Marketing DIY #2 – How to Optimize Google My Business (GMB)

Marketing DIY #2 – How to Optimize Google My Business (GMB)

I’ve spoken to many business owners – smart, seasoned “warriors” who have a great product and work hard and are passionate. Most of them still need a large degree of convincing or explanation about Google My Business that borders on frustrating.

Two reasons why you need to spend time on improving Google My Business:

  1. The further you drop from the #1 listing in Google the more drastically your visitors declines. Especially if it falls to the dreaded “page 2 of Google”.
  2. While there are alternative ways to get to the first page or #1 in Google, Google My Business is a valuable and easy-to-use tool that will truly help you get there.


The Subtle Art of Giving a F*

The Subtle Art of Giving a F*

Mark Manson’s popular book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***” is marketed as a “A dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today”, it doesn’t literally mean to not give any F*’s, it’s just a ballsy way of repeating other self help books like “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”.

A caveat before we get started, I know that neither of these books is about shortcuts, in fact they’re about helping people see the big picture, and understanding what is important, and what isn’t. They’re also about living your best life, your authentic self, and generally being true to yourself.  These are all good things.

The scary part about messages like that is that some people have taken this to mean that you can just do a surface level skim coat and call it “good enough”. If I shouldn’t sweat the small stuff, why do you care that the thumbnail for your news story grabs the right part of the image?

Sometimes we need to give a F***, sometimes we need to give all of the F***’s, and borrow a cup of F***’s from a neighbour to add some extra F***’s to your awesome sauce, otherwise you’ll just end up with a big lump of “adequate sauce”.

Hey, maybe adequate sauce is exactly what you need on your Corporate Chain Pizza of life.

Then again, maybe you need to give a f***.

What is the “Subtle art of giving a F***”?

The Subtle Art of Giving a F*** is more than just “sweating the small stuff” and in fact it’s a lot about big picture thinking, and how small details add up to the big picture.

Let’s start with a website. You can tell within 30 seconds of looking at a website how the company is going to treat you.

  • How does it look? Is the site old and tired, or is it fairly modern?
  • Does the navigation make sense?
  • Is it obvious what you should do? Is it simple to find the thing you’re looking for?
  • Is it easy to get in touch with them?
  • When you want to get in touch with them, do they require a whole bunch of seemingly irrelevant information?

Sometimes it’s the little things. Maybe they have a really intricate logo, but the thing is so small that it loses all context – it was likely designed for print, not for a 300px phone screen, where 87% of your potential customers initiate their first contact. Maybe it’s the fact that a captcha form takes seven attempts to get through.

You can tell very quickly when thought hasn’t been given to who is using the website, and what they’re doing with it.

When the basics are taken care of, then the difference is in how an experience can delight you. The little things can take something from 90% or “good enough” to 125% – “Wow, this is great”

Sometimes it’s about doing something that only you will care about.

The other day I spent over an hour on a single image for a blog post.  The post itself probably took me another hour. I doubt anyone will even notice the difference between my picture and the default. The post was – How to Survive the Retail Paradigm Shift over on my Manage Comics blog.

Comic book store before and after

For those of you wondering, I went in and added actual comic books to the book covers, so that the picture was actually reflective of the source material. This may not seem like a huge deal, but it felt important to me at the time. It was fun, I flexed some Photoshop muscles I don’t normally use, and it lends some extra context to the post.

It’s also the kind of thing that a detail oriented person might notice, and since this particular post was going in front of hundreds of thousands of eyes that’s the kind of detail that matters.

For that post I also recorded a video, it took me 14 minutes to record the video, and another three revisions of the thumbnail image to make sure it was exactly right.

3 Versions, Paradigm Shift

In the first version, I realized that at certain screen sizes, the sides were being cut off, so I resized the caption and moved the logo a bit.  However reading it I realized that the title needed some juice to make it more relevant, so I revised it again. Each revision only took a few minutes, but they were important.

