Dear Marketers: Easy Does It With Easy, Please!

Dear Marketers: Easy Does It With Easy, Please!

All it takes is a quick run through my tribes on Triberr or a fast dash through Feedly and there you have it. Effusive use of “easy.”

[clickToTweet tweet=”Did you know that everything related to #marketing is easy? I had no idea!” quote=”Did you know that everything related to marketing is easy? I had no idea!”]

I was under the misconception that many of us actually work pretty ding-danged hard to gain our level of expertise in our chosen fields. Shame on me!

All of the time spent researching, testing and tweaking, keeping up with industry trends and articles … all a big fat waste of time. Because it’s all SOOOOOOOO easy.

Once again I find myself quoting the brilliant (and fictional) Dr. Sheldon Cooper. For the most part easy is no more than malarkey!

Easy Is As Easy Does!

And it often reverts back to the quote I bogarted for the heading above (in case you don’t get it immediately, think Forrest Gump).

Easy is a relative term. We all have something, or several somethings that come easily to us. Using myself as an example, most athletic pursuits come pretty easily. Reading and research also apply.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Easy is a relative term. There’s NO one-size-fits-all EASY solution for everything.” quote=”Easy is a relative term. There’s NO one-size-fits-all EASY solution for everything.” theme=”style4″]

You might think that I’d add graphic design, blogging or social media marketing to that list. But, SHOCKER, as much as I love them, and while I do think I’m pretty good at each, they don’t always come easy.

Creativity Isn’t Always Delivered In A Consistent Stream …

When your chosen profession draws on your creative ability and also requires consistency, you’re often faced with the dreaded dry spell. Sometimes you have to power through writer’s block, the inability to come up with a killer color scheme, a lack of fresh ideas.

It’s not as simple as shaking it off. A quick walk around the block doesn’t always bring the next BIG idea or burst of innovation.

Sometimes you have to keep on keeping on, creating schlock, deleting it, starting anew … over and over again.

Does that sound easy?

Time Spent Has To Be Considered

Even if the task itself is rather natural and falls handily into your skill set, it still takes time and effort.

[clickToTweet tweet=”At what point does #easy fail to make the cut-off? Five minutes? An hour? A day?” quote=”At what point does easy fail to make the cut-off? Five minutes? Half hour? An hour? Half a day? A day?” theme=”style4″]

I could keep going, but I’m guessing I’ve made my point.

Easy Devalues Talent, Expertise & Hard Work!

And it’s this point that really ruffles my feathers. Talent is something we spend time cultivating, expertise something we spend time honing. Delivering on creativity isn’t about speed or ease, it’s about work done well.

Sure, it’s easier for some than others. But, please note I used the word “easier,” not “easy.” It goes back to that idea of easy being relative. What takes me four hours might only take you two.  But I bet those two hours were filled with your expertise, your drive, your ambition and your hard work. Much like my four.

Tools Too Often Tout Easy!

Every day we hear how a certain tool or app is going to revolutionize the way we do business because it’s going to make our daily tasks easier. From design tools like Canva to scheduling tools like Hootsuite and Buffer, everything is now easy.

To be fair to many a tool creator, I’ll use the ever awesome Buffer as an example, they don’t all tout their tool or app as the second coming of easy. In fact, Buffer excels at creating content that showcases how the tool requires some time and effort even as it makes scheduling posts something we can automate.

Sadly, it’s often users of the tools, those that readily proclaim themselves evangelists of the easy application of said tool, that muck things up.

Tools, are simply that, tools. It’s the preparation and the skill that makes the tools valuable. Preparation, research, and the expertise behind them … NOT easy.

Hate To Tell You, But It Ain’t A Piece Of Cake!

Can we please stop throwing around easy like it’s the end all be all and everything that matters to business and brands?

It’s not easy. Most of it isn’t simple. It’s certainly not a snap of the fingers, nor is it a cake walk. Most of it involves hard work, plenty of time and effort, lots of trial and error and maybe even a tear or two. If you’re not prone to the occasional angry tear, you can substitute random swearing, desk bashing, what have you!

I’ll leave you with a final thought. When you try to come across as if everything you do is a breeze, easy-peezy-lemon-squeezy, you can come across like an absolute ass.

Lording it over your peers, potential clients, current clients, even friends and family isn’t cool. Give easy a break and showcase your commitment, your excellence, your talent instead.

Choose A New S-Word: Let’s Say So Long To Sexy!

Choose A New S-Word: Let's Say So Long To Sexy!

