Internet

Are you providing any kind of value?

 Image credit: @gapingvoid

Image credit: @gapingvoid

I have a love and hate relationship with funnels. I can see and love the fact that they could be of benefit to my business and at the same time I hate being in a funnel myself. 

I will share a recent experience with, let's just call him Nigel B. of 'Entrepreneur's Circle' and 'The Best of' fame. UK can probably guess who this person is.

Nigel is a very famous UK multi-business entrepreneur and has a huge amount of knowledge in this area, I have no doubt.

I was persuaded to trial the Entrepreneur's Circle a few years ago for a few months. But what happened was truly astounding, I was bombarded with not only emails, also loads and loads of paper through the post. There was just no way I could absorb all the data that was being pushed through to me, it was totally overwhelming to say the least. This was the biggest mega-funnel I had every experienced and this is quite a few years ago.

I realised I had made a massive mistake and cancelled my trial subscription, unsubscribed from all the emails and thankfully it all stopped.

Phew!

Until...

On the 24th September 2017, I received an email from Nigel, well not him personally of course, it was from support@entrepreneurscircle.org. It read as follows.

Hi Michael I put something very exciting in the post for you yesterday. It's going to your address: ...and should arrive tomorrow! Make sure you take a look. Nigel 

Actually, it is a very enticing email and maybe quite exciting, don't you think? Trouble is I had unsubscribed years ago, so how did I get resurrected? I certainly didn't remember downloading something from him recently.

Sure enough stuff arrived in the post the following day, it was totally ridiculous and over the top, loads of #fakenews claims from a bunch of his friends etc. No I don't know if it was actually fake, but it just felt like it. It went straight in the bin. I unsubscribed from the email and declared my feelings in the text box on the unsubscribe page.

I know he uses Infusionsoft and I could very clearly see that my unsubscribe was indeed successful.

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Then...

On the 5th October 2017, I received a text message from him, see below screenshot, I was blown away and fuming, #WTF, how did he get my number, plus I'm on telephone preference service (UK based service to stop spam calls and text messages), so he wasn't allowed to be doing this at all and definitely should have known better.

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And it didn't stop here...

On the 6th October 2017, I received another email, titled, "personal message..."

It was one of those video emails via BombBomb, some of you will have seen them. Believe it or not I was first introduced to this kind of video email back in 2005, even before we had broadband, needless to say it died a death then, so I'm pleased it's back, but I was not so pleased to have received this message considering I had actually unsubscribed from his database.

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Well of course it was obvious that they had transferred my details to a different database, the BombBomb database. I was not pleased. It felt like throwing a BombBomb towards Nigel that's for sure.

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Now you can probably understand why I say that I have a love and hate relationship with funnels. By the way full declaration here, I use Mailchimp automation, but in a very very different way. My objective is to add value to my network, not drive them into a funnel of any kind. 

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I have learnt from others like Nigel that this is never the right approach and when people unsubscribe, that's it, nothing again ever!

As I'm writing this, I am also familiarising myself with the new EU General Data Protection Regulations update due on 25th May 2018.

Here's a link to learn more about that for EU and soon to be ex EU citizens. Yes it will still apply even after Brexit.

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-reform/overview-of-the-gdpr

This will mean changing all funnel approaches by all marketers in the UK (and EU), including my own little 'value automation' and I will for sure be adopting the new guidelines, I promise.

RIP The Funnel.

@stayingaliveuk

Do you seek attention?

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Generally speaking most of us do seek attention, we’ve been seeking attention ever since we were a pregnancy test. 

And as luck would have it you have probably been receiving unsolicited attention through all your baby, toddler and teenager lives until you reach so-called adulthood. I say so-called because young people believe it’s when they reach 18, parents believe it’s not until you’re 21 and science says your brain doesn’t fully develop until you’re 25. I’m with the science community. I have first hand evidence of living with a 19-year old. 

So when you’ve been receiving attention for at least a quarter of your life, it’s not that easy then to make the transition to start giving attention to others. Maybe that’s why 50% of all marriages fail? #justsaying

Anyway let’s apply this to business and brand development. When you advertise you’re basically asking for attention aren’t you?

And these days that’s what everyone is doing or planning to do. Mark Zuckerberg is very happy about this and definitely his employees, because job security is important to them of course it is. Facebook is probably going to be the largest benefactor of your need to get attention. It’s a very clever choreographed process to make you feel that if you don’t advertise, nobody will give you attention. In fact the algorithm has been changed on Facebook business pages to ensure this is the case. If you have a company page, have you ever noticed how any time you post an update Facebook follows this up at least the next day with a notification? It says that ‘when you’ve finished boosting your post X up to X number of people will see it in their newsfeed for just a couple of bucks.’ (See image example below).

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Generally speaking most of us do seek attention, we’ve been seeking attention ever since we were a pregnancy test. 

And as luck would have it you have probably been receiving unsolicited attention through all your baby, toddler and teenager lives until you reach so-called adulthood. I say so-called because young people believe it’s when they reach 18, parents believe it’s not until you’re 21 and science says your brain doesn’t fully develop until you’re 25. I’m with the science community. I have first hand evidence of living with a 19-year old. 

So when you’ve been receiving attention for at least a quarter of your life, it’s not that easy then to make the transition to start giving attention to others. Maybe that’s why 50% of all marriages fail? #justsaying

Anyway let’s apply this to business and brand development. When you advertise you’re basically asking for attention aren’t you?

