Essential Search Engine Marketing and SEO Resources - Whether you're new to SEO or you've got some experience under your belt, this is an excellent collect-all resource for topics such as social media, blogging, link building, local search and reputation management. If you're not ready to make the time commitment to read it all, at least check out Google Webmaster tools or the Beginners Guide to Search Engine Optimization.
• Got to store at 5:30AM, was about 20th in line.
• Apple Employees came around about 7:30 to show off new phone, offer juice and make sure you were eligible.
• Store had the capacity to handle about 10 or so people at a time.
• Apple employees have to put in all your info in on those little handheld devices. Whoever thought of that is a damn fool.
• Number successfully ported over at about 9am, but activation through iTunes hung. Employee said I was his 4th customer and 1st were he got all (most) the way through.
• Credit card handhelds in store crash about 9:10am.
• Wait, Wait, Wait on iTunes to activate - nothing
• 10am, they say we can go home and activate them through iTunes
• Line didn't move for about an hour or more, people were getting restless outside. Employees at a loss about what to do. Head guy on the phone.
• iPhone still not officially hooked up to iTunes, but I am getting calls on it now.
ping me @onehalfamazing on Twitter if you have direct questions or concerns. I'll do my best to get to them all.
Official Google Blog - Google Learns to Crawl Flash
Google Webmaster Tools - Improved Flash Indexing FAQ's
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Basics
In 2007, Mozilla held a competition for users to create a Firefox commercial. The winner would take some some cash and jubilation from the Firefox community. The video below was my entry. I didn't win (unless you call a T-shirt a prize), but I thought I'd share it on my site for the first time. I shot, edited and produced the video on my own as you can probably tell.
This was the winning entry....WTF?
Download Firefox 3.0
What are your thoughts? Should company's be more forthright in their use of videos like this? Do you find it backhanded that they would produce something just for it to go viral?
Was BMW’s Viral Marketing Stunt Really That Risky to the Brand?
CNN - Viral Video Launches BMW
One idea, 54 hours: Startup Weekenders build real company - Commercial Appeal
Memphis Startup Weekend Blog
Launch Memphis Flickr Photostream
Find more people - Sure, you're following lots of cool people, but even they get boring from time to time. Find people in your local area with Twitter Local. Still not exciting enough? TwittEarth, TwitterVision, TwitterHolic or TwitterPoster are a few of the most popular sites that let you see what's going on worldwide at any moment. Find out who's got the most followers or discover new people twittering about subjects that interest you.
Mobile - Yes, I know that Twitter already has features for updating through your mobile phone, but to me it still lacks something.
Hahlo, PocketTweets or BrightKite are three easy ways to update and interact through your mobile device.
Coordinate with a group - If you're following a lot of people on twitter then it may be difficult to cut through all the clutter to find those conversations that are most beneficial. GroupTweet allows you to interact and broadcast your message to a selected group of friends through one main group account. This could be very useful for small teams or even communicating with family members.
Search - Interested in hearing what other people are saying about a certain issue, product or article? Punch your query into Summize and find all related Tweets. This service can be especially helpful for business owners hoping to listen in on the conversations that are going on about them. For more ways to capitalize on Twitter in your business check out my past article - Using Twitter and other Micro-blogging services to Advertise to Your Best Customers
Polls - Want to get feedback on a question or dilemma that's been on your mind? Check out Straw Poll Now or TwitterCensus for informal polling and feedback.
Software - Wouldn't it be nice if you could interact with Twitter in other ways beside your browser or mobile? Spaz and Snitter are two good looking Adobe AIR applications that can sit right on your desktop.
- TwitBin and TwitterFox integrate nicely with Firefox.
- Rather get your Tweets through email? If so try out TwitterMail
- Update your status across multiple networks including Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, Pownce and Bebo with HelloTXT
Fun - Life's too short, have some fun with Twitter. Check out Overheard or get a sense of what people are feeling at Twistori. If you're rocking a Mac, then there is a hidden feature that will show your Twitterverse within your screensaver.
What is Twitter? - 2
Twitter in Plain English
Using Twitter and other Micro-blogging services to Advertise to Your Best Customers
OneHalfAmazing on Twitter
Social Media Breakfast - The 3rd Memphis Social Media Breakfast happens on Wednesday, May 7th at 7:30 AM. Presented by LunaWeb, Social Media Breakfast is an event where social media experts and newbies can come together over breakfast to learn, share ideas and meet other marketers, entrepreneurs, bloggers and new media fanatics. You can find out more information and topics at Social Media Memphis Facebook Group or through the LunaWeb Blog.
TechFuel: Technology Meets Cocktails - Presented by LaunchMemphis, TechFuel is a kick-off event designed for technologists, entrepreneurs, media (bloggers), investors, and others to meet, and share ideas in a fun and open atmosphere. The event is open to the public and includes free food and drink specials. TechFuel is set for 5-7 p.m. May 8 at the Fox and Hound, 5101 Sanderlin Ave.
Startup Weekend Memphis - Startup Weekend is slated for the weekend of May 30th - June 1st. Over the course of the weekend, 100 members of the community come together weekend to found a new technology startup company in Memphis. At last count, I think there were a little over 20 seats still available for Startup Weekend Memphis. $40 is a small price to pay for the ability to work with some amazing people and the opportunity to take home a piece of a startup at the end of 3 days.
- Offer a coupon code specifically for that video. Make it exclusive yet measurable.
