently compares your domain to others. Depending on the scale of operation, it costs between $70 and $550/month.  


Spyfu (http://www.spyfu.com/) software analyses competitors’ success in the same way SEMrush does. Its pricing, however, is more flexible than SEMrush. It costs between $50 and $1000/month.  


Alexa (http://www.alexa.com/) tracks traffic patterns across the web, giving marketers insight into their performance and the performance of their competitors. It costs between $10 and $150 per month.  


Skrayp (http://skrayp.com/), exclusively for marketers running pay-per-view (PPV) campaigns, compiles useful PPV sites, keywords, and videos and so that marketers can adjust their strategies based on what is trending on PPV in real time. It costs as little as $10 per month.


10. When it comes to design, fall back on the experts. If you’re having trouble building a visually appealing, bug-free website for your business, consider falling back on this list of foolproof design software. Hubspot (http://www.hubspot.com/) is a comprehensive inbound marketing service. Its all-in-one software is focused on content development and design as much as on analytics. Its programs both recommend marketing strategy and include the tools to put that strategy in action. It costs between $200 and $2,400/month.


Unbounce (http://unbounce.com/) is a website design software designed to create landing pages that maximize conversions. Its tools (think drag and drop) are easy to use. Despite its easy to use interface, the program includes a range of professional features from parallax scrolling to full page background images. It costs between $50 and $100/month.  


Nectafy (http://nectafy.com/) aims to optimize the productivity of a business’s website through killer content. Since Nectafy sees content as the cornerstone of a successful website, its service focuses on creating content that maximizes conversions. Nectafy is integrated with Hubspot and WordPress. Nectafy tailors cost based on the scale of your project.

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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