Your Company is Already on the Internet

    Posted by Pete Caputa on Jun 19, 2008 1:59:00 PM

    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 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.

    Ambush 2.0

    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.



    Read More

    Topics: internet marketing

    Speed of Execution

    Posted by Pete Caputa on Jun 16, 2008 10:06:00 AM

    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:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.

    Read More

    Topics: internet marketing strategy, internet marketing

    Effective Online Marketing Internationally

    Posted by Pete Caputa on Jun 6, 2008 4:25:00 PM

    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, which is not the same as 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.

    Read More

    Topics: online marketing, internet marketing

    Who Wants to Start a Vertical Industry Focussed Internet Marketing Business?

    Posted by Pete Caputa on May 14, 2008 1:02:00 PM

    I just got off the phone with Wayne Booth. He specializes in designing websites for dog trainers and websites for realtors.

    Then, there's Findlaw and DocShops, lawyer and cosmetic surgery website designers respectively.

    Both Findlaw and DocShops also own directories which drive traffic to their clients' websites. Sorta what I'm doing here. Their just focussed on one vertical and more successful at it.

    Wayne is simply well connected to his market because he is a dog trainer and his wife is a realtor. As a result, he understands the needs of the customers in these niches.

    I am biased, of course, but none of these service providers have the ability to help clients (who are willing to invest the time) excel at their internet marketing lead generation as well as HubSpot does.

    Courtney Tuttle wrote a solid post the other day about different ways to make money online. He talks about starting a service based business after you know how to generate leads for that type of business.

    Those who become good at generating leads will often transition into creating their own service businesses.

    HubSpot is really good at helping companies generate leads, whether they have internet marketing chops already - or not.

    But, we're horizontally focussed. And will continue to be. It's the right decision for a business that wants to be large.

    However, that doesn't mean that other companies couldn't create vertically focussed internet marketing businesses that leverage the HubSpot tools and Internet Marketing training.

    When I joined HubSpot, I told Brian Halligan, HubSpot's CEO, that I was going to start a website that would create a community out of my clients and I'd guide them with their blogging, link building and social media activities. Certain clients have stepped up. (All are invited.)

    Brian's response was, "That'd work well if you were focussed on a vertical".

    The reason I do this is two fold:

    1. To make sure my clients succeed. I believe in Karma and believe that I should only sell things to people who will benefit from them. As a salesguy, I believe it's my job to figure out whether someone is a good fit for us and if we are a good fit for them.
    2. To aid my own lead generation through my blogging and social media activity.
    3. To get direct referrals from happy clients.

    My sales development clients, Al, Trish, Rick and Dave are all stepping up. They do the following:

    1. Leave comments on each others blogs.
    2. Link to each other.
    3. Recommend each other on LinkedIn

    I keep them focussed on doing the right things so that all of this supports their SEO and lead generation efforts. I could charge for this. I could do more for them; There's always more opportunity for my clients that I can see. But, it's not my job to do that.

    Nonetheless, they all benefit from the network that I'm building. All of them have referred me prospective clients. That's payment enough for me.

    The system works.

    But, there's a next level to this...

    I also have quite a few web design/development/internet marketing firms who are clients and are almost as competent as me.

    My intention is to build a critical mass of clients in similar or complimentary businesses. Then, I should be able to take one of my 'web design/development/internet marketing firms' and help them build a vertically focussed internet marketing services business.

    However, that's taking more time than I had hoped.

    So, if there's anyone out there interested in accelerating this process and building a nicely scalable vertically focussed internet marketing services business, I'm all ears...

    Read More

    Topics: web design, internet marketing

    Boston Internet Marketing Summit

    Posted by Pete Caputa on Apr 17, 2008 6:16:00 PM

    You should attend the Inbound Marketing Summit.
    Read More

    Topics: internet marketing

    New Internet Marketing Case Study

    Posted by Pete Caputa on Mar 26, 2008 12:44:00 PM

    The other day, a prospect asked me what the average annual revenue of a HubSpot client is. I said "I have no idea". I also asked why she asked. Since this was over email, she hasn't answered yet.

