Web.Search.Social Marketing Podcast (marketing)

Meeting With An Unhappy Client

Just recently a client requested a meeting with us because he wasn’t happy with the results of his Google AdWords. We’ve been managing his ads for a while and things have been going well, but during December of last year, everything took a nosedive.

It turned out to be a seasonal issue, and something we see often. But he didn’t know that, so he was worried. The good news is that we have a line of communication open with him, as we do with all our clients, and we’ve kept him apprised of his results all along. So instead of a difficult, confrontational meeting, we reviewed the December results, discussed the issue and made an action plan to go forward.

And everyone went home happy. The point of telling this story is that we received a question from a listener who is currently worried that she doesn’t know what she’s paying her marketing company to do.

And it got us thinking about how even though we go through difficult periods with our clients, even though not all of our efforts succeed, our clients are always in the loop and always know exactly what we’re doing on their behalf. And if you’ve hired a marketing company, then you should, too!

Cheap Marketing?

We once pitched a prospect who was working with another marketing company, paying $19.99 a month. For that price they got a Google analytics report sent to them each month.

That doesn’t do much for a person’s marketing but it was apparently enough for our prospect, who had no interest in paying our fees. In their case, they knew exactly what they were paying for, and thought it was fine.

But if you’re paying someone like us, who charges a minimum $1500 per month investment to act as your marketing department, then you sure as heck want to know what you’re getting - and you want to sure as heck know that it’s making you money.

Don’t be fooled by low monthly costs. Price is not always the best indicator of results. If you’re paying a lot for a little, it’s no better than paying a little for even less! Even if your budget only allows for a few basic services, know what those services are. Know what you can expect and know where your marketing dollars are going.

Where Is Your Money Going?

One of the things we know for certain is that our clients always know what they’re paying for. We send them monthly reports, not entirely different than the ones that the other company sent to our prospect for twenty bucks. But the report is not as important as the context.

We provide the context, which means we let our clients know what the reports mean, and why. We give them the good and the bad, and an action plan for going forward. Sometimes parsing through all of the data is challenging for our clients, so by giving them a summary report, we highlight the key points - and will get into as much depth as they want.

Beyond the monthly summaries, we also send our clients weekly updates. Those are 100% personalized, detailed emails that let our clients know what we worked on the prior week, what went well, what didn’t, and what’s coming next. Sometimes we ask for approvals. Sometimes we ask questions.

So our clients always know what we’re doing. Sometimes they don’t want to know! People who have been working with us long enough sometimes tell us to skip the reports because they probably won’t read them anyway. And our answer is always the same: never!

They can read our reports or not read them if they choose, but the reports are there. For good reason. We never want someone to feel that they aren’t in the loop.

In fact, we need them to be in the loop because we need their input. You can’t hire someone to market your company and then expect them to go away and do it. You’ve got the braintrust that your marketing agency needs. YOU know best about your business, about your clients, about your products and services. Marketing is a collaboration, and your involvement is essential.

If you’re not having regular meetings with your marketing company so you can tell them what you know, it’s time to start!

What If You DON’T Know What You’re Paying For?

If you either don’t know what someone is doing for your money, or if you sort of know but aren’t clear, then simply ask. Sit down and ask questions, as many as you want, as many times as you need.

A company that cares about your business and is truly working on your behalf will be willing to do that. If you do ask, and still don’t understand, then either something is amiss, or you’re just not clicking with that team and it may be time to find a new one.

Know The Players

Sometimes when you hire a company, you may actually be working with more than one company. That’s not unusual but it should be transparent.

For example, our company, Rahvalor Interactive, works with Asano Designs, our business partner’s design company. We handle content, and he handles branding, so we may work with the same client in two different capacities.

The important thing is that you understand that. You don’t want to be surprised one day to find out that you’re not really working with who you thought you were.

Depending on your preferences, you may want to work with one company as your main point of contact and have a second or third company working behind the scenes. That’s ok too, as long as you understand the people involved and their relationships to you.

Some clients want us to play point. That means we do the project management, we send the bills, we handle the communications, and other companies we may collaborate with, from design to IT to sales, all work under our umbrella.

Other clients prefer to work individually with each company.

Either way can work, but they key is first, know who is involved, and second, be sure they’re all collaborating to the benefit of your business.

Check Your Expenses

One of our clients got a renewal notice from his registrar for some other services, and asked us if he should keep them. There were about $1,000 of services that he was literally not using. Either they were services that we were providing so paying for them again was redundant, or they were things that he simply didn’t need.

Of course we told him not to renew, but not everyone bothers to ask. I’ve known plenty of people who have paid for multiple hosting accounts at the same time because they simply never thought to wonder if they needed those services.

Almost all registrars will try to upsell you on something, and sometimes those things seem so obviously necessary (even when they aren’t) that before you know it you’ve added lots of extra fees to your bill for things you didn’t need in the first place.

So before you pay another service fee, ask why. Ask what for. And make sure its doing something for your business!

If you’ve got questions about how we can help you with your marketing, or just want to share your thoughts and stories, get in touch and let us know. We look forward to hearing from you.

Direct download: 0183-do-you-know-what-youre-paying-your-marketing-company-for.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

In Which We Return From The Left Turn We Took After Our Last Hiatus

Last time we met, Fred, it was on the Carbon Based Business Units podcast. That was the podcast we started after a hiatus during which we decided to leave Web.Search.Social and marketing behind, and talk business instead. But then we took another hiatus and sort of… disappeared for a long time.

Without too much ado, we want to let you know that we’ve decided to return to Web.Search.Social because we can’t quit you, Fred, and we apparently can’t quit marketing, either. We have lots to say and lots of thoughts on the matter, and we hope to share our experiences with you so that they can help you grow YOUR business.

In Which We Discover That Nothing Really Changes

We figured that at some point between April of 2017 when we left Web.Search.Social behind, and now, there might have been a lot of changes in marketing. Lots of new stuff, lots to talk about.

And while we certainly have things to say, it turns out that… nothing has changed. The same 10 steps are being written, the same 6 tips, the same old same old. Boring!

Our job is, first, not to bore you. Second (or maybe first, part two…) we want to share our thoughts and experiences with you but never by telling you what you “should” do or “have to” do. There are no secrets here, no roadmaps to perfection.

We’ve got 20 years running a marketing business, and that’s 20 years of experiences, mistakes and even successes that we can share with you.

In Which We Are Reminded That We’re Old

When we first started marketing, Facebook didn’t exist. Twitter didn’t exist. Heck, websites barely existed! But marketing did, and marketing is about people.

So however you do it, marketing is about the people who buy your stuff. You can take advice and listen to what others say and do if it seems to work for them. But don’t let anyone scare you off from taking your own chances, from trying new things, or from straying from the “steps to success”.

In Which We Get Excited About Bandersnatch

Have you seen the new episode of Black Mirror that is an interactive “choose your own adventure?” We thought it was fun, but not everyone did. There were plenty of critics who loved to hate it.

We’d love to know what you think, but in the meantime, have you noticed how the minute someone does something different, people come out of the woodwork to share their opinions on why it was such a terrible idea?

Personally, we don’t think this is any way to run a business. If you spend your life worried about what the critics will say (and they are the vocal ones!) then you’ll never take any risks and never learn anything.

If you want to throw your two cents into the conversation, you’ll just have to listen to the rest and let us know!

Our plan is to release an episode every other week so stay tuned for our next episode when we (or at least the “I” of we) complain about the new WordPress. Let’s just say that I was not as entertained by WordPress’s foray into the new and different as I was by Netflix.

In between, we’d love to hear from you! Jump in to introduce yourself, or reintroduce yourself and tell us what marketing challenges YOU face.

Happy New Year!

Direct download: 0181-in-which-we-learn-that-ralph-and-carol-lynn-are-not-dead.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0149: A Puzzling Tale Of Ants, Popcorn And Shareholder Agreements

A Puzzling Episode

Last week we talked about a puzzle that had taken over part of our office and it's still there! We're making progress, albeit slowly, but more importantly the puzzle seems to have become a point of interest for our clients and business partners who visit.

Just last week during a couple of meetings, we were interrupted in the middle of marketing-speak by a client exclaiming, "Hey, I found a piece!" So let this be a fun lesson for you: whether you work at home or in an office, it's not a bad idea to have something for your customers and visitors to play with. Try it!

SuperFred FTW!

Last week we put out a call to you, our readers and listeners, to ping a couple of folks on Twitter who we'd like to have on the show. As of this recording, Sarah Rodriguez and ComicBookGirl19 have both responded to the call of The Army Of Fred and we're currently discussing having them on our podcast.

That leaves us with one holdout: Melissa Hunter. So if you have a moment, let her know we're still waiting to hear from her!

The Ants Go Marching

Before we get into our topic for the day, I wanted to share something that happened to me over the weekend. It's safe for work but maybe not if you're eating lunch.

Friday night we sat down to watch a movie and Carol Lynn had bought me a bag of my favorite kettle popcorn. I ate half the bag then left it next to the couch, figuring we'd be back to watch a movie the next night and it would be waiting for me.

The next day Carol Lynn cleaned up a bit and sealed the bag with a clip and put it back onto the kitchen counter. That night we did indeed watch another movie and I was excited to remember that I had half a bag of popcorn so I grabbed the bag and a bowl, dimmed the lights and the movie started as I crunched and ate, crunched and ate.

At some point I felt like I had a bit of popcorn stuck between my teeth but I couldn't seem to get it out with my tongue because it kept moving around… that's when I noticed that my hand was covered in ants. And the popcorn in the bowl was covered in ants. And the bag was full of ants.

So let's just say I spent the better part of that evening spitting and brushing my teeth and freaking out. We're not sure what to make of this as a lesson, except maybe, "Don’t leave popcorn by the couch" or "Don't eat in the dark."

What I can say is that this shall never be spoken of again.

And Now, The Shareholder Agreement

Yes, we have an actual topic today and it revolves around the very, very beginning of the entrepreneurial journey, namely what happens before, leading up to and during the process of putting together a shareholder agreement (also known as an Operating Agreement.)

This is the agreement that will lay out all the logistics of how your business will be run, how the money works, what the roles and responsibilities are and essentially all the "what happens ifs…"

It All Started With An Idea

Since we're content creators, and we create quite a lot of it, we need to have a really good process that keeps us on track and working efficiently. To help us do our jobs, we built some homegrown tools that made it easier to manage some of the repetitive parts of the process.

But then we realized, hey, if these tools are helping us, wouldn't they also be able to help other people?

And thus our idea was born: let's package and sell the tools we've built so they can help other people with their content creation and promotion process.

You will have your own idea, but if you want to make it a successful idea, it helps to formalize your plans, which is exactly what we did with our shareholder agreement.

Putting The Team Together

In our case, we decided that between Carol Lynn and I we could get some kind of product out into the world – but it wouldn't be nearly as good or as successful as it could be if we found the right people to work on it with us.

So we chose to add a creative director, a director of marketing and sales and a CFO. And we chose to include them as shareholders so that everyone would be incentivized to make a lot of money and cash in.

Now, we could have hired them – but given that we just started the company and we're making zero dollars, and neither of us has a million dollars hanging out in a bank account to pay salaries in the meantime, we opted to go with a partnership.

That made it even more important to have a governing document so that everyone knows what to expect and nobody ends up irritated or confused or angry somewhere down the line when what they thought was happening turned out to be something entirely different.

The point is that "a good idea" is not enough. If you want to bring your idea to life, you need to be sure you have the right team in place and the right agreement to make everyone happy.

Can You Do It On Your Own?

If you can, great! Go ahead and knock it out of the park.

But most people with a good idea need at least some support to make that idea happen. That's where your team comes in – and more importantly, that's where equity comes in.

When we first started, our initial thought was…. Our idea, our money. And we gave a little bit of that to the other people on our team. But the other people on our team had a different perspective. They figured they'd all be contributing to the success of the product just as we would, and wondered why they were only getting a tiny piece of the pie.

And they were right. They each brought a specialized skill that we couldn't do without. So we split everything up evenly and that means everyone has a stake in seeing the business grow.

If you're thinking of partnering up with someone, think long term and think value. Do you value your team? Then you need to show it. The last thing you want is to take the lion's share of profits and disappear on a nice long vacation to the tropics while your team members slave away for a couple bucks, growing more and more resentful and maybe eventually ditching you.

Think Ahead

Our goal in having this conversation is not to make this sound complicated or hard. Our goal is to show you just how not complicated it is. If you've got the right team and an attorney to advise you, this is all a matter of some boilerplate legalese plus a bit of personalized advice depending on what you want and need.

What is more complicated, is ignoring this step up front and finding yourself mired in red tape or worse, being sued somewhere down the line because nothing was clear up front.

Play a little bit of the Devil's Advocate. Ask why, ask what, ask what if. Think of the worst case and best case scenarios and think about what might happen in each. That's what your lawyer is for – to advise you and guide you.

And that's also why you can't hop onto the Internet, grab a strictly boilerplate document and go. It may be cheaper and it may be tempting but you'll miss out on the personalized advice that comes with having a real attorney to advise you.

In our case, we were planning to write language into the agreement that forbade us from selling the business or taking investment money for five years. But our attorney advised us not to bar it but rather to require a unanimous vote of the shareholders before we could do it. Without his advice, we might seriously have limited our options without knowing any better.

A Little Cash Up Front Can Save You A Lot Later

True, attorneys aren't free, but they're worth the short term investment for long term peace of mind. Besides, if you've got partners then each of you will contribute to the cost so no one person has to shoulder the burden alone - that's the point of a partnership. If you're thinking of starting one, ask questions early and ask them a lot. Put the right team in place and then get the legal advice to help you make it official. You will save yourself a lot of stress later!

 

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Direct download: 0149-a-puzzling-tale-of-ants-popcorn-and-shareholder-agreements.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 4:41pm EST

WSS #0148: A Healthy Discussion About What Ryan Hanley And Carol Lynn's Boobs Have In Common

Today We Talk About Boobs

It's true. But it's also family friendly! Our topic today is about health and how that affects your productivity, creativity and of course your business.

But first…

A Job For SuperFreds Everywhere

There are three people we'd LOVE to have on our podcast so we're bestowing a mission upon you, The Army Of Fred.

The first person is Sarah Rodriguez whose novel "Avarice Touched" is currently available for preorder and is dubbed "a fantasy novel about the corruption of power, the madness of the Gods."

Sounds a little Neil Gaiman to us and we're geeky like that so we want to talk to her!

Hit her up at @sarahtherebel on Twitter and tell her we request her presence.

The second person is Melissa Hunter who had a funny and clever YouTube series called "Adult Wednesday Addams" that we quite enjoyed until it was pulled for copyright infringement. We're a little ticked about that, especially considering that the Wednesday Addams porn movies are alive and well.

Hit her up at @melissaftw on Twitter and tell her we want to chat.

Finally, we want to talk to ComicBookGirl19 (who has no other known name). She does great content about geeky stuff like books and movies and has a Game of Thrones wrapup that we wait for maybe even more than we wait for the next episode of actual Game of Thrones.

Hit her up at @cbgirl19 on Twitter and tell her we want to yell at her for not doing a weekly wrapup this season… I mean, tell her we want to talk about her awesome content!

And Now, Boobs

But really, health.

Today we talk about why it's important to take care of you – mind and body – before you can take care of your business. The conversation starts with a mammogram, which I finally had after years of ignoring my doctor's advice to get one. I mean, who wants a mammogram? Who wants to get half naked with a stranger and have your boobs squeezed and pulled like taffy? Definitely not me.

And yet, wisdom prevailed and I decided to suck it up and go. This summer was my second. And what I discovered is that it was not nearly as bad as I'd made it out to be in my head. It didn't hurt. It was barely uncomfortable. The air conditioning was up a little high so it was colder than I like it to be but otherwise it was two minutes, in, out, done.

All that ado built up in my head for nothing. The good news is that I have a clean bill of health.

But there's a lot more to health than a test once a year.

When You're Busy, What's The First Thing To Go?

Ralph and I took a few weeks off from podcasting because we were SO busy and we had to make some practical adjustments to our schedules.

But the podcast wasn't the first thing to go.

As is usually the case, the first thing we stopped doing was taking care of ourselves.

We stopped exercising. We stopped eating well in favor of eating fast. Over time, we got fatter and out-of-shaper and tireder and unhealthier.

I know we're not alone. We've spoken to plenty of business owners and entrepreneurs who kick health to the curb when time gets tight. We talked to Ryan Hanley on a recent episode about how when he was writing his book, he stopped exercising, didn't eat well and felt horrible.

And so did we. So we decided to do something about it and started getting on the treadmill again, eating better and even taking care of our mental health with time off.

Bad health doesn't happen at once. It sneaks up on you until suddenly you can't quite walk up that flight of stairs as easily as you used to. Or you start to work more and more and get less and less done. Or you crash in the middle of the day and can't get anything done.

Why Are You Working?

I don't know anyone who works for the sake of work. Most of us want the financial freedom to do the things we love, to spend time with the people we love and to enjoy our lives.

But how well can you enjoy your life if you don't have the energy to do it? Or if you're too sick, tired or miserable to do it?

Either now or in the future, you won't have the energy to enjoy the fruits of your labors unless you take care of yourself in the process.

If you don't invest time in your own body, if you don't take time off to recharge your mind you're actually doing yourself harm.

Want To Run A Better Business? Eat Your Veggies.

One of the things we're used to doing is grabbing something sugary and full of carbs for any and every meal.

Bagels, pancakes, muffins, cereal… all that breakfast stuff is common and can be pretty darn tasty but none of it is exactly high in nutritional value and none of it is going to give you sustained energy, mostly because it's a lot of glorified sugar.

Now trust me on this, I'm not anti-carbs. I love a great loaf of bread and a big plate of chocolate chip pancakes. But those things don't give me the energy I need to get through a few hours, let alone a day, let alone a day of work!

On days after I eat pancakes for breakfast I need a nap two hours later. On days when I eat bacon and eggs (sounds fattening, I know, but think of all the protein and nutrients…) I feel great for a long time.

You've heard of "the sugar crash". And it's true. If that's all you're constantly putting in your body, you can expect to function below your ability.

Want to be more productive, feel better, improve your creativity and mood and run a better business? Eat food. Real food. Fruit. Vegetables. Beans. Meat if that works for you. Stuff your mom probably told you to eat.

Your Mental Health Is Just As Important

Take it from us, work work work is not only not fun but it's also not very productive. The more we work, the less we get accomplished. And believe me, I know that when you're busy and you need to get stuff done you want to keep going for just another hour…

And just another one, it's almost done…

And before you know it, 18 hours have gone by, maybe you've skipped lunch, you've surely skipped exercise and your brain is wiped out.

You can't function with a broken brain any better than you can function with a broken body. In fact, studies have proven over and over that the more you work, the less productive you are.

The point is that in spite of how much you think you still need to get done, in spite of the looming deadline, in spite of all the things on your desk screaming for your attention and making you feel guilty for doing anything else, you have to turn it off.

Take time away from work – and in our case, and probably yours – that means stepping away from technology. It doesn't mean turning off your computer and going straight to your iPad. It means disconnecting and doing something that relaxes you and lets your brain unwind.

For us that's reading – real books, the paper kind, the ones that don't ding and beep and send us alerts or tweets or emails.

I also like doing puzzles. And coloring. I like cooking, too, so just imagine the vegetables I can chop while I'm relaxing!

It's Hard

This is not our first rodeo, so to speak. We're currently on a journey back to health after a too-long spell of being rather unhealthy.

And every time we forget to take care of ourselves, it seems to take longer to remember. And it takes longer to get into a groove and make exercise a routine. It's harder to say no to pizza and choose to chop vegetables instead.

Feeling energized and healthier doesn't happen overnight. If you're just starting out and taking better care of yourself, it can take a little time before you wake up feeling better. Getting out of shape doesn't happen overnight – neither does getting back in.

And I can't tell you how to do it, either. What works for me may not work for you. I'm an "all or nothing" kind of person. I need to eat 100% healthy or eat 100% crap. Nobody's advice to "make one small change" has ever helped me.

So you have to find what works for you. Don't try to do something you know you won't. You'll only end up frustrated. Whatever you do, do something.

Your Marketing Action Item

We think we need to rename the marketing action item since it's not entirely about marketing, so if you have any ideas, let us know!

From Carol Lynn: If you want to take better care of your body, start by taking better care of your mind. When you're able to focus clearly, relax and get out of the whirlwind of stress, you will be able to make better decisions about your health and stick to them. Figure out what that relaxing thing is for you, the thing that gets you away from work and doing something you enjoy. Your health – and business – depends on it.

From Ralph: Check out the Pomodoro Technique. It's a method where you work for a designated length of time, like 20 minutes, then get up and do something else non-work related. It's about decompressing all day long. There are a bunch of variations on the technique, so figure out what works for you and then take time out during the day to give your brain a chance to rest and recharge. You'll end up doing more work in less time.

Links & Resources

 

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WSS #0147: How One Man Turned An Internet Marketing Fail Into Relationship Marketing Success

A Trip Into The Coal Mine

Or as close as we're going to get to one! Today we talk to Wade Harman, blogger and digital marketer. But he wasn't always online. Once upon a time he was a coal miner and doing very well. He also put himself through school here he received a Masters degree in cognitive psychology.

Unfortunately, a mining accident left him unable to perform his job anymore. Left with no career, no salary and a family to take care of, Wade did what so many displaced people do: gravitated to the internet as a way to make money. His story is one of the most fascinating things we've heard.

The Kind Of Guy We Complain About

If you listen to our podcast or read our blogs you know that we constantly warn against people who go from "day job" to "social media expert" overnight. They don't know a thing about marketing or social media but they buy a Dummies book, set up a Buffer account and slap a title on themselves.

Wade's story is not entirely different – he went from coal miner to social media consultant. And yet he did it without becoming one of "those guys." And according to him, he most certainly didn't do it overnight. He managed to learn and grow and eventually to build a business on helping people in a completely honest way.

And yet that's not how it all started…

Wade Fell For The Promises To "Make $5,000 In 30 Days"

By his own admission, Wade came to the internet knowing nothing – except that he knew he could make money. Why? Because the ads told him so! So he bought into the promises and started following the advice of people who tell you to set up some landing page with an "offer" and some high pressure psychology to get people to spend money.

Wade ended up spending so much money on these programs that promised to make him rich that if he hadn't he might actually have saved the money and become rich.

But worse, he was following the advice – he set up his own landing pages, created his own offers and used the same tactics to part unsuspecting people with their money.

One of the things that impressed us most during the conversation is that Wade openly admits to lying to people and selling products without providing any value because that's all the advice he was getting – and he believed that was what you're supposed to do.

It takes a pretty brave person to admit that.

The Tide Changes

Turns out that if you don't provide any value, not too many people will buy. And the ones why buy certainly won't come back. Nobody was sharing his blog posts and nobody was paying attention.

Wade wasn't making money and figured he'd better do something different. His wife pointed out the best solution of all. She said, "Wade, you're good at building relationships with people. Why don't you use that?"

From there he shifted his focus to helping people. He figured that if he was just learning this internet thing, other people must be too. So as he learned something new (like how to set up a YouTube channel or a Facebook profile) he would write about it in a way that other people could follow.

And do you know what happened next? People started sharing his blog posts. They started paying attention.

Every Entrepreneur Gets Discouraged

By his own admission, it was a long and tough journey. He didn't exactly go from coal miner to internet superstar with any speed. Along the way he wondered how he would support his family. He was frustrated by the false promises and lack of results.

But Wade says that every entrepreneur faces discouragement and disappointment. It's not a matter of avoiding it. It's a matter of what you choose to do with it.

In his case, Wade chose to learn and try new things – but most importantly to keep on going – and ultimately make it a success.

In Between, Family Still Matters

It happens to the best of us. We're so caught up in running our businesses that the rest of our lives fall by the wayside. Maybe you miss a family dinner. Or skip out on a school event. Maybe you don't have time to play with your kids or catch a movie with your partner.

Ultimately your family life suffers.

Wade stresses the importance of making time for family no matter what. The best thing you can do is set a schedule of work hours and off hours. And that's not to say that sometimes you won't have to work late or slave over a deadline or important project, but if you don't consistently make time for the most important people in your life, you'll be missing a lot more than a deadline.

As Wade wisely, says, "Social media isn't going anywhere." You can shut down, check out and nobody will forget you exist by morning.

Admit Your Mistakes

If there's one thing Wade is not, it's shy about exposing his flaws. In fact, he has built a pretty good following and lots of relationships based on the fact that he is so open and honest.

The premise of this show hinges on him discussing the mistakes he made. He says he's willing to lay it all bare.

And that's not entirely common, especially on the internet where everyone seems to want you to know how wealthy and happy they are. Sadly, we've known people who have touted themselves as successful, with photos of them working from a tropical beach, who have turned out to be frauds. The photos were faked and in reality they were living off food stamps.

But Wade takes the opposite approach. He is all about sharing his mistakes because he believes that good relationships – and good business – are built on transparency.

But Don't Admit Your Mistakes Unless You Mean It

Some people can admit their mistakes and sound genuine about it. Other people share their mistakes and it just seems like a marketing tactic.

We conclude that the difference is intent. If you share your mistakes honestly so that you can build better relationships and help people through your experiences, then your intent is genuine. But if you share mistakes just to prove you've made them, but never took time to reflect on them, it will come across as contrived.

How much you share is up to you – but whatever you choose to put out into the world, do it with honest intent.

Best Quote Ever

Wade's philosophy is pretty simple and if you have the wisdom to follow it, is also pretty powerful: be a hero to one person at a time.

His journey hasn't all been mistakes. Along the way he learned how to provide people with true value. He learned the value of real relationships. He persevered and built a reputation as someone who puts other people as the focus of his attention and kindness.

In fact, Wade is all about people. Even when we digress to talk about when it's a good idea to block people from your life (hint: when they are mean, degrading or taking advantage of you), Wade still struggles with the idea. He is truly focused on being that "hero" to one person at a time.

But don't take it from us. You can connect with him online and see for yourself.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Wade: Try Pinterest promoted pins. For only a few dollars (as low as ten cents per click) you can get dozens of pins and repins. The best part is you don't pay for the repins, just for the initial clicks. You can use this strategy to drive traffic to your site. Be sure to create a great (vertical) graphic. And if you aren't sure when your audience is on Pinterest, try it on a Saturday because that's a pretty popular Pinterest day in general.

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WSS #0146: When Should You Jump On A Marketing Trend?

A Slightly Different Episode Today

Today's podcast is a little different. And by different I mean "we stole it wholesale from Ryan Hanley."

We were having a conversation about Periscope, the hot new player in live streaming, and decided to hop on the mics and talk about it. So Ryan recorded it for his Content Warfare show and we… well, we "borrowed" it. So it's a double release. You can hear it in its original glory on Content Warfare and you can hear our slightly edited version here.

A New Web.Search.Social Title

Today we announce that Ryan is never going to appear again as a guest on the Web.Search.Social Podcast. From now on he is officially on staff, as the Web.Search.Social Content Warrior. We're pretty sure he'll be ok with that title, especially since it pays him one dollar more than Ian Anderson Gray, our Chief Executive Research Dude. That means he'll make a whole dollar!

Ryan Says Periscope Is A Fad. And Then Says It Isn't A Fad.

Ryan recently released an episode of the Content Warfare podcast where he called Periscope a fad. Then we released a podcast saying we agreed. But the honeymoon wasn't even over before Ryan changed his mind. Betrayed!

So today we talk about whether or not Periscope is a fad or can be a good marketing tool. Yes, we've discussed Periscope before but we thought it was worth having the debate with someone who has a different perspective.

There was much yelling and flailing of fists, we bleeped out the worst words, everybody went home pissed…

Ok, so we pretty much managed to have a debate in which we agreed on everything. But that isn't nearly as dramatic.

Either way, we bring different points of view that can help you make an educated decision about whether or not to try Periscope – or any new marketing tool.

Periscope Makes For Great Performance Art

My first experience with Periscope was watching a fight between a girl and her boyfriend where they broke up. The catch is that the guy was completely naked the whole time. Now this was hardly real life, but it was pretty entertaining.

Ryan Says There Are Real Use Cases

Like us, Ryan does not believe that "everyone" should be on Periscope. But you can insert "podcast" or "Snapchat" or any tool or platform and the advice is the same.

All of these tools can be valuable but they are most certainly not for everyone.

One use case Ryan mentions is hosting an "office hours" each day. You can open up Periscope, answer a couple of questions and call it a day. That gives you an opportunity to dial into your audience in a real way.

I think that's a great idea but there are currently better tools for doing something like that. Webinars, Google hangouts and even one of the better new streaming platforms on the block called Blab.

Do "Civilians" Need Real Time Mobile Interaction?

I suspect that outside of us and our marketing community, the average consumer is not sitting around with their mobile phone just waiting for some real time entertainment. And the average business owner isn’t ready to grab a mobile device and start streaming.

Ryan counters by saying that in the insurance industry where he works, most agents are constantly on the go and don't have time to be at their desktop. They'd be just as likely to grab their phone and make use of it as a tool.

What About Real Time Value?

Ryan poses an interesting idea: what if he was at a conference with Marcus Sheridan, renowned marketer, and they were talking about content marketing? Wouldn't it be cool for people to tune in and be part of that conversation in a way they would never otherwise be able to do?

Or what if Carol Lynn and I were talking about our new business ventures and ideas? Wouldn't it be cool if people had an inside view of that and could learn from it in the moment? Unscripted, off the cuff… just real conversations. It sounds compelling.

Too Much Hype

The problem is not Periscope. The problem is hype. For whatever reason, the Internet has decided that Periscope is the thing.

Yet Periscope isn't THE thing. It's just A thing.

Carol Lynn says we collectively like the idea of Periscope because it's voyeuristic and we want to peek into other people's lives. People don't necessarily want value. They just want entertainment.

Why would be people want to watch Ryan and Marcus chat? Because they think some "influencer" magical fairy dust will wear off on them.

Ryan seems to think otherwise and speculates that some of that magical fairy dust can wear off on other people.

But Carol Lynn says definitively: no.

Ryan's influence, intelligence, community and skills won't wear off on anyone just because they're watching a conversation.

That's not to say you can't learn something from listening to other people, but you don't need live streaming to do it. You don't need Periscope to do it. You can do it through any medium.

The biggest problem with the hype is that people feel like they "have to" be on it and that if they don't jump fast they'll be left behind. We all agree that you should only use tools and platforms that fit into your marketing, match your personality and give you a place to do your best work.

Don't Do Something New. Do Something Better.

You are going to be tempted by many new tools. And inevitably someone is going to tell you that surely, this is the tool you need.

But before you try something new, think about ways to make what you're already doing better. If you've got a blog and it's not generating leads, don't jump into live streaming because you think that will be the magic bullet. Get your marketing right and then you'll be able to choose the tools that will help you move your business forward.

