Here’s another cool lesson I learned from skimming through the web, reading authority blogs. When I first started to blog, I wasn’t educated in online marketing so I had to rely on many resources to get the information I needed. However, I consider myself a reasonably smart person and my track record has proven it over the years. I’ve attended university and specialized in other areas afterward. Next, people have come to me for consulting because they trust my opinion and I know what has to be done to become successful online
However, there are those who are getting involved in the industry without having any knowledge about the business. They’re NOT super smart and find themselves at a cross-roads because they think you have to be “super smart” to be successful online. I’m here to tell you this is NOT true and anyone can be successful by leveraging what they have available. The MOST important thing is you don’t have to be smart, but simply creative to implement a successful marketing strategy. Here’s something else…
As a blogger, if you can perform a “search”, then that’s all you really need to find the resources to help you learn the fundamentals. Again, you don’t have to be “SMART”, but “CREATIVE” to succeed in online marketing.
Let’s look at a few “CREATIVE” factors that play a role in online success. Some of these cool tips are provided by Neil Patel from QuickSprout.com
Tip 1 – Bug Experienced Bloggers
You might have NO experience but you know many others do, so why not get them to help? When I needed help with affiliate marketing, I started by doing a quick search online and created a list of the influential players in the niche. I went through contacting them, going over what I needed. I asked them for FREE knowledge and what it would take to keep this networking going so I could count on them the next time I needed help.
Many of them were willing to help me for FREE, but some asked for content and to mention their names when I published content. The point is, it doesn’t take a genius to think of this strategy because all you have to do is be a little creative in your approach. If you want to implement this strategy, then start by:
Doing a “targeted” search
Creating a list of bloggers
Doing a quick outreach
Implement the strategy
Tip 2 – Enroll In A Course
If you can do a simple search for your niche, then you won’t have any problems locating courses to teach you what you need to know. Depending on your budget, you can even hire individual bloggers for independent coaching, which I see many people doing now.
However, you have to be specific about what you’re trying to learn. For example, you should hire a SEO blogger if you’re trying to learn optimization. You can also approach a SEO company, asking them to work on a project and paying them extra for them to teach you about the process. However, SEO companies are reluctant about showing you their strategy because this goes against their entire business model.
Tip 3 – Network with Experts
Once you start building momentum in the industry, you’ll open up more opportunities for yourself. You’ll be invited to more marketing events and will be able to network with other bloggers. At this point, you can be creative in the way you approach them and ask them to help out but this is what’s recommended by Neil Patel.
When first meeting an influential blogger at these events, it’s a good idea to buy them a beer or food, starting with some small chat. The main focus should be to build the initial communication and then you can keep increasing from there. It’s about getting your foot in the door so you can explore other opportunities going forward. Once you have your foot in the door, you can keep building your relationships with these bloggers and slowly start to pick at their brains for information.
Tip 4 – Keep Practicing
No matter what type of niche you’re in or whether you’re an expert or beginner, it’s important to keep practicing. If you want to be the best in what you do, it’s important you learn the strategies and keep practicing going forward. This way, you’ll perfect the science behind what you’re trying to do and open up other opportunities for yourself. Here’s another cool tip by Neil Patel…
Many people who are starting out will read about marketing strategies and NOT implement them into their own blogging. If you’re trying to learn something new, I suggest implementing the strategy and testing how well it works, making tweaks along the way. For example, I learn something new by networking and then create several blogs to implement the strategy. My main objective is to make sure it works and what type of results it produces. This will give me a better idea if I should consider using it going forward for myself and clients.
One of the questions that comes up often is “Can you still make money online”? Haven’t all the good niches been taken? Aren’t there too many big websites to complete with? The answer is no. There is no better time to start your own online business than now. Why so I say this? There are some reasons why it is better to start an online business today than years ago.
1. Its Much Easier To Build Websites –
Today most people use wordpress to build their websites. They keep improving wordpress every year so its to the point where you can put up a website in less than a minute. The challenge is getting traffic to the site and getting it to convert into sales. Back in the day you had to hard code your sites with HTML to build your site and it took a long time.
2) Google Is Stricter –
It is stricter in the sense that it is harder to “game” the system. It used to be easier to get high rankings in google but google caught on. It is still easy to rank in google but you will need good quality content in the search engines. If you follow what google wants it will be easier to rank.
3) There are more ways to promote your business –
If you are not ranking in google you can try facebook, twitter, or pinterest. Also youtube is another traffic source. There are so many online communities and ways to grow your business now it’s not a matter of HOW, it’s a matter of what suits you and your niche best.
