The More Ideas You Test the More Likely You Win

Posted on Posted in Content Marketing, Creativity, Facebook Advertising, Facebook Marketing, Facebook Posting, Internet Marketing Strategy, Social Media Strategy, Strategy

You’ve got to test more ideas in digital marketing and social media.

Because if you only text one post or one post a day or one ad a week, you’re only going to discover so much stuff and you’re only create so much stuff and you’re only going to get a certain level of results.

The more stuff you create, the more ideas you force yourself to have, the more likely you are to find that idea that your customer goes crazy for.

I’m talking about…

  • Gigantic engagement rates,
  • Gigantic click through rates,
  • Gigantic sales,
  • Gigantic leads,
  • Incredible conversion rates.

Here’s my analogy. Let’s say, in any sport, like my sport is the NBA. I love basketball. When I watch these guys, I’m like “Wow, there’s some amazing players.” Historically we got Michael Jordan, we’ve got Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, we’ve got Magic Johnson, we’ve got Shaq, we’ve got LeBron, Kobe, Durant, Steph Curry, Steve Nash, all these guys are one in a million, one-in-a-billion, right, because they’re freaks of nature in one way or another.

There have been thousands of guys in the league over the years but if we had only had 10 guys in the league, if the NBA hadn’t been so big and hadn’t been so popular and hadn’t been so much money going into it, probably wouldn’t have that many guys and those guys would have done different things with their lives. They wouldn’t have been basketball players. We never would have found those genius basketball players.

If you don’t put enough money or time into your content, you’re never going to find that exceptional outlier of content that performs super well.

I’ve got this post that has a crazy dog in it that gets me 6 likes per penny I spend on it, because I’ve tested hundreds and hundreds of posts.

crazydog

The more stuff you create and the more you test, the more likely you are to find that exceptional, you know, the Michael Jordan of Facebook post, the Michael Jordan of Facebook ads.

It’s probably not the one expect it is. That’s the other thing that’s weird about it.

There’s research that shows that marketing experts, even after 10 or 15 years of experience, do not get better at guessing which content is going to win with the customer.

You could say, “Brian Carter’s a great marketing mind. He’s amazing.”

He still can’t guess which one is going to work with your customer.

All he can do is say, “I think I analyzed your audience and I understand ’em pretty well and based on what you’ve said, you and I are going to figure out some ideas. We’re going to put them in front the customer and we’re going to see which one it works.”

If we only put 5 ideas out there, our chances of success are much lower than if we put out 100 ideas.

Then we’re going to find one or two that really perform amazingly and your customers are going to go nuts for them. That’s not only going to drive down your costs…

  • Cost per engagement
  • Cost per lead
  • Cost per sale…

It’s also going to:

  • Create much more enthusiastic customers
  • Who will love you and your brand more.
  • More excitement and loyalty

But you don’t get that if you don’t test enough ideas.

So many companies out there are just doing the bare minimum. They’re doing checkbox marketing. They’re like, “Yep, we put out our content calendar. Yep, we ran an ad.”

It’s really easy to do. I know. I’ve done it myself. You get tired, you get busy and you’re like, “I created an ad. I’m done. I’m going to go watch Netflix,” you know? “I’ve got so many meetings today, I don’t have time.”

Okay, but you got to figure out how in your process to make this possible.

And if you’re a manager, you got to figure out how to make this possible for your marketing team, give them more time to brainstorm. Figure out how to help them create more ideas and get more stuff out there. You’ve got to do it.

This is a competitive advantage, to be able to create:

  • More ideas,
  • More creativity,
  • More unique, different ideas.

It’s very important today because the better your ideas are and the more you test, the more likely you are to win.

Are You a “Checkbox” Marketer?

Posted on Posted in Culture, Internet Marketing Strategy, Makes Ya Think, Strategy, Thought Leadership

blog post headers checkbox marketer 3 800

CHECKBOXMARKETER-no

  • Are you thinking about your marketing primarily in terms of getting it done?
  • …creating social posts, ads, images, podcasts, blog posts…?
  • …then putting it out there?
  • …then you feel like you’re done?

If so, you might be a checkbox marketer.

Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting things done.

Obviously you’re not going to be very successful if you can’t get things done. So, congratulations for getting things done.

Truly. It’s not easy these days. There are a lot of distractions.

But the marketers who are getting the best results are not thinking in terms of just getting stuff done.

Optimizers, the opposite of checkbox marketers are focused on a process that creates maximum results:

  • They’re measuring the results of every piece of marketing they put out there.
  • They know what metric to look at for every piece of marketing they create.
  • They think ahead about how they’re going to track the results.

Now it makes sense if you’re not an optimizer…

  • If you’ve never created multiple ads like an AdWords or Facebook ads…
  • If you’ve never split-tested landing pages…
  • If you’ve never experimented with blog post titles or email subject lines to see which ones people respond to the most…

…then it’s possible you’ve never experienced one of the most important marketing experiences people can have today.

Once you’ve tested a lot of ads or Facebook posts or email subject lines or blog post titles and look at the results you’ve probably had this experience…

“Oh my gosh- that is not the one I thought would work. I can’t believe that’s the one they like!”

If you haven’t had that experience you probably think you have a lot of awesome ideas. You may think all your ideas are awesome. Or you may think all ideas are equally good.

But the fact is the data shows us that the best marketing creative can perform 5 – 10 times better then the worst marketing creative.

And when I say “creative” here I mean the image is the words the ideas. It’s a noun. This is agency speak.

Once you understand that some marketing is dramatically more effective than others, you realize:

  • You need more ideas because they’re not all equally good. And
  • You need to test those ideas to see which one performs the best with your ideal customer.

air process

So it’s no longer good enough to check off a box that you created a Facebook post.

You need to create a lot of Facebook posts or ads or blog post title for email subject lines…

And you probably already do create a lot of them as a matter of course over a period of days or weeks or months…

But you may not have been going back and looking at the metrics which ones are really awesome and which ones are not.

You may not have been learning from your data.

Or you may not have set things up to get you actionable data.

If you’ve been marketing for months or years and not getting that kind of data you’ve missed out on an incredibly valuable resource that will provide you guidance about how to perform 5  to 10 times better in the future.

A checkbox marketer will create a landing page to collect emails and say, “Thank goodness we’re done with that… check!”

An optimizer will think ahead using a platform that allows them to split test multiple landing pages and create three versions. Within a few days or weeks they’ll see that one is outperforming the others and they’ll stop running the others and their overall campaign results will increase 3 times 5 times… perhaps 10x.

checkbox marketer can get things done but they can’t increase their value to your company every day the way an optimizer can.

A checkbox marketer can’t get smarter about your customers the way an optimizer can.

