Why a Website Without ROI is like a Bank Account without Money

As a digital marketing strategist, I HATE seeing businesses waste their money with ineffective websites and lame online marketing.

For this reason, I champion strategies that produce real tangible results. Why would you have it any other way?

In this week’s Digital Marketing Power Briefing video, I address both the challenges and the strategies that are part of a website that produces a measurable return on investment (ROI):

This weeks Power Briefing, Why a Website without ROI is like a Bank Account without Money

Don’t fall for the “get rich quick” BS or let yourself be overwhelmed by all the software options. Your web presence should impact your bottom line, and that’s the real bottom line! 🙂 

EDITED VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Hi, and welcome to this week’s digital marketing Power Briefing. My name is Jon Leland and I’m a digital marketing strategist and this week we’re talking about why a website without ROI is like a bank account without money. 

You know, we do online marketing for a lot of reasons, I’ll start with a quick caveat and say, you know if all your business needs is a brochure website: great, no problem, good for you. 

But if you’re looking for your website to be part of a marketing plan, if you’re looking for your website to be part of a business plan then it needs to have a return on investment. There needs to be a real ROI, it’s common sense of course; but so many businesses have websites and no real strategy to get a return on investment and it’s easy to understand. 

Digital marketing, online marketing can be frustrating. It can be overwhelming and worst of all, it can be infested with get-rich-quick schemers and unprofessional, you know, marketing people that just don’t get the job done and get a return. 

I’m here to tell you that online marketing could be fun, it can be about creating meaningful relationships. I hope that’s what we’re doing here, that I’m communicating some value and you appreciate what’s being offered. 

Regardless of whether we ever do business together, business is about relationships. Websites need to build relationships for the long-term and have a strategy with multiple touches then you can get a real return on investment, a real ROI. That makes digital marketing a whole different animal, a whole different ball game. 

So, don’t fall for all the BS, don’t waste your time on BS, get real marketing strategies that are designed for a real return, even if you have to experiment and take action. 

Have a plan, have a marketing plan, have a business plan, and work strategies that produce a real return on investment. 

I want to keep this video short but if you’re interested in more information about what I call Relationship Funnels, which is a strategy that returns on the investment then go to bit.ly/website-broken. And that’s this week’s digital marketing Power Briefing. 

I look forward to your feedback, let me know what else you want to hear about. Subscribe, follow, and all that good stuff. Thanks so much for your attention, bye for now!

Why “SEO” is So “Yesterday” For Small Business Online Marketing

This week’s Digital Marketing Power Briefing video (below) is about an online marketing subject that is widely understood, and in my opinion, it has become quite passé for businesses looking for immediate results.

In fact, SEO is often the first kind of marketing support that people request after they’ve done a website redesign. The truth is that for lots of businesses, SEO is the only website marketing strategy that they have ever heard of! Sad but true. But SEO is not really a strategy, it’s only one tool among many; and in many ways, it’s out of date… or “so yesterday!” 😎

I made this video to explain why:

This week’s Digital Marketing Power Briefing video. Your feedback please. Any questions? What would you like me to cover in future weeks?

I’m not saying that SEO is meaningless, but in terms of online marketing strategies that can produce REAL results, in a reasonably short period of time, it has become, well, passé.

I’m passionate about this subject because I’m committed to supporting progressive and forward-thinking organizations to make a difference, and that means implementing digital marketing strategies that produce tangible results (like list-building and opportunities for multiple “touches”). This is important because these “more modern” strategies help build meaningful relationships and offer a respectable ROI.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask from an investment in marketing. Do you?

I explain more about why SEO is so “yesterday” for small business online marketing in this video, OR if you want to hear about the very modern strategy that I call “Relationship Funnels,” please check out my “Your Website is Broken Power Briefing” videos herehttp://bit.ly/website-broken 

Thanks for watching and I look forward to hearing from you.

Edited video transcript:

Hi, my name is Jon Leland and I’m a digital marketing strategist. This is another in my new weekly series of digital marketing Power Briefings. Today I’m talking about SEO and why SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is so yesterday in terms of small business online marketing. 

Businesses say they need help with “SEO” when they mean lead generation.

