Glance Links – January 2015

30 01 2015

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Just some marketing stuff that caught my eye recently… lots of talk about balance – in business and life! If you have any that you would like to pass on, please share!

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Does Posting More Content Lead to More Engagement? – The big bass drums have been beating for several years now… Boom! Boom! Create More Content! Boom! Boom! They’ve been drowning out the tiny tom-toms that have been trying to tell us that the glut of content will ruin us all. This article from Marketing Profs measures content engagement over the past two years, and it’s not pretty. But it’s great data and worthy of some thought. Do we back off some? Start looking at quality more than quantity to achieve an equilibrium? Zen Marketing, if you will…

Bridging The Gap Between Sales & Marketing – Last week I was asked by a friend to sit in on a new kind of discussion. Pat Walsh is an experienced marketer who has also spent decades as a facilitator in a variety of professional environments. Pat’s recognition of a gap between sales and marketing is not groundbreaking, but his presentation and conversation techniques could be. I’m not sure if there are many others out there that have the chops to build this bridge in your organization. Check him out!

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The Four Agreements – After much prompting by some friends, I bought this book and read it. I’m not a motivational, self help, incense burning kinda guy. But the author has been on Oprah for god’s sake!! I liked the book… it seems simple enough and I get the benefits of the behaviour he wants us to aspire to. But as I was reading I couldn’t help sifting out the kumbaya moments and applying these tenets to a business environment. I find that being impeccable with my word, not making assumptions, not taking anything personally, and always doing my best has made my business life a lot more palatable. It’s how I’d like to be going forward, and definitely how I’d like the people on my team to be.

Social Feeds: Why The Intern Can’t Do ItWe’ve all heard this… young people are native internet users so it’s logical that they should handle your social media postings. But there is much more to it, and Ed Lynes explains it succinctly and, dare I say, brilliantly.

One more thing… “Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius” ~ Pietro Aretino… Nah! That didn’t warm me up either!

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Reviewing Ascend Summit 2014

26 10 2014

10608268_10152699765736880_3145006299031809068_oLast week I attended a marketing conference. I’ve been to dozens in my career and I am very careful choosing which to attend. With the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing and because I’m very picky, very few have been disappointing in giving great information.

But I was completely blown away by last week’s Ascend Digital Marketing Conference put together by AWeber Communications. It was billed as “an exchange of ideas, information, strategies and success stories designed to elevate your business to the next level”, and each presenter was a top expert in the field of content creation and digital marketing.

It was tough to whittle down all of the information I received, but here are my top five takeaways from an outstanding two days…

1. “We don’t need more content, we need better content.” The first presenter, Ann Handly, set the tone that this conference was going to be something special. I was halfway through her book – “Everybody Writes {Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content}” – so I was well aware of her fresh, honest approach to writing and content creation. The formula is simple – Useful x Empathy x Inspired = Great Content. The importance of the math is the multiplication, and if one of the key aspects is missing your product is a big fat zero. But to ensure relevance, ask yourself after every point… “so what?” You’ll end up with focused content that your customer will come back to.

2. “Having an audience is a privilege, not a right. Like wearing spandex. So you better be relevant.” Clearly the spandex part was an attention-getter, but Peter Shankman doesn’t need that. His upcoming book – “Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans” – is about creating fervent fans that help companies massively increase their customer base, brand awareness, and most importantly, revenue. I ordered the book as soon he was done. Shankman’s high energy presentation included tons of great information and best practices gleaned from years of entrepreneurial experience. The highlights included:

  • “Never underestimate the power of getting up early. Before everyone else. You’ll do your best work with the perception of that edge.”
  • “Put ten times the amount of help into the universe to one time you ask for it.” Sounds like obvious karma, and a tough number to hit, but I’d like to do more things for the good of the game.
  • Call ten people in your contact list everyday. Check in. “What are you working on? How can I help you?” More good going out…
  • In America… we expect to get treated like crap by customer service. The simple things make us loyal. “Treat your customers one level above crap.”

3, “Only 60% of marketers do A/B email testing.” As one of the disgraced forty percent, I squirmed in my seat during Anne Holland’s presentation. Methodologies are documented in many places, but my important takeaway was to get off my ass and do it. Getting better results from our current list reminded me of a sales belief I have repeated so many times – the greatest opportunities lie within your existing base. I need to make sure I am getting the most from my current list.

