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Tim Peter

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February 3, 2012

Super Social and Search Tips Before the Big Game (Small Business E-commerce Link Digest – February 3, 2012)

February 3, 2012 | By | No Comments

This weekend marks one of the biggest days of the years for marketers: the annual Ad Bowl among commercials during some kind of football game or something (I kid, I kid… let’s face it: my beloved Giants are going to crush QB-turned-male-model Tom Brady). But, with props to the great Gary Vaynerchuk, here are some tips to help you crush your competition:

Of course, conducting successful tests requires solid measurement. If you’re not sure how to do that, take a look at our Website Analytics Fundamentals series or drop me a line and I’ll give you a hand.

Have a great weekend, Big Thinkers. Enjoy the game. And, say it with me now… Let’s go G-Men!


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

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And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

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Tim Peter

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November 4, 2011

IdiotTube? I think not. Learn to improve your marketing using online videos. (Small Business E-commerce Link Digest – November 4, 2011)

November 4, 2011 | By | No Comments

We’re going to do something a little different with the link digest today. If you don’t spend much time on YouTube, you’d be amazed all the great learning you can get from the various video channels. And, since the weather’s getting colder (hell, we had 13″ of snow here the other day), why not build a fire, open a nice bottle of wine, curl up with a warm laptop (and, ideally, your significant other), and learn about online marketing and e-commerce from some of the world’s best. Here are just a handful of my favorite videos to help you do just that.

The Search Engine Strategies Conference channel has a great presentation from “Landing Page Optimization” author Tim Ash on building trust online:

Ever need to explain search engine optimization to someone, but struggle in the telling? Show them Search Engine Land’s “What is SEO?” video:

Jason Falls from Social Media Examiner has a great interview with Katie Paine on calculating social media ROI:

As we’re getting towards holiday shopping season, check out Relevantly Speaking’s tips for online retailers to capture more holiday dollars:

And, finally, if you’ve got some time on your hands, check out Avinash Kaushik’s recent webinar on mobile marketing and mobile analytics. Great stuff:

Sit back, enjoy the show, folks. And we’ll see you back here next week.


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

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Tim Peter

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October 5, 2011

Google+ is Awesome. But It's Not Right For Your Brand.

October 5, 2011 | By | 3 Comments

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: It might be better to say, “Google+ isn’t the only place for your brand.” For that matter neither is Facebook. Or Twitter. Or Tumblr. Or YouTube. Or any other social platform.

Robert Scoble, if you don’t know him, gets loads of respect as a blogger and thinker. Here’s what he posted on Googe+ today:

“Why do I post here on Google+ instead of on my blog, or over on Facebook? One reason is the search engine here. For instance, search for the word “Occupy” and you’ll find all the posts written about the Occupy Wallstreet protests: https://plus.google.com/s/Occupy

I believe this search engine will become more and more important over time. Right now it’s not that important, in terms of traffic or causing conversations, but that’s why I’m investing time here and not on my blog.

Now, the trick is to figure out what I should use my blog for. :-)”

Robert typically shows love for new services as they become available (or, at least, the ones that end up capturing some market share). And, of course, he changes blogging platforms about as often as I change my underwear (OK, not quite as often, but you get the idea).

But, as I’ve said again and again, tools don’t matter. Google could change the rules of Google+ tomorrow and screw your brand.

Not that they have any history there.

Facebook could, too. And Twitter. And Tumblr. Any YouTube. And on and on and on.

And where would that leave you?

Build your brand on your website and your blog as your hub. Then use social tools as the spokes of the wheel that will drive your brand success.

And, for as much as I respect Robert Scoble, don’t listen to those who tell you Googe+ (or any other site you don’t control) is the one and only place for your brand.


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

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Tim Peter

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March 8, 2011

Learning 21st Century Social, Local, Mobile and Video Marketing From a 19th Century Company

March 8, 2011 | By | No Comments

You all know Macy’s, right? Y’know, the folks behind the Thanksgiving Day parade and corporate mergers and “Miracle on 34th Street”? They’re a 150-year old retailer, as “bricks and mortar” as you can get.

But, for an old dog, they’ve got some new tricks. They’re starting to get in front of 21st-century customers with a local, mobile, social web presence, complete with video.

Here’s what I mean.