4. Affiliate Marketing and Training–
If you have ever tried to make money online on your own you know how hard it is. Well there is help. Dean Hollands Big Commission Blueprint System; the program will teach you step by step on how to build an online business. Now you are not going to make money over night but if you take what you learn and put it into action and be patient you can see some results. This is not a rich quick type of scheme. It takes work to have an online business.
As we live through the digital age, most of the population in the world uses the internet through some device or the other. As more and more people are getting active on the internet, it becomes a highly potential marketplace where not only the products can be bought or sold, but can also be marketed to the various potential customers, who would be interested to buy the product. To market your product or service effectively it is essential, that you follow a proper strategy. When companies plan an online marketing strategy it often occurs in two stages. The first stage is during which a digital plan is created which maps out the various goals and strategies you need to achieve and implement. The second plan is when digital media is inserted into the marketing strategy. If you do not have a proper strategy given below are few of the various problems you might encounter.
1. Lack of Direction
Companies without an online or digital marketing strategy are unable to identify or highlight clearly their strategic goals. It is important for companies to know their strategic goals to gain new customers and maintain the existing ones. Without goals your company is totally directionless and all you marketing strategies will be put to waste.
2. You Will Be Unaware Of Your Online Market Share
If you do not have an online marketing strategy, it is highly likely that you will be unaware of the potential it has. To know your own standing and identify your online customers you have to follow an online marketing strategy. Knowing your online market share is a good indicator of how your marketing techniques are performing in the market.
3. Competitors gain market share
Digital market is the latest of all marketing techniques and it is a must for all businesses to opt for it. If you do not market your products or services online, it is highly likely that your competitors will gain an upper hand and also gain more market share and attracting new customers through online marketing.
4. Customers Will Be Less Familiar With You
As most people prefer to use the internet for information on new products and services, it is highly essential that you opt for an online marketing plan. Without it your company and your products or services will not be properly exposed to your potential customers and they would be less familiar with you. Depending on the Google analytics might show the huge number of website traffic, but to determine the true worth of your online marketing plan, you might need to check the number of customers to your website. Hiring a social media agency will help you a lot in getting those much needed customers by spreading word out.
5. Wastage Of Money And Time
Duplication of similar tasks for the same companies is an utter waste of time and even if you have sufficient resource, doing the same things aimlessly and without a strategy will yield no results. A lot of times larger companies hire more than one marketing agency to do the same task over and over again because they have not evaluated their goals or devised proper a strategy to achieve them. Duplication of data on the internet not only wastes money and time but also lowers the quality of information on the internet.
6. Optimizing Strategy
If your company has a website, you will have access to various analytics that show the performance of your marketing strategies. But if you’re working without a strategy it is many senior managers will not have the directions to review the various analytics. A strategy allows you to help get the basics right and then lets you go ahead in a planned manner so you can make use of the various analytical tools that the internet provides you with. Hence optimization is important.
It is shocking to see that so many companies are totally unaware of how an important online marketing strategy is important to increase the reach of their products and services. You can also hire financial marketing agencies to know more about the importance of marketing strategies and more about online marketing.
Stop Wasting Time and Conquer Online Marketing Productivity
Originally published on Mingle Media Marketing.
The key to successful online marketing is productivity. From our experience with small businesses, the biggest challenge with online marketing productivity is consistency and picking the right tools to get the job done. What hosting platform should we use? Should we send our Google and Facebook ads straight to our website? Or a specific offer? I’ve heard a lot about Marketing Automation. What’s that all about and how do I set it up? Oh, and what’s the best and easiest to use tool for each?
These are the types of questions we get over and over again. Most business owners get so frustrated with their search for the best tools, that they just give up and don’t do anything.
Please don’t give up. We’re here to help you pick the best and easiest to use online marketing productivity tools. Keep reading to discover the best-in-class tools. Also, we use every single one of these tools for our business and for every one of our clients. So if you have any questions about them, please contact us! Our doors are always open.
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Online Marketing Productivity Tools
So how can a small to medium-sized businesses manage their time and plan accordingly to get out all that content consistently? First of all, you’re going to need some energy because it’s not easy.
Next, you should make your life easier by using these tools to help you consistently get more traffic, more qualified leads, and more conversions. Oh, and of course to conquer online marketing productivity!
Website Performance Tools
Getting the most out of your website performance is the foundation of any online marketing efforts. There are a ton of choices in this category, but I narrowed it down to my two favorites.
Conversion Marketing Tools
Leadpages and Drip Marketing Automation Software are by far the two best conversion marketing tools we have ever come across.
Search Engine Optimization Tools
It’s important to make sure people can actually find the content you’re creating.
Visual Content Tools
As you probably know by now, visual content is critical.
