Sunday, December 30, 2007
Strange thing Christmas. It seems to put people in positions and situations they aren't happy with or used to. Why do we allow this to happen just because it happens to be December? Maybe I'm being over analytical. I've put myself in situations like that several times this year and now I'm sat thinking why did I do that. I wasn't fair to the people I was with (I wasn't truthful enough, other wise I wouldn't have been there) and it wasn't fair to me either.
From today I'm going to be truthful to myself first because surely by doing that I'll be truthful to the people I love and who love me. I don't mean that I'll be painfully truthful, because that would mean hurting people and that in itself wouldn't be true to me.
What's this got to do with marketing? Well if you want to be really good at anything then you need to be truthful to your self and your customers. Being a trickster or worse a liar can only be a brief thing, you'll eventually be caught out and customers, like your friends and family don't like being lied to and eventually piss off and leave you.
So take the truth forward and believe in yourself this year.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Flash animations on home pages serve two purposes to my mind.
- They stop search engines crawling the site.
- They really delay the really important people thier customers!
If you really have to use flash then embed it in the page!
Oh yes, if your flash animation is that good and engaging that I'll want to watch it why have you given me a skip into link?
Thursday, November 15, 2007
For years the norm has been to give banks your money and in exchange they give you a puny return, while they make billions from your cash.
They then have the temerity to charge you for letters, statements and be closed just when you need them.
How much sense does it make to be a company which supplies people with cash and then to close on Saturday when the majority of people actually need money or want financial advice about a loan or mortgage. Only banks would put barriers in the way of allowing customers to interact with them. They instead force customers to make appointments in the week when they should be working. While I'm at it why do doctors and dentists do the exact same thing? Open all weekend and close a day in the week if you really have to.
Anyway to get back to the point. First Direct say that they'll transfer the £100 after the first month of banking with them. This sounds fair enough so image my surprise when they transferred the £100 13 days after I opened my account.
First Direct are different because they change the banking conventions and exceed customer expectations. If you business can do both of these and do it well then you're on to a winner. Anything less and you're just another also ran.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
One sad note for me is that Helvetica has no been overtaken in usage by the far less elegant Arial. The reason this far less well constructed typeface has beaten this design classic is down to that old demon - Microsoft.
Helevetica has copyright and design issues. Clearly Microsoft loved the typeface but didn't want to stomach the costs so they invented Arial. In last night's show designers said that Helvetica is the default. And if you own any DTP programmes I know you'll agree.
But for the rest of the world who only use Word and Excel then the default is Arial.
If only Helvetica had been designed when the new rules of spreading ideas and designs had been around then your word files and presentations would be just that little bit more elegant.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Begrudgingly in the my parents allowed me to celebrate Halloween. It was frowned on as too American. Anyway the upshot is that we never had pumpkins. They where far to exotic and colourful.
No,we were given Turnips.
My mum would cut the top off and score the surface. Then I'd be issued with a blunt tea spoon to scrape the insides out. My Dad would then use a sharp knife to cut out the all important face, while I nursed my bruised hand from scraping a rock hard Turnip with a blunt spoon.
Tell that to English kids these days and they won't believe you.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
This is a great question and one that if I could answer would make me a millionaire.
For my ten pence worth. Nothing will really change that much. People are people. The issue now for Marketers is that our customers are now a lot closer to us and can effect our businesses in ways we never imagined before.
There are two ways of looking at this.
- We can stay frightened at the "Nasty" customers who aren't happy with our us and are telling everyone and spoiling our profit margin.
- We can engage with our customers and listen to what they tell us and act one it. That way we'll ensure that they spread the word about what great companies we have and how "they really listened and did what I asked them to."
For the last 100 years or so business has been moving away from interaction with customers. From the corner shop we moved to the faceless supermarket. Now we've gone full circle. Even the largest companies have to take notice of the little guy. They now have real power and can spread good or bad for you and your company in the blink of and email.
Which would you rather they do?
Don't be afraid. Dive in and engage with your customers. If you're afraid of doing it then do you have ask yourself "Have I got something to hide"? If you have then start changing. If they don't know what your hiding, they soon will. And they'll tell everyone!
From a standing start there are now over 300 members of the Applied Language Translation and Interpreting Group. If you are interested in being a translator or interpreter then I'd recommend signing up to the group and to our suppliers data base www.talkbase.net.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
While I was looking for other related groups I found this quite scary one for United States Intelligence Community. It's an open group so anyone can join. What I can't tell is if it's a spoof or not. It looks pretty official and if it is maybe you should be nervous.
The web is a really weird place sometimes!
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
UKTV 2 (a digital channel in the UK) has just changed it's name to
Dave is a very brave thing to call a TV station. It definitely makes it stand out from the crowd and at the same time identifies it with it's core audience.
Dave shows classic TV for English Men aged between 25 and 40 (that's me). Dave's shows include Top Gear, Have I Got News For You and Never Mind the Buzzcocks.
