With the ever increasing competition, you've really got to hustle your butt off to stand out from the crowd.
How can you sift through the noise to find out what really works? By referencing some viral marketing case studies, we'll leave that question up to a little thing called science...
From Gary Vaynerchuck to Eddie Huang, many Entrepreneurs have published Books highlighting their unique voice and establishing themselves as leaders of their industries.
Whether you're looking to publish a book about your success story or you'd like to sound off on your area expertise—writing a book is a great vehicle to legitimize and solidify your ideas. Maybe it's the historical role that books have played, or maybe it's just good marketing—but books (whether electronic or not) seem to carry a little more cache than your average internet article.
Reasons an Entrepreneur Should Publish a Novel
- Publishing a novel is a lead generation tool
- Publishing a novel is a branding tool
- Publishing a novel provides value to others
- Publishing a novel can help solidify you as an "expert"
- Publishing a novel gives you a chance to point out flaws in an industry (which hopefully you're solving)
In determining the math for “How to Write and Publish a Novel in 50 Days” we undoubtedly have to make some generalizations. Book length preferences vary by genre, target audience, publisher, and author. There are epic fantasies that range well over 100,000 words, mystery novels that tend to range from 60,000-80,000 and novellas that are not considered short stories but not yet novel length. For all intensive purposes we have decided on a word count of 60,000, so you may need to adjust your work load accordingly (i.e. instead of 3 pages per day you may only need to write 2 etc.)
-Each stylized novel page in word contains roughly: 500 words
-If you commit to writing 3 pages a day that equals: 1,500 words
-At 1,500 words a day we will achieve the 60,000 word goal in: just 40 days!
“But wait, why did you say 50 days?” Let’s be honest, it would have sounded a lot nicer when writing this “how to publish a novel guide” to put 40 days instead of 50—but with publishing and editing considerations that’s just not realistic. By adding 10 extra days, for mapping out your book, making edits, formatting, doing cover art etc.—you can feel a lot more confident with a 50 day time limit.
As you can see from the math, a 50 day goal is very achievable but as all writers do—you need help along the way. The rest of this manuscript will consist of several helpful tips and guidelines that will assist you in your literary aspirations.
How to Publish a Novel: Mapping out Success
How to Publish a Novel Step One: Set a Macro Goal
The first thing you must ask yourself is why do you want to write a novel? Is it to become rich and famous? Need to express yourself? Is it for pure enjoyment?
The reason does not matter so much, as long as you find it sufficiently motivating. Writing a novel is tough—it will test you in every way.
Once you have determined your primary goal, write it down. This is your macro goal—the end-all be-all object of desire you are looking forward too, the reason you’re willing to beat yourself up over the next 50 days.
Whatever reason you decide on for writing a novel, make sure it is enough to fuel you through the next 50 days and that you make it the focus of everything you do.
HOW TO PUBLISH A NOVEL Step Two: Quantify Your Goal
After you have determined your macro goal you will need to ask yourself, what are the necessary steps to achieve your goal. Here we are referring to your maximum goal (not the goal of publishing a novel, but what you hope to happen after publishing said novel.
Let’s say my macro goal is to be a rich and famous author. What quantifiable goal can I set that will make me “rich and famous”. Perhaps it is selling X number of books, and achieving a certain X amount of interviews.
Maybe your goal is not economically driven, but you just want to be considered an "expert" of your field. What quantifiable terms can we put next to this broad term? Perhaps we could write down, you want to have X number of reviews written about your work, you want X of new twitter followers, and X number of sales.
Do you see how even non-number driven goals can be quantifiable? The most important thing you can do in goal setting is to set measurable goals and to define how many X’s it takes for you to reach your Y.
HOW TO PUBLISH A NOVEL Step Three: Set Micro Goals
Now that you have an achievable and quantifiable goal you will need to break your plan into months, weeks, days, and even hours. But before you can do any of this you must first write that book.
Yeah, about that…
We recommend you use a physical calendar (these are easy to find/print for free online). Of course you could also use one of the millions of digital calendars out there to keep you on pace—but there's something primally obligatory about writing something in ink.
Place the calendar on the wall next to where you write, make it so you can see your macro goals and micro goals at the same time. If you are trying to write a 60,000 word novel, make sure you write each day at what specific time you will be doing said writing. Merely writing down “three pages” is not good enough, you need to block out a specific time period in which you know you can get it done. If you fall short one page for some unforeseen emergency, make sure to tack those pages on to the next day—do not however, make this a habit.
