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What’s A Blog? Consumer Reaction Says it All.

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family_guy_2.jpgMany folks tout blogging as a part of Web2.0. Many of those same people have convinced the main stream that in order to succeed, you must ease your site ‘copy’, get shiny, change your colors and forget selling anything- we have to educate. I’ve even heard many say that to not follow this new thread of thinking will leave you behind in the dust.

It is all a fabrication in my opinion. Web 2.0 is nothing but a label placed on something investors blew off several years ago. I believe it’s a hype to increase values of technology companies. Why do I believe that? Austin is said to be the “silicon valley of the Midwest” and with a phrase like that, you would think more folks would know what a blog is. In fact, you would think that most of the advertisers in the Midwest would know what exactly web2.0 is. The reality is that everyday average folks have no idea what in the heck a blog or web2.0 is. Nor do they understand it.

When I look at it from a know-nothing position, I have to agree. I can understand the confusion that there’s been a sudden change, but no one bothered to take the consumer with them. Think about that from a marketing perspective- change in marketing is normally driven by consumer demand; doesn’t it stand to reason if they demanded it, they would understand it? The answer is a simple yes. In the case of Web2.0, techies demanded it- techies wanted to illustrate their spin on how the market should bear out, and we let them, we even helped fan the flames.

Should we follow tech demand? Yes. But we as businesses we should find a happy middle, not swing completely one way or the other. Change with consumers is gradual, not overnight, and in the race to be different, we shouldn’t leave the consumer behind- or jump off a bridge because a heavily leveraged venture company said so, and not to please Google.

Update: This is what you give up by buying into all things internet. This is what is lost in web2.0. This is what people who are serious about real estate need to keep in focus. This is the concept that wins, no matter how shiny your website or avm is…

Greg’s solution? Address the problem head-on. Go beyond where I had gone, which was to justify my need to know: Acknowledge that I’m in sales. Ask whether the client/prospect has had a bad experience with a salesperson and listen to the response.

Bravo Cathleen for asking the right questions and delivering relationship-centric ideas. Relationship2.0 has been here 1,000 years, beta tested and true.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Shailesh Ghimire

    October 8, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    There is more hype than reality in the whole Web 2.0 thing. The recent botched sale of AR is case in point. Also, I’m not sure if MySpace is making money for Murdoch or not. How about Facebook? How are these guys going to make money?

    I started blogging back in early 2005 because I wanted to do something unique to get business. Problem is all my business was coming from off-line sources. Why would I blog? I never got serious about blogging until business actually slowed down 6 months ago. I have received some business from blogging but – in my honest opinion – not enough to really justify it, but its fun, and I enjoy it and it’s kinda work related. I have enough business to keep things going – so why not is my answer.

    You hit the nail on its head, when it comes to where consumers stand. Most of my friends don’t know what a blog is – they know I blog but I have a buddy who says everytime he hears the word “blog” he thinks of me and smiles. One person even thought it was a bad word, kind of a kinky internet-sex variety. I’ve talked to so many people who don’t know what a blog is – one person asked me how you’d know if you’re on a blog. Good question, I said.

    So, either we’re way ahead of the curve or we’re just blowing smoke. Either way in my opinion this whole Web 2.0 thing will go up in smoke like the bust of 2000 and we’ll be talking about Web 3.0 in 8 years. I still think the correlation between effort and dollars isn’t quite there yet to say this is a proven method. We’re all trying and all thinking of something innovative. However, as my economics professor used to say, “you can’t build an economy doing eachothers laundry” – and sometimes blogging feels that way. We’re just talking to eachother and every once in a potential client overhears our conversation and wants to do business.

  2. benn

    October 8, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    excellent points!

  3. Lani Anglin

    October 8, 2007 at 11:48 pm

    As BR noted, it’s worth jumping on in *case* the rest of the population catches up. As for blogging and the Web 2.0 feel being the ultimate universal tool for consumers, well, we all know that it isn’t so. As a blogger, when was the last time you walked into a room of regular consumers and said “I’m a blogger” and didn’t expect to have to explain yourself?

    There you have it; I think BR said it best, “change in marketing is normally driven by consumer demand; doesn’t it stand to reason if they demanded it, they would understand it?”

  4. Athol Kay

    October 9, 2007 at 12:10 am

    Great great image.

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Business Marketing

A personalized daily digital marketing checklist

(MARKETING NEWS) For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an digital marketing strategy, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit. This app can help.

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clearpath digital marketing

There is no doubt that starting your own business can be overwhelming. Along with promoting your business at events, meetings and in person, digital marketing strategies play a key role in the success of a company. For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an online presence, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit.

Simply creating a website and Facebook page for your business is not enough. However, software tools can help simplify digital marketing. ClearPath is a tool that organizes and creates tasks to optimize your online marketing. By creating to-do lists for you based on your online marketing strategy, you can focus on the areas of marketing that improve your business, all the while receiving useful tips and advice.

Using ClearPath is pretty straightforward and only requires one prerequisite. Before beginning, you must have a website.

If you are already lost, don’t panic. ClearPath can help you develop an online presence. Once your website is linked up, you get to choose the marketing channels that you would like to focus on. These include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), email, social, content, analytics, local, pay-per-click (PPC) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Again, if you are lost, ClearPath is there to help you strategize.

After ClearPath analyzes your site, they start sending you customized tasks based they believe can improve your online marketing.

As you finish each task, you can simply check it off and it will disappear. New tasks will appear each day, and some may even repeat as they need to be updated.

