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DSC00064Marketing Misfire Photo of the Week I couldn't resist taking this photo while walking around in Manhattan. I'll leave the company name out of it but this was their main marketing message on the front of the building. They may want to consider...

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video-300x300Beginner's Guide to Video Marketing Disclaimer: I'm am not a professional video producer. If you've read my blog for a few years you'll know I typically embrace the latest mediums in marketing, learn them, and implement them in my teams'...

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Clean ShirtsHome Delivery Dry Cleaning Case Study: How Performance... Many of my readers are marketing professionals so stick with me on this post until the end. Although it looks like a post reviewing local dry cleaners it was actually inspired out of seeing first hand...

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Hotel Video Marketing - Good Tool or Not? I recently wrote about an experience I had in Europe staying at Ibis hotels. I was impressed with their marketing of their services and the backing of that brand marketing by hotel staff. The post was...

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Yoda.sized5 Steps To Analyzing That New Marketing Effort I was recently watching the original Star Wars movies with my kids. An absolute timeless series, but it's amazing how much more suspenseful that was when I was much younger. Graphics and special affects...

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The Ultimate Small Business Sales Management Book

Category : strategy

6

The Road Warrior’s Guide To Sales ManagementI’ve been excited and proud for the opportunity to write this post for about the last year. The time has finally arrived and I’m very excited to announce that there is a new book on the market called The Road Warrior’s Guide To Sales Management. No, I am not the author, but I happen to know the author pretty well – he’s my Dad.

Tom Schaber should be slowing down after decades of hard work, but instead he’s pumping out a new book and turning away more business than he can handle from his successful sales management consulting business. His new book is a down-to-earth, practical guide to sales management that is derived from over 25 years of managing sales organizations.

From the back cover:

The Road Warrior’s Guide to Sales Management provides owners and sales managers with a simple business approach covering:

  • The optimal time for a company to hire its first sales representative or to add more salespeople
  • Where to find sales professionals
  • Interview tips to eliminate the sales duds
  • Goal setting that really works
  • How to avoid long, boring sales meetings
  • How to fire a salesperson and not get sued
  • And more on compensation, creating sales territories, and developing salespeople’s skills

For $17.00 this is a no-brainer for the small business owner or sales manager. I’m not just saying that and pushing this because I’m related to the author – I honestly think this is a great resource for small business. From front cover to back cover the book is filled with straight talk and practical advice. I’m proud of the author and proud to be able to tell you about it.

Tom blogs about sales management at Total Sales Manager and his book can be purchased through:

(FYI…these links are not affiliate links and I don’t make any money on the sale of this book)


Using Paid Search For Branding

Category : paid search

8

Admittedly, I never looked at paid search as a tool to give your brand more exposure. I simply looked at it like many others – clicks and conversions. But, over the last few years, I’ve come to realize that PPC can be about branding. Here is an actual conversation with a trade show attendee at a recent show…

You can read the rest of my Using Paid Search For Branding on Search Engine Guide!


Social Media is Creeping Further and Further

Category : social marketing

15

As a social media fan examples like this are so much fun to see, but imagine if you’d never ventured into Facebook or LinkedIn? How would you feel about seeing it creep in everywhere? Would you feel anxiety that you’re missing the boat or would you look at it as a fad that will soon die out?

I’ve long subscribed to a newsletter called the Pragmatic Marketing Update which focuses on information geared towards the technology product manager and marketer. Until recently I wouldn’t have considered the newsletter innovative in any way. It simply provided some good information that is relative to my career. Then, I saw this recently in the corner of the newsletter:

Pragmatic Marketing

Obviously, this caught my eye. Pragmatic Marketing jumped into the realm of social media with a prominent LinkedIn and Facebook profile. I’d guess that most people that read this blog or other similar blogs are familiar with these social media sites and probably aren’t that surprised to see it. At last check, their Facebook site had close to 400 members. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like their using it for much more than allowing members to post job openings.

But, what about the Pragmatic Marketing subscriber that doesn’t engage in social media? What do they think of that? They’re seeing sites like these creep into their everyday life more and more.

