How to generate inbound leads

Every company needs to generate leads to grow their business.

For those of you un-familiar with what a marketing lead is I’ve attached an image below that explains.

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 10.15.49 PM

We’ve all seen this before.

This is the way 90% of companies go about gathering leads, or building their audience. In fact it might be one of the reasons why 90% of Small Businesses end up failing.

Building your audience through outbound marketing, cold-calls, sign-up lists, etc. is an uphill battle. People are weary of being “sold” to.

This practice of doing Lead Gen is quick, easy and common. There is a better way though.

You want your audience to come to you. How can you do this?

It starts and ends with content. You’ve heard the phrase “content is king”? The CTO of BlitzMetrics, Dennis Yu says “Create content so awesome, people reach out to you”.

Dennis

You need to show your expertise in your field, as well as an ability to communicate with your target. You’re passionate about your business so creating killer content will be a matter of putting in the time, and optimizing results to find what resonates. Learn the right way to go about creating content here.

Another powerful way to generate inbound leads is through word of mouth. There are a few effective ways to accomplish this.

“Giving free consulting in advance is the heart of inbound marketing” – Dennis Yu.

Think about the mechanic you know won’t screw you over.

You heard of this guy from a trusted source. He doesn’t work in a big shop, and he probably doesn’t do much advertising.

Because he’s honest with people and doesn’t charge them ridiculous fee’s “word of mouth” naturally spreads, and leads come to him.

Be like that mechanic.

At BlitzMetrics we actively practice this. We openly teach and share our principles with anyone. This has brought amazing “word of mouth” and other lead gen opportunities.

Another way to share your expertise is through your competitors. Our CTO Dennis Yu has a how-to article published on Jon Loomers site. Who technically is our competitor. We’ve also interviewed Jon. Now his audience is seeing our content and vice-versa. This again, creates inbound leads. Rather than competing against each other, work together to solve your “customers” problem.

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 10.59.45 PM

There’s many similar tactics to this that will help any business create inbound leads. The tactics are not what is important though. The principles underneath them are.

  1. Create Content you’re passionate about that will benefit others
  2. Offer free consulting 
  3. Embrace the “problem” you’re trying to solve in people’s lives, work together with other experts in your field

So when you realize your pop-up lead-gen ad isn’t getting the results you hoped for, try practicing these principles. Then let me know how they work for you.

Is your site mobile-friendly? Google tells you with 1 click

Since 2014 mobile has passed desktop users. Is your site caught up with the curve?

Google’s new website, Think With Google, can inform you where your site stands.

Google’s interface rates your site on 3 important performance categories.

  1.  Mobile Friendliness
  2.  Mobile Speed
  3.  Desktop Speed

Google gives your site a score from 0-100 for each of these categories.

I compared a few search sites to see how they stacked up against each other.

Google vs. Bing vs. Yahoo vs. Ask vs. AolSearch

Yahoo

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 12.33.44 AM

Bing

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 11.01.02 PM

ASK

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 3.04.01 PM

AOL

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 3.07.13 PM

Google

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 12.35.35 AM

(^ Are you kidding me with that desktop speed right now? Come on Google, it’s 2016, step up your game.)

After the initial scores Google also provides a break down of each category with tips on how to improve your sites performance.

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 12.34.10 AMScreen Shot 2016-06-07 at 12.37.19 AM

Dennis Yu, the CTO of BlitzMetrics talked about the benefit of using this site.Dennis

“If you want to rank in search, better listen to Google’s advice. Site speed is important for the user experience, especially in mobile.”

This tool is completely free, and takes only seconds to use. Don’t let your content or brand become obsolete by falling behind current trends. An important part of business is being able to adapt with the times.

So how does your site score?

Do you like my work space?

So this is my “work office”.

IMG_2560

Problem: My workspace is awesome, too awesome in fact. I like to think of it as the Bathsheba of work places; if I’m not careful it’ll seduce me away from my responsibility.

Solution: Two principles I live by at BlitzMetrics. Do, Delegate, Delete (DDD) and Learn, Do, Teach (LDT).

The first principle is simple; Do, Delegate, Delete, DDD for short. Natural inclination is to skim over and procrastinate work responsibilities (school included here). By following DDD you can accomplish tasks and efficiently manage your time.

Anytime a task pops up the natural marketer in all of us is inclined to push it off. Don’t do that.

