My 4 Most Important Digital Marketing Metrics

Digital marketing ireland

Are you wondering about how to use the internet and social media to start or grow your business?

Do you have a healthy degree of skepticism about what works and doesn’t work?

Have you come across individuals who claim to be experts and gurus in the area but you have your doubts?

I have built my solicitor’s practice almost entirely through digital or online marketing. So what I have to tell you is based on what works, not some theoretical nonsense with no valid evidence or data to support it.

There is plenty of spoofers out there, quite frankly, giving advice about digital marketing, online marketing, social media marketing who really only talk the talk.

Not only will I tell you what works, and what the important metrics for my business are, but I will prove it.

Yes, I will give you evidence of critically important areas I monitor and measure on a weekly basis to ensure my marketing machine is ticking over nicely with a nice, smooth sound.

Ready?

Let’s go.

Website traffic

Firstly, if you were ever involved in a retail business you will know that footfall is critical to your success. Without footfall-that is, passing visitors in the immediate vicinity of your business premises-you will struggle big time.

The online equivalent of footfall is website traffic. How you get visitors to your website can fall into two large categories:

1. Organic methods

2. Paid methods

Organic methods include organic search traffic and social media traffic.

Paid methods include advertising such as Adwords, YouTube advertising, Facebook advertising, and so forth.

Clearly, the best type of traffic is organic search traffic, and there are 2 reasons for this:

1. It is free

2. It is motivated to find a solution to a problem

To clarify, organic search traffic is when you are looking for a product or service and you search online in a search engine like Google. If your website ranks well in the search engines, especially Google, you will get more of this top quality traffic.

So, my number one metric to measure on a regular basis is my website traffic figures. Putting it plainly how many people visit my store each day-that is, how much daily traffic do I achieve?

I have a number of websites dealing with differing aspects of Irish law but the two main sites I look at are:

a) BusinessAndLegal.ie

b) EmploymentRightsIreland.com

I have other sites, too, such as SmallBusinessLawIreland.com, FamilyLawIrelandHq.com, and MakingAWillIreland.com.

But these 2 sites are the ones which drive all my traffic and in the year to date (early May 2018) the average number of daily visitors to my sites are as follows:

EmploymentRightsIreland.com:

March, 2018, average daily visitors: 4389

BusinessAndLegal.ie

Average daily traffic: 1,356 per day in April, 2018

So, between these 2 sites alone I receive 5,745 visitors per day.

It is self evident that the more traffic I get the more leads/queries I receive, the more consultations I book, and the more clients I add to my books.

The next time you are being regaled by a ‘guru’ or expert with the latest shiny new object for growing your business online ask him/her how many daily visitors he/she gets to his/her website or blog. It will give you some food for thought and should influence you as to whether to do business or not.

Let’s face it: if the guru cannot get traffic to his/her site how will he/she do it for your business?

Email marketing subscribers

Email marketing is incredibly powerful for it allows you to communicate with potential clients/customers in a way which is expected, consented to, and personal.

Email marketing, however, is not about asking people to sign up for a newsletter (yawn). No, you want to be much more intentional, useful and strategic than that.

Here are a couple of email marketing articles I have written previously, they explain email marketing in greater detail:

From my business perspective, I monitor the number of subscribers to my list on a weekly basis. Today my total number of subscribers is 6,067. The vast majority of these subscribers have signed up for my free employment law report and free weekly employment law tips.

These subscribers are valuable to my business and I am ruthless in ensure good list hygiene by removing anyone whose email address is undeliverable or who have unsubscribed. In fact I encourage people to unsubscribe as I only want people on my list who are interested in what I have to offer.

So every week I will scrub my list to ensure only people who want to hear from me do, in fact, hear from me.

Here’s the proof:

YouTube subscribers

Video is powerful and allows a connection between video maker and viewer that is difficult to achieve with words alone, especially given the attention span deficit of people nowadays.

This is why I put a lot of effort into my YouTube channel.Checking the number of subscribers I have is an extremely regular occurrence.