In fact, I get inquiries in my business from small businesses looking for SEO services. (They say:) “We need more SEO on our website.” Really they’re not talking about SEO, they’re talking about we need more traffic, which really means we need more business. And those are really different things! 

SEO is just one way to drive more traffic but just driving more traffic is not a digital marketing strategy. 

Have You Asked “What Happens Next?”

So let’s dig into it. I have four specific reasons to share with you. First of all, I really need to say that when you think about a digital marketing strategy, the question that I always want businesses to think about is “what happens next?” 

That’s a really important question because to me, marketing and business in general is really about relationships. I’m making this video as an invitation for us to have more of a relationship; and relationships happen through multiple touches, through interactions, through ongoing presence in the marketplace… having a real conversation. 

Just getting traffic to your website does not create a conversation. 

If you’re interested in more about how that kind of relationship develops, I want to invite you to the bigger Power Briefing (video) that’s at http://bit.ly/website-broken. That’s where I really delve into Relationship Funnels. 

So sorry for the unabashed little promo there, but that is where I talk about this with more depth.

TIME TO MARKET: What’s Your Time Window to Get Results? 

Let’s talk about the four reasons why SEO is so yesterday in terms of online marketing. 

The first reason that SEO is really kind of “yesterday” has to do with the time frame or the time to market, you know, how long are you willing to wait to get the traffic that you want in order to have the meaningful interactions that you need. 

SEO as a strategy takes at least six months, probably six months to a year, as opposed to Facebook Ads or Google Ads, or what have you. Those can get a more immediate result. 

So, that’s something that a lot of businesses don’t really understand, (and many) don’t really have the patience, or sometimes they need the cash flow quicker, so they need faster results. 

So, thinking about implementing a strategy that’s a long-term commitment like six months to a year to get SEO traffic is has obvious limitations. 

LIMITED TARGETING: What’s Your Targeting Strategy?

The second reason that SEO is pretty “yesterday” is the limited nature of the targeting. When you work an SEO strategy, on the organic side of Search Engine Optimization, you really are looking at building a web page-per-keyword phrase. And that’s really pretty clunky in terms of the ability to get your message out there. 

The targeting, for example, with Google Ads, you have no limit to the number of keyword phrases, as opposed to needing landing pages that are optimized for each keyword phrase that you want to target and bring traffic, attract traffic with. 

So, SEO is also pretty yesterday given the fact that the targeting is so limited. 

RELATIONSHIP BUILDING REQUIRES MULTIPLE TOUCHES

The third reason that I don’t think that SEO is a very viable approach right now is that it doesn’t reflect a marketing strategy. 

A real relationship building, marketing strategy requires multiple touches. When people say they need SEO on their website, they’re only thinking about the need for more traffic. They’re not thinking about a strategic process that involves multiple touches, real engagement, and real relationship building.

And the other reason that SEO is very limited from the point of view of relationship-building is it doesn’t involve any remarketing. When you install the Facebook Pixel on a website, you have the ability to remarket to those people. When you make your email list a custom audience for example, inside Facebook advertising, again you’re having multiple follow-ups and multiple touches.

SEO just doesn’t have that capability. 

FLEXIBILITY & CHOICE

The fourth and final reason is flexibility and choice. I look at digital marketing as a kind of experimentation and you really want to involve lots of different ways to bring traffic to your website and begin the process of engagement, relationship building and multiple touches.

SEO it’s not a strategy. It is a way to bring organic traffic; but it is a very limited one and something that I am saying is “yesterday.”

And again if you’re interested in an approach to real relationship building, I want to invite you to check out my Relationship Funnel Power Briefing at http://bit.ly/website-broken. Most websites are broken because they’re not doing the kind of engagement that I’m talking about. 

So, in summary, SEO is a limited strategy, I want you to get involved in more, real relationship building, with multiple touches, and an ongoing presence in the marketplace. 

I hope that this video was useful and valuable, as that’s what these Power Briefings are all about. 

Please let me know what you want me to cover in future weeks. I’m happy to do that. And thank you so much for your kind attention, I really appreciate it and I look forward to hearing from you!

Video Invitation to the “Your Website is Broken!” Power Briefing

Your Invitation to a Free Video Power Briefing on Meaningful Digital Marketing

The video invitation below is kind of a big deal for me because I’m swinging out in a new way.