When you get an e-mail, open it and go through it right then. If you can’t do that, delegate it. Then when you’re finished with something delete or categorize it.

By following DDD I keep my unread inbox at zero everyday. Sometimes this takes an hour or two spent only in my inbox. But I’m able to stay on top of my workload.

DDD is effective, but it is only the “How” of productive work. Without a “Why” you’ll never be successful.

Learn, Do, Teach is the “Why”. 

The reason I’m able to maintain my drive to work from home is simple. I believe in LDT. I’m not in marketing for the money. LDT is about having an impact at what you do aside from monetary results.

Call me old fashioned, but I still believe in making a positive difference in the world. LDT is the first ripples of positive change.

ripplesofwater2 copy

DDD and LDT are two of nine core principles my company (BlitzMetrics) fundamentally teaches. We call them the 9 triangles. Each of the triangles contains principles that transcend past marketing. They hold true to various aspects of life.

If you’d like to know more about the 9 triangles message me on my Facebook page.

Other than that, I’d like to know what 3 items you’d put in your dream office? An icee machine, a putting green, a massage chair, etc, comment below.

Fat-bottomed “Funnels” you make the “Marketing” world go round

Digital Marketer ran a webinar yesterday featuring Russ Henneberry.russ-henneberry-small_400x400

Russ spoke about how many marketers experiment with their content creation until they find what has traction. Similar to throwing a bunch of noodles on a wall and seeing what sticks.Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 1.05.15 PM

Yes, you’ll probably get results this way eventually, but you’re wasting time and resources in the process.

Understanding the conversion funnel customers travel through will help marketers optimize their content creation.

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 1.14.30 PM

There are 3 main sections to the funnel.

Awareness - This is where the customer begins their journey. They’re collecting information about a broad topic. Let’s use smart phones as an example.

Evaluation - Here the customer begins looking at the pro’s and con’s of different brands in their field of interest. Comparing and contrasting. They’re deciphering between an Android or an iphone.

Conversion - This is where the customer makes their purchase.

All 3 phases of the funnel are important. Each phase needs unique accompanying content. Russ suggests spending the most time creating quality content in the conversion stage, where the money is made.

Understanding a customers journey through the funnel will help marketers create relevant content for their audience. Rather than aimlessly experimenting to see what sticks.

Russ also presented 7 characteristics of “perfect content marketing”

  1. Is Full Funnel - Create content for each stage of the funnel.
  2. Satisfies Intent - Your content needs to be relevant to your audiences needs and desires.
  3. Asset Driven - Perfect content marketing builds assets.
  4. Ascension Focused - Your content should not only satisfy intent, but lead your audience to the next stage of the funnel.
  5. Segmented - The more specific and relevant an offer is the higher it will perform.
  6. Cross Channels - Don’t place all your eggs (content) in one basket.
  7. Avatar Based - Have a specific avatar and tailor your content to them.

BlitzMetrics (my employer) follows a similar funnel to the one Russ presented. It’s the same concept, only under a different name. Audience, Engagement, Conversion (AEC). If you’d like to know more about how a conversion funnel works contact me on my Facebook page.

Life on the Road

I don’t particularly enjoy traveling. In the last 10 days I’ve been in 4 different cities, 7 different planes and 4 different hotels. I’ve lost my favorite pair of gym shorts, and torn up my old faithful black Vans.

You better believe I didn’t do all this for nothing.

In honesty though, it wasn’t a bad trip at all. I had some great experiences, made new friends and most importantly, I learned a lot.

This isn’t a travel blog, so I won’t bore you with my trips to FL beach, but let’s get to it.

13243760_10101183761085279_8114857103605213549_o 13246439_10208226496273625_570706206996605710_o

This last week I went to the Content Marketing Conference in Las Vegas. I want to talk about how to optimize the conference experience.

Okay, I hope your next 30 minutes are free because there are a bajillion things you need to learn! Just joking, I’m going to focus on 3 helpful tips for anyone attending a conference in the future.

