10 Critical Items for Your Next Marketing Plan Audit

When’s the last time you had your marketing plan audited by an outside expert?

You do have a marketing plan, right?

Why would you need an audit?

  • Sometimes an organization’s ideas can get a bit stale, over time
  • A company can develop an echo chamber in their own culture, and convince themselves of things that may or may not be true
  • Not everybody has heard of all the latest greatest best practices

And when you’re out of touch, that’s a recipe for

  • Losing business to the competition
  • Losing the interest of your customers
  • People starting to think you’re no longer relevant

Unfortunately, if you aren’t current, people may question everything else about your business.

“If they’re not doing THIS great idea, what other good things are they not doing?”

The marketing plan audit we did for The Perfect Workout led to them discovering a new source of leads and sales, and a 400% ROI.

So, in the spirit of making sure that your marketing plan is up-to-date, here are 10 things you need to have SOMEBODY from the outside take a look at:

  1. Are you 100% sure that your pixels and tracking are installed correctly and that your data is accurate?
  2. According to your website analytics, what marketing source is driving the most conversions? What landing pages drive the most conversions? Is your organic traffic increasing over time?
  3. Are you aware of all the third party performance benchmark reports (on things like advertising, email and landing pages) out there, and is your performance at least average, if not better?
  4. Are you on the most important social platforms for your target customers? Are you advertising there? In your social advertising, are you creating new ad ideas each month? Have you tested new targeting this quarter?
  5. Are your email open rates hitting industry standard levels? Are you split-testing new subject lines? Have you checked on deliverability and blacklist issues to be sure you’re OK?
  6. Do you have someone who loves writing creative copy and is constantly testing new ideas on your audience through ads, emails, and landing pages?
  7. How many people do you need to reach to achieve your lead gen or sales goals, and are you actually reaching that many people?
  8. Are you using all the advanced Google ad technologies that make sense, like responsive ads, site links and other extensions, and call tracking?
  9. Does your website look and function equally well on every mobile device as it does on desktop, and do your analytics support that answer?
  10. Do you have a content plan that fits your platforms and goals? Is your brand flexible enough to allow the creation of diverse and compelling content? Is your content plan informed by SEO research? If you have a content calendar, is it flexible enough to change based on what your analytics insights tell you? Have you found a way to create at least some kind of new video with some frequency for use in social media and ads?

These are a few of the questions that a good marketing plan audit will answer.

And from there, you can revise and improve your marketing plan, and get better results for your business!

10 Reasons You’re Not Getting More Business

Do you want more new business?

Let’s face it- if you’re not getting new business, you’re at risk. The existing customers could dry up. A recession could hit. Who knows what could happen!

So, if your new business growth is not where you’d like it to be, what’s wrong?

Here are 10 things that could be blocking your organization’s customer growth.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #1: You’re not getting enough attention

If not enough people are giving you money, or buying from you, or inquiring, or coming into your store… do they even know you exist? Do they remember you exist?

You need to get people’s attention, then interest, then desire, and only then will they take action.

How many people’s attention does your business have right now?

  • How many ad impressions do you get a month? How many people do you reach?
  • How many emails from you do people open?
  • How many outbound sales calls does your org make?
  • How many leads do you get?

Even more importantly- how much is enough?

A simple rule is that you need to reach 1,000x as many people as you want customers, and you need to get their attention 5x before you can expect anything from them.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #2: You’re not getting enough traffic

Most businesses rely on website, store or phone activity to get new business.

  • How much website traffic are you getting per day?
  • How many people call a day?
  • How many people are visiting your store daily?

You need 100x as much traffic as however many customers you want.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #3: Your website doesn’t convert people to leads or sales

A lot of people have nice looking but ineffective websites. They don’t even know what their website conversion rate is. That’s like driving without knowing how fast you’re going.

And even worse, if you don’t generate enough traffic, you can’t find out if your website is the problem.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #4: Nobody wants what you offer

For newer businesses, if they’ve never sold at volume, they have an unproven product or service.

