Is Too Much Technology Bad for Business?

by Carl Weiss

Having worked the web professionally since 1995, I can remember a time when we weren't so hardwired to technology.  Sure a lot of the elements of online life that we take for granted today were already in vogue back then, like Apple vs PC, inkjet printers, zines (the forerunner of blogs), and even cellphones had already made the scene.  The chief difference between then and now was the way in which the public viewed the wired world.  Back then going online was more of a convenience than a way of life.  While some people (particularly the young) were addicted to certain aspects of technology, more teenagers were hooked on video games then the Internet in 95.

That was Then and This is Now

Flash forward 16 years and the Internet and the cellphone have sunk their technological hooks into every aspect of modern life.  Most people would find it hard to function professionally if they couldn't surf the web 24/7 on PC, cellphone and tablet.  Gone are the lines that separated one form of wireless technology from the other.  Far from simply being able to read the printed word, the twenty first century version of the Internet now offers everything from streaming video to voice activation.  But while the web has insinuated itself into our daily lives, has that been a help or a hindrance to businesses on the whole?

Through the Gorilla Glass

If we view the past sixteen years of online "progress" in terms of competition and opportunity we get mixed results.  On the one hand, there are certainly more people using the Internet.  In 2000 there were more than 108 million people in the US and 360 million people worldwide who were using the Internet.  By 2011, those numbers had jumped to 273 million in the US and 2.2 billion worldwide, an increase of 528%.  So from a strictly statistical level, the Internet offers more mouths to feed, which is a boon to businesses hungry for more customers.

Now for the downside.  Back in 2000 there were lots of search engines that could provide businesses with both position and traffic.  Companies such as Alta Vista Ask Jeeves, Excite, Infoseek, Lycos, Magellan, and WebCrawler made it possible for companies large and small to get into the online game.  Sure, Google was also in the mix back in 2000, but they hadn't muscled their way into dominance back then to become the 800 lb gorilla in the room that they are today.

While even the smallest of businesses can generate page 1 results on Google today, it is a far more complicated affair.  And in the wired world, complicated translates into time and money.  Whereas back in 2000, it was relatively simple to have an SEO expert tune up your homepage, in the modern world of Internet marketing, there are 31 points of light that every search engine spider alights on today, including such things as blogs, social networks, backlinks and video.  If your web presence is lacking in any of these, or you aren't adding compelling content to them on at least a weekly basis, then your chances of achieving a page 1 result are slim at best.

Back to the Future

Not only are there far more stops on the technology train in 2012 then there were in 2000, but a number of the stops have siderails.  Consider social networking.  If you are serious about making the grade online, then being on Facebook (the second most visited destination online after Google) isn't enough.  You also need to Tweet.  Not to mention the fact that back in November of 2011 Google launched its own social network Google+.  So if you are looking to make the grade with Google, it's probably a good idea to add this to your online marketing mix as well.

Overwhelmed?   Well we're not done yet.  Because while more than half of the cellphones in the US are smartphones capable of surfing the web, that doesn't mean that every business in the US shouldn't also take the time and money to invest in a mobile version of their website.  Why's that?  First of all, in the world of web surfing, it is a fact that in two years or less there will be more people surfing the web via smartphone and tablet computer than via PC and laptop. Add to this the fact that not only do these sites fit smartphone screens picture perfect but mobile search engines as a rule look for mobile sites, and you need to go mobile.

No End in Site

Not only isn't the Internet going to get simpler as time goes on, it is inevitably going to get ever more complicated.  As time passes there are going to be more must-have portals and networks that businesses will be coerced into joining, there will be more technological marvels (such as Google Glasses) launched that will not only hit the market, but will be required if you are going to keep up with the Joneses.  While you read this article more than 8,000 websites were launched, all of which want to be on Google page 1.

To put things into perspective, while there are infinitely more online opportunities for businesses to engage in in 2012 than there were way back when, remember this: In order to keep up with the herd you have to know where it is heading.

Carl Weiss has been helping clients stay ahead of the herd since 1995.  You can hear Carl's weekly online radio show on Blog Talk Radio  You can also find out more about the unique way he works the web by going to Access-JAX and Jacksonville Video Production.

