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Release Date : Apr 03, 2018
Runtime : 91 minutes
Genres : Drama, Horror, Thriller, Science Fiction
Production Company : Sunday Night, Platinum Dunes, Paramount
Production Countries : United States of America
Casts : Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cade Woodward, Leon Russom, Doris McCarthy, Evangelina Cavoli, Ezekiel Cavoli, Rhoda Pell
Plot Keywords : deafness, fireworks, post-apocalyptic, marriage, child in peril, farmhouse, pregnancy, parenting, survival horror, silence, cornfield, psychological horror, sign language, sound, mysterious creature
Watch A Quiet Place (2018) : Full Movie Online Free A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.
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Consumer Profiling Via Twitter

Yesterday, social media and marketing researcher and scientist Dan Zarrella debuted a new way to see into the minds of Twitter users with TweetPsych. Using two linguistic analysis methods, TweetPsych analyzes the content of a user's last 1,000 tweets and builds a psychological profile based on the content. Read more

Full Discretion

I’ve said this phrase so many times in my life (and shared it with others) that I’m shocked that I haven’t actually every written it down here on my blog.
Well, today’s the day I suppose.

The reason that I do what I do is because I simply want to have full discretion of my time, my schedule, and ultimately my life.
I, like you, want to be as much in control of the scarce resources that I have so that I can have the most purpose-driven, value-filled existence imaginable.
It is the ability to say “no” at-will and the ability to decide what I can and won’t do. This extends throughout everything in life from my relationships to my relaxation to my professional decisions and to my vocation.
This is why entrepreneurship and building my own projects and companies is really the only lifestyle that could possibly make me happy because it maximizes my discretionary bandwidth.
But don’t get it twisted… if there was any other way to achieve full professional discretion I would not be an entrepreneur and I would not be in the business of early-stage company building.
Why? Because it’s so fucking hard. The physical requirements are the “easiest” to manage and appreciate but it’s the psychological and emotional cost that have literally taken people’s lives.
I know because a previous startup almost took my own. I didn’t share it then as candidly as I share it now, but, that period of my life was one of the darkest and it was almost the end of me, quite literally.
So if there was any other legitimate way to gain full discretion of my time, at least professionally, then I’d do it. But, there just isn’t.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t have guardrails or systems that govern my decision making. Clearly, being a father and husband require me to “obey the law” more often than not and to sacrifice my own desires for the greater good.
But I still have the power and free decision and latitude to decide and that makes my submission to those systems even more sweeter and more profound.
A similar system is in place for my spiritual life and my faith. There is an over-arching governance that allows tension to be managed and overall health to be fully achieved.
Finally, when one has full discretion of his or her time it radically simplifies their life. Why? Because for most decisions, both great and significant as well as the more small and potentially superficial… all you need to do is answer a very simple question:
Does this reduce discretion or increase it?
If the answer is the former then it’s a hard (and easy) pass. If it’s the latter then you can greenlight it without looking back (as long as time, energy, and interest allows it).
My decision-making matrix is pathetically simple and yet masterfully designed. Speed of decision making is a direct and positive outcause as well, mind you.
I have spent my entire adult life working towards having full discretion of my time and once I achieved it and have tasted it’s glorious nectar I simply cannot go back – it would be a prison of the mind and shackles on my heart and soul.
I want to be able to work with who I want to work with, love and relate to those who I want to relate to, and pursue the curiosities that I have about this world unfettered.
I think my best work is yet to come.
The post Full Discretion appeared first on John Saddington.
Source: https://john.do/

Go Big or Go Home

I’ve been in Y Combinator twice. I’ve been running my own businesses for over 12 years. So I’ve been around quite a few people who didn’t get the inflection point they wanted after trying to start the next ‘billion dollar company’, so packed it up, and quit the game. Does it really have to be like that?In 1992, a young kid got lucky. He was in the right bar at the right time and met a casting director who launched his acting career. It turned into quite a decent career.But there was a problem.He was quickly typecast. Every single movie he was in had the same formula of having our actor showcase his charm and good looks. The paycheck was great, but it wasn’t any fun.Then… he disappeared.For two years, after what first looked like the peak of this actor’s career, he wasn’t in anything. The scripts dried up. People stopped sending him things. They got the message he was sick of the formulaic role that had been making him and the studios a lot of money. And studios like to make a lot of money.It didn’t help that his final project before his disappearance had a 28% Rotten Tomatoes score. Ebert mentioned: “The potential is here for a comedy that could have been hilarious.” This isn’t the film you want to start your walkabout after.If they’re like this, we’re in deep shit. That’s why you book your next job before the movie comes out.-Ari GoldBut, finally after a few years of obscurity, the director who started his career had a project. It was different. He’d get to be different. The problem: it didn’t pay well. The budget was 1/7th the budget of his dud movie he left with in 2009.What does he do?“Go big or go home” didn’t become part of our lexicon until the 1990'sGoogle n-grams count of the times the phrase is found in booksSince then, that expression permeates far too many projects and people’s careers. I don’t know if it’s because of some misplaced “artistic integrity” or psychological desire to complete sets of things that makes us want Everything from our project or nothing at all. But it’s a terrible thing that afflicts too many good ideas. Ideas that, for whatever reason, are small. They have small budgets. They aren’t billion dollar unicorn businesses. They don’t have exponential hopes. So people abandon these great ideas because the biggest payoff isn’t possible.Our actor takes some of these oddball low budget movies. He does a string of them from 2011–2013. And to offset, he gets some commercial work. The commercials are a little weird. He’s made fun of. When someone asked him about the flack he gets about the commercials:Fuck that. Because I’m going to. And I like ’em. And they pay well. And they allow me to go and do these other little movies for a lot less.Not everything we do needs a Go Big or Go Home mindset. There are ways to incorporate the smaller ideas. Your business is profitable but doesn’t make the exorbitant sum you were expecting? Don’t shut it down. Start another business. Do some consulting. Treat it as a side hustle.A favorite vlogger of mine is Charli Marie. In a recent video she and Matt Ragland talk about side hustles. Charli is involved with a bunch of side hustles. She’s putting all this work into her YouTube channel. She has a merchandise store of great stuff she’s designed. But she also works full time as a designer for ConvertKit, a company she’s not the owner of.If Charli had an attitude like too many of the Go Big or Go Home folks she’d have so much less of these projects, and she’d be miserable. Instead, she’s not a billionaire, but she’s in a place most people would love to be. If only they could drop the Go Big or Go Home mindset.Like our actor friend.In 2014, he finds himself onstage saying “Alright alright alright”, a line from his very first movie, and thanking a host of people for the award he won for his role in the low budget success of Dallas Buyers Club. It was Matthew McConaughey’s first Oscar.P.S. You should follow me on YouTube: youtube.com/nathankontny where I share more about how we run our business, do product design, market ourselves, and just get through life. And if you need a zero-learning-curve system to track leads and manage follow-ups, try Highrise.Go Big or Go Home was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: 37signals

What the best leaders do

10 things I’ve tried to keep in mind as a CEO these past few years…“This is somewhat terrifying.”I remember thinking this when I became the CEO of Know Your Company back in January 2014. Sure, I’d started two companies beforehand — but one was with close friends, and the other was by myself. With Know Your Company, it was the first time I was to lead a team of people who weren’t friends of mine.At the time, I hired one programmer part-time to help me out at Know Your Company. And while he was just “one direct report,” it was imperative to me to be the best manager and leader to him, as possible.Here’s the first thing I noticed in this process: Being a manager feels different than being an employee. And, it feels very different than working by yourself.Your words carry more weight than before. Your actions are watched more closely. You aren’t accountable just for your own results, but also the results of others. How you handle tough decisions sets the tone for “This is How We Do Things.”It can be a bit terrifying. If you’re currently a manager, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re a new manager, brace yourself :-)Now, I share this not to overwhelm you! Rather, it’s to underscore how hard this is for all leaders, whether you’re new to the role or not. Personally, with almost four years as a CEO under my belt, I still consider myself a “work-in-progress,” and constantly aspire to be a better leader.Where to start? Over the past few years, here are ten things I’ve learned from observations and conversations with hundreds of managers and CEOs. It’s what I try to keep in mind each day as I lead, and what I believe the best managers do…Know the purpose of your role: It’s NOT to manage.As a manager, you may think your job is to manage others. Sounds straightforward enough. However, the word “manage” is misleading. By definition, it means to “run, control or supervise”… which isn’t what I see as the role of a manager at all.I believe the best managers focus on doing one thing: They try to understand what intrinsically motivates people, and create an environment that allows people to tap into that intrinsic motivation themselves. You’re not telling anyone what to do. You’re not controlling anyone or exerting influence on anyone. You’re not even trying to empower anyone.Instead, you assume that people already have innate talents, gifts, and capabilities within them. Your job as a leader is merely to provide an environment for those inherent qualities to come to light.How do you create such an environment? Read on…Create clarity.To create the best working environment for your team, you must create clarity. Do people know what needs to happen, why the work is important, and what success looks like? Do people know how their work fits into the bigger picture? Do people know what standard of quality needs to be met before their work is shipped or goes live? The best managers constantly clarify these things — in meetings, in emails, during one-on-ones. They also ask their team, “What isn’t clear?” or “What’s confusing?” or “What am I not explaining enough?”. Without clarity around the work, the work can’t get done well. There is literally no one else on the team whose job it is to create this clarity. It’s is solely up to you, as a manager, to make things as clear as possible.Provide context.Once you’ve made it clear what needs to happen and why, you have to make sure your staff has enough training, historical background, tools, and understanding of the stakeholders to make informed decisions. In other words, they need context. If you don’t give them context, you’re leaving them out to dry. As an employee, there’s nothing more frustrating than being expected to execute on something when you don’t have enough context to execute it well. As a manager, asking the question, “How am I getting in the way?” or “What do you need from me to be successful?” can help you uncover what context you need to give your team so they feel supported.Ensure psychological safety.Your success as a manager is contingent on how honest people are willing to be with you. Without people shooting you straight as a leader, you won’t be able to course-correct should things start to go wrong. For example, if a project starts to run behind, will someone bring that up proactively to you so you can take immediate action? Or will you only find out about it when the client is furiously emailing you after business hours?Creating a safe environment for your team to speak up starts with going first and showing vulnerability as a leader. For instance, do you admit when you’re struggling with something as a manager? If so, that will give others permission to admit where they’re struggling too. Or, when an employee points out a mistake, do you thank them for being forthcoming and commend their honesty? If so, you reinforce that you want to hear the truth. Consider how every action you take as a manager is an opportunity to show your team that it’s safe to say what’s on their minds.Ask meaningful questions.We’re predisposed to believe that leaders must have all the answers in order to do their jobs well. As a whole, our society praises people who have the right answers: We give gold stars and A’s to students in school who have the right answer. We award thousands if not millions of dollars to game show winners who have the right answer.Our society never seems to reward people who ask the right questions. It’s unfortunate, because I believe asking meaningful questions is a core tenant of what makes a manager good at her job.When you ask questions as a manager, you do two things: (1) You show you care and have deep interest in learning more about your team. As a result, you foster a sense of psychological safety in the workplace. (2) You give yourself the opportunity to unlock valuable information that you might not have known about before.As a leader, never forget these benefits of asking questions, and how helpful they can be for you. Not sure what to ask your team? Here are some questions you can start with.Respond within 24 hours.About five years ago, I was an employee at another company. During that time, my coworker vented to me one day: “I asked our boss if I could take a 3-day vacation this summer…. It’s been several weeks, and I still haven’t heard back from him.” I’ll never forget how livid she was. For her, it was a sign of disrespect for her manager not to respond. Take note of this. Your team’s engagement is directly tied to how responsive you are to their ideas, comments, and requests.In fact, a recent Gallup study shows how much responsiveness matters. They found that the most engaged employees said that their managers returned calls or messages within 24 hours. Keep this in mind the next time you receive an email with a question from an employee, or a suggestion that an employee mentions to you in-person. Let it disappear into a black hole without any response and it will feel maddening to an employee — whether or not you intend it to be.Let go.When you’re an individual contributor, you’re used to doing everything yourself. The minute you become a manager, that changes. Your job is to create an environment for others to do their best work — you should not be meddling in other people’s work, yourself. You have to let things go. You can’t be thinking to yourself, “I can do a better job at that”… Stop it. You may not be willing to admit it, but that’s micromanagement. I had a friend who’s a CEO once tell me: “If someone can do your job at least 70% as well as you can, they should do it.” 70% is good enough. Just let go, and let them do it. Doing too much yourself encourages bad habits on your team, bottlenecks your team’s growth, and pisses off team members since they can’t operate freely. You know what it feels like… You’ve probably been micromanaged before, yourself! Don’t commit the same sin.Lead from the front.If you want your team to do something, set the example for it. If you want people to show up on time, show up to a meeting early yourself. If you want people to share more analytics and data around certain decisions, explain and support your own findings with data. If you want your team to be more proactive in taking on responsibility, actively seek out ways to pitch in and take things off your coworkers’ plate. No one’s going to do anything differently if you don’t do it yourself first.Be consistent.It might be easy to ask employees to expense only up to a certain dollar-amount during conferences… but then make an exception for a friend on your team and cover more of her expenses when she asks about it. “It’s a one-time exception,” you say to yourself. Bullshit. Acting inconsistently — applying different rules and standards to different team members — sets a dangerous precedent for how you’ll behave in the future. While seemingly harmless, that inconsistency bleeds into other areas, and it will be picked up by someone else on your team sooner or later. Regardless of how long someone’s been at your company or what relationship you have with them, treating employees equitably is important. You want to be a fair, just leader. That only happens by being consistent in how you treat all members of your team, all the time.Build rapport.People are naturally skeptical of those in power. A recent 2016 study found that one in three employees don’t trust their managers. You don’t want to be a victim of this statistic. To build trust, build rapport. Your team wants to know you as a whole person — not just as a boss. So revealing what you care about, what social causes you support, and what hobbies you enjoy outside of work etc. matters. You’re not making a superficial, desperate plea to be liked — that’s not what I’m talking about here. Rather, the more you can show that you are a real, multifaceted person who they can empathize with and relate to, the stronger your relationship with them will be. And, the more trust they’ll place in you as a leader.I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t flawlessly practice each of these 10 things as a leader every day. It’s hard! Just last week, I realized that I should do a better job creating more context for our team, and of letting go. But, in writing these 10 things here, it helps me commit to doing each of them better . Hopefully, it is equally helpful for you.https://medium.com/media/16e088e3af1605df4eedce0a3a2f4d5b/hrefLastly, if you found this post useful, please feel free to share + give it ❤️ so others can find it too! Thanks 😊 (and please say hi at @cjlew23).What the best leaders do was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: 37signals

