Sunday, December 20, 2009

3 Things I've Learned From My December Website Optimization Promotion

1. Small and Medium size businesses need website optimization to help drive Traffic (simple SEO tune-up).

2. Most small and medium size businesses have not embraced any type of Social Media marketing.

3. Most local business websites need to decrease their website page  load times (Google does not like long load times in their PageRank).

Monday, November 30, 2009

Increase Website Traffic. Free Website & Traffic Analysis

For the month of December, I'm offering a FREE website analysis. That's right! A free review of your website and online marketing tactics to increase traffic. No strings attached. You have nothing to lose.

My website analysis (PDF) and traffic suggestions will consist of the following:

  • Website Goals
  • Website Background Analysis
  • Social Media / Online Marketing Analysis
  • Traffic Strategy & Plan

The outline will be a "basic" website overview (see examples below) and my traffic strategy for your individual website.

More Traffic = More Leads
More Traffic = More Sales
More Traffic = More Branding Exposure
More Traffic = More Advertisers


To participate in this free offer, just fill out the "contact me" form at the bottom of the page or right-hand side underneath my profile. This will be on a "first come, first serve basis." Hopefully, I will get back to everyone that submits their website for review. No restrictions on the type of website or content (product or service). It’s a win-win scenario. You get a guide that will examine your website, and my traffic solutions. I will throw in basic SEO strategies as well as various online marketing tactics. The end of the slide deck will consist of a few consulting options. That’s it. No strings attached. Win-Win scenario.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Coming Soon...........

Coming soon for the month of December only. Wait for it. Think website optimization. Think online marketing. Think website analysis. A one time deal that will help you drive more traffic to your website. Announcement coming soon.

Friday, November 20, 2009

15 ROI Metrics for Social Media

One of the barriers to Social Media investment is the insufficient metrics to measure the impact. That said, I have compiled a quick list of ROI metrics for Social Media. Use them in your campaigns or use them to convince management to make that resource marketing investment.

  1. Uniques
  2. Page Views
  3. Comments and Trackbacks
  4. Group creation
  5. Time spend on site
  6. Bounce Rate (the percentage of initial visitors to a site who "bounce" away to a different site)
  7. Active members
  8. Connections
  9. Completed profiles
  10. Friends/Fans
  11. Links
  12. Diggs
  14. Return visits
  15. Applications/Widget installs

    Take a look at the above metrics. Does your sales correlate with the metric data? Keeping track of the data will give you an idea of whats working and whats not working in your Social Media strategy.

    Friday, November 13, 2009

    Google Analytics

    I came across a neat Google Analytics widget app called "Polaris" (see screen shots below). Its cross platform and sits on your desktop. Easy install with the free version giving you access to one profile. If you have multiple profiles, you need to pay $15/year which is cheap if you have more than one website or blog. Just for the convenience alone, its worth installing. Check out the features:

    • Overview of total visits, pageviews and other useful metrics.
    • Switch between different date ranges.
    • The visits reports gives you a day by day view on a nice chart.
    • 8 different report modes.
    • Google Maps report capability.
    • Referring sites report provides a list with the top 25 referring sites.
    • Which pages perform best with the top content report.
    • Keywords report shows you which keywords are used mostly on organic searches.
    • If you have one or more goals defined, this reports shows you a quick overview on how they are performing.

    It literally takes about 5 minutes to install. This is a perfect example of how a simple little desktop widget comes in handy when your boss is on the phone asking you for quick metric data.

    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    Is There a Scarcity of Good Marketing Today?

    I'm beginning to think so. Bottom line: Good marketing = convert the leads into sales.The only marketing that has moved me in the last couple of years is Social Media optimization. Look for Social Media to infiltrate CRM applications. The CRM industry is just beginning to leverage the OpenSocial APIs. Look for it soon. Get on the bus people.

    Friday, November 6, 2009

    How Not To Ruin Your Brand On Twitter


    1. Twitter about how drunk you were last night. You will ruin your brand name. Bottom line = don’t get to personal. Think of Twitter more like a blog.
    2. Don't Twit your everyday micro actions. No one cares if you just went to the bathroom or thinking about a dream you had last night.
    3. If you can’t Twit your thoughts in 140 characters.....create a blog!
    4. Don't get to "into" Twitter i.e., it consumes your life and you never leave the house.
    5. Don't use profanity in your Tweets. Never.

