30 Jul 2015

On This Day – Facebook

No Comments local advertising

 

 

Dennis Luggage Post
I awoke from a dream and didn’t know where I was. The hotel room looked like any ordinary Hilton, but when I peeled back the curtains, I saw the sprawling, dirty metropolis of Beijing.
And I remembered that I was 13 hours ahead– how far I had come, literally. Jetlagged, disoriented– not like the fantasy George Clooney in “Up In The Air”.
Another time, I’m in Minneapolis in my own bed, but it takes a few moments to wipe away the slumber and realize where I am. Being an entrepreneur is sometimes like a horror film that you don’t know the ending of, nor can publicly admit is scary.
My TravelPro carry-on remembers these cities and experiences, but is forever silent.
The “On This Day” feature of Facebook helps me relish the journey. It gives me balance– low moments when I need a dose of humility and reminders of past success when I need cheering up.
One year ago, you were doing something you probably don’t remember well today. But when reminded, the details come back in full HD.
It’s better than the times you move, pausing to rummage through stuff you hadn’t seen in a while. You cherish these memories and remind yourself to follow up on them.
Are you getting these flashbacks from Facebook more frequently in your newsfeed? Do you wish life was not a slideshow that would only accelerate faster and faster with no pause button.
Go to facebook.com/onthisday and remind yourself of how far you’ve come, my friend.

 

28 Jul 2015

I am still waiting for your reply

No Comments email marketing

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Thus said friend.seocompany@gmail.com, who wants me to post their blog in exchange for a token payment.
Apparently, I didn’t respond to them within 2 minutes, so they had to follow up.

So I was curious what sort of spam they engage in.
Googling that email address (you should use your domain, not a freemail address, by the way, if you want to be treated seriously), we find:

PIEJu1ptaIpOHorL_Vou5kMhres5BUA2Ucxw23AdzT4

Looks like “Anna” is buying and selling links on her site:

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And doing this with a lot of folks:
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Notice the keyword stuffing in the blog sections and tags.

Anyone who has to cold-call to drive business doesn’t have enough to keep them busy.
It means they can’t keep clients or care more about growth than quality.

Be an inbound marketer, not a desperate pitchman.
 

10 Jul 2015

How Business Insider creates decent Facebook videos with ease

No Comments local advertising

9 things you didn’t know about Air Force One: http://read.bi/1FW0pEJ

Posted by Business Insider on Sunday, July 5, 2015

Here is an organic video from Business Insider, a publisher of broad-ranging content that uses BuzzFeed-like techniques.
Better content and not as far as the linkbaiting spectrum, so a good player to watch to see what social sharing tactics are working.

This video is a listicle (an article that is a list of things), which is the easiest to create.
Take any existing article you have (a top ten list, for example), associate one picture per item, and turn it into a video.

Instead of posting the entire video to Facebook, have the first 20 seconds be native and make the call the action at the end like this:

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If you’ve done a good job in making the video super interesting, you’ll get the follow-on click to your site.
Facebook recently changed a video view to be counted as at least 10 seconds, up from just 3 seconds.
So make the video just long enough to be super interesting, but not long enough that the drop-off hurts you.

If you do a good job, you’ll get 25% of viewers to click through.

FacebookVideo

In this case, Business Insider is using their own url shortener, but you could you link directly or use bit.ly, too.

Look in your video analytics in Facebook insights and compare it with your Google Analytics.

Then you can see this funnel:

impression > view > Facebook reported click > bitly click > Google Analytics visit > conversion

Pro tips:

  • You’ll need sitewide SSL on your site to measure referral traffic from Facebook.
  • Set up url parameters in your call to action link so you can track it as a campaign.
  • Amplify this post with ads at a dollar a day.
  • Make sure you have conversion tracking in Facebook and Google enabled so you can see if viewers took further action.
  • Have remarketing in place (Google and Facebook) so you can show follow-on videos and articles in sequence to these viewers.
  • Get a FancyHands, Fiverr, or student to do this at $20 a pop to help you assemble your listicles (then turned into a video) and execute this process.

If you have your plumbing in place, then you’ll methodically be able to drive engagement traffic (like this) sequentially to conversion.

