Like this? Get the FREE Small Business Bundle

  • The Spokal A-Z Guide to Marketing Terms (learn what all that jargon means).
  • The Spokal Guide to getting your first 1000 visitors from Twitter
  • 3 Blogging Templates to speed the creative process up
  • And a mini-guide on how all the different content marketing pieces fit together.

Why You Should Be Focusing on Conversation Marketing

Hey, you! We need to talk about something really important.

I just think – and I don’t mean this in a disrespectable way – but I think we need to learn how to communicate more effectively. It feels like you don’t really listen to me when I’m trying to say something. I tell you about my money problems, and you keep talking about buying that new car that I can’t afford. I tell you about that I’m getting married, and you keep sending me links to dating sites!

Talking

Photo courtesy of pedrosimoes7(CC Attribution)

It’s really annoying.

It seems like all you want to do is talk, talk, talk. You just want to shove your point down my throat and hope that I’ll be persuaded to behave how you want me to in the end.  

Well, it’s not working out for me. I need to feel like we’re having a conversation. Like we’re both listening to the other’s side of the story.

Do you follow?

Of course you do.

We’ve all had this conversation in some shape or form with a friend, loved one, partner, family member, co-worker etc. at least once in our lifetimes. It’s a tale as old as time, a grievance that’s plagued us since the dawn of humanity, a loose thread that just doesn’t seem to want to be tied up…

It’s our inability to get this communication thing really working for us.

As marketers, we’d like to think that we’re communicating with our customers, but are we really? And if we are, why haven’t we embraced Conversation Marketing?

Should You Be Marketing Your Small Business on Tsu?

is tsu right for your small business

If you haven’t heard about Tsu yet, let me get you up to speed quickly.

Tsu a new social media platform that promises to give 90% of its revenue back to the people who’ve made the platform what it is – its users.

That’s right, Tsu, actually pays you to use it.

The idea was inspired by the fact that other social networks actually profit from user’s creating content and having their circles engage with it, without the creator ever seeing a penny from their content.

What You Really Ought to Know About Inbound and Outbound Marketing

What you really ought to knwo about inbound and outbound marketing

You’ve probably seen a lot of posts titled something along the lines of “Inbound vs Outbound Marketing”. When I first started off my career in marketing, it felt like that’s all I read about. And, after about a month of reading, I felt like I really got what the two marketing strategies entailed. 

But you don’t have a month. 

You have right now. 

So here’s a post that will give you the skinny on inbound and outbound marketing. No frills, just facts. 

Homer Simpson’s Guide to Humor in Marketing

Home simpson's guide to humor in marketing

Did you ever notice how “humor” and “Homer” have the same amount of characters and start and end with the same letters? Coincidence? I think not!

Well, actually it is.

Fun fact: Matt Groening named the character after his own dad.

Still, the two things are hyper-related. Homer is funny, and so is humor! When done correctly, that is.

How To Create A Customer Service Dream Team In 10 Easy Steps!

Be it online, in person, or over the phone, there’s one thing that we eventually learn about customer service: 

It’s hard. 

And finding people who are great at it (and possibly even enjoy it!) can be really tough. 

But the reality is that customer service is extremely important to creating a successful business! In fact, 40% of customers have said that they left a company because of bad customer service.

Spokal - customer service team

The harsh reality is that many businesses underestimate just how important it really is to have the right team ready to at the phones (or desks, or keyboards!) and therefore they don’t assign enough resources to ensure they deliver the highest quality customer service that they can. 

If you’re concerned that your customer service team isn’t working to the best of its abilities, here’s a few tips that will help to whip them into shape!

15 Examples of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Newsjacking

Recently, I stumbled across an article by Jay Baer on LinkedIn Pulse entitled “You’re Trying to Be Smart But It’s Clearly Not Working.” Being a huge fan of his work, and intrigued by the tone of his headline, I was curious to read what he had to say. 

The post is short, but to sum it up for you: Baer states that Newsjacking is “ridiculous” because usually what’s happening in pop culture isn’t reality and we have no lessons to learn from fiction. He concludes with: “If you have something to say, just say it.”

For those of you who haven’t stumbled across 2015s buzzword of the year (so far), Newsjacking was coined by David Meerman Scott, and is the process of leveraging trending news to elevate your brand’s message.