Dave's a great name as far as I'm concerned and my hat's off to the team who came up with it, but especially to the guy who paid the bill and stood his corner.
- Purple Cow - Seth Godin
- Full Frontal PR - Richard Laermer
- Naked Conversations - Robert Scoble and Shel Israel
- Commonsense Direct & Digital Marketing - Drayton Bird
- Open for Business, How to write letters that get results - Courtney Ferguson
- The World is Flat - Thomas L Friedman
I've read all of these and they've helped shaped my marketing view. If you've got any recommendations or views on these books I'd love to know.
Here's a link to my previous list of Marketing Books you should read.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Once you've mailed a file return to the same file again but exclude people who responded the first time. This rule generates more sales. You can keep doing this at least 10 times so that our list gets smaller and smaller but your only working on people who don't buy or respond.
I've been trying this same rule with email marketing. Using Campaign Monitor you can segment any list and include only those people who didn't open the initial email or click on a link etc. I opted for the didn't open as I figured that didn't click a link was a bit too risky and would produce a barrage of abuse and spam complaints.
I re-emailed about a week after the initial offer. The strange thing is that the law seems to be broken at least for these campaigns.
There are two options
- My campaign was crap (very likely)
- The rule doesn't work for email
I've seen independent result for this on a traditional paper based mailing. I've even done it myself and had a lot of success. But for some reason it's not worked with email.
If anyone has any different experiences I'd love to hear them as I'm sure this should work.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
In an age where less and less post is being delivered anyway all they are doing is speeding up the process of people looking for other avenues to deliver what would traditionally go via Royal Mail.
Hats off to Marketing Week who have thought through the problem. My weekly issue can't delivered this week, so quick as a flash they've just delivered it by email. Great I still get my copy.
What will have happened now is that the management will have looked at just how much cash they've just saved. As well as the postage they've saved the print, the fulfillment, the repro and all the admin charges associated.
So how long do you think it will be 'til they offer a split subscription? You can have a PDF or if you insist a paper version. They discount the PDF version and then pretty soon the printed version will be fazed out.
This was of course always going to happen with weekly trade magazines where the biggest outlay is the print and distribution, it just that the Royal Mail strikers have just begun to unwittingly accelerate their own demise.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Your PowerPoint presentation
- Keep it simple and to the point
- Avoid bullet pointed lists that you're going to read out to them. Save yourself and them the time and just send them the document so they can read it themselves.
- Be passionate
- Make sure your desktop is as clear as possible. If for any reason you have to click on it you don’t want customers to see other customer’s files or clutter on the screen.
- Ensure you have your company wallpaper on your screen. It's easy to do and look so much more professional than a picture of your favourite car or your wedding day, or your cat (however cute).
- Your customer may have a different screen resolution to you. Make sure they can see what you can before you start your presentation. You don’t want a customer to miss something at the edge of your screen. You can do this by moving your mouse from corner to corner of your screen and asking if they can see it moving.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
To stick with the theme of the blog, I wanted to share with you how I'm trying to promote the skydive. As well as the donation site, I've also set up a facebook group http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=5412826380. And invited my contacts on Linkedin http://www.linkedin.com/in/rmichieappliedlanguage
I'm encouraging people to pass on the details to try and raise as much cash as I can for the charity. I've never tried the social network route before, and wanted to see how well it worked. If any one has more ideas I'd love to hear them.
I'll keep you up to date on how the experiment goes as well as the skydive.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Translation is probably harder than original writing, you have to get under the skin of the original to ensure you convey the right meaning.
So you'd have thought that the presentations, using the ubiquitous PowerPoint, would have been engaging, funny, intellectual, challenging even.
No. They all used the same dull, formulaic bullet point approach.
For me getting to London isn't easy, there are cars, trams, trains and tubes involved as well as hotels well away from where I need to be. So I get quite annoyed when a presenter either just reads out loud to me what I can plainly read for myself, or uses really complex diagrams that even they don't understand or explain.
If that's what you're going to do save me the hassle and just email or post me your notes, because I can read!
Only one presentation used any humor and only mine didn't use bullets. I'd have loved to have used humour but the subject matter didn't fit.
I know everyone hates giving presentations, but at the end of the day they have to be entertaining or at least informative. Reading aloud what I can all ready see it just a waste of my time and yours. Please don't do it.
Next time you have a presentation to give. Drop me an email, I'll be more than happy to take a look and give a few pointers. Alternatively take a look at Presentation Zen, you'll never look back and bullet points will be a thing of the past.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Today I have information overload. Here's a list of what I use daily.
- Company Email
- Microsoft Instant Messenger
- Mobile Phone
- Second Life (not very ofter though)
It's amazing that we survive. Your brain can only take in two pieces of information at any one time so it's really no wonder so many people live online. All their attention is spent there.
Monday, September 17, 2007
A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey. When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park, just staring at some pigeons.
The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her some chips. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Again, she smiled at him. The boy was delighted!
