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Three Essential Things to Make Good and Fresh Content

Every marketer needs to test and optimize their content and messaging regularly to get the best results. Here are three simple, yet powerful themes that all content marketers need to keep in mind.

1. Innovation

The term “innovation” gets a lot different approach, but a fresh, new twist on familiar ideas is still a fitting definition. However, the problem doesn’t lie on the usage of the term “innovation”. It’s more the effort in trying to justify where it is applied.

You don’t need the marketing armies and obscene budgets of brands like Nike, Coke and Red Bull to strive for innovation. On the other hand, you do need to try harder and break out of the herd mentality with content to stand apart and make jaws drop.

One example: The WaterIsLife.com campaign using video, Twitter and other social channels to hijack the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems and alter the conversation from whiny tweets to attention for a serious global issue.

Is creating truly inspired content difficult? Usually. Persistence is the key. If you’re persistent and aren’t banking on overnight success every time, you will see the results.

2. Emotion

We talk a lot about storytelling where content marketing is concerned. But how often do you like to read the same story over and over?

Playing positive emotions is the key.

When you tap into positive emotion, like the RainForest Alliance did with its clever and funny Follow the Frog video (1.4M views), it’s the modern equivalent of rallying the townspeople with pitchforks and torches to go get Frankenstein. Well, we are lazier now, so we click, like, retweet and share.

3. Engaging

One important thing to remember is that social media works best when it’s focused on helping people solve problems in their lives (both work and personal), not just pushing products and services. While this isn’t revolutionary, the problem is, that idea is often forgotten or misplaced.

Social media aren’t meant to be the world’s shortest press release. How often do you care about every little thing a company does? If people like your page, follow you on Twitter, get your email updates, and even flat out love your company, they all still need a break sometimes. Combine being helpful with not oversharing, like be there when we need you, and be memorable enough that your audiences think of you first even without daily reminders.

The common thing with these three themes is that outstanding content marketing really isn’t all about budgets or bandwidth, but the approach and how well you’re putting people first, with a creative twist. Start get cracking on that, and cut down on all of the crap.

Five Real Reasons Behind “The Price Is Too High” Objection

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It is not a secret that most consumers always complain that your price “is too high”. Unfortunately, it is usually just a tip of the iceberg. Ask the right questions and you’ll get the right answer.

Ask yourself this question: “Do your consumers see the value in what you are selling?” It’s up to you to dig deeper and uncover the real objection and find a solution to their concerns.

Of all the objections sales representatives get, the “price is too high” is still number one on the list. Imagine this: if you are going to buy a new car, a new house, or even a dinner out with the family, what’s the one common component of your own buying decisions? It’s your budget, isn’t it?

So it’s obvious that all of your prospects have a budget consideration as well. However, you need to be careful since the price objection doesn’t always mean that your prospect can’t afford it. In fact, the price objection is often the trickiest objection of all, which prospects often throw out to hide the real objection. The reason they use it is because it works. Again, everyone understands budget concerns because we all have them.

Expert PRs know how to go beyond this vague objection and reveal what the real objection is. Once you understand what the price objection really means, you will gain a unique insight into how to deal with and overcome it. In today’s post, you will learn five ‘hidden meanings’ your prospect want to cover when they tell you that your price is too high.

Let’s start our interpretation with:

1. They don’t see the value in what you are selling. Often when a prospect tells you that the price is too high, what they’re really saying is that based on what you’re telling them they’re getting, they don’t feel the spend is justified. This often means that you either:

  • Didn’t completely understand their buying motives and so didn’t show how your solution addresses them.
  • Didn’t build enough value in the results they are going to get as a result of making the purchase.

Solution: After you’ve clarified that this indeed the case, then it is up to you to go back and build that value by pitching specific points and tying them down to make sure your prospect sees and buys into the value.

2. They believe they can get it cheaper somewhere else. With the Internet making your solution available to nearly anyone – or, a solution your prospect thinks is the same – it’s difficult to compete on price.

