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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Social Media Marketing Trends to Avoid: The Facebook Web Page

There’s an online trend that’s making the rounds with businesses these days. Instead of having a website, many small, medium, and even large companies are substituting actual websites with Facebook pages. 

This was something that was seen – and continues to be seen – on the far less relevant MySpace, a trend that’s making its way over to Facebook now that it’s become the clear social media platform of choice. Essentially, this is accomplished by businesses registering a unique URL (or using their already existing one) to drive users directly to their social media profiles.

But, is this necessarily the best idea? The answer, in a word, is no. A business should never use a Facebook page, MySpace profile, YouTube channel, Twitter account, or any other social media site as their primary web presence. Even though doing so seems to make a lot of sense on the surface, there are reasons aplenty why this is just a bad idea.

Using a Facebook page or other social media site as the destination of your URL is a bit like decorating the outside of your home with wallpaper – an exterior decoration idea that may appeal to a small percentage of the reading audience, but then you also have to remember that there are people in this world who enjoy a good plate of liver. In other words, it’s a good thing there’s no accounting for taste. But the fact remains that most people driving past (or surfing the Internet and stumbling across your website and find it to be nothing more than a Facebook profile) will have the immediate impression of it being a cheap, gaudy substitute.

Apart from surface appearances, using a social media profile as your website can also negatively impact  your business through its limited functionality. If you take a look at Facebook, for instance, there really is nothing you as a business owner can do beyond posting images, videos, links, and notes that’ll make it a truly interactive experience for the customer.

While this may seem like a lot, there’s far more you can do with a website – even a minimalistic, bare bones one – than you can with a Facebook page. More importantly, your customers won’t have a hard time navigating through your website to find the information they’re looking for. With Facebook, everything is listed in chronological order and that can be awfully frustrating to a visitor, especially if you’re constantly updating your page or there’s a lot of activity on there from followers.

Social media marketing through various platforms like the aforementioned Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube is absolutely essential for businesses looking to reach a wider customer base. But without an existing website to link back to – your online “HQ” – those efforts at reaching out could be returning very little result, if any.

Building a website and creating a Facebook account are two vastly different undertakings that are often the deciding point for many who just don’t have the know-how to do the former. If your social media strategy is languishing from a missing or woefully out of date website, contact Flyline Search Marketing – experts in website design, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and pay-per-click advertising – who can get you on the road to an effective social marketing campaign.


Monday, April 18, 2011

April In New Mexico - 5 Great Things To Do

Red Rock Country Near Abiquii

April In New Mexico

Who else besides me is ready for Spring? I can't think of a better time of year in New Mexico than April. The warm temperatures have already returned to Albuquerque and are slowly working their way up to the northern part of the state. After those long, cold, dark months of Winter, I always get excited at the thought of Spring. 

For me, April means it's time to go fishing. All I can think of is packing up the car and the family and driving up to Coopers El Vado Ranch for some early season action. The drive up is half the fun. We always stop in at the Casino in Espanola for breakfast on the drive up. Ok, we also play the slots to, but, honestly it's really all about the breakfast and spending some quality time hanging with the family. Then it's down to Walmart for some grocery shopping. Well, when you get up to El Vado you aren't going to find a store right around the corner. If you want to eat, you either bring it with you, catch it in the river, or drive 30 miles to Chama and have High Country cook it for you.

When you travel up to Northern New Mexico, there are quite a few place you really need to visit.

Wolf Creek Pass - Scenic Overlook
1) You need to take a day and drive up through the Cumbres mountains and visit the Wolf Creek Pass scenic Overlook. What an incredible view you will encounter. The drive will take you approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours from El Vado Ranch. Trust me when I tell you the drive is absolutely worth the effort. If you really want a challenge, take your bike with you. The last time we went over the pass, there were a number of cyclists who are pedaling their way to the top. I felt really bad when I pushed down on the gas pedal of my FX-4 and passed them on my way up. :-) I ride also so it's ok for me to poke fun at my pedaling breathren.

Springs Resort
2) Another very short drive from El Vado Ranch is an overnight stay opportunity called Pagosa Springs, Colorado. When you go to Pagosa Springs, you really should consider staying at the Springs resort. If you do, be sure to take your bathing suit. That's right, even in April you can enjoy the wonderful natural hot springs at the resort. Talk about relaxing in the mountains! The hotel is extremely affordable and I promise you will enjoy the warmth of the natural hot spring tubs and the incredible view of the surrounding mountains. One thing is for sure, the air temperatures in Pagosa Springs tend to run on the cooler side in April. Today (April 18th) the temperature is supposed to reach 65 degrees this afternoon. That my friends is awesome Spring weather at the altitudes you are at in the Pagosa area.

