Solo SEO

Tomorrow I will be speaking to the Treasure Valley Consultants Network.  I will be speaking on SEO and specifically what the individual (or the individual within a small company) can do to increase their SEO.

How does this fit into my overall  quest of educating the masses about New Media and Web 2.0?  SEO used to be a tactic that affiliate webmasters would use to gain the system and boost their site higher in the search engines in order to receive more affiliate dollars.  As Google (and its users) have gotten smarter,many of these tactics don’t work the way they used to (not that their aren’t many an SEO making a lot of money).

For the rest of us what has begun to happen is that ranking higher in the search engines has gotten easier.  If you (you meaning your website)become a resource by provide great content to your community (meaning start with a blog), and get out there (there meaning the web) and start making friends (meaning start commenting on blogs, and linking to people) you will be pleasantly surprised with the results (as long as you post regularly and are providing good content).

I will talk about how to make a plan that compliments your overall marketing plan, what you can do to get started today (well actually tomorrow since that’s when I’m presenting) and what are some of the resources available to help you on your way (the free ones at least since everyone there will be solo consultants, meaning cheap).

Download the handout if you’d like to get a sneak peak.
SEO for the rest of us

Recommended blogs for this topic:
SEOmoz and YOUmoz

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Giving your employees a square peg and a round hole

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions are expensive, difficult for your IT team to integrate, never do what you’d hoped them to accomplish, and ultimately are hated by your employees (I wonder if those last two have anything to do with each other).

Why are there so many problems with them? They were designed by programmers and engineers to work a certain way. Programmers think very logically following parent-child relationships with the data and the process involved in using them. Your employees don’t.

It is much like handing your employees a square peg when they are working with round holes. the square peg was very well designed and built and works great at the programmers job, where he has square holes. After much weeping and gnashing of teeth, the programmers concede and design an upgrade that allows the employees the ability to open a new program which will convert the square into a circle. But it turns out that program doesn’t work on Mac’s or Windows Vista. I could extend this metaphor forever.

The knowledge workers in your organization work in a very specific way. And that way is specific to each knowledge worker. Why would you hand each of them a tool that doesn’t work the way that any of them work? The answer, is that it’s easier for the programmers to design one tool, that works one way.

The beautiful thing about the marriage of IT and Web 2.0 is what Andrew McAfee calls Enterprise 2.0. E2.0 allows your employees the ability to work however is most effective for them. What a novel idea. Instead of handing them the square peg to be filed away in their desk (or worse) until they get a chance to convert it later, why not hand them a ball of clay and let them create the tools and processes that work best for them.

Blogs, Wiki’s, Forums, and all things RSS allow for an incredible amount of collaboration and innovation, which are ultimately more powerful, faster and more effective than the options previously available.

(They’re usually cheaper too. Bonus!)

Recommended blogs for this topic:
Andrew McAfee
Innovation Creators
Fast Forward Blog

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Marketing is broken because Marketers are lazy

The average CMO lasts 23.5 months. 75% of all new products or services introduced by established companies fail. Think these two figures might be related?

Clayton Christensen of Innovators Dilemma fame, recently put out a new article in the MIT Sloan Management Review, entitled, “Finding the Right Job for Your Product” where he takes on the commonly held practices of many marketers, including but not limited to segmentation and demographics.

While I’m not going to try and recap a 10 page article from someone who is much smarter than myself (besides you can download the article for free right now), I would like to add my own take on two key points that he makes.

Customers are looking to “hire” the right product. An employees job, no matter what the job description might say, is to ad value to the company. Your products “job”, therefore, is to ad value to your customer. In a business setting your products job is even more specific: to ad economic value to your customer. I’m not just talking about a clinical ROI measurement. After all, what’s the ROI of hiring a new employee? So if an organization, or individual, were going to “hire” your product what would the job description look like? What would (or should) your products “resume” look like? This goes beyond identifying what your customers “needs” are. Needs change, jobs are are more stable. Now you may be saying to yourself, how are jobs more stable? Jobs get eliminated all the time right? This is where I’d like to address my second point and the title of this blog post.

The vicious cycle of focusing on demographics and segmentation has lead marketers to become increasingly lazy. If your product is not addressing the job your customer needs to have done you are faced with the only other option: “brand building”. This is so cost prohibitive that many companies will scrap great product ideas before they get started, or bury potentially good products in advertising that don’t speak to the job position their product could fill. This leads to the 75% failure of new products by established companies. How long would a company last if they only had a 25% employee retention rate?

What’s the solution? marketers need to get out from behind the demographic figures that their advertisers keep giving them to support more advertising expenditures in the wrong direction. Since your customer is not going to hand you a job description for what they are looking for, you need to get out there and observe your customer in action and sometimes even talk to them. How many CMO’s talk to their customers? Christensen give some great guide lines for what type of research needs to be done and how many cases you should gather.

It is not easy gathering data to figure out the right job for your product. One quote I will use from Christensen’s article, to leave you with, exemplifies the type of research he proposes and how companies can apply it.

“Sony Corp.’s legendary co-founder, Akio Morita, had a policy of never relying on quantitative data to guide new-product development as he lead the company between 1950 and 1980, because data doesn’t exist for new applications of technology. Instead he and his associates just watched what people were trying to do and tried to imagine how applying the company’s electronics miniaturization technology could make it easier and more affordable for more customers to do those jobs. Morita’s success rate for new products was much higher than the 25% success rate for products whose launch is guided by more quantitatively sophisticated market-research methods.”

p.s. new media provides some really great ways to do this ;)

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From spam to SEO

I’d like to thank all of those that came out to the Boise Chamber today for the lunch-n-learn.  We had a great conversation about the shifts in trust that are leading to the change in communication and society and what companies can do to adjust and stay relevant.

The next opportunity that I have to speak is Tuesday, the  27th at the Treasure Valley Consultants Network.  Check out TVCNet for more detail.  I will be speaking on Search Engine Optimization and what you can do today to increase your sites placement in the search engines.  Don’t worry, I won’t get too geeky, but will hopefully be able to give you some pointers so you can start seeing some immediate results.  I don’t have a handout yet, but I will post it as soon as i finalize the content.

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My First Public Appearance

On Tuesday the 13th I will be presenting at the Boise Chambers Lunch-n-Learn series. The topic will be “The Death of Spam” (Justin came up with the title) use the power of the social web to accelerate the growth of your company (I came up with the sub heading).

I will be addressing the issue of trust and why your company has none anymore, what happens when the web brings you the combination of richness and reach (something that no other medium can do) and key points for the CMO, CIO and CEO.

If you’d like to attend please sign up in advance, or just show up It doesn’t really matter to me. If you’d like a preview or can’t make it but want to know what you’re missing I have attached the cut sheet I will be handing out at the presentation.

the death of spam

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New Media’s not just for Marketing

If you’ve read any of my various blogs as I’ve hopped around from platform to platform you may have started to notice a trend to my rantings recently. For almost two years I have been chasing windmills and crying for companies to reach out to their customers using New Media technologies like blogs, podcasts and all things RSS.

Then sometime in mid 2006 I started to feel the need to chase a new type of windmill; Companies need to embrace the power of the social web to communicate with not just their customers but their employees, and their financial stakeholders and their strategic partners. From what I’ve seen, New Media has a much greater ROI internally (or at least easier to measure) than it does externally(more on that later).

Now that I’ve escaped the People’s Temple I will be focusing on helping companies use New Media to maximize their relationships with all the groups they rely on to do business. I will also be working on many other related projects and announcing them here first, so grab the feed and stay tuned. If you still want your Marketing fix, there will still be plenty of that here too.

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