Sunday, December 28, 2014

The ONLY Way to Avoid being a “Me-Too” Company

The best way to make sure that nobody notices you is to be just like everyone else…in everything.

That might be good advice to help a shy kid survive high school (which probably not even then), but it’s not the best advice for success in business or life.

Most of us know enough to “make fun of” people who are trying to be just like someone else.  Comedians do impersonations to be funny, and sometimes they are really funny.

Do you notice which people they impersonate?

Do they impersonate people who are just like everyone else?  No, they impersonate people who are different.

We tend to feel the same way about companies, too.  There are so many companies, and most (almost all) of these companies really are just doing things that everyone else is doing.

We don’t talk about those companies.  In fact, usually we only buy something from them if (a) it’s convenient, (b) they’re giving away something, or (c) there isn’t anyone else (they know) who offers the same thing they need right now.

So…Which companies do we discuss?  Which companies do we seek to pay?  If price is equal, who are we choosing?  We choose the best companies…or the ones we perceive to be the best at something.

How can we position our company to be different than the “rest of them?”

Monday, December 22, 2014

PPC Ad Platform Comparison: Google AdWords – Standard vs. Express

Google AdWords is the Pay per Click (PPC) advertising platform that Google has offered for many years.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I just recently tried using its “lite version” Google AdWords Express.

Google's Search Engine Marketing (SEM) platform gets plenty of criticism, but it's what keeps Google in business.  So it must be effective for enough companies.  It's probably a mistake to discount it altogether.

At this point, I am not an expert of either the standard version nor the express version of AdWords, but I will share what I’ve learned so far about each of these by giving a breakdown of each.

Also, at the very bottom section, I make my recommendations of when it makes sense to use each of these.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Book Review: Sticky Branding by Jeremy Miller

As part of being a member of the book launch team for a buddy of mine, Jeremy Miller, I had to read the book ahead of its official public release, but I also reviewed it...honestly.

by Jeremy Miller, Owner of Sticky Branding
Click to visit page on Amazon.
Granted I am a friend of Jeremy’s, and if you buy this book through any of my links, I will receive a small commission.  However, I am one of the most objective people you will meet, either in person or virtually online.  I definitely recommend buying this book, especially if you have a business and want to make more money.

See Also: Video: Jeremy Miller of Sticky Branding: Rebranding for the Next Generation

Here is a more thorough review of this book—good and bad:

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Who’s going to buy THAT? (A Note about Your Mini-markets)

“I’m in business, and lots of people want what I’m selling.”

I meet a lot of people, and when I meet them, many of them tell me a statement…just like that.

I don’t run anything like the Shark Tank TV show, but I hear more than my share of business ideas and plans.  A few of them are good.  A few of them are really impressive.

Most of them, however, just plainly are underdeveloped.  (There isn’t enough there to say that “it stinks.”)

I don’t care if you have a really neat product idea, prototype, or inventory.  I don’t care if you are able to provide awesome service.

As a business person, you need to be able to answer the question, “WHO is going to buy (what you’re offering)?”

Sunday, December 7, 2014

1 Potential Benefit of Big Business over Small Business (Besides Money)

I’m learning something really important about successful businesses.  OK, maybe I’d be more accurate to share that I’m RE-learning something really important.

There is, at least, one reason that 1-person businesses have less potential than larger businesses.  (In this context, even a 2-person business might be a “bigger” business.)  Yes, it helps when a company has money, but that’s not what I’m learning…or re-learning.

See Also: Is your success really in the toilet?  (That might be good!)

When you are in business for yourself by yourself, you get to call all of the shots and keep all of the money.

However, I see one major limitation, and it’s a big one…and it’s not money.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The 1 Missing Element of Michael Gerber’s E-Myth Book

There is a book by Michael Gerber that nearly every actual and wannabe entrepreneur should read called The E-Myth.  (NOTE: The book’s actual title is “The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It.”)

Overall, it is brilliant.  One of the main points of the book is that one main reason that it’s so hard to be a business owner is that it requires us to be three (3) people:  a technician, a manager, and an entrepreneur.  Most of us are only one or two or these, but a successful business needs all three of these elements.

My slowly developing experience thinks this is brilliant and accurate.

