Interview with Arnie Kuenn ahead of SMX West 2012 in San Jose
Arnie Kuenn is the president of Vertical Measures, a search, social & content marketing company helping their clients get more traffic, more leads, and more business. Arnie has held executive positions in the world of new technologies and marketing for more than 20 years. He is a frequent speaker and author of Accelerate! Moving Your Business Forward Through the Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing available on Amazon.
Hello, Arnie! February 28, a lot of digital marketers will gather for SMX West 2012 in San Jose. You will be one of the speakers on this important Internet marketing event. So, this interview is a great and unique possibility for our readers and us to get acquainted with you and with your activity.
Could you tell us something about your life, family? Where were you born?
I was born in Buffalo, New York, and I will let you guess at the year. We moved to Ohio when I was 3 years old and my wife and I moved to Arizona in 1983. We have two awesome kids and life is great.
When and why did you start your Internet marketing business?
We started Vertical Measures in 2006, sort of rolling it out of our previous business called MediaChoice. We developed and patented a book, music and movie recommendation system back in 1999 and did a lot of Internet marketing. We built websites, worked with our clients and their websites, etc. We ended up licensing a piece of the technology to Nielsen Media, the TV ratings company. And, at that point, we started to build out some affiliate sites and other sites to generate some revenue for the business. We tried different models and that’s really when the whole Internet marketing piece fell into place for us. I started to consult with clients on SEO and I really liked it. Eventually, once it looked like we had enough consistent work to call it a true business, we ended up phasing out MediaChoice and starting Vertical Measures.
Now you are the president of Vertical Measures. Tell us some words about your company and the services you provide.
We are located in Phoenix, Arizona, and focus on search, social and content marketing services. Our company motto is “more traffic, more leads, more business.” We might be best known for our link building, but we do a lot of content creation for clients, everything from blog posts to infographics to free guides. Oh and we are pretty darn good at SEO too.
How many employees are there in your company now?
We currently have 15 full-time employees, a couple of part-time staff and lots of contractors.
According to your opinion, what skills and qualities of character have helped you to reach that you have now?
It’s really hard to say. I have been an entrepreneur my entire business life. I really don’t know any other way to be. I think you have got to have a serious desire and drive to succeed. Running a business is not for the meek. I see lots of people leave a nice job because they think they can just start a business and the customers will just come – and keep coming, but it’s much more difficult than most imagine. You have got to have the fortitude to stick it out. Find customers during the day and do your work at night if you have to.
What difficulties do you face in your work? How do you cope with them?
I think the biggest difficulties we face today is how fast things are changing on the Internet. I talk to a lot of other respected people in the internet marketing field and the common theme lately is it exhausting to just keep up. I think the only way to cope is 1) to accept that you cannot be an expert at everything 2) find your niche and stick to it.
On the 1st of March, we will be glad to hear your speech. It will be dedicated to the largest video search engine – Youtube. What is the role of online video for driving traffic to a web-site nowadays?
Websites with video sell 45% more stuff, that’s pretty powerful right there. And according to Internet Retailer, customers who watch product videos are 85% more likely to buy. So clearly video is not only driving traffic to websites, but it is helping turn those visitors into customers too.
Could you give our readers some tips concerning video content optimization?
Here are three important aspects for video optimization. There are more, but these are the top three.
1) Create a specific, compelling Title – would you click on “Our Company” or “V00023.mov?” Neither will your audience. Try to use “Video” in the title and be sure to change the file name too!
2) Description - Say as much as you can in the first sentence or two, because many video sites will hide the bulk of your description. Include at least one link placed at the start of the description (be sure to start it with http://).
3) Tags – Take the time to add accurate tags. This is where you can help your video appear in the “Suggested” or “Similar” videos section.
Speaking about social media, who will be the leader between these three most popular social networks - Facebook, Google+, Twitter?
That is anyone’s guess, but I would say the leader now and into the near future is Facebook. You just cannot argue with 900 million, fairly active users.
What is the role of Twitter in traffic and conversion increasing? Does it have any unique prospects which distinguish it from Facebook, for example?
Twitter can be a great marketing tool, but it also sends a lot of worthless traffic to your website, lowering your conversion stats. To me the best way to use Twitter is to build relationships that turn into clients. Of course, that is different from business to business. If you sell T-shirts online, you might get good conversions from Twitter by offering promotions, but if you are in the B2B space, building one-on-one relationships is the way to go.
What is your personal secret of success?
I don’t have any secret formula. If you ask 100 successful business people what their secret was, I bet 100 of them would say hard work and desire. However, like I mentioned above, you need to be able to sell. Nothing happens until someone sells it. I don’t care if it’s toilet paper or SEO services, it has to get sold to someone willing to buy.
According to your professional point of view, what changes are waiting for SEO strategies in 2012?
I think we will see social media becoming more and more important as well as mentions or citations. So it will be critical to create content on your website that others want to talk about, link to, and share. It doesn’t have to be on a global scale though. If you are a veterinarian in Scottsdale, Arizona, then make sure you are providing the very best content for your clients and potential clients. If they start to share it you will stand out from the rest.
Now we would like to ask several personal questions.
Your desk book? – Accelerate of course! People you hold up as an example? – My dad. Mac or PC? PC for now with a Mac in my future. iPhone or Android?Android for now. Favorite brand?Amazon Wishes for 2012? – Peace on Earth