Monday, December 7, 2009

SES Chicago December 2009 Day 1

I'm back to the Hilton Chicago for my favorite conference of the year, Search Engine Strategies (SES #seschi). Although I own a real estate brokerage, these conferences are a delightful throwback to my old life as a computer nerd. I love coming here and mingling with all these interesting souls.

However, as always, I am woefully reminded of how much I have fallen behind technologically since the last time I was here. And I'm not talking in just a few ways, but hundreds of ways. One thing is for sure, I am glad that I waited to revamp my website until after I came here.

The conference this time has a subdued feel. I think this is because the world is in the middle of a transition between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 and this feels like a big deal. Web 3.0 is mysteriously creeping up on us all. This time around we are quieter before the sessions start, in fact you could hear a pin drop as we sit quietly waiting, listening, striving to understand what is going to happen next.
And we are learning that what is going to happen next will be a big shift away from what we know.

Today we heard a lot about real time search, the role of search in our future, social media vs search strategies,
and much more. The new web is no longer about page ranking. Social media has us thinking about the web into in terms of "people ranking." Soon we will see that people and their reputations will be the anchors of the web, not static web sites. There is also a lot of talk about "real time news." The kind that you can only get from Twitter.

As if on cue, today Google rolled out a new
real time search feature. If you put a topic that is trending into Google, you will now get current news results in the return. (Try a topic like Tiger Woods). Usually, we use Google to either look up a domain name or to find information about a topic. For current events, most of us use Twitter or RSS feeds instead of search engines. But Google and other SE's are on the case to change this with their brand new real time search capabilities.

The day ended with my favorite session, "What's the Link Between Search and Social?" The panel discussed how search strategies and social media might work together. The group decided that comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges; the two tasks are different from each other, each serving a different function. There is a place for both in online marketing, but not so much an intersection of the two.

I personally had been moving away from search strategies and investments. However, I see that search has a place next to social media marketing, at least for now. However, networks of people-powered systems are clearly forging a strong stand against the foothold that search engines like Google have had on the Internet for a long time. It's an important concept to understand in the Web 3.0 world. Looking forward to tomorrow...


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Slow to Start, Fast to Warm Up - Part 2 - My Business Use of Twitter

A couple of weeks ago I fired up my Twitter use in earnest after hearing Guy Kawasaki speak about the possibilities for Twitter in business at SES NY in March. He laid out several ways that businesses can and should be using Twitter, many of which I have described below in previous posts. What follows is a quick description of how I am using Twitter for my Utah Real Estate Brokerage.

Most of my current real estate clients are my "friends" on
Facebook. As a result, when I began to Twitter I didn't really see the need to follow anybody on Twitter who I currently had an established relationship with on Facebook. I also remembered something that Marty Weintraub of AimClear said at one of the SES sessions: Twitter is an amazing testing ground for business ideas. He advised us to try all different kinds of things and then monitor results. He said that it's the best real-time data you can get. So, if you are unsure of your focus or direction, just dive in.

I bought this. I began to use the search function to look up keywords like "REALTOR" and "Utah Real Estate" to see what the
Twittosphere was saying about these subjects. Perhaps not surprisingly, people from all over the world were complaining about their REALTORS and related subjects. Also, people were tweeting their excitement about house hunting or writing offers. I discovered that Marty was right, you CAN get the pulse of your industry in an instant. It was indeed interesting and revealing.

One tweeter asked if anybody knew a REALTOR in the Salt Lake City area. I got on it, but the tweeter responded back kindly that he had found somebody already. Still, I felt that I was onto something. I also tweeted advice to frustrated home buyers and sellers, encouraging them to tell
their Realtors how they were feeling and not just rant randomly to the Twitterverse. I've made a few friendships this way and am learning a lot about my profession through the eyes of other people's experiences with their REALTORS.

By chance, an old
friend who I used to work with in the Governor's office found me and began to follow me. He had great contacts in the Utah State Government that I began to follow. I also found local media people and we are co-following. I began to list myself in Tweet Directories (one example is: Can't hurt, right? After some thought, I decided that from a business perspective on Twitter, I wanted to keep my pulse on the workings of Utah in general. That may be a somewhat broad goal, but it is where my interest lies because I am also a news junkie.

In contrast to that, a REALTOR friend of mine
specializes in the sale of properties in the beautiful Ogden Valley in Utah, where amazing skiing is only 10 minutes away. Her focus is much more local, which makes sense.

