Are You Ready For Internet Metering???

Yes, there wasn’t a typo in the subject title. Metering, not marketing. Metering, as in paying for internet based on consumption. Sounds great, right?! : )

As of right now there some muckity mucks in washington, more specifically the FCC, are toying around with the idea of having internet service providers charge based on how much content you download on the internet. Like, under a certain plan, you’d have a 20 GB limit per month. Doesn’t sound too bad until you think of the file size of online video (a high-def movie online can take up to 2-3 GB). So the basic premise is the more online video or music or other files you download or play, the more your internet will cost.

For those reading this, skeptical that something like this would take place, you need to look no further than north of the border. That’s right, this experiment has just been tried in Canada and boy, was it not pretty. The Calgary Herald reports that there have been over 220,000 signatures on a petition to reverse the internet metering. The article mentions a graphic designer who does freelance work professionally having to download large files everyday for his customers, finding his internet bill $34 higher than usual.

In the defense of the service providers, they’re in a scrambling sort of mode right now. Things were fine for them back when watching video online was a rarity, but now that video streaming has gone mainstream, they have a problem with dramatically higher bandwidth costs. And how do you charge more for the higher cost when you have a chunk of people who watch a ton of video versus those who use the internet sparingly. That’s the root of the problem.

Call me captain obvious, but my conclusion is that people loathe bills that have different prices every month for reasons beyond their understanding. I’m hoping that the service providers can take an average and charge a fair, fixed monthly price, without the government getting involved.

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Yes, They’re Going To Shop Around

Now, before i really get going on this post, I’m going preface by saying that i know nothing about cars. I have no clue how to change the oil. I know almost absolutely nothing about science. If you asked me what a proton or neutron was, I’d give you a look similar to a deer in the headlights. So…. I’m not a car guy. I’m not a scientist.

Another bit of information that’s come to my attention is that not all small business owners are salesmen.

The last few months, I’ve been more and more surprised by how some of our clients react to the phone call leads that we’ve been sending them. And the thing it always comes back to is our client’s disdain for the fact that the people we’re marketing to shop around. Mostly, i think this comes because the vast, vast majority of small business’ revenue comes from referrals and “word of mouth”. Or maybe it’s something else. Whatever the case, entrepreneurs need to be prepared to sell when people call. Or at least hire a professional sales rep who can’t handle the calls.

Talking with one of our web designers earlier, he was telling me about his experience looking for locksmiths. He needed to get a couple keys made. The first company he called quoted him $100 for the job and to the web designer, that was surprising, so he said thanks and called the next locksmith he could find hoping that there would be someone else out there with a better price. And sure enough on call #4 he found someone that was willing to do it for $70.

My main point is that if 10 calls come in from people you have no relationship with and they’re interested in your service, there are some companies out there that convert 7 sales out of the 10 calls. For entrepreneurs that are hoping to just get 1 or 2 sales out of 10 calls, maybe it’s time to think about your sales strategy and if there’s anyway you can improve what you or your sales rep is saying to increase sales. The only thing that’s more valuable than receiving more leads is converting more of the leads you already have into sales.

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Internet Marketing Doesn’t Work

Every now and then I’ll hear someone tell me that that not interested in doing any kind of internet marketing because “it doesn’t work.” Anytime i hear this, it makes me sad. And it’s not because I’m a greedy capitalist trying to make a buck. ; ) I want to set the record straight for both fellow marketers and small business owners alike. I wanted to offer the 4 main reasons from my experience marketers and clients can’t find the same page.

BAD INFORMATION: I can’t tell you how many times i’ll be speaking with a client who has gotten bad information from a friend and or family member. The client becomes convinced the sky is blue and then someone like me comes along and tries to inform them that the sky is actually in fact red. It’s a difficult situation. All I am is the lowly web sales guy who’s only agenda is to sell our service. How is my word going to be more trust worthy than someone the owner knows and trusts.

BAD EXPERIENCE: This one is also tough to overcome. I’ve talked to many clients over the years who’ve worked with a free lance guy who does great in the beginning. Very giving with their time, usually low rates. And then the day comes when they’re gone and never to be heard from again. For a lot of these entrepreneurs, they’ve paid deposits and their projects aren’t finished yet. Free lance workers usually do this when either A) they thought they knew how to do the project and then find out they have no clue what to do, B) they thought the project wouldn’t be that much work, charged a low price and low and behold it turns into being a heck of a lot more work than they thought and decide it’s not worth it anymore, and C) they have another job or school or lots of other projects and they procrastinate and procrastinate and it really never gets done. To me, THE worst thing you can do as a professional is take someones money, not finish the work, and ignore the customer’s calls. The small business owner who’s been through this can have a hard time getting the bad taste out of their mouth. And rightfully so.

UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: In marketing, expectations are everything. A campaign with super high expectations, that produces decent results, can be viewed as a failure. When we first rolled out social media marketing, I talked to a client one month after he had agreed to give it a try and he tells me , Chris, I want to cancel because it’s not doing anything. I tried to remind him that i told him the previous month it takes 3-6 months for the social campaign to produce results but for whatever reason, he was convinced that it should only take 4 weeks for his facebook page to bear fruit. There are some internet marketing services that can produce overnight results like pay per click and email marketing, but others like search engine optimization, social media, and reputation management take time. A lot of time. Entrepreneurs need to look at these services as investments that will be great for their company down the road.

