Archive for June, 2010

Webspam projects in 2010?

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

About a year and a half ago, I asked for suggestions for webspam projects for 2009. The feedback that we got was extremely helpful. It’s almost exactly the middle of 2010, so it seemed like a good time to ask again: what projects do you think webspam should work on in 2010 and beyond?

Here’s the instructions from an earlier post:

Based on your experiences, close your eyes and think about what area(s) you wish Google would work on. You probably want to think about it for a while without viewing other people’s comments, and I’m not going to mention any specific area that would bias you; I want people to independently consider what they think Google should work on to decrease webspam in the next six months to a year.

Once you’ve come up with the idea(s) that you think are most pressing, please add a constructive comment. I don’t want individual sites called out or much discussion; just chime in once with what you’d like to see Google work on in webspam.

Add your suggestion below, and thanks!

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Yelp Announces New Mobile Activity Tracking for Small Businesses

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

This week, Yelp announced the inclusion of mobile activity tracking to its weekly summary for small businesses that use Yelp’s free business tools.

The new addition came after Yelp disclosed some interesting statistics a few weeks ago about Yelp use, which revealed that over 1 in 4 searches on Yelp are performed from Yelp’s iPhone application, and every five seconds, someone uses the Yelp app to call a local business.  Pretty interesting, considering these stats were generated just from Yelp’s iPhone app, and Yelp also has applications for 4 other smart phones.

Yelp  Mobile Activity Summary

Now, weekly summary emails that are already sent to small businesses that use Yelp’s business tools (like the one pictured above) also include the following mobile activity information:

  • How many people looked at the business’ page from their Yelp app
  • How many people called the business from their Yelp app
  • How many people generated directions to the business from their Yelp app
  • How many people “checked in” to the business via the Yelp app

Why This Matters for Marketers and Small Business Owners

The availability of these mobile stats means marketers and small business owners now have access to more in-depth data regarding the impact of their Yelp presence.  As local search and mobile applications increases in popularity and usage, the ability to gain insight into how people are searching for local businesses using these types of search tools is becoming more and more valuable. Knowing this data can help small businesses make decisions on how best to take advantage of their local search presence. 

This should also serve as a wakeup call for small businesses who aren’t already taking advantage of local business directories, review sites and mobile applications such as Yelp and Google Places (formerly called Google Local).  People are increasingly using these tools to find and evaluate businesses like yours all the time.  If you haven’t claimed your presence on these sites, you’re missing a huge opportunity to get found online by local searchers.  You can easily unlock your free business tools on Yelp here and claim your Google Place here

So what are you waiting for?

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3 Essential Small Business Search Marketing Trends

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

search marketing trends“Qualified”, “showing intent to buy”, “high conversion rate” and many other phrases are used to describe search engine marketing.  As a $16 billion industry, Search Marketing including SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC ads (pay per click) represent a substantial opportunity for small businesses to connect with customers at the moment they are looking for products and services to buy.

Even though Search Marketing presents an attractive opportunity to grow online sales, many businesses are too busy running their companies to stay on top of future trends. To that end, here are three search marketing trends worth paying attention to:

1.  Online & Offline Marketing Integration - Forrester Research estimates $917 billion worth of retail sales in 2009 were “Web-influenced” in contrast to $155 billion of consumer goods sold online in the same year.  Small businesses must pay attention to customer search online influencing offline purchases as well as the influence of the in-store experience on searching and purchasing online.

2.  Mobile Device and Local Search – Companies must recognize consumer trends towards mobile search with the proliferation of smart phones. The web experience has definitively extended beyond the personal computer to mobile devices such as iPhones, Blackberries and iPads.  Marketers must understand their customers’ use of mobile search and what the marketing opportunities are.

Companies that serve customers in specific regions or with geographically specific needs must be present in local search results, map results and specific geo-location queries. Segmenting potential customers through geo targeting with paid search advertisements will help focus the right ads on the right customers.

