Riding to a New Destination: I’m Joining WebMetro

by Eric Tsai

Today I have some special news to share with you – I’ve joined WebMetro.

2 years ago I informed you about designdamage’s transition to become a blog. I started blogging because of my passion for understanding the impact of disruptive technology and social media has on our everyday lives.

Since then I’ve learned a great deal about Internet marketing that I’ve come to realize marketing isn’t just a job to me — it’s who I am and what I’m about. From endless nights of writing blog posts to reviewing trends and data on the weekends, marketing is a passion that’s part of my life.

This is why I share my experiences, observations and insights exploring the impact of Internet technology on marketing, advertising, media, business, communications, and culture.

But despite the unique experience, I’ve decided to take an opportunity which I feel can accelerate my growth and a good fit for my family (I just got married 6 months ago).

As of last Wednesday I’ve started my first day as an eMarketing Analyst with WebMetro, a marketing agency specializes in creating high-conversion, interactive direct marketing services via internet marketing – PPC, SEO, contextual and display advertising.

Personally, I can’t think of a better way to put my ideas to action when this opportunity came out of nowhere. Working for myself offers freedom and control but working at a firm like WebMetro offers scale with a wealth of great minds working together not to mention they’re a team of ROI fanatics.

Although WebMetro had exceptional success in PPC working with Fortune 500 companies, I hope to bring some perspective on a more holistic and integrated approach with social media, SEO and content marketing.

You can expect to see me working with new clients and moving the WebMetro digital presence forward.

I’ll still be blogging right here, tweeting, and writing about Internet marketing strategies and tactics.

How to Build Influence and Earn Trust via Enchantment: An Interview with Guy Kawasaki

by Eric Tsai

Information doesn’t sound like it’s worth a lot of value. In fact, most of the time information wants to be free and are free in the sense of accessibility. In order to make information so valuable that people will pay money for them, you had to turn organized knowledge (i.e. stuff you find on Google, Wikipedia or on the Internet in general) into insights.

That’s what most experts, gurus and teachers do. They sell insights in the form of ideas packed inside a book, a seminar, a podcast or any information products. The value of the information isn’t just in what you present, but how you present it.

Enchantment book

This is precisely what Guy Kawasaki did in his latest book “EnchantmentThe Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.”

Guy took influence to another level by providing action steps, how-to guides, case studies and various examples to help you understand the power of social influence in the digital age.

What I particularly enjoy is the fact that the book is formatted in a way that’s easy to consume and gets the point fast with excellent use of headlines, subheadlines, bullet points and pictures were spotted on.

Here are some of the key parts that I found useful.

  • Chapter 1-3: Explains in detail what Enchantment is all about including likeability and trustworthiness.
  • Chapter 4-7: How to leverage enchantment to launch a business or a product.
  • Chapter 8-9: How to use market via push technology like presentations, e-mails and Twitter (or what marketers call outbound marketing) and how to use pull technology like Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn (inbound marketing).
  • Chapter 10-12: Tips on building relationships with your boss, employees and resist the enchanting wiles of others

It felt like the book is trying to get you to learn it instead of just jamming jargons down your throat. If you want to learn social media influence and persuasion, I highly recommend this book.

I’ve also had the pleasure of speaking with him about his new book recently. You can click below to listen to the podcast: 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

You can buy Enchantment from Amazon.

Interview with Guy Kawasaki – transcription

Eric: So, can you talk about the difference between this book and the nine previous books?

Guy: Well, some of the nine previous books are easy to differentiate. One was about funny definitions. One was about databases and one was a collection of interviews. But the meat of my writing has been things like “How to Drive Your Competition Crazy”, “Selling the Dream”, “The Art of the Start”, “Reality Check”.

And those books contain some similar material focusing primarily on evangelism. And I would say that “Enchantment” takes evangelism and persuasion and wooing and influence to another level that a lot of those techniques are for transactions.

You evangelize a Macintosh.You persuade someone to buy a Macintosh. You influence someone to buy a Macintosh. But if you are truly likable and trustworthy and have a great product, you can take it beyond the transaction. Beyond the one time purchase of a Macintosh and delight the person with the relationship that’s so strong and so permanent that they’ll not only buy a Macintosh, they’ll buy a Macintosh, an iPod, iPad, iPhone, i anything. And buy books from iBooks and movies and songs.

That’s sort of the goal of the book, to take it to that level.

Eric: OK. That’s great. So, in the book, actually, I had to read it really fast but you defined enchantment as more powerful than traditional persuasion, influence or marketing techniques.

How has the Internet changed traditional persuasion, influence and marketing techniques?

Guy: As opposed to changing enchantment?

Eric: Well, as opposed to, for example, before the Internet came along the way it is today, can people embrace enchantment?

Guy: Yeah. Well, first of all, I have sort of a…perhaps even somewhat contradictory response. On the one hand, if you are likable person and you are trustworthy and you have a great product or service, you could rub two sticks together and be enchanted.

Eric: [laughs] (totally agree)

Guy: OK? The flip side of that is if you are not likable and you are not trustworthy and you have a piece of crap, you could have the most expensive, extensive social media, Internet, digital technology campaign in the world and you won’t be enchanting.

So, it’s not so much that people are enchanting because of social media. It starts with the basics.

Now, if you got the basics, the trustworthiness, the likability in the product, then social media can just take you beyond. Faster, cheaper and easier than ever because you can reach so many people so quickly anywhere in the world.

Eric: OK. So, basically, would you say Internet allows you to build relationships in a mass scale, right? But are they authentic? Are they the same relationship that you would have (in real life) ?

Guy: Well, by definition, if you… with people’s time being finite, if you have a thousand relationships versus 10 and you suspect that the thousand cannot be as deep as the 10.

But having said that, I’ll tell you that in my personal case, I have relationships with thousands of people I could never have prior to the Internet. And so, it depends on how you look at it. Is the glass half empty or half full?

Half empty says, “Well, Guy, you have all these friends that you’ve never met face to face. You’d never have dinner with them. You don’t know what their kids look like.”

It’s very wide but very thin. That’s the half empty.

The half full is, “Guy, you know people in Istanbul and Moscow and everywhere in the world, Brazil.” So, these people you would have never known at all. So, half full is a wow, you have a lot more friends in the world. That’s the way I look at it.

Eric: I couldn’t agree with you more. In fact, I looked at almost all the photos that you took when you travel because I’m subscribed to your Posterous. (I was one of the first group of people to sign up and use Posterous and it’s got some interesting people o there.)

OK. So, in this book, you talked a lot about ways to influence others through actions, likability, trustworthiness and even got endorsements from the Godfather of influence himself, Robert Cialdini.

Guy: Yeah.

Eric: I mean he’s just an amazing guy. I love his book. I actually reference it a lot in my marketing. So, how important is influence in becoming enchanter?

Is it like celebrity fame where you can’t just go to the public anymore because people are just going to come up to you? Or is it like the Klout score for Twitter like where you have influence and it’s a number?

Guy: Well, I think that all enchanted is influential but not all influence is enchanting. So, the enchantment is perhaps purer form of the influence. And as I said, influence can be on a transaction basis. One time, temporary, whatever. Whereas enchantment, I think it is a more permanent relationship.

