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Obvious – so why don’t we do it?

Marketing, Design & PR No Comments »

Just saw an article about some of the questions we must ask ourselves when we are creating a website for our small business.  This is much more important than whether you have a pretty logo or managed to secure the .com.

An Average Consumer Looks at Small Business Web Sites

Thanks to NetworkSolutions blog.

Yes, you can use social networking as a marketing tool, but……

Marketing, Design & PR, SuzySays No Comments »

I was sent a StartUps blog on online social networking to read and couldn’t help myself fill in the gaps.  I believe it is really important that people starting out using the medium don’t just see it as just `another marketing tool’, and that it would help if such articles made it much clearer why it is so very different form many conventional marketing methods.

There is an essential ingredient to making online social networking a productive use of your time to boost your business; it is to be authentic.  Yes, you need a strategy and to know how best to use your limited time, but I believe that if you are prepared to BE your brand – not hide behind it – and represent the ethos and integrity of your brand in everything you say and do (even if that will not always make you popular), then online social networking is going to benefit you more than you might think.

People will only listen to what you say online if they have gradually developed a respect for your opinions and most of all, your contribution.  If you offer useful resources and opinions rather than trying to `sell’, then you will gain `followers’.  If you just pitch all the time and don’t share anything of yourself, then people will have less interest in you.

When I tweet on Twitter or send out a blog, I don’t bare my soul or divulge everything that is going on in my business or my life – but I certainly share a great deal more than I would networking at a Chamber of Commerce meeting or at a womens’ business networking event.  There are plenty of people who use online social networking as an extra `marketing tool’, and good luck to them.  But I find myself drawn more to those people who have something to say, something to share, and who interest me.  It is only at that point that I become interested in what their business is.

I believe the most useful lesson I have learned from online social networking is that you can’t make people `buy’ from you, even if what you offer is for free and really really good.  What you can do, is be useful and enjoy interacting with other people and being part of a growing community.For a single mum working from home, the ability to do what businessmen have done over the ages – build trusted relationships within a social setting – is what the internet allows me to recreate to some extent.  It also allows me access to many clever minds who are often able to point me to resources and ideas that would otherwise be difficult for me to discover for myself.

I can thank www.loudmouthman.com for being the first to open my eyes to online social networking and for encouraging me to start my first blog www.bloggingforblondes.com.  Both my businesses now use blog software to interact with users and to reinforce the integrity of my brands.

But the real reason for taking time to network online is…..  it’s really really great fun!  Such interesting people, so much to talk about, so much to learn.  Communities survive because people interact within them, and that’s what makes them successful.  And fun.

Credit Crunch Divorces create cash for local businesses

Business, Marketing, Design & PR, Starting Over Show Press Page 6 Comments »

Credit Crunch Divorces create Cash for local Business

Family lawyers have indicated that relationship break ups will increase because of financial pressures at home, but a recent survey carried out by Suzy Miller of ‘Certain Shops’ and ‘The Starting Over Show’, indicates that new singles will spend more on financial and well-being services than their married counterparts, creating income for businesses.

 

National family law organisation Resolution, are expecting an increase in the number of UK divorces as the credit crunch really starts to hit. With consumer research firm Claritas estimating that one in six UK marriages currently end in divorce (16.4 per cent), Andrew of Woolley of Resolution accredited family lawyers’ firm Woolley & Co Solicitors said: “In my opinion and experience, money problems just exacerbate a situation that is already there and certainly create an increase in stress—so a relationship under heavy strain may not cope with one extra burden, that of paying rising bills.”

At the same time, a new and ongoing survey by professional services directory `Certain Shops – Professionals Online’ supports anecdotal evidence that, following a relationship break up, people are more likely to buy new properties, update their wills and insurances, and spend money on themselves.


Results to date show that in the three years following the break up of a relationship:

  • 26.5% rented a property more than once

  • 36.7% bought a new property

  • 51.0% went on a foreign holiday more than once

  • 27.3% joined a gym

  • 20.0% changed their appearance

  • 35.3% changed their job

Financial advice and legal advice were considered ‘definitely important’ for people going through a relationship break up (53.1% and 50% respectively) with well-being advice also as a definite at 45.5%. The highest score for ‘definitely important’ was 82.8% for ‘people to listen to them sympathetically’.