They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word. As twilight approached, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave; but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman, and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever.
When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?" He replied, "I had lunch with God." But before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? She's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"
Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked, "Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?" She replied! "I ate potato chips in the park with God." However, before her son responded, she added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime! Embrace all equally!
Friday, September 14, 2007
So if you've got video footage, get it on YouTube and tag it up properly. If you've pictures make sure they have targeted alt tags. If you've got a book out make sure Google knows about that too.
The more you have indexed the better, as Google begins to bring all it assets together and shows them in the search results.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
- The Long Tail - by Chris Anderson
- Citizen Marketers - Ben McConnell and Jakie Huba
- Waiting for Your Cat to Bark - Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg
- Word of Mouth Marketing- Andy Sernovitz
- Strategies and Tools for Corporate Blogging by John Cass
- "Secrets of Word of Mouth Marketing" by George Silverman
- Scientific Advertising - Claude Hopkins
- Tested Advertising - John Caples
- How To Write A Good Advertisement - Victor Schwab
- Ogilvy on Advertising - David Ogilvy
- Triggers - Joseph Sugarman
- Breakthrough Advertising - Eugene Schwartz
- The Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords – Perry Marshall
- The New rules of marketing and PR: how to use news releases, blogs, podcasting, viral marketing, & online media to reach buyers directly by David Meerman Scott
- The new influencers : a marketer's guide to the new social media by Paul Gillin
- Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking by Andy Sernovitz
- Smart Start-Ups: How Entrepreneurs and Corporations Can Profit by Starting Online Communities by David Silver.
- The Big Red Fez by Seth Godin
Monday, September 03, 2007
So off I went to Ikea to get my bed. Browsing the shop as always was easy and enjoyable. I ordered the bed and mattress very easily. Picked up the flat pack sections for the bed and paid. To get my mattress I had to go round to the collection centre. This looked pretty easy. Ikea had already got my money and I was confident that they wouldn't let me down when I picked up my mattress.
God I was wrong.
When I arrived the queue was massive, some people had been waiting for over 3/4 of and hour and were getting very irate.
But the was one beacon in all this. The smiling and very over worked lady handling all these angry and tired customers. As I stood there waiting in the queue she smiled and acknowledged each and every customer even speaking to the queue to apologise for the wait they were experiencing. The guy in front to me had been waiting for 40 minutes and when he got to the front he said he wanted to complain, rather than giving this man the usual response the lady I now know as Denise said "Certainly, just fill in this form and the customer service people will see to your complaint, I'm so sorry for the delay, I'll just have a quick check to see if your parcels are here." This instantly calmed the man who didn't bother to fill in the form. At one point Denise called for help from the front house staff at Ikea and was told they couldn't spare anyone.
This was a big mistake in the long run for Ikea. The customers who had a happy warm feeling about their new piece of furniture were now only remembering the bad and boring experience they were now having. This was the experience that they would remember. I'm sure the marketing and PR team fro Ikea would be fuming.
Denise even helped a man who's baby needed changing because the nappy dispenser in the toilets was broken. She then made sure she spoke to the mother of the baby to ensure that they were all ok.
I'll be writing to Ikea to let them know about the hard work Denise did. I hope they take note and advance her to head of customer service were she clearly needs to be.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
I never thought I'd reach this many entries!
Thursday, August 23, 2007
I just searched for Seth Godin so I could read today's blog. I got very weired book search results I've never seen before. When I followed them the results got stranger. After a couple of results which showed shots of chapters from Seth's books it showed other related books and then finally a map of all the places mentioned in the book, with links. All great in theory but surely not for Seth's books, they're not travel guides.
Maybe Google have just set my aspirations too high now, but it's disappointing when things aren't perfect on the results.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
So to help all those people who don't know what to buy for me or any bloke come to that I decided to make a list. So in no particular order:
- A big iPod, obvious I know but a definite winner
- Some really great books. George Orwell, Irving Welsh, something classic I've never read before, stretch my mind. I love that.
- A really great meal. Not a Bernie Inn. Somewhere special, tapenyaki, sushi, Bulgarian food. It doesn't need to be expensive, just different.
- A really nice tie. I know that sounds too easy, but a really nice tie goes a long way.
- Take me to see a comedian I've never heard of.
- Or a film I would normally turn my nose up at.
- A day at a Gallery.
- Drive a long way to see or do something that only takes an hour to do. As long as it's great enough, the drive's well worth it.
- Take me to a city I've never visited. Edinburgh was great, Sofia is fantastic.
- Get me to do an activity I've never done before, Archery, flower arranging, bungee jumping
- Get me some cool furniture. A clock, a really cool cup even.
I think the gist here is surprise and really getting to know someone. This is my list, you have a different one. Make sure your friends and loved ones know yours and importantly that you know theirs. Surprise is the key, but you really need to know someone to pull it off. Take the time it's worth it.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Until recently I was one of those. Don't get me wrong, I still love my family so much it hurts. I still love my work, I'm very lucky I enjoy what I do.