    This is just a very short list. I'm beginning to see these trends among professionals that I'm following. If it’s a complete distraction I just "unfollow" them and their off my radar. Just be a Pro. Own you brand online and don't get distracted. Don't push your business and SPAM at every opportunity. Post quality sound bites and interesting links. Use for those long URL's. Also, don’t ask for more followers. If you tweet quality content, follows shall come!

    Saturday, October 24, 2009

    Drive Your Traffic Home with Content

    My best advice for new website owners: Just write!

    It doesn’t matter how much content. Just write good, quality, sticky content each day. Whether it’s a short paragraph or a 500 word article. Content is king, especially when first starting out. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the SEO tricks and page optimization guidelines. Just write. New, fresh content increases search engine rankings (SERPs) and traffic as well as getting quality links from other sites. If there’s not enough relevant content for your brand or business, it pretty much defeats the purpose of having a website in the first place.

    Saturday, October 10, 2009

    "Buy a Good Blender, Save Your Life"

    Should have been the title of a great article I read today online regarding buying a real quality "sturdy" blender that could stand up to crushing vegetables, ice, fruits, time and time again. The article was centered on the subject of "plant-based" diets and how you could make green smoothies filled with all these ingredients like spinach, wheat grass, blueberries, etc., taste great. The conclusion was that these "smoothies" would save your life by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, as well as diabetes. Pretty logical conclusion if you researched this a bit and cut out red meat.

    The problem I had with this article was the subject title. The subject title was "plant-base diets" = BORING. If your going to catch and bring in the "eyeballs" online, you need to grab (online marketing 101) the reader by the balls and reel them in (this is also true with search engine optimization). If I were searching for ways to lower my cholesterol, I want an article to jump out at me. "Plant-based diet" doesn't do it. I need something NOW. Something urgent. I need an article title that is catchy, curious, creative to lure me in. The click conversion result could be quadrupled compared with a boring, generic title. I ended up emailing the author of the article 4 weeks ago and gave him my input. Great article! Boring title. We went back and forth and eventually he changed it to "Buy a Good Blender, Save Your Life" and guess what? The article views went up ten-fold. He thanked me as his payment for the article is based on monthly views/clicks. A simple change to an article or blog title can mean a difference between 10 veiws and 100 views.

    Thursday, July 30, 2009

    How to Measure (ROI) Non-Tangible Social Media Campaigns

    Before starting any Social Media effort. DEFINE your goals and targets. Alert: Possible future blog post.

    Basic Social Media Campaign KPI (Tangible) measurements:

    1. Product sales or qualified leads. New customers acquired. Not included: "converted leads" which are the responsibility of the sales organization or account manager.
    2. Increased SERP ranking.
    3. Increased revenue, and/or market share.
    4. CTR (Click-through rate), etc.

    These are just a few basic metrics that you can use to measure your Social Media campaigns. So how do you measure the ever important "non- tangible" Social Media ROI?

    1. The quality of "buzz" or change in sentiment. Think Twitter buzz or the quality/quantity of blog feedback/comments. Develop an in-house engagement metric.
    2. Amount of relevant people handling digital content.
    3. Amount of "followers" or new members after a social media campaign. Not everyone’s social media goals is to sell product. Could be a branding goal or a service type goal.

    In the end, Social Media campaign goals must lead to increased revenue, SERP rankings, leads, branding/loyalty, or better service. It’s easy to present the tangible information to your boss or client. Make sure the non-tangible information is measured as well.

    Thursday, July 16, 2009

    How To Monetize Twitter - Update

    Sell the real time generated data. Keyword data.

    Real Time Data = $

    Real Time Search ads = $

    What about sponsored tweets? Commercial accounts? Possible e-commerce tie-in?

    Issues: Will sponsored tweets piss the Twitter community off? Probably.

    Wednesday, July 15, 2009

    Protecting Your Online IP

    Intellectual property (IP) are legal property rights over creations of the mind, both artistic and commercial, and the corresponding fields of law. Common types of intellectual property include copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights and trade secrets. (WikiPedia)

    If you have an innovative, brilliant Marketing campaign(s) or Strategy and you want to tell the world about them (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, conferences) you may want to think again. It’s called “competitive advantage” and you want to keep it “close to the cuff” as much as possible. Why? So your competitors won’t jump on your coattails and follow the same tactic. Why would you want to give out your marketing strategies? Ego perhaps, or to generate traffic to your blogs, corporate website or increase your Twitter following? Forget it. Again, think about your competitors and think about your sales or services business.

