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Website Design: Looks Matter

21 Feb

NestThe other day a friend of mine posted an offer on Facebook. He had received five invitations from Nest to purchase their product. I’ll admit, I had no clue what Nest was and I liked the name, so I did some research. What I found surprised me.

First, I found a cool gadget that I wish I could own. But what I quickly discovered is that I found an absolutely amazing website that took me through understanding something I knew absolutely nothing about. Their product and the problems it solves were intimidating to me before I landed on their site, but now it all made sense. In fact, it made so much sense that I no longer wanted their product but I convinced myself I needed it.

Ideally, this is the reaction I’d love for all prospects to have when they visit one of my clients’ sites. Here are some of the things that stood out:

Homepage: Clean, simple and very little text. This drove me to take one action, play their video (“meet” their product).

Video: Their video told a great story, explained what I needed to do and was friendly the entire time. They never pitched or tried to sell me at any point.

No Buyers Remorse: Nest fesses up that their product may not be for everyone. They offered a quick instrucitonal video that showed me if Nest is something I could use.

Infographics: If you’ve ever read my blog or visited my Facebook page you know I love infographics. Nest does a great job of using infographics to tell their story.

Simplicity: I counsel clients often on their website and sales collateral content. As humans, we have the tendency to tell people (even if they know what we do) more than they really care to know. Sometimes companies believe doing this shows that they are experts and other times they believe prospects need to know all this information before they will even consider becoming a customer. Nest does not offer a simple product and the problem it solves is even more complicated. Yet, they manage to tell you everything you need to know in short precise content. Knowing that Nest wouldn’t overwhelm me with a 20 page white paper, I kept digging deeper into their site so I could learn even more.

There are a lot of best practices throughout the Nest website. If you’re ever looking for website design inspiration, I suggest checking out Nest.

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Digital Marketing Infographic

17 Jan

I’m not sure if it’s my love of journalism or fascination with graphic design but I absolutely cannot get enough of Infographics. They sum things up with few words and strong visuals. I found myself reading this digital marketing Infographic from Webmarketing123 a couple of times, so I figured you might find it of interest.

Digital Marketing Infographic

Source: Webmarketing123

Content Generation: How Hard Is It?

12 Jan

Conflict Kitchen- Venezuela

Thanks again to my friends at Ranch Road for sharing a great blog post by Andrew Davis of the Content Marketing Institue. A lot of my clients struggle with content creation and figuring out how to talk about things that affect their space/industry that aren’t necessarily related to selling their products or services.

In, “What if You Sold Waffles With a Side of Content?,” Davis covers two unique businesses, both restaurants, that are deliverying more than food but amazing content to their customers. He first covers the Waffle Shop, in Pittsburgh, and their live talk show that takes place in the middle of their shop during business hours. It’s this show that helps the Waffle Shop drive traffic into the store and then introduces people to the items they sell- waffles!

Here’s a video produced by the Waffle Wopp crew.

Davis also highlights The Conflict Kitchen, a take-out restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries that the United States is in conflict with. Every four months, the restaurant changes it’s theme and uses its food wrappers  to help  educate consumers about the details of the conflict.

Davis concludes with, “Both the Waffle Shop and the Conflict Kitchen are wild, content-based experiments that marry the generation of content with the retail experience. Without the live streaming show, there’s no Waffle Shop. Without a conflict that needs to be understood, there’s no Conflict Kitchen.”

Read: What if You Sold Waffles With a Side of Content?

Small Businesses: Make Your Collateral Work Harder

10 Jan
MarketingProfs- Veronica Maria Jarski

MarketingProfs- Veronica Maria Jarski

A lot of my clients are working with limited time and budgets. Here are some suggestions on how to take one collateral piece and make it work harder.

1. Monthly Topic- Select one piece of collateral and make that the focal point for the month. Select a piece that focuses more on the business problem or industry instead of something that is company or product specific.

2. Blog- write a blog on this piece and introduce it to your readers.

3. Events- Look to see if any events/trade shows are looking for speakers/topics and submit the collateral topic as an option.

4. Business Colleagues/Partners- Shop the topic with close friends/colleagues/partners and see if any of them would be interested in:

  • Using it in an upcoming newsletter/blog post. Offer in exchange to use some thought leadership piece of their’s in a blog post
  • Co-presentng the topic at an event or a Webinar
  • Using the piece/topic as an introduction to any of their clients/friends they may have that you’d be interested in doing work with.

5. Clients- reach out to your current and previous clients. Let them know you wanted to pass along some of your latest insights on a the topic.

6. Prospects- send out a short nurturing email to your house list and let them know about the piece.

7. Linkedin- See if anyone on Linkedin is asking questions about the topic addressed in the collateral. Share the piece with groups talking about the topic.

8. Other Online Resources- see if there are other communities online talking about the topic and share the piece.

The steps above give you a mini marketing strategy for each piece you create. I hope this helps you think of ways to get more milage out of your collateral. Let me know if you have additional ideas!


Related articles

Customer Service: Excellence When You Least Expect It

17 Oct
Customer Service | Thank You

Card | Customer Service

Customer Service

It’s a phrase that initially makes me think, I need to call the credit card company and ask about my new card or something has gone wrong with my order and I’m about to sit on hold for the next 10 minutes.

Today, customer service reminded me exactly what it is…a service. I recently made my first purchase form Land’s End Canvas. My order is scheduled to arrive tomorrow but ahead of it I received a nice, handwritten notecard from my personal “Customer Care Specialist.” The handwritten envelope threw me but I figured it was probably a font simply made to look handwritten.

Note from Customer Service

Note from Customer Service

I opened the envelope only to find a lovely note letting me know that everything is guaranteed and giving me an email address in case I had any question.

This company GETS customer service. Here are some other ideas on how to make your customers and clients always smile when they think of you:

  • Handwritten note cards- “Thank you for giving us a try, let us know if you need anything else.”
  • Gift cards- “Take a break on me and go grab a coffee, I know you’re working hard.”
  • Phone call- “I just wanted to make sure your implementation went smoothly and see if there anything else we can do.”
  • Thought leadership- “I heard you just purchased our Social CRM solution, here’s a list of 100 things you can do with Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.”
None of this is rocket science, but it does take a bit of time. But guess what, if your customers or clients are anything like me, they’ll always remember that extra time you put into them and keep you front of mind the next time they make a purchase.

SEO Page Optimization

10 Oct
SEO Page Optimization

SEO Page Optimization from SEOmoz

The mystery behind SEO page optimization has lessened year over year. While you still can benefit from hiring an SEO expert, there’s no reason SEO page optimization best practices shouldn’t be implemented every time you add a new page to your site. SEOmoz is a great resource for anyone looking to familiarize themselves with SEO page optimization.

I suggest taking some time to review their SEO Beginnier’s Guide. This guide takes you step by step through what SEO is, tools and technologies used for SEO, myths about SEO and even makes you laugh a little.

The most useful tool from this guide was the sample of what an optimized page should look like. I’ve already shared this image with my clients, asked that they print it out and keep it on their desk. Anytime they create a new web page, this print out will remind them of how they can take the first step in SEO page optimization.

When working with one of your own sites, this is the SEO page optimization process SEOmoz recommends:

  • Use the keyword in the title tag at least once, and possibly twice (or as a variation) if it makes sense and sounds good (this is subjective, but necessary). Try to keep the keyword as close to the beginning of the title tag as possible.
  • Once in the H1 header tag of the page.
  • At least 3X in the body copy on the page (sometimes a few more times if there’s a lot of text content). You may find additional value in adding the keyword more than 3X, but in our experience, adding more instances of a term or phrase tends to have little to no impact on rankings.
  • At least once in bold. You can use either the <strong> or <b> tag, as search engines consider them equivalent.
  • At least once in the alt attribute of an image on the page. This not only helps with web search, but also image search, which can occasionally bring valuable traffic.
  • Once in the URL. Additional rules for URLs and keywords are discussed later on in this section.
  • At least once (sometimes 2X when it makes sense) in the meta description tag. Note that the meta description tag does NOT get used by the engines for rankings, but rather helps to attract clicks by searchers from the results page (as it is the “snippet” of text used by the search engines).
  • Generally not in link anchor text on the page itself that points to other pages on your site or different domains (this is a bit complex – see this blog post for details).
Implementing these simple SEO page optimization suggestions is easy and will definitely help your SEO rank.

QR codes: Can they play in the B2B world?

23 Mar

I’m coming off the heels of SXSWi and one thing that was very noticeable was the use of QR codes. On collateral, posters at booths, t-shirts and even on a man dressed completely in green spandex. My client used QR codes at the booth, and a lot of people pulled out their camera and took a shot.

Today, I got one of my favorite magazines and on the back cover ad there was a QR code for Lancome. They seem to be popping up everywhere.

I understand their practical use when it comes to a B2C play and I even understand the B2B play at events and trade shows. Outside of that, I’m not really sure how they will start showing up in B2B. I searched on “QR codes B2B” and found an interesting post from GlenTaylor, “Do QR codes have a role in B2B marketing?” He makes some good points but I still wonder if there’s more.  Another blog pointed out all the functions a QR code can perform, “Can QR codes find a home in B2B marketing?“- dial a phone number, send a text, send an email, etc. Honestly, I thought they could only take you a Web page.

I don’t doubt that we’ll see more of these popping up in both the B2C and B2B world. It will be interesting to see how creative the B2B world can get with these.

Where have you noticed QR codes popping up lately?