Project Management Tools
Using a project management tool can drastically increase your efficiency by making sure everything gets done. A side benefit is that it creates greater visibility on who is supposed to do what — which increases accountability. Nobody wants to be that guy who’s always late on their assignments.
Other Important Tools
Every website should have Google Analytics installed so you can see what’s actually happening. Google wants you to use it so they make it as easy as possible and provide tons of training.
Last but not least, we highly recommend that you get a website analysis and a review of your online marketing. You can get a free Website Analysis from us within 48 hours. It will show you how to quickly boost lead generation and how to fix errors that are costing you sales.
If I missed any great tools, please let me know. I’m always searching for ways to increase my productivity too.
Now stop wasting time in the hallways and start conquering!!
You can’t move far online before you are met with advice on how to make millions. There are all kinds of promises on how you can achieve online success, almost overnight. There are endless “secrets” and you can sign up for hundreds of courses all supposedly showing you how to use the Internet to make money.
Guess what? Most of what you read is nonsense. The majority of the people selling you their “secrets” aren’t rich and haven’t made much money online – if anything.
Yet, there are success stories. Darren Rowse has become a hugely successful blogger. Zoella, a British YouTuber, blogger and author, earns an estimated £50,000 a month online. Meanwhile, her brother Joe – another YouTuber, known as “Thatcher Joe”– has earned an estimated £1.3m from his online activity.
However, these examples – which many people aspire to – are the icing on a very big cake. According to a new study by Cornell University Assistant Professor, Brooke Erin Duffy, hardly anyone makes money online. In her forthcoming book, (Not) Getting Paid to Do What You Love: Gender, Social Media, and Aspirational Work, she reveals the results of her research showing that earning money from online activities like blogging and social media is only achievable by a tiny number.
Dr Duffy’s book focuses on female bloggers and social media “personalities”. In it, she says: “I learned that, often, these young women were motivated by the wider culture’s siren call to “get paid to do what you love.” But their experiences often fell short of the promise: only a few rise above the din to achieve major success. The rest are un(der)-paid, remunerated with deferred promises of “exposure” or “visibility”– even as they work long hours to satisfy brands and project authenticity to observant audiences.”
In other words, it’s all “smoke and mirrors”. People might appear to be doing well online, but they are keeping up the facade in order to pursue their dream, which continues to be constantly far away into the distance.
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The fact is, that most online activity doesn’t produce any direct income. It is estimated that of all the billions of pounds being made online, around 95% of that is shared by about ten companies. The huge majority of websites, blogs, social media accounts and so on are a COST to the business, not a source of profit.
Almost a decade ago, a study by ReadWrite revealed the answer. It showed that blogging, for example, didn’t really lead to much income for people. However, it was the consultancy that the bloggers could do which leads to the real income.
Go back to those YouTubers and bloggers that have made it. Look where their income comes from. Yes, they make money from online advertising. True they earn cash from selling products through affiliate links. But the vast majority of what they earn is “offline”. It is consultancy, media work, speaking, and so on. In other words, even the leading online income earners don’t generally make most of their money simply from what they do on the Internet.
That’s the trick to their success – and the reason why the dreamers fail. The top bloggers, YouTubers and social media personalities see what they do online merely as a vehicle for their business – just a channel to market. They don’t perceive what they do as the income generator itself.
The dreamers think differently. They aspire to be like their online heroes but fail to spot that they actually run businesses and use their blogging or social media activities to generate income in other ways.
We need to stop thinking of the Internet as a way of making money. Rather, we should think of the web as a way of generating interest in what we do in our business and then make money as a result of that. In other words, your website or blogging or YouTubing is just a lead generator.
If you aren’t considering buyer personas in your landing pages, you could be missing a significant opportunity for customer engagement. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of the qualities of your ideal clients.
This definition includes basic information like demographics and job title, but it goes deeper than a simple customer profile by including wants, needs and business goals. Buyer personas paint a more complete portrait of ideal clients.
However, it’s easier to recognize the importance of buyer personas than it is to actually put them into practice.
Quality buyer personas can guide your content marketing efforts in the right direction. But too generic personas can result in lackluster content that doesn’t give website visitors a compelling reason to convert.
Here are some tips for maximizing the effectiveness of your buyer personas:
1. Account for the Changing Customer Journey
Many companies target multiple customer segments, which makes it more difficult to effectively engage with each group. To make things even more challenging, many business-to-business firms are discovering the sales journey is no longer linear, according to CMSWire.
Content marketing used to be primarily inward focused, centering on internal bench marking metrics. However, now content needs to take a more outward approach to be more aligned with the customer journey.
One of the first steps to defining authentic, accurate buyer personas is to carefully map a typical customer journey at your company. This may vary slightly for every segment you cater to, but it’s important to understand these distinctions to capture the right kind of leads.
