in progress… check back in soon ;-p
Let me first give you a bit of background. The story starts 198 weeks ago, according to Instagram. This was the first photo I’d ever uploaded, and I thought it was pretty great at the time. 5 likes, not a bad result for a first post huh?
All was well in the land of Instagram.
Why I don’t use Instagram as a Social Network
A considerable amount of time has passed (almost 4 years) between now and the Instagram user I once was. This blog post is completely opinion-based. I am fully aware of the benefits of Instagram from a business standpoint and know it can be extremely effective if done correctly.
My top 3 reasons for disliking Instagram…
Follow me and I will follow you back 🙂
Ever had this said to you before? Or even worse, you’ve had this said to you, you’ve gone ahead and followed the person, and they haven’t followed you back? This sort of behaviour is what really grinds my gears. Along with the whole ‘followers to following’ ratio, who gets to decide what a ‘good’ ratio is and why should I care? I’ll leave this one here because I’m starting to get worked up…
Why does my photo need to look perfect?
This is something that’s often criticised throughout Instagram. Everything needs to look perfect and show your best side. As far as I’m concerned, this leads to being fake. If you’re reading this, I want you to stop and think of how long, on average, it takes you to upload a photo to Instagram. This includes taking the ‘perfect’ photo (2 minutes), applying the most suitable filter (30 seconds), creating the ‘perfect’ caption (2 minutes) and determining the most relevant hashtags (30 seconds). This is 5 minutes down the drain, and I bet it sometimes takes even longer.
How do kids get so many Instagram followers?
This point comes to mind from something I experienced at the 2016 Australian Open of Tennis. Here I was, watching 2 of Australia’s top tennis players, fighting it out for a position in the semi-finals. I look below me to the row in front where a family of 4 sits in awe of the game. Although not everyone was watching, the youngest daughter was glued to her iPhone. What was she doing you ask? She was browsing through the Instagram discovery tool. She was selecting a photo of someone she most likely has no connection with, liking their photo, pressing the back button and repeating. This process went on for at least 10 minutes. Within this time, there were multiple incredible rallies.
Well if not Instagram, then what?
If you’re in agreement with any points mentioned, and want to make the transition to a more genuine form of social media, I highly recommend Snapchat. Why? Because of the following:
- No one gives a damn about how many followers/friends you have. This information isn’t publicly available, so there is no popularity contest.
- Photos and Videos look like shit, so everyones on the same level. If you don’t understand this point, then maybe stick to Instagram.
- In my mind, when someone selects my Snapchat story to watch, this is considered a ‘like’. After all, everyone I have on Snapchat are my friends anyway, so why not?
The best thing about Social Media is staying in contact with friends and having fun… let’s not let this get out of hand.
Lesson 1: Listen to your customers
This week I checked the #portionperfection on Instagram to see what the latest tags for products had been. A lady by the name of Danielle had posted a before and after picture displaying the amount of weight she’d lost. I also noticed that she regularly used Portion Perfection products and has been posting on the same account meals she had been eating. I then asked her if she would mind the brand sharing the photo on our Facebook page, she agreed :).
Lesson 2: When giving a CTA, tell your followers exactly what you want them to do
Lesson 3: Always make your story 100% accurate and relevant to your audience
People aren’t stupid. They know when you’ve posted something clearly to receive high engagement. This is why I incorporated some pictures of Portion Perfection products being used, and directed people to the Instagram account where all images could be discovered.
*Danielle received 25 new Instagram followers from this post and we are planning to send her several gifts in the mail as congratulations for her amazing weight loss effort and for responding to all the lovely comments on our post.
This has been something that I’ve been interested in for some time now. No one seems to have a definitive answer. Even the Moz community is up in the air about which is the correct move.
