social media

ChoyBoy Solutions: Why AdWords is a Waste of Time and Money; An Intro to Social Media Marketing

I apologize for the misleading title. At first glance, it may appear as if I hated AdWords, which really isn’t the case. AdWords is a great tool meant to drive traffic and create conversions but like any other tool, it’s only effective if you know how to use it. If you don’t know how to use it, you’re most likely wasting your time and time is money…so it’s like losing twice as much money! If you don’t know how to use AdWords, check out the 6 steps I use to set up my AdWords campaigns.

From the perspective of a small startup brand, AdWords may seem enticing to use to generate traffic and create conversions but all that money you’re shelling out could be used to create products and hold events and pretty much build your brand. Most brands are looking to create a following; a loyal group of people that absolutely loves what your company is about and would kill (not really) for the products you make. I’m sure you’ve all seen the long lines that wrap around corners for shoes or shirts from brands like Nike or The Hundreds. Love like that cannot be bought nor can it be replicated through the use of AdWords. It can only be built through the blood, sweat and tears of creating solid content through writing, YouTube videos and interacting with people face-to-face…then posting it on your blog for the world to see. But not everyone will see it. Not everyone would want to see it.

An extremely quick intro to marketing via Social Media.

1) If you haven’t already done so, create a blog (I use WordPress), Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr account. Pinterest is a big maybe for me because it’s not where my target market is BUT if you’re targeting women ages 16-35, go ahead and join Pinterest. Pinterest is heavily dominated by females so it will work to your advantage, just not mine. Spruce up all of those accounts to make it look like nice and consistent with your website. Make sure all your accounts are listed on each other. You want a link to your Twitter account to be on your Facebook and a link to your Facebook account on your Instagram and so on and so forth. Make sure they all link back to your online shop.

2) Download HootSuite or any other application to manage your accounts. Start sharing and start #hastagging. I know, I absolutely hate #hashtags but guess what, deal with it. They work. Hashtags allow you to search by that specific hashtag. Let’s say a fitness company wants to post a picture about legs. Hashtags for that would be something like #legday or #legpress. Well guess what, people who use hashtags use that hashtag. Just go ahead and search that hashtag and like the customer! Sometimes the customer will find you! But be selective when you choose hashtags. Nothing vague. Be specific to save time.

3) Start blogging. You know that WordPress account I told you to make. Use it. Start writing content and make sure they automatically post on to your other accounts to take reach the audience on those platforms. Make sure your blog posts are anywhere between 350 to 500 words. Make sure that all your efforts on social media can be collected onto your blogging platform. There’s plugins to make it happen so it’s not that difficult.

4) SEO plugins/Meta tagging. You need this. Rather than spending money on AdWords, building rich content and optimizing those pages with keywords is a smarter way to go. It may not produce the results as fast as you want but you’ll gain a following of avid readers who are genuinely interested in you and your company.

5) Engage your readers. Start asking questions. Start leaving comments. Start suggesting products. Don’t just set up your accounts and leave it be. The internet is dynamic, not static. There is no such thing as “if you build it, they will come.”

So what would you rather do? Spend money to gain random traffic or build a following through sharing your experiences? One may convert to sales, the other, no questions asked. It’ll work.

 

ChoyBoy Solutions: 88 Monks – Why You Don’t Cheap Out on Hosting Servers

I received the login information and ready to go to town on this site. 88 Monks is a wordpress based site with a Big Cartel plugin for a shop, which is cool. There are many way to go about having an online site and this is a cheap way to go. After you get the domain and host, you get the Big Cartel shop. You can get the free version, which is good for 5 products (I think) or you can pay monthly for up to 100 products and options (again, don’t quote me on the number).

So I logged in. Much to my surprise, this site is dated. I mean, this needed more updates than Internet Explorer. I did everything I could to update the site. I tried updating WordPress itself but that didn’t work so I deactivated plugins in one at a time, then all of them, then some but not all plugins and nothing worked.

4.30 Failed Plug ins

“Download failed. Destination directory for file streaming does not exist or is not writable.” It’s a problem with the server. It has to be.

Turns out that I was right. The server is complete crap. 88 Monks was originally hosted on GoDaddy but the domain expired and eNom, a second rate host, bought it. I logged in to their back end and I thought it would be a simple WordPress install but it wasn’t.

5.05 Enom 1

I couldn’t even make a fresh install. The user interface was minimal but crap. It wasn’t functional. What you’re looking at below is the actual control panel. You can’t do anything. Not even through FTP.

 

After going back and forth with eNom customer service and 88 Monks, I decided it was best to bring 88 Monks to the present. I decided on Bluehost since it’s reliable and I’ve never had a bad experience with them.