    I should have answered. "It's rising."

    I was talking to Frank Damelio this morning and this is a paraphrased quote of what he said to me: "I'm really excited for you Pete. Over the years, it's been great to have someone like you to share stories with as we've both built our businesses and learned hard lessons. And you are working on the cusp of something huge and I can tell based on how things are going for you and your excitement, that you're really in a good spot. And that all of the things you've learned, you're putting to good use and really helping a lot of people.

    Previously, large businesses had access to the capabilities that HubSpot provides. But, now it's possible for every small business to afford these tools. And business is going to increasingly be initiated online at Google, blogs, LinkedIn, etc. And you are positioned to really help small businesses make the transition. No matter whether it's a hair salon, a tire repair place, or whatever, they're going to need someone that can give them the tools and guidance to switch from old ways of marketing to using the web to attract prospects to them. The web is where their customers are looking for someone like them. They need to be there."

    I certainly couldn't have said it better myself. I think Frank could even deliver it almost as well as HubSpot's CEO has in this video, since Frank is a public speaking coach.

    Frank's right, though. This stuff is now affordable for small businesses. It's less about the dollar investment. It's more about whether they can spend the time and whether they have the aptitude to pull it off. It's not rocket science. But, it takes committment.

    HubSpot's clients include large businesses like Kelley Staffing, Geico Insurance and SolidWorks, the leader in 3d design software. But, we also have lots of clients who are 5-10 person teams just setting out to change the world like Darcy's Safety and CPR training business, Boston Micro Machine's Adaptive Optics, Objective Management Group's sales recruiting business, Midnight Trader's After Hours Trading Information business, B&B Aesthetics revolutionary laser lipo procedures or Frusterio's Home Renovation Design business. HubSpot even has plenty of successful one person shops like Doug Sauerhaft's 'Buy Mail List' business, Paul Orselli's Museum Exhibit Design company, Bob Mattingly's River Rafting Adventure business, Dr. Edward Kwak's Asian Plastic Surgery business and Mari McCarthy's Journal Writing Therapy Business.

    There's lots more. I'm proud to have brought many of these businesses on board. And what gets me really excited is when they start building readership on their blog, doing their own keyword research and tracking for SEO, improving ppc performance and leveraging social media so that it has an impact on the topline of their business.

    And it's even more exciting when customers talk about it themselves. Here's the latest HubSpot internet marketing case study from telecom expense management software provider, Vocio. (Video editing by Catie Foertsch.)

    It's amazing to think that we've had a part in helping this business grow their business. It's amazing to think about the fact that 46 new clients signed up last month to embark on the same process. The impact that we'll have on their business and their lives is awesome. We're putting people in control of their marketing, something that has been pretty much a guessing game for more than a century. I think it's a high point for the direct marketing business. Now, it's possible to not only measure things, but engineer, predict, and improve with instantaneous feedback. I'm pretty sure that Gutenberg didn't think that would ever be possible when he invented the printing press.

    Read More

    Topics: social media, internet marketing case study, SEO, blogging for business, internet marketing

    On Being Prematurely Excited About the Potential for Online Marketing for Your Business

    Posted by Pete Caputa on Feb 20, 2008 11:41:00 AM

    I talk to a lot of people every day about their business and how and whether online marketing will help them solve their business growth, website and online marketing challenges.

    Usually, I can determine whether I can help them or not before they can determine whether I can help them or not. (Read that sentence again.) 

    Sometimes, I get a little too excited about it. And that's a bad thing because really my job is to help people to buy, not sell them on what I think they can do. To help them buy, it's critical that they determine how I can help them. Not for me to just blurt it out. There certainly is the appropriate time in my conversations with a prospective client to demonstrate how I can help them solve their problems and achieve their goals. But, it's not in the beginning. And it's not until I am convinced I actually can help them and that they say they want the help. 

