Friday, December 29, 2017

No More Fake News Flag on Facebook...It Was Click Bait

Facebook is discontinuing use of its "fake news" flag, because it was wildly successful... as click bait. More people than ever started visiting and reading what FB called "fake news."

Fake news is nothing new. It's always been everywhere: social media, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, and word of mouth.

Do you want someone else (media company, government, watchdog organization, political party) to label items "fake news" -- or do you prefer to do your own research?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Dangers of Free Public Wifi

While Starbuck’s free public Wi-fi is convenient, is it actually safe? NO. Never use it.

It’s not just Starbuck’s Wi-Fi that is considered to be unsafe, using any public Wi-Fi can put you at risk for hacking, malware, and identity theft.

The main reason for this is how open these public networks are.

There are either very little (or no) authentication steps required to connect. Anyone with any device capable of connecting online can freely establish a connection.

The other big reason that public Wi-Fi spots are unsafe, is the lack of any encryption. The purpose of encryption is to protect data as it travels from point A to B. It does this by scrambling the data, so that if it is intercepted, it cannot be read or accessed.

The absence of any encryption means that any data flowing through the web can be intercepted, read, and accessed.

So for instance, if you are using Starbuck’s Wi-Fi to online shop, and you enter your credit card information, this info can be read as it is traveling from your device to the store’s server.

On public Wi-Fi networks, hackers can also set themselves so that they appear to be the connection point, or place themselves in between you and the real Wi-Fi connection point.

In these cases, instead of being directly connected to the coffee shop’s Wi-Fi set-up, your information is actually being routed through the hacker’s set up.

This allows them to see everything you are doing online, and collect the information going through the web. Malware can also be distributed through unsecured networks.

Don't use public wifi -- but if you do, never buy anything online using your credit card. Wait until you're home.

Also, make sure that any software updates and upgrades are coming from the software itself, and not from a website’s pop up notification.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Hidden Value of Lurkers

Lurkers, up to 98% of your Facebook, blog, and website visitors, have a hidden value that will now be revealed to you.

Lurkers are individuals who read or watch what's posted in online forums, blogs, websites, YouTube, and social media -- but they never interact.

They don't click Like. They don't share or post comments on your content. You never hear from them via email, website contact forms, or private messages.

Most lurkers are good people who are too shy, inarticulate, or busy to interact with you online. Some lurkers have been personally attacked by trolls and want to avoid any further trouble.

However, there are also lurkers who are malicious stalkers, snooping around, spying on you, nosey about your life and beliefs.

Other lurkers may be competitors wanting to steal your ideas or exploit your expertise, claiming it as their own.

Some lurkers may quote you on their own internet platform and make fun of, or misinterpret, what you post.

But most lurkers are enjoying your posts. They're part of your silent, secret fan base. They may be sharing your ideas and expertise with other people in the offline world. Lurkers may be personally benefiting greatly from your posts.

Once in a great while, they may even tell you something like "I've been following you for many years now, and want to express my delight in your thoughtful and informative posts."

Don't have negative feelings about the good, benevolent lurkers. They tend to be 90% to 99% of the total Internet user population.

In fact, they might be your biggest, most loyal fans...and doing a lot to promote you, your business, your music and art.

Friday, December 8, 2017

What Exactly is a Troll?

Many people have a very mistaken idea about what an internet troll is. Often they call anybody who posts a contrary or opposing view a "troll."


Trolls post inflammatory remarks with the sole purpose of angering people and disrupting a conversation. They tend to hammer their opinion relentlessly.

Often, their first comment will seem civil, and just mildly know-it-all. But when you express yourself and say something the troll disagrees with, all hell suddenly breaks loose.

Anyone who tries to correct a troll,or share an idea that contradicts what the troll said, will get F bombs and words like "idiot", and filthy language insults. Personal attacks prove without a doubt that a troll is present.

Nobody "wins" a discussion that is attempting to clarify or discover truth. Each side learns a little, even if their opinion doesn't change. It's good to listen to opposition.

