Ten Reasons to Improve Your Digital Marketing by Using Video

Ten Reasons to Improve your Digital Marketing by using Video - Pathmaker BlogVideo is one of the most powerful, but least-used tools in website marketing. In fact, it is so powerful that, while others are scurrying about fretting about keywords and SEO, they could, in fact, gain a lot more traction by creating and posting some videos on their website or elsewhere pointing to their website.

Pathmaker Marketing wants you to be aware of the power of video and, perhaps more so, to be aware that you can do much of it on your own. You don’t have to be a video pro. You just have to provide valuable content.

Here are ten reasons – a short list, by the way, that you should consider including video as part of your digital marketing campaign.

  1. Video improves brand association by 139%.
  2. Video increases purchase intent (or some specific action intent) by 97%.
  3. Google ranks websites with videos five times higher than websites without them.
  4. When videos are included in emails, click-through rates increase by 200-300%.
  5. When videos are included in emails, opt-out rates decline by 75%
  6. One third of all online activity is spent watching video.
  7. Three fourths of video viewers visit a business’ website after watching one of their videos on platforms like YouTube or Vimeo.
  8. On average, only 20% of website visitors read an entire page of content on any given website, but 80% say they watch website videos all the way through. This number may vary dependent on the length of the video. Moderation is best. We recommend one to three minutes maximum.
  9. More video content is uploaded every 30 days than all the content created by ABC, CBS and NBC in the last 30 years!
  10. More than 70% of digital marketers report that video generates a higher conversion rate than any other online tool.

DID YOU KNOW? YouTube is the second most-used search engine in the world. That means that people are searching for video content – lots of video content. And it’s not all music. Many of those videos are informative or instructional. That’s exactly what we’re talking about.

Your online videos don’t have to be professionally produced, but if you want to go that route, it’s a lot more affordable than most people imagine. Simple, face looking directly into the camera, information or invitation – recorded using mobile devices can be just as compelling and effective as commercially produced videos.

Like the text portion of a website, video is all about compelling content. Pathmaker Marketing would be happy to assist in consulting about or producing short, compelling videos to help build your response rates. Give us a call at 800-224-2735.

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If You Don’t Have the Time …

If you don't have the time - Pathmaker BlogThere is an old saying that, “If you don’t have the time to do it right, you must have the time to do it over.” That’s an example of wisdom wrapped in an oxymoron.

One of the biggest hindrances to operating a successful business is the failure to do things right the first time. Rework of any kind, whether on a production line or building a database, is a waste of time. What’s worse, is that anything that is wasted in business has a cost associated with it.

In an office environment, the cost is probably in labor, not only because of having to pay someone more than once to do a task, but because, while they are involved in a do-over, they cannot address their other responsibilities that they are paid to do.

In a manufacturing environment, there is usually material waste in addition to the wasted labor. Material waste becomes scrap. Scrap sells for pennies on the dollar. So, instead of getting a 100% markup on the item, you sell it as scrap for as much as a 95% discount.

There are generally two reasons why things have to be done over.

The first is failure to define your processes. Entrepreneur and host of the CNBC hit, “The Profit,” Marcus Lemonis, has a simple, three-part formula for success in any business:

People – Product – Process

If any one of the three is broken, the business will eventually collapse. Experience has proven, more often than not, that the unfortunate root cause of businesses closing is the failure of ownership and management to clearly define all of their business processes. However, that is not typically recognized, because failed entrepreneurs can’t blame the process. So, on rare occasions, they blame themselves, but generally, they blame someone else.

Planning processes is, for some inexplicable reason, burdensome to many business owners, so they don’t do it. Instead, they “save time” on the road to the failure of their business.

The second is failure to control your processes. That control begins with documentation. Employees should not be expected to follow verbal instructions, because verbal instructions are too easily (and too often) changed. The end result of that is confusion. Anyone involved in any business process should be able to access a document that defines the process. That’s called “making sure we are all on the same page.”

