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Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Social Media Won’t Fix A Product That Sucks

In Inbound Marketing, SEO, Social Media, Strategy on October 20, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Using Social Media, SEO or any other form of Internet marketing cannot fix a product that sucks. But of course, we must be talking about other products: yours couldn’t possibly suck with the numbers you sell. “The advertising investment and distribution channels are creating plenty of healthy sales. The economic downturn has affected us but it will pass.”

Or is it just another economic downturn? What if this economic downturn is combined with a shift to a new age – a whole new mindset in business. At no other time in the history of our world have we seen a Company go from zero to the largest in the world within 10 years. I was in awe when I recently read that Facebook had 200 Million users (April 14, 2009), absolutely shocked on July 10 when they announced 250 Million and scratching my head when on September 19,2009 they announced 300 million! They increased 50 Million users in 75 days, which means they added 670,000 users every single day!

These numbers are unlike the numbers we have been used to dealing with in business. Google is indexing over a trillion URLs.  We have indeed entered The Google Age.

All this to say now that customers can HUNT for our product (as opposed to us spending millions in advertising & promotion HUNTING for customers and hoping they remember us when it comes time to buy), we might want to stop and think about who has the power in the current consumer-to-business relationship. In the past, the only feedback the consumer had access to was how he spent his dollar. And most felt it made no difference so apathy was the order of the day.  Big business dominated and big media profited.

In The Google Age they can vote with their dollar AND they can influence millions of their peers online. That is good news and bad. Now they know they can make a difference. Now, in order to do business a brand must learn a whole new marketing mindset: they must learn to be found – at the right time, saying the right thing. They must deal with individuals rather than demographic target groups. It is tempting to treat this medium (the web) like it is just another advertising medium, but early results have been, at best, all over the map. The Internet is dynamic so our marketing strategies and tactics must also be dynamic. They must be based on sound principles and objectives but we must talk with and listen to our customers. Joshua Porter makes a great point about expectations of Social Media Marketing in his blog, reinforcing the need to look at the Internet with fresh eyes.

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Check Out Who Is Eating Your Lunch

In PPC, SEO, Social Media, Strategy on October 5, 2009 at 2:47 am

Business is good for some of us. And awful for others. We can blame it on the economy or the changing market, but the fact is, we all have choices about what we do and how we conduct our business.

Those of us engaged in online marketing have repeatedly tried to show traditional marketers just how effective inbound marketing can be. And how inexpensive it is relative to the results you can produce with a good strategy. We are not talking about “using Twitter” or “being on Facebook”. It serves no one for your staff to be online without a sound strategy that integrates with the rest of your marketing. Yes – it is early in the game, but our experience to date indicates it will be a lot easier to defend a top 3 organic ranking for a relevant keyword than to try to take it from a competitor who is defending it effectively. Creativity and innovation will beat big time spending in this marketplace.

We are talking about engaging in an honest open conversation with the people you believe should buy your product. But obviously, as bad as things are, most traditional marketers are happy with the current SPEND (lots of advertising and promotional dollars), HUNT (go out looking for customers) and HOPE (they remember you when it comes time to buy) model that has been dictated by the mass media marketplace we have all grown up in. This model is more about selling people than letting them buy.

We have done our best to convince businesses that the average consumer (B2B or B2C) just Googles what they are looking for and even if they do not actually purchase online (although Marketing Sherpa reports that over 34% do), they do make their buying decision based on their online research. Sure they still talk to friends and get advice. Sure they still shop in retail stores. But the strongest influence by far is the combined results of their Google search.

So, bottom line: take a 10 minute break today and type in the keywords or search terms that you think people would use to find your product or service. Not your Company name – the product or service you sell. See if you can be found when your prospects are looking to buy. And pay special attention to the firms that do show up on page 1 of the search. They’re most likely the ones your potential buyers are buying from.

What Do We Want To read Online?