So, Cialdini is definitely the Godfather and created the foundation and I’m just taking it often in a slightly different direction. But yes, he did endorse the book which is pretty influential.

Eric: Yeah, when I saw that I was like, “It’s over. We’ve got to get a couple more copies of this book when it comes out.” So, which quality of persuasion is more important in order to enchant someone?

I mean is there one more important than the others? The ethical persuasion (techniques) like reciprocity, scarcity, liking authority, social proof, consistency?

Guy: Well, in that section, I list the techniques that you just described. And I don’t think it’s so situational that social proof could be very important if you are introducing a consumer gadget.

You want people to see that lots of people have iPods, so lots of people buy iPods. So lots of people see iPods so lots of people buy iPods, all right?

So, that social proof. In another circumstance, it could be reciprocity. You’re not trying to get thousands of people to reciprocate. You are just trying to get one person to reciprocate.

So, it’s like saying what’s the most important marketing technique? Well, it kind of depends on the situation and the product.

Eric: You provided some pretty specific entrepreneur strategies and tactics on creating, launching, and sustaining a business. In order to be successful, what’s the most important thing to master as an entrepreneur beyond having a marketable product or service? I mean obviously, you got to have product and service, right?

Guy: Yeah. I mean you say that as if it’s that easy. [laughs] But it’s not that easy. But let’s assume for a second that you do have that. I think there’s two things.

One is you have to plant many seeds. Today because the Internet has flattened influenced and persuasion. It’s not as simple as well, there’s this opinion leader and he writes for the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times or Business Week and if you get this opinion leader and he or she blesses your product then she or he is going to tell the great unwatched masses to just do what I tell you and game over, right?

That may have been true in the old days but that’s not true anymore. So, now, it could be lonelyboy15 that makes your product successful and he’s got 250 followers on Twitter. And he has a hundred friends on Facebook. How the hell did you know he was so influential and so powerful? Probably, he didn’t know he was.

But it’s all those people who add up that make a Facebook or make a Twitter, right? I don’t think it was because any industry guru declared Facebook and Twitter winners at the start.

Eric: So, how should a beginning enchanter, an entrepreneur, deal with tasks outside of his/her expertise?

Like obviously, everybody got dreams. Everybody talk about it. When it comes to actually doing it. “Hey, I’m just not good at writing copy. I’m not just good.” Obviously, you do that well. I see all the references to the people you give and how do you go about that?

Do you just pick up the phone and say, “Hey, I need help? Help me out.”

Guy: Well, I could tell you what works for me but I maybe an unusual case.

Eric: Well, you’re Guy Kawasaki, by the way. (just a reminder)

Guy: Yeah, well… But it’s not like I’m Nelson Rockefeller’s son or something, right? I didn’t come into this world with any special advantages.

So, in my career, I attribute most of my success to two things. One is I grind it out. I’m willing to grind it out. I’m willing to do an interview anytime you want, any way you want, and I answer my own emails. I do this kind of stuff. Well, most of them, anyway. And so, my secret is grinding it out.

The second thing is I really believe that life is win win. And so, in the book, I discussed that there’s two kinds of people. One is a baker and one is an eater.

And an eater believes there’s this pie and it’s fixed in size and I got to get a bigger slice of the pie as possible.
A baker believes that you can bake bigger and bigger pies. So, I’m a baker. I’m a baker on steroids. I believe that life is not a zero sum gain and I think that attitude… when people understand that’s where you are coming from, they tend to help you.

In this book, the creation of this book, you would be pretty amazed at how many people helped you.
I mean let me just tell you some ways. I need examples because I like to use new examples that Malcolm Gladwell hasn’t used yet, right?

Eric: Right. (now we’re talking!)

Guy: So, I post these kinds of questions on my blog and I say I need an example of this or I need an example of this or tell me your personal story of enchantment.

Every chapter has this personal story at the end, right?

Eric: Right. Love that.

Guy: There are 12 of them. And of the 12, I knew one before the book which is Garr Reynolds. Everybody else came through the woodwork in the Internet. And so, I got these stories from the Internet, from strangers in quotes.

People help me with my Power Point. I’m about to put out badges for the book. Two people did that for me for free just because they… I don’t know. They love me. I don’t know because they love the book and it just… I did a crowd sourcing cover contest and there was a thousand dollar price for that.

And the guy who won is an engineering student in like Singapore or Cambodia or Malaysia or something.

Eric: Indonesia. (Yes, I read the book)

Guy: Professional designer. I’m sorry?

Eric: Indonesia, I think.

Guy: Indonesia, yeah. And so, just time and time again, this kind of stuff just happens and I don’t have scientific proof for but it I think there is a karmic scoreboard. You help a lot of people, help comes back to you.

Eric: So this book has ways to be becoming enchanting as an entrepreneur as well as an employee which kind of what surprised to me when I was reading it towards the end.

What is your recommend for longtime employees who want to enchant on their own journey that lack direction?

Guy: Well, are you saying how to enchant your boss.

Eric: No, like let’s say you are working for someone and you kind of want to just break out of that and start your own thing.

But you don’t really have a direction. You have the passion. Maybe you are tired of it. Maybe you got an idea up.
Do I just buy this book and say follow the whole formula before that and it works.

Guy: Well, just to be accurate, this book presumes that you want to be enchanting, whether it is in your current job or future job, or a new company.

So if you want to learn how to quit and start a company, you should read another of my books called the Art of the Start. I am not to pimp myself too much. But that’s the book for that purpose.

Eric: All right, so make sure you get that book everybody. [laughs] OK, so you had a chapter on overcoming resistance. How should an enchanter deal with failure?

When things don’t go right, and maybe you lost a lot of money doing something, the software is not working…

Guy: Yeah, well first of all, as you get older I think you come to expect that lots of things will fail as opposed to this romantic notion that everything will succeed off the gate and you are the next Google after six months.
So part of that is just this realization that life is tough. And then it becomes a matter of your personality. Do you give up or do you keep going?

And that is one of the toughest decisions to make. I think one of the hardest decisions is when do you decide that it is not working and you should give up.

A very difficult decision.

Because you always hear these stories about the guy who founded FedEx he was on his last payroll and he went to Las Vegas and he made 10 grand. And he met the last payroll and then things turned around the next day.
So you love that kind of story. But for every one of those there is probably a thousand people who didn’t make the last payroll and died.

So you don’t read about those, right?

Eric: No.

Guy: So that’s the challenge. And when you face an adversity, of course it is easy for me to say because I am not facing your adversity, but you just have to suck it up sometimes.

I wish I could tell you that for $26.95 you can buy a book that’s going to fix adversity and prevent you from lot of failure because if that was true, that is a lot, and we’ll price the book a lot higher. And infinite copies would sell. I would wipe up all the forest in the world, cutting down trees to print this book, because so many people would buy it.

No book can do that. We could give you tips, we could give you insights, we can give you slightly better ways, we can even inspire you.

But at the end of the day man, you got to suck it up and you have to grind it out actually.

Eric: Well, one of the things that I’ve noticed about the book, I don’t know if this is the right way to say it, but it makes me feel I need to be a better person, or maybe there are other agendas behind everyone’s actions.
But it’s kind of like when you talk about social proof and when we talk about persuasion and stuff like that, it makes you question yourself.

