old books on shelfIt’s so easy to abuse and get rid of books these days. I see them used as coasters, doorstops and even umbrellas. And when they start taking up too much space or cause an eyesore I’ve seen them sent to a recycling bin, instead of being donated to a good home.

From a young age I was always taught to treasure my books. Keep them clean, wrinkle free and always read them with clean hands. I needed to make them last.  And you don’t even want to know what would happen if I brought a book into a kitchen.

The books I grew up with contained cultural treasures – poems, short stories, biographies, history and children’s fairy tales. They preserved and passed on traditions and knowledge from generation to generation.  These books lived on a shelf as if they were the only copies in existence.

All our books were treasured because they were hard to get. They had the power to teach and inspire. They could motivate and remind you who you are – in the light and in the dark.

Blog Pivot

July 3, 2014 — Leave a comment

railroad tracksI started out writing this blog post with a quick history lesson of my blog. I quickly realized there isn’t much history or major events worth noting.  The old content I created had a specific purpose for in a particular point in time.

As I was starting my career, the blog focused on general marketing with a splash of my own opinion and critique. Then I wrote about social networks, online apps and blogging.  I also attempted to review apps, technology and ad campaigns.

Most recently I blogged about specific online marketing strategies and tools such as how to launch a corporate blog and marketing automation.  Many of these topics are still very relevant and I love talking about them, but this blog may not be the right place for it.

Since joining Search Engine People, I’ve contributed a number of articles to the SEP blog which has an audience that would be better served by content such as:

As for this blog, it’s about to pivot again.

Following best practices sometimes isn’t the best way to get the results you want.

There’s a place and time to follow the best practices, but taking it to far will not help you get ahead. Instead you’ll just be like everyone else.

In the digital marketing space everyone is spying on everyone else. Everyone’s trying to figure out what’s working or not for their competitors. Which display ads performing, what ad copy gets more clicks, what landing pages convert best and so on. If everyone is copying, scratch that, following best practices how is anyone supposed to stand out? Outcompete?

There are times when you need to follow best practices, such as making sure your offer is clear, there’s a form to fill out and you have an image on your landing page. But it doesn’t mean your image should be in the exact same spot as everyone elses. It doesn’t mean that your form has to be exactly the same.

Instead, you need to figure out what works best for you. What’s going to get you the results that you want? What’s going to bring in the customers you want to do business with?

Start with best practices, but adapt them to your own goals, company culture and the results you want to achieve.

It’s been a while since I shared interesting articles I read over the course of the week. But I came across a ton of interesting content recently that I just can’t wait to share. Let’s see if I can restart this as a regular weekly series.

What You Think You Know About the Web Is Wrong - Someone finally said it. Click-through-rates are flawed measure of performance.

Are We Thinking About Digital All Wrong? - I consider myself a digital native, and I don’t think about digital like this. But apparently many companies see digital only as a tool. If the senior executives thinking like that and aren’t willing to embrace digital, their enterprises will perish. But maybe these dinosaurs are just waiting to retire in few years, then it doesn’t matter to them.

The Importance of Giving Credit - The title is self-explanatory. I also would add that it helps you build up your social capital.

Why Good Managers Are So Rare - Good question.

Why Most Of The Content You Read About Growth Is Wrong - As everyone is races to become a ‘growth’ expert/hacker or some other mashup of impressively sounding titles, it’s expected to see a flood of content around this topic. But not all of it is good.

Whether you’re building a landing page, creating Adword campaigns, or writing a web copy you need to use the right language and words that will attract and convert your website visitors and prospects into subscribers and customers.

A lot of attention is given to looking for keyword ideas via online tools, analytics and through a competitive analysis. But we tend to overlook more human sources that can also be just as inspirational and rich with keywords and phrases that your clients actually use.

Client Testimonials

This is a gold mine for content and keyword ideas. When your client provides you with a testimonial they are already familiar with your services and are able to clearly articulate how you helped them solve their business challenges.  Pinpoint your ideal keywords and extract how they phrase their pain points and how they describe your solutions or products. Use these ideas to inspire your content development and address it head on in your content marketing efforts.

Quote Requests

Like client testimonials, quote requests (via phone or email) are also a gold mine of keywords, except for one distinction. All client testimonials will often consist of similar language because your existing customers are familiar with your services. But with quote requests you’ll notice that new prospects will use a variety of ways to describe a solution their looking for.

Using marketese you might be set on using words that you think make you sound sophisticated and advanced. But in fact, those may not be the words that your customers use to find you. Listening for unique keywords and phrases will help you tailor your content to target and attract brand new customers as everyone will have different ways of describing your solutions.

Sales People

Sales people talk your leads, prospects and customers all day. Empower and train them to listen for language their contacts use to describe your services, their business challenges and how your company might be able to help them. Ask your salesforce to keep a running log book. Then during your sales meeting do a quick session and throw up any new discoveries onto the white board.

It is tempting to start talking marketese in your product descriptions, sales collateral and even on your blog. It makes you sound smart, sophisticated and advanced. But really, the only person who’ll understand what you’re talking about is you. So, try to avoid it as much as possible.  Make an honest effort to incorporate your clients’ actual language in your collateral and content marketing efforts.

The cold emails that got me meetings at Twitter, LinkedIn and GitHub - If done right, cold-emailing can be very effective at getting meetings with the right people. Although the context of this article is around selling technology but the principles can be applied to any industry. You don’t even have to be in business development or sales, anyone trying to build relationships with decision makers and influencers can learn a thing or two.

5 Types of People Who Will Lead Tomorrow’s Marketing Strategies – Marketers are already expected to wear many hats and it doesn’t look like that will change any time soon.  If marketing is your career path and you want to succeed you’ll need these skills to become a leader in your space.

Hand-Sketching: Things You Didn’t Know Your Doodles Could Accomplish - Who knew that doodling skills developed during class or unnecessarily long meetings could actually pay off.

Why we play Moneyball rather than Powerball – Insider’s look into early stage investing and what makes VCs part with their money.  Although not all VCs follow same formula or strategies but it does provide a good base of what you should accomplish before you ask for VC money.

How Amazon Became the Everything Store – Although this is just an excerpt from ‘The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon’ but it provides a glimpse at what makes Amazon, Amazon.  I expected to learn mostly about Amazon as a company, but what kept me reading the extended excerpt is Jeff Beszo’s personal story that I can personally relate to. It goes without saying that I’ll be ordering the book from who else, but Amazon.

The Hobby Every Frazzled Executive Should Take Up - You’d surprised to find what it is. And it’s not just for executives. Anyone and everyone should take up this hobby. One off sessions won’t work. It’ll have to become a real hobby to yield any benefits.

Never Stop Talking: How Small Teams Stay Great When They Grow - It’s all about communication. Finding a way to keep everyone in the loop and in real time might be just the accelerator your team or organization needs to get things done, fast.

How I Failed - Entrepreneurs and leaders we admire weren’t born with unbreakable streaks of success. Their success came from lessons they learned from their failures. Check out Tim O’Reilly’s inspirational story of ups and downs, failures and victories.

What Is Creativity? Cultural Icons on What Ideation Is and How It Works - What’s you definition of creativity? I bet it’ll be different from how our Cultural Icons define it.

Growth Hacking: Wakeup Call - Marketer’s role and responsibilities are shifting; and that shift is taking on a new a name – Growth Hacking. If this is the first time you heard the phrase, go through the slideshow for a quick intro. Although I am not big on predictions, but this is a fairly accurate assessment of where the marketer’s role is heading.

Autoworkers - A comparison of autoworkers of the past to present coders and what new coding elite could face if they get too comfortable.

Collaborating with a 4-Year Old – This is what happens when a grown-up bound by rules and techniques and a child with care-free and wild imagination work on the same piece of art. Another source of inspiration.

Timing Tweets, facebook Posts, Email and Blog Posts – Insightful post, and supported by data on best time to publish your updates, tweets and posts. If you’re an active social media user looking to get more mileage form your updates check it out and take notes.

The 12 Week Year – Here’s an interesting concept we’ve been discussing at work; turning your traditional 52 weeks business plan and getting it done in 12 weeks. I think this can be very powerful if you approach it with discipline.