Today the number of subscribers is at 873 with my first major target being 1,000 subscribers. That should be achieved soon because I am adding an average of 70 new subscribers every 30 days. Here’s the proof:

Facebook metrics

Facebook allows me to reach an enormous audience easily and I check certain FAcebook metrics every day, including:

  • Number of fans of my two main pages (here and here)
  • Cost per result of any advertising campaign I am running
  • Cost per acquisition of leads to sign up to my email list (see above)

Fans of my employment rights Ireland page number over 18,662 today and fans of my Terry Gorry & Co. Solicitors page number 6,864 today. Here’s the proof:

Conclusion

  1. Understand the digital marketing metrics that are most relevant for your business and monitor them relentlessly
  2. Don’t fall for ‘shiny new objects’
  3. Don’t accept assertions or promises from people who promise to help you grow your business online without getting some cold, hard evidence and facts from them about the important metrics in their own business
  4. In other words, ask them politely, ‘don’t tell me, show me’ when it comes to growing your business online.

Competition Law in Ireland-What SMEs and Entrepreneurs Need to Know

Competition law in ireland

Have you been the victim of unfair competition or anti competitive practices in your industry?

Perhaps you have encountered an abuse of dominance by one or more competitors? There is strong competition law on the statute books to protect you, you know.

The principal piece of legislation deal with with competition law in Ireland is the Competition Act, 2002 and Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014. Part 2 of the Competition Act, 2002  deals with the two main prohibitions:

  1. The prohibition on anti competitive arrangements
  2. The prohibition on abuse of dominance

Anti Competitive Arrangements

Section 4(1) Competition Act 2002 states:

4.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, all agreements between undertakings, decisions by associations of undertakings and concerted practices which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition in trade in any goods or services in the State or in any part of the State are prohibited and void, including in particular, without prejudice to the generality of this subsection, those which—

( a) directly or indirectly fix purchase or selling prices or any other trading conditions,

( b) limit or control production, markets, technical development or investment,

( c) share markets or sources of supply,

( d) apply dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage,

( e) make the conclusion of contracts subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which by their nature or according to commercial usage have no connection with the subject of such contracts.

Sections 4(2) and 4(5) set out the exceptions to section 4(1).

The prohibition only applies to separate undertakings, which is defined as

‘ undertaking ’ means a person being an individual, a body corporate or an unincorporated body of persons engaged for gain in the production, supply or distribution of goods or the provision of a service and, where the context so admits, shall include an association of undertakings.

The prohibition does not apply to intra-group transactions as there is only one undertaking, from a competition law perspective. An agreement between employer and employee will not be covered, either, as an employee is not an undertaking. Therefore employment contracts will not fall under the remit of the Competition Act, 2002 and any issues in relation to restrictive covenants in contracts of employment should be looked at under common law restraint of trade principles.

The prohibition includes

  • Anti-competitive agreements
  • Concerted practices

An agreement will be seen to exist where one undertaking agrees with another undertaking to limit its freedom of action so as to restrict competition in the marketplace. A concerted practice is a form of coordination between undertakings.

The intention of the parties is irrelevant, it is the object or effect of the agreement that needs to be reviewed.

If the agreement ultimately benefits consumers it will fall within the exceptions found in section 4(5) and will be exempt from the prohibition.

The Competition Authority, established by the Competition Act, 2002 was dissolved and replaced by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission in the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014. It has the power to issue declarations that agreements or concerted practices are covered by section 4(5) and does not fall foul of section 4(1).

Horizontal and Vertical Agreements

A horizontal agreement is an agreement between undertakings between competitors-that is, at the same end of the supply chain.

Vertical agreements are agreements between undertakings at different ends of the supply chain-for example, manufacturers and distributors.

Horizonatl agreements are hard core offences and subject to severe penalties as they are agreements between competitors and are more likely to be anti-competitive. Vertical agreements, by contrast, are generally exempt  as they have a lower risk of anti competitive effect.

Abuse of Dominance

Section 5 Competition Act, 2002 deals with the abuse of dominance prohibition:

5.—(1) Any abuse by one or more undertakings of a dominant position in trade for any goods or services in the State or in any part of the State is prohibited.

No exemption is possible from this prohibition, it is an absolute prohibition and dominant companies have a particular responsibility to avoid abuse of that dominance.

