Opinions on business,
marketing and related technologies.

Something Inventive 21: Getting more personal in 2018

Ben and Al discuss whether marketing has lost it’s personal touch, LinkedIn tips and Website design trends.

If you have any feedback, ideas or topics you’d like covered on our podcast we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch via our contact page, leave a voicemail on 0800 881 5805 or mention @RatherInventive on Twitter.

Listen on Apple Podcasts app

Something Inventive is an entertaining and lively podcast on creativity and the web. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or search for ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


Episode sponsored by Ticked Off Marketing Checklist

Simple marketing tasks to act on right away. Each task includes examples, downloads or the steps needed to complete it, plus a big button to tick it off when you’re done. Sign up for a free 30 day trial at ticked-off.com with just your name and email and no credit card.

Show notes

The Hosts

Al Osmond (@inventiveal) – An unusual mix of logical thinker with a creative eye
Ben Kinnaird (@benkinnaird) – Knower of Social Media, SEO and ‘the Web’

Be part of the show

Tweet a service or product you’d like to promote, mentioning @RatherInventive and the hashtag #podvert and we’ll read it out over the coming episodes

Thanks for listening!


Audio edited by Donalize – ‘Goofy Vocal Groove‘ intro music by Dave Girtsman – Image Credit: My What A Big Nose You Have by Gavin Mawditt – Gift of the Gav

How to build business relationships using the Benjamin Franklin effect

When I left school, I worked as a shop assistant for a company that was struggling to stay afloat. The owner, an imposing but respected figure, whose mass of hair seemed incongruous to his immaculate suit, never stood still for long enough to talk to his staff and always seemed a little unapproachable. One day, to my surprise, he took me into his office and personally asked for my help in supporting him in the shop through a difficult time.

Before he asked me, I didn’t think much of him, but with this one small request, he turned me from an apathetic member of floor staff into a dedicated employee. I would have done anything to help him make a success of the store.

Many of us cringe at the idea of asking anyone for a favour, and most managers wouldn’t dream of asking staff, perhaps worrying that it will make them seem desperate. But why?

Is it because we worry that others will think us rude, presumptuous, needy or annoying if we ask for a favour? I didn’t think this of my boss – in fact I thought him humble, courageous and gracious and I liked and respected him so much more than I had before. This is known as the ‘Benjamin Franklin effect’.

Benjamin Franklin had a powerful adversary in Pennsylvania who took a dislike to him so Franklin asked the man if he could borrow a book from his library. The man was flattered and lent it. Franklin returned it one week later with a thank you note. The two remained firm friends from that day on. My manager knew how to build business relationships using the ‘Ben Franklin effect’; I liked him more because I was doing him a favour.

Psychologists tested the Ben Franklin effect in 1969. They figured that it works because of ‘cognitive dissonance’, where we find it difficult to reconcile doing someone a favour and disliking them, so we decide that we must like them. We feel more powerfully obligated to self-justify our behaviors, than to carry out a particular behaviour as a result of the thought.

But there’s more. It is thought that the desire to build bridges by the person asking for the favour, which we perceive to carry a high risk of rejection, means that the person asking must be very keen to be friends, that they respect or like us or are acknowledging our resources, skills or abilities.

This brings in another psychological phenomenon called the ‘liking’ effect. We all want to be liked. So much so, that we will go out of our way for someone who really likes us. Hence the reason car salesmen are super-friendly. They’re trying to show that they really like us so that we’ll buy a car from them. Franklin’s rival respected the risk that Franklin was taking by asking for the book, and took that as Franklin’s intention to build bridges, but he also, on some level, wanted to be liked, so he happily obliged in lending the book.

When Franklin asked his favour, he was also acknowledging that his rival had the resources that Franklin didn’t have. When my manager asked me, he was recognising that I had the skills to help him, he as putting me on an equal footing with him, which was very flattering and gave me a perceived sense of power.

How can you use this in your business?

If you’re a good businessman then you’ll already know that the success of your business comes from developing positive relationships with associates, employees, customers and investors; those who can help your business and buy your product or service.

Asking for help from these people has the effect of connecting with them and acknowledging that they have the means – whether it be the skills or the ability, or simply the like-ability – to help you. It will make them feel important to your business. It will make them feel empowered and they will be more loyal to you.