It’s not that I’ve produced another video in order to try to be helpful. Rather, it’s because my new “Power Briefing” videos are designed to create a different kind of engagement and that’s something I’m highly recommending and trying to model her for clients and prospects.

Metaphorically speaking, you could say that I am now “eating my own cooking.”  This is the first sales funnel—a sequence of the two videos with lead capture landing pages, & more—that I’ve ever created for my own company. Please click the image below to view my personal video invitation to check this out:

Your Website is Broken Video

As a digital marketing strategist, I have to ask: 
Does your website produce meaningful results?

Most websites are “broken” because they don’t authentically connect with prospects. That’s why this video invitation leads to a two-part “Power Briefing” about what I call “Relationship Funnels.” I’m honestly wondering if these are the most valuable pieces of free content that I’ve ever created?

I’d love to hear what you think!

If you want to skip straight to the Power Briefing, please check it out here: bit.ly/website-broken 

Video Post: How to Do Lead Generation that is Fun and Meaningful, Not Spammy or Sleazy

Spammy, sleazy online marketers have given “lead generation” a bad name. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

So, I’ve created a new video blog post to explain how—when you put “leading with value” and being of service first—marketing online can become more fun and meaningful.

Click the video below to watch now.

Lead Generation that is Fun and Meaning, Not Spammy or Sleazy Video

Edited Video Transcript:

What Lead Generation is NOT

This video came about because of an online conversation where a woman was asking about how do I do lead gen. Just the idea of lead gen or lead generation kind of made her skin crawl because she associated it with the get-rich-quick schemers that are out there pitching digital marketing day and night on the web.

When I talk about lead generation, I’m not talking about that kind of get-rich-quick sales pitch, go get them, you know, hustle until you die type of attitude. That’s not who I am. That’s not how I approach it. 

How I DO approach it is from the point of view of relationship building. Relationship building is a whole different thing when you talk about lead generation and it involves authentic value. I use the term “leading with value.” 

Authentic Marketing Feels Good Because It Is About Relationship Building

First of all, in order to do lead generation that feels good—that is going to really actually work in the long run—you need to offer something of value. You need to give a gift or a service. (For example), I’m doing this video for you because I think this information is important, and because I intend it to be valuable and useful. You have to determine whether I succeed at that, but I’m here because I want to be of service. 

So, immediately for me lead generation is not spammy. It’s not sleazy. I’m authentically trying to be of service. So, any good relationship building-oriented lead generation starts with value and it immediately feels good because you’re being of service. 

Relationship Building Means Offering Real Gifts that Are Truly Valuable

It also begins a real conversation because authentically you’re contributing value. You’re building a relationship. You’re not saying take, take, take, give it to me, give it to me.

You’re saying here, I’m here and I want to be of service. I have something valuable to offer and the relationship building then becomes a kind of what I’ve heard called the “pink spoon,” like at the ice cream store where they give you a free taste. 

So, it becomes something, in a way, delicious, right? 

You’re offering a free taste, a sweet taste, of what you have to offer that’s authentically valuable. And when you offer something that’s of value, then your ideal prospects appreciate it. You’re not looking for just any leads. You’re looking for leads who are your ideal customers, your target audience. 

And when you offer something of value, when you lead with value with that opt-in, incentive, free ebook, webinar, or organic social video like this, then you’re going to attract the people who are a natural fit for your message.

You’re not looking for everybody. You’re looking for the people who are your tribe or your community, and you want to build a relationship with them. 

Being of Services Makes Lead Generation Fun Because It Feels Good

So, you start out by being of service and you feel good about that. 

Then, next, you’re connecting with the people who are the right people for your service or product by offering them a sweet taste. In this way, it becomes a kind of a fun exchange where you’re putting yourself out there. It doesn’t have to be a fearful thing because you’re going for the people who are the right fit for you. And then that synergy begins to happen. And so lead generation authentically does become relationship building and when you approach it that way then lead generation becomes even more than relationship building. It becomes about building a long-term conversation which can become a long-term relationship. 

And, to tell you the truth about myself, I’ve not been doing as much of this kind of being of service as I want to. 

So, my request for you today is to let me know, is this valuable? Do you want more kinds of videos like this? 

