Marketing your small business-the benefit of being interesting

I have studied the art and science of copywriting over the last five years, or thereabouts.

Copywriting, to define it simply, is the skill of writing words that persuade the reader to do something; it could be to change their mind, take a certain action, buy something.

I have read books by the greats of copywriting going back to the 1950s: books by John Caples, Gene Schwartz, Eugene Hopkins, David Oglivy, Robert Collier, Victor Schwab, Gary Halbert, to mention just a few.

One of the things you quickly learn is in order to get someone to take action after reding your words you must first get them to read them.

And to do that you need to drag them into your ‘copy’ with your headline.

The headline of your piece is critical because if it cannot get the reader to read on you simply cannot persuade.

Three techniques that work in a headline are to use certain trigger words; words like ‘new’ and ‘free’. People respond to these words because we all want to learn something new or get something for free.

Curiosity is also a good trigger to draw the reader in.

In the last few years, thanks to my YouTube videos, I have discovered another powerful tool, one which is related to curiosity.

Interest.

Are you interesting?

Because, all things being equal, I have discovered that if you come across as an interesting person you will stand out from your competitors.

You may not be better professionally, you may provide the same or similar services, but if you are interesting or remarkable or memorable you will be given more chances than your professional competition.

This is something I stumbled across accidentally because from time to time in my YouTube videos I have sometimes made reference in the videos to feeding the little birds around my home or to baking bread or reading certain books.

And then I have been asked at consultations or in meetings how is the baking going or am I still looking after the birds.

This thesis may be a difficult thing to prove from a marketing perspective, but I know from casual remarks in conversations with clients that this ‘interesting’ thing is similar to the ‘remarkable’ thesis set out by Seth Godin in his book, Purple Cow.

Consider trying it in your business.

10 Invaluable Lessons from Reaching 5,000 YouTube Subscribers

When I started out on YouTube, I never thought I would reach 5,000 subscribers.

Let’s face it, I was making videos about topics-law and business-that are not likely to produce videos which can go viral or gain massive popularity.

To compound matters I was not making videos for a huge population base because my videos are mainly targeted at the Irish market, not worldwide.

Thus, I was getting down to a narrower base, a niche audience on YouTube, which might lead to a few hundred subscribers; but not thousands, and certainly not 5,000.

But that is exactly what has happened today, 5th October 2019, as I have reached the magic 5,000 subscriber mark.

What have I learned from the process? Several things:

  1. Communicating with people and potential new leads and clients through video is incredibly powerful because when someone watches your video you have all their attention, unlike audio where the person may be doing something else like walking the dog or exercising
  2. Making videos is easy, provided you take one step at a time and commit to making them on a regular basis; no matter how bad the first few are, and they will probably be rough, you will improve
  3. I ask one principal question before I make a video now: ‘will the viewer see this as useful? Has it utility?’ Nothing else matters, but if you answer this question in the affirmative everything else-recognition, brand building, new leads and clients, new business-will follow naturally
  4. The type of video you make is limited only by your imagination but it should always be useful, regardless of whether the use is to entertain, provoke a debate, educate, riff on some topic, build your brand, show the real, authentic you, showcase your products or services, etc.
  5. You don’t make videos for everyone; you don’t seek to make viral hits; you make videos for the few-the few who you seek to serve-and you take pride in your work
  6. I am surprised more people, especially business owners and entrepreneurs, don’t embrace video, the power of the smart phone in their pocket, and avail of the huge opportunity offered by YouTube
  7. YouTube is free; this makes my surprise at point 6 even more pronounced
  8. Making regular videos helps you develop and hone a powerful skill-communication-which can be utilised daily offline
  9. Committing to a regular schedule of uploading a video is helpful in developing a commitment to show up and produce something useful; the same principle of showing up could be used in creating other types of content such as blog posts or audio recordings
  10. It is extremely powerful from a thought leadership, brand building perspective to show up with a video and say to your audience, ‘here-I made this-you might find it useful’

What next? I will continue to show up every week with a new video which will, hopefully, pass the ‘useful’ test.

Not useful for everyone? That’s fine.

Roll on 10,000 subscribers!

Here’s my channel.

Thinking About Starting a Podcast

I am considering starting a podcast. Turning over in my mind the pros and cons.

