Just in case you are wondering why you would want to read that many books… Here are the benefits of dumping that much info into your system:
Exposure to more Business ideas than you’ll know what to do with.
Cutting edge strategies on unique topics from smarter people that have already done it!
Authority and Social Leadership – you read it? You lead the conversation!
Personal growth in this order: data-information-knowledge-wisdom-enlightenment
World Class Knowledge for pennies on the dollar.
Reach out and meet the author real-time and extend the value.
Cheap research from already researched topics
You’ll become a better writer and speaker!
Here’s what you DON'T need to do:
Take a speed reading course (…even though they are awesome and useful!)
Stay up till the wee hours of the night slobbering over the pages or your Kindle
Get up at monastic hours for a reading schedule
Sacrifice productivity or daylight to read
Spend a fortune at your local bookstore
Ignore your family
Here’s the only catch:
You have to Re-Learn how to read a book!
Reader Misconceptions – This applies to over 90% of so-called avid readers.
A quick *Note – I’m referring here to mostly self help, informative and business books. Not fiction or other leisure type reading.
Misconception #1 – The author must be really good if he wrote a book.
You know what you get really good at when you read a lot?
Spotting BS a mile away… I haven’t bought a book that sucks in over 4 years… How?
Nowadays you can read a good chunk of it including the table of contents on Amazon. Plus if the author has a blog you can also go there and get a feeling for what this guy is about to pump in your head.
You can also check out their Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles for conversations regarding their book. Also endorsements from people you already know, like and trust.
Misconception #2 – You must be a super-fast reader to read that many books.
Nope, you just need to know what you are after and a plan on how to get it really fast. Organizing your reading material by topic and dates is key here.
Misconception #3 – You can only read with your eyes.
Negative. Heard of audio books? Let me ask you… How many hours a week do you spend in your car? That’s right, most people listen to the radio, or chat on the phone, or pick their nose while driving.
My point is that you could be listening to an audio book or a podcast while you drive, workout, run, you get the idea.
I recently finished 100 episodes of a 1hr marketing related podcast. It was FREE by the way.
The information I learned by episode 20 has already made me money! I learned while driving. In others words, I got paid to drive!
…and I hate driving unless I’m hitting the open road with the family. I’m convinced that if I ever do a country wide road trip I’ll end up with the equivalent of a Doctorate degree based on reading volume alone.
Misconception #4 – Reading is for people that have time.
Right… and making money is for people that don’t?
I don’t think I should spend too much time on this one.
Misconception #5 – I multitask and that’s how I read.
Multitasking is as most people define it or understand it, a misnomer, an oxymoron of cataclysmic proportion. There isn’t such a thing as multitasking, which is nothing more than lower percentage or quality completion levels of activity.
The most insanely productive people I know are not multitaskers and they would never consider themselves one.
What most people mislabel multitasking as, is really triaging. A task World War II doctors were already doing in the battlefield by visually assigning a priority scale to the wounded depending on whether they had a bullet in the leg vs. the neck.
A strategy you can also apply to your reading portfolio by the way. I’ve been triaging my reading for years with awesome results.
Misconception #6 – I never finish the books I start!... that’s why I don’t even bother.
Yes I know, and you shouldn’t either.
Who says you have to finish a book that sucks. If you’ve learned all you are going to, or don’t feel like the author can teach you anything else, dump it.
If you get one or two good ideas from a book, that’s great! If you get more than that… Awesome!
Now put them to work!
Let me share with you briefly how I approach my reading,
The best authors write their chapters somewhat interrelated, but not interdependent.
The best books, beyond the subject matter that is, I’ve learned and continue to learn from are the ones that I read as reference guides, where each chapter is a gem on its own.
That’s why I spend some time studying the table of contents, researching the author, reading Amazon reviews, etc.
Remember the focus and ultimate goal of reading any book is to walk away with 1-2 relevant and applicable ideas,
names, dates, anecdotes, quotes are a bonus, but not the main focus,
...and to use it as a Reference Source.
Here’s my process:
I read clusters of books by topic. Say for example I’m reading 3 marketing books from unrelated authors.
I never ever read the basics, or what I consider myself to be proficient in, unless I’m learning what their method to teach is, -but for self consumption I go straight to areas where I’m going to learn something insightful or at least skinned in a different way.
Everything else I scan. If something catches my eye, I grab it.
This allows me to cut the time that would normally take me to read that book by about 60%
So say I find the chapters or pages related to “email marketing”, I then hit everything there is on those books on that topic but from different authors. This gives me a wide perspective and different views on the subject. I’m already very familiar with the topic, now I’m looking for unique insights (gold nuggets) from these guys!
