5 Simple Social Media Mistakes That Make You Look Like An Amateur Blogger

5 Simple Social Media Mistakes That Make You Look Like An Amateur Blogger

The following is a guest post full of great tips by Hank Coleman, publisher of the popular personal finance blog, Money Q&A.

Many brand new bloggers often look like amateurs on social media because they make simple mistakes. Don’t fall into that trap. Want to look like a professional blogger or brand? You can’t make the simple mistakes then.

There are a few of what I would call “no brainers” tips and techniques for social media that all aspiring pro bloggers and web professionals should follow. Not a pro blogger? You should fake it until you make it! Strive to be like the big guys.

After meeting up with other bloggers, following them on social media, and looking through profiles, I guess there are a few social media basics that may not be so basic after all.

But, these simple mistakes are costing you not only in credibility but also traffic and revenue. You have worked hard to develop a plan with your social media marking. Make sure you capitalize on that plan. Stop leaving money and potential followers on the table.

Here are a few easy mistakes on social media that you can quickly fix to increase your blog’s traffic and revenue and look like a pro.

Your Instagram Profile Is Set to Private

If you are trying to drive traffic and awareness to your blog or business through Instagram, why are you making it harder for your readers to see your work? No one should have his or her Instagram account set to private. If you want to protect your privacy, you should have a second Instagram account that is strictly personal and private.

In fact, you should only focus on business, marketing, and your niche on your professional Instagram account. Save all of your family pictures, dog photos, and vacation shots for your personal Instagram account. Don’t mix the two.

Also, when people with private profiles tag posts, they won’t appear publicly on hashtag pages. If you want new followers to find you, you have tag your photos and get on the hashtag pages.

Unprofessional Logo or Image on Twitter and Instagram

Branding is important. It’s also important that you are consistent across all of your social media accounts. Do you have a logo for your business or blog? Is it on all of your social media accounts? It should be.

Far too many bloggers, both professional and hobbyist looking to earn a side income, still have the plain Twitter egg showing instead of a logo. Or, they don’t have a bio or a cover picture on Twitter or Facebook.

You can easily create these simple fixes that add to your professional look on social media platforms. It doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. You can find many great sources for logos and cover pictures on the internet for under $100. Or, you can create your own through pre-made templates on sites like Canva.

Posting Irrelevant Things on Social Media

I don’t care about what you had for breakfast this morning….unless you’re food blogger of course. And, if you’re in my niche, personal finance, I really don’t care about your personal life, family pictures, food preferences, vacation pictures, and the like. I care about learning about investing, retirement, and money matters.

I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating. You should have two accounts on your social media, Twitter and Instagram, one for personal and one for your website. You also need to have a page dedicated to your business or blog on Facebook. Don’t use your personal page. The same goes for Pinterest too!

You shouldn’t post personal pictures and articles on your business account. The same can be said for liking pictures and following accounts as well. The social media platforms’ algorithms are watching what you like, retweet, follow, and share.

Do you want to see more irrelevant posts and pictures in your feed? Then, continue liking and retweeting off topic pictures and articles. Big brother and the algorithms are watching.

The best thing that you can do from your blog account on social media is to stay on topic and on message. What’s your website about? Make sure that you are posting, liking, and commenting on other accounts, articles, and pictures in your niche.

Posting Too Often

The number one reason for people to unfollow someone is that they post too much. Find the sweet spot for your audience and stick to it. Do you only need to post once a day to Instagram? Twice a day? Maybe! Find what works for you and what your audience wants.

But, if you want to loose followers fast, post back to back to back pictures. More is not always better on social media. I have seen new personal finance bloggers recently posting multiple pictures of their vacation in the Mojave Desert right in a row. What does that have to do with investing and finance? Stay on topic with your niche and only post once a day – or twice at most until you have a huge following.

You also have to be mindful of automatic posting, retweeting, and the like based on your RSS feed. When bloggers post a new article on their site, it goes out on their RSS feed automatically.

I once had multiple automation tools tweeting based on my RSS feed. I started to get friends complaining that my email newsletter service, Facebook, and a Twitter automation plugins tweeted the same article headline and link three times in a row in rapid succession. The same can also be said for multiple pictures of the same image posting in your Pinterest feed.

Keep the automated posting to a minimum and monitor your social media feeds to ensure that you’re not posting back-to-back tweets, pictures, or comments in rapid succession.

404 Errors and Broken Links

Most professional and hobbyist bloggers are on social media in order to drive traffic back to their website or blogs. One of the fastest ways to thwart that effort is to have a broken link that doesn’t point back to your website.

When you’ve only got one link in your bio on Instagram to make an impression on your followers, you must ensure that it points back to your site and doesn’t give them a 404 Error. Double and triple check your links to make sure that they are working correctly and landing back on the page of your site that you intended.

Social media is fun. But, it’s also big business. Most bloggers, professional or not, depend on social media to drive traffic to their sites, which ultimately translates into income.

But, far too often new bloggers are making simple mistakes on social media. That doesn’t have to be you though. With a little work and attention to detail, you can stand out amongst your peers and look like a professional blogger on social media.

Did I miss any other simple errors that you’ve seen on social media or that you’ve made early on in your blogging career? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.

Hank Coleman is the publisher of the popular personal finance blog, Money Q&A, where he writes about retirement, investing, and other personal finance topics. Be sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram as well.

A Ton of Digital Marketing Stats

A Ton of Digital Marketing Stats

The following list comes from Hubspot. I made this post because I wanted a text-only list of the stats. Please visit the original for some great infographics. Plus, I got to use #shitton in the title of a post!

SEO Stats

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Only about 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates. (Econsultancy, 2016)

The first position on Google search results on desktop has a 34.36% clickthrough rate. (Advanced Web Ranking, 2015)

The first position on Google search results on mobile has a 31.35% clickthrough rate. (Advanced Web Ranking, 2015)

For every $92 spent acquiring customers, only $1 is spent converting them. (Econsultancy, 2016)

Ecommerce

81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases. (Retailing Today, 2014)

44% of people go directly to Amazon to start their product searches, compared to 34% who use search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to search for products. (Marketing Land, 2015)

Mobile commerce makes up 30% of all U.S. ecommerce. (Internet Retailer, 2015)

Local SEO

72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles. (WordStream, 2016)

30% of mobile searches are related to a location. (Google, 2016)

28% of searches for something nearby result in a purchase. (Google, 2016)

Local searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within one day. (Google, 2014)

78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases. (Search Engine Land, 2014)

Mobile Search

More Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the U.S. and Japan. (Google, 2015)

49% of B2B researchers who use their mobile devices for product research do so while at work. (Google, 2015)

65% of smartphone users agree that when conducting a search on their smartphones, they look for the most relevant information regardless of the company providing the information. (Google, 2015)

51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product when conducting a search on their smartphone. (Google, 2015)

48% of consumers start mobile research with a search engine. (Smart Insights, 2016)

26% of consumers start mobile research with a branded app. (Smart Insights, 2016)

Organic Search

Google gets over 100 billion searches a month. (Mashable, 2015)

The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words. (Backlinko, 2016)

50% of search queries are four words or longer. (WordStream, 2016)

66% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority. (HubSpot, 2016)

71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search. (Google, 2015)

B2B researchers do 12 searches on average prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site. (Google, 2014)

72% of marketers say relevant content creation was the most effective SEO tactic. (Ascend2, 2015)

40% of marketers say the most challenging obstacle to search engine optimization success is changing search algorithms. (Ascend2, 2015)

Voice Search

19% of people use Siri at least daily. (HubSpot, 2015)

37% use Siri, 23% use Microsoft’s Cortana AI, and 19% use Amazon’s Alexa AI at least monthly. (HubSpot, 2015)

20% of search queries on Google’s mobile app and on Android devices are voice searches. (Search Engine Land, 2016)

