Fragments Okay When Writing for the Web!

Your high school English teacher might faint, but it’s true.  When creating content for the Web, we need to rethink the way we write.  Especially when blogging, we need to make our copy succinct and to the point.  One rule of thumb is to keep word counts at half of what they would be normally when reporting or telling a story.  Readership studies indicate most Web users scan content rather than actually read it word for word    

Jakob Nielsen still lauds the use of keywords, bulleted lists and meaningful subheads for writing for the Web.  The three most important tactics he mentions are:

  • Concise text
  • Layouts that can be scanned
  • Objective language

These same rules of thumb are even more important when writing corporate blogs. Business audiences are simply selfish – in most cases, these readers want content based upon a specific search request.  So deliver it, without marketing-speak and self-promotion – once you start selling your services within your blog, you lose your audience.  Readers want value, transparency and just the facts.

Even your high school English teacher would have to agree with that!

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Is LinkedIn Becoming an Executive Playground?

A number of professionals say they’re confused about the benefits of being on Facebook versus LinkedIn.  To those of us in sales and marketing, this might seem funny. But even I have to admit I was originally skeptical to the value in having both.  After all, a lot of my “friends” on Facebook are current and former co-workers who I’m also connected to via LinkedIn.  It just seemed easier to stay in touch via Facebook since everyone seemed to be on it already.

So, what’s changed my mind? Well, beyond still displaying personal preferences such as the last books I’ve read along with my WordPress blog entries, which always seemed more “social” in nature, LinkedIn continues to take definitive steps toward becoming the professional’s portal of choice.  Recent acquisitions and product launches are positioning LinkedIn as more than just a social media juggernaut built upon networking capabilities.  They’re now becoming a powerful destination site for professionals looking for industry information and a legitimate career resource center.

In exploring LinkedIn, you will find through their Learning Center that you can easily set up tools to follow news about your company, contacts and even your competition.  User guidelines allow you to categorize yourself as a student, job seeker or as a professional simply interested in business development.    There also are training resources.  To check out some of their newer features, simply visit their “New on LinkedIn” page. 

Now, I don’t intend for this to become a public service announcement for LinkedIn. But to me, more than ever, there’s a clearer delineation to staying connected with peers at work within a professional network versus just Facebook.  After all, do you really need to see what your co-worker’s husband looks like in a bathing suit while on vacation?

Posted in Blogging, Branding, Business Development, Content, E-mail Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Interactive, Marketing, Marketing Technology, Online marketing, Sales, SEO, Social Media | Leave a comment

XXX-rated OOOs: Why proofreading really matters

Big, big oops: Boxes of NFL player Chad Ochocinco’s cereal are being taken off the shelves because a toll-free phone number directs callers to a sex line, not the children’s charity it’s supposed to reach.  According to the story in the Cincinnati Enquirer, the package explains that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the limited edition cereal of the Bengals wide receiver goes to Feed The Children. But no one caught an error in the phone number included in the story. Let’s put aside thoughts that the limited edition boxes will become a real collector’s item and focus on the real lesson learned here: Proofread everything. Then check it again.

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Does Twitter even matter?

It sure does. Social media expert David Griner (@Griner) gives some good reasons here, but it’s reason no. 4 — “It’s an ideal forum for businesses to talk to customers” — that really drives home the message. Citing the study that Twitter followers are most brand-responsive, Griner points out how easy Twitter makes it for companies to spot customer service issues. 

One easy (and obvious way) to observe this phenomenon is by following airline carriers. Lost baggage? Snotty flight attendant? Terrific service? Well, there you are, smartphone in hand: Put it out there! Companies who understand this quickly address customer concerns and solve their problem, online or off. They know how far 140 characters go toward building transparency, responsiveness and goodwill.

— Gretchen Schmidt

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Ka- Ching! Shopping Goes Mobile

When online shopping first took off, even I was skeptical as to its success. The notion of buying something without looking at it, touching it, trying it on seemed bizarre to me. Odd until I actually experienced it and now shopping is shopping regardless of where it is done.

Let’s face it, convenience overrides the risk of getting something you don’t like, at least in my book it does. Maybe it’s because the return process online is so much easier than actually returning something to a store. All I know is that online shopping has spread like wildfire. Recently, Nielsen published online shopping trend statistics and found that over 875 million consumers have shopped online –the number of online shoppers has increased by 40% in just two years.

But with the advent of smart phones and the iPad, will online shopping evolve into mobile shopping as well? Is mobile shopping the next revolution of shopping? When I found myself eagerly searching the app store for such applications, I thought, yes.

This is evidenced by a good number of retailers moving their business from the stores to the phones. Several companies such as Sears, Staples, Estee Lauder, Barnes and Noble and Guilt.com are taking a proactive approach and going mobile.  Sears for example, first went mobile with a few categories such as electronics, but once it took off, they found that consumers wanted to buy items via their mobile devices such as refrigerators and other appliances.

Gilt Groupe has been quick to adopt mobile applications to provide users with the ability to shop for clothing, accessories and other brand name products via their mobile devices. Gilt Groupe launched Gilt on the Go App for iPhone on the Apple App Store. Gilt Groupe also announced the launch of its Gilt App for iPad, becoming one of the first retailers to develop an iPad application.

If consumers thought online shopping was convenient, then how will they feel about mobile shopping? Mobile shopping gives a consumer the opportunity to shop from anywhere and at any time, 24/7. Netsize has released global survey results indicating that almost 95% of mobile professionals would use mobile shopping services.

  • 94% of respondents said they would make payments for goods worth up to €25 ($32) using their mobiles
  • 83% said they would pay for single items like tickets up to €50 ($65)
  • 51% said they would pay for goods worth up to €100 ($130)
  • 60% said that being offered a choice of payment methods was important
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