administrator at josefudge.com
28 June 2003 18:46pm
I am a part of a group of people that have set up a business on the internet. All we seem to be doing is pumping more and more money into the business, although we are getting sales it is no where near the amount that we first thought we would. Has anyone any idea how we can advertise the site and market our ideas for www.josefudge.com
Any tips and idea will be greatly apreciated.
Founder / Chief Developer at namesuppressed
29 June 2003 07:53am
Perhaps your site is letting you down. It looks great, it's fun to navigate and you have a strong sense of branding, but the whole site is in Flash and images. There is no plain text that can be indexed - when I search for your site in Google, your site appears fifth in a search for "Jose Fudge", and it appears with no description and no title. There's nothing to entice me to click on the Google link. There doesn't appear to be a link to your site from http://directory.mozilla.org/ either.
It's frustrating that on the Fun Fudge page, all of the games are "coming soon". If even one of those games was ready (especially Pac/Fudgeman or The Memory Game), you would instantly have a viral marketing component. Actually, you might want to add an "email a friend a link to this game" form somewhere once the games are ready.
Have you considered writing a web comic (like the one at http://www.pvponline.com/) or flash cartoons like Weebl & Bob (http://www.weebl.jolt.co.uk/)? It would be a *lot* of work, but that might be what you need to capture the hearts of your customers, and would give you the viral marketing component.
Besides that, you could try Google Adwords advertising at http://adwords.google.com/ but I don't know which keywords you could use - "illustration and graphic design" appears to be a cluttered field right now.
And lastly, I don't get a clear sense of whether Jose Fudge is the name of the jumping puppet character or of the company, and whether the company will take on illustration and graphic design projects for clients.
Hope that helps though :)
29 June 2003 17:16pm
Yes, viral games would definitely help. I'm a flash games specialist, www.flashsoft.tv . Email me and we can talk further about how to use viral games to promote your services.
Founder and Director at Elemental Communications Limited
30 June 2003 09:59am
Kohan is being extremely kind. There is not doubt that your website is not communicating your message properly to your audiences, because it is so Flash heavy. Even if your if your brand was well established, you wouldn't be able to get away with this. Recently, I witnessed a top UK digital marketing agency receive numerous negative posts in a forum about their website because it is completely built in Flash. They are a great agency, and are well respected within the industry. However, the forum which didn't know them, so gave a huge thumbs down.
Currently, you have driven your visitors down a route, and not presented them with any options or choices how to learn more about you, communicate and interact with you. With the lack of text [content] means there is no meat to tell your story to your audiences, and aid SEs to do what they like to do. I still think Meta Tags are important element of the overall search engine marketing mix. At least address this short-term issue now and get some tags on the most important pages. I find it difficult to understand what the site if for, and it this be communicated instantly.
Don't even think about search engine [SE] models such as Per-Pay-Click [PPC] until you have addressed design, structure and usability issues for your website, because you could spend this budget more effectively elsewhere. I recommend that you wait a while before you look at these models and work with Search Engine Optimisation [SEO] first. In addition to this, as Kohan suggests, this sector may be extremely competitive, so you are going to have to employ some really creative research, planning, buying and management when you do.
To improve your website, drive traffic to it and have visitors return we recommend:
1. Build a HTML alternative
2. If you have the budget and time and can build another website, make sure that it is static and SE friendly. OK you may not have the budget now, but you may in the future.
3. If you haven't got SE experience in-house then consider retaining a search engine marketing [SEM] agency. They will help with your SEM, but will also assist you in site build and architecture and present a long-term strategy to drive consistent, qualified traffic. Neutralize (*\*) http://www.neutralize.com are based in Cornwall, so slightly better positioned for a face-to-face. Disclaimer: We currently consult for them, so we would recommend them wouldn't we. But do ask around, they have a extremely good reputation. If you wish to look for more agencies in your region or elsewhere [you can source your work just about anywhere] try the e-consultancy directory at http://www.e-consultancy.com/providers/. Or, there are SEM directories at:
[SearchEngineWatch.com / Jupitermedia Corporation]
Google Information for Webmasters [Good top line tips for looking for a SEM agency or consultant]
Search Engine Optimisers
4. Possibly look at pushing the site in its currently format to Flash friendly resources and publications for review. For other design publications, stay clear for now.
