Ecommerce And The Death Of Customer Service: How One Company Said “No!” To Shopping Carts And Focused On People Instead

Ecommerce And The Death Of Customer Service: How One Company Said “No!” To Shopping Carts And Focused On People Instead

Just last week I wrote about why internet marketing must die – not because it has no value but because we can put too much value on it at the expense of our real-world relationships with customers. So I was delighted to have a conversation with one of our long time customers about a similar topic – and whether or not he should have a shopping cart on his website so he can sell his products online. When we opened up the discussion, he thought about it for five minutes and then said…. “Nope.” Well heck, there goes my job. But after talking with him about the whys and wherefores, it’s pretty obvious that this makes perfect sense for his business. Could he have an ecommerce site? Sure. Some of his competitors have one. Some of his customers have asked for one. And yet he stands firm in his conviction that ecommerce isn’t for him. But Everybody Is Doing It! If you’ve been reading my blogs for any length of time you know I’m not the “jump on the bandwagon” type. Trendy, shiny stuff has never been high on my list. Even trendy, shiny stuff that works for one person may not work for everyone. I’m big on asking, “Why?” I want a Facebook page. Why? I need to be on social media. Why? I have to get a mobile app. Why? It’s not good enough to do something because it’s hot. Or because it works for someone else. Or because everyone else does it. It has to work for your business. Just listen to what my customer told me...
From Basement Startup To Thriving Business: Interview With Glen Koedding of Green Sun Energy Services

From Basement Startup To Thriving Business: Interview With Glen Koedding of Green Sun Energy Services

It’s been two years since Glen Koedding started Green Sun Energy Services in his Middletown basement.  He’s tapped into a market in New Jersey (second only to California for solar energy) for third party energy supply; high-end solar; energy efficient improvements; and after Hurricane Sandy hobbled the state last year, home generators. Koedding anticipates doubling his already healthy revenue by year end. I interviewed him about why he’s revamping his website, why there’s no such thing as “free solar,” utilizing the cloud, and what California is taking from New Jersey (hint: it’s not retirees). Interview With Glen  Koedding Question: Did you get any sleep during the month Sandy hit? It wasn’t that bad because we had most of the upfront stuff ready. I took a walk after Sandy with my family and a neighbor asked me if we were doing generators yet. I said ‘no, but give me two weeks.’ At home I called my business partner to say we needed to step up this generator thing, which was in the business plan already. I was able to launch a full blitz marketing campaign by the time the lights came back on. We had the website, our lead capture form was up, pricing models in place, subcontractors contracted, and we sold close to $300,000 worth of in-home generators in about two months. We did one email blast saying that folks who’d already opted in to our list would get a special price. It’s not something I could do without the Internet or without an understanding of email marketing and how to tie that into a good solid landing page. I...
Grassroots Marketing And Community Outreach: 5 Questions With Bob Hilton Of The Jersey Shore Convention And Visitors Bureau

Grassroots Marketing And Community Outreach: 5 Questions With Bob Hilton Of The Jersey Shore Convention And Visitors Bureau

The Jersey Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau is the fastest-growing destination marketing organization in New Jersey, promoting the Jersey Shore region as a destination for individuals and families, businesses and organizations, and meeting and travel planners for both domestic and international markets. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the organization launched the Open for Business campaign. The goal is to promote Jersey Shore businesses and share the real story about the state of the local business community and the region’s popular tourist attractions. Bob Hilton, Executive Director of the Jersey Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau, has spearheaded this initiative. Here’s how he’s getting the word out about this grass roots organization on a small budget but with a lot of community and determination. Interview With Bob Hilton: Grass Roots And Building Community Question: After Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey officials met with representatives from New Orleans. What did you take away from that meeting? We met at the Meadowlands for a Destination Forum and discussed everything from the Super Bowl to Superstorm Sandy. One of the things we took away was the need for a better understanding of the lifecycle of a storm and the recovery, and the importance of trying to get the correct message out. What generally happens in the event of a storm is that the media will show the absolute worst of the worst, which isn’t necessarily what people would see if they came down after the storm. Indeed, we weren’t prepared for that. Ideally, the media would try to report the good and the bad – what the reality is. Although we weren’t prepared for...
Muscle Cars And American Pride: 5 Questions With Jim Cardona, COO Of American Autowire

Muscle Cars And American Pride: 5 Questions With Jim Cardona, COO Of American Autowire

