Once upon a time there were three little pigs. One pig built his business brand online made only from paid advertising while the second pig built his business brand online made only from social media. They built their houses very quickly and then sang and danced all day because they were lazy. The third little pig worked hard all day and built his business brand online from a website and a blog. He then filled them with the richest of content, and reinforced both with analytics.
The big bad wolf tried to huff and puff and blow the house down, but he could not. He kept trying for hours but the house was very strong and the little pigs were safe inside. He tried to enter through the chimney but the third little pig boiled a big pot of analytic insights and kept it below the chimney. The wolf fell into it and died, just as the data had predicted.
The two little pigs now felt sorry for having been so lazy. They too built their business brands online with strong websites and blogs and lived happily ever after.
1. Get your website built on the cheap so it looks like a road accident involving farm animals. El cheapo comes in a range of flavours: DIY (particularly dangerous); outsourcing to an Indian guy named ‘Charles’ who contacted you out of the blue last month; your next-door neighbour’s daughter – she’s a first year multimedia student after all.
2. Grossly underestimate the time required to write half-way decent copy for your new web pages. Go into task avoidance mode. Alienate your web developer by not responding to requests for content. Launch website 14 months late.
3. Slap $5 stock images across all of your web pages. Chess pieces, balanced rocks, signposts – everyone loves a good visual cliché.
4. Only let potential customers contact you via a contact form (no-one uses telephones anymore). Get back to any queries within 2-3 days – don’t appear too keen with an immediate response.
5. Proudly display a swag of social media icon links on your homepage. Too bad you’re not doing anything in social media yet.
6. Provide a link to your blog. You’ve only posted on three occasions, all during the first week it went live. A family of possums have since made it their home.
7. Feed your Twitter stream onto your homepage – the last 5 tweets will invariably be a fragmented conversation thread between you and another person about something not at all related to the needs of your customers.
8. Run with a site-wide jungle theme… cleverly shape all of your web buttons as bananas, and play a random animal noise every ten seconds or so. Talk about getting cut-through!
Bonus Dumb Idea
9. Place a QR code on your homepage that if scanned takes people to your homepage.
I just want to apologise for criticising your website in public last week – it was unfair of me to call it a “piece of shit” in front of a room full of people.
I know that you must have spent quite a bit of time and money to get it launched seven years ago. And anyway, word on the street is those particular shades of brown are going to be big again in 2015… so you’re actually on the cutting edge there. Respect.
Just who the hell did I think I was when I said that the stock image on your homepage looked ridiculous?? Hey, that was my mistake – two suited-up alpha-males facing off on a chessboard is powerful stuff. I should have seen it for what it was: a multi-layered business metaphor.
And what about that totally cheap crack I made about you not having your telephone number anywhere on the site? A contact form alone is perfectly fine for people who need to get in touch with you. On reflection, I hate it too when potential new clients call me on the phone – usually right when I’m in the middle of something!
Bigger, brighter, wider websites – who needs em? The way your little site floats in the middle of my computer screen all surrounded by black is a statement of confidence in of itself – you just don’t see enough of that ‘devil may care’ attitude anymore.
Here it is: my core misunderstanding was that I didn’t appreciate what a super-busy operator you are – there’s really no way a guy like you should ever need to spare a passing thought for his primary, branded online presence. Just let it be, everything’s cool Mac. Sheesh, like you I’ve got to learn not to get so uptight over the little things.
So Kevin, I’m totally back in my box where I belong. I’m sorry. Can you forgive me?
P.S. Fully loving that Facebook page you guys have happening. To help make up for my potty mouth in public I’ve gone ahead and liked your page, boosting your fan-count almost into double figures. And I’m really looking forward to seeing your stuff on my newsfeed. I showed my wife your last post, the one with the cat rollerblading… we both laughed until it hurt. Keep it coming!