It makes you question the things you do, that tactics that you use, and how you engage with other people.
And in a way I would say this is kind of similar to Robert’s approach to a lot of things except you kind of put that whole thing into Internet (marketing) strategy with Twitter, Facebook, social media and how to deal with people in general.

So I guess my next question is what do you think about improving yourself through the Internet or is it possible to do that, through building a relationship that you have with people over the Internet, does that help you?

Guy: Well, certainly it helps you. I think it can broaden your perspective; you can gain sort of a 360 view of the world, and of yourself.

And it brings diversity to you in terms of age, and color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, I mean you name it.
So, yeah compared to what, compared to an extreme where you are living in a forest area with no cable, [laughter] yeah absolutely.

I think it has been my experience and I travel all over the world. And maybe I don’t see every element of every society clearly I don’t. But people are more similar than they are different.

And basically people want to have a good life, and have a even better life for their children. It kind of boils down to that. And I have more similar than it is different around the world.

And I think partly, a book like enchantment can help you arrive at that because it helps you change people hearts, minds and actions.

I have a great deal of the book dedicated to the ethics of enchantment, because I think for enchantment to truly work and to truly last, you have to have a very high degree of ethics.

And just in case people encounter people who don’t have a high degree of ethics, there is a chapter though about how to resist enchantment. Which I felt was very important to put in.

Eric: So one last question about the title. Because I am marketing guy and I love book covers and stuff like that. Is that your idea to put your name at the top? It’s almost bigger than the word enchantment?

Guy: Well, we went back and forth about that. So one theory is as the person in a coffee shop tell you, people are going to be confused and think Guy Kawasaki is the title.

Eric: Well, it just happened. (I told Guy earlier that I was reading it at a coffee shop and someone saw the book and thought Guy Kawasaki was the name of the book.)

Guy: Yeah, so that’s not good. On the other hand more people who have heard of my name than they heard of the book by definition because nobody has the book yet. And so we went with the marketing decision that the initial recognition would be the name and not the title.

And we’ll see, what I am really trying to do is I am trying to make the butterfly an icon that, it’s like sort of easily recognizable.

I am trying to own the word enchantment, right. Tom Peters owns Excellence and Geoffrey Moore owns Chasm and Robert Cialdini owns Influence and Persuasion, and Malcolm Gladwell owns Tipping.

And I want to own Enchantment. And so the whole thing is with the butterfly and the red cover, everything is pushing towards that goal.

Eric: Right. I would expect to see your name attached to that when I go to the dictionary.com or Wikipedia.

Guy: Yes, certainly Wikipedia. [laughter]

Eric: One last tricky question. There is a story, really interesting story about you and Richard Branson in there. And I am just kind of wondering, do you ride Virgin more or do you ride United more right now.

Guy: Well, let me tell you something. As of Richard Branson, well just two things. One is Richard Branson. Because he just got on his hands and knees and started polishing my shoes, that’s a kind of leverage.
But the second thing is, this is a good institution of a gentleman. So he has likeability and trustworthiness. That’s two and a three.

But Virgin America is a great airline. The airplane is really nice. It’s WiFi on everyone. The flight attendants are nicer. The cabin is more beautiful, et cetera, et cetera. So if it was just Richard Branson, and he had a crappy airline, I would not fly it. But there is all three. And so I am global services on United, which is the highest level you can be.

And if I was flying to some place that United flew and Virgin flew, I would fly Virgin. And you know, that the way you get to be global services is you have to amass not only a lot of miles, you have to amass a lot of revenue.
Because if someone flies the cheapest coach ticket, a 100 or 150,000 miles a year, is not as good as someone who flies full fare first class a 100 or 150,000 miles a year, right.

So when you start flying other airlines, you risk your global services status. But I just like the plane better and in San Francisco where I fly out of, Virgin America flies out of the international terminal, which is cleaner, newer, cooler, shorter lines.

Because the international terminal is busy late at night, when everybody is flying to Asia and flying to Europe. And you fly at midnight; you get there at 7:00 am, that kind of thing.

So during the day, it’s not nearly as crowded. So you get through the line faster, and to my great sadness this service Clear, kind of died, it is coming back now. It is in Denver, in Orlando, but Clear was the great equalizer.
Because if we had a Clear card, it didn’t matter whether you had first class or coach or whether there was a first class or coach line, because there was always a Clear liner, that was always fast.

But Clear doesn’t exist in San Francisco right now. So it matters. And so for all these factors, yeah, I am a Virgin America.

Eric: It’s almost like they have a superior product in every way that you would not have discovered it had he not polished your shoes.

Guy: You know, that is kind of true. I think, eventually I would have taken it and figured it out.

Eric: I bet, but then you have already invested emotionally, financially into United. And so it is difficult thing, I got a lot out of that story because it is enchantment. He did that. And it doesn’t cost him anything. But that was incredible.

Guy: Yeah. It is also true that he might not do that for everybody, right? But still I can tell you a lot of people who would have done that for no one.

Eric: All right Guy, I really appreciate your time.

Guy: Thank you, bye.

Enchantment infographic
One simple diagram that explains the basics of enchantment.

Enchantment Infographic

Need more enchanting evidence? Check out these Enchantment slides and videos.

How to Get the Best ROI Out of Your Marketing

by Eric Tsai

How to Get the Best ROI Out of Your Marketing

The recent update to Google’s content farm algorithm had SEOs and webmasters scrambling to figure out what’s going on as it affects 12% of the search results in the US.

Even if you’re not a hardcore SEO ninja you should know that Google works hard to purify its search data regularly. After all we’re creating as much information in two days now as we did from the dawn of man through 2003.

In addition, with the announcement of adding social context into the search mix, Google just introduced a whole new set of algorithm in an attempt to make search more social.

If you’re a business, you have to overcome disruptive technologies in order to cope with the rapidly evolving landscape of social media and consumer behaviors.

That makes it even more challenging for modern marketers to get a true ROI (return on investment) out of every marketing dollar.

This is why it’s important than ever to have the right approach to creating your marketing strategy.

If you’re going to invest in online marketing you need to focus on the value of what you’re doing. So here then are some marketing ROI advices that I’ve picked up over the years and feel are most relevant today.

Have short-term goals with a long-term outcome in mind

Would you like to get a ton of traffic?

How about more subscribers? Or perhaps you could use a higher conversion rate?

The problem with those questions is that they’re simply too broad and abstract. When setting your goals for social media, SEO or even content marketing you need to know why you’re doing it and what the “specific” expected outcome would be in a given time frame.

And what does getting that outcome mean for your business?

How does that impact the bottom line?

No, I don’t mean in the number of retweets or Facebook likes, but in dollar figures.

In how long and at what cost?

If you’ve decided to invest in a 12-month campaign, you need to first identify incremental goals that you set out to achieve rather than just eyeing the end result.

Looking at your weekly traffic in a given month won’t tell you much, but give it enough time, you’ll be able to connect the dots between cause and effect, that’s when the story emerges.

Too many businesses abandon what might have been a successful strategy had they stick with the original plan. The trick is to focus on getting that first small success to build momentum and confidence.

