There will be no ongoing story about Google or AdWords that generates more angst and frustration than Quality Score. That is a fact and will continue to be so.
And this is too important for Perry and me underemphasize in 2009.
On Tuesday evening this last week I did a 60-minute Bootcamp teleseminar with new buyers of our Definitive Guide to Google AdWords, and we covered the fundamentals of this difficult topic. I pointed callers to this Quality Score Checklist, to get them started in solving their difficult Quality Score struggles.
The checklist is brief and concise; it’s not exhaustive; and it will get updated over time. But it points you to the probable solution for 70-90% of your Quality Score woes.
Two ’08 Blog Posts that Will Revolutionize Your Work in ’09
It’s repeated to the point of hackneying that in work and business it’s the inner head game that determines your success, far more than the quality of advice you’re given or the sum of resources you have available to you, or the apparent opportunities open in your market.
It’s not how hard you work, it’s not the unstoppable force of your willpower, and it’s certainly not how rigidly you adhere to predetermined structures.
It’s how you think.
Here are two 2008 blog posts that forever changed the way I think – and will change your thinking in 2009:
(1) I stumbled across P.J. Eby’s post on fixing “Planning Deficit Disorder” after meeting him at a seminar in May of ’08. His ultimately kindergarten-simple method for planning a project, a workday, a piece of writing or anything that requires forethought, revolutionized my work in 2008.
That blog post is here.
In addition to being a powerful thought strategy for planning and organizing tasks in a meaningful and motivating way, it works equally well for setting long-range time goals.
For example, what do you want your business and personal life to look like at the end of December, 2009? How about the end of June, 2009? March, 2009? The end of January? Thinking backwards like this in “successive approximations” as Eby teaches will get your goals, plans and tasks in order and ensure that this is a productive year for you where you accomplish precisely what you most want.
(2) Every individual I’ve ever shared this 10-minute video with has responded with overwhelming enthusiasm … to near disbelief in some cases. One good friend in Paris told me that after watching it, the motivation technique it describes ended up working so well that he had to literally *force* himself to stop going around his house doing easy, simple tasks that he had been putting of for days and weeks.
It’s a simple mental method to create for yourself the delicious, irresistible pull to do the various mundane (or vitally important!) tasks that you know you “have” to do – all in 30 seconds or less:
Every Great Photograph Has a USP.
Your USP is everything. Perry and I harp on this constantly, and will continue to do so. Nothing is more important to your business. Nothing determines whether you’ll still even be in business a year from now, or 5 years from now, or 20 years from now, more so than your USP, your Unique Selling Proposition.
So I created this page of USP templates to help you hone in on what’s unique about your business, and turn it into a memorable soundbyte that your prospects and customers can’t ignore.
Now, far longer than I’ve been helping people with their marketing, I’ve been a avid lover of great photography. (I could never even *think* of canceling my subscription to National Geographic Magazine.)
There’s a lesson in good photography that parallels great marketing.
Do you want to begin teaching yourself, or your kids, to have an eye for good photographs? Simply go over to a photo site, any good professional site will do, and start rifling through the photos, asking yourself a simple question:
“What’s most interesting about this picture?”
Here’s a great site where you can do that.
And here’s another.
You quickly discover a powerful reality: Every great picture you see has a USP of its own.
In every great photograph is something unique that you’ve never seen before. A new way of looking at things. A compelling reason to look at it again, and keep looking. Something you can’t ignore. Something that sticks in your mind and makes you go back.
In every great photograph is a compelling reason why the photographer went to the trouble to take the picture in the first place.
At the end of our Autumn 2008 Bobsled Run Perry and I got a wonderful success story from Matt Roberts, which included this bit about turning his hobby into a business:
“My weekends and evenings are usually spent with a camera in my hand. I’m a photographer, but really only for fun. I would drive across town to take portraits of your grandma’s dog if you asked me to. At no charge.
“But why not get paid doing something you would do for free? I’ve had a photography website for a while but have never booked a job off of it. So, with the help of the Bobsled Run and your techniques, I now have a great USP. Who knew a photographer needed a USP?
“And I have already booked 3 jobs, which will pay for 1/2 of the Bobsled Run fee…. Never did I ever think that my little “hobby” would benefit from this course. But it has, and it will continue to grow.”
Yes, Matt, you’re right. A photographer does need a USP. The reason, or the set of reasons, why he’s taking the pictures and not somebody else.
Otherwise, how is she or he going to stay in business?
Yes, there’s certainly money to be made in doing stock photography – the anonymous photos for websites or graphic designs that you can buy or rent, where the identity of the photographer (or the subjects) is irrelevant to your purposes.
But even the best of the best stock photographers – as with the finest food photographers, or product photographers – bring a strong and unmistakable uniqueness, their own signature if you will, to the photos they sell.
And the ability to spot and exploit that individual uniqueness is the sign of experience and maturity.
As in all of business. As in all of life.
Mrs. Calabash, Jimmy Durante’s Cryptic Signature Signoff
One of the great old-time entertainers, Jimmy Durante, had an unmistakable signature voice and an unmistakable singing style. You probably remember him as the lovable, gruff old man who sang the theme to “Frosty the Snowman.”
Durante has remained the only person who could growl and bark every word of a song (such as “As Time Goes By” or “September Song”) and still leave you so touched that you couldn’t help but cry.
He had a television show in the 1950s where he added yet one more compelling and mysterious curly cue to his star persona signature: His cryptic weekly signoff,
“Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.”
You can hear him deliver it 29 seconds into this video:
So who on earth was Mrs. Calabash?
Nobody seemed to know. And that was the point. People would sit through an entire show just to hear him say it at the end. And then they would talk about it. Gossip columnists wrote about it. Fans speculated over it. They argued with other fans about who she was, and why he said it.
And on went the mystery.
Nothing builds your own aura more than something compelling and cryptic coming from you that your most loyal supporters can argue over. Because if ever you choose to break the silence (and you probably shouldn’t), they will listen with absolute rapt attention.
Another devious (but charming) tool in your marketing arsenal.
To a happy and successful 2009,
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