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4. “Treat your customers as you would like to be treated.” No one works the room like Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion. His stunningly simplistic approach and equally stunning results should change the world of marketing, if we can get all out of our own way. His many rules included: “Treat your customers as you would like to be treated”, “Become the Wikipedia of your space”, and his four word philosophy… “They ask. You answer.” Sheridan’s ultimate belief is that “Honest and Transparent content is the greatest sales tool in the world. Period.” That last statement left everyone clapping and invigorated. But seriously… who in the room is going to have the balls to fully implement?

5. “Don’t worry about the fold. Embrace the scroll.” Our partying group unsuccessfully tried to get Justine Jordan from Litmus to hang with us late into the night. We were rewarded by HER good decision to make it an early night. Her leadoff presentation on the importance of formatting your email for mobile devices perfectly set the tone on day two. Forget about the increasing number of emails that are delivered to your phone… the real grabbing statistic is that over 80% of users delete emails if they don’t look good on their device. And a growing number of people will unsubscribe. Lesson learned! Maybe I’m late to the party, but now EVERY email I do will be optimized for mobile.

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Commander AJ and his little buddy…

Some other great tidbits and soundbites from the two days of sessions:

“Consume more than you produce! Subscribe to ten blogs in a day, leave ten comments. Follow people on social – set an example, show the initiative.” – Lynette Young (AWeber Communications)

“Stop driving clicks and start building cliques.” – Will Reynolds (SEER Interactive)

“Next time I need advice from someone, I’m going to ask someone who hates me.” – Peter Shankman

“Analyzing audience needs? Get out of your own head. We don’t need segways, but cup holders are a must!” Jessica Ivins (Center Centre)

“Email is not an eblast. Blasts are weapons of mass destruction.” – Justine Jordan

“Your website is mousetrap, your marketing is the cheese.” – Andy Crestodina (Orbit Media)

“Brand everything you do. If people can’t get back to you, what’s the point?” – Peter Shankman

Last but not least, the conference attendees were also the cream of the crop… so the networking opportunities were fantastic. Plus.. some great food and swag! Few conferences give this much bang for the buck. I joked with Hunter Boyle, AWeber’s Sr. Business Development Manager, at the end of day two that they had nowhere to go but down. Can’t wait until my expectations are exceeded again next year.

Please share your thoughts on this conference. What were your takeaways? Also… What would your theme music be? I’m going with “Enter Sandman” by Metallica, but I’m a known head banger… Hope to see you next year!





Flippin’ Facebook

8 07 2014

cs9NN“I’ve had it with Facebook.” ~ John Q. Public

How many times have you heard this complaint? The constantly changing layout, hard to follow rules, more ads in your news feed, and the dwindling reach for company pages… flippin’ Facebook is a nightmare! Users can’t comprehend how Facebook has the nerve to make changes to the FREE site they love so much, and company page owners are mad that they now actually have to PAY for Facebook advertising. It’s exasperating!

Users need to relax. Breathe… Embrace the changes, because they are almost always designed to give you a more positive experience. The ads are the price you pay for using Facebook for free. And be honest, you get enough out of the Facebook experience to justify putting up with a few ads in your News Feed. The reality is that everyone has the right to make money – including the gods of Facebook. To think otherwise is Un-American! Truthfully, I can’t believe they took this long to end the free ride for company pages.

I’ve been speaking with a lot of small business owners about the decreasing reach of Facebook company posts. While we have been lamenting the decline, it should cause us to embrace and understand exactly what Facebook advertising can do. That “free” ride has been over for a while now, but Facebook is still the best way to target specific customers.

20130812-full1If you have been doing it correctly, you have built a Facebook following of the right people – people who want to do business with you. And you have been providing them with good content that helps grow your business. “Boosting” those great posts to your loyal “listeners” must now be a part of your budget. Low cost Promoted Posts not only reach your followers but can be expanded further to reach potential customers, by using specific demographic targeting and keywords – at very affordable prices.  I’m not saying that every post deserves boosting, because your core customers will probably visit your page frequently. Pick your spots and, most importantly, track your results.

Boosting works. Ads are similar, and certainly hit a wider audience. Think about spending $50 to reach 10,000 very specific people… Can that be accomplished with any other traditional B2C advertising method?

