Monday, February 27, 2012

INTRODUCING - The Greater Perimeter Business Expo

The Dunwoody Business Expo was such a huge smash in 2011 that it has been expanded and improved for 2012.

This year, Dunwoody's chamber has joined forces with the Sandy Springs chamber for a single event showcasing the best of both business communities.

June 1, 2012
Westin Atlanta Perimeter North Hotel
7 Concourse Parkway, Sandy Springs

I was tasked with creating a neutral palette that would showcase the company logos of the participants, along with the usual functionality of online registration and documents.  Appearance-wise, it is 180 degrees opposite the Dunwoody Music Festival. It is still as easy to edit and maintain for the staff as the rest of the Dunwoody Chamber network of websites.

Keep checking back for updates:  this initial launch is the skeleton.  More content will be added by staff of both of the chambers in coming weeks.  Information on this year's awards is still in development.  Personally, I thought the highlight of last year was the Egizio - Priluck Facebook Chicago-Style Vote-Getting Showdown To The Death for People's Choice.  Award contest structures are more complicated when you get more institutions involved so let's hope The Powers That Be bite the bullet and open up the awards aspect as they did last year.  Sandy Springs doesn't know what they missed!  As soon as those decisions get made, I'll be the one putting up the ballots.  Don't crash my server when you vote, OK, folks?

This Expo, hosted by these chambers is a huge boost to our extensive small-business community along the northern Perimeter.  Small businesses have proportionately small budgets so their advertising is going to be based on meeting people in person and forming relationships, rather than extensive ad campaigns with TV commercials and the like.  There are several ways to be involved depending on your budget and schedule.  Booths or tables can be reserved online.  Luncheon and reception tickets are available, another opportunity to make new contacts.  There are three different seminars being given.  (There's limited seating for those so sign up ASAP.  U snooze, U loose.)  Most of all - just make time to attend and visit with the exhibitors and other attendees.  My fellow entrepreneurs know that every contact helps so make the most of this annual opportunity.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

F-Commerce gets an F from Bloomberg

A professional acquaintance brought this article to my attention on LinkedIn.  It caught my attention because I'm wrapping the first phase of creating an e-commerce site for a Dunwoody business.

Whenever I meet with a new customer they inevitably ask about how necessary social media is for their sales.  My answer is always the same:  a lot of it depends on my customer.  Do they want to be involved with Facebook, Twitter, et al?  Or are they not going to spend any time on it if it's set up?  If you're not going to commit time and effort to your social media promotion, then it's not the place for you.  If you do make that commitment, then it's extremely powerful for getting attention and generating buzz for your product or service.  I've said this numerous times right here on this blog that social media is not the be-all and end-all of advertising.  At the first Dunwoody Business Expo, we learned that having a Facebook page is not a guarantee of success and not having one is not a guarantee of failure.  A key point is, whatever advertising you do for your business, commit to it and be involved with it to make it successful.  Another key point is, wherever you advertise, no social media will replace the custom stand-alone website.

Here's the proof from Bloomberg online this past Friday:  Retailers Shut Facebook Storefonts Amid Apathy

The original premise was:  everyone's on Facebook, so your customers are on Facebook, that means you can get them to shop on Facebook.  Right?

Apparently not.

Some of the quotes in the article sum up the limitations Facebook has when it comes to commercial enterprises.

“There was a lot of anticipation that Facebook would turn into a new destination, a store, a place where people would shop,” Mulpuru said in a telephone interview. “But it was like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.” 

Customers had no incentive to shop at Gamestop (GEM)’s Facebook store rather than the company’s regular website because purchasing online is already convenient, said Ashley Sheetz, who is the Grapevine, Texas-based company’s vice president of marketing and strategy. 

“We just didn’t get the return on investment we needed from the Facebook market, so we shut it down pretty quickly,” Sheetz said in a telephone interview. “For us, it’s been a way we communicate with customers on deals, not a place to sell.” 

BOLO - do-bads casing Dunwoody

Child walking dog approached by suspicious man (WSB-TV Channel 2)

From aHa Connection: Suspicious people in Dunwoody

Don't hesitate to call 911 if anything looks out of place. Whether it's a vehicle cruising a neighborhood or salespeople that just don't seem right, call. I've gotten over my concerns of "maybe DPD will think I'm a moron if I'm worried about a couple of people on the street." They won't. Call and let the police check it out. If it's nothing, no harm done. But a phone call can prevent burglaries, thefts, or worse.