Some people will move from checkbox marketing to optimizing as soon as they see the benefits of optimizing. Other people will not.

If you are a checkbox marketer and don’t want to move into optimizing:

  • You will never be a strategist.
  • You will always be a low-level marketer and low paid
  • Someone else will manage you and ask you to do things while they optimize it.

If you have employees who are checkbox marketers who are presented with the benefits of optimizing and do not change their behavior, then you may have an employee who is not capable of modern marketing.

Digital marketing is not simply the completion of tasks. It is a scientific process that includes measurement and data analysis. And its goal is to always improve results and always understand the customer better.

Without this approach your company cannot be competitive.

One more advanced fact for you: no matter how long an optimizer is in the business, they don’t get better at guessing which marketing idea will do the best.

Customers still surprise us. We’re still learning about them. So you have to keep testing.

There are no marketing geniuses out there who always guess right.

It’s the optimizing process that is genius.

10 Shocking Facts About Feedback That Will Help You Succeed In Business

Posted on Posted in Creativity, Strategy, Teamwork

10 Shocking Facts About Feedback

I HEREBY GIVE YOU ALL PERMISSION to point out anything I do that you think could be better. Please give me constructive feedback whenever you want.

It won’t make me like you less. It will make me LIKE YOU MORE (if you care about that).

Your feedback might be right and it might be wrong. But I am 100% confident it won’t kill me. I will consider your feedback, and decide whether or not to change what I’m doing.

#1 We all have blind spots.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

We have well-researched stubborn cognitive biases.

#2 Feedback and data is the lifeblood of success.

Without feedback, you’re stuck with what you have right now. You’ll never get any better. You’ll never have any more.

Not yet.

You know what bugs me?

#3 Most people don’t give each other honest feedback because everybody’s egos are so sensitive.

If you tell many people that something they did could be improved, they take it personally.

#4 People like people who like them.

So, instead of helping people by being constructive, too many of us are just vapidly supportive (in a way that may not really be that supportive).

“I’m awesome. If you don’t think everything I do is awesome, there’s something wrong with YOU!!!”

The people who tell everybody how awesome they are “winning friends and influencing people.”

Those people are good…

  • If you believe you’re already awesome and don’t need to improve.
  • Or if you need a ton of reassurance because you have a lot of self-doubt…
  • Or if you can’t handle feedback because it implies that you aren’t already perfect.

We have a lot of people who pretend to be perfect, a lot of people who believe they’re perfect, a lot of followers who want perfect people to follow, and a lot of butt-kissers who perpetuate this whole “you’re awesome” mentality.

#5 Growth mindset people win in the end.

But if you are a growth mindset person (Carol Dweck’s book), you get this.

#2 again: you need feedback, input and data in order to improve.

Yes, you’re awesome. Really.

But hopefully you are awesomer than you were last year.

And next year you’ll be awesomer than you are today.

Early in Louis CK’s career, many people dismissed him. They didn’t see what he could become. Even he was discouraged- after his first set, it took him two years to get back up again. Eventually he was the funniest comedian on Earth.

Steph Curry wasn’t a high draft pick but he became the NBA MVP. He’s not the only athlete like that. It’s not just talent- it’s drive, persistence and feedback.

Success is a choice.

#6 You could be doing something stupid right now and everyone thinks it’s a mistake but no one will tell you because they want you to like them.

I know one really high profile person many of us know who started a campaign that was weird, out of character, and of questionable viability- but as far as I know, nobody, including myself, told them it might be a bad idea, because they are so influential.

A lot of people jumped in to help for a variety of reasons…

The more influential and powerful you are, the less likely you are to hear detracting viewpoints, because everybody wants something from you.

I was guilty myself. It seemed weird to me, but who was I to say. And of course, when people debut these things, they usually don’t ask, “Hey, is this a stupid idea?”

Looking back, having seen that campaign fail, I wonder if there was a way I could have expressed my doubts…

…but the risk is that the person will “hear you out” but secretly hate you afterwards. And unfortunately we have to assume that most people can’t take constructive feedback.

It’s a shame.

#7 Everybody wants you to buy their chairs (Phenomenon movie with Travolta) no matter what those chairs are.

“Hey everybody, love my new thing!”

Now, while I fully support buying the chairs of your loved ones- that’s a beautiful sentiment- but not all your ideas are your chairs.

This culture of “everything you do is awesome” is not really in your best interests. If you want to keep doing better and getting better results in life, you need people who will give you honest feedback, and you need to be strong enough to take it.

I’m not saying we don’t need encouragers or motivators. We certainly do.

#8 You need at least a couple close friends who really think you’re a rock star. It will help you believe more and achieve more.

But if you need everyone to be an encourager, that’s pathological.

I know a comedian who is so fixed mindset, he believes that any comedian that’s not funny right away will never be funny. Even if the audiences start laughing at them (as they improve), he still believes they aren’t funny, because they weren’t funny in the beginning. As a result, he himself does not grow that much. He may be a good headliner, but chances are he’ll never be that famous or successful, because he’s not growing.

There are a lot of #1 draft picks who disappoint because they don’t have drive or a growth mindset. I’m not going to name names…

#9 The fewer ideas you have, and the more personal you take them, and the less feedback you get, the more likely you are to fail.

When your ideas are precious to you, you’re in danger.

…because your current idea might suck, but you might think it’s awesome.

Listen, I’ve had hundreds of bad ideas.

  • For 5 months in 2013, I wrote 5 jokes a day- that’s about 750 jokes. About 95% of them sucked. I didn’t know right away which they were. And for a joke, the audience has to laugh- so there’s no way to know without feedback.
  • I’ve posted hundreds of Facebook posts and I’ve created thousands of Facebook ads. Only a few of got stellar results (like a 21% engagement rate or a 11,800% ROI Facebook ad). That’s just the way statistics and outliers work.
  • I’ve written 8 books. One was an international bestseller, got me on TV and changed my business and life completely. One was a fun tangent but possibly a mistake. A couple of them are not really remarkable. That’s just statistics.

I love Elizabeth Gilbert’s perspective on this- genius is not you- it’s a gift. It frees you from the personal attachment to ideas that can stop the flow of new ideas and kill you from an emotional standpoint:


#10 The average anything you create sucks compared to the best things you create.

That’s just the way things are.

So don’t take your ideas personally. Get more of them.

#11 We need to get feedback from people we trust.

I have a couple masterminds I’m in where we do that. And several times we’ve had to reinforce the culture of blunt feedback. When we do that, it’s valuable and transformative. We move forward and get better results.

When we don’t give blunt feedback, it’s superficial and doesn’t help anybody apart from just making you feel like you have some sort-of friends you can brag to, as if that really helps- it doesn’t.

