Bend WebCAM Blog

Attendee Testimonial: Jennifer Houston

October 24th, 2013

“AWESOME event. It was my first year at WebCAM and it was definitely thought provoking. I couldn’t write down notes and ideas fast enough. What I particularly appreciated was the content was just as valuable and relevant to me as a Marketing Director as I imagine it was for those working in advertising, SEO, PR and other firms.”

- Jennifer Houston, Director of Marketing
Structus Building Technologies

Content Strategy, Power Planning and Creation with Ben Cook and Michael King – #BWCBend

October 15th, 2013

We have a content double-header — presentations by Ben Cook and Michael King.

How to Create Immortal Content

Ben Cook @skitzzo can take you to a mildly successful viral campaign to a wildly successful one. His presentation is available here: seocoaches.com/webcam

Create with an Audience in Mind

  • Don’t try to “go viral.”
  • Target your customers
  • Showcase your skill

Never Waste Content

  • Create with an eye on repurposing
  • Use graphics from video for an infographic
  • Top 10 lists > 10 post series > 10 videos

Crafting the Content

Pull the Triggers

  • Useful
  • Remarkable
  • Funny: The creators of the Old Spice campaign still give talks
  • Social currency: If someone gave me something that helped, I’d thank them, not necessarily not the original creator

Read:

  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
  • Predictably Irrational
  • Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Choose a Medium

infographic

  • Infographics: If your space isn’t saturated this is a good medium
  • News-jacking: Avoid tragedy
  • LEGO: For whatever reason the Internet loves LEGOs. Because Skitzzo created a LEGO mosaic of Pres. Obama, the image spread. If you can work in LEGOs somehow…
  • Controversial interviews: It can cause blowback to say something controversial on your site, but if you can get someone else to say it, hosting the rumble, you can get credit and publicity without the blowback.
  • World records
  • Contests

Keep the brand image in mind! Don’t damage your brand while doing these kinds of things.

Make It Shareable

  • Ask
  • Make sharing the call to aaction
  • Proide quotes to tweet
  • Proide thumbnails for Facebook
  • Provide embed codes for images
  • Only include buttons your audience will use

Launching Content

Infect lots of patient zeros. You have to seed the content in front of people. Facebook boosting, Twitter sponsoring, promoted pins. StumbleUpon paid discovery. You have to do the initial push and it may snowball. Reach out to influencers. Consider hiring a PR pro; don’t short yourself at this level.

Coordinate Your Attack

  • Create a launch sequence
  • Simultaneously attack multiple fronts
  • Time the campaign based on when your audience is online
  • Have resources available so you can pull the rip cord when a story presents itself

launch plan of attack

When You Fail

  • Try a different medium.
  • Try a different location, like a different blog or different social network.
  • Add value. Maybe make it interactive, provide more info, or go “bigger”
  • Alert fans of previous attempts. Those who liked it last time may like the new version too. If you do try to make a different version, leave some time in between when you try again.
  • Try a different idea

Scaling Quality

Michael King @ipullrank is next and his presentation is available here: http://iacq.co/scaling-quality.

Over time content marketing has a lower cost per lead (CPL) than paid search. At the same time, you’ll get more leads for the same spend with content marketing compared to paid search.

But today there’s no excuse for bad content. There are so many great content creators, unemployed journalists and out of school designers.

There’s also more data than ever. Find real niche-specific interests and the data around that to serve that audience.

We conflate content strategy with content marketing. Content strategy is a process, how do we create guidelines, maintain it, who owns it. Content marketing is basically just publishing stuff.

Content strategy is the answer. Start by understanding what kind of content you already have. If you know you have white papers, you can figure out how to re-purpose it for a specific audience.

content strategy workflow

Diversify Content Types

Blogging? Video? Okay, but there are so many kinds of content. An API. UI elements. Plugins…

Focus on the ROI. Map content to KPIs. Certain content types work better in different parts of the funnel. Don’t make an infographic tied to sales. Infographics have an effect to someone high up the funnel. Here’ a preso: http://iacq.co/YHXIZa

Content Planning Tips

Tools:

  • Mural.ly
  • Storyboard That
  • Balsamiq
  • Trello

Great content has great structure. A blog post with the same quality but one had images, bullets and headings in text resulted in more time on page and more links.

