Do you want results or convenience?

When it comes to our businesses we procrastinate on the things that we don’t like including [insert surprise here] marketing. But if marketing produces results, why do we wait?

The question to you is this:

Do you want results or convenience?

Spend 7% of Your Gross Revenue on Marketing

Budget may be an issue, though you should set aside a good 7% of revenue toward marketing, but it’s not the only excuse. Inconvenience tends to be the leader in the procrastination excuses.

“The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7 to 8 percent of your gross revenue for marketing and advertising if you’re doing less than $5 million a year in sales and your net profit margin — after all expenses — is in the 10 percent to 12 percent range.” George Boykin

For the sake of an example, if you are a WordPress Developer who charges $1,500 per website, $105 of that should go to marketing your business. This is a conservative investment in your future.

If you do four of those sites a month, $420 should be invested in marketing. To be more aggressive, you’ll have to dedicate a larger percentage of gross revenue.

Spending $420 a month on marketing instead of something else isn't convenient; it's an investment. Click To Tweet

What is convenient?

Pretty much nothing. You’ve heard the saying that nothing worth doing is ever easy? Well, nothing worth achieving is ever convenient.

Does anyone ask rugby players if it’s convenient that they get so dirty or become injured because of the lack of pads? No. Does anyone ask X Games athletes how many bones they broke to be champions? No.

There are plenty of things I do that are not convenient. But I choose to invest in my community, my business, and myself.

Investing in your business is never convenient. Click To Tweet

For example:

  • I drive 33 miles to my closest WordPress Meetup. This takes at least an hour in commute time. I do this one to three times a month. Results: friends, business, and fun. That matters.
  • I worked in Santa Ana for 14 years. It was a 27 mile commute and took an hour. Results: That job helped me launch my career shift.
  • I traveled for work while I was with Thought House (on behalf of Give). I hated travel before. Results: I met people all over the world and many of them have become clients.
  • Attending WordCamps can be expensive (about $1000 is an average budget). Results: I get clients all the time from attending, organizing, or speaking at WordCamps. Also: friends.
  • Blogging takes time and focus. I don’t always feel like writing for myself, especially after doing client work. Results: people continue to read my current and past writing and (guess what?) I get business and referrals. This doesn’t even speak to branding issues. (Would you hire a marketer who didn’t blog?)

I am not even talking about physical or mental fitness either. We all know that being fit is more than looking at magazines and having a gym membership. It’s not any different for your business.

What gets results?

Effort.

Period.

Start.

Start somewhere. But stop complaining.

It’s your business.

Results require effort. Effort is rarely convenient. Click To Tweet

Why aren’t you marketing your business?

I always tell business owners that they have to care about the future of their business. As a consultant or even their social media manager, I can’t care about their business more than they do.

So, I say the same to you — my audience. I can’t care about your business more than you do.

It’s your livelihood. It’s your future. It’s your passion.

Your business is your passion. Don't put it's future into someone else's hands. Click To Tweet

You should be involved in your business. You should care about it’s direction.

When’s the last time you had a checkup for your body or your vision or your teeth? It’s been a year or less. Right?

When’s the last time you had a checkup for your marketing plan? What worked ten years ago may not work now. What was true in social media last year, may not be true now. Changes in tactics are sometimes required.

Maybe it’s time.

Marketing for WordPress Developers: You are What You Tweet

When it comes to business tools for WordPress Developers, Twitter is one of the best — if you use it correctly. Tweet to build, not tear down.

If you are what you tweet, what shouldn’t you say?

We all have a voice. We all want our voice heard. There’s no way to circumvent the need for love and belonging and acceptance. It’s part of our nature.

And in the WordPress space, we like to take all of our complaints to social media. This can be good and bad.

Firstly, public venting is almost never a good thing. Rather than posting publicly, it is better to use private Facebook groups, SnapChat, and friends to text or call.

Client Shaming on Twitter

As an aside, I’d love to see client shaming die a long, painful death. I’ve seen it in every industry I’ve been in. Twitter is supposed to make you approachable. When people see your tweets shaming clients for not understanding DNS, they will be more afraid to talk to you, let alone hire you.

It’s not the client’s responsibility to understand tech. That’s why they’re hiring you. Right? You deal with DNS and passwords and image sizes and naming conventions day in and day out. The fact that they could even find their passwords was a victory in their own eyes.

Instead, be a bridge. Be a resource. Educate. Empower your clients.

You shouldn’t be annoyed that they don’t understand what you do.

What is a good business use of Twitter?

I wrote about this more extensively, but here are some suggestions:

  • Congratulate friends.
  • Empathize with someone’s personal loss.
  • Share your hobbies.
  • Engage in light banter about red shirts v blue shirts, Croatia v France, Flexbox v Grid.
  • Promote your friends.
  • Tweet at WordCamps.
  • Share blog posts that talk about your services.
  • Educate clients on vocabulary and jargon.
  • Tweet photos from your vacation.
  • Talk about Tiger Woods reentering Golf.
  • Debate LeBron leaving the Cavaliers — again.
  • Share your struggles.
  • Ask for help.

Here are some more thoughts, Tweetable, of course

If you want Twitter to be a safe place, start tweeting safe things. Click To Tweet Are your political opinions helping or hurting your online reputation? Click To Tweet Venting frustration about clients can ward off potential ones. Click To Tweet

 

 

Marketing for WordPress Developers: Are you taking on new clients?

