Communications

Proof: Hot Topics Can Get Posts to Google Page 1

Posted on November 9, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Communications, Google, Inbound Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Online Marketing, Search | Tags: , , , , , |

Kardashian Post Makes Google Page 1

A search for Kim Kardashian Divorce PR Strategy got my post to Google Page 1 Positions 2 and 3

My last post has made it to Google Page 1 for searches related to the Kim Kardashian divorce – the intended point of an experiment I conducted with it. See above and below for the proof.

The post contended that including hot and trending topics in your blog posts can boost your traffic by getting your post to come up in more searches. As an experiment I created an Inbound Marketing metaphor to the Kim Kardashian Kris Humphries Divorce.

The post also referenced Siri, which had brought another of my posts to Google Page 1 for sumerous searches and led to the topic of the last post and the Kardashian experiment. Here are more results.

Kardashian Experiment on Google Page 1

A search on Kim Kardashian Siri brought my post to Google Page 1 Position 2

The searches are actual searches that got people to my blog. Note that the first Page 1 positions were out of 165,000,000 results and the second was out of 7,030,000 results. Case made. Hot topics can get you visibility you’d never get otherwise!

What trending topics and current events will you tie your next post to?

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Boost Your Blog Traffic: Post About Current Events & Hot Topics

Posted on November 3, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Communications, Content, Entertainment, Marketing Strategy, SEO, Technology, Website Design | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Kim Kardashian Kris Humphries Wedding

Don't be like Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries. Choose Web Technology that will last more than 72 days.

Can Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries push this blog post to Page One of Google? Let’s find out.

This post is actually a follow-on to one I wrote at the end of October about the keywords people search on that bring our posts up on Page One of search engine results pages (SERPs). One of the examples was a post I wrote about Apple’s new SiRi app for the iPhone 4s and IBMs artificial intelligence counterpart Watson.

Comparing the two turned out to be a very hot search topic and sent scads of traffic to my blog that might not have found it otherwise. Some of those seekers subscribed and are now part of my blog community. Since the flow of hits from Siri Watson searches hasn’t yet ebbed, I suppose that this post will come up, too.

This has led me to think about how useful posting about news events and hot topics can be to building blog traffic. A precept of inbound Marketing is that people are already online searching for the information we provide and all we have to is to help them to find us.

Think ‘news you can use’. What’s going on today that you can write about – that either falls into your area of expertise, or that you can use as a metaphor for something that does?

As an experiment, I’m going to use the next couple of paragraphs to compare the Kim Kardashian Kris Humphries divorce to what can happen if you happen to choose the wrong website designer and technology platform in a web 2.0 world.

Like Kardashian and Humphries you may be dazzled by a package that promises a fairy tale online future – a beautiful website with great design, lots of pictures, built with dazzling Flash technology that animates the whole shebang. While the price tag might not be $15 million, it’s still a pretty penny, but, you feel, worth every shekel.

Fast forward to 72 days after the launch. You wonder why you’re not getting any leads from the new site. The title tag announces your company name, after all. Great if anyone is searching for you specifically. Lousy if they’re searching generically for what you do.

You complain to a friend who explains that Flash is basically invisible to search engines and not supported by the Apple OS. And by the way, why don’t you have key words and search terms in your title tag before your company name – SEO best practices?

You also soon learn that if your site had a connected blog, you could drive lots of traffic to it. If it had a conversion form and you had the ability to add a piece of content on a hot topic for visitors to download in exchange for providing their email addresses, you could start to build a nice list of leads who you could then nurture with more useful information and who would likely become customers.

But you can’t do that because you built a beautiful online brochure not made for an interactive internet environment. Just like Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries, you accept the fact that you and your new site have irreconcilable differences and you kiss it all goodbye – including the cost of development.

Maybe you should have looked a little bit closer before taking the plunge. The dream dashed, like Kim, you’d might as well head off to Australia to pitch your business there and start anew.

OK. I’m going to tag this post with all of the hot topic names and let’s see if Kim and Kris followers bring us up to the top of the Google world! I’ll let you know – or try googling some of the keywords in the tags and see if you find New PR Words and Music. Let me know, ok??

