Growing Your Franchise with Web Conferencing

Next Thursday, April 5th, Mike Ligon will teach franchisors how to manage and grow their businesses using web conferencing. If you are a franchisor or a multi-unit operator and you are not using web conferencing, here is your opportunity to get started. Conferencing has had a profound impact on many of our franchisors. Check out some of these comments:

"From a sales growth perspective, utilizing the online live presentation feature and audio emails has fully allowed us to bring our corporate message right to the client home computer with minimal cost while increasing revenue. With the added bonus of the tracking feature we have a better understanding of who is serious about buying. Thank you ReadyTalk!"
-Patrick Pounders, Vice President of Sales, Executive Tans

"We have to train three thousand employees on several parts of a new NGTS – Next Generation Travel System. To get twenty to thirty people on the phone at one time is a godsend. I found ReadyTalk before I needed to get on the road. It has saved my home life. I mean, really. I don't have to travel"
-Elizabeth Haslam, Training Manager, Liberty Travel

"Using ReadyTalk, I demonstrated our online order process so participants could watch. It was fantastic because they understood what I was doing and it didn't take as much time to get through the process. ReadyTalk gives me the ability to be there in person without being there personally."
-Jenett Harnish, Administration Manager, ServiceMaster Clean

Married by Video Conferencing

On Wednesday, Spc. Abraham Rhode and Amanda Hart were married using video conferencing. Apparently, Hart and Rhode are not the only ones getting married and experiencing life changing events over the web. Iraq soldiers have used video conferencing to attend children's graduations, weddings, ceremonies, and births. I cannot think of a better use of this technology than to bring together our soldiers and their loved ones.

Getting Things Done

Our sales team is reading Getting Things Done by David Allen. I am also reading it with them again. The first time I read this book, I was on vacation with my parents last summer in Durango, CO. The book completely energized me. If you have dreams, passions and plans swirling through your head, then this book is for you. It gives you a system for organizing all of your dreams and actions in one place so that your mind doesn't have to keep churning through all of the stuff you need and want to do. Of course, the fear of living your dreams is a completely different issue. If you can get in the mindset of acting on your dreams, then this book will help you map the specific steps you must take to make them happen. It is a great complement to other motivational books.

Search Engine Strategies NY

SES NY is coming up in a couple of weeks and I am very excited to be attending. For those that do not know, SES is the leading global conference & expo series about search engine advertising, including optimization and marketing issues. There are several talks I am very interested in such as B2B tactics, benchmarking, and, of course, the keynote speech by Steve Berkowitz, the Senior VP of Microsoft's Online Services Group.

If you are going drop me a line and let me know. I would love to meet up with my fellow search marketers.

Theory of Social Proof and Social Media

The theory of social proof or Informational Social Influence is a psychological theory that attempts to explain the behavioral patterns of humans. In essence, it states that when a person does not know how to behave in a given situation he/she will look to other humans for guidance on the correct behavior. An extension of this theory, is that if the group of people who are performing a certain behavior are perceived to belong to the same or similar group, then one is more likely to conform to the groups behavior than if one does not identify with the group.

Now what does this have to do with social media? Let's look at Digg for a minute. Today (like most days) Digg is loaded with niche stories that focus upon technology and funny offbeat news stories. Obviously, this reflects on the audience of Digg (young, male, liberal, tech-focused) but is information social influence not at work on Digg and all other social media sites.

Upon landing on the Digg homepage, the top ten"dugg" stories are displayed to the user. Presented with these stories and seeing all of their votes, it is highly likely I will view at least a few of these and perhaps Digg them as well knowing that many other users found them useful and/or entertaining. This is the same basic principle for all social media sites. Users are relying on others to present them with information that may be interesting to them. This is all well and good because it allows us to sift through irrelevant information rather quickly. But what happens when this theory is used to trick users into thinking information is relevant to them. For example, a site could establish itself as an expert (Google organic rankings) through keyword optimization when it may present nothing new on the subject it portends to be an expert on. In life our radar for people abusing this theory is finely tuned through years of use; however, on the internet, our radar is still being tuned and the dupers are ahead of the curve. How many times have you searched a term in Google, clicked on one of top results and been brought to a page designed to generate ad revenue through page views but has nothing to say on the subject you searched.