Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 26, 2016
I’d like to say that I grew up differently than a lot of other boys… but that wouldn’t necessarily be true. Sure, I was a military kid, which made a big part of my life different from the norm, but all that did was make my experiences different.
This means that when I reached the age where I thought girls were pretty, I’d stare at them like most of the other boys. That is, we’d stare until we thought someone was looking at us, and then we’d look away quickly. It was like every class had a different pretty girl in it, someone new to stare at, and I’m not going to lie, my grades probably slipped for a short period of time until I learned how to stare and still listen to what teachers were saying.
This continued through high school, through college (even when I had a girlfriend; sorry Nanci lol), and through my first real job working at a music store. So many girls, then women, so many attractive and stunning… I could have gotten whiplash with all of that.
It finally ended after my first year of working at a hospital. The first reason wasn’t a conscious decision; the second reason was. The second reason was I wanted to be in management and realized that I wanted to make sure I treated everyone fairly, something I didn’t think could happen if I kept staring at the attractive ladies.
The first reason… at a certain point I realized it was a major waste of time. Why? Because I realized that if you’ve seen one attractive woman that not only were there more, but that they would always be around; if one left another would come, then another, then another. At some point I knew there wasn’t anything special about attractive women when compared to any other woman. In essence, I recognized the fact that, except in certain circumstances, women were women, and there was more to those I might be attracted to than their looks.
What does this have to do with marketing?
Did you know there are literally hundreds of different brands and kinds of spaghetti sauce? A lot of us have our favorites, but few of us think about why those particular brands are our favorites. Want to know why mine is? Because my mother bought it the first time when I was 13 years old, I liked it and that was that. There’s nothing anyone can do to change my mind on my favorite brand; it is what it is and it’s rare that I venture outside of what I like.
What about everyone else? If you don’t have a favorite brand of spaghetti sauce, what would tip your mind towards buying one, outside of someone recommending one to you? I went online to do some research; I wasn’t able to find the best selling spaghetti sauce, but I found the “best” spaghetti sauce… maybe. Here’s what I found:
Huffington Post – Giada de Laurentiis for Target — Vegetable Marinara
Family Circle – La Famiglia DelGrosso
Cooking Light – Rao’s Homemade Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce with Basil
Food Network – Trader Giotto’s Organic Tomato Basic Marinara
Bon Appetit – Barilla Traditional Marinara
Wow… that doesn’t help does it?
How about this:
In case you didn’t watch the video, Malcolm Gladwell was talking about Prego and their battle against Ragu, a brand their tests showed was considered an inferior product yet one they couldn’t surpass until they discovered something intriguing. Turns out they still couldn’t surpass Ragu with one product… but with multiple products, they finally knocked Ragu off the pedestal… at least for a while.
There are 3 major issues with marketing. The first is that there are a lot of other people and companies you’re competing with. The second is that it’s hard to figure out how to get your brand to be seen as being superior to other brands. The third is that sometimes it doesn’t matter if your brand is superior if someone else is already top dog; you might have to find a way to get around that so you can compete.
People in my local area and in Florida might remember a guy named Jim Shapiro. I can’t embed the video here, but I can link to one of them in case you need reminding or have never heard of him, one of the first lawyers (kind of lol) who advertised on TV. Instead, I’ll show you this one, which was quite popular in a 4-state area which includes New York:
That brings back memories doesn’t it? At the time of that commercial and the one I linked to, it helped drive revenues to unknown heights, to the extent that lots of other people started doing the same type of thing until, finally, the market was flooded with so many crazy commercials that they stopped making the kind of impact they used to and eventually started dwindling away.
This is proof of three things. The first proves that getting attention is key to success, even if you’re not that good (or fake). The second proves that it takes great effort to stand above the crowd, but you’ll probably only get a short term boost from it before everyone else starts copying you. The third proves that we all have to be willing to take chances, some of them pretty bold, because when all is said and done, getting that boost and making a lot of money is better than not making money at all… at least if you’re honest (these guys had problems later on; that’s what doing illegal things will do to you).