Ok, bragging about success to your mastermind helps a little, but it doesn’t make the business-changing or income-changing impact that real honest feedback can.

I sometimes make the mistake of giving constructive feedback to people who don’t know me that well. I always laugh to myself about how I’m “losing friends and influencing nobody.”

You don’t want to hear from trolls who don’t have your best interests at heart- I get that. You can definitely identify a troll- there’s no conversation that evolves into something constructive.

The spirit of the feedback needs to be that they truly want to help you, and not in a condescending way… The spirit is that we’re all learning, we’ve all made mistakes, we’re all just trying different things out, and we all want to help each other with that.

But because a lot of us only get feedback from 3-4 people close to us, I believe we are all missing out.

I feel like this is one of the saddest limitations of human nature. We’re all too sensitive. We don’t get all the feedback we could. We keep our blind spots. We end up sucking a lot more than we could.

Probably, nothing I’ve said here will change human nature. You’ll still really love all those people who keep blowing smoke up you patootie and never give you any constructive input… oh well 🙂

Maybe I’ll learn from this and change my mind. Probably I need to get wiser and build relationships and trust more before I give feedback. Probably.

NEW BLOG POST: Why “NEW” is Killing Your Business

Posted on Posted in Copywriting, Social Media Strategy, Strategy

HEY.

Words sell.

Some words grab your attention so hard they give you whiplash.

LOOK.

Certain words wipe your memory of what you were working on before. They reprioritize everything else. They take precedence.

NEW.

The ironic thing is: if you want profits, you need something old and proven.

But old is not sexy.

Profits should be sexy but they’re not. Cash is sexy, I guess.

NEW.

But somehow a new feature, a new platform, a new book, a new course hijacks your brain and kills everything else you were working on before.

NEW.

For example, email marketing and google ads have produced high ROI for 10 years.

CASH.

Great, right? They should get a lot of attention and people should do those things, right?

But how much TV air-time are email marketing and Google ads getting?

(zero)

Social is newer and cooler.

SNAPCHAT.

WOW!!!!!!!

So having been in the Internet marketing game since 2004 (doing SEO since 1999), I’ve seen a lot of…

  • new platforms
  • new features
  • new courses
  • new books
  • new tactics
  • new strategies
  • new techniques
  • new gurus
  • new conferences
  • new cetera…

And one thing I know for sure- the gurus and blogs that focus on NEW win.

It’s maddening- because I look for and create and teach repeatable systems that will efficiently deliver you results (like actual profits).

CASH.

Meantime, some people who focus on the bleeding edge get more attention and deliver little to no results.

Why would you listen to people who aren’t getting you results?

What is happening?

NEW is hijacking your brain.

Listen, I get it…

It makes sense that you should pay attention to NEW.

Because of Fear of Missing Out.

You’re afraid.

You don’t want to miss out on the latest greatest new powerful thing. You don’t want to miss any big new dangers.

It makes sense that we look at NEW.

I get it.

BUT it’s very inefficient, and it’s wasting a lot of your time and money.

If you are ADHD-pulled to every NEW thing, and you don’t FOCUS, you will not get as far.

  • You will get less done.
  • You will do things that get less results.
  • Your business will not go as far.

You could lose.

BUT IT’S FUN!!! IT’S REVOLUTIONARY!!! THIS IS THE FUTURE!!!

Really? Like Foursquare was the future? And Facebook tabs? And Meerkat? And Ello?

And shall I list 17 other failures people thought were the FUTURE?

NEW could kill your business…

Especially if your competitors are focusing on high-ROI tasks and you are not.

OLD is not good.

OLD is bad.

Except when OLD is proven and dependable and repeatable.

OLD is the NEW NEW.

That doesn’t make any sense.

But it should.

Do something OLD. It’s probably more proven and profitable.

Wouldn’t that be NEW, if everybody did OLD, proven, repeatable, profitable things, instead of NEW, fun, low-result, inefficient things?

So do something proven.

It’s probably not super NEW.

But it’s probably KINDA NEW, if it’s powerful.

If it’s too OLD it won’t work anymore or it will be so competitive it’ll be hard to succeed.

So do something KINDA NEW.

Like Facebook advertising, a Facebook Audit, or Social Marketing Profit System 😉

Another good example would be webinars. They’re not new. They’re old. But they’re proven.

TONS of people have made money with webinars.

Has anybody made money with Blab or Facebook Live? Maybe one person? Who?

But hundreds if not thousands of people have made money using platforms like GoToWebinar.

GoToWebinar is old and boring. But it makes people money. Maybe you have to do webinars in a new way to keep it fresh, but webinars are proven.

So do something old in a new way!

What You Really Need To Know About 2016

Posted on Posted in Strategy, Thought Leadership

How The Future Is Destroying

This post began as a podcast… feel free to just listen, or both listen AND read along! I’ve added a few more things in the text and there are some cool pictures…

You know what’s funny… funny-weird? Is that when you’re an expert, people are always asking you for your predictions. Especially around the end of the year.

They ask, “What do you predict will happen in 2016?”

I hate predictions.

I understand why people want them. It’s cool to think about predictions. An expert should be able to predict things. I get it.

It’s ridiculous, though. Why?

Because human beings are historically really, really bad at predictions. We’re usually wrong.

  • If you look at how the recession took us by surprise!
  • Just look at sports and how bad scouts are that spend their entire lives trying to predict which player is going to be great next and how many #1 picks don’t do well and how many second round picks become incredibly impactful players.
  • Look at how often meteorologists are wrong. They’re pretty much only right when they’re talking about the next few hours of weather. Even then they often don’t get it right. And by the way, the groundhog is usually wrong…
  • Internet marketing experts said mobile was the next big thing starting 2006. It wasn’t really a big thing until 2012.
  • After Google’s success, almost no one predicted Facebook would be the next digital marketing giant.
  • Over the decades, since the 20th century, we’ve predicted all kinds of things that never happened, like hoverboards, flying cars, hospitals in space and mail delivered by parachute. Any of those might be viable are MUCH further in the future than we thought.

Human beings are really, really bad at predicting the future. So how much value do those predictions have? Not much.

Space Hospital, Imagined in the 1950’s

Focusing on predictions is dumb. Predictions are a waste of your time. The opposite of navel-gazing, they are speculations that- though they may create euphoric feelings of hope or fascination- do nothing to improve your actual circumstances.

Hope is important, critical even. Confidence, too. But you should have hope because you’re actively improving your situation, not just dreaming about the future.


A 1977 Vision of the Year 2000

So let’s talk about how the future is destroying your future, and what you really need to know abut 2016.

