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Search Engine Strategies New York City, San Francisco & Chicago 2010 Session Pitch : Home Page Title Tag – Hot or Not?

The following session was submitted to Search Engine Strategies in January, 2010.  Hope you enjoy it.

Home Page Title Tag – Hot or Not?

Moderators: David Dalka and either Mike Grehan, Greg Jarboe or Stewart Quealy

The first thing one learns about search engine optimization is about the importance of title tags, especially the home page title tag. Yet when an experienced SEO surfs the web they often must stop and scratch their head at certain home page title tags! It certainly indicates a lack of understanding by senior management teams out there.

In this session everyone is the expert! We will share 30 title tags and URLs in 30 minutes. Everyone gets to tweet their impressions of the title tag for with the Twitter hashtag #sestitle!!! Then we’ll do Q&A and figure out what it all means. The benefits of this session are certain to include venting of pent up frustration, bonding with your fellow search marketers, extreme laughter and far reaching communication of the session to people far and wide not even at the Search Engine Strategies conference! Spread the gospel. Change the world. See you there.

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Bryan Eisenberg’s 21 Secrets to Top Converting Websites

Bryan Eisenberg will be giving a session shortly entitled 21 Secrets to Top Converting Websites at Search Engine Strategies Chicago 2009 and at marketing conferences worldwide in 2010 – here’s a high level preview of the session:

1. They Communicate Unique Value Propositions & Unique Campaign Propositions
2. They Make Persuasive & Relevant Offers
3. They Reinforce The Offer Sitewide
4. They Maintain Scent
5. They Make A Strong First Impression
6. They Appeal To Multiple Personas/Segments
7. They Don’t do Slice & Dice Optimization
8. Leverage Social Commerce: Use Voice of Customer
9. They Use It For Navigation
10. They Use It For Promotions
11. They Use It For Credibility
12. They Use It For Feedback & Research
13. They Use Persuasion Principles Like Scarcity
14. They Make Forms Engaging
15. They Provide Point of Action Assurances
16. They Keep You In The Process
17. They Consider Email Preview
18. They Budget For Experience
19. They Utilize a System for Prioritization
20. They Make Data Driven Decisions
21. They Know How To Execute Rapidly

Postscript: The session was well attended! In fact there wasn’t an open seat in the room, people were feverishly taking notes of Bryan’s material during his thought provoking conversion talk.

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Twitter, Revenue Models and Venture Capital

I love it when Michael Arrington takes off the here’s the tech of the day hat, takes the gloves off and talks about the real issues (more, more!), like he did that today with his post Twitter and The Revenue Dilemma. I wrote about potential business models for Twitter about a year ago, it generated a nice phone call from a venture capitalist, but not Twitter itself. Perhaps that will change now that Dick Costolo is COO of Twitter? Time will tell.

Michael clearly lays out the valuation issues with a situation like this.  My issue is that startups need to discover and map their potential data and revenue models before launching much more than they currently do so that it is incorporated into the user value proposition so that users don’t get rubbed the wrong way when large, seemingly random terms of service and/or privacy changes take place (and I’m not picking on Twitter, I’m pointing out an issue to the startup community at large). I’m not saying they should necessarily implement them on day one – Michael’s post points out why based on the way the world  currently does business cases.

If greater thinking through of revenue and data models is to occur, it can only happen if sites like TechCrunch and folks in venture capital demand that as the price of entering the game. I’m not going to name names, but there is evidence that some types of investors work off of the 1999 model, this guy has been successful in a startup before or he was a strong player in one and all too often emotional investments take place rather than ones based on the merits of the idea. There are regional variances to this of course and this is not the case in certain locations. I get exposed to some great ideas and business plans.  I’m currently in touch with a few very well thought out ideas with serious revenue models and they aren’t getting the investment checks written because they are serious non-sexy B2B businesses or they are well thought out B2C plays and they get push back on things like adoption. The behavior Michael described will not change until investors and to a lesser extent technology press put people’s feet to the fire on these issues prior to A rounds being granted. Bill Hartzer said it in his comment on Michael’s post:

“Sure, Twitter costs plenty (lots of money) to run. It’s a money pit, actually. And it appears that they don’t have a revenue stream (yet).

