Thursday, December 8, 2011

The 3 “W”s of Abandoned Shopping Carts

Much has been written about how to optimize shopping carts for e-commerce sites for optimum conversions and sales, but do you have a plan of action in place when potential customers end up abandoning these shopping carts mid-transaction? If you don’t, you’re squandering a prime opportunity to win back people who might not even be aware that their purchase didn’t go through. Statistics show that a whopping 54% of companies don’t even try to win back these abandoners, making cart recovery one of the most underutilized conversion techniques. Don’t let a golden opportunity to increase sales pass you by; check out the following guidelines and take action today to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to set yourself up for success.


In order to be successful in winning back these cart abandoners, it’s first to helpful to explore some of the reasons why people aren’t going through with their orders. One of the main culprits is that they are using your cart as a means for comparison shopping. They gather all of the items they’re interested in purchasing into the cart so they can see how much it will cost with shipping and they’ll repeat this process on a couple of different sites. Some other common reasons for shopping cart abandonment include high shipping cost, an overly complicated and invasive checkout procedure or the customer simply changed his mind.


Once you’ve explored and pinpointed the reasons why your customers are abandoning their carts, it’s time to try to woo them back. How you do it depends upon why they left their cart behind. For example, if you’ve determined that people are abandoning carts in droves because your checkout process is too long and/or confusing, figure out a way to streamline it. If your customers feel like you’re trying to gather too much information about them during the purchase process, figure out a different way to get it, like a follow-up survey AFTER the sale is completed. Emails are also an extremely effective way to lure back customers, but there is an art to it (see below).


If you are going to use email as a means for winning back your shopping cart abandoners, time is of the essence. So many companies make the mistake of letting too much time pass before they send out that first, all-important email for fear of appearing too “stalker-ish”. Marketing to people who have failed to complete their purchases is NOT like dating—you don’t need to play it cool for days for fear of appearing too eager or uncool. Instead, you should be sending out an email immediately; in fact, the best course of action would be to have a real-time, automated message go out as soon as the cart is abandoned. Research has shown that the majority of carts that are won back are done so in the first few hours after abandonment, so don’t wait. Also, don’t stop with just one email. If you get no response after the initial email goes out, send another one out in 24 hours and then another 7 days later. Remember—you are trying to recoup money that was almost in your hand, so this isn’t the time to be standoffish and give your clients some space. You need to figure out what stopped them from buying and to remedy it as quickly as possible.

Abandoned shopping carts don’t have to be a bad thing—it’s all in how you deal with it. You should view it as a challenge and an opportunity to improve and hone your check out process. Of course you want everyone to complete their orders the first time, but if they don’t, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t be back. Be proactive and persistent (but not pushy) and you might just be surprised by the results!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

When’s the Last Time Your Site Had a Tune-Up?

 Just like a car needs regular tune-ups, so does your website. A lot of time and effort went into building the best site possible, so don’t squander all of your hard work by letting it fall into disrepair. Going back to the car analogy for a moment—when you buy a new car, it’s in pristine condition, with everything working perfectly. In order to keep it in tip-top shape, you need to be vigilant with oil changes, washes, repairs, etc. Well, your website is the same way—it may be perfect to begin with, but it needs constant monitoring and upkeep to stay that way. Keep a close eye on the following areas of your site to ensure that it keeps functioning in optimum condition:

Technical Issues

First and foremost, you need to check for technical problems like 404 errors and broken links. Having a bunch of errors and links that no longer work is very damaging to your site—with the search engines AND human traffic. Because websites are dynamic creatures with content constantly being added and taken down, constant vigilance is required in order to avoid 404 errors and broken links. If you have social share buttons for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc., you will also want to periodically check them to see if they are doing what they should. Act like you are a first-time visitor to your site and fill out any and all forms you have to test whether or not they work and if they are easy to navigate. Lastly, check your page load speed and adjust it accordingly so you won’t lose traffic because your page loads at a glacial pace.

