An Online Presence is No Longer Enough for Marketing

March 11, 2016

I happened upon a blog post the other day about targeting and integrating all your social media marketing efforts. As I read through it, I realized that this is one of the next big hurdles for online marketing. An online preID-100263554sence is now standard, but it’s necessary to do more. Over the years, I’ve worked with countless organizations of all sizes, for which I’ve developed and expanded social media as well as performed some SEO and SEM. Many more recent clients appear to have all the “right” online elements in place but it isn’t helping their bottom line. I have found, through my standard analyses, which look at all outreach efforts, including social media, press, events and public relations, that a few common elements are almost always missing.

“An online presence is now standard, but it’s necessary to do more.”

First, and most important, companies need to keep their customers in mind when creating any marketing materials. This harks back to the most basic of marketing concepts – your core competencies. You need to determine what makes your company or product better than the competition. Why should customers/clients choose you? What makes you stand out? And, what exactly interests your potential customers? What keeps them coming back? Do you have the very best product? Are you the cheapest or quickest? Maybe you have the best customer service.

Core Competencies

A high percentage of social media outreach does not address these questions. It’s not enough anymore to simply have a presence. You have to determine what will attract and keep your clients coming back. What’s in it for them? Why should they read your posts and ultimately become a client?

Target Market

And who are your customers? This is equally important, and a lot of people miss the mark. For example, if your market is executives, you need to talk big picture and return on investment. If your market is the people on the front lines, you can include tips and specific information. Each of these two audiences will not be all that interested in the other information. If your information is not targeted to your main audience, you’ll be overlooked.

Second, you need to cross-promote. Ensure your web site, blog and social media are all connected and all addressing the same message. You can tailor your messages a bit more specifically for the different apps but it should all reinforce your brand and core competences to the correct audience.social-media-marketing-concept-hand-pressing-icons-blue-world-map-background-48170178

Third, online analytics are essential. I worked with a company that had a large social media presence but used mostly Facebook because that’s the app with which they were most comfortable. However, they had no idea where most of their clients found them. I performed an online analysis and determined that 75 percent of their clients found them on LinkedIn. After much grumbling, the company president agreed to increase their LinkedIn activity, and he was surprised to see the business grow. My favorite online app is Twitter, but that doesn’t mean I can ignore all the other channels.

CALL TO ACTION

Lastly, you should include a call to action: email us for a quote, call us for an estimate, sign up for our tips. You get the idea. My call to action: if you’d like some specific suggestions about how to increase your bottom line via your online and other marketing efforts, call or email me. My web site is www.techsavvympa.com. I’ll give you a few tips for free.

Next post: Marketing encompasses more than digital outreach; don’t neglect other outreach vehicles.

 

*First image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Junked Up Web Pages or Not?

March 31, 2014

Are web sites becoming more succinct and less busy? Is web design trending away from cramming everything possible onto the home page? I can only hope that this nod towards simplicity I’ve noticed is indeed a trend and not just a coincidence.

When I built my first web site over a decade ago, things were simpler. At least the sites were simpler. We had a few pages, some graphics and some image maps. I convinced my boss we needed a web site by telling him it was like a 24-hour brochure.

Web sites are still 24-hour brochures, but as web technology advanced, many of these advancements landed on company home pages, oftentimes creating an incomprehensible mess. Countless businesses insisted (and continue to insist) upon using all the latest developments. I contend this does their business a disservice by distracting and frustrating potential customers. In fact, I wrote one of my very first blog posts on this a few years ago – See Junked Up Web Pages – Stop Screaming at Us.

Admittedly, some businesses offer myriad products and services, and a web site can and should showcase that. Some organizations are so complex and nuanced, their sites become very deep. Sometimes it is necessary; sometimes it is not. For the past 4 or 5 years, sites have become longer, broader and more confusing. How many times have you heard someone say, “I can’t find their contact information.”? Terrible, especially from a marketing perspective.

Crazy, busy web sites will always exist, but I have noticed more basic sites in the last year or so. Is this because so many people are building their own? Perhaps, but then again maybe the new web technology has become so mainstream that everyone no longer feels the need to use it ALL.

I hope so.


Keyword Proliferation – not just meta tags anymore

September 21, 2010

The notion of a “keyword” first came to my attention over a decade ago when I was building my first web site. Among the metatags, it was important to put keywords so search engines could/would index your site.

At that time, the sort of informal rule was to use less than 30 keywords (or maybe it was 50); if you used more than that, the search engines “would be suspicious” and you might not get the results you wanted. I put 28 keywords (or maybe it was 48) in the code of each page, not just the home page. Obviously, I was looking for as much exposure as possible. Some people laughed at me and thought I was overdoing it. To me, it was much better to have 28 keywords for indexing than just the 8 or 10 words the others had.

