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Thursday, 30 April 2015

Get well soon, Web Designer

Half the world is Web Designer. But one that improves your business results? Very rare. 

One that improves business results very much? More rare than a unicorn!  

If you spot one, put a fence around him or her, and shower him or her with money.

He or she is that one moon in a milky way of specks. Something lovely, refreshing, unique, making your day, day after day.

Get well soon, you Unicorn!

It took me over 20 designers before your instantly noticeable touch and change in results.

You touching a website means it instantly changes (improves) in results. Simply for that very good feel for - and living in - the target market. 

That when talking a web designer we're talking many quality levels in the eye for design, web development, knowledge of SEO, conversion, psycho-social triggers, navigation, the balance between the pillars - not to mention the reliability, ethics and speed. 

Get well soon. In the mean time: no web design services through to July. 

Only for existing customers. 

Bernardus

PS: And thank you, Rafi, for your poetic photo! 

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Don't spend a penny on online marketing

Online marketing is an immensely big city. 

It consists of tens of millions of businesses trying to be the highest or most noticeable building. 

At any rate: to get noticed. 

Some invest millions, and others make do with searching online for 'rank high in the search engines for 49€'. 

The Internet is a permanent 'American Dream', making millions believe in the promise of wealth and success…  

if you just spend 50€. Or every month a bit. Or with these free tips. 

Now, rationally you and me know it won't work. We're not idiots. We know the real story.

Reality = 

That someone goes through years of efforts and expenses to become, say, a Pharmacist. For that's a title with potential: its reputation has been built by generations. We know that this person then scans the region for a location that increases this potential. And then picks a building that transmits reliability,  on a very centrally located spot. Next step: much money is needed for the decoration, stock, etc... to enhance the trust of the possible customer who will walk through the door. Without it, that person will not convert into a customer. Only when all that has been taken care of, he or she will install the internationally recognised symbol above the doors to start attracting the very first person.

The marketing potential has already been maximized before startingAnd that very first marketing tool, the light box, is an affair of hundreds of Euros.  

So why do we believe in the online promises of cheap, quick, free...? 

That the whole world might struggle when building a business, but you and me will manage with free tips? We will have a functional business with a template website design and a 22€ Euro book named 'How to be successful online'? 

How on earth is it possible that we believe that? 

One word: surfing online happens from home. 
It has always been our castle. Where we let down our guard.
Our survival mode is switched to the lowest possible level.


So we can belief that a millionaire in Nigeria has left us his money. That a photo model is in love with us. Anything that would make us laugh in real life... seems plausible when it happens online.

'Rank Nr 1 in Google for 49€'! 
'Attract more customers with a free website'.

Sure. It's a great New World, one where working or thinking very hard belongs to the past. Everything is easy now. 

What is the remedy?  

Don't fall for it. Realise that it's a World of Make Believe.

If any marketing tip online would be really valuable, make you get ahead of competition - it will not be online in the first place. 

Companies or platforms offering online marketing solutions are online marketers themselves. They know everything about the 'loss aversion bias': the human tendency to stick with programs not because they like them so much and are so effective... but because they are afraid to lose out when they stop them. 

"So, let's continue with this monthly cost, I have no idea what it delivers but results might be even lower if we cancel it".

They know about the Buyer's Stockholm Syndrome, and they know we are all dreamers, or lovers of lotteries and Casinos (where the odds are equally high). 

Treat your online marketing as professionally as anything else 

You have a small company. It works thanks to an immense investment of work, time, thinking and your strong belief in quality. 

Your online marketing will not be different. It's work. It's thinking. It's competitive

Don't spend a single penny on any online marketing tool or promise, untill you've looked at the offer from all sides, also from your desk in your professional environment and together with colleagues or partners who are in a very professional mindset.

Wait a month. Look at it again. Think whether the foundation has been optimized (it's no use sending traffic to a website that will not convert into customers). 

If it still looks good, then go for it.

Bernardus


Friday, 10 April 2015

The marketing and fun of quitting smoking

Yip, once again I quit smoking. I'm in day 12 and in a permanent state of being amused. 

(Edited at day 26 and day 40 and still quite amused).

Amused?  Am I not supposed to be a walking bomb in a bad mood? 

Surprisingly enough: no.  For the very first time in 30 years quitting seems to be rather easy. And my 'office' is in a cafĂ© style, not even coming with a smoke ban!

Let me paraphrase a quote of Henry Ford: "Whether you think something will be difficult or easy - in both cases you are right". 

Things depend on how you market them to yourself.

We are all salesmen, having to find the right argument to our own brain 

That one argument or attitude that works for us. I seem to have found mine: 'Gosh, this is easy'. 

Normally attempts to quit smoking mean going through a minefield, weeks of exhausting plowing from one craving to the other, hoping that you'll soon make it to that Promised Land on the other side. 

There are hundreds of such moments of cravings, so during previous attempts I used to stock quite a lot of arguments to battle them all. That was obviously the problem. I can't even recall how many times I bought 'that book' again, that book that every smoker I know has bought at least once and that we all find so useful (with that one exception that it didn't make us stop stopping).

This time I didn't prepare a single argument 

No calculations as to how much money I would save, I didn't ask anyone for support, didn't think of 'replacements', there are no motivational articles or books in sights, no scribbles with the never ending advantages of not smoking… I just quit.

Arguably this is precisely the reason why it's so easy this time around: I do not send a single signal to my brain telling the opposite. Nothing in me seems to see it as 'a struggle': I told myself it was going to be easy and fun, ergo: it is

That could explain why some people who stopped smoking can be so spookily casual about it, as though it was no big deal. It wasn't a big deal for them, for they didn't see it as a big deal at the time. They didn't have superior willpower, but they just found a helpful point of view.  

Whereas if you prepare - The Right Time, The Arguments, The Replacements, The Self-Help Book, The Support - you might as well tell your brain: "OMG, we're going to cross the Sahara!" 

Edit: quitting smoking is not the problem

The weight gain is.

I'm one month further and love the human brain: it can only be obsessed about one issue at a time. I'm so busy with healthy food and jogging that the whole smoke stop seems to have taken a backseat. 

If I think about it, it's for 5 seconds and then my mind jumps to the 'real' problem again. After all, smoking doesn't have a single advantage, any advantage our mind comes up with is a fantasy or one of those childish tricks of addiction, so we don't have to exhaust ourselves in taking that decision again every 5 minutes - it's literally a no-brainer. All we need to do is to not smoke and further not waste a single thought on it.  

That doesn't mean it's a piece of cake

I lit up over a hundred thousand cigarettes in my life, hell, it's part of my branding!

So it's only natural that our lungs, hands and brains can be at a loss.

Everything in my body seems to be asking: Eh, hello there, what's going on?? 

It makes me laugh. Something that nags so much should not be part of my life in the first place. 

There are suspiciously many that talk of how difficult it is, making me wonder just how many people give up before even trying. Or meticulously plan it 3 months in advance, as though it's not something we can do right now, or have a little try-out this afternoon, or whenever we want to.

Not to mention all those articles saying that You Need Replacements, or that talk of 'Power Of Will' as though it's an invincible force of nature, not just one of the many little traits we all share. 

You don't need Willpower with a capital W, only your sense of humour. 

Being human means having all solutions in you: you're a superb tool that has been fine-tuned over the course of hundreds of thousands of difficult years. Don't let yourself be fooled into thinking something is not within your reach, or only with the help of aides. 

At one point or the other, you too might sit somewhere and then suddenly think: "hey...", put out your cigarette and laugh a month about the funny but useless tricks of your body and mind: it's all just readjusting and you could see that as the most important Spa you've ever treated yourself to.

Bernardus