Why Website Audits are Important

Website Audit

Not a day goes by that I’m not doing a website audit on a site somewhere. There are many reasons for a site audit. It may be for a prospect or client wondering about the specifics of their website’s strengths and weaknesses, a client’s search competitor who is doing better than they are and I need to learn why or simply because I’m down one of the many rabbit trails my day takes me and something about a website has my curiosity piqued.

For whatever reason, being able to quickly assess a website is crucial to me and my clients. So what am I looking for? I’m looking for all the ways that a website can help or hinder its pages to rank high in search results. I’m also looking for ways the content on the pages can be doing the same.

I recently compiled a review of web site auditor tools and for that I used the following matrix of audit information that each tool should be able to report: Continue reading “Why Website Audits are Important”

Why Social Media Hasn’t Worked for Many Businesses

iwannapunchuI have been quietly observing a large number of business professionals jumping into social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.) as if it were a conveyor belt they can simply throw their product pitches onto. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

See if the following example sounds familiar and then check out the ways to leverage social media correctly to actually build a passive lead generation and reputation building machine.  Continue reading “Why Social Media Hasn’t Worked for Many Businesses”

2014 Spring Business Showcase

2014 Bellingham/Whatcom Spring Business Showcase trade show
One of the less congested aisles.

The 2014 Spring Business Showcase was held yesterday. This is a wonderful event produced by the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce. This year it was held at the new event center at Silver Reef Casino Hotel Spa.

Check out many of the exhibitors at the 2014 event (it was tough to take pictures for the should-to-shoulder crowd). I tried to take photos of all the exhibitors but found myself distracted by the food and wine samples being given out. So my apologies to those I missed.  Continue reading “2014 Spring Business Showcase”

The Customer Is NOT Always Right

There’s an incredible mob mentality these days when something “wrong” is brought to light. Worse yet, people seem to crave this stuff. Just turn on your TV or radio and see/hear this stuff being pushed all day long. It used to be that we celebrated when things were “good.” No more. And it’s for this reason you can’t blame business owners for being fearful of the speed and depth of visibility that customer complaints can be made and viewed. We’re not perfect but if you’re practicing your “not perfectness” while trying to make a living, well then that just means there are double points for mocking and ridiculing your effort.

But wait … Perhaps not everyone is on board with this mob mentality.  Continue reading “The Customer Is NOT Always Right”

Where Did My Heroes Go?

Several years ago, I traveled the search engine and online marketing trade show circuits and made friends with some very smart people in the space. Over time I was able to weed out those who simply were part of the marketing echo chamber (a great majority of the so-called “rockstars” fit this category) and others who really really thought for themselves, citing real data and experiences and developing notions and strategies that could and should be implemented. The latter group I would call my marketing heroes.

Over time my heroes’ value to businesses has grown to the point where they are now getting hired by Fortune 100 companies more than not. But this has ruined them for me. Back in the day, they were a God-send for small and mid-size businesses (SMBs). They were immersed in the SMB world and had great empathy for their needs and requirements. Unlimited budgets weren’t part of that paradigm.

Now many of these heroes of mine are writing articles and blogging about much more philosophical topics and less about pragmatic effective strategies to be implemented on the cheap. But there are two exceptions to this worth pointing out.  Continue reading “Where Did My Heroes Go?”

How to Avoid the Mobile Website Mistake

mobile website - responsive designThere’s no denying it, your best prospects are researching their next purchases using their phones and other mobile devices (e.g. tablets) more and more than with their desktop computers. Whether looking for a nearby restaurant, gas station or ATM or deciding what features they need on their next grill or bicycle, your prospects are more likely to wipe out their portable device while sitting in their car, walking down the sidewalk and standing in the aisle in front of a similar product.

But what do they see when they visit your website on their portable devices? If you’re like most website owners, they see little itsy-bitsy text and difficult to tap links. In some instances, menus and other dynamic action elements won’t even function, leaving no way for your prospects to drill into your website to find what they want to buy. In short, they don’t see what they can work with and move on to your competitors’ websites.

There are two primary approaches to dealing with this.  Continue reading “How to Avoid the Mobile Website Mistake”

How to Avoid Falling into the Coupon Trap

coupons-discountsI seem to keep having this conversation so hang in there while I engage in a little blogging therapy as I think aloud in this article trying to align my messaging with my thought processes.

Fact: The people who come to your business with a coupon in hand are less likely than even your children to return any time soon, that is unless you bribe them with another coupon offer.

This means you are giving away product to the people who are the least likely to come back and do profitable business with you. And a lot of these coupon redeemers would have come in with or without the coupon. I know in my household, we will decide to purchase something and on the way out the door someone will say, “Wait, I think I saw a coupon for that.” So with these facts on the table, why would a business owner ever want to use coupons?

I’ve heard all the rationales. They include: Continue reading “How to Avoid Falling into the Coupon Trap”

The Truth About Marketing

It’s one thing to do the right things.
It’s another to do them right.

As a marketer, this saying holds great value for me. It was the same for my father, a lawyer. I recall asking him about a do-it-yourself lawyer-in-a-box kit being advertised while he and I were watching TV. “Does that hurt your business?” I asked. He chuckled and said, “No, but I’ll end up dealing with a stressed out client later and have to charge more to fix the mess than I would have if they’d come to me in the first place.” That has stuck with me for decades.

Now as I set out to guide businesses to their optimum marketing positions, I too am seeing far too many do-it-yourself attempts that are messy and often do more damage than good. By the time I get the call, the first things to do are to undo things, to get back to center. Afterwards discovery can be done and then new initiatives designed and implemented.

So in the hope I can spare at least one person from making a mess, here are my truths about marketing (these are for today, who knows what’s going to work tomorrow):

Some painful truths about marketing:

Marketing is more than being noisy and saying nice things about your company and products. There was a time when that’s really all you had to do and whoever was noisiest (bought the most advertising) would win.

Marketing is more than “getting the word out” and “being visible.” Often misrepresented as “branding,” this is the epitome of checklist marketing. Doing something just for the sake of saying you’re doing something.

Marketing is more than building a web site, having a Facebook page or publishing monthly newsletters. None of these items, by themselves, is going to move the needle for your company. If you build it, they won’t necessarily come.

Some painless truths about marketing:

Marketing involves taking time to understand who wants your offerings and why. Knowing this means being able to bundle, price and explain your offerings with extreme accuracy for your best prospects.

Marketing involves knowing you’re not going to be able to tell people what to buy but they are looking for solutions to what pains them. Offering solutions (free and paid) is key to developing relationships with your best prospects today.

Marketing involves learning who your best prospects trust and listen to and then build a relationship with those people so they can know about and share your solutions with their audiences.

Marketing involves measuring everything. You need to then know how to read the data in order to make make changes to do more of what works and quit doing what doesn’t. For instance, low numbers may indicate an incorrect or misdirected strategy. You need to be able to tell the difference.

 

Did I miss any?