Archive of posts from April 2020

April 30, 2020     Daily Post

When You’re Doing It Wrong

When You’re Doing It Wrong

When your website is about your widget (instead of your visitor).

When your heart is set on corporate growth (instead of personal growth).

When you’re worried about keeping up with others (instead of creating a path).

When you’re agonising over tech purchases (next year’s will always be better).

When you’re arguing on social media (instead of leading people forward).

When you’re eager for the next close (instead of the next conversation).

When you’re shipping because it’s good enough (instead of because you’re proud).

When you’re cheaping out on marketing (instead of investing in communication).

When you think you know best (instead of being OK ‘unsure’, then finding out).

When you resent overwhelm (instead of realising that’s what growth feels like).

When you avoid fear (instead of realising that’s what growth feels like, too).

We could go on and on, couldn’t we?

Here’s the one to remember:

Is my behaviour aligned with my vision?

April 29, 2020     Daily Post

What The Future Holds

What The Future Holds

We don’t know, do we.

Years of prosperity then a recession.

Your best work is rejected because a client doesn’t understand (and you couldn’t make them understand).

A change in your health strikes, changing the game for you and your family (or your team).

We don’t know what the future holds. We can only know ourselves – are you the sort of person who will meet every day’s challenges and opportunities with the same fervor and resolve as you met today?

If that’s enough, relax. You’ve got the future covered.

April 28, 2020     Daily Post

You Get To Set The Price Of Success

The “price of success” is lower than you think.

It goes up when you forget what it means. If success becomes “driving a car with a badge on it that ‘successful’ people drive”, then the price increased. Nothing wrong with the car, just be mindful that you set the price yourself.

If goes up when you do things you hate. If success becomes material (such as the car), you’ll sacrifice immaterial things (such as your time) to any task – whether you love it or hate it – for as long as is necessary to get the material. Nothing wrong with the car, again, just be mindful that you set the price yourself.

It goes up when you don’t address your highest need. To contribute. Successful people know that the only logical thing to do after capturing the world, is to give it away again. Most only learn it after the fact. Now you know, it’s a choice for you.

Now you get to set the price yourself, what price will it be? It could be to do what you love, to get what you need, to make a difference in the lives of those you wish to serve? It could be to do what you hate, to get what others say you should have, to wonder if there’s more.

Your choice.

April 27, 2020     Daily Post

Oh Look, Another _________ In My Feed

Oh look, another marketer in my feed selling me his Facebook ads service. We’ve all seen them, and they all look the same. It’s like a relay race of navy blazers and Maseratis, each following the same script as the one before it. We’d remember any of them if any of them did something a bit different, such as focusing on us instead of themselves.

Oh look, another book that will “change my life” in my feed for me to “just cover the shipping” on. We’ve all seen them, and they all look the same. Another relay race of ‘funnels’ and up-sells designed to make money accidentally fall out of our pockets. We’d remember any of them if any of them did something different, such as focusing on us instead of themselves.

You use the same Internet that I do. You’ve seen these patterns.

Do you follow them, or do you… do something different, such as focusing on those you wish to serve, instead of on yourself?

April 26, 2020     Daily Post

Crossing The Line with Targeted Ads

If you didn’t know there was a line, you already crossed it.

If you wave at a stranger in the street, you’re being nice. If they show up at your door the next day asking to come in so they can tell you their life history, that’s now weird.

If you watch part of a video on Facebook, you’re just browsing. If that brand then appears to know every site you’ve ever been on and follows you around accordingly, that’s no weird.

We know where the line is in normal everyday human interaction. There doesn’t need to be a literal like drawn for us to understand what “boundaries” are.

Yet most businesses cross it daily in their online advertising.

The solution: dignify people by using your social sensibilities. They’ll thank you for it far more than they will if you knock on their door every day.

April 25, 2020     Daily Post

Enough COVID Talk

These are uncertain and unusual times.

We get it.

Let’s address the world being uncertain once and for all.

