Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Attracting clients by the bucketful using no budget or previous connections

Whilst stumbling I came across this marketing blog

Pumpkin Patch Marketing

An interesting approach but let me show you one technique that works well especially for those starting out with their own businesses (this works better for those perhaps in the Business to Business arena who get around seeing clients).

It does not matter where you perform this technique. In a shop, in a bar, in a business networking event. Just ensure its used when talking with one person.

From experience this works far better when someone else engages you, though you can turn this around and engage someone else.

It costs nothing and has helped me secure new business on a regular basis in the past.

Here we go:

Other person: "Hi/hello. How are you today?"

You: "I'm really, really busy. I've never been so busy, people love what I do. I only started a little while ago and things have been absolutely manic."

Its important you DO NOT tell the other party what you do. Arouse THEIR curiosity.

Other person - who by now has to have their curiosity satisfied: "Oh, what is it that you do?"

You: "I do X. I didn't realise there was so much demand for it."

Then reel them in. Worked every time in promoting my business without forcing it on someone. I got THEM to ask the questions. Try it, it might just work well for you.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Blatant Charity Plug! Action for M.E.

M.E. - a debilitating illness sometimes known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Symptoms can range but here's an excerpt that kinda just shows the damage it can do to people's lives:

"The most disabling part of my illness is mental fatigue. Even a ten-minute conversation exhausts me."

Action for ME website

Action for M.E. is a registered UK charity that seeks to help sufferers of M.E.

For this reason they are holding:

Beijing 2008 Action Adventure

To help raise much needed funds for M.E sufferers.

Action for M.E are looking to increase their profile and gained exposure on the BBC last night - check out:

The trip looks highly fascinating and is a great way to help Action for M.E.

For more details check out the AFME website here:

Support AFME

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tubes...? interweb....?

Oh looks like a new "in" statement about the internet is now pathetically in fashion:
Series of tubes that is the Interweb
What muppet I wonder came up with this gem?

Gotta be the most pathetic statement so far this year...


SU... it's greatest strength is a weakness

I like SU - its opened up a whole new world of websites but one thing that really grates me is that I also use it to "favourite" websites that I want to come back to... when I come to view the list weeks later I have to go through the hoops to find what I want.

If SU could generate a drap and drop capability on my profile (or even in a backend) on pages that I have stumbled that would allow me to more easily keep up to date and find websites I stumbled.

Right now I have to trawl through a very long list and I find this rather encumbersome.

Does anyone else?

So come on Stumble Upon help me out. If there is a 3rd party feature that allows me to already do this, then someone please let me know...


Well done Sherlock.... Google dominates search

The BBB news site is carrying a piece on "Google dominates search".

C'mon, like we didn't already know this! Tell me something we don't know.

Ok. Interesting to note that after Yahoo the next search engine is Baidu - a Chinese search engine that, I imagine, is heavily censored giving the Chinese online population just exactly what they want. Not.

I wonder if the Chinese can make the jump and become a truly global search engine. There's a thought.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Promise with one hand, taketh away with the other...

I need mobile internet access for my laptop using a data card and approached my mobile phone provider (O2) to check out details whilst in one of their retail stores in Bristol.

The store price sticker quoted the monthly price to be "Free" and "Free" to "£120" for the data card. Not bad I thought and decided to ask the young retail assistant in-store a few more questions.

She knew little about the product and went back and forth from a back office repeating my questions to a manager who did not wish to bother to show his face... the answers I got back were verbatim and left me very confused. Why? Mostly because the monthly price was not "free" AS ADVERTISED and instead was £30 a month.... and was just the "one offer"... all rather flaky really.

The retail assistant seemed satisfied she had given me an answer and skipped back to her desk to do what ever she was doing before I arrived. She never even stopped to ask why I looked confused or was there anything else she could do to help me work out what was exactly on offer.

So I checked out the O2 website and get sidetracked by O2's internet offer of:

Unlimited – so you can download exactly what you want
Yet below this is mentioned:

Fair usage policy applies.

How is this unlimited use? I have to admit I feel that this stinks, smacks of being not particularly transparent and encourages me to lose faith in 02.

I then call O2 and speak to an advisor who mentions there are various offers for the Data Card, one being free which I think this now sounds good. Then she spoils it all by saying I would have to pay the £50 for the data card, which I refused seeing as Vodafone were able to offer to me one for free plus a monthly connection for 12 months at £25-00 plus VAT for 3GB usage (which seems steep to me).

So for those of you who can remember Sean Bean's little strapline in the O2 ads:

See what O2 can do for you

Well for me, O2 quite frankly can not do much right now.

So another LARGE company that doesn't get it and then wonders why it loses customers....

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

So what if your website is inaccessible to the blind...

Be afraid.

Target (an American DIY chainstore though correct me if I am wrong) has had a judge allow a class action to be filed against them by the National Federation of the Blind.