60% of smartphone users who use voice search have begun using it within the past year, with 41% of survey respondents having only begun to use voice search in the past six months. (Search Engine Land, 2015)

43% of mobile voice search users do so because they say it is quicker than going on a website or using an app. (Statista, 2015)

21% of mobile voice search users do so because they say they don’t like typing on their mobile. (Statista, 2015)

Content Marketing Stats

Blogging

60% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority. (HubSpot, 2016)

1 in 10 blog posts are compounding, meaning organic search increases their traffic over time. (HubSpot, 2016)

Compounding blog posts make up 10% of all blog posts and generate 38% of overall traffic. (HubSpot, 2016)

Over its lifetime, one compounding blog post creates as much traffic as six decaying posts. (HubSpot, 2016)

Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts. (HubSpot, 2015)

B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3X more traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month. (HubSpot, 2015)

B2C companies that blogged 11+ times per month got more than 4X as many leads than those that blog only 4-5 times per month. (HubSpot, 2015)

Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts. (HubSpot, 2015)

75% of HubSpot’s blog views and 90% of blog leads come from old posts. (HubSpot, 2014)

Some 15% of internet users read or comment on discussion forums such as reddit, Digg, or Slashdot, while 10% use the blogging website Tumblr. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

43% of people admit to skimming blog posts. (HubSpot, 2016)

Titles with 6-13 words attract the highest and most consistent amount of traffic. (HubSpot, 2016)

Content Strategy

8% of marketers plan to add Medium to their marketing efforts in the next 12 months. (HubSpot, 2016)

On average, B2B marketers allocate 28% of their total marketing budget to content marketing. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)

Only 30% of B2B marketers say their organizations are effective at content marketing, down from 38% last year. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)

55% of B2B marketers say they are unclear on what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)

32% of B2B marketers say they have a documented content marketing strategy. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)

28% of B2B marketers say they have a documented editorial mission statement. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)

47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report, 2016)

96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders. (Demand Gen Report, 2016)

Podcasts

15% of marketers plan to add podcasting to their marketing efforts in the next 12 months. (HubSpot, 2016)

Podcast listening grew 23% between 2015 and 2016. (Edison Research, 2016)

64% of podcasts are listened to on a smartphone or tablet. (Edison Research, 2016)

21% of Americans age 12 or older say they have listened to a podcast in the past month. (Pew Research Center, 2016)

Weekly podcast listeners consume five shows per week on average. (Edison Research, 2016)

Social Media Stats

Facebook

72% of adult internet users use Facebook. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

Only 45% of marketers think that their Facebook efforts are effective. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)

Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images. (Buzzsumo, 2015)

Facebook continues to have the most engaged users — 70% log on daily, including 43% who do so several times a day. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

Facebook sends 82% of social media traffic to longer stories and 84% of social traffic to shorter news articles. (Pew Research Center, 2016)

63% of Facebook and Twitter users say each platform serves as a source for news about events and issues outside the realm of friends and family. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

73% of people say they use Facebook for professional purposes. (HubSpot, 2016)

In the past two years, content consumption on Facebook has increased 57%. (HubSpot, 2016)

76% of people use their Facebook feed to find interesting content. (HubSpot, 2016)

Facebook has 1.13 billion daily active users. (Statista, 2016)

Instagram

On Instagram, photos showing faces get 38% more Likes than photos not showing faces. (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2014)

28% of adult internet users use Instagram. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

59% of Instagram users are on the platform daily, including 35% who visit several times a day. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

Instagram has 500 million monthly active users. (Statista, 2016)

Over 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram every day. (Instagram, 2016)

LinkedIn

25% of adult internet users use LinkedIn. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

LinkedIn is the only major social media platform for which usage rates are higher among 30- to 49-year-olds than among 18- to 29-year-olds. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

46% of online adults who have graduated from college are LinkedIn users, compared with just 9% of online adults with a high school diploma or less. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

32% of employed adults are LinkedIn users, compared with 14% of online adults who are not employed. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

In the past two years, content consumption on LinkedIn has increased 21%. (HubSpot, 2016)

LinkedIn has 450 million members, but only 25% actively visit the professional social network each month. (VentureBeat, 2016)

Pinterest

31% of adult internet users use Pinterest. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

Pinners are just as likely to purchase as users from other social channels, but spend 50% more on average compared to other social channels. They also spend 20% more than users referred from non-social channels, including search. (Pinterest, 2016)

Pinterest has 100 million monthly active users. (The New York Times, 2015)

71% of Pinterest’s users are women. (Search Engine Land, 2015)

45% of people on Pinterest use the app while watching TV. (Pinterest, 2016)

Snapchat

Snapchat has 150 million daily active users. (Statista, 2016)

Every second, 8,796 photos are shared on Snapchat. (CEWE Photoworld, 2016)

52% of Snapchat users are under the age of 25. (Statista, 2016)

30% of U.S. millennial internet users use Snapchat regularly. (eMarketer, 2015)

Social Media Management

88% of marketers want to know how to measure their return on investment for social media activities. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)

Only 42% of marketers say they are able to measure their social activities. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)

92% of marketers say that social media is important to their business. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)

More than half of marketers who’ve been using social media for at least two years report it helped them improve sales. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)

90% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)

By spending as little as six hours per week, 66% of marketers see lead generation benefits with social media. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)

At least 61% of those investing a minimum of six hours per week in social media marketing saw improvements in search engine rankings. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)

6 in 10 small business owners are not able to track ROI from their social media activities. (eMarketer, 2015)

Social Media Usage

64% of marketers are using social media for six hours or more and 41% for 11 or more hours weekly. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)

Nearly 19% of marketers spend more than 20 hours each week on social media. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)

83% of all marketers actively pursue social media marketing initiatives. (Aberdeen, 2016)

As of 2015, 35% of all those 65 and older report using social media, compared with just 2% in 2005. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

As of 2015, 90% of young adults use social media, compared with 12% in 2005. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

Nearly one-third of the world uses social networks regularly. (eMarketer, 2016)

Twitter

23% of adult internet users use Twitter. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

3 in 10 online urban residents use Twitter, compared with 21% of suburbanites and 15% of those living in rural areas. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

30% of online adults under 50 use Twitter, compared with 11% of online adults ages 50 and older. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

Twitter accounts for 16% of referrals to longer articles from social sites and 14% for shorter news articles. (Pew Research Center, 2016)

Twitter has nearly 4X as many users internationally as in the U.S. (Pew Research Center, 2016)

In the past two years, content consumption on Twitter has increased 25%.

Twitter has 313 million monthly active users. (HubSpot, 2016)

Video Marketing Stats

Visual Content

Visual content is 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. (Buffer, 2014)

Articles with an image once every 75-100 words got double the number of social shares than articles with fewer images. (Buzzsumo, 2015)

71% of online marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)

Researchers found that colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. (Xerox, 2014)

Research has shown that when people hear information, they are likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. (LifeLearn, 2015)

Infographics are liked and shared on social media 3X more than any other type of content. (Mass Planner, 2015)

Product Video

4X as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. (Animoto, 2015)

Almost 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store. (Google, 2016)

53% of smartphone users feel more favorable towards companies whose mobile sites or apps provide instructional video content. (Google, 2015)

4 in 5 consumers believe that demo videos are helpful.

