3 little pigs redux


Once upon a time, there were three little pigs. One pig built his brand online made only from paid advertising while the second pig built his 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 who had recently completed a net101 course applied his learnings and worked hard all day to build his brand online from a website and a blog. He then filled them with the richest of content and reinforced both with analytics.

A big bad wolf saw the two little pigs while they danced and played and thought, “What juicy tender meals they will make!” He chased the two pigs and they ran and hid in their houses. The big bad wolf went to the first house and huffed and puffed and blew the house down in minutes, for the pig had maxed-out his credit card to pay for his ads. The frightened little pig ran to the second pig’s house that was made of social media. The big bad wolf now came to this house and huffed and puffed and blew the house down in hardly any time, for it wasn’t really the little pig’s house at all – it was owned by a third-party corporation located in America, and the terms of service had changed earlier that afternoon. Now, the two little pigs were terrified and ran to the third pig’s house that was made of the reinforced website and blog.

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.

Sitting on the floor cross-legged storytime version:

7 dumb ideas for your next website

  1. Get your website built on the cheap so it looks like a road accident involving farm animals. El cheapo comes in several guises: DIY (particularly hazardous); outsourcing to a guy overseas named Charles who contacted you out of the blue; your next-door neighbour’s niece – she’s a first-year multimedia student after all.
  2. Grossly underestimate the time required to write half-way decent copy for each of your new web pages. Go into task avoidance mode. Alienate your web developer by not responding to requests for content. Launch the website 14 months late.
  3. Slap $2 stock images across all of your web pages. Chess pieces, balanced rocks, signposts – everyone loves a visual cliché.
  4. Only let potential customers contact you via a contact form (no-one uses telephones anymore). Get back to enquiries within a week – don’t appear too keen with a timely response.
  5. Proudly display a swag of social media icon links on your homepage. Too bad you’re not doing much of note in social media for anyone to look at.
  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. 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: place a QR code on your homepage that if scanned takes people to your homepage. Cool!

Sorry Kevin – An Open Letter


Dear Kevin

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!


We need to talk about your outsourcing…


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.

The axe
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.


The Trunk.

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.



Stains Down Your Front?


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.

Strange things oft seen


Strange things oft seen:

  • A website without a telephone number
  • An ‘About Us’ section devoid of information about people
  • A website without installed analytics
  • A website with installed analytics that no-one is analysing
  • A contact form with no response-time commitment
  • A cheesy stock image already seen on 1089 other websites
  • A negative online business review without an owner response
  • A positive online business review without an owner response
  • A social media profile page without fully customised branding
  • A query/ complaint/ comment on a social media account gone unacknowledged
  • A personal LinkedIn profile without a profile pic
  • A blog post posted from a person named ‘Admin’
  • A Facebook brand page with no codified and visible House Rules
  • A public or private event of size without a centrally communicated hashtag
  • A repetitive hard-sell newsletter
  • A repetitive hard-sell newsletter

Ooh, look over there!

27 Tasks Every Marketer Should be able to Perform Online


There are DIY skills every modern marketer should have in their virtual toolbox to handle the numerous small tasks which need to be frequently performed online. Tackle the simple stuff yourself when you can – quickly and inexpensively – and only outsource the big hairy jobs. So, do you have the digital chops to get the everyday basics out of the way?

You Should Know How To:

1. Customise the branding elements on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ (if you have a presence on these platforms).

2. How to activate and deactivate automatic cross-posting between social media platforms.

3. Adjust your personal privacy and visibility settings on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.

4. Use permalinks to link to specific posts on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.

5. Comment on a blog post, and comment on a comment.

6. Use a wizard tool to manually create one or more of the following social share buttons for a webpage: Facebook Like, Google +1, Twitter Tweet, Pinterest Pin-It or LinkedIn Share.

7. Upload a video file to YouTube, and then embed that same YouTube video back onto your webpage.

8. Subscribe to a specific blog, YouTube channel or podcast series.

9. Apply hashtags to a post, search on specific hashtags within a social media platform, and know the meanings of basic courtesy hashtags such as #HT (hat-tip).

10. Compress the file size of an image for web use, change its horizontal or vertical orientation, or resize it to a specific pixel width and height.

11. Add text as an overlay to a digital image, e.g. general text, a brand name or a URL.

12. Customise the metatitles and meta descriptions on your own webpages or blog posts.

13. Insert a hyperlink into a webpage.

14. Insert an image onto a webpage and add alternate text to it for increased search visibility.

15. Create a basic customised Google Map.

16. Embed an interactive Google Map or a Streetview frame into a webpage.

17. Post an online review for a specific business (and how to delete it later if you choose).

18. Run a search engine keyword query which is limited to blog or forum results from a specific country.

19. Clear cookies from your browser and surf the web anonymously using a free proxy server.

20. Open a Google Analytics account and set up visitor tracking for your website or blog.

21. Scan a QR code, and how to create your own QR codes selecting from multiple response options.

22. Reuse other people’s digital content under the conditions of an assigned Creative Commons licence.

23. Apply Creative Commons licencing to your own original online content.

24. Claim the Google+ Local business listing for your organisation or business.

25. Provide an ‘owner response’ to a Google+ Local review of your organisation or business.

26. Use a free voice and video conferencing platform such as Google+ Hangouts or Skype.

27. View the cached search engine version of a webpage when a website is down or the page has recently been deleted.


Image by  Visit Greece