Touch Marketing – Winning the Day & Getting the Girl

By Carl Weiss

One of the first questions I ask whenever I speak before a group is, “What does WWW mean to you?”  While the responses are varied, the correct one for most small owners is, “Why Won't it Work?”  Having been professionally engaged in Internet marketing since 1995, I can tell you that the answer to this is no easy matter.  Where in years gone by business owners merely had to create an optimized website in order to cash in online, today if you want page one results you also need to busy yourself with an entire armada of online marketing, such as blogging, social networking and video.  All this just to get featured on page one of search engines like Google.  But what most business people do not understand is that having a page one position will do you little good if you don’t have a way to deal with the responses created by your website.  And by system, I mean a comprehensive method of sorting, selecting and feeding prospects and clients the information they need to either make a buying decision.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Does your company already have a formalized touch marketing system in place?  If they do, it may not have been created to work with online leads.  Many touch marketing systems have been created to handle responses generated from direct mail, cold calls or even broadcast media such as radio and TV.  Instead of just feeding your online leads into their system, the best thing you can do to maximize your online results is to create a system specifically tailored to handling online responses.  In the first place, web savvy individuals are in a hurry.  They are not going to respond to long copy, particularly if presented in written form.  So sending them a ten page white paper is not going to get the job done.  What you need to do to generate results with online respondents is to employ short copy, snappy comebacks and/or video.

What’s In It For Me?

Once you succeed in getting someone to respond to an offer, unless the offer leads directly to a sale, you need to follow up with something new and exciting.  What I mean by this is you don’t want to get a prospect all worked up with your initial offer only to disappoint with the follow up.  Emotional attachment is the name of the game if you are trying to create a dependency-based relationship between the consumer and your products and services.  In order to create dependency you first need to establish a sense of attraction.  Secondly you must inspire loyalty.

While attraction alone can spark a relationship, failure to move the relationship along will inevitably result in its dissolution.   What are relationship drivers?  Let’s look at the situation of dating.  While the thing that brought you two together in the first place was attraction, once the bloom is off the rose it requires effort to sustain and move the relationship to the next level.  Successful touch marketing is a lot like that.  In the first place there has to be something in it for the prospect.  Like offering your date a bouquet of flowers and then enjoying a night of dinner and dancing, prospects like to be wooed as well.  If all you do with drip marketing is send sales circular after sales circular, don’t be surprised if you get nowhere with the prospect.  Nobody wants to be regarded as easy.

Making the Customer the Center of Your Universe

Properly executed, touch marketing can create and sustain the kind of emotional dynamic needed to woo a prospect.  Instead of going straight for the sale, each time you reach out and touch the prospect, loyalty, confidence and continuity should be the goal.  Entertain them and make them laugh.  Don’t bury them is dry prose.  One of the best ways to get a bead on what motivates and drives a customer toward a sale is to evaluate everything from the customer’s perspective.  Face it, every customer lives and breathes to satisfy their unique needs and wants.  They are for the most part emotionally driven and will purchase from merchants whom they know, trust and like.  Many people will shop prices online, which is a battle in which you do not wish to engage.  If you want to break away from the herd and distinguish yourself as someone who is worth spending the extra dollar, then you need to let the customer know that you are a different breed of cat from the outset.

The Touchstones of Successful Online Marketing

Fortunately, the Internet is chock full of low cost or even no cost solutions to making touch marketing a snap. 

1.       Automated Newsletter Providers such as iContact, Constant Contact and Mail Chimp offer a low-cost solution to creating online forms, newsletters and emailable coupons that are template-driven.  Best of all, they allow you to set up multiple folders to collate your results.  This way you can isolate different demographic and psychographic profiles, test your offers and respond to each group with a unique message or offer.

