SEOdamian's Blog

Helping others understand & share about technology, search

Branding and Collaboration

The blog ChurchMarketingSucks had a recent post on creating your congregation’s brand. Here is my response to their key questions of:

Should you find your church in need of an effective brand management strategy, here are three questions that I submit as points to start the dialogue:

    1. What is your church’s brand?
    2. Who is specifically responsible for managing your church’s brand?
    3. How do you effectively communicate your church’s brand internally and externally?

Another way to put the concept is, how can you meet the needs of your audience. For example, if visiting seekers are looking for your services, what can you do to help them understand what you have is what they are looking for?

The post’s questions are a great start. Let me just highlight that branding is not a one step effort but an ongoing process. You don’t just put up a sign with a simple logo and call it done. You don’t just put a logo on the bulletin and call it done. You need to do more then add a color to the name tags to be finished. Branding is a process of communicating what the values, ideal and aspirations of an organization through symbols as well as words. Do you know any other process that has been ongoing for say about 2000 years?

Communicating the truth of your services will take time and effort. You need to put it in the language of your seekers, not the internal shorthand of those inside. You need to share the joy and fun of joining. But then some causes are worth a little effort aren’t they?

photograph of a billboard showing $1 drinks at McDonalds featuring coca cola

Both Coca Cola and McDonald’s worked co-operatively for common goals – get more followers.

The idea of working in collaboration has been around for a while, and CharlotteOne has a great idea. Notice how well McDonalds and CocaCola have been working together for a few years. Both win by meeting the needs of their customers.

I also remind others that defining your brand can be a significant effort. Especially for those not practiced in brand development work. But the beginning approach is to look at what the value is to a new guest to your house. Consider how their needs can be met better, or more uniquely then the other choices a visitor has. Every town has a variety of churches sharing the word of Christ. Again the key is to look at it through the visitors perspectives. Your perspective can provide hints. But more importantly look at what you valued when you 1st entered your congregation and what your needs were then. Consider what you were looking for, and how you choose to attend.

Branding can be  a great way to define what your value can be to a new seeker. This effort can be lead by others or used as a team development project that can truly inspire all to greater sense of clarity to what the value is to the seeker.

June 22, 2012 Posted by | copywriting | , , , | Leave a comment

IRCE 2012 – BoldChat from LogMeIn (review from Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition tradeshow)

Another review from what I discovered at IRCE (Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition) tradeshow in Chicago, IL.

One of the more interesting solutions I found for eCommerce sites was from one of my favorite SaaS providers – LogMeIn. Logo of Remote access SaaS LogMeInThey have been providing great remote access for my remote support needs, as well as for many clients. LogMeIn is an easy solution to implement – a quick client based program, and you have the ability to access your (or your clients) computer from any current browser. It handles multiple monitors and has multiple layers of security. They have different levels of product from Free (really free) to enterprise.

LogMeIn has introduced BoldChat (they may well rename or at least redo the logo which looks like 3 different words) as a low cost chat solution, a midrange solution and an enterprise solution to go up against LivePerson.

The low cost option is Free – http://boldchat.com/free-live-chat-software.asp. Can’t beat that cost, the limitations seem to be reasonable. The biggest limitations are how many chats per month, and how many concurrent sessions are running. This is enough to get most small ecommerce sites up and going, allow them to build those FAQ answers, and design how to organize your resources for prompt response. By the time the number of chats (750 per month) is becomes limiting, the next level should be a no brainer for your organization to fund at less then a fast food lunch is these days.

The basic level is $99 per seat per year or $9 per month. So for less then a Vonnage account, or RingCentral or any other telephony solutions (well maybe Skype can be less) you have a great way to be able to have chat. Complete with a  self documenting solution for building your business into a repeatable solution.

The enterprise level has more features, and does cost less then your typical rent for the desk space and share of a break room for your agent. This level will integrate into SalesForce.com, have predictive messaging, better integration across team members and more reporting. At the enterprise level the mindset is to work more collaboratively as a team across your chat team.

logo and screen of BoldChat by LogMeIn with model of contact center worker

Is it BoldChat or BuildChat or …?

