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Consider eBay as a Small Business Sales Channel

Marketing podcast with Lin Shearer (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes

I spent a significant amount of time with eBay sellers this year as I participated in a four city event called eBay OnLocation. One of the things that became abundantly clear during my interaction with eBay sellers is that the myth that eBay is just a bunch of folks selling stuff out of their attic is just that – a myth.

ebay prostoresWhile there certainly are people that look to eBay for selling the odd treasure, the focus of eBay of late has been on equipping the professional seller – including businesses that are turning to eBay as a new sales channel for their products and services.

One of the nicest services that eBay offers its sellers, that is also available to anyone wanting to start an ecommerce store, is ProStores.

For this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I interviewed Lin Shearer – Senior Marketing Manager of eBay ProStores.

ProStores is pretty much a turn-key store, with real time payments and tons of interactive functionality with the push of a button. Obviously, eBay data and product feeds integrate easily but, so does any product data or Excel file.

If you’re looking for an easy way to add ecommerce or looking for a way to get started with eBay as a sales channel, ProStores might be one of the best

Talking Money With inDinero

Marketing podcast with Jessica Mah (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes

Jessica MahFor this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I visited with Jessica Mah, the twenty something co-founder and chief architect of inDinero. inDinero is a software as a service for business accounting, although Mah more accurately describes it as a tool that helps business owners monitor the financial health of their companies. According to Mah, “Most small business owners hate the idea of learning accounting software, so we’ve created a solution that’s easy for anyone to use.”

Here’s how Mah tells the story of why she created inDinero.

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The Power of Sound

Marketing podcast with Fabeku Fatunmise (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes

soundMarketers know that the senses play a big role in how we are attracted and what we ultimately buy. But the impact of our sensory experience reaches much deeper than that.

For this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I’ve wandered a bit off the marketing path to interview Fabeku Fatunmise a Shaman, sacred sound healer and owner of Sankofa Song.

I know this kind of stuff can get a tad mystical for some folks, but entrepreneurs can benefit by focusing a great deal of attention on internal development as much as marketing development so every so often I dive into personal development themes.

I first encountered Fabeku when writing my most recent book The Referral Engine. A reader responded to my call for examples of companies that provide little special touches in their service. I shared my reader’s story about her experience with Sankofa Song and eventually that led to this interview.

In this podcast we talk about the impact of sound and specifically music on the way we work. I know I have playlists based on what I’m doing at the time and experience the impact of music in ways that I probably don’t fully understand.

Sound healing centers on helping people get focused, connected and unstuck. To me that’s a pretty good recipe for what it takes to find and do work that resonates.

Explore and have fun!

Here’s a sound sample for your listening pleasure – Blue Morpho make sure to use head phones

Creating a Boutique Business

Marketing podcast with Sarah Petty (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes

Sarah PettyThe term boutique is often associated with fashion or beauty related businesses, but it’s a concept that can apply to any business. Case in point is this week’s guest on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, Sarah Petty, who by her own designation, owns and operates a “boutique” photography business called Sarah Petty Photography.

Her belief in the boutique way led her to launch a separate business, The Joy of Marketing, to teach other small business owners how to create a boutique brand.

In some ways it’s easy think about a boutique business as just another way to brand, but it’s much deeper in some ways. It’s a strategic decision that starts with a specific product and service mix and includes a very alert filter for every business, hiring, and communications message.

A boutique business is often built on creative brand flourishes, premium pricing and over the top customer service.

Petty offers a free eBook titled The Boutique Experience, a business model not a gift shop. This is a great read for any business concerned with building a stronger brand.

I also conducted a video interview with Petty for the COLOURLovers blog.

How To Increase Landing Page Conversion

Marketing podcast with Rick Perreault and Oli Gardner of Unbounce (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes

Landing pages, those web pages you create and use to entice visitors to take a single action, have come a long way in terms of functionality and use. Internet Marketers have used them for years and with the introduction of services and practices dedicated to the use of these tools every small business can benefit from using highly optimized landing pages. I’ve been on a bit of rant about this topic so see the related posts below for more.

landing page

For this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I spoke with the CEO and Director of Inbound Marketing for a landing page optimization firm Unbounce.

In this episode we talk about how and when to use landing pages and the most important elements to consider when creating and testing your landing pages. I can’t say enough about the need to use a tool like unbounce or Google Website Optimizer to do routine testing of your pages.