A recent article on the MediaWeek website also highlighted a similar trend in their article Is Social Media Killing the Campaign Microsite? The article focused on the new method of companies not waiting for customers to come to their campaign landing page or microsite but rather jumping out and engaging the customers where they’re hanging out. From the article:

The growth of social media is causing marketers to realize they cannot expect consumers to always seek them out. Web widgets and video-sharing tools make it easy for any user to take content that formerly might have lived only on a brand site with them wherever they go. And social media sites help them share that content with friends.

Sprite Sips is an example of a Facebook campaign that is aimed at taking the Sprite marketing message to a popular social media site. It looks like the marketing campaign got off to a great start, but has since tailed off. Regardless, kudos to them for realizing that people probably weren’t going to seek out the Sprite website to see their latest campaign.

My belief is that social media campaigns such as the ones I’ve listed above are creeping further and further into people’s lives. I believe the more touchpoints people have with these types of marketing, the more likely they’ll be to jump in and figure out what this is all about.

The small business marketer should be looking at social media marketing tactics for 2008!

What are your thoughts? Do you think people not currently involved in social media will start to get into the action or will they think this is all one big fad?


One Incredible Year and An Uncertain Future

Category : blogging

23

one-year-anniversary1.jpgOn November 26th, 2006 I made my first post on the Lonely Marketer. It seems that just yesterday this incredible experience began! Honestly, when I wrote that first post I never imagined that anyone would ever read what I was writing. There are all these great writers already writing about similar topics – why would anyone stop by the Lonely Marketer?

Then, I discovered the power of social media. I discovered a great community of marketing and search engine marketing bloggers and how to integrate myself into these already very lively discussions. I found advice, networking opportunities, resources and most importantly, friendship, from this experience. Here are some statistical highlights:

Readers: 917 (at time of writing this post)
Technorati Authority: 344 (14,006th ranked blog)
Most Popular Post: Beginner’s Guide To Setting Up A First Blog Site
Most Traffic: 15,000+ visitors in one day (from above post)
AdAge Power 150 Rank: 89
M20 Client Side Marketing Blog Rank: 4
Chapters Written in Published Book: 1
Speaking Engagements: 4

But really, these stats are meaningless. What I’ve taken away most from this experience is the great people I’ve met and all that I’ve learned. I thought about linking out to all those people, but literally there are hundreds and I was afraid I’d leave someone out. I’ll have to hope they visit and read this post.

I remember sitting at dinner with a group of people in San Jose at the Search Engine Strategies conference. I sat down only really knowing Matt McGee, but left with friends from Search Engine Guide, Pole Position Marketing, and the Worst SEO Blog Ever. This is just one example, but I’ve made more connections than you care to read about. Social media has an incredible way of connecting like-minded people.

With all these wonderful experiences to remember, I don’t know what lies ahead for the Lonely Marketer. With a significant promotion and a growing family I’m not sure I’ll be able to maintain the level of content to which my readers are familiar. But know that whatever the future holds, this has been one of the most amazing and gratifying experiences of my professional (and personal) life.

Thank you friends and readers!!


New Conference: Small Business Marketing Unleashed

Category : general marketing

0

Small Business Marketing UnleashedI was very excited when Jennifer Laycock and Robert Clough over at Search Engine Guide announced their new conference called Small Business Marketing Unleashed in Houston next April 21st and 22nd. Here’s an excerpt from the website:

What if you went to an online marketing conference and instead of going home with a notebook full of sound bites, you went home with a detailed plan of action to improve traffic and sales on your web site? What if instead of talking at you, the conference speakers worked with you to come up with a plan for your business?

That’s exactly what will happen for small businesses who gather together with some of the best and brightest minds in online marketing next spring.

I know much of my audience is small business marketers and I can’t think of a better conference to attend. Plus, the venue is a replica of the Alamo which certainly is a nice change of pace from the typical conference ballrooms.

I was also honored when Jennifer and Robert invited me to speak at the conference! I’ll be speaking on Blogging for Business which is a topic I love and believe in very much.

The agenda is packed with great information so check this one out – it’s definitely worth your time!


