Archive for September, 2012

Social media has rules…who knew?

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On September - 26 - 2012

I guess its marketing’s version of natural selection. Social media didn’t start out with rules, they just kind of evolved. Those who set the rules figured it out through a combination of trial and error and common sense. Those who didn’t were domed to extinction and obscurity. (Darwin would be so proud).

  1. Loosen up!

    Don’t take yourself too seriously. You can be about business…but you can have a personality too. In fact some of our most popular posts have nothing directly to do with our digital marketing business, but that’s what keeps them coming back.

  2. It’s a balancing act!

    Social marketing has infiltrated every aspect of what we do as online marketing strategists. Even search engines factor in “likes” re-tweets and +1’s into their algorithms, but never forget that some good old fashioned paid marketing is still a vital part of the equation.

  3. Content marketing is about quality not quantity!

    Human beings could always tell the difference between well produced quality content and fluff. Try to slip low quality past your followers and the search engines, and all your efforts will fail.

  4. A clear call to action

    Online or offline, if you want something done, you have to tell them what to do. We’ve found that asking people to comment or like something actually works. Be clear about what you want your audience to do after consuming your content and engaging with your brand.

  5. You MUST add value!

    Value comes in different forms… information, entertainment, education – it’s all good. Bottom line is if people like it…it adds value and they’ll come back for more.

  6. Don’t talk at your audience…talk with them.

    It’s a conversation, not a lecture. Don’t just keep the lines of communication open, encourage it. When contacted, always respond quickly and sincerely. Mix your topics and keep track of what elicits a reaction.

  7. Don’t just DO social, BE social.

Chuck Bankoff is Director of Web Services and Social Media Strategist for Kreative Webworks, a Digital Marketing Agency serving Orange County CA since 1999.

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Online Reputation Management – Play Offense and Win

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On September - 25 - 2012

Think that being proactive with your online reputation isn’t important because you’re in a small market? Think again. My friend and colleague Malinda Davis with WSI puts it in perspective and offers a few words of wisdom that you can actually do yourself.

You are a small business owner in Mill Creek, WA – most of your customers live or work within a small radius of your business in Snohomish County. Why would it matter what people see on the Internet about your business? And it doesn’t impact sales, right? Not quite…

Digital Word of Mouth

No longer is your business reputation based solely on what customers tell their friends and family about the high-quality products you sell, the friendly atmosphere of your office and your excellent customer service. With the digitization of the marketplace, consumers can easily praise or punish businesses they visit – the impact is immediate, widespread and often long-lasting. We call this Digital Word of Mouth!

Online review sites and social media have essentially provided a megaphone for consumers to broadcast their feedback about their experience at a business. It is one-to-many sharing, reaching well beyond just friends and family. According to Facebook, the average Facebook user has 130 friends. Unfortunately, many consumers often fail to remember the positive experiences and choose to share their negative experiences with the world. Imagine the potential impact (on your reputation and bottom line) of a negative online comment from a customer on Facebook? What if they also posted a negative review at Yelp?

Online Reputation Management

Online reputation management is important for businesses of all sizes and industries to consider. Businesses need to be aware of their web footprint (or lack thereof). A dentist with a confusing or outdated website may cause potential clients to think twice about scheduling a consultation. A restaurant with the best food will be impacted financially if their online reputation is poor.

What can you do?

  • Be Present – Make your business discoverable on the Internet. At a minimum, this includes having a simple and clean website, claiming your social media profiles and verifying your local business listings (Google Places, online directories, etc.). Once you have a web presence and in order to stay ahead of your competition, sharing video content and optimizing your website and social accounts is essential to being present and visible online.
  • Play Offense – Be proactive. Provide avenues for customers to provide feedback and to share it online. Be proud of your success and ask for referrals! The alternative to playing offense is playing defense – and in this game, it is worth the effort and investment to be proactive. If you don’t, someone else will (i.e. your competition and/or an upset customer).
  • Listen – Monitor what is being said about you and your company online. This is an opportunity to learn how to better serve your customers and improve your business. When you listen and make changes based on the feedback, your relationships and trust with clients only increases.
  • Engage – Add fresh content to your website and social media accounts – this demonstrates your expertise and adds a personal touch to your business. Ask questions. Blog to educate your customers, share success stories and praise your employees for their hard work. If something negative is said about your business online, respond appropriately (acknowledge, apologize and take action to regain their trust). Choosing silence only magnifies the customer megaphone.

