Does Your Business Need Google+?

Lately, I’ve been seeing people in the industry talking to small business owners about Google+ and it’s the next big thing and if you can get your business on it. there’s a big opportunity to increase sales.


In order for Google+ to bring you in more business, there needs to be people actively using it. As of right now, people have set up Google+ accounts, but they don’t spend any time on it. Most people are still loyal to Facebook and kill their time there.

What’s the value of being on Google+ right now? Really, there isn’t any value in being on there.

I believe that most people misunderstand the value in social media marketing. I should right a blog post in the future about it, but for now I’ll say that the value is in building relationships with people. Just like in the real world when you network. I see people creating posts on Facebook selling, trying to spur up conversation and those people that do that are better off just going to the beach or watching TV. Again, a topic for another day.

Something that sickens me is that you have “internet marketing companies” advertise Google+ to small business as if they “need” to be on it. That it will “increase” visibility. It’s garbage. They’re just trying to make more money and take advantage of the small business owner’s lack of knowledge in internet marketing.

Google+ will only be valuable to be on when there are millions of people that spend tons of time on it. Right now, that time has not arrived yet. Therefore, I would say the current value of being on Google+ is in the pennies.

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GoDaddy Peddles Junk

Let’s say you’re at a car dealership. You’re talking to the salesman and he tells you this shiny 2012 blue car runs great and you’ll love it. So you purchase the car and feel like the salesman was a sucker for giving the car away at such a low price. Then you wake up the next morning and the car won’t start. You bring in a mechanic who looks at the car and says, yeah, this car is junk, I can’t believe you were able to drive it home. It’s worthless. In my humble opinion, this is exactly what GoDaddy does to small business owners.

Last week while watching the Super Bowl, I saw a GoDaddy commercial advertising .co domain names and you needed to get one for your business ASAP! Those .co website addresses “get you noticed” and “smart businesses go with .co’s with GoDaddy”. And I can just imagine countless small business owners watching the commercial figuring if they buy a .co domain, their website will get more exposure, which will produce more sales leads and more revenue.

GoDaddy is peddling junk. Buying a .co domain name for your business won’t do anything. If Google or Bing decided to make a change in their search engine’s algorithm by giving websites with brand new domain extensions special ranking privileges, that’d be one thing. But that premise goes against everything Google stands for when deciding their organic rankings.

So will the .co domain name “get you noticed’? No. No it won’t. It won’t do anything. Buying the .co will not result in a single extra phone call, much less a new customer. The only value that domain offers is a piece of real estate on the internet. That’s pretty much worthless. Because .com, .net, and .org have been established as the premiere domain extensions on the internet and that fact has as much chance of changing as some new search engine knocking Google off it’s perch.

GoDaddy is making the internet marketing industry look bad. How would you like it if you bought a used car and it doesn’t do what’s advertised. That’s exactly what GoDaddy is doing here. And it’s because of companies like GoDaddy, that small business owners are still wary about spending more marketing dollars on the internet. Because there are still too many thieves that take advantage of people’s lack of knowledge in our industry.

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Facebook is Still Not a Viable Business

I know, I know, you might be reading the title wondering what the heck I’m talking about, but just humor me here. Yes, I know Facebook is not Myspace. I really doubt people are going to stop using Facebook anytime soon. I use Facebook a ton myself. So where’s the substance in my provocative title you ask?

Let me sum it up. Facebook’s advertisers are not making money. And make no mistake about it, Facebook is in the advertising business.

And I’m not the only one who’s seeing red flags. Below is a quote from Veronica Stecker, a media manager from retailer Gordmans Inc,  in Wall Street Journal story:

“We still don’t have a huge correlation between Facebook fans and return on investment in an actual sales in store. Until that metric becomes a lot more solid, I don’t think our company or other brands are going to be full-fledged into Facebook advertising.”

There’s a monstrous difference between Google and Facebook. Google is a destination. When people are looking for something, they go to Google. Advertisers make money because of that and Google is thus successful.

