Monday, January 24, 2011

"The New Rules of Branding Your Business Online"

This is a great article that I found regarding branding your business through social media today. As I sit down with business owners there are really only two kinds of people I meet in regards to this marketing method...those who have it implemented (sort-of) and don't know how to use it and those who have no clue where to even start looking to obtain it. My favorite people to work with are the ones that are brand new to social media, have a desire to learn, and are in a position to give it some time and attention in 2011. It is these people that will benefit in the long run because they chose to invest in themselves to learn how to tackle this thing called "social media" in a way that is healthy, strategic and WORKING for the growth of their business for the long haul. Hats off to those who are ready to learn and take the first step with their best foot forward. 


Mastering branding online takes a lot more than a cool logo and catchy slogan. Experts play by a fresh new set of rules. (January 12, 2011)

It's no longer enough to have a sleek website, social-media presence, and consistent brand aesthetic online. The new rules of branding your business on the Web have a lot less to do with presentation, and a lot more to do with interaction. In order to bring you up to speed, has compiled nine of the most innovative and ingenious tips from articles, guides, and interviews in Inc. and over the past year. These are the new rules of branding online.

1. Don’t just start the conversation.
Be an integral and evolving part of it. "Social media has one very important perspective to share with brand management—the conversation. Like branding, social media is all about the conversation and building effective relationships. They are perfectly suited to one another," says Ed Roach, founder of The Brand Experts, a brand management consultancy in West Leamington, Ontario, the author of The Reluctant Salesperson, a free e-book available at The rules for brand messaging through new media versus traditional channels haven't changed, but "the game sure got better and more interesting," says Roach. It's not enough to have a Facebook page or a Twitter account, you must participate in the conversation by making regular posts and replying to direct messages from your customers. Ron Smith, president and founder of S&A's Cherokee, a public relations and marketing firm in Cary, North Carolina, agrees, adding that you'll want to stay on top of what people are saying about you and your brand online. "Monitoring social media is a must for all companies. Social media has shortened the time frame for company responses to complaints or accusations. These days, companies need to acknowledge any issues and control the messaging in a matter of minutes instead of hours or days," says Smith. Read more.

2. Either keep your personal brand out of it…
So you have 10,000 Twitter followers. Does it matter to your customers? Tim Ferriss, the entrepreneur behind the sports nutritional supplements company BrainQUICKEN and author of The 4-Hour Workweek, told contributor John Warrillow: "Unless you’re in one of a handful of businesses like public speaking, I think managing and growing a personal brand can be a huge distraction for company founders. I see all of these entrepreneurs trying to collect Twitter followers, and it reminds me of a matador waving a red flag in front of a bull. In this case, the founders are the bull. The bullfighter moves the flag away, and the bull comes up with nothing but air. Steve Jobs has a personal brand, but it is Apple’s product design that makes it such a valuable company. He isn't jumping on Foursquare to develop his 'personal brand.'" Read more.

3. …or dive in and make all the headlines you can.
Appearing in the media as a source of expertise can go a long way toward building your brand, Inc.'s April Joyner reports. To gain press, identify media outlets that are most applicable to your particular areas of expertise and send them targeted pitches. If you want to be a talking head on radio or television, it also helps to give producers a preview of your personality by referring them to video clips on your site. As with print, the Web has also democratized the world of radio. Through venues such as BlogTalkRadio, anyone can host her or his own broadcasts—or find a show on which to appear. After you have honed an area of expertise, you will find that there are plenty of opportunities to take your message on the road. Becoming active in professional organizations and attending conferences offer valuable opportunities for networking. As you become more familiar within a certain field, more and more people will call on you to share your expertise. Making an appearance as a vendor at an event can also offer long-term personal branding benefits. Read more.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kill those darn Pigs! They're laughing at me!!!

