The Web.Search.Social Marketing Podcast
Improve your marketing by challenging the status quo
On these short form episodes of the Web.Search.Social Marketing Podcast, we read aloud our blog articles so that you can listen to them in the car, in the shower, while you’re cooking or wherever you like!
Take a moment to evaluate the plans, decisions and resolutions you made in 2014 for 2015. The year isn't over yet. Let's re-evaluate the remaining half of 2015 and throw some daggers at your unfulfilled resolutions and plans.
What is a "bad word"? Today we explore the effects of language and why it matters to you, your business and marketing.
I've ben fixated on the video streaming service Periscope the past few weeks. I wrote about Periscope on my personal blog, but today I want to talk about the genesis of Periscope and what your business can learn from it.
Right up there with "write epic content" and "be awesome", you probably hear or read something every day that reminds you to "provide value to customers." But what does that mean? It may or may not be price, service, experience or anything else.
What makes a good product? You need a good idea, a definition of success, a grasp on your audience and potential revenue. Here are some things to consider.
If you record video, go to networking events, host webinars… or even do something as simple as talk to your clients and prospects… nobody wants to hear you um and er your way through a conversation. Try these ideas to improve your speech.
A few days ago, I wrote an article as part of my series on my entrepreneurial journey on my personal blog at RalphMRivera.com. I got a lot of feedback from it and I decided to share it here because I thought it was relevant. Let me know what you think about my observations and I invite you to read more at my blog.
From planning to content, design, photography and more, here's what's involved in build a good business website so that you can be smarter about budgeting and understand why one guy wants to charge you $500 and the other is asking for $5,000.
In sales ABC means "Always Be Closing." But here's a better acronym for business success: Always Be Questioning. Here's why asking questions is vital to your the profitability and success of your business.
Someone once told me to keep a story in my back pocket so when I ran into someone or attended a networking meeting, I could answer the question, "What's new?" with more than, "Nothing." Today we explore why that matters.
We're fascinated with and big fans of Pinterest. The irony is that it's the least effective arrow in our quiver. That's why I'm making a Pinterest pledge. Here's what I'll do and I hope you'll take the pledge with me.
Have you ever had a logo designed and asked people, "Which version do you like best?" Or has someone asked the question of you? Here's why that's the wrong question and a bad idea… plus some suggestions for how to approach your logo design instead.
How many emails you have in your inbox isn't as important as emails in your inbox that are out of control. Here are some smart ways to manage email so it doesn't manage you.
If you're in a service business you know "those days". You know that sometimes you're off your game and don't deliver your best to customers. But that isn't the totality of you. Before we spew out snark for bad service, let's take a kinder approach.
Do you have to make decisions about budget for your business? If you've ever struggled to cut expenses when income is down, here is some advice for preparing ahead of time so you're not making bad or reactionary decisions under the gun.
What does it mean to market to millennials? Is it a state of mind or of age? Is it leading your brand to be inauthentic? And what does "on fleek" mean, anyway? Here are some things to think about if you're worried about missing an entire generation.
We as business people come from a place of knowing. We are intimately acquainted with our products and services. We know what they do (and what they don't), we know what they offer and we know their limitations. We know how things work from the inside out, but sometimes we forget that just because we know, doesn't mean our customers know.
You probably expect to see the usual suspects on this list… spending too much time on Facebook, pinning too many recipes. But this list is a little different. These are productivity suckers of the worst kind because they are things we have to deal with every day. So while you can take a "just log out of Facebook" approach to those other kinds of distraction, the ones I want to talk about are in front of you whether you like it or not. And it's easy to let them get out of control.
In the week before the 100th episode of the Web.Search.Social Podcast, my friend Alisa Meredith suggested that I should write an article about what I've learned. So here are the 10 things I learned about business and productivity from 100 episodes of podcasting.
It took us a while to get started but some eight months later, after buying a bunch of equipment, setting it up and connecting eight billion wires… we made it to episode 100. Along the way we learned a lot, and not just about knobs vs. sliders, but about planning, promotion, content creation and the audience we do it for. So as we cross the 100th milestone this week, we want to reflect on what we learned so that if you create any kind of content for your business you can take something away to help on your own journey.
I want to share the story of a friend of mine that has hired and fired many marketing companies of various disciplines. His rationale was simple: they weren't producing results. And while that sounds like it makes sense, the problem was that my friend was not giving anyone enough time to actually achieve results. Here's a story that will demonstrate why you need to take time to let your strategy unfold.
Do you sometimes sit and stare at the blank page of a Word document and wonder what on earth to put on it that might resemble your next blog post? Or look at your Instagram or Pinterest account and wish you could think of something to post that isn't your cat or the last thing you ate for dinner? I hope so because otherwise I'm going to feel pretty lonely over here in what-the-hell-happened-to-my-creativity land. But the good news is that something as simple as messing up a few papers on your desk can get your creative juices flowing. Join me in throwing out all those plastic containers and embracing mess... science itself proves that it's better for creativity and innovation!