Solution: The solution here is in first discovering that your prospect has another option in mind and then doing the straight forward comparison of “services for services.” This used to be called an “apples to apples” close and it’s still highly effective – if it’s presented correctly. The key, however, is to be able to determine whether that’s the issue and then use a properly worded script do the comparison.

3. They actually can get it cheaper somewhere else. This can seem difficult to at first handle, because after all if they can get it cheaper somewhere else, why wouldn’t they do it?

Solution: To answer this question, just ask yourself what motivates you to pay a premium for a product or service you know you could get less expensively elsewhere. Reasons can include:

  • Getting it from a more well-known source often means that handling any problems, questions or returns is easier.
  • Buying something from a person or company you respect or like is often another reason to go with a higher priced item.
  • Convenience: Sometimes it’s easier or less time consuming to buy a product or service from a source you know and trust – even if you have to pay a bit more.
  • Quality of product. Often times a knock off or generic product is available, but those sometimes don’t come with all the support, instructions, warranty, etc., that you can get buy paying a bit more from the manufacturer.
  • The only place your customer can get you – your knowledge, your customer support, your belief and your desire to stand behind your product and make any problems right – is by buying it from your company and doing business with you. This is a powerful buying reason and one sales reps routinely underestimate…

4. Most of times, prospects are not ready or willing to move forward with a purchase for a host of different reasons: If they are a business, then initiatives can change, or personnel changes, timing, scheduling, etc., also affect purchases. Or, for both individuals and companies, there can be multiple decision makers with different objectives, or prospects decide to keep looking or delay or postpone the decision for many other reasons as well. When prospects don’t want to reveal what is really stopping them from making a decision, they will often just throw out the price objection because it works. Revealing anything else would require an explanation, but saying it costs to much, or that they simply can’t afford it, usually gets sales people off their back.

Solution: The key here is to find a way to get your prospects to reveal what is really behind their decision not to buy and then effectively deal with that.

5. They actually can’t afford it. Sometimes the price objection is just as it sounds: your prospect can’t afford – or chooses not to afford – your product or service. If this turns out to be the case, then it’s something you should have addressed during qualifying.

Solution: Top producers always qualify for budget – among five other things – and they know in advance if a prospect can afford their solution. If you have qualified correctly in the beginning, and you still get the price objection, then you can be sure it’s a smokescreen hiding items one through four above.

Conclusion

As you can see, the price objection isn’t always about the price, but rather, it often means something else. Your job as a closer is to be prepared with a scripted approach to find out exactly what the real reason is, and so position yourself to overcome it.

Review is Good, Yet Purchasing It Will Kill Your Creativity

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Review keeps your customers informed about your business.

Recently, “premium” review has gained more popularity from certain businesses. However, it remains a serious issue and is being brought into focus by the popularity of global media.

Many media experts state premium reviews are murdering creativity. Channel integration is a difficult thing to do in practice, because it’s complex and very time-based. The similar thing is true in media. CEO of independent media agency Slingshot, Simon Rutherford, agreed that slashing costs to scoop business is not a wise move.

“Reducing your prices just to win pitches isn’t sustainable, and just puts your agency and staff into a bad position, because you have to start looking where you can recoup dollars before you even start,” Rutherford said. “We’re in the service industry, so it’s important that our clients value the service we provide and the agency can afford to provide a great service. No-one wins in a price war –not the client, not the agency and certainly not staff.”

The number of brands here and abroad that have called media reviews over the last few months has sparked waves of rumors as to why. However, announcements of such reviews keep on coming.

Some commentators speculate that many businesses won’t even result in accounts moving, yet will largely drive prices down. First dubbed as the “media-palooza” by overseas media and adopted by some here, local billings for media accounts up for grabs are said to be up to the $250 million mark. On the larger scale, this runs into billions, with estimates hovering around US$10 billion.