The average book I read form vetted authors I know has 3-8 good insights or ideas that I can apply.
A lot depends on the book also, for example I’m reading about 4 books on Copywriting this month, one of them a re-read because it’s a classic. The other 3 are from well known proven authors and master copywriters.
From these guys you can expect a lot more than just 3-8 ideas, so the challenge for me is the same as when I go to a buffet, don’t eat with my eyes.
I ask myself how I can take one or two, preferably only one of these ideas and implement it right away…always, always be implementing.
Always be testing, trying new things and learning what works for you and what doesn’t.
I also listen to 4-5 podcasts at any time, and about 2 audio books a month.
The downside of listening: it’s considerably slower than reading.
The upside: It’s attention independent.
You can be running, working out, driving, walking and be listening to any selective content you want, the catch is that you are constrained by the duration of that content.
Right now I consume about 10-12 books a month on average without it really making a dent on the rest of my personal or business schedule.
By the way, I also schedule reading sessions as part of my work, kind of mandatory.
I block time for it. Like when I’m doing marketing research for a client I’m working with, I block chunks of time.
I should mention that a major factor that allowed me to go from 4-5 books a month to double that at half my prior cost was… you guessed it… Kindle!
I buy 90% of my reading material digitally via Kindle/Amazon bookstore. When you think about the space-time efficiencies in carrying that much information and knowledge in your pocket, is mind blowing …isn’t?
Just the other day, not too long ago, we invented paper, then the printing press!
Here’s the other thing that wows me.
Think of all the effort, knowledge and time that goes into writing a book, of everything that person had to go through to make that production a reality… And then you and I pick it up for less than fifteen to twenty bucks… IF… because my average price for a kindle book these days is $9.99.
I better leave it off here. This is a topic I love to write, talk and obviously read about.
In my next related post, I’ll show you how to use Evernote.com in conjunction with your Triage Reading Schedule.
There might be an E-book in the process here. Something along the lines of “Reading for Profits”…something like that.
I don’t know, we’ll see… if I decide to write it that might drop me down to about 8 books a month.
What do you think… Fair trade?
[Bonus] - Read PX: The PX Project, a single 3-hour cognitive experiment, produced an average increase in reading speed of 386%.
Last year my oldest son Aaron managed to somehow squeeze into 2nd place at an Art exhibit at the Dade County Youth Fair.
So he got exposure, bragging rights and a whooping $3 check!
This will not pay for his next DS or trip to the nearest GameStop, but this is what it will do for him:
It will create in him the belief and conviction that any creative process that others appreciate and enjoy, they will also pay for.
He will also realize that making a living and doing so via something you love to do, are not mutually exclusive. In fact they should be one and the same.
Unfortunately we all know many people making a living, but not making a life while doing so. I don't want him to grow up believing that "work" and "love for work" is something to compromise on.
From a photography standpoint... Not a bad pic considering he took it with an iphone, right?
But I'm not sure is the tool that got it done :-)
I recently got one of those corny email blasts messages from a dear friend of mine regarding how individuals can make a difference ...
it went something along these lines:
"A basketball in my hands is worth $16, but the same basketball in Michael Jordan's hands is worth 34 Million."
True... and the same goes for a golf club, or a piano by the way!
We place so much importance on the gadgets, the toys and the shiny objects... but they don't make us or break us!
Hugh MacLeod started drawing cartoons on the back of business cards.
Pele, played soccer barefoot and with a coconut for most of his childhood.
Dan Kennedy still doesn't use email or has access to the internet. He's one of the most sought out copywriters in the world.
Warren Buffet didn't wait to have 10 million dollars to open Berkshire. He borrowed 100K from firends and family. Today he's worth close to 50 Billion.
Blake Mycoskie only wanted to help 250 kids get shoes to go to school. Today TOM shoes is carried by over 500 retailers and has given away over 1 Million shoes to kids all over.
I'll stop here!
My point is... You don't need the latest technology or playtoy to start doing your thing.
Your website doesn't not have to be perfect. Your content doesn't have to be Pullitzer material, your videos don't have to hit 100 Million views on YouTube. Your product doesn't have to be the best or the cheapest!
Just think about what you have or know what others need or want, and start sharing it. Start doing your craft!
The rest as I like to say, are tools in a toolbox!
Do you ever wonder why people go into business for themselves? Do you remember why you went into business for yourself?
Did you do it for the money, the glory, a few extra bucks a month, independence from having to answer to anyone except yourself?
Maybe the allure of entreprenuership and being the boss totally swept you off your feet at the onset.
