I saw this infographic from Flowtown.com posted on LinkedIn today and thought you’d find it useful.

The Small Business Social Media Cheat Sheet

As seen on MarketingLand.com

The Brand Marketing & Communications Group asked me if I would meet with their client, E&J Gallo Canada, and develop a strategy for launching a new wine brand into Canada: Mirassou.

The target for Mirassou is educated women 35-55 who like food & travel. My lovely wife fits that description so I asked her. She suggested leveraging book clubs. She’s in a book club and, if you ask me, they should really call it a wine club.

Through some of my connections we developed a co-promotion with Simon & Schuster Canada who provided prizes and a co-marketing opportunity. The Brand Marketing & Communications Group came up with a contest and secured additional prizing from Moxies Restaurants.

I developed the strategy of using Facebook for the promotion to take advantage of the built in viral enablers. We also used Facebook ads to drive traffic to the contest which was very successful.

The client feedback has been that they were very happy with the execution and that Mirassou sold very well during the promotion.

Below are some of the layouts of the Facebook page we developed.

Mirassou Facebook contest by Strategy Cube Mirassou 2

I’ll be presenting “Escaping Social Media Madness” at the Oakville Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Week on Monday, Oct 17 at 11:30am.

Presentation highlights:

  • Social media for business is completely over-hyped. For most businesses social media should be way down on their marketing plan. They should have invested time and money in many other foundational places first.
  • Social media is good for certain things but it’s very time consuming to do well. You should skip social media as a marketing tactic if:
    • You don’t have time to maintain relationships online.
    • You just want quick wins.
    • You have a highly transactional business and you don’t really want anything except transactional relationships.
    • You have no digital assets (articles, photos, videos, podcasts), no interest in creating them on a regular basis or no cost effective way of getting them made for you.
  • I’ll be presenting a pre-launch workbook, checklist and a roadmap to guide you.
  • I’ll explain how tools like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Yoono and Twilert can help you.
  • I’ll explain how to use social media for competitive research.
  • I’ll give you my best advice on creating and promoting your content.
  • I’ll examine several common social media tactics including:
    • Following lots of people on Twitter,
    • Gated content and contests on Facebook
    • Starting LinkedIn groups
    • Foursquare, Google Places and Facebook Check-In.

You’ll leave with a much clearer understanding of social media and whether to invest your precious time in it or not.

Full Speaker List

You can download a brochure of all the Oakville Chamber’s Small Business Week speakers here.
You can read more about the Oakville Chamber’s Small Business Week here.

Where is it?

The event is at the Holiday Inn Oakville Centre – 590 Argus Road, Oakville.

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A Toronto restaurant tweets limited-time menu items as well as “secret passwords” or “secret codewords”. People who visit the restaurant and mention the password/codeword get a free drink. They think their social media efforts have increased their walk-in traffic 20% in the last few months. I like the way this plays into the psychology of motivation related to “being special” or “being part of a special club” and “getting something because I know a secret no-one else knows.”

Social media expert Marc Gordon shared this example at the Constant Contact sponsored “Get Down To Business” Social Media for Small Business conference a few weeks ago in Toronto.

Thank you for visiting www.strategycube.com, an innovation and strategy consulting firm in Burlington and Oakville.

I attended the Constant Contact sponsored “Get Down To Business” Social Media for Small Business conference a few weeks ago in Toronto. social media expert Marc Gordon addressed this question:

How do I know my Social Media efforts are working?

ANSWER: Social media is working for you if it leads to quality face to face meetings with potential prospects or referrers OR, if your prospects are not local, then an email address and opt-in.

Nicely put Marc!

Therefore your website must capture leads with an offer and an email opt-in. I know you have heard this before but if your website still doesn’t have this then take the time to make a compelling offer (like a downloadable whitepaper or video) and put up a lead capture form. If you haven’t signed up with one of MailChimp, Aweber, MadMimi, ConstantContact or Infusionsoft then do so and use their tools to create the email capture embed code and put it into your site. If you use WordPress or Joomla, there are free plugins from these email providers that make integrating it easy.

