Take the Pain Out of Christmas Cards
If you don't want to spend the first week of December laboriously writing to every single customer, family member and friend on your Christmas card list, why don't you take the pain out of writing your Christmas cards? Here's how:
- Start thinking about it now
- Bring your mailing list up to date
- Think about sending electronic Christmas mail
- Choose from a static html page card design, or a card complete with animations and/ or games
- View the Christmas card game we created for New Zealand Tourism Online for inspiration — this is a great example of using viral marketing at Christmas
- Contact us for more information on what to do next
Christmas cards offer a great opportunity to try out viral marketing, so why not reinforce your brand, wish your customers "Happy Christmas" and encourage them to send your goodwill on — all in one hit! We can design and create an electronic card for you, which you can then distribute to your mailing list. If you do not have a mailing programme yet, you could also think about using Rocket Mailing, which helps you to manage and to send out mailings. If you commission a Christmas card from us before 31st October 2006, we'll give you a discount of $100.
Contact us today for more information.
Talking Viral Marketing
Viral marketing is a good old-fashioned 'word of mouth' and 'pass it on' marketing tactic used by marketers to advertise their product, service, brand or business.
Used online, viral marketing encourages people to pass on interesting and entertaining content like games, video clips, images and text. Viral marketing is popular because:
- It is a relatively low cost marketing exercise when compared to direct mail
- It avoids 'spam' issues
- Potentially it can reach a very targeted audience
- Mail comes with the endorsement of the person sending it
If you are interested in running an online viral marketing campaign to promote your business or your Web site, we can help. Talk to us about what you'd like to do. We'll give you a cost estimate and plan, design and create a viral marketing campaign that suits you.
Link Building Made Easy — Part One
The best way to get people to provide links to your Web site is by publishing content that people want to link to — without you even asking. Getting links to your site is one of the most important ways in which you can increase your Web site's visibility and performance on search engines. This is because search engines use the number of links they find for a Web site to help them determine how relevant they are for specific searches. The more relevant a search engine perceives a site to be, the higher it is ranked in its search results. If nothing else, remember that two of the most important ways to optimise your Web site for search engines, is to have:
- Lots of optimised, unique and keyword rich content
- Lots of quality links from other Web sites pointing towards your site
There are a number of strategies for building links into a Web site, but this month, we're going to deal with the most straightforward method of link building, that of actively searching for Web sites that will publish a link on their site to yours.
What you need to start
Your 6 point plan for link building
- If you haven't already got the Google toolbar on your Web browser, download it. (Search for "google toolbar" in your Web browser, click on the URL and hit 'download'). When this toolbar is installed, you can see what a Web site's Google page rank is. For example, the page rank of the Avatar Web site's home page, http://www.avatar.co.nz/ is currently 6/10. (Pages within a Web site do not usually have the same page rank as the home page, it decreases the deeper you go into the site).
Let's imagine that you are embarking on some link building for your Web site, "www.softasasheep.co.nz", (not a live site
) which sells lanolin face cream worldwide and has a current Google page rank of 3/10.
1. Start by searching for sites relating to beauty, cosmetics and health. You are looking for relevant and quality Web sites, so you need to find sites that have a Google page rank of more than 3/10 for their home and links pages and that are relevant in some way to your industry and your Web site visitor. Using search engines, enter a variety of phrases such as "beauty cream products" and "natural skin care" into the search boxes. Then, review the sites you see listed.
Tip: Combining your search phrases with 'add link', 'add listing' or 'add URL' will find Web sites offering to publish links to other sites. Some may be free, some may require a reciprocal link and some may require you to pay for a listing. If you are only looking for free listings, try adding 'free' to your search (e.g. 'add free link').
2. Look at the page rank for the home page first. If a site has a page rank of more than 3/10, move onto the next step. If not, keep searching.