4 Psychological Tips to Write PPC Ads That Pack a Punch by @CJGiarratana

Want to make PPC ads a powerful investment for you? Here are copywriting tips for ads that get more sales!The post 4 Psychological Tips to Write PPC Ads That Pack a Punch by @CJGiarratana appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
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5 eCommerce Conversion Mistakes Sabotaging Sales

‘Customer struggle’ is real.
And unfortunately, it’s only getting worse.
EConsultancy ran one study yeeeeeaaaaaaars ago that discovered UK companies were losing “24% of their annual revenue due to poor customer experiences.”

That’s so bad that it brings up the 92:1 ratio. The one that says companies focus almost exclusively on NEW, without giving a dollar or pound or loonie to their existing ones.
Think that’s gotten better over the past few years? Guess again.
The good news is that you can start by fixing these common 5 conversion mistakes that force people to Bounce.   
Here’s where you should start.

Mistake #1. Overspending on Customer Acquisition
You’ve read all the stats. All the previous posts.
You know that carpet bombing people with more untargeted ads, without – you know – actually taking in their preferences, interests, or purchasing history is… not a great idea.
Because Search –> Click –> Convert doesn’t always happen. In fact, 7-9 visits is typically the norm. They’re browsing – looking and hoping and praying – for something. Specific.
And too often, those things don’t exist.
According to Google’s Customer Journey to Online Purchase, here’s what your buyers are doing prior to purchase:

They’re finding your products (first) through social referrals and display ads.
They’re forming interest in particular products and conducting generic searches (“men’s jeans”)
They’re visiting websites, clicking around, adding to cart or pursuing customer reviews. But still not buying (at least, not yet).
Instead, they leave. Get distracted or go check out alternatives.
Before finally coming back to the site to buy. Or not.

Of course, Google Analytics is lying. All you see is that last step. So you see aggregate AdWords conversions and think MOAR ADS!
Without seeing all the other stuff assisting that sale.
Years and years and years and years and years and years and years (and more years) ago, two little plucky organizations you’ve probably never heard of, Bain & Company + Harvard Business School, conducted a research and found that, “increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.”
Turns out, there’s something to this whole ‘loyalty economics’ thing.
‘Cause they also found that those numbers are “greatly exaggerated online.” Meaning: way worse.
When the two parties met up again to update their study for the online world, they found that most new customer acquisition is unprofitable. Instead, online companies typically spend 20-40% more than good old brick-and-mortar alternatives.

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So an online grocer, for instance, will need to retain a single customer up to 18 months just to recoup their initial ad spend.

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As you can imagine, that’s not good.
So… where should those numbers be?
According to John Lott of Spearmint Love about their success selling on Facebook:
If you’re selling things at 25% margins, you’re going to need a higher return to make that make sense. For us, we’re looking at ad spends where we’re getting at least $5 of revenue or more, preferably closer to the $10 mark for every dollar of ads spent,” 
(He also just so happens to run an investment firm on the side. No Biggie.)
Cost of acquisition is John’s number one metric to watch. And Spearmint Love’s insanely low one is a driving reason behind their 1,100% revenue increase in 2016.
So… how do they do it?  How can you possibly bring in at least $5 bucks for each ad dollar spent?
A Facebook sales funnel. Custom audiences. Behavioral targeting. The works.
You head over to their site and checkout a specific product. In this case, an adorable little grey whale long sleeve onesie.

It’s nice. But I’m on their site right now to find eCommece examples for this post. Not actually buy anything. So I start to move my cursor up to the X when they made a valiant attempt to get me to stay just a little bit longer.

Despite the excellent use of a discount overlay (we’ll look at some terrible examples in a minute), I bounce.
But just a few minutes later on Facebook, they find me again with the same adorable grey whale onesie I was just looking at.

How? Dynamic product ads.
The pixel got me. The feed pulled in product data. The ad template was customized accordingly. And as a result, the ad actually caught my eye (instead of being ignored).
Mistake #2. The Lack of Third-Party Salespeers
Nearly a decade ago, toy company Step2 started gaining traction on Facebook.
Over time, they built up 20,000 product reviews across their portfolio with some help from social commerce giant PowerReviews.
The results, as they say, are history.
Step2’s marketing director, Tena Crock, told the Wall Street Journal that website sales leaped 130% year-over-year.
Social commerce ain’t some newfangled BS trend. It’s a $30 billion industry.

(image source)
Y’all already know peeps are banner blind. And installing ad blockers as quickly as humanly possible. Which is about to become worse as Apple loads them on iPhones and Google adds them to Chrome.
People instead are turning to social reviews from their peers in order to “discover, evaluate, purchase, and engage”, according to Bazaarvoice.
According to one study, 92% of consumers trust peer reviews more than branded messages. And another survey from Dimensional Research and Zendesk showed that 90% of positive reviews influenced purchases, while 86% of negatives ones did too.

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Dan Hinkley ran his own survey and reported on Moz that any negative reviews might prevent 70% of purchases.

So. Why then, when I go to one of the hottest online retailers, are there no reviews in site?!

This is a $500+ B2C product. A ‘luxury item’ that you typically need to feel and touch and wear in order to get a feel for purchasing motivation.
And not a single review site? (Get it?)
Now compare that to mattress 2.0 company Helix. Once again, a 500+ B2C product that you typically want to touch and feel and lay on prior to purchase. So there’s a psychological barrier for consumers to purchasing online.
They, however, circumvent that hesitation with a little scrolling review widget in the lower right-hand corner on every single page of their website.

Granted. They’re basically selling one product (albeit, with variations). But they also have engineered their online sales to be that way from the start. Giving themselves a streamlined platform that has advantages.
Like, for instance, aggregating reviews around their brand (instead of individual products) in order to provide new consumers with drool-worthy reviews from past customers.

Mistake #3. Your Products are Too Easy to Forget
It’s official. Men are idiots.
It’s not our faults though. Our brains are just… different.
We miss the obvious signs right in front of our faces because we’re too busy thinking about food or football or… other stuff.
However, I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, exactly when my wife has been on a particular website.
There’s a dead giveaway. A clue so obvious that Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t needed.
It’s this:
An online shopping cart containing at least five different items totaling over a hundred dollars.
Now, I love my wife. I don’t blame her for this addiction. (She won’t even read this, so you know I’m actually telling you the truth.) She’s not so much inclined to online buying, as she is to online shopping.
Turns out, my experience isn’t atypical. There’s actually data backing up this phenomenon. Consumers like to use shopping carts as wish lists.
We browse, add to cart to “save for later” (yeah, right) and then… forget. Get distracted by something else and lose the urgency required to sell online.
Instead, we abandon the cart.

(image source)
So. Don’t let people forget!
Things start well on Bonobos. You add a product to the cart and it creates a sidebar (that also deemphasizes the rest of the site).

So far so good!
But let’s keep shopping. You click away to a new product. And the only thing reminding you there’s a product in your cart is a tiny little icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen.

Now let’s compare that to an online conversion giant: Amazon.
Here, you add a product to your cart and keep browsing. Instead of your cart disappearing though, the right-hand sidebar stays intact and follows you around.

Once again, Helix excels with their personalized mattress-building conversion tool. Similar to a checkout flow (but better), they give you an option to Save your progress on the left-hand side. And they also ask for bits of information (like your first name) during the process in order to gain valuable insight to later retarget.

Mistake #4. Not ‘Priming’ Customers to Buy
One sunny afternoon, Sheena Iyengar  setup a jam station inside a local Menlo grocer.
First, she set out 24 bottles. That brought LOTS of people over. But not very many buyers.
Next, she only set out six bottles. And sales went up by six times.
The jam study illustrates how hard it is to buy when there are so many options. Instead, simplifying things can often lead to better conversions.
Slashing your product inventory in half isn’t always the solution. So you turn to the next best option: priming.
Give a person the word red. And they’re gonna instinctively choose a red apple or red strawberry.
The online advertising equivalent is message match. You deliver ads that tie into a specific product and retain the same graphics, colors, and value props. Like this so-ugly-they’re-adorable pug example from Disruptive Advertising:

(image source)
Message match also delivers an added bonus with an increased relevance score that lowers your Cost Per Click.

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We saw one example earlier. The Spearmint Love dynamic product ad that showed the product we just viewed.
You scanners didn’t miss that, did you?
If so, don’t worry. Here’s another from Nordstrom. This branded ad shows a simple woman in a blue dress with a white background. Click on it, and…

You see a product landing page featuring the same exact women in the same exact blue dress.