    *This blog entry is for most companies or service oriented businesses and not necessarily for marketing blogs (like mine) that give out basic online marketing strategy.

    Here are some important tips for making sure your ideas are preserved. I have only listed a few but there are many more safeguards that can be set up in the “process”:

    1. Create a policy. Establish a policy for all of your intellectual property - including all patents, logos, designs, trademarks, copyrights and domain names. Policy comes first. Give yourself a competitive advantage. Just because you think there’s no competition out there for your business, don’t use that as an argument not to spend the money to protect your idea.
    2. Keep all marketing strategy and reports under a "red cover" confidential. If the IP is printed on hard copy, always have a red cover sheet up front to remind everyone that this information is confidential. If you’re marketing strategy (or IP) is distributed by email or document files, make sure everyone one on your team knows and writes (sig file) "confidential". Clearly label sensitive data as "confidential" (or put a "watermark" right on the document), and explicitly state this fact in your email. Perhaps go as far as hold a team/staff meeting and explain the fact that if ANY confidential strategy IP gets outside of the company, that person will be fired. It works for Steve Jobs. Example of setting up a confidential watermark in MS-Word below.
    3. Copyright. Have you written an article, eBook, created a video or made a podcast? You'll want copyright protection. Once you have created the work, you have the exclusive right to reproduce, adapt, distribute, perform and display it.
    4. Trademark/Service mark. Got a logo or tagline you want to use? Look into trademark protection. Service marks provide the same protection for intangible things such as services.
    5. Nondisclosure Agreements (NDA). A common approach is to make sure that anyone you share the IP information………..signs a “nondisclosure agreement” (NDA) prior to your disclosure. Typical NDAs contractually obligate signatories to refrain from disclosing confidential information without the disclosing party’s express consent.
    6. If you have client newsletters or email blasts, do not go into details of your marketing strategy. Leave that for your face-to-face meetings.
    With marketing strategy, be very guarded. Share your strategy on a need-to-know basis, and make sure everyone with access understands the importance of keeping this information confidential.

    Friday, May 15, 2009

    Las Vegas Social Media Review Take Aways

    1. Luxor was the winner with an A+ in Social Media, although, still lacking a Facebook fan page. Correction: Luxor has a Facebook page!
    2. Venetian was the winner with an A+ in SEO.
    3. Only Luxor & Stratosphere have a corporate blog (astonishing).
    4. The Luxor scored an A+ with a corporate blog, twitter account and MySpace page but the other MGM MIRAGE Property "MGM Grand" did not = which leads me to believe that each MGM MIRAGE property has its own PR & Marketing department making their own decisions. This good or bad.
    5. Most, if not all hotel "dance clubs" or lounges have a social media presence (especially on MySpace and Facebook) = which leads me to believe that either the "dance clubs" are under different ownership and management or their marketing/Promo department is of younger demographics that pushes social media.
    6. Hotels such as the Riviera, Sahara, Rio, Fitzgerald's, Hooters, Red Rock have virtually no official social media presence. This could be due to older, less flexible management with an inability to change or add social media marketing tactics to their marketing arsenal.
    7. The Venetian rocked both Social Media and SEO grades. The Venetian marketing & PR department is very Internet "aware" and they "get it". They show up #1 in Vegas hotel Google searches = this is due to their online presence (Facebook, MySpace pages) that helps in organic search rankings. They also participate in PPC for the words Las Vegas Hotel(s) and much more.
    8. Las Vegas hotels (in general) seem to be a little behind in the Social Media marketing realm. This surprises me as Las Vegas is built around entertainment.
    9. A few of the hotels are owned under one umbrella corporation, yet the use of Social Media is erratic at best. Not practicing a unified online marketing strategy.
    10. Planet Hollywood is by far the best Facebook fan page built by a Vegas hotel. Not only is it updated frequently, they use the fan page medium for special promotions and hotel room discounts.

