Naked Web Marketing – Part 1

Less means more

It’s possible to do too much and it happens with SEO where sites get penalized by search engines for stuffing keywords. It happens with web design where the graphics compete too much by complicating the navigation and minimizing the marketing content. It happens in web marketing when the sales hype or the boastful language gets too repetitive and turns customers away.

The thing to remember about bragging is that when you really are that good other people do the bragging for you.

Is naked web marketing a frightening thought?

Marketing without pretense should be a welcome idea. You cannot get close to your market when you are not yourself. When you look and sound like something you are not how can your web market relate? And why is it so important to relate to your web market?

If you can’t relate to the person you are talking to then how can you create a customer relationship? But even before we build relationships we have to understand how different the web is from all other marketing mediums.

The web is not like anything we have known before, so we can toss out the idea that we can market like newspapers. We can toss out the idea that our web site can market like television with a bit of video. Nor is our web confined to marketing like print advertising. All of the above are too limiting.

There is no time or space on the web

The reality is that the web swallowed all those marketing mediums and then altered how they would be used on the web. It was not the web that adapted to earlier media, but rather the other way around.

In a medium that has eliminated time and distance the rules for marketing are going to change. The only limitations about time or distance for the web is that of hardware issues and the speed of light. For all intent when a web site gets published it is available to all people everywhere in the world – at once.

And then consider the volume of space that any web site can make use of. For small business web sites we can say the space is limitless because the hosted space is megabytes more than we need.

Our small business web site can pack enormous amounts of info and be accessible everywhere at once. We can work toward turning the accessibility into more visibility as we shuck off those pretentious robes and get real.

We can’t run out of time

Suppose your web site just went live today. In a year it will still be there. In 4 years it will still be there. Just keep paying your hosting fee and the site will always be there.

Newspapers come and go, TV channels come and go, Best sellers come and go, but your web is isn’t going anywhere. This is important to know.

Your web site is not going anywhere because it is actually a destination – not a vehicle. We are conditioned to think that our business web site is going somewhere, like up the ranks with search engines or maybe Oprah will feature our site and it will really get going.

The truth is that our web site is stationary and the only thing that moves is our market if, and when, we attract them.

The web has a huge marketing potential

So why is our business web site not reaching anywhere near its potential? The main reason, in my mind, is because we are not letting our web sites live up to the web’s potential. Our marketing is too limiting as it is based on old offline marketing concepts. The world has changed and we are still using 20th century marketing concepts.

The 20th century marketing methods were always based on our business, our products, our location and our services. This focus is no longer appropriate for web marketing.

Small business web sites will need to look away from their own self interests and use their web site to cater to the needs of their market. No business web sites are doing this, other than just paying lip service. Do you see your market as the boss and do you take the time to know them and to give them what they want?

Imagine your market as millions of tiny kings and queens which require your attention, and your web site as the servant giving them that attention. How would you like to serve a million kings and queens and take their gold?

What does the web do better than any other marketing medium?

I keep asking this question because the answer is going to put wind beneath your wings. The answer is simple and in hindsight it stands out as a no-brainer, and yet it seemed like a revelation at the time.

Do you want to try and answer that question on your own?

Naked web marketing (part 2) will start off answering this question and tie it into other naked marketing methods. The goal is to see how a shift in awareness can be an experience where you have both a change of mind – and a change of heart.

4 Ways to Increase Sales in Your Webshop

The Benefits of SEO Web Marketing For Your Business

Any business that is genuine about establishing a serious online presence has to consider the impact of SEO. Nowadays, most businesses are adamant that SEO must be factored into all online marketing strategies.

Nowadays, most SEO Marketing Services Company would offer you the following factors to convince you that SEO can increase the fortunes of your business.

It’s cost effective and affordable – The process of finding SEO services that are affordable is relatively straightforward. When you take into account the ROI potential, those companies that offer great SEO services will also offer outstanding value for money. In attracting the relevant customers to your site you increase profitability; therefore your initial monetary outlay is retrieved instantly, putting money back in your pocket. This in turn means you have covered the expenses of your SEO campaign and in the long-run it makes financial sense.

It’s a simple way to connect with your target audience – Optimising your website with a number of keywords, enhances the possibility that your ideal audience will be able to locate it. Whilst your site may already attract a high volume of visitors, they are not necessarily the kind of client you’re looking to target. Quality SEO can generate quality leads to increase profits as the audience it hits has a genuine need to utilise your service.

It will increase your conversion rate – Following on from attracting the right type of audience, drawing them in builds a rapport with them and results in much better conversion rates. Well-constructed SEO should feature good quality content on your website that is engaging, optimised and provides a good density of keywords as this will vastly improve the conversion rate of any site.

SEO is versatile and customizable – If you’ve chosen the right SEO Marketing Services Company they would implement an SEO strategy that is completely tailored to meet the requirements of your company. Having that flexibility to adapt your SEO campaign will be vital in keeping pace with your competitors and maintaining a strong online presence.

