How Marketing Partnerships Can Benefit Your Business

Coca-Cola is teaming up with Marvel Studios to promote Marvel’s forthcoming May release “Captain America: Civil War.” The promotional campaign kicked off with a Super Bowl ad featuring Ant-Man trying to steal a Coca-Cola Mini can from Hulk’s alter-ego Bruce Banner, who doesn’t like it when he’s thirsty. Hulk chases his tiny adversary down, only to find he needs his help to open the can with his huge hands. The ad introduced a promotion featuring co-branded Coke Mini cans with illustrations of the Hulk, Ant-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Falcon, and Black Widow.

Coke and Marvel’s joint promotion illustrates the type of strategic partnership that successful companies use effectively. Here are a few ways forming promotional partnerships can benefit your business.

Join Up with Partners Who Can Attract Your Competition’s Customers

To launch its Surface touchscreen tablets, Microsoft used a guerrilla marketing tactic to put itself in a position to attract Apple customers. Microsoft identified small businesses located near Apple Stores and arranged promotional partnerships to display Surface ads in places where Apple customers would see them. For instance, Microsoft used the wall on the outside of a car wash near an Apple Store to display a graffiti ad for Surface tablets. As this illustrates, finding partners who can help promote you to your competition’s customers can be an efficient way to attract your target market at minimal cost.

Identify businesses who share a mutual relationship with your competition and their customers, and find ways you can use that relationship to reach your competition’s customers. In addition to renting partners’ advertising space as Microsoft did, you can use techniques such as geotargeted ads extending discount offers to customers in your partner’s store.

Provide Partners with Content for Mutual Promotion

Dr. Phil McGraw first gained national attention by appearing on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 1998. He soon began appearing on a regular segment on Oprah’s show, giving him a platform for a spinoff show produced by Oprah’s company and launching him into bestselling author status. Dr. Phil and Oprah continue their relationship today, with Oprah appearing on Dr. Phil’s show for a reunion interview recently.

Their relationship illustrates how both partners can benefit from a promotional arrangement where one partner provides content for the other’s audience. Oprah’s talk show relied on interesting guests; Dr. Phil was able to fill this need, in return for the publicity he got from appearing on Oprah’s nationally-syndicated show.

The same principle applies online, where websites such as business blogs and news media outlets rely on experts for content in order to gain better search engine rankings. By offering content in such forms as interviews and guest blogs, you can gain publicity for both your partner and your own company.

Help Partners Provide Value to Your Mutual Target Market

This winter the National Parent Teacher Association teamed up with LifeLock to promote the Smart Talk Giveaway, a sweepstakes where the winning family received a trip to Disney World for a dream summer vacation. The sweepstakes was part of a promotion for The Smart Talk, an app the PTA and LifeLock designed to help families stay safe online. The app and sweepstakes gave LifeLock an opportunity to share its security expertise with the families the PTA works with. In so doing, LifeLock gained publicity by providing the PTA with value to share with its target market.

Designing an app and running a sweepstakes are just a couple of ways to do this. Another example is when movie theaters provide local stores with free tickets to give their customers, expecting to make up for the loss with refreshment sales and repeat business. Inexpensive loss leaders such as this are an excellent way to cultivate strategic partnership relationships.

How to Create a Successful Blog for Your Business

As more businesses are establishing an online presence, not having a blog might cause you to fall behind the competition. Having a blog enables you to attract and keep customers, but you must properly maintain it by knowing what to post, how often to post, and what not to post. Otherwise, your blog could be more harmful and destructive than beneficial. When blogging platforms are not run properly, you risk turning your customers away and leaving money on the table. It’s vital you know how to run, manage, and maintain your blog since this will enable you to grow and expand your business.

Offer Value

Your goal with starting a blog is to promote your product or service and increase sales. This often requires you to post high-quality, engaging content. It is vital you ensure each post offers value and to achieve this, you must post informational content that is relevant to your audience, or you can offer discounts and coupons. When you offer value, you inspire your customers to continue reading your blog, but not offering useful content will cause you to lose followers. You should avoid being overly promotional if you want to keep your readers engaged and as a general rule, provide at least five informative posts before posting anything promotional.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization enables you to expand your blog and reach new followers. This involves placing certain keywords in each post in an attempt to get your blog listed in search engine results. When done properly, this gives your blog free, targeted exposure. But search engine optimization involves more than just keyword placement. You must also get backlinks pointing back to your blog.  For example, a business in real estate might partner with a trusted mortgage source like Succeed At Eagle to get the word out to similar searchers.

Search engines view websites with backlinks more reputable than those that don’t. Some backlinks will come naturally with time as people link to your articles. But you must also work to build quality backlinks, which can be done through guest blogging. Contact other bloggers who have content similar to yours, and offer to provide a guest post in exchange for linking back to your website.