Feedback and Analysis

Once you’ve made sure that your site is in good working order and is firing on all cylinders, it’s now time to focus your attention on what can be gleaned from any customer feedback you’ve received, unsolicited or not. This data really is your bread and butter and can provide you with valuable information that can have a huge impact on the success of your site. For example, you may think your site’s layout is intuitive and easy to navigate, but the actual users may think otherwise. Whether or not you choose to implement this feedback is, of course, your choice, but this raw data can be your best friend for determining what is and isn’t working on your site. You will also find it helpful to study your analytics data (you DO have some sort of analytics program running on your site, right?) to find out where your traffic is coming from, what pages are the most popular and which ones have the highest bounce rates.


Last, but certainly not least, you should keep current on the latest happenings with search engine optimization. If the whole Google Panda debacle has taught us anything, it’s that SEO best practices are constantly changing and evolving; just because doing things a certain way took you to the top of the SERPs in the past doesn’t mean it will always be the case. Therefore, it’s vital that you stay on top of the latest changes and developments in the SEO world so you can make sure that your site is easily found by humans and indexed by the major search engines.

While checking under the hood of your site may not be the most glamorous or sexy of tasks, it’s something that you can’t afford NOT to do. A successful, highly functioning website, much like an exotic sports car, requires a lot of TLC, maintenance and monitoring, so don’t neglect these much-needed tune-ups and calibrations.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

‘Wine and Dine’ Your Prospects to Convert Them

A recent article on conversions compared the process to trying to establish a relationship with someone. This metaphor is a clever way to look at converting potential clients, with the main point being that conversation should be the driving force throughout the process. There is no one point of conversion; instead, nurture your leads in multiple ways on their journey to becoming loyal customers.

Start With a Corny Pick-up Line

When trying to get someone’s attention in a bar, people often resort to using pick-up lines. They need to distinguish themselves somehow from the others and, while often cheesy, these lines usually get attention. The conversion equivalent, then, is crafting a creative, compelling headline that will make your site stand out from amongst the crowd on the SERPs. Try writing something that is a pun or a play on words—sure, it might make someone groan, but it WILL make them more apt to click on it!

Dazzle Them With Your Witty Conversational Skills

In the bar, once the woman falls for the man’s line, he now has to back it up by engaging in a riveting conversation that will keep the lady’s attention. At this point, body language comes into play, so there are a lot of things going on. What this means for conversions is that once you’ve lured someone onto your site with an irresistible headline, you have to keep the conversation going by delivering them the information you promised in the SERPs. Don’t just rely on text alone; much like body language enhances conversations, inserting appropriate images will make your text pack a punch. Just make sure that your content and images pertain to your initial headline and don’t go in a different direction than you indicated. Just like no lady likes to be led astray by a lounge lizard, don’t make your prospects feel duped by a bait and switch!

Don’t Beat Around the Bush

Once the bar guy gets to talk to the girl and things are going well, what should he do? If she seems interested, he should at some point directly ask her for her phone number and maybe a dinner out. If he doesn’t clearly make his intentions known, there could be a miscommunication and a missed opportunity for a real love connection. Similarly, once you have gotten a prospect to your page and you have offered them compelling, relevant content, it’s time to seal the deal by making it crystal clear what the next step is. Make sure your call to action, whether it is to buy a product or sign up for a newsletter, very apparent so there can be no doubt in the prospect’s mind what comes next. Keep the conversation going by providing step-by-step guidance so they don’t get confused and abandon your site.

Yes, the metaphor is kind of silly, but contains many useful parallels to how you should go about winning over leads--don’t rush the process and always be available and helpful. Your prospects will discover that they just can’t live without you!

For more ideas on how to gain conversions, check out’s article over at Posterous.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Why No One is Noticing Your Content

We’ve all heard the adage over and over again that “content is king”. Have you ever been frustrated by the lack of response to something you created that you felt was really great? If so, read on to learn about the most common culprits that are involved when your content is ignored.

