3 Essentials of Crowdfunding – Think and Grow Rich The Movies

When a close friend says, sorry you’re only 1% of the way to your crowdfunding goal after 2 weeks, it makes me smile.  Many base success on first reactions, rather than realizing it’s a process to roll out anything, crowdfunding included.

UPDATE: I’ve stepped up to run the Campaign, after the first campaign was adapted to a new one, where funding is only raised if the total amount is raised. Will share more soon.

While Think and Grow Rich – The Movies on Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign  is just getting rolling 2 weeks into it, they now have 30 days to complete a 60 day rollout.

” Crowdfunding allows founders of for-profit, artistic, and cultural ventures to fund their efforts by drawing on relatively small contributions from a relatively large number of individuals using the internet, without standard financial intermediaries.” (Read this educational paper, The Dynamics of Crowdfunding: Determinants of Success and Failure)

Basically you can go direct and appeal to get funding for a business, creative, or nonprofit initiative. So with so many choices from Kickstarter to Indiegogo, the challenge is not where to raise the money, but how to connect and explain what you’re doing in plain, simple language that allows people to join in.

In a new media world where attention is short, time is limited, and results are all that matters, people rush themselves instead of taking the time to do it right. Let me share the 3 Essentials to Crowdfunding I’ve discovered, watching this unfold over the past two weeks.

1. Use a Video to tell your story, and do this early

This is common sense advice, right? Look at videos on crowdfunding sites, and you’ll see a hodge podge of confusing messages, amateur graphics, Powerpoints…while you don’t have to be a pro, you need to really care about the video.

For the Think and Grow Rich the Movies project, several videos were released, here’s the latest from Indiegogo’s page; notice how you get to meet the producer and director, with a simple video shoot, excellent graphics, and brevity – less than 2 minutes preferred.

Smart approach is to create 2-3 videos, and get one out immediately for a few weeks before launch. You have to plant seeds to get things done. Those expecting something to pop up immediately better have star power (see Veronica Mars on Kickstarter), or high tech sizzle (see Kreyos’ SmartWatch on Indiegogo.com) to get noticed, and even then they all use video.

(DISCLOSURE: I”m helping on the project as a volunteer and friend, the company doing the crowdfunding launch is amazing and I’ll keep quiet about their identity until the crowdfunding campaign is over. You should visit Think and Grow Rich – The Movies on Indiegogo page just to witness the process – though you’ve missed a ton if you’ve missed the first 2 weeks.)

Essential 2. Pre-Launch on Social and Get Opt Ins

Before launching the crowdfunding campaign, a Facebook Page was set up as the primary contact point.

Visitors are also invited to join the email list for updates to the campaign, and the mobile app planned to go along with the movie. Over 8,000 people Like the Facebook Page as of today, with a huge majority of them opting in for email updates, so Think and Grow Rich The Movies  can connect with them outside of Facebook.

Building your list and your Facebook Page following are critical,

and during pre-launch, they took a few weeks to get it going.

I see this as a 60 day rollout – 2 weeks or so on social media release, followed by 45 days of Crowdfunding. Just like launches I’m familiar with, this crowdfunding launch builds up a following over 2-4 weeks, because it takes that time to get noticed, both to spread the word and from a PR/promotional perspective.

Essential 3. Crowdfunding over 45 days instead of 30

Here’s the first thing I notice, and see the most complaints about on crowdfunding sites…running out of time and not getting the money. Most people think of everything in 30 day segments, and set up a 30 day campaign.

Now you can do that, but you better spend a month on prelaunch to give yourself time to get noticed; even if you have a following, getting them to take action requires a bit of awareness building at first.

Think and Grow Rich – The Movies on Indiegogo began with a 47 day launch, which in the long month of July allowed them to begin planting seeds for 17 days until the 30 day countdown begins. While only 1% has been raised so far, this is a classic example of promotions being a marathon, not a sprint.

Most campaigns are tired and ready to quit at this point, when the real push comes in the middle and closing of the crowdfunding campaign. It’s human nature to procrastinate.  While those doing 30 day campaigns would face a 2 week, impossible deadline, Think and Grow Rich the Movies now has the whole 30 days rolling, backed by the first 30 days of getting it started and pre-launched.

What I especially like about the campaign is that the first 2 weeks of heavy work and connecting, relationship building, givse time to then stage in the final 30 days with some momentum.

Building momentum is essential to any promotion, especially crowdfunding. If you simply remember these 3 essentials — using video to explain your message and doing it right, pre-launching on social before going live, and giving yourself more than 30 days to complete a campaign, you’ll see the entire process really takes 60 days.

Then it’s usually another 30 days or so before you get the actual funding, so plan on 3 months. Even if you don’t do crowdfunding, there’s wisdom in doing this for your business, living in 3 month chunks to get a significant campaign rolled out, tested, and then scaled up to the results you want.

I’ll update this post periodically during the launch, if you have any questions about crowdfunding, I’m not an expert, but am learning alot from this campaign and others. Be sure to read the  educational paper, The Dynamics of Crowdfunding: Determinants of Success and Failure), referenced above and which though in academic speak, has tons of good advice.

The concluding 20 pages in particular yield insights of what works, how much is raised, and how to get access to capital for a business, create venture, or nonprofit. Definitely worth reading to get your feet wet, and it’s free.

 

Case Studies in New Media, Digital Marketing - Brevenue

You Are What You Think – Finding Your Own Keywords

Understanding the keywords your audiences searches for to find your business is one of the most common skills online. Common sense, right?

Facebook Ad Data for Declan Dunn's Profile

By your words, you’ll know yourself…and if you are talking too much about you.

When was the last time you found the key words you use in communicating to friends and business? Try this little test on yourself to find out what you are really saying to your audience.

You are looking at a Wolfram Alpha’s Facebook report to the left, which identifies a ton of data about your posts, your friends, the timing of your posts, etc.

That kind of data is interesting the first time, but when I scrolled down the page I found a keyword cloud, like a tag cloud on a blog, summarizing the phrases I use most frequently.

The power of discovering your own intention, and your own mindset, gives you an opportunity for learning how others are hearing what you write (because they do speak those words in their mind out loud ;-) , and what it sounds like.

Many times on Facebook you’ll see inspirational sayings about you are what you think, your words define your actions, yet there are negative people on Facebook and there are some so positive that they don’t even connect with you because it’s so extreme.

It’s not that you can’t be happy, instead it’s about the balance of life and the words you use.

