Marketing Monday

Marketing Monday: Mobile Phones 101

Have you ever looked at your website on an iPhone, Blackberry, or Android phone? Have you looked at your website on an iPad? You might want to test it out because more and more people are getting to your website that way.

Wikipedia's mobile site gets rid of the sidebars but still let's you do the most important thing: search.

Wikipedia's mobile site gets rid of the sidebars but still let's you do the most important thing: search.

Here are some fun facts about mobile websites:

  • 93% of the population in the United States owns a cell phone.
  • 20% of mobile phone owners own a smartphone.
  • Businesses distributed 2.3 million mobile coupons in 2010 (and that number is expected to be 70 million by 2013).

(More facts and source links here: http://www.momares.com/blog/mobile-marketing-facts-and-predictions-for-2011)

In other words, more and more people are accessing the web via mobile devices, so it’s only logical to think about how your website looks on these different platforms.

It’s clear that larger companies have the resources to have thought of this earlier on. But smaller sites are also getting in on the action:

The side effect of making your website more mobile friendly: it makes it easier for people using mobile devices to buy stuff.

The side effect of making your website more mobile friendly: it makes it easier for people using mobile devices to buy stuff.

How do you know if your device is mobile friendly? Opera has a demo where you can try out your website in a typical mobile browser: http://www.opera.com/mobile/demo/ Not to say this is the be all end all but it can at least give you an idea. (You could also ask friends or your web designer to do some testing for you.)

Here are a few tips to keep in mind about your mobile website:

1) Don’t use Flash. iPhones (and iPads) can’t load it.
2) Be conscious of load time. To test how quickly your site loads, try this simulator. Slower load times mean better loading on cell phones.
3) Make sure your contact information is on your main page.
4) Your mobile site is prime real estate; put essential information (versus all information) on the mobile version of your site.

So as the mobile web continues to grow, think about where your website fits in. It only makes sense. It is 2011 after all!

Anyone know of websites with really cool mobile versions? Link them below in the comments so we can all check them out.

Marketing Monday: Mobile Phones 101

Have you ever looked at your website on an iPhone, Blackberry, or Android phone? Have you looked at your website on an iPad? You might want to test it out because more and more people are getting to your website that way.

Wikipedia's mobile site gets rid of the sidebars but still let's you do the most important thing: search.

Wikipedia's mobile site gets rid of the sidebars but still let's you do the most important thing: search.

Here are some fun facts about mobile websites:

  • 93% of the population in the United States owns a cell phone.
  • 20% of mobile phone owners own a smartphone.
  • Businesses distributed 2.3 million mobile coupons in 2010 (and that number is expected to be 70 million by 2013).

(More facts and source links here: http://www.momares.com/blog/mobile-marketing-facts-and-predictions-for-2011)



In other words, more and more people are accessing the web via mobile devices, so it’s only logical to think about how your website looks on these different platforms.

It’s clear that larger companies have the resources to have thought of this earlier on. But smaller sites are also getting in on the action:

The side effect of making your website more mobile friendly: it makes it easier for people using mobile devices to buy stuff.

The side effect of making your website more mobile friendly: it makes it easier for people using mobile devices to buy stuff.

How do you know if your device is mobile friendly? Opera has a demo where you can try out your website in a typical mobile browser: http://www.opera.com/mobile/demo/ Not to say this is the be all end all but it can at least give you an idea. (You could also ask friends or your web designer to do some testing for you.)

Here are a few tips to keep in mind about your mobile website:

1) Don’t use Flash. iPhones (and iPads) can’t load it.
2) Be conscious of load time. To test how quickly your site loads, try this simulator. Slower load times mean better loading on cell phones.
3) Make sure your contact information is on your main page.
4) Your mobile site is prime real estate; put essential information (versus all information) on the mobile version of your site.

So as the mobile web continues to grow, think about where your website fits in. It only makes sense. It is 2011 after all!

Anyone know of websites with really cool mobile versions? Link them below in the comments so we can all check them out.

