Are you looking for smarter ways to engage people in your online business? Then you will want to listen to this episode.
With so many options to engage your website visitors and customers, you might be wondering which ones to focus on.
Well have no fear, because in this new year, there is a way to steer you clear, so let us bend your ear.
OK, enough with the rhyming and now for the rhythm.
In this 38 minute episode, Sean Jackson and Jessica Frick provide clear ideas to help you focus your efforts, including…
- Trends in mobile, native advertising, online video, and direct mail you should be paying attention to
- How to turn daily distractions like email into something that improves your productivity
- The latest book you should be reading and a killer tool that will help you manage your online ads
- And of course, our question for the week – if you are just starting out online, should you use WordPress or Medium?
- To sign up for free to the Digital Commerce Academy, send a text message to 313131, with the keyword DIGITS (if you are in the continental USA). If you are outside the USA, email email@example.com. As a special bonus, we will subscribe you to our newsletter when you text or email us
Listen to The Digital Entrepreneur below ...
The Show Notes
- Connect with Sean Jackson on LinkedIn
- Follow Sean on Twitter
- Connect with Jessica Frick on LinkedIn
- Follow Jessica on Twitter
6 Business Insights That Could Radically Increase Your Online Engagement in 2017
You’re listening to The Digital Entrepreneur, the show for folks who want to discover smarter ways to create and sell profitable digital goods and services. This podcast is a production of Digital Commerce Institute, the place to be for digital entrepreneurs. DCI features an in-depth, ongoing instructional academy, plus a live education and networking summit where entrepreneurs from across the globe meet in person. For more information, go to Rainmaker.FM/DigitalCommerce.
Sean Jackson: Welcome to The Digital Entrepreneur. I’m Sean Jackson.
Jessica Frick: I’m Jessica Frick. I am really excited to ask you, Sean, this week’s question.
Sean Jackson: What is it, Jess? Now, for those who don’t know, we always end our show with a question for the week. Now, Jessica and I are going to debate it. Jess, what was the question that we left everyone hanging with last week?
How to Turn Daily Distractions Like Email into Something That Improves Your Productivity
Jessica Frick: Well, last week we talked about social media accounts and got to hear how wrong you are, but this week we get to hear how wrong you are where it relates to email. Is email a time saver or a time suck?
Sean Jackson: It is a time suck, okay.
Jessica Frick: You’re insane.
Sean Jackson: I’m telling you now, it is a giant time suck. Maybe it’s our generation, too. One thing about email, when it comes to people of a certain age, email is our default communication system. For my daughter, literally her email app on her phone is in a folder called ‘Old People Stuff.’
Jessica Frick: Whoa.
Sean Jackson: I would definitely say email, whether it’s a time saver or time suck, greatly depends upon your age. If you’re too young, you don’t really care about email. It’s for password-retrieval purpose.
Jessica Frick: Oh my gosh.
Sean Jackson: Let me tell you why I think email is a time suck.
Jessica Frick: All right.
Sean Jackson: I don’t think people use email properly. That’s why it’s a time suck. I think that too many times people are so addicted to their mobile device, to their desktop device that they’ll have multiple tabs open, but there will always be that tab to their email program. It’ll have a little alert on there telling you how many unread messages you have. Or it’ll be you get on your phone, and there’s that little icon with that little red circle that says, “You have 55,000 unread messages.”
I think what it does is that it is a time suck because of the way we use it. It is constantly drawing our attention to it. For example, if you go on vacation, which I know you never do, but if you ever went on a vacation, what you would find is that what is a real vacation? If you’re checking email, is that really a vacation? No.
Jessica Frick: It can be if you enjoy it.
Sean Jackson: No. So it is a complete time suck because people don’t use email correctly. What do you say?
Jessica Frick: Well, I say that I would agree with you, but then we’d both be wrong.
Sean Jackson: Okay, well, give me another point. That’s not the point of this. Give me the counterpoint.
Jessica Frick: Counterpoint is, well, yes, I will acquiesce that some people do use email wrong. For example, us, we’re in a virtual workspace. Can you imagine if every time we needed to talk about something we had to actually talk about it over the phone or in person?
Sean Jackson: Well, that we use Slack for all of it.
Jessica Frick: Exactly. Well, Slack or email because email is for long-form stuff if we have to get somebody to sign off on something or strategize something where it’s not in a chat room. I feel that email is better for addressing specific things without the nuances and distraction of that immediate feedback loop.
Sean Jackson: Yeah, but here’s the thing. You spend so much time on email going back and forth when picking up the phone could solve about 20 hours of back-and-forth dialog on the email message. To me, that’s where I get so adamant about email. Not only do we not use it right, but then we go back and forth and things can be misconstrued. Your tone in there, god forbid you put all caps in something, right?
So to me, email can be just an incredible waste of an entire day, especially if you let it pile up and then you’re having to go through and go through and the anxiousness that comes from that. I would disagree with you. I don’t think if there’s any time savings per say. I think there are certain times when it is appropriate, but picking up the phone and talking to someone is, in many ways, a faster form of communication than going back and forth on email. What say you?
Jessica Frick: Well, speaking of old people stuff, how many people do we work with who forget what you guys just talked about yesterday?
Sean Jackson: Yeah, good point.
Jessica Frick: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to go back to the email and say, “Actually, we talked about this on February 22nd, 2015.”
Sean Jackson: Yeah, I know. Next to the send feature on email, it’s the search feature I use the most.
Jessica Frick: Exactly. How much time do you save with that? Email is more than just that one to one. It’s also a group situation. How many times have you been on a conference call that could have been solved with an email?
Sean Jackson: Yeah, you know, if we talked more on the phone, then I would agree with you, but I think we’ve become overly reliant upon it. I think there is a value in picking up the phone and talking to people. I think there’s a value in putting together a webinar, let’s say, where people can have a voice and talk. I think it has more value to look at other alternatives — only because I, again, will push back on this, saying I think people use email incorrectly.
Jessica Frick: I think I would agree with you on that part.
Sean Jackson: Yeah, and here’s why. I think we leave it always on, so I literally, literally just before the show was using the restroom.
Jessica Frick: TMI, Sean!
Sean Jackson: Yeah, I know, I know. Getting really personal, folks. Cover your ears, folks. I was sitting there, and the guy in the urinal next to me was checking his phone. He was coming in, and he was checking his phone. He was going on and et cetera, and he was reading through all these emails, et cetera. Because I know the guy, I wasn’t just talking to a stranger, I said, “Look, email so permeates our business life.”
So what I have done — and I would highly recommend everyone think about this — on my mobile devices, I turned automatic email off.
Jessica Frick: Like when it refreshes?
Sean Jackson: Yeah, I have to go get the email. I don’t let it just sit there and come to my phone automatically so that, every time I pick up my phone, I see this little red circle with 20,000 things that I haven’t done.
The reason I do that is because it goes to the greater point about email and most communication in general — given the tremendous amounts of ways that we do communicate, blocking off time is the best way to manage all forms of communication. Having it always on can be and is a huge distraction to productivity.
Turning your email auto fetch to manual means that, when you’re ready to check your email, then you are in the right mindset. Otherwise, you just ignore it.
I will tell you, doing that, Jess, has saved my weekends with my family. I’m dead serious because, when I pick up my phone, I’m not like, “Oh my gosh, there’s an email I have to respond to.” No. I have certain times when I work, and I have certain times I spend with my family. Turning off email auto fetch and making it a manual process allows me to control the way that I spend my time in communication.
What say you?
Jessica Frick: Well, I like the idea of block scheduling. I’ve never been able to make it stick because so much of what I do is fluid. Somebody might need to get in touch with me right now, and it can’t wait eight hours until my next email block. Like our colleague Matt, he handles a lot of our server operations, and he has a tremendous workload on any given day. If he always makes himself available, he gets distracted and isn’t able to accomplish the huge feats that he does on a regular basis.
Sean Jackson: Yeah, that’s true.
Jessica Frick: He needs to have that focus, but at the same time I can’t imagine how he’d survive if he had too many group phone calls. The best way to get him is email.
Sean Jackson: Yeah, and I will say this, that there is a time and place for it. I think it’s up to you who’s listening to this to really think about your communication plan. How you interact with the communication streams that you have coming at you and really think about it for a second. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it is not a time suck.
Jessica Frick: There is no maybe.
Sean Jackson: No, there is. There is. But again, by controlling your communication stream, you may find yourself to be more productive. Certainly, there are times when you’re sitting around waiting for that one email communication to come in, but I think that if it’s that damn urgent pick up the damn phone and talk to somebody. Jess, I’ll let you end our argument with your point.
