The Importance of Visuals in Your Marketing Strategy





Text is a big deal. Your content, as I talked in length about the last time I posted here, is huge for your company.

It can make or break a business, especially an online business.

But there are other factors to take into account as well. Visuals are a part of your content and will catch the eye much faster than text.

So today, we’re going to discuss visuals and what they can do for your site.

Video Marketing

Does your business have a YouTube channel? If not, then it probably should.

Video marketing is increasing. YouTube is now the second largest search engine in the world, just behind Google. Yet only 9% of small businesses are utilizing this platform, despite 50% of consumers wanting to see more video content.

With nearly 2 billion months users, now is a great time to jump on this bandwagon.

While there are going to be production costs, you can use YouTube as a secondary income source to offset these expenses.

The best part is that it doesn’t really matter what your niche is, someone is still probably looking for content on YouTube. You can have success as a car dealership, an entrepreneur with a startup, or as the owner of aviation websites.

Images

Images, gifs, and infographics are great ways to break up your text or in the case of infographics, provide an entirely different style of content to your readers and customers.

It’s all about trying new things. If you just post the same types of content over and over again, people will undoubtedly get bored. And when people get bored, they start going to other websites.

You can use visuals to help create humor or to lighten up a serious post. Everyone loves to laugh and if you can establish yourself as a brand that enjoys humor, then your content can achieve a new level of memorability.

They may not remember exactly what happened with your content. But they will remember your brand and that you were funny or created something that stuck with them. This is the power of visuals within your content and why it should be included on a regular basis.

It’s the Future

Remember when you were a kid? You could wake up on Saturday morning and watch cartoons for several hours.

No one really does this anymore. Even children are constantly on the go.

And while people aren’t going to try to consume video content as they’re driving, if they’re taking an Uber or a train somewhere, or sitting around in an airport, chances are they have earbuds in and they’re consuming some sort of visual content.

People are often too distracted to read text. It’s rare that they’re too distracted to watch a video.

Conclusion

Video, without a doubt, is the way of the future.

And now is the time where you should start weaving it and other visuals into your content strategy.

Customers want to see more video. They want more value. They are demanding and our job as marketers and business owners is to answer the call and give them what they want.

Searching for the Perfect Snake Oil: Vibes Up





I felt like Dana Scully debunking werewolf legends in a cold, dark forest. But it was a sunny day in Walla Walla, Washington when I walked by a store claiming it wasn’t a pot shop. (In Washington that’s always a possibility with anything decorated a medical shade of green.)

Curious, I made a right turn and found myself in a particular kind of forest. One filled with crystals and bracelets and water bottles and flip-flops.

The place smelled of lavender and pine and the two store reps (a man and wife duo) pounced as soon as my wife and I entered.

Not a Pot Shop

After the requisite small talk, the man began his spiel. He avoided terms like vibrational energy and new age. Instead, he asked if we’d experienced any pain, anxiety, or depression lately.

He seemed disappointed when this ultrarunner lied and said no. But he continued anyway, telling the story of how he was once a skeptic. But then he drank water out of a water bottle a friend had given him and it seemed sweeter than usual. An experimental taste test later and he was convinced the rocks glued to the bottom of the bottle were what caused the water to taste sweeter.

According to him, it had something to do with electric energy from the crystals causing the electrons to be inert. If I didn’t understand physics, I might have believed him. His rhetoric was convincing.

Cocooning?

He then led my wife and I past all of the trinkets filled with crushed crystals (maybe the sex toys were in the back?) and told us about a process they called “Cocooning.” I couldn’t resist an image of Don Ameche dancing like a teenager with Maureen Stapleton.

He showed us black sheets of rubber flecked with crystals. You simply lay down and place these crystal filled mats below and above your body. You trap yourself in an “electric” energy field.

As we lay down and allowed strangers to place strange bits of rubber on our bodies, I immediately thought of lead x-ray shields. The mats were weighty and I immediately felt a sense of calm not unlike that which I felt last year when getting my ankle x-ray photographed.

The sensation I felt wasn’t much different than a welcome hug on a cool autumn evening. And the mats smelled of conifer forests.

Electric Energy? Or Simply a Hug?

As we left the store with our sample goodies — a couple of rubber bracelets for pain — my wife and I shared our thoughts. We’d both felt the same thing when “cocooning.” Comfort and calm.

Did you know that the skin on your body is your largest organ? And that when you get a welcome hug, it sends a signal to your brain and your brain tells your body to release oxytocin. Oxytocin is the same chemical that helps mothers bond with their babies and people bond during sex. We’ve even found that non-rehearsed singing with other people releases the same hormone.

It’s also easy to trick the body into thinking it’s getting a hug. It’s why thunder shirts work for dogs and why my wife and I both felt a sense of comfort and calm when the sales rep laid those heavy mats all over our bodies.

Combine this effect with a pleasant scent and you’ve got calm and comfort and the temptation to nap (this wasn’t long after I’d attempted to run 100-miles).

The History of Snake Oil

Real snake oil isn’t the fraudulent product we all refer to when we call something “snake oil.” The Chinese have long used an oil made from the Chinese water snake that’s high in Omega-3 fatty acids and helps with inflammation.

It was a man by the name of Clark Stanley who sold “Rattlesnake Oil” in 1897 that was later found to contain no snake oil or fat. It was a pure scam that hundreds bought into.

Today, we call pretty much any product that doesn’t actually do what it claims “snake oil.” In marketing, I’d say snake oil is a fascinating concept.

How do you get people to buy things they don’t need? Maybe put a little snake oil in it or maybe just claim it inactivates ions in your water.

My father and I joke all the time about searching for the perfect snake oil. We live in an era where snake oil products proliferate. The internet has made it absurdly simple to spread false information.

I personally don’t condone lying. And honestly, some salesmen don’t even realize they’re selling snake oil. But there are some things we can learn from snake oil salesmen.

Vibes Up: Psychology and Biology

Vibes Up doesn’t actually use physics to produce an effect in their customers (whether they believe they are or not). They use biology and psychology.

Humans want the quick-fix. We buy into this all the time. Even as children, our mothers understood this — kiss it and make it all better.

We want to believe that the piece of rubber around our wrist will vibrate our pain away. We want our hard-earned money to produce change NOW. And when the real answer is the tincture of time, we tend to seek easier and more comforting answers to our detriment.

The best snake oil takes advantage of these tendencies. We’ll buy pads to attach to our feet that “detox our bodies” (“look at all those toxins [skin, dirt, sweat?] after a day on my feet!”). We’ll buy overpriced tea coasters believing the crystals in the coaster will change the “harmful” properties in our water-based drink.

If you’re a marketer even if you sell SEO services, learn from the snake oil salesmen. While your product might be legit, you can tap into the same human weaknesses. Use biology and psychology to your advantage.