Finding Good Ideas

  • Build personas: Nielsen and Experian have social PPC inventories that can be used to build audience and buyer personas.
  • If you don’t want to go through all that info, use Followerwonk’s word clouds of all the bios of your followers on Twitter to help you draw up personas. You can also use this technique on your competitors to draw personas.
  • Social Trends will show you other words that happen with your keyword. If you sell flowers and “flowers” in this tool, you’ll see people are also using “Bradley Cooper” and “New York Times” and now you know more about your audience
  • Quora: People ask questions and then other people give more in-depth answers. Search for what’s relevant to your business and see the fascinating info that people are sharing on the site. You also see who’s interested in the topic so when you have content on it you can reach out to them and ask them to share.
  • Keyword research: We can look into the collective consciousness. Using tools like Ubersuggest give you long-tail searches and permutations of a given keyword. You can use Google Trends and Keyword Planner for volume of search to validate your idea.

Data Collection Sources

  • SurveyMonkey Audience: Select a demographic and ask that audience directly questions to see if a piece of content resonates.
  • Google Consumer Surveys: Google infers who the users are based on affinity segments whereas with SurveyMonkey people report who they are.
  • Marketing Charts
  • Consumer Barometer
  • Zanran: SE for statistics
  • Datahub
  • Data Market

Quality Outsourcing

If you don’t have the resources in house…

  • 99Designs: People compete for the business
  • Dribble: Find people in your area, look at their existing portfolio, reach out to them and ask for the design fee
  • Contently: Writer Access gives you low-quality garbage. Contently has professional writers that you can choose from and assign tasks to. These writers also have ratings, and a calendar is built into the project. This is limited to big agencies with a lot of work.
  • Skyword
  • Plagtracker: Check if the content you purchased is original
  • Grammarly

Example Outsource Workflow

content strategy workflow with tools

Can you write? Can you take and upload pictures? Can you make spreadsheets? You can make content.

Other tools for creating content:

  • Infogr.am
  • Piktochart
  • Google Fusion Tables
  • iCharts
  • Dipity
  • PressBooks
  • Storybird
  • Kuler
  • Adobe Edgefonts

Communicating with Creatives

It’s difficult to communicate with creative people. When you get the content back you may see you didn’t get what you wanted. He wrote a post, “What It Takes to Get Remarkable Content Done” - http://www.iacquire.com/blog/what-it-takes-to-get-remarkable-content-done/

The Data Viz Brief is the solution they came up with to communicate an idea to creative. Everything they need the creative to know is in one document.

Data Viz Brief

Making a Scroller in 5 Minutes

Paralax scrollers is the new thing everyone’s doing. Here’s how you can do it.

“The ability to write code is pretty much a super power in today’s society.” – Matt Cutts

  • Find an image
  • Save as .svg
  • Use the link setting
  • Put Skrollr in your HTML
  • Open your .svg file
  • Add the CSS to path tags
  • You now have a path drawing scroller

Next-Level Local Search Tactics – David Mihm #BWCBend

October 15th, 2013

Local ranking factors in 2013; 8-9 factors are the most important, which we’re going to dive into the most important ones today.

Foundational Pieces for Local ranking in Google:
1) Website, Location, Brand connection as a part of the same entity
a. Website →Location: Store Locator; Each page of your store locations needs to have a separate page. Brand name in the title tag and
b. Website → Brand: Use a rel=author tag for Google+. There’s a huge difference in click through rate when having a photo that being a rel=author helps with.
c. Brand→Location: Claim your business on Google Places and make sure that your businesses thumbprint (name, address and phone number) is the same across the web.
2) Four main data points for Google: Infogroup, Localeze, Acxiom, Factual. UBL or Yext can do this for you if you don’t have the time to put your business thumbprint out there.
3) REVIEWS! Create an active campaign for asking for web reviews on important sites such as: Google+.
a. Use ones where clients can use their Facebook or Gmail account to leave a review and don’t have to create a separate account.

Next-Level Website Content:
1) Interviews (with multimedia with customers and vendors)
2) Pull from Facebook and replace on your website
3) Reclaim filtered Yelp reviews

Off-Site Website Content:
1) Do Google searches for keyword phrases that you want to rank for not necessarily in your market. Pay special attention to those businesses that are further away from the city center to understand what those companies are doing well.
2) Map search for your competitor’s thumbprints. Google the name address and phone number of your competitor and see what niche citations your competitors are ranking for. A tool called ‘Whitespark.ca’ may help you if you don’t have the time to do that. From there, export the list and do a search for the high quality domains: those that end with .org, .edu, .k12 domains, etc

Local Link/Citation Tactics:
1) Make your business a drop off location from your child’s school to get a link on their .edu site. Link to your business certificate from the corporate division on the state’s website, it’s a high authority link. Sponsoring events from your local visitors chamber or website.
2) Create a Google custom search engine (google.com/cse) to target local media and blog community websites and search for your keywords.
3) Find worthy charity organizations to donate too that are web-savvy too.
4) Create a business scholarship to get a link from the education site
5) Partner with charities on press releases
6) Guest blogging locally/tactically