2.       E-Card purveyors such as and provide online greeting cards with a touch of humor.   JibJab even has video cards that you can personalize by inserting headshots of you and your staff, or your client or prospect.  Never underestimate the value of humor to seal the deal.  Remember, one of the cornerstones of relationship building is to get the prospect to like you.  Who doesn’t like a card that makes them laugh out loud?
3.       Say it with video – Aside from that provides you with editing capabilities for every video you upload, there are a number of newer contenders that can even turn your stills into a compelling video, such as and full-on animation sites such as  that offer a user-friendly environment in which to create animated clips.  There are even services that specialize in video email, such as, and that makes sending videos via email a no brainer.
4.       Taking it to the next level with Send Out Cards – Want to automate greeting card and postcard mailings?  Like to reward your best customers with gifts? is an online card store and customer reward program rolled into one.  Who has the time to shop for cards and gifts?  With Send Out Cards you can create customized greeting cards and postcards with the click of a mouse.  Then you can add treats, gifts or even gift cards that reward your loyal customers.  If you want your best customers to feel the luv, this is one service that’s hard to beat.

While setting up a successful touch marketing campaign can be a bit daunting at the outset, remember that once established this system will automate your customer relations program.  Now don’t you wish it was that easy with your girlfriend?

Carl Weiss has been wooing prospects and customers since 1995.  He is currently president of WSquared Media Group and Jacksonville VideoProduction.  He also co-hosts Working the Web to Win on every Tuesday at 4pm Eastern.

The Ghost Says Boo!

by Carl Weiss

Less than a month after media pundits declared that Google+ was nothing more than a virtual ghost town, Google fired back claiming it has more than 100 million active users.  While this number still pales in comparison with Facebook's reported 955 million user base, this is still nothing to sneeze about.  In fact, for a number of small business owners G+ is the go to site when it comes to doing business online.  Let me count the ways.

In the first place G+ was not created in a vacuum.  It was designed by looking at the other social nets and taking the best and leaving the rest.  It was also built from the ground up to be able to integrate such things as photos, video and other multimedia components into your posts with ease.  No more cutting and pasting links.  Some of the other features that I find useful include:

1. Are all of Your Posts Picture Perfect?
One of the factors that most people downplay on social networks is the ability to edit a post after the fact.  Let's face it, nobody is perfect.  If  you have ever posted to Twitter or Facebook and belatedly realized that you had erred in creating the copy it isn't possible to go back and correct the gaffe.  On G+ all you have to do to edit a post after the fact is, click on the arrow to the right of the post which spawns a drop down, that enables you to edit, delete or lock the post.

2.Free Event Broadcasting
If you have an event that you would like to announce, one of G+ newest features allows you to schedule and broadcast any event to your audience.  Creating an event is simplicity itself. Click on the events tab on the menu at left and follow the drop downs. Better still is the fact that once broadcast the event will be synced with your Google Calendar.  Since Events are searchable by any Google+ user, this feature alone could help you build your audience much better than on Facebook, where only your friends will be permitted to view events that you have created.

3. Can you say Free Videoconferencing?
One of the most useful built-in features of G+ is Hangouts, which is a free videoconferencing facility that allows you and up to 8 friends to video chat and screen share all at the click of a mouse.  Personally, I find that Hangouts is a great way to interface with clients and prospects.  It saves on windshield time and provides the kind of live interface that most other companies charge money to use.  The connections are crisp and clear, the video stream is the next best thing to being there.  If you have more than 8 people with which you'd like to hangout, there is also a feature called "Hangouts on Air" that is a virtual video broadcast station that will allow you to be seen and heard by thousands if need be. 

4. Going Mobile
Google has also developed a number of mobile apps that not only take their social network for a spin, but also create a number of opportunities for savvy business people.  Hangouts for one is available as a mobile app. This means that neither you nor your clients and prospects need to be chained to the desk in order to teleconference.  The Events App not only will update your circles as to your upcoming event, but in "Party Mode" it also allows guests to show their photos and videos, which makes them much more likely to participate.

5. Google+ and all of their Brand Pages  post are fully searchable!
Google+  posts are searchable. If you own a business and want to generate traffic and add to your search ranking, G+ is the way to go. Facebook posts are not searchable and many other social nets limit their post search ability. Google is the search leader and owns G+. Where do you think they like to look for juicy posts about your products? Not Facebook, or LinkedIn.   As a rule, Google likes their own properties better than those of the competition. To top it off, Google+ is gaining a lot of industry support. Aggregation software giants like Hoot Suite and Hub Spot now offer support for it. This make it much easier for a business to automate their posts.

