The 2019 PostFunnel Summit Lineup

Source: https://postfunnel.com/the-2019-postfunnel-summit-lineup/

PostFunnel, this website that you’re reading right now, is a digital publication centered around relationship marketing. 

 Well, it’s mostly digital. 

 This year, we’re continuing the conversation around MarTech, data analysis, customer relationship, content marketing and more – just IRL.  Save the date(s), if you haven’t already for October 28-29th, where hundreds of smart, innovative professionals such as yourself will attend the PostFunnel Summit in sunny Tel Aviv. 

 Formerly Optimove Connect, it’s the 5th iteration of the leading Relationship Marketing conference, and the first under the PostFunnel brand (proudly backed by Optimove). As always, many incredibly intriguing speakers will share tons of meaningful insights with us. Click here for more information and the full list of speakers. 

 Want to get to know them a little better? Check us out here and on social media, as we share short, personal introductory posts twice a week, leading up to the Summit. 

 Kicking off with our 3 house speakers (for logistics reasons, we know you understand :). 

Pini Yakuel
Optimove Co-Founder and CEO 

Fresh off the plane that took him back home to Israel after three years in NY, this curious, truth-seeking, analytics-driven dynamo brings both sides of the brain to everything he says or does – whether it’s a thought-provoking blog post or a fireside chat, a product initiative or a sales call, and anything in and around business and life. 

 With an MSc in Industrial Engineering and Management from Tel Aviv University, and two decades of experience in customer marketing, business consulting, and sales, it’s perhaps his passion for innovative and empowering technologies that keep Optimove ahead of the curve more than anything else. 

 Here he is presenting something he was thinking about “for [roughly] five years”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGpTpWO3LaE 

Amit Bivas
Optimove VP Marketing 

The combination of sharp business skills, creativity, and a keen eye for detail, represents the epitome of Optimove’s software is – the sweet spot where the art and the science of marketing meet. 

His BSc in Industrial Engineering and Information Systems, strong background in data analytics and statistics, and leadership skills, make for a unique marketing exec, with extensive experience planning, developing, and executing B2B and B2C marketing strategies from the ground up. 

And here’s an interesting presentation he gave. Minus his usual propensity towards printed dress shirts
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-iEGa__msU
 

Yoav Susz
Optimove VP Revenue, North America 

After a career in Public Diplomacy, Product Management, and Law, Yoav found his true calling helping businesses find the best way to engage their customers. Yeah, we didn’t see it coming either. 

Yoav holds an LLB from the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel and an MBA from the Stern School of Business at NYU. None of which explains his (sophisticated) British accent. 

Check it out for yourself .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5N5J05_E-s 

The post The 2019 PostFunnel Summit Lineup appeared first on Post Funnel.

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NEWS // New Representation: Tea & Water Pictures

Source: http://focus52.blogspot.com/2018/06/news-new-representation-tea-water.html

I’m pleased to announce that I am now represented by Tea & Water Pictures in New York, London and Beijing. They are an exciting agency that have a some great production experience and a team with really diverse but complimentary backgrounds, so I’m excited to see what we can achieve together over the next few years!

They’ve also done a little interview with me which, if you’re interested, you can read here 

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It’s 2019: Are Your Ads Portraying Gender Responsibly?

Source: https://postfunnel.com/its-2019-are-your-ads-portraying-gender-responsibly/

Marketers, we’re getting gender all wrong. While women control $40 trillion of consumer spend, 76% of female consumers and 71% of male consumers believe the way advertising portrays them is completely out of touch.

With the steady increase of socially conscious consumers, companies must approach gender portrayals in a multifaceted and accurate manner to maintain customer loyalty. It’s no secret that brands catering to diverse audiences earn more customer spend than those that ignore large segments of the population; gender-balanced brands, for example, are worth $20.6B, female-skewed brands $16.1B, and those that cater exclusively to men, $11.5B.

Use the following strategies to feature gendered ads in a way that connects with your customers.

