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The Definition of Is

One of the more memorable moments in Bill Clinton’s presidency was his statement to the grand jury “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” Marketers should take this well crafted statement to heart.

Do you know the definition of ‘is’ as in “our product is better than our competitors?”

Let’s back up a bit. It’s planning and budgeting time again and many of you are going through the process of preparing programs, campaigns and budgets for 2014.  One critical aspect of this process is testing your assumptions about your market, products and customers, updating them and reprioritizing as appropriate.  I’m sure you are all doing this!

Most importantly, you must test the fundamental assumption of any company, namely ‘Our solution is chosen because it solves our customers’ problems better than anyone else.’

We should never assume that we understand the definition of ‘is better.’  Your customers must provide this information and your job is to learn what each customer means by ‘better.’  Then you can adapt your product (service), messaging and value proposition so that your solution is indeed better in the eyes of your customer.

In broader marketing speak, ‘each customer’ requires that your market segmentation accurately reflects the needs of your different types of buyers.  ‘Solves our customer’s problems’ means that your product meets or exceeds the key buying criteria of each buyer segment.

All of these thoughts are basic to good marketing. All good marketing plans take care of the basics first.

So, do you know the definition of ‘is?’


Same-ol’, Same-ol’ Marketing or Is Your Marketing Budget Insane?

Albert Einstein is frequently quoted as saying that the definition of insanity was “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Another not-as-famous Einstein quote is “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Einstein’s book “Relativity: The Special and the General Theory” is probably not on any marketers bookshelf. However, we should pay attention to Einstein’s ideas particularly now that we are approaching our annual planning and budgeting cycle.

Marketing budgets tend to look the same year after year. It is not unusual for marketers to build their plan and budget for the coming year on top of the current one. A familiar corporate marketing budget processes might look something like this:

  1. Start with the current budget, adjust up (or in today’s economic climate, down) per directions from the Finance department
  2. Remove activities that were deemed ineffective from the budget
  3. Adjust successful activities to expand the activity and take care of rising prices
  4. Add one-time projects like product announcements and special events
  5. Try to reserve a little money to evaluate some new marketing technologies
  6. And, oh yes, don’t forget to adjust the personnel costs for salary and overhead changes

and … the budget is done! Actually, this is not a bad process, particularly in “good times” when the company is above plan. However, it does tend to perpetuate a “same-ol’, same-ol’” feeling. This process is basically mathematically engineered to meet the needs of the Finance department – not the needs of marketing. I’m going to avoid this rat hole, but a recent marketing study suggests that many CEO’s believe that marketers are not effectiveness-focused enough to generate incremental customer demand? Well duh – my belief is that this is because of how we budget and how we let the budget become our plan.

Results from a survey on marketing spending plans for 2012 show that the business objectives deemed most important in setting the marketing budget have been impacted by the current economic situation pretty much as you would expect. Overall sales, brand awareness and building loyalty are the top 3 goals for large enterprises with cost savings/efficiency coming in a close 4th. Email, print advertising and direct mail are still the most dominant marketing activities and are receiving budget increases in about 30% of the companies surveyed. SEO, social media and paid search are in the middle of the budget pack but are getting budget increases in approximately 50% of the survey audience. But from an overall perspective, many, many budgets are same-ol’, same-ol’.

One last note from the survey is that getting budget approval for the 2012 marketing budget (or any departmental budget) is going to require a detailed business case – another side-effect of the economy as organizations try to maximize results at the lowest possible cost. A side effect is that companies are creating marketing operations positions with a real emphasis on metrics for marketing and ‘marketing ROI.’

My only tip on how to avoid an insane marketing budget is “don’t fall into the ‘engineered budget’ trap.” To do this, you must start with goals that are agreed upon between Marketing and Senior Management. You must also agree upon how these goals will be measured at the end of the budget year. This all important 1st step can be the most frustrating and infuriating part of the budgeting cycle because all too frequently, there is no agreement between Sales, Finance, and the CEO as to what Marketing’s goals should be!