6. Who counts the beans at FB anyway?
Oh yeah, when it comes to the vaunted 900 million users touted by Facebook, that also includes more than 83 million fake, duplicate and feline profiles in the mix. Besides, it' quality and not quantity that counts when you are trying to build a following that is eager to interact with you. Google could  easily include the 400+ million Gmail users, all of whom are automatically G+ members, but instead  prefers to tout real numbers that you can count on.

A recent Business2Community post declared that, "Earlier this month Facebook updated their regulatory filing which now states that 8.7 percent of its 955 million monthly active users are actually duplicate or fake accounts.  Moreover, duplicate accounts make up 4.8 percent - equivalent to 45.8 million accounts.

When it comes to choosing and using a social network to build a business, it's all a matter of personal taste.  All I can say is that for my money, I'd much rather work with a ghost than a cat any day.

Carl Weiss is president of W Squared Media Group, a Jacksonville, Florida based firm that specializes in helping their clients work the web to win.  Carl's online radio show Working the Web to Win can be heard every Tuesday at 4pm Eastern on Blog Talk Radio.

Does WWW mean, “What’s Wrong with my Website?”

By Carl Weiss

So many websites.  So little space.  With Google owning more than eighty percent of the search market and more than a quarter billion websites currently vying for position, is it any wonder that so many small businesses are having difficulty gaining exposure online?  What many people do not understand is not only is the web getting ever more crowded, but it has undergone a sea change in the past few years that has fundamentally changed the benchmarks that search engine spiders look for in order to determine who gets on page one.  In last week’s blog, I explored the new face of search engine marketing and what website owners need to do in order to generate page one results. 

The problem is that being on page one is not the end of the rainbow by any means.  Ultimately the goal of any successful online marketing campaign is to generate new business in terms of leads and sales.  Even if you rank number one on page one of Google under a high traffic keyword, this won’t necessarily make the cash register ring.  Browsing habits and online expectations have changed over the past few years.  The old adage of “Set it and forget it” where a business owner could create a static site and walk away for two to three years no longer applies.  So if you absolutely positively need your site to turn clicks into cash, here are the points you need to address.

1.      What’s the ultimate purpose of your website?
The answer varies from site to site.  Some sites are designed to sell directly to a national or worldwide audience, while others are lead generation machines where prospects are directed to fill out a form or pick up the phone.  In order to accomplish either of these goals, the first thing you need to understand is that if someone’s first encounter with you is vie the Internet then there are several givens that you need to address.  In the first place, they don’t know you.  In the second they don’t trust you.  Last but not least, there are thousands of other firms like yours with which to do business, many of whom charge less than you.  If you are looking to instill confidence and avoid a bidding war, you need to show prospects up front that you are better than the average bear.  The best way to do this is via video.  If your homepage does not contain both an introduction and testimonial video, then don’t complain if you aren’t bringing home the bacon. 

2.      How have user likes changed in the past five years?
It used to be that prospects would come to a site and click through four or five pages looking to glean a little bit of information that would tell them whether to do business with you or not.  This is no longer the case.  Far from checking out subsidiary pages, most prospects are reluctant to click below the fold on page one.  Sad to say, but you have less than two minutes to dangle the bait, set the hook and reel in the fish.  That being said, you need to have the following 5 elements appear above the fold: Your phone number, your videos, your offer, your Google map and an auto responder form.  If you sell more than one line, you need to create a separate but branded page for each line.  If the prospect comes onto the site seeking apples, then everything from the text to the video to your offer needs to talk about apples.  If they come onto the page seeking apples and you are talking oranges, they are not going to take the time to look for the link that says “Apples.”  They are simply going to go back to the search engine and look for another site.  The secret to designing successful organic search engine campaigns is that you need to look at the keyword as the question and the landing page as the answer.

Another key to credibility is accountability.  If your site contains neither a physical address nor a phone number, why should anyone trust you.  For many consumers the letters WWW stand for Wile, Wild West where no claim goes unjumped and there is no Matt Dillon to police the frontier town.  Every day the public is inundated with stories about savvy cyber criminals whose only aim is to dupe an unwary consumers out of their cold, hard cash.  If you want a cyber-shopper to trust you, meet them halfway.  Prove to them that you’re for real.  Even if you don’t want to field phone calls you can set up a Google Voice number and then choose to either call back or text a caller.  The alternative is that if you fail to instill confidence in a customer, don’t gripe when they fail to purchase your goods and services.

