Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Web Designers, Web Developers; Are they the same?

Understanding The Internet By Understanding What People Do

To the a newbie, a web designer and a web developer are one and the same. When you understand what they do then you will understand the difference.

A web designer creates websites, they organize your information, create page lay outs. They put the client’s ideas based on the information they are provided to provide an online electronic picture. There goal is always to represent the clients’ ideas and to be aesthetically pleasing as possible.

Web designers must be able to…

:: Layout web pages using HTML, XHTML, XML, and other languages
:: Use HTML (hand code), JavaScript and CSS
:: Represent client’s ideas, needs and expectations on a web page.
:: Develop simple navigation elements (such as navigation bars)
:: Use design tools such as Photoshop
:: Fit into a web development team
:: Create Flash and animated programs
:: Understand and implement web standards
:: Understands Search Engine Optimization

Some web designers understand basic theories of Internet marketing but they are usually not versed in to any great degree in the nuance of marketing online. It is not a requirement for web design. Web designers are usually a one man show. However, because of the nature of web design a good designer should have skills that overlap with that of a web developer.

In an earlier post we examined some of the available web designers offering their services in the Trinidad Express. Check out that post here.

What does a web developer do?

A web developer also design websites but they do much more. Developers are more focused on high end complex websites that require a team of web designers to complete a project. As a rule most large corporations only do business with web developers although in developing countries some large corporation still engage individual designers.

A web developer functions include getting his team to take a site from concept, including layout, appearance and functionality for the target audience. Their goal is to make the layout as simple as possible yet sophisticated enough to attract the targeted prospect. Other functions or team members required to develop an effective ecommerce site are…

• E-commerce strategy manager
• Web programmer
• Interface designer
• Product development manager
• Web producer
• Website security administrator
• Content developer

There are many mistakes a business owner can make in developing ar web presence. Avoiding this One is easy, now that you know the difference. If you still do not have a web site. Do you think you need a designer or a developer?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Twitter Traffic Strategy For Local Businesses




Auto-Pilot Viral Marketing For Offline Businesses

Twitter is big. With some hundreds of thousands of new people joining Twitter each day, it is one of the largest and fastest growing social information sharing sites presently.

Twitter has created an avalanche of opportunity to generate traffic to your website.

If you have been on twitter for any length of time you are probably like me where you see oodles of twitter apps (applications) that either promise to get you tons of followers or helps you manage your twitter account.

Many of these applications are time consuming and require you to take a repetitive action. I forget and the result is no more traffic for my site. In short, they did not work for me. I want traffic from the Caribbean, especially Trinidad and Tobago and that has always been a challenge. That has changed.

I recently came across a Twitter app that made a lot more sense. It did not require that I memorize when I needed to visit a site to get followers and generate traffic.

Traffic Rush is helping me access and attract targeted regional and local traffic on auto pilot. In my opinion, it's the fastest and most efficient way to get a flood of laser targeted visitors to any site.

I have been able to spread my marketing message virally in a very short time.

All I did was sign up for a free account, enter a user name, choose the category online business marketing and pasted a code for a widget on to my blog. That’s it.

Stop overworking yourself to get target traffic. The price is right on this one, just observe the results.

Click on the Link and Create Your FREE Account NOW!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Are You A Social Network Addict?

Social networks kill time. One minute to check an email can turn into a couple of hours in a blink... seems that way.

They all do, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or any of the ones you can name.

Would agree that the biggest offender of them all is Facebook?

Facebook is addictive. Officially recognized as a soft-addiction, it pulls addicts into a maze of interesting applications, likes, and comments by friends and “friends” of “friends”.

On Facebook alone there are have a few million addicts hailing from almost every country in the world. They follow an electronic path on a daily basis to get their daily fixes. Some like the games, the apps, the comments or just to see what’s new. Social networks are an acceptable addiction to any internet user but an addiction all the same. So how do you kick the habit?

Well you may not want to, like most addictions there must be a very good reason to stop. But there is something you can do to reduce the time spent on social network sites like Facebook. It’s called “Hubze”. Strange name, but find out how it works to save you time. Is that money?

View the video below or if not available go here.


video

Get your Hubze Card

Why Are Businesses In T&T Still Using Web1.0?



There is ample evidence to confirm the hypothesis that business owners in Trinidad and Tobago do not fully appreciate how the internet can affect their bottom lines.