It is a Friday. And yes, some might consider this post a bit amusing – especially some of my alliterations, so it will fill the role of a Friday Funny share. But, there’s a part of me that’s dead serious.

Sexy … BLECH!

Sometimes the use of the term, in social media and digital marketing circles especially, just sickens me.

For the most part, party peeps, no one’s thinking about how sexy your social media services are, or are not. And let’s face it, many of the entrenched faces and voices in the industry, are aging. No, I’m not starting an ageist rant. I know there are several social media hotties in our midst.

But c’mon. I’m about to turn 44. I try to take care of myself, I play tennis and lift weights, and on good days I look in the mirror and think I’m cute as a button. But, I’m certainly not the epitome of sexy. I’m middle-aged and often crabby, for Pete’s sake (I hope Pete won’t think I’m taking his name in vain).

Let me ask you a question? Is anyone labeling Ted Rubin’s ideas or articles sexy? Doubtful. Socktastic (ha ha, it’s even an “S” word)? Probably. Sexy? Not so much. Same goes for Mark Schaefer. And for that other Schaffer? Neal, that’s it!

Strive For Something BETTER Than Sexy!

I don’t yearn for sexy.

[clickToTweet tweet=”I don’t want my acquaintances, peers and clients to think of me as ‘sexy.’ ” quote=”I don’t want my acquaintances, peers and clients to think of me as sexy (actually that’s quite creeptastic).” theme=”style4″]

I don’t want my design work deemed sexy. I really don’t want sexy attributed to me by anyone other than my husband. And maybe Benedict Cumberbatch (swoon). Okay?

Can we suss out a new S-word to get all jiggy with (yes, that DID totally out me as middle-aged, and I’m fine with it) going forward?

There are ever so many scintillating (add that one to the list post-haste) S-words we could champion instead.

How about smart, special, savvy?

What about giving stellar a whirl? It comes from the stars!

We could try standup, standout, striking. Maybe test the waters with successful, stirring, smashing or spirited?

If you like to snark and sass (sound like anyone you know?), you could strive for sparkling, salty, smoking or even sizzling!

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being seen as skillful or satisfactory is there?

You can try for stupendous heights of sublime or supremity!

You can really knuckle down and go for sesquipedalian. WHAT? But, of course, it means “given to or characterized by the use of long words.” LOL!

Are you always giving when you write and share? Then there’s no doubt you could be described as swagalicious!

Last, but certainly not least, you can go for the penultimate “S” word and hobnob with the likes of a very famous Mary! Poppins, of course. Let’s all embrace supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Seriously? Enough With The Sexy!

I’ve just provided you with a stunning selection (still rocking that “S”) of superior words that will mean a lot more to your audience than the smarmy use of “sexy” to describe everything from scotch tape to sugar cookies!

Who’s with me?

Aside: Why didn’t I link to any of the powerhouse fellas I mentioned above?  Because I’m not trying to piggyback off their names to get reads on this post. It was a serious question. But I didn’t reference any of their specific work, so I feel linking would have been a little shady and gratuitous.

Death To The Marketing Is Dead Trend!

Death To The Marketing Is Dead Trend!

Do you ever feel like you’re surrounded by drama? I’m sure I do my fair share to create much of the drama that surrounds me. You certainly can’t publish snarky sentiments and expect to get off drama free.

But I often find myself scrolling through articles, mostly via Feedly or another RSS gatherer, wondering why we have to go for the dramatic when it’s less than necessary.

Death, Dying & Killing It When You Content Market!

Is it just me, or do an awful lot of marketing articles tap into the idea of killing something? And, if not that, then they’re talking about the impending death knell of a practice we’ve all come to hold dear. Anyone else notice that? Just me?

Why do we feel the need to pronounce currently accepted and still valuable practices dead in order to be provocative? Every time I turn around I’m bombarded with another announcement of imminent death…

  1. SEO Is Dead! Stick With Social!
  2. Content Marketing Is Dead! Stop Beating A Dead Horse!
  3. Facebook Is Dead! Switch Immediately To Myspace!

Okay, I admit it. I may have gone just a bit too far with that last fake headline. But I know plenty of you have seen these pronouncements populating your feed of late.

While I’m all for taking off the rose-colored glasses and looking a bit deeper to see the two sides that make up every story, I have some problems with this Chicken Little, “the sky is falling” mentality.

Several problems, actually, and what better way to share them than with a dose of my patented Simmer Down Sassy Pants snark and sass.