Periscope is great for the person who says, "Wow, I've been waiting for live streaming! This is going to be perfect!"

Periscope is not for the person who says, "Wow, there's live streaming? What am I going to do with it?"

Don't back into your marketing. Select the tools that fit with what you're already doing well.

Ryan Likes To Try New Things

Ryan is a doer and a tester. He's been blogging, podcasting and hosting hangouts for a long time. Now he's ready to try something new and see what he can do with it.

We're on board with that idea and if that sounds like you, go for it. But remember, Ryan has been incredibly successful with what he's done in the content marketing world so he's in a great place to experiment.

Ryan Calls Shenanigans

There are a few people that get the buzzer in Ryan's opinion and we agree. One of those types of people are those who tell you what you "have to" do. If anyone tells you that you have to jump on some new tool or trend, you can ignore them with prejudice.

Another type of person who drives Ryan crazy is the one who tells you exactly when and how to do something – like exactly what time of day to post a tweet.

And the third person – who drives us all a little bit nuts – is the one who is suddenly the expert on something that's been around for a week.

Live Streaming Is The Most Seductive Form Of Engagement

Imagine talking to your fans and followers in real time. They're hanging on your every word. You're the hero. They love you. They LOL at your jokes and engage with you.

Who wouldn't want that?

It's intoxicating and all that love can make you feel like you're really doing something productive for your business. But just because you're getting engagement doesn't mean you're making money.

We've known people with a million followers who have had to pack up shop and get a job. Because engagement doesn't equal profit.

It can. But you need to mindful of when you're doing something that's benefitting your business and when you're just building a fan club.

 

Direct download: 0146-when-should-you-jump-on-a-marketing-trend.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0145: Get More Leads, Customers And Profits With The Nuclear Chowder Marketing Method

A Very Handsome And Delicious Episode

Today we talk to Mike Brooks of Nuclear Chowder Marketing who has just published his first book. It's called "The Nuclear Chowder Marketing Method" and we want to know: what does that mean?

Ralph got a signed copy with some nice words but I did not! Mike blames it on getting old and says he did sign a copy for me but somehow forgot to put it into the envelope to mail it. Uh-huh.

At least I got to edit and proofread the book. Plus I did write the intro, so technically does that mean I have a book too? Hey, I may as well capitalize on all that handsome and deliciousness.

More hilariously, Mike is now being referred to as "handsome and delicious" by other people who have heard us say it a few times.

But if you want the real inside joke, "Nuclear Chowder" refers to "explosively delicious" marketing. Guess it's catching on.

Why A Book?

It started as one or two blog posts and a few weeks later Mike ended up with 190 pages of marketing goodness.

But he didn't really write it to sell it (though selling a few copies wouldn't hurt!) He wrote it for potential clients so they would know exactly how he works. He wants people to know what his methods are and how he can help them grow their business and make more sales.

So what IS the Nuclear Chowder Method?

Mike calls it a "roadmap" or "blueprint" or [insert your buzzword of choice here]. It's basically a process that you can put into practice so that you can earn more business.

What it's not is a get rich quick strategy. There are no tricks and no schemes and no magic. In fact, Mike says it's nothing that hasn't been said and done before. The problem is that too many business owners are running around "trying things" without understanding the fundamentals of marketing. They don't have a process, haven't set up a sales funnel, don't have a marketing system.

And that's what his method will teach you.

Mike doesn't talk in abstractions or concepts. He gives you real, actionable tactics that you can use to build your own strategy. In fact, he has used this method to grow multiple businesses over the year and even turn around a struggling one into a super profitable enterprise.

Skip The Fads

Mike says that no fad will make you money unless you've got the basics in place. If you've listened to our conversations about Periscope you know we completely agree.

The question is not "Should I jump on this trend?" but rather "Does this trend fit into my marketing system?"

If you have a fundamental marketing process then you'll know what fits and what's just a distraction.

Don't Be Afraid To Ask For The Sale

It's a common problem, especially online and on social media. Where some people are all about self-promotion, many are still afraid to actually ask people to buy stuff.

There is a common drumbeat that you're supposed to give stuff away, do things for free, and that's how you build your business.

A lot of people I've been listening to online have been asking the question, "When is it ok to charge for something?'

My answer is: NOW!

Giving stuff away for free is called charity.

But even if you're ok with charging for your products and services, you still have to sell them. You can't be afraid of actually asking for a sale.

Sadly, sales has gotten a bad rap and nobody likes to seem "sales-y". But unless you actually sell, people are not going to buy.

Your Customers Need You To Make Money

Think about it like this: if you don't make enough money then you can't stay in business and that will NOT serve your customers.

Mike tells the story of his martial arts school, how it started out in a gross basement that always smelled like socks and had hard floors.

But as he began to make sales and market the business, they started making more and more money.

So what did they do?

They got a better space. The bought mats so the floors were not hard and nobody got hurt when falling down. In a nutshell, they provided better service to their customers.

None of that would have happened without making more money – and without making more sales.

Content Marketing Is Old News

Now, we're not suggesting it's on the decline, but what Mike is saying is that content marketing has been around for a very long time. The only thing that's changed is the buzzword used to describe it.

It used to be called "writing" or "telling a story".

Writing a blog post to answer your customers' questions is content marketing. Or just… writing.

The point is that you don't need to get overwhelmed by buzzwords. You need good fundamentals and you need to know how to talk to your audience, answer their questions and tell them the stories they'll love so they can connect with you.

Money Loves Speed

This is one of Mike's favorite sayings and one that I have the most mixed feelings about.

The idea is to stop trying to get things perfect and just get it out there. Stop worrying about getting it right and just try something.

And I'm perfectly on board with that. There comes a point when you have to do something. And it doesn't have to be perfect. Unless you get something out there and do it fast, you will be left behind. The longer it takes you to do something, the longer you have to wait to make money.

Don't be afraid to fail.

Where it falls apart for me is when people put things out that are obviously lacking in quality. There are some well-known marketers who make a whole ton of money and don't even bother to proofread their sales letters. The argument goes that if the message is great, the delivery doesn't really matter.

In fact, someone Mike knows gets better results with mistake-ridden sales letters. Go figure.

Call me crazy but I can't get on board with putting out content that isn't polished, even if it makes more money. I think you can have both – polish and speed.

The bigger point is, get your content out there. Make it good, make the message strong but don't obsess about it. Better to get something flawed out there with the potential to make you money than to wait until it's just right.

Content is also the core of SEO

I'll make this easy for you: you can't do SEO without good content.

If you want more, you'll just have to read the book.

Get A Free Book

We're giving away a free copy of the book to the first five people in the United States who post a message on Facebook or Twitter and mention Ralph and Mike with the hashtag #handsomeanddelicious. Get to it!

Your Marketing Action Item

From Mike: buy the book! (Hey, Mike knows how to ask for the sale.)

Links & Resources

 

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WSS #0144: The Entrepreneurial Journey: It Sucks But It's Awesome, Too

Podjacked!

Today we're joined by Dino Dogan, founder of Triberr, who we invited on our podcast and who then took over with a topic of his own. But we were totally on board because Dino wanted to talk about the entrepreneurial journey. Given that we've just started not one but two new businesses, we're loving the topic. If you've ever started – or are thinking of starting – a business, you'll appreciate some of the things we talk about today.

But First, An Announcement

If you've been around reading or listening to our stuff for more than five minutes you know we've always been huge Triberr evangelists. And Ralph has been CTO for a couple of years, but as we take on our new ventures and devote our energy to other projects, it's time for him to step down and focus on our own new projects.

A chapter in our entrepreneurial journey has come to an end. But stay tuned, because we've got some exciting new stuff in the works for content creators. If you write a blog, host a podcast, or produce YouTube videos - that's you!

It's All About The Benjamins

We spoke with a colleague recently who has a lot of great ideas. And she wants to start a business. Multiple businesses. She has a little bit of "take over the world" enthusiasm.

But what we want to know is: how will any one of those ideas make money?

Unless you're independently wealthy and you can keep throwing money at the problem, there are practical realities to running a business.

One of them, of course, is money.

You don't need to be mercenary or evil to think about or want money. You need it to live. To feed yourself and your family. To have a roof over your head. To enjoy some luxuries – including free time!

So while having great ideas is, well… great… you do need to consider how your business will generate revenue.

According to Dino, there are three ways to make money: ads (like big news websites), subscriptions (like your paid account to Hootsuite) or transactions (like most small businesses including restaurants, landscapers, accountants, retailers and more).

You'll need to choose your revenue model from the start, and it can even be a combination.

What Type Of Business Do You Want To Run?

There are two different ways, generally speaking, to approach your business venture.

You can do it with the intent of actually running and owning the business – your business, your rules, your money and investment.

Or you can do it with the intent of getting investment money and inevitably selling it off.

The choice is yours but those two approaches require completely different plans, thinking and strategy.

Once you've got a revenue model and a business model, you've got to take the leap…

Plan, But Don't Stall

Some people jump into business without thinking about how to make money. They have an idea and go with it. That could be a recipe for some very lean days.

Other people think about it – a lot. Maybe too much. They are afraid to make that leap so they stand and stare into that wide open space without taking action.

So if you're working a 9-to-5 and think you're ready to throw your entrepreneurial hat into the ring, plan, but then at some point, leap.

Not Everyone Is Meant To Be An Entrepreneur

Of course, there is the flip side to this conversation, and that's people who love their jobs. They don't want to strike out on their own. They don't want to be "the boss." They want to do their job, collect their salary and live their lives.

And that's great. If that sounds like you then you should never feel like you have to "be an entrepreneur." There can sometimes be a lot of pressure to start your own business, do your own thing. Especially these days when you hear about the latest 12 year old kid who has just struck it rich on YouTube, you may wonder why you couldn't come up with a brilliant idea and do the same thing.

But that's not for everyone. So if you love your job – then do your job!

But Don't Tell Me To Get One

One of the things I heard when I decided to step into business with Ralph was how difficult owning a business would be. How there are no benefits, there's no pension, there's no job security.

And while that's not entirely untrue, it's beside the point.

Yes, starting a business is risky. And exhausting. Fifteen years later, we still work nights and weekends.

And to this day, sometimes people will say to me, "Don’t you wish you just had a job?"

And my answer is always: no.

If you're thinking of starting a business or you own one now, I bet you have heard the same thing. And you can feel free to ignore it with impunity.

It May Be About The Benjamins, But It's Really About The Freedom

I never wanted a 9-to-5 job. As a teacher (in a previous life) I was able to work a more flexible schedule and be creative about what I did. But when, at some point, it stopped being fun… I decided to take the leap into business.

It's been hard, at times absolutely nightmarish, but I wouldn't go back to "a job" even if you… er… paid me.

I now have the freedom to make my own plans, to run the business the way I want to, to be creative, to make the rules. I can take Tuesday off to see a movie even if it means I have to work all day Saturday. But those are the choices I make.

For Ralph, it was about escaping "spreadsheet mentality." The company he worked for was so focused on making money for its investors that they rarely looked past the spreadsheet to the customers they served.

Ralph wanted to control the destiny of his own company and to spend more time thinking about how to serve customers – which ultimately serves the business.

For both of us, it boils down to freedom. Have we give up the freedom to take all weekend off? To quit at 5 without a thought for what we left on our desks? Sure. But our destiny is ours. The money, the success, the customers we earn along the way are ours. And that's important to us.

How Do You Choose A Business Partner?

If you're planning a partnership then you obviously need someone to partner with. And your best buddies are probably not the best option, no matter how many awesome ideas you come up with over beer and burgers.

It may sound counterintuitive but you don't want to partner with someone who has similar interests or skills as you. You want to partner with someone who can complement you.

If you're a great idea person but you can't manage financials for a hill of beans, then you're better off with a financial person on your team. If you're a crack programmer but can't design so much as a red "buy now!" button, then a designer is a great partner for you.

When choosing partners, think about the things you can't – or don't want to – do. Find someone to fill those gaps and who will add value to the business.

Distribute Equity… Well, Equitably.

You may be tempted to keep most of the shares of the business for yourself. After all, it's your idea. Your baby. But when you think about it, you can't have that baby, or nurture it, or help it grow, without your team. Otherwise you wouldn't need them and you could keep the whole business to yourself.

But if you do need them, then their contribution is as important as yours.

Make people invested in the business and motivated to see it succeed. If you're off sipping coladas on a beach because you get paid a giant share, but your partner is slaving away in the office because he's got a teeny bite, that guy is going to get cranky at some point.

And I wouldn't blame him. Everyone wants to feel valued and if you're relying on someone for your success, then value them by giving them an appropriate share in the business.

Ultimately, each person's success is the success of everyone else.

The Difference Between Tech Businesses And Brick And Mortar Shops

If you're starting a technology related business you've got completely different risks than if you were starting a brick and mortar.

For a brick and mortar, you need space, you need to pay rent, and you probably need insurance. You may even need inventory. Maybe that inventory needs warehousing. You might need other things, like vehicles or equipment and you'll certainly need security for your location.

Then there are outside factors to consider. What if other shops around you close? If the neighborhood declines, what does that mean for your business? What about weather? Nearly half of our local clients were wiped out during Hurricane Sandy, never to recover. These factors are outside of your control.

Tech businesses have other risks, primarily revolving around infrastructure, backups and security.

Either way, there are different types of risks to consider, different plans to make. Sometimes you don't know what you don't know, but that's what learning is all about.

MVP Is Your BFF

In the tech world, an MVP refers to a Minimum Viable Product. That's essentially what you need for launch.

Think about Facebook. When it first launched, it was nothing like what it is today. Over the years it added a lot of bells and whistles, new features and different opportunities for you to sort and filter your connections, find and talk with people, open stores, take payments, donate, advertise and more.

There's no way Facebook could have launched with EVERYTHING. I bet someone, somewhere in a back room had big ideas but you first have to get to "minimum."

And minimum doesn't mean "bad." It simply means the most effective feature set that you can put together so that people will want to use your product and so you can start generating revenue. You iterate from there.

And you can apply the same concept to brick and mortar shops, too. Decide what you need to do to differentiate and compete, then add on.

Ralph talks about a cupcake shop we frequent here in Red Bank, New Jersey. It's a "build your own" cupcake shop. You choose the cake, the frosting, the toppings, the filling.

We visited so many times that we eventually wrote down our favorite combinations and ended up with our own menu items in the store.

It's such a great shop, that you might think you could never open your own anywhere near it.

But if you consider how you can be different, even if you don't have all the bells and whistles, you have a much better shot at making it work.

Maybe you focus your products on gluten free cupcakes. You may not be a fancy shop or have as much inventory as the other shop – candy, soda, ice cream and more – but you have something they don't.

And once you have revenue coming in, you can add to your wares. Add a soda fountain. Add a candy counter. Bring in your next best idea and use the revenue you're already generating to make it happen.

Running A Business Is Great. And It Sucks.

Even if you're a solorpreneur I bet you can't do everything yourself. You may hire a VA, or an accountant once a year for taxes.

There are some things that are outside your skill set that you'd be best handing off to someone qualified.

There may be some things you just don't want to do.

Me and bookkeeping? Sworn enemies.

It would be in your best interest to find someone who can – and will – do the things you can't or won't.

Still, sometimes you have to wear ALL the darn hats. That's a reality of running your own business. If you're just starting out or if you don't have the money to pay a salary, you will end up being bookkeeper and secretary, accountant and cat-puke-picker-upper. All while trying to actually do your job.

Nobody said it was easy!

Adapting And Evolving

There's a subtle difference but here's how I see a business working: over time you have to adapt to changing circumstances, evolve to meet big changes… or die.

We talked to Dino about Triberr, and how as a software platform they are constantly adapting to changes in the rules made by the platforms they tap into, like Facebook and Twitter. Today everything is working perfectly and tomorrow it's not – all because a change in technology means someone has to be quick with a change in programming.

Now take the cupcake shop, for example. A few years ago cupcakes were all the rage. They were such a fad you couldn't go ten feet without seeing another cupcake shop. But the fad died down and even some of the biggest name cupcake shops closed up and went out of business.

But they could have evolved – for example, to a bakery or a wedding cake shop.

It's not unlike what we've done in our business. Fifteen years ago we were doing CD-ROM and corporate Jumbotron presentations. Can you imagine if we tried to do that now? So we had to evolve and do something different.

In fact, starting our new companies is part of the evolution, as we take on more software development projects.

People change. Your customers change. What they want, need and ask for will change. And you have to change what you offer to meet those changes in demand, in the economy or in your industry as a whole.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Dino: Write a blog post or do a video or podcast for one specific person. Literally! You get two benefits out of that. One, you have a much bigger shot at converting someone whose questions and problems you have addressed directly. Two, you get the "fly on the wall" effect where other people are curios to hear what you said to that person's question or how you helped solve an individual problem.

Links & Resources

Direct download: 0144-the-entrepreneurial-journey-it-sucks-but-its-awesome-too.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0143: Google Aliens, Conspiracies And The Truth About SEO

A Visit To Stonehenge

Today we welcome Mark Traphagen of Stone Temple Consulting, whose company logo is shaped after Stonehenge and whose marketing knowledge is rock solid.

Mark explains his job as "failing so you don't have to" – which means trying, testing and collecting data about content and SEO so they can expertly advise clients on what to do and what works. Mark, along with his partner Eric Enge, publish some amazing research that proves just how dedicated they are to the art and science of marketing.

We Ask Mark To Define His Idea Of Transparency

We've been fascinated with this topic for a long time and have asked many guests for their take on both authenticity and transparency.

Mark says that the most successful companies have a stated value of transparency but that they still have to struggle individually with what that means. How much do you disclose, whether practically (about things like financials) or emotionally (about things like failure)?

There's a balance between being personal and being professional. But if you can be more relatable and real, then people will like you and want to be associated with you.

Mark says, wisely, that figuring that out takes wisdom.

Your Résumé Starts Now

Mark says that people who are most successful start building their reputations while they are still in school. And now that your résumé is to a large extent everything you put online, it's important to be mindful of what you put online.

Nothing is private. And everything you do is part of your potential career. Every blog, every photo, every status update. So make it count when it comes to representing who you are.

Are We Sending Mixed Messages?

On the one hand, we tell people to be authentic online and on the other we tell them to be careful of what they say. Where's the line? Do you risk your reputation and your career by being your true self, even if what you say and think is controversial, or do you stick to being "vanilla?"

It may seem pretty easy to draw a line between authentic and inappropriate – no, you should probably not publish that naked, drunk photo of you online, no matter how "real" it is.

But there are plenty of things that you can say and do that will be considered controversial in some circles.

Mark says that as a company it's important to articulate the values that you stand by and that will attract the right kind of customers and the right kind of employees.

Google Aliens Are Conspiring To Destroy Search Results

We could talk about transparency for hours but there are a few things we want to talk about related to SEO so we throw down a challenge to Mark: explain why big brands dominate search and small businesses get squeezed out.

I think it's because of a Google conspiracy but Mark begs to differ.

First of all, he says, conspiracies are pretty hard to keep under wraps. If something were fishy, it would come out.

Secondly, Google's business depends on making searchers happy. If they messed with results, people would not be happy and would not use Google.

Finally, the biggest reason for big brand dominance is their inherent popularity. We recognize brand names. We want brand names we know and trust. So competing with brands like Cabellas or Walmart for a search term like "camping gear", for example, is a pretty futile effort, because ultimately people want to do business with the brands they recognize and trust.

The Good News For Small Brands

Working on your brand and getting people to talk about and share your content is one of the most valuable things you can do in pursuit of SEO.

Mark calls those popular, short terms "head terms" and says you shouldn't be trying to compete on those. But you can certainly compete locally and overall you should be focusing your content on building your brand and being recognizable.

What About That Other Search Engine… What's-It-Called?

Carol Lynn admits to using Bing (mostly for the rewards points and free coffee) and wants to know how close Google and Bing are in terms of search results.

Mark says that Google being Google, anything you do there will pretty much work everywhere else. So you don't have to worry about doing anything special for Bing.

But he does say that you should not discount advertising on Bing. You can get great exposure for less cost with pay per click ads.

Content Isn't About The Links

Google and Bing both say that backlinks (meaning how many sites link to yours) are an important ranking factor. For a long time SEO companies have beaten the backlink drum and much content has been created for the purpose of getting links.

But Google got smart and started devaluing content that doesn't serve any greater purpose.

Mark says that links are important but you shouldn't be creating content with links in mind. You should be building your authority, reputation and trust around your brand. The side effect of authoritative content is links – and business.

The best kind of links, says Mark, are the ones you have truly earned.

The Speed Round

We ask Mark about the importance of building a personal brand and he says that it should not be your biggest priority. If you're building your company brand and reputation then your personal brand will take care of itself.

We also ask Mark about Google Authorship, which was alleged "dead". But even though it's not something we're implementing specifically anymore (via code and various setup steps designated by Google), Mark says it's still relevant.

And it has to do with your overall recognition and reputation. Seems like we've got a theme going on here.

In summary, don't get fixated on an idea or a tactic or a technicality.

Take care of your brand. Choose and stand by your values. Build your reputation through your content. Be the authority that you expect Google to think you are and the rest will fall into place.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Mark: Every month choose 3 people who you are going to make your heroes for the month. Don't choose them randomly. Perhaps look for people who are not well known or well connected but are doing great work and who should be known better. Encourage your audience to follow them, talk about them and what they're doing. Make a concerted effort to make them important. They could be customers, followers on social media, whoever you choose. Help people get to know them better.

Links & Resources

 

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on new podcasts and resources.

Direct download: 0143-google-aliens-conspiracies-and-the-truth-about-seo.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0142: The Tale Of The 14 Month Old Invoice

Podcast Short, Take 432

You wouldn't believe how many times we recorded and re-recorded this episode. From changing topics to forgetting to turn on the recorder to somehow being unable to get the intro out in a full sentence. But we made it! And today we're talking about billing.

But first…

A Story We Forgot To Tell About Great Customer Experience

On our last episode we talked about what does (and doesn't) make for good customer experience. And we meant to tell this story but forgot, so here it is…

Carol Lynn's mom was looking for a special type of pizza flour and she called a pizzeria that uses this type of flour to ask if they would sell her a bag.

They said no, she hung up and moved on.

But a few hours later that pizzeria called her back because they had saved her phone number from the caller ID and told her where she could buy the flour.

Carol Lynn's mom was so impressed by how they had gone above and beyond that she went 40 minutes out of her way just to visit and eat at this pizzeria.

And that is an example of fantastic marketing that can't be faked or even planned for.

Billing Gone Awry

I work with a non profit organization and we hired a vendor to perform a service. The vendor completed the service but never sent a bill.

Weeks went by.

At long last, we received the invoice. But the non profit has a certain process for handling invoices that takes approvals and multiple signings so it takes a few weeks for invoices to be paid.

When the check was ready, I dropped it off at the vendor's location and they ended up losing the check.

The worst part is that they didn't tell us they lost the check until weeks later.

So they had to reissue the invoice and it had to go through the whole process again.

It took the vendor nearly four months to get paid for that service.

In the meantime, his cash flow suffered and he was forced to pay out of pocket for the contractors he'd hired.

We Confess To Being Just As Guilty

We're often so busy working for our clients that we forget to bill our clients.

Recently we noticed a job we had forgotten to bill… from fourteen months ago. And we know we're not alone. Plenty of small business owners we know have cash flow problems, not because they don't have enough customers and not because they don't charge enough but because the just don't bill people properly.

The Many Ways Billing Can Go Wrong

If you don't invoice immediately, people may move on and forget. If they're not long term, loyal customers they may conveniently forget forever, even if you finally send them an invoice.

We once delayed in our invoicing and before we got to send the bill, the company went out of business.

Sometimes you give away hours worth of time because you're simply not paying attention.

Sometimes you get into "it only took me five minutes" mentality and you don't bother billing for that because it seems so small. But you might be surprised by how five minutes on top of five minutes can add up to many, many unbilled – and unprofitable – hours.

Give Away Your Time – On Purpose

Sometimes we do things for clients and don't bill them because we choose not to. If it's something small we'll "throw it in." The problem is that when you set that precedent, people come to expect you to do things for free.

The first time you send a bill after you've been doing things "to be nice" you should fully expect an argument. And in your mind you're thinking, "But I did all that other stuff free! Why are you arguing with me now?" And in your client's mind they're thinking, "But you did all that other stuff free! Why are you billing me now?"

If you are going to do something for free, do it on purpose and make sure your customers know you're doing it for free. Set the expectation that it's a billable activity and they should not expect to get it free every time.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Ralph: Make the line between performing a service and getting paid as short and straight as possible. Start by choosing a billing and invoicing software. Throwing an invoice into a Word document doesn't cut it. You need to be able to report on what money is owed to you and by whom. Then have a process and plan for how you handle invoicing and billing from completing your service through putting the check in the bank. If you don't get paid in two weeks, send a reminder. Still waiting four weeks later? Send another reminder. Six weeks? Better call. When you get that check, have a process for how it gets to the bank. Don't leave your cash flow to chance.

From Carol Lynn: Have a policy for how much pro bono work you're going to do. Set a limit on how many projects or how much time or how much value you're going to give in a year. Then when your friends or family or a non profit or that really nice guy with a sob story asks you to help them out, you can fall back on your policy. Tell them you can't take on their project because you've already taken one on. Or tell them you can if you've got room for it. But don't wait until you're faced with the decision before you have a plan for how to deal with it. Plan so you won't end up feeling pressured or guilted into performing a free service.

Direct download: 0142-the-tale-of-the-14-month-old-invoice.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0140: On Periscope, Marketing Fads And The Red Herring Of "Engagement"

We're BAAAAAaaaaack.

We planned to take a week off from podcasting and that turned into two weeks but we got a lot done and we're happy to be back so we can finally talk about some of the four billion trillion notes we accumulated in the meantime. Today's topic is fads, trends and the Periscope phenomenon, but first…

Our Youngest SuperFred Ever

Welcome Brayden Scott! He is a brand new baby boy, born at two pounds and the grandson of our SuperFred Poet Laureate Melanie Kissell. He couldn't wait to listen to the podcast so he cut his term short and has proven to be quite a fighter. We've since dubbed him "Baby Beast" (for all the right reasons) and look forward to some worthy stories.

While we're at it, congratulations to Ryan and Lauren Hanley as they prepare for their second child! You can never have too many Hanleys in the world.

Cynthia Sanchez Prepares To Become A Butterfly

Just recently Cynthia Sanchez released the 100th episode of the Oh So Pinteresting podcast, which also turns out to be her last. She's moving on… to bigger, brighter and more amazing things such that our tiny human brains cannot yet conceive. We look forward to her emergence as whatever she chooses to be and do next! Good luck Cynthia, and we have no doubt you will be awesome at everything you do.

On to today's topic…

Ralph Isn't A Fan Of Periscope

He isn't NOT a fan, either.

If you're confused, it's simple: Periscope is a tool. It's not good or bad. It can be either, neither or both. It all depends on how you use it.

If you haven't been hit over the head with this latest-and-greatest tool yet, it's a mobile app that lets you live stream video from your phone. That sounds kind of cool and interesting but at the end of the day… it's just video. And crappy quality video at that.

We play a clip from one of Ryan Hanley's recent podcasts where he says he doesn't quite "get" Periscope. The quality is poor and there are much better ways to do video. For Ryan, Periscope feels like a fad and we agree.

Periscope can be fun and it will have its fans but that doesn't mean you have to turn it instantly into a marketing tool. Maybe we can leave this one for the bored teenagers for now.

The Problem Isn't Periscope. It's FOMO.

"Fear Of Missing Out."

It's an Internet phenomenon where we feel like something is going on out there and we are obsessively worried about being late to the party or out of the loop on the joke. If we don't check our Facebook feed every ten seconds, someone will post the meme that goes viral and we'll be so eight minutes behind the curve.

We are sure that the next shiny tool that comes out must be THE thing and if we don't jump on it, if we don't get in fast and early, we're going to be left behind and miss our golden opportunity.

The problem is that 99.99999999% of the time that is just not true. The other problem is that as people running a business, we're busy.

Our customers are already overwhelmed with the amount of stuff they have to do in a day. Adding one more thing – an untested, untried thing – is probably not the best use of their time and money.

Plus when people jump on these platforms that fast, quality suffers because they don't really have the time to think about how to do it well.

Marketers Can Experiment. Businesses Need To Make Money.

As marketers, we're in more of a position to jump on new stuff because that's our job. We get to try stuff out and see what's new so when our customers ask us about them, we can educate them.

And while neither Ralph nor I are fans of jumping on the latest trend, we understand that marketers may want to check this stuff out. But it's not our job to tell all our customers to jump on the latest trend. If your marketer is constantly pushing trends on you, it may be time to step back and ask some fundamental questions, like: why?

Ralph Disagrees With A Commenter

Ralph recently wrote an article on the topic of Periscope and marketing trends and a commenter (Brian Fanzo) disagreed with his premise and said that if we don't innovate we'll disappear.

The problem is that "innovation" is hard. And expensive. Unless your company has a substantial R&D budget, then leave "innovation" to the marketers and big companies and capitalize on what works.

The other problem is that Periscope is not exactly innovative. It's just streaming video. Focus on the marketing that you're doing that's working and let someone with time and money kick the tires. Then implement the best of what you learn.

We're Stuck In Tools But Missing The Marketing

Periscope is a tool. Maybe it could work for you. But it's still just a tool and that always takes a back seat to strategy. Don't get lost in tools and tactics and overlook the marketing fundamentals: why are you doing this? Who are you doing it for? What value are you providing?

Engagement Equals Currency?

We play another clip from Ryan's podcast where his guest says that engagement is currency and that equals money.

We disagree.

Engagement does not equal money.

Money equals money.

Here's the thing: you can post something online that gets a ton of engagement and makes no sales, or post something online that gets zero engagement and makes great sales.

We give two examples of this in action.

In one example, we talk about someone we know who ran a Facebook ad for an event they were hosting. The ad went bananas. Engagement out the wazoo. Hundreds of likes, massive amounts of shares, lots of comments. Everyone loved the ad.

But who showed up to the event?

Seven people.

And let's just say it was an even that could have held more than seven people.

In another example, we worked with a client on writing a blog post for one specific prospect. Our plan was to address that prospect's questions via blog. The blog got zero comments. But it closed the sale!

Engagement Is Good. It's Just Not The End Result.

We don't want to leave you with the impression that engagement is worthless. Yes, you can build your brand recognition and win fans. Engagement can, in fact, turn into a sale. But it doesn't always. There is no straight line between engagement and sales.

