BI 027: How to Turn Your Blog into a $250,000 Business with Marcus Sheridan

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Originally, the ‘pool guy’ behind River Pools and Spas, Marcus has become well known for both his success as a inbound marketer (his pool company is a lead generation machine) as well as the guy behind the popular blog, The Sales Lion. Here’s a short summary of his achievements:

  • Published 3 self-help books in 2001, 2003, and 2006
  • Started my swimming pool company, River Pools and Spas in 2001
  • Pool company grew to be one of the largest of its kind in the world (due to inbound marketing efforts and our incredibly popular swimming pool blog)
  • Because of huge success teaching other pool professionals how to embrace inbound marketing, has become a very successful HubSpot Partner, training inbound marketers  and companies everywhere how to find success.
  • With an incredibly entertaining and educational style, Sheridan has become a highly sought after speaker for many marketing and business conferences globally.

Listen to the Audio

Our Chat Today

  • why content marketing is such a big deal and how you are nuts if you don’t have a strategy in place
  • how to turn your blog into the wikiepedia of your niche
  • why understanding the content saturation index for your niche is so important
  • how he built relationships with the key players in his niche
  • how he transformed his blog into a money making machine that now earns over $250K a year
  • how a 20 minute speech changed everything (and how he got the opportunity to speak at this event)
  • what he did in his speech to blow the roof off
  • what kind of clients he’s attracting
  • what his sales cycle looks like
  • how much they pay him
  • how to build the speaking business into your business and the 3 different ways you can do it
  • and so much more….

Join the Conversation

One of the things that I love most about hosting my podcast is participating in the conversations they provoke. Each week, I ask one question. This week, it is this: Question: What part of your business are you struggling with most? Please share your answer by clicking one of the social icons at the top or bottom of this post.

Ask Me a Question

If you have a question, comment, thought or concern, you can share it by clicking here. We’d love to hear from you.

Subscribe to the Bright Ideas Podcast

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Digital Marketing Strategy: How to Recruit Employees for Your Agency with Glenn Towle

glenntowles

Is your business at the point where it needs more staff to grow?

Are you wondering how to attract just the right person to your team?

Have you got a strategy in place that ensure that your employees will feel as though they have a purpose (in your firm as well as in their careers)?

Attracting talent is key to growing a marketing agency. Without the right people on your team, the chances that your firm will ever achieve greatness are slim, indeed.

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by veteran agency principal Glenn Towle of Merrick Towle Communications. In addition to being a 23 year veteran of his industry, Glenn is the founder of Momentum Agency Management Advisors and is also a contributing author to the brand new book, Secrets of Ad Agency Owners, Our Best Marketing Advice.

In this interview, you are going to hear Glenn and I discuss:

  • the top two struggles for which most agency owners seek help
  • how to recruit employees
  • how to ensure a cultural fit when interviewing prospective employees
  • how Glenn is using social media to attract talent and customers
  • how to develop your staff and give them a feeling of purpose in their role and in their career
  • how to handle the business management portion of your company, even if your passion is the creative side

More About This Episode

how to recruit employeesThe Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Watch Now

Download and Listen Later

Enjoyed this Interview? Here’s How To Leave us a Positive Review on iTunes!

If you enjoyed this episode, click here for more information on How to Leave Us a Positive Review on iTunes! Your review will help to spread the word and get more entrepreneurs like you interested in our podcast. Thanks in advance - we appreciate you!

About Glenn Towle

glenntowlesA good deal of Glenn’s career has been leading the growth of the integrated marketing communications firm Merrick Towle Communications from a staff of 15 to over 80.

As COO, Glenn is a member of the direct senior management team, providing consultative oversight of all departments. He develops and implements agency-wide systems including personnel recruiting and development, workflow and company self-promotion. He also created, expanded, and adjusted systems to accommodate staff growth from 15 to over 80, and back down to 35. He led the adoption of an open book management system including company-wide performance reporting.

Join the Conversation

One of the things that I love most about hosting my podcast is participating in the conversations they provoke. Each week, I ask one question. This week, it is this: Question: What part of your business are you struggling with most? Please share your answer by clicking one of the social icons at the top or bottom of this post.

Ask Me a Question

If you have a question, comment, thought or concern, you can share it by clicking here. We’d love to hear from you.

Subscribe to the Bright Ideas Podcast

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Blog Talk Radio Interview, an Excerpt from My Book, plus My Wedding Invitation Video

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Happy Saturday!

