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Marketing, design, and technical resources for making your digital and print communications more effective.

Upgraded Content Management System

September 11th, 2008

CMS AdminWe’re pleased to announce an upgraded version of our Content Management System (CMS). The CMS is the core application software that works in conjuction with a server database to provide all the great Web 2.0 information management and broadcasting capabilities that we’re always talking about.

Our Web 2.0 CMS provides the vital tools that help our clients achieve their business goals by increasing the reach and impact of their messaging and decreasing the cost of Website administration.

Our new CMS makes it even easier for non-technical site owners to:

  • Securely login to their site and add, edit or remove page content
  • Make blog/news posts that are automatically distributed by email and broadcast via RSS.
  • Automatically link the major search and blog indexes to their blog/news posts to dramatically increase message reach and awareness.

Here’s a small sampling of our CMS’s key features and benefits:

  • New streamlined modern Web 2.0 administrative panel design theme that makes the updating and editing process easy to understand and navigate.
  • A new word-processor page editing interface that provides any user intuitive controls for posting and formatting of text, photos and files.
  • The ability to easily create multiple pages and RSS streams by simply assigning a category to your post.
  • Optimized and formatted RSS feeds. Your RSS feed content is displayed using the same format and styling that you specify on your site page.
  • Easy integrated system to upload images or file from your PC or Mac to post on your Website.
  • Fast performance for both site visitors and administrators.
  • The ability to use a new custom graphic design or to modify an existing design for use on the CMS site.
  • One button system backup and restore.
  • The ability to assign unlimited editors to your site with customized permissions . . . you can assign a user the ability to edit the content on only one page or to have complete administrative control over the site.
  • Full html formatting of content posts for advanced users.

But don’t take our word for it, try it out for yourself. Just contact us for access to our sample site.

You might also be interested to see our screen shot tutorials.

Web 2.0 Marketing Strategy

August 1st, 2008

In a previous post post, I presented a definition of Web 2.0 as the widespread acceptance and use of technology that allows continually changing or active communication. The main points of the post were:

  • The most important aspect of Web 2.0 is not the technology itself, but rather the new culture of free and open communication that comes about because of technology.
  • The old era of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) that was supported through biased and untrustworthy advertising is past.
  • Web 2.0 technology has birthed a new era of caveat venditor (let the seller beware) since consumers are now able to communicate freely amongst themselves and provide unbiased feedback on sellers’ claims. Amazon.com is a prime example.

How can Web 2.0 help your business?

From a marketing perspective, the questions are simple:

  1. How can Web 2.0 help us reach more prospects,
  2. deliver a more effective message and
  3. decrease our message cost?

Is your business Web 2.0 compatible?

Again, the most vital element to success is not the technology itself, but rather the real value your business presently offers consumers. For those businesses who meet this criteria, Web 2.0 technology is tailor made to effectively assist in achieving the marketing goals mentioned above.

Bear with me as I give yet another Web 2.0 analogy. If I buy this 2006 ADR3 race car for $85k, its got the technological capability to win races. However, just because I buy the car does not make me competitive with professional drivers. Assuming I could con my way into entering a professional race, it would soon become apparent, when I crashed and burned on the first corner, that I was an amateur. The technology would do me little good if I did not posses the real ability to utilize its potential.

Likewise, the benefit that Web 2.0 technology can bring is directly proportional to some more fundamental aspects of your business, such as:

  • Do your current customers (not you, your employees, or executives) consider the products you offer to be truly unique and superior solutions?
  • Do you receive a significant portion of new business through referrals?
  • Is it easy for your prospects to understand your unique value proposition?
  • Is the leader of your business dedicated to establishing a front facing culture of transparency, honesty and direct communication with customers?
  • Do your employees understand and embrace this vision?

This by no means is a comprehensive list, but hopefully you get the idea. The more “yes” answers you can give to these types of questions the more potential your business has for excelling by implementing Web 2.0 technology and tactics.

For a more detailed look at how Web 2.0 technology can help you achieve your marketing goals you may want to check out our “Helping you achieve your goals” page.

What is Web 2.0?

May 29th, 2008

Web 2.0 is a term that has proliferated rapidly over the last few years. The term has become so popular that it’s now being used by about anyone for about anything (Web 2.0 Easter greeting card anyone?). For most businesses, it’s not necessary to understand Web 2.0 in much technical detail. What is important to understand are the massive social and business environment changes that the Web 2.0 phenomena is driving.

