No folding required Put a company map on your site in 3 steps with Google Maps

Posted by tom klein August 29, 2007 at 2:30 am

If your customers can’t find you, they’re going to have a hard time buying from you. Why not make it easy?

Google Maps lets you add a map to your website in three simple steps. Find the map that you want (you may need to complete your company profile first). Then, copy the simple HTML code. Next, just paste that code onto your website. This is a perfect example of how to make it easy for other sites to carry your content, as we described in Kiss the problem.

Here’s our example for a little show and tell. Come see us and we’ll go get a latte at San Francisco Coffee.

These search based mapping systems represent the phone books of the future. It’s important that you go ahead and create your listing to make sure that search engine users can find you.

If your company is hard to find, consider including a link to an online map like this one more broadly - company email signatures, blog postings, text messaging signatures, website home page.

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  The virtues of reality Use Google’s Sketchup to sell in 3D

Posted by tom klein July 31, 2007 at 2:30 am

It’s hard to overestimate the power of an image to make your sale. It seems that so many people would consider buying anything from furniture to landscaping services if they could just see what the outcome might be . . . before buying. Unfortunately, you can’t really “try on” a couch or landscaping services. Or . . . can you?

Google’s Sketchup 3D modeling tool might be able to help you close the deal. It lets you build and modify 3D models quickly and easily, certainly such things as homes (a nice loft) or offices (the Campanile building in Atlanta). So, if you want to help your customers see how that new couch looks in the living room, it’s not out of the question. Sketchup democratizes 3D modeling so that it can be put to work selling just about anything – see this gallery of modeling examples.

In addition, you can also search the Google 3D Warehouse to get a sense of the types of things that people are designing, using this tool. As you might have already noted with gaming advertising, 3D modeling has arrived. It’s only natural that it should be put to work in selling materials.

Sketchup also lets you put your models into the quasi-real world of Google Earth, using actual coordinates. In other words, if you design your house, you’re able to place it in Google Earth for anyone to see.

This tool doesn’t do anything that architects haven’t been doing for centuries. It just makes model building more accessible. Think about how you can use this approach to differentiate your offering from your competitors, while also helping your customers make the decision to buy on the spot.

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  All politics is local Attract customers to your front door with data-rich mapping

Posted by tom klein July 11, 2007 at 2:30 am

We get it – mapping has been conquered by Mapquest (AOL), Google, and Yahoo!. What is an online map anyway? So many people are stuck with the notion that it’s an electronic version of a flat, lifeless piece of paper. Locations are plain points. Au contraire, mon frere.

Use Mapquest’s gift of access to their platform to entice your customers with a map that’s alive and percolating with data and intelligence. Maybe you would like to help your customers find a nearby golf course or perhaps identify a campground that allows you to take your dog along in your big rig. If your customers start with a map to find you, now you have an opportunity to stand out.

If you’ve already made an investment in search marketing, consider this the graduate school class – helping your customers find your physical location by enriching the mapping experience. How else are you going to convince them to go that extra mile?

Currently only MapQuest Business Solutions (MBS) customers have access to the beta version (pre-release) of this API. If you’re not an MBS customer, Google offers a free beta version of their Javascript API with some similar traits, but does not yet allow you to integrate the fancier Flash animations, graphics, or videos that will delight your target audience.

When you’re developing content that will be delivered in a map, put yourself in the same vehicle as your customer.  Think about how you can add value to the entire experience. It may be something as simple as reminding a service customer at a car dealer that they can wait for their car at the wi-fi equipped Starbucks down the road.

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  Walk on by Web enabled LCD’s change outdoor ads

Posted by tom klein June 18, 2007 at 2:30 am

A 32 inch LCD HDTV can be yours at Wal-mart for just $597. Did you realize that these low LCD prices are also changing the outdoor advertising game?

Clear Channel’s  Taxi Media has created a network of 32 inch LCD screens (connected by satellite) that ride around on top of Boston and New Orleans taxis. These taxi-top LCD’s don’t feature static ads – they can carry 5 or 10 second animations (the feed growth! candidate).  What’s different here is the level of control.  You can change the graphics on the fly or even run different ads on different streets or at different times, opening up opportunities for optimization (we mentioned the web equivalent in The dating game).

With rates running at $450 / month for a 20% sign share, are you taking advantage of opportunities to rethink digitally enabled outdoor?

This geo-targeting ad system (developed by Vert) uses GPS to identify the taxi’s location and a rooftop wireless modem to transmit up to the minute adjustments to the ads served by the ad-server network.

Consider how you could use such a system to optimize what you know about the effectiveness of outdoor ads. Combine more dynamic ads, geo-targeting, and variations by day-part and you have a rich opportunity for learning. 

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