So treat it with care. Be sure that even if you can't draw a direct line, you're closing more business because of your efforts than without them. If all you're getting are comments and share but your revenue is flatlining, no amount of "engagement" can be cashed in to pay the mortgage.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Carol Lynn: Instead of trying a new marketing tool or tactic, think about how you can do what you're already doing – better. If you're blogging, ask yourself how you can write a better blog or provide more value to readers. If you're using Pinterest, ask yourself how you can make your graphics more interesting. Don't start something new. Do something better.

From Ralph: Update your LinkedIn profile so it's current, then connect with everyone you know. But don't just shoot off those generic connection messages. Personalize them based on the context of your relationship. "Hey. We met at that networking meeting…" Or whatever is relevant. Widen your net but make it personal.

Links & Resources

 

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on new podcasts and resources.

Direct download: 0140-on-periscope-marketing-fads-and-the-red-herring-of-engagement.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0139: Numbers Can Be Fun! Learn To Love And Manage Your Business Finances

The Word Carnival Strikes Again!

Today we welcome Nicole Fende, yet another member of the infamous Word Carnival (along with prior guests Téa SilvestreMelanie Kissell and (formerly) Clare Price).

The Word Carnival is a group of small business owners and bloggers who get together to share business insights, advice and write on shared topics, and Nicole Fende is the group's official Air Guitarist Profit Diva Finance Rockstar... aka The Numbers Whisperer®.

And today Nicole is here to talk to us about how to make budgeting and financials and all those numbers things that go along with business more fun.

Numbers Can Be Fun

Admittedly I'm not buying it. Numbers mean budgets and spreadsheets and un-fun things. But Nicole insists that she LOVES numbers and when you love something you can make it beautiful to anyone.

So I agree to stick around and give her a chance.

Excel Plays Music

Apparently you can embed music into Excel. This is the first little tip Nicole shares to show that the numbers stuff doesn't have to be all boring and hard. You can even embed graphics. So when your budget balances you can play your favorite song or – in my case – pop up a photo of an Oreo.

Who knew!

Still, Nicole has some convincing to do.

It's About Mindset

Nicole says that people typically approach numbers by telling themselves, "Ugh, I can't do this." (Guilty.)

But with a little effort you can change your mindset so that you think differently about numbers. First, be your own internal editor. You can't keep telling yourself "I can't" or "I don't want to".

Not only that but you have to replace those negative thoughts with something positive.

Think Of A Number With A Positive Emotion Attached To It

Ralph picks the number 37,500 (after he dutifully opens his Excel spreadsheet) because that's how many subscribers we need for our new product (no spoilers yet!) in order to retire in two years.

I go off the reservation and pick 8 because it's the number my dad spun on the carnival wheel to win me the giant blue elephant I've had since I was a kid.

Things get weird for a minute as we ponder pink and blue elephants and by the end we're all laughing, which makes me wonder… are numbers starting to be… fun?

Emotion Changes Behavior Faster Than Logic

Nicole wants you to start your love affair with numbers by picking your own favorite. Make it a good one, fall in love with it and start to change your attitude. Why not leave us a comment below and let us know what YOUR favorite number is and why?

Nicole Likes To Drive Fast

This is something we didn't know, but considering her leather-clad air guitarist nature, we're not surprised.

So she sets up a scenario: imagine we're driving on the Autobahn really, really fast. And Nicole, who's at the wheel, takes her hands off and closes her eyes.

What do we do?

In our imaginary scenario, I yell and Ralph squeals like a girl.

And Nicole says that ignoring your business finances is just like driving with no hands and no eyes. You probably won't crash right away but keep it up long enough and you're going off a cliff to crash and burn.

Numbers are less fun right about now, but Nicole perks us up by assuring us that this will not happen if we begin to take a different approach to our finances.

How Should You Price Your Products Or Services?

Small businesses, especially service providers, struggle to price their services and we know a lot of people who work a lot but don't make a lot because they tend to under price themselves. So we ask Nicole how she advises businesses to price their services.

First, she says, there is always a minimum number you can't go below or you won't make the income you want to make. This is the absolute bare minimum you need to charge to make your business profitable. You can charge more, but you can't charge less.

And that number represents money in the bank – not money that you make. There's a difference!

Revenue Vs. Money In The Bank

Nicole says you could have a billion dollars in revenue and still go bankrupt. Now numbers are starting to sound scary. But Nicole is quick to walk us off the ledge with a pretty simple formula that you can use to figure out how much to charge so you won't end up in the red.

You need four numbers to make this work:

  1. How much do you want to make in a year? Think of how much money you want in your bank account, after you've paid all your bills and expenses.
  2. How many weeks in a year are you going to work? And don't say 52! You need vacation time or believe it or not, you will actually be less productive and make less money. Figure a max of 50 weeks (more if you're serious about your down time!)
  3. How many hours will you work in a week? More than 40 and you're in the same situation as you are without vacation.
  4. What is your productivity ratio? You are not productive (in a billable way) 100% of the time. Sometimes you are doing your own marketing or business administration. Nicole says your productivity ratio is probably around 50% which means that if you take 40 hours a week x 50 weeks in a year and get 2000 hours… you can probably only bill out 1000 of those.

Now let's say you want to make $100,000 in a year, and you're going to work 40 hours a week for 50 weeks. That means you will work 2000 hour but practically speaking you can only bill about 1000 of those hours which means you need to charge $100 an hour to make your bare minimum. And voila! Numbers are kind of fun again.

Sidebar: Nicole Renames Fred

Apparently Nicole's grandfather called everyone George so that's what Nicole wants to call our audience. At this point we're having so much fun that we agree.

Tracking Your Time Is Hard

We try to be super diligent about tracking time, whether it's billable client time or our own business development time. And yet at the end of a day, hours can still go missing. Why??

It's in the gaps – when we get up from one task to put something in a drawer and take a moment before we refocus on another task. Or answer the phone and don't necessarily time it. Or check our email real quick before moving onto another task.

Time is slippery!

Nicole mentions an app Called RescueTime that you can leave running in the background while you work and it will pull stats on where you spend your time. So at the end of the day you can see if 76% of it went towards cat photos on Facebook. And you'll have a better idea of what your actual productivity ratio really is

You Need Breaks

Nicole isn't big on timing breaks so she likes to play a favorite song and give herself the length of the song to chill.

Remember that song you embedded into Excel? Perfect opportunity to listen!

Profit Death By A Thousand Cuts

Death by a thousand cuts is a real thing. It's an ancient method of torture but it can also kill your business. Are you spending a little bit here and a little bit there? That free trial you forgot about that's now billing you… the few bucks you spent on that ebook… or maybe you bought a notebook to record your next great idea and didn't record the notebook as an expense.

It sounds like a tiny thing, but remember – the first paper cut doesn't hurt that much, either. Add them up though and you'll be bleeding cash.

To add insult to injury, if you don't record your expenses diligently, you can't count them as expenses against your income when it comes time to file your taxes. So now you end up paying more taxes!

Nicole shares yet another app called Shoeboxed that will help you track your expenses. Among other things, you can take a photo of a receipt using your phone and the software will pull the information out for you and track it. Things are starting to sound really fun right about now.

Should We Really Be Billing Hourly?

Nicole doesn't like to, and neither do we – the problem is hours are finite. So whatever your hourly rate is, you're limited by how many hours you can work and there's a definite cap on that.

Thinking hourly is a good place to start because it gives you a minimum for what you need to charge.

But think about what you're going to deliver instead, and bill by project.

Just be sure you have a clear contract with clients so they know what they're going to get and you don't end up with scope creep. Ah, scope creep… the bane of everyone's existence!

You Can Customize Yourself To The Poor House

Do you like to give your customers a lot of options? Nicole says that could be a bad idea. It's hard to manage and maintain so many different products and services and doing so can reduce your productivity ratio.

For better profitability, limit your options to specific packages and customizations. Only customize when it's really worth your while financially.

A Problem Of Scale

When you're trying to grow your business, it may seem logical to think you want more and more customers. But scaling up is a lot more challenging than you think.

Ralph tells a story of a hypothetical deli owner. When he makes a few sandwiches at a time, he has a certain process.

But let's say het got an order for 100 sandwiches.

Now he needs to buy products in larger quantities, which means he needs more storage space and more cash to buy them. And he needs more space to lay the bread out to make the sandwiches so he needs a new table. And he needs to train someone to help him make sandwiches.

Nicole calls this "growing into failure." If you grow too quickly, you will sacrifice time (by delivering late), money or quality.

Nicole says you need a plan before you have the problem.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Nicole: Pick an interesting quirk or characteristic about yourself. In Nicole's case it's her laugh (you can't miss it!) Think about how you can use it in your marketing. For example, Nicole has a laugh button on her website. First people have to get to know you and then they have to remember you. What can you be remembered by?

Links & Resources

 

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WSS #0138: BLOG > Throw Some Daggers… At Your Business

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/138

Direct download: 0138-blog-throw-some-daggers-at-your-business.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0137: BLOG > To Swear Or Not To Swear: Marketing, The F-Word And Other Language Conundrums

Readthe article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/137


WSS #0136: How To Be Successful By Not Following The 7 Steps To Success

It's A Good Time To Be A Comic Book Geek

The Batman/Superman trailer is out and that's one of the things that got us going today. It looks awesome, not to mention that it seems like there's going to be a great story arc.

My long time friend Jay Acey is a super comic book geek who attends ComiCon in full costume. In fact he recently won a best-of designation from Rotten Tomatoes.

And another series, the Suicide Squad, has Jared Leto playing a brilliant version of the Joker.

Looks like we’ve got some movies in our future.

We Add A New SuperFred Title

Last week we got a disgruntled message from my brother in law Kevin who wondered why he didn't get to be named Chief Executive Pride Officer. Rather than battle it out in the Thunderdome, Kevin agreed to a compromise:

Tammie Rampley could keep the title Chief Executive Pride Officer if he got to be the official Chief Executive Mixologist of the Web.Search.Social Podcast.

Since we're pro-anything cocktail, we agree, even though we still think a battle for the title would have been fabulous.

Are You Watching Whiteboard Fridays?

Friend of the show Mark Traphagen and his business partner Eric Enge just did two back to back Whiteboard Fridays. They're hosted by MOZ, an authority in the world of SEO and they have some great (and very understandable) info about SEO.

If you're not watching them already, they're worth adding to your list.

A Very Special Tuesday In July

At 7:49AM Eastern U.S. time on Tuesday July 14th, the craft New Horizons will be traveling the closest anyone has ever been to Pluto. The next 10 hours will be the culmination of nearly 10 years traveling just to get there.

When you think about the vastness of space and the "bigness" of the world and universe, it can help put things in perspective. Sometimes we get caught up in the minutia of our daily lives – that Twitter follower we lost or that ad that tanked – and when we look at it against something as big as the universe, those other things start to seem a lot less huge.

When you're caught up in the day to day drama of your Internet life, reminding yourself that there are things much bigger and with much more magnitude than whether or not your blog post was retweeted, can really help put things in perspective.

And thinking about how the people involved in the Pluto mission have dedicated ten years of their lives – some of them their whole lives – to having a few hours near Pluto, is incredibly inspiring.

The 5 Or 10 Or 12 Steps To Being A Successful Entrepreneur

There is an endless supply of articles telling you what the "most successful" people do. According to many of these, successful people get up early. But not 6AM early – like 4AM when some people are first getting to bed early.

Carol Lynn says that she is not a morning person. She gets most of her work done late afternoon and evening. So to try to fit into that box would not be productive or enjoyable for her. Maybe you can relate.

Lots of these articles say that successful people meditate. But do they meditate to become successful or do they meditate because they already are successful and now have the luxury of taking on those types of activities?

The problem is that these articles may be good at telling you what other successful people do but they are not a formula for you to follow. There is no magic entrepreneurial plan that starts with "get up early" progresses through "meditate" or any series of steps and ends with "and be successful."

Kevin O'Leary Says There Is No Such Thing As Work Life Balance

Kevin O'Leary of Shark Tank recently spoke at a conference attended by a colleague of ours and he was asked about how to achieve work life balance.

His answer was refreshingly uninspiring. He said, simply, that if you're starting a business there is no such thing as work life balance. If you love what you do and you want to grow your business so you can have financial success and freedom later, you need to be willing to work hard for two or three or ten years to make that happen.

We've been there. Sometimes we’re able to take off Fridays and go to the movies. Other times we have to give up weekends and decline invitations to things that might be more fun than work. But we do it because we have a passion to grow our business.

What Does Success Mean To You?

It's impossible to tell people how to achieve success when we can't possibly define success for anyone but ourselves.

For one person, running a business day to day is success. For another, building a startup and getting investors is success. Some people are big on material success – big houses, nice cars. Other people want the fame. Still others want neither and are happy just to work a good day.

Nobody is right or wrong. You have to decide what success means for you then figure out what helps you get there, no matter how many articles tell you to "get up early."

Your Marketing Action Item

From Carol Lynn: Turn off your computer, phone and all digital devices and read a book. Not a business or marketing book. Not on a Kindle or an iPad. An actual book made of paper. If you don't want to buy one, you must have one somewhere in your house, even if it's a children's book. Read it! Don't touch your phone. I know you want to, but take some time even, if it's only ten minutes at a time, to take your mind away from the minutia of business and marketing to think about something else, something bigger, something outside your bubble. Too much focus on work is scientifically proven to make you less creative and less productive. What are you reading? Leave a comment below and let us know!

From Ralph: Make a plan for your entrepreneurial journey. First, make a list of the things that make you most productive. It could be getting on the treadmill or working in a certain coffee shop. Then make a list of the things that make you unproductive. For example, you may love coffee but if you're too amped up after three cups to concentrate, cut it down. Get rid of the people in your life who don't elevate you. Then do more of the things that make you productive and less of the things that don't. Remember, only you can define what success means to you.

Links & Resources

 

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on new podcasts and resources.

Direct download: 0136-how-to-be-successful-by-not-following-the-7-steps-to-success.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0135: Are You Networking Wrong? How To Be Interesting, Build Relationships And Earn More Business.

Did You Know?

That today we're joined by returning guest Paul Scharff! We last spoke to Paul about photography but today we're taking on networking because Paul is the regional director of our local BNI (Business Network International).

And "Did you know?" is the questions that BNIers ask to help set up the explanation for some aspect of their business that may be important or interesting to other people.

For example, did you know that most people don't really understand networking?

What Is Networking, Really?

Paul says both casual networking (like meeting someone on a park bench and talking business) and structured networking (like attending BNI or another group) is making connections with other people, which over time yield business for you and others.

Who wouldn't want that?

Lot's of people, it seems. Paul says the concept of networking freaks people out and he's right.

By The Way, We're Not Talking About BNI...

That's been my best experience with networking so I reference it, but the conversation is not about BNI. The things we talk about can be applied universally to networking in any group, anywhere.

We're Not Taught Networking In School

If you were going to a dinner party you'd probably look forward to the hors d'oeuvres, but tag on the word "networking" and people freak out.

They think something is expected of them but aren't sure what.

They know they have to talk about themselves but don't know how much.

They know how to have a conversation but suddenly they don't know where to start, end or what goes in the middle.

After this conversation you should feel a lot more confident in your ability to network effectively.

What's The Goal Of Networking?

Here's what it's not: selling your product or service to the people in the room.

Here's what it is: building relationships with the people in the room so they will go out into the world as your sales team and evangelists and bring business to you.

Convinced yet that a networking group can do you some good? Read on...

What Makes A Good Networking Group?

Paul says that before you join a networking group, you should visit many different groups. Not only do you get to talk about yourself and your business for a few minutes but you usually get breakfast out of it!

So if you're out there vetting groups, here are a few things you can look for…

Organization. Is someone in charge? Do people seem to know what they're doing, where they're going and what's happening next or is it just a bunch of people without direction?

Venue. You don't need to dine at the Marriott in order to have a good networking meeting. Paul says a good group can meet in a junkyard in Schenectady in the rain. But he also says you should watch out for distractions. If you're in a diner, even if it's a great diner, and you're constantly being interrupted or battling the noise, that's not a good sign.

Chemistry. Sometimes you just click with a group and sometimes you don't. There's no real reason but if a group doesn't feel right, it probably isn't for you.

I Know A Guy

One of the great things about being part of a networking group is that you get to know more about other great businesses and whenever your friends ask you for someone to paint their house, you can say… I know a guy.

Or if they need someone to help them with their retirement plan you can say… I know a guy.

Need to remodel your kitchen? I know a guy! Need a photographer? I know a guy!

And as part of that group you're one of those "guys" who people refer to their friends and family.

What Makes A Good Networking Meeting?

Paul says the first and most important thing is that you feel welcomed. If you're new to a group and nobody greets you or says hello, that's a problem.

He tells a story of one group he visited on a rainy morning, and before he could even get out of his car, someone showed up with an umbrella to escort him inside. They made him feel like a guest of honor.

Paul also says that structure is good even though it may seem weird at first. One of the things BNI does is give members 60 seconds to talk about themselves and their business. When 60 seconds is up, someone rings a bell. If you're new to BNI that may seem really weird and disconcerting but the point is to keep things fair so everyone has the same amount of time and everyone gets out of the meeting on time.

It's Not About Handing Out Your Business Card

Paul says you might as well hire a drone to drop cards all over the place and you'll get the same effect.

Paul also says that you shouldn't walk into a room and immediately start talking about yourself. Listen first. Ask people about themselves and have a conversation.

Finally, Paul says, have your elevator speech ready. But not only that, have your 2-floor elevator speech ready and your 6-floor elevator speech ready. That way you can pull out one or the other depending on how much time you have or what the circumstance calls for.

It's About How You Pitch Yourself

Don't tell people what you do. Tell people who you help.

Rather than standing up and saying, "Hi, I'm Ralph and I run a marketing company," it would be far more beneficial to tell people, "Did you know that Google recently changed their search algorithm so if your site isn’t mobile friendly it won't show up as well in search? I help people build sites that can be found in search so they don't have to worry about Google or algorithm changes."

Which one do you think will entice someone to want to learn more?

Tell People What Type Of Customer You're Looking For

In my group there is a business owner who cleans ducts. If all he ever says is, "My company cleans ducts," that makes it tough for me to refer business to him. How many people do you know walk around talking about their ducts? Probably not a lot.

But when he says instead, "I'm looking for a customer that has allergies and wants relief," now the pool opens. I know plenty of people with allergies and they all want relief. I had no idea – until he mentioned it – that having clean ducts would help.

By being specific about the customer he's looking for, he gets a lot more business.

Think about how you can make your ask (in networking lingo) specific. It helps to have an avatar that you can use as an example.

Networking Keeps You On Your Game

If you're in a formal networking group you have to do your best. Otherwise you'll be in a room full of people who will never refer you to anyone.

Being in a networking relationship can help keep you on top of your game and performing at your best because you don't want to disappoint the people you see every week.

Find A Power Partner

My colleague who cleans ducts is a great power partner for the guy who steams carpets.

A real estate attorney is a great power partner for a mortgage broker.

But even people who seem like competitors can be a great power team. Think of Paul as a photographer who specializes in commercial photography. He's a great partner for wedding photographers.

The idea is to find someone whose business complements yours so you're more likely to have opportunities to refer business to each other.

You can even team up with direct competition. We know plenty of top notch marketing companies and web developers who we'd refer business to in a heartbeat. Remember, not every client is right for every business, so maybe someone we're not a good fit for would do well with one of our respected competitors.

Should A Networking Group Track Referrals?

BNI keeps track of how much business was passed (in dollars) each year. That freaks some people out but the truth is, it can help motivate you against a goal and be a useful tool to evaluate how well your group is operating.

But, Paul says, that's not the only thing that should be tracked. It's just one metric in your toolbox. Maybe some people don't refer a lot of business but they bring great guests. Maybe some manage the group or after-hours events. There are plenty of ways to measure the success of a group so don't be afraid of the idea of tracking revenue exchange.

In A Nutshell... 

Listen before you talk. Don't obsess over the word "networking", just have a conversation. Be specific about who you help and how. Try out a bunch of networking groups before committing. You're interviewing them as much as they're interviewing you. Make sure the chemistry is there and if not, enjoy your breakfast and move on. Look at networking as a long game and htink of the people in your group as your sales team and evangelists. And remember, always be awesome!

Your Marketing Action Item

From Paul: In the next 48 hours when you run into someone in your day-to-day life, ask them about their business. For example, if you see someone standing in line for coffee wearing an "Al's Electricians" t-shirt, start a conversation. Ask him three or four questions about what he does. Then just listen!

Links & Resources

 

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on new podcasts and resources.


WSS #0134: BLOG > Meerkat, Periscope And The Danger Of Jumping On Marketing Trends

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/134


WSS #0133: BLOG > "Provide Value To Customers," They Say. But What Does That Mean?

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/133

Direct download: 0133-blog-provide-value-to-customers-they-say-but-what-does-that-mean.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0132: Good Reviews Are Good, But Bad Ones Can Be Better

Say Goodbye To Cranky

We've been a little cranky lately on our podcasts. In retrospect, last week we did an awful lot of complaining about people who complain. Ahem.

So we're back with some positivity. Even if it comes wrapped up in a negative review because it turns out that's what we end up talking about.

 

 

SuperFred Shout Out

To my brother Kevin who heard that we named Tammie Rampley the Chief Executive Pride Officer and complained that we should have named him.

So Ralph decides to put them in the Thunderdome to fight it out. I suggest that we can have one pride officer for each color of the rainbow but Ralph isn't convinced.

In the end we decide Tammie's weapon will be the sewing machine and Kevin's will be the cocktail and that will be a battle worth watching.

Ello, There!

No, that's not a typo. Ello is yet another social network that seems to exist solely to be the anti-Facebook.

Neither of us is impressed but Ralph recently saw the "Social Media Bill of Rights" that Ello put out and decided to sign it. Among other things, it said that you have a right to privacy, but as soon as Ralph signed the document, his name was published publicly without warning.

Kind of odd for a social network proclaiming privacy to publicly post its users' information, huh?

The E.L. James Twitter Chat Is The Worst Disaster In The History Of Disasters. Ever.

Or not.

To read the dozen cherry-picked "mean tweets" that every publication printed with hateful glee, you'd think this was the worst thing to happen in marketing and PR since New Coke.

But nobody bothered to mention the large number of positive tweets she received from fans.

Now, look. We're no fans of E.L. James or 50 Shades of Gray (especially because it competes with Ralph's erotic fiction title 49 Shades of Beige) but that doesn't negate the millions of fans she does have.

You can't judge the success of a Twitter chat or marketing campaign based on the people who don't like the business or product.

Of course, positive headlines don't sell. "E.L. James Has a Great Time With Fans" doesn't get as many eyeballs (and subsequently ad revenue) as "E.L. James FAILS. Twitter Chat Complete Disaster!"

So if you're a business thinking of getting out there on social media and afraid of the perpetual nonsense that makes headlines, just remember that it's not you. It's the Internet.

You have to filter that stuff out and do what you do.

Ryan Hanley Gets His First Bad Review

We love Ryan Hanley and his Content Warfare book. He's been on our show three times so that should give you an idea of what we think of him.

But apparently someone disagrees!

Ralph tells a story of his last networking meeting when a member stood up and starting reading negative reviews about his own business.

While everyone looked on in wonder, he went on to explain that while he doesn't like negative reviews and they make him feel bad, each one had some kernel of truth that he could use to improve his business.

Are Negative Reviews Better Than Positive Reviews?

They can be!

If you just sit in the echo chamber of your fans you may never see the flaws and learn how you can improve and perhaps even gain more fans and earn more business.

Positive reviews are good because they let you know what's working but negative ones will show you how to be even better.

Our Bad Review

On last Monday's episode we poked fun at a review we received from someone who said that we talk too much without getting to the point. And that amused us a bit because, well, he's right… and that's ok with us.

But…

And there's a big fat but…

One of our listeners thought we were making fun of the reviewer and sent an email to me saying that wasn't very nice.

And you know what?

She's right!

We were having fun with the review but we totally get how someone could see that as doing the exact thing we say we don't like, which is "being mean" and making fun of people.

That's the value of listening to people when they don't shower you with praise, but instead call you out on your nonsense.

And That's The Value Of A Fan

Yes, real fans shower you with praise and get on board your train wherever it's going.

But real fans also aren't afraid to tell you the truth, even when it isn’t pretty.

Real fans shake their head and forgive your transgressions and they stick around long enough to give you another chance to go back to being awesome.

Don't Be Afraid To Piss People Off

We certainly didn't make that particular reviewer happy but that's ok. On our recent episode with Katherine Kotaw about storytelling, she said that if you haven't pissed someone off then you're not doing it right.

Not everyone is going to like you or what you do.

Ralph Gets Blocked On Twitter

Social media can be tough to navigate because even the simplest statement can be construed as mean or negative without context, body language and tone to temper it.

This past week Ralph got a message from someone that said, "Spam."

Nothing else.

When he looked into it, he noticed that a Twitter automation tool was sending out auto thank-you messages on his behalf. He hadn't realized that this was happening but someone else sure did.

In an attempt to make light of the situation, he commented that spam tastes great on toast. And immediately got himself blocked.

Goes to show that nuance can certainly be lost on social media, especially on Twitter where you're forced to converse in 140 character increments.

It also goes to show that negative feedback (in this case via block) can be useful. It alerted Ralph to a problem that he could fix. We'll have to work on the humor thing next time.

Negative Vs. Negative

You have to recognize the difference between a legitimate negative review that you can use to improve and a negative review that isn't actionable.

In the case of Ryan Hanley's book review, the reviewer commented that he wanted to read a how-to book and Ryan's wasn't it.

In that respect, the review isn't actionable because Ryan never set out to write a how-to book.

On the other hand, someone saying that our automation is annoying is something we can change. Because automation is annoying and that's certainly not something to strive for!

So when it comes to negative feedback, don't go to extremes – you can't pack up your bags and crawl into a cave, but you can't dismiss it, either.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Ralph: Go online and print out all your negative reviews. Then share them with your key staff and find the truth in them. Figure out what's actionable and find the things you can improve on. Or conduct an anonymous survey of your existing customers and ask them to review your product or service. Take the feedback and learn from it and use it to improve your business.

From Carol Lynn: Pick a company that you had a great experience with or you bought a great product from and leave them a positive review online. Let's face it: we're more inclined to complain. When we don't like something we're quick to take it public but not as likely to say the positive. Take the opportunity to shower some praise on someone doing a great job.

Links & Resources

 

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on new podcasts and resources.

Direct download: 0132-good-reviews-are-good-but-bad-ones-can-be-better.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

This Episode Gets A Little Sticky!

In a good way… because today we talk with Anthony Thomas, one of the owners of Sticker Mule – a company that manufactures custom stickers for all your marketing needs.

Oh heck, who are we kidding? Forget marketing. Stickers are just fun!

Why Stickers?

One day Anthony wasn't in the sticker business – and the next day he was. So we want to know: why stickers?

Turns out he didn't actually choose stickers. They sort of chose him.

Anthony graduated Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), a prestigious engineering school in New York, with a background in manufacturing. One day he was sitting around with a buddy talking about starting a business and the next day… business!

Anthony turns out to be the "act fast" type rather than a perpetual planner, but we'll get into that in a sec. For now we have another very important question…

Why A Mule?

Mules are humble and hardworking, says Anthony, so it fit with the kind of company they wanted to be. They didn't want to take themselves too seriously and they wanted to have fun. Plus when they say, "Our stickers kick ass!" it sounds even cooler.

It All Started With The Internet

True story: when the whole conversation about starting a business happened, Anthony's buddy wasn't even familiar with the Internet! So Anthony sat down and showed him the ropes.

They explored sites like Zazzle and in Anthony's own words, "I showed him the Internet and the next day he wanted to start our business."

As I mentioned earlier, Anthony likes to move fast and isn't one for extensive planning. He's more of an "act first, repent later" kind of guy.

So they went from Hello Internet! to incorporating a business to finding designers and developers to figuring the rest out along the way.

Move Quickly And Learn As You Go

Anthony says you can learn and improve as you go. He says it's important to have humility and be able to question yourself.

He also says it's better to go for small wins along the way rather than trying to get everything perfect immediately.

Question But Don't Over Question

Questioning is a great idea but what happens when you get stuck in those moments of self-doubt?

Well, Anthony shares a big dose of common sense: while you should always be willing to question yourself and learn, once you make a decision then you just have to live with it and move on.

Or, as Anthony says, "Don't cry over spilled milk."

A First Customer Fail… And Win

Anthony remembers his first customer well. Github, a pretty big name in the tech space, placed an order for 10,000 stickers. Since this was their first customer (and one that had a lot of influence to help get the name "Sticker Mule" out into the market) Anthony and his company decided to fulfill the order for free.

Turns out that was a good idea because it didn't go so well. The quality just wasn't there and Github said… um… well… thanks, but… these kind of stink!

So Sticker Mule fulfilled the order a second time and Github said… um… well… these are kind of… well, to be honest they still stink!

The good news is that the third time was a charm and thanks to a great collaboration between Sticker Mule (who wanted nothing more than to make their customer happy) and Github (who was willing to provide constructive criticism and stick around for the long haul), a batch of perfect stickers was born.

It's been all ass kicking ever since.

Should You Grow Your Own Business Or Look For Investors?

Now that our own company is involved in a couple of startup ventures that you've probably heard me talk about recently, we're really interested in the idea of building a business vs. seeking investor funding in anticipation of selling the business.

Anthony says it depends on where you want to go with your organization.

Do you want to flip it or go IPO? Then you'll need investors. Just remember that you are giving up control of your company to a large extent.

If you want to build your own business and a culture that you want, if you want to be able to grow your team the way you want it to grow, then you don't want investors.

Anthony says he knows a lot of people who have been burned by investors and sadly this is a story we hear again and again.

Good news for Sticker Mule (and the rest of us): they are only interested in building their business and making the world a happy place, one sticker at a time.

What About Marketing?

They don't have social links on their website except for a "tweet us" link on their contact page and there's no obvious way to connect with them online.

So we want to know: how are they doing their marketing?

Anthony says nobody on his team has a marketing background and he wants everyone to do what they love. So they are only doing a very organic type of marketing where they talk about what they do naturally but not with the explicit intent of marketing.

But They Must Market Somehow.

Turns out this "unmarketing" philosophy has been all they've needed so far. They live by the mantra: make people happy.

Anthony believes in giving customers such a great experience that they'll talk about his company and want to refer them and do more business with them.

Customer experience for the win!

Bumper Stickers…. Not Cool

Another true story: in the beginning when they started the business they thought people wanted bumper stickers. Everyone seemed to have one but it turned out… nobody really wanted them.

Next, Sticker Mule got into iPhone skins thinking those would be popular, too.

Except… not.

So what did they learn? People want stickers. And they wouldn't have known that without trying.

Live, learn, test and keep going.

Speaking Of Testing…

Since people weren't ordering skins, Anthony decided to remove them from the site. But strangely enough, their overall conversions dropped.