If nothing else is gained, you at least get better at understanding a different point of view and at advancing your own perspective. If all you do is hang around with those who always agree with you, you're going to be dumbed down and unfit to debate an opponent -- and not even realize what is happening to you.

Sometimes you may read a post and feel the viewpoint is missing a vital angle or some pertinent information. So you post a comment, politely and non-combatively, that conveys your understanding of an issue.

If some thin-skinned, intolerant, arrogant person then jumps in and accuses you of "trolling", just post a link to an article that documents and verifies your remark. Be nice, intelligent, and calm about it.

Often however, this won't solve much, because people don't like to appear wrong or misinformed. Few individuals are really open minded and fair about issues that are close to their heart.

But lurkers who stay out of the argument may appreciate your link and may learn something, even if they don't click Like on your comment.

Remember, trolls are defined by their attitude. Simply posting a contrary view is not trolling. Trolls are hateful troublemakers who enjoy stirring up hurt feelings and confusion.

I train CEOs and business managers in how to deal with negative comments and trolls. I've developed tactics and strategies that have proven to be very effective.

Need help with online reputation management or trolls? Contact me.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Google-compliant SEO

What is "SEO that is Google-compliant"? 

It's what I provide to my clients.

That means search engine optimization based on Google Webmaster Guidelines. It "optimizes" (makes as good as possible) your website, so Google recognizes it as the ideal source of information and products for customer questions and needs.

Your website must take full advantage of best practices in content format, naturally occurring keywords, HTML meta tags, robots protocols, image alt attributes, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), micro-data markup, favicons, and much more.

Web designers typically don't focus on SEO. They seem to be unaware of how to do it correctly and how powerful it can be for your internet branding and marketing.

When your business has a Google-compliant SEO-empowered website, you gain a huge competitive advantage, that's not easy for rival companies to copy.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

How Google Disfavors Bad Websites

Many business people don't understand how Google keeps targeting certain aspects of websites that are mediocre or anti-user.

It's good for you to know what Google is persecuting.

You can't attract more customers to your website, and generate more sales, if Google thinks your website sucks.

When Google wages war against deceptive claims, aggressive ads, sparse content, keyword spamming, and black hat tricks, your website better not have these issues.

Such Google algorithm updates as Panda content assessment, Mobilegeddon, Intrusive Interstitial penalty, Penguin 4.0 bad link devaluation, RankBrain artificial intelligence, or AdWords Shakeup -- each of these changes in Google search can have a big impact on how your website ranks in search results pages.

Google has an algorithm running all the time called Above The Fold (ATF).

The ATF algorithm can impact rankings when ads or other elements push your main content down the page.

Google’s John Mueller has explained that ATF doesn’t need a refresh. It is working all the time. So as Google crawls your site and identifies ads (or other elements) pushing down your main content, your site can be negatively impacted.

Google will disfavor any website that has obstructions to customers in their pursuit of information.

This is because Google wants its search results to please and help customers. Google wants to identify the best websites for answering customer questions.

If your website has poor usability, badly written text, non-optimized images, mediocre design, confusing architecture, slim content, incomplete explanations, technical terms not defined, annoying ads popping up, vague category heads and subheads, or other problems, Google will not consider your website to be a good place for customers to visit.

SEO involves major enhancements to your website content, so that both Google and your customers will be happy. What's good for Google is good for your customers -- and good for your website to implement.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

On Page SEO Improves Text Content

If there was one basic fundamental guide to empowering a website with SEO, without diving into HTML code, what would it be?

"Is this website answering all the questions that customers typically ask, or could conceivably ask?"

This "on page SEO" (Search Engine Optimization) focuses on enhancing your website's content, making sure that it's based on customer needs and questions. Think about that for a moment.

Does your website provide well-written text that (1) identifies the customer problem, in their language (not corporate talk) and (2) explains in interesting detail how your product solves that problem, from every possible angle and niche interest?

FAQ style question and answer format is something from Web 1.0 that everybody understands. It's the preferred SEO way to present website content.