The major internet service provider in Trinidad, TSTT, has done extensive research to determine exactly who is online but...

Let's not rely on statistic because it only tells one side of the story. You should be aware, however, that according to TSTT research there are approximately 224,000 people in this country connected to available internet service providers. In a population of approximately 1.3 million people that represents just under a third of the population. What are the implications?

It can be deduced that the online market is large enough to include clients for any business. The fact that almost one third of their potential local customers are connected to the internet is enough reason for every business to pay attention to what's happening online.

It's an unwise business decision to ignore this balloning online segment of the population. In fact, right now we know that online connections are increasing exponentially. in a few years, with the reducing cost of access to ISPs, the number of Trinbagonians online may increase even faster and in greater numbers than what has been forecasted. Doesn’t it make sense that businesses begin the process now?

Here is the thing. Unlike the general population, most businesses are connected to the internet, most not all. The problem is that the majority is still using Web1.0 strategies. That is, local businesses primarily use the internet for sending and receiving emails.

In addition, most of the existing websites, the exception being entertainment sites, are not interactive and not developed to convert visitors to paying customers. The more astute local online businesses drive traffic to their sites with the primary goal of generating revenue from advertisers.

Only a small handful has any definable online business model.

The next time you read the Trinidad Express, Guardian or Newsday scan the advertisements and see for yourself the number of ads with web site addresses. You will find quite a few with email addresses which tell you that the company or business owner is connected to the internet but does not have a web site.

The majority, however, even with full page ads, have no email or web address.

Also take a look at the business cards in your pocket or pocket book. How many of them have a web site or email address? I would guess very few.

So why would a business want a website? If the value is not apparent, it becomes a non-issue. If newspaper ads are getting business new customers; why worry about the internet? The answer is leverage. Consider this…

1. If you purchase a classified ad the newspaper charges you for every letter and they tell you what you can and cannot say. In other words they censor your ads. With a website you can add pages, hundreds or thousands of them at no additional cost other than what the designer charges per page.

2. For the price of a full page newspapers display ad or a one minute TV ad with a low frequency, you can have a full year of your company's information displayed online. The cost, your domain name and hosting, less than $100 USD. Your only challenge is getting people to visit the site.

3. The internet allows you to track everything that happens on your site. Every detail that is too combersome to track on any other mediums is trackable online. You can easily find out how many people visited your site, how long they stayed and what they are actually interested in. Impossible with any other advertising media source.

Essentially what is being suggested is NOT that businesses stop advertising on the other media but to leverage each ad so that they maximize the benefits. It will not cost one penny more to add your web site address or email address to an ad.

People who are connected and really interested will find you on the web and be more inclined to visit your business. The internet is just one tool in your arsenal and although it must be employed wisely; it cannot be your only strategy.

There is still a large segment of the population whose only connection to a business is either physical or phone but as we can see that is rapidly changing. So continue to place ads but leverage each. And while we are on the subject of ads, please ensure that every ad you place is a direct response ad, anything else is just a waste of your advertising budget.

Your choice as a business owner is to wait for the evolution of the internet to sweep you online or make the decision that you will be there when it reaches critical mass. As with everything else, there is a learning curve, the sooner you start the more experience you will have online and the more you will know. Find out how simple it is to do. Get a copy of the Internet Manifesto and be notified when the Trinidad and Tobago Special Report is completed. Go here.


Thank you for reading, comment if you feel so inclined.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Simple Sample of The T&T Web Market



Today I sipped the market. Live face to face intraction with busines owners. Not to sell services but more to gauge their perceptions of the internet and a website. What I found was very interesting.

My approach was simple and semi scripted. After identifying the owner and introducing myself: I asked...

Do you have a web site?

Ok, I admit a sample size of 10 is too small to draw any serious conclusions from but this was not a full fledge scientific study, merely a peep into the minds of 10 Trini bueiness men. The results were as follows;

3 out of 10 had a Web site,
5 out of 10 had an email addresses on business card/stationary
5 out of 10 had a phone number only

Of the three businesses with web sites only one actually was a professionally built site. That means that of the 10 business owners that I collected cards from, 90 percent did not have a web presence and 50 percent of them did not have an email address on their business stationery.