I don’t want to start one that I would not be happy to put my name to, that I could not have some pride in and want to say, with some justified satisfaction, ‘I made this’.

The starting point in my thinking, which I have set my face against for some time, is the success of my YouTube channel and the steady growth in subscriber numbers, increasing amount of comments, engagement, good feedback, compliments, follow up legal queries to the office, and, ultimately, consultations/clients.  I was thinking about how feasible it might be to extract the audio from many of my best, most popular videos and simply publish the audio as a podcast. This would be an easy way to start and a good ‘repurposing’ of existing content I created and own.

It would be easy, too, to create an ‘intro’ and ‘outro’ track and custom edit the audio for each episode of the podcast. And much of the editing could be done on my existing Camtasia 2018 software which is my video editing software and with which I have become more comfortable and proficient.

Some of my videos-those which rely on slides or images-would not be suitable but lately a huge number of my videos, which have been very well received, are simply ‘talking head’ type videos with me speaking directly to the camera on my Galaxy S9 mobile phone either at home or in the office.

The reason I have set my face against starting a podcast for so long is that I have done everything in terms of content creation and digital/social media marketing that one person could reasonably do and I have a concern about spreading myself too thin in trying to take on too much.

I am a one-man band after all and I think you would be genuinely surprised that I create all the content-blog posts, videos, slideshows, images, social media posts- and do all the digital marketing myself, completely solo.

Having said that I am now making videos with great ease in a short amount of time and a great deal of efficiency and my own ‘system’. By this I mean to say that most of the videos I make are done with one take and only take ten minutes or thereabouts. A few more minutes editing and uploading to YouTube and Facebook and I am easily knocking out a video in 30 minutes maximum.

There are some obvious benefits which might flow from a podcast, benefits such as new leads, new clients, and the benefit of acquiring and developing new skills in communicating. Anything that helps me to improve my ability to communicate is something that I would embrace vigorously for I am a huge believer in the power of communication and the acquisition and improvement of communication skills.

I have not decided one way or the other yet, and I will do a little more research about it, but I know and understand the basic skills in podcasting and I am an enthusiastic consumer of podcasts and audiobooks because they are so convenient to consume as I go about my ordinary life-for example driving to work, jogging every evening, mowing the lawn at the weekend.

All of these times I now spend listening to audiobooks or podcasts. If podcasts have slowly but surely become part of my everyday life I think it is a reasonable assumption that other people, whilst exercising or commuting or walking the dog or engaging in other ordinary everyday activities, are finding and enjoying podcasts too.

Digital Panhandling Is Not a Marketing Strategy

If you are running your own small business and it is heavily dependent on spamming your friends on the various social media platforms to buy your stuff you probably don’t have a real business.

You almost certainly need to reconsider your marketing strategy, assuming one was generous enough to consider such unwanted, uninvited interruptions online as a ‘marketing strategy’.

Because you will soon run out of friends.

Social media marketing has the capability of being of enormous benefit to the development and continued running of a successful business. But the way you use social media is vital and it is easy to take what appears to be an easy option to just tap up your friends.

This is no more than a form of digital pan-handling.

Adding your friends to groups on social media or messaging platforms with a view to hitting them up repeatedly to ‘buy my shit’ is lazy and unimaginative.

Seriously.

What you need to do instead is deliver value up front, in advance to build awareness of you, your brand, and your product or services.

This is a simple, effective strategy but needs thought and hard, consistent work.

The alternative is the destruction of whatever chance you have of building a business and the loss of friends.

“The Art of Marketing Your Services Business Online: How to Get New Clients With a Proven, Inexpensive 5 Part Digital Marketing Strategy”-Update in the Pipeline

I was delighted when I checked the latest reviews of my books for sale on Amazon and Kindle.

Reviews, especially bad ones, can break a book’s life; no reviews at all are not helpful either and it is challenging to get readers to leave a review.

I have 6 titles for sale which can be purchased in paperback or Kindle format and all of them have received positive reviews. (You can check them out yourself here).

One book which I have neglected, however,  is “The Art of Marketing Your Services Business Online: How to Get New Clients With a Proven, Inexpensive 5 Part Digital Marketing Strategy”, first published in January, 2016.

I intend rectifying the situation in the next few weeks by updating it with new material. You may think that the strategy I set out in that book must be outdated now and changes in the digital marketing space would render the strategy worthless or irrelevant.