Marketing Return on Investment

What are the short-term goals? What are the long-term benefits?

Having a short-term goal allows you to stay on track so you can make adjustments alone the way to get to the final outcome you had in mind.

Think like an analyst, act like a startup

We want to know more about our target customer. We want to know when, where, how and why they clicked on our links.

Historically, customer data is what enable companies to increase the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. But at what cost?

Information has never been so widely available than it is today. The access to data is virtually free but what’s not free is how you translate data into useful insights.

These insights give us actionable steps to take and put behaviors in buckets.

The thing to remember is that all information and data are lagging indicators. They’re good references to help you develop your strategy but ultimately you’re using rational logic on irrational subject matter – human emotions.

It helps to analyze data but Internet marketing strategy requires adaptability.

This means listening to the market then translate the demands of the business environment into an action plan.

Develop your marketing strategy should be like a startup figuring out how to make money or survive until the next round of funding.

Not only do startups have to be nimble, they have to think creatively without just throwing money at their problems.

Social media is the perfect example. Not every brand is ready to let go of their reputation but the choice no longer belongs to the brand. It’s now in the hands of the customer.

This shift in power changes the relationship between business and its customers.

If you can’t change the customer, you have to change your business. Why not make updates to customer service procedures and distribute responsibility across multiple resources?

Change is hard but no business can stay at the top without staying with the rate of change.

Identify potential risks and rewards

Facebook recently rolled out all new Fan Page designs and now may even be phasing out the Share button entirely so how are you ever going to get your return on investment out of something that’s always changing?

This is where you need to make your planning and risk analysis commensurate with the size of your marketing strategy.

For large scale campaigns, contingency plans are critical. Again it comes down to asking the right questions.

If we put our money in A, what’s going to happen to B? If A works, how will we deal with C?

Pay attention to the risk vs reward metrics and know when to cut your losses if a campaign isn’t delivering the result you want. Don’t let your desire to succeed be the enemy of good judgment.

A good place to start is to have a clear justification on the next step with your team’s support or have outside opinions to help bring clarity to your process. Then establish a measurement framework that can be used to determine the value of your activities.

Needless to say, every marketing strategy has its own risks and rewards.

Ask yourself what’s the best scenario? What’s the worse that can happen?

Remember, most successful marketing strategies only works for a short period of time based on things that don’t account for the constantly evolving nature of the market.

When the next Facebook or Groupon shows up, it’s back to the drawing board developing, testing and executing new strategies.

Although all companies face different degrees of these hurdles, knowing how your customer’s behavior is the key to attenuating organizational risk.

Even CMOs worldwide have a dramatic difference in measuring social media ROI. According the eMarketer. “Asked about social media activities with the highest ROI based on older metrics with less of a focus on the bottom line, CMOs were most likely to say they did not know the return from any channel other than their company’s online community. Even Facebook and ratings and reviews, the two top venues with “significant ROI,” failed to win over more than about 15% of respondents..”

Dramatic Difference in Approach to Social Media Metrics
As you can see, marketers are trying to justify the value of site traffic, pages views, positive buzz, fans and followers on the impact of conversions.

There is definitely a shift in the way marketers measure social media ROI because in marketing, EVERYTHING is a test.

Know the weaknesses in your strategy

While there are a ton of free valuable content and strategy out there, that to doesn’t’ mean they’ll fit your needs. This is why some marketing strategies fail because of false assumptions based on irrelevant data.

Businesses usually implement Internet marketing strategies and would ask for help for the one of the following three reasons:

  1. A company tried something, got good results and would like to replicate the result continuously but lacks resources.
  2. The company is stuck and needs help to make their strategy more profitable and/or want some advice on how to do it (i.e. usually this happens if the strategy is no longer working as well as it has in the past or just can’t keep up with all the changes) and
  3. Something happened recently and has hurt the strategy’s performance and the company is desperately seeking answers to understand why everything went wrong (i.e. What? Google changed algorithm again and all our SEO disappeared, please help!)

Which brings up an important point – if you don’t know the weak points in your strategy (and execution), it isn’t because they don’t exist but rather you haven’t discovered them yet!

In my experience, no strategy out there doesn’t have some sort of soft spot (or many) whether it’s because it doesn’t work in some niche markets or the audience just isn’t ready for that concept.

For example, according to a recent USA Today/Gallup poll shows that both Google and Facebook attract young, affluent, and educated Americans in large numbers. More than half of those are under the age of 50 with a college degrees and making more than $90,000 a year.

gallup social network demographic

It may sound like a good idea to go after audience in those channels but looking into further details you’ll find that the report went on to say that the data does not include “how many times a week they visit the sites or how much time they spend on the sites, meaning this analysis gauges raw audience reach rather than engagement.”

This means that the report is only a high-level overview of the types of users that are in those channels. Not a good indicator.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket when making assumptions.

When necessary purchase useful data will save you time and money if you know how to use data to your advantage.

The take away: When looking at your marketing strategy, identify short-term goals that fits into the long-term ROI is where you’ll find value that matches your bottom line.

Many marketing activities are part of an overall strategy that won’t have immediate or direct impact on sales simply because they’re cumulative activities.

Positive marketing ROI are the results of incremental investment in time, money and resources. Just because some activities aren’t part of an ROI calculation, it doesn’t mean their costs shouldn’t be justified.

At the end, it all comes down to this: Business is about continuous profits (doing meaningful transactions) while marketing is about increase profits over time.

And strategy is a process to implement those profit generating activities for the business to measure the effectiveness of its marketing.

So, next time you’re working on a marketing strategy, take the time to ask yourself this simple question – What’s your long-term desire outcome?

3 Steps to Getting More Traffic and Higher Conversions

by Eric Tsai

3 Steps to Getting More Traffic and Higher Conversions

If you had to pick between getting tons of traffic or having a high conversion rate, which one would you pick?

Most marketers churn out content for SEO rankings, build backlinks for offsite optimization and may even invest in PPC at some point.

Whether your objective is to get people to buy, opt in to your list or download your content, you need to understand the significance of both.

All traffics are not created equal

It’s surprising to me when I hear business owners and bloggers ask the question, “how do I get more traffic?”

Sure, traffic is important and with lots of traffic you won’t need a high conversion rate. It becomes a numbers game.

On the other hand high conversion says you’re selling to the right people at the right time at the right place. It’s how well you’re able to connect with your customer.

So why can’t you do both?

That’s precisely what successful businesses do when it comes to Internet marketing. They drive highly targeted traffic to relevant content that leads to rapid conversions.

So how do you go about getting quality traffic? Simple, here is a three step process to get you started.

1. Start with the right expectations

The art of getting traffic goes back to the roots of direct response marketing.

Specially the why, who, what where and how of your target. It’s often referred to as the Five W’s and one H. You can see an example of this concept in the post Social Media Science: The Five W’s of Twitter Marketing.

In the case of traffic you need to start by asking the right question that solves the right problem.

It’s like going to the doctor’s office when you’re sick and you expect the doctor to ask you how you feel not what your favorite TV show is.

Pinpoint the right problem is how you can make meaningful assumptions to achieve your desire outcome. This calls for a bit of critical thinking.