Today is Word Carnival day, that once-monthly event where a bunch of business bloggers get together to write on a theme. This month's topic: the secret to my success. Rather than talk about tools or tricks or mindsets or practices, I decided to have a little fun and turn this into a love letter because there really is only one thing I can't live without: my business partner, husband and love of my life. I hope you know someone like this, too, because you really can't succeed alone.
How can my content be shared more on Triberr? I get asked that question every day several times a day. The short answer is "write good content that people will want to share." But of course nothing is ever as easy as that. So I want to present some ideas on how you can get your content viewed by more people using Triberr as a tool. If you are a blogger, podcaster or YouTuber who produces great content and you're struggling to find an audience, give Triberr a shot - it's easy, it's free and these tips will help you make the most of it.
Have you read the hoopla surrounding the Starbucks "Race Together" campaign? To read the stories, one might think this was the most evil blight to hit humanity. Was it poorly planned? Was it badly executed? Did it completely miss its audience and prove that there is just another tone-deaf CEO trying to reach the cool kids? Or are we perhaps too scared of the subject to give it credit, to dare see a bright light in the madness? And why does this matter to your small business, anyway? That's what I tackle today - issues from race to raving lunatics, from social media to customer relationships. Here's my perspective and why I think the alleged "failure" of the campaign wasn't a failure at all. Agree or disagree, there is something for all of us to learn.
If marketing your business “these days”, especially in an Internet world, seems overwhelming or confusing… if you’re not sure where to start or if you’ve started but aren’t sure where to go… if you’ve spent money or time (or both) for little results… It might be time to realign your thinking about marketing altogether. Here are a few things you may have been conditioned to believe about social marketing - some misconceptions and misperceptions that will do nothing but stand in the way of engaging in productive, lead-generating marketing.
Are you one of those people who starts sentences with the word "sorry?" As in, "Sorry, but I just think coffee is better than tea." I've been noticing that more and more lately. Not just in every day colloquial conversation, but in the way that businesses of various sizes manage their marketing. The word sorry should never be used to start any marketing message or else you run the risk of diminishing the authority of your brand. Here's why.
When it comes to marketing there are a lot of ways to do it. And it’s wonderful to have so many opportunities but at the same time it can be so overwhelming that we end up with decision paralysis. Marketing fundamentals may be the same: provide a good product or service that people need then get them to want it so they’ll buy it. But the mechanics of making that happen – the strategies and tactics that you’ll ultimately employ – will vary greatly. Here are just a few things to consider about whether a marketing idea is good - for you.
Should I have a Facebook page? Is my audience on Twitter? Do I have time to invest in social marketing? Why am I doing this? Those are all great questions but they’re not the questions I’m talking about today. The questions I’m talking about today are even tougher than that and have a lot more to do with your business approach and philosophy than with the mechanics of marketing. They may keep you up at night for a little while but if you can get to the bottom of them you'll have more fun and do better business.
Today I’m going to tell you why content curation as a social marketing strategy is silly, fruitless and something you should stop doing immediately. And if you just read that sentence and immediately thought, "But...." then this is for you. Arguments... debunked. Challenges... debunked. "Buts"... debunked! Join me in the land of lead generation and practical marketing tactics. Here's why there's no home for curation there.
The super fan bubble is a collection of dedicated and loyal fans. Fans that will not only consume your content but take action on your behalf. They'll buy your products, listen to your shows, share your tweets. The super fan bubble is great, but it can also be a plateau that slows growth. The goal of any business endeavor is to continue to grow your audience or customers. So you need to cultivate relationships with the people in your super fan bubble while creating strategies to help you grow the bubble to include more super fans. This is my perspective on getting out of your super fan bubble by collaborating with the competition.
Branding consistency is important. But businesses can get so caught up in their day to day operations that they fail to present a unified visual identity or worse, they don't portray a strong message about the product or service they're selling. Today I want to talk to you about a small business that made this error. What business did that? Mine. Yup. We did that. Or rather failed to do that. I'd like to share our branding journey with you along with some strategies you can use to make your own visual identity the strongest it can be.
There are two ways that marketing costs you money. One is in the actual costs that you pay out – to vendors and agencies, for tools and subscriptions to support your marketing. And the second is by spending time – or paying other people to spend their time – doing things called “social media marketing” that aren’t contributing in any way to your bottom line. That thing you’re calling “social media marketing” may just be another line item in the expense column and if you’re ok with that, if you're using social media just for fun and diversion, then you can skip this article. But if you actually want to make money marketing instead of just spend money doing it, read on.