Professional AKA A publishing house
This route is most likely for your well established CEO. (Publishing houses love to see what you have "accomplished" that makes you an expert at said topic.) Make sure that on your calendar when you start to near the final stages of your writing (perhaps a week in advance), you write down a specific date you will be contacting an editor. Do this in advance so you can receive confirmation.
But since this guide is for the "side-hustler" (and scrappier business owner) we will focus on the self-published e-book route.
If you don't have a huge budget, we recommend you email a university’s graduate school English department and do it in advance. Those students have plenty on their plates, and yes most of the students will be dying for a chance to make some money (and put something besides worked at Barnes and Nobles on their CV). But to do an effective job, they will need time to prepare and plan ahead.
Also, make sure to put a spot on your calendar for when to get in touch with your cover artist as soon as you have a good outline of your book. Think about whom you’re marketing to, and what you want them to feel when they look at the cover of your book. Take a look at other books in your genre and find out what they are doing. Chances are they have a professional marketing expert help choose a cover. And chances also are you don’t—so browse around and take a look at the bestsellers.
Getting in touch with an artist as soon as possible will also allow you to make changes in advance if necessary. After all you are on a 50 day schedule.
Marketing Your Novel
For the self-publisher, this will be your hardest step. The first (and most obvious) step is to reach out to family, friends, and employees. If the novel is brand-related or fits within your niche—feel free to exploit your business channels to market your book i.e. social media accounts, email lists, webinars, and partnerships.
After tapping into your core base, digital marketing will most likely be the most affordable and profitable way to market your book. Think about your value proposition "What will your customers learn from your book?" and use that to your advantage. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram—all have ad platforms that are relatively inexpensive. If your book teaches people how to maximize ROI, or exploit a niche--say so! Don't just regurgitate the title of your novel without first considering what value you bring to others.
Let it be known that SEO is a marathon not a sprint. This is what you would call a "long play." It takes time, constant dedication, and guess what? More writing!
Not all business owners, side hustlers, CEO's, or entrepreneurs have a working knowledge of SEO practices (nor do they need to). But what they do need to know is that SEO is important (if not crucial) to a web-presence and those who are unfamiliar with the practice need to A. learn or B. hire out. (To read more about the importance of SEO, read our article Is SEO Dead?)
The biggest challenge for self-published authors is getting people to read your work. With so many people now publishing their material (much of it unrevised and ill-written) your masterpiece can easily become lost in the fray. If you don’t learn basic SEO skills you will never find your book at the top of anyone’s pile. If you are to be successful in your online endeavors you must become familiar with how search engines work.
This does not mean every writer needs to be a blogger, but you must have some type of platform you can reach an audience with. In order to receive you have to first give content to the world they find useful. Eventually these people will start to become curious as to who you are and more importantly—your works.
This means you have to be commenting on blog posts, forums, google + groups, etc. You need to be writing and submitting articles to various publications and websites, producing content about topics you know.
Where to Publish
Contact your nearby university’s Graduate School English Department*
(Only use online services if you are willing to pay professional rates.)
Smashwords provides an official “formatting guide” that you have to download, it is long, it is confusing, and frankly we do not recommend it. If you are interested in publishing through Smashwords we recommend a more user friendly version found here:
SEO Tips + Tools
By Austin Miller, Content Marketing Manager
Take a good look at the image below. Notice that ghost of a word "dead" in grey lettering that's ready to pop up before you even type it? See all four recommendations Google has so conveniently prepped for you? "Is SEO dead?, Is SEO worth it?, Is SEO still relevant?, Is SEO important?" This is not happenstance—this is SEO.
It seems of late, many are asking "Is SEO dead?", in fact—it seems to be the number one search made about the topic. And as the image shows—SEO is clearly not dead, but a lot has changed since the early days of Google, and there's a lot to consider as you push your marketing strategy forward. Let's take a look at some recent findings and find out what factors will be most relevant as we move into 2017.
With mobile searches outpacing desktop searches in 10 countries (including the US), mobile optimization has become increasingly important for Google rankings.
Also under the umbrella of mobile, is consideration for "digital assistants" like Siri or Cortana. As Forbes points out:
"Spoken language queries tend to be much different than typed queries, meaning a whole new type of long-tail keyword queries – particularly those that mimic spoken dialogue – will emerge."
This means that moving forward, businesses will have to think of expanding their verbiage to fit the queries of both the spoken and written word.
