Sunday, September 26, 2010

Website Advertising

When starting a website, advertising is probably one the most complicated things to get your arms around.  What advertising strategy or details should you put in your business plan?  How much should you pro-forma for ad expense on monthly and yearly basis?  Should you project any ad income for the first few months or year?  If so, how much?  I am sure that you will never forget that the primary goal of starting a business is to make money.  However, most start-ups sacrifice long term business strategy for a quick buck, especially when they first become profitable.  They forget that the most important strategy for advertising and marketing is creating a "brand" that will be remembered and trusted for years to come.  This will help mitigate the high potential risk of failing or just being a short term success.  Therefore, your product, service, and/or website must be promoted or conveyed in an "R & R" manner--Realiable and Relatable.  Even if your business or niche is the best in the world, if your audience or potential customers do not "see" it as realiable or relatable then it mind as well not exist.  In other words, even the best cheesecake receipe is pointless if it is never read and followed.  So how do you make sure your ad strategy is in R & R fashion?  Among other things, we can accomplish this buy doing the following: 1) Synergy - Evaluate and research all potential venues for advertisements.  Obviously, traffic is a huge factor and could give you that quick yield or return.  But if that venue is not realiable or relatable, their sinking ship could actually sink yours as well.  Therefore, place ads, take ads, and make partnerships with other companies and sites that will provide you with long term synergies; 2) Branding - Evaluate your logo, slogan, and mission statement (absolutely a must to have) to make sure that they all convey the same message.  This will make branding very easy and ongoing, and sometimes without any thought.  Your audience will notice the difference.  For example, if you are a coke drinker, do you question the ingredients of each coke bottle or coke can's contents before you take a sip?  Of course not.  That is because over the many years, Coca-Cola consistently conveyed a message of realiabilty and relatabilty in every single ad, promotion, and product.  If you are serious about your business or site, you will do the same; and 3) Be Patient - This is the hardest of the three.  But, your business plan and pro-forma should account for a long term ad and marketing investment strategy in your own business.  Just like a company that buys back its company's stock, you too should always have more confidence in your business than others.  So you must be willing to invest, or more importantly, "re-invest" back into it over the long haul.  So if your budget is tight, make sure your spreading out your ad funds over a long period of time.  In addition, do not use those first profit dollars on that new personal gadget or new shoes or suit to show off how well your company is doing.  Initial profit should always be used to reinvest back into your business with more advertising and marketing in order to create more profit.  Just today, I was asked how did we come up with the name Flinkey for our website.  Its funny because we were only able to come up with our name after we created our mission statement and slogan.  Our slogan is: Where Family & Friend LINKs are the KEY to your College Success!  Flinkey!  Create a Reliable and Relatable brand.         

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A New Life is Born

Today was a great day. The website has been going well; and more importantly, my Banking partner welcomed into the world his first child. A boy. Now this little dude is so adorable. Looks very strong, alert, and very hungry! Watching my partner holding him brought back memories of the first time that I held my boys. So new and so fragile, yet resting in the comfort of my arms. Witnessing new life makes you really appreciate existing life. When I get home from work, my kids could care less about how my day went. All they care about is that very moment with me, nothing else. Wow...does that make me feel special. Yesterday is gone; tomorrow is not promised; and today is a gift. Therefore, do not let "the moment" pass you by. With all of that said, I guess my partner should have at least a couple of days away from the website. Enjoy the moment!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Homepage Debate

Aside from coming up with a name for our website, one our first challenges that we encoutered was designing the homepage.  How hard can coming up with a homepage design be?  Well, we found out later that this was easier said than done.  Our current homepage is about design number 82; and we are still not satisfied with it yet.  We all have many different opinions on what it should look like, and also the message that it should convey.  In addition, there are many experts who have provided us with the do's and don'ts of creating a homepage.  However, all these opinions all conflict with each other. So, what do we do?  Since our website is very similar to a social networking site, we decided to do some research and take a look at the original facebook (TheFaceBook), Myspace, and Twitter homepages.  Surpringsly, we did not feel that they were very appealing or even professional.  But needless to say, they are very successful despite how they first looked.  So after our laughs, we realized that just like other sites, our homepage will eventually evolve over time along with our website.