28 January 2010

0 Powering Positive Reviews

If you work with an SEO company or are an aggressive online marketer, you've more than likely heard the emphasis on the importance of getting reviews. We know potential consumers use reviews to gage your business, services or products and the possibility of them using your company. We even know search engines use reviews, particularly in ranking your local business listing. But how do you go about getting reviews, and more specifically how can you make sure you get positive reviews?

The answer is simple, be strategic. Sure sending a solicitation email to your entire contact database may be the quickest and easiest way to request reviews, but it is also a sure fire method for opening your business up for less than stellar responses (no matter how great your company is there are always nae sayers) or reviews that lack substance (the classic "These guys are great!" response & nothing else).

Instead, strategically identify clients that you have very positive, long-term and/or substantive relationships with. Include any clients that you know are tech savvy or influential.

When you draft the request, don't just ask for reviews to help your websites search engine ranking. Customer don't care about that. Here are the important elements you will want to include:
  • Instructions for posting the review on specific sites (Do they need to login to the site to review, etc.)
  • Links to your company profile on the review site(s). Don't make them go searching for your profile.
  • Let them know that they are a valued customer and you appreciate their opinion. Let them know that their opinion you will help you service them better. (They need to know what is in it for them.)
  • Mention why you want the review. Specifically the importance of existing customers feedback and experiences on potential customers.
  • Thank them for their time and opinion.
  • If you are able to give an incentive such as a discount on products or services for their review, let them know it! Let them know it is for their time.
I also recommend not sending the primary request as part of an extensive list of information about the business, new news, etc. While you can always include a link and quick blurb in a newsletter, sending the request out solo will garner the attention it deserves.

Reviews are a positive tool for bringing in new business. Take the time to solicit quality reviews and you may be surprised at the results.

21 January 2010

0 Who Wants to Be Smart When You Can Be Stupid

In the marketing business we are always talking about the importance of knowing your consumers, going where they go, being where they are, and the importance of speaking to them rather than at them.

The new Diesel is the perfect example of knowing who the consumer is. The new campaign and the strategy accompanying it is perfect for the apparel company. Kudos to London based agency Anomaly.

So tell the next person who tells you "Don't Be Stupid" that they may have brains, but you've got balls. Life is way more interesting for the stupid people.

12 January 2010

0 The Site of Your Company Clients Should See

One of the things I've noticed that numerous advertising and public relations agencies have in common isn't the stellar amount of client work plastering the walls or the staff frantically measuring their billable hours, but more often than not they lack self marketing. An agency's main purpose is to sell, promote and increase awareness of its client's services or products, however many agencies forget to truly market themselves on the most used information avenue, the internet.

You may be thinking hold on just a minute. I have a Web site. It is visually creative. And it has a blog.  All of that is well and good, however what is the Web site saying about your agency? What can you do for my company? Why should I hire you? Here are three internet marketing elements that as an agency, you may want to rethink:

Design + Functionality
How dare I ask you to reconsider your Web site’s design! After all you are a creative agency and the Web site reflects that creativity! Stop for a second and rethink that statement. What is wrong with it? That is right; nowhere in that statement does it consider the site’s primary user, prospective clients. 

The Web site is an introduction to the agency itself. Sure it should show that you are creative, but it should also be highly functional. As a prospective client I should be able to find the information I’m looking for. Don’t make me hunt for it. I’m more likely to leave the site than spend the time trying to figure out what is going on there. Before you add tons of flash, widgets or forty little buttons I can click on but can’t figure out what they are right away, consider your audience.

Sure. You’ve got that covered. Look at all of your ingenious work. Next topic please. But wait a minute. Stop and think about the user again. What do they want to know? What do you have to offer? What are your expertise? Have you ever worked with companies like me before? Who are you? Why are you the best for the job? 

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love seeing the work that an agency has done for its clients, but I want to know what you can do for me as a client too. I want to know that you will take the time to understand my brand, my business and my consumers. Show me why I should pick you.

You may have a great Web site, beautifully designed and full of information about what you do for your clients and what you can do for prospective clients. Wonderful! Now your website has to be accessible. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play. By optimizing your website you insure that your prospective clients can find your agency. 

Please note that effective SEO is not a one time and we are done thing. Optimization needs care and attention. To be effective it makes sense to hirer another company to assist in your SEO campaign if you do not have someone on staff that specializes in it. 

The internet is the first medium prospective clients turn to for information, so if they are looking for more information on your agency and what it can done it stands to reason that the Web site will be their first in-depth look at your agency. Show your website and agency marketing strategies the same care and attention that you show your clients.

05 January 2010

0 Skilling Up in a Down Economy

In an industry that is constantly changing with advancements of social media and other new technologies it is incredibly important to stay on top of your game. If you are in the job market arena or took a position outside the Marcom/PR industry here are a few tips to keep your skills sharp or build new ones in the interim.
  • Go Pro Bono - Agencies aren't the only ones who can donate their services and expertise to non-profit charities or organizations. Many organizations are ecstatic to receive services that they would otherwise have to pay for. Besides the fuzzy I did something good feelings you get, you may just end up with something extra to add to your resume or portfolio.
  •  Meetup with other Pros - is nifty social networking community that allows you to find a group in your city that shares your same interest. See if there is already an existing group that meets your field or interest in PR, if not start one of your own! This is a great way to learn new skills, techniques, tools, etc. from other flacks.
  • Embrace the Intern - Many professionals believe that internships are only for college students or fresh graduates, Not True! Internships are a great way to break into a new industry, hone up on new skills and new technologies or just explore another avenue of PR. Don't bulk from the unpaid either. 
Taking a proactive step is key to developing the career you want. Brush up on industry news, explore new medium and always remember to embrace a new experience.