Maybe it was a sofocating need for Financial Freedom and independence, or because you wanted to Travel the world.
Do you remember "Your Why"
Because I mean c'mon ... Really? Why would anyone want to go in business for themselves?
Aren't you better off as an employee?
At least as an employee you can modulate your effort in exchange for the bi-weekly paycheck you know you are going to get, so you can get comfortable with the weight of someone else's ball and chain really quick and just coast.
"Some people die at 25 and get buried at 75" ~Ben Franklin
Yup, that's a slow death!
Unfortunately we all know friends and family in that situation ... it's sad, because these are caring, intelligent and hardworking folks that's just don't get it!
But wait! As a business owner it doesn't necessarily get any better either does it ...!
Let's see ... Now (As the Boss) you are the one paying benefits, payroll taxes, salaries (whether outsourced or not), you are still paying someone biweekly!
...and if there's enough money left, then you pay yourself.
Forget about 9-5! ... that was a vacation compared to running your own gig!
You are now working endless hours, weekends don't apply, Sunday, Tuesday, Friday afternoon ... it's all the same!
Vacation? ...At least as an employee you got one paid week vacation where you could binge travel and see 14 countries in 5 days ... You now start wishing for "Total Recall" to be non-fiction.
Quality family time becomes a fairy tale you see only in movies and experience through a glass museum-like expo. You can't remember the last time you took 12-15 days off without answering an email. Family dinners are distant childhood memories that take place and get scheduled only via brief texts with your husband/wife and kids.
I can already see some of you nodding and saying, OK so then what?
As an employee you coast and life passes you by ...you are an extra in someone else's movie. But then as an business owner you waste away slowly while you build a chance to be successful on your own terms.
My answer is best illustrated by a classic:
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to."
"I don't much care where –"
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
I chose the later, but I always knew that I'd make it or die trying. The night is young!
A lifestyle business is one that fits your sustainable needs and beyond, and gets architectured on your own terms. It's about having the business model working for you instead of the reverse.
A lifestyle business automates the required work and effort, and frees your time to create, innovate and spend time with your loved ones.
Don't wait to make it big to start designing how you want to live your life.
I don't know what they right answer is for you. I don't walk in your shoes or know what your personal circumstances are, but I know one thing, and this applies to anyone regardless of circumstance or destiny if there is such a thing.
It all starts by asking yourself a simple question: What do you want to do with your life?
Sundays are always a good day to ask yourself this question, are they not?
Have a great week!
Even as I googled this title (...always do with every title or headline I use before writing a post); the results were a mix among “how to develop a marketing plan, strategy, sales, target market, etc…
That got me thinking about all the big names in business and marketing that I’ve learned from over the years. Not only the famous ones, but also guys that you may not have even heard of unless you are a marketing geek like me.
What do these ultra-successful business people and entrepreneurs, whom by the way, the best of them excel in marketing… But what do they have in common?
After wrestling with this question for a couple of days, it was clear!
They all learned from each other, from the success of their predecessors and from their personal experiences. Naturally at first but then actively evolved and developed their style… in other words, it comes down to idea sharing, personal experience and active style building.
There are a million Realtors, Financial Planners and Fitness Professionals out there. Aren’t they at the end of the day selling the same thing in the same area from the same supply and to the same demand pool?
Name me one product or service out there where there’s only one supplier for it… Not likely!
Your style is the way you do things … the proverbial secret sauce, in essence “YOU”, Your Ideas, and the way you Execute them!
But how do you develop your style if you have none?
Good news! There’s an inherent element to this… you were born with a unique personality and character signature for that matter, all of us are.
What I’m referring to is how you could potentially enhance and develop that signature within your particular craft or business.
In my case, my style of marketing (which is still evolving) is a product of the guys that I’ve learned and continue to learn from, in addition to constant idea testing, failing and executing. In essence my style is developing as a result that stems from the process of working (Doing the work!) with my projects and clients every day.
Writing this blog post is part of that process!
“Ideas are by far more important than execution…” but they both need each other. Something I learned from Dean Jackson and Joe Polish from I Love Marketing. Again an example among many of a couple of guys that have shaped the way I approach marketing in the digital age.
If there’s something better than an idea, it’s an elegant idea with flawless execution. Executing an idea by the way could be done differently yet effectively by almost everyone.
Follow these simple steps to start developing your marketing style:
Have a "renaissance approach" to your marketing style process – In other words forget “always be closing” that’s archaic old thinking and doesn’t apply to today’s market place. Instead, “always be learning… and doing”.