Recently we welcomed a new client and asked their old developer to give us administrative access to our client’s Google analytics. But we discovered that the developer had set up analytics incorrectly. The result? Well, in this case it's goodbye to years of data. Here's what you need to know about setting up - and owning - your Google analytics so you don't get caught in the same trap.
Almost every business I came in contact with in 2014 had no idea where or how their business domain name was registered. Other people were paying vendors such as web developers or marketers but had no contract or work agreement. They simply paid and had no expectation of what they were to get in return. In one case, a prospect of ours was paying three different companies for the same service - and they didn't even need it. Don't let this be you! Here's a short list of things that you should do before the end of January to assure business continuity and peace of mind in the new year.
Every year the gurus explode with books and blog posts telling you how to REALLY lose weight/get smarter/stop smoking/start running/volunteer more/work less. I Googled “marketing resolutions” before writing this and discovered no shortage of advice for everything from “create a delightful mobile experience” to “be more consistent with marketing.” And while some of the advice is solid, most of it is all about the "what" and lacks a focus on the "why". So this year, do your business a favor and skip the resolutions. Try approaching your marketing from results first and see how the resolutions make – and keep – themselves.
Today’s short form podcast is a story that I wrote for Butter & Beast, a storytelling project hosted by my friend Téa Silvestre of The Story Bistro. It’s 12 days of stories from entrepreneurs that tie a business tale into a recipe – perfect for sharing and eating during the holidays! If you’d like to read the article or get my Arroz con Pollo recipe, visit ButterAndBeast.com. While you’re there, subscribe so you’ll be notified when the next story and recipe is published!
If you hire an SEO company they may be giving you exactly what you asked for but still not be producing the results you want. Be clear on what you really want out of SEO because it probably has nothing to do with your position in Google. This is a story of two clients who asked for one thing but meant another and why it's so important to know what kind of results you really want.
Of all the questions I’m asked by customers and prospects alike, this one ranks in the top three. Even people who don’t check their analytics and barely know what analytics are have the presence of mind to ask how to get more people to visit their website. I’m going to tell you one of the best kept secrets of increasing website traffic: It’s easy. I’m also going to share some tactics for doing it but there’s a twist at the end of the post, so stick around.
If you’re busily blogging, podcasting and social media-ing but still not getting the leads you want, you may be wondering why you’re investing all that time and effort. You may be discouraged by the whole thing and ready to check out of content marketing entirely. If that’s you – if you’re creating content and not getting results – hang tight. I’ve got a few reasons why that may be happening so that with a few adjustments you can see the success that everyone else seems to be talking about.
It’s Thanksgiving week here in the U.S. which means if you’re not planning the turkey or cooking the turkey then you’re certainly thinking about eating the turkey – or whatever favorite Thanksgiving treat you eat enough of to put you into a weekend-long food coma. So rather than give you a lesson in my marketing processes, social media management plans or how I segment email lists (we’ll save those for January after the hangovers have worn off), today I’d like to share a little fun - because when we’re down in the trenches of business and marketing it can be very easy to forget that there is such a thing.
Building a customer-focused, lead-generating site is a lot of work. The “building” part of a website is the easy part. But knowing what to build? Not so much. That's why so many sites languish and turn into an expense instead of a business asset that makes you money. Today I share a short list of things that you can improve on your site - from the tiny fixes to the big-picture strategy - that will increase your chances of pulling people in, keeping them there and getting them to take action.
It's The Great Google Paradox: the less your site seems "optimized" the better optimized it will be. Google wants us to focus on content and not on search results. But that has led to a lot of confusion about what's right, what's wrong, when you'll get in trouble and what you should really be doing to optimize your site to be found in search. Today I tackle a few of the pitfalls of optimization and share some insight into a smarter way to approach SEO.
Faster. Easier. Wouldn't it be better if your social marketing was both? We rarely talk tools but today I want to share one with you that has some nifty features that I've used to make my own social marketing faster and easier. It's called MavSocial and it lets you buy, store, edit, schedule and share photos, audio and video from one account. If it sounds like Hootsuite or Buffer that's because of the scheduling part. But wait until you find out about some of the other tricks up its sleeve. If this sounds useful to you there is a free account you can sign up for, no credit card required. I've enjoyed this tool and I hope you do too.
Ralph and I have a shared philosophy when it comes to things like home improvements, automobile repair and event planning. It’s the CTM philosophy and it involves one or the other of us picking up the phone to Call The Man. It’s our generic way of saying, “Let someone else deal with it, preferably someone who knows what they’re doing.” When it comes to marketing, there are some things you can DIY and others you definitely shouldn't. Here's what you can comfortably tackle (and when) and what you should think about hiring out (and why).