3.  Social Media Advertising – Savvy small business marketers are increasingly realizing that the opportunity to reach customers extends beyond traditional paid search into the booming social media space. Having surpassed Google as the most visited website for the week ending March 13, 2010 and with over 400 million registered users, Facebook offers a significant audience that shouldn’t be ignored.  Social networks like Facebook can provide online marketers hyper-targeted advertising opportunities that can tap into new customer segments and serve as a complement to other paid search programs.

Whether it’s incorporating online and offline influences with search marketing, diversifying PPC advertising networks, leveraging local and mobile search marketing or extending advertising programs to include social media, small business marketers that capitalize on these trends will gain a competitive advantage. Of course, if they hire an online marketing agency like TopRank Marketing, that advantage may come even faster.

This post was excerpted from my article that was originally published on American Express OPEN Forum. Be sure to visit 5 Search Engine Marketing Trends That Impact Your Business for the other 2 trends.

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3 Problems with Inbound Marketing

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

barrierThe following is a guest post by Danny Wong, the co-founder of Blank Label, an ecommerce startup specializing in custom men’s dress shirts.


HubSpot has made a really compelling point that Inbound Marketing is important, and that it is definitely is something all businesses should practice because the ROI higher than other forms of marketing.




However, Inbound Marketing is hard. Creating content isn’t easy for every business and ROI results varify based on the time commitment and expertise of the individuals within the company.

3 Problems with Inbound Marketing

1.  E-commerce Companies Have Trouble Building Inbounding Links – Your average shopper does not have a blog nor are they interested in blogging, though in a few niche communities like haute couture and streetwear, many shoppers have their own blogs. Even if your visitors are really engaged with your site and its content, shoppers aren’t going to start a blog just to buzz about their amazing experience with you. For the most part, you have to outbound links through Blogger and Media Relations.

2. Search Engine Optimization Takes Time – Most people are not patient and it is uncertain where you will be ranked when enough time has elapsed for the rankings to readjust on a more secure basis. You could be chasing a carrot on a stick forever without increasing your rank significantly (there is the possibility your ranking will drop too). Another issue is that you might be pursuing a vertical SEO strategy that might not work and you won’t know that for a few weeks or a few months, at which point your competitors will have increased their rankings or will have improved the ‘barrier to entry’ for the top rankings.

3. Inbound Marketing is Not Entirely Free – You still have to allocate time towards inbounding traffic, users and customers. That time has an opportunity cost associated with it, and if you’re more than a bootstrapped startup, you pay salaries which go towards paying for your time, and so the time spent on Inbound Marketing costs money for the company.

3 Resolutions to My Problems with Inbound Marketing

1. Influencers Matter – While you can’t really influence your users to create a website or blog and link to you, there are some other niche bloggers who can stumble upon the website and might do concept or product reviews. You can also submit the items for sale on your website to comparison shopping sites (while most would be ‘nofollow’ links, you get the benefit of more distribution!).

2. Good Things Come to Those Who Wait – But seriously, SEO does take time but you can ensure a high ranking by having a lot of quality links, keyword optimization and by genuinely having the best content for that subject. In the long-run, quality will always win over. You need to make sure that your SEO strategy is multi-dimensional and that you aren’t just doing only link building, only keyword optimization or only content creation.

3. Nothing Is Free - Evaluate the customer acquisition cost (including salary) for both the Inbound and the Outbound campaigns – if of course the Inbound campaigns take much more time than the Outbound. Clearly, if they took the same amount of time, the customer acquisition cost from Outbound would be higher since same time and same employees equals the same cost, but Outbound has the added cost of the campaign budget itself.

Anyone else have gripes with Inbound Marketing? Perhaps something just to tell @dharmesh because he can take it?

Anyone have other resolutions for these Inbound Marketing problems?