You can only develop a style by doing the work – I know you have to work regardless, but it’s how you work that makes the difference. Your ideas and how you execute them is what makes you “YOU”. Have a process and break that process into actionable campaigns.
Read a book a month, and Listen to 1-3 podcast from someone successful in your industry – They are successful because they have better ideas and are executing them effectively to the extent of their abilities. What are they doing differently? What can you learn from them? And, why can't you be as successful?
Make a list right now of the things you do that you think make you unique from your peers – be honest with yourself and when in doubt ask your friends and clients for feedback. I like this approach: “…what worked, and in your view what can I do differently?”
If nothing stands out, then that’s your first clue!
You know your client better that she knows herself… so you say right?
Ok then… surprise them, shock them by doing something that you know no one in your industry is willing or has thought of doing for them. Then integrate that into your day to day and continue to think that way.
Your style will morph naturally at first. Then as you become aware of how you are perceived by others, you start to have an active conscious input into the process. By this time you have a clear picture of Who you are, and What impact you can have in your clients/customers’ businesses and lives.
This will give you immeasurable confidence and once you have that level of “true-confidence” in what you represent to someone else, your unique style begins to spawn and start its journey.
Does this help? Do you think developing a marketing style from a customer-centric approach can catapult your personal brand to a global stage?
I love statements that mean something, that tell me What you are about and Why you do what you do!
Derek Flanzraich is into Fitness, Health and Happiness ... I can tell!
Apparently, a greatist is someone who chooses better to improve their fitness, health, and happiness.
Another example of a hyper-focused approach to a particular lifestyle. In just a short year this site has managed to massively grow their audience via social media sharing, email and traffic.
But you know what the best thing about this business is?
Derek and his team are not growing the business and revenue via Advertising, but by being a trusted source of advice to a very unique audience. An audience that appreciates and it's willing to pay for products and service recommendations when it comes to being smart health and wellness consumers!
Take your time browsing the site, take note of how consumer-centric and content driven it is, and think of ways that you can apply this strategy to your own business.
Here's a peek at their Manifesto:
More must-read health & fitness news and information
Back in May of this year Facebook bought Instagram for a Cool Billion, Pinterest is not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon and other Social Networks are enhancing their visual functionalities!
Being a content marketing guy that tells me only one thing ... People are responding pretty well to visual content!
Here's a nifty thrifty Instagram Infographic from Marketo for you ... Enjoy!
Effectively syncing content marketing with your sales process is probably the one internet marketing skill where some business are crushing it in sales and profits, and others are just giving up in despair!
I’ve been salivating to write this post for a while, for two main reasons:
Combining content marketing with my sales process has worked in an awesome way for me, and …
It confirmed a belief that I’ve always had but could only prove by doing it.
Here it is!
Before your Content Marketing via your website or blog starts producing traffic, noise, going viral and pulling massive attention for you (all that glamorous stuff you hear about!), It will start to silently and very ninja-like make a killing selling and pre-selling your services and products for you!
I don’t care if you do your stuff online, on the counter, on the street, on a coffee shop. It doesn’t matter!
I don’t care if you sell cement, pool services, legal services, airplane parts, or auto parts!
If you produce the right content at the right time for the right people, YOU WILL SELL MORE AND DO IT BETTER!
You will do so because you are committed to offering value by educating your prospects on the process of being a smarter consumer of your widget.
You are addressing their needs and pains and you are saying:
"Whether you buy from me or not … Here’s something you can do about it right now!"
And Smart people make smart choices!
Let me put it in perspective for you:
Not once, has anything I’ve produced gone viral! Not on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Stumbleupon or any other platform.
I’ve yet to get that long awaited and coveted backlink that makes you famous for 15 minutes from an A-lister or major traffic site.
I don’t get double digit traffic numbers on my site. I’d like to! But my point is I don’t, yet my content still helps me sell what I do -Better!
If I were to despair because I’m not crashing my server with traffic tsunamis every week then I would’ve stop doing content marketing a long time ago. Unfortunately many have.
The quality of my content could be a lot better! Like my Golf game, it’s a matter of practice. My point is I’m no Malcolm Gladwell.
I get some but not a lot of shares, likes and comments on my Facebook Page, but I’ve gotten some email subscribers through it, and I’m slowly increasing my Fan base! –Remember you shouldn’t ignore a Billion people :-)
Twitter helps me syndicate and curate content, and just be generally social, but I’m not a power user. It has been a phenomenal networking tool for me though!
LinkedIn has been way more effective because my audience is mostly business owners and professionals and I put in a bit more time to nurture relationship and conversations in there.