Jessica Frick: If you’d like to get in touch with us, you can contact us at Digits@Rainmaker.FM. That’s our email address.
Sean Jackson: Wow, that was a heck of a plug, and way to go to, Jess. We’ll be right back after this short break.
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Trends in Mobile, Native Advertising, Online Video, and Direct Mail You Should Be Paying Attention To
Sean Jackson: Welcome back from the break, everyone. I’m Sean Jackson and joined by Jessica Frick. Jessica, for this particular segment, I want to talk about focus points for 2017. Some ideas for you to focus on for your online business.
Jess, I’m going to go ahead and let you give your top three focus areas that you think our audience should be looking at 2017.
Jessica Frick: Well, my first one is going to be live video.
Sean Jackson: Now, what do you mean by that? What do you mean by live video?
Jessica Frick: I feel like more and more brands are getting into the live video business. Even those that you’d be like, “Well, what could you possibly do a video about?” But they’re all in there, and they’re using Facebook Live or YouTube. I feel that that medium has become a very strong way to reach your audience, and people love it.
Sean Jackson: Yeah, so let me push back on that for a second. Let’s say I sell a digital good, an ebook, a software, a membership system, et cetera. Let’s say I’m not selling a physical product, which tends to lend itself to a video format. What type of live video ideas should someone in the digital goods space be thinking about?
Jessica Frick: I think it depends on the product or service, but people can talk to you. You might be discussing one of the areas of your expertise. Or you know what, maybe you’re just walking around a downtown area that looks really cool, and you just wanted to hang out with your friends and talk about this new book you’re selling.
Sean Jackson: Yeah. Here’s a couple of ideas. Whiteboards, obviously, certainly over at Moz, they do Whiteboard Friday. I think certainly webinars fall into that space, but whiteboards, a constant stream of just very simplistic style of video composition where great audio using your phone. Certainly, talking to customers.
At the end of the day, there may be customers of yours in your local town — just getting together and talking through their issues. When it comes to the digital goods space, you have to be a little bit more creative with video, but at the same time, you don’t have to feel like you’re limited either because you can talk about bigger ideas using video.
Jessica Frick: That dovetails with my next thing — 360 video and imagery. Are you seeing so many people are using that? It goes virtual reality, augmented reality, that kind of immersive experience is becoming more and more popular. I feel like a lot of brands can leverage that to help them.
For a digital entrepreneur, giving them an immersive experience inside … it could even be your office. I know that sounds so stupid, but I would totally look at that. Not only would I look at that, but I’d be zooming in on your desk.
Sean Jackson: Right, giving a little bit more appealing to the lifestyle aspect of what you sell, right?
Jessica Frick: Yeah.
Sean Jackson: Certainly, there’s some people who really promote the freedom lifestyle. Your freedom to be anywhere, right? Well, reinforce that.
Jessica Frick: Yeah, you’re hanging out on the beach doing your work.
Sean Jackson: Right, exactly, because you’re hanging out on the beach doing your work. So again, sharing information around there. Certainly, with augmented reality, virtual reality, and some of the other things that are in the pipe and coming down further, I think it really comes down to content creativity. What is a piece of content that is visual that can be associated with both your brand and your product to reinforce it, right?
Then, through that, give them something that is a little bit different. Again, a lot of people are doing gaming right now. The YouTube channels that are coming up where people are touring houses. Certainly, if you’re in the real estate segment, man, you’ve got to be thinking, “What are some of the ways that I can really get above the noise?” And augmented and video virtually reality are methods for doing that, especially where there’s a physical aspect to what you provide online.
Jessica Frick: Completely agree.
Sean Jackson: What’s your third one?
Jessica Frick: The third one … and you and I talked a little bit about all of these earlier, but I’m going to make a last-second decision and change my third one. I think physical mail is going to come back.
Sean Jackson: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Tell me why you think that.
Jessica Frick: Even if you run a digital business, nobody is using actual mail anymore except for the phone companies and the utility companies. How much do you love getting stuff in the mail? I give Amazon all kinds of money just to send me cool stuff.
Sean Jackson: I know.
Jessica Frick: Post cards. I can remember being young, and my mom started getting these weird random post cards from some dude that she didn’t know. But they were all like these rural places with these photos of cool farms. She couldn’t figure it out. Anyway, cut to the chase, the last post card in the series turns out this guy actually worked for a new popcorn company, and they were selling popcorn.
