A substitute for creativity.

Posted by on July 30, 2014 in Content management, Marketing | 0 comments

A substitute for creativity.

Every week or so, I post free online tools that I find around the web. There are lots of great little apps and websites that help people create and share their ideas with others. Not everyone has access to big creative tools like PhotoShop and Illustrator, and not everyone can maintain a full-scale website of their own. But these free tools are not meant to be a substitute for original work. Sure, curation — sharing the content of others — is a legitimate activity, but it should be obvious who the source of the work is. Aggregator sites like AllTop are great places to find — a better word than curate — content to share. I was thrilled when one of my posts made AllTop’s “Holy Kaw” list, ostensibly the best find of the day, and was feeling pretty proud that my original thoughts would be shared across the internet; clearly whoever curates AllTop has excellent taste. Then I got sucked into a post with a funny title (I’m not giving you the link because I don’t want the poster to get the traffic, but you see it here). The post that made it to the Holy Kaw list is comprised of a generic graphic (generic in the sense that the visual has nothing to do with the words) created in Canva, a minimal introduction, and a link to an actual article that Paul Anthony Jones at Mental Floss went to the trouble to compose. In fact, a little scrolling shows that all five of the Holy Kaw posts of the day use graphics “created” in Canva. All are basically introductions to longer, original articles by other writers, and some include graphics or video from those articles. Three are posted by the same guy who posted the one you see here, the other two were posted by a gal using the same technique. From all the gazillion posts by blogs listed on AllTop (including this one, for the moment), are we to believe that there are only two “authors” worthy of the Holy Kaw list? It is a delightful coincidence that Guy Kawasaki, who runs AllTop, is also the official “Chief Evangelist” of Canva. Again, nothing wrong with curation. Most online marketers, content marketers, and social media marketers would say that AllTop is simply content marketing — for Canva — at its finest. Sort of content marketing on steroids. Just be sure to click through to the real authors of the real content, and don’t use this technique as a substitute for creativity. If this post was helpful, you can subscribe at the top of the page; please share with a colleague. To the lawyers, this is a review, an opinion piece, to which I am entitled. Kim Phillips is a marketer, artist and teacher who helps companies of all sizes to reach their audiences with creative branding, social media, websites, content management, email marketing, and direct mail. She is based in Nashville, Tennessee. Contact Me | Facebook | Twitter @LucidKim | LinkedIn  | Google+     this post Lucid Marketing can help you make your marketing the best it can be. Call us today at 615.829.0772 or click here to send an email. Copyright Notice: The contents of this site are copyrighted by Lucid Marketing, all rights reserved. Republication by permission only, with a link back and the source of the republication clearly noted. Excerpts,...

read more

How to sell something ugly with great packaging.

Posted by on July 20, 2014 in Advertising, Branding, Marketing | 0 comments

How to sell something ugly with great packaging.

Your product may not be ugly, but if you’re not selling enough of them, it may be in the packaging. French supermarket chain Intermarché did something brilliant: they took something ugly and made people want it. Thus was born the Inglorious line of fruits and vegetables. How did they turn misshapen and discolored produce into sales? With perfect marketing. What’s that, you ask? Watch the video, then observe the steps below it. Find a niche not currently being filled. Get your raw materials for next to nothing. Find the beauty in being different. Have a sense of humor. Package it well. Put a great price on it. Advertise the hell out of it. When we say “packaging,” we don’t mean the cartons that sit on the shelf or hang on the rack. We mean everything. In the same way that a logo is not, by itself, the “brand,” the package is the whole megillah: packaging is the personality, the look, the feel, the position in the market. Most importantly, the package is the space the product takes up in the consumer’s mind. Let’s go over that again: The package is the space the product takes up in the consumer’s mind. If you aren’t selling retail goods, this notion of great packaging still applies to your business. You could be a nonprofit, or a doctor, or a school, or a marketing consultant. Where do you sit on the “shelf” of possible choices? Are you just one of a huge group whose members look more or less alike? Or do you stand out? Ask yourself whether you can do all of the numbered items above in creating your packaging. #1 may be hard, but it will make all the others easier. #2 may not be possible at all. But you can do #3 through #7. If this post was helpful, you can subscribe at the top of the page; please share with a colleague. Kim Phillips is a marketer, artist and teacher who helps companies of all sizes to reach their audiences with creative branding, social media, websites, content management, email marketing, and direct mail. She is based in Nashville, Tennessee. Contact Me | Facebook | Twitter @LucidKim | LinkedIn  | Google+     this post Lucid Marketing can help you make your marketing the best it can be. Call us today at 615.829.0772 or click here to send an email. Copyright Notice: The contents of this site are copyrighted by Lucid Marketing, all rights reserved. Republication by permission only, with a link back and the source of the republication clearly noted. Excerpts, commentary, and fair use applications should be accompanied by a link back to the original content on this...

read more

Faster, sexier, richer, taller. How to create kick-ass marketing.

