Single Throw's Internet Marketing Post

Single Throw is an Internet Marketing firm that helps businesses with sales lead generation by making sure your message is in the right place at the right time - when a customer is searching and has need - when they are most likely to make a buying decision. We call this "From Search to Success." In this blog, Single Throw's experts will share their insights on the state of business and marketing, both online and offline, as well explore new areas of Internet Marketing.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Making it easy for your customers

Every business, everyday, is asking their customers for the sale. Online or brick and mortar; it makes no difference. That's a lot to ask for. Because you are not only asking for their hard earned dollars but also the acceptance of all the qualifiers that come along with that:
  • Trust: the product or service lives up to expectations.
  • Security: the safety of the transaction and all related information.
  • Dependability: the promise that you will be there well after the sale.
  • Value: the product or service is "worth it"

Let's face it; there are a lot of different products and services they can choose from. The Internet has opened up the entire world to freely sell well beyond the "mall walls" that once surrounded them. CBS News ran an interesting feature yesterday, noting the Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz, discussing the world of choices and how having so many has actually made us LESS happy. (The topic of "happiness" is a whole 'nother article.)

So if customers have so many choices, why wouldn't you make it easier to choose YOU?

Take the web experience, for example. Do you like to get to a website and have the site ask you to install software to see their information? No. It would be easier if you were just simply presented with the information. Alternatively, I can click my back button and check out your competitors in my search results...maybe they make it easier.

I saw something interesting at He recently released a new version of his slide presentation, yet used a font that most people would not have on their computers. He suggests that you purchase it. While I'm a huge fan of design and branding, and would love for the world to use Frutiger as their default font, I realize that for people to see my message, I need to use the tools that are most accessible to them. I am already asking them for their business - their money - I do not want to ask them for more than that.

Peters, the exceptional professional that he is, realized this was a mistake and gracefully restored order by revising the presentation using fonts that everyone typically has available, and offering those that did purchase the font a free book.

Morale(s) of the story:

  1. Make it difficult for your customers and you will lose them (with them goes their money)
  2. If you make a mistake, fix it. The go over and above and make the customers smile.
  3. Not everyone is Tom Peters. Learn from him. He's human.

Internet marketing goes well beyond the walls of the Internet and search engines and optimization and all those buzzwords we are fed on a daily basis. Most good marketing stems from common sense. Common sense says, "Why be difficult?" Ask yourself that every step of the way and always keep in the back of your mind this: your customers are paying for every word, every image every bell and whistle you put on your site. Make sure that everything you do provides the customer with the four qualifiers and you will make the potential of them giving you their hard earned dollars that much easier...and regular!

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Friday, February 24, 2006

Google secrets? Fahgedaboutit...

Yesterday Single Throw spent a very worthwhile morning at a Memory Training Seminar sponsored by business, sales and marketing seminar promoter Move Ahead 1. At our booth, the question always seemed to evolve around the same thing: "How do we show up for XYZ in Google." (Replacing XYZ, of course, with what you feel is the be-all-end-all phrase that everyone that needs your product or service is madly typing in right at this very minute.)

Everyone wants that "secret." No matter how many times you try to explain, "There is no secret," they still think you're holding out. I imagine they're thinking, "Hey, they have a successful business doing just that. Of course there's a secret." Wrong.

I can understand why people think there's a "secret." It's in the news, both in business categories and consumer headlines. There's huge conferences built around it, with next week welcoming one of the leading annuals right here in New York City. Each conference, article, book, news headline and email spam makes us want to know...Search Engine Strategies, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Growing Your Business with Google, 20 Great Google Secrets, Google Secrets from Information Week, and I can go on adding some of the great resources out there as well as the never ending list of misinformation, but I won't. (Just do a search in Google for Google secrets!)

Here's the point. All these conferences, articles, books, news headlines, and spam emails exist for one main reason: there is NO secret! There are lots of tips, techniques, great ideas and almost daily revelations but there's no single tip or secret. And there is no answer of how your site can be number one for this, or even show up for that.

There are things you should be doing that will help though. First and foremost, understand it's not about being number one in Google, or Yahoo! or MSN for that matter. It IS about your viewers. Finding out exactly what they are looking for is a step in the right direction, because showing up in Google for XYZ means nothing if your target customer isn't even looking for that.

So we've said it before and we'll say it again. You can find all kinds of tips about showing up in the search engines. To make that have a positive effect on your bottom line is whole nothing column, or 10 or 100...

Visit the Search Engine Strategies Conference in NY

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Internet IS a marketing tool!