5. Look at a long term PR and marketing strategy that address off and online media. Refer to the post at http://www.e-consultancy.com/forum/1435.the-internet-has-changed-pr-forever.-true-or-false.html / http://makeashorterlink.com/?V2C451974 that offers top line PR guidance when you have a budget, time and strategy to push it. Re-visit it when you have decided what your next steps are, and then incorporate the promotions into the website build from the outset.
5.1 When you are engaging in integrated communications have a look at strategic linking and find websites and resources that you share parallels and synergy with. Endeavour to place a link guiding your target audiences back to your website. For example, have a look at shopping sites and directories like UK Shop Search http://www.ukshopsearch.com. There will be lots more of these shopping specific resources, and this is where research, SEM and online PR will bring them to the surface. When you are ready, you can tap into them which will enhance the online activity that you undertake. UK Shop Search has a forum also, so possibly start interacting with similar resources there.
5.2 Look to offline publications also and what your target audiences may read to find a website like yours and see if there is a relationship you can open up, or information you can communicate, so they can feature you.
6. It's an e-commerce site you are asking to individuals to part with money, from so you've got to make them feel at ease and that they can trust you instantly. You do this well, but I always like to see the following on every page; a postal address [preferably not a box number - good to see that you haven't], contact number, evidence that the website is secure. I know Which trader doesn't exist, but there are others.
6.1 I would really have terms, conditions etc., on every page also as a hyperlink. Real feedback from individuals may also work for you,
Your imagery and look and feel is great, if you did undertake email and especially viral marketing, it may work for you. I would start with the website first though, and work the rest in as you go. Good luck.
Account Director, Elemental PR
timmy_gibbon [MSN & Yahoo! Messenger ID]
Integrated Multi-Channel Public Relations
& Strategic Marketing Development
On 18:46:13 28 June 2003 skye wrote:
>I am a part of a group of people that have set up a
>business on the internet. All we seem to be doing is
>pumping more and more money into the business, although we
>are getting sales it is no where near the amount that we
>first thought we would. Has anyone any idea how we can
>advertise the site and market our ideas for
> Any tips and idea will be greatly apreciated.
Senior SEO at Weboptimiser
30 June 2003 11:39am
<rolls up sleeves> "In need of advice"? You ain't kidding. Some good points have been made so far, and I'll pick up and amplify on them as we go.
>> There is no doubt that your website is not communicating your message properly to your audiences
This is basically the root problem. The site LOOKS great, but you aren't going to get a significant stream of visitors as things stand (due to some technical issues that I will return to), and I'm not really clear what your revenue model is. You have a "shop" button, but you give surfers the OPTION of whether to visit it or not? Is the site supposed to be promoting the characters? Promoting your ability to create these characters for money? Shifting container loads of T-shirts with the characters printed on them? I've just given the site a cursory glance, and I don't yet know, which means that it has already failed its primary task. You should be ramming the message down my tooth-grindingly stupid throat
>> Currently, you have driven your visitors down a route, and not presented them with any options or choices how to learn more about you, communicate and interact with you
Yup. If you are going to make the site kinda linear, at least have the bald cynicism to make shameless sales pitches at every available opportunity. Preferably offer "alternatives" that aren't (I know that there is a marketing speak term for it, but it escapes me this second), so that a visitor will probably follow your preferred route, but has a few interesting cul-de-sacs to venture down too, to give the illusion of choice
You have 2 main issues here; where are your visitors going to come from, and how are you going to separate them from their pennies when you get them there? Let's deal with the easy one first, where do they come from?
