CSUF Presentation - HOW TO: Effectively Integrate Social Media into Your Marketing Strategy

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I had the pleasure of speaking to the Entrepreneurial students at California State University in Fullerton. I met some bright young minds with some great ideas.

My message for them was that while social media is popular, it is only a part of a good overall marketing strategy.

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PRESENTATION: Business by The Book: Aligning Your Organization with Biblical Principles

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UPDATE: Here are the presentation slides


I will be giving a presentation at the Placentia chapter of the Christian Business Partners called Business by The Book: Aligning Your Organization with Biblical Principles.

Here is a summary:

Successful organizations have something in common, they are aligned with a set of principles that allow them to prosper. This presentation covers what principles are, where they come from and how to align with them.

Let me know if you would like to visit as my guest. This is a free networking group for Christians to support each other’s businesses. You do not need to be a Christian to attend.

Date: Tuesday, January 22
Time: 8:15 - 9:15 AM
Location: Marie Callendar’s in Placentia (Map)
Admission: Free (purchase of a meal is requested)

Let me know if you would like to attend.

PRESENTATION: HOW TO: Convert Web Traffic into Customers Using SEO and Inbound Marketing

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CSUF DAEHN

I was honored to speak at the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship about HOW TO: Convert Web Traffic into Customers Using SEO and Inbound Marketing. We had a great response and the event was sold out. I will try to give the presentation again for those who could not attend. The slides from the presentation are below.

If you want to know if your website is designed to convert site visitors into customers I am offering a free website audit.

Why Your Website is Your Most Important Marketing Asset

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  • 65% of people see online search as the most trusted source of information about people and companies. That’s a higher level of trust than any other online or offline source.

  • 30% of consumers won’t consider a business without a website.

  • 46% say a website is the biggest determinant of whether they trust a company.


If you own a business today, your website is your biggest marketing asset. Even if you get most of your customers from other channels like networking or foot traffic, people still look at your website to see if you are legitimate. Make sure you are using your website as a tool to educate, delight and instill trust in your customers.

What is SEO?

An easy way to understand SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is that it is your reputation with search engines like Google. If you have a good reputation, based on the content on your site, the search engine is more likely to list you as a top result when people search for your product.

The best way to improve SEO is to provide a good user experience (UX) for your site visitors. This is done by providing information, products and/or services in an easy to use way. If your site works well for people, the search engines will like it too because search engines like Google are trying to provide good results to their users.

Understand the Customer Journey

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The Customer Journey is the path your customers will take to make a purchase with you. The path will depend on what you are offering and who your customers are. Be sure to create personas for your target customers first.

So when people visit your website, what do you want them to do? How do you lead them down that path? How do you ask them to do it?

Here’s a clue, if you don’t have any call to action (CTA) buttons on your site, you’re customers probably don’t know what you want them to do.

Why Start with Your Website?

The 7 Keys to Marketing Genius

The 7 Keys to Marketing Genius

 

I’m a marketing professor and have written several marketing books, I love marketing and will talk your ear off about it if you let me. One thing I work with people on is to be strategic. Do some thinking before you spend money. The website is part of your marketing tactics, not really your strategy, so why do I jump ahead to talk about websites with people?

  1. Everyone has a website or needs one

  2. People know what websites are so we can have a conversation

Websites are the way for me to start a conversation with people about their business. From there I can backtrack and make sure their strategy is on target before actually building or updating their current site.

Are You Getting Customers From Your Website?

How many of your customers come from your website? How many people look at your site to see if you are legitimate before they do business with you? If you aren’t sure or you don’t have one, let’s talk.


Do you want an expert to look at your website
and give you recommendations?

Axos Bank Takes Customer Service to the Front Lines

I’ve been using Bank of Internet for the past 6 years and they recently rebranded to Axos Bank, updated their online banking and totally redesigned their app. Pretty ambitious.

While I have appreciated all of the improvements, it truly is a better experience, I could not get the app to work on my phone. Every time I launched the app it would show the splash screen and close. The peculiar thing is that my wife has the exact same phone as me and was able to use the app without an issue.

I left a poor review of the app in the Google Play store saying it did not work for me. Then I got a phone call from someone saying they were in charge of developing the new platform for the bank. He asked if he could meet me in Orange County to troubleshoot my issue?

Being skeptical I asked him to provide evidence that he worked for the bank. This was troublesome because he already had all of MY information. He could see every penny in my account, but how do I vet HIM? So I took a chance at met up with him at Agrusa’s.

His name is Hugh and he brought his developer Anton to try to find out what the issue was with my app. Their office is located in San Diego so they drove up to meet in person. Hugh said he was happy to find someone with the issue he could drive to.

For Hugh and his team it was unacceptable that people were not able to use the app, even if it was just a handful of individuals.

Anton hooked up my phone to his computer and proceeded to go through lines of code to try to replicate and isolate the issue.

