Sunday, September 17, 2006

Struggling to Use Social Bookmarking as a Marketing Stratregy

I have been using for quite a while now, initially as an online repository for links I wanted to access when working on other computers and also to share links with friends who have similar interests. Of course I could also see the potential in social bookmarking in increasing popularity by creating back links to my site and recently when I began using Squidoo, a group of us on the Ecademy agreed to bookmark each others lenses to see whether this would have much impact on our ranking. Unfortunately the idea didn't really take off beyond the initial flurry of interest.

One reason was that it is a little time consuming. We each tried to help by posting our lens URLs with the titles, notes and tags on the forum, but posting three or four lenses for each member was going to take too much time and we had no idea what impact it would have. I could also see that, for this to really work it would be necessary to submit to more than one social bookmarking site. I have bookmarklets in my browser toolbars for both and Yahoo My Web - these bookmarklets automatically add the URL and title of the page - but leave you to manually add notes and tags so it still takes a lot of time and when I started looking at Furl and Blink and .... I had no idea how many there were and there simply is not enough room on my browser for all those bookmarklets.

My Speaking and Marketing Tips site is a Site Build It site - and one advantage of that is the remarkable forum of members who are very knowledgable and post practical solutions to a lot of challenges. One solution that emerged was some code deveeloped for Site Build It owners that would enable us to display "Add to" bookmarklets for nine social bookmarking sites. If you have not used these links they work the same way as bookmarklets in the browser and encourage visitors to save the page. The problem is that even this was not keeping up with the huge growth in sites. And some of them like Technorati and Google are not really social bookmarking sites anyway.

Then I launched my own Article Directory, and got some help from Jodi, a web developer in the USA who I noticed was using a couple of submission sites - Socializer and OnlyWire. There are links to both of these in the side panel - Social Bookmark This Page takes you to Socializer and OnlyWire is just below it.

01/01/2007 update
Since writing this article I have discovered AdThis which I prefer to Socializer - You will see the AsThis buttons at the foot of this post and in the sidebar for both social bookmarking and feed subscriptions - works the same way but enables me to put a link at the foot of each post.

Socializer works like my "add to links" bookmarklets except that it takes you to a page full of them (nearly 50 and I know there are more). However from there you still have to link to each separately - Great for your visitors who are using one or two sites although to be honest most visitors like me should have browser based bookmarkets for their favourite sites.

OnlyWire on the other hand is a bulk submission site (at present the only one) which will summit the page to 15 social bookmark sites - including all the the leading ones. However it is not without its bugs - two of the links don't work properly and two of the links do weird things with the tags. You can see my reviews of them all here. I am hopefull that OnlyWire will fix the problems and add some missing links like Yahoo My Web soon because this really is a time saving tool. Even with only 11 really working it is as quick to submit to them all as it is to submit to a single site. And don't worry about submitting a link twoce - the site picks that up and updates your information.

One big advantage of posting to social bookmark sites is that the top sites do have huge amounts of traffic and high page ranks - I have noticed that my links on sites are already turning up in good positions in seach results.

As I wrote this post I became increasingly aware that this might be all goggledygook to many of my friends who still struggle with technology, so I have produced a few pages on the topic on my web site - very much an in evelopment section because the whole topic is developing and I will be producing a Squidoo lens on the subject in few weeks.

Rikki Arundel
Motivational Speaker
Speaking and Marketing Tips
The GenderShift Blog

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Performancing - Makes Blogging Easier to Manage | Helping Bloggers Succeed

I am still exploring what this site can do - but there are two features that have already become indispensible to me

The first is the firefox extention. (If you are still using internet explorer - you should have got the message by not - all the really cool developments on the web are now happening with Firefox) This makes it really easy to publish blogs and comes with a neet and much better WYSIWYG editor than blogger. (not seen the new service yet)

The second tool is the tracking service - do you know how many people, or as I have discovered how few people are actually reading your blog - well just add a line to your template and you can have up to date metrics on all the activities - including how may people are clicking on your adsense links and which of your blog posts are getting the most attention.

Finally the bit I have yet to get to, you get to join blogging community - and either lurk (read all the posts without actually getting involved - thats what I am doing first) or you can post your own blog posts and comments and find out how to make your blog more successful. This site has a Google Page Rank of 7 so posting blogs here is going to do your own site popularity a few favours anyway.

