Me Blogging About RSS Photo Feeds — Are You Blogging about Your Products?

If you’re interested in technology trends, I wrote an article for D-Link about RSS photo feeds. This kind of application is simple, like ring tones – hence the title of the article. Yet it’s so much more clever and elaborate.

I write blog posts for D-Link from time to time, and this is the latest one. Which reminds me… are you blogging about your products and services? It’s a great way to communicate with consumers, explore new ideas and uses for your products, and learn from your user/consumer community.

Labels: advertisingblogbloggingebayecommercemarketingwriterwriting

Conversational Writing and eBay Descriptions – Marketing Mojo

We talk a lot about conversational voice and tone in these pages. Conversational style engages and persuades people. That’s the gist of it.

A lot of businesses still shy away from this type of writing in their Web sites, eBay listings and marketing collateral.

I came across validation for the conversational approach in another book (which is great, by the way). It’s called Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas On Presentation Design and Delivery and it’s written by Garr Reynolds.

Here’s a quote from the book (p. 83):

“When you are in a conversation with someone you are naturally more engaged because you have an obligation to participate. You are involved. Formal speech and formal writing devoid of any emotion whatsoever is extremely difficult to stay with for more than a few minutes. Your conscious mind has to remind you to “stay away, this is important!” But someone who speaks in a natural, human, conversational style is far easier to stay engaged with.”

I urge you, as always, to write with conversational tone and style. That means speaking as if in a one-on-one conversation, adding emotion, using imagery, and communicating as you would with a friend.

Labels: advertisingmarketingsalessellerwriting

Consumer electronics as social tool

This kiosk ad at fashion island, ca positions the smart phone as a social networking tool. Expect to see more references to this theme in new ads this year. Social media is a big buzzing topic, and the lines between work and socializing continue to blur. Nothing new in itself. But the high dollar cell phone tools are now positioning around the new IP and cell technology services.

IShares ad in wall st journal

Ask a question and grab attention. This is a good example. One critique I have of the ad is that there’s not much effort to differentiate or offer a unique, compelling USP. Beautiful use of context, though. The audience is reading the paper. The ad engages them in that specific context. The niche is dead on – it’s the investor section of the WSJ.

Lead Gen Ideas for a Web 2.0 World

I recently wrote an article for MelissaData. It’s called “5 Tech-Savvy Sales Lead Generation Ideas” and can be found here as well :
5 Tech-Savvy Sales Lead Generation Ideas
Your customers and prospects live in an information-driven world. They respond to the latest news, product developments, insights, tips and announcements, and they build relationships and purchase accordingly. By inserting yourself into the news stream and building targeted audiences online, you become part of the authority system and enhance your value to prospects and existing customers.This sounds like a difficult thing to do, but it’s not. Follow the steps below to launch a few key initiatives that improve the quality and quantity of your leads, and increase your profits.

1. Establish authority and expertise online and in the press by automating a news gathering, posting and dissemination system for your specific niche. Once you’ve established a few Web pages for company news, press releases and updates that are focused specifically on your niche audience, you need to automate its ongoing development. Use someone in your own company or outsource this updating process. The key is to keep the information fresh and dynamic. Subscribe to news alerts and RSS feeds. If the stories are copyrighted, have the staff summarize them and then link to the article/post. If not, you can re-post the content with a link to the attributed source in many cases. Direct prospects and customers to your news site/blog when articles specific to them materialize. As this system matures, you’ll be seen as a very focused expert in your particular business niche. Yet, all you’ve really done is employ the services of outside journalists and news gathering systems.

2. Create a link on your site for press inquiries, speaking engagements and interviews. Make sure your blog or news micro-site has a highly visible link that shows journalists how to contact you and the process for scheduling interviews or event engagements. Use this page as a filter, so you can weed out time-consuming inquiries and busy-bodies that have little value to you. You can do this by writing a short description of your specific expertise and experience. You’ll also want to set up auto-responders for the email link you provide here.

3. Post to industry/niche-specific discussion boards. Many of your blog posts and ideas can be posted as advice, instruction or step-by-step processes on discussion boards that focus on your particular technology, niche or business audience. Find the communities where your prospects congregate for information, and post.

4. Reference testimonials and case studies. One of the best ways to establish authority is to have others do it for you. Use quoted testimonials from existing and past customers to toot your horn for you. Make sure they’re specific to you personally (if you’re a sales person) and to your specific expertise/niche. Make this a part of your ongoing business development process, and use them everywhere. Put them in the right side margin of your news site/blog. Use short testimonials as signatures for emails. Print them on the back of business cards and post cards that you send out.

5. Maintain trust by eliminating hype, sticking to facts and offering help. When you’re writing copy for your sites and lead-generating materials, pay particular attention to your tone, style and choice of words. Keep it simple, clean and free of excess. No excess verbiage, adjectives, adverbs or claims. Don’t post rumors, half-truths or agenda-driven articles. If you’re truly offering value, then you don’t need to sugar coat it or pump it up with “marketing-speak.” You can be enthusiastic, of course. Emotion helps you sell in all of your selling-related endeavors. But, be aware that the emotions and feelings you’re looking to build—trust, confidence and respect—are best established with clarity, straight-forwardness and expertise. Most importantly, make sure every piece of information you pass along to your audience has genuine value for their particular needs and interests.

When to Blog: What Everyone Should Know

Most progressive companies are now blogging to drive thought leadership, manage public relations, sell products and provide customer service. Most simply post when they can.

new study discovered that there are advantageous and disadvantageous times during the day and week to blog.

Ah data analysis. I love it.

In a nutshell (hey, I’m in a nutshell get me out of here)… here’s what they found:

After lunch, between 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM (PST – Pacific Standard Time) is the best time to post on any given week day. Between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM is also good (after work). Thursday is the best day.

What’s the worst time to post? Between 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM PST on the weekends. Everybody’s out doing something else. That makes weekends a good time to get posts together and then schedule them for posting on weekdays in the optimal time slots.

Now get out there and post.

Labels: blogbloggerbloggingmarketingwriting

What Every Tech Company Should Know About Trading White Papers for Leads

Just read a great article that addresses lead generation and white papers. Roger Warner makes a great case for ditching the carrot method of trading email addresses or login info for white papers.

I’ve clipped some of the insightful tid-bits below. Thanks Roger!

Insight #1: “For B2B web sites, the content that really matters in terms of positioning and prospecting isn’t your ‘markitecture’ pages – your product and services descriptions, corporate histories and such…. it’s your ‘thought leadership’ pages – the places where you express opinions and ideas rather than features and benefits.”

Insight #2: “Furthermore, what of the people that you lose along the way? To me, a commitment to form-filling is no great measurement of the quality of a sales lead. A far better tactic is to set your thought leadership content free and give people more ‘opportunities to engage‘ with who you are and what you stand for.”

Warner continues, “Let’s face it, most of us are commitment-phobes when it comes to the web anyway. Why not just accept this fact and move on?”

Here are Warner’s review questions for evaluating your own white paper exchange process:

“Ask yourself:

  • What’s your most valuable and engaging content?
  • Do you make you accessible enough?
  • What’s the upside of providing more opportunities to engagewith it?
  • What’s the downside of removing a subscription line?
  • How scientific is your answer to the previous question? (Gut feeling, conventional wisdom, or based on small side-show experiment and validated by stats?)”

Labels: B2B marketingbloggingContentcopywritingLead GenerationmarketingSEOThought LeadershipWeb MarketingWeb Relationswriting

Fear, Marketing and Jack Canfield

I read the following Jack Canfield article this morning. It’s a good general piece, but it’s also particularly useful for marketing folks that need new ways to test ideas, create intriguing copy, make money, test products, open new markets and innovate. Creativity is, after all, a leap of faith. It requires boldness and a healthy approach to fears. The article offers useful strategies for moving past fear and/or using it to guide your decisions and creations. I especially like the “taking a 2-year-old to the market” analogy.

