Internet Marketing

Whitewashing fences today...

Whitewashing fences today...

Quick, how many words can you come up with to describe this photo? If you said pool, child, kid, water, goggles or blue you and I would have just made 100 points at one of Googles latest projects.

Remember how Tom Sawyer made whitewashin' the fence so tempting to those passing by?

It seems Google might be doing something similar to label images they have indexed.

Here is how it works. You push a button and get paired up with a partner. A 90 second timer starts and you each are shown the same picture. You type in as many descriptions as you can. As soon as you have a description that matches you are shown another image. Each image you match is worth 100 points. At the end you can even hover your mouse over the images and see what your partner guessed.

I think it is brilliant. Not only are they getting free work from people, but they are discovering what people really think when they see an image. Oh yea, it is also fun.

Think of your business, is there a fun way you could get feedback from your customers helping you whitewash your fence?

(By the way my current record is 900 points in 90 seconds)

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The Starbucks Online Coupon Fiasco--Venti Size

The Starbucks Online Coupon Fiasco--Venti Size

Just about everybody with a blog commented on Starbuck's recent problems with online coupons. You can read the story here . John from Brand Autopsy asserts they never would have done something that dumb in his day (used to work there) and recommends more limited expiration dates. Seth has some additional principles for avoiding such issues. Countless others also weighed in on how it could have been avoided and what Starbuck's should do now that it has happened. All good stuff, but I hope the baby (online coupons) doesn't get thrown out with the bath water.

In a nutshell, Starbucks created an online coupon with about a thirty day expiration date for a free iced coffee drink. They gave the coupon to a few employees in select areas and expected it to stay limited. It didn't. It took off like wildfire thanks to the internet and they ended up posting signs in their stores saying "regretfully" they would no longer be valid at any Starbuck locations.

In my mind, the real story is not that online coupons don't work, but quite the opposite: online coupons work well--in this case too well. Remember the old days when you had to pay to get coupons printed in a newspaper or to hand out. You had to pay for every one! Not so on the internet. They multiply without costing you a dime. Isn't that just what you want to have happen? It should be. So the lesson is this: make sure that any offer you put on an online coupon is something that you would be happy to see proliferate. Tools to do that? Limit the expiration date, make it a "buy something to get something" offer, give away something with no hard costs. Have other ideas for creating coupons you're happy to see proliferate? Post them here.

The growth of your business will be determined by what your customers say about it. Do you know what they are saying? Learn more

Service or Tool for Small Business?

Service or Tool for Small Business?

One of the adages that Steve Covey popularized in his 7 Habits was "give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime." The statement is obviously true and applicable in many of life's situations, but frankly there are instances when people either don't have the time or the desire to learn how to fish. I'm not talking about the welfare crowd (though that may be a problem). What I'm talking about is small business owners and what it takes to successfully sell to them.

Here is my experience: We developed Promoterz as an inexpensive, do-it-yourself system that any small business could use to collect customer feedback, generate referrals and stay in touch with their customers. In a nutshell, we help them make sure their customers are happy and get them talking to their friends. The system has been tested in multiple industries and it works. Those that use it, receive measurable benefit.

So far, so good. We've got a tool that the majority of small businesses could use to speed their growth. As we've met with business owners in person or attracted them to our website, it has become clear that most of them don't want to be taught how to use the tool. They don't have time. They would much prefer to pay for a service. In order to put fish on their table they have a list of about 100 other things they need to be learning and doing. One customer noted that when she wants an ad in the newspaper she just pays the paper and doesn't have to know how to use the press. Ouch!

As we tweak the pricing model to cover the additional service, some small businesses may balk, but I am now convinced that there are more small businesses looking for a fillet on the platter (complete with a wedge of lemon) than those interested in buying a fishing pole--even if it comes with a fly tying kit.

Food's on! Step right up!

The growth of your business will be determined by what your customers say about it. Do you know what they are saying? Learn more

Carnival of Marketing August 13, 2006

Carnival of Marketing August 13, 2006

Welcome to the August 13, 2006 edition of the Carnival of Marketing. Summer is winding to a close, kids are heading back to school, and it's time to take down the big top and move this carnival elsewhere. For our last carnival hosting this summer, Seeds of Growth is please to present the following "big ring" attractions.