Michael Daehn with Hugh and Anton from Axos Bank

Michael Daehn with Hugh and Anton from Axos Bank

3 1/2 hours later they figured out the problem. It had something to do with me setting up fingerprint access on my phone, something my wife had not done.

I commend Hugh, Anton and Axos for taking the customer experience seriously. They didn’t sit behind their computers, but went straight to the front lines and helped out their customer directly.

And by the way, the app is pretty sweet. If you are looking for an online banking solution, check out Axos.

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Check Out Aidtree to Save Money and Succeed Locally

My friend Ben Yip has been working on a really cool product that supports charities, saves money for customers and helps promote local businesses. It’s a win/win/win.

Ben created Aidtree, a service that allows local businesses to offer coupons that drive new customers to try their products.

Customers are able to buy the coupons at a discount and Aidtree gives 75% off the purchase directly to the charity.

Here is an example of how I used the coupon for my business, with the funds going to support the CSUF Entrepreneurship Program:

 

I truly hope this becomes the market leader for fundraising so I can stop trying to get family and friends to buy cookie dough and wrapping paper. This is an elegant solution to a need in the market.

But wait, there’s more…

Checking out Ben’s laptop stands after a meeting at the La Habra Chamber of Commerce

Checking out Ben’s laptop stands after a meeting at the La Habra Chamber of Commerce

While supplies last, Ben will be giving out a sleek portable laptop stand to anyone creating and posting on a new account. Contact Ben at Aidtree for details:

questions@aidtree.com
323) 387-3388

Michael Daehn Supports City Net to Help End Homelessness

City Net and Local Police Helping our Homeless Neighbors at the OC Flood Control Channel (riverbed) in Cypress, CA.

City Net and Local Police Helping our Homeless Neighbors at the OC Flood Control Channel (riverbed) in Cypress, CA.

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I am proud to support City Net, a team of nonprofit professionals who work to end street-level homelessness in a city or region through the coordination of community efforts and activities. I have been looking for a charity to support through my business and after hearing how City Net works with our homeless neighbors, and praying about it, I was convinced this was the best choice.

I will be donating 10% of gross profits from my marketing consulting business (Rent My CMO/The Marketing Guy) to support the efforts of City Net. But here is the cool thing, when you hire me you are also supporting an awesome cause, helping our homeless neighbors.

If you are like me, you struggle with seeing members of our community living on the street. As I was told by our friends at City Net, “No one wants to be homeless.” But what do we do? Do we give them money? Food? Old furniture? I’ve never been sure what to do.

City Net takes a holistic approach to homelessness. They give people a hand up, not just a hand out. They work with people to get them off the street, back into society and reunited with their family members. And they partner with churches, city governments and members of the community to make a difference.

So a big thank you to all of my clients. Thanks for helping to support a worthy charity doing great work in our cities.

You can learn more or donate directly to City Net on their website.

The 7 Keys to Marketing Genius Quick Start Marketing Plan

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1: Find Your Advantage

·         What is the unique competitive advantage of your product or service?  (The best way to determine this is by performing a SWOT analysis)

·         How can you meet the needs of the target audience better than the competition?

·         What is the positioning of your product or service? 

2: Define Your Purpose

·         What is the mission or purpose of your company? 

·         What goals do you want to accomplish with this particular product or service? 

·         How do these goals fulfill the mission of your company? 

·         How will you communicate this to the entire organization to make sure everyone is on the same page?

3:  Create an Image

·         Based on the competitive advantage, positioning, target audience and mission of the company what image best represents your product or service?

·         Do you need professional assistance in creating a logo and marketing communications materials? 

·         Is the look and feel of your marketing communications materials consistent and congruent?

4:  Implement Promotions

·         Which of these marketing communications do you plan on utilizing?

o   Advertising

o   Public Relations/Publicity

o   Sales Promotion

o   Personal Selling

o   Direct Marketing

o   Internet/Interactive

·         What marketing communications can you afford? 

·         What marketing communications make the most sense for your situation?

·         How can you achieve the greatest return on investment with the least amount of wasted exposure?

·         Are your marketing communications linked and integrated? How?

·         Are your marketing communications consistent and congruent? How?

5:  Build Relationships

·         How are you building relationships with customers?

·         Are you creating positive word of mouth?

·         Are you developing advocates for your product?

·         Where in the funnel do your promotions hit? 

·         How do your promotions push people down the funnel?

6:  Gain Feedback

·         How are you measuring results?

·         Have you implemented ways of gaining feedback from customers?

·         Have you implemented ways of gaining feedback from employees?

7:  Adjust to Changes

·         Are you making changes based on the feedback you have gained?

·         Has your market or target audience changed?

·         Do you need to revise any marketing messages to remain current?

·         Are you maintaining up to date and relevant information on the website?