The brand ‘Portion Perfection’ has two websites: https://www.greatideas.net.au and http://www.portionperfection.com.au. The latter is a branding website and Great Ideas is the current version. It has been suggested that keeping portionperfection.com.au is a smart move in terms of receiving a different stream of traffic through referrals instead of all through other channels such as organic, direct, email or paid. This strategy is ideal for those who are afraid of being penalised by Google and being cut off from receiving their main source of traffic (organic).
Each websites strength has been analysed using the Moz Open Site Explorer tool.
www.greatideas.net.au (eCommerce website – Magento)
Spam score: 1/17
Linking Root Domains: 53
Total Links: 280
FB shares: 23
FB likes: 8
www.portionperfection.com.au (blogging template website – WordPress)
Spam score: 2/17
Linking Root Domains: 13
Total Links: 80
FB shares: 55
FB likes: 4
Google Analytics Comparison
Bounce Rate: 47.76% (industry avg. = <45%) – above the average, still acceptable however.
Avg. Session Duration: 3’34
Bounce Rate: 45.26% (industry avg. = <45%) – good percentage.
Avg. Session Duration: 3’50
Bounce Rate: 79.43% (industry avg. = <45%) – holy shit, very high.
Avg. Session Duration: 0’48 (get me the f outta here)
Bounce Rate: 70.92% (industry avg. = <45%) – better than all traffic, still shite though.
Avg. Session Duration: 1’21
Referral traffic from portionperfection.com.au to greatideas.net.au
greatideas.net.au is getting good referral traffic and sales from portionperfection.com.au. The bounce rate on portionperfection.com.au is ridiculously high (79.43% overall). This is a terrible reflection on the brand and I believe greatideas.net.au is losing customers who aren’t patient enough to click through. Redirect.
So I’ve been travelling for the past month around Europe with my lovely girlfriend Phoebe. The adventure started with a week in Italy relaxing eating olives and drinking fine vino to hiring a car on the eastern side and travelling many miles to see some incredible places. Here’s an image that encapsulates the amount of stress I experienced while away (zero).
All holidays must come to an end unfortunately. This isn’t a bad thing though, as I no longer have Uni assignments and dreadful lectures ahead. All those days spent wishing I could learn only the stuff I’m actually going to use in my life are also over. I now have all the time in the world to focus on what I enjoy most… and hopefully get paid for it sooner rather than later.
What am I doing now (apart from writing a blog post for a non-existent reader)? I’m getting myself prepared to apply for grad positions at some of Brisbane’s top Digital Marketing agencies. First step is to get the ‘experience’ section filled out on the Resume – check. Next is to start writing my objectives and fill out every other section, an arduous process where you’re trying to find the balance between not exaggerating your abilities and selling yourself short. I’ve decided I don’t want my CV to be like any old run-of-the-mill application, so I’ve employed my graphic designer friend to get to work on a unique design that I’m proud to put my name on.
I’ll try not to bore you with any more CV talk from now on. I’d like to finish this post with an image of my framed grad certificate above the toilet.
I’ve always wanted to perform a split test on changes I’ve made to website’s but didn’t have the faintest idea of where to start. Upon surfing the interwebz one evening I stumbled across Visual Website Optimiser, claiming to be the world’s easiest A/B testing tool. I decided to give it a shot. Here are the results:
Client: greatideas.net.au – an ecommerce site for a Dietitian store, Great Ideas in Nutrition, located in Coolangatta on the Gold Coast. Website primarily used for appointment setting, selling products and general information about the products and business owner.
Page: Home Page greatideas.net.au
Optimisation Goal: Increase number of signups/new members.
On first glance, the sign-up form is well-positioned on the page and the business offers a free resource received upon submission. There are also some terrible components of the form that stick out like a sore thumb for me. The dark headline and lack of description of what you’re actually getting from giving your all-so-precious email address. I wasn’t being sarcastic either, personally I’m scarred from being bombarded by spammy emails minutes after sign up, where’s my assurance? It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. To be successful the form needs to communicate both value and relevance.