3.      Are you trying to make it in this brave new world with a site that’s “Old School?"
Another thing that wastes cyberspace is to pretend that it’s 1999.  Go to your homepage and take a look at the first thing that grabs a consumer's attention when they encounter your homepage.  What’s the first thing they see?  Is it a nebulous graphic that could very well be a stock photo?  Is it some elaborate Flash banner that tells the consumer nothing about your business?  Where is your offer?  What is your USP and is it visible above the fold?  When was the last time you updated your website?  Where are your intro and testimonial videos? Do you have easily identifiable links to your blog and social networks?

All of these things are important to the buying public.  The public isn’t interested in graphically charged websites that fail to tell them what they need to know in order to make a buying decision.  They didn’t come to your site in order to be dazzled by your layout.  What’s more important is to hit them right between the eyes with your message.  In a nutshell, what’s visible above the fold needs to answer these simple questions: Who are you?  How long have you been in this line of business?  Why should I do business with you as opposed to anyone else?  The rest is just window dressing.

4.      Why don’t my visitors return to my site?
There is another conundrum faced by website owners: a lack of repeat business.  The reason that many people do not return to most websites is simply because there is no reason for them to return.  If your website doesn’t change from week to week, why should a consumer make a return trip?  They’ve already been there and done that.  If you don’t publish a blog on a weekly basis and don’t distribute online newsletters at least once a month, what possible reason does a consumer have to revisit your site?

 The bottom line when it comes to creating a dynamic and effective web presence is to be willing to accept the fact that if what you are doing isn’t working, then change the paradigm.  The most successful online marketers are those who are willing to embrace change and who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and start working the claim in order to make the most of this interactive multimedia broadcast station we call the Internet. 

Carl Weiss has been Working the Web to Win since 1995.  His online radio show of the same name is broadcast every Tuesday at 4pm Eastern.  He also owns and operates a number of successful online properties, including Jacksonville Video and W Squared MediaGroup.

If Google is the 800 lb gorilla in the room, then SEM is the banana.

By Carl Weiss

Everyone knows that Google is the most popular search engine in the world, dominating more than 80% of the search market.  As such, businesses large and small move heaven and earth in search of the elusive goal of being on page one.   The problem is that with more than 240 million websites online and an additional 130,000 sites being spawned daily, trying to obtain and maintain page one results is harder than ever. Today’s marketing experts in the know approach Google with its favourite food, SEM (aka search engine multimedia marketing). So today’s blog is intended to show you what it takes to please the 800 lb gorilla in the room named Google.

       On-Page SEO is no longer the only game in town - Ten years ago, all it took to create a page one result on the search engine of your choice was to have your site expertly optimized.  Before such icons as YouTub, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and all the rest of the web 2.0 crowd, on-page SEO was the only game in town.  Back then most website owners took a set it and forget attitude when it came to web design.  Once a site was up and optimized, there wasn’t all that much that you had to do to maintain your web presence.  While you still need to have your website optimized to rank highly on the search engines today, on-page SEO is only a small part of what search engine spiders rate when they visit your site.  Today off-page content is even more important than on-page optimization.  Read on.


        Blogging for Business – Though you wouldn’t know it to look at the blogosphere today, the world’s first Internet blog was written sometime back in 1997.  Two years later three friends who founded a San Francisco start-up called Pyra Labs created a tool called Blogger "more or less on a whim."  This company was later acquired by Google in 2003 and is currently one of the dominant blogging portals online. (The other being WordPress.)

The reason I bring this up is due to the fact that blogging is one of the quickest ways to jump onto page one of Google.  To be effective, the content has to be impeccably written and relevant, and the text and title needs to be optimized.

