Is Facebook Bad for Business?

"Find us on Facebook" graphic with "or .. maybe not" in scriptFacebook: Business and Sales Lead Generation …

Ahh, Facebook. The main topic of talk, when it comes to social networking. Still bigger than Twitter. MySpace slayer. A significant threat to Google for future advertising revenues, if this article is to be believed.

Two headlines this week revolved around FB and its apparent woes. One may seem like bad news on the surface, but may actually be good news for business looking to acquire leads and prospects. The other is decent in a “kinda, sorta” way for smaller businesses, and not so good for larger companies and brands.

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Online Sales Lead Generation

Photo depiction of sales lead generation processWebsites are about leads …

James Brown would say it loud:

Websites are about leads.

I often hear about how a company’s new Website is just fantastic because it’s got great artwork, a Flash-based graphic that flips, turns and does cartwheels, or has a spiffy video that automatically plays when a visitor lands on it.

To those people, I just want to say one thing. And I want to say it loud:

Websites are about leads.

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Google Page Ranking

Google Page Ranking, and Content… and the content you need to get high search engine results …

“How do I get a high Google page ranking for my Website?”

I get that question a lot when I’m out and about, after people discover what I do for a living. They think there’s some kind of simple “secret sauce” they can add to their sites to make them rank higher in Google.

The short answer is … yes, there is a secret sauce. But with most secret sauces you see made on Food Network shows, there’s some work and a few ingredients that go into this search engine optimization, or SEO oriented sauce. Unlike most Food Network shows, though, giving the recipe won’t take me a half hour, a ton of commercials, and incessant reminders of what the show is about.

First, you might need to change the way you think about search engine results. Then we can talk about Google-magnet content, and the SEO secret sauce you need to add to get your content into that vaunted first page of Google.

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My Site Looks Great, but Doesn’t Work!

Website Relaunches and DesignWebsite Relaunches, Design and Content …

When I’m out and about doing business networking, I’ve heard all kinds of variations on the following complaint:

My Website doesn’t work, and I don’t know why! I’ve invested all kinds of money in it, but something’s still wrong with it.

At that point, the person in question will go on to tell me that the site has been redesigned a dozen times in the past couple of years by great designers … but nothing happens. The business owner or marketing manager with whom I’m speaking is seeing zero return-on-investment (ROI) from the site, and they’re frustrated.

The problem behind a Website not “working” generally doesn’t have much to do with the design or with the actual operation of the site. A site is generally viewed as being “broken” because of one of three items, or a combination of them … which you’ll discover immediately after the jump.

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You’re Only Human

photo of Email Marketing Newsletter Mistakes

© iStockPhoto

Email Marketing and Newsletter Errors …

No matter what you do in life, there’s always a risk that you’ll make a mistake. When it happens in an email marketing or newsletter, the mistake is amplified, but it’s not the end of the world.

Such an error happened to me over the course of a couple of days, and it occurred in a very public forum: the CruxBridge Media email newsletter.

My mistake was not huge, yet it was bad enough that I thought I should let my subscribers know about it.

Such mistakes won’t mark the end of your company’s existence, or otherwise bring it to its knees. If anything, showing that you’re human, or your business is run by real people who every once in awhile make a mistake, might be just what your readers want to see.

What to do when you find yourself in such a situation … after the jump.

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What a Consumer Wants

Graphic of Website Relaunch and Marketing Concerns

© iStockPhoto

Website Redesign and Relaunch, and Conversion Rates …

For some reason, this lyric popped into my head when I first read a couple of mornings back about new research from our technology partner HubSpot:

What a girl wants
What a girl needs
Whatever keeps me in your arms
~ What a Girl Wants, Christina Aguilera

(Things like that tend to happen after I’ve had my first cup of coffee for the day.)

Companies relaunch Websites precisely because they want to keep their customers in their “arms”—in this case, on their sites and using them for e-commerce, lead generation, news-article views and so on. Their old sites probably weren’t getting the job done, and their sales, leads or pageviews were suffering as a result.

Or just as likely: Their old Websites were mired in 2005 (or 1995), and they needed a new, modern look that also fulfills a business purpose (see paragraph above).

What consumers want and what they don’t want in a Website, and how that can help with your Website redesign and relaunch strategy … after the jump.

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In the Clouds

Cloud Computing and Software as a Service

© iStockPhoto

Cloud computing is the future—no doubt …

The latest stop for the Cloudfest 2011 tour occurred in Washington, DC yesterday. I went, convinced that I knew all about cloud computing and its advantages for businesses.

In the process of being at the conference, sponsored by Salesforce.com, and absorbing a bunch of information (as well as my shirt absorbing sweat; it was 95+ degrees outside and very high humidity), I more-or-less confirmed the former, but found out that I fell far, far short in the latter.

So, what can cloud computing do for your business? And what the heck does it have to do with inbound marketing and Web development?

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On the Web, and In It

graphic of Small Business Websites - Effective, InexpensiveInexpensive, effective websites for small business: I hadn’t planned on the topic of small businesses and Websites turning into a two-part series. But after I wrote the post on why using a strategy advocated by The Wall Street Journal was a bad idea, I thought I needed to expand on it .. so much so, that I’m soon going to be publishing an eBook on it.

From that original piece, the WSJ said:

… [I]f you’re starting a business with limited funds, a flashy company Website isn’t a must. For little or no cost, you could put your fledgling enterprise on a third-party site such as a blog-hosting service, social-media outlet, business directory or marketplace.

While I agree with a lot of that statement (and that comes from someone who makes their living at creating Websites for all sizes and kinds of businesses), I strongly disagree with some of it. Which part? And what to do about it?

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B2B Email .. Sent On a Saturday Morning?

Email best practices - graphicEmail marketing best practices: I’m about ready to finish up the second edition of the new CruxBridge Media email newsletter. We’re calling it The Magnetic Business Insider (use the box to the right to sign up!), and it’s chock full of news and information about attracting qualified leads to your company.

I have to admit I”m feeling a bit weird about a couple of things in regards to the newsletter itself, though. One is the send day: this Saturday. Second is the time: 6:30 AM EDT. The third? It’s only been two weeks since I sent the last one.

Why am I feeling so strange about those points? Because they fly in the face of conventional thinking about when to send such newsletters and messages, and how often to send them.

As is with anything involving technology and the public’s attitude towards it, though, the rules and best practices behind email marketing can be represented at best by a moving target. Here’s the latest on how to hit a bullseye.

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Blogging by Example

Blog graphic for Blog Post Writing for BusinessBlog writing for business: Writing a business blog, and keeping it freshly stocked with great content that people want to read and share is not an easy job … even for people like me, who both use blogs to promote their business and get paid to blog (or come up with blog strategies) for others.

Sure, I keep a clip file of business related topics and links upon which I know I can provide my own viewpoint. I even have a file of ideas I can use, if the ol’ business blog creativity well really runs dry.

Even in those cases, though, I need to write every business -related blog post so that people can relate to the topic. This is where the seemingly different writing styles of business and creative not only work together in business blogging, but compliment one another. How so?

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