By Dave Nelsen, Contributing Writer, @DaveNelsen
I’ve now been a professional speaker/consultant for more than 10 years. Not so coincidentally, I’ve also been writing this column for more than 10 years, a collection of 73 articles in total. Welcome to column 74.
When I first started on my current path, I read “Million Dollar Consulting” by Alan Weiss to learn how to be a proper consultant. It’s a great book if you aspire to go in this direction.
One of the things I remember from the book is Alan – after 10 years of consulting, I think we can go on a first name basis – commenting that he was constantly amazed by how stupid he was two weeks ago. Inspired by that thought, let’s look back at my columns and be amazed at how stupid I was in the not-so-distant past.
In my first column, I was mostly setting up what would come later and had little opportunity to be stupid. However, in my signature/bio at the end of the column, I advertised my website and my blog at two different web addresses, one in the .biz domain, the other in the .me domain. From a Google perspective, it’s always a bad idea to divide your traffic, because then all sites rank lower. Today, you’ll find my website at www.DialogConsulting.com and my blog at www.DialogConsulting.com/Blog. That’s the way to do it; all your wood behind one arrow!
In my second column, I mentioned that “I recently proposed a viral marketing project for a company that competes with SalesForce.com.” I don’t remember that client’s name and I’m guessing that nobody else does either. Apparently, a virus can kill your client. In my defense, I’m thinking that they didn’t accept my proposal (aka didn’t hire me). And even if they did, experienced consultants know that a shockingly large percentage of clients fail to execute on recommended plans. It’s one of the vexations of the profession.
In column 3, I advocated setting up a Facebook page and said, “After that, the fun begins.” In the last decade, I’ve learned that perhaps the hardest job in any company is being a content producer. Unlike every other job, producing content that is actually valuable to the target audience becomes harder as you go, not easier, because you’ve already blogged/vlogged/podcast/posted about everything you know. Yes, having a job that gets harder as it goes, that’s what I meant by “fun.”
A side note: these days I remind business executives that the one place quality content doesn’t originate is in the marketing department. Instead, it’s in the customer stories, the calls to the support team, the experiences of salespeople… everywhere but in marketing. If you want to have a successful content strategy, the entire company must be aligned to feed the marketing organization.
In column 5, I talked all about growing your followers and cited several successful B2B and B2C examples. Since then I’ve realized that followers are utterly worthless unless you can convert a meaningful percentage of them into customers (or whatever conversion you’re pursuing). Put another way, it’s not about the top of the funnel (the focus of column 5), it’s about the bottom of the funnel. It’s all about achieving a series of successful conversion steps driven with calls to action (CTAs). And if you aren’t measuring it and calculating your ROI, you’re throwing money to the wind. Focus on the bottom of the funnel, measure it, optimize it and let the data drive!
By column 7, I had apparently figured out that I needed to unify my website and blog addresses. Two weeks? How about almost a year? In column 8, I described my new iPad (the original 2010 model) as a “chic magnet.” I’m not using that phrase anymore, or a bunch of other phrases either. #MeToo!
In column 16, I was very excited about QR codes. And then nothing really happened with them. Then six long years later, Apple added live QR code recognition to the iPhone with iOS 11. Finally, my prediction about the rise of QR codes would come true. But once again, it didn’t. Even with Apple’s embrace, QR codes are still pretty much dead. Now that I’ve said it, they’ll probably skyrocket in popularity.
Wow, I’m approaching my allotted word count and I’m only up to column 17? Instead, we’ve got to jump to Column 31. I opened that column with this tidbit: Business Insider screamed: “Suddenly, Google Plus is Outpacing Twitter to Become the World’s Second Largest Social Network.”
Then I took issue with that headline. No, I did not dispute the prediction that Google+ would come to prominence or even dominance. Instead, I argued that it didn’t happen “suddenly.” LOL. Google+ essentially met its demise in 2019. Suddenly it was here … and then suddenly it wasn’t.
So, what’s the point of this column? Well, in business sometimes we’ll be right and sometimes we’ll be wrong (hopefully, a little less often), but if we’re constantly moving forward and learning as we go, there will be a path forward. I’m proud to be amazed by how stupid I was two weeks ago. And you should be, too.