When he put the skins back, conversions went up again – even though people weren't actually ordering the skins! (Well, some people were, but not enough to account for the big rise in conversions.)

Anthony thinks maybe the skins are what people remember even if they don't buy them. Whatever the reason, they keep the skins as an option.

Don't Overwork Yourself Or Your Team

Anthony believes in making things better for their customers – but also making things better for his own team.

He doesn't believe in overworking people.

Seems to us like Anthony has got the balance of business right – planning but not over planning, thinking but not overthinking, working but not over working.

Stickers. They're Not Just Three Inches Anymore.

Sticker Mule also has giant wall stickers, up to 6 feet! Why? Because people asked for them.

At first Anthony was reluctant to produce them because there's a big difference between a three-inch sticker you slap on your laptop and a six foot one that you mount on a wall.

So they experimented to find the best way to manufacture one that would work well on a wall surface, lay flat and be easy to install.

They changed up the materials a bit and now also provide instructions to help people put them up effectively.

Customers Come First

We ask Anthony how they decide what to do next and he says… whatever is most important to their customers.

I'm sensing a theme here.

Why Use Stickers In Marketing?

Stickers are fun. And face it, the inner kid in you comes out when you see one and you can't help put it somewhere.

As a business owner you can put them in with products when you ship them, you can give them out at conferences – or if you're like us you can give them away because.

Anthony says that if you are willing to put a brand sticker somewhere, that shows a commitment to the brand. And you're more likely to do business with that company.

Plus it goes back to the happiness factor. Anthony is focused on making customers happy and that means a high quality product, a great experience and fast turnaround.

It's working!

And You Can Afford Them

Considering the quality and the fact that you can custom design a sticker for just about anything, the stickers are completely affordable. Even teeny tiny businesses can buy a few, use them in their marketing and see what happens.

Imagine adding that happiness factor to your customers' days.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Anthony: Get over your fears and hesitations and be willing to contact people to promote yourself. Find someone you think would be interested in your product and contact them and ask them if they'd like to try it out.

Make your ask simple and short. If you write a long email they may not read it. But if you write a simple request, there's a good chance people will reply.

Links & Resources

 

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on new podcasts and resources.

Direct download: 0131-the-key-to-successful-marketing-happy-customers-and-stickers.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0130: BLOG > What Defines A Perfect Product?

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/130

Direct download: 0130-blog-what-defines-a-perfect-product.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0129: BLOG > How To Stop Saying Um (And Other, Like, You Know, Filler Words)

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/129

Direct download: 0129-how-to-stop-saying-um-and-other-like-you-know-filler-words.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0128: You Are What You Think: Pride, Business And The Danger Of Negativity

Today's Episode Is Handsome And Delicious

It's our first official podcast roadshow! This weekend we were in Nowhereville… er, Connecticut… visiting Mike Brooks (the Handsome and Delicious) for some mojitos and business. In between we recorded a couple of podcasts – the Nuclear Chowder podcast coming out in a few weeks, so stay tuned – and this one.

It was great fun for us and we hope you'll enjoy this, too.

We Love Connecticut, Really

There are just so many tall things… roads and trees and stuff. Coming from our condo in New Jersey, it's a whole lot of suburban.

But more than Connecticut, we love Mike Brooks because he cooked us some amazing carnita dinner plus guacamole and a shrimp and chorizo appetizer that I may have eaten most of.

SuperFreds Of The Week

Ralph starts out calling them Superheroes of the week but I decide that is not prestigious enough. So here they are.

Traci The Kitchen Girl (I hear she has an amazing recipe for Brussels Sprouts on her site and in spite of all his cringing and complaining, Ralph agrees to try them if I use her recipe!)

Tina McAllister, Mila Araujo, the folks at Simplexity and Bob Dunn, the WordPress genius behind the BobWP website.

Thank you for your conversation and sharing! If you'd like to connect with them too, you can find their links below.

Alisa Meredith Mails Us A Brussels Sprout

I'll leave it at that. And that's why I love her.

Ian Anderson Gray Is On Notice

Since we can't help ourselves, we continue to talk about food – or in this case beverage – because Mike is a super tea lover and he made us a lovely pot of fresh tea.

He calls it English-style, which is putting the loose tea leaves into a pot, letting it steep and then straining it into your mug.

So we want to know: Ian, as the official British guy of the Web.Search.Social Podcast, is this true? Or are we just doing another Americanized version of the real thing?

Pride!

This past week was a big one here in the United States. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality and we're happy to celebrate with our friends and family who have long waited for this moment.

We also name SuperFred Tammie Rampley our Chief Executive Web.Search.Social Pride Officer.

She wants double pay but considering the amazing bags she is constantly sending us, we agree. Also, it makes it easy that zero times two is still zero… ahem.

Tammie's new job entails ensuring that the Web.Search.Social Podcast is FABULOUS!

PS: Are you voting for Tammie to win a commercial in the Super Bowl? SuperFred in the Super Bowl FTW!

And The Confederate Flag

This was another big deal this past week as racial tensions over a recent shooting boiled up. And while we're not here to talk politics, Ralph found a great video with some historical context about the flag that is worth learning from.

Plus all these controversial current events lay the groundwork for our next conversation which is about…

Negativity. Ugh.

I'm not the "I will block you" type when it comes to social media, even if you say things I don't like. But for the first time ever, this week I started blocking, unfollowing and deleting people from my life.

Two things happened to drive me to this point.

First, I read a post that Mike wrote about how a lot of people like to complain about how bad the economy is, how terrible things are in our country and how everything is going to hell in a handbasket. Taxes and business problems and WHHAAAAA!

Mike says: stop your bitchin'.

Or maybe I said that. But what Mike really said is that there are opportunities if you stop focusing on the negative. You have to go out and find opportunities if you want them instead of sitting around complaining about what you lack. If you fill your head with things that are terrible and bad and engage in constantly pessimistic talk then that's what you will focus on.

You've heard people say, "You are what you eat"?

Well, Mike says, "You are what you think."

As he has studied what makes people successful, he's found that they all share an optimism that transcends the petty complaints so many people spew every day.

Fast Forward…

Mike's post was the first catalyst. The second was everything that happened this past week as a result of current events.

And the things that have happened have been emotional and caused a lot of emotional reactions.

And that's ok – but where it's not ok is when it becomes everything. 

It's not ok when opinions become hateful and vitriolic. When conversation and debate break down and become name calling, complaining and negativity.

There's a difference between disagreeing and spewing negativity.

If that's you, if you are in a perpetual state of negativity and complaining – consider yourself blocked!

But more importantly…

You Don't Have To Watch The Train Wreck

The 24 hour news cycle is great at keeping the negativity front and center.

But a constant barrage of that can really take its toll on you.

Ralph reminds us of Lena West – speaker, author and social media consultant – who spoke at an event we attended and said that she is focused on building her business, not on crimes, wars, problems and disasters she can't do anything about.

The point is simple but clear: if you fill your brain with all the bad stuff, there won't be any room for the good.

You don't have to listen to it, read it, participate in it or acknowledge it.

Being part of a culture of negativity is incredibly draining. It will suck out your energy, your creativity, your passion, drive and enthusiasm.

And you can opt out.

Constant Optimism Is Draining, Too

We're human and nobody can be positive all the time. Being real is important and that means the good and the bad.

So we're not being idealistic here – we know people (including us!) have our moments of bad days, bad moods and complaints.

So we're not advocating for perpetual optimism, but we do think that when things start to turn down, you have to find your way back to the light or your life and business could be in danger.

Social Media: All The Stuff You Would Never Say In Real Life

It seems like people have developed a sort of social Tourettes when they post online. They say extreme things in hateful ways that they would not say in a room full of people.

I could go on all day on this topic but if you're really interested in joining the debate then I encourage you to listen to our conversation on this podcast.

We all struggle a little bit with where to draw lines and what's ok and not ok when it comes to business (Should you bring your controversial stance into your business? Should you talk politics or religion or [insert delicate topic here] and be willing to alienate people or should you leave it for you personal life?) but it's something worth exploring so you can understand where you stand and take ownership of your position.

Whatever you choose, do it purposefully and without hate.

We Can Disagree Rationally

We disagree with our families. We disagree with our friends. We disagree with clients. Sometimes they are small things but sometimes they're big issues. And yet we don't kick those people out of our lives and we don't expect to change their minds.

We're not saying you have to agree with everything everyone says in order to maintain a relationship but you can disagree with integrity.

Conversation, debate and a willingness to listen contribute to a civil world where we can disagree, we can have passionate beliefs on any side of the equation, and we can still get along.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Mike: Put positive stuff into your head. "Your attitude, not your aptitude, determines your altitude." That's a quote by Zig Ziglar, so go listen to him. Go listen to someone who has a positive influence on your life and let them inspire you. Read something positive, talk with someone encouraging and fill your head with things that give you good energy to be creative and successfully run your business.

From Carol Lynn: Clean up your social streams, especially your Facebook page where it's too easy to read all the mean, complaining, negative things people say. You don't have to make a big deal out of it, just remove those people from your sphere of attention. You don't need to kick them out of your life but you don't need to read or listen to their nonstop downer conversation all the time. Make room for the people who will bring you up instead of dragging you down.

From Ralph: Find a podcast in your niche and then talk to the host about being a guest. You don't have to host your own podcast to take advantage of the audience a podcast can afford you. If you share your ideas and the things that make you unique on other podcasts then you can tap into a lot of potential.

Links & Resources

 

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on new podcasts and resources.


WSS #0127: Pit Bulls, Pie And Storytelling For Business

A Princess And A Pit Bull Enjoy Some Pie…

And thus begins the story of today's podcast!

That's a whole lot of Ps and I wouldn’t mind a gold star for getting them all out during the intro.

So What Does That Mean?

Today we welcome storyteller perfectissimo Katherine Kotaw of Kotaw Content Marketing. Storytelling isn't just something she does – it's something she is. A storyteller, that is.

Katherine and I bonded over pie (virtually) and somehow every conversation we have begins and ends with one.

And as for the pit bulls, well, Katherine realized that pit bulls are actually quite adorable and charming and snuggly. So she decided to rebrand them as such and figured if she could do that… she could do anything.

Pit Bulls For The Win!

I recommend following Katherine somewhere online (links to find her are below) because you may just fall in love with pit bulls, too. Especially when they are adorned with flowers and tiaras.

If you listen closely you can hear Ivy, Katherine's pit bull princess, snuffling and jingling in the background.

What Makes A Storyteller?

Katherine defines a storyteller as someone who can hear all sorts of random stuff and turn it into something compelling with a beginning, middle and end. A brand storyteller takes all that stuff and makes the person (or company) it's about stand out from everyone else.

Can Everyone Do It?

Actually… no.

Let's throw a little tough love into the fire. Everyone has a story but not everyone is good at telling it.

Take a story and have three different people tell it. We bet it will sound different each time. And this isn't exactly The Three Little Pigs we're talking about… though now that you mention it, I bet you've heard fun versions of that story and not so fun versions.

It really does depend on the telling.

How Do You Know If It's Time For Some Storytelling 911?

Katherine puts it bluntly: some companies need to come to grips with the fact that they stink as storytellers and get someone to help. We agree.

Ralph calls this someone "a muse".

Katherine calls this someone "an extraction specialist".

If you feel stuck – or worse – think you don’t even have a story to tell then that's a good sign you need to get some help.

It may be that you need someone to listen better or to ask the right questions. Or that you need a change of setting or a glass of wine… or pie.

Everyone has different storytelling abilities so rather than trying to go it alone, work with someone who can make you shine.

What If You Don't Have A Story?

Hold on a sec… you read what I said about how Katherine thinks everyone has a story?

That sounds great but… I've met a few people who seem to truly, well, not.

I ask them questions about their business and they all seem to fall flat. These people don't have an origin story or a "big why" or a passion. Maybe they're doing it just for the money. Or they saw an ad for a business for sale and decided to try it because they needed to do something with their lives.

Katherine thinks that if you don't believe you have a story your business will ultimately fail. It's story that helps you withstand the tough times because you'll understand your motivation and fight for your passion.

But I still want to know… what about the guy who is in it for the money? Who doesn't seem to have anything to say about why he started his business except, "Because…"

Katherine says that all good businesses have a story even if they can't articulate it.

Sometimes people think their story is too personal. Or they're afraid people won't like them because of it. Sometimes they just haven't dug down deep enough.

She shares an example of working with a client who didn't think he had a story, was in it "for the money", but found out his story rooted back to his grandfather wanting to start a business. Like Katherine says, you need someone to extract that!

Sharing Vs. Oversharing: Where's The Line?

Some people think our Kim Anami episode about business, sex and relationships was oversharing. Other people loved it.

So where are the lines?

Katherine is not to be stumped on this one, either! She says… wait for it… use your judgment.

Whoa.

Amazing how common sense wins, isn't it?

She says that most people err on the side of under sharing because they're too afraid to get personal. But others seem to spew out any old thought onto social media, which can get them into hot water at some point.

Ask yourself: how much of your story are you willing to own?

Then own it!

Ben Affleck Makes An Appearance

Well, not literally, but it did sound cool to say that. Maybe he should sponsor the show.

We talk about a recent documentary in which it was discovered that one of his ancestors had owned salves. Ben tried to cover it up and you can imagine how well that went.

When it all came out he finally said that he was embarrassed by the whole thing and didn't want to admit it.

Ralph wonders whether this mistake now defines his story or if we can be more forgiving because we are already immersed in his story and we understand that this was just one blip on the radar.

Katherine agrees that for people who are already part of the story, they are likely to be forgiving and understand that one moment does not define a person.

What To Do When The Bad Stuff Gets Out Into The World

Sometimes things get out. Things we didn't plan to share. Sometimes we look bad.

Then what? Do you cover up? Play dead? Tell everyone to go fly a kite?

Actually, Katherine says, take charge. You can't control the story but you can control how you handle it.

You can admit your mistakes, share your thoughts and move on.

Eventually the bad stuff dies down and you can pick up your story again where you want to tell it.

The Responsibility Of The Listener

Ralph wants to know whether people have a responsibility for how they interpret the stories they hear.

Katherine thinks they do have an obligation – to understand the context and to judge it as part of a bigger whole.

I think they're both crazy because… have you met people? I don't think that "take responsibility for how I interpret someone's story" is high on anyone's agenda.

I do think, however, that if we're diligently building our fan base and we're true to ourselves and our audience, people will forgive our transgressions.

What do you think?

Your Story Is Not Linear

Yes, stories have beginnings, middles and ends. But when it comes to business and marketing, people may jump in at any time. So the beginning for one person may be the middle for another. How does this affect messaging when businesses aren't really in control of where someone will start in their story?

Katherine says business owners too often think they have one story, tell it once and are done. But our stories have to keep evolving and we have to keep telling them – everywhere, all the time. It doesn’t really matter where someone jumps in. They'll catch up!

There Will Be Blood…

Or misunderstandings. But blood sounds more dramatic.

Anyway, Ralph tells a story of someone who jumped into the middle of our story and without the proper context, took all sorts of offense.

OMG, EVERYONE PANIC!

Actually, Katherine says… oh well. It happens. You just have to keep going, keep telling your story, keep marching.

Don't apologize.

You are going to offend some people. And that's a good thing.

It's More Than Your Origin Story

Lots of times we think of our story as "how I started my business". But there is a whole lot more to it than that.

Katherine says you've got to think about how you want to be known. What will make you memorable?

You can be the person who always has a thoughtful opinion… or the one who is supportive of others, even competitors. You have to decide how you want to be recognized and work to build and grow that every day.

Three Types Of Story

When it comes to baking the perfect marketing pie, there's the written story, there are visuals and then there is social media.

Mix all three together to make some delicious marketing magic.

Writing is not good enough. Your story has to appeal visually, too. And once you've got those two pieces, you need to share, share, share on social.

If you don’t share your story, says Katherine, often and repeatedly – it won't go anywhere.

Does Your Audience Play A Role?

I want to know: does your audience factor into your story? (I'm looking at you, Fred!)

Katherine says yes! (I knew we were kindred spirits in pie.) She is often inspired by what people say and then will tell a story to and about one person, speaking to that one person. It's always better to think of others before your own self interests.

I tell her that our audience has been part of our story all along, helping us tell it and being part of it with us.

When Does Your Story End?

Never.

Drops mic.

What Makes A Good Story?

A good story makes you feel like you're there.

A good story makes you want to be a part of it.

A good story makes you feel like you never want to get to the end.

A good story makes an emotional connection with people.

And remember, it's not always about mechanics – it's in the telling.

Ralph Forgets To Mispronounce Katherine's Last Name

In an ongoing bid to annoy Alisa Meredith, friend of the show and host of the Superheroes of Marketing podcast, Ralph set out to mispronounce Katherine's last name (which is pronounced like the "kota" in North DaKOTA).

This apparently bugs Alisa but Ralph forgets and ruins the joke.

Sorry, Alisa.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Katherine: if you want to succeed in business and be happy succeeding, find your story, tell your story and then keep on telling it. And if you've got one, Katherine wants to hear it! Share with her anywhere online. I'm sure she wouldn't mind hearing about your favorite type of pie, too.

Links & Resources

 

Subscribe below to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on new podcasts and resources.

Direct download: 0127-pit-bulls-pie-and-storytelling-for-business.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0126: BLOG > Should You Run Your Venture As A Business?

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/126

Direct download: 0126-blog-should-you-run-your-venture-as-a-business.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0125: BLOG > How Much Should A Website Cost? The Older And Wiser Edition.

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/125

Direct download: 0125-blog-how-much-should-a-website-cost-the-older-and-wiser-edition.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0124: Dirt + Leaves + Sharks = Lawyers (Or How To Start A Business)

Bags For Women… AND Men!

If you're a regular listener you know we talk about Tammie Rampley and Tramp Lee Designs often. Carol Lynn has bags made by Tammie, we've ordered gifts for our mothers… but it wasn't until this week that we realized Tammie not only makes bags for women but she makes them for men, too!

A messenger bag showed up at my door last week with my name on it, a Tardis on the outside and bigger on the inside.

So connect with Tammie and find out how she can custom design a bag for exactly what you need.

Three Star Dude Is Not Going To Be Happy

Last week we talked about someone who left us a three star review of our podcast and who complained that we do too much talking and don't get to the point quickly enough.

After today that review is probably going down to two stars.

Let's Talk Business

Setting up a business, that is.

If you're selling a product or service, are you in business for yourself or are you actually running a business?

The difference starts with the paperwork.

It's a good idea to legally file business incorporation documents, whether that's as an S Corp or an LLC or something else.

By making it "official" you have legal protections you wouldn't have otherwise. For example, you have less liability as a business than you would as an individual. If something goes wrong and you're not incorporated you could lose your home, car or other assets. But if you're incorporated the business takes that burden.

Profit Sharing Vs. Equity Ownership

Thinking of going into business with a partner? Then you have to figure out how you're going to split up the equity.

When you give someone a share of profit, that's nice, but it's easy to dilute profits with expenses. If you pay yourself a gigantic salary you're cutting into the profit that your partner expects a cut of.

If you take a lavish trip to Hawaii (for business purposes, of course) you're cutting into the profit that your partner expects a cut of.

On the other hand, giving someone an actual equity stake in the business means they own a percentage of the business – profits AND losses – and they also get a percentage of the sale of the business.

Put It In Writing

If you plan to "partner up" with someone, don’t expect to do it over a handshake. If it's not on paper then it doesn't count.

What if you or your partner gets hit by a bus? What if you or your partner decides you don't want to be involved in the business anymore?

A legal agreement will protect everyone involved.

Dirt And Leaves And Sharks = Lawyers

If this sounds complicated, don't worry about it. That's what God made lawyers for. With a little bit of dirt and leaves and sharks… voila, you've got someone on your side who knows all the stuff you don't. If you know any lawyers who want to sponsor this show, we're all ears.

Don't Download Free Legal Forms

You have probably seen ads for cheap legal templates and given the cost of real attorneys it can be tempting to drop a couple of bucks on a template. But a template doesn't know you or your partners. A template can't advise you.

Sometimes you don't know what you don't know.

Even If You Don't Have Partners – Incorporate

If you're a solopreneur and don't have any partners you still need to be incorporated. As we mentioned earlier, being incorporated affords you certain legal protections.

It can also help you save on taxes, allow you to put money away effectively for retirement and more.

Partners Can Be More Diverse Than You Think

When you think of a partner you may be thinking of someone who can help you produce the product or provide the service you want to offer.

But partners can have completely different skills that contribute to the overall success of your business.

For example, you may want to partner with someone who is an influencer in your niche and who can help you bring your product or service to market a whole lot faster (and more profitably) than you could do on your own.

You may want to partner with an adviser or a financial person who can take on some of the necessary responsibilities where your skills fall short.

The key is to find people who can strengthen your team – without whom your total success would not be possible.

Vesting. It's Stupid.

It's not a very common practice but it happens. The premise is that you promise someone equity in the business after they've worked in the business for some length of time – usually for free.

It may seem like a good idea to test someone's commitment but it also devalues their participation. Plus a lot can change during their vesting period. What if you sell the business? They get nothing. What if you take the profits and leave? They get nothing.

Just don't do it. Value your team members out of the gate.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Carol Lynn: Do you have an idea for a business, product or service but don't have the skills to execute it? Don't dismiss your idea! Write it down and then write down the short list of people who have the skills you need who may be able to partner with you. Want to build some great bit of software but don’t have an ounce of programming knowledge? Partnering with the right programmer is all you may need to bring your idea to fruition.

From Ralph: Start with the end in mind. Before you start a business or create a product, think about how you're going to sell it, who you're going to sell it to and how much money you think it can make. Put together a spreadsheet of your expenses and the potential revenue based on your target market. Be sure you know who your target market is. You can't sell to "everyone." You need to understand the potential reach of your niche and that will help you decide whether it's worth investing your time, energy and even money in your new venture.

Links & Resources

 

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on new podcasts and resources.

Direct download: 0124-dirt-leaves-sharks-lawyers-or-how-to-start-a-business.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0123: Buffoons Need Friends Too And Other Content Marketing Realities

It's The Ryan Hanley Hat Trick Show!

Third time's a charm and this is Ryan Hanley's third appearance on our show. He was on a while ago to talk content marketing, then recently we had him back to talk about his book and ended up spending an hour in an impromptu therapy session talking about the challenges of balancing your personal life with your work. This time he's back to talk about his book for real, which dives deep into content marketing: the hows, whys and what fors.

Is it fate or just a good lottery number that this is also episode 123? If you don't hear from us for a while, don't panic – it just means we're spending our winnings from a villa in Barcelona.

Why Did Ryan Write This Book?

We're curious – not just why he wrote this book from a content standpoint but why he went to such lengths to put out a great looking hardcover and not a much simpler and cheaper eBook.

We learn that Ryan feels a profound responsibility to his audience. Not only to produce the best work but to produce something they can be proud of owning and using.

He also says that content marketing has been "sold wrong" because usually people lead with the tactics and tips. But he says that you need to build your audience first and the tactics will follow.

Success Is More Possible

Here's something telling: Ryan says that if you approach content marketing the right way, success is more possible.

Notice what he didn't say.

Success is yours.

Or…

Success is guaranteed.

No, it's just "more possible."

The lack of hype and absence empty promises is one of the many things we love about Ryan.

Carol Lynn Unleashed

Carol Lynn has two copies of Ryan's book and is on her second reading so I let her loose to bombard Ryan with questions.

Of course, the first thing she wants to know if why Ryan mentioned that readers can "rabbit ear" the pages of the book instead of "dog ear."

Ryan is pretty sure he just made that up. But it sounds cool, so we go with it.

Millennials Schlimennials

We challenge Ryan with a topic we recently discussed on our podcast – because of exactly what he says in his book – which is that the only "generations" that matter for content marketing is the connected generation and the unconnected generation.

The unconnected generation doesn't have Internet access (or doesn't use the Internet) and doesn't have smart phones. The only way they know that a product or service exists is by being interrupted – by an ad or a billboard or a commercial.

On the other hand, the connected generation seeks out information. The use the Internet to find what they want, on their own time, in their own way.

This is what makes content marketing so powerful.

Mark Schaefer Wants A Hamburger

In a recent article, marketer and author Mark Schaefer says that sometimes you don't want a relationship with a company. Sometimes you don't want a community. Sometimes you just want a coupon so you can get a cheaper burger.

We agree.

But we challenge Ryan to reconcile that with the idea of using content marketing to create that connection vs. just handing out a coupon.

Ryan wouldn't be Ryan if he didn't dodge that bullet. He quickly lets us know that while that may be true, even a weak connection to a company can mean the difference between a sale and no sale.

We are influenced in some way by the messaging we see over time so even though we don't quite think about it, somewhere along the way something nudged us in one direction or another.

But more importantly, Ryan says that the idea of building community can be overrated. Community building is a tactic – and it's not right for every business. It will work for some, but others just need to send out coupons.

War Is Averted, So We Try Again

Just for fun we decide to see if we can ignite that flame of dissent and throw Mark under the bus a second time.

We want to know: is content marketing really sustainable given Mark's assessment that while content consumption is finite – we only have a certain amount of hours in a day to consume it – the amount of content continues to increase exponentially.

Flat demand, infinite product.

But Ryan is too slick to fall for it. He says the truth – which is that crappy content is doomed. If you want to get noticed you have to produce something great. Every time.

True Fans Are Better Than More Fans

Numbers in and of themselves are not important. It's how many people are your true fans.

And in a twist, Ryan says that true fans don't even have to be customers. They just have to be people who will share your every word and who will advocate for you and refer you when they can.

Case in point about numbers: Ryan has 5,000 people on his email list but 137 people who funded the Kickstarter for his book.

Do the math.

It's not about the size of your list, it's about the true fans.

Be Likable

In all our talk about not worrying about people who don't like you, we want to know why Ryan thinks you need to be likeable.

Of course he dodges that one too because he means that you need to be likeable to your audience.

But never try to get everyone to like you.

Yup. We're on board.

Can A Small Company Compete With Big, Well Known Brands?

Don't lament your Google position, kids. Turns out that as a small, local business you have a big advantage over big brands that offer the same product or service that you do.

You – not them – know your local community. You speak the language, you understand the vernacular, you get their geographical references.

You can easily jump past the big players by being the authority in your small town where you can dominate over a big brand any day.

Also, Mike Brooks may make an appearance in a pink dress and tights. And something about a baton, but we won't give it all away.

Sharing Vs. Over Sharing

We're fascinated by the topic of authenticity so we ask Ryan, what's ok to share and when is it too much?

Ryan says the most reasonable thing (Damn him! We want war! And Internet fights!) which is that it's different for everyone.

You just have to know what you're comfortable being public about.

But – in another classic Ryan Hanley twist – he tells us that authenticity and transparency are NOT the same thing.

You can be transparent but do it in an inauthentic way.

Or you can hold back but be absolutely authentic in whatever you do say.

The key is to be as transparent (share) as much as you're personally comfortable with and be authentic (real) about everything.

People need to believe what you say. And you can fake it, but eventually you will be found out.

What Ryan Learned From A Bartender Named Christopher

In the grand finale Ryan tells us about a bartender in a hotel where he (Ryan) was speaking at a conference.

First we learn that Ryan's favorite drink is a Kentucky Mule. Then we learn that there is such a thing as a copper cup, into which this drink is poured. We also learn that the bartender named Christopher had only one copper cup but that there were three people in Ryan's party.

Not to be deterred, the bartender named Christopher went out and bought two new cups so Ryan and his colleagues could enjoy their drinks the following night.

He went to extensive lengths to please his customers, including things like "making ice by hand" and other such things.

The conclusion? If every business took their job as seriously as Christopher did, they would have some amazing superfans.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Ryan: Find a way to capture ideas wherever you are. Your best ideas won't come when you're sitting in front of your keyboard so make sure wherever you go, wherever you are, you have a way to capture your ideas. The method doesn't matter as long as you do it. Use paper, use an app, use voice recording. Just be sure to do it every time you have an idea no matter what. If you have an idea, snag it and keep it. In other words, take your phone to the toilet.

Links & Resources

 

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on new podcasts and resources.

Direct download: 0123-buffoons-need-friends-too-and-other-content-marketing-realities.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0122: BLOG > Don't Believe The Hype! Your Success Depends On It

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/122

Direct download: 0122-blog-dont-believe-the-hype-your-success-depends-on-it.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0121: BLOG > Are You Unwittingly Telling People You're Boring? Answer This Question To Find Out.

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/121


WSS #0120: Critique Vs. Criticism And Other Musings

We're Tired!

We recorded this on Sunday after a few weeks of super intensive work, and man, we're bushed. So this is a shorter episode than usual, just the right length for you to get on the treadmill for a good workout.

Why We So Desperately Need A Nap

First of all, since we recorded this on Sunday, we were eager to rest up for the season finale of Game of Thrones.

But mostly we're exhausted because we're starting not one… not two… but THREE new business ventures.

They are all product-based – namely, we're building three products (in this case software).

One is the new Triberr – and thanks to the feedback of some superfans, we've got plenty of plans to include the features YOU asked for.

One is still a super secret so we can't quite talk about it yet.

And one is designed specifically to make the lives of our SuperFreds easier.

It's Still Sort Of A Secret But…

You may know that we produce four podcasts each week. Two are based on blogs we've written and two are full length episodes with rather extensive show notes like this one.

Then we promote that stuff, which includes creating graphics, ads and scheduling.

Oh and we also do client work!

Which leads to the point…

People constantly ask us, "How the heck do you DO all that?"

And the answer isn't that we have figured out cloning (though I wouldn't mind one…)

The answer isn't that we have superpowers (though I might like to move at the speed of light…)

The answer is: efficiency.

And the way we gain efficiency is through a handful of home grown tools that we've developed for ourselves to help us manage our workflows and processes.

And Now We Want To Share That With You

We're in the process of combining all our best tools into one super tool for content creators to help them manage their own content, whether that's a blog, podcast or social shares.

That's about all I can tell you right now but we'll share more as we get closer to unveiling it. In the meantime, let us know if there are any special challenges YOU face when creating, managing or sharing content – whether for yourself or for clients – and we'll see what we can do about making that easier for you.

This Whole Process Is Not Fast Or Simple

We've talked plenty of times about how you can't create a product of real value in two or twenty four or even a hundred hours.

Last week we talked with Cynthia Sanchez about her product – Web Images Made Easy – and how it took her and her partner a year to produce it.

Granted, what we're doing is different in the sense that we're not creating an ecourse or video series – we're actually forming an entirely new business – but there is a lot that goes into it, either way.

We've definitely lost a lot of sleep as we plan and ponder and decide and figure out. So the fact that people STILL cough up $49 or $197 or ANY dollars to watch whatever webinar or read whatever ebook promises to show you how to create a product fast and sell it for a ton of money – well, that just drives me nuts.

