Have You Hired One of These Web Designers?

This is actually an article I wrote 3 or 4 years ago, but I came across it when I was looking for content for a clients newsletter and though I would share it with you.. It's a fun run through of some of the unique "characters" we run into in the web designer/developer world. If I missed a type l let me know in the comments.

1. The Human Flash –

This individual believes that every website should be flash. They will tell you that NOBODY uses html anymore. They will justify the website costing 5-10 times as much to do everything in flash by saying that it will look a LOT cooler.

2. The Dark Horse –

Will only do black backgrounds and white text. Doesn't really care that your target audience isn't 18-25 year old Goths or gamers. Designs the site the way they like it.

3. The Microsoft Manipulator –

Yep I'm picking on everybody – The Microsoft Manipulator will always go for Microsoft based tools without reviewing the actual customer requirements. He'll also refuse to make sure that his web site works on Firefox or a Mac stating they SHOULD be using Internet Explorer.

 4. Egomaniacial Coder –

This individual feels that they need to write everything from scratch and charge you for it. – warning sign – he tells you that the e-mail programs out there are all designed wrong and that he is going to write a new one for you

 5. The Widget Warrior –

this individual will fill your page up with so many widgets and spinning objects that it will take a week to download on the average home PC – Famous phrase – it works fine on my machine

 6. The Mac Maniac –

This individual believe that Microsoft is the enemy and will tell you that at every turn. They are welcome to their opinion. But since most of the world uses Internet Explorer it REALLY IS important that it displays correctly on IE. Phrase to watch out for, Well everyone should be using a Mac…it's better

 7. The Linux Lackey –

This individual is the geekier, less hip version of the Mac Monster. He also believes that Microsoft is the enemy, everything should be open source and everyone should be using Opera or Firefox for their browser.

 8. The Bored B.A. —

they've found that the only way that they can make a living with their Art degree is to do websites. Warning signs – they tell you that they have a wonderful inspiration for your web design as they pull out the watercolors or pencils….

 9. Jeremy — 

The neighbor kid, friends' kid etc – He's usually named Jeremy. He had a class in html in high school and has built a one page website. The biggest issue with these kids is that they are usually a combination of several of the above without and real knowledge or direction.

10. The Cranky Copywriter –

"Images are a waste of space — copy is what sells"

11. The Lazy Layout artist –

Every one of their websites looks exactly alike

12. Last but not least … The Perky Perfectionist –

They are ALWAYS "almost" done…kind of like this list of the top 7, I mean 10, I mean 12 Scariest Web Designers!

PayPal What are you thinking???

Dear PayPal

I'm thinking about breaking up with you.

We've been together for almost a decade. A decade where I've bought and sold 10s of thousands of dollars of items using your service. I've loved the simplicity and the security that you provide me when I make purchases from people I don't know all over the world. I love how you make it easy for me to sell things online without having to go through setting up bank processing.

I evangelize you to friends, family, students and clients.Recommending that the simplicity that you provide far outweighs the higher transaction fees when selling and that the security you provide when ordering is unparalleled.

I look for the PayPal button when I'm making purchases and always use PayPal when it's available.

I even remember stubbornly ignoring Ebay's attempts to get me to use BillPay. I ranted to my friends about Ebay's attempts to replace you when you were so vital to Ebay's growth. Even when Ebay made us go through extra steps to use you I persevered. I thought you were in the right and I like to think that people like me are the reason that Ebay relented and bought you for $1.5 billion.

But I don't know what you're thinking right now.

I'm not sure if you've just gotten too big and forgotten your roots. Your service is still awesome, I've even had great customer service experiences the couple of times that I've had issues.

You have to remember that it's not the big things that kill relationships.

It's the little things. Like forgetting to put the toothpaste cap back on or leaving the toilet seat up.

Those things that just annoy you,

The first couple of times, you don't even notice

But after a while you mention it and explain why it bothers you

Then when it happens again…

You're mad

This is one of those things…

Why in the hell do I have to click "NO" I do not want to use your "Bill me later" service EVERY time I pay for something????

