Aug 17

Digital Agencies and Business Owners – Overcoming the Communication Disconnect

I recently put together an Instagram Story, sharing my thoughts around why you as a business owner may be contributing to unsatisfactory results received from your digital marketing agency. I’m not pinging you with all the blame for an unsatisfactory engagement, as you, the digital agency bring challenges to the table too, all of which can be overcome. I put the story into the video as I think the content is very useful. BUT – its only useful if you, the business owner and digital marketing agency want to share long term, profitable marketing outcomes. If you have a short term get rich quick mentality, don’t watch the video as you won’t like the advice. If you are looking for a slave (Mr Business Owner) or a blind, compliant paycheck (Mr Digital Agency) this video probably isn’t for you.

Transcription: Long Term Profitable Marketing Engagements For Business Owners and Digital Agencies

So, I’m riding to work today and I thought I’d stop off for a quick coffee… because I just wanted a quick coffee. And so while I’m here I thought I would make a quick video about digital marketing in a general sense. So the reason I thought that I’d put this video together is and with my experience in the digital marketing industry, I’ve noticed that quite often there’s a real disconnect between a business owner and a digital marketing agency when it comes down to the service.

And if you’re a business owner, I kind of get it right, because the services you’re paying for AREN’T physical products; you probably won’t even see the consultant for most of the time he’s doing the service. You’re going need to trust at some stage and that can be a challenge because quite often it’s months and months of paying before you actually see a return on investment. And let’s face it the digital industry is quite shrouded in mystery I guess. It’s shrouded in, there’s a fair bit of secrecy and it’s technical.

And the flip side of the coin is obviously the digital agency. I mean if you’re an agency, you understand your products and you recognise how valuable and how much benefit they can produce for a client. And you just need the owner to give you a chance.

And in the middle we have these services. And these services just aren’t simply… they’re not simple to run and they’re not simple to understand. You know small elements of any service could bring the whole service down. So there really needs to be real partnership and delivery.

So as I make my way to work and during work today here’s some ideas that I’ve just been thinking about for a while, on how to bridge that disconnect between a digital marketing agency and an end client – a business owner – if you are either of those it might help.

Now I think to start with let’s just get to some concepts. Because if you’re the business owner, you have to understand there are a lot of elements to a digital marketing campaign, any of which don’t work the whole thing falls down. And sometimes it’s your fault and not the agency’s fault.

So random example, let’s say you’re doing Facebook advertising, you know, so the digital agency is really good at putting a Facebook advertising package together. But, if you’ve got a crap offer or you don’t let the agency copyright the ads it might not work. So that’s right hey, even though you’re paying the agency to do the work for you, if you don’t give them the right resources and you don’t give your clients the right offer, you know, it might be your fault that someone you’re paying isn’t generating a return on investment for you.

And on the flip side of the point if you’re a digital agency, let’s face it our industry hasn’t been great over the last 10-15 years right? There’s been a lot of dodgy stuff going on, a lot of people have been let down and ripped off so we have a mistrust that we have to overcome. And that’s our responsibility right? It’s not the business owner’s responsibility to over overcome an industry problem.

So we have to start by being a lot more transparent and you know a lot more focused on return on investment for businesses rather than more of the vanity stuff. So I think maybe the best place we can start is to as both the business owner and digital marketing agency, if we can understand where the other person is starting in the dialog maybe then we can create a dialogue that makes more harmonious partnership in the delivery and success of the campaign.

So I made it safely to work. It’s business casual Friday today, so a bit dressed down, but I’m continuing the discussion about bridging the communication gap between digital agencies and business owners. I think the next point is about your timeframe. So I think we need to understand that marketing isn’t immediate, you need a long term timeframe. So you’re looking at minimum of 12 months. So when you start the dialogue, if you’re a business owner with an agency or agency to business owner, look to 12 months plus.

And that’s because what you want to achieve is a long term improvement of the leads and sales generated from marketing. You don’t want to look for a three months or less because that instant glory story, it just doesn’t work. So, in context, as a business owner myself, even with my own team doing our own marketing, I never look less than 12 months to properly test and understand how flows work, and how offers work and that kind of stuff. No matter what the process or marketing strategy is we’re using. And to be honest, if I was a digital marketing agency still, I would not engage with a client who was looking at less than 12 months partnership with me. And the simple reason is, it’s really not enough time to actually understand an industry and understand how a service works in that industry.

