Archives for November 2008

Checking Your Web Site Visitor Demographics

For a long time, those of us who have a web presence have used web statistics to tell us how well our site is doing. We use it to figure out what kind of traffic we’re getting, what content brings in the traffic, who sends us the traffic, what people are searching for, what people use to access your content and more. These are all important.

The problem, web stats don’t tell us who these visitors are. The ‘other side’ of the information like demographics. If you’ve been in business for a while, you more or less have an idea who your audience is. You get that by talking to them on the phone or during webinars and teleseminars. You meet them face to face. You correspond throug emails, blog comments, social networks and more. But are these same people the ones who visit your web site? Is your web site really speaking to your target audience or not?

Do you know…

  • What kinds of income bracket are they?
  • Are you serving more women than men?
  • Are you visitors more likely to be of a certain ethnic group?
  • What age brackets are most of your visitors from?
  • Do they have children?
  • Are they college educated?
  • What kind of lifestyle do they lead?

If you don’t, you can use Quantcast to find out. Quantcast is stats tracker that tracks the finer stuff like these. What’s also cool, they tell you what else your audience will like – great for researching new topics, new affiliate products to promote or create your own products. If there’s enough information on a web site, you’ll also find out what other web sites your audience visits.

On the flip side, because you can look up any web site from Quantcast, it’s a great free tool for some competitive snooping or checking out a site you want to advertise on. Of course, it goes without saying that you can’t get statistics for every web site out there. Especially the smaller sites and sometimes the larger sites are estimates. And some publishers choose to hide some of the data.

You may think you know your audience well, but try it out and see how close you really are from your target.

A Great New Blog For Twitter Users: Twitip.com

Recently I’ve been chatting alot about Twitter, it’s uses, how fun it is, and even a rant about being a twitter snob. The first time I saw Twitter I honestly thought it would be a HUGE time suck for me and I wouldn’t get any work done at all.  The results of it’s use has been quite the opposite for me.  I get lots of great traffic, ideas, and best of all build relationships and friendships with new people who are not in my current network.

I wanted to share with you a brand new blog recently launched by Darren Rowse of Problogger.net. It’s called Twitip.com and he put a call out for writers for his new site. So I sent him off an email of my ideas and the recent Twitter snob post and offered to do a follow up post based on my original. The feedback from that post has been pretty neat, and even have people who disagree with me there.

What caught my eye about the new site is that Darren’s rounding up alot of great tools and ideas for Twitter use. One post that I liked was for the “follow me” graphics. You can see my “Tweet Tweet” graphic posted here on the right sidebar which was from that very post.

There are a few social networks that I love and number one is Twitter.

What types of social networking are you utilizing?

Quality. Service. Value. Who needs them?

It’s time to stop beating your chest in your marketing.

There are some words, like quality, service and value that are so overused in marketing materials that consumers just tune them out.

They’ve lost all meaning and credibility and using them can actually hurt you. They don’t enhance your message, they cloud it.

These words have been so watered down and are so generic that the consumer makes the assumption that you don’t really have anything to tout, so you’ll just pulling out the generic words to take up space.

That doesn’t mean you cannot market your quality, commitment to service or value.

Just find other ways to get the message across.   Let your customers talk about your quality.  Let satisfaction survey results brag about your high level or service.  Do price comparisons or a 110% price difference refund speak to your value.

Live them.  Just don’t use the words.

Brand Common Sense in 5 Easy Steps

It’s a little late to think about buying a parachute when you’re going down in flames. Businesses that chose to ignore their brands and marketing to save a few dollars are now scrambling to try and and fend off their inevitable demise. Have you ever noticed that many in the retail world, both large and small do their best job at marketing when they are going out of business. The liquidation sales are adequately promoted with proper funding. When they had the opportunity to take marketing seriously they chose to pinch pennies and failed to invest in themselves, believing people would just beat a path to their door.

Their brands are now so weak they it will take very deep pockets just to stay above water let alone grow. Take this 5 step action plan that is more common sense than anything miraculous:

1) Respect your brand and don’t fall prey to the temptation of being all things to all people. Now is the time, more than ever before to define your brand and compel your customer. If you fall back on a price advantage, the competition will gladly buy the business back. Deeper pockets will work every time.

2) Get in the door with a competitive positioning strategy and sell up from there.

3) Build a relationship that builds loyalty and service the hell out of them.

4) Don’t rely entirely on technology for communication but put your bum in front of them when ever you can.

5) And for God’s sake, don’t stop trying to satisfy and keep your name in front of them – what ever it takes.

Rebranding a Newly Acquired Business: They Told Me Not To

Rebranding a Newly Acquired Business: They Told Me Not To

Not long ago, I purchased an online business. When I bought the business, it came with its own, pretty well known brand, was a fairly profitable business and had a loyal client base. After obtaining the business, I pondered over completely rebranding it. The business didn’t require a fresh image, but it was something I personally felt would be a profitable choice as the new owner. I had plans to grow the business prior to acquiring it and giving it a brand make-over is just one of the ways I hoped to do so.

During the planning process, I consulted with business coaches, owners, and even those who worked in the same type of service based business. During that time, I had not one, but two business coaches tell me NOT to rebrand it. Both suggested rebranding the site was not necessary due to the fact it already had its own unique brand.