The first question to answer is- does anybody want this? Will they pay for it?

Then you can answer WHO will pay for it.

And in order to find out if they want it you have to get in front of them or get people to it.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #5: You’re not aggressive enough about promotion

If you build it, and that’s all, they won’t come.

Marketing and sales are about driving attention, interest and desire.

Some people aren’t aggressive enough- they choose only passive strategies like SEO or content creation.

If you’re not doing something outbound like advertising, networking, or outbound SDR, you’re going nowhere fast.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #6: You’re afraid to spend money

You have to spend money to make money. Why do you think all these new businesses want funding? Making money is expensive.

Attention, traffic and leads cost money. You have to spend it.

That can be hardest at the beginning, but even when times are tight, you have to keep investing. Businesses that pull back on promotion when things are down just end up going down even faster.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #7: You don’t have a creative solution

Content marketing is important for a lot of reasons, but it requires creating that content.

Ads and emails are powerful ways to get attention and traffic, but they require creative copywriting.

Ads, websites and landing pages are compelling ways to get new business, but you need to have an eye for graphic art, and an understanding of how creative affects customer psychology.

Creative skills and resources are critical. And they are often missing from many marketing plans and departments.

As a result, organizations show up in the marketplace looking and sounding mediocre, and fail to impress.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #8: You don’t have a scientific mindset

Business used to be a guessing game. But now we have data, especially online.

We get insights and reports that tell us what works and what doesn’t so that we waste less money and get a bigger response from customers.

If you’re not trying a lot of creative, copy, and new ideas, and learning from what the data says about the customer response, you’re stuck in the old paradigm, you won’t be able to be competitive, and eventually you’ll be replaced by newer companies and people.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #9: You don’t put enough time in

Sometimes we don’t have enough resources to do what needs to be done with sales and marketing.

Sometimes things are going well, so we coast.

The most talented people have drive. The best companies have lots of people who have drive. They are internally motivated to keep doing more and getting better everyday.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #10: You’re not continuously learning

The only constant is change.

Even when digital marketing and sales were young 10 years ago, there was a ton to learn in this space. But it doesn’t stop. Things continue to advance and get more complicated.

What worked 10 years ago may not work now- for example, SEO is much, much harder for new companies as a viable traffic source.

And what wasn’t a good idea 10 years ago might be now- for example, so many companies have gone online with lead gen, that fewer people are cold calling, and sometimes it works better than it did in 2000 or 2010.

You and your marketing and sales people must keep learning- must keep getting training, must keep reading, getting mentored, and going to conferences…

But only if you want to get and stay on top.

top view image of office desk with notebook and the word blog

10 Blogging Tips: How to Write a Blog

If you want learn to write a great blog post, you’ve come to the right place.

You may have realized that the less you put into your writing, the less people read it. There are literally millions of blog posts out there, so you have a lot of competition, and you have to be good to rise above it.

You may have written OK blog posts in the past, but if you follow the 10 tips in this article, you’ll be able to write excellent blog posts.

And then you’ll get more social shares, links to your website, website traffic- and your business will grow.

Blogging can be a very powerful way to get attention, website traffic and, ultimately, sales.

  • Blogging is popular. In 2017, 66% of marketers reported using blogs in their social media content (source). One of the reasons blogs are so popular is because they’re so effective at getting you the online marketing results you need.
  • Blogging drives more traffic. Websites with a blog have tend to have 434% more indexed pages (source). When you have more pages, you get more traffic and Google may view your site as a bigger authority.
  • Blogging gets customers to contact you. B2B marketers that use blogs get 67% more leads (customer contacts through their website) than those that do not (source).
  • Blogging helps ensure the business goes to your company- not the competition. 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep (source), so even if sales is your goal, you need to hook customers before they decide which company’s sales reps to talk to, and blog posts do a great job of that.

