Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer internship? 46 tasks for a marketing intern

School's out for summer.

Don't miss this opportunity to grab one of the many unemployed or underemployed business or marketing students looking for a summer job or work experience.

Summer may have started, but there are still thousands of jobsl being advertised on sites like Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com.

Here are our collection of posts on how to use marketing interns to get ahead over the summer:


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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Can you provide a response in real-time?

We've got a great story coming up on real-time search.

Help us choose a headline by giving us three seconds to take the survey.


Click here!


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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Web site review: Winning award for elegance while converting

medal for converting prospects ii
In every issue of our print publication, The Internet Marketing Report, we review a Web site. Here's a recent review.

VerticalResponse.com converts. Many Web pages suffer from too many cooks: Everyone’s trying to sneak in a call to action or promote a product. These competing messages often distract prospects from converting.

This site has earned our own award, "Elegance in the Service of Online Conversions."



As you can see, VerticalResponse’s small business site, which has won a range of awards including the 2009 Web Marketing Award from WebAwards.org, is straightforward and streamlined.

There’s no confusion over what it wants prospects to do:

1. Take a free trial, or
2. Try it for free.

They’re both different versions of the same call to action.

One version is for prospects who are ready to take the plunge. The other gives less-decided prospects more info before asking them to hand over their credit card details.

A clear call to action ...

Don’t expect prospects to know what to do. Just like an old-fashioned direct mail piece or an ad in the paper, they need to be told what is expected of them. This site has a clear goal. It puts the most important info on the top of the screen, where it can be seen without moving down the page. Putting anything important below the fold is moving control out of your hands and into your prospects’.

... and an easy to read layout


This site uses big, bold fonts to remind visitors why it is worth trying. It’s easy on the eyes, too.

Consider entering your site in the growing number of contests for the best Web sites.
These awards can generate publicity for your company and links from respected organizations. And as online marketing expert Lee Odden says, these awards are great for morale and giving your team a boost.


“A person will work for a living, but they’ll die for recognition.”


You’ll also get independent verification that you’re doing something right – that’s useful when you need to justify additional resources or ask for a pay rise.

The truth? Your site doesn't have to be perfect to win.

In some categories, Web sites that look good but miss basic search engine optimization are winning prizes as best in niche.

VerticalResponse.com’s site deserves to win an award: It looks good, and it’s optimized to appear in search results.

Other award winners look great, but still have a way to go before they trump rivals in search results. For example, the small business award winner, PetersBodyshop.net, is a great example of a solid small business Web site that could do more to improve its local search results.

Looking for awards to enter?

Odden's put together this list of the best, TopRankBlog.com at
Ten Search Marketing Awards You Should Know


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Monday, October 19, 2009

Just the quote, please ... Nothing more, nothing less

This is the message that B2B marketer Dave Jung, a real marketer by day and a highly respected blogger at B2Blog by night, says he received recently.

"Send quote only via email. Do not call; do not mail anything. Do not send any email except quote."

Strike a chord? Prospects want what they want on their terms and in the format they want it.

Fulfil your part of the bargain and they make come back asking for more.

Dave has lots more interesting insights on lead generation. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/b2btw




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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Crowdsourcing a headline

Please help us choose a headline for a great cover story based on Karon Thackston of MarketingWord's presentation to the Search Marketing Expo in New York.

Click here to take survey


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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Web site review: Go beyond initial conversions to make longterm customers

In every issue of our print publication, we review a Web site.

How often do you click away from a site that has what you want because you couldn’t find detailed info, enough photos or specs?

That happened to me recently when I searched for two outdoor fans with lights for our front porch.

I'd found a model at the right price and with the right features on some big sites (for example, Hunter Fan had what I wanted but it had so little info it was a joke. Sadly, that's common for companies like Hunter that rely on resellers and distributors).

Many other sites didn't give me the info I needed (and that my husband demanded) like whether it came with a remote control (he has dreams of sitting with a beer and The Economist and not having to move to adjust the fan) and a dimmer (we love to eat on our porch and hate bright lights because we are getting older and uglier by the minute.) Did these cost extra? Some sites didn't say.

