Tuesday 26 May 2009

When You should Fire Your Website Designer

I had to add this article to the Blog, its not mine, but it covers a lot of what I think about websites...

Your online business is not a wild crazy idea, but a source of your income. Trust the right people to design your website. Your 17 year old nephew may be able to create your website or you can get a free one from several services…they might even be kind of pretty. In my research and experience, less than 2% of businesses that have websites have planted the seeds to online success. Many of them are your competitors.

The problem is web designer’s focus on the technical aspects of the site. They don’t have a clue how to build a website that makes you a ton of money, drives floods of traffic, and gets you top placement on search engines.

Why Do You Have a Website?

The reason you have a website for your business, no matter what business you are in, is you want to rake in bundles of cash. May be not now but definitely later it should be bringing returns on the investment. .

Your Website is Like Your Business.

Make sure that your web designer owes a successful online business and knows about how to run it.

Your sole purpose in having a website should be to use it as a marketing and communications tool. It is not there to be pretty. It should not be there to win awards. It is there to make you money. Even if you have a better product or service than your competition, the one who attracts more prospects and customers - wins! Being the best at marketing is all that matters.

Online Marketing Is Completely Different Than Marketing Offline

All of the tools, techniques, communication, etc. in the online world are different than those offline. A very common mistake is to think because it works offline you can just put it on the website! It’s important to realize the reader of offline thinks and processes information in a different way than someone reading online copy. What works offline may be a complete flop online.

They are two different worlds. For example, online marketing REQUIRES you to know how to get your site ranked high, very high, in the search engines like Google and Yahoo….so you routinely appear on the first page for the optimal search terms for your business.

Of course, this assumes you know how to find the optimal words for your business, your marketplace, your niche, etc. Just so you know, the “include all words” strategy has proven to be a total failure.

And, most designers and businesses do not know that SEO (search engine optimization) is not SEM (search engine marketing). If you do one and not the other you will probably be very disappointed with your results.

Studies have shown that you need to be on the first page of search engine results to get enough people coming to your site. SEO and SEM are not optional for online success - they are mandatory!

Increase your ROI: Only Work with People Who Know Website and Online Marketing.

When you are planning your financial future, you hire a financial planner or an attorney who specializes in that area of law. When you want plastic surgery you don’t go to a podiatrist, unless you want to end up with your nose looking like a foot.

Did you know that 99% of web design companies don’t know how to devise online sites that actually market your products or services?

You need people who can help you with how to create “hot” products or services that your customers really want.

You need people who make it possible for you to have a “money tree” business. People who can produce money like it grow on trees. People who have the communication skills you need to capture the attention and “cash the order” with your customers. Online or offline. (That means using multiple marketing channels and starting with the lowest cost = online!)

You need people with real world experience as well as online experience that can combine the two for the benefit of…YOU.

No one has the time to learn everything about their business, the internet, marketing, copywriting, finances and so on. That is why…

“The price of ignorance is paid forever!”

Successful entrepreneurs value all the real-world experience they can get. Where do they get it? By surrounding themselves to a team of experts, who can provide the knowledge, guidance and successful experience for a wide variety of businesses.

Always Remember Your Website is your Marketing Machine

It is all about driving people to your website. This is more than “being found” for the right search terms. This is about having a comprehensive strategy that links your offline and online marketing together to create leverage for your business and get maximum results.

You need to be sure your online partner can:

* Create a site that entices visitors to convert from information seekers to paying customers
* Generate a stream of online and offline leads
* Show you what functions of your business can be automated to save you money…and put that savings to good use…getting more customers
* Show you the secrets of capturing information and how to utilize it for easy access and follow up
* Show you how to make more sales with your existing customers
* Help you set up marketing campaigns that get real results and build customer loyalty
* Help you use email marketing ethically and effectively

Seriously, if your web designer/dungeon master/graphic Zulu cannot do ALL of these things and more, FIRE them now. You are wasting time and money! And time is often worth more than money!

Test, Test, and Test Some More & Collaborate Results and Changes

If you really want online success, or even offline success, then you must understand the importance of successful marketing testing. It is Crucial.

Businesses that are wildly successful with their offline and online strategies are always rabid about testing and knowing how and what to test.

Track and Measure…Correctly

You want to know everything that is happening on your website, or not happening. All of that testing will do you no good if you are not measuring and tracking all of the data associated with it.

Here are some of the tracking measures you should be talking to your web designer/builder about. In fact, they should be talking to you about these things. If you have to bring them up you are already in trouble, with a capital T.