Today’s post is going to be a bit unusual. In it, you are going to find:

  • My being interviewed
  • An excerpt from a book I’m writing
  • My wedding invitation video that got a lot of laughs

Hear Me Interviewed on Blog Talk Radio

On Friday afternoon, I was interviewed by Jim and Jennifer of the Blog Talk Radio Show, Freedom For All.

In this interview, they asked me about my background in business, how I managed to make the change from employee to entrepreneur, and what advice I had for others wishing to make the same change.  Listen in and hear us talk discuss:

  • How I launched my last business
  • How I am launching my current software startup
  • How I manage my time
  • How I recommend that first time entrepreneurs begin their first business (and it’s unusual advice)
  • Why most people never start and what to do about it
  • The attributes that I think make up a successful entrepreneur

Listen to internet radio with 1000 Breaths on Blog Talk Radio

An Excerpt from My Upcoming Book

Below is a some of the content of a book that I’m writing. As it pertains to the interview above, I thought I would share it. The book is going to be about content marketing and how it can propel your business to new levels. I hope to have it complete in 90 days. Wish me luck!

And now the excerpt…(the three passages below are from different sections of the book)

Excerpt #1: Who is the Book For?

This book is for entrepreneurs who want to get more customers, make more money, and build something of value. In particular, this book if for those of you aren’t exactly sure how to make this outcome a reality.

When it comes to business, like me, you all have one thing in common: you have to find customers and make sales to grow. If you can’t do that, you’re a dead duck. Succeed in this regard, and we are able to enjoy a lifestyle like none other.

For most of us, that is why we have chosen the life of an entrepreneur. Sure, some of you chose it for passion or craft, but, if we are being really honest, lets all admit that getting rich isn’t such a bad reason either, right?

In my 20+ years in business, I have come to realize that most business owners have one thing in common: they think that finding new customers is hard to do…and in most cases, they can back it up with years of evidence!

I understand how you feel. In fact, I used to be just like you.

I’d come to work each day thinking: how am I going to find my next customer?

The problem with asking yourself this questions is that it sets up the wrong frame of mind.

In my case, thinking this way caused me to immediately start thinking about prospecting tactics. Now, before I go any further, don’t think for a minute that I think prospecting is a bad thing – far from it – but I do think that the way that most of us prospect is not as efficient as it could be.

Rather than think about how to find customers, my goal for this book is to help you to shift your thinking to: how can I help customers find me?

While these two ideas aren’t that different; the meaning (and the activity) behind each one is radically different.

Prospecting, in the tradition sense, is hard. If you are using the phone to make cold calls, you are subjecting yourself to massive amounts of rejection each day, but even worse is that you are likely annoying the hell out of a lot of people.

Consider this; how would you feel is a doctor called you up and said, “Hello Mr. Johnson, my name is Dr Mark and I’d like to arrange a time for us to get together so that I can ask you a whole bunch of questions so that I can determine if you have any sickness that I can try and heal. Which is better for you, this Tuesday or next Thursday?”

Can you imagine ever receive a call like that? I can’t. (Yet, I’m loathed to admit, I have MADE thousands of calls that sounded just like that)

The key to modern prospecting is to realize that there are already thousands of people searching for what you do every day. Rather than expend considerable effort (and resources) so sift through the masses to find them, don’t you think it might be a whole lot easier to just answer when the call or reply when they email you?

Of course it would be! Just imagine how much more enjoyable your business would be to run if you simply had to respond to inquiries each day. Now that would be something!

Making this happen doesn’t have to cost millions (or even thousands) and in this book, I’m going to show you, step by step, exactly how I and others have made this happen in our businesses. Trust me when I tell you it’s not rocket science.

Once you finish reading this book, you are going to be equipped with the knowledge you need to make this very same thing happen in your business – and I don’t care what business you are in because the strategies, ideas, and tactics that are about to be shared with you work in virtually every business that I can think of.

Are you ready?

Excerpt #2: My Story

Back when I started my career in sales, the Internet didn’t exist. Back then, prospecting via the telephone worked exceptionally well and as a young stock broker, I made quite a bit of money by making cold calls.

Back then (1993) I was 23 years old. In my very first year in the business, I dialed the phone approximately 25,000 times and I earned $72,500. In other words, I earned $2.90 every time I dialed the phone.

Out of the 125 dials a day that I made, I would get through to about 30 people, and out of those 30 people, 10 would agree to receive my free report in the mail. Of those 10 people, 3 would take a meeting, and out of those 3, one would become a client.

For those of you old enough to remember, $72,500 back in 1993 was pretty good money, considering the average 3 bedroom house was about $225,000 in my neighborhood. (That same neighborhood today has an average price of about 3x what it was in 1993).