Once agreed upon, you plan and budget to achieve these goals. You do not budget to simply to fit within the Finance-provided percentages. If the proposed budget goes over the Finance guidelines, that’s OK. You go back and review and reset the goals with Senior Management – as a good corporate citizen, Marketing must do its part to help the company meet its goals. But, to avoid going insane, you must not reduce the proposed budget without resetting the goals – that is an exercise doomed to total disconnect, finger pointing and failure. And you may be surprised when you actually get your budget target increased to achieve the goals that were initially agreed upon!

It sounds simple in a short blog post. It’s not! At TechMarketeers, we believe in goal-driven, measured marketing. Getting to this kind of sane budget is never easy, but is very rewarding in the end. And then you get to do it all over again – next year!


Are You A Presentation Snoozer or Runner?

A press release caught my attention last week because it reminded me of a recent experience at the Interop 2013 IT Conference and Expo that TechMarketeers attended in May. The press release headline was “One-Third of Adults Have Snoozed During PowerPoint Presentations.” The recent experience – I nodded-off in two of the conference presentations that I really wanted to hear what the speaker had to say!

Read on – this is not a rant about Death By PowerPoint!

The press release provided an overview of the results of a recent online survey commissioned by Slide Rocket, asking questions of 1003 adults who use office software on a daily basis. A few other interesting results:

  • 30% say they have snuck out of a presentation (the runners!)
  • 20% (mostly men) say they have fallen asleep so many times they have lost count (the snoozers!)
  • 29% say they dread watching a PowerPoint presentation and 33% dread creating them

The most typical complaints are very, very familiar – too many words on a slide, boring graphics that are difficult to understand, speakers reading their slides and slides that do not support the message being delivered by the speaker.

Here’s where I part company with the Death By PowerPoint crowd. The fix to this problem is not fancier slides with fewer words and easier-to-understand graphics (even though those will help.) I did not go to the conference session to read PowerPoint slides. I went to listen to speakers share their knowledge and insights into topics that interest me.

PowerPoint is a tool, and like any tool, can be used wisely to assist speakers in sharing their thoughts or used poorly to distract the audience from the speaker and put them to sleep (or out the door!)  Here’s my favorite analogy.  As an amateur photographer, I am disappointed when the images I’ve taken don’t really capture what I remember about the scene. When I was younger, I used to blame the camera, film or the processing (OK, a lot younger) and started saving for a more capable camera. Nikon made a small fortune off of me! Now I know better – the problem was with the photographer, not the camera.

For those of you that have seen Steve Jobs give a presentation, you will already know that his slides rarely have more than 2 or 3 words on them and many are simply pictures or graphics with no words at all. You attend the session to listen to Jobs, and he doesn’t distract you with complicated, word-intensive slides.  And remember, Abraham Lincoln, FDR, Winston Churchill and JFK did not use slides. We can all learn from all of these great speakers.

Here are a few points that I’ve written down over the years to help me be a better speaker.  There’s no magic here – just some simple ideas provided to me by other speakers or in some of the seminars I’ve taken over the years. Remember, the most effective presentation styles are story-telling or conversational – not a monotonic lecture.

  • The single most important thing you can do is to thoroughly understand your material and know what you want to say to your audience
  • Think through the flow of your presentation and organize your key messages and supporting points accordingly
  • Now consider whether PowerPoint will help you make your points more interesting and understandable for your audience; pictures and illustrations indeed are worth thousands of words!
  • If you decide to use PowerPoint, do not fall into the trap of feeling you have to use every single feature – for example, animation or sound that does not help illustrate your point(s) is annoying
  • Go into your session knowing that you are the expert that people want to hear from – if you understand the points you want to leave with your audience, you can be a very effective speaker with or without the use of PowerPoint

There are many great classes that you can take on how to develop and give effective presentations. If your speaker reviews are not what you want them to be or you notice some snoozers and runners in your sessions, take a class on effective speaking, not on how to make better PowerPoint slides.

P.S. TechMarketeers is frequently involved in helping speakers create great presentations, frequently with PowerPoint support.