I found following a multitude of subjects arduous, so I downloaded
TweetDeck which I liked. I also found TweetGrid, which allows me to monitor up to 10 subjects at once, and has a wonderful retweet button. My day consists of two separate Tweet times. Once in the morning, and again at night. First, I catch up on my Internet reading which consists of Real Estate, marketing, social media and any other subjects that interest me that day. Once I read it, then I tweet it. Then I conduct searches of several subjects to see what the Twitterverse is thinking that day. I respond or follow as need be. The goal is to get to know what is happened in my market place straight from Tweep's minds, in real time. Marty Weintraub was right again, it has been a very interesting testing ground.

One final piece of advice. Make your profile description succinct and descriptive of you.
Don't leave it blank. Upload a picture of you, your logo or something else that is appropriate to you. Keep it clean because there is a permanent log of what you tweet on your profile. Several people have been fired for the things their employers discover them doing on Twitter. Even colleges are looking up tweets before they accept incoming students. Don't tweet anything you wouldn't want your granny to see. Really.

I would be thrilled to have you follow me at:
. Unless you are an axe murderer or something equally as weird, I will happily follow you back.

Jennifer Bunker

Totally Smitten Twitterer

Slow to Start, Fast to Warm Up - Part 1 - My Personal Use of Twitter

Okay, so I admit it. Like many other people, my initial foray into Twitter was less than stellar. I configured it, looked at it, and then decided it was no big deal. I left my account idle for several months after that.

Then, I attended SES NY in March. Guy Kawasaki gave the keynote and it took him all of about 2 minutes to open my eyes WIDE to the benefits of Twitter for business. I couldn't wait to get back to my office and get going. And that's what I've been doing for a month.

Since I am a Facebook junkie, I already carefully balance my personal and professional relationships there. I've reached a sort of "homeostasis" or happy balance with my little community there and I'm happy with that. So in setting goals with how I would use Twitter, I decided initially to indulge my own interests and hobbies. I began to tweet to the twitterverse everything that I read online in the morning before I get to work. I figured I'd eventually attract others who like the same subjects.

And attract I did. Much to my complete surprise, I attracted about 100 followers a day. I learned early on that it is polite to follow your followers, so I did that too. I didn't tweet much personal stuff (left that for Facebook) but basically I began to build a little library on Twitter (found under my Profile) of interesting articles that I might want to read again. I admit to being a book hoarder in RL, and as it turns out, I'm hoarding articles online! Go figure.

Anyway, what this means is that one big way I use Twitter is as an online library for myself.

Also, when using the Search function, I was able to follow others who are tweeting about the subjects that I enjoy. By following them, they followed me. Now I am to nearly 2,000 followers and I have learned a boatload of new information, have made new Utah contacts, made news people contacts, met other vegans, found dog lovers, and connected with politicos that I would never have had access to before. Since these are my interests, I'm really in heaven. I spend about 1 hour in the morning and one hour at night reading the news and then twittering it. (I had to impose strict rules for myself or I would spend a lot more time than that twittering).

Like anybody new to Twitter, I've also attracted my share of MLMers and Online Marketers as followers. I just let them follow and find that eventually they drop off when I don't show interest. Twitter is full of snubs like that, but nobody's feelings are hurt because we just aren't close enough to care. I also love that you can connect or snub in 140 characters or less. It's a Type A person's dream come true.

So, now I LOVE Twitter and plan to become a force in the subjects that interest me. Quite a self-indulgent hobby, I know! I hope I see YOU in the Twittersphere!

More on how I use Twitter for business in Part 2.

I would be thrilled to have you follow me at

Sunday, March 29, 2009

SES: Getting Mobilized! Mobile Marketing Strategies

Sitting in this session felt a bit like somebody was repeatedly cracking me on the head with AHA after AHA. I've seen the presenter, Cindy Krum, speak before. She is vivacious and cute, and so believes in what she is saying. The information she gave us was a gigantic shift for me. I think this session was my second favorite of the conference and you will see why.

In this session she spoke about searching with smart phones. The most popular smart phone of course is the iPhone, with various Blackberry models in second place. Cindy gave us the statistic which I have already quoted several times, but bears repeating:

* 5% of phone owners have an iPhone, but 75% of mobile searches are coming from an iPhone.

Translated into easy to digest brain info, this means that smart phone users are much more likely to conduct a mobile search than users of other types of phones. It stands to reason then, that when these people who don't yet own an iPhone get one, mobile searching will increase at some number too big to even comprehend, talk about, or even write down.

