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.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Is Google just getting picked on for being number one?

An interesting clip in BusinessWeek caught my eye this morning. The piece was titled "Ganging up on Google." "Aw, poor Google," I thought to myself, "who’d gang up on them?" They’re the company everyone seems to love to hate these days, unless of course, your site ranks well for targeted phrases and you own a little boatload of their stock.

Yet, like any giant, they can only stay on top for so long. As marketers, I say we enjoy the ride while we can. Google provides great results for searchers and for the bottomline of businesses. Let's stop picking on them and focus on the real matters at hand.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Serving your customers

A goldfish walks into a bar and looks at the bartender. The bartender asks, "What can I get you?" The goldfish says, "Water."

In real life, it seems like a simple concept, doesn’t it? A goldfish wants water. The bartender is an idiot. Yet how many times have you gone to a website, typically as the result of clicking on a search result, expecting to be served what you want yet find yourself fishing around (sorry about the pun) the site to get it.

This post by Single Throw's Caryl Felicetta is featured today on Click here to read on...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Bogged down in blogs

I do A LOT of reading. There's books (remember those paper blocky things). Then there's online news websites. And blogs. If not reading, there's my iPod, filled with audiobooks from Audible or CDs. Then there's Podcasts. Point is, we are surrounded with media and information. We - myself included - should be BRILLIANT! Overwhelmed with fresh ideas and insightful - for lack of a better word - insights. And we should use all of these different mediums to share these ideas. And for the most part, that happens. However the land of blogging and such user-generated content, and the chase to get links to and from other sites has simply lead to tons of comments that comment on someone else's comments. And of course, there's the SEO angle to getting links always in the background of someone's mind.

When does the linking stop or when should we stop following the links? For example, in Seth Godin's blog today, he pointed out something he read at a site. It was interesting enough. Two other people (at the time of this writing) linked to the blog, commenting on what Godin said. (It wasn't that interesting.) I read all 3 posts and followed the links. There goes another 15 minutes of my life that I'll never get back. What did I learn? Nothing beyond Godin's original post. Yet, I found it all compelling enough to mention here. And you likely followed the links as well.

Point is, we feel almost compelled to read on and learn more. It seems as though various user-generated media and content has made information even more accessible than I thought it was when I first fired up my 1200 baud modem and hunted around on various bulletins boards. Then AOL's graphical interface took that a step further, making the quest for information exchange that much easier. Then the power of websites on the Internet went the next yard. And it keeps on going...

In an email exchange with a client the other day, we discussed the value of blogs. It certainly has brought upon a whole new stage for idea exchange. In reality, the ability to share ideas on the Internet is not new. It's just become - once again - easier. Easier to access and easier to publish. And now that it's easier, everyone's doing it.

So in the 5 minutes it may have taken you to read this, you're hoping for some takeaway. It's not a biggie. It's common sense. Just like in the early days of the Internet, there's a ton of junk to sift through to get to the good stuff. There are plenty of people out there, like Godin, that do that for us and share some true insights. Then there are others that just sail along for the ride. It's your time; spend it wisely.

OK, I have to go now and check out the Google Video of the Day. Enjoy!

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Walks like a customer, talks like a IS a customer!

Most business people define a customer as someone who makes a purchase. A smart business person knows that we sometimes need to jump through a few hoops, maybe zigzag an obstacle course, and then finish with the limbo before we gain a true, life time value customer. We may have to answer a whole bunch of questions, present a few case studies and prove ourselves before we make the sale. Point is, it's not always so cut and dry, particularly online, to obtain - and retain - customers. And most b-to-b businesses do not lend themselves to the "add to cart" method of sales, so we need to work even harder to gain customers. And customers are sometimes waiting in the wings for you to sell to them.

For example, what is your current follow up process when someone submits an online form? Are the requests simply sitting in someone's email in box? If they are followed up on, how quickly? Do you have an auto-response that lets them know when to expect personal follow up? Do you meet that time frame? Is there actually anyone or a team of people assigned to this task?

Believe it or not, many people still are not totally comfortable with shopping online. Many still are not making a purchase decision purely from the information they see at your site. Often times they are testing your customer service abilities by using your contact form. They want to make sure you're "for real" before taking that next step.

"Oh, but Caryl, we get 20 or 30 requests for more information a month. We can't follow up on every one of those. That's why we have a website, so they can buy online without tying up our sales people."

Really...20 to 30? And this is upsetting you WHY? Your sales people should be tied up (figuratively speaking) with sales calls and answering potential customer's questions. If they're not, fire them!

You don't have sales people? Sure you do. Every business should have someone that can answer these questions. They are in sales.

How about a toll free number or better yet, one that is only published on your website (hint: then you can track those people that started off online then proceeded to call). Same questions as with online forms: what is your follow up process?

People have lots of questions. Our current world, chock full of information on various media sources, lends us to be that much more inquisitive. A customer isn't made in a minute, but it certainly can be lost in less than one.

Start to recognize that sales sometimes start outside of the cart. And that these calls and forms are filled with valuable information about information you should possibly be including online, as well as about your online sales process. Maybe you're getting more calls than cart sales? Could be a sign that your product or service is better sold offline.

Look at how you can fill the leaks on your website - and in your sales process - and begin capturing those lurking customers that could be walking by and on to your competitor.

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