So she’s getting all these random post cards. I want to say there were four or five before he revealed himself, but you can bet your bottom dollar that she bought that popcorn all the time.
Sean Jackson: Yeah. You are absolutely 100 percent spot on. I was thinking about including that actually, so you jumped me on that one. That’s fine. No, I did. You took my idea. I’m looking at it. I’m tapping the desk right now. You took my idea. Let me explain why, folks.
Here’s why. When you start to look at all that data that you’re getting in on both your visitors and your customers — and we talked in the last episode about Clearbit API, which I particularly like — you are starting to get a lot of data about these people. Reaching out to them with something like, I don’t know, a sticker.
Jessica Frick: Oh yes, people love stickers!
Sean Jackson: A sticker for their laptop. One of the things I have on my laptop is a laptop cover that’s really cool. Every time I pull out my laptop, people look at my computer and go, “Oh my gosh, where did you get that cover, that wrap that you put on the front?”
It doesn’t have to very expensive, but what about that social acknowledgement that you could generate with a sticker of some sort — just sending it out to people whom you’ve been able to identify on your site either by them filling out a form or you’re just coming up and being smart about it and saying, “Oh I realize who this is person is,” looking at data sources, and sending them something inexpensive that builds social currency for your online brand.
I will tell you, you send a sticker or a wrap or something like that, people will be Tweeting about it. They’ll be showing you. It really is something so easy, but it requires you to think outside of the Twitter-verse.
Jessica Frick: Yes, and you’re engaging another sense all together, that tactile sensory experience. I’m touching the same sticker you touched. There’s a human connection going on here.
Sean Jackson: That’s right, and it doesn’t have to be expensive folks. All right. So, Jess, you stole my idea, so I’m down to two. I had three, wow. Man, I’m never going to do a pre-call with you. Man, forget that.
Jessica Frick: Sorry.
Sean Jackson: Here’s my big focus I think people should be thinking about for 2017, and it’s going to go into the mobile space. I know, mobile, mobile, mobile — but here’s why. We have really transcended past the mobile-responsive age to the mobile-first age. Let me explain that.
As content creators, we spend all of our time in a desktop-style environment. It’s conducive to the way that we operate, so we have a natural bias to the desktop experience. Knowing that, in certain categories, especially the consumer side, and even in the B2B side, people are consuming information more and more on a mobile device.
In the consumer side, it’s over 50 percent. It’s looking at 60, 70. Heck, even on LinkedIn, a business social media network, most of the content consumption is on a mobile device because executives are reading, learning, and listening to these things as they are in transit. Where I would say that a mobile-first design means that you look at your site purely from the mobile experience first. That if you go into some tool like Chrome, for instance, the Chrome web browser, they have developer tools in there that will allow you to see your site in a mobile environment.
Start thinking about what are the features that are on my site that are not applicable to the mobile experience? I’m talking about forms on your site. I’m talking about content on your site, video. I just went to a site that was on Shark Tank. I was watching Shark Tank, and I went to their site on my mobile device, which is probably how a majority of people watching Shark Tank are going to look at these companies.
I looked at their home page, and I was disappointed. You could tell that it was trying to be responsive, but it just didn’t work. All of that traffic flooding to them, and your first experience is, “Eh, the text looks weird. It doesn’t respond properly.” I’m not saying it wasn’t responsive. It didn’t respond properly because they didn’t look at it from the mobile-first viewpoint because the people who built the website were sitting at the desktop.
I would say that looking at a site, number one, is the current focus. The second big focus area for 2017 goes in line with that, which is really about text messaging. Now, this is something that, again, I have been on a rant for the past two years as I’ve been really thinking about a mobile-first world.
Certainly, video is a big part of content consumption in the mobile world. No question about it. If you have children, you know exactly what I mean. But on top of that, text messaging. You know we went through the app phase where in-app notifications and popping things to your phone, and everybody got annoyed with that because every app wanted to send you a push notification.
The text messaging still out-performs push notification. It has more people using text, more people who are seeing it because, really, unless you unsubscribe, you’re going to see the text. Then, I would also say that, when people are viewing your site and there’s a call to action where you want them to fill in something about themselves, the default of your name and email is laborious and tedious on a mobile device versus just putting in your 10-digit phone number from the United States.