Posted by on July 16, 2014 in Marketing | 0 comments

Faster, sexier, richer, taller. How to create kick-ass marketing.

Go take a look at the last thing you wrote for a customer or potential donor. Maybe it was some copy on your website, or an email campaign, or social media post. Seriously, go do it now…we’ll wait. Okay, be honest. Was it written from the point of view of the person reading it, or of the organization sending it? Not sure? Here’s how you tell. It was written from the organization’s point of view if: It begins with “we” or “our” or “I.” What follows is almost always wrong. It talks about something your team did. The reader doesn’t care about your planning retreat, what your engineers are up to, or what you all do to unwind. There’s a list. Like a list of product features. It’s never a list of the ways the prospect will feel about it afterwards. It doesn’t provoke an emotion. Want a donor to fork over money for a cause? You get to the purse strings by pulling on heart strings. There’s a picture of your building. Nobody cares about that. Ever. Here’s how you can tell if your message is crafted from the prospect’s point of view: It doesn’t start with “you.” If it does, you’re about to tell them some dry bit of information about your products and services, from your own point of view, like “You’ll love our new flarinator with all the features you’d expect from the greatest company on earth.” It’s based on research. If you really understand what motivates your prospect, you’re more likely to say the thing that will move them to action. Kick-ass marketing doesn’t happen without research. It is short. If it’s not short, it better be the best-written thing ever, because folks are in a hurry. It elicits an emotion in the reader. To know what does that, you have to know the reader. See above. Don’t assume what moves you moves him or her. There’s a picture that elicits an gut response. It might be humor, or empathy, a motherly instinct, or machismo. Great pictures sell. If you want me to buy what you’re selling, tell me how it will make me faster, sexier, or richer. (I’m already tall, so make me skinnier.) Put yourself in my shoes and kick some ass. If this post was helpful, you can subscribe at the top of the page; please share with a colleague. Contact Me | Facebook | Twitter @LucidKim | LinkedIn  | Google+     this post Lucid Marketing can help you make your marketing the best it can be. Call us today at 615.829.0772 or click here to send an email. Copyright Notice: The contents of this site are copyrighted by Lucid Marketing, all rights reserved. Republication by permission only, with a link back and the source of the republication clearly noted. Excerpts, commentary, and fair use applications should be accompanied by a link back to the original content on this...

read more

5 ways to turn down the Facebook noise.

Posted by on July 15, 2014 in Facebook, Marketing, Social Media | 1 comment

5 ways to turn down the Facebook noise.

A constant refrain comes from users of Facebook: too much crap in my feed, too much noise on Facebook. Here are five things you can do to turn down the Facebook noise. 1. Turn off notifications. If you have them turned on, turn them off, and/or change what you get notified about. If you have them on, turn off the notification sound. That’s one less distraction. 2. Remove yourself from conversations. If you want to keep notifications on, but you get involved in a conversation you wish you hadn’t, you can turn it off. 3. Unfollow the person or page. This is the best, least-noticeable way to turn off someone who annoys you but you’d rather not unfriend. Like that nutty cousin from Michigan you never see. Or the person you do business with but can’t abide personally. 4. Unfriend the person or unlike the page. This is bridge-burning on the personal side. The person you unfriend won’t know it until they go looking, then they will probably be offended. On the business page side, they expect it (or should). 5. Block the person. If you get a troll, someone who hijacks your feed, won’t shut the hell up, or basically stalks you, block them. If they are seriously violating the terms of Facebook usage, you can report them. (Just not liking someone or violently disagreeing with their opinions isn’t reason to do that.) We’ve written before about how paring down your friend list substantially could make your Facebook news feed more relevant, because it will give Facebook less to find irrelevant on your behalf. If you haven’t interacted with someone in a long time, and you unfollow them and they never interact with you, will they miss you if you unfriend them? Proceed with caution. If you don’t want to do any of the above options, get used to all the wacky, weird, wonderful, wonder-why-they-don’t-have-a-life posts and comments from “friends” and friends of friends. Ultimately, social media is just that: social. If you go out in public in the real world, people are going to bore you, annoy you, entertain and delight you. Online, you can control what you encounter. If this post was helpful, you can subscribe at the top of the page; please share with a colleague. Contact Me | Facebook | Twitter @LucidKim | LinkedIn  | Google+     this post Lucid Marketing can help you make your marketing the best it can be. Call us today at 615.829.0772 or click here to send an email. Copyright Notice: The contents of this site are copyrighted by Lucid Marketing, all rights reserved. Republication by permission only, with a link back and the source of the republication clearly noted. Excerpts, commentary, and fair use applications should be accompanied by a link back to the original content on this...

read more

6 things you can do about negative online reviews.

