The week is finally here -- the official launch of my new book, The Invisible Sale and I want you to buy it TODAY!
It's a small ask on my part -- but if you've enjoyed the information I share here or learned a thing or two that you've applied to your company or career -- then I'd ask you to help me out by buying the book. I'm going to keep providing a ton of free, helpful content here and in our Insight & Information and Painless Prospecting newsletters, but this one time I'd really appreciate if you'd trade a few dollars to get some of my best content ever.
Or if you live in Chicago, Milwaukee, Boston, New York City, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Nashville, Dallas, Austin or New Orleans -- attend one of the private happy hour parties to celebrate the book's launch. You'll get a copy of the book and I'll be there, so I can sign your book and we can talk shop -- over cocktails of course. Best of all, 50% of all ticket sales are donated to one of 10 worthy charities and we're even providing free food and in most of the cities your first drink is on me!
Click Here to grab a ticket to any of the #ivs4charity book tour events.
I loved the book as with each chapter you walk away thinking differently and sparking some ideas on how you can master the invisible sale. - Suzanne
Excellent book. I own a marketing company and some of trends and events that Tom talks about, I have experienced, but I thought they were anomalies. I'm realizing now that Tom has officially labeled this new type of marketing as the invisible sale. The radar is a great resource. I couldn't put the book down. - Erik
I can't tell you how excited I am to finally be able to tell everyone this incredible news -- my first book, The Invisible Sale is finally available on Amazon and B&N for pre-order. While the book won't actually publish until this October, you can make sure you're first in line to get this puppy when it comes off the printing presses. A recent BtoB Magazine survey of US B2B marketers found that in 2013, 60% of respondents cited generating more leads remained their top challenge. And an Ascend2 and Research Underwriters survey revealed that B2Bs continue to struggle with leveraging social media marketing for lead gen purposes with nearly half saying this was one of the most difficult strategies to execute. I don't find either of these stats surprising because I hear clients and prospects saying it every day. And that is why I've written The Invisible Sale.
Well if your company is one of those 60% that need help generating more leads or haven't yet figured out how to use Social Selling techniques... this book is for you. On a larger scale, if your B2B or B2C company sells a product or service via a sales force and wants to start leveraging digital selling techniques, then this book is going to be a must purchase for you and your team. Here's why. Today's digital savvy buyers are sophisticated and silent. They’re doing recon work on your brand, product or company -- searching for product reviews and tapping into social networks for recommendations and first-hand experiences. These invisible buyers are slipping past your sales team, stepping out of the shadows only after they’ve decided that your company is in the running for their dollars.
To court the invisible buyer, your prospecting process needs to be digitally powered and deeply rooted in the science of relationships. You'll have to coordinate communications outposts, digital embassies and your own relationship hub to earn the business of these invisible buyers. A relationship-based approach is key to moving your sales strategy from top-of-mind awareness to the more powerful top-of-mind-preference and winning the elusive invisible sale.In the book I reveal the techniques I have refined over 20 years of developing sales and marketing programs for myself and my clients. I'm sharing the techniques I've used to drive consistent double-digit growth in my own company without doing any cold-calling or paid advertising. And I'm not writing this book at some 30,000 foot theory level. This book is a tool not a trophy. It's a field guide for anyone that wants to understand the brave new digitally powered world of the self-educating buyer. I'm boiling everything down to simple, straightforward, and understandable language — and actionable solutions.
The book is broken down into four sections, each designed to help you move your company one step closer to a world of painless prospecting...
Click here to read the rest of this post on my new blog, ConverseDigital.com.
Companies continue to create ways to monetize Facebook fans. Today I found this one and thought it worthy of sharing with you.
On one hand, there is a huge hurdle -- your fans have to register with the company to set up payment and shipping details. So I'm thinking this is really only valuable for companies or brands that have multiple products and where their fans make multiple purchases from them over time.Think music, shoes, clothes, or books.
Talk about your impulse purchase. Show your fans a big, beautiful hero shot of your product and they only have to comment "SOLD" in your Facebook comments to buy.
Now that's interesting.
You can check out the company over at Soldsie.