A/B Test Hypothesis and Treatment A
Before creating the treatment, I did a great deal of research on what does and doesn’t convert. I found there to be countless case studies out there, claiming they had the magic bullet (I imagine that it’s truly dependent upon the industry you’re in and who your target audience is). However, all seemed to agree that I needed to get rid of the words ‘subscribe’ and ‘submit’ ASAP, among other things. Here’s what I came up with:
- A descriptive headline that tells the customer exactly what I want them to do, emphasising ‘free’ and using ‘today’.
- This section took a lot of consulting with the owner. This is essentially the USP section of the product. I added the amount of people who have viewed the product as an extra assurance that it is something that has been widely used.
- Form boxes have increased in size, with addition of ‘Best’ in front of ‘E-mail*’ to communicate that this is an important step and that we value their details.
- Light orange seems be what is generally agreed as the best converting colour for buttons. I think ‘FREE ACCESS’ as the CTA is most effective also.
- What’s the biggest issue people have with submitting their email address online? – having their details sold to unsolicited companies. The padlock icon along with the statement ‘We respect your privacy’ attempts to counteract the fear.
- Originally I was going to go with a simple white background, after realising it looked unbearably bland, I went with a subtle patterned grey.
Test Results and Validations
I ran the test for 14 days and reached a sample size of 2098 visitors, and 34 conversions. The standard error was 0% and the statistical confidence was 99%. Throughout the duration of the test, the Treatment outperformed the control. The Treatment increased sign-ups by 30.21%.
I know there are more than likely other minor tweaks that could quite easily turn my 30% to 60%. I will continue to test and optimise different elements to maximise results. Now that the test is over, I will start testing alternate headlines against each other to see which performs best.
1. The Moz Blog
Moz is my most used Marketing resource in staying up-to-date in the ever-changing world of SEO. Any article authored by Rand Fishkin, Cyrus Shepard, or Dr. Peter J. Meyers adheres to the DEAR acronym ‘drop everything and read’. Even for those days when you’re feeling too lazy to read an extensive blog post, Rand Fishkin will be there weekly to supply you with a 10 minute Whiteboard Friday video tutorial to watch. I’ve recently made a Moz account of my own, and am making a concerted effort to contribute to the communities discussion forum.
2. I Love Marketing Podcast
The I love Marketing Podcast helps me immensely. The creators Joe Polish and Dean Jackson (Joe would prefer this name ordering) are two altruistic/philanthropic Entrepreneurs that regularly record free Marketing podcasts. Joe started off as a dead-broke carpet cleaner who used drugs as an escape from his grim reality, creating a highly profitable business using the internet to distribute a free report to assist the sales process. Dean was originally a Realtor who discovered Direct Response Marketing as an alternative to cold calling which revolutionised his view on selling. Both have a bucket load of experience across many industries, along with countless high profile connections as guests on the show. There are almost 200 episodes to date, with each lasting approx. 1 hour. So far I’ve listened to around 100 of these episodes in the last 2 years. They say it takes 10,000 hours to become a pro, I guess that’s 100 hours accounted for…
My favourite quotes from the show.
Marketing: “Finding someone with a need and getting them to know, like and trust you”.
Sales: “The best way to sell to people is to educate them on how to make a buying decision”.
3. Seth Godin’s Blog
Seth’s Blog, I believe, is the most popular Marketing blog ever. Delivered daily to your inbox, Seth provides short and concise Marketing thoughts and theories. Seth must have a gigantic list of mail contacts (rightfully so) as this is his primary method of distributing his information – I bet the open rates are through the roof too. His posts are always extremely insightful and I like that they can be applied to almost any real world situation.
4. Gary Vaynerchuk’s Youtube Channel
Gary has now mastered Youtube, with the newly-created #AskGaryVee Show where he upload’s a clip every few days, filmed inside his very own office at Vayner Media in the US. Gary uses the platform to connect with the ‘Vayner Nation’ with questions they might be having on a plethora of Marketing related topics. I use this resource to maintain my motivation and energy levels throughout the week, because as we all know, Gary has more than enough of his own to share around.
