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eBiz Miami is proud to announce its first internet co-op marketing hit: Usually you’d expect a viewer to click on a sponsored link in a newsletter. Such thing already happened: a customer of Piccola Italia Miami clicked on the “spsored link” in their weekly newsletter. The link was to eBiz Miami web site. The viewer liked what he saw, he subscribed to eBiz Miami’s newsletters as well. The result? He got a FREE PIZZA. What happened this week, was the reverse: a wonderful email that can be read here, of an initial subscriber to eBiz Miami newsletters, that became a client of Piccola Italia Miami. How cool is that??? And they say co-op marketing is obsolete!
All about making you money. Trying to explain to a friend what eBiz means, you realize not everybody takes this buzzword as being “self-explanatory” or “intuitive”. However, the best, non-technical explanation that you can find, is “everything that helps your business make money on the internet.” Really, that’s it in a nutshell. Everything from designing a better web site, making it interactive, making it look better, to promoting it and setting up email campaigns, or using the blogs, social networks and other public forums to promote your business. This eBiz term is quite powerful when you think about it, but it helps to remember that not everybody is “prepared” for it. One more reason for people to subscribe to our newsletters, where everthing is debunked and comes explained in simple terms.
If this will make our visitors as happy as it made me, we got a future! I just added a “related content” feature to three of eBiz Miami’s pages. It wasn’t as easy, because all kinds of off-topic articles kept appearing, until the keywords and the way of displaying the “rich content” were tweaked to the max. You know it’s something good when you realize that even you, the owner of an already “rich content” web site could learn a thing or two. It’s a joy to see quick industry updates streaming live right on the pages of your own web site, increasing its usefulness with titles like: “Email Marketing Success Story: How a Local Business Aces Recession with Email Newsletter“, “Leveraging Facebook for Business“, “Brand Management: The Most Important Tasks“.
What is “related content widget”? Simply put, it’s a syndicated stream of text or video, fed to your web site from different sources (blogs, news posts, industry publications) through a little “applet” (Java Script), on topics of your choosing. It’s just another great example of technology hard at work to your own benefit in the “information age”. The feeds of information are selected from reliable sources, such as trade journals, specialized portals, professional blogs etc. This way you are sure to get great quality and fresh content that will keep visitors coming back to your web site. I recommend it to my clients wholeheartedly!
It’s good to see thechniques used for your clients at work for yourself. From almost zero traffic, to a noticeable steady stream of visitors only as a result of three “little” things: One ad two weeks in a row in one of our customer’s newsletters. One-time Facebook ad promoting our FREE Web Site and eMarketing packages. Constant “social media awareness” through our Facebook messages and this blog. Wait until the SEO kicks in!
A “personal story” on a business blog? Why not. People relate better to people, everybody knows that. eBiz Miami might not mean a great deal by itself to a lot of people. But a little personal history of its creator, especially when it has to do with his “evolution” as a professional, should only help strengthen a business relationship, one would hope.
Drawing on my Desktop Publishing background, I caught the “Internet” fever at its beginnings. In 1996, as a Masters student in Journalism & Mass Communications at University of South Carolina – Columbia, I started playing around with a two-inch thick HTML textbook. It had been sitting on my Teaching Assistant desk for weeks, when I decided to yield the advice of one of my colleagues. “This is the future, right here!” – he had said, with a dead-serious air, looking me straight in the eye: “You’re good at graphics, you have that eye for putting things together visually. Start learning this (he was tapping his finger on the thick book), people will need it in the future!” He wasn’t kidding, either! “But I’m not a programmer” – I replied. “It’s not programming!” – he shouted over his shoulder, as he was exiting my office. “And what the heck does that have to do with journalism?” – but he was already gone. He was right, though. It was something else, totally new, that was about to change the world. It had a “geeky” name: Hyper-Text Markup Language, and it was already beginning to “interlink” the world at an amazing speed. But seriously, I really wasn’t a programmer! And I am still not one today! However, I was enticed by the challenge of bringing an entire layout to life on the screen by typing in primitive lines of code. Little did I know that I was starting a career.
A few months later I was holding my first Web Designer job at Air South, a local airline that had just entered the market. When the first WYSYWIG software came up, much like PageMaker but for web pages, I was hooked. I was happy that I didn’t need to type by hand every single line of code to make things look “pretty” on the screen. But to this day, I find myself “fiddling” with lines of code, be it Java Script, CSS or XML and the hours spent with that 2-inch thick and 10lb-heavy book sure come in handy! Two years later, when the airline company went “under”, I was already an “experienced” web designer and my next “creative gig” din’t wait long: I started working for another local “startup”: Outdoor Ads. Today they are the largest privately-owned display advertising agency in that market. Then, in 1999, for family reasons, I had to move to Miami. It was going to be for a few months. I’m still here! Now I’m proud to call it “my home”!
The World Wide Web and the Internet evolved to where it is practically impossible today to imagine some of life’s simplest tasks without it. When was the last time you wrote a hand letter, ran to the post office, bought the stamp, licked it thoroughly, stuck it to the envelope, licked that too, shook it so it dries out, dropped it in the mailbox and sent it on its way? I’ve been doing my taxes on-line for years and paying my bills there, too. I seem to remember that there were once some things called checks, where I was writing by hand a specific amount, signing my name and and bringing them in person every month, to the utility company in Columbia, SC! Yes, I know, there are still people who do some of those “tedious tasks” today. But that’s part of the reason that my company was created: I discovered, much to my surprise, that not everybody around me, no matter if younger or older, would be as eager to learn and keep up the pace with this new, ever changing “technology.” While that is not really “life threatening” on a personal level (hey, licking that stamp might still bear some sentimental value for some), it is a proven fact that for businesses small and big, ignoring the trend can leave them in the dust, licking nothing but their own wounds after a battle they didn’t even know they fought. So maybe my new labor of love, eBiz Miami, could do some good.