However, CEO of Match Media, John Preston, said many of these global clients haven’t reviewed for quite some time – firstly due to efficiency and secondly because the market has experienced immense change.

“They are spending an enormous amount of money on a global level, and can one agency partnership derive more financial return back to their business? That would be the procurement component” said Preston. “The second part is because the market has changed so much over the past three years and will continue to change, quite dramatically. I think what they [clients] are seeing is quite a significant volume of dollars shifting to digital, and specifically into programmatic, and that area of digital, data, technology, programmatic buying all wrapped into one, I believe, is confusing to a lot of the major clients around the world, in the sense that it’s not 100% transparent to them, in some cases.”

Preston said it’s something clients need more education around, adding that brands have to reignite trust with their agencies to ensure they are getting the best advice.

“So, probably what’s driving this is just a look around to see if there is a better informed agency, a better approach to technology, data and programmatic.”

Toyota: A Sirious Safety Message

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You might or might not aware of the fact that most people are using their smartphone while driving.

This is definitely a dangerous habit and it has to be reduced or stopped, if possible. Recently, one of the big names in the automobile business, Toyota, has been arranging certain radio ads in Sweden that aim to turn off your mobile iPhone via Siri. The ads take advantage of “Hey Siri” auto listening feature on iPhones. While you have to have your phone plugged in and have the “Hey Siri” feature activated (not standard), this is definitely an intriguing and creative move to raise awareness of the growing problem of drivers playing with their phones while driving. Take a look at the following video which explains the core concept behind this campaign.

 

June: The World’s First Intelligent Oven

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A smart oven for smart foodie lovers.

This is definitely a great news for  tech-loving-foodies. Meet June, the world’s first smart oven, where the more people that own it, the smarter it becomes. It’s an oven created by ex-apple employees, designed to be more powerful, smarter and more beautiful than all other ovens.

The countertop oven features Wi-Fi connectivity for software updates, an in-built digital scale, Nvidia processors as the brains, touchscreen interface, plus an HD digital camera that recognises food and automatically programs the oven how to cook it, perfectly. Take a look at the video below.

Bing Maps Now Able To Predict The Road Traffic

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Being one of Google’s toughest competitor, Bing has announced the wholesale redesign of its Maps tool.

In order to better compete against the competition, Bing Maps has been endowed with a wide variety of new features, including new search and personalization capabilities. One of the most useful updates for consumers is the ability to see reviews and photos from partner websites like Yelp directly on Bing Maps when searching a specific company or business. What’s more, to help reduce drive time, Bing Maps now enables users to input the day and time they plan to leave, and using predictive technology, it will show them how long it will take to get there, enabling them to change their route in advance of their travels.

Other new capabilities improved street-side views, the ability to discover venues along the users route as well as the ability to share their destination and travel plans with others.

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“When we set out to redesign Bing Maps, we listened to a lot of user feedback. People using a variety of map sites, from a variety of countries, told us what they love about, and what they struggle with when using map services. We heard that people want one experience that brings together the best content in one view, that fully reflects what they are planning, not just their last search. Users want a map experience that is fast and easy to use, and makes the most of the visually rich data that maps can bring to life.”

Ten Essential Tips to Build A Better Website

 

A website is the spearhead of your company’s online marketing strategy. It provides the first impression of your company to your customers and prospects. However, crafting a good website is somewhat easy once you know several fundamental principles. By making a few simple adjustments, you can make a wonderful website that attracts visitors, converts prospects into paying consumers, and helps you to grow your business on the next level.

Here are ten fundamentals you should include on your site:

1. Invitation To Friend / Follow and Subscription On Social Media

Social media is more than a trend that you can use to build a fanbase. It is as important as the website itself, and just having a social media “presence” is not enough. You must let people know you are active on social media by inviting them to interact. There are many ways to accomplish this. The simplest way is by adding an invitation button like “Follow me on Twitter” and include a link to your page.