Upon finishing a 6-month stint at my first job in Marketing as an Intern at a leading Digital Marketing Agency in Brisbane, I asked for any advice from the owner about how to get from where I am (internet marketing newbie) to where I want to be (lord of the internet, master of all things digital). Three things suggested were:
- I should be reading a business/marketing related book at least every month, retaining 80% of the principles.
- Have 3 blogs that I check daily to stay on top of the latest trends.
- Grow a badass beard so I fit the profile of a marketing wiz (also so I don’t look 12 anymore).
Today’s post will be covering No.1; No.2 & 3 will be addressed in future posts.
To kick things off I’ll be starting with a book by Michael E. Gerber. Author of what’s known as perhaps the most influential business book of all time, ‘E-Myth Revisited’, Gerber has crafted a just as impactful follow-up with ‘E-Myth Mastery’. The text discusses the importance of an Entrepreneurial mindset when working for any organisation. Gerber identifies 7 essential skills for successful business operation with training modules included in each section to concrete learning.
- Lead Conversion
- Lead Generation
- Client Fulfillment
The book reflects on a story about a woman named Sarah and her bakery called All About Pies, a client of Gerber’s. Throughout he applies the principles to her business, creating better understanding for the reader.
Key takeaways from the text are:
- The smart entrepreneur works on their business not in their business.
- Focus on continual improvement across the 7 disciplines to provide a world-class service to your clients.
- Although I didn’t have a business of my own at the time of reading, I can see that to implement the training Gerber has laid out needs discipline and persistence. I plan to re-read in the future and apply the modules to my own start-up.
The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris definitely deserves a notable mention. Ferris is all about escaping the office 9-5 by putting systems in place for managing and working on your own terms. One of the best books out there for helping to break out of the routine way of thinking about your job.
It’s nice to think that there are people out there like Ferris who are trying to promote a healthy work and family life whilst still being able to hit their business targets.
Key takeaways from this book:
- You don’t need to make millions to live the life many dream about – “don’t work your ass off just so you can enjoy your retirement”.
- Use time management techniques to increase productivity.
- Try to negotiate remote working arrangements with your employer on certain days; provide undeniable proof that the new system increases your productivity.
- Slash work hours by delegating, outsourcing, and automating your business (can be interpreted badly by some J).
I’ve applied my knowledge from this text by becoming a self-taught SEO freelancer, working from home in Brisbane for a client in Coolangatta on the Gold Coast.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic approach to solving personal and professional problems. It’s basically a self-help book for being better in life. Referred by a reliable contact of mine, this is the greatest self-improvement book I have read and should be used as a personal bible for all. Note: it needs to be revisited and revised.
Excellent illustrations are used throughout to support the principles taught – The 7 Habits:
Habit 1: Be Proactive
– Principles of Personal Vision
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
– Principles of Personal Leadership
Habit 3: Put First Things First
– Principles of Personal Management
Habit 4: Think Win/Win
– Principles of Interpersonal Leadership
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
– Principles of Empathic Communication
Habit 6: Synergise
– Principles of Creative Cooperation
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
– Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal
Key takeaways from this book:
- Use the habits to move from dependence to independence and ultimately interdependence, the healthiest form of interaction to build a life around.
- Accept your situation, good or bad, and improve it by simply adding the usual habits that one normally tends to ignore.
- Favourite quote: “But until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise.”
I’ve applied my knowledge from this text by attempting to keep at least 3 of the 7 principles in mind at all times. I’m currently practicing habits 1, 5 & 7 daily.
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie, first written back in 1936, displays a profound view on understanding others behaviors by teaching you skills to communicate effectively with others. Despite its manipulative sounding title, the book is about genuinely improving social skills and winning people over to your ideas. The book focuses on sincerity; with identification that the principles taught will work only when they come from the heart.