I have heard a lot lately about this game ANGRY BIRDS...and I have to admit I'm not exactly savvy to playing "games" on my phone aside from the occasional Sims 3 with my five year old. I heard from a few people, corporate people, that I respect and admire professionally and personally tell me they are ADDICTED to this very silly and very simple game. I found this article and it made me chuckle. Now I only fear that if I try it...I too will become sucked into this angry bird flinging,egg eating pig game and I just don't have TIME!!! I hope you enjoy it!


January 4th, 2011 
By Allan Maurer
Angry BirdsUPDATED! DURHAM, NC – Kill those darn pigs, they’re laughing at me, I thought, loading another bird in its slingshot. I fire the bird, which, screaming a martial arts cry, careens toward a mass of stones protecting three green pigs. And bounces off. The pigs laugh, heh heh heh.
When I first heard of this “Angry Birds,” game, I thought, I’ll just try it out and see what all the fuss is about, shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. About 45 minutes later, I was stuck on level 14 and stopped. I couldn’t believe I had played for so long.
Whoever would have thought that sling-shooting red angry birds at towers of rock protecting little green pigs would be so addicting.  I sampled the popular “Angry Birds” game while testing a DROID PRO from Motorola for a review I’ll be doing here later. But I’m far from the only one the game hooked.

More than 40 million downloaded

More than 12 million copies of the 99-cent “Angry Birds” game have been downloaded, while 30 million copies of the free version, which includes ads, are on mobile phones.  On January 5, 2011, the game became available for Windows XP through Win 7 on teh Intel AppUP store, which targets netbooks.
According to Rovio, the Finland-based maker of “Angry Birds,” the iPhone version is played an average of 65 minutes a day by crazed pig killers. He said the ad-supported free version was projected to earn $1 million a month by the end of 2010. Also, by measuring how many people download updates, the company knows the game has a fairly amazing 80 percent retention rate.
The basic idea is that a bunch of pigs are stealing bird eggs and the birds retaliate.

One of the levels in Angry Birds
The game recently celebrated its one year anniversary and just yesterday Sony announced it would be available on Playstation 3 and Playstation Mobile. It is currently available for the iPhone, iPad, and DROID phones. A Windows Mobile 7 version is in the works.
I’ve always wondered if your brain does the same type of calculus – subconsciously – to figure out the trajectory of the Angry Bird missiles as it does to accurately throw a rock, spear, baseball, football, or basketball. You do learn to improve your shots as you go, although it gets progressively more difficult.
There are a few tricks: if you touch a bird in flight at the right arc, it splits into three missiles, doing more damage than a single hit would to the structures protecting the egg-stealing pigs. I did find the small touch screen on the DROID PRO a problem at times. But it didn’t stop me from playing.

Social Media is not a bunch of college students chatting on Facebook....

Thursday, January 6, 2011

SEO algorithms – Which SEO algorithm works best?

This is a great article by Michael Martinez from back on January 15, 2008.  If you are interested in learning more about SEO, what all those "crazy words" mean in reference to the back end of your website...or just want to understand how to speak "webmaster" this article. It breaks it down for you in a very comprehensive and well thought out way. I appreciate Michael for that! I think you will too!

If you were taking an English language test today, or a mathematical test, and you were asked to define “algorithm”, what definition would you provide? Do any of the following match your idea of what an “algorithm” is?
  1. A process for completing tasks
  2. The means by which the end is reached.
  3. A problem for which there is no resoluton.
  4. A method for solving problems.
  5. A method for defining methods.
A lot of people find the SEO Theory blog through search engine referrals for variations on “SEO algorithm”, “SEO algorithms”, “search engine algorithm”, etc. The funny thing about those referrals is that I haven’t actually written about SEO algorithms. I write an SEO algorithm roundup article last year (some of the advice in that article is now outdated, by the way). But what I called “SEO algorithms” in that post were not really SEO algorithms.
Search engine algorithms are complex things. One does not simply detail a search engine algorithm in a single blog post. But one can recap (or attempt to recap) the basic steps in the search indexing process. A fair number of SEOs have done this, some even using pictures. None of them have really done an adequate job. Nor am I likely to do an adequate job.
Search engines don’t have much to work with when they are indexing billions of pages. They just get a few hunderd pieces of information to pick from. If you have ever designed an inventory management system you’ll immediately see the advantages you have over a search engine. If you have never designed an inventory management system, you may appreciate the comparison with a little explanation.

