Archives for January 2008

Ghost in the Machine-Internet Marketing Mistakes

Ghost in the Machine-Internet Marketing Mistakes Greetings and a Happy New Year to all!

Now that the gifts are in the closet, the leftovers have been tossed, and your spirits have been consumed by your thirsty relatives, we all move together into the business of getting down to business.

Before we move on, I wanted to share a holiday experience.  During the break I tasked myself with the redesign of our own little company web site, rightnowinc.com – the old site was more feeble than poor Tiny Tim.  I worked late into the cold night, working by the flicker of candle light, until I could no longer keep my eyes open…. Bah, Humbug!

I was visited that night by the ghosts of Internet marketing mistakes.  I awoke, determined not to repeat them and embrace web 2.0. Oh, its a wonderful life – but that’s a different story.

A WEBSITE CAROL:

I HAVE endeavored in this Ghostly little article, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humor with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me.  May it haunt their websites pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.

The First of the Three Spirits: Ghost of WebSite Past – These elements must be included in any successful web marketing business.  They collect historical data that will help your business make more money in the future.

* Visitor Metrics – If you do not have program that tracks visitors, you are missing the boat.  A statistical analysis program that is installed correctly (on every page of your site) will tell your web team exactly what is working, converting, selling and where you are losing visitors.  Budget is not an excuse in this area, Google offers Analytics for free – http://www.google.com/analytics/

* Site SEO Compatibility – Is your website search engine friendly?  There are a number of design and linking items that can trip up a search engine spider.  This can cause parts of your site to be excluded from search results.  Clients that are participating in the Linking Program can sleep easy on this issue, as internal linking is one of the major elements of the program.  Those that have all kinds of free time can visit Googles webmaster service that includes site crawl data – http://www.google.com/webmasters/start/

* Email Marketing – Retail businesses count on loyal repeat customers.  Internet businesses leverage email to create repeat business.  If you do not offer a simple and compelling way for each visitor to sign up for “updates” via email, you are missing out on revenue.  Get thousands of site visitors to re-visit your site with a single email every month.

The Second of the Three Spirits: Ghost of WebSite Present – What are web visitors looking for today?  There are some simple tweaks that can assure this ghost wont haunt you in the future.

* About Us – People want to deal with people, not some anonymous web entity.  A prominent “About Us” page with pictures of you, your business and key staff members will help bridge the gap between you and potential customers.

* You News – Create a way to post news, articles, product or service updates and information about your businesses or region.  A great way to do this is with a blog, but there are several other approaches.  This has the SEO benefit of creating updated and increasing content, something Chris has been asking you to do for years!  Let Netrafic guide you through the process of adding SEO friendly web content.

* Home and Landing Page Analysis – Your web designer is not necessarily the best sales person.  Does your front page sell your product or service?  More importantly, does it give the visitor a clear path to act, purchase or request a quote?  Seek many opinions on your site, from both web savvy users and infrequent web travelers.  Chris is a great place to start, as he has a mound of marketing experience.

The Last of the Spirits: Ghost of WebSite Future – I know we are all busy just keeping up with today, but the web of the future is here.  The ghost of the future warned me of events to come should I not act now.

* Video – People tend to skim your web text, but will sit glued to your video message if its done right.  Think action packed 45 second commercials.  You will be amazed what this technology will do to your visitor “time on site” and retention.  Deploy your video so that people can grab it and place it on another web site or save it on their computer.

* Mobile – What does your site look like on an iPhone?  Time to think mobile market friends, its here.  Google is actively developing a mobile device that according to some sources, “will replace the cell phone.”

* Capture Social URLs – Most social networks like MySpace, YouTube, Google Pages and Flickr create a custom url based on the users name.  Finding that someone already registered wwww.youtube.com/yourcompanyname can be very frustrating and come back to haunt your during next years visit from the Ghost of WebSite Past.