Monday, December 15, 2008

Boost Sales in a Down Economy

Gee, is this headline getting old already or what??? Well before this is all over – and I’m sure it will get worse for many before it gets better – you’ll see the headline to this post again and again.

I’m sure many of you have been reading articles on marketing in a down economy. There are a lot of great tips and advice but really, it’s nothing new. When a sports player gets in a slum what do they do? The coach always has the player go back to basics. It’s no different in business – go back to the basics and do them RIGHT. No fancy get rich fast schemes. No “hidden secret that will make you millions”. It’s the basic marketing principles done right.

But here’s a tip that many people are forgetting. As a company that deals with international Internet marketing we know that people make decisions based on culture. Culture is based on attitudes and beliefs. If your belief is that things are going to get tough what do you do when you spend money? You make sure that every penny spent is giving you value back. So, how would you sell to someone like you -- eliminate risks as much as possible.

How do you eliminate risks? It’s going back to the basics to over come uncertainty. Give people guarantees, proof of your claims, and assurance that you can solve their problem. Don’t increase the hype – increase the proof of your ad claims. Use testimonials. Use real numbers to explain how your product or service increased profits or contributed to solving their problem. Be specific and back-up your claim.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Overlooking Alt Tags

Years ago when I started out in Internet marketing – I can’t believe I’ve been at this game since the mid-‘90s – Alt tags where a big deal. Of those of you that forgot or just don’t know, alt tags are those text boxes that pop-up when you mouse over graphic. After awhile, alt tags seemed to be a bit of a nuisance except when experimenting with SEO tactics. There always seemed to be more important issues to concern our staff with than alt tags. However, they shouldn’t be overlooked.

Years ago when most people where on dial-up to connect to the Internet, alt tags where very useful. (That’s when you connected to the Internet through a phone line and modem which for me started with a 14k download. Yes, back in the olden days.) Alt tags where important if you created a site with the end-user in mind because they gave the site visitor valuable information.

Many people turned off their browser’s graphics display because downloading graphics slowed surfing the net to a snail’s pace. You could literally go grab a cup of coffee and snack and when you returned a Web page was still downloading. If you had graphics turned on, the alt tags gave you a clue to what the graphic was about and was waiting worth it. Or at least they were supposed to give you a clue. Back then most site where strictly done by programmers and most graphics where just labeled such creative and useful names like “pic1.jpg” or “graphic2left.jpg” and the alt tag, if any, was the same name such as “pic 1”. Why bother with an alt tag like that?

Today we have high speed Internet connections and computers are faster than ever, but alt tags are still important and for the same reason. Alt tags are important as a visible clue to inform and persuade the end-user, to help in SEO efforts and if you want to comply with the American with Disabilities Act as it applies to the Internet.

Consider emails with graphics. Many times you have to right click to see all the graphics and correct and interesting alt tags can help inform and persuade the end-user to view the email with graphics.

Many mobile devices don’t show graphics by default. Alt tags give the reader a clue as to what your graphics are about. Entice and inform the reader to turn on the graphics to view your message.

Don’t overlook the importance of alt tags. They are worth the time adding a brief but complete description of the graphic.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Online Slow in 2009?

eMarketer Daily research shows that local online advertising will grow but not as likely as it was during the past few years. Online advertising spending in 2007 was $8.7 billion, in '08 it was $12.9 billion - a 47% change. In 2009 it is expected to be only 13.9 -- only a 7.8% change.

As an Internet marketing company I hav say, I hope eMarketer is wrong. Currently our business is great and continues to grow. In fact, 2009 looks to be our best year. Not only are our current clients spending more but we're adding new clients faster than we've ever done in the past.

Most of the growth is due to the economy in that smart buiness people know that they need to be smarter about how they market and that includes doing more on the Web. Of course they wouldn't continue with that if they weren't getting great results.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


eMarketer Daily's email today talked about Fee VS Free in Tough Times. They asked a question if content owners put a renewed emphasis on subscription fees? According to their research 52% of respondents will pay for Google compared to only 22% that will pay for Yahoo on only 19% will pay for YouTube.

It's interesting to think about. In my opinon once something is offered for free and then taken away you have just created an opportunity to fill the void for the free version.

It would be interesting to watch to see if YouTube, Facebook, Wikipedia, MapQuest etc. start charging for what is now free.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tips to Build Your email list

Email can be one of your most valuable marketing tools. But growing and maintaining a list can be costly. Here are a few tips.

1) Leverage

The most powerful way to crease profits is to leverage your existing clients. One of the ways to do that is to improve your list with any one that has purchased from you and asking them to refer others.

Developing a strategy for a refer program would not only help in building your list but also to increase sales. Keep in mind when asking for referrals if you are too general in your request people usually don’t respond. Instead of saying “please forward this message to a friend or colleague” say instead “please forward this to anyone you know in the service industry, who is in charge of marketing”. Of course you need to re-word it for your target audience.

2) Website subscription form

Be sure to have a place on most every page of your site for your site visitors to join your subscription. The best way to do that is to have a GREAT offer. A contest, free download, etc are all great offers to join an email list. Some of the pop-under scripts are also getting a good response rate. They are not as intrusive as the pop-up ads.

3) Test offer

When you have an offer to join your email list, test a variety of offers. The free download may not be an attention getter, but the 25% off next order may be the key to having people sign-up.

4) Co-Registration

Join forces with complimentary companies. If you sell shoes and they sell hats why not have a Thank you page that has an offer to join the hat company’s list. Of course the hat company needs a great offer and needs to put a reciprocal link to their email subscription thank you page to make it work.

5) Email address from point of sale

The most obvious way to grow your list is through your point of sale. Regardless if it’s online or offline there should be a process that is followed to add all emails to your list from a sale.

6) Purchase a list
There are several ways to purchase a list. Search for a list broker but be sure to find out where the subscribers are coming from. You need targeted email lists. First, you might want to determine how valuable a subscriber is too you.