Winning Online

Making Sense of Online Marketing

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If Content is King, then Engagement is Queen

September 16th, 2013 · No Comments

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You’ve probably heard that line before. In fact, content has been king since the earliest days of the Internet. But with the rise of social media, we started hearing about engagement. We all get what it means but how do you get your audience involved in the two-way conversation?

First, you have to find out what they’re interested in. Sure, they’ve expressed an interest in your company or organization because they’ve liked you or followed you. But what gets them talking? What makes them mad? What makes them happy?

Test out different types of posts and tweets, using different styles of “speaking.” Make sure to include links, hashtags, and images or video, when appropriate. And don’t forget to include stories about real people, including staff members at your company, customers or clients, and others in your industry.

Respond to comments, retweet those who have done the same for you, follow and like the organizations who have shared your posts.

Get them talking. Ask them questions that will generate responses. Request that they share their own story.

You’ll soon find out what techniques get YOUR audience talking and you’ll learn how to keep the conversation going.

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Getting Butts in the Seats

September 11th, 2013 · No Comments

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You’ve got a great product and a great website. But are you doing everything you can to help potential customers or clients find you?

Learn how 13 successful entrepreneurs increased their search traffic.

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“Responsive” web design is valuable new tool in messaging arsenal

July 17th, 2012 · No Comments

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Winning Strategies ITS is always trying to stay current and on top of the trends, offering its clients innovative, new ways to disseminate their messages.  Since the start of this year, we have begun to build select client websites in an emergent standard, called “responsive” web design. 

This type of design forces a website to slightly change based on which type of device a visitor is viewing the site with – a desktop, tablet, or smartphone.  Whereas traditional website design optimizes the design experience to desktop-based parameters, and in turn forces all devices to display the site “as is” or as it appears on a desktop computer, responsive web design utilizes special site programming to respond or react to the environment in which the website is being served in. 

“We can design for an optimal viewing experience, but embed standards-based technologies into our designs to make them not only more flexible, but more adaptive to the media that renders them,” said Ethan Marcotte, the web developer who coined the term Responsive Web Design.

A desktop computer would see the site with a more full experience, wide and fully featured; a tablet would see the site enhanced to the tighter screen size of its dimensions, with iterations for landscape and portrait mode; and a smart phone would see a smaller, mobile version of a site, but one that expands fully to the platform, and that showcases the most critical information to someone on-the-go.  Responsive web design gives the user, whoever they are and on whatever browser they view a site through, the best and most pertinent version.

Responsive design is also cost-effective.  Instead of having to build several different versions of a website, we can build a site on one content management platform, with a design that scales to the environment of the consumer.  This is a win-win for the client and its audience.

For more information on this design standard, check out Wikipedia’s entry.

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→ No CommentsTags: Iphone · Uncategorized · Web Strategy · ipad

What is Cloud Computing?

September 28th, 2011 · No Comments

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Came across an interesting video that tries to help the viewer visualize cloud computing, the ubiquitous service that in effect backstops our online lives but is very hard for the typical person to explain.

The video notes that by 2014 “over 60% of all server workloads will be virtualized” and that “predicted cloud revenue is $148.8 Billion,” up from $68.3 billion in cloud revenue in 2010.

The video - created by JESS3, a creative agency, and sponsored by salesforce.com - is called “The State of Cloud Computing.”

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Good Press

December 6th, 2010 · No Comments

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The Inc. 5000 ranking has been great for us in many ways. The latest — an article about Winning Strategies ITS in NJBIZ magazine — came out today.

The article talks about how WSITS has benefited as companies look to outsource their IT needs.

Read it here.

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New Website Coming Soon

November 30th, 2010 · No Comments

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Like the shoemaker’s children who have no shoes, we are way behind on updating our Website. But we recently made a commitment to ourselves to make it a priority. We’ve held weekly meetings to figure out what we want to say and how we want it to look. And we’re getting close.

