iNvision Studios: Web+ Marketing

Facebook Eases Up on Timeline Cover Restrictions?

Posted by Sherm Stevens

Remember when the Facebook timeline appeared last year? We were not supposed to promote with that new Cover image. Now, that's all changed, according to

Now, you can use up to 20% of the image area for promotion. Here's a great example from Mari Smith's timeline:

Mari Smith takes advantage of Facebook's new Timeline cover rules.

Mari Smith takes advantage of Facebook's new Timeline cover rules.


Mari Smith takes advantage of Facebook's new Timeline cover rules.Mari Smith has maximized her 20% in a great way.She uses the space to:

  • Promote her social media survey in exchange for a free Facebook marketing report.
  • Draw attention to her like button to increase fans.
  • Tell people how they can get all of her latest updates by selecting the Get Notifications option.

For those of us marketing our clients' businesses on Facebook, this comes as a welcome relief.

Read the entire article here.


Google+ Sign In is Coming

Posted by Sherm Stevens


From SiteProNews:

Google recently announced its new Google+ Sign-In platform during the Google Developers Live stream. I’m all for minimal user names and passwords so I think this single sign on might be a big Google+ win, but only if it can compete with the existing Facebook and Twitter sign-in platforms.

Not only does the new sign-in system provide ease of use for site and app users, it also has huge potential to facilitate consumer interaction, expand online communities and increase mobile app downloads for businesses and web developers.

The Google+ Sign-In feature is represented by a shiny red “Sign in with Google” button. Supported on the web as well as Android and iOS devices, the feature will allow users to sign into websites and mobile apps using their Google accounts rather than having to create a new user name and password.

If you're a fan of the Facebook & Twitter logins available around the 'web, you will like this. Unfortunately, it's only going to be on a select group of Google partner sites for now, including The Guardian, USA Today, Flixster and Tune In Radio, among others.

Sounds like it's going to be a bit more robust than the empty Facebook share box:

Once a user has logged onto your website or mobile app through Google, interactive sharing allows them to share information from your site with their friends, family and professional connections via their Google+ circles. This is where the Google+ sign-in offers a bit more interactivity than Facebook’s sole “share” button: Developers will be able to choose from over 100 verbs to represent a call-to-action like “buy,” “listen,” “vote,” or “review.”

Interactive sharing will also allow developers to customize the text in a user’s post. Unlike the empty Facebook “share” box users are accustomed to, the Google+ posts will help businesses and marketers start the user’s dialog. This pre-fill text will appear as a default entry for the user. Users can then share as-is, modify the message or erase and add their own text.

What do you think? Is this a big deal or a yawn?


Medical Marketing: Using Video SEO To Steal Clicks, Localize Results and Increase Conversion Rate

Posted by Sherm Stevens

John Henry Scherck is an SEO associate at SEER Interactive’s Philadelphia offices recently penned a story about how difficult lead gen is for the medical field, especially with competition from the big players like WebMD and Mayo Clinic. Their clever strategy to level the playing field with those 800-pound gorilla sites? Rich snippets using video.

According to Wikipedia:

"On May 12, 2009, Google announced that they would be parsing the hCard, hReview, and hProduct microformats and using them to populate search result pages with what they called 'Rich Snippets'. Rich Snippet displays additional data from other pages about the resources being displayed in the search result. In order to work, webmasters must incorporate open standards such as microdata, microformats or RDFa in their web pages. Google does not guarantee that the use of these open standards will result in rich snippets, but webmasters have the option to contact Google for its inclusion."

Rich snippets, in essence, are a little clue of data within a website that is specifically formatted for search engines, featuring details like an article's author and other attributes that give credibility to the article. Rich snippets are used to nest semantics within existing content on web page. It requires the data be specifically formatting (in a type of XML code) so the search engines can index it.

How do you benefit from using Microformats or Rich Snippets? In the results of a web search. Have you noticed those little author avatars that appear from time to time in the SERPs? Those are rich snippets. Heatmaps of SERPs show that viewers eyes are drawn to those images. Here's an example:

Example of rich snippets, or microdata data appearing in Google search results.

Example of rich snippets, or microdata appearing in Google search results.

In addition to the author avatar, most YouTube videos when formatted correctly display a thumbnail, thusly:

Example of a video snippet appearing in Google search results.

Example of a video snippet appearing in Google search results. Highly effective way to catch a viewer's eye.

Can you see the potential here? At least for the forseeable future, using Rich Snippets in a website will result in more clicks, even if the link isn't appearing first in the results. Of course, you still have to get the link to page one, but using Rich Snippets will assist in that as well.
Read the full story on the techniques employed by Body Logic here.