Getting on the first page of Google won’t mean much if you don’t get any clicks. After all there are a bunch of ads all around it fighting for attention and clicks.

Here are some questions you need to consider to get started:

  • Why would someone click on it? (you’re not the only one with relevant title)
  • Who should click on it? (are you talking to the right prospects?)
  • What would clicking on your link do for them? (what do they really want?)
  • Where does the link take them? (what click path are they on? What are the options?)
  • How would you maintain a visitor’s interest? (how do you stay relevant?)

These questions serve as the foundation to help you identify your main objective of getting traffic: What’s the desire outcome?

Think holistically. Then think specifically.

What is the end goal that you have in mind? In other words, you need to have a real, tangible result in mind.

You want sales? Great, how much sales? From where? When?

How would those statistics stack up again what’s going on now?

By setting the proper expectations you get altitude on what matters in your pursuit to traffic. It brings clarity to how your traffic generation tactics fit into the overall strategy.

Then it all comes down to executing and measuring the effectiveness of each tactic you employ.

2. Convince people with compelling content

Measuring results is hard to do and often the results will manifest themselves into insights other than the website. This is why you need to realize that traffics are actually people.

And people want to be treated like a human being regardless of what campaign you run. At some point you will need to use a combination of words and images to grab attention and understand the psychology of your customers.

People often think they know what they need, but they don’t take action to fulfill those needs because they simply can’t justify the benefits of buying.

Why buy this now? Why should I buy it from you?

Aim for emotions that matters to people. People are more likely to buy from those they trust and like so show them who you are.

What are your values? Bring some social proof and authority but also show your personality. Be human.

Once you establish some level of rapport, you need to make sure that they “get” the immediate impact that you can make going forward.

You can do that by showing them why they need what you have right now using effective content and marketing strategies.

3. Measuring performance and results

It you sell stuff online it’s relatively easy to assess whether things are working or not. You can get to the bottom line with total sales, orders and customers or you can use metrics like the conversion rate to give you a sense of how effective the site is in turning visitors to customers.

That’s measuring results.

But if you run non-transactional websites, you need to have a different perspective to measure your return on investment. Specifically you will need to look at the activities that happen on the site.

This is measuring performance.

These are probably the best way to gauge your conversion rate which requires a level of scientific assumptions.

  • Does the number of visits have an impact on the awareness of the campaign?
  • How does pages views relate to the amount of information being consumed?
  • How many people took the action that you’ve put in place? Such as download a PDF content or request for moreinformation via a contact form.
  • Where are people “going” on your site? You can craete a visual of your visitor’s click path by using Google Analytics content Drilldown and In-Page analytics

Basically you can make some pretty reasonable assumptions using web analytics system, but it simply can’t tell you exactly what the visitors ended up doing at the end.

This is why it’s important to measure results not just performance. Results bring you insights that will tell you more about your target audience than your website.

It therefore requires a lot of thinking and coming up with the right hypothesis for testing.

Free vs paid tactics

Most of us don’t know what we don’t know that’s how we end up wasting hours on tactics that will never work.

This is especially true when it comes to implementing your traffic generation strategies.

Here are some “free” tactics to get traffic:

  • Submit your site to search engines, content directories, news sites, social bookmarking sites, RSS aggregators and share them on social networks
  • Publish quality content (articles, videos, podcasts, infographics) that embeds the keywords you want to rank in mind
  • Guest post on blogs in your niche area that ranks high, you can start with Google contextual search
  • Comment on other people’s blog by elevating the conversation not spamming with your links
  • Start conversations in social media and make sure you include links to your website on your profile page. You can start by answering questions on Linked or respond on Twitter
  • Build an email list if you don’t already have one and direct them to your web properties
  • Sign up for HARO and participate
  • Submit content to free press release websites, check out this list of paid and free ones
  • Include links in your outbound documents to clients such as invoices, postcards, RFPs, reports, make it fun and interesting (has to be done tastefully)

Although those are considered free tactics, they may not be free if you don’t get the results you want. And don’t forget your time isn’t free!

Now here are the no so free tactics:

  • Advertise on websites where your target audience visits the most (e-publications, web portals, forums or blogs), this can be in the form of banners, sponsored content, endorsed links or joint venture promotions
  • Contribute (recycle) content to partners, affiliates and complimentary products (make sure you arm them with tools to market your name)
  • Sponsor events or better yet start one, even a Twitter chat is a start
  • The good’o pay-per-click on Google still works but also checkout Bing and Facebook, both have less competition and spam
  • Hire writers and bloggers to help you create content using services such as Junta42 or use the Problogger job board
  • Join a paid networking group both online or offline, you can find some via Ning or Meetup
  • Submit content to paid press release website, check out this list of paid and free ones
  • Publish an eBook, write a report (whitepaper) or webinar
  • Start a giveaway

The take away: As I write this I know there are new ways to get traffic such as hiring people on Fiverr to fabricate you arbitrary social proof.

Just remember that black hat tricks such as the ones BMW and JC Penney did will ultimately hurt you in the long run.

So be honest with what’s working and what isn’t, what was smoking mirror and what wasn’t. Keep doing what’s working and stop doing what’s not. Done right, getting traffic is a lot like selling water in the desert.

Remember, the quality of your traffic has a direct impact in the rate of your conversion.

Not only will you need to understand why they’re here, you need to be able to convince them to take the action you want them to take.

So stop focusing on obtaining large amount of unqualified traffic.

Instead focus on collecting and profiling your prospects and customers. There is no excuse now with all the advance tools you can profile just about anyone using a combination of social CRM and behavior targeting techniques.

How to Create Your Unforgettable Elevator Pitch

by Eric Tsai

How to Create Your Unforgettable Elevator Pitch

Have you ever tried to tell someone about your online business or your idea for a business, but when you did, their eyes glazed right over?

You feel stupid or self-conscious because you know they’re bored, confused or just don’t get it.

The truth is we’re already inundated with information and overloaded with work everyday that most everything just aren’t that interesting to us.

In fact, most of us happen to think, say and do the same things everyday. We just do it with slight variations.

This is why you can’t help wanting to check your emails, tweets and text messages to see what’s fresh coming down the information pipeline.

It’s human nature.

So how do you talk about what you do in a powerful way that people will not only stop and listen but maintain their attention all the way through?

You need an elevator pitch – a way for you to instantly spark interest from your audience.

Here are a few key elements to a compelling elevator pitch.

Be specific and focus on the problem you solve

Elevator pitch is how you talk about what you do not your personal mission to change the world so focus on the specifics.

The critical mistake that most people make when asked “what do you do” is that they either go with a micro-level answer of telling people their daily tasks at their job (I do accounting) or the macro-level answer of describing the industry they’re in (I’m in IT).

The problem?

Everyone has a different perception of what a compute programmer does or what it means to be working in sales. In fact, the less specific answer you provide the more confusing it gets.

Instead of talking about abstract concepts, focus in on how you help people, specifically, the problem(s) that you solve.

It’s should not be your personal mission to change the world because most people are process-orientated, nobody really cares about what you do; it’s about HOW you do it!

It’s not about selling or using fancy words

Elevator pitch is a way to effectively wake up people from their daily routines and sparks their curiosity so they’re interested to know what you have to offer.

