Seth is an incredibly responsive marketing expert, whose replies to my questions, worries, and concerns are unfailingly clear, helpful, thorough, and patient.  He's steered me from being a twitter-resistant know-nothing to a confident, informed tweeter and follower.  Great guy to work with!

-Bill Abelson, writer (Dr. Canard)

[Small Biz Triage has] an extraordinary talent for pulling from the seemingly limitless options available via web marketing, a focused, clear message, plan and then executes that plan on time and on budget.

-Paul Nye

"Perfect for small businesses. Nate’s been helping my small business since last year and now he has created a name and business out of what he’s been doing all along: helping small businesses stop the bleeding and get on the road to recovery, growth and financial success … loads of energy and ideas, perfect for the overworked small business owner like me.”

-Eric Nordling

Thanks for the help you gave me when I was first getting started. I don't know if I ever told you this but you had me come up with a pricing sheet. When I was meeting with my first client, he started to ask about pricing (and I hadn't thought about it since I came up with the pricing sheet). Luckily I had that notebook in my bag and snuck a peak while he was looking at his computer. I was able to give him a price and he accepted!

-Laura Renner

Hiring Coach

Having collaborated with Nate on a number of projects, I’m consistently impressed by his energy, marketing creativity and his 100% buy-in to his clients’ success. When you hire Nate you get a partner who works with as much passion as you do.

-Galen Sanford
Web Developer

"When Nate offered to gift me a Small Biz Boost Package the timing couldn't have been more perfect. I was ready! I'm so grateful to have gotten so much marketing education. I learned how to manage my new website he created complete with eCommerce AND how to continue improving my S.E.O.

This is marketing for the long haul!

The work is so efficient that within just a couple months of this once in a lifetime opportunity: Small Biz Boost Package, I was able to book my first appointment with a new client who purely found me online having never met me before. My business is available to a broader demographic now thanks to my eCommerce ability. And his S.E.O. work is so efficient that if you google "chico massage myofascial" my website is now the FIRST to appear!"


Serenity Love
Certified Massage Therapist
Small Biz Boost Recipient

Fidalgo Films Case StudyWhat does it take to run a successful Kickstarter campaign?  Earlier this year, we helped our friends over at Fidalgo Films reach their goal of $10,000 to fund post-production on their short film "The Bath", with a total of 98 backers.

A Kickstarter campaign is not for every project, so before we delve in to the nitty- gritty, here's  a quick recipe of the things you'll need to get started.  Before agreeing to help Fidalgo Films with the project, we made sure each of these ducks were in the same row:

The Recipe for Successful Kickstarter Campaign

Oceans_Eleven_Mormon_TwinsIf this sounds like it played out a lot like the planning scenes in a heist movie, then your imagination is similar to mine.  Everyone has a role to fill, and they must do it with precise timing.  My role was one of the smaller roles- in the Ocean's Eleven universe I was the two Mormon brothers of dubious piety.  But the team must work in unison.  No dress rehearsal, no calling "line", just a plan, 30 days in which to pull it off, and... GO!

Planning Through the Slump

As with many Kickstarter campaigns that ultimately failed, we got off to a great start.  Mark called in favors, Courtney blogged with mucho gusto, John cut the kickoff video together, and I tweeted(actually, I was active on Facebook and Google + as well, but there's not really a proper verb for using all three that I find satisfying to type.  How about: ) trifecta-fied.  My favorite tweet friendly call to action for this was several variations of "Donate a RT!", because it never hurts to ask.

In memory serves, we hit $4,000 over the first weekend.

Then, as with many Kickstarter campaigns, we hit a slump.  Donations stalled out at around $6000.  Tantalizingly close, but close won't even earn you a cigar in crowd funding land.  We had plenty of time left on the clock- but resisted the false sense of security that comes with time.  We expected a slump, planned for it, so we knew it was time to kick our campaign into overdrive.  We didn't even have to deviate from the editorial calendar, we just had to execute it on schedule.

Why so many updates?

Courtney's religious blogging efforts yielded some good results, but keeping content on the Kickstarter page fresh would prove to be equal in importance, if not a wee bit more important in the end.  As planned, Mark updated The Bath Kickstarter page with heartfelt thank yous, stills from the film, behind the scenes shots, bios for the cast and crew, and ultimately the trailer. 

These updates did two things, they:

1) helped keep the interest of those spectators who hadn't donated yet.

2) reminded those that donated, why they gave, and why they should forward it to their network.