But back to Baer: While I disagree that fiction can’t teach us about reality, this isn’t the time and the place to tear into that argument. But Baer’s post did get me thinking seriously about Newsjacking. Particularly, I wanted to know:

  • Is there any real argument for or against the Newsjacking? 
  • Is it effective, or just a cheap gimmick? 
  • And, most importantly, can Newsjacking be utilized for good content marketing?

So let’s get some answers, shall we? 

If You Only Read One Post About Headlines, Read This One.

Your headline is the first, and often the only, impression you make on a prospective reader. Without a compelling headline to entice your prospective readers into reading the rest of the content, your accompanying text is pointless – no matter how good it is.

Instead, your content will simply go unloved, unrecognized, undervalued and neglected until one day it will simply float off into a dark abyss where all content without captivating headlines go to die.

Dramatic, I know.

But it’s true.

On average, only 2 out of 10 people will read beyond your headline. That means that your headline literally has the power to make or break your content. The better than average your headline is, the better your chances are of having a larger audience read your content.

Simple, huh?

The pros know exactly how important creating headlines are, so they often follow the 50/50 rule which is when you spend just as much time on your headline (and the first few words/lines of your copy) as you do on creating your entire piece of content.

Given that most content takes hours, if not weeks to produce, you might be thinking that that’s a lot of time to spend on just a few words. Time that could be better spent on polishing up the rest of your content, maybe?

But think again.

As advertising legend David Ogilvy so succinctly puts it: “When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.” And where else should you spend your time, but on the one area that requires such a huge investment of money?

Doesn’t seem so ridiculous now, does it?

How To Easily Create Beautiful DIY Visuals That Will Get You Noticed

How to create DIY visuals that get you noticed

Photo courtesy of Sarah Burke


I’m sure you’ve heard the “fact” that people process images 60,000 times faster than they do text, right? The quote is supposed to highlight the important role images play in human understanding. 

But on further research, the fact just doesn’t hold up. 

In fact, no one knows where it came from! Although, A Difference does a remarkable job at researching it to as close as humanly possible. 

But that’s not to say images aren’t important. In a study by MIT it was concluded that the brain can process an image in 13 milliseconds! Which is rather remarkable when you consider that, with there being 1,000 milliseconds in a second, that would mean that we can process about 76 images per second.

That’s kind of mind boggling, am I right? Even if the 60,000 times faster than text fact isn’t quite accurate, one thing is for sure: we process images really fast. 

No wonder 65% of people are said to be visual learners.            

25 Experts Share Their 2015 New Year’s Resolutions!

25 Experts Share Their 2015 New Year's Resolutions!

Well, it’s official: 2015 is here!

For many of us, this is the time of year when we take a moment to reflect on the last 12 months. We look at the ups and downs, what we accomplished and what we failed to do, what could have been done better, and what we excelled at. What we missed out on, and what we embraced with all our hearts. 

And it’s with these reflections in mind, that we begin to plan out our futures. 

New Year’s resolutions are a long-held tradition by many that allow for us to set goals for the coming year, based off our experiences in the past one. They allow for us to take the time to really sit down and seriously map out where we want to be in one year, how we want to get there and what exactly we need to do in order to succeed. 

Be it a small goal, or something that could drastically change your entire life, coming up with a set of New Year’s resolution is a great way to become more focused, productive and motivated for the year to come.  

To get you thinking about your own New Year’s Resolutions, we’ve asked 25 of the world’s top marketers, bloggers and business owners what their New Year’s resolutions for 2015 are! Let’s take a look at what they’ve said, shall we?

Transparency in Business: Why It Matters & How To Do It

transparency in business

I feel like the idea of transparency in business has become an empty buzz word in many circles.

For years we’ve claimed that we need to push for transparency in business. We’ve rallied around the idea, claiming that it’s the future of good business and that it helps to build trust with your customers. And for all the positive and inspiring dialogue around the idea, very few businesses have picked up on the call yet, or even know what it really means to be transparent in business.

And sooner or later, our lack of a full understanding of the concept of business transparency will mean that we may inadvertently place our businesses in a perilous position – A position that could tarnish its name, see investors pull out, and customers turn their backs on us.