Archive for the ‘New Marketing’ Category

Business of Software Conference 2008

April 16, 2008

Announced earlier this week, the Business of Software 2008 – A Joel On Software Conference is now open for registration. The conference will be held in the Seaport Hotel on Boston’s waterfront on September 3rd and 4th.

The confirmed speakers include:
 

  • Joel Spolsky, founder of Fog Creek software, author of several books and the man behind the joelonsoftware blog.
  • Seth Godin, Business Week’s “Ultimate Entrepreneur for the Information Age”, is the best-selling author of 7 books (including Permission Marketing and Purple Cow) as well as the most popular eBook of all time.
  • Eric Sink, founder of SourceGear, author of “Eric Sink on the Business of Software” and the person who coined the term “Micro ISV”
  • Steve Johnson of Pragmatic Marketing and winner of last year’s Software Idol competition
  • Richard Stallman launched the development of the GNU operating system, now used on tens of millions of computers today. Stallman has received the ACM Grace Hopper Award, a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer award, and the the Takeda Award for Social/Economic Betterment
  • Paul Kenny is one of the UK’s top sales trainers, consultants and speakers. He has worked with many customers in three continents, including IBM, Perot Systems, The Guardian and tens of others.
  • Dharmesh Shah is a geek, serial entrepreneur, founder of HubSpot and blogger at OnStartups.com
  • Jessica Livingston is author of Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days and a founder of Y Combinator
  • Jason Fried is founder of 37signals (developers of Basecamp and Ruby on Rails) and Signal vs Noise blogger

This looks to be an incredible conference full of insightful personalities and great ideas. I highly recommend anyone who is in the world of software startups plan on attending.

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No Silver Bullet For Web Traffic

April 11, 2008

During a digital coaching session, a potential customer and I were discussing different mechanisms she could use to drive traffic to her website and generate interest in her business. She told me that numerous vendors have promised her front-page listing on Google within a matter of days if she chose to do business with them.

This morning, I spoke with an old friend of mine who works in the funeral industry. He told me how he gets a call a week from vendors promising him the same success rate for prices ranging from $500 to $3000 for their services (not the purchase of the Google Adwords).

My response to all of this stuff is that it’s bunk. Sure, if you pay enough money, you can get on the front page of Google. With deep enough pockets, it’s easy. The thing is, what kind of traffic do you want to get? Are you willing to pay a premium for people to visit your site who have no intention of buying from you? Are the traffic numbers so valuable to you that when people go to your site they get absolutely nothing out of it?
Why do this to yourself and your visitors? Why pay for traffic when it is not relevant to the service that you are offering? That’s foolish. Relevant traffic is the key.

My recommendation for driving traffic to your site is this: start with unique, updated and useful content. Make your site so good, so compelling, that people share your message with others. Write your content in such a way that Google’s robots pick up on it naturally. The best traffic is free traffic. Once you have mastered this concept and have a site that is working really well, then start paying for Adwords. At this point, you should have been studying the behavior of the people who come to you without your needing to interrupt them with an ad. You will know what content effectively drives your message and subsequently the right words on which to pay for clicks.

The moral of the story is this: target your marketing to people who will possibly buy from you. Make your products so compelling that they will tell others about you. Understand your customers and speak to them directly. This is an organic, slow-burn process that demands a continuous improvement mindset.

You can’t get good traffic with no effort and little understanding of your visitors. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling snake oil.

Seth Godin on TED

April 4, 2008

During a Ted presentation filmed in 2003, Seth Godin talks about the importance of making your products remarkable.

Sliced Bread and Other Marketing Delights

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3 Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Site

April 3, 2008

Here are 5 easy ways to drive traffic to your website. Do them well, and you’ll be swimming in traffic. Do them poorly (or not at all), and the worst thing that can happen is….nothing.