Whether you do a Facebook Ad or a Promoted Post, dedicate a portion of your marketing budget to make a big impact. If you are a small business it is a no-brainer. You’ll wonder why you weren’t doing this all along.

And quit yer whining…





Glance Links – April 2014

28 04 2014

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Just some stuff that caught my eye recently, and might help you in your marketing efforts! If you have any that you would like to pass on to me… hit me up!

Internet-Addiction-Social-MediaSocial Media For Increased Mental Health – Many thanks to Chuck Hall from SoMeBizLife for sharing this article that examines the positive and negative effects of social media, specifically Facebook. Chuck used this article as a discussion point in a recent seminar, and I’m sure it really got the conversation off and running. What are your thoughts?

Some Thoughts on the Imminent Demise of Google+ – Three words… “It ain’t happening!” I’ve recently been beating the streets about the wonders of this platform, which I think is extremely worthwhile for the search boost alone. The recent resignation announcement of Google+ champion Vic Gundotra has set the interwebs abuzz with panic. Two of my purple haired friends (not saying I have many), Lynette Young and Cecily Kellogg, recently shared how fantastic articles on the subject. The common theme is DON’T PANIC. Here are the two articles they shared:

The Power of FailingWhat do the world’s greatest entrepreneurs have in common? The courage to fail. Checkout this article and discover why failure is the ultimate driving force behind genius.

failingThe Experts Speak – The most common question I hear from small businesses interested in social media is, “Where do I start?” Here is some great information from the email marketing site, Constant Contact… 50 Expert Tips for Getting Started in Social Media. It’s cool that I know some of these people, including one of the aforementioned purple haired friends

Spring has sprung. May it bring to you many exciting ideas… JL





Glance Links – February 2014

5 02 2014

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Just some stuff that caught my eye recently, and might help you in your marketing efforts! If you have any that you would like to pass on to me… hit me up!

pro_laptopemail_275x185Six Social Media Tips That Will Improve Your Marketing – You’ll slap yourself on the head when you read some of these completely random, unique social media tips.

5 Steps to Writing an Amazing LinkedIn Recommendation – I’ll be honest… LinkedIn endorsements annoy me. For the last two years, many click-happy people have been gleefully endorsing me for skills that I do not possess. I don’t like to shop, so my endorsements for Retail and Merchandising were quite a surprise. I put much more stock into a LinkedIn “recommendation”. Because of the quid pro quo aspect of social media, I know I better write some to get some. Check out this link for some great info.

Real World Education for Modern Marketers – Like some of my favorite sites (AWeber, Marketo), MarketingProfs provides tons of outstanding free content on a wide variety of marketing subjects. Peruse the site, you’ll be glad you did.

Navigating the Social Media Jungle – If you look past the cartoonish appearance, Social Media Examiner helps businesses discover how to best use social media, blogs and podcasts to connect with customers. Simple… Best thing to do is subscribe to the newsletter to get it all in your inbox, but dig into the site for some nuggets.

ffb11958Too Much Fun With Fonts – Lastly, have some fun today. Here are some very familiar, free fonts from famous brands like Coca-Cola, Walt Disney, The Godfather movies, Calvin and Hobbes, etc. So jazz up that condo community newsletter you’ve been working on!

My life has been ice and snow lately, and lots of it! GIMME MORE!!! Stay warm, my friends… JL

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Comcast Careless

16 12 2013

comcassWhat does it say about a company when customers DREAD calling them with a problem? I think it speaks volumes. I’ve had many conversations about Comcast with friends. Everyone I know has had similar bad experiences with this company. The refrain is the same… “Service is great, but if something goes wrong it is usually a nightmare.”

This past weekend I had a very minor issue, and that feeling of dread crept into my head. It was resolved with only a small amount of pain, but it caused me to relive one of the worst issues I’ve ever had with a company.

My Comcast Nightmare…

Several years ago, I was having problems with my cable television. The picture was pixelating. I phoned Comcast, and after a seemingly endless trip through automated hell, a customer service rep assured me that someone would be there between 4:00pm and 8:00pm the following day. The next morning I woke up to find all was well with my cable feed. “Maybe the rep did something to fix it,” I optimistically wondered. Being a stand up citizen, I called Comcast and let them know that all was well and that there was no need to come out that afternoon. However, by noon the cable was acting up and getting worse, so I called Comcast again. More automated hell got me to a different rep – in the Philippines – who had no idea about my history with this issue. I stated that I wanted them to come out and fix the problem, honoring my original appointment window. Sorry Mr. Langan, that is impossible because “those assets have been redeployed.” I tried to explain to General MacArthur (who had apparently returned to the Philippines) that this was unacceptable, but the best he could do was assure me that a technician would be out between noon and 4:00pm the next day.