Thank you for visiting www.strategycube.com, an innovation and strategy consulting firm in Burlington and Oakville.

Google has just introduced its version of the Facebook LIKE button and if you are looking for the latest tool in the battle for better search engine rankings, this should be on your radar. It’s called the Google +1 button and it launched in the US in March 2011 and has made its way into various popular plugins in the last few weeks. Google says “+1 buttons let people who love your content recommend it on Google search.”

It’s estimated that more than 50% of corporations don’t allow their employees to access Facebook from the office. But they do allow access to Google. So this could give the Google +1 button a huge advantage over the Facebook Like button.

I would be wary of immediately thinking of how you can get all your employees to like your company page and send it to the first page of Google search results. But try it 🙂  I’m sure the google engineers are smarter than us and have or soon will figure out how to prevent people gaming the +1 button.

Quality content is still the key. That’s what intelligent people want from the web and Google only has value if it can keep showing you quality content and weeding out the junk produced by people hoping to just get traffic without real work or talent. The +1 button is just another tool that google hopes will increase it’s ability to show you quality content.

Expert articles on the implications of Google +1 for SEO


Implementing the Google +1 sharing tool

You can implement the tool from google directly, but you have to know how to implement a code snippet: http://www.google.com/webmasters/+1/button/

WordPress Plugins for adding the Google +1 button

My personal favorite social sharing plugin is the AddThis Plugin and they just added support for the Google +1 button.

AddThis WordPress Plugin on strategycube com

Google +1 integrated into AddThis WordPress Plugin

AddThis WordPress Plugin Options

Google +1 in the AddThis WordPress Plugin admin


Some stand-alone WordPress plugins:


Known Issues

There is no support for the +1 button in Internet Explorer yet and I had some minor troubles viewing it in Firefox for Mac. It showed up fine in Chrome for Mac.

The Alumni Magazine at Marriott School at Brigham Young University recently published an excellent article on how to improve adoption of new products based on new research into consumer behavior with new products. You can download the article here.

American overconfidence vanishes once consumers try a new product, and it’s replaced with exaggerated self-doubt.

In a study published in the February 2011 issue of Journal of Consumer Research, Billeter reports something that he suspected all along: American overconfidence vanishes once consumers try a new product, and it’s replaced with exaggerated self-doubt. “The bottom line is that before people try a new product, they think that it will be easier than it is,” Billeter explains. “And after they’ve tried it once, they think they’re going to be worse than they actually will be.”

So how do you keep users from abandoning your new product before they get the benefits?

Four strategies to help companies improve product adoption rates:

Billeter recommended four strategies to help companies improve product adoption rates:
1. Design products to feel familiar,
2. Hire a guide for your demo,
3. Take advantage of technology and timing, and
4. Buy time with bundled pricing incentives.

These might sound a little fluffy but read the details of their points – they have some very good ideas many companies could copy.

I love a good 60 second screencast on a product

Related to their points 2 and 3, I think software products and web tools should all have very well made screencast videos that act like guides to walk consumers through getting past initial setup and usage confusion to the wins.  Even relatively simple products can benefit from one.

Here are some of my favorite product screencasts:

http://culturedcode.com/things/iphone/ and click on the video or http://culturedcode.com/things/screencast.html
http://skitch.com/features and click on the “Skitch in 60 seconds” video
http://www.marketcircle.com/billings/iphone/# and click watch video in the centre right (small icon)


Thank you for visiting www.strategycube.com, an innovation and strategy consulting firm in Burlington and Oakville.

The Situation:

The client, Traditional Life Sciences Inc., was looking to start an online business in the health and wellness space, targeted to Boomers. They wanted a starting-point e-commerce, content management and marketing system that could be managed by 2-4 people but that could handle sales of $5-10 million a year before it required a major overhaul. We were asked to recommend an overall technology strategy and then to submit a proposal for executing the work.

