Rather than Small Business Advertising, I was going to title this post, “Eating your own dog food,” but I decided that a more descriptive title would get the benefit of SEO. I recently took on the task of advertising for my wife’s small business, here’s our story.
Leslie Smith MD
My wife’s acupuncture practice recently moved into a larger space; her patient capacity almost doubled overnight from one to two treatment rooms. I say “almost” because she’s still just one practitioner. With acupuncture, once the patient has been needled, they simply rest comfortably in pin-cushion mode. The practitioner doesn’t need to be in the room. That’s where my wife takes the opportunity to start treatment on a patient in room number two.
I took it upon myself to do some online advertising for her practice to fill up that second room as frequently as possible. Now, my wife is not your typical acupuncturist. She’s an herbalist, a holistic medicine practitioner and, most uniquely, an MD. One would think that her résumé would do the marketing for her. That’s not the case, obviously. We have to let people know just how fabulous she is. So, here’s the long story of how I used my background in advertising, my wits in video production and my fabulous wife’s personae to kick off her marketing push for the new office. Read more
In my last post I mentioned how some people with a narrow view of the Internet couldn’t verbally distinguish it from an email message. Obviously that’s a very small subset of folks, but it brings up an interesting phenomena. The Internet has a few primary use cases for a majority of the man-hours that are spent online and, while the percentage of time in each use case has changed, the cases themselves have largely remained the same since the 90s, maybe even the 80s! Of these cases, many of them are coalescing at Facebook’s doorstep.
The Social Web
Socializing on the Internet has taken many forms over the years. Email can be traced back to 1971 and gained popularity as a way of social interaction at universities in the late 80s and early 90s. With the rise of residential Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as AOL, EarthLink and MindSpring email reached out to the general public throughout the rest of the 90s. Then the dedicated email services like Hotmail (now Windows Live Mail), Yahoo! Mail and Gmail began to take over. AOL eventually opened up email service to the general public in an attempt to maintain a foothold in the marketplace. Of these, Yahoo! Mail is the most popular, but the demands on email as a social tool have waned. Email is full of spam; over 90% of all messages sent are junk. Email addresses are in constant flux as people change jobs or move to different ISPs. Facebook Messaging is on the rise and for many people it has replaced email as the primary messaging tool between friends. It’s a closed system, which tends to protect it from spam and people don’t change or abandon their Facebook accounts so address books don’t need frequent updates. Read more
Apple is on the receiving end of a lot of grief over the defensive wall around the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Many developers are vocally critical of the rules governing how apps are approved and which technologies are selectively excluded. Most notably, Adobe‘s Flash technology has been very publicly rejected by Steve Jobs. Some contend that this is a calculated business move by Apple that ensures control over applications that run on the iDevices. Others tow the party line by sighting the battery drain or buggy nature that sometimes accompanies Flash. However people would like to split the minutia, the overarching theme is that Apple wants to maintain control over the user experience.
Closed systems like this have several benefits. Software can be vetted by experts before it gets into the market: blocking confusing functionality, managing the user’s exposure to risk, protecting the devices from viruses and ensuring a high quality application pool. No one really complained too loudly about Apple’s closed systems when it comes to hardware accessories. But there you see other benefits more clearly like device compatibility, quality control and even price in some cases.
Ignoring the consumer benefits of closed system, many developers see them as a way for companies like Apple to make more money. Selling a program in the iTunes App Store requires that application programmers to pay Apple a portion of their revenue and if an application duplicates functionality of a built-in app it’s likely to be rejected by Apple outright. Not every closed system draws ire from the programming community.
Another high-profile closed system is found in Facebook‘s messaging system. While they’ve opened up their chat to programs like Trillian, but their system that most closely resembles email remains closed. Users of regular email cannot get messages in, but Facebook’s system does send a copy of messages sent out to recipient’s email accounts. This has the clear benefit of reducing spam, but you don’t hear email marketers making too much noise about it. They are not well loved and their complaints about how they can’t send messages into everyone’s favorite social network will likely fall on deaf ears. Read more