Great stuff, Nordstrom!
What’s what?
The thing at the top. The black bar.
Let’s zoom in to see the problem…

Nordstrom just used an ad to get you back to the site to purchase this blue dress.
And then they’re using ill-timed internal CTA’s to destroy any purchasing momentum you just had.
Here’s why that’s a bad idea.
Mistake #5. People are Already Distracted. Don’t Give them Another Reason to Leave Your Site
People don’t read online. They scan.
This has been true for the past decade.
Years ago, the Nielsen Norman Group conducted an eye-tracking study that illustrated how people start at the upper left and scan to the right before progressing a little down the page (resembling an “F”-shaped pattern).

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During this test, they found that “exhaustive (word-for-word) reading is rare”.
Especially, they added, “when prospective customers are conducting their initial research to compile a shortlist of vendors”. Which, as we’ve already discussed, is pretty much the norm.
This behavior only becomes exacerbated when you take into account how much we multitask online.
Another study from years back showed that people commonly have several browser tabs open at any given time.

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Unsurprisingly, this type of schizophrenic browsing through multiple tabs makes you feel like you’re being productive, even though your brain is actually unable to process what you’re reading.
According to data compiled in this excellent piece from Trello, multitasking is “literally altering your brain chemistry.”
You feel like you’re being more productive, but “it’s actually making you scatterbrained, thus decreasing your ability to remember any single piece of information.”
So someone’s “session” (or individual experience on your website) mostly consists of scanning when they’re barely paying attention long enough before being interrupted and bouncing away to a new tab. Forcing that “session” or shopping experience to be paused before coming back hours or days later.
Maybe. Possibly. If they remember. (Which they probably won’t.)
That’s why average conversion rates are a dismal 1-2% of site traffic. That’s why the vast majority of people (like 75%) are going to need more than one visit (or “session”) to convert.
Your ‘Plan B’ then, is to at least get someone’s email address when they arrive on your site (ASAP) so that you have an increased chance to get them back at a later date to buy something.
Timing is everything.
Today’s email opt-in de jure is a pop-up that blankets the screen the minute a visitor arrives. And it’s almost always a generic discount offered to all for the price of an email address.

In theory, there’s nothing wrong with this. Everyone’s doin’ it. But when you start implementing in practice, problems start poppin’ up.
Now that we’re this far into this little post, you’re probably already spotting the problems.
For example:

If this person was arriving with ‘high-intent’, meaning they were properly primed with an offer that they’re trying to redeem on your site, and when they arrive a different message pops up that’s completely unrelated to said offer, they’re now distracted and scrambled.
Most new visitors aren’t going to be swayed by a generic pop-up message because they’re still trying to get a lay of the land and conduct basic discovery. In other words, they’re not ready to buy, so a discount at this point is irrelevant.
Throwing discounts around willy-nilly to all that enter is like giving away free money. You’re also devaluing the value of your products; attracting those price conscious consumers who’re only interested in discounts.

That’s not the only place, though.
Requiring people to register or use their email prior to checkout is another big no-no.
According to the Nielsen Norman Group:
Most of all, registrations involves extra steps, extra hassle, and extra potential for things going wrong (whether user errors or site errors) and stopping the user dead in the water. The higher the interaction cost, the fewer people will complete a process.”
Once again, let’s pick on Bonobos.
You add a product to the cart. Hit Checkout, and before you can go on the following pops up:

That’s… it?  The only option?  
Let’s see if we can skip this to simply checkout as a guest.
Keep hitting Continue until finally, you hit a roadblock:

That’s it. You can go no further. Trapped.
So you leave. Probably forever.
Increasing site conversions isn’t easy.
There’s a ton of variables at play, like where people are coming from and why they’re coming and what they’re doing on your site.
Things get messy, quickly, when you multiply this across tons of different products and categories.
But that doesn’t mean increasing conversions has to be hard, either.
The trick is understanding that there’s no ‘silver bullet’ tactic that’s gonna save the day. No generic pop-up or plugin that will solve all your problems overnight.
Instead, it starts with understanding how consumers are behaving. They already have their quirks, habits, and unconscious shopping methods.
And we ain’t ever gonna change ‘em. No matter how seemingly weird or bizarre they are.
So instead of fighting them, embrace it.
Watch what users are doing on your site. Look for clues and patterns. And then adjust your site, tactics, and strategies accordingly.
Source: https://adespresso.com/feed/

Twitter: It’s You.

… and, if I’m to be fair… it’s also me. A relationship is always a two-way street, right? At least that’s what my mother told me…
But after writing this blog post yesterday and giving myself a full day to imagine a life without Twitter the thought of it being real was too intoxicating to let go.

So, I’ve decided that it’s about time to put my personal use of Twitter on auto-pilot and go do other things with my life.
I’m not replacing Twitter with anything, by the way, I’m just removing it from my daily routine and automating a bit more of the sharing that I’ve already put in place.
My hope is to not touch the service or open the native iOS app ever again… just that thought makes me incredibly giddy. The mental bandwidth that I’ll get back and the clarity that will be the natural outcause will be absolutely amazing.
And do you know why I know that it’ll be awesome? Because I’ve done this before and the psychological and emotional results were telling (and it makes me wonder why I came back in the first place).
But now I think my time with Twitter is over. It’s not the utility that it used to be and it’s much more noise than signal, grossly-so. The value that it provides is very small compared to what it used to create and I no longer feel like I have anything unique to give it as well.
Perhaps most important is the fact that I’m entirely too busy to care about it as well and I’m at a point in my life where focusing on the very few things that matter the most to me is what I know I should be doing with my time:

My Family (Sue, Roenne, and Arden)
My Startup (Pinpoint)
My Video Project (I want to finish my 365-day vlog experiment and then assess how I feel when I’m done. Subscribe here!).

That’s really about it… and when I say those words I know that these three things are jam-packed with stuff! Enough stuff to fill two-days worth of activities in a single day already!
The point is this: Twitter takes up more time than what is appropriate for its use and utility and I need to cut it out (and many, many other things as well). The “small things” really do add up and I’m already feeling the positive effects of clearing house.
And so, that’s what I’m going to do. Besides, the amateur is so easily distracted… and I’ve long-decided that I want to go pro. Time to get it done.
C3PO – Image via BOSSFIGHT
On Becoming a Bot
So, what will become of the @8BIT username? It’ll become a bot, essentially. My wife doesn’t want me to call it that but that’s really what it is. I’m setting up a few automation rules via IFTTT and I should be able to let it go.
After doing a quick survey I’ve realized how complex my internal sharing systems have become, many of them directly centered around Twitter as a near-canonical source and then spiraling outwards.
The amount of time I’ve spent this morning building in custom rules and even engineering a few of them by hand is bigger than I had imagined. Again, removing the “center of the wheel,” so to speak, is showing me how much time is spent, daily, on managing this technology and service.
You see… I was the bot and now it’s time to programmatically un-become the bot and make software do the heavy lifting, like it always should have been, and make the bot do what a bot does. Finally.
Lego Stormtrooper – Image via BOSSFIGHT
On Becoming More Human
One of the more important factors in my decision was to become much more available in better and more focused ways. This seems counter-intuitive, at first, but, the reality is that Twitter (and the inter-connected accounts) made my efforts incredibly diluted.
In essence, when I’m available everywhere it means that I’m available nominally everywhere as well and I’m not able to communicate effectively to anyone.
So, instead, by removing Twitter I am reducing a complex array of poor signal and allowing others to engage with me in a vastly better way where I can serve them the best. At this point in time, the following makes the most sense:

Email – I’ve always been available through this medium and I read everything that comes in. It’s my go-to and has been for a loooooooong time.
Blog and Vlog – These are my two out-going communication systems and the latter still has the Comment Section open. I like reading and responding to the comments and it’s not too heavy to become burdensome, at least right now. I’ve had the comments on the blog turned off for a while and I have no plans on ever turning them back on.
Newsletter – I lied… I have a 3rd out-bound communication system but it’s really a combination of the first and the second in many ways as anyone can respond to it via email and I mention it consistently on the blog / vlog. You can subscribe here – I’ve been publishing to it 2-3 times a month, so it’s not burdensome reading.
Slack – Something new is an open Slack Group where I’ve been having candid dialogues with folks and it’s been really fun. Although it’s directly tied to my startup it’s been a great way to directly engage with me on all types of subjects. The #your-projects channel is especially encouraging where folks are sharing what they are working on with others and getting / giving feedback. What a neat thing.

So, I think that’s about it.
Time to Log Out – Image via BOSSFIGHT
Okay, So, What Now?
Nothing, I guess.
I think I’ll go ahead and finish up these automation tasks, delete Twitter from my device, and then get back to work. Even this blog post has become far too long and I didn’t mean for it to be quite this much of a read.
At the end of the day, it’s not that big of a deal (and I feel that by writing this long post I’m making it more of a deal than it needs to be.
We add and remove apps and tools and technology to our lives every single day. What I’ve come to realize is that we do much more adding than we do subtracting and perhaps maybe we should all endeavor to keep this a bit more balanced.
If I were to leave you with anything it would simply be this: Consider your investments of time and ask yourself if they are creating the value that they need to create in your life. Ask yourself if these things are good or if they are, truly, great.
After you’ve done that, ask again, but get help and perspective from friends and family and folks that you respect. Don’t trust your own feelings, by the way, as most of those are pretty darn deceiving and we’re really, really good at fooling ourselves.
You see, you and I can rationalize ourselves off a bridge (without a parachute) if we’re given enough time and resources to jump.

And then…
The post Twitter: It’s You. appeared first on John Saddington.
Source: https://john.do/

19 Amazing Native Advertising Ad Examples

It’s easy to hear the phrase “native advertising” and think, “Psh.”
Native advertising can sometimes get a bad reputation, especially when advertisers (or publishers) make big mistakes with how and what kind of content they present.
Case in point: The Atlantic being forced to eat crow and repent after publishing an editorial that appeared like it was written by the Atlantic editorial team, but in reality came from the Church of Scientology.

Certainly bad PR, but it did inspire some good spinoffs.
Now there are reports that the FTC plans to force publishers to explicitly signpost when native advertisements exist alongside normal content. #FakeNews is the mantra of the day.
Despite this, there’s still one very good reason to not give up on native ads.

Why people are wrong about native advertisements
One of the big criticisms of native ads hinges on the fact that they “look” like normal content and trick users into believing they’re “real.” That’s just not true—when’s the last time you were actually fooled by a piece of native advertising? It just doesn’t happen.
The key to the success of native ads isn’t that they trick users but that they express themselves as exactly what they are. Buzzfeed and other content masterminds have shown that people will eagerly click on native ads even when they’re labeled “sponsored.” Why?
Because a native ad doesn’t require you to abandon the experience you’re currently in. You don’t get redirected to another site and have to figure out how to get back later—you just keep flowing through what Cody Brown calls the content buffet:
(Source: Cody Brown)
So don’t fret if FTC regulations force a little more explicit signaling about the native ads out there, a little more honesty on the part of publishers—the strength of native advertising is not how well they hide. It’s how well they can stand out.
Successful native advertising is brash, it’s colorful, and it stands out amidst the rest of the content around it. Studying it can tell you a lot about how to do advertising in general—especially advertising on Facebook.
1. Adobe (New York Times T Brand Studio)
The New York Times’ “T Brand Studio” deftly combines subtle native advertising with high-quality in-house content marketing befitting of the Gray Lady. This well-researched Adobe piece on the future of shopping provides valuable insights and statistics regarding shopping trends in a VR-centric future, but does so without appearing too salesy.
More info on T Brand Studio: Beyond native: How the NY Times plans to turn T Brand Studio into a full-fledged agency

Takeaway: Just because it’s advertising doesn’t mean you have to let your editorial standards drop. Thoughtful, long-form content, even when it’s part of your marketing, can be a powerful way to get your name out there and create a beneficial brand association.
2. Patrón Tequila (Twitter)
For International Margarita Day (February 22nd), Patrón took to Twitter with a promoted hashtag #MargaritaoftheYear and tweet prompting users to help vote for one of 7 innovative cocktail recipes.