On more than one occasion people responded yes to my question and proceeded to give me an email address. One business man angrily said he would have to hit someone on the head with a computer. It was alright at home, he said, but the store; never. Another attempted to convince me that the free domain and host was enough for him because according to him,” its hard enough operating offline”
.
If that small sample is indicative of the larger population then the digital divide, which I mentioned in my Special Report, is a lot wider than anticipated. As a marketer, that translates into more education, more information, a longer learning curve and ultimately more expensive market to penetrate.

The good news is that with creative guerilla marketing coupled with the intellectual level of the population and the invasiveness of the internet; it is not impossible to forecast that the observed trend could be reversed within 48 months. The business class in most societies has always been the innovators, the leaders in driving the citizenry to adopt new mediums it will be no different here.

Even with no guerilla marketing action Trinidad and Tobago will reach the level of internet sophistication. To a large extent it depends on how soon the business community adopts a more aggressive embraced of this new medium.

It will come to pass one way or the other; in four, five or ten years but it will. That depends.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Do The Trinidad Express Really Care?



You can always improve on something, the technology is different today, but I would leave it well alone. If there was something that was incomplete, that might be interesting... because I do that on my website.
Dave Davies


It would be totally remiss of me if I did not add my two cents to the bacchanal about the new Trinidad Express website. This week comments galore started hitting the social media about the new site. It did not look good for the Trinidad Express. It seems as if almost everyone hated it but that was just the general perception. The research says it is a little different.

Using the 46 comments on the Express website as a sample, 23 of them voiced serious displeasure with the site and 17 actually congratulated the Express for the good work they had done. Four had mixed feeling and two asked questions. Statistically there was not a significant difference between people who liked the new site and those who hated it.

It all boils down to purpose. What is the purpose of the site? I would guess the primary purpose is to generate revenue from advertisers. People forget that the Trinidad Express is primarily a business and that the newspaper industry has been steadily losing market share to the internet. Nobody wants to pay a dollar anymore for a newspaper. When people understand that the purpose of the site is to generate revenue not provide free news to the general public then they could appreciate the Express position.

Read more here

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why Blog?


"The only thing you take with you when you're gone is what you leave behind." John Alliston

I think this is explaining time. Time to explain to you more than myself why I continue to write and publish this blog. You do not know but when I started this blog the intentions was not what it is today. In fact, I just started it because it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I did my first post on November 08 it was Caribbean Blogging from Trinidad

Here was my thinking. I needed an outlet for my writing, one of the worst things anyone could do is to keep writing without the hope of it ever being read. This reminds me of a neighbor, an 82 year old man who lives a very really secluded, almost eccentric lifestyle.

Read more here...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

These Local Web Desigers Need Your Business


Do you need a web designer?

I do, and that's the reason I found myself searching the classified this Sunday trying to find one that stood out. I was looking for one that was obviously market savvy. In the middle of it all, it hit me, this can truly be a learning experience. Why not ask for your opinion.

Below you will find URLs for 7 web designers whose ads appeared in the Trinidad and Tobago Express under Web Services last Sunday March 14, 2010.

The fact that there are so many indicates that there is a demand in the market for websites or that there are an over supply and the ads were from the more proactive designers attempting to source the little demand that exist. So let’s see how well they present their cases.

Read more here

Monday, March 15, 2010

Caribbean Web Site Scam Alert


A True Story Of An Actual Scam

“There is honor among thieves.” Proverb

Read This And Tell A Friend You May Short Circuit A Scam

The post today is about a despicable individual who has been scamming Caribbean business owners for the past 6 years. Sadly, there is nothing the authorities can do because the Caribbean islands are not protected under US laws. The company behind the site claims to have offices in South Florida and Virgin Islands.

The Background

The story unfolds when I was contacted by a former client and friend. She had sent an invitation to me to join her new Facebook group. The name of the fan page said it all “IslandYellowPages is a Scam: if you have been Scammed join this group" If you were scammed please join the group.

Being sensitive to these things I emailed her a short message asking what happened and at the same time informing her that I could not join her group. The reasons were simple, I was not scammed and it will send the wrong message for me professionally. I did promise to help her in any way I could. This is the result of that promise.

She was livid, she sent me an email promising to get back at them using a number of revenge tactics that she described in detail which I prefer not to share here. She was ademant that the company and the individuals responsible be exposed in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean and the World.

