Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Please Support Me in the March of Dimes March for Babies

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

On April 27 I will once again be walking in the Inland Empire March for Babies Walk.

 

Give Now

 

If you’ve followed my personal blog at all then you know that I’m a father of twins that were preterm and spent the first month of their life in the NICU at UCI Medical Center.

For nearly a month my wife and I practically lived in that hospital, and my son Aiden and daughter Cambria did.  Watching your child through glass hooked up to heart monitors, breathing monitors, and feeding tubes is one of the hardest things I think any parent could endure.  But while those first months were difficult for us, I recognize that we were far more fortunate than some parents of preterm babies.  It’s because of this that my wife and I have vowed to do our part to help prevent other babies and their parents from going through it.

The March of Dimes March for Babies is a walk is designed to help support research and programs that help moms have full-term pregnancies and babies begin healthy lives. And it’s used to bring comfort and information to families with a baby in newborn intensive care.

You can help support the fight (see where the money goes) against preterm pregnancy – and other infant defects a few ways…

Make a donation

DonateMy donation page for the Inland Empire March for Babies is here (International donations accepted) and there is no minimum contribution limit.   Every dollar helps and donations made to the walk are tax deductible.

 

Walk with us

Baby FootprintsIf you live in the Inland Empire, consider walking with us.  My wife and children will be walking with me and I encourage other locals who would like to as well.  It’s a six mile course that is routed through historic neighborhoods in Riverside.  Best of all you get a free lunch at the end.  You can sign up via the Aiden & Cambria’s Crew page if you’d like to join us.

Support a walk in your hometown

Baby Footprints The March for Babies is not limited to the Inland Empire, there are walks in all fifty states of the union.  If you’re not local and can’t contribute financially consider donating your time to a walk in your neck of the woods.  Find your local March for Babies and get involved!

 

Thank you to all of those who have supported our efforts in the past.  Let’s help stop premature births and the heartache they bring so many families!

March for Babies 2009

Why Raven Tools Still Matters In Spite of Removing Rankings Data

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Raven Tools logo

I’ve been a Raven Tools user for almost as long as I have been in the field of internet marketing.  I still remember being introduced to Raven Tools via a phone demo with Jon Henshaw and I remember receiving my first Raven Tools t-shirt for simply tweeting at Jon Henshaw that I wanted one.  Needless to say Raven Tools and I have some history.

But there’s a reason Raven Tools and I have a history.  It’s not because I own a different Raven t-shirt for every day of the week, or the fact that Taylor Pratt was kind enough to interview me on the Raven Tools blog a couple years ago, or the fact I know I’ll always have a place to hang during downtime at a conference.  We have a history because of the people and the service behind the toolset.  From day one, Raven has been made up of a group of people who actually care about their customers and their industry.  Never have I gone ignored when I had a problem or suggestion for Raven Tools.  They have always supported me, and I have always supported them both in praise and in recommendations.

On Friday Raven announced the removal of their SERP tracker tool and unfortunately they were met with pretty harsh backlash.  Sadly it seemed to bring out the worst in people, as though Raven Tools was intentionally trying to make the lives of SEO’s more difficult  Strangely, even in 2012 we still have a ton of SEO’s living and dying by ranking reports alone.

 

This was clear not only from the backlash, but also from the number of rank checking tools that bombarded users over the weekend offering special discounts.

 

As people threaten to leave for other providers because rankings were the only tool they used, I can’t help but think about all they are sacrificing.  Raven Tools is so much more than “a ranking tool.”  Raven tools is a comprehensive internet marketing suite that features tools to aid in analytics analysis, link building, content marketing, social media and so much more.  But more than that, I’d be surprised if you could find another group of people behind a product that are as hard working, caring, and passionate about what they do.  I doubt any provider out there offers the same level of service Raven has for all these years.

That said, with so many people focusing on just the rankings portion of Raven, I challenge Raven to make education on how to effectively use their remaining tools to make smart internet marketing decisions part of their 2013 content strategy. Clearly their client base doesn’t recognize what they have in their arsenal.

Did I use Raven’s SERP tracker? Absolutely.  I work in plastic surgery internet marketing where rankings and vanity are almost all that matter, but over the last year or so I have focused my efforts on educating clients and our sales force on the importance of other metrics such as organic search traffic growth, and conversion.  It’s this communication that I am hoping will help make the transition easier in the coming year.  Rankings are dying metric and have been for sometime.  Localization, personalization, and the like have made them much less reliable as Chris Countey illustrated in his Raven Tools post.  For those of you kicking and screaming about losing your precious SERP reports, I would encourage you to take this opportunity to learn, grown and embrace a life without SERP reporting.  Can you prove your value without it?  If not, you might want to rethink your career.

On January 3 I’ll still be a Raven Tools user and I hope to be for years to come, because I know at the end of the day what matters most to me and my career is the success of my clients and Raven Tools as a whole helps me achieve that success, not just a monthly rankings report.

Why Being Helpful Should Be Your #1 Online Priority As a Business

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Help Wanted - No BullshitWhether you like it or not, how we function as a business is changing.  Thanks to the ever-connected world of social media, mobile devices, and consumers practically living on the internet the need to be in front of users is more crucial than ever, but their behaviors are forcing us to change.  While you definitely want to be where your consumers are, you can’t be there pushing your marketing message and selling them the way that traditional marketing has in the past.  Now, companies need to be more subtle, and to do this your top priority as a business should be to be helpful.