#1: They Tend To Be Ridiculously Premature

People have been writing about and lamenting the death of Photoshop for years. It was not too recently ramped up with the launch of Canva, the supposed “democratizer” of graphic design – seriously don’t get me started, that’s another rant entirely – anywho … where was I, oh … the death of Photoshop.

It’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Derek, my husband and partner in Go Creative Go business crime, still uses it every day. While I was never a big Photoshop fan, I’m still using Fireworks on a several times per day basis. FYI, Fireworks is another image editor/creator, optimizer owned by Adobe.

Photoshop is still available and still being updated by the fine folks at Adobe, though it’s now a cloud-based product. And, I see articles and tutorials published almost every day by fellow graphic design enthusiasts.

There’s no reason to jump ship quite yet!

#2: They’re Gimmicky!

Someone told someone else that provocative headlines were the hot ticket. Content marketing with catchy titles is the way to go.

Not so fast there, Tiger. Those are blanket statements. And you already know how I feel about blanket statements, don’t you?

Sure, the occasional provocative title will gather eyes for your well-written (we hope) content marketing prize. I’m not categorically against the pithy, the provocative. As a matter of fact, the title of this article could very easily be described as provocative, and, YES, some could say it detracts from my point. Maybe! Kinda!

Gimmicks are great in the short run, but if you don’t deliver on what’s promised they won’t reap you any rewards.

A catchy title that draws eyes CAN be great. But if those eyes aren’t delivered the promised goods and ideas, you’ve possibly lost a reader. Possibly a prospect. Maybe even a paying client!

#3: They’re Uninspired!

Bandwagon jumping is often the first sign that someone’s run out of creative mojo. When we’ve lost the ability to create something relatively new and targeted, we fall back on the standbys. The gimmicks. Click bait. Eye candy.

Again, there are times when a provocative title draws eyes to a real prize. A well crafted, ideas-full article or other form of content (podcast, infographic) that packs plenty of punch and generates real discussion.

There are some great “death to” articles that are absolutely on target and worthy of the shares the title generates. But it’s become too easy to add the word “death” to a title, and then fail to deliver on the expected punch and pithy entendre.

It’s at that point when the uninspired ruin a tactic that can be quite effective.

Death is, for all intents and purposes, permanent …

Yes, we could certainly discuss many a religious belief to the contrary, but work with me here.

Digital marketing, social media marketing, content marketing … each is equal parts fleeting and permanent. Permanent in that someone can always take a screen cap and reference your past foibles. But fleeting in that new ideas, influencers and best practices crop up every day. Dare we say every hour?

Let’s not bring pre-mature death on anything that remains useful, even for only a margin of our audience. Let’s, instead, consider how to bolster what’s flagging, how to revive what’s grown a little tired, and breathe new life into tactics and practices before we relegate them to turn to dust and blow away.

Your Content Is The Rhythm Section Of Your Brand!

Your Content Is The Rhythm Section Of Your Brand!

I’m a big fan of music with a pounding or pulsating rhythm. My mother used to laugh about the house shaking when I ensconced myself in my room with my music. I’ve always been able to work with music playing, back to my college term paper days. I don’t go for classical or calming, I want a steady building rhythm that keeps me pepped up for productivity!

Don’t you think your readers want the same steady rhythm when it comes to your content?

Content, Like A Good Band, Should Be Tight

When you hear about a band putting out a great album, or putting on a good show you often hear that the drummer was tight, or “in the pocket.” This means the drummer’s sticks are precise. But it also means there’s some personality and finesse shining through. The drummer’s keeping everyone in the band in time, but he/she’s also laying down a killer groove.

Your content should be doing the same thing for your brand.

Your content must be tight, must be on topic and what you write has to keep in line with your brand message and purpose.

But you’ve also got to lay down a groove and make the read a good time. Writers, like drummers, must let their finesse and personality shine within the tight confines of grammar and format.

Style Drives Bands AND Brands

Your content shouldn’t overshadow your ultimate goal, which is providing a great product, service or solution to your ideal client. The same goes for a great rhythm section. The bass player and the drummer aren’t there to outshine the vocals or the lyrics. They are there to enhance it.

Your content, shared across social media platforms, might be driving many eyes to your ultimate prize … what you’re selling. But, it has to do so carefully, with nuance and subtlety. You can’t slap your readers in the face with a hard sell.

Music shouldn’t be an assault on the ears. Your content shouldn’t be an assault on reader experience, either.