Do you see this? This is how most hosts look like when you first log in. Its simple, it’s clean and its easy to use.

5.05 Bluehost 1

 

Moving on the cpanel, baby, look at those drop-down menus. It’s easy to use even for a novice user and its functional.

5.05 Bluehost 2

 

The next step was to move hosts domains from eNom to Bluehost. And this is the part that really ticked me off. When you work with hosts and decide to move domains, the process usually takes anywhere from 24-48 hours. For reasons unknown, eNom takes anywhere from 7-10 days. This whole process started on May 1st. I have a few more days to go. I talked to eNom’s customer service on this and they politely said they can’t do anything about it and that’s just the way it is. Now the reason why you don’t want to cheap out on hosts is specifically for three reasons: 1) Customer Service, 2) User Interface/Ease of Use and 3) Reliability and Speed. eNom is far behind the rest of the players in this game. They do have price on their side but when it comes to technology, you don’t want to cheap out on hosting servers.

Check out the previous 88 Monks related posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

ChoyBoy Solutions: 88 Monks – The Product Page

On the first installment of the 88 Monks saga, I critiqued the landing page.
On the second installment, I talked about the About page.

Let’s talk about the Product Page. I can’t think of a word that’ll exemplify what I’m trying to say so I’ll have to just describe it. There’s nothing more annoying than a poorly built website that has products everywhere you go. It just follows you. You can’t escape it. But I understand. You want the customers to buy what you’re selling but having it everywhere actually screams out desperation. “BUY ME! BUY ME!” It’s like how women get turned off when you show too much interest in them…but that’s a topic for another day.

Other than the second row being broken (in addition to other problems mentioned on the other post), there is a sidebar that has ALL OF THE PRODUCTS LISTED. On top of that, there is a Follow Us and Share Us section on that same sidebar that pretty much has the same information sans YouTube. This sidebar is on every page – but I guess in 88 Monk’s situation, it’s not all bad since there’s only 3 pages to this website.

5.05 88Monks Products 1

First of all, you don’t want to overwhelm the customer. As mentioned in the first installment, you don’t want a landing page with too much information. You want the customer to visit your site and browse around a bit before checking out your site. It’s all about the experience. In the second installment, I mentioned having a contact page. You need that. You need to be transparent. You want to create an open line of communication. And the lesson learned from this installment is that consistency is key and less is more.

More updates coming soon!

 

ChoyBoy Solutions: 88 Monks – The Landing Page At First Glance

A friend of mine has been having trouble with his business, 88 Monks. It’s an apparel line that has both and online “presence” and a physical store-front. The twist is that 88 Monks is an apparel line that also offers consignment, meaning that he will have other brands being sold on his shop. The reason why “presence” is in quotation is because he really doesn’t have an online nor a physical presence. His marketing tactics are guerilla, meaning that he only focuses on stickers and word-of-mouth, but they have had no real impact on the success of his physical store-front. His social media presence is also lacking. There are many problems but for now, I want to focus on the website and the problems with it before talking about his social media presence and the lack of marketing.

Below are screenshots of the before/current pictures of 88 Monks. The pics aren’t seamless (one page) because I’m writing this up at my day job and I don’t have Photoshop here.

Now, I actually like this landing page (or what I thought was a landing page).  The banner is decent, the site pages are visible and there’s a video to catch the viewer’s eye. If someone clicks on the video, bam, you got someone sitting on your page for a minute and 27 seconds and you’ve sparked their interests for more content.

4.30 88Monks before 1

 

But what do they get when they scroll down? An online shop. And an online shop that is severely lacking in quality. I’m not talking about design because I’ve seen worse sell for more but I’m talking about the layout. The second row of this shop has only one picture placed on the far right. Why? There’s no reason it should be like this.

4.30 88Monks before 2

 

Also, this shop does not have consistency, which is key to having a successful online shop. The images are mixed with stock pictures of white tee with graphics laced over it and actual product shots. There’s also one picture with a completely different background. How will you ever gain the customer’s trust with a shop looking really suspicious and low-quality?

4.30 88Monks before 3

 

Oh there’s more scrolling? An about page? On the landing page? Why? There’s a separate page for that on the first picture.

4.30 88Monks before 4

 

And then there’s random pictures? Looks like a Tumblr or Instagram feed placed right on the landing page. I’m feeling overwhelmed here!

4.30 88Monks before 5

4.30 88Monks before 6

To sum it all up, it’s clutter. It’s just too much information. Sure it may look nice at first but when you scroll down, you see a shop that’s inconsistent and has bugs, an about section that doesn’t really say much, and many many pictures that makes you feel overwhelmed. Plus, this page is not configured correctly to be picked up by any search engine.

I’ll fix this.