Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category

WordPress.com vs. Blogger Duel

April 17, 2008

I have created a duel on my Squidoo page to see which you think is better:  Wordpress.com or Squidoo.  Give us reasons why you feel this way.  Make it interesting, people!

Customer Service: Make It Easy To Leave

April 16, 2008

I spent 25 minutes on the phone today with Nextel trying to cancel my account. My experience went like this:

  1. Dial the 800 number
  2. Listen to an automated voice go through multiple options that don’t relate to me
  3. Hit ‘0’ out of frustration
  4. Listen to the menu again
  5. Choose 6 because it seemed kind of close to what I wanted to do
  6. Enter my cell number (for faster service)
  7. Sit on hold for 5 minutes
  8. Finally, I am greeted by an operator
  9. Give him my cell number again
  10. Give him a pin number that I had to guess at because, as I was tersely told, he couldn’t help me otherwise
  11. Tell him that I wanted to cancel my account (step 11, and I finally have an opportunity voice what I want to do)
  12. He can’t help and has to transfer me to someone else
  13. Sit on hold for 4 minutes
  14. Enter my cell number (third time for those who are counting)
  15. Greeted by another operator
  16. Give him my cell number
  17. Give him my pin which was thankfully asked for by the previous operator
  18. Ask to cancel my account
  19. Am transferred to another operator
  20. Only sit on hold for 2 minutes
  21. Greeted….
  22. Asked for cell number (fourth time….) and give him my pin
  23. Ask to cancel my account (third time)
  24. Am told that I shouldn’t do that now because my billing cycle started yesterday and I would be billed for the full month anyway

…….after expressing my disbelief at the absurdity of this, I took great delight in finally being permitted to cancel. Canceling my account felt like a hard-fought victory.

Moral of the story is this: think about your customer experience at every point of interaction. What is your service like? Do you take care of your customers even when they choose to leave you? Do you encourage them to never come back?

From SeekingAlpha:
Future analysis will provide the details of poor decisions by Sprint management and directors over the last few years. Customer service issues were resultant of top down policies to extend customer contracts over every concern of customer satisfaction. Future college business policy textbooks will contain case studies of Sprint’s downfall being precipitated from internal mismanagement rather than external market factors.

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Blogging Brevity

April 12, 2008

Marketing Integrity has written a post entitled “Blogging Brevity” that captures a point that many bloggers miss — getting to the point!  From a marketing point of view, this speaks to working with your customers on their terms.  

If your products or services are great but you aren’t communicating them in a way that your customers care about, then what your selling isn’t that great.

The Importance of Coaching

April 9, 2008

We recently went live with a new promotion, and so far, the results have been wonderful. I attribute a great deal of that success to coaching that we received from people outside of Hinutech. We know our technical and business offerings very well (too well, probably), and as a result, we thought that the message on our website was very clear. Turns out, it was clear to us because we wrote the copy.

A coach can be anyone. Your spouse, a paid coach, a group of usability testers. Anyone who is willing and able to give you thoughtful advice on how you can improve yourself or your business is a coach. Seek one out, and you’ll be able to see things through a different set of eyes — your customers.

Seth Godin on TED

April 4, 2008

During a Ted presentation filmed in 2003, Seth Godin talks about the importance of making your products remarkable.

Sliced Bread and Other Marketing Delights

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3 Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Site

April 3, 2008

Here are 5 easy ways to drive traffic to your website. Do them well, and you’ll be swimming in traffic. Do them poorly (or not at all), and the worst thing that can happen is….nothing.