Is your content subtly highlighting and enhancing your products, services and solutions? If not, why not?

Dynamics Drive The Experience

I’m a fan of the loud/soft/loud or slow/fast/slow style in song. The Pixies, one of my favorite bands, nailed this with their music.

Another great example? Nirvana.

A plodding pace, in music or in content, soon becomes background filler or annoying. At the same time, too loud with no break in the noise doesn’t work either. Yelling at your audience rarely garners great result.

Dynamics drive the brand experience. Your content must showcase these varying dynamics. From the careful and calming recitation of facts and analytics to the exuberant drive of true emotion, your content must run the gamut.

If your articles aren’t eliciting any emotion, you’ll want to take a deeper look at your content and brand dynamics, then make sure your content showcases those dynamics. Are you lulling your readers into a near doze because your content lacks the dynamics to drive results?

We Want To Feel That Content!

What you publish should be more than a read, more than a quick scan for facts and quotes worth sharing. Your content has to build up the feels, much like a great song.

Music triggers emotion. So do great stories shared. If you think of your content as stories, as the sound of your brand, you’ll better appreciate what must be done to appeal to those reading.

Is your content staying to true to your brand vision and driving it forward? Or is it out of step and possibly out of tune? Your brand can’t build momentum or rhythm if your content isn’t keeping pace.

 

Focusing On A Niche Doesn’t Make Me A Numbskull!

Focusing On A Niche Doesn't Make Me A Numbskull!

I have two reasons for writing this article.

First off, I attended WordCamp last weekend and had a fantastic time. But I also came away with an increased desire to niche-down my design and digital marketing services to best suit the target audience with whom I’d most like to work.

The second prompt was this Google Plus post, by good friend and savvy marketer, Stephan Hovnanian. Before I dive into the topic, I don’t think Stephan was calling me to task, or insinuating my preference for WordPress or Fireworks makes me a ninja or guru. As a fellow fan of pushback and discussion, Stephan will, probably, appreciate my take on the subject (fingers crossed).

WordPress Is Our Way, NOT The Only Way!

When it comes to web design, both halves of Go Creative Go choose to use WordPress.

Focusing on WordPress doesn’t make me one of the unsavory usurper experts (think guru, ninja, evangelist, etc.).

What does it make me? A web designer determined to focus my skills so that I can offer the best options for my clients. I prefer not to be a jack of all trades, master of none. To quote Seinfeld, I want to be master of my own domain. I want to focus on continuing to be a fine WordPress designer/developer.

Have I seen some fantastic sites created with Joomla or Drupal? Sure. I’ve seen some snazzy sites created with Wix, if I’m being honest. And, on the flip side, I’ve seen some utter crap designed and developed using WordPress.

That doesn’t change my choice to focus on designing and developing the best sites I can using WordPress as my weapon of choice. WordPress is my way, it’s not the only way.

Focus Isn’t Futile!

Focus increases functionality.

If I dabbled with Drupal and jumped around in Joomla, I’d probably learn how to do a few things. But I prefer focusing increasing the functionality and customer fit of the sites I design and develop based on my WordPress focus.

As a team dedicated to learning everything we can about this tool we’ve chosen to use, we can tackle almost any client want, need, even dream.

Targeting More Than The Tools!

Our business niche and focus is about a lot more than the tools we use and the finished projects we create with those tools.

Over the course of the weekend, immersed in learning about running a WordPress business, I found myself thinking long and hard about creating a client niche. A niche that would allow me to work with the very individuals I hang out with online every day.

I was already excited to be geeking out with my peers and fellow design doers. But, I’d been feeling stretched when it came to my service offerings and those to whom they appealed. I was losing my mojo, bit by bit, and feeling tired.

I’ll speak more about the client niche in another article, once I’ve made some changes to the site and sussed out my service offerings.

The point is, we can’t successfully work with a target audience that includes EVERYONE.

My Go-To Might Be Your Get Lost!

I admit I’m a Google fan girl. I love Drive, Docs, Gmail, Chrome and more. But I certainly don’t shun those that prefer Evernote for their blog ideation process. I have a Dropbox account, too. And I always have Safari open as my secondary browser.

I work with both clients and collaborators who have their own, different, systems in place. I adapt as needed.

Go-to tools simply mean you’ve taken the time to really dig into the full functionality of the tool in order to find what works best for you. What’s best for me, might not be best for you. And that’s A-OK hunky dory.