More from PostFunnel on advertising:

How Mobile Advertising Works In 2019
14 Surprising Stats About Digital Advertising
Facebook Advertising Strategies from 30+ Experts to Optimize Your Campaigns

Be Bold

48% of consumers want brands to take a stand on gender equality; use your ads to shine a spotlight on these issues. This strategy can help inspire engagement, intrigue, and brand loyalty, but it’s also easy to get it wrong. A few tips:

  • Identify key issues impacting both men and women that connect to your brand’s core values, and explore where your brand can make an impact.
  • Use positive language and tones to challenge damaging rhetoric about gender to motivate change. Avoid exploiting the issue just to sell your product—and ensure your company has non-biased gender equality policies in place before advocating for equal pay or gender-balanced opportunities.
  • Challenge the status quo while encouraging your audience to become the best versions of themselves—whatever that may look like for them.

Before using this strategy, evaluate your previous stance on gender equality. If you’re new to championing social/political causes, take things slow to avoid backlash. Begin by understanding your target market and practice cultural sensitivity to deliver an effective ad with a strong stance.

Portray Gender Progressively

72% of consumers feel that advertising doesn’t represent the world around them, but ads that consumers deem progressive drive 28% uplift in purchase intent and are 35% more enjoyable. Here’s how to produce advertisements that reflect today’s world.

  • Create ads that celebrate individuality and champion ‘untraditionally masculine’ behaviors. Carry out surveys and studies to understand issues facing your male audience and work with experts to build the right strategy for conveying your message. Dollar Shave’s funny Get Ready Campaign was based on customer survey responses.
  • Include minorities in your ads to reflect the population, featuring different accents, languages, and religions. To avoid tokenism, explore a wide variety of individual stories.
  • Consumers today are less interested in overtly sexualized gender advertising. To discern whether your ads objectify a portion of the population, advertising agency founder Madonna Badger suggests using the following criteria:
  1. Does the woman have a choice or voice in this situation?
  2. Is she reduced to just a sexually provocative body part?
  3. Would you be comfortable seeing yourself in the image?
  4. Is the image manipulated to the extent that the look is not humanly achievable?

Customer marketing challenges and opportunities

Keep Humanity as your Focus

Engage your audience by developing ads that appeal to more than one gender. Instead of focusing on outdated storylines and over-generalizations, opt for inclusive themes. A few suggestions:

  • Humor improves ad receptivity with genders more than any other ad characteristic. Stay mindful of avoiding hurtful stereotypes and monitor responses to your ads to gauge which types of humor are hitting the mark.
  • 48% of men and women feel more loyal toward brands with gender-positive messaging. Show empowering scenarios with people of all genders and focus on portraying people as diverse, unique, and multifaceted.

Rid your Marketing of Tired Stereotypes

64% of consumers think advertisers need to do more to eliminate traditional or old-fashioned gender roles and ideals. Below are some outdated, over-simplistic assumptions to avoid:

  • The Housewife Role: Use authoritative female characters in your ads and represent achievements beyond product-related responsibilities such as taking care of the home. When using females in your storytelling, choose characters that are strong and nurturing, powerful and supportive, dynamic and calm. In other words, treat them as humans, not one-dimensional characters.
  • The Perfect Life: As much as possible, represent your audience in your ads and promote attainable lifestyles or images that inspire your audience. Be realistic and resist labeling only extravagance as ‘the perfect lifestyle.’

Walk Your Talk

Consumers can easily detect when representation and gender diversity attempts are driven by profit rather than a sincere desire for social change. Here’s how to prove you’re not paying lip service to gender issues:

  • Hire a diverse internal creative team to help you uncover stereotypes during the development process and create a more powerful message that will resonate with your target audience.
  • Consumers want to see a real commitment that goes beyond a single message on a particular day. Invest time and resources into supporting your cause to gain momentum and solidify your brand as an advocate to the cause. Reaffirm your mission across all touchpoints and plan social change initiatives that consumers can take part in.
  • Earn your certification from The Global Business Certification Standard of Gender Equality (EDGE) to show your commitment to achieving gender diversity in the workplace.

When portraying gender, acknowledge intersectional identities by considering gender in relation to sexual orientation, religion, age, ethnicity, or race. Stick to sharing individual stories that celebrate diversity to avoid generalization. Lastly, to increase your campaign’s effectiveness,  look toward consumers to understand the best way to accurately depict their reality.

Want to learn how to best serve your customers? Join us for the PostFunnel Summit

The post It’s 2019: Are Your Ads Portraying Gender Responsibly? appeared first on Post Funnel.