You Didn’t Promote It

One of the biggest reasons content falls flat is that no one reads it. It’s very much similar to the old proverb, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” In other words, you could have produced the most earth-shattering content in the world, but if you aren’t putting it in front of the right people, it’s destined to fail. Creating a great article or video is only half the battle—you need to research who your target audience is and network with them. Cultivate an open relationship and show them that you’re willing to reciprocate when it comes to sharing and commenting on content.

The Title is a Total Snore

There is a seemingly infinite amount of content out there, so in order to make yours stand out, you must craft an attention-getting, compelling headline that simply cannot be ignored. Even if the topic is not exactly exciting, you need to find a way to title your content in such a way that instantly signals to your audience that your material can’t be missed. Given how much stuff is available, people need a reason or interact with something and they look to the title for the reason. So, don’t shortchange yourself with generic, bland, unimaginative titles.

It’s All About YOU

The point of creating content is to interact with your audience so you can really get to know their needs and desires. Social media is not just another platform to use to blast your message out to the masses. Instead, your content needs to cater to the users—what’s in it for them and how will it help them to accomplish their goals? While you naturally want to broadcast your marketing, you have to do it in a way that doesn’t seem like advertising. This is where your creativity and imagination come into play; create something that has real value and adds something meaningful to the community and you will attract the attention you desire.

These are just a few reasons why your content isn’t going viral. Others include bad design/user interface, misusing social media tools and communities or targeting the wrong market. If your content isn’t performing well, take a step back and make sure you are doing everything you can to grab and keep the attention of a fickle audience without sounding like a commercial. It’s a delicate balance that can only be met through careful study and experimentation.

Putting eye-catching images and videos into long articles can break up blocks of texts and engage your readers. Check out’s Flickr account for some inspirational images to use in your next blog.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How to Work in Harmony with Your SEO Consultant

Forming a good relationship with your SEO consultant is crucial to the success of your campaign. Yes, you are paying him good money to make your site rank well so you can generate more sales, but you must resist the urge to micromanage the process. SEO isn’t an exact science and there are many factors involved with it that you might not fully understand. Therefore, it’s imperative that you trust in your consultant and not do anything, consciously or subconsciously, to derail the process. Before embarking on your SEO project, keep the following guidelines in mind.

Manage Your Expectations

SEO can be quite a frustrating experience; what works for one site may not work for yours. Plus, the search engines are constantly tweaking their algorithms, so one day a tactic could work and the next day, you could be penalized for it. Of course, when you are paying someone to perform a service for you, you want to see results. With SEO, you will eventually see results, but it will take some time. It’s just the nature of the beast. It is very much like cultivating a garden—after planting the seeds, you have to wait to reap the fruits of your labor. The same is true with SEO, so, as hard as it may be, give the campaign a couple of months to bear fruit. Don’t contact your SEO consultant two weeks into the process, furious that nothing has happened, accusing him of ripping you off. You just need to wait it out a little bit.

Don’t Ignore Suggestions

By hiring your SEO consultant, you have acknowledged the fact that he has proven experience in his field of expertise. Yes, it is YOUR website he is working on, but you need to have faith that he really does know what he’s talking about. So, try to avoid having knee-jerk reactions to what he suggests before understanding why, for instance, you should avoid using Flash. Again, it all comes down to trust and believing that your consultant really does have your best interests at heart. Also, don’t balk when he suggests you create a steady stream of content for your site. Some consultants will create content for you for an additional fee, so this is something that needs to be hammered out between the two of you before you sign a contact. If you opt to write the content yourself, don’t take it personally if your SEO consultant critiques its quality. Great content is an essential building block of any SEO campaign, so make every effort to create it on an ongoing basis without letting your ego get in your way.

