Check out the Live Stream of Triangle Startup Weekend

Triangle Start Up Weekend  is happening this weekend…imagine 54 hours from concept to company.

Watch the live stream ongoing throughout the weekend:

Video streaming by Ustream

Keep up with all the happenings on twitter – follow hashtag #TSW2012


Point Products vs Solutions–Why you should be looking at total wallet?

Point Products Vs Solutions

Watch this video for  3 ways to transform your business strategy to increase wallet share.

Companies that have a portfolio of products, often forget their true power of the portfolio.  Today people don’t have time or energy to work with multiple companies to serve all their needs.  It takes resources to do that and lean in the name of the game.  The companies that have seamless integrated products that work–“work” being the keyword–are far more attractive for businesses of every size.


Here is a little vocab lesson to make sure we are all on the same page:

  1. Point Product – one single product that serves one need
  2. Solution Selling – bring all the products together to solve the bigger problem under one umbrella
  3. Wallet/Wallet Share – total amount a business has to spend on a project, think IT spending, think marketing budget, etc

What are your thoughts? What are the challenges to change the mindset for point product to solution  selling and marketing?

Increase Productivity and Stop Cyber Slacking with an Easy Trick

Time is finite. So in order to increase productivity, you have to put some structure in place and realize when you are cyber slacking.

While access to infinite information is amazing and can help with almost any task, it is easy to fall into the black hole of the Internet.  In addition to that hurdle, there is the natural procrastinator that dwells within that can impede productivity.

Recently, I found myself being distracted by RSS feeds of interesting blog posts, or tweets of the promise of all this new research, tips, tricks and more and naturally just kept clicking, reading and watching instead of actually doing work.  It happens.  We all try to avoid a task that may be necessary but not that exciting.

Increase productivity with a Timer

Here is an easy, effective tip to keep you on task:

I set my phone on a timer with an alarm for each task.

  • If I had to write a proposal, I gave myself 1 hour.
  • If I had to do follow up emails, I gave myself 30 minutes.
  • If I was going to do some online research or work.  I gave myself 45 minutes.
  • If I was going to update my LinkedIn profile or twitter account, I set a time for 25 minutes in the morning and evening.

Then once the alarm went off, I had to stop.  I evaluated my progress and made the decision to continue for another interval or put it aside and take on another task.

This little trick has made me exponentially more productive and kept me from cyber slacking when there was actually deliverables to be done.

So how do you stay productive and on task? Share your ideas below.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) DIY Tips – 8 plus bonus tidbits

First, I must give a shout out to #SEOmeetup  and Phil Buckley @1918 for some of these  search engine optimization(SEO) DIY tipstips.  This is a brilliant group of folks sharing their knowledge to help others reach their highest Google search potential.

Here are 8 tips and tricks I got from the meeting on search engine optimization (SEO). Oh–by the way, search engine optimization is hard.  It takes time.  And many places/people charge you lots of money to do search engine optimization because it is time and labor intensive.  One more thing…Google is changing its search algorithm all the time….while these search engine optimization tips are the basics and probably won’t change too much, but in no means meant to be comprehensive.

  1. Pick your keywords. What will your prospects type in that almighty google search box? Viola-those are your keywords.
  2. Put your keywords in the meta description, tags and h1 tags.  If you don’t know what that is or how to do it.  You should ask your web helper, i.e. designer or coder to help you.  That should be included in the design or maintenance by the way.
  3. Be consistent.  Use those chosen keywords everywhere in your site.  In your overview, about, blog posts, everywhere.  Google looks a frequency of usage as one of its search parameters.
  4. Complete all your profiles and link to your site.  These can be Linkedin, Google+(more about that one later), Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Foursquare.  If there is a place to put your business…claim it and make sure your description is consistent and you link to your site.
  5. Start building “back links.” This is a journey.  Being listed in online directories for your service, mentioned in blogs and other online news venues, partner websites, your profiles above, local listings like Google Places, Bing Local, Yahoo Link.  The more online venues with your website linked on it, the more credibility Google gives you.  Basically Google says: “Hey, this person has lots of sites linking to it, it must be relevant.”
  6. Get reviews.  Google now seems to only show Google reviews, so you may want to concentrate on that, but who cares if it is amazon, yelp or google.  Reviews help build street fred, not only for search, but also for customers and prospects.  BTW–don’t just have all good reviews, people know that is fake.  I good balance is the way to go.
  7. Just say no to Flash.  What used to be the old standard is now completely ignored by Google. If you site is in flash, google doesn’t see it.
  8. Optimize for mobile.  Google rewards sites that have optimized for the mobile browser…think of it as a first movers advantage.

Oh and something I totally didn’t think about, but you may want to make a mental note.  Everything now is personalized.  Google serves up content based on what you search for in the past, your location, etc.

Here are 2 tricks:

  1. Log out of your google account and search.
  2. Try adding &pws=0 at the end of your search query…fascinating how it changes the results. It is code that strips out the personalization.

How about you? What search engine optimization DIY tips do you have?



Compelling Video That Converts

Everyone is watching video.

  • Consumers watched more than 873 minutes of video clips in December.
  • Over  3 billion views per day on Youtube
  • Video will make up 75% of Internet traffic by 2013.

Why is video so appealing and important?

It’s simple. It’s dynamic. It works.

