Archive for the 'Small Business Marketing' Category

7 Things I Learned at Hult International Business School

As I’m preparing to teach 119 MBA and Masters in International Business students next week, I’m reflecting back on my students of last year, and some of the ways in which they surprised – and taught – me. Here are some of my takeaways:

  1. Facebook is not fab: Although almost all of them used Facebook, they weren’t emotionally attached to it. They agreed that they could easily leave it if something more attractive came along – with the caveat that it would have to be easy to rebuild their network (which of course is the main reason cited for the under performance of Google Plus).
  2. Social media is generally suspect: There was a lot of skepticism about the power of social media, in terms of its reliability and credibility. One of the students talked about how his girlfriend constantly received free offers from Klout for products that she really had no interest in – pretty much on the basis of one posting!
  3. Email is not dead: Despite all the rumours, tomorrow’s business leaders still believe that they’ll be using email for business purposes, even if they’ve left it behind in their personal lives.
  4. Print is still preferable: This one really floored me – a clear majority of students wanted physical books rather than ebooks – even if they had to wait for the print version to arrive instead of an instant gratification download (unless they were trying to postpone their reading assignments!)
  5. Intellectual property issues go further than you’d think: One student came up with a really thought-provoking idea – that we should own the copyright to our searches rather than Google (or any other search engine that we might use).
  6. International tensions can be confined to football: My classroom contained students from every continent, yet the only tensions that I saw were during the Euro 2012 (soccer) tournament which was played during our course. I decided that there was hope for the world . . .
  7. You can’t compete with the Olympics: Every teacher these days knows the challenge of “digital distractions” – and there’s a lot of debate about how to handle appropriate use of laptops / tablets / mobile devices. I tried – but keeping them off Facebook for a couple of hours is one thing – the Olympics (and Michael Phelps) had me beat ;-(

I’m very much looking forward to what I learn this year – luckily it’s an off-year for major international sporting events (although I’ll be grading during the start of Wimbledon!)

20% of Daily Google Searches Never Done Before?

Yesterday, Hubspot put out a new whitepaper called “How to Spot Bad SEO Services”. It’s free, as is much of Hubspot’s great information.

However, in the promo for it that I received in my email was the claim that “Each day, 20% of Google searches consist of terms that have never been searched before!

Really? That seems like a huge number to me, and I wondered where it came from.

I checked in Hubspot’s paper, but couldn’t find a source for this assertion. So, I turned to Google, where I found a similar statistic cited in a UK conference back in April, 2007. I also found lots of other posts repeating the Hubspot claim, but no other information.

Which left me wondering whether it’s still true today that 20% of Google search terms every day have never been searched before. I know that there are a lot of people searching, but 20% is a large proportion, and to have that number of completely new and unique terms every day at this point in the usage of the Internet seems unlikely to me.

Of course, as Hubspot points out, if it’s true, there are still huge opportunities for anyone who can figure out the right keywords to be at the forefront of the results when someone finally searches for them ;-)

I’m not saying that Hubspot are wrong, just that I’d love to find out where they got the numbers from. Does anyone know?

Web Strategy Audio Guides

Finally, I’ve finished my two web strategy audio guides: “Leaky Boat Websites – and How to Prevent Them” and “Web Connections that Win.”

The guides are hour-long pre-recorded downloadable audio files (mp3 format), together with complete transcripts in Adobe Acrobat format. Suitable for both new and experienced webmasters, they will work on laptops, desktop computers, tablets, MP3 players and smart phones. Sample excerpts are available and special discount pricing is offered for purchasers of both products.

The audio guide “Leaky Boat Websites – and How to Prevent Them” will help you determine if your website is missing vital opportunities for generating revenue and sales leads. The audio guide “Web Connections that Win” helps you to evaluate if your website has emotional appeal, and if it reflects the “real world” conversations that you have with your customers. Both guides are available in my online store. I also offer an affiliate program for qualified participants.

I hope that these guides will help you – small business owners and entrepreneurs to look at their websites in a different way – and to make more money when you do!”

Your “Community Involvement” Page Really Does Matter!

A recent eMarketer article reported that 90% of moms and 88% of millennials prefer businesses that participate in positive social and environmental activities.

Similar numbers said that these considerations influence which products and services they buy, and where they choose to shop.

At first glance you might say that “moms and millennials” are not your target market, especially if your focus is b2b. But don’t forget that these folks also have, or will have careers. They may not be wearing their “mom” hat when they’re looking at your b2b website, but that doesn’t mean that all their subconscious reactions go away.

I’ve been suggesting for a long time that a “Community Involvement” page in the “About Us” section of your website is a really great addition. If you invest time and resources in causes that are meaningful to your customers, if you support your chamber of commerce or take part in local charitable events, it’s well worth saying so.