My search led me to HansenWholesale.com, a light and fan company selling to businesses and consumers.
Hansen's site isn't very pretty but it sure is helpful. It does everything to capture refugees like me from other sites. And what I liked was that it had a long-term view of online marketing: It wasn't just trying to convert visitors but turn them into loyal repeat buyers by making sure they got what they wanted by providing more images, charts and info than other sites.

Make the first purchase great and others will follow

Hansen’s marketers appear to have taken a long-term view by:

  • Minimizing mistakes and returns. It offers a free service, Shop with an Expert, that lets prospects view the same pages, in the same way and at the same time, as a rep.
  • Eliminating nasty surprises. Hansen doesn’t just tell prospects what’s included, it spells out what’s not included. Every product page has diagrams, drawings, charts and photos to show dimensions and details.
  • Educating customers. Experts may understand industry acronyms, but this site explains what they mean and why they’re important. For example, a fan with a high CPM has the coolest breeze. It provides guides explaining how to read product comparisons and what’s important. You can shop by the coolest breeze, too.
  • Adding value with useful tools. Every product page contains a calculator to work out the cost. It also has this tool to let you compare selections.

HansenWholesale.com’s strengths are its enthusiasm for its subject matter and the extensive content written by an expert on ceiling fans.

But small spelling mistakes and grammatical errors take a little bit of the shine off this site’s excellence.

How do online visitors respond to spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or factual mistakes?

They dismiss what you say, thinking you can’t be bothered to take the time to get things right.

That means fantastic content and advice is devalued. To keep prospects’ trust, avoid errors by:

  • Using tools like NetMechanic to check spelling and links of live pages.
  • Reading each page on hard copy. In the same way prospects skim pages, we do the same thing when we read online. The only way to catch sneaky mistakes (like words with two meanings) is to read each line on paper.
  • Asking someone else to read your copy before it goes live. Nothing works like a fresh pair of eyes.
  • Reading the copy out loud. If you don’t have access to a printer, read each word out loud. That forces you to pay attention to each word. I can tell you from experience that finding all the mistakes on screen is very difficult. This blog is testimony to that.
P.S. I still haven't decided what to buy, but Hansen's site has swayed me to spend a bit more on one of their fans and skip the basic Hunter model we were originally considering.

Posted by Julie Power, editor in chief of the Internet & Marketing Report. Follow me on Twitter at JuliePower.


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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Web site review: Quick to respond, quick to convert

In every issue of the Internet Marketing Report print publication, we review a Web site. Here's one of the latest:

Many sites waste leads because reps don’t respond fast enough to prospects who’ve completed an online contact or registration form.

In contrast, DrTattOff is using the best of online and offline marketing to minimize costs, build trust and convert prospects.

It is quick to respond to any prospect looking to remove a tattoo. (Perhaps as quickly as a customer's original decision to get a tattoo after a boozy night ... )

Trust first, convert later

Its reps are pouncing on online leads.

TattOff’s rep called within three minutes of us lodging an online request to make an appointment.

Sure, I was only testing the system for this review.

But research from MIT shows shows reps who respond within five minutes are 100 times more likely to talk with a prospect than those who wait 30 minute.

That’s because prospects are still likely to be at their desks or laptops.

You can get great info on this research from LeadResponseManagement.

Building trust

DrTattOff.com knows that building trust comes before a conversion.

That’s why prospects are greeted with the one-line statement: “Having performed over 45,000 laser removal procedures, we are the experts.”

The site also puts trust-building content (like its guarantee, before-and-after photos and FAQs) on the top of the page, where a prospect can see them without scrolling down.

Have you checked your phone number lately?

DrTattOff makes its 1-888 line prominent on every page.

It’s worth it. In this company’s case, four times as many visitors call as reply online.

I love this site and I thought the owner of the company was great fun to listen to on radio. But these stories are missing online. The founder of this company makes good copy when he is interviewed on radio and TV. But the blog? It makes tattoo removal sound as interesting as watching paint dry.

While the site looks very Web 2.0, it’s got some big holes.

What’s DrTattoff missing?

This company uses its blog to publicize its location and hours, and point to media coverage of its booming business in tattoo removal.

But it’s missing compelling stories about its customers’ weird and wonderful tattoos in equally fascinating places that make great fodder for viral marketing.