It's in line with how customers do internet searches for information about problems, solutions, and products that provide these solutions. FAQ info pleases search engines and they'll more likely send customers to your website because of its relevance.

Rather than tell a bland story about quality products, low prices, and great service (like everybody else is shouting) -- your website should contain expert responses, in friendly language, to customer fears, desires, and confusions.

Which means you've got to know your customers better than your competitors do, and thus can talk to them more effectively.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Test Your Website for SEO - and attract more customers

Test Your Website's SEO

Does your website need SEO? How can you tell?

Search engine optimization empowers your website to attract customers.

Many websites have no SEO implemented, or poorly implemented, so the websites just sit there on the web, accomplishing nothing.

Your visibility as a business includes search engine results page ranking. How well is your website doing when customers do Google searches on keywords related to your business?

Simple Test to Check Your Website SEO:

(1) Enter into Google some key words that pertain to your business.

For example, if you're a dentist, you'd want to enter such phrases as dental implants, teeth whitening, family dentist, affordable dental work, pain free dentist, dentures, tooth extraction, wisdom teeth, baby teeth, teeth grinding, mouth guards, etc.

These are typical terms that people use in Google search when they're looking for answers, services, or products to solve a problem.

Thus, your website needs a good amount of text defining and explaining these terms. Google will look for the best match of website content that's relevant to such topics. If you have nothing, or perhaps just a sentence or two, in your website on a specific issue, your website needs more content.

(2) For each keyword or phrase, look at the search results. Does your website appear in the first few pages? Does it appear at all?

Done. You now know how much SEO power your website has. If people can't find your website when doing internet searches, your business is in serious trouble.

See those business that are appearing on the first 3 pages of Google? Those are your competitors -- and they're using SEO to steal customers away from you.

Rank Higher in Search Results

There are many SEO factors involved in how highly a website ranks in search results.

HTML page titles, meta descriptions, H tag headers, robots protocols, AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) validation, Schema dot org code are some of the website code structure that needs to be correct.

If a website has longevity, it's been online for many years, Google will tend to favor it. When other reputable, prestigious, helpful websites link to yours, that's going to boost your rankings in search results.

In addition, SEO is impacted by various aspects of content, including such things as:

nice visual appearance, well written text using naturally occurring keywords, FAQ style answers to common questions, product comparison guide, strong calls to action on every page, captions under photos, interesting About page, and proper use of headlines and subheads.


CONTACT ME for SEO help.

If your website is failing in SEO, not showing up in search results, and not generating sales for your business, let's talk about it.

I've provided Google-compliant, ROI oriented SEO and social media marketing for local banks, hospitals, manufacturers, agriculture, accounting firms, law offices, dentists, grocery stores, tourism, historical organizations, chambers of commerce, and many other types of business.

There could be some very simple, quick, and affordable ways to fix what's wrong and get your business back on track for strong competitive advantages that rival firms won't be able to copy.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

20 Tips for Facebook Business Page Marketing

I enjoy managing Facebook Business Pages for my clients. I won't share all my secrets, for I have developed some effective strategies and methodologies that are unique.

But here are 20 basic, effective ideas on marketing a business on Facebook.

(1) Set up a Facebook Business Page and be sure to provide all the information required (About, Hours of Operation, Street Address, Contact Info, etc.).

(2) Use a cover photo (that goes across the top of the page) that shows your building or your product solving a problem for a customer, or something that's relevant and dramatic.

(3) Consider putting your business name, slogan, and phone number and street address (or email address) on the cover photo. This makes your cover photo an ad that everybody sees.

(4) Make sure your cover photo looks good in a variety of devices, especially mobile. You can find mobile device simulators online that will provide renderings of any webpage on many different devices and screen sizes.

(5) Use a profile photo of the CEO, owner, or manager to personalize the business and make it more human, less remote from customers.

(6) Use the Call To Action button in way that's appropriate to your business (make a reservation, book a room, etc.).

(7) On your About page, be sure to differentiate your business from competitors. Give a brief explanation of what your business is and what makes it special, plus what products or services you provide to what kind of customers.

