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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.

Adding Group SMS text messages to your marketing or communications plans

 Finding ways to leverage SMS or Text marketing is always a challenge on how to do carefully selected text messages to targeted audiences.  Messages like getting a key message out to your sales force or you need to change a location or time for an event and to grow customer engagement. Broadcasting text alerts to your subscribers and have it also push to your Twitter, Facebook and website visitors in one stroke is a valuable tool to consider. Mashable recently covered this subject.

” Christina Warren  from Mashable blog has done a very good outline of a way to easily do this.

This post is part of Mashable’s Spark of Genius series, which highlights a unique feature of startups. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here. The series is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark.
 

Name: TextMarks

 Quick Pitch: TextMarks group text messaging services turn any mobile phone into a powerful marketing tool.

 Genius Idea: TextMarks makes it easy to create SMS marketing campaigns by letting users send a text message with a custom keyword of your choice to 41411. You can also use TextMarks auto-post service to send out SMS messages to subscribers and also update Facebook() and Twitter().

As the Red Cross’s efforts in raising money for Haiti proved, text messages can be a powerful way to engage others and to spread information. It’s not just about joke-of-the-day subscriptions or other nonsense that you see at 2AM on TV — real money and real causes can be publicized through text.

 

TextMarks is a service that makes it really easy to set-up a mobile campaign to broadcast messages or updates to users that opt-in to your service by first texting a keyword. 

What we like about TextMarks is that the service is easy to set-up and affordable. You can try out the service for free and send unlimited ad-supported messages each month, and ad-free plans start at $9.95 a month. For small businesses or small groups like churches or clubs, that’s a really nice option. 

We also like that you can update Twitter and Facebook with the same messages you send out to other users. That way, if you’re using messages to keep people updated with scheduling information or other time-sensitive info, the message can go out across all of your social channels.”

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!”

Do free promotion offers work? Follow the line to Dennys

Here is a photo that I took of the Denny’s Free breakfast crowd from the road as I was leaving today.

By the looks of things at my local Denny’s the Free Breakfast  promotion announced during the Superbowl was a sell out.  I drove into the parking lot to go to another business and could not find a place to park in three parking lots!  The crowds were pouring out of their cars, like they were going to the state fair.  The line was out the door and around the building.

 So give them credit for gaining trial.  Customer Engagement at it’s finest.  Customers using texts, blogs and emails all about the promotion is a social media strategists dream.   What about retention, I am not so sure.  Quality service, is in the hands of the wait staff and cooks.  Will people stand in line for free food? Yes… they will.  Will they come back and pay?… Denny’s will need to report of that.  ROI… priceless…

Creating fan pages in Facebook for blogs or your company step by step

Quick Online tips  did a great blog on  “How to create a  Facebook page for your blog”. This information is really good for anyone who wants to set up a fans page and integrate it with your blog. What I like about it is they give a step by step with pictures as to what you need to look for at each step.  This is a must bookmark for future use.

Quick Online Tips blog and email that I read and is a really great publication to read on a daily basis.

Here is the blog on this subject from them.

“Guest Post By Dee Barizo
Do you know how to create Facebook page for your blog? A couple days ago, I was doing research on my blog’s niche. I wanted to know which social media sites were being used by my audience. Did they have blogs? Were they active on Twitter or forums? Did they participate in MySpace or Facebook?

I found out that Facebook was a popular place to hang out. Also, my referral stats showed that I was getting traffic from Facebook even though I never promoted my blog there. With these things in mind, I created a Facebook Page for my blog. I’m planning to use the page to join the conversation on Facebook. Hopefully, the result will be more traffic and increased branding.

Step by Step Guide to Create Facebook Pages

Here’s a step by step guide for creating your own Facebook page.

1. Log in to Facebook.

To create a page, you must have a personal account. If you don’t have your own account, go to the Facebook home page and sign up.