I heard of this before and thought it had been sorted. Turns out it might not have gone away.

"All e-commerce businesses should take note of this decision and immediately take steps to open their doors to the blind"

Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation for the Blind

I agree though common sense must prevail too.

"Target is committed to serving all of our guests and we believe that our Web site is fully accessible and complies with all applicable laws"

Target spokeswoman Carolyn Brookter

This is what muddies the water for everyone else. If a company the size of Target believes their site is accessible to the blind, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Believe me when I say this is not going to go away.

P.s. This is the 300th post on this blog!

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Striking gold at Yahoo!

For those always on the lookout for free keyword research tools it always pays to view some of the tools search engines provide from a slightly different viewpoint.

Yahoo's! new Search Assist - though not perfect - can significantly help provide you with other keywords that could be of extra help whilst carrying out keyword research for yourselves or clients.

Here's a screen shot:

My only criticism is that the list is not long enough. The term "accountant" only yielded 11 extra results. I'd expect 30 to 50 results might be a better figure to work from but then Yahoo! is providing Search Assist for it's user base rather than us SEO'ers...

Still it could turn out to be small SEO goldmine.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Whats going on in your SEO Kingdom?

I like helping others.

Its in my nature.

I taught people to fly gliders for years and got a real buzz watching students go off on first solo. It was nice to pass those skills across.

Today was also one of those superb days.

I got an urgent call from a SEO pal of mine who needed some guidance on PPC. I couldn't directly help with the issue - a first that I had ever seen - but I did come up with a solution on how to grab Google's PPC team by the balls and get more than a standard "lame-o" response.

That seems to have worked. It was also great to talk to another SEO professional - if you're into SEO give me a call, more than happy to hear from you, telephone me on 01793 729326. I promise not to bite.

Oh but don't bother calling if you're out to pick my brains... I'm just looking to network with other highly effective people in web marketing.

The other was a design company in Bristol that I work with regularly on a consultancy basis. Their own rankings have slightly slipped for a couple of keyword phrases. By looking at the improvements that they have recently made to their site I noticed Google was having problems and listing supplemental results for their targeted keyword phrase(s).

I recommended they sort out the internal link structure of their website, adjust content on one of the offending problems, tweak a title tag and that should bring them back onto the first page. I think I turned them away from redesigning the whole site - seems like overkill, they just need to carefully work their keywords on their pages. That and some due diligence on link building should help.

I also got to speak with a marketing gentleman recommended by the fantastic Lyndon Antcliff of Cornwall SEO - that really looks like it could be prove a frutiful relationship for both parties. Thanks for the time Peter!

Finally I found the all things web.co.uk site is listed 3rd on Google for "web marketing services" (on Google.co.uk). Talk about putting a smile on my face at the end of a long day!

So whats going on in your SEO world?


Please no more hot potatoes!

I'm a fan of Facebook and its already generated me 3 to 4 enquiries about SEO. How cool is that? Yup its cool.

However the MOST pointless Facebook app has to be "Hot Potato". C'mon can you be so daft to let an application gain access to your Facebook data to pass on a virtual potato? Do me a favour and send it to someone else.

Next person to send me a Facebook Hot Potato gets banned. ;)


Anatomy of a Search Engine

For those desperate for the holy grail - check out the anatomy of a search engine - its an oldie and for some may be heavy going but persevere - there's some real gems here.

Monday, October 01, 2007

To those who fly, the sky is home

I'm somewhat distressed to find out about the passing of a friend of mine who during August was taken from us in a glider mishap in California.

What hurts more is that it was featured in on the BBC news website and I completely missed the reports.

Geoff moved from Wales to the USA over 26 years ago and during the eighties and nineties set major hang gliding records. He was a natural in the air and it was nice to hear his "voice of the valleys" across the radiowaves when soaring above the Nevadan and Californian high desert.

Geoff's glider was found on a mountainside 10,000 feet up. There is some uncertainty as to what caused the crash, in time I expect details will come out.

So to a decent Welshman I unintentionally offended at the end of an American bar back in 1998 - which lead to some good advice - let me raise a pint of the good stuff to you.

Keep on soaring Geoff.

Are Meta Tag Optimization Services still in vogue?

Carrying out keyword research this afternoon I discovered that the search term "Meta Tag Optimization Services" is in reasonably high demand with an expected 180+ searches on Google a day...thing is can people still believe this is all it takes to rank on Google?

I so wish it was the case. I'm contemplating testing the market by offering a low cost service that optimises/upgrades the meta tags making them all unique to each page based on prior keyword research.

Title tags are important together with well written descriptive tags but so is ensuring your page content is structured correctly with decent links...

If this service takes off I'm sure to let you know..... haha more like I'll stay quiet... I don't think it will be too hard to rank for, its not that competitive but I'll have fun writing the page content.

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