Latest Event Updates

Tradeshow Blues? START Playing GAMES

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Big Guys Entertainment recently debuted at Wedding Expo 2019 and wanted to live up to their slug line, “Expect BIG Things.” They host Game Shows like “The Big Feud” to warm up the reception guests prior to announcing the arrival of the wedding party. How do you show that concept at a wedding show? Easy – they played a Spin to Win game: “Win a Hug, Kiss or a Big Guys Wedding Entertainment Package.” There is something hilarious about watching these 300-400 pound guys handing out tiny Hershey’s hugs and kisses. The booth never stopped from the moment the doors opened until they closed. A gig was booked right on the spot. Here’s what it looked like if you’re curious:

However, next door, there was a vendor who had zero traffic. While tearing down, he came up and said “Man, I guess I should invest in a gameshow!” I saw he had sign-up forms, “Did you get many to sign up?” “Nah, they all wanted a prize. When they asked what they win, I told them, ‘you win me.’ Isn’t that enough?”

No, no – it’s not.

It’s the rare customer who willingly gives you their email because you’re you – (unless you’re a rock star…) But you can become a rockstar when you do one thing and do it well – GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT! Your customers want:

  • Unique Experiences – something they’ve never seen before. Big Guys had people standing in line to win a hug, a kiss or a wedding entertainment package.
  • Show What You Know – Big Guys Entertainment is made up of Pierre Vachon, a professional wrestler, former carnival barker and top-notch MC. Vinny Hebert’s the CTO of Web Help U.S. He’s high tech, making sure the games look top-notch and that the booking software runs without a hitch. Brides & Grooms knew in a instant what Big Guys Entertainment was all about and whether they were the right fit.
  • Not Everybody Likes You – that’s ok, you want the customers who LOVE you. Big Guys shows it in spades.
  • Deals – Big Guys offered a QR code on their rack card giving brides and grooms 50% off ALL Wedding Entertainment packages BUT… they had to act within 72 hours to enjoy the discount. Brides held onto that rack card like gold.
  • Give them a why – the contact info is the number one reason you’re paying to be in that show. Not everybody gives their contact info just because “you’re you,” they’re giving it because you have something of value they want to buy.
  • Feel Like a WINNER – Big Guys made even a Hershey’s kiss valuable (one woman even forgoes her chocolate to get a REAL hug and a kiss from Pierre.) Remember, nobody knew who The Big Guys were at 11:55, but they owned the room and were the hit of the Expo by 3:00 pm. When everyone else was tearing down? They stood at the exit and thanked each guest on the way out with – you guessed it… a hug and a kiss.
  • Stand up, Show UP – NEVER sit at your booth. Stand, smile and start a conversation about YOUR CUSTOMER. Shut up about your product. If you’ve done it right, they’ll clearly SEE what you’re selling. Let THEM ask YOU questions. Your job is to find out if you’re a good match for each other.
  • Have FUN – People are addicted to having fun, taking a chance, seeing something unusual. Fun is the best way to show what you know and give your clients something they’ll come back to long after the tradeshow’s over. Make sure they never forget you.
  • Follow-Up – Once all the names are entered, Big Guys will choose a winner and showcase that drawing on Facebook Live, follow up by emailing each entrant to notify them of the winner AND (you guessed it…) giving another time-sensitive offer to encourage booking gigs for summer and fall.

Find what makes you happy – if you sell paint? Demo how it works. You’re a marketer? Show a success story (yeah, shameless plug here…) Going to a tradeshow? Make it not about you, make it about them – cover them in hugs, kisses and service and you’ll always attract the right clients with the right expectations.

Mobile Friendly – Is Your Website Ready for April 21st?

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Got Clicks Mobile Friendly WebsitesI’ve been playing for awhile with making a website mobile-friendly in Serif WebPlus.  It works great if you have a simple website like InsuranSites, however, when you have LOTS of pages, it can get a little sticky.  I have 2 urls for Got Clicks and after a bit of reworking, it is now mobile-search friendly.

Why Do I Need to Make My Website Mobile-Friendly?