The past couple years, businesses, big and small, have been spending money on Facebook as an experiment and/or because everybody else is doing it. But we’re reaching a point where the economy continues to tighten and people are starting to ask each other, is this advertising even doing anything?

Facebook may have the biggest tech IPO ever shortly, but I think their biggest challenge lies ahead. Unless they figure out a way to help advertisers make money, which they’ve been trying and failing for the past 5 years, their revenue will dry up. Investors will question the business. And Facebook will be in all sorts of trouble.

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HP Is Done With The Computer Business

10 Years ago in 2001, HP bought Compaq making Hewlett-Packard the #1 computer vendor in the world. Fast forward to 2011 and both Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal are reporting the HP is about to sell it’s entire computer division.

When I read that, I asked myself, why on earth would a large corporation that spent countless time and money to become the market leader, give it up? Just throw it away. To me, i think it’s clearest signal that the computer business is no longer going to be a profitable business to be in.

Steve Jobs declared in March of this year the the “PC era is over.” A declaration that at the time, I thought was ridiculous. My knee jerk thought was that computers aren’t going anywhere. Every office needs them. But after doing some research and re-considering, I can see why HP is doing what they’re doing.

Basically, the computer manufacturing business has become so competitive that the only way to make money off of them is by doing a massive amount of volume. Companies make little money off each computer sold. And over the last 10 years, business has been great doing it that way.

But now the computer has competition. Smart phones and tablets are becoming more and more popular. Less computers are being sold because of this. And I’m betting that HP is betting that this isn’t going to change. That from this point going forward, there will be less and less computers being sold because of all the new mobile devices coming down the road.

The most startling thing I found was Mark Cuban predicting that this would happen back in 2005. Stunning. He hit the nail right on the head.

This is just another example in business that companies need to evolve when the environment around them changes.

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How Small Business Can Actually Benefit From Facebook

Of course everyone by now has heard of Facebook. And when small business owners have seen bigger businesses benefiting from Facebook, they’ve of course decided to try it themselves. But there’s a lot of bbad information going around leaving a ton of small business owners with a bad taste in their mouth.

Back in January, i blogged about a chart from emarketer about the 9 main benefits of social media marketing. But let me be clear. That chart applies more often to bigger companies. A lot of the benefits listed aren’t relevant to small businesses because they don’t have enough people “liking” their Facebook page. Because of this, “monitoring what is being said about your company”, “improving customer service”, “resolving problems” and a few others don’t apply.

Now, there’s lots of companies selling $1,000 a month and $500 a month “social media marketing” packages. In my humble opinion, they’re selling snake oil. As of right now, there’s a general consensus in the industry that there’s no evidence suggesting companies are profiting off large social media investments. They’re still working on it and making progress, but we’re not there yet. And most people who will tell you different and that small businesses are making money off of spending thousands of dollars off Facebook, are probably the same people selling these social media services.

At Customwave, we do have a social media marketing package. We keep it simple, provide the basics and do only what we know works for sure. We charge $25 a month for it.

There’s 2 main ways small businesses indisputably benefit off of Facebook. We post regularly on our clients Facebook pages with relevant content. For people who have never heard of your company before and they find your Facebook page, our clients will look like experts and authorities in their industry. This is the type of thing that convinces people to actually go through and do the job with you after they find your phone #.

The second main way Facebook benefits will have to do with how many people “like” your Facebook page. The more, the better. Because once someone “likes” your Facebook page and we post content, the content will land in their “news feed”. It’s very similar to email marketing, except in my opinion better because most people these days spend more time on Facebook than their email. This is how small businesses can generate referrals off Facebook.

These are two sure-fire ways that small businesses benefit from Facebook. Everything else at this point on Facebook is theory and experiment.

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Your Leads Are Worthless Without Doing The Following

So, for local small businesses, it’s all about getting phone calls, right? Usually. Most of the time. But not always. Generating sales leads is phenomenal. It’s absolutely a good thing. But what happens if these calls don’t translate into the client increasing their sales? The answer: the calls are worthless. The client looks for other marketing options. So how can you make it likely your leads will be of good quality?

