DSL Marketing Myrlte Beach

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A New Year in Marketing - Are you ready?

It's not unusual for the marketing industry to evolve with the times, but never in recent history has so much change occurred in such a short time. And I'm not just talking about the economic recession and the new president.

So what am I talking about? Well like any other time, marketing has always been about going where the people are – sending your message down the right rabbit holes to produce the best results. Since technology is the name of the game, those rabbit holes move, change, and collapse just as quickly as they are created. This makes it extremely difficult for businesses – and even marketing professionals – to keep their marketing efforts relevant and effective.

In 2009, one of the most significant changes to the marketing landscape will be...Read More.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Laugh at your mistakes, then fix them.

There's not much I can add to this that isn't already in plain view. It's one of marketing's most basic principles. Message -> Transmission -> Audience. All three of these critical stages have to line up logically with what you are try to market or advertise, be it a branding message, a product, a service, or even a dear John letter. You can craft the most killer ad known to man, but if you send it to the wrong audience, or send it to the right audience the wrong way, you've failed. And your results will show you that. Go where your audience is, and send it to them the way they like to be reached. Simple. Sure, it might be exponentially more expensive to send a direct mail piece, or mobile message, than an email - but why spend any money at all - even if it is a little - if it doesn't show you a return? At to finish before the horse is thoroughly beaten, if you are basing your campaign or business iniative on research - which you should always do - make sure your information is coming from outside your building and from the audience that matters most.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Direct Mailing in a Slow Economy

B2B Magazine recently reported that an online survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation of 250 small businesses revealed that the majority of the small-business community remains positive about the state of the economy, with only 23% suggesting the economy is very poor.

The report went on to say that retailers and wholesalers have the most positive outlook. Joy Gendusa, CEO of PostcardMania, says that's a good sign and warns entrepreneurs not to operate off of the naysayers of the smaller percentage.

Gendusa's commitment to help entrepreneurs promote has not waned since her epiphany after seeing Todd Rundgren in concert. She slashed her direct mail prices (first in history of 10-year old company) to make sure business owners would increase their marketing to come out ahead of their competitors.

According to American Business Media, history has shown that companies who either steadily continued or aggressively increased their advertising efforts during times of economic uncertainty experienced overall growth of their business at the expense of the competition. The companies who focused on advertising also experienced continued growth past the period of economic uncertainty.

"Listen to the winners, not the whiners," said Gendusa. "The companies that are doing well are those that are promoting."

PostcardMania gives 2 main tips to help businesses overcome a slow period using direct mail:

1. Market like crazy - pick up the customers your competitors will lose by cutting their marketing budgets.

2. Look for terms where you can pay for your marketing when your sales start rolling in.

Choose a Professional Interactive Company

If you need a website built or redesigned, or you're looking to increase awareness or drive more traffic to your business's website, chances are you may need the help of a professional interactive marketing company. Because of the popular use of the Internet in today's market, small businesses now have access to thousands of different interactive marketing companies from around the world – which is a good thing. But just because a marketing company says they can build a website, doesn’t mean they are qualified to do so. Here are a few things you should know before you choose just anyone to design and build your website.

Cheap in price often means cheap in quality.

Getting a company to build your website is relatively easy, as there are thousands of willing and able companies to choose from. This is great because competition creates competitive pricing, but there is a big difference between a great price and too good to be true. The companies that offer especially low prices typically are promising you nothing more than the barest of essentials. The design may look appealing – but the website as a whole has very little substance and what you paid for is only skin deep. Their goal is to produce as many small websites as they possibly can at one time. What that means for you is they care more about quantity than quality. And then there are those companies that lure in unknowing business with a very low price, only to tack on fees for "extras" – which are often those very elements that your website needs to have a successful online presence – like testing and warranty periods (read below).

This is why you should go with a qualified and proven interactive marketing company, where your website will be the focus, and the work and research will be done specifically for your business and your market needs. In addition to getting a fully functional website, you will also have a product that will not have to be redone in six months. A qualified marketing company will take the time to plan out your website, not only for what you want now, but what you'll need after you go live.