Consider what Owen Hemsath, who’s an expert at video marketing on his YouTube channel VideoSpot, and runs thevideospot.net, has to say:

2ea23d0Short-form video content will win over Facebook users who are used to thumbing through their news feed. Ask for a few seconds of their time to earn the click and take advantage of remarketing strategies to engage your viewers long term. Businesses using Facebook video will excel with short-form content. All of our tests show that users want to preview your content before committing to the full post.  We’ve found that on Facebook shorter videos with a clear commercial message outperform “content-based” ads promoting the same offer. In other words, if you’re selling something- sell it and do it quickly. The talking head videos may perform well if you’re a clearly established personality but for most brands, that won’t be the case. Give the audience a visually impactful video that leads to your funnel. 

In other words, have multiple nurturing steps by delivering content via email, Facebook, and otherwise to an eventual conversion.

29 Jun 2015

I just don’t have enough

No Comments advice, personal branding, promoting yourself

Not enough time. Not enough money. I don’t have enough in every aspect of my life.

And so I adopt a scarcity attitude, justifying my rude behavior towards others.

After all, if there isn’t enough to go around, it’s a dog eat dog world, right?

There are only so many client dollars, so I must outmuscle my competition.

I’ll growl when any other dog comes near my food dish when I’m eating.

Zero sum game, red ocean– I need to be tough and distrustful, as life is nasty, brutish, and short.

So content marketing becomes illogical– why would you give away your food in a famine?

For some, the hot sand evokes a barren desert, but to others, a tropical beach

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If you want to be the “best” at something, you have to surround yourself with others at the best.

Crawl out from the “safety” of your Platonic Cave and into the illumination of the brightest stars.

Those who you once thought were enemies now become allies you seek for reciprocal value.

I’m not threatened by folks like Larry Kim, who can probably run circles around me in PPC.

Or Mat Morrison, who can mine social data deeper than I can imagine.

Mat-Morrison-e1420755332252

These folks I respect, but am not afraid of and definitely don’t see as competition.

Who are the Larry’s and Mat’s that you’ve avoided because of the fear of not enough?

Fear is the silent killer

I might think that I don’t have fear, but disguise via my busyness, call it irrelevant, or deflect it with excuses.

Like an alcoholic, I’ll be in denial– cover it up, be defensive, and then hide.

When there is love, fear cannot exist.

Love is focusing on the needs of others, while fear is self-centered concern.

When others are being mean to us, look beyond their immediate behavior to see a heart in pain.

They are in pain like a bear with her paw in a trap or a friend who has suffered a physical injury.

You can reframe anger, rude behavior, and criticism into a cry for love, like our friend Will Franco talks about.

And usually, their situation is caused by a mentality of not enough and zero sum, which is what’s causing them to barely get by.

What they view as the problem is actually the symptom and vice-versa.

If you believe strongly in your business’ mission, where is your love manifested?

How are you giving of your knowledge and time freely, knowing it will come back to you one hundred fold?

If not, how will you transform your mentality of being a sole provider fending off the world, unable to come out to receive love?

Who are the folks you view as enemies and competitors, whose strength they’d gladly apply in your favor?

I’d argue that you believe you have any direct competitors, you’ve not thought through your mission deeply enough.

The exception is if you operate in a regulated or commodity environment– but then consider how to not differentiate further.

17 Jun 2015

Don’t do this if you want to speak at a conference

No Comments Conferences

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Putting on conferences is increasingly harder, so organizers are resorting to trading speaking slots for sponsorship dollars.
The result is that most conferences devolve into pitchfests, where vendors shamelessly sell, like above.

Here is one example of where they reached out and I replied asking for more information:

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So my assistants reached out 7 times over the course of 3 months and never got a response:

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-VfTRhVZnTlLdLBX3SGHAH3hOFUnvCSUsmiQ7Dz_wiM

In fact, each time I’ve replied to WBR folks, they have trouble responding, even though they initiated conversation or called me first.
Here is one of many:

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In fact, over the last couple years, they’ve sent me 110 emails and phone calls:

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Attendees smell the foul odor and don’t come back the next year, creating increasing pressure to rely on sponsors to make ends meet.
Do you see this happening at the conferences you attend?

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“I agree that many are becoming a pitchfest. I think those conferences who limit the numbers of exhibitors do better from an attendee’s point of view. If I wanted to see what people have to sell, I’d go to an exhibition. I go to conferences to learn, network and share what valuable insights that I have myself”

says Facebook Marketing Professional, Jenny Brennan. She continues,

“On the other hand, I think most organizers would argue that they need the revenue – I don’t know what it’s like to be on that side of things so I am unqualified to give an opinion – I just know that for me, it feels sort of slimy to be sold to at events and I avoid the booths as much as I can.”

