Monday, February 25, 2013

Mix it up

Half hearted online content yields half hearted results. A great web site with great content is only one step in the process in today's world. A complete marketing plan could include:

  • A blog with expert content, tips of your trade, and news of your business' sales and events. Be sure to link back to your own website when appropriate. This gives your web site some additional status in the search engines and provides another way potential customers to gain more information about your products and services. Be sure to link back to sites over the internet that provide additional information too---give credit where credit is due. Be careful not to copy content though or all your hard work may not be recognized by search engines looking for duplicate content.
  • Social Media is an easy way to get your business up and running. But be careful. This requires a commitment or it will leave potential customers wondering if you are still in business. Plan on making a minimum of one post per week on a Facebook page which you can then transfer into a Tweet on Twitter. Less than that and you may as well not do social media. And the content has to be a mix of sales and business information, free tips and offers, and personal information making your business someplace that people want to spend time with. Give your customers what they want and they'll come back again and again, and pass you on to their friends too.          
  •  Put it all together on your website with links that include all your social media and your blog. Automate all as much as possible and don't forget a regular newsletter too. 
Web marketing pays off with sales and customers but it takes time and commitment to build a web presence. Static web sites and social media pages can be a detriment, not an asset to your business. We can help your business get started with your marketing plan. Contact us today.

Monday, February 18, 2013

New Data Available via Facebook

Facebook is again tweaking the way information can be presented to users. The new feature called Graph Search serves up demographics in very specific ways. For example, if you sell a specific product, you can ask the question "People who like {your competition}. You can then whittle down the demographics any way you want; by age, gender, place of business, etc.

This feature is not available to the general public yet (still in beta environment.) It also presents some contrary social issues. But as the information is already available to the technical savvy with plenty of time on their hands, it will probably become one of the informational marketing tools available to business.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Coding for SEO

It's easy to get busy and rush through a web template if you're a small business do it yourself-er. And, especially if your site is image intensive, you may fail to key the alt information into each image. If you miss this key set of information, you're missing an important way for search engines to point interested customers to your page.

Search engines run through all the text on your site. An image with no text will be ignored. An image with accurate alt text will not only be friendly to customers who are blind or provide information when pictures don't load properly, but will be read by search engines, the same as any other text. That alt text will then be used by the Search Engine to bring you the customers.

In a way, the alt text is even more important than that image. Don't miss it.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

Facebook Beating up on Small Business

Most customers of small businesses with Facebook pages get increased satisfaction and participation in that small business. A sense of community is created as announcements are made, events created, solutions communicated, information exchanged. This is outside any marketing initiatives that the small business may create.

So it is inconceivable that Facebook doesn't understand that an entity that generates 50% of the GDP is a force to be courted not locked out.

But locked out is what Facebook is essentially doing to small business that use their format to communicate with customers. In December Facebook started making changes to the timelines. Many users now have two types of news feeds---the regular News Feed that everyone is used to and a new feed called the Pages Feed.  Apparently the big money advertisers like Amazon and others get to remain on the regular News Feed. All others get moved to the Pages Feed that many users probably aren't even aware of since the only indication that the feed exists at all is a tiny orange flag in the left hand menu of their feed.

Back in December I contacted Facebook because I noticed some of my favorite local businesses had fallen off my feed. Facebook informed me that even though they have a customer service link it wasn't meant for mere mortals like me or the small businesses that may be on their system.

Eventually I found my Pages Feed and found most of my small local business friends returning to my regular News Feed anyway. But many local businesses have been frustrated by this Facebook faux pas.  And Facebook should know better. There is a trend to shop local in this country. Facebook is only a tool and when a tool becomes a half a bubble off people tend to go looking for other tools that are more reliable.

Many small business have opened up twitter accounts and asked their customers to follow them there. And there is always Pinterest---grabbing an ever greater share of the social media time and interest.

For me---I feel offended that I missed out on the bargain cupcakes at one of my favorite local small businesses....