Author Archives: Eugene

Sick of the Marketing Hype? I’m Doing Something About It

No Hype Marketing

No Hype MarketingA few weeks ago I took a look at one of the “latest and greatest” internet products on the net.

I’m signed up to a lot more mailing lists than I care to admit. But it’s really just to keep a pulse on things in the marketing world.

Over the span of a few days I kept getting an email about the same product from many different sources.

Mind you, most of these sources are in the “make money online” niche, and not necessarily what I would call the “marketing for real businesses” niche. But that’s not to say that they never deliver any value.

So I decided to check out the new product to see if it was worth the hype.

Doers vs Theorists

I’m sure that you can put marketers into a wide spectrum of categories, but I’m going to divide them into two camps right now: the doers, and the theorists.

The doers actually actually doThey go out and experiment. They perform the tasks necessary to see if something will actually work before telling everyone about how rich it can make them.

That’s why when you sign up for my email list, you aren’t going to get too many emails from me – I’m too busy doing, so I can share real results with you when I’m done.

Then there’s the second group: the theorists. They put out products because, in theory, it should work. Sometimes they’ll even have videos showing you how to do things. These make it a bit harder to decide if the person providing the information is a doer or a theorist.

But there’s one simple way to tell…

Defining “Success”

Now let’s get back to this “latest and greatest” product I mentioned.

This was a training product for advertising on one of the world’s biggest dating sites. A pretty good idea in itself considering the amount of traffic that the site gets. But you didn’t need to buy the product to get that idea – the promotional emails told you that much.

Here’s where things get interesting…

The “trainer” showed how to set up ads on this site and showed the results from some of his previous campaigns. To his credit, the ads he ran really were very cheap.

The “conversion” in this example was clicks. He was showing how many people were clicking on his ads, and how much it cost him.

The problem is that there were no sales resulting from them. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

So…who cares? What difference does it make how cheap a click is? If it doesn’t lead to any sales, it’s worthless.

Safeguard Yourself 

My last post talks about what it takes to be a great marketer

The best marketers are scientists at heart. <–Tweet This.

It’s very apparent to me that the internet marketing space is flooded with training programs from people that don’t have the “scientist mentality.” They don’t actually test things out until they have figured out an optimal way to do things, they’re just looking for the next big pay day.

One surefire way to tell that the training program is probably not worth the price is the sales pitch. You’ve probably seen them. It’s all hype, not substance.

The sales video will show you how the seller reveals his program to “unknowing bystanders” and, in shock, they are able to make money with the new program. It’s so easy!

And yet, you don’t find out what the program is actually about unless you purchase the product.

Sound familiar?

I’m Sick of the Hype, and I’m Doing Something About It…

It’s time for a little shameless self-promotion.

I recently released a free video that reveals a type of content I’ve used on this site, as well as other blogs in other niches, to attract traffic, build instant authority in the niche, and increase conversions all at the same time.

It almost sounds to good to be true. But it’s not. In fact, it’s pretty simple.

And guess what – I tell you exactly what it is in the video. And if you feel that you want to go out and experiment on your own to make it work, by all means do so.

In fact, I tried to take the hype out of the landing page too. Why? Because it’s a free freaking video. Why should I have to sell something that’s free?

There’s plenty of psychology in marketing. But it shouldn’t work on pure hype. Marketing should be real businesses paying real experts for their expertise.

This is, in itself, an experiment for me. I’m sick of the hyped up sales and I’m assuming a lot of you are too. Hopefully this brings a bit of dignity back into the online marketing world.

Check Out The Free Video Here. And let me know what you think about my latest “experiment”.

The Two-Word Question that Results in Great Marketing

Marketing Experiment

Marketing ExperimentA little while back I wrote a blog post about a single question that can help you create epic content. That question is “why?”

This is the question helps you get to the root cause of a problem, so that you really solve your customers’ dilemma.