Photo Credit: Hunterrrr


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Why a Social Media Policy Is Stupid

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

social media policy(This is an opinion piece. Feel free to debate in the comments.) The advice of all the social media gurus these days seems to be that every company needs a social media policy.  I get asked about it a lot, people want examples of them and ideas on how to create and implement one.

And over the past couple years there has been a lot of discussion and writing in marketing blogs about it: David Meerman Scott has written about the Department of Defense’s policy, Todd Defren wrote about social media policies recently, Tamara Schweitzer gave some tips on, Charlene Li of Altimeter create a resource, Sharlyn Lauby blogged on Mashable, Beth Kanter wrote Got Social Media Policy?, and Jason Falls wrote What Every Company Should Know About Social Media Policy.  I’m sure I missed a ton of others, let me know if there are big ones missing.

In all this discussion, I always felt uncomfortable telling people to create a social media policy.  We don’t have a social media policy at HubSpot.  But I didn’t want to recommend something against common wisdom for fear of getting virtually wacked by the social media mafia.

But, enough is enough.  Let’s end the madness today.

Social Media Policies are Unnecessary and Distracting

I don’t think companies need a social media policy.  In fact, having a specific social media policy runs counter to the whole point of marketing and customer service.  No single channel of interaction is more important than others.  Social media is not something weird or different, it is just one of many ways your company interacts with people.  Giving social media its own policy implies that phone, email and in-person interactions are not important or less important.  If a customer sends you a message by carrier pigeon – dammit you should answer – even if you don’t have a “fowl messaging policy”.

For example, if you have a store and a customer complains to a cashier about something, and your cashier yells at the customer telling her she is wrong, you’d fire the cashier on the spot.  Same thing if that happens on the phone or email.  No “policy” needed.  It just makes sense that you treat customer right.  You don’t have a “voice media policy” or an “email communication policy”.  And I say that if that same interaction happened on Yelp or Facebook, you should fire them too.  Even without a policy.

In the B2B world, if you saw one of your employees drunk at a tradeshow and they said a bunch of disparaging things about a customer you’d probably fire them.  Again, no policy required.  So why is that different if they get a little tipsy and tweet something insulting about a customer?  It’s not.

I think the best “policy” is to hire smart people, give them the right coaching and training, set the correct culture around customer interaction, and then punish those who misbehave.

Rather than having a social media policy, if you feel like your company needs something, how about creating a communication policy that governs all communication, no matter what medium.

Your thoughts on a social media policy?  Leave a comment below.

Photo Credit: bookgrl

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Why eBooks Are Better Than Whitepapers

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Free ebookeBooks and whitepapers are two formats for sharing longer written documents on the web. While both of these terms are often used interchangably, they are actually two different types of documents.

eBooks tend to be shorter and more interactive than whitepapers. eBooks often include links to additional multimedia information and focus on the how-to aspect of a subject. Whitepapers are more static and less interactive than eBooks and focus more on thought-leadership content. 

What Makes eBooks So Good?

  • They’re simple to create and inexpensive to produce – You don’t need a publisher or a printer! You just need some basic software and the time to write about your idea or innovative technique.
  • They’re engaging – Because they aren’t just PDFs or Word docs, you can actually get your reader to interact and take some type of action. Encourage them to click on links, fill out a survey, subscribe to your blog, watch a video or even buy something from you online.
  • They’re easy to distribute and spread like wildfire – Make the ebook free (don’t collect money, don’t collect email addresses) and add a Creative Commons license to the content so people can share the e-book easily. Create a landing page, add a call-to-action on your website, blog about it, put a link your email signature, email it to your friends/partners/vendors, post a video on YouTube, tell your fans and followers. 
  • They’re easy to read and more eco-friendly – Although whitepapers can be read online, the vertical formatting makes them difficult to read. eBooks are easily to read digitally on-demand while whitepapers often need to be printed to be read easily.

What Makes Whitepapers So Bad?