It is not about how you can impress people with jargons that make you sound smart (even though you’re). Great elevator pitches bring awareness to people so it makes sense to them to shift their attention to what you have to say.

Fancy words or phrases often requires your audience to “figure it out” which leads to disconnects and confusion. Stay away from them and use simple words that are easy to understand.

It should sound like something that happens in the real world that’s tangible, external, measurable and specific.

How to create unforgettable elevator pitch

Now that you know the key elements of a compelling elevator pitch, here is a simple template to use when creating your elevator pitch.

Start by saying, “you know how some people have this problem?”

Replace “this problem” with the problem or challenge that you solve.

Then continue with, “well, I offer this solution.”

Replace “this solution” with how the problem is solved.

Do not describe your business or the process of what your product does.

Here is an example.

You know some people have stuff they want to get rid off but don’t want to give it all away for free? Well I offer a website that allows them to auction anything off to the highest bidder. (eBay anyone?)

To take this even further, you could narrow it down to a specific group of people and their problems. The trick is to add some conveniences by using words such as with or without and recaps the entire pitch at the end.

You know how parents after their kids are grown want to get rid of all their baby stuff without giving it all away for nothing?

Well, I offer an online auction website that lets them sell their used baby stuff within a week or we’ll offer to buy it from them. Do you know any parents that want to get paid with their used baby stuff?

Remember, you can tailor the pitch to fit any scenarios or situation depending on your audience. This way you’ll have different versions of your elevator pitch to use when you meet a friend, an investor, a partner or a prospective customer.

So, what do you do?

[This article was published on VentureBeat’s Entrepreneur Corner]

Social Media Science: The Five W’s of Twitter Marketing

by Eric Tsai

Social Media Science: The Five W’s Of Twitter Marketing

If you’re doing any kind of Internet marketing you know the importance of fact gathering especially if you’re just starting out investing time, money and resources in social media. We’re now well into the “early majority” phase of social media, it’s time to take a look at some interesting data for a peak behind the social media curtains.

When strategizing your marketing campaign it’s critical to give yourself the highest chance of success. And by that I mean taking meaningful actions from reliable data not just making assumptions.

The “medium” is no longer the message, just habits and channels.

The message, in fact, IS the message.

The Five W’s (and one H) of Twitter

Twitter is probably one of the most talked about social media platform amongst marketers. However; business owners tends to have unrealistic expectations of what it actually can do so let’s focus on the 5 W’s and one H of Twitter.

Since insights don’t announce themselves, I’m going to use the reports from Edison Research, Hubspot, Dan Zarrella and Pew Research to illustrate my points.

These are organized information that can be very useful to help generate insights about your target and the technology they use.

When you have more than just organized data you can make better informed decision on where to allocate your time and resources for your marketing efforts while stimulating new ideas.

Why Tweet

People love to use Twitter to update their personal or professional lives as well as to comment on a relatively wide range of topics. And here is what people like to talk about on Twitter:

what people use twitter for statistics

Although location-based tweets and links to videos are the least commonly mentioned, I suspect that they’ll catch up soon with better, faster and cheaper devices and access to Internet.

Why people follow people?

Another interesting data from Dan Zarrella’s research reveals a list of names you can call yourself to get more followers than the average Twitter account.

Twitter bio words

No surprise here because people naturally like to follow authorities that “appears” to have some sort of influence.

Who Tweets

Despite its popularity, Twitter has yet to go mainstream. But it’s still interesting to see who is using Twitter to identify the demographic should you decide to focus on this channel.

To my surprise there are actually a much higher percentage of African Americans and Hispanics use Twitter than whites.

According to Pew Research, “8% of online adults said they do use Twitter—with 2% doing so on a typical day. This survey also showed that 74% of American adults are internet users, meaning that the Twitter cohort amounts to 6% of the entire adult population.”

Twitter user demographic group

HubSpot’s report also pointed out that 40% of the top 20 Twitter locations in January 2010 are outside North America.

In fact, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science also confirmed the diversity of Twitter users.

The interesting part of it is that Twitter seems to self-segregate around topics and issues with different ethnic groups. So instead of bringing people together in new and innovative ways via technology and Internet, people are more divide as a result.

Another fascinating data about Twitter users is that they tend to be more educated with higher household income which can be cross referenced via data from Edison Research.

Twitter users education

Twitter user income level

For those targeting market segments that are well educated with money, Twitter is definitely worth a look.

The next piece of attractive data is valuable specifically for businesses:

  • 42% of Twitter users wish to learn about products and services
  • 41% already provide opinions about them
  • 28% want discounts and offers and 21% claim to purchase products
  • 19% are using Twitter for customer support

Twitter users  follow brands

If you want to generate some new top-line revenue for your business, you would likely focus on new customer attraction and Twitter is a great place to start. And to do so you should consider putting together a promotional program with discounts to attract those deal hunters.

However; if your goal is to build long term relationship with your customers who will want to keep buying from you, tread carefully before you start tweeting discounts to one-time customers who will never pay full-price.

Knowing your customer on Twitter can greatly increase the effectiveness of your Internet marketing campaign especially when combined with direct response marketing tactics.

Once you know who you’re talking to you just have to find them using a combination of Google and Twitter search, a technique I’ve outlined in this post: How to Use Google and Twitter to Find Your Customers.

What to Tweet

Ahhh…the $54,000 question of what do people tweet? What should you tweet? Well, it really depends on why you’re using Twitter for what purpose.

For this we turn to another Dan’s awesome research on what to tweet to get the most retweet “scientifically.”

what to tweet

What I like about these data is that it provides a solid starting point to craft your Twitter campaign. Needless to say that in marketing “everything is a test” so make sure you are sending out interesting, relevant tweets that communicates value.

When to Tweet

If you’ve done email marketing, you know the importance of timely delivery. It’s about being at the right place at the right time and this applies to Twitter as well.

According to HubSpot’s report, the best day to tweet is Thursday and Friday while the best times to tweet are 3 -5 pm as well as 9 – 11pm Eastern Time.

Twitter tweets distribution by hour

Twitter tweets distribution by day

I’ve personally seen traffic statistics that agrees with those days and times.

Again like the W for “what to tweet,” time to tweet serves as a good foundation to start sending out your well crafted tweets.

Keep in mind that it doesn’t mean you won’t get retweets or clicks during off peak hours, you just have less traffic to engage with but it also means less competition.

Similar to how often you check your emails, how frequent Twitter users check their tweets also reveal the fact that half of the Twitter users NEVER check their streams which means there is a high chance that they simply won’t get to read majority of your tweets.

Twitter user checking tweets

That doesn’t mean you can’t keep “pushing” out messages. In fact, Guy Kawasaki tweets every minute of every hour of everyday, with repeat tweets too! That seems to be working for him so make sure you have a way to measure and track your retweets and clicks like how you would track your website statistics with Google Analytics.

You can start with free tools like Hootsuite or TweetDeck.

Where to Tweet

Much like the diversity we see in who’s tweeting, the location of where people are tweeting is relatively proportional.

Twitter self reported locations

Location can be a key piece if you’re business requires foot traffic such as retail stores, restaurants or if you’re selling to a specific geographic. Its just another metric to keep your eyes on and overtime you may see a trend developing that’s worth conducting another split testing.

