Tag Archives: marketing

Keep Track of Your Life Online

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During Gnomedex last August, we had an open-mic session where attendees could come up on stage and share their favorite websites, Apps and tools with the audience. Ayush wanted to share two of his life-saving websites with us.

Skittlr allows you to put your own little bar on your website that you customize to fill with the sites you visit the most. The bar can be moved around on the page, and makes it so much easier to get to your intended sites quickly. Of course, this is also a perfect little marketing tool. You can invite others to embed the Skittlr on their websites. However, marketing results are not guaranteed.

He also showed us SweetCron, which is a is a self-hosted lifestreaming application that supports themes & plugins. You can use it to pull all of your different social streams into one central location!

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Who is Your Favorite Superhero?

By definition, a Superhero is a fictional character of “extraordinary or superhuman powers” who is dedicated to protecting the public. In my mind, though, a Superhero is something far more basic. It’s that person you know who is fighting to raise cancer awareness. It’s the man who travels the country, telling the stories of homeless people. A Superhero is a person who goes above and beyond themselves to try to make this world a little bit better for all of us.

A Superhero doesn’t have to be famous, or get much recognition. They don’t have to have their name splashed on billboards, nor their tweets retweeted by thousands. They simply do what they do because they are truly passionate about helping others. They don’t do it for fame or glory or even money. They do it because they care.

Who are the Superheroes in your life? What makes them someone you admire? I’m willing to bet we have them right here, within our own community. Let’s share their stories, and help them continue the work they love so much.

Don’t forget to stop by our software center to check out what new software and apps we have today – all at discounted pricing!

Social Media: Twitter Road Trip Interview

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I had the great fortune of sitting down with the guy from Twitter Road Trip recently. We had a great time, as you’ll see in the video, and covered many interesting topics. Even Wicket and Pixie got into things with us!

We discussed the live stream, and how everything came about. I kind of stumbled into that, just like I’ve always done with everything in my life online. We also talked about my Gnomedex conference, which has been around for nine years now. That’s longer than many people have been online – and longer than the term “social networking” has been around!

We then started talking about CNN. They approached me about doing something with them last year, after seeing the live stream. I do a three minute technology review each Thursday evening, and am now the Tech Consultant for them, as well!

You know we had to discuss Twitter, and the whole Ashton Kutcher trying to get to one million. He didn’t send as much flow as I thought he would have with as many followers as he has. Ashton linked to a video of mine, and I was shocked to find out that I didn’t get much flowback from that. I see people who have a large amount of followers, but have no flow like that. They don’t get clicks, or re-tweets. But with our community, they’re just crazy about sending things out, clicking on links I share, and re-tweeting things they find impressive or interesting.

This goes to show that it’s not about the number of followers you have. It has to do with your gravitational pull, so to speak. It has to do with how much weight you pull. I work very hard to make sure that what I say has relevance (for the most part), and that I post something that is valid and interesting that will add value to my Twitter stream… and to my follower’s streams, as well.

Twitter has opened up a whole new world of communication and social media. Yes, it’s true that many people use it simply to say silly things like “I just ate a grilled cheese!”. But there are literally thousands of people out there who are posting interesting, thought-provoking content. Make sure you aren’t missing out. Be aware of who is on Twitter, and what they’re posting. Subscribe to people who may be interesting to you. It’s all about how you are interacting.

Personally, I think that the number of followers and following should be removed. Privately, it would be interesting to have those stats. But I think the public elimination of it needs to happen. It’s a bad metric. Twitter isn’t about how many people are following you. It encourages marketers and spammers, for one thing. And for another… losing those stats in a public way would put more value on the actual content, instead of the numbers themselves.

Towards the end, we left conversation about Twitter behind, and circled back to talking about me. Oh the joys! He asked what I like doing when I’m off-camera, and the answer is hard to put into words. My interests change and involve constantly. It keeps life interesting! I’m a boring guy, really. I was never into a bar scene, nor into sports or concerts. I live online! I don’t need much to keep myself happy and entertained.

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What are the Myths of Marketing?

Geek!This is The Net Fool’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

There are certain misunderstandings about the internet marketing world that I feel you should all be aware of. Setting itself up as kind of an “elitist” group of people, internet marketers are the ones making thousands off of websites, products and other online trades… sometimes even at your expense! But things really aren’t as bad as they appear, and hopefully after reading this you will realize that the barriers to entry are all made of glass.

A lot of marketers are going to make arguments that the following points aren’t true; in fact, they couldn’t be more true. People who tell you that it requires a lot of work, money, effort etc. just to get your bearings are trying to persuade you to stay away from their market. Don’t believe it. The bottom line is that being an internet marketer is a lot easier than you think. You all know that I don’t work as or consider myself an internet marketer, but this is really just a choice I made a while back to limit my exposure to the internet. If I wanted to sit down and make some money, it wouldn’t be very difficult at all to get in the game. Let’s get to the top five incorrect thoughts.

