The Point

Archive for the ‘Web-based marketing’ Category


Online Marketing Experts Aren’t Always Right

You should do what online marketing experts say. 

Tralse? Fue? Help me. I’m looking for some middle ground.

See, online marketing is:

(A) Hard
(B) Ever-changing
(C) Continuously experimental
(D) Different for everybody
(E) All of the above

You bet your F’in’ A the answer’s (E).

Marketing changes at the speed of screen flicker

So we scour blogs and any other content we can get our retinas on, hoping to stay tuned into what’s up in digital. I trust you’re able to sniff out the obvious manure, but fear when you identify a super-duper, guru-like, thought leader, influencer, you accept everything he or she says as the gospel.


Read and gather. Try out the tips that sound the most promising. But please, don’t accept every popular maxim at face value.

Here are several I see often along with a much-needed reality check.



The Power of Social Recommendations, Word of Mouth Marketing and the Coolest Kid in Kindergarten

social recommendations word of noth

“Eat your beets.”

That’d be mom talking to her son Zack.

Zack doesn’t like what he sees. These round globs are red. Dark red. They appear to be bleeding. His mother says, “You’ll love them. Trust me.” Zack, of course, loves his mom. Trust is another story.

Mom says, “They’re really good for you.” Zack thinks, I most certainly do not care.

Mom says, “I used to love beets when I was your age.” Zack thinks, you’ve played that card one too many times mom and your credibility isn’t real high after sending me to class photos in a paisley bowtie telling me I look handsome.

Mom thinks about calling in dad, but he’s a bit of a pushover when it comes to the eat-your-vegetables exercise. His credibility’s in the tank too thanks to promising Zack all summer long the Cubs would play in the World Series.

This scene concludes with no beet eating whatsoever. Cut.

Now let’s imagine a different scenario. It’s lunchtime at school. Zack’s with his buddy. We’ll call him Jake (since most boys go by this name now).

Jake’s a trustworthy dude. Cool too. His parents let him wear a Ninja Turtles shirt for pictures. His Avengers lunchbox is off-the-charts dope and everything that springs from it has proven to be tasty. Just last week Jake gave Zack his first taste of Reese’s Pieces. Yesterday was birthday cake flavored Oreo cookies. Suffice to say, with Jake as his culinary advisor, Zack can’t go wrong.



Social Proof Marketing Makes Your Register Ring

Disneyland crowd

The happiest place on earth is a zoo. Actually, it’s a theme park. Disneyland, right? It has mice and ducks and all kinds of animals running around, but they’re uncaged. I call it a zoo because it’s crowded.

The crowds don’t keep you away though, do they? In fact, they have the opposite effect.

Same goes for a restaurant. You peer into an empty one and quickly conclude the food must suck. The one next door has a waiting list and gads of people out front anxiously waiting to be summoned by their little buzzer. Must be the tastier of the two.

Psychologists, sociologists and new media marketingologists call this powerful dynamic “social proof.” Most of us less scientific sheeps don’t call it anything. We simply choose to follow the crowd. (more…)


Smart Marketing Decisions vs. the Personal Bias Getting In Your Way

smart marketing

Check me out. A new client told me he hates pop-up opt-in boxes on websites. As website tactics go, this one seems to be high on people’s hate list.

Know what I said? I said, “It doesn’t matter if you hate them. We’re going to do what works.”

Now if you know me, you know I’m not for everyone. I say what I think. I always tell clients, “You don’t have to agree with my opinion, but you do have to hear it.” Nothing wrong with that, right?

I mean isn’t it my expertise you’ve hired me for? If you call a plumber to come out and mire through the shit plumbers have to mire through, you’re not going to crawl under the sink with him and tell him how to fix the problem, are you?

I have one client who refers clients to me now and then with a warning, “Barry’s kind of opinionated.” I’m smiling. I don’t apologize for being opinionated. And I don’t attempt to hide the fact that when I’m giving you advice for making your online marketing more effective it’s because I know how. So, yeah, if you have thin skin, I’m not your guy.

email optin

[Pardon the interruption… Kristi Hines published a tremendous post on pop-up optin forms including examples, stats, case studies, tools, and way more, so if this subject interests you, see you soon. FYI, her posts are always intensely informative.]