What is a dominant position? There is no widely accepted definition but any company with in excess of 40% of the market is going to raise concerns. The test is whether the concern can act independently of others in the marketplace.

Other factors which will be looked at in determining dominance will include:

  • Barriers to entry to the market
  • Customer switching costs
  • Barriers to expansion
  • Market share of the entity being looked at-a consistent market share of over 40% will cause concern

The prohibition in section 5 above refers to ‘one or more undertakings’, therefore a situation of collective dominance could arise if more than one undertaking acts in concert with another.

When looking at a breach of section 5 consideration will be given to

  1. Is the undertaking ‘dominant’
  2. Has its conduce been an abuse of its dominance-te conduct is not abusive if it can be objectively justified and proportionate to a legitimate aim.

Examples of abuse of dominance

Examples would include:

  • Abusive pricing
  • Exclusionary abuse-for example, predatory pricing, single branding, loyalty rebates, refusal to supply, tying and bundling

Penalties

Penalties for hard core offences-that is, breaches of section 4(1) above can be

A breach of the Competition Act, 2002 can also lead to personal liability for an officer or employee of eh company.

Enforcement of the Competition act, 2002 is through both civil and criminal means.

Any aggrieved person can make a complaint to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, formerly the Competition Authority. This body and the DPP can institute criminal proceedings to enforce the Competition Act, 2002 and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has extensive powers to carry out raids to obtain records relating to competition law. This allows them to search both business premises and private homes of executives or officers of the company.

They can also summons witnesses to attend before the Commission.

Moreover, an aggrieved person can institute legal proceedings in the Circuit or High Court for breach of section 4 or 5 of the Competition Act, 2002. The aggrieved person, if successful, may obtain an injunction and/or damages and/or a declaration from the Court.

An important thing to consider is that the Competition Act, 2002 shifts the burden of proof from the prosecutor to the defendant in a criminal prosecution and criminal prosecutions can be carried out by the Commission for summary offences and the DPP can prosecute on indictment.

Section 50 of the Act also provides protection for whistleblowers who act in good faith.

Conclusion

If you are a small business owner and you have been the victim of abuse of dominance or anti-competitive arrangements the Competition act, 2002 provides strong remedies to put a stop to it and make competition in your market fairer.

How I Sold 306 Kindle Books in 5 Days Last Week, and 3 Vital Lessons for Entrepreneurs

Click on image to enlarge

Stunned, I was. It was beyond my wildest expectations.

And my birthday, too!

256 books sold on Monday 5th February, 2018-one day.

Let me explain.

I have a number of books for sale on the Kindle publishing platform. A few years ago I decided to take advantage of what Jeff Bezos has created with Amazon and Kindle publishing. At its essence Kindle publishing allows small business owners like me publish what we like, when we like.

The good news is that there are no gatekeepers now, nobody whose permission I require. No seal of approval required.

And I could care less for anyone who looks down their nose at ‘self publishing’, as somehow a lesser form of writing and publishing.

Kindle countdown deal

Last week I decided to do my first price promotion since 2016. It’s called a Kindle Countdown deal.

It works like this: the regular price of one of my Kindle books is £9.99. The Kindle countdown deal allows me to discount this book to £.99 and increase the price in 5 increments over the following 5 days, reverting back to its previous, regular price of £9.99.

To recap, the promotion started on Monday 5th Feb at 8 am and the price of the book was £.99.

Then the price of the book increased each day for 5 days as follows:
£.99 (Monday 5th Feb)
£1.99
£2.99
£3.99
£4.99
£9.99 (original list price) (Monday 12th Feb at 12 am)

I did a Kindle countdown deal for four of my books:

Employment Law in Ireland: The Essentials for Employers, Employees, and HR Managers

27 Irish Employment Law Cases: Priceless Lessons for Employers and Employees from Decided Cases of the EAT, Equality Tribunal, and High Court

How to Carry Out a Workplace Disciplinary Procedure: Avoid Costly Claims for Unfair Dismissal and Other Employment Related Claims

The Art of Marketing Your Services Business Online: How to Get New Clients With a Proven, Inexpensive 5 Part Digital Marketing Strategy

Results

The results are as follows:

5th Feb: 256 units sold

6th Feb: 33 units sold

7th Feb: 12 units sold

8th Feb: 1 units sold

9th Feb: 4 units sold

Total sold over 5 days 306

Click on image to enlarge

 

Promotion of the deal

I promoted the deal in two main ways:

Why publish on Kindle?