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Tuesday Tweets for 9-12-11 #IMS11 Edition

Posted on September 13, 2011. Filed under: Communications, Content, Small Business, Twitter | Tags: , , , |

Usually we review tweets from my Twitter timeline here – for learning and for fun. Today is a bit different.

In an hour or so I’m heading up to Boston for the Inbound Marketing Summit #IMS11 and the HubSpot User Group (HUGS) and VAR Day. So here’s a demo of how useful Twitter can be prior to attending a conference.

BTW…If you didn’t give yourself a smile last time, be sure to hit the audio player for the new Tuesday Tweets theme song!

@CPollittIU @BeeFain Stop by my “Redefining Influence” session tomorrow and we’ll talk #IMS11 cc: @chris_c_lucas

@stevegarfield Inbound Marketing Summit: Breaking the @RecordSetter World Record – Most people shooting video at the same time http://t.co/9TqvDsI #IMS11

@peterstringer Looking forward to my sports & social panel at #IMS11 tomorrow w/ @RedSox’s @azeigler20 & moderator @ButchStearns http://t.co/LCSQSo8

@BrainSell SugarCRM CEO, Larry Augustin, Speaks at Two Industry Events this week, including #IMS11 with @Brainsell! http://t.co/GQcpItv

@Heyruh Fellow IMSers!!! Need a new marketing-optimized website? PaperThin is giving one away in this contest.  http://t.co/QopitNe  #IMS11

@CichLee Ready for @FutureM, #ims11 & #HUGS2011 w/ my shiny shoes, curiosity & mission to must find best company to hire me. #hubspot #NewtoBoston

@ThePulse RT @abonde: some very cool @FutureMBoston events this week to get everyone geared up for #IMS11 – see http://t.co/6N9S563 for info #socialmedia

Etc…

The Tuesday Tweets graphic is from Freshalex Online under Creative Commons license.

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9/11 Legacy: Better Communication

Posted on September 11, 2011. Filed under: Communications, Human Business, Social Media, Twitter | Tags: , , , , , , |

 

9-11 Memorial Greenwich Village

We began communicating better right after 9/11 starting with impromptu memorials like this one in Greenwich Village, NY

 

Since 9/11 ten years ago, much has been said about the role that lack of communication played in the tragic event.

Our various national security offices failed to connect the dots among various pieces of intelligence that may have led to foiling the evil plot. Simply they didn’t speak to one another.

On the ground on that day that changed our lives forever, first responders did not have equipment adequate to communicate moment-by-moment events to each other. This led to unnecessary further loss of life.

I recall the frustration and fear that came from the inability to confirm whether friends in the city were safe or lost. Cell phone communication with New York was lost.

Today we hear of credible – though unconfirmed — terrorist threats that enable us to thwart attacks. When we see something, we’re encouraged to say something – and we do.

New York Mayor Bloomberg spoke today of the advances in equipment and technology now available to our first responders when they go into harms way.

When cell service is down because of man-made or natural disasters – like the recent hurricane – we can turn to Twitter, Facebook and other social media to keep abreast of news and stay in touch with loved ones.

I received a group email today from Scott Heiferman, CEO of MeetUp, the offline networking group he co-founded as a direct result of his experience of community and personal communication in his New York neighborhood in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. He chose today to tell the story.

Although ten years after 9/11, we are paradoxically divided as a nation, its encouraging that we are more earnest communicators. We share our thoughts on blogs and elsewhere online. We get offline to gather in person at meet-ups, tweet-ups and town meetings to voice our views.

Maybe the goal of the decade to come should be to hone our listening skills and try to recapture the commonality we felt as a country right after that fateful and dreadful shared experience.

The image of the Greenwich Village 9/11 Memorial is from Paull Young under Creative Commons license.

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Web Crossroads: Quantity vs Quality

Posted on August 31, 2011. Filed under: Business Strategy, Communications, Human Business, Marketing Strategy, Small Business, Social Media | Tags: , , , , |

Is Social Media at a Crossroad?