Here’s some the interesting language patterns I found in my posts:

1. My top key words:

  • Business World
  • Love One Life
  • People Way

While these are single words, as you see them on the graphic, they summarize what I share with my audience. Because it is a business world, as most of my friends are people I’ve known online.

Love is one of the most common phrases I use, and it wasn’t something I even noticed – Love One Life is just a great phrase for a future blog post, because you really do only have one life and you love it or it’s really going to be a long, sad path.

It is your life, love it, maybe not the circumstances, but the opportunity to live.

2. I searched for negative phrases used as well; too many negative phrases makes things depressing, too many positive phrases make it a bit woo woo.

Impossible, hate, and never come up – not the biggest words, and only a few negative phrases in total. Maybe I should get more negative, but I like to open up to people without adding more angry noise to the social layer.

3. I know certain people who’s most used phrases would be their name or their brand, like a 3rd party reference to yourself, ie, “Declan wants some more lunch”….

One of the powerful insights this report gave me, over the rest of the data, was the kind of words I use to connect with people on Facebook. These are the key words of my posts and my persona to others on Facebook.

They are also an insight into how you look at the world, because the words you use define your outlook. I know this from way back in the day, when we used to test advertising spaces by putting up selections of keywords.

The ones people clicked on the most, and the number of results they clicked on after the result, helped us create a linguistic profile for that audience. That way we could determine whether to run an ad for American Express or debt consolidation – by their words you will know them we used to say.

And by your words, you’ll know yourself. Go test yourself and see what you come up with, what did you learn?

Entrepreneur's Mindset, Facebook, Social Media Lead Generation

Brevenue – Leveraging the A.I.R. Your Customers Breathe

If everything is changing because of social and mobile, why do so many keep implementing an old and outdated digital strategy?

It’s like the flat earth of the Internet – where people are experts in one thing like affiliate marketing or social media, but can’t connect the dots to the circular and abundant experience their target customers go through every day.

Try sharing that idea  in a Las Vegas ballroom with a group of direct marketers, the affiliate industry, which has been built from the ground up on advertising, arbitrage, search, and conversion.

They are smart, doing deals, and doing them in the same way – it’s risky to change and once someone else defines how to do it, these people will optimize it like nobody’s business.  But until that happens, they don’t budge from the old definition of ROI.

(Note: ROI doesn’t go away, the limited definition expands, and you have to know how to qualify traffic from other sources than Google and web sites.)

Part of what I’m sharing is to show that just like everything online is merging, the world of branding and conversion are melding. I call it Brevenue – branding that creates revenue – and here’s 5 minutes on what it means.

Beyond Conversion into Multi-step, Multi-Channel, Multi-media Touch Points – Where Do they Want to Buy, and is it in the Real World?

The obsession with conversion is good in one sense; you want to know why traffic is converting, right? What else matters? Many of the people I asked to come to listen at Affiliate Summit told me that social and mobile are not relevant and not part of their job.

After all, businesses create content so people find it in search or get referred, then they supposedly read it, get bored, and we interrupt them with an ad, a pop, an interruption.

Now visitors online are sharing, liking, uploading pictures, and most of the time still watching, but not getting bored waiting for an interruption.  In fact, they are looking for the next great interruption to take their attention away.

Social media by its nature is interruption driven, so an ad interrupting the experience does nothing more than add to the clutter. Getting Attention is paramount, and not just on one piece of content. Branding today means you want to be remembered, recalled, and trusted so they return again and again.

Sure ads can work on Facebook, but any marketer knows that the low clickthrough and low conversion by marketing directly limits scale. Many have predicted the end of Facebook, one guru even quit Facebook to prove a point – that he didn’t understand anything beyond the flat world of Internet marketing, based on PC’s.

Yet Facebook is still around and it doesn’t convert like direct marketing, because branding dollars, the really big dollars, are coming online. Direct marketers think branding is dumb and focus on results, but those results depend on traffic with a high intention to buy.

Where’s the common ground here?

Reminds me of the people who said Alta Vista was it for search engines just before Google took over.  It’s not that the old strategies – both direct marketing and social – are over by any means, they are just leveling out.

In their place is a new approach that must integrate these various touch points where people meet, connect, and share.  Facebook is a touch point, a smartphone is a touch point, looking up the price online while in a retail store is a touch point – the possibilities are much more than most educated in the world of impression, click, and conversion can stomach.

Converting 10-20% of your overall audience long term is one initial goal, powered by NOT bugging the other 80%, most of who are barely paying attention, but will share what you have with their friends if it’s relevant, interesting, polarizing, or important.

In a world driven by confirmation bias, it’s clear that social and mobile are a layer, not just technologies, and these layers are all connected.

The person who is on a PC, a smartphone, and a tablet is the SAME person doing all of these things. Most of us treat them like each of these is a separate, unique, and disconnected experience; interesting how something that connects us is then marketed to disconnect them from what they are having fun doing…

Content Marketing Strategy - Brevenue and the A.I.R. Your Customers Breathe

Marketers are great at testing and replicating, yet as an industry the innovation we so lovingly preach is lacking, not because of interest but because of a lack of understanding of the 3 steps of customer conversion today:

  1. Attention – getting their attention in social and mobile is key, not just through content which is everywhere, but by designing things for people to do around and with the content.  Trying to throw a conversion funnel into this ADD on steroids social behavior is like selling a burger to a vegan.

(Don’t worry, this is just 2-3 step marketing, and the social and mobile worlds are filled with opportunities for those patient enough to build a relationship WHILE qualifying the customer, the subject of my next post).

  1. Intention – are they there to buy or look, and are they confused? Intention is fairly random outside of search, because as much as we like to say as marketers we help people solve problems, people either don’t know they have a problem or aren’t sure what to do with their problem.

This is the second step, not built into their buying behavior. Qualifying and quality are becoming part of your Key Performance Indicators. You can define intention through contests, surveys, targeted ads around content and retargeting.

At least 20% of an audience might be interested, but marketers are all so interested in the 1-2% conversion – maybe 3-7% in search – that we often ignore the rest.

Any time a person notices an ad AS an ad, it’s not good, it means the ad is not relevant. It bugs people. Even with targeting you can’t take this needle in haystack approach, in fact what’s happening is taking small groups of people and building bigger sources of qualified, high intention traffic through referral, guidance, and prompting through effective use of actionable data – data that can be linked to specific buying behaviors.

It’s not about getting a million visitors, it’s about getting high intention visitors that you guide through the process, tracking key performance indicators that help you measure the top contributions to your conversion.