6 SEO Myths That Prove We’re All Idiots





Humans will do anything to look smart and competent. Comedians like Jimmy Kimmel feed off of this propensity for hubris. And then we all benefit from it. Try it for yourself sometime. Go up to a random stranger and ask, “Do you think Bill Clinton gets enough credit for ending the Korean War?” (HINT: He wasn’t old enough to be President of the United States during the Korean War.)

Ironically, this behavior often exposes our ineptitude.

SEOs and bloggers are no different. We want to look like experts so bad we bullshit our way into corners all the time

Here are a few ways SEOs B.S. themselves all the time and really make themselves look like idiots.

1. Do What These Massive Brands Are Doing

When I was a kid, I played the game Lemmings. Often, I’d get bored with a particularly difficult level and just set up traps for my lemmings rather than rescue them. I’d watch them all follow the digger to hell and then hit the nuke button.

The fact a lemming is bigger and healthier looking than the other lemmings doesn’t change the fact it’s a lemming. That lemming still might be heading for a cliff.

Big brands aren’t always wise sages, especially when it comes to SEO. Think of it this way: a bigger brand has a much wider margin of error than you do. If they make a mistake, they can bounce back when you might splat at the bottom.

You’re also assuming their HR department knows what they’re doing when they hire SEOs and web designers. Often the philosophy of “throw money at it to make it grow” doesn’t work. And that’s exactly how some big brands function once they get the big cash.

Don’t be a lemming, seek real advice.

2. SEO is Snake Oil

Ok, SEOs typically don’t say this. They wouldn’t make any money this way.

But I’ve heard it from Google employees, bloggers, and anyone who just doesn’t want to do the work of ranking well. I even had a friend from YouTube tell me this, backpedal, and then say, “well, it’s just that the target is constantly shifting.”

There’s a lot of surface-level SEO information out there. And while it’s not exactly snake oil, it’s often not enough to have any real impact on your SERPs.

SEO is like psychology. It’s a soft science.

We can’t peak into the box and know what’s going on but we can observe the effects. Sometimes Google will give us a heads-up, but often we’re scrambling to patch holes after the fact.

This can make it seem like SEOs are behind the curve, but they’re more in the know than anyone else. It’s not an exact science, but it’s not snake oil either.

3. Worry About Keyword Stuffing

Seriously? What year is this? 2012?

Can we be done with the keyword stuffing thing yet? No? Well, I guess we gotta slay this beast while we’re here.

Sure, keywords still matter a *little* bit. But here’s the bite: they gotta be so natural, even you don’t see them as keywords.

Google’s RankBrain is now all about user intent. It’s so important to give users what they’re looking for that keywords almost don’t matter anymore.

Where Then Are Keywords Relevant?

Until our language goes fully pictographic, search engines will continue to take keywords into account. And you should definitely research a keyword to put in your title tag.

Otherwise, just be natural (grammatically correct, and concise, and…well, content is king, right?).

4. Content is King

Aw, what? Didn’t I just say content is king? Yeah, yeah, I know, plot-holes, right?

But this myth is just like the “write what you know” rule in writing. People take it, run with it and have no clue what the hell they’re even doing. And then they end up writing boring crap because their life is so boring.

Novice bloggers do the same thing with content. If you write it, they will come, right?

Wrong. You need more than just content (even great content) to make the SEO wheels turn. We’re looking at links, tags, design, usability, speed…

Yeah, content is just an important piece of the puzzle, one you can’t do without. But it’s not the end-all of SEO.

5. Links Are a Dead Horse

I’ve said this before, but the internet is — drumroll please — a network! Without links, you are just a powerless tool in a sea of well-connected and well-dressed geniuses.

It’s just that, like keywords, and content, links are only one step in many to get you to the SERP prize. No, don’t put a billion links in, but don’t ignore them either.

Don’t go buying links for cheap either. Negotiate for access to high ranking sites instead. And again, be natural.

6. Google is Penalizing You

I only cried once in Hockey. I’d just come back after time off from a broken ankle and I was reckless on the ice. I almost whacked someone in the throat with my stick. I ended up in the penalty box a teenage mess because I had lost skill.

Google’s algorithms aren’t referees. They’re a content elevator. When one site drops in the rankings, it’s because of a change in the algorithm they weren’t ready for. It also means another site was ready (knowingly or not).

There is no Google algo penalty box. There are referees at Google, but Google actually notifies you on the Google Search Console when you’ve violated their Webmaster Guidelines.

Talking about SERP rank changes like hockey penalties only serves to malign Google and cause confusion.

Don’t Be an Idiot

Humility is an underrated quality in our society. I’ve found that when you admit ignorance, you’re rewarded with knowledge.

Only idiots pretend to know eveything. If you’re on the SEO struggle bus, seek help. Your SERPs will thank you.

 

Your Sales Funnel is a Sieve: Here’s How to Plug the Holes





 

1. Where Are the Holes?

In a movie set in space, there will always be a “punctured hull scene.” It’s like a Nicholas Sparks movie and terminal illness.
First, a rock or a bit of debris punctures the hull. Then an alarm goes off. And then the space denizens panic.
What’s the first thing they do? Look for the hole.
This is your first step. Look for the holes in the sieve.

Hole #1: Little Data Tracking

I recently had to run at night on a mountain trail. If I hadn’t had my headlamp, what would have happened? I’d have literally bit the dirt (and probably a granite rock the size of grandma).
Lack of data tracking is like lack of headlamp on mountain trails at night. The light gives me visual data on the trail so I can change course when needed.
Same with sales funnels. If you don’t have data on your middle conversions, you have no idea what’s working and what isn’t. All you have is the result.
You can’t fix the holes in your sales funnel because you aren’t actually looking for holes. You’re a Sales Jumblie ignoring your friends who think you’re gonna drown!

Hole #2: Follow Up?

Sales funnels are never set it and forget it. Yet, 48% of sales reps must think this is true. They never follow up with a prospective or a lead.
Sometimes it takes as many as 12 contacts to make a sale. That’s the full definition of try-try-again. If you think 12 follow-ups is a waste of your time, maybe you should go and do something else.

Hole #3: Wasting Time With Lead Generation

You can find a billion articles online about lead generation. It’s a hot topic. They think that if they stuff as many people as possible into their funnel more people will drop through.
The problem is: at a certain point, the same number of people drop through no matter how many leads you generate. It’s like a conventional real-life funnel. The end is only so big.
Stop lead generation research right now. You probably get enough leads already. You’re wasting your time and expending too much energy. Just relax, ok?

2. How to Stop Up the Holes

In a “punctured hull scene,” once the protagonist finds the hole, they frantically look for something to plug it with. If they don’t plug the hole, all their oxygen will be gone and the pressure will equalize meaning they will die in a vacuum.
For a space hero, this could mean any number of things. A fire extinguisher, a metal crate, or even a piece of metal alloy bigger than the hole.
There are a variety of ways to fix your sieve and turn it into a real funnel.

Fix #1: Track Those Touch Points

No matter when a customer or lead makes contact, track it. This means that if a customer has already purchased something and they come back again, you track it.

If they’ve come back three times without ever purchasing, track it. This is called touch-point tracking. From here you follow leads all the way to full conversion if they make it.

Once you’ve tracked this data, you can begin to make a customer journey map. You can then replicate this journey for your most legitimate customers and leads.

Fix #2: Simply Follow Up

Again, 12 times might be the charm. Keep going.

There are easier ways to do lead follow up than manual e-mails and phone calls. E-mail automation is a thing.

Automate your sales process as much as possible. This will allow you more time to find new leads while courting current ones.

This also means you’ll be able to run a 24-hour sales funnel operation.

Bots can help with this. Say you’re a small college trying to attract students. You can’t have an admissions digital marketing rep on call 24-7. But a bot can cover the time when your rep is sleeping.

Fix #3: Offer Something Irresistible for Free

There’s a lot of schlock on Amazon that’s free. And most of the schlock doesn’t get read.

This should be a valuable lesson for anyone trying to generate leads. You’re wasting your time with free scholck.

If it’s not worth your time to even engage, why would you even click?

Opt-in’s are great if they actually shove people toward the end of your funnel. But you’ll need to drive people in with limited time offers.

Without FOMO, you’ll never get people close to the end of your funnel. This is the step beyond generation you need to focus on.

Now You’re a Wise Jumblie

Now you can go to sea in a funnel…oh, wait, the metaphor breaks down there. I guess you now have a fairly leak-proof and effective funnel.
Where have you seen your funnel be ineffective? Let me know down in the comments below and maybe I can help you patch them.
 

5 Ways to Make More Money with Your Next Webinar





Webinars are still one of the best ways to build a mailing, engage with a live audience, and convert users into sales. While we aren’t seeing the massive influx of webinars everywhere like we were a couple of years ago, they are still being used by some of the top marketers and brands in the world today. However, running a webinar and being able to make a full-time living off them are two completely different things. If you want to find success with online marketing and running webinars of your own, you need to use all of the same webinar services and methods the big players are using.

By implementing the following five tips for your next webinar and marketing efforts, there is no doubt you will see improved engagement, conversions, and ROI across the board.

 

1 – Create ONE Really Great Webinar and Use it Over and Over Again

If you’ve ever had to speak at a conference or create a PowerPoint slide for a class or work project, you can start to imagine how much work it takes to create a great webinar. In addition to having amazing visual content, you also need to keep the attention of your audience and know all of your speaking points as well.

Knowing all of this, you should also realize the importance of having ONE really great webinar template and message that you can continually use time and time again. Not only will this save you time, it will also make you a better speaker and presenter in the process. The more webinars you run, the better user engagement and conversions you will continue to see.

2 – Automate and Replicate Whenever Possible

As great as webinars are, they definitely can take a lot of time to create, schedule, run, and market. The good news is that there are ways to automate and replicate the process.

Also, take note that LIVE webinars with real Q&A at the end of the session will almost always perform better. However, with time being an issue for everyone, if you can record one of your best webinars and set it up for automation and renewing for new attendees daily, this is a great way to multiply your earnings and lead generation, without having to dedicate 2+ hours per day to running live webinars time and time again.

3 – Make Sure You have a High Ticket Item to Sell

If you’ve ever attended a webinar before, the process is usually the same. It will start off with the webinar host sharing their personal story and going over a problem or obstacle they’ve had to deal with. At the same time, it’s important for the host to relate to the audience and their common obstacles as well.

The majority of the webinar will cover these topics and different success stories as well. The remainder (or closing) of the webinar will then show a solution, and then follow up with a salesy promotion on how to get access to such a solution.

Webinars are great for selling high-ticket items, because anyone who has spent the past 30-60 minutes attending and listening, are more likely to take action than anyone else who might randomly come across your $997+ product. Once you’ve mastered the process, webinars are simply one of the best ways to make the most of your site content, over and over again.

With all of this in mind, it’s also important to make sure you price your offer right. The most effective webinars and online marketers will usually offer something in the $497 to $1997 range, as this will allow them to invest a decent amount of money in the webinar promotion process. If you have a product that is priced too high or too low, you could end up losing money.

4 – Have a Separate Mailing List Just for Webinar Attendees

In addition to making money from a webinar, they are also great for building mailing lists and collecting leads as well. Whether you are generating new attendees through site content, SEO, social media or paid advertising, this is going to provide you with a fresh list of data that really wants what you have to offer.

Many webinar solutions will also make it easier for you to send out mailings to your attendees, and reminding them of your upcoming event. At the same time, these lists can also be used for future promotional mailings, updates, and upcoming webinars as well.

Even if you only convert a small percentage of your webinar attendees into paying customers, you will still have a nice list of subscribers to follow up with and nurture over time.

5 – Remarket to Your Webinar Subscriber on Social and Display

The best marketers and brand in the world today know how to effectively market their products and services. We’ve already gone through the many different ways to get users to subscribe to your list and joining your upcoming webinar, but what about after your event takes place?

There is still plenty of money left on the table at this point as well. After your webinar is done, make sure you send out a few more mailings to your subscribers and see if you can get them to take action. This can all be done by taking your current email list and importing them into another third-party advertising platform.

Remarketing is also a huge factor in grabbing additional sales as well. Before your webinar goes live, you can set up a remarketing campaign through Facebook Ads or Google Adwords, reminding users of your upcoming event. Then you can also run another after the event takes place. Remarketing is one of the most effective ways to increase sales, while only spending a few dollars in the process.

Webinars are Still Huge Cash Cows. Get Started with Your Today!

Now that we’ve broken down the key points on how to create a successful webinar campaign and make some serious money, the ball is now in your corner.

Do you currently have a product or service to sell through an online webinar? If not, start thinking about the different ways you can implement webinars into your marketing strategy — whether that be through improved branding, pre-sales information, or any of the methods we highlighted above.

The bottom line here is that webinars are extremely effective and they are here to stay.

 

To PPC or Not to PPC





Many marketers think SEO is better than PPC. Is it really? No. They’re just different. Each piece of your search marketing strategy should have a different goal. It should hit people in different parts of the sales funnel, as I’ve mentioned before. What I didn’t go into detail on was where in the funnel they would hit.

So today, I’m going to clear this up. Let’s get started.

PPC

Search engine marketing usually refers to PPC. At least it does these days. Originally, it referred to both SEO and PPC together. So PPC + SEO = SEM.

So anytime you see a piece of content mentioning SEM, it could mean PPC or both PPC and SEO. Confusing, isn’t it?

Where does PPC fit into your campaign? Statistics show that only somewhere between five and ten percent of searchers click on PPC ads. Yet these ads in the SERPs have a higher conversion rate.

For many marketers, this probably doesn’t make much sense. And once I explain it, you’ll have a better understanding of why PPC is so important.

New businesses don’t need to focus on PPC. This strategy is all about sales and less about brand awareness. If you want brand awareness, which as a new company you definitely should, stick with social media to get eyes on your content.

PPC is for the big boys. The brands that have an audience and a trusted product. Once you have that, people will immediately click on your link. They know it and they trust it. No one hesitates to click on a PPC ad from Nike. If they’re clicking on a Nike link, they’re looking to buy shoes right then and there.

The same goes for any major brand. So if you have a trusted, household name product, then PPC needs to be a major part of your strategy if you’re looking to increase sales.

SEO

To build a brand and show potential customers that you’re an authority in your industry, use social media first and on-page SEO.

It takes months to see results of a proper campaign.

Social media is pretty much instantaneous, which is why it’s so effective. You can get your content in front of millions of eyeballs in a matter of minutes.

As your company grows and people know your logo and what it means, you can use all three strategies in tandem. This is why new businesses struggle with inbound marketing. They simply don’t know where to start and where to put their marketing dollars.

The Bottom Line

PPC should be last but it should also be a large part of the budget. A social media specialist, especially an independent contractor, will be some of the best money you ever spend.

It will help to increase brand awareness, show you are bringing value to customers, and help build an early online reputation.

Your SEO game is somewhere in the middle. I’m going to spend some time writing about that in my next post. Thanks for reading and I hope you look forward to my next post.

 

Borrowing Marketing Strategies From Other Industries





A lot of people are going to try and tell you that there isn’t anything new as far as marketing goes. For the most part, this is true, at least until some new tech comes out that changes the game. Why not try tactics that other industries are using? Strategies that work well with general contracting may not work with promoting a Shopify store. Sure. I get that.

But what if some of these ideas could work for your company? Keep reading to know more about what’s going on in my head.

Foodservice

Restaurant marketing is probably a lot different than what you think.

They use coupons and discounts. They have industry nights where if you come in and you work for another restaurant or hotel, you get a discount.

One of the coolest strategies is having your chef do a guest spot somewhere. They go do cooking classes or visit a culinary school, promote the restaurant, and do a little razzle-dazzle with some food.

While you obviously can’t do that for a construction business, why can’t you do something similar? Go give some talks at high schools. Go to local hardware stores, hang out, and answer questions about what you do.

The idea works with pretty much any field, you just need to think outside of the box.

Car Sales

Every car salesman, for whatever reason, wants a spot on TV or radio. Why?

Younger people don’t listen to the radio and don’t watch nearly as much TV as older people. If you want to hit young people where it counts, these folks need to do what other businesses are doing and hit social media.

The problem with selling cars is that for decades, the marketing has been way too “in your face”. If they were to back up and change their approach for the millennial and younger generations, they could flip their marketing game on its head and possibly sell more cars.

Imagine how many more cars he would sell if a salesman was less salesy and instead, provided real value on a blog and on social media, telling readers everything they need to know about dealing with the process of buying a car. Different, right?

The Flip Side

What about SEO? Why aren’t there more ads for it on TV and radio? Not enough people know what it is and how much value it has for businesses.

Why aren’t we getting the word out? Why is it such a big secret to most people?

Every business deserves to have its shot at the title. People like us can make it happen. Instead, we have to explain what we do for an hour while people look at us with blank-face Radio Shack employee stares. It’s awkward.

Conclusion

Everyone. Every business.

We, collectively, as a whole, need to do more to market our businesses.

We need to try new things and see what industries are doing that aren’t related to our own field and see if we can make them successful with our own companies.

It’s worth a shot!

 

Arbitraging.co Crypto Arbitrage Platform Concerns, Tutorials, and Results with the Abot





A little while ago a friend told me about an arbitraging platform that was, “too good to be true.  Just put money in and watch it grow”.   He put $60,000 dollars into the platform and in only 2 months it was now worth $100,000 dollars.  I called bullshit and threw out everything at him but he said he could withdraw at any time and it was “risk-free”.  I still called bullshit.

But I tried it out with a small amount…  to my surprise it does “just work”.

Arbitrage is not new or rocket science.  By definition, arbitrage it is the profit from a market imbalance.

In the crypto-coin world, there are many exchanges where the same coins are exchanged (bitcoin, ethereum, etc).  This platform has a bot and it simply looks for differences in prices in these exchanges and then makes a trade to make a profit.

Think of it like this.  You see in the newspapers that 2 different places are selling & buying bananas.  At groceryA the banana is $1.00 and at groceryB the banana is $1.10.   You can simply purchase at A and sell to B and profit 10%.  That is all arbitrage is.

The stock market has been traded by bots for more than 20 years.  The crypto coin world is in its infancy and it makes sense there is such a huge opportunity.

If a system is only buying and selling for a profit than it is risk-free.  In theory at least.

So I have been using arbitrage.io and telling all my friends about it.  For newbies and even people familiar with the crypto world, it’s not very easy to set up.  And I am very tired of walking people through it.  So I decided to make videos and direct people here.

These videos are simply about the abot.  They have many other features that I will include as I learn.

I will start with my concerns about the platform:

Now for my tutorial:

 

And the results so far (I will update this once a month or more):

 

Education Matters: Interesting Courses for the Entrepreneur





When I left university, I thought I was done with school. I’d learned the basics of reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic. I could get a job and make a living now. The more I talk to people with higher ed degrees, the more I realize how much education really matters. It’s not about knowing facts but improving your own emotional intelligence. Some of us might not be able to take the time to go get a Master’s degree. This doesn’t mean we can’t continue in our education. Entrepreneurs love to read books. And they love to give courses. But one thing many of us neglect is real coursework.

If you’d like to continue in your education, here are some of the most interesting courses any entrepreneur could take right now.

1. Digital Marketing with Udacity

Digital marketing is such a broad topic. And when you don’t know where to start, you might just give up on the entire production. Fortunately, Udacity created a complete digital marketing program.

The program lasts three months and you earn a micro-degree at the end. You’ll take courses rich in the basics of marketing, content strategy, media planning, social media marketing, SEO, and SEM.

You’ll learn how to design your website content. The course includes opportunities to network.

2. Learning How to Learn

The human brain is so complex that we still don’t understand all of its mysteries. For example, we still don’t get what consciousness is (if it’s even a real thing and not a concept). We do know it’s not as simple as on/off, but we don’t understand much beyond what it’s not.

We do understand more today about practical aspects of the brain than ever before. And learning about how we learn is useful not only in your own life and career but in helping others toward their goals.

This is what the Coursera class “Learning How to Learn” attempts to give us. A glimpse into the learning abilities of successful and artistic people.

The course is about 12-16 hours. You will learn about brain science from experts who understand how the brain “chunks” information and stores it.

3. The Complete Crowdfunding Course for Kickstarter and Indiegogo

Kickstarter only has a success rate of about 45%. That’s about as lame as the average U.S. Presidential mid-term approval rate.

Why are so many Kickstarters failing? Perhaps it has something to do with the blasted million dollar success stories?

Whatever is happening, Udemy’s Complete Crowdfunding Course wants to give you all the tools necessary for success. You’ll participate in a four-hour course that includes step-by-step approaches to growth-hacking a crowdfunding campaign.

One of the major problems with most crowdfunding campaigns is the lack of audience. Many assume they’ll magically accrue an audience once they begin their campaign. Even people with an audience often fail at running a Kickstarter campaign. I’ve seen it.

4. A Course on Artificial Intelligence

As I’ve pointed out in countless articles here on Shoemoney, A.I. is here to stay whether we like it or not. You already interact with artificial intelligence on a daily basis. Often we don’t even realize we’re talking to a bot.

Another Udacity course wants to help you understand how those bots actually work. And they want to help you apply the technology to your business and startup.

The course, Intro to Artificial Intelligence covers four months of basics, stats, planning, logic and really anything A.I. related. It’s essentially a crash course in artificial intelligence.

The course is based off Standford University’s Sebastian Thrun’s own course on artificial intelligence.

You will need to take a few courses before beginning this one. You’ll need to know a little about probability theory and linear algebra. But that’s the cost for learning to control the A.I. before it learns to control you.

5. A Course on Productivity

I personally have a hard time taking the time to work on my productivity. It feels counterproductive to take time out of my day for self-improvement. But it’s really not a bad idea.

Learning how to throw the procrastination monster overboard and avoiding that feeling of being overwhelmed would be valuable, right? Well, there is a course for that.

You can take two hours out of your day to learn how to be more productive. The first step is to schedule (some of us have a hard time with that word, schedule) the course during a time when you can give your *full* attention.

The course is like a doctor’s checkup on your productivity health. You’ll participate in activities that diagnose how you mismanage your time and find ways to fix those things.

People who find themselves constantly overwhelmed rejoice. You’ll learn to control your mindset and increase your energy level. You’ll learn daily habits you can incorporate that mesh with your personality type.

6. Building a Personal Brand

If you’re not looking to jumpstart a startup, you are probably building your own personal brand. This is where I’m at. And I can tell you that any freelancer I’ve ever known could use a course like this.

And even if you aren’t building a business from your personal brand, you can learn a bit from Gary Vaynerchuk’s course.

7. +Acumen Presents: Seth Godin’s Leadership Workshop

Seth Godin founded Yoyodyne and Squidoo and is a bestselling author. While taking skills related courses can be extremely beneficial, sometimes all we need is a bit of inspiration for our day.

Learning from great entrepreneurs like Godin can have a profound impact on your drive and your mood. This is why I’ve included this awesome short course on leadership.

Even if you don’t feel like a born leader, there is always someone in your life who looks up to you.

8. Google I.T.

The Google IT Support Professional Certificate Specialization is probably the most intensive course on this list. It includes 10 hours a week of video lectures, hands-on labs, quizzes, and widget tutorials.

This is a partnership course between Google and Coursura. They recently opened the course to the public and that’s a good thing for entrepreneurs who want to manage their own I.T.

And even if you don’t want to manage your own I.T., you might want to understand every aspect of what’s going on in your company.

9.  Startup Business: How to Raise Seed Capital

Whether you’re starting with $100 or $100,000, you’re going to need to raise funds to run your business. Some will do this through Kickstarter, other will earn it and still, others will rely on traditional investors.

The Startup Business course is for first-time business owners who feel overwhelmed. They might see startup funding as a mountain to climb. This course gives you the tools to climb that mountain.

10. Why Ethics Matter: Ethical Research

Often in business, we’re not asked to reflect on our personal morals. But morals and ethics guide our everyday actions. From how you treat your employees to what kind of food you choose to eat, you’re making moral and ethical choices in life.

If you want to ensure your business ethics are above board, you should check out this six-hour course on ethics from FutureLearn.

You’ll learn about history that’s shaped and established common ethical tropes in our society. You’ll read case studies about ethical research. And you’ll build a framework for future ethical research and how to apply what you learn.

11. The Complete SEO Course

While you can learn the basics of SEO from free articles on the web, SEOs still like to keep secrets from the general public. How else do you think they make their money?

SEO is as essential to your business as that bowl of oats you had for breakfast is to your daily focus. In this course, you’ll learn about how to measure SEO success, how to drive customers to your company through content marketing, and more.

It includes quizzes at the end of each section.

12. Intro to Virtual Reality

After the 90’s we all thought the virtual reality dream was dead. But just a few years ago, Oculus and HTC made that dream a reality.

While most people who own headsets are gamers and creatives, the market for VR is still growing in the business sector.

If you want to stay one step ahead in your visual marketing game, it’s a good idea to understand virtual reality as a marketing and training tool.

This is a basic intro to the technology by Google and it’s a free two-week course. You’ll come away understanding optics, displays, stereopsis, tracking, and hardware. You’ll also learn about various VR applications.

 

How to Fail Gracefully: What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Ultrarunners





On July 25th, 2018, I ran 53 miles on technical single track through the Elkhorn Mountains. I climbed a total of 12,000 feet and descended an equal distance. I wanted to quit more than once, but I didn’t give in to my human desires. I am now an ultrarunner. Over the six months I trained and through the grueling challenge of the Elkhorn Crest 53, I learned some extremely precious lessons for life and business. In the next few paragraphs, I’ll give you a little bit of insight into what entrepreneurs could learn from ultrarunners.

“Fail Early, Fail Often”

In ultrarunning, especially at the longer distances of 100 miles or more, failure is highly probable. Anything could happen in the 24-48 hours you’re in the woods and scaling canyon walls.

You could break an ankle, get euhydrated, or go into kidney failure. Even taking a wrong turn, like ultrarunning hero Jim Walmsley, could cost you a major win.

When ultrarunners forfeit a race and receive the dreaded DNF (Did Not Finish) on their record, do you think they go home and cry? Yeah, maybe. But they don’t stay home forever.

They take their failures and learn from them. And then they pick themselves up, sign up for another race, and begin training again.