  • They’re boring – Wikipedia defines a whitepaper as “an authoritative report or guide that often addresses issues and how to solve them. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions.” Even the definition puts me to sleep.
  • They’re old school – They date back to the early 1900s. You might remember The Churchill White Paper of 1922 from your high school history class, you might not. Either way, we haven’t really changed the way we use them since then. They’re still a form of semi self-promotion and propaganda. It’s just that now they are found on the web and are used by businesses as a marketing or sales tool rather than promoting government policy.
  • They’re forced upon us – Most people don’t want to read whitepapers, they just feel like they have to read them because they’re “authoritative” and written by “industry leaders”. Or because their boss said so.
  • They’re not good link bait – Because you typically have to register (give your email address) to download the whitepaper, most people don’t promote or share whitepapers because they don’t want to force their fans and followers and friends to give their email address away and get hounded by sales reps.

I don’t hate whitepapers. I mean, whitepapers are still useful. But, eBooks are a better way to share on-depth content online. So start writing and sharing your eBook. You’ll be surprised at how fast your ideas will spread and your business will grow.

The most important concepts to remember, whether you choose to create an eBook or a whitepaper, are to have fun with it, write for your audience and be sure you’re actually providing valuable information and awesome ideas.

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Top 5 Inbound Marketing Articles to Start the Week: All About Social Media

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

oneThere have been a bunch of great blog posts about social media throughout the past week, so instead of aggregating articles under the entire umbrella of inbound marketing, I decided to focus solely on social media.

This week, our top article by Todd Defren is the first in his five part series that explains what companies just starting out in social media marketing ought to be doing.

1. If You Only Do *One Thing in Social Media

Author: Todd Defren of PR-Squared

What’s the top thing you should be doing if you do nothing else in social media?  Monitoring.

Defren illustrates his point and emphasizes the importance of listening by explaining a recent case study concerning H&R Block, whose social media monitoring efforts helped them determine where to put their resources and where to stop putting their resources.  While monitoring can help a company brand adjust its approach to online conversations, it can also reveal where that brand should be having conversations in the first place.

Marketing Takeaway: Monitor your brand in social media to learn where conversations about you are happening online.

2. 7 Steps to Creating and Cultivating a Brand in Social Media

Author: Brian Solis on

Say you’ve taken Defren’s advice and have decided social media is worth your time — even beyond just monitoring.  Brian Solis’ article offers answers to the who, what, when, where, why, etc. of creating a brand in social media.

His seven steps guide you through the phases of evaluation, planning and action when it comes to starting out in social media.  These steps involve defining your brand’s personality, listening to online conversations, pinpointing your opportunities, tracking down where your presence is required, becoming a part of the community, finding reasons that warrant your participation and identifying individuals who can help tell your story.

Marketing Takeaway: Take the time to understand the elements of successful social media engagement.

3. HOW TO: Improve B2B Sales Productivity With Social Media  

Author: Umberto Milletti on Mashable

If you’re a B2B salesperson trying to grapple with how to use social media productively in the sales process, this article is for you. Umberto highlights the importance of relationship-building and facilitating a buying decision through social selling in our increasingly social media-driven world, where over four in five Americans who are online also participate socially.

Umberto’s article recognizes a number of tools and methods to productively execute social selling by verifying leads, gathering information and engaging prospects.

Marketing Takeaway: Social media isn’t just for marketers. Effective salespeople are also leveraging social media to boost sales.

4. 7 More Social Media Tools You Haven’t Heard Of

Author: Adam Holden-Bache on Social Media B2B

Adam expands upon Social Media B2B’s first social media tools list by highlighting seven additional tools that can be helpful for B2B social media marketers (and many of them free!).

Adam’s suggested tools include Spredfast, Samepoint, Howsociable, SocialTALK, Sysomos Heartbeat, Blogpulse and Folowen. Have you used any of these tools to achieve satisfying results?

