Small Business Marketing Unleashed – Review

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The Grand Poobar of Search Engine Guide – Jennifer Laycock has posted a summary of the recent Small Business Marketing Unleashed event in Columbus, Ohio.  http://www.searchengineguide.com/jennifer-laycock/recapping-fall-small-business-marketing.php 

Now her view might well be biased by the fact that she was the key person responsible for the event, or it might well be reflective of the others that attended the event. Talking to the many that were present at the event, I believe it’s the later :-)  At any rate, I’ll be watching out for the dates for the next event in April and hoping it lines up REAL close with other travel to the USA so I can come again and learn more. I feel I’m really getting a handle on how to get my websites up there in the eyes of the people that I want to target. Now that I’ve got the ideas, the next step is to put the plan into action. Thats the task for October / November!

Anyway – enough for now – time to head out for dinner with my SBS friends here in Seattle!


Category: Conferences

Published: 1/10/2008 11:25 AM

SBS 2008 Deep Dive Training

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I’m here in the USA being put through the paces of the internal Microsoft PSS SBS 2008 training course. It’s the first day and I’ve been sitting here for nearly 4 hours now and we’ve not even gotten through the setup process. I feel that I know far more about setup now than I am likely to ever remember – thank goodness for OneNote and it’s Video Note ability to record from my webcam :-)

My point though is that this is really DEEEEPPPP dive training. And in all honesty I do not believe that the majority of resellers will ever need the level of detail that I am seeing here today. I’ve been reviewing the SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 hands on labs that will be used for training in Australia real soon now and they contain an overview of what I’ve seen this morning but not half a day. The question I have for you all is this.

What specific topics would you like to see presented by my in November when we come to your local capital city as part of the SBS / EBS 2008 launch? Tell me so that I can ensure I build a presentation for you that meets your requirements. Bear in mind though that I might only have an hour to convey this information to you.


Published: 30/09/2008 4:54 AM

How to make friends and influence people

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image Today is Wednesday here in Columbus, Ohio, and I’m sitting here by the pool doing some work after the Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference wrapped up last night. This is the second time I’ve been to this event, the last time was in Houston in April this year. I decided to come back to attend the event a second time round as I really felt like I had missed out on a lot of content the first time round. Typical of most events, there were multiple streams and as always you can not be in both streams at once hence the comment about missing out on things. I was not disappointed in my investment of time or $$ to be here.

I really must congratulate Jennifer Laycock, Rachel Philips and their team for putting on an amazing event. The food was fantastic, the speakers were spot on target and the attendees represented a mixture across the board from other SEO gods and goddesses to small business owners trying to grow their business using smart ways online. My ONLY negative comment from this whole event was that the Internet access sucked. Having said that I will make two further comments – 1 being that they were reliant on the venue’s Internet access facilities and based on what I saw they didn’t even know how to secure the wireless access points from the default configurations, and 2 being that I’ve seen bigger events run by Microsoft such as TechEd Australia with 2000 attendees where even MS could not make the Internet access work reliably.

I was pleased to be able to help with a donation to the Charity Auction of an Aussie Gift Pack – this was comprised of some things I brought from home including an Aussie BBQ apron, Aussie Slang T-Shirt, Aussie stubbie holder (they call them coozies here) a large pack of Tim Tams, and a number of packs of Freddo Frogs, Caramello Koalas, and Cherry Ripes.  Jackie Baker from SiteLogic was the highest bidder of the pack and promptly refused to share it with all and sundry (and I really can’t blame her cos I would not either ;-)).