Because I’m intending to be here more regularly, more frequently, in order to engage with you in a conversation and hopefully attract the right organizations and the right people who can value the kind of services that I provide… and my company, ComBridges provides. 

I look forward to hearing from you. I hope this has been valuable and thank you so much for watching!

Go Beyond Storytelling – Hear Your Authentic Voice with New Ears

“I’m trying to say out loud the things that my soul is streaming.”

— Tim Grahl at ConvertKit’s Craft & Commerce conference

I’m delighted to report that my soul is showing me ways to discover what wants to be said, rather than “should-ing” myself into trying harder via the “buzzword du jour” (which is most likely “storytelling”).

It’s a subtle distinction that’s requiring me to up my awareness so that I can distinguish a story that’s naturally in tune with my soul’s “streaming” vs trying to make something happen. Joyfully, recently, in a number of ways (including those described below), the Universe has been teaching me to pay more attention to these kinds of authentic messages.

A Blast From the Past

The Artist Formerly Known as Dancing Bear.

Recently, I reconnected with the importance of authentic storytelling at a workshop with Michael Kass in San Francisco. Very unexpectedly, I found myself rediscovering the story of how I got and then embraced the name “Dancing Bear” in the 1970’s. The story that emerged re-energized the ways that that name still resonates for me. (For more on this, read “The Revolutionary Resonances of Dancing Bear” on Medium.)

Connecting with My Business Creator Tribe

Even more recently (in early June), I traveled to Boise, Idaho to attend the Craft & Commerce conference put on my email marketing provider-of-choice, ConvertKit (affiliate link), “an email marketing platform designed specifically for creators.”

Not only did I hear a quite dazzling array of main stage speakers (including the ones quoted above and shown below); but more importantly, I felt connected to a business (my email marketing service provider) as a community or tribe. Who knew that this was possible? And, because it was so real, so fun, and so inspiring, that’s another story that, for me, wants to be told.

A BUSINESS THAT STANDS ON VALUES

Suffice it to say that it is inspiring for me to partner with a business that stands on its values to such an extent that their service becomes as much (or more?) about the way they connect people than it is about making money… or even making great software. And, of course, they are making money and making great software.

What made this conference so special is what makes ConvertKit so special, and that’s their commitment to “creators.” It’s not just a “lip service commitment” as evidenced by the extraordinary collection of creators that Craft & Commerce attracted and the quality of the uplifting, valuable speakers that they curated. That’s was meaningful.

That’s what made me go to the conference. I had a sense of this from their culture which promotes values like “Create Everyday,” “Work in Public,” “Teach Everything You Know,” and the new one that was on the t-shirt we all received, “Default to Generosity.” The experience of the community of creators who share these values and the individual creators who I met there took this to a whole new level. I’m already committed to going back again next year, and that says a lot!

Yours truly with Nathan Barry, Founder & CEO of ConvertKit.

Recommended Resources: Luscious Links

  • Running Down a Dream: Your Road Map to Winning Creative Battles
    by Tim Grahl
    Tim was one of the main stage speakers as the ConvertKit conference and I’ve been really valuing the vulnerability and insights that he shares in this book. It’s a kind of extension of one of my favorite all time books, “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.
  • ConvertKit email marketing software
    As discussed above, this company excites me through a unique combination of its culture, its software and its focus on serving Creators of all kinds to make a living from their creative work.

Thanks for reading!

Insta-LOVE: How We Leverage Instagram to Make Clients Shine

This post illuminates how a creative digital marketing strategy can find meaningful opportunities to shine a positive light on a client’s value.

A recent, fun example of how this kind of content marketing works is the way we brightened the Instagram feed of our client, Marin Airporter. In this case, we used passenger produced photos (also known as “user generated content” or UGC) to leverage the beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Beyond our recent website redesign for Marin Airporter (described here), we now help this client stay connected with its passengers (and potential passengers) with engaging social media content.

How the Golden Gate Bridge Became a Social Media Asset

It’s not unusual for small companies—many of whom struggle to engage successfully through social media marketing—to still be playing catch up with regard to leading edge social platforms like Instagram. Nonetheless, every company’s customers are already on these networks, and often they are communicating in ways with which any business would want to interact. Marin Airporter offered us this kind of “golden opportunity” because, prior to working with us, they had no Instagram presence whatsoever.

