Saturday, September 20, 2008

WSI Excellence & Innovation - Vegas, baby...

Well, I have returned from my first WSI E&I (Excellence & Innovation) conference and it was absolutely amazing (as the name implies, it was excellent and innovative). Not only did we have some great presentations from fellow ICs (that's Internet Consultant in WSI-speak), but the ability to start putting faces with names and voices was a real bonus. I'm continually amazed at how far-reaching this company is with folks from all over the world at this event.

The conference started out with our team winning the golf scramble (8-under, thank you), which was a fundraising event for WSI's chosen charity, Make Child Poverty History... and it just kept getting better. Great job Linda, Doug & Neal! Vendors from the various production centers were there, service providers and some new faces too. Below are just a few that I'm excited about connecting with.

Social Medial Solutions - A new company (started by my good friend Doug Schust) was introduced (still in beta though) that will focus on the strategic benefits of social marketing and they are already doing some amazing things with search engine rankings.

Website Security and Testing - Being from the banking industry, I'm well aware of the importance of a secure website and we'll soon have a solution with a great tool for testing. I see big opportunities here as more businesses go online, even if you're not a bank you want to make sure your site is safe.

Professional Copy Writing Solutions - Typically writing copy (good copy) for a website is the biggest challenge. Many business owners simply don't have the time to write (or re-write) copy for their site. That's where MintCopy, Inc. comes into play by helping get this done, ensuring it's "search focused" and helps to get projects moving forward. Looking forward to exploring their services in the future.

Marketing Sherpa - We had one of their "top dogs" present for two hours at our conference, Stefan Tornquist, and talked a lot about the statistics and information Marketing Sherpa has accumulated over the years. They have their finger on the pulse of the Internet better than anyone and I'm excited that WSI has formed a strategic partnership with them. I've already printed off several articles chuck full of great information.

We spent quite a bit of time talking about the concept of social media - things like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and social bookmarking sites. There are some amazing things coming along for businesses that are willing to leverage these social sites for search engine optimization purposes, and we have already seen examples of how using these sites can significantly increase organic rankings in the search process. More to come on this in the next few months as things evolve.

I also just re-launched my WSI site, and it's on our new eFusion platform. This system is absolutely amazing and has fully integrated e-mail marketing, blogging, e-commerce, customer relationship management and about the easiest content management system I've ever seen. I will be putting up some links to videos that review the features of the eFusion system in the near future and any business looking to take their Internet presence to the next level really owes it to themselves to check this out further.

Prior to E&I, Alicia and I attended the Michigan Association of Community Bankers Annual Conference in Traverse City. That was a great time and the first time I had ever attended an MACB event. While in baning, we had always been members of the MBA, but never of the MACB, so it was good to get out and meet some new faces. As I put together my speaking schedule for next year, I'm hopeful that I'll be able to help with some of their sessions in 2009... keep your fingers crossed for me!

I'll put a bit more information in my next newsletter, coming out soon. I received an e-mail from WSI corporate that one of my site projects was recognized by the Web Marketing Association with a 2008 Web Award, and the official press release will be coming out soon. Considering it's only been just over a year in my new career as an Internet Consultant, being able to say I'm an "award winning" Internet Consultant is pretty cool.

Until next time...

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