  1.  Focus on the few, not the many
    • Everyone knows conferences are good for learning, but better for connecting. Many people connect the wrong way though. It’s about quality over quantity people. Don’t try and talk to everyone, instead focus on a few solid connections. Here’s a good litmus test. If the people you spoke to at a conference saw you in a crowd a week later would they recognize you? Make sure you engage in meaningful conversation with some, not superficial jabber with all.
  2. Take notes
    • This seems obvious, but it’s surprising how many people only listen. Don’t record what each presenter says verbatim, but jot down what speaks to you.
  3. Follow up
    • Always follow up with your key contacts. How you do so will depend on your experience. For example if you’re newer into the industry you might follow up by writing a blog about your favorite speaker and tagging them on twitter. Or if you’re integrated in the business you might be set up lunch with someone to further build a relationship. Whatever your method, even if it’s strictly connecting on social media, make sure some-how, some-way, that you follow up.

I also got the opportunity to attend a presentation from my boss Dennis Yu at Baruch College in New York this last week. I even got to speak for 10 minutes. This was a great experience. I won’t engage you right now with tips on public speaking, but instead am going to focus on the underlying reasons you should be willing to do presentations like this.

13268172_10101184239102329_5627752773295722630_oIt boils down to passion. Passion > Monetary behavior. Whatever you do, make sure you’re passionate about it. Share that passion with others. Don’t let your road to success be a secret. Being able to share the little I knew about personal branding with other marketing students was one of my favorite experiences of the whole trip. (The other favorite being the beach in Florida).

I’m headed back home tomorrow, but I won’t be going empty-handed. I might not love life of the road, but I’ve at least made the most of my trip. Safe travels my friends.

 

So you’ve graduated from FB Ads, now to the good stuff

Mike Rhodes
Recently Digital Marketer (DM) had a webinar featuring Mike Rhodes, 
who gave a fantastic  run-down of Google Display Network (GDN). Like much DM content it was share-worthy. So let’s jump into it.

A well-known tactic of advertising and marketing is to interact with your audience at different times and places. Google Display Network helps you place your ads in front of your target across the web.

Like any ad network Display is an intricate system. To quote Shrek, it’s sort of like an onion; there are multiple layers to Display, each designed to help you optimize your advertising goals. This post is going to focus on some of GDNs basic functions.

In Display you’re able to instruct Google how to disperse your ads in a number of ways. There are four main categories of dispersion.

Managed Placement

This is similar to “exact match” but for GDN. You can give Google a list of websites and even apps to place your ads on. You are able to specify which part of the websites to place on (ie. landing page, extensions, etc.). Let’s say my product is a training program to teach people how to dunk a basketball (because who wouldn’t want to buy that!) I might tell Google, place my ads on www.espn.com/nba. Now whenever someone visits the ESPN page and clicks on the NBA section, they see my ad.

Contextual

Contextual placement is based off of themes or interests. You essentially say “Google I have this product to help people learn how to dunk, place it on sports sites”. Then Google places your ads on espn.com/nba and nba.com and the sportscenter app, etc.

Behavioral

Google already keeps track of people and places them in “markets” for you. Google’s placement is based off people’s recent behavior. For example, Google might say someone is in the market for buying a used car; Google knows this because of their searches, site history and site behavior within the past two weeks. Basically Google is saying, “This person has been searching for used cars and spending a lot of time on used car sites, they’re in your market”. In essence this allows you to put your re-market code on your competitors website.

Demographic

Lastly there is demographic targeting. Google is able to pretty well guess at certain demographics; ie. gender, age, income, etc. but it’s not finitely known like in Facebook, because people don’t have that information entered in. Demographics typically should be used as an extra layer of your targeting, rather than a stand-alone filter.

Are you excited about the awesomeness of GDN possibilities yet? Like any interface, your best chance of understanding it will be to go play around with the technology. These four overlying categories of GDN are a great place to start for anyone. 

Writing = Breeding a bulldog + a Shitzu

Okay well not all writing is bulls@#*, but a good portion is. Josh Bernoff Josh-Bernoff-Author-Portrait-2-smallspoke on the subject at a Content Marketing Conference in Las Vegas last week. According to Josh about 40% or more of most writing is BS. Josh defines BS writing this way; you take the meaningful words and divide those by all words. So if I have 5 meaningful words, but 10 total words, my sentence is 50% BS. Let’s start with an example.

“Do you know where the previous origins of the spoken word bullshit come from friend? There’s an old historic fable that shares this very detailed and intricate history. Purchase our cheap, discounted and affordable video tutorial today for only $11 to find out the secret origins of this colorful, tasteful word.”

Did you find that example as terrible as I did writing it? That’s because 64% of that example was BS. Here’s how it would read without any fluff.