It took Jim Walmsley three attempts at the coveted Western States 100 course record. This year, he finally broke it handily. If he had given up when he made the wrong turn, he wouldn’t know the glory of winning.

A.D.A.P.T.

It was late in the race when I realized how dehydrated I was. I hadn’t urinated all day and I was ten hours into the race.

I could have quit at that point. I was at an aid station and they had ATVs, after all.  Plus, nausea came over me any time I tried to eat or drink.

Instead, I accepted my situation and decided to change it. I loaded my water bladder with ice, poured water over it, and chugged some electrolyte solution. This rejuvenated me enough to regain the six place points I’d lost and enabled me to finish 15th when I would have finished 21st out of 40.

Coach Koop’s A.D.A.P.T. system is what allowed me to asses and change my situation. One of my favorite quotes in his book is from Mike Tyson. “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” 

The A.D.A.P.T. system goes like this:

Accept.

Diagnose.

Analyse.

Plan.

Take Action.

The first step is the most important. If you took out a small business loan in your name only and suddenly your business partner abandoned your venture halfway through. The business won’t succeed without their skills.

At this point, you will have to accept the fact you’re saddled with a loan and down a business.

The next step is to diagnose. How bad is it? Do you have the funds to pay off the loan saved up? Could you borrow from a relative or someone you trust to pay it off without interest?

Next, analyze. What are your possible next steps?

Make a plan from those steps. You are going to borrow from your rich uncle, pay off the loan and then work hard to pay back your uncle as soon as you can (hoping he just forgives you anyway).

Then you take action. You do what you said you were going to do. And then you finish the race if you can.

 

How to Automate the Hell Out of Your Business





The point of building a business is to eventually fire yourself. Yes. Your job as an entrepreneur is to be so successful that you eventually train your replacement. This could mean selling your website or it could mean scaling to the point where you only make decisions and do none of the work. But until then, you should constantly be looking for ways to lessen the burden on yourself and your employees if you have them.

“The market rewards business leaders for making things more efficient.” So, why not seek that reward by automating as much as possible in your business? In the next few paragraphs, I’ll outline some awesome ways you can automate various aspects of your business.

1. Automate Your Marketing

A 1500 word blog post takes the average marketer 3 hours to complete. That includes research, editing, images, promotion, and SEO.

Add on top of that PPE, marketing funnels, e-mail marketing, etc. and you’ve got a mountain of work to do.  Why not automate your marketing so you have more time to work on the rest of your business?

While you might spend capital upfront on automation, the time you spend on your business will more than make up for lost dollars.

2. Find and Eliminate Redundancy

I worked for a non-profit for seven years. When you’re a non-profit that receives government funding, you have to bow to government regulations. And often, the government demands redundancy.

Some individuals thought this meant they should create redundancies nobody asked them to create. It was a fear response to government oversight.

As a quality assurance director, I reversed this trend. I took employee surveys and combined redundant questions. I utilized the digital tools the IT department gave us. I made everything as seamless as possible.

Do this in your business. If you employ a team, talk with your team and find out where people’s jobs overlap. If you’re a one-person show, look at where you can re-use and duplicate content across your social media and marketing.

3. Machine Learning and AI

Worried about the future of prices? How about whether your digital marketing budget is spent wisely?

You can assuage any fears you have about these things with AI and Machine Learning. Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure both offer competitive rates on machine learning and AI tools for businesses.

You can easily take data points from your business and run them through a machine learning algorithm to predict trends and future cost points. Soon, you’ll be relying on machines and less on yourself.

4. Keep it Simple, Keep it Easy

It’s easy to overcomplicate automation. Remember, this is supposed to make life harder and not easier. If your automation programs are overwhelming, it’s time to figure out why.

Some people, like my predecessors at the non-profit, think that complication is safe. If they keep it complicated, that means they’re getting “all the data.”

But what happens when you overcomplicate and get nothing done? The biggest problem with what my predecessor did was the fact he scared employees away from giving him information.

When you streamline the process, you will experience less resistance. You’ll consequently get more information than you would have with a more complicated system.

5. Once You Scale, Contract Out

It’s rare to find a company that doesn’t have an in-house team. With an in-house team, communication is easier and more effective.

But burdening your in-house team with menial tasks or monumental tasks they’re not experts in will sap your team’s energy. This is where outsourcing and automation come in.

You want to find the tasks your team might be good enough at but distract from the ultimate goal. These tasks are the ones you should outsource to a contracted team.

6. Streamline Communication

I have a software engineer friend who is working on a new kind of communication software. It allows a team to be in constant contact while working through voice communication. The goal is to simulate an office environment remotely.

Programs like this are revolutionizing how we work either remotely or even within an in-house team. No longer do you need to hike it five floors up to talk to the other department. Nor do you have to conduct specific meetings to specify information.

Once you have a team you’re working with, check out programs like Slack and Trello. You’ll find that with your team only a click away, you’re going to get work done faster and more efficiently.

7. Outsource Loyalty Programs

Customers almost expect loyalty programs these days. Every major business has a “club card” of some sort. Even small businesses are able to have “exclusives” for loyal customers thanks to programs like Clover and Loyverse.

Some of these systems actually include point of sales for small businesses. Customers can load up on a charge account and not have to use a card when they come in to buy.

Often websites will include similar services for their customers. If you’re an e-seller, it might be time to research some loyalty and POS automation tools for your website.

8. Your Eventual Goal is 20 Minutes a Day

This is especially true if you’re running an e-commerce business. You should outsource and automate so much of your business, that you only need to spend 20 minutes a day working on it.

You have to trust others to do the work at some point. This might be hard for people who need to feel in control. But you can do it.

 

Stay Ahead of the Competition With These Six E-Commerce Trends





The recent e-commerce growth is like bacteria. The more growth there is the more exponential the growth becomes. In only three years, the e-commerce market is set to double from $2.3 trillion to $4.5 trillion. Right now 67% of all buyers make their journey digitally. We’re going to see that number steadily rise over the next few years. It’s the best time to get into e-commerce.

But if you’re not aware of the trends, you’ll cease to remain relevant. Here are a few e-commerce trends you absolutely need to know about.

1. Native Shopping

Not to be confused with the abhorrent practice of buying and selling humans, native shopping simply means buying from places where we naturally abide on the internet. If you’re on Facebook, why couldn’t you buy your sneakers right there?

While Zuckerberg might be wringing his hands in anticipation of my next words, I’m not going to suggest he build a Facebook e-commerce store. But if he really wanted to keep people on Facebook, he’d emulate what Pinterest is doing.

Pinterest’s Shop the Look feature is taking e-commerce to the next level. Pinterest allows e-sellers (especially clothing retailers) to post a photo of their items. Users can click on a specific item and find out everything about it, including price, right in Pinterest.