- Show your expertise. If you're a landscaper, then plant a tree. If you're a chef, then show how easy it is to cook a delicious meal.
2. Google AdWords Conversion Tracking - You can now define and track several different types of conversions that are important to your business. Different types of conversions can lead to different ROI's for you business. Knowing how well a particular keyword performs can (and should) influence your bid.
3. Google Website Optimizer - You can now use your Google Analytics account to access Website Optimizer and test designs, headlines, and graphics that lead to the highest conversion rates on your site. Another easy way to squeeze every penny out of that already small online marketing budget. Read their blog for more details and ideas.
- there wasn't such a thing as an iPhone, let alone a cellphone. Remember when you actually had to plan a time to call someone?
- you had to be home at 8pm on Friday night to catch your favorite show because there was no TIVO or on-demand?
- there was no Starbucks?
- you had to visit each of your favorite sites on a regular basis to see if they were updated because RSS hadn't been thought of yet?
- there was no mapquest or turn-by-turn GPS?
- only the rich and privleged had access to Harvard, Stanford or MIT?
- AltaVista was your search engine of choice?
- you taped your favorite song off the radio when it came on?
- there was no way you'd fill up a 20GB hard drive?
- voting in a presidential election you had the choice of one old white guy or another old white guy?
- it cost too much to quit your job and do something you loved.
- you lost track of friends because Facebook and MySpace were still figments of imagination?
A majority of the things above weren't even around 10 years ago. What are you doing right now to prepare your business (and yourself) to be successful in the next 10 years? Do you have a plan? Your business could be gone in the blink of an eye (just ask Blockbuster). Why are you still sitting on that great idea? Get out and get moving. Take action. Talk is cheap.
What your overall marketing goals? Do you want to push sales, drive engagement, increase awareness? What is considered a success? In the end is it the number of people who took an action, products sold, satisfaction index, mainstream media coverage, subscribers/listeners?
● Buzz – See who is talking about you. Go to blog search engine Technorati or get feedback from Google Alerts. Use existing functionality located within your online blogging platforms (WordPress dashboard). Use the old SEO trick by searching for your domain in Google, Yahoo and MSN with the following: link http://www.mysite.com. It’s not an exact science and many of these are very rough numbers, but will serve as a good indicator to see who is talking about and linking to you.
● Content Consumption – Measure who is reading your blog, where they are coming from and what content they are reading. Web analytic reports will show you the most popular content on your site and/or blog. This data will also show you how long they were on that particular page, where they came from, and also the bounce rate. Also consider vanity urls.
● Content Contribution – A quick and easy metric would be to monitor the number of visitors who are actually interacting with your content such as commenting or pinging back to your original post.
● Social Bookmarking – See who is adding your site/article/posts to sites like Del.icio.us, Reddit, Digg and Stumbleupon. Create profiles in each of the bookmarking sites and search for your urls.
● Subscribing to a RSS feed – Measure the number of your readers who are actually subscribing to your RSS feeds. Feedburner gives your readers lots of options to subscribe to your feed with useful stats on the backend
● Emailing posts – Use your blog platform tool like to see how many emails are actually being sent through your form i.e. forward to a friend.
● Profile Engagement - Profiles on Myspace, Facebook, or Mybloglog can give you some of the same metrics mentioned above; as well as monitor the number of friends that you have, total profile visits, etc.
Download this as a PDF
Understanding the UnConferences
100 Idea Topics for You to Cover at PodCamp
What is BarCamp?
Updated - Social Media Breakfast #1 Flickr Photoset ~ Official Social Media Breakfast page ~ LunaWeb
This is how I see the promo set up, but feel free to add you own twist on it. Start a YouTube page for your business - they're free. Encourage your customers to upload their best performance of one of the greatest lines from There Will Be Blood - "I drink your milkshake." Promote the effort on your website, company blog, in-store promotions and to your best clients. Have a definitive start and end date in mind. At the end, have the community vote on they think gave the best rendition of the movie. Have a screening of the movie for all participants, give away prizes such as a years supply of milkshakes or let the winner be in your next company commercial.
Not only to get free PR out of the effort, but you create goodwill and get your customers talking. They'll share their story and videos with their friends. Their friends will want to take part in the promotion and before you know it, you've got life-long engaged customers. Now the tough part comes when you have to do your next promotion.
In all, there are about 400 online marketers in attendance so lots of great networking opportunities. During the Q&A session for an advanced paid-search presentation (advanced was a very loose term at this particular presentation) I was speaking to the lady who happened to sit next to me. She pointed out something very interesting trends in the questions coming from the audience. Everyone wanted the magic pill. They wanted actionable and measurable things that they could do right now in order to be successful. The waters are so murky in the online marketing world that these people are in over there heads and don't know who to trust. They read one thing, but the data tells them another thing. They're on short budgets and need results fast. The sad thing I realized is that things are better than they used to be, but I don't see them clearing up anytime soon.
Hopefully next week, I'll be able to share with you my findings and give you some great insight that you can actually use right now in your day-to-day business. Stay tuned.
