Inbound Marketing Blog

Corey Smith Corey Smith is the founder of Tribute Media and serves as the Digital Marketing Strategist. He is also the author of "Do It Right: A CEO's Guide to Web Strategy" and "Tweet It Right: A CEO's Guide to Twitter."

Ten Signs Your Website Underperforms

Posted by Corey Smith on Mar 24, 2015 10:06:00 AM

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After building and marketing websites for nearly ten years and working in technology, marketing and visual design for many years before that, you can imagine that I've seen my share of the good, the bad and the ugly.

Perhaps my mental frame is skewed a bit because of what I know (or at least think I know), but I see consistent problems with websites I see.

What's interesting is how many websites are close on being great but miss by a few key elements. I see this problem across websites both large and small. It doesn’t seem to matter how much companies spend… this issue is present on websites that are less than $1,000 and websites that are more than $100,000.

Who is Your Buyer (Persona)?

Posted by Corey Smith on Mar 19, 2015 2:04:45 PM

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Years ago I worked in the office equipment industry. The companies I worked for sold copiers and printers to businesses, organization, etc. During my tenure at my last copier company, HP rolled out a new copier line. They simply relabeled a line from Konica Minolta.

Our company decided to pick up this line and sell it.

It wasn't a very good copier line. Which is probably why the product line was scrapped after a short while.

I remember asking our rep, "Who is your target market?"

Back came the response, "We sell to small & medium business, departments in large businesses and large businesses."

"So," I said, "you sell to everyone?"

Search Engine Optimization is Not a One Time Event

Posted by Corey Smith on Mar 11, 2015 9:30:00 AM

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I talk with clients all the time about ways to optimize their websites for increasing their positions in search engines. At Tribute Media, I hope it's obvious, we provide search engine optimization (SEO) services for our clients so that they can better be found on the web. But, we also do a lot of consulting (for a fee) and teaching (for free) on the subject.

Often, I get the question, "Well, can I just have you optimize my website now and then, in a year, optimize it again?"

The short answer is, "No."

The Six Questions to Ask Before Any Web Development Project

Posted by Corey Smith on Mar 10, 2015 9:00:00 AM

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Choosing the right web developer for your web project can be a daunting process.  I am confident that often time the reason why companies tolerate a sub-par website is because they simply don’t know where to go to get the right developer.

Do you choose Drupal or Wordpress? Do you consider Hubspot for the website and marketing together? Do you have a custom application that needs to be developed. When you find a developer, how do you make a decision that developer is the right one? What are the most important questions to ask.

Here are six key questions that you should ask before you make your decision. They are in no particular order as I think they are all important.

Can you talk to your developer?

When I say talk, I mean really talk. I don’t mean, can you talk to the person that sold you on the project. I mean can you drive to their office or pick up the phone and call them. More often than you think, you’ll have a local sales rep sell you a web site but the work will be conducted by a number of subcontractors, or worse, by a number of people out of the country.

Tribute Media's Copyright Policy

Posted by Corey Smith on Mar 5, 2015 9:00:00 AM

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Recently we had an issue with a new client. The old website provider decided that they were not happy we took over web marketing for this client and sent us a nice letter telling us that we needed to remove the website under the DMCA.

Before we had a chance to even think about responding we got a notification from our hosting provider that they were going to take it down because of failure to comply with the DMCA.

The problem was that all the brand elements on the site were brand elements of the client (taken from their artwork). All the images on the site were stock photos... pretty sure that this web builder doesn't own those images. And the content was so bad that we changed it this week anyway as part of the new contract.

The best part is that the bottom of the old website said, very specifically, that the copyright was our client's. So, it was reasonable to assume that our client owned the copyright.

You'd think that, too, if it was yours, right?

Don’t Leave Your Reputation to Chance

Posted by Corey Smith on Mar 3, 2015 9:00:00 AM

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A number of years ago I was traveling in upstate New York and went to a Friendly’s restaurant. For those who don’t know the chain, it’s a family restaurant. You wouldn’t necessarily expect the service and food to be stellar but you would still have an expectation that someone says hi, comes and takes your order in a timely manner and gives you food that is halfway decent.

That particular evening as I was sitting in this restaurant it became pretty clear that they didn’t care about me, my money or my experience. I sat in this mostly empty restaurant for nearly 20 minutes before I even got my glass of water and gave my order. I then waited nearly 30 minutes for my fairly simple meal to find it’s way to me. This meal was mediocre at best.

3 Elements of Marketing Authenticity

Posted by Corey Smith on Feb 19, 2015 10:32:23 AM

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Years ago, as a sales manager, I was asked to develop a brochure for my company. Aside from the fact that a sales manager should never be assigned to the task of creating an effective marketing piece, there were a number of key problems with the development of this brochure. The process I went through to develop this brochure is critical to the understanding of the problems with trying to ‘fake’ your way through the marketing process.

As I was asked to create this brochure, I went through a number of iterations of what I wanted it to say but just couldn’t come up with anything that made sense. I had a background in graphic design, so this should have been easy. Shoot, I had just come from a job as the Color Systems Specialist for the Western United States for Canon USA… I knew how to do this. But, alas, I couldn’t get it done for the life of me.

On the fourth or fifth iteration I took to the president he finally gave me the content that he wanted in the document. It included a number of philosophies that our company didn’t exhibit and services that we really didn’t offer.

My response was simple, “But we don’t do any of that.”

Adobe Flash Sucks!

Posted by Corey Smith on Feb 5, 2015 11:46:00 AM

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I can't believe that in 2015 this is a post that has to be written.

Not too long ago, I was sitting in a meeting of a local non-profit organization talking about their website. I was brought in as an outside consultant. Their web developer was in the room at the same time.

Now, I use the term web developer loosely. They are really a video group that programs in Flash. They develop websites in Flash along with presentations and other things that they do.

At one point during the conversation I realized how threatened they were by my presence when I asked about their mobile strategy.

“You mean about the Flash, right?” was the terse questioning.