Startling fact – almost 70% of email sent in 2012 was considered to be SPAM! Yup – you read correctly – spam accounted for nearly three quarters of the messages in our in-boxes last year.
A typical example of spam in my own in-box is from businesses who required my email address so I could receive something I needed! They then proceed to send me frequent spam type messages along with proving my personal email details to other spammers within their network. These spammers are not the valid businesses who ask for my email information in order to send me legitimate newsletters which I actually want – but are the bottom of the barrel sleeze bags who think that spamming me will actually make me buy from them!
How do we stop this? Well I wish I had the answer! But one way to limit these annoying emails is to use disposable email addresses. Disposable email allows you to provide an email address as needed, but never receive any of the junk mail that often follows, in your personal mail box.
Mailinator is the service I use. They allow you to create your disposable email address on the fly. You can check your mailinator in box if you want to or just ignore it and it will eventually be deleted.
It’s important to note that this service is not appropriate for personal or sensitive emails as they are not secure. But disposable email is a great service to add to your spam fighting toolbox!
This is a post from several years ago about building your customer base with amazing service. It came to mind again today as I was helping a client identify their ideal clients and update the copy on their website. It’s not really about web design, but about some off line marketing skills that will certainly compliment your online marketing campaigns…
Earlier this week my eight year old son’s guitar had an electrical problem and we had to take it to be repaired. My husband suggested we pass on going to the local big box guitar shop and instead try a small repair shop close by. What a great suggestion that was.
We called ahead to explain that my son’s guitar was broken and asked if they could fix it on the spot. The owner answered the phone and replied that they could and told us to call him when we were on our way. We called for directions, found the store in the middle of a quiet industrial park and then rang the bell to be let in! Once inside, we had to wait about ten minutes while the customer ahead of us was being helped. While we waited I noticed that this customer was a regular and that the owner seemed to personally know all the guitars being handed over to him along with who owned them.
When our turn came the owner immediately greeted us and asked my son’s name. He then went on to compliment his guitar and asked my son what the problem was. As he was working on the guitar, he constantly chatted to my son, asking him what music he liked, what his favorite band was and if he could play certain songs. By this time Jack was in “guitar shop heaven”. He was beaming from ear to ear and enjoying the attention. Half way through the work, the owner showed me a part and informed me that although it was still working, the plating was coming off. He suggested we upgrade this part for a better quality piece to avoid having to come back again in a few months for the same repairs.
When the job was finished, I was handed a receipt which had my son’s name on it with my name underneath. The owner handed Jack a handful of guitar picks and told him that their phone number was on them and to call them the next time his guitar needed to be repaired.
Awesome experience right? Here’s the great marketing tactics this guitar repair shop used to blow us away. These tactics can be easily implemented into your business immediately…
- We had to ring an intercom bell and be buzzed in. This gave us the feeling of exclusivity and made us feel like members of a private club. Find a way to make YOUR customers feel exclusive. Perhaps a members only area of your website.
- The owner knew the customer ahead of us by name, he was also very familiar with the guitars being dropped off. Make a point to call your customers by name. Calling someone by name associates them with familiarity and they’ll instantly feel more comfortable with you.
- He remembered the guitars and who they belonged to. By taking notes while talking on the phone or in person with your clients, you’ll be able to recall the details of their requests and their requirements every time you speak with them.
- The store owner spoke directly to his customer – my son – and formed an emotional connection with him! He asked questions and found out my son’s musical preferences. This is a big one! Figure out who the decision maker is and form an emotional connection with them. Ask questions to find out exactly what they are looking for and show them how you can fill these needs.
- He sold us a new part although the old one was still working. This was a great example of up selling. I was sold something I did not immediately need but purchased it immediately without a second thought. Try to anticipate your customer’s needs. Are they having trouble selecting a package or service with just a few choices to select from? Create a “special” upgrade which includes some additional choices.
- He gave Jack some guitar picks and told him to call next time his guitar needed to be repaired. I know that next time something goes wrong with that guitar – my son will do exactly as he was told and will ask me to call this guitar shop. Give your customers a clear call to action both on your website and when you chat with them on the telephone or through email. Tell them to call you on Friday to confirm which package/service they’ve decided on. Tell a prospective client to come meet with you next week – how does Tuesday sound?
