Archive for 'example'

Social Media Club Louisville: Meeting 3 Review

The SMC of Louisville met last evening (April 15, 2008) at The Fox & Hound. It was a very large group, and everyone seemingly had an excellent time although the actual presentation was hampered a bit by the loud music in the adjoining rooms. That’s no-one’s fault, and it didn’t negatively impact my experience one iota. Then again, bars are more of my element anyway. 😉

General Overview

Jason Falls played the role of “MC” for the event, and he started the evening with an excellent point–there is a lot of Social Media and Internet talent right here in Louisville, KY. The ‘Ville sometimes gets a bad rep from other locales as being backwards, country, redneck, hillbilly, etc., but there is a LOT of Internet talent in the River City, and a lot of people are stepping out and really leveraging social media in a big way. I couldn’t agree more with Jason’s opening statements. Next time you’re chatting with someone “in the know,” ask them to list the best people they’ve come across for doing something online, and chances are you might hear of someone from Louisville mentioned in the top 10.

Joining Jason on the “panel” for the evening were: Rob May of BusinessPundit fame, Chris Pearson, and Michelle Jones. All are very influential in their space and extremely talented. Each person shared their experience of how they came to blog and join the social media landscape along with some keys to success from their perspective.

Rob’s main takeaway for the evening could be summed up with Jim Rome’s radio show tagline for callers–“Have a Take and Don’t Suck!” Rob encouraged everyone attending to get involved online by being different. He said the key is to share personal experiences, controversy and/or strong opinions, or something that provides value to the reader. There are far too many “me, too” blogs and websites out there, and standing out requires being unique while contributing value. I concur with Rob’s core message for the evening.

Chris Pearson spoke next about getting people involved and engaging with you. If no one is contributing to your efforts with comments, links, or reviews, you’re essentially yelling into the wind where no one is listening. When you write or create online content, Chris contends, make it engaging and encourage participation through feedback or SOMETHING. Again, an excellent point.

No offense to Michelle, but it was most difficult for me to hear her (I was in the back of the room) so my notes are rather hazy. I did gather that she’s very passionate about Louisville, and that’s what propelled her to do something online in the first place. I believe one of her keys was to seek out something you’re passionate about and run with it because the passion will guide you in the right direction. (Michelle, I welcome your correction if I mis-heard you). She also encouraged the audience to give comments and feedback to get it. Another great point–a lot of bloggers or content creators think that if they create a great piece of content that floods of traffic will come flying in, and it doesn’t quite work that way. Believe me, I’ve learned this the hard way on several occasions, and I’m still wrestling with it.

Keys to Success

Jason then added more informative nuggets including:

  • Network regularly with someone that has a large following; eventually their followings’ curiosity will get the best of them, and they’ll check you out.
  • Try to network with your on-line contacts off-line, too. This can be extremely powerful!
  • Spread others’ messages to your following–“sneeze” their takes and opinions; this is in-line with the give to get philosophy; if you find something worth sharing, share it!
  • Have realistic expectations when you attempt to leverage social media for your business; don’t expect to enter the social media universe with the unrealistic expectation of generating a flood of business in short order–it takes time to build relationships off-line, and on-line is no different. This was one of my favorite points of the night because I’ve had similar conversations with potential clients, and they look at me like I have three heads when I say “your social media initiative ROI likely won’t be very good for awhile, but it could really pack a punch down the road.” Those aren’t popular words with executives, but they’re realistic if nothing else. Glad to hear Jason reiterate the point to the group although I’m guessing this particular audience already “gets it.” It’s their bosses that may not understand yet, and they need to hear this if they have aspirations of on-line/social media success.

Monetizing Social Media

The panel went on to discuss ways to make money with social media which was very interesting. Rob suggested building a valuable site (high PageRank, lots of visitors, a mini-community, etc.) before trying to leverage it as a profit center.