Posted by on July 15, 2014 in Facebook, Marketing, Online Community | 0 comments

6 things you can do about negative online reviews.

Editor’s Note: Updated Aside from Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other online review sites, there are a myriad of other places online where your customers can leave reviews about you. Most the directory sites have a “social” function, and YouTube comments are wild and potentially viral. But the biggest, most public forum of all is Facebook. In fact, Facebook formalized the tendency for people to leave comments about companies when it added the star rating system. If a business page has an address listed, the star rating is automatic and can’t be turned off. Why do people feel the need to leave negative online reviews on Facebook? It’s not just that Facebook has the most users of any social network. It’s also that they often have no other choice. Customer service and tech support at companies has become so terrible that people turn to Facebook out of sheer frustration. And it often works. As one respondent to research by NewVoiceMedia said, “The risk of getting other people’s attention will cause the service providers to act quickly.” What can you do about negative online reviews for your company? 1. Don’t give them so much to complain about. This seems obvious but a surprising number of companies miss it. 2. Give options. If a customer needs help or is angry, it’s better to keep it offline with a customer service phone line, online chat, or email system that responds quickly. Don’t make them run to Facebook to describe the problem publicly. 3. Be there. If your customers are resorting to Facebook to complain or to get help, monitor the page hourly and respond with more than boilerplate. Not being there won’t keep them from talking about you, it’s just that you won’t know it. 4. Use the complaints to learn. What are people saying? If it’s usually the same thing, you have an opportunity to fix it. Complainers do you a favor. 5. If you can’t improve it, get out. Some Facebook pages contain nothing but angry rants ~ check the pages of some of the phone, cable, and computer companies and some large banks ~ unanswered, and unresolved. Those pages don’t do anything to help those companies. 6. Don’t sanitize your page. It becomes obvious quickly when a business moderates comments on its Facebook page, which results in a loss of credibility and only makes the annoyed visitor angrier. If people are leaving negative online reviews about your company, how will you turn it around? If this post was helpful, you can subscribe at the top of the page; please share with a colleague. Contact Me | Facebook | Twitter @LucidKim | LinkedIn  | Google+   Lucid Marketing can make your marketing the best it can be. Call us today at 615.829.0772 or click here to send an email. Copyright Notice: The contents of this site are copyrighted by Lucid Marketing, all rights reserved. Republication by permission only, with a link back and the source of the republication clearly noted. Excerpts, commentary, and fair use applications should be accompanied by a link back to the original content on this site....

read more

A little-known tool to help you clean up your Facebook feed.

Posted by on July 14, 2014 in Facebook, Marketing, Social Media | 0 comments

A little-known tool to help you clean up your Facebook feed.

The longer you’re on Facebook, the more friends you gather and the less you interact with some of them. Facebook’s algorithm limits posts you see from everyone, especially those you don’t interact with much. But if you want to fine-tune your newsfeed further, you can either go through the laborious task of putting each friend into a list, or you can use Facebook’s handy little Organize tool to further clean up your Facebook feed. Here’s how it looks: Of course, it does beg the question: if you don’t interact with those folks, would they miss you if you were gone? It could be that it’s time to have fewer Facebook friends. Since Facebook is already doing the math by reducing how much you see in the name of “relevance,” paring down your friend list could result in more relevant posts for you. If you clean up your Facebook feed with this little Organize tool, let us know how it went for you. Did it help? Subscribe at the top of the page and you’ll receive a notice whenever there is a new post on this blog. If this post was helpful to you, please share it with a colleague. Contact Me | Facebook | Twitter @LucidKim | LinkedIn  | Google+     this post Lucid Marketing has the skills to make your marketing the best it can be. Call us today at 615.829.0772 or click here to send an email. Copyright Notice: The contents of this site are copyrighted by Lucid Marketing, all rights reserved. Republication by permission only, with a link back and the source of the republication clearly noted. Excerpts, commentary, and fair use applications should be accompanied by a link back to the original content on this site....

read more

The one secret to increasing Facebook reach that nobody talks about.

