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 – Kyle MacDonald of One Red Paper Clip

one-red-paperclipThis week we spotlight Kyle MacDonald and his story – trading up from one red paper clip until he got his dream house. Like many entrepreneurs, Kyle started his creative entrepreneur’s journey with an idea.

Actually, Kyle started off with several creative ideas – until a high school friend reminded him of a game of “Bigger and Better” that they played where they traded up items as much as they could.

Kyle wondered what if he could create an online version of this? So, that’s what he did. Along the way Kyle traveled around the country meeting interesting people and sharing his adventures.

1:15 What made Kyle decide to follow the Red Paper Clip idea and see where it led him?

2:52 How to get others involved and be a part of what you’re doing

4:22 Overcoming self-doubts and negative influences

6:23 Lessons learned transform us on our creative entrepreneur’s journey

7:24 How to recognize those who can help on your journey

8:58 Finding stability by bootstrapping and launching from your personal base camp

10:40 Going outside your comfort zone to connect with your creativity and the importance of creating space to be creative

12:48 What are Kyle’s top creative habits

14:32 Where Kyle finds some of his creative inspiration

16:40 Biggest lessons Kyle learned on his creative entrepreneur’s journey

17:58 How not having a backup plan can guarantee success

20:12 How following curiosity can lead to bigger things

 

Here’s the talk on Blab –

Indie Entrepreneur – Musician / Recording Artist ALE Gonzalez Gomez

We talk with creative entrepreneur indie musician ALE Gonzalez Gomez about his journey from addiction to creative recovery. It’s a redemptive story where an East LA child narrowly missed tragedy at the hands of the infamous Night Stalker, only to struggle with drugs and alcohol before finding salvation in music.

ALE talks about how he continues to grow as an artist and entrepreneur and why he feels the need to create. He discusses what happens when someone you admire ends their own life due to addiction.

We briefly talk about the recent loss of influential figures like Dr. Wayne Dyer and Scott Dinsmore of the Live Your Legend movement. ALE and I discuss how their deaths remind of us of the limited time we have to share our work.

Sometimes the creative entrepreneur goes to some of the darkest parts of the human spirit in order to experience their biggest breakthrough. ALE takes us to that moment when all seemed lost before finding the healing power of creating his music.

Creative entrepreneurs often struggle with this need to share their unique gifts and the shadow side of their creativity in the form of addiction.

Part of the creative process is pushing our limits. ALE talks about finding some of his most creative moments at night and how these have inspired him to grow as an artist entrepreneur. He shares some of his personal tips on the creative process.

Without growth as an artist creative entrepreneurs can easily fall back into unhealthy addiction. ALE shares some of his personal vision for his own personal creative growth

You can watch the full interview here –

Indie Entrepreneur – Film Maker / Author Gini Graham Scott

We talk with author / film producer Gini Graham Scott about how she funds her creative projects. Join us in hearing the story of her entrepreneur’s journey to become a a published writer and film maker.

Gini shares shares some of her biggest challenges and struggles in getting started on her journey as a creative entrepreneur. With her recent successes we’ll find out what the next level of success looks like for her.

Having so many projects in the air, we’ll ask Gini how she manages to juggle these and what her biggest lessons are.

To watch live click here –

Indie Entrepreneur – Content Marketer Bill Belew

This week we talk with Bill Belew who built his online community to over 6600 members. Join us in hearing the story of his entrepreneur’s journey from struggling blogger to sought after speaker and thought leader.

We talk about how Bill got started on his journey as a content marketer. He shares some of his biggest challenges and struggles.

With so many projects and hats Bill talks about how he gets things done and what his proudest moment is so far. We’ll discuss what the next level of success looks like for him, ask what he feels is the biggest lesson he’s learned so far.

0:28 – Bill talks about the roots of his journey from living overseas before moving to Silicon Valley

1:08 – Life in the heart of Silicon Valley as a creative entrepreneur

4:20 – How Bill takes his first steps stumbling into entrepreneurship

6:04 – Door after door closes in Bill’s face as he seeks help on his journey

8:56 – Growing up among six children taught Bill self-reliance including learning how to ride a bike by launching himself downhill

10:40 – Leaving Japan Bill starts teaching at a local college and loves his work

11:18 – But the school’s president has other ideas for Bill

13:00 – Defining moment for Bill in choosing to take control of his life and finds an opportunity to write

14:24 – Realizing that he could duplicate his success Bill finds ways to rinse and repeat

16:08 – How to stumble on your success as a content marketer

18:10 – Folks begin asking Bill to teach how he was able to get millions of views to his websites

19:40 – Bill shares the biggest challenge on his journey

20:48 – No longer under the control of bosses Bill finds himself at the mercy of Google and search engines

21:20 – Realities of making a living as a writer / content creator

23:32 – What the residual benefits of organic traffic offers content creators

24:48 – Building an online community of content creators – even when you never participated in one before!

28:08 – Next thing Bill knows people start asking how he built his online community of over 7000 users in 15 months

30:06 – Bill’s forum hits a milestone

31:42 – What hitting that milestone really means

34:34 – How a 3 yr old’s success is Bill’s proudest moment

39:30 – Translating success online to offline success

40:02 – Sharing what that next level of success looks like

44:04 – Getting things done with so much to do

46:02 – How your “why” makes your success a certainty

49:24 – Why Bill feels more pressure and constraints gets better creative results

To watch the replay of the event  –