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Web Accessibility: Ensuring Equal Access For the Visually Impaired

With all the dynamic and rich web pages appearing each day, it leads one to wonder, how can we ensure access to information for the visually impaired and blind? In the old days when HTML was king, screen readers were effective in providing the details of what was on a web page. But flash cannot be read, nor can images and dynamic content.

Many countries, such as Canada, the US and Great Britain, have legislation that would ensure equal access for everyone to information. And this is something that web developers, in particular ones seeking to reach out to consumers, should consider. After all, the visually impaired and blind shop too.

Some companies, such as Loblaws here in Canada, provide web accessible versions of their print flyers. These can then be printed out onto braille printers, and are readable by screen readers. The web accessibility solutions, provided by Conversys, allow the visually impaired take part in something that many of us take for granted: saving money by clipping coupons and checking out sale prices, not to mention finding out about new products. A great deal of visually impaired individuals use the internet, and it makes sense to provide accessible versions of web content, in particular promotional retail print.

ALWAYS OFFER AN HTML ALTERNATIVE TO YOUR FLASH SITE. This makes it possible for everyone to access your site. It is a good corporate decision, and this will help with brand image.

Not to mention it helps with your search engine ranking to have an html alternative to a flash site. ;)

Hardware companies ought target Linux users

One thing I don’t understand is why hardware companies don’t try to market themselves to Linux users BY PROVIDING LINUX DRIVERS! Particularly wireless cards. In my opinion, drivers for Windows and Linux should be included with the product.

I say this because of a recent trip to Future Shop where I impulsively bought a wireless card for my old laptop. The girl said: “Sure it will run with Linux” and I assumed that she understood that the wireless card required a driver, and so I assumed that it had a Linux driver available. The router from the same company had Linux instructions. In any case, no go. I found all kinds of software that should have helped, but no go.

Imagine the company that ON THEIR PACKAGING and in their advertising displayed that their wireless cards were Linux compatible.
There are 151 thousand Linux computers REGISTERED.

Not only would I like it, but hardware companies really need to start opening their eyes to the fact that Windows is not the only OS they need to be thinking about, maybe the efforts they waste on making it Vista compatible can be better used to target Linux users. Just a thought.

Networking: Making Friends With Your Market

There seems to be a great deal of emphasis on social networking as a means to connect with people of share interests. For example: Sphinn targets marketers and allows bookmarking and networking as a means for internet and search marketers to interact. As well, there are many other forums and sites aimed at allowing greater interaction among marketers. But, this leads on to question: Does this really help the marketer? It appears to me that the usefulness of these sites is finite. This is not meant to undermine the importance of socializing with your peers, however this might serve to insulate marketers from what was really important. Furthermore, marketers might market themselves better by interacting with those people who might potentially require their marketing savvy. I don’t know many non-marketers checking out Sphinn any time soon.

What do I do different?

Well, it’s no secret that I don’t socialize with other marketers. Not because I am a snob or anything, but they are not my niche market. Furthermore, I doubt any of them will ever contact me because they need help with their search engine optimization, right? I socialize with people who are interested in other things. Music, films, travel, books, and so on. Not only am I also interested in these things, but it is the insights and experiences of socializing with these people that really lends itself to understanding the needs and desires of consumers.

That being said, there are some key points to consider when engaging in social networking online.

  1. There is a lot to be said for a little personality. It is, after all, SOCIAL networking. An online social network can get rather large, and it always helps to stick out among the crowd.
  2. Don’t be shy. Having one or two or three strong connections in your social network is not going to cut it. Be social. Try to make a few new connections each day, or each week, depending on your availability.
  3. Social networking is not for getting other people to do stuff for you. Sure, that might happen down the road. But it is not a good idea to start out with “Hey, Digg this”. Generally, I disregard any request from someone I don’t know asking me to do something, and I will be disinclined to socialize with them in the future.

Social networking affords so many opportunities to anyone looking to reach out to a niche market. As social sites often include some form or another of folksonomic tagging, it is very easy to find and identify individuals of a specific interest, and often these individuals have joined themselves to social groups. Consumers are very savvy these days though. I would not suggest this as an opportunity for sending mass messages to people. But it is a great way to spot trends and learn more about the people you are looking to appeal to. And if you truly integrate yourself, there will be an audience for your ideas.

The Marketing Metaphor of Motivation

Recently, someone commented on my blog, asking me to speak about what motivates people since I think I am such a good marketer. I thought that I had been addressing this in many roundabout ways, but I guess I was not being clear. So Danielle: What motivates people? Well, in the eyes of the marketer, I guess this is just a metaphor for: What will make people buy into what I am selling?

