Yahoo Merchant Summit – June 2010

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Misc | Posted on 16-06-2010-05-2008

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Last week was a busy week! Exclusive Concepts exhibited at the Internet Retailer Conference (Tuesday through Thursday), then on Friday we were the Patron sponsor of the Yahoo! Merchant Summit, and on Saturday morning I moved into a new house! At the Yahoo! Merchant Summit I participated on several panels, including SEO and SEM for Managers and a site review session at the end of the day which was a lot of fun.

The highlight of the week, of course, was meeting face-to-face with many clients and partners who we work with throughout the year. As a life-long entrepreneur I have a passion for business, and I find it incredibly energizing to be around other entrepreneurs and business owners who do as well. In addition, I continue to be impressed by the Yahoo! Merchant Solutions Account Management team. These true e-commerce experts, led by Mike Ober, care about the merchants they work with and become a partner in their growth.

In my SEO and SEM for Managers panel, one of my central points was that many merchants should think differently about their marketing goals. Yes, traffic is incredibly important, but I suggested that merchants think more strategically about which traffic they seek rather than making the assumption that all traffic is equal. To illustrate my point I talked about the Consumer Behavior Cycle and how shoppers have different needs along each stage of this cycle.

For example, a shopper in the earliest stage of the cycle, problem recognition, may be very unlikely to convert into a sale, especially if your website does not have content that caters to the needs of shoppers in this stage of the cycle. As a result, it probably would not be a good idea for a merchant to commit to targeting such phrases with their SEO and SEM campaigns at the expense of phrases that are more in line with the experience the site offers. Instead, this merchant may want to commit to generating traffic from shoppers who are in stages of the Consumer Behavior Cycle that their website DOES cater to. If the merchant has good content that makes it easy for shoppers to evaluate a number of options easily, they may want to target shoppers in the “evaluation of alternatives” stage. Or, if the merchant has very low prices or other major benefits, the “purchase” stage may be a good fit.

The whole point is to commit your SEO and SEM efforts to luring shoppers that you can deliver a good experience for. This will enable you to gain a better return on your marketing efforts as conversion rates go through the roof. This mindset is also helpful because it offers a simple yet effective framework for growing a niche store: If you want to dominate your niche, engage in a long-term, systematic strategy to attract, convert, and retain shoppers at all levels of the consumer behavior cycle. This is a holistic approach.

I’m looking forward to sharing more perspectives at future Yahoo! Merchant Summit events. In the mean time, please be sure to check out the Exclusive Concepts Blog. Every day one of our experts posts a 5-minute video on one concept of Internet Marketing. The videos are free and you can sign-up to receive daily notifications by going to:

http://www.ExclusiveConcepts.com/blog

Have a profitable day!

Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE) and Yahoo! Merchant Summit

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 04-06-2010-05-2008

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Exclusive Concepts will be exhibiting at IRCE 2010 next week, and will also be a Patron Sponsor of the Yahoo! Merchant Summit. I’m looking forward to meeting up with valued clients and partners.

Nik posted a summary of what we will be doing at booth #646 at IRCE next week.

In addition, you can follow Exclusive Concepts on Twitter (@ExclusiveTweet) for in-the-moment updates.

Check out the new Exclusive Concepts Blog

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 09-08-2007-05-2008

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I’m going to take a little break from blogging on my personal blog, but i’ll continue blogging over at the new Exclusive Concepts blog. Just look for the “Scott Speaks” section in the left column.

And of course – don’t forget to check out the Exclusive Concepts website!

Facebook buys Parakey – The FireFox Guys

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 20-07-2007-05-2008

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Interesting news. Everyone has been talking about when FaceBook would sell or IPO, but here they come and announce an acquisition! I had made the prediction on my blog many months ago that MySpace would eventually die at the hands of FaceBook… because FaceBook would do exactly the kinds of things that they are doing… and it looks like they are moving in the right direction. They are adding hundreds of thousands of new users per day, and their users actually USE FaceBook frequently.

MySpace will cite heavy numbers, but ask them:

1) How often their users USE the service
2) What percentage of their users are ACTIVE

Bottom line is this: Just as I predicted, MySpace is not innovating. They are moving slowly. They just don’t seem motivated.

Much as I am jealous of Mark, I respect the fact that he is not just some dumb kid who stumbled upon a great opportunity in FaceBook. Well, he did just stumble on it, but once he did, he realized what he had, and now he is building something great.

Finally, an Update

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 24-04-2007-05-2008

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It’s been a long time since i’ve updated my blog… way too long. The last few months have been incredible, both on a personal and professional level. So, here’s the quick update!

What have I been up to?

I taped my first radio interview on the Frugal Yankee Radio show – all about blogs and viral marketing.

I was on my first television panel – MSNBC’s Your Money with JJ Ramberg.

I attended my first Search Engine Strategies conference (the big conference in our industry), at Yahoo!’s invitation (as a guest speaker).

The Financial Times is compiling an article about me for their mergers and acquisitions report (no, i’m not selling!)

I’ve conducted several seminars at Bentley College – one on online community building, and the other on the topic of search engine optimization. I also judged an enterpreneurship contest for the Bentley Entrepreneurship Society.

I booked a trip to Israel in June that i’m VERY excited about.

We’ve almost doubled our staff at Exclusive Concepts thanks to some very loyal clients and the very dedicated team I am lucky enough to work with on a daily basis. There will be some very interesting developments coming soon.

I’ve also had the opportunity to catch up with some great friends, who remind me what I work so hard for.

Have a great day everyone.

Cambridge SEO Meetup

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 15-03-2007-05-2008

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I talk a lot about online community building and the potential for online communities to inspire people to take action OFFLINE, in addition to taking action ONLINE. This past Monday I put my money where my mouth is and I attended my first ever Meetup through MeetUp.com:

The Cambridge SEO Meetup.

Brian Hawkins, master networker and all-around good guy, invited me to take part in the event and present a case study on how we get our clients out of Google’s supplemental index. Mark from MarksGuide.com (a GREAT local blog about networking) posted a review of the event here.

In attendance were very interesting people with varying levels of SEO knowledge. I’ve been to a fair number of SEO events, and I actually learned something from this group. I’ll be back!

On MSNBC with JJ Ramberg

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 11-03-2007-05-2008

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There it is, my first national television experience – with JJ Ramberg on MSNBC’s Your Business! The show just aired (7:30 this fine Sunday morning).

It was a great experience. I usually don’t get nervous, but I have to admit that I was a bit anxious as I stepped into the “elevator” for the elevator pitch. That part was actually filmed first and I was able to get most of the butterflies out of my system. Amanda (from RealTimeShredding) who pitched Jeff and I (my fellow panelist) was incredibly sweet, and I think she did a great job. Elevator pitches like that aren’t easy and she knocked it out of the park. Jeff is a super-smart entrepreneur and VC; and it was a pleasure being on with him.

Are you a small business owner? I’d love to hear from you.

Speaking at Bentley College in Waltham

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 05-03-2007-05-2008

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Several weeks ago I was invited back to Bentley to speak to Professor Shuman’s class (he teaches a great course on entrepreneurialism). Professor Shuman asked me to share my story with the students, and I was asked lots of questions about how I managed to build a company from my dorm room, and what it’s like to be a young CEO now that i’ve graduated.

I’ve done this several times over the years and I really enjoy it. Students (especially Bentley students) are not afraid to be blunt, and often what ensues is a very open conversation that includes both the pros and cons of Entrepreneurship.

One of the students who attended just sent me a nice email:

I should have emailed you a week or so ago but it slipped my mind until I came across your business card today. I wanted to thank you for speaking to our entrepreneurial thinking class. Your visit was one of the more informative and interesting presentations we have had over the course of the semester and I just wanted to let you know that it was appreciated.

- Tara

That really made my day.

Web 2.0, Entrepreneurs, and the Long-Tail

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 02-02-2007-05-2008

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For a while now, myself and many of my collegues have discussed the concept of the long-tail and the impact it will have on both the Internet and our lives in general.

In my essay, “Reflection on Joe Trippi’s ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘ ” I talked about the importance of a two-way dialogue between customer and company. In reality, the Internet fosters an integrated dialogue, rather than just a two-way dialogue, where may key stakeholders influence the discussion.

In a follow-up, “The Revolution is Happening Right Now,” I provided real-time examples of the long-tail at work, as a way to demonstrate its power.

Then, in MySpace is Dead, I took the example of a large Internet company, “MySpace,” and argued that niche sites that do something very similar would begin competing with it. It has started already.

So, what will this revolution look like?

It’s hard to predict human behavior, but here is what I think will happen.

On television we have several major television networks, and then a number of premium cable channels that cost extra.

On the Internet, while we’ve gone through cycles of expansion and contraction, it would appear now that the revolution will manifest itself in the following way:

Thousands… hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of little Web 2.0 companies will emerge, each one catering very specifically to the needs of a very small group of people through the Software as a Service model.

- Want to plan a party? Check out MyPunchBowl.com – a company whose time is dedicated solely to helping you plan the best party every.

- Like online gaming? Check out GuildeCafe – a social networking platform that brings gamers together in teams.

- Need a better tool to track your finances? Check out Geezo.

These Web 2.0 sites are popping up every day to address the needs of small niche groups in powerful and compelling ways. Some sites focus on entertainment, while others focus on personal or professional progress.

But… Web 2.0 companies that are being created target more than just consumers. Many people know of SalesForce.com (web-based CRM)… one of the first companies to deliver software as a service… but we have a client who is, in many ways, the SalesForce.com of the staffing industry. They’ve targeted a specific niche and created a product that appeals to that niche better than the goliath in the market. Have they been successful? Unbelievably so!

It’s true… in the Web 2.0 world, companies will have to either Go Big, Go Niche, or Go Home.

The interesting thing here is that while it costs a lot of money to build and distribute a television station, it costs little money to build a disruptively powerful website, at least in the eyes of the niche it targets. In fact, some venture capitalists are concerned because entrepreneurs need less and less money to build their companies (Web 2.0 companies), and the exits are likely to be small as well. YouTube aside… these Web 2.0 companies sell for good money quickly, but only few will fetch billion-dollar price tags.

In a lot of ways… These Web 2.0 companies are the enemies of the YouTube/MySpace/FaceBook world. The former gets very specific, while the latter (YouTube/MySpace/FaceBook) target everyone and their brother.

The Internet is ushering in a new era of entrepreneurism that will indeed change all of our lives… because that is the specific focus of all of these companies: To change our every-day lives, one niche at a time.

When Yahoo! sets out to do 500 things (build a great television portal, build a great movie portal, build a great financial portal, etc) they get spread thin.

When a lone entrepreneur, or small group of entrepreneurs set out to focus on building one great thing, they can direct all of their Web Innovatorsefforts exclusively on that one thing. Check out MyPunchBowl.com (listed above)… they have literally streamlined the party-planning process in a compelling way. We’ve all used Evite.com, but the workflow on PunchBowl rocks in comparison.

As you can see from the picture below… these entrepreneurs are hungry. This picture was taken at a WebInnovators event that I attended last Monday. Most of the people in this room at entrepreneus who have the sights set… not on changing the world, but on changing your world… if you fit their niche:)

Take the Pledge for Darfur

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 02-01-2007-05-2008

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Visit the site here.