This problem is only getting worse, since the big networks like Google and Facebook actually have the upper in producing content on how to use their platforms.
Same is true for Adobe Analytics, Marketo, Infusionsoft, and other vendors that are now putting on their own shows.

HootSuite has their HootSuite University and Facebook has Facebook Blueprint– plus Google has their certifications.

There is only going to be more technology, not less of it.
And the inevitable result is that you’ll see increasingly more tool-focused presentations, but less independent speakers.

Back to the original issue, if you’re good (I mean really good) at what you do, you’ll not need to pay to speak at a conference.
They’ll pay your travel expenses and give you a modest speaker’s fee.

I hear Guy Kawasaki gets $50k to speak and Seth Godin is over $100k.
You don’t see these guys or even the smaller guys ever paying– we certainly don’t.

Paying for content is like paying for sex– it’s dishonest on multiple levels.
You can see this sales guy’s message offering up the audience like raw meat– encouraging pitching.

In the last year, I’ve been hit up every week for paid speaking gigs– I turn them all down.
Some conferences have aggressive sales guys that offer “free” passes if you buy a discounted booth.
The booth is supposedly $10,000, but if you get selected (everyone gets selected), then it’s only $2,000.

We have to be picky about what conferences have alignment with our mission so we create joint value– helping young adults get jobs.

Consider your opportunity cost in addition to any hard costs.
Pay to attend a conference to learn, but never pay to speak.

15 Jun 2015

He raises a good point

No Comments email marketing, Spam

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04 Jun 2015

Cold caller follows up incessantly on me, so I follow up on him

No Comments email marketing, Spam

IdSuPAOv1xyiimKC5hfKNpTK66x5kd6DhvCCjCEQRO4 This sales guy cold blasted me 6 times, asking if I was interested in his services.

On his most recent follow up, I decided that I would follow up with him to ask if he could unsubscribe me. Then I set a 7 day boomerang (one of my favorite services) to come back back if he still hadn’t responded.

He didn’t. So I’ve followed up with him to see if he’s been able to stop the spam.

I don’t believe in cold calling for a variety of reasons: you are wasting your time interrupting people who aren’t interested, it makes you look desperate for sales, you’re dumping spam into the ecosystem, and it creates negative word of mouth.
Sales are important- don’t get me wrong- but we must be smarter about it. Be consultative, create value. Make it about them, not you.

Are you building a relationship in your email campaigns, or pointlessly spamming in hopes for a sale?

01 Jun 2015

Bad business decisions from good statistics

1 Comment Expertise, Thought Leadership

I charge a premium for consulting.  
Clients pay for your years of experience, not how many minutes you spent on an issue.

If you were to compare a jet aircraft versus a Greyhound bus, you might conclude the cross-country trip of 3 days and 2 hours (74 hours) is a great deal for $289.
That’s only $3.91 per hour.

United has this trip for $213 and the trip takes 5 hours and 6 minutes non-stop.
That’s $41.76 per hour, which is 10 times as much.

But unless you really want to see America’s highways and truck stops, I’ll bet you prefer the direct flight.
It’s cheaper, too.

Stephen Curry, NBA MVP this season, made $10,629,213 last year.
Over 82 regular season games (not counting playoffs and not counting endorsement earnings), that’s $129,622 per game.
At 32.7 minutes per game, that’s $3,964 per minute.

If the Warriors hired me for $3,964 per hour– I’d be a heck of a deal, right?

So consider your fee relative to your value, not how much time you spend.
Otherwise, you have an incentive to take longer, so you can charge more.

Secret knowledge hidden in plain sight

Many folks have criticized me for openly sharing digital marketing techniques in blog posts instead of charging.
I’m not Steph Curry– nobody is going to pay $120 to wear a jersey with my name on it.

But I can tell you where the value is comes from knowing which technique to use in their particular situation.
You can buy a toolbox of hammers, pliers and nails for cheap.
But the carpenter is not– and the architect is an order of magnitude more than that.

Knowing what hammer to use is more valuable than having the hammer.
The blueprint is more valuable than the technique.

If you put your techniques on public display, then others can see for themselves if they work.
So ironically, the more you share your knowledge (assuming it’s provably good), the more you’re worth.
The blueprint is something you design for a client’s unique situation– and they pay you for the know-how, not the cost of the drafting paper.

