Tag: Avinash Kaushik

Stop Reading, Start Doing

Marketing, Social Media6 Comments

My buddy and fellow higher ed digital dude, Nick Leigh, recently shared with me his motto for 2012: “Stop Reading, Start Doing.”

Which is funny, because as new media practitioners we spend so much time researching and absorbing as much new information as possible because we know how quickly this space moves. One change to Facebook or Google’s algorithm can force you to rethink your entire strategy.

So we convince ourselves that we need to read every blog post that catches our eye and keep drinking  from the social media firehose, all in the name of ‘research’.

But the reality is that we don’t need to always be consuming content left, right and centre. The voracious near-obsessive consumption of content, while beneficial to a point, is asymptotic as the knowledge you gain becomes incrementally smaller and smaller and never ending as the landscape continues to evolve. This ultimately can have a paralysing effect as you wait for more information to validate your approach, often to the detriment of doing any meaningful work.

I am, by very definition, an infovore. While I’m fortunate that this also happens to be my passion, the very nature of my job means that I need to stay relatively current with my knowledge yet I no longer feel compelled to read, listen or watch everything. In fact, my Google Reader – which would always be cleared out at the end of the week – now routinely sits at 100+ unread blog posts. Instead, I focus on staying up-to-date on a few blogs by thought leaders that deliver me the most value on a consistent basis (think Mitch Joel, Avinash Kaushik, Christopher S. Penn), a single industry e-newsletter that curates the best posts from around the web, and when I have a spare moment, I trawl through a Twitter list of industry leaders for links and commentary. In a relatively short amount of time, I’m able to get a read on what’s happening and hopefully come across something valuable that I can put into action with the rest of time I have left.

Do you think there’s too much information out there? What tips do you have for managing your time and the flow of information?

 

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Don’t Neglect Your Website

Analytics, Digital Strategy6 Comments

An Avinash Kaushik quote that I find myself repeating almost daily is “Don’t write cheques in social media that your website can’t cash.”

While I 100% agree with what Avinash is saying, I’d go even further and say don’t write cheques period that your website can’t cash. Simply put, your website (or ‘home base’) is probably the most valuable weapon in your marketing arsenal. It’s rare to see a marketing campaign these days (unless it’s purely branding) where the website isn’t at the heart.

Despite that, so many marketers, seduced by the perceived ease and reach of social media (Hint: it’s bloody hard, and reach is an illusion – you will never connect with all 600m denizens of Facebook), neglect their website or blindly continue plugging away with traditional tactics that, ironically enough, send people to poorly constructed landing pages and websites.

Landing pages and indeed websites are the front door(s) to your business, so why spend big bucks on acquiring traffic when all you’re doing is sending them to the online equivalent of a Soviet Gulag?

Here are 7 tips to keep in mind next time you’re planning your digital campaign and landing pages:

  1. Have a clear objective in mind. Know exactly what you want a visitor to do when they arrive at your page. That can be something like filling in a form, downloading a PDF or watching a video.
  2. Make sure you can track it. Whichever analytics package you are using, setup a goal for each macro and micro objective. If it’s something like watching a video or any other interaction, you might need to work with your web developer  to put in the proper code so you can do this.
  3. Design it effectively and align it with your objective. Landing pages should never, ever look like just another page on your website. They are a key conversion point that determine whether a visitor is going to go deeper into your site, buy your widget or handover their details. Not only must it look good and appeal to your customers, but it has to drive conversions.
  4. Hire a copywriter. While online video and audio is growing, the Internet is still 99.9799994392% text (don’t quote me on that). This gets overlooked incredibly often. You wouldn’t let a florist fix your car, so why leave your copy to someone who isn’t an expert?
  5. Always Be Testing (A/B or multivariate). Just because you’ve put your landing page up doesn’t mean the journey is over. This is only the beginning as now you have the fun job of refining and improving the page to eke out every 0.001% improvement in conversion rate. Test everything you can think of from colours, images, copy, fonts, forms, etc. but don’t go crazy. How much and how often you test can depend on how much traffic you get.
  6. Speaking of traffic, align your traffic acquisition tactics and creative with what your landing page. Probably the biggest contributor to bounce rate (a single page visit) and non-conversion is the web page meeting the promise of an ad, post, video, etc. It’s important that your website does what it says it does, without confusing or misleading your audience.
  7. Tell your story everywhere else. Keep your message platform agnostic and make sure it works across multiple touch points.

What do you think? What else should you do to keep your website relevant and convert traffic?

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Getting a job as a digital marketer

Digital Strategy12 Comments

When it comes to hiring digital marketers, it’s a jungle out there.

Even with the number of digital marketing positions on the rise as businesses scramble to avoid being left behind, the growing pool of new digital talent and traditional marketers looking to reposition themselves means that competition in this space is fierce. The emergence of social media, in particular, has altered the landscape yet again making it harder than ever to distinguish genuine talent from the proverbial snake oil salesmen.

With the playing field leveled and everyone now being able to publish and spruik their wares online, what do you need to do to get noticed and ultimately hired?