It’s amazing how often I find that some little seemingly insignificant tweak can make all the difference in the world in terms of conversion.

If you’re not testing video and audio on your landing pages and thank you pages you may be missing the boat as well. But, video and audio messages can have a negative impact if not done authentically, so again, test and test!

Unbounce provides some great information about landing page design courtesey of a blog written by Gardner – Here are a couple of my favorite posts – 7 Elements of a Winning Landing Page and The 12-Step Landing Page Rehab Program – the topic that covers the infographic in this post.

Sprouter Is Growing Start-up Business Connections

Marketing podcast with Sarah Prevette (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes

Sarah PrevetteMy guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Sarah Prevette, the CEO and Founder of Sprouter and professional collaboration community for start-ups and entrepreneurs. Like so many successful ventures Sprouter was created to address a frustration that the founder had, in this case it was trying to create a community surrounding her existing business.

Sprouter got its start by being called “Twitter for business people,” but as Twitter has become much more business friendly, Sprouter has benefited more from Twitter and other social network integration than by replacement.

The primary vibe of Sprouter is the notion of helping each other. Entrepreneurs find and give advice and answer the question, in 140 characters or less, what are you working on. As the community grows Sprouter is taking a geographic in an attempt to build local community in strong entrepreneurial towns. Sprouter has started bringing local groups together in event called Sproutups and links them with other Sprouters.

Sprouter’s value proposition in one of connection and making it easy for entrepreneurs help each other and give visibility to start-ups. Check out the Sprouter Weekly newsletter and connect with a community manager to learn how to find people that make sense for you to connect your start-up with.

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Fairfield Inn & Suites Small Business Road-to-Success Challenge

How Evernote Is Changing the Free Model

Marketing podcast with Phil Libin (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes

evernoteFor this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I had the chance to visit with Evernote CEO Phil Libin.

Evernote is a simple service that allows you to track and store everything you want to remember and get it out of your “meat brain” and housed somewhere safe and trustworthy. About 9,000 people a day are joining the free version of this service that also syncs incredibly well with iPads and mobile devices. (GTD fans, funny David Allen story here)

One of the reasons I wanted to record this show is that on top of being a user of the service, I’m taken by the fact that Evernote has also figured out how to get serious numbers of users to upgrade from the free to the premium version. The traditional freemium thinking is that you get lots of users and figure out how to turn them into paying customers.

While the web 2.0 landscape is littered with lots of bad freemium ideas, Evernote is turning users into fanatics and fanatics into profit. So, how do they do that?

According to Libin, “focusing on the free part is where people make the mistake. Evernote focuses instead on how many people are paying and how much it costs to get them. That’s the approach all businesses need to take. Freemium doesn’t change that approach, it just changes the math.”

To get a million people paying you just need to get ten million people using it. The free users are just part of the cost.

While this explains, to some extent, why Evernote is profitable, it doesn’t capture the other part – why people would pay for it. In my view, Evernote has done a couple things that people find attractive and worthy of commitment. They’ve created something that works and is simple – simple to use, to explain, to adopt. And, they’ve captured trust – repeatedly stating that your memories are safe. Evernote is adamant that they have no data deals in the works, just put your stuff here and don’t worry about any funny stuff or privacy issues. Those two items are central to what gets people to want to pull out their wallet and pay for the premium version – there’s actually an element of support as well as value.

Too many freemium offers start off with an offering that’s not worth paying for, assuming lots will jump on board simply because it’s free.

I’m working on my next book and using Evernote as a significant bridge to all the information I need to explore and save for this project.

So, tell me your Evernote story, how are you using it?

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Fairfield Inn & Suites Small Business Road-to-Success Challenge

Color As Branding Element

Marketing podcast with Kate Smith (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes

orangeColor has built in meaning and symbolism and can be a strong element of your brand when used strategically.

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast I visit with Kate Smith Color Expert, Career Color Trend Forecaster, and Editor of Sensational Color, a site featuring a wealth of information on the subject of color.

In this episode we talk about the various meanings of color such as red, green, and blue, and how the physiological impact and messages certain colors contain can play out in your business. Kate also reveals her 5 steps for using color in business.

Another great resource for all things related to color is ColourLovers.

In this podcast:
Why Color has Meaning
Common Color Associations
Five Steps for Color and Your Business
Companies that use Color Well
Color Combination and Your Message

Image credit: quinn.anya