Friday, July 21, 2017

Don't Make Your Business Look Like a Bum with a Crap Website

I often see posts like "Anybody know of a kid or hotshot that can build a website cheap? Asking for a friend."

Instantly I see that someone is wanting a crappy website, just so they can say, "Check out my website." or "Visit our website for more information." They don't want to spend any money on it. They don't see the value of it. But they still think they need a website.

Why would you, if you had any professional dignity and self-worth, try to get by with a website that has no visual appeal, poor credibility, boring content, ugly colors, hard to read type font, and bad functionality?

It's like asking, "Anybody know where I can buy a rusted old clunker car that will need to be in the repair shop constantly?"

A cheap, poorly designed website -- what does that say about your business?

A website that, when you suddenly need to add videos, or photo galleries, or to shift things around in it, the web designer has moved out of town, won't respond to your emails, and leaves you hanging?

Your website, blog, or Facebook business page gives customers their first impression of your business.

Putting up a crap website is like showing up for a business meeting unshaved, stinky, wearing dirty clothes that are all ripped up.

You wouldn't want to look like a bum in a business meeting, so why should your business look like a bum on the Internet?

You need to invest some money if you want a professional website built by a reliable designer. You should also invest in good content writing and SEO implementation.

Your website represents you and your business. Make sure it shines.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Branding vs. Marketing

Branding is extremely important for any business. It's not a footnote, it's a big headline.

A rough analogy. You want to land a job interview for a high level executive position, for which you are qualified. So you buy a brand new suit, tie, and white shirt -- or you ladies buy a new business outfit and shoes.

That's similar to branding. But you don't just sit around, wearing your new interview garments, hoping the phone will ring.

After sophisticated branding, you then have to market that brand and sell your products and services.

Branding includes logos, tag lines, slogans, radio jingles, TV spokesperson, colors, CEO photos, etc. It's your identity, the first impression your business makes on customers. It's your corporate image, the company's overall personality.

Branding is based on (1) what differentiates you from your competitors, (2) how you position your company as Top of Mind Choice or Industry Leader, and (3) what problems you solve for customers.

Once you have determined what makes your company special, and describe that special aspect in terms of customer needs (NOT corporate bragging, with "we do this" boredom), you're ready to start a marketing campaign.

As a website content writer and SEO specialist, I can tell you that all your marketing material MUST be written in language your customers use.

You may have to introduce, and define, peculiar industry terminology, but most of your content must be customer-oriented and using their exact words.

All your radio commercials, TV spots, social media posts, billboards, brochures, email promotions, even down to corporate slogans and business cards, MUST be directed toward the customer's needs, problems, and interests.

It must NOT be "we-oriented", bureaucratic bloviating, corporate culture messaging. STOP doing that. STOP it right now. You need to understand how damaging it is to boast from the company's point of view.

Get to know how your customers talk about their needs. How they complain about competitors. The specific words and phrases they use when searching on Google for answers and solutions to their urgent problems.

For example, my business cards used to say "Web Content Development". That's how us IT guys and gals talk.

When I said that to clients, they'd always say, "You mean you write content for websites? You come up with the words to put in them?"

So I changed my statement to "Website Content Writing."

If you keep just this one idea firmly in mind, and judge all branding and marketing communications according to this rule, you'll be light years beyond most if not all of your competitors.

You WILL see sales and store traffic increase. Contact me for more specific recommendations for your particular business.

Monday, July 17, 2017

10 Worst Things a Business Can Do on Facebook

What are the biggest mistakes a business should avoid on Facebook?

Sprout Social lists these 5, and I add a few more....

(1) Post too many promotional messages. People are turned off by relentless, pushy ad campaigns and product announcements.

(2) Use slang and jargon that doesn't really fit with your brand or target audience (in a vain attempt to be "hip").

(3) Being impersonal, with no unique point of view, no sense of a real person behind the posts, too cold and bland.

(4) Misguided attempts to be comical, using humor that's not easy to understand -- or being satirical, but it's not obvious that satire is intended.

(5) Not responding at all, or not quickly enough, to comments, questions, complaints, etc.

I would add:

(6) Not posting information (including links to relevant news items) that positions your business as the leader in your field.

(7) Posting irrelevant information about sitcoms, Hollywood, fashion, etc. that has no bearing on what you sell, just to get a lot of Likes and comments.

(8) Not posting information about what differentiates your business from competitors.

(9) Not posting photos or videos of your products in use, solving problems for customers.

(10) Not posting videos of the CEO, business owner, or manager talking directly to potential customers, explaining how your products benefit people.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Google Synthesizer Search Buttons

Google is now displaying Search Buttons as a "carousel" widget above image search. I did a search for "synthesizers" in Google Images and this is what came up.

This is my specialty field of marketing, SEO (search engine optimization) -- and this combines SEO and synthesizers.

CLICK on image for LARGER view.

Google is moving forward in contextual search, guessing what you might want to search for next.

I'm not sure how much of my previous searching factors into this.

Not much, apparently, because the Search Buttons should include Moog, DSI, modular, touchpad, ribbon controller, Arturia, Mutable Instruments, Ciat-Lonbarde, Folktek, Gotharman, and other relevant terms that I use often in search.