Once ComBridges got involved, we noticed that many passengers on Instagram were sharing an exciting aspect of riding on Marin Airporter, a memorable trip across the iconic, world famous piece of art deco architecture known as the Golden Gate Bridge! They were even sharing videos in the rain, at night, and in the dark.

The passengers themselves made it clear that the Bridge crossing is an important part of the Marin Airporter experience. So, we decided to celebrate these customer posts by compiling some of the best videos and pictures of their buses’ Golden Gate Bridge crossings into a blog post on the Marin Airporter website. As you can see, it showed just how special the Marin Airporter route is. Check out the full blog post here.

Content Marketing Meets Customer Listening

Through this example, you can see how well-conceived content marketing leverages customer awareness to create content that shines a spotlight on our client’s value.

In this way, ComBridges opened another door for our client to connect and communicate. With our support, Marin Airporter now reaches and interacts with its passengers in a 21st Century way. Because social media is a two-way medium, these messages also provide critical feedback, questions, or moments of gratitude from happy customers. And, thus, they are a form of customer service that needs attention.

In today’s world, this kind of creativity is a critical dimension of successful digital marketing. Done correctly, it is also an important branch of customer service and customer listening.

If you are ready to shine online and make better connections with your customers, please let us know.


5 Reasons NOT to Hire an In-House Digital Marketing Manager

Shine Online with Less Stress & More Profitability

The need to create an effective, engaging and profitable online presence can present serious challenges, and many organizations struggle to find appropriate resources that help produce meaningful results. A frequent mistake is to think that hiring an in-house digital marketing manager will make things easier.

Nagging Questions

Do you have a nagging feeling that your customers are out there on social media or searching on Google, but you don’t have the expertise to get your company or organization the visibility that it needs? Do you hear about other organizations profiting from online/digital marketing but feel like you’re missing out on opportunities?  Do social media, email marketing, blog posts and other kinds of content marketing just feel like a waste of time and a money sinkhole?

Making this situation even more frustrating, you would like your in-house staff to take care of this for you, right? Perhaps you could hire a low-budget young person? Don’t all young people understand how to use social media? Well, from the point of view of results-oriented strategy, no, they don’t.

Warning: A Word to the Wise

This blog post is your warning. Be careful. Hiring new in-house staff might not really save you money and, more importantly, you might not get the meaningful results you want and need. And if you don’t get the results you need, what’s the point?

Before you interview for a new team member, take a breath, pause and consider the key benefits of working with an affordable, talented digital marketing agency like us.

Yes, no doubt, we are making a self-serving point here. But don’t let that hold you back. We are ONLY interested in win-win relationships. Your success is our success. Seriously.

So, if you are considering an in-house digital marketing manager, here are five reasons why we think that we can do a better job at a comparable cost while saving you a ton of frustration and stress:

1. Simpler, Powered by Experts

Hiring a new employee who you have to manage in an area that’s not your expertise takes your focus away from your other responsibilities. If online marketing isn’t in your particular skill set, chances are you don’t want to manage a new hire and clutter your day and your mind with things you’d prefer to leave—and that would be better off leaving—to someone else. Why not be guided by experts?

2. Fewer Hassles, Fewer Expenses

A new hire costs you both time and money. But with ComBridges doing your online marketing, you don’t have to pay benefits, employee taxes or overhead costs. There’s no need to find space in your office, nor do you need to do employee on-boarding. The HR staff will save time, too. A new member of your in-house team can also affect company culture and morale in unpredictable ways. Simpler can be better.  

3. More Scalable

Your success is our success and we are built to grow with you, without you ever having to invest in increasing overhead expenses. As long as what we are doing is working for your organization, we keep going; and as appropriate, we keep growing with you. In other words, we will grow our efforts as you achieve new levels of success. All along the way, our work together will never create space and cost challenges for you.

4. Talent You Can Trust

No matter how carefully you check resumes, no matter how thorough your interview process, there’s no certainty that your new hire will meet all your requirements and be a good fit for your culture. Why struggle with a newcomer who may still be trying to figure things out, when you can work with experienced experts? We produce results that you can trust.