(Cont to article)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Power of Three: What three things are you going to do better in your business today?

"To me there are three things everyone should do every day. Number one is laugh. Number two is think - spend some time in thought. Number three, you should have your emotions move you to tears. If you laugh, think and cry, that's a heck of a day."

- Coach Jim Valvano

What is it about the power of three? Three little pigs, three blind mice, three bears, three muskateers, three points to a triangle, child/adult/elder, mother/father/child, mind/body/spirit, three primary colors, past/present/future, id/ego/super ego, and of course father/son/holy spirit. There are more, but you have an idea.

Three may just be easy to remember, it maybe that everything in life really does boil down to three things, point is that there is something to the number three; and it's the same in business.

There are three functions in business, everything else is merely a branch of 1) Selling 2) Prospecting and 3) Admin. Those three things drive all else, in every business from teaching to managing a marketing company. Without any one of them, not only are you off focus, but you are losing business. Many times we think about how busy we are; but if you look at everything in your day to day routine, you must ask yourself if what you are doing is directly related to Selling, Prospecting or Administration, if not, what are you doing? Three is the magic number!

Are you ready for a challenge?

1) In your business, career or goals, no matter what your position, find out which of the three business functions you are the absolute best at, make that your primary strength and pair it to your job responsibilities. As to the other two roles, delegate them as much as you can so you can spend more time on your one primary strength!

2) Accomplish three things a day for any goal you have! No more, no less. Set out to do three a day.

3) Find areas in your life and business where systems, rituals, processes, teaching methods can be based on three things and observe how much easier it is for those around you and for yourself to remember!

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Importance of Web Design

A study by researchers at Carleton University in Ottawa show that first impressions count in website design. They showed that people form opinions about the look of your website in 1/20th of a second. The aesthetic of your design is thus an important factor in the success of your website and online business.
Given the importance of site design I wanted to spend a few posts talking about some aspects of web design and what makes for a good design. I’ll begin today with some general comments and move into more specific details over the next few posts.
By no means will the aesthetic of your site be the only factor in your site’s success of lack of success. It is one factor among many, but given the increasing competition for the internet dollar it only makes sense to have as much of a competitive advantage as you can.
The importance on aesthetics doesn’t mean to have a good site design you need to overdue it with the imagery or add fancy flash animation. In fact I’ll argue that other than for a few specific industries both will probably do more harm than good. What I think is important however is to ensure your site has a ‘professional’ look.

Professional vs. Amateur Web Design

A ‘professional’ design I don’t necessarily mean you need to pay a professional to design your site though as a web designer I do think it’s a good idea. Professional designers (the good ones anyway) have been trained or have trained themselves be able control very subtle parts of a design that will often have a rather large impact.
We’ve all seen examples of amateur designs that make you wonder who thought showing the site to the public was a good idea. These sites are often cluttered to the point that you can’t distinguish one element of the page from another. Some use colors in a way that causes pain to your eyes, or seem so jumbled that none of the elements on the page belong together.
For me a dead giveaway that a site was done by an amateur is when all of the text on the site centered. For whatever reason when most people first set of to design a site they think that having everything centered is the way to go.

For me the best designs are those that keep out of your way and don’t draw attention to the design itself. Some of the best designs are those you’ll never notice because the design has allowed you to move right into the process of interacting with the site, finding what you want as quickly as possible and moving on to the rest of your life.

The point I started with and have hopefully will maintain throughout is that design is very important in the success of a website. Again it’s not the only factor and there are many successful sites suffering from poor design. And while the cost of hiring a web professional to design your website might seem prohibitive at first it’s not nearly as great a cost as not having a quality design. Most of those poorly designed yet successful site spent a lot more to get that success than what it would have cost to get a good design.