I am teaching an 8-week course on Interactive Marketing starting in January 2009
(For 10% off for the class – use code 0102-1D)
In this eight part course, you’ll learn the fundamentals of online marketing. You’ll learn how to engage with customers using design, direct marketing fundamentals, and learn the key mistakes to avoid. From website design to ecommerce, to email campaigns, search engine optimization and social media, this course will give you an in-depth understanding of best-practice strategies and tactics.
The course is designed for marketing and business professionals who may be in the position of leading a web development team. It’s not designed to give technical HTML development skills to design and create a website from scratch (i.e. we’re not teaching Dreamweaver or Photoshop skills). However, you’ll be able to create email campaigns, search advertising campaigns, and viral videos by the conclusion of the course.
The course is fast-paced and loaded with real content. This is not an academic, theoretical course – we dive into live examples of what real companies are doing right now to be successful on the Web.
(For 10% off for the class – use code 0102-1D)
Web Design Fundamentals:
A website is the foundation upon which all other Web marketing rests. It’s the content hub where users can find out more information about a company’s products and services. All other Web marketing essentially points back to the content hub, with the goal to have prospects convert into paying customers. During the course’s first session, we will learn the fundamentals of how Websites work, and learn how different customer types interact with sites on the Web.
We’ll cover how to engage both sides of a customer’s brain: the logical left side (text, facts, logic), as well as the creative right side (graphics, shapes, colors, images). We’ll discuss what elements make a website successful, and what elements to avoid that cause confusion and abandonment.
We’ll discuss why a mobile version of a website is critical for many site visitors, and what mobile visitors to a site are usually looking for.
We’ll talk about the all-important contact form, and how to build trust and confidence with site visitors at each step of a guided, sequenced process. Part of the section will be spent reviewing live websites in an interactive format.
|6pm – 9pm|
During this section, we’ll explore what makes an ecommerce site successful, including home page layout, product information, persistent shopping carts and the checkout process.
We’ll look at the how to prevent visitors from abandoning their carts and a site, and discuss how to build trust and confidence each step of the way.
|6pm – 9pm|
Email remains the most cost-effective way to reach out to past customers. As a retention tool, the return on investment (ROI) metrics for outbound email campaigns remains top. In this three hour block, we’ll learn the tips and tricks to make sure that your email campaigns are as compelling as possible.
We’ll study past campaigns, how to balance images, text and calls to action, and the five key strategies for making sure your messages are opened and acted upon. Examples will include email campaigns done for Shell, Xcel Energy, BP Solar, 3M, Adventure Rabbi and the Howard Dean for President Campaign. You’ll come away from this section with a solid grasp on email marketing metrics – including deliverability, message open tracking, clickthroughs and conversion tracking.
|6pm – 9pm|
During this section, we’ll discuss how to leverage web applications to better interact with pros pects and customers.
We’ll review Web applications including online Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Appointment Scheduling, Event Registration, Project Management / Trouble Ticketing, and Personalized URL systems. We’ll learn how web applications, including Website personalization, can enhance the customer experience.
|6pm – 9pm|
Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
Research shows that 70% of business and consumer purchases begin with a search on Google, Yahoo or other search engines. 42% of people click on the top search result.
When a business doesn’t appear at the top of a search engine result, customers can’t find them and they are perceived as less relevant.
In this section, we’ll delve into the fundamentals of how search engines work, what they look for, and what you can do both on your website and external to your site to enhance your search engine optimization efforts.
You’ll learn key strategies for selecting keywords for your site, as well as why meta keywords are usually ignored. We’ll discuss page rank, keyword density analysis, inbound links and much, much more.
|6pm – 9pm|
Search Engine Advertising:
In this section, we’ll discuss how to use Google Adword’s Cost-Per-Click (CPC) system, as well as Yahoo, Bing and Facebook to drive targeted traffic to your website. We’ll explore why you shouldn’t pay for top position, and how not to waste money using CPC advertising. We’ll discuss everything from local search to broad match, phrase match, exact match and negative match keyword selection.
|6pm – 9pm|
Nearly all businesses have found traditional ways of reaching prospects, including print, radio, TV and newspaper advertising are increasingly less effective. That’s why social media can be a powerful way to create a buzz and attract new people to a product, service or brand.
We’ll explore how to best leverage Blogging, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and others. You’ll learn who’s using social media effectively, and who’s been able to figure out how to make money with social media. We’ll break up into small groups during this section to develop social media strategies for sample customers.
|6pm – 9pm|
Review + Emerging Trends & Technologies:
In the final section, we’ll synthesize the seven previous classes, and discuss emerging trends and technologies that will change the landscape. We’ll dive into Web 3.0 – known as the Semantic Web – and how structured data about information on Websites is likely to fundamentally change how people will interact with websites.
|6pm – 9pm|
This course can be applied to the Certificate in Direct and Interactive Marketing.This course will also be offered again from June 1st – July 20th, 2010.