They're Only Seeing Dollar Signs

People who sell you the quick fix are just trying to figure out how to put dollars in their pockets.

But let's face it – we ALL think about dollars. We all want to make money. Nobody is doing this to be altruistic. Everyone has to run a business and make enough money to live.

But if you really want to generate revenue then it's about the value you can provide to your customer. That's what will keep them coming back for the long term.

Calling Tammie Rampley!

Ralph needs to talk to you. Email him. Apparently, saying it out loud on the show was the only way he'd remember to say that. So much for GTD, huh? I call shenanigans.

Moving on…

We Got A "Bad" Review Of Our Podcast

Ok, not exactly "bad". It was a 3-star review (out of 5) but still, ouch.

The problem is that the complaint went something like this: Too much chatter, just get to the point and tell me what I came to hear.

For us, the chatter is kind of the point. That, and the marketing stuff. But it all goes together. If we cut that part out we'd lose ourselves in the process.

The other problem is that "the chatter" is one of the things that people most often tell us they enjoy. So… we'll keep the chatter.

We're open to critique but ultimately we decide that this guy probably shouldn't be listening to our show.

You Can Please Some Of The People…

Friend of the show Alisa Meredith was recently on Wade Harman's podcast (an upcoming guest on ours, stay tuned!) and she shared the podcast online. And while plenty of people liked the show, one guy decided that he didn't get the information he wanted out of the show. And he was very loud and very public about that.

Alisa and Wade did the smart thing – they explained that they provided exactly the information they set out to provide and then they ignored his continued, and loud, protestations.

If I had to guess, I'd say this guy is not a good fit as their audience. So it just goes to show that you really can't be everything to everyone at all times.

Please Your Audience. Nobody Else Matters.

We talk a lot about storytelling. You have to tell your story in a way that's meaningful to you and your audience but you also have to accept that not everyone is your audience

Your content has to resonate with people you want to convert, whether you want them to buy from you or read or listen to you or sign up for your email list. The others? They simply don't matter.

An Example Of A Useful Critique

A few weeks ago we learned that we could save a bunch on podcast hosting by reducing our audio file size. And the way to do that is to reduce the quality of the output.

So we reduced the quality, listened back on our laptop and decided we couldn't tell the difference between the high quality (big file) and lower quality (small file).

Win!

We saved $40 a month on hosting and that's a big deal.

Except…

Sheng Slogar, official Web.Search.Social Watchdog, sent me a message that went something like this: Dude, WTF audio quality?

Turns out he was listening on headphones, where the sound was more obvious, and it sounded pretty crummy.

And I said, DRAT!

So I upped the quality a notch but not quite to the best quality.

Then Sheng messaged me and said something like… Dude, WTF audio quality STILL?

And I said, CRUMBUN!

And ratcheted the quality back up to 100%.

Then Sheng messaged me said something like, Dude, YES!

So that's a critique we took to heart because it mattered to the quality of our show.

The challenge is understanding the difference.

You need to differentiate between a legitimate critique and an unproductive criticism made by someone who just doesn’t like you (or feels like being a troll – of which there are an endless supply!)

Remember You Can Still Get A Discount On Téa Silvestre's Storytelling Soiree

It will be held August 8-9 in Portland Oregon and you can get all the details by visiting the Story Bistro website. If you sign up by July 1 you get a 25% discount on the ticket price by entering the code RIVERAPAL25.

Vote Tramplee Designs!

And don't forget to vote for Tammie Rampley of Tramplee Designs to win a commercial in the Super Bowl! No need to register or enter any info, just click the button. You can do it once every 24 hours.

We're doing it every day so if you can do it once, great! If you can do it a couple times, even better!

Your Marketing Action Item

Actually we copped out today since we really need a nap.

So how about you take one too?

Links & Resources

 

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on new podcasts and resources.

Direct download: 0120-critique-vs-criticism-and-other-musings.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0119: You Don't Need A Golden Toilet. Or, How To Create And Sell A Valuable Digital Product.

What IS The Right Way To Eat A Cupcake?

Right before we started recording, Cynthia Sanchez, our guest on today's episode, told us about a video she watched about how to eat a cupcake.

We didn't think it was that hard, but apparently someone has now posted the official instructions. And apparently we're supposed to take the bottom off and plunk it on the top so the frosting is in the middle.

Thus follows a debate over crumbs, more vs. less frosting and the right texture for cake. We don't quite resolve everything but do decide that it would probably be a good idea to eat and test a lot of cupcakes.

What do you think?

And Now... Web Images Made Easy

We asked Cynthia to join us today because she has just released a new product. It's an online video course that teaches you the fundamentals of how to create great images for your website, blog and social sharing – even if you're not a designer.

She put this together over a year with her partner Jason Lange and it's 27 video tutorials plus a bunch of templates and bonuses. It teaches you how to improve your images and then shows you how to use some popular image editing tools to rock your visuals.

Since Pinterest is Cynthia's specialty, it makes sense that she created a product to help with images, but that's not why we wanted to talk to her.

What we really wanted to talk about was how to create a product and what goes into it – not just what we've been sold by slick marketers who want to sell their products that purport to "teach you to be rich" or "create your own six figure product in two hours."

This is the real deal and Cynthia shares the experience so if you're thinking of creating a course, book or some other digital product this is insight you can use.

Even if you're not thinking of creating one, maybe this will inspire you to try your hand at some recurring passive income.

It Starts With Your Audience

Unlike much of the advice you have probably heard about how to create a product (ie: sit down, think of an idea, create something then sell the heck out of it with lots of psychology and upsells and affiliate links), Cynthia started by listening to her audience.

And what she heard was that people were frustrated with images. They struggled to create images, didn't know how to make them look good and felt defeated by their lack of designer skills.

And so Web Images Made Easy was born.

It Takes Time

Yes, it took Cynthia and Jason a year but they also both moved across the country during that time, ran their respective businesses, spent time with their families, did speaking gigs and probably even ate and slept.

Still, it wasn't something they did – or wanted to do – quickly.

Cynthia said that a 4-5 minute video could take two hours to produce.

Ah-ha! You say… but if that video had been her product, she could have created it in two hours!

Well, sort of true, but there are things you don't see – like the amount of time it took to come up with a name, find and secure a URL, build the sales page and website, set up the payment processing…

So yeah. It takes time.

It Has Value – All By Itself

If you listen to "the product people" you'll probably learn more than you want to about the psychology of pricing, offers and upsells.

There's the "it's worth eight billion dollars but it's yours today for only $3.99!" trope.

There's the "hey, you bought my $3.99 thing but what you really need is my $500 thing… buy it today only!" trope.

That stuff must work because people buy, but those kinds of slick offers can erode trust and lead people to believe big promises that are quite often under delivered by their 2-hour products.

We decide that Cynthia's product will sell based on its value. Not based on tricks or tropes. People are going to buy it because it's great.

And because Cynthia takes an open, honest and truly people-centered approach to what she puts out into the world.

There's A Boat Load Of Stuff To Think About

Turns out the "creating a product" thing isn't the whole story.

I mentioned a few additional pieces earlier – the URL, sales page, website and payment processing. But there's more!

Do you want affiliate marketers? You've got to decide what you'll give them and set it up.

How will you price it? You've got to choose a strategy (subscription? one time?) and assign an actual price tag.

Will you maintain it? What happens when things change and your product is outdated? You have to decide what investment you're willing to make in improving, editing, updating, etc.

Oh, and how will you sell it? You can't just build a sales page and let it sit there until the masses pour in. You have to get out there and actually promote the thing.

Cynthia and Jason also spent time getting feedback from people before they released their product into the wild. They asked whether it was helpful, whether the messaging was clear, whether it worked technically. And they incorporated the feedback to make the course even better.

That's how you create a product.

You Don't Have To Be Rich If You Don't Want To Be

Ok, admittedly that sounds like a very weird thing to say. But if you run a business, follow your passion, freelance or consider yourself an entrepreneur in any way, there is a tremendous amount of pressure to make a lot of money.

People seem to be in a mad rush lately to get VC funding or be the next big thing bought out by Facebook.

Everyone wants to sell you a product (oh irony) that will teach you how to turn your hobby into six figures or finally be able to work from the beach.

But… maybe we're actually fine working from a condo in New Jersey.

Maybe we don't want to be billionaires but just be able to buy all the X Box games we want.

There is huge pressure to "think big" and if you're not aiming for major cash then you suddenly feel like a failure.

Don't believe the hype!

Don't let anyone tell you what you should be striving for. Don't let anyone define what happiness and success means for you.

Don't believe anyone who wants to sell you a product that makes those kinds of "live the giant dream" promises. Can it happen? Sure. But so can winning the lottery.

Cynthia Doesn’t Need A Gold Plated Toilet

By the end of the conversation we decide we want to own our businesses and products, produce something of value, be proud of what we do, help people… and be able to buy all the X Box games we want.

And drink wine.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Cynthia: The next time you see someone's product for sale, decide whether it's something that can help move your business forward or if it's just a big promise that will put a few bucks in someone else's product. You don't have to try and buy everything – even the inexpensive stuff. If it seems like there's more in it for the seller than for you as the buyer, move along.

From Ralph: If you're thinking a producing a product, think of something that you're doing that's helping you run your business or save time. And then think about how you may be able to package that and sell it to people who do what you do so it can help them too. Dedicate some time to figuring out what your product will do, how it will work, how your end users will use it, what value it has and how you're going to sell it. But in light of our conversaitons about GTD lately, better make this a project.

From Carol Lynn: Buy Cynthia's course! Just do it.

Links & Resources

 

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WSS #0118: BLOG > My Transgender Entrepreneurial Pornographic Pinterest Pledge

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/118


WSS #0117: BLOG > Stop Asking Me If I Like Your Logo

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/117

Direct download: 0117-blog-stop-asking-me-if-i-like-your-logo.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0116: Get Out Of The Whirlwind! Learn How To Finally Get Things Done.

This Episode Is Quite Handsome And Delicious

Mondays we typically don't have a guest so even though Mike Brooks (the Handsome and Delicious) makes an appearance, we're not counting him as a guest.

Actually, he's here because today we're talking GTD (Getting Things Done) and since he has been trying to implement it he wanted to hang out and talk with us.

If you need to get stuff done and find yourself thwarted, behind the eight ball, putting out fires, up against a wall, [choose your own harried cliché], then you may find a lot of value in learning more about GTD and hearing what Mike's challenges are, too.

But First!

Before we get into GTD we need your help. The peerless Tammie Rampley, #SuperFred supreme and maker of the most awesome custom purses and bags on the planet, is entered into a contest hosted by Quickbooks to win an ad for her business during the next Super Bowl.

How does she win?

Our votes!

We've bookmarked the page and hope that you will vote for her, too. It's easy as pie – no registration, no need to share your name or email. Just click a button and go.

You can vote once every 24 hours, which is why we've bookmarked the page, and we love her so much that we're going to click that button every day.

If you can vote once, that would be awesome. If you can pop by and vote a few times, that would be SuperFred awesome.

Imagine… a SuperFred at the Super Bowl!

One More Thing…

Our friend Téa Silvestre of the Story Bistro is hosting her 2nd annual Storytelling Soiree this August 8 and 9 in Portland, Oregon. It's two days of fun, food and learning. By all accounts last year's event was a brilliant success so if you need help telling the story of your business, this could be the event for you.

Learn more about it here and if you decide to sign up you can use the Super Secret Super Special SuperFred code RIVERAPAL25 to get 25% off the ticket price. But hurry because you have to sign up by July 1 to get the discount.

Plus a SuperFred Shout Out

We learned recently that our good friend Jason T. Wiser of On Track Tips took a spill from his bike and broke his collarbone. He ended up needing surgery so part of his bone could be replaced with a plate.

In true Murphy's Law fashion, the plate wasn't available and needed to be ordered so he had to wait days before the replacement.

And then – grab a tissue, you'll need it – in a stroke of unrelated fate, an elderly woman fell and broke her collarbone and needed the same plate. So Jason, being the truly amazing person that he is, gave up his plate so the elderly woman could have her surgery immediately.

He ended up having to wait even longer for his.

:::sniff:::

He's doing ok now and we hope he's up and about quickly, but man. THAT'S a story. And a heck of a guy.

And Now… Getting Things Done

Bet you wouldn't mind voting for Tammie… but you already have a billion things to remember.

Bet you might like a trip to Portland for a little storytelling… but you can't swing two days away from the office.

Bet you'd like to do a lot of things, including spend less time working, less time stressing and more just getting stuff done so you can get on with your life.

Here's the funny thing about that… you can.

If Ralph Can Do It, Anyone Can.

Hey, they're his words. And as the wife who loves him so very much, I can [ahem] vouch for the fact that he is a little [ahem] scattered. And crazy. And [ahem] sometimes I can ask him to do something on a Monday and then ask him again on a Tuesday and then ask him again a week later and then just decide to do it myself because… ARGH!

But here's the miraculous thing. Once he adopted GTD he not only managed to get stuff done but even do it on time and not freak out because he had too much to do.

He Also Got To Inbox Zero.

It's not just a mythical creature like the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Santa Claus (hey, Santa Claus is totally real!)

Inbox Zero is a thing that can be achieved and we've got proof: a listener sent us a really nice email after listening to Ralph's recent post about Inbox Zero and told us how it helped her deal with an organizational nightmare of her own.

The result? She got to Inbox Zero.

Does It Require Chanting And Sacrificial Virgins?

Nope. It may actually be something both much simpler and much worse: discipline.

In fact, that's what Mike Brooks says he struggles with the most, and that's just sitting down and doing it.

It's true. You have to be willing to do the work. But if you are, it really is almost magic.

The 5 (Not So Magical) Steps Of GTD

We're not GTD experts or trainers. There are plenty of those. But we are definite GTD converts so we'd like to share the basics with you and hopefully inspire you to check it out for yourself.

Step 1: Capture

Repeat after me: my brain is a not a hard drive.

If you're hanging out trying to remember stuff, like what you have to do, what you have to do next, where you need to go, what you need to buy… stop it!

Your brain is super good at being creative and getting your job done. What it's not good at is remembering stuff.

The first thing you need to do is a "brain dump" so you get everything – and we mean everything – out of your head and into some sort of collection bucket. That can be as simple as a piece of paper or any app of your choosing.

We like Omnifocus.

Don't organize them.

Don't think about them.

Don't schedule them.

Don't plan them.

Just empty your head.

Need cat litter? Write it down. Have to write a report for a client? Write it down. Forgot to buy your mom a birthday card? Write it down. From work to personal, think MacBeth: OUT, damned stuff, OUT! (Points for being a literature geek.)

Step 2: Clarify

During this phase you ask yourself this one question about each item on your list: Is it actionable?

There are only two possible answers: yes or no.

If it's a well… I kind of have to…

Then it's a NO.

If it's a well, one of these days I should…

Then it's a NO.

If it's an I don't know right now but…

Then it's a NO.

If it's not a definitive yes then it's a no.

Now look at your "no" list and decide what to do with those things. You have options!

If they are not important, are not helping you, are not making you money, moving you forward or otherwise contributing to your life then trash them. You don't actually have to do everything your brain thinks of!

If they're ideas you have half baked or that you want to do maybe someday, incubate them. Let them sit but don't put them into your actionable list yet.

If they're reference material, store them. You know those bookmarks and notes and articles and things you might need? Keep them, but get them out of your brain and inbox and off your to do list.

Great! You're only left with the "yes" pile now.

What to do?

You've got options here, too.

First, decide whether you can do it in under 2 minutes (or under 1 or under 5, whatever works for you).

If you can, just do it. Get it out of your life before it becomes a big thing or before all the little things start to add up.

Next, decide if it's something you can delegate. Sometimes you just have to let go and keep your brain focused on things that only you can do.

Then, defer. If there is anything actionable that doesn't need to be done now, defer it to a later date. Call it sanctioned procrastination. The difference is you're putting it off on purpose.

Finally, decide what the desired outcome of each actionable item is. Use verbs. "A website" is not an outcome. "Launch my new website" is an outcome.

At the end of a project you should be able to decide whether you have achieved the outcome.

Step 3: Organize

This is the part where you take all your actionable items and organize them into projects. Remember, a project starts with a verb so you can decide whether or not you have achieved your desired result.

A project can be as small as one item!

Step 4: Reflect

Once a week, look at everything from a big-picture perspective. Look at your inbox. Look at your projects, your action items, things you deferred or delegated.

See if there is anything you can change to be better. Get a handle on where you are in the flow and where you're going.

Step 5: Engage

Believe it or not, this is the part, five steps later, where you actually get stuff done. Yes, this is the part where you work!

It probably sounds like a lot of work just to get to work, but once you set your system up then you'll be able to do more in less time and stop running around putting out fires.

Lots Of Mistakes

I'll be the first to admit, this system took me a while to "get". I tried, I failed, I went back to my to do lists and project management apps and notebooks.

I did it wrong.

At first, I set up my projects as clients. So I had a project called "Acme Corp."

But what was I doing for Acme Corp?

Well, I had to build their website. And we were designing their logo. And we had to set up their social accounts.

So really, that's three projects with three different outcomes.

At first, I tried to figure out the "how" before I got past the "what". Trying to brain dump and figure stuff out at the same time is a recipe for frustration. Dump, then do.

At first, I would ignore those two-minute things because really, they were so small. I could do them whenever. And I had much more important things to do. Except then the one thing that I could have done in 30 seconds sat on my desk for two months. And even though it wasn't really important, it nagged at my brain taking up space there when it should have just been done.

Mike struggles, too. He's stuck in a chicken-and-egg situation where he feels that if only he could get organized he'd have time to reflect. But if only he reflected, he could get organized. I feel his pain. As I continue to learn and implement this system, my "stuff" list is still a bit of a mess. But I suggested we accept the mess and spend a few minutes each day working toward a better system. You can't learn and change everything overnight.

Get An Accountability Buddy

Finally, we decide that all this sounds great but sometimes you need a boot in the behind. That's why we're designating time together (Mike, Ralph and I) to bran dump and reflect. We'd love to have you join us virtually so if you're learning GTD, give us a shout and let's keep each other on track.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Mike: Looks like Mike wants to keep your inbox full because he's got a few!

First, listen to the Nuclear Chowder podcast episode 85 to find out why your marketing isn't working.

Then, queue up the Road to TED podcast, which he co-hosts with Dino Dogan of Triberr to hear about how people who are NOT public speakers prepare themselves for some major public speaking gigs.

Of course, he says, go learn more about GTD. He's on board!

And last, share your ideas for getting him to be more self-disciplined. Do you have any tips, tricks or ideas that keep you on track even when you're doing stuff you kind of don't want to be doing?

From Ralph: More work! This time it's an either/or (or if you're feeling super motivated, both!)

One: Go to gettingthingsdone.com and check out GTD Connect. Sign up for a month and take advantage of all the great resources and trainings they have there.

Two: Sign up for a free trial at Lynda.com. Besides being an amazing learning resource, you can catch David Allen himself, creator of the GTD system, giving a 40-minute session on GTD.

From Carol Lynn: Before you get started doing any GTDing at all, choose your collection method. Try something – notebooks, paper, index cards, apps, whatever. Find something that works for you, that you can use consistently wherever you are. And don't get stuck on any one idea. If you love paper and that works great for a while but then not so much, leave it behind and find an app. Just keep your stuff in one place as much as possible and make sure it's a place you're happy with.

P.S.

We've given you a lot of links and resources here but we wanted you to know that these are not sponsored or affiliate links. Everything we're sharing is because we think it can in some way help you and your business. Of course, if David Allen or anyone else wants to pay us a billion dollars to mention them, we'll take it!

Links & Resources

 

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Direct download: 0116-get-out-of-the-whirlwind-learn-how-to-finally-get-things-done.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0115: Rob Beeler Saves Ad Operations From Deadly Nanobots

Ads. It's A Love-Hate-Ignore Thing.

As a consumer you're sick of being bombarded by them. As a business you need them to help you get noticed. For content publishers big and small, they're what keep you in business.

If we want to continue to enjoy free content – and also market ourselves – ads are kind of a necessary evil.

Today we talk with Rob Beeler of AdMonsters about both sides of the marketing coin: the noise ads create but the need they fill for both publishers and businesses.

But I Love Free Stuff!

So do we, but if you're creating content for your business then you understand the amount of work that goes into it. And you understand that you need to make money as a direct or indirect result of that content.

For many small businesses content makes them money by bringing in leads and customers.

For others, advertising itself is a source of revenue.

Without one of those, content creation is just a super time-consuming hobby.

It's Not All Popups And Banners.

The hottest new trend in advertising is "native advertising."

And by hottest new trend I mean something that has always existed but has a fancy new name now.

It used to be called "advertorial."

Now it's called "native advertising" and you'll recognize it in papers, magazines and even on websites and blogs as "sponsored content."

It's caused a bit of a ruckus lately because the internet loves a ruckus, but it's essentially brand-funded content published in someone else's publication.

For example, you may be reading along, learning about the latest earthquake, the recent FIFA scandal and some great news in health that recommends eating whole grains for breakfast. Except that last piece is paid for by Kellogg's.

Sounds Fishy.

Yup, it can be. The problem with sponsored content is that there is a very fine line between creating ad content that blends in without disrupting a reader's experience and creating ad content that's pretending to be news but is really just pushing a product.

Thus, the ruckus… especially about a particular piece placed in The Atlantic that was sponsored by Scientology.

Turns out there were a few problems with that. For one, the advertorial was indistinguishable enough from the regular content that it fooled people into believing it was an article written by the publication.

For another, the comments were moderated so that nothing critical of Scientology was allowed through.

But as Rob points out, perhaps the most egregious error was that The Atlantic has such a superior reputation for excellence that this poorly placed and managed ad has had serious ramifications for the publication's credibility.

John Oliver did a great comedy sketch about the issue that you can enjoy here.

So How Do You Support Content Without Ads?

Good question. So far few people have figured that out. Rob mentions Business Insider as a good example of a company thinking past ads to event planning for revenue generation.

Other publishers have put up pay walls that require a paid online subscription if you want to read their content. Some websites ask kindly that you contribute to their funding if you love the content.

It's a tough nut to crack, but even without the disruption factor, the truth is that on the flip side, businesses need to get their products and services in front of people, and one good way to do that is with ads.

Is The Internet Mummifying Us?

We brought up the question of whether it makes sense to retarget people with ads. You know how an ad seems to follow you across the Internet? You browse a pair of shoes at Zappos and next thing you know those shoes show up on Facebook, Google and everywhere?

That's called retargeting and even the smallest of businesses can set up ad retargeting. But are those really effective, especially since you either don't want the thing or already bought the thing?

Rob says… probably not, but it's so darn cheap to do that it's a pretty good option anyway.

But They're Tracking My Every Move!

No, that's the NSA. Actually, Rob says, ad servers (and businesses) have no idea who you are. You're just a bunch of data.

"Entity who visited Zappos."

Sometimes that data be cross-referenced as you traverse the Internet so you are also "Entity who clicked on ad for Carnival Cruise."

But nobody knows your name or who you are or where you are.

Ads Are Dumb.

Literally. Ad servers and ad technology haven't changed much in 15 years even though the Internet has evolved exponentially.

In spite of the fact that you may feel bombarded with ads on the Internet, TV is still your best bet if you've got a few million lying around. TV ads have a measurably high return, old as the technology is. Yet Internet ads, for all their ubiquity, don't return as well.

In fact, Rob says, mobile ads give you the worst return of all.

Rob thinks the future of mobile advertising will be in great creative, video and even the dreaded sponsored content. The key is to make the experience seamless.

Rob Ponders Starting A Hello Kitty Website

He thinks there isn't any scale there, but we beg to differ. Between Carol Lynn and SuperFred Tammie Rampley, they are bound to keep him in business.

What about Triberr?

One of the components of Triberr is campaigns, where a brand can hire bloggers to write about a product or service and pay them to do it.

We could get paid a couple hundred bucks for writing a post about a product right here on Web.Search.Social.

But what would that do to our credibility?

What does it do to the credibility of the bloggers who get paid to talk about products?

Rob thinks it all boils down to authenticity.

If the content is created in an authentic way, by authentic people who have already earned the trust of their audience then the content can be trusted, even if someone else pays it for.

Sounds true, but still we wonder: if we wrote an article about our favorite contact manager, Insightly, and then we wrote another article that Insightly paid us to write, would they be equally trustworthy in the eyes of our readers?

The good news about Triberr is that content creators have full editorial control so they can write about the good, bad and ugly without needing approval from the brand.

Authenticity plus editorial control can go a long way to resolving a lot of the problems with native advertising.

So What Does The Future Of Advertising Look Like?

Ads are noise, and lots of it. Rob thinks that businesses are just going to have to get more creative and create different experiences.

He mentioned the recent Budweiser "up for whatever" debacle and even though they missed the mark on that one, Rob is glad to see someone trying something different, experimenting and creating new experiences. Next time, though, maybe think it through...

Facebook: Delivering Quality Or Adding To The Noise?

Facebook lets everyone be their own ad operations manager. You can easily create, set up and hyper target ads to people based on geography, interests, gender and plenty more.

Is that better for keeping the noise level down, or is it just making it that much easier to add to the noise?

Good question, but Rob says everything on Facebook is noise, and that's how they generate revenue.

Plus Rob admits to targeting himself with ads, which is kind of weird, but an interesting experiment.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Rob: He's got two for you today!

First, his company is hosting an ad event in New York on June 9, 2015. If it sounds interesting, shoot him an email to rbeeler@admonsters.com and he'll hook you up. No discounts, he says – he'll just get you there.

Second, check your own noise level. Don't believe that everything you do is essential to your consumer. You don't need to bombard people with ads or content and chase them down. More can sometimes be less.

Go for thoughtful, high quality content instead, and that's what will cut through the noise.

Links & Resources

 

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on new podcasts and resources.

Direct download: 0115-rob-beeler-saves-ad-operations-from-deadly-nanobots.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #114: BLOG > 5 Thoughts On Marketing And Productivity: I Am Inbox Zero And You Can Too.

http://www.websearchsocial.com/114


WSS #0113: BLOG > My Crummy Waitress: In Defense Of Poor Customer Service

http://www.websearchsocial.com/113

Direct download: 0113-blog-my-crummy-waitress-in-defense-of-poor-customer-service.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0111: Average Is Over: It's Time For You To Stand Out

Are You A Slacker?

Today we welcome Dorie Clark, an author, speaker, consultant, contributor to Time, Forbes and the Harvard Business Review among other prominent publications… so naturally we asked the most relevant question: Dorie, why are you such a slacker?

It's Time To Stand Out.

Our conversation with Dorie can be summed up like this: the loudest ideas are usually the ones that get heard. Now it's time for the good ones to get some attention.

Dorie is a believer in good ideas and everyone's ability to have one (or maybe two!) In her recently published book Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It, she shares what it means to have a great idea and how you can be known for it.

Average Is Over.

We said it in the title but it's worth repeating. Many, if not most of us, have been taught from an early age that if we work hard we can be successful.

Dorie says not so fast. Nowadays, in a world that is crowded with people just like you, hard work isn't enough. You may do well but the real ticket to success is to be truly known for your ideas.

Whoa, That Sounds Hard.

Admittedly, there's a ton of competition and it's not exactly a piece of cake to get noticed. But don't panic. It turns out anyone can have a breakthough idea – from the VPs and CEOs of a company right down to the IT techs and the guys who run the forklifts.

There are plenty of ideas to be had.

And the really encouraging thing is that breakthrough ideas don't even have to be huge or world-changing.

They just have to be different.

Meet Michael Waxman.

Dorie profiled a number of people in her book but one that stood out was Michael Waxman. He was a guy thrust into a pretty unpleasant situation. His apartment was being converted to a condo and he had to find a new home fast.

So Michael went to a lot of open houses in a short span of time and took super detailed notes so he could keep track of everything.

Then he went online and posted those reviews to a tiny site that nobody much used.

Then an unexpected thing happened. People started asking him to be their real estate agent! Michael had to decline because real estate wasn't his job, but he got so well known for these amazing reviews that eventually an actual real estate agent contacted him and offered to sponsor him if he wanted to get his license.

He did. And went on to have a very profitable side career in real estate with zero marketing because he had already built a huge fan and referral base.

Now, if you think about that, writing reviews isn't exactly breakthrough. But the point is that nobody else was doing what he did. And people noticed.

Great, You Have An Idea! Now What?

Having ideas is great. But they won't do you or anyone much good if they stay in your head.

Dorie says that to get noticed you have to do two things.

  1. Create content. That doesn't sound exactly breakthough, either, right? But without content you won't be able to get your ideas into the world where people can see them and recognize you for them. Content makes you discoverable.
  2. Build your email list. This should be starting to sound familiar. Social media is nice but Dorie reminds us that it's not a panacea. Plus the platforms are not yours. Grow your list so you can communicate directly with the people who want to hear from you.

OMG, Do I Have To Be… Self-Promotional?

Oh hell, yes. If you want to be recognized as a leader in your industry, if you want to be the go-to person for something, then you have to get over your hangups right now and understand that not only must you promote yourself but if you're really providing value and sharing great ideas it's your responsibility to share them with the world.

But I'll Sound Like A Self Centered Jerk.

If you listen to the podcast, you probably won't even notice how many times Dorie promotes her book. She does it so consistently and seamlessly that it's just part of the conversation.

I dare you to call her a self-promotional jerk.

Dorie has a solution for those of you who worry about being that self-promotional jerk. Ask yourself this question: is this content helpful enough that someone would want to share with a friend?

If what you've got meets that requirement, then it needs to be shared.

And no, nobody wants to hear you talk about how great you are all the time and listen to your shouts of, "Buy my stuff!" But there is a lot of room to walk between the extremes of zero self-promotion and incessant boasting.

When you share truly helpful and valuable stuff, Dorie says, you aren't being self-centered. You're being other-centered and giving people something they need.

Ok, But What If I Don't Have An Idea?

Go take a shower.

Seriously.

The problem with modern culture – especially American and western culture – is that we are constantly overbooked. We go from meeting to meeting to call to call to task to deadline and never give ourselves the space to think and create.

Without space and without thinking you will never have an idea, let alone a good one.

It sounds cliché but taking a shower or going for a walk is exactly what you need. And it's not because you need to chill out (though you do) but because research has shown that focusing on a problem and actually trying to be creative is a recipe for zero creativity.

But when you do another activity that is kind of rote and mechanical, one that lets you enter a state of "distracted thinking" that's when you can be your most creative.

So maybe for you it's vacuuming the house or walking the dog. But find that simple task and then breathe.

You Can Even Make Your Own Luck.

This is not one of those New-Age-y things about magically manifesting your perfect life just by thinking about it. This is actually borne out by research.