Give it a peek and then let me know what you think in the comments.
And if you're new here -- you might want to visit and subscribe to my new Digital Strategy Blog. Where I'm sharing helpful and insightful information on Content Marketing | Email Marketing | Mobile Marketing | B2B Digital Sales Prospecting Strategy & Tactics and of course, Digital Strategy. Come check it out.
And dear readers, that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Mack Collier (who's also speaking) and a few other smarties have pulled this conference together and they have hand picked each and every speaker (including yours truly) and worked with each speaker to craft truly useful sessions. Best of all, the sessions aren't all just lecture style. There is plenty of hands on time and networking time with each other and the speakers.
But as crazy excited as I am to be speaking at and attending this conference, the reason I'm taking a few minutes to today to tell you about it is that Mack just let me know that TODAY and TOMORROW ONLY -- that's right this offer expires on Friday, January 11, 2013.....
You can get $300 off the early bird pricing!
So GO REGISTER... go now. And then drop me a note in the comments to let me know you're going to be there so we can grab a beer.
And one more thing... if you've noticed, I'm not blogging here nearly as much -- I've moved most of my blogging over to my company site -- so pop over to Converse Digital to see what I've been writing lately and to subscribe to get that blog by email!
Have you switched your RSS or eMail sign-up to my new blog yet?
If not, you missed my latest posts:
As you can see, I'm trying to pump out a lot of great stuff for you over at the new site, so why not check it out?
Once you get there, you'll see the Blog Sign Up and the Newsletter Sign-Up boxes... I think you'll like both.
Persuasion is an art and a science. Teaching the art is hard but the science is rather simple. Today I want to share with you five key characteristics of persuasive blog posts and a simple five paragraph template you can use to create your own persuasive blog posts.
It's always easier to teach something when you have visual aids. So let's use a recent tussle on the Intrawebs pitting the Millennial generation against the world... or maybe more accurately their elder Generation X brethren.
What are they arguing about? They are arguing about the proper age at which point you can (as a brand) safely place a person in charge (I'm assuming that means with minimal or no direct supervision) of your company's social media presence.
One the other corner you have GenX suggesting that you shouldn't trust your online brand identity to someone because "they're really good on Facebook."
Both camps are trying to persuade you the reader that they're right. And in doing so, they (collectively) are helping or hurting (depending on which corner you favor) their argument and providing a great case study in persuasive writing.
And the three posts I've linked to provide an excellent set of examples to help us think through writing more persuasive posts.
There are countless books and papers on how to write more persuasively, but let me share the top 5 things I think (based on 20 years of persuading folks during my advertising career) make a blog post (or any written communication) more persuasive.
Now let's look at the blog posts around this subject -- How old should your social media manager be? -- and use them as a case study to talk about why one post may be more persuasive than another based on the style of writing.
The biggest difference between the GenX and Millennial blog posts is the emotional tone.
If you look at the GenX piece in Inc Magazine, you'll see a very straightforward, fact and logic based writing style. You don't find a lot of colorful or emotionally driven words and arguments. The piece sets up the writer's point-of-view and even acknowledges that article is a generalization and not necessarily indicative or ALL 23 year olds.
The Ragan's PR piece is fairly even keeled, balanced and follows a "here is my point and here are my support points" format, which is ideal. The NextGen article on the other hand attacks from the outset and is written like a personal plea full of I's and We's.
Interestingly, it was the NextGen article that sparked this whole dust up in the first place. Could the emotional vs logical argument style have played a part in that fact?
Data driven arguments work, just make sure you use the right data points and that you've properly analyzed your data. This was the SINGLE BIGGEST MISTAKE that both of the Millennial blogs made. In both the NextGen and Ragan's PR posts, the authors make the argument (one that many Millennials make) that they "grew up with social media and thus know it better than older generations."
The unstated fact here is that "more of us use these channels" or "all of us/major percentage of us use these channels" so we're more familiar with them. It's not a new or unique argument and one commonly tossed about by Millennials.
The problem is, they don't do the math.