Shoppers who view video are 1.81X more likely to purchase than non-viewers. (Animoto, 2015)

Social Video

39% of marketers plan to add Facebook video to their content strategy in the next year. (Adobe, 2015)

45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week. (HubSpot, 2016)

100 million hours of video are watched every day on Facebook. (TechCrunch, 2016)

82% of Twitter users watch video content on Twitter. (Twitter, 2015)

90% of Twitter video views are on mobile. (Twitter, 2015)

Video Analytics

55% of people consume video content thoroughly. (HubSpot, 2016)

43% of people want to see more video content from marketers. (HubSpot, 2016)

Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users. (Aberdeen, 2015)

Nearly two-thirds of consumers prefer video under 60 seconds. (Animoto, 2015)

51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. (Adobe, 2015)

YouTube

48% of marketers plan to add YouTube to their content strategy in the next year. (HubSpot, 2016)

On mobile alone in an average week, YouTube reaches more 18+ year-olds during prime time TV hours than any cable TV network. (Google, 2016)

Two-thirds of YouTube users watch YouTube on a second screen while watching TV at home. (Google, 2016)

YouTube is more commonly used by larger businesses. For example, 71% of businesses with 100+ employees use YouTube, compared to 38% of the self-employed. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)

YouTube has over a billion users, almost one-third of all people on the Internet. (YouTube, 2016)

In an average month, 8 out of 10 18- to 49-year-olds watch YouTube. (Google, 2016)

Among millennials, YouTube accounts for two-thirds of the premium online video watched across devices. (Google, 2016)

The time people spend watching YouTube on their TV has more than doubled year over year. (Google, 2016)

Email Marketing Stats

Email Clickthrough Rate

54% of marketers say increasing engagement rate is their top email marketing priority. (Ascend2, 2016)

11 a.m. ET has the highest clickthrough rate for email sends. (HubSpot, 2015)

15% of marketers surveyed say their company still does not regularly review email opens and clicks; only

23% say they have integrated their website and emails to track what happens after a click. (MarketingProfs, 2016)

Email notifications about abandoned carts have a 40.5% open rate. (eMarketer, 2015)

As the number of images in an email increases, the clickthrough rate of the email tends to decrease. (HubSpot, 2014)

Email Copy

64% of people prefer rich text emails. (HubSpot, 2014)

One-third of millennial workers are comfortable using emojis to communicate with a direct manager or senior executive. (Adobe, 2015)

Email subject lines that include the words “thank you” have the highest above-average engagement levels. (Adestra, 2015)

Nearly half (47%) of marketers say they sometimes test alternate subject lines to optimize email performance. (MarketingProfs, 2016)

Emails that included the first name of the recipient in their subject line had higher clickthrough rates than emails that did not. (HubSpot, 2014)

The open rate for emails with a personalized message was 17.6%, compared to 11.4% without personalization. (Statista, 2014)

Email Segmentation

42% of marketers do not send targeted email messages; only 4% use layered targeting. (MarketingProfs, 2016)

83% of companies use at least basic segmentation for their emails. (Econsultancy, 2016)

The ability to segment email lists and individualize email campaign messaging are the most effective personalization tactics for 51% and 50% of marketing influencers respectively. (Ascend2, 2016)

Segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue. (The Direct Marketing Association, 2015)

Email Usage

Three-quarters of companies agree that email offers “excellent” to “good” ROI. (Econsultancy, 2016)

Email use worldwide will top 3 billion users by 2020. (The Radicati Group, 2016)

Gmail has 1 billion active users worldwide. (Statista, 2016)

66% of unsubscribes occur between 5 and 10 p.m. (Tomasz Tunguz, 2015)
86% of consumers would like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with at least monthly, and 15% would like to get them daily. (Statista, 2015)

51% of marketers say enriching contact data quality is their most significant barrier to achieving email marketing success. (Ascend2, 2016)

78% of consumers have unsubscribed from emails because a brand was sending too many emails. (HubSpot, 2016)

Mobile Email

Two-thirds of emails are read on either smartphones or tablets. (Marketing Land, 2015)

Outside of work, Americans most commonly check their email while watching TV (70%), from bed (52%), on vacation (50%), while on the phone (43%), from the bathroom (42%), and even while driving (18%). (Adobe, 2015)

75% of Gmail users access their accounts on mobile devices. (TechCrunch, 2015)

48% of emails are opened on a smartphone. (Movable Ink, 2015)

41% of emails are opened on an iPhone. (Movable Ink, 2015)

Lead Generation Stats

Demand Generation

80% of marketers report their lead generation efforts are only slightly or somewhat effective. (BrightTALK, 2015)

Lack of resources, such as staff, funding, and time, remains the biggest obstacle to successful lead generation for 61% of B2B marketers. (BrightTALK, 2015)

For B2B marketers, the ideal number of fields on web registration and download forms is between three and five for 79% of respondents, while only 16% said it was six or more. (BrightTALK, 2015)

53% of marketers say half or more of their budget is allocated to lead generation, while 34% say less than half of their budget is allocated to lead generation. (BrightTALK, 2015)

Only 17% of marketers say outbound practices provide the highest quality leads for sales. (HubSpot, 2016)

65% of marketers say generating traffic and leads is their top challenge. (HubSpot, 2016)

58% of marketers say their lead generation budget will increase in the coming year. (BrightTALK, 2015)

Nearly 80% of companies not meeting their revenue goals attract 10,000 monthly website visitors or less.

For those exceeding their revenue goals, 70% report attracting more than 10,000 visitors per month. (HubSpot, 2015)

The less companies know about their KPIs, the less likely they are to meet their revenue goals. 74% of companies that weren’t exceeding revenue goals did not know their visitor, lead, MQL, or sales opportunities. (HubSpot, 2015)

Marketing Analytics

59% of marketers rely on total lead volume as a top metric. (BrightTALK, 2015)

42% of B2B marketing professionals state that a lack of quality data is their biggest barrier to lead generation. (BrightTALK, 2015)

Inbound organizations are 4 times as likely to rate their marketing strategy as effective. (HubSpot, 2016)

Just 61% of marketers believe their marketing strategy is effective. (HubSpot, 2016)

24% of marketers don’t know whether their efforts resulted in closed-won deals. (BrightTALK, 2015)

28% of marketers say securing enough budget is their top marketing challenge. (HubSpot, 2016)

Marketers that calculate ROI are 1.6 times more likely to receive higher budgets. (HubSpot, 2016)

43% of marketers say proving the ROI of their marketing activities is their top marketing challenge. (HubSpot, 2016)

72% of organizations that calculate ROI say their marketing strategy is effective. (HubSpot, 2016)

Marketing Automation

B2B marketers say the #1 benefit of marketing automation is the ability to generate more and better leads. (Pepper Global, 2014)

Marketers using automation software generate 2X the number of leads than those using blast email software and are perceived by their peers to be 2X as effective at communicating. (Autopilot, 2015)

67% of B2B marketers say they see at least a 10% increase in sales opportunities through lead nurturing, with 15% seeing opportunities increase by 30% or more. (Demand Gen Report, 2014)

74% of marketers say converting leads is their top priority. (HubSpot, 2016)

More than 60% of marketers use mass email blasts to stay in touch with customers, however, only 13% are using automation software. (Autopilot, 2015)

Marketing technology represents 33% of the average marketing budget. (Gartner, 2016)
28% of marketing technology spend goes to infrastructure (e.g., servers, storage, network) to run marketing software. (Gartner, 2016)

Marketing technology spend is now higher than advertising spend for companies. (Gartner, 2016)
64% of marketers say they saw the benefits of using marketing automation within the first six months of its implementation. (Regalix, 2015)

Nearly 70% of businesses are using a marketing automation platform or are currently implementing one. (Aberdeen, 2014)

Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. (Demand Gen Report, 2014)

37% of marketers state that budget constraints hinder them from conducting an efficient marketing automation strategy. (Pepper Global, 2014)

Online Paid Advertising Stats

Adblocking

87% of people say there are more ads than two years ago. (HubSpot, 2016)

Adblocking has cost publishers nearly $22 billion in 2015 alone. (PageFair, 2015)

Adblocker Plus, the most popular ad blocking app, has reached 300 million downloads worldwide. (HubSpot, 2016)

77% of consumers agree that they would prefer to ad filter than completely ad block. (HubSpot, 2016)

41% of ad blocker users found out about ad blockers by word of mouth. (HubSpot, 2016)