The Investigation

This is what I found out when I looked into it...

You will need to follow along and click the links below so you can see yourself. My friend provided the links that identified the company as IslandYellowPages.net and the named perpetrator, a Mr. David Randall Phillip, 6021 Williamsburg Way Tampa Fl. 33625. You can read the blog post here outlining all the sordid details.

The Perp's Web Site

I followed the link to IslandYellowPages.net (the one above) a website that gives the impression of being a Yellow Page Directory with a listing for all the islands in the Caribbean and the Philippine islands. Strange... is not the Philippines Islands continents apart from the Caribbean islands?

The site is positioned as a vacation directory with Hotels and Resorts listings.
Clicked on the navigation button labeled “Categories” and it brings up a listing of too many categories to read. Using the search box on the top, I typed "gifts" and used the dropdown box to pick out Trinidad.

The Client Web Listing

The search located 6 businesses in Trinidad. Next I clicked to see the website. Ok, if you did not follow the path I took still take a look at one of the sites if you are on there. Not a website at all but just a listing page with a link to a web site that does not exist.

Every other business listing had the same page. Out of curiosity I clicked back and did other searchs. I searched “cars” more listings. “Hotels” no listings, “resorts” no listings. Why would a vacation site not have one hotel or resort listings in Trinidad?

Riding On The Coattail Of A Legitimate Site

I’m no Sherlock but then I probed a little deeper into the site;s "Advertising" page. What I observed is that the site blatantly aligned itself with the real “Caribbean Yellow Pages the online Caribbean telephone directory.

Compare the sites yourself by using the two previous links to see how they make reference to Caribbean Yellow pages interchangeably with Island Yellow Pages. I’m sure that the Caribbean Yellow Pages company officials will love to see this page.

The Amazing Price Per Listing

Now here is the kicker. All the listings are allegedly purchased at a price of $954 USD per listing. That’s approximately $6000 TTD. The straw that broke the camel back for my friend was after about 3 months the company contacted her and demanded an additional payment of $500USD to keep the listing. That one page was going to cost her $9000 TTD to stay up for 12 months.

As I said, this company is preying on business owners in all the Caribbean islands and there are no authorities here to take action against them. As you may have read it is already in the hands of the Florida State Attorney and the Better Business Bureau.

Even if this was not a scam, the businesses listed on this site are not receiving any value for their money. Not only are these pages buried too deep in the site but the pages do not point to any business website or even have an email address. The only contact is a phone number.

Honestly, I was totally surprised to see the number of local businesses that had listings on this service. As I have noted in other post the digital divide in the Caribbean is wide and unscurpulous people are taking advantage of this lack of internet know how.

Even if you did not believe what was written on the blog about the owner of this site, the site itself provides ample proof its using unethical online marketing tactics to scam visitors.

What You Need To Do

Help spread the word about this site, Tell everyone and anyone you know about it, if you or your friends are not being scammed they may have friends who are. Copy, paste, tag and comment on this article so that all of your friends become aware of this scam.

This is worst than being infected by a computer virus. I commend my friend for being bold enough not to melt quietly into cyber space and keeping this a secret.

If you are on FB tag your friends to this note, not only in Trinidad and Tobago but the Caribbean.

Every business person you know should be alerted. If you have the time search the site for businesses you know, make sure none of your friends are being scammed. My search revealed a number of Trinidad businesses listed. Check by island and let your friends know how to check or direct them to this article.

Be Careful About Phone Calls

Also take note of how the site owner tries to scam companies by slapping up a quick listing after a phone conversation then attempting to collect payment. If you should ever be contacted by this company, act accordingly. Do your friends a favor let everyone know about this.

If you're on FB and was tagged on this note; cut and paste it into a note of your own and tag the people who you think this could help. Share it with your friend or make a comment. These people must be stopped. Let’s help get the word out.

This is a blog post on the Caribbean Blogger with a and a Facebook Note on Guerilla Marketing Fan page.

For an alternative quick money making site option, Try this.

Friday, March 12, 2010

What’s Wrong With Your Business Model?



Assumptions and Leveraging

"The first layer of the perfect business model is to build a business with reliable revenue" The Attention Deficit Workplace: by Mitch Thrower


This is a continuation of a critique of the ReachCaribbean.com website. The intention is not to give a negative impression of the site but to have others learn from it so that they could look at their own site to determine if it conforms to generally accepted marketing practices.