  1. Retention – this is the true measure of digital business and one that is becoming more and more common. It’s not enough to get customers, you want those customers to buy more than once, and want to know where they originally come from so you can do more of this…

Surprising to most marketers, many of them do come from social, but unless you are into attribution and retargeting and real hard core testing, you just push those numbers aside.

What matters is that visitors now aren’t just visitors, nor impressions, nor pageviews or even EPC (earnings per click).  Many live on Facebook and other social sites; the days of the portal are not likely to make a come back.

They are connecting outside this world of problem solution and clicking/tapping not because they found your content, got interrupted by an ad, and averted their attention from what they were reading or watching…

How can we thrive in a world where the social side says it’s about engagement and the marketing side about conversion?

At best, online marketing will encompass 20% of retail purchases in theU.S.People still go to stores but now they have a computer wherever they go. Before they used to search for content and entertainment, but now it finds them in devices that help them connect and suggest what they might find relevant to others.

Relevancy is not just at the hands of the searchers, relevancy is in the proximity you have to interest groups sharing what you offer.

Relevancy is in taking all the hype and hot air out of Big Data, and finding actionable data, predictive data that defines behavior by what they exhibit, not by what you try to make the audience do.

Think of yourself as an anthropologist entering unexplored territory; do you impose your way of life, or watch the natives and adapt?

Remember the A.I.R. they breathe – Attention leads to Intention, Intention leads to Retention, which leads back to Attention and sharing.

In a connected world, we as business have to start connecting the dots, and beginning with the end in mind; what is the actionable data I can observe and direct, leading to a purchase or repeat visit for those still selling advertising?

Brevenue is not a trendy word, it’s simply makes sense – branding that creates revenue.  Sure it’s the book I’ve been writing from experience for the past 4 years, but what it represents is something many of us are seeing, but simply call change.

I don’t care what you call it, I care what you do about it.

What do you think?

Uncategorized

Why Loving Your Customer is the Best Content Marketing Strategy – For You and The Audience

If you don’t love your customer, someone else will.

The words and actions you engage visitors with can show your love, yet there is something even more important you can get them to do, to support and guide them.

Let’s apply love to your content marketing strategy, because it’s less about the content today, and more about the engagement and participation of your audience, getting you noticed in the sea of content shared every day.

What’s Your Farmville Water?

Content marketing strategy begins with love and participation.

I ask that of my coaching clients today, because every day millions of people still come back to Farmville to basically get water for their virtual plants. They LOVE to do this, so much so that it has become a habit.

Love creates habits, repeat visits, and sharing – especially when you give them something to do.

Why would someone return to your site, Facebook page, Twitter stream, etc.?

How do you show love to your audience so it is content marketing?

  • Give them some love and recognition in this world driven by social and mobile by designing your content first based on actions they can take with it. You and your audience BOTH recognize those who take action; that validation of effort is huge in any marketing today.

Make it fun, personal, and deliver real value – this is not about hiring somebody at Amazon MTurk to write a blog post for $5.

It’s about creating less content that creates more activity, because in a sea of content, they drown after awhile unless they are given something to do.

  • Why would someone share your post, or even better take a few actions you outline and share it with others?

Case Study: Create a Game Without End

True games have a beginning, middle, and an end, with different levels. That’s way too complex for those running a business. You don’t have the budget or time to do this, but you can get your audience to do most of the work and measure your success by their activity.

Anything you do to help your customer solve the problem is part of the “Game”, something they engage in and play with, so make it a game and don’t give it a deadline. If it’s diets, then it’s about losing weight obviously; building a business is about gaining revenue and cash flow; investing money is about seeing a long time return.

What do ALL of these have in common? From diets to investing, they are all continual, games that never end. People play them every day, so why don’t you incite this activity with your content?

For example, small businesses have to gain search positioning, and anyone in the business will tell you this is a game without end.

    • Play it up that way in your content, showing what you are doing, and/or a case study, and invite others to participate and report back.
    • Each month you connect them to the game, even more frequently if you have an interested audience.
    • People learn more by doing, and their participation with your content is key to getting the word to spread.
    • Turn your guest blog posts into hosted “games”, tying into an overall approach to content that is continual, updated, and based on experience, not just tactics and tips.

Imagine if your guest post is part of an overall objective, instead of a random article basically written just to get Google link juice!

It’s hard enough getting their attention, but by being remembered, you start driving repeat visits based on knowing you, not just randomly clicking on another vague article about 6 Ways to Do XXX!

    • Design all your content around the audience’s participation, knowing that maybe 20% of your audience will participate.
    • Those 20% or so are what pushes your content beyond just consumption, into participation. And it doesn’t have to make you or them work hard.
  • The best quality content doesn’t monetize; the cost and time spent creating it rarely returns revenue to the business, with the exception of those who are building a following.

Still, followings do not translate into revenue. That’s why it is so critical to consider how your audience can participate, which leads them to come back and register for what your business has to offer.

Next Steps

1. Take your content and find an action your audience can take. Not just a share or a comment, that’s limited in scope, but something they can “do” with your content.

The more people “do”, the more they remember and refer you.

2. Keep it simple and test participation; what about your content can reward people, give them Status, for trying it out?

3. Remember that the nature of the audience highly influences their activity. For example, I’ve seen precious metal retailers go on Facebook and pitch how the US economy is falling apart, as a way to trigger purchases.

On Facebook, that reads like a conspiracy theory. Meanwhile, competitors are using Facebook as a place to introduce people to investing in gold, silver, and other precious metals; they are making it familiar and friendly.

Saving money can be an ongoing game without end; predicting the end of the world is a game, but not one that leads to purchases in the precious metals market.

4. You can’t just post content and slap ads around it, you have to develop content that encourages a small percentage to do something, things that don’t make you work, but helps them spread your word because what they do delivers value – first and foremost personal value, which leads to value for your business.

Instead of trying to trigger them to stop what they are doing in social, use a little love and a “game” to get them coming back again and again.

It’s so simple it’s hard to believe so few are doing it.

Yes, I am inviting you to comment here, or on Facebook, and let me know questions about your game, your content marketing strategy, and I’ll share how to build your marketing funnel next.

I love this game and have since 1991 when I began “online”; what’s your game and how can I help you?

 

Digital Marketing - Brevenue, Social Media Lead Generation

Pivots and The Flat Earth Syndrome: When the Shortest Distance is Not a Straight Line

When I was learning math in school, teachers taught  a flat world based system (Euclidean), which is still taught today. Included in those lessons is the myth that the shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line.

It’s the myth of the straight line, of predictability and stability surrounding a project business model, that most entrepreneurs try, and that approach is flat world to its core.

I have seen this work rarely, like a Steve Jobs reality distortion field.  More often you create a product that people love and grow a business around it over time.

