Archives For Business

You’ve got content dying on the vine.

I’ve done my research on content, and I’ve found a very common theme. So common, I’m confident in saying it’s a fact: too much created content goes unread, unpromoted, even unpublished.

We all need to do something with all of that content that we have written and produced. It’s just sitting there. Why haven’t you done something with it?

I’m not just talking about digital marketing. Digital marketing is so much more than sending out tweets. As much as I try to avoid this terminology, it really is sharing your story in an online format. It is scaling the ability to tell your story. 

Like with most things at Think Digital, this concept is birthed out of a personal pain point that I have experienced. 

We’ve touched on this before, but it’s so crucial: I realized that I had ideas that were good and were helpful, that were not getting out there. The solution? Utilizing others.

Benefits of Hiring People

Employing others doesn’t always mean hiring someone internally to get the job done. Often it looks like finding a reputable company that provides a done-for-you service. Think Digital not only provides done-for-you services; we also utilize them!

My Experience

Maybe my biggest example is the Think Digital Podcast. Although it’s not being produced currently, it created a strong brand connection with people. I still have people tweeting me saying they miss hearing me on the podcast, even though I haven’t done one in over a month. 

If our team was bigger, if I had the ability to unload some of the day to day that I have to do, I would continue with the podcast. It helped generate revenue. It was sponsored. You cannot buy that type of loyalty.

As wonderful and important a part of Think Digital the podcast was, I found myself stretched too thin to record and produce it. So I hired Don’t Panic to do the editing and producing and even part of promoting for me.

It made for a better and much more frequent product, which lead to better returns. That is why I advocate for done-for-you services.

It’s also why Think Digital provides these services. Below are three examples of successful implementation of our work!

Startup Client

One of our clients runs a startup. He’s busy making decisions each and every day to extend the life of his startup as he leads to his goal of an acquisition. One of the things he needs to do but doesn’t have time to is write blog content for his personal blog and email list.

Think Digital is filling that void for him. We take the ideas in his head and form them into content. It’s his bricks, our mortar. Essentially, the concrete ingredients are all him; we just concretize it.

He benefits by getting increased exposure so that when his business is acquired, he has a platform that has been nurtured for years with content. He won’t be starting from scratch. Entrepreneurs aren’t the only one’s we’ve helped, however.

Organization Experience

We’ve worked with Compassion International for the last year and a half. One of our main focuses has been creating content that attracted pastors and then nurturing those relationships that we started through content.

Through content marketing strategy, we have been able to initiate, nurture, and strengthen those relationships to the point where pastors “converted” into Compassion International partners. By utilizing Think Digital in full capacity, our done-for-you services allowed us to bring viable leads to Compassion.

Book Launch

Think Digital had the opportunity to work with Dave and Jon Ferguson for their recent book launch. We got to know them as authors. We got to know their team. We worked with them to launch their book to success.

We coordinated their launch team and gave that team content to spread the word. We directed those efforts and provided social media support before, during, and after launch day.

The result? They were numbers one AND two ebook and paper book in their category on the charts. I did not even know you could do that!

Our done-for-you services leveraged our network to get that book into the hands of as many people as possible.

 

We Help People Share What Matters Most

Maybe you have a book you’re gearing up to launch. Or maybe it’s your organization or personal brand that needs growth. Whatever your situation, if you need to convert leads and share your story online, Think Digital is here for you.

We have focused our efforts on providing the support, knowledge, and effort you are looking for to make your content work for you. You can learn more here; we would be happy to work with you!

 

Gary Vaynerchuck has said, “Marketers ruin everything” and he’s completely right.

I want to market differently. I want to think differently about marketing. I don’t want to market out of manipulation, but rather out of inspiration.

Manipulative Marketing

The reality is, I have manipulated people to my desired end through marketing. As a marketer, I know the tricks, the hacks, the buttons to push to get people to do what you want them to do.

I’ve seen it work and I feel dirty afterwards. I can only imagine what someone on the other side of the equation feels like.

Thankfully, my conscience kicked in a while back and I’ve been looking at marketing through a whole new lens. That lens is marketing through inspiration.

Perfect Marketing

Marketing is essentially understanding people’s pain points and then providing a solution to solve that person’s pain. When marketing is manipulative, that looks like exploitation. When it’s perfect, it’s through inspiration.

I just had an experience that illustrates this in action. The other day I needed to clean my grill. I didn’t want to use anything harsh or corrosive but my grill brush wasn’t cutting it so I wanted to find a grill cleaner. With my wife and little ones, I didn’t want to use harsh chemicals so that we wouldn’t ingest any.

I was looking for a safe, non-toxic grill cleaner and I found one! It’s safe; it’s citrus-based. The labeling on the package basically says “Hey, if you’ve ever been concerned about using harsh chemicals on your grill, try us out!” I did, and it worked!

It was perfect marketing. Because they understood that as a dad, I want to make sure I’m not putting anything unsafe on a grill that will cook food my kids and wife will be eating. Many companies focus on the first pain point only; needing a clean grill. This one went further and was straightforward; inspired. They nailed it. 

The pain point was: I had a dirty grill. The deeper pain point was: I have a family and I want to protect them. This product met both of those pain points without fear mongering.

That is perfect marketing.

Another example: Kerry needed to transfer over a pension plan from when she was in the working world. We’ve been using Vanguard for a year or so. We called them up, and within 30 seconds we got a real person who walked us through the entire process.

