Archives for June 2009

Two Nuns in a Knife Fight!

Say, that is interesting!I was fortunate enough to spend some time working under the tutelage of one of the greatest sales closers on the face of the planet, Jim Callahan from Signtronix. It was fascinating to sit on the sidelines and watch Jim give a sales presentation; the potential client transfixed as if under the influence of some unseen ether. More often than not the recipient of a Callahan sales interview would become “happily involved” at the end, paying the deposit and signing the purchase agreement. I would laugh that the prospect, “just about broke his arm reaching for his wallet!”

You have to offer a great product, and a reasonable price point for sure, but those two elements are no guarantee of a sale. Jim used to say that to get to the money, “your presentation has to be more interesting than two Nuns in a knife fight!” If you hope to get to the point of purchase, you must provide an engaging presentation. This is true even if your communication vehicle is a website.

Here is a list of web elements to sharpen the blade of your website.

Video – The home page and key sections should offer easy access to video. Video should play on the page, not in a pop-up. Here is a good example – www.cabovillas.com – I also like the corner peel to grab attention.

Character Video – This is a targeted sales message that leaps off the page to greet a visitor. Ask Chris or Dave how to integrate this into your PPC landing pages, example – www.rightnowinc.com

Graphics, Flash, Photos – Professionally designed and descriptive graphical elements will keep your audience engaged. The Whistler / Blackcomb site is a great example – www.whistlerblackcomb.com

Great Content – Content is the cornerstone (still!) of your search engine optimization effort. In addition, people will dig in and start reading once you have their attention.

Clear Navigation – Confusing or hard to locate navigation causes visitors to abandon your website without ever finding the good stuff. The navigational element should be one of the first considerations when considering a design.

Concise Conversion and Contact Method – It is critical that your visitors can initiate contact from every page on the website. Not everyone wants to fill out a form – so alternate email methods, phone numbers, click to chat, and information downloads should all be available if applicable. Easy “click to bookmark” and “send to a friend” social elements are effective.

You don’t have to completely redesign your site to include most of these element. Its possible to add these items on the fly as budget and development allow. Unlike other web elements, these items can always be converted for use in your next website. Good luck with the fight, or as Jim would say, “Good Skills!”

Google Offers Additional Control Over Search Results

Website owners have received the ability to customize the way their listings appear in the search engine results. In the past the only variables you were able to control were the title tag and the meta description. Hold on to your hat folks, Google has just introduced Structured Data Mark Up.

Marking up structured data allows you to define review ratings, product images, prices, business addresses, professional titles and more. The data is displayed using two standards; microformats and RDFa formats.

The new format is starting to appear in Google search results, primarily for restaurant listings. Sites such as Yelp quickly embraced the new display options.

EXAMPLE:

Sites that offer up directory and review results have the most obvious applications. But, like all other optimization options, crafty web designers and SEO’s will find unique and interesting ways of implementing these tools.

For a complete overview of this new twist visit the Google Marking Up Structured Data Page

Google’s Wonder Wheel of Wacky Search Options

Google Search has added a set of tools to the search results pages, called Search Options. The Options tab is located just below the search term entry box. Clicking the options opens a panel of filters that lets the searcher drill down by media type, index time, results type, timeline and my favorite, the Wonder Wheel.

The Wonder Wheel tab opens your search in a graphical flash animation that offers up closely related search terms. Clicking on these related terms expands and defines your search visually, opening new wheels and spokes. Wacky Search! Check it out, watch the video!

Google's Wonder Wheel