The Consequences of Focusing on the Future = Ignoring the Present

We have this problem: we’re fascinated with what’s new and what’s coming soon.

I understand that’s part of our survival, our drive. We need to know what’s coming down the pike.

  • Is there a saber-tooth tiger coming?
  • Is there a tsunami coming?
  • Is there something we’re not aware of that is going to destroy our business or our lives, hurt us, kill us, whatever?

I understand that.

  • Is there an opportunity we should know about?
  • Should we have the new iPhone?
  • Should we have the new computer or whatever it is because without it we’re missing out… we’re going to lose?

I get it, but I think that it has some really negative consequences for us when we focus on new, shiny objects and when we focus on predicting the future.

We are not taking care of the present.

We are not doing a good job with optimizing and getting the best possible results out of our current business.

How To Create The Most Profitable Future

To me, the most profitable questions are:

  • What works best right now?
  • What website, what marketing strategy, what marketing channel, what business processes?
  • What’s the best practice right now?

Human beings have been doing stuff now for hundreds of years in this modern way. We’ve been doing the internet stuff for a couple decades. We’ve been doing internet marketing for at least 10 years. Everything is constantly evolving.

What’s the state of the art? To me, that’s the most important question.

  • Where can you put your money right now and where could you put your time right now and get the biggest bang for your buck?
  • Where can you get the biggest ROI, the biggest profits?

It’s not going to be from the new thing in the future because new things coming down the pike are always unproven.

What Happens on the Cutting Edge = Bleeding

Let’s go back … If you go back to colonial times, to use a metaphor, go out there … Or even in the military. Send out a scout … The guy in front. He’s the most likely to get killed. He’s the guy most likely to get shot with arrows or shot by a sniper. It’s a dangerous job to be the scout. You’re out there exposed. You don’t know what you’re going to run into. There’s a high chance you’re going to run into something dangerous.

When you’re in business and you’re trying a lot of new things. There’s a very high chance that a lot of things you’re trying are not going to work. They’re going to be a waste of money, a waste of time.

There should be people in our society who are trying those things out and who are finding out for other people what works and what doesn’t. Scouts.

I do a lot of that, myself. I do it on my own business. I take a lot of arrows for you guys.

Some of my clients are risk takers who try things that are relatively new but still somewhat proven. They don’t have to get take all the arrows.

There are a lot of companies who are very, very conservative who will not do some of the things we’ve been doing for the last couple years. They won’t do it for another 5 years. They’re not hunting at all, so they’ll miss out on a lot of the spoils of the hunt.

Find a Proven, Cutting-Edge Competitive Advantage

My point is, that best question is not: what’s going to be new in a year or two?

The best question is: What’s the most cutting edge, state of the art, proven thing that’s working that not everybody else is doing?

Why that’s important is there’s little competition in it. Which means it’s a competitive advantage to adopt that new thing that’s just been proven.

For example, to me, when we proved that Facebook ads were really good for lead generation and for e-commerce … That is something that the really smart companies are going to jump on because they know that all the other companies, especially their competitors who are doing lead gen and e-commerce, not all of them are going to have the guts, the foresight, the awareness to try it. Even though we have some proof that it works, some people are very, very conservative and fear-based and will not do it until it’s clear that you cannot not do it. You get this competitive advantage by adopting the latest, state of the art, proven best practices.

To me, that’s the most important question. What’s the latest effective thing? Not what’s the new thing that may or may not be effective that’s coming doing the pike in a year or 5 years. Those things are fascinating from a “let’s sit down and watch the news” perspective, but they’re not the kind of thing that’s going to help you win or make money.

Futurists are Ridiculous and Never Held Accountable

I think futurists are ridiculous. They get paid money to make up fascinating ideas and they never ever get called to the carpet.

I would love to see a a Saturday Night Live skit that’s a trial of futurists where they go back and they say, “Well, you said in 1995 that we were going to have blah, blah, blah and we don’t have those yet.” They’re never held accountable for the things they predicted because all a futurist has to do is sound really cool right now.

Predicting and futurist stuff is pretty lame if you think about it. They’re really exploiting your brain’s desire to hear this new, shiny object thing.

It’s really not going to help you a lot. You’re going to feel excited about it for a few hours or whatever, but it’s not going to help you in your business and it’s not going to help you make profits. It’s not going to help you win. It’s just going to distract you.

You know they used to say religion is the opiate of the masses? These days the news and futurism is the opiate of business.

Bam.

That’s what I feel.

I wish you guys success. Find out what’s working.

For example, check out my new Facebook course. It’s called Social Marketing Profit System. That’s a good one.

I wish you guys all the best in life and business. It’s holidays, so I hope you guys are enjoying your families and everybody’s healthy and happy and everything. Have a great end of the year!

RANT + PODCAST: “Do Whatever It Takes”

Posted on Posted in Facebook Marketing, Inspiration, Productivity, Social Media ROI, Social Media Strategy, Strategy, Thought Leadership

Do Whatever It Takes

This is a blog post that began as a podcast- feel free to listen instead, or listen AND read along below.

Today, I want to talk to you about something I think is really important for success for business and something we see all the time with marketing.

You have to be willing to do whatever it takes to get better results, and to avoid your competitors eating your lunch, or your entire industry being disrupted!

Companies run into a lot of different obstacles. Sometimes, companies hire us because they just need help with something they can’t do, like we’ll do Facebook ads for them, and they can’t do it, and we can get them the results. Other times, they just have a problem, and they don’t know what it is.

Sometimes, we have really complicated clients who have a ton of problems.

Sometimes, they have reputation problems. And, sometimes, we can do certain things.

We’ve got a client who has a big reputation problem. We can do certain things for them, but they also have some issues with customer service. The level of customer service is not high enough. They set expectations for customers they can’t possibly meet. They’re not really clear how to describe what they are compared to other companies.

There’s a lot of issues that have, so, when you start trying to market to solve some of these problems you discover, some of them you can solve, and some of them are internal company problems.

You’ve got to give them feedback, and I wonder if they think they think it’s weird…

  • “The marketing guy’s telling us to improve our customer service!”
  • “The marketing guy’s telling us we don’t know what our company is about!”
  • “The marketing guy is saying that it’s not okay that our IT people are telling us that something is impossible!”

…and that last one is the one that gets me the maddest. Because right now, everything is internet-based. Everything is programming-based. Everything is computer-based.

And it’s a gigantic opportunity, it’s been a gigantic shift in our economy and in business, and the world is completely changed. I mean the new thing with Amazon, you’re seeing those buttons where you get a Tide detergent button you put in your kitchen, and, when you’re running out of Tide, you would just push the button, and it orders it through Amazon. It shows up to your house 2 days later.

