Tag Archives: Yahoo

Keep It Simple

Simple

In our busy, complex personal and professional lives, filled with information coming from every imaginable source, simple things are appreciated. We all have a finite amount of time and attention to give each day.

Here’s how you can help…

  1. Write shorter paragraphs, using shorter sentences.
  2. Edit your email signature and dump all that legalese at the bottom (which no one ever reads anyway).
  3. If you own a restaurant, eliminate half of your menu items. You’ll make life easier for your diners, your staff and yourself.
  4. Include just one sales message in your marketing emails. (You don’t have to tell me everything about your organization.)
  5. Make sure images in your emails and on your website are as recognizable on a tiny phone screen as they are on your big desktop screen.
  6. Facebook and Instagram allow for long posts. Don’t do it! Most of us will just scroll on past the long ones. (Thanks, Twitter, for maintaining a maximum post length.)
  7. Place a time limit on videos you share. How long? Determine what your audience is comfortable with. (Consider that some of us may hesitate to watch a 7-minute video but will gladly watch 7 one-minute videos.)
  8. Be merciless when editing content. Three good paragraphs beats twelve mediocre paragraphs every time.
  9. Unless it’s your doctoral dissertation, don’t be afraid to use sentence fragments, when appropriate.

For a perfect example of the beauty and effectiveness of a simple approach, compare the layouts of Google.com with Bing.com and Yahoo.com. (Google has a 67.68% market share for searches; Bing, 13.27%; Yahoo, 8.14%.)

An almost infinite number of choices in many aspects of our life is wonderful. Unless we want the regular version, in the standard size, and it’s not in stock. Have you ever gone grocery shopping and found a dozen or more variations on the product you want, but not the particular version you want?

The great singer/songwriter Merle Haggard who died last week was once quoted as saying, “The most important thing in a song is simplicity.” Keep it simple.

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Break Up Google!

I’ve never read very deep into Ayn Rand’s classic novel Atlas Shrugged. Whenever I try I get bogged down in its stilted dialogues and general verbosity. But I’ve read enough of it and have talked to people who swear by it to get this message from the author: In business, you shouldn’t be punished (or reined in at all) for competing too well.

Google is, for those of us who spend considerable time each day in front of a computer screen, a vital and necessary tool. My browser’s search window can be set to Yahoo or Bing, but I choose to use Google.

Google is more than a search tool. It offers Youtube, Gmail, Chrome, Google Plus, Google Analytics, Google Maps, Google Earth, the Android smartphone platform and other services. Not to mention Google Adwords, which has provided good results for many businesses and organizations.

Google recently changed its Gmail inbox. It now sorts incoming emails into one of three categories: Primary, Social and Promotion. Those of us who manage email marketing for clients are concerned that some emails sent to Gmail accounts through Constant Contact, Mail Chimp or other email service providers may land under the Promotion tab and may not be opened in a timely manner, if at all.

An article posted last Thursday asks this question in its headline: Dig Google Just Kill PR Agencies? Click HERE to read it. The article deals with changes in Google webmaster rules regarding links and keywords in press releases.

Smart people can work around or with those two recent changes. But these questions are worth considering: Does Google have too much power? Do they control too much of the Internet? Do they know too much about you?

In the 80’s we saw the feds break up AT & T. In the early days of radio, the feds forced NBC to spin off one of its two networks. In 1998, the feds sought to break up Microsoft. After an initial ruling against the company, a compromise settlement was reached in 2001.

You and I don’t have the power to control Google and its destiny, but we can choose how each of us interacts with Google.

Is it fair to limit market dominance that has come from performing and competing well? Absolute power corrupts absolutely, as the saying goes. As useful as Google is, we as citizens must pay attention to their business practices. Regulators must monitor their actions to assure fair competition. It may not yet be time to break up Google, but that day may be approaching. Stay tuned.

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Seven Email Marketing Tips

  1. Is your email being opened on a mobile device? Yes! You bet it is! When your email is composed and ready to be tested, check it out on your primary email client. Then see how it looks on various browsers via your Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo accounts. Then, see how it looks on your mobile phone and your tablet. Your copy or a photo that looks good on your 17-inch monitor may look horrible on your phone.
  2. If you’re going to include 5 or more items in your marketing email, make them very short. OR include the item’s first two sentences but provide a link to a longer version of the item on your website or blog.
  3. Use your subject line to convey your message. If your message is that your furniture store has new leather ottomans, your subject line should read: “New Leather Ottomans,” NOT “October Newsletter” or “Latest News from Leather Town.”
  4. Don’t use the “Comic Sans” font. Ever. Yes, it looks friendly and casual. And it’s legible. But it just doesn’t look very business-like. Ditch it.
  5. Use bullet points and bold face print. Many of us are email skimmers (see 9/13/12 post “Is Too Much Enough?” ) who may not take 90 seconds to read all your copy. But we will note those two sentences in bold face.
  6. Even though the people on your email list are partisans who, presumably, know and like your organization, be careful with complex ideas and jargon. Send a test copy to people who are not familiar with the organization and ask them to confirm your email’s clarity.
  7. Don’t forget the call to action. Don’t just tell them you have some new ottomans, invite them to come in, try them out and buy one!

 

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