So, you know you need to blog…

But how do you do it effectively? Here are the 10 blogging tips we’ll cover:

  1. Minimize Interruptions
  2. Start With a Good Blog Post Idea
  3. Research Your Topic
  4. Create a Blog Post Title Concept
  5. Outline Your Major Points
  6. Write Some Stuff
  7. Make The Post Look Good
  8. Write Your Intro and Conclusion
  9. Leverage Copywriting
  10. Edit

Let’s get into it!

Minimize Interruptions So You Can Get Your Writing Done

Writing requires focus.

Photo credit: Writix

Because when you’re interrupted, you lose your place and the context of what you were doing- so it’s important to have stretches of time where you can focus 100% on the writing.

One solution is the Pomodoro technique, which basically has you write for 25 minutes at a time. And then take a break. There are free Pomodoro timers online that you can Google.

It’s also a good idea to schedule time to write. I block out a couple hours every morning that could be used for writing. Write at the time of day that’s best for you.

But the critical thing is:

  • Don’t let people interrupt you. Close the door, tell them stay away. If necessary, explain to them why blogging and this uninterrupted time is so important to your company’s success.
  • Don’t let pets interrupt you.
  • Don’t let kids interrupt you. Don’t neglect your kids, but either give them an activity or do it while they nap, etc.
  • Don’t let your phone interrupt you. Put it on airplane mode. Do Not Disturb doesn’t always work.
  • Don’t let your email interrupt. Close it. It should be sufficient to check email several times a day.
  • Don’t let fake emergencies interrupt you. If you are not an ER doc or fireperson, or EMT, then you’re not in the emergency business. Sometimes we can get hooked on the adrenaline experience- it feels so good to solve an urgent problem- but this keeps us from getting into the kind of mental/emotional state that allows you to build your business.
  • Don’t let social media interrupt. If you’re addicted to it, control yourself! 🙂

Your habits, routine, or the way you’ve taught people to treat you can get in the way, and may require a change.

Control your schedule, your time and your focus, and you’ll get more done.

Leverage Copywriting in your blog writing

Copywriting, in marketing, means writing copy (words) that get people to do stuff.

We’re going to include copywriting in our processes of getting an idea, creating the title concept and writing the post. So I’ll talk about it more in some of the other tips, but first we need to talk about the basics.

The most important principle of copywriting is that your audience/customer has problems and needs solutions.

If you don’t understand those two things about your customer, you’ll never get great results with writing, marketing or selling.

Problems include:

  • Pain
  • External Obstacles like a car not working, a lack of revenue or needing new technology
  • Internal Obstacles like stress, fear, mental ruts and misconceptions

Solutions include:

  • Pleasure and positive feelings
  • Goals, dreams and desires, whether internal or external
  • Benefits, which includes anything good that people will get out of your writing, products or services

The reason human beings do anything is to get away from pains and problems and to move toward pleasure, goals and dreams.

If you know those two things, you can get people to do stuff.

You need to know what those things are for your customers so that you can influence them.

Start With A Good Blog Post Idea

Where do ideas come from? Nobody knows.

So if you don’t have one, you may need some stimulation before inspiration strikes.

And that includes:

  • Coffee.
  • Thinking about your customers, their problems and what they want.
  • Searching Google and social media for other people’s blog posts.
  • Looking at the Google Keyword Planner (we’ll cover that in the next step) for what people are searching for related to your general topic.
  • Walking or driving.
  • Talking to other people about your topic.

Once you have an idea, you’re good- we’ll refine it next.

Research Your Topic to Ensure You Get Traffic

This stage is critical because if you don’t look at what people really want, they may not want what you create.

You need to make sure that your topic or angle on your topic is in-demand.

The way to do that is:

  • Go to Ads.Google.com and use the Keyword Planner to find monthly search volume for your topic.
  • Type phrases into the YouTube search box and see which searches come up first.
  • Use Buzzsumo to research which articles on that topic have gotten the most social shares, and also to analyze the niche itself.
  • Look at your website analytics on past posts and see which ones have done the best.

All this data will tell you the top keyword for your blog post.