So the question for a small business owner is, will you be ready?

Yes, dear soul, you have stuff to do to get ready. There is such a thing as mobile bots, and they will visit you. When they come, like regular bots, they will evaluate your website(s). They are looking to see how your website will "render" on the screen of a smart phone, and even if your content is something that a mobile searcher might be looking for. You will want to roll out a raging bottie party for these little guys in order to make them feel right at home.

In order to do this, let's take a step back for one moment and examine what is going on when a mobile search is performed. I am willing to bet that a search from a phone is being done to: find a location, find a phone number, find a restaurant, find a business, find a Starbucks, find a gas station, etc. Further, and astute readers will tattoo this concept directly onto their foreheads, these people have an IMMEDIATE NEED TO USE THEIR WALLET!

Please take all the time you need to grasp the significance of this. Mobile searches will be increasing in MASS by people who are looking to spend money immediately.


Okay, so let's get back to the role of the mobile bots. These bots hold your lifeblood in their hands. They are actively indexing mobile sites now. Does your site render properly to a smart phone? Don't know? Call your site developer and ask. If they say they can't do it, fire them and find somebody who can. It's that important.

Cindy provided some very interesting demographics slides, which I will get and share. She also explained the difference between on-deck and off-deck searches. They are important to understand, but I will put off an explanation for now because it is complicated.

Cindy urged us to think about the Mobile User (KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER). She urged us to always code our sites in xhtml and use CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). As I have said previously, it's okay if you don't know what these are, however ask your developer if your sites have these standards. If not, fire the buggars and get somebody who knows what they are doing! Your very online life depends upon it.

She gave us a huge list of mobile directories to submit our sites to. I will get that and share it. She said that there is a meta tag for mobile which helps to alert engines that you have a mobile version of your site. She said that we all have a lot of work to do. She said to be ready.

I am going to be ready. Fortunately for me, I am my own developer. Call yours and have a conversation STAT.

One last item of interest, Cindy introduced the notion of QR codes. QR codes have been popular in Japan for a long time. They are two dimensional bar codes which can be read by some cameras. iPhone is adding QR code readers into future versions which is why I advise to wait to buy an iPhone.

Curious on how the QR code works? Check out this video:

Awesome stuff!

Jennifer Bunker

SES: Where Will Consumers Be Searching in 5 Years?

That's what I wanted to know. Here are the key points I picked up:

1) Search marketing spending is getting smaller. As a result, Google is collecting less from ad spending.

2) Video marketing is increasing. The number one thing people look at online is video.

3) iPhone Effect - The mobile audience is growing fast.

4) At any given time, watch what the kids are doing. We'll be doing that in 5 years.

5) The panel predicts that computers will converge, and then merge, with TV. They get this from the fact that we are watching so many videos online.

6) Google is building big data centers to support its Cloud Computer Initiative. This is the idea that everything we do will take place in the cloud (including TV) . We'll have simple access devices. Probably some relative of the iPhone or other smart phone model.

To support this point, the panel reported that Nike will be broadcasting the (uh oh! something I didn't get down in my notes!) finals on YouTube in May '09. What would that be? Don't know but the point is Nike is using YouTube to do it.

The panel also discussed the "Deep Web." There are billions of pages of information that Google doesn't search such as archives and libraries to name a few. This will become more available as time goes on. Also Semantic web searches are coming about. These handle complex searches mostly through social media outlets. Google is no longer the middleman in these types of searches. Trip Advisor is a good example of this. This site answers questions about travel directly. Also, go to and put your name in. Prepare to be shocked.

This panel emphasized that Twitter as a media type is where we are headed in the future. This means access to information through social networks where search engines are not needed as middlemen. The nice thing about Twitter, so says the panel, is that Twitter is in real time and that is what we want.

Universal, blended, and Live search are the results that we get now when we Google something. You will notice that in the results you get videos and images and categorized websites. Also, there is a lot of geo-targeting going on as results are presented to you. These links are targeted towards your own geographical area, which has been noted via your previous search activities.

More on these interesting concepts in later posts.

Jennifer Bunker

SES: Key Points in Launching a Global Website

This session was by far my least favorite. The panel wasn't ready or engaging, and the subject wasn't really what I was there for. I don't know why I picked it really. The talk was primarily about how Google has different searches set up in different countries such that if you search for "Utah Real Estate" from France, you'll get a list of websites found in the French directories.