And of course, if you'd like to get these same type of results, you know who to call.


Facebook Tops 1 Billion Users. Are you ready to market social media NOW?

Posted by Sherm Stevens


In numbers too big too ignore, Facebook announced that at the end of 2012, they had 1.06 Billion monthly active users.
They also report 680 million mobile users, more than 42 million pages and 9 million apps.

Facebook isn't just for kiddies anymore, folks. As a matter of fact, my teenage daughter doesn't use FB that much anymore, because it's been "invaded by old people." She's migrated on to Instagram.

Social media is now an integral part of web marketing, particularly for local businesses. Here are some other interesting stats:

  • Google+: 343 million active users
  • LinkedIn: 200 million users
  • Twitter: 500 million total users, more than 200 million active users
  • Youtube: 800 million users, 4 billion views per day
  • Instagram: 90 million registered users, 4 billion photos
Is that enough to convince you? No matter your market, social media must play a part of your marketing mix.




The Power of Branding Videos

Posted by Sherm Stevens

We just finished producing another branding video for the folks at Pickerington-Eastland Heating & Cooling, this one for their Whitehall Ohio service area. Go take a look and let us know what you think!

Whitehall Ohio | Furnace & heating repair in Whitehall Ohio


Mobile Advertising Via Social Media to ‘Explode’ This Year

Posted by Sherm Stevens

Facebook ads cost rose 54% in Q3 2011

Props to MobileMarketingWatch:

According to Efficient Frontier, a leading performance marketing firm, spend in social media advertising is now additive to existing budgets rather than subtracting from other digital media channels, demonstrating the growing investment in the medium.

Brands continued to acquire Facebook fans at 9% per month. Facebook spend share reached 2.7% of biddable online advertising spend in Q4 2011 and is expected to increase fan base by 2x by the end of 2012.

The research from Efficient Frontier shows that search spend increased significantly in Q4 of 2011, bolstered by aggressive spending by retailers. Overall, search spend grew 14% Year over Year in the United States.


I literally heard this same information from two different sources within a few minutes today. MOBILE ADVERTISING on Facebook is set to be released in March 2012. Don't be left out in the cold.


LinkedIn Bootcamp: How to REALLY Use Linkedin

Posted by Sherm Stevens

Did you know LinkedIn has over 135 million members worldwise? That 77% of LinkedIn users are age 25 or older? And the average household income of LinkedIn users is $109,000?

Clearly, LinkedIn is a network full of people who love to network, the movers and shakers of their industries. If you’re a SMB, these are the people you want to know about your business.

As you know, Facebook and Twitter are powerful tools but LinkedIn users are known to be especially serious about their jobs, industry and social network. If you plan to market yourself on LinkedIn, you have to change your mindset. This mini-bootcamp will whip you into shape for LinkedIn marketing.


Infographic: 5 Questions (and answers) about Facebook Marketing

Posted by Sherm Stevens

Hubspot's Dan Zarrella offers this great infographic about the right time to post on Facebook.

Best tidbits: articles posted at 8am and posted on weekends are shared the most, and posting every other day is just about right.

5 Questions (and answers) About Facebook Marketing

Five Tips for Success at a Live Networking Event

Posted by Sherm Stevens

Five Tips for Success at a Live Networking Event

I just read a post at one of my favorite business blogs Biznik, Five Mistakes Preventing You From Standing Out at Networking Events. Good stuff, but I'm a glass half full kinda guy, so I'm turning this around and calling it Five Steps for Success at a Live Networking Event.

Do you wonder how to get great results from all your business networking events? I'm talking about live events where you interface with active carbon life forms, not just bits and bytes; where you actually have live, face-to-face, honest to goodness conversations. I've gone to these kinds of events for years, and find them to be a great way to build a local sphere of influence.

Like so many other small business people, I use a variety of methods to market my business and build my network, most of them virtual, many of them social.

One particular method I enjoy is meet and greet networking events like The Success Group Business Network here in Columbus, Ohio. Jayson Waits has done a fantastic job of building a group of over 1,500, with regular attendance at his free events approaching 200. The Success Group always has captivating presenters, usually with a small business angle to their presentation. The October presenter was Mark Ballard, co-founder of Sugardaddy's Sumptuous Sweeties, who shared his startup story and business philosophy.

These events are always an opportunity to meet potential new clients, develop referral sources, or make new friends. Done right, you can make the most of your time and money when visiting such an event.

1. Tune Your Radio to 'Wii-FM'

I learned about this "radio station" from a motivational book a few years ago. "What's in it for me?" from the prospect's perspective, is the number one question you need to ask when doing any marketing. Here's how this works: you're at a chamber of commerce after hours, and you approach an enticing prospect, and start blabbering about all the great services and talking their ear off with your elevator pitch, blah, blah, blah.