And that keyword is where we’ll start with the blog post title.

Create a Title Concept That People Will Care About

The blog post title is the first thing people see, and it makes them either decide to click or not. It influences whether they share your post.

The title can also help structure your writing.

If we have a blog post keyword like “how to write a blog” or “blogging tips” then we can start with that, but we need to add some copywriting.

A blog post title is going to be a lot more compelling if it includes a pain/problem/obstacle or benefit/goal/solution.

People need to know why they should read it. What’s in it for them?

The other aspect of title creation is deciding what kind of post it is:

  • List post (5 things, 10 things, etc. e.g. Five Types of Lists Posts)
  • Why post: has “why” in the title- e.g. Why You Should Blog More. We could write a “why” list post like 10 Reasons You Should Blog More.
  • What post: has “what” in the title, e.g. What You Should Blog About.
  • How-to post: how to solve a problem or reach a goal, e.g. How to Write a How-to Post.

Deciding one of these four options will make writing the outline easier, and writing the outline makes writing the post easier.

I personally prefer list posts, because all the data I’ve analyzed says that they’re the most popular and most shared.

Although there are exceptions, in general, the most popular list-posts are 10 things and 5 things is not far behind. But 5 things can be easier to write if you know enough to go into depth. Just keep in mind that you need to write 1000-3000 words overall.

Outline Your Major Points First, to Avoid Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is one of the biggest problems you can have with writing a blog post.

There are many reasons for writer’s block, but many of them go away when you know your topic and have an outline.

Your outline becomes your to-do list for writing the article.

It’s easier to write when you already have an outline. And it’s easier to outline before you get into the details of actual writing.

Just start writing some general points you want to make.

If you’re doing a list post, do you have 5 or 10 points? You may need to combine or separate ideas to get to 5 or 10.

Write Some Stuff

Now go back to any point in your outline and start writing.

  • What’s this point about?
  • Why is it important?
  • What’s your opinion about it?
  • Do you have any stats or references on it?
  • How is this going to help them?

If you have trouble writing it, try voice dictation- Google Docs has a free, built-in voice-to-text feature.

It’s not perfect, but it might be worth it to you to edit the mistakes if this is the only way for you to get your ideas out.

Make The Post Look Good So People Actually Read It

When people first see your post, it better look good. Does it look credible and appealing?

Does it look readable? You can edit for readability, but making it look readable is a visual kind of edit.

You can’t have too many large paragraphs or they’ll scare people away. It just looks like too much work.

It’s ok to have a single sentence in a paragraph.

It’s possible much of what you learned about writing in school will not help you get the average person to read more. Because so many people don’t like reading. And because many English teachers believe in rigid rules that don’t always create the most readable text. Free yourself from your English teacher. It’s our language. We can do what we want with it. Learn the rules well enough that you know when to break them.

All of this visual stuff is about making it easier for the reader:

  • Start with an image that represents your topic or your opinion on it. Blog articles with images get 94% more views (source).
  • Vary your paragraph sizes
  • Keep whitespace- don’t fill everything up with text.
  • Add bolded subheads so people can orient themselves, skim and choose what to read. 43% of people admit to skimming blog posts (source).
  • Use bullets or numbered lists whenever possible to break up the monotony and make them easier to list. Whenever you find yourself writing a sentence with at least 3 things in it, you might consider bulleting.
  • Add an image for each major section of your blog post- if it’s a list post, a 5 things post has 5 images for those 5 things.
  • Find images that are high quality and/or funny. Attention-grabbing images help keep people on your site. Just having one blah stock photo as the only image in your blog post is not going to impress anybody.

If you do these things, your blog post will look interesting and professional.

Write an Effective Intro and a Motivating Conclusion

A good intro bridges the reader from the blog post title to the rest of the content.

