• Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 837 other followers

  • Karen Kallets Twitter

  • Recent Posts

  • Top Clicks

    • None
  • Pages

  • Top Posts

  • Categories

  • Recent Comments

    Shana on How can you get your blog inde…
    Quentin on Blogging Mistakes for Beg…
    Adell on What other blogs are saying ab…
    Jackie on Ping-O-Matic is your one stop…
    Hermine on What other blogs are saying ab…
    Ans on Tools for creating business we…
    Harris Ferencz on 2010 Marketing Plans: Facebook…
    Kevin Moreland on How can you get your blog inde…
    Twitter on Retweeting your own tweet…
    spam filtering on How can you get your blog inde…
    tweet on Retweeting your own tweet…
    Rich on 5 Best Printer Friendly WordPr…
    rtyecript on How can you get your blog inde…
    cp cheats on How can you get your blog inde…
    cp cheats on Ping-O-Matic is your one stop…
  • Archives

Web platforms: Reintroduction of basic website feature functions and benefits

Ebay had an ad on Facebook for EBay fashion that caught my eye.  It caught my eye because back in the day, I used Ebay quite a bit.  Now not at all. 

I  just posted some furniture on Craig’s list and got no response.  I used to get it sold that day. 

Plaxo use to be my digital address book, now I do not even open their emails. 

I don’t even know my MySpace log in, nor have I used it in years.

So what is going on?  I have created a lot of litter on the digital highway with my usage. Self created, but none the less add to a CMO’s marketers dilemma.

My thought is that even the most famous websites or platforms need to reintroduce themselves frequently to their current user base.  The key driver is to reintroduce what they do, how to do it and why they are still relevant.  The basic 101 of the site. 

Most marketers as of late have been focused on organic optimization of the website and content, which is great, but have forgotten the basics of if and when they find you, they better know how to use you and why to use your site.

I still  have preconceived ideas about Ebay based on my last use.  They have may changes dramatically, yet I still shy away from getting reintroduced. Nor has Ebay even tried to re-engage me. Running a sale is different from reintroducing me to how to use the site.

Google Marketplace has miss stepped over and over again.  I was a huge loyalist, then they because so complex that it drove out all small business with having to add ownership tags that drove out most who do not have in-house web techs. Now they are charging per click to make money off the big brands.

 As compared with Amazon market place, which still has some bugs to work out, but which I sing their praises every day.

As the CMO, dig a little deeper with your team. Look at your own website.  Is traffic up or down, not net new traffic, your returning traffic.  Why are they using your site, what are they doing, what are they not doing. Most sites are designed for net new, not returning visitors.

Returning visitors need  their own path of re-education on how to use the site, whats new, what is familiar. Just as same store sales is critical for brick and mortar, it is critical to activate those who are returning.

The digital road is littered with use and disuse.  What state is your website or platform in? What are your returning customers needing?

These simple questions could improve conversion 10% and who would not want that these days.

CardMunch is a CMO’s virtual admin assistant

CardMunch by Linkedin is something all CMO’s need to download on their phones and use. I have stacks of business cards that I want to convert to digital and now can.

It allows you to take a picture of business cards you get, you then send it to them with a push of a button, they transcribe and send it back to you, so you can save to your phone or email or forward it. Better than an admin….

It works well about 80% of the time. Sometimes the person transcribing does not fill in all the info on the card. So you have to send it back.

Once you get enough cards loaded it even alphabetized it for you in a mini address book. It also ties to your Linked in account, so pictures of the person is added.

It is free and worth trying. cardmunch.com or down load from the app store.

What is also nice is you have a photo of the card also.

This allows me to see any notes I may have put on the card.

What other blogs are saying about you and your products.

Blogs and monitoring of blogs and what is being said about you is a hot topic these days.  How do you monitor? Do you pay to monitor? What tools are available to you to monitor blogs and what is being said about you or your company is all the discussion in the CMO’s mind.

Social Mouths blog had some good ideas of free listening posts for your products and services, beyond the paid services for social media monitoring such as Radian 6 and CrimsonHexagon. 