Chat is quickly becoming the expected norm in ecommerce to assist in providing excellent quality service to visitors who want to learn about your product. If you don’t provide enough service on the site, they will take there business elsewhere with the click of a mouse or often with a quick jump in the car. Chat is also an opportunity to see into the customers real needs and questions, rather then having to guess what they are looking for.  This tools allows you to collect real questions (in the way real visitors ask them, not how you think they ask them), and allow you to sculpt your most appropriate answers for re-use.

If you are planning on having relationships with your clients and will be using the Internet, plan on experimenting and testing with chat as soon as possible. It’s useful not just in answering a few questions while juggling another voice call, but also in having a self documenting way to collect answers for your next agents, and sales team members. These can be collected and put into a FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions (a whole other post). That is one of the easier ways to implement the systems approach of Michael Gerber’s E-Myth Revisited of working ON your business, rather then IN your business.

June 9, 2012 Posted by | Chicago, copywriting, E-Myth, tools, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Do You Think Auto-Responders Suck?

While reading a discussion on using auto-responders for visitors to church congregation websites, I felt compelled to share my thoughts.

The ideas apply not only in email relationship building, but also in all online relationship building. The core is building trust.

As was stated, the concept of auto-responder email is good. It has been proven effective repeatedly in the for-profit world, because it can build trust. However, most implementation in secular and non-secular of auto-responders is terrible.  Just as a greeter at a store can totally change the experience for the better or sink the relationship with the whole chain, so can poorly written email generic auto-responders. A poorly written email auto-responder can seem like a chain letter or worse.

There is a reason why communications professionals will write 50 drafts. They are working  to get the best chance to communicate the intended tone and message to their audience. Just like a minister will often spend all day or all week writing a sermon to get it ‘correct’, and it still evolves through multiple services on a Sunday (or Friday or Saturday).   Even the Bible has gone through a few revisions of the centuries to make sure its message and tone is unmistakable (perhaps it may not be done being revised to tell its story based on the number of interpretations of its messages in different denominations across the country and world).

More Recent Data – Direct Marketing

I would recommend that we look at what has a longer history then email auto-responders for how to most effectively communicate with new relationships. While still much newer then the Bible, direct marketing or direct mail has a much longer history then email. Direct marketing studies performed decades ago realized that it took seven (from letters, TV spots, Radio or in-store visits) ‘touches’ to get the optimum amount of interaction with a perspective person to solidify the relationship (relative to invested cost of each piece). New studies increase that to 9 or 11 touches with the increased onslaught of communications and greater sensitivity to building trust.

That is much of what is at issue here – trust. Does the new guest trust that you understand them? And do they trust they understand the ‘real’ congregation you represent? It becomes hard to trust that you understand someone who may not understand themselves (as may often be the case of shoppers/searchers). It becomes hard to trust, if they only meet a few people in a congregation. It becomes hard to trust if they don’t have a solid referral from someone they trust (especially if they are coming from a place that did have solid referrals and it did not work out). A congregation is where many people put more trust then most any other relationship they have (including family or spouses). Visitors may not know they are looking for a place to put that much trust, but often they are.

Trust must often be earned, over multiple interactions

Have you earned that trust?

Look at how would you build trust with a new relationship in an off-line manner and consider how to translate it to written form. That may include some disclosure yourself and the congregation (when the annual meeting is, how the board is elected), but often not on the 1st touch. It may include offers to be inclusive, but just as you would not propose on the 1st date, you may not invite someone to lead a group in the 2nd email. The building of trust is based on a mutual exchange of signals that show commitment on both sides. If you don’t properly respond to a visitors signals you are being as rude as kissing someone who shows no interest in a physical relationship.

Of course in the age of digital tools like Constant Contact, iContact, HubSpot, InfusionSoft and many others, the best practice is to consider not creating a single one size fits all approach. Again the lessons and proof go back to the early days of direct marketing and have shown a segmented approach is best.  Send a different series of letters to parents then young adults (possibly both if they are indeed young adult parents). The relationship of an empty nester will be different then many 30 year old divorcee’s.

Consider an Email Service Provider for your auto responder needs

If they overlap, consider staggering your send times. Don’t send them all on Mondays, send the parent letters/auto-responders on Wednesday, Young adults on Friday, etc.