(8) Post photos of CEO, owner, store manager, especially when they're interacting with customers or engaged in community service projects.

(9) Post photos of products, from various angles, by themselves and also products solving problems or meeting needs of customers.

(10) Post photos of your building, so people can have a mental image of it when they drive to your physical location. This will help them find you.

(11) If you have a physical location, tell customers about landmarks that are nearby, or the intersection, or what neighborhood your business is located in. Don't just tell them the address, which may not mean much if a customer isn't familiar with that street.

(12) Post videos of product in action, customers (with their permission) enjoying a product, tours of your facility, company events, employees happy at work, etc.

Hubspot says: "The 2017 State of Inbound report cited video as the “main disruptor,” with 24% of marketers naming it as a top priority.

“Watch video” is one of the CTAs that Facebook allows brands to add to their Pages for a reason -- because it’s becoming one of the most popular ways to consume content."

(13) Post links to news articles relevant to your business, to your industry, and to the needs and problems your customers have.

This is something almost no business does, so it's an easy way to stand out from the competition and give customers content that's interesting and helpful.

(14) Post answers to questions that customers typically ask.

(15) Post definitions of technical terms and other things that will educate your customers.

(16) DO NOT post relentless self-promotions. This makes you seem like a pushy, hard sell salesman that everybody hates. Post a nice variety of content that is not necessarily self-serving, but that gives customers good information.

(17) Post text and video tutorials about how to use your products.

(18) Post explanations of what each product's purpose is and how it achieves it, with product comparisons to help customers decide which model is best for their needs.

(19) ENGAGE with all comments. NEVER ignore remarks they make. DO NOT delete embarrassing questions, angry complaints, or tough criticisms.

Negative comments are your golden opportunity to shine, to take the high road and show how kind, understanding, and professional you are.

(20) Figure out the best timing and frequency of posting.

Generally, it's good to post from about 8 AM to 11 PM, with a focus on lunch time (when people can take a break from work and check out Facebook notifications) and a little past dinner time (around 6 PM).

My general rule of thumb is I post on behalf of my clients about every 2 to 4 hours, every single day, except Sunday.

You may think that's a lot, but if you have really good, interesting things to post, people will appreciate it and gain benefit from your postings.

Post too often -- and people may feel you're desperate or even spamming them. You'll look obnoxious and troublesome.

Post infrequently -- and people may think you have no enthusiasm for your business or no expertise in marketing. You'll look very unprofessional and boring.


Follow these simple guidelines and you'll be WAY ahead of your competition, I guarantee it.

Sound overwhelming? Too busy to deal with it?

I manage Facebook business page marketing for a very reasonable rate, with professional social media marketing expertise that is unmatched in the Peoria area.

Contact me today.

Monday, November 6, 2017

SEO Mistakes Made by Local Businesses

Google provides good advice on how to implement SEO on your website.

There's at least one web design company in Peoria I know of that often uses "black hat SEO", i.e. techniques to try to trick Google into thinking a website is relevant to customers.

By using these unethical techniques, a website might rise high in search results temporarily, but will suddenly drop in rankings, and may be penalized or even banned by Google.

As a business owner, CEO, or marketing manager, you should get to know what works, and what doesn't work, in SEO.

The biggest mistakes I see local businesses of Peoria, IL make on their websites are:

(1) not enough keyword-rich text that answers customer questions in an FAQ type presentation

(2) "we-oriented" text that blabbers on and on about the company, without really addressing customer needs or problems

(3) not providing photos or videos of the product in use solving a customer's problem

(4) poorly composed meta tags, especially meta description

(5) poorly implemented H (header) tags

(6) not mobile-optimized.

Here are Google Webmaster's preliminary remarks on SEO.


Avoid the following techniques:

* Automatically generated content
* Participating in link farm schemes
* Creating pages with little or no original content
* Cloaking
* Sneaky redirects
* Hidden text or links
* Doorway pages
* Scraped content
* Participating in affiliate programs without adding sufficient value
* Loading pages with irrelevant keywords
* Creating pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware
* Abusing rich snippets markup
* Sending automated queries to Google



Need help with driving more customers to your website, via Google-compliant SEO?