But here’s another question: “how?” How do you solve it. To do that, you need to ask yourself yet another question. And this question, in my opinion, is also the basis for great marketing: “what if?”

The Power of “What If?” 

To be a great marketer, and to discover new methods to promote your business and brand, you oftentimes have to think like a scientist – you have to experiment.

The best marketers are scientists at heart. <–Tweet This.

And to do that, you have to ask yourself “what if?” as often as possible. This single question can lead to great new discoveries.

For example, when you ask yourself “what if?” about object placement on your website, you can make better decisions about optimization. A/B testing, at its core, is just asking yourself that single question over and over again.

Or, when I posed the question to myself about SlideShare marketing, I discovered a new way to build an audience in just minutes (and outrank original content in the process).

Two Necessary Ingredients

There are two ingredients to properly answering “what if?” for yourself. You need intrigue and patience. Intrigue to want to pose questions to yourself; and patience to spend the time experimenting.

The problem is many businesses lack one, or both, of these ingredients for a myriad of reasons. Some legitimate, and some not. Experimentation requires an investment; either time, money or both.

The problem is that it is an absolutely necessary evil.

Great marketing is a process, not an event. <–Tweet This.

It takes time. It takes work. It takes experimentation. Your first go at most things won’t be your best. Unless…

An Alternative

Like I said, many businesses just don’t have the resources necessary to run experiments on their own. And yours may be one. Let me guess, it’s too time consuming and you need results now. Right?

The alternative to doing your own tests, is to learn from tests done by others.

And this is the basis for a new (very accessible) training course I’m currently working on.

Over the past few years I’ve used a certain type of content on several different blogs to drive traffic and build instant authority. Authority leads to trust. And traffic plus trust leads to conversions. This is something any business can use.

If you’ve been following CSH for a while, you probably noticed how I launched this blog. I used this “magic” piece of content.

If not, don’t worry. Within the next few days I will be sharing a free video in which I tell exactly what the type of content is, and why it works over and over again in any niche.

It will be enough information for you to get started. From there you will have a choice: you can go out on your own and experiment, or you can learn from the testing I’ve already done for you.

Either way, this is the type of content that can have a profound effect on your content marketing. And it’s so simple it’s shocking.

If you aren’t already subscribed, make sure you sign up for updates below, and I’ll let you know when this free video is available.

 

 

Too Long; Didn’t Read: Where to Keep Your Copy Short for Online Lead Generation

web copy length

web copy lengthThis is a guest post from Michela Ziady.

Some smart people tell us that you have 15 seconds to give your online readers the info they’re looking for. Thirty words. Three clicks. Or, they’re gone. Just like that.

Incidentally, that little titbit was exactly 30 words in length. 170 characters, including spaces. And it wouldn’t fit into a single Tweet. So, what’s the real message here?

We need to hook our readers quickly. This means we need to communicate our bright idea faster than Usain Bolt runs 200m. And that ultimately means we need to keep our web content short and tight. Exciting to read. Nice to look at. Easy to finish.

Find your two content creation objectives

  1. Each piece of content you create ties into to a short-term goal like encouraging your reader to download your newest whitepaper or sign up for the XYZ webinar.
  2. Each should tie into your strategic business objectives like building buzz, conversation, or increasing sales-qualified leads by 7%.

Get your great ideas read – always

Yes, we should all be creating remarkable content. Gulp. The fact is that when you actually crack innovative thinking and helpful insights, you could be killing them with long copy.