However, I realize that there is one missing “person.”

Monday, November 17, 2014

1 Important Thing That Separates the Best Companies

Have you noticed that some companies just “seem” better than others?   They just seem to provide “better service.”

What does it mean to “provide better service?”

Honestly, there are lots of answers—and most of them are very good.  However, I’ve come to realize that the BEST companies (not necessarily the most profitable ones) do ONE (1) thing that other (lesser) companies do not.

What is that one (1) thing that all great companies do?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Confidence vs. Cockiness

I’ve asked myself this question many times, “What is the difference between confidence and cockiness?”

Business owners and managers take note.  I’m beginning with a story, but I’m really talking to you (and myself).

A buddy of mine tried to be nice and bond with one of his kids by agreeing to coach his soccer team.  The team did not have a coach, and he took the spot to try and help.

BUT…There is a problem.

He doesn’t know very much about soccer.  So he asked me to help him (since at one time in my life, I was “The Soccer Guy.”)

The other night, the team had its first game, and we did not know ANY of the kids on the team…except for my buddy’s kid.

However, as I started to learn about the kids (with a ton more to learn, still), one specific kid really frustrated me.  One word that kept crossing my mind is “cocky.”  He’s a cocky kid…really cocky.

That got me thinking, what is the difference between confidence (good) and cockiness (not so good)?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Big Mistake I Made: Laptops vs. Mobile Devices

Over 50% of all searches are done on mobile devices.

I’ve been hearing and reading that statistic for a while.  In fact, I’ve provided that fact many times in my talks during the past year.

Yet, I’ve largely ignored it…at least in some ways.

I’ve been trying to help a friend of mine improve his search result rankings on Google, and while I was working with him and some of his customers, I noticed a few things.

Frankly, I’m embarrassed that I’m just now noticing this.

As embarrassing as this is for me, I bet that I’m not the only one making this mistake.  (I might be the only one to ADMIT it, but…)

For those of you who want to learn a lesson without “outing” yourself, read on…

Sunday, October 19, 2014

3 Things Smart Business Owners Do

As I write this, I’m still learning about “what it takes” to be a business owner.  I’ve figured out some things, but the more I learn, the more I realize how many others figured out MORE than me.

That’s okay.  I just try to learn from them as best as I can.

In addition to noticing the business owners who are doing well, I try to pay attention to business owners that are not doing as well. I try to compare what I see within each and do my best to identify some of the biggest differences.

Here is what I observed that the smart business owners do:

1. Sell Packages, not Commodities
2. Present According to Customer’s Wants, not Needs
3. Create Win-Win Situations for Employees and Contractors

Let me take a moment (or two) to explain each of these.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Some Smart Ways to Use Article Marketing Today

Article marketing is dead.

At least, that is what I keep reading and hearing.

While it is true the article marketing methods that worked in 2010 do not work very well today, does that mean there is NO use for article marketing?

I think article marketing still has value…IF you use it intelligently.

How can you use article marketing to help you or your business today?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Danger in Evaluating Ourselves Based on Others

"Do I have anything to offer?"

The answer to that question that always, “Yes,” but often we believe it’s, “No.”

Many of us feel like we have something to offer, only conditionally.  If we are with a group of people who are weaker than us—physically or otherwise—it’s easy to feel like you have something to offer.  It’s obvious.

However, when we are the weakest person within a group, it is easy for us to feel like we have NOTHING to offer.

Either way, we’re the same person, but why do we feel differently about ourselves?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Is Black Hat SEO really a good thing? (Hint: It CAN be. Yes, it can!)

White Hat SEO vs. Black Hat SEO – Which is better?

Recently, I’ve made a valuable realization.

Actually, BOTH White Hat and Black Hat SEO are really important!

Nobody I know is willing to admit that Black Hat SEO can be a good thing.  In fact, they get insulted if I mention that they’re doing some Black Hat marketing stuff.

How is it that Black Hat SEO techniques are good—EVER?  First, let’s take a look at what White Hat SEO really is.
(insert page break here)
Most companies say that they “want” White Hat SEO, but what does that really mean?