Emeric Ernoult is a long time “builder”, and shared his thoughts with us:

Photo portrait Emeric profilIn today’s crowded and noisy world, there is only one way to make it. It is to stand out because what people see from you is unique, helpful and insightful. It is to be recognized as an expert in your niche.

It takes an awful lot of time to build, it’s very difficult and not everybody can do it but that’s why those who can will win!
Being a recognized expert requires 4 key component which are all very hard to do:
  • Strengthen your practicing a lot. You can only become an expert if you are a practitioner (Jon Loomer is a great example for that matter)
  • Love that thing you want to be known for (you’re gonna do a LOT of it, better love it!)
  • Make sure you document what you do and learn and share it with others (blog, tweet, go to conferences, don’t keep your learning for yourself)
  • Be patient. It will take time. But it will pay off, eventually

Back to basketball– if TV cameras didn’t exist, NBA-type salaries wouldn’t be possible.

The biggest audience you could get is however many people could fit in a stadium physically.

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Electronic media creates a bigger stage and greater demand.

And likewise, in the digital arena (or whatever you do professionally), the fact that anyone can find and more easily consume your content means that you can more easily extract your true worth.

If you want to take it to the next level, you distill your knowledge into a set of rules that a computer can follow.
That’s called software– and it’s the automation of things that you’d otherwise do manually if you had the time and know-how.
Passive income and SaaS (Software as a Service) models depend upon knowledge built into a recurring revenue model.

The consultant is now replaced by an intelligent tool– self-driving cars, humanless factories, and social media management software.
Have you considered systematizing your knowledge into software or even a franchisable way of operations?

Consider if you could have a thousand Steph Curries running around.
I guess I’d settle for a million George Foreman’s– plenty of royalties there.

So are you charging by the hour or by your expertise?
Are you selling time or selling value?

I hope I don’t see you on Greyhound any time soon.
Preferably in the Admirals Club at a major airport.

If you’ve gotten this far, you probably know I’m explaining another angle of the triangle called CCS (content > checklist > software).


It’s one of the 9 triangles that under-gird all I know– specifically that great content is borne of direct execution and that this execution can be packaged into automatable checklists, which become software.

9-Triangles-Business-Framework-v1

The content producers are working by the hour in a world that is driving content cost down to zero– the best guys don’t charge, so what is your fee?

The checklist people are smart consultants who use process to scale their agencies and produce machines at low cost– let Big Blue do your marketing, too.

But the winners of the game are the captains of software, since they sell the blueprints to the robot makers for maximum leverage.

parable for you on how to go from worker bee to the Queen.

28 May 2015

The hidden reason why you are failing

3 Comments advice

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It’s not lack of skill, resources, being too busy, or having a mean boss.
But first, a story.

The first time I played golf was with my boss in a foursome.
I had never played before, but when asked if I wanted to come, I blurted out “yes”.
I had 48 hours to find some clubs and frantically try to learn at the driving range.
(See what I’m doing here? Rationalizing failure before it even starts.)

On the first tee with everyone watching, I whiffed my first shot.
“Strike 1”, I said, trying to make light of an awkward situation.
Hey, if this was baseball, I could miss once more and then hit a home run.

But on my next shot, I topped the ball and it dribbled right up to the ladies’ tee.
The next 17 holes didn’t get any better and I left feeling totally humiliated.
Even though I wanted to quit, I kept going.
If you don’t quit, you win, right?

I internalized that shameful day and spent 4 days a week at the driving range.
I bought an unlimited card so I could hit 500 balls a day.
My hands had calluses and sometimes bled from having a bad grip with bad form.
I signed up for golf lessons, bought books on golf, and even got a framed Tiger Woods poster to motivate me.

A couple painful years later, I had a magical day, going two under par on the front nine (an eagle and two birdies,) finishing with a 76 (at four over). It was at Iron Horse in Fort Worth and it was a crisp, slightly foggy morning that I’ll never forget.

Every shot was in slow motion and I could visualize exactly how I wanted to shape each shot. I was with a friend, but we had few words as we played.

Ever been in the zone?
You don’t have to think—your body just reacts.

So why do people fail?

The answer is fear.

Disguised in other forms, it shows up as excuses, defensiveness, sickness, procrastination, and all manner of things that distract you from being successful.
It’s the ultimate self-imposed emergency brake.