We say it everyday to our clients: your customer is the new generation of young individuals who actually USE the Internet for EVERYTHING. Seth Godin presented an excellent example of a young man from Oklahoma named Jeff Clark who found a better way to present his capabilities to those companies looking to hire some marketing talent.

Has this been done before? Sure. Why is this better? Jeff got a link in a blog from one of the best marketing guys in the business. His message just got put out in front of some of the best hiring opportunities out there. And he got a link here too.

Today's customers are not likely to use the Internet in the same way that tomorrow's will. Think of your use of the cell phone, then look at a 20 year old and how they use it. Totally different. To me, it's easier just to pick up a phone and call rather than send a text message. They can bang out a message to their friends without hardly looking at the phone.

Consider not only your current customer base, but also that of the one you are looking to attract down the road. You have a whole generation of customers and lifetime value ahead of you. Make sure you are ready for it!

Seth Godin's Post

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sauce or Gravy? Dishing up what your customers want...

We have this discussion in our office all the time. It's like the battle of the Italian Americans and those that grew up around them.

In my parent's house, it's sauce. Period. Sunday sauce. Meat sauce. If it's red, it's sauce. "Gravy is brown," Dad always said.

Ask Single Throw's CEO Larry Bailin who grew up in north Jersey, and it's gravy.

Now ask yourself, if you had a website that featured Italian recipes, which terminology would use? Most people go with what they call it. Me, I'd make a site that featured recipes of the great sauces of Italy. But would my site - one that would likely appeal to even gravy lovers around the world - ever be found by them in the search engines? Not necessarily. And if it was, would they even click on it, knowing full well the two "may" be the same thing? Probably not.

First, simply speaking, the site that is most relevant to the search request will show up first. So "sauce" sites will likely show up for "sauce" requests before those that feature only "gravy" references. Secondly, if I am looking for "sauce" I am more likely to choose the site that says "sauce" not "gravy" as I know it matches my needs - even though in the back of my head they could be the same thing. (Although I hear my Dad's words over and over again!)

So what's the big deal? It's this: the new world of Internet Marketing has introduced us all to new tools and skills that allow us to find out exactly what your customers are looking for. Don't give them "sauce" if they are looking for "gravy" even though you think they are the same. They are not to the person with that specific need in their head. And they will choose the site that meets their exact needs first.


Read more about it... Italian Food article
Wikipedia definition of Tomato Sauce
Slow Travel Talk Forum Discussion
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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Oh wow, I forgot all about that!

We hear that a lot lately. At work. At home. On TV. It's all in our heads...all this "forgotten stuff." There's a lot to remember on a daily basis, both in our regular lives and our work lives. It's stressful, isn't it?

So how do we combat it? From a business perspective, there's a TON to absorb, process and regurgitate on a daily basis. When we are completing an Internet marketing program for our clients, each member of our team has a hit list of questions they need answered. It's an organized process of steps that we do not stray from.

That sounds great in a process situation, but what happens when someone throws a brick through the window (figuratively speaking, that is)? What happens when you need to adapt to a new set of requirements? We have to regroup and retrain ourselves and resort back to the one item we all have: our brain! That means we have to resort to absorb, process and recall to get the job done.

Since the advent of the personal computer, we've all become more reliant on these advanced systems to help keep track of what we need to do. In doing so, we tend to forget even more since our brain is a muscle and needs to experience fitness activities, just like what we pay to maintain our bodies at Bally's and other similar venues.

Memory training and brain teasers will help you to retain and recall more. You will forget less and make your job - and life - easier.

So bottomline: stop going out of your mind! Train your brain! Here's some recommended reading and events to help you on the way to remembering more, making your job and life better!

The Brain . . . Use It or Lose It, an article found on New Horizons For Learning
Brainbashers: Brain Teasers and Puzzles
Memory Training with Guinness World Record Holder Ron White (an event being held in New Jersey February 23rd)

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What's all the Jargon About?

I've been listening to my latest download from Why Business People Speak Like Idiots by Brian Fugere, Chelsea Hardaway and Jon Warshawsky. Admittedly, I chose it because I loved the title and it got great reviews. And I tend to like things that explore "thinking differently" - likely a tendency leftover from my creative, Mac addict days.

Just part way into it, I was thinking it was really going to be more about daily communication, email, voicemail, sales meetings and the like. While it's that, it's so much more. It's really about EVERYTHING we communicate with, including our marketing. The "simple is better" approach is very similar to strategies we employ with search engine marketing and optimization.