It’s knowing how you will get through those early days, and when you will begin to see revenue, that determines your success.

Straight line people get stuck because life and business comes in curves, shifts, changes, and is constantly adapting to the needs of consumers, the competition, and your market.

Sometimes stuck in flat world thinking, they keep pushing for their straight line to work.

entrepreneurial education

A Curve Is Just the Limit of a Straight Line,

and Often a Shorter Distance

I see the same problem in many new entrepreneurs, who go in thinking that like math, business is a flat world where their actions will create revenue.

That myth interrupts many entrepreneurs, with an expectation that if they do A, they’ll get B.

Often they get C or D, with the inevitable pivot choice in front of them, maybe even above, below, to the right or the left.

  1. If you are frozen by choice, you live in flat world. You can’t see the choices, yet choices are always there.
  2. If you look at choice as an inevitability, you plan for it so you always have some alternative.
  3. This simple lesson is the one thing entrepreneurs struggle with because alternatives (to some) means lack of belief in your solution.



Belief involves something that does not exist; your solution proves itself to you, you don’t believe in the solution, you believe in what the solution proves to you…or you go find the next solution.

You’ve got a give a pivot some time to grow, but how long does it take before you know a pivot is not a pivot for your business? What if it is a mistake in direction?

Because once you break out of the straight line myth, you find many, many paths to the solution, not JUST your idea which is so limited – you are in the box, after all, and you created the business.

Let me a share a few ways to move beyond the straight line.

Question/Answer Exercise

Your startup has no money, lots of debt, and a product just moving into alpha development to be tested. How do you keep going for 3-6 months?

Straight line thinking will start your mind into list building. It’s easy to create all sorts of lists, logically justifying them as “this might work”, and spanning the breadth of what could be created.

You draw up so many markets/choices, and try to focus on 20-50 of them at a time, figuring that a few will hit.

Yet unlike a Vegas gaming board, your odds do not improve by the number of choices you put into the equation. Your efficiency decreases dramatically with each choice over 5, as you lose more and more focus.

Be careful of fake productivity, where you are genuinely busy yet accomplishing little to grow your business. You see this near the end of many businesses, who are trying to look busy.

Productive, not production, work involves finding revenue sources, or funding. You have to do either one, or both, to continue.

Curved World Solution: Write down your laundry list of solutions, whittle them down to 10, and pitch them to each other, or a few friends who understand your business.

Pick 3-5, the fewer the better. Focus on nothing but these for the next 30-90 days. You’ll see them, they will be often the most obvious, the least glamorous, and a step towards the solution.

As I shared with many of my own employees, when it works, be amazed. Don’t expect it to work, expect to watch what works and adapt.

Define how much revenue you need to pay the bills, create a little positive cash flow, and ultimately profit?

How quickly can you make the bill money? Focus on this along with your dream, because if you don’t pay and investors won’t pay – you either create income or your business turns into an expensive hobby.

Ask yourself…

Which markets exist, can be somewhat easily reached, and what level of commerce lies beneath them?

How much do people of this age buy?

For example, many assume that social media is dominated by younger Generations X and Y. As I wrote recently, Zynga’s games are dominated by a 48 year old American male as a typical customer.

If you are selling on Facebook, knowing this demographic is conducting commerce within Facebook is huge, that’s a pattern, a buying behavior in action, not theory.

Does your audience buy? How much traffic could you get if you owned the market, or just got 10% of it?

Start defining your markets based on:

  1. Who your customers know, like, and trust;
  2. Where they go for recommendations, ratings/reviews, or feedback;
  3. When and wat time of day and week they come online;
  4. Why they buy products related to yours.



That why is what you must define, determine, and adapt. And since it’s not a flat world to your customers, your business better not be a flat world for you.

I’m happy to answer any questions you might have, flat world or not…

Entrepreneur's Mindset, Pivot and Profit , ,

How to Avoid the 2 Worst Pieces of Advice as an Entrepreneur and Startup

A while back a question was asked on Quora (and I answered, which inspired this post),

What popular startup advice is plain wrong?

There seem to be an increasing number of startup ‘gurus’ along with more and more websites offering advice. Yet, there seems to be a lot of crap. So, what do you think is the worst?

Take a look at this video, and let’s jump into the 2 worst pieces of advice I know of right now, because they hide the reality, AND the real fun.

 

Paradise isn't a given, it's a state of mind.

 

A Brief History:

How I Learned to Be an Entrepreneur

I’ve been an entrepreneur for 25 years, and wasn’t born selling stuff to my friends as a kid…which is what many think an entrepreneur does!

In fact, for the first 5 years I was in business, I was pretty lost.   No one told me how to do things, or that every effort needed to be followed up, researched, and tested. Alone to my own wits, I whined alot, stumbled, and basically got consulting gigs but didn’t build a business.

So when I share this advice, it’s not to bad mouth the emotion behind the advice. It’s good to be psyched about what you are doing, and to feel free, yet what I’ve learned is that people mistake these as the keys to being an entepreneur.

The key that I’ve learned is simple; LOVE solving the problem your customer has, so they come back again and again. If you don’t solve a problem, you’re not relevant, and the easy part is falling in love with your solution, what you are doing.

What happens if they, the audience, don’t care for your solution? That’s where you pivot and adapt, and wake up from the 2 worst pieces of advice I know for startups and enterpreneurs.

Bad Advice #1.

Be passionate about your product!

Writing a book or course on being an entrepreneur seems to almost require that the teacher say this, tying into a person’s search for meaning and excitement in their life.

Yet after the warm fuzzy part of the startup wears off, you start to do repetitive things, things you don’t like, and pivoting from your first idea onto the next, in search of the right answer as defined by your audience.

First the whole passionate schtick is like the self help/Secret end of this business, as if just being passionate will get it done.  Imagine that all you have to do is visualize, and repeat to yourself that you are a good person.

Sound insane? Do you know how many entrepreneurs I’ve met who are in their business and almost waiting for destiny to find them, talking to themselves instead of engaging their audience?

Yes you should care and love what you are doing, but it’s not about you, or your product.

It’s about the problem you solve, and you should be

passionate about solving that problem.

Everything else flows from that, even your products will change and adapt to the market. Love the  problem, not the product.

What most entrepreneurs love is their solution, their whole ego gets wrapped up in proving to the world that they have the right answer.

You only have one group to prove that to, your audience of future customers. If they don’t buy it, it’s not a good idea.

And if you believe in your idea more than their reaction, get a job now. Because you are wasting your time, and theirs…running a startup is not an ego trip, though a strong ego does help.

