Why Bots are Now Critical to Your Online Marketing

Have you noticed that it’s harder than ever to reach customers with what used to be cutting edge technology? Bots may just be what you need for your online marketing.

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Bots for Marketing (photo: JamesM via Pixabay)

While 20% email open rates are considered average, the reality is that 4% click thru will barely keep your business afloat. Meanwhile, social media channels and content marketing were once considered just what online marketing needed. But now even these aren’t as effective.

My soccer coach used to tell us to go where the ball will be, not where it was. Where will you customers be for the next 5 -10 years?

Messaging Apps vs. Email

Something curious happened over recent years. While email isn’t going away, have you noticed how we use direct messaging, aka chat, to communicate more often?

No longer just for teens and gamers, we use chat to talk with friends, family and even co-workers. It’s easy, fast and engaging.

Social Networks vs Messaging Apps

There are now more users of messaging apps than social networks. Marketing is about meeting customers where they are.

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Messaging Apps are Bigger than Social Networks (source: Business Insider)

Bots provide a scalable way to communicate via chat. They can educate and sell in a way that is more engaging than any other tool.

Done right you can track and segment like the most sophisticated CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platforms, yet keep your unique brand look and feel.

Still not convinced about the value of bots?

Check out this short video..

Although I’ve been running limited tests, the overall results are definitely impressive.

Typically, average open rates for email marketing is 15%. We get around 20-30%.

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Email Marketing Open Rates and Click Thru

With bots this jumps to around 80-100%, and even better are the click-throughs around 20%, which is 3 to 5% for the industry vs. 20-30% for bots!

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Bots Open Rate and Click Thru

Want to learn more about bots and messaging apps? Well, turns out we have an app for that! Click here to get started.

Why Storytelling is the Key to Your Content Marketing

Are you finding it hard to grab and hold your audience’s attention? Maybe it’s time to step up your content marketing with better storytelling.

Too often we watch a movie trailer and eagerly anticipate seeing the film, only to end up disappointed when it doesn’t live up to the hype. Fortunately, War for the Planet of the Apes turned out to NOT be one of those times. In fact, this latest installment by director Matt Reeves along with the rest of the cast & crew definitely delivered!

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Photo Source: kopi via Pixabay

 

As mentioned before, your content (especially video) can be trailers for those flagship pieces such as your courses or other programs. But what really drives this home is good storytelling. When it’s done right, stories can captivate audiences, holding them spell-bound. Human beings are hard-wired to respond to this power of storytelling.

Yet, as magical as storytelling can be, it doesn’t take some mystical powers or incantations under the moon. It’s just another practical, earthly skill that we can each develop over time. (Click to tweet)

Telling stories takes knowing which ones attract your ideal audience. It takes understanding of story structure. Most of all, it takes practice.

Traditionally, marketers have placed their products and services in the forefront as the “heroes.” Over time they realized that this no longer works. Today we must make our clients and customers the hero.

When your clients and customers see themselves facing their want, and your product / service as the guide to finding their way to fulfilling that desire, you’re well on your way to being their “go to” answer. It’s through your content that you work through the “know, like and trust” desires. You provide answers in a noisy world of questions.

If you’re interested in learning more, sign up here.

5 Simple Ways to Create Videos for Your Content

Want some simple ways to create videos for your content?

As the lights go out, Hollywood knows they’ve got your attention.

What’s better than getting out of the summer heat than hiding in a nice cool movie theater and catching blockbusters? 🙂

That’s when the studios sell you the coming attractions in the form of trailers.

Watching these, you’re deciding which movies you plan to see next and which you’re going to Netflix or just skip.

You can do the same thing with your content.

Creating Trailers for Your Content
You can create videos as trailers for your content. Just a simple 30 second to 2 minute video of highlights on social media can grab a viewers attention and send them to your site.

Likewise, the number 2 search engine in the world (YouTube) is owned by none other than #1 Google. So, you know that picking the right keywords will give you highly effective backlinks offering some of the best organic search juice around!

Recently, Amazon just launched their own YouTube competitor. Meanwhile, Facebook now offers live video to influencers. You know that something is up when the most popular websites in the world are investing in video.

But who’s got time for making videos? or the money right?