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Take Your Advertising Cues From these 5 Iconic Ad Slogans

Source: https://postfunnel.com/take-your-advertising-cues-from-these-5-iconic-ad-slogans/

Think of “Just do it” or “I’m loving it.” Instantly, we know which brand is behind these slogans. And that’s point. A great slogan is much more than a concise way of expressing what the company is all about, and it’s certainly not just a sentence akin to the mission statement. Great slogans stick with us when they create a connection deeper than mere product preferences. 

Keep these 5 examples of iconic ad slogans in mind when planning this fundamental branding piece. 

1. “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” – State Farm 

State Farm created their slogan to represent how they’ll approach insurance like being a good neighbor; one who’s there for you whenever you need them, look after your family and home when needed, and ready to jump in and help when crises arrive.  

State Farm’s slogan conjures up those wholesome values, good morals, and community vibes. Though they’ve since rebranded, they’ll always be known as the ‘good neighbor’ whether there’s a crisis or not.  

2. I NY – Empire State Development Services  

Designer Milton Glaser created this now ubiquitous phrase in 1977 to promote New York State tourism and represent the state’s 11 vacation regions. Glaser, who submitted his design pro bono, refused to copyright the design after learning it would only run for a few months. Aside from creating a logo appealed to all kinds of New Yorkers and happy visitors, Glaser wanted his free art to become part of the city’s iconography. 

42 years later, it’s become NY’s official slogan.  

Chris Lowery, president and chief strategist of Chase Design Group said that the design has lasting power thanks to its simple messaging. “In a diverse, multicultural city like New York, anyone who saw it instantly knew what it meant.” 

3. What Happens Here, Stays Here – Las Vegas Conventions And Visitor’s Authority  

Much like the I Love NY logo, Las Vegas’ now infamous tagline began as a way to promote travel to Sin City and reinforce the promise of adult freedom. Since its unveiling in 2003, the phrase was referenced by numerous pop culture and arts entities such as:  Saturday Night Live, Meet the Press, Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, the Academy Awards. 

In 2006, then-First-Lady, Laura Bush, uttered the tagline while speaking with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show. One USA Today survey named the campaign the “most effective” of 2003.  

Nowadays, the slogan feelsfor many—Controversial with #MeToo and the shooting in Las Vegas, but initially, it was meant to capture the free-spirited nature of the city. 

4. The happiest place on Earth – Disneyland  

Slogans should further emphasize a brand’s mission statement. Here’s Disney’s“We create happiness by providing the finest in entertainment for people of all ages, everywhere.” 

A little background on Disney’s MO from Walt Disney himself as he opened Disneyland in 1955: “To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.” 

Though many aren’t familiar with this exact quote, the mission statement and slogan reinforce one another to create a cohesive glimpse into what Disney’s all about. 

5. “Taste the Rainbow” — Skittles 

Masterfoods USA paired the tagline “Taste the rainbow” with commercials featuring fantasy worlds to entice teens to reach for the bag of skittles. Though many commercials featured magical creatures, rainbows, and Skittles showers, the brand continuously updates their commercials to target each generation of teens.  

Gerry Graf, Executive Creative Director at advertising company, TBWA, remarked that their slogan and chosen theme is one of their greatest assets: “One of Skittles’ great equities has always been the fantasy and the magic of the rainbow.”  

TL;DR: What do all these slogans have in common? 

  • Structure-wise, they are all succinct and clear. No tangled sentences 
  • They all have one word that tells you what the brand is all about, and it’s consistent with the brand’s values/image. “(is) there”, “love”, “Happens”, “happiest”, and “Taste” all tell you something very basic about the brand. 
  • They consider that target market – all of these iconic slogans cater to specific demographics, whether it’s teenagers, tourists or native New Yorkers, or those seeking a rambunctious getaway in the middle of a Nevada desert. 
  • They’re TIMELESS; the company may rebrand, eras come and go, but the message will stay relevant culturally 
  • They’re also tied to strong visuals and at times—memories. Everyone remembers the first or last time they visited a Disney theme park. Or the State Farm jingle, that stays in your head even after you’ve turned the TV off. 

The post Take Your Advertising Cues From these 5 Iconic Ad Slogans appeared first on Post Funnel.

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NEWS // New Representation: Tea & Water Pictures

Source: http://focus52.blogspot.com/2018/06/news-new-representation-tea-water.html

I’m pleased to announce that I am now represented by Tea & Water Pictures in New York, London and Beijing. They are an exciting agency that have a some great production experience and a team with really diverse but complimentary backgrounds, so I’m excited to see what we can achieve together over the next few years!