Also, the panel noted that even if your website is displaying in another country that speaks English, you need to make allowances for things like the "King's English." You want to localize your site (example, change favor to favour) and also translate your site (pants mean underwear in England).

All excellent things to think about, but not where I am at right now.

Jennifer Bunker

SES: SEO - Where to Next?

This was one of my favorites of the entire conference, but before I get to the details, I want to clear up a few things.

The acronym SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This geeky term was coined in the day when we were trying to figure out how Google algorithms where working upon our websites and placing them thusly in the rankings. The acronym, SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing, which at least is a little bit more descriptive what we are thinking about these days. I prefer the much more generic term, Internet Marketing because that at least casts a large net over the topics which are tackled within the subset.

Okay, on to “SEO: Where to Next.” These sessions are the reason why I go to these conferences because I am interested in what is coming down the road in this field. New changes come up fast, so I want to be working towards what is up ahead, not what is happening now.

This session did not disappoint. My favorite panelist, Jill Whalen spoke about the necessity of developers “baking” good SEO basics right into the CSS of websites. CSS means Cascading Style Sheets. If you aren’t a developer, you have no reason to know what this is except to be sure that your website is being designed with this type of format and with XHTML standards. Just ask your web designer if this is the case. If not, fire them and find somebody else who does it that way. It’s really important.

Jill’s point was to drive home the need for web coding standards across the board, so that websites can be found via all kinds of searches. This could be mobile, geo-targeted, vertical, blended, whatever. It was here where I first heard that “rankings are dead.” They just don’t add up to quality traffic anymore. The panel stated that analytics are the new rankings and I think they are right. This means that you must know who is coming to your website, how, why, and when. Know how long they stay, where they are lingering, and even know where they are clicking on each of your pages. We are now much more interested in the performance of the website itself rather than driving the masses to a so-so site.

So, what about driving traffic to the website? The thinking is that now we drive highly targeted traffic to our websites via social media and much less through casting wide nets via search engines. So the shift is towards UNDERSTANDING WHO YOUR CUSTOMER IS (I will always capitalize that most important point) and knowing what they want and how to get it to them. Find customers where they hang out already. Start a dialogue, give them something they need or something of value. Use your analytics to measure success, and then shift accordingly.

Figure out what your client is worth to you. What is the chain of events to the purchase? (Does this sound just like old fashioned marketing? Say, “Hell yeah it does!”) Universal and blended searches along with geo-targeted searches will deliver people to your door. Will you be there to greet them in the manner upon which they demand?

Become an authority. Make sure your links have contextual relevance. Think local. Think quality connections. Think conversations. And all of this doesn’t cost anything to do.

We see that the future holds this truism ”The best Social Marketer and the spiffiest websites get the prize.” Back to basic Marketing 101, but with spicy technological tools and gadgets.

One other thought from me. I've never really understood why Traditional Marketing and Internet Marketing can't share the same bed. They really are the same thing aren't they? They have the same goal after all, right? Just a thought.

This was a conceptual session. There are more how-to’s lurking for later on.

Jennifer Bunker

SES: Twitter as a Tool for Social Media – Guy Kawasaki's SES Keynote Address

Just two posts down, I said Twitter was for Twits.

Like I always say, if you are going to be wrong, do it big. In front of a lot of people.

So, yeah. I was wrong. The first session I attended on day one of SES was Guy Kawasaki’s keynote address on how he uses Twitter. Suffice to say, I didn’t understand the sheer power of Twitter until then. I sat, slack-jawed, listening to how Guy uses Twitter as a business application knowing I’d completely missed the boat.

A small side-note: Guy proceeded to inform the audience about how he often spams his followers. This caused much consternation and talk throughout the rest of the conference, because spam is not what these Geekies are about. However, like Guy said at the time, if you don’t like it, you can stop following him. Seems simple enough to me.

So back to our regularly scheduled Twitter post. The value of Twitter is that Tweets can be easily harvested. I did not realize that Twitter has a search feature that you can set to pick out only the Tweets that interest you. Here is a good example of how this works and why you would want to use this feature.

Comcast regularly monitors tweets looking for disgruntled customers. Once a disgruntled Tweet is spotted, a Comcast person responds immediately asking what the problem is, how can we fix it, and what can we do to make you happy again?

Let’s examine what is happening here. A disgruntled Tweet goes out. Everybody sees this. Immediately, the large company responds back. Again, everybody sees this. The disgruntled party has immediate attention to his problem. Everybody sees this. Further, the Tweets are then reTweeted (passed on) by those who know that others may have the same issue or simply pointing out what Comcast has done to make one customer happy. MANY see this.