But it would be silly to turn up your nose and decide I’m a ninja, guru or evangelist (just typing that made me shudder with horror) based on my use of a tool.

Are my digital marketing strategies and practices somehow sullied by my preference for a Buffer/Tweetdeck combo over Hootsuite? Of course not!

Do Your Research, As I’ve Done Mine

I’ve spent a lot of time, dollars and effort to come up with my business focus and the tools that allow me to maintain that focus.

You must put in the same work when you choose both the practitioners and the platforms you’ll use to help your business succeed.

If you fall into the clutches of a ninja, guru or other shady dealer, it’s probably down to you failing to put in the effort to ensure that ninja was in tine with your own niche and specific needs.

Resting On Your Laurels Does NOT Rock!

Resting On Your Laurels Does NOT Rock!

Just over a year ago my tennis club hired two new tennis pros. Many of us were ecstatic, looking forward to new energy, new drills and new ideas.

But there were a few naysayers in the crowd, too. A handful of older, “country club” women didn’t like that one of the pros, a Brit with a dry wit, dared to actually tell them what they could do better. They didn’t care to get better, they just wanted to get an hour or so on the courts, wear a cute skirt and say they played tennis.

Happily, all but a small few of these naysayers have been won over by the fact that they are now playing better tennis, thanks to the careful, but absolutely constructive criticism shared by these pros.

What happens when this behavior moves into the conference, convention and event sphere?

Are You Reaching? Or Resting?

I’m in the process of prepping for WordCamp Atlanta, which I’ll be attending this weekend. As I make some small tweaks to this website and wait with baited breath for my new business cards to arrive (on the truck to be delivered, WOO HOO), I’m also seeing a lot of posts from Social Media Marketing World 2015.

Derek and I, Derek especially, love WordCamp. But, as with any event that repeats year after year, there are some frustrations. One that I find gets me a bit up in arms is the presenter that’s simply phoning it in. Yes, though they’re actually speaking in person.

Too often repeat speakers don’t take into account that repeat attendees deserve something new. Presenting the EXACT same material year after year, with little to no research into the changes in our industry or the changing needs of our audience is unacceptable.

I wrote about idioms yesterday, and I’m sharing a new one today: Rest on Laurels.

Here are a couple of my favorite “definitions” of the idom, as per The Free Dictionary:

… to stop trying because one is satisfied with one’s past achievements.

… to be so satisfied with your own achievements that you make no effort to improve.

The professional speaker that stops trying and simply presents the same tired and sadly dated information, event after event, is resting on his or her laurels. Event and convention planners need to take steps to keep this from happening in future. But, that’s another topic for another day!

Push The Envelope, Paper Cuts Be Damned!

I get it, it’s safer to repeat a speech or presentation that’s already gone over well. But as a speaker or presenter, you have to look beyond yourself to your audience.

Have they heard this spiel before? Are you speaking to beginners or seasoned veterans? You can’t just assume and speak. You’ve got to put in the time and effort. How?

Talk to the event promoters/owners. Research the attendees engaged in discussion using the event hashtag. Reach out and ask what it is they’d most like to hear.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Push the envelope … paper cuts be damned! #entrepreneur” quote=”Push the envelope … paper cuts be damned!” theme=”style4″]

Take the time to discuss your topic with your trusted peers. Ask them how they might take it to the next level.

Because you have to take it to the next level if you want to continue to engage a specific event audience. Want to dazzle digital marketers? You can’t share the same shizz over and over. or they’ll snore through your presentation.

No matter the audience, nor the event, you’ve got to strive to be fresh, exciting, interesting and on top of your topic. Otherwise, what’s the point? Another event you can list on your “I’ve been here” page?

Past Victories Are Great, But Future Wins Await!

We should, all of us – me included, be proud of our past achievements. But are those glory days enough to sustain us through the next ten, fifteen, twenty years in business, in sport, and life?

Keep striving, keep bettering yourself, keep reading, keep discussing and keep connecting with new voices in your industry. Stop resting on your laurels and take the steps to keep you business, your brand and message fresh, while still on topic. It can be done. It should be done!

[clickToTweet tweet=”Past victories are great, BUT future wins await! #smallbiz #entrepreneur” quote=”Past victories are great, BUT future wins await!” theme=”style4″]

 

Better Brands Choose Their Words Wisely

Better Brands Choose Their Words Wisely

A.K.A. Don’t Be An Idiom Idiot!

There’s SO much more to smart and savvy brands than logos, color schemes and your font of choice.