It’s about constantly researching the problem and your solution, pivoting and adapting, testing and measuring. Sound boring?

Welcome to the real world of the entrepreneur, long hours and lots of risk, and also lots of return. You either love it or you don’t, but don’t use passion as your excuse.

Passion is just the fuel that drives the business, but you run out if it is only passion, and not a great solution to your target audience’s problem.

Bad Advice #2.

The Freedom Myth of Being an Entrepreneur

What woke me up to the reality of freedom as an entrepreneur was my first venture, where I published a magazine and had to sell it, and the idea, to people.

This took more time than any  job, and my weekends became a quieter time to focus and work. I do love running my own business so this doesn’t matter to me, but what bugs me is wannabe guru’s selling the myth of freedom.

If you own a business, you have to make it run, and watch that it doesn’t own you. I learned that running my agency, with 20 plus employees and doing 80-100 hour weeks on average.

Now I loved the experience, but I also learned I lost most of my lifestyle. I was always working, and if you like that, which I did, you can do it.

Yet when I see people treat their startup like some lottery ticket, as if there is a script that has been written for them that will come because they deserve it, it just makes me laugh.

Karma is not something you deserve, it’s cause and effect. As an entrepreneur, you have to be the cause, always.

Gurus love to frame this as a being free from a job, from bosses, from all these negative things about having a job. That sells books and gets people into being an entrepreneur because they believe that it will be better than a job.

Then you become an entrepreneur and realize the long hours, lack of family time, dedication to the goal, leadership you have to show others and direction you have to give, and ultimately that you are responsible for everything.

Even worst, because you had a job, you turn it into a job. That’s death for any startup, because when it feels like a job, you’re likely close to the end.

So what’s my good advice, the solution? Be wise, be aware, and be in love with solving the problem. Don’t let the business run your life, and set some boundaries if you can.

I’m big on integrating my lifestyle with my business, which is why I’m not back in the grind of software startups like I used to, and still love to mentor. If that jazzes you, there’s nothing better than working with a team.

Just understand you should love what you do, but passion is an emotion, and it comes and goes. What really tells you that you are right is that feeling when people get it, start buying, and start talking about your business because it helps them.

That is where it gets magical, where you are connected to their needs, not your dream. And freedom, like the song goes, is just another word for nothing left to lose…

If you don’t know what to do if your business fails, if you don’t have a Plan B, you’ll never be free. True freedom is selling your business, or building a business that lasts for a long time and helps people.

Freedom is a goal, not a given part of being an entrepreneur.

And that said, I’m unemployable by birth, and my zest for startups fuels success because I know it’s a journey, and you have to define it each step of the way.

It’s easy to say you want to make millions, how will you make your first thousand? How will you break even, get positive cash flow, and start growing?

Answer these questions and you’ll know what passion is really about, solving your business problems, and the one key problem your customer has…because you likely won’t solve more than one, and that one should keep you very, very busy.

What do you think? What’s your challenge as an entrepreneur?

 

Entrepreneur's Mindset, Pivot and Profit , ,

The Power of your Smile

Imagine if the most important skill an enterpreneur has is the ability to smile, really smile, not just a sales pitch, but something growing from within…do you think that would spread?

I can tell you from personal experience, and lessons learned from a monk and an ex-Marine football coach, that smiling is the key to excellence…

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh,

When things get tough, smile. Coach Ted Monica

A smile is not just a reaction, it’s a state of mind.  As an entrepreneur, you are going to be working with other partners, employees, investors, and customers. Each step of the way, your smile shows more than you are happy…happiness varies.

The practice of smiling is about handling stress and understanding how things come and go, ebb and flow, and all you can do is be consistent in your attitude.

Smiling is not only reacting to something that makes you happy, it helps you cause others to feel confident, assured, and trusting. The most important thing about this is you cannot use a smile as a lie, to yourself or others, because at an unconscious level, we all pick up on it.

A smile will get you through whatever challenges you have when you learn it comes from within, and is also an attitude for excellence, and peace, in your business and life.

The Entrepreneur’s Smile: Why It’s Important

In my 25 years as an entrepreneur, one of my biggest challenges has been my own nervous energy, anxiety from the numerous risks I encounter in my own entrepreneurial journey. And in the early days, I was clueless, stressed, and no one really wanted to work with me long term.

Because when things go wrong, when things don’t go the way you planned (ie, like most times), you have to adapt. In my early days I’d share my fears with people, sometimes even clients inadvertently. And while many of them liked me, they chose to go elsewhere eventually.

Over time I learned that I was creating the opposite effect, with myself and with others. It made me remember my days as a high school football player, on a team that never lost my last 2 years that I played, and went onto be #1 in New Jersey the following year undefeated again – an unprecedented feat for a school that size.

How did we do it? It all began with our coach, Ted Monica, an ex-Marine, Vince Lombardi inspired (and he worked with him), legendary football coach. I remember when we did 3 practices a day, full pads in the New Jersey heat and humidity, it was like bootcamp.

In the middle of one bootcamp we were running tons of windsprints, and I was in deep pain. My face was full of that stress, that pain, when Coach Monica came running up to me, grabbed me by the shirt, and told me to Smile!

I thought he was nuts, but then I smiled, and found in working out, putting all that stress in my face was missing the point. I was making things harder, by THINKING they were harder. That simple lesson helped me in my training since those high school days; even in the gym lifting weights, I’m smiling the whole time.

As an enterpreneur, I started to remember this lesson and slowly integrate it into my life. When something bad happened, I tried to smile. It was forced at first, and I had to learn to really live the smile, not just use it to make me feel good.

Soon I was able to work with others, and build major businesses because people like the way I handled the ups and downs, the stress. While I’m still as anxious and nervous as ever, the smile helps me temper the rollercoaster ride of an entrepreneur…

And it’s another thing my coach taught me; when the going gets tough, smile. One of the reasons we never lost is because this simple lesson was ingrained, and had us believing we would always win.

When a team believes, amazing things can happen. As an entrepreneur, it’s up to you to get your Team believing, and the more they smile, the more you will succeed.

Practicing the Entrepreneur’s Smile is Just Like Working Out

So how do you get to smile that much? First, stop equating a smile with a reaction to something positive, or funny…those are just part of the equation.

Wake up in the morning and smile, think about what you are grateful for, what you have, and all the people helping you, your family and friends. If you are like me, a bit of a recluse, look around you and ask yourself each morning to look at the world with a new perspective, with a smile.