Our company has a 34-year track record with results-oriented marketing communications. We have an already-established “tool kit” and systematic strategies that we use to customize social media presence and to implement digital marketing strategies that we know work.

5. Consistent Results

In-house digital marketing managers often take a hit-and-miss or shotgun approach. On the other hand, we understand that online marketing is about building relationships. We will customize a strategic approach that is designed to build authentic, sustainable relationships with your customers and prospects.

That’s what we do.

Recommendations to Help You Make the Right Decision

  • Be clear about your goals for social media and digital marketing. Focus on real results.
  • Choose resources and virtual team members that you can trust to make your investment in marketing more profitable.
  • Consider all of the possible pros-and-cons of hiring in-house.
  • Aim to make your work easier rather than more complicated.
  • Build your team with empowering collaborators who can help take your company to the next level

If you can see that this approach may have benefits for your company or organization, we would welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you may have.

Click here to schedule a free consultation.

Video: 3 Key Online Marketing Insights for 2019

This blog post features the following new video with my three key online marketing insights for 2019. For your reading convenience, scroll down, there is an edited transcript below the video.

Edited Video Transcript

As an online marketing strategist, I am committed to helping clients build authentic relationships that expand their influence and increase their sales.

I’m making this video to offer you three key insights that come from my experience as an online marketer that I think are particularly relevant for this new year, 2019:

  • The first is that ‘Instagram is the New Facebook”
  • The second is that “A Boost is Not Facebook Advertising’
  • The third is that ‘funnels are the new websites’.

And if some of those terms are not familiar to you, stay tuned because I’m going to explain each one of them. Let’s do this.

Instagram is the New Facebook

I say that Instagram is the new Facebook because we’re seeing engagement on Instagram that we’re no longer seeing on Facebook. Facebook is still the “monster” in the social media space; but in Instagram we’re seeing engagement, connections between people around like-interests that we’re no longer seeing on Facebook.

For example, I have a client that has thousands of followers on Facebook; but we’ve just started their Instagram account, and they’re only in the hundreds of followers there. However, the same post on Facebook and on Instagram is getting more engagement on Instagram. Instagram is that much more alive.

In addition, not only is it a visual medium, but the hashtags enable you to connect with real like-minded people who are interested in what it is that you’re posting about.

So ,for example, I put an inspirational quote up today on my Instagram feed. I hash-tagged #inspirationalquote, and Instagram showed me that there’s tens of millions of people who are interested in inspirational quotes. Likewise, when I do posts like this ones that I’ll do related to this video, and I hashtag #onlinemarketing, I will get other online marketing people or other people who are interested in online marketing to check out that post.

Bottom line, it’s working. It’s real engagement at an authentic level that we’re not seeing on Facebook anymore because that platform has become so busy and so noisy.

A Boost is Not Facebook Advertising

Speaking of Facebook, a boost is not Facebook advertising. And for those of you who don’t know what a boost is, that’s like the very simple form of Facebook advertising that Facebook offers. Now, a boost, technically, is Facebook advertising, but potato chips are also technically food. But, as all of you know, food is so much more rich and robust that just potato chips. Some people call it a culinary art. And there’s desserts and fruits and vegetables and salads. Food is a much bigger subject, and Facebook advertising is also a much bigger subject than just a boost.

You can do far more sophisticated things with targeting. You can reach people who have visited your website by using the pixel.

Even more importantly, you can communicate so much better by creating an ad rather than just boosting a post. So, Facebook advertising, like food, is a huge subject with lots of nuance and variety and sophistication.

So a boost, technically it’s Facebook advertising, but it’s not really Facebook advertising because when you do it using the Facebook Ad Manager, you can do so much more and be so much more effective.

Funnels are the New Websites

My third insight about online marketing for 2019, is that funnels are the new websites.

If you don’t know what a funnel is, it’s really a device to build engagement, to go from people that don’t know who you are and have never been exposed to you or who are “meeting” you for the first time, to move them via a “value chain” so that you get more and more of a relationship built by delivering value over time. For example, you might do this through webinars, through an email course, through email followup, etc. So with a funnel, there are sequences and strategies that build relationships over time.

Websites don’t really build relationships. At best, they are brochures. Once somebody comes to the website, what happens next? And how do you create engagement? And then once you get that email address, or get that follower, how do you get them to continue to receive value from you so that you can build the relationship over time and make an authentic connection?

