Just Say No

by Ernest O’Dell – Guerrilla Internet Marketing and Questar TeleCommunications

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I was finishing up a proposal when a potential client of mine called me on the phone last week. I had just finished an analysis of one of his press releases when he called me and told me that he had a product that he wanted to promote through SEO articles.

He stated that he wanted to make these articles part of his e-commerce website by adding them on a regular basis. “SEO articles?” I thought. “Why would an e-commerce site that sells a lackluster business model need articles about SEO ?”

Of course, I knew they weren’t talking about writing articles about SEO, but writing articles for SEO… which is just as silly.

Unfortunately, I hear this a lot because so many people have been duped into believing that writing keyword-stuffed articles is somehow an SEO requirement. How far removed from the truth and reality they are!

They don’t even know why they need these articles—only that, for whatever reason, the Google god wants them. Or, the Google spiders… or, whatever. Someone sold them on the idea that they needed to “feed the spiders” with SEO content that was gobbled up by the search engines.

Nevertheless, I asked him, “Who is your potential customer? A human? Or a search engine?”

To read the rest of the article, click on the link below.

Just Say No – GREEN BAR.pdf

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Corporate IT is Broken

by Ernest O’Dell – Guerrilla Internet Marketing Institute and Questar TeleCommunications

Well, it’s time for another one of my rants. This time, it’s about the state of corporate IT departments and their lack of foresight.

The economy is down, and many big companies don’t want experienced professionals, they just want cheap labor. If you’re over 40 (or worse, over 50) and looking for work in the I/T industry as a programmer, don’t be surprised if you never hear back from anybody. They know how to “date” you from your resume.

Having said that, it really doesn’t matter to Corporate America if you have 30 plus years of experience in I/T. Whether it’s in programming languages or systems, quality of work doesn’t matter to them as much as working cheap and quick. And damn the long term consequences! They’re sort of like Microsoft and Facebook: we’ll fix it when “it” (whatever “it” is) bites us in the ass.

So, seasoned computer professionals are stuck sitting on the sidelines, looking for employment instead of contributing to the recovery. Maybe it’s time to look for another line of work and re-invent yourself — and tell Corporate America to sink or swim. It’s been a long held belief of mine that some businesses have no business being in business. Some of them just need to sink, rather than swim, to open up the shipping lanes for more competitive and successful companies.

Organizations used to know that the true value of any company is with the knowledge and dedication of its workers. Such is not the case any more. Companies planned strategic objectives years in advance and adjusted according to ongoing business demands. They utilized the skills and experience of their employees and business partners to make a profit in a highly competitive free marketplace.

Today, however, experience and years of training are ignored for the sake of cheap local and off-shore workers. These foreign shop workers are cranking out systems and processes with little or no quality assurance, security or understandable documentation. There is a dramatic lack of oversight, testing and validation with systems developed and deployed outside of the USA. I know that for a fact, because I personally know people in the IT testing sector who make those complaints — with validation.

And so… systems and security fail, operating systems are riddled with holes and are constantly compromised by hackers. Corporate financial and government systems are penetrated by thieves and foreign agents. Business suffers losses, both financial and in customer confidence.

Hello! Is anybody home? The lights are on, but nobody is answering the doorbell!

The reason your systems are being hacked is because they were designed by foreign hackers! And until you get your act together and bring your development back to “on-shore” and quit “off-shoring” your work, you’re not going to see any improvement in aforementioned security and quality assurance. As a matter of fact, you will soon see your competitors taking over your market share after you leave bankruptcy court.

“Pay me now, or pay me later” is a phrase companies should heed. Unfortunately, the managers responsible for the choice, selection, budget and staffing of large corporate systems very often don’t stick around for the end result of long implementation projects. They cash out before returns can be measured accurately, often moving on to infect other companies before the end result of their project failures can be linked to them.

I can’t count how many times I’ve given a proposal to companies where they him-hawwed around for 18 months, long after my proposal deadlines, only to come back and find my new proposal 50 times (sometimes 100) times higher. “But, you were only a half million dollars a year and a half ago!”

That was a year and a half ago. Now, it’s going to cost you more.

What happens in the interim? They went out and contracted with an offshore firm who did not know their business, and couldn’t speak English without a terrible accent. The state-side team couldn’t understand their foreign counterparts, and there was no way to gauge metrics in the testing and QA metrics.