This helps you pin down what kinds of information potential clients look for during each stage of the sales process.
2. Use Human Emotions
One of the biggest reasons buyer personas and content marketing in general can be weak is because they don’t include enough human emotion to be captivating.
Potential customers want to make a meaningful connection to your brand. If content is written with keywords in mind rather than the customer experience, it will most likely fail.
While B2B firms may think they are exempt from emotional brand storytelling, this form of content is more compelling than blog posts full of industry jargon. It really comes down to knowing what your ideal clients want.
3. Be flexible
The customer journey has evolved a great deal in a short amount of time, and it’s likely to continue to do so.
After establishing the criteria for your buyer personas, you need to regularly reassess the specifics to make sure they are still relevant and in line with your current target audience. This particularly true for new businesses, Shopify suggested.
4. Consider all the applicable information
A great deal of consideration and detail should go into buyer personas. Beyond job title, you need to determine the age, gender, location, education level, relationship status and personal interests of the persona.
One of the best ways to uncover this data is by surveying current clients. While this can help you identify similarities among your target audience, it also allows you to uncover their motivations for buying your product and concerns they may have had before making the decision.
This helps you expand on marketing successes in your future efforts.
If you are just starting your business, researching competitors’ customers is one way to create effective buyer personas of your own. Competing companies’ blogs and social media profiles can be a great source of information.
After thoroughly researching these various aspects of your target audience, you need to tie it all together to form one unified picture.
Are there any other characteristics that are important to define accurate buyer personas?
How to Use Storytelling in your Online Marketing Strategy
Let’s face it. in Online marketing, people like you and I have a huge challenge facing us. Our culture is drowning in advertising and marketing messages. And with each passing year it’s becoming more and more difficult to market our products.
Content marketing was touted as the answer to this big problem, but we are drowning in content too, especially in the B2B world. People ignore “content” as readily as they ignore most image advertising.
Story Telling The Test Of Time
One of the hazards of today’s online marketing landscape is that it’s so easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest technology while ignoring proven yet simple tools that have stood the test of time – tools which have worked for thousands of years and continue to work today.
What we desperately need is a proven way to ratchet up the effectiveness of our content marketing. Enter storytelling. That’s right, storytelling!
Few marketing approaches work to engage, motivate and persuade like storytelling. The human brain responds to stories in such a way that our emotions are aroused. And remember that people make buying decisions, to one degree or another, emotionally.
When prospects have an with a product, they are more inclined to want to purchase it. This is one of the many reasons storytelling is such a powerful marketing tool. When a person is drawn into a story, they have a strong feeling of involvement with it.
Indeed storytelling can be a very effective tool to capture and keep our potential customers’ attention, engage them, interest them and help us market our products to them.
But done poorly, storytelling won’t live up to its marketing potential. Just like they won’t buy from you just because you start using social media or email marketing or video marketing, people won’t buy from you “just because” you tell them a story.
Doing It Right Story Telling
We have to do storytelling right. First of all, like we’ve talked about so often on this blog, remember that marketers like you and I need to have and use a well-stocked marketing “toolbox”. Storytelling is a tool. It’s potentially a very powerful marketing tool. But it needs to be done properly, and it needs to be used along with other tools.
Remember the rules of effective when you are crafting your compelling story. You’re telling a story, but the ultimate goal is to sell your product. Copywriting is selling through the written word, and it’s important to your online marketing success. This blog has several great articles that talk in-depth about solid copywriting, so we won’t go into detail about it here.
Focus On “Them”, Not “You”
But remember that one of the main principles of effective copywriting is to focus on the reader. The main focus of your marketing messages, including your stories, needs to be on your reader, not you, your product or your company.
Your readers don’t care about you, your product or your company. In storytelling as part of online marketing it’s no different. The story may be focused on a fictional character, but it still needs to revolve around the reader.
And you want the reader to be drawn into it. Write a story in which he can picture himself and see himself as the hero.
“No one cares about your product except you”
David Meerman Scott – The New Rules of Marketing & PR
A Classic Marketing Story
One of the single most effective examples of storytelling as an online marketing tool comes from a letter used by the Wall Street Journal from 1975-2003 to sell subscriptions. The letter opens with the story of “two young men”. It talks about how one man was much more successful in his career because he subscribed to and read the Journal. Here’s a snippet from this very successful letter:
On a beautiful late spring afternoon, twenty-five years ago, two young men graduated from the same college. They were very much alike, these two young men. Both had been better than average students, both were personable and both -– as young college graduates are — were filled with ambitious dreams for the future. Recently, these men returned to their college for their 25th reunion. They were still very much alike.
Both were happily married. Both had three children. And both, it turned out, had gone to work for the same Midwestern manufacturing company after graduation, and were still there.