Processes are controlled by ensuring that flow charts, milestones, and specifications and documented and measured against the standards for the process.

When processes are documented and controlled, things run more smoothly and wasted time, material and money are reduced.

One final point. No one – not even the CEO – should be able to make any undocumented change to any process. What is written is written. It may be revised, but the revision must be documented and all parties to the process must be notified of the revisions before they are implemented.

Don’t fall prey to the idea that your company can survive without controlled processes. No one can really afford the extra time required in our opening oxymoron. Except, perhaps, for a moron.

Application: Digital Marketing is a process. It needs to be documented and controlled. If you lack the expertise, we have the time. Let Pathmaker Marketing help make your digital marketing a raging success. Contact us today via our website, or call at 1-800-224-2735.

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Four Documents Every Business Needs

Four Documents Every Business Needs - Pathmaker BlogAfter a career that included working with companies of all sizes from start-ups to industry icons, I have learned that there are four vital documents that every business needs.

The problem is that far too many do not have them. The bigger issue is that not having them invariably leads to failure.

One: A Mission Statement

It only takes a few sentences to establish for yourself, your employees and your clients your raison d’etre. I have witnessed business owners struggle for day and weeks trying to define their mission. That worries me. If you can’t state your mission, what are you doing in business? No mission = no purpose. No written Mission Statement = no vision. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Two: A Policy Manual

A Policy Manual states the principles upon which your business operates. You might say that it is a compilation of the ethical and moral things you will or will not do to accomplish your mission.

A Policy Manual may deal with a wide range of matters from integrity to sustainability. For instance, you may say, “We will respect every individual and we will value their ideas.”

Simply put, a Policy Manual is the system of beliefs upon which you will run your business.

Three: A Current Business Plan

Your Mission Statement and Policy Manual should rarely, if ever, change. Your Business Plan must. I am writing this during the weekend of the 2015 NCAA basketball Sweet Sixteen. Each team has a clear mission and policies according to which they live and play. But they have a different plan for every game.

A company Business Plan defines where you plan to go and how you plan to get there, within the context of your Mission Statement and Policy Manual. As the game changes, so must your plan.

A Business Plan should include an analysis of all the factors that affect the business. It should include clearly-defined, achievable objectives, be reviewed at least annually, and revised as necessary based on the review.

Four: A Procedure Manual

No business can operate successfully for very long using a “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” approach. Every process needs to be controlled. That control is your defined procedures. It is critical that every employee knows and understands your procedures. The best companies audit their procedures from time-to-time to ensure that employees are complying with them. A Procedure Manual is an absolute must for ensuring consistency, accuracy and quality.

A Procedure Manual on its own will have no meaning to employees unless they know and ascribe to your Mission Statement, your Policy Manual, and your Business Plan. Most problems occur at the lower levels of the company when the people do not understand the big picture.

Conclusion

I said earlier that “not having them invariably leads to failure.” I did not say that having them will ensure your success, but having them will go a long way to helping your business succeed. Many small business owners feel no need to create and follow these documents, because it seems like a waste of time. Let’s put it this way, many people who have no teeth once thought it was a waste of time to brush them. I think you get the point.

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Sacrificing the Permanent on the Altar of the Immediate

Sacrificing the Permanent on the Altar of the Immediate - Pathmaker BlogLife is about choices – the decisions that we must make in response to circumstances and people around us.

One of our major problems is our failure to think about our choices with a long-term perspective. This often causes unintended consequences for ourselves and foists those consequences on others as well. We need to develop a mindset that understands that every decision we make has both immediate and long-term consequences. That mindset is determining to “Never sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate.”

A decision to disobey a direct order thousands of years ago caused permanent damage to the entire human race. “It’s just a piece of fruit. What could possibly go wrong?”

A decision “see how fast this baby can go” has put many a young man in a wheelchair – and created a burden for his family – for the rest of their collective lives.

