Monday, March 25, 2013

Better living through music...Amy Courts

by Tammy "Grouchy Marketing Lady" de Leeuw
Monkeywrenches, Mayhem, Madness and Marketing

I first saw Amy Courts at the Red Devil Lounge in San Francisco a few years ago, opening up for Jennifer Knapp and apparently having a great time in so doing,

Honestly,  I had never heard of  Ms.Courts, and when she took her place at the microphone that evening, I  couldn't help thinking "Oh, great another angst-washed, overly sincere girl indie singer opening act."

After a few notes, however,  I knew how off base my assessment had been.

Courts' pure and honest voice, evocative lyrics, and wry humor were the perfect  opening act for Knapp.  In fact, in some respects,  she plain outshone Grammy-nominated Knapp, who, to her credit, looked on approvingly and seemed to encourage Courts to upstage her.

It turned out to be one of my all-time favorite small venue concerts.

Today, Amy Courts is busy, as are many of us, juggling the responsibilities of being a wife and mother, striving to maintain her artistic integrity in an industry bent on destroying it for the sake of a quick buck, and staying healthy and fit and away from (most?) rock and roll vices.

Those of us sick and tired of tired of factory farmed music, with its' emphasis on the ubiquitous, memorable hook (no one really knows what the song is about, but if you hum a few bars- we can fake it)  its' lack of real emotion and depth, and nails-on-chalkboard repetitiveness (think: Bruno Mars four times in an hour!) would do well to support artists such as Amy Courts. 

Check out Amy's offerings here and if you like what you hear- be sure to send a donation to help her keep making great tunes.

Go here to hear some of Amy's finest work:

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Don't Lose the Data

re: Building a capture page- some important tips

by Tammy de Leeuw
"The Grouchy Marketing Lady"

I spend a lot of time on the internet.  I mean, a LOT of time, and I probably see between 50-100 different websites each day.

Yet I find, much to my surprise, that a great many of these sites (some of them artistic masterpieces) lack a basic mechanism for capturing data.

I mean, after all, isn't the purpose of building a good website, blog, or capture page to entice others into stopping long enough to interact with YOUR company?

That's where a good lead capture page can come in handy  If you feel your main website is just to aesthetically pleasing to contemplate an opt-in form, you can always create a capture page that you can link to your main site, or use as a standalone lead generation tool.

9 Capture Page Best Practices

Here are some tips to help you create landing pages that stand out for all the right reasons, and make your prospects WANT to give up their information.

1. Develop engaging, personal, relevant, and useful content.  In the photo of, you can see that part of the content comes in the form of a video.  In 
   fact, in these days of diminishing attention spans, short videos with "tips or tricks" or even well-
   done testimonials, can be useful.  The video should make them want to learn more. "Want to know
   the rest of the story?  Fill out the form you see on this page and you can get my ___________.
  (free  report, audio recording, DVD, article, etc.)

2. Including a WRITTEN article can also help.  This could be a long form article, like the one you
    see on the buffbod page, or it could be a partial article that links back to your website or blog.

3. Put your MOST IMPORTANT content at the top, what some designers call "above the 
    If getting them to opt in for your free catalog is the reason for the page, then visitors shouldn't
    have to waste time scrolling to the bottom of the page in order to do so.

4. Take advantage of the power of visuals, including charts, photos, and videos.. but resist the
    temptation to go overboard and clutter up your page.  Simple, clean visuals such as product
    previews can actually increase your page's effectiveness, sometimes by as much as 300%.

5. Compelling headlines can stop someone from surfing past your offer.  Use them.

6 Impeccable, perfect spelling and grammar.
   If you outsource your pages to a foreign country, it's up to you to ensure that things are spelled
   correctly, that the grammar is correct, and that sentences  requiring subtlety and nuance actually
   it.  The Grammar Police are watching you!

7. Judicious use of links.  Ever see those capture pages and websites where every other word has
    been turned into a hyperlink?  Don't do that...

8. Visuals need to relate to the content.  Don't try and "fool" search engines by putting a sexy
    swimsuit model photo on your page selling pet supplies.  People get upset when then click on a
    a photo that takes them to a completely unrelated page.  Even if they DO opt-in, they probably
   aren't the kind of prospect for which you were looking.

9. Make sure ALL your graphics, videos, and photos are fully optimized for search.
    There is a whole lot of information on how to do this available on the internet.  You need to take
    time to  learn it, even if someone else does your SEO.   ANYTHING you can do to help you
    get found more easily is worth the effort.

For a GREAT checklist of all the things that make a perfect landing page, check out this article: