Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Paint My Fence

Do you remember the Tom Sawyer story about how he got neighborhood kids to paint his fence for free? Tom made it look so fun, they were dying to do it. In fact, they paid him to do his work. I couldn't help but have a smile on my face today as Manju from our company got visitors to our SES booth to paint our fence. Around us, people we giving away pen, toys and iPhones. However, the crowd around our booth came in to learn about our services, buy a book and have an invitation to a free (for now) Search Engine Marketing Seminar.

We ended up selling a ton of books and overbooking the seminar. People are truly hungry for this info especially in bite sized chunks. For us, we get to educate the community and get more highly qualified prospects - people who see clear value for them. We are OK with sharing our knowledge because deep experience and execution matter more. Because of our infrastructure, people could never afford to compete whether inhouse or as an agency. If they walk away with something that helps them well then we have a better image. This can only help in a highly connected region.

Before, we would give away books to those who were "qualified" but since when did you ever read a book that was given to you for free? How many of you actually go to the library? So go ahead, give away your pens, yoyos, shirts and doo-dads. Most people will simply give them to their kids or throw them away. Come to our booth and get yourself a book at the 30% off list and signed by the author!

Now the money off the book did not make us very much money compared to the cost of the show, but it was a classic trade-on. Viral or Web 2.0 marketing is about getting others to paint your fence. In this case Manju at Position2 was the clear winner.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Search Engine Strategies - The San Jose Bash

Just came back from Google Dance - a massive party done up like the bashes of the Bubble Days - dancing, karaoke, beach volleyball, food, beer, wine and free T-shirts. Oh, and you could also talk to various Google engineers about new offerings. There were even party crashers that even went out of their way to get SES badges so they could get in. Why be a wedding crasher, when you can be a corporate bash crasher? It was fun to soak it up with Microsofties and Yahooligans at their competitors expense... though I'm sure someone at Google is justifying that as a show of dominance or invitation to join.

The SES show was better than in previous years, specifically in terms of the research data and the multimedia SEO content. Last year, tagging and social networks were all the rage. Now it's old news. Google Universal is all the rage given how it will change the look and feel of search engine results as well as what we do with SEO. The Golden Triangle is breaking to the "E". It goes to show you that the game is not really over. As much as Google is dominant now, with broadband media taking shape, it does not mean that it will retain dominance. Hell, I even met a company putting together an "answer machine" based on chaos theory. If only the founder could explain it like Charlie Epps in NUMB3RS.

Based on last year, I did not really see this as a show about getting any leads, but I'm told we received quite a few. I saw this as a way to stay ahead of the curve, get sources for our upcoming books & seminars, and establish our brand firmly in the Bay Area. Little did I know that Manju would actually offer our book, Insider SEO & PPC, for sale. By selling it instead of giving it away, people realized its greater value. Moreover, as part of our education effort, we also promoted our upcoming Search Engine Roundtable in Santa Clara on August 30th. Yeah, it's free - for now!

I'll be writing a lot more about the specific sessions I found interesting, but this is a golden time for anyone to be doing something on the web. For those who want to break through with media or run an SEM agency (good luck doing all this inhouse), these are exciting times.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Position2 Rolling

The progress continues at Position2 with some excellent new client sign-ups. Our new bid management tool is showing excellent results for our clients. Check out new sites that have just gone live with Clubspaces and ResponseLINK - our designers, developers and SEO team have done a terrific job.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Rush Concert - With Son

Today, like many who lived their music days I went to the Rush concert at Shoreline Amphitheater. There were many like me - many gray haired and balding - but enjoying every second of "Freewill" or "Subdivisions." We did, of course, sit down during parts to rest our feet.

Arjun, my 11 year old son, had a blast. He's an old soul who enjoys Papa's music. We listen to "Rush's Greatest Hits" on the stereo. So, like me, he knew the old ones from "2112" and "Hemisphere's," but really not much past "Grace Under Pressure. " Of course, we had a blast during "Tom Sawyer," "YYZ," and the mega Neil Pert solo.

It's kind of funny... I never would have dreamed of going of a concert with my father. He was from India, so he didn't relate to rock n' roll. We're very close, but there's this generational distance when it comes to culture. I wonder if I'll deal with the same adolescent rebellion that I put my father through, because this kid actually likes the same things I like.

What a dream that would be.