Don't Follow the Crowd if You Want to Break Out of the Herd

by Carl Weiss

When it comes to breaking out of the box, it's easy to talk the talk.  But when it comes to performing the deed, few businesses are willing to walk the walk.  The Internet is a prime example of this phenomenon.  Chock full of cost effective technologies that can take a business to a whole new level of interactive marketing, for the most part there are few companies who truly grasp, let alone embrace, what the web has to offer.

How has SEO changed over the past few years?
In past blogs we have talked about how SEO has changed from an injection to a process that factors in everything from your website, to such things as blogging, social networking and even YouTube.  In reality, there more than 30 points of relevance that the spiders look for when searching and sorting out the most relevant sites.  It is no longer sufficient to pay someone to tweak your keyword density and Meta Tags and expect to wind up on page one.  To get the job done, you need to create compelling content on a regular (ie weekly) basis.  Ignore this fact of online life and you will relegate your website to the backwaters of the major search engines.  Embrace this concept and it is not only possible to generate a page 1 result on such search engines as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, but you can potentially generate multiple page 1 results.

Gone are the days when seasoned online marketers created an ubersite that was composed of numerous pages that web surfers could be expected to navigate through.  Today you almost need to treat a web search as a question and the website (or landing page) as the answer.  In other words, in terms of SEO viability, it is far more effective to create a number of microsites that are targeted at high value keywords.  Not only is this tactic more effective at generating a page 1 result, but it is also much more effective at generating a conversion.  Particularly if you include a video that answers the question posed by the keyword selected, this could jumpstart your online results in a hurry.

Why is blogging critical to your online success?
Speaking of hurrying, a blog post properly optimized can be one of the quickest way to jump the queue online. For example, a couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post entitled "Get Your Best Customers to Toot Your Horn."  The post extolled the virtues of employing video testimonials in order to increase credibility, as well as turning your best customers into your best salespeople.  After posting this article on blogger, as well as reprinting it on, I googled the title the next day and found that both the original blog, and the repost appeared at the top of page 1.  Not bad for a half hour's work.

Creating and disseminating compelling blogs are one of the easiest ways to wind up on page one.  Why?  Because Google is gaga for mixed media, particularly when they own the conduit.  By posting your blogs on Blogger, which Google owns and posting your videos on YouTube, which Google owns, not only will you improve your content worthiness, but you will also feed the 800lb gorilla in the room that owns and operates the most successful and profitable search engine on the planet.

How social is your social network?
This is another area where most businesses miss the boat when it comes to online success.  To get a bead on how to successfully employ social networking, the first thing you have to understand is what it is not designed to do.  Just as with blogging, if you simply attempt to create and disseminate ad copy via social networking, you will quickly find yourself isolated in an ever shrinking pond of influence as your audience either ignores or unfriends you.

While social networks can be used to generate an audience and augment the bottom line, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about doing so.  The best approach is to create an environment in which compelling stories, humorous insights and helpful hints about your business are produced and promoted online.  The key is that unlike ad copy with is 90% pitch and 10% information, when it comes to social networking, this equation is turned on its head.  In fact, the best way to turn a reader into a customer when using social networking is to show them that you are an authority who can save them time or make a problem disappear.  Interacting with an ever growing audience is what social networking is all about.

What can video do to revolutionize your marketing results?
When it comes to breaking out of the box, online video can be your elevator to the top if employed properly.  As with social networking, no one wants to watch a 60-second commercial online.  What people want to see is what I refer to as "infotainment."  If you can entertain and inform your audience you will get your message across and have the opportunity build a vast audience who wait with baited breath for your next installment.

Think I'm joking?  Let me share with you a story about a product called the Orabrush.  Sounds like a toothbrush, doesn't it?  Well it's not.  What it is is the worlds first tonguebrush.  After spending about $40,000 developing the prototype and getting the product ready for mass production, the inventor of the Orabrush started making the rounds of big box retailers looking to score a little shelf space for his product.  Care to guess at how many retailers signed on?  You got it..Nada.  Now some forty kay in the hole and panicked by the thought that his business could well go under, the inventor started googling around looking for a way to save his business from the scrap heap.  To make a long story short, the owner of the Orabrush decided to pay $500 to create a couple of videos that he posted on YouTube.  Had he simply talked about the merits of the orabrush, his videos would have no doubt garnered little traffic.  But that's not the approach he took.  Instead, he created a catchy, funny series of video shorts that caught the imagination of the viewers and quickly propelled his video views into the millions.  After that, not only did he succeed in getting the big box retailers to rethink their opinion of his product, but he also managed to sell over a million units online.  His video channel, titled Cure Bad Breath, is now the third most viewed YouTube channel after Apple Computer and Old Spice.