And when problems come up, try to smile as your reaction, just as if something was funny. I’m not saying to do this like a crazy Dark Knight, just feel it inside, and focus on the solution to the problem…what will turn this problem into a smile?

It may not solve the problem, but it will get you closer to the solution.

Your Smile is a State of Mind

In the end, your smile shows from within, and can be the source of your genuine good nature, your ability to work with others, and your ability to adapt to changes as an entrepreneur.

Now I know many of you driven, trying to prove your better than someone else people will say this is a load of bollocks. That’s your right…

I can tell you that when I learned, and am still learning to smile (I’m no Zen monk, this attitude is alot like working out, and it’s easy to dip back into old, negative patterns of feeling and thinking) every day.

Each day I get closer to my goal, and each day I relax a bit more, while confronted by numerous obstacles.

Because I’m an entrepreneur by choice, not by birth; I had to learn how to do it. And I’d rather be in control of my life and my choices, and in business I need help.

You get much more help from a smile than you can imagine. You feel better, and over the years the smile is my reaction to all things…a reminder that this too shall pass, and you are measured by how you handle the tough times, not by your successes.

As I used to teach my employees at my agency, when it works, be amazed.

And learn to smile from within; it may not make you wealthy, but it definitely will make you rich.

What made you smile today?

Entrepreneur's Mindset, Pivot and Profit , , , ,

2 Essentials That Make a Web Site Worth Buying

I love how this business grows and changes, waking you up to ideas you don’t see because they are either under the radar, or just not cool enough for everyone to blog about…like the recent G+ bandwagon.

What I’ve discovered, late to the game, is a whole world of people buying and selling web sites. And this isn’t about buying domains, where you have to build a business around that name – highly lucrative, yet a different market.

After creating this video with 3 case studies from Flippa, done live (disclosure: I haven’t worked with Flippa nor know any of the sites mentioned, this is just a quick review),  some folks asked me to break it down to the Essentials, which is what this blog post is about…

This article is a follow up to Key Insights to Buying and Selling Web Sites (the video is the same, the blog post is different), where I look at what factors I would evaluate when buying an existing business, or one that needs revamping. Much of this I learned in Zac Johnson’s book, Flip this Web Site, which I helped him develop in my coaching program – this is not an affiliate link, simply an introduction to a long time, very smart friend.

The 2 Essentials: Buy a Web Site

With Existing Assets and Revenue, or

Improve an Existing Business

Just like buying real estate, web site purchases have their own location value – search, email, and community – and must have value you can increase. Look for something close to the on ramp!

When you buy a house in the real world, you look for location, location, location, number of square feet, bathrooms, and the ability to sell that house down the road for a profit…seems like that market is sort of dead, but it doesn’t take a genius to buy a house, it takes someone who researches, knows the details and flaws (every home, and every web site, has flaws), and is comfortable with the price and business to buy that property.

The same thing applies to buying a web site; if you buy an existing business with revenue, you need to evaluate that on revenue, consistent traffic locked in by search or loyalty, or both, and access to an audience.

If you want to fix up a site and leverage what you know to improve the business, you have to place a value on the time, money, and resources you will invest to turn that around. Just like adding a bathroom adds more value to a home than adding a closet, the cost involved in improving a web site must translate into increased revenue (or often, creating revenue), and increased value if you plan on selling.

Because with the Essentials I’m sharing here, the real key is your exit strategy. How long would you like to own this web site, and what would you like to do when you are done? Who would buy it?

From my first blog post: “Here I’m talking about buying a web site that exists, with assets like steady traffic, email lists, and sometimes revenue. The way Flippa lays it out for you is powerful, easy, and safer than anything I’ve seen before, including eBay.”

Here’s the 2 Essentials I see as important to buying and selling a web site:

Essentials 1. Buy a Successful Site Based On

Traffic, Search, Lists, and Revenue

When you buy a site, hopefully you are already experienced in the market you are targeting. In Zac’s book, he talks about buying a jewelry site, where he added his Internet marketing savvy and increased conversion.

Increasing conversion and improving the marketing increases revenue, and he was able to add this to a portfolio of sites generating revenue and traffic.

The same logic applies when you are looking to buy a web site that has traffic and revenue:

RecruitingBlogs.com is the example from the video, that reportedly sold on Flippa for $95,000. What amazed me is that this is a Ning site, which means the hosting and business is based on a low monthly fee, so buying the business means you are locked into Ning, or will have to move the site yourself off of Ning and replicate the various Ning tools like discussions, ads, Member Profiles (which builds your email list).

  1. RecruitingBlogs.com has a community of job recruiters, people involved in finding people jobs, and extensive networking. The jobs market online is lucrative, even in this down market, and these people are the gatekeepers. So the quality of the audience, if you are in that business of contacting recruiters, is high, and the advertising revenue is steady. People buy ads for these kinds of sites, because of the quality of the audience.
  2. Assets that excited me are a large, loyal community built over 4 years; talk about location, location, location! They also have an email list, steady monthly traffic, and steady monthly revenue.
  3. While scaling this business would be difficult unless you can integrate it into other efforts you are building in this market, you can see how the audience and revenue mix here makes it a powerful tool for growth.
  4. The key questions when buying must have been about scaling, can you add traffic and more users, or is this as big as it gets? Will this loyal audience stay with the site once it is purchased, as the new owner has to learn how the community operates.
  5. Is there something special the original owner added to the community? This is the problem with buying a guru’s site for example, where people are loyal to the person’s pseudo-celebrity, and not the site itself.
  6. While this site is based more on the activity of the audience, it’s smart to either keep the original owner around for 3-6 months to transition, and help you transition. The other choice is to simply replace that person; if so, what might the impact be to the audience?
  7. Finally, what’s your exit strategy? Will you be able to add more members and traffic, integrate it into your own “network” of jobs-related sites, and leverage this audience?
  8. Selling the site down the road means you understand that like you, people will buy this based on a multiple of Net Profits likely, or gross revenue, with traffic and the list as secondary measures. The list and community must also be responsive.
  9. Can you name 3 likely buyers for this site down the road? Why would they buy it from you?
  10. Just like a home, you have to measure the assets, the current and projected future value of those assets (after all, buying a dying community or old blog with little loyalty is not beneficial), and most of all, can you buy the business, run it, and increase the revenue and/or traffic? And in what time frame?

 

Essentials 2. Find a Fixer Upper – Technical or Marketing -

Where Your Skills Can Add Value

Fixing up a site is trickier, and like any remodeling job, you really want to think like a contractor, know your budget of money and time, and have a clear path to execution of your plan to improve this business.