How People Tweet

According to Twitter’s own blog post “The Evolving Ecosystem,” 16% of all new users to Twitter start on mobile now.

Besides Twitter app for mobile devices such as the iPhone and BlackBerry being the most popular ways to access Twitter, third-party apps make up 14% of all unique Twitter users.

top 10 twitter apps

Again this is in line with Twitter users being educated with high household income. I fully expect more mobile usage out of Twitter and more integration efforts from brands to cultivate this dynamic channel.

The take away: Twitter is like a huge chat room (or a big party) with people talking about different things. And people can choose from a variety of interesting conversations on Twitter with different purposes.

Like all decisions in business you must first identify your desire outcome before you jump in. A clear well-defined business and marketing objectives will bring clarity to unrealized assumptions.

And assumptions in marketing should be based on relevant data that can help you connect to your customer’s needs and desires in an attempt to reveal more about how people want to feel rather than just what they think.

Simply put, most of us just won’t come out and say how we feelabout everything in life and this applies to how we buy as well.

We buy base on how we feel not just what we think, it’s a constant battle between the two during the decision making process.

If you want to build a long term relationship with your customers, focus on relationship not just triggering the buy button.

And Twitter is another great platform to cultivate that relationship.

Why are you interested in using Twitter for marketing? Why do you believe you’re better invested there than in other channels of marketing?

I have no doubt that there will be more bright shiny objects like Twitter to come alone in the future but the critical element remains the same: identify the “Five W’s” (and one H) first: why, what, who when, where and how.

At the end, social media is just push marketing with the ability for the other side to push back.

Why Content Marketing Can Get You More Customers

by Eric Tsai

Why Content Marketing Can Get You More Customers

Content is critical in today’s marketing. With so much competition you have to be able to differentiate your product from your competitors by creating unique content.

As a business professional, experts, marketer or even just a blogger who’s trying to navigate the changing landscape of this digital media evolution, you must understand that the routes connecting customers, companies, products, and services are becoming more unpredictable, complex and disruptive.

If you want to survive and thrive you need to realize that every aspect of every business is increasingly carried out through the media.

This is basically a revolution in communication on a scale not seen since the invention of the printing press.

From advertising and marketing to sales and customer service, everything in business is more likely to happen on a computer or mobile device connected to the Internet. All businesses must learn to think like media companies and become trusted curators and providers of content across all new media platforms.

And with this real-time dynamic platform that’s changing how people consume media, it also brought a new level of distribution, replication, sharing and the value of content marketing.

Here are 3 keys to remember when creating your content marketing strategy.

Customers Are in Control

Everything is converging into an interlaced network of content and this means you have every opportunity and chance of making the headlines tomorrow or going viral on YouTube.

You could fall to the same threats facing the TV networks, newspapers and magazines.

What threats are we talking about here?

Think about what happens when you flip to a lousy TV show or scan across a boring ad in a magazine? The same thing that happens to an uninteresting online banner – it gets tuned out!

Your customers can post feedback on your blog, review your service vie Yelp or complaint via Twitter.

The Internet has provided your customer much more leverage and power to take control of the relationship they have with your business.

In order to be successful in growing your business, you must walk the walk and deliver whatever you promise in your marketing.

In fact, you can hire top marketers to drive traffic to your website but if you sell a crappy product or have poor customer service people can read about it instantly hurting your reputation and bottom line.

It’s not just about setting up your products or services as the answer to the challenges your prospects and customers are facing, that’s just the marketing part of it.

Your solution simply has to work.

Content is Marketing

As marketers you can use social media as a way to get you message out which allows you to position yourself or your business.

Just like newspapers and magazines, you get readers to react and respond to your social media content.

But don’t confuse medium and the message. Social media is just a vehicle (mostly push marketing) to carry out your content you still need to create engaging content, magnetic copies and effective headlines.

Good publications retain customers and get more advertisers because they’re able to add and keep subscribers consistently.

That’s the beauty of subscription based business model; you’re exchanging attention for revenue so the key is keep coming up with relevant and interesting content.

Keep in mind that all the value starts with the content and the media simply being the delivery mechanism.

Whether you’re writing a book, content for your marketing, or a blog post you want people to act on, the key is to give your customers what they need to make decisions and take actions to get the result they want.

There is no difference between content and marketing.

The quality of the content and its ability to give people the action steps and the information they need to be effective is critical to your success.

Relationship Sells

The difference between how an expert thinks and how a marketer thinks can be the key that’s holding you back from growing your business.

Yes, content is marketing and marketing is sales.

And great marketing is great salesmanship. But what most business professionals, coaches and gurus often forget about salesmanship is that it’s built on trusting relationships.

And in today’s over-communicated digital world, trust is already hard to come by because there is already a huge distrust in general information that’s out there so earning trust should be your top priority as a way to start building long-lasting relationships with your customers.

In fact according to the Gallup poll, a record 57% of Americans say they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly

Distrust in U.S. Media Edges Up to Record High

Real relationship requires a two-way conversation – a receive and response, response and response mechanism. Don’t make assumptions on what your customers want, hear what they’re saying and listen.

Look at all the top publications like The Economist, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, you’ll find that they all have strong relationship with their audience because they truly understand and give their customers what they want and what they need.

Bottom line, you need to do everything you can to understand what your customers want and the most effective way is to truly focus on getting your customer’s perceived needs met by becoming the customer.

The take away: Unlike the old days where a powerful distributor can help you boost sales due to the lack of distribution channels and competitors (think TV with only 3 channels to watch).

Today there are thousands of distributors and having a large distribution channel will not overcome the true value of your content.

Experts are so used to broadcasting and receiving on what the customers need based on their professional experience that they often just want to get to the end – stuffing down what the customers need (with good intention) asking for the sale.

However; in today’s hyper-connected world, content marketing is the new new thing.

If you want to get more customers you must learn to leverage content marketing and get inside the minds of your customer.

How to Create Magnetic Copy to Maximize Your Content Appeal

by Eric Tsai

Getting people to take actions from your content requires a deep connection with your audience.

We all know the need to implement the right tactics to capture the emotion that leads to those desirable actions. Provide valuable content, use ethical SEO (search engine optimization) tactics, give away free eBooks, free webinars, whitepapers, special reports, you name it.

But if you really want to elevate your conversion rate, you need to understand the art and science of content marketing.

You need to figure out what motivates your audience to click here and sign up there.

Why people give their emails away to complete strangers, follow every call-to-action and come back for more.

Let’s look at the 3 keys of creating powerful content to help you increase your product appeal.

Grab and Keep Attention

How do you read newspaper? How about magazines? Do you every sentence of every word from start to finish cover to cover?

If you do, that’s great, but for rest of us we scan.

In today’s drive-by attention grabbing culture, people do judge a book by its cover.

That’s why magnetic copy must have magnetic headlines that get people curious. It should always be organize around benefits, the “what’s in it for me” must jump out at your prospective customers.

This is why content marketing mimics the format of news with powerful headlines, sub-headlines and bullets. Simply put, human beings are wired to tune out advertising because that’s the natural of our brain to detect deceptions.

People have less resistance with news style formatted content than advertising that looks like, well, advertising!