Even a boring blog helps traffic

The company is planning to beef up its blog later in the year, but its existing, informational blog does serve a purpose. It improves the company’s search engine traffic because it’s full of keywords, says the company’s chief marketing officer, Ian Kirby.

That’s a benefit of even the dullest blog.

Posted by Internet Marketing Report editor Julie Power


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Got 3 seconds? Please help

Please help us choose a great headline that will appeal to marketers like yourself.

Take our survey. It will take you three seconds (or less if you are very quick on the draw.)

Click on the link here.

By the way, the headline is for a great story by one of our subscribers, Mike Jameson, who did some amazing things to improve his online conversions and reduce costs. Congratulations to Mike, director of online sales at Completek-12.com

Posted by Internet Marketing Report editor Julie Power.


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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Yoo hoo Yahoo, try a dictionary

I haven't been able to log in to Yahoo Mail all morning so have spent a fair amount of time looking at this page.

try a spellcheck

Posted by Julie Power, editor in chief, Internet Marketing Report.








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Friday, August 7, 2009

Saying thanks is nice

fantastic chocolates and funny gifts from Artfully Chocolate Kingsbury Confections at www.TheCocoaGallery.com
Life is a box of chocolates

Yesterday I received a surprise gift that arrived on my doorstep (in a big box, a real one, not a virtual one) that put a smile on my face and delighted my family.

It reminded me that I need to get back to communicating the old-fashioned way ... by mail, in person, on the phone, sending gifts. Funnily enough, it coincided with the day Twitter went down, a day remarkably free of the constant ping, ding, beeps and tweets of my multi-tasking online life.

What was in the box? Extravagant, adventurous, delicious dark chocolate truffles by Artfully Chocolate Kingsbury Confections.

They were probably the best I have ever eaten, well, the best since I lived in France.

They were sent by InfoStreet, the Web site I reviewed recently.

What did this make me think?

  • InfoStreet is a company that's embraces constructive criticism. Isn't that What Google Would Do? Well done.
  • Here's a smart bit of PR that continues the good press. Any company can stand out by going against the current trends by sending a big fat envelope a curiously shaped parcel by snail mail. Check out the U.S. Postal Service's woes to see that sending something by mail has a rarity value these days.
  • Saying thanks never goes out of fashion. I didn't expert it, nor does it affect what I say, but I sure did appreciate it.

Thanks InfoStreet.

By the way, the chocolates were amazing and interesting. My favorites were the Mimosa Twist, the Chipotle Cinnamon and the Brie (dark chocolate and sesame seeds). By the way, check out the ChocObama novelty chocolate (see image above).

Posted by Internet Marketing Report editor Julie Power


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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Search experts are worth their weight in clicks but earn less


Must admit, I was surprised by this chart in MarketingSherpa's 2009-2010 Search Marketing Benchmark report. Given all the publicity showing how marketers are turning to online marketing, why aren't experts with these specialist skills being rewarded more? These are the folks who are expected to perform magic by rubbing together a bit of HTML code ...

You only need to look at the huge number of horrible Web sites to see that marketers with online marketing experience and knowledge of search engine optimization and social media are worth their weight in ... clicks (more valuable than gold online!).

Posted by Julie Power, editor of the Internet Marketing Report Online.

Do your search experts earn more than generalists?

Chart source:
http://www.marketingsherpa.
com/Search2010Excerpt.pdf


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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Refund your money for a year! B2B company's ballsy guarantee greets visitors

What can you do to prove your company can be trusted? Do you have as much faith in your products or service as this bug company below? Would a promise like this stick in your prospects' minds? You betcha.

Check out this huge, outlandish guarantee on the home page of bug company, Bugs Burger Bug Killers, a b2b extermination company working for hotels and restaurants.

BBBK's amazing guarantees shows it has faith in own products

This was just one of the compelling and interesting ideas from Bernard Ross in his presentation to the Bridge Conf. in DC yesterday. Check out Twitter.com/BridgeConf for other ideas.

Posted by Julie Power, Internet Marketing Report Online editor.


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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Web site review: Great call to action .... if only we knew what it was selling

In every issue of The Internet Marketing Report print issue, we review a site. Here's the review from our July 10 issue.

What we like about this site

Any company that wants prospects to sign up for a trial or an introductory offer, or just get their feet wet, should check out InfoStreet.

