Giving it Away for Free
Hi. Welcome back, you.
Since I got nothing but crickets from my last post’s call for comments, I am forced to do all the heavy lifting this week. But that’s the point of having one’s own blog, I suppose. It seems you’re onto the fact I’m trying very hard to not have to think of a new topic each week. Thanks reader, for always keeping me on my toes and teaching me a life lesson to boot.
Now, let’s talk a little bit about things that are free.
First up, free editorial. Suppliers, I’m going to let you in on a not-so-hidden secret: We’re always looking for cool stuff. Always. There are 12 issues of roughly a hundred pages for us to fill each year and a readership of 65,780 people who want to check out each and every one. It’s a symbiotic relationship we have, you and I. If anyone from PM—or any editor at any magazine in the world for that matter—want to give you free publicity, for the love, take them/us up on the offer. It’s worth five minutes of your time. Trust me.
Second on the list is a little free advice (and the real topic of today’s blog). In my most recent marketing Q&A in the October edition of Promo Marketing, Holly Berkley—interactive marketing consultant and author of “Marketing in the New Media”—said, “Your Web site should be the center of all your marketing efforts and reflect your professionalism … .”
Likewise, on CNN.com, a question was recently posted in the “Ask Fortune Small Business” section http://money.cnn.com/2007/10/25/smbusiness/website_traffic.fsb/ on how to increase traffic to a Web site. Part of the response, from Michele Chambers Mills, president of Charlotte, North Carolina-based marketing firm FunnelFusion, was, “Does your site guide visitors to the pages that are most useful to them? Do you update it frequently? Is it visually pleasing? If the answer to those questions is no, you may need to hire a good web designer to help you.”
As a general rule, feel free to take what I say with a grain of salt. These ladies, however, know what they’re talking about. Your company Web site is just another vehicle by which to promote your products.
Make yourselves look good.
Understand the power of the high-resolution image as selling tool.
Allow your visitors to download, upload, calculate ROI and browse with ease.
In this day and age, it’s just not possible to get by with some of the sorry-looking sites I’ve seen out there. A customer can leave and find another place to do business in a nanosecond. Don’t let your site become a commodity … provide the tools to make it a necessity. Even if you’re already doing well, by using the technology to its fullest advantage, you’ll only increase traffic.
Finally, free shoutouts. This list is in no way indicative of all the companies in the promotional products sector that are doing great; just a few I’ve come across in the last week that I thought were especially navigable:
• Logomark and Norwood: I would be remiss in not mentioning these biggies, but since we all know and love ‘em, let’s say “Kudos” and move on to three who seem to making the best of their budgets.
• Vantage Apparel: Their Web site has to be one of the most editor-friendly sites in the industry. Once you register, images are easy-to-download, and are the ever-covetable 300 dpi resolution that we need to publish.
• Tagmaster: Not the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen, but simple enough to follow, and the ROI calculator is a tool worth staying for.
• Article.1: Very nice. Just really well-done. It definitely needs marketing tools to make it a must-visit for distributors, but the general design rocks.
I stress, the above are just a precious few who have begun to tackle the technology beast. Here it comes … What sites renew your faith in the industry? Tell me, do. You know the drill.
“Rules for E-Commerce Startups to Live By, Part 1: How to Increase Sales”
“E-Commerce Link: Better Conversion”
http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/story/story.bsp?sid=73384&var=story&publication=Target Marketing&publicationDate=9/1/07&slug=TM0907_EcommerceLink&category=Sales & Marketing§ion=Unknown&page=2&swd=site design