Don’t Make Changes on Your Own

While it may be tempting to make a few changes here and there on your site (after all, it is YOURS), doing so without discussing it with your SEO consultant can have disastrous consequences. Even a seeming inconsequential change can completely derail all of the progress your consultant has made, which will not make for a fun conversation! Remember, SEO is a painstaking process with many moving parts and every action has an effect and messing with it can destroy your rankings. So, don’t go rogue!

Before choosing your SEO consultant, make sure you do your homework first. Ask him what his philosophy is towards SEO and if he subscribes to white hat tactics. Employing someone who engages in black hat SEO is only opening you up to a world of hurt and most likely will result in your site being penalized or banned outright. Make sure you question him about how many SEO campaigns he has been involved with, what his role was in the projects and what the result was. This person will be handling your site’s livelihood, so do your due diligence to find the right person for the job. And, once you do, trust in his expertise.

Monday, March 21, 2011

You ARE Optimizing Your Product Descriptions, Right?

Given the recent Google Panda algorithm change, it’s now more important than ever for businesses to take steps to insure that their content is fresh and original and not just copied verbatim from other sources. Retailers may have unconsciously been publishing unoriginal content by failing to optimize their product descriptions. Instead of taking the time to write their own unique product descriptions, a lot of retailers either copy from their competitors or use the exact same verbiage from the suppliers. While it may be tempting to do that, it can penalize your site for scraping content, so it really is worth the time to go through and start replacing any copied product descriptions you may have with fresh, original copy. Even though it may seem difficult to come up with new and interesting way to describe the products you offer, there are ways to accomplish this rather easily.

Learn All You Can About the Product

This may seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of retailers really don’t take the time to know the ins and outs of the products they’re selling. They will just copy down whatever description supplied by the manufacturer and call it a day. Instead of doing this, take the time to dissect the verbiage that came with it and rewrite it in a way that will be easily understood by your customers. Oftentimes, manufactures use jargon that is vague or unclear to the average person. If you run across copy like this, put yourself in the mind of whom you are marketing to and use terminology that’s easy to understand. You should also take this opportunity to address common questions customers may have had in the past about a particular product and to build the answer into the description.

Establish a Voice and Personality

Most product descriptions are dry and boring, yet they don’t need to be. This is your chance to establish a definite voice and personality for your brand. Weave in a little story about how the customer could use a particular product and describe how it could make them feel. Tapping into someone’s emotional state and mind and showing that by buying your product they can fulfill a certain need or provide a sense of security can be some very powerful stuff. Before writing descriptions, it might be very helpful to first write down information about your typical customers and how they might sound. By taking the time to do this step, you will find it easier to write creative content that will not only inform your customers, but will draw them in emotionally.

Implement SEO into Your Descriptions

Another benefit to rewriting your product descriptions is that it gives you the chance to optimize your content for the search engines in addition to your customers. Make sure you’re using keywords in your product titles and descriptions, but don’t overdo it. As a rule of thumb, use the keyword, or product name, once every 100 words. For each product description, you will want to link the most important keyword to the home page, preferably the first link within the description. Try and make your copy at least 250 words for maximum SEO benefit. It has been documented that search engines value variety, so, if appropriate, consider using a video to demonstrate how to use your product or highlight certain features. This is your chance to get creative so that you can showcase your products in the best light possible in a way that’s unique, exciting and attention getting.

Although the prospect of rewriting thousands of product descriptions is certainly daunting, you need to tackle the project one step at a time. First, identify your most popular, best-selling, highest-margin items and start with them. Then, after taking care of your most important accounts, tackle five products a day and, before you know it, you will have it done in no time and will be increasing your sales AND your search rankings!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Do You Have Bad Twitter Habits?

There’s no question that engaging in social media is an essential part of any company’s marketing strategy. Twitter is an extremely popular platform for connecting with your audience and establishing brand awareness. But, if you don’t follow the Twitter “netiquette”, you will be doing the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish and will drive people away. Keep reading to make sure you aren’t unconsciously alienating your followers.