White Hat SEO – Another Way of Explaining It (in REAL Terms)

It means that they are either…
(a) actually doing the marketing work themselves,
(b) having that marketing reflect things that are truly happening or how they honestly feel,
(c) they are doing things that are so interesting to the public that they naturally attract news coverage, or
(d) they are so large and well-known—in advance of any marketing—that people follow them, whether or not they market.

Unless you or you represent a company that has “celebrity status,” have a lot of money to attract people, or already have a great network of people—that you know from OFFLINE activities—in advance, you can create great material all you want, but NOBODY WILL SEE IT!

Does that mean we should use Black Hat SEO techniques?

Well…Yes…and No.

There are plenty of companies that use Black Hat techniques—exclusively.  They hire someone on the cheap to create a bunch of junk, but they want to gain instant celebrity status, without really doing or being anything to deserve that celebrity status.

People will not care about you, unless you are someone worth caring about or are doing something worth caring about.

So should you use Black Hat SEO techniques?

I only respond, “Yes” if you are doing things that would provide genuine value—according to OTHER people, not you—then you might want to use Black Hat SEO techniques to “insert yourself” into the conversation.

However, even if you’re in a crowded room and keep yelling an idea that is not worth any further discussion, people will ignore you.  It will not matter how many times you repeat it or how loudly you repeat it.

If you give people NO real reason to care about you (or your company), any momentary boost you get from using Black Hat SEO techniques will not lead to anyone sharing—or caring—about what you have to say.

When does it make sense to use Black Hat SEO?

The folks at Google will not like this, but my answer is legit…and will stand the test of time.

If you are an “unknown” but have tremendous work or ideas to share, then you need help getting that in front of eyeballs.  The more eyeballs that see your (honestly) good stuff, the better it is for anyone involved: you, the readers, and ultimately the Internet.
If you’re well-known, you might not even have to have wonderful material.  It might be, but it does not have to be.  There will be plenty of people who pay attention to you, because you are who you are, the Big Shot.

However, for those of us who are NOT big shots but have big ideas that are truly worth sharing, I am putting in writing that you should use Black Hat SEO techniques to promote your awesomely White Hat SEO work that other people will agree is worth sharing…ONCE THEY SEE IT.  (Good Black Hat SEO marketing techniques will help you promote things other people should be seeing.)

Sometimes, people need to be interrupted from their daily routine to see something new and better.

When you represent that something new and better that provides value for them, I suggest that you use every White Hat and Black Hat SEO marketing technique you can find to help promote it.

When is Black Hat SEO a really bad thing?

Black Hat SEO can be really bad!

Black Hat SEO ranges somewhere between being useless and annoying when a person or company tries to BLAST things that are not helpful.  If you are being promotional or sharing unoriginal thoughts, people will not care, and you are wasting your money creating this junk.  If you decide to use Black Hat backlinking strategies to increase the chance that people will see this junk, you’re probably wasting even more money or effort.

My REAL Suggestion

Be the real thing, but use guerilla marketing techniques to make sure the world sees how great you are.

Just make sure that you are evaluating it through the customer’s viewpoint, not your own selfish one (that wants money, recognition, etc.)

Simply put, find ways to “earn” a good reputation and publicity.  Use any (legal) means necessary to make sure other people receive that benefit.

Personally, I’ve learned that I really love creating White Hat SEO marketing material to share, especially when there is something valuable to promote.  “Good” Black Hat SEO simply promotes good White Hat SEO.

White Hat without Black Hat tends to be useless since (nearly) nobody sees it.

Black Hat without White Hat tends to be useless, because nobody will care.

So should you use White Hat SEO or Black Hat SEO marketing techniques?

Simple…Use both!

What are some things you do or create that people would love…if only they knew?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

One of the Biggest Mistakes Freelancers Make

Freelancing is cool.  I like the idea that someone can make some money with their skill set.  Maybe they make a little bit of money; possibly they make a lot.

However, I hear a TON of freelancers make one (1) critical mistake.  At least, I consider it to be a mistake.

Somewhere, I hear coaches make a suggestion that sounds good.  They tell their students that they need to charge what they feel their time is worth.

That seems like great advice…until we look at it more closely.