Using a variety of studies, Business2Community predicts that hits to your content will no longer be enough to boost your rankings. Instead, they predict that content will have to be engaging enough to hold reader's attention, thus the length of time someone spends engaging/reading your content, is more important than the mere fact that they clicked on your link. This is great news for readers and marketers who prefer quality over click-bait articles void of substance.
The most obvious way to adapt to this ranking factor is to monitor bounce rates and eliminate content that loses viewers quickly. Inversely, mimic quality content that holds your audience's attention.
If you want to know more about creating engaging content, check out ever popular article on how to make your content go viral.
Social Media: Blurring The Lines
Since Google has finished negotiation with Twitter and Facebook, content shared on these social media platforms will begin to get indexed by Google's search engine. This means relevant and robust content on social will most likely impact your overall rankings. And as B2C states:
"From an SEO viewpoint, the difference between “social media” and “web” will begin to become indistinct."
There are debates as to whether or not social shares impact your actual content rankings. Indisputable however, are the increase in rankings that results from clicks and engagement that these re-shares can bring.
It seems as Google also makes a special exception for current events. Today for example, there is a lot of buzz going on about Obama's possible decision to close Guantanamo Bay. Look what happens when we typed that into the search bar:
Recent tweets appear near the top of the results. What does this mean for content? Well, we surmise that when it comes to social, Google rewards current relevancy.
Kissmetrics points out that the content you share on social also has an affect on your profile rankings. When you type in Nike in the Google search bar for example, some of the top results are social media accounts:
Social Media as a Search Engine
Something else we need to consider about Social Media's impact on SEO are its search capabilities. The second largest search engine in the world isn't Bing, it's YouTube. Mark Zuckerberg has also been quoted as wanting to compete directly with Google in the search engine game by claiming it has more data than its competitor and can therefore provide a more customizable experience.
This announcement was made several years ago, so you might be wondering why you haven't seen much from the social media giant. That's because according to Zuckerberg, this roll out will take around ten years (we're talking 2023!) If you read Zuckerberg's speech, it definitely sounds like he plans for his search engine to be intuitive and tailored to each unique user. Facebook will undoubtedly try and tap into its user data which means guess what—how relevant your content is to people on Facebook will likely play a role in how Facebook decides to show it in its search engine rankings.
We are no Professor Trelawney (and 7 years away is still a long ways a way!) but let's just say, we have a feeling that what you do today will impact how you are viewed by social media search engines in the future.
Some pundits argue that SEO is dying because social media is taking over in terms of engagement. Yes, this might be true in terms of general news and entertainment—but when it comes to value drive (educational) content, you're not going to sign into a social network and just hope that someone is talking about that specific topic. Moreover, you want to compare it with other quality articles and try and get a well rounded look at something.
Want to know how long to bake a pie? Want to know how learn Spanish? Chances are you won't be perusing social media for your answers.
Google is finally learning how to read a page organically. This doesn't negate the importance of keywords, but it does mean that keyword stuffing is not only unnecessary, but it might also be perilous to your efforts. This is good news not only for content marketers, but the web as a whole.
Undoubtedly, many marketers will still do their best to stuff the heck out of their articles with repetitive keywords. Don't do it. Not only will that decrease the quality of your content, you can be penalized for what's called "over-optimization".
Over-optimization can happen for a variety of reasons, but perhaps the most important rule to remember is to not overdue it with anchor text. Anchor text is still good, but too much of a good thing can quickly become a bad thing.
Kissmetrics has a great guide on how to avoid this crucial SEO error and what you can do to make sure your anchor text is relevant without crossing that unforgiving over-optimization line.
Niche, niche, niche! Search Engine Watch states that niche topics with very specific and detailed information will become the new norm. This means fluff-based articles will not cut the mustard. This has been a standard practice for smaller companies hoping to get clicks in less competitive searches for a while now, but look for it to continue into 2016.
Make sure to use the Google Keyword Tool to search out long tail keywords. After you find one you like, type it into the search bar and scroll down to the bottom. You'll see a list of related searches. Try and include these in your article to avoid keyword stuffing and to show Google that you're providing relevant and robust content.
Length of content will continue to play a role in 2017 as it has in previous years. Google has increasingly preferred longer form content. According to a serpIQ study, the highest performing content averages over 2,300 words. This is a reaction to an obvious desire for meatier and more meaningful content on Google's part. Take advantage of this factor by analyzing topics from many angles—it sounds simple but if you get stuck, remember to include the who, what, when, where, and why of any topic you include.
No one knows with 100% certainty all of the nuances that Google implements into their search engine ranking system, but we can get pretty damn close if we take advantage of the people who have dedicated time and resources to studying this phenomenon.