After about two years of this, I was totally burned out and I actually left the business for about 6 months. As you might guess, I had grown to hate cold calling. Not because of the rejection mind you. It was just so darn boring!

Luckily for me, I had stayed in touch with a mentor of mine. This guy was about 30 and making millions per year. Better still, he never made any cold calls. Instead, he spent a truckload of money on newspaper advertising and hosting huge seminars.

His formula was simple; buy 10 ads in every issue of the local paper, advertise a free report. Send the report and then never stop sending them a monthly newsletter. Hold regular seminars with well known speakers, and then watch the people pour in.

His marketing formula was awesome and it worked like a charm for the 3 years that I worked with him. I was making over $200,000 a year by 25 and he was making even more. The only problem with his model was that it cost a fortune to do; hence why most others weren’t doing it.

I eventually left the financial services industry to start my own business. The first one failed and cost me a good bit of money. The second one was started shoe string in 2001 and went on to be quite successful.

Now, you’d think that after working with a guy who was an inbound marketing master, that I’d have learned a think or two, right? Well, I did…but, unlike him, I didn’t have all the cash to ramp up the advertising in the way that he used to do it. (Plus, I doubt that kind of advertising would have worked in the IT services industry anyway).

So what did I do? I resorted to what I new best; cold calling.

Cold calls worked fine until about our 4th year and then the results from my activities took a massive nose dive. I was in uncharted waters. It was 2005.

Luckily for me, by then revenues had hit 7 figures and I had also figured out a way to have most of that revenue coming in on retainer contracts. Had I not, I think running my company would have been a LOT harder….and my company would have been worth a LOT less.

In 2008, I sold it for a seven figure sum and began to enjoy my first mini-retirement. I moved from Seattle to San Diego, grew my hair long, bought a surf board and set out to learn to surf.

Surfing changed my life…but not in the way you’d expect.

I never ended up becoming much of a surfer, but I did meet someone who had a profound impact the way I thought about business. Her name was Haley and she made her living online.

Shortly after learning what Haley was up to, I started building websites and started blogging. Within a year, I’d built up a six figure business that I could run out of my house that was extremely profitable.

For the first time in my life, I had become extremely successful at inbound marketing (as a result of my content) and since then, I’ve never looked back.

Now, before I go on, I want to confess one thing: while I was quite successful with that first business, it had one fatal flaw, it was completely dependent on getting free traffic from Google, and when Google released their Panda and Penguin updates, my revenue dropped by about 80%. Its for this reason, that I strong advice that you do not make SEO the sole focus of your traffic strategy. More on this later.

My point is this; if a guy who isn’t super technical can convert himself from cold calling to inbound/content marketing, then so can you. It’s just not that hard once you understand that process.

What are you waiting for? Why not start today?

Excerpt #3: What is Content Marketing?

At the time of this writing, two terms cross my screen almost daily: content marketing and inbound marketing[Change this. Inbound marketing cost $$ because it involves media buying. Content marketing doesn’t have to.]. For the purposes of this book, I’m going to use these terms interchangeably because, in my opinion, they mean pretty much the same thing.

To help you understand that they mean, let me tell you a story.

The Story of Dave’s Search for an IT Support Company

Meet Dave. Dave runs a small business and has 25 employees. Dave is looking for a new IT supplier for his company because the last one didn’t give him the service that he was looking for.

To begin his search for a new supplier, Dave asks a few of his friends for referrals and he also uses Google to do some searches.

The first thing that Dave does is to check the websites of a few of the firms whose name he was given. Most have pretty similar websites. They have an About Us page, and then a bunch of pages devoted to describing their products and services. Most of these pages sound about like this: We do this, that and the other thing. We are experts. We are certified. We have won this award and we were written up in their press here, here, and there. We are awesome. You should hire us.

Not particularly impressed, Dave decides to give Google a try. Why Google? Well, none of Dave’s friends (who gave him the referral) run a company like his (Dave sells torqued out bindle rotors) and as such, it didn’t seem to Dave that any of the other firms really understood his business – at least not that he could tell from their websites.

Here’s what Dave types into Google, “IT support for torqued out bindle rotor company”.

Much to Dave’s surprise, the very first search result takes him to a blog of a company that has written an article to address this exact problem. Nowhere in the article do they talk about themselves (or at least not very much). Instead, the article explores the problems that Dave’s type of company faces when it comes to IT support. Intrigued by what he read, Dave spends some more time on the company’s website, and then, before he leaves, he enters his email address to receive a copy of their free report titled, “5 Ways to Use IT to Increase Profits In the Torqued Out Bindle Rotor Industry”.

