Archives for December 2011

The results are in: top 7 observations of the 2011 media usage survey.

First of all, thanks to all of those who completed my 2011 Media Usage Survey. More than 60 of you clicked through and completed it, about 25 in the first hour alone. It was by far the most successful newsletter I’ve ever done in terms of clicks and engagement.

Analyzing the results, however, was a lot tougher than I thought. I guess the first thing I learned from doing a survey was to use a tool like surveymonkey that performs many of the calculations and analysis. But still, after plowing through Excel and trying to make sense of it all, I still was able to discern some pretty interesting stuff. Too bad it took six months. Download the excel file below, take a look at the data, and let me know what you think.

Click here to download excel file

Small sample size validates my assumptions, at very least.

First of all, to keep this project in perspective, I’m fully aware that a sample size of around 60 is pretty small. But it’s definitely large enough to spot a few over-arching trends about people and their media habits. As I stated earlier, these days I see people falling in two distinct groups – the tech savvy ‘haves’ and the technology squeamish ‘have nots.’ I broke down my group of 60 into five age groups:

  • Age 60+ (6)
  • Age 50+ (10)
  • Age 40+ (19)
  • Age 30+ (15)
  • Age 15 – 30 (14)

Survey Scope: gauging our technical comfort zone.

As you can see by the number in parentheses, the largest number of respondents came from the 40+ age group (19), which says more about who is on my mailing list than anything else. Here are three things you need to know about the survey before any of my observations will make sense:

  1. Primary objective was to discern peoples’ comfort level with using technology in their daily business and personal lives.
  2. Yes/No questions were asked in sequential order from less technical to more technical; ‘reading a daily newspaper’ (less technical) to ‘posting a video to youtube’ (more technical) to ‘managing a network’ (even more technical).
  3. Respondents could a score up to 26 points, which should approximate someone’s technical comfort zone.  The two highest scorers overall had 25 points. Each missed only one — one had never attended a webinar, the other didn’t use social media. Both were under age 40.

Observation #1: Newspapers may be around a little while longer — For someone like me who enjoys the feel of print newspaper in hands as I sip my coffee in the morning, I am relieved that over half the people survey indicated that they read a daily print newspaper. However, 26 of the 31 responses came from ages 40 and up. No surprise there, but don’t count Star Trombone out just yet.

Observation #2: people would rather email talk on the phone — The question was Which of the following do you consider to be the most effective or satisfying for one-on-one personal communications? Turns out that while 46% indicated Meeting Face to Face as their #1 preference (whew!), but 28% indicated they prefer email, which eclipses talking on the phone (15%). If I’m reading this right, it’s disturbing to discover that more people actually prefer email communications to Face-to-Face or telephone. Scary to say the least.

Observation #3: social media rules — Over 80% surveyed indicated that they currently use social media, facebook in particular. Twitter hasn’t quite caught on, and was most popular in 30+ age group (63%). Surprisingly four of six in the 60+ age group claimed to use Facebook.

Observation #4: more folks read books and watch TV — Now, I for one find this hard to believe. Really? I’m lucky if I read more that 3-4 books a year, but always watch at least an hour of tube each day. I guess it goes to show you, never overthink what you think people think. Or, it just may be there’s nothing good on TV, even though most of us have thousands of channels to choose from.

Observation #5: 30+ age group is the most tech savvy — The question: Are you comfortable troubleshooting simple technical issues with your desktop applications (ie., MS Office)? 100% of the 30+ age group answered yes to this question, compared with 61% for ages 15-30, 57% for 40+ and about 50% for 50+.Not only that, but over 80% of the 30+ group also have claimed to have operated a blog as well.

Observation #6: Internet #1 source of news — When asked their primary source of news, 45% chose the internet, with newspapers surprisingly getting 28%, followed by TV with 16%, and radio with a meager 6%. Somehow, I expected radio to be higher, but with ipods, smartphones and devices available to stay in touch with everything, it just makes sense. What is the future of radio anyway?

Observation #7: Smartphones have taken over — No big surprise here, as 72% of us now use iPhones, Droids or whatever. The smartphone has become an extension of the human persona, in all ages groups across the board.

There is so much more to share about this, but who has the time? I would really appreciate your comments and/or questions below.

How YouthHockeyHub.com attracted over 12,000 visitors in its first 30 days.

search engine traffic success

In late October, it was nothing more than a pipedream. Today, YouthHockeyHub.com is a thriving new blog/website claiming over 12,000 engaged visitors during its first month of operation.

