Everyone is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone.
From the 'Rock Star of Digital Marketing', here's the book that 21st century entrepreneurs have been waiting for - the inner-secrets of how highly successful internet capitalists make millions by knowing who to reach and how to reach them online.
Six Pixels of Separation is the first book to unify the concepts of Personal Branding, Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship in a clear, fun and provocative manner. By using extraordinary case studies, this book offers a complete set of tools, tactics and insights to empower individuals to reach a global audience and consumer base with a few clicks of the mouse, and almost all of them for free.
Digital marketing expert Mitch Joel unravels the fascinating world of new marketing, with a brand new perspective. Entrepreneurs are leveraging the digital channels to get their voice 'out there', connecting to similar others, becoming better community citizens and, ultimately, making more money and rocketing their personal and business lives into the stratosphere.
The trick is, Personal Brands are becoming bigger than corporate brands - and in Six Pixels of Separation readers will begin to understand the 'how' and 'why' of how certain entrepreneurs have mastered the internet to propel their businesses.
Mitch Joel is President of Twist Image, an award-winning Digital Marketing agency with offices in Montreal and Toronto.
Six Pixels of Separation. - www.twistimage.com
Or visit the speaker: www.mitchjoelspeaks.com
Six Pixels of Separation
Author: Mitch Joel
What are three things that you have learnt about marketing through the GFC (global financial crisis)?
Mitch Joel: 1 - Slow and steady wins the race. Take your time to build relationships.
2 - Those that amped up their marketing (and didn't cut it) are the ones who will do the best.
3 - People are looking for real interactions between real human beings.
Does every business need a social media profile? What advice would you give to small business in regards to social media goals?
Mitch Joel: In a world where everyone is connected an idea spreads because like-minded people share them, versus the world we're used to where marketers place ads in various positions and places in hopes that those interested parties catch a glimpse. In a world where everyone is connected, products and services have to work (or exceed) expectations. In a world where everyone is connected, it's hard to make false claims or try to screw one specific group of people. In a world where everyone is connected, people talking to one another about it on Facebook can make, break or help a product innovate.
Marketing and Communications professionals have been trained to listen to what a client wants, figure out a smart, clever and/or impacting way to deliver that message and then go forward, create the campaign and do everything within their power to get that message out there. When we apply this as the overarching strategic imperative, we are all missing one core point: no matter how targeted that messaging is, it's still going to hit a bunch of people who really don't care all that much about it.
Even the best of the best in advertising and communications doesn't get 50% success rates on any of their campaigns (targeted or mass). This means that the majority of the people we are targeting are simply not all that interested in what we have to say. Digital professionals need to demonstrate that we can get to that mass people by focusing on 'who' those people are instead of 'how many' people we pump a message in front of. It's a big promise, but digital media can deliver on this. This is big news for the small business owner!
I think these channels demonstrate real value for small business today. Value is all about focusing on the small few who can really help your message spread. It's definitely not as fun or as sexy as a billboard in Times Square or a 30-second spot on the Super Bowl, but that stuff does click and groove when you have laid a strong foundation of building, providing and communicating value. It may sound pedestrian, but seriously think about the last time you really focused on delivering value first and then spreading the message far and wide.
What is your top tip for a company looking at using social networking, like Twitter or Facebook, to increase business to their website?
Mitch Joel: When it comes to building anything in the Digital Marketing channels, instead of asking, 'what are we doing on Facebook (or insert any other online social network here)?' ask, 'why should we be on Facebook (or Insert any other online social network here)?' Remember, 'what' is a tactic and 'why' is the strategy. Tying your strategy into your over-arching business goals will drive real results (and yes, that will make you money). My tip is to figure out the strategy first before jumping into the channels.
And, do you have any tips on managing employees on social networking sites when they are representing `the firm', do you need to set out strict rules of use or does this limit creativity?
Mitch Joel: With more and more employees jumping on to platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn and years of Blogging and Podcasting already water under the bridge, most companies still don't have any kind of corporate policy or guidelines around Social Media, the company and their employees. It's important for companies to start thinking about implementing one. The most important concept to remember is that a policy or guidelines around Social Media is not meant to limit what people can do and say, but rather a way to help everyone know what the company considers "fair play" and what is 'off Limits'.