So a funnel is a real strategy, and just like real relationships, it requires multiple touches. ‘Touches’ is a marketing term, but really what it means is that you continue to interact, that you continue to offer real value. And that’s the kind of stuff that builds real relationships.

In Conclusion

So, think about it:

  • Instagram is really worth doing. It’s the new Facebook.
  • Facebook advertising is much more than boosting, and
  • Building a funnel and doing an online strategy that really creates authentic engagement, that’ll make your online marketing much more effective, and more importantly, much more meaningful.

Bottom line, we are in this, not to create more “noise,” not to just sort of be a hustler who is trying to sell something; but really, we are doing online marketing to do business in a meaningful way where we contribute value. We seek to offer content and other forms of marketing that are both valuable for the longterm success of our businesses, of our lives, and ultimately, of the planet.

Create Authentic Connections: Website Video Production Insights

Anyone doing online marketing faces the challenge of how to engage and inform visitors, while also communicating clearly enough that people get the intended message. Without the human face of a home page welcome video, most websites miss a crucial opportunity to engage with authenticity.

At the end of the day, at least in my opinion, there’s no point in digital marketing, if you don’t make an authentic connection with website visitors. Given the fact that website visitors, in general, have the “attention span of a gnat,” the power of video has become paramount. (For more on this, I produced this video in 2010 that’s still relevant: Why Online Video is Now a ‘Must Have’ for Internet Marketing)

Videos Starring You Are Essential

One of the best ways to grab people’s attention is video.  I am fond of reminding people that a video is starring you, has the added advantage of making a virtual human connection that only a human face and voice can deliver. Video does this quickly and in the exact way that brief home page visitor encounters require.

For more on why a human face should be in videos and not just hidden behind a whiteboard animated video, I recommend Wistia’s recent post, Your Business’s Videos Should Include Faces. Here’s Why.

The authenticity of human connection in video is one of the main reasons that I’ve been promoting video for years. I love opportunities that help my clients tell their stories by producing “welcome to my website” videos. Recently, I’ve produced two of these videos for clients. I’m offering them here as examples of how to do this, including some detailed production insights.

Helping an Expert Witness to Testify

Recently, I had the opportunity to work with Mark Levy, a forensic psychiatrist whose firm provides expert testimony for legal matters. His new company website for Forensic Psychiatry Associates Medical Corporation, fpamed.com, needed a new video for its home page. Mark was clear that his earlier “do-it-yourself” effort didn’t represent him in with a professionalism that reflected his services. This collaboration took the form of a low-budget video shoot with my Canon DSLR camera.

As you can see in the video above, Mark is an excellent speaker; however, one issue with his earlier video, was that it ended up being a bit unfocused. Without wanting to toot my own horn too loudly, I was pleased to be able to add value, as a director and performance coach.  I’m not just a cameraman who sets up the camera and records “pretty pictures.”

In this case, I felt more like a “crafter of communications” because I guided Mark in ways that ensured his video had a structure, a beginning, middle and end. Now, he has a website welcome video that includes an engaging and direct welcome message and a call to action at the end.

Beyond YouTube for Online Video Delivery

Another capability that I provided and applied to Mark Levy’s videos was optimizing them for YouTube search. Behind only Google, YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world. If you aren’t already aware of this fact, let it sink in. Many small businesses consider SEO optimization for their website, but most don’t think about optimizing their YouTube video clips to be found in search. This is a very common mistake and often overlooked by a video novice.

In addition to YouTube for attracting new viewers and potentially new website visitors, for Mark, I also recommended and implemented video hosting on Wistia.com so that when Mark’s video clips are embedded in his own website, they can be customized to match his website’s colors; and, more importantly, so that YouTube doesn’t have the opportunity to “steal” traffic away from Mark by pushing other psychiatrist’s videos to his viewers at the end of his clips.

Bottom line, Mark’s website is his own “owned” virtual real estate. Why let YouTube leverage it for their objectives? Owned media is a thing and we should all maximize this kind of control on our own websites as much as possible.

Wistia’s call-to-action and other integrated features within the video are more robust and attractive than YouTube’s. Because of this, videos look more seamless as they are integrated into websites.