Note that things will go up & down. Just as they always have. We’re getting off the “11 years of prosperity” bandwagon, and should prepare our conduct for a future with both ups and downs.

Note that things require you to change the way you see your relationship with the marketplace. Your audience still has problems, doesn’t it? Until every person you’ve elected to place into your care has a perfect life, you’ve got work to do. Now more than ever, it’s about them, not your widgets.

Note that the market is becoming evermore intolerant of opportunists. We’ve heard enough “We are in uncertain times, buy a Toyota from our dealership today” commercials. We smell your lack of integrity and we don’t buy it.

Marketing – and business – is becoming increasingly focused upon those you wish to serve, and serving them well, just like our marketing communication team has been suggesting for over eight years.

Is your conduct rising to the opportunity of service for our new economy?

Note what matters for you – and that it’s unlikely what you were told should matter. And that’s OK.

April 24, 2020     Daily Post

Lessons Learned Creating Daily Content

Creating content daily teaches you some things:

  1. If you’re disorganized, it won’t work. That applies to your team too. Disorganization kills the flow. You’ll miss some days. Daily content reveals who the disorganized ones are.
  2. If you’re unprepared, it won’t work. This also applies to your team. If you’re not ready to create daily, it’s just not going to happen. Those who aren’t committed to the process are revealed.
  3. If you don’t care enough, it won’t work. Like the others, this applies to your team. You’ve got to care about those you serve enough to recommit to them daily using your daily practice.

Do you care enough?

April 23, 2020     Daily Post

You’re A Writer Now

You’re A Writer Now

Most of us like to talk. Fewer of us like to write.

Few of us think we’re bad talkers. Plenty of us think we’re bad writers.

Speaking only helps those in the room. If you were late, you don’t get to hear it. If you weren’t yet around when that conversation happened, you don’t get to know what was in that conversation. It was for a moment in time or, worse, captured in an hour of meeting recording on the false assumption that anyone will want to listen to it again.

Writing helps everybody. It’s hard to be ‘late’ to reading what was written. If you weren’t around when the writing happened, it’s still there with as much thought and detail as it was the day it was written. It is for all time, those on the team today and those who won’t yet be around for years to come.

We all work remote now.

Writing has become more useful than ever.

You don’t get to be “a bad writer” anymore.

April 22, 2020     Daily Post

Building Your Genius

Building Your Genius

What’s your area of genius?

Do you nurture it, or think you’re already done with building it?

It’s not easy to build genius:

Building genius feels like play to you but look like work to others. And so your area of genius compounds.

Building genius happens through action and apprenticeships, not schools and courses alone. Un-automatable, yet opens doors for new automations.

Building genius rewards you beyond money, since there’s always more of that. Your genius rewards you with the power to contribute on a global scale toward things that matter.

Now’s not the time to settle. Build your genius, enable others to do the same, then collaborate.

April 21, 2020     Daily Post

Economics and Philosophy

Economics and Philosophy

The laws apply everywhere:

Compound interest on business engagements means your business grows and grows, if you invest mindfully, regularly, more and earlier than anyone else.

Compound interest on marriage means your relationship gets better and better, if you invest mindfully, regularly, and especially when “the market” is contracting.

Compound interest on applied knowledge means you become wiser and wiser, if you study mindfully, applying your breakthroughs along the way.

Economics is philosophical. Are you investing wisely into all the areas of life that matter to you?

April 20, 2020     Daily Post

Status versus Wealth

Status versus Wealth

See how what you focus on affects things in a profound way:

Status people attack wealth people. That’s how they get their status.

Wealth people ignore status people. That’s how they get their wealth.

Wealth people who don’t ignore status people run the risk of becoming status people.

There’s no coming back for those folks.

Of course, the biggest reward comes from impact and contribution. But as for the rest, which sounds more like you?

April 19, 2020     Daily Post

Your Role During A Pandemic

Your Role During A Pandemic

Your role doesn’t change during a pandemic.

Not if you fully appreciate what your role truly is.