But recently I've started to do things I'd always put off. I love painting and visiting galleries. Comedy makes me happy (not much of a surprise I know). I've read books I should have read years ago, not business books either, ones with stories and meaning. I've thought about stuff, sounds simple but you forget.
What I've realised is that for a long time I forgot who I was and everyone suffered. My point is that whoever you are, whatever you are doing, don't forget you. It's easily done, I can testify.
Go out there and do something different, make a difference. You'll feel better and as a consequence so will all the people around you. Making people happy is great, remember to start with yourself.
It's only by doing this and challenging yourself to be happy and do stuff that you produce great results, physically and mentally. Everyone has the ability to be great, just stop staring at your navel first.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
The goal is to bring the blogging community together, for just one day, talking about one issue — and for Blog Action Day 2007 (Oct. 15, 2007), that issue is the environment.
Not sure if I'll be accepted, but I'll join in anyway. You should too
Here's my profile - Richard Michie on Linkedin
It takes seconds to sign up and complete the screens, then you can begin to make contacts. Networking from your laptop, what will they think of next. Crazy eh!
To sign up visit here
I took my kids this weekend and we had a great time. When we arrived there was no sign that anything different was happening until we go to the Major Oak, which is the tree which it is thought that Robin lived in.
When we go to the Oak we saw a demonstration of medieval sword fighting, had to hand combat and fighting with bow staff's. We tried archery and then we all had a go with the swords and the armour. The day was actually better because it wasn't really advertised. I'd definitely recommend it if you are Sherwood way.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Experience of Search Engine OptimisationThe Web Marketing Manager can work from any of our offices. Currently we have offices in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Chenai in India and Huddersfield in the UK.
Search Engine Marketing
Link building strategies
Copy writing skills
Handling Pay Per Click campaigns
Project Management Skills
Website analytics and conversion
I never knew Tony, but the bands he handled and the record label he ran inspired me years ago and still do today. I'm sure you've heard of Joy Division, New Order, Happy Mondays. Although not on Factory Records he also inspired The Smiths, The Fall, The Stone Roses and the whole Manchester scene.
Now that Tony and John Peel have gone, I don't know who'll find the new bands anymore. Maybe we'll just have to live with the X-Factor finding them for us.
Tony was also a great Marketer, though I'm sure it's a title he'd hate. His belief in Manchester and the artists around made it possible for his to take a run down industrial city and make it a cultural centre for the 21st century. Without him Manchester would just be another northern city.
Edit. Just found Tony Wilson's Obituary on the Guardian
Thursday, August 09, 2007
I was just reading a blog about Steve Jobs presentation style and I came across this amazing passage.
This is so cool
“Mushin no shin” (The mind that is no mind)When a swordsman is in the moment and his mind is empty (or the “mind that is no mind”) there are no emotions stemming from fear, there are no thoughts of winning or of losing or even of using the sword. In this way, says Daisetz Suzuki in Zen and Japanese Culture, “both man and sword turn into instruments in the hands of the unconscious, and it is the unconscious that achieves wonders of creativity. It is here that swordplay becomes an art.” Beyond mastering technique, the secret to swordsmanship rests in obtaining a proper mental state of “no mind” where the mind is “abandoned and yet not abandoned.” Frankly, if you are engaged in any art or even a sports match (think Tiger Woods) you must get rid of the obtruding self-consciousness or ego-consciousness and apply yourself completely, but also, as Suzuki says, “…as if nothing particular were taking place at the moment.” When you perform in a state of “no mind” you are free from the burdens of inhibitions and doubt and can contribute fully and fluidly in the moment. Artists know this state of mind, as do musicians and highly trained athletes.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
I love comedy but I'd never been to something like this before. The setting was amazing, the stage and seating was set right in the middle of this ancient ruin and gave a brilliant atmosphere. We were sat right on the front row which was a bit frightening as comedians have a habit (sorry about the pun) of targeting people. Luckily I managed to avoid it by one seat, clearly the lady to my right was a better target.
I had a great time and haven't laughed so much in a long time.
The point, at least for this blog, was the great way the event worked. The juxtaposition of the ancient Abbey and some great new comedians worked so well. It hit a very good long tail of comedy and the niche loved it.
I'm keeping my eye out for the next one.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Did you know that scientist in Japan found a 10,000 year old Magnolia seed. They planted it and to their amazement it grew
The only problem was that as I was on hold for a while the same fact was repeated again. It's the first time I've call them so maybe they change it each day. I'll call again tomorrow and let you know.
If they only have this one it's a shame and they should think about at least adding 10. They have so many stories they should ensure they tell them.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Today however I was surprised to see that for the first time I disagree with him.
In his post Letters, Brochures and Email he says that you should never write an email like a Direct Marketing letter. I think he should have added a caveat that you should never write like that if it's a one to one email with a colleague or customer you are interacting with. But when you are trying for a sale of any kind, long direct marketing writing is what wins.
