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    25

    May 2008

    Web strategy

    Posted by / in Marketing / Link

    Despite Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve saying that output was unlikely to “grow much, if at all, over the first half of 2008 and could even contract slightly”, Register.com found that there was confidence amongst the 800 small businesses that they recently polled. 70% of the respondents did not expect a decline in revenue over the next year. In fact, about 35% expected more revenue! Keep reading to see how they expect to get that added revenue.

    Given the looming recession (ok the not so looming recession), the US government is investing $117 billion through tax rebates at a time when one would normally hunker down and save. Can small businesses learn from the US government? Absolutely!

    For well-positioned companies, an economic recession should not prompt marketing cutbacks, but rather an aggressive increase in marketing spending to achieve superior business performance according to research authored by Gary Lilien and Arvind Rangaswamy of Penn State’s Smeal College of Business.

    You have to get your name out there and do it more often. Brand awareness is key, more so during a slowdown. A good web strategy at this point would be to leverage technology to help you accomplish more with less. This is what the small businesses are planning to do. Topping the list of technologies that the small businesses said they will most likely invest in next year are website design (53%), SEO (43%), and email marketing (41%).

    Website design is like remodeling your store. Aside from a fresh coat of paint, you want an uncluttered look to make people comfortable while they shop. They should know who you are and what you offer. Things should be easy to find, in logical places and customers should not have to go through hoops to make a purchase.

    SEO is taking that remodeled store and locating it on a busy intersection, just off a highway and high up on a hill so that people can see it from miles away. The signage conveys the name of the store and what they sell. Having a good sign that communicates what the store offers attracts the right clientele.

    Email marketing is like having special days where you invite a particular segment of the population to your store. Tuesdays may be Seniors Day where things are 15% off. Thursday may be Kids Days with small prizes and goodies for the young ones who bring parents in tow. The message is different to these two segments, as are the sales expectations and product mix.

    I believe this is how the small businesses expect to grow sales. Do you have a web strategy? Is it contingent on your view of where the economy is heading?

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    19

    May 2008

    Mouse-less technology gives visitors a hand…literally.

    Posted by / in Marketing / Link

    What I sawImage by Bettina Tizzy via Flickr

    Well, a free hand. New technology which is hitting the web these days allows site visitors to navigate using hand gestures and movements only. No fine motor skills or tedious clicking required.

    Users with a webcam will be able to navigate through redesigned websites with the help of a screen on the bottom right hand corner which will register hand gestures and movements. Web pages will be divided into quadrants and read the user’s motions allowing for smooth navigation. If you’ve seen the movie Minority Report, you know what I am getting at. If you’ve used an EyeToy with your PS2 or PSP, you’re already familiar with how this works.

    Adding a whole new level of interaction to web browsing, this mouse-less technology will open doors (or new browser windows) to the physically disabled, those with RSI, gamers, and guys that would rather wave their hands than type (like myself). It will also become a great marketing device.

    This tool should create many new and interesting opportunities for engaging with customers online. Creating or restoring accessibility for the disabled or those with RSI will allow companies and businesses to target a whole new market segment. New games can be created that will keep customers at your website. You don’t have to ask for certain demographic info, the camera never lies! Imagine conducting a sales pitch online and the viewer looks away. Program the system to respond with a Hey buddy, pay attention or for an instant 20% off, click here. Pretty soon your webinar attendees’ eyes will be glued to the screen.

    What are the advantages of this mouse-less technology?

    1. It’s cool.
      If nothing else this new technology will draw users to mouse-less sites in order to try it out. Therefore, show your creativity and give them a reason to come to your site like the digital design agency Clusta has done for Publicis & Hal Riney!
    2. It’s captivating.
      Creating interaction with your audience means a stronger brand. Nothing is more appropriate for interactive marketing than giving your audience the ability to physically control the user experience. No more splash pages to go through and lots of visual feedback.
    3. It’s new.
      Opportunities with budding technology like this is boundless. Spin it to target your audience. Be creative and use it to your advantage.