Stay tuned to see the new online face of WSITS …

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WSITS Makes Inc. 5000 List

November 4th, 2010 · No Comments

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We were really excited to find out that we ranked No. 2,172 on Inc. magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing, private companies in the country.  We were also ranked No. 261 in the IT services industry and 16th among New Jersey-based IT firms.

The Inc. 500|5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth from 2006 through 2009. WSITS’s revenue increased 119 percent during the three year period.

Check out our listing.

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The Internet’s Next Act: Continued Cooperation or Controlled Competition?

September 3rd, 2010 · No Comments

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This week’s Economist brings an interest cover and accompanying feature story related to very much the lifeblood of our company.  It ponders on the future of the internet and whether the medium’s foundation as an open-source, hands across the world, free and border-less entity could soon be a thing of the past.

Of the internet, the feature story posits, “Fifteen years after its first manifestation as a global, unifying network, it has entered its second phase: it appears to be balkanising, torn apart by three separate, but related forces.”These forces, as identified in the story, are 1) governments attempts to “reassert their sovereignty” and silo their own borders on the ‘net; 2) large IT companies - like Apple - gatekeeping their own platforms; and 3) network owners looking to treat “different types of traffic differently,” as in the debate over net neutrality.

With the game-changing power that the internet has brought to societies across the world, businesses, news, and one-to-one personal interactions, there is no doubt that those in control of its levers - at all levels of its production chain - would want to siphon off their piece and make their niches as profitable as possible. But the fine line between control and the net’s bedrock principle of openness could be a more and more difficult mixture to concoct. Apple has done a nice job of it. As a user of its products (iphone, ipad), there are times I do not realize that I am navigating through a curated network. Think the app store - where Apple decides what can and cannot appear on its platform - or its very dictatorial stance on Adobe Flash, where it essentially completely denies access to its network by a major player on the internet. Facebook has obviously done a nice job of this as well. Other than some blips as it got its young legs around big business privacy concerns, it does allow outside developers of applications to interface with its native technology (even if it does say how you can and cannot interact with its platform). And, 500 million plus folks seem to think its the place to be, so you cannot argue with that success. As long as its free, their concerns of control are allayed with every comment and “like.”

But when you start to look at how governments (like China or India of late) or Network providers (across the information superhighway) can or could have their hand in deciding what is allowed to appear on the ‘net, the very roots of and reasons for the internet’s ascension can quickly fold in on itself. For just as fast and relatively easy those with the will can erect something online, and its success can flower “virally,” that same truth can rear itself on the other side. The mightiest can fall at light speed with the sudden twinge of overreach or perceived view of over-importance (see MySpace, AOL, Friendster, etc). And for all of us who have grown up in this age, an open internet is second nature; therefore, we are highly attuned and sensitive to anything that smells of the opposite. So, when all is said and done, those in control of the internet’s future will not be the only ones calling the shots.

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IPAD vs. Kindle

August 26th, 2010 · No Comments

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There have been scrolls upon scrolls at this point written about the battle royale of e-readers. While there are many e-readers who have come on the scene, Kindle is still the head of the class of reading devices and is the one I will write about on the dedicated e-reader front. When the IPAD burst on the scene - with its ability to do so much, including book reading - it ratcheted up the debate of which device to choose.

I write because I read New York Times writer David Pogue’s article-review-analysis on the new kindle today.

I am a user - a gadget geek probably - who actually has both devices. I purchased a Kindle just before last summer and picked up the IPAD WIFI/3G just before this summer. I probably rushed into purchasing the IPAD without thinking too hard about where each device would fit into my life. It’s like getting a new dog at the spur of a moment when you already have one - as my family actually did - and letting nature see how they coexist and find their new way in the world. The coexistence is confusing at first, and then acclimation ultimately renders a clear path, and you are left with an understanding of how the relationship will be.

For me, pre-IPAD, I had used the Kindle as an e-reader for books but more so on a daily basis as the device for all my papers and magazines, particularly the New York Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, and the Economist. I learned to read on cardio machines at the gym in the morning - which changed my life (and the big font options and text-to-speech allow you to actually enjoy while running on a treadmill) - and I loved the fact that I could always carry around this small device (I have the 6″ version) and pop it open to read anything at any time. It was perfect.