When someone starts a new blog or website, the goal is usually to generate a high volume of engaged visitors. So, if one generated over 12,000 in the first 30 days, it’s safe to say that would qualify as a rocking success. That’s precisely what has happened with YouthHockeyHub.com.

And it didn’t happen by accident.

So what is YouthHockeyHub, and why the sudden success? The site is a joint-venture between ZoselCo (Scott Zosel) and Multiply Communications (Tony Zosel, aka Tony Scott). Yes, my brother and I, both being youth sports enthusiasts, took a hard look at the marketplace for youth sports and saw some exciting opportunities looming. Our idea was to create a blog-style website covering Minnesota youth hockey, complete with feature stories and editorials. The primary drawing card would be weekly team rankings for both boys and girls hockey ages 9-14. Our long-term goal is to monetize the site via affiliate programs and advertising revenue.

However, you can’t just throw the site up and expect over 12,000 to beat a path to your door. If you want to generate big traffic numbers right out of the gate, be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.

In a nutshell, here is our formula for success:

  1. Find a large under-served market —  After exploring the marketplace for youth hockey, we saw that mnhockeyhub.com claimed some 70,000 visitors at its peak in March last year (see graphic below). This level of traffic volume will support several players. We wanted to be one of them.
  2. Find a marked loaded with engaged customers — Simply put, youth hockey parents and coaches are insanely engaged, and will spend big bucks at the drop of a hat (sticks, skates, ice time et al). If your ultimate goal is monetization, your market must have this essential characteristic.
  3. Connect with key influencers one-by-one — One of the chief reasons to offer weekly rankings was to attract visitors interested in seeing how their kids’ teams were doing. However, to offer rankings, we needed coaches and parents who would login to the site and rank teams in their division. Recruiting them meant finding them through their local hockey association website, individually emailing each one of them, and inviting them to become a ranker. To get the job done, we simply paid high school kids to plow through this tedious task. Once we had over 100 rankers in the fold, things became viral, as they invited many others and traffic really grew. One-on-one emails were critical; email blasting would have been futile.
  4. Work the forums — Like I said, youth hockey followers are insanely engaged. There are a couple key youth hockey forums where hundreds of key influencers congregate daily to discuss a variety of topics, including team rankings. Over half our traffic comes from one forum, and will likely continue if we participate. We also have a forum on our site where participation is growing daily.
  5. Contacting key influencers = exponential visits — Because we already have a personal dialogue with parents and coaches, it’s easy to create stories about the teams they’re connected with. And whenever we do this, traffic usually comes back tenfold. Let’s say we run a story on a Squirt A tournament preview, we’ll send a email notice alerting this particular group of 12-15 parents. This generates 300-400 visits.

 

 

CIMA Entertainment: awesome referral from Shi-Shu Style.

Big thanks to entrepreneur Tamre Sutphen, owner of  baby blanket maven Shi-Shu Style. She hooked us up with her buddy Ric Flores from Cima Entertainment Marketing who specializes in the sales and development of strategic marketing, sponsorship, and advertising opportunities. They are experts in designing, packaging, and selling unique advertising and promotional opportunities.

Built a very simple and straight-forward wordpress site that tells their story and hosts all of their case studies. Fun to work with.

St. Luke’s of the Mountains: stylish wordpress site on a shoestring budget.

It’s true. With awesome template options available like those offered by Studiopress, it’s really quite simple to offer an organization like St. Lukes, an elegantly presented website with a ton of very useful functionality. Clearly, the day has come when internet design is more about aesthetic challenges than those that are technical in nature.

St. Lukes, a small California Episcopal Church, no has a great website they can use to easily communicate with members, connect with Facebook and Twitter, and update with ease. The site can grow as the community does, and if they get tired of its look, well they can hire us, or anyone for that matter, to redesign it.

Enter Red Lambda: security and operational intelligence software.

operational security company

Very soon, we will likely be doing some serious brand integration for Red Lambda, who is touted as the foremost provider of security and operational intelligence software for the world’s largest network infrastructures. I think you can expect great things from this up and coming company as security and network operations teams struggle to analyze everything, everywhere, every moment hoping they can quickly detect issues or anomalies.

Red Lambda provides some timely solutions, not only by helping detecting operational threats, but also offering capabilities to reveal opportunities to increase operational efficiency and unlock enormous business potential. Watch the video below to learn more.