Modern marketing wisdom goes something like this: If you want to be successful at social marketing then you need to share other people’s content 80% of the time and your own content 20% of the time. I don’t know what the source of this dumb advice is but I would very much like to know who decided that this was the magic ratio and why it's repeated as marketing gospel. Here's why content curation is not doing you any favors... and some practical, actionable ideas you can try instead.
So many times businesses fail to gain momentum on their marketing because they want every campaign to be flawless. When a campaign takes an unintended left turn, a business becomes hesitant to try again. While you should do everything you can within reason to avoid failures, missteps in marketing are inevitable. I want to share three of our recent failures so that you can (hopefully) laugh along with us and perhaps learn from our mistakes so you don't make your own. Or if you do make mistakes, you can learn to pick yourself up and keep going.
Have you seen the $4,000 toothbrush? It’s real, I swear. And it begs the question: what makes a toothbrush worth $4,000? The answer is pretty simple, actually. It’s worth $4,000 because that’s what someone is willing to pay for it. But when it comes to business the idea of value still lies in the return that a product or service yields. That makes it more challenging to work in the B2B space, because it’s a lot harder to sell something that doesn’t promise a better outcome. And yet, paradoxically, it’s also a lot easier to trick you, as a business, into spending your marketing budget on something completely worthless. Today I want to talk about one of the most common marketing tricks that will get YOU to part with your hard earned dollars, all in the interest of improving your own marketing. And why you should shut your wallet every time you encounter it.
It's Q4 2014. With the holidays coming, you have very little time to decide what your 2015 marketing outlook is if you haven't already done so. But let me tell you one thing that you can take to the bank. In 2015 more of your consumers will be connected than at any time in the past. They will be online, using social media, looking for the products and services that they want to buy and relying on the information they find online to inform their decisions. If you are reading this while sitting next to a truck load of cash, then go enjoy your money. This isn't for you. But if you want to give your business a fighting chance in 2015, keep reading.
Have you read the story about Marriott International’s “The Envelope Please” program? It's stirred up a bit of controversy and got me thinking about dumb things done in the name of marketing. Turns out, dumb marketing is not only the domain of big companies. Even small businesses sometimes fall into these traps. Here are three of the most head-shaking mistakes and why you should avoid them. PS: If you haven't read the Marriott story, I include a link at the beginning of my article. Let me know what you think!
Something is king. I'm not sure what, but every day it seems to change. One day Content is King. The next, it's engagement. Then it's disruption. A few days ago, my nemesis (and good friend) David Deutsch of SynergiSocial wrote an article proclaiming that "contact", not "content" is king. Ok, so what is King? The answer is simple. There is no king. Here's a different way to think about marketing.
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: If you want to promote and grow your business, connect with influencers. You can’t go a half-mouse-click without someone telling you how to connect with influencers and why you really, really, really need to do that. I’ve discussed this in detail before but suffice it to say that trying to “connect with influencers” is the sort of magical thinking, right up there with “write epic content” and “just make it go viral”, that will hinder and even kill your true marketing success. If you want your business to succeed, here's a better way to market.
Take a moment to think about the business buzzword that drives you most crazy. Synergy? Thought leadership? “Next level”? Each of those makes me cringe a little… especially “next level” because couldn’t the next level be down? Buzzwords are overused, cliché and sometimes downright silly. Every industry has them. But there is only one word that you should squash completely before it stings you. Want to guess what it is?
Guess what? Your marketing company can make things really simple for you. They can pay for your hosting, your domain renewal, your email software, and your social scheduling software. They can itemize all of those expenses for you and then send you one bill. Easy peasy. Lemon Squeezy. But I want to share two stories with you that illustrate the downside of the easy-peasy-one-bill method so you'll see why it's so important to know who owns your accounts and services.
Are you a Firestarter? How about a Ninja? Chief Fun Maker? Executive Content Czar? When it comes to the titles that people put on their business cards, I've seen some pretty interesting things. But the big question is: does that help or hurt them? Read or listen to today's blog to find out. Even if you think you know the answer, I bet you'll be surprised by some of the ideas that you can try on your own to find out what title suits you best. Find out how to make a title work for you.
Yesterday we premiered the Web.Search.Social Marketing Podcast. Today we’ve got something a little different, too. It’s a blog post and it’s also got an audio version so you can read AND listen. Your choice. Visit today’s blog to read or listen. In the blog, I share a lesson learned from an email that I sent to our mailing list last week. If you received it, you may recall that Hello Kitty played a starring role. Well, she also has something to say about B2B marketing so visit to find out what that is. Because sometimes it's great to talk theory and strategy and big ideas, but sometimes it's much more helpful to read about something practical, something tested that WORKED. Intrigued? Visit to read or listen now.