For two and a half years, every two weeks I sifted through over 140 blog posts and podcasts that talk about how to build successful online businesses. I found the best content, summarized it, added a bit of my commentary, and delivered it to the inboxes of entrepreneurs around the world…for free. I’m no longer writing Signals in the Noise issues (because my business partners and I are focusing on other parts of Clarity Lab), but please enjoy these archived issues. There’s a ton of useful information in them!
1. To tweet or not to tweet.
Social media is neither good nor bad, just like electricity. Is it right for you to be using it to grow your business? That’s for you to answer. I don’t have much of a presence on social media myself. I’m too introverted for it to make much sense for me. My wife, on the other hand, has a huge presence on social media. She’s brilliant with how she uses it, and it has a significant impact on our revenue (we run a business together.)
But is it right for you? You have a limited, finite number of minutes to spend in this one, wild and precious life of yours. When those minutes are up, and there remain none left to spend, will you look back on your life and be happy with all the time you spent on those Facebook posts and tweets?
Or do you have, right now, something gnawing at you when you use social media, like Alexandra Franzen had before she stopped using social media altogether: “In the midst of my tweetery, I often felt a nagging feeling inside. A voice asking, ‘Alex, is this really how you want to be spending your life-minutes? Isn’t there something else that might be a more meaningful use of your time? Wouldn’t you rather be walking outside, talking to your mom, writing a novel, having sex, working out, mailing a letter, volunteering, you know, all of those things that you ‘never have enough time’ to do?’” Something worth pondering, indeed…
2. Reach your goals on his quote-tails.
“Remarkable marketing is the art of building things worth noticing right into your product or service. Not slapping on marketing as a last-minute add-on, but understanding that if your offering itself isn’t remarkable, it’s invisible.” That’s Seth Godin, whose bald head is tattooed on my chest (I’m kidding. It’s on my arm.) If you’ve ever seen Seth speak live, you know that when he’s on stage, he speaks in quotes. Seriously. Don’t even try to take notes. Everything he says is something amazing, something quotable. In case you missed his last talk, here’s a great collection of some of his best quotes. Let them soak in. Any one of them could change the course of your business for the better.
3. When the fish aren’t biting.
“I’ve had some really good feedback on the courses from the people who have taken them, that they found them helpful and useful, and over the years I’ve built up a pretty good following for my website, but I’m really struggling to convert a large number of these people who are coming to the website to purchase the course.” That’s an Unemployable listener, named John, asking show’s host, Brian Clark, why his online program isn’t selling as well as he’d like it to. If you’ve ever had a program launch that isn’t going as well as you thought it would (and I’d say that almost all of us have had this happen), take 20 minutes and listen to this episode of Unemployable.
There are so many variables that go into running a successful, thriving, profitable product launch, and when things go wrong, it’s difficult to pinpoint which variables are causing the problem. Brian simplifies the process of finding the source of the problems by focusing on the top four aspects you should pay attention to when selling online programs: demand, pricing, reach, and copy. Examining these four aspects is a great approach to not only finding what’s broken, but they’re also vital to keep in mind when preparing to launch any product.
There’s one that Brian didn’t mention, though, and I think it’s worth including in the list of top things in need of attention: the warmth of your list. It’s great to have a sizeable email list and social media following, but if you’re not keeping your relationship with the people on your list warm (by consistently delivering high quality, useful content without sales pitches in them), having a strong demand, the right price point, and great copy won’t necessarily fix your conversion problem..
This podcast from Brian Clark is brilliant, as usual. I’d only add that it’s important to keep the relationship with your peeps warm and fuzzy, because even a small list of people who love you will make you more sales than a huge list of people who don’t. Help your tribe, and they’ll love you back.
4. Flash in the pan.
“THE LIST, WITH a few notable exceptions, is a roster of some of the biggest names in tech: Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Netflix are teaming up to revamp the way video works over the Internet.” Wired’s Klint Finely explains what the big guys are up to behind closed doors: joining forces to make a new standard video format for the web. The Adobe Flash format is dying (yay!), but we need something better to replace it, because who knows what will happen to the internet if our favorite cat videos keep stalling.
5. In marketing we trust.
“For some, marketing is branding, while others view marketing merely as sales or growth. Still others simply lump anything that has to do with getting and keeping customers into one big marketing bucket.” John Jantsch, on what, exactly, marketing really is, and why it can be helpful to separate it from growth and sales. The three need to work together to grow a profitable online business, but to Jantsch, marketing isn’t the same as making sales or growing your list. In his view, marketing is everything you do to get your ideal prospects to know, like, and trust you. I love that definition of marketing. Sounds a lot like what I do with my son every day: try to get him to know, like, and trust me.
+ This may seem dry and boring, but it’s incredibly important to keep an eye on these key data points if you want to grow your biz: 8 Data KPIs Every Blogger Should be Using to Grow Their Blog.