Back to my story. I was a bit brash, I guess. So in the silence that ensued, I felt obliged to jump back in and explain. That went like this:



Online Marketers, What’s the Plan? Got a Planner?

the planf or effective online marketing


“What so many small businesses need more than anything is … a plan.”
Brian Clark, Copyblogger

Looking for the great shortcut to immense success with online marketing? Sorry, wrong article.

Ready to roll up your sleeves and get busy forging a plan to create the kind of content that will produce a traffic, lead and sales-building inbound marketing program? Perfect. Here we go.

What’s the plan?

“The Plan” or “The Plan to Grow Your Business with Effective Online Marketing,” is a concise and information-packed eBook I produced to acquaint you with the fundamentals of new media marketing. Despite its low price, zero, it’s a thorough preview of all the essential elements you’ll use to make online marketing the catalyst of your business. Read the sucker.

What’s the planner?

“The Planner” or “The Planner for Growing Your Business with Effective Online Marketing,” is your essential sequel to “The Plan.” It’s a strategic workbook. Snag a free copy of it as a PDF and then click the link within it when you’re ready to begin planning.

You’ll land at a page that’s an interactive tool created to help you collect your thoughts. The planner maps everything out for you. I ask a series of questions. You answer them. When I feel you may need an example or ideas to tackle a task, I provide them.

There’s more to it than I’ve written in this post, but the passages that follow will definitely get you primed for the planner. (more…)


I Am What I Am: Personal Branding Tips from Michael Hyatt and Me

personal branding tips

You. Me. Michael Hyatt. Popeye.

Perhaps we don’t have that much in common. Ah, but we do. Personal brands are we. Our agendas may differ—better job, more clients, book sales, or (your goal here)—but we seek the same things: recognition, respect, influence and success.

You, my friend, are a brand.

A photographer. Life coach. Presentation expert. Alternative energy entrepreneur. Website developer. Skin care clinician. These are six simplified profiles of clients who have hired me recently to help them create more effective online marketing by developing their personal brand.

This is no trend. It’s social media, publishing, marketing, sales, work, play, passion and everything you read about all rolled into one.

I realize now it’s what I’ve been doing (and sometimes struggling with) since I went to work for myself. Or is it? It’s probably more accurate to say it’s what I’ve been doing since my bar mitzvah—defining the man I am.

With that in mind, I submit to you personal branding is something you need to understand. It’s something you need to develop deliberately—even if what you’ve been doing and saying to this day has been largely accidental.

I’ve been thinking about you.

I’ve been thinking about me too. And I’ve been thinking about the professionals I mentioned above who have put their trust in me to feed ‘em the spinach they need to nourish their personal brands. There’s a lot to consider.

To learn more, I turned to some personal branding experts and bought some helpful books:

There’s a lot of great information in these books and each author offers tons of great advice via their blog.

I’ve found when I get in conversations about personal branding, Michael Hyatt’s name comes up a lot. A former publishing executive, Michael shares his wisdom via a blog, podcasts, videos, books, information products and speaking gigs.

As luck would have it, Michael was scheduled to speak at New Media Expo in January, where I was also headed to speak. I went to his session and gathered some great tips for getting started with personal branding. (more…)


Key Concepts and Highlights from the Masters of Inbound Marketing

inbound marketing book

Four years or so ago, after having invested 20-plus years in marketing, I had no doubt I knew what I was doing. Then the term “inbound marketing” caught fire—thanks to a book by the same name, written by the two founders of HubSpot.

I read the book. Then doubt was ALL I had. I felt like a rookie all over again.

Everything changed. I mean everything. Marketing turned outside in. It turned inbound.

I chowed down a healthy heap of humble pie and got serious about getting schooled in how things work in the Internet age. I read and wrote. Listened and watched. Studied and worked. And clicked until it all started to click.

I get inbound marketing now. I want to make sure you do too. You may not need to live and breathe it. You have me for that. But if inbound marketing is still mysterious to you, I want to help you gain a general understanding of what it is and how it’s done.