You’re outsourcing too much. You’ve made, and are making, unnecessary payments to others for those simple tasks which you need performed repeatedly. You know the sort: basic image manipulation for a branded social media banner or post; adding, amending or deleting content from your website; analytics reporting (to name just a few). It seems like an easy out but it’s counter-productive for both you and your business:
It’s a mystery
It looks complicated and it’s not. Because of your triple-digital IQ and open mind we can teach you how do all of this stuff within minutes or hours – with the same ease your consultant/ agency learnt how to do it. Better still, get your agency to show you how any of it’s done next time rather than getting them to parachute it into you directly.
No feel for the tools
“But you never asked us for that.” You’ll hear that after discovering a new tool, application or process all by yourself and then asking your agency why they never offered it to you as an option. When you play with the tools yourself you get a feel for them and their wider application (because you don’t know what you don’t know).
Life in the slow lane
In the time it takes to communicate your requirement you could have done it yourself (really). And get it the way you wanted it the first time before your brief was misinterpreted.
Lots of little costs = one big cost. One day you’ll announce “Let’s cut this big cost.” i.e. axe this consultant/ agency. Then a bunch of small but important things will stop getting done because neither you or anyone else internally knows how to do any of it (most of the internet’s stale websites have gone down this path).
The fun police
Don’t be your own fun police. Get hands-on with the tools – YOU’LL LIKE IT. You may even decide to set up your own consultancy once you work out how simple it is, how much fun it can be, and how many people are willing to pay easy coin to get others to do it for them.
Your website: the truck which must support everything else you have online.
Email: an outbound marketing channel without equal; always be inviting visitors to your website to opt into your comms loop, and then invite them back to the site from within the newsletter. Social media: your community… eventually they’ll end up back at the website (hopefully). Search engine optimisation: a website without wide and varied market-aligned content is like a guitar without strings… you won’t be able to play the informational tunes your target audiences are hungry for. Analytics: track website conversions and value via your most valuable referral sources: email, social and organic search.
Respect the trunk.
Would you turn up to a business meeting with a honking great food stain down the front of your shirt?
You’re welcome of course to present anywhere in any which way you choose, and granted, you’d still be the same cool individual underneath regardless of your appearance. But why force yourself to push uphill against the weight of a negative first impression? That dance-step we know as the initial business introduction can usually be reduced to one inner-thought in the mind of the person opposite: demonstrate why I should trust you.
Nobody wantonly sabotages their professionalism, yet a shit website will cruelly and silently undermine the credibility of the brand and people sitting behind it. For many of us the organisational website will be our first touch-point when undertaking pre-selection research: decisions on who we will select for a purchase, for an interview, for an invitation to speak, to partner with, to fund, or to work for. The website is a brand’s 24/7 reception area – make it a solid visitor experience… nay, make it bloody amazing. You’re only setting the scene for all future engagement after all.
So why do so many business-owners and brand guardians let themselves down by presenting an ugly, confused, piece-of-rubbish website to the world? The very same people who wouldn’t be caught dead walking into a business meeting with tomato sauce down their shirt-front? Here’s why: people will readily check themselves in a mirror before entering an important room, but rarely ever do they look at their own website. Business owners and executives are often shocked when somebody holds up a mirror to their primary online branded asset, finally getting to see what the rest of us have been painfully labouring through for years.
The underlying truth is that a website needs constant grooming – left on its own for an extended period it starts to take on a deranged, even menacing appearance… parents can be seen protectively turning the heads of their children away, and decent folk will cross to the other side of the street to avoid making eye contact. And to think it all started with one lousy little food stain.
Embedding specific posts from Twitter into a webpage or blog post is a simple 2-step process. The embeds render as fully interactive and look smart within their individual frames. Embedded tweets can be displayed as customer testimonials or as part of a narrative from one or several Twitter users.
Here are a two embed examples from people who tweeted about my courses:
Here’s the 2-step embedding process in action:
Step 1 – hover over the bottom of the tweet, click on the ‘… More’ link and then select ‘Embed Tweet’
Step 2 – grab the embed code from the dialogue box and paste into your website or blog via the HTML or text editor of your CMS