I was walking past the retailer’s flagship 34th Street store yesterday and saw this clever graphic on their window:

Macys QR code in star

Cute, right? A nice, clever way of embedding a mobile QR code into the company’s logo. But, without instructions for its use, will any of their customers know what it’s about? Smarty-pants that I am, I sent the following tweet:


Nice QR code usage @Macys. But do your customers know how it works? http://t.co/TlwA6jIless than a minute ago via Twitter for Android

A few minutes later, @Macys (the Macy’s Twitter account) responded with:


@tcpeter Thanks for the tweet! For a how-to video, check out this video: http://bit.ly/g3Pl48less than a minute ago via web

Note the embedded link in Macy’s tweet to a YouTube video displaying how the company’s “Backstage Pass” works. Another Twitter user also let me know that the company is heavily promoting these “Backstage Passes” in the free “AM New York” newspaper.

So, think about this for a second:

  • Macy’s—a 150-year-old retailer—uses QR codes in their store windows,a clear marriage of local and mobile marketing.
  • This “old dog” reinforces their message via print advertising in a free local daily.
  • This “dinosaur” monitors the social web on Twitter for use of their brand terms—and responds to their customers there.
  • This “traditional bricks-and-mortar” store shares videos on YouTube explaining both their value to consumers and how this new feature works.
  • And, as one last social play, they’re gaining interest among early adopters (i.e., me and @JonKagan) who, no doubt, will pass the word along to their friends and family. Just like I’m doing now.

Oh. Even better, each of these efforts directs consumers to Macy’s website.

While I think the company can do a better job on specific elements (for instance, an explanation of what a QR reader is in the video wouldn’t be such a bad thing and their calls-to-action are a bit weak), it’s still a great example of using social, mobile, local and video to create an engaging, integrated web presence to promote your web site.

For a company that got it’s start in the 19th century, that’s some awfully modern marketing. During the many decades they’ve been around, the corporation hasn’t always gotten it right. But is it possible this kind of thinking is why they’re still in business after 150 years? And, is it possible for you to do the same thing?



Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

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Tim Peter

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October 20, 2010

Guest post: 3 tips for how to use videos to promote your business by Maureen Page

October 20, 2010 | By | One Comment

One great way to promote your business online is through the use of videos. According to Compete, YouTube is the 4th most-visited site online and receives the second highest number of keyword searches after Google. This post by Maureen Page, VP of Discount Security Cameras, your source for quality security camera systems, looks at how to use videos to promote your business. And to learn more about Maureen or security camera systems and video surveillance visit the Discount Security Cameras Interactive Security Camera Learning Center. Take it away, Maureen.

Using Video to Promote Your Business

How to promote your business with videos imageIn our connected and online world, it is getting increasingly difficult for small business owners to get noticed in the crowded online landscape. Long gone are the days of getting a phone book listing and print advertising. But even for those businesses with a good, robust, online presence, getting noticed can be quite a challenge.

One way to rise above the crowd is to use video to help promote your business. Video can be used to promote products and services, give instruction or provide training, or to provide customer testimonials and case studies. This article will outline a process for using video that not only gets your business noticed, but also helps drive traffic and potential customers to your website.

Video Guidelines

Without getting into the mechanics of filming the videos, it is important to understand some general guidelines for your videos.

  1. Videos not video. You should think of this as creating a number of videos or a video series. When creating a video series, the end of one video in the series should promote the next video in the series.
  2. Interesting and engaging content. Your videos should not simply be a commercial for your business, but should be something of value that people will want to watch because they will learn something.
  3. Be mindful of the time. Videos should not be too long – on the order of only 5 to 10 minutes in duration, or you will lose your audience. If a topic requires more time, break it into a series of shorter videos.

For example, for our business we created an Introduction to Security Camera Systems video series. In this, we take a relatively involved topic, and break it into a series of short videos on various sub-topics. The main promotion of our business is in the lead-in and ending graphics of the video where we promote the name of our business and our learning center’s web address. The rest is purely instructional.

Promoting Your Videos

There is more to promoting your videos than simply slapping them up on YouTube. In fact, you do not want to put all of your videos up on YouTube. Yes, you read correctly, you do not want to put all of your videos up on YouTube. If you put all of your videos up on YouTube, all of the views and all of the traffic will go to YouTube and little or no traffic will actually go to your own web site. Since your goal is to promote your own business and not YouTube, this would be a less than desirable outcome.