This type of document is also a great place for the company to really explain how they deal, interface and respond to their consumers (both the negative and the positive). It can also provide tips of how employees can make the most of their personal brands by understanding some of the generally accepted "rules" about what works (and what doesn't) in these online channels. If you're not sure when to begin on this, the Social Media Governance website has over 105 Social Media policy documents from a wide variety of companies and industries - all available for free: www.socialmediagovernance.com.
Other than social networking sites which other digital channels can companies use to get their voice 'out there'?
Mitch Joel: I think Digital Marketing offers tons of interesting and powerful opportunities well beyond online social networking. It's easy to get caught up in the 'what's next?' or 'what should we be looking at in 2010?' questions. The truth is that your best bet is to ensure that what you currently have is really working for you.
I would pay attention to:
Websites, Micro-sites and landing pages: Check everything from the look and feel (usability and functionality) down to the content (text, images, audio and video). Make sure that your core content and calls-to-action still pop and sizzle while being friendly enough for the search engines to find you.
Check your titles, tags, meta-tags and consider having your programmers/developers do a quick review of the back-end code to ensure that everything is 'up to code' (pardon the pun). The idea here is to make sure that your website does not look, feel and read like it was done (and not touched) since 2005. If you have multiple micro-sites and landing pages, do a quick review to see what's still relevant and how it all flows. Too many companies leave their orphan micro-sites and landing paged online to die and these can feel like a 'ghost town' for those potential customers who come across it.
Search Engine Optimisation: Review everything you're doing to be more findable online. Are your keywords still relevant? What about the phrases you use? How is your linking strategy (inbound and outbound)? What about your overall site map? Do some quick searches on the major (and second tier) search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com) to see how findable you are. Also think about if people can find your audio, video and images?
Search Engine Marketing: Thousands of people every day are probably either looking for you or the industry you serve. Be present. If you can't make it happen in the organic search results, do everything you can to be findable on the pay-per-click side.
Email: One of the main reasons that email open rates and conversion rates suffer is because of hygiene. How clean is your contact list? Now is the perfect time to take out the old addys, while making sure that the relevant ones are fully up-to-date. Lacklustre email marketing performance can typically be attributed to an old list or uninspiring offer. While we can't always control how consumers will interact with an offer, we can control who that offer gets in front of.
I'd also spend some time looking at both Affiliate Marketing and ensuring that you have some kind of strategy around mobile and apps.
Your blog has an article about back-to-basics, what are your top tips, and should businesses and individuals be doing this every year?
Mitch Joel: Funny you should ask. I used the above examples from that exact blog post. I think it's a good idea to review this sort of stuff every year, but to be honest that's not enough. You have to do this sort of activity on an ongoing basis. Welcome to the Web. It's live and in real-time, so your optimisation and presence in the channel needs to be the same.
Do you think it has become easier to excel online now the Internet has become more accessible?
Mitch Joel: It has become easier to do, but it's not easier to excel at. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the Digital Marketing sphere favours the quality not quantity. That doesn't mean that there is less junk and irrelevant content out there (there's plenty of that), but the best ideas still do spread (as Seth Godin would say). Consumers might say things like, "wow, there sure are a lot of videos on YouTube," or "this website has a ton of content," but what helps them get through the chaff in order to find the wheat is referrals (from those they know and those they don't know), search engines and more powerful filtering tools (think RSS, news readers, news alerts and more). This is a huge opportunity for Marketers as we head into 2010.
Now, more than ever, getting the right message in front of the right people should be easier. You just have to do the very hard work of being creative, being active within their communities and engaging with them (in a very human, real and meaningful way). It's not easy to do, and only a few big brands have really ventured down this path successfully, but this is how things are right now (and how they're going to be for the foreseeable future). It's also not a direct-response type of strategy. It's different, and the questions you have to ask yourself must shift from, "will this help us sell x amount of product this quarter?" to "what's our business going to look like in three years if we simply ignore these very real changes?" It's scary. It's not easy, but what choice do we have?
With the stellar rise of citizen journalist, do you think that there is a watering down of real quality journalism or can we all live happily together?
Mitch Joel: We can live happily together. If everyone can do something (like create an online video), doesn't that mean that the overall quality of video production drops? In fact, I would argue that the exact opposite is true. If more and more people can do something - like report on an incident - it forces those that do journalism to up their game. It forces them to be that much more creative and clever because now they don't have to be better than the other newspapers in their field; they have to be better than everyone else. One of the brighter Newspaper and New Media advocates, Jay Rosen, says newspapers and the modern media will look more like a hybrid between professional journalism and citizen journalism. I think he's spot on.