Well, this is not an easy question to answer, and in my opinion not all things should be marketed to all people. And not all people are motivated by the same things. Furthermore, not all things can appeal to the same motivations, which brings us back to the fact that not all things should be marketed to all people.

Sure, I have read articles speaking of the psychology of human motivations, I have seen some pie charts. But keep in mind, I did not study psychology, and I did not study business or marketing. I studied anthropology, the study of human culture. And one of the most profound things that the study of human culture is of the diversity of peoples around the world. And if you figure that cultures are so very diverse, causing people to have different sensory experiences, it must stand to reason that there can only be very ethnocentric/mono-cultural pie charts and articles speaking on the psychology of human motivations.

This, of course, does not help at all.

So what to do…

Think to yourself: Who would really want what I’ve got?

Then ponder: Why would they want it?

Then: Let them know what you’ve got and what they want it.

I suppose that is not really an answer to: What motivates people? but honestly this huge question does not apply to marketing. You only want to know what motivates the people you are marketing to, and this is really depends on what you are marketing.

Internet Marketing For Indie Films

My long time favourite filmmakers have been the Coen brothers, and I am no doubt not alone in this sentiment. Even their first film, Blood Simple, is an intricate example of movie making genius. And even though Hudsucker Proxy was considered a financial flop, I loved it. You know, for kids. In a few days their latest movie, No Country For Old Men, will be appearing in theatres across North America (Nov. 21 to be exact). The Coen brothers have achieved phenomenal success that many independent filmmakers can only dream of, and they are truly big movie men. But what if this is your first film, or second film, you have little or no marketing budget, and you really want your independent film to be seen. With the advent of widespread intvictim.jpgernet use, the task of marketing an independent film has become that much easier.

The independent film is a prime target for an aggressive online marketing campaign, and many movies have already taken to the internet to make their movies viral. Take, for example, the movie Napolean Dynamite. They allow fans of the movie to print T-shirt iron transfers and the fans can then wear these shirts and market the movie wherever they go. Instant cult classic. The No Country For Old Men has a great Coin Killer game, as you can see from the photo. I tossed the coin, and of course lost, just my luck. And I guess they take losing a coin toss pretty seriously. Including games with a viral element is another great way to market your independendent movie online. There are also possibilities in social media marketing and social bookmarking.

But what if your movie is not appearing in theatres across North America? Why not make your movie available online. Anyone who wants to see it can so do so. Offer to sell and ship DVDs, sure. But stream the movie online most certainly.

So here is what I will do when I finally make my first independent film (a contemporary rendition of a Bertolt Brecht play I am fond of, and I will say no more).

  1. First, I would stream my movie online and allow people to watch it for free. Clearly, my movie is not making it to any theaters, but heck yeah I would people to watch it.
  2. I would also have some kind of forum where people could talk about my movie, comment on it and such.
  3. As well, I would do like Napolean Dynamite and provide people with some kind of viral agent for promoting my movie offline.
  4. I would promote my movie to indie film bloggers and ask them to check it out, and if they like it, please feel free to mention it. ;) I would Digg and Stumble too.
  5. An interactive element to the site (advergame) would be nice.
  6. And, to top it all off, I would engage a search engine optimization campaign that would have my site rank on the first page for indie films.

I think that if my indie film was any good (which of course it would be) I would be well on my to independent filmmaker success. Don’t just innovate with your movie, create a culture around it and that will be your ticket to success. Create an intricate world that people can integrate themselves that is based on your movie. ;)

I want to go back to school!

A very long time ago, Christy tagged me in this meme. Better late than never! I love this meme because I love pondering educational opportunities.

“Just for kicks, let’s make this a meme, with rules and tagging and all that. (My first!) Rules: Devise a list of 5-10 courses you would take to fix your life. It’s more fun to be in classes with friends, so include one class from the person who tagged you that you’d also like to take. Tag five.”

1) A journalism course. This course is the course that Christy chose, and I would love to take this course as well. See you in class Christy!

2) Russian language courses so I can read Dostoyevsky in its original form. The cyrillic alphabet will be tough, but I have always wanted to take a Russian course.

3) Programming course - just a grab bag pot-pourri of programming courses. But ASP.NET for sure.

4) I have always wanted to learn to play the violin. I know that a grown woman learning to play the violin might be odd and I would likely never be any good, but I have always wished to play this musical instrument.

5) Okay… this is a big one. I want to go to law school. Not right now, but when I am retired, I would love to go back to school to study law. Then, I can be a very old lawyer who coincidentally slips and falls a lot! ;)

Thanks for tagging me Christy! If you are reading this… consider yourself tagged!