I can provide this assistance to you, like I've done for Peoria area banks, accounting firms, law offices, hospitals, dentists, restaurants, book shops, tourism boards, chambers of commerce, manufacturers, grocery stores, and other types of business.

Contact me today.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Stop Playing Facebook Games and Quizzes

Games and quizzes on Facebook are often big trouble, and not just for innocent entertainment.

Many people I personally know have had their Facebook accounts hacked due to participating in them. Worse things could also happen.

Facebook games and quizzes often ask for extreme permissions, like access to your account and friends list, and ability to post on your behalf.

If a game or quiz has malicious intent, they can start spamming all your friends and they'll think it's coming from you. Other more criminal intentions can also be involved.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Good synthesizer manufacturer slogans SATIRE

If synthesizer manufacturers would come up with realistic, honest corporate slogans, they might sound like this.

Rhys Hughes:

Moog - we now do 2 notes.

Roland - we are powered by impotent rage of analogue purists

Nord - building the same synth for 20 years

Yamaha - as seen on cruise ships around the world

Akai - *distant sound of landfill*

Steven Edward Streight:

Casio - Just add some guitar effects boxes to sound good.

Korg - From little Monotron to big Kronos and everything in between including kaoss pads.

Behringer - Still ripping off other manufacturers and getting away with it.

Elektron - Once you get used to the work flow, you might like it.

Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers - Figure it out, you pussy.

Trogotronic - Ugly noise to scare the shit out of those DX7 sissies.

Dave Smith Instruments - Still innovative after inventing MIDI. Sorry about the weird Evolver interface!

Arturia - Stop saying our drums aren't 808s.

Critter & Guitari - How weird can we get?

Folktek - We just got even weirder.

Dreadbox - Spooky names to scare the crybabies at Synthesizer Freaks.

Kurzweil - How many pianos do you want today?

Novation - We do pretty lights better than anybody.

Bastl Instruments - Stranger than most, sturdier than some.

Buchla - West Coast experimental is going to cost you.

Abstrakt Instruments - How many analog basslines do you want today?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Marcus Lemonis invests his own money, tens of millions, into failing businesses he believes in. 

Here is THE PROFIT television show's -- "Top 10 Rules for Business Success":

(1) Don't Be An Ass.

Treat people nicely, without being a chump. Really crazy business people have zero self-awareness, it shows immediately and they will not change.

(2) Make Your Employees #1.

Customers are sometimes wrong. If you treat your employees great, you'll also have good customer relations. Hire the right people, then tap into their strengths.

(3) Know What You're NOT Good At.

Then find experts to help you. You don't need to excel at everything. But you need to find ways to make up for what you're weak at.

(4) Avoid Drama.

Sometimes you have to just accept the crazy and work around it. Family businesses bring long-festering issues and conflict into the picture. Working with friends and relatives can be very dangerous, because you may overlook bad aspects of their work and attitudes. Deal with dysfunction, build on strengths.

(5) Be Vulnerable.

Open up, let your emotions be expressed when appropriate, instead of allowing them to be repressed and boiling under the surface.

(6) Be Authentic.

Not pretentious. Your business has a story, but it must be non-fiction. Customers don't want fake narratives contrived to sell products based on falsehoods.

(7) Be Transparent.

Don't lie about anything. Be trustworthy. "Little by little, the story kept changing. He lies because he doesn't know how to do anything else. He's used to manipulating people deceitfully. I lost $300,000 on that deal."

(8) It's All About Follow-Through.

I don't run your entire business. I don't manage it forever. You must step up to the plate and perform. You must do what you agreed to do when we made the deal. You must consistently show strong leadership in your company.

(9) Know Your Numbers.

Know your production costs and sales figures. Know your profit margins. Have accurate and ethical accounting processes. The numbers are the health report for your business.

(10) Don't Blame Others.

Quit whining. Stop pointing fingers. Roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

How Customer-Centric Website Content Increases Sales

As a business, you need to be found by customers.