Very dangerous. You don’t want to have that for candy with you if you’ve got kids in the house, right? 🙂

Technology is everywhere, and so many companies have come out of nowhere, like Uber using smartphones to disrupt the entire transportation industry, not just taxis but they’re going to be competing with FedEx and DHL and UPS.

They’re running the Uber Eats thing in Houston as a test, delivering food. I wouldn’t be surprised if they start delivering groceries and either Amazon or Uber disrupts the whole grocery business.

You always see, anywhere that technology can improve convenience, new companies win and old companies lose. Companies like BlockBuster go out of business because of Netflix. The list is super long. Borders went out of business. Not only did Borders send traffic to Amazon rather than having a web store, which is just idiotic, but they didn’t adapt like Barnes & Noble did. Barnes & Noble copied the Kindle, created the Nook for an e-reader, right? And so Barnes & Noble has survived. They’re profitable. Borders went away.

Now, my point about this is is that, if your company, and we hear this sometimes, has an IT department or programmers who are saying, “This can’t be done,” or, “We can’t do it,” or they’re just slow or they’re just stubborn or they’re just difficult.

I grew up a geek. I’ve programmed some. I’ve hung around programmers. I know programmers. And I understand. They’re different, and they’re great. I love programmers. They’re different, so sometimes they struggle a little bit with some of the social things that other people in your company don’t struggle with, and sometimes they have different priorities, and sometimes they’re hard to deal with. Sometimes they’re difficult.

But the thing is I think you have to be willing to go nuclear on your programmers and say, “Look, you guys are problem solvers. You have to be willing to solve these problems. I’m not interested in you saying you can’t solve this problem. Don’t tell me you can’t do it. I don’t ever want to hear that. Solve the problem or you’re fired.” It needs to be that simple.

If you don’t have a culture of programmers and IT people that will solve problems quickly and see themselves as quick problem solvers… the overall topic I want to talk about today is willing to do whatever it takes, because there’s a lot of disruption, and there’s a lot of change, and there’s a lot of opportunity.

Millennials get it. They’ve grown up in a time where everything has changed frequently.

A new business can come out of nowhere and they no longer use the old business, whereas people who are over 50 will have stayed loyal to a company or business model for 10 or 20 years or whatever. That may seem weird to them, and, basically, you may take your customers or business model or advantage in the industry for granted. You ignore problems, assuming you can.

Another younger, faster, more agile, more motivated company comes along with programmers who do want to solve the problem you’re ignoring- and suddenly it’s too late for you.

The biggest enemy for companies that are going to get disrupted is an internal culture of laziness and procrastination and just barely good enough instead of ambition.

You really need hungry people, because there are so many start-ups, and many of them fail, but a few of them completely disrupt industries, and that’s the problem, right?

You have to be willing to do whatever it takes.

We see this on other levels too. When we work with clients sometimes, some of our clients are still getting used to the whole fact that we can test a whole bunch of different messages with customers, and we can test a whole bunch of different images. They’re so used to the old marketing paradigm of, “Let’s decide what the ad and the marketing images and all that stuff are before we put it out.” They decided on the basis of personal preference, like, “I just feel like this is good.” They’re accustomed to making these decisions on, very little knowledge about the customer.

Often, they think they know the customer better than they actually do. Often, the data we as their digital marketers come up with about the customer when we run a bunch of different ads is surprising to them. We learn about the customer. And there are some great tools, Facebook Audience Insights, with their data partners and all the information we have from all those retail loyalty programs, gives us net worth and income, and shopping behavior info, and all these things that we can learn about your customers, especially if we upload your email list and we profile those people or we profile the emails of your buyers versus those who don’t buy. That’s gigantic, and we learn a ton about your audience, then we learn more when we run all those different ads.

If your internal culture is not willing to do whatever it takes, they’re not willing to let go of their preferences about messages, they’re not willing to let the customer tell you which ones they prefer. 

Instead of having an internal counsel at your company that decides what messages should go out… Yes, you need legal, yes, you have to have brand parameters, but I’ve seen companies make a lot of arbitrary decisions that are above and beyond those things. Creative decisions that don’t have anything to do with their branding.

The thing is, if you do that, if we’re just doing it with guesses and with, “It’s my opinion,” what the data tells me from having run, 10-15 years now of ad tests and experiments is that, even when you have the data on your customers, EVERYONE’S guesses about what your customers are going to like are often wrong.

Being personally attached to your ideas is a liability in digital marketing. It’s a huge liability. It’s why some companies are losing at marketing.

There are some great books out now, the Freakonomics books, the Daniel Kahneman… books out there about the biases that we experience. We have great science now about basically the ways in which our perception is often wrong. The ways in which we fool ourselves, the ways in which our ego basically screws up our chances of success.

So when we get so attached to our own opinions, or when your company has a system that allows that… The way around it, I love this whole digital marketing laboratory approach, because the older thing was you’d have like a boss who has a great marketing idea, and, if you have a marketing director who isn’t that strong of a personality, then they’re always getting bulldozed by the boss who has a marketing idea, which may be good or bad and often may be bad.

They’re not trained in marketing, and, when you’re a CEO, you’re basically getting told you’re awesome all the time, so anybody that’s in that situation starts to believe it, whether they are awesome or not, right? So you’re putting out these marketing ideas thinking that they’re awesome because you’re awesome, and, if they’re not working and especially if you’re not tracking, you don’t really know if they’re working.

But, in a digital marketing laboratory, where we can see where each ad, “Does this ad get us leads?” “Does this ad get us sales?” Then you can tell, right? The boss can have an idea, the marketing director can have an idea, the marketing assistant, the marketing interns, they can have ad ideas, and we can see which ones work the best. Now, that’s a democratic situation where we get to see what works.

If you’re still attached to your ego there… Then, when your ad doesn’t work, you feel bad, you feel ashamed, you feel like you lost, you feel like you’re a bad person, you feel like something bad is going to happen, but that’s not what we’re doing. We’re not trying to prove we’re good people by having good guesses. That’s not what we’re doing.

We’re trying to put enough ideas out there to let customers choose the best one so that we have a better chance of succeeding.

Because the fact is like there is a research study that showed that, after 10 years or more, marketing experts do not get better at guessing which creative ad marketing message or image is going to work the best. They don’t get better at it.

You don’t get better at it. What you can get better at it is being disciplined about the process of putting out more ideas. And, yeah, you don’t want to put out stupid ideas. I think you get better at finding some best practices, but there’s often things that break the rules. A lot of people I know, including myself, who’ve run conversion optimization on landing pages find that, when you put a video on the landing page, it doesn’t convert as well as when you just have an image, which is counterintuitive, and there’s a lot of counterintuitive stuff in digital marketing. That’s why you have to test.

