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.

When Customers or Clients Behave Badly

When Customers or Clients Behave Badly

Every business wishes to keep its customers or clients happy. After all, they provide the revenue that allows the company to stay afloat. However, there are certain kinds of customers or clients who hurt rather than help the business’s bottom line. It’s important for every business to identify these parties and to take action to limit the financial damage they cause.

Here are six profiles of customers or clients behaving badly.

1. The client who makes a request that is unethical and/or illegal.

One example is the client who requests a receipt showing an amount that is different from the actual amount for the transaction. Another example is the client who wants the transaction to be “under the table.”

Obviously, you must refuse to participate in such transactions. The viability and longevity of your company depend upon your commitment to act with integrity and according to the law at all times.

2. The customer who is abusive.

If a customer abuses you or your staff verbally or physically, it is necessary to take action to terminate the relationship. And, of course, the police should be called if the abuse crosses the line into criminality.

3. The client who makes unreasonable demands.

This can occur, for example, in a business-to-business supplier arrangement.

If a client responds to a free delivery offer by placing regular small orders instead of one large order, in order to reduce his own inventory costs, the client is taking unreasonable advantage of your offer.

At a certain point, it may be appropriate to withdraw the free delivery option for this client.

4. The customer who complains on social media.

In the modern era, customers often express concerns on social media about products or services.

This is a difficult scenario for businesses to navigate, as they must keep customer confidentiality concerns in mind.

As a first step, it is appropriate to respond on the social media platform, without overreacting or attacking the customer.

As a second step, if the customer consents, the discussion can be shifted from the social media platform to a private conversation between you and the customer.

5. The client whose actions result in costs that are in excess of revenue.

This may occur in a business-to-business arrangement, where – for example – the client makes excessive use of support services in relation to software.

In this instance, the client may be using your business as a trainer instead of instituting training for its own staff.

At a certain point, after appropriate cautions and warnings, it may be desirable to terminate the software supply arrangement.

6. The customer who returns a large proportion of purchases.

There are customers who abuse retail return policies. Some buy a product – such as an item of clothing or an electronic device – with the intention of using it temporarily and then bringing it back for a refund.

Others purchase multiple similar items with the intention of trying them out and then returning all but one. Such customer conduct has a negative effect on inventory and warehousing arrangements.

Where such abuse continues, it is appropriate to first issue warnings and then to begin refusing refunds.

By identifying problem customers or clients, businesses begin the process of formulating a response to these individuals.

It is in the best interests of both your bottom line and your staff’s morale to develop policies and procedures to deal with such customers and clients.

Guest Post By John Dunnery

Is Your Marketing a Welcome Guest or an Unwanted Pest?

Is Your Marketing a Welcome Guest or an Unwanted Pest?

This is from an old riff from Dan Kennedy, but it’s more valid today than ever.

Today people will go to great lengths to avoid advertising, like paying for premium content and ad blockers.

However, there is always room for a welcome guest and there are so many ways to be that welcome guest.

Here are my two favorite ways:

1. Be human on social media.

What happens when humans meet humans? They make friends, not with everyone, but even those become important.

As a group of friendly folk grow, they stand in contrast to those who don’t share their values and, for lack of a better word, style.

Once this happens a community begins to form. It’s natural!

There is a feeling among community members to help each other out and stick together.

One person’s annoying offer is another person’s salvation. This happens all the time in hobby niches.

I like aquariums. I always have, since I was a kid.

Now there is a thriving aquarist community on YouTube. I love it!

I learn way more than I could by myself and even though the communication is one way, I feel like I know and trust the content makers.

For this phenomenon benefit businesses, it doesn’t need to be complete. It’s just the hint of this that gives you an unbeatable edge over your competitors.

People only shop price when that is the only perceived difference.

That you have feelings of like and trust towards one brand complicate the decision making process… in your favor!

My second favorite way is the method Dan Kennedy was alluding to 30 years ago (and it was an old concept when he started touting it).

2. Irresistible Offers!

They’re irresistible! They take away, or significantly reduce, the risk on the part of the customer/client.

Before there were Sales Funnels, there was Product Mix.

There have always been a class of products, services… OFFERS, that were specifically designed to bring people “in the door” or “on the lot.” They were designed to “make the phone ring.”

Now did 20% of the people take the irresistible offer and run for the hills? Yes.

But did 80% of the people that came in on the irresistible offer upgrade their order with something extra, bigger, better, nicer, more luxurious, or more complete? Yes!

The problem with most advertising boils down to brand recognition and value proposition.

I’ll leave off with two parting shots:

1. In a social media world, even the smallest companies can start playing a sophisticated game of branding without spend huge resources.

2. Creating offers that provide an irresistible value proposition requires owners who have the courage and confidence in the value proposition of the remainder of their offerings.

