Advertising

How many leads are you really converting?

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Current reality is likely to be fantasy. The fact is that the four horsemen, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are the winners. [Scott Galloway's book The Four Horsemen: http://amzn.to/2CWn5jv]

Their engines are huge, their pockets are even deeper and you have very likely spent a big junk of your earnings with these 4 mammoth organisations.

They are buying up all their competition whenever they pose a threat and will own the internet space for many a year to come, you might as well get used to it.

The only way you are competing on the internet is by spending on ads with Google and Facebook and at this time Facebook is the winner.

Facebook will make $60 billion at least from mobile ads by 2020, that's just in a couple of years time.

You are hoping that AI and automation will save the day and actually it probably won't. The only way you have a chance is to become super personal with your customers and potential buyers. This means spending more on the front end with training your employees to become outstanding communicators and making sure you retain them for longer.

Millennials will rage quit at the drop of a hat, so you better know what they value about your company and make sure you deliver this to them daily.

Lead generation is going to be a much hotter topic in years to come and you will be experimenting with many snake oil providers before settling down with something that you feel happy with.

Remember the customer knows when she's being sold to

The best organisations are becoming better at storytelling and linking al their teams together and sharing the same message.

Here on LinkedIn in by the way is where this can be most effective. The trouble is most organisations ignore this potential and their employees LinkedIn profiles are a mess. Sorry to be so direct, but it's true.

When your employees have to become better communicators they actually have to become better storytellers. Their own story and that of the company they work for. A perfect blend of the two will create trust and loyalty.

Better get started...

Purgatory: the place to which Roman Catholics believe that the spirits of dead people go and suffer for the evil acts that they did while they were alive, before they are able to go to heaven. Humorous: an extremely unpleasant experience that causes suffering.

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

Is Your Buyer's Brain Overloaded?

Possibly, but it depends...

Recently I read that 90% of all the data that's been created on the planet was created in the past 2 years! That's an astounding statistic don't you think? The amount of data we’re consuming is growing exponentially every single second and I've just added to it by publishing this post.

Just think about the amount of social media content and blog posts you’re reading these days considering they didn't even exist just a few small years ago.

In fact YouTube didn't exist 10 years ago and now 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute. 300 hours! That's about 20 days worth in a minute, (based on let's say a 15 hour awake day). And I understand that Facebook is well on its way to by-passing YouTube’s activity. 

When you consider how many users there are on social media channels and the data they’re all creating, one just can't comprehend how big those data figures are. The size of data is so large that it’s now being described in the form of zettabytes. By 2019 Cisco predicts that the Internet will carry 2 zettabytes of data, that's three times more than last year (2014). Video sharing is expected to increase to 80% from 67% currently over the same period.

So what's a ’zettabyte’? I'm sure you want to know, so I looked it up on Wikipedia for you.

The zettabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. The prefix zetta indicates multiplication by the seventh power of 1000 or 1021 in the International System of Units (SI). Therefore one zettabyte is one sextillion (one long scale trilliard) bytes. The unit symbol is ZB.

1 ZB = 10007bytes = 1021bytes = 1000000000000000000000bytes = 1000exabytes = 1billionterabytes = 1trilliongigabytes.

Silicon Valley already has problems finding data scientists to cope with figuring out the ’data revolution’ that's upon us right now!

’Customer experience enhancement’ is expected to be the largest big data business category and the one with the most growth, with forecasts saying this sector will grow from $0.75 billion in 2015 to $3.57 billion in 2020.

The biggest challenge for all marketers is how to get noticed and deliver that expected ’customer experience enhancement’, whilst everyone is sharing multiple amounts of content (data). Your messages are literally drowning in all the noise, which in the main is content (data) we don’t really need anyway! Buyers are being bombarded by millions of bytes of information every single hour. And then there's the question of demographics. Who’s more active on which platform, do I target Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn or the others? Managing this social media soup is also becoming a major headache for many marketers? Micro Enterprises are totally confused by it all.

And then we are developing love-hate relationships with all these channels too.

Why? Because they keep changing the format, the user interface (UI) and what you expected from it one day, can be gone the next. And we are still loyal to them, well most of the time anyway. That's why when a new channel comes along everyone rushes to it to see if they will get a better experience.

Advertising is losing its credibility too with the buyer as more and more of us loath being sold to.  
So what's the answer for getting noticed?

It's a tough one and I'm not sure there's one single solution to the question. But what I’m 100% sure about is that buyers want to be WOWED, they want to feel SPECIAL, they want to believe they've had the BEST DEAL ever and know that the follow up customer service will make them feel like they're the ONLY customer.

Your buyer’s brain is literally maxed out with data and there's no reprieve anytime soon.

We all need new and innovative ideas and above all we need to examine our own brains to decide what will be the most memorable way for our buyers to absorb content (data). Put yourself in the driving seat and examine the buyer’s journey through her eyes or rather her brain.

As humans we've always been fantastically curious. Curious about other people in particular, after all that's what makes us human. We have a natural empathy for others.  The only way we can develop any kind of empathy is to learn something about the other person or situation first. Without that information we can't connect with our inner self (emotional part of our brain) and develop any kind of connection at all.

So how do we currently learn about others or situations?

Through stories...

Storytelling is ancient and it evokes an emotion inside of us that leaves meaningful footsteps inside of our brains that potentially stay there forever. Well in fact they do, it just depends on how good we are in being able to recall those stories. Definitely what's true is that if there’s more emotion and feeling about those stories, we will remember it for longer.

Why is it then that most marketers are still stuck in a pattern of ’This is my Product - Buy me’?