Takeaway: When you’re on a social network like Facebook, you need to look for ways to integrate a social experience into your ads. You want people to be tagging their friends, commenting and sharing the things that your company puts out there, so you need to engage with your audience on a casual, informal level.
3. Morgan Stanley (BBC Future)
While the BBC is thought of as a public service broadcaster, they do have substantial native ad channels such as BBC Capital, BBC Travel, and BBC Future for non-UK audiences. This content marketing is subtly included towards the bottom of the BBC News homepage, with no indication that the article is sponsored. Iceland is certainly in vogue at the moment, so coupled with the authority of the BBC, Morgan Stanley scored a big win with this profile on the gorgeous island nation.

Takeaway: When it comes to advertising, the value that you’re delivering to your audience is what matters, not the fact that the content is hyper-relevant to your brand or your company. Especially when you’re competing with lots of other content for attention (e.g. Facebook’s Newsfeed), you’re going to need to produce something that people actually want to read if you want them to voluntarily check out your branded content.
4. General Electric (The Message)
GE’s 8-week long podcast series “The Message” explores aspects of sound technology through a sci-fi narrative about a rookie podcaster and a group of cryptographers decoding an ominous message from space. The podcast achieved broad media acclaim and won the 2016 Webby Award for Best Use of Native Advertising.

And that’s not all—it also featured a viral, interactive game and inspired a subreddit where people traded theories and discussed questions they had about the program.
Takeaway: While The Message came about well after Serial had popularized podcasting, GE challenged themselves to work with the medium in a way that no one had before. That’s key here—you can look at what others are doing in the world of advertising, and even hop on the bandwagon, but if you want to really make an impact, look for a way to go beyond and do things a little differently.
5. New York Lottery (#JackpotDrumroll)
To increase interest in the record $1.58 billion Powerball jackpot in 2016, the New York Lottery decided to literally drum up sales by hiring 211 drummers across New York State to stand outside of bodegas and convenience stores for twelve hours straight. This stunt led to news coverage across the state, amounting to an estimated $4.5 million in earned media. It was nominated for the 2016 Webby Award for Best Use of Native Advertising.

Takeaway: This may seem like a crazy stunt, but guerrilla marketing pretty often involves physical stunts of this kind. Salesforce founder Marc Benioff was famous for doing things like showing up to protest competitors conferences back in the early 2000s. If you’re looking for a way to set yourself apart from the pack, it’s an option!
6. Cedar Point Catch-a-Ghost
Famed Ohio theme park Cedar Point decided to promote its Halloween offerings by inviting users to screenshot a fleeting image of a ghost on their Snapchat story, in exchange for a coupon/prize. This encouraged repeat viewings, as the task was difficult, but it also spoke to their targeted teen demographic. It increased engagement on their Snapstory by 233% and 144k unique users. Also, since this was not formatted as an interrupting paid ad, but rather a seamless part of Cedar Point’s social media presence, it positioned the brand as a valuable content producer.


Takeaway: Contests are a powerful tool for drumming up audience interest on social media. In order to create a sustainable content strategy and not just a flash in the pan, however, you want to make sure that the contest leads users to sign up or subscribe to your channels. Otherwise, you could acquire a ton of users—but only temporarily.
7. Taco Bell
Taco Bell’s sponsored Snapchat Lens for Cinco De Mayo 2016 was a record-breaker, garnering over 224 million views in a single day.
That was a huge success, though perhaps not that feasible for most of us, as these custom lenses can cost up to $750,000 for a primetime spot. Taco Bell was, however, also one of the very first marketers to buy into Snapchat’s on-demand geo-filter program.
Prices for these start as low as $5—a worthy investment if you’re thinking about Snapchat as a potential advertising channel.

Takeaway: Sometimes big brands pull off marketing campaigns that no small or medium-sized company has the resources to follow. That doesn’t mean, however, that you don’t ever have a way to do something similar. There are plenty of ways that your SMB can use Snapchat in your advertising, for instance, even if you don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to put towards it!
8. Airbnb (South London Hosted by Artwork / Thump)
This portal on Vice Media’s Thump Channel invites users to explore South London as curated by DJ and producer Artwork. The portal includes videos, several original articles, and an explorable map of points of interest. This subtly nods to Airbnb as being the best way to explore South London, but the branding isn’t overbearing, and the content has clear standalone value.

9. Netflix (Cocainenomics by the Wall Street Journal)
To promote its show Narcos, Netflix collaborated with the Wall Street Journal to create an interactive portal exploring the history of the international drug trade, and its nexus in Medellín, Colombia.
Featuring well-designed maps, timelines, articles, and even a quiz, this is a great example of native advertising generating interest and value.

Takeaway: Partnerships can be an incredibly powerful way to take your advertising in directions that would not have been possible otherwise. Other kinds of businesses bring different kinds of value to their audiences—and have different kinds of reputations—so the right kind of partnership can create very powerful effects both with regards to capturing new customers and delighting the ones you already have.
10. Newcastle Brown Ale (Gizmodo)
Newcastle embraced the snark of the then-Gawker affiliate Gizmodo in this 2014 paid article entitled “We’ve Disguised This Newcastle Ad as an Article to Get You to Click It.” The article explains how Newcastle purchased ad space from Gizmodo so they could embed a video about a focus group discussing a Super Bowl ad that Newcastle couldn’t afford to make.
Certainly a meta-approach to advertising, but the wry tone and radical honestly of this piece will cement Newcastle as a self-aware presence in the minds of the Gizmodo/Gawker crowd.

Takeaway: The amount of noise in the advertising/marketing world has grown exponentially over the last decade. One surefire way to make sure that you stand out amongst the crowd is to take a self-aware stance in your advertising. It can also work out for publishers, who have an opportunity to be honest about why they’re putting native advertising in front of their readers—because it costs money to create good content!
11. Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil (Good News by The Telegraph)
Leading British health supplement company Seven Seas utilized a unique native advertising approach by sponsoring a curated page of positive and uplifting news in The Telegraph. You barely notice the Seven Seas branding if you’re not looking for it. Mostly you see a litany of articles having to do with well-being, human interest stories, and the like:

“Scientists reverse ageing in mammals”
“Boy donates hair”
“Man takes terminally ill dog on farewell cross-country road trip”

Although these topics have nothing to do with cod liver oil whatsoever, one leaves the page with a small psychological bias to view Seven Seas in a more positive light. It’s simply association.

Takeaway: The content on this Telegraph sponsored page has nothing to do with cod liver oil. That goes to show that you don’t need to be self-promotional for your advertising to work—all you need is a brand an idea of the kind of content you should produce to make a statement.
12. Denny’s (Twitter)
Denny’s is known for its surreal Twitter, aiming to produce content aligned with the Dada-eqsue end of the meme spectrum. These aren’t paid ads, Denny’s is counting on Twitter users to be interested enough in their content to actually follow their account. Clearly targeting a millenial demographic, Denny’s embraces odd haikus and egg-based non-sequiturs to build brand awareness and street cred in a demographic not typically interested in casual dining chains.

Takeaway: No one says you have to adopt the Brand Marketing Voice to have a proper social presence. Denny’s has 355.4k followers and whoever runs their Twitter sounds like a 14-year old with a highly active Tumblr. Feel free to experiment.
13. Xerox (The Atlantic)
Xerox and The Atlantic collaborated to develop a portal for readers interested in seeing the latest ideas in the realm of productivity and growth hacking. Featuring articles by leading experts and a free e-book, the well designed page is also interactive.
Based on the problems you’re having with your business, such as alignment, productivity, or agility—you can choose to receive different kinds of information.

Takeaway: Most of the examples in this post concern consumer-facing content. But B2B customers are just as human and just as interested in reading native content. We’re big fans of this technique—read our guide to marketing and promoting your free eBook here.
14. Ikea (The Telegraph)
The Telegraph scores again with a quirky A-Z quiz from Ikea that provides readers with tips on how to get a good night’s sleep. Like other native ads, this campaign shies away from selling a specific product, but instead aims to strengthen Ikea’s brand association as a quirky yet accessible organization.

Takeaway: The good old-fashioned quiz, brought back into style (mostly) by Buzzfeed, is a cost-effective and fresh format for native advertising. It fits into the same vein as content like eBooks—you want to take the knowledge and expertise that your company has and use it to help others diagnose issues with their life, business, sleep (above), or other facets of their life.
15. Airbnb (New York Times)
This New York Times/T Brand Studio collaboration with Airbnb tells the story of Ellis Island and immigration in New York, by exploring specific family histories through narration, maps, and archival photos. Although subtle, this native ad focuses on aspects of hospitality and homebuilding that newcomers may experience in New York, a well-aligned sentiment for a short-term housing platform like Airbnb.

Takeaway: Even if your advertising isn’t going to be directly about your product or your company, it can still try to fulfill the mission that your company represents. Airbnb’s brand is all about hospitality, so this piece of content about the legacy of Ellis Island and how it has welcomed immigrants for centuries makes perfect sense for them to post.
16. Leidos (Politico Focus)
Engineering consultancy Leidos appeals to the Beltway set through “Hacker Avenue,” an interactive exploration of the vulnerabilities our society faces as we become increasingly reliant on the Internet of Things. Using smart infographics, a mini-game that leads you to important facts and statistics, and a robust piece of accompanying content, Leidos scored a big win on a platform not typically thought of as being aligned with native advertising.

Takeaway: Infographics are hands-down one of the best ways to create content that’s inherently shareable. Combine a great infographic with a great marketing campaign, and you can see your content spread across the internet like wildfire. For more on how to create sharable infographics, check out our piece on the 6 things all viral infographics have in common.
17. YouTube (Awesome Stuff Week)
To drum up interest in YouTube’s new e-commerce integrations, a campaign was launched to leverage YouTube’s top talent in the gadget and fashion spheres. iJustine and Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy were just two of the YouTubers brought together to celebrate what wound up being called “Awesome Stuff Week,” a curated celebration of unboxings and makeup demos. It’s a natural medium for the message that you can now buy items straight from within YouTube videos.

(Image Source)

Takeaway: If you’re trying to tell users about a new service or release a new product, it always helps to build your marketing campaign on the back of something people already know—like influencers. On Instagram, contacting influencers and working with them to increase your exposure can be an easy way to get your brand’s name out there fast.
18. Warner Brothers (Fortune Magazine)
To promote its “Batman vs. Superman” film, Warner Brothers decided to sponsor a native advertising interview with villain Lex Luther Jr, under the guise of sponsorship by “LexCorp.” This is a great way to acknowledge the pitfalls of native advertising (such as the non-discreet sponsorship branding), while also helping maintain suspension of disbelief, for a tycoon like Luther probably would sponsor native advertising in a magazine like Fortune.