Let’s face it: Information Technology has been a business requirement for more than 50 years, most especially for the past 30 years or so. There are many experienced business technologists who have been active for decades. Yet, are they valued? No. Do they teach on campuses or universities? Again, not so much, as they don’t have advanced degrees or tenure with educational institutions.

I personally know many of these highly skilled professionals who are in their fifties and sixties and are being forced to take early retirement due to lack of work. Meanwhile, our high schools and colleges crank out “students” who have difficulty with reading, math and science. The USA is being quickly overrun by educational systems in competing countries who value experience, training and technology. We are squandering our experienced professional resources by not utilizing them in education, business training and professional career building.

There was a time when the U.S. was the leading providers in the best technologies and minds when it came to innovative thought, invention and development. The world at large has benefitted most from American ingenuity and intellect. Now, we are starting to see that slip from our hands because the educational system is more interested in form rather than substance.

It may be time for some in IT to switch professions. People live longer and work longer these days, so there is time for experienced professionals to develop new careers. Past hobbies or interests are now becoming new career paths. Combining avid interest with diverse experience, many professionals can now seek independent work in areas of environment, energy, technology, music, cooking and a host of other areas. Many individuals and small businesses still value experience and professionalism. It is unfortunate the larger corporate business community does not.

Some will seek new careers because of financial need, while others to find meaningful work. Collect Social Security? Don’t bank on it. It probably won’t be around by the time you retire. If you’re in your 40’s or 50′ right now, you might as well look for alternative retirement plans. Otherwise, you could be greeting disgruntled customers at Wal Mart to supplement whatever income you may have left.

[Ed. Note: Ernest O’Dell is publisher and CEO of the Guerrilla Internet Marketing Institute, the Guerrilla Real Estate Marketing Institute, and Director of DMS Group Publishing, a holding company for Questar TeleCommunications and Questar PC, an authorized VAR for NextDayPC. He has won international recognition in 182 countries and is published in over 20 different languages. His publications cover marketing in small, medium and large businesses, telecommunications, real estate, insurance and government related industries. To download the complete article in PDF format, click on the link below.]


 

Corporate IT is Broken – GREEN BAR.pdf

Do You Struggle With Article Marketing?

by Ernest O’Dell – Guerrilla Internet Marketing Institute

There’s a lot of people claiming that article marketing is a dead horse. They say it doesn’t work. Well let me just give you a few statistics and facts:

Willie Crawford has written more than 1,600 articles in just the last 14 years!

Do you think Willie would keep writing articles if they didn’t work? Do you think he would waste another day writing articles if he didn’t profit from them?

  • He sometimes writes 20 to 40 articles per week…
  • Stone Evans has written over 800 articles…
  • Jeff Herring has written 1,458 articles…
  • Steven Wagenheim has written over 2,496 articles, and continues to write two per day…
  • Jason Nyback has written 5,716 articles, and still continues to write…
  • Myself, I’ve only written 6,160 articles, technical papers, reports and books in the past 5 years, and this one counts for one more…

So… add one to that count.

Oh, what the hell! What do we know? Right? What do all these other writers know that you don’t know? Why do we keep throwing time, effort and money into article marketing, if it really is a dead horse?

I’ll tell you why. And I’m going to be REAL BLUNT about it, too…

Those that make the claim that article marketing doesn’t work any more…

…don’t know what the hell they’re talking about!

Is it possible that the people claiming the premature death of article marketing are the people who have failed with it? Or is it because they have just never gotten started?

Or is it because they can’t write worth a damn?

Hey! You don’t have to be a New York Times Best Seller to write articles! You don’t even have to have perfect spelling and grammar—although it would help. If you can’t spell, or use proper punctuation, grammar and syntax, then get someone to help you!

Do you want to take your article marketing advice from dead-beats who have failed OR from people with a long track record of success?

Hey! I’m not kidding! (I told you I was going to be blunt! I’m tired of “pussy-footin’” around with a bunch of whiners!)

You can take your lessons from failures, OR you can take your lessons from successful article marketers…

I got over 247 million hits to one web site back in 2005, and it took me over 3 years to figure out that they had all come from articles that I had written and submitted into directories. Once I started tracking the IP numbers and the tracking graphs showed me where the traffic had originated, I found article that were 3, 4, and 5 years old still cranking out traffic.