A decision to “try” drugs has landed tens of thousands of people in poverty, desperation, jail or a grave.

One decision in favor of the immediate. Results that last a lifetime.

How You Make Decisions Can Affect Your Business’ Success

The executive staff was engaged in a major strategy session in which the life of the company was on the line, when one person proposed a counter-intuitive tactic. The idea created a stir in the boardroom, with some for and some against, but it met with an immediate dismissal by the CEO as a stupid idea.

The next day, the CEO called a special meeting of those who had been at the aforementioned one. This time he put the tactic back on the table. He said, “I spent a long time last night thinking about what would happen if we do this.” He paused judiciously. He continued, “Then I spent the same amount of time thinking about what would happy if we don’t.”

“Having thought it through, I still believe that we will take a hit short-term if we do it. On the other hand, I believe that it is the only path that ensures long-term success. The path we had previously espoused would give us the euphoria of short-term success, but ultimately would have been a nail in our coffin.”

The Right Kind of Decisions Come From the Right Kind of Decision Making

The CEO had done it. He had recognized that they were about to sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate. When he did, he changed the course of the company’s future from failure to success. The only way he could have made the right decision was to take the right approach and consider the more permanent effects more valuable than the immediate effects.

You will make better decisions, more often, that have better results in the long run, if you determine to count the cost of sacrificing the permanent on the altar of the immediate – and commit to never doing it.

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What Were They Thinking?

What Were They Thinking - Pathmaker BlogOn April 24, 2014, two men in Kenya were taking selfies with a wild elephant when they were trampled to death by the irate pachyderm who proceeded to bury their bodies with brush. What in the world were they thinking?

Just in case you may think that stupidity of this sort is limited to third-world countries, here is a story from Lake Allatoona, a few miles northwest of Atlanta. A recent high-school graduate, 18-year old Chance Turner, and his friends decided to play the Shopping Cart Game early one morning. This, by the way, is a regular pastime for collegial young men on vacation in NW Georgia. A shopping cart is tied to a tree near the dock. A, for lack of a better word, “brave” young man sits in the cart, whereupon his friends run him and the cart at high speed off the end of the dock. After the big splash, the rider returns to shore and everyone pulls on the rope to retrieve the cart for the next round.

On the morning of May 25, 2014, barely a month following the pachyderm paparazzi were pummeled, Chance decided to take a chance. Unfortunately, he also decided not to tie the cart to the tree AND to strap himself to the cart with his belt. The coroner ruled it an accidental death when he drowned in nearly 30 feet of water, still strapped to the cart.

What was he thinking? We can’t say for sure, but Chance’s parents agreed that, “Not one person thought that this was not a good game to play.” To put it simply, not one person thought at all.

Think about this

Life is full of risks. We have to have our wits about us to successfully turn risks into rewards. We can, if we so choose, think of ways to minimize some risks. For the most part, we simply have to understand the risks and react accordingly, which, apparently. none of these gentlemen did.

Einstein said that, “Only 5% of the people think. Another 10% only think that they think. The other 85% would rather die than think.” Why would anyone want to be counted in the 85%? The fact is that these three actually did die because they did not think.

It’s worse than you think

This is the place where you may be inclined to retort that these incidents were just flukes. Let me posit a theory: Let’s say that are on vacation, that you go to church on Sunday and you meet a guy named Anatole. The next time you go on vacation, you go to the same church and you see Anatole again. Another year passes, you go back to the beach, and there Anatole is again! Is it a fluke? Of course not. He doesn’t just go there once a year. He goes to church there all the time!

Here’s the point. It is no fluke that those gentlemen met their demise. People who think don’t do it just once a year. They think all the time. In the same way, people who don’t think practice the deadly art of not thinking all the time. It’s only a matter of time before not thinking catches up with them.

