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Entries in "marketing"


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February 15, 2009

MKTG 101: Web Content Should Serve Visitor Needs

Some new Twitter users want to help me get rich, find peace with my life and help me tap my inner invisible pink unicorn to be spiritually one with the universe. I know this because they post links telling me they can make this happen if I buy their books and CD's or read their blogs. They just never tell me exactly HOW this is supposed to happen.

January 29, 2009

MKTG 101: Social Media Marketing is still marketing—know your audience

Social Media Marketing is hip. It seems like everyone wants to get involved, call themselves an expert and use the magical powers of social media to triple sales, recruit students, etc. But social media isn't magic. Social media, like advertising, direct mail and telemarketing is but one of many tools in the marketer's toolbox. Like any tool it needs to be used in the proper context—in conjunction with other marketing strategies. As such social media—when used for marketing—still relies on basic marketing principles such as understanding your target audience, the features and benefits of your product or service, brand awareness and so forth.

December 29, 2008

Social Media is People (but more enriching than Soylent Green*)

Everyone wants to know how to take advantage of social media. Whether it's to promote a business or an academic program, it's not unusual to hear people as, "How should we be using Twitter?" or "What should we do with Facebook?" The questions often focus on the tools, but as I've mentioned before, in Social Media: Your Interactive Information Resource, social media is about making connections—human connections. While this has been apparent to me for sometime, it's become increasingly clear over the past month. So rather than writing a typical how-to or advice article, today I'll just tell you about two recent events that really drive this message home.

November 09, 2008

An URL by any other name would still work like an URL, part 2: length doesn't matter

Last month, when I wrote about subdomains, I promised to find out more regarding the question of URL length. Site owners had been telling me that their URLs were too long for users to type and that this was keeping people from responding to their direct mail campaigns. Typically the URLs in question were 30-40 characters in length. These don't seem excessively long if you consider that even a short domain name such as takes 12 characters itself. But it did make me wonder if anyone had studied the role URL length plays in direct mail response rates.

October 28, 2008

Should you or should you not have links open in a new window/tab?

Last week's entry on outbound links spawned a lot of discussion, including the question of whether one should have outbound links open in a new window (or tab depending on the user's browser and preferences). Although many others have already written about this topic, it comes up often enough that I think it is worth discussing. Disclaimer: links that open in a new window or tab—when that wasn't my choice—are a pet peeve of mine, but I will attempt to explore the topic objectively.

October 21, 2008

Afraid of outbound links? Don't be.

"The site looks great. But could you take out the links? I'm afraid people will follow them before they apply to our program/sign up for our event/read the installation instructions/etc." I don't hear this as often as I once did, but it still comes up often enough that it's worth addressing. So today I'll try to dispel some myths about Web stickiness and outbound links.

October 04, 2008

An URL by any other name would still work like an URL, part 1: subdomains

Over the past weeks, I've been getting a lot of questions and comments about URLs and naming conventions. Here are a few typical queries: Department X has the address Our address is Can you change our address to How can we get a shorter address for our page? Our long URL is wreaking havoc with our marketing. Our site has a long address that we've been printing in our mailings. We're not getting as much traffic as we hoped because the name is too long to type. How can we shorten it?

September 16, 2008

Social Media: Your Interactive Information Resource

In prior reflections on social media, I've mentioned how services such as Facebook,, Twitter, etc. can be effective marketing tools. Much of this has to do with the fact that they foment two-way communication. When we join these communities and services we participate in a dialogue between our friends and contacts.

July 23, 2008

Blogs: The Many Voices of a University

Sunday afternoon I skibbled off to Atlantic City to attend EduWeb 2008, a conference for Web development professionals in higher education.

June 18, 2008

Tips for installing Google Analytics on Case and other Web servers.

There comes a time in every Web maintainer's life when the boss or client asks to see the Web stats for the past 6 months/year/5 years or what have you. Ideally you or your server administrator set this up long ago; you—being equally keen to understand the usage patterns of your site, and to use that knowledge to improve your content—check them on a regular basis, and can provide the information immediately. Then again, if you've been busy building and updating sites, this may be one of those projects that has been patiently waiting on your to-do list. If your server doesn't have analytics software pre-installed, and you've not yet installed any yourself, now—before the boss asks—is the time to do so.