They’ve also done a little interview with me which, if you’re interested, you can read here 

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Live Captioning A Webinar Presentation

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheWebinarBlog/~3/8cAJHucWl7k/thewebinarblog~Live-Captioning-A-Webinar-Presentation.html

I just had a thought-provoking email correspondence with a professional colleague who is an expert in the presentation design and delivery space. Nolan Haims said he had recently written an article about the ability to get live, automated captions added to slideshow presentations in Microsoft PowerPoint. He asked if I knew of similar functionality in any web conferencing platforms.

I cogitated a bit, and admitted that I was drawing a blank. I have three guesses as to why webinar and webcast vendors would avoid adding such a feature:

  1. It’s not their business. Web conferencing products already have a lot of moving parts that keep their development staffs busy and their product roadmaps stocked with implementation plans. They don’t need the hassle of trying to develop, support, and maintain automated speech-to-text on top of all that.
  2. It’s hard. Even the best dedicated speech-to-text products can’t guarantee 100% accuracy. Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Nuance have invested untold hours, resources, and training data into their transcription algorithms. They are awfully good, but still manage to frustrate users. And if your version seems somewhat inferior to the experience a user has in a competing product, that user will be all over you for not delivering “the quality they have come to expect.”
  3. It could introduce legal liability. Web conferencing companies want to be transparent conduits for their users’ content. If you say something and get into trouble for it, that’s your problem. But what if they provide an automated transcription widget that prints the wrong words on the screen? In an honest-to-goodness test, I just now tried out the PowerPoint transcription on a paragraph of text I had at hand. I said “After a long period of frustrating evasions” and PPT wrote “After a long period of frustrating of Asians.” That might be enough to stop me from getting cast on Saturday Night Live in the future. But think of the really serious cases, like professional training for doctors or airline mechanics. If the software gets a term wrong or doesn’t understand a commonly-used abbreviation in your industry it could introduce potentially catastrophic confusion.

Naturally, that introduces the question of whether there are alternatives? Of course there are…

  • If you aren’t worried about 100% accuracy and are willing to accept transcription errors, you can always use screen sharing and display your PowerPoint in slideshow mode with automated captioning turned on. Your audience will see the same text that gets displayed on your PowerPoint. No special functionality needed. Just read Nolan’s article for full instructions.
  • If you are serious about providing a high-quality caption stream along with your spoken presentation, use a captioning service manned by experienced human professionals.
  • A few of the higher-end webinar/webcast platforms offer ways to integrate caption streams directly into their conferencing console. For instance, Adobe Connect offers a third-party utility that can display captions in one of Connect’s content “pods.”
  • Most captioning services offer a link that lets viewers see your caption stream on a dedicated web page. In products such as ON24 or Webinato, you could show the captioner’s web page in the conferencing console while simultaneously showing your own content. In a full-screen sharing product such as Zoom or GoToWebinar, you would need to advise your audience of the link and ask them to open another web browser window on their computer to see the captions.

I want to finish with a note of caution however. It is VERY easy to get distracted by looking at your words coming up a second or two after you speak them. You may find it difficult to concentrate on what you want to say next because you are so busy reading what you just said last! If you can find a way to suppress the caption display for the presenter, you should. This is one drawback of using the PowerPoint screen share methodology… For the audience to see the text, you need to see the text. Make sure to practice ahead of time to learn how to ignore the captions.

PLUGS:

Nolan Haims is the guy I send my clients to when they need serious professional help with their presentation design — both PowerPoint and graphic design for high profile print publications. His company is Nolan Haims Creative and he doesn’t know I’m including this testimonial.

There are plenty of captioning services out there and I haven’t worked with many. But I have worked with Annette Blough at Q&A Reporting on several client webinars. She is excellent and I never saw a single complaint from our hearing-impaired attendees (we asked about the caption quality on our post-webinar surveys). If you need human-powered captioning, I feel very comfortable recommending Q&A. She will also be surprised when she sees this. I have no back-room deals with these people!

If you do end up working with a captioning professional, I’ll plug an article I wrote earlier this year: 13 Tips For Presenting With Language Assistants

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Growth Report August 2019: Growing Revenue By 30%

Source: https://www.autogrow.co/august-2019-growth-report/

 

(Watch, Read, or Download the Audio File Here)

“Don’t bury the lead! Don’t bury the lead!” as the saying goes when writing any news article.

