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strategy

Facebook – Take the Blue Pill or the Red Pill

“You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.”

Morpheus to Neo – The Matrix

No small business can afford to ignore the opportunities that present themselves on Facebook.

But first they have to unplug from The Matrix.

You may be on Facebook but it probably has you by the throat right now because you aren’t aware of how to really use it.

We have seen some pretty remarkable results by small business owners in one particular category over the past three months.

By using Facebook as a sort of lead generation platform, they are getting customers in the door and increasing sales.

As far as ROI complaints on social media goes, that ship has sailed.  There is a real return on your investment if you are willing to pony up some cash and time.

But you have to be willing to do both.  You have to spend your money and time.  You have to take the red pill.

And that’s the problem with most small business owners when it comes to Facebook.  They think taking the red pill means red numbers.  They fail to understand that decoding Facebook, breaking it down, understanding it and then using it, will get them in the black.

Every small business has to accept Facebook as The Matrix and then take advantage of that knowledge to capture real opportunities to make money.

Internet Marketing for Smart People

Internet Marketing for Smart PeopleYou know you need to get up to speed with the seismic changes that have forever altered the world of online marketing, but you just don’t have the time.

You’ve got a business to run after all, customers to care about, a family to feed.

You’ve put up a website, you’re on Facebook and Twitter but you’re just not sure how or why all of this is going to work.

That’s why you need to visit Copyblogger.

“But I don’t have time to read all this stuff!” you say.

No problem.

Now all you have to do is listen.

Do your work and let the music of Internet Marketing for Smart People play in the background.

Copyblogger founder Brian Clark, along with senior editor Sonia Simone and host Robert Bruce now offer a weekly podcast that is “designed to help tie together the things we talk about on Copyblogger into a coherent strategy you can use to build your business with online marketing.”

I get so much out of it I feel like I need to cut them a commission check on every sale.

It’s totally free and completely awesome (hey it’s Copyblogger, they ain’t the #1 marketing blog on Ad Age for nothing).

If you geek out on this stuff like I do you will love it.

How Volusion and BigCommerce Can Cure the Cyber Monday Blues

Case of the MondaysCyber Monday for many small business owners is more than just a case of the Mondays.

It’s a day when chickens come home to roost in the form of clicks and dollars that go everywhere except your pockets.

And why?

Well, shockingly, because 46% of small businesses DON’T EVEN HAVE A WEBSITE, as reported by eMarketer and Ad-ology.

Small business owners cite “cost” and “the need for control” as two of the main reasons why they are reluctant to beef up their online presence.

Using hosted shopping cart solutions that do not charge transaction fees is one way to jump in the pool without drowning.

Both Volusion and BigCommerce are relatively simple and affordable platforms that offer custom functionalities that can at the very least put get you into the online game.

Volusionbigcommerce

You can hire a designer to help you set up either system and make it jive with your aesthetics and overall branding.  There are a lot of independent contractors who only do Volusion setups (I know from experience) and I assume you can find the same for BigCommerce.

Once you commit to a platform, you will then find the challenge of driving traffic to your site to, at times, be daunting.  But this is a strong first step.  And a great way to avoid a case of the Mondays.

Got a Big Heart and Want a Great Deal? Check out DealGooder

DealGooderIf Groupon got together with TOMS Shoes their love child would be DealGooder.

She would be a precocious little thing, genetically engineered to create incredible group discounts and do good deeds every day.

Fortunately for us, you can meet her, them actually, right here in Orange County, as the Newport Beach venture officially launched this week.

Their site, boasting a yummy design with cute characters, is currently offering a $140 value for $35.  It’s two private pilates sessions at Escape Pilates.

Check it out here.

This is a startup that is literally fighting the good fight, donating 50% of their revenue to a good cause.

50%?!?

Yes.

50%.

They’re clever to combine two proven concepts into one.

Their brand message is strong.

Promoting philanthropy as a value to attract customers who share that value is what rocketed TOMS Shoes into the startup stratosphere.

But they don’t take themselves too seriously.

They got some poor guy (is it co-founder Todd Meyer?) running around in a dog costume.

And whoever is doing their tweeting is fun, sassy and smart.

I like these guys.

I think co-founders Erica Austin, Cara Mungo and Todd Meyer can pull this off.

That’s why you’ll see their cute little logo on the right hand side.

Seth Godin Asks Richard Branson About Marketing

Causing a Traffic Jam Doesn’t Make Your Music Suck Less

imperial starsWant to know how NOT to market yourself?

Meet Orange County-based Imperial Stars, who by all indications are neither imperial nor stars.

If they were, then they would not have had to block traffic on the southbound 101 yesterday to promote their song Traffic Jam 101.

Did I really just write that?

One punishment that has been suggested is to throw them in an Orange County jail for a year and force them to listen to their own music.

As you will see below, that might be considered cruel and unusual…