I hardly get comments on Venmark Media, and I haven’t gotten to guest-post for anyone yet. Working on that though. Time is a big factor when producing content for someone else. For one it has to be you’re A++ work. That takes time, set aside no less than 6-10 hours to produce a killer guest-post for a popular site. The results are totally worth it!
I do fight for the above, and I work very hard toward reaching critical mass on all those areas. But I also know that if I stay the course, focus on “YOU” and the content I put out and follow best practices regarding inbound marketing as it relates to content marketing … it’ll happen.
In the meantime, here are my less glamorous benefits and results of getting on a Content Marketing mindset early on:
My email subscriber base has been slowly but steadily increasing. Your opted-in email list is the lifeblood of your business. If you are not working on that, you are not doing much!
Almost every person that’s been referred to me by a client, friend or by Google and Social Networks has been to my site and read and viewed an avg of 4-10 pages/posts. The selling by teaching process has already started at this point!
Two of my best clients/projects $ wise came from Posts on my site that were shared on LinkedIn via Groups.
I’ve been asked to speak at Association Conferences on Web Design and Social Media Marketing.
I get an average of 1-2 consulting calls per week originating from the web only.
My personal referral network has tripled since I started to develop my Social Graph.
I rank on Google’s 1st page results for the Localized version of my targeted keywords and keyword phrases, and rank on first page for a few long tails. Most of my traffic actually comes from long tail keywords.
The branded versions of both my name and my Company’s name populate 4-5 pages deep on Google Search for relevant results. Developing a solid Social Graph is essential in getting your name out there.
The content on my blog has been the catalyst to start conversations that have resulted in leads and sales, and continues to be a huge part of my sales/educational process.
I’m asked at least twice a month to JV on projects where my team and I can be instrumental to their success. I turn most of these down, not enough time and these commitments can’t be taken lightly. However at the present I’m involved in one very cool project, and about to start a second one.
My business has pretty much doubled in revenue every year since taking on design and Social Media Marketing project-work for others. But guess what … Content Marketing has been the cornerstone of that humble growth.
But I have so much more to do and learn! … It just boggles the content marketing mind, Seriously!
So let me ask you this.
Do you think if I had gotten discouraged and bummed out about the first stuff I mentioned, I would’ve given myself a chance to accomplish everything else?
I think you know the answer.
Don’t worry about getting the attention you think you deserve when you start, or even if you've been at it a while!
All right, I'll tell you why you don't have your ten million dollars. Right now, you are a paycheck player. You play with your head, not your heart. In your personal life, heart. But when you get on the field it's all about what you didn't get. Who's to blame. Who underthrew the pass. Who's got the contract you don't. Who's not giving you your love. You know what, that is not what inspires people. That is not what inspires people! Shut up! Play the game, play it from your heart. And you know what, I will show you the kwan. And that's the truth, man! …That's the truth. Can you handle it?
I wanted this post to be an intro from personal experience and I’m hoping the message came across as to:
Keep at it even if you are not getting stellar results. Find a way. No one does it alone.
Start Now! Start producing content that educates and helps your prospects and clients. It will Pay Off in Spades!
I’ve started to write Part 2 which I’ll post mid-late next week. I’ll cover specific strategies for both camps:
Those who are already doing it but need strategy and perks on “how to” as far as syncing content marketing with the sales process.
Those who need a starting point in the sales/content marketing process.
I’ll also cover examples and case studies on average companies and businesses that have gotten above average results and are just absolutely Killing It with content marketing.
I’ll also mention a few peeps and companies that you need to be listening and learning from regarding inbound marketing in general… In addition to moi of course! :-)
You might have heard that last week Google had another update to its code. This one goes after low-quality EMDs [Exact Match Domains].
This caused a massive uproar of disgust and anger from webmasters all over. Some sites have gotten hit really bad while others actually upticked.
What is an exact match domain?
Here are 5 examples of domains that lost ranking as of (9/29) – all had previously ranked for at least the past 7 days:
Read the rest of this here.
It's not really obvious why some sites that promote content got hit and others didn't. We would have to look at each case a bit more in detail. These updates are swift and massive and are shot from a cannon, not a sniper rifle, so there will be some sites that will get slammed unfairly.
Having said that ...
What's the big picture here ... What's the take away from all this?
Guys ... Google is focusing on Relevant - Quality - Content when it comes to their search query results!
The trend it's obvious and this will not be the last update Matt Cutts and his Search crusaders will implement. Google wants to do away with anything that even remotely resembles black hat SEO and focus on the one strategy that guarantees people to keep paying them for advertising and frankly for producing the best results per search query:
From a day to day business-grind perspective this is a phenomenal opportunity -I don't want you to miss it!