Lately, I’ve been testing some platforms. Most offer Powerpoint-like templates where you can type in some text, add photos and choose some combo of music and your own voice over.

Just about all have access to a library of photos AND offer export options to major sharing platforms like YouTube or social media like Facebook.

Here’s a roundup of free and low-cost options –

Content Samurai – Not one of the cheaper options, Content Samurai does occasionally offer a $1 trial; check out my demo.

It’s an easy way to create videos, if you’re familiar with any kind of presentation software like Powerpoint or Keynote.

What it lacks for in functionality, it more than makes up for in its simplicity and ease of use.

Just copy & paste your script, add photos then your voice over. And you’re done!

Adobe Spark – while Adobe Spark is pretty much same deal – pick a template, add your touches & publish.

If you’re familiar with Adobe products, you know that they don’t skimp on features.

Although this is just a simpler version of their full suite of creative products, besides editing videos there is also a photo editor and web design apps.

Showbox – Probably the one with the most bells & whistles – Showbox is currently free but results can be pretty amazing & well-worth giving them credit with their watermark.

I’m currently helping friend with her crowdfunding campaign, so I’ll share results after we’re done

Overall, it’s one of the easiest ways to create professional looking videos. All you do is pick your media, such as photos and video clips; then add voice over. That’s it!

Powtoon – next up is Powtoon. Now this one can have a bit of a learning curve, and it’s a bit more expensive to remove their prominent watermark.

But, what makes Powtoon different from the others is how simple it is to create animations using their presentation style editor.

Instead of just inserting either static pictures or video footage, Powtoon gives you some animated characters and objects that you can move around.

So, Powtoon is an easy way to create either eye-catching animation or animated text videos.

WeVideo

WeVideo is pretty much like your traditional video editing software, but there’s still a few templates and tools to make things easier.

If you’re comfortable with a video editor like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, then you’ll have no problem with this platform. So, give it a try.

These are just some of the ways that you can make videos for less time and money.

To attend our next live training workshop and to receive access to demo videos on how to make easy videos, sign up here.

Top Video Marketing Tips for Realtors

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Many realtors realize the importance of video marketing for their real estate business, but they mistakenly believe that it has to be an expensive Hollywood production that only the million club members can produce.

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Video Marketing for Realtors – Photo Credit: moleshko via Pixabay

Here are some key tips on how to make sure your marketing videos not only have impact, but also easy on your budget.

Make It About Your Customer

Most real estate businesses love to do a “brag video.”
Yeah, we know that everybody on your team will work hard and care about your clients. But does this really make you different from the 99 other agencies?

And is “trustworthy” really something to make you stand out? Isn’t that a minimum requirement?

Here are just a few ways to offer value –

  • Give advice on how to get financing
  • Provide current real estate trends in your area
  • Offer tips on getting top dollar in selling a home

Make It Shareable

Okay, we’ve all seen the “like my page” – it’s the social media / online version of begging for spare change.

Instead, focus on one of these three key things – entertaining, educational, or inspirational, or better yet, some combination of all three! Here’s an example of a video that’s both entertaining and educational (if only tongue in cheek!)

Why do people share things? To be helpful or to look good. If your video isn’t helping them to do either, that’s why it isn’t being shared!

For more on how to make your video go viral, check out these ideas on real estate marketing.

Make It Short and Simple

While it’s great to give a lot of value, too much is just that. Create the Seal Team 6 of videos. Get to the point – get in and get out.

Make Sure You Show Up.. Consistently

Whether it’s Gary Vee or Mario Jannatpour aka the “Honest Real Estate Agent,” these guys will tell you that expecting to hit a homerun first time at bat is wishful thinking at best.

Be willing to commit to producing weekly, monthly or whatever regular posting that you can manage. Sure, you don’t want to spend all your time making videos. But you also need to show that you’re not a fly by night operation.

Get help. Consider outsourcing part of your operation. We have folks that we work with on Fiverr and other outsourcing. Contact us for a few referrals of our favorites in different areas of expertise.

Make It Personal

One of the worst expressions in my opinion is “it’s not personal – it’s only business.” ALL business is personal. We buy from people we “know, like, and trust.”

Often, we’ll go an extra 15 minutes out of our way or pay a few dollars more to buy from the friendly neighborhood cafe or store over the big brand name chain.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to show some of your personality and connect with your ideal customer. In fact, what you choose to share will show them why they should work with you over your competitors.