Authority Third-Party Review Sites:
1) Pay attention to those local results that are not close to city center and see what third-party reviews they have. Think about what third party review sites could be beneficial to you and Google.
2) Find authority reviewers or people that have listed reviews in abundance and have taken the time to create profiles, list their Twitter handle, etc. Find these people, create a relationship and go after those reviews. You can use the Followwonk tool to help find those authoritative reviewers.
3) B-to-B Reviews on Google+; It’s a great way to gain visibility by reviewing other local websites in alignment with your business (make sure to review as your business profile, not personal). Be specific about what you like about their business.

Where Google Might Be Going:
1) Mobile is influencing everything, even local.
2) Mobile influence w/Personalization
3) You can sort now (Google Maps) by reviews and even your friend circle.

Dumb Things Clients Say (And Why You’d Be Smart To Pay Attention To Them) – Alan Bonine #bwcbend

October 15th, 2013

Alan has some great examples of funny things clients say that make little sense. He warns against reacting or getting mad but he encourages you to ‘look at it from a different perspective.’ If you can do that, you can improve the relationship

4 Simple Questions:
What did they say?
What did they mean/Clues?
What are the implications?
What are the Solutions?

The end goal: it’s not what they say, it’s what they mean.

Classic quotes from clients:
1)
Client: “I know what I want when I see it”
Marketing Interpretation: “A clear understanding of the strategy needs to be put in place.”
Solution: Have a strategy meeting and include strategy validation in the presentation of work.
2)
Client: “I can’t show that at a mass meeting”
Marketing: “They are afraid of getting yelled at.”
Solution: show them a spectrum of safe work toward more provocative work…in context they will be able to sell it to upper management and go more toward the provocative work.
3)
Client: “ Can we dial down the chill factor and then dial up the fun factor by around 25%?”
Marketing: “Did we ask the right questions and convey that correctly in the brief? Did they forget to tell us something that we missed?”
Solution: Circle back with the client and create a solution; make sure it’s in the brief.
4)
Client: “I thought a new logo was included…wasn’t it?”
Marketing: “Expectations weren’t clear. Create a scope of work to refer back to.
The solution: Make sure you have a scope to refer back to or create on.
5)
Client: “I’m the target market and I don’t like it.”
Marketing: “They are trying to be polite in saying they don’t like it” Or, do the research to tell or show the client what the data says.”
Solution: Define the target in more detail
6)
Client: “The sandwich needs to be more playful?!”
Marketing: “I missed the mark in including you in the process
Solution: “Include the client in the creative process early so you can understand early what’s missing”
7)
Client: “I did this at home with Microsoft Paint. Can you make it look like this?”
Marketing: “It’s a point of desperation and we are missing the mark”
Solution: “Time to go back to the drawing board and make it right.”

End Message:
Learn to become a marketing detective – on both sides. Constantly look for clues to make the work more on target and better. Get to the issues without being too obtuse or too polite.

Observations about clients:
1) The client hired you to be their expert.
2) Advertising is only a small amount of their duties.
3) They are only the interpreter between you and their bosses.
4) They are under as much pressure as you to excel.

Quotable: “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change.”

Link Building Philosophies

October 15th, 2013

J-Ball lights up the world of Links!

Link Building Philosophies

Jon Ball

I’ve wanted to be a fine-arts photographer since I was a little kid. I know you all must have things outside of marketing that you’re passionate about too.

Four years ago, it was hard to be a link builder–to find out anything about it; now it’s everywhere. Has anyone heard of Eric Ward? He’s Link Moses–we hired him to train us on link-building; a lot of what we know came from him.

Link Moses: Thou Shalt!

What “Link Moses” taught us:

1. In a world without Google: Where would you put your links? If Matt Cutts (the “god of SEO”) was over my shoulder, would I get this link? Guarantees Penguin proofing (and beyond). Where should you get links? Plug the marketing cord into the SEO cord when you can.

Link-building is a people and selling business, not technical.

2. Relevancy First: White-hat link building follows relevancy, not page rank. Does it make sense to get a link for your cat food site on a brain surgery site? Every niche is different.

Relevancy tree–Is there a tool to do this? NO. It’s your brain.

What’s new in 2013?

The legacy of SPAM is disappearing. Getting more calls from people who understand the value of quality links over quantity.

Links/month: Used to ask for 1000s, then 100s; now it’s 10. We’ve ranked pages with less than 15 good-quality links. It’s not how many links you have, it’s whether or not Google counts them.