After downloading and reading their professional created report (ok, it was just made in word and was well written and edited), Dave is left with a feeling that this company might actually understand his particular set of problems. He plans to invest some time to study them more, but first, he has to go get his kids from soccer.

When Dave comes to work the next day, he’s greeted with an email from the company thanking him for downloading the report and then directing him to several of the most popular articles on their blog. Dave likes everything that he reads and is planning to investigate further just as soon as he gets through some of this other tasks.

Two days later, Dave receives another email that invites him to attend a webinar titled, “5 IT Mistakes to Avoid in the Torqued Out Bindle Rotor Industry”. Intrigued once again, Dave registers for the free webinar.

The next day Dave watches the webinar and is thoroughly impressed by what he learned. Not only did they not try to actually pitch him anything, but they did an extraordinary job of pointing out a few of the IT issues that Dave is likely to encounter as he continues to grow his company. They also offered to provide the webinar attendees with a free consulting session over Skype. Dave, having been thoroughly impressed with everything he’d read on the company blog, decided that signing up for the Skype call was a no brainer – but as he was in a rush to go pick his wife up, he didn’t have time.

The next day, dave received an email inviting him to select an appointment in the company’s calendar for the Skype interview. Dave clicked the link in the email and effortlessly booked himself a time for the Skype meeting.

A few days later, at the end of the Skype call, with all this remaining questions answered, Dave asked how much their monthly retainer fee was, what was included, and made a decision to hire them without even asking a proposal to be drafted.

Dave found just the supplier he needed, and the company landed a valuable new client. Everybody wins.

Let’s Analyze What Happened

As you can see from this story, content played a major role in Dave’s decision to become a customer. Let’s have a walk through the behind the scenes and examine how this ‘miracle’ took place.

First, it began with search. Dave had a problem that he knew he needed to solve, so, he went to the two most obvious places; his business friends, and Google.

Next, Dave spent time studying the websites of the companies he was referred to and was underwhelmed with what he found. All were just online brochures and did little to address his needs.

Dissatisfied with the referrals, Dave searched on Google and found a company whose website was literally the wikipedia for companies that provide IT support to the Torqued Out Bindle Rotor industry. Impressed with what he saw on the site, Dave made the decision to enter his email address to get the free report.

Here’s where the magic begins to happen…

When Dave entered his email address, not only did he receive a report he asked for, but he entered the top of this company’s automated sales funnel – though he wasn’t aware of this at the time.

Notice that I said “automated”. No one at the company had to manually respond to Dave’s email. This all happens on auto-pilot. We’re going to cover HOW this is done in far more detail later.

I should also point out that the free report that Dave downloaded provided very high quality content that would be of immense value to Dave regardless of whether he hired the company or not. If the company’s report had been garbage or fluff, it’s much less likely that Dave would have gone any further.

Next, Dave received an email inviting him to the webinar. Most important was the title of the webinar. When Dave read it, he felt as though he was going to receive a valuable education, as opposed to a sales pitch. People hate to be sold, but love to learn, and that is why having a headline like this is so important.

When Dave attended the webinar, the experience was exactly as he’d hoped. The host of the webinar was very professional and well prepared. The content that was shared with Dave was of immense value and helped him to fully understand the issues around the problem he was trying to solve. In fact, Dave also discovered a few new problems that he was likely to face in the relatively near future. At the end of the webinar, Dave felt as though he time was well spent and we keen to take another step.

Dave did have the intention to take the next step, but, for a lack of time, had to exit the webinar quickly. By the next morning, Dave had pretty much forgotten about the Skype offer and was back to business as usual.

Here’s where some more automation comes into play. Because the IT company was able to track who stayed to the end of the webinar, their follow up system dispatched a reminder email to everyone that stayed until the end, but didn’t sign up for the Skype call. People are busy and forgetful. This is human nature. So, to capture as many leads as possible, the design of the automated follow up takes this into account.

The next day, Dave received the reminder email and was able to easily book his time slot. He didn’t have to call anyone, or have any back and forth to arrange the time. Instead, he could simply choose from the available time slots and get back to work.

On the receiving end, the IT company’s system notified them that Dave had booked a time slot. The resulted in a task being assigned to the sales rep that would do the call with Dave in a few days. The task for the sales rep was to study Dave’s website and be ready with several intelligent questions about his business. Because this company really focused on Dave’s industry, the rep was also very well equipped to answer all of Dave’s questions.