American Autowire is the manufacturer of the industry’s finest OEM restoration, modified restoration and universal wiring systems for classic cars and trucks. Automobile restorers and enthusiasts turn to American Autowire for wiring harnesses, accessories and parts for their automotive restoration and repair projects. Like the slogan says, their American-made products make wiring easy. As American Autowire’s Chief Operating Officer, Jim Cardona is responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of the company’s business development, manufacturing operations and product development. He has 35 years of experience in both the automotive OEM engineering industry and the automotive aftermarket manufacturing sector. Jim previously served as Vice President of Operations at M&H Electrical Fabricators in Santa Fe Springs, CA and spent nearly 20 years with the Chrysler Corporation. Interview With Jim Cardona, COO Of American Autowire Question: You just relaunched the American Autowire website. What does the new website do that the old website didn’t? Our old website had very limited search capabilities.  It was based solely on keyword searches.  The new site has a year/make/model search, so customers can search for all products available for their particular vehicle. They can also search by choosing one of our three product lines and narrow their search from there. And we still have the keyword search for anyone looking for something very specific, or for anyone who already knows the part number they want to view or order. The new site also puts a lot of focus on our social media presence. Above the fold, we have accordion-style views of our YouTube channel, Twitter feed and Facebook page. We’ve found that frequently updated, fresh content through multiple venues...
The Plagiarism Problem: Is Someone Stealing Your Content? An Interview With Jonathan Bailey

The Plagiarism Problem: Is Someone Stealing Your Content? An Interview With Jonathan Bailey

Liberal borrowing and outright theft are huge problems for content creators. We spend time, money and brainpower coming up with the best content we can and few things are as frustrating as finding huge chunks of that content scraped, duplicated and otherwise pilfered. Jonathan Bailey knows all about plagiarism and copyright infringement on the web. He’s had his own struggles with it – and has been helping people fight it for nearly a decade. His blog Plagiarism Today is dedicated to keeping people informed of the latest news and issues in plagiarism and his company CopyByte was founded specifically to help people deal with this vexing and thorny issue. He also hosts a podcast called Copyright 2.0 with Patrick O’Keefe… you might remember him from one of our previous interviews. They make a great team and I’ve learned a lot of interesting (and aggravating) things from them. Jonathan was kind enough to take time to answer some questions for me about what plagiarism is so that I could share this important information with you. Whether you’re a blogger, writer or business owner, you’re bound to run into an unscrupulous person who will try to pass of your content as his (or her) own. Jonathan’s insights are a wake-up call that should get you thinking about how you can protect and defend yourself against this digital demon. Interview With Jonathan Bailey Question: Thanks for taking time to answer my questions, Jonathan. I noticed on your website it says that you got into the business of fighting plagiarism after a personal experience with it. Could you tell me what happened that inspired you (so to speak)? Back...
Content Marketing Trends For 2013: 5 Questions With Joe Pulizzi, CEO Of The Content Marketing Institute

Content Marketing Trends For 2013: 5 Questions With Joe Pulizzi, CEO Of The Content Marketing Institute

Joe Pulizzi is a leading author, speaker and strategist for content marketing. Joe is first and foremost a content marketing evangelist, and founded the Content Marketing Institute (a division of Z Squared Media, a 2012 Inc 500 Company), which includes the largest in-person content marketing event, Content Marketing World, as well as Chief Content Officer magazine, the leading magazine for content marketers. Joe is co-author of Get Content Get Customers (McGraw-Hill), recognized as THE handbook for content marketing, as well as Managing Content Marketing: The Real-World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand. Joe travels around North America and Europe  talking to marketers and business owners about how they are indeed publishers, and what they need to do about it. He also writes one of the most popular content marketing blogs in the world and is overly passionate about the color orange. Question: “Content marketing” has become one of those buzzwords that everyone talks about but very few people actually understand. How do you define content marketing? Content marketing is the creation of valuable, compelling and relevant content, developed consistently, to create a positive customer action.  If it doesn’t maintain or change a behavior, it’s just content.  To be content marketing, it has to help drive the business in some way. So basically, instead of talking about your products and services, which most people don’t care about, you clearly define your target audience – aka, your reader – and develop useful information to them on a consistent basis.  Over time, you position yourself as a true expert resource. And when customers are ready to buy, they buy from you....