What About Negative Comments?

If you have created a solid web presence and still receive a handful of negative comments, don’t worry. Unfortunately, human nature is to share negative experiences. If you have addressed these comments, not only will the positive comments and your solid web presence overshadow the negative, it shows your commitment and pride to serve your customers.

And remember…. Your customers (present and future) are online, either on a computer at home or at work, or on their mobile smart phone. When consumers are unsure, or deciding which business to buy from, they use the information they find online to help them decide. Do you present a professional image? Are you credible? Should they trust you? What do other people say about their experience with your business?

Your customers are using social media. They are reading online reviews and will form an opinion about your business and your products. The perception they form is then strongly tied to whether or not they decide to purchase from you. With the Internet, consumers have access to an immense amount of information and purchasers have a digital megaphone to influence what their friends or families buy, as well as what strangers buy.

It isn’t a surprise or a secret – people use the Internet to find information about local businesses. What will they find when they search for you? Remember, be present, play offense, listen and engage. It is up to you to make sure they find the right kind of information.

Melinda Davies is a Digital Marketing Consultant with WSI based in the Seattle, WA area, and works with local businesses to develop their digital marketing strategy, including local search, online lead generation, email marketing, brand credibility, mobile marketing, social media, reputation management and web analytics. WSI has been providing innovative Internet marketing solutions for clients around the world since the mid-1990s. WSI has a global reach, with a network of digital marketing consultants dedicated to region-specific solutions in over 80 countries. Check out Melinda’s website at www.wsimarketingplus.com

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Digital Marketing is hard enough, don’t squander your Traffic

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On September - 8 - 2012

It’s hard enough to drive traffic to your website, but it’s a shame to waste it by driving your visitors away within moments of arriving. Below is a list of what NOT to do.

Poor Navigation: Nothing frustrates a consumer more than not being able to find what they want quickly and intuitively.

Too Many Ads: Aside for the negative effect excessive ads have on search engine rankings, smothering your visitors with distractions won’t engage them, but it might enrage them.

Bad Site Structure: Simple is better. The “Rule of Thirds” says that every time you ask a visitor to do something or click to another page you lose about a third of them. Make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for without having to go too deep into the website.

Invasive Audio & Video: People want to consume content at their own pace and at their own discretion. Force feeding sounds and motions on them is a sure way to cut short their visit.

Registration Requirements: Forcing a visitor to register before they can view content is like asking them to pay for something before they know what they are buying. Think of your content as the product, and their contact info as the currency. Don’t ask them to register until you give them a taste of what they are paying for with their personal information.

Boring Content and Design: Your website is a statement about your company. Minimalistic is OK, but boring just won’t cut it. People don’t read on the Internet… they scan. They see Headlines, Graphics and bullet points. Create the image that is appropriate for you target market and present the information in the most concise and interesting way possible.

Poor Legibility: Don’t get cutsie with italic designer fonts or use red text over a black background. In other words, function over form when it comes to the actual reason why someone took the time to visit your site. We were all conditioned to read dark print on a light background with proven legible fonts. Stick to the program.

Stale Content: You wouldn’t watch the same episode of a television show over and over again would you? Why would anyone return to a website that is not updated with current relevant information? And by the way…. Search engines love fresh content and have little use for stale websites. “Last updated in 2004” and “Under Construction” pages will impress no one.

Here are Six Simple Tips you should consider when creating a website page layout.

Chuck Bankoff is Director of Web Services for Kreative Webworks, Inc. A Digital Media Marketing firm in Orange County CA.

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Digital Marketing on the Cheap

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On September - 2 - 2012

Maybe this just seems hysterical to me and my staff, but if you ever tried your hand at any sort of digital marketing for your business you’ll understand why this still cracks us up. If you have about two and a half minutes to kill, take a look at this short video and let me know what you think.

By the way, if you have any ideas for new videos we can make, hit me up!

 

Kreative Webworks is an online lead generation firm in Orange County CA since 1999 -www.kreativewebworks.com

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