All the people who are going by their gut are going to fail on the counterintuitive stuff. All the people who are testing are going to find a counterintuitive thing that works awesome and the super-performing outliers, and they’re going to find the things that work super duper well that you wouldn’t have found if you didn’t have an open mind and you didn’t test a lot of stuff.

The companies that aren’t willing to do whatever it takes… They aren’t willing to put aside their ego, they aren’t willing to make their program solve problems, they aren’t willing to test a lot of ideas, they aren’t willing to go with the analytics instead of opinion, those companies are going to lose.

It’s simple as that. They’re not going to get as good of results. They’re not going to have as big a profit margin. Their spend is not going to be as efficient. So they’re not going to do as good.

For a public traded company as well, you can only go so far on all that cash. There are plenty of companies that are huge that fail. And that get bought up. And there are plenty of troubled companies that get acquired, disassembled, et cetera by better companies. Being big is not good enough. You have to be willing to do whatever it takes.

That’s what I wanted to say today. It is kind of a rant.

I’m amazed that people don’t do it, but I think that, for me, it comes from just a insatiable desire to get results for whatever I do.

And I do that in comedy, I want to get laughs, and I do it in business, I want to get clients, leads, and sales, and whatever results they want. But I go with the data, and, when the data tells you what’s working and what’s not, that’s when you have to make the change, right? It just doesn’t make sense to me when you’re not willing to go whatever direction the data, which really is what the customers are telling you through the data, which direction to go.

If you’re not willing to go the direction the customers are telling you to go, well, you’re missing a gigantic component of business. You’re in business to satisfy the customer so they will part with their money, and you’re there to satisfy them to make them happy so they’ll continue to give you their money, and everyone will be happy. The data tells you what to do to do that. You have to be willing to do whatever it takes to create and sustain that relationship.

That’s it. I’m going to go to Las Vegas and talk in the Amazing.com Conference. It’s like 4 days with a thousand customers who have bought courses from Amazing.com, which I call them the Mercedes-Benz of course creation. Udemy I call the Wal-Mart of course creation. Nothing against Udemy instructors, et cetera, Udemy’s got a lot of great stuff, and they’ve been doing great things for a long time, but Amazing.com takes it to another level. They’ve got an instructional design person on staff. They treat instructors like really well. They flew me out to Austin to film parts of the videos.

I’m creating a course called Social Marketing Profit System. It’s got 4 and a half hours of video, 25 videos on the basics of Facebook marketing advertising strategy, how to not choose the wrong strategies, because, again, this is a counter-intuitive thing. A lot of people, the first things they choose to do are actually not the most effective ones, and everybody’s making the same mistakes instead of getting a little bit of training and avoiding that heartache, avoiding losing that money, right? Save some money, save some heartache.

Some people do their own things, and then they conclude that Facebook marketing or advertising doesn’t work. Well, that’s just dumb. You didn’t get any training. It’s a very complicated system. There’s a big learning curve, so, just like anything that’s complicated, you need to get some education before you try, or you’re likely to fail.

And then there’s a whole bunch of stuff on how to get better likes and shares and comments on your Facebook posts and a ton of information about Facebook advertising, how to get better results. We’ve got all kinds of results. I mean one of the big things that’s different about me from other Facebook marketing instructors is I’ve worked with a ton of real companies getting them real results, leads, and sales. I don’t just go out and teach people to be social media consultants. I don’t just run retreats where we talk about personal growth.

I love personal growth, but I work in the real business world helping real companies get profits and leads and sales and stuff, right? And I’ve done that with all sizes of businesses: small business, medium, Fortune 500, all over the world, talked to all kinds of different audiences. I know what works and doesn’t work for real businesses. The first people that got profits from Facebook marketing in 2011 were students of mine, we’ve been succeeding like that for 4 years.

I used to hate to bang my own drum, but, right now, I hate to see people go get training that doesn’t come from that kind of experience. I was talking about data. We’ve got a ton of data from companies showing what does and doesn’t work for business to consumer and business to business marketing on Facebook. It’s the most powerful platform in the world. I think it’s the most powerful marketing platform ever. I could go on and on about it, and often do.

I love Google, and Google’s important, and you’ve got to do Google ads if they’re profitable for you to a degree, but then you’re going to get limited sales volume. So, after that, if you want to expand, reach more people who are potential consumers, convince those people to buy, Facebook’s the most affordable way to do that. And they just put out new stats: 1.55 billion people on Facebook. I’ve spoken in a bunch of different countries, and, in most countries, at least 50 percent of the population is using Facebook.

It’s super viable, and the ads are super affordable. You just need to know how to do it right. If you use the system that I teach, you’re going to cut your ad cost by 50 to 90 percent, and that means your spend is going to go twice as far to ten times as far, okay? So you’re spending maybe 500 bucks a month? Maybe you’re going to end up getting 5,000 bucks worth of advertising out of it. Or, if you’re spending 1,000 bucks, you’re going to get 2,000 to 10,000 dollars of value out of it because you’re probably doing some things wrong right now.

For example, if you’re trying to get people to go to your website by putting a link in a post on a Facebook page and then you’re boosting that post, your cost-per-click for that link is probably a dollar or two or more. That’s ten times higher than it needs to be because you’re using the wrong kind of ad, right? You need to be using a website conversion ad or a website traffic ad from within the Facebook ad manager or Power Editor.

Little mistakes like that, there are a ton of them, and I’m going to share those with the 1,500 people at the Amazing.com Summit. That’s going to be exciting. I’ll be in Las Vegas for 4 days, and I’m going to be doing a lot of webinars to promote this thing, this course. It’s going to be a big push for me. It’s going to be good, because I’ve done a lot of webinars for other companies, some of them had paid me, some I’ve done it for exposure, but I haven’t done it for myself because I never had the right product, and now I’m with a company where we’ve got a great product, and I think it’s the right time. I think it’s time to tell people, “Look, you’ve got to demand results from Facebook. You can do it. This is the system.” So I’m going to promote the heck out of that.

I hope that was all helpful to you guys. If you have any questions, you can always contact me through the contact form on this site. We do a ton of different types of services for people and companies as well, and you can check those out there.

That’s it. I’m running out of steam, and I got to get ready to get on the plane, so I hope you guys are doing well and your business is doing well and your family is well. I wish you guys all the best.

What The Fact That 80% of New Businesses Fail Means To You

Posted on Posted in Small Business, Strategy

80% of new businesses fail. That means four out of five business owners have the wrong idea. If most business owners agree with you, you may be missing something.

You’d better do something weird.

You need to be that one person the other four business owners think is an idiot.