That is not the case at all.

I carried out a review at the weekend to see how my method as outlined in that book compared with the strategies and methods put forward by other digital marketing practitioners/teachers at that time.

And I am still executing the same strategies with a great deal of success and the three contemporaries who I researched at the weekend have quit what they were recommending back in 2015/2016.

I am certain that what I have set out in my book is sound and works like gangbusters but there are some significant improvements that I have made in the years since first publication. So, my strategy is essentially the same but I would recommend some tweaks and enhancements, especially in the area of advertising on certain social media platforms.

These are the areas I will be focusing on when I update in the next few weeks. Meanwhile the 5 steps I have enunciated in the original book are as sound and relevant today as they were then. Not only am I taking the same 5 steps now on a weekly basis, but I have added some enhancements which I am looking forward to sharing in the updated version.

Employee #30 at Facebook, Facebook Advertising, and Email Subscribers for $.34

facebook advertising

He was the 30th employee at Facebook when it started up. He was directly involved in the creation of the Facebook advertising platform.

And he is almost certainly a multi-millionaire. He is the founder of AppSumo, Sumo, and King Sumo and a leading light in the business world dispensing advice for startups and entrepreneurs.

His name is Noah Kagan.

I came across a video of his on YouTube recently and was fascinated to read the title and the premise of his video. It is called “Facebook Ads Tutorial: How I Get Thousands of Email Subscribers for $1 Each” and you can watch it here.

I was fascinated because I get email subscribers for $0.34 per sign up.

Yes, 34% of Noah Kagan’s cost. 34% of the cost that Noah Kagan, employee number 30 at Facebook, is so impressed with and made a video about it.

So I made a video about it, which you can take a look at on this page.

Of course the reason why I can make Noah Kagan look like a rank amateur is because I am in a much less competitive market.

Less competitive from a geographical perspective, and less competitive from an industry standpoint.

Nevertheless, you would have to wonder why more business owners, entrepreneurs, start ups, hustlers, grinders, and so forth do not avail of Facebook advertising for their business.

And don’t use email marketing properly.

And don’t use YouTube and YouTube advertising properly, or at all.

It baffles me, quite frankly.

Anyway, take a look at the video here:

Content Marketing-a Simple, Effective Strategy

Every weekend I try, and generally succeed, in creating at least 2 new pieces of content.

This weekend, for example, I published a video on YouTube, “Reading Between the Lines at an Employment Hearing” and published a blog post “Part Time Bus Driver Wins Reinstatement and Full Salary Retrospection”.

Content marketing

This is the central plank of my content marketing strategy, something I have been doing since I published my first piece of content in September, 2009.

This is a strategy which I have pursued consistently since then and I have written a book about it, “The Art of Marketing Your Services Business Online: How to Get New Clients With a Proven, Inexpensive 5 Part Digital Marketing Strategy”.

This book is only 122 pages long and was first published in January, 2016 and even though many things have changed since the strategy outlined in that book is the one that I still pursue as I write this blog post.

It’s simple: content marketing is publishing useful and/or interesting content for the market you seek to serve.

The content can be written, for example blog posts, can be video (YouTube channel), can be audio (Podcast), or even a combination of all three. But the bottom line is the content must have utility, must help.

That’s all there is to it. It means I don’t have to spend money on traditional advertising, or distribute leaflets, or engage in the tactics that might have worked 20 years ago.

If you create 2 pieces of content every weekend, and you do this 52 weeks of the year, and you do it for 10 years you find that you have a significant body of work out there working away for you in the search engines, on YouTube, on social media sites, and so on.

P.S. Matheson have a great podcast which deals with employment law.

Building Your Tribe (There’s One for Everyone)

I stumbled across a YouTube channel over the weekend and it proved, if any proof were needed, that there is a market or tribe for almost everyone.

The guy was a mature man, I would estimate in his 60s, and the channel started out as a guide to men’s grooming, hair, and so on as the guy, who shall remain unidentified for fear of giving him any more publicity, has a hairdressing/barber’s shop.

He was, as Charles Dickens might say, ‘much occupied by his own sagacity’.

The channel has evolved over time and now he does long ‘talking head’ videos in which he dispenses advice for men about women, relationships, finance, health, smoking cigars and pipes, sex, guff about stoicism, and so on.