Takeaway: You can have some fun with the standard formats of advertising—for instance, there’s no reason you can’t have an interview with a fictional figure appear in the pages of Forbes!
19. IBM (The Atlantic)
The Atlantic proves again that it is at the forefront of developing high-quality and engaging sponsored content, this time for IBM. In this 4 part series, “Blood, Sweat, and Data” new innovations in sports medicine, equipment, and cloud solutions are analyzed alongside accessible infographics and shareable statistics.

Takeaway: Whenever you’re trying to produce engaging content for marketing purposes, you want to identify opportunities you have that will be 1) the least effort for you, and 2) the most entertaining for your audience. Data is a place where you often get this opportunity—you have a lot of it, and when put into the right kind of narrative, it will enthrall your audience.
Source: https://adespresso.com/feed/

That Enemy, My Friend, is Fear

You’ve heard it before:
Do what scares you.
You mentally agree with the sentiment. You may have even concluded that you needed to actually follow-through with the idea, that doing things that scare you is not just a good idea but one full of opportunity, adventure, and real-life change.
I know I have.

But, when there’s an opportunity to actually do something that scares me I want to back-off, take my hand off the trigger, and remove my foot from the gas.
This fundamental, biological, instinctual mechanism is built within us to save us from harm. Why? I imagine it’s most simply this: That we might live one more day on planet earth. I get it, but, I don’t like it. And “just living” is the last thing that you and I want to do.
Last night I went ahead and did something scary. I captured a few candid thoughts about what it’s like to struggle with mental illness. I shared what it was like to suffer through a day under psychological siege.
As I went back and edited the one-take the adrenaline kicked in high-gear. I started hearing those voices in my head, the ones that, again, are attempting to keep you alive.

Why do you need to post this? No one really cares. It’s not even that good.
People are going to judge you. In fact, they may hate you.
The people closest to you are going to leave you. You are making them uncomfortable. You don’t have that many friends anyway.
This is career-suicide. No one will hire you or want to work with you if you admit that you have mental illness. Good luck feeding your family.
You’re going to wake up and regret this, you know. The world doesn’t need another complainer.
You’re an asshole, an egomaniac. No one cares about your issues.

And so on.
I wanted to listen to them. They seemed so reasonable, so logical. These voices were trying to help me, right?
I pushed publish anyway:

Yes, it’s a single-take. Yes, it’s not my “best” visual vlog. Yes, it may actually do many of those things that the voices were telling me. Hell, I even published it to LinkedIn so I could maximize career-suicide:
45+ views and counting… my career is over.
And when I hit publish on this post it’ll go out, one more time, to confirm the kill. Double-tap everything, as the good assassins know and the U.S. Army Training Manual states:
There is a natural arc of the front sight post after the round is fired and the recoil kicks in. The soldier lets the barrel go with this arc and immediately brings the front sight post back on target and takes a second shot. The soldier does not fight the recoil. In combat, soldiers shoot until the enemy goes down.
Do not fight the recoil. Shoot until the enemy goes down. And that enemy is fear.
If doing things that scare you is the last thing that you want to do with your life then you’re thinking smart, you’re thinking conservatively, and taking the wise path, the one well-trodden and safe.
And you and I would probably be just fine. Maybe even super-successful too. I don’t believe that reward necessarily requires risk. We don’t have to look too hard to find folks who’ve been richly “rewarded” without suffering any risk.
I’ve just decided to do it differently, with my enemy, my friend, fear.
The post That Enemy, My Friend, is Fear appeared first on John Saddington.
Source: https://john.do/

How Powerful is “Free” in Facebook Advertising?

People love free stuff. That’s why we take all those adorable mini shampoos from hotels, even when we have our favorite full sized hair products at home.
We love free so much that we’ll do things that don’t make sense, just because something’s free — like wait in line for free pancakes for longer than it would take us to buy ingredients and make them at home.

We figured free might work for Facebook ads like it does for pancakes.
To understand just how powerful the word “free” was in Facebook ads, we decided to do a basic A/B test on a pair of ads — one with the word “free” in the copy, and one without it.
But what we found was not what we expected.

What’s The Deal With “Free?”
“Free” is all over Facebook ads. When we analyzed 37,259 Facebook ads, it was the most used word after “you”.

Once advertisers realized that they could use psychology to influence our purchasing habits, the floodgates opened. Now, they could tap into our favorite colors, our fears about losing money, even our sense of humor to pry our wallets open. Giving away free things — from shipping to samples — came out of this wily trend.
Duke University scientist Dan Ariely ran experiments with chocolate to test the power of free. The basics of the experiment were as follows: people got a choice between two chocolates, a truffle for 26 cents and a Hershey’s Kiss for 1 cent. An equal number of participants chose the truffle as the Kiss.
But when they “dropped the price of both chocolates by just 1 cent, [they] observed that suddenly 90 percent of participants opted for the free Kiss, even though the relative price between the two was the same.”
This experiment has widely been interpreted to mean that free is a powerful motivator for behavior. But these types of experiments only lay the groundwork for the application of psychology in advertising, they aren’t specifically designed to measure customer interaction with a sale or discount.
For example, it took until 2011 for there to be a specific psychological study about whether or not food samples in grocery stores made a measurable difference in purchasing habits — and free samples have been around for a long time.
If it takes that long to study supermarkets, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that advertisers are still trying to understand the best ways to entice customers on social media. So we decided to stay ahead of the curve and conduct our own research on Facebook ads.
Setting Up The Experiment
Creating a company
To run a Facebook campaign, we needed a believable company. We decided to run ads for beauty products made by “La Lune,” for a few of reasons:

We needed to be able to envision our potential customers to create an ad campaign that would get customers in. We looked at some popular beauty Facebook pages to come up with ads that would copy what we knew were successful, like those of Glossier, a company whose inventory constantly seems to be sold out. Here’s an example of a post from their page: a friendly invitation and a photo that looks like it belongs on Instagram, perfectly targeted to their millennial customers.

Beauty companies can be seriously secretive about their products prior to launch. This made it easy to market one product without having to take the time to make a full product inventory.
Cosmetics are easy to target ads for, something that we’ll discuss more in depth later on. For now, it gave us the assurance that we’d be able to get eyes on our ads in a cost-effective manner.
Our giveaway would fall in the normal expectations for cosmetics customers. Cosmetics companies frequently throw “freebies” to their customers — for example, every time you shop online at Sephora, you choose three free samples to add to your order.

The next step was making a landing page for the “company” to legitimize ourselves and give the ad someplace to go once you clicked. It looks a little something like this:
Pssst: If you’re interested in the process of setting up your own website, Facebook page, and product, check out our experiment on building a business with $50 and one hour.
Creating the ads
We had to submit a few versions of our ad to get it Facebook approved — they can be picky about everything from the length of your headlines to how much text you have in your pictures. Facebook lets you resubmit your ads once you’ve made changes.
We used AdEspresso’s ad creator, which makes it super quick to tweak any part of your ads. Unfortunately, we had to scrap some good stuff, like this Instagram-optimized version of our picture (made with Canva through the AdEspresso platform).

In order to have our ads approved by Facebook, we decided to keep things simple. Originally, we had emphasized our free sample more vigorously, but our final version of the ads (below) are much more subtle.

Creating our audience
To maximize our budget, and to make sure that our impressions would be for relevant customers, we targeted our audience. This is a great way to help get the most out of your ad budget, and allows you to target a range of factors including behaviors and location.
Since we were “selling” luxury beauty products, we restricted our ads to women from 18-35 who lived in major cities. Millennial women are the most likely users of cosmetic products, and often purchase and research their products online.
We felt that customers who had some college education would be more likely to have spare cash to shell out for beauty products, so we further restricted our audience to hone in on the luxury brand type. Our ads were given a relevance score of 7/10 — not bad.

Again, everything except the word “free” was kept consistent across the two ads.
So now that all of the setup was out of the way, it was time to see how we fared. Don’t worry — we did the math for you.
The Results
Spoiler alert: our “non-free” ad did better than our “free” ad in every category. Let’s start with our reach.

We got our ads in front of >4,000 people in about three days. Non-free was viewed slightly more than free ads, but this was through Facebook’s algorithm and auction system, which is out of our control. Non-free did very well on the first day, which signaled to Facebook’s algorithm that it was a better option to run, so it was put in front of more people.
It’s important to note that impressions are different than viewers. Impressions happen any time someone sees your ad. Facebook says:
For example, if someone sees a Page update in News Feed and then sees that same update when a friend shares it that would count as 2 impressions.
[… But] if a person sees a Page update in News Feed and then sees that same update when a friend shares it that would represent a reach [viewer] count of one.
We showed you our viewers and not our impressions because it lets you know exactly how many people we reached.

When we look at the CTR for these campaigns, it’s clear that non-free still outperformed free, although there is a smaller gap. The way that Facebook’s algorithm promoted non-free after its strong start accounts for the larger difference between viewers, even though the CTR was close. If the campaign had continued to perform at these CTRs, Facebook likely would’ve evened out their placement.

Most importantly, the Cost Per Click (CPC) for non-free ads was much lower than the free ads. Again, this becomes a big deal if we scale up our campaign. If we run our ads with a goal of getting 5,000 clicks, it would cost ~$1,300 for the non-free ads to reach our goal but ~$2,000 for the free ads.
 Free doesn’t look so hot now that we’re talking about a loss of $700 from your bottom line, does it?
And that’s just the cost of the ads, which isn’t accounting for any free product or service you’re giving away. If you’re paying almost twice as much for a “free” promotional ad and you have to give away something — that’s a double whammy.
What’s Wrong With Free?
A big reason why using “free” in your copy might not go over well is people could be skeptical about the value or quality of your product if you’re giving it away. A French study in 2012 showed that consumers tend to be wary of price reductions, though their feelings also depend on what item is being reduced.
For example, a free sample of a perfume is different than a price reduction on a printer. But even for perfume, a free perfume that comes with a $100 minimum purchase might be met with less skepticism than if you simply give away that same free sample.
How not to do it
Ads that promise a free item ‘without a catch’, or huge discounts, can actually turn off consumers.

DressLily is offering up to 80% off, which seems too good to be true. People who have never ordered from DressLily before, and therefore can’t speak to the quality of the clothing or veracity of the 80% off claim, could dismiss this ad rather than taking advantage of the offer.
In the case of our experiment, some savvy customers might not have trusted our ads or website. Your Facebook ads need to have a strong sense of legitimacy, especially if you are trying to build your brand. Facebook users see a lot of ads, and they will skip over something that doesn’t look professional or worthwhile.
What actually works
We would bet this Under Armour ad that boasts free shipping did a lot better than La Lune Beauty’s free sample ad, or DressLily’s 80% off.

They have a free shipping promotion as part of their ad, but it isn’t the focus. They have a sense of urgency, stating “Get It Before It’s Gone.” Instead of using a specific percent off, they say “outlet” and “priced to perform,” which lets a customer know that items aren’t full price, but doesn’t immediately set off alarms bells. It also doesn’t hurt that they have amazing brand recognition, either.
The bottom line is that you want to make your product’s value clear, and giving it away can send the wrong message. If your product is really valuable, is the customer being tricked by your free giveaway somehow? If everyone can have it, is it really valuable? Is there a catch that will pop up when you try to get your free sample?
This is a critical underpinning of business that extends beyond giving away free samples. Understanding the value your business provides, and pricing your services or products to correctly reflect that can be crucial to growing your business and attracting customers.
For example, Price Intelligently, a company that specializes in pricing strategy, realized that discounting was causing their software customers a 30% decrease in long term value from their customers. Discounting just didn’t pay off the same dividends for software sales as it did for retail stores.
What Do I Do With My Ads Now?
The million dollar question: how can you apply what we learned to your ad strategy?