Marketing Takeaway: There are a number of great, free tools available to help you manage your social media engagement.

5. Is Twitter More Important Than LinkedIn for Personal Branding?

Author: Kyle Lacy on Personal Branding Blog

Facebook and Twitter are rising in popularity for small business brand engagement, according to a recent poll conducted by LinkedIn, which asked the question, “What is the most important new platform for brands to master?

Kyle’s article points out that businesses are starting to understand the value in social network involvement.  Because the influence of social networks is growing, he stresses the fact that businesses who aren’t already using social tools are missing out, and that they should take advantage of these tools to garner more credibility and support for their brands.

Marketing Takeaway: More and more businesses are achieving results through social media marketing. What’s stopping you?

Photo by Mrs Logic

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10 Reasons Why Your Analytics Are Failing & 13 Tools To Help

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Fail Whale AnalyticsWeb Analytics are a key indicator to the health and performance of any website, but online marketers often get lost in the complexities and details, forgetting how important analytics actually are and why.

Analytics can provide a wealth of information but marketers often look at high level indicators such as: top content, bounce rates, entrance sources and keywords without tying it all together. In most cases, there is a tremendous amount of insight that can be used to make smarter marketing decisions, but most companies barley scratch the surface. At the OMS Minneapolis event last week  Adam Proehl gave an excellent presentation on analytics failures and successes. I’ve taken my notes from that presentation and combined them with my own opinions to create this list.

10 reasons why your web analytics are failing:

You speak numbers to non-number people.

wha wha whaIt takes a numbers person to dig though large amounts of analytics data, figure things out, and draw conclusions. However, most people aren’t “numbers” people.

Many marketers like charts and clear, action orientated data. Charts are good, numbers in red and green help, and so does simplification. Don’t present tabular data just because it make sense to you. Try and think about who you’re presenting the information to and how they like to consume information. Some people like tables, others like graphs. As online marketers make an effort to understand the audience on the web they’re trying to reach, so should they understand the internal audiences that they report results to.

The statistics are fuzzy.

Michael JordanIt’s easy to combine different pieces of data and come out with a great conclusion, even if they don’t go together.

For example, did you know that Michael Jordan and I have a combined total of 6 NBA championships?

While that statement is true, the conclusion is a bit skewed. Yes, Michale’s 6 plus my 0 do equal 6, the fact is that that I didn’t do any of the work for those championships, but I’m still getting the credit as I was included in the statement.

In analytics it’s important to break out the data so that it makes sense, not just so it looks good. It’s easy to combine two pieces of information in ways that make things look really good, but in reality, is something being hidden?

The averages are flawed.

Averages are great unless there is a major spike or dip. Then they have a tendency to skew the data a bit too much.

Analytics Chart

Based on the graph above, you could say that we’re averaging 1652 people from StumbleUpon a day. But in reality, most days there were less than 50. The big spike just screwed up the average.  As quickly as that spike came, it can also disappear and making decisions based on the daily average isn’t a best practice.

Sometimes things just don’t work.

FailThere are lots of things that can go wrong with the analytics from a website and that has to be taken into account. The tracking code could be implemented incorrectly, maybe some special tagging was setup improperly, there could be issues with site architecture or maybe there are just things that are out of our control.

Analytics isn’t perfect and the reporting is never going to be 100% accurate, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the numbers are wrong.

The important thing is to fix the issues you can and work with the numbers you have.

You don’t understand the customer.

UserWhy are people visiting our site? What are they doing while they are here? What stage of the buying cycle are they in?

Thinking that you know your customers is one thing, but you really need to watch their behavior and see what they are actually doing.

Maybe visitors are focused on research or maybe they can’t find what they’re looking for when they get to your site. These are things analytics can tell you if you look and once you know what your customer is doing, you can modify your site to fulfill their needs.

You don’t connect the conversion dots.