And these days that’s what everyone is doing or planning to do. Mark Zuckerberg is very happy about this and definitely his employees, because job security is important to them of course it is. Facebook is probably going to be the largest benefactor of your need to get attention. It’s a very clever choreographed process to make you feel that if you don’t advertise, nobody will give you attention. In fact the algorithm has been changed on Facebook business pages to ensure this is the case. If you have a company page, have you ever noticed how any time you post an update Facebook follows this up at least the next day with a notification? It says that ‘when you’ve finished boosting your post X up to X number of people will see it in their newsfeed for just a couple of bucks.’ (See image example below).

I appreciate totally that if you’re in business and you have a message or a mission you need to get people to pay attention. Advertisements are not always a great way to do this though. There are many other routes to market but here lies the problem, there are far too many routes these days and to test them all, you need a serious bag of cash to do so.

So let’s just say that someone is paying attention to you, your process, whatever that may be, actually worked. They actually clicked through an advert and you got an order. Because it worked you will repeat the process again and again, continuing the advertising paradigm and many of you will even be advocating this to others, some of you might even be making a living out of training others to advertise as well. And so it grows and the advertising barons will be raking in the cash, buckets full of them. 

Every social network depends on advertising for its survival. You can see that the vast majority of their innovation and creativity is directed towards how to leverage their advertising engine even further. More development, updates and improvements are seen in their advertising platforms compared to the social networks themselves. The updates on those are far and few between. In fact they don’t even have great customer service, it is impossible to communicate one on one with a customer service representative, you are cornered into reading pages and pages of manuals and forums before giving up in despair.

They are amongst the worst companies on the planet for their customer service, not to speak of their failures in dealing with abuse of all kinds on their sites.

I’m not trying to bash social networks by the way, I know it sounds like it, I’m just highlighting that we’ve all fallen victim to them, whether it’s the addiction to them and their consistent exploitation of companies that are seeking more and more attention for their product or service.

So what’s the solution? Well if I knew I’d probably be a billionaire by now, but one thing’s for sure paying social networks to advertise on your behalf for me is not the right way.

Instead of seeking attention, maybe we should be inviting audiences to articulate what great would look like for them. Inviting them to share in a journey, become part of the story to greatness instead of just adding their funds to ours. Minimalism is on the rise and companies will need to become even more innovative if they wish to survive the path towards all of us needing less instead of more in our lives.

I would love to hear your perspective on this. Share your comments or tweet me using the hashtag. #attentionseeker

@stayingaliveuk

How do you know if your content is any good?

And how do you know if your content is appealing to the correct audience? Data suggests that there are around 200+ million blogs in the world. I researched some data up to 2011 suggesting 181 million, so I've conservatively increased it. 

Can you imagine just for a second that all these bloggers are looking for eyeballs to engage with their content and in some cases its advertisers. That is an awful lot of competition!

Then add to that the amount of social media posts and sound bites in the form of likes, shares and comments that are also competing for eyeballs.

As of April 2017, there are 2.907 billion active social media users in the world of which Facebook owns 1.968 billion active users. All these active users are engaging with content in one way or another and that makes the job of content marketers even tougher. 

Facebook spotted the trend for companies needing to get more eyeballs on their content and that organic engagement was declining rapidly. Therefore low cost advertising is growing allowing many small businesses to get into the advertising game and getting involved with the chase for more eyeballs on their content and products.

Now big and small business are competing with each other for eyeballs like never before.

But how do you know whether you are targeting the right audience? Well advertising nowadays is so sophisticated that you are able to target every single aspect of that prospect's life! This is why Facebook ads are probably the most popular advertising platform around. 

Facebook will make nearly $61 billion per year from just mobile advertising by 2021.

Whether you are targeting Millennials, Baby Boomers or Gen X you can now do this with super laser accuracy. And you thought the ads in your Facebook newsfeed were random!

As a consequence the amount of Facebook ads consultants are expanding rapidly. Not that it's difficult to master the ads platform, the trick is to know how to write the copy, choose the right images that will appeal to that Millennial, Gen Xer or Baby Boomer and know the right keywords and all the other multiple targeting options. There is a lot to consider for sure and in the process of learning and failing you will make Facebook a little richer in the process.

Personally I would recommend that if you are serious about getting closer to your target audience, that you plan a better and more personal engagement plan. Yes it might be slower but it will potentially develop long term raving fans one person at a time. 

Experiment, experiment, experiment with ads, with email, with calls, with meetings and develop an understanding of what your audience engages with the best. 

I would love to hear what's working for you today or what you are experimenting with currently to ensure more eyeballs on your content.

Success!

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #trust #love #mastodon #why #linkedinlectures

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Have you been on a 'CONTENT' diet yet?

If you haven't already, I am sure you have contemplated it.  The name has a nice ring to it as well 'Digital Detox'.  There are now millions of self-proclaimed addicts to digital content. Soon to be billions.  And there are plenty of us that are in denial as well.

I want to make sure you have some facts to begin with.

Brandwatch shared some mind-blowing stats in March 2016. Here are just a few.

And you can find even more stats here: 

https://www.brandwatch.com/2016/03/96-amazing-social-media-statistics-and-facts-for-2016/

In years to come, all those content spewing platforms will be asking us our preferences.  Once they know our preferences they will only serve up those bits of content we have asked for. No more no less.  Unfortunately this means that we have to make a decision.  What do we really need to see on a daily basis?  Not what we want to see but what we need to see.  

There is a big difference, because as an addict we have many wants and we have to slowly wean ourselves off a lot of the content that we are already addicted to.  

The trouble with all of us, we are constantly in FOMO, 'fear of missing out'.  That's why we are addicted.  If you want to learn why, read my article, 'Do Social Networks Sell Drugs'.

By watching the video below you will also learn what the Internet is doing to our brains. 

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/

Each week I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, insight and meaning of the words and illustrations.

@stayingaliveuk