Start A/B testing your ads. Whether it’s swapping out the picture or the CTA, pitting two versions of an ad against each other can help you optimize your ads. Plus, with AdEspresso it’s easy to keep track of and compare multiple campaigns, so you can A/B test to your heart’s content.
Follow your instincts. We knew that “free” would be powerful in an ad campaign, so we went out to see what the result would be. Maybe you want to see if a certain tag line is more appealing, or if a different age group would respond better to your ads. Don’t shy away from your questions – use them to make your Facebook ads stronger!
Target your ads to maximize your budget, and your marketing experiments. When you’re trying to figure out the best ad for your business, you want to be able see how your customers would actually respond to the ad. If we had marketed La Lune to everyone in the US, for example, we wouldn’t be able to know how our customers would react — and the results wouldn’t have been as accurate.
Keep your product in mind when trying marketing ploys. Free samples are probably a great, cost-effective idea if you’re selling cheese, but maybe not if you’re advertising art supplies on Facebook. Play around with your ads to find what works.

Putting It All Together
We’ve talked about using the word “free” to hook in customers, and how free samples and discounts can affect the way people view your business, and only one thing is ultimately clear: “free” is a complicated concept. That’s part of what makes advertising so fun.
The key to free is understanding how it can benefit your business. Using free to entice or reward customers can be a great strategy, as long as you’re using it to enhance your business and not undercutting your product.
This way, you’ll be reaping the psychological rewards of free while still keeping the value of your business sky high. This kind of smart marketing will help you attract customers and will put you a step ahead of your competition.
Source: https://adespresso.com/feed/

The liquidity what if? Our alternative to employee options/equity grants

Employees can still benefit from a sale or liquidity event without offering equity or options. Here’s how we do it.A few years ago at one of our semi-annual Basecamp company meetups, the topic of options/equity came up. Since we don’t offer equity or options, people wanted to know how they could benefit on the upside if we ever sold the company.So David and I started thinking about it. We consulted some other business owners, Jeff Bezos (who owns a small piece of our company), and our accountants and lawyers. We wanted to get a pretty full picture of the implications of an equity program.The more people we talked to, the more complex it started to sound. The complexity was both psychological (social company dynamics + anxiety of variable value) and economic (options/equity doesn’t really mesh well with an LLC corporate structure). And since we have no intention of selling Basecamp or going public — the two scenarios where options/equity really make sense — equity just didn’t seem like the right fit.However, we were determined to come up with another way so everyone could participate in the unlikely event of a sale or IPO. You never know, so we wanted to have a system in place just in case.Some of the considerations included:It needs to be simple to administer. The closer we could get to zero administration, the better.It should be easy to understand and explain.It shouldn’t be a day-to-day thing, or create daily habits — like the ritual of checking stock prices.It should reward current employees. This was about who was at the company at the time of a sale/IPO, not people who worked here years ago.It should reward loyalty. The longer you’ve been here the more you would participate in the upside.The plan would be consistent from day one until the last day. Some companies grant lots of options in the early days and then barely trickle them out later. We wanted the same opportunity for all new employees forever.We didn’t want to discriminate by position. Every employee, no matter the position, participates in the same way.There were other considerations as well, but those were the key things we kept in mind as we developed the program.Here’s what we came up with in the event of a sale or IPO:At least 5% of the ultimate sale price (or, in the case of an IPO, the fair market value of the capital stock) would be set aside for an employee bonus pool.Each current employee will be credited with one unit for every full year they’ve worked at Basecamp, starting after the first full year. The maximum amount of units one person could earn would be five units. So if you worked at Basecamp for two years you’d get two units. Three-and-a-half years, three units. Four years, four units. Five years, five units. Seven years, five units. Etc.We would divide the total employee bonus pool dollar amount by the total number of units held by all employees. This would determine the unit value.Each person would receive the unit value multiplied by their units.We’re pretty happy with how this turned out. We think it’s a simple, clear, and fair system. And it’s a great alternative to the organizational complexity of option grants, acceleration, strike prices, conversion into shares, private markets vs. public markets, dilution by outside parties, partial vesting, etc.One other thing: We treat this entire idea purely as a bonus in the unlikely event of a future sale/IPO. We don’t even discuss it with new hires. It’s not part of the overall compensation package (we don’t pay a smaller salary and try to make it up for it with this program). I wouldn’t be surprised if many employees have forgotten about it or don’t even know about it at all.Since we implemented the program about 5 years ago or so, we’ve sorta kinda used it once. Back in July 2012 we sold Sortfolio, a web designer directory we launched a few years prior. The selling price was $480,000. But rather than distributing just 5% of that sale, we ended up giving 100% of the proceeds to our employees.We haven’t sold any businesses since then, so we haven’t had to revisit the plan.The liquidity what if? Our alternative to employee options/equity grants was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: 37signals

Low Facebook ROI? 5 Common Sense Questions to Ask Yourself

Facebook ads are tough to get right.
There’s so many options – so many variables and moving pieces – that it’s easy to get lost in the minutia.

Campaign results are sagging and you’re not sure where to look first.
If that sounds familiar, here are 5 common sense questions to ask yourself to figure out what’s going wrong (and why).

13 Reasons Why You Should Start with the Fundamentals
Maybe I’m just getting old.
Outdated and out of touch.
But with every new growth hack and tactic that pops up, I find myself retreating further back into the Stone Ages of marketing fundamentals.
They’re not flashy. Nobody on Inbound.org will have an epiphany or scream and shout. And yet, the basics, or the underlying principles, will more-often-than-not get the job done.
Toiling away for hours on new images to revamp struggling Facebook campaigns? That might help… but probably not in the long run.
In that sense, it’s no different than weight loss.
The formula behind losing weight is actually pretty simple and straightforward. No Lap Bands or Shape-Ups required. And yet we humans have a curious ability to make simple things complex.
Take the stereotypical fat dude sitting on his ass in the gym doing bicep curls. What’s wrong with this picture?
Well, it turns out, quite a lot:

If you’re overweight, you better not be sitting down in the gym.
If you’re overweight, there’s no way in hell you should be wasting time doing bicep curls.

Here’s why.

Bicep curls are isolation exercises, meaning they isolate the bicep muscle (from the rest of your arm or upper-body).
That means only the bicep is receiving any kind of stimulation.
Your bicep is one of the smallest muscles in your entire body.
So technically you’re ‘burning calories’. But not really.
A better use of time would be multi-joint movements.
Like a row that also involves the larger muscle groups of your back.
More muscles working = more ‘calories burned’ in the long run.
The biggest muscle groups in your body, however, are in your butt and legs.
Which means a more effective use of your time (to get the biggest bang for your buck) would be to lunge or squat or deadlift or stair-step or walk or bike.
Sitting is the new smoking, so you should never, ever be passively sitting in a gym.
OR, you could also use that time to get out of the gym and go prep some meals this week so you’re not forced to order lunch out again come Monday morning.
Because restaurant portion sizes contribute to obesity.
And eating less is way more important than exercising to lose weight.

The point?
Basically, ANYTHING besides sitting down doing bicep curls in a gym will help you lose weight faster.
So sure – your image might suck. It might even be hurting your campaigns a little bit.
But chances are, you’re getting other things (like the basics and fundamentals) wrong and they pose a much bigger risk to sabotaging ROI (way more than your sucky ad at least).
Let’s take a look at five areas to holistically walk through first.
Question #1. What does your campaign hierarchy look like?
Only a bunch of idiots would irrationally conclude something “doesn’t work” when they’re doing it wrong.
So let’s begin at the beginning.
AdWords has lulled people into a false sense of hope. Peeps search, click, buy. Simple as that.
Except it’s not. It’s the exception.
People typing in “red Nike men’s running shoes” are already interested in purchasing. They’ve jumped the first few steps of your ‘marketing funnel’ and are already at the bottom, ready to take action.

Nowhere else does this happen.
Instead, a more typical approach is a long and winding road between different channels, devices, and messages.

Your first job then, is to re-create this microcosm inside Facebook ad campaigns.
The goal is to have multiple campaigns, with different objectives, targeting audiences with different levels of intent.
That means we need to look at campaigns holistically; finding the bottlenecks and assessing how steps coming right before or after are contributing.
The good news, is that Facebook even helps you with this now right out of the gate:

Depending on your selection to the above, your objectives and ads should be completely different.
✅  Low sales? Start with conversion campaigns. First confirm that all the basics are covered.
Desktop placement should be obvious, as filling out a long form or going through a complicated checkout process can be torture on mobile. Create a ‘tripwire’ to scale down complex or expensive stuff.
Simple and straightforward should do the trick, so next check your trust-building efforts.
✅  Consideration-building campaigns? You should be actively re-engaging people who’re familiar with your brand.
That means bringing back past website visitors. Using Dynamic Product Ads for people who’ve viewed product pages. Get people to download eBooks and whitepapers and checklists and attend webinars. Connecting marketing automation with all this stuff.
Nail these middle-of-the-funnel tactics and then go big to ‘widen’ the top.
✅  Need to increase awareness? Prioritize reach by optimizing for website visits and clicks.
Promote content to appeal to the widest possible group. Take advantage of lower rates on mobile. Try carousel ads to test different messaging. Experiment with new stuff like Canvas or Branded Content.
If you have all of these campaigns live-and-functioning, but still struggling, proceed to audience targeting next.
Question #2. Who, specifically, are you targeting?
How does AdEspresso get conversions for as little as $0.03?
Is their ad creative earth shattering? Does it employ some voodoo, psychological tricks?
Or is Massimo really that sexy?
(Yeah, probably that last one.)
The number of conversions you get and the amount you pay for them, largely comes down to audience targeting.
✅  Your Middle and Bottom of the funnel campaigns should exclusively target custom audiences. Easy, peasy. Don’t waste your hard-earned green on peeps that don’t deserve it (yet).
Sales-related messages should go to the people who already attended your webinars, filled out lead forms, and read all your eBooks.
All of those things, those offers and opt-ins and downloadable goodies, should target your most recent website visitors over the past 30-60 days.
Doing this will ensure that your ads are super relevant, which in dollars and cents means more profitable conversions for less capital outlay.
But it also means, you need LOTS AND LOTS of peeps to be hitting your site. Here’s how you find them.
✅  Find & refine new audiences based on interest. I literally just wrote about this. Days ago. So here’s a brief recap.
Once you’ve nailed down personas and their motivations, look for related brands they might be interested in (whether that’s alternative providers to what you’ve got, blogs and other media sources of information).

Next, start layering in additional interests and exclusions to further refine the ideal audience between 500,000 – 1,000,000. You should get creative here, pulling in specific interest examples that might differentiate between a person’s topic knowledge, etc.

Please note that if you’re catering to multiple segments or targeting different personas, that means you gotta have multiple top of the funnel campaigns like this, each with their own unique blend of interests and exclusions like this. One ain’t gonna cut it.
If you’ve done that, the next step is ‘message match’.
Question #3. Does your ‘message match’ your audience?
Why do AdWords visitors convert well?
When people type in “red Nike men’s running shoes”, they unsurprisingly see a page featuring “red Nike men’s running shoes”.
✅  In other words, good message match.
What people see on an ad…

(image source)
… should match on the landing page.

(image source)
Sounds easy enough. But one day, Oli from Unbounce found that 98% of people still got this wrong. (Which isn’t that hard to do when you have so many different campaigns running now at the same time.)
This matters for two reasons:

People (logically) will convert better when their expectations match reality. When they click on an ad they’re expecting to see something specific, and when they see that thing, they feel better.
Facebook’s Relevance score metric is designed to filter out the most relevant stuff for people. So more relevant typically means better costs.