Posted by on June 26, 2014 in Facebook, Marketing, Social Media | 2 comments

The one secret to increasing Facebook reach that nobody talks about.

Social media marketers are sick to death of discussions about how to (try to) beat Facebook’s algorithm. Post reach has gone so low that some have either stopped posting altogether or have caved in to purchase Facebook advertising. Reach as low as 2% has been reported, making other channels look more appealing to marketers. We’ve tried everything: contests, apps, posting multiple images, video; even killer content sometimes falls flat. But there’s one secret to increasing Facebook reach that nobody talks about: homogeneity. The more alike your Facebook fan base is, the more likely it is that you can find and create engaging content for them. It has always been the case, from old-school one-way advertising until now, that it’s easier to reach people effectively the more they have in common. Targeting and segmenting are still the key. What determines how homogenous the group is may be age, gender, interest, socio-economic level, or geography. If you can get more than one of those factors within the group, you’ve got some real potential for reaching them with the right message. Case in Point Kingston Springs, Tennessee is a little bedroom community of Nashville that has about 3,500 residents. The town sits at the very Southern tip of the county, separated not only geographically but also socio-demographically and ideologically. It considers itself unique and, indeed, it is. Many people know each other, the town has a long history, and there is a great deal of community pride. When the town decided to start a farmer’s market, the market’s new Facebook page got over 600 likes right away; about 17% of the community liked the page. What municipality gets 17% of its residents to do anything, ever? But the really striking metric is an average post reach of 43% without any boosting or other paid advertising. While Facebook won’t say exactly what goes into its algorithm that determines post visibility and therefore reach (and the possibility of engagement), certain factors are known to help, such as posting pictures and videos vs. text-only posts. Indeed, some of the photo albums on Kingston Springs Farmers & Artisans Market page have gotten over 300% reach. The page uses a number of best practices. But what is most striking in this example is the homogeneity of the group. The interest of its members is very high for things going on in their community, and there aren’t as many retail and other outlets competing for their attention.   Homogeneity is the one secret to increasing Facebook reach that nobody talks about. So what is a social media manager to do if its constituents are diverse? Here are some things to do that can help: 1. Create separate pages. Let’s say a large nonprofit wants to reach donors, clients, grant-making bodies, and community partners; the message to those segments may diverge. Create a group page (a different sort of page than a company page) for clients that speaks to their needs. 2. Create a page around an issue. Get like-minded people to rally around a mutual concern, like homelessness or the environment. Instead of one entity running the page, share the page among a small number of organizations with mutual interest in the issue. 3. Be very specific in your messaging. It may not be practical to segment and...

read more

Think you’ve got a copyright violation? What you can do.

Posted by on June 18, 2014 in Copyrights and trademarks, Marketing | 0 comments

Think you’ve got a copyright violation? What you can do.

In the yee-haw, Wild West online world, lots of people think if they see something on the internet, they can take it. They can, but that doesn’t make it legal. As the creator of original content, whether text or images, you possess a copyright the minute you create something. Enforcing that copyright is an entirely different matter. If you have registered your copyright, you can get a lawyer; it’s an expensive and lengthy process, and you may lose. The world of trademark and copyright law is murky. NPR covered the story of Eat More Kale vs. Chick-fil-A in 2011 and it’s still not resolved as of this writing. So, what’s a poor artist, photographer or copywriter to do? 1.You have to catch them at it. There are several tools out there for nabbing content thiefs: Google Alerts—With your Gmail account, you can set up search terms on yourself, your company name, anything at all, and when something hits the net with those terms, you’ll get an email. For text, include a unique term so that, if it is copied in its entirety, you’ll have a better chance of knowing. Plagium—Find out if someone is swiping your content. Click here. PlagTracker—Another tool for detecting plagiarism. The paid version proofreads for you, too. TinEye—And, find out if someone is swiping your images. Click here. Image Raider—A more in-depth tool for tracking who might be using your images. Get it here. 2. Give yourself some insurance. Text and images are easier to identify if they are named properly. Don’t name your images generically, like “photo9.jpg” but put a keyword, including your name or company name, in the file name. (That’s good SEO practice, anyway. You’d like customers to find you, right?) There will be people dumb enough to reuse your images without changing the file name. You can watermark images, but watermarks are either easy to get rid of or so involved in the image that they become distracting. 3. You have to prove it. On the internet, things come and go. A thief could be using your text or images and later take them down. You also want to prove that you had something first; saying you created it isn’t enough. The best tool we’ve found for documenting things on the web is Jing; it does screen shots and keeps them in a library you can access and share. It also does very handy little screencasts, but that’s another blog post. Get it and you’ll find uses for it every day. So you’ve caught the little bugger stealing your stuff, now what? Document every step taken to curtail the copyright violation: Find out who owns the site, if it’s not obvious, with a whois search. Contact them and ask nicely that they take the purloined product down. Contact the owner of the website where the content appears and show that the person is violating your copyright. If the website is owned by the thief himself, you’re going to have to escalate. Try social media. A little public shaming goes a long way; I’ve seen it in action. A situation covered by HuffPo and covered on ArtistMarketingResources.com was shared widely on social media and likely had an effect. Ask Google to remove the offending item from search results. Best of luck. Go for a takedown. There is...