The important thing is, as Franklin writes in his autobiography, “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.” So, we are more likely to get people doing us favours, if they have already done so than someone who owes us a favour.

It might seem counterintuitive to ask for assistance or favours from your employees, clients and business associates but to do so, in a personal way, will make them feel empowered.

Start by personally asking small favours of staff and clients such as ‘Tell me what you think of this video/article/product.’ Or ‘Please leave a testimonial’. Do this and you will not only gain a loyal supporter of your business, but they will do you many more favours, thus doing more for building your business relationships than you thought possible.

 

 

Image Credit: Ben Franklin Steamboat Springs by David_Jones

Has Marketing Lost It’s Personal Touch? The Benefits of Video

A great video can help you capture your audience on a more sociable level and show off your company’s personality and product quality without drowning them in large chunks of text. As the saying goes, a picture can speak 1000 words so imagine how many you could say when it is moving. On the practical side of things, it can also help draw more traffic to your site via SEO and quickly showcase your services and products without having to write big blocks of text.

In a generation where we are all becoming more self-sufficient and can replace skilled professionals with apps and digital devices, video is not as out of reach as you might think. You would be amazed at what can be achieved with a DSLR or a mobile phone even.

I am sure many of you will agree that standing out in your marketing is getting harder, and it is important to ensure you stand out for the right reasons. Whether you attempt to film in-house or get a professional in, a video will certainly help you stand out but you need to ensure it has a clear story, is cleanly shot and the content is of interest.

I must admit, I am becoming numb to a lot of the clever marketing strategies as I find a lot of it has lost the personal touch. For me I much more inclined to invest in the people, the company ethos and quality over anything else.

Video can help you open this door, without the pressure of a dogged sales person breathing down your collar pushing for an impulsive decision or worst engaging in the uncomfortable standoff, of ‘I am not interested’. A video can provide that personal touch and allow the viewer to look behind the curtain and indirectly get the information they need to inform their decision. By being able to communicate through moving image, sound and movement you are able to resonate with an individual on multiple levels leaving a much longer, lasting impression. It can be replayed and digested at the customers own pace.

Like many of us, I am guilty of being attached to digital technology long into the evenings after working hours so your 2min video is not only giving your customers a low pressure, friendly insight into your business but it is also working around the clock capturing and luring in potential business. Reaching out to a wider audience worldwide and to places which you wouldn’t have expected to capture.

By allowing your customer to have a more voyeuristic experience and the time to contemplate their decisions often in the comfort of our own homes ensures a more committed customer.

There are loads of different styles of video used in marketing case studies, knowledge focus, testimonials, interviews, highlights etc so evaluate what would be appropriate to your business.

Let us know what video has worked for you?

How to avoid woolly answers and disorganisation

I was set the task of organising our company Christmas outing and with a job title of Marketing Superstar, there was certainly no pressure in pulling this one out of the bag.

When organising even the simplest of activities I think we often take a lot of the skills involved for granted. Some people are instinctively good at clear communication and others don’t seem to be wired the same way.

The task was to ordinate a band of individuals who are located across the country with very diverse work schedules, availability and priorities to meet for an entertaining afternoon puzzling our way out from an escape room and feasting on a festive meal. Sounds simple but when you get more than 3 people together to coordinate this can get a little more challenging.

My method takes the pressure out by giving people a decision to make. Make it simple, give them options A or B. Sometimes I like to simply list the pros and cons of each option. If you approach with a woolly question you are only setting yourself up for woolly answers: What would you like to do? Can you let me know your availability? It may sound silly but when people are in the thick of it they can’t always make those decisions so it falls onto the ‘I’ll get around to that’ pile.

It is much easier for people to answer yes or no – I am available on that date, yes or no I don’t want to do that.

When organising or delivering a project, I hate wasting my time, repeating myself and poor communication. So I try my best to reach out to people how I would like to be approached.

When given a task I suggest to try and loosely touch base with the key parties involved aka your line manager to ensure you are striking off in the right direction and to come up with the foundations of your brief. Now is your time to ask your questions and to try and unpick what it is that they want you to do and be responsible for.

Remember, when you ask your questions, it is not acceptable for them respond with an ‘I don’t know’ or be vague, even if it’s the boss. Don’t accept the answer, in the politest manner possible ask them why they can’t answer or don’t know or have just not replied. Do they need more time to answer? Do they need more information? Is there anything you can do to help them to answer? Keep pushing and get to the bottom of their resistance.

A brief can simply be a list of bullet points or notes. In my case, it was a month, general location, activity idea and meal. By ensuring you are starting off with the correct information will save any unnecessary embarrassment going forward.

Once the core plan has been signed off, look into the details and gather all of the facts. Think about what your team members will ask you. Don’t be lazy, call the organisation, the restaurant you are going to and ask them your queries. Be proactive, don’t just send off an email and wait for a response. Time is precious and you might miss out on the booking for being too slow. Like anything in life strike with impulsion.

When you have gathered all of the information make sense of it yourself. When I am being informed about something I want to receive one email with the options laid out clearly. I don’t want to be digging through multiple emails trying to link two and two together. Take your time over it, don’t rush it as it is amazing how many people just hit the send button and realise they have missed some crucial information. That’s when your communication starts to get messy as people respond to different bits, completely overlook certain information and the result, is a gaggle of confusion.

When reaching out be firm on your deadlines, when asking for a response make it clear they need to respond by a certain time otherwise you will assume they do not want to attend or you will not take further action. It will save the chase of cat and mouse as you try to pin them down to a simple yes or no. Although if it’s your boss that’s a little slow maybe be a little more lenient and send a gentle reminder!

Something Inventive 20: Ducks in a row – Anniversary edition

Ben and Al talk about email scams, Facebook shadow profiles, email marketing advice, planning your marketing for next year and how the world sends 2.6 million emails a second.

If you have any feedback, ideas or topics you’d like covered on our podcast we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch via our contact page, leave a voicemail on 0800 881 5805 or mention @RatherInventive on Twitter.

Listen on Apple Podcasts app

Something Inventive is an entertaining and lively podcast on creativity and the web. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or search for ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


Episode sponsored by Ticked Off Marketing Checklist

Simple marketing tasks to act on right away. Each task includes examples, downloads or the steps needed to complete it, plus a big button to tick it off when you’re done. Sign up for a free 30 day trial at ticked-off.com with just your name and email and no credit card.

Show notes

The Hosts

Al Osmond (@inventiveal) – An unusual mix of logical thinker with a creative eye
Ben Kinnaird (@benkinnaird) – Knower of Social Media, SEO and ‘the Web’

Be part of the show

Tweet a service or product you’d like to promote, mentioning @RatherInventive and the hashtag #podvert and we’ll read it out over the coming episodes

Thanks for listening!


Audio edited by Donalize – ‘Goofy Vocal Groove‘ intro music by Dave Girtsman – Image Credit: Rubber Duck by Quang Nguyen

Get your ducks in a row for 2018

What to review when planning your marketing

I’ve created a video to share 5 things you should be reviewing as part of your marketing plan for 2018.

Did you find the video helpful? What are your 5 most crucial marketing concerns?

Get your marketing plan started with Ticked Off, my unique marketing process, for free. Sign up to ticked-off.com.


Transcript

1. Review the previous year

Think about what worked well, can you do this again and ditch anything that doesn’t work.

What are your objectives for next year? More sales? New products or more family time

Incorporate the good ideas back into plan

2. Review your marketing website

You should regularly be reviewing the content on your site to make it easier for more people to get in touch or buy from you.

Is it easy for a visitor to find out what you do or how a product can benefit them?

Are the contact details available?

Are you asking people to get in touch or buy from you? If not why not

Are there any projects or clients you’re proud of that aren’t on the site

If you don’t have cookie and privacy policies on your site. If you don’t you can buy them from places like contractstore.com

Make sure your website is backed up and if it’s WordPress, updated regularly

3. Review your social and blog efforts

Which social networks give you most likes, shares or conversation? Focus your efforts on those

Are your social profiles up to date. Visit each one and make sure the bio description, profile and header images at correct and consistent

Are you providing customers with answers to common questions? Think back to previous customer questions and create blog articles from your answers or use tools such as answerthepublic.com to help generate ideas, then write about them.

Can you create a short video to explain your service benefits or how a product works? Ask customers for short testimonials when you next see them or hold an interview over Skype.

4. Review your ad campaigns

Are you getting the return you expect? How do you measure this?

Decide on an objective, such as the number of visits to your contact page or product purchases, then monitor these along with your costs. Ideally, you want to know how much money it costs to generate single lead or sale. For example, this could be your monthly ad spend divided by number of leads you receive each month

Remember to review and focus on the best performing adverts. Which ones generated a great conversation on Facebook or which keywords on Google gave you the most conversions on your website.

And finally

5. look into GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation will come unto force at the end of May next year and will impact all businesses that hold any personal information, even on their employees!

If you’ve not looked into this yet then I recommend listening to our interview with Rebecca from Kidwells Law and Jeremy, a data security specialist to find out more.
Just search for Rather Inventive GDPR interview on Google

Thanks for listening and if you need any help with your website, blog, video production or social media, in fact, anything to do with online marketing you can visit ratherinventive.com/contact

Bye

Image Credit: Rubber Duck by Quang Nguyen

5 simple steps to your email marketing MOT

You already know the power of your email marketing. It sends a friendly prompt to encourage your audience to engage with your content. But with competition for eye time rising every year, it’s easy to lose valuable readers.

Here’s how to keep your emails and recipient lists in tip top condition…

1. Streamline

As a subscriber, one of my biggest pains is having to delete/spam/unsubscribe all the emails I receive from companies that I’m just not interested in. So, do your email recipients a favour and streamline your list first. Send it only to those who want to hear from you and remove those who don’t open or no longer engage with you. That way you won’t annoy anyone and your good reputation will remain intact.

Don’t make people puzzle over where you got their information – if they think you’ve got it through dubious means (buying email addresses) then they’ll dump you in spam. Ensure the consent of your subscribers, and include details in your email content. This is particularly important with GDPR coming into force next year.

Unfortunately, no matter how good your content is you won’t please everyone. If your open rate is falling it may mean that unsubscribes (and worse, spam complaints) will follow. If more people keep unsubscribing, try to identify the cause. Keep doing what works, stop doing what doesn’t.

Take notice of what people are telling you by not opening your emails. If they’re not already opening them, they’re not likely to start any time soon. Remove them from the list and your open rates will increase.

Don’t be a victim of the email recipients’ kiss-of-death: move to junk. Great newsletters work because they are aimed at a specific group of people. Attempt to cater to all and you’ll miss your mark. Focus on the kind of people who make up your specific audience and deliver content that they will appreciate.

2. Personalise

Use that personalisation button to ensure the recipient feels that the email is for him or his business. Yes, of course he knows that you’re sending the same email to hundreds, possibly thousands of people, but nothing is likely to turn people off reading than receiving a “Dear Customer email. Also, personalise the “from” email address. People are more likely to engage if they know they can respond to a real person.

3. Avoid clickbait

There’s nothing more frustrating that clicking on a subject line that turns out to promise more than it delivers. Manage readers’ expectations by providing good quality content that is truthful to the subject line. Otherwise your click-through rates will suffer and you’ll start getting unsubscribes, or your email sent to spam.

4. Have purpose

Do you want to tell people about an upcoming event? Are you offering exclusive content in exchange for more information about their organisation? or are you offering a promo code for a purchase on your website. Ensure you have a clear and concise goal for your email and make sure it’s clearly laid out. Give calls-to-action and plenty of links, so recipients have multiple avenues to engage with you.

5. Build trust

As I’ve mentioned above, it’s important your recipients actively show that they want to receive news from you. This means that when they receive your email they’ll instantly recognise you. The DMA’s Consumer Email Tracker 2017 report showed that almost half (49%) of recipients need to recognise the brand before opening their marketing emails.

People are put off by gimmicks but a carefully crafted email, with well-written text and energising images, is vital if you want to create trust in your recipients. It’s trust that you’ll deliver good quality content that will get your recipients buying your goods and services, and sharing your message.

Don’t know where to start? Look at newsletters that you love to receive, why do you love it? What are they doing to incite your engagement with it? Do your readers say, “Wow, I love reading this.”

Unless you’re producing quality content, every single time, then you could just be a nuisance to your recipients who’ll dump your email straight into ‘Trash’.

It’s getting more competitive just getting your subscriber’s eye but don’t be discouraged. Email is still the mainstay of digital marketing. Put more effort into giving your subscribers good quality content that they’re pleased to receive, and they’ll reward you by opening and sharing your message.

Did you find this interesting? If you’d like more articles like this subscribe to our monthly newsletter in the box below.

Image credit – 1972 Chevy Chevelle by Holmes Palacios Jr.

Interview: GDPR with Rebecca Hardy and Jeremy Aldous-Fountain

A brilliant interview with Rebecca Hardy, practice director at Kidwells Law, and Jeremy Aldous-Fountain, GDPR Practitioner for HEXAD Information Security Services joining Ben before their excellent workshop on the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to help him navigate its muddy waters.

If you would like to find out more about GDPR and what your business needs to do to prepare, get in touch on Twitter @KidwellsLaw or visit kidwellssolicitors.co.uk.

Photo Credit: Blogtrepreneur, Data Security Breach

Boiling down to the essentials in GDPR – Our first step in navigating this new regulation

There has been an awful lot of hype about the new GDPR regulations that are coming into play in May 2018 and I for one have been trying to get my head around it.

The GDPR, also known as the General Data Protection Regulations are changing and in a lot of ways are changing for the better. It is giving us, as an individual more rights to know what data is being held on us and to have the right to be forgotten. It is finally giving consequences for companies that sell and spread our data without our consent. We might finally even be able to get off that cold call list!

However, as a business, it provides a little bit more of a headache as like anything in life it is easy to pick up a trail of computerised and archive debris which we need to ensure we have permission for, regularly review and endeavour to archive safely and securely.

This is no easy task but a lot of people are suggesting that we see this as opportunity. An opportunity, to dust off the files and reconnect with previous clients, to evaluate all the information we hold and review what is actually necessary. Or are we simply just clogging up our disc space.

I was asked to try and get us ahead of the curve to ensure by early 2018 we are in a strong position to deal with this. It won’t be long before our clients will soon be asking us what we are doing and what data we hold but with every new venture, there is not always a clear path.

The first step I took was to get in touch with the governing body, the ICO who regulate this law and have released some guidelines, a 12 step plan to be precise to help companies navigate the changes.

1. Awareness

The simplest one of all. If you are aware this is happening from the 25th May 2018 then you are currently ahead of a lot of people.
More laws are coming into place to protect our personal data which boils down to any data that can identify an individual, directly or indirectly. So this would include their name, personal email, personal number, personal address, image amongst other information.

2. Information

Within your own organisation you need to start reviewing what personal data information you hold. The new GDPR regulations dictate that these records need to be maintained and regularly updated to ensure they are current and accurate. If you have shared these details with a third party it is your responsibility to inform them so all data can be updated.

3. Communicating

The key ingredient to everything we do – you need to start communicating internally with your employees how to handle data correctly and start communicating externally how you deal with data within your company. Review your current privacy notice and check if you cover how, why and where you store your data, how long you intend to hold it, guide customers on their right to be forgotten and their right to complain to ICO if they feel there is a problem with the way you are handling their data.

4. Individual Rights

Check your procedures to ensure you cover all the rights individuals now have, including how you would delete personal data or provide data electronically and in a commonly used format.

The GDPR includes the following rights:

  • the right to be informed;
  • the right of access;
  • the right to rectification;
  • the right to erasure;
  • the right to restrict processing;
  • the right to data portability;
  • the right to object; and
  • the right not to be subject to automated decision-making including profiling.

Some good questions to ask yourself – if someone asked for the information to be deleted is: Would your current systems help you to locate and delete the data? Who in your organisation will make the decisions about deletion?

5. Subject Access Request

Beware that customers now have the right to see what data you hold on them and you will no longer be able to charge for this service but to simply respond within 30days with the information requested in a concise, easy to understand language. So you may need to think about how this information could be contained and easily managed to allow you to do this.

