The Web For Business.com Blog

Internet marketing observations, perspectives, tips and tricks for your education and enlightenment.


If You Can't Market Yourself, Who Will Market You?

Mark Kawabe - Friday, December 17, 2010

I suppose the answer depends on you.

Being online means you have access to all sorts of technology to better represent yourself. The internet allows you to "level the playing field", doesn't it? Well, sort of.

All the technology in the world won't make up for your lack of ability to communicate to the world your uniqueness.

Don't think you're a good writer? That eliminates a lot of opportunities for you. Content is still king online.

Afraid to be in front of a camera? I guess video's out for you as well.

Hate your voice? Podcasting's gone too.

So what's left?

Facebook and other social media tools require you to communicate in writing, video or pictures your special-ness. If you can't do it, I guess you're stuck.

Hmm.

Oh wait - there's another option.

Hopefully, there's at least one person who can market you, and do it in a credible way.

Who's this person?

The customer you have delighted with your incredible product, service or kindness.

Perhaps there's more than one of them. The best thing about them is they can make up for any deficiencies you may have in your ability to communicate - as long as you can communicate your need to them. They can help you get your message out powerfully, credibly, personally and honestly. Why? Because you've helped them and you've done it wonderfully.

Got one of those people in your corner? I sure hope so, because they're your best salesperson.

When Do You Start Getting Elected?

Mark Kawabe - Friday, October 29, 2010

The recent municipal elections were very interesting to me as they are a pure, focused marketing effort. I am also happy to note that of the three candidates I helped with their online presences, one of them did get elected. Congratulations Catherine King!

Of course, now that people have been elected, the election itself is starting to fade from the public's mind. That's well and good, but what about the candidates in the NEXT election? When should they be starting to think about getting elected the next time around?

The answer is, of course - NOW.

In much the same way that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, getting elected in four years means starting now. Building the relationships and network that will enable you to make a successful run at elected office takes time and is not something you do in the course of a few months.

For those of you who are in business, you are potentially getting elected tomorrow, or the next day. Your election is "new business" and every day you need to be building relationships and growing your network of influence. When the time comes for your election - which could be any day now - you'll be in a better position than your less-prepared competition.

Oh wait - there's a good chance your competition's getting prepared as well. You'd better get out there and start shaking hands and kissing babies NOW.

Not Your Average Dojo

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Because the martial arts industry is not regulated in Canada, it's "buyer beware". Come to think of it, it's much like that in the web development and internet marketing industry. So, how do you know you're at the right place?

Well, you can talk to Shihan Doug Meagher at Northwest Goju Ryu Karate in Welland. He's now got a new website where he tells people interested in karate how to choose a quality school.

Visit them online at http://www.northwestgoju.org.

The thing I like about this site is its simplicity and its use of video. Granted, Shihan Meagher's delivery could be a little smoother (and he'll be the first to agree with that), but it gets the point across.

The other thing, of course is the content on the site. Content is still king online and if you have something to say about your business or industry then your website is the first place it should go. Shihan Meagher's list is a popular one online and it generates visits.

Northwest Goju - not your average dojo - not your average instructor.

New Online Video Production Services from The Web For Business.com

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Since our first foray into online video things haven't really changed all that much. I mean, YouTube is still a great way to market - it's just gotten bigger. Image quality has been improved, but that was to be expected.

One thing that hasn't changed much is the cost of getting a video produced. I personally think videos offer great value on websites, but the cost of development can be a barrier. On a client's behalf, I did some calling around to several video production companies. The cost to produce a 20 second spot to use online (with some green screen background manipulation) was anywhere between $500 to $1100 - and one company wanted more details before providing an estimate which to me suggests they would have been on the high side of the range.

What does this mean for our customs? It means we've gone out and come up with a lower-cost option for you to peruse. These days even cell phones have HD capability, so you know the cost of equipment has come down. The cost of software for video editing has come down as well. We've made an investment in both equipment and software and can now produce short slideshow-type videos starting at $150.

A long-time acquaintance recently opened his own business doing video shooting, editing and production. For companies that are looking for videos with higher production values than I can offer I highly recommend him. His name is Merv Wrighton and his company name is UBU Video Productions. UBU is pronounced "You Be You". You can reach him at 905-651-2728 or at [email protected] His website will be online soon so you can view his portfolio. He has produced videos for two of my clients and both are quite happy with his work, as am I.

Copyright

Mark Kawabe - Monday, March 29, 2010

Here are a few words that ruined my day around a year ago:

" 'ABC Company' can find no reference to this image having been licensed for reproduction on your website. The usage above directly violates 'ABC Company's' and the artist's exclusive rights to reproduce, adapt, display, distribute, and/or create derivative works. Be advised that any entity that violates these exclusive rights of the copyright owner is an infringer of the copyright and is thus liable, regardless of prior knowledge of the unauthorized usage. Also note, the Copyright Act provides for individual liability for all those associated with the infringement as well as corporate liability."