Marketing Hi-Tech vs. No/Low-Tech Products – Differentiating Your Products

(This is part 2 of a two-part post on how ‘best practices’ in hi-tech marketing organizations differ from those found in no/low-tech firms.)

In part 1 I highlighted some of the characteristics of hi-tech products and markets that marketers must take into consideration as they build their strategies, tactics, budgets and programs. The attributes covered in part 1 included Expert audiences, high levels of perceived risk associated with new products, short product lifecycles (or put another way, rapidly changing products) and rapid market segment creation and change.

In this post, I will focus on the single overriding principle that I believe is essential to building differentiated and defensible positions for your hi-tech business(es). Many of you are familiar with this strategic concept and this is a simple refresher for you. Aligning your programs and budgets with this principle puts you on a solid footing for building leading positions within your targeted market segments. If this principle is new to you, there are some references highlighted in the text that will provide you with a more detailed understanding.

Complete Solutions

There is a great deal of hi-tech marketing literature devoted to the idea that your customer does not buy just the device you make, but a solution to a problem. Some authors call this the ‘complete product’ or the ‘whole product.’ The whole product concept is simply the augmentation of your core product (or device) with the additional elements required to meet all of the customer’s needs and actually solve their problem. The additional elements of the ‘total solution’ can include additional product (for example, peripherals or application software for a computer), services such as installation, training and support, good financing terms, or intangibles such as style and brand preference. A terrific example is Apple’s iPhone, where many competitors have similarly featured Smartphones but they have been unable to duplicate the easy management through iTunes, the App Store, or Apple’s style and brand panache.

This idea is particularly true in hi-tech markets where many ‘core products’ are minimally differentiated. Hi-tech products from various vendors are frequently based on the same components (for example, Intel processors), adhere to the same standards (e.g. TCP/IP) and are delivered to the user at similar prices and through similar channels. The vendor who can come closest to the customer’s ‘total solution needs’ usually wins the deal.

Narrow, Well-defined Segments

The critical question for all marketers trying to define their whole product then becomes ‘which customer?’ – which leads us quite naturally to the notion of market segmentation. The best possible way to create the complete set of requirements for a particular market is to define the segment as narrowly as possible and ask the customers in the segment about their needs and buying criteria. The broader the market segment definition, the more diverse the set of requirements necessary to create the whole product and the harder it is to fulfill the customers needs. It is not unusual for hi-tech marketers to use broad market segment definitions such as product category (e.g. servers), industry (telecommunications) or application (image processing). This type of high-level segmentation may be appropriate for simple communications, but is insufficient to define whole products that meet specific customer’s needs.

To become a market leader, define the market as narrowly as possible and build whole products for that market.  Narrow market segment definitions also allow you to more precisely define your value proposition and key messages for your Expert audiences. Narrowly targeted marketing and promotional campaigns are more cost effective than broadly-based ones.  In short, all aspects of your marketing effort are more effective if you base them on narrow, well-defined segments where your company can build 1-1 relationships with your customers. To grow the business, add more segments. Today’s marketing technology, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools and Social Media, allow you to define and deliver your key messages to precisely defined markets.

Put these two thoughts together and you get ‘deliver whole products to narrow, well-defined market segments’ – a fundamental marketing principle.  Add in the concepts discussed in part 1 and you have a good understanding of how hi-tech marketing is different and how to build differentiable and defensible positions.

Thriving in hi-tech markets demands not only a diverse set of skills and capabilities, a customer-driven perspective, the flexibility to stay on top of the constantly changing products and markets and the drive to continuously refine your total solution to meet (or exceed) your customer’s needs.


Marketing Hi-Tech vs. No/Low-Tech Products – What’s The Big Deal?

(This is part 1 of a two-part post on how ‘best practices’ in hi-tech marketing organizations differ from those found in no/low-tech firms.)

Given that TechMarketeers positions itself as ‘specialists in hi-tech marketing,’ it is almost inevitable that we get asked “what’s so different about hi-tech marketing?” early in our discussions with prospects. “Marketing is marketing,” they say. “Why should we use a specialist firm?”