The “lead” (headline) from last month’s growth would be that we grew AutoGrow’s revenue by 30% and broke $20,000 in sales.

Launching Our App

On the very last business day of August, we launched (internally) AutoGrow’s (web) app. 

For those who don’t know, we have been coding an awesome—yet simple—piece of software that will let our clients request On-Demand any funnel tasks they want done. 

Want a landing page? Click a button.

Email copy? Click a button.

Ad campaign? Click a button.

Whatever you want, just click the button—and AutoGrow does it. No need to worry about hiring, interviewing, proposals—none of that. 

And through the app, AutoGrow’s team will complete the work, saving our clients time and making their businesses market better online.

It’s only available for our team to use it right now, and there are still some bugs floating around in it.

But it’s live—FINALLY—and our team is starting to use it now.

And I say finally, but, in reality, we’re getting it out there pretty quick. 

A larger company would have probably taken many more months, and then maybe never launched.

But we did. And I think that what helped to make it real was to constantly talk about it with the team, receiving feedback and ideas, pointing to the goal, the “mountain” to climb, and saying “we’re going to be THERE at the top.”

That, plus, a bit of focus, and NOT adding all the possible features and instead limiting it to the essentials, helped a lot.

So, now we’re migrating our stuff from Trello to our brand new app while 1) testing it (2) identifying any bugs and fixing them, and (3) adding any new features on an as-needed basis.

I can’t wait for our clients to try it soon and hear their feedback.

By the way, minimalism is important to the user experience long term. I want the users experience to be as satisfactory as possible.

The whole functionality of the app is summarized in three words, IDEAS MADE REAL and you’ll totally “get it” when you see it.

Here are some of the main features and what team members can do right now when they sign up to use the app:

  • Users (our Project Manager at the moment) can choose any funnel task (copywriting, web design, ads, etc.) from the list of “Ideas” to be completed by AutoGrow’s team. 
  • Admin users can create “Ideas Templates”. These are the ideas or tasks our team will “make real”.
  • AutoGrow’s Project Managers and admin users can “Make Ideas Real” or the tasks they want our team to do for them by clicking a button (this sends the task into the “Made” tab where progress is shown via a progress bar and checking off tasks). 
  • Users see the progress or status of their projects/tasks as they are worked on. 
  • Users can access a company’s business profile information (background info we collect from clients on our calls with our clients).
  • When your projects or tasks are created, they start as “IDEAS”, when those ideas are being executed, they are being “MADE”, and when they are completed, they will be “REAL” (get it? Ideas + Made + Real? See the screenshot above for clarity).

Simple, right?

So we’ve just built out that piece of software and are still integrating it into our day-to-day workflow this month…

Other Wins In August:

Ok, so August hasn’t been only about building and testing our app. It has also been about…

  • Onboarding not just a solid copywriter, but someone I respect as a consummate professional with a great character too.
  • Launching our first funnel for our clients and see leads coming in!
  • Launching our Funnel Strategy Blueprint sales page (I share results on how this did in the next section).
  • Publishing content and sending newsletters consistently.
  • There was a nice bump in our product revenue, and I think something about selling our service and publishing more content helped with this. I think our service works as a price anchor.

  • LOT of momentum in terms of day-to-day productivity. We’re starting to develop a “fly-wheel” you could say.
  • Meeting with the team one-on-one and being honest with my feedback about their work, and discussing how to improve. People develop themselves with guidance, coaching, and leadership.

  • Saying NO to things personally and professionally (like replying to or even reading simple emails and messages that I know are distractions from company growth goals).
  • AutoGrow’s homepage relaunched with B2B niche + stonier offer + Google Ads Campaign launched.
  • My personal productivity system has been helping me be more disciplined and organized.

By the way, same as I mentioned in July’s Growth Report, August has also been about receiving more and more compliments from clients, for example:

I feel like I’m in good hands and that I’ve made an extremely good decision bringing you guys on. And just wanted to thank you for your efforts.

– Brian Maiolo – Founder and  Creative Director of Hardnut Advertising

I could probably write a whole article on each of the points above, but I’ll go into more detail on some of the mistakes I made, the areas we want to improve on, and the lessons I’ve learned this past month.