Make Sure You’ve Done Your Homework

Before you hit the publish, there are a few things you want to make sure that you do on the back end. Things like getting the title, description and tags right can make all the difference.

It can mean the difference between showing up on page one, where over 70% of visitors go – or getting buried in the no man’s land of Google results.

Get your free quick tutorial. We’ll send you access to simple short videos on how to make sure that your videos get seen!

If you’d like to find out how to make a high impact video for more customers and sales, contact us today to discuss solutions that fit your budget.

Create Lots of Content from a Blab Interview

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Create Lots of Content from Blab Talks (Photo: Noly via Pixabay)

If you haven’t checked out Blab, I highly recommend that you give this new platform a look. Since the fall of last year I started to do weekly interviews and online masterminds with indie creative guests as well as panels.

After we’re done with a Blab session, I upload the video to YouTube and download the audio to create a podcast – all before creating a blog post with show notes and related links. So along with the original Blab chat itself, I’ve created THREE other pieces of content.

Here are some basics to get you started..

Signing Up is Easy. Just go to Blab.im using your desktop or tablet browser (Chrome over a land line is HIGHLY recommended,) or use the iPhone / iPad app. (For now Android users need to use the mobile Chrome browser – at least until the Android app is available.)

Blab allows you to simply sign up with your Twitter account –

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Setting Up Blabs is Easy

(Note: your Blab username matches your Twitter username and pulls information from your Twitter profile, the website from your Twitter profile will not be pulled into your Blab profile though.)

Things to Do Before Hosting Your First Blab

You’re probably eager to get started and host your first Blab. It’s recommended that you just attend and watch one in action. Get a sense for how people interact with each other and the hosts. If you’re brave enough, post some comments and for bonus points see if the host invites you to talk live.

Note: all Blabs are public. Meaning, if you’re logged in with your Twitter account, the system announces when you enter a Blab in the sidebar. To avoid this and lurk anonymously, log out then click back into the Blab that you want to view in anonymous “lurk” mode. You won’t be able to participate, however.

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Time to Start Your First Blab

 

Showtime! Time to Host Your Own Blab

Besides the scheduling and coordination (the more difficult part in my opinion) creating the actual Blab is easy peasy.

Doing a Test Blab is a good idea with a friend or even testing things out with a show guest who’s not familiar with Blab.

Just tell other in the title that it’s a “test blab”; otherwise, curious visitors will probably pop in and out. There’s also a “test-zone” tag to make it even more clear.

To make replays available and uploading to YouTube you have to remember to hit the Record button on the left side. Later, this becomes the option for the YouTube upload once Blab has finished processing the video.

Some Other “On the Air” Tips

As the Host, you have full control on all the controls for adding Guests or booting them off. I’ve added other Hosts on some calls when I’ve run into connection difficulties, which is common due to streaming video live.

(Note: sometimes I will make other panel speakers or even guests a “Co-host” just in case my connection freezes [you’ll notice when no one else seems to be talking,] and I need to refresh my page – the reason is that Blab will sometimes just end the call altogether, and you’ll have to scramble to create a new Blab and hopefully bring everyone back. This is one BIG down-side, compared to Google Hangouts that I hope they fix in the future.)

To allow someone to join you on the actual “on-air” video, just click “Accept” after someone asks to join in an open seat. Blab is currently limited to 4 seats, which in my experience is the limit to what is reasonably easy to manage as a host.

You can always turn down the the request to join and keep the seat open.

Click on the “Lock Seat” button prevents other from joining the video or asking to join through the Accept prompts. This may make sense if you have a panel or interview format for your show.

Sometimes Blab can be like the “box of chocolates” from Forrest Gump where you “never know what ya gonna get..” On a recent chat we had a young kid jump on with his film idea apparently involving plenty of profanity and drug use. (He may have already been partaking himself..)

Props” or the Blab equivalent of Likes or applause are encouraged. This gives hosts a sense of what the audience likes or is connecting with in discussions.

Just click the hands symbol on the window of the person you want to give the props. Like Periscope will show the number each participant receives during that particular Blab. Whenever you enter a new BLAB the counter goes back to zero.

Depending on how a Blab goes, I may directly upload to YouTube or download and edit in some video editing software. Unless you’re familiar with something like Camtasia, Final Cut or Adobe Premiere, it’s better to use something like Windows Movie Maker or iMovie for Mac’s.

For turning the video file into a podcast, I open up the MP4 in Audacity. You can also use Garage Band on Mac for this.

Of course, the show notes with specific timings of topics discussed creates easy blog posts. Also, you can create shorter video snippets for highlights that may attract viewers to watch the rest of your interview or discussion.

So, these are just some of the ways that you can create several pieces of content from one interview. If there is enough interest, I will create a more detailed tutorial on these in future posts. But I just wanted to provide a short but actionable summary of key steps.

To learn more and attend our next free workshop, click here.

Indie Creative – Author Colin Wright of Exile Lifestyle

This week’s #IndieCreative author Colin Wright shares his journey from startup entrepreneur to travel writing. He talks about how going to extremes helped him to figure out what works for his lifestyle and how working with a team allowed to do much more than he could alone.

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Colin Wright of Exile Lifestyle

1:04 – 2:30 Going from initial idea to traveling the world

2:45 – 4:00 What encouraged Colin to keep going in spite of doubts and fears

4:12 – 6:26 Where he got his inspiration from authenticity in his brand

6:34 – 7:31 Colin’s entrepreneurs journey from LA to New Zealand

7:34 – 8:30 How his parents’ home in Missouri is his hub for US travels

8:39 – 10:16 Going from solo writer to building a publishing business

10:25 – 11:36 Growing intentionally by choosing authors to work with aka “no asshole rule”

12:07 – 13:12 Developing a new publishing model by partnering with authors

13:33 – 15:31 Diversifying by helping authors in different genres

15:47 – 17:21 Facing moments of doubt leaving behind his old identity as an entrepreneur

COMMERCIAL BREAK

18:01 – 20:00 What was the scariest, hardest part of making the leap as an author

20:12 – 21:03 Finding a way to bootstrap through the startup phase

21:12 – 22:33 When did Colin start believing that he had a chance – discovering the power of residual income

22:23 – 23:24 Building a way to know what your audience wants

23:44 – 26:25 How going to extremes connected with Colin’s audience

26:46 – 27:39 What is Colin’s “why” at this point

28:15 – 29:07 Saying yes to opportunities and creating more

29:17 – 30:08 His proudest accomplishment so far

30:26 – 32:48 How to go from solo to working with a team

33:18 – 36:42 Possible future directions and how to evolve storytelling with changing technology

First Part –

(Unfortunately, we were rudely interrupted by internet problems..)

Second Part –

Indie Creative – Dana Parker and the Butterfly Technique

In this week’s #IndieCreative spotlight we talked with Dana Parker about her upcoming launch of the Butterfly Technique. Dana shares how tango helped her to reconnect with herself and later helped her to move again when she could barely get out of bed.

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Dana Parker and Butterfly Technique

We begin with Dana sharing her story with tango dancing and her role models before facing some incredible challenges where she could barely get out of bed. Next Dana shares some proud moments and how she wants to help others reconnect with their bodies and each other.

0:38 – What lights up Dana and how we’re here to experience of feeling and movement
1:58 – 4:32 How Dana got started in tango and taking her first steps into a larger universe
5:08 – 7:07 Choosing a community approach to teaching
7:10 – 8:28 Influential teachers on Dana’s journey
9:10 – 10:58 Bringing different movement arts into tango
10:58 – 12:48 A modern approach of partnership in dancing tango
13:36 – 15:43 Social vs. performance / show tango
15:45 – 16:12 Research and studies on how tango affects our minds
18:16 – 21:44 What led Dana to look at tango differently / making it accessible to everyone
22:16 – 24:22 My own tango journey with Cellspace and creating a more welcoming environment for new dancers
24:32 – 26:30 Dana shares her very personal experience with tango and having choices in dancing

Tweet: “I don’t care how people get to tango – all I care is that they get there.. ” – Dana Parker, Butterfly Technique

26:30 – 27:52 Another way to dancing tango with choices
27:55 – 29:25 How sometimes we can miss out on other opportunities by competing for pieces of the pie
29:52 – 32:46 Self-doubts for Dana on her entrepreneur’s journey

“Being a beautiful dancer doesn’t necessarily make you a good teacher..”