When the call took place, Dave was already pre-disposed to buying. He’d read many of the company’s articles on their blog, he’d read their valuable report, he’d attended a valuable webinar, he’d seen several of their client testimonial videos and case studies, and he’d already seen the pricing on their website.

All that was left to do was ask a few simple questions and make a decision to proceed.

If your sales process doesn’t resemble what I’ve just described, don’t worry. Setting all this up isn’t as hard as you might think, and it’s all quite inexpensive to do. The best part is that once you’ve got your lead attraction system and nurturing process in place, growing your business will be far easier than you ever though.

What Do You Think?

Like I said at the top, this is all first draft stuff, so it may change or get completely eliminated from the book if that is what my editor decides. For now, I can publish to my heart’s content, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

I’m Getting Married!

A few weeks ago I proposed to my girlfriend (now fiance) Liz. I made her a youtube video and then sent her on a crazy scavenger hunt all over town before finally meeting me on the beach where we met.

I took one knee, and she said yes! (now that’s what I call an opt-in!)   <<— marketer’s joke.

As Liz and I both have similar tastes and sense of humour (hence why she said yes), I decided to make yet another video as the first part of the invitation for our guests. My friends all thought it was hilarious, so being as this post is going live on a Saturday, I thought I would share it with you. Hopefully you’ll enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it. (the funniest bits start about 1/3 in and last to the end).

How to Sell Your Company and Become a Published Author with CC Chapman

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Have you ever thought of selling your company? Have you ever thought of writing a book and then becoming a highly sought after speaker?

If you’ve ever dreamed of doing either of these, then you are going to love hearing today’s interview.

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by CC Chapman; author, speaker, and entrepreneur.

In this interview, you are going to hear CC and I talk about:

  • His new book Amazing Things Will Happen
  • how he got his publishing deal with Wiley
  • the process he went through to write his book
  • the importance of an editor, and how to find one
  • the impact that writing the book has had on his career
  • how he started his last company
  • the shift that took place when they hired their first employee
  • how he sold his company and his advice to others considering selling
  • what entrepreneurs should be doing today to create growth

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Watch Now

Download and Listen Later

Enjoyed this Interview? Here’s How To Leave us a Positive Review on iTunes!

If you enjoyed this episode, click here for more information on How to Leave Us a Positive Review on iTunes! Your review will help to spread the word and get more entrepreneurs like you interested in our podcast. Thanks in advance - we appreciate you!

About CC Chapman

ccchapmanC.C. is the co-author (with Ann Handley) of the best seller Content Rules, a book that showcases the value of “organizations as publishers.” Content Rules clearly explains how companies can create remarkable blogs, podcasts, webinars, ebooks, and more — content that converts online audiences into customer evangelists. It was published in December 2010 by Wiley.

In 2007, C.C. co-founded The Advance Guard, a marketing agency. After two stellar years, the company was acquired by Campfire. Now a freelance consultant looking for the next great challenge, C.C. understands the entrepreneurial spirit, and the “in the trenches” economic and organizational challenges companies face every day. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for both Wediko and Know My World.

Join the Conversation

One of the things that I love most about hosting my podcast is participating in the conversations they provoke. Each week, I ask one question. This week, it is this: Question: What part of your business are you struggling with most? Please share your answer by clicking one of the social icons at the top or bottom of this post.

Ask Me a Question

If you have a question, comment, thought or concern, you can share it by clicking here. We’d love to hear from you.

Subscribe to the Bright Ideas Podcast

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Digital Marketing Strategy: Land More Clients and Make Your Firm 500% More Valuable with Mike Lieberman

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If you could get more of the right kind of traffic to your website, do you think you could increase revenue?

Do you struggle to figure out the best way to deploy your resources to get this traffic?

If so, you are not alone.

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by Mike Lieberman, co-founder and President of Square 2 Marketing – a highly successfully marketing agency focused on becoming the largest inbound marketing agency in the world.

When it comes to landing new clients, if you are still using the same strategies that you were using 5 years ago, you are probably not getting the results you could be.

In this interview, Mike and I talk at length about what is working for him (and his clients) when it comes to business development. Here’s just a few of the things you’ll hear when you listen to the interview:

  • the first, most important, and most often overlooked step in planning for growth
  • how to drive more traffic to your site
  • the three most important activities you need for growth
  • Mike’s dashboard for tracking the results of these activities
  • how content fits into his marketing strategy
  • the most important part of his content creation system
  • how to generate more retainer business (Mike’s is almost ALL retainer business!)
  • the service he delivers to his retainer clients
  • the #1 way to make your firm more valuable, and more fun to run

This was a killer interview and if you run an agency, you are going to LOVE it 🙂

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Watch Now

Download and Listen Later

Enjoyed this Interview? Here’s How To Leave us a Positive Review on iTunes!