I horizontal scrolled through all the buttons. None of the above terms were included.

I had Private results activated, instead of Global, which means Google Search was allegedly factoring in my previous search behavior. Sure didn't seem like it.


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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Dancing to Str8 Sounds @ Goddess Boheme

Dancing to "Dance Like a Large Hadron Collider on Mars" tune by Str8 Sounds @ Goddess Boheme. "Fool's Paradise" event, April 1, 2016.

Goddess Boheme, 606 W. Main Street, Peoria, IL USA.

A CIAO First Friday art, fashion & music show. 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Passion and Hard Work Won't Make You Successful

On Shark Tank, I keep seeing entrepreneurs who think their main selling point is their passion and hard work.

Passion and hard work mean absolutely nothing. I've known lunatics who were passionate and working hard.

I think this crazy attitude comes from New Age gurus.

"Wish hard enough and it will magically materialize."

"What you picture in your mind must appear in the world."

"Thoughts are things."

"Believe it will happen, and it will happen."

"Have zeal and make it real."

"Fake it until you make it."

And other loads of crap.

To succeed, you must be smart, not just fanatical.

You need to know the market.

You have to first know the problems, needs, and desires of your customer. Without that foundation, all the passion and hard work in the world will accomplish nothing.

You don't just invent something, then try to see who you can sell it to. You have to begin with the customer's pain and perplexity, their anguish and anger, their frustration and futility.

You have to see a big problem that is not being solved very well by competitors. You then design a solution and those who need it are already craving it.

Marketing is simply connecting your solution with the people who need it.

Your marketing must come not from a marketing team in a conference room, but from the lips of customers, how they talk, what they say about their problem, what they dream about and desire.

Your website, Facebook business page, brochures, radio commercials, TV advertising, business cards, everything should speak to that need and in the language your customers are using.

Your marketing should start and end with "You...." and not "We...."

Your company should be positioned as the expert, the problem solver, the thought leader in your field.

Whether your business is ham and sausage ... or photography and video productions.

You start with the customers and their needs, questions, problems, wishes, hopes, and dreams. NOT with your corporation or how great your product is.

Nobody wants to buy your products and they never will.

What they want is a way to fix a deficiency, enhance a lifestyle, or solve a problem. That's what they will buy. Not "product" but SOLUTION.

Monday, March 28, 2016

How To Use Owners Manuals to Overcome Buyer's Remorse -- ELEKTRON ANALOG FOUR example

Owner's Manuals should always include text that reinforces what the product is and does for the customer.

This is the manufacturer's last chance to overcome buyer's remorse, diminish returns, and encourage customers to recruit their friends.

When a customer receives a product from a store or from a delivery method, ecstasy is quickly followed by doubts, misgivings, disappointments.

"Is this really such a great purchase? Did I make the best decision? Is this product living up to my expectations and the hype to which I was exposed? Did I waste my money? Should I return this and get something better?

The Owner's Manual is a fantastic opportunity to answer these questions by truthfully emphasizing how incredible the product is and why the customer made the right purchasing decision.

Owner's Manual introductions are the manufacturers way to give the customer ammunition for responding to questions from friends, like: "Why did you spend so much money on that thing? Why didn't you buy what I own?"

However, most owners manuals fail to do anymore than say "Thanks for buying our product. Please read this instruction book carefully."

Here's what Elektron provides in the Analog Four reference manual.



Some things never go out of style. They seem to possess an inner, timeless quality, an objective trait that sets them apart from the rest. Makes them stand out. They can be found in all areas of human activity, throughout history.

From science to art, literature to architecture, photography to theatre - works of art embodying the essence of these expressions are found everywhere. Including, of course, within the domain of sound.

Making and shaping sound using analog circuits goes far back in time. Initially used in compositions dating from the first decades of the 20th century, analog circuits were popularized in the 1960s thanks to artists such as Wendy Carlos.

Today, they are frequently emulated by both hardware and software. Their legacy is impressive.

The analog tone and timbre has become synonymous with appealing sounds. Rightly so. The depth, fullness and slightly skewed characteristics of analog sounds speak directly to us.

As the French poet Baudelaire noted:

“Irregularity, in other words the unexpected, the surprising, the astonishing, are essential to and characteristic of
beauty.” (Intimate Journals, 1930).

We at Elektron owe a lot to analog technology. It is in our blood. The Sidstation, our first product, featured an analog filter which was decisive in generating the unique sound of the synth.

With the Analog Four we return, in a sense, back to where we started.

Only this time we bring the knowledge and experience gained from the development of instruments like the Machinedrum, Monomachine and Octatrack. The result, we can confidently claim, is the best of two worlds.

Rich, warm and lucent analog sound, combined with the accuracy and precision only state of the art digital control can achieve.

This makes the Analog Four not only a perfect match for our existing product lines - the instrument is also ideal for any modern studio or live setup in need of that inimitable analog sound.

The Analog Four is our contribution to the proud history of analog instruments.

Enjoy the power of true hardware,

The Elektron Team