Some other takeaways:

  • Run your social media (blogging in particular) initiatives like a business–you have to invest resources just as you would a new division of your company. This is no different. I concur wholeheartedly, and I believe this is where a lot of companies miss the boat. They believe in the field of dreams approach and don’t understand that a consistent effort is what it’ll take to become successful online within the social media world.
  • Overall, there was a repeated theme amongst the panel of find those with a following and work to appeal to them. Do your homework and make sure it’s relevant. Also, make sure your style and overall approach meshes with the people you’re trying to appeal to. For example, it makes little sense to pitch PC related products to passionate Apple users.
  • Give to get was another popular theme amongst the panel, and that’s a great approach regardless of the business endeavor.
  • Be consistent with your frequency, tonality, and general message.
  • Be transparent and genuine–don’t hide behind anonymous handles or names or try to pretend to be something you’re not. People on-line can sniff out a fake rapidly, and the repercussions could be very damaging and costly. Word travels at light speed on-line, and you don’t want to draw the wrath of an upset and motivated community.

Off-line Socialization

Among the people I met for the first time:

  • Sarah Sapora of corecubed who moved here from Las Vegas and is excited to be involved with core and Louisville in general. Sarah was making her maiden voyage into the SMC so please welcome Sarah!
  • Stephen Harmon of HarmonWeddings.com–Stephen is a wedding photographer that also does business related photography.
  • Susan Gosselin of Gosselin Communications–Susan is involved in Public Relations and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with potential and existing clients.
  • Ed Bennett who is a freelance copywriter and used to work for the Courier Journal for several years. Ed and I had several great conversations about social media, the apparent direction of the CJ compared with the days of old, events from Louisville’s past including the tornadoes of 1974 (I was only 3 years old yet remember the day vividly believe it or not), and we freely admitted to each other that neither of us is comfortable in front of a camera so writing is a much better outlet for us.

Personal Experience & Summary

Overall, this was a great evening and event. I had a lot of fun, met some very neat “new” people (they’re technically not new just new to me), and learned something. The beer was very good and the staff at Fox & Hound was attentive, friendly and attractive which never hurts.If you didn’t get a chance to attend, I hope you make it to the next meeting. This is a growing community that is taking on a personality of its own. If you were there, I encourage you to share your thoughts on anything you’ve read here or anything I may have missed.

Video Coming Soon

Hey Everyone–just a quick update on things going on at this end. The radio contract is signed, sealed, and delivered so that will officially begin Thursday, October 4, 2007 at 2 PM ET (11 AM PT) on VoiceAmerica.com’s Business Channel. Eight guests have confirmed already for the show, and it should be a power packed marketing hour. In fact, the name we’ve been kicking around is: “The Bauer Pauer Hauer.” Let me know your thoughts on that especially if you have a better idea for a name although that one is kind of catchy.

I plan to add video to the mix rather shortly as I just purchased the first video camera for the firm last week and have been working on getting more comfortable in front of the lens. Needless to say the first few cracks at video leave a lot to be desired so I’m hopeful that when something gets published online, it’s at worst decent. I see tremendous value in online video and believe that is a prime way to differentiate one’s self from the competition, and that is the direction everything is headed. I can envision a day where the leading businesses have their own little production studio complete with a daily show. While that won’t happen tomorrow, it’s not as far off as it once was for certain.

Production is slated to get underway this week on the SEO Videos to accompany the SEO training manual (Cost Effective SEO: Better Attract Your Target Audience via Online Search). The videos will follow the general layout of the book but will give several examples for each exercise much like we do in the training seminars. It’s truly a hands-on endeavor so please take a peek at the samples once we prop them up online by the end of the month.

These are exciting times around the SMB complex, and I hope to return to article writing, press releases, and updating the blog a little more frequently once things calm just a bit. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to knock everything out at this point, but everything will settle in time.

Thanks for sticking with us through this time, and please feel free to share any feedback or suggestions you may have.

Posted by Michael Cage on Friday, May 18, 2007

Just because marketing advice is repeated often … doesn’t make it true.

“Find a need and fill it … that is the key to successfully marketing a business.”Someone who needs to be slapped around a little bit.

Truth is, follow this “find a need and fill it” advice and you are inviting commodity pricing.