What’s wrong with that advice?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

1 Great Overlooked SEO Tip Using Google Drive

I have a great SEO tip that is a great way to make sure Google has a chance of listing you, and it’s EASY!

If you have a presentation, it’s a great idea to upload it to Slideshare.

However, here is a way that you will get more mileage from that presentation.  Upload it to Google, but you need to do it properly, and it only requires a few steps

You will get, at least, two (2) benefits from doing this.

1. You will create another backlink (maybe your presentation contains your link?)
2. Google will be quick to index your site (meaning they will know it’s available for them to list)

Let’s take a look at the steps to implement this Google SEO tip:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Neat Easy Marketing Trick – Slideshare – Include Video (after uploading)

I learned a neat marketing trick that is easy to apply within Slideshare, the online presentation site.

While doing some online marketing work for a client, I was trying to find ways to get his number out there more.  One of the things I notice that seems to help is getting links from Slideshare.

However, another benefit of loading presentations to Slideshare is that it is a solid way to help build your credibility as an expert.  The more presentations you have uploaded, the more “active” you appear to be.

(As of this writing, I am guilty.  I only have two presentations that I’ve uploaded.   Check my Slideshare account here.  I did that to encourage myself to generate more presentations and upload them. I give plenty of talks; so I have no excuse!)

If you do not made any videos, this might not be all that helpful, but I think that even you can benefit from this trick.

If you do have videos, you might LOVE this little trick! (You can skip past the question for the "how to.")

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Marketing Reminder: 3 Reasons People Really Buy

When I meet people at different networking events, I notice a lot of different things.  Some of what I notice is really good, and I realize I need to figure a way to incorporate that into my own business. Other times, what I notice makes me shutter.

A lot of people’s marketing approach makes me shudder.

I’m not talking about the people and businesses who have a marketing approach, but it’s different than mine.

I’m talking about the businesses that seem to have no marketing approach, or the approach they take focuses on a conversation inside their mind…instead of their customers’.

From what I can see, people buy for three (3) reasons, and need is not one of them—not usually.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Do we really want success or just an excuse?

Most people say…or even think…that they want to be successful.

We certainly prefer it, but do we really WANT it?

I think of this question nearly every day for myself and other people I see.

Most recently, this video prompted me to think about it a little more.  It’s really good (and it’s short).

This video is good, but you want to know the truth?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Over-Delivering: The Values & Why It’s So Hard

“You need to over-deliver.”

We keep hearing that we need to over-deliver, and most of us appreciate people and companies that do over-deliver.

Why do we like it so much?

We don’t expect it.  It genuinely creates a feeling of “Wow!” inside us, even if only might vocalize our appreciation for getting such a good product or service.

So why do so few of us over-deliver?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Is your success really in the toilet? (That might be good!)

Do you want to be successful?

It seems like a silly question, but the more experience I get, the more I realize it's one of the most pertinent questions...ever.

A silly question would be...Do you WISH you were successful?

We might want the money, fame, or some other benefit of being "successful," but there is usually a lot more that happens BEFORE people become successful.

However, recently I was reading something in Entrepreneur magazine, and there was one thing that will stick with me for a long time.  It seems to be the quickest way to gauge whether you REALLY want to be successful.

Are you willing to scrub toilets?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Key to Success: What award do you win? (How are you memorable?)

Do you want to be a success in business?  As a person?

The formula for success is complex (I’m pretty sure.), but if we keep finding definite pieces—even one at a time—we can slowly inch ourselves closer to success.

(Of course, we have to implement what we find, but our chances of “implementing” anything we cannot identify is putting our success chances in serious jeopardy.  Sometimes we hit targets without trying, but that’s never a good “plan.”)

There is one question that puts it all in perspective, at least to someone focuses on success.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Nobody Goes to Book Signings: Big Mistake by Beginning Authors

I see, hear, and read about many authors wanting to go to a book signing, and most of them are making a BIG MISTAKE.


Sylvia Hubbard, an author of many books and founder of the Motown Writers Network, is brilliant for so many reasons.  At her monthly meetings to help local authors, she gives amazing tips.

One of these tips is to AVOID book signings.

Why avoid book signings?  How are people going to learn about my books?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Debunking a Marketing Myth: People buy what you're selling

I'm really lucky in a lot of ways, but one specific way I am lucky is that I get to talk about marketing strategy with a lot of people.

