Via VentureBeat, Seth Goldstein's Social Media has created an advertising system that allows you to customize ads that your friends see, enabling individuals to interact through advertisements.
Here's a great example from the social media blog
Below is a concrete example of a social banner. It's an ad, presumably sponsorable by a company seeking to spread the word about its new-found greenness. So, without further ado, here's a our user violating, privacy busting, all your data in a social banner, banner!
Blog Reader: "Umm...wait. Is this a trick? My data has to be in here somewhere. I know! It's hiding under the alien! Oh, no. That's silly. Wait! You pulled my facebook interests to stereotype me as a certain type of user, thereby populating the buttons with choices that would appeal to me, thus increasing ad CTR!"
As Winnie the Pooh would say, "Oh bother."
Your data isn't in there. Not at all. But, let's say you do opt to share why you're green with your friends by clicking on a button. This is what your friends would see, except replace this dude's picture with yours.
Blog Reader: "OMG I'M IN THE AD! You mean when I choose to share why I'm green with my friends, my friends will actually see it?"
It's rather difficult to share something with your friends when we can't tell your friends the thing you wanted to share. So, yes, that's precisely what we did.
It's almost what John Battelle has been talking about and playing with - with his conversational marketing.
As you all know, I'm a big beliver in putting the "social" in marketing. In fact, my own blog has evolved to mostly a networking tool where I'm highlighting my clients great writing and the activities of other people that interest me.
This is the first time I've seen "social" applied to the advertising unit. And I think it's very significant. And almost genius in its simplicity and obviousness.
I'm working on improving my sales presentation skills, specifically my demos.
Here's two blog posts about product demos.
- Customize-ing them. Tailoring them to the prospect's need. I do good here.
- I need to be better about structuring a demo.
Update: I just received my daily justsell newsletter
which was plugging a research report from gotomeeting about giving online product demos
This is a GREAT Guest Article by Malcolm Sheppard of Gill Media
Many traditional businesses believe they don't need to get online - but they're already there.
Small business owners often believe they don't need a website. This is an especially common sentiment when the company has a local, face to face focus. They don't use e-commerce, so why should they bother with web pages, blogs and the rest?
The answer is simple: If they don't get online, someone will put them on - and they won't have a say in the results. Chances are that if your business has a Yellow Page listing, its name is on the Web. Here's how it got there:
Local Resources: Chatter from locally-focused networks like Kijiji, Craigslist and Facebook may mention an "offline" business in passing. The site might just grab content from local phone directories. These are generally difficult to browse from Google and in some cases (like Facebook); much of the content isn't searchable at all. Blind searches either won't find you, or bury you in an obscure sub-page.
Keyword Harvesting: Black hat techniques often rip long tail keywords from local directories. Surfers are likely to find these during targeted searches, when they know your business exists but don't know anything about its web presence. This creates a high level of expectation - one that's ruined the moment they hit a useless link farm.
Communities: Facebook, blogs, rating sites like restaurantica.com and online forums let just about anybody sound off about your business - and who knows what they'll say? The Social Web is a great way to bring people together, but it's also land of trolls: people who will insult your company, or worse, promote it in an off-putting, abrasive fashion.
The Broadcast Fallacy
Most people on the Web - the ones with money to spend, anyway - were raised on traditional media. They're vulnerable to a phenomenon called the Broadcast Fallacy.
The Broadcast Fallacy is a simple concept: People confuse a message's reach with its authority. On the Web, an individual has a global broadcast reach - what used to be the province of traditional, centralized media like television. Nasty forum posts or one-star ratings from a handful of cranks earn disproportionate authority. Agreement spreads virally, as people affirm their membership in an online community by siding with early opinions. If a business doesn't grab hold of its image on the Internet, someone else will.