Web 2.0—The widespread acceptance and use of technology that allows continually changing or active communication.

Web 2.0—The Basics

Web 2.0 is simply the widespread acceptance and use of technology that allows continually changing or active communication. As you may be aware, some of the most common Web 2.0 applications are blogs, podcasts, Content Management Systems (CMS), social networking sites and user forums. Each of these technologies can be defined within Web 2.0 depending upon how they’re utilized. Technology is a prerequisite for Web 2.0, but it’s the widespread acceptance and use part of the definition that really matters.

Let the Buyer Beware

The most important aspect to Web 2.0, from my perspective, is that it has sparked a grassroots revolution by consumers. The era of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) progressively grew through the 20th century until we languished under a never ending stream of unbelievable advertising. Regardless of consumer protection laws, the reality was that we were largely forced to rely on the naturally biased advertising and promotional information provided by businesses.

The losers in this environment were of course the consumers, but also those businesses who truly did offer unique value and could not afford to carpet-bomb our televisions, magazines and mailboxes. Nor could a business offering real value do much in their advertising to show they were different, since their competitors would make the same claims.

Consumers who wanted unbiased information about a seller relied on personal referrals—the most unbiased and believable feedback available. They were limited however by the finite capacity of their own personal networks.

Let the Seller Beware

Web 2.0 has ignited a new era of caveat venditor (let the seller beware). The rapid change in the marketing nvironment is not due to legislation or litigation, but rather the widespread practice of consumers sharing unbiased
information about a sellers product to other customers and prospects.

A simple example can be seen with books. Outside of our friends’ recommendations, we’ve had to rely on the
publisher’s information or from the questionably neutral editorial reviews. Now, thanks to Amazon and others, we have access to a large and active community of other consumers who provide us their unbiased feedback. Of course this is not a perfect system, those with ulterior motives can post reviews but we can use common sense to evaluate the reviews collectively and form a more reliable conclusion about a product.

For example, if I were to rely on attractive cover and glowing editorial review for Deck Planner: 120 Outstanding Decks You Can Build I might convinced to buy this book. But when I look at relatively low rating by consumers and their mixed reviews, I opt for a better choice.

The important point to understand about Web 2.0 from a business perspective is that our products and services will increasingly be promoted or demoted in the marketplace by consumers, and that advertising and PR will continue to lose effectiveness. Consumers now have better choices of where to get information before making a purchase decision.

The Web 2.0 revolution is only bad news for those sellers who have gotten away with neglecting their customers. In my next post, we’ll explore some of the unprecedented opportunities and strategies for businesses offering true value.

Be Aware of These Web Scams

May 15th, 2008

We receive a very high percentage of customer inquires regarding two general type of solicitations they receive. Since these same scams continue, sometimes with different company names and angles, we thought it would behoove our valued clients for us to post some info on them.

The most important principle to remember to protect yourself from any marketing scam is to always be extremely wary of any unsolicited communication, whether by phone, email or postal mail, that claims to:

A. Be able to do something that seems too good to be true, or

B. Presents a “bill” or “invoice” regarding your domain, Website or some other Web related service from a company that sounds official, but of whom you’ve not dealt with before.

Scam 1—Bogus Domain Registration Invoices

Almost anyone with a domain name registered has probably come across this one. An official sounding company sends you an invoice that states or implies you will soon lose your domain if you don’t register with them. If you have never heard of this company, there is a 99% chance it’s an unethical attempt to get your money. The easiest thing to do is Google the company name or do search on the FTC site. If are still uncertain don’t hesitate to fax or email us a copy.

Scam 2—Unsolicited SEO Spam

I get a kick out the chutzpah of professed SEO companies who resort to spam marketing their implied expertise in driving new customers through search engines. If they really are so good at getting business through search engines why do they have to resort to the most despised of illegal Web marketing to get their own?  The answer is obvious.

Google states it best:

Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue….Reserve the same skepticism for unsolicited email about search engines as you do for “burn fat at night” diet pills or requests to help transfer funds from deposed dictators. No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. (Read the whole page at Google.com)

We encourage you to read this prior post of ours where we go into more detail on the topic.

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