The other guy certainly doesn't care about you. I don't mean that in a callous way, but let's be realistic. The other guy is there for the same reason as you: to pick up new clients. He only wants to find out about you to 'pre-qualify' you for his life insurance pitch.

Let me ask you, at any given time, who is the most important person in the world? Of course, we all think WE are. The way to a prospect's heart (and business) is to make them feel like they are the most important person in the world at that moment. By tuning into what the client wants, you can help them feel that way.

2. God Gave You Two Ears and One Mouth. Use Them Proportionately

I've encountered this cliché many times in various sales programs. It probably originated with master sales trainer Tom Hopkins. Usually, chichés have some basis of truth to them, or they wouldn't be so darn common.

Of course it's true. Your mother said it over and over. Shut up, and listen.

I remember a story about a successful life insurance salesman from many years ago. This fellow would only make one appointment per day, to meet a potential customer for breakfast.

He would order a huge stack of pancakes, make small talk until the food was delivered by the waitress, then load them up with butter and syrup. He would then proceed to cut them up, all the while the prospect would watch in quiet fascination at the little ritual that was taking place before him.

Before he took his first bite, he would ask the prospect, "tell me about yourself," then cram a large bite into his mouth and begin to silently chew. People hate uncomfortable silence, and they usually love to talk about themselves, so they would proceed to reveal every intimate detail of their life. To a life insurance salesman. By the time he was done with his stack of pancakes, the prospect would feel like his best friend. Plus, the salesman had plenty of ammunition and questions he could pose to the prospect and make the insurance sale. While he was eating and the prospect was talking, he was absorbing it all, then would formulate the perfect life insurance policy for the prospect.

Get people talking about themselves, then shut up and listen. Really listen. Don't think about your next question or response, just shut up and listen. People will think you're a brilliant conversationalist.

3. Work the Room Like a Dog

Work the room like a dogI went to a sales seminar many years ago, held in the large ballroom of a five star hotel. When the star presenter appeared, she walked in with her two dogs (I seem to remember they were yellow labs) and unleashed them upon the crowd.

Of course, if you're a dog lover like me, you probably know what happened. Dogs (especially labrador retrievers) are social creatures.

They love other creatures.

They love to meet people.

They love to sniff people.

They love to lick people.

These two dogs were masters at working the crowd, moving enthusiastically from table to table, with their tails always wagging, approaching each new person they met like they were their favorite person in the world. They didn't want anything from anybody, they just wanted to meet as many people as they could. (Okay, they did respond to the head pats and ear scratches, but who wouldn't?)

There's a lesson in this, folks. In case it was too subtle for you, here it is again:
Meet as many people as you possibly can, greet them like an old friend, and make them feel like they are your favorite person in the whole wide world.

4. Meet & Greet 101

Okay, you've approached a prospect, you've exchanged pleasantries, and you're ready to lower the boom by shoving your business card into her hand and launching into your elevator speech you've been practicing in front of the mirror for a week.


Put the card back into your pocket, and roll your tongue back in. Put that elevator pitch on ice for just a little longer.

Chances are, you're both wearing name tags. If not, the event organizer didn't do his job. Be sure to put your first name in large letters on the tag, then add your company or business name in smaller print below it. Introduce yourself, "Hi, Sherm. Sherm Stevens. Nice to meet you, Nicole. You're from Allied Insurance?" After that, see #2 above.

After Nicole is finished making her elevator pitch, build on the conversation for awhile. Try to find common ground. In Columbus, everyone is a Buckeyes fan, so that's usually a great conversation starter. You'll be able to tell by whether or not they're wearing Ohio State clothes. Scarlet and Grey are so common here.

So chances are you could talk about a sports team, especially if they've been making headlines (Penn State fans, please disregard this. I would avoid that subject at all cost. Seriously). Build rapport by asking questions. Try to be more original than "how about them Buckeyes?" Questions are a great way to get someone tuned into Wii-FM and talking about themselves.

Once you've established rapport, ask them for their business card. Say something like, "I know a lot of people in XYZ industry, maybe I could shoot some referrals your way?" Of course, don't say that unless you mean it. Be genuinely interested in helping them. Usually, they will gladly hand over their card, only then do you respond with yours.

And take a tip from the Japanese business community. Exchanging business cards is a ritual (we have a large community of Japanese business visitors in Columbus, with the Honda plant in nearby Marysville). They make a big deal over a card. They don't just jam it into their pocket right away. They pore over every letter, every square millimeter of the card, then make a comment on it ("great logo" or "very nice print job on the cards. Who did them for you?"), praise it. Then, and only then, should you stash the card away. (TIP: put the cards in a safe place so you can easily retrieve them for step #5).