Comcast does something else. They set their Tweet searches to include complaints about dish companies. As soon as one is spotted, they return the Tweet and ask if Comcast offered a 10% discount, would the disgruntled customer be willing to try Comcast service? Again, multitudes see this. New business is gained directly and indirectly.

This is one example of how many businesses are using Twitter for business. If you aren’t using it yet, I would say that based upon what I heard this week, the number one activity you should undertake to stay current in today’s Social Media explosion for business is GET ON TWITTER.

Because I am not an active Twitter user (yet!), I’ve included some good articles here that should help you get on board with Twitter if you aren’t already:

Eight Ways Twitter Will Change Your Life
How Twitter is a Communications Game Changer
50 Ideas for Using Twitter for Business

Keep me posted on how you do and I will do the same.

Jennifer Bunker

SES: First Head Dump

I had hoped to get some blogging done the Friday and Saturday following my attendance at the Search Engine Strategies (SES) Conference in New York City, but when I got back, my real job kept me hopping through both of those days.

It’s just as well, because I’ve been pondering how in the world I would get what I learned from head and onto the page in some cohesive fashion. I have 70 pages of notes from 3 packed-in days. The amount of information, AHA’s, and mindblowers that I received would take me an entire year to sort through, investigate, blog and apply.

So, I’ve decided to record my general impressions here, and then go through each session that I attended in separate blog posts.

I took my daughters with me so that they could play around in NYC while I was in the conference. I was glad I did because they had fun and provided me with an escape from the dizzying amount of information that I was trying to take in. Each day, they cheerfully said, “Have fun at your conference, Mom!” and each day I desperately scrambled to retain everything that I could. Blogging will help me to sort it all out, so here goes.

I attended over 20 sessions in 3 days. It is important to note that the attendees were mostly technical people from large business or consultants to large businesses. In the past, these conferences have been highly technical (I have a degree, work history, and 10-years teaching these subjects under my belt so I am okay with the technical aspect) with a small amount of marketing thrown in. Let’s keep in mind; the subject of these conferences is how business can better position themselves to be found by customers on the Internet. In the past, the answer to this question has always been technical in nature.

This world was previously dominated by Geekies who didn’t take into account actual marketing principles, consumer behaviors, or even stoop so low as to actually think about the people applying the technologies they were designing. For them, it was 100% about the technical aspect of how these new ideas were applied.

For example, they used to ask, what is a meta-tag and how is it applied? What are the bots that find them and how do the bots behave? How many links do you need and where to have your website rank well? What product should your website be designed in so that it would perform best in a search engine search? That kind of stuff.

Being 1/2 geek and 1/2 marketer, I always wondered when the human aspect would actually become a part of the search mix. I got to NYC this time, and wondered no more. The time is here. This message was loud and clear throughout:

“It is imperative to understand marketing techniques and the full consumer purchase/product cycle.” Awesome. For me it’s like having Mommy and Daddy back in the same room.

So, let’s first talk about Social Marketing. The first concept that I picked up is that Social Marketing is taking over the search engine role almost entirely. This means that consumers are asking each other more and more about things that they previously would have asked Google about. Tools like Twitter and Facebook are facilitating this. I came away with the knowledge that Twitter (and devices like it) is the single most important aspect of the future of the Internet! I know! Who’da thought it! But, I see that it is true.

I attended a couple of Facebook sessions, and being their biggest fan, was duly impressed, I will discuss what they are doing in the future in a later post. It’s fascinating. I believe that they, more than any other Social Media Leader, will benefit from Generation X and Y behaviors.

Another key concept is that ranking well in a search engine search is no longer important. Look at how social media is changing the search landscape and you’ll realize why. People are less and less looking to “cold” results from search engines but instead are asking people in their social networks before searching. This is a BIG one! Make no mistake; ranking well in a geo-targeted search is something completely different, and a very important place to rank. More on Geo-targeting and how to do it later.

A critical piece of information that I received is that mobile search is the future, period. Let me say that again: YOU. MUST. MAKE. ALL. PLANS. TOWARDS. THIS. INEVITABILITY. Look at this statistic and you’ll get it: iPhone users total 5% in this country, but 75% of mobile inquiries come from them! That should blow the lid right of your head with a huge AHA! Google has been working quietly towards their “Cloud Computing Initiative” where all things will be stored in the “cloud” including your software and data. We won’t have computers on our desks anymore, just a smart device that operates everything we need which is stored in our piece of the “cloud.” If you don’t have an iPhone yet, don’t get one. Wait for the new models, the ones that read QR codes. Don’t know what a QR code is? You will! Mobile computing is literally changing the face of the Internet as we know it. Much more on this later.

