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Marketing


28
Oct 11

How to sell to marketing departments – hook them with SEO

How to sell to marketing departments

How to sell to marketing departments

I’ve been presenting to many new clients this year and I’ve been struck by how well the SEO parts of the proposals resonate with them.  I meet with a variety of clients on a regular basis, and for the most part there is always someone from the marketing department there.    In the past I’ve found it difficult to sell to marketing departments, but if I structure my presentation through the framework of SEO then the representative from marketing becomes a zealous advocate for my services.  My usual advocates have been in either their IT or design department, never in marketing.

To sell to marketing departments, structure your presentations this way:

  1. Describe how you are going to the people to the site with SEO (appeals to marketers)
  2. Describe the graphic look and feel of the site (appeals to designers and marketers)
  3. Describe the platform and database choices (appeals to IT)
  4. Describe deliverables and scheduling (appeals to management)
  5. Describe customer loyalty efforts and provide partial recap of the sites SEO capabilities (appeals to marketers and management)

The marketing folks love it, and the technical and creative folks do not seem to mind the shift in emphasis from my usual selling point (technical proficiency) to search engine optimization.  It’s the same product of course, but just with different points emphasized.

I recently discussed this with a friend.  We came up with the notion that SEO functions as the perfect bridge between the technical aspects of marketing and the technical parts of building web sites.  It’s the language both web developers and marketers can understand and value.  In the past marketers have been delegated out of leadership roles in web projects.  As of even a few years ago the marketing folks were there just to write the copy.  Now they’re equal partners and SEO gives them a seat at the table.  There has never been more of a chance to sell to marketing departments than the present time.

To recap, to sell to marketing departments, start and finish your presentations with mentions of search engine optimization.  It will prove to the marketer that you not only are willing to speak their language (with a technical accent) but share their priorities.

 

Editor’s Note

This blog post originally appeared on the Profit Awareness Blog - as that app is up for sale, it has been consolidated into the main Digital Tool Factory blog.


7
Oct 11

Internal Projects – What are the good ones and how much time should you spend on them?

Internal Project Intro

As part of my series on simple business metrics, here is an elaboration on metric #4 – External vs Internal Projects. What are those? As I (and most people) define them, external projects are paying projects for other people and internal projects are projects that help you land external projects (like a marketing campaign or software upgrade).  Please note,  internal projects do not include routine tasks like accounting or business development.

Internal Projects – The list

That being said – here a non-definitive list of what I consider to be worthwhile internal projects for a web development firm

  1. Short- term custom software – anything that speeds up data entry for example
  2. An Intanet (for your people)
  3. An Extranet (for your clients)
  4. Your website
  5. SEO campaigns
  6. Marketing honeypot sites that can be used for publicity – like eNormicon was for 37 Signals.
  7. Projects that allow you to learn and explore a new technology at your own pace – that was how I learned ASP.net MVC 3 and Silverlight.
  8. Explicit learning of new technologies and techniques.
  9. Short- term collaborations with other firms that allow some “code bonding”
  10. Prestige projects that you do for free to meet people – sites for symphonies or influential charities woudl fall in this category.
  11. Genuine pro bono work for kind hearted reasons – it sharpens your skills and you feel good at the same time.
One thing to bear in mind – any project like this that goes on for more than, say six months becomes:
  1. A hobby
  2. A vested interest – there will be internal constituencies both for and against it (nobody likes change)
  3. Difficult to modify in your workflow
  4. An entitlement to clients or the public if they’ve become used to it
  5. Psychologically difficult to remove – it’s like giving a way a puppy you’ve had for six months

And now for the big question – how much time should you spend on internal projects?

In my experience, you reach the point of diminishing returns if you spend more than 30% of your time on internal projects.  30% is just a general rule I have arrived at over many years in the business.  Your mileage may vary.

Why measure the time you spend on internal projects?

Internal projects are way more fun than external projects.  No one to tell you to make the logo bigger, no exact specification to match, no conference calls, no rush deadlines – just a lot of doing what got you into the industry in the first place.  You get to do things YOUR WAY.