Marketing isn’t easy. That’s not quite true; marketing is easy; getting attention from your audience isn’t. The biggest question I always have for my business is how to get my marketing to the place where people are calling me up wanting to work with me instead of the other way around. After all, hospitals rarely call anyone looking for consulting, and they almost never pick up the phone in the C-suite (I know this one personally).
Outside of that area, I generate enough interest but never enough to get the people I want contacting me as often as I wish so I can become independently wealthy and eat nothing but hamburgers all day. Social media marketing is intriguing because it helps you reach out to way more people, but at the end of the day it might take a stunt like writing 12 posts in 3 days for a specific month on one blog or a blog post a day for a month or even a video a day for a month for the right audience to start finding you.
I’m not a master of marketing but there’s one thing I definitely know; we have to do it and we have to do it often. That’s pretty much the only bit of advice I can give you or take for myself. I mentioned above that there are so many attractive women that I stopped staring at them. Yet I know some famous attractive women, and I know them because their names keep popping up, their pictures keep popping up, they’ll end up on TV or in movies all the time… over and over and over. Repetition is key; you might not get your message through the first time so you have to keep pimping it out.
I tell myself this all the time, when things get slow and I’m wondering what to do next… do it again, keep doing it and then do it more! You can modify it all you want, but keep doing it. Get your message out, work on connecting with others, and unless you strike gold the first time around keep at it, rinse and repeat.
Do you have marketing tactics that work well for you? I’d love to hear about them.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Apr 27, 2015
I used to love commercials as a kid. I loved all types of advertising. However, it wasn’t until I ordered the sea monkeys from a comic book and got something that wasn’t quite up to snuff (what the heck was that anyway?) that I started to distrust certain kinds of ads.
Anyway, that’s kind of what’s led me to talk about this subject. In deference to my buddy Craighead Pro (that’s his professional name lol), I decided it was time to take on this particular subject about “adblocking”.
For those who aren’t familiar with it, many browsers offer a plugin called Adblock Pro which allows us to block ads from certain websites; okay, almost every website out there. Some sites have figured out how to get certain types of ads to you in different ways (for instance, it doesn’t block all those newsletter subscribe popups) while others have created other plugins or apps to help block more of it if you want to deal with it.
Craighead’s view is an intriguing one, and I’m not totally against his thinking on this one. He’s a big YouTube creator and many YouTubers put a lot of time into creating this content because they can set up ads on them to make money online. With Adblock on, you never see any of those ads, whether they’re in the video or along the side, thus you’re never compelled to potentially click on them or watch them and the creators don’t make money.
Obviously it’s the same with websites. When we block the ads those sites lose a lot of potential revenue because who wants to advertise on a site where most ads are getting blocked? I certainly wouldn’t because it would be a waste of my advertising dollars.
So I get it; I really do. To this end, I’ve stopped blocking ads on YouTube because I recognize the time those folks put into creating this stuff that I like to watch. Just like with other types of ads I tend to have “ad blindness” for the stuff that shows up on the side so that doesn’t bother me. Anything that shows up on a video I can just click away from it by hitting the X if I’m not interested, and some other ads run for 5 seconds and gives you the ability to click away if you so choose.
However, I have no shame when it comes to blocking a lot of other stuff, including CNN and Facebook and on most websites I visit. Even though I run a couple of affiliate ads here and there I still block those other sites.
I’m going to blame the advertisers for this as much as the websites, but the advertisers first.
What makes us watch advertising in the first place? When we watch ads it’s because it’s offering us something compelling. For instance, the ads I’ll actually watch on YouTube have captured my imagination in some way. I like the funny ads. I like the movie trailers. Even though I’m not a gamer I love seeing those ads; those folks are creative as anything.
I’m not watching an ads that’s 2 minutes long talking about a medical malady I don’t have. I’m almost never clicking on one of those banner ads that comes up because there’s almost never any interest in that product for me. And sometimes those ads look like what we all used to call “generic trick spam”, where they’ll say something like “your computer’s out of date” or stupid mess like that.
A popup telling me I have a virus that I know I don’t have because I have an antivirus program is both disturbing and irksome. That’s one of my biggest gripes with ads that Facebook allows. Those misleading ads aren’t going to fool me after so many years, but I’m betting there are a lot of people who aren’t quite as savvy clicking on that stuff. Those and the ads that are videos that automatically start playing; man, I hate that stuff. That’s why I have a couple of extra layers of protection against ads on that site.
