Websites are cool to make, but they can take a lot of time if you want them to look like a pro made them. One thing I’ve always needed when building eCommerce sites are high quality ‘call to action’ buttons like this (the button works):
When we put together Graphics Empire I really wanted to make sure we could offer some great content for free. I’ve compiled what I feel are some of the best royalty free call to action buttons out there and put them all up front for free. Just download and use to your heart’s delight all over the interwebs. There also an awesome eBook included just because I like hooking people up.
This picture was taken just over a year ago in the hospital lobby where my youngest son had just been born. I was sent to the cafeteria vending machines to find something palatable for the tired mother of my adorable baby boy. My sister drop me off a Jamba Juice so I had to put things down in order to figure out how to carry it all.
No Food Allowed
I understand that a hospital is a place where crumbs may not be wanted but the rest of the rest of the lobby was a ‘food ok’ zone. This table, with its free magazines and hospital fliers was apparently worthy of this custom made tent placard.
Break The Rules
There are times when obeying the rules is a good idea. Not smoking at the gas pump is a great rule to obey as is not climbing into the lion exhibit at the zoo but sometimes it’s important to break the rules a bit. Our school systems teach kids that the only way to get a good grade is by memorization and not sharing. The real world is a lot more open and comparing notes during a test in life is usually a great way to get to a better solution.
Don’t go breaking any laws and say that ‘that guy on the internet’ told you to. Instead pay attention to situations where you feel your inhibitions stop you from taking a step towards a worthwhile goal and break the rule you previously made for yourself that said you don’t take risks. Scared of speaking in public? Join Toastmasters. Never tried Sushi? Call me and I’ll take you to my favorite place for the Tyler Roll. Been waiting to apply for that big promotion? Take the leap. Break the rules. It’s your turn.
I was reminded of this picture from last year when I went to my mailbox today and found business cards stuffed in the front of each box. Most of the cards had already fallen to the ground and been blown around. The picture above is of a real estate agent’s flier that was designed to be hung on a front door. It was blown down the street in the wind where it landed on my car and got wet in the rain that followed. The flier got stuck to my car, the colors bled and it took a wax and buff in order to get the ink removed from my car.
Littering is NOT Advertising.
I will never call this real estate agent with the desire to do business because he littered my neighborhood. When you’re looking for ways to market your business think of ways that will stand out and be appreciated. Door hangers have a success rate that is high enough that they continue to be a constant tool by real estate agents, gardeners, cleaning services and pizza joints but that doesn’t mean they are the best solution.
Get creative and don’t just do what the guy before you did.
Last week I drove in from the beach to do the radio show. Right before I left I took the above picture of an area in the rocks where the water seemed to be in a constant battle with itself. The wave would come crashing up through the channel and just as it was starting to recede back into the ocean a new wave would come powering through and the two would battle it out until, finally, the incoming wave prevailed and the water came gently washing up to where I was standing.
Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve been immersed in marketing over the past few months out at USC but I saw this as a bit of a parable. In marketing there are, traditionally, two forms of taking a product to market. The first is to “push” it to market through retailers, distributors or other established distribution channels. The second is to “pull” the market to your product through direct advertising. Picture billboards, TV and Radio commercials, mailers and other expensive and flashy marketing hoopla.
Enter The Age of Modern Marketing
Although those two types of product marketing exist today I see a different type of “push” and “pull” happening thanks to the flourishing social media channels. I call social media “The New Pull” and I’ll tell you why.
The social aspect of social media is what makes it so amazingly powerful. The ability to engage a customer and connect with them at an individual level allows a company to deepen customer loyalty to a level that has never existed before. A company opening a Twitter account but then just constantly pushing information out is missing the point. It’s about engaging the consumer.
My favorite good example happened to me a little over a year ago. I went to Home Depot to get a part I needed and was frustrated that they didn’t have it. At the time I was testing out FourSquare (which I opted against using long term) and posted through that site to Twitter a note expressing my frustration. Within an hour a representative from Home Depot contacted me and asked me if there was anything they could do to help me locate the part.
A bad example is PayPal. They have a twitter account but from everything I can gather it is used like a bullhorn, one way, and not a way to engage their customers. I think this happens when a company has dominate market share and isn’t worried about a few people being frustrated that PayPal shut their accounts down without warning and held their funds for 180 days. Sure, it’s in their Terms and Conditions but an explanation would be nice.
The New Pull
If you’re going to be on social media sites, you have to be social. Remember what your Mom always told you and mind your manners. If somebody tweets something good about you say thank you. If you let somebody down say you’re sorry and do better next time. Being polite in business is what social media is all about.
Yesterday was my first live radio show and it went. Yes, that’s it… it went. I don’t think it was absolutely horrible but there is definitely a lot of room for improvement. Luckily I have an opportunity to improve next week with episode 2.
I don’t know what I expected with the show and went in a bit more unorganized that planned. There was a lot of ambiguity about how everything would happen with the show engineer and the station manager. In order to figure it out I just jumped in with both feet.
Perhaps the most surprising thing was the amazing support I received from friends by logging on and listening.
I talked about it a little in the show today, but just barely touched on it really. The last couple years have been really tough for me and the support from so many people meant more than I can adequately communicate. If you were one of the people that listened on AM radio, streaming over the internet, texted me before, during or after the show, sent facebook wishes or questions or any other sort of support THANK YOU. It means a lot to me to have so many thoughtful people in my life.
Lessons Learned From Episode 1
1. Wearing the headphones while on air does a great job of muffling out the other sounds in the studio but they also make it so all you hear when you’re talking is your own voice. This took a bit of time to get used to.
2. Sitting at a table with a microphone and talking into space is kind of weird.
3. People liked it more when I spoke off script than when I read. I did too.
4. I could have had a laptop up and running during the show. That would have saved a couple of trees by not printing off a bunch of my old blog posts as backup material.
5. I need to come up with a sign off.
6. Have somebody to talk to, even if it’s the engineer. Just another voice to break up my talking helps.
7. Take questions earlier. I didn’t feel like I’d gotten into a groove until the whole thing felt more like a conversation.
8. Bring water. Talking makes me thirsty.
9. Relax and let the show flow.
If you haven’t already enter for a chance to win $75 in adwords credit. If you win, I’ll even help you set up your first ad campaign.
I’ll have the podcast up soon and of course you can listen next week as we air episode 2.
If you’re older than 25 you probably remember what life was like before the internet became a main part of our lives. Mike Stelzner of the Social Media Examiner shared this video on their facebook page today and I love it for two reasons.
1. It reminds me how far we’ve come in such a short period.
2. The quotes in the video, a. “What is the internet, anyway?” and “Allison, can you explain what internet is?” shows how ambiguous the web was to people in 1994, even supposedly educated and informed news folk.
In the 17-year-old clip former “Today” show hosts Katie Couric, Bryant Gumbel and Elizabeth Vargas talk about the new ‘internet address’ that was showing up on the screen.
Every once in a while you still find somebody that puts down an email for a website address but these days terms like URL and ISP are pretty well known.
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. – Michael Jordan