Our Strategy:

  1. Use an inexpensive open source CMS. We contemplated WordPress but eventually went with Joomla.
  2. Instead of building out all the desired functionality using custom code, we recommended “renting” the functionality by using SaaS applications (also called hosted or cloud applications).
  3. We used our Canadian designers to design the Joomla site but then we had it built by overseas coders to keep the cost down.

The Execution:

We call it a web ecosystem because calling it a website is a bit misleading (at least we think so). The ecosystem consists of:

  1. A Joomla front-end which manages all the pages, article and the merchandising of the products.  The products are managed through a powerful Joomla component called Virtue Mart which acts as the product database.
  2. Infusionsoft is the real power behind the system. Infusionsoft manages the email marketing and marketing automation, the CRM (user/customer database) and the e-commerce. All the actual transactions are processed through Infusionsoft and then sent electronically for order fulfillment. It also provides all the e-commerce sales and order reporting.
  3. Customer Hub is an Infusionsoft add-on that allows customers to do self service on their account like updating their credit card information and seeing their past orders.
  4. Get Satisfaction is the ultimate in web 2.0 community based support and it powers the support forum.
  5. Google Analytics gathers all the visitor and conversion data and allows the client to do detailed conversion and ROI analysis.

Most people working in e-commerce have figured out that building a nice site is just the beginning and that most of the effort actually needs to go into driving traffic to the site, getting visitors into some kind of marketing automation sequence and then testing different offers until they convert. Then you up-sell and cross-sell them, also using marketing automation sequences. So how do you do this with a staff of 2 or 3? If you try do it using Constant Contact or aWeber or any other stand alone email tool you’ll be importing and exporting data every day and spending your life trying to get it to interact with your shopping cart and your customer database. Infusionsoft is really the only application on the market that allows you to manage this kind of marketing automation engine and it’s built for small companies with limited online marketing resources. It’s CRM + email marketing + marketing automation + an e-commerce cart, all in one, all pre-connected and ready to roll.

Cost Savings:

The client mentioned that they had our functionality quoted by an agency that would have built them a custom solution. The quote was for more than triple what they invested using our approach.

Client Feedback:

Getting to the final product as specified, on time, and on budget should be “price of entry”, but in a fairly sophisticated integration like Zwell, cost overages and time creep is likely more often the rule than the exception. Jonathan and the Strategy Cube team hit the timeline, delivered against the budget (while still indicating where options and upgrades were possible), and delivered a result that exceeds our expectation.  Communication throughout was efficient and solid.  We are delighted with the result, and recommend Strategy Cube without reservation.

Rob Carscadden, President & CEO of Traditional Life Sciences Inc. and zwell.ca. June 29, 2010.

The site went live in June 2010. You can visit the site at www.zwell.ca


Thank you for visiting www.strategycube.com

Jonathan Burns is an online strategy consultant based in Burlington, ON but serving Oakville, Mississauga & Milton.  Jonathan is the only online strategy consultant in Oakville who is an ex Procter & Gamble Brand Manager – so he brings a unique combination of packaged goods brand strategy and in-the-trenches small-business online marketing know-how. Jonathan’s passion is helping small and mid-sized businesses grow through smart internet marketing including:

  • having a contemporary looking website managed by a Content Management System (CMS)
  • choosing your keywords very carefully based on keyword research and understanding organic search rankings
  • improving organic search rankings using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices including on-page and off-page SEO.
  • driving extra traffic using Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns on Google, Facebook or LinkedIn
  • using email marketing and marketing automation best practices to build a following that you can cultivate and sell to over time
  • harnessing social media. His favorite starting points:
    • A Facebook page
    • A twitter account
    • A social media management tool like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.

Jonathan can help you sort out the hype from the elements that really work, based on your unique business and target market.

Online Strategy Case Studies

Zwell.ca website and online marketing strategy including marketing automation, email marketing, video marketing, e-commerce.

Lifespring Clinic website and online marketing strategy

other examples of online strategy work can be found here.

Thank you for visiting www.strategycube.com