Tag Archives: Business

The Best Affordable Marketing in a Recession

Do you think customers rock? I do. So does Becky Carrol:

Do You Want My Business?

Times are tough. Competition is fierce. Customers have high expectations. With all of these factors in play, businesses can’t afford to treat their customers with anything other than respect and great customer service. If you aren’t sure whether you want your customer’s business or not, take a step back and look at it from their perspective. Here are some tips to make sure you are ready to meet and exceed customer expectations.

Hire a mystery shopper to check out all aspects of your customer’s buying experience. Notice I didn’t say your sales experience; again, you need to look at it from the other side of the table!

Talk to customers who have purchased from you recently. How was their experience? Were their needs met? What could have been better? You might not want to hear all the answers, but if customers aren’t happy, they probably won’t keep buying from you. Even worse, they could say bad things about you to others.

Get your best customers to come in and meet with you and your sales team (or do it via phone conference). It gets sales teams all jazzed up to hear positive feedback from customers, and you will get ideas on what works in your customer’s buying experience.

Create customer profiles of different customer groups and their needs. Make sure your sales team understands how they are unique and how their sales approach should change in each instance.

Train sales in WOW customer service and relationship building techniques. Customers should be viewed as people, not transactions.

Too much to think about? Simply put yourself in your customer’s shoes and take one step at a time.

We at Creative Fusion Media think Customers Rock too. Social media is one key aspect of creating one to many communication that allows you to get inside the head of your customer and to help their thoughts tailor your products and services.

Shel Holtz on Social Media and Internet Marketing Strategy for B 2 B Companies

I a great article Shel Holtz recently pointed out:

Social media actually makes more sense in B-to-B companies than business-to-consumer firms.

A lot of B-to-B companies evidently agree. In a 2007 report by Forrester, researcher Laura Ramos found that, as of the end of 2006, nearly 40% of B2B marketers surveyed used blogs, social networks, or user-generated content in their efforts.

Former Spam King Must Pay MySpace $6 Million: Proves Black Hat SEO Doesn’t Pay

Like Nancy Reagan: Just Say No To Black Hat Search Engine Optimization

Not unlike Star Wars, every career has good and bad seeds. Hiring ethically principled companies (commonly called: white hat search engine optimization services) makes sense for your brand, your bottom line, and your organization’s soul. Yahoo News highlights a recent black hat court judgement involving spamming on MySpace:

Scott Richter of Westminster, Colorado, must pay MySpace $4.8 million in damages and $1.2 million in legal fees, a court-appointed arbitrator ruled on Thursday.

Richter, who was once accused of pumping out more than 100 million spam messages per day, had been sued by MySpace in January 2007 in connection with an August 2006 campaign in which MySpace members were hit with unsolicited messages promoting a Web site called Consumerpromotionscenter.com. The messages were sent from phished MySpace accounts, according to the findings of Philip Boesch, the court-appointed arbitrator in the case.

Lesson Learned from the MySpace Black Hat Court Debacle:

First, don’t do black hat and unethical SEO and don’t hire black hats.

Second, seek out ethically guided SEO to ensure your marketing dollar is maximized, your customers are happy, and your brand isn’t ruined.

Thoughts?

Introductory Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO 101, 201, 301 and 401)

Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO):


(above: Search engine traffic according to Compete / image credit: Search Engine Land)

What Search Engine Optimization is and How to Get Started:
Here’s a very basic explanation of what search engine optimization is and a handful of fundamental seo concepts (aka SEO 101).


Lessons Learned for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Campaigns:

What was your takeaway from this search marketing introduction? My takeaway was that links into your website are critical to your success with search engines. So thus, the goal of many an strategic SEO campaign manager is to go about the business of link building. How can you boost your link building with credible sites to rank near the top of Google?

Four other helpful search engine optimization tips for business and marketing bloggers from Marketing Vox:

Place relevant keywords in the title tag so search spiders will know what your page is about. The title tag is the text that appears at the top of the browser when a webpage loads. MarketingVOX’s title tag is “MarketingVOX – The voice of online marketing.”

Avoid stuffing the title tag with too many keywords, or making it too long. A good rule of thumb: ensure title tag text also appears in the body of the page.

Use your archives. When you update your site, link back to relevant stories from the past, using equally relevant anchor text. Don’t go overboard; the trick is to give users more information, not overwhelm them with hyperlinks.

