Wednesday, April 23, 2008

SEM: Part 1

Just returned from an all-day conference in San Fran about one topic: SEM. What, pray tell, is SEM? Simply what I believe -- along with a LOT of other people -- is the KEY for almost every business to not just survive, but thrive in today's market: Search Engine Marketing. In other words, building a really cool, even great web site isn't enough; the real "thing" -- the real art (and science) -- is not just getting people there, but getting the right people there: the people who will want to read what you have and see what you have and listen to what you have to listen to and, yes, BUY what you have to buy.

My two quick take-aways from the day (much more to come soon) are these:

Quick-take No. 1:
Buy stock in Google. Please, hurry. Buy all you can. Trust me on this: you'll thank me later. Big time. Why? Only that online advertising is expected to grow from approximately $1.6 Billion currently (yes, that's Billion) to roughly $4.5 Billion... in three years. And Google currently owns 78% of the search engine market share, with no signs of slowing down.... Buy Google stock. NOW.

Quick-take No. 2:
Every business should focus on the two critical components to creating a successful email/online campaign:

1. Have a great story to tell and use great graphics and photos to highlight that story, and
2. Have a specific, clear, easy-to-see-and-understand call to action

That's all you have to do to move to thriving.*

More about the conference soon....

*I know, I know, I'm being "funny" when I say that's all you have to do. Why? Because doing those two things well is EXTREMELY difficult. Trust me, I live-and-breathe this stuff. It's a knife fight in the back alley-kind of difficult. If you need help, or at least a resource to bounce ideas off of, contact me.

P.S. I have no idea why I added this pic, with this post; I just thought it looked cool. It's the school house in the town of Bodega that was part of the set of the movie The Birds. It's still there. If you wanna find out more, Google it.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Benefits to a Marketing Plan

I met with Nancy E. and Ray H. last week to begin the process of mapping out a marketing plan for their just-launched business of high-end, one-of-a-kind wine chests. Here are a few of the reasons they say they're excited to have -- very shortly -- a new plan:

* "gives us a clear path"

* "we don't have to do everything at once"

* "things are clear and more structured"

* "we needed the help prioritizing what to do, in what order"

* "we're honing in on what's most important"

* "Tim gave us new ideas/new thoughts"

Plans aren't dry, lifeless pieces of paper (at least not mine!). A well-conceived marketing plan helps clients sleep better at night by giving them clear direction on what to do, and in what order. Don't want to plan? That's your choice.... Just remember, if you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.