Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Questions about the best domain name for you

I’m coaching a client right now who wants to revise her moldering web site, which after 10 years needs freshening up. She’s been lovin’ a certain domain name. But, alas, it’s already been taken with the “com” suffix.

A similar name – also with the "com" suffix – has also been taken with a hyphen between the two words she likes.

She still loves her domain name – and she wants to know – should I go with the newer domain suffixes – like “us,” “biz,” and “info"?

I say no. You want have a name that is easy to say, easy to remember, easy to spell and promotes your brand. Not too long – too much to remember and type – and something that’s memorable. For the average person, "com" means a business domain name.

This article in Inc. magazine by Rhonda Abrams agrees with me and gives reasons why.

Before you start, consider what your brand  is. Here are some questions to ask:

Are you the brand, and your best product?
Is your name easy to spell and easy to remember?

You might want to use your name.

Is your name harder to spell and remember?

Is your business about something specific, like plumbing, garden products or Chinese food?

Then you’ll want to come up with a simple but memorable name that you use to make clear the products you sell.

And one last question:

Are you creative? (If you are, you will find the right one for you.)

Before you plunk down your money to get that domain name and start that web site, here are a few useful articles:

Monday, May 24, 2010

10 simple Google search tips

Google has become a verb when we're talking about searching the Web.

Here's an informative column from The New York Times with useful tips on how to get more out of your Google searches. It includes info on site specific searching, using the site as a calculator, using "or' when you aren't sure of the right key words and other helpful news.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Make every word count in your blog posts

Everybody's talking about blogging, and my colleague Karen Smith at Professional Networking Women of Racine is working to make her blogging time pay off.

Karen, who is affiliated with Send Out Cards -- a online  service that sends out greeting cards by postal mail for about $1 each -- asked advice about how to make the best blog for her business. Her business focuses on the importance of sending messages of appreciation to family, friends and business contacts. She's taken inspiration from the movement dubbed "appreciation marketing," after the book Appreciation Marketing by Tommy Wyant and Curtis Lewsey.

Like most bloggers, she has a tricky challenge -- to provide interesting content without sounding the sell-sell-sell shriek that is a big turn-off for most people.

Here are my suggestions:

  • Make every word count. Identify who your ideal blog readers are -- they should also be your  ideal customers -- and what they will find valuable.
  • Tell stories about the cards you've created with this online service and how they've been received by recipients.
  • Consider cute, interesting or poignant stories about your clients' experiences – but they should give you permission first to share these stories. This is a great reason to get back to your clients and appreciate their successes and good ideas.
  • Tell stories of your own appreciation of others and how it enhanced personal and business relationships.
  • 10 tips for expressing customer appreciation
Finally, keep posts short. Most people don't have time to read long posts – and they take time to write anyway. Often longer writngs can be broken into two or three posts, which gives you more posts to spread out over time. Your time is valuable too.

At some point you’ll have to evaluate if the blog is getting business or helping you in other way – getting supporters, contacts, encouragement and the like.

Here's Karen's blog, a work in progress. She may appreciate your comments, too.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

When a client wants to "friend" you, what to do?

What happens when a client want to "friend" you on Facebook or some other social media site?

For those professionals, including myself, who follow a professional code of conduct and want to be mindful of questions of dual relationships, this is a good question. Complications go further when many therapy, counseling and helping professionals are using these rapidly growing sites like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter and other lesser-known social sites for marketing purposes.

Dual relationships are not unethical in themselves but can cause complications. Here are thoughts -- and questions to consider -- about how to respond when clients send "Friend Request" to their psychotherapists from the Zur Institute.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Loaded Web will list your blog, a good thing.

Are you a blogger?

To get the widest coverage, it helps when your blog is listed in directories on the Web. This blog is affliliated with Loaded Web,   the only proper geographic blog directory with no strict categories. Submit at the site for more traffic for you.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The importance of a financial plan as part of your marketing plan

Just this morning, our professional women's networking group was discussing the importance of having a financial plan.

I tuned right into this discussion, because I've been preaching the importance of a marketing plan to my coaching clients -- in particular, a budget for marketing and advertising. So many bright-eyed enthusiastic health professionals think that enthusiasm is enough to drive the business. And, yes, although enthusiasm is expecially important, you'll also need to pay your bills while you build your business.

Even most frugal marketer needs a budget, if only for business cards, a telephone and a notebook to write your plans and ideas. More likely, there are more related expenses: signage, brochures, advertising costs for publications and places that reach your  ideal client and e-mail, a Web domain name and web site. If you offer gift certificates, there will be costs. If you need to rent an office or work space, plan for a minimum of six months of rent payments. You'll also want to consider:

Pricing of products or services
Permits and licenses
Required continuing education
Fees related to networking (membership dues, the cost of meals and coffee, driving and gasoline expenses)
To get you into the planning state -- or to help you get your feet stablized if your business is floundering -- check out the upcoming businss planning series sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Parkside's Small Business Development Center, Kenosha. The 14-week class, presented  with the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation,  is designed to walk you through the business planning process so you'll know what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.
"Small Biz Kenosha" will hold its orientation on Thursday, Feb. 4, from 6-8 p.m. at WWBIC's Kenosha office, 600 52nd St., Suite 130. Classes will run Thursdays from 6-9 p.m. from Feb. 11 to April 15. "Small Biz Racine" will hold its orientation on Monday, March 1, from 6-8 p.m. at CATI, 2320 Renaissance Blvd. in Sturtevant. Classes will be held Mondays from 6-9 p.m. from March 8 to June 7.  To register, call (262) 898-7438 or kspranger@racinecountyedc.org.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How to get your idea to spread, courtesy of Seth Godin

Seth Godin is an ideas-filled entrepreneur and blogger who thinks about the marketing of ideas in the digital age. His newest interest: the tribes we lead. Here, in a lecture from my favorite TED program, he talks about  how to get your idea to spread.  (He asks, "Is it remarkable?") He's talking about creativity!