Is Social Media at a Quantity vs Quality Crossroad?

For the past couple of months you may have been noticing some posts here complaining about  social media etiquette – lack of it, actually – over-commercialization and inattention to community that was the original hallmark of social media.

These days, so much activity seems to be related to numbers over substance. Get as many followers as possible. Maybe they’ll help you monetize your blog. Maybe you can sell them something right away and get your revenues up. It’s all about me, not about you. Relationship building is going by the wayside.

The counter measure to this phenomenon seems to be happening on Google+. People – mostly online-early-adopter types – are building different kinds of connections. They’re savoring the non-reciprocal nature of the place and experimenting, including communicating interests and passions other than what they share on their existing business and social networks.

Why is this happening? I say that it’s out of a dissatisfaction – and perhaps a fast-cycling nostalgia — for the hopes they saw in social media. Instead of companies getting on board for the journey, their inevitable push for results and ROI is grating against the notion of building trusting relationships that will lead to longer term rewards.

Among other recent blogs I’ve read  expressing this thought, a couple of days ago social media consultant and author Jay Baer wrote a post on his well-regarded blog railing against the expectation that’s been developing that online marketing should be easy and yield instant results. I felt compelled to comment on his post having written with a similar sentiment recently.

Although it’s a young marketing approach, it seems to me that online marketing is at a Quantity vs Quality crossroads. Are you experiencing any evidence of this. This is an important conversation to have and hope you’ll join in.

The image is by Soundlessfall under Creative Commons license.

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Tuesday Tweets for August 30, 2011

Posted on August 30, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Business Strategy, Communications, Content, Marketing, Small Business, Social Media, Twitter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

Twitter Tweet Reviews

Reviews of Tweets from My Twitter Timeline

Welcome to Tuesday Tweets for August 30, 2011 — where we take a look at tweets from my Twitter feed for do’s, don’ts, best practices – and sometimes just for fun. Keep in mind that what we examine here is in no way personal. We’re all learning about building audiences online. In that spirit, if you disagree with my assessments, let me have it! I’m learning, too!

This week we’re adding an extra special treat – a musical accompaniment to your read. Be sure to hit the play button if you’d like to smile.

The most frequent comment I hear when I broach the topic of adding Twitter to the social media mix is, “We have an account, but have no idea what to do with it.” So I decided that it might be useful to use this week’s Tuesday Tweets to show how a number of businesses and organizations are using Twitter to move toward their objectives.

@NewsTimes It should read $15,000. Good catch! #correction RT @JackBouffard @NewsTimes $1,500 or $15,000?

Here’s a daily newspaper using Twitter to interact with a reader to flag and quickly correct an error in its reporting. This is the kind of nimble use of social media that might help traditional media evolve and survive.

@TheArtsCenterNY  Red Cross is here until 5:30PM accepting blood donations! By taking a short time to donate blood, you can save lives.

This arts center is using Twitter for real time promotion of a Red Cross blood drive – a nonprofit boosting another nonprofit’s mission, helping its community and boosting its own engagement and value at the same time

@dancommator Social Media Check-In Promos Reward Frequent Branch Visits http://t.co/EJ… via @FinancialBrand #financialservices #banking #sociallmedia

Can you believe that a few banks are reversing the trend of pushing customers from bank branches to online banking, and are using social media check-ins to encourage branch visits – and human contact! This retweet could be a harbinger of a new era of bank service. One can hope!

@ScottMonty RT @ThePeoplesFleet : Help @abetterla win $5K by simply watching a video! Check it out here: http://t.co/Ic… #tpfla

Another smart nonprofit is using Twitter to boost its chances to win a $5000 grant from Ford by asking folks on Twitter to vote for them. Using the hashtag gets them beyond their own followers.

@AMAnet New programs added to the AMA’s upcoming events calendar — Webcasts are FREE! —http://t.co/6t…

The American Management Association is using Twitter to get the word out about a new free Webinar series, a great way to develop its membership.

