Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Time for a New Term: URL Sprawl

URL SPRAWL(pron. "earl \╦łsprol\"): The tendency for small businesses to add pages and pages of content to their sites, for a number of reasons, including but not limited to cluelessness, "more is better" mentality, lack of strategic content planning and delivery, and lack of audience awareness. The problem with URL Sprawl is it is not only difficult to find information buried within the site but also that it can overwhelm busy online researchers in search of simple answers. I'll be exploring this concept and others--and of course helping you avoid them--in a new white paper, "Doing (Small) Business on the Web," available on my website in September. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Free Small Biz Marketing Seminar in Phoenix: Sept. 19, 2008

Please join me!
Title: Writing Stellar Copy: A DIY Marketing Seminar
Type: In-person
Date/Time: Friday, September 19, 2008 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Location: Burton Barr Library, Meeting Room A, 1221 N Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ
Cost: Free
Description: This seminar is for anyone who wants to take a "do-it-yourself" approach to writing ads, brochures, or any written marketing materials to effectively speak to their prospects and customers.

Click here to register

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Market Research for the Masses!

I am in the process of testing (for free!) the Power Poll from Vizu. Check out the custom poll at right and submit your vote. I read about Vizu in a BusinessWeek article on how small businesses can implement market research techniques without the major investment typically required. Although we're not quite as powerful yet in commanding affordable data, this is the one suggested tool I found useful. Of course, SMBs still need to think strategically about designing questions, even for simple polls. I'll share testing notes in a future post or you can join me by getting an account of your own.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Innovation at Work

INNOVATION has been a hot topic for a little over 2 years now, I believe. It appears in sales presentations, company values, all-hands meetings, etc. across industries. My thoughts on the subject are simple: Despite all the buzz, innovation at work really only happens by exposure to new ideas. But if management and employees are plodding along in their routines, how do new ideas happen? Sometimes routine does lend itself to imagination and then innovation--but only out of a necessity to escape! Is that really a productive way to build a culture of innovation? (That's rhetorical, people.) The best way to ensure innovation is to build in FLEXIBILITY and provide for new EXPERIENCES. While I think most large corporations have misgivings about giving employees flex time or covering the cost of training or activities peripheral to one's "job description," smaller companies can redefine what it means to work for them. More often than not, employers of all sizes are concerned with time. What's interesting is that most employees are salaried, not hourly, which sends the message that their results are more important than arriving on time, taking a 1-hour lunch, and leaving 8 or more hours later when work for the day is "completed." Yet these antiquated measures of success still dominate! Smart employers know the work never ends, and it doesn't begin when you show up to the office. Thankfully, engaged employees have active brains at all hours of the day and oftentimes the best ideas occur when they're doing something totally different from work. Point being: Want innovation? Lighten up on the clock and reward employees with experiences that will make them want to work for you! Sharon O'Neill's story and company,liveyourlife.com.au, for example, is a great example of experiential rewards. Too bad it's not available in the U.S., but for $48 you can go sailing for day. Also, too bad they're not my client.

(Note: If this post was a bit too fluffy for you, stay tuned . . . my next post will point to some experts on these subjects, such as John Kao, and respond to their key points.)

(Shameless plug: If you want help increasing innovation in your organization, please contact me to schedule a culture review. You'll get personalized recommendations and programs to implement to take your small business further.)