Category Archives: Marketing

Time To Start Talking About Marketing – Real Marketing

I’ve written around 1,250 posts on this blog since 2007. It’s been a wild ride, and I’ve had a lot of fun. I’ve touched upon some topics often, and one of those topics is marketing. It turns out I’ve written 115 posts on marketing, and my very first post on the subject came in October 2008 when I first started marketing my ebook Using Your Website As A Marketing Tool.

Mitch Mitchell
This guy is serious!

However, that was internet marketing, and as I took a look back through the archives I realized that most of the time I’ve talked about marketing as it relates to making money online. I’m not even including the posts where I’ve talked about affiliate programs; we’d have to add another 43 posts into the mix.

I did write an article on the reality of making money by blogging, and it turned out to be quite a popular post, at least by readers, even though it didn’t get a lot of comments. And yet, even in that post, where I got real in telling people how one really makes money blogging, I realized that I missed something, something that many people probably both think about and don’t think about at the same time.

That “something” is marketing, plain and simple. What’s funny is that I actually wrote a post back in November, around the same time as the post about making money by blogging, titled Social Media Marketing Is Just Marketing, and even in that post I didn’t talk about marketing, or the reason why marketing is important. I almost feel ashamed; almost that is. I tend to believe that all of us get to a point where we suddenly begin focusing on something, and when that happens it’s time to take steps forward, time to do something about it, time to talk about it. And as I went through a period last year when I was talking a lot about influence, I’m going to be obsessive for a short period about marketing.

Here’s the reality. Many people probably aren’t going to be interested in this series of posts coming up, which is why I’m writing this preamble on the topic. Let’s talk about who these posts probably aren’t for. If you have a job and you’re happy with that job, these posts won’t be for you. If you’re not running a business, consulting, small, medium sized, these posts probably won’t for you. If all you want to do is affiliate marketing and nothing else, these posts won’t be for you.

But if you want to work on your overall business, no matter what it is, and you want to read about the trials and tribulations and ideas and, hopefully, successes of marketing, and I do mean marketing, not sales, since marketing leads to sales if you’re lucky, and I mean sales of all kinds, then stick around with me on my journey, which can become your journey. I have big dreams to fulfill, things I want to do, need to do, and I can’t do any of them if I don’t step up my marketing, my real marketing, marketing mainly for my offline businesses, some of which can be done online, some of which can be done offline.

It won’t be all I write or talk about; after all, this is I’m Just Sharing, right? But it’s going to become the next focus, and quickly. Are you with me?
 

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Two Biggest Issues With Social Media Marketing

Since I wrote a post on the topic of social media and ROI, I’ve been thinking a lot about the problems associated with social media marketing in general. Some might have thought that I covered it with my post this past Saturday talking about the dangers of social media, but I didn’t. Matter of fact, that was geared more towards individuals; now it’s time to talk about the problems businesses have.


by Phillie Casablanca via Flickr

I believe there are two major problems with social media marketing; those are:

1) getting the message wrong

2) being ignored

For any other issue that one might come up with, these are the two biggest problems to date. I never touched upon the second one when I did the outline for my social media marketing seminar back in 2010, and barely touched upon the first one. That’s because I’m usually concentrating on educating people as to what social media is in the first place, not getting much into the details of it. I like to think I know something about social media marketing, but every once in awhile I have an epiphany and realize that I’ve just scratched the surface.

Getting The Message Wrong

Let’s get into it. We’ll start with the first premise, that being getting the message wrong. Man, is it easy to mess up. Just ask McDonald’s, which tried to have a Twitter media campaign asking people to use a certain hashtag telling the world why they love McDonald’s. The problem is that not everyone likes McDonald’s, or wants to own up to it, and thus there were a lot of negative responses that hijacked the hashtag and brought a modicum of embarrassment. A representative said the negative comments only amounted to 2% of comments overall but no one believes that. And even if it’s true, then McDonald’s still lost because the media has already spread the word; bad publicity isn’t always better than no publicity at all.


from Huffington Post

The problem sometimes comes from thinking you know your market when you don’t. I don’t hate McDonald’s, but I hear a lot of people putting down their food, although many of those same people will scarf down a box of fries if they got one; those things are tasty. Setting it up as a Twitter campaign to promote your company when you know there’s a lot of negative press about you from time to time (who hasn’t read this story nor seen the picture next to this paragraph about their chicken?) probably isn’t one of the smartest moves in the world. And they paid someone to create this campaign for them; they should have known better.