THE ECONOMY IS BAD: This is something that is beyond anyone’s control at this point. The root of the problem with the economy is that when a marketer’s client’s customers don’t have as much money, there’s going to be a lot less conversions per lead. Sometimes business owners lose sight of this and blame the strategy. Sometimes marketers get upset because they’re doing exactly what they’re supposed to and the client is still not happy. The economy being what it is, makes things tough on everyone and I think it’s essential to keep perspective in mind when trying to determine if a marketing strategy is working or not.

Ultimately, it’s important for marketers and small business owners to be on the same page. When a marketing company, such as Customwave, can deliver leads and drum up business for entrepreneurs, everyone wins. In my opinion, if i was running an auto repair shop or sign manufacturer or any other small business looking to market online, i’d invest in both long term and short term solutions.

I’d keep in mind in the short term that the amount of sales I get from leads won’t be as high as it usually is because people simply don’t have as much money. But i’d really focus on the long term solutions because the economy will turn around sooner or later and there will be less competition in the market. And when demand starts really picking up again, there’s going to be a real opportunity to pick up a good chunk of market share. I truly believe that it’ll all be worth it to be ready when that happens.

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Internet Marketing Grows 15.9% In Q4 2010 Compared To Q4 2009

Just wanted to pass along these numbers not to brag that our industry is doing OK during the recession. It’s informative because in this economy, if people are increasing their internet marketing budgets, it means they’re getting value out of it. I really believe that we’ve only scratched the surface of what the internet can do marketing wise. It’s easy to forget that websites really became mainstream back in 1995 and marketers have been trying to figure out best practices since.

The yellow pages wasn’t created overnight after the telephone was invented. The best of internet marketing is probably still a ways away.

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What You Don’t Know About Email Marketing

Email Marketing. Doesn’t seem that complicated right? Take a list of email addresses, copy and paste them in. Come up with an email and send it out. Simple, right. Uhhhh, nope.

NEWSFLASH: The challenge in email marketing is making sure the emails land in the recipient’s inboxes. Why is this a problem? The service providers.

The service providers are the companies that operate people’s email. Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, etc. If you didn’t know, these companies operate email for people so they can sell advertising on their websites. Now, if their users (people who use the email) recieve spam consistently, they’re not going to tolerate it these days. The service providers do not want anything messing with their advertising dollars.

So they set strict guidelines. For every 500 emails that are sent out, sp’s require no more than 2 people marking the email as spam. If this happens, your email address becomes black-listed and any email that you try and send will either be not delivered or land right into people’s junk mail folder.So, it’s important that when doing email marketing, that you send email to your customers, people you have good relationships with.

Next week i’ll have a post on how you can do email marketing for people who don’t know you so you can generate new business.

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2011 Will Be The Year Of The Smartphone

According to Business Insider, only 26% of Verizon subscribers, have smartphones! (For those, like my dad and other older people, who don’t know what a smartphone is, it’s a cell phone that has internet access) But yes, only 26%! AND 75% of contract subscribers that are due for upgrades, are currently upgrading to smartphones! AT&T’s has a bigger smartphone customer-base percentage wise, but it’s still only 35%!

Nielsen is also chiming in that by the end of the year, there will be 150 million-160 million Americans with smartphones! How do these #’s compare to how many people who the internet on their computers? The U.S. has a little bit above 200 million users! 200 million pc internet users! 150-160 million smartphone users! Get the picture? Well, if you still dont, here’s a visual:

Let me be unequivocally clear here. THESE NUMBERS ARE CRAZY!!! If you run a small business and your website is not optimized for smartphone users, you’ll be MISSING OUT! In the next year, in my humble opinion, every small business that has a website should have a mobile website. The difference between a mobile website and regular website is that the mobile website is narrow, vertically. The link buttons are especially big. The overall navigation of the site is so easy 5 year-olds and people over 60 alike won’t get lost on it : )   (No offense to those over 60 lacking internet know-how. I, myself for instance don’t even know how to change the oil in my car. Everybody has their skill-sets)

One last thing to keep an eye on is how media buying, aka pay per click is effected. Google is already experimenting with “pay per call” for smartphone users. So in other words, instead of Google charging anytime someone clicks on the link to your site, they charge for every click on the phone # that causes your phone to start dialing the #. There have been a lot of people trying to figure out the right business model for pay per call, but i could totally see it working extremely well with smartphone users. Hopefully other publisher networks will follow suit in doing what Google is. Keep an eye on it.

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Top 9 Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Emarketer recently did a survey with a number of small businesses that have been using social media, to name the top benefits of using it. The following are the results:

At the risk of sounding obvious, it’s always important to have goals and understand why you’re doing any form of marketing. When doing social media marketing, this is good list to start with as far as figuring out what you want to get out of it.

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Why I Started This Blog

For those who don’t know me well, i can be pretty blunt. Some would even say it’s one of my flaws. I just wanted to set the record straight on why i’m taking valuable time out of my day to blog about internet marketing.

Here’s reason #1: TO MAKE MORE MONEY. Yes, I did just say that. Again, if anyone who blogs says they don’t do it to make more money is fibbing. On this blog, you’ll always get my honest take. As a matter of fact, there’s a pretty good chance that whenever I blog, it’ll make some people mad. And that’s great! Because opinions are supposed to be polarizing.

Now, there are other reasons I’m blogging besides wanting to make more glorious profits. There’s a lot of information out there. Tons! Where do you even start?? And how do you even find the time to read it all?? And then there’s bloggers who write about junk because there’s nothing else to write about.

Here, i’ll blog 6 times a week only on the most important stuff that does matter. And in risking people thinking i’m arrogant, I’ll say that if i’m not blogging about it, it’s not important. Cheers : )

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