Don’t Automate

While some people use the auto-post option to streamline their efforts, this really isn’t a good idea. The whole purpose of engaging in social media is to forge meaningful connections with your customers and bombarding them with auto-generated content is the antithesis of that. Instead, take the time to find material yourself that you feel will be of interest to your followers. Similarly, do not send mass, automated direct messages. When you automate everything, you are basically telling your followers that they are all just faceless, nameless prospects that you really don’t care about.

Be Discerning

Don’t tweet about every single article you have ever written. You will not gain the attention and recognition you seek by force-feeding your content to your audience. Instead, take some time to look through your library and pick only the cream of the crop to Tweet about. Avoid tweeting old content; the very nature of Twitter necessitates content that is extremely current and up-to-date. No one wants to hear yesterday’s news, keep your tweets fresh. Also, do not Tweet too much. If you flood someone’s Twitter feed with dozens of messages, they will unfollow you very quickly. Choose quality over quantity to ensure that your followers will be hanging on your every word.

Mind Your Formatting

Tweets consist of up to 140 characters—that’s it. So, when you tweet, be mindful of this limit and word it so it falls within these parameters. You definitely do not want to break up your messages within multiple tweets; it will be too confusing and difficult to follow. If you are going to use Twitter effectively, you must operate within its framework and learn how to write so you can leverage its microblogging format to your advantage. You also want to avoid using too many abbreviations or text chat lingo. Yes, your text real estate is limited on Twitter, but you don’t want to alienate and confuse the majority of your audience by crafting tweets that are unreadable.

Yes, getting the hang of Twitter can be a bit challenging, but with a little bit of time and effort, you will get the hang of it. Before tweeting, make sure what you’re posting is relevant, is of high quality and is something that you feel casts your business in the best light.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Build Brand Awareness Online

If you want to be successful with your business, it’s vital that people know who you are and have a positive view of your brand. There are many simple ways you can create a buzz for yourself online; the trick is to get creative and think outside of the box to do so. With all of the tools and resources that are now readily available, if you put forth a bit of time and effort, you will be able to easily garner attention to your business and brand. Read on for a few ideas.

1. Match Your Blog and Social Media Profiles to Your Website

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. It’s essential that the design of all your online content looks the same. Find blogging software that allows you to customize your design and lets you match the URL to your own domain. For social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, to name a few, you will need to create a custom social media avatar that you can use across these sites. But, since the image dimensions vary between these sites, you will need to tweak your logo for each account. If you don’t take the time to do this, you run the risk of your logo being cut off or stretched, which will look extremely unprofessional and tarnish your brand’s image. Although you cannot completely customize your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, Twitter allows you to do so, so make sure your profile matches the look and feel of your official website.

2. Cross-Reference All Your Profiles

Once you have all of your social media profiles looking their best, you will now want to link all of them together. Make sure your website and your blog have social media icons on them so users can go to them with a simple click of their mouse button. Similarly, you will want to make sure that all of your social media accounts link to your blog and website. By doing so, not only will you make it extremely easy for people to find your information, you will also be signaling to the search engines that all of your social profiles are related to your site, thus building relevance. If you correctly link all your accounts together, your social media sites will show up when someone enters your name into a search engine and will push any negative press or reviews off the first page of the SERPs.

3. Engage Your Existing Audience and Actively Woo New Fans

Being involved in the social media sphere presents you with endless opportunities to interact with your customers and reach out to potential ones. For instance, you can create contests, quizzes and surveys and provide fun rewards and promotions for the participants. Online gaming is huge, so if it fits in well with your niche, you may want to consider creating a game. Creating videos and interactive content such as infographics that aren’t directly related to your brand but are related to your niche will also go far in promoting your brand. You may also want to consider reaching out to your fans and brand loyalists to see if they would be interested in sharing a particular piece of content with their friends and followers. This move has multiple benefits—not only will you be increasing the chance of your content going viral, you will also be engaging in an open dialogue with your customers, which is another good way to boost your brand.

