Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The purpose of blogging for business

By Jon Paget

I saw this image and thought of the Where's Wally books I grew up with. Try as you might, it's difficult to pick out any one individual unless they're wearing a crass red and white stripey top - and even then it's tough!

This is how businesses can feel when trying to stand out online. There are so many 'me too' competitors it's hard to stand out.

I was asked this morning about the benefits of businesses blogging. I gave almost exactly the same answer as I did when asked the same question last week; it depends.

It depends on who you are, who your clients/target audience are, what's the topic, what's the strategy, how much time you can dedicate to it...the list goes on.

I am often surprised by the way things can just arrive in front of you just when you need it. Take the article I'm about to share with you. It's one of the most concise articles I've read in terms of how to generate leads from your blog - one of the most important elements in deciding whether to undertake any marketing activity should be whether it will generate leads or not.

Let me know what you think of the article and whether you have anything to add!

A B2B Guide for Blogging Lead Generation

Happy blogging.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Creating a following on twitter - everyone's allowed a bit of help

Much has been made of how to create a following on twitter. Keeping up to date with the latest tools, how to use them and what they do would be a full time job by itself - such is the speed of development of third party programs.

To make things a little easier here is a breakdown of some of the most commonly used programs and what they can offer:

1) Tweetdeck

This is one of the most common programs used for managing tweets and twitter followers. Integrate with LinkedIn and facebook profiles, manage followers into lists and much more.

2) CoTweet

Positions itself as the business level program for twitter users. Allows you to easily manage multiple users and accounts, the scheduling of future tweets and the ability to tag tweets you wish to follow up (at a later date).

3) Twitpic

By far the most popular site for uploading images to twitter.
4) Tweetmeme

This site displays the most popular links posted on twitter displaying an image (if available) the number of times a link has been retweeted, number of comments and author of the original tweet.
5) Tweet Adder

A desktop application that helps you grow your list of followers - and fast! Some of the site's functionality includes the ability to schedule tweets (which is ideal for businesses that use twitter to promote short run deals and offers), keyword searches, MP3 file sharing and much more. 
There are of course dozens (if not hundreds) of programs and websites that offer services for twitter. These are just a select few. Have one you would like to share? Tell us and leave a comment.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Improve site search to improve website conversions and ROI

By Jon Paget
My last post discussed how to make the most of your product pages and effectively communicate what it is your business has to offer. This is of course of vital importance.

However, visitors to the site need to reach your product pages for this to even enter into the equation. There are a number of ways to achieve this, one of which is a site search. Site search is important for speeding up the visitor's journey through the site.

I've found an article that I want to share with you which I feel makes some great suggestions for how to improve a site's search facility.

The link for the article is below but here are the three considerations I'd like to highlight:

  1. Make all of your site's content searchable. There's nothing that will frustrate a visitor more than if they can't find what they're looking for. Buying criteria can vary enormously from wanting to learn more about the company and seeing previous work to delivery and after sales service. All of this and more should be included.

  2. Use of good quality images - this is surely a no-brainer. If you haven't already read it, take a look at Successful selling online.

  3. Use of video. A company featured in the article (below) gathered statistics that showed visitors who watched video were 85% more likely to buy. Wow! That raises the obvious question. How do we get more people to watch video? Making videos available through the site search is a great (and obvious) first step...

So, those are my three key points but the full article is well worth a read:

Monday, 9 August 2010

Successful selling online - more than just an online shop

By Jon Paget

I spoke to a business owner recently that sells hand made goods and luxury items through their website throughout the UK and across Europe.

For this to happen the business' website requires ecommerce functionality (which has its own complications). However, there are other, simpler problems that businesses can run into online.

The business mentioned had had a sale had go through from a customer in mainland Europe. The item was shipped and arrived in perfect condition. However the client wasn't happy and returned the item immediately.


The answer is simple. The client thought they were buying one thing and had actually received another.

The explanation starts with the way products and services are communicated online. In this case the image used for the product wasn't clear enough to accurately display the product.

This isn't the only thing to consider though. Here are three things to think about:

1) Does each product have its own page eg: http://goo.gl/BXlS

This is important so that each product page can be very specific and focused upon that sole item. It will also allow you to personalise that page to that specific product including the use of model numbers, brand names, special features, etc, can be used.
This will then directly improve the visibility of the product or service in the search engines.

2) Is there a clear informative description?

Is there enough text and technical information so all the details are passed onto the reader? Are you using the right keywords and/or using each page's meta data in the right way?
Is there a chance to learn more, ask a question, see reviews - there are so many things to consider here but ask yourself what you like about the website's that you use to buy online.

3) Images.

Yes, good quality images are crucial. Are the images consistent (same background, lighting, size etc), can you view more than one angle, can you enlarge the image. What about ALT text?

Whether you're selling online (taking payments) or using a website to simply display your products or describe your services, it's vital to do it effectively and clearly.

Good luck.

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