Aug 25

Ask Doug & Polly: Before spending money on marketing, owners need to focus on the business plan and offer something different

Doug and Polly White have a large ownership stake in Gather, a company that designs, builds and operates collaborative workspaces. Polly’s focus is on human resources, people management and human systems. Doug’s areas of expertise are business strategy, operations and finance.

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Aug 24

5 Strategies for International Digital Marketing

Digital marketing refers to the promotion of products with the aid of digital technologies, primarily through the internet. It entails the production of digital marketing materials to be distributed across multiple online channels including email, websites, blogs, social media and games, as well as audio and video streaming. It is inherently already an international advertising strategy since there are hardly any restrictions in distributing digital marketing content to audiences worldwide.

Here are the important points every business owner or manager must be aware of in pursuing an international digital marketing campaign. While it is possible to immediately use online ads or social media to reach out to prospective customers in other countries, the results may not be optimized without taking into account the following points.

Finding the right methods to use

The first step is to choose the most appropriate digital marketing strategies for your needs. There are many ways to do international digital marketing, and each method’s effectiveness depends on what you are trying to achieve. However, there are methods that are considered fundamental, meaning they should always be employed regardless of the kind of business you are running. These are search engine optimization and social media marketing.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a must for all businesses that seek to establish an online presence. It’s not just about topping the rankings for search engine results. It’s essentially about putting up the right information about your business online to inform both search engines and human viewers about what you are offering. On the other hand, social media marketing is also considered fundamental, given the role it plays in the consumer market. Almost every potential customer has a social media account, so it makes to take advantage of it as a platform for delivering your marketing message.

Here are other digital marketing strategies and their applicability:

  • Content marketing. This is about publishing content that promotes brand awareness and supports search engine optimization and social media marketing. The content can be articles, videos, memes or images that may be shared by Internet users to voluntarily or unwittingly publicize a product. This method is ideal for businesses that aim to build a positive reputation online. It takes time to get results out of it, though, so it is not applicable for those that seek quick outcomes and don’t have ample resources to sustain the production of high-quality content.
  • Email marketing. This is the sending of marketing materials through email. Email marketing should only be used by those who have expertise and experience in doing it, as improper or ineffective use of email marketing is just a waste of resources. Worse, it can result in a brand or product getting associated with spam.
  • Site, video and game advertising. These are the ads you see on web pages, blogs, video sharing sites like YouTube and games, including mobile apps. You need ample resources to support this type of digital marketing. It’s a safe advertising method for any kind of business but may not be cost-efficient.
  • Paid reviews or articles and hiring influencers. These are aggressive digital marketing tactics. Often, they are used to introduce a brand or product when cheaper options such as social media and email marketing don’t seem to yield the desired outcomes. Businesses involved in consumer items are the most common users of these methods.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right online marketing services for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

Establishing the scope

Don’t try to reach all or too many international markets at the same time. Going international with your digital marketing campaign does not mean you have to simultaneously target all or most countries. Identify the top markets that will most likely give you the new customers you need, then focus your marketing on them. Realize that “targeting” numerous markets at the same time is going to be extremely costly and risky.

If you want your international digital marketing efforts to succeed, you can’t just throw out a one-size-fits-all campaign. Different countries or regions require different localization projects and teams. Likewise, they most likely need custom marketing strategies that appeal to different cultures. Digital marketing campaigns that work in Scandinavian countries, for example, are unlikely to work in China or Indonesia.

It is advisable to start small, then expand as you see fit. Carefully study your options to determine the next best moves for your product expansion. Let the success of your initial promotional campaigns guide you to the next countries or regions gradually. If your marketing efforts don’t seem to work in Asian markets, maybe you need to go elsewhere or focus your efforts in more receptive markets.