Here is the short list URLs and Free blog listening tools:

IceRocket

Blog Pluse

Blog line search

Google blog search

Paid Services:

Radian 6

Crimsonhexagon.

Here is the blog I was reading on the subject.

Social Mouths blog 

Do You Know What Other Blogs Are Saying About You?

listeningDo you know if you are being mentioned on other blogs? Did you know there are ways of tracking this? And, why is this important anyways?

In this post, I’ll explain why paying attention to what other blogs say is important and how to be aware of these mentions.

So let’s get started…

Why You Should Care

SEO

When you get mentioned by another blog, the author usually links back to your blog/site and as you know, getting backlinks is one of the most important things you can do to your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as they can improve your page ranking. The search engines want to know if your site is relevant.

Sentiment

The next thing you need to worry about is sentiment. Is the comment positive or negative? Of course you don’t want people saying something negative about you or your services. When you track these mentions at least you have the opportunity to participate, maybe try to do something to turn an unhappy customer into a happy one. Damage control.

If it’s a positive mention, it is also a good opportunity to engage in the conversation.

Reciprocity

Be human. Be thankful and participate by leaving a comment or giving the post a tweet. Not to make you feel obligated but return the favor if you can, there is a good chance the other blog is somehow related to your topic.

Don’t ignore it, keep this blog in mind.

Let’s Look At An Example

Herbert from Penn State | Outreach Marketing did a very, very nice piece sharing a post from SocialMouths on his “Why Is Social Media Not Working For You” (Thanks Herbert).

Outreach Marketing

OK, so this is an extreme example and it’s not always like this, the mention can be a simple link to your blog or to a specific post. The point here is how to find this, right?

Tools

There are many tools you can use to track these mentions, feel free to share your favorite ones in the comment section of this post. Here a couple you can try:

Go to these sites and do a search based on your blog’s name or URL.

IceRocket

icerocket

BlogPulse (From Nielsen)

blogpulse

Other tools you can use are Bloglines Search or Google’s Blog Search.

Get Alerts

rss readerAll these services and most of them out there allow you to get the search results on RSS. You should subscribe and organize them on your RSS Reader. The point is to get alerts and be able to react as soon as possible, there is no point if you come back a month after the post was published.

Final Tought

The social web gives you the opportunity to engage in ways traditional media can’t but if you don’t pay attention, those opportunities are wasted.

One more thing, when you mention somebody or share a post from somebody else on your blog, make sure you do it properly so you give credit and the other end is aware of it.

Happy Listening!”

Bing has issued best practices guidelines for SEO, SEM

Search Engine Optimization Journal is an SEO Blog that discusses Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Ranking and Positioning for the new and advanced reader and has a very interesting article on Bing and branding your website. I found this article very interesting, since SEO and SEM have become such a part of our lives in marketing. Bing  is recommending that you take an approach that utilizes a robust social marketing element into your daily routine.  They also talk about focus on link building as a key to the success of your website.  I also was interested in the term going “unnatural” in the search engines which manipulates the system in order to achieve higher rankings. Having Bing talk about link building and other best practices will make it clearer as to your next steps with you agency or team.   Good read.

Bing Gets Serious About Link Building

Writing by Nick Stamoulis on Friday, February 26, 2010

I think one of the best things I have ever heard a webmaster blog from a major search engine say is to build your website like a brand. Bing’s exact words state: “Develop your site as a business brand and be consistent about that branding in your content”

Too many people out there get all antsy to have their internet marketing look like a recipe. If it looks like a recipe it is a recipe for disaster. Bing’s official webmaster blog states that it is very important and vital to treat your website like a brand. How would a brand build its image? If you take that step you will build your business the right way rather than just go after rankings. Rankings are important but they are not the only and final goal you should be worried about for your internet marketing campaign. Building business is the most important aspect to your SEO campaign. Bing also recommends taking an approach that really utilizes a robust social marketing element into your daily routine. Link building is very vital to the success of a website but unfortunately it is important to do it in a way that allows your business to grow and not just your rankings. Bing also refers to going “unnatural” in the search engines which states that an unnatural approach is one that blatantly attempts to manipulate the system in order to achieve higher rankings.