1. You Need a Lot of Money In Order to Make Money

Say what?! Too many people are trapped in the notion that they need to spend to earn. While you certainly can accelerate your earnings with a bit of an investment from the start, I came into the online money making business with literally an empty PayPal account and gradually built it up.

The internet is probably the only place where you can get an entire online business built for under $25 and be successful. I got my start by generating so-called “seed” money, which you can earn through any get paid to (GPT) website in a few minutes, and investing that in a domain name. Eventually, I had enough built up to afford nice web hosting, advertising money and the whole lot. This all started from an empty PayPal account!

2. Traffic = Sales

Too many people think that traffic is traffic is traffic… that couldn’t be further from the truth. Unless you are spinning off a website that isn’t even yours and couldn’t care less about where the traffic comes from, you are going to want the visitors that make it to your website to be legitimately interested. Furthermore, having more traffic doesn’t mean you are going to increase your sales. I have seen tons of Pay-Pay-Click and similar marketing plans fail because of poor traffic. In fact, these cases actually involved marketers that shifted away from profitable campaigns in favor of faster traffic… which eventually drained their margins.

Want an example? Say I am starting up a website about planting trees to save the environment (aw, how nice). I’m not going to put money down to target the word “tree” because that could bring me people who want anything from birdhouses to gardening tips… not the environmentalist spin I was going for and not the people who will make me rich. Relevancy in marketing campaigns is more important than you’d think!

3. The Internet Marketing Business is Over-Saturated

Ever feel like someone is trying to close the door on you? Lot’s of successful bloggers or internet marketers tell you that there is no room for you to get in the business. In fact, there is plenty of wiggle room in every niche (yes, even the “make money online” niche). Online business is accelerating at a rate in excess of 20% annually. I feel like the current levels of participation on the internet are only a fraction of what they will be, so get in now… we still aren’t even close to fruition.

Now that more and more marketing companies are coming to the table, it appears that somebody thinks there is potential there. The trend is your friend! If you see more and more internet businesses popping up, namely internet marketing companies, then it is obvious that people see huge gaps to be filled and want a piece of the pie. Why not you too?

4. You Need This Product To Succeed

In all my time online, I have never bought anything over $100 in value that I didn’t say to myself: “hey, this shouldn’t be worth more than $50.” There are literally hundreds of so-called “miracle” programs and products out there that are essentially exploiting our gullible sides into thinking that they will help. You can do anything and everything yourself. Once you get a bit more established, sure, go for it. But if you are a beginner you really don’t need any of the stuff marketers through at you to make money… bottom line.

I’m planning on launching a post soon where I analyze the appropriate value of products that I have tried and paid for personally on the internet. It’s true that if you have the money to spare, certain programs may accelerate your ability to work. However, nobody actually needs the things they recommend… and the help provided is only marginally better than what you can do yourself. For a slight increase in productivity, you probably will be better off without it.

5. You Can Make Hundreds/Thousands in One Day by _____________!

One common misconception in ANY online business is that you can make hundreds of dollars, or even a few thousand, in just one day. If anyone tells you that this is possible, you should be a skeptic. Option one is that they have used days in advance to prepare in order to launch their campaign successfully with all the right keywords and niche exposure. Option two is that they are professionals doing this already, and have gradually built up positions that now make them $X dollars every day.

Lesson learned, if you are new to any business… it’s not going to be possible, at least at first, to make that kind of outlandish profit in a day. Sorry to burst your bubble, but the odds of being successful without a professional background in one day’s work are close to none. Taking your time and gradually making your presence known is the best way to fly every time.

Bottom Line

There are many internet marketing misunderstandings, but I have chosen to highlight those that deal with the whole “elitist” point of view. Never say never, but also don’t fall for things that seem too good to be true. Anyone can be an internet marketer by building up gradual positions… put in the work and you’ll succeed!

What is Brand Loyalty?

Geek!This is Mark Davidson’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

What do Apple Macintosh users and Harley Davidson owners have in common? Those products have become a part of people’s lives and self-identity. They feel a sense of ownership in the company. They form communities around the product, and in essence become salespeople and marketers for the product. They have a fierce loyalty, and they are vocal about it.

Ideally, as successful business owners we should want people to feel a sense of ownership in our sites and blogs. We should want our social media sites to be a part of their lifestyle. One of the ways to accomplish this is to create a sense of community and inclusion. The goal should be that our users should feel as though they are not only part of something bigger than themselves, but something that they feel they are invited to join.