Anchor text — the hyperlinked words that point to another page — are a way of telling search engines that page is about those words. The more relevant words point to a page, the more likely that page is to appear in search results when users run a query with those terms.

Cultivate relationships with quality websites in your industry. When well-ranked websites link to you (with hopefully relevant anchor text!), this tells spiders your page is important to users seeking information about your area of expertise.

SEO 301 Bonus Resource:

Some SEO friendly tips from Aaron Wall on Problogger to help you get your blog started.

SEO 401 Bonus Resource:

If you’re ready for the next level of complexity, search engine ranking factors from SEOMoz to help guide SEO strategy management.

Create Extraordinary Content

A recent article by Aaron Wall has a great checklist networking like a pro and creating content that gets noticed and linked to:

• Social interaction of any type leads to links. Speak at a conference? Someone will likely blog about it.
• Want to get thought leaders to promote your site? Create a community project or contest and ask them to participate. Or give out awards.
• Lack the budget needed to go to conferences? Moderate forums, comment on related blogs, and build social relationships.

But for people to take you credibly you need to make sure your website adheres to good web credibility standards.
• Is your domain name memorable?
• Does your design complement your copy?
• Is your content interesting and conceptually unique?
• Does your site have an editorial component and voice, or is it a boring low-value thin product database?
• Is your about page memorable? Is your site easy to use and understand?
• Do you have a brand people care about?

You do not need to “have it all” to get started, but the more credible you look the faster you will gain momentum.

The Cluetrain Manifesto stated that markets are conversations. Blogs are the leading medium upon which those conversations happen.

How can you implement the above suggestions? Have any other suggestions?

Connie Bensen on Branding with Social Media, Blogging, and Web 2.0

Best Practices for Online Branding and Community Building:

Community guru Connie Bensen just wrote a fantastic piece on online communication and branding. Here is a summary snippet for you of her instructive article:

My goal is that these ideas will help guide you through the wilderness of exploration and provide some practical steps to assist you in building your unique brand. It truly is a journey.
The nice thing is that a brand evolves. That takes the stress off. No one wakes up & says, ‘I am…’. That would be too contrived. It’s a periodic review of:

Who are you?

What makes you unique?

Your differentiating qualities & skills are what makes you valuable.

What’s your message?

What are your goals?

Who is your audience?

What experiences do you have to share with others?

How can you help others? What value do bring to them?

Tip: After you’ve been blogging for a bit ask others for feedback. What may not be apparent to you usually is to others.

I had my personal blog up for 3 months & expressed to Anna Farmery that I thought my topics of social media were too broad. She immediately told me that my focus was on Community Building. And so it was!

Connie is correct to emphasize that it online branding and community cultivation all gets back to identity: your identity, your organization’s identity, and your customer and communities’ identity. Next, she seems to suggest wrapping your web communications strategy around the identity–and to give it a unique, living, breathing existence on the web.

You can read the rest of Connie’s guest post here or her best resource posts.
Or if are interested in guidelines for implementing the above read this great piece about best practices and principles for social media optimization with web 2.0 tools.

Consumer Relationship Management via Social Media and Social Networking

Small Business Trends highlights some great notions about consumer relationship management (CRM):

But what we understand more than anything is a need to leverage the web to find more leads, and to let the web help us quickly determine good leads from dead ends. More importantly we need to create a Web presence that makes it as easy as possible for those who could use our services to find us.

This means creating a customer profile that helps us identify key pieces of information, helping to determine good customers from bad ones. Then reaching out to those customers to find out what’s on their minds, what social networks (if any) they frequent, what topics are important to them, and how they like getting information.

Chances are, if a good number of our customers spend a decent amount of time on Facebook, we can increase our opportunities to engage others like them by building a Facebook presence. Or if we find many of our customers are on Twitter, it might help us increase opportunities to touch base with them by following their tweets. Maybe just knowing their favorite blogs or podcasts will give us insight that could lead to more opportunities to reach more like them.

Social CRM adds a whole new dimension to the traditional view of customer relationship management. The focus is undoubtedly on people and not technology. It’s about joining the ongoing conversations our customers and prospects are already engaged in — not trying to control them.

If you want to get started with better consumer relationship management, you probably want to start listening to blogs and dive into blogging. The next step is building a community with social media and web 2.0 tools.

About the Author: Nathan Ketsdever is a professional search engine optimization strategist and business blog coach from Nashville, TN.