There's only one cure for the Broadcast Fallacy: Set up your own "broadcast." Top-notch internet marketing seizes control of a client's image on multiple fronts to combat Social Web trolling, local obscurity and the black hat SEO "ghetto." Functional web design and smart keywords are still necessary, but a comprehensive plan also includes:
Social Web Vectors: Everybody knows how important a blog is, but it's just your Web 2.0 "home base." Experiment with tweets, Facebook groups and forums. Web 2.0 is still evolving, so explore new services, but don't chain yourself to them. Analyze the results and focus your time on proven lead sources. That's why they're "vectors" - the hot spots can change.
Human Conversations: Avoid online "silences" by updating your social network presence consistently. Augment a business' formal presentation with biographical information, pictures of employees and a more casual, day to day communication style. It's easy to criticize a faceless company. If people know a business by its people, that stimulates a sense of empathy.
Prosumer Relationships: Prosumers have an above average interest in the company's products and services. They want to feel involved in business decisions. Don't believe that prosumerism is limited to technical fields; foodies and classic car aficionados are prosumers too. Every business needs to find its prosumer community, their hub sites and leaders. Target them with special offers, exclusive events and interviews. This puts them on the "inside track:" they value, so they're more likely to give favorable feedback. Prosumers usually provide the first and most respected comments about your business, so their opinions have a potent viral effect.
Turning Words into Action
Provided they have a solid website and SEO strategy, any business can take command of its Social Web presence - in theory. Don't assume you have the time, confidence or writing ability to update a blog every month, post on an industry forum or administer a Facebook group.
Internet marketing companies that focus on technical solutions don't provide quality "soft services" like blogging, marketing copy and web PR. If you're looking into partnering with a web marketing company, make sure they can provide these services. Even if you do have the time for social networks and prosumer relations, a good company should be able to improve your performance with research and stylistic advice.
About the Author: Malcolm Sheppard is a writer and researcher for GILL Media, a strategic internet marketing firm
with offices in Ontario, California, Texas and Florida.
Michael Putnam and I met a month or so ago when he needed to figure out SEO for his awesome new startup, Zeer. He hadn't launched yet, but knew that he need to plan his internet marketing strategy before launching. We helped him round it out a bit.
But, he and his team deserve all the credit for being named to Time's 50 Best Websites in 2008.
And go check out his site. It's an awesome community site that helps consumers help each other make healther decisions about their diet.
I just got off of the phone with a person at a marketing agency. Her and a few of her colleauges have been checking out HubSpot quite frequently. Unfortunately, she told me that her principle will never really adapt to online marketing.
I'd suggest getting a new job if you're in that situation.
Here's a great post by Paul Roetzer at PR 20/20, a HubSpot client and agency for many HubSpot clients about how PR is changing because of the web.
Paul talks about 3 big trends affecting PR which presents 3 significant opportunities for firms that are willing to transition from traditional agency to traditional+online agency.
- Social Media
- Self Publishing.
How Social Media & SEO can be supported by Public Relations - are 'talked to death' topics. However, I particularly like his paragraph on Self Publishing:
Press Releases, blogs, eBooks, white papers, by-lined articles, newsletters and online magazines are now being written with keyword-rich content and distributed with the goal of building Website traffic, inbound links and leads.
If you're in PR and you're not practicing PR this way, you should probably get a job elsewhere. Maybe you should send your resume to Paul.
I sat down with Jason Kallio the other day to talk about his online marketing. We've known each other for a long time and have mutual respect for each other. We had a frank conversation about "Why someone might not sign up for HubSpot."
I mentioned that many people seem to want to "figure internet marketing out" on their own. Nothing that HubSpot enables is revolutionary. Business Blogging, Keyword Research & Tracking, Content Management, Lead Capture, Marketing Analytics. HubSpot didn't invent any of these things. They just made it possible for small business owners to do it through 2 incremental innovations:
- They've put it all together in an integrated fashion. Customers can be doing all of these things in < 1 week. Most web development companies take a month or more to pull this stuff together and it usually is nowhere as complete an internet marketing toolset.
- Training is included. Most web design and development firms cannot afford to train their clients how to do internet marketing. Success with internet marketing is related to time invested by the company's marketing and sales teams (In a very small business, the business owner plays both roles.). You can more effectively do SEO, blogging, social media marketing in-house than you can by outsourcing. Most web development and internet marketing firms, however, want you to pay them $200/hr to do it for you. This stuff isn't rocket science. With a few hours of training, most of our clients are generating leads pretty quickly.
Back to my conversation with Jason. Jason said to me, I'd never think of trying to do this myself. For me, it's "all about speed of execution".
And he's right. Russ Swallow, the MA dental insurance opponent, signed up less than 2 weeks ago. I spoke to him this morning on my commute. He's already published 3 blog posts, search engine optimized his pages and is half way down the HubSpot checklist. He still has plenty more to do, but he's well on his way.
Two months in... Dave Lima, the expert MA bankruptcy lawyer, is producing blog posts at two/week, hosting guest bloggers, networking effectively online, and most importantly, is generating leads and new business.
Then, there's Darcy Cook who's five months in. She's building her business online. She recently spoke on a radio show about her experience with online marketing and how she's closed more deals in her first few months than she generated leads in the whole year prior to using HubSpot.
How long has it taken you to implement 'your own' internet marketing strategy? What's that costing you?
Noel, the telecom expense management guru, says it best in a comment on the HubSpot blog post I wrote about planning your internet marketing strategy:
John is right on one account when he says "learn how to market your business on the web yourself". I would add, and do it using a proven methodology and experts, then add the hard work. While John is out searching the web trying to find the short cuts and getting "free" info I've already designed my site, ranked my keywords, gotten leads, made sales and taken my $250 investment and made thousands.
The only thing I'd add to that is that "Speed of Execution" doesn't stop after launch. Speed of Continuous Improvement is actually more important. Most companies do not have the the right systems in place to measure what's working, nor do they execute their internet marketing strategy in the right order.
In October, I blogged about a woman suffering from Post-Partum depression, who was missing. A fellow father and buddy of mine, Eric Sagalyn, blogged about her missing too.
I was looking at my inbound links today and saw that Eric had linked to me. In his comments, he linked to an article about how the mother was found in November:
A huge reward and massive search failed to find 35-year-old Katie Corcoran of Lincoln, R.I., but when a Baltimore shopkeeper did a simple Internet search all was revealed.
"Recently, [the shopkeeper] noticed a woman who appeared out of character," said deputy chief Brian Sullivan, of the Lincoln Police Department. After she approached her, the shopkeeper was only able to get her first name.
"The shop owner then got online and Googled missing Katies," Sullivan said.
She stumbled upon a Web site created by Katie's husband, Rob Corcoran, who flew to Baltimore to pick up his wife after she was found. He had posted her picture online along with a letter calling her a dedicated mother. He pleaded for her return.
The article makes a few poor conclusions. The journalist obviously doesn't know about the importance of On Page SEO and Off Page SEO. A big reason that Katie was found was because the Title tag of the home page on the site her hubsband built said, "Missing - Katie Corcoran" (on page SEO) and because people like me and Eric linked to the site (off page SEO). If those two things didn't happen, the shopkeeper, when he did a search for "missing Katie's" would not have been directed to the site her hubsand constructed to help find her. Her website would not be #1 in google for a search for "missing Katie's". The guy might have tried something else, like report it to the police, and she might have been found that way too. Of course, the reason she was found is because the shopkeeper cared. But, SEO and the fact that the family did a great job of getting the word out about her missing - played an important role.
Of course, this isn't that important in the scheme of things. Of paramount importance is that she was found and has returned to her family and to get help. I'm hopeful she's doing well, now that it's 6 months later.
Russ Swallow recently became a client and has joined the blogosphere. He calls himself the 3700 year old man since he helps about 100 companies/year implement their benefits plans and has been doing it for 37 years. He has "3700" years of experience doing it, compared to the average HR manager that does it once/year. Atleast that's his math. I've explained to him that it doesn't work that way. But, Russ is a lot older than me. So, he must be right.
I am also a client of his. Russ knows his stuff. Here's a post he wrote about disability insurance. I'm looking forward to seeing more from him.
If you haven't read on Rick's Rainmaker blog or Dave's Sales Management blog yet, Guy Kawasaki has created an aggregator of sales blogs on his aggregator site, Alltop.
Ever since I saw him looking for "marketing" blogs on Twitter for Alltop, I've been pestering him and telling him he needed a sales.alltop.com page too.
It's launched with a bunch of my favorite blogs, as well as some new ones that look great.
If you have other suggestions, you should send them to Guy via twitter.
Go join the social media marketing group on BlitzTime.
Planning to do some online networking events down the road, centered around the use of social media for lead generation for businesses.
This is a guest blog post written by the President of CloudBurst Consulting, Adrian Tennant. Adrian is an Internet marketing speaker with 13 years of online marketing under his belt.
One of my biggest pieces of advice to businesses today, especially those in travel/tourism, is to consider international opportunities. How do you best reach foreign visitors?
In 12 years, the web has transformed into a multi-lingual content environment. In 1996, 75% of the content on the web was written in English; today it's more like 25%, or to put it another way: 75% of the content is in a language other than English. In the Internet World stats report for last year, 81% of the world's Internet users are located outside of North America. So how do you tap into this potential market?
To attract users from outside the U.S., your website must be visible on local search engines. Many international users speak English as a second language but perform searches in their native languages on local search engines. Fortunately, completely translating your entire website into several different languages isn't always necessary. What is important is that you have at least one page translated, or better yet, have a new page written specifically for this purpose by a local expert. That page must also have the meta tags in the top of the page (which are invisible to users) and the keyword phrases properly translated. This way your site can appear in German, French, Mexican and Japanese search engines - or whichever geographic locations you are targeting.
For the U.K. it's a slightly different approach, but the same issues apply - they use Google.co.uk, which is not the same as Google.com. And no one in the U.K. takes a vacation, they go on "holiday" - so there's still a translation issue! I recommend that whenever possible, a micro-site is hosted in the U.K. if you're targeting that audience; similarly, a micro-site for the French market is most effective if hosted in France.
Hopefully this provides you with a clearer picture of what is needed to start bringing international visitors to your website
I (Pete) have zero experience with online marketing outside of the US. I'd be interested in hearing from some other people who do. At HubSpot, we generate a lot of inquiries from UK and Australia businesses, mostly because Website Grader, our free SEO tool, is an international success.
When I relaunched PC4Media as a project a few months ago, my goal was to create a network of businesses that blog. I've enrolled about 60 or so companies. All engage at a different level. Some are doing great like my favorite MA real estate attorney, Dave Lima. Some have too many other priorities in the way and haven't really gotten out of the gates.
Many businesses think that blogging is just about publishing information. It is about publishing information. But, a business that engages in a conversation through their blog generates much more value out of their blogging activity.
Here's what I wrote to describe my members:
The PC4Media network of businesses are all experts at what they do. But, more importantly, they are committed to publishing educational, informative and engaging information about their industry, their business and their experience. Further, they are committed to engaging the broader community online in a transparent conversation, while supporting each other as they each grow their respective businesses.
Rick just published a post called "Experts that Share" that says the same thing much more succinctly:
I enjoy the freeflowing exchange of expertise and ideas with people that are good at what they do and realize that collective thought is usually much more productive than the sum of individual thoughts.
I re-listened to the ClueTrain Manifesto
on my ride into Cambridge today. If you're "supposed to be blogging" or "thinking about blogging", you should pick up the book for some inspiration and guidance.