Marketing Monday: Etsy 101

I have had several artists recently ask me about selling their work on their own websites. The problem is an ecommerce website is some of the additional costs that they require:

  • Secure certificate: The little padlock that shows the website is ‘secure’. Prices start at around $10/year  and go higher for more  thoroughly verified/vetted ones. (Thanks to @MattBaya for better wording which has been corrected here.)
  • Ecommerce software: You need some sort of software to handle items (photos, descriptions, etc.), track inventory, calculate shipping, etc. Something like BigCartel can handle this pretty well for a monthly fee (starting at $10/month) or you can pay a web designer a one time fee to set it up. (The going rate seems to be $500 and up.) Note: I’m talking open source (re: free) software and paying only for the web designers’ time to customize it.
  • Merchant services if you want to accept credit cards. Many use Paypal  to get around these fees but the downside is, of course, people being less likely to buy if you only have Paypal.
  • A domain name ($10ish/year), web hosting ($5/month or more), and a website to put the ecommerce software on. This will depend on what you decide in terms of shopping software. Some, like OS Commerce, can run a whole basic website while other software pairs with a content management system like Joomla or Wordpress.

You can see why most people who begin by wanting a shopping cart decide to hold off on it in the end! A lot of decisions and seemingly getting nickeled and dimed with fees.

So what are my crafty but frugal friends to do? I have sent a few to Etsy.com.

Don't want to pay to develop your own shopping cart for your artistic products? Etsy is a good alternative.

Don't want to pay to develop your own shopping cart for your artistic products? Etsy is a good alternative.

How does it work?

1) Set up a profile and pick a store name. Connect your account with a credit card.

2) Load products (20 cents/product) to list.

3) Publicize and ship out any orders you get.

And that’s it. Well, except for creating the products, answering potential buyers’ questions, and publicizing your store of course.



I have a few friends who have Etsy stores. Lynn Cyr sells some high end paintings,  Jessica Harris makes feather handbands and paintings that people see online then buy from her locally, and my friends Chris and Renee started on Etsy with Barkwheats before they opened their own web store and began retailing. (Anyone else out there with Etsy shops I’ve forgotten to mention?)

And I’ve decided to finally set up a Too Cute Tuesday store, you know, when I have time to populate it with crafts. :^)

In other words, Etsy is an affordable, relatively easy way to test the waters of ecommerce with your art. Bonus is the ability to track item views and having the possibility of being listed on the front page of Etsy.com with a featured product, resulting in exposure to millions of people looking to buy handmade online.

So to those of you making things that don’t know how to get them online, try Etsy and let me know how it goes!

Twitter Hashtags 101

To anyone just starting to use Twitter, it can seem like some exclusive club of short hand and something called hashtags. Hashtags are basically a pound sign followed by a word. Here are some examples:

A few examples of hashtag use on Twitter.

A few examples of hashtag use on Twitter.

A hashtag can have a few functions in Twitter (for categorization or run really):

A regular (informal) event
For example, I follow #tweetsandcoffee because @danamoos and a few other people I follow (mostly in Maine) use this hashtag in the morning and it’s sort of a fun coffeebreak-like thread of conversation.

A more common example of a regular informal event #followfriday. People will list people they follow in a status update followed by #FF or #followfriday as a way of sharing who they think are cool people with their followers. (Note: I forget to do this most weeks so I am not a good example!)

Virtual event organizing
I know a blogger who has a virtual #duckfest where chefs following this thread all cook with duck and post their recipes with this hashtag. Oddly specific but he’s able to organize chefs across continents!

Duckfest: A virtual event which bloggers and chefs participate in the cooking of duck.

Duckfest: A virtual event which bloggers and chefs participate in the cooking of duck.

A conference thread

If you’re at a conference, sometimes the conference will have an official one (like #poptech’s last conference) which allows people to tweet about what sessions they are in and allows those not able to attend every session to just follow the hashtag and get a feel for what they missed. It’s also a nice way to network with people at the conference. For example, I listened in on video conference to the speakers and was able to talk with people at the event via Twitter.

As you see from my duckfest example above, it’s easy to follow a particular hashtag if you have something like Tweetdeck, which is a Twitter client I use to manage my incoming information.



Fun aside
Sometimes you can use a hashtag as a way of adding to a status update without having it directly written in it:

Hashtags can also give the mood of a status update without being in the actual sentence.

Hashtags can also give the mood of a status update without being in the actual sentence.

Hashtags can add to the mood of a status by being a sort of fun aside.

Trending topics
Sometimes hashtags can be a way of being part of a trending topic on Twitter. For example, in the top ten trending topics is #2010memories which allow people to contribute their memories of the past year to a common, worldwide thread. Using hashtags is a way of being part of something bigger than what your individual Twitter update can do.

Now that you get what hashtags can do, you might want to know how to find them.

To find hashtags, you can use the Twitter search function or this website: http://hashtags.org/ You’ll also find out about some by following people in your geographic area, in your industry, or who have your hobbies on Twitter.