Then came the IPAD. On the whole, the IPAD obviously allows you to do a lot more. From using applications to seeing things in color (gasp!), to traversing the ‘net on a super-fast N wireless connection, to email in a beautiful interface, to even e-reading.

My biggest dog-eat-dog coexistence worries with the IPAD were thinking about 1) how it would fit into my daily life between an IPHONE and a Laptop 2) how I would resolve the issue of e-reading and 3) what would be my dedicated daily device (who wants to be carrying around an IPHONE, IPAD, Kindle, lunch and gym bag?).

And to make it all the tougher, the Kindle application on the IPAD only allows for book reading; that means none of your daily/weekly/monthly subscriptions that you have on the Kindle are visible in your IPAD. This makes the daily dedicated device issue an all-or-nothing gamble. If subscriptions were to sync, your choice of what device to leave the house with would be one of daily preference.

At first, i stuck with the Kindle, which meant the IPAD stayed at home. That was my original plan, too: the IPAD would be my home device and the Kindle the traveler. But as I moved on, I started to become very aggravated with the subscription issue. Here I had this great device in the IPAD and I could - I should - be using it in the day. How dare Amazon force me to choose what device I use each day? So just like that, I went all Tea Party, and cancelled all subscriptions on the Kindle.

I transferred the IPAD into my daily device and the Kindle as the background device that would stay home, and be my “long-form” reader (as is the parlance of the e-reading intellectuals). For the New York Times, I started using the NY Times Editors Choice application for the IPAD. It’s highly deficient - a politically created half attempt - but it allowed me to read the Times at the gym, my books if I wanted to, and then gave me the opportunity to use the IPAD as my roving tablet at work. This worked for me.

Then, out of nowhere, subscriptions for the New York Times came to the IPAD, but in the form of the Barnes and Noble “Nook” e-reader application. More confusion! But it’s much better than the alternative. So I set up an account with Nook and have been subscribing on the IPAD ever since. It doesn’t resolve the multi-device subscription sync hopes with my Kindle device, but it works for me and gives me hope that Kindle can’t be far behind in figuring this out if a competitor did. And when it happens, I will move right over there and I have my perfect world.

What does this all say about the IPAD vs. the Kindle?

Well, from a reading standpoint, the IPAD is too heavy for reading for too long (there’s what “long-form” means) and the screen - which provides a beautiful touch screen interface and color - finds its kryptonite when exposed to the sun. It is rendered annoyingly unreadable and you find the thing you can see most clearly is your own visage, as the reflection from the sunlight creates a perfect mirror that obscures anything behind the screen.

The Kindle’s main limitation - it essentially does one thing - is what makes it the thing it is supposed to be: a dedicated e-reader. But because of that and its e-ink technology, you can really read it anywhere and for a really long time. It can go for nearly a week with the 3G - and now WIFI - left on; it can go for weeks going on a month with that technology turned off. The IPAD goes for about 10 hours - unbelievable from the PC/Laptop point of view - but paling in comparison to the Kindle.

My opinion is that if the subscription sync issue can be figured out, why not have both? If you were to purchase both WIFI versions of the devices, you’re looking at a pricetag of somewhere around $650, basically the price of the mid-range WIFI/3G version of the IPAD. With the subscription caveat, you will now have devices that speak to one another. One of the cool features of the Kindle and its IPAD/IPHONE apps is that your reading and how far you read on each of them syncs across devices. So, if i read to a certain location on the Kindle, when I open the book on the IPAD or the IPHONE it will offer me the opportunity to go right to that point, and vice versa.

Forever, we had, in essence, been buying one “device” for each book we bought, in the form of a single hardcover or single paperback book. Think of the IPAD as a hardcover and the Kindle as a paperback. These two devices are different and don’t necessarily cannibalize one another, but have the real opportunity to complement each other.

But for me, until subscriptions syncing get figured out, my Kindle - outside of my last vacation to the beach, where it was truly needed - has sat next to my bed as a prop.