An intro should answer the questions:

  • Why should I read this (what’s the benefit or what problem will it solve)
  • Am I in the right place? do I want to be here?
  • What is this article gonna talk about
  • Should I trust this article- stats well known third parties-

Good conclusions are more important than you may think- they can:

  • Create a feeling of closure and satisfaction
  • They can get people to take action- whether it’s to use the info you presented or to subscribe or contract you or something meaningful to your business.
  • People remember the beginnings and endings of things more than the middle
  • Leave people with a good feeling

The intro and conclusion are like a greeting and a goodbye when you visit a good friend. If you neglect them, your post will have less impact.

Edit Your Blog Post

Editing is about fixing errors but also flow and appearance.

Keep in mind the visual tips above, and read your post out loud to see if there are any hidden mistakes or awkward phrasing.

Your written word will probably never sound exactly like you speak, but the closer you can get it, the better.

Keep previewing the blog post and trying to look at it from your audience’s perspective.

  • What’s missing?
  • What’s weird?
  • Where in the article does your mind drift and you yourself don’t want to read it? Why is that? Fix it.
  • Do you need to make some parts more positive?
  • Is there enough tie in to the pain points and benefits of what you’re talking about?

WordPress may tell me I have about 10 revisions already by the time I finish the first draft, and my final drafts may have 30 revisions total.

You don’t have to be as OCD as I can be about editing for flow and appearance, but if you do want to, we’re taking about dozens of revisions.

You know you need to be done when:

  • You keep changing one word back and forth and can’t decide.
  • Your dog really needs bacon right now.
  • Your eyes are bleeding.

DaVinci said that “art is never finished, only abandoned.”

You’ll reach a point where it’s good enough, and that’s the time to publish and move on.

After all, you want to write at least a blog post a week and you have other things to do, right?

Conclusion

All you need to do now is… write!

Get to it!

Jim Carrey from Dumb & Dumber poking head out of limo window

The Biggest Mistake Marketing Strategists Make

The biggest failure of consultants that only do marketing strategy:

If they’ve never done implementation they haven’t seen what works and what doesn’t.
Get someone who’s done it!

If they used to implement and now do strategy, there’s a good chance their ideas are at least several years out of date.
Get someone who does it now!

Marketing strategists don’t have access to companies doing working strategies right now. They attract companies that are doing it wrong, and they only see outlier case studies of strategy that the media and bloggers write about.
Get someone with their own data on their own clients!

Those outlier case studies often have to be “news” to get published. Most people don’t hear about last year’s strategies that are still working for a lot of companies- for example, google ads, webinars and email marketing are still highly profitable. These aren’t exciting enough to write about, so marketing strategists get a skewed idea of which strategies are most likely to work.
Don’t just listen to the news- listen for best practices!

Those outlier case studies are exceptions. Just because it worked for them doesn’t mean it will work for your company. Those strategies were a fit for that company but may not fit yours. Without a way to appraise your company and categorize it, they will apply a one-size-fits-all approach. They may call it customized because they recommend customized messaging, but the prioritization of strategies and budget allocations may be very similar, and may not work for you.
Get someone who customizes!

You need the strategies and tactics that work for most companies not just what worked for random outliers. You need it customized to your company.

Applying to your company only the strategies of outlier companies is like buying a suit for yourself based on the measurements of successful people.

Got it?
Go get em!

UNMUTE Your Business

A life, business and marketing lesson I learned from my first voice lesson with an OPERA SINGING teacher. Yes, really! Oh, and James Brown. Make it funky!

What happened? Singing!

  • I went and got my first singing lesson
  • The first, most basic thing he taught me was to hold your head up and keep your mouth open really wide.
  • It was really uncomfortable! 
  • It was just me and the voice teacher in the room- but people who don’t even exist are making fun of me… There’s no one there making fun of me but in my head people are criticizing me.
  • He’s trying to teach me to create this ideal singing sound in my vocal cords… to get those cords to vibrate freely. There’s a certain tone a really good singer has. It’s very open it’s joyous.
  • When people sing with that natural, free, open tone, a joy comes through that listeners resonate with. It emotionally impacts them, the way that one tuning fork will cause another one to vibrate to the same frequency.
  • He says “stop that.” Stop what? “You’re bringing your head down and constricting your vocal cords.” I’m closing off my voice making it harder for myself to sing! 
  • I’m muting myself. Why am I muting myself? Why am I automatically subconsciously choosing to turn off my own voice?! Isn’t that the ultimate self-criticism? It’s creative suicide. It’s personality suicide. why am I making it harder to express myself and why is it so hard for me to open up and not want to make fun of that?

