“No one wants a 1/4″ drill bit. They want a 1/4″ hole.” – Harvard Business School – Theodore Levitt.
Professor Levitt’s very profound statement is a whole semester’s worth of wisdom for marketing students. Too many marketers…….and I’ve been part of this team too many times to count as well……dive right in with solutions without really understanding the problem. Of course, most of us in business have one big problem, that is grow sales. But as marketers, we need to realize that our problem isn’t our customer’s problem. They have their own needs and our job as marketers is to understand their needs even better than they do.
By saying that people don’t want the drill bit, they want the hole, Professor Levitt is trying to get us to reach a little further into the customer’s need states before we push forward trying to provide them solutions. Perhaps there are other ways, better ways, to deliver a 1/4″ hole than the drill bit. Perhaps when the customer is asking for a 1/4″ drill bit, they are using it to do something different than make a hole……I don’t know what that might be…..but it is possible.
Professor Levitt didn’t quite go far enough though. Why does the customer want a 1/4″ hole? I argue that they don’t. The customer really wants whatever project the 1/4″ is going to help build. Maybe hanging a painting or laying a wood floor. When you understand that, it can help you be sure that your tool and marketing are tuned into what the customer needs. For example, and admittedly, I am not a woodworker, someone hanging pictures may want a laser leveler built right into the drill. Maybe laying floor would be easier if there was a stop built into the drill bit so the carpenter doesn’t drill too deeply. Yes, feel free to correct my poor knowledge of wood working in the comment section.
But are we done yet? I say no. One key to understanding the customer is to realize that people don’t make purely intellectual decisions. We make decisions based on emotional triggers. Intellect can be used to inform our emotions and judgements but it is not the final deciding factor. Therefore, why does the woodworker want the project finished? A person who simply has a passion for working with wood may have different needs than a person who is earning a living that requires 1/4″ holes.
The deeper you drill, ok pun intended, into the customer’s needs, the better you can serve them. The better you can serve the customer, the easier it is to grow your sales.
Why do people blog? Well, there are a lot of reasons. To connect. To create. To express……..TO MAKE MONEY. I have no idea how many people are into blogging purely, or even largely, to make money but let’s not ignore that motivation. It would be unfair to my class to ignore this aspect of the blogging world. It isn’t all about driving traffic……..well, even the money makers need traffic to make money.
I did try to google how many bloggers make money, because I can’t believe it is very many of them……ah……us. There are just too many of us blogging and too many of us are not consistent. And since income from blogging is frequently related to generating blogging traffic, I have a hard time believing inconsistent blogs are generating traffic. Additionally, I am a student of human motivation. If you were making money by blogging, and I mean making a reasonably large amount of money blogging then you are more likely to be a consistent blogger. At least, that makes sense to me.
I couldn’t find any believable statistics on bloggers making money from blogging. I suspect is it a lot like MLM, i.e. Multi-Level Marketing……i.e. Avon, Sentsy and PartyLite…where there are a few who make a lot of many and then there are the many to make nothing or just above nothing.
During this 30 Blogging Challenge, I have moved up a rung in the money making from a blog ladder. I have official moved up from being one of the (I suspect) many bloggers who have made nothing from either blog to a blogger who has made just above nothing from their blog.
That’s a whole one penny made from blogging. It is my first and very special to me. I never had advertising turned on……well, I thought I did but I didn’t actually set it up correctly. I never cared because the blog wasn’t about making money and I didn’t do much to generate blog traffic. I do have to admit that it feels really nice.
My traffic yesterday was from a huge boost in SEM traffic. I had increased my daily budget, as well as expanded my geographic reach to include India. I went from 2 unique visitors on Friday to over 50 on Saturday based, almost entirely, on adwords results. How much did it cost me to bring in those 50+ people? $3.42. So to generate enough blog traffic to earn $0.01, it cost me $3.42!!!! That isn’t a formula for success that I can scale…….at least, not without taking a second mortgage.
Earning income from blogging comes from several different sources and advertising isn’t one of the most profitable. It is really easy though. At least to make $0.01, it is easy. It probably isn’t as easy to make $10,000 a month from advertising though. I believe that most of the blogging income comes from either selling access or selling information. A lot of the profitable blogs earn the majority of income by selling eBooks or training…….ironically a lot of them are about how to make money blogging. Yup, just like MLM.