Hi-Tech vs No/Low TechThe shortest answer is simply the fact that all marketing organizations tailor their strategies and tactics to the needs and characteristics of the markets they target. Each market segment has specific product needs, support requirements, different competitors, distribution channels and perhaps a jargon all its own.  The types of products and services offered also cause marketing to adapt.  For example, the marketing tactics of a short life-cycle product like a Super Bowl t-shirt are quite a bit different than those with a longer life such as a hammer. Hi-tech marketing is simply the adaptation of the fundamentals taught in every marketing class to optimize the sales of hi-tech products.

A more complete answer to the question is worthy of a whitepaper (a future project for me!) For this blog post, I’ll share some thoughts on what hi-tech is (at least to TechMarketeers) and some of the key characteristics of technology products that shape marketing strategies and tactics. In the next post, I’ll zero in on critical ‘best practices’ for the hi-tech marketing organization.

What is Hi-Tech?

There is a great deal of confusion around the definition of hi-tech. The reason – there are as many definitions of hi-tech as there are people interested in defining it!

One approach to defining hi-tech is to start with the dictionary. In a Tech-Spresso post dated Jan. 1, 100 (I love it!), Jon Kenton wrote on “Technology in the Modern Era.” Take a moment to read about the Merriam-Webster definition and learn a bit about The Abacus.

While there is a widespread, common understanding of what technology is, there is almost no consensus on what hi-technology consists of. Some examples:

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics defines the hi-tech industry as being composed of companies having twice the number of technical employees and double the R&D expenditures of the U.S. average.
  • The Congressional Office of Technology Assessment describes high-technology firms as those “that are engaged in the design, development, and introduction of new products and innovative manufacturing processes, or both, through the systematic application of scientific and technical knowledge.”
  • The U.S. financial markets define Technology companies as a list of 32 segments ranging from Application Software to Wireless Communications.
Experts and Risk

These definitions of hi-tech use either workforce measures (e.g. the percentage of a companies workforce that is of particular occupations) or research intensity (R&D expenditures as a percentage of sales.) These definitions highlight two of the key characteristics of hi-tech companies that marketers must adapt to:

  1. Audiences targeted by hi-tech marketers have a larger percentage of people with scientific or technical degrees.  For those of you familiar with audience assessments and Audience Characteristic Charts (here’s an example), this means that a large percentage of the audiences you are communicating with fall into the Expert cateogory. This requires a ‘hi-tech vocabulary’ that uses jargon correctly and with a high level of subject matter expertise. There is no faster way to loose credibility with a hi-tech audience than to appear that you do not understand what you are talking about by using incorrect language! It also suggests an increased use of education-oriented marketing tactics such as seminars, webinars, white papers, case studies, conference speaking, placed articles, blogs and social media special interest groups.
  2. R&D intensive products tend to have a higher degree of perceived risk associated with them.  Buyers may not be willing to purchase products based on new technology that is considered new and/or unproven.  Users may also need training to learn how to take advantage of new technologies. Hi-tech marketers need to overcome the concerns of risk-averse buyers and provide materials that help prospects and customers become comfortable with the new technology.
Rapidly Changing Products and Markets

The following two definitions of hi-tech bring another set of characteristics into view:

  • Regis McKenna, a well-known consultant and author in the areas of technology and marketing, states that hi-tech industries are characterized by complex products, large numbers of entrepreneurial competitors, customer confusion and rapid change.
  • Shanklin and Ryans in an HBR article stated that key hi-tech characteristics include a strong scientific/technical basis; new technology can obsolete old technology rapidly; and as new technologies come on stream their applications create or revolutionize demand.

These definitions introduce the notion of rapid change in both the products and the markets (e.g. uses/application of the products) that hi-tech marketers must take into consideration.