What is inbound marketing?

The best way to begin to understand what inbound marketing is to understand it’s not outbound marketing. It doesn’t rely on buying ads or contacts lists. You don’t spray messages and pray for leads.

You don’t push. You pull. You do so by creating content that pulls people toward your company and product because they seek answers you have.

When you regularly publish content in line with your customer’s interests, you attract inbound traffic and establish relationships you can nurture to convert lookers to loyalists.

Inbound marketing is the most effective and cost-efficient way to do marketing now. (more…)


Want to Increase Your Website Traffic 500%?

increase website traffic

I look at my website’s analytics more often than I used, with more knowledge about how to interpret it, and greater ability to use the data I gather to make my online marketing more effective. In a digital world, numbers rule.

I just looked at it from a year-to-date point of view—a limited picture for sure, but I liked what I found. My traffic is FIVE TIMES higher compared to the same dates a year prior.

Maybe you could care less how much traffic my site gets. That’s fair. However, I’m thinking if I share with you how I managed to catapult my traffic, you might apply some of my insights to send your traffic soaring. Sound good?

The main reason why my traffic is flying high.

It’s no secret. I can’t offer you a magic formula. I create heaps of content. Also, I promote it relentlessly.

Partners, prospects and customers often ask me about how I’ve managed to create such a prolific content marketing program, and consequently, a high traffic path to my door.

I’m not sure you’re going to like my answer: a massive amount of very hard work.

If you want to improve your traffic, you must do the same. It may mean carving out the time to create content. It may mean beefing up your content marketing resources.



21 Ornaments to Hang On Your Website


‘Tis the season not only to be jolly, but also to forge plans to create more effective online marketing programs, where, of course, your website serves as the hub.

Has your website stagnated a bit? Oh sure, your blog or news section gives it a sprinkling of newness each time you post, but you should be doing more than simply expanding your content. You should be promoting it. Thinking customer-centric thoughts and doing what you can to make your website more useful and engaging. Giving your readers a heap of reasons to click around, stick around, come back often and tell their friends.

Consider hanging some new ornaments on your website—the types of things that make it a more compelling social experience. Tools and ideas to increase sharing, engagement, lead generation, credibility, the quality of the content and the usefulness or utility of your online properties are everywhere.

Here are 21 of them to help make your website sparkle in the coming year.


Social media chicklets

social media chicklets

My chicklets are simple, but colored to complement this website.

“Chicklets” is a nickname for the mini-logos of popular social media sites and services. You’ll find thousands of basic or fancy options. Feel free to select artistic ones that complement your site, but don’t let the design obscure the intent—and don’t hide them. Place your social chicklets in an easy-to-find location all across your site to encourage interaction.

Blog comments

I’ll admit blog comments are sometimes hard to get, but you’ll get zero if you don’t make commenting possible with the necessary plugins. Plug one in. WordPress has an easy native solution, which also allows you to offer your readers follow and subscription options.

I use Disqus because it enables users easy sign-in options, a notification system for users to follow discussions, and also displays the commenter’s photo, which helps inspire commentary. Many swear by the feature-rich Livefyre. This article offers a nice roundup and compares features of comments plugins.


Disqus offers a great set of features including a set of suggestions for additional reading — along with comment highlights from the selected articles. Smart stuff for increasing “time on site.”



How Does One Guy Produce So Much Content?

so much content

I get this question a lot. In my blogging bible it says, “Thou shall answer your customers’ questions in your blog posts.” I’m going to give it a try with the hope that some of the way I do things might help you produce more content, if that’s one of your goals.

But let’s be clear about the “more” thing. More content only furthers your cause if it’s great content. Don’t take this for granted. Great is great. More is simply more.

The consultants who spew ideas about hitting certain marks and producing in volume are mostly full of it. They’re the same people droning on in their blogs with the same old tips and points of view as their peers.

I created this rule and play by it…

Don’t count characters. Make your characters count

Preamble complete. Here’s how I manage to produce a steady stream of blog posts, guest posts, offers, slide decks, infographics, images, interviews, podcasts, webinars, videos, eBooks, and well, you know, content. (more…)