Showing posts from August, 2013

7 Hero Stories Every Website Should Share

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

What kind of hero story does your website tell?

Sharing Hero Stories
Stories are the key to engagement and conversion online. Marketing is, has and will always been about stories. The stories we tell ourselves, believe and tell others form the core of human aspiration and marketing is nothing if not aspirational.

In Hero With A Thousand Face American mythologist Joseph Campbell explains that every culture is built on stories, stories with more in common than many realize. The "hero's journey" is at the core of many myths, legends and popular movies.

Websites tell "hero stories" too. Here are 7 types of hero stories websites tell:

7 Kinds of Hero Stories Told Online

Like Us.
Heroes Together.

Examples (with links) of each hero story: Hero Story Examples


Submit Your Hero Story Examples: Hero Story Search

(will eventually put a contest on this link)


Oakland County workshops help new businesses get started

The Oakland County Business Center offers monthly workshops for business owners and entrepreneurs. The center also offers Walk In — Start-Up Thursdays Free Business Counseling every Thursday.
The hours are 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Sessions will be limited to 15 minutes and are available on a first come, first-served basis.
The weekly business counseling and the following events are held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford Township.
For registration, visit or call 248-858-0783.

CEED (C.E.E.D. is Center for Empowerment and Economic Development) Microloan Orientation is 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11. This free workshop covers the requirements and process to apply and obtain a microloan.

Women's Business Enterprise (WBE) Certification Orientation is 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18. The cost is $25 per person. The workshop covers the benefits and process of bec…

Podcast: Cancer-preneurs, Courage Cocktails & A New Cancer Research Revolution

Listen To Martin's  & Drew's Courage Cocktail Interview with Lee Anne McClymont

Who has better "radio voice"?

Martin's Ride & Cancer-preneurs
Great and fun interview today with my brother Drew and host of Courage Cocktail Lee Anne McClymont. First part of the interview is embarrassing stories from Martin's Ride To Cure Cancer (summer of 2010). Can't ride a bicycle across America and not have plenty of embarrassing stories.

Martin's Ride Highlights & Time Cods

1:43 My Cancer Journey Begins

2:35 Dr. van Deventer at UNC Lineberger agrees to treat me for Martin's Ride, bicycle ride across America.

3:35 Recovering the Martin's Ride dream after being diagnosed with leukemia.

3:50 Director of Ecommerce - love of all things Internet marketing and the web.

4:41 Making millions in e-commerce.

5:35 Cancer-preneur.

6:38 Finding power over your life again.

7:00 You are NOT your diagnosis.

8:35 Crowdfunding cancer research via and with…

Nine Metrics Useful for Measuring Ecommerce Success

In an article recently published on Mashable’s website, several successful ecommerce entrepreneurs were asked what data they rely on to develop and monitor strategies. The following is a list of the nine metrics these entrepreneurs deemed most valuable along with a brief summary of why.

1. User Acquisition Costs
This metric can be used to determine the success rate of your PPC campaigns. How much does it cost you each time a user lands on a web page in relation to conversions?

2. Abandoned Carts
Monitor this metric to ask customers who bailed on their shopping carts why they did not proceed through to checkout. Was it something with the checkout process itself? Were shipping costs too high? There are a number of reasons why shopping carts are abandoned. This is a good metric to watch in order to gain insight on possible improvements that could lead to a higher conversion rate.

3. Google Analytics Experiments
This is a tool accessible from your Google Analytics account. It can be used for sp…

Free mercury collection program for Michigan businesses and residents

The Environmental Quality Company (EQ) has partnered with The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Mercury Collection Project. This is an on-going effort to collect and properly recycle mercury. Small and large business operations have traditionally been overlooked during mercury collection events. The project’s objective is to address this issue and promote a long-term solution for easily collecting and recycling of mercury. The program is free to anyone located in Michigan – residents included. 
 Upon request, EQ will send a free collection bucket with a shipping box via common carrier.  Each bucket will contain return instructions. Most mercury items can be returned through this mail-back program. Some examples are: thermometers, thermostats, gauges with silver colored liquid inside, dental amalgam, hydrometers, etc. The program ends Sept. 30. Call 734-547-2517 or e-mail to order free collec…

Content Marketing's Four Horsemen

Diversified Content Marketing
No one cared when I preached, "Content marketing" in 2003. Now everyone is creating "inbound marketing". Some good things happen when everyone does something online. Overall quality of whatever the group marketing is doing tends to go up. One very big bad thing happens too. Chances for your content to shine are reduced by the noise of success. This post is about how to fortify your content marketing with the four horsemen:

Four Horsemen of Content Marketing
* Content creation.