Some others:

* Analytics are the new rankings
* You must understand full product purchase cycles for your industry
* Universal and blended searches
* On deck and off deck searches
* CSS structures with baked in website designs
* Geo-targeting (big big big!)
* What will people be doing in 5 years?
* Relevant linking and intent content
* Local filtering, intent modeling
* How to launch a global website
* What are people looking at most online? (Hint: Videos!)
* The future of the Deep Web and the Semantic Web
* What are the five most effective social media sites? Watch for a blog post!
* What is the Viral Value Triangle?
* Linking and Navigation Structure
* Google says that 40% of queries have a local intent, so guess what they are doing about it and how you can, too.
* Three ways to rank locally. Thanks to Google for that one.

And people, that’s only from day one.

So, hang with me and I’ll blog it as I go through it bit by bit. I was hoping that I would come back with something like "10 Great Tips" that would be easy for a small business to implement. However, the face of everything is changing and so it is back to square one for all of us. The first question you must answer before you can start to design your plan is:


My Marketing half yelps a triumphant "HA! I've asked that question since dirt was young!"

First up, checking out the power of Twitter.

Jennifer Bunker

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Search Engine Strategies, New York, Day One

Hello from New York! We are at Day one of Search Engine Strategies in New York City. I attended six sessions in the “Search and the Future” track. I had several AHA’s which I’ll blog out over the next few weeks. Here’s some highlights of the day …

The keynote, given by Guy Kawasaki, was my favorite of the day. Guy’s address was entitled “Using Twitter as a Marketing Tool.” Twitter has been no friend of mine, causing me one frustration after another, so I was eager to see what all the fuss was about.

What I learned in a nutshell is that Twitter, and similar Social Networking applications, are the absolute future of the Internet. As the popularity of these tools increase, people turn more and more to asking questions of each other in real time, rather than getting their information via a secondary source like Google.

Guy gave a great example of how one business is using Twitter to take advantage of this new trend. A little automotive service center monitors tweets for people within a 100 mile radius who are discussing the term “brakes” on Twitter. Once they spot a Tweet on the subject (“My brakes are squealing. What is causing that?” or “Does anybody know a place where I can get my brakes checked?”) they immediately respond with an offer to assist the questioner, and include a “Twitter 10% discount.

This particular automotive center conducts a large and growing business this way. They simply use the tools on Twitter and on Twitter apps to create opportunity for themselves as a business. Guy gave several Twitter apps which I will share in a later post.

So it seems cutting out the middle man and getting back to the human to human element is what our future holds when it comes to the Internet. Another session fleshed out details of Goggle’s project, Cloud Computer Initiative. Google is building large data centers in anticipation of the time when computing will all take pace in the cloud. Users won’t use individual computers, but instead will have terminals connected to the computing cloud. This cloud will contain all software, data, and applications needed for computing. Likely, future versions of smart phones will serve as the access hardware. We’ve been hearing this for years and now it appears this is on the near horizon.

I ended the day in a session where Cindy Krum was the presenter. Her topic was, “Mobile Marketing Strategies.” She gave a very telling stat: 5% of cell phone owners have an iPhone. However, 75% of mobile searches are conducted via iPhone. Think that one through carefully and you tell me where online opportunity lies.

What an amazing first day at SES. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Twitter Tweets Are Not Sweet

Like many of you, I've not yet signed up for Twitter as I 'm not convinced that I need one more techno-gadget thingy-bob to babysit in my day. Further, I'm not really sold on the value of Twitter now that I have "Status Updates" on my beloved Facebook.

However, I got to thinking that maybe Twitter would be a nice tool to have while I am attending the Search Engine Strategies Conference in New York City at the end of March. There is so much information to learn there, and I got to thinking I could Tweet out all the good little Internet Marketing gems that I was getting in real time to the inquiring peeps who want to know.

Good idea! Many pats on my own back. (Although in reality, I can do the same thing via my iPhone and the Facebook app and I don't have to convince all my friends to get a Twitter account.) So, I went over to and dove in.

I signed up for an account. Easy enough. Then I went to "Devices" where I attempted to identify my phone number. NO GO! "That number is already in use," Twitter helpfully advises me.

