The Modern Marketing Manager – A Forerunner

The tasks, skills and abilities required of the modern digital marketing manager, online manager or webmaster are broad. T shaped skills sets are squared off and it is the same for any marketer – on or offline. The influence of technology everywhere means speaking tech and having EQ is the equation for success.

We are required not only to have a technical understanding, but also the skills to wrangle: tech upgrades, shiny new social networks, integrations, content, user experiences and the teams or relationships involved in creating them.

That said, the most powerful approach/skill/technique that a Website Marketing Manager can take is that of being a forerunner for: his leaders, his team and his customers.

They’re the forerunner and Product Owner for their tools – the website, social media and online channels

As the forerunner for an organisation’s online presence the Website Marketing Manager champions best practice. By ensuring the overall consistency of look and feel, that image selection and copy reflects the tone of voice and brand guidelines of the organisation the manager creates harmony. An experience for the user that is consistent throughout the website, across social media platforms and through the various mediums of copy, image, video and interactive.

They understand that a post with an image is more credible, they understand heuristics like scarcity, anchoring and abundance, but most of all they craft a better online experience.

A forerunner respects rules and regulations, but also appreciates that a new audience or network will respond better to content designed for them. Ancient forerunners learnt the languages, dialects, customs and body language that appeased their new audiences, carving a path for their leader.  They master the technology and tool available but also know how to hammer in a nail with a variety of tools and quickly repurpose.

The forerunner not only tailors but they develop and implement an overall content strategy into which they meld the requirements of various stakeholders. All whilst addressing the needs of their buyer personas (the target audiences of their organisation).

They’re the forerunner for customers online

First and foremost the forerunner is customer centric.

The forerunner rolls up their sleeves for the customer ensuring they find resolution for their pain points with products and services, or information and content, should their needs be met elsewhere. They ensure the experience is as painless as possible.

They understand the various customer journeys that buyer personas take, they optimise sales funnels on the site to maximise conversion rates and they do so to ultimately please the customer.

They’re the forerunner for their team

A forerunner likes to roll up their sleeves. In posting content, status updates and A/B testing the forerunner keeps tabs on the user experience for internal customers too. Those that have to deal with cumbersome workflows, ageing tools or inefficient processes. The manager spots things like:

  • folksonomy editing
  • the pairing, deleting or formatting of tags
  • category management
  • approval bottlenecks
  • duplication
  • batching synergies
  • and workflow inefficiencies.

They keep a backlog of process and system improvement to implement that will streamline publication processes and minimise risk.

The forerunner creates a scaffold for his team to work autonomously towards well communicated joint goals.

They’re the forerunner for their leaders and peers

Forerunners are ahead explaining complex scenarios in a dialect the audience can understand and they manage stakeholders needs. Be that senior management, HR with careers branding, or legal with compliance. They communicate efficiently with each.

Like a good auctioneer the website forerunner has his eye across the digital room remembering all parties, their bids and their interests. With an eye on all facets of technical and content needs, prioritised backlogs are built of:

  • technical improvements
  • content features
  • content types, their audience, trends and seasonality

The forerunner has contacts in all camps and bridges sales, marketing and IT to meld the an optimum website within technical and budgetary restraints.

They’re the forerunner for the future

Through constant research – the forerunner has a backlog of potential new ideas for the site, social media and all digital touchpoints. The forerunner is a connector not only of people but also ideas through loose ties. Leveraging industry but also global and hyper local trends as they fit with the goals of the company, the forerunner proactively shares ideas to guide their leader.

As the champion of his website the forerunner isn’t afraid to challenges roadblocks and those deviating from what is currently considered best practice. He has the brand standards, site standards, usability and overall site design at the forefront of any decision.

They’re Agile

The forerunner has become an expert at iterative decisions. Taking big decisions and testing them with MVPs. Trialing on a low risk asset or A/B testing to integrate new features or content.

Constantly improving. Continuous beta.

 


This post is prompted by a recent Tim Ferriss podcast on the canvas strategy and a quote: “The person who clears the path ultimately controls its direction, just as the canvas shapes the painting.” – Ryan Holiday.

Who’s your target market?

When defining who our product or service is for – there are many tools and mechanisms at our disposal. A buyer persona or picture of the median or average customer you hope to reach is often one of the first steps.

Creating a ‘buyer persona’ can involve data mining, client interviews and many internal refinement sessions.

Adding psychographic segmentation can provide valuable profiling and meat to your persona. It can give you leads to their lifestyle, their habits and how they will react to your messages and brand.

Leverage your social media analytics for demographic targeting and Sociographics

Through a quick review of your Facebook fans you can establish the most dominant basic demographics for your brand. For example your median customer may be male between the age of 18 and 25 and living in London.

Examining your Facebook page analytics you can quickly confirm this through the Audience Insights area. You need a reasonable sample size to gain accuracy. Yet even a fan base of 1000 likes on Facebook can prove useful. Providing they are genuine fans and you have not been “like gating”  or buying fans.