  1. Hi-tech products change rapidly and most tend to have relatively short life cycles. If nothing else, this keeps hi-tech marketing professionals busy with activities such as sales training, product introductions, updating sales and marketing materials and the company website, launching lead generation programs and creating demonstrations for tradeshows.  However, this rapid product ‘churn’ can lead to a great deal of market confusion and increase the perceived risk. Add in the fact that competitors are also introducing products at a rapid pace and it is easy to see that hi-tech marketers must deal effectively with a large amount of constantly changing information. Marketing and sales automation tools are one way for hi-tech marketers to stay on top of this.
  2. The fact is that hi-tech products can create, redefine or destroy markets almost daily. Hi-tech marketers must constantly assess their market segmentation and all of the attributes associated with a targeted segment. In Crossing The Chasm, Geoffrey Moore introduced the notion of the Technology Adoption Life Cycle and how the needs of the customer change as a technology advances through the cycle. Hi-tech marketers must adapt their marketing strategies and tactics concurrently with their product’s progress through this bell-shaped curve.

We do not believe that hi-tech markets are the only ones that have these characteristics. It may be true that hi-tech markets are the only ones that include all of these characteristics and that is what makes hi-tech marketing different (exciting!) and unique, but that’s not really the point.

The point is that hi-tech products and markets have characteristics that hi-tech marketers must take into consideration as they build their strategies, tactics, budgets and programs – and that is the topic of the next post.


QR Codes are Beginning to Match the Hype

QR codes seem to finally be matching the hype that has enveloped 2D bar codes for over 10 years. With the proliferation of smartphones, scanning apps and awareness, QR codes are finally becoming an effective tool for driving offline-to-online connections.

As with the early days of the Internet, marketers are still trying to figure out methods and strategies for using QR codes in their print and other marketing collateral. Ultimately, QR codes should direct users to a mobile-optimized webpage with functionality tailored to your audience. Below are recommendations based on the calls-to-action that we’ve found achieve the highest engagement. The themes recur: exclusivity, rich/new media, downloads, incentives, prizes and contests.

QR Codes are Beginning to Match the HypeHere are some helpful hints and suggestions from our own experiences, as well as those we’ve learned from our research.

Technology Launches and Exhibitions
- Show application screenshots
- Play a video
- Link to all your native apps
- Display company info
- “Like” on Facebook
- “Follow” on Twitter
- Offer early access
- Send private invites
- On all promotional materials

Brands and Sponsors
- Offer exclusive content or information
- Free prizes or coupons
- Incentivize Facebook Likes and tweets
- Mobile e-commerce purchases

Fans, Consumers and Event Attendees
- Install a well-developed scanner on your mobile phone
- Add QR code to business cards

Pitfalls to Avoid
use proprietary code formats like those from AT&T Barcode Services or any other that requires a particular scanning app to work. Your QR code should simply contain a URL directing to your mobile web presence.

Don’t link to a non-mobile-optimized site, or pages containing Adobe Flash.

Don’t forget to place a call-to-action near the QR code so that your audience knows why they should bother scanning your code

Don’t forget to test-scan the proofs. Make sure your QR code works before you produce and pay for a bunch of collateral.

It’s also a good idea to set up your corresponding mobile webpage with analytics. This provides the ability to track and optimize your campaign, and even make updates during the event if needed.


Video Broadcasts Using Virtual Sets

TechMarketeers recently attended the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas. Toward the end of the show, we had some time to walk around and see if there were any products that might be of interest to our clients or to marketers. Needless to say, if you use video in your marketing (and most of us do), there was a lot to see!  The theme of this year’s show was “Where Content Comes to Life” – something that should resonate with all marketers.

Video Broadcasts Using Virtual SetsOne application in particular caught my attention and spawned all sorts of interesting ideas. The app – virtual, real-time TV sets. The idea is to lower the costs associated with creating a high-quality set for a video program. The demos at the NAB Show were TV news sets, but it could be any setting you wish. The way it works is straight forward: the ‘talent’ is live, shot against a green background and the rest of the set (or setting) is computer generated. A demonstration used at NAB was a live field reporter sitting in a remote truck (with a green screen no bigger than 2’ by 3’ behind her). The final image was actually projected as if she was in a sophisticated studio with all of the accompanying video, animation, graphics and text support.