I’ve found that the internal work can come in the way of paying work in some circumstances, and (unless precautions are taken) it gets in the way of unpleasant but necessary routine work in most circumstances.  Isn’t working on the SEO campaign more fun than doing accounting?  Isn’t coding up that new app for the animal rescue more fun than prospecting new business?  It’s way more fun, and you deserve the fun, but just keep it to 30% of your total work.  If you measure your time via some sort of time tracking service, and then analyze your time – you can see the true cost of that new app.

 

Editor’s Note

This blog post originally appeared on the Profit Awareness Blog - as that app is up for sale, it has been consolidated into the main Digital Tool Factory blog.


30
Sep 11

When should you invoice for web development projects?

As an elaboration on my simple metrics post from yesterday I’m sharing my personal experience with each metric.  The first metric is “How long do clients take to pay their invoices.”  Why is that important?  The main reason is obvious – your money is safer with you.  And to get paid you must first invoice.  I’ve tried several methods over the years and here are some thoughts on when to invoice for web development.

  1. Invoice at the end, Net 30.
  2. Invoice 100% at the beginning, starting work on the sending of the invoice
  3. Invoice 100% at the beginning, starting upon receipt of the first payment
  4. Invoice 50% of at the beginning, starting work upon receipt of payment, and invoicing the remaining 50% on the completion of the project
I’ve tried them all, and here is my experience
  1. Invoice at the end – It has worked worked, but avoid if at all possible.   On some projects the money only changes hands at the very end and it can be profitable to use this method.  Be warned though, I’ve found most client relationships will take a hit from this method.   This method will draw deadbeats like flies.
  2. Invoice 100% at the beginning, starting work on the sending of the invoice  - I’ve found that this bring out counterproductive perfectionism in clients
  3. Invoice 100% at the beginning, starting upon receipt of the first payment - I have had mixed results with this method.   Since the client has already paid for the work, he usually feels no need to make anything easy for you, and will never feel bad for endless phone calls and meetings (this happens in about 80% of cases).  Also, clients who agree readily to this usually have little experience in the web field and require a lot of handholding
  4. Invoice 50% of at the beginning, starting work upon receipt of payment, and invoicing the remaining 50% on the completion of the project – I’ve found this method to be optimal, you attract experienced, non deadbeat clients who are willing to pay for quality
That’s my experience with invoicing for web development projects.   What’s yours?

Editor’s Note

This blog post originally appeared on the Profit Awareness Blog - as that app is up for sale, it has been consolidated into the main Digital Tool Factory blog.


15
Jul 11

What having a daughter taught me about business – Part I

My wife and I (mostly her) had out first child (a girl) five months ago.   For various reasons we take her to lots of doctors, including four specialists, I thought I would share a bit of what I’ve learned on the topic of doctors and specialization by having a daughter.

Observations

  1. You have to wait every time
  2. Doctors do only medical work
  3. Doctors only do a small percentage of the medical work, the majority of the work (blood pressure, measurements, samples, etc) is done by nurses and PAs.
  4. If it can be measured, a doctor does not do it.  They make determinations, not observations
  5. Specialization is advertised,
  6. Generalization is practiced, but not advertised
  7. Everyone is perfectly content to treat you like cattle UNTIL you see the doctor.  Then you are special.  Once the doctor leaves you’re back to being cattle
  8. Everyone we’ve encountered got there via a referral from some other doctor
  9. The dress code (white lab coat) is universally followed
  10. People love going to the best person in the building/city/state/country

What have I learned from the above observations?

  1. Being the best, and being known as the best is the crucial thing, even is what you are the best at is a very narrow field.
  2. Being known as the best requires maintenance, and constant attention to detail.
  3. Your client should only see you in your area of expertise, nothing else, let other people be seen doing the boilerplate work

Much, much more to come..

 

Editor’s Note

This blog post originally appeared on the Profit Awareness Blog - as that app is up for sale, it has been consolidated into the main Digital Tool Factory blog.


7
Jul 11

How much is a client worth to your business?

One feature of my new web app is the evaluation of clients. At the moment I have the following criteria:

  1. Effective rate on their projects
  2. Size of billing
  3. Payment speed
  4. Amount learned on their projects
  5. Fun had on their projects

Am I missing anything? Does anyone have any thoughts on how these criteria should be ranked?

Update: I have more thoughts about how much is a client worth in this newer post.

 

Editor’s Note

This blog post originally appeared on the Profit Awareness Blog - as that app is up for sale, it has been consolidated into the main Digital Tool Factory blog.