17 January 2009

Comments Please

I've been blogging for a couple of years now. I really enjoy it, even though it does take time, a lot more time than you may think. Blogging on some subjects helps me to think through issues or ideas that are on my plate at the office and allows me to process and analyze my thoughts. This process is relaxing, therapeutic and often gives me some clear resolve.

Lately, I've noticed a drop in the amount of comments that my posts are getting. By drop I mean from a few to none. This is a bit discouraging in that I enjoy reading them and the interaction helps me to understand and hear different viewpoints.

I know that people are reading the blog, because I installed Google Analytics and the readership of my blog has increased steadily over the last two years, and continues to grow. Now, we're not talking about thousands of people a day, but certainly thousands of people since I started back in 2006.

In fact, let me share some statistics with you - 50% of my traffic comes from new users (this means I have some regulars that read the blog), 1.75 pages viewed per visit (this is great - people are digging past the first 4 or 5 articles on the main page), 2.11 minutes average time on site (this is huge - in fact, nearly all the sites we build achieve this type of interest - average is less than 30 seconds), 75% bounce rate (this is not good - I think this is traffic coming through the "next blog' feature on the top of the page, a random drop courtesy of Blogger). As far as traffic goes, I'm getting about 25 people a week, sometimes more, not too often is it less.

Overall, the stats are good - I built it, people came... but, they are silent.

There's a few possibilities as to why I'm not getting comments; My articles are uninteresting and not worth commenting on, they're so conclusive and informative that comments are pointless, they're irrelevant and don't warrant a comment, my blogs attract the wrong people and they don't read them, only my kids are reading the articles and they don't know how to respond yet, or people are just lazy or busy (or both, like me) and can't be bothered with commenting, my blogs are too esoteric or not esoteric enough to be commented on... everyone has their reasons.

What I'm looking for is some feedback as to how I can increase the comments and/or interaction. What subjects/topics/areas of marketing/advertising/promotion are you interested in reading? Would a more interactive comments area be better? Do you have any suggestions to better this blog?

Your feedback is always appreciated (unless you're trying to sell timeshares) and I look forward to it.

Don't worry, if you are part of the silent majority and just like to read along and not comment, this blog will continue, comments or not.

14 January 2009

Marketing 101

Marketing is not advertising.

Well, it is, kind of... really, marketing is everything, not just advertising.

Marketing entails customer service, quality, networking, advertising, promotion, experience, sales... I probably missed a few, but you get the point. There's more to marketing than just putting an ad in the paper and opening your door for business.

Everyone wants a clear marketing strategy, and the companies that do well with one are the companies that understand that marketing is everything, not just advertising. A marketing strategy should entail everything (or at least most of everything) from appearance to method and from messaging to policy.

Everything is marketing.

11 January 2009

Customer Measurement

Everyone has good clients and bad clients. And, everyone I know, determines the value of their clients differently.

I'm not 100% sure that there is a completely right way or wrong way of measuring their value, some ways need to be weighted on more than others and there are many formulas that companies employ - as in anything, there's more than one way to skin a cat (sorry PETA).

There are so many variables in measuring the worth of a customer that it's easy to get hung up on just one of them, like how much money they spend for instance. Just because a client provides you with large sales numbers does not mean they are good for your business, nor does it mean they are a good customer.

It's important for us to know what makes a good customer, because everyone is a customer. As a business owner, I have a lot of customers, but I am also a customer to the many vendors we do business with. Understanding what I like to see in a good customer helps me be a better customer to my vendors.

For me, a good relationship with vendors is important. Being a good customer to my vendors ensures that I get product on time, provides with with fast service and accountability - this means that I can rely on my suppliers. The flip side of this, of course, is that my clients benefit from me being a good customer to my vendors. My clients are often on the receiving end of reduced pricing, fast and reliable delivery of goods and know that they can count on us.

The ability to count on us is a direct result of us being good customers to our vendors.

With that being said, I've compiled a list of things that businesses look for in customers - in no particular order, good customers:

• Value what you bring to the table
• Appreciate your time
• Want you to succeed
• Recommend you to others
• Pay bills on time
• Don't rely on status quo
• Listen to advice
• Work close
• Share information
• Make introductions
• Provide honest feedback
• Help you grow
• Know all that you have to offer
• Want you to be profitable
• Acknowledge failures and successes

I'm sure you can add a few more items to this list. The bottom line is... it's more than just the bottom line - sure, money matters, but not at the expense of a few ideals and profit. For a company to succeed, they must make a profit - customers that drain your resources and suck the profits out of jobs are not worth working for.

So, figure out what's important to you as a vendor or a customer and eliminate the companies that don't measure up. Work closely with the companies that do and see the rewards.

04 January 2009

New Years' Promise

In December, the Alberta Chamber of Commerce announced that we were  one of three finalists for the Alberta Marketing Awards of Distinction.

As you can imagine, we were pretty excited about the news - and what made it equally thrilling is that one of our good clients, Spindle, Stairs & Railings, is also a finalist. 

So, that means we have a 2 out of 3 chance of winning the award based on work that we've been a part of.

We plan to use this news in our marketing going forward, as every business up for an award should. Anytime you are written up in the news, mentioned in an article or announced as a finalist for an award you need to tell people about it, even other media - if you're not doing this, you clearly don't understand marketing.

I see many opportunities for 2009 and will try to take the doom and gloom outlook the media portrays with a grain of salt... or turn to the back page where the awards announcements are - that's where the good reading is.