The moral of the story is that viral video can be one of the most effective promotional tools of all times.  What most people do not realize is that YouTube is viewed by more people than all the TV networks combined.  (More than 1 trillion videos were viewed in 2011 alone.)  It is also a search engine and social network where video content is available on-demand 24/7.  More importantly, the cost of streaming content on this online mega-station is exactly zero.  So there really isn't any reason why your company can't start "programming" your own YouTube channel today.

Want another reason to jump on the YouTube bandwagon?  Consider the fact that every video you upload on YouTube can be embedded on your website and blogs, can be linked to your social networks and newsletters, and can be used to put every piece of printed literature and advertising that your company gives out on steroids and you'll soon wonder how you ever did without this online wonder weapon.

Carl Weiss specializes in helping clients break out of the box online.  Visit his viral video megastation at Jacksonville Video Production.

Still Waiting for the Movie to Come Out?

by Carl Weiss

Everyone knows how important the Internet is to promoting their business.  Yet all too many website owners are reluctant to embrace online technology that is truly game changing.  For example, a few years ago blogging and social networking were introduced.  These technologies not only enable business owners to engage and interact with prospects and clients at the push of a button 24 hours per day, but they do so for FREE.  Still, the vast majority of website owners continue to undervalue and under employ these business tools to this day. 

That brings us to online video, which everyone admits is another game changing technology.  Like it or not, YouTube is a fact of online life that is hard to ignore. recently reported that, “More video content is uploaded to YouTube in a 60 day period than the three major U.S. television networks created in 60 years.

Just to put the viewership numbers into perspective, today more than 3 billion videos will be viewed on YouTube.  Last year, more than one trillion videos were viewed on YouTube.  And do you know how much a company is charged for airing a video on YouTube?  Not one red cent.

Then why isn’t every business in the US broadcasting videos by the boatload?  You’ve got me.  When you consider the fact that every business owner in the US either has access to a webcam or smartphone, there is no reason why every business website can’t at least sport an elevator pitch video and several video testimonials.  If the problem is one of production value, there are thousands of video production companies out there that can help them shape and shoot a professional video for a reasonable fee.  (We’re not talking thousands of dollars any more.)

What’s even better is the fact that once produced, a video can be used to put every other form of marketing you are currently employing on steroids.  Have a blog.  Embed the video.  Want to tune up your tweets?  Link your YouTube video to twitter at the click of a mouse.  Speaking of social networking, Mashable also reported that, “YouTube says that on average there are more than 400 tweets per minute containing a YouTube link. Meanwhile, over on Facebook over 150 years worth of YouTube videos are watched every single day.

Want to break out of the box?  Every piece of print advertising and literature that you currently employ for business purposes can be enhanced by the addition of one square inch of ink known as a QR code.  How would you like to enhance your conversion rate by a factor of 5?  It has been shown that people are five times as likely to click on a video as read text.  Do you think that a 90-second video introducing your business, your offer and a satisfied customer might have a positive effect on your conversion rate? 

Don’t take my word for it. reported that , “Research and Markets report showed 4,500% growth in QR code scans in 2011.    According to the data from Nielsen research, as of January 2012, almost half (48 percent) of all mobile phone users have a smartphone device.

This fact alone should be a wake up call to businesses large and small to the fact that QR codes, online video, mobile websites and apps need to be a part of every business’ marketing mix.  It is also a fact that within the next few years, more people will be surfing the web on their smartphones than on their computers.  The latest 4-G networks are designed to stream video faster than a DSL line.

So, if you are still waiting for the movie to come out featuring your business, don’t wait too long or you might not like the ending.

Carl Weiss is president of and a company that has been helping companies take their online marketing to the next level since 1995.  Carl can also be heard weekly on his radio show broadcast on