Textbooks & Materials
Online Articles & Resources
Background for Jeff Finkelstein:
Jeff Finkelstein is the founder of Boulder-based, Customer Paradigm, an interactive marketing firm that has helped clients including Xcel Energy, 3M, Level 3, BP achieve top rankings through search engine optimization and web marketing. F inkelstein is an adjunct professor for Colorado State University, and has lead workshops around the country teaching companies how to better optimize their websites and get found. Finkelstein has written syndicated columns on web marketing, and reaches tens of thousands of people each week through Customer Paradigm’s eLearning Series newsletter.
Finkelstein also helps his wife, Rabbi Jamie Korngold, run the Adventure Rabbi program. Through search engine optimization, reporters from Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CBS News and Ski Magazine found out about the organization and ran articles and TV segments. This intense media interest sparked a book offer from Doubleday Religion, who published Rabbi Korngold’s best-selling book, God in the Wilderness, in April 2008.
Finkelstein has been featured in The New York Times as a Web Guru, and his company has received numerous awards, including the prestigious 2008 Rocky Mountain Direct Marketing Association Supplier of the Year Award. His images have been published in hundreds of publications throughout the US, Canada and Japan, and has received paid contracts for his images by the National Geographic organization. Two of his images were recently placed on permanent display in a Daniel Libeskind-designed art museum in San Francisco.
Finkelstein lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and two daughters.
Thanks to Google Alerts, an article that I was interviewed for a couple of months ago was just posted to the Shutterbug website, talking about digital photography and the Windows 7 operating system.
My verdict: Windows 7 is soooooo much better, faster and more stable than Windows XP. And worlds better than Vista.
Here’s a link to the article:
Bonaire caters to an easy-going lifestyle, while offering the best of ocean recreation and some of the best diving in the world. It’s a magical place that will capture your heart and beg you to stay.
Customer Paradigm has just completed a website design for Art and Anna Kleimer for their new real estate company on Bonaire Island.
Sort of a misleading title by CNN: “Yahoo gets kicked to curb by Google, Bing“:
Once the world’s online search leader, Yahoo’s share has sharply declined, putting it in danger of losing its relevance in a market increasingly dominated by Google.
Yahoo’s search market share in November fell to 17.5% from 18% in October, according to a monthly comScore report released late Wednesday. Bing’s search site gained 0.4 points of the search market to 10.3% in November.
(Is a 0.5% marketshare loss really getting kicked to the curb?)
FYI, an image I took this morning is the image their using for the #1 top story
on the 9news site! (I did submit it)
Over the weekend, I rebuilt this website for my wife’s organization:
It’s fairly graphically-heavy (but most of the target audience tends to be on a high speed connection).
The goal: create an emotional connection with the images on the site, to connect people to the left-brained content.
We’re thrilled to report that after many, many moons, we’ve helped the San Francisco Soup Company launch a new Website:
The site features a content management system that allows them to update each location’s soups each day, including nutritional and other information.
Check it out!
I was interviewed a while back for an article about small business owners collecting in a tight economy… and they just released the article on Dun & Bradstreet credibility corporation:
As I mention in the article, it’s not enough to get new clients in a tight economy… it’s also important to get paid!
I created a new page on our site about our RDFa tagging service, and launched it about a week ago.
I just checked this morning, and the page is above the W3C.org’s website — that’s the World Wide Consortium that puts standards like this into place.
Always great to hear from a happy customer!
Says Professional Organizer, Liz Canavan of AlchemyofOrder.com:
“I can absolutely already tell a difference, I have NEVER had ONE inquiry from my website directly until your work.
We’re happy we could help!
After a few hundred hours of work, we’re happy to say that the www.TheGiftionary.com website is now live!
The Giftionary is an A to Z directory and listing of gifts galore, products, gift related services and more! Designed to make gift giving a cinch, The Giftionary’s mission is to offer an easy to search, free to consumers, go-to-gift guide listing detailed descriptions of gifts by categories, occasions, recipients and city. Like a dictionary is to words, The Giftionary is to gifts!
Last month, we re-launched a new and improved website for the www.DiscountDecorating.com organization.
A new design, an easier-to-use navigation, and a one-page checkout process resulted in a four times sales increase (we can’t give actual sales figures here).
