You can hire a consultant to do your marketing work for you but, even if you do, it's important to know what they're doing and understand why your website, or any other digital area isn't doing as well as you think it should.
But it’s not just digital for websites. You must look at the wider implications of what digital means to your business and the people who interact with it, so that includes suspects, prospects, customers, suppliers, partners and of course your staff.
There are thousands of authors and gurus in this world, but this article is about helping you get the most from your businesses. Each of the authors here offer the richest ‘buffet’ of digital related intelligence you could hope for. If you're planning to succeed online and in digital, take a look at the authors and books below.
|Robert Cialdini||The Psychology of Influence|
|Seth Godin||Permission Marketing|
|Maria Veloso||Web Copy That Sells|
|David Meerman Scott||New Rules of PR & Marketing/Sales & Service|
|Emanuel Rosen||Buzz Marketing|
|Steve Krug||Don't Make Me Think|
|Brian & Jeffrey Eisenberg||Waiting for Your Cat to Bark|
|Steven Woods||Digital Body Language|
|Travis Wright & Chris J. Snook||Digital Sense|
|Brian Solis||X: The Experience When Business Meets Design|
|Michael Gerber||The E-Myth|
|Tim Ferris||Four Hour Work Week|
Starting at the top, Robert Cialdini helps us to understand why people do the things they do and gives some startling examples of human nature. Once you've got this one under your belt you’re ready for Seth Godin.
'Permission Marketing' delivers a critical message; your website is an instrument that is used to begin a relationship with a prospect. You must have their permission to begin this relationship or it's over before it started. All you need is their permission to take your relationship to the next level.
Before you dip your toe in the waters of an online existence or social media, don't start with talking crap! There's a reason for schools teaching English and too many businesses forget this as soon as they're let loose online. Maria Veloso will hold your hand through the stages of copy writing and will help you understand why you have to write the way she tells you to. Think about it, you're reading this blog (as you do anything else on the internet), so it's about getting noticed with the right headline and written copy.
If you’re interested in writing, take a look at the article ‘How to write great copy for your website'. Here I have mentioned some of the most popular books about writing copy, including publications by Ann Handley and Stephen King.
And on the subject of getting noticed, David Meerman Scott's book 'The New Rules of PR & Marketing' is all about being noticed; on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, newsletters, blogs and pretty much all the places where your prospects are hanging out. Your reach needs to be far and wide and getting noticed is no longer about throwing £000's at marketing; it's about being 'cute' at marketing and applying the necessary effort where it has the most effect.
Another of his books is ' The New Rules of Sales and Service'; again, a great book that identifies how we need to focus on real-time customer support, agile selling, big data and storytelling. There’s no point having all the digital kit in the world and not being able to exploit it – i.e. all the gear and no idea!
Whilst we're talking about getting your name out there, 'Buzz' is a seriously interesting read as it explains the unfolding world of viral marketing; who wouldn't want to have everyone talking about us, in a good way of course!?
So, you're about to embark on a getting a website up and running (or you may be unhappy with your existing site). Well, before you do anything, read 'Don't Make Me Think'. Catchy title, but one of the most talked about books in the industry simply because it is simple. You don't want your customers to have to think, stop and then click away. Steve Krug's book has some very quaint cartoons that make understanding his approach really easy. Navigating through your site must feel like second nature, with no surprises.
The best title by far - 'Waiting for Your Cat to Bark' - you just gotta get it! Jeffrey & Brian Eisenberg have got it so completely sussed. This book will tell you in no uncertain terms why your website doesn't work and the strategies that you need to put in place to structure your site to get the results you want.
The brothers' trademark is ‘Persuasion Architecture’. Apply a set of rules that help your browser follow the path that they want and not your sales process.
Steven Woods - CEO of Eloqua, not only advocates the same as the Eisenberg brothers, but also explains why and how to analyse the activity on your site and how to respond to it.
If you were selling face-to-face it would be easy to act or react to the body language of the prospect or customer. 'Digital Body Language' helps you understand how to achieve the same, but online.
This has to be one of my favourite books at the moment. Brian Solis has a way of stripping away the layers of confusion normally associated with digital transformation and planning, and has spent a great deal of time on the graphics and illustrations. It’s a good book for those who want to ‘see what it looks like’ instead of just reading about it. If you want to understand how your business needs to interface and interact with with browsers, prospects and customers this a must-read. You will soon come to realise that every interaction should be driven by marketing, i.e. that within each contact there must be a consistent company message.
The same goes for one of his other books, WTF – What’s the Future of Business. Again, everything is well explained and well-illustrated. WTF delves into the CX, the Customer Experience. You must understand where Brian Solis is coming from in order to grasp Digital Transformation and start making changes to your company.
It’s worth getting hold of Connect by Lars Birkholm, Ron Person and Christopher Nash. Brian Solis wrote the Foreword for this book, which supports the drive and expectations of implementing a digital 'system' focused on Customer Experience, using the SiteCore CMS platform.
If it seems like I’m a bit of a Brian Solis follower, you’d be right, so I have also included another of the books he wrote a foreword for, 'Digital Sense'. This book, written by Travis Wright and Chris Snook, is both an enjoyable read because of ALL the anecdotes and because of all the explanations of what they set out to achieve and recorded. There are also some practical exercises towards the back of the book that relate to getting digital.
A bit of background to my buying this book. I saw a stack of these books on a video on Facebook. Someone was filming at a marketing exhibition in the US and walked passed a book stand. I quickly Googled the title, bought the book, which then lead me onto Brian Solis and his books and work.
So, by now, you've got the best website in the world and you need to make sure that your business is up to the task. Enter Michael Gerber. His E-Myth books expose the blinkered attitude of many business owners and shows us all how to take a fresh look at our businesses and start working on them and stop working in them.
The ‘E’ in E-myth stands for entrepreneur, not ‘electronic’. Primarily it establishes that most entrepreneurs replace their former employers with a far more unrewarding task master - your business entity! You get the message. You work longer hours, get paid less and have no holidays - just for the ability to say that you've got your own business. And you do the same thing year-in-year-out and expect a different outcome each year. Apparently Einstein said that was the definition of insanity.
'E-myth' is a shot between the eyes and a must for all businesses. Michael Gerber's company has helped 80,000 businesses worldwide and sold 3 million books in 16 languages. Enough said.
Automate, systemise, stop doing it, doing it, doing it and plan to extract yourself from your business, whilst planning to employ others to do the work so you can manage effectively and have a life.
Now about having a life…
Once you've put in place all the necessary automated business processes and recruited and trained the staff to run the structured processes, you'll definitely be ready for 'The Four-Hour Work-Week'. This book is sublime. Can imagine your business functioning without you whilst you globe-trot and experience what the world has to offer, whilst at the same time dipping into your business when it suits you, all online? All your staff are working smoothly, your business is maintaining its income, your bank manager not only loves you, but he is so envious of you that he has a picture of you on his door, stuck to his dart board!!!
As for dinner, who would like to join me?
Thanks for reading.