Monthly Archives: October 2012

Dear Redacted

Dear redacted

Further to our discussion the other day, please find a bit of a brain dump below. If you don’t understand what I’m talking about then it’s no surprise that we’ll keep treading mud, so hopefully this will help :)

Just like those big buy now messages with phone numbers that we see in printed media, it’s crucial that web pages also have similar calls to actions. It may seem obvious, but today, your site is devoid of all these. People will not dig that deep to find a way of calling or emailing you. The web’s a big place and they can easily just go elsewhere.

Search marketing as a marketing discipline has evolved over the years and increases in sophistication yearly. This is inevitable as platforms like Google, Facebook et al seek to monetise and deliver quality experiences to their searchers and would much rather that people clicked on their ads. That said, they have to maintain an illusion of natural algorithmic search as few people would hang around if they simply offered a page of ads.

My view with regard to redacted has been from the outset that on-line, it has a whole lot of potential and with the right drive and coherent vision should do very well.Whilst I may have banged on about code and what not and a less than ideal CMS, it isn’t entirely about the code and the structure, it’s far more than that.

The content of a website in 2012 is a vital component of any successful strategy, both on and offsite. You need to be creating content that creates content elsewhere through links and conversations back to you.

What’s that I hear you say, elsewhere!? Yes indeed, elsewhere, just like you’d want people in the street or the local community to tell their friends about their positive experiences, the same can be said of the web (but more on that later).

Visitors are but a click away from going elsewhere, so it’s vital that we make the best opportunity of every visitor we get. We should be looking to determine what it is they do when they arrive, how they got there, what they did, why they did it and more. The installation of an analytics  package like GA (Google Analytics) is a great start and we’ll be able to gain insights from this as time progresses. Through looking at user journeys and tracking sign ups and conversions(sales)  we can then take decisions that will impact future choices around direction and products.

Today,  I do appreciate that the organisation isn’t really run that way and that many of your staff aren’t really attuned to embracing a web based vision and all that this entails. Somehow, this needs to change. If it doesn’t then I’d be surprised if we gained much traction. This may seem like a gargantuan task but it isn’t really, it’s just a case of getting buy in from others and setting it all in train. Your staff should jump at the opportunity and your users (if happy) should be more than willing to provide a little paragraph or two as to their perceptions.

Creating conversations

Internet usage is on the increase. People seldom use old methods to find things or learn things. If we provide a service/product in a space then we should be looking to ensure that we offer people as much as we possibly can in relation to this.

The most successful sites on the web have rich engaging user experiences that ultimately translate to sales.They are easy to use and effectively create conversations.

They are invariably,  websites that are ’alive’ and embrace user interactions with the people onsite, offering their potential/existing customers a means and ability to follow up on their purchases, experiences, treatments, leaving reviews for example, praising the experiences they’ve had or sharing content via share buttons. Websites that are socially connected with places like facebook, twitter, Google and other open platforms make all of this a whole lot easier.  Facebook pages, G+ accounts and twitter profiles are all great places to share and build audience. You’ve made a great start with these, we’ll look at how we can build on these going forward.

Search engines increasingly look for signals from these places and use these to determine interest and relevancy. Links from other websites like these and others in related spaces are seen as votes the websites that they link to. The more votes a website gets from other websites that are deemed to be related or of authority help boost performance in the search engine results for keywords that websites would like to rank for.

It’s almost a virtuous circle of:

Website creates fantastic useful user experience >> user is happy so talks about it elsewhere online in blogs and forums or other social media >> search engine sees conversation (link back to website) and assigns temporal boost >> website ranks better for keywords >> more users see websites for searches >> circle is repeated.

Rinse repeat.

If  people aren’t talking about you online then it may  be because there is little to talk about. It may be because your sites content is old or out of date, or just doesn’t add sufficient value to the space. The internet contains a wealth of choices that people can quickly gravitate to. It’s important therefore to do one’s very best to give people something that answers their questions and increases their confidence.

The wealth of products and services  offered by redacted  is a testament to what you have built – your vision, your experience, your passion and commitment. That said, this isn’t necessarily being transmitted on-line.

The site as it stands has little of the freshness and vibrancy that your paper marketing materials offer and of course lack that personal touch they’d get from meeting staff.

There are ways of remedying this. A few ideas are as follows.

No one knows that you do it unless you tell or show them

Show people what you’re all about.

Give people quality visual insights.

Create a youtube account for redacted. Upload videos of redacted perhaps.

https://accounts.google.com/SignUp?service=youtube

Get your product specialists to wax lyrical over what they do and how they do it and upload them to the site.

Put these on the pages of the products that discuss the various services.

Install a blog and get product specialists to enthuse about what they do. Show the human side, show people that friendly engaged specialist full of knowledge, advice and insight passionate about the vale that they will bring to prospective new business.

(you might want to draw up a house style and format that people adhere to perhaps, unified message etc)

There will be resistance for sure, but why shouldn’t these people be prepared to talk about what it is they do? I’m sure if they are told that through doing so, they’ll benefit too. Enhanced profiles, increased sceptic trust, greater reach and dissemination of their message.

Talk to your customers, ask them for their thoughts, get a few paragraphs or send them a survey. Put those thoughts on your product pages. Show people those real world valued experiences.

In short, you alone cannot inject the required passion, enthusiasm and content that is needed to excel online in 2012 and beyond. Places like Google are becoming increasingly competitive. Local businesses are legion and compete with each other to occupy what are in effect 1 or 2 effective spots in a Google results page.This is likely to contract further.

Be the best.

Hope that helps, catch up with you soon :)

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