Moo cards as a gift

There is a saying that we should give up those things that never get any easier.  My Moo cards take too long to make and I doubt the work and time provides equal service to my customers.

So what shall I do for the next batch of cards that I will be making in time for Christmas and the Social Media Mafia unconference on Thursday 17 December, 2009 (in London)?

These were my Moo Cards 2009

Last year, I made some cards with Christmas greetings.

Joy goonies by zenera via Flickr piknikedNew Gold Dream by law keven via Flickr pikniked

This is my thinking for Moo cards 2010

I am thinking of making 20 different cards, each describing someone I follow.

I follow @tojulius
Julius builds customer lists in London and Europe from zero to pleasurably profitable.
I wonder how long it will take Julius to build a profitable list for Rooi?

I follow @audio
Chris generously introduces noobes to his massive network in sound engineering, social media & online education.
I wonder if  anything we do at Rooi will help him strengthen or widen his ties?

Comments on my first-go at turning my Moo cards into a valuable gift?

I need to edit the wording,  a lot.  But as editing takes a lot of time and effort, maybe you could comment first.

Do you like the direction I am taking?

Would you prefer to take your pick of 20 “I follow” cards?  Or, would you prefer a Christmas card?

My wording?

Am I right to value @tojulius and @audio?

My prompt?

Have I suggested a useful start to a conversation with @tojulius and @audio that might lead to a mutually advantageous space?

Here’s A Fun Way to Find Your Customers

A large glass of red wine contains about three...
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Your personality, your wine, your personality?

Via Flowing Data, a useful little chart on the personality of wine drinkers by wine preference.  A little fun and worthy example of good marketing.

Our first job in any business is to imagine our customers

The 1st of the 10 Sun Tzu Rules of  the Networked World asks us to imagine communicating with each one of our fans.  But for noobes, we have a bigger problem.

Just who are our fans and when do we interact with them?

An easy hack to get started

A good hack is to collect the scenarios describing our meetings with our customers – even those in our imagination! – and sort them into a colour wheel – like the vintners did with their wine.

What is your wine by the way?

Mine was always a Shiraz.  But I have mellowed to a Pinot Noir.

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Hack for No 2 Sun Tzu rule for the networked world

Speedometer in Ford Mondeo ST220 (MK3) (highli...
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The 2nd rule 0f the 10 Sun Tzu rules of the Networked World

Make our messages as small as possible.

An example

Once again, this rule is intimidating at first, but we can be assured that if pundits are telling us to do something, then they already know how to do it. So for an example, have a look at the link to BNET that I posted yesterday morning to a handy resource for Prospect Qualification.

Note well how they have worked out a simple decision tree and each step is small enough to do.

The General Idea

This is not a new idea at all. We often break complex jobs into small steps.

We are not, however, making information chunks small for the sake of it.  If we do, we are in danger of disemboding information and rendering it unintelligible.

But feed forward and feedback must come in ‘glanceable’ amounts – like the speedometer on our car. The information must arrive at exactly the point that we need it (not at exactly the point Head Office feels like sending it!)

Our Overall Goal

To think in networked terms, I want to reach everyone one of my fans and I want to reach potential fans – the friends of my friends.

So I have to think like Twitter.   Not only do I keep my messages under 140 chars, I allow for the RT and keep them even shorter!  After all, they are 5 times more likely to be read when they come from a close friend.

The technicalities are easy, it is the substance that counts.

The technicalities can be learned quickly enough. What is harder to work out is when and where people need information.

And the viral potential of the message

Hairdressers are often very good at txting reminders for appointments.

What we need too are messages that will go to the “end of the line.” What are we likely to retweet because we want other people to know that information too?

My local deli for example, could tweet its specials to customers who have requested tweets. That makes it easy for me to retweet and invite someone to lunch.

Hack for the 2nd rule

For each customer group that we have identified in 1a and judged to be a qualified prospect in 1b, we can ask:

  • What information do they need from us to organize themselves with people around them?
  • What is their purpose when they use my message?

Isn’t that why we love resources so much?  They become a lego block in a project of our own.

Recap of the 2nd rule

So we need to go back to the scenarios for defining our fans in 1a and think again.  Do we know what our potential customer is trying to achieve?

When we do, communicating is ever so easy.

(And it is so hard, when we try to jump steps.  Find time this weekend to work on your scenarios!  You can do them in the shower, in a walk in the woods, while waiting for your daughter to finish ballet class!).

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Step 1b for defining your fans and customers

NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT - JUNE 14:  Music fans ...
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Laying out your social media campaign

Yesterday morning, I posted 10 Sun Tzu rules for the networked world.  These are 10 questions to guide our social media strategy – beginning with describing our fans and ending, with  issues which confuse the fans and which we need to address.

Startups have special issues

Start-ups struggle, or rather panic on the first question.  Who is my fan?  I know who speaks to me now, and I have a vague idea about who I want to speak to – and there is a biiiiiiiiig gap.

Pupils dilate.  Heart pounds.

How can we define the fans we have never met?

All is not lost.  We have a hack.

Last night, I posted a really simple way to imagine speaking to that customer that we haven’t met yet.