I'm reading a book by Malcolm Gladwell called Outliers, and it's really a great book.  (I'm going to add this to my suggested reading list.)  One of the central points within the book is that we do not get to be really "good" at something until we've done it for 10,000 hours.

I did not get into the "marketing game" until 2009, and I'm still learning a tremendous amount about it.  Certainly, I read quite a bit about marketing--each books and articles, and I do my fair share of "marketing actions."  However, I feel like I learn a TON almost every time I have a conversation with someone about how to make their business generate more sales.

One of the most frequently recurring themes is a belief that people buy what you are selling.

I'm learning that is ONLY SOMETIMES TRUE.

Let me rephrase that...Of all the people who buy from me, very few of them buy what I am selling.

So what are they buying?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Google SEO: It really ain’t that hard – Only 2 Main Questions to Ask

People would like to read everything you need to know about SEO.

SEO is something that seems to mystify people.  From what I can see, there are all sorts of gurus but not necessarily any experts.

I don’t blame people and companies for wanting to know more about SEO.  After all, people use search engines to answer their questions all of the time, every day…many times a day.

Of course, Google is the king of those search engines.  Since so many people use Google, why wouldn’t we want to find ways to have search engines, like Google, list good things about us?

Google gets roughly two-thirds (2/3) of all of the searches.  Nobody else is even close.

So the actual question is…HOW can we optimize our pages for the Google search engine (Google SEO)?

Really, there are only two (2) questions to ask:

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Wish you had more time? Ask this question

Do you wish you had more time to do more of the things that matter most to you?

It seems like we have all of these time-saving devices, but few of us (including me...most of the time) seem to have more time, despite those time-saving devices.

The explanation has to do with standards, but often those standards are self-imposed.  We feel like we have to do a lot of things that plainly don't benefit us.

Want more time for yourself?

Simply ask yourself THIS question...

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Why I (sometimes) love being wrong

If given a choice between being right or wrong, which would you pick?


That makes sense...only sometimes.

Only sometimes?


When does it makes sense to WANT to be wrong?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

1 Reason to Avoid Getting Offended Easily

Do you know anyone who seems to be offended--by ANYTHING?

I'm sure we do.  We all know someone like that.

Ideally when I talk with someone, I spend my energy on the best way to communicate the best ideas I might have to offer at that moment.

I find that when I'm around people who get offended easily, my focus shifts from finding the BEST things to say to avoiding the "worst" things to say.  When I do this, I am not focused on being "my best."  I'm just simply trying to avoid trouble.

How CAN I be at my best when I'm in this position?

Now...Here's a better question...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Lesson in Branding: How I became a little more of a Seahawks fan

Last week, I got a lesson in branding.  Even if you are not a sports fan, you will (probably) appreciate this.

I grew up in the Chicago Area, and I rooted for the Chicago Bears.  I spent some time in North Carolina, Northeast Ohio, and I now live in Detroit.  So I have some allegiance to the Carolina Panthers, the Cleveland Browns, and the Detroit Lions.
However, last week, I became a little more of a Seattle Seahawks fan.

Branding comes in all sorts of forms…for all sorts of people, products, services, and businesses.  Sports is no exception, in fact it might be one of the strongest examples of branding we’ll ever find.

Last week, I read a story that did not necessarily teach me anything, but I got a reminder of an important lesson.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Is “Whatever you want” Really Valuable?

For many of us, we say something to people…thinking it is a lot more valuable than it truly is.

“Whatever you want.”


Many of us (including me) make this statement with good intentions, but it’s not always as valuable as we might think.

Let’s explore…

When "anything you want" IS valuable

It IS valuable when we know what we want, but it is not advertised in the menu or catalog…exactly the way we KNOW we want it.

“Whatever you want” is exactly what we want to hear…and feel…when we know what we want.

However, it’s NOT always valuable…

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Creativity: Here’s The Magic Formula How to be Creative

Do you ever wonder how some people are SO much more creative than others?

Wouldn’t it be nice to be as creative as THAT guy?

KEY FACT: YOU CAN BE CREATIVE – Here’s the secret!