Bill Platt, the author of the ebook, “Article Marketing Secrets: Turning Words Into Dollars”, has written more than 600 articles in dozens of niches…

He has written for ghost writing clients and for himself…

And, he has written articles under dozens of pen names…

Many of Bill’s articles have generated revenues in excess of five-figures…

Bill’s most successful article generated $38,000 in new revenue within three days of its publication…

Why am I telling you all this? Because I’m bragging on Bill?

Nope.

Because I’m bragging on myself?

Nope.

I’m definitely not bragging about 247 million (plus) hits from my articles, because I didn’t monetize the site. Had I monetized the site, I would have several million dollars in the bank from them.

No… I was just running the tests, and then got sidetracked and forgot about them. Then one morning I got an email from my stats and almost fell out of my chair!

I hadn’t checked my stats in over 10 months because I had gotten sidetracked into doing something else. I can’t even remember what I was doing, or what sidetracked me…

I know, I know… you’re probably skeptical. Right?

Well, calm down, because I’m not trying to sell you anything. I am trying to point out that article marketing is the way to go when you want raw, organic, unadulterated traffic to your sites.

Most people do not like to share their real income online for obvious reasons… they like to fly “under the radar” because they don’t want to attract attention of the You Know Who.

If you were asked to put your income numbers on the Internet for the world to see, would you do it?

No?

Why not?

Well, evidently a bunch of these guys didn’t mind making it public in forums about their income. People like Steven Wagenheim, Jason Nyback, just to mention a couple. There’s more, but I’m not going to join them, for obvious reasons.

The only reason I’m writing this article is not to drive traffic back to my site, but to tell you what you can do with the 3rd course of the Guerrilla Internet Marketing Institute: “The Phenomenal Power of Article Marketing and Press Releases.”

Yes, press releases. Sometimes known as “news releases” or PSA’s (Public Service Announcements).

They all have similarities while having somewhat different rules, but when they’re delivered electronically over the Internet through directoris, they create a deluge of back links and one way traffic to your site.

They also:

  • Improve your rankings in Google and other search engines like Yahoo Directory and BING.com;
  • Improve Your Article CTR’s (Click-Through Rates);
  • Increase Traffic to your websites;
  • Get more subscribers for your mailing list, faster than any other method known;
  • Deliver more Pre-Qualified Prospects to your websites; and
  • Generate more sales for your websites—today and tomorrow.

After about a year’s worth of articles in the same niche, you can then turn it into a book. (Separate course…)

A book is quite possibly the best article marketing tool you can use to brand your name on the Internet.

In the Guerrilla Internet Marketing Institute Course # 3, you’re going to learn (for free) what a lot of people would charge you. But, you’re also going to learn MORE than they could ever teach you.

Why? Because they’re only going to give you so much. After that, they’re going to start pounding you with ad upon ad.

Hey, don’t get me wrong. Some of these guys are my friends, but I know the business and the nature of the beast. They’re going to have your name in their subscriber database and the autoresponder is just going to “churn out” whatever they’ve put into their inventory.

In the third series of the course, you’re going to learn:

  • How to maximize the effectiveness of your Article Title, by “optimizing” it with the proper key words;
  • How to construct your Article Body to ensure that more people will reach your link at the end of the article;
  • How to write the Closing Paragraph to include the three primary objectives of the closing paragraph;
  • How to create your Authors’ Resource Box to accomplish the four goals that the Resource Box should accomplish;
  • The critical factors that will enable your articles to generate revenue for your website;
  • How to get your articles published on the largest number of websites (mine are distributed over 31,000 different directories in 182 countries…);
  • How to get your Article Published in the most-respected newsletters, websites and blogs;
  • How to make sure that your articles reach Google’s Top Ten Search Results on a regular and consistent basis; and
  • How to Measure The Effectiveness of your articles through metrics.

This course alone, is going to give you more bonus material than the previous two course series. The fourth series is going to be the “Big Kahuna.”

I look forward to seeing you in the course. It won’t cost you anything to take it, and it will be launched on January 2, 2011.

Look for it.

Do You Struggle With Article Marketing.pdf

Signs of Recovery in the I/T Industry?

Signs of Recovery in the I/T Industry?

by Ernest O’Dell – Questar TeleCommunications and Questar PC

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Information technology, hardware, software, networks and unified communications providers are hoping for the best: they’re hoping the belt tightening of the last two years is behind them. I/T and telecommunications spending has begun to show signs of life again after so many companies put the brakes on spending and managers had to “make do.”

