Sitecore 8 Training


I made it to Dallas, Texas today to attend Sitecore 8 Experience Marketing training.  I’m pretty excited; I feel like I’ve been waiting a long time for this.  Tomorrow is the first day of class so hopefully I’ll sleep good.  Sometimes I can get nerdy and not be able to sleep because I’m thinking about how the training will go.

Hoping that my expectations of what I believe the software is capable of is correct.  I have big dreams for the sites that I maintain at work and I truly believe that I’m really close to making it happen.

I miss my wife but it’s only for 4 days so I hope these couple of days are worth every minute.

Good Digital Sales Pitches


Over the years the sales pitches that I remember most are the ones where the sales contact was really approachable.  You could tell the pitch wasn’t a speech that they gave over and over without feeling.  They truly believed in the product that they were selling and they wanted you to know how it would help you.

The pitches that I don’t like are the ones full of powerpoint slides.  In the slides there never is anything in there really showing how the system functions.  I don’t like seeing a ton of figures and all of the companies that are supposedly using the product.  No companies are exactly the same so the way a system would be setup could be completely different which determines the systems value.

I feel like I’m probably a special case when it comes to some of the other customers a sales contact pitches to.  Even though I’m a marketer I’m also a computer professional with a degree in information systems.  So when the sales contact is talking about the technical functionality my mind instantly starts trying to understand how the system works.  If something doesn’t make sense I don’t always ask a question.  I’m waiting for the sales contact to maybe say something additionally to clear up the vagueness.  This is where a lot of sales contacts fall short.

Too Many Emails


When I think about my day at work it’s amazing how many emails that I get from companies promoting their products to me.  It’s funny because I sit and think, “How did they even get my email address?”  I also get calls transferred to me and I let them go to voicemail.  I would say 99% of these calls and emails never are promoting what I’m trying to solve.  Since they aren’t trying to fix my current hot issue I ignore them. There’s so many I don’t even really read the emails – I just glance at the first sentence.

I think what’s so frustrating is when the person sending the email sends the exact same email to multiple people within the company. It’s really a sign that the message isn’t sincere.

As a marketer it’s clear that the process that is being followed isn’t a good approach.  I can tell you that 100% of sales and marketing professionals take this approach.  I ask myself daily, “How can I be different?”

Sitecore XP 8 Experience Marketing Training


In two weeks I’m headed to Dallas for some Sitecore 8 Experience Marketing training.  I’m excited to get an idea of how different 8 is from 7.2.  I’m glad that I have experience with an older version because it will let me truly gauge how far the software has come along.  I’ve done some small personalizations already so I have some knowledge of how I perceive the system should work.  I’m going to the training to get an idea of how Sitecore believes the system should work; this will let me know if I’m on the right track.

Large scale CMS systems like Sitecore truly are time savers.  Even though it can be still difficult to adjust at times with company demands I don’t regret ever moving to a CMS. Trying to manually update web pages fast without a system would be painful. I truly can’t remember the last time that I coded an entire page from scratch.  Don’t get me wrong, there are times I still have to make some manual html edits to fix something but it’s truly just a tweak.

Personalization Snafoo


After getting excited about being able to do some personalization I ran into a problem.  Looks like the sites don’t keep the session information across platforms from returning visitors in Sitecore 7.2.  This kind of messes up the strategy that I was working to achieve.  The only option now is to upgrade to Sitecore 8.1 and I believe this will solve the session issue.

Nothing like a little challenge to achieve something cool.

Busy Two Weeks


The last two weeks had a lot of moments of achievements and let downs. There were a couple of times the server went down on jhasmal.com and the site was completely non-functional. After a little bit of stress and a couple of emails later I was moved to a new server.

The new server is better and some of the upgrades needed to the website were performed. Now jhasmal.com is truly an online event promotion platform.

To assist in getting some traction I’ve started running adwords ads to promote the events currently on the site. There some good things going on around Wichita now I just need to make them easy for users to find them.

I’ve kept my budget and bid pretty low to start with the intent that my ads will show throughout the day. I’m not always interested in having the clicks run out early. I’m more interested in having my ad being seen for an extended period of time so people will remember the website name jhasmal.com

Test by using


The only way to truly understand if your website is performing as intended is to use it.

I had a lot of free time this weekend so I actually tried to use jhasmal.com like it was my first time. I found out the map feature sucked on my cell phone. The filter function was very difficult because I had to click on each bubble to see what the event was – that was stupid.

Finding an event on the site should be really easy. My site seemed to be overly complicated. I feel like if it takes more than 5 seconds to find an event the site is useless. With that being said I scrapped the map and decided to use static images to represent each event.

Campaigner Email Management


So I’ve added a newsletter subscription signup to my website.  How I’m going to use it is to allow the visitors of the site to signup so they can receive events by email.  This will help with users who don’t consistently come to the website on a daily basis.  The newsletter will link back to some of the events to make sure the user comes back at some point.

I haven’t completely figured this out but I’ll probably randomly select one or two events.  In the newsletter I’ll try to go more into detail only on those two events and then add the “See All” link below to get them to go to the website to see the rest.

To manage the email subscription I’m using Campaigner.  I’ve used Campaigner on some smaller projects in the past so I’m familiar with how it works.  Campaigner is a pretty affordable solution.  If you are looking for something simple to use for sending out emails visit www.campaigner.com

Websites Do Have Problems


If you think that you are going to launch a website and nothing is going to go wrong you would be mistaken. I’ve never launched any website whether it was a corporate site or a personal one that didn’t have some issue.

I’ve been working on my personal site www.jhasmal.com since last year. It’s starting to be a little bit of a headache now. I entered in a couple of local events and when you click them it doesn’t want to take you to the corresponding page. This really sucks considering it used to work.

I’ve been struggling with whether I should start programming this site myself or keep letting the existing people work on it. It’s starting to get a little old considering it has never worked completely from day one.

This is the life of a digital person though. There is no perfect solution that you build and walk away from it and collect money.

Putting the sites together


So I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with www.jhasmal.com.  What I’ve come up with so far is trying to use the site in tandem with a business that I’m thinking about.  I love slot cars so I’ve been thinking about open this type of business on the weekends.

I want to introduce the business customers to the website by including events such as car shows.  Car show visitors and slot car buyers have something in common – they both love cars.  If I can get the people in charge of the car shows to pay to post their events I’ll have a good start.  I would naturally send my slot car customers to the site by having print pieces inside my store.  I would put these print pieces in the customers bag or figure out a way to print them directly on the receipt.

I’m not sure yet how I want to use slotcarsblog.wordpress.com yet.  I’m not sure if I want my paying customers going to that site.  Should it be a place with general information about slot cars like it is currently?  I just don’t want people to get stuck on that site and forget about www.jhasmal.com.

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