1. Keywords - Keywords are the very foundation of your search engine strategy. I refer to a "keyword" as a word that your typical user will input in the search box when searching for specific information about a product or service. You may have put many efforts on fine-tuning your web pages for a better ranking with the major search engines yet it become not enough if the right keyword phrases are not targeted. Even if you achieve high search engine rankings, you may not get relevant traffic if you select the wrong keywords. The most significant keyword steps for search-engine optimization are (1) identifying your target audience and (2) keyword phrase researching. I've outlined some of the best ways to analyze and collect this search engine data below;
Search Engine Analysis
a. Brainstorm within your group. What keywords do you think embody your site? What are the obvious words and phrases?
b. Check your logs (I'm assuming you have some sort of web analytics program). What terms are bringing people to your site? Companies often make mistakes with their keywords because they choose based on how they, rather than their customers, think about their products or services.
c. Examine your competitors
d. Make sure you don't forget the misspellings
e. Synonyms, Split & Merged Words, Singulars & Plurals, Hypens
Keyword Suggestion Sites:
Google AdWords Keyword Suggestion
Free WordTracker Keyword Suggestion Tool
2. Content - Stuff (text) on your website. Good content is simply a well written paragraph or page which communicates to your readers, exactly what you hope to get through, with no ambiguity, while it also offers info to the search engines so our site is categorized properly within their database. Content on your site should be the first thing you think of when optimizing it. You must convey to the search engines that your site is worthy of ranking, and that you are here to offer something of value to the masses. Content is king and a very important factor in getting a high search engine ranking.
3. Links - There are 2 types of links in the eyes of Google - Inbound and Outbound links. Both are important, but Inbound links carry much more weight in the eyes of search engines. An inbound link (from someone else's site to yours) basically tells the search engine your site is worthy and other people should visit it. The crucial way to ensure Google finds your site, is for your site to be linked from lots of pages on other sites. In essence, its a vote from their page for your site.
Things to consider about links
a. How relevant is the website that is linking to your site? Is it targeting similar keywords and about similar subjects? If that inbound link comes from a site with relevant content, a high page rank and has been around for a while, its an even bigger vote of confidence to your site.
b. Find and resesearch other websites with relevant content. Join the conversations on that site. Establish your expertise. Be the first to link to them.
4. Time - The older the site is, the more recognized and regarded it will be. Sites that have been around longer are given preference to younger sites.
WebConfs SEO Toolset
35 SEO Tips Simplified According To Value And Importance
The Blogger's Guide to Search Engine Optimization
SEO TOOLBOX - 30+ Tools and Services to Improve Your SEO
- Smashing Magazine - 100 of the best free Wordpress themes
- 9 Benefits of Twitter for Bloggers - Also see my free trade idea post on using Twitter for your business
- The New Rules of Viral Marketing - free ebook
- How to Sneak Social Media into the Enterprise
- Best of Adobe Flash Tutorials
- How To: Effectively Talk to Execs and Clients about Social Media
- You Suck at Photoshop
Rock N Roll - Remi Nicole
Deathray - Clear Tigers
Outsiders - Franz Ferdinand
Boy with a Coin - Iron & Wine
This Car is Hot as Hell - Ride Your Bike
Traveling - Chucky Danger
The Hollows - Why?
K.I.D.S - Tiny Masters of Today
Worst Case Scenario - The Hoosiers
Two Ghosts - Boy Eats Drum Machine
When I Say Go - The 1900's
Guns are the Tongues - Richard Thompson
The Count of Monte Christo - The Noisettes
Hospital Drama - Help She Can't Swim
Banned from The Roxy - Jeffrey Lewis
Ring My Bells - Sufjan Stevens
The Miracle That Never Came - Straylight Run
If you are the copyright holder of any of the above files and would like them removed, please drop me a note. My contact information is at the bottom of the page.
Meeting Leader - "Mr. Executive wants our official corporate MySpace page to have all our friends turned off (this isn't even an option) so people can't add us as a friend or even comment on our page."
Web Guy Who Gets It - "That's like removing search from Google."
I know Social Networking and Social Media is scary to some. There are huge risks to many organizations, but there are also a wealth of opportunities. What do you do when the person in charge doesn't get it? How do you show value in creating a conversation amongst your fans?
Five Starter Moves for Introducing Social Media Into Your Organization
How To: Effectively Talk to Execs and Clients about Social Media
The game has changed and Blockbuster just received the biggest wake-up call in their companies' history. It's not as if they didn't see the writing on the wall. Apple has been begun putting distribution channels out of business over the past 5+ years. Not to mention the beating Netflix has already put on Blockbuster.
In my opionon the main advantage that Apple holds are low overhead and scalability. The costs of resources that Apple has remain fairly fixed and will continue to be so. Users downloading an additional copy of iTunes costs them next to nothing. In addition, the advantage of the web makes selling 1 copy vs 1 million copies of a single movie nearly the same.
Blockbuster on the other hand is crippled with fixed (and escalating) costs of doing business. Not to mention store upkeep and such, but also purchasing an additional copy of a movie for the local store is much more than the cost Apple incurs. Blockbuster has a limited number of physical movies that are available in each store, this isn't the case with Apple and iTunes.
I can remember about 10 years ago when Blockbuster was opening stores almost every 24 hrs. What if they would have taken some of these resources and devoted them new technologies and initiatives? Would Blockbuster be sitting in a better position?
Lessons you can learn from Blockbuster
- It's not the smartest of the species that survive, but the one that is most adaptable to change.
- Bigger is not always better. some may say that small is the new big. No longer can you compete on size. In the current business environment, companies that rely on being fast and nimble are much more likely to be successfull. Apple should keep this is mind as well, as I'm sure more and more companies and startups looking to take them down.
- Your business can evaporate in the blink of an eye. Now, I'm not saying that all Blockbusters will shut down overnight, but I firmly believe Apple will tighten the noose and Blockbuster's current business will cease to exsist. Netflix has seen the erros of those that came before them. They will survive and continue to fight Apple for market share.