2. Professional Quality Logo/Header

The world of Internet marketing is vast and competitive. While you can create your own blog header, you should probably leave it to the professionals. Make an investment in your brand and your business by creating a strong, relevant header and logo to reflect your business.

3. Simplicity

Make sure your visitors can find their way around your website in a quick and easy way. If you are not sure about how to accomplish this, then study websites that you visit often. Notice how they guide you through the site. Do they provide cushioned navigation tabs? Does the flow of the site seem logical? Is there a search function so you can head directly to the page or information you’re looking for?

4. Interaction / Comments

Your website should be able to invite visitors to comment on your articles and blog posts. One of the best ways to not only measure engagement, but to also create it, is to take a look at the level of interaction on your site. If you are using WordPress, you can manage the comment section by turning it on and off. You can also allow comments for a specific period of time. Engage them in conversation and invite interaction and comments. Do these and you will build a loyal community of customers in no time.

5. Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking not only adds value to your visitors and prospects, but also helps boost your traffic and brand awareness. By adding a social bookmarking function to your site, your visitors can bookmark using the bookmarking service of their choice. There are several top quality WordPress plugins that make social bookmarking easy. You can add buttons for the primary sites like Digg, Delicious and Reddit. When someone bookmarks your site it’s added to their account, where other users can browse, vote, and share.

6. Good Quality Content

This is the most important thing you can do to have your site hit the top. Make a good quality content. Make sure they are daily updated and topical. You’re not creating content about something that happened five years ago or even five months ago. You’re creating content about what’s going on right now. And catchy content varies depending on your niche and your audience.

Consider the voice and style you want to communicate to your readers. Are you serious kinda guy? Funny? Controversial? What makes your content interesting, different, and valuable to your reader?

7. Article Archives

This function is particularly important if you have a blog or other WordPress based website. Make finding information easy for your visitors by creating archives. Archives are essentially directories for old content.

No one wants to search through page after page of old content just to find something they’re looking for. They want to be able to find what they need with a few clicks of their mouse. Use keywords that accurately describe the subject of the content to organize your archives.

8. Search Field

It doesn’t matter what the foundation is for your website – Joomla or WordPress or anything in between – it is important to make it fully usable by anyone who visits. One of the simple tools you can use to make this happen is a simple search field. It was briefly mentioned in Item #3 above, where navigation was discussed. There are different search tools you can use.

For example, Custom Search Plugin is a WordPress plugin that allows you to create custom searches. Maybe you want people to be able to search for quotes or tips on your site. You can use this tool to add functionality to your website and to help separate your business site from your competition.

9. Inquiry Form

What do you want people to do when they’re at your site and they have a question? You might already have a FAQ page (hopefully you do), but what if the answer to a visitor’s question isn’t on that page? Ideally, you want your visitor to be able to reach out and ask their question. This keeps them engaged and connected to your business.

To make this happen, it has to be easy for them to contact you. One of the simplest ways to accomplish this is to have a contact form or an inquiry form on your site. They enter their email address, subject line, and ask their question. You or your customer service assistant receives the message and can promptly respond.

10. FAQ Page

Including an FAQ page on your website helps make it more user friendly. Create a list of the most common questions you receive and turn it into a separate page on your site. Make sure that like all your other valuable pages, this FAQ page is easy to find and read. As you receive more questions, you can add to the page. Also, consider occasionally linking to other important internal pages. This can accomplish two things simultaneously: first, it can help keep your visitor on your website longer, and at the same time it can help to boost the rankings for the page you’re linking to.

Reddit Admits That They Are Literally “Screwed Up”

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Reddit just admitted that it has just officially screwed up. Not just over the firing of Reddit community manager Victoria Taylor on Friday, but also for not listening to the community over the past several years.

Volunteer Reddit moderators systematically shut down threads in protest after hearing of Taylor’s dismissal last week. Many said she was the only moderator who got them and communicated with them during Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” interviews.

