Monday, November 12, 2007

The Definition of SEO

SEO – (Search Engine Optimization) is the activity of increasing the amount of visitors to a website. SEO generally refers to bringing quality traffic to a web site from search engines through “organic" or "algorithmic" search results. The algorithms of a search engine like that of Google will search a site for keywords, unique content, presentation, structure and quality content that matches a search query and will rank the site appropriately. The higher a site’s ranking the better it is optimized for a search engine.  Many factors attribute to SEO these include title tags, image optimization, design and coding style.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Protecting Your Ideas in the Age of Web 2.0

On a few occasions some of my ideas have been lifted by people I thought were my close friends and allies. One heartbreaking occasion was when I worked with a close group of friends on a groundbreaking start-up. After working for months on conceptualizations of product offerings and monetization strategies, I later found out that one of the members lifted these ideas and used them for another company which mimicked exactly the company we were working together on.

Having someone steal your ideas and claim them as their own is a real disheartening experience. I personally don’t think any monetary gain is worth destroying a good friendship over. Friendships can be more rewarding and everlasting if properly nurtured, but you certainly find out who you real friends are in the process of putting together businesses.

I am not a lawyer, so my advice should not come as legal advice but rather as advice from my own personal experience and dealings. If you have a truly original idea, one of the first steps you need to take is to get a legal protection for that idea.

Every time you present your idea to somebody else, you run the risk of your idea being stolen and copied by somebody else. One good way to ensure that no one steals your ideas is to put together an agreement in writing not to discuss your idea with anyone else. This is referred to as a “nondisclosure agreement”. This will ensure that the ideas stay central to investors, business partners, and prospective hires while still protecting your trade secrets.

Another good course of action is to visit your country’s patent and trademark office. In the United States., patents provide "the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling" the invention in the United States or "importing" the invention into the United States. A patent can last between 14-20 years. Patents are especially good for tangible products – goods that can be sold and intended to be marketed.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Writing a Winning Web 2.0 Marketing Positioning Statement or Tagline

A well-thought-out statement should capture the essence of what your company is about and differentiate your company’s unique selling proposition in the marketplace. When writing a statement think about what your position is – what makes you different and why someone should choose you over one of your competitors.

Writing a winning positioning statement in the age of web 2.0 means writing the statement as succinct and to the point as possible. This means a 6 word maximum statement. The less words contained in your statement the easier it will be for your potential customer to take to mind your company and its position in the marketplace.

For many of the taglines that I have created for my own clients I went as low as 3 words to ensure catchiness and impact. Three word taglines take a little more effort to compose, but if effectively executed is a winning solution in the era of web 2.0 marketing.

Start thinking in layman’s terms for the language and style you write your statement in. To think like a client also means expressing one’s self like a client. Make an effort to speak to the customer in the customer’s native tongue. If your customer is an educated professional – then the use of sophisticated language in your statement will be appropriate. The point is certain words are more identifiable by your audience and choosing words that speak to your customer is critical in creating a powerful positioning statement.

Think about how your positioning statement will look on marketing collateral such as PowerPoint presentations, business cards and your website. Even thinking beyond the smaller picture by imagining how the statement will look in a global advertising campaign is a good exercise for identifying the magnitude of your statement. If you can’t imagine your statement wrapped around a 747 Jumbo Jet then it might not be prolific enough for your company to bear on your business card.

Remember at the end of the day the positioning statement is created to help you market your product, service or idea more effectively.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Is the Opera Browser Better Than Firefox and IE?

Browsers come and go like fads. Like most I started browsing with Netscape during the early age of the internet. Soon after, at Microsoft’s discretion, Internet Explorer came pre-installed on every machine so naturally I migrated to using IE along with most of the business population.

Then came the virus wars - so I found myself using Mozilla Firefox as an almost safe haven. Briefly encountering Safari on a friend’s Mac – I found myself wanting something more unique for my OS. My search lead me to Opera. Opera is my current browser of choice. It has many widgets and operates much in the same fashion as Firefox.