The very words and phrases brands choose, and use/misuse, play a large role in the perception of your expertise, or lack thereof.

Per Merriam-Webster, one of my favorite go-to resources in writing and reading comprehension: An idiom is a rendition of a combination of words that have a figurative meaning. The figurative meaning is comprehended in regard to a common use of the expression that is separate from the literal meaning or definition of the words of which it is made.

Think Before You Turn That Phrase

We’ve all seen brands and individuals mangle what we call a “turn of phrase”. Admittedly, it’s often funny. But when you’re trying to promote yourself as a dedicated, dialed-in digital business marketer, certain common word choice errors, which I like to call idiom idiocy – as I can’t stop myself from employing alliteration whenever possible, might very well make you look foolish in the eyes of your potential client.

Some of these phrases may not “strictly” fall into the idiom camp – but again, for love of alliteration, I hope you forgive me!

Word Choice Woes!

Tongue In Cheek NOT Tongue and Cheek: Meaning that a statement or other phrase is made in an attempt at humor, is not seriously intended and should not be taken at face value. When I hear the botched version I immediately flash back to those horrible old Skoals commercials about a “pinch between your teeth and gum”. I don’t know why!

Bear With Me NOT Bare With Me: While you might be an especially handsome man or beautiful women, I’d prefer it if you kept your clothes on. We’re not THAT connected, OK?

“Bear with me,” the standard expression, is a request for forbearance or patience. “Bare with me” would be an invitation to get “nekkid” together.

Whet Your Appetite NOT Wet Your Appetite: While water is essential to life as we know it, it’s not the “wet” you’re looking for. Water applied to an appetite would serve to “dampen” rather than increase it. And this phrase is about more than that gourmet meal. Per TheFreeDictionary, to whet is: to cause someone to be interested in something and to be eager to have, know, learn, etc., more about it.

Pass Muster NOT Pass Mustard: You’re not doctoring up a hotdog from a sidewalk vendor! The phrase means “to be judged as acceptable.” It comes from the idea of mustering forces, militia – an army.

Tough Row To Hoe NOT Road To Hoe: I’ve seen plenty of road crews in my life – in Atlanta it seems every road is constantly in need of repair. That being said, I’ve never seen a crew member working with a hoe. That gardening implement is meant to create rows in which you’ll plant your crops (seeds). If you’ve ever gardened seriously – or farmed, you’ll know that’s pretty hard work. Hence the phrase, which means you’ve got a difficult task to carry out or a heavy set of burdens.

There you have it. Pithy phrases can draw in and entertain your audience. Or they can drive people away if you fall prey to idiom idiocy!

Dear Mailing List Moron: Permission Not Granted!

Dear Mailing List Moron: Permission Not Granted!

It seems that moronic marketing tactics and activities come round in cycles. Have you ever noticed that?

I get waves of poorly pondered automatic DMs on Twitter. Then, a week or so passes and I start to see boorish batch posting, often on Twitter, but also on Facebook, Instagram and even Google+. If I wait another week I’m sure to see some other nefarious “ninja” behavior which will cause me to shake my head and bemoan the bumbling idiots who give the digital marketing industry a bad name.

This week, I’m sad to say (well, not all that sad as it’s given me a nice rant rampant topic for an article), sees one of the cyclical returns of the mailing list moron.

Who Is The Mailing List Moron?

So, who is this rogue marketer? Who is this moron marauding our inbox?

First of all I understand that a “marauder” is someone who steals, and I’ll get to that in just a moment!

The mailing list moron is that sad marketer or business owner who still hasn’t managed to suss out the difference between acceptable email practices and spam submissions.

Spam, it seems to me, couldn’t be easier to spot. If I didn’t ask for it, it’s probably spam. If you send offers and event invites without ever engaging in a single conversation with me, it’s probably spam.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a gigantic gray area for many a marketer. It’s some sort of cloudy mask that makes rather obvious spam sends seem smart and savvy.

I think all marketers should be forced to read, pass a test for reading comprehension, and the sign off on the CAN-SPAM Act. Yes, it’s a long and detailed document, but it’s LAW!

But even a quick scan pretty effectively spells out spam, so there really can’t be any allowance for confusion and continued spammy sends and suffering (on my part, and the part of anyone else who receives mail from the morons).

Permission Is Paramount!

I’m ready to get back to the idea of the mailing list moron engaging in thievery. No, I don’t think most offenders are intent upon stealing my identity or my clients. It’s a much more subtle swindle.