Who wins video vs static text and graphics? Video.

  • 400% more engagement than static content
  • 2-3X higher click thru on email and web
  • 64% more likely to buy with video

Ester Mae Marketing can help you not only produce high quality, effective and affordable onine video, but also help you create a plan to put your video to work reaching customers and prospects.

Here is a sample online marketing video:

Let’s connect and get your video rolling.

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Your Message

Online Video Marketing: Top 10 Secrets Revealed – @magnetvideo @atlanticbt Internet Marketing Meet Up

Online Video Marketing: Top 10 Secrets Revealed was the topic at the most recent Internet Marketing Meetup Sponsored by Atlantic BT and Martin Smith aka @scenttrail.  Guest speaker David Rose, COO of Magnet Video shared insights on online video, in particular marketing or lead generation video.

Watch for my top 3 takeaways from the event:

Here is David’s slides for all to see on online video marketing secrets.  He makes some real distinctions between the traditional idea of video (cameras, lights, director, on-air talent, etc) versus succinct marketing or lead generation videos that have: key message, value proposition and call to action for the audience versus a brand or testimonial piece.

The presentation  also used some new vocabulary that if you haven’t been a part of the video world before you may not know.  So I thought I would give a shot at explaining so we all sound smart at the next networking cocktail party on video or online video marketing.

Production – sometimes called video production or a more generic term videography, but basically it is the overall term for a video shoot, i.e. lights, camera, action…with director, producer and all.

Motion Graphics – this is using animation of stock photos, video footage or graphics combined with audio to create video

Video Encoding – this is the process of combining, compressing and formatting a video to play on any platform, for example via web browser vs iPhone or Android phone. WOW -There are something like 8 different formats that videos must be encoded to ensure it will play on any device, any where.

HTML5 – Basically next generation of web coding language, but why it is important is whether your video plays or not on certain websites or mobile devices.

Here is the host, Marty Smith’s perspective on the presentation…great write up on the event!

Disclaimer: Since social is all about authenticity and transparency, I must admit I work with the peeps at Magnet Video and offer their solution to my clients.  I really think they have an effective, affordable turn-key online video solution for marketing and demand generation.

What are your online video marketing secrets?


I-Rally of Epic Proportions: 3 Lessons from Online SOPA and PiPA Act Protest

If you still aren’t convinced the power of social media, the actions of the online community within this last week should prove it. I am one of the more than 8.6 million mentions of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) bill that was rattling around congress recently.  And according to ZDNet and General Sentiment, it’s online popularity out ranked most hot events from 2011, including Super Bowl, Oscars and American Idol Finale.

Almost all the online heavy hitters stood up, including Wikipedia who took a bold action by taking its site offline.

Wikipedia Protest

Wikipedia's Page When Accessed During the Black Out

Many social media rockstars like Seth Godin weighed in with a very compelling and, for him, longer-than-average post size on his blog: Learning leadership from Congress.  Granted for internet enthusiasts or users, this sort of regulation is near and dear to their hearts, so of course they rallied and used their posts, mentions, retweets, videos and other  i-communication to spread awareness and elicit action.

Watch for 3 lessons from the SOPA/PIPA online response:

What key take-aways did you learn from this incredibly effective i-rally? Share below.

PS: I found this really cool social media analytics tool out of the experience too.  Check it out: “Social Radar.”

What to do when your boss says do that Facebook thing? Video Included

New Year, New Challenge: Try Video in Your Marketing

Email, Social Media Integration Surprise: Rite Aid Engages

Email and Social Media Integration from Rite Aid

You read the headline…I am talking about Rite Aid, the drug store and its recent excellent job in integrating email and social media to create demand during the holidays.

Yes, they got me with that “Wellness” Card and therefore acquired my email.  They do a pretty good job with the weekly email, which at first was just an e-flyer of the specials of the week.  And I must admit…I never thought I would “like” a drug store….but I think those smart marketers at Rite Aid made me consider it with their engagement strategy.

Recently, I came across a great implementation to entice and engage people from email to social with this week’s Rite Aid weekly coupon email.

First the email had a great tease factor…the “Psst, scroll to the right” bubble grabbed my attention and curiosity…I didn’t even read who the elf was and what the story was…I was looking for the coupons…and saw the bubble….so I scrolled.

"Psst" Bubble really grabbed my attention

Then, here is the brilliant integration part….there were some coupons and sales revealed in the email and some you had to go to Facebook to view and print.  Well, of course I was curious, tis the season of shopping and sales. So I clicked through to their Facebook.

Weekly coupons & specials with tease to visit Facebook page to find out more

BAM…not only printable coupons, but more engagement.

And here are the coupons teased in the email, ready to print and use

The coupons aren’t all that Rite Aid offers…they have these personality-type game and easy reasons to “share” Rite Aid….I like how they used the graphical display for the reasons to “share.”  Very cool.  One of those things all the experts tell you…”make it pretty.”

Games and more

Graphical display of reasons to "like" Rite Aid

What a great implementation of integrating email and social media.  It had intrigue, fun graphics, easy and fun ways to engage and share.  And like I said in the beginning…what a surprise–a drug store of all things.

Hats off to you Rite Aid…brillant marketing!

What do you think? Have you seen other implementations of email and social media integration? Share below.


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