Two main reasons: 1) it’s easy to do, and 2) it allows a person in a particular field or niche to position themselves as an expert, a trusted authority.

Lessons for entrepreneurs and small business owners

There are broader lessons, however, that you can learn from this.

  1. You don’t need permission.

If you are an entrepreneur, small business owner, a grinder, hustler, budding entrepreneur, or wannabe writer, the good news is you don’t need permission or a seal of approval from anyone anymore. Amazon and Kindle allow you to just do the work now and publish your own story, thought leadership, expertise, or, quite frankly, whatever you want.

You can also publish on your own blog or YouTube channel or podcast.

2.Traditional bookstores are screwed.

Last week it was a long established, much loved book shop in Cork that closed down. The previous week I listened to a bookshop owner on the Sean O’Rourke radio programme who is struggling in Dublin. She even told the story of a lady who came into her shop, had a coffee and read her book on her Kindle, and then complimented the shop owner for such a ‘charming little shop’ after spending an hour there and having a coffee while she read her Kindle.

Fighting against Kindle, fighting against Amazon, fighting against the convenience and price of shopping online for books when you live in a rural area and have virtually every book ever published downloadable within 10 seconds, many of them for free (the classics), is a futile exercise.

I love books and have read copiously for years. I have spent years trawling bookshops, but not in the last few years. I cannot remember when I bought a physical book in a shop last.

On a wet, miserable, February Saturday like today I can download a good book in a matter of seconds at a great price. I live in rural Ireland. The alternative is to get into my car and drive to Liffey Valley shopping centre, go into Easons and hope they will have what I am looking for.

It’s unlikely they will have what I want because I read a lot of obscure books which are often specialist in a particular area of activity-for example law, or a particular area of law such as advocacy.

The regular bookstore simply cannot match the choice or price or convenience of shopping on Amazon and reading on my Kindle.

And when you get to my age the eyesight for reading disimproves and the text in a physical book is too small. On Kindle I can simply enlarge the text size, and choose the font.

3. Learn and understand digital marketing

The four big factors in selling these books, and promoting the growth of my business and new client acquisition are:

  1. blogging/publishing good content on my websites
  2. Email marketing
  3. Facebook marketing and advertising
  4. YouTube publishing

As long as I have access to these four tools I can generate clients and grow my business.

And the two critical common areas between blogging and publishing my own Kindle books and creating my own videos and growing my YouTube channel?

Firstly, I don’t need permission to do any of it, and secondly I can establish a position of expertise in whatever I publish about. And I can publish with words or video or audio.

So, if you can’t write, whip out your phone and make a video and give something of value to your potential customers/clients. You might be surprised at the outcome.

Here’s the 1 Vital Lesson You Can Learn from Jim Gavin, Aidan O’Brien and Willie Mullins

jim-gavin-man-management

Are you running a business?

Do you manage people?

There is one thing that Jim Gavin, the Dublin football manager, Aidan O’Brien and Willie Mullins, the racehorse trainers never fail to do.

Let me explain.

Aidan O’Brien

Last week, I was, as usual, watching the racing on Channel 4.

Aidan O’Brien’s horse, The Ghurka, had just won a group race.

In the after race interview O’Brien did what he always, without fail, does: he name checked all his stable staff who look after the horse on a daily basis.

Not a generic thanks to “all the staff” but along these lines: “Mary looks after the horse every day, and Jimmy rides him out, and Timmy, Susan, Aidan, and Shane-they all look after him and love the horse and said he was in great form, so we couldn’t have been happier with him…”

O’Brien name checks, and recognises, individual stable staff after big (and all) successes as a matter of course.

If he had named the local postman as being instrumental in the horse’s performance and rude good health I would not have batted an eyelid.