Some businesses involve technical skills; in the video I share a web site that isn’t that expensive to buy,  under $5,000, with traffic. Yet that traffic is compared to Tumblr.com, and written in its own, unique code.

If you are technically minded obviously you can learn this; AJAX has made this world fairly easy to navigate. Yet unless you see how the code is written and how it executes, you have to be wary of buying someone else’s problem.

For example, I’ve had sites that worked great with low traffic, but couldn’t scale because the infrastructure – both coding and where it was hosted – were lacking. Obviously both can be improved, but you have to measure the time spent here.

You can easily get into a project that soon drags on and on, and never takes the next step. Like a bad fixer upper, it can become a financial and time strain on your business, rather than being an asset.

Like any fixer upper, it’s buyer beware, and be aware of what you are really buying. The site I mentioned in the video has traffic, but the owner really sort of cloned the Tumblr idea.

Tumblr is hugely successful, and this site has over 100,000 people using it monthly, so at first glance that shows that the technology likely works. I would test the speed of the site, how fast it loads, and the recent activity…for a social site, recent activity is all that matters.

If possible, search on services like Compete.com and compare it to Tumblr. The problem with this freemium model for a buyer like me, is that Tumblr is the big player, has great tools, and owns the market. Why would someone choose your solution?

This is clearly where a combination of technical and marketing skills are needed, 2 key skills I feel are needed for any web site business. If you can build the brand and create a comfortable niche as the next best thing to Tumblr, go for it!

Just remember, freemium models gain users, yet how many are active and remain there day after day? What does the growth curve of the site look at? How many users are generating that traffic?

The best part of the site is that it has an iPhone application, which if good makes it a good deal. You get an app and a site with traffic for a low price, but it’s obvious that the seller is not making money with it.

So how will you monetize it? For any fixer upper, you are either buying the audience or revenue, or both!

That’s the key to building a business online; loyalty and monetization. Be sure to check out Flippa and see what’s up, this is not only smart, it’s a new trend in this growing business called the Internet!

Case Studies in New Media, Digital Marketing - Brevenue , , , , , , ,

The 3 Tiers of Social Media Partnerships and Virtual Currency – Zynga & Facebook

Social media is a new layer of business being ignored by many, because many of the social media experts come from a PR background, while many performance marketers sit on the sidelines waiting for someone to prove how it works so they can replicate it.

Trying to understand the Zynga IPO, and how Facebook monetizes its traffic, demands a new way of looking at the way businesses collaborate online. Social media is always discussed in terms of how it connects people (see Is Social Media Really Social to get a different point of view); rarely do you understand exactly how it monetizes.

In this video I share an exploration of the 3 tiers of partnerships (an example of my concept of Brevenue) that are developing among businesses, with Zynga as the example case study:

The Mystery of Virtual Currency

Virtual currency is defined as online currency that allows you to purchase virtual goods, like buying water on Farmville for example. This can be accrued by activity, in terms of points, or purchased with cash, or gained by redeeming offers from specific merchants.

What virtual currency really represents is the ability to continue playing the game; Zynga has created games without end (see my recent blog post here), unlike traditional games where the player progresses through certain levels to essentially win in the end.

Winning implies a beginning and end; planting a garden can imply a lifetime effort, or at least an ongoing, ever changing effort, much like life, and has appeal to an older generation who do not play traditional games as much. The genius of Zynga is inventing games for this generation, who have the time and money to spend, and creating value for that virtual currency in the eyes of the player.

What’s powerful about the Zynga model is that it envelops the player in a social environment, competing and working with others, to build a farm or a city. Just like any farmer knows, this can happen year after year, allowing for an immersive, multi-user game playing role.

The 3 Tiers of social Media Partnerships

What powers it is the value of virtual currency to the player. Many claim not to understand why anyone would pay money for something virtual. The fact is they don’t, most redeem offers on Zynga’s various offer walls – literally a billboard like collection of offers from merchants like NetFlix, usually free trials or sign ups which pays an acquisition fee to Zynga, that is shared with Facebook (who gets a 30% cut).

Virtual currency is an accepted practice in many countries, especially in Asia, where this form of gaming entertainment is deep and monetizes far higher, currently, than in the U.S. Because it’s valuable to the player and seeing the revenue generated, it’s clear that this model of competition, of leaderboards and recognition for action, is needed in a social world where basically the only recognition comes from creating content.

Here the player is creating the content, involved, and will pay, just not in real currency which few use to buy virtual currency. It has become a lead generation bonanza driven by 3 Tiers of Partnerships.

Tier 1 – The Distributor:

Facebook and Traffic Aggregators

Social media sites can generate a ton of traffic, yet most companies are too busy managing the interactions of users, privacy, and managing the multivariate complexity of interactions to monetize.

Facebook is an example of the first tier of partnership, the one providing the traffic and users. That’s their job and they do it quite well.  Right now Zynga represents an estimated 10% or so of Facebook’s overall revenue, so the objection some have brought up to Zynga’s business model – that Facebook will simply replace or eliminate them at some time – is likely baseless.

Imagine getting paid 30% net for simply generating traffic; that’s Google-like margins for search, and evidence of why Facebook needs Zynga. Because what Zynga does is create immersive games for Facebook’s users that monetize.

Why would you want to replace that core competency? Traffic in social media is difficult to monetize, ads sell for $0.50 CPM, and the only one generating real revenue is Zynga and other companies intergrating game playing into the social experience.

Tier 2 – The Engager:

Zynga and Games as Business

What Zynga does with Cityville and Farmville is engage users, and create real value in their minds for the Virtual Currency. It becomes the center of their gaming universe, surprisingly for an average player who is 48, male, and lives in the U.S.

This is not your traditional game, nor traditional virtual currency which is often gained by effort, achievement, and recognition by the community, all of which play a part here.

Virtual currency can be purchased, or redeemed for an action just like a game. The difference with Zynga is the way it’s redeemed; you apply for a credit card or Netflix subscription, and gain points.

The monetization is now part of the game, another action, and frankly an easier one than simply participating and being patient. That is what drives players to purchase virtual currency through lead generation from traditional merchants.

The player doesn’t see that as paying money, even if they are billed monthly as many of these programs do. What the player gains is an ongoing, valuable, fun experience; it’s just entertainment that requires them to show up regularly and watch what’s going on.

If you want to get further in the game, you have to put some virtual currency on the line, and while you can gain enough by your actions to survive, to thrive you need to pay to play.

The lock in Zynga has is its games, brand name of those games, and the overall experience. It provides games without end that get people hooked and make them want to earn virtual currency in any way possible.