MARKETING=SEO

Think about the places you should get links.

It’s all about getting your message in front of your clients.

LINK-BUILDING=MARKETING

RELEVANCY=MARKETING. Relevancy is just the start. Think about where and how to get your message out.

Marketing=Getting your message in front of prospects. Link Building=Getting your link in front of prospects.

Where are you already marketing? Have you maximized the links? Join forces with the marketing dept–what are they doing that you could leverage links from?

3. Website owners are people–People link to people. The best links come from people. Call them if possible. Takes your conversion rate from 2% to 45% overnight. “You give what you get.” If you want to get links, you have to give links.

Have a place on your page that says, “Write for us.” You can get blog posts from people.

Press releases are not an SEO strategy anymore–it won’t garner you any link-building juice anymore.

4. The most powerful link-building tool is YOUR BRAIN

No link-buiding tool, seminar or article can come up with the ideas. Use your brain! It’s so effective, it’s almost scary.

“Badging”: Our link builders look for blog posts within the last week that do a great job/exemplify a concept we’re looking for. Then we go on their blog and compliment them–then we give them a “pretty party” badge. Our link builders hand-select them, and the recipients are touched. It’s powerful. It’s an awesome process. Approach it as a legitimate way to expand your business and give recognition. If you’re doing it the wrong way, such as giving badges to companies not doing it well, Google’s gonna get you for it.

5. Link buildign is a team sport. Link building alone is: Torturous, Impossible, Dreadful, Terrible, Ineffective. A fire with one log…

6. Forget viral: If it goes viral, it goes viral. You can’t MAKE something go viral–we gave up on trying to get it to do so. Just try to get 25 good links out of content.

7. FTBOM: For the Betterment of Mankind.

8. It takes a Village, not a nation.

“The vast majority of times, low-quality links aren’t ranking.” Matt Cutts

Look at root domains (rule of 10%). How many of your links are actually rating?

 

Marketing bend or  “I live to live blog!” This is fun.

Kelly Walker: Kelly@intrepidforward.com

Marketing Bend OR

Thanks to Cascade Business News

October 15th, 2013

Thanks to Cascade Business News here in Bend for being one of our MANY great LOCAL sponsors and for helping us with ad space and content to get people to WebCAM!

10 Tips for Marketing Your Business on Pinterest – Janet Thaeler #bwcbend

October 15th, 2013

Bend WebCAM logoJanet Thaeler, @NewspaperGrl, will cover what Pinterest is and what businesses are doing with it to find marketing success.

Pinterest Demographics

The main demographic for Pinterest is MOMs! Moms are smart, economically-savvy women who are leading technology usage. They are power sharers if they love your product, they are an excellent demographic 75% of women say they are making the primary decisions for the household.

Not a mom? Here’s an example of using Pinterest for the non-mom. Business2Community utilizes the ‘popular categories’ such as food and fashion, inspirational quotes, high end crafts, social funnies but in a way that stays true to their brand.

Tips for Pinterest

  1. Create a business account, not a personal profile (so you can utilize analytics)! For those of you who started a personal account before they came out with the business side, you can easily transfer it to a business account
  2. Optimize for the site: Use words as descriptors for your images and optimize images just for Pinterest’s size.
  3. Use tall images instead of wide images. You get more real estate. If you get to about 800 pixels high your repins go up (600 pixels width is minimum). If you can take up more space, you get more visibility. You can go indefinitely long but just remember that the repin it button is on top, so don’t make them scroll too much!
  4. Show products in context (don’t just show the product, show how it’s being used on a person or in action). Having multiple ways to show a product goes over really well in one image.
  5. Everybody loves checklists! If she was to make a checklist today, she would make a checklist on marketing on Pinterest. People find condensed info like this really useful. Be sure to brand it.
  6. Put $ signs on product pins to get listed in the gift category. The site’s shopping emphasis, seen in the Gifts category, may be one reason why Pinterest is more popular with women. If you have a physical product, put a dollar sign in the description. Then when pinned it will automatically show up in the Gift category.
  7. Add the Follow and Pin It button to your website. The key to social media success is empowering people share your content. Pin It buttons are on the individual image/product level and the Follow button is for the whole account.
  8. Tie your Pinterest account to your other marketing. If you show people ways to use your product then you’re giving them a reason to buy. On the website use the text “get more ideas” and then bring them to a focused board with focused ideas.
  9. Share your best performing pins on Twitter, Google+ and/or Facebook. You don’t want to do this in an automated way because you may end up overloading your followers. Better Homes & Gardens uses the most repinned pins as a signal for which pins to also share on other social networks.