The "wild west" days of SEO might well be over, in its place a more sophisticated and nuanced version. Yes, mastering SEO is harder, but it also makes the internet a better place for the user. If you take away anything from this article let it not be a specific tactic, let it be an idealogy—make robust and quality content optimized for mobile.
Remember those days when you were a kid? Playing hide-and-seek, you’d hide and wait, hoping not to be discovered? Or when it was your turn to be the seeker, you’d have a moment of despair, feeling absolutely certain that your playmates had disappeared into thin air, never to be found?
“Ready or not, here I come!” you’d call. And then came the work of turning over every square inch until you’d found each one of your pals.
You’re grown up now, but when it comes to the endless quests for leads and conversions, digital marketing can often make you feel a little like you’re trying to find the sneakiest hiders in the entire neighborhood.
You know what? Your leads might be hidden, but they’re not lost. In fact, they may be much closer than you think. You just have to know where to look.
Your Past Purchasers
It costs far less to retain a customer than it does to attract a new one, and it’s easier to convince a previous purchaser to press “buy now” again than it is to convert someone who has never bought from you before. Your past purchasers are already familiar with you, your products, and your services. And they were receptive to your messaging in the past. This means the hardest part of your job—earning someone’s trust—is already done!
Encouraging a past customer to buy again, often called remarketing, has impressive success rates. According to Salescycle, remarketing email open rates average 57 percent and a 30 percent conversion rate (versus a typical 21 percent open rate and 3 percent conversion rate).
All you need to do now is to do a little experimentation to figure out the best incentive to bring those customers back to purchase again.
Abandoned Shopping Carts
Research shows that although abandoned carts lost almost 4 trillion dollars, 63 percent of that total may be recoverable via the use of savvy email marketing.
Why do shoppers abandon purchases? According to Moz, an authority on inbound marketing and SEO, the top reasons include:
· Unexpectedly high shipping costs
· Not yet ready to make the purchase
· Comparing prices between competitors
· Price was too high
Did you know that, according to Salescycle, almost half of abandoned-cart emails are opened—and over 30 percent of clicks resulted in purchases? Even more exciting, the average value of these purchases was 19 percent higher than typical.
If you are selling online, abandoned shopping carts are not an issue you can afford to ignore. If the shopper added your product to their shopping cart, that’s a pretty strong indicator that they’re interested in what you have to offer—which means it would be worthwhile to follow up your abandoned carts with an email campaign. You don’t want to give up on these leads.
Your Social Media Followers
Your social media audience is likely the most engaged audience you have access to online, but it can be tough to move them from social media audience to sales prospect.
This is where you can implement social retargeting, which is when you target users who casually visited your site with ads on social platforms. This works because, after they visit your site and later log onto a social platform, there will be an ad for your product or service.
It might sound confusing, but it’s actually pretty easy to set up. If you’re just starting out and want to learn more, you can check out this article from Moz, an inbound marketing and SEO firm, which explains what retargeting is.
The Spam Folder
Spam. It’s the bane of small business email marketers’ efforts. Even though you’d never intentionally send spam, sometimes your emails get filtered into spam folders anyway. So there’s a very good chance that you’ve got solid leads out there, leads who actually want to receive your emails, but they’re just not getting them.
Once your email is lost to spam it’s highly unlikely your lead will ever see it. So, it’s best to stay out of the reach of spam filters in the first place. Here are some handy tips on how to craft emails that avoid the marketing purgatory known as the spam folder:
Remember, words matter
Some spam is universally recognizable (Viagra ads, foreign princes, free iPads, etc.). Beware of sounding like that. Check your email against a list of common spam alert words and play it safe.
Don’t get attached
Keep your content inside your email. Attached files are huge spam warning signs that will keep your email from reaching your lead.
Keep it clean
No, we’re not talking about a PG rating; we’re talking about your code. Messages with too many images and overload of links or sloppy HTML coding can bounce you right to email purgatory.
Monitor your score
Monitor your reputation through your sender score. If there are any issues, take care of them immediately. You can check your sender score on senderscore.org.
Ask recipients to whitelist you
When a lead joins your list, ask them to add you to as a contact or to add you to their safe sender list (you can even provide them with complete instructions for their email platform). This will tell your lead’s email client that they want to hear from you and significantly lower the chances that your email will end up flagged as junk.
5. Lagging at the bottom of your sales funnel
It turns out that adding new leads to your list is only half the battle. They may be interested now, but will need more time to make a buying decision. The real challenge is in keeping them engaged over the long term.
Many small business owners lose a significant chunk of their list each year to this very struggle, which hurts engagement rates and increases the danger of a spam report.
If your leads are disengaged, you need a re-engagement campaign to rekindle the flame.
Litmus, an email building and design tool, lays out a quick three-step system for reengagement:
· Determine whom you will re-engage. Is your campaign going to be aimed at people who haven’t opened your last five campaigns, or who haven’t engaged with your content by clicking through to your site in the past four months? Define the subset of your list that you’re working to reengage to make sure your campaign is on track.
· Create your reengagement campaign. Design one that you believe will best resonate with your target segment. Be ready to make changes as you begin to get results, or consider split testing two campaigns. A quick Google Image search for the term “re-engagement campaign” turns up a ton of inspiring examples.
· Say farewell to permanently inactive subscribers. It’s never easy to purposely make your email list smaller, but if these subscribers were not won over by your re-engagement campaign, keeping them on your list is only hurting you by lowering your engagement rates and making you vulnerable to spam complaints, all of which can impact deliverability.
And when your deliverability decreases now, it impacts your deliverability later. That means the people who want to see your content down the road will be less likely to see it. So bite the bullet and cull out those inactive subscribers.
Conclusion: don’t lose your leads!
It can be very much worth the effort of going through the exercise of finding lost leads. Of course, the most important takeaway from an exercise like this is that when you find where your lost leads are hiding, it’s your clue to tighten up that area of your marketing strategy.
Want to the best way to keep leads from slipping off your radar? Keep them engaged:
Practice progressive profiling
If you only ever collect your leads’ name and email address, your contact options are limited. Instead, consider implementing progressive profiling, where you request additional information incrementally as a lead engages with your content. This is great because:
· Leads become more qualified over time
· Conversions increase, as fewer fields are required on each web form
· Additional tracking options in the case of a future hard bounce
Set your target correctly
A huge part of keeping your list active and engaged is attracting the right people to sign up in the first place. Have you done the background work of getting down to the nitty-gritty of understanding your target customer? An in-depth understanding of your ideal audience will help you create the content and products that they desire and that will keep them coming back for more.
Not all leads are created equal, and it’s not always easy to know which leads you should spend time on. Incorporate a system of lead scoring (usually available via your CRM or email software) to assign a score to each lead based on actions they take with your website, emails, or content. This enables you to quickly determine if a hard bounced lead is worth the extra effort to track down, helping you focus your future marketing efforts.
Segment and target
Your target market may be made up of recognizable groups (often called buyer personas) that have specific needs and requirements. Once you fully understand your target customer, use your campaign metrics and audience demographics (gender, time zone, etc.) to segment your list even more. Use this segmentation to send highly relevant emails that drive engagement and conversion.
Ben Snedeker joined Infusionsoft in 2015 to do full time that which he loves most: writing the stories that inspire action. He holds a MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. In his prior life, he was a freelance writer working days at MIT as a grant manager. After a decade of paper-pushing in academia, writing for a fast moving company like Infusionsoft is his dream come true.
Jeanette LeBlanc also contributed to this article.
Please note that Bookly’s sponsorship of this blog article is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity and does not constitute an endorsement of any entity or its products or services. This content represents the views of the author, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of Bookly.
By Austin Miller, owner of Pop Ramen
What Willy Wonka Got Right About Promotion
Aside from catchy songs, little orange men with green hair, and a spectacular performance from the beloved Gene Wilder—Willy Wonka has a lot to offer in the way of marketing knowledge.
For those who have forgotten (or the poor soul who has never had the pleasure of seeing such silver screen magic), let’s do a quick recap. The story goes that a world famous “chocolate factory” owned by a mercurial Mr. Wonka offers the once in a lifetime opportunity for 5 lucky members of the public to enter his factory and witness the magic of candy making first hand. The public goes wild and chocolate bar sales reach an all time high. What follows is an absurd amount of buzz about a little piece of paper called a "Golden Ticket."
There's no question that his fictional ad campaign was a huge success—but is there any science behind this infamously powerful marketing campaign? Let's break it down.
Powerful Marketing Hack #1: Creating Demand
In a classic case of supply and demand, Mr. Wonka limits the supply of Golden Tickets to just 5. Exacerbating the demand, is the fact that that the general public has ever entered the factory.
What follows the announcement of his giveaway is a mad rush for Golden Tickets and a surge in Wonka Bar sales—a veritable success.
