Web.Search.Social Marketing Podcast
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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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


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

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.


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.

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!


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 #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.


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: 0089-my-marketing-content-isnt-resonating-my-god-what-shall-i-do.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

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.


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: 0088-why-settle-for-meh-when-your-marketing-could-be-super-awesome.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

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.


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.