With Audience Insights, you’ll be able to see demographic information about your target audience. Things like:

  • Demographic trends about age and gender, relationship status, and job roles.
  • Lifestyle and interest information about your target audience.
  • Purchase information about your target audience. Including which categories they’re most likely to buy in and location data that may help you identify where to run special promotions or host events.

As you can see, this could not only validate our median man is 18 to 25 and from London, but could possibly refine to neighbourhoods, typical purchase categories and what their lifestyle is like.

Examine how your target demographic may behave through psychographics

We can take this data a step further with psychographic segmentation to get a feel for how they may act or react to our messaging, engagement and marketing.

You may be aware of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs

maslow

Advertising company Young and Rubicam took this pyramid and extrapolated it. Their research created seven psychographic profiles using Cross Cultural Consumer Characterisation (‘4Cs’ for short). They then mapped the US population to these profiles. You can find out your Psychograpic tendencies by completing their survey.

Psychographics can help us with an understanding of our buyer persona’s:

  • activity, interest, opinion (AIOs)
  • attitudes
  • values
  • and behaviors.

Here are the seven definitions. Young and Rubicam also provided rough percentage figures for the people that below to each profile in the USA. (These numbers also translate roughly to any marketplace.)

Belongers – 40% of the population:

If we were to stereotype Belongers they’re people that live in the average town in the midwest of the USA. They love community, loves being with family and friends. They have an innate need to belong to a group, be that a church, sports group or fan club. These people frequently drive local made vehicles – trucks, sedans and station wagons. They are very nationalistic, and don’t like change. Their best time is spent with their friends, talking, having fun, hanging out. They are hard working, and are extremely conservative in their views, and most likely religious. Their typical Saturday is driving their locally made people mover to church, football practice and then home to watch the game. Think trailergaters at NASCAR or Manchester United fanatics.

image-1-1_ted_van_pelt-e1425383970181

Image:Ted van Pelt

What resonates?

Make sure your messaging is family or community oriented. Emphasize  if your product or service is made LOCALLY and is the same as things have always been. Words like trusted,  reliable and made right here resonate. They believe good thing take time – even marketing and are willing to build a personal relationship with a brand. They all by Levis because they trust it and always have.  Belongers are brand loyal, get them to buy once and they tend to stay with you.

What alienates?

Belongers hate anything new, foreign and game changing. Worse still if it fragments them from their community. One-on-one Bikram hot Yoga training would be their worst nightmare.

Achiever – 5 to 7% of the population:

Achievers are the business elite. The one percenters. Constant growth focus and need for power and status are key. They work 100 hour weeks. they wear own and drive the best. Think top hedge fund managers, bankers, Fortune 500 CXOs and the elite entrepreneurs.

The opposite to belongers – Achievers will go so far as to customise their elite vehicles, just to make sure it set them apart. They buy top of the line Rolls Royce, Maybach or Bugatti and will then spend the price of an average car in upgrading and personalising.

They don’t shop – they bring the tailor in. Where the masses enter – they exit.

1-2_axlon23-e1425384090395

image: Axlon23

What resonates?

You need an elevator pitch – don’t waste their time. Make it personal, innovative and elite. Talk about power, money, and profit.

What alienates?

Slow, stumbling presentations about old, common, conservative, non-innovative products. Talk about how your product will homogenize them and make them part of a community – one of the masses.

Emulator / Wanna be – 15% of the population:

These guys are achiever groupies. Everything they do is to try and look like an achiever. Thier Subconscious war cry is “fake it till you make it”.  Yet their motivator is often acceptance amongst peers or from the opposite sex. Not the relentless focus on power and wealth that Achievers have.

They buy BMW 1 series – just to say they have a BMW. Wear fake Rolex or cheaper “luxury” brands. The product that is one step down from what their idol Achiever is wearing.

But its not limited to business people – this group could be emulating top musicians, sports stars or actors too. This group suffers from low self esteem and needs peer approval. They will spend whatever money they have on anything that will make them look like their ideal: “successful”.

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Image: M:93

What resonates?

Anything that can make them look like an achiever, successful and appeal to their peers or the opposite sex.

What alienates?

Telling them they’re fine the way they are, to settle and that this will make them normal.

Socially Conscious Type A – 25% of the population:

Thier main focus is the effect their actions will have on the world. They’re environmentally concerned, they recycle, have solar power and their car will be at the least economical and practical – if not solar. They feel no need to belong, but are conscious for the community as a whole and want to make a difference. Education is paramount and most are highly educated with one or two university degrees. They like to help the homeless and the poor, the socially disadvantaged.

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Image: Windel Oskay

What resonates?

This profile has seen the most growth in recent years. Your product or service must make a difference to either society or the environment. Educated and savvy Socially Concious type A will Google your product or service and do the research. They spot fake environmentalism and social conscience in a second. They will need physical proof and tar industries with the same brush – so you’ll need to be totally transparent to win them over.

What alienates?

Simply show the power and money your organisation makes – ignore Kyoto initiatives and carbon offsetting. Better yet – pollute waters around baby seal colonies.

Socially Conscious Type B – 7% of the population:

All of the Socially Conscious Type A characteristics apply here – but type B believes that there is no hope for humanity as a whole. They have rationalised that they can only change things for s small group. You’ll find them in Ecovillages, communes and on islands.