Powerful Marketing Hack #2: Packaging
Similar to what marketers call a "Chained Product", the Golden Tickets are included inside of Wonka Bars at no additional cost to the consumer. Not only does this create an image of good will on the part of Willy Wonka, it also creates a sense of accessibility.
Anyone familiar with the concept of the "funnel" knows that with each additional hoop a consumer has to jump through, the greater the chance there is of losing them. Providing a simple entry method breeds more participation. Therefore one of the keys to creating a powerful marketing campaign is reducing the amount of hoops one has to jump through.
Furthermore, the idea of including a giveaway within a product furthers the rationalization process of the consumer.
"If I don't get a ticket, at least I still get a chocolate bar."
Powerful Marketing Hack #3: Branding
Forward rolls, a red carpet, and a cane—Willy Wonka is a master of performance. Like Steve Jobs he has a signature style, an important fact when considering he is the brand. He reveals just enough about his company without giving away his hand. This game of cat and mouse creates an air of mystery and desire around the Wonka name.
According to researchers, there are 5 brand types that include: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness. Mr. Wonka's flair for theatrics, hype, and quirkiness all produce a sense of "awe" that land him in the "excitement" category.
As Pepsi showed in their 1975 study, branding is a powerful thing. Despite the fact that they consistently beat out Coke in blind taste tests—Coke would win out when consumers knew what they were drinking. Brain scans even showed that certain areas lit up when the test subjects knew they were drinking Coke—signaling positive memories.
Thus branding is more than an intangible factor—it's a powerful process that has the ability to tangibly effect us. Any company looking to increase sales must consider branding as an essential part of creating a powerful marketing campaign.
Powerful Marketing Hack # 4: Timing
The eccentric candyman waits until enough mythos has been built around his factory before producing a giveaway. And the spread of tickets is smartly placed so that there's enough time for media outlets to report on the events and allow the hype train to build. At the same time, Mr. Wonka does not allow the contest to drag on and lose momentum. The giveaway ends on a high note, leaving a memory of excitement forever stained in the minds of its participants.
If the Chocolate Factory was an actual enterprise, future giveaways would benefit from the positive memories associated with the infamous "Golden Ticket Campaign."
This is known as a long play.
Although fictional in nature, Willy Wonka taps into something far from imaginary—the power of proper promotion. When the stars of story-building, demand, and timing align—any brand can capitalize on the magic of proper advertising and create a powerful marketing campaign for their business.
What is neuromarketing?
For the uninitiated, Neuromarketing is a field of research that studies the subconscious habits and responses of consumers. This is done through a mix of psychology and controlled experiments using machines like fMRI’s which scan the subject’s brain.
In his book Brainfluence (which we highly recommend), Roger Dooley cites that around 90% of consumer decisions are made at the subconscious level. That means that the “common sense” approach to marketing is not the most prudent strategy. In fact, many of these studies show how unpredictable we as consumers really are.
NEuromarketing: Know the Data
It goes without saying that living in a data vacuum will not help you take advantage of the “90%.” Sites like Marketing Sherpa and books like Brainfluence or The Buying Brain are great places to start. A mix of psychology and quantitative data are the two ingredients required to concoct an elixir of marketing success.
NEUROMARKETING: Apply and Monitor
Business does not occur in a controlled setting. Just because an experiment showed that consumers preferred water over juice, does not mean they will choose water over juice in your market setting. Variables are numerous and often unpredictable especially in a business environment.
What did they eat before the experiment? What was the temperature of the lab? Is your presentation the same as in the experiment’s?
If you think a Neuromarketing statistic will help your business, try it out but monitor it closely. If things aren’t happening as planned, experiment with different variables. AB test in small samplings before choosing to overhaul your entire business strategy. Tamper with variables and find out what succeeds. Many email marketers for example, will experiment with changing just a couple of words to see how it affects engagement. If they find response trends, they will use those findings in their future email campaigns.
Neuromarketing Application Tips:
In 2012 The New York Times published a piece by MP Mueller from the Ad Agency Door Number 3. Mueller sat down with the French researcher Christophe Morin who offered these six steps to extract pain from the marketing to sale process.
1. Don’t use the word “we” or start off your pitch with a corporate overview that lasts 10 minutes. Focus instead on how to relieve your customers’ pain. Our brains are extremely self-centered, and we care most about our own survival.
2. About 10,000 messages are sent to our brains daily, so get to the point. “When you sell to the lower brain structure, you must say, ‘This is your life with our product or service, this is your life without,’” Mr. Morin said. He cited a successful campaign that helped a client that was selling home flood remediation services to major insurance companies. The campaign featured a traveling exhibit that showed a flooded home and how the company had mastered the art of drying home interiors. “The reptilian brain gets very stimulated by this kind of disruption. Stay away from, “We are one of the leading providers.” It’s the marketing equivalent of sugar — empty calories.