·         Do you have an ongoing dialogue with current customers?


Want to learn more? Read the full book by Michael Daehn: The 7 Keys to Marketing Genius.

 

REVIEW: The McDonald's App Experience

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Order Ahead

or get back in line

I've been using the McDonald's App for about a year now. It is pretty slick and gives you some good discounts and acts as a punch card for items like coffee that give you a free drink. I usually open it on my way there to see what deals and coupons they have.

This week I opened it and saw a coupon for $3 off $10. Apparently, that deal was only good if you ordered ahead of time. So when I got to the window the lady said I needed to order ahead of time. I asked if I could order in the app since I was already in line. She said I would need to drive out and get back in line.

Hey, I get it, the idea of this deal is to get people to put in their payment info and use the app. What I recommend to McDonald's, however, is to let people like me who are regular customers and learning the new rules they are imposing to use the discount this time, and advise me to order ahead next time. Giving the cashier the ability to give me the discount would have made her job easier and me happier.

I did drive around again because I am a marketing geek and wanted to see how this whole thing would play out. I also knew I was going to write a blog post when I got home.

Is McDonald's going to read this and change their policy, probably not. I am writing this for you. When putting promotions into action, make sure you allow for some wiggle room and make sure your employees can make good decisions at the moment to help the customer.

The name of the game these days is customer experience, also known as CX. Those businesses that are good at it will have a huge advantage over their competition.

HOW TO: Make Work Not Feel Like Work

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No matter how much you may love your job, there are always parts of it that are no fun. As my Dad used to say "They call it work for a reason."

But what if you could take those unpleasant parts of the job and make them fun? 

When I pledged my fraternity (Pi Kappa Phi) I had certain jobs I was required to do around the house as an associate member before I was initiated. The week before initiation my class gathered at the house nightly to perform tasks. These are tasks I have never enjoyed like cleaning the bathrooms, painting and removing a large tree from the front yard. 

But guess what - I had fun.

There is something about doing work with your friends that makes the duty seem light. We were laughing, telling jokes and removing a 50 foot tree and it's debris at the same time.

In the fraternity this is what we call Brotherhood. In the military it's called camraderie. In the Church it's called fellowship.

Leaders, you are responsible to build a team that gets along and respects each other and works toward a common purpose. Sprinkle in a good sense of humor and make the work fun.

Should Managers be Friends with their Employees?

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Quick answer: Yes.

Recently I had a manager leave my company. As she was leaving she said she would like to come have lunch sometime and be friends with the people on our team. She explained she could not be friends while she was the manager.

I know this is popular thinking, but it is not accurate.

Good managers are also good leaders. To lead you have to be able to influence your followers to achieve the desired objectives.

I consider Jesus to be the best leader who ever lived. He developed and trained 12 core followers that eventually transformed the world. How did he treat his followers? He called them friends. And how did he define a friend? Someone who he would be willing to die for.*

So why are managers afraid to be friends with their employees? Most of the time the reason is learned behavior. This is what they have been told or shown by their leaders.

But those who truly understand what friendship is may shy away because of the commitment involved in truly sacrificing for the benefit of your followers.

An objection is that if you act like a friend then you would not be able to discipline or fire your subordinates. This is not true. I have been fired and needed to fire others. If the situation warrants it this is appropriate behavior. If someone is in the wrong role it is not "friendly" to have them continue.

A parent gives and loves sacrificially for their children, but the best ones still provide discipline when necessary.

So who influences you more: People who are committed to your success or people who are looking out for their own interests?

The best managers, and leaders, are your friends.

*John 15:13

HOW TO: Pass the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) test (GAIQ)

Yes, I passed, w00t!

I did not even know there was a Google Analytics certification a week ago. When I stumbled across the designation I said "I should get me one of those." I've been using GA for years and figured a certification was within my grasp. It took me about 8 hours of study and $50, but I got it done.

OK, this is more the story of how I passed the test than an authoritative guide, but I hope it helps. I did the most logical thing first, I Googled "Study Guide for GAIQ." I found some great advice, but I think this post did the best job:

Passing the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) Test

Everyone who has taken the test says to watch all the videos provided by Google in Conversion University and I concur. I usually hate watching videos for training because they tend to suit the slowest learners. I like to read, skim and hone in on things I don't already know. These videos are well done though. They are really more like slide shows with a few videos dispersed throughout. They go quickly so I paused and re-watched a few slides that I needed to study more.

I had a second laptop setup as suggested, but I found it was easier to open a second browser than to change computers. Note: You need a second browser not a second window in your browser. I used Chrome for the test and Firefox to look up answers I was unsure about.

One thing I did not like about the test were all of the questions that were not in the study materials. A few I could not find even after Googling for answers and scouring the GA help section. I took my best guess on those.