Giving Wistia a try is easy given that their free introductory level includes three videos hosted on their video delivery platform. Beyond that, it’s $99 a month. This pricing may not work for every small business, but I recommend it for companies that have a serious commitment to video marketing. The image to the right is how this video looks embedded in Mark’s home page.

A More Scripted Approach & Cool Piece of Video Tech

I would also like to share a second video client case study. The second home page welcome video that I produced recently was for physical trainer, Adam Hirsch of adamhirsch.net. A significant difference, in this case, was that before the video shoot, Adam and I collaborated on a script.

Truth be told, while Adam is extremely knowledgeable about his expertise with physical training, his expansive perspective of this subject can also result in him being a bit verbose. Because of this, we needed to find a way to help him be more concise, especially given the online environment where, as I mentioned, holding people’s attention is at a premium. By collaborating on a script, we were able to co-create a straightforward and concise description of what Adam offers.  

However, this creates a different challenge. I didn’t expect (nor was there time) for Adam to memorize and deliver this script like a professional actor. So, while Adam’s new home page video was also shot with my Canon DSLR camera, we used a nifty little piece of technology in the form of a small affordable teleprompter that uses an iPhone for the scrolling text.

Another example of how advanced small electronics are becoming, the Parrot Teleprompter costs only $115 (plus shipping) and fits virtually any video camera. I loaded the written script onto my iPhone before the shoot, and used the voice-activated PromptSmartPro ($19.99, free version also available) so that the text scrolled right along with Adam’s pace of delivery. No teleprompter operator required.

Not only was the hardware a small fraction of what it used to cost, personnel costs were also significantly reduced. The use of a teleprompter, when appropriate, has become remarkably accessible!

I believe the result is a clear presentation, well-articulated and precisely-focused in a way that would not have been otherwise possible. Take a look and see what you think.

At Your Service

Bottom line, I approach online marketing as relationship building. The quality of communication, when done well, enables authentic connections to be built via whatever medium is at play and regardless of what technologies are used.

Sure, innovations like Wistia video hosting and the Parrot Teleprompter help make this happen, but there’s no substitute for quality content and that’s what we do.

I believe that the human beings who are such a crucial part of every forward-thinking organization or business needs to be “front and center,” right from that first nano-second that a web visitor spends on your website. After all, if you don’t engage with them in a personal way, right away, you will lose them.

Please let me know if I can help you or your organization. Thanks!

 

My 6 Favorite Digital Marketing Apps. Webinar Video + Free PDF

Researching, testing and figuring out “what’s the best app for that?” is part of my job.

I also LOVE sharing information and being helpful. Recently I hosted a video webinar where I shared the six digital marketing apps that I use daily for myself and for my clients. I’m writing this blog post to share this webinar video recording with you.

Also, please scroll down, because there are links below to the apps themselves as well as to other resources that I mention during the webinar. Enjoy!

FYI, the initial presentation with demos and info about all six apps is about 30 minutes in length. It is followed by about 15 minutes of edited Q&A.

Get Yours: Free PDF, 6 Recommended Digital Marketing Apps

Leland combridges marketing app infographic small

This PDF has Jon Leland's recommendations for his six favorite digital marketing apps in one easy-to-read, one-page reference doc. Get yours now.

To watch the video webinar where Jon Leland explains these recommendations, click here.

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For your convenience, here are the direct links to the applications that I talked about during this webinar:

Squarespace for Websites:
Blog Post: http://www.combridges.com/small-business-website-design…/
My 15-minute (recorded) webinar on Squarespace https://youtu.be/eOjMgce2E2A

ConvertKit for Email:
Affiliate link: http://mbsy.co/convertkit/76357
Blog Post: http://www.combridges.com/email-marketing-conversations…/

Canva for Social Media Graphics:
https://www.canva.com

Soapbox for Low Budget Video Production:
http://www.wistia.com/soapbox

Zoom for Video Webinars:
http://www.zoom.us

Thinkific Online Classes:
https://thinkific.com
https://combridges.thinkific.com/

If you have any questions or suggestions, I would love to hear from you via any medium you choose including this contact form or via any of the social media networking links at the top of this page.

Thanks for reading and/or watching! 🙂