Simply, potential leads are stifled before they even engage. It’s a shame because both you and your tribe lose out. Three steps to get your ideas across:

  1. Speak human – Personality is the key to your brand because humans attach to humans, to online personas that feel real. The best method to humanise your copy is to read it aloud. If you feel like a nonce saying ‘peruse’, ‘herewith’ or ‘prodigious’, don’t use it in your writing.
  2. Stay on-topic – Whether you’re reviewing a new industry product, commenting on a thought leader’s recent idea, offering a how-to or best practice article, you have a message. So knuckle down and say it – succinctly. If each sentence isn’t adding to your core message, scrap it.
  3. Use keywords naturally – If you follow point one and two, this should be an easy third step. So using keywords in your body copy, heads and subheads will become a nippy feat and, it’s the kindest way to incorporate SEO into your exciting (yes!) content for your readers. A good method is to treat each head or subhead like a value-adding phrase: “5 Tips for Better B2B Blogging”.

Make language work for you

Use personal pronouns to connect to your readers. Direct address is the best way to make your ideas immediate and relevant. After all, you’re telling your online community something that they should know.

Use contractions like can’t instead of can not and we’re instead of we are. Unless you’re writing a business profile or CI the more conversational your language the more engaging your tone.

Use short words because they’re quicker to read online, simpler to understand and – ultimately – they’ll drive your readers through your article. Plus, as we move towards more mobile writing, long words are walking the plank.

Use a clear call to action that’s not spammy or confusing. A good idea to establish what CTA works best for your target audience in AB testing. This is facilitated by most inbound marketing software solutions like HubSpot.

Follow figures to find your feet

Stats shmats. To say this is the only way is rubbish. But it’s a nifty guideline for awesome-looking content. And, before you know it, you’ll follow the format on autopilot. Take a look:

Heads: 7 words is standard, 9 is max, the fewer the better

Sentences: 11 – 13 words, but mixing up sentence length is important

Paragraphs: 1 idea and 2-3 sentences per paragraph

Ditch dense online copy – for good

Scan your content to get an overall feel. Yes, copy has a feel. Most online users will glance at your landing page, blog post or e-mailer and duck if it looks impenetrable.

To improve readability:

  • Break your copy into chunks, allowing necessary white-space breathing room
  • Add some sub-heads, for easy navigation of info
  • Cut the waffle, it’s holding you back
  • Bullet or list a paragraph, it’s nifty to read and a nice change from full sentences
  • Add a sidebar or pull-quote, just to look smart
  • Embed links and follow icons, because your ideas are layered and sharable
  • Use Word to double-check your readability stats (but, please, not for spellcheck)

Learn short copywriting from the greats

Well, maybe they aren’t the greats. But they’re good. Most importantly, they use short copy really effectively…

  • Kuno Creative’s landing page and short form. Take note of the heads, neat list, body copy, CTA and form. Their writing is tight, convincing and clear. [Source: http://inboundmarketing.kunocreative.com/case-content-marketing-video/]
  • The Allstate Blog for catchy and informative sub-heads. [Source: http://blog.allstate.com/]
  • Maria Popova’s fascinating Brain Pickings for a look at creating remarkable content using of a fresh outlook [Source:  http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/about/]
  • Good ol’ Seth Godin’s Typepad (for everything amazing) is a classic reference for ideal article length [Source: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/]
  • The Health Insurance Fund of Australia’s homepage. A national finalist in the Australian Web Awards 2011, HIF’s site is a stellar example of web copy objectives, in general.

Reap rewards of short content

No matter your objectives – to establish yourself as a trusted advisor, gain blog subscribers or generate online leads – creating short, accessible copy is a must. No more negation here. Just the handy tips. Give them a whirl.

Michela is a digital content marketer at Sydney-based inbound marketing firm g2m Solutions. Specialising in online copywriting, social media content creation and all things digital, she’s a stickler for tight web writing and passionate about words.

Ignore the “Old School”? The Truth About Marketing

Twitter Marketing vs Old School
Twitter Marketing vs Old School

Get the reference? Pin This Image!

Yet again I am being bombarded by the social media bandwagon. It is in full force. And it’s pretty annoying to me.

Not because social media isn’t useful – it absolutely can be. But because “experts” are trying to make it out to be the end-all, be-all solution to every problem that has plagued any business ever in the history of man kind.