6. Block and tackle (the ads).
“Apple is about to open a new front in the ongoing war against online advertising. The new version of its mobile operating system, iOS 9, will support ad blocking by Safari, its mobile web browser.” That’s Lifehacker’s David Glance, on a seismic shift that’s about to happen to anyone using paid advertising online (like Google Adwords.) People blocking ads in their browser is nothing new, but Apple is about to make it A LOT easier and more widespread. If you’re putting money into paid advertising campaigns for your business, this news is important to be aware of.
+ Oh wait. The other side is about to launch a counter attack with a blocker that will block the ad blockers. Checkmate.
7. Flip an A.
“Increasingly, we hear that Flipboard is an important referral of traffic for bloggers. With 34,000 topics scanning 21 million magazines curated from articles on Flipboard as well as all over the Web, there are many opportunities for bloggers to get surfaced in front of an audience that’s interested in the very thing you’re writing about.” That’s Boris A. on the Flipboard blog, explaining how Flipboard can be a new source of traffic to your website. It’s not often that a new source of traffic shows up on the web, so it’s well worth syndicating your posts into a Flipboard magazine to test this out. Flip out, and flip in.
8. What dreams may come (from content marketing.)
“Are you constantly testing your emails and landing pages for improvements to conversion rates, analyzing which content is producing the most signups, sales, etc… If that is not growing exponentially, you are doing something wrong…Content marketing is an accumulative effort, which when done right builds on itself accumulatively and snowballs into breakthrough success (i.e. look at moz.com and copyblogger.com both massive startups which started with simple content marketing.” That’s David Melamed, owner of Tenfold Traffic, answering a question posted on Clarity.fm about content marketing. The poster assumed, based on his back of the envelope calculations, that content marketing shouldn’t work, though he’s aware that many companies are seeing great success with it. I love David’s reply to him. Blunt and direct.
Content marketing works, and it works well. No, it’s not easy, but if you do it right, and you have patience, it can bear an abundance of fruit. Okay, wait…let me pause the metaphors and get real for a minute.
My family and I are one day away from doing something we’ve been dreaming of for more years than I can remember: moving into a house that we actually own. We’re a little late to the homeowner’s club (my wife and I are both over 40), but we finally did it.
There are a few key things that made this dream come true for us, and one of the most important ones? Is content marketing. What I love about that is that content marketing is, to me, simply helping people solve problems they have with useful, and often free, information. Help others solve their problems and your own problems will be solved. Help others realize their dreams and your dreams will be realized. No, those things aren’t guaranteed, but I’ve seen it happen so many times that it seems to be some kind of law of the universe.
+ This list of apps to help you make content for your content marketing is amazing: 35 Content Creation Tools Everyone Needs To Know About.
9. Social media marketing is dead. Long live social media marketing.
Organic (unpaid) reach on social media is so ridiculously low that it is no longer worth trying to get attention for your business on social media with your content marketing. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not worthwhile to spend advertising dollars to reach your audience with paid advertising on social networks. But which social media sites are the best to put your money and time into? Socialmedia Today’s Carianne King has some answers. Probably won’t be too long until Facebook starts requiring us to pay to boost our personal posts so that our friends see them.
10. Power to the podcasters.
“It’s the iPhone that gave the podcasting industry its ticket out of obscurity. “The same now dominant platform in which people consume the Internet is also the dominant platform to consume podcasts: the phone,” Hammersley says.” Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff, on what caused the huge rise in the popularity of podcasting in 2014. Our phones helped, but the breakout podcast Serial also caused podcasting, as a medium, to show up on the radar of a much larger segment of mainstream society.
Ulanoff cautions, though, “As popular as podcasting is — and will be — it’s not an industry where you can follow the money. With the exception of some big names and podcasts with more than a million listeners, no one is getting rich from podcasts. The medium lacks a Jimmy Fallon or Kelly and Michael.”
It may yet be difficult to make a living off of podcasting alone, but I think this is a narrow view of the power and profitability of podcasting. The real power lies in using podcasting as content for your content marketing efforts. Do that and your podcasts will help build your email list with people who love your work. Eventually, you offer them your services, products, or online programs, which is where you’ll make your money from podcasting. Rainmaker Digital is betting heavily on this exact marketing approach, launching 19 new podcasts in 2015 alone. 19 podcasts in one year. OMG. Now that I feel like a complete underachieving loser, I think I’ll go look for my microphone.
As always, thank you for spending some time with me in this edition of Signals in the Noise.
I have to head out and get back to packing all of our belongings up for the big move tomorrow, but if you enjoyed this week’s issue, I’d love it more than a bike ride in the summer sunshine if you’d share something about this issue with your friends.
Every little share helps, particularly when it doesn’t come from me (because Facebook no likee when you promote your own content.)
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Thanks a heap ton if you do share something. _/|\_
Until next time, keep on keepin’ on.
p.s. You can find the archives of past issues right here.