Apr 25, 2007

the Future of Online Advertising Conference

One of the most popular small business blogs - Duct Tape Marketing - awarded me a conference pass to the Future of Online Advertising in NYC in June. I'm looking forward to hearing what's in the works by industry leaders and am working on questions to ask some of the leaders. If any of you have a question about the Future of Online Advertising that you would like me to address at the conference, please comment here and let me know. Otherwise, look here for my reports from the conference in June.

Apr 24, 2007

The New Era of Silent Movies

I don't know if Apple or Wired made the decision to put their ads silently in the site. But it's the only way to go! Don't launch any sound with your website... let the user choose to listen to anything you want them to hear.

Save Internet Radio

It's sad that the government sets the price for copyright royalties in the first place, but a division called "Copyright Royalty Board" is raising the cost of internet radio songs to $.08 per song, per listener. This will put just about every internet radio station out of business.

If I were trying to sell music, I'd want exposure to new listeners every chance I could get. Internet radio is a great medium to find new fans, and the government is about to kill this channel before it ever really hits the big-time.

My assumption is that the big radio station owners are lobbying the puppets behind this, but whatever the cause, it should be stopped. Whether you listen to internet radio or not, you should do anything you can as a business owner OR consumer to keep the government out of free enterprise!


Apr 14, 2007

But for an Extra $300 I'm Going to Make It Happen Fast and with Little Pain!

Another great post by Seth Godin shows the very small business how to succeed online for as little as $60 per year, with no special skills and just a "couple hours a month."

And if you are already familiar with digital tasks such as:

- loading photos off your camera and into an email
- using a web-based email service
- realizing you can work on a spreadsheet and have a browser open at the same time
- you are a pro at "control-c" and "control-v"

Then yes, a couple hours a month is all you might need.

But the very small have bigger "computer" problems than just not understanding domain names, typography or HTML... many of you just don't even like to turn a computer on. It intimidates you (even though it shouldn't!) And I am sure that as you walk through Seth's tutorial, you're going to get discouraged the minute you click on "Flickr," "Squidoo," and "TypePad." This stuff is just over your head, and it should be because you rarely use the computer or internet. You're too busy installing $10K bathroom upgrades, or making a living grooming dogs, or visiting the members of your congregation, or working directly with the needy in your non-profit, or spending 10 days at sea to bring fresh seafood to market.

This is where I come in. What I can do with you in four hours is WAY more productive than what you could do by yourself in four hours. I could even beat Seth's $60 budget and take it down to $0 by using Blogger instead of Typepad. (But instead we're going to shift that $60 to Google AdWords.)

Within our first hour (you on your computer, me on mine, connected online), Here's what we can get done.

1. Get registered with necessary web accounts:
- site hosting (Blogger)
- email service (If you don't already have an easy to manage business email account)
- search engine advertising (definitely Google AdWords; possibly Yahoo and MSN too.)

2. Plan Your Content: Lay out an exact plan for what you have to say on your site (contact info, hours of operation, map, services, benefits, testimonials, pricing, references, etc.)

3. Determine your photography needs:
People like to see photos, as Seth suggests. We will figure out what kind of photos you could put up (staff, building, happy customers, products, etc.), and how you're going to get the photos (buy a digital camera or pay someone locally to get good photos.)

A day or so later we'll have our next online meeting, we'll take the content you've typed out in an email (see "Your Content" from the first meeting), and we'll post this information and photos to your new website. We'll set up and activate your Google AdWords campaign with specific keywords, such as "Birmingham Plumbers," "Atlanta Restaurants," "West Palm Beach Churches," "Columbia dog groomer," etc. Your business is now online and easy to find in Google!

Over the next four meetings (half-hour meetings), we'll put up new posts, such as "here's a photo of my newest client, FiFi, and her adorable haircut. Mention "FiFi" when you make your reservation this week, and we'll give you 10% off your dog's next haircut."

Or "We are on our way back from estate sales in the northeast, and we have 2 beautiful Queen Anne bedroom suites coming to the showroom."

Or "Mrs. Smith has been a wonderful member of our church for 20 years . Please join us at lunch after church this Sunday to thank her for her service!"

You get the idea. There's no business or organization I can think of who couldn't put some kind of new message up to customers and prospects.

Durning these meetings, I will teach you to monitor the advertising, the number of visits to your site, and how to make new posts.

Every project is unique, and in that first hour we might discover you have a few extra needs than others. For instance, you might be a masseuse who already buys and sells a special line of spa products, so we might as well set up a quick PayPal store for your clients to know they can order without driving in to the spa. Or perhaps I will convince you that it's worth an extra $100 a year to have your own domain name and company email, such as "BirminghamPlumbingCompany.com" and "Bob@BirminghamPlumbingCompany.com."

But in general, yes, for the very small, it is possible to get online in a big way for less than $500. And this was simply not possible a few short years ago.

Call me now! Kirk 404-429-5386!

Apr 12, 2007

And here's something you Marketing Heads can do today...

Here's another task that would take minutes and yet drastically make a change for the better in your organization:

Send out an email to every manager and employee in your organization and let them know it will be grounds for termination if they ever say "I'll be fine once I get off work in an hour," or "I'd be better if I didn't have to work," or anything that remotely communicates "I'd rather be somewhere else than work."

OK, so I realize this isn't "online marketing revealed;" it's WAY more important than any online marketing you can ever do.

Apr 5, 2007

Does AdSense Make Sense?

Not on a business site. This blog, for instance, is part of my marketing program to show potential clients how I think, and to share ideas with colleagues. I'm selling my marketing services, not an email mailing list.

Once I saw the Google AdSense placement of ads on my site, I had to ask (again), "why would I distract my site visitor with a link off to another website?" Not gonna' do it.

Apr 3, 2007

The Future of Buying Music and Video

Steve Jobs and Apple are making the rules right now, and it looks like they're getting closer to how I hope (and predict) it will play out. They're charging more for unlimited plays, and I see this as a move to controlled music licensing. My prediction:

Songs (and videos) will be sold based on number of plays. Here's an idea of how they could be named and priced.

JukeBox Version: $.25 per song.
Installs on one machine (computer) and one player (iPod, MP3, CD); 5 plays and self-destructs

MixTape Version: $1.40 per song.

Installs on one machine and multiple players; 70 plays and self-destructs

Vinyl Version: $2.00 per song.

Installs on one machine and up to 3 players. Unlimited number of plays.

Groupie Version: $4.00 per song

Installs on one machine and up to 3 players. Unlimited number of plays. Additional feature allows owner to share up to 20 "JukeBox" versions of song with friends.

Update 04-13-07: Maybe a subscription model is coming too. ;c)

Videos would have different pricing, but you get the idea. Steve Jobs, call me.