Look at the rules of etiquette in similar online venues (online dating is probably the most clearly documented) and use them to create an appropriate method to build trust with new visitors and you will create many new relationships.

Auto-responders (multiple with proper spacing) can be a great tool in developing mutual trust in a new congregant, especially if it is integrated with personal touches along the way. Especially if it is show ing of the care you would take for a new parishioner. This is your chance to show you care. Does that not deserve a little more effort then 10 minutes for a one size fits all generic letter.

How much time and effort do you typically spend on your auto responder emails? How many do you use? Join the conversation below and share your wisdom.

May 1, 2012 Posted by | copywriting, local marketing | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Got a Free Blog – Thats Good Link Juice Right? (part 1)

The are many cliche’s that warn us there is no free lunch. But that does not mean we understand where the cost of those lunches really is. If we are used to paying the waiter, but the real cost is elsewhere it can be confusing.

The challenge is similar in technology, marketing and other areas that are changing rapidly. In the world of Free Blogs, the value and costs sometimes are hard to find. DRKent.Com had someone sell him a free blog that looked like a good value. It was bundled with other services, so it did not look like a scam. The creators of this blog generator may not have even known they were selling year old bananas, but they were.  Here are my comments to Dr. Kent about what is happening with his free blog.

I would take down your blog ASAP or ALL links to DRKENT or any other site you want to rank well. This is a clone site as you mentioned that I did not know until your email –

Google penalizes links from this site, since it is the equivalent of spamming,  since there are thousands of copies of the site. When I copy your 1st sentences into Google search it returns:

Results 1100 of about 5,320 for “I can’t believe how much my low back hurts! I don’t know if I can go to work with it like this!” Does this sound familiar? (0.32 seconds)

Over time, Google learned that real content seldom has the same sentences as other sites. Even if they are quoting the president, there are enough other analysis or comments that make the page unique. But if it is the exact same words, then Google interprets all the sources as junk. Additionally, if those sites are junk, then all sites they recommend are junk. Basically if you hang around criminals, statistically you are a criminals. Of course that leaves an interesting situation for Police and the FBI, but there are a few dozen TV shows and hundreds of movies and books exploring that correlation. So if you have ‘cheap, duplicate content’ pointing at your site, then you probably don’t have quality content on your site. While Google cannot really read (understand what you are really intending to communicate), it can statistically analyze what you have shared. It knows that if your friends are bad, then there is a greater chance you are bad. Just like a background check by the FBI.

From Google’s own blog at

There are some penalties that are related to the idea of having the same content as another site—for example, if you’re scraping content (automatically copying the ‘good’ parts) from other sites and republishing it, or if you republish content without adding any additional value. These tactics are clearly outlined (and discouraged) in our Webmaster Guidelines:

  • Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
  • Avoid… “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.
  • If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.

In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we’ll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.

I guess as a way to ‘prove’ that the process works, using the scientific method – test and see the results. It is not truly following the scientific method, but as an experiment it has greater value then just being a thought experiment so often used as truth on the Internet:

  • When I search for ‘back pain’, none of the 5,320 cloned blogs show up in the top 200 listings.
  • When I search for ‘lost work time’, none of the 5,320 blogs show up in the top 200 listings except for http://www.drlarrycimpermanblog.com/wp/2009/08/05/have-you-lost-work-time-because-of-your-back-pain/ who they changed his title tag and page name explicitly to include ‘lost work time’.  It appears that he was the 1st one they did with the new format on August 5 out of about 70, so he got a higher listing. The other 5,320 including you – lose.  Google will sometimes rank the 1st site it finds, and then count the rest as duplicates. So yes you can game the system, but it may be as much effort as just following the rules appropriately.

When I search for ‘Neck and Arm Pain – The Herniated Disk?’ – the title and heading of another page – one site gets listed in the top 200 at 12 or on the second page for most searchers (click through rate on page 2 is about 1% of being in the top 3, so unless it is a high volume search term, useless) – http://instantchiroblogs.com/wp/2009/05/31/neck-and-arm-pain-%E2%80%93-the-herniated-disk/ Ben’s page may have been a test or a mistake, since it has the extra characters in the page name, and his page does not have an address or phone number on it – probably making it unique.