Wait… it gets better! The next morning I go to work, then come home around 11:30am to meet the Comcast guy. There is a message on my answering machine from Comcast saying that the technician is on his way and will be there at 9:00am. WTF!!! Another call, more auto hell, and then another rep who has no idea what is happening with my account. I now learn that the tech came to my house at 9:00 and when no one answered he left and canceled the ticket. Of course they could not re-deploy any assets to get to me for the noon to 4:00pm window. At this point I have blown my stack… finally, a supervisor in Pennsylvania gets on to tell me that the best they can do is get someone to me around 5:30pm. That time passes, then 6:00, then 6:30, then 7:00… and then I call. Guess what… ANOTHER rep who has no idea what I’m talking about, then another supervisor who assures me that someone is enroute.

Then… at 8:30… a dispatcher from Comcast calls to tell me that no one is coming tonight. This poor guy… I really did feel bad for him. I’m sure he wasn’t prepared for the steady stream of expletives that were hurled his way. And I know that there was nothing he could do regarding my threat to “trash your fucking company to everyone I come in contact with.”

That night I began my trashing campaign with a scathing email to the VP of Customer Care, assuring him of my intention to leave Comcast as soon as I have an alternative in my neighborhood. Bright and early I get a phone call from his assistant, informing me that a technician is enroute. I said thank you and hung up. Ten minutes later a technician is at the door, followed minutes later by another technician. Fifteen minutes later… a third technician. “LOTS of assets have been deployed today,” I murmured. Then a supervisor showed up to make sure I was being taken care of sufficiently. I was truly blessed that day…

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I’ve been a Comcast customer for over 25 years. To this day I shiver with dread if there is a service problem. I feel dirty every time I get off the phone with them. Last weekend’s issue was minor – a new cable box solved the problem. It was an early Christmas gift that I didn’t have to schedule a service call. But I still had to deal with that ever expanding automated system, and when I finally get a live rep on the phone… I’m pretty sure I know more than they do!

Putting on my business hat… A customer complaint isn’t a problem, it’s an opportunity. And customer service shouldn’t be something you have to do. It should be something you can’t wait to do!

I’m sure Comcast would rather that I be using my massive blogging powers for good, instead of telling this ugly story. So… get a real person to answer the phone, give him/her a CRM, and stop being the problem and start solving them.





Glance Links – December 2013

3 12 2013

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Just some stuff that caught my eye recently, and might help you in your marketing efforts!  If you have any that you would like to pass on to me… hit me up!

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14 Google Tools You Didn’t Know Existed – Mashable has rounded up some lesser-known Google tools and applications that could help you cope with the loss of Reader, and rekindle your love for Google. From fun tools like Google NGram Viewer to useful resources like Full Value of Mobile Calculator, you’ll find an array of tools for developers to small business owners to the average consumer. I liked Google Fonts… a great open source for all kinds of type faces. Check them out and see what tickles your fancy!

10 Things You Didn’t Know Dropbox Could Do – There are loads for Dropbox lovers out there… me included! As with most software or services, we never fully take advantage of what’s offered. There are other storage and upload options, and ease of use hints. Love me some Dropbox!

google-plus-banner-300x168Google+ For Professional Bloggers and Content Creators – If you want to be the best, learn from the best! Lynette Young is THE authority on Google+, and she is satisfying the public outcry for real boot camp training on this social platform. This one is in the Philadelphia area, check back for an event near you.

Marketo Definitive Guides – Last month I shared Marketo’s Definitive Guide To Engaging Email Marketing, an outstanding, comprehensive free download. They have many more titles and they are all in here in one spot! Like I said last time… Download them before they change their minds!!

TAKE A BREAK FROM MARKETING AND RELAX! – Might be the best tip I give you… flip the switch to “off” for a few hours and enjoy some holiday fun. Here is the schedule for Holiday TV Shows this month!

Have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!