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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.

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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.”

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

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…

RSS Ranking tool to see how effective your RSS feed is?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is a way for those who wish to get a feed of your information sent to them everytime you add content.  If you  have set up an RRS feed, you now should be asking  how effective the feed is?  This tool will help check: http://www.rssmicro.com/feedsubmit.web

What I really like about this tool is that the FeedRank algorithm checks 16 different areas and
measures the quality of the content on your feed.  This is critical to a successful RSS feed from your website, blog or other forms that you are using for RSS.  Here is what they ask you for to get your ranking:

Submit Your RSS/Atom Feed

New! Check your site FeedRank only on RSSMicro

No registration is required, instant results tailored to your feed(FeedRank algorithm checks 16 different areas and
measures the quality of the content on your feed)

What is your FeedRank?!

RSSMicro FeedRank
Learn more

First Name: (optional) Last Name: (optional)

Email: (optional)
Get updated information on your feed by email. We respect your privacy, we do not use your email for any purpose other than your feed submission to RSSMicro.

Feed URL: (required) (Sample URL: http://www.mysite.com/myfeed)
We support RSS Feed Auto-Discovery

Category: (optional)
RSS feed category element (if specified) will take over
Select OneAdultsArtsAutomotiveBlogs (Personal)Blogs (Professional)Books/MagazinesBusiness/FinanceCareersComputers/InternetEducationEditorialElectronicsEntertainmentEnvironmentFood & WineGamesHealthHumor & FunKids & TeensLawLifestyle/ReligionMoviesMusicNewsParentingPeoplePetsPodcastPoliticsScience/TechnologyShoppingSportsReal EstateReviewsTravelTVVideoWeatherOther

 Submitting your RSS/Atom feed URL does not guarantee that the feed will be indexed by RSSMicro.

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13 Steps for DRTV for successful launches.

DRTV is a measurable way to gain brand and sales traction fast and large potential for lead generation.  For the right product or service or cause, it can be a home run. Tie it to social media efforts and you can have a home run.

Here are a few rules to consider:  Successful DRTV needs to fall into the following areas.

The concept of a product or service must have mass appeal,  It must have a large mark up of at least 2.8 to 1.   The medium works well for products, services or causes.  They must be demonstrable and have an initial ask price of $49.95 of less, or can be offered as a free trial just pay for shipping ect.  The DRTV offer must have a high perceived value vs a regular price item, thus a buy two, get one free, or and there is more…. hype is needed .

The product, service or cause must solve a problem, solve a need or relieve a pain point.  The DRTV program needs to show improved quality of life,  saves money, does good in the world and makes you feel better or promises a vision of a better life all do well as DRTV.   Be sure that the product has differentiation with a unique selling proposition.  It should also have up-sell or continuity potential and most importantly for a product, that it can be quickly be brough and sold a retail once the items gains momentum on DRTV.

For more infomation see my other blog on this subject at:  DRTV and Social Media make a dynamic duo.

So what type of products work well for DRTV spots?

Household goods, cleaners and making cleaning easier, home improvement, tools, lawn and garden items, auto care, fitness products,self-improvement, senior products and senior health services.  Another area that does well is coins, collectables, novelties, as well as education and legal services.  Anywhere there is a  service with a short sales cycle.  Religious and charity groups offering to sponsor children, animals or causes  works well. Religious offering of bibles, books of other items of value.

What does not work well for DRTV spots:

Items over $50 ask price, niche items, items that cannot be demonstrated, products that are like all others already in the market. Products that have a multiple step close or a complex close. Those items that have no upsells or continuity to add to lifetime value. Items that cannot eventually be sold a retail, or shipped economically.

So what are the 13 steps needed for a DRTV launch:

1: A good product that has a lot of research and planning behind it.

2: Doing offer developement and pricing,

3: Test planning,

4: Modeling the price points and offer 

5: Scripting and copy writing

6: Video production and post production,

7: Website and landing page developement,

8: Call center set up and script, 

9:  Fulfillment,

10: Media buying

11: Analysis

12:Campaign optimization

13:More testing

1: You start the process again from your bench mark with edits of the spot and trials of different and more effective offers.