Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Get Spotted In An Ocean of Information

Gauging your own popularity in the search engine by typing your own name in Google is an act of vanity and if indeed you do it occasionally, it should be kept under wrap forever. But, gauging your company’s popularity in search engines is not an act of a narcissist; it is an act of a good business sense! When a large part of your marketing relies on your existence in the Internet, being found online should be one of your business’s top priorities. Creating corporate and commercial websites are among the first steps which many companies have taken on seriously plus the advertising of www addresses everywhere, but not many companies would actually promote the website in the Internet for the millions of Internet users out there.

The fact is, the Internet world is more than meets the eye. Think of the Internet as an ocean of information and like the sea, there are mysteries waiting to be unfolded. It requires extra effort from a company to learn about the potential of the Internet in business. 

The key to being found online is keywords. What keywords would your potential clients be using to search for your company? People who don’t know your brand will not key in your brand’s name into the search engine. My point is, you can’t claim that your brand is always on top when you typed in your brand’s in the search engine. The truth of the matter is, people would not type your brand when they are looking for biometrics time attendance or door access machines. And if they type the keywords associated with your products, would they find you? And, if they don’t, would they find your competition instead?

So, the question is, what would be the keywords that come to mind when they want to look for information related to the products that you offer. 

It’s easier to think that everything happens by chance but the reality is not as ideal as that. Search engines have their own unique way to spot you amongst the rests. Though the process is not as simple, the idea is. Scatter the keywords all over your websites, let the robots notice the keywords and bring the information back to the search engine. The more abundant the keywords, the higher the chance of being found. And the best way to pepper these keywords is to do it in your contents! Create content that is rich in keywords and you might just become famous in the Internet. 

Search engine optimization is an investment of commitment and time. The result would not be instant but it’s beneficial and cost effective in the long run. 

Starting from today, I’m urging FingerTec resellers who have websites to intentionally use keywords like fingerprint, time attendance system, biometrics, door access system, etc in articles and websites related to FingerTec. We might create wonder by doing it together. 

What say you?

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

User Generated Content: Ingenious Strategy or Simply Insane?

We are going back and forth on this idea of letting customers discuss about our brand freely in the social channels and new media. On one hand, we are excited to find out what’s being said about the brand, on the other we have a great amount of fear that the move would bring a colossal disaster to the brand we’ve spent years building. Every product has its weak points and if these points are stressed too much, would they affect the brand adversely? 

Considering what I’ve read and known, user generated content or UGC has an impactful influence on customer’s decision-making process. From a trivial buy like movie tickets to a more significant purchase like buying a car or booking a vacation, other customer’s opinions matter. Moviegoers swear by Rottentomatoes reviews; anything that is less than 60-70% average user rating would not entice them to catch the movie. Recently, when I wanted to buy my first Kitchen Aid, I Googled about the machine, contemplating the good, the bad, the ugly before making any decisions five days later. When it is very easy to get opinions from people who have bought and experienced the products, the decision-making process is very much influenced by those (opinions). Even when it involves buying a new apartment or a new car for example, the owners’ say matter in addition to opinions from experts. 

Now, control is very important when it comes to leaving the floor to the audience to discuss about your brand. If it’s not controlled properly, it could do more harm than good. How are we making sure that the competitors are not contributing to the discussions and dropping vindictive remarks along the way? Are the ones who provide the comments users of the product or just random visitors whom based on their experience with other similar products want to vent their frustrations? 

One thing for sure, contributors do not like to be deleted or denied an opinion if you have comment removal as part of the plan. So long as the comments are fair and not overbearing or breaking any laws, it should be permitted to appear on the sites. Presence of some negative comments also provide consumers with a feeling of trust in the genuineness of the feedbacks. Nonetheless, when the control is favoring the supplier too much, consumers are not getting the real picture of the brand. The question is, how to let go without losing control?

Whatever the issues are, we’ve got to start. When the online market is available 24/7 all year long, somehow or other the brand is going to get discussed somewhere. If we are not opening any channels to know what’s being said about us, the discussions are still going on, the brand is still being discussed over conversations and we miss the opportunity to listen and improve on our products and services. 

FingerTec is looking into incorporating UGC in our websites. One key to successfully letting go of the control to the user is to start small and manageable. Another is to be responsive and ready to engage and address consumer’s concerns. When we’ve gained enough experience, perhaps we could attempt something complex. In the meantime, let us start with baby steps towards acquiring UGC. 

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