Now I think the next step is to actually look at services and how they work. Obviously as a business owner you probably don’t understand and don’t need to understand the nitty-gritty of stuff, that’s why you get a consultant in. But you know to be honest, on the flip side of that I’ve seen some real doozy-doozy strategies that would just never work, presented as value-add, over the years. So that’s a real issue and I really acknowledge that issue, that there are dodgy strategies in marketing out there.

Now I think there’s a really clear answer. And it’s pretty simple, because in my years in marketing, which is you know over 15 now, I’ve never seen a value digital marketing strategy that can’t be explained by logic or traditional marketing. So as the digital marketing agency, why don’t you start by trying to explain things to the business owners that you’re pitching to, in terms they can understand using logic and maybe using some traditional marketing concepts.

And if you’re a business owner and you’re not getting that kind of explanation from digital marketing company, you know maybe there is something that’s hidden. I certainly wouldn’t engage with someone who couldn’t explain it in terms that I can understand and I’d certainly steer well clear of you know, secrets, or you know, those proprietary this and that. You know I would not engage if someone does that. The actual campaign should be able to be explained logically.

So to give some examples, you know the service of SEO. It’s basically the common day, or today’s version of the old Yellow Pages. You know, you’re searching for something you go where you know people are listed and you find the people that listed there. That’s SEO.

Social media marketing, you know that should be explained to in terms of networking. You know, going to a networking meeting so your mingling with the right group that you know is going to generate your business. That’s how social media should work. [AND BE EXPLAINED]

You know Google AdWords or pay-per-click advertising, you know that’s kind of like the old day billboard sort of an advertising strategy. You put the right message on the right street so the people that are driving past get the message and take the action. You know it’s explainable.

So there’s just some general concepts with marketing. Hopefully this this video will help engender better communication between digital agencies and business owners for more long term and high value partnerships.

Aug 17

Business Owners – How To Keep Healthy When Overwhelmingly Busy

I think all business owners will face this at one point or another. The demands of clients, staff, getting the job done, family at home, it all adds up leaving you with basically no time for yourself; for physical, mental and emotional health; sometimes even for sleep. Been there done that (and didn’t enjoy it at all).

Over my years in business I’ve found a formula that works for me, keeping my baseline of physical, mental and emotional health going. In the video I put together below (as an Instagram Story) I share my process for this. I hope you enjoy it. And feel free to share any of your own tips in the comments section on YouTube.

Video Transcription for the readers:

Business Owner Health – Keeping Strong When Busy

I think one of the things that we all face as business owners are those times when business can sometimes take over our lives a bit. And one of the keys to long-term successful business I think is make sure we keep fit and healthy during these periods. So today, I’m going to share with you my tips for keeping fit and healthy as a business owner during those periods where business encroaches on our personal lives. Is obviously this is not only key to happiness and health but also to business performance and creativity.

I think a really good place to start is, what I do is I look at my routine, my daily routine and I just see if there are subtle changes I can make to my routine that don’t impact my routine that can promote my health, and a great place for me to start is how I get to work. So today, for example instead of driving to work I’m going to ride and no, I’m not gonna wear lycra.  Now for most of us this may take a bit of planning. For me, obviously I have client appointments and things like that I need my car for… so I just got to look it up on my calendar and make sure that I acknowledge the days where I don’t need to go do stuff and pick those days to ride.

So, I think the next idea that you can consider as a business owner… is to find an activity of some kind that you love, And maybe go back to the things that you used to do as a kid and used to love doing as a kid to find some inspiration for that. But something that you really love. Because I think that one of the issues with this, you know the idea of going to the gym or running or working-out and exercise, is that it’s still work. You know, unless you have a real, real passion for it, it’s still work.

So I think what actually happens to us as business owners is when things get a bit overwhelming at work, you know, we need a mental break. So what we do is in the rest of our life, is we drop other things that are mentally work for us. So if exercise or going to the gym is actually work for us, as in “the workout”, you know that’s going to be something that we’re going to look to drop when work itself is overwhelming.

