Thursday, May 28, 2009

Blended Search, the Holistic Approach

It won't be the first time that you've read here about looking at your plans for the development of your web presence using an approach that is as comprehensive as you can imagine. When it comes to developing your website, relevant content, social media positions and any other developments that will assist with your over search engine optimization and communications with your target audience, think big! It will pay off with improved ROI for you. It turns out that those of us who are thinking this way are not alone (not that I thought I was!) and in a recent article at One, I think the sources Kate Trgovac reaches out to for input pretty clearly articulate that this is the right way to go. I can't say it any better so here's the link, it's worth the read.

Continue thinking about one thing or another it's important, but please, I implore you, think in the greater context of a well thought out plan, it is the surest way to achieving the outcomes that will improve your bottom line. If not yours...the competitions.

We're at the edge of the future!

Andy Xhignesse

Friday, May 22, 2009

Social Media or Email Marketing...What Comes First?

Lately I've been involved with many discussions related to social media, (blogging, Facebook, Twitter etc.) and in a post on today Andrew Gordon brings forward the idea that email marketing has been lost in all the hubbub surrounding the social networking craze and...I agree! What do you think? Now the question, as a business, what is your best approach to using the internet to achieve the business improvements you're looking for?

Here's are some thoughts. Social media and email marketing result in different outcomes, socializing online brings about awareness, branding, client engagement, discussion and interest among other things, and email marketing brings about prospect conversion. Are the two at odds with each other, or exclusive of one and other? The short answer is no, now let's look at a slightly longer answer. Engaging with a social media campaign that is well thought out and executed, will improve your visibility or branding and should result in improved traffic to your website. Now let's look at your website. Here a visitor should become engaged with your offering and begin the process that leads from prospect to client and if that is working then more traffic to your website will generate more clients. Now we add email marketing into the mix. With email you're in a position to extend your relationship with your site visitor, for some businesses this is a one step process, for others it may require a number of "touches" before a visitor is moved to being a client and email is a very effective means to facilitate this process. Social media drives traffic and email marketing converts that traffic into new clients. Simple? Hmmmmm...

Yes it is, but no it isn't either and more...what comes first? You guessed it, a plan! Once again, back to planning. Both social networking and email marketing are effective and generate a positive ROI, (social media drives traffic, leads to lifted conversions, results in revenue boost) but truly, you must think of this in the context of your overall business development. Again, this is not an event but a process with a number of milestones or benchmarks along the way and numerous considerations as to input to achieve each step. Where does that leave you? Each and everyday the internet is growing and presenting greater opportunity than ever before in history to achieve the outcomes you want for your business. Failing to plan is a sure plan to fail...the cost of failing is for you to decide...

We're at the edge of the future!

Andy Xhignesse

Friday, May 15, 2009

What's the Right Thing to do to Boost Your Presence?

This is a great question and one that is worth taking a closer look at so that you can decide what's best for you. It comes up frequently when discussing matters of web presence development with clients or prospects and while the 5 simple suggestions offered here will give you a starting point, realize that each has many complex associated factors. It is generally agreed that there is no single solution, no 'silver bullet' but rather a combination of actions that will help you achieve the desired lift you seek, so...think it through!

Five Suggestions:

1- If you haven't already you need to evaluate your current position. In the online world there are many tools that can help you in this regard, and many are available at no cost, but there is a time commitment and you'll need at least a little understanding. This link will get you all the tools that you'll need if you're interested in a DIY approach: Think about what is working presently, what isn't, and what you'd like to achieve...if you can think it, it can probably be done!

2- Understand your audience. This is often overlooked because assumptions are made that may or may not be valid. Canvass your existing clients and prospects...who are they and what were they looking for that initially caught their attention?

3- Know your strengths and work with them. Seems obvious enough and yet often companies fail to recognize what these truly are with online media. Trying to improve on areas that aren't generating results will at best lead to below average returns whereas developing your areas of strength will boost further the positive results. offers a free tool that will at the very least give you ideas as to what's going on with your website.

4- Make certain you are working with an overall development strategy...once again plan! Failing to plan is a plan for failure...

5- Once you've established your overall strategy recognize it's not an event but a process that will require time and resources. These are often in short supply, but are essential elements to the creation of as many 'doors' as possible to your audience which is what establishing and expanding your online presence will accomplish and, when properly executed, will provide you with the best ROI of any of your business development initiatives.

As mentioned, these are only five suggestions and each has many associated factors. If you have the resources internally go for it! If not, you'll need to outsource. As a final observation I offer this, there is no doubt that the internet offers business the most extraordinary opportunity for expansion. Your prospective customers are looking for you there...can they find you? If not, how much is that costing your business?

We're at the edge of the future!

Andy Xhignesse

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What's Stopping You?