64% of ad blocker users do so because they believe ads are annoying or intrusive. (HubSpot, 2016)

419 million people worldwide have installed an ad blocker on their smartphone. (PageFair, 2015)

Display Advertising

91% of people say ads are more intrusive today than two years ago. (HubSpot, 2016)

73% of people dislike pop-up ads. (HubSpot, 2016)

4 out of 5 of people have left a webpage because of a pop-up or autoplaying video ad. (HubSpot, 2016)

One-third of marketers think outbound marketing tactics are overrated. (HubSpot, 2016)
33% of inbound marketers and 31% of outbound marketers rank outbound marketing practices, such as paid advertising, as the top waste of time and resources. (HubSpot, 2016)

72% of consumers say they would have a lower opinion of a brand if they subjected the consumer to a pop-up ad. (HubSpot, 2016)

81% of consumers have closed a browser or exited a webpage because of a pop-up ad. (HubSpot, 2016)

34% of consumers say they have mistakenly clicked on an online ad. (HubSpot, 2016)

Mobile Advertising

70% of people dislike mobile ads. (HubSpot, 2016)

Mobile ad blocking has increased 90% year-over-year. (HubSpot, 2016)

75% of Google’s mobile search revenue comes from apple devices. (Search Engine Land, 2015)

The average clickthrough rate for a mobile search ad on Google in the first position is 27.7%. The average clickthrough rate for the second position is 9.2%. (Search Engine Land, 2014)

Google drives 95% of all paid search ad clicks on mobile. (Business Insider, 2016)

8 in 10 marketers worldwide use location targeting for mobile advertising. (eMarketer, 2015)

By 2019, mobile advertising will represent 72% of all U.S. digital ad spending. (Marketing Land, 2015)

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

64.6% of people click on Google ads when they are looking to buy an item online. (WordStream, 2016)

The average conversion rate in AdWords across all industries is 2.7% on the search network and 0.89% on the display network. (WordStream, 2016)

The average clickthrough rate in AdWords across all industries is 1.91% for search and 0.35% for display. (WordStream, 2016)

The average cost-per-click (CPA) in AdWords across all industries is $2.32 on the search network and $0.58 on the display network. (WordStream, 2016)

When it comes to paid social media ads, the overwhelming majority use Facebook ads (84%), followed by Google ads (41%) and LinkedIn ads (18%). (Social Media Examiner, 2015)

Video Advertising

51% of people have a lower opinion of brands that use autoplaying video ads. (HubSpot, 2016)

70% of U.S. marketers plan to use social video ads in the coming 12 months. (eMarketer, 2016)

82% of consumers have closed a browser or exited a webpage because of an autoplaying online video ad. (HubSpot, 2016)

YouTube’s net U.S. video ad revenues account for 18.9% of the U.S. digital video ad market. (eMarketer, 2014)

Video ads have an average clickthrough rate of 1.84%, the highest clickthrough rate of all digital ad formats. (Business Insider, 2014)

56% of viewers are likely to skip online video ads. (Marketing Land, 2014)

15% of viewers believe a video ad should be no more than 15 seconds in length. (Marketing Land, 2014)

Marketing Technology Stats

Messaging Apps

20% of marketers plan to add messaging apps to their content strategy in the next year. (HubSpot, 2016)

Roughly 3 in 10 online adults (29%) use messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Kik, or iMessage. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

36% of smartphone owners use messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Kik, or iMessage. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

14% of online adults use apps that automatically delete the messages they send, such as Snapchat or Wickr. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

17% of smartphone owners use apps that automatically delete the messages they send, such as Snapchat or Wickr. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

Half of smartphone owners ages 18-29 use messaging apps. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

There have been over 4 billion downloads of messenger apps. (HubSpot, 2016)

6 of the top 10 most used apps globally are messaging apps. (KPCB, 2016)

7 in 10 Snapchatters use Facebook Messenger too. (GlobalWebIndex, 2015)

Among WeChat users in China, 60% open the app more than 10 times every day. (eMarketer, 2016)

By 2018, chat app users will represent 80% of smartphone users. (eMarketer, 2015)

4 out of 10 mobile users use Facebook Messenger. (eMarketer, 2016)

Mobile

Mobile commerce is now 30% of all U.S. ecommerce. (Internet Retailer, 2015)

There are 2.6 billion smartphone users globally. By 2020, there will be 6.1 billion. (TechCrunch, 2015)

One-third of people use their smartphone as their primary device to access the internet. (HubSpot, 2016)

82% of smartphone users say they consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store. (Google, 2016)

34% of online retail purchases now happen on mobile devices. (Google, 2016)

35% of smartphone users check their phone more than 50 times per day. (AdWeek, 2015)

66% of Americans own at least two digital devices — smartphone, desktop or laptop computer, or tablet — and 36% own all three. (Pew Research Center, 2015)

80% of millennials have their smartphone at their side, day and night. (Google, 2015)

85% of adults ages 18-49 use multiple devices at the same time. (Google, 2016)

Consumers spend 85% of time on their smartphones in apps. (TechCrunch, 2015)

Consumers spend 84% of time on their smartphones using just five non-native apps they’ve installed from the App Store. (TechCrunch, 2015)

Only 39% of marketing executives say they are able to understand their customers’ cross-device behaviors. (eMarketer, 2016)

90% of time on mobile is spent in apps. (Yahoo, 2016)

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

80% of respondents believe AI improves worker performance and creates jobs. (Narrative Science, 2015)

AI will replace 16% of American jobs by the end of the decade. (Forrester, 2015)

32% of executives say voice recognition is the most widely used AI technology in their business. (Narrative Science, 2015)

Sales Stats

CRM

22% of salespeople don’t know what a CRM is. (HubSpot, 2016)

17% of salespeople cite manual data entry as the biggest challenge using their existing CRM. (HubSpot, 2016)

Only 21% of salespeople consider their CRM software’s integration capabilities with marketing software or other tools to be high quality. (HubSpot, 2016)

40% of salespeople still use informal means such as Microsoft Excel or Outlook to store its lead and customer data. (HubSpot, 2016)

29% of salespeople are spending an hour or more on data entry each and every day. (HubSpot, 2016)

Nearly half (45%) of companies are using some form of CRM to store lead data, and 84% of those companies have a standard in place for scoring lead quality. (DMN News, 2014)

Selling

70% of companies say closing more deals is their top sales priority. (HubSpot, 2016)

Prospecting is the most difficult part of the sales process for salespeople. (HubSpot, 2016)

58% of buyers want to talk about pricing in the first sales call, while 65% of salespeople want to keep the conversation on goals. (HubSpot, 2016)

57% of salespeople believe buyers are less dependent on salespeople during the buying process. (HubSpot, 2016)

Only 29% of people want to talk to a salesperson to learn more about a product, while 62% will consult a search engine. (HubSpot, 2016)

40% of salespeople say getting a response from prospects is getting harder. (HubSpot, 2016)

43% of salespeople struggle most with prospecting. (HubSpot, 2016)

63% of prospects are “somewhat” or “not at all” knowledgeable about a company before a sales rep makes the first contact. (HubSpot, 2016)

34% of salespeople say closing deals is getting harder. (HubSpot, 2016)

Service-Level Agreement (SLA)

Only 22% of respondents have a formal SLA between marketing and sales. (HubSpot, 2016)

Only 5% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were very high quality. (HubSpot, 2016)

Only 22% of salespeople said marketing was their best source of leads (HubSpot, 2016)

Organizations with an SLA are over 5X as likely to be effective. (HubSpot, 2016)

59% of marketers say they provide salespeople with their best quality leads, while salespeople rank marketing-sourced leads last. (HubSpot, 2016)

82% of marketers with an SLA think their marketing strategy is effective. (HubSpot, 2016)

Social Selling

28% of companies are prioritizing social selling. (HubSpot, 2016)

Buyers who use social media have larger budgets — typically 84% larger than the budgets of buyers who do not use social. (IDC, 2014)

61% of organizations engaged in social selling report a positive impact on revenue growth. (Feedback Systems, 2015)

72% of sales professionals feel that they are not proficient with social selling. (Feedback Systems, 2015)

46% of social sellers hit quota compared to 38% of sales reps who don’t. (Aberdeen, 2014)

Better Problem Solving with Retrograde Analysis and Chess

Better Problem Solving with Retrograde Analysis and Chess

I just read a feature piece on Maurice Ashley, a Chess Grandmaster. He made a TEDed talk about how sometimes working backwards is the best way to solve a problem.