Even though he has a pleasant speaking voice and speaks well, even though he is presentable, even though he positions himself as the grandfather or father you never had dispensing worldly wisdom he spouts the most tremendous amount of chauvinism, misogyny, and rank bad advice.

But that’s not the killer punch for me; no, the money shot for me is that the self absorbed fool has over 100,000 subscribers on YouTube. And these people love him and agree with the rubbish he peddles about ‘finding your manhood’ again and all the other travails men allegedly face from women, leftists, socialists, take your pick.

I suppose when you consider the grifter Trump getting elected to the White House it should not be a surprise that this charlatan can get 100,000 followers with similar antediluvian, misconceived views.

But when you stumble across it up close and personal on YouTube it still sets you back a little bit.

The bottom line, though, is if you are a business owner or start up you can build a tribe of fans for your product or service quite easily, especially on YouTube.

Drip by Drip (the Army of Cost Effective Workers)

I uploaded a video to YouTube yesterday which is almost certainly of interest to only a small group of people. The video is called “The Powers, Duties and Role of Executors in Irish law”.

To the person who finds themselves burdened with the job of executor for the estate of a loved one who has recently passed away, however, the video should be useful.

That’s who this video is for; it’s not for everyone.

For me, from a marketing perspective, this video will almost certainly be relevant next month, next year, in 5 years time, in 10 years time when you consider the last legislative change in this area of Irish law was the Succession Act, 1965.

And the fact that this video will be working away on YouTube for those who are interested in this topic; the fact that I only need 1 or 2 people in a year to generate a nice bit of business from this video; the fact that it only took me approximately 30 minutes to make and another 30 minutes to upload and optimise on YouTube; the fact that once made and uploaded it does not require any further work, maintenance, or tending makes it an efficient way to grow my business.

I remain surprised at how few Irish businesses exploit YouTube and the drip by drip effect of an army of virtually cost free ‘workers’ like this.
[You can take a look at my YouTube channel here.]

2,000 YouTube Subscribers Later-My 4 Fundamentals To Grow a Small Business Online

terry gorry youtube

I got a great deal of quiet satisfaction this week from reaching my 2,000th subscriber to my YouTube channel.


I uploaded my first video in March 2011 and it took from then until the third quarter of 2018 to grow my subscriber base to 1,000.


But it only took a couple of months to add an extra 1,000, which bodes well for 2019 and beyond.


I also get a great kick from the fact that I did it without any ‘expert’ help.


No digital marketing guru, no video marketing expert, no expensive equipment, no cameraman, no editor, no studio time. (I have nothing against experts; but don’t tell me, show me.)


Just me and my mobile phone and a $20 webcam purchased on Amazon.


I made all the videos myself, made mistakes, made rubbish, researched answers to questions, improved a little, Googled some more to find more answers, sought out tips, techniques on YouTube, subscribed to good Youtubers, learned from them, learned from my mistakes, learned from trial and error.


And I have loved the journey, the journey of discovery, discovery about making videos, discovery about video marketing, discovery about marketing, discovery about myself, discovery about communication, discovery about hustling and rainmaking in a digital age.


And bit by bit, step by step, gradually the videos improved, and my subscriber growth has a little bit of momentum now which should help maintain my growth rate into the future.


All the videos have been made with my mobile phone or a cheap desktop webcam and a video editing software program called ‘Camtasia’, sometimes with slides from Google Slides or Powerpoint and sometimes with just me being a ‘talking head’.


The greatest thrill, however, is being able to grow my solicitor’s business and my personal brand with the help of YouTube.


And underlying this growth is four fundamental principles I firmly believe in to grow a small business nowadays:

  1. There are very few gatekeepers now-that is, I can pick myself and don’t need anyone else’s permission or approval to communicate with those I try to serve.
  2. An attitude of “Here-I made this, you might find it useful. It’s not for everyone, but I don’t try to serve everyone, but you might find utility in it.
  3. Don’t like my video/blog post? That’s fine because I will make another one (video, blog post) tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the next day, maybe you’ll find one of those useful.
  4. Drip by drip, bit by bit, small step by small step.


You can check out my YouTube channel here, my employment law website here, my solicitor’s website here, my small business website here.


Drip by drip.