But luck may not be what you think it is.

Turns out, Dorie says, that luck is an attitude. Luck is about sitting back and letting events unfold. It's about being less fixated on something and more open to possibility. It's about curiosity and humility.

If you're a little tired of hearing advice about "reaching out to influencers" but aren't sure how to get on Bill Gates' dinner list, you're in luck! Dorie says that "lucky" people are never looking over the shoulder of the person they're talking to, hoping to find someone more important. Lucky people talk to CEOs and janitors alike and pay attention to people on the periphery. Not just to the typical bigwigs that everyone wants to meet.

Finally, Be As Gay As You Are.

We couldn't help but briefly touch on an article that was the inspiration for our Dorie-fandom several years ago. She wrote it when Anderson Cooper came out as gay and that made news for five minutes before everyone went about their business.

So we asked Dorie: what should we really be sharing online? How much is too much?

And Dorie says that we should get it all out there. That either hiding your identity or covering for something like being gay, or a medical condition, or depression – something that is "not talked about" – is bad for morale, bad for the world and bad for you. Besides, the more you get it out there the less likely that something will be discovered and revealed in a way that you did not choose.

No need to make it a focus, but acknowledge who you are and move on. The more we do that, the less of a big deal it will be – for us and for those who come out literally and metaphorically after us.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Dorie: Dorie was faced with saving making from the moon splitting into two parts, so she gave us two marketing action items!

  1. Try an app called SumoMe. This is actually a correction to what she mentioned in the podcast which was AppSumo (they all start to sound alike after a while… what does that say about their breakthough ideas?) SumoMe lets you set up very nifty popups – not the annoying kind – on your WordPress site so you can start building that email list.
  2. If you've got a thing that you're covering up, whether it's a personality trait, a struggle, something embarrassing or just a thing that isn't talked about – put it out there. Just be who you are. Acknowledge. Move on.

Links & Resources

 

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on new podcasts and resources.

Direct download: 0111-average-is-over-its-time-for-you-to-stand-out.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0110: BLOG > 3 Things That Will Prevent You From Cutting Your Marketing Budget In Times Of Crisis Or Beheading

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/110


WSS #0109: BLOG > Marketing To Millennials: Should You, Shouldn't You And What Does That Mean?

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/109


WSS #0108: Have A Sardine And Let's Get Naked: The Art Of Communicating With Customers

It's Heeeeere!

It's the official Superheroes of Marketing crossover episode! That means Ralph is over at Superheroes of Marketing with Alisa Meredith, and Kelly Kranz is cohosting on the Web.Search.Social Podcast.

So after you're done here be sure to bounce over there and catch another super-heroic episode. Twice the fun and twice the marketing goodness.

Enhance Collaborative Opportunities And Holistically Enable Your Cross Channel Connections

In other words: communicate with your clients! Today we take on the subject of what makes communication effective and what to do when it breaks down. As head of Client Services at OverGo Studio, Kelly has experience with the good, the bad and the crazy.

Technology: Good Or Bad?

Right before recording this episode I got an email from a listener that said, "Have a sardine."

No, she wasn't interested in my dinner menu. She had just become the victim of autocorrect.

That begs the question: now that we have so many methods of communication, from email to Skype chat to social media, phone, video conferencing and more, is that good for us or bad for us?

Kelly thinks its more good than bad and I agree because in spite of the pitfalls, it does give us many options to keep the lines of communication open.

Everyone prefers a different method and it's our job to know what our clients need.

Should You Respond To Clients Immediately?

A down side to technology is the immediacy. People can come to expect you to reply nearly instantly and it can be a problem if you don't.

Kelly likes to be immediate. She says she wants every client to think they are her only client.

I'm on board, but I also think it's easy to set expectations a little too high. And sometimes we have to let clients know that even if they don't hear from us for a whole hour, we're probably not dead and have not taken off to Tahiti with their money.

Old Farts Vs. Young Whippersnappers

Kelly is what marketing people like to refer to as a "millennial". I'm just old. But does that make us so different in how we communicate?

Kelly thinks younger people like to avoid meetings and phone calls when they can. I wonder if it's just a personality thing because even though I'm not often mistaken for a twenty-something these days, I tend to prefer email to voice when I'm someone's client. Sometimes it's just about expediency.

In the end, we can't decide what "young" means anyway. We're all young at heart!

Understand Your Customers

The truth is, everyone is different. Even the same person can be different from day to day. The client who hates phone calls may really, really wish you'd make time for a phone call when the circumstance warrants it.

It comes down to knowing your customers and being aware of the danger for communication breakdowns. If you sense a problem brewing, fix it before it becomes one.

Also, Understand Your Customers!

We love to centralize our communications in a project management system. And though we try to get all our clients on board, there are some who will never click that "log in" button to see all the fabulous information we've put there just for them.

But effective communication isn't about "do it my way". It's about recognizing what your customers need from you and giving it to them.

You have to understand their preferences, their computer skills, their tolerance, and work together to find the best way to communicate.

Getting Everyone On The Same Page

When you're working with a client, how do you make sure that what they think is happening is what you think is happening and is what's actually happening?

Since even technology has not gotten to the bottom of reading minds yet, there are some practical things you can do to be clear.

First, be specific. Let people know exactly what you're doing and when you'll do it by. Take a "this is the next step" approach and lead people along.

Then document it. Even if everyone is crystal clear that doesn't mean they will be in five minutes. Life gets in the way and we don't always remember that next step so write it down. Send a email or for those low-tech clients, write it on a piece of paper so it can be a reference point.

Finally, never end a conversation without an action item. Whether you've had a five minute call or a two hour meeting, somebody is probably expecting something to happen next.

Find out what that is and make sure everyone knows what is expected of them.

My Insurance Guy Must Hate Me

Every year I get a renewal form from my business insurance guy and all I have to do is sign and return it. I usually tell him I'll send it tomorrow.

My poor insurance guy is probably sitting there thinking great, I'm pretty sure I won't see it for two months.

And he'd probably be right.

Yes, I'm a bad client!

This is where consequences come in handy. If my insurance guy said hey, CL, if you don't get this back to me in a week then your insurance will be cancelled, I bet I'd be a little more motivated.

You can use this, too. If you're going to need something from a client, let them know what happens if you don't get it in a timely fashion. Maybe a crucial deadline will be missed. Maybe it will cost something. Maybe you won't have room in your schedule to attend to whatever they're sending.

Everyone needs to be held accountable.

When It Goes Off The Rails

We talked about good communication but sometimes things go wrong. Then what?

Kelly says: kill it with kindness.

And I love that idea.

She has a particularly thorny client who she manages by being super nice. And the one time he opened up and told her a personal story, she sent him a gift to commemorate it.

Ok, so this story had sort of a happy ending. The gift went over well but five minutes later the client was back to being mean.

But I think that's a fringe case. I think most people can be won over with honest and persistent kindness.

Kelly Calls Our Outro "Wordful"

Since Kelly cohosted I asked her to read half of our exit script and that devolved into 20 minutes of hilarity. Lucky for you all but about 30 seconds of that got clipped out but I left in the best-of-the-worst because really, we both just had to go eat dinner.

In all the mayhem and giggling I forgot to tell our audience to go listen to Kelly and Alisa over on Superheroes of Marketing so this will have to do. Go listen! Now! But wait, first…

Your Marketing Action Item

From Kelly: Download an app called Sidekick that integrates with your email.

It will tell you when someone opens or clicks on any emails that you sent to them, how many times they opened it and from what device.

If you work in sales you can see that someone has opened it and quickly pick up the phone to follow up. Whether this makes you seem psychic or creepy, you decide. But it's a great tool to keep an eye on whether your communications are being received and reviewed and to take action either way.

From Carol Lynn: Switch up your communications with a client. Try something different than what you normally do. Email them a lot? Pick up the phone next time. Talk to them a lot? Send a handwritten note. Do something unexpected. Mike Brooks calls this a "pattern interrupt" – get clients to pay attention to you and let them know you're paying attention to them.

Links & Resources

 

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WSS #0107: Put On Your Social Media Hat: When To Post, Automate And Listen

New SuperFred Shout Out!

Today we have to give props to SuperFred Sheng Slogar who has been on top of things lately when we haven't been. He reminded us when we forgot to add the audio player to our last podcast. He pointed out a mistake in our episode numbering. He noticed that our mobile site was not working as it should have been.

Since Sheng has been doing the work we haven't been, we're thinking maybe "Chief Executive Web.Search.Social Watchdog" fits.

Sheng is also a programmer at Triberr so we already know he's pretty awesome.

Say Hello To THE Social Media Hat.

Before we started recording, our guest Mike Allton was quick to tell us that he is not just any social media hat but THE Social Media Hat, which is also the name of his blog.

Mike loves social media and tools and also wrote a book about how to use Hootsuite, which is more than Hootsuite has done.

Every Time An Infographic Is Shared We Kill A Unicorn

More specifically, every time we share an infographic about "the best time to post to social media" we kill a unicorn. Mike attributes that quote to Stephan Hovnanian but agrees that those are generalizations that should not be taken as biblical truth.

So When IS The Best Time To Post To Social Media?

Much like all of marketing, the answer is: it depends. The best way to determine that time is to test. Fortunately that doesn't have to be complicated.

Start by picking a time. Want to use the "best time" from an infographic? Go ahead. Then post at that time consistently for some period of time – say a week.

After a week, pick a new time to post. Wait another week then compare the activity from your first week to your second. Was one time better than another for getting shares and engagement?

Pick another time and do it again. Keep going until you find your optimal time.

Yes, You Can Post The Same Thing Multiple Times To The Same Network

Except Facebook. Mike posts the same content multiple times each day on Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest. But he's found that on Facebook his first post gets good engagement and his second bombs.

It could be because of Facebook's algorithm. It could be that the Facebook audience is less tolerant of repetition or because people spend more time on Facebook and tend to see more of what's posted so they get bored of the repetition.

Whatever the case, if you want to promote your blog post, for example, get it out there several times a day on Twitter but once on Facebook.

Mike has a nifty method of reposting. He qualifies a repeat post on networks like Google Plus by calling it a "time zone reshare" or "for the evening crowd".

Don't Follow People Online Who Post Garbage

A few weeks ago we talked to Alisa Meredith, Ian Anderson Gray and Jeff Sieh about how Buffer added Pinterest scheduling. One of the concerns that came up was that now that people can schedule, will pin quality suffer?

We generally lamented the future of Pinterest and the mess it may become but Mike has a different perspective.

He says that the mess is Pinterest's problem – not his. And that he won't be bothered by the mess because he won't follow people who post garbage.

That's a lesson for you, Fred, to be mindful that if you're pinning bad or un-optimized photos or spewing out junk on social media, people will unfollow you.

Should You Be Listening As Well As Talking?

Maybe.

But first let's define what we mean by "listening". We're not talking about responding to people who talk to you (though that is important) but rather, listening for conversations that are not directed at you but may be about you – or your products and services – or products and services like yours.

If people are talking about you but not addressing you directly, you won't get the typical notifications you get when people mention you specifically.

Even if you're not a big brand, you can listen for conversations with keywords that are relevant to your business.

You could listen for complaints about competitors and take the opportunity to offer something better.

So why wouldn't you listen?

Well, most tools are only equipped to listen on Twitter. If your audience isn't there, that isn't so great. And if you're a small, local business then it may not be as helpful, either.

Give it a shot and see what you learn. If it's a whole lot of not much, then cross it off your list. Otherwise, use the opportunity.

Automation: Good Or Bad?

Both! You can't sit in front of your social accounts and post all day. You may not be there at "the best time" to post. So scheduling your posts is a good idea.

But don't automate engagement. Skip the "auto direct messages" and make time to actually engage with people, especially if they engage with you.

Hootsuite: It's A Love/Hate Thing

Let's face it: there isn't another tool out there that has all the features of Hootsuite at such an attractive price point.

And it does do some pretty cool stuff, from letting you set up keyword searches to adding a "geofence" around your terms so you can search only for mentions of the word "hedgehog" for example, within 25 miles of Boise, Idaho.

Pretty cool, huh?

But the interface still drives us a little crazy (we're partial to Buffer) and some of the features are way overkill for a small business.

Mike has a solution, though: use multiple tools! At $10 per month or less for each of these tools, you won't be breaking the bank to use the best of both.

Mike And Ralph Get Nerdish

With the release of the movie Avengers; Age of Ultron, the Batman vs Superman trailer and the new Star Wars trailer, there was more talk than usual about the end of the world and things like Infinity Stones. We're thinking Nick Fury should sponsor this show. Or at least make an appearance.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Mike: Start growing your email list right now. Then when the end of the world comes you can rally the troops to save mankind. OK, Maybe we talked a little too much about the Avengers and Infinity Stones…

Links & Resources

 

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on new podcasts and resources.

Direct download: 0107-put-on-your-social-media-hat-when-to-post-automate-and-listen.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0106: BLOG > Is Your Marketing Message Clear Or Are You Just Selling Toilet Water?

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/106


WSS #0105: BLOG > 7 Things Wasting Your Time Instead Of Making You Money

To read the article visit http://websearchsocial.com/105

Direct download: 0105-blog-7-things-wasting-your-time-instead-of-making-you-money.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0104: How Bad Is Your Sales Pitch And Are You Missing The Millennial Boat?

Host Swap!

Originally we planned to do a host swap with the Superheroes of Marketing podcast but due to scheduling snafus and the alignment of Jupiter, we had to postpone that. So we swapped our own hosts instead. Carol Lynn takes on the role of Ralph including the intro, and Ralph takes on the role of Carol Lynn, smoothly commanding the "What Did We Learn?" segment.

Visit Our Sponsor

We've talked about Tammie Rampley and Tramplee Designs before but it's worth repeating: you can get some amazing bags there. We just got a bag we custom ordered for Ralph's mom with a pretty vague directive: she likes cats and she's constantly digging into her bag for something that it usually takes her forever to find.

Tammie ran with that and came up with an amazing bag that I'm debating not giving as a gift... I mean... I can't wait to give the gift! We'll post photos after our moms get their gifts so they're the first to enjoy the surprise.

Shout Out to Tom Richards, AKA Mr. President

We were so excited about our 100th episode that we forgot to give a shout out to our Obama impersonator last week. His name is Tom Richards and we found him on Fiverr, which may not be the best place to get your logo designed but is pretty cool for other fun stuff.

If you haven't heard the intro, go back and listen and if you want to have a little fun with your audio scripts, Tom will deliver fast and brilliantly.

Get My Name Right, Will Ya?

I got a solicitation from someone on LinkedIn that started out like this: "Hi."

That's it. No name, no intro, just a pitch. If you're planning to pitch someone, at least start with their name and do me a favor: get it right! My name is a little more complicated since it's two words but you don't have to look far to figure out how to spell it. It's all over this website, on all my articles, on the podcast, on every social network.

When you can't even take the time to include or spell someone's name correctly in your pitch, it just screams, "Spam!" and only makes people want to delete it.

Beware The "Happy Birthday" Notifications

LinkedIn does it. Facebook does it. Skype does it. You see those notifications prompting you to wish people a happy birthday and it may seem nice on the surface but if you don't really know the person, you could be doing yourself – and the person you're engaging – a disservice.

Sometimes that info isn't correct. Sometimes people don't celebrate birthdays. I wished someone on Skype a happy birthday some three months too late because for whatever reason, it popped up in my messages that day. Fortunately I knew the person and we laughed it off, but that can be kind of awkward otherwise. Not exactly a great relationship building strategy to wish someone a three month late happy birthday.

I've seen people blindly wish someone a happy birthday on their Facebook page after that person has been dead for years.

And The "Congratulations" Messages

It can also be touchy when wishing someone "congratulations on your new job" as LinkedIn prompts you to do. What if that person was just correcting a typo? Or finally got around to adding their job after years working at the company? What if they were downsized and had to take on a crummy interim job? "Congratulations!" doesn't seem so appropriate anymore.

Instead of blindly connecting or spewing out niceties, try engaging with people you have some kind of relationship with. If you don't have a relationship with a person, it's ok to not wish them a happy birthday.

Don't automate your relationships. Be careful about what you say and be real about who you say it to.

Why Marketing To Millennials Is Fiction

Someone recently told me they need to revamp their website so they can tap into the millennial market. If that means making their website mobile friendly, then that's a great idea. But usually when people say that, it means they want to reach "the young people."

We stole a page right out of Ryan Hanley's book on this one: we don't believe there is any such thing as generational divisions. The only thing that matters is whether you're connected or not connected.

If your audience isn't connected then how you market to them will be different. You'll have to rely on snail mail, phone calls, maybe even door-to-door.

But if your audience is connected then whether they're born after a certain year doesn't matter. Your job is to provide a solution to your customer's problem, age notwithstanding.

Should Your Prospects Have To Do Your Marketing For You?

Lots of people put a field on their contact forms that asks, "How did you find us?" It's usually a dropdown box with a bunch of choices and one of them is usually "other".

The other day I left a website that required me to choose from a very long list of options. I opted out and they lost my business.

Ralph says I'm a fringe case. I say I'm busy and I got the same product at another website without having to complete an annoying form.

Be mindful of what barriers you're putting between you and your prospect. And that incudes captchas. It's not your prospect's job to do your marketing nor is it their job to manage your spam.

As for me, I'd rather get 100 spam messages than miss one opportunity.

Guess I'd better get rid of the captchas on our site…

Here's A Better Question

Chances are your customers didn't take a straight path to your door. They may have seen you on Facebook, read your blog, signed up for your email then finally contacted you because of a tweet. So when you ask, "How did you find me?" they probably don't even know.

And that's ok because if you're doing your marketing right people shouldn't remember how they found you. You should just be everywhere they are!

Here's what you should be asking people: "Why did you choose to work with me?" Or even, "Why didn't you choose my competitor?" Knowing what really made their decision can inform your marketing much more effectively.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Carol Lynn: Look at your website forms and ask yourself whether you need all the information you're currently asking for. Examine every field and ask yourself, "Do I need this information in order to respond to this person effectively?" If the answer isn't a definitive yes, remove the field. Make it stupid-simple for people to complete your form. That also means getting rid of captchas and not asking your prospects to do your marketing for you by asking, "How did you find us?" Save it for your second date.

From Ralph: Find a time tracking tool and start tracking your time in as granular a way as you need. Be careful not to micromanage your tracking though, because you can get carried away and start measuring minutia. Find a balance that helps you figure out where you're spending your time, what's making you money and what's not. People are notoriously bad at estimating how long a task is going to take. If you're investing a ton more time than you're billing for, you're losing money.

Links & Resources

Oh, And Stickers!

As part of our 100th episode celebration we gave away 100 stickers and clings and we've still got some left so if you'd like one for your desk or laptop then complete the form on our show notes page and we'll shoot one out to you ASAP. We are only shipping to the U.S. right now.

You'll also be subscribed to receive emails whenever we publish new content. If you're already subscribed, don't worry - your subscription will stay the same.


WSS # 0103: My Family Life Is Suffering Because Of My Business. Now What?

Show Notes

Ryan Hanley is no stranger to the Web.Search.Social Podcast and for good reason: whenever he's on we walk away inspired and ready to take action.

As the host of the Content Warfare podcast and author of our new favorite business book by the same name, Ryan makes every conversation a fluff-free zone. He is also notorious for his love of tangents which may be why we started out thinking we were going to talk about content marketing but ended up talking about entrepreneurship and marriage.

Truth be told, we started on that tangent and forgot to get off it because the conversation was so fascinating.

Do You Work With Your Spouse Or Significant Other?

We've been pretty surprised to learn lately about so many people who run a business with their significant other.

So when we heard Ryan talk about how running the Kickstarter to fund his book, followed by the actual writing of the book, had put a strain on his marriage, we were all ears.

And by the way, if you're thinking, "That's not me. I won’t get anything out of this one," you'd be wrong. There is so much entrepreneurial goodness here that even if the only person you see all day is your cat, you'll still walk away feeling revived.

Apparently, Success Takes Work.

Ryan is a positive person so to hear him talk about how he struggled to balance work and life during a particularly stressful period in his life gives us hope that even the worst of times can be overcome.

You just have to want to overcome them.

Oh, and you have to show up and do the work. There is a time and place for happy, motivational, aspirational talk and a time to roll up your sleeves and do it. Even if you're doing it at 3AM on two hours sleep.

Also, Success Is Scary.

When you do great things a scary thing starts to happen. People start to expect great things from you. That's a lot of pressure!

And if you're successful enough people start to pick apart what you do and say which can leave you wide open for criticism.

Ryan (or in this case Ryan's dad) says don't be afraid. Embrace it and keep on going.

Put Your Family First.

When your life is out of balance it's a lot harder to get your work done and to focus and be productive. Plus, the most important people in your life suffer.

Make sure you designate time for work and time for play. And when you're with your family, be with them. Be in the moment and dial in 100%.

Put Your Health Way Up There, Too.

When you're busy, getting little sleep or traveling a lot you probably aren't thinking about eating your green veggies or hopping on the treadmill. But Ryan is adamant that you can't be at your best or create your best unless you feel good about yourself.

If your muscles are starting to feel a little soggy, make time for regular workouts and not only will you feel better but you'll watch your energy levels soar.

It's Not About Love.

Well, it's kind of about love. But even love can't save a relationship without some other key ingredients. For Ryan these are trust and respect, and we're on board.

Get Excited About Your Work But Remember That It's Work.

Being passionate and motivated is great. But success for Ryan is simple math. It's 90% showing up, 9% doing the work and 1% talent. It's worth repeating: you have to want to succeed.

Your Marketing Action Item From Ryan

We asked Ryan to share how you can balance your family and business at the same time and his answer was real simple: never put your own priorities ahead of your family's.

Get Your Content Warfare Book

In case you're wondering whether it's worth it, it is. We had to get two copies of the book – one for looking awesome on a bookshelf and one for highlighting the crap out of.

Get yours here.

Catch The Content Warfare Podcast

A long time favorite of ours, the Content Warfare podcast is worth listening to again and again.

And if that's not enough Ryan, you can follow him on Twitter @RyanHanley_com or find him on Google Plus.

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on new podcasts and resources.

Direct download: 0103-my-family-life-is-suffering-because-of-my-business-now-what.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0102: BLOG > 10 Things I Learned About Business And Productivity From 100 Episodes Of Podcasting

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/102


10 Things I Learned About Content Creation From 100 Episodes Of Podcasting

To read the article visit http://www.websearchsocial.com/101

For details about our 100th episode promotion visit http://www.websearchsocial.com/superfred/


WSS # 0100: Celebrate 100 Podcast Episodes And Save Up To $6,000 On Your Marketing

It's Here! 100 Episodes And We're Still Kicking.

When we started this venture in September of 2014 (with thanks to Cynthia Sanchez for kicking us in the butt and getting us off center) we didn't have a particular episode goal in mind. We just knew that we wanted to get going and keep going, as long as we were sharing good info and having fun.

We knew it would be work, we knew we would have fun, but we never could have anticipated so many of the things that have happened along the way. Like you, Fred. Who knew we'd have a loyal and awesome army of Fred? With SuperFreds leading the way? Who knew we'd have the opportunity to talk to so many awesome and diverse people, from film director Chris Leone to plagiarism expert Jonathan Bailey to sex coach Kim Anami... and so many in between?

(If you'd like to meet all of our guests, visit our podcast page and scroll about halfway down.)

We've truly enjoyed the journey and we've enjoyed getting your feedback and questions and even getting to know many of our listeners better. We're looking forward to the next 100!

In The Meantime, It's Still About The Marketing

The thing that kills us is that even after listening to us hammer on so many mistakes that can be avoided, people still tell us horror stories of marketing gone awry. Websites crashing and being lost forever (why no backups?!) "Cheap" marketing providers or web developers disappearing and taking your stuff with them (why no precautions?!) Worst of all, maybe, we hear about people spending money on marketing only to be perpetually wondering why and what the point is (why no results?!)

People, it's time. It's time for a change. If you're suffering through the Disappearing Developer, the MIA Marketer, or experiencing the "what am I spending money on?" blues... it's time to change that right now.

That's Why We've Got A SuperFred Deal Going On.

We're serious about the time being now. So serious that we're going to make this very simple. You sign up for one of our marketing programs on this page before the end of this week (that's Friday the 15th) and we'll discount your program by 20% for 12 full months.

Next week the discount drops to 15%. The week after it drops to 10%. The week after it's gone.

We're so serious that even if you're still feeling muddled and don't know what to do or which direction to take, we're also offering a one-on-one hour long consultation for $250 so you can ask anything. Want advice? Now is the time to get it. Need guidance? Now is the time to get it. And if you decide to sign up for one of our programs after our consultation, we'll credit that $250 to your first month's program so your consultation ends up being free.

Thank You, And Stick Around For The Next 100!

Will you be the next SuperFred and join the ranks of Poet Laureate Melanie Kissell, Chief Executive Friend Manager (and Freduary creator) Colleen Conger, Chief Executive Research Dude Ian Anderson Gray, Chief Executive Of Everything (and creator of the hash tag #WSSup) Jillian Jackson, Chief Executive Digital Content Roving Detective Reporter Tammie Rampley and the rest of the SuperFred army?

Will you make 2015 your best marketing year ever? What are you waiting for? The time to start is now.

Visit Our Sponsor

Check out the always wonderful and talented Tammie Rampley of Tramplee Designs on Etsy where you can choose one of the bags there or send her a request for something custom. We're already on our third order... about to place our fourth and we're delighted every time not just by her craftsmanship but by her service and the total experience.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Carol Lynn: Find out if your website is being backed up. Make sure you know three things: where it's being backed up to, how often it's being backed up and how long the backups are retained. If your website isn't being backed up - or if the backups don't work to protect your business as well as they could - stop what you're doing and remedy that right now.

From Ralph: Interview a few business coaches (good ones sometimes call themselves growth consultants or similar) and find out how they can help you balance your business with the rest of your life. A good coach/consultant will look at your financials and help you find more effective and efficient ways to spend your time and money so you'll have more time to do things you enjoy.

Oh, And Don't Forget The Stickers!

As part of our 100th episode celebration we're giving away Web.Search.Social stickers and clings for the asking. Since our carrier pigeons are on vacation, these are only available for shipping to the U.S. Fill out your mailing info below and we'll get one out to you ASAP.

You'll also be subscribed to receive emails whenever we publish new content. If you're already subscribed, don't worry - your subscription will stay the same.

To get your sticker visit http://www.websearchsocial.com/100


WSS #0099: Better Sex Makes For Better Business

NSFW*

Fair warning folks, this is our first official and very *NOT Safe For Work episode. First there's the subject matter: sex and the marketing of it. Then there are the F-words sprinkled liberally throughout so if you feel weird and uncomfortable about this stuff, you may want to skip ahead to episode 100.

But I hope you don't because as weird and uncomfortable as the whole thing sounds there are some really great takeaways about entrepreneurship and creativity. Plus it was just loads of fun.

So What's The Deal?

Today we talk to Kim Anami, a holistic sex and relationship coach who not only helps people have better sex and reach their full creative potential but also uses a technique she calls Vaginal Kung Fu (yes, weight lifting with your lady parts is actually a thing).

Kim's underlying premise is that when you're not having enough fulfilling sex you underperform in other areas of your life.

Should You Go For It?

No, I'm not talking about sex. I'm talking about putting yourself out there, without diluting or censoring, without self-editing.

We talk a lot about authenticity and being yourself online but there's also the flip side where we wonder, "TMI?"

So while we're all sitting here wondering where do we draw the line, Kim is putting everything out there in a completely fearless way.

Gold star for being herself and for not apologizing for that.

Haters Gonna Hate. Believe In What You Do.

Kim seems to have very few haters and has found that her playful and honest approach wins more fans than not.

But that doesn't stop people from criticizing her for being an attention seeker. Kim's philosophy? Well of course she wants attention. Isn't that the point of marketing?

She also says she doesn’t care what people think about her.

Ok, super big gold star for that because I don't know about you, but I still kind of want people to like me. Ok, no, I really want people to like me. So even though I'm not going to put on airs or create a façade just to win a popularity contest, it still feels kind of crummy when people don't like me or what I say or do.

Here's the trick to dealing with those crummy feelings, so just keep repeating this over and over: when people hate (or just don't like) you, it's not about you. It's a reflection of themselves and their beliefs.

Marketing Is Fun

Wait, what? You mean while we're all over here sweating it out, A/B testing and trying to figure out how to get our 141-character tweet to fit in the status box, Kim is out there enjoying marketing?

That's right! Maybe it's because she's having great sex or maybe she has a mindset we can learn from: enjoy what you're doing, be creative and have fun.

In Kim's words: "If I love it and I'm excited, those are the things that catch fire."

Work Is Important. So Is Play.

Kim may be out there having fun and workshopping from Bali where she spends most of her time, but that doesn't mean she's a slacker. She puts in the time – 16-hour days like the rest of us, working on her ecourses and seminars.

But she has fun and makes sure to take time to enjoy herself. This is something all entrepreneurs would do well to practice. I know how easy it is to get caught up in a project and next thing you know a month has gone by and maybe I've changed my t-shirt.

Don't laugh, you know this has happened to you!

She Still Instagrams Photos Of Her Breakfast

Her photos are just… um… different. Let's just say her breakfast isn't exactly on a plate.

Don’t Force Things When They're Not There.

No, I'm still not talking about sex. The thing about Instagram for Kim is that she really wanted to do it but couldn't figure out exactly how. In fact, she spent two years thinking about it before coming up with her current hash tag.

There are plenty of ways to market your business online and you could go a little nuts trying to keep up with them all. But that doesn't mean you have to. Find something that works and leave the rest until you have a great "a-ha!" moment.

People Say It's All Been Done Before.

You've probably heard this a million times. There is nothing new. It's all been done before.

Doesn't it seem like people just want to suck the creative life out of you? I mean, with an attitude like that, it makes you wonder if there's any option but to live in a state of predictable mediocrity.

Here's what Kim says: The only people who believe it's all been done before are the ones who are doing things that have been done before.

Here's what I say: Nobody has ever done you before. Do that.

Be Bold. Be Brave.

Easier said than done.

If we were all so confident about fearlessly putting ourselves out there, we wouldn't be having a conversation about fearlessly putting ourselves out there.

And maybe not all of us will be as brave or bold or confident but I found that just listening to someone who is was very inspiring. Mostly this is why I hope you won't squee out just because we spend an hour talking about sex. I want you to listen more deeply and tap into the creativity and the passion you hear.

Also, doesn't it seem like there is nothing you can't turn into a double entendre?

Ralph Giggles Like A Schoolgirl. Carol Lynn Gets Flustered.

As much as we were looking forward to this episode, we couldn't help being a little nervous once the conversation got graphic, like, thirty seconds out of the gate.