It’s a really good technqiue for describing fans and customers we hope to have but don’t have yet.

Get our scenario-writing going

Try it.  Get rid of that anxious feeling !

You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can  imagine the scenarios.

Once you are imagining meeting your customers, you can start defining your sales process

Once you can imagine your customers, the next important step is to figure out who is ready to buy.  And if they are ready to buy, do they have the money and when will they have the money?

Finding the best customers

For those of us not from a sales background, approaching customers is seriously intimidating and meeting with dead-ends is disheartening.

BNET came timeously to the rescue yesterday.  Here is their step-by-step “prospect qualification” system.

It breaks these larger 4 questions into baby steps.

  1. Do they need what you sell?
  2. Do they have the money to pay?
  3. Who does the buyer have to consult and who makes the final decision?
  4. When might they buy and what determines when they might buy?

It’s a very good idea to take one of the fans you described and step through these questions.

The questions seem to loop into each other towards the end so just revert to the pages 1-17 and click throught to the end!

Making progress?

Is this coming together for you?  It should be.  Do let me know!

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4 things I learned in 24 hours with Google Adwords

Do you used Google Adwords? And does it bring you the traffic you want?

I think all ‘noobes’ to the internet struggle with Google keywords and experienced geeks around us don’t want to come clean and say simply how the system works.

Well there is a chicken-and-egg system here.  You don’t know which keywords to use until you know!  Maybe you may learn something from my this little experiment of mine.

My 24 hour Google Adword Experiment

On Monday afternoon, I found a Googles Voucher in my ‘maybe sometime’ box and it was about to expire on Tuesday.  So I decided to run a Googles Ad and see what 30 pounds could buy me in 24 hours.

Seven steps to running your first Google Adword

  • Log on to Google Adwords and set up your account
  • Write your ad and link it back to your website (they have a handy system on screen)
  • On the basis of your website, Google will suggest some key words
  • Edit your keywords
  • Put in your bank details & your promo code if you have one.  They will charge you 5 pounds for this entertainment.
  • Set your monthly budget at 30 pounds.
  • Sit back and watch comfortably knowing you can switch all this off at anytime at the cost of whatever bill you have run up – capped at 30 pounds.

My entertainment

  • What I am going to sell.  I wrote a special blog post for this game: I offered to set up interview questions to match a job description and let someone practice with me over Skype (with webcams).  The nature of my product didn’t really matter. What mattered was that it was offered on the landing page of my blog.  Google does limit the length of url that goes in the advert so I couldn’t direct to any post or page.
  • My ad.  I wrote a simple ad saying “Practice for your job interview over the internet with webcam with an experienced coach”.  (The word Skype was disallowed).
  • First impressions.  There was an immediate flurry of activity with impressions from Search (that is the keywords I had chosen) and 3 Click Throughs.  My CTR or CTR was well above 0.5% at that stage.  As we only pay for the Click Throughs and Google is setting the price on a rolling auction, the price varies.  I paid 133p for 3 clicks on my blog.  No one contacted me so I had 0 conversions but I had set my prices rather high.  I was interested in the Google-end of this experiment.
  • Frills. I had left the ‘Content Network’ on.  Google puts the ad on Content partners too.  It advises to leave that option on.  The impressions from Content Partners were slow at first but rose dramatically on the second day.  The CTR was rubbish though.  After 36 hours, my ad was delivered (impressions) to just under 1500 partners with 1 click through.
  • Results.
    • From search traffic, “interview questions” drew 350 or so impressions with 3 click throughs – just under 1% and above the 0.5% which makes Google frown and say you are wasting our time.
    • “Interview tips” drew around 100 impressions and 3 impressions – so 3% click through.
    • “practice your interview” drew no impressions and of course, no click throughs.
    • All my ads appeared on the first page of Google search, but rarely at No 1.  The exception was “behavioral interview”.  (Remember these are ads we are talking about not the list of websites on the left.)
  • Cost.
    • This all came to 313p for 7 click throughs and an average price of 21p per person who arrived at my blog.
    • That might be meangingful in an advertising world.  Can you imagine though attracting 50 000 people a month at that price?  That would be 10 000 pounds a month.  I would need to be selling an awful lot.
    • The real issue though is the conversion rate.  Obviously of the 7 people who arrived – I had made one sale with a profit exceeding 313p, I would be ahead.

What did I learn?

  • Advertise in 10 minutes. Now, at any time, I can log in, write an ad,d and spend down the 30 pounds in my Google Account.  I know I can do it in 10 minutes. I recommend giving it whirl just for the pleasure of being clearer about how Google works.
  • Writing Ads is hard.  Do you remember all those Marketing types at Uni who we wrote off for being flibbety-gidgets?  Start buying them a lot of drinks.  And get them to write a whole lot of boiler plate ads to keep in a notebook when you need them fast!
  • Start early. Google is a chicken-and-egg system but you can break that vicious cycle by beginning.  I learned two important things from this experiment which had no purpose but to spend a Googles Voucher.
    • People are out there looking for interview questons and tips.  The click through rate was better on tips.  There is a market there.
    • No one is looking to practice their interviews.  No market.  Or is it a market waiting to be made!
  • Marketing.  How many of us have an explicit marketing budget?  How many of us have costed how many people we have to wave our product at (impressisons).  How many of us know our CTR (how many people we meet and how that translates into meaningful contacts?).  How many of us know how much each CT has cost us?  How many of us check the check our conversion rate to sales?  Have we budgeted adequately the time we need to spend, the time we need to wait and the money we must spend to achieve the conversions we want and need?