Daniel Scocco discusses the evolution of advertising and what will make the next great advancement to aid both consumers and retailers in Intelligent, Interactive and Converged Advertising posted at Innovation Zen.

Wow! Lot's of neuroscience info from NeuroGuy who presents Why Negative Ads Work: Framing, Emotions, and Irrational Decisions posted at Neuromarketing, saying, "Brain-scan proof that emotions affect everyone's buying decisions."

With a nice comparison Kevin Hillstrom presents Branding verses Selling: Gap vs. Zappos posted at Kevin Hillstrom.

Mr. Spock would be good at business due to his purely logical decision making. Well, David Maister doesn't talk about Spock, but he does present How We Really Make Decisions posted at Passion, People and Principles.

Imani Peterson does a product review in Professional Logo Designing Made Easy posted at AmericanInventorSpot.com.

Writing to real estate agents, Jim Cronin presents Your Company Provided Website Is A Waste posted at The Real Estate Tomato.

Some companies need to grow, some just need to grow up. Benjamin Yoskovitz presents Companies That Act Like 2-Year Olds Need to Grow Up posted at I Got News For You.

I have been a PalmOS fan so this discussion of a public relations stunt by a Palm OS developer was interesting. Tam Hanna presents Dmitry Grinberg evaluating PocketPC? so what? posted at TamsPalm-the Palm OS Blog.

Thinking that marketing materials, including blogs, should be readable, cehwiedel presents Readability as an Online Marketing Tool posted at Kicking Over My Traces.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of Marketing using our carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Do you remember your customers on their birthday? On their anniversary? Do you give special notice to recently acquired customers? Promoterz does. Learn more

Get Your Business Found on the Web

Get Your Business Found on the Web

Our company creates it’s own products, like PromoterZ, and we also do custom web development. I recently completed a site for an Arizona real estate company, The O'Keefe Group, that sells remarkable homes in the Scottsdale area, most of which are in the luxury golf communities of Desert Mountain, Estancia, Mirabel, and others. They need a site that provides credibility to their expertise, portrays the properties/product that they list in a good manner, and gets found in search engines. A fairly common need for many businesses.

There are many factors in web design and development that affect these issues and some of them are conflicting. One of the big conflicts is between beauty and word content. Have you seen CraigsList? Lots of words, no beauty. If you want to be found in the search engines here are three simple things to keep in mind:

  1. Have relevant content. There is no substitute for this. If you want a search for real estate in a particular area to list your site among the most relevant, your content better state it—in words. In this case pictures are not worth a thousand words, in fact they can be worth nothing. The more relevant content you have the better.
  2. Use URL/addresses the engines can get to. You need to make sure that all of your pages can be found by the search engines. You do this with a site map or other linking techniques. Poorly formed dynamic urls like http://yoursite.com/?q=bad77399ykkkahjhdyyy7&poo=oops77778888884444333/more-stuff-here/umptysquat=777777 (you get the idea) are hard for the search engines to eat and many don't get indexed and stored by the engines so the content on those pages are unknown by them. There are exceptions, but solutions that offer better formed urls are the way to go.
  3. Get links from related sites to your site. This one takes some time to perform. You want to get links from related sites back to your site. Again, more is better. If 10 is good, 100 is better, and 1,000 is better yet. How many do you need?, more than your competitor. You can get these by asking webmasters and site owners, writing articles and posting them to ezines, etc. Some will occur naturally, particularly if your're creating content regularly with a blog, provide RSS or other sydication means, and develop a following with it.

There are a lot of tools out there to help you create a great site. If you have a lot riding on your site you probably want to use a competent web developer to create your web presence and get your site in front of people. The web can be a powerful tool for your business.

If you are a real estate agent check this out at the Real Estate Tomato.

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Seeds from the blogworld
We search the business blog world looking for posts that illustrate principles, or "Seeds", that if followed, or "planted", will help small businesses grow. We list them here for your convenience. Enjoy.

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