Creating A Memorable Message

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help people remember your message

Why say it if no one will remember it? Marketing is a tough game and a memorable message is the only way to truly compete.

“Did you know that visual aids have been found to improve learning by up to 400 percent? Did you realize that we can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text? Would you guess that the average person only remembers about a fifth of what they hear?” Source

Visual Aids Improve Learning Up To 400%
60000 dots
20percent

Our friends at Copyblogger also agree. The use of simple images is better than long, verbose posts or wordy audio.

Bottom Line?

Use more images and fewer words. /End

You’re A Loser! But, There Is Hope (For Your Web Content)

According to the Netcraft January 2014 Web Server Survey there are 861,379,152 domain names. Internet users, web superhighway visitors, have no time for bloated, droning content unless you are publishing a detailed research report perhaps.

Web content is plenteous. Web content secrets aren’t really secret. There isn’t any topic which has not been written on. In search it is crucial to catch people’s eye, get them to your page, give them the info they want, and let them get on with what they are doing. Three seconds…that’s all you have.

The Secret of High Speed Marketing

Billboard advertisers learned long ago the secret to high speed advertising is short and pointed.  Just as it is hard to read wordy billboards while blowing down the Interstate so is it to read long posts or even slow down for long titles. Squeeze pages are the billboards of the Internet (when properly designed).

Well formed landing pages yield excellent results.

  • Short titles
  • Concise content
  • Bite size servings
  • Small words
  • Short sentences
  • Short paragraphs
  • Well chosen/created graphics

There you have it. Now how long did it take you to read this and how much value did it bring?

Dealing With Negative Comments

Recently I read a Forbes article which was contributed by lauded small business marketing blogger, Jackie Huba. Dealing with negative comments from angry customers is something almost every small business owners or managers are faced with from time to time. In Jackie’s article she used the few years old, great example of Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas.

surprise-surpriseThe Customer Is NOT Always Right

It all began when a visitor to the drafthouse decided to violate the “No Texting” policy not once, not twice, but three times. In the end she discovered they weren’t kidding. The offending texter was removed and probably much to the pleasure of those in her immediate area. All may have been well after that because the texter didn’t take to the social media Universe afterwards, leaving deriding comments and posts. No, she did it the old fashioned way and called the Drafthouse leaving a rather profanity laced comment voicing her obvious displeasure.

It was the Alamo Drafthouse who published the negative comments. In fact they created and uploaded to YouTube a captioned video of the entire event. It has since seen over 3,000,000 visitors to hear this boisterous complaint in all of it’s fury.

Many Loyal Over One Appeased

In Jackie’s post title she opened with the words, “Turning Detractors Into Loyalists”. In reality, however, the detractor herself was not calmed and converted, but used as a tool to bolster other attendees to become loyal because the tavern has it’s rules to protect other attendees and remove the self-important ones who choose to inhibit the full enjoyment of the other attendees. By doing so they did not convert one unruly attendee. Rather they re-assured others, perhaps hundreds or even thousands, “your visit with us will not be interrupted by selfish attendees who may distract you with such antics.”

When dealing with detractors it is important not to bow to their demands, but rather to remember the greater masses and protect their ability to enjoy your products and services – even at the peril of losing one…or a handful.

If you have an issue with profanity DO NOT WATCH THIS VIDEO.

Send Money Directly Through GMail

RED ALERT …. and applause. The action is not new, but the encouragement to use it is.

screen shot gmail send moneyWhen you sent an email through Google’s GMail recently did you notice the little dollar symbol ($) below the composition area? If you have ever wanted to empty your bank account giving away money, or perhaps offer that opportunity to anyone who gains access to your GMail account, your wishes have been made into a reality.

On the one hand this can make it very easy to send money to my daughter who is away in school or to my friend who is travelling in India. On the other hand this may make it very easy for anyone with access to my GMail account to send money to their self. So, let’s look at what Google has to say about the security of this feature:
send-money-gmail-protection
Let’s see, Google lists several protections. One of them, or so it seems, is not any protection in the event someone gains access to your GMail account. What to do?

First, if you are concerned about being hijacked it would probably be best to never do anything on the Internet. Disconnect your Internet service immediately, and get off Facebook. Alright, that’s not going to happen.

screen capture for sending money through gmailNow that all that negative, scary stuff is out of the way the question remains, “will you ever use this feature to send money directly through your email account?” For me the answer is most likely “no”. However, if I got a phone call from a trusted friend there is a chance I may use this method. Facebook has a warning about scams from people pretending to be friends and asking for money. Unfortunately, I know a reasonably intelligent person who fell for this at the tune of $1200.