  • Comment on other people’s blogs
    • First off, it’s an easy thing to do. If you are an active reader of blogs and see a topic to which you can add value, do it!
    • Your comment will be there forever, so that any future crawls by Google or views by people will pick it up.
    • When you provide a link back to your site, it helps with your own site’s ranking.
    • Ensure that your comments are inspired enough to add value. The world has enough spam and mindless comments, so don’t add to it.
    • Don’t do this as an afterthought to your traffic-generation plans. Do this daily and on a regular basis. Your traffic and other bloggers will benefit.
  • Write good, “sticky” content generates a response in people.
    • When other people comment on your blog entries or Digg your site, it gives social proof of your authority on a topic and will cause search engines to index the relevancy of your site.
    • The more authority that you have on a topic, the more people will write about/link to your content further establishing you as an expert.
    • If you need an example of this, think Seth Godin. What image comes to mind? Aspire to that.
  • Adwords and Pay-Per-Click are good, but nothing is better than good ole’ free search engine traffic
    • LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) Algorithms are how Google analyzes the content of your site for relevant and related keywords. In the old days, Google would look at the frequency of words on your site and index them appropriately. For example, if you sold cars and had a site littered with the word “Cars” in an attempt to rank highly in Google, you’d be all set until someone did a search on “automobiles.” With Google’s old algorithms, you’d miss out on that traffic. If you write in a natural language and have good, solid content that is related to the topic that you are promoting, then you should see traffic coming through search engines.
    • Evaluate the content on your site thoroughly to ensure that the search engines are seeing you the way you want to be seen. Open an account with Google Adwords and use their keyword generation tool to scan your site. It will come back with a list of recommendations for words that it thinks would work well were you to start an Adwords Campaign. Do those words describe what you are hoping to accomplish with your site? If you, you’re golden. Odds are, there are some surprises or omissions. Correct those by creating or refining your content.
    • Traffic coming from search engines is much more likely to convert to a sale or a prospect. Why? You answered their need early on in their search.

Each of the points above deserves a great deal more detail, and I will continue to delve into each in the future. However, I am a big fan of lists that tell me what to do quickly (and I also don’t like long, drawn out blog posts), so I thought that I would keep this list short.

Please share your thoughts on these ideas or let me know if there are any other topics you would like me to cover in later posts. My next post will delve into topics such as how to benefit from social bookmarking, email lists and RSS feeds.

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RSS Feeds: The Full Post Vs. The Summary

March 28, 2008

Making the RSS feed for your blog a full post as opposed to only a summary is the way to go. Bill Seaver from Microexplosion.com explains why. The gist of it all is that you need to make it as convenient as possible for people to read and interact with your blog.



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Hinutech Book Club

March 27, 2008

As a service to my customers and readers, I am starting an online book club where we will read an eBook about technology, SEO, creativity, entrepreneurial pursuits, leadership or marketing and discuss it here and via the message boards at Hinutech.com. I have currently collected Seth Godin’s redistributable eBooks (and a few more) and would like to establish a virtual library for everyone to use to download, read and improve themselves.If you have written an eBook that falls into this category, drop me an email at bookclub@hinutech.com. If you know of someone who would like to distribute their works to an eager audience, please send them my way.

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An Effective Use of CRM

March 24, 2008

In an earlier post, I wrote about the importance of keeping in touch with your customers after the sale is made. Shortly after publishing it, I received an email from Hotel La Meridiana in Sorrento, Italy doing nothing but wishing me a happy Easter. My wife and I stayed there for one night last summer during our holiday. The hotel was nice (nothing fancy), and upon our departure, we decided that we might stay there again if we ever return. I can’t say that this email changed our perception of the hotel, but it has changed our perception of the type of people who run the place. Making the effort to stay in touch with a couple from Cincinnati, Ohio who stayed there for a single night because it was cheap and had a vacancy means something to me.

What does this mean for your business? Clearly, staying in touch with people matters. How do you do that? Make a minimal investment of time and expense in a Customer Relationship Management system. You can sign up for an account with any software as a service CRM package today. Salesforce.com, SugarCRM and Hinutech CRM (shameless self promotion, I know) are best of breed and can help you quickly keep track of all of your customer interactions. You can track important dates, create marketing campaigns, capture support issues and establish sales pipelines that help you guide your contacts to prospects to customers. Moving to a CRM solution takes some effort on your part, but when done properly, a system like this can really help you make an impact on your customers and allow you to be an excellent resource for them.

Who knows? Some random person might even link to you in their blog some day because of a thoughtful email you sent them through your system.

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SEO Your Blog the Right Way

March 24, 2008

With all of the fluff pieces out there about driving traffic to your blog via SEO techniques, David Skul has put together a very informative 5 minute video detailing some approaches. The gist of it all, however, is to have fresh, relevant, well-done content that your readers/customers find valuable. Just like David’s blog….

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