There are 3 main points highlighted for dealing with people:
- Don’t critisise, condemn, or complain
- Give honest and sincere appreciation
- Arouse in the other person an eager want
Key takeaways from this book:
- Be nice to others and try to put yourself in their shoes
- Importance of charisma, general rounding out one’s personality, and finding ways to get responsiveness from people by making them feel good.
- Favourite quote: “It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”
Since reading this book I’ve made an effort to change my reactions/interactions with co-workers at my current place of employment by putting myself in their shoes.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk tries to address the problem of companies attempting to tell their story in a noisy, chaotic, social media world while not being heard. The book provides are large collection of case studies on how to leverage social media platforms to optimize you online brand presence. It’s great to see a comparison between good and bad forms of online promotion with Gary giving well-rounded critiques.
I’ve grown up being an early adopter of new social platforms and feel I know all quite well, this book however has given me a far better understanding of the intended purpose of each.
Key takeaways from this book:
- Forcing myself to sign-up to platforms that I didn’t think were useful just to experience and understand them better – has proven to be beneficial.
- Pinterest is an interesting one; I don’t know anyone who’s using it seriously, although it’s usage is increasing exponential for middle-aged women, something to keep in mind if I ever have a client in that market.
- Am starting to use Snapchat a lot more than usual, I like the minimal capabilities and lack of advertisement.
- Google+ is one to look out for, often overlooked although can pay major dividends if managed correctly.
- Favourite quote: “The incredible brand awareness and bottom-line profits achievable through social media marketing require hustle, heart, sincerity, constant engagement, long-term commitment, and most of all, artful and strategic storytelling”.
This book has made me pay closer attention to new social trends by constantly reading about developments. It has also given me a restored faith in the medium for selling and a personal passion for being ahead of the curve.
The New Digital Age by Eric Schmidt & Jared Cohen is a collaboration of two leading thinkers in the tech world that grant us their insights into what’s in store for the future. Both outline throughout the text what’s awaiting us in the coming decades, which gives a good perspective of how Google thinks, with Schmidt being the Executive Chairman of Google and Cohen as Director of Google Ideas.
The text is very important for anyone who regularly depends on information and communication technologies in their day-to-day lives (virtually everyone under 40 in the developed world).
There are 3 sides to the impact of future technology outlined in the book:
- Empowered citizens can use technology to expose wrongdoing and gather support
- Empowered governments can use technology to monitor and repress behavior it deems unacceptable
- Empowered saboteurs can use technology to frame and discredit targets with falsified data.
Key takeaways from this book:
- Huge changes will be undergone driven by technology and internet in the future
- Politics will be altered (physical and cyber/affairs should be conducted in parallel) and the technological/information battle will intensify
- Almost all business distribution will move to online, with services such as Kiva & Kickstarter prospering
- Technological penetration will lead to equalization of opportunities, making both easy to damage/terror, but enabling to better track history and testify misconducts
This book has made me pay closer attention to online security issues, knowing that in the future it will be a major issue for all organisation’s, with underground communities of Hackers travelling to Europe just to get an education on how to take down Government systems. Also the implications for mine and the next generation, with every click, blog and comment we are unknowingly ‘branding’ ourselves.
Life’s a Pitch by Stephen Bayley & Roger Mavity is a partly an inspiring manual for business and also a guidebook to a successful and happy social life. The pitches within are presented through two perspectives; involving technical details and subjective impressions. The book shows how every transaction in life involves the emotions, whether you’re pitching as an employee, getting a mortgage or socialising to win over peers.
The book focuses on boosting confidence in high-pressure situations with an emphasis on interviews. I personally haven’t taken it serious enough to be a step-by-step guide although I have however tried to apply some of the tips in my life. For instance, I have used a recommendation mentioned about when trying to convince someone to go somewhere with you in a social setting. Along with asking them to join me in doing something I feel may be fun, I have extended this pitch to add a mention of an attribute that I know they will find beneficial. I have found this to be far more effective than simply asking to join.