CNN is a different animal entirely. I removed Flash from my computers about 2 months ago as both Firefox, my browser of course, and Chrome switched to a HTML5 mode so I could watch YouTube videos. They’re still blocked on some sites for Firefox, though I can watch them on Chrome. However, CNN has figured out how to not only override that issue but the issue of keeping their videos from automatically starting. And now, if you try to pause those videos it immediately takes you to a different page than the article you want to read & starts playing a different ad; what’s that about?
So, I run different types of blockers on sites like this, and I’m betting I’m not the only one. Whether it’s the types of ads or the intrusiveness of these things, frankly I’m not in the mood to deal with it. YouTube is kind of a different animal but even there, if the ad isn’t compelling I’m not going to stay around to consume it. But I at least give them a chance.
What’s your thought on all of this? Can you see both sides of it? Is it the fault of the advertisers for what they create, the fault of the sites for what they accept, or not your problem whatsoever?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Apr 2, 2015
Are you trying to make money online? Are you trying to sell services or products? And are you trying to do any of this to your blog?
I ask this question because there can be subtle differences between writing style based on what it is you’re actually trying to do.
For instance, writing about products that you’re trying to sell is a much different animal than trying to explain to people the types of services you provide.
When you’re writing about a product, you almost have to go step by step by first telling what the product is, how it works, why it’s so great and why someone might need to use it.
When writing about services, you’re not necessarily going to be as direct about them, at least most of the time, because that kind of hard sell for services usually falls on deaf ears. Instead, it usually involves a consistent set of scenarios that one puts up to show that they have expertise in that area so that people will get comfortable with the fact that they may know what they’re talking about.
One of the problems some people have when writing about products is that they forget to be conversational. Everybody loves stories, because stories are very conversational.
For instance, if you’re trying to sell a fishing rod, telling stories about being out on a boat in the middle of a bay while casting with your favorite fly and catching the trout you have always wanted to catch makes for a compelling story. A full description of the lure and the rod and the reel could make someone think that if they bought those things they might have the same kind of success or adventure. But most marketers don’t think that way, which is a shame.
As you’ve seen on this blog, I talk about a lot of different things trying to show my expertise, since I offer services. I do have a couple of products at the top of each of my sidebar, but those are only small pieces of my overall business.
Most of the time there’s a story tied in with the particular topic that I’m addressing on that day, and to be truthful I’m always hoping that one day one of those stories will pique the interest of somebody who’s looking for someone with my particular set of skills.
I hope for the same thing on my other business blog, while on my finance blog I keep trying to make it financially diverse hoping to attract advertisers. Of course that’s another way of making money, getting advertisers, but it can take a lot of hard work to have the right content to drive enough traffic to your blog to make it profitable for them.
As I always say, the point of every blog and every article is to either inform, educate, or entertain. If you decide that you’re looking to use it to make money or to promote yourself, then you have to be flexible enough to alter your text to try to accomplish your goals. When all is said and done that’s what marketing is all about.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 20, 2014
One of the best things about advertising and working online is that if something isn’t working, you can change it pretty easily. Testing can take some time, but it’s less expensive than printing $10,000 worth of material, mailing it out to thousands of people, getting nothing in return and having to do it all again.
One of the worst things about advertising and working online is when you get things so screwed up that you lose any business credibility you might have had. Sure, many times you’ll get another shot at making a go of things, but you’ll probably never get any of those people back that stopped by, disapproved of what you did, left and talked about it later on.
One Sunday last year I did a Google Hangout with my Hot Blog Tips crew on the topic of writing paid posts and blogging credibility, which I’m sharing below. It’s my position that if people do things that are unethical just to make money that eventually it will kill them and their business prospects. There are a lot of bloggers who write paid posts, or put up posts with someone else’s words, and say a lot of glowing stuff about something they’re not familiar with. Some will be promoting a product using an affiliate link that they know nothing about and writing something overly positive without knowing if it is or not.