Catch yourself making excuses and you’re already grooving yourself for disaster.
The subconscious mind manifests the negative things you conjure.
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Russell Banzon summed it up perfectly:

unnamed“People don’t attempt many things they want to do in life because they’re afraid of failing, especially when it comes to things that are new or foreign. The most difficult part of the path to success is taking the brave first step (but hey, don’t worry, each one that follows gets easier!).”

Worse, fear is selfishness.
Yes, that sounds odd, but let’s examine this more closely.

When you care about others and are focused on helping them, you cannot be afraid.
Fear creeps in when you’re worried about yourself—how you feel, what others might think, how YOU could potentially fail.

Fear is only possible when it’s all about you.

We’ve said that competence breeds confidence.
When you know something so well, you aren’t afraid of your ability to perform.

Are you afraid of being able to walk in a straight line on level ground?
Of course not, and you’re so sure in this that you don’t need to make excuses beforehand to shield your ego.

As a manager, but more often a coach, I see young and old fail for the same predictable reasons. In sports, this is called choking.

When you see someone going into defense mode, look for the vicious spiral.
It could be something that literally takes 30 seconds to do, but fear paralyzes them from even trying.

The solution is a combination of these three elements:

  • Checklists—break down the big scary project into small, simple tasks.
  • Encouragement—as a coach, not a boss, you’re more interested in helping, not punishing. Iteration is merely being willing to keep trying versus hiding and ignoring. You need at least 4 parts praise to 1 part critical feedback.
  • Accountability—Measuring success against checklists and providing feedback is holding people accountable. It’s not that they necessarily want to cheat the system, you do need proper controls to demonstrate fairness.

Jakob Hager offered the following observations and advice:

jakob-hager-foto.1024x1024What if your employees or freelancers who work for you fail? You want them to succeed and your business needs them to succeed with the tasks you’re giving them. However, no task – as simple as it can be – will be performed 100% satisfactory all the time.

So how do you minimize failure and how do you deal with it as it happens?

From a managerial point of view, there are two main reasons why people fail to perform the task you set them to do. I am not talking about individual failures for on specific task. Trouble with girlfriends / boyfriends, little sleep and stress can cause individual failures. You can’t get get rid of this and it’s part of being human an learning.

However, if your employees keep underperforming, there are two main reasons for that. Firstly, they may just be the wrong person for the job. If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’s bound to fail. Some people are good with numbers, some people are good with words. The other reason is even more common and it’s a lack of clear structure. SOPs (standard operating procedures) and checklists are a MUST for every company, especially for startup founders, who are trying to form a company. In fact, I’d argue that the main part of a company are its processes. Otherwise it’s a team improvising.

To make sure people perform and love their job, give them tests that are as close to the actual job as possible. You’ll avoid putting employees in the wrong job. For continuous work, make sure you keep creating and updating your SOPs and checklists.

I personally enjoy working with BlitzMetrics due to their strong focus on checklists and processes in online marketing automation. As Dennis likes to say, code is automation for software, checklists are automation for human labor. If you build your business, you can’t afford to disregard this area. You can significantly reduce the chance of business failure if you spend 30 min a day updating your processes.

What is your solution to helping people overcome their fears?

18 May 2015

Southwest LOVES Me! Confessions of a mileage junkie

1 Comment Travel

Screenshot 2015-05-17 22.06.26

I rebooked a flight that costs 99 cents more and they swallowed the cost.
Of course, they love you, too– and you’d get this if the rebooked fare is close.

I’ve seen the “Southwest Fare Protection” as high as $2.70.
As far as I can tell (and from forums like FlyerTalk), Southwest doesn’t discuss this policy.

The Business Select Fare costs me twice as much as the Wanna Get Away Fare, but earns points twice as fast– 12 points per dollar instead of 6.
If you’re A List Preferred, this $500 ticket earns you 12,000 points, which is enough to book at $200 Wanna Get Away Fare.

Think of it as a 40% rebate ($200 back on $500 spend).

And if you have Companion Pass level– the equivalent of Southwest’s Platinum (companion flies free, since no first class), then it’s better.
So what you’d do is fly the Business Select fare to earn the points and have your designated companion (business partner) travel with you.
Yes, a companion can travel with you for free (paying the $2 segment tax), even if you’re flying free.

If you’re a business traveler or have friend that would otherwise fly with you at least some of the time, this is the best frequent flyer program.