What did I learn? Express yourself!

  • I’m a marketer with an ad agency. I write books. I’m a keynote speaker. I do some comedy with that. There’s a lot of creativity in my life. I’ve done music. I’ve done a little bit of visual art.
  • But I shut off a lot of that creativity. I’ve been in business focused on profits, results, analytics and all that left-brain, practical stuff.
  • The way that I showed up trying to sing said something about where I was at expressing myself in other areas. The way that I tried to sing says something about how I’ve been showing up in business.
  • I muted my singing voice and I’ve been muting myself in business. I haven’t been writing books. I haven’t been putting blog posts out. I have been doing videos or podcasting.
  • I’ve been conflicted about how I should show up and how much of myself should I let out.
  • What I learned in marketing is that to affect people psychologically, to get those business results we all want, you need creativity. You need creative people. You need to express yourself.
  • If I want to achieve full impact in business, I have to express myself and ship it without worrying about how it’s going to be received.
  • I’ve also learned that as an author and speaker trying to brand and promote myself that, when I hide my light under a bushel, when I don’t put myself out there, when I’m afraid to be myself, I’m less powerful. I’m blah, I’m like everybody else. I don’t stand out.
  • Plus being more creative and expressing yourself is essential to achieving your full potential.
  • I was just watching a James Brown documentary and he talked about you know be yourself put yourself out there being you, being weird, being unique, loud and proud. 
  • There’s only one you. One of the most valuable things you have is who you are… that’s your gut instinct, what your heart says. Even when it’s different, express it. Speak your peace.
  • The right people will hear your honest, confidence expression and respond to you positively. Who cares about the other people?
  • If I want to really sing and really express who I am, stand out and find the people who wrote resonate like a tuning fork with my particular expression then I have to sing out.
  • Ignore the critics. There are a lot of people out there when we’re growing up or even now as adults who seem to want us to conform. To be normal. To be like them. To be mediocre. To stay quiet. They may not intend to suppress personal expression. It may be a kneejerk subconscious reactions sometimes to be critical or sarcastic or judgmental. If it’s subconscious, who cares? They may not really mean it. If they do mean it, why would you care what a mean person thinks? Don’t take critics personally.  And don’t let fake or past critics live in your head. They aren’t real.
  • I learned I need to hold my head up and express myself. I can’t mute myself or turn myself off.
  • Keep your head up and keep your mouth open expressing who you are.

How is that a change for me? I’ve done it before but I got stuck!

  • I’ve been really stuck. I’ve been overthinking it. I’ve been trying to figure out systems. I’ve been learning a lot of stuff and working with clients and keynoting but
  • I haven’t been creating a lot of business content. I haven’t been finishing blog posts. I haven’t been finishing the editing of videos. I haven’t been diligent in finishing my book ideas.
  • This isn’t who I am. I wrote 5 books in four years. I’ve a written hundreds of blog posts. I’ve created tons of videos. I’ve written thousands of stand-up comedy jokes and routines since 2006.
  • Somewhere in the last few years, I became afraid to be myself- afraid that, if I express myself, I will lose business.
  • Looking back, it was just time to reach a new level of expression.
  • I had compartmentalized business. I thought business was different from creativity or that personal development should be separate from from business. I’m finding I can’t live that way. I can’t keep business creativity and personal development separate, because they’re not. I also think that it might be helpful to other people if I combined them too and showed how my creativity and my personal development helps my business and my marketing.