Restaurants are fretting because people can’t come in. But restaurants shouldn’t be in the “butts in seats” business. They should be in one such as the “providing a memorable and entertaining hour of escape” business, or the “leading people in healthier living” business, for instance.

These sectors are still very much alive, aren’t they? It’s down to the business leader to lead their restaurants with the right vision and actions to serve those in their care, pandemic or no pandemic.

Professional services are fretting because people are afraid to make good investments. But service providers shouldn’t be in the “selling expensive intangibles” business. They should be in one such as the “removing money worries” business or the “help companies communicate better” business, for instance.

These sectors are still very much alive, aren’t they? It’s down to the business leader to lead their practices with the right vision and actions to serve those in their care, pandemic or no pandemic.

Your role is to understand where those you wish to serve are trying to go, and help them go there.

Your people still have problems, so you still have work to do.

April 18, 2020     Daily Post

“It’s So Easy To Be Successful, See?”

“It’s So Easy To Be Successful, See?”

We see a lot of marketing online that says, “It’s so easy to be successful, see?”

What this communicates to other marketers is, “If it isn’t this easy for you, surely you’re not very good at marketing.”

Or to people trying to other health enthusiasts is, “If it isn’t this easy for you, surely you’re not very good at health.”

It’s a race now. To convince the world it’s easy for you, too.

When it becomes a race, we can forget that ‘easy’ isn’t the point.

The promise of ‘easy’ merely panders to those desperate enough to look for a way out. If you do work that matters, save these people by telling them the truth, showing them a better way, and taking them there.

April 17, 2020     Daily Post

“Look At How Good My Numbers Are”

“Look At How Good My Numbers Are”

We see a lot of marketing online that says, “Look at how good my numbers are”.

What this communicates to other marketers is, “If your stats aren’t this good, surely you’re not very good at marketing.”

And so they start playing by the same games. Now it’s a numbers game.

And when it becomes a numbers game, we forget that ‘numbers’ aren’t the point.

Clearly communicating a better path forward for those we wish to serve, then keeping our promises, is the point.

Collecting more email addresses doesn’t necessarily move us closer to that goal.

Neither does dollars piled into ad spend.

We don’t always need to chase numbers. Sometimes, we serve our people so effectively that they’ll chase us instead…when they’re ready. And we especially don’t need to lie – if it’s not for a limited time only or available in limited quantities, don’t say that it is.

What matters is making a difference in the lives of those you wish to serve. Serving them with the right things, in the right quantities for them, as often as they need it, for as long as they need it.

As an act of service. Not just to make up the numbers.

April 16, 2020     Daily Post

Funny Money Talk

Funny Money Talk

There are some strange money conversations happening in the world at the moment:

“Offer me a discount because of the pandemic”? If the value you render to those in your care has changed, or if the needs of those people have changed, then there is good sense to change the scope of your work and, as such, the price you charge. Otherwise, if nothing has changed, why make a change?

“Just send me a quote” without budget information? If part of the value you render to those in your care is the careful, precise prescription of the right solution to the right problem (and budget is absolutely a factor) then there is good sense to require the budget be known before you write your prescription. Otherwise, you cannot render your service to the level of excellence you expect of yourself.

Deliver exquisite value, for a fair price, in the manner which creates most transformation for those in your care, relative to the problems they are experiencing today.

No funny money talk required.

April 15, 2020     Daily Post

The CEO Should Do That

The CEO Should Do That

What does a CEO do?

Look at spreadsheets and sit in meetings? We often think of this as the sort of thing a CEO should be doing. Ultimate levels of delegation, watching from an ivory tower, having many hour-long meetings about forecasts and P&L.

That kind of CEO doesn’t fit into the new world quite like it did in the old one.

Deciding to write a COVID19 letter and have it placed on the homepage? That’s something that no operations manual covers. That’s you, leading and creating, on behalf of the team you serve.

Taking a stand for what the team believes in? If you think Amazon’s harming the marketplace, approving the use of a smaller, potentially more expensive alternative to put your money where your mouth is. That’s you, leading and creating, on behalf of the team you serve.

