We often think of the 'calm before the storm', but rarely do we recognize or even witness the 'calm after the storm'. This sunset occurred less than an hour after a severe storm, near Otter Falls, MB, that brought down a hundred trees near a cabin we had rented. The clouds became soft like cotton balls (mammatus clouds) and the sky was at peace.
If you are in sales, marketing, or in any fashion deliver PDF’s to clients and prospects you should be getting very excited. 2009 marks the year where the Adobe Free Reader finally allows everyday internet users to watch videos in PDF documents you send them.
Think of it this way.
If three companies were sending similar PDF proposals to a potential buyer, and all things being created equal the documents where about the same, the company who added a personalized video message, product demonstration or other dynamic video content would STAND OUT in a crowd. Does it guarantee you WIN the business? No, but in the short term until everyone is using VIDEO you will be memorable.
Plus adding video to PDF’s, I have found, is just plain fun.
In the early phase of this technology its is free for readers, but if you are producing a PDF with video then you need Adobe’s Professional version of Acrobat. It’s not cheap, but as an owner of Adobe Professional who has already closed deals using video in PDF I feel it is well worth the investment.
Please tell me if you disagree with my experience, but this past week of my life I have seen added value at work! Yes, added value may be cliche and even an over used term, but when it is genuine it is a game changer!!! Too often I hear companies, sales people and professionals try and over deliver or add value in the same way. If I offer you the same ‘added value’ service as everyone else does, then it no longer achieves it’s purpose! Most likely, it makes me come across the exact same as my competitors, and in a competitive world that just doesn’t cut the mustard!
This week I gave away expert Internet Marketing advice to businesses who expected to be sold something. This week was a game changer, and it was all because of ‘added value’!
How do you add value in a way that differentiates you from your competition?
Do you have a customer service story? I may want to include it in my next book!
The idea of writing a book called Is Customer Service Dead, came to me a few years back when I was completing a chapter in my first book entitled, ‘Bend Over & Apologize.’ In that chapter, amongst other things, I recounted a bad experience with a pair of Hush Puppy dress shoes that ended with me couriering my dirty footwear directly to the CEO of Hush Puppies, Inc. My customer service is dead story ended with me being a semi-satisfied Hush Puppy owner, but I know my story literally pales in comparison to the hundreds of thousands of personal stories, both good & bad just screaming to be collected into a book.
Let’s face it, we have all personally experienced, or at the very least, heard way too many gut wrenching customer service horror stories that usually end up fading away, and over time are forgotten. Even worse, there are great customer service stories that never get told, and that is a true shame!
There are several ways I will be collecting people’s stories for Is Customer Service Dead:
(A) People can comment on this blog post. If you or someone you know has a story to tell just click the comment button below and spill your guts. Make sure your email is valid, as if your story is selected for inclusion in the book, I will need to get in touch with you.
Section 4: How To Stay Ahead of the Curve and Profit
The internet is still in its infancy, and although blogging is here to stay it will get progressively more difficult to stand out in the crowd with a traditional blog. New and existing bloggers will not only have to innovate to stay ahead of the curve, they will have to adapt daily to the new technologies being created at the speed of light. This last and final section of ‘Traditional Blogs Are Dying’ will focus on:
What web properties to keep a close eye on to stay ahead of the curve.
How Multi Media Blogging & Social Networking is no longer an option, but a bare minimum.
Utilizing Micro blogging & the next wave of Micro Video Blogging
Profiting from the death of traditional text blogs
Web Properties You Need To Watch to Stay Ahead of the Curve
There are a select few websites that continuously stay on top of technology affecting the new blogosphere. It is imperative that you stay tuned to what these sites are not only writing about, but implementing on their own multi-media blogs and micro-blogging accounts.
If you take a little time each day to say abreast of these sites, and jump on top of implementing new technologies first, you will stay ahead of 99% of traditional blogs.
As you will see the new wave of multi-media blogs are seamlessly integrating audio, video, micro blogging and social networking.
http://www.mashable.com/ (All That’s New On The Web) This is ‘THE’ site to stay on top of social networking and new start-ups. Visit Mashable Daily or signup for daily updates, and you will stay ahead of the curve.
This will help you stay on top of WordPress, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and more…
http://lifehacker.com/ Life Hacker Blog is a great site to watch for new tips & downloads available across the web, of which many are mutli-media related.
http://scobleizer.com/ Pay attention to what Robert Scoble not only blogs about, but how he seamlessly integrates audio, video and micro blogging into his WordPress Blog.
Some Additional Sites You Should Watch
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/ Google’s Official Blog is a necessity to watch, as whenever they release new products or update features, you want to be in the know.