So the moral of the story is check to see if your free website is worth taking. It may even be costing you (extra calories or wasted time) in ways you do not even know. Typically to give something away free it needs to be lower quality. In the world of the Internet, quality is easier then ever to determine with just a few clicks by human or less effort by computers.

 

February 15, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, copywriting, SEO tools, tools, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Site Redo Brainstorm for Illinois Main Street Alliance – Part 1

The Illinois Main Street Alliance (IMSA), is one of the organizations I am working with. This is a small business association with chapters across the country representing actual main street or real small businesses. The US Chamber of Commerce being more focused on large corporations (based on who is on the board, and amount of donations and how it lobbies). So as a small organization, it has a limited budget and resources. Most are volunteered with limited technical expertise.

Recently, I was asked for some input as to what would I do to improve the IMSA website. It was a quick effort as part of a growing organization. There was not a lot of planning or design as the future of IMSA was not clear as it was getting started. With that in mind, the time has some to do a site redo or refresh.  Here are some of the questions and ideas that I was able to come up with to improve a website:

  • A website is usually ineffective and becomes a challenge, unless the goals and objectives are clear.
    • What are the objectives of the website?
    • How will those objectives be measured?
    • Who will be responsible for managing those objectives?
  • How much support is available to maintain or develop content on the site?
  • Does this site need to be viable before it will be updated either with more content or a full site refresh?
    • For six months at a time
    • The next year
    • The next three years

    The length of time between site refreshes will affect the design and layout of the site. If the site means to look good for the next three years before the next redesign and content addition, then anything that is “current events,” must be removed. On the other hand, if there is a commitment to create new content on a weekly or monthly basis, then the site can have a much fresher and more relevant look. These need to be determined upfront with executive level commitments to the question.

  • What is a level of sophistication of the person managing the site?
    • If there is somebody who will be able to continually evolve the look and feel of the site, it can be more complicated and interactive.
    • If it will be managed by someone with minimal technical skills, it needs to be easy to update and manage.
    • If it will be managed by someone with a design background, it can be more adventurous in the design structure.
    • If it will be managed by one person but a team will be contributing and editing different pages or sections, there needs to be greater definition of standards. This will require more thought up front.
  • Who is the audience of this site? There may be multiple audiences, but it needs to be clear who the primary, secondary and tertiary audiences are. Here are some suggestions of audiences for the site:
    • The press looking to verify  Illinois Main Street alliance.
    • The existing membership of IMSA
    • The leadership of IMSA
    • Prospective members.
    • Progressive individuals who may be business owners.
    • Business owners who may be progressive.
    • Other community orginizations looking to partner with IMSA
    • Public to be persuaded by the ideas and experiences of the business owners of Illinois Main Street Alliance.

Not knowing the above core questions makes recommendations a challenge. But defining these higher level questions will allow us to set the proper strategy in moving forward. In the next post I will share some of the recommendations I came up with.  These recommendations fall into some different areas:

  • Create more content.
  • Make content easier to re-purpose on other social media sites, and traditional forms (press releases).
  • Make it clear what the next step should be for visitors to the site. Many site owners forget or don’t understand that everyone is following the WIIFM principle- What Is In It For Me? And often what is obvious to an insider is not clear to someone new to the organization. Make it as easy as possible for new visitors to get fully engaged. It is amazing how this often is done poorly online, when people in person can welcome new people so graciously. The challenge I attribute to one of introvert/extrovert mindsets.
  • Allow for interactivity when possible. User Generated Content is the easiest way to share how vibrant a community is. This is so often lost on a static site, where the community is focused on doing rather then reporting like IMSA.
  • Consider a CMS or Content Management System
In the next few posts, I will explore more features to add to the site, more pages to add to the site and additional sections to consider adding to the site.
What are your key questions when starting a site refresh or site redo?

October 23, 2011 Posted by | Chicago, copywriting, Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

KISS – Keep It Simple and Short

One of the best practices for website conversion also lines up (often) with better rankings on SRP (Search Results Page) – simple language, and good readability scores.

The issue is that once you get someone to your site it needs to be easy to read. There are exceptions, but how often are the buyers (of your product or ideas) really looking to work hard to understand what you have written? Of course Google is no genius either (although many that work there are). It is designed to look at your site as others without sophisticated degrees and high end language skills would look at your site. Of course, I am like many who like to slip into the shorthand of our vernacular and the jargon of each industry. But I do so at my own peril. And increasingly, at my own laziness. MS Word has had analysis of the reading level of your documents for at least a decade. But there are also online tools available as well. They are often for free, that are quick and easy to use.