What would you do if you were the CEO of Blockbuster? How do you modify your business plan? What should other businesses take away from this situation?
The Internet Changes Everything
Blockbuster, Netflix shares fall following Apple's movie rental service launch
As you think on this, I encourage you to get to the raw essentials of your day. If you want to make game changing things, get to the core of your essence and use those gifts that your were given and developed over time. Use your raw creativity and your raw energy to do the things you love and see what you get. I can bet it will push the boundaries of all the things your competitors have ever done along with all the things you've ever done (with your Mac Book Pro).
I write this site for you; your feedback helps me shape what I post and give my attention to over the next year. Leave a comment, contact me or drop me an email with your thoughts.
Wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year!
Chris Brogan - Chris Brogan advises businesses, organizations and individuals on how to use social media and social networks to build relationships and deliver value.
Jeremiah Owyang - Jeremiah discusses how web tools enable companies to connect with their customers.
The best time to change the game is when you're losing and behind.
Looks like Paramount is one of the first studios to take the plunge by offering the new Jackass movie free online. It may not be the best content or optimal situation, but at least it's a start.
No Writers at the Network? - People Powered Media takes off!
NY Times - Web Videos Stealing TV Viewers, and Marketers
Nantes - Beirut
Sunrise - Yeasayer
The Con - Tegan & Sara
Ruby - Kaiser Chiefs
Music Is My Hot Hot Sex - C.S.S.
Tranquilize - The Killers
Hummingbird - Born Ruffians
People Have a Way - Matt Pond PA
Cake Parade -Georgie James
Wait for the Summer - Yeasayer
Sherry and Her Butterfly Net - The Most Serene Republic
Saturday Night - Kaiser Chiefs
Supergirl - Minor Majority
Sweet Marie - Timo Raisanen
Passing The Hat - Cold War Kids
2080 - Yeasayer
If you are the copyright holder of any of the above files and would like them removed, please drop me a note. My contact information is at the bottom of the page.
What this means for you?
- We no longer need to have a MySpace strategy, a LinkedIn strategy, etc, but rather we can develop one application or widget that can be accessed throughout all services. A standard API will greatly reduce development time.
- Harness existing communities. We don’t have to go out and build an audience, but rather we can leverage what’s already there.
- Combined, the core group of networks involved represents over 100MM subscribers.
- The open API was just released yesterday, so bugs may occur
- Inconsistencies may emerge – not all applications may behave the same across all platforms
- No two networks are the same. LinkedIn and MySpace have 2 different user bases.
- Facebook, Yahoo! and Microsoft haven’t bought in yet.
Wired covers the aspects of Open Social
Open Social FAQ's
All the Children are Insane courtesy of Magnus Kjall
A few ways to be successful with social media are to interact with participatory communities, create and promote viral (and beneficial) content and research the key influencers in a certain industry. When you or your company successfully incorporates these tactics into your social media marketing plan, you can increase brand awareness and increase traffic to your site or subscribers to your blog. These can also lead to increased conversions and sales for your company. SMX NY Session: Social Media Marketing Essentials
What's Your Social Media Strategy?
Chris Brogan has a great way of taking complex social media theory and breaking it down into digestible chunks. In this article he gives you some overall thoughts on what you should consider while developing your social media strategy. What are you doing with it all? What is your plan? How are you tying this all together to make it meaningufl, useful, and/or otherwise impactful conversations with your community?
Is Your Social Media Marketing Strategy Passive or Active?
Measuring Your Social Media Efforts
I firmly believe that when talking to a CEO or any other high level decision maker who doesn't understand Social Media, you must be able to show the value first and foremost. Chris takes on this issue. Wouldn't it be great if someone could actually make a system to measure all of your social media efforts?
How to write a Social Media Press Release
This video is long, but worth every minute.
What would you say if it was your last lecture?
Congrats Radio Head for being the first to break the mold! You're gonna make tons of money from this.
Who is Consumer 2.0?
- Addicted to Leisure - They work hard, but they also expect a certain amount of work/life balance. They expect products and brands to conform to both aspects of their day. They want their phone to sync with Outlook while also keeping tabs of their Facebook profile.
- Create and share content - In their own eyes, they're a rockstar. They twitter, pownce, blog and YouTube everything in their life. If they like it, they share it.
- Always connected and love information - They subscribe to hundreds of RSS feeds, have thousands of friends online, never leave home without their iPod or their web-enabled phone. These consumers can find what they're looking for in a drop of hat (and expect it as well).
- Hypertaskers - Forget David Allen, these consumers chat online, play games, stream music and send text messages all while watching TV. In a survey produced by Yahoo!, 60% of 18-34 year olds said they surfed the web while watching TV.
- Love to be part of communities - They have multiple social network accounts and use them all on a regular basis.
- Listen to them. - They are more than willing to tell you what they think of your product, if you simply ask. Use them as your guinea pigs for new ideas and improvements on old ones.
- Collaborate with them. Just as Stromhoek, a small vineyard who collaborated with bloggers to create a grass roots initiative, so should you. Respond to their online posts and comments, answer their emails one at a time and take the initiative to create 'wow' experiences in your store. If you scratch their back, they'll scratch yours as well.
- Give them the tools to share. Create an online toolbox in which users can remix your brand to meet their style. Include RSS feeds, pictures, videos, music, Facebook applications, custom t-shirts and everything else they could use to evangelize your product.