Late last year there was a campaign from the makers of Ragu (my favorite spaghetti sauce by the way) that seemed to make fun of the cooking skills of fathers and faced a major backlash about it. Truthfully, I thought it was a lot of fuss about nothing, but it was a fuss and the company ended up having to apologize to fathers for it.

This kind of thing happens all the time, and it doesn’t have to be this big. There was a woman whose book got a bad review on Amazon and she went after the person who wrote that review, only angering a constituency that hadn’t reviewed her book online because they’d thought it was horribly written and edited and just didn’t want to make a fuss, and once they mobilized and wrote all the negative reviews you can imagine the woman pretty much disappeared, with her book eventually averaging just barely over 1 star. Yes, social media can be deadly indeed.

Being Ignored

If getting the message wrong is a major problem, a problem just as bad is being ignored. Some time ago I wrote a post saying that social media marketing is just marketing. As true as that is, I didn’t expand it further at the time, mainly because I hadn’t thought about it.

When you watch your favorite programs on TV, what do you notice during the commercials? You notice that you see the same commercial over and over. During most sporting events on TV, you’ll often see the same commercial at every break. This year the big commercials seem to be from Papa John’s, who’s sponsoring the Super Bowl. The point isn’t that they’re paying millions to do that; the point is that they’re making sure their message gets across by popping it up there every 3 or 4 minutes on multiple channels to make sure we all get the message.

Let’s think about our social media marketing processes. I wrote about our reluctance to market ourselves, and it probably needs to be modified to say our reluctance to over-market ourselves. Indeed, if you read the comments on that post, you’ll see people admitting that they hate marketing themselves, instead spending a lot of time promoting others with the expectation that doing it helps to promote themselves. It does, but if one really wanted to earn a significant income, just how much marketing and self promotion via social media would we have to do?

The short answer; a lot. During my recent short period of pitching my request for a Shorty Award nomination I started retweeting that request every couple of hours. I did that for maybe 4 days before I started feeling self conscious about it; I even had it up here as a sticky post for that time period before putting it back into regular circulation.

That campaign only got me 26 overall votes, and what’s funny about it is how people said they never saw it; are you kidding me? I put it on Twitter, I put it on Facebook, I wrote about it on two other blogs. Yet that’s all I got; with a lot of people saying they never saw it, and I bet there are people right now who will say they never saw it.

The same thing happened when I was marketing my 2010 live presentation locally. I thought I was putting my message out there often, over many weeks, yet not only was the turnout not what I expected it to be, but when I mentioned it to people less than a month after it ended they said “I didn’t know you were doing that”. How often can one legitimately put their message out there?

One of the biggest complaints many of us have about some of the people we see marketing through social media is that they’re always promoting themselves over and over, to the extent that we’re sick of them and we stop following them. I’m one of those people, yet I’m starting to realize that if I ever really want to make money via social media marketing, or get better known so that I will get more consulting gigs or requests to speak at paid gigs that putting out the occasional marketing post probably isn’t going to get it done. And that doesn’t bode well for someone, whether it’s me or someone following me. People will do what people need to do to make money, and whether you or I like it or not if those people make money by those means, who are we to say they don’t have the right to make a living?

Those of us hoping for positive things out of our social media presence and social media marketing have to decide what it is we really want to do to reach our goals. I haven’t decided yet, but I’m still leaning towards not being too much of a pest. But maybe I can be slightly pesty, if that’s a word; I’m not sure. An interesting question is whether I’d do it for a client that asked for it. I’d have to answer that with an affirmative, which means we’re back to an old Redd Foxx joke, where the punch line is “we’re just arguing over the price”. One of these days, if prodded enough, I might tell the rest of that joke. 🙂

Meanwhile, think about it; what would it take for you to decide to put yourself out there more in social media, and just what would that mean?
 

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Our Reluctance To Market Ourselves

I love social media. I love how there’s just so much going on and so much information being shared by so many people. I love sharing information myself, which is why Twitter is my favorite place to be, because you never know what someone will share there and there’s lots being shared.

