Imprinted Products Develop TOMA

Don’t rule out “traditional” or “old school” promotional products for your next marketing and branding campaign. Yes, it may be true that the latest and greatest technology gadget is “cool” and exciting, the question is, does it create top-of-mind awareness for your brand or organization?

Proforma Promotional Products

TOMA: Top-of-Mind Awareness – “When people think of you first to fulfill their product or service needs.”

You’ve heard Realtors say “location, location, location.” The same thing can be said for the prime real estate located in your client or prospective customers office or home. Look at your desk or inside your desk drawers. Do you have a useful product with a logo imprinted on it? What about your pen, your mousepad, or the dispenser for your “sticky” notes? Logo-imprinted products are everywhere and usually within easy reach. So don’t be shy, it’s a smart branding move to put your Logo on a coffee mug, cell phone holder or desk clock and land your company front and center with your customers and prospects. Click Here to view some desktop suggestions just in time for the Holidays, or any event!

SEO clients of RightNow Inc plus friends and family get the best possible price and shipping. Visit Proforma Pepper Promotions or call 800-630-3306 for ideas and help.

Are You In On the Conversation?

A long time ago, (1991) in a far off place, (here, then) the internet was played out on BBS boards and travel agency offices in a DOS world. They really didn’t know much about each other, but there they were, none the less; seeds of today’s internet. On one hand, the airlines were delivering their product to consumers through the travel agents. On the other hand, a community of like minded citizens was forming for every kind of interest with anybody who could get their TRS80 hooked up to a telephone line.

Somebody came up with the bright idea to create WWW and soon thereafter http. As the phenomenon gathered momentum, the folks from the BBS world bemoaned the encroaching commercial onslaught on their beloved communication tool and, well, travel agents… are hard to come by now and treated as a nuisance by the airlines today.

I don’t need to tell you what went on between then and now, because you’ve hopefully been here for this part of the story! So, lets fast forward through trillions of dollars of online commerce and a googol worth of forum posts to find yourself at the doorstep of the end of the first full decade of the internet. Whew!

For those purists that thought that communication and collaboration would take a back seat to finding a size 6 pair of red shoes…how wrong you were! Today we can join a community of red shoe wearers and the size 6 group will tell you which ones will work out best for you. We didn’t let the wheels of commerce get in our way of collaborating! Instead, as humans, we found a way to micro niche the heck out of every facet of life.

So, I ask you this. If you are a business in today’s’ hyper-informed world, are you in on the conversation? You might think you are. But it can’t hurt to get a check up! Here is what it takes:

Web Site – Seems simple enough. But do you have a site that fits the needs of your customer? Is your information and pricing easy to find. Is it easy to get my questions answered? It better be because I’m in a hurry and those that make it “plain as day” win.

SEO – Have you had your site optimized so that it can be found on the search engines? Do you allocate some effort each month to grow that asset? Some have and some haven’t – and – some haven’t done it right. If all sites were optimized, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out of a job. We could also throw a subset of PPC and media buys in here. These tactics are all designed to attract people to your offer.

After you have these two basics down you are ready to get into the meat of today’s marketing. I call it “the conversation”.

Blog – Step one is blogging. This is good for so many reasons that have to do with the two basics above. But more importantly, it enters you into the conversation going on out there (or is that here?). You become a voice about what interests you. In time, you may even become recognized as an “expert” which can be worth some hefty bonus points.

Social Media – One of the latest acronyms to know, hands down, is SMM. Social Media Marketing is the art of conversing and collaborating with an agenda. After all, everyone has an agenda. So, why not use yours to grow your business? Beware, though; when you start conversing dynamically in the social world it’s very easy to shoot ones foot. Social Media Marketing is also the fine art of listening. It is not about shouting that you have the best red shoes. That is for other people to decide. Your job is to provide information, instruction and a level of intelligent compassion when you start walking around the streets of Facebook, Twitter, Technorati and the gazillion of other large and small places where business can interact smartly with their customers and potential customers.

Many people will not engage in the conversation for fear of doing something stupid or looking bad. Still others will put it aside for lack of time. If you join either of these camps you lose the opportunity to be “in” on the conversation going on around you. The conversation is like a fresh garden in need of cultivation every morning. So get out there and “make it a great day!”

Web2Expo Video: Tim O’Reilly on Web 2.0

Tim O’Reilly, “O’Reilly Radar” Speaks at the Web2Expo in San Francisco on the future of the web.

Watch More Video From Web2Expo

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.