Hopefully in the last post you got some ideas you can use on your site.
Today as promised we look at the site’s business model. The idea here is how the site converts a visitor to a paying client.

Right of the bat, I have to say that the “Getting Started” button is great. It tells a confused visitor to ignore the rest of links and start here. So let’s click that link.

Fortunately, their business model is outlined in the steps they assume a prospect to take.

The first step in the model is to determine if the prospect qualifies for the services.

Keeping in line with that, the model requires the prospect to fill out a Customer Needs Analysis CNA . It’s funny that they used the word “customer” the implication is profound but not for this post.

The information requested for the analysis is more like information for a customer assessment. There’s really nothing for the customer to analyze. It’s just marketing data required to plan an ad campaign.

What would have been more effective here is a real data so that the customer could analyze the results of past campaigns. Here is how their customer needs analysis is presented.

First ask yourself the following questions?

1. What would you like to achieve?
2. Who is your target audience?
3. Do you have a budget? If so, what is it?
4. What territories would you like to advertise in?
5. What is your media preference?

As a prospective customer, do you really want to ask yourself these questions? Absolutely, but do you want to share it with the site owners? Maybe, but at this point the information on the site does nothing to assure you that doing so will get you the results you are seeking.

The assumption here is that being a well respected organization they will not request any information that was not relevant to your needs and everything you provide is strictly confidential. Do you believe that?

In my opinion, there is only one question ReachCaribbean.com would like answered on that “customer needs analysis”. Guess which question. Hint it was so important there are two parts to the question.

Now think about this, have you ever gone to the provision market and the vendor said: “Tell me the meal you are going to cook, who you are cooking for, where they live and how much you have to spend on provision today”? Think you would buy that provision?

Let’s for a moment assume that you are desperate there is nothing to cook at home and you need to buy advertising. You download the CNA form and complete it. You are now at the third step in the process; you register.

Before you do, however, you are advised that that you will be contacted by an agent to get a quote on the Customer Needs Analysis you submitted. The assumption is that you have already made a buying decision, even without a price. Final step done, you can now cross your fingers and wait for a call that will supposedly give you the info you need and hopefully complete the transaction.

That’s the ReachCaribbean.com complete business model. Here are a few of the challenges the model faces:

1.It assumes that if the visitors are not ready to buy they are not valuable therefore there is no attempt on the site to capture the names of “interested” visitors who is just comparing alternatives.

2.It relies too much on the credentials of the Express for its credibility. There must be more convincing real reasons to get a “real buyer” to take the first step.

3.It also assumes that being the only kid on the block that provides this service most serious ad buyers would not hesitate to complete the “customer needs analysis”. Yes, they can reach 6 million people in the Caribbean but how many of the 6 million normally reaches back to the advertised businesses?

Well they did say to assume is to make an... you know the rest of that.

The recommendation is that ReachCaribbean.com should leverage the credentials of the Express but provide more proof on their site of their effectiveness in producing results for the advertiser.

The business model needs to be modified. It should be a smooth slide that delivers pre-qualified prospects into their laps instead of having the information loaded visitor climb one marketing step after another.

That’s it for today. If you have any additional comments or just want to make a suggestion please feel free the floor is yours. Until next week.

Be well.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Because of the USP and Headline, this Home Page Gets 5 out of 10


"When the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch" Unknown

An Online Marketing Critique of ReachCaribbean.com Home Page

A home page is the most important page on any site. The content will either pull or repel a visitor. When a visitor leaves quickly it's referred to as a "bounce". Unless you get it right here, all the valuable content you have in your site will never be seen by a visitor. You must make every word count.

Let’s look at the ReachCaribbean web site from a marketing perspective. Yesterday I said we would step into the site to examine it but instead today we will keep our focus entirely on the home page.

Why ReachCaribbean.com?

This site was chosen for no other reason than it represents, or should represent, a model of what an effective Caribbean or Trinidad and Tobago web site. This is the starting point of many advertisers and their experience should be literally a slippry slide into a transaction.

The assumption is that the company was not shy about cost when they decided to build their site. It is also assumed that a lot of thinking went into this final version of the site and that the designer did not just build the site and drop it into the lap of the management and statr.