This process is known as retrograde analysis and I’m surprised how little I use it.

Part of the reason I want to write a post about this is to hopefully remind myself to include it explicitly when I am problem solving.

It basically works by starting with an outcome and working backwards from there to the current state of the problem.

I see so much use for this in my own business from project planning to client management.

In some ways it’s similar to setting goals and milestones, but with those I typically set them and then try to build out the steps (forward) to get there.

What I like about the process of retrograde analysis is that I set the goal or outcome and then ask, what has to happen just before we reach this outcome… and just before this, and so on all the way back.

I suspect new insights occur similar to the examples Mr. Ashley gives in his presentation.

One example I can think of in my business is planning training material.

Instead of outlining all the skills or steps necessary to cover a topic, how much more valuable is it to identify how the successful student is different from the complete beginner.

What does a successful student/practitioner know? How do they approach problems and what new capabilities do they now have?

This approach makes the planning process less about covering material and more about developing capabilities… getting the right mix of mindset and technical skill (which is where most training falls short).

This is equally valid for client work. What should a successful end game look like?

How about something like this: A predictable content and creative schedule communicated to a known audience producing reliable sales and leads.

Then work backwards!

If you’re like me, then you need paradigm shifts from time to time in order to make progress and overcome the feeling of being stuck in a rut.

This was just the shift I needed, so I thought I’d share it.

If you’re interested in learning more about retrograde analysis and Maurice Ashley’s story, read the full article by Justin Bariso here: http://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/a-chess-grandmaster-shares-an-effective-trick-for-solving-any-problembr-.html

 

Find Your Purpose and Fling Your Life Out to It

Find Your Purpose and Fling Your Life Out to It

“Find your purpose and fling your life out to it. Find a way or make one. Try with all your might. Self-made or never made.” – Orison Swett Marden

I’ll entertain you with two cautionary tales. One serious and one not so much.

I have distant cousin on my mom’s side who was fortunate enough to inherit a rather large fortune. Enough that she never had to work to provide for herself. She was bright, artistic, and generous. She aspired to be an artist. She looked like an artist, talked like an artist, and had many friends who were artists. But she mostly dabbled.

I don’t know if she had the requisite talent to “make it.” What I do know, is that the vast majority of artists who I see “make it” are makers. They make… and they make… and they keep making. In all that making, someone likes something, and then someone else, and so on.

Dabblers make a little, then hold it up for the world to behold… and if no one takes much notice… well… they’re ahead of their time… their vision is too sophisticated. Time to retire!… How nice!

Second story. My son’s elementary school is having it’s annual talent contest. My son is seven. He doesn’t have any particular talents (beyond being the apple in his parents eyes), but loves being on stage and being the center of attention.

So we go down a long list of things he could do. Sing a song… no… play a song on his recorder… no… or harmonica… no… juggle… no… tell jokes… no. At last he says he knows what he wants to do. He takes his index finger, shoves it in his mouth and makes popping sound with cheek.

I shake my head. Now I’m forced to crush his dreams and explain that this is not a show worthy talent… if a talent at all.

Ok… He’s not detered… He’s got it… He sits on the ground, puts himself into some kind of contortion. More difficult than sitting cross-legged, but no way near as complicated as a Yoga pose or contortionists trick (he’s not really that flexible). But this one gives me hope. I suggest he learn some Yoga poses from his mom. Does he like this idea?… no.

The thing is he doesn’t want to practice. So I sit him down and we have a long (mostly one-sided) talk about how you have practice to get good at anything. You have to put in the time and effort to do something exceptionally well.

I’m not sure he completely bought it. But luckily I’ve still got time with him.

I’m not going to lie though, a good 50%+ of the adults in the “entrepreneurial space” still think you can make money and build a successful business with as much effort as my son wanted to expend on his talent show endeavor.

“Find your purpose and fling your life out to it. Find a way or make one. Try with all your might. Self-made or never made.”

3 Shockingly Good Sources of FREE Stock Photos

3 Shockingly Good Sources of FREE Stock Photos

If you create content for social media, then you know it’s a challenge to finding good, affordable stock photos. And as with most things in life and business, you get what you pay for.

The trade off between free and paid is about high quality vs. low quality AND it’s also about the time spent searching – you spend a lot of time looking through dogs to find a winner.

In this post I’ll show you my three favorite sources that have very high quality photos and excellent search functionality.

I’ve used a variety of stock photo sources over the years.

I started with iStockPhoto  (2006-2010), before they got too expensive.

I used FeaturePics after that as a cheap alternative, but the quality was fair.

I now use DepositPhotos.com and DeathtotheStockPhoto.com for paid photos.

In the past there were few places to find good quality photos with Creative Commons licencing.

Creative Commons is basically a license that allows others to use a piece of copyrighted material subject to certain limitations. This could be a simple attribution or a restriction not to modify or use the work commercially. To learn more about Creative Commons licensing visit their website, which will explain all the different licensing levels.

As time went on the quantity of high quality photos available with Creative Commons licensing grew. I started using CC photos from either Pixabay or Flickr.

However, these are not my favorite in terms of quality and search functionality.

Here my three favorite sources for free, stock photos with Creative Commons Licenses.

Search.CreativeCommons.org

Go straight to the source and use the Creative Commons Search engine (which is not really a search engine, but rather a meta search engine – a search engine that searches other search engines).

By using this you can choose which sources you’d like to search and the appropriate licensing. Then this search will go out to the different sources and do your search with the appropriate licensing.

This great for music and video, in addition to photos.

500px

I believe 500px started out as a photo sharing community for photographers that was an alternative to Flickr.

However, they have since added a marketplace where you can purchase rights to photos, a variety of curated collections, and a huge collection of Creative Commons photos with different licensing levels.

Typically the photos here are professionally enhanced. This gives them a “professional” look… surprise, surprise! Sometimes this is what you’re looking for and sometimes it’s not.

If you’re looking for a more natural, retro look, check out Unsplash.

Unsplash

Unsplash.com is my favorite of the three!

These are the kind of photos I like to use for my own branding and social media. They are similar in style to the photos from DeathtotheStockPhoto.com.

They have curated collections that are awesome!

And all the photos are made available with the Creative Commons Zero license, which makes available for any use (including commercial) with no attribution. This makes them infinitely useful.

Gone are the days when you could bemoan the lack of good Creative Commons photos. Use wisely and generously attribute to show appreciation to the photographers.

Most of all keep making great content!

P.S. I’m just going to keep adding good sources to the end of this post!

  • Here is one that is great for svg files, https://openclipart.org/
  • Awesome photos for blog posts here, http://morguefile.com/
Why Marketers Should Smile at Pain

Why Marketers Should Smile at Pain

You know what you SHOULD be doing.

Better diet, better exercise, more discipline, better organization, take on more responsibility, contribute more to charity, etc.

There are even things not at the forefront of your mind that well meaning friends, family and acquaintances remind you of… Are you drinking too much coffee… diet soda… alcohol?… Are you contributing the maximum to your IRA or 401k?…

There is an endless list of positive things you should be doing.

If you’re lucky you’ve changed some of your behaviors and adopted good, new habits.