This was also the phase where sealing the deal with influencers became crucial.  We had already made our activities known in the Dementia and Alzheimer's awareness communities, but now was the time to call them to action.  And boy did they mobilize.  

One individual donated $1,000 right away, and encouraged their followers to check it out.  Fresh emails were sent, not to solicit donations, but to solicit some word of mouth outreach- because, again,  it never hurts to ask.

The Moral to the Story

The Kickstarter campaign made Fidalgo Films $10,868.  

It's tempting to say that the moral of this story is "it never hurts to ask", but it would have hurt if we had spent all that time and energy into the campaign only to have it fail.  Instead, I'm thinking the moral is something like "work hard, plan harder".  In other words, you can not half-ass a Kickstarter campaign.  Or maybe the moral is something about teamwork overcoming all odds.  

I don't know.  Why do stories need morals?

Okay, I've got one: "Before you start your Kickstarter campaign, call us."  I'm not kidding.  I can't guarantee a successful campaign, but I can help plan one and increase your odds for success.  Or I can tell you it's a bad idea to begin with and save you a month of headaches (and public embarrassment).

Ubertronix case studyAt the outset of every project, we provide our clients with a Marketing Roadmap.  Part of this marketing guide is a keyword analysis.  As shown in the post linked to above, we use those puppies to create headlines in an editorial calendar.  Those headlines become blog posts, and those blog posts become the optimized-for-search content of the client's website.  

It starts with finding the right keywords.

Now, simply identifying strong keywords isn't enough.  This might already be obvious to you.  Merely popping up in search results is only handy if your content is relevant to the search query.  The ratio between the folks that see you in search results and the folks that click through to the web-page can be measured in impressions vs. clicks.

Not all keywords are created equal, either.  I like to compare them using two metrics: search volume (how many folks are searching for this phrase?) and competition (how many relevant results pop up when the phrase is searched?) Naturally, when looking for good keywords to use, you're looking for that sweet combination of high volume and low competition. Sometimes you might have to settle for medium volume or competition, but sometimes you don't.  Sometimes folks just can't find the answers they're looking for, and the question they're asking has everything to do with you.

In my own marketing non-jargon, that's what I like to call a sweet situation.

In the case of Ubertronix, we found ourselves in just that.

Big-picture-wise, Ubertronix is more about smart gadgets in general than one particular variety.  If they sense a need in the market that can be filled with a little inventiveness, then they'll create something to fill that need.  For practical purposes, most of their current line of products revolves around a line of camera triggers.  My job is to help them sell those bad boys, so catering to the shutter-nut market is a big part of that.  

In light of their purpose (to provide smart gadgets to smart people) and their practical need (sell more product), we ran a few sets of keyword analysis (using three free tools, Google Keyword Research Tool, Google Traffic Estimator and a healthy sanity check by yours truly). 

The first analysis followed the phrase "smart gadget" down the rabbit hole, and turned up results that we rely on for the long game, the purpose of Ubertronix.

The second analysis went right for the jugular- cameras, camera accessories, high-speed photography, dslr's, etc...  We found a lot of volume for phrases like these, and a lot of competition as well.  Then that sweet situation turned up.  Many google-goers were asking a particular, and pretty critical question: When shopping for a camera, should I buy a Canon or a Nikon?

Now, that's a question, not a keyword.  The keyword that represents this question, however, had extremely low competition given the high search volume.  Not surprising, really, since it takes an expert to answer that question.  I'm no camera expert, but my copywriter knew a thing or two about cameras, not to mention the founder of Ubertronix himself.  We decided we'd answer that question, and we'd to it with authority.

We also sprinkled in some other keywords for good measure, heck, (promotional consideration sponsored by Small Biz Triage), why not? But you'll notice another thing about that blog post, it isn't a slave to SEO.  It reads as if a well informed human being wrote it.  All those keywords are about as useful as a hill of beans (maybe less useful) if you don't have good content that's worth a read or, better yet a share.

End result: Over one month (31 days), that one post was responsible for 76% of the search generated clicks site-wide. Safe to say, some new eyeballs saw the Ubertronix logo over that time. And we know some of those people eagerly snapped up some of the products too.

Full disclosure: Traffic for that post has since fell off a bit.  We still get clicks, but not as many.  Competition for keywords changes all the time thanks to marketers ruining everything.  Search volume changes over time too, though maybe in a more organic fashion.  Good thing we update our editorial calendars monthly.  