* Content curation.

* User Generated Content (UGC) engine.

* Ecommerce.

Content Marketing Horseman #1: Create Daily
When you don't know what you don't know create a lot of content every day, but always have "narrowing the funnel" as your goal. Narrowing the funnel is when you can safely reduce your traffic net because you know what content brings converting traffic.

The key is connecting the top of your content marketing funnel (traffic generation) to t…

Updated Customer Web Stores from Azox

The team at Azox has been busy updating current customer sites to the latest version of eSource, which is our ecommerce software. The latest completed update was for Dr. Hauschka. The Dr. Hauschka web store sells natural skin care products and makeup.

Dr. Hauschka’s new website runs on eSource 3.4. The company also chose to add one page and guest checkout. This feature helps provide a better user experience in several ways. With the checkout process, users want to complete their transactions quickly and easily. By offering one page/guest checkout, users are able to make purchases without creating an account. Further, all the information required for the purchase can be entered on one screen. The upgraded web store can be viewed here.

Another one of our customers, Recreation Supply Company, has chosen to upgrade to eSource 3.4. This company sells swimming pool supplies on their ecommerce website. The upgraded version of their web store also includes one page/guest checkout in addition to…

5 Genius Marketing Ideas For The Holidays

I'm lucky to have REALLY smart friends. Here are five ideas a recent survey of some of the smartest turned up in anser to the question, "What cool stuff are you doing this holidays?" Names and identities are being withheld until 1.1.2014 as promised :). M

Idea 1: Mobile Games
As a recent Forbes article noted mobile games are ROCKING. Digital games are expected to hit $1.1B growing 54%. Not suggested your ecommerce or B2B website goes into the digital game business, but finding a way to be FUN and MOBILE this holiday is a "genius idea". Tips to keep in mind as you make a digital game out of shopping or forming a relationship with your website:

Mobile Game Tips

Keep mobile games simple. 
Develop games that play OVER TIME. 
Don't forget the leaderboard. 
Curate "winners" so everyone learns. 
Align your game with core brand values (see Stengel's Brand Ideals).

Idea 2: Disrupt Convention
This holiday season don't do the usual thing in the expected way. I…

Local entrepreneurs enter their products in Walmart's annual GetontheShelf contest

Jim and Carol Owens of Waterford have entered their Cat-Door in Walmart’s “GetOnTheShelf,” contest and Gary Jensen has entered his Krazy Grease in the contest.
Cat-Door is an easy-to-install cat-sized door that can be installed in a basement, laundry room, or spare closet door, to hide a cat's litter box behind a closed interior door. With the door closed, the cat will still be able to get in and out. Large dogs and toddlers will not.
The cat door also contains a removable brush in the arch-frame that grooms the cat. The frame is made of durable ABS plastic with a matte-white finish.
The couple’s granddaughter, Meghan, handles sales for the product.
All components of the product are made in the United States. The frames are made by a family-owned company in Lapeer. To vote for Cat-Door, visit or on the Facebook page CAT-DOOR or at

Gary Jensen, owner of Cutting Edge Lubricants Inc., of Port Hu…

New SEO - The Catalog Challenge

Vestique Women's Apparel Store & New SEO
Had lunch on Friday with Heather King. Heather is a talented online ecommerce merchant helping the equally talented founders of Vestique, a successful women's apparel retailer in Raleigh, Charlotte and Greenville North Carolina, move from bricks to clicks. Vestique, like many catalog or brick and mortar retailers, faces unique challenges after Google's Panda and Penguin algorithm updates including:

Pages not supported by social shares don't get much New SEO traction. 
Social Shares hard to get because inventory moves so fast and unpredictably. 
Inventory uncertainty hampers inbound link building.
Uniting inventory, website and Point of Sale (POS) systems is a challenge. 
Time crunch for founders and shoppers. 

