Thursday, May 25, 2017

matching your efforts and your desired viewers

I have my Captain Obvious hat on again today, but the notion is one I keep tripping over, so maybe it'll do you some good too. In the digital marketing ecosystem I roll around in, I've been working my way into Facebook Ads. As with any new 'thing' I like seeing what others are doing. As usual, the pics that form the bulk of a Facebook Ad are all stock photos of the typical young techie looking model, in front of a perfect looking office background. As an aside, once again I ask why is this? In my observations, the answer seems to be that no one has the 'tripod/camera/background/Photoshop' thing mastered to the extent that they can roll their own imagery quickly enough to use. Or they don't like how they look, thus feeding the beast of perfection. Don't feed that beast. Be real. So stock pics are next best. Or nothing. Back to the main point: The people that you want to persuade to consume your service or buy your product - are they in the ecosystem that also contains your content, in this case the 'Facebook ad'? This brings up the question - 'who are your people?' Keep it human. It's easy to fall into the trap of 'demographics' or 'average user', or something analytic. To some extent they are valid, but I think the best test is rational. Come up with 3-4 use cases and see if your content, e.g. that Facebook ad, passes the 'sanity test' (sorry about all the single quotes by the way). For example, can you see your Mom (mine is 75 and a tiny bit computer literate) on Facebook, viewing content and doing "stuff' that inspires a view of your ad? More to the point - I have a large industrial client. My contact there, pulled out large chunks of his own hair earlier this spring, getting ready for a press release. Yes, a tried and true press release, the kind of stuff that no one reads anymore. Except his B2B demographic in the industrial vertical his company is in, STILL USES them. They still read trade magazines printed on paper and mailed to people at their work, not their home. Press releases still show up in those trade rags. That is a valid use case. Not everyone is young, good looking and living online. I would bet about NONE of my client's clients (remember this is B2B) are on Facebook in their work persona. So my trying to pitch a Facebook ad to this industrial client likely would result in very little. There's no understandable fit. I'm trying to convince him to find Bigfoot in Manhattan and not along the Trinity river. I have another client that sells custom made wood paddleboard paddles. First, this is a B2C play, so already the fit is MUCH better, since Facebook is a much stronger B2C ecosystem than it is a B2B place. Digging deeper, is a paddler man or woman? Young or old? The use case thing for this paddle purchase gets much more granular real fast, and leads to a more complex view of just WHO will see a Facebook ad for this paddle making client. The point though, is that Facebook users can reasonably be seen as canoe and SUP paddlers. So Facebook ads for this client are a much better fit than they are for the above industrial client. It's not a perfect analysis, but the point is that a Facebook ad could work for a SUP paddler whereas a Facebook ad would largely fail and be wasted on something that is largely industrial (maybe even old school). So in one setting my efforts do not reasonably match the expected demographics of my viewers and in another case they match well enough to warrant spending some money on those FB ads. 'nuff said campers. PS - if you are ever in northern California, the Trinity river is a gorgeous spot. Pretty remote too.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Marketing Starts with Content

A blank screen stares back at me this morning, much like a blank new year awaits. Time rolls on! Speaking of blank screens - an enduring issue I see when I stick my head into the SMB world that my clients inhabit is lack of content - one of the toughest kinds of blank screens. How to fix this? Quite often, the longer the question lasts, the easier the answer tends to be - Most often the first answer is - get a camera and USE IT. Online marketing is reliant on images, and images can be surprisingly hard to come by. This brings up a second answer. Develop a simple version 1 strategy in order to have a guide for using that camera. It doesn't need to be rocket science. Third answer - keep it real. Include real faces, real hands and real places. Try and keep your light source behind you, but other than that let'er rip. The beauty of digital cameras is that images are cheap. Take alot. Think about each one if time allows for some basic composition, but otherwise hit that shutter button! I had one client who always took pictures of roofing projects. One shot was always the 'before' because that was part of making the bid. Once I saw a few of those 'before' shots, it was easy to then add an 'after' shot. The same sales rep was always at the initial meeting and the followup signoff, so the same camera, same photographer and same setting were fairly easy to do. The hardest part was remembering to take the 'after' shot. For that client, pairs of images documenting the change was simple and effective when it came to showing what my client's company did - roofing, siding and windows. It's not all and only images, but they do play a critical role. When it comes to making impressions, building trust, and capturing attention, good imagery captures the eye early on in the 'process'. With eyes captured, effective writing then has a chance to further capture attention and build trust. The reading and hearing brain is the most critical builder of trust and making judgment, but your efforts rarely get that far without good imagery to initially capture attention.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Teachable - a new option for showing, sharing, and teaching