So how does Search Engine Marketing tie back to Consumer 2.0? Well, because Consumer 2.0 is so intrenched and dialed in on a regular basis, they've developed a small case of ADD. Nearly 72% of people answered that they cannot recall URL's that appeared on TV spots. Therefore, not only should you do the things I've mentioned above to gain attention online, but you should also work to control those things you do have power over.
Your search engine marketing must include using appropriate keywords so Consumer 2.0 can find your brand, creating lots of relevant content, making sure your pages are user-friendly and have appropriate titles and descriptions just to name a few. Consumers expect brand leaders to consistently be in the top results of search and I can guarantee that many will look at a site because it was one of the first results regardless if it was what they were looking for or not. Great search engine marketing increases your brand familiarity, pumps up your brand consideration, improves customer satisfaction and results in a better brand experience.
Integrating Consumer 2.0 into your marketing plans and tweaking your search engine marketing will allow you to close the loop on your customers and engage advocates. I guarantee that if you implement the above to a tee, you will see much success online and off.
CASH courtesy of *mgwinc
Why would I do something like this? In simple, the idea part is easy for me, its the implementation that I find hard to overcome. No, I'm not worried about someone taking my idea and turning it into a billion dollar business. My main concern is to strengthen the quality and quantity of my ideas and to better communicate them within this community. Ideas and innovation are meant to be free. It serves no purpose trying to hole them up within some Moleskine notebook anymore.
Blogs and social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook are all the rage within the business community. Every business should have some sort of communication platform in which they can reach out to their customers and fans. If you're still trying to get to this level, then maybe this article isn't for you. But, if you're ahead of the curve and have had a blog, Facebook, MySpace page, etc and are looking to capitalize on new ways to reach your customers, then this should be right up your alley.
Twitter is a micro-blogging service which allows its users to send updates to both their personalized homepage and other users or 'followers' who have signed up to receive them. Messages are sent through SMS (text messages), instant messages or e-mail and are capped at 140 characters. Twitter's service revolves around one simple question: "What are you doing?"
There are legions of followers within microblogging services such as Twitter, Pownce and Dodgeball, so I wholeheartedly believe that somehow a business model must come out of it.
An experienced and trusted Twitter user that merges, captures and translates real time data from these microblogging services and marries it to an advertising partner. Not simply showing an advertisement or spamming the community, but rather starting true conversations and solving problems for both the community members and their advertising partners.
For an example, lets say your client is a small business coffee shop in Manhattan. You (the trusted Twitter user) setup a script or notification through a proprietary service or use something like Search Twitter with a set of keywords you plan to target. Through your feed, you receive instant notification when user AngieAnn (who happens to live in Manhattan) is disappointed in the coffee her roommates left on the burner.
Your service relies on speed so you quickly comment on her Twitter page, introduce yourself and offer her a discount on her next drink at your client's coffee shop. She can use the coupon code you've just left for her and your client can then measure the effects of this.
When she then redeems the offer, the coffee shop staff is in on the promotion and asks AngieAnn to become a follower of their feed. Through your Twitter profile, you can then offer the coffee shop's best customers (those that have signed up as followers) discounts, free products and exclusive offers. Followers feel special and privileged, your client has customers for life and the effects of your promotion may even cause a Twittermob.
Therefore, the benefits you can present to your advertising clients are;
- Challenging customers with information that provokes a response. Customers want to take action.
- Speaking with them on theirr own turf. You are tailoring your conversation to them and not trying to sell them items they don't need. You are starting two dimensional questions in which the user feels engaged.
- Customizing the experience to that specific user. No where else in the world is someone getting the same attention.
Its important that you establish yourself first within these communities, that's another reason why a middleman who already has a expertise in this can excel. Ensure that your clients don't get a case of Twitterhea or want to overwhelm their customers with messages. Encourage them to really get to know their customers and slowly begin to slow value within the community.
Twitter Search Engine
Beyond Madison Avenue - Apparently, Twitterers are Morons
- You understand social media and the benefits it can bring to your personal life, your company or a client's business, but not everyone is on the same boat. Chris Brogan breaks down the high level points to introducing a social media adoption strategy. I couldn't agree with him more on (1) Show the Reward, Not the Tools, (2) Consider Head Count and (3) Start Simple and Lay it Out.
- SearchMarketingGurus.com give a great overview to Optimizing your Press Release for Search Engines and People
- On September 15, 1997 Larry Page and Sergey Brin registered the domain name Google.com. Their market value today sits at $164 billion. Excuse me while I go cry myself to sleep.
- Ogilvy's Blogger Outreach Code of Ethics which should be offset somewhere by the Blogger's Guide to Publicity.
- The Business Blogging Toolset - 100 Resources for Entrepreneur Writers. Feel free to also check out my earlier post on What is a Blog and How Can It Help Your Small Business.
Design is all about communication. Elements and functionality of a finished site should work as a cohesive unit so that;
1. Users recognize each page as belonging to the site
As I've spoken about before, even if there is a dynamic difference in the layout between the homepage and the rest of the site, a cohesive theme or style should exist across all pages of a site to hold it together. This could be as simple as a site ID, color scheme or logo placement.
2. Uses are pleased by the design, but stay for the content
Usability experts will tell you that one of the most important aspects of your site is the amount of time it takes the user to scan and find the information they want. The easier it is for the user to find their information, the better the likelihood that they will return. Therefore, design should not be a obstacle, but rather it should act as a channel between the user and the information. Content is king!