Another major way for earning an income from blogging, i.e. turning the blog traffic you generated into blogging income is through affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is basically becoming a referral service. You refer your blogging traffic from your blog to another blog or website that is selling something. WordPress makes it very easy. Once you have a blog, just sign up from your dashboard. They will post available affiliate marketing links. Run a post……or a lot of posts about whatever they are selling. Include a special link that they provide to you that will allow them to track back any purchases to your blog. Then you get money for every purchase. Keep in mind that you normally only get paid if someone actually clicks on your link and then BUYS something. You don’t get paid just for traffic.
This is my first affiliate blog post. Note that I’m not doing most of I would be doing if my goal was actually to make money on the affiliate program with this post. For example, I’ve buried the offer deep within the post and I’m only posting about it once. I’m not specifically making any effort to promote this specific post either. So, what am I (actually wordpress) offering?
20% off a WordPress plan by using promo code DISCOUNT20 when you click here. Oh, by the way, this discount is only good through August 31st. And that is affiliate marketing. I’ll let you know how it works. By the way, WordPress sent me an email alerting me to the discount. There are other available affiliate programs available but they don’t currently have a discount……I figured everyone loves a sale.
30 Day Blogging Challenge Update: We are up to 342 unique visitors this month as of this moment. That is up from around 30 unique visitors that I would have had on this blog without the challenge. This weekend, I changed my SEM (my adwords account) to include UK, Greenland and India and increased my daily budget. The impact was immediate and huge.
Literally within 15 minutes of making those changes, my blog traffic shot through the roof. Where I was struggling to get 20 people a day, in 15 minutes, I had over 50 people from India. Namaste. I actually turned my daily amount down again in the budget tool, which killed my traffic for the rest of the day. I was concerned that I was going to blow through my budget in a few minutes. I turned up the budget again this morning and I had 80 people from India come visit. Since my blog has nothing to do with geographic relevance, it doesn’t matter to me if they are from Ghana, India or Toledo.
Hey, at this rate, maybe I’ll make $0.02 today.
Please give a like and share this post if you like the material, want to see where this challenge goes or just simply want to support the cause. Don’t forget to follow the blog.
Update – Day 5 of Challenge and 3’rd post: I think I may have a done a little bad math in my last post. By “may have,” I mean I totally messed up the math. Forgot to carry the two or some such thing. Basically, I correctly stated that I was looking at two days of traffic but then when I then went to compute my average run rate, I assumed the cumulative traffic was daily traffic, instead of two days worth of traffic. That is, I doubled the traffic in my calculations. And they call me analytical. You can see my mathematical blunder here: https://wolskisuccesspartners.com/2019/08/03/30-day-blogging-challenge-pictures/
Updating the math…….and doing it correctly this time…..in five days, we have had 31 unique visitors….I might be two of those, so let’s call it 29 unique visitors. That’s an average of 5 a day (I’m intentionally rounding this time, so the math is still good)…..up from the old reliable one to two unique visitors a day but no where near the 30+ we would need a day to hit a 1000 unique visitor target. Worse yet, five days have already passed with us fairly massively underperforming our target. As any good sales or marketing professional knows, when you underperform your quota in the beginning of the month, you have to over drive it for the rest of the month. We need a daily average of almost 40 unique visitors for the rest of the month to hit our target……..the plot thickens and the challenge becomes…..challengier??
Doing my research for posting today, I got a little humbled by another blogger, Cristian Mihai. Cristian writes a blog about blogging. Today he wrote about the purpose of blogging; namely “people.” People connecting. People discussing. People sharing. Etc. And I’m dedicating a month all about gaining and growing blog traffic. Yes, people are at the heart of it but I’m being pretty mercantile about it. Read about it on his blog here https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/79658252/posts/3019. He definitely has a point…….and now back to total commercial motivation.
Two things I have done in this post that helps build traffic are first, I linked to my own article at the end of the first paragraph. Some readers will be interested in more reading or background material. By linking to your own posts, assuming you are providing some interesting content, the unique visitors you do gain are of higher value as they are spending more time on your blog and clicking on links.
The second thing I did was to link out to another (higher traffic) blog. Cristian Mihai is a blogger (mentioned above) with a blog on wordpress. As I’m also using wordpress, I know that he will get a pingback that I linked to his blog. This is a passive way of gaining some interest from blogs that have a higher traffic. I’m putting together a post on how to more actively build links from other higher authority blogs but for now, we will stick with passive.