While we know one of the core components of marketing is to develop and deliver those unique messages to address a customers "wants and needs," sometimes in that effort to be "unique" we miss the part about serving the customers needs, getting lost in words that we think they should hear. You know them: cutting edge, feature rich, enterprise class...

Example: click here for a search in Google for the above terms. 12,700 RESULTS ARE RETURNED. Wow! And that's using "quotes" around the terms to ensure we are getting the actual phrases. That's a lot of business BS!

In an effort to stand out, make their stuff sound great, these companies - and note, they are BIG companies in those results - they have simply become one of about 13,000 indexed items in Google.

So "think different" should really be "think simple."

Visit the Fight the bull site and blog.
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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Axe Jeeves

Reports are out that Jeeves, the butler character that has represented search engine and the brand Ask Jeeves has been fired, heading the way of the sock puppet and other branded characters of what has been called Web 1.0. Once again, this reminded us that the Internet is all business. While the character may be recognizable and interesting, it represents the past the is looking to evolve from. Over the years, Ask Jeeves has updated the Jeeves look to make him a bit younger and look less "butlerish," brandishing a business suit instead of a butler uniform. Apparently as a brand image, it was just not enough change. People are still looking to "Google" for answers, rather than to "Ask." Will there be another character to reckon with? Reports say that they are looking for a more contemporary "global" appeal, where Jeeves was more of a British influence. Fans of Jeeves (including former employees of Ask Jeeves) are speaking out on the character's behalf -probably because, he IS a character and cannot speak for himself, and this IS the Internet where everyone can be heard.

When is a brand image worth saving? When is it time for a change? Business goals - that is, who is your customer and what can you offer them - should drive a company's persona. Can we blame Ask Jeeves for desiring a change? Of course not. It's a business and trying to be a profitable one at that.

While we'll miss Jeeves as much as the sock puppet, just like life, all good things must come to an end.Ask Jeeves was acquired by Barry Diller's IAC in 2005.

Mentioned in this article:
CNET: Butler Jeeves Gets Extreme Makeover
WikiPedia: Sock Puppet
Jeeves images from the artist Marcos Sorensen
Saves Jeeves Blog
Ask Jeeves

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Friday, February 10, 2006

Linking Traditional Marketing with Internet Marketing...and of course, Google!

We saw it happen with The Apprentice and Yahoo!, as well as others. Traditional, or offline, marketing is coming up with closer ties to it's Internet brethren, the Search Engines, to creating a marketing and branding bond that will be hard to forget for any of the parties.

In an episode of Martha Stewart's Apprentice encouraged us to type "apprentice salad dressing" into Yahoo! for the reward of recipes and the ability to purchase the "limited edition" TV show-inspired concoction. And people did. While the Martha show itself did not fare well, Wish-Bone and Yahoo! got their fair share of attention.

Now NBC has taken a similar route with the forthcoming Winter Olympics. Can't see those hot events on TV (What, you don't have TIVO?), then click on over to Google and type in "NBC Olympics." At the top of the page, typically reserved for the top PPC ads or organic listings, is a highlighted entry labeled "In collaboration with NBC Olympics." Viewers are then treated to quick access to event clips and information.

Just a few weeks ago, Pontiac ran a commercial spot that told viewers, "Don’t take our word for it, Google ‘Pontiac’ and discover for yourself," inferring that Google has the clout and credibility to help you decide what car is the best. And quite frankly, it can.

I'm sure you can each come up with examples of the very same scenarios illustrated above. This approach is going to be used more and more on TV, and has been done in print for some time. It's all about the immediate gratification and instant measurability the Internet provides, as well as playing off the amazing branding that Google has already established. These calls to action are designed to keep the brand accessible to the viewer, as well as infer some affiliation to those that have extreme brand power.

And it works!

Read more about it:
GM says "Google Pontiac"
Google Top Brand for 2005
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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Study Shows Customer Experience Matters - Online and Offline

A national study conducted by e-Commerce tools developer Allurent found that 82% of respondents said they would be less likely to return to a website where they had a frustrating shopping experience. Even more interesting is the fact that nearly one-third said that a frustrating experience online would make them less likely to buy at that retailer's physical store.

This data is important in illustrating that the online experience extends well beyond the viewers' immediate request, therefore everything about a website needs to be properly orchestrated to serve not only their immediate needs, but also leave a positive impression of the brand thereafter.

When thinking about your website, keep in mind that it IS marketing. It IS your store. It IS your brand. It IS out there creating lasting and power impressions in your imminent buyers' mind. Take advantage of this data to give them exactly what they want to create lifetime value for them and your company.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Even "big" companies get banned for Spam!