3. Users can easily move about intuitively through your navigation
The main navigation block, wherever it may reside on your page, (I won't divulge deeper on the theories of navigation unless there is a need or want) should be clear and visible on the page and each link should have a descriptive title. Navigation should change appearance on mouseover and also indicate the active page once clicked.
Line Leaves courtesy of chinup
A List Apart - For People Who Make Websites
Most Inspired Website Gallery
The Best Designs - Web Gallery
Note to Self: Check out Okkervil River. Their sound reminds me a lot of The Counting Crows.
Los Campesinos - We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives
Okkervil River - A Hand To Take Hold Of The Scene
Superfamily - The Radio Has Expressed Concerns About What You Did Last Night
Rogue Wave - Lake Michigan
Los Campesinos - It Started With a Mixx
Okkervil River - You Can't Hold The Hand Of A Rock and Roll Man
Beck - Cellphone's Dead
Monkey Swallows the Universe - Science
Okkervil River - Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe
If you are the copyright holder of any of the above files and would like them removed, please drop me a note. My contact information is at the bottom of the page.
Los Campesinos Music Video
Radio Blog Club
How will you address your flubs? How will you promote your successes?
What technology will come around in the next 5 years that you can take advantage of? How will you anticipate and prepare for it now?
What is the BarCamp Nashville Vision? "We will create the greatest digital festival in the history of Nashville. We will bring together entrepreneurs, technology visionaries, digital creators, music revolutionaries and marketing gurus under one roof for twelve hours of education, innovation and recreation."
I've actually considered starting/looked for similar groups here in Memphis. Maybe beginning a BarCamp Memphis will be the ticket. Any interest?
How to Reduce Banner Blindness and Use Effective Ads that Work - DoshDosh
This post reminds me of an ad campaign Symantec ran recently which featured an RSS feed of content that updated daily within the actual ad. They claim the ads featured RSS did not experience 'fatigue' and saw a 300% spike in response several weeks into the campaign.
As the landscape becomes more and more complex, the difficulty in finding the perfect set of ads changes. Why not just be upfront with your users and let them know your stance. You'll be be much better off showing your hand early then being deceptive in the long run.
I've been following the PMBA since 2005 and they've just recently released their newest version. Have a look.
The Personal MBA (PMBA) is a project designed to help you educate yourself about advanced business concepts. This manifesto will show you how to substantially increase your knowledge of business on your own time and with little cost, all without setting foot inside a classroom.
The PMBA is more flexible than a traditional MBA program, doesn’t involve going into massive debt, and won’t interrupt your income stream for two years. Just set aside some dedicated reading time, pick up one of these books, learn as much as you can, discuss what you learn with others, and go out into the real world and make great things happen.
If you’re interested in educating yourself about business, the Personal MBA is the best place to start.
100 of the Best Small Business Audio Podcasts
Most of the podcasts specifically target a small business audience. Others have a broader business focus. All, however, are relevant to business owners and entrepreneurs. Explore and listen, and see what you think of this list.
The Old Carpet and Drapes courtesy of DoctorBalls
In short, Stormhoek, hired Hugh MacLeod to promote their products through his site, GapingVoid.com. Stromhoek believed that MacLeod's following of tech geeks would be the perfect match as they shared the same single-minded passions as wine enthusiasts do. MacLeod offered a free bottle of the wine to any blogger who asked so long as they were of legal drinking age and had been blogging for a minimum of 3 months. Bloggers were asked to write a post on the Stromhoek wine experience without any obligations. The post didn't have to mention the name of the company or even reflect a positive review.
At the end of the 6 month experiment, nearly 100 bloggers posted related items or comments. MacLeod capitalized by using his online celebrity to organize "geek dinners" for the bloggers in Britain, Spain, France and in the United States. Stromhoek's sales have jumped nearly six-fold over that time. They expect to push about a million cases annually within three years, up from their 50,000 cases a year worldwide now. The total cost of the campaign over the 2 years came out to about $40,000 which is remarkably cheap considering the amount of publicity and sales conversions the promotion added. To top off the success, Ad Age named the Stromhoek strategy one of the top 50 marketing campaigns in 2006. Not bad for a bunch of bloggers.
How does the promotion and strategy that Stromhoek pulled off differ from your company's plans?
Stromhoek - Gave their small niche audience something to talk about. On a volunteer basis, their customers chose to read their advertisements and PR. They had the permission of each person they came in contact with to market their product to them.
Your Company - Force your story and splatter your advertisements across as many mediums and over as many people as you can afford. Yes, some of the crowd may already know about your product and yes, you may gain a few new supporters in the process, but the probability and conversion rate is very low. You don't engage your customer or find out who they really are which in turn costs you more money down the line as well.
Stromhoek - Created a true grass-roots / word-of-mouth customer program. They were transparent and clear with their intentions. They asked permission from their customers. They didn't interfere or do the song and dance to get attention.
Your Company - Fakes a grass-roots campaign. You have a lackadaisical MySpace or FaceBook page (so does everyone else), but your customers can see right through your futile attempts.
Stromhoek - Built a marketing strategy on-line and off. They correlated and had a similar function and feel to them.
Your Company - Lucky if you can get the group that develops the online collateral and marketing plan in the same room with the group that is responsible for the print pieces.
Stromhoek - Let their customers be their guinea pigs. They tested outside of the lab and gave free samples. They took their customers advice and made changes as necessary.