Representing your message out in the world? Writing or drawing, listening and taking, connecting with the world you all promise to serve? That’s you, leading and creating, on behalf of the team you serve.

Every leader chooses what kind of a leader they want to be.

In the new world – in this economy – the best leaders appear to lead and create on behalf of the team we serve.

Will you?

April 14, 2020     Daily Post

What You Do, But Better

What You Do, But Better

In times of need, companies seem to rush toward looking for new things to do.

As though the world needs more rushed products and services to choose from.

Here’s an idea: what if we were to simply do what we do… but better?

What have you had success with so far?

Does your audience respond well to thoughtful emails? Then make the emails you send to your target audience the best they possibly can be, at almost any cost. They’ll become a superpower.

Does your audience respond well to visually immersive web pages? Then make the pages you share with them the most immersive, powerful experiences they possibly can be, at almost any cost. They’ll become a superpower.

There’s power in knowing your audience, knowing what they want to hear, knowing how they want to hear it, and sharing that message in that way.

Or, y’know, you could rush toward looking for new things to do. Your choice!

April 13, 2020     Daily Post

The Only Story That Matters

The Only Story That Matters

The story that those in your choice of market is are telling themselves right now is a winding, blurry path between where they are and where they want to be.

You’re either a part of that path, or you’re not.

Most companies leave that decision up to the visitor. But if you can make that decision for them, through your words and your design, interest in what you do shoots through the roof.

If you’re shopping for a computer and the website you’re visiting understands that you want speed so you don’t sound sloppy while on the phone with a client, you’re far more likely to buy a computer from them than if you saw spec sheets about how 16GB RAM is going to rock your world.

Or if you want to improve your B Corp certification score because you barely scraped through last year, a consultant who understands you’re tense about only having scraped through is likely to resonate with you more than if they’re only pitching response times and package options.

It could be that you’re having a hard time communicating clearly enough on your website and you’re aware of how that’s costing you a lot of potential business, a site that empathises with the difference between blending in and standing out will resonate far more than a page that rambles on about awards and how many design revisions you get.

Connect to the story they’re already telling. That’s the only story that matters.

April 12, 2020     Daily Post

How You Talk

How You Talk

When you communicate with the market, how much do you think about how you talk?

What can you say that makes it crystal-clear that you ‘get’ those you wish to serve?

Now, we’re not talking to everyone (only to those we’re uniquely positioned to serve fully) so we can get creative.

We can share in-jokes together.

We can share opinions and beliefs together.

We can use lingo that nobody else could possibly understand, but we do.

Few people dare to communicate with their audience in this way. They’re still caught up on how it may turn others away (those who were never ‘your people’, anyway). Meanwhile, you’re building real bonds from the word go.

Here’s an example.

My creative team is a fully remote, international team called Fairhead Creative. It’s global. But me? I’m writing from England.

So if you show me pictures of palm trees or snowy peaks on your website, I’ll know it’s not for me.

Or if you spell ‘colour’ without a ‘u’ in it, I’ll know that may not be for me, either.

But if you show me overcast skies (which I love), spell things incorrectly (as Brits do) and crack jokes about how Brexit was a terrible idea (it was) then I’ll know it’s for people like me.

You can’t trick people here. Nor should you hope to try. These things are only learned by actually getting to know those you wish to serve.

Get to know your people. Really get to know them. Truly improving your marketing is improving your ability to care and empathise with your people.

April 11, 2020     Daily Post

Relate

Relate

Trying to make a connection with your target market online?

Relate.

We’re a fully remote, international team at Fairhead Creative. But me? I’m writing this from England.

So if you show me pictures of palm trees or snowy peaks in your website design, I’ll know that’s not for me.

Or if you spell ‘colour’ without a ‘u’ in it, I’ll know that’s not for me, too.

But if you show me overcast skies (which I love), spell things incorrectly (as Brits do) and crack jokes about how Brexit was a terrible idea (it was) then I’ll know it’s for people like me.

You can’t trick people here. These things are only learned by actually getting to know those you wish to serve.