If my fellow grad student, who saw the “future” in a 2-inch thick HTML book, would have told me that one day there would be “virtual houses and shops” for people and businesses, where they can do everything from displaying family pictures or art pieces to selling their products in “digital shopping carts”, I would have thought he was dreaming. Furthermore, if he would have told me that I, myself, would end up an expert at building those places, one day, quite literally, I would have called him Jules Verne. Yet, here I am, 14 years later, having added tons more to the knowledge found in that big, heavy HTML book. What’s more important, I’m finally confident enough to answer my own question from that time: “What does that have to do with journalism?” The answer, one word: EVERYTHING. Yes, it’s programming, yes, it’s “digitizing”, designing, planning, developing and building everything with zeros and ones just as you would with brick and mortar. But, at its core, in its purpose and through its means, it is and it will remain linking, interconnecting. Say what? COMMUNICATING! Journalism, anybody? Mass communication? I rest my case.
Today my company, eBiz Miami, is helping other businesses grow by providing full internet services, from hosting to building and marketing their web sites. Yes, we also trouble shoot their networks and computers and we educate and train on pretty much anything technological that they need to run a business smoothly. But in the end, it all comes down to “communicating” the right message to the right audience.
Well, it’s up and Running! For good, for ever (well, at least for a looong, loong and prosperous time, hopefully). The “little tweaks” turned out to be a total makeover. A marathon of almost 40 sleepless hours, at the end of which I am happy, not thrilled, but happy with the way the web site looks and functions. Of course, I’m bound to have made mistakes, but that’s why I count on you, my friends and customers to bring them to my attention. Any comments are more than welcomed!
This is the trouble with the “creative” types. After trumpeting the “official opening” of the web site for today, Monday August the 10th, I found myself working feverishly to finish the project and meet my self-imposed deadline. Well, it’s six o’clock in the morning and I’m still “finishing” it. I “tweaked” things “here and there” and… I ended up with a completely new web site! I turned the whole thing on its head, from graphic concept to structure! Sure, the “flesh” (i.e., the content) remained pretty much the same, but the “bones” (the structure, the way all the composing blocks tie in together) and the “clothing” (the graphic line) are now totally new. Go figure! Tired, but happy, I am congratulating myself for coming up with a deadline. Perfectionist as I am, I would have kept on “modifying” the whole thing ’till the cows came home or found another place to go 🙂 Of course, this is something that “never” happens under a contract with you, the client!
My newsletter system is configured such that it sends me an email every time a new person subscribes or unsubscribes to any of the email lists. Today I checked the list membership directly on the admin side of the system. Surprise! A new subscriber, completely unknown to me (not a friend, current or former client), signed up yesterday for all three newsletters! My email hadn’t alerted me to that. I gotta’ fix the “bug”. I’m glad I had this on my checklist before the “grand opening” of the web site on Monday.
But I got “tickled.” It’s good to see that my knowledge and efforts in “cooperative marketing” are starting to work for myself 🙂 My new subscriber came from the Piccola Italia subscriber base, as I just sent out their “Weekly e-Special” yesterday. Besides the low-priced special offer (yesterday it was Rotini Bolognese, yummy!), I announced to the subscribers the introduction on Youtube of the first two video spots for Piccola Italia. I took the opportunity to mention that ebizmiami.com was the creator of the two spots, and I added the clickable link to the newsletter. I also added ebizmiami.com to the “weekly sponsor” corner. Why am I so excited? After all, I knew it was possible, I’d done it before, it works, tried and true! I guess I’m getting giddy to see all my “skills” and “creativity” starting to pay off for my own business. My philosophy of “practice what you preach” is getting its first attestation. I oughta’ give a reward to my first “outside subscriber.” To many more!
OK, today is the day when my client “Piccola Italia” is getting their first internet video spots. Two 30-second clips, promoting the ideea of weekly free pizza that has been getting them customers steadily ever since I came up with it. The idea is, this spot will hopefully be sent around or into an attempt at “viral marketing” that will get Piccola Italia a healthy dose of new client infusion. Heheh, there are “more to come”, this is just testing the waters. Let’s see…
Most of the “bugs” have been worked out, the many versions through which the web site has been going, have finally morphed into ONE. The day of its “unveiling” is near. The official “opening date” of www.ebizmiami.com is AUGUST 10th, 2009. Lots of goodies and freebies, stay tuned and sign up for the newsletters!
I am still taking testimonials! Friends and clients, when it will be up, the new web site won’t have a happy face without your happy coments! What better way to show that “Sorin’s Way” works and eBiz Miami will be a viable option for future clients? Please answer my first “call to action”, the original email I sent out a couple of weeks ago. I posted it on the blog, hopefully that will make it easier to answer.
This is an important call for support to all those who had a chance to benefit from my professional help and services. I am in the process of finalizing my own web site. Just remember: www.ebizmiami.com. Make this your source of good information and solutions on internet marketing and branding, web and graphic design, computer safety, network and internet security, online publishing and the like.
However, I find myself out fishing for testimonials. You are all well aware of how important those are for a business to grow. Some of you have been personally reminded by me to use them on your own web sites. Well, now it’s my turn. But for that, I need your words.
Thankfully, every single one of you has expressed at some point in our relationship a few good words towards me. Whatever you were most pleased with, I am kindly asking now that you put it in two-three sentences and leave it as a comment to this post. This is the easiest I way, it won’t hurt :). Your final statement won’t be posted on my web site until I will have your final approval.
Thank you very much for being friends and business partners and for helping me “grow”. I look forward to a continued and mutually beneficial relationship!