5 Things To Blog About For Web Traffic In May

road sign - blog traffic

There are many ways to increase traffic to your website. Make sure you are paying attention to quality, not just quantity.

 

If you live in the United States and you are looking to gain organic web traffic there are certain topics which are always big. To keep your Quality Score high make sure the content is actually about what your website does. If you are a plumber, tie this back to plumbing. If you sell real estate, tie this back to real estate. If you have no time or idea how to do that, hire me.

Welcome Warm Weather – From auto repair to wardrobe, restaurant fair to travel, insurance to healthcare, and even welding supply sales, virtually everything can be affected by the arrival of warm weather. Here’s an example for welding supply sales: “With the arrival of warm weather and the soon coming of summer now is the time to take advantage of the better climate and remind your clients to check old weld joints for damage and decay. Replacing or repairing damaged welds with our tools and supplies…”

Travel – Have you ever thought about how travel affects your business directly? Let’s say you own a small, second hand shop in Kennesaw, Georgia. Do you know how many people search “things to do in Kennesaw” during the month of may? I do! Or at least I know a good average. What about a chiropractor, how can they use this? Travel related information is hot – just watch my sites for information about business posting while travelling over the next few days.

Festivals and Events - There are so many local festivals and events in May that it would be a challenge to write about each of them. Remember, the goal is tying it back to your business and maintaining a good Quality Score. I use Quality Score even when not buying AdWords, because it means the content is relative to the user’s search and to your business.

Memorial Day – Monday, 26 May 2014, is the day the United States stops to remember those service men and women who were killed in action. It also happens to be the sort of official kick-off for the summer season. I can think of posts relevant to hundreds of industries where Memorial Day can be included. The last day to get these posts out would be Sunday, 25 May.

Summer Vacation – Many schools wind up regular classes in May and June. May is a great time to talk about many effects of summer vacation. There are so many things that can be written about summer vacation which could apply to virtually any industry that I highly recommend having at least one recent article or post about the topic.

Tool For Identifying Fake Twitter Followers?

Okay, in fairness it says it’s the Beta application. This tool could help trim down on the number of fake Twitter followers you have.

Have you ever wondered how many of your Twitter followers were fake accounts? Me too. In fact I’m pretty careful about not accepting accounts that even look suspicious. Color me careful, but I don’t want spammer accounts or faked accounts connected to me. Of course it is Twitter and it is public so pretty much anyone can see pretty much everything; a fact I constantly keep in mind.fake twitter follower screen capture

The reason I would prefer to not have spammers or faked accounts following me on Twitter, as in I block them, is because they are like weeds. If you let one grow then others will grow around them. Have you ever had ten or twenty followers all in the same day with oddly similar profiles? That’s what I mean.

So there’s this tool available from Social Bakers which *could* be a good tool. I tried it out, and while I was not terribly impressed, I have hope. One hope is that someone from Social Bakers will chime in and talk to us about their tool. The other hope is that they continue to develop this, and that Twitter actually lets tools like this work to do things like mass unfollow. Yes, I like that.

So here’s the tool. It’s very simple. You type your Twitter handle into the text field and click “Check”. That’s it. The results speak for themselves. Scroll down a little because they did give me one name of one account I could block, or visit their profile. So, keep working on it guys – this is my kind of useful tool! What we really want to see is the full list of the people your tool finds suspicious. Okay? Thanks.

Internet Hacked? Yes, Change Your Passwords Now

heartbleed graphic

A vulnerability exploit which may have affected 2/3 of the Internet, or more. (Graphic from http://heartbleed.com/)

UPDATE: Chromebleed, a plugin for Google’s Chrome browser, is now available to tell you when you visit a site which has been affected by the Heartbleed exploit.

No one knows just how extensive the damage but a survey of providers places the estimate at 66% of the Internet being compromised.

Most of what can be done now is going to happen at the provider level as opposed to the user level. Common sense dictates now is the time to change your passwords including hosting accounts, email accounts, social networking accounts, and others.

“The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. This compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content. This allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users.

http://heartbleed.com/

As of 09APR2014 affected systems include those presented in the image below:

heartbleed affected systems

These systems have tested positively for the Heartbleed vulnerability and have completed or are working on curing. (http://www.kb.cert.org/)

New Twitter Layout for 2014

new twitter layoutJust when things are settling down with the new Facebook layout, Twitter kicks down on some tested changes, too. The new design, which I discovered by accident since I don’t have time to read every other social media blog, is featured in the image here.