June 08, 2008

Plurk: Social Media Marketing in Action

Something interesting happened last Sunday. Plurk, a new social network, grew it's subscriber base from a handful of beta users to over 2,000 in one day. Since then they've continued to grow exponentially. As a marketer, and one of the 2,000+, I think it's been a fascinating process to watch. In this one week we've seen some very effective marketing strategies in action. Back in March I shared my reflections on social media networking and marketing, but that was more a tale of slow growth. Plurk's rapid growth gives us a chance to look at some of the techniques they used and see how effective they can be.

May 20, 2008

Things we can learn from—for use in our marketing endeavors

Last week, while catching up on podcasts, I listened to Can Social Networking Build Your Brand?, Jason Schwartz's presentation from SXSW Interactive 2007 (View his slideshow). Jason crammed a lot of interesting ideas into his 25 minute presentation (to which you should listen), but his references to, and Technorati got me thinking about what a tremendous resource can be.

May 04, 2008

5 reasons your blog should have an editorial policy

While the medium is different, blogs have much in common with magazines. They're published periodically, can accept subscriptions (via RSS feeds), may (or may not) accept advertising and typically focus on a particular topic or niche. If you blog, you have some notion of your topical area in your head, but have you defined it for your readers? If not, it may be time to take a page from the magazines and define a clear editorial policy for your blog.

April 15, 2008

Maximize your marketing through blog networks and aggregator sites

Lately I've noticed that I've been subscribing to more and more blog networks/aggregators. As a reader I like these because they help me discover blogs I might not have heard of otherwise. As a blogger and marketer I like the aggregators of which I'm a part or a similar reason; they put my blog in front of new readers -- readers who already have shown an interest in my topic.

April 03, 2008

How did I get by before Firefox Add-Ons?

Last night, whilst catching up on my RSS feeds, I discovered Paul Fenwick's video, "How to Fix the Web with Greasemonkey in 3 minutes." The video offers some clever tips on how one can use the Firefox add-on, Greasemonkey, to make Web sites (not just yours) behave the way you wish. I was particularly amused by the way he made MySpace content disappear. But it also reminded me of just how dependent I am on Firefox add-on's.

March 17, 2008

Reflections on social media networking and marketing

These days everyone seems to be talking about social networking and/or social media marketing. Until fairly recently these were topics for tech nerds and Web marketers, but now more and more people are wondering how they can use Facebook to market their programs or products, or how Twitter can be leveraged as a tool for campus communication. I don't have an immediate answer to such questions, but I thought this would be a good time to reflect a bit on what I've learned about social media.

December 05, 2007

Copy Writing: Long vs. Short, Does it Matter?

Torc waterfall, Killarney National Park Today's my third day back at work after my vacation in Ireland. I have a number of ideas for upcoming entries, but as I started cleaning up the blog comments that came in while I was gone, I saw an interesting question that had been posted on the Web writers: What are we? entry. Mike asked: What role does long form copy writing have in writing B2B copy for the internet? I must say I am confused. The 'weight' (if not quality) of opinion from largely self-proclaimed internet guru writers is that long form...

October 30, 2007

Don't build your Web site in a vacuum

This is the fifth in a series of posts that discuss Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and other Web marketing strategies. This week we'll go beyond the Web.

September 07, 2007

Linkbait: Tasty morsels to entice readers

It sounds nefarious doesn't it? Makes one think of "bait and switch" or that run-down old bait store by the lake—the one where they store the containers of nightcrawlers in the same cooler as the egg salad sandwiches. Blech.

August 09, 2007

Enhance your reputation & increase traffic by joining discussions on other blogs

As you know from my earlier post on commenting, people (and robots) like to leave comments on other people's blogs in order to provide links back to their own Web site.

July 23, 2007

Web 2.0 & Social Networking can enhance "findability"

I do not profess to be an expert on either Web 2.0 or social networking, but last week I was involved in some discussions that made me want to learn more, so I decided to jump in and do some exploring.

July 13, 2007

An Introduction to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Part 1

This is the first in a series of posts that will discuss SEO and other Web marketing strategies. Before we dig into our first discussion of SEO, it is worth remembering that search engines are not the only way visitors get to your site.