One of the other things that I brought with me was Ken – Ken Garoux is his full name – he’s an inflatable Kangaroo that travels with me on my international jaunts. Ken is a great Ice Breaker and it’s really a way to break down the initial "hellos" very quickly. Ken was a bit of a star and appeared around the place in various sessions and even took part in the Speed Networking event prior to the start of the conference itself. Being that this event was all about online marketing, Ken quickly established himself with a Facebook page, a Twitter account (@kengaroux) and a Gmail account (kengaroux@gmail.com). Basically it was a novel way to break the ice and provided some fun "alter ego’s" for a few of Ken’s minders over the event. Also it’s one sure way that I – Wayne Small will be remembered amongst this crowd of people as more than just "that crazy aussie" – see – that’s all part of my marketing plan really. 

The question is what is your marketing plan? What are you doing today, tomorrow and next week to market your business and make people remember your name? Think it’s too hard? Think again.  Over the next few weeks i’ll assemble a few great links on how you can build your marketing plan quickly, and cost effectively.

STOP PRESS: I just found out that Ken Garoux has been mentioned by Anita Campbell on her Small Business Trends website http://www.smallbiztrends.com/2008/09/top-ten-online-marketing.html/ Thanks Anita – I’m glad you enjoyed the fun :-)


Category: Conferences

Published: 25/09/2008 1:32 AM


I’m on my way….

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In a few moments, I board my first of three flights today to get from Sydney, Australia through to Columbus, Ohio.  This is the start of a 3 week trip in which I’ll be attending 2 conferences and 2 weeks of solid long day training on the new SBS and EBS products.  I’m in Ohio for the Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference and I’m really looking forward to catch up with the people I met earlier this year and also to learn even more about how we can promote / market our business online.  Then next Thursday, I fly to Seattle for training on SBS, then SMBNation and then training on EBS.

Looking forward to it all, just not looking forward to all the plane travel.


Category: Conferences

Published: 19/09/2008 12:13 PM

SBS2008 Domain Name Wizard Options

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SBS 2008 has the ability to automate some of the things that often got customers tied up in knots. One of these is the purchase and management of their public domain name.  SBS 2008 allows you via the wizard to purchase and manage a domain name from one of currently three domain name registrars. In terms of management of the domain name, it will configure the required DNS records to point to your SBS 2008 server and utilise the inbuilt SBS 2008 Dynamic DNS client to keep the records up to date even if you have a dynamic IP address for your Internet connection.

Ok – so in reviewing the domain registrars that are supported by SBS 2008, I’ve found that there are no providers that can handle the Australian .au domains.  This is a bit of an issue if we want to have a .au domain name managed by the SBS 2008 server automatically.  I asked Sean Daniel from the SBS Dev Team about this and he explained that in order to participate in the cool stuff that SBS 2008 does, the Domain Name Registrar needs to put some infrastructure in place and at this point only three companies have decided to get involved.  Microsoft have gone out to all the major domain name registrars to get their involvement but apparently few so far have decided to be involved.  How can we fix this?  As clients we can petition our favourite Domain Name Registrar and ask them to get involved via the following URL http://www.microsoft.com/sbs/en/us/become-partner.aspx

The other way we can make things happen is to contact one of the three current organisations and ask them to start selling the .au domain space.

So as promised – the following are the domain names that each provider can sell as at today.  I’ve been using Register.com for some time now and found them to be very good.

Register.com - www.register.com

.com, .net, .org, .biz, .us, .cn, com.cn, .net.cn, .org.cn, .mobi, .info, .co.uk, .tv, .ws, .ca, .eu, .cc, .jp, .de, .co.nz, .net.nz, .org.nz, .tw, .com.tw, .org.tw,

Enom - www.enom.com

.com, .net, .org, .info, .mobi, .biz, .co.nz, .tv, .co.uk, .cc, .tw, .asia

GoDaddy - www.godaddy.com

.com, .info, .net, .org, .tv, .mobi, .me, .biz


Category: SBS 2008 / Cougar

Published: 14/09/2008 9:39 PM

Brown… Derek Brown… shaken, not stirred..