When it comes to your business and advertising it online, I feel that what you don’t want to do is say you can do things that you can’t do. At the same time, overstating your capabilities doesn’t do you many favors either. I remember having a conversation with someone a couple of years ago where he said that if you’re asked if you can do something or provide something you always answer “yes”, then you go out and find the person who can really do it. To me, it might be true that you can find someone who can do the work, but if you don’t know that person and they do the work badly, you’re the one who’s going to suffer.
There’s nothing wrong with self promotion. There’s really nothing wrong with a bit of hyperbole, although if you say you’re the #1 whatever in your market I tend to believe you’d better be ready to prove it by showing me something, since I might not even allow you to work with me unless I get testimonials. These days people are more savvy than ever, and they can check everything online. Try to fool someone and it will come back at you eventually. Nothing disappears online; remember that.
By the way, you need to know that if you happen to use words that aren’t your own, sent to you by a marketer that they believe will help you sell their product, that it’s a violation of FCC rules and it could result in both fines and losing your domain; just thought I’d mention that.
Check out the video below, as it addresses this topic with a few more ideas on the subject than just mine:
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 13, 2014
This is a minor rant, one I touched up a couple of months ago when I did a video rant; I’m including that below in case you want to see more things I griped about. lol
About 2 years ago I wrote a long article on blogging. It was mainly for folks who were either new to blogging or had started blogging but found they were having some difficulties with it. My purpose was to write something known as a “pillar post”, where the intention is to highlight your expertise in something by putting a lot of information into one particular post. Search engines supposedly love pillar posts; I wouldn’t really know, but I was up for the challenge.
However, my post ended up being almost 5,900 words, and I thought that would be a bit much. Thus, I broke it into a 2-part series, starting with Better Blogging Part One and Better Blogging Part Deux. It seemed like a much smarter thing to do, breaking such a large post into two parts; I stand by that decision for the sake of the readers.
You know what we’re getting a lot of these days? These websites that will have something like The 20 Top Baseball Players Of All Time or 8 Actors Who Say They’ve Seen Ghosts or a host of posts like this. Sometimes it’s even stuff that’s good for you or knowledge you need, such as foods you shouldn’t eat or learning more about a pharmaceutical you might have to take.
And what to you get? You get the privilege of going through multiple pages to see them all; I mean, not even one page where you can see a list of all of them with any extra detail.
Now, if you’re going to give me 20 baseball players and you’re going to do a nice write up on each one, I could excuse you having 21 pages (the first page is the set up page). But having 21 pages with only the first page having any significant content… now I’m irked. I don’t know about everyone else but I don’t have the time to go through 21 pages for one article all the time. That mess got old really quick for me; I’m a curious kind of guy but my curiosity stops when someone is putting messy stuff in my way.
There are two reasons these sites do stuff like this.
One, because they know Google loves tons of pages, and even with the Panda and Penguin updates, and any other animals that might crop up here and there, these sites seem to be able to weather the ratings hit quite well.
Two, because of advertising. The sites rank high, which brings in lots of advertisers, and thus they can pack each page with a bunch of advertisers links and banner ads, knowing that an overwhelming majority of people are going to keep hitting those links to get to the next page.
A site that does a little something like this that I actually kind of like is called Cracked, which has very long and often quite detailed articles that they’ll break into 2 or 3 pages. In that instance you’re getting so much content that it makes a lot of sense breaking it up, and it’s quite entertaining stuff.
Some of you might be saying “hey, I never see any of those pages”… really? If you’d like to see an example go to CNN.com, click on any news story there, go to the end of the story you clicked on and look at the links to either more news stories or other goofy stuff. Ugh!
Now, it’s bad enough that websites are doing this, but now I’m seeing some blogs doing it. Most of them are blogs with lots of images, and what they’re doing is putting up a lot of pictures but making each picture a blog in and of itself, even if it’s a series concerning the same thing. These folks might write a paragraph about the picture if you’re lucky, but come on now… Sure, it’s building up your pages but it’s ridiculous to visitors and I’m doubting that all of these images are getting comments. The few I’ve seen have had very few comments; what’s the point right?
Maybe I’m being sensitive, so I thought I’d put it out as today’s question. Have you seen this phenomenon on websites and/or blogs, and if so what do you think about it? Does it irritate you or do you think it’s creative? Take your time in thinking about it while watching my rant video below lol: