04 Aug 2014

Do you want to really understand Dennis Yu?

1 Comment Featured, people management

I did an experiment yesterday on Facebook. I posted a quote, unattributed.


And it got a few dozens likes immediately. Ironically, it was a Simon Sinek quote, which a few people spotted.

Martin Luther King was able to get 250,000 people together Washington DC on that August day in 1963 not because they followed him, but because of the vision. He just happened to be the conduit.

Sinek quipped that it just wouldn’t be the same if MLK said “I have a plan.”
The WHY is more powerful than the WHAT– the dream vs the plan.

Then I tested by posting something informational.
You can build influence by becoming an subject matter expert.

Arguably, the hottest current topic– plus I tagged a thought leader in online marketing.

Yet it got zero response.

Here’s a post from a friend that got almost 300 likes:


Another WHY post. And as much as I like Christine, it’s about what she stands for, not her personal beauty.

It struck me that people who seek to be wealthy or famous as their goal are hollow compared to people on a mission.

This speaks volumes about the nature of influence.

Here is the most popular post of all time on Facebook with over 4 million likes.
Can you guess under what circumstances, as opposed to by who?

Screenshot 2014-08-02 11.37.24

People who clicked like did it because of what THEY believed and a celebration of THEIR success.

It wasn’t about the attractiveness of Michelle or Barack, nor the quality of the photo, but of mission.

Mission is shared and owned by many– inclusive, not exclusive; giving, not taking; clarifying, not distracting.

Did you know the Greeks had 4 different words for love?

A general love via the warmth of friendships and pleasures. I love donuts, ultimate frisbee and episodes of StarGate.  Maybe you really “loved” that restaurant last night?

Physical, passionate love tied to a person.  This is where “erotic” comes from. Infatuation creates love goggles, masking lust for other things.

Affection usually between family members, based on acceptance and mutual protection. David and Jonathan had one of the strongest friendships in the Bible. It was not sexual, but one of fulfilling mission– David’s anointing to be the next King.

Unconditional, sacrificial love. To lay down your life for another man. Continuing to give, and not reciprocal. Spiritual and without sexual implications. Think of the Good Samaritan. Or for Christians, consider Jesus and that “God is Love”.

If Jesus were to be walking the planet in 2014, I’d bet he’d be on Facebook. And I bet he’d be a killer marketer.

Up until a year ago, my life was always about me. I wanted to be in the spotlight as the image of success.

But now it’s about a mission that all of us can embrace.

It’s time for others to step up into the spotlight and for me to be in support.


01 Aug 2014

You wouldn’t believe this was me a year ago

2 Comments Featured, people management

A year ago, I had nothing– no health, no money, and a career that looked more like a homeless man’s exploits than what might pass as a functional business. I explain what that life feels like here.

Ever chase money and feel like a hamster on a wheel?

I was chasing the idea of success, as no entrepreneur wants to admit public failure. They ask each other at tech events how things are going, and out come the white lies. This reinforces the false reality of running a business, creating a loneliness that only a founder or business owner would know.

I still get the email subscriptions of people who have worked for us, which creates a chore for me to unsubscribe. Do you sweep the floors, too?

Today, I saw a video of a young man pitching his self-help materials. He was standing on a yacht, talking about how he could teach us success. Gold watch, blazer– all that was missing was the exotic car or bikini babe.  Though he was promising how you could be 3-5 times more successful by following his advice, all I could think was “Gee, how much did he pay to film his one minute video on that docked yacht? Or maybe his parents have a kind friend.”

I downloaded his ebook and read it in 3 minutes flat.  It was a younger version of Tony Robbins– good for young folks to understand that hard work, passion, and planning count and that we have to set goals in our careers, personal lives, health, spiritual lives, etc…

And while the advice wasn’t necessarily wrong, it reinforces the very problem it claims to solve.  Kids coming out of high school still don’t know what they want. And neither do adults well into mid-life, as they are just older kids.

I never understood the transition from school to work, so I was still swimming when the water turned to land.  The techniques I used to get good grades didn’t seem to work in getting me a job.

In fact, it hurt me.

School taught me that collaborating with others was cheating, that there was always a singular right answer in the book, and that once you submitted the paper, that bit was over.  People in the real world know the opposite is true.

You must act quickly to fail quickly and iterate.  Business owners make decisions based on relationships, not by your GPA. The stuff you need is not in the textbook, although Googling things can be quite helpful.  Yes, I used to work at Yahoo! and us engineers were using gmail and googling things.

2014-08-02 01_22_48-1928828_516826583409_7348_n - Windows Photo Viewer

And in doing Internet marketing for the last 20 years, if you count bulletin boards and dial-up, I’ve witnessed the same transition struggle for business owners. They understand the core of their business– the customer, their product, and how to drive sales.  But the electronic world has left them befuddled in a maze of software and witch doctors selling their wares. I get confused, too.

The education system is like a giant soft serve machine that oozes out vanilla twist, left on with nobody watching.

It’s pumping out millions of graduates each year, who are not equipped to work in today’s modern world. It’s not the school’s fault, since a degree was never a promise for a job. And it’s not the businesses’ fault, since it’s not their role, at least not in the United States, to train students on basic business principles.

We’re not even talking about teaching the mechanics of Facebook ads, learning how to program, or fancy stuff.  What’s missing is simply being able to communicate in a business setting, knowing how to manage your time, and fundamentals that matter in any type of gainful employment.

Living here in Minnesota, the land of not 10,000 lakes, but actually 12,000 lakes, we have many rivers, too. To portage is to carry your canoe out of the water to get around an obstacle or something in the way. It’s a necessary transition that requires multiple people to lift the canoe and someone to guide the group.

I had no direction or true vision a year ago, though I could talk a good game.  But now, I have a family of close friends, a mission that matters, and a support network that is far more valuable than money.   And this is a transition, a portage, that has taken me a long time.  We have a lot to share and I’d welcome your help in this journey.

I’m looking forward to sharing this with you over the coming weeks and months.

26 Jun 2014

New record: 509 reach with 426 clicks

No Comments facebook, Featured
Screenshot 2014-06-26 18.34.47 (1)
That means 84% of folks who saw this clicked on it.
Just imagine if we ran some ads against it?
If we assume a $5 CPM ($5 per thousand impressions), then for $5, we’d get 1,000 impressions.
This results in 840 clicks and a cost per click of well under a penny.
However, it would not drive ROI.
20 Jun 2014

How Smart Do You Think Facebook is?

1 Comment Cool Products, facebook
2014-06-20 14_10_23-_[Screenshot 2014-06-20 12.46.45 (1)] (exported)-1.0 (RGB color, 1 layer) 1996x8
Facebook knows where you are, what songs you’re listening to, what you like, and what you have bought.
Is this a pure coincidence, friends?
15 May 2014

If you’re a news, media, or publishing site, you should turn on comment replies now to get more engagement!

No Comments facebook, social media
By default, it’s not on.
So follow the instructions here to make it happen.
If you get a lot of comments on posts, you’ll eventually be able to keep “sticky replies” at the top of the post.
That would keep you from having to use the same comment reply over and over.
More engagement means more newsfeed reach!
17 Apr 2014

The most expensive ad on Facebook ever?

No Comments facebook marketing and advertising
Screenshot 2014-04-15 19.40.50
Check this out– $39.68 on 390 impressions.
That works out to $107.60 CPM (cost per thousand impressions).
For the math people out there, that is 10 cents per IMPRESSION, not per click.
Fortunately, I got 7 clicks, so it works out to less than $6 a click.
Is that too high a cost?
If it drove a couple leads, perhaps not.
So don’t go off the CPM or CPC necessary if you’re doing B2B lead gen.
Check out how to optimize your bid strategy here.


24 Mar 2014

Website Custom Audiences are the BEST thing on Facebook

9 Comments local advertising

Screenshot 2014-03-21 18.34.38

I took this screenshot just now. The top 3 ads are all Facebook retargeting.
In other words, I had just visited these sites and immediately, they are showing me messages related to whatever I was just looking at.

With jiveSYSTEMS, I was learning about how to do video email.
So they’re tempting me with more articles from the blog.

With autocustoms.com, they’re a client, so that’s what happens.
If I had clicked on a particular product, I might see that again.

With priceline.com, I’m looking at hotels for next week in Salt Lake.
They know I’m cheap, but they aren’t smart enough to stop ads when I’ve already booked something else.

Some pitfalls to avoid with WCA (Website Custom Audiences):

  • Just because they’re effective, don’t overuse them. Watch your frequency and rotate your creatives.
  • Have different calls to action. You’re not going to use the same creative for driving awareness as you would for engagement or conversion. Segment out your content by where they are in your sales funnel.
  • Make sure to use negatives. Don’t send new customer offers to existing customers. Run exclusion audiences.
  • Use combinations. You can use WCA to catch folks who didn’t open your email, didn’t buy, or aren’t a fan. Why not cross email, connection targeting, and other attributes with your WCA? So many combos possible for segmented messaging.

What else might you not know about WCA?

Your turn. Have you used WCA yet? Got any tips or thoughts to share here?

24 Mar 2014

What do Alex Houg and Star Wars have in common?

No Comments local advertising

Screenshot 2014-03-20 20.25.55

I’m not sure, but Facebook is showing this when I search for his name on Facebook.

Do you think this is an ad?
Maybe Facebook will bring back the sponsored results, which were search ads?

20 Mar 2014

A dead post from 3 years ago suddenly comes alive– and my guess why

No Comments local advertising

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 12.36.33 AM

I wrote a blog post on project management three years ago.
It sat dormant. No hits.

And then a few weeks ago, it got 1,792 pageviews.
All organic. No ads and nobody promoting it, from what I can tell.

The only hypothesis I have is that it’s actually Facebook traffic or that Google’s algorithm is taking into account social activity.

Here is the Facebook trend, so you can see how closely they match up.

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 12.44.23 AM

And we’ve seen that traffic we know is actually from Facebook is marked as direct/none or Google organic.

This is especially tricky because of the “not provided” issue, where Google hides the keywords your traffic came from. For Facebook traffic, there clearly was no keyword.

Friends, what do you think?

01 Mar 2014

Top 10 Things That I Learned at #L2E

No Comments local advertising
  1. Screen Shot 2014-03-01 at 1.20.12 PM

You should build your network before you need it.

  1. Work toward your strengths.
  2. Tell your story.
  3. Dancing is good!
  4. Network is net worth.
  5. Be careful what you put on social media.
  6. Build your brand.
  7. Don’t waste time on the Internet.
  8. Be a light with things you learn.
  9. Fly, don’t walk.