The theory has been tested to death over the years before the Internet was even thought of. I'm sure it's horses for courses but sorry Seth don't agree.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Just found this amazing Hitler/Sheffield United Clip on YouTube.
Hockney was born and bred in Bradford so it's a great testament to the city to combine a great old Mill complex at Saltaire with the city's most famous son.
Inside the Mill is where things are really cleverly marketed. The whole thing is run on the basis of a museum so it's free to enter and look around. Where the marketing comes in is with the congruency of the things available to buy. In the centre of the gallery are hundreds of high quality books on all subjects for all ages. On the second floor is a restaurant dedicated to Hockney. Not some fake themed thing. They just hang great original artwork and photographs around and combine it with great food. The queue to be seated is massive.
To tie in with this there's a great shop selling top line home ware. The shop has Le Corbusier and other great designers, at £3000 for a chair this is no ordinary home store.
Because Salts Mill has carefully chosen what they display and who they display it to, no one feels marketed to. And that's the really, really clever bit.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Monday, July 09, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
If you are an interpreter or a translator then visit the site now and add all your details. All the work is freelance so you can even fit it around your day job. We are looking for all languages but particularly Asian ones.
We offer face to face as well as telephone interpreting and you can choose which you'd prefer to do.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
- Contacting website owners via email and phone
- Ensuring that the links are “clean” and pass back Google Page Rank value to our site
- Ensuring that all links are relevant
- Managing the negotiation of link exchanges
- Hitting targets for numbers of links gained
- Regular progress reports
- Liaison with the Marketing team and webmaster
- Knowledge of Internet marketing techniques
- Knowledge of Google webmaster rules
- Strong English language skills
- Good IT Skills
Thursday, June 21, 2007
We use PR as a main tool for spreading the word about the company. without it we wouldn't be as well known as we are. It's pretty cheap too if done correctly. Don't be scared of PR use it well.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
I know that the little green bar doesn't give much information and can't be relied upon but it's just a little disconcerting.
Have Google rounded down PR's in general? After looking at a few other site I think they have. Any ideas? If Matt Cutts is reading I love an idea of what's happened.
If you've had a similar thing happen to your site let me know.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
In my Direct Marketing background I never really trusted PR. I've since learned that you have to be very trusting with it and take your time. essentially the coverage is free and if it helps to spread your message and deliver that kind of return it's got be a good thing.
Take the tips and use them wisely, it pays off.
Our customers are some of the biggest organisations in the world: Google, Yahoo!, United Nations, Robbie Williams, NHS trusts, HSBC.
The job is based in the Huddersfield office and the perks are fantastic, where else would you get all this:
- Free lunches
- Free Fruit
- Free MP3 Player
- Free 20 minute Massage ever 2 weeks
- Free Laptop
- Free Broadband at home
- Your birthday off each year
- A Duvet Day to take when you like
Come on please apply! Email me email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org with your CV and expected salary.
Only the best and brightest should apply.
Now you can get a little bit more Mac on your computer by downloading Safari.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Please Microsoft build a programme that works, just once. Even Google blogger software lets me do this easier than Microsoft Word.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
If you were going for an interview how would you feel if you were asked to perform a song, dance or tell a story?
I know I'd feel pretty stupid.
The thing is the Eden Project is one of the most successful tourist attractions in the UK, so the people who are being hired like this are producing what people want. So although these methods seem pretty flaky they producing the right results.
Monday, June 04, 2007
As always Matt gives a little bit more, but it only ever really triggers more questions.
Damn you Google!
If you rely on them like I do play it safe, keep to the Google guidelines and build interesting sites with great content.
Friday, May 25, 2007
This great study on Landing Page Conversion uses real life case studies and shows real results. It's worth testing the ideas here and seeing what happens.
I'll be testing and reporting back my findings.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
And as Google's main results are so great, the supplemental ones don't get used very often.
To check if your site has pages in supplemental results, you can use this search query in the Google search box.
site:www.yoursite.com *** -sjpked
Just substitute yoursite.com for the url of the site you want to check.
If you have pages listed in here, check to see that your navigation links work ok, and start to try to build good pagerank for these pages.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Problem is I now need to replace her. This is my blog so it's as good a place as any.
Here's the job description, let me know if your interested or pass it to a friend. The job's in Huddersfield, UK.
About Applied Language
A career handing Applied Language’s PR is not for the faint hearted. You’ll need to hit the ground running, be able to think on your feet and act very quickly. The job is very varied and changes hour to hour. You will need to continue to build on our already strong relationship with both local and national press, radio and TV.
On top of that you’ll need to be very well organised as well as creative. To get this job you’ll also need to demonstrate that you can build great long term relationships with the media and be able to keep lots of plates spinning all at once.
We’re looking for a very special person!
Your role is to develop the PR presence of Applied Language
This will include:
· Liaison with both Trade and news press representatives.
· Writing Press Releases
· Co-ordinating events
· Case Studies
· Handling on-line PR activity, including posting on forums and other social media.