He always thanks “the team”, and deflects individual glory as if it to say, “this is not about me, it’s about my team, I’m very lucky…”

Can you imagine the pride these employees, and their families, take from their daily work being recognised by the boss from the parade ring at Royal Ascot or Epsom in front of millions watching live on television?

Do you imagine it would engender some loyalty from those staff?

Some serious commitment?

Would they take pride in their work?

Would they really look after the horse in their care, even when nobody was watching?

Willie Mullins

Willie Mullins, the national hunt champion trainer, does the same thing in virtually every interview. Listen to him closely on television at Cheltenham or Leopardstown or Punchestown, or anywhere else, for that matter.

He name checks the individual member of staff who rides out or mucks out on a daily basis, or travels with the horse, or makes any contribution.

 

It would be easy for O’Brien and Mullins, champions of their sport and geniuses of their profession, to take all the credit.

Nobody would quibble, as their brilliance is rightly recognised, spoken about and written about in the media.

Yet they take every opportunity to thank and recognise each worker involved, no matter what their rank or position in the organisational structure.

Jim Gavin, Dublin Football Manager

Last weekend the Irish Times trumpeted the fact that they had an interview in the paper with Jim Gavin. They described it as his first “one on one interview”.

They told us this was unusual because Gavin had not, since taking over as manager of Dublin, given interviews to anyone.

Here’s what the Irish Times said:

But you must understand something. Jim Gavin has been the manager of the best team in the country’s biggest sport since late 2012 and this is the first time he’s sat down alone with a newspaper reporter. We’ve asked countless times and the answer has always been polite and always been no.

This is in sharp contrast to many managers who cannot resist a microphone or reporter’s note pad and pencil.

So, I was intrigued because I thought to myself, “why now?”, why is he giving this interview?

When I read it it soon became clear: the prime purpose was to promote the Bray air show which was on the same weekend, and which Gavin is involved in as a pilot and safety officer with the Irish Aviation Authority.

And the reason for not doing interviews before this one was set out very clearly by Gavin:

“I’ve always steered away from one-on-ones,” he says. “Because it genuinely is not about me. It’s about the team.”

And this one philosophy was the only football related comment Gavin made in the interview. The rest was about flying, his life as a pilot, how it all started etc.

But it’s an important one, especially if you are managing people in any capacity.


Conclusion

From these 3 masters of their sport/profession you can see the one common philosophy and dogma: it’s all about the team.

Is this the case in your business or organisation?

If it’s not, I invite you to reconsider and learn from Gavin, O’Brien, and Mullins.

1 Email Marketing Mistake that Makes You Look Stupid and Lazy

email-marketing-ireland

I would attribute a huge part of my success in growing my solicitor’s practice to email marketing.

Anybody with an ounce of sense can, with a little research and study of online/digital marketing, quickly recognise the stunning power of email marketing in helping you grow your business.

However, it is not all plain sailing.

In fact, there is one simple way to ensure that your attempts at using email marketing will flounder badly and, in fact, be stunningly counter-productive.

The power and purpose of email marketing

Let’s back up for a minute and take a look at the power and purpose of email marketing: the power is that you get access to a person’s email inbox.

The purpose is to get the opportunity to earn your position as a trusted advisor/expert in your particular field.

The knock on effect of this win is you get a chance to sell your products or services later on in your relationship, when the subscriber to your list feels the time is right and he/she is comfortable in doing business with you.

It’s worth dwelling on this idea briefly:in exchange for someone’s email address you promise to deliver into their inbox something of value, probably on a regular basis.

The outcome of this exchange will be, if done property, the trusted authority status you seek, and of benefit to you as business owner and to your subscriber.

But before this exchange, before a website visitor gives you their email address, you must give them something of value in advance-an “ethical bribe”, if you will.

One way to blow this strategy out of the water is not to deliver value in advance, not to provide an incentive for the reader to give their email address, not to give them the opportunity to confirm that they want to join your email list, and simply to go for the short cut.

The counterproductive shortcut

The short cut?

Simply putting someone’s email address on your list, without their consent, without a “double opt in”, and sending them unwanted commercial emails.