“Do you know where the word bullshit comes from? Purchase our video today for $11 to find out.”

Obviously this doesn’t make the example more compelling, but at least we got rid of the gag-reflux reaction from the first go-around.

Sadly, much writing today is full of BS. Who knows why. Maybe writers think “If I throw more words in my writing people won’t see how bad it sucks”. Your guess is as good as mine.

Josh offers some practical advice on how to clean your writing up. I’ll relate 3 quick tips here.

  1. Eliminate jargon your readers won’t understand from your writing
    • Ex. My account manager suggested using more thumbnails in my design process. Becomes, my boss wants me to work on more drafts before I create a final.
  2. Cut out fluff words
    • Ex. I deeply regret to inform you the Big Bang Theory is a very dumb show and not at all funny. This becomes; I regret to inform you the Big Bang Theory is a dumb show and not funny.
  3. Restructure your writing process
    • Most people spend 80% of their time writing. This is not correct. Use around 40% of your time preparing to write (researching topic, audience, etc.) 35% writing and 25% editing. Following this process will help your writing be clear and single-minded.

There you have it. I promise you and your readers will enjoy your writing more if you cut all the BS out of it.

And remember, most bloggers are churning out content that’s 40% BS. I’m the only guy giving you a solid 70/30 legit writing vs. BS ratio ;). Visit me often friends.

The Superbowl, Dabbing, Texas-Holdem and Persil

Superbowl Sunday is one of my favorite days of the year.  As both a football and advertising fan I get treated to 4 hours of non-stop entertainment!  I finally know what LOTR enthusiasts feel like when they throw in those extended edition DVDs!  It’s fantastic.

Aside from that entertaining duo I’ve also been particularly pleased with recent Superbowl outcomes.  Four out of the last five years the teams I’ve rooted for have won (the Patriots spoiled the streak last year).  But alas, last Sunday a new streak was born as the Bronco’s trashed Cam Newton and the Panthers!  Much dabbing ensued in my household.

1935713_10207174298809346_3016474631017140498_n

But now that we’ve discussed the opening act let’s get to the real entertainment from Sunday.  Which is of course, the Ads.

Some of my personal favorites were Hyundai’s spot with Kevin Hart, and T-Mobile’s response to Verizon’s annoying “ball commercials” featuring Steve Harvey

.hart-commercial-200x200 Screen-Shot-2016-02-07-at-4.49.19-PM

 

Hopefully this will be the beginning of many more Hart cameos to come.  And even more hopefully, the end all of phone commercials involving “colorful balls”, although they are more tolerable than Verizon explaining their network to me using “a door”.

I would like to say part of my bucket-list to one day work on an Ad that runs in the Superbowl.  That would be amazing!  So why are Superbowl Ads so good!?

You’re basically seeing a lot of companies go “all in” when they produce a Superbowl Ad.  They say “everyone will be watching, we have a great product, and a clever idea for an Ad, let’s do this”.  Watching what ensues is always a blast.  Some companies go for it and nail it! This was certainly true for Apple with their “1984″ spot, they held out for the “River” card and won big (if you don’t know about this kids, it’s time to do some good, old-fashioned, Wikipedia style research).

But every year it feels like there are a few companies that have a lowly pair of 3′s and say, “eh what the hell, let’s put all our chips out there anyways” (ie. Persil Laundry Detergent 2016).

I’ll admire anyone for going “all in”, adapting the “YOLO” lifestyle.  But a simple word of advice.  Success awaits the prepared.

Whether that means having a solid one-liner up your sleeve when you go to approach a girl (or dare I say it, a guy) or actually understanding what makes a good Ad when you buy that oh-so-shiny-but-ver-very-VERY-expensive Superbowl spot, make sure you cover your bases before hand.

Because perhaps the worst feeling in Texas Holdem, and in life itself, is swinging for the fences only to fall flat on your face.  I for one hope Persil learns the error of their ways and produces a killer Ad for next years Superbowl (by the way, I’m not going all-in on that hope, let’s be honest it isn’t happening).  Until then let the rest of us learn from their mistake and prepare for success the only way it deserves to be prepared for, thoroughly.

 

Why Risk It?