Well, no it isn't. So, I look for avenues upon which to investigate. There are none. Twitter gives little avenue for the user to solve the problem. The website flips the user out of a help module and back to the sign-up screen. No progress made. So, I write to customer support (after a really big DIG through the site to find Customer Support) and ask why my number is in use, and can they make that right so I can get my Tweets going over the airwaves.

Three days later, haven't heard a word. Not even an acknowledgement. Don't know that I will. I found the website design and flow to be reminiscent of sites in the early 90's, customer service to be non-existent, and twice I've received a message, "Twitter is over capacity! Too many Tweets." Umm, okay. I will say the graphics are totally cute though.

So, why do I need Twitter again? Can anybody shed wisdom? I'll keep trying and let you know how it turns out.

Moral of the story: Tweets appear to be only for Twits. Tee hee :-)

Jennifer Bunker

Monday, March 9, 2009

Must-Know Tips For Facebook Privacy Settings

One of my favorite social networking sites of the day is Facebook. Checking in is the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do at night before I go to bed. I love how I can centralize and coordinate many of my activities with all kinds of people who are important to me.

One day, while searching for missing classmates for my upcoming high school reunion, I discovered It's an awesome finder tool, aggregating information about people from across the Internet including much of their social media activities.

I put my own name into the search and was completely shocked to see my Facebook profile picture, along with several of my friends' pictures, pop up. I had been under the impression that FB kept personal information locked down inside the network, but that is just not so. Surprised? I sure was. And, I thought I had buttoned down my FB profile pretty tightly.

As a result, I was delighted to find this list of easy to follow steps to help keep unwanted nosy-nellies (and worse!) at bay. I learned a lot from this and you will too. See the article here.

Don't forget to search yourself at

Jennifer Bunker

Friday, March 6, 2009

Flogging It

So, I've just been introduced to the term "Flog" or fake blog. The term is used to describe the situation when somebody from inside a company pretends to be a customer and comments on positively on company blogs and other public media.

Here is Wikipedia's definition of "flogging." The entry below quotes this example of flogging:

"One notorious example of identity cloaking, resulting in a fake blog, was exposed when Edelman, an international public relations firm, created a fake blog in 2006 called Walmarting Across America. It was purportedly written by two Wal-Mart "enthusiasts" who decided to journey across the United States in an RV, blogging about the experience as they visited Wal-Marts along the way. While two people actually did travel across the United States in an RV, the publicity stunt was revealed to be paid for by Wal-Mart, a client of Edelman."

Um, awkward.

Mama always said not to flog. Jennifer Bunker

Stumble Upon

What do you think about this site? Better than Google or more like "Big Brother?"

You can find it at It's quite interesting actually. Image rich, a different type of search experience. Only for those with lots to time to meander around though.

Supposedly, the sites on here (they say there are over 7 million) Have been hand picked by the populous as the best of the best. This is prompting some to claim the site is even better than Google. Don't know about that, but it is an interesting ride.

Happy stumbling! Jennifer Bunker

RSS Feeds - Just Don't Get It?

No, you are definitely NOT the last person on earth who doesn't understand what RSS feeds are. Quite the contrary, friend! RSS Feeds are a mystery to many people. Check here for a simple explanation as to what Feeds are, and how they serve you not only as a consumer, but as a marketer as well.

Have fun feeding! Jennifer Bunker

Exploring Craig's List for Lead Generation

People in the business of sales know that they are really in the lead generation business. With the exception of very few businesses, clients don't just walk up to you and order up what you are selling. You are the pro-active member of the relationship who figures out where the Buyers are and how to contact them in order to let them know you have exactly what they need and want.

One interesting way of generating leads that has recently come to my attention is using Graig's List. Suppose you are a salesperson at XYZ Cars and Co. Why not get onto Craig's list and advertise what you've got? "Yes, You CAN Still Buy a Car For Under $2,000; and We Have 5 of Great Deals Waiting For You Here at XYZ!" Of course give your extension, email, or phone number. Or try an ad that shares data. "We've got 25 sedans under $10,000." Or, create some urgency, "It's Month End and We Are Slashing Prices Up to 30% to Move Them Out!" Or, give a special reduction, "Mention You Saw Us On Craig's List and Get 10% off of Sticker" or whatever.

Craig's List for advertising is the right price, for sure. (You know it's free right?) It doesn't cost you anything to go on there and get noticed. Why is it easy to get noticed with these ads? Because if you look at all the OTHER ads, they are all advertising to sell one particular car. That narrows the field too much, and besides if buyers are anything like me, they are looking for a "style" (4-door sedan, newer than 2004, etc.) Be there offering a large selection when that Buyer shows up!

Now, it's important to understand who is using Craig's List. We all know it is the Gen X's and Gen Y's who hang there. It is important that you adapt to their style of communication. In short, if you don't have a smart phone, get one. STAT. Texting with pictures is one definite way to build rapport with these groups. They want data from you before they ever want to talk with you on the phone. Success in today's markets means that you'll be ready to give your clients what they want in the way that they want it.

When on Craig's List, build yourself your own category that offers many similar items to what customers are looking for. Make sure you can back what you say in your ad. Leave your phone number, encourage texting, emailing, etc. Play around with different categories and headings and find out what works best.

You can NEVER have too many leads. Isn't the Internet amazing?

Peace out, Jennifer Bunker

Marketing 101

The first thing that I ask anybody who has retained me to assist them with their Online Marketing is, "Who is your Customer?"

Typically, I get a momentary blank stare, as if to say, "What are you talking about? Anybody with money to spend is my customer!"

But it's not that simple. Especially with the Internet on board as the new super advertising medium. You need to carefully choose your customer(s) and then even more carefully study their spending and lifestyle choices.

Why? Because that will define where they "hang out" on the Internet. That in turn, defines your Online Marketing strategy. The Internet is too big anymore to just cast a broad line out and hope that somehow people who are looking for what you offer will find you. Some companies do manage this strategy with success: Capital One credit cards, Microsoft, etc. But remember, they have the budget to match that strategy. You don't.

For example, in real estate, the answer to this question translates to several possibilities. We need to ask, "Do our potential new clients (PNC) need to live within the geographical area that we service?" If yes, then we implement a localized online/traditional marketing strategy. If like me, the REALTOR specializes in relocations into Utah from other places, then the online strategy must reach those people who are not so local.

But wouldn't that be expensive? After all people who live everywhere in the world might want to relocate to your state. Of course it is, therefore the need to narrow who your potential client is down even more. Are you interested in Military relocations? Recreational relocations? University relocations? Corporate relocations? Decide and then narrow your focus and target your online marketing accordingly.

It's okay to pick more than one focus, but you must design different strategies for different consumer groups. On the Internet, the more targeted you are, the better ROI on your marketing dollar (or, if you are strictly organic, the better return on your time).

Suppose you were a local Dentist. Are you tempted to claim that your clients are anybody in the area who needs work on their teeth? Yes, surely that is tempting (and true). But it is much more advantageous and cost effective to put your fishing line into a small pool of carefully defined "fish" than it is to cast the line into the ocean and hope for the best.

The Dentist might define target groups as: 1) Those who are close to the office location. Other businesses who have offices within walking distance of the office. 2) Is your office on the way to a school? Target parents who might find you very convenient as they leave school with kiddies in tow. 3) Are you close to a neighborhood? Get your services into their newsletter or direct mail them with a link back to your website where you offer a "Good Neighbor" discount for them. 4) Other professionals? Hold special office hours on a Saturday morning for busy professionals who otherwise could not see a Dentist during the workweek. Do all of this from your web page and other technology which you are (will become) the master of.

If you haven't already, define your client groups and market to them accordingly as a first step. Can you tell, from these domains that I own, which group I have targeted as potential real estate clients?

1. southogdenrealtor (I live in that city and am a Planning Commissioner)
2. weberstateuniversityhomes (I attended there and just served a board position)
3. hillairforcebasehomes (I live a stone's throw from a Military base)
4. bigutahhomes (Utah is notorious for its big families)
5. realestateanswerdesk (Why would I want this domain?)

What do you think? Can you tell who I am thinking about serving here? Can you think of where I might be placing these links, both in my online and traditional marketing? And one final question, how much do you think I'm spending on all these? (Answer: nothing but my time).

If I can do it, you can do it. More next time, Free Seekers!

Jennifer Bunker

Off We Go

I created this blog because it covers a subject that I am passionate about. I have little notes sitting around everywhere, surround by papers, and files, and books on Internet Marketing.

This blog is my new filing system, a way to get the ideas out, catalogued, and shared. I believe in the Internet and think it is the one factor in our modern world that will keep us out of another great depression. The online community is amazing.

Jennifer Bunker March 6, 2009