  • Comment on other people’s blogs
    • First off, it’s an easy thing to do. If you are an active reader of blogs and see a topic to which you can add value, do it!
    • Your comment will be there forever, so that any future crawls by Google or views by people will pick it up.
    • When you provide a link back to your site, it helps with your own site’s ranking.
    • Ensure that your comments are inspired enough to add value. The world has enough spam and mindless comments, so don’t add to it.
    • Don’t do this as an afterthought to your traffic-generation plans. Do this daily and on a regular basis. Your traffic and other bloggers will benefit.
  • Write good, “sticky” content generates a response in people.
    • When other people comment on your blog entries or Digg your site, it gives social proof of your authority on a topic and will cause search engines to index the relevancy of your site.
    • The more authority that you have on a topic, the more people will write about/link to your content further establishing you as an expert.
    • If you need an example of this, think Seth Godin. What image comes to mind? Aspire to that.
  • Adwords and Pay-Per-Click are good, but nothing is better than good ole’ free search engine traffic
    • LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) Algorithms are how Google analyzes the content of your site for relevant and related keywords. In the old days, Google would look at the frequency of words on your site and index them appropriately. For example, if you sold cars and had a site littered with the word “Cars” in an attempt to rank highly in Google, you’d be all set until someone did a search on “automobiles.” With Google’s old algorithms, you’d miss out on that traffic. If you write in a natural language and have good, solid content that is related to the topic that you are promoting, then you should see traffic coming through search engines.
    • Evaluate the content on your site thoroughly to ensure that the search engines are seeing you the way you want to be seen. Open an account with Google Adwords and use their keyword generation tool to scan your site. It will come back with a list of recommendations for words that it thinks would work well were you to start an Adwords Campaign. Do those words describe what you are hoping to accomplish with your site? If you, you’re golden. Odds are, there are some surprises or omissions. Correct those by creating or refining your content.
    • Traffic coming from search engines is much more likely to convert to a sale or a prospect. Why? You answered their need early on in their search.

Each of the points above deserves a great deal more detail, and I will continue to delve into each in the future. However, I am a big fan of lists that tell me what to do quickly (and I also don’t like long, drawn out blog posts), so I thought that I would keep this list short.

Please share your thoughts on these ideas or let me know if there are any other topics you would like me to cover in later posts. My next post will delve into topics such as how to benefit from social bookmarking, email lists and RSS feeds.

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SEO Your Blog the Right Way

March 24, 2008

With all of the fluff pieces out there about driving traffic to your blog via SEO techniques, David Skul has put together a very informative 5 minute video detailing some approaches. The gist of it all, however, is to have fresh, relevant, well-done content that your readers/customers find valuable. Just like David’s blog….

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Paying Attention Is Hard

March 19, 2008

I frequently post about the value of focus, and how we, as marketers and business owners, need to get away from interrupting people in favor of delivering value.

This video perfectly captures why I keep beating that drum.

Thanks to Seth Godin for pointing this out.

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Who’s Listening, Anyway?

March 17, 2008

From MediaPost, 75% of consumers channel surf or chat during TV commercials. As I said in an earlier post, the old ways of marketing aren’t working any more. We are bombarded with over 4000+ advertisements a day, and like any good spam filter, we continually improve our ability to filter out the rubbish from the stuff we need/want. The new model of marketing is permission-based. If my product/website/content/blog/whatever is good enough and important enough, you will seek it out and share it with others who are looking for something that is relevant to their world.

No matter how hard I yell “Look at me!”, it won’t register above the noise of 4000+ daily advertisements. As small businesses, blog owners, website owners, widgeters, you’ve got to deliver something that is unique and helps people out. The best part of all of this is that you don’t need a big advertising budget — just the ability to be creative, passionate and know a little something about something to rise above the noise.

Here’s the full post:

According to the BIGresearch latest Simultaneous Media Survey, the only way for people to keep up with the deluge of media options is to multitask with other media. Specifically, says Gary Drenik, President of BIGresearch, “TV’s influence on consumers to purchase products declined, whereas new media options such as web radio, satellite radio, instant messaging and blogging all increased. Consumers seem to be seeking information from digital platforms while TV has traditionally been viewed as a brand building medium, which isn’t providing the requisite information.”

Media that can target, be timely, and deliver value to consumers, such as coupons/direct mail, radio, yellow pages, newspapers and newspaper inserts all increased in influence to purchase as consumers are looking to stretch budgets in a slowing economy.?More key findings from the study include:?

1. Regular simultaneous media consumption for online, newspapers, magazines, radio, TV and direct mail is up from 1% to 35%, depending on the medium.