Once was fine…"Oh they have a new service…"

Even the second time, I thought "Oh there it is again…"

But then you started freezing the page to make me select yes or no on it.

That was annoying

But I dealt with it, thinking to  myself, "This is a little aggressive for a $5 purchase"

and it happened again

and again

and again

WTF are you doing??? Who programmed that thing. There are two issues here:

1. Why would someone want to use Bill me later on a $5 purchase?? Maybe a $500 purchase, BUT a $5 purchase???

2. Why should I have to say "NO" more than once. Hell even a 30 day cookie would be fine. A one day cookie would make it a little easier to bear…

Really…I don't get it. how much will you really earn on my $5 purchase if I use Bill Me Later…

Sincerely,

Former raving fan

 

Fir those that don't use PayPal here's the offending picture:

 

 

Racing to the bottom is not a marketing strategy

It happened again this morning. I received an email from someone I consider to be a smart marketer and who has a depth of knowledge that I respect. She was offering new pricing for her services that are a deep discount on her past prices. Why is this pertinent to the post title? It's because I've seen her drop her prices several times in the last year and it appears that she has made a rookie marketing strategy mistake of discounting her services.

Why isn't discounting a good strategy?

discounting is not a marketing strategy

History is littered with corpses of once great companies that tried to race to the lowest price.  When is the last time you shopped at a Kmart? Do you even remember Woolworth's or Kreskes. Walmart, as big as it is is even beginning to show some kinks in it's armor.

It also sounds like shes desperate. Do you want to do business with someone who's desperate? I know I don't for a number of reasons. First how did they become desperate? Do they suck? If you're going to offer a discount you need to tell me why you're desperate for the cash. Second desperate people tend to get themselves in over their heads and end up never delivering. I've seen it many times.

You don't want discount customers

The other problem with discounting is the type of customers it attracts. Spend an hour on a Saturday at WalMart, is that who you want as your customer? Discount customers are discount customers because they can't afford better or they don't value you and your services enough to pay what they are worth. Not only will you be stuck with these customers, but you will find that they tend to be the most difficult and demanding customers as well. 

What about the customers that paid full price?

Have you ever bought something and then saw it in another store for less or an ad where it was discounted? How did you feel? Do you want your customers feeling like that? Dropping your prices can cause a negative backlash from your current customers.

But sales are good aren't they?

Occasional sales are great, but they need to have a reason and a limit on them. If she had said I just had a big project reschedule and I have time to take on 5 more clients this week at a discounted rate. That would have been fine, it still maintains her value, gives a good reason why and gets her the cash infusion she needs.

The key in any business, but even more so as a consultant is that we need to value our time first before we can expect anyone else to value it. I'll do a follow up post explaining some of the things that I have done to maintain my value.

 

 

 

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Are you Frustrated with Your Social Media Marketing?

 

Frustrated with Social Media“Frustration” – a word frequently used to describe companies new to social media and those who have been involved in social media but have yet to enjoy a return.

The problem is two-fold. First, establishing a social media presence takes time and continued effort. You have to be consistent in your involvement with the social media medium and remember that returns will not be overnight. Second, you have to make sure that you are using social media in a way that makes sense for your business.

If you are not sure, ask yourself these simple questions:

Are you using the right platform?

First, remember that there are a variety of social media platforms for you to consider – most notably Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Further, within these platforms, there exist variations on the theme. For example, in Facebook, you can have a “Page,” a “Group,” or a “Community.” Each variation has its own set of tools, purposes, and capabilities. In addition, you may decide to participate in several social media platforms at the same time.

For example, if you have a fitness center or weight loss product , you may want to use your YouTube channel to publish videos on how to perform certain exercises or tapings of classes you offer there while using Facebook to build a sense of community through candid photos, listings of hours, available classes, and upcoming events.

Have you scrapped past attempts?

However, you also need to remember that whatever you take on has to be maintained and updated regularly. This can take up valuable time and people resources. While it can certainly be worth it in the long run, remember that consistency is key. If you do not think you will be able to maintain various platforms (or you have already started and stopped using a platform) be sure to erase or delete those accounts. Otherwise, you stand the risk of eroding your brand value when a customer (current or potential) stumbles across your forgotten Bebo account. Instead, make sure that what you have is the best it can be and do away with anything that you are not actively using.