Developing flexibility and scalability

Develop an adaptable digital marketing strategy. The international market is never homogenous. That’s why you need to customize your approaches depending on the situation on the ground. Additionally, you have to make sure that your plans can agilely adapt to changes or unexpected developments. What do you do, for example, if the government (in the market you are targeting) releases a preliminary statement assailing the effectiveness of the main ingredient of the mosquito repellent solution you are marketing? You need to swiftly react by citing other authoritative research or advisories to counter the local government’s assertion.

Moreover, you need to make sure that your marketing plan can be easily scaled up or down depending on the conditions of the market. Avoid creating a plan that is too anchored on certain personalities, places, pop culture references or competing products. Make it easy to expand your plan by not necessitating major changes in your product pitch and the functions of the people involved in implementing the plan.

Building relationships

Emphasize customer connection. International digital marketing may sound like an enormous and generalized venture, but it is something that should be made as intimate as possible. The goal should always be to make customers feel special so that they feel compelled to buy a product or subscribe to a service.

Be responsive to customer inquiries. Address complaints or questions as soon as possible. If you are trying to attract new customers, don’t make them feel that they are taken for granted or just one of the many your business deals with impersonally. It helps to invest in a multilingual customer service team. Customers tend to buy something if it is pitched in their language. Prospective customers develop a positive first impression when their concerns are addressed in their mother tongue.

Monitoring and evaluating

Document the implementation of your international marketing plan and measure the performance. Always be updated with everything that is happening with the plan. Record the progress of the courses of action and assess if they have achieved what they were meant to achieve. Come up with performance metrics and evaluate whether or not the business is getting something out of the endeavor. The money spent on online ads, social media promotions and other forms of digital marketing should translate to something palpable. It could be in the form of increased brand awareness or a bump in sales.

In conclusion

A successful international digital marketing plan does not have to employ all digital marketing methods. What’s important is to develop an efficient strategy that gradually but effectively reaches international audiences, region by region or country by country. Elaborate monitoring of outcomes should also be undertaken to follow through with the programmed actions. You should also introduce changes whenever and wherever necessary.

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Aug 23

Internet Marketing Agency, fishbat, Discusses 3 Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Restaurant’s Website

PATCHOGUE, N.Y., Aug. 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — One of the main benefits of digital marketing is its ability to generate and direct online traffic. Internet marketing agency, fishbat, discusses 3 ways to increase traffic to your restaurant’s website.


In the digital age, where it appears that every business has an online presence, internet marketing is critical. This is a service that’s designed with numerous purposes in mind. For businesses that simply wish to sell products and services, their priority is to bring as many potential customers to their websites as possible. Despite the competition that exists online, across all industries, increasing website traffic isn’t as mystifying as it may appear.

For restaurant owners that are struggling to bring customers to their websites, SEO Agency NYC helps to identify 3 ways that traffic can be increased.

Understand the Customer
One of the reasons why a restaurant will do well is its understanding of the customer. This logic applies to their utilization of digital media as well, so it’s important to build a website that keeps the user in mind. To expand on this, when someone visits a restaurant’s website, oftentimes the intent is to see the menu before dining or making a reservation. Ensure that key points including the menu and restaurant location are as easy to find as possible. Otherwise, the likelihood of losing visitors, and potential guests by proxy, grows.

Include High-Quality Photos
Another way to increase traffic to a restaurant’s website is by using high-quality photos. While a user can read about meals, desserts, and beverages, this will only provide them with a certain volume of information. Photos help to visualize what users are reading about, from the simplest of appetizers to the most complex of entrees. If a restaurant owner has a website that’s regularly maintained, photos should be included. This inclusion will not only help generate traffic but ensure that users stay to learn more.

Consider Desktop and Mobile Platforms Alike
Consider this: how many users will research websites when they’re on the go? If they’re traversing a bustling city or village, they may come across a restaurant that catches their eye. From there, they may go online to learn more. This is where mobile-friendly, or responsive, web design plays a pivotal role. Users will go online, visit the restaurant’s website, and see what they offer. A mobile-friendly website condenses all relevant information into a form that’s tailormade for smartphones and tablets. Furthermore, as search engines prioritize websites that are mobile-friendly, this will benefit SEO in the long term.

fishbat Internet Marketing Company New York is a full-service digital marketing firm that takes a holistic business approach to their clients’ digital marketing programs. The fishbat team understands the importance of business principles just as well as the nuances of the latest digital technologies. fishbat offers every digital marketing service available from digital marketing research and planning to brand development to website and asset creation through social media management and search engine optimization programs – all custom calibrated for both B2B and B2C businesses.