Here’s a demo video to give you some idea of what can be done. It opens with a shot of the ‘talent’ in front of a green screen.  Then, almost magically, the news set appears around her. Remember, everything else is computer generated – only the human is real! Virtual TV studio demo.

Green screen techniques and high-end virtual products have been available for a couple of years, but now new entry-level products are starting to appear that cost between $500 and $5000, bringing them into the reach of businesses that want to insert more sophisticated video into their marketing programs. Applications such as internet video, podcasts, virtual events, online training, video presentations and newsletters can take on a whole new, and more professional, look and feel. I suggest you take a look, if for no other reason than to see what is possible.


Social Media – Is it a Battle or a Party?

A recent New York Times article highlighted a trend that indicates a shift away from Blogging towards the briefer and more immediate social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. So the question that many are asking is, where do I spend my resources (time and money) to generate the best return? Is there a battle going on out there and are blogs losing ground?

Well I guess it would come as no surprise that the shift away from blogging is seen more in the younger generation (teenagers). The NY Times article pulled from a report by Pew Internet (Generations 2010) that also recorded a “modest decline” across young adults (18-33). All of this attributed to “the quickly-growing popularity of social network sites.” I can certainly see how the various outlets are beginning to tug at each other for share but from a B2B marketing perspective I would paint the picture as a social gathering rather than a battlefield. In fact, if you are looking for a metaphor, then “Party” would be my choice. All the best parties I have ever attended bring together a mixture or people, foods, tastes, beverages and activities, and it is the interaction and diversity that makes for the ultimate success.

Drinks for your PartyThe mix chosen by the party planner is aimed to generate a certain party experience and so it is with a social media strategy. Each of the elements needs to be able to work both stand alone and in a complementary fashion with all the others. One of the key strategies in B2B marketing is educating your audience. One also needs to be able to promote and advertise the availability of one’s educational materials. In this fashion one is able to create a chain of social media and online tools. One might start with Twitter and Facebook that can provide up to the minute news with great relevancy; e.g. for a show, event or major product launch. Blogs, however, are alive and well and will remain so for many years to come as one directs followers from the less content rich mediums to learn more by visiting the broader and more detailed materials contained within a blog or website.

As marketeers we must all look at the tools available to us and use them in the most appropriate combination to help achieve our desired results. Thus, with the state of social media today, don’t get embroiled in fueling a battle that has no need to exist. Instead, create an optimum mix of party goers, spice up your content to provide great food and drink and work to have a great party where everybody goes home raving about the best time they have ever had.


Is Your Website Rated an ‘A’ or an ‘F’? And More Importantly, How Would You Know?

No matter what the size or type of business, Internet marketing is one of today’s most essential tools. At the top of the list of Internet strategies is one’s website. Is yours working for you and most importantly how does it rank against your competition? Is your site the best it can be? If you were to grade your site would it get an A, a C or an F? Remember, in today’s hotly contested technical markets, a C is just not good enough!

How good is your Grade?

Website ranking can be a huge “can of worms.” Yes it may look cool, there may be oodles and oodles of pages with extremely detailed content but how relevant is it for your audience and how well is it promoted out there in the ether and especially to your target market? We would all like to think that our websites are the best they can be.

Most, however, are missing many basic elements that can improve them considerably. An absolute and empiric ranking can be extremely difficult as there is no accepted ‘gold standard.’ However, a relative measure against best practices and ones competitors is a metric that every site owner should have and monitor on a regular basis. Given the dynamic nature of the Internet, web technology, marketing practices and, of course, one’s competitors, a regular and ongoing assessment of your web presence is essential if you want to stay at the top of your ‘web game.’ With all this said, what aspects of a website should be used to assess its grade?