7 Ideas For Social Media And Business

Category : social marketing

38

social-media-toolbox.jpgValeria Maltoni over at Conversation Agent has invited me to contribute to a string of posts dedicated to businesses measuring the ROI and success from social media efforts. If you haven’t already you should check out Valeria’s site – I think much of my audience would find her content very useful and engaging!

I’ve been asked my thoughts on companies measuring social media efforts many times. In fact, I’ve gone through the process of justifying the effort and definitely have a strong opinion. If you’re a marketing manager wanting to jump into social media, but your superiors are hesitant to give budget for the effort, you really need to think out how to position the medium.

I don’t think you can put a dollar figure on social media to prove ROI. You’ll have a hard time showing what the revenue increases were from your blogging or other social media efforts. The medium has not advanced far enough for that. I also don’t think that the medium is wide-spread enough that you can justify ROI with only subscriber count and number of comments. Many senior executives wouldn’t know what an RSS subscriber even means.

With that said, I think this is a very viable form of corporate marketing and there are a number of ways the medium can be sold up the chain and measured throughout the year:

  • Don’t Isolate Social Media: Position social media as a component of your overall marketing plan. If you engage in print advertising, you’re used to making the case that print advertising is a branding component that is used to support your overall marketing messaging. Like social media, the ROI from print advertising is very hard to measure. Social Media should be one medium you’re using among many in your communication with your audience and customers.
  • Sales Tool: When is the last time you created a brochure and were asked to measure the ROI from that effort? You created the brochure to support the overall success of a product or service. The brochure helped to position and describe your product development effort. Blogging as a social media medium could be considered along the same lines. With every piece of content we create for our company blog, we make sure our sales people are aware they can share that content with interested customers. It essentially becomes a unique and innovative tool they can use to spread the word. As long as you’re providing useful content for your audience, they’ll appreciate your effort and most likely visit again.
  • Feedback: We’re also finding success in using blogging as a method for gathering customer feedback through surveys, new product ideas and product feedback forms. Social media is supposed to be a conversation, correct? Well, treat it as such and allow your audience to participate in the future of your products. We’ve already received valuable feedback that rivals that of an individual order placed.
  • Promote Realistic Expectations: I think many marketers who are into social media and blogging are a bit misguided as to the affect blogging will have on marketing efforts. In the marketing blog community, you can start a blog, link out to 50 other bloggers in your first week and pick up traffic and subscribers that are fun to measure. Not all niches have that opportunity. Many communities lack a large enough niche in which to socialize. What then? I encourage people in less sociable niches not to pump the benefits of thousands of subscribers, millions of page views, or hundreds of comments. It could take years to develop that following in some online communities as the medium matures. Focus less on expected statistics and more on how social media will be integrated with the rest of your product marketing efforts.
  • Multipurpose Content: As a small business marketing manager, it’s always music to my ears when someone says that we can use content we’ve created for multiple purposes. If you’re blogging, you should be creating valuable content. Have you thought about using portions of that content for an eNewsletter creation or the beginning of a white paper? Make sure you have a plan to have multiple purposes for your efforts.
  • Go Find Your Customer: One easy case I was able to make for blogging was the ability for our company to more easily go meet our audience where they begin most online searches that lead to our website – Google. Most of our website traffic originates on Google so it only makes sense for us to continue our efforts to get in their search results. Blogging platforms are very solid ways to optimize content for search engines – especially if you’re updating often and using the right methods.
  • Stats: I know, I know – stats are important. I just didn’t want them to be the focus of this post because not all social media efforts should be measured with analytics. Believe me, I do follow our stats, but I pay more attention to subscribers, comments, and from where the visits originate. These are important statistics to gauge how well your audience is receiving your content.

In two years, I’ll guarantee that there will be measurements in place that prove ROI from businesses engaging in social media. This method of conversing with your audience is growing by the day. But right now we need to focus on social media as a tool in our marketing toolbox that supports all the other tools we’re using in our marketing plans.

I’m supposed to tag some people to also contribute to this conversation, but there are so many people I’d like to hear from that I don’t know where I’d begin. For starters I’d like to see what Marty, Matt, Pat and Stoney have to say. But, if you have opinions and want to chime in, please do – and send me the link to your post and I’ll add it this one.

Reader Responses:


Tony Bennett and Search Engines?