In an August 2010 report by Gartner, a technology research firm, they stated that spending in 2010 increased by 2.9 percent. While that is down from the previous 4.1 percent growth, it is still growth nonetheless. But, when you consider 2008 and 2009, and that spending fell 5.9 percent, it still leaves you with the perception of deficit in the growth.

For the past three years, many I/T execs have had to put many projects on hold, knowing that any request for expenditures would get voted down by the board. Even projects that could be cost justified had a snowball’s chance in hell because they required upfront capital expense and that money just couldn’t be justified by the budget.

Where many firms are starting to move is in the I/T leasing direction, because–while traditional lending sources are not opening the faucets to financing–leasing companies have plenty capital to make it worthwhile. Not only that, but when taking a depreciation on I/T, most firms are looking at an amortization schedule that is already aged when the equipment lands on the dock. With a full equipment lease, and associated support, it’s a total expense that can be deducted from the gross before taxable income.

After the meltdown of 2008, businesses across many industry sectors have been in the cost-cutting mode and in no mood to spend a dime on anything.. That includes smaller sectors such as real estate brokerages, insurance groups and small to medium sized businesses. That may work for a while–for a year or two–but information technology can only be put off for so long before it starts to have consequences.

And so, we rapidly approach the close of 2010 as Thanksgiving gives way to the Christmas shopping season, and the harbinger of the New Quarter hails in the foggy streets of commerce. Only one thing is certain: and that there is still going to be a lot of uncertainty.

Going into 2011, businesses are still worried about the anemic recovery of the economy. Despite all the assurances from poltical pundits, the reality on Main Street is that Wall Street and Pennsylvania Avenue haven’t gotten the message yet. Business owners, both small and large, are still concerned about recent legislation that hasn’t even been read yet, much less defined. The potential for higher taxes, the termination of the Bush Tax Cuts, and higher insurance premiums gives cause for more concern and higher blood pressure than profits.

Midterm elections, likely to put the country on a more conservative course, may also put a stop to the out of control deficit spending of this present administration. With the tsunami of Conservative Republicans taking over the House of Representatives, and paltry gains in the Senate, there is hope that these new Tea Party Conservatives can put the kabosh on President Obama’s anti-business agenda.

Gartner’s forecast for 2011 is for about a 3.5 percent increase in enterprise I/T spending–up from the 2.9 percent projection for 2010. Enterprise I/T comprises a multiplicity of sectors which include, but are not limited to, equipment, software, networks, labor, tech support, outsourcing, TPA (Third Party Administration), Unified Communications and Messaging platforms for mobile workforces, and supplies. Then you must consider the cost of financing and leasing…

Anecdotally, the heads of several real estate and insurance groups tell me that they are hearing a more optimistic tone this past summer. And ever since the mid-term elections, that tone has increasingly become more positive.

While no one is swinging on ropes across the pond right now, at least businesses are more open to discussing their options. Nevertheless, many businesses are still holding out for the January inauguration of our newly elected junior Representatives and Senators before they pull any triggers on new projects and spending sprees. Once the end of January rolls over into February 2011, they will have a better handle on their budgets and make more informed decisions.

Despite Gartner’s prediction of an increase in spending, it is also wise to develop a contingency plan to mitigate the risk of zero growth in 2011. It is recommended that business owners look at “cost optimization” in 2011 to begin taking advantage of the overriding value of their assets as the markets return to growth. Taking a lease option in their infrastructure growth is also a wiser choice than taking a depreciation on assets. The downside to depreciation is that much equipment is already obsolete when it hits the dock: leasing provides a safety net to allow an escape through upgrade in the middle of a lease, therefore not tying up the purse strings.

Also, Gartner recommends I/T providers to target high-growth sectors through the next 4 years, such as public utilities and international government bodies. Gartner didn’t divulge any figures for risk management or actuarial segments, but in the insurance sector alone, I/T spending is expected to increase by just 2.1 percent, putting it second to last on the list, just ahead of local and regional government spending.

While budgets are still going to be a major area of concern, companies that postpone investments in upgrades to their present technology could see themselves at more than a competitive disadvantage: they could find themselves out of business due to catastrophic infrastructure failure or compromise. New technologies are coming online every day which will deliver cost savings and profits, and increase operational function and efficiencies.

[Ed. Note: Ernest O’Dell is publisher and CEO of the Guerrilla Internet Marketing Institute, the Guerrilla Real Estate Marketing Institute, and Director of DMS Group Publishing, a holding company for QuestarTeleCommunications.com, and QuestarPC.com. He has won international recognition in 182 countries and is published in over 20 different languages. His publications cover marketing in small, medium and large businesses, telecommunications, real estate, insurance, risk management, public utilities and government related industries.]

To read the complete article in PDF format, click on the link below.
Signs of Recovery in the IT Industry.pdf

Build a Cult Like Following With Your Subscribers

Build a Cult Like Following With Your Subscribers… not just a list.

by Ernest O’Dell – Guerrilla Internet Marketing Institute

Wednesday, November 9, 2010

“Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing.” – John D. Rockefeller

Don’t build a list! Build a community! Build a cult following!

I know it goes against conventional wisdom, and you hear the gurus tell you, “The list, the list, THE LIST!” But, let’s face it: no matter how big your list is, if the ROI is minuscule, then it’s not worth a dime.

Yes, build your list: but, don’t let that be the final analysis. The list is only the beginning: not the end.

You hear it all the time:

  • “List Building on Steroids”
  • “Massive List Growth”
  • “Mega List Building”
  • “Build a List of 100,000 Names While You Sleep”

Yeah, right! Baloney-Salami! Or as my Yiddish babushka would say, “Baba-mieses!”

Bigger Is not always better!

You hear statements like this all the time in the Internet Marketing world, but the gurus who go about bandying those statements conveniently forget to tell you that the number of names you have in your subscriber list(s) shouldn’t be your top priority. The fact is, you can have 500 million names in your list… but if they aren’t responding to your offers, they are worth nothing to you.

This is sort of the problem one runs into on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. They think, all of a sudden, because they have access to half a billion people, all they need to do is make a buck off of each one.

Well… don’t quit your day job, dude!

So how do you get your list to be responsive?

I like some of the suggestions that J.K. Ellis makes in his article “10 Ways to Build a Cult-Like Following” where he outlines the tactics used by cult leaders. Now, I’m not advocating that you go out and build a cult then spike their Kool-Aid… no. If you do that, you’ll be back to “Square One.” Just ask Jim Jones and David Koresh. They’re not doing so well right now.

First of all, you need to stop seeing your list members as e-mail addresses… and realize that behind each name is a real live person. Then you must focus your attention on engaging, ENLIGHTENING, entertaining, and educating them. It’s more like INITIATING them, rather than INSTRUCTING them. Most people who give instruction are really not doing much more than stating facts, figures and history. Any good teacher can do that as well as a bad one.

So, what’s the difference?

Learning by initiation is about creating the experience that makes the learning personal and visceral to your students, your subscribers. A good example of that is showing someone by example, like in the movie “The Last Samurai” where Tom Cruise’s character was learning how to be a samurai warrior from other warriors. Once his instructor made it clear to him that he needed to get beyond “head knowledge” and let it become “One” with his body and psyche, then, and only then, did he learn the art of fighting. The same concepts are taught in Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.”

People learn “in the doing” of things when they are taught “by the example” of things.

Does this make sense?

When you manage to become the sensei, the Master Teacher, you’ll have the makings of a “community” that you can effectively market to—a group of like-minded people with similar challenges, wants, needs, likes, and dislikes. In effect, you will become the guru (teacher) and you will have developed a cult like following.

Until you understand this and master its implementation, all the Facebook ads, joint ventures, search engine marketing, direct-mail messages, banner ads, and dedicated e-mails in the world will not do you one bit of good. You’ve got to get people’s “ear” where they will listen to you. You’ve got to become like E.F. Hutton, where… when you speak, people listen.

There are a ton of concepts and strategies that you could simply “tell” someone and they would intellectually understand but they wouldn’t “get it” as an insight. They would only see it as information. The result is that they may use it… and they might not. I run into this all the time with real estate professionals. It seems that they are just too busy to “slow down” and absorb the information.

But, they’re not the only ones: I also find people in the insurance industry doing the same thing… and just about every other industry you can think of…

Teaching by initiation means holding back on simply telling the student what he or she wants to know and instead providing them an experience where they “get it” on their own. The subjective part of the experience is where the lesson will become clear. And when the “lights come on” it will have more value than if you had drawn it out for them on a drawing board.

To read the remainder of this article in PDF format, click on the link below.

Build a Cult Like Following With Your Subscribers – GREEN BAR.pdf

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