How Multi Media Blogging & Social Networking Are Becoming The Bare Minimum Standard
As of today, many will disagree with this Quasi-White Paper and that is to be expected. Staying ahead of the curve has always meant doing things differently than the masses.
Just think of how you consume information today, as compared to just a decade ago. Google has been around really just over ten years now, and as video technology has vastly improved in the last few years, it is quickly becoming the preferred medium online. Just look at the popularity of YouTube and other video sites. This reality is why many bloggers are choosing to innovate with audio & video to set themselves apart from traditional bloggers.
It is now easy to include Video and or audio on most major blogging platforms online; Blogger, WordPress & Live Journal just to name a few.
Here are a few links for various blogging platforms that make adding multimedia easy:
While video blogging has been around for many years already, many bloggers and companies have shyed away from the technology for various reasons; technology confusion, personal disclosure & implementation in the past have been to blame. It is now easier than ever to implement the technology, and internet users expectation of a more personal internet experience require content providers to bare their faces and voices to the masses. It is this expectation that will cause countless traditional blogs to die over the coming years. Those blogs that fail to recognize the paradigm shift to multi-media will fade into the obscure grave of millions of traditional text blogs.
Here are a few recommended resources for video & audio (podcast) blogging:
Utilizing Micro Blogging & The New Micro Video Blogging
http://twitter.com/guykawasaki Guy Kawaski has over 68,000+ people following him on the micro-blogging service Twitter. He drives millions of clicks to his traditional blog (http://www.guykawaski.com/) and anything else online he is promoting, by simply making very short micro blogging posts which are immediately seen by his interested readers.
A micro blogging post is limited to the same amount of characters that a text message on a cell phone, which is approximately 144 characters.
e.g. Guys inputs a short message online or over his cell phone, and it becomes immediately available to his followers.
Not only is Twitter micro-blogging, it is also direct communication with readers. For example I sent Guy Kawaski a question on Twitter, and with in less than 40 minutes he had responded with his answer.
Twitter is at the forefront of the micro-blogging world, and some very famous traditional bloggers have chosen to move away from the old style blog and focus on micro-blogging instead. One such example is Jason Calacanis http://twitter.com/jasoncalacanis.%20Jason’s%2040,000+ followers watch his every move and communicate with him in real time.
Twitter provides an amazing direct connection with readers that just doesn’t exist with the commenting systems on traditional blogs today (it’s coming though). It is this speed and connectivity that readers and internet users are flocking to. Bloggers today, who want to stay ahead of the curve, must integrate micro-blogging into their process.
Micro Video Blogging is Ahead of the Curve
There are two services that you will want to not only keep your eye on, but as well jump into and integrate into your process.
Seesmic brings conversation alive through video. It allows you to see and hear people share their experiences straight from their webcams.
People record a video directly on Seesmic’s website, or upload an existing video straight from their computer, or link to a video posted on a social network, then viewers respond by recording a micro video of their own.
Micro Video Blogging again can be stand alone for some, or if tightly integrated with you main site, Twitter and social networking accounts, will set you apart from the crowd and connect with readers and users in away that just is not possible with a traditional text blog.
http://12seconds.tv/ is another Micro Video Blogging service that is currently in Alpha. Keep an eye on this one, and request an invitation to join as they are not open to the public as of today.
Profiting From The Death of Traditional Blogs
The end goal was to show you or your company how to stay ahead of the curve and profit as the blogosphere makes a fundamental shift from traditional text blogging, to integrated multi-media & micro blogging. The fact is that a large majority of existing and new bloggers simply won’t make the shift. They will keep toiling away at writing great text only content, that as each day passes will get drowned out by the billions of other blog posts that go unnoticed.
So simply by adding multi-media, micro-blogging and micro-video blogging to a traditional blog, will one profit from the death of traditional blogs?
YES, you will ABSOLUTELY stand out amongst the crowd of traditional text blogs, and that alone is the first step to profiting from the death of traditional blogging. In the end, gaining more readers and more viewers, will translate into advertising sales, direct sales, affiliate sales or however you choose to monetize your site.
First thing I am going to say is that I have used and highly recommend Go To Meeting, but there are some key things people should know about this service even before they sign up for a free trial. These apply whether you use a MAC or PC.
Here are the warnings:
(1) DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT, sign up for GotoMeeting if you plan to use your work PC to conduct online meetings, unless you have cleared this with your company IT department or boss. Most companies are OK if you ask… but ask first. If you are self employed or are the boss, then disregard big kahuna.
(2) When you are conducting an online meeting DOUBLE & TRIPLE check before you share your screen. I know, this sounds obvious but I have heard some pretty funny stories of a Go To Meeting starting and participants are shocked by seeing something they shouldn’t.