Dad and Me

You know what I also notice? I notice that there’s not as many people actually sharing their own stuff. I’m guilty of that myself. I often believe that since my blog articles automatically post when they go live that I don’t have to do anything else to promote them, hence, I don’t have to do anything else to promote myself. Man, how wrong I am, and those who believe as I do are.

I first touched upon this question back in May 2008 when I asked the general question How Far Are You Willing To Go For Promotion. That was based on something a local guy did (he’s now retired) where he wore certain types of clothing and a gold badge everywhere he went to always be promoting himself, and I wondered if anyone else would ever have the guts to do that. Seems the answer was no.

Over the years I’ve asked a lot of questions about marketing. I once asked if we could stomach sales. I once asked if we hate marketing so much because of what we’ve seen others do. I’ve talked about reasons why we don’t trust salespeople, and thus don’t want to become them. I once even announced that I was about to step up marketing efforts; that didn’t last, if it ever came to fruition or not.

What turns out to be interesting is just how little most of us end up marketing ourselves. A funny story from last week is that I was talking to my buddy Beverly Mahone about writing something for her that would help promote both of us. I put it together and sent it to her, exactly what she asked for. The next day she called and said I didn’t write a bio; I said she hadn’t asked for one. She also said I didn’t add a title page and I said once again she hadn’t asked for one. In essence, what she was saying to me is how could she promote both of us if I hadn’t given her anything to promote myself. Now that’s a shame.

I tend to believe that many of us miss opportunities to promote ourselves, our blogs and webpages, and our blogs. If you ask me, I think a lot of people end up doing it wrong on social media when they go through social bookmarking sites like Visibli before trying to push their content themselves first.

None of us likes “pushy”; I think that’s fair to say. We don’t want to get hammered daily, sometimes even once a week, with a sales message to buy something. I was reading yesterday where Sharon Hurley Hall wrote that she was unsubscribing from a number of newsletters that no longer suited her purpose. Probably a lot of those newsletters were marketing something on too consistent of a basis; that’s why I’ve unsubscribed from so many.

But there are some truths. One, we all need more outlets to advertise or market ourselves and our wares, and we have to be willing to do it. If you can’t advertise in your own space every once in awhile, if not have something ready on a 24/7 basis, well, how fair is that?

I have some products on 4 of my blogs that anyone can buy if they so choose at any time; is it wrong for me to want to have the ability to make money here and there? To the right, by the picture of me and the bird, I have links to some of my other pages where I’m selling stuff; will people hate me for having the audacity to try to make money that way?

Let’s talk about blog posts, or articles. How many times to you promote your own articles and posts on Twitter, where there are literally millions of people saying stuff every day, we have at least hundreds if not thousands following us, and yet we all know that the same people on at 10AM are probably not always the same people on at 8PM, or even 2PM. Who says you can’t pop your own links out more than once?

IMAG0360

Me & writer Don Yaeger

If you have a Facebook page, are you taking advantage of it by sharing your content, or every once in awhile sharing a product of yours? What about your Google+ page? None of these things are aggressive enough for anyone to gripe. Now, if you’re doing it once an hour or more, yeah, that will get irritating pretty quickly. But here and there… do you really care if a few people begrudge your opportunity to make a living?

Quick story. I was telling Beverly that I knew a local TV news personality but felt strange talking to him about things I do because I felt it might be manipulative in some fashion. She said I should contact him because people in the news are always looking for experts in different fields. I figured I had nothing to lose so I sent him a private message on Twitter, telling him I do things with blogging and social media and could possibly offer an older point of view on these things. He wrote back thanking me for telling him because he hadn’t realized that I did this type of thing. Will it end up with me on TV? Who knows, but at least I’m now known by someone in a prominent position for this sort of thing.

Most of us have to be ready to talk about ourselves, share our links, sell our products, let people know we and those things exist. I’m just as bad so this is a joint project. Sometimes we can do it while we’re supporting others; do you think I didn’t feel I was getting some benefit when I was helping John Garrett market his book How To Deal With Stupid Clowns? What about when I helped Beverly market her book Don’t Ask, or my artist friend Isaac Bidwell market himself and some of his art? Anyone see how that kind of thing helps me and them at the same time?

We can get this done. We can double our efforts, which pretty much means if you’re not doing it already anything you do will be a major step forward. Even if you’re not trying to sell something, if you’d like more visitors to your blog, go ahead and put your link out there somewhere, in a space you have more control over, and get yourself known.

