Tag Archives: wordpress

Do you always get out what you put in?

Is the reward always worth the effort?

There is a saying in business (and in life) that you get out what you put in. But is this really true? As the economy lurches from recession to depression and back again, businesses are working harder and harder not to achieve growth but to stand still. And marketers are having to stretch reduced budgets to achieve the same outcomes.

Techniques like Internet based content marketing assume that the creation and distribution of useful, usable information to specific audiences will over time develop their trust, reliance and eventually spend with you are in vogue.

But there are huge barriers to entry for businesses. How can you work around them?

First off, listen. Understand what is happening online, monitor the discussions, obtain insight and establish who the big voices are before doing anything.

Second, you need a fully functioning website capable of providing information quickly and channelling visitors to the lead capture devices that have built in.

Third, develop optimised material that they will be interested in and will click to obtain – accepting that by offering an email address and a phone number, they are opting in to future dialogue with your business.

Finally, promote this material widely on the Internet in order to capture the attendance of your audience where they graze. This means considering an investment in paid and earned media on media sites, industry portals, discussion forums and social networking sites to stimulate interest.

There is a clear in-cost involved in this. But there is also the ‘time’ cost which is often not calculated by businesses that are not time/service oriented.

Positioning yourself as an expert in order to drive inbound lead generation isn’t easy, quick or cheap. But by implementing a measured approach over the long term (and avoiding the distracting overtures of certain social media tools and games), you will build trust in your products and services regardless of budget or resource.

Image: Howstuffworks

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Google Power

Assuming you have an array of profiles online, when did you last Google yourself?

You really should. It’s fascinating to see the changes in content. A few months ago you may have expected your Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter accounts to dominate. But in a short space of time, Google has taken this over dramatically with it#’s +1 and Circles roll out. Sites like Quora and Slideshare are fast improving, whilst WordPress and Twitter are holding their own.

The interesting change in terms of Twitter as you scroll through the first few pages is that specific tweets rather than just a profile are being collected too. Interesting because it is making you more searchable by what you are posting rather than just having a profile.

So personally, and professionally, it makes the notion of thinking before you hit ‘send’, ‘post’ ‘submit’ all the more important now, don’t you think? Footballer Joey7Barton might want to take note.

NB: No Foursquare or Empire Avenue in sight. Personally, I think that speaks volumes.

Tips on marketing, innovation and being remarkable

Two great takeaways in this slide set I spotted during this week’s review of the latest uploads to Slideshare, in addition to the great embedded YouTube video functionality half way through.

1. Work on your elevator pitch. Conventional wisdom says you have 30-60 seconds to get across what you do. Maybe if you work in Canary Wharf. The rest of us probably have 10 seconds max.

2. Slides 21+ – first doesn’t win and remarkable beats first every time.

Kudos to Charlie Wollborg

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Why you need to take the initiative and create

My current inspiration is Seth Godin’s latest work Poke the Box, in which he contends that the only way to differentiate in the modern business economy is to deliver. To try something new. Something different. Something challenging. In short, to take the initiative, not wait, and do something.

[As an aside, take a look at the previews and video in the link above, especially if you haven’t come across his work before. It’s illuminating].

This idea of taking initiative is a compelling argument. Initiative drives creation. We all have the capacity to create or be creative. Most of us probably claim to do it, but probably don’t.

It is assumed that creating takes time and resource, and that you need to be in some way artistic. It opens us up to criticism that we don’t want or can’t bear. So we hide, we do the jobs we are assigned, we play safe. We keep our heads below the parapet. And we end up frustrated.

Until recently it didn’t dawn on me that I’m creative. I write a blog. I contribute to other people’s blogs. I’m active in networking groups and engage many interesting people on Twitter. I’m putting myself in front of different groups and presenting them with new, even challenging ideas. I challenge my peers with new ways of working, new opportunities. I’m teaching myself website development, WordPress, design and Photoshop. And I’m developing content for different online platforms, in different formats.

In short, you don’t have to be creative to create. Creating is a mindset, a willingness to look at things differently. And initiative is the fuel, the permission to do it.

The thing is, and as Seth argues, initiative doesn’t need to be bestowed, it comes from you.

So what are you waiting for? What are you going to create today?

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Is Gap an email marketing genius?

Just had to bring this to light. An email from Gap on Friday telling me I only had a couple of days to benefit from 25% off  if I bought some Gap clothing online.

Come this morning, I thought I’d let the opportunity pass me by. But no, a new email popped up this morning, with a new 50% offer!

Great for me as I didn’t take advantage of the first one, but pretty bad for anyone who did. Unless this has been specifically designed to entice me online because they can tell that I didn’t visit over the weekend?

I can’t decide if this is genius, coincidental or really poor. What do you think?

Linkedin Demographics (Jan 2011)

An interesting Slideshare is featured below (email and RSS subscribers need to visit the blog site to view) which showcases the ongoing growth of Linkedin. The latest statistics and demographics indicate that the site has tipped over the 100m mark.

I was intrigued on one hand to learn that the UK is 3rd overall (with 6m) whilst on the other hand the number of marketers is as low as 4% across the board. The age, gender and sector splits make for interesting reading too.

Overall, the uptake of Linkedin demonstrates that the raft of changes to improve functionality of late have made quite a significant impact. And though the site is some way short of the 500m and rising that Facebook enjoys, Linkedin does offer a very different proposition and is now so much more than the online CV library of old.

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Why just dipping your toe online doesn’t work

Time and time again we see companies making a hash of their online presence and the opportunities afforded to them by the Internet. To some it can be a place to make a quick buck, to others it is a terrifying place only entered with extreme caution. To others it represents an incredible opportunity to reach and engage with likeminded individuals.

From a business perspective, you are doing your company’s future success online more harm than good if you are just dipping your toe and using the latest in-vogue digital marketing tools rather than joining them up strategically.

Limiting your reach and exposure to a single website, the odd profile on a social networking site or a couple of banner ads on key industry portals really inhibits your ability to shine online and draw customers to you.

A term that is already in use in digital marketing circles is ‘social media optimisation’. This takes the notion of search engine optimisation one stage further and in using high traffic social media sites to in essence provide a backlink to a nominated web page, means you are optimising your site through social media.

As a weekend challenge, visit the website namechk and enter your vanity url to see whether it is already being used. You might find in some instances it has already gone. If not, I really recommend reserving it on the following so it is yours for the future if not right now: Linkedin, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Vimeo and Foursquare.

And if you want to really go to town, you should also consider reserving your vanity url on Delicious, Digg, Disqus, Reddit, StumbleUpon and bag yourself a WordPress blog handle too.

All these tools will help you not only create durable profiles and content, they can host and distribute your content, driving inbound enquiries to your business. Which ultimately makes it easier for prospects to find you on platforms they prefer to use.

Summary: A strategic approach to using everything the web has to offer (just like any other approach in marketing) might be more protracted but keeps you focused and pays dividends in the end.

Image: My China Connection