So you need to find something that you enjoy so much that when business starts to overwhelm you it gives you that mental break, it doesn’t contribute to your overwhelm, it relieves it. And for me it’s the ocean. Now I’m getting the ocean almost every day.

I’ve always got a pair of boardshorts in my car and this is just because sometimes I’m driving past and it calls, like I need to jump in. And when I’ve got a pair of boardshorts in the car I can. And I do lots of it, I do surfing, surf-lifesaving, ocean kayaking, freediving… I just love it all you know. If I’ve only got 20 minutes, I’ll just go for a swim. But the point is when I come out I’ve really enjoyed it and it’s been a mental break for me.

So find something you love and from there, use your lunch breaks, use every single lunch break get out and hopefully do something that you’re loving. But just use it to get a bit of activity, get the blood moving. And you’ll come back, you come back to work a lot more creative, a lot more problem solving at work.

All right, the next one is super, super simple, In the course of your day-to-day just stop aggressively avoiding walking. It’s amazing how, the extent we go to, to avoid walking. Actually one of the things that I find really, really amusing is shopping centers. You know how we all hustle, hustle, hustle to get the car so close to that front door so we don’t have to walk a single step further between our car and the front door… and then we go through that front door, and proceed to walk for the next three or four hours. It’s pretty funny.

But anyway, one of the things that I I try to do is I try to deliberately and consciously in my day-to-day, park far further away than I have to from the front door of where I’m going. So it just makes me walk a bit further. It doesn’t impact my day or my appointments or anything at all. All it does is mean, it means that my body’s moving and constantly through the day and it just keeps that activity going and it’s a great way just to keep that that basic level of fitness.

Jul 17

Business Owners – How To Keep Your Energy High on those Long Hours Days

As business owners, we never really do a standard 8 hour day, 40 hour week do we. Its not really what we signed up for, and lets face it, counting hours is not the way we achieve our business and life goals. So sometimes we need to really dig deep and put in the hard yards. During these times though, its important to be mindful of our personal energy. We need to keep it high for personal performance sake. We also need to keep it high so we are leading our teams energetically as well as verbally.

Its not always easy. In my 15 years in business, I’ve hit some peaks and also some desperate lows. I’ve learned from both these times to put together this short video on keeping your energy high in business – even when you are pushing the envelope. I hope you enjoy it.

Business and Leadership Energy Hacks

“I think as business owners we all have challenges that are really specific to our business. So I thought today I’d share one of my challenges. And it’s directly related to the fact that being in nine countries sometimes I have long long days, just because of the different timezones I speak to people in.

Today is a great example because I had to start my day well before 8 o’clock to have a Skype call with New Zealand and then I’m going to end my day well past 8 p.m. as I have some late night Skype calls in my time to fit in with Pakistan and South Africa time zones.


So here’s my business owner tips for maintaining energy levels on those long long days which we all have:

  1. Always start with a #coffee. To your taste and specification. Don’t take-away. Sit down. Enjoy. Gather your thoughts.
  2. Add some time for #inspiration. Thanks @entrepreneur for the current subscription deal. [I’ll read an article in a magazine like this for inspiration]
  3. Okay, the next tip is to not neglect your exercise regime even when you’re super busy. Getting your exercise right will keep your baseline energy level high. So I am going for a swim [lunch time].
  4. Eat foods that don’t leave you feeling bloated and heavy. Even if you need to clench your teeth as it’s salad again.
  5. Have a meaningful mind break between meetings. Ensure you start each next appointment fresh. If you don’t understand how to do this, read this amazing book – The Third Space by Adam Fraser.
  6. Well, getting through the day, one thing that’s really helped me keep my energy high today is to just try to have a bit more fun with what I’m doing. So I won’t be so serious in meetings. Crack a joke here and there, get a laugh, enjoy laughs. It really works. Have fun.
  7. Make time for family and loved ones – no matter how big the day, we always have dinner together – instant recharge.
  8. Make sure everyone is smiling right through till the end of the last meeting.
  9. So, the last thing I try to do especially if I’ve got a couple long days in a row is I try to switch off an hour before I go to bed. I’m just finishing up now, so I switch off electronics and let’s make sure I get proper rest and and my brain switches off before I go to sleep.”

They are my tips for high energy even through those 12 – 16 hour days. Let me know if you have tips too that I can use. Energy is everything