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Mike Wolfe is the founder of WAM Enterprises LLC, a company aimed at helping small business grow using the internet. He currently serves as the President of WAM Marketing Solutions and owns WAMGolf.com, TheStumblingGrape.com and 999Places.com. He’s been quoted in the USA Today, appeared as a radio show guest and has been a guest speaker at several events.
WAM Marketing Solutions helps small businesses grow using Social Media and the Internet. They work to decrease marketing costs while increasing sales, website traffic, brand recognition and SEO.
The Stumbling Grape is one of the premier websites for wine information. Their team of writers discusses all things wine: Vineyards, Trails, Bars, and destinations.
WAM Golf features golf stories from across the globe. Whether it’s the latest in golf courses, golf destinations, golf news or equipment, WAM Golf has it covered.
999 Places is all about travel. Here in the US, in Europe, Australia and across the globe, 999 Places delivers the best in travel.
MO: What inspired you to launch a social-media marketing company just after losing your job?
Mike: My passion for working with small businesses and connecting people made it an easy decision. Every small business starts with a dream and I get to help people realize their dream. Social Media happens to be a great tool to help small businesses reach more people without a massive marketing budget. Now businesses have the ability to listen and converse with customers or potential customers. If you know what your customers want you can deliver it to them.
MO: How challenging is it to get clients to shift their mentality from traditional marketing to Social Media marketing and awareness?
Mike: <laughing> It’s a big challenge. We are working with businesses that have been around for nearly 20 years and they’re used to the same marketing method that they’ve always used. Now we have to get them to shift their mentality to this is where people are…people are going to the Internet for information but it’s not enough to just have a website. Consumers want to be able to relate to brands, and trust a brand before buying or endorsing that brand. Once the businesses realize the potential and the creativity Social Media allows for they fall in love with it and are calling us with new ideas. It’s exciting to be a part change and help businesses make the transition.
MO: What are 2 trends you’re currently seeing in Social Media and how will these trends impact how companies approach their marketing strategies and do business?
Mike: The biggest trend is the growth in mobile technology. More people are using tablets and smart phones than ever before, there is a desire for information right at their fingertips. We are seeing growth in social media technology on mobile phones because people want to access information wherever they are. When I’m on the train in and out of New York City just about everyone is using some form of mobile device and their often checking Twitter or Facebook.
There is also an Increase in use of photos and images to generate a Social Media buzz. Sites like Pinterest and apps like Instagram make it easy for businesses to share an image related to their business through a variety of social media channels. On Twitter you only get 140 characters so if you can share a picture it adds tremendous value. Businesses can now show off a product within seconds to hundreds of people and customers have the ability to share images with everyone they are connected with. It’s pretty amazing.
MO: What was your inspiration behind launching WAM Golf?
Mike: A few reasons. I love golf; I’m passionate about the game and love to play. I like the challenge it presents and the beauty each golf course holds.
I actually started WAM Golf after paying $80.00 to play a bad golf course. I was fed up. I wanted to share my good and bad experiences with other golfers so they can make the best decisions and get the most for their money. I think now more than ever people are being more careful with where their dollar goes. If I can share my experiences and it helps someone spend their money a little wiser it’s a good feeling.
The final reason I started WAM Golf was to develop Social Media techniques. I can see what works and what doesn’t on my own site rather than on that of a client. It’s a great place to test things out.
MO: You also founded The Stumbling Grape (http://www.thestumblinggrape.com/), a website dedicated to all things wine. Was your love of wine so great that you felt compelled to invest in a third venture?
Mike: I do enjoy wine but the real driving force was helping my friends and family share their passion. I saw their passion for it and asked if they would be interested in writing about their experiences. I had four of them say yes, I came up with the name The Stumbling Grape and we launched. It’s early on but the numbers are impressive and we were invited to cover the New York Wine Expo in March. The wine industry is a fun one to be a part of and it ties into my love of small businesses.
MO: Oh, I nearly forgot that you have another site, 999 Places (http://999placesblog.com/) that is dedicated to travel across the globe. What are the top three places on your Bucket List?
Mike: Ireland is top on my list. I’d love to get over there to play golf and see the country with my fiancé. Hopefully I can sneak over to Scotland and play St. Andrews too, that’s a dream of mine.
Next is Switzerland. I went with my cousin to Zurich a few years ago and loved it. I can’t wait to return to Zurich but I’d also like to explore the rest of the country, I hear great things about it.
I think my third is Australia. Ryan MacNeil, the head writer for 999 Places, is a great friend of mine. Starting this website with him has been a fun experience and I can’t wait to see where it goes. He’s been to Australia several times and speaks so highly of it that I can’t help but want to visit one day.
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