QWM has long offered DVD authoring as an option for clients with content that they want to sell. As the years tick by, like so many other things DVDs are gathering a good bit of dust. While they remain entirely valid and useful AND "sellable" for lack of a better word, other options are popping up. Valid, high quality alternatives, like Teachable. Every time I visit their site I find cool examples from businesses that are using Teachable as a platform to show and share and teach AND sell. I think a platform like this exceeds what a DVD can do by far, AND it offers a way better fit for iPads and phones.

I'm sold on it and now that Canoecopia is over, I can construct my own Teachable offerings to show and share and sell a course on making wood paddles. This is a life long personal interest that I have long been dabbling in and selling the occasional paddle and paddle kit. Along the way I wrote a book on it and now this Teachable course, soon to be online and available. Hopefully :)

As a long time videographer and editor, content creation is the best fitting "catch all" vertical that describes what I do for clients. As an indie author and soon to be multimedia course "owner" (maybe creator is the better fit?), I like the many DIY alternatives that are out there, empowering small businesses and making it easier for us to compete with the crusty old dinosaur big businesses that are out there. I think platforms like Teachable, Createspace, and the many indie publishing options like Kindle and ibooks, serve to level the playing field. Content and platform are far better competitive tools than price and old school distribution. Of course the old stuff, like old school blue blood Republicans have not gone away by any means. Hustle and an ability to sell your goods and services remain critical. To me, these new platforms enable those two critical attributes. As other have said in the past -

"...power to the people AND new school Republicans...." Now go make something and sell it!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z is for Zimbrick

This is an annotated video for an auto dealer. A neat idea that allows details to be contained in their own video. Each video is linked to another, so it is easy to move from one to another. From the intro you can also choose where you would like to start. It must also be noted that this annotation feature only works on the desktop Youtube site. While that may seem to be an issue, it's been my experience that the desktop Youtube is still where lengthy time period watching video is spent. Mobile devices tend to have a much shorter usage time in a different user environment, so linked videos do not usually get the attention on mobile. I find it reasonable to have an annotated experience aimed at desktop researchers, while mobile users are "detected" and given a different look to access the same menus.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y is for Yetling

One more word I am at a loss for when it comes to finding one with relevancy to QWM. Turns out there are plenty of strange words starting with Y. Including one I have some experience with. Yetling is an object made out of cast iron. Who doesn't like bacon and eggs fried in a cast iron pan. Practically nectar of the gods and something I have eaten several times, although I claim nothing immortal in my blood lines.

Two strange words in a row, with a third likely tomorrow. At least for those of you cast iron cooking fans, maybe you have a new word to describe your culinary metal collection.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is for Xylopolist

I was fairly sure I had no clients with an X in their company name. So here at the letter X I had to stray to a word from an external source. Xylopolist is someone that sells wood. In my other life as wavetrainSUP I do sell wood in the form of paddle kits, so at least I can claim some relevancy. Not quite a client with an X name, but teh alphabet makes strange demands sometimes.

Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for wavetrainSUP

In my other life I make paddles and paddle kits. So here is the video I made, with the help of my oldest daughter.