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I am occasionally asked by American readers what I think about Brexit. Without wanting to push too many political opinions at you, I came across the following video yesterday on Facebook.
Whether he’s right or wrong is besides the point. What matters is he spoke his version of the truth.
There’s a great need for truth in marketing, just as there is in politics. We’re all sick of being lied to.
I’m presuming you’re here because you market your services in some way. So for today I just want to ask… are you calling things as you really see them?
By calling things as you see them you alienate a part of your list. So the tendency is to say safer things that don’t stand out so much.
But it doesn’t help you in the long term.
I do a number of things that don’t fit into black and white boxes.
I was asked by a medical professional fairly recently whether I smoked. Without thinking, I told her I smoked 1.5 cigars per year – on average – but sometimes none at all. And maybe a cigarette or two if I ever get stinkingly drunk and stay out all night. I decided not to mention the spliff in Amsterdam.
“But… do you smoke?” she repeated, staring at me.
“No, not really,” I replied.
“I’ll just put no,” she said drily.
I’ve tried to push myself into many moulds in recent years, and I don’t fit in any of them.
I’m a pay per click expert, but not a pay per click person.
I’m a CRM expert, meaning I know more about it than your average punter. But I’m not really a systems person, and when you strip it back CRM is all about systems and not so much about technology, gadgets or automation.
I’m a writer, definitely, but not really a copywriter. Not in the sense most people think of. I don’t even like reading copywriting books very much.
When all else fails I tell people I ‘work in marketing’. Which is true at a very high level, but false in the way most people think of it. I don’t even like marketing very much, or at least the way most marketing is carried out.
I realise all of these things when I go to conferences, and see real out-and-out experts talking about PPC, CRM or copywriting, or whatever. People who hyper-specialise in a particular area, like the system we live in trains you to do. I sometimes feel envious of these people… only to realise they’re normally envious of me.
As soon as you take a multi-disciplinary approach to something, you’re in the grey zone. You’re no longer a smoker, nor a non-smoker. Easy conversations about what you do dry up. But meaningful conversations about work start to appear, if you can spot them.
I’ve noticed in hindsight that the clients I do the best work for also live in the grey zone. They’re not usually out-and-out anythings. If they were, they’d be going to Upwork for help, not coming to me.
I probably need to trademark that, and make it my next domain name (haha). Grey Zone Marketing: Marketing for the Unmarketables.
Linzi and Hugo were away for a few days last week. Leaving me all alone at home on my lonesome.
(Can you hear that tiny, tiny violin?)
What do you think I got up to?
Was I looking at the front door, pining for them to return? I’ll give you a second to mull over the possibilities…
On Wednesday I went to… the theatre.
Imagine that – the theatre! Can’t remember the last time I went to the theatre. Certainly pre-baby. I saw a play called The Department of Distractions, which I enjoyed.
On Thursday I went to… the spa.
The spa! I kid you not. I sat in a steam room all afternoon contemplating my own existence.
Other than that I’ve been riding the tram around, drinking posh espresso.
Basically I’ve been living the sweet life for a few days.
Linzi and Hugo are back now, and I’m glad. Daddy Day Care is open again. But I’ve come to the assessment that to be a good storyteller, you also have to carve out some time for you. Regardless of how busy you are, and how many commitments you have.
It’s a bigger deal than it sounds. Otherwise, what will you ever write about?
Every business has a bottleneck of some sort, and in mine the bottleneck is lead generation.
I’m currently one platform down. As you might remember, I’m at war with Facebook. Or more specifically, Facebook is at war with me, having disabled my account.
All of which has prompted me to look again at some of the other ad platforms. I’ve currently got four lead generation offers to test, and I’m going to test them on Google Display, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube. I’m also testing Amazon ads. I’m going to test different offers as both front end offers, and remarketing offers.
Anything is game. Any ad platform and ad format. Except Facebook.
(Screw you Facebook).
I’ll carry on doing this until I find a handful of things that work. I’m calling this project ‘Anything But Facebook’.
I’ll document ‘Anything But Facebook’ as I go, and publish my findings in the March edition of the Magnetic Expert print newsletter.
If lead generation is your bottleneck, then at some point you have to roll up your sleeves and take responsibility for it.
“Who do you work with?” is one of the questions we all must answer with as much clarity as we can muster.
I’ve struggled with this over the years. I now tell people I work with ‘coaches, consultants and experts’. Which has led me recently to ask… what actually makes someone an expert?
(Because often the people claiming to be experts actually aren’t…)
The experts I’m after usually don’t have the best or slickest marketing. A true expert won’t have much time for marketing at all. They’re mostly out of sight, doing their thing. They’re hard to find on Google. They often don’t fully appreciate how valuable that thing is. They don’t collect as many testimonials as they should. They have at least three books in their head, but worry nobody will be interested. They have fascinating stories. They provide an outstanding service and experience, but you wouldn’t know it from first impressions.
The type of expert I seek out has lived a life, and brings multi-disciplinary insights. They see connections between things that aren’t obvious. They have a contrarian take on things. They think deeply about things, at least from time to time. They ask questions about why things work they way they do. They disappear unapologetically down intellectual and vocational rabbit holes. They have eclectic reading habits.
You could describe that as an ‘avatar exercise’ if you like, or at least the beginnings of one. Perhaps really it better describes the type of person I want to become.
Either way, it’s good to be more specific about the type of person you’re trying to find.