Media Contact: Scott Darrohn, fishbat Media, 855-347-4228,


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Aug 22

Investing in the Future of Food: Amazon video-related marketing offers a broad reach and impact – FoodNavigator

“People are seeing incredible results using Amazon’s search products,”​ which is a “genius”​ tool that allows marketers to directly target consumers who have an “incredibly high intent”​ and then only pay when an ad appears as a search result, said John Denny, VP of eCommerce digital marketing at Cavu Ventures.

However, he added, “the challenge that I see is that typically is the only ad lever that they are implementing when there is a whole rich tool set of Amazon advertising tools they can also use.”

At the Digital Food Beverage conference​ in Austin this summer, he explained that Cavu Ventures encourages its brands to use Amazon Display, Amazon Video and their over-the-top video options as potentially more engaging marketing tools that will help forge real bonds with consumers in a way that thumbnail images that appear during a sponsored search result do not.

Video advertising on Amazon is “a rapidly emerging area where consumers are watching over the Internet video and Amazon is offering this product in full screen, non-skippable. Meaning that your spot will run for the full 30 seconds and … it is a really forced view,”​ he said.

The end result is an “incredibly engaging tapestry or platform to run your TV commercial and your video that also is incredibly targeted because it is based on all of Amazon targeting [data] within their echo-system,”​ he added.

Taking advantage of Amazon advertising must be a team effort

To fully take advantage of the marketing potential of Amazon, Denny notes that brands need to look at it not as a single retail channel – but as a display network that reaches across platforms to find consumers where they are – not just when they are on its website.

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Aug 21

A no-deal Brexit could unleash a flood of fake goods in the UK, retail expert says

Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei lays out ‘battle’ strategy amid US…

Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei laid out plans to bring more efficiencies to the organization. This included simplifying the reporting structure, cutting down on surplus staff, axing…

read more

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Aug 20

Small Business Marketing Automation: Data Privacy Tips

Even for newbies, building a website can be easy with today’s tools. Turning it into a successful online business is a whole different challenge. You can have the most visually appealing site with great functionality, but still struggle to attract users and customers. That’s why marketing is such an important skill and practice in every modern industry.

The power of technology has radically shifted how marketing is done in today’s world. No longer do companies have to invest a lot of money on television or print advertisements that might not prove successful. Instead, the internet allows for marketing to be targeted at specific demographics so that people see ads that are as relevant as possible.

However, small businesses are now coming up against a crucial dilemma. Online privacy has become a major discussion in recent years, and large amounts of personal data are required to run a successful marketing platform. So how can small businesses keep automating their advertising and marketing efforts without sacrificing their customers’ trust? Good question.

Government regulation and compliance and how it affects marketing automation

After seeing serious data breaches become almost a daily occurrence due to new hacking threats or negligence, some governments have begun taking steps to regulate how personal data is handled online. A prime example is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was instituted by the European Union in 2018.

GDPR affects any small business or organization that operates a website within its boundaries or caters to customers from Europe. In order to stay compliant, you must adhere to a strict list of policies that could change how you collect, share and analyze data about individual people.

Failure to stay compliant with GDPR comes with hefty fines, and the same is true if your organization suffers a data breach and does not notify affected users in a timely manner. Many governments across the globe are now looking to institute new regulations that are based on the standards set in the EU’s GDPR.

Starting with transparency

As an online company that relies on data-driven marketing strategies, regulations like GDPR may seem like a roadblock to your goals. However, in reality, it is an opportunity to review your data retention policies and consider the level of trust you are looking to maintain with customers.