If you enjoyed this episode, click here for more information on How to Leave Us a Positive Review on iTunes! Your review will help to spread the word and get more entrepreneurs like you interested in our podcast. Thanks in advance - we appreciate you!

About Mike Lieberman

mike-lgCo-founder and President of Square 2 Marketing, Mike is passionate about helping entrepreneurs turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For over 10 years, Mike has been working hand in hand with business owners helping them create strategic marketing plans, compelling marketing messages, and innovative marketing tactics that drive revenue. More importantly, he is outspoken when challenging them to think differently so that their clients, customers, prospects, partners and friends spread the word about their businesses. Mike and his long-time friend Eric Keiles created Reality Marketing™ as a platform to teach entrepreneurs a new way to market their companies.

Join the Conversation

One of the things that I love most about hosting my podcast is participating in the conversations they provoke. Each week, I ask one question. This week, it is this: Question: What part of your business are you struggling with most? Please share your answer by clicking one of the social icons at the top or bottom of this post.

Ask Me a Question

If you have a question, comment, thought or concern, you can share it by clicking here. We’d love to hear from you.

Subscribe to the Bright Ideas Podcast

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Facebook Graph Search: What It Means For Your Brand?

fbgraph

This week, Mark Zuckerberg introduced Facebook’s new Graph Search feature. As an enhancement to the site’s current search feature, it leverages the power of a person’s social network to provide results that are more likely to be relevant to the user. When the feature completes its beta, it will be rolled out slowly to desktop users in the US.  Graph Search will be focused on people, places, photos and interests, so if your brand fits in one of these categories, now is the time to prepare!

How does it work?

Facebook users can enter queries into the Facebook search box, such as “photos I like” or “restaurants near me” to get results that may potentially include brand pages. The search results are influenced by the searcher’s Facebook connections and the strength of these relationships. Users can use filters based on their social circle to narrow down the results and get the most relevant pages.

For example, this is what a user will see when searching for “People who like things I like”:

facebook graph

How does it differ from Google, Bing, and Yahoo searches?

Facebook envisions that people will use the Graph Search to find groups of people and places instead of websites. For example, if someone is using a regular search engine such as Google or Yahoo and searches the web for “Italian restaurant,” the search results page will include a variety of listings including local restaurants’ pages, review sites, media articles, etc.

Instead of searching for “Italian restaurant,” Facebook predicts users will use the Graph Search to look for “Italian restaurants my friends like,” and will then be served with results containing the Facebook pages of the restaurants that their friends have also liked.

Sponsored results have a big play here because in addition to showing results that your friends have liked, brands can also buy placements within these results. Forbes speculates that, though Graph Search doesn’t currently have ads, Facebook may eventually allow brands to purchase premium placement through sponsored results.

What does it mean for your brand and what actions should your brand take?

The Graph Search’s functionality means that your company will need to expand your Facebook presence by picking up more fans and truly engaging them. As your Facebook fan base grows, so does your brand page’s visibility. By the way, this may help you counter the negative effects of the Facebook Edgerank algorithm change rolled out last year.

Here are some actions that I recommend you considering now to ensure that your brand is ready for the Graph Search public release:

Make sure your Facebook page is up-to-date and complete with vanity URL, description, mailing address (if applicable), website URL and images.
Build a strong fan acquisition and retention strategy. Actively engage your Facebook audience through daily posts, contests, surveys, etc.
Make sure the content posted to your brand’s Facebook page is of good quality and relevance.
If budget allows, buy a sponsored ad for your page to increase the number of “likes.”

Another important thing to note is that Bing serves as the backup search engine if there is nothing to match the user’s query on Facebook. So, optimizing your main brand website for Bing can eventually help you earn organic search traffic from Facebook’s Graph Search.

The use of Bing is interesting. While it is one of the top three search engines, Bing’s share of organic search is still at only about 16% – miniscule compared to Google which owns about 66% of all organic searches. The Facebook/Bing partnership might be Microsoft’s biggest play in positioning Bing as a major player in the search industry, so this is something to keep an eye on.

If you haven’t already, you can preview the Facebook Graph Search and sign up for a beta version. More details from Facebook on Graph Search can also be found in the official press release.

What do you think about this news? I’m very curious to see how this pans out!

How to Evaluate Your Facebook Page – infographic

fbchecklist

The following is a guest post from one of my Triberr tribemates.