So start getting into the mindset that you need to write effective copy in order to grab and keep attention.

Focus your coy on the results that your customer will get instead of what your product does or the fancy technology behind it. Research your customer’s behaviors, attitudes and demographics.

People only really care about themselves so keep your copy simple to the point and write in a way as if it’s you and one other person that are in conversation.

Your content can break through the noise if it’s interesting and exciting.

Demonstrate Social Proof

Ever since we’re little we associate ourselves with certain type of identifiers. Whether it’s the cloths we wear, the car we drive, the food we eat, the music we listen to, we’re obsessed with being part of a group.

This is human nature and the foundation of our society.

When people first land on your website or visits your social media profile they are looking for validation. The idea of social proof is all about perceived value of your influence and authority.

Who you are, what you do and why should people trust you?

You simply can NOT ignore the fact that people will form opinions in their own mind that reflects the perceived status of your stuff. You literally have less than 10 seconds to make an impression and that’s your instant reputation.

If you want your visitors to stay you must show them you’ve got the goods.

You can do this by leveraging testimonials and user-generated content (UGC) such as reviews or questions and answers (Q&A). Then follow up with some high value stuff that resonates with them right away.

Another method is to show the number of subscribers, comments, retweets or followers you have. The bottom line is that social proof is all about positioning.

Get Them To Take Action

So now you’ve demonstrated your expertise across multiple communities. The next step is to get your audience to take action.

Getting people to take action on the internet is all direct response marketing strategy with effective copywriting techniques. This means integrating measurable call-to-action that gets your visitors to do what it is that you want them to do.

It can be as direct as asking people to buy your product, contact you, input their personal information, share your content or leave a comment.

The trick here is that you must provide enough real value to earn the trust of your prospective customer so you can start building a relationship with them.

People are more likely to do what you ask if you’re open, honest and transparent.

Speak like a friend and stay relevant is the key to motivate people to take action.

The take away: Magnetic copy is about appeal and getting attention not about you or what you know. It’s about becoming your customer and getting people genuinely interested so they will want to know more, see more and take actions that you anticipated by design.

Your customers don’t want your product, service or sign up for anything. What they want is the solution to their problems.

Sure you can create content that appears to do that but ultimately magnetic content helps connecting the dots in all your information to drive out miscommunication.

Real effective content actually does help people and get them the result they want.

How about you? Are you creating content that sticks? Share your top tip for creating effective content in the comments.

Why You Should Be In This $50 Billion Dollar Information Marketing Business

by Eric Tsai

Information Marketing

You understand the power of the social web so you set out to master the art of internet marketing. Perhaps you went through some training, attended seminars or read a bunch of great books. You get it.

It’s all about building traffic adding subscribers and ultimately generating a revenue-generating machine. You’ve heard all the hype about social media, SEO and information marketing but the truth is you need a strategy.

Web Strategy Is Business Strategy

The backdrop is set for businesses big or small to become the next millionaire expert, advice guru or information marketer. Regardless of what business you have or what industry you’re in, you need to understand that the biggest opportunity in the history of marketing is here.

Peter Drucker predicted that there would be a evolution in society brought about by information. He argues that although information is conceptual, the meaning is perception.

According to him, the largest working group will become what he calls knowledge workers. The defining characteristic of these knowledge workers is the level of their formal education and training.

Since information is basically content with relevance and purpose, converting them requires knowledge, a specialized knowledge in which people must learn and understand in order to take action.

And relevance and purpose follows the rate of change that’s happening with our society.

We still follow the Maslow’s Law of Hierarchy, maintaining the same needs and wants, but with very different perception of how to obtain them, who to get them from and what to do with the knowledge.

Keep in mind that those needs somehow always comes back to health, wealth and relationships.

Internet Marketing Is Information Marketing

Where are the hottest markets with the biggest opportunities?

According to Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker, online advertising has a $50 billion dollar opportunity simply because eyeballs are moving online!

People spend more and more time online (Some support data here) and the ad dollars just follow people to the web and this is where the change is happening.

Morgan Stanley: The State Of The Web by Mary Meeker

Today every business is an information business, everyone idea can become the big idea and even if you don’t have a business yet, you can start from scratch and earn substantial income doing internet marketing as an author, speaker, coach, seminar leader, and online information marketer.

There is no doubt that this trend will continue.

In a paradigm shift like this you can defy conventional wisdom to create new markets without having to fight for competitive advantage, battle over market share, and struggle for differentiation.

Need more facts about this emerging trend?

Check out who’s spending the big bucks online already. There shouldn’t be any surprise that brands like AT&T, Amazon, Expedia or eBay are paying Google to be found online.

How Much Big Brands Are Spending On Google

What most don’t realize is that there is a relatively unknown spenders that’s throwing gobs of cash at online advertising.

Take a look at the number 2 spender in June, Apollo Group, the company behind The University of Phoenix.

They are spending almost as much as AT&T who was trying to direct traffic to its site to sell iPhone 4s. According to Apollo’s income statement (as a public company), the company totally annual revenue is close to $5 billion with a growth rate of 25% per year for the last 3 years.

The company’s primary business is to provide educational programs, trainings and certifications.

Again, this goes back to the explosion of the information era and the need to have knowledge to stay relevant – the idea of becoming a knowledge worker.

3 Key Strategies of Internet Marketing Success

STRATEGY1: CONTENT MARKETING

The main formula of a successful internet marketing strategy is content marketing. It’s about demonstrating your expertise by focusing on high value content delivery.

Great content grabs attention and connects prospects with their emotional needs, it’s the foundation to build your trust, gain credibility and establish authority.

Related reading:

STRATEGY 2: DIRECT RESPONSE MARKETING

Whether it’s social media, video marketing, SEO (search engine optimization) or PPC (pay-per-click), you need copywriting. That’s the foundation of direct response marketing.

From killer headline to thought-provoking copy the sole purpose is to get the reader to take action.

Related reading:

STRATEGY 3: AFFILIATE MARKETING

The real concept here is to build relationship referrals with an audience that leverages word-of-mouth to spread your message.

Due to the proliferation of spam, affiliate marketing is often connected to MLM (multi-level marketing) which gives the idea of a pyramid scheme.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t real people focusing on serving their customers via the means of network marketing.

At the end it’s about making a commitment to deliver a quality and relevant experience for your readers and subscribers.

Related reading:

The take away: People need information to find a job, solve a problem, buy a product, find a date, get professional advise and they want to do it the fastest and easiest way they can – via the internet.

So in a way everyone needs information packaged in way that it’s easy to understand. And that’s called “information products.”

It can literally be anything from ebooks, speeches, videos, seminars, in-person or online coaching, a service you provide or just an idea you have. They’re not limited to the typical products you see on late night infomercials (although they’re considered info products as well).

This is also why e-readers are selling great (Forrester: e-book sales to hit nearly $1 billion this year, $3 billion by 2015) because it’s a device that’s capable of connecting to the internet and access information products in any format.

All you have to do is to help people connect the dots by bring value that matters to what they’re looking for.

It’s time to challenge everything you though you knew about strategy and re-invigorate your approach.

Do you see your business as an information business? Have you purchased any information products online? I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback, thanks!