Buying online success

Buying online success

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Seth Godin looks at retail promotion in the real world and online (“Powerful (and powerless) merchants“) and says that promotion techniques that we have become used to  in offline retail don’t transfer well online.

When we shop in the real world, we take it for granted that end caps and promotions and speed tables and other interactions will not be there because they are in the direct interest of us the shopper, but because they were placed there by the retailer to help generate income. It’s a store, for goodness sake, of course they’re trying to maximize their income. … Online, where stores are more like tools than like stores, this behavior rarely transfers successfully. You bristle when Twitter starts inserting irrelevant tweets in the stream you see, because you didn’t ask for them.

One area online where this isn’t the case is search results. Search for “website design Butler PA” in Google, Bing, or Yahoo and the first results you’ll see on the page are paid results: ads. For many searches, you’re shown more paid results than organic results — that is, results that aren’t ads but are links to pages that are ranked as relevant to your search. Continue reading

“Always take a personal approach,” and other great advice for using Facebook

“Always take a personal approach,” and other great advice for using Facebook

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FACEBOOK(LET) Frontside

“Facebook demands consideration from nearly everyone, because choosing to stay off it means stepping away from the social sharing and conversation of 800+ million people. Yet choosing to play the game as an author or marketer—and use Facebook as a means to an end—can spell immediate failure if your friends and followers feel used.”

E-media guru Jane Friedman summarizes five primary principles for using Facebook in a way that’s effective and real, not overtly commercial and un-friendly. Excellent advice for anyone grappling with how to present their personal or organizational brand on Facebook, or really anywhere.

5 Principles for Using Facebook” by Jane Friedman.

Photo credit: GOIABA – Johannes Fuchs

OOH!: Going mobile

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Check out how your website looks on a mobile deviceMobile searches have grown by 4X since 2010. Fifty-seven percent of people surveyed last year said they wouldn’t recommend a business with a bad mobile website. And 95% of people with a smartphone have used it to search for local information.

How can you get started getting mobile? What’s the most important element to fix first? How does your website perform on a mobile device right now? Is it helping or hurting your business?  Continue reading

OOH! Google Places and local web search

OOH! Google Places and local web search

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Big Big Design is a favorite Google Place

This week in Online Office Hours, we’re looking at Google Places, Google’s local search and business directory. It’s a valuable tool for any business or organization that has a local clientele, and it’s easy to use. We’ll talk about how to verify your listing, what to include in it, and how to encourage your patrons to post reviews.

Online Office Hours webinars are free, but you need to register online. Sign up now for tomorrow’s session, and while you’re thinking about it you might also join our mailing list to get reminders of upcoming webinars via email.

Clay Shirky elegantly explains the most chilling aspect of SOPA/PIPA:

“The scary bit of legalese here is the idea that the law would apply not just to actual copyright violations (the nominal goal of the law) but to any site that was “facilitating the activities” of copyright infringement, a term nowhere defined but vague enough to include mentioning the existence of such sites, which is enough to make them findable. Like a fast-spreading virus, the proposed censorship moves outwards from the domain name system, to include any source of public web content in the US.

“If the phrase “any source of public web content” seems like a dry detail, substitute the name of your favourite web publisher: you.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/jan/18/sopa-pipa-consumption-only-internet?CMP=twt_gu

SOPA/PIPA Blackout

SOPA/PIPA Blackout

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What the web could look like under SOPA and PIPA

As you may know, there have been two bills proposed in the U.S. Congress to combat online piracy. One, the “Stop Online Piracy Act” or SOPA, was proposed in the Senate; it has been tabled. The second, the “Protect Intellectual Property Act” or PIPA or PROTECT_IP, remains under consideration in the House and will come up for a vote later this month.

This is a bad piece of legislation. As written, it fails to create tools that will meet its goals and it creates a too-easy way for anyone to block websites, effectively creating a powerful form of censorship. Even the White House opposes it.

The video below eloquently explains what the bill intends to do, why it fails, and why it would be a terrible thing for the Internet and society. Continue reading

“Giant e-commerce companies like Amazon are acting increasingly like their big-box brethren as they extinguish small competitors with discounted prices, free shipping and easy-to-use apps. Big online retailers had a 19 percent jump in revenue over the holidays versus 2010, while at smaller online retailers growth was just 7 percent.

“The little sites are fighting back with some tactics of their own, like preventing price comparisons or offering freebies that an anonymous large site can’t. And in a new twist, they are also exploiting the sympathies of shoppers like Dr. Pollack by encouraging customers to think of them as the digital version of a mom-and-pop shop facing off against Walmart: If you can’t shop close to home, at least shop small.”

From “Online Shoppers Are Rooting for the Little Guy,” by Stephanie Clifford and Claire Cain Miller, New York Times, 1/16/2012.