What if you could predict the future of marketing the way a weatherman predicts the weather? How much better could you plan for your business knowing the forecast ahead of time?
I’ve been at this game for a long time and, along the way, I’ve developed some amazing friendships with people who are important to me. As a part of being in these great relationships, I periodically reach out and check-in with these friends.

And, inevitably. . . we geek out on marketing.

During these conversations, all kinds of magic happens. Because this is where we share the details on the things we’re doing and trying that aren’t “mainstream” yet. The experiments. The discoveries. The nuances that are making all the difference in our results.

And through sharing with each other, we find out what’s working and what’s not. We celebrate each other’s wins, and we help one another overcome hurdles.

Coming out of those discussions, I always end up with a few key ideas I use to build on top of the ideas that I already have. And when I look back at the progress I’ve made in my career, so many of the breakthroughs came from things that were discussed during these conversations.

But here’s the problem…

For a long time, I wasn’t privy to these kinds of discussions.

It’s only come because I’ve spent nearly 15+ years pouring into my friends and taking the time to develop these relationships.

And I know how frustrating it is if you don’t have this kind of opportunity. Things can feel slow. You can feel like you’re out of the loop.

So it got me thinking…

What if I could bring this kind of intimate conversation about marketing to you?

Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Imagine a discussion between friends. Geeking out on all things marketing. The good. The bad. And most importantly, the future.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

In just a few days, I will be getting together with some of my friends to bring you some of the top marketing strategies that they have been using during the last year.
I’m going to jump start the discussion by asking them questions.

“What was your #1 marketing strategy of 2017?”, and . . .
“What are the big opportunities you’ll be focusing on in 2018?”

It’s one thing to think about what worked in the past, but it’s also another thing to think about where your mindset should be moving into the future.

AND . . . as entrepreneurs, we want to help you make more money so that you can make more impact.

So, I’m asking my friends to forecast the future of online marketing and we’re going to bring you the best marketing advice for this year and the best marketing advice going into 2018.

So why are we motivated to do this now?

Well, there was a very serious incident that got the wheels in motion.

As you’ve probably heard, there have been some devastating natural disasters that have taken place this year.

We all know what it feels like to watch from afar. And to be honest, I felt a bit helpless as the lives of others were affected in such a negative way. I was so far from them. And there was so much damage… what could “I” do to really help? (limited thinking I know… but that’s what I was feeling)

But when you see something devastating like that happen, it impacts you. And I think it impacts me more now as a husband and father of two young kids. I just kept thinking “what would I do if I was in this situation?”

You can’t help but have compassion for those people.

But that compassion goes to a totally different level, and those feelings of helplessness are magnified, when you know somebody you love and care about who is on the ground experiencing it.
And Hurricane Irma, did that to us.

Two of our team members live in Florida .

They were experiencing everything in real time. And our team began living the hurricane through their updates on Facebook and in Slack…

and as the days and hours of preparation passed, it became obvious that they would be directly in the storm’s path.

 

 

 

As the storm began to bear down on them, the rest of us were thinking, “What can we do?” And our team began to experience this sense of helplessness. Two of our team members were in Florida but the rest of us were watching from here, in Canada and from other parts of the world.

 

Then it happened. The hurricane hit. And the devastation was so crazy.

 

Like I said, it can feel surreal when you see it on the news.

But when you have people you care for in the middle of it, we felt compelled to do something. Anything. We had to find a way to help.

As the slack conversations and Facebook updates came through, we wondered, “What can little ol’ us do?”

At first I just reached out to Bree because her house had been destroyed and she and her family didn’t have anywhere to stay. Even though we are in Canada (a long ways from Florida), the first thing I thought of was to help her get a roof over her head.

So it started with this message…

 

Then our TRIBE community rallied behind them.

But then, something even more surprising happened…

Our two team members, in the midst of the devastation themselves, began to reach out and help those in need in their communities.

THAT inspired us.

It was like, despite all the craziness and chaos that they were dealing with, they were still thinking of others. There was so much need and they were doing whatever they could to help… even while dealing with their own situation.

And that got us thinking… what could we do to help?

How could we help Leslie and Bree in these efforts?

Because the reality of it is, even this many weeks later, there are a lot of people who are still dealing with very real challenges. And challenges that I know I can’t even comprehend.

Like…

There are people who still do not have electricity. Can you imagine? Think for a minute about how much we take that for granted. How much we depend on it. And people went from “normal life” of having it available all the time to nothing… for weeks. People are still trying to live without it.