* How many visitors are coming to the site
* How many of the visitors aren’t visitors (i.e. spiders, crawlers, etc. from search engines)
* How many visitors are new vs. old
* How long does each visitor stay on your site
* What does each visitor look at
* What graphics, words, pictures, etc are generating the most responses
* Which search engines are getting you the best prospects
* Where else are your customers coming from
* How many pages does the visitor look at
* What are your website rankings
* How much money have you made from the average visitor
* Who are your biggest money-making customers
* If you use PPC is it working and paying for itself
* Which links are bringing your visitors and are they converting to customers
* And so on

This is not a comprehensive listing, rather, it gives you an idea of how many things you could or should be tracking when it comes to your online marketing.

If you are like most people, you are thinking “there is no way I could remember all of that, much less do it.” You would be right. Remember, that is why we all need a team of experts around us to do the things we either don’t know or don’t have time for.

But, if you use these kinds of tools and tracking you will join the 1-2% of successful online businesses. You do want to make money with your website, right?

It is simple; your website should bring in more money than it costs to maintain it!

Some Final Thoughts

Today, you must be ONLINE with a WEBSITE to be successful. Research has shown that people are abandoning the yellow pages and many other ‘traditional’ forms of advertising. The internet is the #1 SOURCE for information on virtually every topic or subject you can imagine…and still growing rapidly.

It is as it has always been - survival of the fittest. Those businesses which combine their offline and online strategies to maximize their effectiveness are going to survive and thrive. The others will die. And in these times there will be more deaths than usual. You see it, the ‘for lease’ signs appearing everywhere, the ‘announcement’ each week of another big business failure, the empty spaces in office buildings.

The key to lasting success is to create lasting value. Turn transactions into relationships. In fact, the last sentence may be the most important and valuable one you read.

Article Source:
Ajay Prasad is founder of Global Marketing Resources LLC a Orange County Website Design company that aims to develop an overall website strategy for your site.

Thursday 21 May 2009

Social Media Not Understood By Marketers

According to an industry survey, two-thirds of marketing experts have said they still do not understand social media in spite of it being a huge medium in online marketing.

The Social Media survey, conducted by McCann Erickson Bristol, found that 86% of marketing professionals appreciated that social media was more than 'just a fad'. Yet, 65.6% of them confessed to not knowing how to use it for the purpose of marketing.

With the social networking sites, the most popular with marketers remain to be Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with 72.8%, 42.4% and 40.2% have a presence on them. And yet, around half of those surveyed announced that their IT departments had blocked access to these social media sites, again blocking the ability of marketers to monitor these sites in regards to what is happening with their brand.

Of the businesses that do use social media, over half are used with the aim of profile raising or PR, 48% for networking and 30% for advertising.

Head of PR at McCann Erickson Bristol, Joanna Randall, said: "This study highlights that some of the UK's major businesses are ignoring social media channels - but they do so at their peril."

"Word of mouth is now more powerful than ever - opinions can be shared with a global audience at the click of a button."

"We all have the ability to influence, both positively and negatively, and therefore as marketing professionals we should be considering how best to harness the power of social media."

Chris Crawford of BD Recruitment, the home of marketing recruitment.

Wednesday 6 May 2009

BBC Executives Move to Manchester

I liked this article, particularly after reading the following quoted by Mark E Smith in the Observer on Sunday 3rd May 2009:

You can spot the BBC employees who move to Manchester. They walk in the corner shop, these children's TV presenters in stripey jumpers: "Oh, you're Mark E Smith, my brother had one of your records, I've just moved up here and it's wonderful!" They soon Learn.

BBC executives, who include controller of CBeebies, Michael Carrington, and the Head of the BBC TV Sport, Philip Bernie, have announced they are to move to Salford when the BBC relocates the five departments from London in 2011.

From the five selected departments which are set to move, half of the senior executives have decided to relocate. Those choosing not to make the move to Salford, Manchester, include the CBBC controller, Anne Gilchrist. Others who have announced their choice not to make the relocation to Manchester are Liz Cleaver, the BBC controller of learning, James Porter, the Head of Sports News, Gordon Turnbull, the Head of BBC Radio Sport and Marney Shears, the Head of Production. Dave Gordon, the Head of Major Sports Events, will also stay in London where he will be best placed to handle the 2012 Olympics.

The newly appointed Director of BBC North, Peter Salmon, said: "I am pleased by the response we have had and the calibre of the people who will be coming on the journey to BBC North. The acceptance rate is higher than had initially been planned and I am told by the relocation experts that 47% is a high percentage for a move of this size."

Article Source:
Chris Crawford is MD of BD Recruitment a digital marketing specialist for recruitment in Manchester, with plenty of seo jobs and media planner jobs.

Friday 1 May 2009

Limited Searches in Yahoo!

What's going on here? I was busily carrying out some keyword reporting in Yahoo when I was rudely interrupted by this page (apologies for the poor image):

Now this isn't the first time this has happened to me with Yahoo, but normally the page is generated around the 25th search not 20th.

I suppose this takes me back to my previous post: MSN & Yahoo! Search Musters 3.23% Between Them, and pushes me that little bit closer to ditching these peripheral search engines.