To save hashtag information so you don’t have to look it up over and over, just do a search (ex #maine) and then click the ‘Save this search’ button in green when the results come up on the Twitter website. You can also add a column on Tweetdeck and keep up with them that way (which is what I do since I don’t love the Twitter interface). This way, you can follow and contribute to multiple hash tags over time. Some will be short lived (like conferences) but some will always be of interest to you (like #Photoshop if you use this program everyday for example).

So now you are in the know about hashtags. Not so bad, right? No need to be intimidated by them, just try some out for yourself. The thing with Twitter (and all these other social media sites) is everyone is experimenting, just like you are. So just jump in and #lovetwitter!

Marketing Monday: Netflix

Every Monday, Breaking Even profiles a business, non-profit, or blog doing cool things online. Have an idea? Let me know!

Netflix

Netflix is causing 1/5 of internet traffic after the workday. I bet if people could sneak it more easily, it would also be affecting traffic during the work day too.

I heard this crazy statistic a few weeks ago: 20% of all internet traffic during prime time (7 pm-10 pm) is used by people streaming Netflix videos.



What is Netflix doing that’s allowing their influence to grow and grow?

It allows you to try it for free.
My friend Sam gave me a try Netflix for free for two weeks card. You can also find this same deal online. And as a Netflix user, I got this offer over email to send to my friends.

Clearly the two weeks free offer is in no way exclusive but I bet Netflix is tracking how all these offers are coming in… and adjusting strategy accordingly.

Netfix has a flexible pricing structure, nice for different people using the service.
Recently, you can now stream Netflix online for $7.99/month, which is slightly less than the minimum DVD mail service, which makes sense since the streaming allows Netflix to save money sending DVDs.

If you are going to offer services, it makes sense to have a tiered system, allowing you to serve more people effectively.

Netflix has a ‘Give Netflix’ tab… perfect for the holidays.
If you have a website, you need to address how/where people can get gifts on it, or at least put the idea in peoples’ minds. Netflix has a tab that makes you think about it. This is the time of year where people are looking to spend money, and increasingly spend that money online. Why not on your site?

But remember people aren’t buying gifts for themselves but for others. Make it so people can ship to a different address, add a gift tag, or do other services that make a purchase more gift-y.

To see more cool things Netflix is doing with marketing, see this great blog post…

Marketing Monday: Las Vegas Casinos

You may have noticed I’ve been absent. I took my first full on vacation in two years this last week and went to Las Vegas. I spent a total of 3 hours online the whole time I was there, mostly keeping ahead of email. The rest of the time, I just took it all in.

The Fountain at The Bellagio

The Fountains at The Bellagio are always a good sight... and a free way to draw visitors to the casino.

The casinos had over-the-top Christmas decorations... but doing good (rather than just looking good) is really what gives people the warm fuzzies.

The casinos had over-the-top Christmas decorations... but doing good (rather than just looking good) is really what gives people the warm fuzzies.

It’s amazing what casinos do to market to consumers. Everything from walkways and escalators that always work going in (but not going out) to guys on corners handing out free night club passes, everything is designed to make you stay longer, and spend more money.



A few things I thought about while I was out there:

There is still a need for print…

Of the countless people handing out nightclub (and other) cards on the street, it begs the question: How is this affordable?

The answer is of course companies wouldn’t pass out these cards if they didn’t work on some level. Casinos might be able to afford to lose some money but they wouldn’t do something that was a constant drain on resources.

I did see a lot of tourists like me with their smartphones but many people still don’t have the easily accessed information. Hence the need to have something to give those tourists to hold in their hand and make their decision about a club, restaurant, or other destination choice.

… but good reviews will fill the room.

We went to Lotus of Siam, one of the best Thai restaurants in the country located off the Strip in a downtown strip mall. The restaurant has won numerous awards and always has diners, even at a ‘early bird special’ hour on a Tuesday night (when we went). They didn’t do any advertising that I saw but clearly, the reviews alone kept them busy enough.

Do some good, especially around the holidays.

Looking for a club to go to, we found out Tabu at MGM Grand was doing a food drive, letting club goers in for free (and giving a free drink) for showing up with canned goods.

So I spent a ridiculous amount of money on a can of soup and headed over. The servers were dressed in ridiculous Santa suits but smiled at our small offering as they ushered us in. This made this slightly pretentious seeming club give me the warm fuzzies. And if a night club can do that, imagine what your business could do in terms of reaching out to charities around the holidays!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed last week. I sure did! Nice and rested and ready to be back on the internet…

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