But there was a difference. One of the men was manager of a small department of that company. The other was its president.
The letter goes on to talk about how the Journal was the reason one man enjoyed so much more career success than the other. This is a prime example of effective storytelling used to sell a product.
Imagine for a moment that you are a recent college graduate wanting an advantage to help you land a great job and advance in your career. Or picture yourself as a middle-age executive who isn’t content with his level of career success.
Do you see how this story would persuade the reader in those circumstances? How it would captivate him and hold his attention? How it would give him hope that the product being sold could help him solve a frustrating problem? How it would fire up his emotions and make him crave a change in his current work situation?
Do you see how stories with this kind of emotional power could help your content marketing succeed? How they could help your content and your company stand out from the crowd and get noticed? How they could attract readers and potential customers to you?
Just how successful was this letter? During the twenty-nine years it was in use, it brought in an estimated two billion dollars for the Wall Street Journal!
Selling Without “Selling”
We naturally resist when someone approaches us to sell us something. It’s no different when we are reading a sales letter or other content marketing piece. We don’t like to be sold to. And that’s one of the beauties of the story from the Wall Street Journal letter. It “sells without selling”. It sets up a scenario where the reader “sells himself” on buying the product.
Your company’s brand is the perception your customers have about your product and service; it’s what they say about you. It includes their customer experience when shopping and buying from you. And you can tell stories that will have a direct, powerful and positive effect on your brand, like the story of “two young men” had an effect on the Wall Street Journal’s brand.
So please harness the power of storytelling in your marketing. And don’t be surprised when your sales results shoot through the roof!
Don’t Neglect This
Congratulations! You’ve included powerful, persuasive, emotion-generating stories in your content marketing efforts. Your and website are getting more traffic. Your email subscriber list is growing. You have more social media followers who anxiously wait for and enthusiastically read and respond to your content.
That’s great! But there’s something you can’t neglect. There’s a critical piece of the online marketing puzzle you must have. That’s right, you need landing pages.
Whether you are running a B2B campaign where you are trying to win signups for your latest webinar or downloads for your new white paper, or you are running a B2C e-commerce store, you won’t enjoy the highest conversion rates possible without landing pages as a part of your online marketing machine.
And since landing pages are so important to your success, why not go with the very best? Why not go with a landing page platform loaded with valuable features like
Advanced A/B testing –helps you refine your online marketing approach and make improvements so your results get better and better!
An intuitive, easy-to-use editor –quickly and easily design a beautiful landing page without having to learn a complex programming language!
A dashboard that makes it easy for you to compare performance before and after layout changes
Why not go with Lander, the easiest-to-use landing page platform in the Universe?
If you have any questions about Lander and how it can help you launch your conversion rates into the stratosphere, contact us today. We’re here to help you!
By Eva Zielinski, Manta Marketing Pro – October 5, 2017
With these Free Tools Online Marketing You can Save
Save time and money while promoting your small business online.
Marketing your small business can get expensive, whether you’re investing money on advertising or spending your time trying to keep up with social media. Fortunately, there are tools available to help. Here are 10 free online resources you may be missing out on that can save you time and money.
Social Media From Facebook to Instagram, social media platforms are free, popular, and can be used to directly engage with potential customers. No matter which platform you choose, social media is an excellent tool to market your products and services all while keeping tabs on what customers are saying about your business. Additional, well-known platforms include LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.
Hootsuite Hootsuite is a social media management tool that lets users schedule and post content to multiple social media profiles at the same time from one place. If you are pressed for time when it comes to managing your social media accounts, you can use Hootsuite to schedule content, track analytics, and reply to your followers. This tool is free for managing up to three social media platforms.
Blogs A blog is an excellent way to share unique, high-quality content that also supports your social media initiatives. A blog can be a website or web page. Using platforms such as WordPress, Wix and Weebly are completely free!
Yoast Plug-In While free website templates are an excellent way to start building an online presence, you still need to optimize the back-end of your site to make sure it’s search-engine friendly. Yoast offers a free plug-in for WordPress sites for technical optimization.
Grammarly Since written content is an essential component for online marketing, it’s always best to make sure your content is free of spelling and grammar errors. Grammarly is a free grammar and spelling checker available for download to help enhance your writing. It is available for the Google Chrome search engine.
MailChimp MailChimp is one of the world’s largest marketing automation and email marketing platforms. This free software gives you the ability to design and save templates of all your marketing emails and newsletters and send them to potential customers.
Google Analytics When investing in advertising or marketing efforts to grow your business, it always helpful to know what is working when it comes to your return on investment (ROI). Google Analytics allows you to measure advertising ROI and track your video and social networking sites.
