We Have Moved Our Blog and Launched a New Site!

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Hello,

We recently overhauled our website and are now hosting this blog on our new site.  Please note that the new address for the blog is www.thesmallbiznest.com/blog our get our feed at www.thesmallbiznest.com/feed.

We will be adding much more content at the new site and we look forward to your comments and feedback.

Thank you,

- The Small BizNest Team

October 19, 2009 at 9:22 am Leave a comment

If 200K People Retweet Your Promotion And Nobody Becomes A Customer, Is That A Success?

Are You Tracking ROI?

Are You Tracking ROI?

Too many times we see businesses haphazardly throw random campaigns at the wall to see what sticks.  One member of the marketing team is “trying out” a few Facebook ads while a colleague is independently “testing” a viral program on Twitter.  I continue seeing articles written about “Twitter done right” and “viral marketing success stories” and not once has there been any mention of ROI or CPA.  There are too many marketers patting themselves on the back for simply creating buzz.  When did it become acceptable to spend money to get people talking about your giveaway but not your unique selling proposition?

With  any marketing initiative you have to ask, “What are we trying to do?”  This sounds like a silly question but you’d be surprised how many times a “great idea” takes on a life of its own and everyone loses sight of the desired result.  It’s imperative to identify success metrics – they will drive your strategy.

Lisa Barone shared a story earlier this week about a contest giveaway run by a company called Moonfruit celebrating their 10th anniversary.  The numbers were quite high – more than 200,000 posts per week.  Adam Ostrow over at Mashable wrote, “Not surprisingly, this promotion is working. #moonfruit is Twitter’s top trending topic today, beating out the likes of Michael Jackson, #iranelection, and Wimbledon-related tweets.”

This promotion is working?  How are these people measuring success?  Can you imagine approaching your boss and saying, “I’d like to spend $10K+ and use countless company resources so we can be ‘bigger than Michael Jackson’ for a week” on Twitter.  When asked for your ROI estimate you smile wryly and say, “Zero, BUT, hundreds of thousands of people who will never become customers will be talking about the Macbooks we’re giving away”.

This is the equivalent of a restaurant spending $10k for a big neon sign that says, “restrooms open to the public”.

July 17, 2009 at 5:45 pm 3 comments

Google Crashes And So Does My Productivity

Google DownI’m not sure if you’re able to access most Google tools right now, but I can’t.  I never realized how much I use Google during a typical day but when I was unable to access links from Twitter or complete my daily research, I was unable to complete a number of vital tasks.  And, it’s not just direct access to the Google properties that was affected,  for example, any site using Google Analytics just hung because it couldn’t retrieve necessary data from Google.  That’s scary!  (more details)

Hello, my name is John, and I’m addicted to Google…

May 14, 2009 at 6:12 pm Leave a comment

People Won’t Buy It If They Don’t Know It Exists

I recently wrote a quick blurb about Google getting out of the radio advertising business and I was never really able to get much detail on the failed venture.  One of the things I do know, from my personal experience, is that Google never promoted the service.  When I was working with GotVMail back in 2007, they were one of a handful of  companies that were able to beta test Google Audio for nearly a year.  I couldn’t understand why the testing period was so long and why they didn’t promote the service more aggressively once it formally launched.

Now I understand why.  Jessica E. Vascellaro wrote an interesting article in this morning’s Wall Street Journal radio advertisingoutlining the failure of this once promising marketing tool.  She sites the lack of tracking mechanisms as the reason for the plug being pulled but also pointed to the lack of interest on the part of radio station owners.

I don’t see it that way.  Nobody knew about the service!  The only reason I knew about it is because we were a big Adwords client and were allowed to kick the tires a bit.  I was planning on using the service as a compliment to the other inbound/outbound marketing services I offer to my clients.  I was also planning on using toll-free phone numbers and landing pages to track the success of campaigns.  So what if the Google dashboard didn’t currently offer such functionality – you know it would inevitably be developed or purchased.  Look how companies like ReachLocal track “local” online advertising campaigns.

The Internet giant dropped the ball by making Google Audio the best kept secret in company history.  Any business in this country could have had 1) access to professional voice talent to record spots 2) access to national, regional and local markets and 3) the ability to break down target audience by a complete set of demographic characteristics.

I love the radio guys who say, “we would have sold it on our own”.  That’s not true.  Google was paying a minimum on inventory whether it was sold or not.  Why were the radio guys complaining about the so called discounted pricing being introduced by Google?  $500 for a $1000 slot is better than $0, right?  That attitude worked out well for the newspapers.

Finally, the Google Audio service offered a CPM of slightly more than $1 which I challenge anyone to beat in any medium.  It’s a shame the recession came along and swept away what could have been a very effective marketing platform, at least for me and my clients.

Goodbye Google Audio – we hardly knew thee.

May 13, 2009 at 1:39 pm Leave a comment

Don’t Listen to What Other People Say

Do you have an idea for a new business? Is it a little bit “outside of the box”? If you truly believe you have an

What Does He Know About You?

What Does He Know About You?

idea/invention/business that brings value to the market, then put your head down and push the rock forward. Don’t listen to the cynics out there. Those are the same people who would never take the risk and they don’t have the confidence that you have.

If you can dream it, you can do it. Everyone looked at Susan Boyle on “You’ve Got Talent” and jumped to the conclusion that she would not be successful. They were dead wrong.

If people look at your idea and doubt you or doubt that you can be successful in a down economy, they’re wrong.  Watch this clip, be inspired and enjoy the success you know you’re capable of achieving.

(YouTube wouldn’t let me embed this video, sorry for the primative link)

April 16, 2009 at 12:15 pm 8 comments

Can Coworking Be a Profitable Business?

Almost every article I read seems to convey that coworking, as a business, is a break even endeavor at best.  I would like to have a coworking resource near me, out here in the burbs, but all of the “local” coworking facilities are in larger cities.  Maybe that’s the problem.  They all seem to be located in prime real estate with expensive furnishings and equipment.  That just doesn’t seem like the right way to model a new business in this economy.

Then there’s the for profit versus not for profit debate.  If you’re in business to turn a profit and you’re only able to break even, wouldn’t it make more sense to be a “non profit” since you would then have access to federal grants?

Collaborating and Networking with Like-Minded Business Owners

Collaborating and Networking with Like-Minded Business Owners

I think sponsorships could be a creative way of subsidizing the operating costs associated with running a collaborative working facility.  I’m farily confident a local bank or business supply vendor would be interested in the naming rights of this new “business center”.

I’m testing the waters locally since there’s a substantial “free agent” population in my suburban community and I know I’m not the only one that would like to socialize and collaborate with like-minded people.  Once my preliminary research is done, I’m going to pick the brain of Alex Hillman who started http://www.indyhall.org down in Philly and is one of the few experts on the subject.

I’ll post updates as my efforts  progress and I welcome any feedback or suggestions you might have.

April 15, 2009 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment

It’s Your Network, Stupid: A Business’ Most Valuable Asset

It’s Your Network, Stupid: A Business’ Most Valuable Asset

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March 4, 2009 at 5:06 pm Leave a comment

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