Your Online Reputation Is Most Important

Almost every client I talk to, I try and make them aware of the report put out by Pew Research last September. The big headline is that 58% of Americans say that before they purchase products or a service, they do online research. In other words, they go to Google and type in your client’s company name. And you better hope that what shows up on the first page reflects the client in a good or neutral way. What good is getting somebody phone calls, if the potential customer googles your client and gets scared off by negative comments?

This is why every company doing internet marketing needs to be doing reputation management. Removing negative stuff from the first page of Google when someone types in your client’s name takes just as much time to get them ranked for competitive keywords organically. Generally speaking, it’s nice when almost all the results that show up on the first page for the company name are websites where you can control the content. This insures the client won’t lose business if the website visitor does a little digging.

(Shameless plug: For anyone interested in help with their reputation management, check out

Why You Want To Be Seen As A Guru

I got to find time to write a blog post on how to really use Facebook for small businesses. It’s really misunderstood. But relating to this topic, it’s important to put out an image that you’re an authority in your industry. Especially locally. Similar to what i was mention with reputation management, people will do online research on your company. And if you post regularly on Facebook, or your blog, or other websites, most people will percieve you to be an expert. Obviously, if someone who calls you or is considering calling you is on the fence, this is the type of thing that can tip people in your favor. How many of your client’s competitors have an online image of being an authority? Not many.

This is, in my opinion, the #1 benefit of social networks and blogging. It’s not something you can track or quantify, but definitely something that’s important to focus on. If you can take a few calls a month from people who ordinarily wouldn’t have done business with you, but do because of your guru-ness, it absolutely rewards your effort.

Source Traffic and Targeting

Before the phone call happens, before the website visitor reaches the client’s website, the website visitors originates from some place. You need to make sure that that some place is a traffic source that converts. Google would be an obvious source of good quality, thus explaining why so many internet marketers use it.

But for you others who use affiliate networks, social networks, and other random sources, you need to be able to measure the conversion. In other words, if the client wants sales, you need to track whether or not source A’s traffic is converting into sales. Without that knowledge, you’ll keep spending money on traffic that could be worthless to your client for all you know. I know, this sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed by how many people don’t test and measure like this. It’s called laziness ; )

For people who are doing pay per click, your keyword targeting needs to be right on. It’s critical to test and figure out which keywords are generating the client’s goals and which aren’t. Without knowing this, you’re going to flushing perfectly good money down the toilet.

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Newspaper Creates iPad In 1994 & Drops It Because Print Is More Profitable

Yes, you read that right. I came across a jaw-dropping story from Business Insider saying that a newspaper called “Knight Ridder”, created a prototype that is very iPad-like in 1994. There’s a video about it on their website.

It was called a “tablet” and the “electronic newspaper of the future”.

Then Knight Ridder was sold to McClatchy. Word has it that the “tablet” was dropped because at the time, print was so much more profitable that this electronic contraption wasn’t worth their time.

How sad.

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Mobile Search Will Surpass PC Search Sooner Than You Think

Being busy on running Customwave Internet Marketing, I haven’t had as much time to blog as I’d like, so I’m getting to this story a little late. Fashionably late ; )

The New York Times, who is by far, not the foremost expert on internet related matters, actually had an interesting story on how mobile internet use is growing and what Google is doing to take advantage of it. No earth-shattering news there, right?

But the article actually gets interesting at the very end quoting Scott Huffman, a Google engineer, saying that “Mobile search is definitely going to surpass desktop search… and I think they’ll pass before anyone thought they would.”

So in other words, what he’s saying is that as more and more people get comfortable with using the internet on their cell phone or tablet, that these devices, which you can take anywhere, will become more popular than the standard desktop computer.  And as a matter of fact, my last blog post was on a survey that said people prefer shopping on mobile devices more than regular computers.

It seems to me, the big take away from this, is that mobile websites are going to become way more important than regular websites built for desktops. And making sure that your website shows up properly on ANY device that gets internet access is going to be critical and essential.