Bing’s exact words go as follows:
” So what does it mean to go unnatural? It means you’re trying to fake out the search engines, to try to earn a higher ranking that the quality of your site’s content dictates as natural through manipulation of search engine ranking algorithms.”

Bing hasn’t been the first search engine to come out with this type of best practice’s guide. Google has been doing it for years now just not many people want to follow it. When the top two search engines in the world layout a best practices guide on how you should conduct your search engine optimization efforts it is time to listen.

Please take a look at the Bing Webmaster Post that talks about link building and SEM, it is a great read:

http://www.bing.com/community/blogs/webmaster/archive/2009/11/20/link-building-for-smart-webmasters-no-dummies-here-sem-101.aspx

Facebook and MySpace added to Google and Bing real-time search.

There has been a debate within the CMO community discussing why they should approve a Facebook page and a MySpace Page for their company and or employees.  Mashable did a very valuable update on where this all stands.  Based on this update, the debate is over.  Get your company pages up on Facebook and MySpace to gain real-time organic content search.  More important, be sure to tell your team and family to clean up their pages on each or to close the access to their page if it is currently public, unless they want to be searched real-time.

 Google Adds Facebook Pages to Real-time Search
Posted: 24 Feb 2010 04:26 PM PST
 Google has announced that it has added a new content source to its real-time search feature: Facebook Pages.
Google launched real-time search in December, providing a real-time feed of information from Yahoo Answers, Twitter, blogs, news websites, and other sources for hot or trending search results.
Two integrations have lagged though: MySpace and Facebook. Eight days ago, Google added MySpace updates to its stream. And now Google has added Facebook Pages to the mix.
Still, Google’s stream doesn’t include public Facebook profiles, something only rival search engine Bing can access. This limits the usefulness of today’s update, but we still welcome the addition

LinkedIn Strategy for how you connect. Lion, Turtle, HoundDog or Alley Cat.

Have you ever wondered why some people put [LION] after their name on LinkedIn?  Most CMOs are still trying to avoid LinkedIn except for people they know or want to know.  For others, there are strategies to how, what and why.  For myself, found out  I am more of an Alley Cat.  I like to connect, do it often, but want and need a connection as to why I have the contact. I do turn people down that I do not know.   So let’s try an experiment,  here is my linked in http://www.linkedin.com/in/karenkallet.  If you tell me that you came via this CMO Guide to Social Media blog, I will accept you.  However, tell me why you want the connection.  That is the Alley Cat in me.

 This blog from Community Marketing Blog lays out the why and what.  You need to decide which one are you and know if you see a tag on their name this is what it is meaning.

 Are You a LION, Turtle, HoundDog, or Alley Cat? What’s Your LinkedIn Strategy?

LI in Oz2
 LinkedIn is a fairly harmonious place.  People tend to act professional and when there are opposing opinions they typically become a case where people “agree to disagree”.  Things change though when you began discussing LIONS.  Suddenly the conversation isn’t so rosy.  

LION’s, for those who don’t know are open networkers.  They connect to just about anyone.  They see opportunity increasing as the number of connections increases.  Those who disagree see LIONS as simply driving their ego’s by counting the connections, as if the purpose of LinkedIn is to proudly claim to have 1,000’s of connections.

For the record I don’t consider myself a LION, yet I’m an open networker.  When writing my first LinkedIn book I identified three LinkedIn connection strategies.  This year I added a fourth to define how I now connect.

How you choose to connect will impact how you use LinkedIn and in the end your chances of finding success.

Before we look at the four connection strategies I want to make one point.  How you choose to connect on LinkedIn should be of no concern to anyone else.  It’s your network and your strategy.  As long as it works for you thats all that matters.

The Four LinkedIn Connection Strategies:

The LION
As stated above LIONS are completely open connectors.  They seek to increase their connections through actively sending out and accepting connection invitations.  While I’m sure there are a few who take pride in touting the specific number, the majority simply believe that large networks lead to more opportunity.