One thing I will do today that is active is to ask for you to like this post and share it. Please click any of the buttons that look like below:
Well except these buttons. They are only for demonstration but click any of the other buttons to share on your own social media. Thank you
Does this sound familiar? You are working on a project, music is playing. You make it a few minutes but social media chimes that a “friend” has posted something. You check it out. More than a few minutes later you get back to work. Before you accomplish too much, someone texts or IMs you. Your day continues with this constant interruption and it is finally to come home. On the drive home, you listen to an audible book, which is interrupted several times as you are texting to firm up your dinner plans….using appropriate hands free technology, of course. Eventually you get to exercise, popping in another audible book or watching TV the whole time.
I’m not criticizing. I understand completely. I counted my interruptions the other day. Just in my regular job, I averaged 150 incoming email a day. I also had 80 outgoing emails, thirty IM conversations, 15 texts and ten phone calls. This didn’t count the meetings I was in, the hallway conversations or anything related to my personal life. I was distracted.
Distractions can be a addictive. Every little ding, beep or post releases a little dopamine. Sitting quietly alone with your thought can becomes an odd feeling, like accidentally meeting a childhood friend you’ve lost contact with.
Turn off some of your notices. Cancel some of your email subscriptions. Let some texts sit unanswered. Turn off all electronics for a few minutes a day and just be alone with your thoughts. There are great things happening in your head. Be quiet and present once in a while to hear what your mind has to say.
The process of intentional change is a simple four step process. First, you explore where you are. Second, you decide where you want to go. Third, you determine strategies and habits that lead you to your destination. Fourth, you implement.
It really is that simple. On paper. In real life there are obstacles, habits and fears. There are prices to be paid and sacrifices to be made. In real life, intentional change is not so easy.
There is an additional step, a prequel step, to take before making intentional change that will help make the rest of the steps easier: destruction.
You must first destroy those things that are holding you in place. Our lives are constructed to maintain the status quo; where we are. Our habits, our relationships and our schedules all reinforce maintaining what we currently do. To make intentional change, we need to destroy some of these bonds that hold us.
Whether in business, relationships or personal lives, there are two broad categories of goals around making change: stop and go.
Stop goals are simply that, things you want to stop doing. Stop blowing up in meetings. Stop over eating. Stop taking on too many tasks. Stop taking your relationship for granted. Stop procrastinating.
Go goals are about things you want to start doing. Start speaking up. Start eating better. Start being proactive.
The two goals use different parts of your mind. Stop goals are mainly about using willpower and must be constantly applied. Stop goals are usually about breaking existing habits. Go goals rely more on creativity and starting new habits.
Research has shown that people using go goals are more successful than people who are using stop goals. Also people are more likely to give up on stop goals because it is more obvious each time they fail while go goals are are more about successes.
So. What do you do with this information? How can this improve your life? When you create a goal, be sure to turn it into a positive goal. For example, don’t have a goal of not eating that triple bacon cheese burger. Instead have a goal of eating a salad. Don’t have a goal of showing up your coworker. Instead have a goal of getting the most out of the team. Don’t have a goal of stop being so negative. Instead have a goal of being more positive.
I’m reading “How to have a good day” by Caroline Webb. It is too early in the book for me to be able to recommend it but I do enjoy her initial philosophy, namely relying on research and science. While the book title makes it seem like it is about making any day a “good day,” it does seem to be focused more on business professionals and how to have a good day at work.
One thing that jumped out at me early on is her discussion of the discover-defend axis. Basically, this is a manifestation of a primitive part of our brains. We are either in discover mode or defend mode. Discover mode is when we our brains are looking for opportunities for reward. Defend mode is the classic fight-flight-freeze response. Generally speaking, when we are afraid, our brains stop looking for opportunities. Instead it looks for safety.
How does this relate to having a good day? When workers are afraid and are in the corporate version of fight-flight-freeze, they become less creative and unwilling to take risks…….even risks as small as speaking up in a meeting. I can see this in my own work. When there is one or two senior people in a meeting who are intimidating or have a tendency to forcefully challenge other workers, many people in the meeting go into fight-flight-free mentality. People are less likely to explore creative ideas. Solutions become “safer” but not better. People are less likely to point out holes in the plan for fear of being singled out.
So how to turn this information into a “good day” and to make your company more creative and efficient? Carefully choose when to challenge people and when to be supportive. The goal for some meetings, especially early in a project, benefit from risk taking and creative output. For these meetings, don’t let the tone become intimidating or challenging.