Linzi attended a ‘speed awareness’ course on Monday. Which is something the police can offer you when they catch you speeding, if you’re a first or infrequent offender.
For a number of weeks I’ve been referring to it as ‘detention’, and calling her Linzi ‘Schumacher’ Drummond.
Despite my jokes, she came away with some interesting insights. For example did you know:
Why relay all this?
There are always interesting insights about what you do that you aren’t talking about. Common misconceptions people have that you haven’t addressed.
What things do you know that a potential customer likely won’t have thought about?
That could be your next email.
If you sell based on trust and expertise, publishing a book can boost your credibility and facilitate high value sales.
Which of course is where things fall apart…
If you’re like most of my clients, you can talk for hours about your topic. You’re passionate about helping people. But writing isn’t quite your thing. You know you have a book inside you – perhaps even multiple books. “But when will I find the time!” you think to yourself.
(Never! Is the answer…)
In 2019, an Amazon book will become the ultimate lead magnet for coaches, consultants and experts. The ultimate business card too. You can play around with automated webinars. You can spend thousands of dollars on Facebook ads. But nothing leaves the same impression as a physical book.
Whether you’re publishing for lead generation, profit or legacy, I want to help get that book out of your head.
Read more at www.magneticexpertise.com/
My office is generally a hive of production: of emails, newsletters, books, Facebook ads, Google Ads, and whatever else.
From time to time it’s important to stop and take stock.
I’m currently compiling all of my daily emails into an annual. It’s been a rewarding process so far to sift through everything I’ve sent this year. When you look back, clearer trends start to emerge. It’s easy to forget what you’ve sent. Often there are emails that can be re-purposed into other formats.
I’ll be publishing all of this year’s emails in a single volume on Monday 24th December. It’ll be free in PDF format, and possibly on Amazon as a paperback. After that there won’t be any emails until Monday 7th January. In the meantime I’ll be working on an update to my copywriting book Simple Story Selling.
These emails, my print newsletter, and my books make up my body of work. Taking stock of your body of work from time to time is a valuable activity.
A useful question to ask at the end of the year is: what have you added to your body of work this year?
If the answer is “not much”, then a useful follow-up question is: what do you want to add to your body of work next year?
And then: what is the business case? Is there an obvious payoff right under your nose?
I’m a big believer in setting a public schedule for your marketing. It doesn’t have to be a frequent schedule, but it does need to be public.
Everyone on this list hopefully knows you’ll get an email from me at 9AM UK time during the week.
Subscribers of my print newsletter know they’ll get a print newsletter from me once a month.
A weird thing happens when you set a public schedule: you start automatically looking for ideas to write about. It’s like your subconscious brain chugs into gear, and throws up ideas when you are least able to write them down. In my case in the middle of the night, out on a run, or in the shower.
If you don’t set the schedule – or if you don’t commit to it by telling people about it – you don’t get anywhere near the same level of ideas.
If you’re like me, you’re probably planning what you want to do next year. In my opinion, one of the best things you can do is set a public schedule for your marketing.
Most people won’t do this, because it’s not a trick, hack or shortcut. It’s actually the opposite of a trick. If you need to stay in touch with people for a long period of time it’s a great way to stand out.
I’ve been thinking recently about buying a new ‘writing laptop’. Something light, cheap and low spec. Preferably something that contains nothing but a Word processor, and limited internet access. (If you want to do more writing, turn the internet off!)
I was thinking of getting a Chromebook, until I found an old Acer notebook machine stashed behind the TV. And had a brainwave.
Rather than buy a low spec laptop with Linux on… I could just install a lightweight distribution of Linux on the notebook.
I’m not a hardcore Linux user, but I know my way around. How hard could it be? Maybe 30 minutes work, I thought…
(Warning: everything from here turns into a Linux techy nerd fest…)
The lightest distribution of Linux I could find was something called TinyCore – an impressively small 15mb operating system. I downloaded the .iso file (disk image). Then remembered you need to ‘burn it’ to a USB drive, so spent 30 minutes finding software to do that. Then had to remember how to change the boot order on the notebook – which basically means switching it on and continuously pressing ‘F2’.
After booting up TinyCore from a USB stick, I ran the installation programme. Which in itself isn’t for the faint of heart. If you don’t like the sound of ‘disk partitioning’, this process isn’t for you.
At the end of the installation process I got a message: “sda appears to have a partition already mounted! Check if correct device. If so, unmount it and then run the installer again.”
(Sorry… I’m supposed to mount what? Nobody mentioned any mounting…)
My problem when I start these things is I can’t leave them alone. After ninety minutes of forum-browsing, I eventually gave up and downloaded another distribution. This time called antiX.
“You need to feed the baby!” Linzi yelled from downstairs.
“I’ll be down in a minute!” I yelled back, lying through my teeth.
An hour later I had finally installed antiX. Twice actually. First time round I selected the wrong keyboard mapping, and it was easier to just start again.
Eventually though, victory was mine:
(Bonus points for spotting the copywriting book underneath. It’s the only one I keep on my desk…)
I know enough about Linux to lose an entire evening. I suspect many people are the same with marketing. You set out to create a Facebook ads campaign, and accidentally lose half a day in the process.
We’re all busy, and getting any marketing setup is like trying to fix your car while the engine is running.
There are two challenges we face. One is knowing what to work on (probably not installing Linux). The second is actually getting stuff done. Without forgetting to feed the baby, or being served divorce papers.