If you are using Firefox - I strongly recommend this site. If you are not using Firefox - trust me - It is free to download and will transform your browsing experience. You may already understand what Web 2.0 is - if not it's all about the evolution of the web from it's information providing phase to a new interactive and collaberative phase. Internet Explorer is a web 1.0 tool - Firefox is web 2.0. | Helping Bloggers Succeed

Rikki Arundel
Motivational Speaker
Speaking and Marketing Tips
The GenderShift Blog

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Importance of Long Tail Marketing

I have increasingly been hearing about Long Tail Marketing recently and made a point today to check it out. If this is a term that is unfamiliar to you stay with me. If you know what Long Tail Marketing, is but would like to know more I have added some links and resources to my Small Business Marketing Lens, including an interview with and presentaton by Chis Anderson the editor in Chief whose Article in October 2004 started it all, and a link to his lens.

So what is Long Tail Marketing and why is it so important for Small Businesses.

First there is nothing new about the Long tail. It is a statistical term derived from a distribution scattergram. If we plot numbers of people up the left axis of the graph and number of products along the bottom, the Long Tail is the section with lots of products being purchased by small number of people and is represented by the yellow section of the graph.

Imagine you go into a book store to buy a Harry Potter book - the chances are you will find a copy in most stores. It is in the red section of the graph - "The Head." It is produced in huge quantities and stocked by all leading stores. But what if you wanted a copy of a Spell Book for Wizards and Witches. The chances are you are going to have to find a small specialist shop or search online. Now you are in the Long Tail where products appeal to a small number of specialist buyers.

Large companies have generally not been interested in the long tail because they cannot afford to stock everything and the cost or reaching small numbers of people is uneconomic in tradition business models. But they are waking up because Amazon now achieves more sales in the long tail than it does with the blockbusters. Why? Because it does not have to hold the stock. Either a specialist supplier advertises in the markeplace or Amazon orders the book for you when you buy it.

But more than this - the internet now has over 1 billion users worldwide and search engines make it easier to find a niche product supplier in the long tail than in the head. Type "Marketing" into Google and you are going to get 1.5 billion responses. Search for "marketing for voluntary organisations" and there are about 700 responses. If you are targeting that market the chances of being found are quite high because there is little competition - whereas getting seen at all in the mass market is increasingly difficult for new small businesses.

Large companies simply do not have the resources to deliver to many niche markets so they don't bother, but increasinlgy we as consumers are deciding that we are not prepared to put up with the general mass market products - we want unique, customised, focused products that exactly meet our needs.

Understanding the long tail is critical for all small businesses, yet when I am networking I constantly find that people with small businesses are trying to reach everyone. When I ask who are your customers I hear, "everyone." If you try to appeal to everyone - you will lose the niche markets. Small businesses cannot serve everyone - there is a limit to how much business you can manage, so why not become THE supplier to your niche and work the long tail, instead of trying to compete with major corporations in the head.

Do visit my Small Business Marketing Lens on Squidoo for links and information on this important strategy.

Rikki Arundel
Motivational Speaker
Speaking and Marketing Tips
The GenderShift Blog

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Speaking about Transgender History

Well I had some fun yesterday. I have spoken at just about every sort of venue, but yesterday was a new experience - I was speaking at a Shopping Centre, right in the centre of the Princess Quays shopping centre in Hull on a busy Friday morning.

It was not without its challenges I have to say.

First the technology did not work - I don't often use PowerPoint these days mostly because I am trying to teach people how to create great speaches and it takes a considerable skill do that and use PowerPoint. The topic of transgender history lends itself to powerpoint because it is a very visual history, but with the technical problems I had to go on without slides and still managed to hold a very transient audience for 30 minutes.

The event was a Hate Crime awareness event - with lots of dignatories around, so it did not do my reputaiton and personal brand any harm. The other challenge was the awful acoustics in a cavernous indoor shopping centre - I have faced the challenges of Speakers Corner in London and a number of outside events, but this was very different.

I believe that most hate crime and discrimination is caused by ignorance and so I try to tackle this as far as trans people are concerned by raising awareness with an entertaining look at the history of trans people. Reclaiming and publicising our long history is a great way to help people see us in a different light.

I can't give you the speech here but I can give you something the Hull Citizens missed - the visual tour - Please visit this Squidoo lens for a fascinating journey through a very colourful Transgender History

TransHistory - A Colourful Past and Present on Squidoo

Rikki Arundel
Motivational Speaker
Speaking and Marketing Tips
The GenderShift Blog

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