This month we're trying out a photo contest.  So far so good.  I'll let you all know how it goes.

cupidcasestudySometimes there is no Easy Please-y way to ask for a favor.  In the case of the Seattle Cupid 5K run, we had a big ol' press release to send to various media outlets.   No way around it, these emails were going to be long - in theory.

Here's an example of an email I sent to the fine folks at the West Seattle Herald:


Hi there. I've got a press release for a fun Valentines day race in West Seattle. Mind throwing it on your event calendar? Let me know if you can. Press release follows.


Seth Rasmussen


Now hang on a minute, Seth, weren't we talking about long form emails?  

Yes, that's still the subject of this case study.  I thought I'd spare you reading the entire press release, but if you really want to, check out the West Seattle Herald listing here.

In fact, even if you don't want to read the whole press release, you should check out the link just to see the awesome custom graphic their web editor threw together for us.

Anyhow, here's the meat of a long form email: It must be shorter than short.   Include all the text you want in the press release, but put the crucial question right at the top, and limit yourself to only one request.  Requests made after the first line will frequently be ignored or go completely unnoticed.  It is in fact the web editor's job to post these listings, but we still want to make it as easy for them as possible.

And make sure to thank them afterwards.  Brevity is the soul of gettin' it done, but gratitude is the soul of... your soul.  Probably.

logo_wildmindPart One:  The Easy Please-y

I started my marketing journey as a social media manager/intern.  While social media can be fun and effective, it can also be extremely time consuming and yield only minor results.  Imagine my joy, then, upon discovering that you can get results that would take a month of social media management just by sending out a few well crafted emails.

In today's study, I'll show you one of the most effective emails I've ever sent, tell you what worked, and what didn't work so well.  The main thing to remember about email marketing is that you have got to respect your reader's time.  Say what you have to say and say it quick.  While the format I'm about to show you is longer than most folks care to read, the actions I ask the recipient to take total no more than five minutes of their time if they do them all.

I call this email format The Easy-Please-y.  Take a look:

Dear ______,

I hope the post we did for you folks rallied up some extras for your shoot. I wonder if you wouldn't mind returning the favor by taking a moment to do one of the following to help us spread the word about Wild Mind Film Camp:

Share this post on your facebook page:

Re-Tweet this:

Forward this blurb to your "Wild Minded" Filmmaker friends:

Doug Pray and Peter J. Vogt, in association with TheFilmSchool, are proud to introduce their second annual Wild Mind Film Camp, an 11-day intensive master class for documentary filmmaking in the Washington Cascades.

Wild Mind Film Camp is a hands-on, in-depth learning experience for ten developing professionals and inspired nonfiction filmmakers who want to dramatically improve their documentary skills and knowledge.  Each day features a mix of classes, workshops, and live production in a supportive community atmosphere.

Due to the intimate nature of the program the camp is limited to 10-students, with selection based on the strength of their previous work and statement of intent.

Wild Mind Film Camp runs this summer from July 17th – 28th.

Interested filmmakers can apply by visiting the website:

Any of the above actions will help greatly in spreading the word about Wild Mind Film Camp. I appreciate your time spent on this, and as always, I'm happy to return the favor. Drop me a line any time you need something.

At your service,
Seth Rasmussen

The links in the above email direct your reader right to Facebook and Twitter, where they can do you a big favor with one click.  If they have a mailing list set up, the third option is only marginally more time consuming.  The response to these emails was overwhelming, and in one week of sending these to the right people we went from zero applicants to fifteen.

Why did this email work?

Mainly because I had already done similar favors for others in the film-making community.  I sent a similar letter to Alumni of the program, and every single one of them came through with a post.  You know who you've helped in the past, and if you've done your influencer analysis, you know who to help in the future, so you can call on them for favors like these.  The other reason it worked is for the reason I cited earlier.  It respects the reader's time.  They can read the email, click on two things, and forget about it.  Everybody wins.

What could have worked better?

The longest portion of the email is by far the least effective, so feel free to leave it out.  Later, we'll discuss press releases in all their glory, but for a short email release like the one above, there's something I forgot to do:

Put the link at the top of the email body.  

In my version above, I left the link towards the end.  The end result of all this marketing is to drive traffic to the site and encourage applications, so it does me no favors to drop the link in the part of the email that the least people will read.


Keep is simple, keep it short.  Do favors for others and make it easy for them to reciprocate.

As always, leave your questions in the comments, and thanks for reading.

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