Paid Advertising

If your website is not getting much traffic, using paid advertising is a great way to get exposure and attract followers. You must do market research to discover which platforms your target audience uses. Otherwise, you will waste money attracting followers who are not likely to convert. You can buy ads on search engines to target certain keywords, or you can use social media ads to target people based on their interests. If you properly implement an advertising campaign, you will attract attention and enable your blog to grow.

Using a blog as part of your company’s marketing strategy can really pay off in the long run. If you are struggling to get yours off the ground, take a look at these ideas and see what you might need to change in order to get the right writing for your online space.

Online Games Teaming up with Celebrities

By now, we’re used to seeing celebs pop up in adverts for video games. The ‘Call of Duty’ franchise is well-known for using a vast array of celebs for their high-octane commercials, including Kobe Bryant, Robert Downey Jr., Megan Fox, Jonah Hill, Sam Worthington, Taylor Kitsch, Cara Delevingne and Chris Evans, to name a few. Even though some video games such as ‘Rise of the Tomb Raider’ employed a unique marketing campaign without any famous faces, the general public always gets a kick out of seeing actors, singers, models, or sports stars appear in game adverts where you least expect.

Supercell, makers of the mobile strategy game ‘Clash of Clans’, took everyone by surprise by hiring Liam Neeson, famous for his gruff and serious movie characters. Using this persona to their advantage, the advert played up Neeson’s deadly and solemn character in ‘Taken’, creating a juxtaposition so perfect with a whimsical and light online game such as ‘Clash of Clans’. Supercell scored a major touchdown (the ad was first aired during halftime of the 2015 Super Bowl) with Neeson’s involvement, as the video currently has a whopping 111 million views on YouTube.

Since then, Supercell have released several more commercials starring Christoph Waltz, famous for his villainous roles in ‘Spectre’ and ‘Inglourious Basterds’. Despite some decent acting, the adverts somewhat failed to capture the viral aspect that Neeson’s achieved so effortlessly. Waltz’s adverts, while of course getting the necessary details of the ‘Clash of Clans’ game across to viewers, are… well, uninteresting to put it lightly. What’s more, a recent commercial co-starring host of The Late Late Show, James Corden, is incredibly long for advertising standards, coming in at around 2:50 seconds. Sure, this won’t take up your entire afternoon, but the video isn’t anywhere close to deserving that runtime. Plus, in terms of shareability and going viral? Forget about it.

Elsewhere in the world of celebrity-endorsed commercials for online games, developers Machine Zone are pulling out all the stops for their ‘Game of War: Fire Age’ title. Part of a recent swarm of online strategy games found on sites like this, ‘Game of War’ became incredibly popular due to a team up with model Kate Upton for a string of epic commercials. Also aired during the 2015 Super Bowl (a good year for online gaming it seems), one advert featured explosions, battles, crumbling castles, and most decisively perhaps: Kate Upton’s breasts. After the commercial was released, ‘Game of War: Fire Age’ simply shot to fame, reaching second place on the top grossing mobile games list and still now continues to pull in approximately $1 million every day.

Despite the clear popularity with the commercials, Machine Zone have since replaced Upton with 45-year-old pop star Mariah Carey. The latest video features the same level of swords, dragons and mayhem we’ve come to expect with a ‘Game of War’ advert, but has a little more comedy than previous efforts. Carey’s screen time amounts to roughly five seconds, yet the commercial is a decent follow-up to Upton’s, but like Waltz’s adverts, seems to lack that shareability factor needed to go viral.

With so many celebrities happy to take part in gaming adverts, and companies more than willing to spend the big bucks to hire their services, it’s fair to say that we’ll see a lot more familiar faces in these types of adverts. However, keeping them fun, unique, and most importantly, shareable, will be their toughest task without a doubt.

Tips from Leading Seo Experts – White Hat Vs. Black Hat Points of View

People that are good at SEO know what works and make a lot of money from the practice through affiliate marketing, advertising and commercial sales. There are many in the community that talk the talk, but cannot walk the walk when it comes to producing sites that earn them income as a result of their SEO activity. SEO experts Online Marketing Gurus have provided a roundup of successful SEOs whose practices earn them hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in revenue and income annually.

1) Rand Fishkin

White hat SEO expert
Primary technique – Tool development.

Rand Fishkin is one of the founders of Moz (formerly SEOMoz). His site’s success grew off the back of developing valuable tools in the SEO industry. Tools such as Mozbar and Followerwonk has allowed the site to earn natural links, web traffic and SEO rankings. The site primarily earns its revenue through its tool subscription services.