(image source)
✅  Once your messages match and relevance is strong, you should test different offers (not different variables).
The problem with A/B tests is that most fail. To make matters worse, you probably shouldn’t even bother without seeing at least 1000 monthly conversions. And a single test should have 250 conversions before you can believe the sample size.
In contrast, the companies with the highest conversions – the unicorns pulling in 10%+ – aren’t testing variables, but offers.

(image source)
That could mean one eBook, but different topics entirely. One on social proof, and another on Twitter ads.
Both are top of the funnel topics that should appeal to a broad range of people. Both can apply to the same segment or personas well, like startup founders.
But how do you know which one converts best?
You don’t. You gotta roll the dice and see.
There’s no Magic 8 ball in marketing. Just ‘cause something worked for someone in a blog post doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you, either.
Your messages match, and you’ve got multiple offers that target specific audiences in different campaigns with their own unique objectives.
Not let’s talk creative.
Question #4. Does your ad creative suck?
An average ad with awesome targeting will outperform an awesome ad with average targeting.
Because, data.
But how do you define an ‘awesome ad’?
That’s tough. Especially as different things will appeal to different types of people.
So let’s start with the reverse.
Wanna see what a bad ad looks like? Feast your eyes on this:

I have no idea what’s going on either.
✅  But it does highlight some of the most common problems plaguing ad creative. Namely:

Hyperbolic all caps
Truncated ad text
No image illustration
Poor call to action

Ok. Makes sense. Now for the good:

✅  The anatomy of a good ad includes:

Direct, specific value prop
Concise and easy to digest
‘Hero image’ that reinforces the value prop (‘easy and fun’)
Actionable CTA
Extra credit: the model’s eyes in the image are directed at CTA

See? Nothing fancy or over the top. They don’t give out ADDY’s for Facebook ads (at least, not yet). Just a solid ad.
Check out this other, completely unbiased, example.

Different part of the funnel, but the same overall components:

Strong value prop
Copy that uses ‘power words’ (like “secret formula”)
Image makes the offer concrete
CTA’s in the image and on Facebook match

So… which performs better? The stock photo with the person, or the
Sure, there are conversion studies to reference. You should.
But at the end of the day, you again will have no idea what works best. Create a few, split-test ‘em if you want, and keep going.
If everything still A-OK so far, and you’re executing properly on:

Multiple campaigns with different objectives
Targeting different, specific audiences
With messages that align and are testing offer-appeal
With different ads that cover the ‘basics’

Then it’s time to geek out.
Question #5. How long have you run these ads, to these people, for this objective?
If you’ve gotten this far without a solution yet, chances are your campaigns HAVE performed. Previously. At least a little bit.
But something’s happened.
CPC’s have risen. CPA’s skyrocketed.
There are a few possible reasons. Common places to start include:
✅  Ad fatigue.
Ad creative should be refreshed every few weeks. Per, Facebook themselves.

If you suspect ad fatigue is leading to conversion decay, stop reading now and check out Karolas’ excellent tips to fix it.
While you can (and should) go to greater lengths to test different designs…

… even simple tips like switching out background colors can help.
Otherwise, here’s the next thing to look for.
✅  Frequency problems.
High-frequency problems saturate a market; overwhelming people with your messages to a point where they start tuning you out.
Pumping the frequency brakes (from, say 8 to 3 or lower) can help make sure that your ads don’t become white noise.
However… here’s the thing to watch out for. Take this super exaggerated example:

If a frequency of 8 is ‘very high’, a frequency of 38 will lead people to chase you with pitchforks.
But your problem here isn’t frequency. It’s Reach.
The audience size is too small, which means you’re most likely suffering from foundational issues we exposed above.
So fussing around with frequency or other advanced techniques like dayparting at this point is (a) a complete waste of time and (b) not going to get you significant results anytime soon.
Kinda like sitting on your butt in the gym doing bicep curls when you’re trying to lose weight.
Running successful, revenue-generating Facebook ad campaigns can get complex.
There’s a ton of moving pieces that you somehow need to choreograph. Which gets even more difficult when wrangling multiple people or agencies and trying to get them all NSYNC.
When looking for a place to start, keep it simple stupid.
Double check to make sure all of your foundational issues are 100% correct first.
Then go mess with the advanced stuff.
Source: https://adespresso.com/feed/

4 Lead Generation Techniques You Aren’t Using Yet

As your business grows, finding and nurturing leads will increase your customer base and brand awareness.
In fact, quality leads are so important that Aaron Ross, author of best-selling Predictable Revenue, says they are “like a crystal ball that lets you see future sales performance.”

Putting a CTA on your website and setting up an email list are the first steps, but it’s not just about tacking a call-to-action on the end of your blog post. Instead, it’s about choosing the right tools to intrigue potential leads for a robust, offensive lead generation.
To jumpstart that offensive strategy, here are four ways to generate leads that you can use to come out swinging.

Who can resist a free sample?
Let’s face it: everyone loves a freebie. We want free shipping when we shop and free food when we’re at the food court. Free is something that comes up in Facebook ads examples for lead generation all the time:

Free Slurpees for lucky Australians!
There is a documented psychological response to free products and samples that can be harnessed as a powerful marketing tool. Here, even though you don’t get them free until you’ve bought six, it is still more than enough to get your attention.
Free products serve as a “soft opening” for the rest of your services. People who use your free product have started a relationship with your brand, which can be a tipping factor in deciding what product to pay for down the line.
Data enrichment tool Clearbit has mastered this strategy. Take Clearbit Connect, their free Gmail add-on. It allows you to see professional information about any sender, and search for anyone’s email within any company, all from the Gmail interface. This easy-to-use extension serves an explicit purpose for a user, but also keeps Clearbit’s brand seamlessly integrated to a potential paying customer’s inbox.
In fact, Clearbit says free products “[are] our single most effective marketing technique (by far).” Though Clearbit’s software services provide powerful, data-driven insights, their integration and application can be difficult for non-specialists to understand. Providing a valuable but intuitive product can make all the difference when a team is deciding to use a full suite of products.
Pop the question
Generating leads is good, but generating quality leads is better. One way to do this is to connect with a lead through a survey with a contact information form. This will give you valuable information about your leads that can help you nurture them.
Here South African retail store V&A Waterfront are doing exactly that. They are linking through to a survey about their shop.
This means that they are only going to get high-quality leads from people who are actively interested in their Cape Town store.
Here’s some tips for getting the most out of your survey.

Start by asking if the lead needs the value your product delivers. This will help people gauge which of their needs you can meet, which means you can instantly qualify them. In turn, you’ll be more prepared to discuss how you can help them.
Time it correctly. If you have a free trial version of your product, asking people how their experience has been with your product during that trial can help you direct leads to helpful products or features as they look to transition to the full version of your product.
Place your surveys strategically. A survey that appears before clicking away from order form could ask why someone hasn’t completed an order. On a products page, you could ask what features are most important. Capturing this type of data will help you nurture your leads.

Surveys demonstrate the value you place on your customers’ feedback and help you serve your lead from square one. Even if your survey followup doesn’t convert every lead, they can still capture feedback that you can use to improve. Plus, surveys are customizable and an easy addition to any website, making them a fit for any lead generation strategy.
A video’s worth a thousand leads
Videos can be a valuable part of building your brand because they are a powerful way to deliver your message. Video is becoming more and more prevalent in Facebook ads. This ad for LinkedIn, which has almost 1.8 million views, shows the power of video:
Once you’ve got a handle on top notch video content, it’s time to start using that video to generate leads. The easiest way to do this is by adding a CTA to capture contact information and convert the power of your video content into a lead.

If you want to focus on the quantity of leads, add a CTA to educational videos. They will be easy to digest for people new to your product and reach a wider audience.
If you want to focus on quality of leads, add a CTA to targeted videos. For example, place your CTA on short tutorials with special features of your suite of products. These will appeal to in-the-know buyers.
Location, location, location. Make sure your CTA comes at the perfect point in your video. Endroll CTA’s generate quality leads, but midroll CTA’s have a slightly higher conversion. If using a midroll CTA, pique interest in your product/brand before your CTA, but don’t interrupt your viewer’s attention.

Anyone with existing video, or anyone looking to start using video, should consider adding a CTA to their clips. If you already use video, turning your content into lead generation is extremely simple. You can collect leads in your existing videos just by adding a form. No excuses.
Exploit our phone addictions
Check your email and SMS inboxes. Which one is overflowing with unread messages? It’s your inbox, isn’t it? While SMS messages are read 99% of the time, emails can languish. SMS messaging service Sonar say that response rates through SMS are 3-4X higher than with email. So it’s a total no-brainer to integrate SMS into your lead generation process.
The key to using SMS is to fold it into an existing channel to provide a strong context for users receiving your messages. Let’s look at some quick ways to painlessly integrate SMS:

In response to a survey. If a lead gives you their mobile information after taking a survey, use it to follow up. You can give them information about any concerns they raise. For example, if they’re confused about pricing plans, follow up with a link to a walkthrough of your plans.
In response to a video. Follow up your CTA on an educational video with places a lead can find more product information to encourage their exploration of your services.
As the kickstart to an offer. If you’re hosting sweepstakes, offering a coupon, or having a sale, reminding your leads soon before it expires capitalizes on SMS’s instant nature and encourages people to shop because of a hard deadline.

Anyone who has a well-established lead generating channels and protocol should add SMS to their strategy. Incorporating SMS will give you a better set of tools to interact with leads. Today’s consumers are more sophisticated, especially when it comes to researching products, and including an SMS campaign will help you be more nuanced, nimble and informed than ever before.
Build up your lead generation toolbox
Adopting new practices for lead generation can help give you the customer boost you need to reach the next phase of your business. Whether you want to focus on improving the quality of your leads or driving your raw numbers up, adding in one or more of these suggestions will diversify and strengthen your generation. Leads are important, and building a sophisticated generation process is a big step towards success.
Source: https://adespresso.com/feed/

8 Mistakes To Avoid When Promoting Your Small Business Facebook Page

You put your business’s Facebook page in front of 1.13 billion people every day.
The way that this huge audience of users reacts to your page can either be deal-making or detrimental.

Though people want to know the secret recipe for a perfect Facebook page, the truth is there’s no one trick that will lead to instant success.
The more important thing is knowing what not to do — what fatal mistakes to watch for and when to re-think your strategy. In practice, this is the best way to create the page that works best for you.

1. Casting a generic net
Broadcasting your business on Facebook is one of the biggest no-nos. But the sad reality is that instead of focusing on fans and being part of a community, too many small businesses blast away about their products and services.
Facebook is all about authenticity, so if a business does not focus on customers in a way that feels genuine and just focuses on itself, the community will see right through it. You should look for ways to nurture the community and support their interests. Caring for fans will bring them back to your page and make them feel like part of a community instead of an audience targeted for promotion.
One of the simplest things you can do in this regard is make your content relevant to what goes on in the lives of your customers. This keeps you in the ‘real-world’ and not isolated in a space of cutting-edge competition.
The clothing store Everlane shared a photo album full of its customers at a retail event in New York City.

Everlane showed that they value their customers as a community by creating this event for the customers and then sharing the event on social media — in the same way that any Facebook user would schedule and share events with friends.
2. Showing inconsistent company culture
Many small businesses neglect the importance of making sure that the appearance of their Facebook page is in line with their business visions and goals. The page is a part of their company, and therefore should display the same personality as the business itself.
It’s important to reflect your identity while interacting with your customers on Facebook. Any page can be a little casual but you should always strive to maintain a balance — you don’t want customers to feel you are not taking the business seriously.
The Facebook page for Community Coffee features different ways to share the coffee with family and friends.