  10. Use keywords. Pinterest boards rank in Google. Writing descriptions for whole boards, board names, and individual pins including keywords.

Tools for Pinterest

  • PicMonkey: Makes images and collages. It’s free with some paid upgrades. Add text, filters, borders.
  • Pin Alerts: Pinterest tracking – see what people are pinning from your site or blog. Get an email when something is pinned from your site, like Google Alerts for pins.
  • Pinterest.com/source/domain.com: Don’t include a www in a domain for that shortcut trick that tells you everything pinned from a domain.
  • ViralTag: Schedule pins for $12 a month. You can gather pins and space them out so you don’t overwhelm people.
  • #pinchat on Twitter or Facebook. Wednesday evenings they invite a brand to talk about how they’re using Pinterest and everyone learns together.

Janet’s Pinterest for business tips:

Q&A

What’s next for Pinterest? Pinterest is rolling out sponsored pins, which is advertising on Pinterest. They’ll test it with some brands first. They’re looking at ways to monetize the site.

What controls and support does Pinterest offer when someone takes your image and links someone to spam? Pinterest is trying to prevent spam actively. There’s some risk since spam tactics are always changing.

How could I use popular categories when they aren’t necessarily a part of my website? Janet says you can use categories that your audience would like, not just your own stuff. Attract your audience with their other interests, and it’s not all about you and getting people to your website every time. Some people think you should have a formula of pinning other people’s things and a little of yours; she doesn’t think there’s a formula. Attract your audience and giving them interesting things.

20 Analytics Points for Small Business

October 15th, 2013

Conrad Saam

Conrad was introduced as the “Man with the flowing locks”

You can’t look at every kind of analytics, so you need to prioritize the most impactful tools and questions to look at.

My goal is to give you guidance on SOME tools you can use:

  1. Ranking Reports: Be VERY wary of ranking reports. They don’t tell you all you need to know.
  2. Domain Authority of Website:
  3. Quality/Authority of Inbound Links: Identify this with www.OpenSiteExplorer.com
  4. Percentage of Links from Low-Quality Sites: It’s a big problem is a client has used a spammy SEO service in the past. Most links come from foreign-language sites and they’re garbage.
  5. Domain Diversity:
  6. Domain Concentration: % of links going to home page. Measures how good your content is and how good you are marketing it.
  7. Value of links
  8. Index count
  9. Quality and authority of Structured Citations: Your name, address, phone number, site address–search engines are looking for absolute consistency. See if these are listed consistently with directories such as Google, Yelp, etc.
  10. Quality/Authority of Unstructured Citations (Newspaper Articles, Blog Posts, etc.)
  11. Quantity of Citation Sources
  12. Quality of Citations from Industry-relevant sources
  13. Quality of Local citations
  14. Quality of Reviews by Authority Reviewers (Ex. Yelp Elite, Multiple Places Reviewers, etc.): HAVE A SYSTEM. Look into Get Five Stars, a system for $29ish per month.
  15. Quantity of Native Google Places Reviews
  16. Major Site Fluctuations (up or down).
  17. Top Entry Pages: Look through the pages that are going to be high-converting for your business. Conrad wrote a blog post on this. Find those pages where you want to be found and have the phone ring. If they are not performing, change it.
  18. Know your Klout Score–I cannot emphasize that enough
  19. Number of Identical Titles or H1s: Don’t use the same ones for every page
  20. Scattergraphs: Plot correlations vs. traffic.
  21. Look at your ratio of crawled:Indexed:Entry Ratio

Content is not King; MARKETING content is.

(Kelly says: My brain is now officially as fried as green tomato in Alabama.)

Glued to the keyboard for you: Kelly Walker, Creative Director for Intrepid Marketing in Bend, Oregon.

SEO Bend Oregon

Marketing Bend OR

How to Make Data-Driven Design Decision

October 15th, 2013

Our presenter

(A very pregnant) Theresa Baiocco

What is the purpose of your website?

This guy calls the shots!

We all have our own biases that we bring into a conversation–a lot of opinions on what we should do on the site. The HiPPO usually has the final word (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion).

We need to figure our WHO we want to take action, otherwise, it’s like sending a love letter to “Whom It May Concern.”

Competent Carl: Two steps away from decision maker). He knows a lot but needs a mentor. Knowledge is wide, but not deep. Needs a specialist to come in and help him.

1. Define your audience

2. Create a wireframe: Make it black and white. Make it interactive and do a wireframe of every page. Go Mockingbird, Balsamic, there are a lot of options.