Take a look at the site yourself.

Just so that you can follow along with me, pull up the home page of the site here. As you can see it looks pretty impressive. You would probably have to be a web marketing student to see anything wrong with the way it looks. Now here are the online marketing challenges...

There are exactly 24 links that a visitor can click to view info inside the site. Each link opens a new page. Some of the links on the side bar open to empty pages.

It makes you wonder why these links were included. If it was because information could be added at a later date. Why were they not left out until then? Web visitors get bored quickly, if the have to keep clicking to find what they want' they are gone unless they are already sold on the product or you.

Plus, all the impressive design loses points because of the one broken link. Click on the last item on the list unless it was my computer I think you will find it is still broken. It could stay broken indefinately unless someone points it out to them.

If this site is being maintained by professionals, someone is not looking.

Only 6 of the links are genuine navigation links and they are duplicated by some of the links on the side bar. Ok, so what’s the big deal with that?

According to marketing intelligence, the human mind, when given too many choices, gets confused. A confused mind acts irrationally; reduces focus and predictablity.

You may remember the old stories about the spider and the web. Your site is the web, when a visitor lands on your home page they should stick like spider food. There are a number of reasons a visitor will not stick but "bounce" from your site. And dispite what you may prefer to think, the lost visitors only represent a small percentage of the total visitors.

This mistake have been easily avoided at the design stage of the site, if the designer or the client was aware of that small bit of information… Here it is...

The online marketing rule of thumb is that you should not have more than 7 links from a home page and the 7 includes all your navigation buttons. Think about it for a moment, your visitor can only visit one link at a time. If you limited the choices you are in a better position to engineer the experience the visitor has on your site.

The obvious recommendation here is that the number of links be reduced and more focus be brought to the ste's navigation. As it is, the strength of the home page is diminished with all the links.

It is commendable that the site has a unique selling proposition, USP that is supported and positioned by a compelling headline.

The background image is appropriate and does not reduce the legibility of the text. Generally the recommendation is to stay with a black text on a white background. This one works because of the white colored font that is used. Designers are awesome.

You may differ but in my opinion, the floating data box is annoying, the information it contains is too important to be floating all over the page. This is a case where flash is being used just because it's available; it adds nothing to the page. This is data not a picture and it should not be floating around and disappearing when the mouse is moved; nice but useless.

That's it for today. Tomorrow we start drilling into the assumptions the site makes and the business model it employs to process potential clients.

Thanks for reading again and be well.

Marketing In the Caribbean


We Are Still Babes In The Proverbial Online Woods

Nations, like men, have their infancy.
Henry Bolingbroke

Without a doubt the intellectual level of people in the aggregate living in Trinidad and Tobago is comparable and may surpass that of more developed countries. This intelligence has transferred itself to the Internet even though the growth of internet users in this country is small, (22-30%), we still have a solid presence. But we do have our weaknesses.

Site content is important but ultimately it has to support a business model that generates leads, conversions, some type of free subscription to a newsletter, announcement list or anything that can be perceived by the visitor as valuable.
It makes absolutely no sense to buy, push or beg for traffic and not have a mechanism in place to capture visitor information.

No business site should be online without a request for visitors’ information. This is important so let’s repeat it; every business web site must have a strategy to capture visitors information. If you have a site now that does have one, revisit it and consider the purpose.

Even with the right target market only a few would eventually convert to sales. It is a filtering process that seeks only the people who are interested enough to take an action,

Let us take a look at one of the better known web sites in Trinidad and Tobago, The Trinidad Express Newspaper online. (A friend of mine once told me that I should never mention names because I could be sued.) Is that really possible?
Ok, the Express needs no introduction in T&T.

But it’s not the Express Newspaper site we will look at. It is a subsidiary site; ReachCaribbean.com CCN, their advertising arm.

Take a minute and look at the site and their unique selling proposition “The Premium Media Hub For Advertising In the Caribbean”. And a head line that reads “Reach over 6 million new customers easier than ever before… One place, On Currency, One System.

ReachCaribbean mission is to provide the advertisers with a regional reach connections in every island in the Caribbean and Guyana. Their advertising resources include newspaper, radio, TV, magazines and web advertising.