read more

How to get more YouTube subscribers with Facebook.

Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Facebook, Marketing, Video | 0 comments

How to get more YouTube subscribers with Facebook.

Facebook has been testing a new tool that lets businesses with YouTube channels get more YouTube subscribers via Facebook. Since video is among the most popular kinds of content to share socially, consider starting your own YouTube channel. It can be used for so many things, from commercials to training videos to live streaming of events. Share your video on Facebook, and get people to connect with your brand both places. You can see the tool next to Like/Co0mment/Share in the image at left (click to enlarge). Here’s the video that was shared on Facebook in the example above. A the time of this post, it has over 750,000 views. I had never heard of this singer, but now I am a fan. How can you help people connect with your work on YouTube, and get more YouTube subscribers with Facebook? If this post about tech support for dummies like me was helpful, you can subscribe at the top of the page; please share with a colleague. Contact Me | Facebook | Twitter @LucidKim | LinkedIn  | Google+     this post Make your marketing the best it can be. Call us today at 615.829.0772 or click here to send an email. Copyright Notice: The contents of this site are copyrighted by Lucid Marketing, all rights reserved. Republication by permission only, with a link back and the source of the republication clearly noted. Excerpts, commentary, and fair use applications should be accompanied by a link back to the original content on this site....

read more

Yay! I’m fired!

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Marketing | 0 comments

Yay! I’m fired!

Or How to Stick Around If You Want To. Lots of us have gotten blown out during mergers; the 1990s were particularly noteworthy for mass firings. I was liberated from a major corporation (one of the majorest) after three years of consolidation and the introduction of a new culture so toxic that getting fired was a blessing. It led to a new career in a different field with nicer people and more personal growth than I would have ever gotten in the land of cubicles, business-line silos, and 3-day meetings. But if you like that sort of thing and want to keep doing it, there are ways. One of my co-workers at the Corporate Giant started as an executive secretary in one of the Giant’s predecessor (translation: purchased) companies. She survived through merger after merger, with big promotions and pay raises in each round, moving from city to city, until she ended up a heartbeat away from the CEO with half the company under her command. She retired stinkin’ rich. Mazel tov, Miz Survivor, and I mean that. I asked Miz Survivor once how she managed not to get lopped off. (First let me say, she’s no dummy, intellectually or organizationally. It helps to be competent.) Her answer was interesting: “I stuck my hand up for every shitty job I saw.” Wow. Talk about a team player. I’m not sure exactly what all those jobs entailed, but an attitude like that will definitely get you some upward mobility. It’s a willingness to serve a corporate master that I personally never mastered. Just think if she had chosen to become a doctor or a priest. Chris Gaborit, with The Learning Factor, wrote a very fine LinkedIn article on the fine art of how to be indispensable; read it here. Here are some other ways to hang on, at least for a while: 1. Don’t do anything at all. The guy who “officed” next to me for a couple of years never did any work or produced anything that anyone could discover. I think the picture on his desk of wife and kids was the one that came with the frame. 2. Have no problems, ever. When others are bringing up “issues,” everything is hunky-dory in your world. You will be employed until a co-worker slips cynanide into your latte. 3. Be the guy doing the firing. You’ll be the last man standing, and you’ll get a wonderful parachute because you did all the dirty work. 4. Marry someone important. How long they’ll keep you depends on how high up the food chain you married. This works well for men and women alike. Hope these tips help you stay employed, if that’s what you want. But if you get fired, it just may be the best thing that ever happened to you. You can subscribe at the top of the page; please share with a colleague. Contact Me | Facebook | Twitter @LucidKim | LinkedIn  | Google+     this post With over 30 years of experience in financial services marketing, Lucid Marketing has the skills to make your marketing the best it can be. Call us today at 615.829.0772 or click here to send an email. Copyright Notice: The contents of this site are copyrighted by Lucid Marketing, all rights reserved. Republication by permission only, with a link back and the source...

read more