Every page urges business prospects to take InfoStreet’s productivity software for a spin by:

  • Including clear calls to action. Every page drives prospects to sign up for a free trial. It’s clear marketers have one main goal: increase sign ups.
  • Building trust. Notice the long list of icons from well-known publishers at the bottom of the home page? A business prospect doesn’t need to read to get the message. A quick glance is enough to know InfoStreet.com’s products have been reviewed.
  • Pricing to persuade. Instead of locking in new customers, the site offers a pay-as-you-go plan for a dime a day. That’s compelling for small business prospects, who are highly sensitive to price. The site also offers prospects other ways to test its products, including free trials, a single user model and no-fuss installation.
  • Making it easy to contact the company. The phone number is prominent on every page, and the company offers Web chat.
  • Using convincing testimonials. The quote from a happy customer, “ I cut my costs” on the home page, along with a photo, directs prospects’ eyes to the free trial button.

Where this site fails

Does your site pass the four-second test?
That’s the amount of time most prospects will spend on a page before deciding whether to stay, hit the back button or click off.

InfoStreet.com, which sells productivity tools like e-mail, shared calendars and documents, assumes non-technical prospects will understand what its product does.

One simple test: Ask a business prospect, a neighbor and a friend to click on your site and tell you what you do or sell within a few minutes.

We asked a random selection of people what the site sold.

The answers? “Dunno” and “Software?” The best response, “Some sort of software that makes it easier to do more with less.”

We even asked someone who specializes in B2B e-mail.

She thought prospects would be confused.

Make it easy for prospects

InfoStreet does provide the answer to the question, “What do you do?” But it takes too many clicks to find it. The info is on the home page in bullet points. But it’s below the fold where many prospects won’t see it.

Like these reviews? Click here to read other reviews showing what sites are doing right and wrong online. Or sign up for our RSS feed. More than 400 online marketers currently subscribe to get reviews delivered to their inboxes. Like us to review your site? E-mail: jpower@pbp.com

P.S. All this stuff is free, out of the goodness of my heart.


Posted by Internet Marketing Report editor Julie Power


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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Do these headlines make me look too fat and spammy?

We've got a great cover coming up for our print publication on search engine optimization techniques that made a big difference.

Please help us choose a headline. It should take about four seconds if you are quick with a mouse.

And if you think these headlines make us look spammy, please tell us.

Click Here to take survey

Thank you!

Julie Power
editor in chief


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Monday, July 6, 2009

Web site review: Viral campaign barely raises a sneeze

In every issue of the Internet Marketing Report print publication, we review a Web site.

What we like ...

Business blogs are often random in nature: Someone blogs about
a product, another about an application, etc.

In contrast, the blog, ResponsibilityProject.com (RP), doesn’t talk about products but
about responsibility and doing the right thing.

Talk about what unites

Any company could adapt this idea these ways:

  • Find a common theme. RP doesn’t talk about the company, LibertyMutual, but about issues that affect everyone (from business buyers to individuals). For example, a post asked whether bringing babies to work was right or wrong. Is it responsible if babies distract co-workers?
  • Give it a news angle. Try to tie posts to news in your niche. Nearly 100 readers responded to a post about grocery store workers who refused to write the name of a three-year old boy on the birthday cake ordered by his parents. The child’s name? Adolf Hitler.
  • Focus on what matters. This blog may not mention the company or products and services, but talking about acting responsibly keeps costs under control while discouraging fraud.
  • It’s integrated. The same message of responsibility runs through the company’s online and offline promotions, including TV ads, its slogan and its Web site.

This blog’s content is manna from online heaven, but it doesn’t do enough to promote it or make it viral. Surely, the point of a blog like this is to get people talking, to encourage people to tell a friend or tell others ...

Even if you don’t have a blog, you may want to try these techniques to
spread the word about news, press releases, products, videos, etc.