Google has been priming its pump and tweaking their code to make it even more imperative for us to use Content Marketing as a way to attract qualified and genuinely interested people to our websites and blogs!
Let me put it this way!
If you are not packaging your good content for easy-practical consumption - You are missing out!
If you are not looking at your sites navigation structure and following a Sales Funnel approach - Your are missing out!
If you are not doing the kind of keyword research that allows you to refine what your ideal prospect is looking for - You are missing out!
If you are not Optimizing every Page on your site with targeted keyword terms - You are missing out!
If you are not blogging and creating content that speaks to your ideal prospects and clients needs and pains - You are not going to make it!
If you are not including Content Marketing in your sales process - Guess what? ... your competition will start doing that pretty soon!
If your are not leveraging social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc, in order to connect and be Social about your business - What else can I say? You get the drift.
Take care of your business so that your business can take care of you. Stay close to the action by reading and educating yourself about Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing.
This site will definitely get you started but there are so many others out there that I've written about over past posts.
In the next few weeks I'll be writing a post similar to our Resources Page, where I break down the who's who in this space and why I listen to them. Stay tuned for that!
In the meantime, if you are not doing so already, take a good look at your business model and how you can increase your bottom line by thinking about your Website's Design - Content Marketing and Social Media in a different way.
Don't waste a single day without thinking about this and taking small steps to integrate your website and your business model for better results.
CREATING EFFECTIVE FACEBOOK MARKETING CAMPAIGNS MIGHT BE EASIER THAN YOU THINK!
What constitutes a good marketing campaign?
This is a big question, and one that can open the doors to tremendous business opportunities regardless of the industry you are in.
So let’s take a shot at answering this question in a quick and practical way in the next few paragraphs.
First, let’s take a look at some indisputable characteristics of effective and well-regarded campaigns.
Be Educational and Helpful
If you are not educating people, providing answers to questions, needs or concerns your prospective customers might have … Stop!
Because than means all you are doing is asking people to buy your widget. This is harming your brand and your chances to genuinely connect with them.
Provide insight, help, and hands on educational or informative content. This is the marketing that is most useful when a prospect is in a research mode and trying to obtain specific information to get closer to a purchasing decision.
In order for marketing to be truly helpful, it needs to be available to you at the right time and sometimes in the right place. But since there’s really only a handful of networks where the majority of people hang out these days, socially that is, then the right place really becomes “the right audience at the right place”.
Hence the importance of understanding how to find and target hidden Fan Page gems and tap into their huge Fan base.
The fact of the matter is that people look for information at the time the need it the most, so you need to make it worth their while and have it readily available. The entire mobile experience is based on the timely customization of search results.
Visual Content that supports the message
This seems like a no-brainer but so many people get it wrong. You don’t have to be a Michelangelo regarding your design, but you do need to make sure your design is functional from a marketing perspective.
How to Start Making Effective Facebook Campaigns and Growing your Fan Base
In case you are wondering, let me put this one away right now!
I don’t think any social platform should replace your website and blogging strategy. Your site is the hub and the wholly grail, everything you do on the web is for one reason only: To have prospective customers come to your site and sign up to your awesome content!
So before you spend time and effort on any third party platform, make sure your house is in order. No point in creating value somewhere or for someone else. Beside you don’t know when Mark Zuckerberg will wake up in a bad mood one day and start charging people to access their Facebook Pages.
Having said that … you can’t ignore a network-platform with a billion people. That would be stupid!
So your campaigns should always start on your website and extend out to your social networks. The attention is then channeled from your social outposts back to the Landing pages on your website.
Here are some key components of a successful marketing campaign:
Now specific to Facebook Pages ... Let’s go over some strategies that you should be implementing right right now on your Business Page.
1. The first thing you need to do is create a basic level of custom graphics
Create a relevant timeline cover design that encapsulates who you are and what you do. Then create apps that bring in certain pages and areas of your website right into Facebook.
Include videos and high impact images that attract visitors visually first, then have strong content as anchor throughout the feed.
Upon clicking the custom apps you will then land on uniquely designed Landing pages that invite action taking on behalf of the visitor. In this case the Real Estate Tips tab it's pretty much a Sign up Page.
Have a well designed and inviting Page, where people can perceive almost involuntarily that you are unique. If they feel they know you, they’ll like you, and if they like you they’ll trust you. Now all you need to do is DELIVER!
2. Start actively engaging by Using Facebook as your Page
In this example, I'm switching from my personal profile to my Page in order to start engaging on FB as My Page instead of my personal profile.