3. Convince people to stay on the site–create calls to action. Do our calls to action JUMP OUT? Two good tools: www.Attentionwizard.com   www.Feng-gui.com   www.FiveSecondTest.com

4. Build the site

You need to do ongoing testing–actively look for problems. We often want to bury our heads in the sand, but have to admit our baby is ugly. Constantly look for problems:

  • Google Analytics will tell us which pages on our site have problems.
  • www.usertesting.com tells you WHY the problems exist.
  • Crazy Egg…other tools also helpful to show how people are behaving
  • A/B Testing tools: GA Content Experiments (free); Optimizely, Visual Website Optimizer, Convert.com

Going forward, you will no longer be listening to the HiPPO; your decisions will be based on quantitative information.

Your fleet-fingered blogger today: Kelly Walker, Creative Director for Intrepid Marketing in Bend, Oregon.

SEO Bend Oregon

Marketing Bend OR

How To Get People To Do Stuff – Susan Weinschenk #BWCBend #bendwebcam

October 15th, 2013

Bend WebCAM logoMolly, communications director of AdFed, one of the hosts, thanks Page One Power, a presenting sponsor of Bend WebCAM. She also wants to thank the workshop sponsor, Decipher. Decipher is an international marketing research firm with offices in Bend, California and London. Their specialty is an online survey program for brands and agencies. She highlights Decipher’s Women in Research program, empowering women in the marketing research industry.

Susan Weinschenk has been a behavioral psychologist for 30 years and is from Wisconsin. She points to the tools and props staged around the room. Susan helps us motivate and persuade people to take action. She started a blog called 365 Ways to Persuade and Motivate that will have a daily idea.

@thebrainlady #bwcbend presentation

@thebrainlady #bwcbend presentation

Susan starts the morning with a potato and a straw. She easily stabs the potato with the straw. We all want to get people to do stuff. You want your boss to fund your project. You want your client to purchase products and services. You want your spouse to take out the trash. How do we get them to do it?

What if you knew the science behind what motivates people to act? You could get them to do what you want easily. There’s a science to motivation and persuasion of people.

At the end of the workshop there will be a case study and in the meantime she wants everyone to think of something they want people to do. It can be related to your app or website, or it can be getting people to agree to something, like a client implementing your recommendations. This “< b>people vs. design” option will be the choice for all the exercises throughout the morning.

How to Get People to Do Stuff

In her book How to Get People to Do Stuff there are 140 strategies. Today we’ll cover these 7:

  1. The power of stories
  2. Tricks of the mind
  3. Instincts
  4. Carrots and sticks
  5. The need to belong
  6. Habits
  7. The desire for mastery

Pop quiz time! True or false?

pop quiz at workshop

Susan Weinschenk gives the crowd a pop quiz, answers to come at the end of the workshop.

1. The Power of Stories

People process info best in story format. The term used in research is “narrative.” The other way stories are important are self stories. We tell ourselves stories about who we are and why we do what we do. They are powerful moderators of behavior.

Years ago, when Susan first got into computers she was a PC person and a tech geek. Her husband was a Mac person and doesn’t like tech. In her house they had Mac vs. PC wars. Then iPods came out and both her children wanted one, so they got them for them. She looked at them and said that’s fun… but it’s an Apple product. Well, she rationalized, it’s not a computer so I’ll get one.

She had created a “crack” in her self story.

Then the time came to replace her phone. She decided to get an iPhone. She still rationalized it was not a computer, until it all snowballed. Eventually she had all Apple computing devices. By taking the first, small action of buying the iPod, that crack widened.

If you want people to make a big change, one way to go about it is get them to make a tiny little change they think doesn’t go against their own self persona. If we take an action we know goes against our self story then we’re uncomfortable — having to deal with cognitive dissonance. Break it down into a series of little steps.

The recommends the book Redirect by Timothy Wilson which outlines the science behind this phenomenon. In the book this example is shared. A group of college students failing after their first semester are brought in to see videos of older students about to graduate who had trouble their freshman year and had turned it around and what they did to turn it around. This self story was able to be adopted by a significant number of students who watched this.

2. Tricks of the Mind

Thinking, Fast and Slow: Daniel Kahneman – Recommended Book

There are two kinds of thinking: System 1 (Quick and Intuitive) or System 2 (Hard Effort Thinking). You can tell when someone is doing System 1 or System 2 thinking based on his or her eye pupil dilation. When you ask a difficult or System 2 question, the pupil’s dilate and get bigger. When you ask a System 1 question, the pupil’s get smaller.

–> Here’s a funny too: you can tell when someone has giving up as well if you pay attention!

System 1 thinking is fast and quick; where as System 2 takes more critical thinking.
Here’s another example, when she asked a question:

In a lake there is a patch of lily pads. Every day the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake? 24 or 47 days?