The header image is more like that of Google+ and covers the full width of the page. The overall look is more similar to that of Facebook. This includes the use of a larger font in the tweets, most of the real estate being used for user content, and a three column layout.

Here are a couple at random, this is definitely not an endorsement:

Other Changes

new twitter followers layoutThere are other changes also. For example, when you visit your “Followers” you’ll get something much more into the new responsive design era. Again, the text is easier to read, the listing shows the other user’s header graphic, and there is an improved amount of information about the other users included with the snippet.

Do you have the new layout? If so please let us know in the comments (along with your Twitter handle), we want to see it, too!

Guest Blogging Is Dead*

A few years ago I blasted a particular person about spreading word that blogging was dead. He considered himself, and even called himself, “tech savvy”. Which, it turns out even if that was accurate, his information was a little suspect, to say the least. So why dare I say guest blogging is dead? Well, I didn’t; Matt Cutts, spam master of Google did.

fork - FreeDigitalPhotos.net“So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.”
Matt Cutts

Some years ago, before there were huge content farms like Fiverr, ODesk, and others, getting an opportunity to guest blog or finding someone to guest blog was like winning an Oscar. Today, however, with people willing to write a few hundred words for a couple of bucks things have changed dramatically.

There is one very important caveat in the quote from Matt above: Unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. This little bit of information is highly valuable and still gives us hope for sharing content, networking within our own profession, and delivering quality content to our readers. This is, after all, what Google wants from us. As long as we are providing good, relevant content, not linked to marginal sites, we are providing a service to our readers and to Google’s searchers.

Guest Blogging Can Still Be Of Value

Try this for a guest blogger strategy:

  • Only accept posts from people you trust
  • Check the content for plagiarism or duplicate content
  • Manage the format of the content on your site
  • Only allow links to trusted resources of value
  • Add index, nofollow to any links of lower value
  • Use guest content sparingly and accordingly
  • Monitor your analytics closely and be prepared to change

Driving home the importance of the nofollow link let’s take a look at how Google recently penalized a leading guest blogger website, MyBlogGuest. From that article, by Jennifer Slegg, this quote, “If MyBlogGuest had focused on the content and the value of the guest blogging, such as traffic or exposure, while ensuring that all links within an article had to be nofollowed, then it’s likely MyBlogGuest wouldn’t have been targeted and penalized.”guest blogging - FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Obviously the tactic works, or worked, or the spammers and gray hatters would not have bastardized it. Repeatedly the most important thing to Google is tricking their spider into following bad links, spammy links, from otherwise trusted sites. Using nofollow (there is a plugin for WordPress here) on links is the most important step you can take in creating value for your readers, giving your readers (and not the Google bot) the opportunity to visit the author’s site, and protecting your reputation.

Special note: hiring a writer to create content for your website or blog works the same way. When you hire a reputable ghost writer, however, everything should be in your name with no links to the author’s site or questionable third party sites. Still, you need to check all of the content and make sure you are not allowing a violation of Google’s policies and risking action.

 

Be Yourself, That’s Different Enough

group of walruses FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here is what we all look like to outsiders of our little group. Break out!

This begins critically, but migrates to the full purpose. Please read all 700 words :)

For some while I was a peripheral member of a tight group of people who consistently espouse, regurgitate and laud only the ideas which come from inside that group. They certainly make themselves out to be the thought leaders, the pioneers, the advance team; in reality they are a relatively tough crowd to break into and generally don’t look outside for hard facts and real growth.

As a small business owner, better yet an independent business person, you can find yourself quickly swept into supporting and even “worshipping” a group like this in hopes they have the real answer. From what I can tell most of these people really don’t do much other than travel around to be at the same place at the same time with the same people over, and over, and over… Too many times I have heard damaging information coming from these people who have excellent presentations and the power of the supporting throngs to help push their words out into the social space in great quantities and at high volume.

For years I have asked the question, “but, what does the data say?” For the bottom line nothing beats pure, raw data. Google analytics has become one of the most powerful tools for benchmarking, test results, goal setting, trend following, and more. Having relied heavily on data since the 1970s I am happy that it is now so easy to aggregate, index, filter, and analyze. So, what has this to do with being yourself?

What Does The Data Say?

When crowds run together they begin to use the same terminology. There is not much deviation in the content of their communications because they all tend to say the same thing, at the same time, often to the same people. When you view blogs of certain “gurus” you will see the same love-fest of commenters repeatedly vying to be the first to comment or have the comment with the most thumbs up. What does this gain in the way of advancing revenue for the small business person? Not much – and that’s what the data says.