We’re proud to announce that the Acupuncture Clinic of Brookline has become a client of Brown Couch Consulting. We’re helping the clinic gain more visibility in the natural and herbal healing market in and around Brookline. They already have a website, but we’ve been making improvements in the SEO realm that are necessary to help the clinic to be more visible on the web and Google Maps in particular.
I’ve written about Gretje Ferguson before – she’s a photographer in Boston taking amazing images of everyone from her children and grandchildren to business professionals and authors. And now, Gretje’s site has a new look – thanks to her ever expanding list of offerings, we’ve split the menu into 2 and came up with a clean, fresh new look.
Take a look:
I’m always fascinated by co-marketing. I just opened a brand new jar of Stonyfield yogurt to discover an ad on the foil seal for a new book called Anticancer: A New Way of Life, David Servan-Schreiber. Here is how this works: Stonyfield goes out and buys (or maybe even gets) 1,000 copies of this book that is very much akin to their phylosophy. They create a giveaway for the book, thereby getting information from thousands of their customers, which, in market research dollars is far more valuable than the cost of the book. The book publishers benefit because their book just got publicity from a company whose customers are most likely to read it, pass it to their friends and tell others about it. The customer benefit because they get exposure to a resource they most likely would not have found on their own, a book which advocates organic foods for health benefits, and more specifically, as a weapon against the disease we are all aware and worried about. It’s brilliant.
Now if I could find a company that did store design for Brookline and Boston area businesses, I could team up with them for a physical and virtual makeover package!
I’ve been trying to find a bulk solution to our tea needs – we drink lots of tea – and the tea bags are starting to add up as unnecessary waste. So I found this retailer in a simple Google search: http://www.starwest-botanicals.com/category/loose-organic-tea-tea-blends/. I challenge you to find a red tea on the site in under 2 minutes.
Instead of Sort by SKU, how about sort by Type? Red tea, Green Tea, White Tea, Caffeine-Free, Decaffeinated, Black… There is no reason that categories can’t overlap, but I can tell you as a customer, I am not going to sift through 3 pages of teas just to find the rosehip and Rooibos teas that we drink most. And it’s a shame because it obviously looks like they have put a lot of time into the site and it’s nicely designed.
In further searching, check this out: http://www.herbco.com/c-3-bulk-teas.aspx. Nicely categorized. At the end of this search for bulk tea, which took about 40 minutes longer than it ever should have, I settled for Frontier Natural Products Coop. They had organic and fair trade teas, both positive and categories which were easy to navigate. Hopefully, the tea will be decent and the teabags we don’t use will save the world. Well, maybe not, but at least it’s a small step in the right direction.
One of my biggest and busiest clients, IBEX Tours, has launched a new tour to Belize: Chocolate, Nature and Culture. I considered convincing them to rename the tour Chocolate: Light, Dark and Delicious. I’ve been working feverishly to organize the information before the travel program gets mention in the Rutgers Magazine. Needless to say, as I have been working long hours, and I ate through my stash of chocolate made at the Cotton Tree Lodge, the destination of the tour to Belize. How fitting! If you come across a Cotton Tree chocolate bar, sample it. It’s unique taste, with an almost creamy finish and low sugar content win my vote for the best chocolate. If only I could figure out a way to get another bar.
As I write this post, I lament the end of a bag of granola I had purchased in Vermont on vacation. Silly you! You might say. Why not just order online for them again? It’s so easy for us to assume that any retailer would have an online store, or at least a website that would tell us how to get the product you want. That’s not the case here. I bought this bag at a farmer’s market and the gentleman who sold it to me said that they don’t have a website because “they are afraid that people will buy”. After a hearty laugh, I realized that his sense for his business is right on. How much would they have to make if people could buy their product online? How would their business and their life change? Did they want that change?
I’ll probably never know the answers to these questions, though I am very glad to have met the seller. He gave me a fresh reminder of how important it is for a business owner to know the limits of their business and the limit to which they are willing to take it.
I watch more and more of my clients struggle with the content of their website. How do you describe yourself? How do you describe your business? What colors to use? What information to post and what to keep private? All of these questions swirl around and become the proverbial writer’s block or developer’s block, I suppose, when putting together a site.
My best advise is don’t focus on getting everything right. Creating a website is much like writing a resume for your business. You’ll have to revisit it at least once a year if your business is doing well and more often if it’s not. Start off with the basics. Most businesses have a set of marketing materials even if they are oral and disorganized. Start with those and update them every 3 months or every month if time allows. It’s important to have a plan on how your site will grow, so when you add more information, it doesn’t become disorganized and you don’t have to spend money on a redesign. Having this basic goal – start off small and build from there – will help your business get a presence on the web, or reclaim the presence it might have lost.
We often recommend a photo gallery for our clients. Not only do customers like to see many different pictures of a product (think Zappos with their 8 images of the same pair of shoes), but they also like to see pictures of your organization, your staff (think day spas) or meeting you’ve organized (think a professional organization such as NEWBO).
I am very pleased to announce that IBEX, one of our busiest customers, has posted a photo gallery of their destination countries and past tours. Check it out: http://www.bioexploration.org/photo-gallery.html. The pictures are breathtaking and we are adding more albums every week, so check back often. If that doesn’t wet your appetite enough, read through the tour descriptions and start saving for a trip of a lifetime.
I just attended a seminar on Email Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. Ha! I can see how you can fit email marketing into a 3 hour presentation (and Zak Barron did a good job on this) but it’s rather difficult to fit SEO into a 3 hour presentation. Nick Stamoulis of Brick Marketing did the presenting for this part. I really liked Nick – you can see that he is really passionate about his work and enjoys it (a rarety in these days).
Here is an interesting tit bit on email marketing that I didn’t know. What do you think is the ROI on an email marketing campaing? $10? $25? Guess again. It’s $48, which means that for every $1 you spend, on the average, you can get about $48. That is of course on the average, and would only work with a well executed email campaign and would vary by industry.
So, what did Nick teach us about search engine optimization? It turns out that a good website is just like a good piece of cheese – properly aged and well care for. The longer your site has been posted and active – the better. The more friends you have on the web (i.e. relevant links from trusted sources that lead from and to your site), the better. The cleaner your site is to the eye of the Google behemoth, the better you’ll rank.
It also turns out that Google (and search engines and machines in general) like logic, clarity and order. It’s not just good programming practice to clearly name your files and folders, but it’s necessary for google. It makes sense, right? Even humans can’t always figure out that famonbch.jpg is really family-on-the-beach.jpg.
Brown Couch Consulting is pleased to announce two new clients – Village Green Renewal and Shannon Law Offices.
Village Green Renewal is a handyman shop in Brookline Village owned by Seth Barrett. Seth started the store in 2008 and has already been reviewed by the Brookline Tab and CNN. Brown Couch Consulting created a website for Village Green Renewal and is helping publicize the store in the local community. Look for this in our portfolio pages where we will espouse on the brilliance the shop and the site.
Shannon Law Offices is a small law office, also in Brookline Village, owned and operated by Christopher Shannon. Brown Couch Consulting has been hired by Mr. Shannon to create a web presence for the practice, starting with a website.