Here at Engage-a-Pro, we're very interested in disruptive technologies. Perhaps the most disruptive of all will be the technology that replaces fossil fuels as our primary energy source. In the long run, this will have to be some form of nuclear fusion. Our bet is that one of the fusion technologies that has the best chance of working sometime soon is the Polywell Fusion reactor. Click on the link and read all about it. The video below "Should Google Go Nuclear" is also particularly worthwhile.
If you decide you want to stay on top of all things Polywell, check out www.talk-polywell.org. There's usually a fairly lively conversation on their forum.
A great article from Bain that says that Companies with Great Repeatable Models translate their strategy into a few simple values and prescriptions that people throughout the organization can understand and use to shape actions and decisions. Now, why does this surprise anyone?
We've been thinking about participating in the next Founder Showcase in San Francisco in April. Competition will be intense, but it would be a good way to get in front of a lot of potential investors in one go. And, the participants tend to be pretty successful in raising funding overall. Also, it'd be interesting to see what kind of reaction we get outside of Chicago.
Last week, 13 companies graduated from Founder Institute Chicago. Since we all own a small slice of each others companies through the warrant that was issued at incorporation, there's a strong incentive to help each other be successful. Already there has been one successful exit (a small one) in New York that resulted in checks to the warrant participants in the $3-$10k range. It'll be interesting to see if we manage something similar here. I think a few of us are pretty motivated to keep everyone on track, but only time will tell.
This whole phenomenon of crowdfunding really appeals to me. Having 1,000 investors put in $250 each would give many startups the legs they need to validate their concepts. And, the downside for the investor is tiny. Now, hopefully Congress will pass the Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act without encumbering it with a bunch of earmarks that the President will have to veto.
14 companies graduated from Founder Institute last night. Engage-a-Pro was one of ten that pitched to a panel of VCs. It went well for us - we scored at the top. Got some great feedback and picked up a bunch of business cards for follow up. Now it's about speed to market and execution.
We're in the process of interviewing several potential web development firms to build our beta. It'll be interesting to see the different technologies, time requirements and rates that they all come back with. I wish that Engage-a-Pro was live right now as it could have been so useful for this part of the process...
Graduation from the Chicago Chapter of Founder Institute is next week. We've vetted the core concepts behind Engage-a-Pro from every angle possible. Now it's time to pull the trigger and have the prototype built. That means we should be launching in a couple of months. Game on. And, I could care less who wins the Super Bowl...
We're rapidly coming to the stage where it it not sufficient for a services provider to declare that they are an expert in something. As declared by TechCrunch late last year, Social Proof is the New Marketing
Oh, and posting articles on your own company blog does not qualify as 'social proof'...
This is a repost of an answer I provided on Quora:
services firms are built on relationships and trust. Every contact
(digital or otherwise) you have with a prospective client should
reinforce that. All of your messaging should fit under your overall
Digital marketing starts with having a highly
client relevant, easily navigable website. All of your digital
marketing efforts will result in prospective clients ending up there.
Once they do, make sure that they a) find what they are looking for and
b) contact you. To make this happen, you don't need to give them the
kitchen sink, just enough to intrigue them.
Then, the essential components of digital marketing are (in my opinion) in no particular order:
Committment by your Partners to become 100% fully engaged on LinkedIn.
That means building and maintaining their networks and providing
updates when firm thought leadership peices are produced. It helps too
if they have some provocotive things to say in their updates (they may
be afraid to say anything controversial).
2) Email. Make sure
your website is a conversion machine. Build that list. Between unsubs
and hard bounces, it's a never ending chase. But, businesspeople still
respond to well thought out emails. And, it is a must-do for awareness
3) Google Adwords. A well designed Adwords campaign
can yield HUGE results for a professional services firm. When I was
Director of Market Development at my previous employer, I spent $30k on
Adwords that resulted in $1.5mil+ in billings. WOW! Although, it took
me a few years to figure out the all the nuances.
4) Webinars - forget 'em if you're targeting the C-Suite as your buyer. Otherwise, maybe they're OK.
Partnerships with industry and trade associations are well worth
considering if (and only if) they really help your SEO prospects.
PR - possibly helpful, but to be honest, over 10 years I could never
attribute a single dollar in revenue to PR. This does not mean you
shouldn't issue press releases every time you have something to say
though. They help with SEO and get picked up on blogs 'n stuff.
Twitter - mostly relevant to individual Partners to build their
individual brands. Some will go for it. Just make sure their Tweets
tie to the firm message.
9) Facebook - not really relevant for professional services.
Publish great articles in well respected publications. They get picked
up everywhere and you can use 'em on various blogs and on your website.
most professional services firms should spend between 5-10% of revenue
on marketing (including salaries). Experiment with your mix until you find something that is working.