    Monday, April 27, 2009

    Quick Blub: Stake Your Social Media Name Now

    Remember the circus of cyber squatting domain names back in the day? Everyone was scrambling to own their domain names before cyber squatters owned them and held them for ransom $$$. A new service called "knowem?" checks and registers your brand name, username or vanity URL in the Social Media space (websites). I just registered my company. Register before the Social Media land grab comes of age. Do it now or someone will hold you and your company hostage. Its a great service that will do all the time consuming username registering for you.

    Wednesday, March 25, 2009

    Las Vegas Hotel/Casino Social Media Review

    Finally posted. Below (click on image) you will find my Las Vegas Hotel/Casino Social Media Review. The far right column is the grade for each Hotel/Casino. The grades are absolutely subjective. I even put in a basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) grade. I won't post my comments or "takeaways" for another week or two to allow each Hotel/Casino to respond with feedback. I might have missed a Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Linkedin, or a corporate blog entry or link which could affect the grade.

    Two highlights
    • Luxor was the winner with an A+ in Social Media
    • Venetian was the winner with an A+ in SEO

    Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    Reducing Technical Support Costs by Leveraging the YouTube Platform.

    In these tough economic times where there are mass layoffs, companies are looking to cut or reduce costs anywhere they can. One of numerous ways to cut costs is in the technical support department. Many joke that Marketing departments are cut first when it comes to layoffs. Not true anymore as EVERYONE now is vulnerable. A colleague of mine who is a product manager for a Silicon Valley firm recently lost ½ his technical support staff due to layoffs. The company, and the tech support group, is now overwhelmed with customer “issues” (bugs). With half the staff gone, he was looking for ways to “bridge the gap” for his small tech support group. He asked me for recommendations. I told him straight up to look at a web 2.0 platform to alleviate the tech support crunch, specifically YouTube.


    Create a YouTube channel specifically geared towards your company, brand or product you need to support. Buy some cheap Flip digital camcorders ($149.99), and give them out to your team or product manager. Dig through the technical support bug or “issue” database and sort out the top 10 issues or bugs that customers complain about. Sit down in front of a computer with the Flip camera and record how to resolve each bug step by step and narrate.

    This can work for hardware or any product that needs technical support. Sit down and go over frequently asked questions (FAQ’s). They can be simple setup questions or advanced features questions. Get CREATIVE in your videos. Record all possible workarounds surrounding your products issues.

    Post the link to your YouTube channel from the technical support site section on the company’s web page. One advantage of using the YouTube platform is that you do not have to incur the cost of hosting the videos yourself. This can be costly, especially if the videos are large in size and the data download price of high traffic (MB/month).

    The YouTube Advantage
    • Zero MB/month traffic usage costs
    • Zero hosting costs associated with these videos taking up space on your servers
    • 24/7 YouTube up time for customers around the world

    You get the idea. This is a major value-add if your technical support team is understaffed. Hopefully, in time, the technical support call volume (email) will decline.

    Wednesday, January 14, 2009

    How to Monetize Twitter

    Rumor has it that 2009 is the year Twitter finally will monetize its website. This chatter has been growing the last few months from Internet Industry experts and media pundits. The latest rumor has it by end of Q1 2009, Twitter will debut its monetization plan.

    For newbie’s, here is a quick review of Twitter. According to Wikipedia, Twitter is a "free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users’ updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length". But this doesn’t tell half the story. Twitter is much more than a micro blogging platform. Twitter has morphed into a new media channel where you can gossip, opinionated interaction, news reporting, info (web) commercials, links to news and articles. With old Media dying a slow death (today only four in 10 households subscribe to a daily newspaper compared to a more than 100% household penetration in 1950), Twitter has emerged as a new powerful media channel. Twitter is also useful for small to large corporations i.e., from media relations to product technical support.

    New uses of Twitter arise every day.

    How would you monetize Twitter? Easier said than done. Being a big fan of Twitter, I'm getting a bit restless waiting for them to announce or roll out an idea or platform they can generate revenue from. My guess is that the plan will be this year and management (and their VCs) are not ready to show their hand yet. So with that, I’d like to give my 2 cents and show them the money!

    First, you want to monetize the Twitter network while at the same time increase its user base. My overall idea centers on giving each new and existing user a small amount (%) of ad revenue. What! Am I crazy?! Nope. Let me explain. The new ad section would focus on user’s profiles (tweets). Only ads that are “click thru” on the individual user profile will get a % payout. Rectangle box at the end of Twit section will serve as ad section.