The above guidelines are but a few ways you can bolster your brand’s presence and gain credibility. You are only limited by your imagination and if you dedicate yourself to finding new and innovative ways to spread the word, you are certain to be amazed by the results!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Landing Page Optimization

Landing pages play an important part in converting visitors to customers, so great care needs to be taken when creating these pages. A landing page is a specialized page where someone is directed when they click on your link from an email or social media sharing sites. Since the landing page is the first thing visitors new to your site will see, it’s of the utmost important to make sure this page is optimized for optimum conversion. Following are a few suggestions for making the most of your landing page.

Keep it Simple

The primary purpose of a landing page is to tell your visitors what you want from them, whether that be purchasing a product or signing up for a service. Thus, you want to have as few distractions as possible to divert visitors from the main call to action. Avoid superfluous images and text that can overwhelm and divert a visitor from the reason why they’re on the page to begin with. Your landing page isn’t the place to experiment with different fonts and design elements. The best plan of action is to keep the fonts simple and easy to read and to use white space and headers to organize your information.

Put the Important Information Above the Fold

People want to be able to find the information they seek and do so fast, so it’s extremely important to place your call to action towards the top of your landing page. You definitely don’t want to make visitors have to scroll over halfway down the page to find the sign up button. Make it as easy as possible for them to find the appropriate information by putting it at the top of the page and list the less important data below it.

Hone Your Content

Since your landing page’s function is to achieve a conversion as quickly as possible, you’ll want to use text sparingly, yet effectively. You don’t want to throw up just any old content; rather, it needs to be carefully crafted so it has the most impact. After all, it is the wording that will be doing the selling, so you need to pay attention to every word, from the first line in the headline to the last one in your call to action. Just remember to keep your message clear and to the point to avoid any confusion or uncertainty.

Keep in mind that there’s no exact science to landing page optimization and that constant testing and experimenting is necessary to find what will work best for your particular company. If you aren’t getting the results you are after, try tweaking your headlines and the wording of your copy. Don’t get discouraged if at first you aren’t able to succeed—just keep trying!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Importance of Meta Tags

Over the past couple of years, the use of meta tags have become widely debated, with many abandoning them because they don’t have a measurable affect in search engine placement. While this is true, meta tags don’t factor into how the search engines will rank your site, they still have an extremely useful function and if you aren’t using them to their full potential, you’re seriously hampering the effectiveness of your website. Meta tags control the information that’s listed about your site on the search engine results pages (SERPs) and it’s crucial to optimize it to generate traffic and conversions. Following are examinations of the most useful meta tags and how they can boost your business’s reputation.

Title Tags

Title tags define what your business is about, so you definitely don’t want to leave it blank. If you do, Google will create one for you and do you really want a third party defining your company for you? Of course not, so don’t overlook this crucial step. When choosing a title, make the most of the ~60 characters that are available to you by listing your organization’s name and a descriptive tag line. You will want to create a different title tag for each individual page within your website by acting as though you are placing an ad for each particular page. Take some time to come up with copy that will entice users to click through by thinking of what would lead you to be interested. This process sounds very time consuming, but it only takes a few seconds if you do them as you create the pages.

Description Tags

These tags generate the description that shows up underneath your website’s title on the SERPs. Again, while Google has acknowledged they don’t use this information for ranking purposes, it’s still very important to include it. This is your chance to list more in-depth information about your company and to represent your brand so people will be interested in learning more. Don’t merely repeat what you put in your title tag; instead, enhance your title, be as descriptive as possible and don’t waste this precious real estate with quotes, dashes or other non-alphanumeric characters. If you don’t create a description tag yourself, a random snippet of text will be chosen from your site by the search engine and it may not always make sense or be relevant.