Well, here it is, 2009, almost a tenth the way through the 21st century and you still don't have a website, or if you do it's very basic and probably doesn't do what you want it to right? What is stopping you from moving forward on a new website? Do you wonder if this might be costing you lost revenues?

Some observations:
1- You are entirely focused on your core business activity so you have no time;
2- You probably think a website is a very expensive investment, it used to be;
3- You've heard the horror stories of being an abandoned internet orphan.

OK, let's address these one at a time.

1- Good you should be! That's what makes money for your business. Stay focused but do a little outsourcing. The opportunities that are available to business by way of the internet are growing are missing out on revenue, maybe to your competition.

2- Yep, it used to be that a basic sort of website might run $15,000 even more. All that has changed. You can now have a well constructed and compliant website with a great deal of functionality and good optimization for $2,000 even less if you want to go with a very basic template style website. (I don't recommend this but that's your decision) Once you have your website in place you'll be surprised by what it might do for your business. What would it mean to your business to get another client, two...three?

3- It was often the case that 'a basement designer' would make you a website and then get hired somewhere and you'd be left on your own when you needed to make changes and updates and...they wouldn't get done. This to has changed. First of all there are many reputable firms that can provide you with the service you need at affordable rates. Second, if you do go with a 'basement designer' today any reputable firm will be able to take your website and work with it, change it, develop it in any way you see appropriate to getting the outcomes you're looking for.

That's all I want to say. If you're part of the large group of companies that are poorly positioned online, I encourage you to do whatever it takes to remedy your situation. I guarantee you that if you move forward on this it will be the best money you ever spent in the promotion of your business. Something for you to think about...I recently spoke with a small business who had just finished a trade show where they figure they spent about $10,000 for 4 days of exposure. For that kind of money you could create a knock your socks off website that would generate business 24/7/365. Move forward, your competition me, email me if I can help.

We're at the edge of the future!

Andy Xhignesse

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

B2B or B2C Blogging for...What?

There is some disagreement out there about whether or not corporate business blogging is really beneficial or not. On one side, those who adamantly feel this is an important component of your company image, an the other side that feel it has no value particularly because the ROI is not clear and so it is a waste of time and resources. One thing is certain, if you don't have a blog, the ROI! I personally believe that a blog does have value but there are certain conditions required to achieve returns...uh oh , here we go with PLAN again!

Before beginning to blog brainstorm some questions for example, who is your audience? What information do they want? What problem(s) are they looking to solve?...and so on. A good next step is to determine what blogging is to accomplish in the scope of your overall corporate strategy, is this an info, dialogue, branding or other type blog? If you're comfortable that you're on firm ground up to this point get to blogging...with certain conditions.

Speak truthfully in a clear voice that will be heard by your audience, there's enough 'stuff' out there. If you offer information or insight that is not the truth expect to be called out on the carpet, we don't have time for it. A key to successful blog development is that you become recognized as a trusted source, so stay true. Reflect on real experience or comment similarly but you must have a motivation that stays on the high ground or you will not develop any loyalty from your readers.

It's true that there are many blogs that are not generating the desired outcomes and there is little or no ROI, but a well planned blog, that forms part of a consistent corporate strategy and is patiently nurtured and adheres to the highest level of integrity will have tremendous ROI. Want to invest the time? Ultimately this is your decision but here's a final thought. If your blog initiative resulted in one more satisfied customer, what would that be worth to the company? What about two? Three? If you don't blog, it could be that you would never generate that business, its lost to a competitor...

We're at the edge of the future!

Andy Xhignesse

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thinking Social Media...Read This!

Social media continues to dominate a lot of discussions for companies as they consider what they're plans are...hopefully they are in fact considering instead of just acting as this may have undesirable results! I invite you to read the following as I couldn't have said it better myself and in fact extend the concept outlined to not just social media engagement, but website development generally. Here is one way to think of it, what would you like your web presence to do for your company? If you can imagine it, it can probably be done...plan! Failing to plan is a very good plan to fail. Read on...

We're at the edge of the future!

Andy Xhignesse

Friday, May 8, 2009

Be Cool Internet...Stay Nice! 5 Reasons

Have you ever had an experience that left you really frustrated with a company if not outright mad? Whether it's a flaw with something that you bought, (zippers on hockey bags come to mind...Easton Canada, not so nice!!!) or a real let down in what you thought you were getting as a a service and what was delivered, it is more important than ever that you respond well to your customers concerns. Deliver good service, be honest, stand behind your product. Why? Today, more than ever before, an unhappy client can make their frustration known to a wide audience...really wide audience!

How you ask? Here are just five:

When I say just five, what I mean is there are probably 155...thousand similar websites or blogs! I don't think anyone can afford that kind of 'free press' do you? Is this fair? I think so, what do you think? Be cool...stay nice.

We're at the edge of the future!

Andy Xhignesse