System 1 reaction says it would be 24 days (the quick answer); System 2 and the correct answer would be 47days. Surprising, when the font was difficult to read (when reading the question), the question was answered more correctly!

Disclaimer: Most mental processing is unconscious. Everyone always asks is it ‘ethical’ to use this information to get people to do this stuff. She says that that is a moral decision that each person has to make for himself or herself. She does acknowledge that there is a line and that when she was writing her book and consulting, she struggles with it still.

Anchoring on a number
When you give people a number to anchor on, people buy more product. The higher the number, the more it sticks in their head. Example: If you were to say that there’s a limit to 10 product items per person, people will likely buy closer to 7 items. If you say there’s no limit, they will buy closer to 3 items.

Another area of psychology is giving three pricing options to consumers and offering the highest option first, then the middle and then the least. Correctly, most will go toward and choose the middle option versus offering the lowest option first than moving up, consumers will pick the lowest option. This is great when sharing pricing information with your customers

So how will you use this information? Changing your web design, talking with your employees, your spouse?

The group breaks off into pairs or triplets for 10 minutes to talk about applying the power of stories or tricks of the mind in context of persuasion with people or design.

After we re-group, we’re sharing the ideas we came up with in our teams. A writing coach says her dilemma is talking to people and they’re excited to get started and that’s the last she hears from them. The idea for motivating is using stories of other clients to show how the pain got resolved. They also had the idea of immediately trying an on-the-spot writing coach session that comes away with actionable ideas.

Q&A Time:

Q: Have you seen a difference in resolving conflict with someone upset when approached with system 1 or system 2?

A: Susan hasn’t seen this in practice but her instinct is that when someone is in an emotional frame of mind, their system 2 thinking isn’t turned on. If you could switch them into system 2 you might get them out of their emotional state, which could be a good thing. If you could get them to start thinking of things in deep thinking, heavy way you may be able to switch off the emotion and get them thinking logically.

Q: People seem to be more system 1 or 2 by nature, like programmers are likely system 2-heads. Is that something we should try to switch based on the problem at hand?

A: She says that people are actually system 1 by default, yet some enjoy system 2 more than others. Don’t think that just because someone enjoys logical problem solving that they’re not walking around in system 1.

3. Instincts

We share reactions with other animals and even reptiles.

new, mid and old brain

New brain is labeled in the top left, mid brain is labeled at the top right and old brain is labeled at the bottom right.

  1. New brain: Logical and conscious thought goes on
  2. Mid brain: Processing emotional and social info
  3. Old brain: We share this part of the brain with reptiles; it scans the environment and asks 3 questions: 1. Can I eat it? 2. Can I have sex with it? 3. Will it kill me?

We have to address all 3 brains with our questions and websites. They’re all operating all the time.

If we’re dealing with food, sex or danger we’re highly engaging the old brain. Then the other parts of the brain that handle logical thinking are not as loud in the internal mental processing. This also helps explain why we’re more motivated by fear of loss than potential of gain.

4. Carrots and Sticks

Let’s talk about Rewards vs. Punishment and whether that is motivating or not. Casinos understand the science behind the idea of rewards really well.

Tangent: In ads, you will do anything to raise the level of arousal (danger, sexual themes, elevated music, etc.) If you in a high arousal state, you will remember more information.

Skinner’s Operant Conditioning
Here’s the Rewards idea: Behavior-→Reinforcement-→More behavior

When the person does a good behavior, you give them a reward (something they want) and then they will continue to perform the behavior. Sometimes it’s hard to know what each person wants as positive reinforcement. Rewards are to create positive reinforcement and increase the target behavior.

There is also negative reinforcement where you take away something that they don’t want. For example if you meet your deadline, which in turn stops your boss from nagging, you will in turn meet more deadlines.

Punishment is different. We are looking for a decrease in the target behavior.
Here’s the idea: Behavior→Punishment→Less behavior

Casinos use a ‘variable ratio reinforcement schedule’ where it is based on the ratio of time vs. reward. It is the most powerful schedule to use when you want to get someone to continue behavior (Casinos do NOT use continuous reinforcement – always getting positive reinforcement). Continuous positive reinforcement works for pets for instance especially when you’re trying to establish a NEW behavior. Then, after time, you can transfer to ‘variable ratio reinforcement schedule’ to continue to get more positive behavior.

There are actually five different types of ratios but the ‘variable ratio reinforcement schedule’ is the most influential.

We tend to fall back on rewards when it comes to people but it shouldn’t be your first go to. When I’m thinking about which is best to use when you’re looking to change behavior of others, try using the ‘Power of Stories’, ‘Instincts’ and ‘Power to Belong’ first.