When are the VCs going to realize that they need to dump money into startups that are actually profitable?”

I think Bill meant “workable revenue model” instead of profitable as if they are profitable they rarely need growth capital, but his direction aligns with my views – have a well thought out business and data model. I’m not against freemium, but you need to be able to add features that people are willing to pay for and have a clear plan to succeed. To do this you need a management team that is customer focused and has the right balance of business and tech folks – too much of either and you’ve got a real problem.

So what are your views on how this should evolve? The dot com boom was focused too much on valuations, the web 2.0 boom was focused too much on tech and not enough on business models. Are we close to finally getting the balance right in the next few years? The net is still young, it’s not mature, new rules and breakthroughs will come but only if we move past legacy dogma…

Make sure you go back and read the comments on that post, it contains some really interesting ideas for you to ponder, I’m not  going to point out which ones are the best right now though as I have to run to a client meeting.

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No Amount Of Paid Lobbyist Dollars Can Prevent Content Revolution

Brian Solis checked in with a guest post on TechCrunch this morning regarding the disclosure debate.

To be clear, it’s a thoughtful post and I don’t disagree with anything materially in what was said. So why write about this? I find the entire conversation to be 100% completely unnecessary.

First a story. When I was a teenager, I saw in ad in the back of a magazine, it stated to send $1 and a self addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to receive information on a tried and proven money making business strategy. It sounded good so I sent it in. A few weeks later I got a my envelope in the mail. It contained a small note that contained a message like this:

A proven way to make money:

– Open a post office box

– Place a small ad in the back of a magazine asking for $1 and a SASE to “learn a proven way to make money”

– Put your $1 bills in the bank and send notes like this one

Yes, I was scammed. But being scammed was an important event in making me a more careful and better consumer. I learned. It was necessary for me to grow. Did the magazine know the ad was a scam? Probably. Did that stop them from publishing it? No. Consumers need to judge each situation for themselves based on the data available and make the best decision.

So Dave why is this potential FTC regulation unnecessary (and possibly quite harmful)?

  1. The content revolution is not well enough defined to regulate it – It’s changing all of the time, if businesses and individuals still have trouble understanding it’s implications on our society. How can a group of elder statespeople in our government know what is right? Simple answer. They can’t. As traditional media loses relevancy/power content will increasingly be created by the masses. It’s a simple fact. Get used to it, in the long run, it may actually lead to the removal of the abuse of monopoly power.
  2. Traditional advertising is not generally marked in the manner the FTC is suggesting – When you watch TV, ADVERTISING is not in giant letters on the commercial during the program is it? No. It’s not on outdoor billboards. It’s not in newspapers, magazines or the majority of web site banner ads. Why? Because it’s obvious to those who look closely. Creating a double standard here is just plain silly and it’s insulting to people’s intelligence.
  3. Previous FTC measures have proven to be massive failures – The FTC instituted the Do Not Call List Registry and the CAN-SPAM  Act several years ago. Yet I get numerous unsolicited commercial calls to numbers I’ve registered on the list. I get tons of spam from email lists that I have NEVER signed up for on a daily basis. Regulation without enforcement results in selective usage of the law. This is not good and can be abused on both sides. The FTC has a proven history of failure and should go fix it’s previous messes before creating unnecessary new ones.
  4. Social media platforms should do everything possible to prevent fraudulent usages – I see tons of fraudulent Twitter users emerging daily. Twitter should be creating validation of each and every user which would lead to an immediate reduction in questionable activity. Why aren’t they? Because it would put holes and raise questions about Twitter’s “growth story” and that with no revenue model in sight would lead to lower valuations and less money being pumped into the company. Twitter has a responsibility here and I don’t see it doing everything it can to eliminate questionable activity on the platforms. If the social media platforms acted responsibly – unnecessary legislation could be avoided.
  5. The traditional advertising industry is apparently using lobby influence dollars to try to maintain it’s declining monopoly power via regulation – Content is taking over the economy as search allows people to find it and social media networks allow it’s distribution.  This is similar to how the printing press once revolutionized content distribution. We are living in something like this again now.  Yes there will be pain. But regulations in the middle of the content revolution will hinder commerce and slow the process of replacing business models that are no longer highly relevant. Do we legislate against fuel efficient vehicles in favor of gas guzzlers? No, of course we don’t – why create unnecessary legislation that harms new forms of efficiency? yes, this really is this unnecessary. 
  6. “All Marketers Are Liars” – This famous book by Seth Godin indicates that deceptive advertising has always been a part of society and likely always will be. This is NOT new. Don’t we respect people enough to make their own judgments? I do. Why then act like it’s new? It’s not.

