July 17, 2012

1,000 businesspeople turn out for smAlbany event, hear Google tips

By: Richard A. D'Errico

Source: The Business Review

Larry Zimbler estimated that before the day is through more than 1,000 businesspeople will have attended the smAlbany event held at the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

Zimbler, president of Liberteks, an IT service provider in Guilderland, first started the event six years ago.

“Insane,” is how Darcy Knapp of SEO Web Mechanics and one of the organizers, described the event. “Nonstop people all day.”

The day-long event featured talks like Knapp’s “Facebook for Business." Other talks focused on innovative hiring tips and app development.

The goal of the event was to help business executives network, land new business and better understand social media and the Internet.

Dozens of companies, including State Farm, Carhartt and Capital District Catering paid between $100 and $250 to host information tables.

CRU DataPort, a Virginia-based data storage company, made the trip last night to host a table at the event. Jerry McLean, a sales manager, said he planned to drive around the Capital Region to look for potential clients and resellers.

Elizabeth Rizzo, a marketing manager at MAC Source communications, said some people stopped by her table looking for a job. The Cohoes company isn't hiring right now, she said.

Joe DeMike, head of Google’s partnership development and small business engagement and advocacy, gave business executives tips on how improve landing customers on the web. Google also is providing free web development.

DeMike said 97 percent of U.S. consumers go online to research a product or service before making a purchase, making the need to be found during searches crucial.

In the past, DeMike said, companies looked for customers.

“Now, customers are looking for you are someone like you,” he told the audience.

DeMike said building loyal customers starts with awareness.

“They can’t purchase from you if they don’t know you’re out there,” he said, highlighting the need to invest in search engine optimization.

Once they find you, customers may make a trial purchase. The goal is to provide strong customer support that forces the client to make a repeat purchase.

At Google, DeMike said, there is an expression: “Moments that matter.”

“Sometimes,” he said, “you only get a second with a customer.”

If the repeat purchase experience is a good one, the odds of a loyal customer increase.

“Loyal customers will buy from you even if there’s a better product out there,” he said. “Loyal customers are where most of your revenue will come from.”