This will allow you start posting, liking, sharing and commenting as your Page. As you see, this is extremely powerful because as you create value in the form of social engagement for others, whether targeted or not, you are driving eyeballs back to your own brand.
Then depending on the value of your content curation and conversation on your own Page, people will start liking your page and clicking on your Apps where you have all kinds of content packed CTAs (call to action) and other goodies!
Here's an example of what I call digital goodies.
3. Identify key influencers and the most active fans of others Pages in order to get genuine interesting commenting streaks going with them.
When combined with number 2, now you are influencing (in a genuine way) the influencers. Remember than when you switched to your Page, everything you do on Facebook from that point on is reflected and coming back to you, which is exactly what you want!
Just keep in mind to be genuine, add value and be helpful.
4. Share content from other Pages on your Page
This creates an incredible amount of goodwill and reciprocity-based behavior from most people, especially influencers.
I'll say this again, always be genuine. If you don’t like something don’t share because you want to start a conversation. Eventually all fake behavior comes right back to bite you in the ass.
Popular pages are popular because they are a hub for engagement and conversation. When you engage you'll increase visibility to yourself.
So the Key to sharing content on cool pages is to find those interesting and popular pages.
But how do you do that?
Here are the top 30 Facebook pages by likes as of this writing. Some of these are global and personal brands. Pagedata is a pretty good tool for a quick glance at the who's who and stats.
Here are some other pretty useful tools to finding good Pages on Facebook:
Fan Page List: This site aggregates Pages under different categories making the search easier and more efficient. Great tool for researching products, services, brands and people on Facebook.
Page Finder: This site is pretty much an index of Facebook Fan pages. Pages are organized by tags and locations, then sorted by popularity and alphabetically.
Discover Facebook Pages: This is an official Facebook Fan Page browser that will show pages organized by All, Music, Movies, Television, People, Brands & Products according to your geographic location.
This tool is essential for you to find interesting pages in your geographic area for the purpose of interactive engagement.
Directory of Facebook Pages: Facebook also provides a directory of People, Apps, Groups and of course, Pages. You need to be logged in to Facebook to use the search engine within the directory and get Fan pages in the search results.
... and all of this leads nicely to our last point.
5. Connect with other Fan Page Owners and create Joint Venture projects and value-based scalable productions
This one’s huge for true and relationship-based networkers and marketers, and it works in just about any industry you can think of.
Are you starting to get the picture?
If you believe in creating win-win and human-driven business ventures this approach is elementary and very effective, and you can use Facebook as your Research and Intel gathering center.
So get in gear and start customizing your Facebook Page and creating effective Marketing campaigns. It will be one of the best investments you make this year in your business.
List building is one of those things most people don't take serious. At least serious enough to prioritize it. But it is pretty much non-negotiable, you have to do it if you want to grow your business.
So in doing a bit of research on this I bumped into this table and grabbed it outright from Aweber. They did an awesome job maping out what I wanted to discuss regarding building your email subscriber list.
|People are coming to your website and entering their email addresses to get the specific information that you are going to be sending via AWeber.
||Perfect. They're asking you for a newsletter? You're sending them a newsletter. They're asking for product updates? You're sending them product updates. They're asking to get your blog posts via email? You're notifying them when you publish new content there.
Delivering information to people who come to you and ask for it is EXACTLY what we're here for.
|You bought a list of "business opportunity seekers," "fresh optin leads" or any other type of list.
||No. No, no, no.
We could go on forever about why this is just wrong. Here's the short version:
You don't like getting spam. Neither does anyone else. Buying lists like this and emailing them is out-and-out spamming. Trying to send messages to addresses you acquired this way will get your account closed faster than you can say "and we won't give you a refund, either."
You're better than this. Don't be part of the problem; be part of the solution. Build your own list of subscribers, who are interested in what you specifically have to offer.
|You meet Joe at a business lunch, conference, etc. After talking, you realize that you may be a good fit to do business together in the future. So you exchange business cards.
||Joe gave you his card for the same reason you gave him yours - you want to talk later about doing business together.
If you want to add him to your list, you need to ask him while you're talking. Write his answer on the back of his card - "Add" or "Don't Add" - so that later at your desk, you can see whether or not he wanted to subscribe.
|You connect with Joe on LinkedIn, Facebook or another social network.
||Connecting with you on LinkedIn, Facebook, or any other network doesn't mean Joe wants to be subscribed to your email list. (Do you want to be on every one of your LinkedIn contacts' email lists?)