Successful Online Journalism Needs Good Design as Much as Good Content - Like a jigsaw puzzle, it takes many pieces to complete the story. Even if you got the writing piece down pat, make sure you get the design and visuals right as well.

Taking a stab at curating and sharing some of the most amazing content I found across the web in the past week. Most of the time I’ll just quickly scan the article, but if it looks interesting I’ll publish it across my various networks and save it to my ‘Saturday-Morning-Reading’ list to read it later in-depth . So, if we’re not connected on LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+ you’ll be able to find my top weekly links in the ‘Saturday Morning Reading’ blog posts on Saturday mornings.

My primary interests lie in Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Productivity, Creativity, Self-Improvement, Learning and Fitness. Sometimes, you’ll find posts that don’t fit any of those categories, but whatever I share I’ll make sure that it helps you be better tomorrow than you were yesterday.

This is edition one.

Why I Left Google - Well aware of the prestige of working at Google, Ellen Huerta made a gutsy move unimaginable to others.

Is the GMAT the Root of Evil in the Business World? - Good question, but does science support it?

Use The “Gun-To-Head” Test To Make Better Decisions - Do you ever make a mistake and say to yourself, “Dammit, I should have stuck to my gut!” I know I do, and have been on a mission to figure how to listen to my gut and stick my original instincts. This test might get me closer to the answers I’m looking for.

On Creative Leadership - If you want the best from your creative team, you just have to let them be. Guide them along the creative path, don’t force it.

Data is the Most Underutilized Asset in Marketing - Is marketing mostly art or science? It’s both. But as the new study suggests marketers are more pressured more than ever to focus on the science side and use more data to make their decisions. “Data is great, and we’re only beginning to tap its potential. But that doesn’t have to come at the expense of the qualitative facets of marketing.”

Marketing automation is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the automation of your marketing activities. It is the process of automating repetitive marketing tasks such as sending out automated communication to your prospects and customers, capturing customer intelligence and lead segmentation.

How Is Marketing Automation Done?

You can use software such as Hubspot, Marketo, Eloqua and others where a user specifies tasks and workflows it wants the software to perform. For example, let’s say one of your website visitors downloads one of your brochures or white papers. You can tell the software to capture visitors information, tag them as a lead, and add them to a specific list based on what they filled out in the download form.  Then you can automate and schedule future emails to anyone on your lists and share valuable and relevant content that your leads may enjoy. If your lead reaches a certain engagement level you can automate an alert to be sent to a salesperson for a follow-up.

What Kind of Marketing Activities Can You Automate?

  • Audience Segmentation
  • Email
  • Lead Nurturing
  • Lead Activity Alerts
  • Customer Intelligence
  • Prospect Alerts
  • Social Media Status Updates
  • Social Media Monitoring

And more.

Who’s in Charge of Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation responsibility falls under marketing department.  In large organizations you’ll have teams and resources contributing their efforts to marketing automation programs. But if you’re a one person marketing department like me, you own the whole thing.  Granted, I do get support and have contributors helping me primarily with content and copywriting.

Why Do Marketing Automation?

  • Message and branding consistency
  • Save time
  • Identify anonymous website visitors
  • Lead nurturing
  • ‘Always on’ marketing
  • Identify trends
  • Track and measure effectiveness of emails, campaigns and processes
  • Optimize marketing and sales processes
  • Increase conversion rates
  • Gain control of your data
  • Put your data to work
  • Generate more qualified leads

What Kind of Businesses Is It For?

Although I can argue that businesses of all sizes, industries, serving various customer segments can benefit from some form of marketing automation, but the truth of the matter is that marketing automation mostly appeals and works great for B2B companies.  Especially, to those who have defined marketing and sales process, and are able to generate enough leads to nurture through the buying cycle.

Furthermore, the software is not cheap – larger organizations with forward thinking leadership and resources can truly take advantage of full marketing automation software capabilities and quickly show an ROI.

But I hope this doesn’t dissuade small businesses from implementing a marketing automation solution (or parts of it).  There are still affordable solutions that even small businesses such as your local car dealership, lawn care company or small manufacturer of bikes can take advantage of and a leg up on the big guys.