They cover islands from Jamaica to Trinidad and Guyana with a market of approximately 6.9 million people of which 5.5 million are adults and a GNP per capita of $3500 to $36,000 USD and the age range of 15-64 numbering 4.2 million people.

It did not say how many of these people are online and the Web advertising link only provides links to other Caribbean newspapers.

In all fairness, they did provide an explanation on their “About us” page. The reason they gave is valid because there is a peculiarity of Caribbean culture with respect to sharing business information. In their words:

“The task of obtaining information on the Caribbean is a difficult one. We will be the first to confirm that to you. The region's business culture does not encourage the sharing of sales information, consumer insights and advertising spend.

Why? For one, most of the companies invest great sums of money privately to obtain research to either confirm their hypotheses about their target market or to find out new insights into their lifestyles today.

So to put it in a nutshell information reports like the TOP 100 advertisers of the Caribbean and the biggest earners of the year are just not published and updated annually. ReachCaribbean hopes to influence this practice in years to come.“


Agree with it or not, this is the environment in which we operate.

Tomorrow we will step inside the ReachCaribbean web site and examine their online business assumptions, model and strategy.

Check the post out tomorrow.

We are still seeking responses to the Fan Survey, it only takes two minutes.

Be well.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I’m Shy About Marketing Online Too but…




“Shyness has a strange element of narcissism, a belief that how we look, how we perform, is truly important to other people.”


I was just reading a response to the Fan Survey on FB which was designed to gauge the marketing expertise of the GMC Ltd fan page. One of the respondents struck me as being a typical noobie. I think it’s because it reminded me of myself when I started out. According to the responses the person was absolutely new to online marketing.

Most of us at some point are but it was the response to the last question in the survey that caught my attention. On question #5. In your own words, one or two if possible; which two areas of marketing are you weakest?

The response was “I’m Shy”. What would you say” take the Fan Survey here.

An answer, in my opinion, that is perfectly honest. Remember the survey is totally anonymous, even I don’t know who the answer came from. It’s honest because I remember being there, in fact, sometimes I’m still a little shy with some of the things I do. I’m shy but I do it while being shy then look at the results.

There is a point where you think, “Ogosh, what if someone shoots down the idea”. “What if they think I’m a fraud and just want to rip them off”. “What if it just don’t work?” What ifs and what ifs that amounts to nothing. The Internet is a scary place when you think of the millions that view what you put out. It can be extremely frightening to someone who thinks shy.

The truth is that it’s easier when you accept the fact that not everyone will agree with what you say. Not everyone will see it your way. It’s not a risk, it’s a certainty. For me the secret is passion, if you are passionate about an idea, a business, a cause, anything that makes your blood boil then most of the shyness disappears.

With passion, half the battle is won; the other half, will face you everyday.

For those of you here who have not taken the copy of the Internet Manifesto, do it now. Put your contact info and you will have it within seconds.

You need foundational information on the Internet and how it can be used to market your product or service. Reading the Internet Manifesto will give you the foundational knowledge you need to get started.

Let knowledge and passion be the catalyst that melts away shyness.

Have a great day.

Be well

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Leh We Bet Ah Blue Nah...

“A penny saved is a penny earned.” Unk.

How would it feel to have a quick $100TTD in your pocket? If your answer is not good, stop reading, this is not for you.

If, however, you live and have a business in Trinidad you may pick up an easy hundred for a few minutes of reading a 30 page report written for Trinidad and Tobago businesses. The word "may" is used because; honestly, the bet is that you don’t.

This Caribbean Blogger post is being written for Trinbago readers. The offer is for any Trinbagoian living here and can still appreciate the value of a blue note. Like we say here “Eh much buh is sometin”.

If you have been tagged on FB, it’s because as a friend your profile indicates that you may be interested in knowing about this. I could be wrong, I have been there before. People are different, so if you totally dislike being tagged like this, please send a private message and it will not happen again. OK, let's get to the point.

Guerilla Consulting Limited, has just established a Fan page on Facebook Trinbago Web Coaching. The intention is to provide online marketing intelligence specifically for Trinidad and Tobago business owners. There are quite a few links on there right now.

The business fan page provides a portal for T&T business owners to get exposed to a variety of marketing tips, software, tools and programmes useful to any business wishing to firmly establish an internet presence.