I feel safer using Opera because I know most of the viruses being developed are targeting Internet Explorer and Firefox at the moment. Opera kind of escapes the detection of the radar – which puts me at ease.

Perhaps the coolest function of Opera is the “speed dial” page which is a fancy bookmark facility that operates like a speed dial on a phone hand set. Simply load your favorite 9 pages into speed dial and you will be re-directed to your clicked page at record speed.

Of course Opera offers tab browsing alongside many of the other features of Internet Explorer and Firefox so you won’t feel at a loss when switching over.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Thousand Ways to Widget in the Age of Web 2.0 Marketing

In the age of web 2.0 marketing arrives the widget. A widget is a piece of code that can be inserted on a web page that serves a specific function. Widgets are generally written in JavaScript or Flash. An example of a widget may be a plug-in that displays the last 5 blog entries you published from your personal blog page. Another example of a widget is a music player that rotates your favorite songs streaming over your Myspace page through the widget.

More recently we have been made aware of companies purposely creating widgets that in-directly push their products or services. Radio stations are offering widgets that stream a station’s broadcast live. Airline companies are offering ticket purchasing widgets that allow you to purchase a ticket through the widget without having to visit their website.

Widgets have been around for years. In the past you were able to insert a snippet of code on your page to pull the latest ticker feed from your favorite stock exchange. Another old school widget is a simple page hit counter. Widgets are becoming more creative and more versatile. Political candidates have turned to widgets to promote the latest news from the campaign trail.

The great thing about widgets is that they help build awareness and promote a product or service in a new way usually through an in-direct channel (i.e. a blog or a person's social network page).

The goal is to try to create a widget for your product that promotes value in some way where a publisher will be willing to place it on their web page. The widget has to be relevant, have utility and should not blatantly try to sell something. Create a widget that creates value for the user and you will earn authority points just by being the developer behind it.  The more value you create in a widget - the more people that are going to be willing to include the widget on their page.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Is Captcha Destroying Myspace?

The average Myspace user wanting to expand their friend’s list has probably been confronted by one of these guys:

It’s called a Captcha and what it does is disallows someone from adding a mass amount of friends to their profile with a bypass robot.  A Captcha is a type of challenge-response test used in computing to determine whether the user is human. "CAPTCHA" is from the acronym for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart", created by Carnegie Mellon University. But what it has become lately to the average myspace user is a rather annoyance an almost deterrent from adding friends and enjoying your myspace session. The captcha sometimes will prompt too frequently making the average myspace session a work-out. Recently, the myspace captcha has become so hard to read that even the most trained human eye has trouble translating the captcha’s message. Sometimes it will take several attempts to translate the captcha. Is this what we have been reduced to - translating captchas?

There would seem to be a better method to keep spammers from expanding their friend lists than a captcha. This seems like a great new area for Internet entrepreneurs to go after and seize. With the rise of users on Myspace reaching 100 Million Users worldwide this means big business opportunities and great pay-offs for those that materialize an advancement and make something in the age of web 2.0.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Print Is Not Dead: Evoking Power with Printed Marketing Communications

One of the greatest print pieces I have ever come across was this simple black and white piece that was exceptionally humorous, creative and effective in getting you to not throw the piece away. The print piece was a boardroom bingo card created by Carlton Draught – an Australian beer producer – a subsidiary of Foster’s Group.

Download the Carlton Boardroom Bingo card in PDF here >>

The fantastic thing with print is that it allows you to create material that serves some utility (e.g. a calendar, reminder checklist, a helpful wallet card). Good print marketers strive to create collateral that the recipient will want to hold on to. I refer to this as the "trash factor". The question that you should be asking yourself before you print anything is:

What is the likelihood that the recipient of this piece will throw it away?

When you set out designing something - make sure that you design print material that has enough utility factor in it to justify its printing. Bang out a piece like the "Boardroom Bingo" card and you may find yourself resurrecting a so called dead medium while helping the effectiveness of your marketing dollar.

