iData Technologies Blog

Selling versus informing

Posted 5/24/2011 7:00:26 AM by Mark Reichard

There is a great series of articles on the Duct Tape Marketing blog about converting leads for folks who hate selling.  There are 5 articles in the series, and in one way or another they all make the point that "selling" as it is usually thought of (a process focused solely on convincing people to buy no matter what) is not much fun and also not terribly effective, particularly for a small business. 

On the other hand, selling is effective and fun when you have something of value to offer and you really try to help people by educating them about your industry and what you do.  A couple of key points about this:

  • You have to have something that really is of value, and the process of exploring that value with prospective clients should be one that benefits them (independently of your offering) by informing them about the subject matter you work with.
  • The process should be one of mutual discovery, and throughout you should both be asking yourselves whether it makes sense to keep talking.  If not, you should disengage in a way that leaves the door open for future cooperation.
I would argue that the same points hold true for Web content.  The ideal is content that concisely explains the problem your offering solves (or the opportunity it provides) while clearly stating the features, benefits and characteristics of what you do (as well as any limitations or prerequisites).  That way, the customer can decide for herself as she interacts with your site whether it makes sense to stay engaged.  An additional benefit of this approach is that it's also an ideal foundation for the search marketing initiatives that you will want to undertake --- organic SEO, link building, and promoting your content through social media.

Tags: E-marketing StrategyComments

Isn’t Web site translation free?

Posted 5/7/2011 7:44:15 PM by Mark Reichard

The availability of exciting new tools like Google Translate® has caused some people to wonder if there is still a requirement for professional human Web site translation.  The answer is probably best given by the Google Translate team in their Wikipedia post:

Google Translate, like other automatic translation tools, has its limitations. While it can help the reader to understand the general content of a foreign language text, it does not always deliver accurate translations.

As this post suggests, Google Translate and other automated Web translation services are excellent at giving their users a general idea of what a Web pages is about, but they are not only not exact, they are sometimes downright inaccurate.  For example, Google Translate renders the menu text “Energy Taskforce” on one site into Spanish as “Energy of the Force of Work” (“Energía de la Fuerza de Tarea”), from which the real meaning if the link can’t even be guessed.  A good rule of thumb for Google Translate is that any page on which you would be comfortable posting content with spelling and grammatical errors is a good candidate for using only Google Translate without human translation.

Tags: TranslationComments

Content is currency

Posted 5/7/2011 7:36:54 PM by Mark Reichard

We've quoted Mike Berkley's blog post previously in which he said that "content is currency --- companies can print their own, but most don't."  The truth of that statement really struck me today as I was looking at the Google Analytics reports for our site --- especially because of the traffic that one fairly random blog post has been getting.  Several months ago, I posted a simple html/css solution to an issue that I had in working on a customer site.  I thought it was a good solution, and I wanted to share it.  I had no intention of trying to attract search engine traffic, and I certainly didn't optimize the post to attract traffic.

Last month, that post got over 1700 pageviews, all from organic search results on sites like Google, Bing and Yahoo.  Because I took a couple of minutes to write a quick post several months ago, our site is still getting thousands of pageviews a month from folks who otherwise might not have come.  That has real value for us, even if HTML and CSS tips are not really what we are all about. 

But, you may ask, is it really like being able to print your own money?  I think so, but there are some caveats.  Just like being able to print you own money would require a high quality printer and special inks,  having people with valuable knowledge in a position to share it requires an investment in the right tools.  At least as important, though, is the developing the skill and habit of producing content.  Creating good Web content takes practice, and you have to know something worth sharing.  Also, not every blog post will attract traffic, which is why making creating content a habit and an integral part of the culture of an organization is so important --- you never know which posts will attract traffic, so at the end of the day it is a numbers game.

Tags: Content ManagementComments