Good luck with your experiment.  Buzz me if you need help.

And sorry about the ad yesterday.  I wasn’t trying to sell you anything.  If you are a friend of mine, I helped you practice your interview for free!

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10 steps for making beautiful Moo cards efficiently

Do you use Moo cards?

I have some typical corporate cards, but in truth, I am not sure what I am trying to convey.  That I am a relic of the Emily Bronte era?  But are Moo cards, half the size of a business card, with pictures on one side and minimal contact info on the reverse, too frivolous?

Whatever’s the right choice, Moo cards require quite a lot of conscious decision making.  Which pictures should I use?  What do they say about our products and services?  And what should I say about myself in exactly 6 lines?

Moo cards also require a modicum of administrative efficiency.  I need to load up photos, or find some on Flickr, edit them using an online service like Picnik, and then place them on the Moo interface, pay Moo online and wait – for about 10 days for them to arrive through my letterbox.

Starting from scratch, it took me about 3 days (!) to make a set of 10 cards which will be printed 10 times each.  The magic of Moo is that the customization is done at no extra cost.   I could do 100 unique cards, if I wished, or 100 of a single card.  Anyway, three days is way too much time, so I paid attention to what I was doing and this is the routine that I will use in future.

Routine for designing Moo cards

  1. I’ve set up a directory called Business Cards, and a subdirectory for each month: November, December, etc.  In free moments while I am hanging on to a call centre, for example, I will search Flickr for pictures and download them into the upcoming month’s directory.  I also did one more thing: I went into the Tools of my browser and set it to ask me where to download (or it dumps everything on me desktop/screen).
  2. I explore rather than search Flickr.  Under explore I go to Creative Commons and search pictures that are listed as “By and Share-alike”.  This means the owner is happy for me both to use them and to change them, provided I indicate who took them and provided I allow anyone else the same right to use the picture I come up with.
  3. I am continuously thinking of tags that might represent my business.  Being a psychologist, so far I have searched for words like “horizon”, “dream”, “steps”.   When I find a promising picture, I download it carefully saving it with filename like “Name of the Picture by Photographer via Flickr”.  Normally the picture will save as a .jpg file.
  4. In the future, when I have some free time, I will go into the online editor, Piknic. It’s free and there is nothing to download.  Here is where I hope to save a lot of time that I spent last time around.
    • Use Edit to resize the picture so the width is 330.  The length doesn’t matter so long as it is 900 or so or less.  An alternative is to resize the picture to something bigger and crop to the right width.
    • Go to Create and add frames.  I’ve found the trick is to set the inner and outer frames to full and change the colour to suit the picture.  I’ve also found it simplest to make both frames the same colour.  At a picture width of 330 and both frames on full, the final picture printed by Moo will have no frame along the long sides and a thick frame at both top and bottom where I can add text.
    • Use Text to add a heading at one end or the other. So far I’ve mostly used a variation of the picture’s name, such as “horizons”.  Then I vary the font and colour to suit the picture.  I also found, after much trial and error that the title must fit within the picture width. As a guide, the circle placeholders must be within the picuture, not overlapping its ends.
    • Use Text to add the copyright information “Picture name By author via Flickr” and use Shapes to find the BY and Share-a-like pictures.  These shapes look like a man and a broken c (not full c) respectively.  Occasionally, I put the copyright information on the picture itself.  Whatever looks good.
    • Save the picture with a new file name.  I extend the original filename with the word “pikniked”.
  5. When I need to order some more cards, I will go go to Moo and select mini-cards.  Using upload, I can pick out the images I have already edited and saved onto my harddrive, position them, and preview them.  In the past,  I have done this even if I am not going to proceed with an order, just to make sure I have edited the picture correctly.  As in this run,  if I want say 20 of one card and 10 for 8 others,  then I just upload the first image twice!  Lastly, I whip out my credit card and pay online.   The going price as of the end of November 2008 is 9.99 pounds and 3.68 postage.  Print out the confirmation and wait 10 days!

I am looking forward to the cards I have made especially for Christmas.  Two geese, looking quite fat and prosperous are waddling through the snow.  That’s my metaphor for the recession!  A fun, happy and prosperous 2009!

Yesterday I pondered on pull advertising, here . .

Via Twitter, thanks to Daryl Tay in Singapore, a simple account of social media suitable for novitiates.  Pull advertising is shown at the end.

All that is missing is an aggregation site to save us the search – run by the vanilla factory of course!

 

UPDATE: We expect the push methods of the 20th century by replaced by pull methods of Toyota.  We only send work when someone signals they want it!

Daryl linked to a good little video the illustrates how much business has changed.

THE RECOVERY:  If you are planning ahead to the recovery, this video is a good place to start.