The acts of these individuals steal my choice and my time.

The email newsletters and updates that make their speedy digital way to my inbox should be of my choosing. I decide what’s right for my already full reading list.

Like many a marketer, my inbox is pretty ding-danged full of the messages I want to receive, along with receipts for digital services, update notices and, this might shock you, requests from my clients and colleagues!

I shouldn’t have to waste my time wading in to see what you’ve sent me when I didn’t ask for it!

I Shouldn’t Have To Opt-Out!

You might be thinking, but it only takes a few seconds to opt-out of the emails you don’t want to receive. And you’re correct. But, consider the marketer that makes a lot of connections. And consider if even a handful of those new connections decide to add that poor marketer to a list without permission. It ends up adding several opt-outs to that marketer’s to-do list.

If that marketer is anything like me (and probably you, too), that to-do list is pretty full. Possibly bursting at the seams.

Even the smallest of distractions can derail the busy.

And when I’m sent an email without my permission, I choose to let the sender know that I’m a bit miffed. So it’s not a few seconds clicking on the unsubscribe button. If there’s no means of mentioning their moronic measure in the opt-out form, I take the time to send a note.

Why do I do this? Because I have the tiniest tempting glimmer of hope that I can dissuade the moron from adding other busy marketers to his/her list. I’m paying it forward.

That, however, doesn’t stop the distraction or the time suck involved. If I didn’t ask for your email, I shouldn’t be forced to ask for your email to stop!

Connection Isn’t Permission!

It should come as no surprise that acceptance of your Facebook friend request doesn’t equal permission. Nor does my acceptance of your LinkedIn connection request.

Shockingly, that email I sent you three years ago? Also, not me actually giving you permission to add me to your mailing list.

If I want your email newsletter or your drip campaign to arrive in my inbox, I’ll visit your site and sign up. Professional email marketing apps and software make this rather easy. You can set up a sidebar widget or simple contact form and feature it prominently on your site.

Spammers, Seriously … Just Don’t!

This issue has been talked about in so many ways. Discussions have been had on Facebook, Google+ and Linkedin. Podcasts have hashed this out. It’s no secret that spammy sends are SO NOT social.

There’s simply no reason allowing for the continuation of mailing list moronics.

Smarter Marketing: Say No To Shortcuts!

Smarter Marketing: Say No To Shortcuts!

I can remember that, as a kid, whenever we got into the car with my parents, going on a road trip that was not part of our normal routine, we got ready for adventure. Why? It wasn’t so much that our destination was that adventurous. It was the trip itself. My dad was always looking for the perfect shortcut. The problem? They never shortened travel time. They either increased the time we spent in the car, or increased time spent in the car AND got us lost.

A funny family story, but it’s a whole different ball of wax if you’re constantly on the lookout for shortcuts as part of how you engage in marketing and running your business!

Marketing & Shortcuts Don’t Mix!

I often see the same thing happening with newer social businesses as they embark on their social media marketing journeys. The marketer, the driver of this social media or digital marketing vehicle, gets excited by apps, tools and other shortcuts “guaranteed” to increase and maintain their fan/follower/connection base in lightning quick fashion.

Unfortunately, many of these shortcuts lead that marketer on a merry chase full of wrong turns, detours and one way only avenues that end up leaving the marketing campaign and the company lost and unsure where they are or how to get home.

“With record speed” and “get it fast” are phrases bandied about by many an app/online tool developer. They’re ever ready to promise you a shortened journey, a shortcut that will make everything quick, easy and painless. The problem is that successful social endeavors require that you actively take part in the journey. Shortcuts, while seemingly faster, often take you in divergent directions that detract from the real reasons your engaging in social media and digital marketing.

Relationships Take Time!

Social media marketing is all about the relationship. And relationships can’t be rushed. They grow and change in their own unique time. Relationships that result in business are built on trust. You absolutely CANNOT rush the creation and maintenance of trust.

Shortcuts Ruin A Good Story!

Social business relies heavily on the sharing of stories rather than sales tactics, telling rather than selling. What happens when you speed through a story? What exactly was the point?  Key points get missed. The listener finds themselves unsure of the plot, the message. Sharing stories takes time.

While sharing is an integral part of social business, you can’t just share anything. It’s vital that you read and assess each item you think you might want to share. Rapid fire shares and retweets without reading often create bad business buzz. You might share a dead link, spam or worse. Do you want to be the marketer who shares information that is completely outdated or off base? I don’t think so!