Your Company - Test, test, test in the lab, but still end up being surprised when your product fails in the market. You know what your research tells you. Customers don't know what they want.
Mixed Media courtesy of mgwinc
Seth Godin - Permission Marketing
Made to Stick - Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
More than ever our country is ready for a change. A large majority of people have been dissatisfied with the way our country has been run the past 7 years. The candidates we've elected in the past are no longer working. These people (customers) are ready for a dramatic change. When things get pushed to the brink as they are now and people decide they can no longer take it, they are more open for dramatic change. That's why I truly believe that Hillary and Barack have such a great chance at winning the Democrat bid (and Presidential election) more than any other time in history.
It's not about race or gender anymore (regardless of what people say...don't get me started on this), but rather the person who is so far removed from your current situation and who is willing to represent your interests the best and can get the job done. Voting for these two Democratic front-runners is no longer a stretch. Voters are asking themselves how much worse can things get?
How does this relate to your business or industry? Are your customers fed up with you and looking for a dramatic change or are is your business that change they are seeking? If its the former, then chances are you're already dead in the water, but if you are the latter, then I suggest doing whatever you can to get people on your side. Break down the barriers of entry. Make it easy for people to leave their current situation. Don't make them stretch.
Try these four steps to allow for easy customer adoption to your product or service:
- Flatten and shorten the learning curve customers require to get instant gratification out of the box. Take for example the iPod. Most people can open the packaging and begin using the device without even looking at a manual.
- Include a manual that is well written, indexed and contains many pictures. Understand that people learn in different ways.
- Make not only converting to your product or service easy, but also switching from your product. Users that don't have to take the leap of faith just to use your product will be more likely to adapt and bring friends along with them.
- Test your product on your Grandma.
Guy Kawasaki - The Art of the Start
Another Great Wave courtesy of Chinup
How do you improve customer retention and loyalty? Do you customers have a voice? If that's hard for you to answer, go to Google and search for terms such as "I love", "I hate", "I like", "I didn't like" including your brand in the query (i.e. " I love One Half Amazing"). If they're not venting on your site, then it's probably coming out in public.
eMarketer - Customer Reviews Increase Web Sales
Church of the Customer Blog
The one thing that is clear is the communication that these 'popular' brands have with their customers. So how do you create customer evangelists representing your brand that are willing to shout your message from the top of a mountain? How do you fill you house people knocking down the door rather than throwing eggs at your windows?
These are the customers that comment on nearly every article you post to your blog, are the first to sign up for beta testing and are constantly e-mailing you about your product. Evangelists believe in your product just as much as you do and would gladly spread your gospel, so your first priority is to get up the gumpshun and simply ask them to take on and represent your endeavor. Being as transparent as possible ensures that everyone is represented fairly and intentions are layed out prior to actions. The last thing you want to do is turn an evangelist into an opponent over a small misrepresentation.
Each person will have a little different style about them that may not always mesh with the standard manner your Communications department could like to be represented - THIS SHOULDN'T MATTER! In my opinion, the key is that they utimately believe in you and your cause or mission. Their background, popularity or influence can be ignored. Beggars can't be choosers as the old adage states.
Building customer evangelists isn't a one-stop shop, but rather a relationship that must be respected and nurished. Ensure that you nuture these relationships. Give them things that they will value. Respond to their desires by modifying your product or service from the feedback they give you. Showing that you actually value them and their hard work along with responding to their concerns will only add fuel to the evangelizing fire.
Brains on Fire - Cycle of a Fan
Church of the Customer Blog - Corporate Evangelism vs. Customer Evangelism
Jackie Huba 2003 keynote presentation on Creating Customer Evangelists
Roll down the windows and crank up the August Playlist. Teenage girls may actually keep their laughs to a minimum this time.
Interpol - Heinrich Maneuver
Against Me! - Piss and Vinegar
Wolves at Night - The Manchester Orchestra
Modest Mouse - People as Places as People
The Bravery - Time Won't Let Me Go
Kristoffer Ragnstam - Breakfast by the Mattress
Kanye West - Can't Tell Me Nothing
The Shaky Hands - Summer's Life
Against Me! - Stop!
Daft Punk - Digital Love
If you are the copyright holder of any of the above files and would like them removed, please drop me a note. My contact information is at the bottom of the page.
The Hype Machine
Interpol - Our Love to Admire Torrent
Against Me! - New Wave Torrent
1. Site Logo - Maintain a site ID or distinguishing feature that remains consistent across all pages. Your home page may differ somewhat from your secondary pages only because it serves a much larger purpose. A consistent site logo on all pages is a subliminal message to the user that they are within the same site as they browse your content.
2. Search Function - Their are a few dominate ways that users use the web; one of which are search dominant users. These users initially search for information upon visiting a site before exploring further. Ensure that your site gives these users a way to search with either a search box or a link to a search box. Don't confuse the user by using terms such as find, keyword or quick find. It may make sense to your or me, but there may be a hint of doubt on the actual meaning of these terms to some users. Stick with the term "search" only.
3. Sections - Permanent navigation that corresponds and links to the main sections of your site. Navigation should be consistent and prevelent on all pages of your site.
4. Utilities - Utilities are those critical elements to a web site's functionality that don't necessarily add to the site's content or sections. Examples include sitemap, about us, contact us and help. Utilities should be limited to 4 at most.