Putting Fear in Its Place 
by Jack Canfield

As you move forward on your journey from where you are to where you want to be, you are going to have to confront some of your fears. Fear is a just a natural part of living.

Whenever you start a new project, take on a new venture, or put yourself out there, there’s usually some fear involved. Unfortunately, most people let fear stop them from taking the necessary steps to achieve their dreams.

Confronting your fears is a very necessary step in achieving success.

There is simply no other way.

Fear can be a helpful emotion, as it tells you when you need to be extra careful, keenly aware, and cautious. Fear is not an emotion that is telling you to stop. In fact, it’s telling you just the opposite!

Acknowledging your feelings of fear helps you know when you are stepping out of your comfort zone. It points your awareness to areas where you could improve and grow.

Successful people also feel fear. Yet they don’t let it get in the way of anything they want to do–or have to do. They understand that fear is something to be acknowledged, experienced, and taken along for the ride. They have learned, as author Susan Jeffers suggests in her must-read book, to “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway®.”

(Susan Jeffers has been a friend of mine for twenty years now, and her work, which is very powerful and transformational, has helped millions of people overcome their fears and move forward to create success in their lives. I highly recommend her as a resource.)

You see, fear is more of a signal that we should stay alert and cautious. We can feel fear, but we can still move forward anyway.

Think of fear as a 2-year-old child who doesn’t want to go grocery shopping with you. Because you must buy groceries, you’ll just have to take the two year old with you. Fear is no different. In other words, acknowledge that fear exists but don’t let it keep you from doing important tasks.

Also realize that so many of our fears are self-created. We might frighten ourselves by fantasizing negative outcomes to any activity we might peruse or experience. Luckily, because we are the ones doing the fantasizing, we are also the ones who can stop the fear and bring ourselves into a state of clarity and peace by facing the actual facts, rather than giving in to our imaginations.

If a fear is too great for you to overcome, try breaking it down into smaller challenges.

Try starting out doing the parts of the project that don’t scare you so much. You need to give a speech in front of a large group? Try giving your speech in front of a small group of people who care for you. Work your way up until you are able to feel the fear but still move forward. As you do, you will build your confidence and eventually you won’t feel fear surrounding those issues because you’ll have done them enough to count it as a skill.

As you move toward your goal, don’t attach yourself so much to the outcomes.

Keep moving toward your dream doing everything you can to create what you want, then let it go and see what shows up. Sometimes the universe will have a better idea in mind for you and present a better opportunity when you were expecting something completely different. Don’t let fear keep you from moving forward. Even if the horrible outcome that you imagined happens, the universe will always provide for you another way to succeed. So be on the look out!

Trust that no matter what occurs, you are smart enough and strong enough to keep looking for, and attracting, opportunities.

If you are willing to try new experiences in spite of your fears, then more new experiences will present themselves for you to try. And the more you try, the more you are likely to succeed!

For even MORE inspiration about overcoming your fears, you can learn from this Video Clip of Me on YouTubediscussing some tactics you can use right away!

© 2008 Jack Canfield

Jack Canfield, America’s Success Coach, is the founder and co-creator of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul and a leading authority on Peak Performance. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now

Labels: advertisingcopywritingmarketingmarketing writingwriting

Marketing to Gen Y – The Big Boomer Byproduct

How do you market to Generation Y – a class of texters, Twitterers, and Facebook/MySpace junkies?

Sarah Perez does a great job uncovering the issues and delving deep into the behavioral trend that typifies this elusive demographic in her article titled: Why Gen Y Is Going to Change the Web

To me, it’s difficult to imagine how to reach an audience with an important message in 144 characters or less (a la Twitter). However, with a link, a tweet can be treated just like an AdWords ad with a landing page.

