Archive for the ‘Internet Marketing’ Category

Attract new customers, build relationships, and grow brand loyalty.

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How do your clients follow you online? If you are like the thousands of businesses who cannot know what sort of device your clients might use to connect with you at any given time, you need to cover all the bases. Smart phone, tablet, PC, laptop, mini tablet – no matter which way your clients or potential customers do their search, your website has to present a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate portal for that search.

Responsive Design is the answer. Find out what it means to drive [traffic] responsively.

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Great article that I spotted from an associate on LinkedIn, and a really important reminder about how quality content is more important than ever in SEO.

The article (http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2164438/Google-Cracking-Down-on-Unnatural-Links-Deindexing-Blog-Networks?goback=%2Egde_102662_member_104140400) details how Google has once more fired a warning shot across the bows of what it considers are unethically optimized websites. In particular the focus here is upon automated link building practices.

Quick and the short of it – Google has started to “take down” placement value of several websites that it feels have employed any form of electronic or automatic (as they refer to it, “unnatural”) link building. As with most Google moves like this, it is reactive to what Google has decided in Google’s own world and it is up to the general public and Internet Marketers to de-engineer the cause of the raucous.

Automated link building has been used by thousands of businesses and web enterprises around the world for as long as the tools to perform that task have been available. Everyone who understands what is required to achieve great Google page ranking also understands that incoming links to a website are one of the more valuable assets. We also know that dozens and many times hundreds of links are nt going to achieve the level of rank increase desired; most times it takes thousands in a highly competitive market.

I’ve been selling the opportunity to build inbound links to my clients for years, and always with the caveat that the process we employ requires manual creation of the links, anchor text, and content. It is slow and, if considered for the level of links required competitively, sometimes quite expensive to build out enough links to add some real value for a client. It always pays off over time, but it is not quick, cheap, or easy. The advantage has always been that the quality of fewer well placed links far outweighs whatever value comes from quantities of poorly placed links, though now that “natural” advantage takes on new prominence.

In a world where headlines win out over material, instant beats out long-term, and quantity is more easily recognized than quality, it appears that Google is trying to take us all back to a more “refined” view of the written word. And while it might be a pain and somewhat annoyingly secretive how it is accomplished, the simple fact is that content remains king (or queen).

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I was reminded  of Sally Field’s Oscar acceptance speech while I was looking into some Facebook marketing ideas the other day. The question on everyone’s mind when trying to apply Facebook to their Internet Marketing is “Will they like me?”. It’s really the wrong question to ask. What businesses should be asking is “Do they really like me?”.

Reveal Pages and Tabs with one-step or two-step actions are all the rage when integrating your FB business into your total business marketing. Like us and win something, or get special access to somewhere, or more often than not get an opportunity to get tons of meaningless social communications. When the goal is simply to get people to Like you on Facebook, the result is often as fulfilling as getting someone to like you at a party or bar; might feel good for the moment but the likelihood of a long-lasting relationship is slim.

Listen up folks: there is no magic bullet for marketing. If you are in it, you’ve got to be in it for the long haul. You didn’t build your brick and mortar business overnight, and you didn’t make your most trusted friendships in a day either. There is no reason to think that a quickie Like on Facebook will have any more resonance than an old-fashioned quickie. We all like to be liked, but we need to be loved to gain from our relationships.

Selling is about sales, but business marketing is about building relationships. Don’t ever confuse the two. As any good salesperson will tell you (and if they’re really good, they’ll tell you over and over again), you have to gain your customer’s trust after you get them to like you. You might get the one-off sale on “like” alone, but you won’t get the repeat customers that businesses strive for.

So if you’re planning something social that has the schedule of a fruit fly’s lifespan in order to gain new business through Facebook, be ready to have a lot of one-night stands. It might be satisfying enough to get you through each day, but don’t expect romance.

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What you say, how you say it, and when you say it – these are the components of content that can make or break your Internet Marketing. Right from the very first words (and images) displayed on your web resources, to the last call to action you hope entices contact.

The process of compressing everything you want to say into a handful of words and a couple of images is a challenge. It is also the most important thing you will do when marketing, whether on the Internet or anywhere else. It is why a good marketing director or advertising agent can be paid a small fortune for what might amount to 100 words over the course of a year. If you can capture the spirit of your corporate voice and entice your audience to action all with a short phrase and a pretty picture, everything else will flow from that starting point.

Take for example the process we are going through with a client right now. This client has established an image for herself as a budget-conscious interior designer on the back of a static, somewhat cluttered presence. Her work and business ethic speak volumes for her, but she realizes that the Internet image she projects has handcuffed her to a limited audience. It is time for her to shine in the light of her personal image, and to get a message across quickly and effectively online.

It is our job to bring any visitor to this new website towards that image. Our initial discussions on the language of the home page for this new website illustrates the concern for tight focus upon her talent and high-end appeal, and still manage to convey her attractiveness as a designer for the budget-conscious. Say too much about “budget” or “affordable” and you turn off those looking for talent over cost, or even those without budget limits (got to love those!). Say too little about affordability and you lose your bread and butter clients who have more limited operating budgets.

You’ve heard the expression “a picture is worth 1,000 words”? Well, that doesn’t always mean that the words are the ones you want. So we are dancing around images as well, trying to send the simultaneous messages of “You Can’t Afford NOT to Use Me” and “You Can Afford to Use Me”. The very best work my client does for those with monetary constraints often leads to images that look much more costly than they were to create. In other words, the 1,000 words of some of these images might include “Wow – this looks too expensive for me!”.

As I mentioned, we are in the design phase right now and are having some fun working around the idea of “The Look for Less”. We are both pretty anxious to get through this phase and into development so that we can start to realize the vision, and begin some serious marketing. I’ll post on this client again when we get there – then you can decide if we managed to get the message right.

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Let’s be honest with ourselves as businesspeople: are those Facebookers really your “friends” and to they really “like” your company? Are they following you on Twitter because you are the smartest and best of breed in your industry?

Hopefully the answer to those questions is a resounding YES! But like I suggested at the start – let’s be honest. You probably gave something away on Facebook that was liked, and the opportunity to get more stuff for free is why so many might be following you.

You tell your kids that they are great when they sometimes are simply mediocre at sports. Was your wife really beautiful that night at the party, or was that a little white lie to make her feel good? Were you really happy that your customer called, or was that closing “So glad we spoke” simply a way to put an upbeat ending to an otherwise painful conversation?

We run our businesses as well as we can, and if we are good we put extra effort into making sure our products or services are better than most. When we excel it is usually because we have kept our eyes on the ball and made sure our customers are not dissatisfied. As I have heard it said so perfectly before, we strive to suck less than our competitors.

That’s not a low bar I am setting. Rather it is simply a matter of truth in advertising. We are selected and kept by our customers because they find in us a value that goes beyond what we sell or do. You can’t really believe that you are the only one who could do what you do, nor should you be delusional in thinking that you are the very best in the entire world at doing it. You succeed because you convince your customers that you are the only one FOR THEM to do what you do, and you are the best FOR THEM at doing it.

The social lies you tell are not dishonest; they are comforting. In the world of Internet Marketing, we optimize for our clients on the basis of what searchers want to hear (okay, see really, unless we are talking video, but let’s not digress). If they want the “best garage door repair service” possible, then that is what you are when you optimize for the web. When someone is looking for “great French food”, it is the only food your restaurant serves on the Internet.

Those Facebook likes you want are going to come from something you offer that a user likes. Don’t be depressed because they really don’t like you or your business; it’s all going to be fine because you’re going to tell that “liker” that you think they are the best friend ever!

A social lie, but it’s okay.

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