Trying to make a connection? Relate.

April 10, 2020     Daily Post

I Wonder What Will Happen

I Wonder What Will Happen

A lot of wondering going on at the moment.

“I wonder what will happen to?” This I hear often. Rarely though do I hear industry professionals deciding to decide what will happen to their industry, through action. We all get to shape our body of work. Every industry has leaders. Why not you?

“I wonder if our clients will stick around?” This I hear often, too. When I hear it, I wonder if they deserve the clients they have. It suggests to me that they are not proactively looking for ways to love upon those in their care, rather, that they are merely hoping the invoices continue to be paid and subscriptions don’t get cancelled. Why not lead, rather than hope?

“I wonder when the world will go back to normal?” It won’t. There is no normal, there is only where we are and where we’re going. Neither of those options involve going ‘back’ to anywhere. Will your body of work adapt to the new normal and create transformation for those you wish to serve, or will it resent the changes we’re seeing manifest worldwide and long for the days gone by?

Let’s wonder no more.

April 09, 2020     Daily Post

The Price Of Losing Trust

The Price Of Losing Trust

Zoom conferencing software lost our trust this year, by selling everyone’s data to Facebook.

Zoom also lost our trust last year, by secretly installing web servers on everyone’s desktops that turned out to be a haven for hackers.

These things have since been fixed.

But both were intentional acts, reversed only as a byproduct of mass-media coverage which will have influenced revenue.

Mistakes happen. Make them, apologize for them, be better because of them. This happens to the best of us.

But we shouldn’t trust Zoom anymore, because they didn’t make mistakes, they just got caught.

The price of losing trust outweighs any perceived benefit of playing fast ‘n’ loose with trust earned.

Earn trust. Protect it. It’s worth more than gold.

April 08, 2020     Daily Post

We Can’t Buy If We Don’t Know

We Can’t Buy If We Don’t Know

We’re all guilty of one of these things:

  1. Not letting people know about things we can do to help them, because we’re afraid they won’t understand why it will help them. The solution is to help them understand. Communicate clearly. Make it make sense.
  2. Not communicating with enough people we can help, because we’re afraid they’ll reject us, because it might mean we’re not worthy. The solution is the talk to more of the right people, because they won’t all say yes all of the time.
  3. Not letting people see because it’s not perfect yet, because anything less than perfect makes us feel we’re doing the world a disservice. The solution is to remember perfection doesn’t exist. The real disservice is not letting anyone know, instead deciding to keep it all to yourself. Selfish.

Which are you guilty of?

April 07, 2020     Daily Post

It’s Different Online

It’s Different Online

Working online now?

Tools like Slack and Zoom can recreate offline, online. Always-on, synchronous and visible. You can micromanage just like you did in the office. It’s different online, but not necessarily all that much better if used as a straight “port” of offline work.

Long-form writing does not recreate offline. Not always on, staggered communication and invisible. You must trust others to do it right. It’s different online, except much more can get done, if everyone can be trusted.

The question is, do you trust your team, and are you open to learning new ways of working?

April 06, 2020     Daily Post

Lapse In Principles

Lapse In Principles

Ever tempted to shed your principles when opportunity knocks?

During a global pandemic, a lapse in principles could earn you some quick money, while needs are greater and options scarce. This act today comes at the expense of being trusted tomorrow.

When there’s a social need, a lapse in principles could earn you reluctant market domination today, while needs are greater and options scarce. Or you could take a stand and be rewarded in proportion to your contribution tomorrow (and every day after that).

When you’re effective at marketing communication, a lapse in principles could earn you the world today, until people get wise to your manipulation of power. Or you could use your skills to help people go where they want to go, so they’ll remain loyal for life.

A lapse in principles rarely pay off.

Principles work better.

April 05, 2020     Daily Post

I’m Right You’re Wrong

I’m Right You’re Wrong

What they think matters, whether it’s right or not.

Do they think one of your competitors is a better option, when you know they’re overcharging and underdelivering?