Content – Ultimately ‘Content is King.’ It is the content that will differentiate your site from those of your competitors but this only occurs once somebody has found it. Your strategy needs to address both the content that is viewed and read by people and also how that same content is assessed by web Crawlers and Bots. Every web site (and page within) will be ranked by the search engines and the relevancy, diversity and perceived usefulness of the content will all contribute to the way the site draws traffic. Does your site have an integral blog? Is it kept up to date and managed? Are all the pages of your site indexed? What type of language do you use and to what readability level?  These elements are just a few of the qualitative aspects that contribute to content ranking. For example, have you considered what audience you are aiming at and ensured the style is set to match what they might like to read rather than what you would like to write? Your website copy may be technically accurate but is it written in such a way that will optimize your page and site rankings?Get an A on Your Website

Technical Structure & Compliance – There are many ways to construct a website. The visual look and feel of two sites may be similar but the underlying code may have been written using very different structures and techniques. Over time, web site and browser technologies have evolved and what was once state of the art is now deemed non-compliant. This can be important for more than just technical correctness and sites that use more up to date techniques will get a better ranking. Although they have been around for some time Web 2.0 technologies are the basis for modern site construction. These sites allow for greater user interactivity and have a broader range of tools that site developers can use to increase the overall attractiveness and usability of a web site.

Optimization – How well a site is optimized covers a broad array of techniques and strategies. Simple things are often forgotten.  Techniques such as ensuring every page has appropriate Metadata and the use of page titles and descriptions is still important to your site rankings. The way that headings are used throughout the site is much like a newspaper and the web crawlers pay attention to these just as people do. If you do not use the right structure, the crawlers don’t know what to look at and you miss opportunities to enhance your search relevance ratings. The pictures and other images on a site add more than just visual appeal. To help with optimization they need to be appropriately named and always have ‘alt text’ (a description of the image) added. One of the most important measures for a website is how many other sites link to it, often called backlinks or crosslinks. The more sites you having linking to your own site, the better. All of this helps you rank higher in search engines since these links are an indication that your website has value to others, and can be trusted.

Promotion – Just leaving your site to be found using the ‘if you build it they will come’ strategy is not recommended, but you would be amazed at how many people do this. Social media and cross-linking strategies are all key parts of website promotion. For your site to get a top A grade, a well thought out strategy for site promotion needs to be created and implemented.

Get an A Plus on Your WebsiteConversion Strategies – A website is there for a reason – not just to look pretty. It should be aimed at attracting new customers and having them contact you. Passive sites loose grading points. The more you can implement interactive content and offer ways for site visitors to contact you, the more likely it will lead to a conversion and the better your site grade will be.

Comparative Analysis – The great warrior Sun Tzu advises, “know your enemy.”

All the work you have done to improve your site is fantastic but do make sure you keep an eye on your competitors as they have a habit of sneaking up on your if you don’t watch out. The same analysis you did on your own site should be done on your competition. This way you can see what they are up to and identify your priorities for continual optimization of your own site.

As marketers, the technology available to us is fantastic, but we need to use it appropriately. A website is one of the most important tools we can use to market and promote our businesses. With that in mind make sure you take the time to grade your website and make sure it gets an A+.


Improve SEO Competitiveness with Longtail Keywords

Use Longtail Keywords for Improved ROIA majority of search engine optimization experts would agree that the most powerful ranking tool among major search engines are external links. But does that mean on-page optimization is dead? Not exactly.

When used in conjunction with linking that is building authority, on-page optimization creates relevance to your site’s pages for search engines. So where do people miss the boat on selecting keywords to develop the content on the relevant site’s pages? Longtail keywords. Longtail keywords directly relates to keyword competitiveness. For example a shorttail keyword might be ‘wireless router.’  I am sure you can imagine how much competition there is to gain SEO ownership of that term, however, using a longtail keyword such as “Best wireless router for VoIP connections” would have significantly less.

At TechMarketeers we take the few keywords that have high search volume and traffic and are difficult to rank for and place them on the sidelines (to begin with). It’s not they they are not important but there is an entire galaxy of unexplored longtail keywords that have much less competition. Sure, they are not searched for as often but the conversion rate is much greater equating to greater revenue compared to the gold medal keywords. Many sites that track longtail keywords and their impact on sales report that over $200 million in revenues comes from longtail searches. You don’t want to leave money on the “tail”.

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