· Writing and proofreading copy for the website and printed publications
· Research for articles and information for the website
· Working with the international offices to co-ordinate Marketing and PR activity
· Keeping accurate records of PR Activity
Degree in marketing and PR
Experience in using PR Planner
Experience of putting together press releases
Strong English language skills
Good IT Skills
Knowledge of Internet and marketing techniques
Thursday, May 17, 2007
I've no evidence as to why this should happen. Maybe it's because there's a slow down before lunch and people are more likely to take a glance at an email they thought they'd save for later.
I was a bit worried mainly because I'd never thought of myself as an Internet master, which would be a good start to give an Internet Masterclass you'd have thought.
The funny thing about being asked to present anything is that you don't realise how much you know about something until you begin to explain it to others. The group was only a small one but that helped because I could give more personal information to the delegates.
If you were asked to give an "Internet Masterclass" what one bit of advice would you give? I'd love to know because I'm sure whatever you think, I bet I forgot it, or didn't know it in the first place.
If you'd like to see the presentation and read the document I put together, then drop me an email and I'll send it on. I'd love to hear your feedback and thoughts.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
But some bright spark thought they could improve it and today they added a new beta view. Look I'm all for new developments, but this one should never had got passed the sketch pad let alone into Beta testing. It's just bad it should be dropped now.
Sorry Google got it wrong.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Today's nugget from Drayton is about why Marketers should focus on getting cash in the till above all else. Here's probably the best section from the email. It's a story you may have heard about Sergio Zyman, former chief marketing officer of Coca-Cola.
I think this say it all really.
One of his best stories tells how he showed his first Coca-Cola ads in 1993 to his boss Roberto Goizueta, who said, "I don't like those ads." "Look, Roberto," he replied, "If you're willing to buy 100% of the volume worldwide then I'm happy to do the advertising that you like. Otherwise I've got to keep doing it to those damned consumers."
Today was just basics about being able to read peoples states and eye movements. It's still day one so I can't think that too much has sunk in yet. But as a lot of the stuff is talking to my unconscious mind, I've probably pick up more than I think.
I'll keep posting how it's going.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
We had a great time and the exhibition went very well, our stand was nice and busy and we got loads of great leads. Translation is a difficult thing to get across but at least the people we spoke to were interested and not just collecting bags, pens, folders snow storms or any other type of crap available.
This is the bit of exhibiting I don't get. Why do companies insist on having their stands covered in giveaway stuff. Sure they get lots of crowds, but all that happens is you quickly run out of your stuff and you don't get one lead because you were too busy re-stocking your stand. We got less visitors that the stand with dancing girls, sure. But the people we spoke to hung around for about 15 minutes and left having arranged an sale, demo or at least a follow-up.
So before you buy loads of pens and spend a fortune on your next stand, stop, think. What exactly are you achieving?
Friday, April 27, 2007
Remember, the currency of your business is customers - and act accordingly.
So the big marketing question is, "how much is customer worth to you?" If you've been in business for a while you can measure how long customers stay with you, and how much profit they provide in that time.
Then you discount the sum to determine what you can afford to recruit and retain a customer, allowing for a profit.It is true that some sales are not repetitive, but in those cases you can often, if not always, cross-sell other things.
The importance of customer value came home to a client who sold what they call an fmcg (fast moving consumer goods) product here - and packaged goods in the U.S. He asked me, "If the gross margin on one sale is 80 pence, how can I afford to send out direct mail at 100 pence a time?" I asked him if he knew the average value of a customer over time - not just one sale. He said he'd never given it a thought. And I said, "You can easily afford it if you know your average customer buys 200 packs a year and stays with you for five years - and you think not about making an immediate sale, but making and keeping a customer". He became my largest client. The same principle applies if you work out how many cars you can sell a customer over a lifetime. You can afford a series of very expensive direct communications - DVDs, books, lavish mailing packs and so forth.
But it all starts by thinking in terms not of expenditure, but return on investment, and taking a lot of trouble to try and assess what a customer is worth.
Monday, April 23, 2007
I'm from Sheffield in the UK. Now Sheffield isn't famous for many things it a northern town which used to have a lot of industry mainly steel, you'll have heard of Sheffield Steel. It has a few famous rock stars too, Def Leopard (I can't stand them), Pulp, The Human League and recently the Arctic Monkeys.
But if you're from Sheffield there's one thing which connects you to everyone else in what's know as Yorkshire's biggest village.
Hendersons Relish, is like black gold. It looks like Worcester sauce but is nothing like it, it's kind of sweet and sour and has a curious aftertaste too. There truly is nothing that compares to Hendersons Relish.
The strange thing about Hendersons is that, as far as I'm aware and I've lived Sheffield for 34 years, they have never, ever advertised. Nothing, not a sausage, not even sponsorship. Even the bottles are simplicity itself, they still have the same orange label they always have. In stores it is displayed in plain brown boxes, no point of sale.