Think about it…

People NEED to get their roof repaired … but they WANT on-time, courteous service, clean workers and a guarantee their roof won’t leak again.

People NEED a computer network set up … but they WANT someone who understands their business, will suggest things to make it run smoother before a breakdown prompts it, and won’t make them feel stupid by talking geek to them.

People NEED to have a cavity filled … but they WANT to look good and have a pain-free experience in a friendly office with warm people.

People price shop for what they need, and even that makes them grumpy.

People pay premium prices for what they want, and they love it.

Go to an Apple Store. Play marketing anthropologist. Really observe the people. You’ll “get it” in less than an hour.

Service business, retail business, business-to-business, whatever your business…

…if your business struggles with commodity pricing or if you have to “justify” your price more than once in a blue moon … betcha an iPhone (ahem, another example) you are focusing on what your customers or clients need, and aren’t paying attention to what they want. And that makes them begin to not want you.

Forget find a need and fill it.

Find a want, touch your market … and lead a movement.

I talked about this in today’s Aggressive Marketing & Entrepreneurship Daily Podcast (along with a discussion about when to release version 1 of your product or service, true entrepreneurial competencies, and how to stay passionate and energized in your business). If you haven’t listened yet … what are you waiting for? … I’m on Episode #4. (Subscribe in iTunes.)

Link Building Step 4

Step 4: Post Properly Formatted and Relevant Comments

A blog lives on its overall popularity. A popular blog tends to have multiple people contributing to the online “conversation,” therefore the blog owner wants people to participate because that means the blog is effective. A blog with few comments either means the content isn’t interesting or not that many people are reading it. Knowing this, it’s easy to leverage this dynamic to gain an advantage by simply participating. We need something in return for that participation, however—a link back to the site we’re looking to promote or optimize.

A “raw” link, http://yourdomain.com for example, doesn’t do us as much good as a link with our keyword phrase as the anchor text. Anchor text usually gives the user relevant descriptive or contextual information about the content of the link’s destination. The anchor text may or may not be related to the actual text of the URL of the link. For example, a hyperlink to the main English Wikipedia page might take this form:

Wikipedia

The anchor text in this example is Wikipedia; the complex URL http://www.wikipedia.org displays on the web page as Wikipedia, contributing to a clean, easy to read text or document.

Popular misuse

Webmasters tend to misuse anchor text quite often this way:

Today our president has signed another treaty. To know more, click here.

The correct way of coding that would be:

Today our president has signed another treaty.

Search engine algorithms

Anchor text is weighted (ranked) highly in search engine algorithms, because the linked text is usually relevant to the landing page. The objective of search engines is to provide highly relevant search results; this is where anchor text helps, as the tendency is, more often than not, to hyperlink words relevant to the landing page.

Webmasters may use anchor text to procure high results in search engine results pages. Google‘s Webmaster Tools facilitate this optimization by letting website owners view the most common words in anchor text linking to their site.[1]

In the past, Google bombing has been possible through anchor text manipulation; however, in January, 2007, Google announced it had updated its algorithm to minimize the impact of Google bombs.[2]

When considering commenting on a blog, browse over others’ comments before doing so. See whether their names have been linked back to their websites or not. If they have not, work your link into the comment somehow following the formatting guidelines in our example above. Be sure you comment something relevant to the original blog posting and if you do have to work the link in with the comment section, make it part of a sentence if at all possible. This will reduce the risk of getting the comment rejected by the blog moderator. Some blogs don’t allow links within the comments so beware of them, and simply move onto the next blog if you can’t get a link back for commenting. There are too many blogs out there to get hung up on trying to get one link out of one specific blog.

by Guy Kawasaki

At the Elite Retreat I gave an off-the-cuff answer to a question concerning getting the attention of venture capitalists. My buddy Wendy Piersall blogged about my answer, and it was a very popular. However, to truly help entrepreneurs, I’d like to provide a cogent list of the tips to get the attention of a venture capitalist.