    Things to consider:

    1. Some assembly required (on both the user and presenters’ part).
      A web cam is needed by the user and a complete site redesign is necessary in order for the wireless technology to be compatible. Most users don’t want to buy new equipment in order to visit a website.
    2. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
      Learning new technology can be frustrating and overwhelming. Make sure your target demographic will be willing to delve into the world of mouse-less navigation with ease.
    3. You may be recorded.
      Seeing a message stating that you may be recorded kinda weirded me out! After fooling around with it for a while I yanked my camera out just in case there was some vestigial recording going on.

    If you do have a webcam (come on seriously, if you’re reading this you MUST), and want to check out a website that is already using the technology visit Publicis & Hal Riney . Yes, that’s right! Your mouse is still required to click on the link.

    14

    May 2008

    Getting traffic to your site? Guest Blog Postings

    Posted by / in Marketing, Tips and Tricks / Link

    The latest rage these days for traffic and search engine rankings is to get postings on blogs. And one of the easiest ways to get those blog posts is to pay for them. In fact there are now numerous services that act as blog advertising aggregators ? advertisers can visit a site like Blogsvertise and simply pick and choose the blogs they want to get a paid review from.

    There’s some problems with this approach however. The first one is that these blog posts are the victim of their own success. Paid blog links work so well in getting site’s ranking in the search engines that the search engines are actively seeking to prevent this from working. They have not managed to stop this yet, and may never do so, but it’s a risk. The second problem is that the very best grassroots websites that have both traffic and that will help your search engine rankings will not generally accept paid postings to their blog.

    So what’s an online marketer to do? The solution is easy and works far better than paid blog postings. Offer to write a guest blog post! Grassroots and high traffic blogs love these offers. It makes them look better because they are big enough to have ‘guest bloggers’ they can feature and provides them with free content they can publish in between their own postings. Anyone who runs a blog knows how burdensome it is to keep fresh content all the time.

    Problem: Finding the blogs.

    Solution: Try Google 🙂

    Three easy ways to find good blogs to offer your ‘guest posting’ services to.

    1. Google ‘your industry’ plus the term ‘blog’. That’ll give you a great list of blogs that we already know Google likes since they’re ranking. Have a look at the first 50 or so.
    2. Look at their blogroll. Good blogs typically have a list of other blogs that they like in the same industry. Have a look at those blogs, and the blog rolls on those blogs…and so on.
    3. See who links to the blogs you’ve found so far. The following search done in Yahoo! will tell you who links to the blog: linkdomain:thebloggerswebsite.com ? site:thebloggerswebsite.com

    Problem: Convincing the blogger

    Solution: Tell them why it’s good for them, not you.

    We all have our best interests at heart. Nobody’s going to let you publish a blog post on their site for your benefit. They’ll do it if it’s good for them. So why would they publish your post? Tell them why it’s good for them. Let me go back to the salesjob I did on Bhupesh 🙂 (the blog owner of this site, who agreed to let me do this guest blog post) to illustrate why he would let a life insurance agent post on his marketing site.

    1. It will provide some additional content they can use in between their current blog posts.
    2. Their visitors will find it interesting. I’ll write an on topic blog post that’s informative and authoritative. And I won’t market products or services, this will be an informational post.
    3. Give them some ideas as to what you might right on and let them pick one. That gives them a list of things they can look at and increases the chances there will be a subject that piques their interest.

    Problem: The implementation of the article

    Solution: No need to write an article until they accept.

    Once the blogger has accepted and you’ve decided on an article subject, go ahead and write the article. Make sure you offer the blog owner the ability to have final approval on the article prior to publishing. That will set their mind at ease so they know they won’t be publishing a commercial solicitation.

    Within the article, link out to relevant sites. And give yourself credit at the bottom of the article including a link to your website. See? That’s not spammy at all.

    The benefit to you:

    There are multiple benefits to doing this. First, search engines love links pointing to your website. They love even more links from strong authoritative websites that are on topic. Secondly, you will find you can get links from websites that simply wouldn’t link to you (or your competitors!) ever, ever, ever. No money is changing hands which keeps them happy. And finally the strong blogs will actually send you traffic and visitors from your guest blog post.

    And finally, have fun with it. There’s something to be said for getting your articles published on other’s blogs. It’ll help your rankings, send you traffic, and help you become perceived as an expert in your field.

    About the guest poster: Glenn Cooke is a Life Insurance Broker in Canada. You can read his blog about
    life insurance for consumers at TheTermGuy.com.

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