Look at the facts of history, the proposed FTC regulations will solve nothing and do nothing besides place a greater burden on commerce in an already struggling economy. We can prevent this grave mistake. Now let’s go do it.

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BMA B2B Marketing Conference, Google’s Sam Sebastian, Director, Local & B2B Markets

Sam announced in a public forum for the first time that I’ve seen search as a leading economic indicator. I have long dreamed of this prospect from the moment I first saw Google and combined it with my previous background in instituational financial services. I’m excited about this development and would like to openly ask Google when the content that Sam shared this morning will be available publicly for use on Google Trends?

Google’s data can now predict home sales and home sales numbers with search numbers.

The data can be correlated with stock prices at this time.

B2B search terms are growing. Conversions are bouncing back in Q2 2009!

Research, online and offline, big company c-suite, SMB and government sectors.

Commentary: First a note about the c-suite portion of the survey, I have concerns about an offline study asking senior executives about actions used for decisions being accurate. Or worse assuming the numbers were generated from search itself when it wasn’t. Executives might answer what they think is the best practice, even if they don’t do it to appear competent. I know of Fortune 500 CEO’s who still have their emails printed, so I have doubts about the number actually being this high. I’d love for this data to be 100% correct more than anyone, I really would, but I have concerns.

First findings form the C-Suite:

– 73% of the C-suite is using the Internet for information verification and vendor selection.

– 92% Internet exceeding, 87% at-work contacts for referrals.

– 64% of C-level executives conduct 6 or more searches per day to locate business information.

Video and podcast content usage is growing in importance.

Small and medium size businesses:

77% of business owners use search to find suppliers.

Half are using blogs and social media sites in some form in their business.


Searches are way up on stimulus, energy, health care and related issues.

Huge impact of search results, with just an Adwords ad:

28% Brand Association

36% Message Recall

Commentary:  I’d live to see an example with a smaller, lesser known B2B example.

With both a top organic and Adwords listing, incremental increases are significant

53% Engagement

43% Message Recall

63% Brand Association

Commentary: Sam Did not provide data on organic listings alone. I’d love to see if this was higher of lower than the Adwords ad alone.

“Mobile Search Growing Rapidly” Start testing…(audience did not react much)

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Recap: Speaking at WordCamp Chicago 2009

Truly an outstanding weekend! Thanks again to Brain Gardner and Lisa Sabin-Wilson for organizing an outstanding event event! Other than venue issues with Wifi access, it went as smooth as glass.

It was also nice to meet Matt Mullenweg and Jim Turner in person for the first time.  Having all of my great friend from the Chicago SEO friendly meetup group was awesome as well.

It was fun to be part of a late afternoon speaking trio that put myself in between Kevin Palmer and Micah Baldwin. My talk was about the lessons of social media and search engine marketing measurement and how the driver is truly becoming web analytics management consulting to determine the proper course of action in the content strategy revolution. On your domain and blog you own your terms of service, on a social network you do not – this has major implications that need to be considered deciding what is the right path for your content. The talk got some nice reactions both offline and online…


All in all, it was an outstanding weekend and I made some great new friends.  I’m looking forward to Wordcamp Chicago 2010!