There was more (courtesy of 'ABC Company's' lawyers) but on the "Claim Invoice", the amount of the claim made by 'ABC Company' on behalf of its client was $4020 + GST for unauthorized use of the image.

Let me help that sink in a bit more.

$4020 + GST for the unauthorized use of ONE image on a website.

Ouch.

In this case, the image in question was provided to me by a former client for use on their web advertising. However, after consulting with a lawyer specializing in copyright law, I learned that I was still responsible for the copyright infringement because I hadn't confirmed with my client that the image in question was free of copyright and further, not only did I not check, but I didn't have anything in writing from the client.

Fortunately for me, 'ABC Company' shifted their attention to the former client and that appears to have been the end of the story for me. I suspect hundreds if not thousands of people worldwide receive letters from 'ABC Company' and other rights management companies with claims of copyright infringement. For me, it was an important lesson to learn, so I thought I would share it with you.

Whenever you get new artwork, ensure with your graphic designer that the work is indeed free of copyright. Ask where the image came from and whether they have permission to use it. Image licences can be purchased for as low as a few dollars from many stock photography sites so there's really no reason you should ever get stung with a copyright infringement.

Just a word of warning from one who's been there. It's worth $10 or $20 now to avoid the stress that could befall you in future.

Do You Know Your Sushi?

Mark Kawabe - Monday, March 22, 2010

My dad's a 2nd generation Japanese Canadian. As you might suspect about a guy with this heritage who grew up on the west coast, he knows when his fish is fresh and he knows his sushi. He reminds me that the word "sushi" means "vinegared rice". "Su" is vinegar, "shi" is rice. Pretty simple stuff.

Most restaurants that serve sushi don't have any discernable taste of rice vinegar in their rice. My dad comments that they're not really serving sushi - it looks like it, but you can taste the difference. Most people haven't a clue this is even an issue.

That's the way it seems to be for almost everything these days. We can look at something and think we know what it is - like sushi - but really, we don't have a clue whether we're getting the real deal or something that looks like it. Seeing all the happy people chowing down on sushi in the local all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants, it makes you wonder why it's important. After all, people are happy not knowing the truth, aren't they?

It's gotta be tough to be a trained sushi chef in this world of cheap sushi. These chefs spend years learning their craft. They make the honest-to-goodness product. That's great, but the average consumer doesn't know enough about their craft or the product. The all-you-can-eat sushi places are hopping while the restaurants that sell the more expensive authentic product have empty seats.

Does this sound vaguely like your market? It should. As entrepreneurs we face this dilemma every day. Somewhere, somebody is offering something similar to your product or service for less money. Your challenge is to communicate your value powerfully to the people who will actually care about what you have to offer.

No matter how well you know your sushi, if your market doesn't know what goes into real sushi you need to get to work educating them about the product. What makes your tuna roll better than the one at the all-you-can-eat place? Why does it make a difference that you use snapper instead of the cheaper tilapia? When prospective customers know why you offer more value than your competition you'll get more business. Without education your prospects can't make an informed decision.

The internet gives all businesses access to the same tools but the tools are meaningless unless you can communicate your value clearly and effectively. If you're not doing this now, you can get started right away by looking at your existing marketing and comparing it with your competition's. See how they are communicating their message and look for ways you can improve yours. Keep looking with a critical eye at your approach and over time you'll come up with ways to make your message stand out from the crowd.

Start now.

Get Your Head Out of Your Ass

Mark Kawabe - Monday, March 22, 2010

You are so the same as everyone else that nobody cares.

"But wait - I'M DIFFERENT!!!"

So, how exactly are you different enough that people SHOULD care?

I'm waiting...

...still waiting...

...and waiting.The truth is most of us are lousy at communicating our differences which is a shame, because it's the only thing that's really important. We let potential customers assume we fit the "standards" of our industry and since we've co-operated by colouring inside the lines like everyone else, there's nothing special about us to make people go WOW!!! Yep. Guilty as charged. Me too. Been there, done that. Perhaps I'm still doing it.

But today I'm taking a friend's advice and taking my head OUT of my ass, giving it a shake and looking at myself and my business with a more critical eye. Change is happening all around me anyway, whether I want it to or not. If things are going to be different and better, change had better begin with me.

Or in your case, you. I hope you're enjoying the view and the fresh air. Now get to work on making things better.

For those of you who hate Mondays and want to procastinate until Tuesday or Wednesday when you're in a better mood, the good news is you're right. It CAN wait. The better time to start is now.

Happy Monday!