5. Home Button and "You are Here" indicators - A home button gives the user a safe feeling that if they linger off they can always return to where they started. Each page should have a home button as well as the Site logo linking back to the home page. "You are Here" indicators are navigational tools that allow the user to know what page or section of your site they are on at any time. "You are Here" indicatiors almost act as a GPS for your web site. As your car's GPS continually updates you on your progress as you travel, so do these indicatiors. They give confidence to the user that they can successfully find the information they are looking for and that your site isn't as big as it seems from the outside (even though it really may be). Breadcrumbs are a subtle example of this, but I would recommend that additional indications are present on your site as well.
Jakob Nielsen Useit.com - Web site usability and web design
Don't Make Me Think - Steve Krug
The word Blog is the combination of the terms web and log. Blogs are somewhat similar to online journals or daybooks created by both individuals and companies contained within a website. Blogs typically contain text, images, media (such as video and audio) and most importantly, they link to other relevant web pages and content on the net.
Blogs can help to build stronger relationships, target certain groups such as clients, media, general public and encourage conversations.
Why should a small business build a blog? Besides a way to express yourself and keep others abreast on relevant news I've compiled a list below on the benefits of writing a blog.
Benefits of Blogging for your Small Business
1. Establish Expertise - Just as I spoke on in my post "Upload a video to YouTube", a blog positions you and your business as the expert in your industry and raises your visibility among your niche market.
2. Communication/ Builds Customer Relationships - Blogs enable companies to present a human face and voice to the public. No longer can you hide behind your phone tree or email - customers want and demand to know whom they will be working with. A blog gives you the opportunity to become transparent to your customers.
Blogs typically allow customers to join discussions respond to concerns, provide tips and insights or receive support. This can be accomplished through any number of mechanisms (comments, forums, etc).
3. Simple, low-cost PR - Writing a blog is probably one of the simplest, fastest ways to put information online.
4. Build communities - Use your blog to grow group support around a cause, political issue, technology or hobby related to your service or support.
5. Test ideas or products - Those that read your blog and comment are your biggest fans and supporters. Use a blog to publish an idea and use it to generate any interest or buzz. A small software company that I support will dangle an idea that they have for a product in front of their best users, gain feedback, tweak their product and then tease them with small bits of news and insight prior to its release. It works like a charm.
6. Higher search engine rankings - Google and other search engines reward those sites with lots of relevant content that is updated often and contains many inbound and outbound links to other relevant content.
Do's and Don'ts of Corporate Blogging - CNN Money
Publish and Prosper: Blogging for Your Business - Amazon.com
Why Blogging Matters to Business - About.com
Bloggers Code of Ethics
Blogging for Business - The Entrepreneurial Mind
For example, lets say you are a local landscaper. By creating just a simple video about planting a tree or maintaining your lawn you are now looked upon as an expert in their mind. Therefore, when they decide to buy, you are the one they choose because it's comfortable and they know what to expect.
So, before you can become the "go to guy (or girl)", you must know how these new web technologies function. There are numerous services, but I'm going to keep with YouTube in this example simply out of simplicity sake. YouTube is probably one of the easiest video sites to use out of the bunch in my opinion and their recent acquisition by Google makes they even more of a powerhouse.
Step 1: Know what type of video to create
YouTube accepts video files from most digitial cameras, camcorders and cell phones in .WMV, .AVI, .MOV, and .MPG file formats. Have no fear if you are unaware, these are standard outputs on most equipment. If you are familiar with video details, YouTube recommends a resolution of 320x240, MP3 Audio and a speed of 30 frames per second.
Step 2: Create you video / Create your YouTube account
Create your video and transfer to your computer. Most cameras and camcorders have USB or Firewire output. A simple plug and play should do the job.
If you don't have a YouTube account yet, go to YouTube.com and create your unique username and password. It takes less than a minute and they won't spam you.
Step 3: Upload video to YouTube site
While logged in, click "Upload Video" in the upper-right-hand corner of just about any page within YouTube.
Step 4: Enter your video information
Input as much information as possible, include Title, Description, Tags (one-word descriptors such as tree, landscape, lawn) and Category. The more info you supply, the easier it will be for users to find your videos
Step 5: Find that file
In the next window, click the 'Browse" button to find the video located on your computer. YouTube takes your file and converts it to a flash file so it can be shown in all web browsers without any special equipment.
Step 6: Determine Public or Private
If you want everyone to be able to see your video (which I'm sure you do in this example), make sure to click Public.
Step 7: You become an online video star!
Click "Upload Video" and your video is magically taken to YouTube wonderland.
After you have created your video and uploaded to your site, YouTube supplies two pieces of information that allows you to easily pass your video on to your customers.
A good idea for the URL tag would be to place it in your e-mail signature or as a link to your customers in their monthly e-mail or newsletter. Once typed in, the URL will take the user to the exact page within YouTube where the video is placed.
If you want to get a little more fancy, you can copy the Embed code and insert it within your web site or on any electronic communication. This feature will pull the video right out of YouTube and integrate it within your site.
Making and Optimizing your Videos
Adding YouTube videos to your web site or blog
Policy on Copyright information
To add your business to Google Maps, simply visit Google's Local Business Center. The process is straight forward and literally takes 2 minutes to complete if you have a Google account. If not, don't worry, they are free of charge and can provide your small business with other invaluable tools such as Google Documents, GMail, Google Reader, Adsense/Adwords along with the lovely Google Website Analytics.
While you're online, check out your competition. Are they listed on Google Maps? How do they attract new business through their online strategy? What could you be doing better with yours?
Adding your business to SuperPages.com
Seth Godin's free e-book: Bootstraper's Bible