The key priority when it comes to preserving user privacy is to be as transparent as possible in every situation. Collecting user data is not inherently illegal or bad. But you need to be upfront with people about when it is happening and what the ramifications will be for them.

For organizations that need to overhaul their marketing strategy to be aligned with government regulations, the best place to start is probably with a new privacy policy. This document should be accessible from your homepage and should be written in a simple format. The goal is to help customers understand what their data is used for and how it is being safely stored.

Transparency also means giving individual users the option to remove themselves from marketing distributions or tracking. The best practice is to use an opt-in approach, which means that data storage will not begin until a user expressly indicates that they want to participate.

Email marketing in a GDPR world

For almost any online business, email marketing is an indispensable part of the overall strategy and one of the areas it’s easy to run afoul of GDPR and similar regulations. Today, at the heart of the best email marketing software services lies automation. You can set up a series of autoresponders that will automatically be sent at specific intervals depending upon a particular link or sign-up form a potential customer clicked or filled out.

The thing to keep in mind is that it is in these services’ best interest to make clients like you feel happy and secure that privacy laws are being followed. There’s a good chance they’ll do their part where needed to update wording, function, and format related to templates, policies, features, internal processes, agreements, and more. But you have responsibilities also independent of your email marketing provider.

Read about the term “data controller” and understand that you’re probably one according to GDPR. This is particularly important in countries like Germany, U.K., and Canada, which had strict data controller laws for email marketing platforms and other small business software prior to the ratification of GDPR in May 2018. 

Rest easy, No one is going to ask you to stop using email or social media posting automation. What you do need to do is understand which are the dangerous spots in the marketing process that could get you in trouble with GDPR. You need to know the proper way to collect, handle, and store customer data, and also correctly respond to requests from the owners of that data.

Technology changes to make to marketing automation

For online businesses, one of the big challenges in prioritizing user privacy is getting a full understanding of where user data resides and how it is being managed. Cloud environments are often quite distributed and may involve several third-party platforms. This means that responsibility for compliance is spread out and can be difficult to control.

Businesses should perform a thorough audit of their marketing systems and ensure that each one meets regulatory standards. The best vendor tools will offer to assist in these audits to verify compliance status. Avoid any third-party product that is offering to buy user data from you for marketing purposes.

Stressing the benefits

Many people across the globe have become skeptical about sharing any sort of personal or sensitive information with online companies. In order to keep your marketing automation systems running effectively, you need to build consistent trust with these users. The best way to do that is by emphasizing the benefits they will receive from smarter marketing campaigns.

The reason most internet users get annoyed with advertisements is not because they take up too much space; it’s because they are trying to sell a product or service that is of no interest to them. Segmented and targeted marketing is the solution to this dilemma, but the only way to make that possible is to leverage key bits of user data.

To help put customer concerns at ease, companies should consider making all marketing data anonymized and encrypted whenever possible. For example, let’s say, “John Smith” adds two tennis rackets to his shopping cart. That information can be tracked in your marketing database to target relevant ads to him, but the data should be tagged to a randomized ID number and encoded so that hackers will not be able to steal it.

Bottom line

Modern small businesses rely on automation platforms to make their marketing strategies smarter and more effective. But these systems require a huge amount of user data, which can feel like an invasion of privacy to your customers. 

As the owner of a website or online business, it is your responsibility to store all private data in a secure manner while still leveraging its value in marketing campaigns. That might be a tall order but that is the reality in today’s intrusive online world.

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Aug 19

Donna Probes: In business, its sink or soar

There are two pathways in the world of owning a business. One leads to successful growth and the other can lead to stagnation or decline.

In this column, we’ll look at four common mistakes that can contribute to sinking a business. Next month I’ll focus more on the optimistic side and examine the practices that help insure a higher level of success and prosperity.