Category : general marketing, search engine marketing

1

With all the “advice” we’ve been receiving from search engines on how to manage our sites and provide the right user experience, I was thrilled to happen upon a little experiment. I recently created for myself the opportunity to do some user experience testing on the various search engines. I was surprised by the result and surprised by the advanced universal search experience on some engines while others really lagged behind.

You can read my full How Tony Bennett Inspired a User Experience Experiment article over on Search Engine Guide!


RSS Feeds: Full Or Partial For Company Blogs?

Category : blogging

16

Okay readers, I need your opinion. Should a small business company blog offer a full or partial RSS feed? Having participated in the blog world for over a year now, I’m 100% in favor of the full RSS feed. In fact, myself and others have written about how partial feeds are such a turnoff because we use RSS readers so we don’t have to always click-through to the individual sites to which we subscribe.

But, that opinion is largely drawn from my participation in the marketing blogging community – both search marketing and general marketing bloggers.

What happens when there is not such a large number of bloggers in a particular niche and your audience is comprised mostly of customers and end-user prospects who don’t maintain blogs themselves – or are even that familiar with RSS and blogging? Should your RSS distribution mentality change? Here are the pros, cons and discussion points we’re tossing around:

Why companies should offer a FULL feed:

  • RSS content distribution is meant to give readers the flexibility to consume content on their own terms.
  • Readers may not want to visit your site each time.
  • Content is more engaging when can be presented in full in a Reader

Why companies should offer a PARTIAL feed:

  • One goal is to get people to your site. A partial feed would get more people to click through to your site on a regular basis to see offers or other product information.
  • Customers can’t purchase, request more information, or get additional resources from within their RSS reader.
  • If the goal is truly to interact with your customers via your blog than you need to get them to the site for the conversation.

As I was writing this post, Stoney deGeyter posted about the full or partial RSS feed topic on Search Engine Guide. He makes a great case for why a full feed is good.

BUT, the goal of any small business marketing effort is, of course, a return on the investment and the time. Is a full RSS feed inhibiting ROI efforts or is it lending to a greater goal of community? Is community enough of an ROI factor? I’m just wondering if maybe the rules shouldn’t change slightly when it comes to company blogs.

Your thoughts?


StumbleUpon Icon In My Google Result?

Category : search engine marketing

8

This is probably one of those things that’s been written about that I completely missed, but I just did a search in Google for my friend Matt’s site, Small Business SEM and noticed the StumbleUpon icon and a star next to the result for Matt’s site. It’s actually a reference to a StumbleUpon review for his site. On further research it looks like the option is now available to add in your friend’s reviews of pages in your Google search results. It looks like this:

StumbleUpon Reviews in Google

Wow, as a StumblUpon user I think I like this feature, but that could dramatically alter people’s searching habits if they’re active users of StumbleUpon.

Wouldn’t you be more swayed if your friends indicated they liked or didn’t like a page or site?


IndexRank: Measure The Indexing Rate Of Your Site

Category : search engine marketing

8

Michael Jenson over at SoloSEO introduced a new index ranking tool his company has developed called IndexRank that allows you to measure the rate at which your site is indexed. On a scale of 0-10 you’re given an indication of how often Google (or any search engine for that matter) is coming to index your site.

The main factor is content. The more often you add content, the more your site will be indexed while site owners who only periodically add content will see a lower rate of indexing. The age of your site plays a factor as well.

What a wake up call! I wasn’t real concerned with the Lonely Marketer because I add content often and am not real concerned with how I’m indexed. BUT, checking on the site for the company at which I work was a different story. We have some work to do. We have a fairly sophisticated site with alot of content, but unfortunately we’re not adding new content often enough.

So, why does this matter? Why should a small business marketing department be concerned with their rate of indexing?

Well, for one, this is an indication of how much content you’re adding and how fast you’re doing it. The more relevant content your site produces the more hooks you have to keep visitors around and hopefully turn them into leads or buying customers.

The other side of this is how often the search engines come through, crawl your site, and add your content to their indexes. The last thing you want is to create and post a piece of relevant, current content and not have the search engines crawl it for a month afterwards.

Check out their tool – it’s quick and easy and provides useful information!