The easiest way is to simply redeem a lead generation offer on the Offer Wall; while it sounds crazy to an outsider, think of what an elegant, simple solution  to the problem of achievement in a game.

And if the player didn’t value the virtual currency, they would not redeem for it. It’s as simple as that!

Tier 3 -The Monetizers: Lead Generation Deals

The final part of the equation is the easy one, lead generation. This is traditional 2-step lead generation, step 1 being to get in the game and gain virtual currency, step 2 to redeem an offer to earn virtual currency.

Why many of the traditional lead generation companies, like credit cards and Netflix, love this model is the age and quality of the player. These are not smart younger people trying to game and fake out the system. They have money and they have the urge to play, and the offers fit the demographic and psychographic profile of the player.

If they didn’t, the offer does not continue, because most of these are performance marketing deals, not just ads. That means an action has to be taken for Zynga and Facebook to get paid, redeeming an offer.

Given the scope and size of the revenue being generated, it’s clear that these users, much like folks watching TV, are willing to pay for brands and deals that give them a product, AND the virtual currency to continue playing the game.

Those are the 3 tiers of social media partnerships I see; Facebook generates the traffic, Zynga provides the immersive gaming experience, and lead generation companies use to incentivized and rewards-based marketing come in the finish to close the deal.

As you know if you’ve read this blog, I call it turning Friends into Fans and Customers…and in the new paradigm, it takes 3 to play!

It’s brilliant, simple, and viral and works only if all 3 partners are in the game. Best of all, it’s driven by performance the whole way.

What do you think of Zynga’s model, and have you seen anything better? Please ask your questions below…

 

Case Studies in New Media, Pivot and Profit, Social Media Lead Generation , , , ,

Google Plus – It’s Not Just Social, It’s Mobile And Targeted (Why Comparisons to Facebook are Off)

Count me as one of the Google Plus fans (G+), with a lean interface and easy to manage Circles of friends that is unique in what it offers…

The challenge is many people’s perception, defining the social world in terms of Facebook and Twitter. Comparisons are not adequate to describe what’s going on here, and both of the social stalwarts were created at an earlier time, when the browser ruled the world.

Let me stir the pot with some ideas of how this represents the first, powerful move of social into mobile:

Today smartphones and tablets (ie iPads) rule, even though most of us are still stuck back in the world defined by sitting in front of a PC.

The edge G+ has is mobile, combining the best of both worlds into a sleek delivery that is just amazing on the Android (Apple app still in waiting, and still to be seen).

Everyone knows that most Facebook updates are done through mobile, as are most Tweets. So while those two can be used on mobile, there’s something unique about G+.

The Facebook app on the Android is not that great, and it was designed for a world driven by AJAX. While it’s UI is great, it’s clearly a browser design,with little control over friends in your stream.

If you were creating a social network today, you’d think mobile first, then desktop, which is why I think G+ is so different, and may take a few years to scale, as mobile usage replaces desktop browsing as the primary way people interact with the Internet.

The Look and Feel are Mobile First, Browser Second

The first thing you notice is the clean design, white space, and non cluttered. Everything is designed in small graphics and streams based on text, clearly mobile and not reminding you of an online experience only.

G+ works on both mobile and desktop of course, yet behind the scenes is the only company that owns search, owns all that data we enter on search, our behaviors, AND owns it’s own mobile OS.

While the social leaders may compete, they have to adapt to the OS world of mobile, driven by Google, Apple, and Windows of course.

G+ is going to be integrated into a majority of phones, if current projections for Android’s growth prove to continue to be correct. A social network designed specifically for a mobile network is a powerful combination, and it’s clear to me that this is the design difference, both in UI and functionality, that sets G+ apart from any competitor in the social space.

One Source for Photos, Videos, Docs That

Follows You Via the Cloud

It’s easy to include your photos and videos from YouTube within G+, and therein lies another strength.

Combining all its tools into an easy to use interface, G+ offers the power of the cloud, with the comfort of traditional social tools.

You have the stream, the wall, RSS content feeds called Sparks that you can customize, plus the testing of multi-user video via Hangouts, that works online and via mobile phone.

While I’m not convinced the video chats via Google Talk will dominate, they are useful for business now, and pretty fun to do. Time will tell whether this is just an early test or something people fall in love with, and as it goes mainstream it will be interesting to see if this usage falls into the usual, multi-user video chat space of religion, politics, and porn.

For now, G+ is like a fraternity, mostly male, intelligent, digitally driven, and often the leaders in the social space.

In true Gladwellian splendor, Google has tapped into the influencers to test and participate, and let the  mainstream know what’s up…until they can be invited.

It’s a smart launch, a mobile launch, and on my Droid X, the app is sweet. You get a few icons for Home, Profile, Photos, and Circles; the rest is up to you, and your imagination.

Plus with Circles, you can segment and control your streams much better than anywhere else, being able to put people you know and those who you sort of know into different Circles.

While you can do this elsewhere, it’s just not as easy and elegant as on G+.

Google Targeting On Steroids

G+ will have the ability to deliver the most highly targeted advertising and services ever. Combine the keywords you search, web sites you’ve visited via their advertising networks, your circle of friends and social activity for the social graph, the time you spend here, AND on search – both online and mobile – and as a marketer, I can see one of the ultimate tools in development.

Blend these all together and you have targeting that has never been possible with other networks, mainly because they could never integrate the vast search knowledge Google has.

The key word going forward to me is proximity, both physical proximity as measured in your use of mobile for local marketing, where you live, where you travel, and what you do…of course subject to how much you share.

And there’s social proximity, those associations with people in your circles will tell much more than Facebook or anyone else could do, because you tell Google the network much more. The social element of G+ is simply the icing on the data cake.

John Battelle said it years ago – the new Web is all about data, and there is so much data here that can serve the user and pinpoint them where they are physically, or online, or both! And the proximity influence of the social graph – who we know and why we are associated, the implicit side of social media expressed by relationships and not just friendships and tagging, is mind blowing to me

Like all things Google, there is one central purpose to G+, just as there is to Android…Create More Searches!

Right at the top of every screen is the search box, which is how I finish the video and this post.

Google encourages consumption to create more search and has a social tool to power this that is built from the ground up for mobile.

We’re seeing another stage in the evolution of the Internet, and surprisingly an old contender is currently on top. While time will tell whether privacy concerns and mainstreaming power G+ to Facebookian proportions, the promise and delivery of something new is here and mobile.

Talk about augmented reality, what’s your take on G+?

Digital Marketing - Brevenue, Mobile Lead Generation, Social Media Lead Generation , ,