Here is Vestique's Internet marketing data:

Bricks, Clicks and New SEO

This post is about sharing ideas to help Vestique and other online merchants harness the power of our "new SEO". This "new SEO" is c…

Troy Restaurant Week is Aug. 18-23

Nineteen of Troy’s restaurants will welcome diners to the 8th edition of Troy Restaurant Week, Sunday to Friday, Aug. 18- 23. The six-day dining celebration, sponsored by the Troy Chamber of Commerce, will feature special menus for each establishment, posted under the Restaurants tab at “This summer, Troy Restaurant Week fans will find a few new places on the list as well as many of the dining favorites they have enjoyed previously,” explained Troy Chamber Event Director Jaimi Brook. “Each restaurant will showcase special dishes on Troy Restaurant Week menus.”
The list of restaurants includes: Bahama Breeze—NEW Brio Tuscan Grille Granite City Food & Brewery Kona Grill Kruse & Muer on Wilshire Loccino Italian Grill & Bar McCormick & Schmick's Seafood & Steaks Mon Jin Lau Morton's The Steakhouse Muses Greek Cuisine & Spirits—NEW Ocean Prime Papa Vino's Italian Kitchen—NEW Picano's Ruth's Chris Steak House Shield's Resta…

August Webinars Hosted by Azox

Each month Azox hosts three webinars. Each highlights a different solution offered by Azox. These include ecommerce, payment processing and online bill pay, all of which are built on Microsoft Dynamics GP. These webinars are free to attend, all you need to do is follow the link to register.

Integrated Ecommerce for Microsoft Dynamics GP
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
1:00 – 1:30 p.m. EST

Grow your business online with a web store that integrates with your Microsoft Dynamics GP back office solution. This includes the ability to offer customers real time inventory and pricing updates, shipping calculation from UPS, USPS, FedEx and Purolator, one-page guest checkout, advanced search capabilities including the ability to deeply refine results and much more. Signup for this webinar and learn more about the Azox ecommerce solution for Dynamics GP.

Secure Credit Card Processing in Microsoft Dynamics GP
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
1:00 – 1:30 p.m. EST

Get the most out of your Microsoft Dynamics GP investmen…

Postal Service improves Priority Mail for eCommerce shipping

WASHINGTON — The United States Postal Service has launched changes to its Priority Mail line-up,  including free insurance, improved USPS Tracking and day-specific delivery which are expected to generate more than a half a billion dollars in new revenue over the next year.

While it won't match the rate of loss for the USPS, it's at least a step in the right direction. According the New York Times, the 3rd quarter loss was $740 million and the previous quarter loss was $1.9 billion. “This major upgrade of our Priority Mail products is one of the most dramatic new offerings from the Postal Service that meets the strong marketplace demand for core shipping features at affordable pricing,” said Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer. “We believe this Priority Mail line-up positions the Postal Service very competitively in the shipping marketplace and gives small b…

Why Haiku Deck ROCKS

Best Visual Thinking Tool
Internet marketers are a strange group. We lucky few Internet marketers must harness power from both sides of our brain. We need the right brain's creativity to be equally matched by the left brain's engineering and analytics. The problem with most tools created to assist Internet marketers is they are developed by engineers.

Engineers are GREAT people, but they tend to be hyper LEFT BRAINERS. Most of my almost 15 year Internet marketing career has been spent learning a series of counter intuitive tools. I say "counter intuitive' because for visual thinkers (as most Internet marketers are) learning to use a Google Analytics, your average Content Management System (CMS) or other support tools means learning THEIR way of thinking.

