Viral videos are one of the mysteries of social media marketing; most people assume “going viral” (getting people to share and view your video online, creating buzz) is pretty much luck or the domain of Fortune 500 companies with large ad agencies working for them. Steve Strauss’ article tries to present some concrete steps to help you plan and execute your own viral video.

Read it here: 7 Steps to Creating a Viral Video

If you have an online business, this article can help you kick-start the year with straightforward and affordable suggestions for getting your business, message and products out there in front of potential customers. I highly recommend it.

10 Things You Can Do to Make Your Online Business Money
by Susan L. Reid

We all know about Twitter and Facebook – how could we not as they have been beaten into our brains over the last year.  Most of us are likely fatigued from the overload of media attention they have generated – Facebook this, Twitter that.  Yet if you use these tools to help promote your business, you know the importance of keeping up with any news related to these two social media giants.

On a smaller scale, Twitter and Facebook are not the only games in town to pay attention to as there are newer players on the social media field.  These newer players are helping to define the future trends in social media and networking.  Here are 4 trends to watch and the web apps that are behind them: […]

When it comes to advertising, there are a number of ways to promote your business. Make the most of your advertising budget by creating ads that specifically target your potential customers.

There is no universal advertising solution that works for all businesses, because every business has a unique audience. Once you define your market, you can start thinking creatively to target more customers with your advertisements. For example, a local daycare center may find that advertising on the back of a school play program is more effective than advertising on the radio, because the school program specifically targets parents in nearby schools.

This article will go over many types of advertising media that you can use to promote your business. […]

Here is a very useful article by Kunur Patel at AdAge.com that presents what works and doesn’t work in banner ads – along with some tips to improve your campaigns.  Among the highlights: prominent logo placement, compelling and bold call-to-action, and the use of people are more important factors in online success than expensive targeting or high-profile placement.

http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=139795

While email has been around as long the Internet and may not be as “trendy” as the new social media marketing strategies, email campaigns and email marketing are still among the most popular and effective tools in an advertiser’s arsenal.   According to a recent study by the Center for Media Research, 56.8% of marketers polled “realistically” plan to use email in their advertising next year.

But even though email may be “old”, new strategies and technologies come along every day that can help you start an effective email campaign, or improve your existing one.  Below, I present five new things to try along with five things you really should avoid when planning your next email campaign.

[…]

Regardless of what your business does, what services you provide or what you want to sell through E-commerce, all business web sites have at least one common need: They all need to attract visitors in order to succeed.

Obviously, volumes upon volumes of information have been produced on various tips, tricks and tactics for building both search engine rankings and site traffic. Often overlooked in the middle of that huge data dump, however, are three simple things you can do to help build your site’s search recognition and drive more visitors to your site.

[…]

Yep, that is my predicition.

In 2009, while our economy continues to slug along, those that do a good job of marketing themselves online stand to have a very good year. We’ve all probably heard stories of how a lot of people became rich during the Great Depression – because it is true. Those that keep their eye on the ball when everyone else is distracted will continue to hit home runs – it won’t be as easy as it was before, but it will still happen.

Markets are shifting right now. While mainstream for quite some time now, the internet is now starting to subplant other channels of distribution and marketing. Newspapers are struggling, some either are, or are planning to go to internet-only distribution. Video, which had the exclusivity of TV delivery, is now more popular than ever online (even traditional TV’s might be hooked up to a PC or Apple TV), Google searches are replacing Yellow Page look-ups, users are carrying around internet-enabled cell phones loaded with mobile apps that connect to their online accounts, businesses are advertising online with pay-per-click advertising. While lower than before, the spikes in gas prices over the last few years has more people getting used to the idea of staying at home where they can spend more time surfing the web. A new generation is growing up not knowing of a world prior to high-speed internet. Social networking is redefining public relations for major companies and public figures.

There is a fundamental shift that is taking place – while we thought we have already seen the impact of the internet on our lives, we are now realizing that the last 10 years was just a slightly advanced stage in it’s infancy. A major growth spurt is coming in 2009 and a lot of companies that thought they had a “web presence” are going to get left behind, while a lot of companies that are “plugged in” to the coming changes will reap great rewards.

So, what are the nutshell nuggets of knowledge to pull from all this?

First you can’t be just a “web presence”. You can’t be “static” online. You can’t think of a website as the beginning and end of your online efforts. Sure, it has worked in the past, and in many cases working still. But at some point it no longer will.

Second, change the way you think about the internet – almost consider it a parallel universe. 20 years ago, they called the concept “virtual reality”. It made a lot of buzz but died down as the real world realities of the internet’s limitations at the time softened our vision of this “cyber-space”. Now we are seeing virtual reality slowly coming about. Sure, it’s not a funny headset and Tron-like graphics, but the internet is becoming another place that we exist, or more importantly, where your customer’s exist. They are not just hopping online to do a quick search with a keyword phrase to find your product or service and then signing off, they are living much of their life there. So, you will need to be “plugged in” to where they are, what they’re doing and how to get their attention.

We are already seeing this shift in our business. We are not a website development firm anymore, despite my old-habits-die-hard habit of calling us that. We are actually an interactive agency now. Developing the site for your web presence is no longer the beginning and end of our involvement. Throughout 2009 we will be asked to build the “main” site, setup the blogs, create sub-sites, recommend lead tracking solutions, secure advertising, handle marketing campaigns, develop a social media strategy, manage company brands, oversee public relations, broadcast online call-in radio shows, produce video, write copy, record podcasts, program applications, create training materials, research keywords and provide consultation services.

By being prepared for changes in 2009 as the internet leaves behind it’s infancy, you can be a part of it’s growth spurt.