Every year while I was growing up my family would vacation at Lake Powell.  It was always the week of Summer I looked forward to most.  I loved Lake Powell.  The scenery, the weather, the boating.  Even today one of my favorite smells is the mixture of gasoline emissions over the scent of fresh water.

gas-can-clip-art-1259205aniwater

 

I think you all know what I’m talking about.  Some things just go well together.

But my absolute favorite activity at Lake Powell was to go cliff diving.  I loved the adrenaline rush of jumping off a 40 foot cliff into a pool of water.  Not to mention all of my siblings, and cousins my age were girls, so I felt kind of cool always having the most bravado of the group.

Well as the saying goes “nothing good lasts forever”.  Somewhere along the lines my feelings changed.  I lost my passion for cliff diving.  If I were at Lake Powell right now and someone suggested it to me I would be more than sufficed to chill in the boat.  Staying dry, sipping on a Dr. Pepper, enjoying the sun; sounds pretty nice.

It’s not only cliff jumping I’ve lost my pizazz for though, it’s adrenaline seeking in general; taking risks, doing potentially dangerous things.  And perhaps the worst part is, I don’t even feel too sad about all this.

I guess it is just the way of life.  I do have good news though (and no it’s not that I saved a ton of money by switching my car insurance to Geico).   I still pride myself on the fact the I have enough bravado to take risks in life.  The spectrum of my risk taking has simply shifted.

You see I’m a big proponent of risk taking (ps. being a proponent of something doesn’t necessarily mean you live it) but I try and take a healthy amount of risks.  In school, work, dating and socializing, across the board I like to keep it exciting.  Risks make life interesting, they teach you valuable lessons when they don’t turn out, and are some of life’s greatest surprises when they do.

It’s often said in sports there are two ways to play the game.  You can either play not to lose, or you can play to win.  Put it all on the table, aim your shot for the baseline, swing for deep left field, drive it hard to the hoop, go all in.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you which approach is more effective.  (Spoiler Alert) It’s the latter.  And if there is one thing I’m sure of, it’s that sports lessons transcend well into life lessons!  So take more risks, push aside your doubts, unshackle yourself from your fears, and live life the only way it should be lived.  The only way it deserves to be.  Without regrets.

 

Advertising is a bunch of bologna

My roommate recently got a cat.  Subsequently my apartment value has vastly depreciated.  At least in my eyes.  I’m not really a cat person.  I just don’t find them to be trustworthy animals (on an unrelated note I love pitt-bulls).  If I had things my way, little snowball here would be packing her bags.

IMG_2140

But let’s not dwell on things we can’t change.  It’s unhealthy.  To be honest, I’m admittedly a little fond of having a pet, even if it is a cat.  Especially since I don’t have to take care of it.  I feel like a kid having a dog again, it’s fantastic!

Taking pictures of my little friend here aroused some nostalgia in me.  I was reminded of growing up with my dog, Mickey.  Mickey was a lab we got from the pound.  Like most pets she turned out to be quite needy.

There are certain experiences all dog owners have in common.  One of such is trying to get your pet to take medicine.  Mickey would eat anything, she took on a whole stick of butter one night while my family was out to dinner.  But try and give her a pill to take, she’ll spit it out.

The only way to do it is to be deceptive.  Wrap the pill in some cheese or bologna and she’ll eat it without a second thought.

It turns out the principle transcends past feeding pets.  In his book Hey Whipple Squeeze This, Luke Sullivan discusses this principle as it relates to advertising.  At the end of the day, the point of advertising is to help brands sell their products.  But people don’t enjoy being sold to.  If your advertisements are straightforward, highlighting all the magnificent features of your product, you may not find the success you’re looking for.

However, people do like being entertained.  If your ad can make someone laugh, smile, cry, or think, etc. you might be on to something.

Here’s an example my colleague and I created for Alta ski resort.   ForrestYoung_360_Billboard1

We could have raved about the slopes at Alta, the deals they have going on, their staff, etc.  Instead we decided to tell the story of someone who is a winter fanatic.  Who even in July is counting down the days until the first snow fall in November.  This is the kind of person who would ski at Alta.

This was only for a class, but you get the point.  So next time you’re writing an ad, or any kind of content for any kind of brand, make sure you don’t shove information down your audiences throat.  Remember the take away from Frozen my friends, “conceal, don’t reveal”.  In all seriousness though, if you want your audience to come back, practice the bologna principle.  It’s guaranteed to be more satisfactory than actual bologna.  Much more.