But how many good habits lay unused in your big brain?

It’s normal. Everybody has some limit on their capacity to change behavior. The best of us, do our best.

Now, think about how fast you’ve changed when there were bad things heading right for you… or when you had already been hit by them.

I bet you hustled!

You made things happen. You have moved mountains to solve those painful problems. In fact, I bet you were willing to pay cash money to help alleviate some of those problems.

This is why marketers should “Sell Painkillers not Vitamins!”

This saying is very popular in sales and marketing circles, and for good reason.

It’s a fundamental principle of marketing and one of my favorites.

It has nothing to do with pills or products and everything to do with positioning or framing our messages.

It’s far easier to motivate someone to take an action to alleviate their present pain than to prevent a future one.

You have to position your offer as the cure to the prospect’s current pain. The bigger the pain the better.

It doesn’t matter the source of the pain. Physical, psychological and emotional pain are all equally valid.

Even complete luxuries can be positioned as painkillers. They alleviate real psychological pains. It’s the pain in not keeping up with one’s peers or losing social status.

A series of experiments conducted by Eisenberger and Lieberman at UCLA resulted in Social Pain Overlap Theory (or SPOT.)

They showed that losing social connections activates the same parts of the brain as actual physical pain. Hence most folks will do almost anything to prevent it.

Another example of psychological pain is found in people who are collectors. Some people feel discomfort when they have an incomplete collection. They need to complete the collection to alleviate their discomfort… to scratch that itch.

Once you’ve identified the pain your offer cures, you agitate the problem. Maybe they are only mildly aware of their problem.As marketers we’re going describe the problem and it’s consequences with such vivid detail they can’t ignore it.

This video does a great job of describing the pain:

Next you’ll educate the prospect on how they came to have this pain… you’ll describe the mechanism that caused their pain.

Then in the terms of this new mechanism, show them how your offer disrupts or short circuits the mechanism, thereby alleviating the pain.

This video does a great job of describing the mechanism of addiction:

Imagine if you are marketing a recovery center with these types of solutions.

Now describe the promised land… This is what life will be like after the pain has ended. The description of this state should be equally vivid as the description of the pain.

dastardly villainThis is a powerful tool that can be used for good or evil, so don’t let me catch any of you twisting your mustache (proverbial or otherwise) at the possibilities.

 

Did you like this? Did you learn something? If so, please show some love by sharing it on your favorite social media channel… Look down there! There are those conveniently places buttons again. 🙂

5 Steps to Cool Social Branding

5 Steps to Cool Social Branding

Now I’m not referring to the same thing Ron Slater is referring to in the movie Dazed and Confused.

What I’m referring to is the indefinable quality of character called cool.

I’m going to make two bold statements and then show that they’re true:

1) To maximize the effect of social media marketing, you must be “cool”… at least to some part of your market.

2) Regardless of the niche any brand can genuinely earn the reputation of being “cool.”

Before I begin, we have to define what we’re talking about when we say, “cool.”

I remember when I was a teenager complaining to a particularly smart aunt of mine, that I wasn’t “cool.”

She responded, that the word cool was stupid and didn’t mean anything. To this day, in my heart of hearts, I think she was right.

But how could this be when I’ve decided to write an entire post about it and make the claim that being cool is fundamental to successful social media campaigns? (And if you’re friends with me on Social Media, why my most common comment is “Cool!”?)

It all depends on the definition you use.

When Slater asks Mitch, “Are you cool, man?” Specifically, he is trying to find out whether or not Mitch smokes pot, but he phrases it in a very commonly understood teenage question, “Are you cool?”

are you cool man

This question is really asking will you salute and adopt our customs, traditions, beliefs, and appearance in order to be initiated as a member of the group?

Cool, in this context – as a judgment of appropriate inclusion, is pretty stupid and adolescent because it allows the user to pass judgment without naming the criteria on which the judgment is based – very convenient.

Stupid or not, it is powerful for the person who uses it, because it carries the power include or exclude. Moreover it is always undefined (I know it when I see it).

Now this matter of inclusion and exclusion is also involved in the managing of social media communities, but I’ll talk about that in a future post.

What is Cool?

The cool I am referring to is the characteristic we identify in fictional heroes.

James Bond, John Wayne, The Marlboro Man, Bruce Lee, Superman, Batman, Rocky, Conor McGregor, Muhammad Ali, Paul Walker, La Femme Nikita, Thelma & Louise, The Fonz, The Most Interesting Man in the World, etc.

Sean-Connery-as-James-Bond

These are all examples of characters who are/were considered cool by someone, or a caricature of cool, in the case of The Fonz or The Most Insteresting Man in the World.

The award winning ad man and author of The Advertising Effect, Adam Ferrier produced a graduate level thesis on the definition of cool and here are the common qualities he discovered:

  • They have self-belief and confidence – self awareness and more importantly self-acceptance are seen as cool.
  • They defy convention – having the conviction to follow their own path.
  • They are successful achievers, but understated – they don’t have to tell you that they’re good.
  • They care for others, humanistic – … listening to others … broadminded … non-judgmental … they are have a caring respect for others.
  • High connectivity, great with people – … magnetism … a strong personality that attracts others.

So finally we have a set of criteria for cool! Thank you Mr. Ferrier!

Using these let’s revisit my assertions.

1) To maximize the effect of social media marketing, you must be “cool”… at least to some part of the market.

Let’s use proof by reductio ad absurdum, which is a form of proof in math and logic where you assume the exact opposite and look for an impossible consequence.

So let’s imagine the social media presence of a fictional entity, the ACME Corporation.

The social media presence of the ACME Corporation has none… zilch… nada… of the qualities of “cool” mentioned above.

This means they…

  • They have NO self-belief and NO confidence – They are constantly communicating uncertainty and insecurity.
  • They are completely conventional – They are as plain jane as they come. If it hasn’t been done before, they don’t do it. Their ideal response from audience members is, “Of course I’ve seen it before, but it doesn’t offend me.”
  • They have little genuine evidence of success, but they embellish and boast about what little they’ve done – they DO have to tell you that they’re good, because no one else will.
  • They do not care for others, their engagement is robotic and mechanistic – … They don’t really listen to others… smallminded… judgmental … they display blatant disrespect for others.
  • They don’t connect – people feel repelled … they have a weak personality that turns people off.

Now after reading this description (and I’m sure you recognize a few accounts like this… ha ha), does the ACME Corporation have any chance growing their business on social media?

Clearly no…

Q.E.D.

2) Regardless of the niche any brand can be cool.

Consciously cultivate these 5 qualities in your social media presence:

  1. Self-belief and confidence – have self awareness and be self-accepting.
  2. Defy convention – be a trailblazer!
  3. Don’t hide success, but don’t boast – let your customers communicate that you’re good. (Casey Neistat does this well)
  4. Care for others and be human – listening to your audience… be broadminded … non-judgmental … have a caring respect for others.
  5. High connectivity, be great with people – accept your magnetism… display your true self, a strong personality that attracts others. The key to this is being vulnerable – see this TED Talk.

Any brand, personal or corporate, can cultivate these qualities.

Here are some niches where I’ve engineered cool…

  • Tire Stores
  • Auto Repair Shops
  • Medical Skin Care
  • Window Washers
  • Janitorial Firms
  • Spiritual Self-help Authors
  • Business Consultants

Trust me, most of these were challenging, but if I can do with these, it can be done anywhere!

Don’t let anyone tell you Paper Crafts can’t be cool… I have a proof for that!

Go out and be the James Bond of your corner of the interwebs.

There you have it…

Engineering Cool for Social Media Fun and Profit in 5 Easy Steps!

If you enjoyed this post or otherwise found it useful, I’d be much obliged if you’d share it with your audiences on social media. Look at all those cool buttons below… 🙂

Think and Grow Rich in 13 Steps

Think and Grow Rich in 13 Steps

I read Think and Grow Rich years ago. In fact it was about the time I started my business in 2009. It made a big impact on me then. The wisdom documented by Napoleon Hill is as true today as when he wrote it all those years ago.

