It is nearly the end of another (NZ) financial year.
This has been one of the best, and one of the worst, years ever!
Wouldn’t it be great to create an AI version of yourself so you can live on in the cloud after your death?
I think it would…
The science of social influence has shows how you can ethically and effectively persuade using following six methods. In the book ‘Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways To Be Persuasive’ Professors Cialdini, Goldstein, and Martin explain the conclusions from their own, and other’s, empirical research in to persuasion.
Persuasion Stratagem #1. – The Compromise Choice
This principle works when the persuader provides the pursued options for comparison. Often this stratagem is applied to pricing, where the most expensive option makes the lower priced option looks more attractive. It can be used to influence when developing your range of offerings and price list. Developing marketing materials that compare your offerings with alternative purchases is also an effective way to implement this stratagem.
Persuasion Stratagem #2. – Focus on Pain Points
Marketing theory teaches us to focus on features and benefits, however placing emphasis on pain points is more effective in persuasion. Loss aversion, our tendency to be more sensitive to potential loss than to potential gain, is a evolved characteristic of humans. See this discussion of beliefs by Michael Shermer on Ted.com (link).
Persuasion Stratagem #3. – When Less is More
Presenting too many options at once will overwhelm your audience and may cause them to defer, at best while they digest the excess information, but more likely, permanently. Digesting new information and especially with regard to options, requires a prospect to invest in differentiating between them. They probably won’t bother and will go where it is easier. Remember simplicity sells.
Persuasion Stratagem #4. – Seed Ideas Like A Jedi Master
Seeding the minds of those you seek to influence with a positive expectation of their personal attributes can influence them toward acting in that manner. This ‘labeling technique’ involves assigning a label to a person, then making requests consistent with that label.
Persuasion Stratagem #5. – Simple Names
Using unnecessarily large words or technical jargon makes your messages less influential. If your communications are quickly and easily understood they will be more persuasive. Make sure your messages are easy to process.
Persuasion Stratagem #6. – ‘Free’ Gifts & Bonuses
In some circumstances giving away ‘free’ gifts or bonuses can be counter-productive because it causes consumers to think there must be something wrong with the gift if you are giving it away. Reminding the recipient of the true value of the gift will combat this devaluation.
To conclude, science has given us many insights in to marketing messages that work. Make sure to follow these six strategies in your marketing & you’re guaranteed to see your sales improve immediately.
Storytelling is an compelling method to build brand mythology according to the CMO of Newsforce Dana Todd. Consultant, speaker and author Tom Peters agrees citing Rolf Jensen that, “companies will thrive on the basis of their stories and myths. Companies will need to understand that their products are less important than their stories.”
There are 5 elements of storytelling that you must consider when crafting your branded content strategy.
You must know your audience, deeply. Drill down and look to see what connects them. Understand what drives them, what they do for fun. Understand them as human beings. Use shared collective experiences and create emotional connections. Also consider their environment.
There are commonly used master plots that are very popular and resonate with the most people. Make choice of plot relevant to your audience and marry the central plot to your value proposition. Sex sells and can get you immediate attention but it doesn’t build a brand promise. Avoid complex plots, keep it simple.
3. Narrative Structure
Plan to express your plot repeatedly in different ways – creatively – through the use of multiple narratives specific to the environment. Don’t clutter your narrative with too much detail… stick to the core. Remember that repetition & exaggeration have always been basic elements of storytelling.
Your characters tell your stories for you. Answer this question: “If your brand had a face and a personality, how would it act?” You’ll have a much larger sense of your brand narrrative by doing this exercise.
Understand that the character can be the bad guy like the Lamosil toe fungus monster. Disgusting, but it works. The character might exemplify the brand attributes, the personification of your brand image. Characters can be objects, or invisible.
Ask: “What is the perfect way to personify what we do for our customers?”
Tone is the layer that ties everything together. Define the tone early and stick with it. The right tone connects at a human level, not just as a smart thing to do.
How to Develop the Campaign
Define the budget and success metrics upfront, then do the business case.
Identify who the ideal customer is, and what you want them to feel that will compel them to give you money.
Don’t Scrimp on This Process! – 20 hours of interviews, qualitative research. If you interview 20 people, you will start to see patterns. Get inside their heads, really understanding customers as people will help you to find stories to connect with them as people.
Simplify, simplify, simplify! Pare ideas down to a single word if posssible – make sure it matters to your target audience.
Sketch simple narratives that illlustrate the word then flesh out the sketches against the vehicles they’ll be served in (display, social, search, PR, print, etc. )
Tie it all together with tone and consistent use of word-images.
Finally, BE AFRAID OF MEDIOCRITY!
Vision and commitment are key. Plan for 3 years minimum commitment to a storyline.
Is Murphy’s Law an idiomatic expression to describe in layman’s terms the application of the second law of thermodynamics? I think it might be and let me explain why.
First allow me to briefly restate Murphy’s law. The first law of Murphy is ‘Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong’ and according to Brian Tracy the first corollary of Murphy’s first law is that of all the things that could go wrong, the very worst thing will go wrong, at the very worst time, and cost the very most amount of money.
Second, allow me to attempt a quick summary of the second law of thermodynamics. The second law of thermodynamics governs the change in energy states of matter such that an ordered state having higher energy requires an energy input to achieve. Not only that, but since energy is prone to radiating all about the place rather than directing itself solely upon the task at hand, creating order requires expending far greater energy than what the difference between the ordered and dis-ordered states.
This is due to the ordering process not being completely 100% efficient. Consequently further energy must be expended to make allowance for the energy that is lost to the environment via friction, infra-red radiation, or anything else that doesn’t contribute energy to the ordered state of the object.
Perhaps the simplest application of the second law of thermodynamics and a common experience for most of us is the natural decomposition of fresh fruit and vegetables. This is the second law at work in your refrigerator.
But how do these two concepts relate exactly? I see a parallel development of argument simply expressed in more or less defined arenas. Which is to say that the second law of thermodynamics is more rigidly defined and Murphy’s Law less yet the effect is the same.
The second law, sometimes called entropy, is far better equipped to explain the efficiency of an engine. In the classic example the caloric input of energy from fuel is measured and the resultant output of vehicular movement likewise measured and calculations performed to determine the expected efficiency. Not a task amenable to humor or cynical reflection. However in contrast to the exacting application of entropy, Murphy’s law however can be applied to any situation involving entropy without the need for algebra.
A charming aspect of Murphy’s law is that it provides a parallel description of entropy in situations less amenable to measurement, like the hoisting of a tent. Imagine a big tent on a hill for your daughters first wedding. The truckie dropped it off this morning, but was supposed to stay and set it up but had to leave to rescue his boat that had blown off it’s moorings in the bay around the peninsula.
First you notice the wind that you’d barely noticed prior to beginning erecting the tent suddenly becomes gusty and problematic. Then the tent peg that you were sure was for the awning, turns out to be the one for the door, and finally the puny little pegs you found first prove no match for the gusting wind and it soon ends up thirty-feet down a muddy hill in a heap.
It is only with the help of the new in-laws that you finally erect the tent… only after splashing mud over your white shirt and realizing that your keys are missing, to be found the next day, under the tent.
Probably stating the obvious really, but I thought it sounded kind of interesting. I’m happy to hear your comments. You can email me, send me a public tweet or even call if you feel so inclined.
The inspiration for this post was listening to John Wooden and Tony Robbins. I’ve got to give it to John Wooden, the world-famous basketball coach for UCLA, all around good guy, and peak performance role model. God bless him for reminding me to read the good book, and for his advice about conditioning, balance and everything else too.
If you’ve not signed up to Tony Robbins email list, you probably should. You can sign up here. He sent an email broadcast containing a link to download his Powertalk with John Wooden which I’ve put here since he says he’ll take it down in a couple of days. Also John gave a presentation at TED.com that you can watch it here.
‘Search Engine Optimization’ defined
Search Engine Optimization (also known as SEO, search engine optimisation, organic search marketing, website optimization, search optimization etc.) is quite simply the endeavor by which you entice Search Engines to list the pages of a website in their results pages.
Many people discover new content from search results and thus SEO is the most important factor in attracting new visitors to a website. This tutorial details my own five-step process that’s absolute dynamite for getting quick results with SEO, but you might also like to read about it on Wikipedia here
Step #1 – The ‘Keyword Proposition’
The first step in performing SEO for your website is knowing what search terms you want to optimize for. This is a deceptively simple question however the answer is infinitely more complex because in choosing what to optimize for you must also consider the competition for a particular keyword.
SEO uses the term keyword for the entire phrase that is submitted to the Search Engine, as such the keyword may be multiple words, or not.
Develop a list of keywords based on the content of your page using a thesaurus to make this list as long as possible. Enter these in to a spreadsheet so that you can keep track as you progress through the development of your keyword proposition.
Beside the root keywords that you developed based on your content you should next list the words that indicate the intent that you seek to optimize for, and also a list of negative keywords that indicate intents to avoid. For example if you are selling a product you should include words like buy, price and coupon while avoiding terms such as free or job.
Finally use the spreadsheet to compute all of the permutations of the search terms and analyze these using a keyword analysis tool such as the one provided by Google AdWords. In order to determine what keywords are attractive you need to consider: the number of searches, the competition for that keyword and the intent of a searcher when entering that term.
The output of this analysis is your keyword proposition, which is simply a list of attractive keywords for which you will optimize your page for using the steps below.
Step #2 – ‘Information Architecture’
Put simply the Information Architecture of a website defines the location of a website’s pages relative to the domain and therefore the address (URL) of each page. To illustrate consider that the URL for this post is made up of two parts: first is the domain (http://michaelsmalelovesyou.com), the second is the permanent link (permalink) for this page (/search-engine-optimization-101/).
Since the full address of your website’s pages are evaluated when determining your page’s rank in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) it is worthwhile to incorporate keywords from your proposition in the address of your pages. While it is always important to consider a website’s usability this especially true of the information architecture.