2) Brian Dean

White hat SEO expert
Primary technique – Skyscraper method

Brian Dean has gained fame in the SEO community for his link building success through content marketing. Essentially, he finds the most ‘linkable’ content in a niche and creates something that is exceptional. Once the content is developed, he will find the website sources that link to the content piece and asks them if they would also consider linking to the content. This has earned Brian and many of his followers stellar SEO rankings, web traffic and web income.

3) Matthew Woodward

White hat SEO expert
Primary technique – Content marketing

Matt Woodward is an interesting SEO specialist to follow. One of his most interesting case studies is how his site managed to rank for the keyword ‘Buy SEO’ without engaging in any specific link building activities. Instead, Matthew and his writers focus on providing outstanding content to his loyal audience. These include:

  • Income reports
  • Guides
  • Case studies
  • Roundups

His content is extremely valuable and he earns much traffic and praise, as well as income.

4) Jay Wessman (LazyAssStoner)

White hat SEO specialist
Primary technique – Content markup and social media.

Jay doesn’t come across as your typical SEO expert, but his facts and practices stand true. Jay looks for non-competitive niches and rehashes content that has gone viral in the past with targeted keywords marked-up in the HTML. Once he has created the content, he sets up niche-specific social media accounts and then adds people that are interested in the topic. He aims to build a community of up to 5000 people. Once that has been done, he shares the content on those platforms and starts to receive social media links that also create the opportunity for website links on other sites.

The result is that the content starts to rank fairly quickly and he monetises the site through advertising and affiliate networks.

5) Alex Becker

Black hat SEO expert
Primary technique – Private blog network

The technique that Alex uses is against Google’s terms of service, but it is a method that does work and earns him hundreds of thousands in revenue each month. Alex primarily acquires domains that are expired and rebuilds the site to link to web properties that will allow his sites to dominate a niche market. The challenge is finding those expired domains that have authority. Once those domains are found and purchased, the content can be developed on the site and links from the site’s most authoritative pages can be pointed towards the target website that will be the ‘money site’.

This technique is one that is under the radar with Google’s algorithm. However, it is a technique that many black hat SEOs adopt and it works well until the site is outed or receives a penalty. Interestingly, some of the linking practices that are adopted are similar to white hat SEO practices.

The techniques from these experts are proven to work in different niches with different rates of success. White hat SEO practices are encouraged to rank sites for money keywords over the long-term.

3 Guerrilla Marketing Ideas for a Successful Charity Event

Hosting charity events is a terrific way for companies to become better known in the community and also to be seen as a business that cares about others.

While many business owners have pulled off successful fundraisers that center around traditional affairs such as black tie dinners and the like, it’s also important to consider some guerrilla marketing techniques. These innovative and often lower-cost methods can still help companies increase the size of their hearts and help get their name out in the community.

Host a 5K run for charity

A great way for companies to involve both their employees and the local community is to host a 5K run for a great cause. Business owners can conduct a poll with their staff to see which causes are important to them, and based on the results, choose a charity that will benefit from the run.

One company that has done this quite successfully is DriveTime; in the fall of 2015, the company hosted a whopping 49 5K runs on one day, with the donations going to help one needy child at each event. In order to learn about which kids they could help, DriveTime added a “Share Your Story” button to its website — this added a nice personal touch to the campaign.

While the DriveTime runs were all free to enter and raised money solely with donations, business owners can charge a small entry fee and provide plenty of chances for people to give extra money after the run is over. After the money has been collected, the owner can post the final amount on social media and send out a press release to the local media.

Consider an online fundraiser

Speaking of social media, a great and inexpensive way to raise money is to organize an online fundraiser that harnesses the power of social media to raise money. Online events are often easier because they do not involve reserving a venue and equipment. Owners can announce their plans to host an online charity event on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in addition to their own sites.

According to CauseVox, articulating the story and reason behind a fundraiser is important. After explaining their desire to give back to the community and a specific charity, owners can entice people to donate by offering discounts and deals, and they can offer the chance to donate on their site and in their brick-and-mortar location.

If someone donates in person, the owner can ask to take the customer’s photo and post it on Facebook as a Star Donor. Once the online event is over, business owners can post the final tally on social media and ask the local media to cover the presentation of the check to the charity of choice.

Look to elementary schools for inspiration

To inspire young students to log minutes during a read-a-thon or sell a lot of cookie dough for a school fundraiser, elementary schools are notorious for nominating their principals for a variety of silly “punishments.” Everything from tossing a pie in the principal’s face to head shaving seems to be fair game at many schools — the main reason being that it gets the kids excited and involved in the fundraiser.

As SignUpGenius notes, business owners can use this same technique during their next charity event; it’s cost effective and helps get the word out about the company’s caring heart. For example, donors can vote with their dollars to “pick the punishment.” For every dollar donated, they can vote on what the owner will have to do. Examples include hair dyeing, dressing as a clown for a day and inviting the winner in to be boss for the day.