Also, try to take a mental picture of what the person looks like, and associate it with their name by frequently using their name during the conversation. Great way to remember people.

5. Mind Your Manners

As soon as possible after the event is over, go directly to your work place and hand write and address a thank you card to each person you met at the event. Make it simple.

"Mike, thanks for taking the time to chat with me at the chamber after hours last night. Really enjoyed speaking with you. Cordially, Sherm"

Don't destroy the moment by including anything about business. Make this just about thanking them. Period.

Include a single business card, seal it and mail it so they get it as quickly as possible.

I usually buy the inexpensive packs of Hallmark Thank You notes from a local stationery store. I run though quite a bit of these, and they're available just about anywhere (Wal-Mart, Kmart, Kroger, Staples, OfficeMax, etc.). They very inexpensive, but the results are priceless.

Really, in this digital age, who sends written notes by mail any more? NOBODY. You want to be remembered? Do this religiously for everyone you meet, whether in a business or social setting. Trust me, you'll be remembered.

About a week after I attended one of the Success Group events mentioned above, I was in line at Wal-Mart and someone yelled out my name. "Sherm! Hey how you doin'?" About four aisles away, I see a gentleman I had met at the last event. He knew me by sight, remembered my name, and remembered that little act of social graciousness I had committed. I haven't gotten any business directly from him, but he's out there actively proselytizing my name and reputation, without ever having done any business with me.

I've planted the seed, now it's time to let it grow.

The key step in this whole process is #5. It's only effective as a network builder if you've made personal contact and had a conversation with someone. If nothing else, it's a great ego boost to have someone remember your name.

As a aside, you can do the thank you note for everyone you meet in business, as long as you take the time to get their contact information.

Use these Five Tips consistently at future live networking events and you'll find your sphere of influence growing by leaps and bounds.


Free Webinar Series with Mari Smith: The New Relationship Marketing

Posted by Sherm Stevens

When you purchase a copy of the new book The New Relationship Marketing by Facebook guru Mari Smith, you may enroll for a 4-part webinar series with her. (*OK, so the first webinar already passed, but it's still worthwhile. Mari is THE go-to gal when it comes to Facebook & social media marketing).

Here’s how it works:

STEP 1: Purchase a copy of The New Relationship Marketing from any store or any online source. (Hint: use this affiliate link: The New Relationship Marketing -- if you like this blog) Hard copy, Kindle, or Nook versions all count for your free webinar ticket! Most popular sources for the book are and

STEP 2: Once you’ve ordered your book, just visit this page to fill out your name and email address and your seat will be saved for the FREE four-part online workshop series.

That’s it! No need to fax, scan, upload, email, or snail mail your proof of purchase. This is the honor system. I trust that you’ll get a copy of the book and I look forward to meeting you on the webinars!

Webinar Series Details:

How To Build A Large, Loyal, and Profitable Network Using The Social Web

In her new book, social marketing thought leader Mari Smith outlines a proven nine-step program for building a sizable, loyal network comprised of quality relationships that garner leads, publicity, sales, and more. The pressure is on to shift your approach to using social media marketing, to better understand the new soft skills required for success on the social web, and to improve your own leadership skills through emotional and social intelligence. Mari will share proven tactics to develop and hone a solid marketing skill set for the digital age.

In this information-packed online workshop series, you’ll learn:

  • The new business skills that everyone needs for success and steps to begin implementing today.
  • The common fears that prevent business owners from fully integrating relationship marketing and how to overcome those fears.
  • The unspoken rules of online etiquette–the common turnoffs that drive customers away.
  • How to become a significant “center of influence” for your customers and prospects.
  • Secrets to giving your customers the complete “WOW Factor” that makes them come back for more.
  • How to turn all those friends, fans, followers, and subscribers into profits!
  • The unique cultures of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ and how to adapt your approach to each platform.
  • Exactly what to automate and delegate to build your social media presence, yet still retain that unique, personal touch.
  • How to master social media marketing and get real results, without it becoming all-consuming or a waste of time.
  • Proven ways to blend your online marketing with offline marketing to really make your business stand out.
  • And much, much more!

Save the dates! [Note: due to the holidays, we have moved parts 2-4 to January 2012]

  • Part 1: Wednesday, November 30th, 2011*
  • Part 2: Monday, January 23rd, 2012
  • Part 3: Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
  • Part 4: Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Time: All sessions will be held at 11:00 am PT / 2:00 pm ET / 7:00pm UK time
Duration: Each session will run for sixty minutes each, including time for Q&A.