The Target Advocate
IN THIS ISSUE

Hello, how are you?

- Feature Article: Is Your Website Effectively Marketing Your Business?

- Linkedin: Are You Linkedin Yet?

- Featured Partner: Laura Larson

- About Doubet Consulting

Please add bsilver@doubetllc.com to your whitelist or address book in your e-mail program, so that you have no trouble receiving future issues!

November 17, 2005

Vol. 1, Issue 9

Published the third or fourth week of every month.

Please forward this entire bulletin to marketing and sales-minded colleagues.

Note from Beth

Dear Friend,

Hello! I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for all the support you have given me with the Target Advocate these last few months. Your feedback regarding the articles I've written and the number of colleagues you have forwarded my newsletter to is quite amazing. It's exciting to see how many new people sign up for this newsletter each month. I thank you as you've kept me on my toes!

This month, my focus for the Target Advocate is the power of words. The feature article discusses how to determine the effectiveness of your businesses' website, and my featured network partner is the wonderful writer and book consultant, Laura Larson.

I am also including an invitation to all of you wonderful online networkers that use Linkedin to expand your connections by being connected in my Linkedin network.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this month's Target Advocate.

See you next month as we hit year-end!

- Beth

Beth Silver
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Feature Article:
Is Your Website Effectively Marketing Your Business?

By Beth Silver

Every fall, I evaluate Doubet Consulting's website, www.doubetllc.com, to ensure that we are still providing information about our services in the most efficient manner. Businesses have their own websites for many reasons. For Doubet, we created our website to establish a greater presence on the Internet, service our clients and potential prospects more effectively, answer questions about our firm, as well as heighten public interest. All of our goals were to make Doubet Consulting a dominant practice.

The criteria I have for evaluating our website is the same each year, but the results are often different. As the firm has grown, so has our need to educate those who visit online. Because we now serve clients throughout the country (and we hope, soon, the world), it is important to highlight different aspects of our business.

The 7 criteria I use to ensure that Doubet is putting its best foot forward on the Web are as follows:

1. SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis refers to analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for your website. Does the website communicate the key features of your business? Does it do so in the in the most effective manner? Have services/mission changed to reveal new opportunities for your business that you can promote on your site? Has the market changed or, perhaps, your business grown? What feedback have you encountered? What other websites have you visited over the past year that you feel have strengths your site does not have?

By conducting a thorough SWOT analysis of your website, you will see what areas need additional focus. When looking for outside resources to assist as you improve your site, a SWOT will save you time and money. You will already have an idea of the best methods to achieve your goals.

2. Content

Content refers to everything available on your website, including what you read, see and hear. Be a target advocate for your firm. Review your site as if you were a first-time visitor looking for information. Evaluate your tone, grammar, writing style and all messaging criteria. Your website may be a person's first impression of your business.

Do you answer the questions a first-time visitor would have? Is your tone appropriate for your brand? Also, evaluate how often you need to update content. For example, if your company makes a presentation referring to additional content on the website but does not make the content available there, clients may become frustrated when visiting the website. Even worse, visitors may think this sort of inconsistency is how your firm follows through on promises and deadlines. Make sure that impression as professional and engaging as possible.

Search engines are always looking for new content. Be sure to schedule when new content will appear on your site. This will help your site rank higher.

3. Design

What does your site look like? Do you like it? Is it built in a format that is search engine friendly? Some formats are not. Does it showcase the brand image you want for your company and the potential clients you are aiming to reach?

If you are not happy with the design of your website, you do not necessarily need a complete redesign. By evaluating colors, images, font and text size, you may find that small tweaks make a big difference. Don't be afraid to speak to a qualified web design firm for additional tips.

4. Navigation

For some, site design is not the problem; it's the navigation within the site.

If moving from one place to another is difficult on your website, potential clients may get discouraged and leave. Do you easily identify what the purpose of your site is? Is moving around the site therefore intuitive and effortless, or do visitors have to think where they need to go and look for the back button? Watch a first-time user meander through your site and see what he or she encounters.