Idiot and idiosyncracy come from the same word. The antonym of idiot is genius, or natural ability. From what I’ve seen, many geniuses are called idiots by the 80%. Most of the people we call geniuses now needed 50 years of history to be called that.

If you’re following the crowd, you can bet that you’re going to face huge competition.

The crowd can’t do anything but follow each other. They don’t have any other ideas.

Do Something Weird.

P.S. What the crowd thinks is wise now, is what some “idiot” was doing a year ago. But the idiot is still ahead of them now, doing something they don’t get.

5 Facebook Funnel Mistakes 99% of Businesses Are Making

Posted on Posted in Digital Marketing, Internet Marketing Strategy, Lead Gen, Social Media Lead Generation, Social Media Strategy, Strategy

If you sell online, or market for leads online, you definitely have a sales funnel. You may not know what your sales funnel is, but you have one.

The question is: how effective is your funnel?

When we map out a business’s funnels and assign numbers to them, they’re usually stunned by how many people drop out at each step.

In this example, we have only 5 steps and we start with 100,000 fans:

This funnel sucks

Only 5 sales? We lost 9,995 people in the process? Crap!

In digital marketing, the number of people lost at each funnel step is gigantic. It’s amazing to me that anyone sells anything online. And, in reality, many people fail.

Many much tears.

Unfortunately, many business people assume that online sales and lead gen is easy. In fact, it’s near-impossible.

Successful sales online (including inbound lead gen and offline sales) requires:

  1. Great planning,
  2. Lots of iteration (that’s the fancy word for trial and error), or
  3. Sheer luck.

The ones who succeed by sheer luck don’t learn anything. Usually they fail with their second business attempt and can’t figure out what happened.

Successful digital marketing requires:

  • An offering people want,
  • Marketing well planned and executed,
  • Testing,
  • Time, and
  • Money.

That’s the truth about selling online, and it’s not sexy. Unless you think executing wisely and achieving business profits is sexy. That would be like calling Gandalf sexy. Well I suppose there is someone out there who has… anyway-

To me digital marketing is not about sexiness or fun (though you can definitely have fun with the testing). It’s about finding and using a system that gets you results.

If you want to confront the cold hard facts and succeed, then you need to overcome the 5 most common mistakes that businesses make with their digital sales funnels.

Funnel Mistake #1: Too Many Steps

Every action people have to take requires a decision. At most decision points, more than 50% of your audience (usually more like 80-99%) opts out. That means they do things like:

  • Don’t click on your ad or link.
  • Don’t opt into your email list or your lead magnet (ebook, whitepaper, webinar).
  • Don’t put something in a shopping cart.
  • Don’t check out.
  • Don’t finish paying.

So, let’s imagine you have only those 5 steps above, and 10,000 people see your ad. Here’s what happens if ONLY 50% (we’ll be generous and give you a best-case dream scenario) don’t go through with it:

  • 5,000 don’t click on your ad or link.
  • 2,500 don’t opt into your email list or your lead magnet (ebook, whitepaper, webinar).
  • 1,250 Don’t put something in a shopping cart.
  • 625 Don’t check out.
  • 312 Don’t finish paying.
  • 156 buy

Let’s say you spent $5,000 on those clicks ($1 CPC). If you don’t profit at least $32 per sale ($5,000/156 sales), you lose money.

But let’s be more realistic with those numbers. Let’s say 100,000 see your ad…

  • At a 1% CTR, 99,000 don’t click on your ad or link. 1,000 do.
  • At 20% lead conversion rate, 800 don’t opt into your email list or your lead magnet (ebook, whitepaper, webinar). 200 do. (We’ll save this number for later)
  • At a 1% sales rate, 792 people don’t buy. 8 people do buy.

So if you spent $1,000 on those clicks ($1 CPC), if you don’t profit at least $125 per sale ($1,000/4 sales), you lose money.

Pretty dire, right?

But we still have those 200 emails. Here’s what happens with them:

  • 20% of them open your email. That’s 40 people.
  • 10% click to the site. That’s 4 people.
  • 1% buy. Shoot, you only have 1/25th of a buyer! That’s smaller than Mini-Me.

One more demonstration:

  • Let’s say you manage to get 100,000 Facebook fans.
  • 10% of them see your Facebook post- that’s 10,000 people.
  • Many Facebook posts get 99.9% interaction, not website clicks. A post that does well with website clicks may get a 4% clickthrough rate. That’s 400 people.
  • 1% of these buy- that’s 4 people. 0.004% of fans convert per post.

So your 100,000 fan page got your 4 sales. Pretty lame, huh? This is why we stopped doing Facebook fan growth: too many extra steps and too many people lost in the process.

Relax. It’s not the end of the world. If 4 people buy per Facebook post per day x 365 days = 1,460 people buy per year.

But how did you get those 100,000? You may have to pay $10-50k to get 100,000 quality fans with Facebook ads. Because the low quality fans will never buy.

So, you’d have to be profiting $7 to $34 per sale to break even on that fan cost after a year. And that means you’d have to be able to wait a year to make that $10-50k back.

This is assuming:

  • You don’t run any ads to promote posts (which many people do), and
  • You reach 10% of your fans (which many pages don’t).

The Facebook post visibility problem is just too expensive. A “Facebook Fan-Reliant Strategy” reduces your sales funnel’s effectiveness by 90%.

That’s why we switched to three funnels with fewer steps:

  1. Facebook ad -> Squeeze page to get email -> email -> click -> sale
  2. The shortest one: Facebook ad -> Sales page -> Sale [only 3 steps!]
  3. Retargeting audiences from #1 and #2 -> email or sale

Now, we’ve seen profits up to 2,200% from Facebook ad campaigns. To get that high, you have to create 100 ads a month. That’s how you find the ads that work incredibly well.

The upshot: Reduce the number of steps in your funnel.

Funnel Mistake #2: Not Getting Enough People Into Your Funnel

Advertising helps, and it’s critical for new sites. But only so many ads will be profitable. It will bring you a limited volume of sales.

You’re going to need more affordable traffic.

That means you need SEO or unpaid social media. And that means you have to create awesome content like this blog post. You have to create something that helps your prospect and you don’t get paid for it. But it brings in tons of people, some of whom opt into your emails and some of which buy.

But the most common mistake with content marketing is to create content that gets lots of buzz. You get tons of shares and comments and you slap each other on the back. But this often doesn’t move your prospects toward the sale. Check out this article to learn how to create content that gets shares and retweets and website clicks and sells.

The upshot: Create content that brings in traffic and sales.

