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Monday, September 04, 2006

7 Secret Gimmicks that Will Hurt Your Business

Seven Secret Gimmicks that Will Hurt Your Business



Introduction

Congratulations! If you are reading this there is a high probability you understand the potential opportunity afforded by online marketing and have taken the first step to expand your business. There is no question that online marketing and technology based tools or applications have the potential to dramatically expand your business while reducing costs, increasing productivity and possibly creating entirely new revenue streams. In fact, there is no single source of marketing that can begin to approach the returns available via a strategically initiated online campaign. It has been demonstrated to be the most cost effective method available today. Unlike many obsolete or traditional campaigns where you must “guess” what your return or conversion rate is, results are completely accountable from start to finish…with the added benefit that you can control and measure the impact in nearly real time!

However, success often breeds “copy-cats” and the arena of online marketing is no exception. With the reduction in cost and familiarity of “do-it-yourself” campaigns, it can appear that everyone is suddenly an “expert” in online marketing. Sadly, the vast majority of these so called “experts” do little more than re-sell poor services and have few to no prior results to demonstrate. Worse, unscrupulous or poorly informed agencies or marketing promoters take advantage of unsuspecting clients resulting in wasted time, money or a diminished reputation. What you don’t know CAN hurt you!

Because my best clients are well informed clients, the following are just a few gimmicks that every business should be aware of in order to protect your investment and reputation. Please take the time to review this information at your convenience. Use it as a “warning” list…any reputable marketing professional should be able to provide clear concise explanation of a full campaign with estimated [and then confirmed] results in order for you to make an informed decision.

Best,

Shannon










#1. What They Do:

Cite Hits or Page Views rather than Unique Visitors in statistics. Hits are NOT the same as unique visitors. Hits are simply the number of times a page or item on a page loads. Some unscrupulous promoters actually optimize the website or pages to increase the number of hits so that it appears they have created more interest and traffic to your website when in fact, they have simply increased the number of items loading with few or no additional people visiting the site.

What You Want:

You want unique visitors! Sometimes you may want to increase the number of page views for existing customers…perhaps you want them to spend more time interacting with your site and content or you would like to know that specific information was readily available and understood/used. In either case, be sure you understand the claims being made when purchasing advertising or promotions.

What I Delivery:

I delivery what you need. If you need high exposure, I have reached over Ten Million Unique Visitors per month in the early stages of the Internet! But—you don’t always need that much exposure and certainly wouldn’t want to pay for what you do not need. If you need targeted exposure, my conversion rates have reached as high as 14% [compare that to 2-3% average for direct mail]. For duration of stay or time on the site, my statistics were 2 x’s that of the nearest competitor…averaging over 14 minutes each and sub-units of nearly 2 HOURS per day!



#2. What They Do:

Demonstrate Top search engine results for select keywords…undesirable keywords. Most people realize the importance of obtaining top results on search engines like Google but not all results are equal. One of the more common gimmicks is to provide a list of keywords that will show your website among the top positions…afterall, everyone wants to see their site at the top! Unfortunately, it is much easier to place in top search engine results on poorly performing keywords than those that people ACTUALLY USE!!!

What You Want:

You want the “right” people to find you. Sometimes that requires the assistance of a search engine and sometimes it doesn’t. When you need a search engine be SURE to request the actual number of queries [or searches] being performed on any specific keyword or phrase you are considering…then compare it against other alternative keywords or phrases for each prospective search engine or placement. Then perform an analysis on cost versus reach to determine the best course of action for your selected plan of action. Any reputable marketing professional can provide a comprehensive selection and comparison of actual queries, cost, anticipated conversion rates and so forth.

What I Deliver:

Results! All of the above information and much more. The above is the absolute minimum you should expect…anything less should be a huge RED FLAG!!!


#3. What They Do:

Optimize your content - with fluff. Just because it generates traffic or visitors does not mean it’s the right visitors. There are certain areas of high popularity that will draw attention to a website without significantly adding any real value. For instance, pornography, online gambling and other vices are often highly visited websites; by adding hidden content to your website, they can attract larger numbers of visitors that may look impressive on your statistical report that is sent to you each month…but it can actually hurt your long term prospects by generating the wrong type of traffic and networking.

What You Want:

Real visitors who desire to know more about your product and services…not someone who was searching for a porn or gambling site. Visitors who share this information with friends, family or other professionals. Cost effective communication that builds long term relationships, increases your visibility and customer satisfaction.