Whether you are well-versed in digital marketing or not, staying updated with the newest ways to optimize your business online is a constant struggle. Tools like ClearPath give people a place to start. Although I don’t think it can supplement an active and experienced digital marketer, it is a tool that can help small businesses that cannot afford to add to their team yet. At the end of the day, it aims to save you time. And since time is money, your business will hopefully be more profitable.

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Business Marketing

Simple logo creation tools perfect for any freelancer

(MARKETING) You already know that even if you’re a solo writer, or lone developer, you need a brand in today’s online world. If you’re on a budget, check out these logo creation tools!

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logo creation

Freelancing is a major part of the landscape nowadays. In that capacity, you’re running your own one-person business. As such, you need to brand that business. You know that, but let’s discuss the actionables.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “branding”, I immediately envision logos (which is super convenient because it brings me to my next point). You should absolutely have a logo as a freelancer, even if it’s simply just your name in a rad – but professional – font.

This will be useful on your website, social media, on invoices and beyond. You can even pop that bad boy into your email signature!

Ideally, you should hire a graphic designer that knows what they’re doing – you’ll get the best results. But if your budget is zero dollars, don’t you dare ask a professional for free work.

Instead, if you want to develop a logo for your personal freelancing brand on the cheap, check out five of our favorites below and see what works for you. The best part? These all have some free components.

  1. Picfont: Let me start with personal experience. My freelance logo (which is the cover photo of my Twitter), is literally just my name in a script-like font, and was made using Picfont. You can upload a blank background (or pick from fun royalty-free backgrounds) and choose from a variety of font options. Pick what you like, shape it out, download, and use. Easy
  2. Looka (formerly Logojoy) is also a great, easy-to-use online logo maker. You simply type in your company name/your name and go through a process of selecting colors and styles that you like. Looka then generates a selection of logos based on your choices. For an example, I created the logo for The Tidbit using Looka.
  3. Online Logo Maker: a wonderfully self-explanatory name. This logo maker is almost like a combination of Picfont and Logojoy. You can play around with different fonts, colors, and symbols to make a logo that fits you. This option also features high-quality Vector files.
  4. Canva is a great option because you can design a multitude of material (including flyers, presentations, graphs, etc.) If you’re planning to build a full-on portfolio with supplemental materials in addition to a logo, Canva may be your best bet as you can design everything to have a similar look – which is incredibly important for branding.
  5. DesignEvo: Their website describes it best, “DesignEvo is a free online logo maker with 8,000+ templates that anyone can use to bring to life a compelling, unique logo in minutes.” They have a drag and drop interface and hundreds of fonts.

Take some time to test drive these sites, play around with different logo types, and see which one gels best with you and your freelancing-self. Happy branding!

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Business Marketing

How to use offline marketing to your advantage in a digital world

(BUSINESS) We often become obsessed with new marketing strategies, favoring the internet over some traditional methods that continue to drive traffic timelessly.

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offline marketing open sign for small business

Everywhere you look, people want to talk about digital marketing. In fact, if you don’t have a digital marketing strategy in today’s business world, you’re not going to last long. But just because digital marketing is popular, don’t assume that offline marketing no longer yields value.

When used together, these strategies can produce significant returns.

“Some people will argue that traditional marketing is dead, but there are several benefits to including offline advertising in your overall marketing campaign,” sales expert Larry Myler admits. “Combining both offline and online campaigns can help boost your brand’s visibility, and help it stand out amongst competitors who may be busy flooding the digital space.”

How do you use offline marketing in a manner that’s both cost-effective and high in exposure? While your business will dictate how you should proceed, here are a few offline marketing methods that still return considerable value in today’s marketplace.

1. Yard signs

When most people think about yard signs, their minds immediately go to political signs that you see posted everywhere during campaign season. However, yard signs have a lot more utility and value beyond campaigning. They’re actually an extremely cost-effective form of offline advertising.

The great thing about yard signs is that you can print your own custom designs for just dollars and, when properly stored, they last for years. They’re also free to place, assuming you have access to property where it’s legal to advertise. This makes them a practical addition to a low-budget marketing campaign.

2. Billboards

The fact that you notice billboards when driving down an interstate or highway is a testament to the reality that other people are also being exposed to these valuable advertisements. If you’ve never considered implementing billboards into your marketing strategy, now’s a good time to think about it.

With billboard advertising, you have to be really careful with design, structure, and execution. “Considering we’re on the move when we read billboards, we don’t have a lot of time to take them in. Six seconds has been touted as the industry average for reading a billboard,” copywriter Paul Suggett explains. “So, around six words is all you should use to get the message across.”

3. Promotional giveaways

It’s the tangible nature of physical marketing that makes it so valuable. Yard signs and billboards are great, but make sure you’re also taking advantage of promotional giveaways as a way of getting something into the hands of your customers.

Promotional giveaways, no matter how simple, generally produce a healthy return on investment. They increase brand awareness and recall, while giving customers positive associations with your brand. (Who doesn’t love getting something for free?)

4. Local event sponsorships

One aspect of offline marketing businesses frequently forget about is local event sponsorships. These sponsorships are usually cost-effective and tend to offer great returns in terms of audience engagement.

Local event sponsorships can usually be found simply by checking the calendar of events in your city. Any time there’s a public event, farmer’s market, parade, sporting event, concert, or fundraiser, there’s an opportunity for you to get your name out there. Look for events where you feel like your target audience is most likely to attend.

Offline marketing is anything but dead.

If your goal is to stand out in a crowded marketplace where all your competitors are investing heavily in social media, SEO, PPC advertising, and blogging, then it’s certainly worth supplementing your existing digital strategy with traditional offline marketing methods that reach your audience at multiple touchpoints.

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