This article is by request. I’m going to introduce you to a web tool that is little known within the dry cleaning community, but may blow your mind like it’s blown the minds of the editors here at Cleaner and Launderer.
A few years ago, (okay, maybe more than a few years ago), I was invited to take an online course developed by M.I.T. This course was about using the PHP coding language. While taking this course, I met a very interesting fellow who happened to be one of the lead developers of the open source content management system called Mambo. One of the assignments of the course was to develop a script, software that could have a real world application. My fellow student and I discussed the assignment, and we both saw a need for web site content to be syndicated streaming out to other web sites for re-publication. At the same time, I was talking with a major dry cleaning organization about their web site content and how it could be streamed into member dry cleaners web sites and re-displayed. My associate wrote the code to parse HTML web code and streamed it out across the internet. I saw the immediate need for the other end of the system; a method of parsing the XML feed so as to re-assemble and re-display RSS streamed content in another web site and complete the loop. So, I wrote a few hundred lines of code, creating a mambo component called an RSS Reader, and released my component to the Mambo open source community. So, when I was asked: ‘what do you know about RSS?’… I surprised my editors with depth and history of actually building some of the tools (which may come as a surprise to you, my readers, too).
RSS is short for ‘Rich Site Summary’, also known as ‘Really Simple Syndication.’ It’s a method of parsing web site HTML code from Web Site A into an XML feed that can be streamed across the internet to other web sites, then parsing the XML feed streamed into HTML code which enables content being re-displayed upon Web Site B. Think of it this way: a web site with an RSS feed is just like a radio station broadcasting music, and the web site that you want to receive content upon is like a radio, you simply tune into the appropriate channel on Web Site A broadcasting and your radio (Web Site B) receives and plays the music content streamed.
So, what’s so mind blowing? Well, many dry cleaners have a web site these days. Despite the best of intentions when they set up their web site, promising themselves they would add new content and new pages, many dry cleaners have found out administering a web site is a lot of work, it takes time and energy to come up with new ideas for content and blogging. Many dry cleaners quickly abandoned the effort of creating new content for their web site, and many dry cleaners’ web sites have not seen any content updates for a year or years.
By the way, Google has modified its algorithm to reflect their page ranking formula to include ranking, how recently you have updated your web site content, so if you have not updated your web site with new content in six months to a year, your web site is going to be sliding down Google’s search results, maybe even off the front page of Google’s search results, meaning your web site will be irrelevant and not see the traffic it should from current and potential customers. Fresh content is KING!
A mind blowing solution to your stale web site content, and to solve the issue of Google penalizing your web site because you haven’t posted any new fresh content, is to add an RSS Reader to your web site and subscribe to a few feeds related to dry cleaning and fashion. Subscribing to such feeds is often free, and once you have set up your system to receive and re-display content, your web site will be updated with new fresh content every time the feed(s) you are subscribed to is updated. Stale content problem SOLVED!
Here is an example of a few RSS feeds you can add: http://www.fashiontv.com/rss-feeds/
Pick your topic, be it Fashion or Fashion trends. Add the feed to your web site reader, and you will immediately have a steady stream of fashion related content for your web site. Boom! Instant relevant content and your web site will be a source of new fashions and fashion advice to your current and potential customers. Best part of all, you don’t have to do any Geeky typing, HTML coding, or sit for hours coming up with new fashion related content, it’s all done for you, AUTOMATICALLY!
But that’s not all, I’m going to take you even further into the present day.
We all know how popular email marketing is with dry cleaners. It’s low cost, if not free. It’s affordable to send email messages to customers. But, there are problems with email marketing. Many of the people who have signed up (opted in) to receive our email messages are not receiving them because ISP (Internet Service Providers) are filtering out our messages to customers, marking our messages as spam and filtering them out of inboxes BEFORE our customers ever have a chance to read them. Low open rates are another problem. And lastly, we may have bored our customers to death with poor or irrelevant content, bad offers, or irrelevant offers, which has resulted in people simply ignoring our email marketing messages, and all our efforts of reaching our customers are for naught. RSS feeds have evolved, and in such a way that I think you, the dry cleaning world, will find exciting, and I want you to experience it for yourself.
RSS feeds can now be incorporated right into a web browser. You can add a few lines of code to your web site, and when a prospective or current customer visits your web page, they will be prompted to sign up for YOUR RSS Feed from your dry cleaning web site. When your prospective or current customer accepts the invitation, your feed is added RIGHT INTO their web browser. Whenever you update your web site and publish new content, such as, let’s say, a special on dry cleaning, your RSS feed pushes a notification down your RSS Feed right onto the desktop or mobile device of your subscribed customers. These pushes bypass any email filter, spam filter, and are shown directly in front of your customer’s eyes as a pop up, on their desktop, tablet, or smartphone screen. You can, literally, reach people’s eyeballs on their belt, or purse, whenever you want. You simply cannot be ignored!
Mind blown yet?
Well, try it out for yourself. Go to http://cleaner-and-launderer.com and you will be prompted to sign up for alerts.
If you’ve visited the web site recently, you may have to seek out the ‘Get Notifications’ button on the right hand side of your screen, like the image below:
Click on the ‘Get Notifications’ button, and a new window will pop up. Accept the subscription to the Cleaner and Launderer feed, and that’s it. Now, whenever the Cleaner and Launderer has new, relevant content that applies to your dry cleaning business or the dry cleaning industry as a whole, you will get a pop up notification on your desktop, tablet, or smartphone, just like the screen shot of one of the pushed notifications like this one below.
If you want to read more, simply click on the pop up window, and your web browser will take you right to the article. Now can you see the possibilities of being able to send information and specials DIRECTLY to your customers, WHEREVER they are? NOW your mind should be blown. Welcome to the future, once again.