Source: Shortstack

How to Evaluate Your Facebook Page - infographic

How to Evaluate Your Facebook Page – infographic


Twitter WordPress SEO HostingLinkedIn WordPress SEO HostingFacebook WordPress SEO HostingRSS Feed WordPress SEO Hosting Berrie Pelser, Ber|Art Visual Design:

Ber|Art Visual Design V.O.F. delivers high-end secure (PCI-Compliant) WordPress, Typo3 and Magento Linux Cloud VPS Hosting with professional Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plus Social Media (Social Network) integration, branding and strategy.

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Digital Marketing Strategy: How to Ignite Growth in Your Agency with David Baker

davidbaker

Are you looking for a more effective strategy for growth?

Would you like to hear from a guy who’s analyzed over 700 marketing services firms to figure out what works the best?

Of course you would, and today, that is exactly what I’ve got for you.

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by David Baker of Recourses, Inc. David speaks 30+ times a year and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, and many more. He is also the author of Financial Management of a Marketing Firm.

Suffice to say, when it comes to running a marketing agency, David is without question one of the thought leaders in the space.

In this interview, you are going to hear David and I talk about:

  • The top 3 problems that people seek his help to solve
  • How to cause growth to occur at your firm (more prospecting isn’t the answer)
  • The major shift that has taken place in selling and how to adapt
  • The step that most principles neglect when pursuing growth
  • The #1 reason why, as firm grow, profit margins decrease and what to do to stop it

This was a fantastic interview, and I’m sure you are going to love it!

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Watch Now

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Enjoyed this Interview? Here’s How To Leave us a Positive Review on iTunes!

If you enjoyed this episode, click here for more information on How to Leave Us a Positive Review on iTunes! Your review will help to spread the word and get more entrepreneurs like you interested in our podcast. Thanks in advance - we appreciate you!

About David Baker

davidbakerDavid is the leading management consultant to the creative services industry. His work has been featured in the Wall Street JournalUSA TodayFast CompanyInc.Forbes, CBS Business Network, MarketingProfs, and Business Week. He has spoken at every major conference in the field and written for every major publication. He owned a marketing firm for 6 years, and has consulted with 650+ firms since March 1994.

Join the Conversation

One of the things that I love most about hosting my podcast is participating in the conversations they provoke. Each week, I ask one question. This week, it is this: Question: What part of your business are you struggling with most? Please share your answer by clicking one of the social icons at the top or bottom of this post.

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If you have a question, comment, thought or concern, you can share it by clicking here. We’d love to hear from you.

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My Trip to NMX Blogworld in Las Vegas

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triberr

Just over a week ago, I returned from my trip to Las Vegas where I attended the New Media Expo. This is an event that has been around for a long time and this was my first year attending it.

Below are some short on-the-spot interviews that with people or companies that I found interesting. I hope you find them helpful.

Triberr

By far, my favorite discovery was a company called Triberr.

Triberr is the creation of Dan Cristo and Dino Dogan and in the video below, you are going to hear Dino tell me why Triberr is worth paying attention to.

(apologies for the sound quality on all the videos. It was a very noisy environment)

I have to admit, that I think the Triberr concept is pretty terrific because it gives anyone (person or company) with a blog the power to easily accomplish the following:

  • Publish quality content
  • Distribute your content to other blogs
  • Increase traffic to your blog
  • Provide social proof

triberr

I’ve recently started to use Triberr right here on Bright Ideas because, after interviewing Mike Stelzner, I learned that he publishes content 6 days a week. He told me that in the early days of the Social Media Examiner, they tested all sorts of publishing variations and regardless of what they did, one thing was always clear; more content = more traffic.

Not really surprising, is it?

So, why don’t we all publish content every day? Because it’s a lot of work!

In my case, I’m working on a software startup, as well as creating a new WordPress plugin for local marketing consultants. With a workload like that, there is no way that I can publish content every day.

With Triberr and a couple of Tribemates, I’ll easily be able to publish as much high quality content as I want.

In case you are wondering, a tribemate is just someone who’s joined my tribe (in Triberr) and by doing so, assuming we each have the Triberr plugin installed, we are able to “reblog” each other’s content with the click of a button.

To see how it works, watch this short video below.

If you’d like to see an example of a recent reblog of someone else’s content here on Bright Ideas, click here. Notice that the post has proper attribution as well as comments from both Bright Ideas and the original author’s blog.

In case you haven’t already guess, not only can I reblog my tribemate’s content here, but they can also reblog my content on their blogs; all with the click of just one button.

For those of you who are wondering whether or note reblogging is considered duplicate content, let me assure you that it isn’t. The reason for that is because attribution exists. For a more detailed explanation of this, please read this post.

If you’d like to join my tribe, please go grab yourself a free account at Triberr and then search for a tribe called Professional B2B Marketers and Digital Agency Owners.

UStream

If you are looking for a way to stream live video on the web, uStream is the leader in the field. I haven’t tried this yet, but plan to at some point.

OutBrain

If you are looking for a very inexpensive way to buy traffic for your site, this is a video that you should watch. I was surprised at how cheap it was for clicks.

Brafton

If you need content for your site, then this video is one that you will want to watch.

What Do You Think?

Please share you thoughts in the comments below. If you have some tools and resources that you love, please let us know.

Why You Should Remember Your Branding In Your Web Design

branding-kevin0

This is a guest post by Kevin Nave who is a SEO Consultant for Itineris Ltd – Web Design Agency in Ipswich.

When you create a website you want it to do 1 thing – Increase business. This post will describe why your branding can be just as important as your website.

Branding – What, Why and How

When you start your business the first thing most people decide is what they are going to sell or provide. Next thing is to check the competition and get a logo done; the logo then forms the deciding factor of your branding.
Once that logo has been done your documents, business cards and flyers will all revolve around it. For this reason you need to ensure that your logo stands out as much as possible but also fits in with the industry. For example if you are in web design or SEO you would have a fun, snappy and crisp logo in which everyone will remember it but if you are in engineering it will be very serious and to the point. This is why you find large SME and blue chips are so protective of their branding, it can be the deciding factor on success as well as repeat business.

Web Design and Branding – What’s the difference?

So we’ve just established that when you create your branding you need to ensure that all branding is revolved around the logo as that’s how everyone remembers your business but we’ve also established that it needs to be inline with the industry so no-one thinks your trying to be something your not. We will now go into how this fits in your website.

We all know that creating a website can be a long drawn out process having to get the creative right, ensuring it’s SEO friendly and that it’s coding to your spec. The main part that helps you get the business from the get go when people hit your site is the creative, if your creative it’s blue and red but your branding is pink and black people are going to think they’ve hit the wrong site or your not a reputable company and leave. Customers want to see consistency, people don’t like change they will get scared and leave. Always keep your website to your branding you want returning customers to recognise your business and see stuff they trust. I always got taught 1 key thing within usability – Don’t make them think. This means that when people are looking for something they aren’t reading or looking at anything what they actually are doing is skimming for keywords of what they are looking for.

I’m going to use Facebook as an example here. Facebook’s branding is mainly the deep blue and when anyone sees that they think of Facebook, but, Twitter then came along, they used a light blue….coincidence? I think not. You need to remember this with your branding, people like to stick with what they know. We all know you want your business to stand out from the crowd but why not steal business from the competitor, if all your competitors branding is red there must be a reason. Don’t get me wrong stand out by all means, have a funky logo or do pretty clever stuff with your website but your don’t want to take people out of the comfort zone.

So what I’m trying to say is yes your branding is an integral part of your business and your website is the integral part of your business by being your online shop or office. Your website is your customer service, receptionist and salesperson.
So is there a different between your website and branding as you may have guessed….there is no difference. They are both brand guardians and are both brand representation. Treat your website like your brand protects it but make sure it’s memorable.

So how does branding fit in with my web design

As we have established that your branding and your website are exactly the same. The best way to make it fit into your website is to:

  1. Make sure the designers know that the brand is a large part of the business and what your branding colours and logo look like
  2. Look at what your competitors are doing. Stick out, be memorable, do what they are doing but better
  3. If your competitors have a intro video do a interactive video

What I’m trying to say is always keep an eye on competitors as well. Check what they are doing with their websites. The industry leaders are always best to look as they are the leaders for a reason; if they are doing it obviously works. I would never say copy them as I am a SEO consultant duplication is very very bad in my eyes but do something similar or better. Coke and Pepsi are prime examples of this. Pepsi do something amazing, coke does it better, that’s what you need to do with your competitors.

Always remember re-branding campaigns can work wonders – if you relaunch a product or change your colour scheme, PR etc can work wonders for it as it will bring attention to your brand making it stick in their minds….


Kevin Nave is a SEO Consultant for Itineris Ltd – Web Design Agency in Ipswich. He has a large experience dealing with large corporate clients such as BT and PlusNet but he has moved back towards small business and SME to use his experience to help the smaller businesses fight against the large brands online. He has a large experience of online services varying from creative and user experience through to SEO and Social Media.