And of course, you can make it fun – photos of your employees and friends taking part in events, maybe some video clips, all increase the emotional connections that your website and / or your Facebook page make with your visitors.

So unless you want your charitable contributions and participation to remain anonymous, tell the world what you’ve been doing. This may not directly get you the business, but it does have influence.

Is Search Engine Optimization Always a “Must-Do”?

I’m finally on the road to recovery from my surgery and catching up on a lot of reading.

Econsultancy had an interesting blog post a couple of weeks ago about the levels of search engine optimization for SME (small and medium-sized business) websites in the UK. They found that 60% of SME marketers are not currently investing in SEO.

Among Econsultancy’s statistics on this:

  • 20% of marketers know about SEO, but choose not to allocate any budget for it.

They also comment:
“These businesses should be looking to correct this as, implemented well, SEO has the potential to be a very important and cost-effective sales channel. Also, competitors that have invested time or money in SEO may be gaining an advantage.”

(Note: to keep my posting reasonably brief, I’m quoting a very small segment – for the full viewpoint, please read the complete article).

Strong words – but I’m wondering about the makeup of the businesses in the sample. The author seems to imply that all SME’s would benefit from better search engine placement. I’m not sure that’s true.

In my presentations to Vistage SME CEO groups within the US, I’ve met, for example:

  • businesses who are so niched that they know all of their potential customers, and the market knows of them;
  • businesses who do all or almost all of their work for government agencies, so marketing is a very different ballgame;
  • businesses who don’t want to be found by the general public due to security concerns – either their work is classified, or their operations might invite protests or attacks (one of my recent groups included a company which provides animal testing for drug development).

In my experience, search engine traffic can also produce widely differing qualities of visitors, depending on the products or services being offered. I’ve never found it especially helpful for professional service firms (content marketing is much more powerful for folks selling expertise), but it’s great for selling yo-yo’s!

So if your business is one of those mentioned in the report, or if it would have been if you were UK-based, before you take this rebuke to heart, I’d revisit your marketing strategy, desired markets, and known business constraints. Perhaps you are one of the few for whom search engine optimization is justifiably not a priority.

New Web Strategy Video – and Signing Off for a While

I’ve been really bad about posting to this blog recently – and the only excuse I have is that I’ve been feeling pretty lousy.  Tomorrow (July 13th) I am scheduled for major surgery which will hopefully resolve all my issues, and I’ll come bouncing back!

I’m very happy that my surgeon is Dr. Paul Indman, who I blogged about a few months ago (see “the Emotionally Connected Doctor’s Website”).  Actually Dr. Indman turns out to be an accomplished blogger as well as a wonderful doctor, and he has a new addition to his Web presence at eFibroids.com

The good news is that my new video footage “Web Strategies That Win” is finally off the press. These are excerpts from a program that I presented recently for 600 small business owners. We’re hoping that more of this material will be available soon on YouTube and Vimeo.

You can also listen to recent interviews that I did about “Leaky Boat Websites” for “Business Expert Radio”, and for the Women’s Business Entrepreneurs’ site “CremeMagnolia” (look for the “Titan of Industry” section).

So with that, I’ll sign off until August (unless I’m feeling really spunky sooner!) Have a great summer, and keep your website leak-proof!

The Small Business Marketing Joy Summit

I’m taking a quick break from my usual posts to announce an exciting upcoming happening which I’m honoured to be a part of:

On June 28th, I’m teaching at an online event designed for small business owners, solo practitioners, entrepreneurs, and anyone interested in growing their business – the free Small Business Marketing Joysummit. I’ll be joining a really amazing group of 10 speakers who are experts on everything from SEO to web strategy, sales, business planning and competing without discounting.

The full lineup is:

  • Mitch Axelrod – author of the New Game of Business
  • Tim Berry – CEO of Palo Alto Software, Business Planning Expert
  • Joyce Bone – Millionaire Mom
  • Ann Michael Henry – Productivity Chef
  • Kent Lewis – Founder and President of Anvil Media and Formic Media, SEO Expert
  • Delia Passi – CEO of Medelia, Inc. and Founder of Women’s Certified, Selling to Women Expert
  • Sarah Petty – Boutique marketing expert
  • Melanie Benson Strick – CEO of Success Connections
  • Crystal Williamson – Technology Coach and Guru

and me, of course! Each speaker has recorded an hour of solid content – mine was about “Leaky Boat Websites – and How to Prevent Them”.

You can register now, and gain online access to all 10 speaker recordings at no cost anytime on June 28th. Or (disclaimer – I do get a part of these proceeds, but a part also goes to Kiva which is a wonderful cause), you can buy the complete set of 10 for only $49 before June 27th.

Check it out!