3 main points emphasised in the text are:
- Impressions are the most important thing in the pitch for a job interview. They are important, but not to the exclusion of what you can deliver – which is part of the impression
- Clothes define the person wearing them. Good presentation and the right clothes for the right occasion are important, although in the real world this branding doesn’t make the person.
- Self-esteem comes from pure self-belief. Not to be misinterpreted as self-delusion. Secure self-esteem comes from achievement, which enables the building of competence and confidence.
Key takeaways from the book:
- Keep it simple. Have the confidence to keep it clean. “The simpler your idea and the simpler your presentation of it, then the more likely you are to emerge the winner”.
- Have a simple, powerful summary at the end of the pitch.
- Structure it from high to detail. ‘Exposition, development, recapitulation”.
- Never read a slide in a presentation – tell them the key point that the slide makes.
Will definitely refer back to this book before any important presentations to ensure these takeaways are fresh in my mind.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill was originally published in 1937, drawing on stories of Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and other millionaires of his time to illustrate his principles. The book is basically about convincing yourself to become wealthy by outlining steps you need to take and steps you need to avoid. Hill explains that 99% of the public has no goal in life and that is why they are stuck in jobs they do not want. He also identifies how most people do not succeed until they are older, in fact, most success does not come until about 40 year old.
Hill spent 20 years researching and interviewing every great name of the day, plus lots of other people who failed with the result being this book. There is one single point that the text tries to hammer into the readers head: Success comes from knowing what you want to achieve and having a burning desire to achieve it.
Favourite quote: “The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat”.
Key takeaways in the text:
- You can’t get something for nothing: “there is but one dependable method for accumulating, and legally holding riches, and that is by rendering useful service”.
- “Riches begin in the form of thought”. – Desire, believe, act, and persist is advised.
- Wishing will not bring riches. But desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence which does not recognize failure, will bring riches.
- Every thing, action, circumstance, failure, or success is spawned by one – thought. It is your thoughts and the way you develop and guide your thoughts that will bring you to wherever you want to be.
The biggest thing I got out of this book is motivation to make a difference.
How To Talk To Absolutely Anyone by Mark Rhodes addresses improving people skills and becoming a people-person as a surefire route to success, happiness, and confidence. The book uses examples of using strangers as ‘guinea pigs’ to test your communication skills to get better outcomes.
Rhodes describes the 4 stages of an interaction:
Stage 1: your outcome and starting a conversation
Stage 2: creating curiosity and interest
Stage 3: making a connection and being understood
Stage 4: get them to take action
Key takeaway from the book:
- Every conversation could be the start of something new; a new career, a new business idea or a new friendship. When you clam up in public, you close off all of those opportunities as if they never existed.
The book was an easy read with little complex content although still powerfully simple. The main thing I’ve taken on board is for networking events in the future. Starting the conversation with: “So, what do you do to keep yourself busy during the week”, compared to “What do you do at work”. Opens up the conversation to become more personal.
Steve Jobs biography by Karen Blumenthal is one that I picked up with the intention of just finding out more about the man who started Apple. The book takes you to the core of the legendary man and also explores the evolution of computers.
It talks about how one adopted youth who was a hippie for many years built the first Apple computer in his parents’ basement.
I liked the Marketing aspect of the text, showing how Apple has lead the way in innovation through their unique and profound marketing campaigns. For instance, Apple’s “Think Different” campaign (which ran both in print and on TV) didn’t try to sell a specific product. Instead it celebrated creativity by linking the Apple brand name to extraordinary people.
Favourite quote: “Your time is limited…have the courage to follow your heart and intuition”.
I hope you enjoyed my pick of business books. I feel this selection is represents my taste in non-fiction literature accurately. I took each photo of the books on my iPhone to prove I do in fact own all – bought with my own cash money.