Lessons Learned Or Areas For Improvement

One frustrating thing from this past month has been when a client’s account has been “at the 20-yard line” and then they either disappear, say “we need to pause the account because we have X new initiative”, or they suddenly get cold feet about turning on ads.

It’s like, dude, this was the plan from the beginning, and now we’re at this point—I’m glad you’re paying us money to make this for you, don’t you actually want leads or sales to come from it??

Of course, I don’t say that to clients.

But I’ve learned that the best way to handle those situations is to be more firm with clients by setting expectations upfront.

I get the mindset of seeing ads as a “cost”, but done right, in combination with our funnel service, it earns back that investment many times over. 

The other issue I’ve been seeing is that many clients are not meeting the minimum criteria we have for getting results and getting started. We ask for $1500 ad budget and 3 months minimum to launch a client’s funnel and to complete the initial 90-day funnel plan.

Part of the issue might be how we position our Done-For-You service and simply saying NO to people when needed.

We normally cancel 1-3 appointments per week with people or businesses who aren’t a fit. 

We do this because although we have our “filter” on our homepage and in our Done-For-You service demo video, sometimes people omit it. They book a call with us, don’t answer the basic questions we ask them to see if they are a good fit, and then we have to dismiss them.

I think as we grow to 8+ quality client appointments per week, it will naturally become easier to disqualify people who aren’t a fit.

Hiring Is a Major Thorn In Our Side

More than qualifying clients, hiring has been a real pain in the a** this past month.

You might relate to that situation if you’ve ever tried to find, vet, and hire competent people online.

My reaction to the lack of good candidates is too often…

WTF!

To be clear, I’m super grateful for the team we have today. They are rockstars. One or two can improve their work ethic in terms of quality checking their work before me or the QA specialist checks it, but other than that, I really appreciate them.

We had to go through a lot of applicants and interviews to find them. But here’s why that’s my reaction to our current hiring process.

First, many jobs sites that used to be free are now charging to post.  As a scrappy startup, we like to save $$$ wherever and whenever possible.

Some sites that were resources before are now closed to us unless we subscribe or pay per post, etc. Still, the quality of former employees we hired from those sites wasn’t high. Our standards are much more rigorous now.

But the process of hiring has really been tiring. 

Going over to Upwork, for example, posting a job and offering a high compensation, great benefits, and a job description like…

  1. Monthly compensation that grows over time.
  2. Possibilities of being promoted.
  3. Streamlined process, each role is FOCUSED (you’re not doing a million things). 
  4. Benefits like bonus pay for good performance or the possibility to travel with our team in the future.

I mean, what kind of freelancer doesn’t want all that?

And here’s the funny thing…

We’re NOT noticing much correlation between the quality of applicants and increase in pay. If there is a correlation, it is VERY loose.

For instance, we posted a job for an Account Strategist position recently. Freelancers bid on our “project” and applied.

Then we raised the compensation but HALF of the applicants didn’t even reply to our messages after they applied to our job.

One person even booked a call with us and didn’t show up. This was after he tried negotiating his rate and insisting to get on a call with us.

Well, not only that but he lied about not replying to us after we contacted him. He said Oh, I was online and I did reply to you. We said all right, send us a screenshot of your message and then we’ll reschedule.

He didn’t send the screenshot and we obviously dismissed him.

The Hiring Funnel Challenge

I look forward to sharing more about our hiring problem and how we’re already solving it.

I think the best thing we can do for now is to keep posting job posts consistently until we find the right people for each position we are hiring for.

I love the idea of thinking of it as a “hiring funnel” though. It really clarifies the problem in a way that our team and I can understand, and it will help us systematically break down each step into critical components.

Keep Launching…

In August we launched a sales page to sell our Funnel Strategy Blueprint.

We made zero sales from it. And I think I know why…

If you try to sell something you’re already selling elsewhere in a completely new way, there’s a good chance it won’t work as well. You must copy what works. 

For instance, if you sell something successfully and then try selling it somewhere else, replicate what worked in the first place.

In our case, we recently launched and sold the Funnel Strategy Blueprint with a call-to-action that invited people to buy it on our website, instead of scheduling a consultation call first like we were doing it before.

This is because we thought we could accelerate the sales process simply by selling the Blueprints upfront rather than:

Consultation call > Sale > Present Blueprint to client.

Alas, people preferred to buy it the original way. So launching a sales page to sell our Funnel Strategy Blueprint didn’t work out…

But what IS working out is that we didn’t stop launching things this past month.