  • Increase the visibility of buttons like ShareThis or AddThis. The RP blog has one, but it is small and inconspicuous.
  • Use Really Simple Syndication (RSS) so subscribers get the latest news and posts delivered to their inbox. This blog doesn't even have a subscribe feed with Feedburner, Google's popular syndication tool. Tip: It’s worth explaining to non-technical readers how RSS delivers the latest to a prospect’s in-box or blog reader.
  • Do more with Twitter.com. Twitter isn’t for every company, but this blog’s material is made for that medium. It covers stories like a woman who went through with the threat to her teens, “If you don’t stop that, I’ll stop the car and make you walk.” The blog asks readers if she was right to dump her teens. Nearly every blog these days makes tweeting easy via Hoot Suite or most tools. Not this site. It forces the fan to cut and paste the URL, shrink it, etc., etc. Do I care enough to do that? Not really.
  • Generate more leads. When asked if this blog would increase sales for Liberty Mutual, most people said yes, in a survey at Niftymarketing.We doubt it. It could do more to generate leads without a hardsell.
What needs work

This site has great stuff, which isn't been found by as many people as it deserves to reach.

For example, the one-person blog OrganicMania.com's page rank is five, according to Google Page Rank checking tool. And what is ResponsibilityProject's blog? The same.

Surely, a blog with the resources and power of Liberty Mutual behind it should do better than that? Organic Mania is produced by one person, Lynn, who executes, writes and researches everything on her blog, without the resources of a big company behind her, and with two young children under foot.

Perhaps Lynn could give RP a few tips on social marketing? She's good at it.

Posted by Julie Power, Internet Marketing Report Online editor.


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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

SEO key to high quality/low cost B2B leads

Something to use to get internal buyin for more search engine optimization resources?

Interesting chart from MarketingSherpa.com showing the cheapest is often the best. Organic search engine optimization is free (well, after labor costs and your blood, sweat and tears trying to get it right!) but it delivers high quality leads for B2B marketers. Only trouble, the quantity varies. But it is interesting to note that paid search on Google didn't really deliver better quality leads.





How was the research conducted? Sherpa explained: Marketers were asked to rate the quantity and quality of leads generated for each of the search tactic listed at the bottom of each column using the scale shown to the right of the chart. The total percentage of each column reflects those who are using that tactic. For example, 71% of respondents use 'Search engine optimization'. The remaining 29% do not use this tactic.

Posted by Julie Power, editor in chief Internet Marketing Report Online.


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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Xrank pulls rank over Google Trends

Google Trends is a fantastic marketing tool but experts say Microsoft's new search engine Bing.com's new trend tracker xRank is faster, better and, well, cooler.

While Google Trends has a lag, the experts at TechCrunch say Bing's results are live.

"On Google, you can create charts showing the popularity of keywords using Google Trends. On Bing, this feature is called xRank. For all but the most popular terms, Google Trends shows a lag of about three days, whereas xRank shows data that is up to date as of today," writes Erick Schonfeld.

Read more When It Comes To Search Trends, Google Is Lagging Behind Bing.

Posted by Julie Power, Internet Marketing Report editor.


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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Web site review: " What would Google do?"

Web site review: In every issue of our print publication, the Internet Marketing Report, we review a site. Here's the latest review.

ScienceLab scores 95% on Hubspot.com’s Web site grader.

That’s a great result for any site, but even more impressive for a site selling mostly to businesses.

Its secret? It seems to follow Google’s corporate rules on site usability, including:

  • “Focus on the user and all else will follow.” ScienceLab is carefully optimized with keywords and page titles to attract search engine traffic. But it hasn’t added keywords in a way that sacrifices the quality of the copy. The content is highly readable.

    For example, this description of a fragrance extraction kit: “Don’t just stop and smell the roses – extract their fragrance.” The site’s also easy to navigate and find products. In one spot, the site gives prospects a little A to Z touch pad to find products alphabetically.

  • “It’s better to do one thing really, really well.” There’s little chance a prospect for lab equipment arriving at ScienceLab.com would be confused. The name of the site is clear, and graphics reinforce the message, “Your source for Lab Equipment & Chemicals.” So
    does the image of the technician wearing lab garb.

  • You can be serious without a suit” -- and wearing a lab coat.
    This site's content is written with a light touch, adding jokes where appropriate and avoiding too many technical terms. That makes a dry subject more palatable.

    • Slow-loading images drag down this site’s performance and appeal

      There’s no such thing as a perfect site and ScienceLab.com is no exception.

      The site follows many of the principles Google says pay off in good search results and user experience. But it seems to be neglecting these:

      Too slow, too conservative

      • “Fast is better than slow.” The site took .75 seconds to load, according to a free test by Iwebtool.com. That’s much slower than the recommended speed of .04 seconds. One reason it loads slowly is that it has too many big images. That may cost it sales. Visitors with slow connections may click off in frustration. ScienceLab could try reducing the size of online images.

      • “Dare to innovate.” This site doesn’t do anything with social media to keep customers engaged and informed. It lacks basics like a blog or even Really Simple Syndication (RSS) to alert buyers to updates. A blog or even a forum where buyers could exchange ideas could help traffic and loyalty.

      • “Design for the world.” A big site like this probably gets significant traffic from overseas prospects, but it doesn’t do anything to help them. Solution: add a translation button.

      By the way, I wrote this review before reading Jeff Jarvis' What Would Google Do? I love the book. It's inspiring, funny and easy to read.

      Read more of our reviews here. Or email Julie Power on jpower@pbp.com if you'd like my team to review your site.


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      Thursday, May 28, 2009

      3 second survey: Is putting porn in a b2b story bad form?

      Hey! We're trying to find a headline for the cover of our print publication.
      Please give us your feedback.It should only take a few seconds.
      Click Here to take survey
      Thanks for your time. Please send comments to jpower@pbp.com


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      10 words that get emails opened

      Check out the cloud below to see an interesting representation of the top 10 words used in e-mail subject lines by marketers to get prospects to open their messages.

      The cloud is a nifty way to present these words.

      You've got to hand it to the smart folk at MailerMailer.com for combing 300 million e-mails to find these gems and devising this nice bit of viral marketing.



      Their thinking wasn't in the clouds when they came up with it because:

      • They've offered it to bloggers like me to give us a lazy way to add content. Easy, just cut and paste.
      • They've programmed it so it updates automatically, giving you my dear reader, a reason to come back to my blog again and again, and then revisit MailerMailer.
      • They've encouraged me to comment on their blog if I post this cloud, thus increasing the virtuous circle of blogging that lives on links and reciprocity, and
      • It provides interesting content in an engaging and interactive way. It may not rain but it lights up as I hover over it.

      Cool.

      By the way, the report is worth reading. Some highlights show that e-mails are being opened sooner than before and e-mails from churches and other religious and spiritual organizations have the highest open rates. Say no more.

      You can read the entire report at MailerMailer.


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      Tuesday, May 26, 2009

      When you have to go to the end of the earth, okay India, for tech support

      Just love this funny video on help desk frustration via a list of 10 funny technical videos on New Zealand's PC World.

      The video is a bit long, violating a rule of online videos, but gets away with it because it gets funnier and funnier.

      In the video, Late Night with Conan O'Brien writer Andy Blitz calls the NBC computer support number for a problem with pop-ups and ends up lugging his computer and monitor across the ocean for in-person help from the call centre staffer.



      What does it mean to online marketers? A video like this could target your lousy service. Have you eavesdropped lately on a call or talked to your reps?

      P.S. Please don't get mad about my reference to India and the end of the earth. I am Australian, and we get these jokes all the time. I like to share the love.


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      Tuesday, May 19, 2009

      Site review: What happened to the call to action?

      In every issue of our print publication, the Internet Marketing Report, we review a Web site. This is the review from the May 8 issue.

      It’s hot in Texas but not hotter than the competition online and off among vendors selling air conditioning there.

      And not hotter and crankier than your correspondent when she reviews acceptable looking sites that leave leads on the table.

      Please, please, I beg you. Add a big call to action.

      Why drive prospects to your site only to leave them wondering what on earth they are meant to do?

      Take CustomAirProducts.com (CAP), a Texas company selling commercial and residential air conditioning, which does a respectable job optimizing its site for search.

      Internal keywords

      CAP isn’t the most exciting site. In fact, it could really jazz things up a bit but we chose it because it's typical of many B2B sites out there.

      Yet this one has strong foundations and good SEO where it matters. For example, it appears on the front page of search results on Google and Ask.com for many keywords by:

      • Inserting keywords in page titles and copy. I like the way it inserted the HVAC industry standard, SMACNA, into the title.

      Optimizing press releases. CAP’s allocated a page to each release and optimized them to show up in search results. And each release links to other product pages. Nicely done.

      CAP’s also starting to use video. That’s important because 25% of all Google searches happen on YouTube these days.

      That’s why a B2B company like CAP does well posting videos on its site, linked to YouTube.

      Video doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. CAP's video features its president on the home page. It's a good start but it could do so much more with video, particularly considering how digital assets like videos are starting to show up in search results for most products and services.
      What kind of videos work best?

      Videos showing how a company manufactures a product, addresses a common problem or even giving advice to prospects on how to choose a vendor are effective.

      What about the most unusual installation? The hottest installation? (The temperature must be sizzling in some of those Texas ceilings!) The weirdest encounter? The most challenging request? After all, this company prides itself on customized applications.

      Update May 20: B2Blog.com's smart marketer pointed out a new video posted by the company. It is a tour of the company's facility. Now this is more like it. You can read more of Dave's comments below in the comments section.




      Are you making the same mistake as CustomAirProducts.com?

      So many sites effectively drive visitors to a site, only to do nothing with the lead.

      Like them, this company is missing a strong call to action.

      Banner blindness costs leads

      CAP urges customers to call by putting its phone number in the banner across the page.

      But it could do more to collect leads by:

      1. Putting a phone number in a hot spot, the right-hand side of the page where most visitors look for a link or contact info. The trouble with the phone number in the banner is that search engines can’t read it
      and prospects are “blind” to them. A banner is seen as an advertisement, something to gloss over.

      2. Asking prospects to register. Got an e-newsletter? Send updates via
      e-mail or mail? Capture prospects’ details by asking them to provide an e-mail address. That’s a good start.

      3. Making a request. Get specific about what you want prospects to do. For example, CAP includes links like “Ductwork and Piping Field Installation.” But it doesn’t use verbs to encourage the prospect to click like, “Improve results."

      4. Doing more with local search. Look for it using Google maps and you'll find it hard to find something to suggest it even exists. It could do more by adding content, like "Houston based custom air conditioning company." It fares better with a more specific search for industrial air conditioning, but it should rank better for local search.

      Tip: Check out Google Insights for Search. You can see from this search comparing keywords that CAP would do well adding more references to Texas.

      Posted by Internet Marketing Report Online editor Julie Power.


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      Thursday, May 7, 2009

      CYB by B2B?

      A study of over 3,000 business buyers finds “99% of B2B buying is about covering your butt."

      It suggests that B2B buying is driven largely by attempts to control personal and organizational risks.

      So how do you improve conversion rates in a world where business buyers are very conservative and afraid of rocking the organizational boat, especially at a time when companies are very risk averse?

      That's the question posed on Twitter by @B2BOnlineMktg.

      It argues that the standard model of business buying as a thorough, rational, step-by-step process isn’t accurate.

      The post at Business.com's SmartBusinessResults provides some thoughts on how to tackle this fear in your Web content and marketing copy.

      Sounds sadly like we are back in the 50s where IBM ruled the world and the book, Revolutionary Road was, well, revolutionary.

      P.S. You can follow me on Twitter too at JuliePower.


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      Thursday, April 30, 2009

      Web site review: Small site with big plans

      In every issue of our print publication, the Internet Marketing Report, we review a Web site for a subscriber. This is the review from the April 24 issue.

      What foundations does a small site need to take advantage of search engine traffic and the growth of social media?

      Subscriber Derek Mayers asked if WNPInc.com, a small printing company in Stafford Springs, CT, would see the fruit of its investments online.

      It should. Here’s what WNP is doing right:

      • Focused on what matters. Product pages and their page titles are about the most important bit of search engine optimization you can do. Yet even big sites neglect them them, often using the same title on every page. WNP hasn’t made every title on the site unique, concentrating instead on crafting unique titles for product pages that matter. For example, the Thermal Products page’s title says: “Thermal Transfer products and Product Labels.” It’s easy to understand and intuitive.

      • Used Alt tags. WNP makes sure search engine spiders can read its images by using Alt tags generously throughout the site, even including them in the header on the home page.

      • Launched a blog. That’s a smart way to repurpose newsletter content that should lift search results and engage prospects. WNP could get more search juice by posting more often and increasing the number of links between the two sites, even including an RSS feed of blog posts on its site.