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→ No CommentsTags: Iphone · amazon · app store · apple · e-reader · ipad · kindle

Integrating Yahoo Paid Search into Google Analytics

March 2nd, 2010 · No Comments

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Long Story Short: Source must be lowercase “yahoo” and medium lowercase “cpc”
By Matthew McQueeny

There are many articles out there on this topic.  And I found that while they get offer great instruction on integrating Yahoo Paid Search into the Google Analytics reporting dashboard, I also found that as the data accumulated nothing I did worked.  Following articles such as this or this one (which includes info for tracking Bing), I was able to ascertain how you get this kind of thing setup.

Google allows you to automatically link one AdWords account to one Google Analytics account.  However, as with any multi-platform paid search advertising campaign - a must today - anything beyond this single Adwords - Analytics tie in does not get correctly categorized within your analytics dashboard.While the automatic Google option allows you to see paid vs. nonpaid keyword performance, or cost per click vs. organic, you cannot see this information for another Google AdWords account or for a Yahoo (or Bing) paid search account.When you, for instance, set up a paid search campaign on Yahoo, all statistics in regards to keywords and paid or organic source attribution does not get categorized.

 

So, anything coming in from Yahoo - and the same can be said in the case of Bing - is attributed simply as organic traffic.  To get this quality information and have Google Analytics index it correctly, you need to manually append your URL with parameters that speaks analytics’ language and gives you the opportunity to fill in the descriptive blanks.  All of the instructive information out there tells you to go to Google’s URL Builder, which gives you a form where you fill in this descriptive information and the tool renders the appended URL for you.

However, like any open-source technology, directions tend to leave out gaping holes of information that tend to be integral to getting the thing to work.  Documentation can be sparse, with issues simply being echoed throughout the internet and answers few and far between.  Here are the basics to rendering your correctly appended URL, which will allow Yahoo Paid Search information to display in Google Analytics.

  1.  go to Google URL Builder 
  2. Input the URL of the ad’s destination
  3. for “campaign source” input yahoo
  4. for “campaign medium” input cpc
  5. for “campaign term” input {OVKEY}.  This is Yahoo’s automatic keyword generator tool.  Whatever the word is that led to the click-through will be indexed automatically.
  6. for “campaign content” input {OVADID}, this is similar to #5 but for the campaign content.
  7. for “campaign name” input something that describes the campaign.  Note: if there are spaces put an underscore for the space (so “yahoo paid search” would be “yahoo_paid_search”)

When you generate your URL this is what appears (I use our companies Web site URL as the example):

http://www.wsits.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=%7BOVKEY%7D&utm_content=%7BOVADID%7D&utm_campaign=yahoo%2Bpaid%20search

This URL is not exactly right yet.  You will need to manually alter this a bit.  You will see the the {OVKEY} was turned into %7BOVKEY%7D, {OVAID} was turned into %7BOVADID%7D, and without putting the underscores in yahoo paid search that this happened: yahoo%2Bpaid%20search.

So you will need to manually fix it to the following:http://www.wsits.com/?utm_source=yahoo&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term={OVKEY}&utm_content={OVADID}&utm_campaign=yahoo_paid_search

Here is the key information from all this, however.  For source, you must put only “yahoo” in all lower case and for medium you must only put “cpc” and in lower case as well. The reason I note this is because Google URL builder will allow you to put whatever case you want and will allow you to really put in anything into those two cells.  You explicitly must put just “yahoo” and just “cpc.”  It is like a magic key that opens the door to correct indexing.  I grant you this from weeks of beating my head against a computer desk.

I hope you will come to our company to do this work anyway, but I can’t have another online marketer go through this :).

You will then take your appended URL and put it into the destination URL field of your Yahoo paid search ad.  The final step to make this all work on the Yahoo administrator side is to go to “administration” and “tracking URLs” and set them to “Tracking URLs on.”

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→ No CommentsTags: AdWords · Google · Pay Per Click · Search Engine Marketing · yahoo