Agree? Or disagree? Let me know.


9 Tips to Optimize Facebook Ads in 30 Minutes or Less

9 Tips to Optimize Facebook Ads in 30 Minutes or Less

If you’re looking to get better returns on your Facebook ad dollar, look no further.

When you take the steps to ensure your message is always connecting with the right audience, improving the performance of your ads might be much easier than you think.

This article will explore several simple ways you can set up and optimize your Facebook advertisements, all in 30 minutes or less.

1. Segment Your Audience

Facebook has an almost immeasurable number of distinct groups of audiences.

Consequently, slightly different interests will yield vastly different performance among even within the same niche.

That’s why it’s a good idea to group interests that you want to target into topics, and then create separate ads for each topic.

For example, if your target interests including Internet marketing, Facebook marketing, and online advertising, then your first ads that might include content pertaining to Facebook, the second set online advertising generally, and so on.

This simple segmented approach allows you to optimize on the basis of interests, and ultimately create more focused advertising campaigns.

2. Separate Desktop and Mobile

The differences between the mobile and desktop platforms are often underestimated.

The fact is, the way people access the net, their behaviors, and even the sites they visit can vary depending on the device they’re using.

That’s why when you use a separate Ad Set for each type of platform, it’s possible for you to greatly improve your optimization, including conversions and bids for both devices.

This separation will also help you fine-tune your call to action, making it desktop or mobile specific.

3. Optimize Newsfeed and Column Ads Separately

If you’re not already, it’s vital that you set up segmented advertising, completely separating the ads that appear in a desktop newsfeed and ads that run on the right column of Facebook.

Content that appears in the desktop newsfeed tends to have has substantially more space available, which translates to room for much larger images.

This considerable difference in structure means that identical ads will perform very differently depending on where you place them.

Facebook enables you to choose where your ads will be seen in the Placement section at the Ad Set level.

4. Test Several Images

The single most important element in your Facebook advertisements is without a doubt the photos you use.

This is because several studies have shown that photos are leading factor in helping people decide if they’re going to click on your posts are not.

That’s why it’s important to test out several different images, and then determine which ones are offering you the highest click through rate and conversions.

After you’ve identified your highest performing images, you can use that information to use more images of the same style future.

5. Use a CTA (Call to Action)

As you may know, Facebook allows you to choose a call to action when posting an ad.

Using a CTA can greatly improve your click through rate and conversions, and should be tested with the same enthusiasm as the images you use.

The CTA button is available in the Ad Setup menu, and the default choices include: Download, Learn More, Shop Now, Book Now, and Sign Up.

6. Use Facebook Pixels

Although this tip is somewhat obvious, enough businesses neglect to do it that it’s worth mentioning.

Pixels are a Facebook feature that allows you to signal an event that occurs while someone is browsing your page, like registering or viewing a specific product.

The value of that type of knowledge should be almost immediately obvious.

You can install a pixel by logging into your ad manager, going to the top menu, choosing Assets, and then Pixels.

On the following page, select Create Pixel button and follow the setup wizard.

After you have been provided with your pixel code, just install it on your site, and you can carefully track the results of all your Facebook marketing energies.

7. Target Behaviors

Countless businesses use Facebook advertising as an opportunity to target interests.

Unfortunately, many businesses gloss over the opportunity to target behaviors instead, which often are more apt to pay off.

Facebook allows you to target dozens of behaviors that may indicate someone is ready to make a purchase, ranging from the browser they use to the games they play.

You can target these behaviors by selecting them from ad set menu.

8. Target an Email List

Another feature Facebook marketers often overlook is the ability to create an advertising audience on the basis of email addresses.

Head to Facebook ad manager, select Create Audience, then Customer List, and Facebook will prompt you to provide your email list.

All you have to do is provide Facebook with a text file with one email per row, or list of phone numbers in the same format, and let Facebook do the rest.

9. Schedule Your Ads

Like many popular advertising platforms, Facebook allows you to schedule when your ads are run, both in terms of day of the week and hour of the day.

Many businesses overlook this feature because it’s only available with a lifetime budget as opposed to a daily budget option.

If you’re not familiar with lifetime budget, it refers to the total budget for a set of ads as opposed to the daily limit for those ads.

If you have a campaign that isn’t offering somewhat reliable performance over time, this setting may not be for you.

However, if you know exactly when you want your ads to be seen you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more important customization option.

Time for Action

Set up and targeted appropriately, Facebook advertising can offer your business a sensationally profitable means of advertising.

As you become more familiar with your marketing possibilities on the platform, you improve your ability to access these opportunities.

Although learning the ins and outs of Facebook advertising isn’t something you can tackle in an afternoon, with a little persistence, concrete improvements to your ROI are well with

6 Overlooked Ways a Facebook Page Can Help Your Business

6 Overlooked Ways a Facebook Page Can Help Your Business

Are you getting the most out of your business Facebook page?