In exceptional circumstances, you can refuse to do so if the requests are manifestly unfounded or excessive. However, this must still be done with the 30days and you must explain to the individual why you have taken this decision and that they have a right to complain to the ICO. I would also recommend liaising with the ICO before you take this step to ensure your reasons are supported.

6. Lawful basis for processing personal data

(I am still to wrap my head around this one) The ICO advises that you should identify the lawful basis for your processing activity in the GDPR, document it and update your privacy notice to explain it.

7. Consent

Gather consent, this one sounds easy but imagine in the next few months when everyone will be reaching out to everyone and once the novelty wears off won’t our customers become numb to even the most cleverly spun consent letter? Will we end up having to delete client data as they are simply fed up of having to tick boxes and respond with their consent?

8. Children

For the first time, the GDPR will bring in special protection for children’s personal data, particularly in the context of commercial internet services such as social networking. Minimum age of consent is currently 16 years old although I heard this was being moved to 13 years.

9. Data Breaches

Make sure you have the right procedures in place to detect, report and investigate a personal data breach. From May 2018 you will have 72hours to notify the ICO if you have had a breach which could result in discrimination, damage to reputation, financial loss, loss of confidentiality or any other significant economic or social disadvantage to a client. The ICO will then advise you on whether you will also need to notify the client. Failure to report a breach when required to do so could result in a fine which can be up to 4% of your annual turnover as well as a fine for the breach itself.

10. Data Protection by Design and Data Protection Impact Assessments

I am yet to get to this stage on the list but the ICO recommends that it is a good idea to carry out a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) as part of this.

11. Data Protection Officers

Designate someone to take responsibility for data protection compliance and assess where this role will sit within your organisation’s structure and governance arrangements.

12. International

This one is not really applicable to us (yet) but if your organisation operates in more than one EU member state, you should determine your lead data protection supervisory authority and document this.

 

When faced with the above it can feel a little overwhelming particularly when you look at the client list and see how much data you need to account for. So, I attended Kidwells Solicitors Free GDPR Seminar to help me understand some of the grey areas without all the heavy jargon. You can hear what I learnt in the workshop on our episode 19 of our podcast or  listen to an interview with Rebecca and Jeremy, the workshop hosts.

The main thing I took away is that you must make your policy relevant to you and your company. There is no official stamp yet on whether you are GDPR compliant, this will only come to be tested when you get a breach. It is not a case of if, it is a matter of when. Make sure you are making the relevant steps above and are only keeping what is necessary. If in doubt you can always contact the ICO on their helpline who offer free advice and policy reviews.

As you can see our GDPR journey has only just started and each of us will be taking a slightly different path to ensure we are compliant for May next year.

Image credit: Data Thief – Hacker – Cyber Criminal by Blue Coat Photos

Something Inventive 19: Minimum Lovable Podcast

Ben and Al are joined by new Rather Inventive employee Clare Harris, to discuss cybercrime, driverless cars, flexible working hours, fake news and the Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

If you have any feedback, ideas or topics you’d like covered on our podcast we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch via our contact page, leave a voicemail on 0800 881 5805 or mention @RatherInventive on Twitter.

Listen on Apple Podcasts app

Something Inventive is an entertaining and lively podcast on creativity and the web. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or search for ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


Episode sponsored by Ticked Off Marketing Checklist

Simple marketing tasks to act on right away. Each task includes examples, downloads or the steps needed to complete it, plus a big button to tick it off when you’re done. Sign up for a free 30 day trial at ticked-off.com with just your name and email and no credit card plus If you are Something Inventive listener let us know you’ve signed up by mentioning @ratherinventive on Twitter you’ll get a year free, that’s 360 days of Ticked Off for no cost.

Show notes

The Hosts

Al Osmond (@inventiveal) – An unusual mix of logical thinker with a creative eye
Ben Kinnaird (@benkinnaird) – Knower of Social Media, SEO and ‘the Web’

Be part of the show

Tweet a service or product you’d like to promote, mentioning @RatherInventive and the hashtag #podvert and we’ll read it out over the coming episodes

Thanks for listening!


Audio edited by Donalize – ‘Goofy Vocal Groove‘ intro music by Dave Girtsman – Photo: Blue Coat Photos, Data Security – Cyber Crime – Hacking