While yes, it’s a pain, Google does make a valid point:  If I’m searching on my mobile device for your business and I have to scroll clear across Canada to see your Contact Us info on my iPhone, I’m going to dump your website and go to one that’s a heck of a lot easier to read than yours. The Cardinal Rule: Make it easy for customers to buy from you.

How do I Know if My Website’s Mobile Friendly for Google?

Easy!  Just go to this simple link, type in your url into to test and see if you’re good to go on April 21st.

Helpful Links:

Depending upon how far the rabbit hole you wanna go, here are some articles that may be helpful to you and your web designer:
Google’s developer guide to smartphone sites – this is the most important document and the best place to start:
For sites with separate mobile and desktop URLs, this section is especially important:
These are common mistakes Google has seen in mobile sites:
Changing in rankings of smartphone search results:
25 key principles of mobile site design:

Free Tools to Rev Up Your Lead Capture Strategies in 2015

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The New Year rang in some wonderful free tools ideal for lead-capture, conversions and putting muscle behind your social media posts.  Here are two reviews for Snip.ly and SumoMe, both free and both worth your time.

Snip.ly:  I took App Sumo’s new tool, Snip.ly out for a test-run this afternoon, and I’ve gotta say, this tool has some serious power.  They’re doing a free one-year subscription to the Pro package and I suggest you get it while it’s hot – (it’s a $300 value) and no, I don’t have an affiliate link to them… (yet…)  Here’s a quick 4-minute video showing you the back-end:

Snip.ly not only abbreviates your long urls, but it allows for embedding a call-to-action button right onto your landing page with a one-two punch.  I used it to promote my affiliate hosting site, Midphase with their 40% off sale and my tutorials for Serif WebPlus.  It allowed me to promote BOTH pages on 1 post in both Facebook and Twitter (now how cool is that??)

SumoMe:  I’ve gotta admit, this one was a little confusing (still is…) in that I don’t always see the lead capture box show up on my website.  I put a device up on my home page (lemme know if you see the bugger…) to give away my free report, “The Top (Dirt-Cheap) Tools I Use to Get Noticed Online.” Some leads have come in, but not an avalanche. In all fairness, I haven’t promoted this to the max – I may use the power of Snip.ly to drive traffic to my pages that house the SumoMe lead-capture device and see if that works a bit better.  Nonetheless, it is easy to install, just not always easy to see it all the time, especially if you’ve put in commands that it only show once a month so as not to pester loyal followers of your website or blog.  Here’s the scoop on SumoMe and a few other GREAT tools:

So if you’re playing with your website over the weekend, take these two tools out for a spin and let me know what you think of them in the comments below.

Dear VT Legislature: WTF?

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What would you do if you had an internet business for 10 years and received an email like this one telling you one of your revenue streams was going to dry up tomorrow?  Yeah, our shop got that letter yesterday:

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I always tell my clients to avoid blogging about the Big 3 your mother warned you about discussing around the dinner table:

1)  Politics

2)  Religion

3)  Sex

However, when it adversely affects how I put food on the table, I go looking for answers.  I went out on Facebook and Cairn Cross of Fresh Tracks Capital had talked about this back in 2011.  I don’t really think the Vermont Legislature fully understands the impact of their decision.  We’re messing with flippin’ Amazon here – and the legislature’s decision could affect so many people.

I just released my book, “A Man to Honor You,” which I’m about to do a major campaign for on February 9th – in time for Valentine’s Day. Will my income eventually be affected by this decision?  How about other authors eeking out a living?  What about folks who started an Amazon store to sell coffee or widgets or???

I’m all for paying my fair share, and yes, I should’ve paid closer attention to all of this, but I didn’t – I was working to build my business.  It ain’t cheap to live here in Vermont, but it’s where I was raised, it’s where my roots run 5 generations deep.  Do I have to leave (as many others before me have…) to make a living?

I don’t want to just sit here typing to you and complaining; I really want to fix this.  Maybe there’s someone at the legislature I can explain how affiliate sales work so we can mend this gaping hole in the fence. If Amazon found Vermont too much of a pain to work with, where will that leave Google?  I make $ off each click on my tutorials I have on YouTube.  Will my Adsense profits be dinged here, too?  Short of that, I may be looking for work – sooner rather than later. (Anybody need an internet marketer?)

