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Believe you can win!

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Positive thinking is a mental attitude that admits into the mind thoughts, words and images that are conductive to growth, expansion and success. It is a mental attitude that expects good and favorable results. A positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, health and a successful outcome of every situation and action. Whatever the mind expects, it finds.

Not everyone accepts or believes in positive thinking. Some consider the subject as just nonsense, and others scoff at people who believe and accept it. Among the people who accept it, not many know how to use it effectively to get results. Yet, it seems that many are becoming attracted to this subject, as evidenced by the many books, lectures and courses about it. This is a subject that is gaining popularity.

It is quite common to hear people say: "Think positive!", to someone who feels down and worried. Most people do not take these words seriously, as they do not know what they really mean, or do not consider them as useful and effective. How many people do you know, who stop to think what the power of positive thinking means?

The following story illustrates how this power works:
Allan applied for a new job, but as his self-esteem was low, and he considered himself as a failure and unworthy of success, he was sure that he was not going to get the job. He had a negative attitude towards himself, and believed that the other applicants were better and more qualified than him. Allan manifested this attitude, due to his negative past experiences with job interviews.

His mind was filled with negative thoughts and fears concerning the job for the whole week before the job interview. He was sure he would be rejected. On the day of the interview he got up late, and to his horror he discovered that the shirt he had planned to wear was dirty, and the other one needed ironing. As it was already too late, he went out wearing a shirt full of wrinkles.

During the interview he was tense, displayed a negative attitude, worried about his shirt, and felt hungry because he did not have enough time to eat breakfast. All this distracted his mind and made it difficult for him to focus on the interview. His overall behavior made a bad impression, and consequently he materialized his fear and did not get the job.

Jim applied for the same job too, but approached the matter in a different way. He was sure that he was going to get the job. During the week preceding the interview he often visualized himself making a good impression and getting the job.

In the evening before the interview he prepared the clothes he was going to wear, and went to sleep a little earlier. On day of the interview he woke up earlier than usual, and had ample time to eat breakfast, and then to arrive to the interview before the scheduled time.

He got the job because he made a good impression. He had also of course, the proper qualifications for the job, but so had Allan.

What do we learn from these two stories? Is there any magic employed here? No, it is all natural. When the attitude is positive we entertain pleasant feelings and constructive images, and see in our mind's eye what we really want to happen. This brings brightness to the eyes, more energy and happiness. The whole being broadcasts good will, happiness and success. Even the health is affected in a beneficial way. We walk tall and the voice is more powerful. Our body language shows the way you feel inside.

Positive and negative thinking are both contagious.
All of us affect, in one way or another, the people we meet. This happens instinctively and on a subconscious level, through thoughts and feelings transference, and through body language. People sense our aura and are affected by our thoughts, and vice versa. Is it any wonder that we want to be around positive people and avoid negative ones? People are more disposed to help us if we are positive, and they dislike and avoid anyone broadcasting negativity.

Negative thoughts, words and attitude bring up negative and unhappy moods and actions. When the mind is negative, poisons are released into the blood, which cause more unhappiness and negativity. This is the way to failure, frustration and disappointment.


How does this apply to your business?

Business owners seek answers. 

Why isn't my website getting any hits?

Where are my customers buying the other things we sell?

Can I sell my products online?

These are the questions they need positive feedback on.  If we told them we could build them a website but no one would ever see it. They might get a few hits in a year or so and maybe start making sales next year clients would be discouraged and not even try to expand their customer based.  This is simply not true.

Studio Blue Creative can make a difference in your business.  We can get you new customers online and we can get you on the first page of Google with your keywords!  You can sell online and have a great new profit center.  Believe in yourselves! Believe in your business!  Believe you can win!

Flex your 7-pack

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What is the Google 7 Pack for Local Business?googles-7-pack

 

The Google 7 Pack are the local business listings on Google Maps. The 7 Pack shows up when you search for a local businesses and include the location such as… 'plumber atlanta or 'plumber atlanta ga. They appear towards the top of the page, second only to the Sponsored (pay-per-click) search results.

People searching for local businesses are usually BUYING CUSTOMERS in your local service area. This, and because of the prominent positioning on the search results page, is why you should put in the time and effort to get your business listed there.

How to Get in the Google 7 Pack for Local Business

First of all, follow the rules. Google suspends bad players if they discover them. You definitely want to follow Google ' s Business Listing Quality Guidelines. Ignore these guidelines at your own peril.