3. Make your points visual. Remember the “See and Say” books from childhood? Don’t just tell; show. “We are visual people, and the eyes are directly connected to the reptilian brain,” he said.
4. Stay concrete and make it tangible. The primal brain isn’t able to understand complex language or metaphors. As much as we love word play, if it’s too complicated, it doesn’t get processed by the parts of us that make decisions. Creating ads with facial expressions is good. “Facial expressions help us decode what people’s intentions are,” he said.
5. Gain attention quickly in your advertising or marketing and make sure you have a strong close. The brain pays the most attention at the beginning and end of an event. It’s important because the brain needs to recap and store.
6. Use emotion. It creates disruption, a contrast with what we expect — surprise, laughter, fear, disgust, anger, it really doesn’t matter. If there is emotion, we are more likely to remember the message. Nothing happens in the brain unless some chemical process has found a code to create memories. To create a memorable brand, therefore, you have to use emotional connectors in your advertising. Don’t just give your audience the facts, tell them how it will make their lives better and solve their pain.
NEUROMARKETING: Use Your Compass
We don’t want to make you think that Neuromarketing is akin to Luke Skywalker’s use of the force. But it is and can be a powerful tool. Don’t use any types of tactics you wouldn’t want to be used on you. Remember your job is to provide value—not to deceive. After all value is the bridge builder of trust, and trusting your brand is the first step a consumer makes on the path to becoming a customer.
Is your inner nerd begging for more information about Neuromarketing?
For more answers to "What is neuromarketing?" and "How to apply neuromarketing principles?" check out Patrick Renvoise's Tedx Talk:
Promoting Your E-business Locally
Marketers have been loudly banging the Social Media drum for years. Seth Godin even went as far as to say that "Content marketing is the only marketing left." And while the pundits' tend to ring true, they've got a lot of people looking for customers all over the web without ever checking out the gold-mine that is their own backyard.
In this sense, local promotion is one of the most overlooked growth hacks available to entrepreneurs. And while local promotion might conjure up seemingly medieval marketing tactics—what many business owners don't realize is that promoting your business locally should include a hybrid-strategy of both physical and digital marketing tactics.
To help you out, we've created a simple 5 step guide to help your business carve out its share of the local promotion space.
1. Have a Physical Presence
One of the best ways to promote yourself locally is by having a physical presence. We’re not talking about expensive billboards or flyers that will most likely get tossed. We’re talking about collaborating with strategic business partners and retailers in your area.
Make a list of local businesses that might be interested in carrying your product. If you’re a service-based business, think of ways you can collaborate with other brands. Giveaways can be an effective way to garner other businesses' interest.
2. Attend Business Events
By attending business events you can help form strategic partnerships and network with local businesses. Anytime you can integrate your service or product with another business, you have a chance to tap into their consumer base and reach a new audience.
3. Repurpose Your Inventory
You’ve heard of repurposing your content, but what about repurposing your inventory? Taking a product you normally sell online and presenting it in a new way to unique customers can be a huge boost. After all, foot traffic and web traffic aren’t so different. Think of each walk-in or passerby as a “unique visitor.”
Pop up shops and farmers markets are great ways to repurpose your inventory. When people go to farmers markets, they go with the intention of making a purchase. Capitalize on that emotion by presenting your product in an appetizing way.
Pop up shops have been an especially trendy businesses tactic these past few years. For the uninitiated, pop up shops are well, exactly what they sound like. They pop up out of nowhere and are only open for a limited time. The temporality of their nature is a built-in sales tactic, forcing the consumer to make quick decisions; knowing that your shop will only be open for a short period of time.
4. Share Your Expertise
Look for opportunities to share your expertise in a local forum. Find a topic that your company’s an expert at and attend a business conference or host a training session. A food blogger for example, could hold a cooking class to teach people how to make a killer Chicken Pot Pie. This personal interaction provides value, builds trust, and creates an emotional bond. It also gives you a chance to make an organic sales pitch.
Even if you don’t think your industry has mass appeal, consider teaching general business principles. You can host classes on sales, marketing, and investment. Providing value to your audience will build trust which will make it easier for you to convert them into leads.
