I’ve got a confession to make. I’m not a marketer. I’ve never had any formal training, I’ve never worked in a marketing department formally, and I’ve never been a classic “marketing person”.
However, everything I have ever done has had marketing involved in it. From the online comic shop that I ran, and that I still consult for, to the online invoicing program I ran, to the SAAS for comic shops that I run today. I’ve always been involved in marketing.
Because of that, I read a LOT of marketing related content. I also listen to a fair number of marketing focused podcasts.
This post will be part of a semi-regular feature that I’ll be hosting, where I post some interesting things I’ve learned.
Before I get started, if you’re not already using Flipboard on your mobile device, make sure you’re using it and that you’ve subscribed to the NorthIQ Megazine on Flipboard!
SEO Quick Wins You Can Try – SEO is a big, dark, scary prospect, but if you just make your website better, you’ll find that you also end up doing a bunch of things that search engines appreciate!
Why You Need Keyword Benchmarking in Your SEO Strategy – Search engine optimization is really just optimizing your site and its content to cater to the intent of someone searching for your businesses offerings. Optimizing your website for Grommets when you really sell Widgets will just bring a bunch of people looking for grommets to your site. This is why you need to monitor the keywords you are trying to rank for, and making sure that you’re adjusting to it.
Automated Marketing and CRM for an Effective Business – Running a business is hard, but some parts of your business can be built once and re-used many times. Creating simple rules in a CRM like we do with our Sharpspring clients, will help you run an entire segment of your business automatically.
Generating Leads with Facebook Ads – This is a great step-by-step podcast on running your first Facebook ad campaign, what to do, how to do it, and why you should do each step.
The Most Persuasive Sales Emails Always Follow These Strategic Copywriting Tips – Five great tips on writing better sales emails. This is a really simple list that will improve your emails tenfold instantly.
13 Practical Tips to Increase Your Email Response Rate by 320 Percent – This is such a great post on improving emails, and it focuses on the most important things first all the way to the least important. So many people start out trying to get their email design right thinking it is the reason they’re not getting opens…but if nobody is opening your email, they’re certainly not seeing your design!
3 Ways Content Brought My Company Back From Bankruptcy – This article has some great tactics on how to produce better content. Content is one of the most powerful marketing tactics that there is, but you need to make sure that you’re delivering content that people have a meaningful reason to use.
How Your Company Can Use Both Outsourced and In-House Marketing – Why not hire everyone internally? There are some skills that you don’t need to have all of the time, and there are some people you simply won’t be able to hire full time. Both Craig and I are pretty specialized at this point in our careers, and we can add a ton of value to a company without you needing to bear the burden of our salaries full time.
Wow, we’re six weeks into 2019 and we still haven’t posted our annual “goals post”. We started this tradition in 2017, and we doubled down in 2018. We think it’s important to set goals, and to reflect on those goals.
The problem with goals is that they’re not rooted in the reality of the moment, they’re rooted in the perfect future that lies ahead. We’ve done a lot to mitigate this by setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound goals, and we check in on them four times a year (every quarter).
These are the goals that will define the next six months (through the end of June 2019) for NorthIQ.
Find more clients
We have figured out three niches that we can help significantly. Home builders, solar companies and technology companies. Through Manage Comics we can also significantly help Comic Stores. We should focus on those companies that we can best help.
Home Builders are being addressed with our Home Builder Demo website, our Solar Companies clients need a Demo Website, as do the Technology companies that we are targeting. We also have demo websites created for Comic Stores, and we need to link these to the current Manage Comics pages.
- Link Comics Microsites to Manage Comics by February 22, 2019 – COMPLETE
- Create Solar Company micro-site by March 8, 2019
- Create Technology Company micro-site by March 15, 2019
Use our own tools
We’ve been selling Sharpspring for about 6 months now, and we’ve done some great things with it, but we haven’t fully set up our own automation pages. We need to solve that problem quickly. Our goal right now is to get an Onboarding system in place for Manage Comics stores when they sign up, and put all existing stores through it over the next month.
- Build demo campaign for Homes contacts by February 22, 2019 – COMPLETE
- Build onboarding for Manage Comics stores by February 28, 2019
- Build demo campaign for Solar contacts by March 15, 2019
- Build demo campaign for Technology contacts by March 22, 2019
Continue content marketing
Content Marketing was the best thing we did in 2017, and we continued with it in 2018. Being seen as “thought leaders” is really important in our space, and showing the smart things that we do helps to explain to others what it is we do, and more importantly HOW we do what we do.
- 26 blog posts in 2019 (2 posts a month) for NorthIQ
- 26 blog posts in 2019 (2 posts a month) for Manage Comics
Invest in the business
We need to put some money into Manage Comics and help it to really pull ahead of the competition. We’re planning some POS incorporation with Square – which will put us in league with other players, but that will take a significant investment.