Over the past few weeks, I have received a number of emails and DMs from people looking for career advice which has prompted me to write this post. However, instead of just hearing from me, I thought it would be even more useful to ask some of the most respected digital marketers in Australia and around the world (including two who have had a profound influence on my career to date),for one piece of advice that they could offer digital job seekers:

Mitch Joel (President, Twist Image; Author, Six Pixels of Separation): Use these channels to become a known voice for whatever it is you’re pursuing. How could someone not hire someone who is regarded in their industry?

Avinash Kaushik (Author, Web Analytics 2.0; Analytics Evangelist, Google): Learn to try new things and play in the real world. There is no better medium in the world for you to try anything you want, all by yourself without the need to rely on your employer to empower you. Tools are free or cheap. Platforms are free or cheap. All you need is a pinch of effort and a dash of desire to learn in the real world. If you do that no one will refuse to hire you because you’ll actually know what the heck you are talking about. If you don’t do that… well…. life will be tougher.

Jason Neave (Managing Director, Via Media): Be visible in the space. If I’m hiring you for a digital marketing role (versus a creative or development one – and even then your online presence plays a huge part), I’ll spend 30 seconds looking at your CV and 30 minutes browsing your social network profiles, blog posts, twitter accounts, flickr galleries, and LinkedIn info. Have an opinion and don’t be afraid to share it. Oh, and if you’re applying, please make the effort to find out who to address your emails/letters to. We get a lot of ‘To Whom it May Concern’ notes. There’s no-one here by that name.

Michelle Prak (Digital Communications Expert, Hughes PR): In whatever you say about yourself online, use keywords. If you’re looking for a job in the digital industry, say so. Don’t just mention the fact that you like cheesecakes and you have a pet dog. Consider how a stranger (and potential employer) would read your profile.

Nic Hodges (Head of Innovation and Technology, Mediacom): Where I see the challenge with talent now is in social and data. Most agencies are still grappling with how they execute and resource social, and that throws up the obvious issue of assessing skillsets and leveraging experience. Add in the plethora of ‘social media gurus’ crowding up the talent pool and there’s a lot of chaff to sort through to get to the wheat. People who can talk social media in real world terms, deliver real business results, and integrate with an overall communications strategy will be highly sought after in the coming years. And whether they go to media, PR, or creative agencies is still up for grabs.

Sarah Thomas (Owner, Carve Consulting): Whilst it is imperative you demonstrate your digital skills and knowledge online, don’t forget about the importance of the real world too. Take your online contacts offline; attend tweetups, industry events, catch up with people for a coffee.

Damien Mair (Principal, Fusion): Be open and willing to try and fail, so you can learn, as following what someone else has done will not provide innovation. There isn’t rules, the people failing will be the ones who leave a path of rules for the followers…to well follow…while you keep evolving….and that is what will make you valuable to whoever you are applying you mind, talents and focus to at the time.

And lastly, my advice: Don’t rely on Twitter to build your reputation. There’s a limit to how insightful you can be in 140 characters. Make the commitment to blog and demonstrate that you not only know your stuff and have some smart things to say but are also up-to-date with emerging trends and have an opinion about the way things are headed.

Did you find this advice useful? What did you think? Is there any other advice you would give to digital job seekers?

Thanks to Mitch Joel, Avinash Kaushik, Jason Neave, Michelle Prak, Nic Hodges, Sarah Thomas and Damien Mair for their generous contributions. If you like what you read, please take the time to check out their blogs/websites, most of which are in my blogroll.

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Holiday Reading List 2009

Uncategorized6 Comments

Amidst the chaos leading up to the holiday break, I thought I’d sneak in this quick post.

Aside from spending time with family and friends (not to mention spoiling my son rotten), one thing I’m really looking forward to these holidays is settling in for some R&R to rejuvenate, consolidate and build on my thinking for 2010 by catching up on some reading.

Call me old-fashioned, but while blogs and podcasts are an integral part of my daily life, there’s still no better way to really wrap your head around a topic than reading a book. To that end, here are a few I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth in these holidays:

  1. Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk
    No one is more passionate about what they do than Gary Vee. He’s the guy who turned his passion for wine into a multi-million dollar enterprise by harnessing the power of social media and engaging his community.
  2. Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business by Erik Qualman
    Picked this up a few months back. Erik Qualman is the guy behind the Social Media Revolution video set to the tune of Fat Boy Slim’s Right Here Right Now. That video has gone on to be a staple of my presentations so I have high hopes for his books.
  3. Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity by Avinash Kaushik
    Google’s Analytics Evangelist’s latest book on why in this new age of marketing, it’s not enough to have a gut feeling about your customers. The web has given us access to so much data and knowledge about our customers. We need to figure out how to use it.
  4. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
    One that slipped through the cracks. I’m a huge fan of Malcolm Gladwell and I’ve been hanging out to read this for awhile. Mitch Joel calls him a rock star, and you won’t get any arguments from me.
  5. The Cluetrain Manifesto: 10th Anniversary Edition
    Another one that slipped through (albeit 10 years ago). I’ve heard so much about it but never actually got around to reading it.
  6. Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur by Pamela Slim
    Recommended by Seth Godin. Enough said.

And if you’re still looking for more to read on the digital marketing side of things, make sure you check out Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel and Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. I’ve just finished these and they are great primer for any marketer thinking about getting started or even those well immersed in the digital space.

Happy holidays!

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