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Your Business Credibility

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 20, 2014
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One of the best things about advertising and working online is that if something isn’t working, you can change it pretty easily. Testing can take some time, but it’s less expensive than printing $10,000 worth of material, mailing it out to thousands of people, getting nothing in return and having to do it all again.

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One of the worst things about advertising and working online is when you get things so screwed up that you lose any business credibility you might have had. Sure, many times you’ll get another shot at making a go of things, but you’ll probably never get any of those people back that stopped by, disapproved of what you did, left and talked about it later on.

One Sunday last year I did a Google Hangout with my Hot Blog Tips crew on the topic of writing paid posts and blogging credibility, which I’m sharing below. It’s my position that if people do things that are unethical just to make money that eventually it will kill them and their business prospects. There are a lot of bloggers who write paid posts, or put up posts with someone else’s words, and say a lot of glowing stuff about something they’re not familiar with. Some will be promoting a product using an affiliate link that they know nothing about and writing something overly positive without knowing if it is or not.

When it comes to your business and advertising it online, I feel that what you don’t want to do is say you can do things that you can’t do. At the same time, overstating your capabilities doesn’t do you many favors either. I remember having a conversation with someone a couple of years ago where he said that if you’re asked if you can do something or provide something you always answer “yes”, then you go out and find the person who can really do it. To me, it might be true that you can find someone who can do the work, but if you don’t know that person and they do the work badly, you’re the one who’s going to suffer.

There’s nothing wrong with self promotion. There’s really nothing wrong with a bit of hyperbole, although if you say you’re the #1 whatever in your market I tend to believe you’d better be ready to prove it by showing me something, since I might not even allow you to work with me unless I get testimonials. These days people are more savvy than ever, and they can check everything online. Try to fool someone and it will come back at you eventually. Nothing disappears online; remember that.

By the way, you need to know that if you happen to use words that aren’t your own, sent to you by a marketer that they believe will help you sell their product, that it’s a violation of FCC rules and it could result in both fines and losing your domain; just thought I’d mention that.

Check out the video below, as it addresses this topic with a few more ideas on the subject than just mine:


 

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Multiple Page Articles; Oy!

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 13, 2014
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This is a minor rant, one I touched up a couple of months ago when I did a video rant; I’m including that below in case you want to see more things I griped about. lol

Idiot Box
Arti Sandhu via Compfight

About 2 years ago I wrote a long article on blogging. It was mainly for folks who were either new to blogging or had started blogging but found they were having some difficulties with it. My purpose was to write something known as a “pillar post”, where the intention is to highlight your expertise in something by putting a lot of information into one particular post. Search engines supposedly love pillar posts; I wouldn’t really know, but I was up for the challenge.

However, my post ended up being almost 5,900 words, and I thought that would be a bit much. Thus, I broke it into a 2-part series, starting with Better Blogging Part One and Better Blogging Part Deux. It seemed like a much smarter thing to do, breaking such a large post into two parts; I stand by that decision for the sake of the readers.

You know what we’re getting a lot of these days? These websites that will have something like The 20 Top Baseball Players Of All Time or 8 Actors Who Say They’ve Seen Ghosts or a host of posts like this. Sometimes it’s even stuff that’s good for you or knowledge you need, such as foods you shouldn’t eat or learning more about a pharmaceutical you might have to take.

And what to you get? You get the privilege of going through multiple pages to see them all; I mean, not even one page where you can see a list of all of them with any extra detail.

Now, if you’re going to give me 20 baseball players and you’re going to do a nice write up on each one, I could excuse you having 21 pages (the first page is the set up page). But having 21 pages with only the first page having any significant content… now I’m irked. I don’t know about everyone else but I don’t have the time to go through 21 pages for one article all the time. That mess got old really quick for me; I’m a curious kind of guy but my curiosity stops when someone is putting messy stuff in my way.

There are two reasons these sites do stuff like this.

One, because they know Google loves tons of pages, and even with the Panda and Penguin updates, and any other animals that might crop up here and there, these sites seem to be able to weather the ratings hit quite well.

Two, because of advertising. The sites rank high, which brings in lots of advertisers, and thus they can pack each page with a bunch of advertisers links and banner ads, knowing that an overwhelming majority of people are going to keep hitting those links to get to the next page.

A site that does a little something like this that I actually kind of like is called Cracked, which has very long and often quite detailed articles that they’ll break into 2 or 3 pages. In that instance you’re getting so much content that it makes a lot of sense breaking it up, and it’s quite entertaining stuff.

Some of you might be saying “hey, I never see any of those pages”… really? If you’d like to see an example go to CNN.com, click on any news story there, go to the end of the story you clicked on and look at the links to either more news stories or other goofy stuff. Ugh!