Understand that the Wall Street Journal writes its content for 11th grade. Most novels are written at the 8th to 10th grade level (remember we had to read them in high school). However, take a look at most websites, they are written for graduate level. How many websites have you seen with humongous long words, utilizing complex sentence structures reminiscent of academic papers that put everyone to sleep (bad example intended)?

Here are a few based on a quick search (until I get back to finding the best in class):

In fact, the readability of a website is important enough that Google will allow you to control what sites you see in the results based on reading level in their advanced search options: http://www.google.com/advanced_search

Improved readability will also improve your site traffic in other ways – happier readers will recommend your site more often. Easy to read writing allows your content to be shared with a wider audience. Those that can understand more complex writing can still understand your simpler text, and those that don’t have 10 years of reading Shakespeare will also be included. It also makes it easier for all to read and digest quickly. Just because a lawyer can read complex writing in statutes does not mean he or she prefers to read tangled prose to learn about your ideas.

So simplify your writing and widen your audience.

If you don’t believe that readability can help your site, do a little test and then let me know the results in the comments section.

December 26, 2010 Posted by | copywriting, How To, tools | , , , , , | Leave a comment

More Thoughts on How Thanksgiving is like Search Engine Marketing

I saw an interesting blog post (http://www.seonoobie.com/2010/11/how-search-engine-marketing-is-much-like-thanksgiving-dinner/) in one of my LinkedIn groups on How Thanksgiving is like Search Engine Marketing.

Here are a few of my additions to look at:
Remember that different people refer to the same food in different ways. Yams/sweet potatoes… The guest is correct, even if you have to translate to the chef to smooth out the egos. In Search Engine Marketing, the customers keywords are the correct keywords, even if you have to coach the CMO.

Sometimes the guests/family prefer the lesser ingredients (canned cranberries over fresh cranberries), salty canned gravy over homemade. Listen and understand, your objective is to make a happy celebration for all the guests at the table. The less precise keyword or more generic keyword that customers click on are the correct keywords. Seborrheic dermatitis may be the correct term, but far more people are searching for Dandruff shampoo.

While the dinner is very important, the whole day is a celebration – conversation, flag football outside, the game(s) on TV, waiting for Sue to get off work or drive from Milwaukee all are important factors. Dinner may be the centerpiece of the day, but not the only consideration. With SEM, understand that customers determine when the best time to close a sale are and ask questions, not your staffs desires.

Mistakes happen, the pie is burnt, the dip gets spilled, dad forgot the …. – it happens, so determine if a substitute is needed and adapt. If you need a simple dip rather then the wonderful family favorite 7 layer, because that is all that is left at the Jewel closing in 5 minutes, adapt. If you need some FAQ’s that are not the best written, to keep visitors from buying at the next site for cyberMonday, then do the best you can and deal with it (let the call center know that these may not be the best and to expect more).

Of course all of the similarities are based on the fact that both Search engine marketing and Thanksgiving are for people that have different desires and needs. Those people want to be treated special and with respect. If you are the host, you need to adapt to the needs of your guests, or brother George may be going to his in-laws next year rather then your dinner table, even if he gets divorced.

November 22, 2010 Posted by | copywriting, LinkedIn, SEM Industry, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

How will you choose a startup for providing you services when there are many already doing the same kind of job work?

A post in LinkedIn (a tool you should be using for learning, sharing and reputation building) asked the above question. The answer is core to most businesses. But it is also what needs to be shared in short order on your website. Assuming your website is trying to communicate why someone should work with you. If you have other primary objectives (and you need to be clear on your site’s objectives), then this still needs to be a part of your site somewhere.

Comfort of the Relationship:
I will choose a vendor based on the comfort of the relationship we can build. That comfort is in communicating that a vendor:

  • Understands my needs, That may be by being local, in my niche, knowing me personally, sharing your expertise.
  • Understands the industry today, Most industries are rapidly changing. Do you understand the journey my business is on and the challenges my competitors and myself are and will be facing?
  • Understands Where the industry is going. Help me understand the opportunities, and to help me avoid the traps, What are the new regulations, what are the new 600 lb gorilla’s, what new technology will be crushing my advantage, what new profit model will change my world?
  • Communicates What are the liabilities to avoid with other’s solutions. Your competitors have disadvantages – don’t bad mouth the competition, but inform me of what to pay attention to, let me understand how to evaluate your services independently so I know what is real (steak) and what is sizzle.
  • Communicates that you are trustworthy even if you don’t promise the most. Let me see you participating in my community, returning my calls when promised, sending me information relevant to my needs (the more specific the better), recommendations from others-the more closely related to me the better.

Another way to say ‘by differentiation’. You may provide the exact same service, but I know you are providing the right service for me because you understand my needs, and are looking out for my best interests not others (including your own) in our transaction and relationship.

When you understand that your relationship with a potential client may start with your website, you can see how important the look and feel of the site is.

By the way, in order to effectively address most of these issues, you will create pages that is SEO friendly if not well designed.

Talking about your industry will let Google know where to ‘slot’ your services. Referencing the past industry issues will show your expertise. Of course linking to experts makes it even easier. Sharing your knowledge about the future again lets people know that you understand and care, but also lets Google know that your solutions are broader in scope.

So after you try to show how much you care about your clients, ask your clients for feedback to see if you are successful. If you are not, be patient – you probably did not give your elevator speech perfect the 1st time you attempted it. Part of building relationship and trust is having dialog, and being open to feedback and continuing to improve your site, skills, and presentation.

What are your thoughts on differentiating yourself from your competition?

PS. A new blog I am working with Andy Kurz on is Healthcare Insurance Reform Analysis and Trends

November 12, 2010 Posted by | Community, copywriting, How To, LinkedIn | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You Looking at Your Visitors All the Same, or in Small Groups?

Poll –

Have you  heard about the long tail by Chris Anderson? Briefly his book is the ‘discovery’ that there is more ‘action’ in the rest of a market (in terms of total dollars or total number sold or total people involved or…) then the ‘top 10’ best sellers.  He spends a lot of time doing lots of analysis that proves that there is more ‘area’ under the curve in the long tail or the ‘rest of the market’ or the top 1,000,000 less the top 10, then there is in the top 10 of most categories.  Of course, top 40 radio stations do not want you to know this. Nor do Budweiser, Miller, Coke and Pepsi – they only feel the top 5 is all that counts.

What does this have to do with your website? Mostly that you do not have to be ‘the top 10’ of a ‘short tail term’ to be someone.  You can be very successful by focusing on your niche.  The key for success is to define multiple niches and excel at a niche rather then trying to be everything to everyone. You still have to rank high for your term, but it does not have to be a short tail term, it can be a long tail term (shoes vs. New Balance 531 AA Blue shoes).

This is born out by reviewing how searches are done on the Internet. The trend continues to be more and longer keyword phrases month after month as people continue to not find what they are looking for on short tail searches. Every go into a car dealer with the answer of ‘A Car’ to the ‘how can I help you?’. You frustrate most salespeople, they don’t want short tail answers, they want long tail answers – ‘I want a blue 2009 H2 with all the accessories’. Search engines are not (usually) smarter then even a car salesperson. They want you to identify what your interests are, what your desires are and how you will use the car – your

Psychographic modeling

Look at your psychographic in smaller chunks of the long tail and put the ‘chunks’ together. Look at the casual buyer, the passionate collector, the person who only uses it once, the family that only buys from a recommendation.

The point is concentrate on behavioral targeting. Of course, this can get creepy if you go too far, but being perceptive is a benefit. So understanding that collectors what good shipping and wrappers is good. Knowing your customer’s bra size (especially if they have never ordered from you) is usually creepy. The key is to look at it through the eyes of your potential customer.


Just like you should not prejudge all blue people as cold and distant, you should not prejudge all your visitors as meeting just one standard way of behaving.