I hadn’t thought much about Think and Grow Rich until my Uncle sent me an article about Napoleon Hill. It rekindled my appreciation for Hill’s teachings. As a result, I decided to use them as inspiration for this post. Here they are:

#1 Desire: You have to want it.

“Wishing will not bring riches. But desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence which does not recognize failure, will bring riches.” – Napoleon Hill

#2 Faith: Believe that you can achieve your goal.

“Riches begin in the form of thought! The amount is limited only by the person in whose mind the thought is put into motion. Faith removes limitations!” – Napoleon Hill

#3 Auto-suggestion: Use affirmations to reach your goal.

“Your ability to use the principle of auto-suggestion will depend, very largely, upon your capacity to concentrate upon a given desire until that desire becomes a burning obsession.” – Napoleon Hill .

I have to admit, I’ve never been very consistent with affirmations. I’ve used them before, but eventually I feel silly. Doing this series has caused me to reconsider these principles. As I read it today, the power of these is to focus the mind on an outcome. I know wildly successful entrepreneurs who swear by affirmations. I think I’ll start again.

#4 Specialized Knowledge: Gain experiences and continue learning.

“Successful men, in all callings, never stop acquiring specialized knowledge related to their major purpose, business, or profession. Those who are not successful usually make the mistake of believing that the knowledge-acquiring period ends when one finishes school.” – Napoleon Hill

Never stop learning!

#5 Imagination: Come up with ideas and visualize your success.

“Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes. Ideas are products of the imagination … Man’s only limitation, within reason, lies in his development and use of his imagination.” – Napoleon Hill

“Whoever you are, wherever you may live, whatever occupation you may be engaged in, just remember in the future, every time you see the words ‘Coca-Cola,’ that its vast empire of wealth and influence grew out of a single idea,” – Napoleon Hill .

#6 Organized Planning: Take action.

“Opportunity has spread its wares before you. Step up to the front, select what you want, create your plan, put the plan into action, and follow through with persistence … Most of us are good “starters” but poor “finishers” of everything we begin. Moreover, people are prone to give up at the first signs of defeat. There is no substitute for persistence.” – Napoleon Hill

It amazes me how simple these principles are and at the same time, how powerful too. Take action on an organized plan… Boom! The more things change the more they stay the same.

#7 Decision: Defeat procrastination with decisiveness.

“People who fail to accumulate money, without exception, have the habit of reaching decisions, if at all, very slowly, and of changing these decisions quickly and often.” – Napoleon Hill

This is a really an important life lesson and I struggle with this. It was worse when I was younger. I wonder if part of it has to do maturity and responsibility.

#8 Persistence: Don’t stop until you get what you want.

“Riches do not respond to wishes. They respond only to definite plans, backed by definite desires, through constant persistence.” – Napoleon Hill

My dad used to say, “businesses don’t fail, it’s just business owners who give up.” Don’t give up!

#9 Power of the Master Mind: Surround yourself with the best.

“No individual may have great power without availing himself of the “Master Mind” … A group of brains coordinated (or connected) in a spirit of harmony will provide more thought-energy than a single brain, just as a group of electric batteries will provide more energy than a single battery.” – Napoleon Hill

I think the concept of a master mind is fascinating. If our brains are neural nets, then a mastermind is a net of neural nets – very powerful.

#10 The Mystery of Sex Transmutation: Choose a compatible partner.

“Sex desire is the most powerful of human desires. When driven by this desire, men develop keenness of imagination, courage, willpower, persistence, and creative ability unknown to them at other times. Love, romance, and sex are all emotions capable of driving men to heights of super achievement. When combined, these three emotions may lift one to an altitude of genius.” – Napoleon Hill

Sex… It’s what makes the world go round. Hill’s quote needs an update to account for sexual equality, but despite the outdated world views, he’s right. The right partner makes all the difference. Here’s to finding the partner or least enjoying the process.

#11 The Subconscious Mind: Master positivity and dismiss negative emotions.

“The subconscious mind will not remain idle! If you fail to plant desires in your subconscious mind, it will feed upon the thoughts which reach it as the result of your neglect. Positive and negative emotions cannot occupy the mind at the same time. One or the other must dominate. It is your responsibility to make sure that positive emotions constitute the dominating influence of your mind.” – Napoleon Hill

It’s easy for me to believe negative thoughts are protective. All the “what if’s” allow me look at the possibilities and choose the right path. The criticism and judgement allow me to take my game to the next level. This just makes sense to me, it seems like smart thing to do.

But… I’m wrong.

Most of the time I’m indulging in negativity. I think I’m being “practical.” Instead, I’m feeding my mind negative thoughts. This is a hard habit to break. If I stay there too long, I can go into a funk. I was there yesterday.

What helped me was faith in the apparently irrational belief that there is nothing to fear… that everything will work out as it should… that I am adequate for the coming challenges.

In other words focusing on, and believing in the positive.

#12 The Brain: Associate with other smart people and learn from them.

“Every human brain is capable of picking up vibrations of thought which are being released by other brains … The Creative Imagination is the “receiving set” of the brain, which receives thoughts released by the brains of others.” – Napoleon Hill

I wouldn’t get hung up on the scientific validity of the above statement. However, from a practical point of view this is how it feels. How do you feel interacting with intelligent, dynamic people? It’s electric, right?

New connections are being made leading to new ideas. The heart of innovation. Btw, I think it’s funny how Hill says, “and learn from them.” Just to clarify that hanging out and partying with them is not sufficient.

#13 The Sixth Sense: Trust your gut.

“Through the aid of the sixth sense, you will be warned of impending dangers in time to avoid them, and notified of opportunities in time to embrace them.” … “No matter who you are, or what may have been your purpose in reading this book, you can profit by it without understanding the principle described in this chapter.

This is especially true if your major purpose is that of accumulation of money or other material things. The chapter on the sixth sense was included, because the book is designed for the purpose of presenting a complete philosophy by which individuals may unerringly guide themselves in attaining whatever they ask of life.” – Napoleon Hill

I think he left the best for last. How about you?

The article that inspired this list can be found here… 78 years ago, a journalist studied 500 rich men and boiled down their success into 13 steps

Authenticity: The Challenge of Personal Branding

Authenticity: The Challenge of Personal Branding

Content Challenges

It takes work to produce any kind of content… period. It takes a lot of work to create good content.

This is why there is such a profitable divide between content producers and content consumers.

Keeping content looking and sounding consistent requires effort.

Producing it at regular intervals requires discipline.

If you’re managing your own personal brand, it’s somewhat easier because you get to pick the stuff you like, but when you’re managing a brand for someone else, it’s not so easy.

You have to use your imagination and take on the role of an author. You have to ask, what would my client’s brand like/choose in this situation?

Authenticity Challenges

Despite the challenges involved in creating branded content, the biggest issue I see is authenticity.

Social media audiences are as sensitive to authenticity as bloodhounds are to blood. If they don’t smell it, they’re off the scent and will stop following.

So the job is really simple.

Just tell a perfectly authentic, never-ending story.

Easy, right?

Ha!

For a personal brand this should be easy… in theory.

Just Do You!… Be Real!… whatever cliche you want to use for “be yourself.”

The people who like your rap, STAY.

And the people who don’t, LEAVE – the perfect recipe for market segmentation.

The thing is, a personal brand is still a manufactured contrivance.

It’s specifically designed to look like it’s not artificial… sort of like a Bonsai Tree or a Zen garden.

It has to be maintained and manicured. How much info do we leave in? How much do we take away?

In real life I suspect most people’s authentic selves are “complex” and full of contradictory impulses.

These can cause cognitive dissonance for an audience following the “story-line” of a personal brand’s output on social media, where it’s rapid fire message after message.