Yet I guarantee that every house in Sheffield has a bottle and cherishes it. There is shouting if it's stew for tea that there's no Hendersons.
I put it all down to mystique marketing, the building for Hendersons has always been the same, you never see anyone enter or leave and there are no Hendersons delivery trucks. I've never heard anyone say they work there. Its as if the stuff just appears from thin air.
You can now order it on line as they've finally relented and built a very understated (what do you expect) website. Even that builds on the mystique.
Hendersons is truly the art of marketing without marketing.
Order some online now I guarantee you'll be hooked, just don't tell anyone just think it.
Friday, April 20, 2007
The bottle has a picture of a Bikini Clad lady on the bottle. The fabric of the bikini is made from scratch able foil, underneath she's naked. Some older UK readers may remember when peanuts used to be sold in English pubs in much the same way. Each time a packet was bought it revealed more and more of a naked lady on the card holding the packets.
This is fine up to a limit. Once you get pass about 10 recipients it makes a real mess because you'd have to send them individually. Don't even think about using BCC or god forbid sending them as one mass email with all the addresses in.
The best think I've found to send out Email campaigns is Campaign Monitor. All you need to do is create your email. Load your list into their system and then click send. Campaign monitor has great in depth reporting, handles bouncebacks (sou don't get loads of undeliverable messages) and unsubscribes.
Added to all this the cost is fantastic. They charge a $5 set up charge per campaign and then $0.01 per email. I'm in the UK so an email campaign to 10,000 customers will only cost me £52.50.
The Return on Investment is a doddle at that cost to output.
Give it a go you won't be disappointed!
Thursday, April 19, 2007
- Use your spellcheck function, and make sure it's set to the correct language! Microsoft think that all English is US English. If you're audience is in the UK they won't appreciate z's in specialise and Americans want a z.
- Always, always have another person proofread your copy (maybe two or three).
- Listen to what they say.
- Use the 30 minute rule. Pretty much every thing can wait 30 minutes. Put your copy to one side for half an hour and then re-read it. Your spot a lot of thing you didn't before.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
'Run it up the flag pole and see who salutes' is my all time favourite.
Well I've found if not The source, a bloody good source of new business gibberish. Have a go at the Web Economy Bullshit Generator. It brings a whole new least of life to crap!
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
I just wish someone at Google would confirm or deny these. Still that would just ruin the fun of it.
The hardest bit of doing email marketing though is the fact that some people are so afraid of email that they hide away and won't let you talk to them even when they've given you permission.
I'm taking mainly about Hotmail users, but plenty of other people are guilty as well.
Hotmail users feel more than happy to come and register on my site and ask for services. I'm grateful for that because without them I'd have no custom. The problem comes when I email them about offers which are relevant to them. Your average Hotmail user just hits the mark as spam button. (Sorry to tar all Hotmail users with the same brush). That's fine but there are more sensible ways to get out of receiving email.
On all my emails I include an unsubscribe link, click it and you're off the list no questions. I'm not a spammer and I really don't want to send emails to people who don't want to read them.
What am I doing about this? Easy Before I send any emails I remove Hotmail and a lot of other similar services from the list. That way I guarantee I won't get marked for Spam.
The sad bit is that due to a few users running loose with the mark as spam button no Hotmail etc customers ever get my emails, this probably means they don't get any others either. They must be missing out on some great deals and services, still it's their loss.
The lesson is, if you signed up for something by mistake of if the service isn't relevant any more just unsubscribe. Please!
Friday, March 30, 2007
How did we do this?
It's pretty easy really but you'll need to do a bit of leg work. The fist thing to do is identify the journalists and get to know what they write about. Buy the papers and read the sections and articles which are based around where you want to be.
Once you know the journalists you need to speak to you'll need to get all information together.
Journalists are very busy and you need to sell your company or organisation. The best way to sell anything is to make it as easy as possible for your customers (reporters) to buy you. To do this you'll need to assemble a press pack. This is less daunting than it sounds, here's a quick check list:
- Brief history about your company/organisation
- Biographies of the most important staff
- Current Press Releases
- Any pictures you have
It's best to put all these on a CD and have hard copies, at least of the articles.
Once you have all this, the next step is to call the journalists and introduce yourself. Give them a brief over view of why you're interesting. Once you have their interest arrange to go and see them at a convenient place and time for them, remember make their job easy.
Once you've met and got your enthusiasm over you'll have an advantage over all the other people who will just email press releases with no prior connection. When yours turn up the journalist will recognise them and you're far more likely to feature in the paper.
The last rule is to be polite, never be too pushy but be persistent. And always remember to thank the journalist after the article has been printed.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
I had a quick scan down the copy as it's about a product I use a lot and I'm having issues with. So the timing of the email was great for me.
But once I started to read the copy I realised that the news letter wasn't written for me it was written for the MD of the company. The first 4 paragraphs told me about what the company had been doing.
To summarise the copy was all about "We".