It’s important that we figure out ways to promote communication between users on our sites. We should arm them with promotional tools to help promote our sites—for example, by creating a widget (clickable button) for their blogs that link back to our sites. Another example is that one day a week, we could host an open comment night on our blogs where users can ask questions, give suggestions, communicate with other users, and interact with them online. We could then additionally interview different users on our blogs, and by doing so we can take an active interest in the lives and businesses of people who are not only interested in us, but in others with similar interests. It allows for the creation of a cyber-fanbase-community, much like those that Apple and Harley-Davidson have.

We can also start looking to identify things that our users have in common and help them to make connections with each other. This is similar to how sites like Facebook and Ning help create a sense of community among users by allowing users to create groups. Another thing sites like those have deployed successfully is to allow users to search for each other by interests, occupation, marriage status, and geographical location.

Businesses could also encourage and foster meetups based on their social network—this way users can meet each other face to face. The more we can promote communication and interaction between our users online, the greater the sense of community they will feel. This is critical to both retaining active users and having our users virally market our sites through word of mouth. Mini Cooper is unusually adept at this, and have both regional and international meetups on a regular basis that are based on online social networks.

If you have a social networking site, you’ll want to make it easy for your users to invite their friends, family, and work associates to use your site. However, there’s a lot to be said about initial exclusivity and creating desire. One of the things that Google did right with Gmail was to make it exclusive. Google gave each person a limited number of email invites to give out to friends. When Gmail first launched, a buzz was created online as people actively sought out invites.

Remember, each mention of your site on a message board or social media site is a mini-advertisement. The more we can get users to talk about our sites and blogs in their emails, IMs, social media sites, message boards, and blogs, and the more we can get users to mention our brand(s), the quicker we’ll see our user bases grow and the more active users we will be able to retain…and the more customers and clients we will reach.

As successful business owners, we should want to engage people, create two-way dialogs, encourage participation, listen, and respond. The only way to create a sense of ownership in our sites and blogs is actually to give away ownership. Let others have the spotlight. Our blogs are not about our egos. Our blogs are about our audience and readers. They aren’t about us.

Have You Called an Internet Advertising Phoul on Phorm?

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I don’t mind advertisers, so long as they are advertising something I would care about. I notice Marketing campaigns all the time. Overall, they don’t annoy me. I know people treat advertising differently than they treat other things in life. It’s a necessary evil. People are usually happy when they get a good deal. That’s why I have been actively posting coupons for awhile now, and have even set up a Coupon Search Engine for all of you to use.

Some people don’t like advertising at all, due to the way it’s being done. SupaFly wrote to me the other day to talk to me about Phorm. According to him, the three main ISPs in England have partnered with Phorm. Phorm is a type of advertiser that looks at what you are doing online, and will then send you targeted ads. There has been a lot of public outcry about this, surrounding privacy concerns.

I don’t know if this is necessarily invading privacy, any more than Gmail’s advertising is. It’s likely a benign form of watching patterns, and not targeting you specifically. Think of it as targeting your generic behaviors. I don’t agree that this is really the way to go. If the website you’re visiting isn’t selling or showing ads… then there shouldn’t be any embedded into it by a third party.

It’s a fine line when you’re talking about advertisements, specifically related to the Internet. If the ISP itself is doing this… I don’t think that’s quite right. All the ISP should be doing is providing you access to Websites, who could choose or not to provide ads. If people are paying to access the Internet, and ads are getting served against them and their privacy is being invaded… it’s just not cool.

I really wanted to throw this out to everyone in England who has to deal with this. Give me your thoughts… give me the skinny and the 411. How do you feel about this? Now that Phorm has been around for awhile, do you just deal with it or are you still fighting against it?


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Making the Band: A Kid's Perspective

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Alec is 13 years old. He goes by the handle iDrummer in our live community. He is a budding musician, and sent in these tips on how to get yourself or your band noticed.