In fact, I am writing this latest rant after receiving an email telling me to ignore the “old school” and fully commit to social media. I quickly hit the “unsubscribe” button.

As you can tell from this post, and this one, I take issue with anyone labeling anything as the go-to solution across the board.

BUT…

There are times when social media is the right solution.

I recalled a conversation that I had with a former colleague. He claimed that his younger, teenage, brother never uses email. I found this hard to believe.

Then I asked my younger, teenage, sister. She can be a pretty useful resource sometimes (don’t tell her I said that).

She confirmed that she does have an email address (I guess you pretty much have to in order to get onto social media to begin with), but only checks it every once in a while.

She went on to tell me that she doesn’t see her friends using Facebook as often as they used to. They prefer Twitter. Interesting…

Among her age group (at least the people that she interacts with) Facebook is used primarily as a photo-sharing platform. Maybe Mr. Zuckerberg knew what he was doing with Facebook’s purchase of Instagram for a whopping $1 billion (just like LinkedIn knew what it was doing when it purchased SlideShare :) ). Other communication happens on Twitter.

My Theory

Why is this happening? My theory is simple: information overflow is now a standard.

Facebook faces a very serious problem when it comes to making people happy – it doesn’t update often enough. And on top of that, it filters your results to only show you updates from the same people – the people you check in on most often.

That means that you can log into Facebook over and over again only to see the same updates you saw the last time you logged in…and the time before that…and the time before that.

Twitter, on the other hand, goes through rapid updates. You will never see the same update – and you’ll probably miss many. Perfect if you’re bored.

Plus, according to my sister, “you can keep updating yours status on Twitter without pissing people off.” True – even if you update every few minutes, your updates will get watered down by everyone else your followers are following.

And that is something a lot of people find annoying with Facebook – do you really care when your friends are going to the gym?

Lesson: Ignore Facebook and Email – Right?

If I was one of these so-called experts that I get messages and emails from I would tell you to ignore Facebook. It’s already old school. And certainly ignore email – that’s ancient! Go all in on Twitter!

But that’s not the case.

What I’m going to tell you is that this only plants a seed. And it’s worth further investigation.

Looking back on my teenage years I didn’t use email nearly as much as I do now. Now I don’t get off of it. So social media may be the platform of choice if you are targeting teenagers.

Twitter might be a good choice if you are targeting teenage girls in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. It may be a good choice if you are targeting teenage girls. And it may be a good platform if you are targeting teenagers in general. It’s worth investigating.

Now Let’s Back Up a Second…

There’s a kicker to all this. I am also going to make the assumption that as these teenagers grow older and take on new responsibilities (i.e. college, work, etc), they will increase their use of email.

Speaking of email, you should put yours into the convenient little box in the bottom right corner of your screen to get updates :) .

And to further confuse the situation, it’s worth taking a look at who is doing the purchasing. Is it the teenagers themselves? Or is is their parents?

Because if it’s the latter, we’re back to square one – get their email address. By all means, promote your brand where your target audience is hanging out – but for god’s sake capture the information of the person with the check book (or probably credit card).

Plus, there’s something personal about an email address isn’t there? I don’t care if you follow me on twitter. But I certainly care a lot more about who gets a hold of my email address.

Let’s back up even further. Let’s get more personal than email. What about a phone number? Or what about a written letter sent to someone’s address?

Just look at what using actual, physical mail, and a few brownies, did for Sean Malarkey.

It seems the more old-school a marketing tactic is, the more personal it is – and possibly the more effective.

But phone calls and written letters are much more time consuming and expensive. So let’s pick a middle ground and stick to personal communication that is also cost-effective: email.

So the real lesson? The email I received is dead wrong. You can choose to ignore the “new school” – but don’t dare ignore the “old school.”

Thoughts?

 

The Problem with Marketing Consultants: You Are Being Lied To

Shocked

The other day I had a very interesting discussion over LinkedIn – one that got me worrying about small businesses trying to market themselves online.