Steve Burda is a LION with over 30,000 connections.  I don’t know Steve but I’ve seen countless references to his taking time to help others.  So yes he has a large network, but no its not about the number.  Its about having the opportunity to help a significant number of people.  If this leads to new business for him, more power to him.

The Turtle
Turtles are the opposite of LIONS.  Turtles primarily only connect to those they know well.  They see value in having a tight network made up of individuals that they completely trust.  Their networks tend to be highly selective and can be counted on to pass on introductions, much like a private networking group.

I don’t know many Turtles but the ones I do know are like Steve interested in being a productive resource for those they choose to connect to.  LinkedIn is a way to enhance their offline networking making their existing relationships a little more connected.

The Hound Dog
When I first joined LinkedIn I was only aware of LIONS.  I knew right away that LinkedIn added an additional layer of connectivity to those I knew.  I also realized that it could help me meet other local business professionals that I did not know.

At each Chamber meeting they would pass out copies of everyone’s business cards.  After each meeting I would see who was on LinkedIn and then invite them to connect.  At the next Chamber meeting the connection provided a great ice breaker.  It also established connections with those people who only attended a single meeting.

I also used LinkedIn to seek out people I would like to connect with.  Doing this allowed me to establish connections with other business professionals who might help my clients, become a referral partner, and some who were prospects.  This ability to hunt for specific people led me to define the strategy as a Hound Dog.

A Hound Dog is someone who uses LinkedIn to connect to those they know, to connect to those they would like to know, and accepts invitations from those that would be beneficial to be connected to.  

For the first year that I was serious about using LinkedIn I followed this strategy.  Then one day I had a thought, “How do I know whether or not a connection I know could benefit from a connection that I didn’t know?”   The answer was that I didn’t know.

It was that at this point that I changed my strategy for connecting on LinkedIn. 

The Alley Cat
I still only send invitations to people I know or people that I have a specific reason for connecting to.  What changed is that I now accept invitations from just about anyone.  There is value in knowing your connections but there are also unexpected opportunities that develop from establishing new connections, known and unknown.

This connection strategy supports my overall LinkedIn strategy which is this:  I seek to provide value to and help as many people as possible.  Much of that value is provided through the Social Media Sonar blog, sharing tips and strategies with others on how to more effectively utilize LinkedIn and social media/networking.  Sometimes its through being the hub to connect two people.  At other times its through conducting workshops, writing LinkedIn books and guides, etc.  The more people I am connected to the more people that I can share with.

I believe that to create opportunity you have to first be willing to help others.  Then, by consistently sharing value over time, you allow people to move through the Process of Familiarity.  A process that has to happen before someone will choose to do business with you.

What I call the Process of Familiarity likely has been called many things by other people.   The three components are:

  • People need to Know You or at a Minimum Know Of You:  Often connecting or engaging in conversations will accomplish this.
  • People Must Like You or Have a Positive Opinion:  How you interact with others and the value of the content you share will help here.  If people like your content they will like you.
  • People Must Trust You:  Building trust is dependent upon engaging on conversations or sharing value consistently over time.  As people see you on an ongoing basis and are exposed to the value you share the “Like” will grow into “Trust”.

Through this process here’s what I’ve seen happen.  Each week I write one or two blog posts that show people how to utilize LinkedIn.  I then use the tools LinkedIn provides to communicate that there is a new blog post.  People visit the blog for the first time or as a repeat visitor.  At some point they check out my profile and learn what it is that I do and see how I can help them.  

If they like the content they begin to have a positive impression of me and this eventually moves to a sense of trust.  At this point if they ever have a need for my services I am top of mind and they will contact me.

Something else happens as well.  People like to share content on other Social Media sites so at some point they become my social media amplification system.  This introduces my blog to people outside of the communities I’ve built.

Wrap Up
The connection strategy you choose will depend upon how you want to use LinkedIn.  There is no right or wrong choice as long as your connection strategy supports the goals you have determined.  For me the change to an Alley Cat has helped generate 3 to 5 contacts per week about my services.

Which strategy are you using and why?  If you agree or disagree with the post please leave a comment.  Your perspective is as important as mine, so share it with everyone.