5. Exploit the Local Digital Space
When you hear the word “local,” the digital space might not be the first thing to come to mind. But just as people are walking through local shopping centers, they’re also searching for local outlets like restaurants, concerts, events, and services (plumbing, electric etc.). Here are some practical tactics:
Create content tailored to local searches. (Google has started to reward locally focused SEO.)
Make sure you’re store is registered on Google Maps.
Create Facebook ads targeted at consumers within a 10-20 mile radius.
As Gary Vee says, value is the key to converting readers into buyers. And while it’s easy to create fluff-filled articles in a world wide web drowning in the stuff—if a company truly hopes to create valuable content, they are going to have to do a lot more than rehash general business principles. Repurposing content or sharing links to other publications has it’s time and place—but it will only take your brand so far. True value requires innovation, and true innovation requires time and hard work.
To stay relevant, brands have to produce numerous articles, posts, and videos a day. But due to limited resources, many small businesses find themselves at a crossroads. Should we produce lot’s of content at the risk of sacrificing quality? Or should we produce incredibly valuable content at the risk of losing relevancy?
To avoid sacrificing relevancy or quality it’s imperative that your business learn the power of leveraging resources. For a content producer, this means finding original research and stories. There are numerous sites like academia.edu or Marketing Sherpa (for business gurus) that contain databases full of research and data applicable to your niche.
Right now you may be thinking—But hey, that’s not original content! And you’d be right. But where you can add originality and value is in your synthesis and application of this information. Most of these articles are written in dry and difficult language with the main points strung throughout. Many readers these days simply don’t have the time or attention span to read dense articles.
What You Need to Consider:
- Synthesize and format the takeaways in an easily digestible format i.e. bullet points, web copy, images.
- Apply the research and findings to your niche—Ask yourself: How do these findings affect my niche? and What would my audience want to learn from this study?
- Create infographics that repurpose the content for your various social media platforms.
Unless your a news outlet, you will rarely be breaking the new and original stories. Instead, when it comes to hard data: it’s your job to add value by synthesizing, analyzing (opinions), applying, and repurposing information for your audience. Remember, personal experiences add personality and voice to your brand—but unless you add variety by producing fact-based content, you may run the risk of losing credibility. Take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself if there’s potential to be creating unique and valuable content that your competitor’s are overlooking.
We’ve all heard how important it is for small businesses to connect with consumers. Anyone who’s seen a 90’s TV sitcom is familiar with the local café owner who knows the name of every Tom, Dick and Sally that comes through their doors. “Just the usual Bob?” “You betcha Sally.” This type of personal connection is one of the biggest competitive edges local small business owners have against larger competitors. But as you make the transition to digital, you’ll inevitably find yourself getting less and less face time with the consumer. When growing an online presence, you might not always have the chance nor the time to make the quality connections you can in a storefront—there’s content to produce, logistics to map out, inventory to stock, and books to keep (of course, we’d be more than happy to help you with the latter). But as you find yourself figuring out the in’s and out’s of your online storefront, social media will be there to help you recreate that intimate experience you’ve experienced during your personal interactions with customers. Social media is primarily a story telling platform, and it’s a chance for you to tell your story.
How you choose to use social media will influence the emotions consumers feel when purchasing your products. What makes you unique? Are the things you share relevant to your niche? Are you highlighting your creative process? Are you showcasing products without becoming a spambot? And most importantly, is there a human element to the picture your painting? Of course you’ve heard about Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But are you using Periscope, Snapchat, and RSS Feeds? And if so, are you tailoring unique content to each platform, or are you just shoving the same content through different pipelines?
In today’s world, mastering social media is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. But before you start pumping out content you need to have a plan that includes a self assessment, the development of a brand voice, and a well thought out schedule. If you struggle finding things that make you unique, ask your customers what it is they like most about your business. Once you’ve come up with a plan and you’re ready to take the world by storm, you’ll arrive to what is for many the most difficult part—gaining followers. Social media and Marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuckpoints out that the most important step for a brick and mortar hoping to push foot traffic to the dot-com space, is to tap their in-store base. Using old school methods such as signs, word of mouth, and informative receipts—you can push some of your most loyal and share-friendly customers to your digital outlets. This will be your most plentiful well in terms of immediate followers.
But even with an intelligent plan, creating an online community will take time. For many businesses this will mean 1-2 years of patient and consistent content production before they see a “brand cult” begin to form. Taking into account all of these considerations can be a daunting task. But as you learn what resonates with your new consumer base, you’ll come to realize that content is just as important as product. There is plenty of room in the digital space for the brick and mortar, but for you to succeed it will require a social media plan that brings that old fashion personal touch to new and exciting platforms.