A Girl Named Tsu – A Social Media Platform that Pays You Back

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Got Clicks - Tell Me, Tell the WorldI know, I know – I groaned too when I heard there was yet another social media platform to play with.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t really have a problem with Facebook ads.  I DO have a problem with them owning all of my content.  I DO think the way they monetize by boosting your post is cumbersome.  I like how YouTube uses AdSense and rewards you for good content.  That’s how it should be done and happily, Tsu has taken this to a higher level.

I’m promoting my new program Tell Me – Tell the World where I teach you how to create your own lead capture devices to get more clients.  I was about to post about it on LinkedIn when Caleb Wright’s FANTASTIC review of Tsu hit my screen.  Do yourself a favor and read his whole blog, watch the videos, they’re worth your time.

Here’s a quick video showing you how to setup your Tsu.  Go ahead, sign up and follow me on Tsu.  Let’s see how much we can bank together.

Website Overwhelm: Has it Hit You, Too?

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Has website overwhelm hit you, too?
Has website overwhelm hit you, too?

It’s funny, I warn clients not to talk over customers’ heads and just last week, I did exactly that: I wrote about how stoked I was with the new Serif WebPlus X8 software and posted a video of how it all works on my LinkedIn wall.  I had a very kind woman point out that she had no idea what I was talking about.

Whoops.

So, I decided to review 3 website building platforms – Joomla, WordPress and Serif WebPlus to give you a view of the back-end as well as the front-end of these website builders along with what the heck is the difference between hosting and domains (watch the video for the exciting conclusion.)  I hope it helps bring more clarity – especially if you’re in the uncomfortable shoes of having to revamp a website and you’re not sure whether to throw in the towel and hire a web designer to start new or fix the one you already have:

I’ve been working with Vinny Hebert over at Web Help U.S. because he’s a staunch Joomla fan and I am – well, I’m not – yet.  He’s been patiently touting the virtues of a Joomla website and I’ve been slowly coming over to his way of thinking – albeit initially kicking and screaming.

I guess what drives me batty about both Joomla and WordPress is the fact that I can’t see the WHOLE page laid out until after I’ve typed or put in an image.  You’ll see what I’m talking about when you watch the video on the comparisons.  Joomla’s very left-brained – and I am decidedly right-brained.  So, instead of complaining, cursing Joomla’s modules and WordPress’ plugins, I decided to sit quietly and play nice. And just like anything that is new – once I let go of my pre-conceived notions of how I think it SHOULD work, I just accepted the way it DOES work.  The result?

Joomla works quite well for enterprise level businesses.  If you have a business that needs to scale, that has multiple users, that needs logins, security, variables for products, unique permissions for different users, Joomla’s your go-to.  In fact, we’re using it for a MAJOR project we’re unleashing in 2015 for the insurance industry because little Serif WebPlus just doesn’t have her big-boy pants on yet.  However, for a small entrepreneur?  You can’t beat Serif WebPlus for simplicity, affordability and speed.

So here’s a checklist of what you should ask yourself before you delve into building your own website or hiring a web designer to do it for you:

1)  What do you want the website to do?

2)  How many people will be updating the website?

3)  If it’s an e-commerce, how many products will you be selling off the website?

4)  Where is your customer base and how will you attract them to your website?

5)  If you’re building it yourself, are there resources you can turn to for help if you get stuck?

6)  Database storage – how and where will you store your client list?

I love Serif WebPlus because it’s a wicked (yes, I said ‘wicked..’) easy platform that allows me to draw my ideas out start to finish.  Joomla is great for heavy-lifting – sites that need a login, protected pages, a subscription perhaps.  WordPress I’ve used primarily for blogging, however, it can also be used as a website and has similar plugins as Joomla’s modules.  However, what’s missing for me in both WordPress and Joomla is the ability to create the website as I see it in my brain from start to finish.  When I’m talking to a client, I already start forming the website in my brain before I’ve even pressed my fingers to the keyboard.  Serif allows me the creative room to put a picture skewed to the left or right – I don’t need to think about it.  I don’t need a plugin or module, everything I need is right within the Serif software – I just draw it the way I see it.  Boom. Done.

