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The following applies especially to small to mid-size businesses: obvious conclusion of the week – understand your customers!

Why am I stating this most simple and basic understanding in business?

Recently I have been undertaking an SEO project for a company. I’m far from an expert on the subject and it’s somewhat of a research assignment, but by this point I should know a thing or two about marketing and customer behavior. This is based on a current, real experience.

The goal of optimizing a website to rank higher is clearly to drive more traffic to the site; now here is the kicker:

  • Image your site is #1 on Google for exactly what you do; those exact functions you perform are ranking top-of-the-class! Sounds great right?
  • Now add the following: The people who search for those exact terms want nothing to do with your service…

Some ways to remedy this problem:

  • Use Google Analytics – Find out alternative keywords that your customers use to find you.
  • Ask your customers – find out what they think of you; ask them to use your company in a sentence.
  • Research – Find out what market segments are most important to target (come back for a post about this next).

This is my shock for the week and this is why is incredibly important to understand your customers. What you think your function is could be completely unrelated to what your customers think you actually do!

Coming Soon:  Niche Marketing

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Someone asked me about where I get my news (aside from the few links I posted on the left).

Since I am hoping that many more people will be interacting with me and this blog as time goes on, I will create a “Questions Page”.

Feel free to make a comment and of course leave a question, I will try to find relevant information or refer you to an expert on the field.

Of course you can always take the Google route!

Many of you reading this have great websites, books and shows to get your information from. Main sources for the BusinessGears blog are:

*Google news pretty much covers all other respected news entities (including Globe&Mail, Financial Post, Economist, etc).

Coming Soon: Posts on China’s influence, Monthly Review, plus Motivation & Creativity.

Innovation

About 5 years ago I remember arguing with a friend that nothing new is happening, my argument was particularly focused on computer/game technology and product innovation. I stopped following gadget news, stopped looking into internet changes and generally got dismayed that change is slow. Included in this delusion was the fact that I ignored articles about “future” events, seeing them as a waste of time on marketing hype.

Now days if you haven’t been up to date on all the wiki, social media, SEO, and viral marketing your already missing out on the key traffic drivers of online media.

Then there are the advancements in computer technology, photography, smart-phones, 3D movie making and green energy (electric cars to industrial waste controls).

I came to realize that if you’re always “keeping your finger on the pulse” there is a constant flow of ideas (check out Global Innovation Index), unfortunately many don’t go anywhere. The key is that any one of these ideas, especially ones that don’t seem likely now, are highly combustible. Take social media, the thought of having a massive free encyclopedia service, or Facebook was not possible without mass donations (online payment) or online advertising and collaborative development (ex. Open source)

Collective Spark

The spark in these areas came from companies like Google and their pay-per-click model. This single idea changed the face of online revenue, but fire doesn’t burn without oxygen. In this case it came from applications and collaborative development, the former is currently exploding thanks to smart phones into multi-billion dollar industry!

The green revolution obviously has its footing in government reform and the global warming craze, and if you didn’t hear the news recently, Ontario is investing 8 billion with partners Samsung and others into renewable energy (though not everyone is happy about this deal)

There are thousands of innovations right now on the market, many of which will never see the light of day, or will fail upon introduction. The key again is a spark (financial support helps) and oxygen, achieved through communities or governments. With the current hype of Web 3.0, viral and niche marketing, and social media, finding a spark for an idea has never been easier. Give people the ability to collaborate and develop with you – it could be the one spark that sets off hundreds of others which have been waiting on the sidelines.

Collaborate & Prosper

Take a quick poll (check it out at the top under “Speak out”) and collaborate with me as well 🙂

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It took about 2 hours of head scratching and disappointment to find this simple site: GetSocialLive

Since this blog comes with a pre-set template and hosted for free, I cannot add applications or plug-ins that don’t exist in the pre-set options. Which was fine, until you realize that there is no plug-in on WordPress.com for say Digg, or Facebook.

The GetSocialLive site allows you to create a share button cluster for any post, just type your URL and copy the HTML.

And here is the result:

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This blog is a combination of class projects and personal interests.

I will try to keep this up-to date with relevant business focused information that is interesting and useful along with my personal insights on the topics.

Feel free to comment or contact me.

– Arie Lozinsky

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