That's probably because the math is hard. There really is no definitive start and end date to define any generation. To make matters worse, different data collectors may choose to report their data using different date ranges. Thus, to try and pull together the necessary data to actually understand if the point can be made, much less proven, would take someone a few hours. Because you're talking about Twitter penetration against each generation vs just generational make-up of Twitter, it gets complicated fast.
But if you want the skeptical reader to support you, you're going to have to do the math.
Look back at the Ragan's piece one more time. Let's look at the five reasons given for why you should hire someone under 25 for your social media.
Not a fact amongst them. All opinions but all stated as black and white facts. The NextGen piece was even worse, so I'm not even going to review the key points of that piece here.
Compare that to the Inc piece.
Items 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 are presented as facts -- declarative statements presented as this is right with no wiggle room to allow for consideration that the fact may actually be opinion.
If you revisit them you see that item #1 is truly an opinion but notice the author provides a research report to give you a reason to agree with the point.
Item 4 is clearly a fact, indisputable based on logic. Item 5 could be considered an opinion but I'd argue and I bet the author would too, that 99 out of 100 people polled would agree with the statement, making it a de facto fact. I'd argue the same can be said for items 7-11. All are facts of logic and make perfect sense to the reader. Thus, in the science of persuasion they function more as facts than opinions.
Notice that items 2, 3, 6, are all clearly opinions of the writer. But more importantly, notice HOW the writer shares those opinions. This is a key point.
There is one little word. One word that changes the persuasive nature of the opinions.
The word is May.
In each of these opinions, the author doesn't draw a line in the sand. They are acknowledging up front that they may not be right, that there may be exceptions to the rule and that they are generalizing.
If you want to persuade people with your opinions, NEVER draw a line in the sand. When you do that you create a situation where your reader must agree or disagree. You give your reader no wiggle room. No opportunity to consider your point-of-view and agree, disagree or suggest (to themselves or to you) an alternative point-of-view.
When you provide your opinion with the stated acknowledgement that it may not be 100% fact, you invite your reader to engage with your thinking -- the first step you'll need them to take if you're trying to change their mind.
Now that we've discussed what did or did not make those blog post more persuasive (in my opinion), let's finish up with a template you can use to quickly and effeciently create persuasive blog posts.
First, start with the end. In the very first paragraph, summarize what you're going to tell the reader. If this paragraph is written correctly, it is effectively the only paragraph the reader needs to read to be persuaded (if they're already inclined to agree with you.)
Then in a single line or short paragraph state your case. Tell them what you want them to believe.
Use the next three paragraphs to make your arguments. The first sentence of each paragraph should be a persuasive argument and the remaining 2-4 sentences should be relevant support points or data that you can link to or reiterate. Try to include more than one support point for each argument as there is strength in numbers.
If you have more than three key arguments, that's fine... you can include them but ask yourself if you really need to do so to win the reader over to your point-of-view. As they say in sales, once you've made the sale, shut up.
Use your final paragraph to summarize your point-of-view and if you're trying to entice the reader to action, give them a simple next step or action to take. Otherwise, invite them to tell you if they agree or disagree with your points via your comments.
And that's it. A simple five or six paragraph format for quickly and easily crafting your next persuasive blog post. And this works great for business letters, memos and other communications too.
So what do you think? Was this helpful?
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I've been thinking about first mover advantage a lot lately.... and today it sort of solidified in my mind as I drove my son to camp located in an area of Austin that when I was his age, neither of us would have been caught dead in. So I want to share that thinking with you -- unformed as it may be -- and get your two cents.
Gentrification is one of those polarizing ideas. Traditionally associated with the change in urban landscapes where those with money begin to build and live in areas traditionally inhabited by those without money.
The result -- if the early adopters guess right, their late adopter friends follow and gentrification begins. Within a few years a low rent district becomes the new hotspot.
But that's not the point of this post. Whether you think gentrification is good or bad for a neighborhood is certainly up for debate...what isn't up for debate though is the value of gentrification to those early adopters.
For those lucky early adopters, the resulting gentrification (or adoption to make the point clearer) of the neighboorhood results in increased property values and thus creates opportunities to grow wealth through rise in value of owned assets or through cash by selling those owned assets at the new, higher gentrified price.