Interim CEO Ellen Pao posted an apology to the Reddit community today with the following message:

We screwed up. Not just on July 2, but also over the past several years. We haven’t communicated well, and we have surprised moderators and the community with big changes. We have apologized and made promises to you, the moderators and the community, over many years, but time and again, we haven’t delivered on them. When you’ve had feedback or requests, we haven’t always been responsive. The mods and the community have lost trust in me and in us, the administrators of reddit.

Today, we acknowledge this long history of mistakes. We are grateful for all you do for reddit, and the buck stops with me.

Pao goes on with a promise to improve – and not just in words, but in deeds by appointing u/deimorz and u/weffey to work with team moderators for building and improving tools moderators need. Pao also appointed u/krispykrackers as a moderator advocate and said she would add the option for moderators to default to the old search, enabling moderators to stay updated on existing workflows.

“We’re also going to figure out the best way for more administrators, including myself, to talk more often with the whole community,” writes Pao.

True to Reddit, the community responded with demands in the comments below the post – many of them negative, though some thanking Pao for making the effort.

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Clic to Enlarge

 One interesting part of the apology is that Pao does not specifically comment on the firing of Taylor or anything she might do surrounding the action that originally led to this uproar.

Google Photos Has Categorised An African-Americans Couple Picture As “Gorillas”

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The latest photo and video management service from Google has inappropriately labeled a picture of African-Americans couple as “gorillas”.

Google has became one of the most powerful companies on Earth. It has developed some of the best algorithms in the world for organising information. However, a recent incident shows the failure of technology when it doesn’t work as expected.

Jacky Alcine, a Web developer who is black, tweeted about Google Photos app that labeled a picture of him and a friend as “gorillas”. The label showed up in a feature that automatically categorizes photos, like cars or beaches, so they are more easily searchable.

google-photos-gorillas-incident

This incident points to the problem of tech companies face as computers get smarter and are expected to take on more more tasks a human normally would do. Those areas of computer science – such as artificial intelligence or machine learning – are some of the biggest engineering focuses in Silicon Valley. However, with that focus comes another task that computers have not traditionally tackled: emotional sensitivity.

After Google noticed the incident with Alcine’s photo, the company apologized with a promise to fix it immediately.

“Lots of work being done, and lots still to be done. We’re very much on it.” said Yonatan Zunger, chief architect of social at Google in one of his tweet.

Google also released an official apology. ”We’re appalled and genuinely sorry that this happened,” said a Google spokeswoman. “There is still clearly a lot of work to do with automatic image labeling, and we’re looking at how we can prevent these types of mistakes from happening in the future.”

Five Inspiring Life Lessons From Steve Jobs For Aspiring Entrepreneurs

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Steve Jobs might never launched two of the most valuable companies (Apple and Pixar) if he follows the conventional rules all the time.

Jobs has struggled through many obstacles to get Apple and Pixar off the ground. However, Jobs had a unique way of crafting his own reality, a “distortion field” that could persuade people that his personal beliefs were actually facts, which is how he pushed his companies forward. He also utilised a mixture of manipulative tricks to ascertain his victories.

Many consider Jobs a genius, yet there’s no reason we could all learn a thing or two from his tactics.

In today’s post, we will explore five important points that Steve Jobs has done throughout his career. His life and working ethic is inspirational and every serious entrepreneurs should take note. Here is the first wisdom words from the man himself:

1. “Work hard, and others will respect you. Respect is a crucial first step to getting what you want.”

By 1996, Apple had a serious issue: it was pinning its hopes on a new operating system that wasn’t and wouldn’t even solve Apple’s needs. So it looked for a partner to build a more stable operating system: in the end, it came down to two companies: a company started by Jean-Louis Gassée called ‘Be,’ and NeXT, Jobs’ computer company that was struggling at the time.

