The Web For Business.com Blog

Internet marketing observations, perspectives, tips and tricks for your education and enlightenment.


Turning the Online Monster into your Servant

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, July 25, 2013

Websites. 1000 social media websites. Blogs. YouTube. SEO. There are thousands of ways to market online. What's a business to do? Here are some tips on how to turn the online monster you've created (or are thinking of creating) into your servant.

Plan

When managing your online presence seems overwhelming, it's probably because you didn't plan. If you don't know where you're going, you'll have no idea if you're getting there or not. Fortunately, you can change this whenever you want.

Implement

This is where many people start - they start doing before planning. If this sounds like you, take a deep breath, back away from your monitor and take some time to plan your activities. Make a schedule. Define your goals. Then work on making them happen.

Social media sites make it easy to implement. Slap up a post or a picture or comment and voila! You're done! But how do you know it's what's most beneficial?

Websites or other corporate social media tools that are not current demonstrate a failure to implement. Most businesses can improve in this area. My business included.

Measure

Do you know how many people read your last Facebook post? Did anyone like them? Do you know who they were? How did that Facebook post compare to the previous one - and the one before it?

How about your site traffic? Is it up or down from last month? How about your search engine rankings?

Not measuring the results of online activities means you're shooting at targets without knowing you've hit them. This is why many business owners say marketing online doesn't work for them. They or their staff don't measure the results they get.

Analyze, Study & Plan Again

So you've planned, implemented and measured. Can things be improved? Of course they can. Take what you've done and build on it to make it better.

If you don't know HOW to make it better, you're in luck. There are at least a few million pages of online advice (including this one) on how to improve every aspect of your online presence.

If you've read my earlier blog posts, you'll know this stuff isn't rocket science. It's "common sense" - but we all know how prevalent that is these days. I came across a website just before writing this post that proudly exclaimed their latest news on the homepage - except it was from 2011. When the primary purpose of a website is to create confidence about doing business with you, how does something like that benefit your business?

Most "problems" with websites and online marketing are solved by following the steps above. If you don't have time or patience to follow the prescription, then feel free to call "Dr. Mark" at 905-227-6667. I'd be happy to help you manage your online marketing needs so you don't have to.

We know why. The HOW is the tricky bit.

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, August 11, 2011

I often have conversations with business owners that go something like this:

Q: What are your online goals?

A: To get more exposure and more business.

Q: How does what you do online get you more business?

A: <Silence> . . . Um . . . <Pause> . . . <Silence> . . .

Everyone wants their website / blog / SEO / SEM / social media campaign to "work". Knowing how your activities contribute to your goals should drive what you do.

So, how does what you do online get you more business?


Tea Time and Common Knowledge

Mark Kawabe - Monday, May 23, 2011

If there's one thing I enjoy, it's finding out that "common knowledge" is often wrong.

I made green tea for some dinner guests the other day. I'm 3rd generation Japanese Canadian. One of my guests is 1st generation. Her observations on the deficiencies in my tea making skills were eye-opening.

The next part of the evening the consisted of re-making the tea using her method. The result? Better tasting tea. No bitterness. I learned something about my tea cups, my tea pot and even my pouring method. In short, I am now a better green tea maker.

Of course, the "common knowledge" about how to make green tea in Canada rates about a 0 out of 10 compared to the average Japanese person's knowledge. I suppose this makes sense, but it certainly boggles the mind that despite this knowledge deficiency, green tea is very popular in Canada.

A parallel in my work life is the application of social media for the average business owner. There is a significant deficiency of knowledge about social media marketing. Despite this, it's been widely adopted under the pretense that the "common knowledge" says you absolutely HAVE TO have a social media presence.

So, millions of business owners and entrepreneurs post and tweet and blog while drinking their sub-par green tea. Fascinating stuff, this common knowledge. I'll be introducing a new seminar to help raise people's social media marketing skill levels.

If You Can't Market Yourself, Who Will Market You?

Mark Kawabe - Friday, December 17, 2010

I suppose the answer depends on you.

Being online means you have access to all sorts of technology to better represent yourself. The internet allows you to "level the playing field", doesn't it? Well, sort of.

All the technology in the world won't make up for your lack of ability to communicate to the world your uniqueness.

Don't think you're a good writer? That eliminates a lot of opportunities for you. Content is still king online.

Afraid to be in front of a camera? I guess video's out for you as well.

Hate your voice? Podcasting's gone too.

So what's left?

Facebook and other social media tools require you to communicate in writing, video or pictures your special-ness. If you can't do it, I guess you're stuck.

Hmm.

Oh wait - there's another option.

Hopefully, there's at least one person who can market you, and do it in a credible way.

Who's this person?

The customer you have delighted with your incredible product, service or kindness.

Perhaps there's more than one of them. The best thing about them is they can make up for any deficiencies you may have in your ability to communicate - as long as you can communicate your need to them. They can help you get your message out powerfully, credibly, personally and honestly. Why? Because you've helped them and you've done it wonderfully.

Got one of those people in your corner? I sure hope so, because they're your best salesperson.

Businesses are NOT my Facebook Friends

Mark Kawabe - Monday, November 15, 2010

I received yet another request from a business on Facebook to be a friend. Here are six reasons why I don't recommend businesses use personal profiles on Facebook to market themselves.

  1. It's against the Facebook terms of service and if someone complains or Facebook decides to enforce their rules, all your work will be for naught.

  2. There is a limit to how many friends you can have (5000) for both personal profiles and groups. There is no limit to how many can "like" your business. What happens when you hit your limit? (Think WHEN, not IF.)

