With companies like Best Buy “setting up shop” on Facebook my clients are in somewhat of a panic to compete. First of all, as I’ve said since the beginning, you cannot compete with big business on their level. If you could you wouldn’t be a “truly small business” any more – and wouldn’t need my advice.
Instead, be the best you can be and win because you are a small business that knows people buy from you because you offer better service and truly care about each individual customer. (We all know that at Best Buy and other stores like them we’re just a telephone number :-D). People shop at big stores because they are looking for the best deal. As a small retailer you are not going to have that. Instead you will have the best selection for your customers!
“Social Commerce” is going to happen – there is no way to avoid it. But instead of using the tools that are provided to “make you dependent” on Facebook (or any other social site) do the work yourself and drive your customers to your website to browse and then encourage them to “chat you up” on FB via their own profile. You can also put a “post a review” link on your site that takes them to your Google Places page and lets them post a review. Where else are you listed where people can post reviews? There are tons of local shopping sites where you can have a free listing and people can comment on your service etc – make sure you’re leveraging these free services. Granted, your site may not yet have the “rate this product” feature but you can still generate buzz on Facebook and other sites about it by introducing it as a post on your Fan page – people can still comment on Facebook about it but the link takes them to your website and doesn’t keep them on Facebook like the FB “shop” tab is designed to do.
Again, I’m not saying ditch FB – just don’t let them own you.
I’m reading a new book that is helping me put words to my own experience as a search engine marketing expert and I’m excited about sharing the information with you. The book is titled: The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, 2nd Edition. I picked this book up because I already “know” what he means and am familiar with the information he is sharing but I’ve been struggling with how to communicate this knowledge to you.
So far my favorite phrase is “interruption advertising”. That is his term for those awful, loud, obnoxious TV ads that we have all grown to hate so much. He talks about how those big companies (and the PR companies they are paying the big bucks to) are trying to stick with those old rules of advertising in this new world of web marketing and why it doesn’t work!
I agree 100% !- Interruption ads are those God awful ads you get on your Yahoo Mail and Facebook – you’re not there to buy anything but the big companies with bottomless budgets are there SHOUTING at you – “Buy Me and you will be special!”
This is the first time in history that the little guy (you and I) get to thumb our noses at the Madison Avenue crowd and win by doing what is right instead of what is expensive. Wahoo! I’m in are you ready to come along?
If so, watch this blog for more tidbits and guidelines.
Having been in the website building business for more than 10 years now I’ve seen a lot of things. In the early days, when many hosting companies were still being run out of garages, it was not uncommon for people to call me ‘desperate’ because their website was down and the hosting company had “vanished”. To my amazement many of them didn’t have personal backups, and most of them weren’t listed as the owner of their own domains – which made it extremely difficult to reclaim it and theyoften had to start from scratch.
Surprisingly, I still get those calls today. Fortunately – most of the time we can at least build a new site on their original domain name. However, a recent experience reminded me that many people, including my clients, simply trust their webmaster to manage that information for them. But you should also check this yourself. Like I tell my clients it’s my “drop dead clause – If I drop dead these are the things you need to know”.
Often, it is not your web master’s intention to put your domain under their ownership – it’s just that we have all these tools that we use to support you and if we forget to make some edits – suddenly we find that we are the owner of your domain and not you – which is all fine and dandy until something happens to the webmaster (or you get really mad at them). So, here is what you need to do – check your records – do you know where your domain is registered? Do you know who the underlying wholesale provider is – for example I sell domains to my customers for convenience. But I purchase them from a wholesaler called Enom – so if something were to happen to me, my customers could actually go out to Enom and manage their domain. As a courtesy, I provide my clients with the information they would need to access that resource should something happen to me.
To find out if you are truly the registered owner of your domain (and where it is registered) you can go to DNSStuff.com – they have a tool called “who is” type your domain name in there (just the domain.com part) and you will get something back that looks similar to what I’ve posted below (scroll down for further explanation). Unless your domain was registered with Network Solutions – in which case you will be told to go to Network Solutions to look things up – but once you find the place to look it up you should see something similar to this:
Registration Service Provided By: Coburn Enterprises dba SiteBuilder Now
Domain name: yourdomain.com
Your Name ()
12345 NE 162nd Ave
Vancouver, WA 98682
12345 NE 162nd Ave
Vancouver, WA 98682
Harmony Coburn *****@sitebuildernow.net)
12345 NE 162nd Ave
Vancouver, WA 98682
Creation date: 20 Nov 2004 02:27:00
Expiration date: 20 Nov 2012 02:27:00
The most important part of what you see here is the Registrant’s information – as long as you are / your company is the Registrant – you can recover management of your domain even if you don’t know how to access it – it’s work but a website consultant could help. If your webmaster or hosting company is listed as the Registrant, you have no legitimate “rights” to your domain so you need to get in touch with them and get that changed as soon as possible.