@1day1brand  Are you ready for a bold new brand? Complete our assessment below, and we’ll email you the results right away – http://ow.ly/6…

@1Day1Brand used this Tweet to recruit participants to take a survey that was designed to subtly (sort of) educate about its brand building seminars and generate leads. A bit obvious, but not bad.

@MichelleDamico Change supply parents into demand parents. I tell principals: parents yelling at u are engaging. #CPS #Brizzard #chicagoPublicSchools

Thanks to live tweeting, an address by the Chicago Public Schools Superintendent gets wider attention. You can get similar visibility and leverage for your organization’s spokesperson and amplify public speaking engagements.

@HourWestport Connecticut Humane Society is having an emergency Cat Adoption Event. Locally try theWestport location:455 Post Road East, 203-227-4137

Another local newspaper is using its Twitter bully pulpit to get out community news that it probably doesn’t have room for in the print edition.

@SierraSez  It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a bus? More details coming soon…you won’t want to miss out on this.

An enterprising tweet creates anticipation for one that’s yet to come. I’ll put up a Twitter search for @SierraSez so that I’m sure not to miss whatever it is. Curiosity is a powerful motivator! ;-}

@MagicSauceMedia Looking 4 SRProduct & Co Evangelist 4start-up in search,aggregation,content & semantic search space. Loc: San Fran or NYC.Email me w/leads

And we’ll end with a highly practical – and hopeful – tweet. Here’s a company using its Twitter updates to seek and hire a new employee.

It would be great if you’d share the creative ways your business or organization is using Twitter.

The Tuesday Tweets graphic is from Freshalex Online under Creative Commons license.

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Biz Lessons from Jazz: The Power of Listening, Nonverbal Cues, Storytelling and Respect!

Posted on August 22, 2011. Filed under: Business Strategy, Communications, Marketing Strategy, Small Business | Tags: , , , , , , , |

George Cables

George Cables, Jazz Pianist and Musical Story Teller

On Saturday evening, Jeff and I went into NY City to hear a classic jazz trio – piano, bass and drums — of the highest caliber at the intimate jazz room in the Kitano Hotel. The trio was led by George Cables on piano, who has played with everyone from Art Blakey to Sarah Vaughan to Sonny Rollins. He was joined by the best rhythm section in the business, Peter Washington on stand-up bass and Lewis Nash on drums.

That evening’s performance reminded me again why I love jazz. It is the single most intelligent and creative art form I’ve ever experienced – and when it’s melodic, rhythmic and it swings, it’s heaven on earth. At the highest levels, it demonstrates improvisational qualities that we can all seek to emulate and bring into our work lives. If we’re able to do that, we will surely elevate our business games.

Let me explain. I’ve heard many hundreds of live jazz sets over the years. Every once in awhile, one stands out as spectacular — beyond special. That happened on Saturday. The jazz musicians we heard this weekend have their skills honed and fine tuned to the max – as many of us do in our chosen fields. When they play their solos, their virtuosity is unmistakable. That’s job one for all of us: get our chops up.

It’s what they do in the ensemble environment that provides awesome lessons for business – and, in this political season, for government, too.

Listening

Jazz bassist Peter Washington

Peter Washington - Listening Enhances Playing

We observed the epitome of active listening. There was an intensity to it – although it seemed effortless. You could see – and hear the result of — the three listening to one another. It enabled them to pick up on a musical phrase played by one and allowed the others to echo it or bend it or transform it.

Do you think this level of listening could boost the results of corporate teams, small businesses and the US Congress? It’s not about what power I can gain by pushing my idea, but what we can all achieve together by listening to each other’s ideas to synthesize new and exciting solutions.

Non-Verbal Cues

There were also non-verbal cues: a nod, a gesture, fingers held up in a silent count. The trio picked them all up and used them to create a polished performance that has never before or will ever again be created. It was seamless and precise. It sounded like they were reading from a score, but they weren’t. They were playing from a basic set of chords and improvising on the fly.

It reminded me of a moment a while back at a meeting with a prospective client, the owner of a business. He had invited key staff members to join us and provide their input. When they got too far from his vision and tolerances, I saw his expression change.