A much more effective approach is to place the first couple of videos in the series up on YouTube, also placing them on your own website using the YouTube code so that you get credit for views. All subsequent videos should simply be put on your website. It is important, as has already been mentioned, that the end of each video promote the next video in the series. Thus, the last video in the series posted on YouTube would promote the continuation of the series on your website.

For example, when we created the previously mentioned Introduction to Security Camera Systems video series, we placed the first two videos on YouTube as well as on or Interactive Learning Center. The second one in the series on the YouTube site promotes the third video in the series on our own site. In doing so, we are trying to funnel visitors who were introduced to our content on YouTube to our own web site where we have more of a chance of turning them into a customer.

The next step is to make sure that Google knows about your videos so that your videos can appear in video search results. To help this process along you should create a video sitemap. A video sitemap is a structured file that tells search engines about your videos. While this may sound daunting, there are tools out there that can help. A search of video sitemap generator will uncover several options that can help you to create a video sitemap. We use a WordPress plugin, FLV Embed, that automatically generates our video sitemap.

Once created, the sitemap should be submitted to Google Webmaster Tools so that Google “knows” about your video content (also see Submitting a Video Sitemap or mRSS feed). You will need a Google login to submit to Google Webmaster Tools.

Awareness, Traffic, and Customers

Following these steps can have many positive outcomes. Your videos can now appear in video results in Google blended search results. In addition, people can discover your videos on Google Videos. All of this gives web searchers more ways of learning about your company and your products and services. This can also help drive more traffic to your site bringing you more potential customers. A well executed video section on a site can also attract links, which only improves how your site will perform in search results, potentially resulting in even more traffic and potential customers.



Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

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Tim Peter

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August 25, 2009

4 ways to make the most of a social media firestorm

August 25, 2009 | By | No Comments

Many companies worry about customers taking over their brand using social media. Some do it well. Some, not so much.

Now comes the story of “United Breaks Guitars,” which details one Dave Carroll’s less-than-stellar customer service experience with United Airlines. It’s one of the most popular videos on YouTube right now with some 5 million views – and counting. But, if you look closely, you’ll see a brilliant case of a company using social media to their advantage. Here are the search results on YouTube for “United Breaks Guitars.”

taylor-guitars-united-breaks-guitars-response.png

Sure, the first two results are the song and its sequel. But notice the third item? Taylor Guitars manufactures high-end guitars, including Dave Carroll’s United-mangled acoustic. The company has realized the value of the social and mainstream media-driven buzz around Dave Carroll’s campaign and responded with its own information on how to take care of your guitar while traveling.

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s Taylor’s response:

Now the cynical might say, “Well, yeah. They’re only making the most of a popular trend, being opportunistic. We do that all the time.” But, it’s how they’re doing it that matters. Taylor responded in a way that’s appropriate to both their customers and their brand.

Why is it working so well? Simple. Taylor’s response is:

  1. Relevant – The most viewed video on YouTube in the past month is called “Fred Sees a Therapist.” Why didn’t Taylor try to rank well on YouTube for that? Because, it’s not relevant to their brand and they’re not relevant to “Fred’s” audience. Marketers who try only to jump on hot trends “because that’s what the kids are all doing” waste time and money chasing smoke. You don’t need to respond to every hot item out there. Find and follow the trends that matter.
  2. Timely – Taylor didn’t wait 6 months to put this out. They had their message up on YouTube within a few days of Dave Carroll’s much-watched video. Sure, the production values might not be perfect. But their message is perfectly clear.
  3. Helpful – Taylor didn’t start with a sales pitch. They started with offering help to their customers. “Need to know how to travel with a guitar?” they asked. Then they answered that question before pitching their guitar repair service. Very helpful. Very caring. And very smart.
  4. Action oriented – Finally, Bob Taylor said, “You wouldn’t believe the things that we can fix here. It’s amazing… So give us a call. We’re here to help you. We’re here for all guitar players. That’s what we live for.” Then comes the phone number and the URL. Powerful. Simple. Brilliant.

And it looks like it’s working. Here’s Taylor’s traffic for the last year, according to Compete:

A 72% increase in unique visitors. An 80% increase in visits. That’s simple, powerful and brilliant, too.

Next time you wonder about the power of social media, don’t just think of United Breaks Guitars. Think of the guys who fix them, too.

Hat tip: Thanks to Steve Rubel for reminding me about the United Breaks Guitars video the other day. Oh, and just for fun, here’s the video that started it all:



Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

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