We've been busy, we've done this, we've don that - you know the score.
I'm sure this company are really proud of what they've achieved and so they should be.
But in the end I selfish. I want to know what they can do for me? How can they solve my problems? Why should I spend my cash with them?
If they had started these paragraphs with You or Your, the readership and final actions, which is what counts, would be greatly improved.
The lesson? Always put the customer first, they don't care about you. They are selfish like you and me, give them what they want.
Monday, March 12, 2007
This kind of thing only appeals to a small niche, which is great.
The thing I liked best was when the guy said;
"These are mainly for the 'Buy Before You Die' customer".
I don't know whether he did that on purpose but, he should definitely use it as a tag line. It'll offend loads of people I'm sure but his target market of people wanting designer coffins will love it.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
I've been pushing for a corporate blog for ages. I've read all the blogs on the subject and the books. I know the value of doing it, but I'm still hanging on. There are lots of issues I need to settle first.
- Who will blog?
Most people in the business don't see the value of a company blog. They don't have that much interaction with websites and can't see the advantage. So getting buy in is an issue.
- Who'll maintain and edit it?
Our site currently gets nearly 100K unique visitors per day and we have a team working constantly on the site to keep it going. Can I justify the extra work involved?
- What will be the ROI?
This is the killer. How can I measure the Return on Investment?
- How to keep the momentum going?
Lots of people will be enthusiastic at the beginning, but how can I keep that up?
There are loads more questions than just these, but these are the main stumbling blocks. Overcome these and I'm off and running.
One more issue is the company is very busy anyway can we afford a distraction like this. Or on the other hand can we not afford to miss the opportunity!
I'd love to know if anyone else has had these dilemmas and how they've over come them, or even decided against a blog altogether.
Friday, February 16, 2007
In simple terms I segmented the database of customers based on spend and frequency. Pretty basic stuff.
One question stuck out though.
"Shouldn't we treat all our customers the same, though?" one of the sales team asked.
She had a point of sorts.
Yes we should treat all our customers as friends and be as courteous and helpful as possible. After all without customers we have no business.
But, not all customers are created the same. Some are worth a lot to the company and some aren't. The value of our service varies wildly from orders of £6 right up to orders in the millions or pounds. This is great because we've worked out how to work in the long tail.
But to achieve this we've automated our services. If you have a small order then you can pay online, you still get the same professional delivering the service but we have less admin and we make a decent profit. The customers are happy because they got what the wanted and we're happy we supplied it at a decent profit.
Were some people get stuck, is that they have been brain washed about customer service, which is great, but they forget to put that into perspective. They are quite happy to spend an hour with a customer with a job for £40, and basically oversell the service.
How would you feel if every time you ordered a Big Mac the counter staff went into a depth about how they made the burger, the bun the sauce, what McDonald's over all strategy was on everything in the world? You'd just say, "give the burger!"
Not all customers are the same, sorry. Some are worth more, it's capitalism.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
First the name, I defy you not to smile when you say it. It's the perfect name, it's probably not unique but I don't care.
The shop front has a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory feel, you walk in and the place is empty other than the lady at the counter. You place your order and suddenly the two chefs appear. They fire up the Woks and flames and pots and ladles begin to fly. Again that smile creeps across your face.
Then it's all over, the foods freshly packaged and off you go. I'm sure they deliver too, but that way you miss the entertainment and the whole feel of it.
If you visit Sheffield, then you need to Wok This Way.
They just need a website. I'll add the phone number and address when I get home tonight.
Friday, February 02, 2007
If you are still part of the Look and Read school then you need to read this post but great post by Seth Godin on Bad PowerPoint.
Read, learn, ingest ...stop boring people to death!
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
This time on the long tail of PR.
If you haven't read "Long Tail" what have you been doing, buy it now and realise the way forward, yes it is that good!
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Over on SEOmoz, there's the best article I've seen in a while on whiting title tags.
As with most things you should write for the reader, not for yourself and definately not for a search engine. Writing for search engines make get you the visits you want, but they won't get you any quality.
As any direct marketer knows its converstion that counts.
I had real trouble finding a good candidate. After talking to a few people it seems I was a bit naive, everyone wants webmasters and SEO staff, but there aren't enough people. So I feel lucky that I found Krishan.
When I looked on Monster (UK) for SEO it gave no results which amazed me, clearly there's a skills gap or people don't know what to put in CV's.
Still if they can't optimise their CV's what hope have they with a website?
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
The site is probably the busiest website for translation in the world and recently won a Webby Award. Here's the job description, if you're interested drop me an email.
Job Title – Web Master
Wage Band - £14K - £17K (depending on experience)
Office – Huddersfield
Knowledge of ASP, PHP, (X)HTML and CSS.
Web Design and Graphics Skills
Knowledge of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Examples of previous websites worked on
Energetic and full of ideas
Knowledge of Content Management systems
Ability to write copy and articles
At least 2 years web design/development experience (not necessarily in business)