Grow Your Business With Internet Marketing

The Internet has caused a massive change in the way all markets operate. Some entrepreneurs see major opportunities whilst others may find their companies are falling behind the competition. The Internet levels the playing-field for entrepreneurs. It also changes the balance of power between buyers and sellers. To see how you can profit from these new opportunities, you need to look for a marketing or advertising agency to leverage the power of internet marketing.

Psst: Heard The One About The New Internet Search Directory

No, it’s not a joke. It’s an exciting news item you may have missed in yesterday’s Montreal Gazette. Montreal is of course one of the giants in the Information Technology world. There have been many exciting major software developments done here. My favourite is the Copernic Desktop Search software, which beats the pants off the other contenders such as Google and Microsoft. I believe we may be seeing something similar in the Internet Search Directory field.

A few words of explanation may be in order. Internet Search Directories attempt to list all the worthwhile websites on the Internet. Since their number is measured in the billions, this is no easy task. Directories got a great deal of momentum when Google decided to count back links to a web page as a measure of the importance of that web page. A back link is another web page, which has a link to the web page of interest. As Google grew so did the interest in Internet Directories. Here was a place where web pages could get listed and create back links.

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Forget Having A Website – Go For A Blog Instead

The over-crowded Internet is a tough place for mid-sized and small companies to stand out. Google is indexing over 8 billion web pages now. That’s an awful lot of web pages competing for attention.

The Wall Street Journal in its has some good advice. It points out that Small Firms Find Blogs Useful for Recognition. Indeed if Blogs had come along before websites, then you would certainly have gone for a Blog. The software is easy to use. The format of Blogs is perfect for the search engines. They have lots of content and links to blog entries seem to grow like magic. Once you have a blog, you’ll wonder whether you still need that website.

What Do You Call An 800 Lb. Gorilla?


Well of course, you call an 800 lb. gorilla whatever it wants to be called. That came to mind in thinking about companies and how they choose their names. The company name or its domain name should be one of the best selling tools the company has. It should command instant recognition and awareness.

If you’re big enough and have enough money you can choose whatever name for the company you wish. So you can think up a completely new word, like Xerox or Sony or Nike, and then massively promote it. That’s one way that our gorilla friend might choose.

Even then, there are names and there are names. PwC Consultants decided it would go for the name, Monday. Thankfully the name seems to have disappeared without trace when IBM acquired PwC. You can read more on that sorry tale in an SMM article on company and domain names.

You’ll also read there about the launching of my favourite company name, Accenture . That was the choice of Anderson Consultants, who badly needed a new name. But to choose one that’s untypeable seems particularly eccentric. The only thing that can be said for that name is that it does come early in the alphabet.

Ideally, even if you’re a gorilla-sized company, you should choose a name that at least gives a hint of what you do. So names like Toys-R-Us, Second Cup or Chapters would seem to have the edge over names like FAO Schwarz, Starbucks or Amazon.

Of course if you have a more modest-sized company and want to use your cash and energy well, you’ll want to be selecting a company name that will really perform well for you. Someone hearing the name for the first time should instantly know what the company might do for them. Any thinking primate should find that a no-brainer decision.

Domain Names Are Only For Human Beings

You should be able to rely on something as prestigious as The Wall Street Journal. Yesterday in their online Startup Journal for Entrepreneurs, there was an article, How to Choose A Domain Name. There was a lot of good advice there in relation to domain names and human beings. However there was some advice that is a common misconception and might lead people to spend money needlessly. Kelly Spors, the Staff Reporter, wrote the following:

Using descriptive words in a domain name also might help propel you near the top of a keyword search for businesses like yours — something that can make a huge difference in traffic to your site.

Well it’s true that being top in a keyword search for your business can make a huge difference in traffic to your site. What isn’t true is that the domain name will be a big factor in that happening. Continue reading

Listening To Customers May Not Be Customer-Centric

Listening to Customers must be good. Clearly it’s much better than Not Listening To Customers. However Kathy Sierra in her blog, Creating Passionate Users, has a most though-provoking item, Listening to users considered harmful?

Kathy Sierra was most struck by meeting Pat Parelli, the founder of a hugely successful, multi-million dollar company that is involved in Natural Horsemanship. As she says, “His company is one of the few we’ve found that does virtually everything on our “reverse-engineering passion” checklists, without having first waited for the fans to do it themselves”. What caused her to think was this remark from Pat Parelli: “No, listening to our members was maybe 20% of it, but the other 80% was something else.” He then goes on to say that they know better than their customers what will give the best customer experience.

It goes back to that old concept in logical thinking of a Necessary condition as opposed to a Sufficient condition. Of course it’s necessary that you listen to your customers. But that isn’t sufficient to guarantee success. Something more is required. Being product-driven rather than customer-centric isn’t the answer. So where is the balance? Continue reading

Is Your Website “Unsafe At Any Speed”

Many website owners will instantly relate to the title of this Newsletter. Conversely many website designers will not understand the message in the title. What explains the difference in reactions? Well it’s the generation gap.