2. Channel surfing remains the number one regular activity engaged in during TV commercials with 41.2% doing so followed by:

  • 33.5% talk with others in the room or by phone
  • 30.2% mentally tune out
  • 5.5% regularly fully attend to commercials

3. Eating continues to be the number one activity people engage in while using media followed by doing housework, doing laundry, cooking and talking on phone.

4. Top simultaneous media used when reading a newspaper are:

  • Watch TV
  • Listen to the radio
  • Go online

5. For people listening to radio, the top three other media simultaneously used are:

  • Engage in other activities
  • Go online
  • Read the newspaper

6. Web radio usage is up in all dayparts.

7. Cable is where most TV viewing takes place.

8. The top three In-Store Promotions for influence of purchasing a product are:

  • Product Samples
  • Shelf Coupons
  • Special Displays

9. The top three Media for triggering an online search are:

  • Magazines
  • Reading an article on the product
  • TV

“Unfortunately for marketers faced with the challenges of an uncertain economy and the need to increase marketing ROI, new media options are impacting how consumers use traditional media, ” concludes Drenik .

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It Only Takes a Few

March 17, 2008

You don’t have to be the biggest in the world. Just be the most important thing to a small number of people, and success will follow.

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Video Delivery and Meeting Consumers More Than Half Way

March 13, 2008

While reading a post at Dan Miller’s blog, I began thinking about the changing models of entertainment delivery, and it occurred to me that Hollywood Video is going to go away because they weren’t able to respond to customers fast enough. They held onto the old model of entertainment delivery for too long and are being replaced by iTunes and Netflix. I am a Netflix subscriber and will soon be doing away with the subscription in favor of iTunes (as soon as iTunes gets more movies…). Netflix delivers physical DVDs with astounding efficiency, but I prefer immediate and cheaper. I have a Mac at home, and Netflix’s reaction to the iTunes download service only works with Windows. I will be a Netflix missed opportunity.

Companies need to meet consumers more than half way. Companies can no longer rely on the consumer coming to them any more. Interruptions are no longer needed. Why interrupt my life to go to a video store when I can download a movie? Interruption marketing is no longer a working model. Million dollar commercials don’t sell me — the opinions/comments of millions of people on Amazon and in various blogs do. This is permission marketing at its finest. You and your product must be ready for me when I need you to be. Not before, and (as in the case of Netflix and Hollywood Video) certainly not after.

Whether you run your own business or are working for someone else, the old model of selling and marketing will continue to produce diminishing results. Find, embrace and enhance a new model that puts the people to whom you hope to sell in control. Serve them well. Get them talking to their friends. Deliver something amazing, and they will handle 99% of your marketing for you.

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Creating A Social Network Around Church

March 12, 2008

My younger brother is a Brethren Minister in Northeastern Ohio. His primary focus for the past several years has been to plant churches in new areas and bring people to church who are “tired of the idea of church.” I have been to a few of his services, and they are very compelling and non-traditional. The message is usually very personal and relates directly to my brother or one of the people who has joined the church family.

My brother’s church is growing. People feel connected to him and each other on Sunday morning — and during the numerous get-togethers they have throughout the week. The personable way that the message is delivered coupled with the genuine caring that has been fostered in this community has resulted in a committed church.

I had lunch with my brother today, and we discussed the growth and the challenges that he faced as a church leader. I challenged him to think even more differently about how he could continue to engage his community and get his message out to even more people. I can think of no organization that would benefit more from a well done, interactive web presence. I encouraged my brother to start blogging routinely to share his insights with the church. Gather their responses. Foster dialog about beliefs, current events, daily living. The members would invite friends to join in the discussion through sharing of posts, and though there would not necessarily be more butts in seats on Sunday morning, the church and the church’s message would reach a huge number of people.

Just like non-profits are changing their models (think Kiva.org) to engage people with their marketing versus interrupting them asking for money, churches (along with every other people-based venture) need to re-think how they are connecting with their flocks. Are churches keeping current members engaged? Are churches engaging enough to attract new members? Are churches meeting people’s needs and enabling their personal growth on their terms?

If you know of any churches who are doing this kind of stuff well, please let me know.

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