5. Performance

How well does your website perform on other systems? Of course you know how it performs in your own home or office, but do you know how it rates in others'? For example, what is the download speed on different website browsers and computer platforms? How fast do pages load on a dial-up, cable modem or T1 setup? Consider, too, the download speed of web pages with both small and large graphics or of any documents available on the site. Your web logs may provide information such as this to help you assess a visitor's overall experience.

6. Interactivity

The complexity of your site will determine how interactive the user's experience can be. For example, can the website do simple searches? If the website has discussion boards, are they easy to access? If your career area allows a potential candidate to apply for a job, is the process easy and interactive?

7. Statistics

Statistics may not be the first thing you are concerned about when looking at your website, but the information they provide is invaluable. When I first launched our website, I'll admit, I never looked at our website statistics. Today, I look at them all the time. I like to know where people are going on the site, what pages are most popular, and where new visitors are coming from. I now know what key words visitors use to find us, which has helped distinguish my market.

At the end of this fall's website evaluation, we determined our newsroom had grown throughout the year and so needed to refocus our attention in that area. While a few years ago our newsroom may not have been the focus, today more and more visitors are first learning about us via the news stories and presentations we give, as well as the articles we write. For us, the goal is to make this part of the site as user friendly as the other areas. I look forward to releasing our updated newsroom in the next few weeks.

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Linkedin: Are You Linkedin Yet?

Over the last few months, I've worked to educate people about Linkedin. If you don't know, Linkedin is a social networking platform designed to help professionals connect online. It's an amazing and low cost (free) marketing tool that connects people looking for synergies, new business opportunities and information. It's great and I invite all of you who are not familiar with it to check it out. I currently have 164 connections who have 56,200+ connections, who in turn ultimately have 1,069,600 connections out of a possible 4 million registered members in the Linkedin.com site.

On Friday morning, I received Christopher Knight's Ezine-Tips newsletter. He invited all of his Ezine-Tips.com members to add him to their Linkedin social networking account, allowing them also to gain access to Christopher's network of more than 1.3 million business friends.

I thought it was a great idea, so I am "borrowing" it and offering the same invitation to all of you. For this newsletter, I'll be approving incoming Linkedin invitations so, if you are already a Linkedin social networking person, then please follow the directions below [instructions provided for newsletter recipients only]. If you are not familiar with Linkedin and want to learn more, click here.

If you would like to sign up for Ezine-Tips, just click here.

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Featured Partner:
Laura Larson

Laura Larson of Leap for Words is my featured network partner this month. An expert in the publishing world, Laura helps her clients on projects such as copy and ghostwriting, editing, and advising them on how to get their books published. Her expert advice makes her clients' writing crisp and alluring.

I first heard about Laura over two years ago when having a lunch with a colleague. He was telling me that he just found an error in one of his marketing materials and was given the name of a wonderful editor and writer. A few months ago, I was looking for someone to evaluate a few things I had written and had contacted a few colleagues, including the gentleman I had lunch with, for some suggestions. At least two of the people I contacted suggested that I get in touch with Laura. When I did, she was helpful and responsive and, most of all, knew her stuff. I can't thank those colleagues enough for the introduction.

To learn more about Laura Larson and how she can help you with everything from a newsletter to a book manuscript, visit the Leap for Words website. You may also contact her directly via email or call her at 718-826-8687. (Note that she's moving about the same time you'll be receiving this newsletter, so please be patient as she settles into her lovely new home and office.)

Laura Larson
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ABOUT DOUBET

At Doubet Consulting, we help our clients acquire new clients, retain the good ones, become more profitable and move their business forward. We identify, create, and implement effective marketing and business strategies for entrepreneurs and small to mid-sized companies. As Target Advocates we take a comprehensive look at your overall business, ensuring that you effectively meet the needs of your target customers. Businesses often refer to themselves as a piece of a pipeline and we look for and fix gaps in that pipe, making it whole so that it works more efficiently.

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Our Address

310 East 75th Street, Suite 3H, New York, New York 10021 United States