Client work is great. But how do your Twitter followers, let alone your friends, know if you’re taking on new clients and projects. And if so, which ones?

You do refer and take referrals, right?

What is Marketing?

Marketing is basic communication of your goods and services. Simple enough, right? So why do so many WordPress developers fail to tell their potential customers that they are available?

There could be many reasons, but let’s start with a simple, actionable goal.

Audit your website and Twitter bio.

Audit Your Website

You may need a third party on this one. Don’t look at the code or the design. Instead, look to see where a potential customer would know the following:

  1. Are you accepting new work?
  2. What kind of work do you specialize in?
  3. How does someone contact you?

You could go further with:

  1. Do you have a portfolio?
  2. Do you have recommendations?
  3. Do you list your clients?

But that is way extra credit.

Your services page should be clear in the main navigation and not buried. This is for potential customers and for your friends who are looking to refer you. If your friends are like me, they check your website first.

Audit Your Twitter Bio

What does your Twitter bio say? Does it say you’re a “WordPress Developer.” That’s awesome. Your peers know who you are. But does the general public. I’m going to say a hard “no.”

If you build websites, and taking on work, I’d strongly suggest that your Twitter bio says “I build websites” in some form.

Here are a couple of quick Google Search Screenshots that should help convince you.

Notice that it says “web designer” or “website” in most of the suggestions. Also, the “People also ask” section is a good source of headlines for future blog posts like, “How Much Does It Cost To Hire Someone to Build A Website?”

Oh, and please put a link to your website on your Twitter.

More questions?

I’d love to help you. And, yes, I am taking on marketing consulting clients.

Below is my form.


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You Can’t Market in a Vacuum – Lessons About Observation

So many businesses get tunnel vision, blinders, or myopic in their marketing. They learned what works in 1989 and kept doing it. Observe. Who are your customers — really?

What is a vacuum?

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica:

Vacuum, Space in which there is no matter or in which the pressure is so low that any particles in the space do not affect any processes being carried on there.”

Do we market in a vacuum? Not literally. No. But when we look at data without the context, we are not allowing ourselves to be exposed to alternative data.

What do you mean?

Let’s talk about lunch on a Monday.

I recently had a late lunch / early dinner with my friend Rachel at Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern (and had an awesome margarita). During our lunch we were talking ideas and brainstorming in tornado fashion, as we do.

The topic of data came up. So, I was quoting that saying “lies, damned lies, and statistics” and I added “AND DATA!” I was discussing the idea of context when it comes to data. Read more You Can’t Market in a Vacuum – Lessons About Observation

Communication is a Science – We Read Live Data

Communication is a science. I’m frankly tired of seeing it categorized as a soft skill as though it’s less important. Of course communication includes data. The trick with communication professionals is that we read and respond to data live.

Are soft skills “hot air?”

Soft Skills Venn Diagram

I saw this Venn Diagram and was offended at best.

Business people (marketing, sales, finance) are not inferior to software developers, engineers, and/or front-end designers. Every specialty has its training and technical side. Let’s respect expertise for what it is — expertise.

I commented on the blog. The author replied:

Thanks for commenting, Bridget. I did not create the Venn diagram, nor do I endorse it or its labels. It is used as a counterexample for classifying data science in an over-exclusive way.

Firstly, the fact that one didn’t create an image doesn’t remove one’s responsibility for it. What if it were hate speech? Why is it acceptable in the tech community to demean soft skills?

To be fair, this diagram and discussion brought something to the surface that I’ve been encountering since I began marketing as a career.

Data Requires Context

Sure. Pour over the data you have in Google Analytics. Make charts. Create ratios. Create forecasting models. That’s needed. I’m not against data.

But data alone isn’t the whole picture. Recently, a client noticed a drop in leads from Yelp. Is it because Yelp isn’t effective? That was the conclusion all too easy to jump to. Yet, what has changed? Quite a lot, actually. We began advertising on Facebook, we launched a new website with regular blog posts, and we started an Instagram account. Yelp isn’t less effective, it’s simply no longer the only star in the sky of data.

Context, a story, matters when interpreting data. That comes with soft skills. Anyone can collect data. But can you ask the right questions to interpret the data?

Brené Brown is now famous for saying, “Maybe stories are just data with a soul” in her TED talk. Stories give context to data. This is what makes data powerful. Otherwise any data can be manipulated for any purpose.

“Figures often beguile me particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.'” Mark Twain

Are soft skills scientific?

They are. This is why behaviorism is a part of psychology. There are plenty of studies that look at inflection, tone, word choice, gestures, facial ticks, and body language. All of this is data. It’s being streamed through our senses and interpreted in real time by our brains.

Soft skills are scientific. We call them soft because it’s hard for us to define.

Those with business, marketing, sales, and communication skills read a different kind of data: it’s human data. It’s behavior and behavior patterns. We analyze body language, inflection, and tone. We decipher patterns and predict behavior in real time in order to adjust the conversation for affinity.

Whether online or in person affinity is key. Affinity leads to loyalty. Loyalty leads to sales. Of course, data is important, but it’s good to be reminded that data is a look at the past, not in the moment. Collected data is the autopsy. Soft skills are the preventive medicine.

“I’ve concluded that that data has the most impact when it’s wrapped in a story. …Data won’t get you standing ovation; stories will. Stories inform, illuminate, and inspire. Tell more of them.” Carmine Gallo, Harvard Business Review

Inspired by:

Engineering Data Science at Automattic

Kari Shea