5. The Need to Belong

Susan asks for 7 brave volunteers to come to the front of the room for a demonstration. This group will create a “musical interlude” with the noise makers from the table. There’s a cow bell, a tambourine, a wood block, a couple shakers and a variety of sizes of drums. Everyone picks a percussion instrument and asks them to begin drumming. A coordinated (if slightly haphazard) rhythm emerges.

percussion group

A group of volunteers on percussion instruments synchronize to a rhythm.

The observations from the larger group after the exercise is done:

  • They synchronized into rhythm.
  • They were looking at each other, looking for cues, maybe who is the leader.
  • Then the group started looking at Susan, ask if wondering if they were done.
  • Once they found the rhythm, people started taking chances.

We have a strong want to belong. It’s psychologically painful not to belong to the group. This group synced pretty fast; they wanted to make the music together. And while someone emerged as a leader, people went along, okay with that.

When people act together, especially with movement and sound, the group bonds. There’s actually a release of oxytocin, a chemical in the brain that makes us want to bond together and socially bonds the group. This group synced faster than most, and she suggests it was because this talk is longer than her normal 1-hour workshop. So this group has been together longer, we’ve laughed and clapped together, too, which are also bonding experiences. There’s research that shows that when people sing together their heartbeats sync.

She spoke at Wal-Mart and learned that at every meeting the gathered group does a Wal-Mart cheer. It involves clapping and singing, and she realized it’s a bonding activity.

An experiment: In a room, one person is brought in to sit in a chair and another person is running on a treadmill. The heart rate of the person sitting in the chair matches the person running when told that their birthdays are the same. Just thinking they have something in common causes a syncing.

Nouns vs. Verbs: It’s more compelling to talk in terms of defining a person rather than taking an action.

“Be a Voter,” “Be a Donor,” “Be a Member” are more effective calls to action than “Vote,” “Donate,” “Join.”

Social Validation: Someone says they need help. When they ask one bystander, they got help 85% of the time. When they ask a group of 5 bystanders they get help 31% of the time. If a group is not doing something about it, then any individual is not likely to take action.

Testimonials and reviews are the main way of giving validation on a website. The more info you provide about the people leaving the review (stories, personas, pictures) the more powerful the testimonial will be.

Reciprocity: If you ask “Will you donate?” and offer a gift, 18% agree. When asked with the offer of a gift, 35% donate. Gifts make people feel indebted and want to reciprocate.

If you ask for something big and they say no, when you ask for something smaller, they’re more likely to say yes because they feel they owe you. If you make the first and second requests too wildly different, the effect doesn’t work. You have to play with what’s the request that’s kind of unreasonable but not wildly unreasonable compared to what I really want.

6. Habits

You can actually create new habits really, really quickly (not the 3 months like everyone says).

Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning (we’ve all heard about Pavlov’s dogs, right?)
Here’s his idea: Stimulus → Response

The dog theory:
Meat → Salivate
Meat + Bell → Salivate
Bell → Salivate

There are lots of laughs in the room about the same type of people conditioning of attention and grabbing their cell phone when they hear the ‘notification ding.’ Yup, guilty.

We all have things that we do by habit (about 80% of things we do daily). The interesting things is how we create them, how we change them and how we get others to change them.

Tip: Go see B.J. Fogg’s exercise on Tinyhabits.com. It will walk you through how to change three tiny behaviors and he’ll walk you through how to create it a habit in less than a week. If you attach it to a previous habit, you can easily create a new one. Of course, it needs to be something SMALL!

To break a habit, you’re going to attach a new habit to a previous behavior so that it interferes with the new habit.

7. The Desire for Mastery

In the book she lays out case studies to invite readers to start thinking of which strategy is the best approach for a problem. That’s an important way to start thinking about these approaches.

If 15 years ago you were to say that people will create content for no discernible reward at all, it may not seem likely. Wikipedia is an example of this in action. We have an innate desire to learn new skills and master them, and if you can tap into that you have a powerful motivator.

The desire for mastery is stimulated by:

Task requiring special knowledge and skills. Tom Sawyer was able to get people walking by to paint a fence by making it look like fun, seem desirable, and explaining that it takes special skills. People were encouraged to show that they have those skills.

Autonomy. Giving people the perception of control about what they do and how they do it.

Lots of feedback, but not with praise. It has to be objective, neutral feedback. Stimulating the desire for mastery is a very internal experience, and it’s associated with the flow state. In a flow state, time slips away, they’re kept in it with constant feedback, and they’re getting lots of feedback.

Answers to the quiz: true, true, false, false, false, false, true