How do you optimize a blog?  The same way you optimize a website.  By taking the time to include pertinent keywords in your title and body text.  By making sure that your blog is properly crafted and edited.  Don’t expect a four paragraph entry to gain any ground with Google.  Think article length.  Also, you need to blog, blog and blog again.  Submitting a blog once in a blue Moon is not going to get the job done.  If you want to play the game to win you need to submit a blog every week. It also helps tremendously if your readers comment on and pass along your blogs on their social networks.  (This one factor alone is one of the holy grails of SEO. Succeed at this and the gorilla will reward you.)

       Social Posts – Here is another medium where the race goes to the swift.  Having a Facebook, Twitter or Google+ account means nothing if you don’t feed it on a regular basis.  And by regular, I mean daily. You also need to link your social sites to your homepage so that people can find them.  Last but not least, you need to actively work to build your following.  Sound like a tall order?  Not if you manage your networks properly.  This means setting a specific time to post to your nets.  It also means not over posting.  Once of the quickest ways to get unfriended is to harass your audience by posting every hour on the hour.  And don’t forget to provide your followers with that they want. Useful, informative, entertaining, concise content that solves a problem or saves time and/or money. No one joins a social network to be sold to. If you want your marketing message to be heard think word of mouth. Have your best customers tell your story in their posts and your message will spread like wildfire. One last note. Some social sites are favoured by Google, specifically those that are searchable like Twitter and Google+.

     Videos – Want a way to put all of the above mentioned points of contact on your search engine marketing list on steroids?  Embed or link a video.  Want a way to jump onto Google page 1 without a website?  Create a YouTube channel and start cranking out videos.  Many of your competitors are weak when it comes to this side of the equation.  Most businesses are lucky if they have a video or two on their site.  This is what is known as an opportunity.  Not only does Google love videos (Why do you think they bought YouTube?), but they only broadcast one or two videos on page 1 of most searches. If you want to take the high ground, start creating and posting YouTube videos at least twice per month.  You’ll thank me later for this.


      Reviews and Recommendations – What good does blogging and video production do if hardly anyone reads or watches them?  It’s kind of like preaching to the choir.  Plus, it does little to help you rise in the rankings.  So here is what you need to do to put the pedal to the metal when it comes to generating reviews, recommendations and distribution.  First you need to ask your customers, friends, associates and affiliated businesses to read and pass on your blogs and social posts.  You also need them to write reviews of any site that allows them, such as Google, LinkedIn and Merchant Circle, just to name a few.  When it comes to encouraging customers, it’s easier than you think.  If you have ever asked for and received a testimonial, then you can request a review or recommendation.  The first thing you need to do is create an email that provides them with the exact address.  If they have to hunt to post you can forget about it.  You may also wish to include an incentive, such as 10% off your next order.  It’s that important.  When it comes to motivating friends and affiliates, the best approach is the old, “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.”  Whatever it takes, this part of the SEM equation is vital to your success online.

       Links – This is just another indication of how much of a popularity contest SEM has become.  Not only do you need to generate content and have it distributed, but you also need to create both one-way and backlinks that show the search engines how popular your site really is.  To generate links, you’ll need to once again reach into your bag of tricks and start working your business and online connections.  Don’t forget to add links to your site on all your blogs, social networks  and videos.  Cultivate relationships with other bloggers, authors and article posts.  Remember, if you only generate two links per week, at the end of the year you will have more than 100.  This will put you on the map and in the game.

Does all of this sound like a lot of work?  Well it is if you are trying to go it alone.  That’s why you need to get organized and recruit some blog buddies who can act as a sounding board and contribute to the cause.  You can also outsource some or even all of the tasks involved.  If you are great at social but can’t write a blog to save your life, hire a pro.  They are not as costly to you as being stuck on page 6 of Google.  There are also Search Enigine Marketing clubs such as that can provide you with training, copywriting and people power to help keep you on top of your SEM game.  

The bottom line is if you want the gorilla to feed you, then you have to feed the gorilla on a regular basis.  There’s nothing worse than a cranky ape. So keep feeding him that SEM banana and Google will keep you smiling! 

Carl Weiss has been helping people work the web to win since 1995.  His companies include 
WSquared Media Group and Jacksonville Video.  He also co-hosts a weekly radio show on Blog Talk Radio called Workingthe Web to Win, that airs every Tuesday at 4 pm Eastern.