Fast forward to the year 2010, and it’s now necessary to put keywords in most everything.

Usually the top recommendation for optimizing your Linked In profile is the propitious use of keywords. The search function works by keyword, so you need to decide what keywords a potential employer may search for, and include those words in your title, status and profile.

Many employers now review resumes electronically, and if you don’t have specific keywords, a live person may never see your resume or cover letter. Again, you need to focus on what words hiring managers may use.

When I started my blog recently, I hunted around until I found the place to put keywords. In the case of my blog, my keywords are for people interested in the topic(s) about which I’m writing.

Press releases used to be just for the press. You sent your news directly to the reporter or producer or to the wire services. If you put your press release on your web site, it was more of a courtesy than a real marketing tool.

Now, releases can be and are often viewed by the public in addition to the press. As it becomes more and more common to turn to the internet first for information, you need to include keywords in your online communications, such as news releases. Think about what is of interest to your customers. What could they be looking for that you offer?

Twitter, I would suggest, is all about keywords, since you have a limited number of characters through which to broadcast your message.

The bottom line is if you’re interested in promoting your business, you need to think long and hard about the appropriate use of keywords. If you are well versed in the subject, you’ll unconsciously include appropriate keywords as you write. However, it’s important to look at the piece before you publish it and identify the keywords. When you do this, you can decide if all the necessary keywords are included or if you should add more. It’s much easier to write, and then go back and substitute a few words, than it is to try and write something with a whole list of words next to you to include. It’s too stifling that way.

So if you’re trying to catch the attention of a certain audience, as most of us are, you need to add another step to your writing process:

1) Write/edit/check sources

2) Add keywords

3) Proofread

4) Publish


Junked Up Web Pages: Stop Screaming at Us, All I Want is a Cup of Coffee

August 3, 2010

Look here…and here…and here… and……..

I’ve built three web sites for companies myself, and I’ve written and directed the design of two web sites for other companies. So what is the deal with junked up splash pages everywhere else?

A web site is your 24-hour brochure. It is available for anyone to peruse at any time. It illustrates your company personality. You should be putting on your very best face.

My basic design principles have worked well through the years:

1) The most important element should “pop” out at the viewer. That can be either words or graphics.

2) Too many elements confuse the viewer. The eye won’t be able to settle on just one or two items.

3) Direct the viewer. The one (or two or three) main elements should lead the viewer to their next step.

When you design any type of collateral you need to keep your audience in mind. This used to be easier. You would target your publications and advertisements to one or two audiences. You had different ads in the media aimed at very different audiences. Now, on the internet, companies are putting that basic philosophy aside and attempting to catch the attention of EVERYONE with a single web page. As a result, there are messages for all audiences jumbled up together. This is ineffective in getting your message out. It also frustrates users who come to web sites for a particular piece of information but are bombarded by all kinds of messages and have to be very persistent in finding and retrieving the information for which they are looking.

The new web design philosophy seems to be “cram as much information as you can on your home page with the hope that you will catch the attention of everyone”. This makes me crazy.

I also don’t understand it. The culture today is that internet users looking for information expect immediate gratification; that is, they expect the information for which they are looking to be easily found once arriving on a web site. Instead, what they often find is an onslaught of images and content not of interest, through which they have to dig and search.

The Cyberdesignz blog appears to subscribe to the “simpler” theory. I worked with Mercury on a company web site, and they were very insistent about not having pages that scroll and scroll and scroll. Their web site is not junked up; it’s very user friendly and easy to navigate. You know exactly who they are and what services they offer.

Let’s talk about some of the elements that make up these junked up pages. Flash technology is very useful, but is it really necessary to combine it with streaming news and streaming headlines, multiple pictures and links, not to mention all the different fonts and colors. Just because we have this technology doesn’t mean we have to use it all – and use it all together. Sometimes I feel like I’ve arrived in a new city with restaurants and shops and people everywhere, all of whom are screaming at me to try out their business, when all I really want is a cup of coffee.

It’s not difficult to design your site so it reaches all your audiences without cramming information in everywhere. Use the broad drop down menus effectively; concentrate on your site navigation; design a landing page for each of your target audiences separately; focus your splash page headlines on the 3 or 4 most important items.

Of course, sites can take simplicity to the extreme as well. Keep in mind basic journalistic principles: who, what, when, where and why. The WHY is critical in the information age. Why are you the best? Why should we patronize your business? What are your core competencies?

Not everyone is junking up their web sites. There are some excellent ones out there with very easy to use navigation. Check out line 25 sites of the week. They have some interesting and unusual picks, some of which have excellent designs and illustrate their message well, without 50 headlines screaming at you.

Think about magazine racks. The mainstream publications usually have 4-6 taglines on the cover, while the tabloids have many more screaming headlines. Which do you believe have more credibility?


%d bloggers like this: