Archive for December, 2008|Monthly archive page

Websites – Not Just For Simple Contact Forms Anymore

Contact forms on your website are great.  A customer can fill it out and submit it and presto, you have an email from a new lead.

But are you using the contact form as successfully as possible?

If you are truely marketing your website, you will want to track visitors to see what marketing actions you are taking are yielding the best results.  Are leads coming from your search engine listings, your pay-per-click listings, your magazine ad, the phone book or referrals?

Take some time to determine what you want to track and there is likely a way to do it.  Unique landing pages from pay-per-click ads, unique phone numbers for each of the different marketing campaigns you do, conversion tracking or even a simple multiple choice question of “How did you hear about us” is better than nothing.

Also, how about jazzing a contact form up some or use it as a “Download Literature” form.  Give enough juicy details about a new product offering you have and then tell potential customers to “Click here to download product brochure”.  They click the button and are asked to give a few simple bits of info to download the information such as name, email and phone.

Just a few initial ideas to get you thinking.

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Can You Join Too Many Social Media Websites?

Can you join too many social media websites?

Yes.

But how many is too many will vary from one person to the next.  There are so many new gotta-join-it social media websites that start up each day, it can be hard to keep up.  Focusing on which ones work for you and limiting yourself to those will yield you better results than being spread too thin on too many.

The important thing is that you are on at least one.  If you can handle 26, that’s great too!

Alert – YouTube Displays Competitors in YOUR Videos

After all my touting of how great YouTube is of promoting your company online they go and get sneaky on me when I’m looking the other way.

YouTube has been great for promoting businesses online because it doesn’t take much effort and expense to produce a decent video that showcases a customer testimonial, a new product you are working on, highlights from a tradeshow or interviews with key staff members.   When you post a video to YouTube visitors to the site can find your video when using search terms that match keyword tags that you apply to the video.  In addition, YouTube generates HTML code for the video that you can copy and paste to embed in your website, blog or various social media websites.

Now YouTube has added an extra “feature” – before, when your video was finished playing, it would display a “replay” button for the user to play it again.  Now, instead of just providing this replay button, YouTube also is displaying related videos that users can click to view.  That means if are a real estate agent and you post a video of some of your property you are selling in your area, another agent’s video from a competing agency might show up at the end of your video.  Or if you sell sporting goods out of a small mom and pop sporting goods store, a video from Target or WalMart might show up at the end of your video for their sporting goods department.  Or even worse, you use YouTube videos to promote your church and somehow, due to a strange use of tagging, a pole dancer video shows up as a related video.  Really bad idea from YouTube.  And worse yet, it is retro-active to all the vidoes you have already posted and may have embedded on your website or blog already.  And as an added bonus, I have found no way to turn this off in my own YouTube account.

I did a little poking around the and found some code that you can add to your embed code – however, it doesn’t work if you have a WordPress blog – I tried it myself to confirm.  Also, it is supposed to be easy for users to embed their YouTube videos on their websites – having to add HTML code to embed code to fix the issue is not very user-friendly.  Anyway, if you are up to it, here is the code you add at the end of your embedded code that YouTube provides:

param name="rel" value="0"

I’m going to continue following up on this topic and will report any updates as I find them.  Not having control over content that plays within your own site is just not acceptable.  You may want to look into Vimeo.com as an alternative for embedding your videos in your online marketing.

Stay At Home Moms Vs. Corporate CEO’s – All’s Fair in Love and Social Networking

Here is an interesting article I wanted to point out as it features two talented individuals that I have recently made acquaintance with via social networking – Michele Woodward and Liz Lynch.  Michele is a successful life coach and writer who has an extensive background in various business endeavors.  Liz Lynch is the author of an interesting book on networking called “Smart Networking: Attract a Following In Person and Online” that I have started reading.

The article is really an interview of Liz by Michele on Michele’s blog.  Here is an excerpt:

“What’s really great about networking now is all of the online options that are available that you can do on your own time and without having to leave the house. An at-home mom can start to build her online network on LinkedIn and Facebook, and connect with folks she already knows. That way she gets on the radar screens of her old colleagues and can reach out to them much more easily once she’s ready to start exploring her options. She can also start a business blog where once a week she can comment on news and trends in her industry. This is important because once she gets into job mode again, hiring managers are going to Google her. When her blog comes up and they read her insights and wisdom, it might just tip the scales in her favor.”

Blogs and social media are playing more heavily into the hiring process of many businesses, both large and small.  Liz points out how these tools can help build credibility in the job hunting arena as well as with potential customers you are looking to woo.

Read the interview here.

Who to Follow on Twitter

If you are new to Twitter, usually the first question that comes up is “who do I follow and how do I get followers myself?”

Well, if you are just starting out, I say follow everyone you can.  You never know who will turn out to be interesting and you can quickly weed out the the uninteresting ones with a simple click of the “unfollow” button.  In return, most people you follow will return the favor of being followed by following you back.  Of course if you are not interesting to them they can unfollow you as well.  I’d try to have at least a few posts on Twitter before following anyone to increase the chance they will follow you back – no one wants to follow someone that doesn’t have any posts.

Over time, if you post regularly, you will notice that you are getting more and more followers that find you first.  It is always nicer to have someone come up to you and offer an introduction than going up and introducing yourself to a stranger with a follow on Twitter.

Pay attention to who is being mentioned by those you follow.  If you see names repeated by multiple people you follow, check them out and see if they are someone worth following.  Also, if you are following someone you like, go through their follower list to find others like them you can follow.

Duck – Incoming!! Inbound Marketing Puts Your Site in Customer’s Sights

Hubspot has a nifty article explaining inbound marketing that I wanted to share.  If you are not aware of inbound marketing, it is a concept you will want to know more about as it will help put the value of your website’s marketing potential in perspective.  Instead of seeking out customers with traditional methods of marketing, inbound marketing makes customers seek you out instead.

Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing Article