Here’s the summary of the increase in traffic to the site:
I’ve been trying to use the Pixela software for digital video (ImageMixer 3 SE) on my Windows 7 desktop. After having it crash several times, I found the trick is to set the process priority to ‘high’ and make sure to enable Windows XP compatibility mode for the program.
I think the issue is that it tends to use a lot of memory and processor power, and Windows 7 doesn’t like it when the program doesn’t respond for a few seconds… it thinks it’s crashed and disables the program.
Hope this helps…
A great article, found by Rodney on our team:
Web pioneer recalls ‘birth of the Internet’
RDFa / Microformatting:
This is hands-down, one of the most important things you can do for your website. You’ll be way ahead of the curve – and see much better local search results for your business and better indexing of eCommerce products.
You’ve heard of Web 2.0? That’s so 2008. (All kidding aside.)
Web 3.0 is known as the Semantic Web. To the end user, there’s nothing different when they visit a website. To the Web developer, it means using special tags inside the HTML code on a website to let other websites understand what is being described on the page. When most sites adopt an RDFa or microformatting on their websites, it will allow for much more powerful aggregation of content and more reliable search results.
Why RDFa / Microformatting?
Most websites are designed to be used by humans. If done correctly, a search engine or eCommerce aggregator is often able to spider through a site and index the content.
But some things that are really easy for humans, can be particularly difficult for machines to sort through.
* What is the price of the item?
* Who is the manufacturer?
* What type of product is this (i.e. category)?
A human can identify these easily. A computer trying to sort through the long strings of content on a website cannot. RDFa microformatting tags can help.
Want to know more?
Read more here:
So, I went to the doctor today, who told me I had the H1N1… We had three other people call in sick today, too, so to stem the tide and keep well people well, most people will be working from home for the next couple of days.
John and Scott will be in the office answering phones and disinfecting the place, so email or filling out a contact form like this one is a great way to reach us.
As a Web company, the good news is that each of us has a home office set up and can work fairly seamlessly from home (with the exception of meetings). We started out many years ago as a virtual company, and we’re all on IM with each other so we’re hoping that it shouldn’t affect things to a large degree.
More info about H1N1 here: http://www.flu.gov/
I think that this is one of the best ideas that has been put out in a little bit… a universal cell phone charger for all new cell phones going forward. No more need to have three different chargers and spend a ton of money.
- Reduce Waste (each time you buy a phone, you need to buy a new charger)
- Reduce Charging Energy Waste (the new standard can reduce wasted energy from standby charging by 50%)
- You’ll be able to charge your phone via a USB plug on your laptop (I already do this for my blackberry)
The new chargers will use a micro-USB plug, similar to that used for digital cameras, to enter the cell phone for charging, said Sarah Parkes, spokeswoman for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
More info here:
Yesterday, I heard a great series of radio ads here in the Denver / Boulder area about buckling up. Great concept, and great public service announcement.
Background: Nearly one-third of children killed in crashes each year in Colorado are “tweens” between the ages of 8 and 12. And 6 out of 10 were not buckled up when the accidents occurred.
Being part of the Web world, I wanted to check out the site. I heard three ads on the radio, and then went to the site (I was stopped at a traffic light, and emailed myself a link).
However, the site wasn’t up and running yet. The first time I went there, it was just a site cannot be found. The next time (a couple of hours later), the site’s server “refused to send me connection information.”
Finally, the site was up and running sometime yesterday.
Bottom Line: Before you go live on the air with a radio commercial telling people to visit a website… make sure it works!
On behalf of everyone else here in Colorado (if I might be so bold to speak for everyone), I want to apologize for all of the craziness coming from this story about an hour or so north of us here in Boulder.
But has anyone made the connection to H.A. Rey’s book, Curious George and the Hot Air Balloon? The story is remarkably similar… George is tempted by the cool hot air balloon, and then is rescued. Curious George and the Kite uses a similar plot line, too, and he’s rescued via helicopter by the Man in the Yellow Hat.
Friend of Customer Paradigm, David Fellows, just launched a new website featuring Jewish News in Boulder.
Here’s an excerpt from the site:
Finally, the Boulder-area Jewish community gets a newspaper! And in keeping with our 98% on-line access, the Boulder Jewish News is a virtual-only e-zine. Our goal is to provide timely news including publicity for local events of Jewish interest, life cycle events, organization news and features. We also offer a place to present, share and discuss opinions about… well, just about anything of interest to the broad Jewish community.
This is a nice sister site to the www.BoulderJews.org, which is a combined Jewish Calendar for Boulder.
Check out David’s new site here: http://www.boulderjewishnews.org/