It offers your business a form of online longevity – Short term marketing solutions are relatively pointless, requiring vast amounts of effort, very poor returns and they end up wasting precious time and money. The beauty of SEO is that it operates at its best when implemented on a long term scale, delivering good quality leads, that translate into increased profits and establishing a brand that is made recognisable to your target audience. Overall, this will keep customers coming back because a client business relationship has been established.

SEO is easy to analyse – If your SEO campaign has been implemented correctly the immediate impact would be simple to analyse. However, an SEO Marketing Services Company can also draw on vital statistical data to provide your company with detailed reports on how your company measures up when competing for clients on the world-wide-web.

In summary, utilising the services of an SEO Web Marketing Services company will transform the fortunes of your business. SEO opens the door for businesses to explore vast areas that they may have never explored before and increases marketing potential. Your business could reach further when using SEO, increasing the standard of client that you attract and your profit margins.

Web Marketing As Psychological Programming

People love to learn secrets

I think that everyone has come across one of those web pages written up in the style of long sales copy. The page scrolls down for a long way and every few paragraphs it tantalizes you by saying that you will be told the secret to success, but first it needs to tease you some more and so the long sales copy continues without ever revealing the promised secret.

All the way to the bottom of the page and after much scrolling you get to the final big button to sign up. This big button is no different from the smaller ones closer to the top of the sales copy, but it acts like the grand finale now that you are properly programmed and ready to buy.

Programmed to act accordingly

In the long sales copy the only thing being offered is information that is for sale and the reason for the long sales copy is so that it can write a little program in your head. To do the programming the sales copy need to repeat itself at least 3 times on every major point being made. If you are aware of this then you can see what is happening as you read the long sales copy.

Short sales copy doesn’t work the same way because the short version relies on a certain amount of programming already being in place. We all have a certain amount of programing in place because we live in a marketing environment where we are bombarded with advertising.

Programming comes in threes

In the same way that if we use a new word 3 times it helps us to retain the use of the new word. Programming works in the same way. Television ads repeat the message and the musical jingle to penetrate both our consciousness and our sub-consciousness. The objective is to lodge the product name deep in our thought processes. We may get up when a commercial comes on and go make a cup of tea, but we are still being programmed if we are in earshot of the TV.

We program our young children not to run out onto the road. We repeat the message over and over with emotional emphasis. It’s for their own safety. We hope the programming takes a firm hold and will stop them at the edge of the sidewalk. Then it has done its job.

When a young adult joins the military they will undergo a period of deprogramming to strip away their old habits of thinking and then receive new instructions. Learning something new is not so difficult as getting rid of the old thought patterns. This is what marketing professionals are up against and they use whatever tools that are on hand.

Psychological programming or re-programming

If we want to change our old habits then new programming needs to be repeated often over a period of time. In sales and marketing it is the advertising that attempts to program us, and it is the long sales copy that has the best chance of doing this if people will read the whole page.

The programming is only partially in the repeated message. Some messages are crafted with skill and are more successful. There is a whole rack of positive and negative buttons to push for creating a sale. So we can say that programming is not just repetition but also emotional stimulation.

It is the thought that counts the most but it is the emotional emphasis that captures our attention. Just bringing up logical reasons for switching brands doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. Nor does instilling a little fear sway us to buy a new brand. It is when emotional buttons are pushed and strong logic is presented together that we see a persuasive advertisement.

What happens when you are aware of the programming?

Seldom do we see the programming coming at us because of our own preoccupation with life. This is the same preoccupation that advertising is designed to break through and grab our attention. And when the ad does get our attention we are not looking at the ad itself because we are focused on the message.

However, when we look at what the ad is doing this is when our thinking shifts dramatically. Now that we are aware of the advertising itself we start to see the repeated points and the emotional emphasis. In this way we are able to see the value, if any, being offered and be conscious of the manipulation taking place.

The rule is “Buyer beware”, but a better rule is “Buyer be aware.”

Is programming the only way to market a product?

We are not children about to run out into the street and in the market place we may feel insulted to be treated with the invalidation that advertising carries. Anytime an advertisement does our thinking for us it is nothing short of invalidation. The ad is telling us that we cannot make a good decision on our own.

We can feel the invalidation even if we don’t understand it and we can safely assume that our own market is as sensitive as we are.

In a competitive market place we may be inclined to push with programming and get the job done, and there is always an argument in favor of doing just this. However, the web provides a different option and instead of pushing our market to make a purchase there is the more powerful method of pulling. Call it attraction or magnetic marketing but it works over greater distances and for longer durations of time.

Marketing by attraction was not usually a preferred choice in the brick & mortar world because there was no practical means of marketing a small or medium business over great distance. The cost was too high and the logistics of business growth was a big risk to take.

The web has turned this around

Our web page can scroll down for miles, although this is not a recommended strategy for providing the best and most complete information for our market. There are better ways for navigation to provide the desired information. But what it means is that our web site can attract a market by offering a complete service to our market beginning with information and education.