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Image: Tom Chance

What resonates?

Very little will reach this group as they are recluse and consume very little media or internet.

Anyone who is fighting against “the Man”.

What alienates?

“The Man”

Balanced / Totally integrated 1 to 2% of the population:

A mixture of the Achiever and Socially Conscious types, these few get ahead by thinking about others and the world we live in.  Their subconscious mantra might well be Harry S Trumans quote:

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit”.

Their definition of good project may very well list like the successes of Truman.

Yvon Chouinard – CEO of Patagonia is the perfect example of this profile.

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Image: Sam Beebe

What resonates?

Benefitting mankind as a whole and doing it in a way that sustains momentum (a profit to keep building their business ethically).

What alienates?

Much like their Type A counterparts they will spot anything but ultra transparency and fakes with ease and hate it.

Needs driven 15% of the population:

Either on benefits or in and around the minimum wage this group are socially reliant and can’t afford to save money. They spend when they have it and beyond. Their mode is survival. Yet curiously they will buy from the local store in the moment rather than take the bus to a large retailer where they could get it cheaper.

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Image: Shawn Leishman

What resonates?

I think I have just discovered my inner Socially Conscious Type A as I find it hard to justify targeting this group. Those aiming to sell not help this market should use urgency and how your product will make them look rich and be happy now. Use fear. Impulse buying on infomercials and once in a lifetime offers are the key. Reinforce their low self esteem and how your product will change that.

What alienates?

Price. And any type of reminder that they are struggling.

What other brands do your fans follow? This will indicate their psychographic profile.

Leveraging these profiles are a great step to creating buyer personas that resonate further. Of course there will be those who fit within these groups well and many who are a mixture of two or more profiles.

Look at other brands your fans like on Facebook and you will validate your psychographic assumptions.

  • BMW, Armani,  and Mens Fitness – you have got a tribe of Emulators
  • Patagonia, Zopa, Toms Shoes and Tesla – You may well have a tribe of Socially Conscious Type A
  • NASCAR, Budweiser, and ESPN – Sounds like a Belongers tribe.

I challenge you to explore creating content that appeals to one or two of these markets. Test how your product or service would sit with each of the profiles. More and more Generation Y and Z are aligning with Socially Conscious Type A each day so pay particular attention to this crowd.

Get technical and create multiple variants. Do some A/B testing of your landing pages and switch out your imagery and creatives on social media. This might reveal the true nature of your target audience and which half of your marketing is useless.

What change will you be making to your messaging and marketing online with these in mind?

Local Business Social Media and Online Marketing – To Generate Leads

Local businesses and salespeople need to really focus more on their online marketing. With the growth in mobile devices there is so much opportunity to have your business found through search engines or shared through social media from anywhere.

Even if you’re just a local Auckland business marketing to your suburb, you can also be discovered from anywhere. You need to have an online presence that shines for prospective customers.

With marketing online, the end game is getting a list of contacts that you can market to.

In the old days this was a physical address but now it’s the all important email address.

To get these emails we create an online ‘Sales’ funnel. The funnel will look like this:

  1. advertising driving awareness and traffic
  2. read magnets
  3. lead magnets
  4. marketing
  5. asking for the sale
  6. maintaining a relationship with your loyal customers

A read magnet is really good free content that people consume. It’s a gift to potential clients. The aim with this content is to make it so good that people feel that they need to reciprocate the gift by doing something in return.

They do this through sharing the content or downloading an eBook or booking a webinar. These items are your lead magnets. Valuable content that you may charge small fee for or you might just give away too.

Your lead magnet of course requires their email, and maybe some basic details.

(I have a lead magnet of sorts in my free audit tool).

From there you have the ability to market to them on a regular basis and take them down a funnel to ultimately buy from you or subscribe to your services.

Building an email list is the one thing that you need to make the main thing consistently.

With your funnel in place – we then drive traffic to the funnel using social media or paid advertising.

So how do I use Social Media?

To understand the best approach to this we need to understand traditional and modern media.

 

Traditional mass media

Television, radio and print media are platforms where you need to pay to get your content shared – they provide us with entertainment and education.

We watch/listen/read programs or publications that:

  • tell us what the latest news is
  • entertain us and make us feel better
  • educate us on how to be smarter, fitter, richer, etc.

In between TV shows (if we don’t Tivo or Sky record and jump over them) brands inject ads. We’ve come to accept its the price we pay for the entertainment they provide.  Local business marketing has had some take up for radio and TV but many find it too expensive and untargeted.  People that aren’t in an area they service see the message and often the leads are uniformed.

Social Media and more specifically Facebook has become mass media


We go there for entertainment and to keep up with our community.  People only share and interact with content that will:

  • tell us what the latest news is
  • make us feel better
  • make us look better (smarter, fitter, richer etc) in front of their peers.

But because these new online mass marketing channels like Facebook don’t have ad breaks we are very wary of brands, companies and local businesses putting ads in our news feed.