  1. Get an introduction by a partner-level lawyer. He should work at a firm that does a lot of venture capital financings like my buddies at Montgomery & Hansen. Best case email/voicemail: “This is the most interesting company I’ve seen in my twenty years of legal work for startups.” Venture capitalists dream about calls like this—it’s the equivalent of a scoring shot that knocks the goalie’s water bottle off the top shelf.

    Incidentally, this part of the reason of why you should pay top dollar and use a well-known corporate finance attorney instead of Uncle Joe the divorce lawyer (even if he handles venture capitalists’ divorces). You’re paying for connections not only expertise.

  2. Get an introduction by a professor of engineering. Best case email/voicemail: “These students are the smartest ones I’ve ever had in twenty years of teaching computer science. Larry and Sergei would have carried their backpacks for them.” Arguably this is even better than the lawyer’s call if the school has a history of receiving multi-million dollar donations from its alumni—if you know what I mean.

  3. Get an introduction by the founder of a company in the venture capitalist’s portfolio. Best case email/voicemail: “My buddies are starting a new company, and I think it’s really cool.” For this to work, it would help if the person making the call is a successful company in the venture capitalist’s portfolio. Also, this would be a good time to tap your network in LinkedIn to find acquaintances in the portfolio.

    Here’s a power tip regarding getting to venture capitalists using LinkedIn. Maybe it’s only me, but I hate when a connection of a connection of a connection wants me to take a look at deal. LinkedIn enables you to just go direct, and that’s my advice if you can show success (see below). If you can’t show success, the connection of a connection of a connection is useless anyway.

  4. Show success. Suppose you can’t get any of the introductions mentioned above. Then the most compelling email/voicemail that you provide is this: “My buddy and I have been working in our garage, taking no pay, and with MySQL we built a site that is doubling in traffic every month. Right now, we’re at 250,000 page views a day after thirty days.” With this one sentence you’ve proven you can (a) make a little bit of money (“none”) go far, your architecture looks scalable so far (once in my career I’d like scalability to be a problem), and most importantly, the dogs are already eating the food.

    Another way to show success is to hit it out of the park at Demo or the poor man’s Demo we call Launch: Silicon Valley, but this is a game that only a few dozen companies can play in every year. Finally, you can provide links to articles singing your praises, but this only means that you fooled the press, not that the dogs like what you’re serving.

  5. Make sure your company is in the right space. No matter how you get to the venture capitalist, make sure that she is the right one for you. For example, if you have the cure for cancer, contacting a firm’s enterprise software guru isn’t the brightest idea, so get on the web and do your homework.

  6. Use a short email. The ideal length of your email is three or fourth paragraphs:

    • What does your company do?

    • What problem are you solving?

    • What’s special about your technology/marketing/expertise/connections?

    • Who are you?

    Here are some things not to do:

    • Attach a PowerPoint presentation. I don’t care if it even adheres to the 10/20/30 rule. Save it for the face-to-face meeting.

    • Use the word “patented” more than once. All it takes to file a patent is $1,000. No good venture capitalist believes patents makes your company defensible. They just want to learn (once) that there might be something worth patenting.

    • Claim that you’re in a multi-billion dollar market. Isn’t every company in a multi-billion market according to some study? At least every company that’s ever pitched a venture capitalist.

    • Provide a lofty financial projection. Most projections that I see show how you’ll grow faster than Google. Frankly, I wouldn’t provide any projection at all. It will be either too low and make your deal uninteresting or too high and make you look delusional.

    • Brag about an MBA degree. Most venture capitalists want to invest in hardcore engineers at the start. The MBAs can come later, so focus on engineering or avoid the subject completely.

    • Try to create the illusion of scarcity. Many entrepreneurs claim that “Sequoia is interested.” If Sequoia is interested, you should take its money. If it isn’t, then the venture capitalist won’t be either. Either way, don’t even think of blowing this smoke.

This posting is merely about the process of getting across the moat. To learn more about what to do once you’re there, read how to fix your pitch by Bill Reichert of Garage.

 Page 4 of 10  « First  ... « 2  3  4  5  6 » ...  Last »