    For example, one of my clients, Darcy Cook, (cpr training genius) is probably the least literate computer person under 40 that I know.  She's a people person. Put her in a room full of prospects and she'll walk out with 10 contracts. But, on the web, this stuff is intimidating for her. So, when she signed up, I simply established that I knew what her goals were and told her how much time and money she'd need to invest to get there. And that she'd need to be willing to spend the time. By the time I got there in the sales process, I had demonstrated my internet marketing expertise to Darcy and she trusted me to do the right thing for her business. So, Darcy said "let's get started". She's a month in now and about to launch her fully search engine optimized/lead-capture-ready website onto the web. Based on her specific situation, I expect her to generate more leads in her first month with her new site than she did all of last year from the web.

    But, if I had blurted out how I could help her in the beginning of the conversation, I would have just overwhelmed her and she would have probably done nothing other than go to more networking events - in order to grow her business. 

    Now, she'll be out on the web and moving towards her goals of expanding her business beyond New England within the next few months. Something she couldn't have done if she just kept going to local networking events to generate leads.  

    So, if you're reading this and I sent this post to you, you should know that I think it's worth it for both of us to continue talking... because I can probably help you. Don't be discouraged that I haven't said it yet. Be patient if I haven't told you how yet. (I'm still trying to figure out how to best help you.) And if I'm overwhelming you with too much information, just tell me to go slower. 

    Read More

    Topics: sales, internet marketing

    Website Grader TechCrunch'd

    Posted by Pete Caputa on Feb 4, 2008 7:16:00 PM

    Hubspot's Website Grader was TechCrunch'd today.
    Read More

    Topics: internet marketing

    Calacanis, Schefren, Gitomer, Godin.... Throwing Down the Gauntlet

    Posted by Pete Caputa on Jan 28, 2008 7:45:00 PM

    There's a few slightly larger than life people, that don't really run in the same circles, that I admire. I haven't necessarily drawn inspiration from them, I don't think. I think I've arrived here more because of things I've done in the past. But, they're all very well known for what they do. And I see a piece of what they do in what I'm doing with PC4Media. And I am sure, atleast on a subconscious level, they've inspired me.

    Calacanis: Here's his most recent post, of which, I'm afraid I might be getting lumped into the "knowledgeable skeptics" group. I admire Jason because he builds scalable online businesses that engages the distributed work of people. There aren't many people that know how to do this. He's a master of people, media and tech. I'm good at this. But, not yet a master. I've also given Jason alot of shit over the years through my blog. But, it's all out of respect with a health dose of jealousy. Jason pioneered the concept of the blog network. He did it with high quality paid writers. I am creating a blog network of business owners who are paying me to help them reach a larger audience.

    Schefren: I know his name. I get his email blasts, which I'm sure go to 10s if not 100s of thousands of people. But, I probably only ever visited his website twice before. Ironically, he uses a lot of the words I use, such as "Business Growth". I also know that he's good at building networks of people who are helping themselves - and him - at the same time. He pioneered the concept of being an "internet marketing coach". I prefer advisor, but clients tell me I make a good coach. Mostly because I don't let them get away with slacking.

    Gitomer: I could have written, "The Little Black Book of Connections". But I didn't. And I wouldn't have done it as well as he did. I missed his seminar when he came to Boston, as my son was born the day before. Peter Moran got me a signed copy of it, though. It says inside, "Congrats on being a dad." How cool is that? PC4Media is all about building a network of businesses that help each other. I hope Jeff will be proud. Jeff's motto is not to sell people things, but to help them buy. Although I learned how to do this from Rick, Jeff is the pioneer.

    Godin: Another one I've given a lot of shit to. But, IdeaVirus and Permission Marketing were one of the first "internet marketing" books I've read.  And Seth is a master viral marketer. He might be riding his past success, but as long as the wave still carries the board, why not? I don't know a thought leader that has had a longer run than him. And he did pioneer the switch from interruption marketing to permission marketing. So, credit where credit is due... I might not be doing the things I do, if it weren't for Seth.

    Regarding the gauntlet, my first step in playing in these guys' leagues, is to get my site competing with theirs, atleast in terms of a website grade.

    Read More

    Topics: about pc4media, internet marketing

    Follow Co-Grow

    Subscribe to Email Updates

    Recent Posts

    Posts by Topic

    see all