What I’m committed to doing:

  • What’s brought me out of that- I’ve been on this path… I read The Artist’s Way (highly recommended- one of my top 100 non-fiction books of all time) and I started doing “Morning Pages” which is writing 3 pages every morning in my composition book. Sometimes it’s less, sometimes it’s more, sometimes creative, sometimes it’s journaling, sometimes I’m learning things… and it’s it’s helping me evolve. I’m building a creative studio. I’m taking these voice lessons. I’m making music.
  • All that stuff doesn’t seem directly related to marketing or business but it is really related…
    • It’s about who I am- knowing and expressing that instead of being a frustrated, unconscious drone.
    • It’s about Expression, about creativity and inspiration and feeling motivated.
    • How I show up as a marketer with ideas and energy for clients and my team.
    • The skills I bring for that work to get the business results they need.
    • The presence, power and confidence I can bring to a keynote speech.
  • I’m a learner. I need to be stimulated. I need to go out find new things.
  • I’m going to continue to take the singing lessons and see how that affects my expression.
  • I’m writing music and discovering what I have to say the world and how that affects what I want to write in a nonfiction book.
  • I’m committed to doing these videos and expressing what’s going on in my real life and how that relates to business…
  • I’m showing up as a real person to express, to not be afraid to show you who I really am, to not be afraid of judgement or of losing business as a result of that.
  • I’m holding my head up, opening my voice and singing my heart out.

My Challenge for You Is…

Take a look at how this relates to you:

  • Is there some other thing in your life like this- a limitation holding you back?
  • A stuckness that might be hurting your business as well? 
  • Is there is there something in your golf game that you have trouble with it that relates to your business or your marketing?
  • Is there something about how you go to the gym and work out- where you overdo it or under do it or your challenges there that relate to the way you do business?
  • Is there a problem you have with your your spouse or your significant other- with the way that you approach that relationship that shows up the same way in your business?
  • Take a look. It may be there for you. It may not be.
  • You may find inside there you may find there’s a block. Something you’re doing that you’ve always done that way, and if you can break through that you’ll get to the next level. You’ll get what you really want, whether it’s profits or more freedom or a more enjoyable experience of your work…
  • Don’t be afraid to to look at yourself and face these challenges.
  • If you’re like me you have always been growing. You’re always daring. You want more… and that has to come from inside- not just out there in business.
  • Find that inner limitation that’s limiting your business so you can take it to the next level

I hope that was helpful to you!

VIDEO: 5 Tips for Creating Content Marketing That Gets Bigger Results

New video for you visual/auditory learners! We also just published a companion infographic (opens new window so you can review while listening to video)

 

#INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Tips for Creating Content Marketing That Gets Big Results

We also have a video walk-through of how to do this in detail! (opens in new window).

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The Problem With Free Content Marketing

What’s the point of content marketing? What’s the goal? Why do we do it?

Some would say it’s to grow an audience. Some say it’s for search engine optimization. Some do it for lead generation. Some only care if it ultimately increases sales.

My problem with focusing entirely on freemiums and growing an audience with free content is that it can almost become “guilt-trip content marketing”…

“Hey, if we give them a whole bunch of free content, they’ll feel like they owe us and they’ll have to buy from us!”

Whether that’s consciously or subconsciously manipulative (no more manipulative than trying to sell people something), I’ll table for now…

Even if the freemium approach is “get-to-know-like-trust-us” and we’ll build-an-audience, it only works sort of well.

  1. So you’ve grown a list of 10,000 or 100,000 emails…
  2. And 20-30% of those people open your email- are you emailing daily or every other day or twice a week or weekly?
  3. About 8% of them click to the site and read more free content-
  4. How many of them are actually buying something? Are you tracking that?

Freemium, high quality content marketing is only PART of the answer because… we human beings are all a bunch of freeloaders!

We’ve Created a Bunch of Information Freeloaders

As content consumers, we’ve been trained now to expect a lot of free helpful content.