There is probably more than one definition of spam, but unwanted, unrequested commercial emails into my inbox is a sufficiently accurate definition for me.

So, for me, it’s spam.

Look: let me be clear: if you add me to an email list of subscribers without my consent, and send me commercial emails, I will simply report your emails as spam in my Gmail account.

And the consequence of this is that your email will simply be undeliverable with future emails going straight into my spam folder.

Google is good like this.

There is only one thing worse than this mistake in your email marketing and that is getting someone else, for example a so called professional marketing company, to make this mistake on your behalf.

Not only will your emails go straight into spam, but you will be paying some “marketing/promotions” company for the privilege of having your email address blacklisted.

As I said earlier in this piece, I rely hugely on email marketing.

I work very hard to grow my subscriber lists

But each and every one of my subscribers to my many email marketing lists has been bribed in advance with something of value, such as a free guide, in return for their email address.

In addition, they must also confirm that they want to opt in and receive communications from me; and, finally, they have the opportunity in every single email to unsubscribe from the list.

Don’t want to hear from me any more? Just hit the “unsubscribe” link and I’ll be gone like a thief in the night appears regularly in my emails.

When you go to the trouble of doing it right, and creating something of value to swap for an email address, I find it easy to get angry when I receive commercial emails from people who have simply added me to their list and hoped for the best.

Have You These 4 Essential Elements in Your Sales Page?

sales-page-essentials

Have you a sales page on your website or blog?

Even if you haven’t a dedicated sale page you will still want website/blog visitors to purchase your service or product.

If you have, there are 4 things that are absolutely essential if you want it to be effective in making sales of your product or service.

Let’s take a look at what they are. Sounds good?

The 4 questions are what, who, why, and when.

1.      What is it?

The first thing to address is to answer the question, “what is it?”. This might seem obvious to you, and it probably is, but you must guard against the well-known curse of knowledge.

You are completely familiar with your product or service; in fact, you may have created it and lived with it with passion for years. We all take things for granted.

But, your website visitor may never have heard of you or your product or service.

So, you must be absolutely clear about what your product or service is, what it does, who it helps, and what problems does it solve for your reader.

2.      Who are you?

You need to address the question, “who are you?”

Why should the reader believe you? Why should she trust you?

Have you the necessary expertise and experience to help her solve her problem?

Do you know what you are talking about? Can you show this?

3.      Why is your product/service essential for the reader?

Why does the reader need what you have to sell? Why can they not do without it if they want to solve their problem?

4.      When will they see results?

If the reader buys your product or service, when will they see results?

People are impatient for solutions to problems, and nowadays especially are used to shortened time spans, shortened attention spans due to social media usage etc.

Conclusion

An effective sales page on your website or blog, or in print, will need many more components.

But without the four essentials above it is very unlikely to perform in the way you deserve, or is supportive of your business.

The Stupidest Article I Ever Wrote

facebook-ads

I have to admit it-I was completely, utterly wrong.

Misinformed, misguided, wrong-headed, mistaken, idiotic.

I’m talking about Facebook ads.

I wrote a blog post entitled “The Shocking Truth About Facebook Advertising for Small Businesses”.

The sad thing is that I received a lot of good comment about the article at the time. Positive comments from people who had the same view as me. You can see them below the article.

But I was completely wrong, and advertising on Facebook is now a central part of my online marketing efforts.

I took the time to learn about Facebook advertising, and then began implementing what I learned from others, and from my own trial and error and observation.

Now, I get likes, engagement, page likes, post likes, shares, comments, video views and, most importantly of all, leads and clients. Yes-I have got clients straight off Facebook, at very small cost per lead/client.

Cost of Facebook Advertising

I primarily advertise with an objective of page post engagement with my video posts, and for page likes (not so much now because I have enough of them).

Facebook Page Likes

I can now easily obtain Facebook page likes for $.01. Take a look at the screenshot image below, and you will see that I got 6,013 page likes for my Terry Gorry & Co. Solicitors Facebook page for $51.75-a cost of $.01 per page like.

facebook-page-likes-advertising-cost

What is the value of a page like? Social proof.(You might be interested in Social Proof-Don’t Overlook This Stunningly Effective Tool in Your Business).