Funnel Mistake #3: Keeping It Too Private

Because of how many people we lose at each funnel step, we need to do whatever we can to get shares at every step. For example:

  • Create ads that are tweets and Facebook posts that deserve shares/retweets and website clicks.
  • Create landing pages that deserve shares and retweets.
    • For example, a free lead magnet (ebook, whitepaper, video series, webinar) that’s so cool that people have to share it.
    • You can put Facebook commenting at the bottom of their free content so that excited people can comment. Those comments get shared via their Facebook account as well. Here’s how you add it. And Leadpages (note: affiliate link) has some squeeze page templates that have it built in. I use Leadpages and Clickfunnels (aff link) both for creating opt-in and sales pages. They’re both great.
  • Create thank you pages that empower people to share or tweet about it- especially after email opt-ins- but also for sales.

The upshot: Learn what kind of content the research shows people share and don’t share here (free whitepaper I wrote for Marketo).

Funnel Mistake #4: Only One Idea Per Funnel Segment

In the olden days of marketing, people created one campaign and ran it for months and months. If it tanked- they were screwed. 

Then a few brilliant folks like Claude C. Hopkins started using coupons to track what worked and didn’t. Direct mail was born. This evolved over the decades- and with digital marketing it has become standard to at least split-test your ideas. If you aren’t familiar with split-testing, you’re way behind. Google it.

  • Get a platform like LeadPages or Clickfunnels that empowers you to easily test 2 or 3 opt-in pages.
  • Create 2 or 3 sales pages, too.
  • Combine that with your ad testing and you will cut your cost per lead or sale by 50-80%.

You can’t afford not to do this, because many people who don’t just go out of business. It’s hard to make the math of profits work without this kind of testing.

And it’s how some marketers enter old niches and quickly dominate them. Some companies get put out of business. The most vulnerable businesses are the ones that have been around long enough to get cocky and think they don’t need to keep up with the times.

Don’t be lazy here or you’ll regret it.

The upshot: Split-test wherever possible.

Funnel Mistake #5: Being So Inbound That You Don’t Close The Sale

I get it. It’s cool to just market. To just do inbound. You aren’t pushy and you don’t get rejected.

Except you do. Someone else gets the customer.

Stop being afraid of selling. Get more of them to convert to the next step.

Figure out what objections or fears are keeping people from buying. Tell them about the other things that will happen if they don’t work with you that they should be more afraid of.

The upshot: Figure out what it takes to move them to the next step. Close the sale. Coffee is for closers.

Conclusion

In conclusion, my English teachers in school told me to write conclusions.

Fix all the mistakes above. You may go out of business if you don’t. You’ll reap massive profits if you do.

Marketing Practice Gets You Closer To Perfect Marketing Strategy Advice

Posted on Posted in Social Media Strategy, Strategy

Recently I saw that some digital marketing strategists were surprised by Facebook’s recent announcement about posts of a promotional nature.

According to people we surveyed, there are some consistent traits that make organic posts feel too promotional:
  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Beginning in January 2015, people will see less of this type of content in their News Feeds. As we’ve said before, News Feed is already a competitive place — as more people and Pages are posting content, competition to appear in News Feed has increased. All of this means that Pages that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.

For us, that announcement is no big deal, because it doesn’t affect our basic strategy, which hasn’t had to change much since 2010. The biggest change for us in Facebook strategy was to devalue fan growth in 2012 and make email acquisition a critical component. We never had to worry about how tabs were devalued, because we always saw them as outside the main flow of Facebook (the newsfeed). We never worried about organic visibility declining because we have always recommended advertising. Generally speaking, we’ve used durable strategies all along. Part of that is because we have always embraced advertising as a fundamental investment. Resistance to advertising is a curious and unwise attitude in digital marketing.

I would question whether you should get your Facebook marketing strategy from people (generalists, strategists) who don’t implement tactics day-to-day. Why? Because to be surprised or thrown off by the announcement above means that that their knowledge of Facebook as a marketing platform is shallow and inadequate.

What’s Your Source For Marketing Best Practices?

I’ve always wondered where social media generalists get their strategy ideas from. New articles? Blog posts? Rumors? I’ve seen repeatedly in the last decade situations where the most insightful case studies were not published because a company didn’t want to give away the competitive advantage they had discovered. Not all the best tactics and strategies will be in the public domain.

That means that strategists who don’t implement anything will only know about the most average and common approaches- not the most powerful or cutting edge ones.

And in the case of the Facebook promotional posts announcement, being a non-implementing company clearly can lead to misconceptions about basic Facebook strategy. The fact is, no wise Facebook strategy has excluded Facebook advertising since 2012, if I’m being nice, and really 2010, because the huge opportunity of Facebook ads (because of its specific targeting and low prices) was clear way back then.

None of this is a surprise, because Google’s money always came from ads, so one would expect Facebook to follow that model. I didn’t know exactly what would happen or when, but I suspected that the newsfeed and ads would be the core of their marketing opportunity for a long, long time.

I remember when writing one of my books, an editor questioned something I called “a social media best practice.” As an editor with an academic writing background, she wanted an academic reference for it.

In other words, she was asking, “What other book or blog post corroborates your claimed best practices?”

I had to reply, “Well, it comes from my experience,” and that seemed like a lame response at the time, but in light of this, I now see that my day-to-day experience, usually working with 8-12 clients, and doing so over the last 10 years, is at times richer and more useful for answering specific strategy questions than the blogosphere is.

Marketing must seem like a weird industry to academics. In medicine, research is done independently with government grants, or is funded by huge companies. Practicing doctors based their clinical approach on that research and other doctors’ clinical experience. But in marketing, we don’t have nearly the research industry, so we rely much more on very small case studies and opinion. And the marketing ecosystem changes much more rapidly than the human body could ever evolve. It’s a moving target. So, the more of research you can do and experience you can gain in-house, the more effective marketer you will be.

Working with clients forces you to be oriented toward what really works (because you’ll lose the client if you’re wrong) and to keep secrets (because clients don’t like you to give away their competitive advantages).

When people hire us, they’re paying us to implement what we’ve found that works, and to avoid what we’ve found to be dead ends.

The Upshot

If you’re not working with people who implement digital marketing tactics daily, you won’t have access to the most powerful strategies- you’ll fall behind and miss opportunities. If you want to be a market leader, you need to find the smart people who are working on the gnitty gritty of digital marketing every day.

Think Backwards! How An Animal Shelter Saved 5,000 Dogs With Backwards Thinking

Posted on Posted in Makes Ya Think, Strategy

A lot of times in business we give lip service to helping customers, but how much are they actually helping us? A lot!

In medicine, they say a doctor is “practicing” medicine – she’s helping people but she’s also learning.

That’s one reason I’m so grateful for all our clients, past present and future 🙂

What in your life should you look at backwards?

Think about it!