Connect The DotsGetting visitors to the site is one step. The next step is making sure you have content that is going to satisfy their need. As stated above, analytics can help with this, but once prospects fill out the contact form, what happens next?

How many decisions are made by looking at top level analytics alone? Someone has to tie leads back to the website to determine what is working and what isn’t.

For example, in a B2B situation, a whitepaper download may be bringing in lots of leads, but none are qualified. Maybe there is a CTA (call to action) form that is bringing in few leads, but they convert very well. Analytics can’t tell you what happens with a lead after filling out a form, and connecting that data is very important.

You don’t dig deep enough.

Magnifying GlassLooking at one metric in analytics and making a decision seems like a good idea unless you’re not seeing the whole picture.

A good example would be bounce rates to a landing page. Just because the bounce rates are high, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. You need to dig into the data and find out the conversion rate as well.  Changing a landing page because the bounce rate is higher than normal but that also has a higher than normal conversion rate may result in lost sales.

You don’t tie in outside data.

External DataMarketers should be looking at other online and offline marketing efforts and tie them into web analytics wherever they can.  Ideally, an online marketing program should track different sources for different outcomes such as: people from Twitter to conversion, knowing which conversions came from email campaigns and what offsite marketing tactics are working.

You don’t take the time.

TimeAnalytics isn’t easy. It’s not something anyone can do in an hour a day (except maybe those that read this book of course). If website marketers really want to get valuable information out of analytics, they need to invest time and resources into talent that can make that happen.

Analytics can seem complex and yes, it takes time and talent to make sense of them, but in the end analytics can paint a picture of how users are interacting with a site, what the user behavior is, and point out ways to make your site more successful and profitable.

Bonus: 13 analytics tools to help you out.

  • ShareThis – Social sharing button that can tie data into Goggle Analytics.
  • Snip and Tag – Firefox extension that allows you to easily copy a URL and tag it with Google Analytics code.
  • GA? – Firefox extension that quickly shows if Google Analytics is installed on the page or not.
  • Better Google Analytics – Firefox extension that enhances Google Analytics.
  • Enhanced Google Analytics – Another Firefox extension that enhances Google Analytics.
  • Twitalyzer – Analytics for social relationships.
  • – URL shortening with analytics.
  • Google URL Builder – A way of tagging URLs with Google Analytics code so they can be tracked on external sites.
  • Excellent Analytics – Microsoft Excel plugin to pull Google Analytics data directly into Excel.
  • Site Scan GA – Scans a website to find out what pages have analytics installed and which ones don’t.
  • Web Analytics Solution Profiler/Debugger (WASP) – Firefox plugin that debugs analytics.
  • Crazy Egg – Heat mapping tools that allow you to visually understand user behavior.
  • ClickTail – Heat mapping tools that also track where uses are when they bail on a form.

What are some of your favorite web analytics tools?

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10 Reasons Why Your Analytics Are Failing & 13 Tools To Help |

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LinkedIn by the Numbers [Infographic]

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

LinkedIn is a social networking site that has rapidly gained popularity among professionals looking to connect with contacts, colleagues, and potential employers. Recently passing 70 million members, LinkedIn has become one of the most popular social media tools along with Facebook and Twitter.

How do you use LinkedIn?

Here are some facts and statistics about LinkedIn that illustrate how the network is used:

HubSpot LinkedIn Infographic resized 600

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Marketing Charts

HubSpot has compiled over 50 original marketing charts and graphs on topics including Lead Generation, Blogging and Social Media, Marketing Budgets, Twitter and Facebook

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4 Tips to Make Your Content Remarkable

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Inbound marketing assumes that people will come to you because you are providing them valuable, even remarkable content.  What then, is remarkable content?  Put simply, by social media and marketing expert Seth Godin during a recent Boston event, “… remarkable is something that other people find interesting enough to remark upon.”

Easy, right?