Marketing Is Not For You

While I know that you can go to school, listen to some professors, read some books, pass your classes. But does this make you a marketer? I do really believe that while a proper education might help you, this is one of the less important aspects of being able to spread an idea.

Marketing is not for you if…

  • you want to learn how to do something once, and you do want to revisit the learning process.
  • you are not very easily adaptable to change.
  • you are not capable of coming up with great ideas that other people will also think are great, and you cannot repeat this again and again.
  • you don’t really understand people and their motivations, and you don’t want to.
  • you prefer not taking risks.

You can tell that a lot of people who are in marketing shouldn’t be - this is very clear when you watch TV commercials (most of them).

Blogging Tips from Nietzsche

I keep Human, All Too Human on my desk. The aphorism format makes it easy to pick up and read for a few minutes. I don’t know that he intended this for bloggers, but here are some words from Nietzsche that bloggers might ponder.

Collective spirit. - A good write possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.

Fundamental insight. - There is no pre-established harmony between the furtherance of truth and the well-being of mankind.

Adherents out of the contradictoriness. - He who has raised men up in rage against him has always gained a party in his favour too.

The length of the day. - When one has a great deal to put into it a day has a hundred pockets.

To become a thinker. - How can anyone become a thinker if he does not spend at least a third of the day without passions, people and books?

Why we contradict. - We often contradict an opinion for no other reason than that we do not like the tone in which it is expressed.

In favour of critics. - Insects sting, not out of malice, but because they want to live: likewise our critics; they want, not to hurt us, but to take our blood.

Those who create and those who enjoy. - Everyone who enjoys believes the tree as concerned about the fruit; but it was, in fact, concerned about the seed. - It is in this that there lies the difference between all those who create and those who enjoy.

Danger in admiration. - Admiration for a quality or an art can be so great it can hinder us from striving to possess it.

In the antechamber of favour. - People whom we keep standing a long time in the antechamber of our favour start to ferment and turn sour.

Santa Does Half His Shopping Online

This year, according to a recent survey conducted by Burst Media, 50.7% of consumers expect to do half or more of their Christmas holiday shopping online. This is up from 37.6% in 2006. Overall, according to the results of their survey, holiday spending will be down. Which means that marketers will have to really work hard to increase brand awareness online this Christmas.

In addition to the drop in overall spending and the increase in online purchases, there is the indisputable fact that many people will use the internet to research and window shop to decide their gift purchases this Christmas. Smaller items can simply be picked up at the store, but larger, higher ticket items will more often than not be researched prior to purchase, and the internet is a great way to entice web users to your brick and mortar location by first educating them and helping them to pick the right gift.

Paid Search Marketing

You can invest in paid search marketing in order to quickly get a slice of search traffic. This is a good easy way to rank for very specific search terms that will bring in very targeted traffic.

Organic Search Engine Results

If you have the presence of mind to start planning earlier on in the year, you can get a good slice of organic search traffic as well.

Have a Contest

Definitely a good idea to have a contest and advertise the contest offline, such as in your store or your print flyers. Then you can also advertise this online, and this is so much easier to sell, and once they buy into the contest, they may just buy into what you are selling.

Okay, those are the basics of what you can do, but marketers should be spending a lot of energy this year on their online holiday shopping campaigns, because apparently that is where the money is at.

Pink Sunday Reviews

SEO

How do you get a Free Sunday Blog Review on my Pink Internet Marketing blog? Comment on my blog. I will pick a few blogs from new commenters for a mini-review here every Sunday. Just my way of saying “Thanks for stopping by” and to encourage comments from other bloggers.

While I did get some new comments this week on my blog, they were either made by websites clearly looking for links and one blog link but this comment was made through the Buy Blog Comments sham. It was clear to me that this was from this service because the blogger clearly did not know he had commented on my blog, which I investigated because of the email address used to make the comment.

In any case, since I don’t have any new comments to review, I thought I would do something a little different this week. I have to review something, after all.

SEO blog

This is my new bike. It’s a Giant Simple Single 2008 beach cruiser. It’s so pretty in a very light lilac colour. Today I went for a bike ride while listening to Seth Godin’s Purple Cow on my Zen. The only thing that would have made the moment more perfect would have been a big piece of bubble gum. Next time… next time. ;)

Sorry that all my new comments were too spammy this week. One person even left a mean comment saying “I have read the same opinion on a few other blogs” (about my Google PR with Freddy Kreuger post). Well geez, sorry, it was Halloween time and I thought it was a neat way of presenting my idea. Then he linked to some shopping site.

Hopefully better luck next week, but it did give me the chance to tell you about my new bike. I have spent the past two days trying to work bicycles into my posts.