But Facebook is mass targeted media

We are still very reluctant to accept that it’s the price we have to pay for the entertainment social networks provide.

Local business marketing has take this up because they see it as inexpensive targeted. The smart ones pay to get their message in front of exactly the right type of customer. But what do they say?

The workaround for social media and online marketing

Some say the key to success in business is leading with generosity – being of service to your customers.

If we share educational content around the local services we offer we will be found online through SEO. People will share our content as the local expert if it is:

  • topical
  • makes them feel better
  • or is useful in making them feel smarter, fitter or richer in that area.

To help you create or share content that is topical and entertaining visit Google alerts to create an email that is sent to you as new content is indexed for:

  • topical news in your industry
  • local philanthropic news that could make them feel better

This is a fairly clinical description of how to be a relatable person online but sometimes we forget to be relatable and dive straight into selling.

In Browns Bay last week the if I was a local business in Browns Bay I would share photos of this and how you’re proud of the community getting involved.  While this won’t generate leads, you will be seen as a connector in your community and this topical entertaining content is relatable.

It’s not enough to just produce ‘content’ – Your Uniqueness your USP and niche has to shine 

People do business with people they know, like and trust.

Ultimately, regardless of our job or career, we are all salespeople. Some sell products or services, others buy-in on ideas or concepts and many are just convincing others to do their bidding.

We all have something that makes us unique as salespeople and that capacity needs to be your ‘angle’ online. Your unique selling point needs to come through as there are so many of us out there vying for eyeballs and dollars. Your angle allows you to create long tail keywords – which basically means when people look for something specific you have less competitors in search results.

There is one person online touting that they are “fluent in Agile Digital Marketing, Portuguese, Spanish and Residential Architecture”. Don’t bother Googling. I’m the only result.

We can add to this uniqueness our audience. This might be through simple demographic and geographic segmentation of your market. Even better would be creating a buyer persona. A description of your ideal customer that you can address when creating content. With this persona you can ask each time you blog, create a video, post on social media. Will this resonate with ‘Sam ‘ my ideal customer and does it help them on their journey with my business.

If we know our audience, our uniqueness and what problem we solve it is far easier to evaluate if a marketing any activity fits with our business.

We can then get your audience to “know” you online and create a loyal connections with people that share your posts and ultimately buy your product or service and encourage others to do the same.

Remember the more valuable the content the more people will perceive your products or services to be of even greater value.

There’s a tendency to hold back from divulging secrets online. Your secret is in the fact that you can combine your services in your unique way to create success for your small local business, yourself or your brand.

So what do you share in specific networks?

Not having a company profile for you local business on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and Twitter is a missed opportunity to:

  • create links to your website
  • be found or shared by other members of the network
  • to interact with your customers
  • to drive traffic to your read magnets – the start of your ‘sales’ funnel.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a business social network, an online resume and content sharing platform for business people.

People use this network to find jobs or work and to learn from others how to be better professionals.

Sharing
Share content that is relevant to your local audience and that makes you be seen as the local expert. Respect that it is a business platform. Memes and potty humor has no place here – or anywhere you’re trying to be professional right?

Recommending
One other useful piece of functionality on LinkedIn are the recommendations

If you can, request a recommendation on LinkedIn and connect with each of your customers. LinkedIn even lets you suggest wording for a potential recommendation – this is an opportunity for you to incorporate local keyword terms and your speciality into the recommendation. Make it easy for them to recommend your services and products.

Connecting
LinkedIn is a great tool for collecting and maintaining business contacts. Use it to introduce contacts to others that may need their service. I call this Triadic connections. If you do this regularly and often, people will come to you and think of you as a connector – the local expert that ‘knows somebody that does X’.

Facebook

Facebook is the main social network for the majority of people in the English speaking world.  

People use this network to keep in touch with family and friends, sometimes to learn and regularly to entertain themselves.

Sharing
Remember people like to share content on Facebook that’s:

  • topical
  •  makes them feel better
  •  or is useful in making them feel smarter, fitter or richer in that area.

Get yourself set up with a Facebook business page and try to attain fans that really like your business.  As people discover your content and they’ll like your page to receive more.

Buying page likes can have a negative effect on reach – for each unengaged follower you acquire (people that don’t enjoy your content by giving it a like, comment or share) you decrease the reach of your posts.

Promoting posts and linking to your site is a great way to get traffic. Targeted posts – even at just 5 or 10 dollars a post allows you to target specific audiences on Facebook. In general for about 1.4 cents you can reach a person on Facebook.

We can also “retarget” those that visit your website with an ad to remind them to come back.  Once you have a database of emails (from followers on your website) you can use that list to market to them on Facebook and to what Facebook calls look-alike groups. Those with similar profiles – that would have a similar propensity to like, share your content and enter your sales funnel.

Twitter

 

Twitter is the second social network for the majority of people in the English speaking world.
People use this network to find out about breaking news and to share and discover content on specific themes.

Sharing
It is a great place to share content on your industry for all audiences. The users of Twitter are a small subset of your target audiences. That said,  journalists, gatekeepers and key industry experts are on Twitter.  Aim to use the fast-paced news focus of Twitter for newsjacking opportunities. You can follow trending events by clicking on a #hashtag and then using that hashtag within your message to reach others that are reading that stream.

Here are two examples of newsjacking:

  1. California trial lawyer comments on legal aspects of news to grow influence
    Mitch Jackson
  2. Hillary Clinton leveraged the #superbowl hashtag.

     

Instagram

The fourth big social network and owned by Facebook.
People use this network to share pictures of their world, motivational quotes and memes.

Sharing
A lot of brands, celebrities, authors and consultants use this channel to show behind the scenes, the personality of their brand in an authentic manner. The only clickable link from this mobile centric app is in you profile so it is challenging to drive traffic to your website without creating a sponsored post.

Google business

Although the google plus is not the most lively of social networks, creating a business page at https://business.google.com/manage/ allows you to register your details and confirm your location.

This is great when people search for your local business as it will show result near them. In this example you can see burger joints near me in Auckland. These results are pushing the organic or unpaid search results further down the page.

Burger Fuel and McDonald’s are paying to appear above the map results and the first organic result for arguably the better burger joint ‘Burger Burger’ only just features on the page.

Using Search Engines to drive traffic to your sales funnel

With your blog posts and read magnets in place, use AdWords campaigns and YouTube video preroll to reach your audience.

With search engine marketing your audience are seeking answers or products. You could choose to pay for exact matches on your product or service like the burger joints are doing above, and have some success with expensive short generic keywords.

Or you could look to use the long tail ‘more niche’ keyword phrases that are related to your read magnets.

If your read magnet is the perfect answer to their question then think of other ways you would phrase the question. Group those terms and and craft an ad that matches the question. This  can really gear up your lead generation and is really limited only by what you consider to be an acceptable cost per acquisition. To put it into perspective,  if you sell a set of tyres with a profit margin of $500 would you mind paying say $5 to have them visit your website and request a quote?

Running online advertising also has a secondary benefit of brand awareness. Google also offers the ability to retarget or re-market to people that have visited your website. The conversion rate for retargeting is significantly higher, but as you may have experienced you can get tired of seeing the same banners everywhere.

Creating end dates and rules around specific pages on your website will optimise the experience for your visitors and your costs. For example if a visitor has completed a purchase then retargeting them with the same product should end.

And with the world consuming more and more video you could explore pre-roll advertisements on YouTube. Again targeting topics and keywords related to your product, service or read magnet topics.

Using other websites and events portals to drive traffic

Groupon / GRAB One / Daily Deals sites

These websites allow you to create fires sales of certain products or services by offering a discount. They have their own existing social media networks, search engine optimisation and Adwords marketing that drive traffic to their websites. So why not leverage them to gear up your sales funnel.

Eventbrite / Meetup / event tools

Similar to the portals mentioned above. If you have an online or offline event coming up you could use these networks drive traffic to your sales funnel as well.


 

OK, so there’s a starter path for local businesses and consultancies to get started online.  I’d love to answer any queries you might have around how to go about specific areas like AdWords or SEO or Social Media. Just drop me a line or contact me. Contact Nick

Podcast 36: Panel Discussion – Using Social Media to Grow Your Business

Welcome to episode 36 of the Waiake – My podcast to help you take your brand to new heights online.

In this episode I wanted to share with you the wisdom of my three co panellists from the recent Harcourts Real Estate Conference. We talk about digital marketing and using social media to grow your business.

We were interviewed by Troy Rawhiti-Forbes who has for the last few years been the conduit between New Zealand’s largest telco and our nation on Twitter and Facebook. Having experienced the highs of branding brilliance and the lows of national outages and email hacks Tory is in good space to bring out the best in my fellow guests and to prompt me to say a few things of merit too.

Coming from quite different backgrounds it was really interesting to get some diverse perspectives – yet hear some common themes as to whats best when using social media to grow your audience and business.

I’ll let you hear Tory give the impressive introductions (I cringed through mine) and I hope you find it of worth as the topics covered work in many industries.

If you’re keen to follow along the other panelist are:

HR

Key takeaways:

  • Know your Unique Selling Points and incorporate this into your online presence and SEO.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new networks, find out what fits best with you.
  • Always be transparent in your actions.
  • Think – “What would I want to hear from a brand?” and “How does this help my customers?”

HR

Good Marketing

Good marketing uses technology, insights and the right questions.

It gives the right audience, the right message, at the right time.

It shows us how a brand can solve our problems. Sometimes problems we didn’t know we had.

It can either entertain you or make you feel more inclined to buy from a brand. When it does both, you’re onto a winner.


Why do we do this Content Marketing thing?

With content marketing we try to address our audience’s problems at various stages of the buyer’s journey. We help them discover a solution to their problem and keep them coming back to us – their trusted solution provider. Our constant battle is for the attention of that audience. Big companies are realising that they need to build or acquire their own audience, so as to not fall foul of Facebook Edge-rank or Google algorithm updates.

Companies need to start thinking of themselves as retailers AND media companies

One company that has done this well recently is Surfstitch. They acquired two media properties Magicseaweed and Stab Magazine (great names). Combined they have around 3 million visitors a year and they are interweaving articles featuring their products to become not only surfing’s biggest online retailer, but also the biggest industry content network.

https://twitter.com/worldnews_net/status/598291602629664768

If this video is anything to go by, they will have me discovering a whole range of solutions they have to my problems.

It seems I didn’t realise I needed a custom bike to ride up the Indonesian coast to go surfing. They’re appealing to the hearts and emotions of their audience – not to the features of their product.

Oh and if surfing/bikes/the open road is your thing – check this out

Their latest film – North To Noosa.

I can see there being more brands that will take to content creation as a source of brand value and distinction.

Netflix even paid journalists a good sum to create great editorial – like this piece on women in prison to link to their new series Orange is the new black

Empathy, respect and love will ultimately keep your audience, clients, coworkers, lover friends and family EVERYONE coming back.

If you can interweave your unique purpose, principles and pet peeves into entertaining them – you’ll stand out as their trusted provider.

[Podcast] Brad Smith – Founder of Braap Motorcycles

In this episode I talk to Brad Smith – founder of Braap motorcycles.

Braap – that has to be the best use of onomatopoeia in a brand name I’ve heard.

Brad founded BRAAP at the age of 19 by traveling to China to find a manufacturer for his idea of a simple customisable design.
He visited 50 factories hunting for one that would bet on his vision. As luck would have it the 50th factory agreed and with investments from two Frenchmen he met earlier in the week while traveling, the journey began.
He’s now competing with Yamaha and Honda as a reputable bike company in Australia, fulfilling his dream of providing affordable dirt bikes to get more people into racing and more riders on bikes in general.

Here are a few things brad and I talked about.

Routines and rituals.

Having a Monday sales call has been crucial in measuring and driving growth at Braap. Much like a stand up, Brad runs his meetings in rapid fire – reviewing metrics fro mthe previous day, goals for the day ahead and what they will work on improving that day.  They’re hiring a specialist to get structure into their meetings and to get them outcome focused.

BHAG and story vs. hard metrics

Brad is a big believer in BGAHs but also urges everyone to focus ultimately on the next 90 days and what they can do to improve. It’s a step from following his dream and building a business around his passion for motorbikes – into a profitable business that’s thriving.

We talk about his parents and the standards that they set and also how he holds himself accountable through a core group of focused friends. He also talked of his advisory team in Texas. Much like a Mastermind – Keith Cunningham runs their 10 member chairman’s council for a week each quarter – and it’s brutal.

Numbers on the wall. Forget the story – focus on the outcomes and results.

Of course it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t talk digital!

Brad talks a little about how they measure results from social media to sales. Leads are collected through a social sales teams – piped warm into his CRM. We wrap it up with an understand if the power of both a good story and some opinion beating data.

I hope you enjoy it and I hope I get a chance to bring you more interviews in the future.

 

Stop The Nontent – Create Epic Content

You, as a member of my tribe intimidate me. I’m scared into not posting, through fear of as my friend AJ puts it – posting NONTENT. You know, that: meh, blah, filler, “like or share if you agree” type content. I need our connection and the learning I get from consuming your content. I want to share value to get value.

But it struck me. That is the exact message I want to give this week.

Create Epic Value And Give It Away

As many will know by now the rationale behind inbound or content marketing is to create content that answers questions that potential customers may have. In essence you are aiming to be the subject matter expert for your product, industry and niche. The main aim being to subscribe them to a content journey that ultimately converts them to purchase or partner with your brand.

The byproduct of creating answers to questions your customers may have is a bank of SEO rich pages for Google to index. If you are checking the terms people use to find your website, and using Google’s keyword planner (or other optimisation tools), over time this bank of content should ultimately help push you up the SERPs. Getting you closer to number one in Google.

The trouble now, more than ever, is that we are all creating content and competing for eyeballs. Facebook and Twitter are overloaded, YouTube is flooded, even the TV has far too many channels for us to watch. We need to go beyond just answering problems to actively adding value with our content.

One answer is to create unique audience specific content – go niche.

One great example of giving away useful content is the website www.backofanapkin.co.nz created by Sacha Judd of the law firm Buddle Findlay.

Back of a napkin - a startup tool

The website, aimed at start-ups, provides a boilerplate company document. It outlines the main points of a company’s structure to ensure its is documented – covering things like: the parties involved, who gets what share of ownership, who gets what profits and how decisions are made.

Lightly branded with a Buddle Findlay letterhead, it’s a valuable tool for startups and connects them with a community.

I also made a little form last year to help people conduct a Digital and Social Media audit. It is designed to help small businesses check that they are on the right path and to develop a short roadmap to getting their digital presence right. I hope it has some value for a small business looking to get their online profile right.

Even though it is in essence the exact same strategy I would use with a multinational company or personal brand – it’s ingredients. It’s not the mix, nor the exact methods i’d use to bake my online cake. Hopefully it entices a few more people to check me out as a potential chef. Digital marketing chef that is.