This led me to really think about which direction I wanted to take the business. I also had a hard decision to make in deciding just how willing I was to possibly lose current clients or turn future clients away. No one wants to think they may lose faithful clients, especially when acquiring a new business that has reached successful status. However, the more I thought about the direction I wanted to go and the types of clients I wanted to attract, the more I realized the following:

1. If the previous owner was the only reason they did business with the site chances are likely that they were eventually going to leave anyway, regardless of whether I took the site in a new direction or not.

2. Those clients who stayed on board did so because of the quality my team had given them since I took over. If they were happy with our services and we maintained those same services and quality, they would continue working with us no matter what I chose to do with the brand.

I planned to continue with the same services and have even added a few more. Therefore, the choice based on those two items was fairly easy. I now had one plus on my pros and cons of rebranding list.

My ultimate goal was to grow the business. I now had to think about the types of clients I hoped to attract in the future to make this possible. This is where rebranding gets a bit personal. Branding is more than just a logo and tagline. It also includes the ideals, direction and personality of the business. In the case of an online service based business, this means the owner, team members, and customers, given that they all make up the business.

This is another of the reasons I deliberated rebranding the business. When I took over, it had already changed hands once. The current brand reflected the original owner perfectly. However, the brand wasn’t really representative of my personality or the professionalism I wanted to portray.

I wanted a broader, more qualified image that reflected who I am as a person and more of the actual services offered. Yes, the previous site was good at letting people know that articles were their forte due to the fact the word article was in their name. However, I wanted to reach more than just business owners who needed ghostwritten articles. When someone simply sees the word “article” it doesn’t tell them right off the bat what it is the business is all about. If someone is searching for a service that creates special reports or sales pages for example, would the word article turn them away because they think at first glance that it’s only an article writing service?

What about the person who does needs articles ghostwritten? Due to the previous business name, it wasn’t really clear if it provided article writing services or something else. See where I’m going? I wanted to capture a broader range of customers that needed more than just articles written. By changing not only the brand, but the name of the business as well, I would be opening the playing field to a bigger range of possible customers.

Of course, these are not the ONLY things I had to consider before deciding whether or not to go forward with the rebranding of the business, but they were a big part of the thinking and planning process. I knew the business was doing well when I purchased it and absolutely respected the decisions of those who told me I shouldn’t rebrand it (after all they are business coaches for a reason and very good at what they do). Even after all these things, I still felt in my gut rebranding was necessary to get where I wanted to be with this business. Therefore, I went ahead with my original plans and gave the site a completely new look and feel.

I’m happy to say the results have been phenomenal! In the less than two months since the rebranding process was complete and Get Content Results (formerly Article Mojo) was opened to the public, I have more than doubled my client base!

Get Some Fresh Energy with Blog Energizer!

Blog Energizer

Well I have to say I’ve been chatting a ton about blogging and why it’s so important for me to hone my skill with it all. Lynette Chandler has now brought us Blog Energizer, she’s simply amazing with her knowledge about blogging. The cool thing is that you can grab a free account and get some pretty neat things for your blogging efforts, I’m looking forward to also using some of her resources.

One challenge we all face is adding fresh content to our sites and having our visitors happy to check us out on a regular basis, Lynette takes all the roadblocks away for us.

Here’s what she gives us:

– places where we can be guest bloggers

– free goodies you can give to your readers to keep them coming back

– people who want to promote your products

– activities you can give out to have people happy with your blog

You can sign up for your Free Account Here.

Is There a Hierarchy in Social Media?

One question I have postulating for some time has just resurfaced by prominent blogger John Jantsch over at ducttapemarketing.com.  He says there is.  And I agree.  The basic theory is similar to Maslow’s theory that self-actualization cannot be achieved until the most basic human psychological needs such as breathing, eating, and sleeping are first met.

The same holds true in the small business realm. The ultimate potential of your marketing cannot be actualized until the basic or preliminary marketing requirements are filled.

For example, as I have mentioned man times before, the number one mistake I see business owners make is they implement tactics before strategy.  They will go out and buy radio advertising before they have thoroughly researched their target market, determined their competitive advantage or their marketing message.

In regards to social marketing there is a logical progression that should be followed.  You should learn to walk before you run.  John has listed a really hierarchy for this progression.

Social MediaHe recommends small business owners look at the following progression or hierarchy as they move deeper into social marketing tactics. So, jump in, but do it in this order and don’t move on until you have the basics of each stage down and working for you.

1)  Blogging – the foundation of the pyramid – read blogs, comment on blogs, and then
blog. This is the doorway to all other social marketing.

2)  RSS – Aggregate and filter content around subjects, and use RSS technology as a tool to help you repurpose, republish, and create content.

3)  Social Search – Often ignored in this discussion but I think it’s become very important for small business owners. By participating, you can stimulate and manage your reputation here.

4)  Social Bookmarking – Tagging content and participating in social bookmarking
communities can be a great way to open up more channels to your business. It can also
generate extra search traffic, but it takes work.

5)  Social Networks – Branching out to take advantage of the potential prospects you
might find on sites like Facebook or MySpace will frustrate—at least as a business tool—
if you don’t have many of the above needs met. These networks take time to understand
and thrive on ideas and content. You’ve got to have much to share if you wish to build
a business case.

6) Micro – He lumped some of the more experimental social tools into the edgy trend of
micro: social, real-time communication that will likely only confuse most small business
owners. The confusion is not because they can’t figure out how to make them work, it’s just not obvious why they should spend the time. John believes Maslow suggested that self- actualization is a place most might never reach. In social marketing terms, Twitter,
Plurk, and FriendFeed might be some sort of sick transcendence.

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