It began when I received a message to my LinkedIn inbox. I don’t want to disclose any names here, so we’ll call the person JD (Jane Doe).

It started innocently enough. JD had taken notice of the fact that I run my own business. She wanted to “connect with like-minded people” and was curious about what type of marketing I do to promote it.

Naturally I was excited to connect with someone new. I responded with a laundry list of things that I do and mentioned that I do have social media accounts, but they are not a main priority.

JD’s response almost floored me. Here it is verbatim: “Social media is huge. Its the number 1 way to market. Why don’t you use it?”

The Problem with Marketers

You may think that “floored” might be an exaggeration here. But it’s not. I didn’t literally end up on the floor, but I was left very unhappy, almost angered.

The number 1 way to market? Really?

To whom? What am I marketing? Who am I trying to connect with? What am I trying to sell? What are my goals?

How can someone who hasn’t spoken to me about what I am trying to accomplish with my business blindly tell me that social media is the #1 way to market?

And what does “#1 way to market” even mean?

You see, I don’t believe in generalities. Even if something works for 99.9% of businesses, I don’t want someone telling me that its right for me without talking to me about needs first. And if someone tries to do the same thing to you – you should run the other way…fast.

Heck, I even wrote an article about why you should ignore social media!

The Madness Continues…

I knew exactly where this conversation was going to go. JD was going to try and pitch her social media consulting to me. But I didn’t want it.

Being stubborn, I decided to probe further. I asked what “#1 way to market” really means and told her I disagree with the notion. The fact is, marketing methods depend on each business’ unique situation.

To claim that anything is the “#1 way to market” is to essentially call every business identical. (Tweet This).

To my surprise JD’s counterargument included a statistic. I like statistics. They often lie. But I still like them.

Her response:

“[...]89% of business are on a social media platform. It doesn’t matter what you product, service or idea is social media is the leading source for marketing in todays eco. “

Marketers are Liars

89%?

89 percent??!!?

89 per-f’n-cent?!?!?!!?!?

Seriously?

I’m often shocked at how many businesses don’t even have a website in today’s day and age. And websites are far more established than social media. They’ve been around ages compared to social media.

There are lies, damn lies and then there are statistics. But this is just ridiculous. The only thing that 89% of all businesses do is try to make money (and even then I’m not so sure :) ).

And what’s more…apparently it doesn’t matter what your product or service is! I can tell you one thing for sure. If you’re trying to market to my grandmother, you have no business doing anything on a computer (much less social media).

You Are Being Lied To…

The reason that this interaction bothered me is that it gives all marketers a bad name. Social media may not be right for you. And if you are convinced by extreme statistics to try it, and it doesn’t work, you are probably going to stay away from working with another marketing consultant.

I know I’d be weary. Bad experiences condition us to be more cautious.

And that’s a shame. Because there are plenty of people that can actually help you. Like my friend Dov Gordon, or Danny Iny. Or even me :) .

Picking the Right Tool

While I focus a lot on content marketing on this blog, I’m not going to make the claim that it’s necessarily right for you. It’s not the only form of marketing I use either – it’s just the focus of this blog.

I’ve mentioned here before that it is a tool; a method.

But before you pick your tools you have to evaluate your situation so that you can pick the right ones. Jumping aboard the social media train because someone blindly tells you its right for you won’t do you much good (unless you get lucky).

If you’re still looking for the right tool, feel free to contact me. If you do, I promise to do the following…

  • I won’t blindly tell you that a tool is right for you (yes, even content marketing)
  • I won’t throw any statistics in your face
  • If I feel that I am incapable of helping you, I will do my best to point you in the direction of someone who can. 

Your Two Cents: 

Am I over-reacting and taking this to heart? Or am I right to feel this way?

Have you had a bad experience with bad marketers before? If so, how did it effect your future interaction with consultants?