I think the same approach holds true in technology. Take QR Codes for instance. At Blog World last week we talked about the value of a technology used by so few. Why should marketers invest time and effort into QR if it was still a non-gentrified technology?
The answer is simple -- it doesn't cost much and IF the technology becomes hot, you the brand or company that tested and learned early will be better positioned to exploit the gentrified technology.
Look in almost any big dollar industry -- real estate, money, oil, etc., and you'll see those with the biggest bank accounts are most often those that speculate the most. They make lots of bets, some of which pay out and others of which don't.
As Julia Fitzgerald, Chief Digital Engagement Officer at Sears Holdings Corporation, pointed out when I interviewed her about Sears' recent QR experiment, "You have to be putting a lot of chips out there to see which ones cash in..."
The digital space -- mobile, social, content marketing -- is still so new and evolving so fast that if you're waiting for others to show you the way (which most companies are), you're going to finish dead last. Instead, to quote Marcus Sheridan during a Blog World interview, "You gotta keep the pedal down and keep on pushing if you want to win today."
I think Digital R&D is going to be the key to success over the next 5-10 years. Digital technology continues to be a disruptive force in every industry it touches. You're going to need to stay ahead of that curve or find a Digital Consigliere that can keep you ahead if you don't want to get left behind.
The value of being ready, of being the company that tested and learned early will be that you'll be better positioned to exploit the gentrified technology when the time is right.
Last week at Blog World I saw that one of the session speakers was sharing data on the life of a tweet. This is nothing new, the first major report of that nature I recall seeing was Hubspot's Shelf Life of Social Media Links back in September of 2011.
The funny thing is -- I and my clients had that knowledge in February of 2009! Almost two full years ahead of the Hubspot report. Why? Because we invested in Digital R&D. As part of my Mardi Gras Twitter Experiment, we tracked the lifespan of our tweets. And that wasn't the only knowledge we had... the resulting data set was full of highly valuable insights -- some of which we shared, many of which we didn't.
So ask yourself -- what's a two year knowledge advantage worth in your industry?
And in my mind, that's the value of Digital R&D... that's why you have to take a long-term vs short-term look at the ROI of your digital investments. This space is new and moving fast... and if you want to succeed in it, if you want to leverage it for maximum value to your company -- you need to be learning on the job vs just reading what others choose to share with you from their learnings.
I started this post by saying I wanted to hear your thoughts... so let me know what you think... am I off my rocker or is this something that we all should be focusing on a tad bit more?
Oh and one more thing -- if you liked this, feel free to share. The handy dandy share buttons are below.
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Last week I uploaded a split screen video interview I did with my son Maes and asked if anyone could figure out how I did it using nothing but a single iPhone. Most folks guessed some kind of mirror or prism, which is almost right.
To get the video I used a Love Box. Not sure where I found out about this nifty little device but you can see more and buy one by visiting their website at TheLoveBox.com. Thus far the handmade Love Box is available in a limited edition -- 100 being made and sold. Mine was #67, so if this post gets you thinking you'd like one, you might want to order sooner rather than later. The device will run you about $100 and mine arrived within a few days.
So how does this puppy let you create a split screen interview? Easy. By placing your iPhone on the special mount and adjusting the mirror, you effectively record both the front and rear views of the phone.
It's a little tricky at first, especially adjusting the mirror and phone so that you don't see the iPhone's camera in the view of the rear. Also, you'll have to sit at an angle to your phone (to keep the reflection of the phone out of your shot) so you have to think about where to look while you're doing the interview.
You'll see that I was busy looking at the screen during much of the interview and it just looks odd. My son on the other hand was looking right at me or the camera and thus looks pretty natural.
One of the B2B content marketing workhorses is the "talking head" interview. I love using my iPhone to create these thought leader interviews. In fact, in 2010 I spent the entire year creating a digital thought leader video interview site where I interviewed 52 of the smartest folks in social and digital marketing -- all using nothing more than my iPhone.
But one of the most consistent pieces of feedback I received was that folks wished I had been on screen too. They wanted to see the interviewer as well as the interviewee. When you think about it, what they wanted was to see an interview conducted in a manner that they were used to from television.