There are those who have been displaced from their houses and are fighting with insurance companies to get their homes restored. And we know (because this is the exact situation Bree is in). Her home was completely destroyed and even though she had flood insurance and hurricane insurance both companies are trying to do everything they can to avoid fulfilling on the service that they’ve been paying for.

Many small businesses were impacted, and the losses were so great that they had to close their doors, putting many out of work. The list goes on and on.

So, we just brought it back down to… these are two people that we love. They’re on our team. There IS something that we can do.

I’ve been blessed to own a business helping others achieve. Not only their business dreams, but also their dreams of earning more so that they can give more to the people and causes that matter most to them.

And, at the end of the day, we believe that the more money you make the more impact you can have.

I am so proud, that my team lives by this philosophy day in and day out. And I want to continue to be an example of that philosophy and demonstrate what that looks like.

So . . . while we are streaming this live event to you totally free, we are also going to use it as a fundraiser to help improve the lives of some of the residents of Florida.

The hope is that you’ll see the benefit of this, will improve your business, AND you’ll therefore have more resources to improve the lives of others too.

Please join us

 

This morning my heart melted after reading an email.

Quick backstory…

A couple years ago, my wife and I adopted a little boy from South Africa. His name is Samkelo (Sam for short). He’s amazing and after two years, we couldn’t imagine life without him.

 

 

Sam joined our family as a one year old. So for the first year of his life, he lived in an orphanage run by two incredible women (Lynne Ellen Pieterse and Sonia Swinton).

Now, just so you know, this is NOT your typical orphanage. Think about the most loving grandmother you’ve ever come across. Now multiply that by two. Now you’d get a sense of what this orphanage is like.

It’s quite possibly the most loving environment that these kids could be in while waiting for their forever homes.

Needless to say, my wife and I are tremendously grateful for the way they cared for our son during the first year of his life. These ladies and this orphanage will always have a BIG place in our hearts.

Ok, so that’s the backstory.

Now, here’s why my heart melted this morning…

This morning I received an email from the orphanage. They need some financial help and they outlined the specifics of what they need help with (which is good).

And because of the backstory  you just read, you can understand why my wife and I want to continue supporting them (which we typically do each year).

But here’s where my heart melted…

From a marketing perspective, I’m the perfect donor. I’m hyper targeted. I LOVE what they’re doing. And, we have the means to give.

For the most part, their email was great. They outlined the situation and gave specifics for where the money would be going.

HOWEVER…

They were missing THE most important piece to any marketing campaign…

THE CALL TO ACTION!

 

 

So I read the email. I’m ready to give.

But there is no link giving me somewhere to go. There aren’t even any instructions telling me what to do.

The final line was “Any assistance with funding would be greatly appreciated and we are happy to share our records with you if you wish to view our finances.”

Wait a minute.

Where do I go?

What should I do?

How much is needed?

I’m willing to bet they would double or triple the amount of donations they receive from this campaign if they just included a call to action.

You’ve got to tell people what to do. Make it SUPER clear in regards to where you want people to go and what you want them to do.

For example, here’s how I would have adjusted that last line:

 

To continue loving and supporting the kids in our care, we’ve set a goal to raise $10,000 in the next month. But to reach that goal, we need your help.

Simply click the button below, enter the amount you’d like to give and your donation will be sent directly to Baby Hope House. And, if at anytime you’d like see our financial records, please email us directly at [email protected]

[Support Baby Hope House Today]

 

(For the record, you can actually click “Support Baby Hope House Today” above to go to the donation page of their website.)

Do you see the difference?

Without telling people specifically what to do, the reader now has to figure it out for themselves.

And when that’s the case, guess what is likely to happen?

Yup, nothing.

Why?

Because in the midst of trying to figure out how to give, people will get distracted. Like right now for example. My kids just woke up. And now they’re asking for breakfast.

This kind of distraction happens ALL THE TIME. And when it does, inevitably, people will forget to come back and donate.

Now please understand, I’m not picking on this lovely orphanage. I’m just trying to show you (and them) how one simple tweak can make a HUGE difference in the results of a campaign.

And I see this mistake being made all the time in non-profit work (like this) and also in for profit business as well.

Sometimes it has to do with fear about directly asking for the sale.

Other times it’s just not knowing what to say.

But when you’re reviewing your own materials, always ask yourself this…

“What specifically do I want people to do next?”

However you answer that question, make that your call to action. And make the next step clear and obvious.

If you do that, you’ll dramatically increase your results.

Now, I’ve got to make a quick reminder note so that I don’t forget to donate after getting these kids something to eat! :p