What I Deliver:

I go beyond content…well, at least the type of content that most people think about. In addition to a highly specialized controlled vocabulary and customized editorial calendar both designed to maximize the online marketing and PR campaigns, I specialize in developing the types of applications, experiences, information and more that people use, share, and come back for again and again and again.



#4. What They Do:

Redirect traffic from dummy or discarded accounts and websites to inflate your stats. There are a lot of variations on this gimmick but it typically goes something like this… perhaps one of their prior clients went out of business [and with Gimmicks-R-Us doing their online marketing it’s not a surprise!] so they purchase or retain [see # 6 below] the domain name and residual traffic. The site didn’t have to be a blockbuster or even effective, it just needs to have a decent level of traffic that can then be redirected in order to make it appear that Your site statistics have dramatically risen once Gimmicks-R-Us takes over your campaign. Another close variation is to set up a dummy website based only on the popularity of a specific search phrase…for example, Brittany Spears. Enough people search for that phrase so that any site you have will exhibit some level of exposure, which is then redirected to key accounts in order to make a splash…real or imagined. The result? You hire the new marketing company and after only one month, you see a tremendous spike in your web traffic. How much of it is real and how much is being redirected from a dead or dummy website?

What You Want:

You want to build a solid firm foundation of real visitors who will keep coming back again and again. Once you hit a critical mass, not only will your cost of advertising/marketing go down but you can actually charge others in many cases. What you do not want is to create the illusion of visitors when there really are none.

What I Delivery:

Real Visitors. Real Content. Real Results.


#5. What They Do:

Piggy-back. They use your website, source-code or even ad campaigns to promote their own advertising or that of other clients. There are valid uses and protections to be had from embedding specific information in source-code and legitimate sponsorship is quite acceptable but it is unethical to embed source-code advertising or other information without consent from paying customers…particularly when it is designed to promote their own products or services for free or at the cost of their own clients. Just recently a small account I reviewed had nearly 1/10 of their entire content and source code dedicated to outside advertising…ALL INVISIBLE to the naked eye!

What You Want:

You want to pay a fair price for your campaign and work performed on your own site. You do NOT want to pay for the time, labor and advertising of having someone Piggy-back on your time and money.

What I Deliver:

I provide validations, contracts. Registrations and licenses for all content, photo’s, rights and more. It’s all in writing. It all belongs to you unless otherwise noted. Period. No exceptions.


#6. What They Do:

Hijack Your IP. From domain names, email accounts and more…YOU should receive documented full rights, ownership, user passwords, contact information etc…

Another recent small business I worked with had the misfortune of previously dealing with unscrupulous account executives that brokered the domain name, established email accounts and then refused to turn them over when the client opted to take his small corporation elsewhere. He literally had to re-purchase his own domain at a cost of over $5,000 for a domain he had already paid for and thought he owned. Sadly, the business owner didn’t realize his mistake for several years by which point, his customers had developed a long term relationship with the domain.

What You Want:

Full ownership, copies, user names and passwords for ALL information related to your account. In the event there is ever an emergency, a change of ownership or just the simple right to do business with whomever you please…you should expect to have complete control at all times.

What I Deliver:

You always have full ownership with complete documentation and portability at all times. Likewise, you never need to worry about copyright infringement or illegitimate use of other persons IP [including content, visual elements, etc…] as I understand the need for strict adherence to proper procedure, clearance, registration and rights management related to all aspects of corporate communications. I take your reputation VERY seriously!



#7 What They Do:

SPAM!!! We all know and despise SPAM in our email but there is also the use of unsolicited thinly veiled SPAM on other websites performed on behalf of YOUR organization. It breeds contempt and is ineffective in the long run but for the unscrupulous promoter, it create the illusion of increased traffic.

What You Want:

You Never want to risk harming your hard earned reputation by creating discontent. Instead, Set the Standard by delivering the highest quality of information and applications that people will Trust, Want to use and Share with others. For example, I hope you have found Seven Secret Gimmicks helpful and informative. Whether you use my services or that of another, the information is designed to provide a true benefit in your selection criteria, evaluation and eventual decision as to what to look for in your online strategy. Please take the time to share this information with others and pass it along to anyone else who may benefit… or just keep it handy for future projects you may have in store. Likewise, SET THE STANDARD and let your competition follow your lead but never compromise the integrity of your company by allowing an unscrupulous or naïve promoter to tarnish your reputation.

What I Deliver:

I deliver TOP results that enhance your professional reputation, build trust and loyalty from clients and set the standard by which others will be measured.



I hope you have found this information valuable. For more information please visit my website at:
www.AboutShannon.com

or contact me via email at:
Shannon@AboutShannon.com

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