Most people think that THIS is the formula for creativity:

Creativity = Natural Creative Talent

In other words, they think there is not any formula at all.  They look at it like the gene pool version of the lottery…only some people are “lucky enough” to be creative.


While it IS true that some people are more NATURALLY creative than others, WE ALL CAN BE CREATIVE…IF WE WANT.

Over the years, I’ve noticed THIS more accurate “magic” formula for creativity:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

5 Ways I Would Market Myself as a Musician

I co-run an Internet Marketing Roundtable (Club) each month at a community college in Detroit.  Some months, we will present specific topics, but more often than not we simply take a Question & Answer (Q&A) session.

Most of the months we do Q&A, someone in the audience (if not MORE than just one person) will ask us how we suggest they market themselves as a musician so people find them (and their music).

I am NOT a musician, but there are some marketing steps that I’m confident are smart to take.  Here is what I have to offer people who want to increase their chances of getting found, either singers or people who play instruments.

1. Create an Online Library
2. Take Advantage of YouTube Playlists
3. Build a Marketing Funnel to My Library
4. Find & Contact Influential People
5. Find People I Can Help

Let me explain each of my initial suggestions a little more thoroughly (if you’re interested):

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Want to make sure something gets done? Pay someone to do it!

For me, one of the most frustrating things is when I KNOW I need to do something—and know how to do it—but I keep putting off what I’m supposed to do.

Bucket of BS Excuses I Use (Pick One)
--I don’t have time to do it.
--I’m too busy doing other things.
--It bores me.
--I’m not real good at it.
--I know how to do it, but it takes me forever.
--I know that once I get started I won’t be able to get anything else done.
--I’m just feeling too lazy to do it.

I’m sure I’m missing some excuses, but those are MY most common excuses I tell myself.

If this happens to you, maybe you’re being lazy; maybe you’re not.  Honestly, I don’t really care.

When this keeps happening, I’m learning to do something about it.

Sometimes, I get a sudden surge of energy and just do it.

Most of the time, it just keeps sitting there.  So what do I do?

I PAY people!  That’s right…I pay people to do it.

What types of things do I pay people to do for me?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

7 Things I Do to Make My Presentations Less Imperfect

All of my presentations are perfect!  Ummm….NO!  (Not even close!)

Some presentations go REALLY well (not all of them :), but I’ve NEVER made a PERFECT presentation.

…and that’s okay!

However, there are some things I do to reduce my chances of really blowing it.

1. Arrive Early
2. Know—in Advance—What You Can Remove
3. Give Moments to Mentally Relax
4. Learn about Your Audience
5. Make It Clear WHY They Should Care (about Your Topic)
6. Use the Audience for Your Explanation
7. End with a Question

Some of these might be obvious; others might need more explanation.  In fact, I might even be missing important things.  However, I KNOW that if you incorporate ANY of these, you will improve your chances of delivering a presentation well enough…well enough to compensate for the fact that your presentation WILL NOT BE PERFECT.

1. Arrive Early
Someone had to tell me this one.

Do you know WHY this is really important?  (HINT: Though it’s important, it doesn’t really have to do with making sure that will be there “on-time.”)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Business Communication Lesson That Could Apply to Married Life

To explain a simple yet important concept, I’m comparing two (2) of my clients.

(NOTE: This does not make any connections to marriage…until the end.)

 “We need to communicate.”

*cue eye roll*

If you’re anything like me, you probably roll your eyes whenever you hear someone utter this phrase.  (…and UNDOUBTEDLY, you’ve heard this phrase.)

Why do we roll our eyes?

I can’t tell you why YOU roll them, but here’s why I do.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

7 Times Your Tweet Will Make Me Click

So what makes YOU decide to click on a link when you’re on Twitter?

There is SO much info on Twitter, it’s tough to READ all of the Tweets, much less actually click on the different links and READ what’s on that link.

That got me thinking…WHAT makes ME click on different links when I see them on Twitter?

