Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Inspiration vs. Implementation

Happy Halloween!

I spent some time on Monday working on a topical list of online marketing ideas for a non-profit organization. The organization in question has a national platform, an impeccable board, and a respectable cash flow. It's got a lovely website. It even knows to hire a respectable PR firm to promote its Really Big Events.

This does not mean that it can rest on its laurels. At least one of its members knows that there is always more that can be done. So they asked if I had any ideas.

I took a look at the website and did a quick analysis of it. In my opinion, it was lacking a few things that would make it attractive to most search engines. I made a short "grocery list" of suggested improvements, and explained their importance.

For instance, if you know the organization's name, and do a search for it in either Google or Yahoo!, their home website is #1. But other sites quickly fill in most of the Top 10 search results.

If, however, you don't know the organization's name, and look instead for keywords relevant to what they do, they don't show up anywhere. Their lovely website is completely under the internet radar.

A quick glance at the home page source code shows a lack of META tags, keywords, site description, and robot and googlebot instructions. While it's true that META tags are becoming less and less important to Google for search engine optimization, I would argue that you're doing any website a disservice by not including everything you can for a website's SEO.

I also took some time to make some general, topical suggestions for improving the organization's overall online presence.

One of the things I suggested they look at was their "Links." Their official site has links to several other websites. But none of those sites have reciprocating links.

It's no secret that links are one key to a large web footprint. In terms of establishing yourself online, the more people who link to you, the merrier.

I made suggestions about 8 or 10 topical marketing possibilities. I know most of them probably sounded obvious. But it's amazing how often the simple things tend to slip through the marketing cracks.

After my evaluation and after making my suggestions, I ended with this final observation: Ideas are a dime a dozen -- it's the implementation that counts.

Too often, clients are eager for inspiration. They want to hear what "great ideas" are out there for marketing on various levels. Yet, when the time comes for them to act on the inspiration, very little implementation actually occurs.

It's true that implementing any idea -- no matter how simple -- takes a bit of time initally. It's also true that most of my suggestions (making the most of e-mail signatures, utilizing free articles, maintaining blogs, establishing a presence in relevant forums...) are hardly "hard sell" techniques. Perhaps their very simplicity makes people suspect their usefulness...

My point is: I can't guarantee that something will work. But I can guarantee that nothing will happen to your website if you don't make the most of your online visibility.

Re: TG2BT...

I received this e-mail regarding yesterday's post (Too Good To Be True):

Read it! Loved it! Will share it at the next executive committee meeting.

I appear to have hit a nerve with at least one reader. One wonders if the X-Com members will recognize anyone they know...

Further bulletins as events warrant.