Are you providing the type of information and interaction that your audience wants?

Ask yourself what it is that your audience would want to read, not what you want to tell them. Providing discounts or having giveaways can be useful, but you have to have more substance than that. Consider posting facts about your company, the brand, or its products. Think of the tidbits of information you encounter everyday that make you stop and say, “Really?” Examples include fun facts about how long you have been in business, what happens “behind the scenes”, why your business operates as it does (e.g. why Yoga class was cancelled on Tuesdays, why you do not serve poppyseed bagels, why you buy local, why legal documents are presented in blue card stock), etc.

Are you listening to your audience?

Likewise, are you listening to your audience? When they make a post, do you respond? Do you stay on top of when your company is mentioned on other sites, blogs, social media, etc., and make relevant comments to that affect (on that site and yours)? Remember that social media has developed because of the continued interaction it affords. Its purpose is not to simply broadcast, but rather give people a voice in things they would otherwise not be privy to.

Do you allow them a voice?

Similarly, make sure that you give your audience a voice. Ask open-ended questions, run surveys and polls, include them in new product decisions, etc. – the more things like this you do, the more valued your audience will feel. Remember that interaction is a large part of a successful social media campaign. If miss out on this, you may already be out of the game.

Social Media can be a key part of growing your business and brand to attract local consumers.

Local Internet Marketing isn’t just about having a website, it includes being findable in multiple places when local consumers are looking for your product or service.   A Local Internet Marketing Consultant can help you determine the best route for your online marketing plan.

My Introduction to Dale Carnegie

I’m going through the Dale Carnegie Immersion program this month and will be sharing my experience. But before we dig into what I’m learning in this seminar, I want to share with you my experience with Dale Carnegie over the last 23 years ago. This is my first introduction:

I was 19 years old and had just moved from Billings, MT where I had lived since I was 2 years old to Massachusetts to live with my Dad who I barely knew. I had managed to get myself in a little bit of trouble with credit already and living with my Dad was a way for me to earn money to pay things off and get back into college.

Shortly after I moved out to my Dad’s my half brother Danny moved back from California where he had been living since he left the Army a year or so earlier. Danny was jealous of me spending time with Dad because he had been raised by Dad alone his entire life. This caused us to have an uneasy relationship. That relationship was not able to grow into a real brother relationship because my brother Danny died a couple of months later in a crazy, stupid accident.

Danny’s death was very tough on my Dad. Dad had raised Danny by himself since he was just a baby. He had a very rough grieving process and needed time alone to grieve.  I went through my own grieving process as well. I was 19 years old. I had just lost a brother who I didn’t really know.  I was used to being surrounded by friends and family. Suddenly I knew no one and the one person who I had expected to lean on needed me to support him. I was more alone than I had ever been in my life.

To help me get through this period I dove into books searching for an answer. I read all sorts of self-help books that mostly came across as fluff to me.  Then I found Dale Carnegie’s “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.”  It was my first introduction to his work and I was amazed at the way Dale uses stories to explain his principles. It made everything make sense to me and I went out and used what I learned.

Learning to live in “day tight compartments” alone had an immediate impact on my life. I had been spending a lot of time alone and doing what people do when they are alone “thinking.” It wasn’t good, positive productive thinking. It was a negative spiral of self pity that only built upon itself.

Following the principles in the book enabled me to step back and honestly take stock of my life.  I had been fuming over the past and the things that I could not control. Following Dale’s advice I learned to focus on what I could control and to take action on what I could control without worrying about things that I couldn’t control. Once I started focusing on what I could control, my attitude changed and I quickly pulled myself back up and turned my life around.

Over the last 23 years I’ve read my Dale books a dozen times and always have a copy nearby during good times and during times of turmoil. While I’ve read and learned from many other great teachers in the subsequent years, I will always remember Dale Carnegie’s books for helping a lonely 19 year old put his feet under himself and move forward with his life.

Tomorrow I will share more about my journey with Dale Carnegie