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A little like James Bond in his demeanour, Derek Brown has worked for Microsoft for many years, with stints running the Windows Mobile team, then in 2004 the SBS team and then after that Microsoft Thailand. Derek has always had a focus on community and we here in Sydney were fortunate to have him come along to a user group meeting many moons ago now.  Well – I’m happy to say that Derek is coming back to the fold. He’s bringing his unique experience in marketing to the SBSC / SMB market space and I for one am lining up to take advantage of it.  Here’s an email he sent to me as way to introduce him to the community.  I would encourage you to seek out this man during SMBNation and make sure to give him your card. He has some cool ideas that you will want to be a part of.

 

Hi I’m Derek Brown, currently Business, Marketing & Operations Director for the Microsoft Thailand subsidiary.  Prior to this I was Director Product Management for SBS during which I had a opportunity to meet with many of you via the SMB Summit, MVP summits, our channel advisory group, User Group tours and the like.   I’ve been with Microsoft for about 12 ½ years.  September 26th will be my last day at Microsoft and I’m launching a new venture Pronto Marketing at the SMB Nation conference October 4 in Seattle.   Pronto will have an office in Seattle managed by my son Cory who’s been working with me a few months on this and an office In Bangkok, Thailand.

As the pre-launch phase of this company I’ve been reaching out to the SBS community to get feedback, ideas – and most importantly to learn.   Part of this is via people I know, getting ready to attend SMB Nation, checking in with some User Groups and other online communities and looking at a lot of your web sites to see the state of things and at times contacting individuals via an intro in “Contact Us” forms.  I didn’t see this as a social engineering attack and perhaps naively took “Contact Us” on face value.  

Being involved in online product and technology communities isn’t something new to me – I’ve been doing this for over 10 years when I started with the then Windows CE MVPs.  You can read a summary of this work at Pocket PC Thoughts http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/news/show/57000/derek-brown-a-legacy-of-creative-windows-mobile-marketing.html which maybe serves as a sort of reference for me.   I’m always aware that having a vested commercial interest creates the potential for issues to arise.  My approach has always been to be as transparent as possible and open to feedback if I step over the line.   This instance would be no different and I would be interested if people think contacting companies via web “contact us” forms is inappropriate. 

I also look forward to being an active member in the community and helping on issues of marketing and growing healthy businesses.   We’ve been doing a poll to better understand some of the issues the small IT services provider faces and the early results clearly point to the fact most of you are not happy with what you’re doing and the results you’re getting.   While I do see a commercial opportunity in that fact I also think there’s a tremendous opportunity to be an open resource of ideas, solutions and education.  I’ll be launching a blog on local online marketing next month to do just that.  I look forward to be an active and contributing member of this community. 

You can reach me at derek @prontomarketing.com if you have any questions or concerns.  Or if you want to chat Skype or IM you can find me at derekbrn. 

Thanks and it’s always great to have such a warm welcome for me and my new company :-)

Derek


Published: 13/09/2008 11:52 AM

GFi WebMonitor causes AV updates to stop

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I’ve got a larger non SBS site and we discovered that a recent upgrade to GFI WebMonitor caused the AV updates to randomly stop to the servers. The site uses Trend Micro’s OfficeScan product and we were experiencing an error message during the update cycle that suggested that the AV pattern file updates were corrupt.  We traced it back to the GFi WebMonitor software which was intercepting all downloads including the AV Pattern File updates.  To solve the problem simply add *.trendmicro.com to the Whitelist in the GFI console and Save Settings.  Now things work once more.

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Category: Software

Published: 12/09/2008 4:32 PM


Hyper-V Virtualisation Announcements

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Ok – so it’s been a busy day for Microsoft today around the Hyper-V announcements being made here and the launch of a new section of the website here. I know that the SBS and EBS teams are very close now to officially releasing their supported configurations and best practice guides. Here in Australia uptake on Virtualisation is double that of the USA so it will be interesting to see how this all pans out over the coming 12 months.  Stay tuned for the official SBS and EBS supported solutions


Published: 9/09/2008 11:47 PM