The Start is What Stops Most People

The Start is What Stops Most People

“The start is what stops most people.” – Don Shula

Have you ever seen a little kid get on a diving board for the first time?

Most of them hesitate and make a real serious assessment of whether this new activity is a good idea.

Of course there is a range. There are always a few brave souls who jump without thinking and a few who have to be forcibly pushed.

The majority do the calculation that, if kids before them didn’t die, they’re probably going to be ok.

I was a cautious kid and I’m probably a cautious adult. They didn’t have to throw me off the diving board, but let’s say, everybody was getting really bored by the time I finally jumped.

What kind of kid were you?

I have chosen a livelihood that is full of risk.

Starting a business and being an entrepreneur is just one long series of new diving board experiences.

The thing is, now we’re not in an environment that has been designed for our safety. Some of these jumps may be our last. Hence most people will not follow this path for long.

The stress of constantly assessing risk and then taking it, wears them out.

I think this is where support of mentors plays a big role.

If you’re in a new venture, find people willing to share their experiences.

They can be the other kids in the pool, who say, “come on in the water is fine.”

But choose wisely.

This reminds me of the scene from Vacation, when Christie Brinkley jumps in the pool naked and invites Clark Griswold to join her.

He strips down (to his boxers), and stands by the edge of the pool for a ridiculous amount of time, swinging his arms, chanting, “This is crazy, this is crazy….”

Sometimes when a start a new venture, I feel like Clark, “this is crazy, this is crazy…”

But eventually I jump… and start. How about you?

7 Ways a Local Business Can Dominate Google

7 Ways a Local Business Can Dominate Google

Local businesses understand the need for a prominent position on Google. Many business owners, though, don’t always understand how crucial to long-term success search engine visibility really is.

The Mobile Movement Study found that 77% of mobile users contacted a local business after conducting a local search.

BrightLocal also reported that 98% of web searchers visit a site featured on the first page, with very few people even bothering to move onto secondary pages.

If your business is reliant on web traffic, it is clearly important to focus on SEO. However, trying to get your website ranked is only the start if you are ambitious.

Local search rankings offer the chance for businesses to seize the initiative and take multiple spots on the first page.

Google doesn’t just rank individual websites but instead likes to offer a variety of options to users. Each of the following platforms can be used to get extra listings, potentially leading to a domination of the search real estate for your favored keywords.

1. Main Website

Ideally, your main website will achieve the top position. Most of the following platforms allow you to link towards your main site, so you should naturally generate authority.

For local terms, gaining citations can be enough to rank, with local directories, forums, and blogs linking to you.

If you are struggling to rank, search for powerful authority sites in your locality and niche, then look for content syndication opportunities with guest posts.

2. YouTube Video

Google naturally likes videos featured on their own platform. Most local businesses, though, don’t produce video content, so don’t realize how easy it can be to rank.

When creating the content, ensure you use keywords within the title and include a detailed description. With some backlinks and embeds, you can quickly see your video ranking.

3. Industry Directory

There are many directories online, but some will be harder to rank than others. Specialist industry directories can rank well, but check to see if they already feature on one of the first few pages before you attempt to promote them.

Choosing a powerful site means the domain already has authority, so you may only need a small amount of promotion to rank your own page.

4. Google Local Pack

The number of sites featured in the Google Local Pack has gradually been reduced, but that does mean you will stand out more if you can be included.

Getting listed involves joining Google My Business, completing your profile in detail, getting clients to leave reviews, and getting citations with your full address details included.

A local listing can feature your site name, map listing, images, and street view, so it is good for branding and click-through rate.

5. Google Images

For many niches, images are featured on the main Google results page. Images naturally stand out, increasing the chances of searchers clicking further.

To raise the prospects of your images being shown, use alt tags with keywords, ensuring the image is correctly labeled.

Also, add geotagging information to the metadata, so the image is recognized as a local term.

6. News Reports

Press releases and news reports can often feature in the search results, particularly if the news has a broader context.

It might not always be possible to target a relevant news story, but getting alerts on keywords and industry news should flag opportunities for creating news stories.

It is also possible to become a featured writer for an established site, whether this is industry-related or a larger site like The Huffington Post.

7. Paid Advertising

Finally, you can secure a prime position by paying for Google advertising. Of course, you need to make the ad cost work by carefully tracking your spending, but local advertising will usually be far cheaper than broad search terms.

It is important to track and test your results, calculating how much it is costing to find leads and make sales.

Depending on the competitiveness of the search term, it is possible for a local business to have multiple listings on a page.

The first few listings receive the bulk of the traffic, with numbers falling as you move down the page. If you can rank a few sites, you should receive most of the traffic while heavily branding your business as the major authority.

There is a lot of potential to be found in local search, so there is no reason you shouldn’t make an ambitious plan for a strong Google presence.

Front Porch Metaphor for Social Media Marketing

Front Porch Metaphor for Social Media Marketing

I got into Facebook advertising by way of Google SEO and AdWords.

I learned AdWords from Perry Marshall.

Therefore when I decided to learn Facebook Advertising, I liked him so much, I picked up his book on the subject.

His book mentioned this metaphor, called the front porch metaphor.

Since first reading about it, it’s always been my go-to metaphor for for social selling.

Everything Old is New Again

Maybe it’s also because I grew up in an older neighborhood with hundred-year-old homes.

Those old homes had front porches and I remember sitting in front of my grandparents house on the front porch in the evening.