Google Keyword Planner Google AdWords campaigns are designed for bidding on keywords so that your business can appear at or near the top of search results pages and help increase website traffic. While Google AdWords campaigns certainly aren’t free, Google offers a Keyword Planner at no cost. This tool can assist you in brainstorming keywords to boost your campaign’s performance.
Pexels Pexels is an online photo library where you can choose from thousands of stock images for use in your content marketing and social media posts. Pexels’ photos are licensed for re-use so you won’t have to worry about copyright violations.
Asana With all the above applications and software available to you, online marketing can still seem overwhelming. To tie it all together, Asana is a free application that can help you run your business and keep track of projects by managing to-do’s, collaborating with employees, and staying on top of progress.
What do customers find when they search for your business? Get a freefrom Manta tosee ALL of your business’ online listings.
Advertising on Google is a great way to reach customers at the moment they’re looking for a business like yours. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
Get Expert Advice
With the right strategy, small businesses can use online reviews as a powerful marketing tool to boost search rankings and beat out the competition.
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Its common wisdom. Near gospel really, and not just among young people and founders. Across generational lines, sentiments like those from Steve Jobs 2005 commencement at Stanford have been engraved into our collective consciousness:
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.
In other words, follow your passion. There’s just one problem: Follow your passion is dangerous advice.
That’s a troubling claim, but it comes straight from Cal Newports investigation into the details of how passionate people like Steve Jobs really got started as well as what scientists say predicts happiness and fuels great accomplishment.
Newports not alone. In recent years, a host of leaders, academics, and entrepreneurs have all come to the same startling conclusion: nearly everything youve been told about following your passion is wrong.
Your passion may be the very thing holding you back from power or influence or accomplishment. Because just as often, we fail with no, because of passion. [P]urpose deemphasizes the I. Purpose is about pursuing something outside yourself as opposed to pleasuring yourself.
Until about a century ago, passion was a dirty word. Classical philosopher like Socrates and Marcus Aurelius saw passion as a liability not an asset: an insatiable and destructive force. Why?
Chiefly because passion is dangerously self-centered. In fact, our own modern descriptions of passion betray this inward bend: I want to [blank]. I need to [blank]. I have to [blank]. In most cases, whatever word finishes those sentences regardless of how well meaning it might be is overshadowed by the first.
Purpose, on the other hand, is about them, not me. It reorients our focus onto the people and causes were trying to reach, serve, help, and love. In The Happiness Hypothesis, psychologist Jonathan Haidt describes this pursuit as a striving to get the right relationships between yourself and others, between yourself and your work, and between yourself and something larger than yourself. If you get these relationships right, a sense of purpose and meaning will emerge.
Passion makes us bigger. Purpose connects us to something bigger and in doing so makes us right sized.
No is a far more powerful word than Yes. Every Yes said out of obligation or fear takes time away from the things and people we love. When an opportunity appears connected with your passion, its even trickier. Instead of snatching up everything that might get your closer to the life you want, give yourself the space to pick carefully.
Good is the enemy of great. That’s how Jim Collins put it anyway. Learning to say No is easily one of the most vital skills we can cultivate. And yet, even if you’ve mastered No to the obvious stuff, passion rears its head.
The blinding effect of passion leads us unthinkingly into projects and meetings that, in truth, are dead ends. Worse, they sap time and energy that would otherwise move us forward. When Tim Ferriss asked journalist Kara Swisher what message shed put on a billboard for millions to see, her answer was a single word, Stop.
And that’s what picking is all about: slow down, pause, evaluate, weigh, and only then make a clear-headed choice. Picking involves, first, putting a time buffer on our decisions, particularly decisions that appear connected with your passion. Second, running our choices by an objective third party: a friend or colleague who can call out our blind spots.
Sleep on it. Reach out. The sun will rise tomorrow. And be ruthless with your Nos.
After you’ve discovered and developed interest in a particular area, you must devote yourself to the sort of focused, full-hearted, challenge-exceeding-skill practice that leads to mastery. You must zero in on your weaknesses, and you must do so over and over again, for hours a day, week after month after year.
We all love shortcuts. The allure of getting more by doing less is seductive. But are there times when doing more equals more? Absolutely.
The classic illustration comes from David Bayles and Ted Orlands Art and Fear where a ceramics teacher divided his class into two groups. The first was told theyd be graded on quality. The other, quantity. To get an A, the quantity group was required to produce fifty pounds of clay pots. Not exactly an artistically inspired assignment. And yet, when grading time came, a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity.
What accounted for this reversal of expectations?
Easy: while the quality group held back laboring under perfectionism the quantity group got busy. They practiced. And that’s good news. If greatness came down to passion or worse, talent then itd be reserved for only a select few. Practice means greatness is doable one tiny step after another.