  • Define different groups of visitors
  • look at how they would prefer to interact with your business
  • what should you do to most accommodate their preferences
  • how will they be looking to find you
  • what terms do each group use (surfboard vs. board vs. ) – need 4 examples of different terms that could be culturally or generationally different …Rad idea dude! Cool man! (when did cool get to mean hot?)
  • create extra pages that are focused on each psychograpic to cater to the needs of each group
  • look at what the overlaps are of the different groups this is what you should consider emphasizing in your main pages.
  • look at and map (MS VISIO is good for this or mind map software) your potential target group. Look at where they overlap and where they don’t.

When you start designing your marketing campaigns, it is important to look at the long tail of your market. What do the different niches want? What are the solutions they are looking for? The different answers to these questions will help you identify the correct strategies for marketing effectively to the long tail. That will allow you to create effective keyword lists that are far easier to rank well in then the ‘short tail’ terms that ‘everyone else’ is battling for.

Rather then fighting for top 10 place for the term  ‘Beer’ on Google, go after ‘Western Wisconsin’s best wheat ale’, your audience will be more dedicated, less price sensitive and  easier to reach. In other words more profitable.

August 2, 2010 Posted by | copywriting, How To, Large SKU site, local marketing, SEM Industry | , , , , | Leave a comment

Another site review on how to improve your sites traffic

I had a request to give some feedback on a 6 year old site on how to improve conversion, and traffic for the gift basket site Blissful Balance . Here in no particular order are some quick hit suggestions. Feel free to comment and ask some more questions.

  • http://www.blissfulbalance.com/essential_oils.html
  • Some suggestions for improving your SEO and site conversion
    • Script font is hard to read, contrast is low, graphic is not SEO compliant
    • There is No call to action above the fold
    • If a gift, not as clear that you cater to the giver – include a free gift for the giver or way to reward the giver for their giving thoughts.
    • No alt text to attract Google juice
    • Image names not leveraged – xdfwe99 is not useful to Google as to what the image is about. Consider listing in Google Images
    • More trust building across the site. Why should I trust my money with you where there are so many other sites out there to buy gifts from.
      • Above the fold
    • No header text to help Google understand
    • Need video for demonstrating product. Video can get YouTube traction today, Google takes months.
    • Audio to demonstrate CD as to why this is something I want to send to my giftee, this seems more unique then other parts of your baskets
    • About us – it should tell a story of passion – why should I buy from you. Because you have passion in these products
    • Tell me about you last 6 years – what have you done.
    • Hosting on Yahoo can be a challenge for other sites on IP could be tripping you up.
    • You have many Duplicate descriptions and boring titles on your pages throughout the site (site: blissfulbalance.com)
    • Articles page is missing your call to read on the description
    • You have links on spam farms
    • What keyword phrases are you going after?
    • No keywords in domain name
    • What is your niche?
    • You footer text should be unique on different pages.
    • Allow larger text options
    • What is your conversion rate?
    • Site is slow on Contact Us page
    • No physical address is listed here. You need to build TRUST, too many other options to go to the next one.
    • No 800 number (still need local number for trust) – Kall8.com is a great resource for low cost, easy to work with for 800 numbers in about 5 minutes including an autobill credit card number.
    • Have product info also on separate pages to allow the power of smaller pages. Tell more of a story with these sub-pages to allow for long tail search engine optimization by Google.
    • Look at SEO (search engine optimizing) your Aromatherapy page.
    • Tell me a story on your essential oils page. Consider making this a better resource for others to share by flushing out a greater list of resources, links to other sites and stories of the benefits of these oils helping others.
  • Driving traffic to the site
    • Create a few blogs to demonstrate your thought leadership and how you understand your customer. As the site reads now, you look like a salesman, not a person who understand the buyer of gift baskets.  Explain to me how you care about your customers, and they will care more about you.–
      • Post content at least weekly (partner if you need to – perhaps a trade of a basket for every 4 stories including shipping)
      • Mix ideas (for how to use) and stories (of how the baskets change lives by allowing for balanced life)
      • Post ideas on other site

Remember that the objective is not to trick Google, but understand that Google is trying to best understand what you can share about your products. Google is not human, so you first have to communicate to Google what your pages are about in order to most effectively communicate to it what you are selling.

Understand that there are many types of media to share with Google (and YouTube) and your perspective clients the value of our site.

Good luck, and let me know what your reactions are.

July 30, 2010 Posted by | Community, copywriting, HTML Issue, SEO tools | Leave a comment