Unless the odds are on your side through some stroke of miraculous luck, a good way to put your new business in jeopardy is through lack of advance research and planning. Tracking industry trends, calculating realistic cash flow projections and researching your competition all serve as very good indicators of how successful you will be in your business. Without a one, five and ten-year strategic plan, plus a well defined mission statement, you are more likely to fall victim to distraction, impulsive decision-making and lack of focus.

The next big mistake is not utilizing the marketing tools that have the greatest potential for reaching your customer. You must know where your customers gather their information when making their buying decisions. In today’s world it is most often the Internet. Therefore, every business owner must have a working knowledge of Internet based marketing, including websites, social media, search engine optimization, content marketing, blogs, geo targeting, cost per lead, and the many other web marketing concepts.

Another common mistake is lack of diversification. Unless you sell a product that enjoys endless demand and is proven to be recession proof, it is a good idea to create multiple income streams through a variety of product lines or services. A one-product business is always at risk for market saturation, new competitors and other threatening economic factors. So always look for ways to utilize your assets and equipment to produce new products and services. Stay current on trends and scout out entrepreneurial opportunities.

Mistake number four is overleveraging the business with too much debt. A good rule of thumb is a total debt to asset ratio of at least 1:1. In other words if you owe $50,000 in commercial loans, credit card debt, accounts payable and mortgages you should always have at least $50,000 of assets in the form of cash in the bank, liquid investments, and tangible property that can be sold instantly. Your accounts receivable is a “bird in the bush,” so the cautious business owner will not include this in the ratio.

The smart business owner will continually learn new skills and expand their knowledge. The next SCORE workshop will offer tips for taking your business to the next level. The September 17 event, held at the main Traverse Area District Library branch at 11:30 a.m. will start with a self-evaluation of your current sales process. It will include many helpful suggestions for increasing efficiency in order to beef up your bottom line. Time and people management will also be covered. This event is free of charge. To reserve your spot, visit

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Aug 18

What good can Pinterest do for your business?

Every business owner wants an easy, organic way to grow business. After all, what’s better than free advertising? Many rely on word of mouth, client referrals, and maybe the occasional good-hearted person who decided to write a good Yelp review about the business.

While that’s all good and well, advertising in that way can be exhausting and stressful. What if someone says something negative? What if an unsatisfied customer takes to the Internet to voice their frustrations? What if no conversion happens and no one comes into your store or purchases your product? There are so many “what ifs” when it comes to organic marketing.

There has to be some way to prevent such a nightmare from happening.

Social media marketing has proven time and again that the style of marketing is shifting. Billboards, printed ads, and so on are nice, but what people consume digitally has a greater impact that we can even fathom. Even if someone sees your product for just a quick second, that small glance at what you do can stay with them for months or even years. The world is your oyster in this Internet age.

So how do you make it work for you?

Pinterest has risen as a social media platform for businesses to display their work in a chic, easy to access way. Taking advantage of a Pinterest marketing course is just the key to unlock the potential of the platform so you can convert those clicks to purchases.

A Pinterest marketing course will take you through the steps on how to grow your business in an organic way online, no matter what your experience is with the platform. Courses like these are absolutely perfect for you and your business even if you’ve never visited Pinterest before.

Of course, you want to make sure that such strategy is worth your time, money, and effort, right? According to Forbes, Pinterest has a large play in conversion rates, with a dramatic upswing in its conversions with smaller shopping carts. This platform is ideal for the smaller business owner with an eye for aesthetics, but it can easily be molded to fit any user need.

Now, the trick is to convert those clicks on your product to actual purchases. In a course focused on Pinterest, all the information presented will be focused on how to make Pinterest really work for you, rather than being a stagnant platform with your products being tossed around. Imagine the growth possibilities if you knew how to control the media platform so it exactly fits what you want your target audience to see and hear.

Pinterest can be a powerful, business-changing tool if used correctly. If you’re looking to grow your business, drive more sales online, or even just get your name into the market in an easy, interactive way, going the route of Pinterest is your best bet.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up today to change the way your business grows and gets recognized.

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