Passion is indeed very important, but what most people don’t know is whats needed to achieve their true potential. Whether its to acquire new skills, get a promotion, or achieve what they want, it all starts with having a plan based on real data and real-world options.
The only word less sexy than practice is planning. And yet planning is a golden thread woven through the lives of artists, leaders, and entrepreneurs alike. The trick here is that plans need not be grandiose. Rather, they should’nt be.
Optimism is wonderful when it comes to our dreams. However, when it comes to whats next the nitty-gritty actions that’ll get us there optimism kills. Infected with passion, our plans lose touch with reality. We overestimate strengths and underestimate challenges. Beyond the real data and real-world options, we build castles in the sky. That’s one of the reasons platform like Woo, which lets you get feedback from companies and headhunters anonymously, are so valuable.
Where passion disconnects us from reality, planning especially planning of the SMART goal and number-crunching variety drives home the true state of affairs.
That true state rescues us from false expectations, show stoppers, and resentment. As a good friend of mine likes to say, The question when you are trying to bring a dream into reality should not be, What going to go right? It should be, Whats going to go wrong?
Passion can only take you so far. After that, if you don’t have the skills, the tools, the resources, the knowledge, and the track-record to move forward, take risks, and expand. Otherwise, you wont be able to position yourself as an authority. Positioning is key to make sure you are ready when opportunity strikes!
Humans are associative creatures. We think and act not in isolation but by comparing and contrasting.
The basic approach of positioning, wrote Al Ries and Jack Trout in Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, is not to create something new and different, but to manipulate whats already up there in the mind, to retie the connections that already exist. This is especially true when it comes to how other people see us.
Passionate people often come off as self-inflated. They are legends in their own minds. Positioning means leveraging who you are and what you have done as a springboard to whats next. It embraces the associate nature of other people and while it still leaves room for confidence acknowledges that how others perceive us is more real, at least to them, than how we see ourselves.
6. Not passion, peripheral
Troy Osinoff, author of My Bad Parent: Do As I Say, Not as I Did:
People that think they completely understand their world are the most susceptible to overlook new opportunities. Peripheral is about establishing an unwavering curiosity to use your existing knowledge in uncovering new patterns and trends both for the sake of your personal development as well as the success of your business or career.
Passion makes us myopic. We become so focused on the desire inside us, we lose sight of whats around us. Objectivity the ability to see the world as it truly is atrophies in the blinding light of passion.
Adopting a peripheral perspective forces us to examine the margins. It widens our view. Rather than rush headlong into disaster, were able to spot not just the pitfalls but the opportunities we would have otherwise missed.
How? By cultivating curiosity. Questions like, What am I missing? What am I ignoring? Who could give me a fresh take? are vital in every area of life. Likewise, so is putting ourselves in new situations, reading books outside our passions, and intentionally pursuing people who have nothing to do with what it is we think we want.
The person who calls themselves a student is more a master than those who try to wear the title. Get up when you get knocked down. Come back stronger, faster, and (above all) smarter. The constant desire to learn and overcome has helped me achieve everything. You must persevere.
Although it might sound odd, perseverance is as much about putting in effort as it is battling ego. Drunk on passion, masters are doomed to repeat failures in the name of pushing through. In contrast, students do more than hone their craft; they learn from their mistakes.
Asked if the Patriots historic comeback in Super Bowl LI was his greatest game ever, Tom Brady replied: [W]hen I think of an interception return for a touchdown, some other missed opportunities in the first 37, 38 minutes of the game, I don’t really consider playing a good quarter-and-a-half, plus overtime as one of the best games ever but it was certainly one of the most thrilling.
Certainly Brandy persevered, and it’d be nice if that guaranteed success. But sometimes you wont come back to win it. At least, not in the moment. Jobs will be lost. Pitches turned down. Relationships ended. And reviews harsh.
Failure, however, isn’t just an inevitable stepping stone toward success. Rejection is part of success itself. As Louis CK put it to a budding comedian, The only road to good shows is bad ones. Just go start having a bad time and, if you don’t give up, you will get better.
Is passion a bad thing?
Understood rightly, no. But as the be-all-and-end-all? Yes.
Cal Newports prescription was skill: passion is the result of excellence, not its source.
Far from a magic bullet, passion can mislead us, blind us, and even turn us in on ourselves. Newport was right: Follow your passion might just be terrible advice. Thankfully, these seven habits put passion in its place so that the fire Jobs spoke of doesn’t burn out but endures.
Aaron Orendorff is the founder of iconiContent and a regular contributor at Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Fast Company, Business Insider and more. Connect with him about content marketing (and bunnies) on Facebook or Twitter.