When is the last time you’ve been in a big box store and had to look for service? What about not finding the information you need on a web site? It’s the same poor service, except there is no excuse for a web site to not be a full service 24/7 outlet. You can put everything you’ve got at the moment into the site just once and never have to repeat the effort. You just add more info as it comes along.

Eliminate the cost of time & space

Space on our web site is not costly. Distance is not a problem. Time has no meaning. The real challenge for us is to be in the top 10 for our preferred search terms. And it turns out that this is not much of a problem either if we provide the quantity and quality of content that our market wants from us because it is the same thing the search engines look for.

With quality information and education we do not need to program our market. We have plenty of time and space to attract our market without pushing them into a purchase. Such a web site has depth and will attract those portions of a market early in the buying cycle. They want and need our assistance as we build a mutual relationship.

The web and its ability to pull, or attract, a market was never possible in the brick and mortar world where every word had a cost and every mile ate up resources. When we look at web marketing as information then we have to wonder why there are so many small business web sites pushing with the high cost of advertising and consumption of resources when pulling reaches further t a lower cost.

Have we been programmed to market our web site a certain way?

Controls for Attaining Continuous Application Security in the Web Application Development Life Cycle

Webshop Performance Optimisation

When your customers are shopping on the web the last thing they want is a page that takes 30 seconds or more to load, personally when that happens I just close the web page and go somewhere else.

If you want to improve the performance of your Webshop there are a number of things you can do.

Benchmarking

The first thing I’d recommend is to perform some benchmarking on your website to find out exactly how slow it is, that way you’ll have something to compare the performance against when you’ve finished souping it up. You could get some software to do this or you could just rely on some simple timings using the second hand on your watch, but basically you want to get a set of measurements for your front-page, some of your major category pages and some of the major product pages. Write them down or record them in a spreadsheet.

Once that’s done you can start improving your Webshop’s performance

Make sure that Your Server and Connection are fast

This may seem obvious but if your server is bogged down because there are too many other websites running on it then you haven’t got a hope of making your Webshop perform well. Likewise make sure that your server has plenty of bandwidth, with multiple network connections and a fast internet connection.

Reduce the number of Requests

Each image, every external JavaScript script and each css file on your page causes a request to be sent from your customer’s browser to your server, each of those requests causes a connection to be opened between the two computers and the file then gets downloaded from the server to the client. Although these communications generally happen quite quickly when you’ve got a lot of files to get each of these small downloads adds up to a lot of time.

The problem is that it takes quite a few milliseconds just to make the connection and when you’ve got a lot of connections to make (one for each file) then all those milliseconds add up.

How can you resolve this?

What we generally try to do is to use image maps i.e. we combine a lot of images into one large image so even though we may be showing ten pictures we actually only download one file, so we save on the connection time for nine images.

We also refrain from loading below-the-fold images until the customer scrolls down on the web browser, when we design our pages we know that some of the images on the page won’t be seen by the customer until they scroll down the page. So using JavaScript we wait until the user scrolls down before we load the additional images, that way the web browser only loads the images that the customer is likely to see. All of those images way down at the bottom of the page don’t get loaded until the customer can see them.

Use a Content Delivery Network

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) will host some of your files for you, usually you would put your image files onto a CDN and any requests for those files will route to the CDN’s very fast servers, what they also do is to replicate your files across their own network and they will serve your files from the nearest server to the customer. For example if you have a customer who is in Japan when the request is made for a file the request is routed automatically (by the CDN) to the nearest server to the customer (probably in Tokyo). So although your Webshop server may be located in London a large number of your files will be located in Tokyo (and wherever else your CDN supplier has servers)

This also saves a lot of bandwidth as your files will only be loaded from your servers once by the CDN and any further requests will be satisfied by the CDN.

Use Gzip Compression on your Apache Server

This may be out of your control but we’ve found that by switching on compression on the Apache server the download time of your (text based) files will be much shorter. Typically a text file (css, html, JavaScript) will be reduced by about 50% in size when its compressed which means that the time taken to download the file will be reduced by almost a half.

Minify JavaScript and CSS

The smaller the text file, the faster it will be downloaded so using a compression utility to minimise your JavaScript and CSS files will again make the files smaller and make them load quicker. Especially when they are compressed even further by the Gzip compression on your Apache Server.

Setting a Default Expiry Date in the Apache Server

The Apache software has a setting to set a default expiry date of image files, what we generally do is to set this far into the future. When a customer’s web browser requests a file it will check the customers local cache to see if the file has already been downloaded and hasn’t expired yet. If the file is up-to-date it will use the local file instead of downloading a copy of the file from the server.

Further Reading

For lots more ideas on how to improve the performance of your online Webshop I would recommend the following

http://developer.yahoo.com/performance/rules.html

http://sites.google.com/site/io/even-faster-web-sites