Xobni – Easy Outlook

Xobni - Easy Outlook

Xobni - Easy Outlook

I came across Xobni on a forum. First glance had me thinking it was gimicky but I installed it based on the feedback it was getting… now I’m a total convert…. I won’t ruin the surprise but anyone using Outlook for email will find this tool invaluable for searching emails, contacts, conversation threads and attachments. Ripper. Two Tommy thumbs up!!!

Danger Will Robinson – Marketing of Marketing

Just a thought, has anyone else noticed that a lot of the “social media money” being made is by people/companies/organisations talking about how much money you can make with “social media”?

It’s started to feel a little bit like a 70s network marketing company. The products and services come second to the vehicle. Or am I just being cynical? I hope I am but I’ve yet to see hard figures on ROI through social media strategies.

Danger Will Robinson

Danger Will Robinson

I get the community building side of things. I get the idea of “tribes”. And I’ve no doubt that money can be made using Twitfacespace, I just wonder what the proportion of people trying is compared to the people succeeding.

A little known fact is that only about 1% of those people who do network marketing will succeed. There is a lot of obfuscation around that… and a loooot of rationalisation by those in the industry. And there is a whole lot of money being made selling seminars and books and audios on the “top ten secrets” that’ll have you rocketed to wealth… and the product/service comes second.

Looking at the interweb landscape today I see a lot of people hammering away with web strategies and social media strategies and making very little (i.e. negative amounts) money. Other than the guys selling the social media seminars. It’s fine to have 10,000 followers on Twitter but what have they done for you lately? Chances are, not a whole lot.

My thoughts are that social media has a definite place in many businesses. The trick, if there is one, is to not have the network marketing mentality of pumping time and money into something that doesn’t have a clear ROI. If you work out a strategy for how your social media presence is going to put money in your pocket then “go for it!” I say.

But, if you’re like many people and think that simply getting followers is going to pay for your new Ferrari, maybe it’s worth thinking again…

What Makes A Good Baker?

Question: “Whose bread would you buy? The bread made by the baker that spends their time working on the best recipe and new ways to make a better loaf, or the baker that has the best bread van and most advertisements?”

Next question: “Which bread would you prefer to buy?”

If you can see the fundamental difference in those two questions you’re a long way to figuring out the conundrum a lot of small businesses will find themselves in when it come’s to their online presence. So for the purposes of this article, let’s call the baker with the amazing bread van, popularised by ubiquitous advertisements, Jack. And our baker who focuses on making the best bread can be Jill.

Being honest, you’ll be most likely to buy Jack’s bread. You know about it. He gets the bread to you on time. And it’s bread right? Not the most complicated thing in the world when it comes to a purchase. You live in a happy enough world where you sometimes have a sandwich, sometimes have toast, and basically feel like your every bread need is satisfied.

Then one day, you remember a friend has recommended Jill’s loaf and you happen to be passing her shop. You stop in. You buy a loaf. And your bread world is never the same again! Never have you tasted such a loaf! Never has a sandwich tasted so good! Never has bread been this healthy for you (Jill uses ancient grains and all organic ingredients)! Jill charges more than Jack yet you would still pay more than she charges.

From now on, there is no question about where your multigrain toast will come from. Jack who? Jill has you as a customer for life and it doesn’t stop there. If anyone mentions bread, you mention Jill. Jill get’s more business and she never advertised.

So in your business, are you Jack or Jill?

If you’re Jack, then you’re spending a lot of time online building a social media presence, writing articles and following every new trend and fad so as many people as possible hear about you and what you do… and some of them may buy. You hope.

If you’re Jill then you work at getting better at your service, or creating a better product. Your online activity reflects your passion for bread. When you do contribute it’s because you’re interested – not because you’re thinking of the attention. The bread always comes first. You may not get a stampede of customers right now. But you know that with word of mouth, people’s loyalty to quality, people’s desire to pay for quality and a passion for what you do, you’re going to build a much more solid business.

Jill is not vulnerable to a new kid coming along with a bigger advertising budget, or more vans. Jack is.

Jill can raise her prices. Jack can’t (without losing customers).

Jill can change her recipes. In fact, her type of customer trusts her baking skills and expect new types of bread. Jack’s customers expect what was advertised.

Jack or Jill? Better to know and build your strategy.

Globally Recognised Avatars

Branding is important for any business so leave your mark using something like Gravatar.

What is a gravatar? A gravatar, or globally recognized avatar, is quite simply an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so why not on any site?

See the Tech Tock flower beside the comments in this post… it’s served by gravatar.com…

Websites – Form and Functionality

There are two very important aspects to any well designed website: its form (how it looks) and its functionality (what it does). Getting only one of these right normally means people are going to click on through.

There are sites that survive purely on functionality. Take, for example, Craig’s List. It doesn’t look like much but it turns over millions of dollars (US) a year. And there are sites that exist purely on form.

The trick is to get the combination of both. Users need to be able to get what they need when they visit your site: information, a service or to make a purchase. They need to be able to do it simply and without barriers. And while they are on your site, they need to see a look of polished professionalism.

These days, using many widely available CMS-based systems (Drupal, Joomla, WordPress), it has become relatively simple to own and run a site which has both functionality and form. The functionality is delivered by communities who develop the software for free. And the form is delivered by similar communities who develop the “themes” to sit on top of your site – which you can then alter to make your own.

The Power of Crowd Sourcing

I decided on the new logo today after a very good experience using a crowd sourcing company called Design Bay. It’s a very simple concept and appears to work most effectively with simple design projects.

Having spoken to some of my Web 2.0 pals who are heavily involved in large-scale web application development, the jury is still out on it’s usefulness in anything too complicated.

The idea: submit a brief for the design work so various designers from around the world can compete for a single payout to the winning design. The result: many diverse designs to choose from at a very reasonable price. I’ve used one-on-one design relationships and while there are certainly benefits to this, for simple design work I like the range offered from around the world by a site like designbay.com.

Excellent Image Viewer – IrfanView

I’ve been using this image viewer for many years and so far it remains the best. Irfranview is a piece of freeware available at http://www.irfanview.com/. IrfanView is a very fast, small and compact graphic viewer for Windows 9x, ME, NT, 2000, XP, 2003 , 2008, Vista, Windows 7. It can do some basic manipulation, like cutting/cropping and resampling/resizing. Definitely worth checking out.

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NeedMoreInfo.com.au – MICROSITE Holder

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