Now, it’s bad enough that websites are doing this, but now I’m seeing some blogs doing it. Most of them are blogs with lots of images, and what they’re doing is putting up a lot of pictures but making each picture a blog in and of itself, even if it’s a series concerning the same thing. These folks might write a paragraph about the picture if you’re lucky, but come on now… Sure, it’s building up your pages but it’s ridiculous to visitors and I’m doubting that all of these images are getting comments. The few I’ve seen have had very few comments; what’s the point right?

Maybe I’m being sensitive, so I thought I’d put it out as today’s question. Have you seen this phenomenon on websites and/or blogs, and if so what do you think about it? Does it irritate you or do you think it’s creative? Take your time in thinking about it while watching my rant video below lol:
 


 

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Social Media Marketing Has Its Limits

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 21, 2012
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This past weekend I went to a local seminar on motivation. I don’t get to things like this all that often, but every once in a while it’s a good thing to go hear someone else talk on a subject that you also talk about because, when all is said and done, even those who motivate others sometimes need a bit of motivation as well.

It wasn’t a bad turnout, but the group was very diverse, to the point that I’m not exactly sure the presenters got who they hoped to get to come. Still, it was an interesting day, and I got out of it what I think I needed to get out of it. I knew one of the presenters, and had seen enough pictures of the other presenter that I felt I knew her as well.

During the seminar, when it was my turn to speak the lady that I knew threw out a statement saying that maybe I hide behind my social media activities when it comes to doing business. I agreed with her on that, although in my mind I was thinking how I have so many more connections through social media than I do live. But she continued by saying that we should talk after the seminar and I quickly agreed.

When it was over she and I walked across the street to a park and sat down on one of the stone benches. She then told me that out of all the people that had shown up, I was the only one that had come because of social media. She had put out the event on Facebook, and out of the nine people that said they were coming, I was the only one that actually did. Everybody else who was in the room was the result of either a book signing that she did or came because of a couple presentations she had put on locally and mentioned it.

In one way I was shocked, but in another way I wasn’t. I ran into the same thing last year when I tried to promote a local four hour seminar that I was going to put on. I reached out to all of my social media contacts, and I reached out to an overwhelming majority of other people through e-mail. In the end, I had to cancel because I only had one person who had signed up for.

At the same time, there was another event last Friday I found out about that was being held at a hotel about 10 minutes away from me. The guy who worked at the hotel had put it up on Facebook, but really hadn’t invited anybody. So I went through the process of inviting a great number of people who I knew lived in the area, many of whom I knew wouldn’t be able to come but I wanted to give them the opportunity. Just by doing that at least 9 or 10 people showed up that wouldn’t have if I hadn’t reached out to them on Facebook.

Still, her point was valid. Even though social media is the fastest growing medium for people to connect with each other, there’s still something about face-to-face communications that seems to help to encourage people to interact more with you. It might be because, though social media is easy to say something to make someone feel good, just as it’s easy for people to say bad things because they’re hidden, they can say something and not have to follow through. In being truthful, I hadn’t decided I was going to the seminar until the Monday before, even though I had known about it for three weeks. I had put a “maybe”, which is mainly a noncommittal way of saying no, before changing my mind.

Social media marketing is definitely an important thing that all of us need to get used to. But at this point in the decade it’s still not strong enough to really get people juiced up to do anything. You might be able to get people to come to your website, or to read an article or blog post you’ve written, but getting them to take action is still going to be really tough to do. We all need to acknowledge that in order to figure out ways of getting people’s attention, especially if we have as an intention the hopes that we will possibly generate some kind of income from our actions.

How do you see your social media marketing initiatives going?
 

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Is HARO For You?

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 8, 2012
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Back in January I wrote a post titled Our Reluctance To Market Ourselves. One of the things I talked about in that post was how so many of us miss out on opportunities to get publicity that don’t cost us any money, maybe only a little bit of effort. And I added that I’m the same way often, which is easily true.

Enter HARO, which stands for “Help A Reporter Out”. Its main purpose is to connect reporters with people who might have information they need and the urge to gain publicity. From our end, the non-reporters, we can sign up to receive email 3 times a day with requests from both news and magazine reports to respond to any of the multiple links that may be something that describes us. This isn’t like a job where you respond to things that don’t quite fit what you do but you have the skills for. The needs are very specific, and thus if it’s you, you’ll know it.

This is my second foray into HARO; I don’t even remember when I was a part of it the first time around. I also don’t remember why I signed up to try it again, but somehow I’m thinking I have to blame Beverly Mahone in some fashion because of her talking about PR and getting publicity for your business. After being with it for the last 3-4 weeks, it’s time to ask the question “Is HARO for you?”

