Tuesday, October 30, 2007

An Evolving Media

In case you haven’t heard, the Internet has gone local. Local online search is now second only to email for the most common online activity. Unfortunately Mom and Pop seem woefully unprepared for this shift in marketing. Still hewing closely to the 20th century marketing model, local businesses are investing primarily in print and broadcast marketing, allocating less than 5% in Internet marketing.

By 2017, forecasters predict that local businesses will be investing close to 25% in their Internet marketing campaigns. But, you don’t have to wait that long. All the resources and tools are out there to help you get started on your Internet campaigns. You don’t have to be a computer whiz, as long as you hire a forward thinking company that specializes in Internet marketing to enact your campaign for you.

One of the most important aspects of Internet marketing is the actual website design itself. Your website is the portal connecting potential customers to your product and company. On a local level this gives the customer all the information they need, to avail of your services.

Search engine optimization or SEO is the process of getting traffic to your website. Sadly, many people still think that simply putting a website on the web is enough. There is not much point in investing in the Internet as an advertising avenue if no one will ever see it. The whole process requires research, strategic campaign planning and a professional website design. You can save yourself a lot of time and money by hiring a professional.

So the writing is on the wall, with more people searching the Internet for their local business needs, an adjustment to the more traditional marketing model is needed. This does not mean that all business owners must learn how to create their own websites. A reputable advertising company, well versed in Internet marketing is the best bet so these forays into new advertising territories are executed properly and professionally. A good website and tactical SEO, while not just visually pleasing can give potential customers all the information that they need in order to find you and frequent your service.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Collection of Details

Everyone knows the expression, "God is in the details." The idea, as heretical as it may be to make this topical jump, applies just as well to advertising and, especially, to website design.

It's amazing how often I've gone to websites and been thwarted by some aspect of the design, actually hindered from doing what I need to do on the site. In most cases, this clumsiness of design directly results in an inability to, say, make a purchase or find a product or store. Don't people realize this? If I go to a website and can't find out how to telephone the company, or if a page takes 5 minutes to load, then the bottom line is that I will probably leave the website (and the product) and never look back.

Usability carries over into things like aesthetics and good writing too. A website that looks thrown together, text overrun with bad grammar and spelling mistakes, broken links and outdated information -- these things show that you don't actually care about your customers' experience. Or worse, that you think that they won't notice when you cut corners. We've said it before, but things like careless writing simply scream "unreliable" and "shoddy." Do you think people won't notice? Think again.

This isn't just useless griping. When my experience on a website is pleasant and smooth, I might not consciously think, "Wow, everything here is spelled correctly" or,"The pages sure load quickly!" On the other hand, I'll be left with an overall satisfaction with my experience, and I'll associate that satisfaction with the website and, by extension, with the company itself. Good craftsmanship (be it in design, programming, writing, or anything else) doesn't draw attention to itself, and therein lies its success. Rather than fume over the fact that I'm sitting in front of a screen waiting for a page to load, or stumbling over misplaced commas, I'm able to fully immerse myself in the actual content of the site, open and receptive to what it has to say.