Think about those forms, those calls to action you have on your site, and find a way to intelligently, say, if you’re on the desktop, putting in your name and email is not a big deal. But if it’s a mobile, it better transfer over to a text input and a real input so that the keyboard even goes to numbers, not letters, right? So they can easily put in their telephone number and, again, access, consume, or get a part of your subscription.
Does it cost a little more? Yes — but I want to tell you, folks, email costs. Everybody thinks email is free. It’s not. You pay something for email management over time. Text messaging is no different.
Jessica Frick: You know, Sean, I remember when you first started talking to me about this a couple years ago, and I rolled my eyes. One of the things that’s so annoying about working with you is how often this happens. I roll my eyes, and I’m like, “Oh, Sean, bless your heart.
Sean Jackson: Yeah, you don’t get it.
Jessica Frick: “You think of just the cutest ideas that are never going to work.” Here we are two years later, and I’m getting text messages from certain organizations — and I’m responding. They’re like, “Do you want to find out if there’s a meetup in your area? A for yes, B for no.” And I’m choosing my own adventure with these people via text. They’re like, “Send a 2 if you want to send $2 for this,” and I’m doing it.
Sean Jackson: Yeah. Look at the last campaign. Candidates would have their text messaging number on the podium because they know that they don’t need people to download an app just so they can send their communication. Text is still the fastest way.
I went shopping the other day, and I went to Bed Bath & Beyond. Because I’m on Bed Bath & Beyond text-messaging system, the coupons are sent to me now right to my phone. I don’t have an app or anything like that. Here’s the thing — even when they expire, they give a little note that says ‘resend.’ If you’re a part of the Bed Bath & Beyond and you just hit resend, they’ll give you the current coupon.
Jessica Frick: What? I didn’t know that.
Sean Jackson: Yes, I know. I was trying to use the coupon and it expired. So I went to the text messaging. It just said ‘resend,’ and it came back.
Jessica Frick: Oh my gosh.
Sean Jackson: I know. That’s where I think, again, smart online entrepreneurs are thinking about, “What are we doing today? How are people working today, and what will carry me through to the next several years?” Then I’m going to end, and I’ll put my third one in since you copped one of mine, I’m going to come in. I’m going to take your original idea, which is online ads.
Jessica Frick: Yes.
Sean Jackson: Now, here’s where I think we were kind of moving to. I think if you really look at native advertising, which is essentially paid content, I really think focusing in 2017 on native advertising — using the content networks out there, Google, et cetera — where you can really be intelligent about tagging people as they come to your site, using remarketing to use rich media ads to drive them to content.
Primarily, in my opinion should be video content, but regardless, it can be long form text content, doesn’t matter. Remarketing and focusing on putting your own native advertising together. So if they visit a page about blue socks, then they’re seeing the blue socks ad, not just ads for socks. If they’re reading about hosting, they are coming in, and you’re tagging them and putting something out for them. So being a lot more intelligent about people who come to your site, remarketing to them based on the words that are on that page so that they’re given different ads based on the content they consume.
Let’s recap this, so we can finish off this segment. Jess had number one, live video to focus on — 100 percent agree with that one. Secondly, virtual reality. Certainly, figuring out how to engage people with this new and emerging media. Then third one, of course, offline. Figuring out ways to use traditional mail to get to people and give them, as I pointed out, social currency, something that they can have a brand affiliation that doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg to do.
Jessica Frick: Love it.
Sean Jackson: And my three points were mobile-first design, focusing on that site, looking at it from a mobile experience first and making sure it works perfectly for that, then the desktop. Text messaging, just being smarter about using text messaging, capturing text messaging. There’s a lot of services out there. I happen to use EZ Texting.
I find it to be fairly affordable, very intuitive, and easy. Then, of course, the third aspect that I was talking about which is really about using native advertising, but be very strategic about it. Looking at the per page or the categories of content that you have and using remarketing to drive people back to those calls to action that are related to the content they just read. Those are the six focus areas for 2017. I’m sure there’s many more, but that’s what we could come up with.
Jessica Frick: You can do it, guys.
Sean Jackson: Folks, we’ll be right back after this short break.