And I’ll try to do it as well. 🙂
 

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How Do You Want To Be Perceived?

Last year I wrote a post titled What Message Are You Trying To Project where I talked about things people do in public to try to get you to do something they want you to do and how those actions can be perceived in a negative light even if your intention is otherwise. It seems that I’m compelled to write on this subject again, this time concerning something I saw online. I’m not going to link to it because, well, you’ll see as I go on.

I came upon a post that someone shared on Twitter. The guy who wrote the post was complaining because Google Plus had removed the image he’d put up of himself. Their issue was that he had his middle finger sticking out in front of him and considered it objectionable based on the standards they’ve created for the site. His gripe was that he felt their standards were petty, that he had freedom of speech, and while he was at it he stated how much he hated that G+ forces people to use their real names.

I’d say it was an interesting rant, but for a different reason. What I can’t figure out is why someone would want to go to a site like G+ and put up an image of themselves that immediately projects themselves in a negative light. In my opinion, the picture makes the guy look like a jerk. The image I saw made me think this was a guy I’d never want to meet or talk to, and if he had a business of any sort I’d never even think about working with him or asking him to provide any services for me.

Of course my perception is probably incorrect but that’s not the point. The point is that my first impression of the guy is that he’s a jerk. You know the old saw that you only get one chance to make a first impression? And this guy happens to be fairly connected; he runs a venture capitalist company and writes for TechCrunch as well. This isn’t a dumb guy by any means.

How many times have I written about the topic of influence and consequences on this blog? I take those things seriously. If I decide to be controversial, I do so in a certain way because I know how I want to be perceived, even if I don’t always care if someone agrees with me at those moments. Being perceived as a radical or as a complainer because of a rant, I don’t mind. Deliberately putting up an image that’s antagonistic before anyone’s had an opportunity to know more about me… nope, not me.

Still, maybe the old ways aren’t always the best (no, I’m not really believing that in this instance) so maybe I’m not seeing it as someone else might in today’s world. What say you on something like this?
 

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Social Media Marketing Is Just Marketing

Last night I was at the top grocery store in my area and ran into someone that was at the conference I got to present at last week. We talked a little bit about some of the programs that were put on, and then we talked about his general opinion of the event.


by Tiffa Day via Flickr

He mentioned that there was so much going on that he knew he’d be skipping some things here and there, like my presentation, because he wanted to take in as much as possible about things he didn’t know much about. He said that he talked to a lot of people who seemed confused at the end of the day, which I knew would happen because if you don’t know a lot about something going in and get inundated with lots of information there’s no way you can retain it all.

What he also said was that as he listened to a lot of the presentations he came to this conclusion; social media marketing shouldn’t be all that much different than traditional marketing, as it’s only a new platform and not a new way of marketing. His point was that the idea of marketing is to attract someone’s interest, get them to at least look at everything you have to offer, and then hopefully buy something before leaving. This takes research to figure out just what you have to offer a potential buyer and then figuring out how to make your message stand out to encourage that buyer to become a customer.

I couldn’t disagree with his general premise, yet I felt he was possibly missing the bigger picture. The reality is that social media marketing gives one the opportunity to branch out beyond their local area and reach a much larger audience in a lot shorter time. With the proper connections, I can talk about my latest project (which, by the way, is my editing a book of early newsletters from my primary business at the moment) and if I get the right audience to notice it the message can be seen by thousands is less than a day. Other than buying a commercial to show during a prime time TV event how many other ways are there to reach that many people? And the costs… forget about it!

Social media marketing also doesn’t have to be that direct to work. In the past I’ve mentioned that any major business not following their name or industry on Twitter is doing themselves a disservice because it’s not giving them the opportunity to either thank people that say nice things about them or correct something that a customer has complained about. These days it’s incumbent to address issues sooner than later because, though one can recover from bad press, it can be harder to do so. Just the other day I had someone comment on an old post of mine complaining about a particular affiliate that didn’t pay me; even when someone might think an issue is gone, online it’s never gone, especially if the company didn’t fix the issue (weasels; still never paid me).

Overall he’s correct; social media marketing is just marketing. But it’s also so much more, and anyone that doesn’t believe this will eventually run into the wall. On that day I hope they call me or someone else to help them get out of it, and then hope it’s not too late.
 

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