Next, you either 'claim or create your business listing. If your listing is already there, you can claim it and then edit it or you can delete the old one and create a new one. Google wants to see ONE business listing for ONE brick and mortar local business address. If you have multiple office locations, you can create on for each location. But don ' t fake a location if you don ' t really have one there. At the SEMpdx Searchfest on 3/9/10 I was told Google is coming up with a solution for local businesses like plumbers that maybe have an office in a small outlying area but there business is in the big city. I will definitely write about this as soon as it is rolled out. For now, though, your local listing might still show up for Baltimore even if your office is in Towson if Google thinks your listing is the more relevant. Proximity is only ONE factor in Google ' s algorithm.

Tips for Getting Into the Google 7 Pack

  • Make sure your contact information is consistent across the Internet. Use the exact same company name, address, email address, and phone number everywhere.
  • Use an email address at your domain name on your listing…  @yourdomainname.com
  • Use appropriate categories for your business
  • Use your keywords in the description of your business
  • Add photos, coupons, videos, custom maps to your listing
  • Get your customers to review you – the more reviews the better. Have them use your keywords in the reviews.
  • Create citations – Business name, address, and phone – across the Internet.
  • Create backlinks to your website with your main category and city name in the anchor text
  • Create custom maps and or videos with your local coordinates and add them to your site and to your listing
  • Add Google Maps to your Contact Us page
  • Of course, make sure you followed SEO best practices on your website

What is SOPA

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sopa

What Is SOPA?

If you hadn't heard of SOPA before, you probably have by now: Some of the internet's most influential sites—Reddit and Wikipedia among them—are going dark to protest the much-maligned anti-piracy bill. But other than being a very bad thing, what is SOPA? And what will it mean for you if it passes?

SOPA is an anti-piracy bill working its way through Congress...

House Judiciary Committee Chair and Texas Republican Lamar Smith, along with 12 co-sponsors, introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act on October 26th of last year. Debate on H.R. 3261, as it's formally known, has consisted of one hearing on November 16th and a "mark-up period" on December 15th, which was designed to make the bill more agreeable to both parties. Its counterpart in the Senate is the Protect IP Act (S. 968). Also known by its cuter-but-still-deadly name: PIPA. There will likely be a vote on PIPA next Wednesday; SOPA discussions had been placed on hold but will resume in February of this year.

...that would grant content creators extraordinary power over the internet...

The beating heart of SOPA is the ability of intellectual property owners (read: movie studios and record labels) to effectively pull the plug on foreign sites against whom they have a copyright claim. If Warner Bros., for example, says that a site in Italy is torrenting a copy of The Dark Knight, the studio could demand that Google remove that site from its search results, that PayPal no longer accept payments to or from that site, that ad services pull all ads and finances from it, and—most dangerously—that the site's ISP prevent people from even going there.

...which would go almost comedically unchecked...

Perhaps the most galling thing about SOPA in its original construction is that it let IP owners take these actions without a single court appearance or judicial sign-off. All it required was a single letter claiming a "good faith belief" that the target site has infringed on its content. Once Google or PayPal or whoever received the quarantine notice, they would have five days to either abide or to challenge the claim in court. Rights holders still have the power to request that kind of blockade, but in the most recent version of the bill the five day window has softened, and companies now would need the court's permission.

The language in SOPA implies that it's aimed squarely at foreign offenders; that's why it focuses on cutting off sources of funding and traffic (generally US-based) rather than directly attacking a targeted site (which is outside of US legal jurisdiction) directly. But that's just part of it.

...to the point of potentially creating an "Internet Blacklist"...

Here's the other thing: Payment processors or content providers like Visa or YouTube don't even need a letter shut off a site's resources. The bill's "vigilante" provision gives broad immunity to any provider who proactively shutters sites it considers to be infringers. Which means the MPAA just needs to publicize one list of infringing sites to get those sites blacklisted from the internet.

Potential for abuse is rampant. As Public Knowledge points out, Google could easily take it upon itself to delist every viral video site on the internet with a "good faith belief" that they're hosting copyrighted material. Leaving YouTube as the only major video portal. Comcast (an ISP) owns NBC (a content provider). Think they might have an interest in shuttering some rival domains? Under SOPA, they can do it without even asking for permission.

...while exacting a huge cost from nearly every site you use daily...

SOPA also includes an "anti-circumvention" clause, which holds that telling people how to work around SOPA is nearly as bad as violating its main provisions. In other words: if your status update links to The Pirate Bay, Facebook would be legally obligated to remove it. Ditto tweets, YouTube videos, Tumblr or WordPress posts, or sites indexed by Google. And if Google, Twitter, Wordpress, Facebook, etc. let it stand? They face a government "enjoinment." They could and would be shut down.

The resources it would take to self-police are monumental for established companies, and unattainable for start-ups. SOPA would censor every online social outlet you have, and prevent new ones from emerging.

...and potentially disappearing your entire digital life...

The party line on SOPA is that it only affects seedy off-shore torrent sites. That's false. As the big legal brains at Bricoleur point out, the potential collateral damage is huge. And it's you. Because while Facebook and Twitter have the financial wherewithal to stave off anti-circumvention shut down notices, the smaller sites you use to store your photos, your videos, and your thoughts may not. If the government decides any part of that site infringes on copyright and proves it in court? Poof. Your digital life is gone, and you can't get it back.

...while still managing to be both unnecessary and ineffective...

What's saddest about SOPA is that it's pointless on two fronts. In the US, the MPAA, and RIAA already have the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to request that infringing material be taken down. We've all seen enough "video removed" messages to know that it works just fine.

As for the foreign operators, you might as well be throwing darts at a tse-tse fly. The poster child of overseas torrenting, Pirate Bay, has made it perfectly clear that they're not frightened in the least. And why should they be? Its proprietors have successfully evaded any technological attempt to shut them down so far. Its advertising partners aren't US-based, so they can't be choked out. But more important than Pirate Bay itself is the idea of Pirate Bay, and the hundreds or thousands of sites like it, as populous and resilient as mushrooms in a marsh. Forget the question of should SOPA succeed. It's incredibly unlikely that it could. At least at its stated goals.

...but stands a shockingly good chance of passing...

SOPA is, objectively, an unfeasible trainwreck of a bill, one that willfully misunderstands the nature of the internet and portends huge financial and cultural losses. The White House has come out strongly against it. As have hundreds of venture capitalists and dozens of the men and women who helped build the internet in the first place. In spite of all this, companies have already spent a lot of money pushing SOPA, and it remains popular in the House of Representatives.

That mark-up period on December 15th, the one that was supposed to transform the bill into something more manageable? Useless. Twenty sanity-fueled amendments were flat-out rejected. And while the bill's most controversial provision—mandatory DNS filtering—was thankfully taken off the table recently, in practice internet providers would almost certainly still use DNS as a tool to shut an accused site down.

...unl

ess we do something about it.

The momentum behind the anti-SOPA movement has been slow to build, but we're finally at a saturation point. Wikipedia, BoingBoing, WordPress, TwitPic: they'll all be dark on January 18th. An anti-SOPA rally has been planned for tomorrow afternoon in New York. The list of companies supporting SOPA is long but shrinking, thanks in no small part to the emails and phone calls they've received in the last few months.

So keep calling. Keep emailing. Most of all, keep making it known that the internet was built on the same principles of freedom that this country was. It should be afforded to the same rights.

How to Put Together a Winning Marketing Team

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Marketing Team1

Companies are taking note of inbound marketing and revamping their strategy and talent pool to generate higher quality leads at about a 60% lower cost per lead than outbound marketing. Want to know how you can transform your marketing department to become an inbound lead generating machine helping your sales team KILL it and grow your business?

Here's how: Talent.

All your inbound excitement won't deliver results if you don't have the right skills to adapt. After years of working with thousands of customers, we've got a pretty good picture of what a high performing inbound marketing team might look like across a variety of company sizes.

First, let's define what we mean by different company sizes. You may not agree with all of them, but that's fine; at least we have a common lexicon.

    SMB (Small to Medium Sized Business) = Somewhere between 5-100 Employees
    Midsized Business = Somewhere between 101-1,000 Employees
    Enterprise = Upwards of 1,000 employees, but NOT including your massive Fortune 1000, big brand-type companies where it starts to get extremely big, siloed and global. (That could be a book!)

Now that we've agreed on sizes, let's talk about who you need to hire to rock inbound at each level.
SMB: The Utility Player

Some small businesses are lucky if they have ONE dedicated marketer, and there are plenty where the owner is just dedicating 5-6 hours a week to marketing. We're going to focus on those companies who are big enough to warrant a dedicated marketing resource. When hiring your solo marketer, you need to find a utility player who is first and foremost smart. Second, he/she cannot be a specialist; your perfect marketer probably won't be a pure-play journalist or a graphic designer who wants to try something new.

You need to hire someone who has demonstrated success in a few different areas:

    Content Creation: Did they blog, do some corporate communications, work at an agency creating content for a variety of companies? GREAT!
    Analytics: Your marketer doesn't need to be an Excel junkie, but they should have a working knowledge of the marketing funnel, know what questions to ask and be comfortable doing some basic tracking and ratios using tools like Google Analytics, Excel or even HubSpot.
    Digital: Do they understand how the internet works and how businesses can leverage it? Do they use the web for personal reasons and have accounts on popular social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter?
    Creative: Unless you strike it lucky, you probably won't find someone who can crank out logos and artwork in a snap and do all the rest. But if you target someone who has taught themselves some basics in Illustrator or another graphics program, you'll likely be able to get CTAs, sufficient enough imagery, and basic creative done without spending a ton of money on contractors.
    Campaigns: Ideally, you'll find someone who has run a few campaigns across multiple channels -- they can be as simple as email + call campaigns, or be through full-fledged event type campaigns. Your utility player needs to understand the lifecycle of a campaign and how the different pieces play together for a bigger bang than a sole tactic.

seo-marketing-servicesWhere can you find these utility players?

 

Sadly, there are very few college programs that crank out EXACTLY this profile. However, a lot of PR, marketing, and communications grads will go work for a marketing agency after college and find that they love the work, but would rather dive in deep to just one company rather than jumping from client program to client program. You should consider hiring someone with 3-5 years of agency experience across a variety of skills that is ready to dedicate their efforts to helping just one company grow and find satisfaction in seeing their longer term impact.
Midsize: The Melting Pot

You've graduated from the solo, utility marketer and need a team to develop a brand and generate leads for a bit larger company. This means you need to deliver more leads to your sales team and provide them with a lot more tools to help close deals. In this environment, you still want team members coming in with some of those 'utility player' characteristics, but ideally, each of them is also exceptionally strong at one of a few areas. You are creating a melting pot of talent that can't be too siloed and could jump in and help each other out at a moments' notice.

    Team Leader: Drives the overall strategy for the organization and should be someone who has working knowledge of all the disciplines. They still create some content but spend the bulk of their time using analytics to make decisions and empowering their team to be successful. This person should be accustomed to rolling up their sleeves 30% of the time to help out with blog posts, content offers, or resolving tough execution challenges.


    Blog & Social Media Lead: Inbound success is contingent on content to get you found, and your number one lever is blogging. Put someone in charge of the blog as both an editor and writer. That means they create but also source content from the rest of the team -- and company in fact. This person OWNs the growth of traffic and leads from your blog and social media efforts. For this role, you want a utility player who loves to write, has good judgment about social messaging, and is pretty good at motivating others to contribute via lightweight program management.


    Content Offers Lead: How do you convert visitors into leads? You need solid offers. That means ebooks, webinars, whitepapers, etc. This person should be great at content and creative with/comfortable using basic email and webinar tools. This person should also be empowered to source content externally if needed.


    Product & Customer Marketing Lead: Usually at this point, you have enough visitors and salespeople that you need to educate them a bit. A product marketer with great verbal and written communication skills can help you translate your paid offering into a message that someone might actually care about. This person should ALSO be blogging and helping create offers because they are closer to the customer than the rest of the team.


    Budget for Creative & Tools: You've got a choice here. Hire more people or develop a budget to help you scale across the diverse needs you will have. Since you may not need so many specialists just yet, erring on the side of vendors at this stage is wise. But as you grow to a team of 10 marketers, maybe getting a graphic designer who is also a great writer or handy with HTML could be a good hire.

Where can you find these well-rounded talents?

It's important to note that NONE of the roles above absolve folks from being content creators or let them crawl into an email or social media silo. In fact, at HubSpot, when we were a team of about 5-8 marketers, we routinely swapped job roles to ensure that no one was missing a key skill and the team didn't stagnate.

That means the same utility player mentioned above could be the perfect fit for any of the roles on this team. The important part is to determine if your utility player has fallen in love with one of the major disciplines and might want to have a bit more ownership but still be able to swap and help out at a moment's notice.
Enterprise: Specialists With Content Chopsinternet-marketing1

You've been growing like crazy, and your company of 1,000+ has serious marketing demands ranging from analyst relations to events to SEM. Even though we cringe at the silos that can sometimes befall the specialist team, you are at a point where your efficiency will be greater with people who are truly expert at one core aspect of marketing and can also contribute to the content engine along the way. Although we aren't yet a 1,000 person company, HubSpot's rapid growth demands a marketing engine that is getting close to what we'd expect to see at a much larger company.

Without going into a full org chart, here are some of the types of roles and specialties that exist:

    CMO/VP Marketing: Leader who is setting strategic direction and ensuring that marketing is aligned with corporate goals and in charge of talent hiring/development is this person's primary role.
    Directors: Inbound Lead Generation, Product Evangelism, and Brand & Buzz
    Specialists: Blog (2 or more), Social Media (2 or more), Content Offers (2 or more), Email Marketing (1 or more), Lead Management (1 or more), Product Marketing & Analyst Relations (3 or more), PR/Buzz (2 or More), Graphic Artist (1 or more), Events (1 or more), Paid Marketing (1 or more), Customer Engagement (1 or more), Marketing Engineers - building stuff for marketing (1 or more)

What are these people doing, and where do you hire them?

Even though you see a lot of specialists here, each player has a combo of expertise in their area plus content creation or support for another area to ensure your team maintains agility. Even more notable is the omission of an analytics person -- because each team should be analytically inclined and OWN the numbers for the element they specialize in with results rolling into the directors and CMO level.

Hiring in this environment can be tricky. You can find folks who have done tons of email marketing but have never had to come up with the actual content offer itself. Steer clear of one-trick ponies, and opt instead for someone with perhaps a little less depth of experience but great overall communications skills and marketing savvy.

Regardless of company size or type, hiring great talent is one of the most difficult growth challenges you'll face. Resist the temptation to hire an okay person; there are stellar talents out there who are worth the wait. We find a lot of them through our personal networks and via social media as well as a very active intern program.
A Note on Interns: THEY ROCK

Whether you are an SMB or in a massive company, getting summer interns or co-ops during the semester is one of THE best ways to trial out talent and fit while also getting some work done. We've hired 6 amazingly talented people, all out of our intern pool of probably 20 folks over the last 3 years. Each intern has done some great things and a few really went above and beyond to show us they could learn fast and take on real ownership for projects. The only way you'll really be able to evaluate an intern fairly is if you give them both a meaty project to own and a variety of smaller areas to contribute.  

A summer might look like: intern writes 10 blog posts, 1 per week, supports 1 webinar, writes one ebook, and does an analytical study on your lead quality with recommendations that get presented to your sales and marketing departments. They need your leadership and guidance, but if they are truly awesome and can do all of this, you might have just found yourself your next utility player!

 

SOPA and PIPA are not Dead

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So is SOPA Dead? Not Exactly

I ' ve been hearing chants around the internet today that are quite literally 'ding dong, SOPA is dead! After some news this weekend, many are writing off the bill entirely. Here ' s what happened to make them believe that.

- The White House published an official opinion that indicated they would not support a bill like SOPA

-  The official vote on SOPA scheduled for late January has been cancelled, and the bill has been pulled from the floor.

So is it dead? Did we win? No, and here ' s why:

- In that same statement, the White House also said 'While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response… followed later by ''That is why the Administration calls on all sides to work together to pass sound legislation this year that provides prosecutors and rights holders new legal tools to combat online piracy originating beyond U.S. borders. They still want to pass anti-piracy legislation this year.

- SOPA is not dead, it ' s been 'shelved and won ' t return 'until a consensus is reached.

- Protect IP (PIPA), the Senate version of the House bill, is still very much alive, and has not even been shelved, much less killed. It is equally as bad of an idea as SOPA, even if most protests are being directed at SOPA recently.

So what does this mean? Though the battle is won, the war is not. SOPA could easily make a resurgence if it sculpts itself to whatever the White House ' s unspecified specifications are, and PIPA could also pass, as even with recent changes to it (courts can ' t force ISPs to block websites), it ' s still harmful.

Some on the internet are describing what ' s happening now as an old sales tactic. You make a ludicrous offer on something (SOPA), then retract it and make a new, slightly less crazy one (PIPA, or a reshaped SOPA) that suddenly feels sane by comparison, and the other party accepts.

The entertainment industry didn ' t spend millions lobbying Congress for these two bills just to give up now, and as such, you should expect this fight to continue. As I ' ve said before, these bills can ' t be changed or postponed, they must be crushed. We ' re getting there.

I ' m still planning my Facebook protest for this Wednesday, and I advise sites that were planning to go dark in protest to continue doing so.

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