Sean Nelson is the author of the Social Media Sonar blog and has written three LinkedIn eBooks including one of the first books detailing how to strategically use LinkedIn to grow your business. “LinkedIn Marketing Secret Formula”.  He is a Partner in SONARconnects.”

Tools for creating business web forms- Wufoo, Iceburrg, Formsite and Google Docs

I am always on the lookout for great web tools.  Web forms is an area that unless you code, it can get expensive and is hard to do.  Sometimes the templates for wordpress or other platforms do not have the custom options you need to do web forms.  I always look for info on this subject, since then it gives me options of how to get the web form I want to do.   Building a web form used to require coding on the back-end of your site. Now there are some great free and low-cost options for resources on the web to make building and integrating forms into your website easier. 

 Mashable this morning had a good starter list for sites. 

 The four business web forms sites are: Wufoo , Icebrrg , Formsite , Google Docs. The cost ranges from free to a few dollars per month.  “By Matt Silverman 4 Terrific Tools for Creating Business Web Forms  

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

 Web forms can be a great asset on your business site. They let you collect pertinent data and contact information from your visitors without exposing your direct e-mail address to the world. They also set specific boundaries on the type of data you receive from customers so that the information fits nicely into a spreadsheet or database as needed.  Building a web form used to require a bit of coding and “wiring” on the back end of your site. These days, there are some great free and low-cost resources on the web that make building and integrating forms into your business website a breeze. 


 

1. Wufoo


 Wufoo is a great web-based form generator with a very intuitive interface. Forms are extremely customizable with simple drag-and-drop commands and many style options.  

 The forms you create “live” on Wufoo, but they are fully embeddable into your own website or blog by pasting a bit of code. But what makes Wufoo especially useful is that your account on the site serves as a hub for all the data that flows into your forms.   

 While you can download and configure your form to function with your own database, you may not want to when you see all the great looking reports and widgets you can generate just by logging into your Wufoo account. By hosting your data with them, everything is DIY, and easily accessible, with no need to hand your files over to a database expert to get your form up and running. In addition to viewing entries on the site, you can configure Wufoo to e-mail or text you when a user completes your form.   

 A free Wufoo account allows one user to generate three forms with three corresponding reports. Additional forms, users and reports come at a few price points, starting at $9.95 per month.  


  

2. Icebrrg


 Icebrrg has nearly identical features as Wufoo, and similar price points for paid accounts. You can host your own files or integrate the forms easily onto your business website and receive notifications when they are filled. A nice feature is that embedded forms are rendered in HTML, and will comply with the CSS styles of your website to match the look and feel automatically.   

 Icebrrg no longer has a free account, but at $9 per month, you get 10 forms, 500 entries, and 100MB of storage for customers to upload files. 


  

3. Formsite


 Formsite has a focus on a few more complex features that not every business may need in a form, but some will find extremely valuable, such as payment integration for credit cards, PayPal, and Google Checkout. They also offer multi-page and “skip/branch” surveys, which allow you to control the flow of questions based on certain rules and user responses. 

Formsite has all of the customization, embedding, hosting, and notification options as the sites mentioned above, and their free account lets you create five forms, with 50 items per form. 

4. Google Docs(Google Docs)


 If you’re already using Gmail(Gmail), Calendar, and other Google Apps for your business, you may want to take advantage of the forms function within Google Docs. 

 This form generator is pretty bare bones, but the dead-simple interface and integration with your existing Google(Google) account make it useful for internal employee surveys or even the daily lunch order. 

 Once you create your form document, it’s tied to a spreadsheet and data summary that also live in your Google Docs. The data feedback, in the form of a response counter and various charts and graphs, is extremely detailed and easy to read (similar to Google Analytics(Google Analytics)), and the timestamped spreadsheet is exportable for whatever your database has in store. 

 A Google form is embeddable in an external website, but its cumbersome formatting and limited customization means that it probably won’t agree aesthetically with your sites. For now, linking to these forms is a quick and dirty way to gather data on a simple, clean interface.”