Are You Dotting Your i’s and Crossing Your t’s?

I’ve been online a long time. At least *cough* 12 years. Back in the early days “netiquitte” was taken really seriously.

The basic rules include:

  • YOU DON’T SHOUT,
  • You don’t quote slabs of text,
  • And my favourite, you check, and correct your spelling and grammar.

I always took the approach that online you are judged by your written word, in the same way that offline you’re judged by your appearance. Would you wear crumpled, dirty clothes and unpolished shoes when meeting with a potential client? I suspect not. So why write an email with no capitalisation, no punctuation and definitely no spell checking?

Now I don’t mean to be uptight, and I do appreciate that online communication is far less formal that the old written letter (thank heaven’s), but in my opinion if you can’t add an apostrophe to a word, or end a sentence with a full stop, I’ll suspect you don’t polish your shoes either. ;)

Keep in mind a few minutes making sure your written words are “polished” could be the difference between a sale or no sale.

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Are Newsletters Still Worth It?

A client recently asked my opinion of online newsletters. While blogs seem to be the main focus these days there are still benefits of offering a newsletter. It can be a great way to keep in touch with your clients and can help your prospects get to know you, and your business, better. You can use it to announce company news, new products and services or offer advice.

If you’re considering offering a newsletter keep in mind the following:

  • What’s in it for your readers? How do you make it compelling so that they subscribe – and read it regularly?
  • How often are you planning to send it out? Weekly, fortnightly or even monthly? Whatever you decide remember if you send it out regularly, and on time, your readers will come to expect, and look forward to it.
  • Make sure you give your readers the ability to subscribe/unsubscribe easily.
  • It’s vital you include a privacy policy. Make sure it’s easily seen and understood by potential subscribers.

Newsletters can be a great communications tool. Just remember your readers have chosen to read your newsletter so make it easy to subscribe, be informative and treat your reader’s details with respect.

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The Art of the Business Card

Business cards are an overlooked marketing tool. As well as providing your business details they can be used to promote what you do. In fact I often like to suggest to clients that adding information about their business and/or products and services can be a great way to remind prospects who you are 6 months after they got your card.

One of our members at Cre8asite, Patricia, has taken this one step further and asked whether a business card is an appropriate place to add a promotion. Liz, one of our mods, has grabbed this idea and run with it questioning the benefits of adding your URL (website address) and a reason to visit the site.

It’s an interesting discussion so feel free to drop in and add your thoughts.

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Don’t Make Them Think

You’ve got about 3 seconds to capture your prospect’s attention. That’s it.

In that time they have to work out what your site is about and what’s in it for them. The more complicated your message the more difficult it is for them to work it out – and the easier it is for them to hit the back button.

A few tips:

  • Design each page to have one main objective. Make it big, make it bold.
  • Keep your navigation labels (Services, Contact Us etc) simple and self explanatory. This is probably a little outdated these days (well I hope so) but don’t use obscure  images in place of text. We call that mystery meat navigation.
  • Make it easy for your prospects by making sure clickable links look like clickable links. Online, an underlined word signifies a link. If it’s not a link don’t underline it.

There’s enough competition out there without putting your prospects off before they’ve had a chance to become your customer.

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Business Trumps Sex Online. Perhaps…

A new study by Queensland University of Technology, in conjunction with Pennsylvania State University, has determined that business and e-commerce have trounced sex and pornography searches online. Their research analysed:

up to 30 million search sessions from search engines including Alta Vista, AlltheWeb.com, Ask.com, Excite and Dogpile.

Alta Vista? Excite? Dogpile?

Now I’m all for online commerce, and I do know it’s on the increase, however one can’t help but wonder if the vast majority of those searches are from automated ranking reports run by by scammy SEO firms for unsuspecting clients. “Hey John, we’ve ranked you #1 on Alta Vista for red widgets melbourne australia!” Right.

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