Can’t you tell – this guitar shop has found a new customer for life who’s dying to tell the world how great they are. Implement some of the strategies above and I’m sure you’ll see some amazing results. You’ll develop a loyal customer base eager to spread the word about your amazing service – and there’s no better marketing than that!
Have you experienced great service and marketing tactics which you can apply to your business? Please share your experiences – I’d love to hear about them.
You’ve probably heard the buzz this week surrounding the launch by Facebook of their latest feature Graph Search! You’re probably also asking what is Facebook Graph Search and how can I use it?
This new search feature will allow Facebook users to search information already indexed by the Facebook community. Once fully launched, you’ll be able to search and locate people by their location, interests and career. For example, if you’re craving Indian food, you’ll be able to search for people within a certain location who like Indian food, then see which restaurants they have liked.
For the small business owner the implementation of Graph Search emphasizes the need to create and maintain your business page. Make sure the information on your page is up to date and frequently post relevant content to your page.
Although it’s still uncertain exactly how the algorithms will work and how search results will be listed, it’s anticipated that importance will be a major factor. So plan to add increasing your number of likes and check-ins to your already full to-do list – as this may very likely impact where your business places on the graph search results.
With this new incentive to stay within the Facebook community it looks like Facebook is one step closer to becoming a self contained social/search solution.
Now that Thanksgiving’s over it’s time for us all to get back to work! And… (gasp) it’s only 37 days till 2013! Time to start working on your business plans/goals for new year. Why not start the new year off with a brand new website or a fresh, updated look for your current website and save $150 on my affordable web design packages.
I know, I know – you already have a website and it looks just fine so why on earth would you need a new or redesigned one?
Well – take a close look at the site you currently have and ask yourself these questions…
- Is all the information still correct and up to date?
- Are there links/buttons to your social media pages?
- Do you have a clear call to action on EVERY page?
- Are your keywords still relevant and used on each page
- Does each page have different and relevant title tags
- Do you have a self-hosted blog attached to your website
- Do you have a system for capturing email data?
I bet you answered no to several of these questions!
I know how expensive the holiday season is – so to help you out a little I’m offering a $150 discount on any of my affordable web design packages. Just contact me before 5pm on December 31st to receive this discount.
PS/ If you would like a free analysis of your website, just email me the link along with your email address.
How to create a new website is another one of those questions I hear constantly. It’s pretty simple to get a website up and running these days but you’ll want to make sure you do it the right way! Take advantage of the many services and resources available when you’re creating a new website. This guide will cover the basics and give you some basic tips.
How to create a new website…
- Buy a Domain Name: The first thing you’ll need is buy a domain name. Yes, we know that many free hosting services don’t require you purchase a domain name but we’ don’t suggest you use these services. Your domain name is a crucial part of your web identity and branding and can cost as little as just $10 per year.
- Purchase Web Hosting: The next thing you’ll need to do is purchase a web hosting plan. Don’t use a free web hosting service. These free hosting services may seem tempting, but don’t fall into their trap. Free hosting services usually place advertisements on your website, they may not allow you to use your own domain and they come with no guarantee of uptime. We use Go Daddy and ipower. Both services offer affordable hosting plans.
- Website Building Services: Don’t go with a cheap website building service which promises you a quick and easy website which will be live in just minutes! These websites are usually created with poorly build templates. These template are usually not search engine friendly and look like generic templates not like a custom built website. It will not be easy for you to create a unique brand using these templates. Either create your website yourself using a service like self hosted wordpress or hire a professional to do it for you.
- Niche Website Building Services: Don’t be tempted by one of these services either. For example, if you’re a doctor, there are many website building services for doctors. They offer free content for your website, which seems to be a great idea. But wait – think about this… every other doctor out there could have purchased this service and they’ll all have this exact same content on their websites. This is considered duplicate content and is a big seo no no!
- Develop Your Content: This is one of the most important steps. Don’t create your content for the search engines. Instead create a content rich website which focuses on your target market and your customers needs. Offer them the information they’re looking for and provide a solution to their problems.
- Advertise Your New Website: This is a huge topic and needs a post all of it’s own (coming soon). But to get you started you’ll need to add your new website address (url) to all your stationary and paperwork. Don’t forget to add it to your email signature too. Create social media accounts for your business and add your website info. Check your title/meta tags/description and make sure they’re set up correctly using your keywords. Submit your site to directories, request reciprocal links, write articles, publish a newsletter… the list goes on and on.