Web 2.0 Marketing Buzzword Generator

Today, I found a most impressive and humorous resource to generate marketing phrases with.  A perfect prep tool for conferences and the likely boardroom meeting.  I highly recommend checking it out.  You will be able to add marketing web 2.0 buzzwords to your vocabulary and impress your work colleagues with almost futuristic word slinging:

Marketing BS Vocab Generator

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Strike Marketing Gold: Tap into Cutting Edge Marketing Knowledge and Win in Today’s Competitive Landscape

Whether you are completely new to marketing your business or you are a seasoned pro with several successful businesses under your belt – one thing is certain, the business landscape is changing and it is changing rapidly. This extreme level of change calls for logical measures to ensure your business stays on top of its marketing game.

So many businesses and clients of mine ask me “How do you know what you know about marketing?”, “Where do you come up with your marketing ideas?”, “How do you stay on top of your game?”, “How did you become a top performer in your field?”, “Where does one discover marketing prowess?”

These questions are always flattering to me. And although I have spent the last decade of my life working and training all kinds of businesses throughout the world in the art and science of marketing – I have always returned back to the same source to gain new perspective and to sharpen my marketing knife.

Where do top Advertising Agencies, Marketing Firms, and Branding Gurus attain leading edge knowledge?

The answer is very clear and comes quite easy to me and you may be surprised that you have been overlooking this free source right under your nose all of these years. Are you ready for me to unveil this knowledge source to let you in on where the top Advertising Agencies, Marketing Firms, and Branding Gurus are attaining their leading edge knowledge? Brace yourself, because I am about to reveal my source.

The source that should be in every Marketing Director, Business Owner, and Entrepreneur’s knowledge bank is the same source that leading experts contribute to and debate on every single day - the Scientific Journals. And believe me every industry has a journal whether it is Psychology, Biology, or even Marketing. Yes, there are more Marketing Journals than one can throw a book at and then there are marketing textbooks which publish what is essentially approved knowledge that has been rigorously scrutinized from the journals from top experts.

What if I can’t read the style of Language that scientific articles are written in?

I am not saying that you should go out and read every page in every journal from front to back cover. A normal person’s brain is not trained to understand the language that exists in these journals. The information is in code – it is intended only for Professors and Scientists to communicate with. That is why the abstract portion of the article was invented - to help the average person understand the complex knowledge contained in each study.

Most of what is contained in an article is designed specifically for Scientists to debate the validity of the study or how they went about collecting the data for the study. Your goal is to read the abstract which is usually only a few paragraphs long, located at the beginning of the article. Now adapt whatever insight or idea which is contained in the abstract to your own business.

Where do I start?

You start by running a search from your local library where these journals are stored in most cases for free in online databases. There may even be an entire collection of printed journals on hand at your local University library.

Now search for relevant topics that apply to your business. Marketing is a gigantic field and there are so many categories within the field that may or may not apply to your business. If you are an Internet business then most likely the Journal of Internet Marketing applies to you. If you run service style business then the Journal of Services Marketing applies to you. To hone in on specific information that applies to your business you will have to run an additional search within the first batch of search results.

For example Robert who is planning to build an online business may want to find out which colors are most effective in building websites - run a search for “colors and websites and effectiveness” in the Journal of Internet Marketing. A list of articles will come up where studies of actual color combinations were used to measure effectiveness in web experiences for users.

How Do I Apply This Information?

The answer is – “very straightforwardly”. You apply this kind of information where and when you can to give you business an upper hand over your competition. This information does not come cheap. These studies cost top dollar and many times are commissioned with tax dollars or by large corporations not to mention the time and effort that goes into executing these studies. The beauty here is that this information came at a price but is available for free for you to discover and utilize in your own business.

About Levon Guiragossian

With a comprehensive background as a Marketing Professional spanning the globe in research, design, marketing and branding strategy – Levon Guiragossian writes from direct experience.


Want to know where the top Marketers in the world gain strategic insight? Leading Marketing Professional Levon Guiragossian unveils one of the industry’s best kept secrets in this in-depth article.