Online Marketing

The Social Landscape of the Internet Is Circular

Let's take a look at history.

The history of the Internet.

And the history of the gathering of people.

Don't worry. I'll keep it short.

Before the internet people used to meet in person. And they did it in proximity to one another. Or they went to great lengths to meet in person with other people from far away lands using planes, trains, and automobiles. This was reserved for the most important stuff like family, business, or special events.

Then the internet came along. People talked to each other online. They met online. This allowed them to "meet" people without restrictions like proximity or travel.

And they did it with people of similar interest. They used tools like Meetup and Ning. They used email. They used MySpace and later Facebook.

They built tribes. Tribes around interests, hobbies, and learning.

Tribes had leaders who were passionate about their topic as much as they were passionate about the people in their tribes.

But something's happened. There's been a change.

In Houston we're seeing some really interesting things come out of face to face meetings and networking events. It's around startups or businesses. There are tons of meetings happening weekly.

When was the last time you logged onto Meetup? It's amazing.

Your business is likely seeing a paradigm shift that has it's roots in this full circle movement.

I believe it's because we all want to feel even more connected. Which is kinda crazy if you think about it. I mean, I have access to hundreds of thousands of people simply by logging onto Twitter. Yet I too crave the in person meetings.

I want to know that there's a real person behind the brand. And I'm not alone. It's highly likely you do as well.

Your customers want that. They want to know that you're not talking to the masses. You're talking to them. Individually.

They want to shop local. Artisan bakeries, hand-crafted goods, tailored services. All of these things are coming back, especially in urban areas, because people want authenticity.

It's full circle. We were excited about the anonymity of the web. Then the reach. But it's too impresonal. And people are feeling that.

They want to have real experiences.

Your brand can give it to them.

Utilize local SEO to enhance your local tribe. Utilize social media to talk to the most passionate people in your niche.

Use a voice that encompasses emotionally-intelligent content to teach and entertain them.

When you can do those things you've helped ensure that you have just as strong a local tribe as a global tribe. And with that, you can move the world.

Not Everyone Is Your Customer And Why That's Better Than Okay

There's a problem that most entrepreneurs face every day.

"How do I get more customers?"


"How do I get my company in front of the right people?"

Same coin. Different sides.

There are variances of course. But for the most part you're all looking for an audience.

In the past, someone would likely advise you to advertise to a large audience in T.V. in the "right time slot" or a "good demographic". Perhaps it was placing an ad in the yellow pages or the newspaper.

But you can't do that anymore and expect great results. Because those mediums speak to the masses. And your product or service doesn't.

No matter what you think or what anybody's told you NOT EVERYONE IS YOUR CUSTOMER.

I repeat this because it's important.

Your product, your service, your business isn't for everyone.

And that's okay. In fact, it's better than okay. It's perfect.

Because when you try to please everyone you please no one. Not even Wal-Mart markets to everyone. Neither does Coca-Cola. Looking for smaller examples? Fine. Paypal doesn't do it. Neither does Square. Or Starbucks. Or Whole Foods. Or Bob's Better Burger. Sprinkles.

Think of your favorite product. Their parent company doesn't market to everyone. They market to you.


That's the key. We, as a people, are a different breed of consumers and our attention is all over the place.

The value of popularity is changing. Niche is in. Small is the new big.

The nerds and geeks now rule the world. What ever happened to the prom queen? Who cares?

The beauty of realizing that you have a niche business with a specific audience is that you're much closer to realizing a better return on your money when you put it towards targeted marketing.

Wouldn't you rather invest $5000 to a highly targeted audience who is already part of the conversation around your product than to throw that money on an ad where they give you vague demographics?

That's where smart targeting comes in. That's where engaging online, in social media, on niche websites, and creating content tailored to that audience comes in.

Content marketing. Engagement marketing. Social Media marketing. It all points back to ensuring that the people who are interested in your business can find you. Your product has a place in the larger picture of the audience online.

I bring this up because I run into startup founders or small business owners who still don't fully understand.

One of the first questions I ask during a meeting is "Who is your product/service/business for?" or some similar question that helps me locate their niche.

Too many times I run into the answer "Everyone".

Or maybe they've whittled it down a tiny bit. "Everyone who uses ______" or "People who live in ______".

But that's not small enough. It doesn't help to think that your product has to be popular with the masses.