Although that epic piece of valuable content can be related to your core business it could equally be about a unique technique, skills or knowledge you have developed. Brett Kelly was an avid user of Evernote – so much so that he decided to create Evernote Essentials a book that sold 16000 copies. This ultimately led to him being employed by Evernote.

Here are a few others that have already gotten in on the game:

  • John Deer with their Furrow Magazine
  • Adobe with CMO.com
  • Lego with The Lego Club Magazine
  • Copyblogger.com
  • American Express Open Forum
  • Entrepreneur on fire

So my challenge to you is to take what you think is IP – Intellectual Property and turn it into something VIP – Valuable Interesting and Popular.

Using the POST Method to define online initiatives

The POST Method – is a method for defining strategy that’s been around for the web equivalent of a lifetime. Back in 2007 the good folks at Forrester coined the POST methodology. I’ve found it to be a fantastic tool for making strategic and tactical decisions around projects online.If you haven’t guessed it’s not a strategy around posting things on blogs or social media, it’s an acronym.

The method starts with People

Scrum stand up

Clearly defining who your target audience is and what are they like is key to any project – it labels who you are trying to reach. the tighter the description here the better. Most marketing and communication fails by trying to appeal to too wider audience. There’s a are a phrase I love around this – “If you try to please everyone, you please no one”.

Everyone with a pulse or middle aged men is not a defined target market.

Now you could leverage buyer personas – which are kind of like an ideal profile of your target. You could use existing client data to find the median person. the demographic and psychographic profile of your main customer.

One simple way to do this is to go check the demographics of your facebook page fans. I wrote a post on this last month for insiderCXM (reposted here) if you’re interested. With a simple look at your stats you can see your median age, sex, and their location. You might be surprised and find out you’re targeting the opposite, but lets hope it fits with what you were thinking. Dig a little deeper by looking at the pages they like and you can start to get a feel for their psychographic profile too.

Now if your target audience is not on Facebook or if you’re properly into this you should slo do some market research and interview some existing and or potential customers. its the best way to create the perfect persona.

What partnerships could get you to this audience?

The second part to this people equation is working out what partnerships could get you to this audience and how could help you communicate with them? Your research might show that they are all fans of a big sports team – so partnering with them and doing a little brandscaping might work.

Someone must be accountable for driving this to success

The third part is working out initial thoughts on a RASCI chart for the initiative, who is responsible, accountable, consulted and informed about it. You may not have all the seats, but for anything to happen someone must be accountable for driving it to success.

Ok so you’ve got a clear idea of who you want to reach and who’s involved. What do you want to tell them. What’s the Objective of what you’re doing? the O of POST.

Objectives: Here you can outline the message or action or goal you have for this audience.

What are your goals? Are you more interested in listening in order to gain insights? are you messaging to them or communicating an initiative or campaign? Do you want to engage with brand ambassadors or just get someone along to a gig? Once you know what you want, then you can drive how you will act.

That’s The Strategy – Let’s say I start communicating as the CEO with my fans on Facebook or Twitter – what will my company do if people reply – what if they say something bad, what if they have great ideas – how do I get them in a backlog , how do I prioritise them. This is the strategy – planning for how you change your relationship with customers? What do you want to get out of these relationships? Which direction do you want to take and what is the underlying proposition?

With these strategic decisions made – then and only then – do we get onto the final part. The part where most people start. You know the phrases – “We should be on Facebook, everyone’s there” or “are we tweetering this?”

Choosing the right Technology

It’s here you define the medium that best matches your audience, the message you want to give and how you will change your organisation when you meet your objectives.

you look at what applications or websites you should you use? SEO, SEM, and how much time should this take? This step reflects the choices you make in the first three steps. if the people you want to connect with aren’t on Facebook or hate video messages or will demand transparent rapid responses – something your P O and S answers have determined – then making a viral cat video to post on Facebook is just wrong.

So once again – People first, Objectives and goals next, Strategy and then LAST – Technology that will help you get there.

If you like to hear more about this and a few other things that I think are really useful, check out my latest podcast.

And you can subscribe here

on iTunes
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eCommerce, advertising and messaging to the phase your buyer is in

When it comes to shopping and buying – be it online or offline – there’s are distinct modes or phases in which we operate.

  1. Researching – what do I want?
  2. Searching – where can I get it?
  3. Purchasing – how do I get it now?

Much like taking the wrong bus or missing the express, being driven to the wrong part of your website or shown the wrong message can really ruin a user’s experience. So creating distinct or at least relevant experiences for each of the three phases is key.

Traffic coming in from search engines to your website – and the keyword terms used – can give a very strong signal of the intent a customer has to purchase. It can in some cases tell us exactly which mode a buyer is in. So lets look at the various phases.

Educate your potential customers with Content Marketing

When people are arriving at your website from broad search terms they are in the first of our phases as a buyer – discovering what’s on offer and what potential solutions there are to my needs.

It is here that through content marketing you can educate clients of the benefits of your products, help solve their problems, and make them aware of your brand and your solutions.

You should be answering any questions clients have around benefits of our products. You could help out by comparing products through a comparison infographic or article. This should all be created with the intention of easily sharing on Facebook and Social Media.

