Wednesday, August 31, 2011


It's tempting to use stock photos and verbiage imported from your product vendor. Often the import is on hundreds of products and is done by a web designer/coder that has little knowledge of your product or business past the web development.

And as time consuming and monotonous as it may be, all photos and verbiage need to be verified.

I recently had an experience with a company who I've been doing business with for years. A few years ago they were a catalog outlet with good prices and service. They had a loyal customer in me until this most recent, website experience.

A stock photo and verbiage was shown for a scanner on their website. The scanner showed a cable and verbiage states that a stand is included. I emailed prior to purchase to verify the cable and connections. When the scanner came, it was without the cable and no stand was included. When I called I was told too bad---the website uses stock pictures that the company is not responsible for.

Costing them a customer of over 20 years. Lesson learned.        

Monday, August 29, 2011

Your "About Us" Page

When I find an interesting company online---maybe I'm searching for a product I need to purchase, I always take a look at the posted "About Us" page. Woe to any company that doesn't post who they are; I'll leave the site. I like to know who I'm doing business with.

What does your "About" page say about your company. This is a place to identify with your customer, seal a sale. The page should include your corporate mission statement. A bit of company history is always a plus. And a personal account of the CEO puts a personal touch on the company.

A separate "About" page is not necessary if you include these components on your home page; but identifying the who's and why's of your business is important to your online success.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


This morning, like every Wednesday morning, in my inbox was an email outlining the farm fresh produce available at one of my local farm markets. My mouth watered as I read about the sale priced tomatoes, watermelons, peppers, peaches, and pears. Also offered was a variety of sale priced nursery plants.

Two links to the farm stand's website were included in the simple text type email; one to a special internet only coupon and one to a job application---the farm stand is hiring and giving a customer an inside to a job.

I look forward to the Wednesday email. I miss it when it is late. I read through the deals each week. And it gets me into the market to get peaches to can or tomatoes for sauce, even when I wasn't thinking of canning peaches or making sauce.

Proof positive that regularly connecting with your customers is important---whether you tweet or send a simple email find a way to regularly connect.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's all in the Packaging

Building an online audience and following can seem daunting. Finding regular content for blogs, tweets, and websites can seem time consuming and unnecessary.

The content that you surround your product with is your online packaging. Building trust and a regular client base and interest does take time but has very little cost other than that time and can have enormous potential rewards. When you catch someones interest online that person can pass your name on to an infinite amount of contacts who also pass the word.

And it only takes a few minutes of tweeting, blogging, and communicating each week to attract new customers, new business, new possibilities.

It's all in the packaging....  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Are Internships Apprenticeships or Bargains?

Pounding the pavement marketing my growing web consulting business, I often run into a hard to overcome obstacle that is a symptom of this economy. On opposite ends of an ever growing problem, I run into internships.

Outside of this economy internships were rarely heard of except in the medical and teaching professions. In today's economy it is difficult for students or new grads to obtain paid work---so the schools and students are marketing students and new grads to companies as interns for little or no pay. Big and small corporations alike can benefit from this free labor.

The downside is that even though the student may gain experience, only the rich students or grads can afford to work for nothing, thus gaining an advantage over a poorer student who will take a minimum wage job in an unrelated field to support themselves. Paying jobs are also taken out of the economy as minimum wage laws are by passed in the name of free labor.

And is the free labor always a bargain for business? With 30 years of practical business experience I can offer a small business actual expertise in marketing, training, management, IT, and business administration. Because I'm a new business, I work at a reduced rate that is very reasonable for a small business. I have a vested interest in every job I do---I'm growing a business and hope to employ others some day. I build the business one relationship at a time and want satisfied customers no matter what.

Visiting one business, I am told that the owner feels he can't afford to pay for a website and is looking for an intern to put a site up.

And I rarely hear about the good intern experiences; in fact I haven't heard anyone rave about how they brought in an intern and now have a wonderful site. I do listen, often, to a very disgruntled business owner, who normally has sworn off  a business website altogether because an intern has left a half done site that poorly represents the business. Often the owner has been locked out of his or her own site. The owner simply hasn't the time or resources to clean up the mess that has been left.

I hear these stories over and over again---for every 20 businesses I contact, I listen politely to one tale of woe; knowing as I listen that chances are I will never convince this prospect that I can change that woe into wow.

This brand of internship does a disservice to us all. Not only does the business owner suffer, but the student couldn't have had a positive, learning experience either. The student was not an apprentice, learning with a master. The student, being left to flounder on his own, didn't learn anything from the experience and came away with nothing for the efforts put forth for free---not even a reference.

