Thursday, May 31, 2007

LinkWorth 2.0 unveiled

It's up! Our new front-end went live today and so far, so good. If anyone were to ever read this and have feedback on our new look, I'd love to hear it.

Dustin, Tom, Juan, & guys kick some serious ass.

Gots to go....still testing everything....

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Keeping Your Customers. Happy.

For any sales-driven organization, the bottom line depends exclusively on doing one thing: gaining customers. For any good sales-driven organization, success cannot stop there. You have to take it one step further. And that means keeping the customers you've fought so hard to win.

It might sound like an overly obvious statement, but I'm here to tell you that it's commonly overlooked. Especially in long-term consulting arrangements such as the ones we engage in with clients on a daily basis.

Success is a goal. A marathon worth running. It's not a quick-fix, a sprint, or anything thing else easy. We're not selling cars here...people have to stay with us month after month after month if we're going to succeed. (And if they're to succeed, as well.) I have several clients that are entering their 3rd and 4th years of continuous LinkWorth patronage and without them, we'd be nowhere. And I'm so appreciative of the lessons they've taught me over the years.

So what do you do to keep people around? Easy. Give a shit. Every time, with every client, no matter what.

It has to be a mentality. A "not-so-corporate" culture, in our case. To me, every client we get is like a little piece of gold. Something to be coddled, prized, and nurtured. Sure, not all clients can be classified the same way in regards to revenue generated or the depth to which we can build a relationship, but they all share one thing: they pay us to provide them with a service. Period.

So shouldn't they all be treated the same? If you ask me, the short answer is: absolutely.

Salespeople can become put off by their clients because of one reason or another. Happens all the time. Not just here, but in every setting. I've been there...I know...I get it. But you have to fight through that and do the right thing. For example, demanding clients become extra high-maintenance when their rankings slip. Instead of being whipped by their inquisition, put yourself in their shoes. I mean, it is their money, they have the right to freak out a little, don't they? After all, we're the experts...not them. That's why they're here...they're looking to us for answers. You can't ever forget that.

It's easier said than done, I realize. And I'm one of those guys that is in a great mood 99% of the time. I'm happy and upbeat unless I have a reason to be pissed-off, bummed out, or whatever. (I get razzed about it quite frequently by friends...but they can kiss my ass!!)

But every now and then I realize just how far a positive attitude can take you and it's during these moments of enlightenment that I want to reiterate this to my salespeople or other employees here at the 'Worth…just so I can provide some type of evidence to back up what I usually say or the way I usually act.

Today, I had one of these moments.

In the midst of rolling out a new website, the normal end-of-month hurdles to leap over, and everything else that goes on around here, I had the opportunity to speak to a disgruntled client. (Well, previously disgruntled if I don't suck.) There had been issues, communication had been less than stellar, he was confused about some things, and the "somewhat negative" aspects of his personality had been become amplified to the point that everyone here was throwing their hands up and writing him off. Everyone except me, that is.

See, I love this part of my job. Talking people off the ledge. Not selling them, necessarily, because the service we provide sells itself. This guy just needed someone to listen, be responsive in a positive way, and offer some type of remedy.


I did nothing more than inform this guy how important his business was to me and that I would do everything I could to accommodate him. I didn't promise him things that I have no intention of delivering, didn't give away the farm to keep him around, didn't make any lame excuses, and didn't bullshit him in the least. He vented, I listened. And I hope we have him around for another 13 months to match the 13 months that he's already been with us.

I believe that adversity actually helps to grow business relationships if you treat each adverse scenario as an opportunity. Every company can do at least some things well. We do LOTS of things really well. But it's not until you get yourself in a little hot-water that you can really show your clients what you're made of. And that demonstration can go a very, very long way.

Good talk, Russ...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Two posts in the same week? Shut up...

Got a little more time on my hands now so I thought I'd revisit the it is these days. A lot's been going on lately; at work, in the industry, at name it. Never a dull moment, as they say.

As I mentioned before, our new site's front-end is almost ready to go and Ron and I both (along with the other LinkWorthers, too, I'm sure) are itchin' to get it up. Ron's been busting his ass to help Dustin get it all together so they can move it to our staging server and start putting in all the back-end stuff. Our site is friggin' huge, so there's literally TONS of shit that has to be done in order to pull this off seamlessly.

Have I mentioned that I'm happy to be the sales guy and not the technical force behind LinkWorth? Well, I'm telling you now.

Ron's a workaholic by nature anyway, but the guy is probably putting in 18 hours a day right now. God love him, but I hope for his sake we can get this taken care of sooner than later. Once it goes to the programmers, from what I understand, it's off his plate. I'm pretty much useless when it comes to this. I do what I can to help when I can, but it's all really minor stuff. Sorry dudes!

I've been working on a couple projects myself...stuff that we'll roll out once our new site is rockin'. One of the things I'm most excited about is our SEO consulting service that will tie in to our Managed Account "life-cycle," for lack of a better word. Consulting is a new focus that I'm thrilled about and I've mapped out a pretty cool approach that will keep our clients involved and in the know...with proper expectations set, which can be a big problem in this gig if you're not careful. People need to know what they can honestly expect. If not, they get skittish (understandably) and want to bail out of fear or uncertainty. My job is to make sure that doesn't happen. I'm still blown away by our client retention rate (in a good way) and this should really build on that.

We're doing some fun things on the new site, too. The "Our Team" page, is a good example. Ron and I split the office in half and wrote profiles for everyone. It was a lot of fun and since we're taking these kids on the road with us to all the upcoming conferences (beginning with SES San Jose), hopefully people will give 'em some shit about how they're represented! Good times.

We leave for Seattle in a couple weeks for SMX and I can't wait for this trip. Not only does one of my best friends in the universe live there and the city itself kicks ass, but I'm looking forward to spending a few minutes with some people that I met VERY briefly in New York: Rand Fishkin and Neil Patel, to name a couple. I shot 'em both an email and they seemed open enough to it, so hopefully that'll work out. Even more importantly, we're going to get to spend some time with Partners and Advertisers that we've never met in person. (Todd, I SO can't wait to meet you, bro! ACCT ID 11??? You're OLD SCHOOL, my friend.) The sessions seem pretty cool, too, for a change. Not the same ole redundant shit. Er, at least that's how it's being presented and I'm diggin' that.

What else? Hmm....let me think. I mean, there is something on my mind, I think. Well, there was. Was there?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

This blog sucks...but I told you it would.

No blog can survive when there's a 4 year lapse between posts; which explains this blog to a tee.

Good news for me? This S.O.B. is free through blogspot. (Google: I hate you, but I love you.)

There is so much to talk about right now and I'm so jazzed about so many things that it's almost nonsensical to talk about it so randomly. But, it's in my nature so I'm gonna give it shot.

LinkWorth 2.0 - I don't know if anyone has been reading the headlines lately, but we've had some massive press release attention because of several new product launches. It's been absolutely killer....loads of new inquiries/advertisers/partners sign up with us in anticipation of our new roll-outs. Our long-overdue rebirth is finally almost here.

The interface is head and shoulders better than what we've ever had because it compliments all of our new stuff. It looks very cool. And it's really functional, easy to navigate, and all that stuff. Word on the street is we're taking it live THIS FRIDAY! COME ON WITH IT!

Anyway, that's all I've got for now. Out of sheer guilt I had to post