The company highlights both friends and coffee as positive additions to your life — showing that the company values community just as much as they value their own product. The message is that these values are a natural combination.
3. Staying in your comfort zone
With so many small businesses competing for a space in the News Feed of Facebook users, you might feel like playing it safe is your best option. This, for most businesses, means sticking to one type of content and putting rest of the content strategy on autopilot.
But beyond the danger of making your Facebook page a ghost town, you will find it difficult to capture the attention of your audiences if you don’t experiment with different kinds of posts. A successful content strategy should involve a mix of infographics, videos, photos, and other visuals.
Some types of content may go viral, which would greatly boost your organic reach, while others will enable you to ensure that you get consistent engagement, including shares, likes and comments.
Catsville Pet Shop shares different quirky images on its Facebook page. These aren’t your average cute kitten pictures — but that’s why they work so well.

The business tries to keep things fresh by mixing it up. As a result they delight their audience and stand out from the crowd.
4. Writing off Facebook ads
When it comes to paying for promotion, many small business owners shy away. Most of them create a Facebook page to reap benefits free of charge. However, their reach is limited by the amount of customers who already searched for the company on Facebook.
You’ll extend your reach if you consider Facebook Ads. The company has built a powerful platform to assist businesses to extend their customer base and target prospects. You can define audiences based on interest, location, and even their purchasing behavior.
Wakaberry was able to increase sales using Facebook ads. With limited ad budget available, they utilized Facebook to get past the noise. They created a summer advertising campaign where they invited ‘Wakafans’ to celebrate the season with their summer range. Targeted ads were geared towards a predefined demographic and the company gained the best possible return on ad investment.

You can target your ads even more strategically by using AdEspresso. This is a tool that helps small businesses to optimize ads and avoid wasting resources on ads that don’t bring in optimal results.
5. Skimping on external tools
Small businesses mostly rely on ‘what is available on Facebook,’ which limits the features they can use to optimize their campaigns. There are several tools from third-party companies that integrate with Facebook to offer out-of-the-box features that make managing and promoting your page a breeze.

Consider which tools will work best for you:

AgoraPulse: Allows you to attract more customers to your page and engage them with customizable quizzes, sweepstakes, fan voting contests, and more.
HootSuite: Helps you to manage different social media pages and schedule posts when the social media department is on a retreat.

6. Being afraid to spend money on tests
The most important step in creating Facebook ads is the testing stage. But as a small business, you may think you don’t have the funds to spend on ad testing.
This is a huge mistake — testing ads actually saves you money by ensuring that you’re not blowing money on ads that don’t work.
Rather than running several different versions of an ad and hoping that one works, you’ll know through testing which version is best. Then you can focus your effort and resources on that successful version. When each ad is more effective, you’ll spend less per ad. It pays to be informed.

AdEspresso tested two ads with two different images and the exact same text copy. One featured the cartoon mustached-man mascot — the little guy is so lovable that his ad was the favorite to perform better. Yet the tests showed that the mascot ad cost $3.13 per download, while the other ad featuring a photo of a person only cost $1.68. Tests will tell you what your intuition won’t.
Create different versions of ads to test them, and consider the following variables:

Image – Choose images that project different messages or appeal to human psychology in different ways.
Audience – Popular audiences may be more costly to target but will bring in more conversions, while less popular audiences are cheaper to target but each ad will cost more per impression. Testing will let you know which is the lesser of two evils.
Relevance Score – These Facebook evaluations of ads are based on several factors including conversions and click-through rates. Ads with higher relevance scores typically cost less per click.
Copy Text – Try different phrasing, varying the length of the copy, and adding a call to action to see what message really resonates.

Take heed and get to testing to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck on your ads.
7. Acting unapproachable
People like to interact with what others post on Facebook because they can show their approval, express their opinions, and reaffirm things about themselves.
Create opportunities for your Facebook followers to interact with your page by opening contests, calling for submissions, featuring photos of customers, and replying to Facebook users’ questions. Personal interactions with customers fosters trust in your brand and rewards Facebook users for paying attention to your page.
Threadless is killing it by creating constant opportunities for interaction on Facebook. Their page is a stream of posts inviting users to vote on different t-shirts and to submit their own designs to contests, with new contests opening up all the time.

Facebook users then comment on the posts, tag their friends, and share their own work — which as a result makes the Threadless posts more popular and increases the page’s visibility.

Design contests are a large part of Threadless’s business operation because all of their t-shirt designs are submitted by customers. By using Facebook to spread the word and by encouraging comments and shares, Threadless is helping their bottom-line business to thrive.

Another way to connect with your customers is by having a conversation. The psychological need for validation can be satisfied on Facebook simply by showing your customers that you will respond to their comments.

Customers are informed and appreciative (who would want to miss out on a late-night donut event?), and as a result Glazed Donut Works brings more customers from Facebook into their store. By responding, the company is also assuring other Facebook users who might want to comment that their questions will be answered.
The equestrian retailer SmartPak replies to Facebook comments to engage in customer service:

Thoughtful responses like this might be why they get this gushing public feedback:

It isn’t just about providing information — it’s about opening up a channel for communication and signaling that you are responsive.

Mabel’s Labels didn’t have to leave a reply to this user’s comment, but the company’s follow-up and their drive to create common ground with their customers builds trust and shows they care.
8. Posting sporadically
No matter how much work you’ve put into creating the perfect page, if you don’t post frequently enough people will lose interest and move on. Avoid this by creating a posting schedule specific to your product and audience.
When creating a posting schedule, consider both frequency and time of day. The ideal posting frequency will vary from business to business, but a study by Social Bakers found that around 5-10 posts per week is the sweet spot. Post too infrequently and you’ll lose Facebook users’ attention. Post too much and you’ll risk annoying them away.
It can be trickier to optimize the time of day for your posts, but there are tools that can take the pain out of the process. Buffer will create a schedule for your posts and publish them at the best time of the day based on your followers’ activity.

This foresight will ensure that your work gets seen and has every opportunity to make the impact you want without the burden of thinking about posting every day. You can set aside time each week to queue posts for the next several days — and if you want to add in something specific or topical for one day, it’s easy to add it into the queue wherever you want.
Your posts can stay on a schedule while being flexible to reflect your company’s day-to-day evolutions.
Putting it all together
Avoiding these mistakes will help you to use Facebook to the maximum advantage of your business. As you navigate around these pitfalls, you will educate yourself on how to build and sustain an active community and engage with customers as small businesses do in real life. This is your biggest strength — large businesses rarely have time to listen to what customers have to say.
Are you a small business owner? What is your Facebook marketing strategy? Have you committed these mistakes in the past? Let us know in the comments.
Source: https://adespresso.com/feed/

Facebook: Stranger in a Strange Land

I downloaded 3 of the new Facebook apps yesterday in an attempt to understand that world a bit better.
For many of you this might come as a shock because, one, I haven’t downloaded these previously but that’s because I’m not actually a super-user of Facebook (or even a user for that matter) and two, that I’m willing to jump into something that I’ve been pretty against in the past.

Loading Facebook Apps…
But for purely research and integrationpurposes I’m jumping back in. After having taken many years “off” it’s kind of a psychological thriller. And, to be sure, curiosity abounds.
I downloaded Facebook, the Messenger app, and the new Workplace app that’s gotten a lot of attention in the last few days and giving it a run. I’m just friends with my direct family for the most part and one or two very close friends (developers) so I really feel like I’m starting from scratch.
And this is a good thing. A stranger in a strange land.
The post Facebook: Stranger in a Strange Land appeared first on John Saddington.
Source: https://john.do/

"Sell the problem you solve, not the product you offer."

Commuting? Listen to this article on the go. Tap play below to get started.

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I saw a post on LinkedIn that actually made me think.

It said:

Sell the problem you solve. Not the product.

I thought it was interesting because every business sells something: shoes, airplanes, cupcakes, buildings, etc.

But is every business solving a problem?

If it’s a successful business, then, most likely, yes. Billionaire businessman Richard Branson said, “To launch a business means successfully solving problems.”

When I saw the LinkedIn post alongside Branson's quote, it clicked. There is a prevalent mistake businesses make in their sales presentations and marketing messaging. One that's preventing them from selling more successfully.

In the past, sales and marketing was all about showing off features (“This medicine has 600mg acetaminophen”), then it moved to benefits (“This medicine will make you feel better”), now, it’s evolved to solving problems (“This medicine will remove your headache”).

Let me give two examples.

First, in this article about features vs. benefits, the author lists “Open 24 hours” as a feature of a store. “The benefit of a store open 24 hours is you can buy when you want,” he writes. The problem solved is “When my pregnant wife craves pickles and ice cream at 4 a.m., I won’t have to disappoint her.”

Lesson learned: the problem solved is much more specific and personal to the customer’s needs.

Second, let’s take an example where the problems are much bigger, more general, and complex. In other words, business-to-business (B2B) sales.

I work in B2B at a digital tech agency called Viget as a digital strategist. We are a services company, not a product company, which can make this exercise slightly more challenging — but the principle remains the same.

Here’s a pass at answering the question: what do we sell?

Viget sells the time of its talented visual designers, strategists, UX designers, software engineers, project managers, and digital analysts. We design and build digital products, experiences, and tools — such as custom content management systems, data visualizations, and interactive marketing campaigns. We've worked with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies such as PUMA and ESPN, to some of the world's largest nonprofits including WWF and WCS, to startups such as Opower, Virtru, and HelloWallet.

Viget has a unique creative process to achieve amazing results. Other agencies have good ideas, but Viget has the ideas and the efficient, systematic, organized plan to execute them at a professional level.

That's what we sell: really smart and talented people and a time-tested creative process.

I underlined everything in the text above as what we sell — a list of features and benefits. But there was no mention of the problems we're solving.

What problems are we solving?

(This is the exercise I believe everyone should do for their company. It's made me think differently about how I sell Viget's services.)

Companies hate risk. Our unique collaborative and iterative process mitigates that risk.

Product managers have big ideas but don’t have the strategic bandwidth to bring them to life. Viget strategists put together the perfect team to shape, plan, and execute an idea through launch — and beyond.

Slow, unwieldy, ugly digital experiences are frustrating, especially on your own company’s sites and applications. Our web designers create and deliver beautiful, clean, and fast digital experiences for our clients.

Businesses are inundated by huge amounts of complex data. Our engineers develop software tools that make data understandable and actionable.

CEOs and CMOs fear bad (costly) experiences with outside vendors. Viget values and maintains trust through a transparent, detailed, clear, and organized project management structure.

Marketing teams run into walls not knowing how to make their website generate more revenue. Viget's product designers, user experience designers, and brand strategists use psychological principles, data, and behavioral science, as well as decades of experience, to craft user journeys that increase website conversions and our digital analysts test and optimize them after launch.

Startups get overwhelmed by really tough, time-intensive digital projects. Viget provides the skills, leadership, and insights that startups need at the critical early stages to design, build, and scale their products quickly and efficiently.

People love (and remember) stories. A good story has a clear conflict and a satisfying resolution. If you can frame your business as a story with a vexing problem and then a simple solution, people will listen and remember what you do.

I didn't change what Viget does. I just reframed it from features and benefits to problems and solutions. The key to reframing is knowing your customer. It will take more time to figure out the right framing for each customer; but, in the end, it will be much more effective and successful.

Your turn. Try this exercise out on your business. What problems does your business solve? Do you know your customer’s problems well enough?

Source: VigetInspire