In Social Media, Strategy on October 4, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Andrew Davis of Tipping Point Labs writes a great article on Defining Valuable Content in which he thoughtfully goes through the elements of valuable content on the internet. We are all seeing too much mindless ramblings and cheeky quotes. It makes me think that a well written, thought through point of view is the key. Andrew talks about a balance between relevance, quality and frequency. I for one, am far less concerned about frequency if a perspective is well written, informed and thought through. In fact, even points of view I don’t agree with are welcome under these circumstances. If you are passing content on or sending clever quotes, please pay attention to frequency. Less is better. None is perfect.

Is Cold Calling Dead?

In PPC, SEO, Social Media, Strategy on September 4, 2009 at 1:02 am

world-wide-web.jpgFor many years we in business have sharpened our skills and tactics for going out and finding customers. We work hard to impress them (embed our brand) so when they are ready to buy, they remember us and purchase our product or service. Most of us are pretty good at HUNTING for customers. But by the time we pay the gatekeepers (the Media Barons who control access to the highly sought eyeballs) and all of the costs to distribute materials, we end up investing a lot of dollars in the name of marketing. In a “Mass Media Market” that’s the best we have available to us. We SPEND, HUNT and HOPE (they remember us when it comes time to buy). No wonder the Finance guys hate marketing!

Things have changed in the past 2 years. So much so, those same Finance guys are going to love the new marketer. Web 2.0 has combined with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay Per Click Advertising) tactics to create a whole new marketing mindset. A new context if you will. Today, when a customer wants to buy, are they just as likely to Google words and phrases that suit what they are looking for? Are they open to suggestions from Social media sites and recommendations from their peers? In most cases they will find what they are looking for on the first page of the search results, or at least have their short list? How easily can you BE FOUND when your prospects are looking to buy? Are you making extra effort to BE HUNTED online? Have you adjusted your marketing thinking to suit the market? We call this eMarketing Management – a blend of strong, integrated strategy and aggressive online tactics. Most marketers are approaching emarketing from a mass media context and are left wondering why the online communities are not responding. For example, we think that placing banner ads on busy sites should bring results. That is merely an extension of mass marketing tactics. There are better ways to engage with the World Wide Web and the millions of INDIVIDUALS who are online.

We have also seen a rapid decline in response to telemarketing – no matter the tactics used. It seems that we used to accept some cold calls just in case we might need that service or product in the foreseeable future. We would take the call, ask questions, understand the key issues and file the information away so we could lay our hands on it when we need it. In 2007 Marketing Sherpa published a study that revealed that 83% of business purchases were found online. Not all purchased online, but sourced and researched. So now we know that whatever we want we can Google it and find everything we need to know quickly and relatively painlessly. There is no need to entertain cold calls that have nothing to do with the priorities that dominate us today. So cold calling dies. The only thing that kept it alive was it always produced just enough to justify the investment. Not any more.


It is far less expensive to set our products and services up to be easily found when our prospects are searching for them. But we have to make the mental shift from marketing in a mass media world and mastering our HUNTING skills, to interacting with millions of individuals and learning to BE HUNTED. Learning to make ourselves easy to be found. And make no mistake – it is a completely different context.

As consumers change their habits, we have to adjust our efforts to reach them effectively. There’s a great example of context shaping actions – from a mass marketing world that is exactly what we would do – REACH OUR CUSTOMER EFFECTIVELY. In this Internet based world, we want to listen, engage and have a conversation with people who are interested in what we produce. new context allows for new actions. New actions have the possibility of new results. And the early indications are impressive. We are working smarter instead of harder and producing unprecedented results using:
An eMarketing Planning Process
Competitive Online Research
In-depth Site Analysis / Audit
Pay Per Click Campaign Management
Search Engine Optimization
Link Building & Exchanges
Blog Marketing
Content Writing

Social Media Marketing
Code Restructuring
Titles/Descriptions/Tags
Bots / Texts / Sitemaps
Submissions
E-Mail Marketing Campaigns
eReporting
And More…

Top 15 Most Popular Web 2.0 Websites

In Social Media on August 23, 2009 at 2:01 am

Here are the 15 Largest Web 2.0 Websites Websites ranked by a combination of Inbound Links, Google Page Rank, Alexa Rank, and U.S. traffic data from Compete and Quantcast. Although no traffic metrics are completely accurate we do believe the data below to be useful for gauging relative audience size. Brought to you by the good folks at eBizMBA