So yes, we had our giggly moments and by the end I still couldn't make a joke without stuttering through it, but it really was fun and ignited a few of those dozing creative brain cells.

Kim's Marketing Action Item

Take a coffee break.

Ok, so what if Kim's version has nothing to do with coffee? We'll keep these show notes as safe for work as possible and leave it at that. You'll have to listen for the rest.

Find Kim Online

Links & Resources

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on new podcasts and resources.

Direct download: 0099-better-sex-makes-for-better-business.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0098: BLOG > Don't Fire Your Social Media Marketing Company Until You Enter "The Room"

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/98

Direct download: 0098-blog-social-media-marketing-halo-reach-long-night-solace.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0097: BLOG > Embrace Your Messy Space: Your Creativity Depends On It

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/97

Direct download: 0097-blog-embrace-your-messy-space-your-creativity-depends-on-it.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0096: Run A Business? Now There's Even More Reason To Be A Pinterest Fan.

Show Notes

Patents and Buffer and Pinterest, Oh my! Those are the big topics of conversation in this episode. We talk about patent trolls and then insert a clip from a conversation with three of our favorite SuperFreds - Alisa Meredith, Ian Anderson Gray and Jeff Sieh - to get their take on the big Buffer/Pinterest news from last week.

But First, A Sponsorship

Our episode today is sponsored by Tramplee Designs where you can buy a purse, bag, clutch or tote that is customized for you. Tramplee Designs offers unique designs for unique women.

Purse creator extraordinaire and SuperFred Tammy Rampley is the mastermind behind the designs. You can purchase a bag from her Etsy shop or send her a request for your own custom design. These are perfect for Mother's Day, graduation, prom, weddings and just every day.

So What's A Patent Troll?

A company called Personal Audio LLC exists solely to attempt to enforce patents related to podcasting, which would essentially require all podcasters to pay them a licensing fee.

If it sounds nuts, well, it is. But their M.O. is to slap you with threat of a lawsuit and hope you'll be unsuspecting enough to cough up the licensing fee rather than the rather large sums of money it would cost to legally fight them.

Fortunately, thanks to a half-million-dollar crowd funding campaign and the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) they've lost a recent case against Adam Corolla's company that leaves their validity in doubt.

A Win For Pinterest Lovers

Last week Buffer announced that you can now schedule pins to Pintrest through their Awesome Plan.

We love Buffer as a scheduling tool and were so thrilled to hear this news that we immediately asked three of our favorite SuperFreds to chime in with their reactions.

Alisa Meredith wonders if this will just lead to a lot of bad images on Pinterest.

Ian gets geeky and laments a lack of IFTTT integration.

Jeff just strokes his beard and looks fabulous.

With A Little Helpful Criticism For Buffer

While we all agree that Buffer is pretty great, what we don't love is their pricing model. Currently, you can sign up for their Awesome plan for $10 a month where you get 12 profiles. The only other option is a Business account for $50 a month where you get 25 profiles.

Hm. Let's do some math… you could buy 5 Awesome plans for $50 which would net you 5x12=60 profiles. Or a Business plan for $50 which nets you a mere 25 profiles.

We're all left scratching our heads wondering how this makes sense.

Carol Lynn Angers The Pinterest Lovers

Carol Lynn dares challenge Pinterest's methods by wondering whether their vertical orientation is backwards, since every other platform uses a horizontal orientation for images.

Alisa is having none of it and makes a good point about Pinterest being extremely popular among mobile users. But it's still challenging to prep your images in a format that works everywhere.

The Pinterest/Buffer Wish list

Alisa wants to be able to add a place to pins when they're Buffered rather than going back to edit the pin later.

Jeff wants stats so he knows what's working on Pinterest and what's not.

Ian wants more social profiles beyond the measly 12 you get in the Awesome plan, without upgrading to the Business plan.

And we want Buffer to rethink it's Business pricing. We also want to be able to schedule blog posts for promotion even if the post isn't published yet, without getting that aggravating "page not found" message.

Your Marketing Action Item From Carol Lynn

Go to your blog posts and look at your headline/feature image. (If you're not using images, start by changing that!)

First, decide if you're using good photography or just some boring, generic overcooked stock photo.

Then look at the photo outside the context of your blog as if you were seeing it on Pinterest. Would someone be able to tell what your blog post is about or be compelled to visit your blog based on that image?

If not, consider adding a text overlay, URL, logo or the title of your post so it helps bring you qualified traffic.

Your Marketing Action Item From Ralph

Think about what marketing challenge you're facing right now. Send an email to ralph@websearchsocial.com and let us know what that challenge is. We're going to answer as many challenge questions as we can on our 100th episode next Monday so consider this your opportunity for some free consulting.

Links & Resources

 

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on new podcasts and resources.

Direct download: 0096-run-a-business-now-theres-even-more-reason-to-be-a-pinterest-fan.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0112: The Mad Max Rules Of Marketing And Getting Stuff Done

Just. Walk. Away.

Today's episode is a little bit shorter than usual because we just got back from watching Mad Max: Fury Road at the theater and we were pretty psyched. So naturally we needed to come home from eating popcorn and go straight to eating ice cream. Up next week: how to work off the popcorn and ice cream.

Even While Watching The Movie, We Were Still Thinking About Marketing

Apparently Ralph was watching this 2-hour car chase with half his brain and thinking about a client website with the other. What was he thinking?

Well, in the movie, even though there was a ton of action with a ton of people and chaos and sandstorms and arrows and all sorts of things happening, you always knew what was going on. You had a sense of time and space and everything made sense.

Our client's website?

Not so much.

I Just Wanted To Find A Blog Post

Ralph sent me to our aforementioned client's website with this directive: find a specific blog post.

And I couldn't.

So he gave me another: copy our client's bio.

And I couldn't find that either.

The conclusion?

Our client did not follow the Mad Max Rules Of Marketing™.

Ok, So Maybe We Can't Trademark It

We figure the studio might have something to say about that but it sounded cool. And basically it means that in the story of your business, you have to create context for your audience so they know where they are at all times. Whether it's on your website, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile – make sure it makes sense to someone who may be finding it for the first time. You can do that by testing out your content on someone who isn't your target audience who is seeing your content for the first time.

We try that out on my mom. If she understands it (and she's not a marketer or business owner) then there's a good chance someone else will.

Get Your Stuff Done

On another topic… we've been GTD-ing an awful lot around here lately.

GTD (otherwise known as Getting Things Done) is a methodology developed by David Allen and even though he isn't paying us a billion dollars to promote his stuff (he totally should) and has no idea who we are (he really should!), we still think his stuff is amazing and that more people should check it out.

Dump Your Brain

One of the premises of GTD is that your brain is not a storage repository, hard drive or to do list. So if you're carrying stuff around in your brain that you need to remember or do… you're using your brain wrong.

Save your brain for the active, productive, creative stuff. As for the "remembering", get all your stuff down on a piece of paper or into an app.

Just dump it.

You can even dump physical stuff, like paperwork, the bills you haven't paid, the business cards you haven't filed.

Once it's dumped, you can then go back and organize and contextualize.

We didn't get into that part of it (yet!), but if you get used to the brain dump, it's a great start.

Break To-Dos Into Projects And Projects Into Smaller Projects

Lots of your to do items are really projects. And lots of your projects are really a series of mini projects.

Take "build website". That might be on your to do list. But there are soooo many steps that just thinking about tackling it can seem horribly overwhelming.

Make it a project. "Build website."

But even that can be a series of mini-projects. Start with "planning", move into "content development" and so on. Celebrate all your victories along the way and enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with getting things done.

Hey, Wait A Sec… What's A Project, Anyway?

This might change your thinking. A project is something that has an outcome. Ralph shared an example of a project he added to his list called "Oh So Pinteresting". But what did that mean? Turns out he didn't complete the project on time because there was nothing to complete.

But once he changed the project to "Send screen shots to Cynthia Sanchez for Oh So Pinteresting Podcast" it started to mean something.

Now, you don't even have to know what his project entailed to see a big difference between the noun version and the action-based version.

A project is something with an outcome that you can eventually set to "true".

Did Ralph (eventually) send the screen shots? True!

Project completed.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Ralph: Visit David Allen's site gettingthingsdone.com and buy the 2015 version of his book. Browse the website and get a feel for how GTD works. It may not be for you and that's ok, but just about everyone we've ever shared this with has come away better for it. While you're there, maybe tell David Allen that he is welcome to sponsor our show. Also, check out GTD Connect on the site. It's not free but it's a pretty neat community of people who can help keep you accountable for getting your stuff done.

From Carol Lynn: Create a website test for your site that you'll give to people who aren't your target audience. Come up with half a dozen questions, like, "Find my phone number" or "Find a specific blog post with a specific title." Treat it like a treasure hunt and see how fast people can find the things you tell them to find. If they can, great! If not, it may be time to think about re-contextualizing and reorganizing the content on your website.

Links & Resources

 

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on new podcasts and resources.

Direct download: 0112-the-mad-max-rules-of-marketing-and-getting-stuff-done.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0095: Knowledge, Research and Content: Is The Medium The Message?

Show Notes

Today we welcome Lisa Gerber of Big Leap Creative, marketer extraordinaire and the holder of the title for Most Articles Shared With Ralph's College Students. Every semester a fresh class of marketing hopefuls is introduced to some of the amazing content that Lisa creates because really, everyone should be reading and learning from Lisa's content.

Why Do We Like Lisa So Much?

Well, that's just one of the questions we ask her, but the answer becomes pretty obvious: Lisa is hot, smart, funny and has great taste in chocolate. She also lives in Idaho, which makes her the first person we actually know who lives in Idaho.

We also cover so much marketing goodness, from content creation to SEO to planning, that you're going to wish this episode was six hours long.

Is Giving Away Your Knowledge A Good Thing?

It may sound counter intuitive but the more stuff you give away, the more you'll get back in return. It's not really a karma thing, it's just good relationship building.

If you share your knowledge with your prospects and customers it will bring in more business for you than if you take a "hoarding" mentality.

Lisa tells us that we have to constantly be thinking about how to help people so that they are more likely to become paying customers in the long run.

Still worried about giving stuff away, especially what you know? Chew on this, then: whether you produce and give away great content or not, some people are never going to hire you. It's not your content, it's you. No offense. And that's not a bad thing! It just means that not everyone was meant to be your customer.

But What About The People On The Fence?

You're probably worried about those people who would have hired you, except they learned so much from your free content that they don't need to hire you anymore.

Well, that's totally possible but there are other possibilities that make giving stuff away pretty compelling.

For starters, those on-the-fencers may decide to use your knowledge and do their own thing with it. Maybe it's fixing their refrigerator. Or installing some software. Or doing some business thing that you really want to be doing for them.

When things get tricky or broken, who do you think they're going to call to get them out of their mess? NOT the guy who kept all his ideas under his hat!

Plus, never underestimate the power of referrals. Someone who turns into a totally competent DIYer thanks to you may still have less proficient friends and neighbors who really need your service. Who do you think they're going to suggest their friends and neighbors call? NOT the guy who was stingy with his help.

Can You Cross The Line And Give Away Too Much?

Sure. But finding the line is a balancing game that only you can play. You need to understand the difference between sharing your knowledge through content, and just plain old "giving away the farm" by way of free consulting and one-on-one time.

Most Marketing Fails Because…

Not because you didn't have the money. Or the time. Not even because you ran a pretty bad ad or said something dumb on your Facebook page.

Most marketing fails because of lack of planning.

Lisa is a big fan of marketing "discovery" and we love that word, too. It means that you don't get started doing a bit of marketing until you've done your research.

And this doesn't have to come in the form of expensive focus groups. Actually, all you really have to do is talk to people.

Talk To Who?

Everyone who touches your business – customers, vendors, suppliers, stakeholders, employees.

Asking the right questions will help you dig deep into what people think about your business, your product or service. It will give you amazing insight into your strengths and weaknesses.

Talking to your customers will help you learn about their lives and the problems they need solved. The funny thing is, you are probably selling a solution but there are lots of times that your prospects won't be looking for a solution because they don't even know what it is. They just know they have a problem. If you can tap into that you can speak directly to their needs.

But You're Still Going To Hate It.

Let's face it: pretty much everybody wants to spend money doing. Not thinking about doing.

Research and planning can be frustrating because it will feel like nothing is happening. There won't be pretty charts and graphs and metrics to show results. It's all this blah blah blah.

But it's the single most important thing you can do to lay the foundation for your marketing success. And in the long run it will help you choose the right places to spend your money for the best results.

Your Helpful Staff Was Very Helpful.

Do you know what that is? It's a direct quote from a testimonial that one of our clients received. Yikes.

Doesn't exactly inspire, does it?

If your testimonials are sounding a bit generic ("Great job!" "I loved working with you." "I'd recommend you to anyone.") it's time to get some new ones. But simply asking your customers isn't enough.

Get someone to interview them and ask specific questions that will get to the bottom of why your customer is so happy. A story with a happy ending sells better than all the marketing copy in the world.

Storytelling Meets SEO

If SEO freaks you out or if it sounds complicated or if you're endlessly obsessed with being on the first page of Google, take a breath.

Lisa reassures us that good SEO is pretty much all about good storytelling. And Ralph decides that instead of talking to our customers' pain points, we should talk to their happy endings.

I thought he had the quote of the day but Lisa one-upped him with this gem: "In brand stories there are no mysteries. Start with the happy ending."

Did we mention how smart she is?

Should You Publish Content On Other Platforms?

In the last stretch we tackle the thorny subject of publishing on other platforms outside of your website – whether Medium, Google Plus or LinkedIn's publisher.

Lisa published an article on Medium that got over 500 comments. Compared to the 14 she got on her own blog, that's a big gold start for Medium!

But what does that mean for your business? We've warned you plenty of times not to build your house with someone else's bricks…

But as we finally conclude, you can build your own house and still visit other people's houses from time to time. Just make sure you bring dessert.

Lisa can't think of any reason not to publish elsewhere, as long as you're including a good call to action.

The bottom line? Go where your audience is.

Lisa Also Saved A Bus Full Of Children.

It was scary. The bus was half on and half off the edge of the George Washington Bridge and about to plummet over. The only thing that could save it was Lisa's marketing action item.

Did she pull through?

If you asked that question, you're obviously not paying attention. Lisa is hot, funny, has great taste in chocolate and…. SMART!

Lisa's Marketing Action Item

Look at your website home page and ask yourself if your marketing copy solves a problem.

She used Evernote as an example – one of our favorite tools. Their selling point is: Remember everything.

They don't go on and on about their amazing product and all the cool features even though you can geotag notes so you know where you were when you took them, even if you live in Idaho.

Evernote makes it about the solution.

So… are you doing a good job of that on your home page?

If not, get busy fixing it!

Find Lisa Online

You can connect with Lisa, read all of her great content, learn from her and even hire her to help you with your marketing.

Links & Resources

If you've got a sec to reheat your cup of tea, take a few minutes to read the articles we reference in this episode.

 

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on new podcasts and resources.

Direct download: 0095-knowledge-research-and-content-is-the-medium-the-message.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0094: BLOG > Marriage And Business: A Love Letter

To read this article visit http://www.websearchsocial.com/94

Direct download: 0094-blog-marriage-and-business-a-love-letter.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0093: BLOG > Bad Chief, Bad Tribe. How To Get More Shares On Triberr.

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/93

Direct download: 0093-blog-bad-chief-bad-tribe-how-to-get-more-shares-on-triberr.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

The title says it all. Today's conversation starts with a question posted to a Facebook group by someone who said…. to paraphrase… "I'm taking over as internet manager for my company and I know nothing about websites, design, etc. Where do I start?"

Wow! Nothing like getting thrown into the deep end of the pool. So on this episode we throw out a lifeboat and talk about exactly that – where to start.

What's An "Internet Manager", Anyway?

Before we even get to the beginning we have to start before the beginning, with what the heck this job title means. It can be interpreted in an IT sense (as in: running the website, making sure it's functional, dealing with the hosting) or in a marketing sense.

So before anyone can get started doing this job, start by finding out what the job responsibilities are.

Ok, It's All About Marketing.

Chances are in this context it's about marketing. Where do we start now?

Well, here's where not to start: with your website. Or with your social networks. Or with pay per click ads. Or with SEO.

The place to start is to identify your goals because you can't really see results if you don't know what results you want to see. Nor can you build a website, create a Facebook or Pinterest account, write an ad or do much of anything if you don't know why.

Don't Confuse Metrics With Results!

"I want more website traffic!"

We hear that a lot. But do you really? What's the point of website traffic if all that traffic doesn’t make you money?

"I want to be on the first page of Google!"

We hear that one a lot, too. But what good is being number one if you're not generating leads or making sales?

You may see where this is going but it's too important to leave to chance: the only numbers that matter are the dollar signs. Traffic numbers, Facebook fans, email subscribers… these things only matter insofar as they are bringing home the bacon.

Great, Gimme Some Leads!

Hold your horses… it's not that simple.

There are short term plays and long term plays. And which you'll tackle goes back to goals. If you need a quick, short term fix then running some strategically planned advertising can bring in traffic so you'll have a number to throw at the boss and hopefully a few sales, to boot.

Be careful with your advertising though, and make the most out of it. Always be A/B testing. That means running multiple ads simultaneously, two, three four… more is good but there is such a thing as too many.

And when you test, always test ONE thing at a time. If your ad has an image and a headline and a description, don’t change it all up. Keep the images the same, keep the descriptions the same and just change the headline. Then let a few headlines compete with each other to see which one gets you the most cha-ching. Learn from that and do it again.

Then for the long term, think content, think credibility, think branding, messaging, consistency… think building your presence online, everywhere, so you can be in front of people where and when they need you.

Remember Your Customers.

In all this talk about goals and websites and testing, let's not lose sight of the most important piece of this puzzle: your customers!

It's not about what you want to sell but what your customers need you to sell. It’s about overcoming their fears and objections. It's about solving problems they didn't even know they had.

Once you know your goals, get to know your customers so you can figure out how to reach them – and your goals.

Is It Time To Hire Someone Yet?

If all this sounds a little overwhelming, you may decide to hire someone to do it for you. But wait!

If you haven't at least considered the "where you are" and "where you're going" part, if you don't know your customers (or worse, if you think you know your customers) then hiring someone to build your website or set up your Facebook page or run some ads is a waste of money.

If you're going to hire anyone, make it a marketing consultant who will spend time asking the questions you didn't even know to ask.

Yes, CL Is Still Racist.

What would an episode be without at least one reference to #clisracist? In this case it comes in the form of toasted marshmallows.

And Ralph Has Tamed The 'Fro.

As we mention on the podcast, we took a week-long hiatus with no podcasts and no articles. And one of the reasons for our unplanned break was because Ralph had a hair emergency that required a quick trip to the barber's chair. Fortunately, we're back in the saddle and his Dominican 'Fro is back under control.

Plus Free Useful Stuff.

If you're not familiar with our Marketing Game Changer Kit, check it out now. It's free downloadable stuff that will help with your marketing. One of the resources includes a marketing planning outline that will ask some of the questions you need to answer before doing anything else.

Finally, Save The Date And Beware The Apocalypse. We're Going To Cross The Streams.

On May 18th, the Web.Search.Social podcast and the Superheroes of Marketing podcast are hosting a crossover episode where one of our hosts will be on their show and one of their hosts will be on ours.

We're not really sure how the universe is going to hold up, but since it worked pretty well for the Ghostbusters, we'll take our chances.

Enjoy the show and if you have any comments or questions about "where to start", throw them at us. And remember to download the Marketing Game Changer Kit.

Links & Resources

Shout outs to some awesome people with much gratitude for sharing our content!

  • Lindsey Anderson of Lindsey's Web
  • Mia Voss of The Mia Connect
  • Dorien Morin of More In Media
  • Kaarina Dillabough, thinker, doer, creator
  • Sophia Lemon of Sophia Lemon Photography for Ridiculously Happy People
  • Christine Wong a marketing student in Vancouver

 

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WSS #0091: Picture Perfect Marketing: How Great Custom Photography Can Make Your Business Money

Show Notes

Say cheese! Today we're talking to Paul Scharff, a photographer who specializes in taking photos that help businesses make money. Whether they're product shots or pictures of you and your staff in action, Paul wants to showcase your business so you'll win more customers. So ask yourself, do the photos on your website and in your other marketing materials pull people in, humanize your brand and make people want to do business with you? Listen for some great insights into what photography can do and some tips for doing it yourself when you need to.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • When you can and can't rely on stock photos to help market your business
  • The value that custom photography can bring and how it can add authenticity to your company
  • Why it's more important to think about what a photo can do for you rather than focusing on technical details or artistic style
  • Whether the iPhone is ruining photography
  • When you can take business photos with your smart phone, when you can't and when it might actually be better for you
  • How to choose the right photographer for your business
  • Why there is no "one size fits all" photographer and you shouldn't have your wedding photographer shoot your business photos (even if he's really, really, really good at weddings)
  • What it means to "overcook" a photo
  • Optimizing photos so it makes customers want to buy
  • What the Rule of Thirds is and how it can help you frame pictures that have more power
  • Why you should shoot 100 photos if you want 10 good ones
  • The importance of NOT deleting photos and protecting the ones you have
  • What shooting RAW means and whether it’s the right format for you
  • Plus we talk about experiencing your life vs. photographing it, why the iPhone may be the only camera you'll ever need and the wrong way to take photos if you're doing it yourself

Links & Resources

Your Marketing Action Item

From Paul: Have a colleague some time in the next three days take photos of you at work – whether you're working on a job site or at your desk. Have that person take photos of you doing your job, talking on the phone with customers, engaging with your work. Take at least half a dozen or more. Wait ten minutes then take a look and think about what photos like those – or even those exact photos – can do for your business rather than not having them.

 

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Show Notes

We're getting some practice with the mashup episode because this one covers the gamut. We've got a laundry list of things on our minds, from making money to pricing services, from social media authenticity to outrage, from winning to losing opportunities. If you've got an opinion, this is the perfect opportunity to let it fly because we take on some sticky subjects.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • The latest hoopla about Clorox's "racist" tweet and why it may just be time to stop apologizing
  • Why the "social media outrage" over... well, everything... is overblown and mostly fabricated
  • Whether you need to be careful about what you publish or should continue to be unapologetically yourself online
  • The difference between being offensive and being off-message
  • What it means to monetize a podcast and whether it's important to tie a direct line between your podcasts, blogs, social posts or other content and sales
  • The value of understanding why you lost some business – and just as importantly, why you won some
  • What we learned from losing a job because our proposal wasn't as pretty as the competition's
  • The super secret Rivera Pricing Model that you can use to help you prepare your proposals
  • Why businesses tend to underprice (especially service businesses)
  • Whether you should respond to or ignore requests from people who ask you to guest post/ask to guest post on your blog/ask you to contribute to something they're writing
  • Plus we announce the presidential candidacy of Cynthia Sanchez but can't decide on #cynthia2016 or #sanchez2016, announce the "wife swap of podcasts" between Superheroes of Marketing and Web.Search.Social and practice rolling the music in and out at least three times

Links & Resources

Your Marketing Action Item

From Ralph: Find a way to automate social tasks that can be automated. Check out "If This Then That" and create some "recipes" that will help you connect your social networks and apps in a way that streamlines your tasks. For example, IF you post a photo to Instagram with a specific hash tag THEN post that photo to your Facebook business page (like we do with #wssup).

From Carol Lynn: Go out and buy yourself a box of new crayons and draw something. Anything. We all have the ability to be creative but we need to flex our creative muscles. So practice having fun and setting your creative side free. Then snap a photo of your creation and tweet, pin or post it with the hash tag #wssup so we can love it!

 

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WSS #0089: My Marketing Content Isn't Resonating. My God, What Shall I Do?

Show Notes

How do you write good? That’s the question we ask our guest today! Laryssa is a trained writer who not only writes business and marketing copy but self-published a fiction book and also teaches creative writing to undergrads at Rutgers University. So when it comes to talking about writing good… er, real good… er, the goodest… Laryssa knows her stuff. She has some great stories to share about how to fund and promote a self-published book plus lots of insight into what it takes to create good business content, even if you’re not a writer.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • The lamentable state of customer service and why you should never ask for a large, buttered popcorn
  • How Laryssa funded her first book through a Kickstarter campaign, plus the amazingly dedicated promotional campaign she ran to get the word out
  • How “academia” frowns on self-publishing and why we think that happens
  • What makes good writing good and bad writing bad when it comes to your business and blog
  • Why sometimes even the best writers can’t see what’s not working about their content
  • The importance of getting an outside perspective on your writing
  • Whether any of us can truly self-edit and what you need to do if you try
  • What you need to think about if you’re planning to hire an editor or writer (it may not be what you think)
  • The difference between bad writing and bad writing (no, that’s not a mistake) and why even “bad” writers can be good
  • How to get past the pencil in front of you and convey what you want to say to your customers and prospects
  • Plus we talk about how to set your expectations when it comes to budgeting for and hiring a copywriter, why “a blog post” is a waste of time and money and we name guacamole the official food of podcasting

Links & Resources

Your Marketing Action Item

From Laryssa: Take time every few months to do housekeeping on your social networks, especially Twitter and Instagram. Get rid of people you don’t enjoy engaging with or whose content doesn’t interest you and pare your account down to what you really want to see. Then you’ll enjoy being online and be able to connect with people who matter to you.

 

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Direct download: 0089-my-marketing-content-isnt-resonating-my-god-what-shall-i-do.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0088: Why Settle For Meh When Your Marketing Could Be Super Awesome?

Show Notes

We missed the excitement of the Social Media Marketing World conference but that doesn’t mean we missed the learning! Our Chief Executive Research Dude and official Boots on the Ground, Ian Anderson Gray, joins us to share some of the highlights that everyone can take away.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • The value of conferences even if you can't quantify it in terms of ROI – because you can't put a price tag on the value of making connections with people
  • What to do when you get hate mail, posts, tweets or comments
  • How and when to address complaints about your business
  • Drawing the line between responding to valid complaints and knowing when haters are just hating
  • Understanding the difference between off-stage complaints and on-stage complaints and why having haters may be a good thing
  • The importance of being yourself online, even though it sounds like a cliché
  • How the "go for it" mentality will help you get past the fear of moving forward
  • Whether content is killing social.... or social is killing content
  • Plus we talk about the value of sharing your thoughts with others, knowing you don’t have to “go it alone”, how a mastermind can help keep you accountable and we hear Ian say “jolly hockey sticks” – well worth the price of admission!

Links & Resources

Your Marketing Take-Aways

Ian gave us the top 3 things you can take away from the conference and apply to your own business:

  1. When in doubt, just go for it. Get rid of the doubts and fears because you never know what magic you can do.
  2. Be yourself. You want customers to get to know the real you because you want customers who enjoy working with you.
  3. Hug your haters. Turn your haters into your biggest advocates.

 

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Direct download: 0088-why-settle-for-meh-when-your-marketing-could-be-super-awesome.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #87: Podcasting Is For Losers, You Owe $70 For Website Backups And Other Marketing Myths

Show Notes

After Monday’s doozie of an episode, we kept this one short and light. We talk about movies, podcasts and throw in a little bit of marketing, too. Take a deep breath and have some fun with us!

In This Episode We Talk About

  • Whether podcasting is for losers
  • The importance of narrowing your audience rather than widening it
  • A scam going around asking people to pay for website backups they didn’t ask for
  • Plus we remind you to send us your comments, thoughts and questions using the hash tag #WSSup so our #SuperFred Jillian Jackson, Chief Executive of Everything, can collect them and pass them along to us to talk about on future episodes

Links & Resources

Your Marketing Action Item

From Carol Lynn: Look at your credit card statements and check for any small amounts that you didn’t authorize. Look for any amount you did authorize but is perhaps for a service you don’t use anymore, then cancel it! And be sure never to pay any bills received via email or even postal mail unless you know exactly what it’s for. When in doubt, ask.

From Ralph: Join a local networking group in real life and get out into the world. But first, visit with different groups to find one that fits you best. And when you do join, make sure you engage in social events so you can ditch the business suits and have some fun.

 

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WSS #0086: At The Intersection Of Business And Social Issues: #RaceTogether Or Cut And Run?

Show Notes

You may want to grab a grande half whole half skim quadruple upside down macchiato latte extra hot… and breakfast… and maybe lunch, too… because this is what can only be described (if you’ll forgive the cliché) as an epic episode.

Friends and #SuperFreds Jillian Jackson and Dino Dogan join us to talk about the Starbucks #RaceTogether campaign, the good, the bad and things we couldn't have anticipated. We truly enjoyed the conversation and think you’ll gain some valuable insights into business, marketing, how they tie into social issues and whether you should put yourself or your business in the line of fire.

PS: This is our first episode with the explicit tag, in part because we talk about some difficult and grown up subjects but also because an F-word or two may have escaped and we let them live in the interest of retaining the truth of the conversation.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • Whether the Race Together campaign was a good idea or bad idea (hint: we don't all agree)
  • Whether the conversation about race should be happening in a coffee shop with a barista (hint: we don't all agree)
  • Whether Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is visionary or crazy (hint: we don't all agree)
  • The importance of aligning yourself with people who share your values but also knowing the difference between agreement and alignment
  • Plus we decide on Jillian's official SuperFred title, start a new movement called #SocialGuac and answer the burning question, "How much guacamole can Jillian eat?"

Links & Resources

Your Marketing Action Item

From Jillian: Talk to the person who interacts with your customers the most and ask them what they think about race (or any sensitive subject) before moving forward with a company-wide brand campaign.

 

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WSS #0085: How To Market Without Marketing In A Parallel Universe

Show Notes

Today we step into a parallel universe where we explore the world of filmmaking – which in the end is just another form of content creation. We talk with Christopher Leone, the writer, producer and director of the movie (no, the TV series) Parallels, now available on Netflix.

Yes, we talk about making movies (…or is it a TV series??) and have a whole lot of fun. But the lessons can apply to any creative project.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • Why it’s getting harder every day to get your content or next big project noticed in a digital world
  • Getting your project done even when you don’t have a big budget to add all the bells and whistles
  • The power of a good story to compel your audience
  • How to market without marketing and build a loyal and rabid fan base… just by being yourself
  • The importance of doing something that you feel passionate about rather than simply cranking out content because you’re “supposed to”
  • Creating something unique even if it seems like the idea has been done a million times before
  • Plus we geek out over sci-fi classics like Land of the Lost, Dune, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and confess to calling people “Sleestaks”

Links & Resources

Your Marketing Action Item

From Chris: When you start a creative project… finish it! Don’t leave it on your computer. Put it out into the world because you never know what will happen. It’s ok to abandon a project if it isn’t working but especially if you’re just starting out, finish it anyway and learn from it. Commit and get it done.