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How To Get A Consistent Stream Of Cash-In-Hand Buyers For ANY Offer
How To Get A Consistent Stream Of Cash-In-Hand Buyers For ANY Offer
Giving Away Products For FREE Today I'm Revealing How I Do It...
Giving Away Products For FREE Today I'm Revealing How I Do It...
We have come a long way since the Mad Men era of marketing and advertising. The modern online marketer is as much mad scientist as inspired creative, thanks to the proliferation of data and tools to access and analyze it. Just as inventor Thomas Edison was able to run 10,000 different experiments, changing a little something here, a little something there, until he found the formula that worked, the best internet marketers today use their creative side to come up with hypotheses, and can then perform experiments to prove their usefulness.
The science of online marketing has become increasingly, well, scientific. Given the revelation that hyper targeted marketing is more effective marketing, its no surprise that almost every marketing department or digital agency out there will tell you they’re data-driven. But at this point, data-driven marketing is more of a minimum requirement than a differentiator.
Without data supporting them, any online marketing recommendations would be no better than opinions, and analyzing ROI would be imprecise, at best. But if every marketer is incorporating data into his or her campaigns, why is it that most marketing messages, no matter how they’re delivered to consumers, seem to be forgotten within a matter of seconds? And why is it that marketing funds get spent with executives and teams struggling to answer the simple question.
What did we get out of that? Jon Brody, CEO and co-founder of , a growth marketing agency, says The problem is that people have too much data and are making fewer good decisions because they’re so data-driven. You need to be ROI-driven, he says. Effective marketing strategy is about optimization.
That’s why Brody and his team, who have worked with everyone from startups backed by Y Combinator to Fortune 500 companies, approach marketing like scientists in a lab. In short, he says, We run marketing experiments to help businesses grow. This type of approach has worked for Ladder, and it can work for any team that takes the following five tips to heart:
1. Dont be afraid to take risks
When you’e experimenting, you’re going to find out what doesn’ work on your way to finding out what does. Data driven marketers build hundreds of audience segments and cross them against thousands of targets, says Dennis Yu, Chief Technology Officer at , a provider of courses on Facebook marketing,
But with so many combinations possible, each experiment can have only a few dollars of budget and a few units of effort against them. Most marketers cannot scale to this efficiency, since they are of the I already tried that mentality. Don’t fall into this trap. Keep experimenting, keep taking risks. Failure is built into the process. Learn from it, and proceed.
2. Take advantage of the Online Marketing Tools available
There are new technologies appearing almost daily that allow marketers to measure performance. Native platforms like Facebook are increasingly as good (or better) at optimization than any human or even the current crop of ad tech tools that were built to optimize what you’re already doing, Brody says.
The opportunity that these platforms present is enormous. Larry Kim, CEO of mobile marketing software company Mobile Monkey and a popular speaker at digital marketing conferences, is one of the top marketing mad scientists of our age.
He uses tools like to analyze how large the rewards are for having an above average CTR (clickthrough rate) in Google Adwords, leading Kim to conclude that Google so greatly rewards high CTR/Quality Score ads (and conversely penalizes keywords with lousy CTRs) that an awesome hybrid solution becomes apparent: use your content marketing efforts to cover informational keywords with SEO content and commercial keywords via PPC. Sound mad? Don’t worry, read and youll see how his experiments can help you save a lot of money on your next paid search campaign.
3. Do Not work in silos
You’ll be using much of the same data to inform all aspects of campaign development from strategy, to creative, to execution, to placement. When your team works closely together throughout every step of the development process, each team member gains a better understanding of how his or her work affects the efficacy of the entire campaign and drives ROI. Every member of your team should be ROI-driven.
4. Remember what you learn
Your team shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you begin a new project. Ideally, you should be keeping track of what you learn what works and what doesn’t for certain types of businesses or industries, how audiences respond to certain messaging, what tools are most effective so that you’re able to start building some institutional knowledge that new employees can later tap into.
5. Do Not stop optimizing
Just because you’re seeing a lot of success with a particular campaign doesn’t mean you should rest on your laurels. There’s always room for improvement. Plus, the more you experiment, the more you learn. If you’re keeping track of that additional insight (see above), you can apply it to your next campaign. The more you experiment, the better understanding you’ll have of which data actually matters. Moreover, collecting additional data that ties marketing spend to campaign performance across the marketing funnel will give you a better idea of how to best spend the money in your marketing budget. That’s what being ROI-driven is all about, and that’s what leads to real growth for your company.
Josh Steimle is the author of Chief Marketing Officers at Work and the CEO of MWI, a digital marketing agency with offices in the US and Asia, and despite being over 40 can still do a kickflip on a skateboard.
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