I did learn some new things by going through all of the training materials. Definitely worth the effort. If you are a regular user of GA, I recommend getting this certification. Good luck!

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OVERVIEW: Getting Started with Google Analytics

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I put together this quick overview of Google Analytics for my clients. Google Analytics is a fantastic tool that every website owner should be using. It has so many powerful tools it can be overwhelming, but don't be intimidated.

Every site owner should have some key performance indicators (KPI's) that they track. Things like visitors, sales and traffic sources are easy to set up and follow.

And like a lot of Google products, Google Analytics is free. So get started by visiting Google.com/Analytics.

My Kid is the Speling Bee Champion

I have to brag. My 8 year old, third grade daughter, Isabella, won the school speling bee. She beat all of the third fourth and fifth graders at her school.

Tonight she will be competing against the other shools and junior highs in the district. She will even be competing against eigth graders.

How long has she been studying? She hasn't. We did not know about the speling bee until she came home and said she won.

If she should win tonight, which I think is a tall order against eighth graders, she will not move on because she is too young.

I'll post an update tomorrow to let you know what happens.

 

Here's Why My Website Never Goes Down: Squarespace

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I'm in my 5th year of using Squarespace for my website hosting. I was attracted to the ease of use and the unique look I can create with their site building software, but something else has gained my attention as of late. Their hosting. My site never goes down.

I listen to a lot of the podcasts on Leo Laporte's TWIT Network. It's great fun for tech geeks like me. They have quite a following. So large that every time they mention a website that website is inundated with traffic. And it goes down. Unless it's a Squarespace site.

Squarespace has their act together. When a site gets more traffic than usual, they are able to relieve the stress by balancing the load on their servers. Cool stuff.

But wait, there's more...

I got an email from team Squarespace last week explaining that their servers are located in lower Manhattan and that fuel to their last generator was running out. Hurricane Sandy had taken it's toll. I had a few hours until my site, and all the Squarespace sites lost power.

I kept checking my site, but it never went down. So what happened? Did they hand carry fuel up 17 flights of stairs in total darkness to keep MichaelDaehn.com from going down?

Yep!

I got the email below telling the story.

Way to go team Squarespace. You have increased my respect and admiration for your fine company. Keep up the good work.

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Hurricane Sandy Update

A little over a week ago, I sent out one of the most difficult emails that Squarespace has ever delivered to our customers.

Peer1, our data center in downtown Manhattan, was so severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy that it suffered a total loss of power despite multiple levels of redundant systems. At the time, there was no resolution in sight. Our backup fuel reserves and building infrastructure had been destroyed by Sandy's storm surge, which flooded many buildings downtown. As you may be aware, this was a historic and unprecedented storm for the entire tri-state region, bringing about the largest storm-related power outage ever in Con Edison's history.

I am proud to announce that throughout this event, Squarespace customers experienced absolutely no downtime related to the power outage. This is an amazing outcome considering the extraordinary circumstances we faced last week. What remains is an incredible story.

For those of you that haven't been following our updates, employees from Squarespace, Fog Creek, and Peer1 manually carried fuel up 17 flights of stairs for three days to save our generator while an interim fuel supply and pump could be installed. These efforts to provide uninterrupted service for our customers were chronicled by numerous publications including All Things DBetaBeatComputerworldFast Company,TechCrunchThe New York TimesPando Daily, and The Verge.

We now have a working pump system delivering fuel to the roof generator, more than enough fuel on site, and a redundant street-level generator connected and tested as of last night. These systems will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Our building has still not been able to connect to Manhattan's power grid, as the building's two sub-basements were submerged in 30 feet of water that took four days to pump out. We will continue to post updates on status.squarespace.comas we resume normal operations.

Of course, such heroics should not be necessary to keep operations running smoothly. We initiated a plan to build a geographically redundant operation this past summer and expect to have it online in early 2013. This gives us the ability to route around areas affected by natural disasters much more effectively.

We take the responsibility of running the hundreds of thousands of sites on Squarespace very seriously . Our homepage states that our scalable, reliable cloud infrastructure eliminates downtime, and our customers all over the world count on us to keep their websites online no matter what. Wanting to keep that promise is what propelled us forward and helped us persevere during this most challenging of times. Thank you all for being Squarespace customers - it is with your continued support that we can continue to fight for great design, amazing products, and exceptional service.

We know that there are many in our area that were impacted far beyond what we experienced - if you can, please take a moment and contributeto hurricane relief efforts. A little goes a long way.

Thank you.

Anthony 

New Compose Page in Gmail - Revolutionary?

I've been trying the new compose page in Gmail. It's one of those "what took you so long?" ideas. Many times I have opened Gmail again in a second tab when composing to get information while composing.

It is missing a few things like CC and BCC that made me go back to the previous version to finish my message, but overall I think it is a step in the right direction.

What do you think? Have you tried the new compose page in Gmail?