    Ad section:
    - Simple box
    - Contextual advertising in tweet box. Figure users psychographic profile. Useful in Market segmentation in serving up individual ads.
    - Use entire Twit section background as some sort of a movable ad or movie preview clip with twit text clearly outlined as to make it the focus first, background ad second. No Ads in every single consecutive tweet. Make them appear in every other Tweet or every "third" tweet. Look at psychographic and behavioral variables so as to not lose the focus of Twitter.

    *For hard-core twitter users (traditionalists), create a box upper right corner "Ads OFF/ON" switch. Twitters annoyed with ads, click =ADS OFF. Twitters who want to participate in ads = ADS ON. The Ad revenue system inside Twitter is the killer app. New Twitter register users can opt into participating in ads or not. Existing Twitters will receive a note, email, or Twit to ask them if they want to participate. They can turn on or turn off the ads. Hard core Twitter enthusiasts could choose to not run ads.

    Why would a Twitter user want to choose to run ads? Twitter users allowing ads to roll on their profile would get (for example) anywhere from 1 cent to 10 cents for every unique click thru. Revenue sharing (Twit ad sharing). This would depend on how popular your profile is at the time (just like buying keywords). Revenue would be payable through PayPal or check when revenue hits say $25.00. Paid out monthly. This is just the basic idea.

    Results: More users will sign up for Twitter and this free ad money giveaway will go viral. Everyone will want to sign up. Profile/User base will approach MySpace and Facebook user numbers.

    Benefits to Twitter:
    1. Increased user base
    2. Real Revenue
    3. Ad options will satisfy the Twitter hard core base (no backlash)

    Infrastructure strategy and costs? Depends. Twitter can build their own ad server infrastructure or get a third party ad server company to help integrate (much cheaper). One thing’s for sure, the ruby on rails platform will have to go. Make this new ad-centric platform more robust = no more predictable downtime. The Google Adsense and Adwords platform would be easy to implement inside Twitter. Of course, once this has been implemented, Google (maybe even Yahoo now that it’s under a new CEO) will have to pay a higher price to acquire Twitter.

    Random thoughts: Since this is a “web 2.0” company, why not…
    1. Ask their users to provide feedback on monetizing ideas (harness the collaborative feedback loop).
    2. Roll out a preview or beta and ask the Twitter community to test (bugs). Again, harness the collaborative feedback loop.
    3. Give the Twitter user control over the ad content on their profile tweets.

    Saturday, January 10, 2009

    The New Website Refresh Quick Review

    First things first. About time! I received an email note from someone over at to check out the new website refresh. In my opinion, the site has been getting long in the tooth. I recommend most website do a refresh every couple of years, especially when it sees its traffic and readership decline. To me the old was nice way back when. It’s been getting stale as of late so when I went over today to check out the new design and tools, I was very pleased. The first thing that struck me as consistent throughout was the use of online video on the main page, and in the individual sections. I love their use of online video, and right off the bat my eyes and ears enjoyed the experience and the layout.

    I also loved the career tools section. Bright and shiny new with new career paths and benchmarking tools. I could not thoroughly check out the new profile section as I do not have a profile on The “search jobs” layout is fresh with clean lines. I love the clean lines. Both the single line and Multi-line option is eye pleasing and doesn’t cram a lot of information and words in small spaces that would frustrate me. Of course you can search by relevance, date, company, distance. The best feature I like so far is the balloon box besides each job listing. Click on the balloon and the exact job location min-map (Google Maps) appears. This feature is by far ahead the best feature and as far as I know, not available on or even I recommend job seekers to check out the new website refresh and test drive it yourself. Now I only wish the rest of the stale online job sites would refresh or ad more intuitive features as well.

    Thursday, January 1, 2009

    2009 Prediction: Twitter Will Finally Come of Age

    2009 will be the make or break year of Twitter. I believe it will be the make year as the company (CEO) will finally come out with his plan to monetize it by Q1. I've watched users develop Twitter strategies this last year from branding to company giveaways. Sports & Music stars are starting to really get into it. I wonder if the next wave will be movie and television stars getting Twitter to help their shows and careers? Whatever this New Year brings, Twitter has to now step up its game and finally prove its going to be a strong media channel and start monetizing it.