It only has to be popular in your small niche. Then you have the chance to be the authority of that niche. You can control the conversation around that topic. Your business becomes synonymous with that engaged and passionate community.

That's how today's small businesses thrive. That's how today's startups get their fist 10,000 customers. By going hard after their niche. But doing it in a way that engages with humanity and empathy.

Boil down who your product is really for. You can't be everything to everyone.

How Lack of Trust Can Negatively Effect Your Search Engine Ranking

How Lack of Trust Can Negatively Effect Your Search Engine Ranking

Marketing your small business is rooted in creating lasting and trusting relationships with your prospects and customers. Google understands this. Bing understands this. Do you?

The Triple Threat: Search, Social, and Engagment

Change. Innovation. Speed.

That's how the internet works now.   

Remember when everything was linear? There was a beginning, middle, end.

Now content flows in every direction. And it comes in a larger variety of formats and platforms than we ever dared to dream possible.  

Social media and mobile usage are only going to grow and evolve. The mass adoption is going to continue. And people are going to adjust their online publishing as we adapt to all these new behaviors. 

Most people still think of search as our default discovery tool for information. For many it's true. Google still rules the online world. Bing is still making their search better. They're both evolving as they add more information coming from social media. 

If you have a reasonable idea of what you're looking for you head to your search toolbar or search engine of choice. You type in a query and off you go. Into the land of discovery. You're in search of the best answer for whatever you need.

How does the future look for search? What are teens doing? Kids?  

Do they think of it as "Googling" something or is it all just the "internet"?  

As more people adopt behavior patterns presented by browsers such as Chrome doesn't it just become content?

 It melds. It's the same. You type something into the address bar whether it's a website or query. It's just content.

For the future there isn't anything "magical" about this. Nothing special. And it certainly isn't limited to her computer. 

Content, or information, transcends devices and lives wherever they live. It's on their iPads. It's on their phones. It's on their Xboxs and is invading every other aspect of their lives.  

Information is ubiquitous

They're growing up digital. And we all have to keep this in mind as we move forward in our efforts to capture our audience. We connect and engage where they live.  

The revolution is global. And search is important in how and why we connect. What type of content we create. How we put it out there.  

Social and search are synergistic now more than ever and that isn't going to change.  

Are you ready? 


Successful Art Marketing Requires Some Sacrifices

How do you define success?

Success by yourdoku - CC

Here's how I define it:

You are successful when you are able to take full control of your life instead of waiting for unseen circumstances to bring success to you.

Marketing yourself as an artist or photographer is about letting go of the notions that luck will bring you money and fame and that you can take charge of your own financial destiny.

Ensure that specific success points will happen in your business because of your actions, your decisions, and your personal abilities.

You have the power to decide TODAY that you will make things happen. You're not going to wait for something to happen someday. You're going to take control of your life and your business now!

Success will come to you when you take full control.

There are sacrifices along the way.

That's just part of making your dreams come true.

You'll sacrifice some of the time you would otherwise be creating your art. Or making photographs.

This time will be spent on marketing your work and selling prints or services.

Of course, it should also be noted, you'll spend more time doing administrative duties tied to your business like accounting, ordering supplies, fulfilling orders, etc.

But those are the marks of success!

It's about choices.

Know what you really want to do.

But make no mistake, you won't be able to spend all of your time creating art. People have to be able to find it. You have to be able to sell it. You have to put time into marketing.

If you really want something you can achieve it. But you have to make sacrifices along the way.


Are You Using Tags, Labels, and Categories to Organize Your Website?

Everyone has a digital camera. Even people who don't consider themselves "photographers".

My mother has one. My father has a nice DSLR (although in his youth he did fancy himself a photographer) he uses it primarily to take pictures of his grandkids.

If you chose photography as a vocation you likely have your digital photos organized through a program like Adobe Lightroom or Apple Aperture.

If you aren't a "photographer" you may try to utilize iPhoto or maybe Adobe Elements in an effort to keep them orderly. If, however, you fall into the vast majority of people you simply dump them all into a folder on your desktop.

Photographers the world over are shaking their heads in disbelief. They simply cannot fathom that most people just have thousands, or even tens of thousands, of digital photographs sitting in a folder on their desktop. Professional photographers are typically much more organized when it comes to this stuff. They have to be.

I'm cringing as I think about it.

Imagine this very common scenario: You're looking for a picture you took a few months ago of your significant other while you were in Vegas. You took several dozen, or even hundreds, of photos while you were in Vegas. And your common practice of just dumping your photos into that photo folder on your desktop seemed like a good idea at the time.