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David Meerman Scott – BMA B2B UNLEARN Conference 2009

Before David’s talk today, I had the opportunity to chat with him for a while. We had been talking in backchannels for quite some time and it was great to finally connect in person. I learned throughout our conversation that we have similar backgrounds in financial services, data products and negative events in both of our lives have served as motivators.  He also gave some customized advice on how he thought I should proceed in my journey to transform companies marketing.

After lunch he gave a highly intense 50 minute speech. He talks fast (as do I) so I think I missed a little bit of the talk in this blog post, but I hope that you are still able to glean the vlaue out of it that I did, seeing him live brought his ideas to a new level for me. He’s done a fantastic job of simplifying the complex, we shoudl all learn from his example.

Without further delay, here is my live blog post of his talk (please forgive brevity and language errors):

In the past 30 to 60 days have you used or replied to the following media:
Direct mail – 3% replied
Mainstream Media – 22% replied
Print Yellow Pages – 3% replied
Google, etc 100% replied
Tapped peer to peer network to get URL 80%

Why are we still focused on the 2-3% methods rather than the 80% and 100% methods?

Cindy Gordon at Universal Orlando told 7 just people the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Mainstream media and other people followed – when 7 = 350,000,000 million

What are we after? Attention. Cindy Gordon earned that attention via a Midnight conference call with 7 people.

David Meerman Scott – in 2002 he was fired laid off from Thomson for practicing cutting edge marketing. People are afraid of content based marketing. They are still afraid of it. THis fear is harmful in a multitude of ways.

Dentist in Boston. Started a blog. Wrote “Healthy Mouth, Healthy Sex” a free ebook. The ADA hated it. Her business is now doing $1 million dollars a year.

“You must unlearn what you have learned.” –Yoda

Prospects. Tell your story to an interested market.

Every hotel web site is the same. Boring, product focused.

Imagine a hotel website that was customized for each buyer? Businessperson, corporate travel manager, family choosing a vacation spot, wedding planning, event planner, etc

Who are your buyer personas?

What do you want your buyer personas to believe?

You can…
Buy attention…TV attention (talked about how silly CPM banners are would you like to buy space on the back of his laptop?)
Beg for attention…
Bug for attention…
Earn Attention…the best way…in the new rules!!!

Example: Approva
Internal Auditors….
Videos on Youtube “Happy Birthday Sarbanes Oxley”

On the web, you are what you publish…

It’s all about people…and some people aren’t playing nice on social media…

He put 14,000 post it notes on Jaguar, 3M liked it and contacted him. He asked for $2,000 for more notes. They said no. They got slammed and destroyed a positive thing.

If your mother would say it wrong, it probably is.

Encourage sharing…

Why do people use this Gobbledygook? 350 most overused phrases. Then counted the number of times this was used. The Gobbledygook Manifest.

Visual Gobbledygook – don’t do it.

Parents against reprehensible metal music…was a bait and switch – Toyota Matrix 2009

Causes this  “You are trapped on this website, you are screwed” syndrome

The back button is the 3rd most used web feature. (Sad isn’t it?)

You must lose control of your marketing!!!

The Grateful Dead allows bootlegging of their concerts and  music. Millions of people download it and adore the music. Lose control of your marketing… (I’d like to point out that this is not a new concept great to see an old school example)

Example: Mailer Mailer – made a whitepaper totally free – created a 20x increase in downloads – all for abandoning the email address! A good trade you should all make.

Put down roots – be where your audience is.

Kadient – The new rules of sales enablement – landscape rather than portrait, color rather than black and white.

Point the world to your virtual doorstep! Queensland, Australia had a contest, 34,000 entries and one guy creating content once he won.

FEAR – You have to unlearn what you learned

We want 330,000 people to be in Public Affairs.  In a world where people block social media, the Air Force promotes and social media.

I can’t do this…I’ve heard every excuse in the world…if a B2B German Toilet company can do it, you can.


David like my recent post about VP of Communications at Universities enough to tweet it, check it out!