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Showing posts from September, 2005

Blogging for Business

Recently added to , the Web marketing portal, are three new pages providing Internet marketers with everything they need to know (for now) about creating and maintaining an effective business-related blog. I've compiled everything I know and was able to find about business blogging onto these three pages: Why Write a Blog for Business ?, How to Create an Effective Business Blog , and Best Practices in Blog Marketing (how to promote your blog once it's built). Also included are links to some of the most helpful blogs devoted to business blogging, such as Business Blog Consulting and Why Marketers Should Blog . A few samples: A blog is a place where your employees can speak to customers and prospects in their own unique voices. It is a place to demonstrate the collected knowledge and expertise of your company (that is, your people). And, through comments, it is a place to have a conversation with your customers and prospects, informally and openly. Compared

WMC Interviews: Farrakh Azhar

I had the distinct pleasure this week of talking to Farrakh Azhar, founder and CEO of WebGreeter / LiveAdmins. While there are several companies that offer Web site chat software, WebGreeter is unique in offering both the software (hosted) and the operators who handle the chat sessions. In short, WebGreeter customers not only have no software to install, they also don't have to staff the Web chat function. Customers pay only for what "chat resources" they use, and still get all the advtanges of greeting prospects as they visit their sites: increased visit length, greater "stickiness," and ultimately higher conversion of visitors to customers. WebMarketCentral (WMC) : What did you do before starting WebGreeter / Live Admins? Farrakh Azhar (FA): I began my professional experience as a businessman, helping the family-business in Import/Export, Retail and Manufacturing. After graduating from Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in 1991, I started working for I

One Company That "Gets" the Web -- And One That Doesn't

While doing some Web strategy consulting work recently for a large office products company, I evaluated several competitors' Web sites. One site -- -- stood out not only as the best in the industry, but as an example of creativity and utility uncommon in any industry. Another competitor -- MeadWestvaco -- unfortunately for them, served as a prime counter-example (or perhaps an example of how to do almost everything wrong). I have no association with either of these companies, and my comments are intended to be illustrative and constructively critical rather than disparaging. Avery is a company that really "gets" the Web, and it shows throughout their site. It has all of the basics one would expect, such as full e-commerce capability and a newsletter aimed at their target market, office managers. A nice touch is that all past issues of the newsletter are kept online in a searchable archive . Even more impressive, back issues are searchable by section, topic or

WMC Interviews: Albert Maruggi

This week, I had the chance to sit down with Albert Maruggi, principal of St. Paul-based marketing agency Provident Partners (and huge baseball fan). His agency assists companies in a variety of industries in all areas of marketing, with particular expertise in PR, events management, integrated marketing and podcasting . WebMarketCentral (WMC): What did you do before founding Provident Partners? Albert Maruggi (AM): Worked in radio for a number of years. I was a television reporter and anchor. I also shot and edited video for news stations. I was a political reporter who made the jump to being a press secretary for a Member of Congress. From there I became Press Secretary for the Republican National Committee and then held public affairs management positions in the Bush '41 Administration. WMC: How, when and why did Provident Partners get started? AM: When I could not get my flight from LA to MN on September 11, 2001 I drove back home. I did a lot of thinking on that trip and

New Blog Friends for WMC

Marketing is about relationships. And one of my favorite aspects of blogging is "meeting" new people across the marketing blog space. Over the last couple of weeks I've had the pleasure of exchanging emails with several prominent bloggers, all of whom have made me smarter. David Wolfe at Ageless Marketing Many bloggers provide tips, which are very helpful. David, however, provides something even more valuable – wisdom. David shares a lifetime of experience on topics such as branding, consumer advertising and earning customer trust. Sarah Eaton at BeTuitive Both Sarah and her blog are delightful. Her specialties are email marketing and uncommon observations. A highly useful feature of her blog is the topical category listing. John Moore at Brand Autopsy A brilliant, visual and wide-ranging blog on branding. Highly recommended for anyone interested entertaining commentary on consumer and business branding, from a brilliant and eclectic mind. Michael Smock at Maneuver Market

Big Brother Really IS Watching You

While this is not a political blog, government actions that specifically affect online marketing or e-commerce are fair game. Several states have recently begun sending nasty letters to taxpayers who purchased tobacco products online from several e-retailers, including . How did they obtain information on these customers? This issue is about far more than the perils or expense of smoking; these actions have the potential to affect anyone and everyone involved in online marketing or e-commerce, anyone who buys or sells anything online. Do you sell products online? Are you absolutely positively certain that you comply with EVERY state and federal tax statute enacted in the last 100 years? Ever purchased anything online, maybe a book or CD, perhaps some jewelry, say back in 2001? Are you certain that the online retailer paid all appropriate taxes on your purchase? Disturbing? Absolutely. Please read on. First, the state actions: the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on this ac