San Juan River
3) Since I have you in the car and driving around the countryside, here is another stop you should consider adding to your April visit to the northern New Mexico mountains. Keep in mind that I was born and raised on the Chama river. I spent my early childhood hanging out with my adopted big brother David Cooper. David owns and runs the El Vado Ranch and lives just a few short miles from the El Vado Lake dam. Fishing the Chama and hanging out with Coop are still my favorite April, May, June, July, August and September activities. Ok, I would go there year around if my wife would allow it. That said, there is one more piece of river that you may want to take a day and check out while you are up there. The San Juan river is roughly 2 - 3 hour drive from El Vado Ranch. The river is loaded with trout and has it's own unique restrictions so check in with the local fly shops in the area to ensure you have everything you need.

Cumbres & Toltec Railroad
4) Another unique opportunity for you to consider while you are staying at El Vado Ranch, is to drive into Chama, New Mexico for the day. First have lunch or dinner at the High Country restaurant. I honestly have never had a bad meal there. The town is about 35 miles from the ranch and is a very easy drive. While there, stop by the old train station and check out the Narrow Gauge steam engines. These engines still run and during the Summer, you can actually ride from Chama to Alamosa, Colorado across the Cumbres mountain range. The train runs through some of the most beautiful countryside you can imagine. If you are in the Chama are in April, you probably won't be able to ride the train at that time. The reason the train isn't running in April is because the mountain pass the train must travel through is still absolutely covered up with snow. Haven't checked the reports lately, but, normally Cumbres pass will still have several feet of snow at this time of year. Once the snow melts, the train will begin it's daily trek Alamosa.

Rio Grande Gorge
5) Located about 1 1/2 - 2 hours from Coopers El Vado Ranch is the Rio Grande Gorge. When you arrived your breath will be taken away by the incredible beauty of the Rio Grande River many, many feet below you and by the bridge you have to cross to get to the Taos side of the river. If you are a real thrill seeker, park your car at the bridge and walk out to the center. The view down to the river is pretty awesome, but, for some a very nerve racking experience. The most adventurous amoung us make the hike to the bottom and camp out overnight. Now that will bring you close to nature and give you a real appreciation for how our fore fathers lived. 


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Google AdWords Mistakes

It’s entirely possible for a company – whether small, medium, or large – to operate their own Google AdWords campaign. This isn’t something you’ll hear from many Internet marketing companies, especially since we make our bread and butter by taking this sort of work off of your hands.

But, the reality is, as long as you have the time resources to learn all there is to learn (and there is a lot) about Google AdWords and how to monitor your performance, you can do it on your own. However, the path is fraught with pitfalls that could end up costing you more money than the business you bring in.

Tip #1: Develop an Ad That’s “Just Right”
Thankfully, Google AdWords doesn’t give you the option of having flashy banner to promote your company – and let’s hope it stays that way. Right now, all a customer sees is some hyperlinked text and a few words about your products or services. When you go about determining exactly what your ad will say, it’s absolutely critical to say the most with the least amount of words and keystrokes. If it’s taking you too many words to get your message out then you need to take a closer, more focused look at your exact customer message.

It’s important to be concise, but if you’re too brief you might just leave a viewer with a bit of confusion about exactly who you are and what you offer. Keep it brief, but leave no mystery about your company’s identity. Remember, you’re charged for every click-through, even if the customer immediately closes your website upon reaching it. Better to appeal to someone who’s really looking for your services than to trick someone with misleading ad copy.

Tip #2: Pick Your Keywords Carefully
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to put little thought into the keywords you choose for your ad. These are the words that will determine when and where your ad appears after a certain Google search, and although you might think that having hundreds of keywords about various topics would help you, it’ll actually accomplish the opposite. The more relevant your keywords are, the higher your quality score will be. The higher your quality score, the less money you end up paying Google for every click on your ad.

By using keywords that are totally irrelevant to your services – or that give people the wrong impression about your company – accomplishes nothing. If you pique their curiosity, they may click on your ad but once they reach your website they’re very unlikely to actually do business with you. In this scenario, you end up paying through the nose for uninterested parties to click your ads and bring you absolutely zero interest.

Tip #3: Have a Dedicated Landing Page
Another common error made by new Google AdWords users is to direct interested parties to the main page of their website. However, if you’re a company that offers several different services, this can be confusing to the consumer who just wants to find out more information about the ad he or she just viewed. For example, if you’re running an ad on Google telling potential customers they can get 20 percent off auto body detail, create a dedicated landing page that will drive them to the section of your website that discusses this offer. Taking them to a general overview page of your business and forcing the customer to look around for the information they want is like holding the door open for someone who’s just entered so they can exit quickly.

In order to avoid some of these errors and get your Google AdWords campaign off to a flying start, consider contacting a third party company like Albuquerque Internet Marketing to run it for you. By doing so, you can assure that you’re getting the maximum bang for your buck, putting every penny of your advertising budget to positive use instead of throwing money down the drain in a costly trial-and-error learning period.
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