People who have a need that your products satisfy, they should be able to find you when they do a Google search, using keywords related to their problem.

How does your business appear high in Google search results?

SEO, search engine optimization, which includes improving your website's HTML code meta tags -- and adding better written content that answers questions asked by customers.

Most websites have HTML code that is not compliant with Google Webmaster SEO requirements. This can be easily seen by looking at the source code and comparing it with what Google recommends.

Most websites also use a company-centric approach to content, instead of a customer-centric approach. Talking about your company from your own point of view is a guaranteed way to bore and annoy customers.

Nobody wants to know more about your company.

People want to know more about solutions to their needs and problems. That's their top priority.

Business people wrongly think, "If people knew who we are and what we do, they'd buy from us."

Correct orientation is, "If we understood better what the customers need and how they talk about it, we'd be more successful at promoting our products as the solution."

Your website, your blog, and your Facebook business page should be slanted entirely and aggressively toward customer needs. Typical customer questions should be answered.

Guidance should be given to customers so they can discover which products best solve their problems.

When you show your customers how their problems can be solved, how their lives can be enhanced, how their needs can be met -- THEN they'll want to know more about your company and products.

The words "you" and "your" must dominate your online content. You'll see website traffic and sales increase dramatically when you change your content strategy to be customer-focused.

By adding more customer-centric content to your website, blog, and Facebook business page, you'll be telling Google that your business has answers that customers are seeking.

By addressing customer concerns, interests, and needs, your online presences will position your business as a leader in its field, so that Google will start making your website rise higher and higher in search results show to customers.

Your website should be working just as hard as you do. It's one of your most important sales and marketing tools.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

No Goal is a Big Reason Why Online Marketing Fails

One big reason why websites, blogs, and Facebook business pages fail to produce results is because no realistic goal was formulated.

For example, somebody decides to make a blog, and "monetize it", which means ruining it with ads.

When people visit the blog, they're repulsed by how spammy it looks, with ads cluttering the design and distracting from the blog's content.

To make matters worse, the person doesn't publish posts very often, has no understanding of SEO, and doesn't get any traffic to the blog. So the ads do nothing but annoy the few people who go to the blog.

You must develop a goal for your web presences.

"Tell people who we are, what we do, and what products we carry" is the strategy of losers. It's company-focused.

"Tell customers how their needs are met by the benefits and features our products provide" is the strategy of winners. It's customer-centric.

Blogs are primarily for SEO.

Blogs are best used to supply fresh, frequent, relevant content to Google. This savvy content positions you, in the mind of customers and in the Google algorithm, as a leader in your field, a local expert.

Then, by strategic use of a blog, your business rises higher and higher in Google search results when customers are seeking what your business provides.

While Google prefers longevity (web pages that have existed for several years or more), I've seen a client with a brand new website, brand new Facebook business page, and brand new blog, get to page 1 on Google search results in just 3 months.

This victory was achieved in spite of ferocious competition, local companies advertising on the radio and with gigantic 4 color postcards in the mail twice a month.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Bicycle Fever presentation for your organization: ACT NOW

Owner of Younger Than Yesterday and long time friend and fellow musician, Craig Moore, was happy to receive a signed copy of my book "Bicycle Fever."

My book "Bicycle Fever", written for Charles Ruppman and the Proctor Cycling Classic, in association with Bradley University, Peoria Historical Society, and Peoria Public Library, traces the evolution of bicycle technology, culminating in Peoria's role in early bicycle manufacturing and international bike racing.

Want a fascinating, educational, and humorous presentation for your group, club, or company?

I have given this presentation to Peoria Women's Club, Chillicothe Historical Society, Peoria Public Library, and others.

People laugh and learn. Interesting aspects of Peoria, and astonishing Peoria champions, are covered with amusing anecdotes and tales of bizarre daring and skill. A good time for all.

I video record my presentation, and upload it to YouTube, so those in your organization who were not able to attend can view it.

Booking now for Fall and Winter 2017.

CONTACT me at:


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.