  3. You can't message all your friends at once. You can contact everyone who likes your page in one fell swoop. This makes communication much easier.

  4. Facebook pages for businesses can be customized through the FBML application. Profile pages and GROUP pages can't be. For a business trying to put its best face forward, this is important.

  5. Pages also give you demographic information as well as usage information. Profiles and groups don't. If you're going to put effort into your Facebook marketing, shouldn't you have some ability to measure how you're doing? If so, then a Page is definitely for you. If you're a Google Analytics user, you can add tracking code to your main marketing page. You can't track the wall of your page - only the FBML page you've created - but it's better than what Facebook provides.

Marketers know that measuring results is vital. How do you know if you're succeeding otherwise? Pages give you the ability to directly market and measure. If you have a personal profile AND a business page, you'll be able to reach people in two different ways on Facebook and it's the combination that in my opinion provides the best value for marketers.

Happy Marketing Monday!

Social Media Tea Party Sessions

Mark Kawabe - Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I like talking about social media. I also like tea. If you're interested in learning about how to implement social media strategies over a tea, please let me know. I'm thinking we'll meet every 2nd Tuesday of the month for an hour or so to discuss ideas and refine implementations. Cost: $20 / person or $15 / person if there are 5 or more people in attendance. Bring your laptop if you have one.

Location: my favourite tea shop in Niagara Falls - LM Teas.

Time: 10:30 a.m. ~ 12:00 noon

Start Date: November 9, 2010

Tea is on me : )

R.S.V.P. required.

When Do You Start Getting Elected?

Mark Kawabe - Friday, October 29, 2010

The recent municipal elections were very interesting to me as they are a pure, focused marketing effort. I am also happy to note that of the three candidates I helped with their online presences, one of them did get elected. Congratulations Catherine King!

Of course, now that people have been elected, the election itself is starting to fade from the public's mind. That's well and good, but what about the candidates in the NEXT election? When should they be starting to think about getting elected the next time around?

The answer is, of course - NOW.

In much the same way that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, getting elected in four years means starting now. Building the relationships and network that will enable you to make a successful run at elected office takes time and is not something you do in the course of a few months.

For those of you who are in business, you are potentially getting elected tomorrow, or the next day. Your election is "new business" and every day you need to be building relationships and growing your network of influence. When the time comes for your election - which could be any day now - you'll be in a better position than your less-prepared competition.

Oh wait - there's a good chance your competition's getting prepared as well. You'd better get out there and start shaking hands and kissing babies NOW.

Not Your Average Dojo

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Because the martial arts industry is not regulated in Canada, it's "buyer beware". Come to think of it, it's much like that in the web development and internet marketing industry. So, how do you know you're at the right place?

Well, you can talk to Shihan Doug Meagher at Northwest Goju Ryu Karate in Welland. He's now got a new website where he tells people interested in karate how to choose a quality school.

Visit them online at http://www.northwestgoju.org.

The thing I like about this site is its simplicity and its use of video. Granted, Shihan Meagher's delivery could be a little smoother (and he'll be the first to agree with that), but it gets the point across.

The other thing, of course is the content on the site. Content is still king online and if you have something to say about your business or industry then your website is the first place it should go. Shihan Meagher's list is a popular one online and it generates visits.

Northwest Goju - not your average dojo - not your average instructor.

Launch of Road to Recovery Natural Health

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, September 09, 2010

Today is the "official" launch of a new website for Craig Bowman. Craig's a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who is on a mission to guide people to better health through changes in diet and nutrition. He's a hall-of-fame weightlifter, husband, father and now, he's online.

Introducing: www.RoadToRecoveryNutrition.com

Ta da!!

Welcome online Craig!

Now, of course, the fun stuff begins. As I tell all my clients, getting online is the first step. Figuring out what to do online is where it gets interesting. We will be marketing Craig's guaranteed customized nutritional support programs throughout the GTA. In particular, Craig has developed a special cancer support program that has produced some spectacular results in some clients.

If you need some help getting your diet sorted out, give Craig a call.

On another note, the video on Craig's website marks the first collaboration between me and Merv Wrighton of UBU Video Productions. Merv's a long-time acquaintance and has gone into business to pursue his passion for making movies.  I'm sure you'll be seeing more of Merv's work on our websites in future.

New Online Video Production Services from The Web For Business.com

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Since our first foray into online video things haven't really changed all that much. I mean, YouTube is still a great way to market - it's just gotten bigger. Image quality has been improved, but that was to be expected.

One thing that hasn't changed much is the cost of getting a video produced. I personally think videos offer great value on websites, but the cost of development can be a barrier. On a client's behalf, I did some calling around to several video production companies. The cost to produce a 20 second spot to use online (with some green screen background manipulation) was anywhere between $500 to $1100 - and one company wanted more details before providing an estimate which to me suggests they would have been on the high side of the range.

What does this mean for our customs? It means we've gone out and come up with a lower-cost option for you to peruse. These days even cell phones have HD capability, so you know the cost of equipment has come down. The cost of software for video editing has come down as well. We've made an investment in both equipment and software and can now produce short slideshow-type videos starting at $150.

A long-time acquaintance recently opened his own business doing video shooting, editing and production. For companies that are looking for videos with higher production values than I can offer I highly recommend him. His name is Merv Wrighton and his company name is UBU Video Productions. UBU is pronounced "You Be You". You can reach him at 905-651-2728 or at merv@ubuvideo.ca. His website will be online soon so you can view his portfolio. He has produced videos for two of my clients and both are quite happy with his work, as am I.