When it came time for the two companies to pitch to Apple, Gassée acted too nonchalant, whereas Jobs didn’t hold back. Amelio described Steve’s sales pitch on the NeXT operating system as ‘dazzling. He praised the virtues and strengths as though he were describing a performance of Olivier as Macbeth.’

When Jobs eventually returned to Apple and he was still leading Pixar, he says he worked from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. He suffered from kidney stones. However, he insisted on motivating both companies by consistently showing up and pushing people to make the best products possible, and they respected him for it.

2. “Pitch with passion. People can be influenced by strong displays of emotion.”

Pitching was a key part of Jobs’ repertoire, and it should be part of yours, too. The process of selling — yourself, or a product — is the key to getting others to buy into your ideas.

In a pitch to the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, Jobs wanted to show off everything iTunes could do — he was recruiting musicians at the time in hopes of corralling the record labels into going along with the iTunes plan. Marsalis said Jobs talked for two hours. ‘He was a man possessed,’ he said. ‘After a while, I started looking at him and not the computer, because I was so fascinated with his passion.’

He also pitched his marketing gurus with a similar passion, to ‘ensure that almost every ad they produced was infused with his emotion.’

3. “Disarm people with seduction and flattery.”

Whether they’re working for you, or you’re working for them, people continually seek approval for their actions so they respond very well to affection. And if you keep giving it to them, they will eventually crave it from you. From Isaacson’s biography:

‘Jobs could seduce and charm people at will, and he liked to do so. People such as (former Apple CEOs) Amelio and Sculley allowed themselves to believe that because Jobs was charming them, it meant that he liked and respected them. It was an impression that he sometimes fostered by dishing out insincere flattery to those hungry for it. But Jobs could be charming to people he hated just as easily as he could be insulting to people he liked.’

4. “Claim all the good ideas are yours — and if you’re reversing your position, get behind the new idea with full force. Memories of the past can be easily manipulated.”

Jobs wasn’t right all the time, but he was a master at convincing people he was. So how did he do it? He stood firmly in one position, and if your position was actually better than his, he wouldn’t just acknowledge it: He’d adopt your position as his own, which would throw you off balance since he wouldn’t let you know he ever thought differently.

Bud Tribble, a former Mac engineer, had this to say in Jobs’ biography:

‘Just because he tells you something that is awful or great, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll feel that way tomorrow. If you tell him a new idea, he’ll usually tell you that he thinks it’s stupid. But then, if he actually likes it, exactly one week later, he’ll come back to you and propose your idea to you, as if he thought of it.’

An example: When Apple decided to open retail stores for its products, Jobs’ retail SVP Ron Johnson came up with the idea of a ‘Genius Bar,’ which would be staffed ‘with the smartest Mac people.’ At first, Jobs called the idea crazy. ‘You can’t call them geniuses. They’re geeks,’ he said. ‘They don’t have the people skills to deliver on something called the genius bar.’ The next day, Apple’s general counsel was told to trademark the name ‘genius bar.’

5. “Make decisions quickly and definitively. You can change things later.”

Unlike other companies, Apple rarely considered studies, surveys and research when it came time to making new products. It was also rare for a major decision to take months worth of meetings; Jobs tended to get bored easily and was quick to go with his gut.

In the case of the first iMacs, Jobs immediately decided Apple would release the new computers in multiple colours. Jony Ive, Apple’s chief of design, said ‘in most places that decision would have taken months. Steve did it in a half hour.’

On the same computer, Jon Rubinstein tried to argue that the iMac should come with a CD tray; but Jobs detested CD trays and he really wanted a high-end slot drive. On that particular decision, Jobs was wrong — burning music could only be accomplished on CD trays, and as that trend took off, the first round of iMacs were left behind. But since Jobs was able to make quick decisions, the first iMacs shipped on time, and the second-generation desktops included the CD drive that could rip and burn music, which was the necessary peg Apple needed to launch iTunes and the iPod.