When somebody comes to any of my Facebook pages some of the questions that cross their mind will be: “does this man know what he is talking about?”, “what do others think?”

When they see over 6,759 page likes they are reassured.

The same story applies to other pages of mine: Employment Rights Ireland Facebook page has 10,549 page likes today and Family Law Ireland has 4,752.

When anyone lands on any of these individual pages they are not backing away because nobody else likes the page, or because they are doubtful; they are reassured by the large number of other people who like the page.

Video Page Post Engagement

Most of my ads on Facebook are Page Post Engagement ads with a video in the post. Here’s an example about rest breaks in the workplace.

Not the sexiest topic in the world, you’ll have to admit, yet take a look at the statistics:

172 likes, 51 comments, over 40,000 views, 25,351 post engagements for $46.28

And the cost per post engagement? .002 of a $US. That’s two tenths of a cent per post engagement!

The vast majority of my ads, over 95% in fact, are video based ads. The videos are basic, just simple, useful tips for my audience/target market.

facebook-page-post-engagement-cost

And new clients?

I have a “conveyancing/property purchase” campaign running at the moment. It comprises approximately 10 videos dealing with various aspects of buying a house.

My spend is $5 per day, and I have obtained 3 new conveyancing clients in the last 3 weeks. This is a massive return on my spend if you consider that one conveyance will generate a fee of €1,100 to €1,900 plus vat and if you are acting in the sale and purchase, which I will, I will get both the sale of the existing house and the purchase of the new one.

Conclusion

I haven’t even discussed probably the most powerful aspect of advertising on Facebook: the powerful targeting possibilities with all your ads.

Do yourself a favour: don’t make the mistake I made and overlook the power of Facebook advertising. Take the time, though, to learn Facebook advertising.

And be sceptical about commonly accepted wisdom as to what works and doesn’t work with Facebook advertising.

Experiment and test yourself. Think about who your ideal audience is, your perfect customer, start small, scale up.

And don’t be afraid to change your mind and put the power of Facebook to work for your business.

Social Proof-Don’t Overlook This Stunningly Effective Tool for Your Business

social-proof

Holy s**t!

That was my son’s reaction when I showed him the Facebook page.

Do you know the way young people know everything?

The way they are all full of piss and vinegar?

My son’s 19, so anything that would impress him in relation to social media is worth a second look.

And if you are a business owner, or thinking about starting up a business, or you need to sell a product or service this piece about what I showed Paddy will be useful.

Sounds good? Let’s take a look.

Firstly, we need to understand and recognise social proof.

Social Proof

Wikipedia defines social proof as

Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behaviour for a given situation.

If you have teenage kids you will know that when they tell you all their friends are going to the concert, or all their friends have a particular brand of runners, or football boots, or other brand you will have to start reaching for your purse or wallet.

Because your kids won’t want to be left out. They won’t want to be seen as socially gauche, or nerdy, or geeky, or “uncool”.

And you won’t want that either.

Social proof was described as one of the 7 principles of persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini in his seminal work, “Influence-The Psychology of Persuasion”. At its most basic Cialdini recognised that we are hugely influenced by what others have bought and approved of.

Another example of social proof at work is when you are invited to a party. There are two sure things:

  1. You don’t want to go if nobody else is going, and
  2. You don’t want to be first.

So, what’s this got to do with the Facebook page I showed Paddy?

Let me explain.

I have this Facebook page about employment law in Ireland. There is quite a lot of useful information, links to articles, videos, employment related stories in the news etc.

When someone lands on the page, and they are researching an employment related problem, one of the first things they will consider is whether I, as the man in the videos and owner of the page, actually knows what I am talking about.

Am I spoofing, or am I an authority, someone who knows their stuff?

On Facebook they will invariably check how many fans the page has.

This is social proof. This is what I showed Paddy.

The number of fans is over 10,000.

This is what prompted the “holy s**t” remark.

Ireland is a small country; employment law is not the sexiest topic in the world. We are not talking about a fan page for Justin Timberlake or Miley Cyrus.

So, 10,000 fans is pretty good; it’s pretty impressive social proof.