In short, I did sweat the small stuff, and I gave a F***.

Don’t miss the forest for the trees

The little things gave me a sense of accomplishment. However, I worked on the things that I thought would make an impact, I did things quickly and efficiently, and I only worked on these little things after I had the big picture covered.

The video I did was recorded quickly, and without fuss. The idea behind the videos I am making right now is that I want to do things that have a low barrier to entry, that don’t take me a ton of time, but that can hit an adjacent audience to the text.

I recorded the video twice, the first time I hemmed and hawed quite a bit, but the second time I managed to get through the entire thing with only one minor screw up (I couldn’t remember the name “Geek Easy” no matter how hard I tried).  Now I could have done a quick edit and fixed that up, but after watching it, I liked the raw energy of the unedited video.

What was important was that I got it up, that it enhanced the original post, and that it didn’t take a whole ton of time to do.

The Takeaway

I’m a big fan of the term “Appropriate Effort”, meaning that you don’t spend a ton of time on things you know very few people will ever see, but you do put a lot of effort into the details on things that many people would see.  I can’t imagine myself spending an hour on a graphic for a blog post just for Manage Comics, but when I’m going to draw in a much bigger audience, it makes a ton of sense.

  1. Cover the big picture, make sure your message is consistent.
  2. Don’t kill yourself over the little details that aren’t important.
  3. Work fast, work well, do things you enjoy.
  4. Give a F***, and make it matter.
Generate More Higher Quality Leads in 3 Steps

Generate More Higher Quality Leads in 3 Steps

Quite often we’ll hear from a business that their website just doesn’t work for lead generation. Either it doesn’t generate leads or if it does they are just plain bad. They tell me they’d rather stick to referrals, or cold calls. They also usually complain that growing their sales is difficult.

The truth is the problem here is not the medium but the execution. Your website should be your BEST driver for generating quality leads. If it’s not there is usually something wrong.


NorthIQ Values – Revised

NorthIQ Values – Revised

Back in April as we started thinking about what we wanted our company to become, we set out to create values. We asked the question “What do you Value?“. We knew that these were going to be aspirational, and that we’d revise them over the next little while as we put them into place. What became immediately obvious to us though was that there were too many, that they weren’t specific enough, and that the only two we could remember were “Provide Ludicrous Value” and “Have Fun”.

We knew we had some work to do.

Then an interesting thing happened. We ended up working with a few companies that didn’t align with what we wanted to do. Those projects didn’t fit our vision of what we wanted to become, and many of them were “one and done” type jobs where we did something, but didn’t have a long term vision on how to work with the client. (more…)

Cool companies we like: Vistaprint and Gearheart Industry

Cool companies we like: Vistaprint and Gearheart Industry

I have always said that if you like the things that a company does, you should shout it from the rooftops, and today I’d like to share a couple of great experiences we’ve had recently with two companies, Vistaprint and Gearheart Industry.

For Christmas this year, we’re doing a couple of cool giveaways.  First off, we’re going to send a Christmas Card to every customer and prospect on our list, it’s our way of saying “Thanks for thinking of us.”

Instead of a standard Christmas Card, we decided to do a postcard, which led to Craig and I challenging each other to develop a fun post card in under two hours.  We each created a version, and posted them to Facebook and LinkedIn for voting. (more…)

How to be Great at Marketing with no Formal Training at All

How to be Great at Marketing with no Formal Training at All

“These reports you handed in…it’s almost as if you have no business training at all…I don’t know what this is supposed to be.”

Marketing is interesting to me at least partly because those who become a successful practitioner get there because of their ability to just get out there and try things.

I am not formally trained as a marketer, and while it has closed some doors (roles requiring an MBA for example), it has opened up so many others for me. I am grateful to have learned many lessons along the way.

If you’re a small business owner, or you’re just wanting to “get into” the marketing industry there is a definite path to becoming successful, even without any formal training whatsoever.

In fact, dare I say it, you might actually be better off with no training. (more…)