(3) Lastly, as GoToMeeting now not only include screen and file sharing, but as well full audio with VOIP, make sure you have a quality microphone or headset. Nothing ruins a presentation or meeting more than a terrible sounding speaking voice. The last online presentation I attended was terrible, not because of the web service, but because the presenter had a cheap microphone. If you don’t have a microphone, just call in to the phone number GotoMeeting provides and it will be crystal clear.
That’s it folks! Now you know, and I can sleep soundly :>) Oh, and for those of you that haven’t had the pleasure of trying it, I have a few connections and was able to get you a free month trial and $10 off at the link below.
Is pain enough of a motivator, or is it pleasure. Think of the last big thing you have done in your life; job change, relation ship, etc. Did you act swiftly and decisively to gain pleasure or to avoid pain. There is so much power in knowing what motivates you from within. Master this skill of controlling your desire for pleasure and your avoidance of pain, which may take a lifetime by the way, and you will rarely hesitate when it counts.
What does it take for you to decide you’ve had enough?
Maybe it’s your job or business, maybe it’s your finances; maybe it’s a toxic relationship, or maybe its part of your life that is stressing you to the point of affecting your health. Either way, decisions or deciding is at the root of having enough. Yes, there are probably hundreds of factors at play when you make tough decisions, but not making a decision can always make things worse in the end. The good old sheet of paper of pros & cons has never become irrelevant. Pull out a sheet of paper and decide if you’ve had enough.
What does it take to be the best at what you do?Quite simply making the decision to be the best and motivating your self to mass action.Decide.Act.That’s what it takes!
Certain cars or truck have blind spots, and as drivers we use our mirrors and best judgement to determine whats there. In other words we imagine what is there with out actually seeing it. Often, our imagination is dead wrong , and most of us have experienced being in a car that tries to change lanes, and then suddenly realizing if you do, you are about to crash into a car that was hidden in the blind spot.
In business, we use our imagination to fill in the blanks when we don’t have all of the information, and our customers do the same. What we think we see, is sometimes only partially true because our brains are hard wired to fill in blind spots and missing information with out us even realizing it. For example, an upset client conversation with your company’s representative goes bad, and after hearing both sides of the story you play back the recording. Wow! How could both the customer and the rep both been so wrong, do they actually even remember talking to each other. Yes, they each probably remember 10% of what was actually said, then their mind “Makes Up” the rest. Think to yourself, is there any situation that you could swear happened a certain way in your life only to discover you were completely wrong. You aren’t crazy…it’s just the way the mind works. We make up stuff to fill in the blanks.
Here is a cool demonstration to prove we all have blind spots, and by that I mean a part of your eye that you cannot see out of. The only logical, and clinical explanation, after seeing this is that every day our mind is forced to fill in the blanks. Our mind does a such good job of it we can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what our mind has conveniently filled in.
So the next time you are faced with that nagging thought of, “Did I think I just see that!” or “I can’t believe that conversation!” Remember, it might have been your mind filling in the blanks!
Print out the below picture and follow the instructions:
Instructions: ( Print the sheet out and hold it in your right hand with your arm fully extended. Close your left eye and stare at the plus sign in the diagram with your right eye. Off to the right you should be able to see the spot. Now slowly move the sheet closer to your face while continuing to stare at the plus sign . At a particular distance (everyone’s a little different), the spot will disappear (it will reappear again if you move the sheet closer or farther away). You have just discovered your blind spot. )
Well here is a thought to wet your noodle. Would you even know about the economy sucking if marketing didn’t matter? Probably not, you see the media’s job is to not only pass on information in an unbiased manner (take that with a grain of salt), but to do so with POWERFULL WORDS that will catch your eyeballs attention faster than the competition. The overt headlines we read in print or hear on TV are expertly marketing the news.
Marketing matters. With out sales and marketing almost all businesses would fail over time.
“The man who stops advertising to save money is like the man who stops the clock to save time.” Thomas Jefferson
He posted on his blog a video posing a simple question. What are you doing to cut though the noise with your messaging? I semi-brilliantly answered the question, and it immediately reminded me that I have gotten off track with my MARKETING & IDEA blog. Sure, I want to write about odd topics and go off on tangents, but is that cutting through the noise of the 1000’s of other marketing blogs you can read online? How many idea guys are blogging these days? (Just checked and there are 9.6 Million Results in Google…ouch!)
Nike says __________!
Face book lets you ________!
Google is the king of _________!
Now I understand these are global brands and I am not…yet! But, we all need to be crystal clear these days on our value proposition and specifically how we differ from the crowd. My point here being, our messaging starts with how we are perceived by our customers, as any future messages will never be heard or seen if we don’t have our customers attention in the fist place.