I chose that moment to make eye contact with him to express that I was happy to engage with his staff, but that I recognized that ultimately he was the client and decision maker. In that brief instant, he and I communicated how we would proceed together.

Story Telling

In an hour of music, there was also a lesson in story telling. Several of the tunes were George Cable compositions. Original works by jazz musicians fill the jazz repertoire.

Young players feel compelled to follow in this tradition but don’t really understand what makes a great tune. They think that if they write a theme — a few notes — and improvise on those notes seemingly endlessly, they’ve composed a song worthy of recording. Not!

There is only a handful of musicians who are also great composers; whose songs, in my opinion, are worth recording. Dave Brubeck is one and George Cables is another. The reason they stand out is that they know how to tell a musical story.

Their stories are about something that we can relate to. They have a beginning, a middle and an end. Go to www.georgecables.com. You’ll spontaneously hear part of one of his compositions called Song for Helen. He wrote it for his life partner, a woman whose love saw him through a liver and kidney transplant. You’ve probably never heard it before. But you’ll want to hear it again. You’ll get what their relationship is about. We who create content need to keep story telling top of mind.

Respect

Jazz Drummer Lewis Nash

Lewis Nash and Other Great Jazz Players Have Respect for the Talents of Those They Play With and Their Own

The final business lesson from jazz in this post is that none of the above could happen without respect. It all started with musicians who respect one another’s talents and skills. Without that they could not have listened without ego, subjugating their own needs to what they could create as a group. Nor could they have trusted their nonverbal cues to be understood and acted upon.

The story telling part comes from self respect, which allows us to honestly communication our life experiences. I hope you enjoyed this story of a Saturday night out that led to some thoughts that could propel me into a more effective Monday.

What are your passions that give you lessons for your work life? And thanks for sharing one or two.

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Have Fun with Content: No Telling Where It Will Go

Posted on August 15, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Communications, Content, Inbound Marketing, Small Business, Twitter | Tags: , , , , , |

Content Creation Offers Big Possibilities

Creating Great Content Opens Endless Possibilities

I’ve written before about the sense of possibility I feel every time I tweet a link or hit ‘publish’ on my blog. Get that content out on the Internet and no telling where it will go, who will read it, who will connect with us as a result.

The reason I’m writing about this again is to drum up deserved enthusiasm for the content creation that’s a required element of today’s marketing. We tend to do what’s pleasurable and I want to convince you that creating content and getting it out into the world can provide you with surprising results that feel very good.

Why am I sitting here writing this post before having dinner? It’s because I’ll feel so good tomorrow when it drives new eyeballs to my blog, website, Twitter timeline, LinkedIn profile, and when it leads new and old friends to interact with me online.

Here’s what motivated me to write this. I don’t always check my @mentions on Twitter, but I did today. This shows me who has mentioned me on Twitter. I found that three times last week, a blog post I’d written was incorporated in followers’ paper.li.

What’s that? If you’re unfamiliar, paper.li is a Twitter curation software. Register on paper.li and in a minute or two you can create a newspaper format piece of content that pulls from the links tweeted each day by the people you follow on Twitter. You can focus your paper’s content by indicating a topic, hashtag or Twitter list as the source of your paper’s content. The content is culled from your Twitter timeline via an algorithm + content you refer specifically – a recent improvement.

Paper.li papers can be shared with anyone. And the creator’s followers can subscribe to them. It all adds up to expanded reach for your content. All you have to do is publicize it on Twitter. Use hashtags to help assure your content will come up for paper.li keywords.

All you have to do to take advantage of this extended distribution is to create interesting and useful content. Let me tell you that I got a kick out of discovering that my content was useful enough to be featured beyond my blog. All of this happened without anything but  my initial effort to produce the content and publicize it on Twitter.

Paper.li is only one of many ways that your content can proliferate around the Internet. Make it as good as you can and open the door to opportunity.

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Ticked Off on Twitter: How Not to Thank Me for Following

Posted on August 14, 2011. Filed under: Business Strategy, Communications, Content, Human Business, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Small Business, Social Media, Twitter | Tags: , , , , , |

Get 4100 Twitter Followers

Need I Say More?