We launched our own Google Adwords campaign, and that has instantly started bringing in results. I’ll share more on that in the next growth report…

To keep launching stuff like this makes me feel ALIVE as an entrepreneur. 

I love seeing what our team can co-create with me, and how much faster we can get stuff done than if it was just me. And that’s a huge part of our value to our clients too—we’re like an instant marketing team at their fingertips.

So even though one launch succeeded, and the other did not—I learned from both.

Takeaway? Keep “swimming” (launching), don’t stop flowing forward…

New Systems Only Work If…

I wouldn’t call this one a win, but certainly is an important lesson I was (re)reminded of.

When you read, your reaction might be like “well duh” (if you’re a bit overconfident). But the lesson is useful for anyone who wants to grow a company where things get done without business owners always doing them.

Here’s an experiment I did.

Recently, I’ve found it more and more difficult to keep up with a regular content writing schedule.

I’m talking with clients, quality checking teamwork along with Mariana, our Quality Assurance Specialist, and many other day-to-day priorities.

So, I wanted to figure out a way that a new, quality content writer could be hired without me needing to be involved in the process.

How could I design a simple system whereby we could hire one GREAT writer, on autopilot?

I thought I had the answer, so I drew out the flowchart for it on paper. 

We’d reach out to writers. We’d invite them to contribute with title ideas and outlines, and then to pick the top two to actually write the full article.

We’d AB test two of the articles submitted by the candidates. We’d send them to our email list to see which one had better open rate. And based on the AB test results, we’d hire the writer.

Simple enough, right?

It turns out, not so much.

After contacting some writers, some of them were willing to pitch us ideas. Others lamented “the rate isn’t high enough.” 

Just like with the hiring issues I pointed out above, we’d stay open to feedback and email these people back:

“All right, what’s your rate?”

No reply, vanished like a ghost in the wind.

On one hand, I’m glad it happened that way because who wants to work with these kinds of people? Certainly, not us.

On the other hand, we were offering a rate at or above the market average, AND more importantly, we were offering to pay on an ongoing basis! Plus, we always look to hire for the long term.

SO WEIRD!

If I was a freelancer—recurring revenue? I can work on my own schedule? I can write what I want as long as it is relevant to AutoGrow’s audience?

Hell yes, I want AutoGrow to hire me!

Alas, we received some title ideas for articles. 

About eight out of ten were no good or downright terrible. And when I say terrible, I mean, nothing to do with marketing.

I think I laughed at one or two of them because they were so bad. 

“Someone pitched us an article on gun control?” I said to myself and laughed. “Did they even read the instructions?”.

It makes it pretty clear to me that for the long term there is a HUGE market of unskilled, untrained labor online that is in SERIOUS need of the kind of training AutoGrow can provide.

But that’s a conversation for another day…

Luckily, one or two ideas pitched to us were good. 

But here’s where the system “fell flat”…

We didn’t follow up with the people who submitted decent or good title ideas and the system stopped working.

I think this is because (1) it was a new hiring process for us (2) our team got busy with other priorities, and (3) I didn’t have a way (nor did I focus on) holding my team accountable. I sort of forgot to reach out to the writers too towards the end of the month because we’re quite busy servicing our current client base.

So yeah, we’re fixing that this month… 

I think in general too, I have more and more ideas that I’m delegating to our team to execute on overtime and we need a good system for keeping track of it all.

That’s largely where AutoGrow’s app and our “Ideas Made Real” interface is going towards. More on that next month…

Learning To Manage Your Energy

The human mind is fairly programmable and a robot.

You give it an input, you get a fairly predictable output. But each of our minds works a little different.

The key to success, and maintaining a high level of productivity and energy lies in understanding your own brain “chemistry” patterns.

For example, with AutoGrow day-to-day, I know that if I close a new client sale, or if I do my most important task first thing in the morning, I’m pumped up and ready to work hard for the rest of the day.

On the other hand, if I procrastinate, this makes me feel lazy and I don’t want to work at all because I’m putting something off. And if I stop putting it off, well, then I’d have to actually do work! But I don’t want to… etc.

Another pattern in my weekly productivity routine I’ve noticed is that I’m less productive on Mondays. It often feels like I’m in a slump until Wednesday rolls around, and then I start gaining traction, progress, and a feeling of real momentum.