Content Is King, and It’s Queen is Quality

I hate to start with the obvious, but people are consuming content in record numbers and the creation of regular content is crucial.  Think of what your customers need most?  What questions do they ask?  What help might they need with your product or service after they’ve purchased it.  These things can be great fodder for content of various types.  I recently attended the Explore conference in Orange County and during his presentation,  Marcus Sheridan talked in detail about how he turned a business that was struggling in a down economy around simply by producing content that answered questions his customers were already constantly asking.  The key was to produce in depth, quality content that answered some of the most common questions and concerns his customers had.

Become Part of Your Customers Day to Day Life

When I attended SES San Francisco earlier this year, I had the opportunity to watch the keynote from Avisnash Kaushik in which he stressed this point in detail.  The days of interruption at the point of need are behind us, now it’s about integrating your brand into the day to day lives of your customers.   In his examples he pointed out Skull Candy headphones as a company who has managed to do this well.

The Skull Candy mobile app doesn’t sell you headphones, in fact it doesn’t have anything do with headphones.  Instead it’s a branded app that helps with the day to day lifestyle of it’s core customer base by providing information on surf conditions, snow conditions, or find a skate park.  As an added bonus, you can listen to music from the app, which I suppose ties in nicely with the whole “headphones” element, but at no point do they try and sell you headphones.

Be Genuine

The first thing businesses can do to be helpful is to stop being businesses and start being people. Be genuine, or as Courtney Seiter of Raven Tools recently put it in her Explore OC presentation, “Be Interested”.  Social media, and the internet for that matter, is made up of billions of people that are all about “me”.  If you want to be helpful, make it less about yourself and more about your customer and while you’re at it, be genuine.  By actually caring about your customers and doing your part to help them, not because it’s good for your marketing, but because you truly care about your customers your business will go even further in today’s business space.

No matter how you tackle it the way you do business and market your business is going to evolve drastically in the coming year or so.  Businesses are going to have to start thinking like media companies when it comes to their content and they’re going to have to be more than a product or service, they are going to have to be a friend, a confidant someone the consumer trusts.  Find out what your customers need and then help them achieve that.  Become as much a part of your customer’s life as your product or service is.

I’m Officially a Power Searcher

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

I completed Google’s Power Searching with Google courses earlier this month and today, I finally received my final score and my certificate for completing the courses.

Mid-class assessment score:  90%
Post-class assessment score:  95%

The course kicked off on July 10 and ran through July 23 and featured six modules, two Google Hang Outs and two assessments.  During the course I learned a lot of cool stuff that I wasn’t even aware Google could do, and that’s after spending the last number of years trying to find a way to beat Google at its own algorithm.  From what I can tell, the Google Power Searching courses are still online for your viewing pleasure.  If you do a lot of searching for school, work, or just simply want to better understand what Google can do I would HIGHLY recommend these courses.  The only downside is you are too late to score a fancy certificate like the one I got today in my email.

Google Power Searcher Certificate awarded to Mike Wilton

3 Reasons Your Business Doesn’t Need An App

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

iPhone Home ScreenThere’s no denying that integrating a mobile into your marketing strategy in this day in age is crucial.  Be it through mobile SEO, location based marketing, or apps mobile is huge and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.  However, the obsession over creating a mobile app for your business is getting out of hand.  As such the number of marketers and developers selling products or services to get businesses to create a mobile app are equally out of hand.  But when it comes to the mobile craze, there are a handful of things businesses are overlooking.

Your App Doesn’t Fulfill a Need

In a study published earlier this year by Localytics it was discovered that 1 in 4 mobile apps once downloaded were never used again.  There may be a number of reasons for this, usability, functionality, people who are just trying an app, but I would hypothesize that a larger culprit is the fact that the app probably didn’t fulfill a serious need for the user.

When clients talk to me about mobile apps the first thing I ask them is, “What will your app do  to make your customer’s life easier or offer that you don’t already provide elsewhere.” In most cases they can’t come up with a single legitimate response.  The reason for this is that most businesses want to deliver the same sort of content and user experience found on their website in app form.  What they fail to realize is that if users can get the information off their site, or a mobile optimized version of their site there is no reason to even bother with an app.  You are not offering anything unique to get them to download and use the app over traditional means. The only exception to this would be if the app made a task on a mobile device easier.  For instance I have the Haunters Digest app installed on my phone because it gives me access to all of their content and allows me to stream their podcasts directly from the app as opposed to having to use a separate app to play their content.  In this case they aren’t really giving me anything I can’t get elsewhere, but they are making a task on my mobile device easier.

Your Company Doesn’t Generate A lot of Repeat Business

The desire for a mobile app has come up a lot in my work with Plastic Surgery Studios because the idea of a doctor having their own app strokes the ego a bit, but what I have pointed out time and again is that plastic surgery patients don’t typically generate a lot of repeat business.  You come in for a consult, you get a procedure done, and you’re probably set for life at that point.  If you’re a company that doesn’t generate a lot of repeat business then there aren’t a lot of users who may use your app during the life of your business relationship and then never use it again.

You Don’t Have the Budget or Means to Continue to Grow

Mobile apps are demanding.  Both the iPhone OS and Android OS continue to evolve and with it comes new phones and new updates that need to be taken into consideration when developing a mobile app.  If you or the company developing your application can’t keep up with the changes then ultimately your app is useless.  Unlike a website, which can often site stagnant for months on end, mobile apps are having to be tweaked and updated constantly and if your business can’t keep up then a mobile app probably isn’t for you.

It’s important to realize that just because the world is becoming more mobile, not everything has to be handled through mobile apps.  Smart phone and tablet users are still navigating the internet through browsers and search engines, meaning you can still deliver your message to mobile users with a website that is properly optimized for mobile devices. As Chuck Martin outlined in a recent article on Inc.com, an app needs to either make life easier, make life cheaper, or make life fun in order to appeal to users and be successful.