33:00 – 36:44 Combining movement therapy into tango
36:50 – 40:24 Why Dana is passionate about sharing her experiences losing the ability to move with developing the Butterfly Technique

41:50 – 44:45 How to persist and keep going in spite of challenges

We look forward to hearing more about how this lovely entrepreneur helps others to reconnect not only with themselves but other dancers.

For the rest of the interview –

To subscribe to upcoming talks with IndieCreative entrepreneurs – visit https://blab.im/jycmba

Indie Creative – Roberto Comparan & For the Love of Pixar

This week we spotlight Roberto Comparan and his creative entrepreneurs journey with building a tribe of artists and Pixar lovers. Roberto started his journey with just an idea like many entrepreneurs.

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Photo via For the Love of Pixar

Like many of us Roberto remembers his first experiences in watching Pixar films. He shares how this led to bonding with other fans and creating his own art. Roberto says that this passion never went away.

So ultimately Roberto and his friends had an idea of creating an art show around their love – thus the name “For the Love of Pixar.”

When others came forward and wanted to be involved, Roberto and his friends realized that they were on to something. Last year they had their first show, and although it was small, everyone knew they were on to something when people were already asking about the next time.

Roberto decided that they want to make this not only an immersive experience but something that every kid in us could be a part of it. Now he has joined forces with charities and other nonprofits to make the event not only about fun but building something that benefits the larger community.

0:40 What got Roberto started on sharing his passion for Pixar

1:38 Roberto shares his own personal connection with Pixar

3:42 Realizing that he and his friends can actually create their own animation

4:28 How Roberto discovered those who not only encouraged but helped him on his journey.

5:15 Lessons learned and his other experiences in PR helped Roberto in starting For the Love of Pixar

8:08 Struggles and challenges in getting For the Love of Pixar off the ground

9:58 First unexpected rejection by Pixar themselves

10:42 Another surprising lesson to provide art work at different prices to allow them to raise more money

12:28 What made Roberto and his team really proud about their first successes

13:32 Some of the interesting Pixar inspired displays that they were able to create

16:20 The Pizza Planet Truck story – how they got into the show & how it became one of the most popular parts

19:05 Other inspired connections including John Negroni’s Pixar Theory

21:35 How our Love of Pixar transcends boundaries and connects the kid in all of us

For more information visit For the Love of Pixar at their website.

Indie Creative – Brendan Weinhold of Gentle Werewolf

This week I chat with Brendan Weinhold who shares his creative entrepreneur’s journey in launching his web series, Gentle Werewolf.

Part comedy, part drama of modern times – Brendan talks about some of the sources of inspiration, the challenges and proud moments, and the importance of being true to your creative vision.

2:08 – What’s missing in typical television and how this drives this series’ vision

4:04 – Balancing the needs of working with others to express your personal vision and creating a shared vision

6:30 – Who inspired some of the series and Brendan’s own work, including the importance of overlooked source material

10:12 – Overcoming self-doubt and wondering if your creative work has merit early on when there is little proof

13:28 – Drawing from your own life for not just quirks but your own unique voice

16:12 – What attracts some of the fans to the heart of his Gentle Werewolf web series

20:20 – How “artists use lies to tell the truth” and this web series conveys its message without preaching

(unfortunately there were sound problems from this point on..)

22:42 – Juggling entertainment with substance and bringing in a lot of creative elements at once

24:40 – Doing the work to “make it look easy” and create your final creative work

26:15 – Taking your work to the streets to get feedback

27:24 – Bringing a producer on board and how this helped to bring some of the pieces together

30:56 – Finding the crew to help bring your creative vision to life

36:36 – How the basics of professionalism like doing the work, showing up and memorizing lines are key to attracting those who want to work with you

40:18 – Overcoming our own inner resistance as creatives to find the motivation to keep going and

43:39 – Why we need to trust the process becauses sometimes our past quirks and curiosity prepares us for our road ahead

48:18 – What Brendan sees as future projects that he wants to be involved with

You can learn more by visiting their Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/gentlewerewolf

Or following on Twitter –
https://twitter.com/GentleWW

https://twitter.com/BrendanWeinhold