Fatima became a divorcee in Sussex 6 years ago and she feels that her experience was and still is fairly typical. “Post divorce I was not in a position to buy my ex-partner out of the house, but I did re-mortgage as a way of refinancing. I needed to change my will and talk to financial advisors and reassess mine and my children’s financial stability. Despite limited funds I went on holiday with a friend and her children and concentrated on rebuilding my sense of self. That was really important.”


The evidence shows that the new singles represent a market force of their own and this is starting to be recognised as their expenditure benefits businesses on a local and national level. Sam Foster of Miss Fit Personal Training is a Brighton based fitness expert who is able to help individuals back on track through her business: “I work with many clients who have experienced a life changing situation like divorce and people realise that a big step to getting their confidence back is allowing time to focus on looking after themselves again. A way to kick start this is by improving their overall health through a balanced diet and exercising more, which I am delighted to be able help them with. “

This boost for businesses also explains why companies and individuals are eager to exhibit at the UK’s first ever divorce fair the ‘Starting Over Show’ [ www.startingovershow.co.uk ], which will be held in Brighton this Spring, on Sunday 15 March 2009 at the Barcelo Old Ship Hotel.

Photographer Scott Collier is one of the show’s exhibitors and also completed his own divorce last year and despite being a successful wedding photographer, Scott is a keen supporter of the show and the starting over ethos: “I will be at the show as a photographer who takes memorable pictures of children and their parents. Many of my recent clients have broken up from long term relationships and need good photos of themselves and their loved ones to boost their self esteem. I see many of my photos appearing on Facebook every day as people use them for their profiles. I think it’s great to see people picking themselves up and starting over, and I’m glad to be a part of that process.”

Sussex based Suzy Miller, who is Company Director of Certain Shops and Producer of The Starting Over Show instigated the survey and says the event has been designed to target people who have experienced a relationship break up, life crisis or significant change to their circumstances and who want to turn their life around. The show will bring together a wide range of services, products and organisations designed to help visitors move forward in their lives.


“With the credit crunch starting to hit, quality professional advice and a vision of a better future are more important than ever. That’s why we have counsellors and life coaches as well as lawyers attending the show, including a workshop with the best selling author and inspirational speaker Nick Williams. We want the show to demonstrate how to seek the right support and the benefits of taking positive action, rather than succumbing to a negative or resentful feelings or feeling constantly overwhelmed at the thought of ‘what do I do now?’ The show will give people access to all the resources that can help them to really start over, all under one roof.”


If you are interested in the event as an exhibitor or attending please contact Suzy Miller at
suzy (at) startingovershow.co.uk

Similar divorce fairs are springing up in Europe – Switzerland has staged it’s first event this year. The Economist (June 7-13) says that the credit crunch “looks far from over”. But despite rising food and fuel prices, and consumer confidence falling, “actual spending has not yet weakened to the same extent.”



Interesting statistics:

  • One in five of all men and women getting a divorce in 2005 had already been through a divorce. The Office for National Statistics said this figure had nearly doubled since 1981.

  • The Divorce rate in England and Wales (UK) fell in 2005 by 7.7 per cent, however, so did the marriage rate! The marriage rate fell in 2005 by 10.4 per cent.

  • Hove, East Sussex has the second-highest divorce rate in Britain, according to a Claritas survey, with a rate of 29 per cent.

  • Brighton, Littlehampton and St Leonards, East Sussex, all have scores of more than 21 per cent and were all in the top 50 for divorces.

  • The Claritas survey showed that the national average divorce rate was 16.4 per cent.

  • Six per cent of the population, or about 3.6 million Britons, are either gay or lesbian, the government’s first attempt to quantify the homosexual population has concluded.(2005)

  • Amsterdam - Gay Dutch couples appear to divorce at a rate of about one percent a year – the same rate as heterosexual married couples

  • Relationship splits may inspire women to start their own business. A study by The Enterprising Women project published 2007 showed 18 per cent of the women business owners studied between June 2006 – June 2007 were single mothers.