On social media you can support the discovery of your brand by sharing answers to their question. But given that at this stage many may not be aware that your brand has answers to their problems (and that we don’t go to Facebook to shop – we go to be entertained and informed) your social media posts should also create brand awareness. Videos around successful customers, or posts about your brand can help to create an affinity with the WHY of your organisation.

LEGO, Johnnie Walker and Apple are notoriously good at tapping into deeper underlying needs that we surface as needs for their products or at least to connect with their brand. Check out their brand videos on YouTube for ideas.

When they’re searching – make sure they know the great range of products you have – right now!

If a customer is in the searching mode, providing a faceted search of your full range of products is key. eCommerce experts and successful eCommerce platforms are such because they have mastered the art of displaying products in a way that is easy to navigate, search and refine. Even so, as buyers we can often find the breadth of products on offer too much or too hard for us to decide, so as customers we have methods that we use to simplify difficult decision making (Heuristics).

There’s two Heuristics here that can play to your advantage – abundance or availability and scarcity.

Abundance

You need to ensure that a potential customer can see you have a broad range of products, and that in shopping with us they’re not missing out on options elsewhere. This could be through displaying the number of results on a page, the number sold today, the number of similar items and the social proof of likes or shares of an item on Facebook. These would indicate a wide range, and that others have purchased here before.

Scarcity

Conversely, scarcity can be used here to push a customer through to purchase. Maybe with a count beside each of the number left in stock (be it real or fabricated as I’m sure many websites do).

Some companies ensure exclusivity from suppliers of a certain colour, team logo or model that will appeal to audiences. Limited editions like Jordans, the Sebastian Vettel Lexus FX50, or Jamie Oliver cookware.

While in this mode shoppers know some things they might be after – but you also have to support those who as Henry Ford is misquoted as saying – might not know they need your product.

“If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have asked for a better horse”
– Not said by Henry Ford.

If a customer is purchasing – stay out of their way!

A customer that uses the phase “iPhone 6 white 64GB” has a strong intent to purchase that item and already knows the model, colour and memory size she is after. She also knows that memory is a distinct feature of iPhones.

If you are supporting the organic or natural ranking of your web pages on Google with paid advertising, an advert for this phrase should point directly to your eCommerce shop and to the page of the White iPhone 6 with 64GB of memory. The landing page should have a clear call to action to add to cart and purchase. Even better you could pre-populate a guest cart with the phone already added.

A large image of the phone should confirm you’ve got what they’re after. As this is a filtered results page of your own product search, there should be the ability to X out some of the filtered items – like the colour or memory – BUT DON’T let this get in the way of the main call to action.

BUY NOW

So remember to address your buyers just like a good bricks and mortar shop would do.

  1. Have a display for those just window browsing who may not even know they need your product
  2. carefully lay out your store in sections for easy browsing and searching
  3. and get your express self checkout isle humming for those that just want to buy.


Image courtesy of St3f4n

Three core tactics in my Twitter Strategy

While I loath to call it a strategy, I have decided to take a strategic methodical approach to my use of Twitter.

I’ve decided to:

  1. Network, share and support a core group of influential people in my Dunbar 150 list – daily
  2. Participate in weekly #sshour social selling chats and one other #hashtag chat from a new, unrelated field.
  3. Post useful and insightful links to content from those in my 150 list and insightful sources

But why just three core things you say?

Stick to three focus points and measure their success

I have been reading the book Good To Great by Jim Collins. I which he thorough researches and presents the core elements of what’s behind great companies – those that outperform consistently over time. He summarises a good concise strategy very well.

If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any ~ Jim Collins.

Hence the three pronged approach I am taking on Twitter. They are each in different areas, are SMART and can be measured independently.

My Dunbar 150 list – or small group – allows for focused core networking

The UK psychologist Robin Dunbar did some quite thorough research into human relationships and the number of meaningful or at least memorable relationships we can keep. He came to the conclusion that the average person can only really keep – to some reasonable level – relationships with 150 people. If I think of my personal relationships this sounds about right. 50 odd work contacts, 50 odd friends, 25 family members and 25 business connections – give or take.

So hence my Dunbar 150 list on Twitter – it’s still growing, but will include a core group of people – people who’s Tweets are worth reading, they share good content and I really value their input to my time on Twitter.

Participating in #sshour now #SBizHour and other chats to discover new contacts

Being part of a larger hashtag based chat lets me discover cool new people on Twitter, to get different perspectives and a chance to expand my knowledge. I’ve also found myself following along with design hashtags, UX, customer service and just recently social C suite chats. All help me connect with more people and develop a breadth of knowledge.

Share really useful content

Finally, sharing stuff that is really of value is paying off. People comment on it and share it more frequently. If I take the time to explain why it is of value and also add a supporting visual element – content I tweet far more useful! I hope. You will get the odd motivational quote or bit of humour in the mix but I hope that in general you’ll get valuable content from my stream in 2015. Less noise, more signal I hope!

If you’d like to listen to this post I’ve made a short summary here:


On a personal note. Many thanks to those subscribed to my blog. I wish you all very happy holiday season and a great 2015!