Learning THEIR way of thinking can mean suspending ours. The net effect of using a "counter intuitive" tool is marketers must translate between how we THINK and what we are DOING. This "translation" …

Business trend: Focusing on employee and family well-being

Submitted by Ginny Grimsley,National Print Campaign Manager,News and Experts
Wesley Chapel, FL,

When a successful formula is discovered in the business world, it’s copied and becomes part of standard operating procedure throughout entire industries.
The newest SOP trend among leading businesses? – Focusing on employee and family well-being, said Gary Kunath, who was honored nationally as Businessman of the Year and recognized with a dinner hosted by the President of the United States.
“Many think that professional well-being drives personal well-being, but it’s the exact opposite,” says Kunath, a speaker at top business schools and businesses including Lockheed and Marriott, and author of “Life...Don't Miss It. I Almost Did: How I Learned To Live Life to Its Fullest,” (
“The top companies know focusing on employee well-being is critical and serves as the conduit to increasing innovation, emotional loyalty, natural producti…

Basquiat's Banana - How To Get Great Visual Content

Content Marketing Needs Great Visuals

This amazing and very atypical painting by the artist Jean Michel Basquiat is a great example of every web site's limitless need for original visual content. The content marketing tsunami is in full force. Recent surveys by the Content Marketing Institute and Internet marketing guru Brian Solis show 90% of B2B marketers doubling down on their content marketing.

Think you can make any money doing things online when and how everyone else is doing them? NO would be the answer to that question. Let's say you are riffing great 500 word blog posts daily. You want to get your thoughts in front of people who can help spread your message.

Advocacy is the only advertising left. The old "word-of-mouth" or WOM a misnomer. Social nets inject jet fuel into WOM. Google and other search engines have been water-boarded into accepting "social signals" as an important way to verify claims and index web pages.

Advocacy begins with your imag…

Health-driven trips mix fun with wellness

Submitted by Suejin Kim on behalf of  Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa
Imagine if you’re suffering from Type 2 diabetes, obesity, or heart disease and you’re able to address your health concern—not by checking into a hospital—but going on vacation? This is a possibility. A growing trend in the travel industry is health-driven trips— that can change people's lives for the better.
Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa of Miami. Fl., is a premier health and wellness resort. It is recognized for its successful weight loss and health programs, where guests have benefited from long-term weight loss, lowering of blood pressure to normal levels and dramatic improvements in heart disease risk factors. In addition to access to exceptional fitness trainers, award-winning chefs, nutritionists and a matchless spa, guests can participate in an array of activities, accommodations and programs during their stays including: Gourmet yet waist-slimming dining served by award-winning-chefs Customized e…

Tips to Improve the Performance of Landing Pages for E-Commerce Websites

Landing pages can be used to help increase the conversion rate of different items on your ecommerce website. In order for this to happen, it is important to create strong landing pages. A landing page that lacks a clear message may only draw a consumer to your site briefly. The point of a landing page is not only to get a consumer to your site, but also to get them to make a purchase. In order to ensure this happens, try these tips that will help you develop strong landing pages that drive conversions.
Make the Call to Action (CTA) Standout Whatever it is that you want the consumer do should be clearly expressed on the landing page. This may be to “shop now” or to “watch a video” to try to drive them to your site and to ultimately make a purchase. The CTA needs to standout in a distinct way. It should be in a centralized location on the landing page in order for consumers to know what they are supposed to click on. The use of visual cues can help with this as well.
Offer Incentives Consum…

Amazon's Social Rebirth

Amazon As Cautionary Tale
I follow Amazon pagecounts closely. Prior to Google's Panda and Penguin updates Amazon was slouching toward a billion pages inside of Google. At a billion pages in Google's Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) the distinction between Amazon and Google becomes less and less.

Then Google's Zoo of change (Panda followed by Penguin) hit. Now Amazon is down to 127M pages. I realize "down to" seems absurd with such a large number of pages in Google, but better than 90% of Amazon's "pages" have been swept away.

Amazon was LATE to the social game. Amazon's ability to generate new pages via their own machine code was astounding and robust. In platforms vs. websites I wrote about how if the Brooklyn Bridge fell into the Hudson tomorrow Amazon would have a landing page with fully cooked content up within minutes.

And such technical wizardry used to be enough. Amazon's ability to create new pages by combining pieces of old used to m…