Information architectures are visualized using storyboards with arrows indicating links between pages and for large sites it is useful to group pages in categories and storyboard each separately. A common form of architecture is a hierarchical structure similar to a organizational chart with the homepage at the top, and child pages below.
Larger sites will add a category between the homepage and the child-pages to group large numbers of child pages together. The careful selection of the category names provides an opportunity to incorporate root keywords in the address for each of the child pages of the category. For example at http://internetmarketingseminarz.com/ the categories correspond to the parent items in the navigation menu, and also appear in the address of child pages between the domain and the permalink.
Step #3 – ‘Relevant Content’
A crucial concept in optimizing your website for search engines is relevance. Relevance scoring is performed by the search engines on a page-by-page basis, accordingly you must evaluate the relevance of each page of your website separately.
Relevance scoring is the process that search engines use to evaluate a web-page for relevance to a search query. The search query is the exact phrase submitted to the search engine and includes: the order of the words, their exact spelling including any mistakes, and the use of quotation marks & other search modifiers like ‘-free’ (which excludes results relevant for the term ‘free’ on most major search engines).
Here’s my checklist of the major considerations when evaluating relevance:
- Keyword usage (frequency of use, prominence, in headings)
- Keyword density (percent of word count – ideally 2% – but less than 5%)
- Meta Tags (title – 65 characters, description – 165 characters)
- Hyperlinks (cite other content about every 120 words, add attribute rel=’nofollow’ to external links)
- Body length (at least 300 words)
- Semantically related words (use natural language, synonyms, avoid excessive repetition)
- Readability (proofread content to ensure it reads well)
Search engines want to provide quality results to their users so provide quality content and you will be rewarded.
Step #4 – ‘Backlinks’
Building links from other websites to your website’s homepage and deeplinking to the inner content of your website is crucial. Google’s search algorithm that redefined search was based on the patent filed by it’s principal Laurence Page and is known as PageRank.
The simple explanation of PageRank is that each website that includes a link to your website or deeplinks to one of your web-pages is voting for your website or your web-page. The greater the quality of the website that links to your website the greater the inferred quality of your website.
You can download the Google toolbar and install the PageRank function to evaluate the relative importance of your website and others. PageRank is supplemented by another concept known as TrustRank which is not visible on the toolbar however it is understood that domains on educational or governmental domain extensions such as .edu or .gov are considered trustworthy and confer TrustRank to your site when they link to you.
The first step in obtaining backlinks for most webmasters will be submitting your website for inclusion in web directories. These can be paid or free and because of the large number of reasons to avoid paid links you should stick to reputable free directories such as the Open Directory Project
Step #5 – ‘Tuning’
The final step in achieving optimal SEO performance for your pages is to include analytic capacity on your site and use actual usage data to tune your content. Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools provide the basic information in an easy to understand formula and can be installed for free.
Once you have your site up on the web you should regularly track the results pages for your keyword propositions. Most of the work will be in building backlinks and producing new content, however you may refine your proposition in light of new competition or with the understanding gleaned from analyzing traffic behavior.
Ultimately tuning is the ultimate form of SEO because, unless you are very lucky, you aren’t going to get things exactly right first time however by tracking and tuning your content you will be able to make the incremental improvements that can often make the difference between a loss and a profit.
Google have created a gnarly animation for the New Year which you can access by clicking on the ‘I’m feeling lucky’ search button from the Google home page. This worked for me today on the Australian version (.com.au) Check it out and let me know what you think and if you’ve seen this before.
You might be wondering how it is that I found this, and the story is relatively innocuous. I was testing a new broadband connection we got from Telstra, the Sierra 21 USB modem. It has a theoretical maximum speed of 21Mbps downstream bandwidth, which is pretty cool. Anyway, I was told that it would work on Snow Leopard Mac OS v10.6.2 but oh no… after about an hour on the phone with Telstra they decide it is broken and will send a new one. Anyway it was when this new one arrived and I finally got to work inside my XP virtual machine that I was testing Google.com -> they sent me to .com.au and because it finally worked, well… I *was* feeling lucky.
I was thinking, strange as that might seem, about the state of my neurons and their seemingly similar nature to hair.
Yes… I used to have long hair (but only when that was kewl)
You know how your thoughts are like little neural pathways? Strands of tiny fibers that connect to create complex networks a bit like hair.
Taking the analogy a bit further you can see that I’m heading to knots and how to avoid them.
(tangent) Knots are a phenomenon not only in hair but in neurons. If you wikipedia alzheimers disease you’ll see a graphic example of a neurofibrillary tangle
So given that if we sleep without combing our hair for days and days, unless it is very short, it will tangle.
Eventually if it is allowed to tangle more and more it will eventually become dreadlocks.
Unfortunately I think this same thing is happening by people that fail to reflect.
Pondering on a subject is something that I have long found useful as it tends to have the effect of making that which was at one time overwhelming, ordered and sensible.
This is especially true if you are prone to organizing thoughts in a mind map or hierarchal structure or even a blog post…