The Flash site. Its lovely, but there is precisely 1 (one) search engine (SE) on earth that understands it correctly : Alltheweb (now owned by Overture), and their market share is not huge. Google will follow the links in the Flash... they've got a grand total of 18 files from your site, of which only 4 are HTML, and none of them have a snippet, saying what the site is about (Hint : in these cases Google will display the content of the <meta description> tag, where one exists, or the content of an image <alt> attribute. Get keyword stuffing). You NEED textual content for the site to have any chance of pulling SE traffic, because SEs can only categorise what THEY see, and you aren't showing them anything. You can run the text as an HTML alternative to the Flash site, by adding some text to the existing Flash only pages, and by creating separate, HTML-only "traffic trapper" domains, which exist solely to suck in, and funnel on visitors to the main site (but DON'T hire someone who's trying to sell you "doorway pages". That isn't even close to the same thing, though they may swear blind that it is). You also need lots more incoming links (someone mentioned getting an ODP listing earlier, http://www.dmoz.org), plus I note that you have a "Friends of Fudge" section with links out. How about seeing a little love back? Oh, and when they do, MAKE SURE that you are controlling the text snippet surrounding the link AND THE ANCHOR TEXT USED. I can't overstress that. Whatever text is used to form the "active" link to your site will have a big influence on how the SEs percieve the topic of your site.
Also, give much thought to non-free and non-SE traffic. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) was alluded to earlier, but I wouldn't pay for traffic, until I could convert it personally (more on that later). The guy who mentioned viral Flash games is also onto a winner there, personal recommendation is a VERY powerful source of traffic if you get it right. Simply adding "tell-a-friend" links will have a similar effect too. These two can really kick start your email database too, because you are going to be running an email newsletter too, right?
Newsletter benefits :
1) Increased communication with "customers". If they get something from you once a month, and its fun / useful / informative, they'll read it, come to look forward to it, and become regulars at the site
2) Sales of advertising. Once you've got a few thousand signups, and especially if you've collected some reasonable demographic data on them, you can sell advertising space, short text ads etc. It's not likely to make you a fortune, but its basically free money for doing something you OUGHT to be doing anyway
3) Newsletter archive. Its all text, its relevant to your site, its a good pitch for the newsletter itself, and after a few are in there, its going to be a significant source of incoming traffic. Make sure its easy to reach the rest of the site from the archiev therefore
PPC : Cast your net wide, go for longer (3 - 6 word) phrases, and hundreds, nay thousands of them. Go on, you are only paying for clicks. The results will surprise you. They are more targetted, they are cheaper, often minimum bid, and you may be the ONLY advertiser, so there is NO competition.
Offline methods of advertising are a bit outside my area of expertise, but I know they have enormous value if handled correctly
If you are looking for an SEM outfit, my recommendation would be seoconsultants.com (Disclaimer : I know these guys slightly, but I'm not listed, nor have I applied to be. An inclusion in the directory IS a mark of quality, but not being listed should not be viewed as a negative point). Mostly useful for the excellent "Things to ask" section, and some leads on possible contenders.
OK, now you should have some visitors. What do you do with them?
You've got the "shop" section, but theres no real incentive for anyone to visit it. Remember, when dealing with surfers "Monkey see big yellow button, monkey press button, monkey get banana". Treat 'em like dribbling idiots, who need to be coaxed / herded top your sales pages, give them EVERY opportunity to make a purchase (for instance, on the main site you have nice little windows that popup, containing images of the characters in the "portfolio" section. Why not add a "Buy now!" button to each, preferably delivering the visitor to a prepopulated cart page over at the shop domain). The less you assume of your surfers, the better you will do.
That really just scratches the surface of this one. You've got a nice site, but nice won't make you any money. Some of the most successful sites I know of are as ugly as sin, but they SHIFT PRODUCT, because they understand what their visitors WANT, and DELIVER it to them in an ACCESSIBLE and TIMELY manner
Go get 'em
30 June 2003 19:33pm
Thankyou to everyone that has replied so far. You have all given some great points and given us some great ideas...so watch this space...
Consultant Designer at The Quantos Consultancy
04 July 2003 18:20pm
It was hard not to avoid all the comments on e-consultancy.com but to be honest, I don’t understand what on Earth your site or the majority of the replies are aimed at.
Your problem is this (forget the technicalities):
1) How on Earth can you be an “upcoming” design and illustration company that’s been a “family business spanning 3 generations”?