Turns out they’ve got a concierge service that exclusively handles transferring pensions and IRAs from one entity to another. The guy was smart, he was sharp, he was personable. He got the job done.

The pain point was: it’s a drag calling up customer service lines and getting people who don’t give a hoot about you or your business. They’re just mindless cube-dwellers. Everyone knows that is a hassle!

Vanguard met the pain point by providing a very thoughtful, personable human being that made the process from transferring her pension way easier. It’s perfect marketing from start to finish.

The concierge service has made us huge fans of Vanguard. So now, when we have money to invest for our future, that is where we are going to go.

Inspiring Instead of Manipulating

As I said earlier, I’m trying to figure out how to inspire people to take action instead of manipulate them. There’s a huge difference between the two: one serves me. That’s manipulation. The other serves clients. That’s inspiration.

Manipulation is easy. Inspiration is difficult. But frankly, if I can’t inspire people to take action, then I have no business being in business. If I have to manipulate people into buying my products or services, it might work for a short time, but I won’t be in business very long. 

So, I’ve really started looking at how I market. Everything from webinars to email marketing to in-person to pitch phone calls. I’ve been reevaluating from top to bottom.

The differences are already noticeable.While it takes longer to make the sale when you inspire, there is a lasting impact. When you DO inspire, you keep people around way longer.

With an inspiration you’ve gained their trust. With manipulation you’ve capitalized on their fears.

When you start a business, it’s like being thrown overboard.

Every person I have known that has been on a cruise knows one undeniable thing: that cruise can go one way or another. It can be amazing or terrible. There really is no in-between.

Businesses Are Cruise Ships

When you start a business, the ship that you’re being thrown off of is like a discount cruise line. When you work for someone else, there is usually a moment when you realize you’re on a mediocre cruise line. By that I mean the food is kind of like the food at your college cafeteria. The entertainment is the rejects from American Idol. And you’re constantly seasick.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a miserable time to me.

There are a few benefits to this discount ship. You are safe, secure, fed, and you have a place to sleep. It may not be the Ritz Carlton of the high seas, but it is comfortable. Now imagine that before you start a business, you’re standing on the deck and looking over the railings thinking “I wonder if life could be different. I wonder if there is another way to sail these seas.”

Before you know it, somebody has come along and thrown you overboard while you stand on the rail and dream. Why? The reasons may be vast and varied. Someone else might need your room: meaning the company has found a way to get what you do done more cheaply. Or they may be eliminating rooms altogether: in other words, the company is downsizing.

The other situation may be that you have jumped overboard as well, because you can’t stand the way of life any longer and you know there is a new reality out there for you. For whatever reason, you are now completely immersed in an ice cold ocean called “Reality.” If you don’t do something quickly you are going to drown.

This is just like starting your own business. It’s important for you to know this because you may think you know what the waters will feel like but you don’t. Until you actually immerse yourself in it, there is no possible way to be prepared.

Year One: Craft a Raft

The first year of business is basically just like when you first jump into the waters.  Your instincts kick in and you start kicking and clawing and paddling your way up to the surface!

You realize that life can be different than the one that you had on board, but you have to be the one to build the raft. No one will give you a raft, no one is going to rescue you. You have to be the one to prepare the new form of transportation. You are responsible for your own rescue.

So you fight and claw and paddle your way to the surface. You poke your face just above the surface and start gasping for air. Little by little, shreds and pieces of debris and driftwood come your way. You start collecting them, binding them together, and forming your own ship.

That breaking through and cobbling together of a raft is symbolic of the first year of running your own business. Many people do not make it past this first year. Many people cannot keep their heads above water long enough to build their own life raft let alone build the luxury liner they were envisioning when they were either thrown overboard or made the jump by choice.

Year Two: A Bigger Boat

If you make it past the first year, then you spend the next year gathering more pieces of sea debris and continuing to fortify and grow your ship. This is where Think Digital is at right now! We’re nearing the end of our second year. We’ve grown our ship to the point where other people can fit on it and are being supported by it.

Year Three: Enter the Enemies

But the danger isn’t over yet – because the third year is when the sharks come. That’s when you really see what you’re made of. That’s where your ship begins to support you and others, but it also helps you fend off any predators that want to take you out.

These sharks can be anything from competitors to the bank to poor cash flow planning to HR issues to bad team members. There is an endless line of sharks waiting to munch on you and take you out.

After the third year something happens. The storms stop. You get the sharks under control and you even find ways to utilize them to power your business. After the third year, you really start to pick up steam. That is when your ship starts to really take shape and you start sailing towards the life that you imagined as you were toppling over the rail on that old mediocre cruise ship.

The key is this: upwards of 50% of startup businesses do not make it out of the first 3 years. There’s a reason for that! Because fighting your way to the surface, building your own life raft, and then growing it into the luxury liner you imagined is really hard.

The Price of Admission

While it is hard, it is the price of admission. Every single preconceived idea I had about entrepreneurship has been almost categorically wrong. It is an exhausting ride, but it is a thrilling ride, and I would not have it any other way.

Many of you reading this post need to understand this metaphor of building a business before you start. It is a fight and it is a struggle. It may look easy from the outside. Go ahead and think about a business that you idolize. I guarantee you that every single person attached to that business has fought through this struggle. It may not have lasted as long, but they have been through it.

The price of entry is fighting this battle, and it is a glorious price. Once you pay it you can begin to see and taste the new reality that you know exists. Listen to and nurture that voice inside that is aiming for the luxury liner, but don’t be surprised when you find yourself under water fighting for your life.