Reports are spreading rapidly across the Internet since this weekend when Google engineer Matt Cutts announced in his blog that the German website of BMW, the luxury carmaker, has been removed from Google’s search results as part of the web company’s crack down those that intentionally try to "force" their site to the top of search results by employing techniques that Google and other search engine's publicly frown upon. We all call it "spam" or "black hat techniques." Ultimately, no matter what label it's given, the bottomline is that you will get cut from search results, particularly those of the top search engines Google.

The site was found by Google to have been delivering a page loaded with keywords to the Google spider ("Googlebot"), but presenting viewers with a totally different page. This technique is often called "cloaking" or "redirecting". Unscrupulous optimization firms typically will try this technique as it give the ability to add tons of content without affecting site design or marketing message. They'll use programming, such as JavaScript, to control the delivery of one page to a search engine spider, and their non-optimized page to a viewer.

While this sounds like a nice, clean way to serve both search engines and viewers, it's not. Deceptive marketing practices, such as this, are designed to do just that: deceive. If the content you are presenting is not appropriate for a viewer, it is not appropriate for a search engine.

This certainly isn't the first time - or last - that this has happened. Apparently a Ricoh site is on the block for a similar tactic. Consider this situation similar to that of Martha Stewart's "time away." Using their ability to soak in the media, Google spreads the word to ensure that we all walk the straight and narrow; as a reminder that they are watching.

Bad news is better than no news, they say, and it is likely the German BMW site is getting far more traffic than they do on any other given day. Worse news is that it's likely a large majority of the viewers aren't even "just browsing" for a new Beemer. Their just looking at what all the fuss is about. In Martha's case, she gained a whole new flock of fans.

The reality of it all is that smart Internet marketing means using the tools we now have available to help us better define our prospects needs and desires. Smart Internet marketing uses the talents and skills of marketing, design, advertising, copywriting and programming professionals to accurately deliver messages to customers with a need. Smart Internet marketing means success for marketers and viewers.

Read more about it...
BMW falls foul of Google ‘web spam’ rules (Financial Times)
Google Boots BMW For Web Spam (MediaPost)
Google hands BMW its 'death sentence' (Electric News)
Beating the Google search: a brief history (UK Times Online)
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Monday, February 06, 2006

Internet Marketing and Puppies: what do the two have in common? Everything!

After a brief hiatus, Single Throw is back sharing some Internet Marketing Insights with the world. As we continue to shape and expand our solutions for customers, we look at different marketing obstacles and how they can be turned into opportunities. Today, we’re exploring a business analogy that a few of us at Single Throw - as well as our readers - can totally relate to: training a new puppy!

If you’ve never had a puppy, you’re missing out on one of life’s great learning experiences! While much like having a child, where you are responsible for the care and upbringing throughout their life, a dog’s life is compressed into a much shorter time frame. So all of these little life lessons happen within about 1/10th the time. (Almost sounds like Internet time!) Watching our new 9 week old Labrador, Murphy, reminded me of how the many things we do in business that can be done better, using techniques found in puppy training. Today we’ll examine one of the most important aspects: Consistency.

Puppies crave consistency. It's how they learn. It's how they feel secure. And you know what? Customers also crave consistency. They like the speed that consistency affords them. And the security. So what are some of these consistency “techniques” that we can practice better to make our customers feel more secure when their visiting our website?

Structure: Once you teach a puppy where its water bowl is, don’t move it! They like to know where it is so they can easily go there, get a drink and go about their activities. Same goes for your customers. Your site should also have a consistent structure. Each page should have navigation in the same places. Let them get a drink on their own terms, and be free to come back for more later, without having to be “retained.”

Emotion: A harsh “no” to a puppy has totally different meaning than a high pitched “you’re a GOOD boy.” They learn the words and establish communication through the sound portrayed by your emotion. Change the emotion but not the words and they become confused. Same goes for a customer. The voice your site is written in, sets the tone for the relationship. If your marketing style is to speak in a solid, business-like tone, then maintain that style. If your marketing style is more fun and playful, then carry that through to your website as well. (Note: A customer of ours, New Pig, does an exceptional job with this!)

Response: Puppies love to go out and play. As soon as you pick up their leash, they are ready to go. If you pick up their leash but decide not to take them out, they go crazy. They have been trained to go out when you stand at the door with their leash. Again, consistency is the training. Your customer feels the same way if you neglect to correspond with them in either the way they are accustomed (likely the way you have "trained" them to be) or in the way that you may have noted on your website. Always ensure to be consistent in your responses.

What other ways can you be more consistent with your customers, online and offline? Let us know!