Whether you’re looking for someone to build a website, redesign a website, or drive qualified traffic to it, you need someone whom you can rely to create a fully marketable product. One that looks and functions properly, which is attractive to users as well as search engines, and that can be easily expanded upon without committing to a total redesign.

They're here one day and gone the next.

One of the clearest differences between an independent web designer and a full-service interactive marketing company is what happens after your website is delivered and it goes live. A freelance web designer or web boutique's responsibility ends when you've approved the final proof and they hand over your website. But the success of your website depends almost solely on what happens after design and coding is finished. So if you find an error occurs – like a dysfunctional contact form or certain pages aren't compatible to certain Internet browsers – you're on your own. Most professional interactive marketing companies will offer some kind of guarantee on their work, usually in the form of a warranty period, which ensures that when something needs to be changed or fixed the work will be done.

Just the facts, ma'am.

Be wary of a company that can turn your website around in just a handful of days. Again, the design of your website is just one small component. Don't forget the big picture. Here are some facts.

There are five major Internet browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Avant) that 98% of U.S. residents use to navigate the web, and each of them has a handful of different 'versions'. Each one of them requires your website to be coded and programmed in such a way to format correctly when a users pulls it up in their browser. Was your $500 dollar website tested against all of these browsers and all their versions, or did it only "look good" on yours and the designer's browser?

There are only four major search engines that U.S. residents use to research the World Wide Web (arguably two – Google and Yahoo). Did you know that each of these search engines have a unique set of rules or stipulations that they expect from a website for it to be indexed properly? Meta content, header files and tags, and CSS are just a few of the most recent techniques used within the code of your website for it to be positively recognized by a search engine bot or crawler. Do you know how your website looks to the search engines? Don't you think spending a few thousand more dollars in development is worth it if the result gives your business's website the chance of being seen by the hundreds of millions of users that navigate the World Wide Web every day? You can bet it is.

How well is your website doing anyway?

Many businesses know they have to have a website to be competitive in today's market, but most of them don't know what to do with it after it goes live. Many businesses believe that what you see is what you get, and there's no need to change or revise their website once it's complete. Of course, this isn't the case at all. When you choose a professional interactive marketing company to build your website, your relationship usually continues with them after the website goes live. And the most important element of that relationship is reporting. That website you had built at a bargain basement price most assuredly did not come with any way to analyze the traffic, and web analytics are essential to the ongoing success of your website's online presence.

Reporting makes all the difference between just having a website and having a powerful marketing tooll. If you can't quantify the results of your website (the traffic: who's coming, who's leaving, and what they are doing when they get there), then you are flying blind. You'll have no idea if your investment was worth it or not, and exactly how to get a return on that investment. If done right, your website will definitely pay for itself, which is another great point to keep in mind if price is your main deal breaker.

It's alive! But it has no where to live.

One of the biggest mistakes a business can make when having a website built is not considering where and how the website will be hosted. The World Wide Web is nothing more than millions of servers across the globe (server banks) that house your website. Each server environment (much like the difference between a Mac and a PC) have specific requirements for a website to be hosted. Especially if your website has a database attached to it (this is another issue entirely).

So if you are looking at a big name hosting company (like Godaddy or Network Solutions) to host your website, make sure their server environments are compatible with your web product. Also, many professional interactive marketing companies offer their own in-house web hosting services, which means any changes that need to be made – especially in an emergency – can be made easily and quickly. That is another benefit of using a professional interactive marketing company; you can get all you need before, during and after your website is built all in one convenient place. Just make sure that whichever hosting service you choose has a proven track record on constant uptime, and has secure, back up capabilities.

When you are doing competitive research on who you'll chose to build your website and how much to pay for it, make sure you're not comparing apples to oranges. Don't just pay for the wall paper when you need the whole house built, because there's much more to having a website than what it looks like on your computer screen.