It’s a lot like the headline->deck copy->subhead->body copy “hook and entice” practice that’s dominated journalism and direct mail for decades. Some people refer to it as the “bucket brigade” method. Same general idea – hook, press on, hook again. Movies work this way, too. Those in the biz say you need a new hook (intense drama, action, comedy, intrigue) every 5 minutes or so. I read somewhere recently that screenplay teachers instruct their students to watch the Lethal Weapon movies to understand the concept in action (literally). I think I read this in either John Forde’s newsletter or Psychotactics (Sean D’Souza).


How to Set Google Chrome as Your Default Browser in Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows Vista

This post, which shows you how to change your default browser to Google Chrome in Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows Vista, may not initially appear to fall under the marketing category… however, I’ll explain further in a minute.
Google Chrome is the new browser from the folks at Google. If you’re looking for reviews of the browser, check here: Awesome Google Chrome ReviewSummary of Google Chrome Reviews at UK Telegraph (includes TechCrunch, Walt Mossberg, CNET, Gizmodo reviews and more), and Google Chrome Review from PC World.
So, Google Chrome is pretty cool and very fast when compared to other browsers like FireFox and Internet Explorer. I like it, and I wanted to set it as my default browser on a couple of the machines here.
Here’s the correct process for doing this manually on Windows XP, 2000 and Vista (thanks to Mozilla):

Setting default browser manually

You can set the default browser in Windows 2000 (SP3+) Windows XP (SP1+) and Windows Vista using the “Set Program Access and Defaults” feature (renamed “Set Program Access and Computer Defaults” in Windows Vista). [2]

  • Windows 2000: “Start -> Control Panel -> Add or Remove Programs -> Set Program Access and Defaults”
  • Windows XP: “Start -> Control Panel -> Add or Remove Programs -> Set Program Access and Defaults -> Custom”
  • Windows Vista: “Start -> Default Programs -> Set Program Access and Computer Defaults -> Custom” [3]

(Windows XP/Vista: Click the icon to the right of “Custom”, to expand the category.)

You will see Internet Explorer and other installed browsers listed under “Choose a default Web browser” . Select “Mozilla” (Suite), “SeaMonkey” or “Mozilla Firefox” (in some cases, “Mozilla Firefox” may not be listed; to add it back, reinstall Firefox [4]).

If the above doesn’t work or if the “Set Program Access and Defaults” feature isn’t available in your Windows version, you can manually set the default browser by selecting it as the the default program for individual file types and protocols as follows:

  • Windows XP and earlier: Open the Control Panel from the Windows Start menu.
    • In Windows 2000 and earlier, or if Windows XP is using the Control Panel “Classic View”: Click on “Folder Options -> File Types”.
    • In Windows XP, if using the Control Panel “Category View”: Click on “Performance and Maintenance”. Then, click on “File Types” in the left column under the heading “See Also”.
  • Windows Vista: Click the Start button, open “Default Programs” and then click “Associate a file type or protocol with a program”. [5]

Assign the following protocols and file types to the browser you wish to set as default:

  • URL:HyperText Transfer Protocol
  • URL:HyperText Transfer Protocol with Privacy
  • URL:File Transfer Protocol
  • HTML File
  • HTM File (optional)

Note that you may find the URL protocols listed above under extension “N/A” or “(NONE)”.

The reason I think it’s important for marketers to install and use this new browser are many:
  1. You need to know how your Web pages look in this new browser – If you don’t have consistency across all four major browsers (Safari included.. perhaps Opera deserves a mention, too), you’re not communicating consistently.
  2. If anything doesn’t render correctly you need to fix it ASAP. I surfed to JCrew’s site yesterday, and a lot of their images don’t render in Chrome, while they do quite nicely in the other browsers.
  3. Users are hopping on the new Chrome browers in huge numbers. They’re installing it like mad because of Google’s exposure. Again, if your sites don’t look good on Google Chrome, you may have a problem on your hands. This applies to things beyond just generic looks, as well… like shopping carts, Java script, widgets, sign up forms, AJAX and so forth.
Take a look and make sure you’re good on Google Chrome.