The images were saved. Good. Done. But now that you're looking for them you have to open the folder, wait for your OS to render all of the image thumbnails for your perusal, and then you start scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling, looking for one image labeled "DSC0235.jpg" even though you don't actually know that's the name of the image you're looking for.

What you are looking for are context clues that help you pinpoint the general time.

Aha. After 20 minutes you've found some images of your trip to Vegas. Now you start looking closer at the thumbnails, even opening up images (one at a time) for closer inspection, as you hunt for this one elusive photo.

This process has taken you way too long. And it only get's longer as more photos are added to that folder. You're frustrated.

You have to get organized if you want to actually want to find things.

You can use a photo organizing software like Lightroom or Aperture to label your photographs as you upload them.

So instead of dumping your photos into a folder you label them as you upload them. The photo in question could have, and probably should have, been labeled as such; Vegas, Nevada, (insert significant other's name), the casino's name or attraction, fun times, gambling,..etc.

Now the next time you look for an image on your computer you can start with keywords.

This isn't a post about which image editing or management software you should be using for your photography.

Life's More Fun When You're Organized by ifindkarma: CC

This is an example, one that you're probably familiar with, about how the web works.

We write blog posts. We upload photos to social networking sites like Flickr and Facebook. We have little points of data that we are using to market our businesses online and we do so with limited time.

But what most successful online marketers don't do is simply dump them online.

They label them. They tag them. They index, sort, and use keywords for everything that goes online when it relates to their inbound marketing.

While tags and categories may have fallen by the wayside from a purely SEO perspective they are still very handy from a user perspective. It's how people find things on your website when they are looking for more information related to a post they just came across.

If your post is about your latest gallery showing and a gallerist or museum curator has stumbled upon that post will they be able to easily find other gallery related posts on your blog? They may want to quickly find what other galleries you've worked with. They'll want to do this easily. Tags and categories can help them do this.

If you're a wedding photographer and you just did a blog post about your latest wedding shoot at the Magnolia Ballroom in Houston, TX did you tag it that way. So that a bride who is considering hiring you knows that you've shot there on several occasions and can easily find more examples of your work at that specific venue. She's much more likely to hire a wedding photographer who knows her venue well.

People who are browsing the Internet are often times finding things serendipitously. One search leads to reminder about one thing that leads to another search that leads to a link that leads to a related link that informs them of more information or guidance in whatever it is they are hunting for.

Help them. Guide them. Organize your blog so that people can find other posts that are related to the article they just found. Use tags. Use categories. Show them how to know you better and you'll be closer to building a relationship with that reader.

Help them find things on your website. Make sure your website is organized with people in mind.



Older Content Does Not Equal Irrelevant

We don't live in a world of limited shelf space.

And that's a good thing.

In Chris Anderson's book The Long Tail, Revised and Updated Edition: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More he opens up with a story about an older book, almost out of print, whose sales were suddenly revived by its proximity to a newer book covering the same topic.

Recommendation engines in online bookstores picked up on the buying habits of its customers and began to pair the two together. People bought in this manner and an infinite loop was created. Over time the older book began to outsell the newer book.

green bottle and friends by Damien Franco

It's a great story that illustrates something that most of us are already coming to terms with. We no longer live in a world that shuns older work. Not entirely anyway.

Because of the internet and it's ability to bring older, relevent, content to the masses on a daily basis we have opportunities to sell things beyond their launch date. This is true whether you sell fine art prints through your online gallery or whether you have past client work you want to show off as proof of your work.

When we blog, tag, and push our content out into the Internet we create little bits of information that is waiting for discovery. Take a look back on the work you've done in the past. Is there a way to push it back to the front of people's minds?

If your older work is still relevent, if it's still timely, then you are allowed (encourage really) to tweet about it.

Look through your archives. I'm sure you'll find a goldmine of work that is evergreen. Push it out there. If it needs updating then do so. Then push it out there.

As a photographer I take a look back at some of my older photographs to see if I've missed something meaningful. Especially if it's something I hadn't shared before. When Adobe releases a new version of Lightroom and they've tweaked their processing I like to look into those older photographs and see what the new filters can do with them.

Take one day a month to comb through your archives (whether that's your art archives or your blog archives) and see what can be worked on, improved upon, and pushed back into the streams of your followers.