“Unsafe At Any Speed” is the short title of a book published in 1965 almost 40 years ago. The full title is “Unsafe At Any Speed; The Designed-In Dangers Of The American Automobile” written by Ralph Nader. His message was that some of the fine looking automobiles being produced by Detroit were killing people. One of Nader’s targets was the GM Corvair. GM was so incensed that they pursued Nader and tried to discredit him. He survived the attacks and eventually it was GM and others who had to react and modify their automobile designs. Continue reading

BrainWare ABC – Alzheimer, Bilingualism, Creativity

There is an interesting link among this A, B and C of Brainware, particularly here in Montreal. Tip of the hat to my brother, the creator of the BrainWareMap, for the starting idea on this. One superficial link is that they’re all topics that have featured in Radio programmes this week. However there is a more important link, that was totally unexpected. Continue reading



The world has changed. It is the age of Permission Marketing. People resent sales representatives knocking on their doors. They have voice boxes to prevent telemarketers and spam filters to reject unwanted email messages.

When a prospect is thinking about making a purchase, he or she may pull together a list of potential suppliers from the Internet. Your website becomes your sales representative in this process.

To ensure that your website will be a powerful sales representative when prospects come looking, it must have strength on four critical dimensions:


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Watch it, your SEO is showing

 SEO or Search Engine Optimization is one of the skills involved in developing the maximum sales growth with the support of your website. SEO helps to ensure that if a potential client searches say in Google for relevant key words, then your website features high in the list that is delivered by Google. That sounds straightforward but see what one of the most respected experts in SEO was writing yesterday. Danny Sullivan’s article was entitled “Worthless Shady Criminals: A Defense Of SEO“. Those are very harsh words but you’ll get the sense of the article from two quotes:

SEO doesn’t mean that you build a site to “trick” search engines. It doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice good design. It does mean that you consider some basic tips that even the search engines themselves will tell you to do.

So how did SEO turn into a synonym for many people to mean tricking search engines through bogus links, comment spam, and other unsavoury tactics? It’s happened because there are other flavours of SEO that have developed and dominated the impression of the industry.

Most of those involved in SEO use reputable methods, but there are some shady characters, even here in Montreal. Luckily it’s easy to spot their work although it sometimes takes a bit of digging. However the beauty of the Internet is that all is visible. The shady characters attempt to deliver to the search engines web pages that will rank highly while showing something different to human visitors to the website. If one of your competitors is consistently at the #1 or #2 position for important keywords, then it’s a good question to check why. If you do find they are using under-handed methods, then a message to the search engines may well see their website banned from the search engine until they clean up the mess.

Unfortunately some company presidents may not realize what shady tricks have been used to get their high Google rankings. I see many examples of such tricks. By coincidence I saw a very sad example yesterday. The company is located here in Greater Montreal. The true website opens on a statement from the owner and president, which runs along the following lines (modified to preserve anonymity):

The company’s roots go back almost fifty years, and we have offered the highest quality, tried and true products ever since. Many in the team have been with the company for the long term, sharing my commitment to the highest levels of quality, integrity, reliability and customer service.

Google has the company at #2 for the most important keyword phrase, but unfortunately the page listed by Google is not a visible page but one the SEO ‘expert’ had added to the website to get Google’s attention. It’s what sometimes is called a ‘doorway’ page. It’s not even very well done since it does not redirect you to the regular website. This bait-and-attempted-switch is clearly not at all in line with the high principles of the website owner.

Of course if you feel you want to use any method to get to the top of the Google rankings, then that is your choice. However bear in mind that you run the risk of being banned and whatever you do can be found out by someone out there: perhaps by your competitor.

Hot topics

So how do you think about hot topics? .. and what is a hot topic? A headline in yesterday’s Montreal Gazette suggested Brain scans show link between lust for sex, money. That’s from an article by Adam Levy in Bloomberg News. It’s all about a new field called neurofinance. Brian Knutson, a professor at Stanford University is the creator of neurofinance. Based on work with students, Knutson believes the same neural network governs the pleasure of orgasm, or of getting high on cocaine or in buying some booming stock like Google. These primal pleasure circuits in our brain will override the brain’s frontal cortex, where we use logic and reason to make decisions.

This seems heretical and quite counter to the rational expectations theory put forward by the 1995 Nobel Economics Prize winner, Robert Lucas of the University of Chicago. His view is that people make economic choices based on all the information available to them and learn from their mistakes. After all isn’t that what economics is all about. Economics has been dubbed the dismal science. Hot shares and lust just don’t seem appropriate economic terms.

Well perhaps economics is evolving. Knutson’s work may link in with a later Nobel Economics Prize winner. In 2002, Daniel Kahneman shared the Prize for his work on integrating psychological research into economic science. His work is involved with human judgment and decision-making under uncertainty.

He has demonstrated how human decisions may systematically depart from those predicted by standard economic theory. Together with Amos Tversky (deceased in 1996), he has formulated prospect theory as an alternative, that better accounts for observed behavior. Kahneman suggests that human judgment may take heuristic shortcuts that systematically depart from basic principles of probability. His work has inspired a new generation of researchers in economics and finance to enrich economic theory using insights from cognitive psychology into intrinsic human motivation.

So perhaps Knutson with his insights on hot topics such as lust and pleasure centres is just following in Kahneman’s footsteps. Perhaps some year we’ll be seeing the word lust in a citation for a Nobel Economics Prize. That dismal science tag really must go.

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