Do they think the fact that their existing relationship with a vendor makes that vendor a better fit than you?

Do they think that your price is too low, too high, too complicated, or too simple?

Do they think they need a particular type of solution, when you know full well they’d be better suited to something else?

Quibbling over whether they’re right or not diminishes our moral responsibility to help them move forward.

There are a lot of ideas floating around in the marketplace. None are right or wrong, they simply ‘are’.

The first step is to Understand. Where did this idea come from? Just what is their belief system, exactly? We don’t want to get into a ‘holy war’ of conflicting world views here. Instead, we want to start by understanding what they think.

The second step is to Empathize. Even the most backward of thought processes have seemingly sound logic to those who think them. It’s not your job to block, but parry: letting them know you can follow their trail of thought equips them with the feeling not being understood. Just like with feelings, this is the first step toward equipping someone with positive change.

The third step is to get them unstuck. From your understanding and empathizing of their worldview, where they are and where they want to be, you’re equipped to build a coherent, clear bridge between those two places. This is the time for us to show them that path forward, which you can travel, together.

Are you right? Are they right? It doesn’t matter. Understand, empathize, get them unstuck.

April 04, 2020     Daily Post

Things Are Changing

Things Are Changing

Things will never be the same.

Corona is changing how we human. We aren’t allowed to in-person, so we’re adapting. This will leave a lasting imprint on society and the way we do things. We can take advantage of the opportunities to innovate this opens up for us, or we can fear the inevitable change.

Here’s the thing though.

There have always been things taking place that change how we human. Whether it’s flu-based pandemics, technological advancements, political shifts or something else entirely, things are always changing. The way we do things is always changing. We can take advantage of the opportunities that open up for us, or we can fear the inevitable change.

Which is it to be for you?

April 03, 2020     Daily Post

Beyond Tracking Projects & Time

Beyond Tracking Projects & Time

Would you want to work with you?

Track your emotional state, not just your time. It’s also worth monitoring minute-by-minute just like time is, because as time becomes the project, your state becomes your temperament.

Track your temperament, not just your projects. Time may be what we put in, but projects are what we get out, for the world to see. We see your projects, we see your temperament. Both are indicators of whether or not we’d like to share a project with you.

Whether you’re in an office or (more likely at the moment) working remotely from home, remember we see more than just where your time goes and what your projects turn out like.

So I’ll ask again: would you want to work with you?

April 02, 2020     Daily Post

It’s Simpler When You Focus On The Right Things

It’s Simpler When You Focus On The Right Things

It really is:

How many pages does your website need? As many as your visitor needs, for as many types of visitor as you need. One Audience + One Message = One Page.

How many products does your company need? As many as your team can deliver methodical, predictable, transformational results with, that solve actual problems for those you wish to serve.

What type of office hardware/software should you use? Whatever will enable you to produce the best results for those in your care. The paintbrush is bought by you on behalf of those who buy art, not for you as the artist.

What should we do about the Coronavirus in our business? Whatever will best serve those in your care and those who ought to belong in your care during these times. If their needs changed slightly, respond accordingly in their best interests.

Are you focused on the right things, or are you complicating things by focusing on the wrong things?

April 01, 2020     Daily Post

Websites That People Want

Websites That People Want

Is your website’s performance going down?

Normal, these days.

Stalking people with pixels so you can later hammer them with ads, or forcing email opt-ins to access information is not how people want to connect. It worked for a time. That time has passed.

Consider how people want to use the web now:

  1. You scroll vertically through a feed things that look visually stimulating,
  2. You stop scrolling when something in particular catches your eye,
  3. You click, expecting to see more of that particular thing immediately,
  4. You engage by leaving a comment if it’s exceptional.

Let’s apply that to how your website could behave:

  1. You scroll vertically through a story that looks visually stimulating,
  2. You stop scrolling when parts of that story catch your eye,
  3. You click, expecting to see more of that offer or product immediately,
  4. You engage by starting a conversation if it’s exceptional.

Websites that give people what they’re looking for work better.

Who knew?