2. Go to Create New Facebook Page

For category, chose “Brand, Product, or Organization” and then scroll down on the drop down menu and choose “Website”. On the next section, enter the name of your page. I just used the name of my blog. Click “Create Page”.

fb-page-opening-screen

3. Add a relevant image.

Move the mouse pointer to the question mark on the left and you’ll see the words “Change Picture” pop up. Click it to add an image related to your blog. I used an image from my header but you can also use your logo or icon.

change-picture

4. Include information about your blog.

Click the “Info” tab and then “Edit Information” on the right.

edit-info

Type in the relevant information including the date your blog was founded, the URL, and an overview.

site-info

5. Import your RSS feed.

By importing your RSS feed, your Wall will be populated with your newest posts. Also, it will be updated whenever you publish a new post. Go to the left sidebar and under your picture, click “Edit Page”.

edit-page

Scroll down until you see the Notes application. Then click “Edit”.

notes-edit

Look to the right and click “Import a blog”.

import-a-blog

Enter your RSS feed URL, click the check box, and click “Start Importing”.

enter-rss-feed

Click “Confirm Import” on the right.

confirm-import

6. Write a short blurb about your blog.

You’re back on the home page. Look to your right, click the fifth link under the picture, and write a short blurb.

short-blurb

Final Facebook Page

You’re done! That’s all there is to it. Here’s the final product.

final-fb-page

Oh, one last thing. Don’t forget to become a fan of your new page.

become-a-fan

Tapping into Mommy Bloggers to promote your product or services.

Mommy Bloggers are the new alpha females of the marketing opinion world.  An entire industry has grown with conventions and all for the Mommy Bloggers to meet, exchange ideas and even more important, to promote their blogs to companies and marketers to do product reviews, sell advertising, hold promotions and drive business for the companies that tap into this Blogging  marketing venue.

There are two upcoming Mommy Blogging conventions you may want to check out.   BlissDom 10,  Feb 4-6 in Nashville (which is already a sell out), and the blogger conference  BlogHer  which is in NYC Aug 5-7.  These conferences have big time package goods sponsors all trying to woo the Mommy bloggers.  Sponsors on the BlissDom website include: Con Agra Foods, Orville Redenbacher, Hunt’s, Healthy Choice, Hebrew National, Arnold, Blue Bunny, Hallmark, Invisalign, iRobot, Lands’ End, Lifetime Moms, Red Plum.

Mommy Bloggers sell sponsorships of themselves to represent you at the conference. The ads say: “Why I am the blogger you company should sponsor for BlissDom  ’10.  It is done through blogs as ads that will tell you things like:  Blogger with 2000 + subscribers seeks sponsorship to…

 The Mommy bloggers use ad badges provided by the conference to promote if they are looking for a sponsor.  Like the one shown here is for the Blissdom10 Conference.  It is a way to get them to the conference and their costs paid and get your product known in the Mommy Blogging world.

The bloggers are from all walks of life and interests,who go to these conferences.  They go to network, go to seminars,promote their blogs and twitters, as well as write blogs and promote their sponsors who helped pay to get them there.

Their blogs have a female focus target on home making, babies, or products, all subjects aimed at women readers.  Some have advertising on their blogs at cheep rates.  Some show you what they have done for other companies, some have HTML badges for their blog  to be taken and promoted on others website or blogs.    The Mommy Bloggers do contests and sweepstakes, coupons codes and deals, product reviews, tips, recipes.  A really nice business model, from thier kitchen counter.

BlogHer conference has been held for 5 years on the West Coast and Midwest and is now going to NYC.  Bloggers like Domestic Debacle, badge shown on the left,  promote that they are looking to represent you.  As disclosure, they did a promotion of a product called Fridge-It that I am involved in and that is what got me interested in this subject of Mommy Blogging. The connection was initially made in the Twitter world and then moved into the blogging world. 

 The BlogHer advertising materials on the website says that they reach more than 16 million unique women each month and states that BlogHer is the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online

Here are some Mommy Blogger examples, that will show and explain the concept.  There are many, many more, and if you are a Mommy Blogger and want to add your Mommy blog to this lists, please comment and give some info on your Mommy blog.

Mommy Blogger examples: Thriftymaven.com , Domesticdebacle.com , Abusymommy.com   , Thepennypinchingmama.blogspot.com 

Can I hear a wOOt?!    BTW: What does wOOt  mean? W00t” was originally a truncated term for players of Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game for “Wow, loot!” The term wOOT was used by the web culture in video game communities, now it has lost its original meaning and is used simply as a term of excitement. Sort of the new Ya Hoo….