As I mentioned, you get email 3 times a day if you sign up for it. The email always starts off with an advertisement, but it’s totally text. I don’t have a problem with that, and you shouldn’t either. Next comes the requests, and I’ve seen as few as 25 and as many as 60. They’re categorized to help you get through them quicker, although it’s possible that you may be able to address the interests in categories that aren’t specifically geared for your business. For instance, I once responded to a query from someone looking to talk to dependents of military personnel who traveled a lot, since I certainly lived that life.

What’s my issue? Including the first time I was with HARO I’ve never had one person ever respond back to me. Now, one could surmise that they found what they were looking for beforehand, and that’s obviously true. Still, how do you feel when you visit a lot of blogs, leave what you think are pretty good comments, and never get an acknowledgment?

You feel like you’ve just wasted your time, that’s what. And that’s how I often feel with HARO. I’ve tried it a couple of different ways. A few times I responded and gave my story entirely, thinking that if they saw everything up front they’d at least contact me to ask for more, whether they used it or not. A few times I’ve gone minimalistic, giving some information but not going into any details, seeing if the “tease” was enough to get their attention.

Nope, nada, zip. Now, the site tells you that all these big time news sources use their services in looking for people to talk to and get information from, which is pretty enticing. But when you look at the emails, the majority of what you get certainly isn’t coming from big media. However, I didn’t sign up expecting NBC to come calling to ask me about anything. My hope was to possibly get into a couple of magazines, where people can read what you have to say and hopefully like it enough to look for you online.

So, is HARO for you and me? I’m not really sure yet, but I remember I had the same feeling the first time I left, and I’m getting that same feeling now. I mean, going through potentially hundreds of links and responding to some via email only to hear the sound of a vacant room without the echo as a response… is it worth the time? I’m thinking I learned better methods from Bev’s book How To Get On The News Without Committing Murder, and have made a couple of local contacts because of it.

Still, I’m not ready to let go just yet, so I’m going to give it another couple of weeks to see if I’m getting more irritated or whether I feel it’ll all work out in the end. Right now, I know which way I’m leaning, and I bet you do as well.
 

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Best Buy Doesn’t Understand Social Media Or Customer Service

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 16, 2011
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Best Buy seems to be at it again. Of all things, they seem to have forgotten a big time rule in business; have a sense of humor and roll with the punches. Some folks never learn.


by Lynn Lin

All of this comes on the heels of a post I read by Adam Singer of The Future Buzz titled Best Buy Meets Streisand Effect. In it, Adam explains how Newegg, a technology products company, did a commercial where they poked fun at Best Buy. Best Buy decided to respond with a cease and desist letter, which was pretty ominous stuff. Newegg responded the way most of us would; they popped the letter up on their site. You can see a copy of at the link I provided above.

In many communities these days Best Buy is almost the only game in town. Here in central New York, unless you want to find a small store or an office supply company, you can only pretty much get everything you might possibly get at Best Buy. In my opinion it’s one of the reasons they’re one of the worst companies in the country when it comes to customer service. I don’t say this lightly. I know a little bit about customer service and often I have stood or sat at Best Buy waiting to buy something only to be ignored.

At least I’m not blaming them for being racist by ignoring me since I know they do the same to pretty much everyone. My friend Pat wrote about them, calling them WorstBuy, which is a pretty neat play on words, and of course I’ve had my own issues with Best Buy, once writing about it in a newsletter. I even briefly mentioned it when I was talking about my purchase of Windows 7; waiting around while being ignored seems to be a common complaint about them.

Anyway, what’s happened is there’s been an online backlash against Best Buy for the strong arm tactics. It’s showing up in many places including The Consumerist, Techno Buffalo, 404 Tech Support, WebProNews, Maximum PC and a host of others. I’m wondering if they’ll end up getting a threatening letter for posting it like I did with Finish Line.

Here’s the thing. It seems that the companies that are ready to quickly threaten or sue over stupid stuff like this are the ones that deserve to be outed the most. Best Buy could really care less about most of us, but if they ever do decide to try, customer service needs to be the first thing they work on. Sure, when you’re buying a $2,000 TV or a $2,800 set of LG washing machines they’ll genuflect quite nicely to try to get the sale. But when it comes to almost anything else, the employees don’t care, management doesn’t care, and obviously the administration doesn’t care.

By the way, I’m not giving any link love to Newegg either since they killed their affiliate program through Commission Junction, a company I didn’t talk about in my rant against some CJ affiliates because if an advertiser expires, they take out everyone and not just me. Nothing personal this time around, but hey, they took money out of my pocket as well. lol

Anyway, in the long run, social media will be Best Buy’s Pandora’s Box because once the masses start rising, there will be a competitor, one that learns from the bottom up how to treat customers. That’s what killed Comp USA, and what will eventually get Best Buy.

Of course, if Best Buy is listening and it needs a customer service trainer
 

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