Close friends and family understand our contradictory qualities (or at least forgive them) in the context of a larger story… our life-story. They have had the chance to learn our story over a long period of time… years usually.

Whereas a social media audience is catching the story somewhere in the middle and giving it only the briefest attention. I think this is why traditional branding works.

It immediately allows people to connect the next piece of content with the last piece.

This is often accomplished by maintaining colors, fonts, logos, themes, etc.

But it can also be accomplished by divulging personal details – telling a story.

For example “I had a flat tire on the way to taking the kids to school today. I had to call AAA and wait 45 minutes to get a tow. It caused me to miss an important meeting with a potential client. Damn am I pissed!”

In these (completely fictional) details there are all sorts of hooks for people’s attention/memory to latch onto.

A reader could think, he has kids, so do I. I know how that feels. And on and on with every detail.

That’s why personal storytelling so powerful when you’re building a personal brand.

Colin Theriot, founder of the Cult of Copy has an excellent video on “exformation“, which is directly related to this issue of being an authentic personal brand. Definitely worth the watch.

For me, I struggle to decide how much personal info to include in my personal “business” brand.

Arguably, I could be including more of my personal story in my brand. I’m seriously considering this option, but it doesn’t come naturally to me in any way.

I’m watching several folks who do this extraordinarily well including the likes of @garyvee, @suebzimmerman, and @mollymarshallmarketing.

I think these three in particular do a good job of finding the right balance between being personal and staying on message.

This concept of a personal brand brings up another issue for me.

This is all about business!

No one (at least not many) likes it when someone starts off all friendly and then turns around and wants to tell you about their “great opportunity.” (Sorry, Mlmer’s)

I think a lot of personal brands are faking it to the extreme. I feel icky when I follow them. And that is the exact feeling we want to avoid creating at all costs.

The best path I see is to be very open about your business.

When you go to a store, the store owner behind the counter isn’t trying to pretend he’s not in business. In fact, he most likely loves his business and loves what he sells. So do I!

How to be the Best in the World

How to be the Best in the World

Have you heard about this concept of being the best in the world?

I first heard it from Seth Godin’s book The Dip.

I recently was re-introduced to the concept in the Three Month Vacation podcast by Sean D’Sousa.

(BTW, this is my new favorite podcast. I highly recommend it.)

I don’t know about you, but the concept of “being the best in the world” is a little intimidating, right?

It’s a high bar!

How do you go about becoming the best in the world at something?

Do you read every book?

Do you join competitions to prove your abilities?

Do you get authoritative certifications?

Do you fake it till you make it? And if you do is that just a delusion?

In episode 123 of the Three Month Vacation, Sean discusses the book, Good to Great by Jim Collins.

I won’t summarize that podcast, instead I will encourage you to go over and listen to it first hand. However, one concept that Sean Desousa mentions is choosing a subset.

This makes sense, right?

It reminds me of what my dad told me an expert was, “a person who learns more and more about less and less.”

This formula is as simple as it is effective.

However, what if our business is a commodity type business. Can we really be the best in the world?

For example, let’s consider a car mechanic or repair shop. This is an industry I know relatively well since most of my full-service clients are these kinds of businesses.

Truth be told though, most traditional service businesses would fall into this same category of activity – including mine and probably yours.

Are you really going to be the best mechanic in the world?

Is that possible?

Is it possible to measure?

How do you become the best mechanic in the world?

It’s not just a problem for individual business owners.

As a marketer and advertiser, I create media for my clients. And there is no more important thing I would like communicate about them than what makes them the best in the world.

It’s a big problem. Sometimes it leaves the resulting media a bit dull.

As I was listening to the podcast, it dawned on me that maybe the simplest subset you can start with, the smallest little place to make your claim to be the best in the world, is to be yourself.

I’m not saying this simply as a trite, self-help affirmation – something along the lines of, “you’re a really special person.”

Instead, I’m making the claim that this has real business advantages and can be a starting place to grow a strong business reputation and brand.

Let’s consider a fictional business owner, Ted Smith.

Ted worked for 10 years at the local Toyota dealer where he rose to the level of senior master technician.

Then one day, Ted decides to start his own business.

Can Ted make the claim that he is the best Toyota mechanic in the world in the world?

I would claim it’s unlikely.

It’s likely that technicians that work on race crews, or engineers that work for Toyota, or savant technicians of one type or another may be the best in the world.

But there are a few advantages that Ted has starting his own local business.

The first advantage is that there is literally no one exactly like Ted!

If Ted delivers his services competently, while demonstrating his own true personality, he is capable of making the claim that he is the best Ted Smith providing a competent Toyota service… and being Ted matters – more one this later.

How Big is the World?

What if Ted is the best independent Toyota technician in his local area?

For his potential customers, the local area is the effective “world” – since no one is going to travel more than 10-20 miles to repair their car.

Serving a geographically isolated population is certainly one way to own the moniker, “the best in the world.”

However, it’s not as important as the quality of a service being delivered by a unique individual with an authentic personality. Here’s why…

What Makes a Thing Valuable?

I think the importance of an owner’s personality comes down to understanding the value delivered by the business to its customers.

In classical economics, the value is measured by an objective measurement of the utility added to the car by the repair adjusted for the supply and demand of technical labor.

This is how a completely rational consumer is supposed to operate in a classical economic system.

Fortunately, consumers do not operate 100% rationally as classical economics describes.

Instead, behavioral economics says that consumers operate less than rationally. Human psychology plays a big role in how people operate in a market.

In the case of our auto repair business, the value delivered by a service provider is more complex than a simple service or product offering.

Feelings Matter

The emotional and psychological experience of the consumer is part of the value of a product or service.

The feeling that you were told the truth by a service provider plays a big factor in satisfaction.

At the same time, the psychological factors that allow someone to feel that they’ve been told the truth is complex.

One critical component of feeling trust is by having rapport – the feeling that you and another person are alike.

Whether you trust a service provider makes a big difference in how you feel about a transaction.

Maybe classical economics doesn’t care about how customers feel after a transaction, but smart business people do.

Being your true self will create rapport in at least some part of the market.

If you do that and deliver a competent service it will literally be more valuable for that group.

Fortunately, the vast majority of people have personalities that are likable by at least some segment of the population.

Friendly and likable people will have an advantage since they will be able to create rapport with more people.

However, most people can find their tribe – that group of like-minded folk who feel a rapport with each other.

So what’s the point?

Even small, commodity service providers benefit from communicating the owner’s core personality.

At the very least, they should be openly communicating their values. And this needs to be present in all their media and branding.

This is the same activity we describe as personal branding.

So, what I’m really saying is, personal branding plays some role in most small business marketing.

It may even play a vital role in the overall branding of a local commodity service provider.

Personal Branding RULES!

Being a highly competent service provider who expresses their own unique individuality is a great place to start the journey of becoming the best in the world at something.

The confidence gained by receiving feedback from happy customers who come to know, like, and trust you should fuel you with the passion and drive you need to become an even more competent provider.

And now you’re on the path to being the BEST in a BIGGER world.

As markets become even more competitive, ignoring some level of personal branding is a mistake.

Now, there is a small percentage of people who are genuinely unlikable. Let’s call them, “horrible people.”

Maybe those owners who are “horrible people” have no choice but to hide behind a large corporate brand with no personality, but everybody else has a better choice.

What’s worse is, by sticking to a nameless faceless corporate brand, you look like those companies owned and operated by “the horrible people.”

Sophisticated consumers have already been burned by big corporations.

As such, you don’t want to be accidentally grouped with them by donning a brand that is 100% free of an authentic personality.

If you are a business owner, who is also a “good person”, you owe it to your company to let your true personality show through.

In the old days, this would have been called demonstrating integrity and standing behind your products and services.

It’s the same today… and it literally makes your offerings the best in the world.