3. Look through the site (check out its site map) and see if they publish links to other sites.
4. If a site does publish links, email the site owner to request they publish a link to your site. Ideally you want to be published on a Web page with a page rank of higher than 3. In your email, include:
- A meaningful subject line
- Your name
- Your Web site URL (e.g. http://www.softasasheep.co.nz)
- The linking details* that you would prefer the site owner to use on his or her Web page including, URL, site title and site description
- Important: To get maximum benefit from the links from other Web sites, include keyword phrases in your linking text
- Ask the site owner or administrator to let you know when your link is live and where it is published
*Linking details for www.softasasheep.co.nz might look like this:
- URL: http://www.softasasheep.co.nz
- Site Title: Soft As A Sheep : Natural Lanolin Cream
- Site Description: Natural beauty and skincare from Soft As A Sheep includes lanolin cream for the face and body. Lanolin cream is highly regarded for its softening and protective qualities.
Or if you feel comfortable with HTML, you could ask for links to be published linking to your site using specific HTML code, for example:
- <a href="http://www.softasasheep.co.nz" title="Soft As A Sheep">Natural lanolin face cream from Soft As A Sheep</a> — Natural beauty and skincare from Soft As A Sheep includes lanolin cream for the face and body. Lanolin cream is highly regarded for its softening and protective qualities.
Tip: You should change your linking details from time to time — not only to change the keyword phrase or phrases you use, but to match the style of the page your link will be published on.
5. Make a note of when you emailed each Web site owner and which site you have emailed, to avoid repeating requests.
6. If you haven't heard back from the Web sites you have approached after a week or so, maybe email them again. If you don't hear from them after that, move on. Remember, link building can be a process of trial and error.
Tip: If you have found a site with a good links page, look at the links they have published. Follow these links and see if these sites will also publish or exchange links.
Next month, we deal with how to tackle the requests you receive requesting link exchanges. Our link building strategy service provides in-depth guidance and a customised plan for your site's specific link building requirements. We also offer a link building service, which can be commissioned in conjunction with an optimisation launch service. Contact us for more details.
New Address for Avatar HQ
Sadly, we've outgrown Avatar HQ, the once empty place where Rocket started things up with a 486 computer and a mattress on the floor. Next month we're moving into a lovely new home along with our sister companies, NZTO and NZS.com. From the 14th October, you'll find us on Level One, 179 Tuam Street in Christchurch CBD (postcode 8011).
Our neighbours will be Real Groovy and the Christchurch City Council. All our phone, fax, postal details and email contact details are staying the same. The bonus for our visitors will be the large public car park just over the road (new pot plants are welcome).
Sites of Interest
Here's a selection of sites we've designed, updated and/or promoted recently...
- Kea Global Talent Centre (programming and design)
An online job and career service site that links talented individuals with premium career opportunities in New Zealand and around the world.
- EnviroWaste (update and promotion)
Waste management, disposal, recycling and environmental services from EnviroWaste, a leader in the New Zealand waste service industry.
- USave Car and Truck Rentals (update and promotion)
USave Car and Truck Rentals offers quality cars for hire in Christchurch, Auckland and Palmerston North, plus vans and trucks for hire in Christchurch and Auckland.
- Ward Hire (promotion)
Palmerston North car, minibus, minivan and motorhome rentals company offering pick ups for midnight flights arriving in Wellington and Palmerston North.
- Hidden Valleys (update)
Multi day rafting trips for all abilities and ages through some of the South Island's most awe-inspiring scenery.
- Canterbury Sports (update)
Canterbury Sports Wholesale supplies a wide range of summer sports uniforms and equipment through mail order. Choose from leading brands of New Zealand rugby jerseys, soccer uniforms, netball uniforms and sports gear, plus much more.
- Stoffels (update)
The Stoffels New Zealand department store offers an extensive range of products and gifts. The gift shop specialises in wedding gifts, beauty products and unique giftware for all occasions.
- ARF Rentals (update)
For affordable, quality car rental in Auckland and other major destinations in New Zealand. ARF Rentals has car rental offices throughout the country making car hire in Christchurch, Auckland and Palmerston North easy and convenient.