When you take time to optimize your meta tags, you are signaling to those who come across your website that you’re a business that wants to be taken seriously and cares about its customers. While it’s desirable to be ranked well in the search engines, you need to keep in mind it’s actual human visitors, not search engine spiders, who will be buying your product!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

SEO and Usability — What’s More Important?

We’ve all heard the old question, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” When it comes to creating a successful website, it’s easy to get bogged down by a similar issue; specifically, is it more important to create an amazing-looking website that dazzles visitors and is easy to navigate or is implementing SEO the most valuable use of time? If you want your website to be a success, it’s necessary to find the ideal balance between these two very different elements so your site is findable and engages visitors and converts them to buyers (or, whatever else it is you’re trying to accomplish with your website).

Another old adage comes to mind surrounding the SEO vs. usability debate: “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” In other words, you could have the greatest website in the world, but if no one is able to find it, it may as well not exist. Therefore, it is very important to optimize your site with the use of keywords, links and quality content so it can be easily found when someone performs a search.

While there’s no denying the importance of getting your site to rank at the top of search results, it’s essential to make sure once users find your site, they will want to stay there. Having a well-structured, easy-to-navigate site is crucial in being able to convert visitors into consumers of your brand or product. Now that you have people in the forest to hear the tree fall, so to speak, you have to make sure your website will make them want to stick around.

Even though it can be a delicate balancing act to get SEO and usability to work well together, by following a few tips, you will get started down the right path. For one thing, these two components of your site should be weighed equally from the very beginning of the creation of your website. At the outset, if your SEO and design teams are considered equally important and work well together, you will be saving yourself from a lot of problems down the road. Also, at certain times, SEO will need to take top priority over usability and vice versa, so the ability to recognize this fact and make adjustments as time goes by will be key to your continued success. It takes careful planning to please both your human visitors and search engine spiders and with some experimentation, you will be able to accomplish this goal!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Are You Doing Anything to Build a Good Online Reputation?

When was the last time you Googled your name to see what others were saying about you online? If you haven’t done this in a while, it is a must to determine what others have to say about you or your business. Being aware of your reputation and then taking proactive steps to cultivate it is essential to your success. Even if you find that nothing has been said, this indicates you have a lack of reputation, which is not a good thing. Make 2011 the year you take control of your reputation and take active steps to ensure that when people Google you, only the positives emerge.

Actively Engage in Social Media

This point has been pounded into the ground but it really is that important. You must be proactive and set up a Twitter, Facebook and other profiles, for if you don’t, in time, others will and it most likely will not be complimentary. You really don’t want your Internet presence to be hijacked by someone who, for one reason or another, may harbor a grudge against your company. So, if you have yet to do so, the first step to take is to create social media accounts so you can control the message that’s being communicated online about your company.

Monitor What is Being Said and Respond Thoughtfully

Now that you have entered into the social arena online, it is crucial to actively listen to what is being said and, before responding to any criticism or complaints, to take plenty of time to research what happened and why. You should put twice as much effort into reading and analyzing what is being said as you do into responding to it. By taking ample time to simple “listen” to everything that’s being said, you will be able to determine the underlying issues surrounding a particular problem and come up with a solution that will bode well for the long term.

Analyze Your Weaknesses and Formulate a Plan of Action

Perhaps you have discovered a huge mistake your business recently made (it happens!) and before news gets out about your error, you need to address it online. Don’t ever try to hide anything, for your customers will find out one way or another and it is best if it is from you. By acknowledging your weakness and being upfront, you are establishing yourself as an honest and accountable enterprise that truly cares about its clientele and is willing to admit to its shortcomings. This openness and honesty is key in your being able to build a good reputation and although it may be a bit difficult, it is worth the payoff.

The key takeaway here is you must invest time and effort into building a reputation built on honesty, transparency and accountability. The masses can either sing your praises or they can destroy your brand—it is up to turn the tide in your favor. Your willingness to face customer complaints head-on and not letting stubbornness or pride lead you to make rash decisions are your biggest assets in ensuring your reputation is as good as it can be.