With the amount of zeta-data spinning around the planet there's no hope for any of the old style marketing to stick with anyone, it just isn't appropriate any longer.

If we know that stories do stick, why are marketers not using this formula more often? And yes, stories do need to be targeted to each demographic, because they need to feel like you're talking directly to them. There's no point telling a story to a 60-year old expecting it to be relevant to an 18-year old.

Now over to you.

I'd love to hear whether you’re a storyteller and what success you've had  or otherwise. How are you getting or expecting to be noticed by your current and future buyers?

@stayingaliveuk - ’Share Your Story’

Image: @gapingvoid

Why Did You Endorse Me?

By far the most frequent asked question I get from my LinkedIn students is around the Skills and Expertise section.

The question usually is around why connections endorse them for skills that they haven't actually experienced, i.e. someone endorses you for one of your skills but you have never demonstrated to them that you have that skill. 

So why are they endorsing you? There are 2 reasons for this.

  1. Because they can.
  2. LinkedIn prompts them to do so, regularly.

Let me explain further. The skills section is something LinkedIn developed out of something that was called ’specialities’, which sat at the end of your summary. When they upgraded this to the Skills and Expertise section it morphed into a brand new and clever system to develop LinkedIn’s objectives to a) get more traffic to their website and b) assist advertisers to target their adverts more accurately towards members who will be interested in those ads.

Every social media website is competing for views. When there’s more traffic to a website, it becomes a more attractive proposition for advertisers. LinkedIn’s advertising real estate is actually very small. See the images below. You can see that there are just 3 areas on their website for adverts.

  1. A sentence right at the very top of the page with a hyperlink.
  2. A banner ad usually a full colour image, which sometimes is animated.
  3. Small ads that appear bottom right, depending on what page you are browsing.

The advertiser has a number of different criteria they can choose from when constructing their advert. And as you are probably guessing by now, skills is one of those criteria, which they can select and is extremely powerful to narrow down your target audience. In the example below it took my target audience from 347 million, the full approximate membership number on LinkedIn down to just 12k, a select audience in Birmingham UK with some specific skills on their profile.

Pretty powerful stuff for the advertiser, which makes it very attractive to advertise on LinkedIn and of course at a lower cost too, because you're targeting a smaller audience. 

Then we have the ecosystem that LinkedIn has created whenever you visit your profile, a connection’s profile or browse the mobile app. Regularly you will see alerts for you to endorse your connections for certain skills. You have no idea whether these skills do actually exist on your connections’ profile. 

The only sure way of making sure that these skills are indeed on their profile is to go there and make sure they are. Sounds like a lot of work, perhaps. However if you don't, LinkedIn will continue to suggest new skills for your connections’ profiles because LinkedIn knows that their skill list is not yet up to maximum 50. It appears that LinkedIn’s primary goal is to make sure that as many of its members has a full list of skills on their profiles. More skills, more targeted advertising and more $$$ for LinkedIn’s shareholders. Got it?

I have a few tips for you to ensure that you are both maximising the skills section for your benefit and as such assist you to be found on LinkedIn.

I decided that making use of this nice infographic on your profile means that the viewers of your profile will get a quick overview of what you are all about.

  1. Have a maximum of 12 skills, you will find that most won't bother to endorse you for more than 3 anyway.
  2. Decide that the key skills you've identified become your keywords for your profile.
  3. Ensure you intelligently spread those keywords (skills) throughout your profile to assist you being found on LinkedIn whenever someone is searching for people who have certain skills. 
  4. Whenever someone endorses you for a skill that does indeed exist on your profile and it’s one you've decided to display there, then the best way to thank them is to endorse them back. You will know from an email sent by LinkedIn, what someone has endorsed you for. (See image below).
  5. If someone has endorsed you for a skill that doesn't appear on your profile, again you will receive an email but this time LinkedIn will prompt you to add it to your profile. If you're not happy to accept this skill, then delete it from the top of your profile, where it will appear as an outstanding action.
  6. If at any time you wish to remove a skill, go into edit profile mode and move to the skills section where you can edit skills by clicking on ’add skill’. Delete and move a skill when you're in edit mode.
You will receive this email, when your connections have endorsed you for skills that are already on your profile. You can return the favour by visiting their profiles and endorsing them for their skills. There is no further action required.

You will receive this email, when your connections have endorsed you for skills that are already on your profile. You can return the favour by visiting their profiles and endorsing them for their skills. There is no further action required.

When you receive this email, LinkedIn has prompted one of your connections either when they visited your profile or when they were browsing on their mobile app to endorse you. It's very rare that they have decided to endorse you for that skill, LinkedIn prompts them to do so. When it says 'add to profile', you will know it's a skill that you don't have listed. If you click through that skills will be added. Watch the video below to learn how to dismiss any new skills.

When you receive this email, LinkedIn has prompted one of your connections either when they visited your profile or when they were browsing on their mobile app to endorse you. It's very rare that they have decided to endorse you for that skill, LinkedIn prompts them to do so. When it says 'add to profile', you will know it's a skill that you don't have listed. If you click through that skills will be added. Watch the video below to learn how to dismiss any new skills.

If you are unhappy with the Skills & Expertise section on LinkedIn, I recommend you give LinkedIn some feedback, either via a ’feedback’ link on the site or send a support ticket to LinkedIn help.

Now you know how the Skills & Expertise section works, you may decide to review the skills listed, decide on just a dozen or so and include them throughout your LinkedIn copy.

Feel free to share any questions you may still have about this section on LinkedIn.

@stayingaliveuk