My grandparents would interact with their neighbors as they walked by.

As they were sitting there talking to us kids and having a conversation among themselves, when a neighbor came by, they would wave.

If they were little friendlier they would chit chat about something going on in the neighborhood or the weather.

Then every once in awhile there was a particularly friendly person and that person would come up and join the conversation on the front porch.

That’s the whole concept right there!

Social Media is the Front Porch for Your Business

You imagine that there’s a front porch in front of your business and there are people out there conversing in plain sight of the people walking past.

As the passers by get curious about what’s going on, they realize that it’s about something that they’re interested in.

Eventually, the ones that are going to be interested are drawn up onto the front porch to engage and interact.

This is all to the benefit of your business.

Obviously on Facebook there’s nobody walking past our business, instead our post moves past as they scroll through their Newsfeed.

Our front porch for the day whizzes past in the form of a post. And if that post is engaging, which means that it’s funny, helpful, inspirational, or invokes some emotion, it makes them stop.

Maybe they hit the like button, the equivalent to a friendly wave.

Maybe they leave a comment, the equivalent to a little chat.

But maybe they get into a conversation with either the business owner or with other people conversing in the comments on the post.

This is an uncommon thing on pages that are not run very well.

But on well run pages, it’s a common thing.

Moreover, they share that post, the equivalent of inviting their friends to join the party on the front porch.

That’s what we want. That’s the opportunity that exists on Facebook.

There’s Nothing New About Social Selling

there-is-nothing-new-about-social-marketing-the-media-is-new-the-rules-are-the-sameThere are businesses today that still use social selling offline.

Think about barber shops, salons, bars, coffee shops, or restaurants.

These are all places that encourage socializing at their establishment for the benefit of the establishment.

If you like to B.S. with the guys down at the barbershop, you’re going to get your haircut more often because it’s fun! It’s an experience that you enjoy

It’s the same tactic employed in the old days by a General Store.

The General Stores literally had a front porches in front of the store.

They will put benches and chairs. They would actively encourage people to be out there socializing.

But while socializing, patrons are seeing that there’s a special on on this type of drink or a special on some item in the store.

Then they maybe they buy a drink because they’re out there talking.

It makes it an easy excuse to go to the store because you know that there’s something interesting happening down there.

This is exactly the opportunity nearly every business has with on Facebook.

So keep this metaphor in mind in regards to everything you do on Facebook.

What Not To Do

2016-03-01_14-18-32From this point of view, you can see where the worst thing you can do is to do a hard sale from your Facebook page.

There are other places in Facebook to make offers. Namely, advertising.

The great thing is when you get ready to make a direct offer you can choose to deliver it to people with whom you’ve already built up a relationship.

On your page you’re going to stay funny, engaging, and socializing.

You’re not going to stand up on your porch with the big bull horn and yell at the people in the street to come up.

It’s just not the right place for it.

That’s my take on the metaphor.

If you want to chat with other marketers who embrace this approach, join us at the Front Porch Marketing Club, a private group on Facebook.

If you’d like to see how to execute a Facebook advertising campaign that will grow your business and make you the celebrity in the area, learn more about my Local Social Ads course.

Aim for the Heart Not the Head

Aim for the Heart Not the Head

Have you ever tried to get someone to change their opinion by presenting a rational argument? How did that work out for you? Outside of scientific arenas, I do not think this works very well at all.

Professional marketers and psychologists know people make decisions emotionally and then use reason to rationalize them.

Daniel Goleman, author of “Emotional Intelligence”, puts it this way,

“Our emotional mind will harness the rational mind to its purposes, for our feelings and reactions– rationalizations– justifying them in terms of the present moment, without realizing the influence of our emotional memory.”

As decision makers and consumers we are at a disadvantage, the influence of our emotions, once we’ve come up with our rationalizations, fades from our recollection.

This is why most people when they learn about this phenomenon respond in protest, “That’s not me. I make decisions based on the Facts.” No one does. That’s not how our brain works.

It’s why science has been developed as a discipline.

It’s an external framework that forces humans to arrive at conclusions based on evidence – not something we do naturally.

However as marketers this works to our advantage if we recognize it and use it.

Evoke emotion first, then give reasons to support the feelings.

This isn’t really manipulation – though at first it can sound like it. It is just good communication. It’s communicating in a way that is natural for humans. Feelings matter.

In fact when we are forced to accept a point of view that upsets us, based only on overwhelming reason, we feel resentful.

And in truth, after the age of four or five, our sense of will is so strong we will likely never submit ourselves to accepting any position that is forced upon us by reason alone, especially when it clashes with our sense of the world.

Vertical or Horizontal Video – Which Do You Prefer

Vertical or Horizontal Video – Which Do You Prefer

Horizontal or Vertical?

How do you like your video?

I bet it depends on what kind of screen you’re watching it on, right?

When it comes to the FB or IG news feeds a horizontal video looks like a narrow bar moving up and down the screen. To get a good view, you’ve got to maximize it and turn your screen.

People may do this on a video they REALLY want to watch, but they are unlikely to do this for an ad.

That’s why we format our video ads, like the one below for Sweet Tooth Candy Buffets, to maximize the screen space of the media channel.

Don’t accept a video ad format that is less than optimal for the distribution you are paying for!

Need help with your next digital marketing project? Let us help!

Just click the Request a Proposal button below and schedule a time to discuss your business.