Ok, maybe not that easy – but ultimately, your brain and your creativity are the only bounds to the quality of your content and how remarkable it is to your target audience, and possibly beyond.

In different industries and situations, remarkable may look like one of the following:

  • Having a CXO engaging personally on a blog or site in a very staid organization
  • Sharing a strong opinion on an industry ‘elephant in the room’
  • Publishing funny music, videos or cartoons (Humor can drive ROI)
  • Creating an award and nominating suppliers or customers in a category
  • Publishing pricing when no other competitors share that information

Only you know your audience well enough to know what is out of the norm or what information they crave and therefore could be remarkable to them. 

Take an example from the sporting industry.  Inbound marketer Charlie King recently launched his Campaign for President … Campaign for President of Golf Instruction that is.

Charlie King for President

Charlie already had an existing website at Reynold’s Golf Academy.  It’s a great site, with excellent golf advice, high quality videos, offers and calls to action.  But Charlie wanted to make a splash in an industry that can stand to have a little more fun – I mean it’s a pastime for goodness sake.  Let’s loosen up!

After customers told him he was so passionate about it that he sounded like he was running for office, Charlie literally bought the domain  His campaign site is chock full of creative videos like the one of Charlie being interviewed by a GNN, Golf News Network, reporter or like his endorsement by funny man and golf student Steve Harvey.  He’s used imagery and a style reminiscent of a classical political campaign that lets him share his platform for candidacy – The New Rules of Golf a new method of golf instruction – with his constituents.

Now I may not have an election for the President of Golf Instruction coming up in a jurisdiction near me, but, Charlie did get a lot of interesting inbound links and buzz in the golf press, where his potential customers are found.  And you know, if I were new to golf, I’d want to work with someone who is both skilled and fun – Charlie proved it with his presidential campaign.

What tips can we extrapolate from Charlie’s experiment?

  1. Stand for something.  Charlie’s New Rules of Golf turn the old way of teaching golf on its head.  There are probably golf pros all over telling people he doesn’t know what he is talking about, but he believes there is truly a better way – and he is telling people about it.  Is your industry ready for a shake-up?  Are you willing to address an unpopular problem?  If you answered yes, then tell the world about it – someone is probably looking for your idea, solution or content – because it is remarkable to them.
  2. Take a risk.  Different can be good.  I doubt any other golf pro has ever run for a fictitious office.  That’s ok.  I doubt any other golf pro has as many people spreading content online about them either.  At very worst, Charlie spent some time and effort creating content, but he hasn’t ruined a reputation or done anything that could ‘blow up’.  At very best, Charlie’s content and ideas will spread and he’ll be so overwhelmed with fans and leads that he’ll have to grow his staff and go on a speaking circuit.  That’s the outcome I hope for him.  Think through your worst case and decide if it would really be so bad.  If not, then do something different, for people may find it remarkable.
  3. Know your audience.  Charlie picked something that would be easily understood by all the people he interacts with, be they other golf pros or total amateurs.  Using common vernacular and a medium that a lot of golfers use, video, he created something that could appeal to all of them.  He could have chosen to go into technical detail or a lot of instructional jargon, but like a savvy politician, he kept it high level and stayed on message.  He appealed to his audience in a way that they would groc and find remarkable.
  4. Engage people’s creativity.  This may be the hardest part of Charlie’s exercise.  When you first get to the site, it takes you a second to get what is happening.  Then, just like with a good movie trailer, you suspend disbelief for just one moment and get immersed in the idea.  I spent a good twenty minutes actually looking at and enjoying the videos on the campaign site.  While I chuckled a bit, I stayed and I learned what Charlie was all about.  Sure some folks might move on, but don’t underestimate that some audiences enjoy using other parts of their brain than pure logic and may in fact find it remarkable enough to share with friends or colleagues.

What idea have you been toying with but just haven’t pulled the trigger?  Do it now, try to create something remarkable and find out what gets your audience engaged!  Then, tell us all about it.

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