Inbound Marketing, Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, the founders of Hubspot.
If you want to know the ins and outs of what I often refer to as online brand communications, or inbound marketing, this book is a must have.
Hubspot is an inbound marketing software company that happens to offer a ton of informative blogs and other valuable information for marketers looking to continually learn about content marketing and best internet marketing practices. The book offers a similar level of great information from giving a history lesson as to why traditional marketing methods no longer work to defining inbound marketing as a cost-effective way for businesses to leverage the power of the internet.
If you’re interested in getting into social media marketing for your business and practices that will help your business get found on Google then I highly recommend reading this book.
So, I’ve recently enrolled in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (Amazon affiliate), which is a 91 day personal finance course. I do alright with my personal finance, but I’m always looking to improve.
One thing that really resonated with me in the first session was Ramsey’s description of money as being amoral. Amoral, means something is neither good, nor bad, it simply is. Ramsey speaks of money being amoral, neither good, nor bad, but it’s what we as humans do with it that makes it seem good or bad. The choices we make with money to become greedy jerks, wealthy goodhearted folks, poor resentful people or working class good souls is up to us as humans - the money just is, it doesn’t care one way or another, it’s amoral.
That got me thinking about social media, and many business’ fear of the chaos that realm may bring onto their brand. Social media is amoral, it’s neither good, nor bad, but what businesses do with their marketing and online brand communications in that arena could impact your company and it’s brand in a positive or negative way.
Something to think about.
Posted by: Nick Venturella
This morning I simply wanted to make you aware of a new section on the Nick Venturella Media site. Introducing (Do It Yourself) DIY Education. This is an online book store (Amazon affiliate) with useful and empowering books that I’ve read and recommend for other business owners and creative entrepreneurs.
You don’t always have to be in classroom or have formal education to gather the knowledge you need to run your business. I’ve learned plenty from the books in this section, in fact, the majority of my business education came from these books and my application of their ideas...and yes, failing, reflecting and improving as I keep moving forward.
What I like about learning this way is that with each book I get to piece together my own self-paced curriculum tailored to me and my business.
Within this section I plan to feature one book each month, which you’ll see right at the top of the page. This month it’s Richard Branson's book, Business Stripped Bare (Amazon affiliate), which I also reviewed in the nickvmedia brand communications blog.
posted by Nick Venturella
I thought Richard Branson's book, Business Stripped Bare (Amazon affiliate), was a pretty good business book. Because it was a part autobiography/part ‘how to’ business book it had a genuine human quality that made it easier to relate to as a reader than some other business books.
I like how Richard Bransons thought process behind running a global brand like, Virgin, is to run it as a series of small businesses bearing the same overarching brand.
By running each area of the Virgin brand as its own business entity (Virgin’s airline, trains, financial businesses, etc. all running as separate businesses under one brand) Branson ensures enough revenue diversification to see through any one entity’s failure as the others pick up the slack.
Perhaps, it’s a concept he learned in his early days running Virgin Records. The basic concept is, a record label has several artists on its roster, some of those artists will sell well and others may not, but by having multiple streams of income spread across separate entities (in this case artists/albums) if all sell well things are really good, if one or two do not sell well it won’t sink the whole operation. The trick is to have the majority of artists sell well. Also, if the diversity of artists is enough to overlap audiences into new areas and vice versa it can create a great cross-pollination that can build brand loyalty, and certainly more profits. Branson understands this on a global scale with various business ideas and industries.
I like how Branson talks about adapting his businesses as their model evolves or is no longer viable. The example he gave was how Virgin’s music retail stores began to add films and video games to it retail product offerings because music CD sales were declining. Because of the audience the Virgin music retail stores served, I believe, was Branson’s catalyst for coming up with Virgin mobile (pay as you go mobile phones and plans that appeal to young tweens and teens). Essentially, if Branson can justify his interest in moving into a new market or industry with the Virgin brand he’ll adapt what he’s doing to move in that direction, and because Virgin is actually made up of a bunch of smaller business entities Branson keeps Virgin nimble enough to make such moves happen.
The Virgin brand itself is one of innovation and outstanding customer service/experience. I think that’s Branson’s general litmus test – any Virgin endeavor needs to meet that criteria.
Posted by: Nick Venturella
How do you establish credibility for your brand when you are a new business or start-up?
One way is to complete a few projects early on, perhaps for friends or other small businesses in your area, and capture some testimonials. A great small business book, Duct Tape Marketing, by John Jantsch outlines this idea in more detail.
Get a few small projects under your belt and then ask those you did work for if they would endorse your work. If you're starting out in business, and the service you're offering is a smaller project you may even do the work for a lower cost in return for a testimonial--make it part of the initial offer.
It should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway--once you've secured your first couple of projects do a good job so the business you did work for will want to say good things about your work.
Once the project is complete and you have a testimonial from your latest client about what a good job you did and how easy you were to work with, etc., then it's time to use that testimonial in your promotional/marketing materials--in print and online to help you communicate credibility for your brand leading to more projects.
posted by: Nick Venturella
David Airey is a graphic designer based in Northern Ireland who is quite talented and well known for his work, his blog, and his book, Logo Design Love (affiliate link).
Airey, has specific thoughts in regard to speculative (spec) work. In the design world spec work basically entails a potential client requesting a project from a designer to be worked on and presented without pay to the designer unless the outcome presented is to the satisfaction of the potential client. Almost always, this situation gives the designer, who has the most skin in the game, the short end of the stick. This is because if the potential client does not like the presented outcome of the project they’ll simply request changes that will eat up more of the designer’s time, talent and energy (which they’re not yet paying for), or the potential client will simply walk away with nothing to lose wasting the designer’s time, talent and energy on a useless project. Meanwhile, the designer could have been spending that , now wasted, time working for a paying client.
Doing work on spec, for any creative entrepreneur or freelancer, is a very quick way to get frustrated and go out of business. You’ll end up working for free, or way below your worth, way too often. This will not only run you out of business, but it can give your brand a misunderstood reputation of being cheap, inexpensive, or sub-par--definitely not the route you want to go if you’re trying to make a go of your entrepreneurial pursuits.
In a recent blog Airey posted his reply to a request for spec work that essentially turned around the request for spec work back onto the requestor. It’s funny, and a bit pretentious, but then again so is any request for spec work.
Duct Tape Marketing (Amazon affiliate) by author and marketing consultant John Jantsch offers a ton of wonderfully easy-to-follow practical solutions for marketing your small business.
At times I could not believe the amount of actionable information that was packed into the book. If you’ve never truly thought about marketing your small business and are looking for a place to start, this book is an excellent easy-to-follow recipe book for you to get your business cooking.
From understanding your business’ brand, to selling, and building a referral system of continuous business Jantsch walks you through each with a step-by-step approach.
What books would you recommend? Feel free to list them in the comments of this blog.
Additional recommended reading (Amazon affiliate).