The only time a user needs to leave the platform is when they want to finalize their purchase.

Pinterest is an intuitive way to shop. You can pin anything you’re thinking of buying and return to it later. And your friends will be able to see what you’re considering and possibly buy it too.

A win-win for both e-sellers and purchasers.

2. International is Done Playing Catch-Up

U.S. e-commerce used to be king. But today, 57% of shoppers are purchasing from overseas vendors.

And the international market is coming to the United States as well. People from all over the globe are buying online and they want your products.

How do you make your store international-friendly? It’s easy when companies like BigCommerce are providing a way to reach more than 150 countries globally.

You can find all-inclusive packages that allow you to accept all kinds of international payment from PayPal and Stripe.

3. Virtual Reality and Eventually Augmented Reality

While I’m hoping our world doesn’t become the hyperbole I see in science fiction portrayals of augmented reality, I am hopeful for the technology. Magic Leap just came out with their $2500 Magic Leap One developer kit.

That’s a jump above the Oculus Rift dev kit which launched at $600, but I still think it will eventually overcome VR in everyday usefulness.

This is why, if you’re planning on staying in e-commerce long term, it’s time to start playing with this kind of technology right now. VR is here to stay. And it’s getting cheaper by the day.

Simple augmented reality is available through a smartphone, although it’s not incredibly convincing. But the interior design app, Houzz found that consumers were more likely to purchase a product if they could visulize it in their house. They also found that users would stay in the app 2.7X longer when they used AR.

4. Voice Search is Taking Over Everything

I can say “OK Google” even when my phone is locked and get an answer from Google. This is every futurist’s dream come true. But will it ever be useful for shopping?

With Echo and Google home, shopping through voice is actually possible. Although, unless you know what you already need, the process might be cumbersome.

Imagine a system where the home assistant names out every product you could want. Sounds horrible. But what if the program could predict what you’re going to buy?

The incredible thing is that Amazon already uses a similar process to increase the efficiency of its logistics department. They can predict what you are going to buy and when and have it a processing center near you.

Soon Amazon could use this same technology to help you shop by voice.

5. Machine Learning and A.I.

You might think that machine learning and A.I. are for the big corporation like Google and Amazon. But you’d be surprised to hear that soon, these technologies will be helping small e-sellers target their audiences.

Netflix is a good example of a company that’s utilized machine learning to better target audiences. They’ve created “taste communities” based on user preferences. They tasked a machine learning algorithm with organizing these communities.

6. Same-Day or Next Day Delivery

Even Walmart has free two-day shipping. That’s an old-hat standard by now. But what about same-day or just next-day shipping?

While these options may not be offered free of charge like two-day shipping, they’re becoming popular options. Apparently, people want their products “NOW.”

We’re becoming worse procrastinators than ever. And we’ll wait till the very last minute to order something we need tomorrow. I know I’ve become extremely guilty of this habit.

But Amazon is rising to the demand. They’ve built a host of new supply centers around the United States, especially near major metropolitan areas.

These two options will eventually become mainstays just like two-day shipping did. And customers are going to become used to picking the same-day or next-day options.

Soon, fulfillment services will be offering these same options to e-sellers and you’ll be able to store your products nearby most of your customers. You may not be able to offer the service for free like some big sellers will eventually do, but you’ll at least be able to compete.

 

It Might Be Cliche, But You Can Turn Your Passion Into a Business





You’re sitting your cubicle staring at a blinking cursor. It dances there mocking you. You’re supposed to be typing up that yearly report for the boss. But you’d rather be out in the mountains or on a lake somewhere fishing. Someone comes and taps on your shoulder. It’s the FedEx guy with a large envelope. You rip it open and out slides a flip phone. You open the phone and it rings.

You answer, “Hello?”

“What if I told you that you don’t have to sit in a cubicle forever.”

“Yeah, well, I’m heading home here in an hour…”

“What if I told you that you could turn your passion into a business? That it might take a lot of work, but you could be on the river fishing and making money at the same time.”

Would you believe the man on the phone? Or would be like Neo and decide that the ledge was too dangerous? It’s entirely possible to take a passion and eventually use it as an escape hatch for a boring job. It’s just more work than most realize. So, I’m going to take you through a few bit of advice and hopefully by the end, you’ll be ready to take the leap.

1. It’s Not Wise to Jump Ship Just Yet

Unless you have a year or two safety net of income saved up, you might want to keep that soul-sucking job for the time being. No new business is a guarantee.

Maybe you want to start an SEO company. Perhaps you want to target the cannabis industry. So, you begin to build this business, gain a few clients, and suddenly with the next wave of politicians, even associating with a cannabis company becomes illegal.

It’s something completely out of your control. You can’t have predicted it would happen. And if you left your job, you’re going to be hurting quite a bit.

But if you kept your job, it was just a side hustle, and you can afford to start over in another industry.

2. It’s Not Just a Hobby

If you want to turn your passion into a business, you can’t treat it like a hobby. A hobby is something you spend maybe a few hours on the weekends doing. A business is something you work at every day until it becomes profitable.

One of the best things about working from home is that you can set your own schedule. It’s also one of the worst things about working from home.

If you don’t set a schedule, you won’t get anything done. You’ll be constantly working against your own deadlines or those clients impose on you.

It’s the same when you’re a new entrepreneur with a side-hustle. You need structure or you’ll get home from work and never get anything done.

Just like your boss does for you at your 9-5, you need to create a weekly schedule of when you’re going to work in the evening.

Set weekly goals and strive to meet them.

There are plenty of organizational platforms out there for you to work from. And you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done with a little bit of structure.

3. Seek a Mentor

While you might be an expert in your passion, you may not be an expert in turning it into a business. There are a billion aspects you may not have considered before deciding to turn your passion into a money-making business.

But resources exist to help entrepreneurs every step of the way. The U.S. Small Business Administration built Small Business Development Centers all across the country.

You can learn how to develop a business plan, do market research, even get guidance on how to offer healthcare to future employees.

The private sector offers another free option. SCORE is a non-profit organization that will pair you with a mentor. They offer free live and recorded webinars. They conduct on Demand courses that teach anything from competitive analysis to strategic planning.

If you do become successful enough to quit your job, you don’t have to be lonely. You can find a co-working space and either rent office space or share space with other people.

Many of these environments offer opportunities to network and edvance your business. And when you want to scale, you might find partners and new employees there as well.

4. Use All the Online Tools at Your Disposal

You’re no longer bound by the physical world. Leverage that social media. If you’re just starting out and need to make connections, you’ll find a community for almost every passion on the books.

Social media platforms like Google+ already have a natural setup for community building. And if you don’t have a Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter account, it’s time to start one.