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People Now Prefer To Shop On Mobile Devices More Than PC’s

PRNewswire says that according their survey, shopping on mobile devices has become more popular than shopping on regular computers. The numbers are actually pretty staggering. 49% say they still prefer the in-store experience, however 35% say they prefer shopping from their mobile device and only 16% preferring shopping on regular computers.

For companies selling product on shopping carts, it would appear already that having an e-commerce website optimized for mobile devices can no longer be ignored. Let me state once again that based on the #’s above, any company that does not have a shopping cart tailored for cell phones and tablets is missing out potentially on 66% of the audience.

Other alarming mobile news:

Surprise! 89% of people use mobile internet inside their home. Well, you might not have been surprised, but i certainly was. With pretty decent internet access on our cell phones, i figured that surely these devices would be most popular with people outside the home. But low and behold, Nielsen and Yahoo are reporting that people say they’re more likely to use mobile internet in the home than outside of it. Out of the 89%, 71% say that they use mobile internet in the home as a “second screen” while watching TV.

Then emarketer writes that tablets are becoming household fixtures. 77% of people say that because of the tablets, they’re using their personal computers less. And with the looming threat of “internet tv”, cable companies like Time Warner are now giving subscribers with tablets them ability to watch content from their TVs on their tablets.

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Marketing Online Is Simple? Well Yeah, If You Don’t Care About Results.

Usually, I don’t blog about other blogger’s articles in a negative way. But recently I read one of the laziest pieces of internet marketing info I’ve ever read.

The article in question, was written by someone named Matt McGee, which I do have respect for. I’ve read a lot of his stuff and it’s consistently good. But recently, he put out an article entitled “Online Success Is As Simple As This”. In the article he lists 4 simple steps to having success online. 1) Have a well seo’d website. 2) Have a great and active blog. 3) Be active on social media websites. 4) Have good products and good services.

Now, I will put out a disclaimer that I am speaking in the context of helping small businesses trying to market themselves locally, not companies marketing nationally. But even on a national level, i don’t agree with the lazy strategy.

Reason #1: Success Has To Be Defined

There’s lots of ways you can have success marketing online. Most companies do it to generate leads. Some do it to sell product through shopping carts. Other reasons include: email list building, helping market a product or service to be sold offline, promoting events, wanting people to download free programs, wanting to keep people on the website as long as possible so the website can sell advertising, and the list could go on for awhile. Matt’s article never defines what his version of success is.

Reason #2: SEO Used To Perform Wonders-Now, It’s Over-Rated

I actually just wrote a completely different article about why I believe SEO is now over-rated. You can check it out here.

Reason #3: The Mainstream Average Small Business Owner Has No Clue How To Use Facebook For Business

Sometimes when I’m talking to clients about us helping them with social media, they reply, “Oh, I’m already doing it.” What they mean by that most of the time is that they created a Facebook page for their business. And that’s it. They think that they’ll get referrals by just setting the page up. They have no clue that there’s waaaaaaay more to it than just setting up the page. So how is a small business owner going to have success in social media if they don’t even understand how to use it?

Reason #4: (And This Is The Biggest Reason) Neglecting The Other Stuff Will Damage, If Not Ruin, Your Campaign

How is online success “simple” if a company has a reputation problem? Meaning you type the company’s name into Google and negative stuff pops up on the first page. What if someone on their iphone can’t pull up the company’s website? What about call tracking? How can it be “simple” if there’s no call tracking on the website and you have no clue how many actual leads the website has generated? Online success, or more specifically internet marketing, is a process. With LOTS of tactics and strategies where some are, and some aren’t, relevant for different companies. For some companies, blogs are not going to help them because their customer base still reads trade magazines as opposed to online blogs. Same with social media. It all depends on the individual company.

In conclusion, internet marketing is not a one-size-fits-all service. Every company is different. Online success happens when you learn about what results the business wants, come up with the best strategies for it, and deliver the results. I guess the reason the article bugs me so much is because it’s bad information, like Matt McGee’s article, that causes people like me to re-educate clients on how we can produce the results they want.

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