Sean Jackson: Hey, everyone. This is Sean Jackson, the host of The Digital Entrepreneur. I want to ask you a simple question. What is your business framework for selling digital goods online? Now, if the question perplexes you, don’t worry — you’re not alone. Most people don’t realize that the most successful digital entrepreneurs have a framework or a general process for creating and selling their digital goods in the online space.
One of the best free resources is Digital Commerce Academy. Digital Commerce Academy combines online learning with case studies and webinars created by people who make a living selling digital goods online. The best part is that this material is free when you register. Are you interested in joining? Well, I’ll make it easy for you. If you’re listening to the show on your phone and are in the continental United States, I want you to send a text message to 313131 with the key word ‘DIGITS.’ When you send that text message, we will send you a link to the registration form right to your phone.
Are you outside the United States? Don’t worry. Just send us an email to Digits@Rainmaker.FM. Either way, we’ll send you a link to the registration form so that you can sign up for free for Digital Commerce Academy. As a special bonus, we will also subscribe you to our newsletter when you text or email us so that you can stay informed with the latest insights from the show.
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The Latest Book You Should Be Reading and a Killer Tool That Will Help You Manage Your Online Ads
Sean Jackson: Welcome back, everyone. For this segment, we always like to talk about sites, tools, information, and things that we think are very valuable to your online experience. Jess, I’m going to go ahead and start off on this one. Is that all right?
Jessica Frick: Have at it, Sean.
Sean Jackson: I have now found an author that I am absolutely just enamored with. His name is Adam Grant. Now Adam Grant is the new Malcolm Gladwell.
Jessica Frick: That’s a pretty big statement.
Sean Jackson: In fact, Malcolm Gladwell says he’s the new Malcolm Gladwell.
Jessica Frick: Really?
Sean Jackson: Adam Grant is a professor, I believe out of Warden or Chicago … I can’t remember. He’s a big thinker. He has written a series of books, one Givers and Takers, which just had true impact in my life, but there was another one — which is how I first ran into him — which is called Originals: How Non-Conformists Change the World, basically.
He goes through and debunks a lot of the preconceptions that we have about success in general. One of the things that he really pointed out in there and he uses a ton of illustrative examples, from Dean Kamen and et cetera, but what he really pointed out was where original thinkers come from and how they actually can do things differently.
He gave a great story, and I use this all the time. He gave a great story in this book to illustrate his point about this study that people were doing about support centers. Specifically, what were the attributes that made someone very good at customer support? They looked at everything. They looked at education, background, demographic data. It didn’t matter.
They looked at all sorts of personality traits, and they could not find any direct correlation between what made someone really, really good at customer support, and succeeded over the long run in customer support, versus those that didn’t. Until they looked into how people filled out their job application online.
Jessica Frick: What?
Sean Jackson: I know. When they researched that, here’s what they found. People that used Internet Explorer and Safari generally were not very good at customer support.
Jessica Frick: Huh.
Sean Jackson: People who used Firefox and Chrome did exceptionally well.
Jessica Frick: Firefox!
Sean Jackson: I know. Now, think about that. Here is what he was pointing out.
Jessica Frick: Who still uses Internet Explorer?
Sean Jackson: Exactly. Internet Explorer and Safari are the default browsers that come with your OS, right?
Jessica Frick: Oh, I can see that.
Sean Jackson: They’re the default ones. Now, think about what you have to do to put Firefox and Chrome. First, you have to go out there and find them. Then you have install them. You have to want the advantages of speed, performance, and security that you feel that they bring to it versus just using what you see in front of you.
When they started dividing people up based on the type of browser they use, what they found were people that went and used Firefox and Chrome were more inclined to find solutions to people’s problems outside of the little box of solutions they were given in customer supports. They were willing to go above and beyond to find solutions versus people that just would deal with the status quo — which, again, goes back to Internet Explorer and Safari. Isn’t that crazy?
Jessica Frick: That is fascinating. I would’ve never made that connection, but you’re right. You’re absolutely right.
Sean Jackson: I told you — he’s the new Gladwell, right? He totally takes something really arcane and really espouses through them. He talks about the Warby Parker guys, who were actually students of his, one of the founders of Warby Parker. He actually had a chance to invest in that company, and he didn’t because his preconceived mindset was, “Entrepreneurs are risk takers. They put everything to the wind, and they’ll risk it all on a roll of the dice.”