  • People / Bandmates First, you’re going to need to know some people that are into your type of music. Some ways you could find people are to look around your school, work, and extra-curricular activities. Just start a friendly conversation, and let them know about your music. Usually, this takes some time to find the right people, because there are so many different people with varied tastes. You’re going to have to take your time. When you get around to the band part, mention that you’re looking to start a band, and that you wonder if they’re interested in joining. If his reply is no, ask him if he knows anyone that is musically talented. More than likely, he will know a few people if he plays an instrument. The more people you have, the more you will be taken seriously. Once you get the desired amount of people, make sure everyone is “ok” with their band members, so there are no disputes between one another. When you are all settled in with each other, come up with a name. This may be hard, but it’s important.
  • Recording / Covers Most artists start out their careers by doing cover songs (song written and recorded by other artists). You could go right into recording, but it’s good to know your band’s weaknesses and strengths in music. Start out with a couple of ,simple songs. Once you get the hang of how everyone plays then go for hard songs or start recording. Recording is a major deal. There are many ways to record. If you have some extra cash (as in like $2,000) then you can buy some “ok” recording equipment. Best chance you have to get good recording equipment is Guitar Center. Recording professionally is usually quite cheap. Before picking a recording place, do a little research on them. They may be really cheap, but they may have bad quality recording equipment. Also, they sometimes don’t supply you with instruments… which means you have to haul all your amp, guitars, drums, bass’s, cords. There are also two ways to record. There is 2-track and 4 track recording. 4 Track tends to come out with a better quality since you record one instrument at a time. 2-track is faster and is easier to do. In 2-track, you record the band first, and then the singer. 2-track is cheaper but lower quality.
  • Get your music out There are various way to get your music heard. One of the free ways is to put it on the Internet. Myspace, for example, is a great medium. You aren’t charged a dime to create an account or upload music onto your page. All of your friends can hear it, and you can gain fans. It’s best to have someone good with HTML and internet coding to help create your myspace, it makes it look more attractive and more official. Another great way to put your music online is via iTunes. It does cost you, but you can earn money off of it.
  • Shows / Venues After you get noticed, you might get offers from local bars to come play at night. Once again there are many ways to get shows. If you want to book shows, you’re going to have to impress whoever is in charge of booking talent. If you’re good enough, they might refer you to other venues. Even if you’re offered a show for no pay… it’s still a good way to earn a fan base. Another way to get bookings is to have your music sent to a record label. They might pick it up and listen to it. Send it to a bunch of record labels, instead of just one.
  • Marketing These is a very complex part… yet simple. I’ve been giving you marketing tips all along. Once you have a pretty big fan base, it’s time to decide if you want to market products. There are very simple ways online to create products for your band and sell them at shows / venues… or even on the street corner. Places where you can find free product creators is Zazzle or CafePress You can also set up an eBay store!


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What is the Future of PR and Marketing?

Are all PR and marketing agents clueless? Maybe not. There are a few things that PR and marketing agencies might do to make bloggers respect them more, with these suggestions and discussion points coming directly from the Gnomedex audience:

  • Demonstrate you’ve read the person’s blog
  • For boggers: Don’t blast every bad pitch
  • People want to talk to real people
  • Spin really doesn’t cut it
  • Open up a dialogue
  • Product images, permalinks, people, passion
  • Less press releases
  • Don’t send a Word DOC
  • Having passionate users of product
  • Get them to stand up and talk about it
  • People have built-in B.S. detectors

Steve Rubel is a senior marketing strategist with over 15 years experience. He currently serves as senior vice president in Edelman’s me2revolution practice. Edelman is the largest independent global PR firm. He is charged with helping Edelman identify, test, incubate and champion new forms of communication. He also explores this on his well-read Micro Persuasion weblog and in a bi-weekly column for AdAge Digital.

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Think Small

Citizen Agency, LLC is an Internet consultancy that specializes in developing community-centric strategies around product research, design, development and marketing. A few notes from Chris Messina and Tara Hunt’s session were taken by Gnomedexer Alberto (Lopez):

  • Non zero-sum means is a WIN-WIN for everyone
  • Do it for Love
  • Do it for Fun
  • bunches of camps have sprung up all over the place
  • They run BarCamp
  • They are looking to build out the Infrastructure for the kind of future we (the Blogosphere) want for ourselve
  • Alaska Air snet Tara an email, with everything about her trip, incld. waether, stuff to do, etc. They “get it”.
  • You can succeed with out a giagantic liquidity event
  • Bootstrapping can be done

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Microsoft: Give me a Million Dollars to market Windows Vista for you

No, seriously. I’ll do it. One million. That’s a drop in the bucket – 1/500th of what you’re planning on spending.

It’s a crazy idea. It’s insane.

You’ve got your work cut out for you with a mindnumbingly lackluster launch – and the remainder of your media blitz needs to be coherent. You need to begin illustrating Vista’s biggest strengths and benefits:

  • The new Start Menu can help you find things faster
  • Fast USB sticks can speed up your system instantly
  • Program-independent volume control will keep your sounds in check
  • The Windows Explorer exposes tons of file metadata
  • Parental controls will keep Mom and Dad happy
  • Checking for updates and problem solutions has never been easier
  • Guided Help takes interactive learning to the next level
  • Both wired and wireless network management are smarter
  • There’s an infinitely more stable video driver model in place
  • Hardware-accelerated eye candy on the desktop is awesome

It’s not just about selling a new operating system, though! You have to let people know where they can find help during this transitional period – when their software and/or hardware might not work like it used to work in XP. If you don’t address those issues head-on, Windows will start bleeding mindshare like never before.

C’mon. If you accept my proposal, I bet I’ll get more press for you than theiap.org did – and I’m guessing you spent more than a mil on that alone. Moreover, I’m guessing that some Macs were used for production. Does your marketing team know Windows intimately – do they know how Vista is relevant for the average user?

And if you don’t bite, maybe an OEM will…