Sources and links:

Starting Over Show

The Starting Over Show will be held on 15 March 2009 in Brighton. It is the first UK event designed to help people bounce back from relationship break ups and life crises. It will be a safe haven in which soon-to-be singletons can take professional advice to build the confidence and skills they need to go it alone. The philosophy behind the show is useful information, honest communication, personal transformation.

www.startingovershow.co.uk


Certain Shops

Certain Shops aims to provide a reliable database of professional services that have all been personally recommended. The site covers a range of services from across the UK – from Legal and Accountancy to IT and Life Coaching.

www.certainshops.com

 

Claritas UK

http://www.statistics.gov.uk


Woolleys

http://www.family-lawfirm.co.uk


Norwich Union 2003

www.guardian.co.uk/money/2003/jun/18/divorce.uknews

www.azcentral.com/families/articles/0518fam_newbeggining.html

 

Sam Foster, Miss Fit Personal Training
www.missandmrfit.co.uk


Scott Collier

http://www.scottcollier.co.uk/


National Office for Statistics

http://www.statistics.gov.uk


Enterprising Women Community Statistics report

http://www.ytko.com/images/pages/103/ew_report_executive_summary.pdf


Twitter for direct marketing – not!

Social Networking, SuzySays 3 Comments »

Just read Saad Kamal’s brave posting on using Twitter as a direct marketing tool and wanted to post my own comment back here, as it got me thinking about the real value of social networks even to marketeers…..

“Like everything in life it is good to explore all the possibilities, and unpopular though your thoughts are Saad with many Twitter users, you are only speaking out loud the thought process of marketeers who use the application.

Personally, I have found the real value of Twitter to be in the building of a community and shared information and resources. I believe the marketing potential is in giving followers access to blogs and websites that may then exploit the marketing techniques you outlined. But the key thing is for a tweet to either connect with or provide something of value to another person, so any direct marketing potential needs to be one level down at least.

I don’t think seeing marketing as a dirty word is helpful since I do my marketing via a genuine enthusiasm to share something that is really good and useful. But I have lernt that even when offering something for free via Twitter, if it is anything at all to do with your business, all you have to do is be upfront about it. Pimping is fine as long as you call it what it is.

Real marketing is about informing and connecting with your potential marketplace, so Twitter definitely has a role to help find out what people want and how they feel about products, services, issues etc. I think it has a fantastic value regarding market research and testing out ideas with early adopters. Most of all however, as a way of boosting your own confidence in your ideas and keeping going via the support of the group – that is where Twitter is really of value to me.”

I’m not being mushy or anything about Twitter, and maybe what I am about to say should be cause for concern, but I find the community of Twitter, even when I only have time to dip in and out at odd ends of the day, as a place that I feel automatically supported. We all need to be part of a gang, as life as an entrepreneur in particular, especially if you also happen to be a single mum with other responsibilities, can be quite tough when it comes to keeping your spirits up and vision strong.

No matter how many supportive and wonderful friends one may have in the flesh, they are not always in the
room with you when you need to have a bitch, a grumble, or to celebrate on the spur of the moment. But the Twitter community is.

If I was a psychology graduate, I would want to do a PHD on the psychological power of Twitter to support creative communities of people who are as diverse in their fields of endevor as they are in their geography.

I have no idea whether my Twitter buddies will make any difference at all to the success of my businesses in material terms, but psychologically their benefit to me is inestimable.

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The Death of Communities – or new ones Evolving?

Business, Social Networking No Comments »

 

 

http://www.certainshops.com/storage/images/newsletter/0802/suzymiller.jpg

Last week, a friend told me she and her partner were splitting up and they were going to tell the two children that evening. She told me this through the window of my car as I was dropping my kids off at school. On the way home I popped into the local organic bakery. No hot cross buns ready that morning. They were a bit behind. Someone had broken in the night before and stolen the petty cash.

I live in a community. A village. A place where sad and bad things happen but people can share the news face to face. People talk about communities ‘breaking down’ and often site family break ups and robberies as part of that process. But I think that these are events that happen everywhere, and when they do, it is being part of a community that makes those that suffer feel supported and listened to.