While most businesses understand they can draw traffic and referrals from Facebook, there are actually dozens of different ways that you can benefit from your page, provided you know how.

Below you can learn about seven of the most effective ways to get your Facebook page working for your business, often in as little as 30 minutes.

1. Capturing Reviews and Testimonials

If your page is categorized as a local business, it’s a little known fact that Facebook allows your page to collect both reviews and testimonials.

Although their terms of services do not allow you to explicitly incentivize your customers to do this, you are permitted to let your fans know they can leave you reviews on your page.

After you’ve received a few good reviews, you can add some of the more noteworthy ones directly to your site to serve as testimonials.

To do this, click on the timestamp section of the post, select the drop-down box, and then choose “Embed Post.” This will allow you to embed that positive review directly on your site, which helps demonstrate its authenticity.

2. Engage with Fans

More than a hub for posting content, Facebook is a platform for connecting with fans and creating conversations.

Your fan base is composed of at least four different groups: current, potential, former customers, and fans of your content.

Understanding this, you should create content that can help you engage with all of these groups. To do this, you can follow the age-old rule for engagement known as the 80-20 rule.

This rule means that 80% of your content should be designed to appeal to your audience, and the remaining 20% should be shameless self-promotion.

In short, the vast majority of your posts should be designed to help get your fans to interact with your page.

This can be done by actively encouraging them to participate and share at every possible opportunity.

When a majority of your posted content follows these guidelines, you’ll almost inevitably form an audience that will be more receptive to the self-promotional content that follows.

3. Request Feedback

If you can make use of insight from potential, current, or former customers, consider surveying them with your Facebook page.

A survey will encourage your fans to engage with you, and may also provide you with invaluable feedback regarding the kinds of services they’re seeking.

You can poll your audience for free with the use of Facebook polling apps, and choose an app depending on how you want the data complied.

You can also use this as an opportunity to collect fan information, including email addresses, or other types of information you can’t collect through a public Facebook page.

4. Capturing Blog Comments

Drawing posts from your Facebook page can be a very effective alternative to using a comment section on your blog.

Just post a link to your Facebook at the end of any blog post, and then ask your fans to head there to discuss things further.

This enables you to disable comments on your blog, avoid the problem of dealing with automated spam, and promote engagement at the same time.

Additionally, anyone who sees the discussion on your page is apt to click on to read the post that everyone is talking about!

5. Share the Views of your Business

If you find yourself posting comments on a blog within your business niche, post as your own Facebook business page rather than your personal profile.

When you use your Facebook page to comment, you set up an open invitation for people to connect with your page.

Apart from a small increase in traffic from relevant and highly targeted users, this also can create backlinks to your page, and any user that is an administrator or moderator for your page can post this way.

You can post as your business by clicking on the drop-down menu next to the “comment” button, and selecting the page that you want to post as.

6. Fight Negative Search Results

If you end up getting negative results in a prominent position in a search engine page, you can push them to the bottom with only a little Facebook maneuvering.

This is because Facebook is a very potent domain that enables you to easily rank well in a search results page.

While your Facebook page probably won’t rank as high as your website overnight, an active page can help you get in the top ten results in a SERP in only a few weeks, which can help you push negative results lower down the page.

Getting Started

As you’ve seen, many of these tips can be implemented by doing very little additional work.

Taking actions as simple as posting comments under your business name, or even embedding testimonials, can prove invaluable to your business. There’s no reason for you not to get started right away!

Adding Instagram Photos Increases Checkouts by 24%

Adding Instagram Photos Increases Checkouts by 24%


This case study shows how adding social proof in the form of user generated content from Instagram increased checkouts on an ecommerce product page.

eCommerce site, Vanity Planet had a product page with a good checkout rate, approximately 6%.

They installed a plugin produced by YOTPO (I mispronounce the name of the video – apologies to the fine folks at YOTPO), called Social Curation.

I use a YOTPO plugin for reviews on an ecommerce shopify site I run and I love it. I think they have great software.

Using the plugin, they put the user-generated Instagram photos at the bottom of the product page with the end result being an increase in the checkout rate of 24%. (See video below for visuals.)

Obviously Vanity Planent encouraged these Instagram users to take photos on Instagram and then add the hashtag #VPBeauty.

Once the community had tagged their images, Vanity Planet used the Social Curation plug-in to add those photos to the bottom of the product page.

This a great example of how to use a user-generated content to provide social proof at the time of checkout.

It gives people who would normally say, “well I don’t know Vanity Planet, so I’m not going to buy online” to see all of the other users who bought the exact product from the very same store.

They receive proof that there are numerous people who have successfully bought this item and we’re so happy about it, they posted it on Instagram.

I love this case study and hope this sparked some ideas for your business.

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