Just like with the business card exchange, you need to ask Joe before adding him to your list. Ask him after you've connected. If he says "yes," then add him.
|You run a contest to win a free lunch. You set up a fishbowl and people drop their business cards in it to enter.
||If you dropped your business card in there, and instead of a free lunch, you got added to someone's list, you'd be hopping mad. That's not why you put your card in there!
It's important to realize that there's a cost associated with receiving email - the time out of a subscriber's day that is taken up reviewing their inbox and (if they choose) reading your message. That cost is on them, not on you, and you need to make sure that they're aware of what they're signing up for.
Read the next situation to see how to better do this.
|You set up a fishbowl for people to subscribe to your newsletter. You state that each month one new subscriber will win a free lunch.
||Much better. I'm signing up to your newsletter, AND entering myself in the drawing simultaneously. I'm aware that I'm going to get email messages as a result of dropping my card in the bowl, and I've got nothing to blame but my own freebie-seeking when those messages show up in my inbox.
|You've been using an online opt-in form or in-store signup sheet to collect addresses for some time now, but you've never done anything with those addresses. Now you're ready to.
||How long has it been? People who signed up last week and people who signed up last year are NOT equal.
Permission is specific: subscribers are asking a specific person - you - for a specific piece of information, at a specific time. As time passes, so does their interest.
If it's been more than a couple months since someone signed up, that permission is stale. Don't bother with them. If it's less than that, go for it. Take care to remind subscribers WHY they're getting an email from you and to work to restore their trust in you.
It's important here to separate out the "newer" subscribers (who you're going to email) and the "older" ones (whose permission has expired). If you can't distinguish between them, you're better off throwing out the lot of them and starting over, today.
|You go to a trade show. Prior to the trade show, the organizer provides you a list of the attendees and their contact information.
||Same as the business card exchange. The other attendees didn't pay the entry fee so that they could get email from you.
Can you imagine a trade show with thousands of attendees, where everyone did this? You'd start getting thousands of emails overnight. Not good for anyone.
For a better idea, keep reading.
|You go to a trade show. At your booth, you provide a signup sheet, or a box/bowl for people to drop their card in specifically to get on your list.
||Now, you're getting people who are interested in YOUR specific business and information.
By the way, act promptly with these addresses. The longer you wait to start delivering value to them through your messages, the less likely they are to remember who you are, and to stay on your list.
|You're a member of the local Chamber of Commerce, and you're provided a list of the other members and their contact information.
||Being in the Chamber of Commerce doesn't mean you give up control over your inbox.
If people haven't requested information from you, don't add them to your list, regardless of whether or not they're a fellow business owner in your area.
|You export your Contact List from Microsoft Outlook.
||Slow down for a second. WHO are you exporting from there? Just people who subscribed to your list while you were managing it manually? Or are you exporting EVERYONE in your address book, without regard to HOW they got in your address book in the first place?
Permission isn't taken, it's given. Don't just add people to your list because now you've got their email address. Add them if they GAVE it to you in order to get on your list.
|You own a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, etc. On each table, you leave a pencil and a card offering your newsletter.
||Just like the fishbowl signup - as long as people are leaving their email address specifically to get on your list, that's perfect.
And just like the trade show signup - don't delay in getting those people on your list. Remember, as time passes, so does their interest, and permission eventually expires.
|You offer email support on your website. People email you questions about your product. You want to add them to a prospect list. After all, they're obviously interested in what you have to offer, right?
||They may have had a question about your product, but they didn't ask to be subscribed to your list. Adding them to one isn't a good way to build trust and credibility.
When you reply to support emails, use your signature file to include a link to your opt-in form.
|You're in charge of a group of coworkers who are working on a project. You want to use AWeber to send them notices about meetings, changes in schedule, and other related information.
||Coworkers or not, anyone who you email with AWeber must ask you for that information specifically. Spam complaints from coworkers are just as serious to ISPs and to us as complaints from any other subscribers.
Make sure that you personally check with each member of your team and get their permission prior to importing them into your AWeber account.
|You have a list of email addresses you collected from Facebook fans and Twitter followers, who you think would want to receive your email newsletter too.
||You know what good email marketers say: "Assuming makes a spammer out of you and me". By following you one way, a viewer is not saying they'd like to follow you every which way.
You might ask your viewers if they'd like to get your newsletter, directing them to a form on your site to sign up. But don't add them without specific permission.
The best policy is not to send unsolicited emails. When in doubt ask and record the answer if you got an ok from anyone in particular, then follow up with the person to confirm that it's ok to send a subscribe offer to your newsletter or blog.
Take your time and do it right. List building is THE most important task that any marketer or business owner should be hyperfocused on.
We'll be expanding on this on upcoming posts!