Online social networking cannot mimic that face to face contact. Yet the the relative anonimity of places like Twitter can allow that same kind of sharing. Not just what someone ate for breakfast, but what they are feeling at that time. And with those tweets showing up on Facebook, Facebook friends browsing through can catch a glimpse of others’ lives and feel connected.

I am about to have two simultaneous phone contracts – an IPhone (tied to O2) which will allow me to online network when away from home, and a new Nokia through Vodafone, so I can keep my business number. Yet, my friends are complaining that I never answer the phone! They are coming to accept that the only way they can keep in contact is to pay a visit.

The trouble is, my networking community has irrevocably changed over the last 7 months and since most of my friends are only occasional users of Facebook, and nervous and confused by Twitter and the multitude of .ning sites I keep encouraging them to join, we just don’t get to talk to each other much any more.

People use the excuse for not networking online of ‘I don’t have time’. Well, I don’t have time to sit still and talk on the phone, since talking and doing five other things at once is not one of my gifts. Which is why I make most of my calls when in the bath (hence the echoey backdrop to my voice and the need for a ‘spare’ phone).

But I can send out messages via blogs and networking sites in between finding the kids’ school uniforms, eating breakfast and trying to find my car keys (oh, I found them last night – in the fridge). I admire people who don’t have mobile phones and create a calmer way of life. I just don’t get to spend any time with them – just a passing hello on the school run – as our different orbits fail once again to connect. But when business colleagues have the same mentality – relying on overcrowded email inboxes and missed calls to keep in contact, that is a lifestyle choice that may cost them dear.

The Times Online posted The 50 Best Business Blogs last June. But blogs are not just a way of sharing information – they are a way of sharing views and comments as well. The business community needs to start understanding that getting involved with other people’s online conversations is a very powerful way of keeping a community in contact with your own values and, by default, that of your business.

There is a bypass threatening to carve up our village. With that would come larger stores, perhaps the death of the small local shops, and something precious will be lost. Will online communities soon be the only ones left where people can share the pain and pleasures of their real lives?


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Top 3 Myths about Internet Marketing Solutions

Marketing, Design & PR No Comments »

Rajen Kantaria, Internet Consultant

The Top 3 Myths about Internet Marketing Solutions

How a lack of understanding and old thinking is costing small business owners their competitive edge

When the modern fax machine was introduced to the mass business market in the 1970s, small business owners were slow to adopt the technology. Their reasons? The equipment was expensive, cumbersome and hard to operate. It tied up the phone line. And generally speaking, it meant changing the way things were done; what was wrong with postal mail and couriers anyway?

Of course, with the benefit of hindsight we know that the fax machine turned out to be an invaluable productivity and marketing tool that easily pays for itself – it just took a while for business owners to realize it. So what does the fax machine have to do with Internet marketing solutions? Plenty it would seem.

Despite a steady stream of research proving the effectiveness of Internet marketing, it has mostly been larger firms taking advantage of this new advertising medium. According to projections by eMarketer.com, online ad spending in 2005 will grow by more than 30%, surpassing the $10 billion mark for the first time. But many small and medium-size business owners (SMEs) are still wary of introducing Internet marketing to their business plans. If you listen to their reasoning, the Internet might as well be a clunky old fax machine, but ignoring the benefits of an Internet marketing solution can cost them far more in lost profits than choosing postal mail over faxes.

To better understand why some small business owners are still reluctant to invest in Internet marketing solutions, WSI hired market research firm Research International to conduct a series of focus groups in Toronto, Canada and London, England. The results were revealing, showing that regardless of where they are in the world, SME business owners have similar misconceptions about what Internet marketing is and what it can do for their business.

Myth #1: “My business doesn’t need Internet marketing”

Lack of perceived need was a common reason offered up by the focus group participants, but few successful business owners would ever say that their business doesn’t need to advertise. Internet search engine giant Yahoo!, whose advertising network reaches 80% of active Internet users (Nielsen/NetRatings, 2004) has hundreds of business categories in its directory. These include traditional retail, professional services and manufacturing categories, right down to the smallest niche businesses. The reality is, if you have a product or service to sell, prospects are looking for it online, even if the actual purchase is made offline. The objective is your website being found when someone is looking to buy.

Another benefit of Internet marketing exclusive to smaller businesses is that it levels the playing field, enabling any business to compete for customers that might not have been reachable otherwise. “My biggest customer inquired on the Internet,” stated one focus group participant in London who had been experimenting with Internet marketing. “He had no idea of our size. Without the Internet I would not have gotten that inquiry, so it has enabled me to expand my business.”

Myth #2: “Internet marketing is too expensive”

It’s well documented that small business owners are cost sensitive, but it’s a misconception that Internet marketing is expensive. In fact, Internet marketing solutions are highly cost effective when compared to traditional advertising media that business owners are more familiar with.

For example, a modest display ad in a yellow page phone directory can cost a company thousands of pounds per year and offers virtually no way to target specific customers or track the quality of leads produced (if any). With that kind of budget-or for even less-a Pay-for-Performance search engine marketing campaign can deliver precisely targeted leads to a business’ website, while clearly showing which ads produce the most sales.

Direct mail and print advertising can be replaced with email marketing and online promotions for pennies on the pound, again offering better customer targeting and performance tracking capability. And because Internet marketing solutions can be deployed far more quickly than other forms of advertising, business owners are better able to respond to changes in the marketplace.

Myth #3: “Internet companies are unreliable; I don’t know who to trust”

For those small business owners that do see the value in Internet marketing, not having an Internet marketing solution comes down to a matter of choice – or too many choices. “There are so many [Internet marketing providers] you just don’t know who you can trust”, expressed one participant in the Toronto focus group, a sentiment echoed by several others on both sides of the ocean.

To the smaller business owner already unfamiliar with the topic, choosing a reliable provider can be quite daunting, but it’s worth the effort. “Small business owners typically don’t have large budgets” explains WSI’s VP of Marketing, Marcia Scott. “They can’t afford to make the wrong decision, so sometimes they play it safe and stay out of the game altogether. But that decision is shortsighted and really limits their potential in today’s marketplace.”

The best advice to business owners looking to hire an Internet marketing solution provider is to approach the situation the way you would when hiring any other service professional. Ask around; try to get a referral from a friend or acquaintance if possible. When looking at different companies don’t make a decision based solely on price and beware of offers that sound too good to be true. Ask questions about the company and their experience, and read through their own website. Find out how long they’ve been in business and ask for client testimonials and case studies. Any reputable firm will be happy to share this information with you. Also think about whether their representative or consultant is locally based – it is much easier to get help if they are close by and willing to visit your place of business.

In the end, it’s important that business owners become proactive and not let old thinking stifle their growth. Companies who continue to ignore Internet marketing opportunities risk being left behind by competitors that have looked past the myths and discovered that sometimes changing the way things are done can be a profitable move.

“For us the Internet is mandatory,” states a business owner in the London focus group. “We have clients all over, it’s global access.”

Let us uncover the hidden profit centers in your business with a COMPLIMENTARY Internet Business Analysis (IBA) – worth £500

For more information on the IBA and how the Internet can help you reduce costs and increase profits, click here to contact Rajen Kantaria

© Certain Shops Ltd 2006 All Rights Reserved

All text is copyright © of the author and Certain Shops Ltd. Logos are copyright © their respective owners.

The information and opinions in contributions to this newsletter and printed on the Certain Shops web site in no way reflects the opinions of Certain Shops Ltd.

Certain Shops Ltd. 72 Medway Drive Forest Row E Sussex RH18 5NX Tel: 01342 824871 textphone 18001 01342 824871 www.certainshops.com e:join-us@certainshops.com Registered in England & Wales Company no. 5685386 VAT no. 880175810 Registered office North Park Lodge South St East Hoathly Lewes E Sussex BN8

What’s SNO?

Social Networking 1 Comment »

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The image “http://www.certainshops.com/storage/images/newsletter/0709/nikbutler.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

PROFESSIONAL IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Nik Butler, Social Network Optimiser

What’s SNO?

Nik Butler, Social Network Optimiser, wrote for O’ReillyGMT about how social network optimisation can become part of a marketing strategy for businesses.

He believes that companies can no longer deliver a one-way web, ‘interact with the consumer or fade away’ is the message which every business needs to hear. Search Engine Optimisers have generated large amounts of value in focusing search engine results towards their client’s one web site. Now a new breed of “Optimiser” can take the message of the client to the many eyes and in turn create new “conversations” and “awareness” about their client and their business.
Nik believes that SNO Agencies will be another facet of existing disciplines in Public Relations and Marketing Agencies. They will use their own network of Friends and Contacts on-line formed through social networks with which to build new links and ideas between their clients and their audience.
SNO Agencies will work with existing Public Relation and Marketing Agencies utilising current conversations and ideas to help promote and direct awareness of the product without directly advertising or “spamming” those communities.

To learn more about how you can use SNO to benefit your business, contact: Nik Butler

© Certain Shops Ltd 2006 All Rights Reserved

All text is copyright © of the author and Certain Shops Ltd. Logos are copyright © their respective owners.

The information and opinions in contributions to this newsletter and printed on the Certain Shops web site in no way reflects the opinions of Certain Shops Ltd.

Certain Shops Ltd. 72 Medway Drive Forest Row E Sussex RH18 5NX Tel: 01342 824871 textphone 18001 01342 824871 www.certainshops.com e:join-us@certainshops.com Registered in England & Wales Company no. 5685386 VAT no. 880175810 Registered office North Park Lodge South St East Hoathly Lewes E Sussex BN8

Using Podcasts on your Website

Marketing, Design & PR No Comments »

http://www.certainshops.com/storage/images/newsletter/0801/brand_circles.jpg

IN BRIEF

A new toy for CertainShops!

We now have an audio button on our About Us page where you can listen to a brief interview about why CertainShops is different and, well… special. So, why is it we are getting interested in audio podcasts all of a sudden?

Podcasts are like little radio shows of your own, only anyone can do it with little more than a microphone. The ease of creating them is probably why they are becoming so popular: In September 2004, Google had less than 25 hits for “Podcasting”. Just two years later Google had produced more than 106 million hits.

According to Andy White of Wire World Media 27% of UK internet users will probably download a podcast in the next 6 months – that’s 8 million adults. Andy believes that your voice lets your potential clients feel they know you before they have even met you.

The short audio interview between myself and Andy via the About Us page is a much more relaxed and authentic way of communicating what CertainShops is all about than just by using website copy. Also, people can click the button and listen while they continue to read the copy and view the site, so audio offers a convenient way of getting information whilst doing several other things at once!

The podcast is deliberately not overly edited or `tidied up’, because natural speech is important since this is a communication tool rather than a direct sales tool.

(British market Research Bureau, 2007)

© CertainShops Ltd 2006 All Rights Reserved

All text is copyright © of the author and CertainShops Ltd. Logos are copyright © their respective owners.

The information and opinions in contributions to this newsletter and printed on the CertainShops web site in no way reflects the opinions of CertainShops Ltd.

CertainShops Ltd., 72 Medway Drive, Forest Row, E Sussex, RH18 5NX | 01342 824871 | textphone 18001 01342 824871 | www.certainshops.com | e: suzy @ certainshops. com

Registered in England & Wales | Company no. 5685386 | Registered office North Park Lodge South Street East Hoathly Lewes E Sussex BN8 6DS | VAT no. 880175810

The French are Beating Us – Blogging is here to stay

Social Networking No Comments »

PROFESSIONAL SPOTLIGHTS

David Van Sertima, e-alph1 – Internet Marketing and Web Design

The French are beating us!

According to estimates by the Blog Herald about the number of blogs out there on the Internet in July 2007, the UK puts out 2.5 million blogs, but the French are ahead of us with 3 million.

The US figures are vague – between 15 to 30 million blogs. World wide, we are talking 70 million.

Blogging is not a fad – it is here to stay and growing fast, and there are good reasons why.

Blogging is the next big thing and has emerged, almost overnight, as not only a great way to network and communicate ideas, but also as one of the easiest, fastest ways to increase web site traffic and boost search engine rankings in the UK or the USA. This is great for SEO and generating additional web pages, as the search engines like Google and Yahoo love getting fresh content on a regular basis.

Internet Marketeer David Van Sertima explains that when this is done with the right formula, such as having a customised, integrated and optimised blog, all of those hits and higher search engine rankings convert to earnings.

People who are “in the know” can earn hundreds, even thousands of extra money for their company from their blog. What is most striking about Blogging is that a person can accomplish this regardless of whether they have a business online or a brick’s and mortar business.

Blogging is a great, informal way to keep in touch with your customers and subscribers, where they can even leave comments and feedback for you.

But what are the real marketing advantages of using this medium?

In his blog on Web Strategy, analyst Jeremiah Owyang believes that “many marketers get social media wrong, they apply traditional marketing tactics (yelling) to the new tools, and miss the biggest opportunities – letting customers tell the story for them.”

Companies like Intel are applying it to events, interacting with customers in communities such as Open Port, hosting blogger dinners, have a presence in SecondLife and are creating many videos and podcasts. For the most part, Intel gets it right, social media is being used by a wide group of marketers, and with varied levels of experimentation.

Jeremiah agrees that of course there are risks in letting you clients talk about your company openly. “But with it comes rewards of authentic testimonials from customers, nothing is more powerful than that. Negative feedback? Consider it free customer insight, where you can then use it to fix your products, and come back to customers and show them the impact they helped you make. Develop a comfort zone by setting expectations up front to management and internal teams.”.

On the good side, if 25% of a customer base prefer your services, let them sing your praises to the other 75% via blogs and social networks. “The company should be a supporter, echo and amplify customers, not force them into a corner.”

You can have blogs that are Integrated, Customised, Optimised and Interactive.

By way of example, at CertainShops we have created two blogs – one as a way to catagorise and collate all the excellent business articles we publish so that you can access them as a free resource. The second blog covers more general, work/life balance topics. If you take a look at them you will see that they have been branded to be part of CertainShops, customised to our requirements, optimised so that Google will like them, and most importantly, they provide a platform for our users of the site to interact with us and share their views and questions with others.

So if you are starting to think that using online social media would be a smart move, or you want to make your exising online marketing work better for you, you could consider doing two things:

One – take time to create a full integrated marketing strategy with measurable outcomes, and make sure that your blogs and online social networking are serving the values and vision of your business. Nik Butler specialises in this area and can give help and advice on creating a online social networking strategy.

Two – make sure your blog represents your business well. You can do this by:

Creating a customised blog, that looks like your website.Getting Your blog integrated, so that it sits on your website server, so any visitors will be good for your main website as well.

Optimised your blog, so that it can be found on the major search engines.

Allow your blog to be interactive with clients and potential clients.

David Van Sertima can do all of this for you, and more, since he is also skilled in the use of Google adwords and all forms of search engine optimisation.

© CertainShops Ltd 2006 All Rights Reserved

All text is copyright © of the author and CertainShops Ltd. Logos are copyright © their respective owners.

The information and opinions in contributions to this newsletter and printed on the CertainShops web site in no way reflects the opinions of CertainShops Ltd.

CertainShops Ltd., 72 Medway Drive, Forest Row, E Sussex, RH18 5NX | 01342 824871 | textphone 18001 01342 824871 | www.certainshops.com | e: suzy @ certainshops. com

Registered in England & Wales | Company no. 5685386 | Registered office North Park Lodge South Street East Hoathly Lewes E Sussex BN8 6DS | VAT no. 880175810

Social Networking

Social Networking No Comments »

Why social networking is the emerging focus on the Internet!

Cool Gadget Trends
iphone.png Gadgets are already becoming more integrated with our online software (think: the Kindle). Look at what is happening with the iPhone, this is just the start I expect to see a whole lot more companies tailoring their hardware for application specific purposes.

We might actually see a physical “Facebook.” or “Myspace”. We’ll may end up seeing these things before the end of the year, though, and then we’ll know.

On the other side of things, we’ll see more integration of our online software with things other than our web browsers. Twitter may not have the biggest or fastest growing user base on the net, but it is solid, and those who are there are influential and loyal to the platform.

Hence in 2008, we’ll see plenty of inventive new products, and at least one or two breakaway hits, that integrate into the mobile devices we all use daily.