Your Fun Item

Shoot us an email or leave a comment and let us know what your favorite sci-fi movie, book and TV show are.

 

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Direct download: 0085-how-to-market-without-marketing-in-a-parallel-universe.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0084: BLOG > Why The Starbucks "Race Together" Campaign Failed To Fail

To read the article and get links to the additional articles referenced in the podcast, visit http://www.websearchsocial.com/84

Direct download: 0084-blog-why-the_starbucks-race-together-campaign-failed-to-fail.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0083: CRM Frustrations, Marketing Skepticism, Being Yourself And Strong Black Women

Show Notes

Grab a cup of coffee because we’re not fooling around today! We get serious about some sticky topics like thinking critically, “being yourself” online and issues of race in our current culture. Yes, it’s all about business and marketing, and hopefully we’ll make you think a little harder about the bigger impact of what we say and do online.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • The problem with CRM software and why it can be so frustrating for businesses to find the right software
  • How you can make better decisions about the software that you use to support your business
  • The importance of asking questions and challenging anyone you’ve hired to help with your marketing
  • Avoiding scams that could lock you into contracts or siphon off your money or even outright steal your credit card number or personal info
  • What to do when you get conflicting advice about what you should/shouldn’t be doing to market your business
  • Why the mantra to “be yourself” is too often just lip service and how we deal with the haters
  • The “Race Together” campaign started by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and the ensuing backlash
  • What we think about the campaign and its relationship to the broader context of social media and the idea of being yourself
  • Plus we debate adding a position on our podcast for Jillian Jackson as the Chief Executive Strong Black Woman, contemplate how easy it is to take someone’s words out of context and decide that not all backlash is bad

Links & Resources

Your Marketing Action Item

From Ralph: Look up the movie Parallels – it’s on Netflix right now – and watch it in prep for Thursday’s podcast where we talk to the writer/producer/director about how he created and marketed his work and where the massive outpouring of love on social media came from.

From Carol Lynn: Send an email to cl@websearchsocial.com about a time you found yourself being criticized or “hated on” for something you posted on your blog or on social media. What did you do about it and how did it affect you?

 

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WSS #0082: BLOG > Don’t Believe The Hype! Social Marketing “Truths” That Aren’t

To read the full article or leave a comment visit http://www.websearchsocial.com/82

Direct download: 0082-blog-dont-believe-the-hype-social-marketing-truths-that-arent.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0081: Facebook Ads, Retina Graphics, Stock Photo Nightmares And The Unintended Effects Of Marketing

Show Notes

It’s the super special palindrome anniversary edition of the Web.Search.Social Marketing Podcast because we celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary as we record our 81st podcast episode. Our conversation covers the gamut from technology to photography, Facebook ads to retina graphics, WordPress challenges to wifi nightmares, pop tarts to tapas.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • How the "do it" approach worked for us this week and how every business can learn something from it
  • What a recent movie experience inadvertently taught about setting expectations for your customers
  • The horrifying reality of using stock photos improperly
  • The also horrifying reality of web developers who don't properly create a "staging" site for works in progress and the unexpected, far reaching ramifications that can have for your business
  • Some important considerations when it comes to "ownership" of the stock photos used on your site
  • What you may need to think about in the new age of "retina displays"
  • How we solved a business-crippling wifi issue with a new router technology
  • Why you need much longer than 5 minutes to build a website... in spite of WordPress's "5 minutes install" promise
  • The importance of taking a holistic view of your marketing because you never know when something you do will trigger a response, even if it wasn't what you expected
  • Plus Ralph promises to come up with a new quotable phrase every 18 years, Carol Lynn is stumped on the "what did we learn" segment, we wonder, “What would Ian do?” and then decide on peanut butter and jelly and pop tarts for dinner

Easter Eggs

Ralph made some goofy movie and TV references so we decided to play the “name that show” game. You can hear them at the markers below so test your wits against his and see how many you recognize!

  • Start listening around the 8:30 mark through the 9:00 mark for a movie quotable
  • Listen from 11:30 through 11:45 for a TV character reference
  • Listen from 15:20 through 15:45 for another TV character reference
  • Listen from 30:50 through 31:05 for a silly TV quotable

Links & Resources

Your Marketing Action Item

From Ralph: Go to contentwarfarebook.com and get yourself a copy of Ryan Hanley's new book. It will inspire you and help you do better marketing.

From Carol Lynn: Make a list of the things you want to accomplish today. Then set yourself a time limit for doing them. When the time is up, quit. Stop marketing, stop working and do something enjoyable so when you return to work you'll be refreshed and reinvigorated.

 

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WSS #0080: Throw Off The Tyranny Of Perfection And Get Your Marketing Done

Show Notes

Today we welcome back Ian Anderson Gray, our Chief Executive Research Dude, to talk about ditching perfectionism, taking chances, having fun and calling it marketing!

In This Episode We Talk About

  • Why you can't let perfectionism interfere with trying new marketing ideas
  • How to stop overthinking your marketing, get past your perceived barriers and just get started
  • Whether or not you should be worrying about how many likes, shares, fans, plusses and other "numbers" your content generates
  • What Google's “accuracy algorithm” can mean for the future of search
  • The sad state of technology reporting
  • And more about making customers happy, building real community and having fun!

Links & Resources

Your Marketing Action Item

From Ian: Go and publish something spontaneously... now! Grab your smart phone and post a video to Vine, Instagram or YouTube, write a quick blog post, create a quick list with List.ly of things you want to share with people. Ignore the perceived barriers and have fun.

 

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Direct download: 0080-throw-off-the-tyranny-of-perfection-and-get-your-marketing-done.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0079 > The Trampoline Of Social Proof (Or The Vanity Of Numbers)

Show Notes

What do old video games, trampolines, social proof, creative inspiration and broken websites have in common? Well… not much, actually, except they all make an appearance on today’s podcast. All things considered, we think we segued pretty well! And we managed to tie it all into marketing, too.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • How Pinterest is proving to be the “digital tool belt” of the modern guy
  • Why your website may appear to be working fine but be in danger of falling apart because of one small oversight
  • Whether you’re obligated to “like” or follow someone on social media because they liked or followed you
  • Why “social proof” is a thing… but shouldn’t be something you worry about
  • What Facebook’s new changes mean to you (and why you may lose a few likes on your page)
  • How someone's constructive criticism can be a goldmine of opportunity for you
  • Plus high fives, jazz hands and why there won't be any singing on this or future podcasts

Links & Resources

Your Marketing Action Item

From Carol Lynn: Test your website form. First, try to break it. If you’ve got a required field, don’t fill it out… and make sure a proper error message is displayed. Then, once you submit the form, be sure there is a visual cue like a thank you page or message to confirm that the form was submitted. Next, check your email. Make sure the form submission actually reached you. Finally, check (or set up) your autoresponder with a secondary call to action to keep the dialogue going. Do this for every form on your site.

From Ralph: Ask your web developer to audit your website and make sure that all the links on your site are pointing to the right place. Make sure there are no copies of your site anywhere, especially on a development server that may be competing with you.

 

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Direct download: 0079-the-trampoline-of-social-proof-or-the-vanity-of-numbers.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0078: Generate Traffic And Business With Pinterest

Show Notes

Did you know that men are the fastest growing demographic on Pinterest? (Businesses, pay attention!)

Today we’re joined by Jeff Sieh, the manliest of Pinterest users, to talk about how to effectively use Pinterest to generate traffic to your website, plus some of the nifty things you may not have known you can do with pins.

Even if you haven’t tried Pinterest yet or don’t think your business lends itself to the platform, you may be surprised by how powerful Pinterest can be and the benefits it can provide.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • Why Pinterest isn’t just for girls and wedding dresses
  • How to name your boards and pins so they can be discovered on Pinterest and in Google search
  • What you need to think about to optimize your pins for mobile
  • Why you need a Pinterest business account (and not just a regular Pinterest account)
  • What makes a good pin and how you can create visuals even if you aren’t in a visual business
  • What else you can pin – because Pinterest is for more than just photos
  • Plus we talk about analytics, scheduling tools, promoted pins, rich pins and plenty more!

Links & Resources

Your Marketing Action Item

From Jeff: Do something different. Think about how you can step outside your comfort zone and do something that you haven’t tried yet or that your competitors aren’t doing. Try a podcast, take a video, don’t be afraid if you’re the only one in your industry doing it.

From Carol Lynn: Start a “Behind the Scenes” board on Pinterest then snap a photo with your smart phone or camera of your office or surroundings. Flip your camera so you’ll have a photo with a vertical orientation – it works better for Pinterest! Then post the photo with a caption and put a human face on your business.

 

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Direct download: 0078-generate-traffic-and-business-with-pinterest.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0077: The Value Of Good Branding And Visual Design And Why A Logo Is Worth More Than $5

Show Notes

If you’ve got a business then you’ve got a brand and a visual identity whether you’ve thought much about it or not. But what exactly is your brand? And what about that elusive “visual identity”? And why can’t you get a logo for $5?

Those are just a few of the things we discuss today as we talk to Dave Walker, a designer who works on everything from book covers to brochures and understands the true power and value of a good design.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • The difference between branding and visual identity
  • Where your logo fits into the equation
  • Why you can't get a logo for $5 even if you really, really want to
  • Why your logo file type matters
  • The importance of consistency in branding and how that can translate to new customers
  • What it means to create a "look and feel" for your company
  • How good design can instill a sense of quality - for better or worse
  • Plus more about what design is, isn't and why it's NOT about the software

Links & Resources

Your Marketing Action Item

From Dave: Take stock of all your marketing pieces – lay them out in front of you and see if they are consistent. Does it look the same? Does it look good? How does it make you feel? If it’s not so great, think about how you can streamline and make everything work together, one small piece at a time.

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WSS #0076: Build Your Marketing House With Your Own Bricks… And Keep The Poachers Off Your Land!

Show Notes

It’s the last Monday of Freduary! Welcome our final Fred of the month, SuperFred Krithika Rangarajan, also known as “Kit Rodgers” (you’ll have to listen to find out why). She’s a new friend and someone who we hit it off with immediately because she has such a generous heart and a positive outlook.

What’s Freduary?

It’s an entire month dedicated to all things SuperFred. And if you don’t know what a SuperFred is – or I should say who a SuperFred is, then you’ll have to listen in and join the army.

Enjoy Freduary with us! Send your messages and tweets tagged with #superfred and we’ll be sure to connect!

In This Episode We Talk About

  • What it means to “own” your content and who should have a right to use it
  • The changes over at Pinterest that are causing consternation amongst marketers
  • How people built their email lists “back in the day” before social media was around
  • The probability that Ralph will die of a cold during this episode
  • And more about non-marketing-y things like “having a real relationship” with people instead of always wondering “what’s in it for me?”

Links & Resources

SuperFreds

If you message or tweet them, add the hashtag #superfred so they know you’re part of the army!

Your Marketing Action Item

From Kit: Follow your heart and connect with someone online because they make you happy. Skip the marketing agenda and focus on mutually satisfying relationships instead of mutually beneficial ones.

From Carol Lynn: If your email list has been inactive, think about how you can reintroduce yourself to your subscribers. Don’t send a marketing email or newsletter. Reach out and say hello, let them know you’re there and invite them to connect with you or start a conversation.

From Ralph: Since Ralph had a cold, he copped out on the action item but threw one in at the end to help Kit reach her dream: find Aaron Rodgers and bring him to Kit so she can pitch him on writing his biography! Tweet at him with #SuperFred and let him know he’s got a fan who wants to make him shine.

 

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WSS #0075: How To Market And Promote Your Book Without Being Icky

Show Notes

Have you written a book or are you perhaps still writing one? How about dreaming of writing one?

Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, chick lit or murder mystery, business or history – you’ve got more of a challenge than just committing many thousands of words to a page. Even before you’re done writing, the challenging process of marketing and promoting that book must begin. But with all the books being published, including a plethora of self-published books, where do you start?

That’s what we tackle today with a professional in the PR and marketing industry who knows a thing or two about promoting books.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • The difference between marketing and PR
  • When you should be thinking about marketing and PR
  • The most important thing you need to clarify before you start marketing and promoting your book
  • What you should do about negative reviews
  • How to pick a good PR person to help you promote your book
  • The most important thing you can do to help promote your book that even a PR professional can't do for you
  • Where to start if you’re taking on promotion yourself plus some tips for getting the word out and building a super fan base
  • Plus more about selling without being “icky”, the value of having a platform and what not to do on social media!

Links & Resources

Your Marketing Action Item

From Meg: Don’t be shy! Get out there and talk about your book. If you’re not comfortable doing that, find someone to help you. Your book won’t sell itself.

 

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Direct download: 0075-how-to-market-and-promote-your-book-without-being-icky.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0074: Nix The Rules And Add Some Magic To Your Marketing

Show Notes

It’s a Super Freduary episode today as we’re joined by Melanie Kissell, the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Web.Search.Social Marketing Podcast and the very first SuperFred to receive an official title.

When it comes to poetry, Melanie doesn’t disappoint. She has graced more than a few of our posts and podcasts with a rhyme or two and we’re going to be collecting them for your reading pleasure soon, so stay tuned. In the meantime you can scan the comments section of most of our recent posts and you’re bound to find one.

What’s Freduary?

It’s an entire month dedicated to all things SuperFred. And if you don’t know what a SuperFred is – or I should say who a SuperFred is, then you’ll have to listen in and join the army.

Enjoy Freduary with us! Send your messages and tweets tagged with #superfred and we’ll be sure to connect!

In This Episode We Talk About

  • Some feedback we received on last week’s conversation with the founder of social media tool Snip.ly plus a few more reasons why we’re not fans
  • The difference between “being sorry” and a genuine apology
  • Why automation can wreck havoc with your online social strategy
  • The importance of remembering that there are actual human beings on the other end of your social status updates
  • Why you should run the other way whenever someone gives you a marketing “rule”
  • Plus more good stuff to look forward to and some really fun things our friends are up to that can help you with your business and marketing. And Brussels Sprouts.

Links & Resources

SuperFreds

If you message or tweet them, add the hashtag #superfred so they know you’re part of the army!

More Resources

Your Marketing Action Item

From Melanie: Pick someone in your existing network and reach out to deepen the relationship. Send them a note to say hello, to let them know you’re thinking of them, to share a thought or idea. Get creative! Send an image collage or a video then see what happens. Challenge yourself to reach out to someone once a week.

From Ralph: Dig out an invoice for your monthly web or marketing service and then call you developer or marketing company and ask them to tell you what you’re paying for, what you’re getting and what you can expect. Make sure you understand what you’re paying for and why.

From Carol Lynn: Find a rule, any rule that you’ve heard about email marketing, social marketing, seo, blogging – anything at all – and email it to cl@websearchsocial.com. Share you’re opinion of the rule and we’ll share ours in return.

 

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Direct download: 0074-nix-the-rules-and-add-some-magic-to-your-marketing.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 1:01am EST

WSS #0073: An Absurdly Reasonable Conversation With The Founder Of Snip.ly In Which We Vehemently Disagree Without Yelling Or Name Calling

Read more of our thoughts and get links to the sites and tools we've mentioned at http://www.websearchsocial.com/73


WSS #0072: BLOG > Sorry, But You Need To Stop Apologizing For Your Marketing

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/72

Direct download: 0072-blog-sorry-but-you-need-to-stop-apologizing-for-your-marketing.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0071: BLOG > When Is Marketing Not Marketing?

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/71

Direct download: 0071-blog-when-is-marketing-not-marketing.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0070 > In Which We Tackle Email Marketing Challenges And Ecommerce Conundrums

Show Notes

Freduary continues with another episode dedicated to all things SuperFred. Today we tackle a tough question about email marketing and have an interesting conversation about marketing your Etsy shop.

With special thanks to SuperFred Tammie Rampley for joining us and inspiring a great topic!

What’s Freduary?

It’s an entire month dedicated to all things SuperFred. And if you don’t know what a SuperFred is – or I should say who a SuperFred is, then you’ll have to listen in and join the army.

Enjoy Freduary with us! Send your messages and tweets tagged with #superfred and we’ll be sure to connect!

In This Episode We Talk About

  • The latest Taylor Swift/Etsy scandal
  • The pros and cons of hosting your own eCommerce store vs using a platform like Etsy
  • The metrics conundrum – whether you’re looking at traffic reports, open rates or other metrics
  • Plus we explore a question about whether or not we’re training our email subscribers to ignore us. If you’re on our email list we want to know what you think.

Links & Resources

SuperFreds

If you message or tweet them, add the hashtag #superfred so they know you’re part of the army!

Your Marketing Action Item

From Ralph: Compile a power group of people you trust – online or offline – and ask them to look at the product or service pages on your website and to give you honest feedback about whether or not your pages are clear and compelling. Use their input to improve your pages.

From Carol Lynn: Pick a product or service that you sell and tell a story about it. Put it into context so people can relate to a situation in which they may use your product or service so they can understand when or why they need it.

Your Homework

Tell us how we can make our email list better – for YOU. What do you want to see more or less of? What would make your subscription more valuable?

Take a look at Tammie’s Etsy shop and let her know what you think of her product pages and how she can improve them.

 

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WSS #0069: Ian Anderson Gray Tells The #JasonWiserBot To Be Authentic And Not A Robot On Social

Show Notes

Freduary continues with this all-Fred episode! It’s a short one because our originally planned guest episode with Jeff Sieh ended up sounding pretty darn tinny and Jeff was kind enough to offer to reschedule and try again.

So today we talk about some of our favorite Freds, what they’ve got going on and how that can help you.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • Ryan Hanley’s fantastic new book
  • Jason T. Wiser and Nicholas Cardot’s “never use another social plugin again” social plugin
  • Ian Anderson Gray’s long awaited next blog post
  • Plus we welcome a new SuperFred into the fold as we continue our quest to take over the planet!

Links & Resources

Your Marketing Action Item

From Ralph: Make sure your site is not inadvertently blocking search engines. Go to Google and type in your domain and see what comes up. If your pages come up, you’re ok. But if you get a message that your site is being blocked, better fix it!

From Carol Lynn: Think about something in your business or industry that you feel strongly about – love it or hate it – and post your thoughts and commentary in a social status update. Mention a few people that you’d like to hear from and whose opinion you value and see what kind of engagement you get. Keep the conversation going!

 

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Show Notes

Even though today is not a regularly scheduled guest podcast day, a lot of interesting and timely topics just begged to be discussed, so we invited Jason T. Wiser of On Track Tips to get to the bottom of some important marketing stuff.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • The one word that matters most to the success of your marketing
  • Why we love the Social Warfare plugin
  • Why we don’t love Snip.ly
  • And some philosophical conversation about how to budget for marketing, the best approach to take and why marketing isn’t even the whole picture

Links & Resources

Your Marketing Action Item

From Jason: Ask your sales team what they need in order to do their job - make sales! More specifically, try this: before you add a single field to your web forms, ask the sales team what data they need to be able to contact the customer or prospect to make the sale. Let that inform your marketing and your contact forms.

 

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WSS #0067: BLOG > The Two Toughest Social Media Marketing Questions You Have To Answer

Read the related article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/67


WSS #0066: The Art And Power Of Being Human On Social Media Plus More On Content Curation And Co-Opting

It’s Freduary! No, we didn’t forget the spellchecker. While the rest of the world goes about their business this February, we here at the Web.Search.Social Marketing Podcast are going to be celebrating Freduary.

What’s Freduary?

Well, it’s an entire month dedicated to all things SuperFred. And if you don’t know what a SuperFred is – or I should say who a SuperFred is, then you’ll have to listen in and join the army.

With special thanks to SuperFred Colleen Conger for kicking us off. It was her brilliant idea and we just ran with it. You’ll find all her links below and I encourage you to connect with her because she’s smart, fun, kind and has a sense of humor that will surprise and delight you.

There are also some additional notes below about some of the things we discussed that took on a life of their own after the mics were turned off. We may come back to some of them in our next episodes but we wanted to keep you in the loop in the meantime.

Welcome to Freduary! Send your messages and tweets tagged with #superfred and we’ll be sure to connect!

In This Episode We Talk About

  • What Freduary is, who SuperFreds are and why we’re celebrating
  • Why we decided that content curation isn’t a marketing tactic for us and isn’t one that we recommend to our clients or audience
  • What we DO recommend instead
  • What it means to be an “influencer” and why it may not be what you think
  • How to connect with people online and build an audience of superfans even if you’re just starting out and don’t feel like you know anyone
  • What we think of a new tool that lets you place a popup with a call to action on websites that don’t belong to you
  • What it takes be “be awesome” online and why it matters
  • Plus we add “pixel alchemist” and “elixir of goodness” to our vocabularies, tell a story of meeting our very own “online celebrity” for the first time and make the global, exclusive announcement of the title and release date of the first episode of Alisa Meredith’s new podcast!

Links & Resources

SuperFreds

If you message or tweet them, add the hashtag #superfred so they know you’re part of the army!

Other Stuff

More Other Stuff

We always remind you that you can find us on iTunes at websearchsocial.com/itunes but now we’ve made it easier to find us on Stitcher, too. Visit websearchsocial.com/stitcher to listen there!

And while you’re there, we’d love an honest rating and review. You, our SuperFreds have kept us going, provided inspiration and pointed out the places where we could improve. Keep it coming, we appreciate you!

 

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If you listen to our podcast you may have heard us mention Triberr at least once! Seems like it’s about time that we talk with Dino Dogan, founder and CEO. But that’s not all. We’ve got our first in-studio visit by a SuperFred, also known as Dino’s prettier other half, Jillian Jackson. They came for the arroz con pollo and stayed for the podcast. We had a lot of fun and a great conversation about blogging and content.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • Whether or not it’s sexist when a man shortens a woman’s name and why interpersonal relationships are about calibration
  • The importance of building relationships AFK (away from keyboard)
  • How we can tap into our storytelling nature as human beings to blog for business
  • The difference between sharing, stealing and curating content (it’s not always as clear cut as you might think!)
  • Where platforms like scoop.it and paper.li fall on the strategy spectrum
  • Why blogging gets a bad rap (think Doritos and basements)
  • Why traffic doesn’t matter and what does
  • One super blogging strategy that will help you close business
  • Where Triberr fits into this conversation about blogging and content
  • Plus we crunch chips, talk about guacamole, make up the word “flignark” and ask ourselves, “WWDD?”

Links & Resources

Your Marketing Action Item

Start a blog! If you have a blog, start an experiment. Choose one person you want to reach, one person you want to convert into a customer and write a blog post for that specific person. You don’t have to name the person, but you do have to answer a question or tackle a topic that matters to them.

Or, experiment with other people’s content (or OCP as Dino calls it). Try embedding their videos into your blog posts to enhance and support your own content (and build those relationships!)

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on some new podcasts and other fun stuff that’s coming up.

Direct download: 0065-blogging-content-creation-and-marketing-mindset.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0063: BLOG > It's Time To Consider Your Business Super Fan Bubble

Read the related article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/63

Direct download: 0063-blog-its-time-to-consider-your-business-super-fan-bubble.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0062: If You Park Your Website In The Driveway Your Marketing Won’t Go Anywhere

Show Notes

Did you buy the BMW of websites then park it in the driveway? Do you sit there now, watching it go nowhere? Well we’re here to tell you that it’s time to change that! Today we tackle the question of whether we, as a company even want to build websites anymore unless we can provide real marketing value and not just a “one off widget”. And we share our thoughts with you on how you may need to change your mindset about your own web presence.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • Whether Facebook limits the posts you see on your newsfeed from friends and family vs brand pages (great question asked by #superfred Betty)
  • What we’re adding next to the Marketing Game Changer Kit (thanks to #superfred Greg)
  • Why having a website isn’t enough and may actually diminish your authority
  • The importance of having a “big picture” mindset when it comes to your website
  • And more about iterating and getting the most out of your web presence

Your Marketing Action Item

  1. From Carol Lynn: look around you right now and find something in your environment that looks interesting. Keep an open mind about what “interesting” means – even a paint splotch has character! Snap a photo of whatever you find, add a caption (describe the photo, share a thought or comment, make a joke) and post it to all your social networks. Don’t forget to add the hashtag #superfred!
  2. From Ralph: spend less time on email. Decide which emails are high priority and deal with those - save the rest for later. Don’t answer every email, especially if someone hasn’t asked for a reply. Only check your email twice a day so you can be more efficient. If you can, delegate the email to someone else to answer. And if it’s something you can do or answer in a few seconds (or minutes) then do it now and don’t delay!

 

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WSS #0061: Relationship Building With Authentic, Intelligent and Responsible Social Media

Show Notes

It’s a banner day on the Web.Search.Social Marketing Podcast! On this episode we talk with Ian Anderson Gray, a SuperFred with an official Web.Search.Social title, otherwise known as our Chief Executive Research Dude. And Ian doesn’t disappoint. He not only brings real research to bear on the conversation but he inspires us to be authentic (and successful!) on social media.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • What you should – and shouldn’t – be talking about on social media (and where politics falls on the spectrum)
  • How to be your authentic self and why that doesn’t mean that you need to be the same person on every network
  • Whether a Facebook personal profile or a business page is the best place to do business
  • Why you need to automate while recognizing the dark side of automation
  • Plus we ask tough questions like, “Should you be positive online?” and “Is it ok to accept a LinkedIn invitation from everyone?”

Links & Resources

Your Marketing Action Item

Learn to use Twitter lists! Think about how you can segment your followers (or even people who don’t follow you) so you can connect more effectively. Try Ian’s idea: create a list for prospects, customers and influencers.

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on some new podcasts and other fun stuff that’s coming up.


WSS #0060: BLOG > Use This Visual Identity Guide To Make A Splash On Your Website And Social Media

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/60


WSS #0059: BLOG > Social Media Marketing Myths That Are Costing You Money

To read the article visit http://www.websearchsocial.com/59

Direct download: 0059-blog-social-media-marketing-myths-that-are-costing-you-money.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0058: Branding, Visual Identity And World Domination. What? Are You Kidding Me?

Today it’s all branding all the time… well, except for the other stuff about hosting and avatars and clones and SuperFreds. But it’s mostly branding! More specifically it's about the visual identity component of your brand, why it’s important and what you as a small business person need to think about.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • What you need to think about when you’re developing a visual identity
  • When obsession with your brand is helpful and when it goes overboard
  • The importance of consistency and why it’s ok to iterate instead of taking on a major overhaul
  • Plus we name a new SuperFred position and thank her for helping us get one step closer to world domination

Links & Resources

 

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on some new podcasts and other fun stuff that’s coming up.

Direct download: 0058-branding-visual-identity-and-world-domination.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0057: In Which Questionable Things Happen With Puppets, Elves And Social Media With Janet E. Johnson

Show Notes

If you don’t know Janet E. Johnson yet then you’re in for a treat. She hosts her own video podcast called Social Media Hangout Time but it’s not just any old podcast – it’s a podcast with a puppet! What better way to make social media lessons memorable than to tell them with a little… panache?

Janet knows more than puppets, though. She’s a social media whiz who gets real about strategy and results. Just the kind of thing we love to talk about! Tune in for great advice and a good time, too.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • The best way to deal with the inevitable technology snafus that happen when you’re doing a hangout, webinar, video or producing other live content
  • The increasing importance of video in your social strategy and what you need to be doing to make it effective
  • Why you can’t expect a real social media return without an ad budget
  • How to be successful with social media without curating content and even without directly promoting your business
  • When it’s time to hire a professional to help or guide you
  • And more about using social media to your advantage even if all you’ve got to share is a photo of a paint splotch on a wall

Links & Resources

 

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WSS #0056: BLOG > Is Your Business Analytics Yours? Probably Not. Here’s Why That’s A Bad Thing.

Read the article at http://www.websearchsocial.com/56


WSS #0055: BLOG > Don’t Hire A Web Developer Or Marketing Company Until You Read This

To read the accompanying article visit http://www.websearchsocial.com/55


WSS #0054: The Marketing Mindset, Professional Crushes And Embracing The Competition

Show Notes

Do you have the right marketing mindset? Before we can talk tactics and even before we can talk strategy it’s important to start with the right mindset. What does that mean? Tune in and we’ll tell you!

In This Episode We Talk About

  • Why you shouldn’t be afraid of the competition and how your competitors can help you instead
  • What you should pay attention to – and not pay attention to – when it comes to metrics
  • The dangers of getting too comfortable with your marketing
  • And more about getting “outside your box”, smiting bad guys and other helpful tips
  • Plus we christen the second official Web.Search.Social villain, aka "Other Dude". Unlike our original villain "Some Dude", Other Dude is solely focused on stealing your content.

Links & Resources

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on some new podcasts and other fun stuff that’s coming up.


WSS #0053: Ralph, Carol Lynn And Pam Aungst Are In A Boat. Who Gets Thrown Overboard In The SEO Wars?

Show Notes

SEO sends shivers down many spines and when it comes to search optimization, lots of small business people have one of two reactions: they either obsessively chase down the latest Google rule or they put their heads in the sand and opt out entirely. Well, we’re here to say that you don’t have to do either! Listen as we talk to Pam Aungst of Pam Ann Marketing about what you need to know to make good SEO decisions.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • What SEO means in 2015 (it may not be what you think)
  • The importance of practicing SEO as one component of a holistic marketing strategy
  • What red flags you should be looking for if you’re thinking of hiring an SEO company
  • How you can do SEO even without doing SEO
  • What you can take on yourself and what you definitely should not
  • And more about WordPress SEO, the opportunity costs of learning SEO and why SEO still matters

Links & Resources

 

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WSS #0052: BLOG > What Happens If Your Web Developer Dies? And Other Such Musings.

To read the full article or leave a comment, visit http://www.websearchsocial.com/52


WSS #0051: BLOG > Skip The Marketing Resolutions. Lead With Results Instead.

To read this article or leave a comment, visit http://www.websearchsocial.com/51

Direct download: 0051-blog-skip-the-marketing-resolutions-lead-with-results-instead.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

WSS #0050: Start The New Year Right With Cocktails, Instagram And A Positive Attitude Toward Your Customers

Show Notes

Crack out the champagne because we just hit episode 50 of the Web.Search.Social Marketing Podcast! And we’re here thanks to our audience, Fred, who keeps us going with challenges and ideas and some fantastic feedback. We look forward to another year of challenging the status quo and helping you successfully market your business. With some cocktails and chocolate on the side.

In This Episode We Talk About

  • What’s new on the Web.Search.Social Marketing Podcast, including the first Super Fred Shout Out
  • Why we don’t make new year resolutions… except for the few we made
  • The importance of being positive in your communications with customers and how to do that without being either fake or “Pollyanna-ish”
  • Plus we christen a brand new Web.Search.Social position: the Official Pronunciation Teller, bestowed on Super Fred Tammie Rampley

Links & Resources

Subscribe to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on some new podcasts and other fun stuff that’s coming up.