It's just a no win situation. Business owners lose. Students lose. Unemployed lose. And in this economy we don't need that.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Social Media

I attended a webinar the other day on the importance in today's economy of social media. The presentation was made by Lon Safko, who has written a book on social media. Lon had some good insights and meaningful tips on using social media.

One of the points Lon made was that your business brand and reputation travels with the speed of light. Your customers are talking about you and helping (or hurting) your brand over an assortment of social mediums. Social mediums can help you keep the eye on your competition and strategic partners too.

And to use social networking to its full potential you need a strategy and goals. Convert your online activities to actual customers and sales. To learn more of Lon's tips visit his website.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Importance of Managing Your Business Online ---Website or Not

Whatever the reason, many small business owners choose not to have a website. Some have attempted to build their own and had no luck. Many have hired a student cheaply and been left high and dry with an unfinished website and no password to get in and fix and finish. And there are businesses that just don't want to be on line.

Whether your business has a website or not, your business is likely to have an online presence. There are sites that encourage people to log on and enter reviews of businesses in their area. Sometimes, if a customer has a fantastic experience that stays fresh in the mind, a business may get  kudos online.

Quite often, though, the review is negative. And if the review is allowed to linger without comment it may reflect permanently on that business.

Take a recent example: I had a friend who was unhappy with her vet and searched on line for alternatives in her area. The closest vet in the area had a negative comment, left by an unhappy customer, that came up in her initial search. After reviewing the comment my friend decided to go with another vet. It wasn't that she believed the disgruntled customer's story totally, but that the complaint was unresolved.

A customer was lost. So---whether you are online with your own website or not, your online presence is still there and requires management. If you are unsure how to proceed contact us and we'll be happy to show you how.  

Monday, August 8, 2011

Making ecommerce pay

What are your goals for that ecommerce site that you just rolled out? How can you move forward to those goals? There are a number of things that can be done but each requires time and media savvy. Here are just a few:

  • Analytics---Keeping an eye on your traffic is important especially in the early days of your website deployment. Great tools can be had for free from Google and your website hosting provider.
  • Blogging---Put some of your company expertise on the table. Campaigns and freebies draw readers and customers in.   
  • Social Media---where do your customers spend online time? Stay on top with contact.
  • Email---regular email campaigns keep your business on top of the customer's mind. Chances are that customer was just stepping out to make a purchase.
  • Coupons---everyone loves a bargain and coupons can draw customers online and off. Smart use of coupon campaigns can be a win-win situation for you and your customers.
Don't have time for all of this? In this economic climate, online media is an important way to increase revenue. Why not try out a web consultant. Contact Blue Heron Moon Web Consulting by clicking here

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


If you're like most businesses you have a database full of client and financial information taking up space in your computers in your physical business. Most hosting providers, once you get past the free site that may come with your cable or DSL service, also provide databases---usually in the form of a SQL or MySQL database.

Whether you use MySQL, SQL, Firebird, or some other program to manage and manipulate your data, you can shore up the database information, at the same time providing yourself with a timely back up.

Or it  may be time to go to just one database that meets all your needs where information is all in one place and at everyone's fingertips when it is needed, yet is safe and secure. Is it time to review your organization's information structure? Here are 5 things to keep in mind:

  • Security---increasingly customers are concerned about how their data is used.
  • Access---is access to the information timely but on a need to know basis? Appropriate security levels for different levels of personnel within your organization protect your business and your customers and at the same time allow your employees to perform their jobs.
  • Are you backing up and can you restore the back up in case of a corruption or disaster?
  • Is your information timely and what you need to drive your business forward? 
  • Are you using the database information to its full potential? You don't need to micro-eye the info collected. But a monthly review of sales figures, customer trends, and clicking data can help you spot downward turns before they start to spiral or help you get into place with an opportunity before the competition. 
In this ailing economy opportunities don't always fall into your business as easily as the information you already are collecting---making the database a source that should be mined for the nuggets it contains.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Websites 101---After the .com Purchase

So you have your hosting and your own .com--so what's next?

Many business owners will try to build a website on their own and, if you are tech savvy this is a fine, economical way to go. This option is especially wonderful if you just want to get your brand and logo out there and don't need anything fancy or custom. Most hosting providers furnish you with template software--pick your colors, upload your logo and a couple of pictures and away you go.

For more complicated sites a call to a web consultant may save a lot of time and aggravation. If you're thinking of collecting customer information, setting up databases, or creating an E-commerce site, do yourself a favor and at least opt for one consultation with web consultant---it'll save you some time.

And by all means---never post your web address directly to a web page. If you do eventually you will get spammed---a very annoying and time consuming diversion from necessary business. There are programs to hide web addresses from spammers, but at the very least post  your address as "mail at yourcompany dot com."