But you can't switch from front to rear camera on an iPhone while video'ing (at least not in the native camera app). Thus, if I had wanted to get both the interviewee and myself on camera, I would have needed two iPhones and I would have had to deal with syncing the video and audio streams.
That's complex and time consuming, which is why I found this solution so compelling. Now, with a simple $100 device I can easily record both sides of the interview.
Further, because the mirror slides back and forth in that slot, you can actually transition between showing one of three screens:
It's a bit tricky to get a nice smooth transition from these three different settings, and I'd recommend that you practice and probably mark the mirror slot with the positions to place the mirror in for each shot.
But once you've done that, you can actually create a video interview that "feels" a lot more like a traditional TV interview that transitions between those three views.
Man how I wish I had this device last year when I was doing my Talking With Tom series. It really would have given that project a different feel I think.
While I really like this tool, there are a few things I'd love for the makers of The Love Box to change that would really improve the device as a B2B Interview capture tool.
First, because the device sits on a table, it's too low. It would be great if the bottom of the base had an opening to allow the device to be attached to a tripod. Then you could place the camera at the optimium level and adjusting it for pretty much any circumstance.
Second, moving the mirror to create the various screen configurations above is kind of hard. Doing it without getting your hand in the picture is almost impossible. So, here again, some kind of attachment would be ideal. Maybe something as simple as a little rod that connects to the mirror base and allows you to pull and push the mirror smoothly up and down the track.
Third, include a portable carrying case. The handmade box is awesome looking and always entices folks who see it in my office to ask what it is... but it's totally impractical as a carrying device if I was to take The Love Box with me to a conference to get interviews. They also need to supply a bubble wrap or cushioned carry case for the mirror.
Fourth - something you'll need to do on your own. Because you'll be using a single iPhone to capture both sides of the conversation, you're going to need to rig up two microphones to both feed into the iPhone.
Conversely, you could use an MP3 recording device and then a program like PluralEyes to sync the audio and video, but that adds time and complexity to an otherwise simple and easy workflow.
While I have been focusing on using The Love Box as a B2B content marketing tool, it's also a great tool to have in your B2C marketing toolbox.
Testimonials from satisfied clients are highly effective online content. We all like to know that the companies or brands we're thinking about buying from have a history of delivering great experiences and products, hence why testimonials are so effective.
But don't stop with quotes, let today's customer tell tomorrow's prospect how wonderful you are -- there is nothing more believable than a video testimonial. Seeing the truth and in some cases passion in a customer's eyes while they deliver that stellar testimonial for your brand just can't be captured in any other format but video.
So what do you think? Did you find this helpful or interesteing? If so, maybe take a tip from my son and share it ;-)
And if you have any questions or comments, let'em fly... always like to hear what my readers are thinking.
If you've been around these parts for a few years, you might remember some of the work I did around the ability of Twitter to change brand perception and on a larger scale, the ability of social media to alter brand perception. Both of these projects centered around the idea of leveraging virtual exposure via social media to change the perception of Mardi Gras from "Girls Gone Wild" to "Family Friendly Fun."
In both cases those were marketing research driven activities that resulted in some amazing social media marketing data proving statistically that yes, social media can be used to alter embedded brand perception -- at least around a tourism destination and/or festival or event like Mardi Gras. And while I'm not planning to continue that work this year, I will none-the-less be at the parades and thought why not invite you to join me?
So, starting tonight around 7pm CENTRAL Time, watch my tweets over @TomMartin and I'll show you my Mardi Gras -- and if you've never been -- well you might just be surprised.
Now most folks don't know that Mardi Gras is not a day but two full weeks of parades... so if you want the full-on experience, be sure to stay tuned through Fat Tuesday (February 21) for pics, vids, etc of this year's Mardi Gras.
Just pay attention to my Twitter avatar -- when you see that I've changed it to the one above, you can know you're about to attend your first virtual Mardi Gras! Just be carefull not to yell "Throw me something Mister!" outloud -- well unless you want to scare the hell out of those around you.
Think this will be a lot of fun? Why not invite a friend to join you? Just tell them to Follow @TomMartin