Thinking takes practice, but it can eliminate a whole lot of unintended consequences that make us look foolish, or even make us look dead. Don’t be a fool. Think.

(Thanks to the DarwinAwards.com for the true stories of people who weren’t thinking.)

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Is “Good” Good Enough?

Is “Good” Good Enough?“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” ~ Confucius

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” ~ Helen Keller

I’m not going to build a case in this post. I’m going to answer the title question and hope that I leave no doubt whatsoever in your mind that the answer I propose is the only right answer.

The answer is that “good” is never good enough. Good is merely “okay.” It is doing only what is expected. It is never stretching to reach a greater goal. Good is mediocrity. It is certainly not giving something all you have got.

Good is a reasonable effort without the passion of one’s heart. Good is lukewarm – neither hot nor cold. Good is getting by. Good is ordinary. Genius is the brain at work. Greatness is the heart at work. Good is just working at work.

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, once said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” Jobs saw great work as a matter of the heart.

The Holy Bible, the source of inerrant truth, admonishes us to do all that we do to the glory of God. Would you offer God less than all of your heart and mind and soul and strength?

I love writing. I write about everything from sermons to the stock market, from inspiration to immigration, and from micro-technology to macroeconomics – and I love every minute of it! Let me clarify – I do not just do what I love to do. Rather I have learned to love whatever I set my hand to do. If I am going to do something, I am going to do it with great passion. It makes life thrilling.

I cannot imagine the shallow life a person lives just being good at something. What is the point? Being good can’t even get you to heaven. That takes a passionate submission to the love of God and obedience to Him. (John 14:6)

Another writer once told me that what he writes about doesn’t matter – he’s just putting words on paper to make a living. In my days of operational management we called that a “lunch bucket mentality.” It’s a description of a boring life of punching a clock and doing the same mindless work day in and day out without any passion to excel. It’s an “I punched the clock – I put in the time – Now pay me” kind of lifestyle in which people start the work week by counting the days and hours until the next weekend.

I am sorry to tell you that the life of “good” is available to you, if that is what you really want. But you need to count the cost before you make your choice. Why settle for good, when you can be great?

John Piper said, “Most people slip by in life without passion, spending their lives on trivial diversion, living for comfort and pleasure.” Some would call comfort and pleasure a good life. He calls it a wasted life. If you don’t agree with him now, someday you will. If you are living a “good” life and doing a “good” job, it’s not too late to make your life and your work great.

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Should We Really Reach for the Stars?

Should We Really Reach for the Stars?Just as it is impossible for us to number the stars, I suggest that it is also impossible to number the times that someone has tried to inspire us by telling us to reach for the stars. I understand what the metaphor means, but over the years, I have come to view it as bad advice. Let me explain.

I have worked with a lot of people who have become disillusioned, frustrated and even bitter because, no matter how hard they have tried, they have never been able to reach that star, or any other star. It’s as though the axiom is as impossible as the reality. There’s a good reason for that. It is impossible.

So, why would someone tell us – or why would we tell someone else – to reach for the stars? My answer is that it is done because of a faulty worldview and of a wisdom that is foolishness to God.

Our Creator did not put the stars in place for us to reach them, regardless of whether we are speaking in terms of metaphor or reality. He put them there for two reasons. First, to testify to His existence and glory (Psalm 19:1) and, second, to be signs for us (Genesis 1:14).

Sailors have understood for millennia how to navigate by looking at the stars and their positions in the night sky. They don’t try to reach the stars. They look to the stars to guide them.

I think that there is a simple, Biblical principle at work here, and I believe that it applies to everything in life. The Bible doesn’t tell us to reach out to God. Rather it bids us to come to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. That’s because we cannot reach God any other way (John 14:6). Neither does the Bible teach us to seek anything apart from the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). When we do that, He sets our goals and He paves the way for us to reach the plateaus and successes He has planned for us.