I’d guess many other people often feel the same and this is from what I’d call “The Weekend Effect.”

You see, unlike in past months, I’ve actually started taking Saturdays (and sometimes even Sundays—GASP!—off).

So here’s the important point to that…

I’d create a pattern during the week, a habit of being productive, waking up early, etc.

But then on the weekend, I’d completely destroy that productive routine! I’d sleep later, I stay in bed, not work sometimes for the whole day, and just RELAX.

“Matt,” you might say, “It makes sense to take time off so you can recharge.” 

Yeah, it probably does, but there’s a better way to do it because every week is like whiplash and I’m not performing at peak levels 2-3 days out of the week.

And for a high-growth startup that NEEDS to grow FAST and keep up that momentum, I need to make sure I’m always giving it my best.

So, I’ve started to transition to keep sleeping early and waking up early on the weekends.

I’m also looking at starting my Saturdays and Sundays with some work task, so my brain stays in the “productive mode” for the mornings.

I’m not going to make myself work all day, but I do need to keep the gears of the engine flowing in order to be “ready to go, all pistons pumping” come Monday.

Stay tuned, I’ll tell you the results next month…

But, speaking of energy levels…

Burnout—And The “Zone of Genius”

I can feel my brain some days just wanting to take a break.

It’s been 14 weeks since we started this journey with our Done-For-You Funnel Service, and I’m definitely not giving myself as much sleep as my brain wants on top of it.

Day to day, there are tasks I’ve realized that drain the life from me and I spend way too much time on them.

They are pretty much anything repetitive like client emails, editing, and quality checking items and that’s one insight I’m internalizing from August. However, we put a lot of work on quality assurance and on everything we deliver to clients. For us, quality always wins.

My brain hates repetitive work, even if I’m quite good at it. I prefer little to no structure, or a specific new problem to engineer a solution for.

This insight reminded me of an article I read recently from this successful entrepreneur turned Venture Capitalist. He said, as a founder, you have work that falls into:

(a) Your Zone of Excellence or

(b) Your Zone of Genius

Zone of Excellence work is the work you’re good, even great at—but for whatever reason, it drains the f**king life out of you. 

Many great entrepreneurs are generalists, so a significant portion of work that a company must get done can fall into this category. For me, that’s editing, as another example, because I read things very slowly and deeply in order to make it perfect—so I don’t enjoy it.

Zone of Genius work is the work that fills you up, you do it and you feel energized when it’s done.

For me, this would be:

  • Coding / working with our developer on AutoGrow’s app (product development).
  • Developing and optimizing internal systems (e.g. hiring systems).
  • Developing and optimizing our own marketing funnel to accelerate traffic, leads, and sales.
  • Working one-on-one with team members to help them solve a problem and optimize their workflow.
  • Doing “macro” work that grows the business or help us be faster / more efficient.

The key, the Venture Capitalist wrote, is to understand what work is in your Zone of Genius, and which is in your Zone of Excellence—and then to delegate everything from the latter.

I think the biggest challenge will be to delegate sales coming up, but I have some creative solutions for that… Stay tuned.

Looking Ahead To Next Month

We’re hiring with a lot more focus this month for key positions, like Project Manager and Funnel / Account Strategist. We want to fill 4 positions on the team (a new Virtual Assistant and Content Writer as well) ASAP.

Our app will be integrated into our workflow (assuming we can work out all the bugs and add key features!).

We’re launching 0-2 funnels on a weekly basis now, so I look forward to sharing more results about that pretty soon.

Client leads are ramping up, even as traffic from content has dropped recently. I’m hopeful we’ll grow the former, and solve the latter… We’ll see.

In general, we want to see a consistent number of appointments being booked, 5-8 per week will be our sweet spot to hit 23 active client accounts before the end of the year.

We’re on track at the moment, but we can’t get comfortable, kick-back, and assume “it’ll just happen.”

It won’t.

The final thing I’ll say is that our current business model needs to be made more scalable. So we’re going to have to make some CRITICAL decisions about how best to do that in the weeks ahead.

I already have two really awesome ideas, but we’ll just have to wait and see… Next month!

So, lots of exciting stuff for our team, our clients, and our company happening.

I look forward to sharing more with you in 1 month!

What questions do you have that you wish I had answered?

What in this growth report is most interesting to you?

Keep funnelin’, stay focused,

 

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