I know we all have different reasons for selecting what we want and are willing to read, but after giving it some thought, I realize that these are MY reasons:

1. I feel like I might learn something I want without it being too painful.
2. I might find a resource that will benefit my targeted followers.
3. I’m curious about your seemingly (or potentially) contrarian view.
4. I think there is a chance you might make me laugh.
5. It’s a review of a place I might want to visit (or already have).
6. It’s a review of a product or service I might use.
7. You’re someone I want to promote, and I’m trying to find something of yours I’m willing to promote.

If you’re curious, here is a deeper explanation of each reason.  (Warning, this is a long post!)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Twitter Doesn't Work, Unless You Do 1 of 2 Things Right

 When I first started using Twitter, I was convinced that it didn't work...

...and I was didn't work for me--the way I was using it.

I gave up using it for a while, and it was probably the best, because I really didn't have a clue how to use Twitter.

See: 4 Things You’re Doing on Twitter That Shows You Don’t Have a Clue about How to Use It for Business

I've finally realized that you need to be doing just one of two things on Twitter to make it work (for you).

No matter the technique, there are only two (2) different ways to connect with people on Twitter:

1. Create Invitations to Respond
2. Initiate Conversation

(NOTICE: I did not suggest playing the Follow Me, I'll Follow You Game)

It's better if you do both, but even if you only do one (1) of these things, you'll begin to experience success on Twitter.  Here's a closer look at each:

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Marketing in Real-Time vs. Reasonable Time

“Today, your marketing MUST respond in REAL-TIME.”

I keep hearing and reading several variations of statements like this, but does it really make sense?

I know it sounds really cool.  It sort of reminds me of Just-in-Time (JIT) shipments that many manufacturing plants are doing, but like JIT shipments, real-time marketing does not always make sense.

(NOTE: If you prefer to ONLY read about marketing, you can skip this coming section.)

The Wisdom of JIT Shipments

This is mostly a marketing post, but let’s make a few points about the wisdom of JIT.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Being an Expert: 1 Way to Separate Yourself from Nearly Everyone Else

This past week, I made a realization about something that separates ME from most everyone else, even those with MORE ability than me.

It has to do with data.

Yes, I AM good with numbers and patterns.  So those who know me well might claim that I have an unfair advantage that many other people are not able to duplicate.

That might be true; however….

There is ONE thing I do that separates me, and it does NOT require above-average data skills…just a little above-average INSANITY (used productively).


Honestly, a lot of times, I take projects for the sake of trying to learn things.  Usually, I am focused on learning a skill or testing the effectiveness of an idea I have.  I do this a lot.

However, I just realized that I get another extremely valuable benefit from doing (most of) these projects.  I obtain “get my hands dirty” data.

Yes, REAL data!

This allows me to provide suspicions—if not outright conclusions—with more confidence than almost everyone else I know.

Often I will read articles or hear people make claims—especially about online marketing—about what you can or cannot do.  Sometimes, they might be right, but the more data I get, the more I realize that most people are not really speaking from the perspective of actually having the knowledge.  They’re simply taking what they’ve read or heard elsewhere and pretending to make it their own (often without really meaning to “fake it”).

Here are some examples of things I’ve done that give me hands-on knowledge about things that most people wish they knew…and could if they did the same (or similar) work, too.

Google SEO: Searched over 1,000 phrases on Google (within 1 week)…to see what ranks…and what does not.

LinkedIn: Analyzed over 50 search phrases within its Advanced Search (within a day) to see which profiles it pulls…and how they determine it.

Twitter: Charted times (and dates) of tweets with links that generated clicks.

…and I’ve done plenty more crazy but valuable things…just like those.

There is nothing special about what I did, except that I was willing to take the time to do it.

After I get my own data, I can more confidently identify whether you’re telling me something that makes sense in theory, in reality, or is just plain bunk.

I have a lot of abilities, but one of my strongest assets has NOTHING to do with ability.  It simply has to do with effort…getting data and finding patterns within that data.

Key Point: If you want to seem greater than most, then get more data than most (anyone would be willing to get).

I guarantee that if you start getting your own data, you will know more than almost everyone else.  Heck, you just might know more than EVERYONE else.

That is one easy but difficult way to separate yourself from nearly everyone else.

If you want to take a step toward greatness, look for excuses to gather your own data…and analyze that data!

What are some things you wish you had the data to check?  Have you already done some similar data gathering projects?