From these platforms, you will build a following and eventually a brand.

If you end up selling merchandise related to your passion, you’ll easily convert this following into buyers. Gain a massive following on one of the above social platforms and you’ll have another income stream outside of your passion.

5. Don’t Keep it a Secret

While at first you grandma and your sister might be the only ones visiting your site, they’ll tell their friends and their friends will tell theirs. Grassroots is always the best way to build a business. It creates a solid foundation from which to work.

 

Ignoring Local Search Could Be the Death of Your Marketing Strategy





Imagine you’re in charge of Verizon’s marketing strategy. You’re trying to sell mobile devices on a national and global level. So, you invest in social media, commercials on all the major TV networks, Google and Facebook ads, etc. But you neglect to invest in local advertising or search. Verizon relies on local stores to serve and service their customers. If customers had to scroll to the third page of Google results just to find a Verizon store, they might go to Sprint. An example from my local community: We’ve not had a specialized running store in our town ever. When one threatened to crash our fair city, I was overjoyed.

Only one thing: their location was not prime. No tourists would wander in and a large number of runners would have to drive across town to patronize them.

If it weren’t for local search, nobody would ever find our local running store. And I hope they’re reading, because here are a few reasons why you should never neglect local search.

1. People are Hyper-Local

While city people like to brag about their massive commutes, most people actually don’t drive very far from home. 93% of consumers don’t drive more than 20 minutes for everyday shopping and needs.

Google research tells us that more than 1/3 of all searches are location-based. Google has restructured a large part of their search engine around local search.

Now, proximity isn’t going to be something you do much about once you’ve established a business. Even if it is one of the most important ranking signals for local search.

But, here’s what you do need to know. People aren’t using terms like “near me” anymore. I even tell my wife it’s silly and a waste of energy to type “near me” into Google.

This will mainly affect your keyword research. Local search still revolves around location names, but with Google getting better at gleaning context, you don’t want to overload your content with location names.

2. Neglecting Behavior Analysis Could Make You Miss the Mark

50% of all local searches result in in-store visits from leads. If you own a small business, this should compel you to focus on local search.

About 2/3 of all mobile users prefer brands who include some sort of local element in their app or website. And oddly, a majority of businesses don’t include a local element in their apps or websites. They don’t even claim their listing on most popular search engines either.

How is a customer supposed to find you if you are invisible online? Nobody uses the phone book anymore. It just sits in a drawer somewhere wishing to be read by a filibustering politician.

If you’re a healthcare professional, behavioral trends in your area could inform your local content strategy. Is flu season imminent? Preempt flu season by creating local content targeting anyone who might come down with the flu. Your content will be more effective if you understand current behavior and can predict future behavior.

Location-based statistics are easier to come by now with the advent of mobile technology. Reviews are one of the easiest ways to agreggate data about customers. What are they saying about your business? What are they eating at your restaurant? Whan are they coming to your store?

3. Nobody Will Come to Your Local Event

Even two years ago, it was exceedingly difficult to find local events on Google. Unless you lived in a major metropolis. And even then, it really depended on the effort a city put into their event advertising.

Google has seen the gap and they will raise us a new set of event search features. And they’re hoping to streamline the process of notifying customers and patrons of local events.

At the end of July in 2018, Google announced their plans to update their calendar and event search features. And they should be active within the month. While this is a little late to help people escape the heat this summer, it’s going to permanently change the future of local search.

They’re adding personal recommendations to the list as well. Since Google is already collecting behavioral data on searchers, applying that information to local event search is a logical next step.

Google will eventually use context to help you find events nearby. Typing in something like “free concert” will bring up local events near your location, especially on a mobile device.

How Do You Utilize This?

Even a running store could utilize the new event search features on Google. Set up social runs, running clinics, or even shoe sales events.

Of course, Google is going to get really good at distinguishing between sales-y events and social events. But until they do, you might be able to sneak a sale in there somewhere.

And Google knows that people don’t want to just stay on the Google website. They’ve learned their lesson from the search and answer feature. So, if you’re an SEO, you have no reason to worry about leads bouncing away before clicking your event links.

Of course, other platforms won’t be too happy. Facebook has cornered the event search market for a few years now. Often when I go to look for an event, I use Facebook.

How successful these new search features are depends on how much pushback Google gets from other companies. Will shady backroom deals tank the new features? Or will we see a new dawn in the local event market?

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

 

5 Tips for Building a Sales Team





I’m taking a short break from my super popular As the Search Engine Turns story to bring you a piece on sales. Don’t worry, ATSET will be back soon. Whether you’ve got a mediocre or sub-par sales team on your hands or are in charge of building a brand new one from scratch, you’re going to need some help and some patience. According to SalesForce, 79% of marketing leads never convert into a sale. This is a problem. Why are these conversions not happening? There could be miscommunication between the marketing and the sales departments or one of those departments could just be dropping the ball.

To make sure it isn’t your sales team that’s responsible, check out our checklist.

1. Watch Out For Toxicity

Negativity breeds negativity. You need to either fix it or remove it completely.

Toxic employees, if allowed to fester, will poison the minds of other team members as well as turn off your prospect, potentially chasing them away to a competitor. Build a team that’s positive and reading to make things happen for the company.

2. It’s About Results

You want your team to be driven. They should want to make the sale. Your team should be about results. This is right out of the sales 101 playbook.

On top of that, they should also be competitive. They should want to do better than they did last month and better than the other teams every month. Make it a friendly competition. Winners get bragging rights for the month and have to buy the first round at the local watering hole. Something like that.

3. Coachability

A lot of hot shot sales guys aren’t great at receiving feedback.

When you build out your team, make sure to hire the people who can take constructive criticism well. Explain that it’s for the good of the company and them as individuals and then prove it to them.

As a sales manager or lead, you’re going to be required to put your money where your mouth is quite often.

4. Training and Learning

Sales professionals are sharks. But a shark doesn’t stop swimming just because there isn’t any blood in the water.

When things are slow or when new programs or courses come out, get your team on them quickly. Make sure they’re trained well from the jump but do not let them get lazy. Keep them learning new things all the time.

5. Communication is Key

Talk to your sales team. Every team has meetings, sure, but how many sales managers are truly effective communicators?

Don’t be afraid to have one on one meetings with your team members, especially if they need help. Offer to do whatever it takes to get their performance level to where it needs to be.

The Takeaway

While every business is different, the root of the sales team stays the same.

It’s easy for people to pick up bad habits in previous positions. Make sure you’re ready to retrain if necessary and communicate clearly as to what you expect and when you expect them.

Don’t be a pushover. Assertive is the way to go as a manager. You’re a leader and your team is going to be looking to you for support and help when they need it. At the end of the day, your team meeting their goals and quotas is your responsibility.