When he met with the Warby Parker founders when they were starting out, they were highly risk averse — highly risk averse — and they would take small, incremental steps to get towards a goal. What he found in looking at other entrepreneurs, the people that we really think are the big entrepreneurs, what he found was they were highly risk averse. They would take small, incremental steps and remove risk from the equation as they continued to build their business up.
It’s this type of different type of thinking that make people, what he basically prefaces, original thinkers, people who are willing to go and do different things than the status quo, who are willing to take risks in measured increments — not just throw it out and hope that it lands on black. That was the type of thinking that he really highlighted in his book.
So the name of the books is Originals by Adam Grant. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re in the online space because you’re probably just strange to begin with. You’re not the status quo. You’ve taken a risk to go out there and leave the 9 to 5 job to get into the online space, and I think you will find this book to really appeal to you. I’d also say, his other book, Give and Take — I already called it Givers and Takers, but it’s Give and Take — that was one of his first books and, again, really a powerful author. Easy to read, very insightful.
That’s my tip for the week. Jess, what do you have?
Jessica Frick: Well, I kind of dovetail on that to say, if you’re not super risk taker-y … there we go, that was really well said, Jess. I am admittedly a little risk averse. I like to know what I’m getting into. I like certainties over uncertainties. It’s probably why I would have unfortunately passed on Warby Parker, too, but one of the ways that I help us make sure that we know what we’re getting into before we get into it with actual money is using a cool tool called SEM Rush.
I handle our ads, and I don’t like treating the money like so many other people in the world seem to. You know just throw some money at it, see what sticks, and then do more of that. I like to really research these keywords, and I like to research the competitors. I like to know what’s happening in the market.
I like to know if one of the main keywords I want to go after just had a huge drop in people buying it. Those sorts of things save us money. I’d rather learn from your mistakes.
Sean Jackson: Right, and you think SEM Rush is a tool that helps you do that?
Jessica Frick: I do. And I feel that by learning what our competitors do, I can compete better. I feel that we have a definite leg up on the competition because we know not only what they’re doing, but what they’ve done.
Sean Jackson: Well, it goes back, too, because then they know what we’re doing.
Jessica Frick: Well, they do. They do, but at the same time, we also are always looking forward not backward. Beyond just that, I think it’s important to still pay attention to rank even though there’s always these algorithm changes and stuff like that. Whether you’re entering a new market or just increasing your presence in one that you’ve been in, I feel it’s important to see who’s moving up in the scales there. Am I?
Sean Jackson: I think you’re right because, again, keying off what I was just talking about, risk mitigation, the more that you can research, the more that you experiment in small, incremental ways, and find things that work, knowing what may not be working for someone else. These are important insights, and I definitely agree. There’s a lot of great tools out there, folks. And just so you know, we don’t get compensated for this.
Jessica Frick: No. This is something that we buy. We pay for this. We’re not including an affiliate link here. I do use other tools, but I have found the SEM Rush interface to be so user-friendly that I am completely comfortable recommending it to any digital entrepreneur who is considering entering the paid placement space.
Sean Jackson: There we go. All right.
Question for the Week: If You Are Just Starting Out Online, Should You Use WordPress Or Medium?
Sean Jackson: So, Jess, we’re coming to the end of the show, and we’re going to leave our audience with a question of the week. I want everyone to really think about this because I’ve been asked this question by people from the outside looking to come into the digital entrepreneur space, who are looking to maybe give up their traditional office-esque job or want to experiment with the online marketing, online selling of digital goods.
So here’s the question to leave you with. Should you start your online business using WordPress or start with something like Medium’s publisher, Squarespace, Wix, et cetera? Should you go out of the box with WordPress, just make the investment of time there, or should you start with something a little simpler like Medium and Squarespace to start building an online presence.
So, Jess, we’re going to talk about that and, like we do at the top of every show, debate it profusely.
Jessica Frick: Now, Sean, do you promise if I give my actual opinion I’m not going to get fired since we’re a WordPress host?
Sean Jackson: No. We can’t agree, though, Jess. That’s the key to an argument. We both have two sides.
Jessica Frick: I know, we can’t agree. But see, here’s the thing — and this is going to surprise you. I’m going to tell you that I don’t think you need to be on self-hosted WordPress.
Sean Jackson: Ooh, well, I will leave you hanging with my response to her proposition on the next episode of Digital Entrepreneur. You folks have a great week now, okay?