You’ve gotta love Seth Godin. Even if you hate him. He’s made a mini-empire out of writing little books that distill big topics into bite-sized chunks for busy business owners, marketers and executives. Take his latest,“Meatball Sundae”. Please.
It’s a great little book. Seth covers fourteen trends, many of them book subjects on their own, that represent a change “…in the environment we live in.” These range from “no insulation” between customers and companies, through outsourcing, the rise of Google and the birth of the Long Tail (itself one of my 12 Crucial Reads of the last 10 years). What Seth has done is break down the barriers between these trends and provide a field guide for marketers interested in using them to engage with customers and sell more effectively.
When I channeled Henny Youngman earlier, I wasn’t just making a bad joke. I was actually asking you. Please buy “Meatball Sundae”. It won’t take you much longer to read than this review. And it will do so much more for you.
Still looking for ways to make your business visible? Here’s another option.
Following my website editor comparison, I got an email from Matthias Henze at Jimdo, asking me to take a look. They’ve got a compelling offering overall, with some really interesting features.
Here’s the quick overview:
- Jimdo’s clearly the work of a team outside the US. On the positive side, you can work in one of four languages (German, English, Chinese and French) and Matthias tells me “…others to follow soon.” You can also set which of dozens of languages your site content is in, presumably to aid with local search. These are nice touches that I haven’t seen elsewhere.
- Jimdo offers 500 MB storage for free and 5 GB at the paid level.
- Business owners can easily embed code for Google Analytics, meta tags and meta description.
- Excellent support for accessiblity. While this is a more advanced area, it will help you with SEO and in support of disabled users. It also might be a legal requirement depending on your business.
- Jimdo offers multiple layouts including direct access to the HTML, CSS and images for full-featured editing. I’m not a fan of their default designs, personally, and it might require more design work than the others reviewed. On the other hand, if you have your own design, moving it into Jimdo looks dead simple.
- On free sites, Jimdo inserts AdSense ads of its choosing. Not ideal for many small businesses, but many not be an issue for all. The big concern is whether those ads display competitors and how Jimdo accounts for that. I’ve got a message out to Matthias Renze to see
- No email account at the free level. May not be an issue for everyone, but it’s something to consider
- Jimdo has a somewhat quirky interface, to my tastes, but it’s very simple once you spend a minute with it.
- You can add a personal domain, email address and eliminate the ads for $6/mo. I like this business model, personally. Coupled with their ad strategy, they should be able to succeed financially, assuming they get enough users.
So, how does it stack up compared with Weebly and WordPress, my favorites of the bunch? Very favorably. The folks at Jimdo have done a good job of covering the basics for their customers, with some really sophisticated options for those who need them. And if you’re in Europe or Asia and need an edtor that supports your language, Jimdo might just be the best solution for you. As with other solutions, I couldn’t find an easy way to get content out, so that’s worth investigating further. In either case I’d recommend upgrading to their Pro offering to eliminate the ads on the site, gain access to an email address and host your own domain. For $72 a year, it’s well worth the added brand value.
As before, the options available to small business owners to have a site that meets their needs blow my mind. We’ve come a long way from the days of FrontPage or hand-coded HTML. If you don’t have a website today, Jimdo, or its competitors will likely meet your needs. Given these options, why is your small business still invisible?
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Have you seen this New York Times article that essentially says bloggers don’t “…reach our core guest.” Of course that’s silly. First off, I’m a blogger and my wife, kids and I shop in Target all the time. The same is true for Amy at ShapingYouth.org, which I read regularly. Same with all the folks who pointed this article out on Twitter, Techmeme and all the rest.
The thing to remember is that on the Web your customers can find out all kinds of things about you. Some things you want them to find, some things not. I’m not suggesting Target has to treat bloggers different from any other customer, but why aren’t they at least treating them the same as any other customer? Even if the only folks reading a blog are that bloggers’ friends and family, aren’t they valuable customers, too?
Do you treat bloggers different from other customers? Better? Worse? Why?
I dread what keywords this article is going to bring my way, but, here goes…
While not my typical cup of tea (this is a family show, after all), SEOmoz has an outstanding guide to best practices for SEO from the porn industry. It’s (more or less) safe for work, and something that many small businesses could learn a lot from.
Porn is a funny business. As XMCP notes, it’s “a market that is frowned upon by 90% of the world, is legally not available to anyone under the age of 18″. But it still succeeds. Clearly, you could do worse than learn from these examples. And SEOmoz has provided a filter to teach the SEO practices without having to wade through the muck to get there.
I’m not endorsing the content of the sites evaluated (there are no links from SEOmoz). What you do in your own home is your business, as far as I’m concerned. But my definition of stupidity is being unwilling to learn from anyone. Even folks you wouldn’t bring home to mom. Check it out.
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately on Twitter, from my laptop and Blackberry. Same with Facebook. And Flickr. Your customers are too. But here’s the thing. I don’t love my Blackberry. I don’t love Twitter. I don’t love my laptop (though it is pretty choice). I downright hate Facebook. Same with your customers. Customers love what these things provide.
Are you selling your customers on your product? Or are you selling them what it does for them?
Is there an attention economy? Should you even care? I don’t think so.
Marketers have always exchanged money for tactics (i.e., advertising, commercials, copywriting and creative). Ideally, extremely effective tactics. TV advertising was once an effective tactic. When everyone watched the same TV shows, you were guaranteed to get attention since there was nothing else for folks to watch. So it looked, to old school marketers, that you were exchanging money for attention. But it wasn’t attention you were buying. It was the tactics designed to get that attention.
The same thing is true today of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. How cool is it that you’re buying exactly what’s on the customer’s mind? Pretty cool? But you’re still only paying for the tactic. Once the tactic stops drawing attention, you’ll be paying for an ineffective tactic. It happened to TV. It happened to print. It will probably happen to SEM, too, eventually. For instance, social search engines may render PPC advertising less effective, since they rely on people to provide the best suggestion, while the ads are automated. Would you trust a paid “social recommendation”? Me neither. Anyhoo, the point is whether your tactics:
- Work better than other things you can spend your money on
So the real question is, are you spending your money on the right tactics to capture your customers’ attention? And shouldn’t the first tactic be to make something they’ll care about buying?
Amazon stopped some advertising in favor of spending its money on free shipping. And there was much rejoicing. Starbucks used to (and may still) use marketing dollars to pay for training baristas. And so on.
Many tactics exist to get your customers’ attention. The best one remains giving them something remarkable.
 “Remarkable” is (damned close to) a registered trademark of Seth Godin. But he’s right.