2) You claim the 3 generations bring the “advantage of experience” – in what? Design and illustration? Illustration and character design? Hooded sweatshirts, prints and original artwork? Marketing, creativity and business consultancy? Joe Escott illustrations? That’s a all nonsense. Why can’t I use him direct? Why offer only Joe Escott material if you are some kind of design and illustration agency? It doesn’t add up.
3) If you know something about marketing what’s the answer to this: What do you actually do? Who for? How much do you charge? And why should anyone use you? Personally, I’ve got no idea and I’ve looked at every page on your website.
4) Finally, what if Joe Escott dies? Will the 3 generations of Jose Fudge die with him? You either need to broaden your portfolio or come clean/explain the relationship/offering better.
In a nutshell: You haven’t got a valid proposition.
I should know. I am independent specialist in designing and producing websites. I handle a wide range of top-end and smaller clients and more than half my business comes from other independent designers, ad agencies and marketing companies.
If you think I could help give me a buzz, but ignore all that rubbish about the technical problems with Flash and the need for a good viral marketing campaign. You either need to work out where your business is going to come from, and why, or if you already know it, state it on the website (regardless of technical platform).
With best wishes,
The Pulse Consultancy
08 July 2003 11:49am
>> that rubbish about the technical problems with Flash
OK, if Flash doesn't present a barrier to ranking in the free SE listings, you show me a single reasonably competitive word/phrase that has a Flash file ranking in the top ten without using a filetype:swf call on Google.
Its not that Flash is bad per se, but that it is often misused. Remember, the underlying assumptions that the WHOLE internet are built on relate to the free flow of academic research papers and information, not selling computer spares, or selling more pills, or booking more hotel rooms. The fact that these things happen is a testament to the fundamental strength of the technology. SEs still want to see validated, cited, structured text though. Its what the Web was built for
Flash is a third party add-on to the browser technology of the World Wide Web. The fact that any SE can parse it remains a source of wonder to me. I have absolutely nothing against using it to enhance a website, by adding functionality that isn't possible in HTML / JS etc, but if you are going to build a complete site in it, you REALLY have to know what you are doing if you ever want to rank. I've seen ot done though, with the Final Fantasy film site (not online any more AFAIK)
BTW, to make me a liar after my first post, Google seem to have just rolled out improved Flash parsing as of the 29th of June (but I didn't see the thread referencing it until a week ago). Not only is it possible to query for Flash files using the filetype:swf now, but they do occasionally get fully indexed and presented in the main results, with a "View as HTML" tag, indicating that they have been fully indexed in the same way that FAST has been doing for a while
As for viral marketing, the current poster child would have to be HotMail, currently the 18th most visited site in the world, http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details?q=&url=http://www.hotmail.com, according to Alexa (see link). Looks like a pretty good case study to me, viral marketing can be spectacular if you get it right. The name Joel Veitch might ring some bells here too
>> In a nutshell: You haven’t got a valid proposition.
Agreed. Perhaps I wasn't clear in my earlier post post, but that was the first point I was trying to make. However, having a good proposition is of zero value unless you can get it in front of people as well. Free search engine traffic is an excellent way of doing this, if you can play the game with sufficient skill. If it proves otherwise, there are many other routes to success, but being #1 on Google for your top 100 keyphrases or so is relatively easy compared to the flood of traffic it can produce
Seated near the window at chrisg.com
09 July 2003 10:08am
Neither are rubbish - its both a technical and a marketing issue. You need to sort out your positioning, your offer, your audience, your usability and your traffic generation.
The site needs to as soon as possible answer for the user
Who you are
What you offer
Why they need it
Why you are the best folk to provide it
What makes you different
Once you have their attention you need to quickly convert them into customers - this means great copy and call to action but also smooth, easy navigation to funnel everyone to the buy button or whatever.
Are you doing any tracking of where traffic is coming from, conversion rates, etc? You need to know what your most valuable methods are and what your cost per aquisition is. If you know Google Adwords costs you £10 a customer but sponsoring a particular newsletter costs £1.50 for each customer then you know something valuable. Even better is if you work out that even though the list is cheaper per customer you find the adwords have a higher customer spend (£10 is not much to pay to get a customer that spends £500).
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