People use Twitter in different ways. Some go for volume. Get as many followers as possible. This is often part of a monetization strategy and utilizes some automation program or builds from following others’ lists, which is fine.

I’ve made the decision to build a smaller community on Twitter based on mutual interests and the ability to gain and add value. My community is focused on two groups: other marketing professionals and small-to-mid-sized businesses (SMBs), the kind of companies that my business serves.

Perusing my Twitter stream gives me access to information about my profession and my target audiences that I might not ever connect with otherwise. It’s a great listening station. It also affords me the opportunity to give back information and experience-based knowledge, as well as to engage with people who may be able to refer business or to hire me directly. The way I approach Twitter and other social media is in exactly that order.

Before I follow someone, I check their profile to be sure they meet the above criteria. When someone follows me, I also check their profile before following back. Before I thank someone for following me, I check their profile so that I can reference something specific about them that I’m interested in knowing more about or that we share in common.

That’s one of the benefits of cultivating a smaller group of followers. You can get to know them over time. I recognize almost everyone in my Twitter stream and have a good idea of the kinds of information they’ll share or be interested in.

So what ticks me off? Automated ‘Thanks for following’ direct messages. They’re cold and impersonal to me. I feel this way: Why bother thanking me at all? You don’t really care about who I am or what I can share with you. You just connected with me based on some keyword to build your followers. It’s about you…not us. If you are going to thank me, at least make it for the right thing.

I especially hate it when the auto DM contains a further ask: Thanks for following. Now connect with us on Facebook, too, or visit our website, or check out how we can make you a million online with our great software. It reminds me of how annoyed I used to get when I’d drive two hours to visit my dear, departed grandmother and the first thing she’d say to me when I got out of the car wasn’t, “Hello, darling,” but, “So when are you going to come again?”

Call me old fashioned, but I like the idea of community and getting acquainted first. Let me know why you’re looking forward to following each other and I can better deliver on my end of the bargain!

How do you use Twitter? How do you feel about auto DMs that say thank you and sell you more at the same time?

Image ‘Get 4100 Twitter Followers for $12.95″ is from redplasticmonkey under Creative Commons license.

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Smaller Companies: Keep Marketing Through Adversity

Posted on August 11, 2011. Filed under: Business Management, Business Strategy, Communications, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Small Business, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

 

Keep Your Marketing Engines Running

Keep Your Marketing Engines Running!

 

Every time we hit a moment when the stock market crashes – or worse, fluctuates wildly – it’s predictable that smaller businesses will instantly turn off their marketing engines.

This is just as short sighted as selling off stocks the day of the crash and similarly forfeits the upside. The smartest investors and financial advisors, like my networking partner Pat Morrow, who runs a private wealth management practice at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, are exploring the current landscape for opportunities for their clients. And they’re finding them, too.

On the marketing side, I’m similarly engaged. In this environment, it makes sense that if our competitors panic and stop promoting their businesses, we stand to pick up market share.

The reason that I like Inbound Marketing is that it’s possible to create great efficiencies. Does it take time and money resources? Of course. But if cash flow becomes a problem, or if business slows down a bit, it gives you time to take on some of the marketing tasks that you might otherwise outsource. Pay only for what you can’t do yourself.

Even though I sell marketing services to businesses like yours, I can empathize with you. I’m in the same small business boat. Limited time. Limited resources. But today I took some time to build an email marketing campaign to my opt-in list giving them some reasons to consider Inbound Marketing and my services in an uncertain economy.

My Hubspot content management system allowed me to do this without any assistance. As far as I’m concerned it was a cost effective use of my time. When I got back from some meetings late this afternoon, I sat down and wrote this blog post, which will bring traffic to my site and help me engage with my audiences.

I have no intention of cutting back my marketing efforts. I’m happy to invest  to get my company in front of opportunities that will help me build through these uncertain economic times. And I don’t mind putting in some sweat equity.

What can you contribute to your own marketing efforts? Farm out less. But don’t stop marketing.

Image by Nathan E Photography Under Creative Commons License

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