Connections Count, So Take The Time To Connect Correctly!

Yes, it’s important to build a following – you want someone to see and appreciate that great information you’re creating and sharing. But you can’t rush. All likes are not created equal. Same goes for followers on Twitter and circles on Google+.

What’s the point in rushing to like hundreds of pages? Are you hoping to get several hundred likes in return. It really doesn’t work like that anymore. Same goes with connecting on Twitter. Are you all about #teamfollowback? What’s the end goal of following anyone and everyone? You might get the numbers, but will you get:

  • People who will actively take part in discussions?
  • Content worthy of sharing?
  • People willing to share your good content?

While the idea that you must follow to be followed on Twitter, or any other social media platform, is basically sound, again – you don’t want to just click the “follow” button without real intent.

Michael Hyatt states that “the higher your follower count, the more people assume you are an expert”, and therein lies the quandary for us. Do you want to be an “assumed” expert, that assumption based solely on one number? Or, would you rather be known as an expert based on the ideas, tips and tools shared? I’ll state openly that I prefer to work toward the latter.

Numbers for the sake of bigger numbers don’t have any real ROI. And yes, as much as social business is about the relationship over the sale, you have to consider and track ROI. There’s a purpose to the building of that relationship, one that your boss really wants to see well documented.

Shortcuts don’t build the types of numbers, the engaged and active communities, that help you put together the reports your boss, even if you’re the boss, wants to see. Careful planning, attention to detail and good old hard work build the relationships that build the numbers that net you positive ROI.

Skip the shortcuts and get busy creating that plan of action!

Say No To Marketing Shortcuts!

So now it’s your turn. We’re all looking to be more productive and get more done in the limited hours we’re allotted. We all have the same 24 hours in a given day. What marketing shortcuts make you mumble under your breath?

Be Nice To Your Bottom Line: You CAN Say No!

Be Nice To Your Bottom Line: You CAN Say No!

A recent Facebook conversation, with a large and well-meaning group, originating on Brian Fanzo‘s wall, prompted this article.

I’ve often written about the value of this very short and succinct word: No. But it seems there’s a rather misguided notion that in order to be nice you can’t say it. I find that frightening.

Why?

Because sometimes saying no is the nicest thing you can do. For a prospect, for your client, for your business, for yourself and for your bottom line.

You should say NO when:

  1. You don’t have the time do a task or job well.
  2. You don’t have the skill set to do a task or job well.
  3. You have to cobble together a solution because you don’t have access to the tools to get it done right.

The preceding examples are pretty cut and dried. But there will be times when it’s harder to suss out that saying no is actually in the best interest of all parties involved.

When did being nice become the end all, be all? When did being nice rise above being smart and professional? You can be both. They’re not mutually exclusive.

You can, and should, be polite and professional when doing business. But that doesn’t always mean you need to be nice. Especially in a time when being nice is so often equated with giving away your smarts, your talents and your business acumen.

At some point you have to stop giving it all away.

When Free Loses Focus

One main premise of social media marketing, of “being” social, is that you share for free up to the point that your prospect trusts you enough to buy. The key phrase we must focus on in this idea is “up to the point.” There must be an end to the freebies, else you never create the invoice that adds dollars to your bank account.

Free creeps into business in many ways that must be combatted.

  • The pick your brain call, coffee, lunch
  • The free 15 minute consult that stretches to an hour
  • The scope creep on projects that involves increasing hours and effort, but not the project price

At this point nice needs to get the nod to leave the room. Because at this point, being nice is negatively impacting your bottom line.

When Nice Is Not-So-Nice

Consider this. Is it nice when you have to forego a planned family outing because you’ve spent hours you should have been dedicating to paying projects on free calls that resulted in no revenue?

Or consider this. Is it nice when you rush a client job, possibly not delivering your best work, because you’ve spent the last several hours having your brain picked by a “friend” who will get you lots of exposure?

Saying No Doesn’t Make You A Jerk!

There’s nothing inherently evil about these two little letters. Problems arise via perception of the delivery. You can say no and maintain a working relationship. You can say no and still be polite and professional. You can say no without hurting feelings.

You absolutely can be a nice person and still be a shrewd and savvy entrepreneur.

Nice guys (and gals) really do finish last if the act of being nice negatively impacts their bottom line. Paying the bills, feeding your family, and investing in the growth of your business must come before being nice simply for the sake of being nice.

What Do You Think?

Can you say no and still remain nice? Remain professional? Remain a smart and savvy entrepreneur?