The offer is really a bet. More like a challenge to the first 3 Trinbagoians who can prove that they know everything contained in a soon-to-be-published Special Report. OK this may attract some serious Trini online marketers so that is the reason why the offer is limited to only 3 people living in T&T.

Let me repeat it, one blue note, $100TTD, to the first 3 people who can prove that they learned absolutely nothing from this report. Fortunately he only way to do that is to read it. For anyone, this is a win-win situation, in fact better than free. If you don’t get the blue note you will get a few usable -ideas.



What this really means to you is that there must be value in the report because honestly; paying out $300 is not the intention of this campaign. The report is entitled “How to Establish a Professional Web Presence for $70 TTD in less than 90 days”. But there is more...

You also get an absolutely priceless eBook published by one of the internet’s most informed and active online marketing coaches. Rich Schefren. “The Internet Manifesto” is an must read for anyone wanting to know before they go building a web site.

Whether you have a site now or not, if you sincerely want to establish a business on the net I strongly recommend that you read the Internet Manifsto eBook. It will shift your paradigm about what it takes to establish an internet business. Rich Schefren pulls no punches; he is honest and straight forward. If you are really committed to being successful online, get AND read this eBook now.

Get it by usng the sign up form on this blog or you can go here.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Business Tweeting Tip


Sticky Tweets

 

Strip away the fancy clothes and attitudes and we are all just social animals. Instinctively, we follow others. Twitter has successfully tapped into this innate human instinct. Twitter is a phenomenum that will take a lot more than a short note to explain but the question we will like to answer here is...


How do you make a tweet stick so people can find it anytime?


First we must realize that Twitter is not a place to advertise. As a business, you should ignore the question: What are you doing? Replace it with: What do I want my followers to do, see and hear?


The idea behind Twitter is to initiate a relationship but that is impossible when people start building thousands of relationships. The tweet then becomes their only form of communication. Sharing with a community is the only reason Twitter is effective.


In Twittersphere, the life span of a tweet can be a millisecond, depending on number of followers. Tweets of 140 characters literally flies by in a blink. If you follow someone with thousands Of followers you tweets will probably never be seen by that person. To extend the life of a tweet, you need what is known as a #Hashtag which carry the same value as keywords to a website.


This is the only way to make your tweets stay accessible on twitter. It is the way to get your tweets found later. This is not a user generated tactic that is accepted by twitter. You can therefore create any hash tag you desire and attempt to create a trend for it. 


Twitter did not provide an easy way to group tweets or add extra data, the Twitter community came up with their own way: hashtags.org .  A hashtag is similar to other web tags- it helps add tweets to a category.  Hashtags have
the 'hash' or 'pound' symbol (#) preceding the tag, like so: #traffic, #followfriday, #hashtag.  


Hashtags can occur anywhere in the tweet: some people just add a # before a word they're using, like #trinidad. Take a look at @trinitweets uses the hashtag to post tweets. Hashtags are the equivalent of keywords to your website.

 

Start using hashtags in your tweets, in front of key words. It helps to do a little research first, to find out if the subject you're tweeting already has an established hashtag.

 

Finally, track other tweets on the subjects you're interested in (ie: those containing the appropriate hashtags) by browsing/searching at Hashtags.orgTwitterGroups, TweetChat, TweetGrid, Twitterfall, etc. You can set it up with RSS
feeds as well.

Hope this tip helps.

Be well

 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Quick Online Payments



Are you still mailing or hand delivering invoices?

Before I found Freshbooks, the online invoicing software, My invoices were created using Excel. Not very professional looking but even with a template it took some time.

Freshbooks is a refreshing change. I have been using it for over a year now and it has saved time that I can now use doing something else. I have even had clients who remit a bank wire transfer on the same day that they get the invoice. Freshbooks makes sense to me.

For example, not only was it easier to create invoices but they provide time tracking, or I could print out the invoice and snail mail it. In a few cases my clients were able to pay using online payments like Pay Pal.

One great feature was the ability to pre date late notices so that clients would automatically be notified that a payment was past due.

The biggest benefit, to me, was the time it saved. Hours of time billing, following up, keeping records and believe it or not I'm getting paid earlier.

I used the free option until I was convinced that it worked and then upgraded.

If you ever had the problem of sending online invoices you should check out Freshbooks, it is a time saving alternative.

Stay well.

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