Rather than reaching for the stars or reaching for God, the Bible instructs us look to Him to guide us. All the instructions we need are in His Word, and all we need to do is to love Him enough to follow those directions, do our best and let Him take care of the rest.

The principle applies in every area of our lives. It works at work. It works at home. It even works on vacation. Despite what network marketers promise if you put a picture of the car or home of your dreams on your refrigerator door, it is far better – and far less stressful – to focus on the tasks that God has appointed you to and let Him provide you with what He already knows you need (Matthew 6:32) and what is, at the same time, the best for you.

We need to be careful before we buy into conventional wisdom, age-old axioms and cutely-coined phrases. What may sound innocent may be so deceptive that it could put people in a position to become dissatisfied with the way their lives have seemed to go, all because they innocently put their all into the fine-sounding, misguided direction we have given them.

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Keep Rowing

Keep Rowing“Business is like a man rowing a boat upstream. He has no choice; he must go ahead or he will go back.”

~ Lewis E. Pierson

Not only is that statement true about business, it is also true about life. Anyone who does not accept that as fact, has to believe that there is some kind of alternative. The only real alternative is to “go with the flow” and drift along wherever the current takes you.

Any Dream about Floating through Life Will Turn Out to be a Nightmare

I have spent a lifetime watching people attempt to drift through life and through work, expending the least possible amount of effort necessary to put food on the table or to keep a job. I am amazed at how successful some of them have appeared to be along the way. By “successful” I mean achieving their daily goal of just getting by. Most of them, however, end up finding that life is a lot like the Niagara River. Doing just enough to get by, ends up putting them in a desperate situation of rigorous rowing to prevent passing over the precipice and crashing to the rocks below.

People who venture out into that river in real life end up paddling much harder than they would have had they done much further upstream. Without help, they soon discover that all the rowing and paddling in the world will not help them once they are past a certain point. To compound matters, that certain point is usually a lot further upstream than they had reckoned.

Understand that the Goal is always Upstream

Not every business that fails does so because the owner did not accept the concept of hard work. Not everyone on welfare is there because of a lack of desire to work. Sadly, however, though not all, there are many who are where they are simply because “life is too hard” or they didn’t like their job. I know some of them, so you probably do too.

Objectives are always reached by applied effort. It is a rare thing in life when the flow takes you where you really want to go. If that were the case, paddle wheelers wouldn’t have paddles and Fulton’s folly would have been that there was no need to use steam to power a boat.

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Becoming Courageous

Becoming CourageousCourage is not something we hear much about. And that is a shame.

The world by and large, and America in particular, seems to have lost touch with the concept of courage. In its place, we have substituted heroism. Even more, we have become worshippers of heroism. Young people worship fictional heroes from Superman to Spiderman. We seldom hear those names spoken by children without special emphasis, as in: SPIDERMAN!

It’s fair to say that adults like heroes too – real life heroes, like wounded warriors who have sacrificed physical and mental wholeness and even life itself for duty, honor and country. But isn’t it ironic that the men we called heroes usually do not think of themselves that way. They often remark that they are not heroes, but rather, just ordinary people who did what anyone else would do.

May I submit to you that they are more correct than we are? And may I further submit that, if we saw them as they see themselves, we would not fall into the trap of hero worship.

I remember Neil Armstrong for two reasons. First, and most obvious, for being the first man to walk on the surface of the moon. Second, and more important, for shunning the hero worship that was heaped upon him for the rest of his life. He knew that he was not a hero and certainly not the hero we wanted him to be. But he was courageous. Just like most of those men who we try to make into heroes.

Courage happens when ordinary people rise above their fears.

It took courage to sit on top of a Saturn V rocket and hurtle through space with two other men in a 10’ 7” x 12’ 10” capsule. It took courage to descend to the surface of the moon, never really knowing if they would make it back. Armstrong and the others would have been fools if they were not afraid. But they became courageous when they determined to overcome their fears, regardless of the outcome.