For convenience I am often listed as both the Administrative and Technical contact for my clients – that way I can manage the tasks that are required to make sure the “internet” knows where to find their website – as long as you are the Registrant you’re ok. However, you should also know where and how to access your domain so that you can change things at any time – if you get mad at your webmaster, it is best to make sure they no longer have access to your domain and that you have full control before you notify them that you are leaving them – all hosting companies and webmasters are not necessarily as ethical as one would hope.
A final thought on this subject – LEGITIMATE REGISTRARS DO NOT SEND RENEWAL NOTICES IN THE US MAIL!If you get a notice in the mail that your domain is going to expire – contact your registrar or your webmaster or your hosting company and ask them about it – do not send money. Although most registrars have a default setting of “locked” these days, which prevents the transfer of your domain from one registrar to another without your permission, if yours was not locked, you could inadvertantly give your domain to someone who would take it over and put spam links on it or worse! In most cases, you will just be out the (ridiculous) fee they tell you to send.
As a small business advisor, specializing in helping truly small business determine the most effective use of their marketing dollars, including their website, I have helped many clients recover from unexpected losses of their website and domain. But it is difficult at best. If you don’t understand this or your have more questions feel free to contact me. I’ll be glad to help.
Social Media refers to sites where visitors can interact with each other in one way or another. Also referred to Web 2.0 (a term I still haven’t seen fully embraced), Social Media is not a new product, in fact it’s been around longer than I’ve been on the web (and that has been since dinosaurs roamed the lands and AOL was the be all and end all of “you’ve got mail” connections.
I actually gained the foundation of the knowledge that has allowed me to make a business out of my love for technology from a guy that my Mom met in an “online forum”! She posted a question about something and this guy had a great answer – so she emailed him and thanked him. They started “chatting” via EMail and he introduced her to ICQ – this was pre-Instant Messaging from AOL.
So, social media is definetely not “new”. What is “new” is the attention it is getting from the search engines and the hype it is getting from the media – all of this is driving traffic to sites like FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and, oh, let’s not forget MySpace (although oddly enough I haven’t heard MySpace be mentioned in the media outside of cyber bullying in almost a year!).
What you may not know is “social media” also refers to things like Blogs, Forums and other online communities. When you are getting “hyped” about the importance of Facebook and other social marketing sites, keep in mind, Facebook wants you to be hyped because they want to sell ads to people that want to know everything about you (which you provide when you set up your profile). Facebook is not your “friend” it is a business designed to bring traffic in so that they can provide statistics to potential advertisers that say “Hey, I want to sell to 50 year old women – can you help?”.
Do I still think you need a Fan Page – absolutely – but don’t think that a FaceBook Fan page is going to give you long term success. View it as only one tool in your tool box. Especially keep in mind that if you are making money off of that fan page and Facebook isn’t getting their share of it – the program will change.
When I “sell” a client on an SEM (Search Engine Marketing) program I do the things listed in my post Steps to Search Engine Dominance – but you can do these things for yourself!
You get emails about it, you read about it on chat boards and forums, you know it’s what makes your site “successful” but what does it really mean?
Search Engine Optimization is the art of taking your site’s content and making sure it mathematically reflects the value it offers to your target market.
You have a website, you want your website to be seen by as many people as possible. In order for your site to be found when someone searches for what you are promoting on your website the search engines (computers) have to believe that your site has the best answers to their request. Search engines are run by computers, therefore, they make determinations on black and white statistics. They don’t care how pretty your site is, they don’t even like “high tech”. What they care about is the math – what percentage of your site matches the search criteria and how many honestly related sites link back to you? This is often referred to as “keyword relevance”.
In summary, when writing content for your website think about your potential customers and how they might search for you if they didn’t know you existed. What problems do you solve and how would someone with those problems try to find you? Once you know this, you are ready to optimize your site. Remember, it’s not about keyword spamming – it’s about honestly providing the information that people that come to your site are hoping to find.
You can view this entire article on our website.