Marketers have been taught over the last decade to create free content that is as good as content people should have to pay for, but the companies that are creating this free content aren’t getting paid for it…

  • How many newsletters have you joined and then never paid that company a penny?
  • How many podcasters have you listened do and never given them a dime?
  • How many bloggers have you read and you’ve never bought their course?
  • How many blog posts have you read and you don’t even remember them or who wrote them?
  • How many whitepapers and ebooks have you downloaded and you didn’t fully read and you don’t remember where they are on your computer?

This freemium deal with the devil strategy only makes sense if you can monetize that audience- but are you monetizing that audience? How? Are you tracking it well enough to know it’s profiting you?

Sure SOME of this audience of freeloaders converts without you trying that hard. But how many more people would have converted, how much higher would your ROI be if you’d thought about converting them? If you were better at direct marketing?

So content and lead gen are just one piece of the puzzle and if you do them the wrong way you make it hard on the salespeople. Or if you’re an entrepreneur you make it hard on yourself to get sales.

You haven’t done all the work, just part of it…

Why Do People Buy?

Because we as people only buy when we are really excited or in really big pain we can’t stand one second longer or when marketers make us feel special or we think it’s a really good deal on a really valuable thing that’s going away forever (there has to be value and trust there for that to work, of course)…

  • Why should the potential buyer take action with you right now?
  • Why not procrastinate?
  • Why not ignore you?
  • Why not choose your competitor?

You have to sell. How?

  • Urgency
  • Scarcity
  • Pain relief
  • Gigantic opportunity now
  • Limited-time only

The difference between rich and poor people, billionaire and middle class, successful sales organizations and unsuccessful ones is understanding:

  • Pain
  • Value (which includes relevance)
  • Urgency and
  • Tribes

“Join our tribe now and we’ll relieve your pain and you’ll be special and have super powers like us but if you want in, you have to join now, for a limited time only!”

This is the difference in getting 2% of your webinar attendees to buy and 16% to buy.

It’s the difference between 1% of people interacting with your Facebook post and 21% interacting with it.

The difference is measurable and huge.

  • Why is your thing a new, big, limited-time opportunity?
  • Why NOW?
  • Why do you think Microsoft puts out new versions of Offce and Windows all the time?
  • Why are there always new iPhones?
  • Why are there new models of the same cars each year?
  • Why does the McRib keep going away and coming back?

If you’re too free and too available, you’re not that interesting. When they see your content there’s a lot of hmm and huh and meh. You can’t compete.

So- the biggest pitfall of the marketer is being too soft, not wanting to sell.

Don’t be soft.

Sell Something and Track It

Freemium is not bad. I do all kinds of lead magnets. They’re great. But you have to sell something too.

  • You need to track which of your leads become sales.
  • You need to track which of your customer targets are not just great lead sources, but which ones are great buyers.
  • Which of your lead magnets create customers, not just leads?

Use AdWords and Facebook pixels and conversion tracking. Make sure you have a way to trigger a conversion for the purchase not just the lead. Then you can track all of that back to the content.

If you can’t do that, your content marketing and freemium work will always be off target, and you’ll be at a competitive disadvantage.

The More Ideas You Test the More Likely You Win

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.

Geeky Data Increases Customers and Loyalty

If you’re going to do digital marketing or social marketing you have to have geeks or you have to get a little geeky. What does that mean? You need to get into the analytics, you need to look at your metrics, you have to start keep a track of these stuff.

You can’t just put on a content calendar that you think is full of content that you like or your marketing department likes or your CEO likes because what really matters is what your customer likes.

That geeky approach, the scientific marketing approach … Facebook is a digital marketing laboratory.

You put this content out. You can get ideas from a bunch of different places, from anyone in your company, anywhere. From customers, anywhere.

Throw all those ideas into your internet digital laboratory aka Facebook see what metrics come back, get a little geeky, look at those numbers and figure out what people like and what they don’t.

It doesn’t matter what YOU like. It matters what your customer likes.

You need to get geeky and figure out what that is.

geek