Remember that although those offers of a free website look good, they’ll usually end up costing more money and causing you more trouble in the long run. Do it right the first time!
If you’re still not sure how to proceed with your new website or just want some advise from a professional give me a call or send me an email. I’ll be happy to help you out and point you in the right direction with absolutely no obligation.
How to promote a new website is a question I’ve been hearing a lot recently. Many of my clients, friends and colleagues have websites for their businesses and really have no idea where to start with their website marketing and promotion.
Of course, I can’t help myself and usually have to take a sneak peak at their websites code! More often than not I find many missed opportunities for promoting their website – and all free opportunities too. Here’s one of my simple SEO tips for launching a new website…
Online website marketing (aka seo or search engine optimization) is a complicated puzzle and not a straight forward science, however there are some easy steps you can take to help get your new website into the search engine results pages (otherwise known as serps).
The first and easiest place to start is with the Title Tags. Title tags seem to be the place where most people go wrong by just using the name of their business in these important tags! Think of title tags as the names of chapters in a book. You wouldn’t use the name of the book for each chapter, so why do this to your website?
Title tags tell your visitors and the search engines what each webpage is about. Use keywords in the title and remember that the words are weighted from left to right (most important keywords to the left and least important to the right).
Title tags should be relevant and should describe the content on the page. Each page should have a unique title tag just as each chapter of a book would.
By updating your title tags you won’t magically move your website to the first page of the search engine results – that’s just too simple! What you will have done though is to tell the search engines and your potential customers what your website is about and help them find you online. After all – that’s the goal of your website right?
If you need more traffic to your website why not have it reviewed by a professional for free! To take advantage of this special offer just contact me before Dec 31, 2012.
You’ve spent time updating your website and have had all your pages optimized for Google search – so what’s next? You’ll want to know how to check Google ranking for your website when people search for your keywords.
The old fashioned and time consuming way is to manually type your keywords into Google and keep moving from page to page until you come across your website! But I don’t have time to do this and I’m sure you don’t either.
Don’t despair, there are some tools to help you. The quick and easy way to check your search engine ranking is to use a free Google search tool like What Page of Search Am I On?”.
You just enter the keywords and your url, hit search and this great search tool will scroll down the first ten pages of Google search results until it locates your website. The only downside is that it only checks the first 10 pages so if your website ranks lower than that you’ll not know how far down you rank.
You’ll want to kept track of this data and check your Google ranking for all your keywords each week. You’ll soon be able use this golden info to help discover which keywords are most effective in driving traffic to your website.
Mention the term duplicate content to any webmaster and you’ll be certain to have started a colorful discussion! Many website owners and small businesses have heard that duplicate content is taboo but are not clear on the facts. They wonder what does Google think about duplicate content? Although Google changes their algorithm frequently, here’s our (simplified) take on the duplicate content discussion which should help clear up the myths.
Google currently focuses on duplicate content within the same domain. However just because you’re content is unique on YOUR domain – you’re not in the clear if the same content is published across other domains.
Consider this example… Website A publishes articles about fish. This website and article rank in position one. If website B is publishing the exact same article, then Google certainly does not want this site in position 2 and website C in position 3 and on and on. They are aiming to provide relevant content and not the same information over and over again. The search engines would have to decide which page is most relevant, possibly the first page they indexed however not always.
Blacklisting, although not as common, usually occurs when it seems that the website is publishing duplicate content in an attempt to manipulate the search engines.
So if you only take away once piece of advice from this post – it’s this… posting substantial blocks of duplicate content is generally frowned upon both within and across websites.
Welcome to Zarchi Web Design. We’re a web design and seo company focusing on small business.
Whether you need a new or redesigned website for your small business, or just need help with search engine optimization (seo) you’ll receive first class service. I take on just a limited number of projects at a time to ensure I’ll be dedicated to you.
All web design packages inlude thorough search engine optimization so your new website can be found easily in all the major search engines.
From domain purchase, hosting, web design and seo to website maintenance – I’ll be there every step of the way. You’ll have trouble finding better service!
The possibilites are endless…
- Upgrade your current website to a new, fresh design
- Create a new website and bring your vision to reality
- Optimize your website for search engines and lead generation
- Add a video presentation or a photo gallery
- Install a blog for a stream of fresh content
- Add an opt-in box and form