      • Embraced social media. It's trying Twitter and Plurk.


      Duplicate content problems

      Duplicate content problems can dilute any company’s search results, particularly as new domains start while others fall by the wayside.

      WNP’s search results should be better than they are, but the search engines are penalizing the company because it has multiple domains pointing back to the main site, WNPInc.com.

      Here today, gone tomorrow

      The problem?

      The search engine spiders will choose only one site to index and it may not be the one you want. And if Google thinks the sites are trying to trick it, it may penalize the company by downgrading results or removing a site from results.

      The fix? Use a 301 redirect

      Although many vendors offer paid packages to detect duplicate content problems, don’t bother. This similar content checker at Webconfs.com is quick, free and easy.

      Prevent this problem with a 301 permanent redirect to send traffic to the one domain. Find out how at Webconfs.com and reading what Google had to say about duplicate content recently.


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      Thursday, April 23, 2009

      Stop! What stops prospects from clicking off a site?

      In every issue of our print publication, we review a Web site. In this case, we reported on a Web site review conducted by an industry expert Matt Bailey.

      Jump (or wrestle the next marketer to the ground) to get your site reviewed for free at a search engine or online marketing conference.

      These clinics or Web site reviews provide access to industry leaders and experts, who provide valuable free advice that would probably cost you an arm and a leg otherwise.

      Here's a site review conducted by Matt Bailey, president of SiteLogic, who reviewed a series of sites at Search Engine Strategies Conference in New York last month.

      We watched in admiration while Bailey reviewed the landing page and home page of the same site, 6figurejobs.com. I liked this review because it focused on the differences between a landing page and a home page.

      BTW, one good thing to start: 6figurejobs works if you type in sixfigurejobs. Something to remember if you have numbers in your URL.

      Trust and credibility are crucial on a home page. But landing pages have different challenges, he said about 6figurejobs.

      Unlike many B2B sites, this company’s call to action is big, bold and beautiful.

      It’s well placed above the fold on the top of the screen.

      But it fails to sell the prospect on why he or she should sign up.

      What can you do? Say what’s in it for them and build trust, by adding:

      • Hard facts including specific numbers like, “We’ve placed 5,400 execs in jobs with $100K salaries in the last three months.”
      • Testimonials from happy buyers, and
      • Ditching the ads on the right-hand side of the page, which make the site look a bit scrappy and spammy (my words, not his. He was far more polite.)
      In contrast, 6figurejobs.com streamlined landing page has to build trust, maintain a prospect’s interest and capture the lead in a flash.

      Whoa! Asking too much too soon

      Only trouble, the landing page currently asks prospects to load their resume. (Would you really load your entire resume on a site like this without being convinced why? Not me. Nor Bailey it seemed.)

      Asking for too much info too soon scares away interested prospects, says Bailey.

      Solution: Ask for an e-mail address to start and follow up to get the rest.

      Photos: Right type improve conversions but ...

      Photos improve conversion rates online because prospects relate to the people in the photo.

      That’s the theory anyway. Yet the four people in the photos on the home page of 6figureJobs.com look skeptical and unhappy. Well, they did. It's good to see the company has changed the photo for a happier looking person. We found the old photo here using the WaybackMachine.

      old photo from 6figure jobs

      In fact, in all the site reviews I watched, many companies used photos of people who looked positively unhappy and unimpressed.

      If you are going to use photos, you can get more conversions using these techniques:
      1. Try images of real people who resemble the average customer. When an industrial marketer tested photos of glamorous models versus those of a grizzled industry veteran, the latter converted more.

      2. Match the emotions to the page. 6figurejobs is much better off with this new photo of a happy smiling executive.







        Doesn't she look happy with her new six-figure position?





      3. Look in the right direction. Images convert better if the people in the photo seem to be looking at the call to action. In the original photo, they appear to be glaring at the Web visitor and away from the call to action. The grumpy bloke in the original photo was staring away from the call to action.

      4. Don’t amputate! Prospects get agitated by photos that appear to amputate body parts. The photo on 6figurejobs appears to amputate one of the model’s heads.



      Posted by Julie Power, editor in chief, Internet Marketing Report.


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