How I work with my clients has evolved over the last couple of years. Originally, I only offered weekly hour long sessions with a mix of live and virtual interactions. However, we covered too much in an hour so that many of my clients felt overwhelmed with the homework they had to do.
I started offering a biweekly hour long call, only via phone. That gave my clients more time to do their homework. Unfortunately, that also meant a loss of accountability. To help with that, I added text and email support between calls. Some clients go for the weekly offering, especially in the beginning but most prefer biweekly.
Now, by client request, I’m adding another option. I’m offering a weekly 30 minute call supported by text and emails in between. The thirty minute format will require that we really stay on task and will help prevent my clients from taking on too much in between sessions. The text/email also adds accountability. I’m really excited about this new option.
Reach out if you are stuck and need someone to help push and drive you out of your slump.
Please share this post. You never know who in your life is floundering and needs a hand or a boot on their behind.
Some times it takes the world slapping us in the back of the head (hopefully figuratively speaking) to realize what we are doing isn’t working anymore. Who we’ve become isn’t who we want to be. Losing a job, having spouse leave or just watching something amazing you’ve worked for fall apart can be scary. It can also be an amazing period of self-realization.
So what do you do when you, the real you down deep in your psyche and not the “you” everyone else in your life sees, has become the square peg being shoved into the round hole of your life? Realize it is less about reinventing yourself and more about reinventing your life.
1.) Do no harm – The first thing you need to do is to stop the damage, if there is any. Sometimes we’ve been shoved so far into that round hole, damage is being done. This could be over spending or pushing away loved ones or even just copious amounts of self-medication. If you are doing anything that could cause lasting harm to yourself, your life or anyone else, work on that first.
2.) Make a little space – Life and habit conspire to keep us doing the same thing we’ve always done. Change takes effort and effort takes time. Odds are pretty good that your life is full. Now it may not be full of what we want it to be full of but nature abhors a vacuum. Decouple yourself from something. Say no to a commitment and walk away. Carve out a little time where you can work on you.
3.) Understand what you want/what you value – It is very difficult to find or create your own square hole if you don’t know what it looks like. This can be a major step. Talk to different people. Read different books. Keep a journal of things that excited you today. Do the 20 in 20 exercise. Make a list of things that you value and keep it handy when you are making decisions.
4.) Take action – Start small but start making changes today. You don’t necessarily need to change cities or quit your job to start having a new life that fits you. Remember, it is as important to stop doing things that aren’t right for you as it is to start doing things that bring meaning to your life. Progress not perfection.
I’m sure I’ve written about this tool, trick, hack before but it definitely is worth repeating. It is probably the most useful bit of homework that my clients enjoy. Well “enjoy” might not be the right word. Maybe “productive”.
Basically it is a free writing exercise with a few bounds. It can be used to push for creativity or for honesty. It can bring world peace. Ok, that might be a little hyperbole but it is a great tool that can help you push back limitations.
Go to a quiet place with few distractions. Put your cellphone on silent. Set a timer for twenty minutes. On a piece of paper (yes I recommend paper for this task) write across the top the problem you are trying to solve. Well it could be a problem or a challenge or an exploratory question. Then for the next twenty minutes write out as many responses as you can. Aim for twenty responses. To get twenty, you don’t have time to judge, edit or criticize your responses. Don’t put a lot of thought into any response because the clock is ticking. Remember you are not looking for quality responses, just a lot of them.
After the alarm rings, put the paper away without reading it. Let a day pass. Do things that allow your thoughts to flow. Really how many great ideas come to you in the shower or waking from a dream. Then go back to the paper. Read over your responses without editing or judging them. Set the timer for another twenty minutes. Try to add more responses or flesh out the responses you’ve already wrote down. At this point, you are adding, not editing. No criticism.
Let one more day pass. Go for a walk. Now reread all of your ideas. Circle anything that speaks to you. Pick the three best responses. Also pick the wildest response and the most “out there” response. Set your timer on last time. Now take those final five responses and add as much to them as you can. Include things you circled on responses that didn’t make the cut.
This is a great tool for “questions” like:
1.) What do I want to accomplish this year?
2.). Why do I hate my job?
3,) How could I get more customers?
4.) Why is my boss acting like a jerk?
5.) Why should I take this job?
6.) What would make me happy?
As you can see, it has a wide range of uses. It helps you tap into your subconscious and trap your underlying thoughts in writing.