What if you have a website and it’s just not working right?  Or you don’t dare hit that update button for fear it’ll blow your website out of the water?  Web Help U.S. has a Dedicated Webmaster program that will update your website so you don’t have to think about it.  He works in both WordPress and Joomla and you can’t beat the price of $59.95 a month.

As much as I love Serif, there are some drawbacks to Serif WebPlus. One, if you have more than one person managing your website, it’s not the ideal platform.  Both WordPress and Joomla allow for multiple users with a simple login.  Joomla allows for limiting accessibility to the site as well (as does, WordPress, so don’t get your shorts in a knot for all the WordPress fans…)

Second, it’s not a very robust shopping cart.  Vinny showed me some fantastic things you can do inside of Joomla for shopping carts and subscription-based websites that I haven’t seen anywhere else.  As Got Clicks grows and evolves, I’m going to need the subscription capability because I’m recognizing many of my clients do not have two grand up front for a website, but they’d be happy to spend a hundred to two hundred a month to promote their business.  I need to pay attention to that, lean in to change, embrace it and see which of these platforms will suit my needs.

But dang!  You can’t ignore the ease of using Serif WebPlus.  I just launched the X8 tutorials last week and already have about a hundred hits on it – so that shows me there is still interest out there.  I have looked at Weebly and I do remember the Homestead websites that came and went, but those have a hard time showing in the search engines and didn’t seem to have a place to put metadescriptions in or page names which are critical to search engine visibility.

So if I’m feeling the overwhelm of what’s the right platform – I can only imagine what you must be going through.  Yes, there are big changes in the wind for Got Clicks.  Yes, Joomla is going to be a very big part of that change and yes, I’m ready to take the next steps – how about you?

Did Google Kill the Keyword?

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Is the Keyword out of style?
Is the Keyword out of style?

When Google sounded the death knell of the Keyword tool, I was heart-broken.  I’ve always loved playing with words – making it easy to find what your clients are looking for (hopefully, you and your website…) and Google making it phenomenally easy to research how people searched locally and globally. I loved writing the right keywords and page titles along with meaningful metadescriptions to perfectly tailor a customer’s search for their expectation of what greeted them from your page.  I loved seeing my research pay off with my client’s website showing on the first page of a targeted keyword search.

Now?  It’s not so easy to research (for free, anyway…) the behavior of an online patron.  The pay-per-click landscape has definitely shifted from the easy 3-line adword campaigns to more sophisticated PLA (Product Listing Ads).  Gone are exact phrase matches and heralded in are the graphical units driven by a product feed.  The former innocence of Google replaced by the creepy big-brother looking over your shoulder mentality of Facebook ads that harvest your every thought and whim for the sake of your demographic (and psychographic) data.

So is the keyword dead?  Not really.  But it forces marketers to think more like consumers – how do we make it easy for people to buy your products and services?  Where do they hear about you?  On a blog post?  On YouTube?  On an app? When they search on their mobile phone, are they more likely to turn to Siri?  Or your cousin in Kansas on Facebook?

The Last Click Attribution

What triggers the last click before a purchase is made?  It’s not dependent solely on a Google search anymore.  Just as video may have killed the radio star, apps, social media and voice search have put a dent in the traditional keyword search, no doubt.  In Dave Schwartz’s smart article asking if we’re reaching the end of the keyword era, I would say no.  Is it changing?  Oh yeah.  Is it more point at a picture and click based?  Definitely.  But I’m not willing to throw in the towel and face an “Idiocracy” apocalypse.  The word is still mighty – stories still need to be conveyed as an art form.  Killer copy still sells just as it did in the 80s with Gary Halbert’s timeless letters, it just translates differently.

It still comes down to the Big 3 Elements Google has touted for a decade now:

  • Relevance
  • Content
  • Engagement

In fact, go back in history and you’ll see these 3 ingredients are key to any enterprise whether online or off.  The last ingredient?  The Secret Sauce?  Desire.  Do you have what your clients want, need and are willing to pay you for?  If you have these key ingredients, it won’t matter what algorithm Google pitches or how Facebook positions your ads – what will matter is people willing to search for what you have to offer and you making it easy for them to find what they need.

It’s called a great product or offering great service and that never goes out of style.