- Have POS specs completed by March 29 2019
- Have funding in place for POS work by April 19, 2019
- Begin working on POS project by May 1, 2019
Refine our Tools
We started out with just Basecamp for project management, but we’ve added some Jira tools to the arsenal. We need to refine, and revise what tools we use and how we use them. Basecamp is incredibly simple, but we may need some extra tools in order to hit our next milestones.
- Get Help desk running by March 30.
- Determine triage and routing rules for new requests by March 30.
- Service Level Agreements for all new work that is incoming. New work should not take priority over already prioritized and planned work by March 30.
At the beginning of 2018 we set out The NorthIQ Goals for 2018. Our business has a June year end, which means we technically were in 2019 by July…but for the purposes of the blog we consider January 1 – December 31 2018 to be the calendar year.
We set a number of goals to hit, and for the most part we did quite well, but we didn’t achieve all of our goals…and part of that might have been that we were being too aggressive, while some of it can be due to the fact that as a fairly new business we are still figuring out how to optimally do things. Our philosophy so far has been to build things, refine them, and then figure out how to do them repeatedly. We’re doing a great job at building and refining, we’re now in the phase where we need to repeat them.
Craig and I have both worked for companies that dogmatically stuck to unrealistic, aggressive goals. Sticking to goals despite logic dictating that they no longer make sense demotivated us, and didn’t encourage us to do our best work. In a number of cases we actually did the wrong thing in order to hit an unrealistic target to please “the powers that be”. One of the things we’ve decided with NorthIQ is that we would do the right thing even if it goes against our business goals.
A good example came in the summer when we realized that in order to hit our goal of 52 blog posts in a year, we would have to post things that we weren’t convinced were good. We chose instead to put the blog on hiatus for a month to build up a good backlog of posts, and we finished the year out strong with some of our best posts. (more…)
We’re reflecting on what we did in 2018, and later this week we’ll be planning out 2019. As part of our reflections, we’re looking at what we did well in 2018.
One of the things we are most proud of is our blog posts, this year we’ve been publishing things that we believe in, and we’ve been building out stories that mean a lot to us.
How losing a promotion was the best thing that happened to me
In the fall of 2015, Craig was looking to get a promotion at work. He had worked hard, he had been in the company for nearly a decade, and he had fundamentally changed the way that marketing was done in the organization. When he was denied a promotion, he realized that he needed to take matters into his own hands. He sat down with Brian for a week and created a product called “The Kickstart Guide to Marketing”. This post outlined that process, and launched a brand new product called How to Create a Free Marketing Automation System.
Measuring Your Website: What You Should be Looking For
In 2018 we launched “Hot Buzz”, and in our first episode we talked about effective ways of measuring your website. For the follow up blog post, we went in depth on what you should be measuring, and how you know that your website is effective.
The NorthIQ 3i Formula
In 2018 we changed the focus of our business. We realized the thing that we do better than anyone else is find new leads and nurture them to sales ready status. To do this, we use a formula that we call the 3i formula, and in this blog post we broke it down in depth.
Five Signs You Need Marketing Automation
As we got more comfortable with our value proposition, we started noticing patterns with our clients. Not everybody needs a marketing automation system, but there are very clear markers when you do. This blog post outlined five signs that will give you some pretty big indicators that you need to invest in some marketing automation.
4 Simple Behaviours That Will Make Your Digital Marketing Better
Want to know a secret? Most marketing doesn’t work, in this post we looked at 4 simple behaviours that will make your digital marketing instantly better.
The 5 Basics of a Successful Digital Content Strategy
Our marketing automation systems work like magic, but they need content. We looked at what we were doing with our real life clients and how the journey maps out. Our biggest insight is that our automation systems are an engine, and content is the fuel to that engine. Making sure that the content fits the buyer’s journey, and continually answers questions makes the entire system better.
Hot Buzz Episode 4 – Adrian Biljan of Sensus Crypto
In 2018 we launched “Hot Buzz”, which is our show about marketing and chicken wings. Through the four episodes of our first year we talked with a number of different people about a variety of things. Every episode got a little bit better, but we think our fourth one was the best one so far.
Manage Comics Featured in London Inc
My personal favourite post of 2018 was the announcement that we are featured in London Inc. Earlier in the year Craig told me to go “Make a Ruckus”, so I reached out to a number of local news outlets. Now that we have this one piece under our belt, I’m going to continue reaching out to other news outlets to get even more coverage for the cool things that we are doing.
WordPress 5.0 is here, code named “Bebo” after Cuban Jazz master Bebo Valdés. WP 5.0 is a major update, with an all new editor named “Gutenberg”, which is a massive revamp of the default editing experience. 5.0 also saw the release of a brand new default theme called Twenty Nineteen which is fully Gutenberg compliant, and has plenty of room for customization.
As a major upgrade, it could be a little bit scary to do the updates, but it’s very important that you keep your WordPress website up to date with the latest versions. We’ve put together a small guide for how to update to WordPress 5.0 safely, and we’ve added some specific instructions for our customers who also use a custom Divi Child Theme from us. (more…)