Archive for 'Google'

We’re talking about Facebook and Google+1. Is it worth the time and effort to incorporate these social networks into your marketing, and make the effort to collect “likes” or “friends?” More importantly, is it worth the time to network with your friends?

Yes, it is.

There are more than 500,000,000 people on Facebook, and half of those people log in daily. The average user has about 130 “friends,” and boy, do they share links and interesting pieces of information — about 30,000,000,000 per month.

Think about this. Just for FUN, people log on and read the bits and pieces of special deals, interesting articles, fun pictures, articles and more. If you as a business owner can get just one person to “like” you, then you are instantly recommended to an average of 130 friends. If you get “liked” by a power user, then we’re talking hundreds or thousands of friends. By any definition, that is good marketing

What’s the commitment of time? You need to put up the pages that describe your business. You also need to occasionally post an interesting picture or bit of information.

What’s interesting? Anything that speaks to the benefits your product or service offers to the consumer. Here’s an example:

Not Interesting: We just added 3 new chairs in our hair salon. We welcome Joni, Andrea and Hank as our new stylists.They’re great! Stop by soon!!!

Interesting: We’ve all but eliminated wait time with the addition of three very talented stylists. Joni is an expert in color and we are seeing some marvelous updates to our clients’ hairstyles with highlights. Andrea is our new men’s stylist who understands how to adapt a haircut to a client’s hairline. Hank is our new make over specialist all the way from the big salons of New York. All I can say is WOW! You gotta see this!

You get the idea. Talk about the things your customer wants to hear and tell them how you have just made their life a whole lot better.

Social Media is really just “organized recommendations.” People like discussing the goods and services they buy, and this is the opportunity to add a name to it. We always hear from our clients that “word of mouth is the best advertising.” We agree, and social media harnesses that power. That is worth a little time and effort.

We think they do! In fact, if you don’t have a web presence, then you are missing 71% of the prospects looking to make a purchase of your product or service. That’s the number of consumers who do Internet research prior to making a purchasing decision or even prior to leaving the house to make a buy.

About 79% of all adults are online for more than 11 hours a week. That’s a lot of potential customers to ignore. Yet, many small business owners think a website is something only a larger company needs — one with a national customer base. In fact, not having a web presence is a bit like locking your front door for 70% of your business hours.

Small business owners often hire someone to put up a website for them, but they don’t do the second, and equally critical, step if search engine optimization (SEO) work. When they don’t get any response from their website, they tend to dismiss the websiite as “this Internet thing doesn’t work,” forget about it, and their website becomes a lovely scrapbook and not much more than that.

SEO is how you get Yahoo or Google to index your site and rank it on the search results page. When a search is made for a product or service in your area, these search engines call up all of the web pages with relevant information to the search term. If the SEO work is done correctly, your site will appear on page one or two of a relevant search. If it hasn’t been done or its been done badly, your site will be somewhere around page 4,992, if that high.

Buying a website without SEO is like buying a billboard on the Interstate where all of the local commuters pass daily. Right before rush hour, you cover your billboard with a tarp. Just as this would be a crazy waste of time and money, it’s equally crazy to put up a website without SEO.

A site that is well indexed has been especially written for certain keywords and phrases that match popular search terms for a particular product or service. These terms are selected in advance of writing the site and woven into the text so it reads naturally. If the text doesn’t read well, the search engines assign it a low priority and send you back to the badlands of page 4,992.

A well optimized website is central to any marketing program for a small business, if it is written and indexed to attract local searches. So, to answer the question in the headline of this blog, yes, you really, REALLY need one.

A week or so ago, I took a close look at this website and was dismayed and disturbed

Dismayed because I had not updated it in more than a year, and the design was just a theme with no personality or real creativity — meaning, not something that showed my own personal design style.

Disturbed, because as a graphic designer, I do a lot of work each week, and should be making the effort to keep our portfolio up to date, especially the work that Jackie has been doing in the editorial department.

I’m a bad boy.

So I’ve been re-working the site furiously, loading work samples from the past ten years, plus current work, and updating the organization. Best of all, I’ve moved everything into a new design that has a little more personality. It’s not overly pretty, like many websites for creative people. But it’s colorful and organized (I hope) so you, kind visitor, can find your way around. Just like my client projects are designed.

Then I released it to the search engines to re-index. A  bit like turning the light on so everyone could see.

It’s still a work in progress and will be for a little while longer. I have some “tweaks” to do to the header design and the color scheme. And I need to flesh out some of the newer services we’re offering, such as Facebook Fan Pages and Google Places. But that will all come very quickly now that I’ve scheduled some regular “update my own darned site” time each week!

So have a look around. Hope you like the new site!

Later…

gary