Courage happens when ordinary people rise above their fears to protect and preserve others who can’t.

This is why veterans of our armed forces do not consider themselves heroes. All they did was to rise above their fears to protect and preserve others who can’t. Only a person with delusions of grandeur would not be afraid of something when they are in harm’s way. That’s how super heroes are portrayed, and that’s why there are no real heroes. But there are real men and women of courage – men and woman who have learned to rise above their fears, especially when doing so will protect and preserve others can’t, whether the “can’t” means the inability to protect and preserve themselves or if it means the inability to rise above their own fears.

Life is hard. Sometimes it is frightening. Nearly everyone has to deal with the fear of failure, but only those who are willing to face that fear and rise above it ever succeed. It takes courage to accept the risks and the challenges of life and to exercise a willingness to risk everything for the sake of others. Courage may be needed at home or on the job just as much as it might be needed on a battlefield. It all depends upon the fear.

I have a fear of heights, so it took a large dose of courage for me to ride in a trolley across the bridge at Royal Gorge near Canon City, CO, nearly 1,000 feet above the Arkansas River. My feeling of relief when I reach the other side was severely tempered when I realized that I had to make the return trip. In my exhilaration at making it safely across the 1,270 wooden planks, I had said, “I will never ride across that bridge again.” So, I walked back, facing renewed fear every time my foot stepped over a gap to the next plank.

I still have a fear of heights, but on that day, on that bridge I found the courage I needed to make it. I doubt that what I did actually benefitted anyone else, but it remains one of my most vivid memories of courage in the face of fear.

Fear will stop you if you let it. You don’t need to be a super hero. All you need is the courage to rise above your fear.

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The Key to Becoming More Successful

The Key to Becoming More SuccessfulThe problem with success is that people define it differently. In our blog post, “Is Success Measured by What We Accomplish in Life?” we defined success, not as what we have accomplished in life, but as what we have accomplished compared to what we could have.

Now that we know what success really looks like, it is important that we know how to get there. (For more about getting from where we are to where we ought to be, see “The Paradigm of ‘Is’es and ‘Oughts.’”)

Truly successful men, like Lee Iacocca (Chrysler) or Jack Welch (GE), agree that leadership is always a factor of success. However, the paradox, to which these men also agree, is that success is not about becoming a leader, it is about being a servant, regardless of where we are when we measure our success properly. The reason that their assessment is accurate is that it is based on the Biblical principle of having a servant’s heart.

The key to becoming more successful is found in the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 25. In fact, it is stated twice. “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!

The principle is that our job is always to do the few, simple tasks that we have been assigned, and to do them well. Leadership is not something that is gained. It is something that is given. It is not something attained. It is something that is assigned.

In business, it is our job to be a paid servant to help our master succeed. That is our primary purpose – not the advancement of our own career. Advancement is a reward for doing a few things well. A true servant never seeks a promotion. In fact, he is always surprised.

 

Don’t Throw the Key Away

This is typically the point where careers take a wrong turn. A sense of accomplishment sets in, and it becomes a point of pride. We tend to forget that the advancement was a gift and that our responsibilities have become greater. This is not the time to forget what got us here. Now it is not only serve our master, but it is also to be the servant to those under our authority. To serve our boss, we keep on doing what we have been doing. We do what we are assigned to do. The only difference is that, with more to do, we usually are given additional resources, often human resources.

We become a servant to them by helping them learn how to do their assigned work effectively. The more we help them to be successful, the more we help our boss become more successful. We can never afford, at any level, to stop being a servant or to stop doing our job well. That is the key to becoming more successful without the usual stress, frustration, disappointment or envy.

I referred to Jack Welch earlier. He said, “When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” That’s what being a servant is about: Helping others. The truth is that being a servant is not only the key to greater success, it is also the most pleasant path to it: “Come and share your master’s happiness.”

You entire work experience will become exponentially more satisfying once you pick up the key and use it every day.

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