Social proof is incredibly powerful. You need it in your business, no matter what you are selling.

Because nobody wants to be first, nobody wants to be the guinea pig, nobody wants to discover that you are completely untested.

You may not have a Facebook page with 10,000+ fans. But you should make it your business not to overlook the power of social proof.

Perhaps start with a testimonials page on your website or blog?

Or on your YouTube channel?

Or on Facebook?

The 3 Most Important Questions for Consultants and Coaches to Ask Clients

coaching-questions

Are you a coach or consultant?

Or maybe you are involved in another role which requires you to spend time helping colleagues or clients.

The easy thing to do, and a common mistake, is to jump in and try to help immediately by giving advice.

Or posing questions which are really pieces of advice masquerading as questions eg have you considered x, y, z?

The bottom line, though, is that in order to help them you need to figure out, and let them recognise, what their problem or issue is.

To do this you need to ask questions.

Not just any old questions.

The questions you ask are absolutely critical.

Have you given much thought to the most effective, useful, powerful questions to ask?

In this piece I am going to share what I consider to be the most effective questions-there are only 3.

The rest is window dressing.

These are the questions I use myself in my law practice when I meet clients or prospects.

I didn’t learn them in law school, though.

I use the exact same questions when I am consulting with small business owners and start ups and entrepreneurs.

You could waste a lot of time asking the wrong questions.

And there is a multitude of questions you could ask.

Questions beginning with who, what, why, how, when, which etc.

The three most important questions begin with the same word.

Let me explain.

Ready?

1st Question is on Facebook

There are three questions you need to ask.

The first you will find on Facebook.

This question has been an integral part of Facebook’s growth into a worldwide phenomenon.

Take a look at the box at the top of your Facebook page, the one that invites you to comment or share something or update your status.

There’s a question in that box to encourage you to do that. It’s the question that Facebook has used, save for one short period, from the early days.

It still uses it today.

The question is: What’s on your mind?

This gives your client the opportunity to open up and tell you what the issue(s) is.

But it’s almost certain that what they tell you will not be the real problem, or if it is a real problem it will not be the only one.

Or the most important.

It’s almost certainly something that concerns them, but may not be the real crux of the matter.

2nd Question-3 Short Words

The second question is designed to deal with this.

The question is: and what else?

This is only a short one, but it’s essential and critical.

Because it will almost certainly get you to the real concern, especially if What’s on your mind has not elicited the real meat of the problem.

The third question is a natural follow on from the other two, because now you know exactly what the real issues are.

Let’s recap.

Question 1: What’s on your mind?

Question 2: And what else?

The third question is what do you want me to do?

Conclusion

Resist the temptation to immediately jump in with advice.

Lean back.

Listen actively.

Ask these 3 questions.

Then you both know exactly what the issues are, and what each of you have to do.

 

Do you need a small business consultant who has actually walked the walk?

Who has built businesses in Ireland since 1986 in a variety of industries?

Who understands and leverages digital marketing, email marketing, social media marketing to continue to build businesses?

If you do, feel free to contact me.

Assignment and Sub-Letting Your Commercial Premises-What You Should Know

commercial-lease-law-ireland

Do you hold a lease on a commercial premises?

Do you want to sub-let it? Or assign (transfer) it to someone else?

You may run into difficulties with your landlord, though.

Let’s take a look at the issues.

Most leases will have a restriction on alienation-assignment or sub-letting- contained in the lease. This is to allow the landlord to protect his investment by ensuring that the quality of his tenant is high.

Because any tenant can ultimately obtain security of tenure in the premises. And if he is a poor tenant and the landlord is forced to enforce the covenants in the lease it is going to cost time, money, inconvenience, and possible diminish the value of the landlord’s property.

However, the landlord will also need to consider how restrictive the alienation clause is, because if it is unduly restrictive it will have an adverse effect on the rent he can achieve. Quite frankly, less tenants will be prepared to take it on if they think that they cannot assign or sub-let it in the future, if necessary.

The tenant will need to consider his business, how restrictive the covenant is, and the premises itself.

Restrictions on Alienation

All commercial leases will contain a restriction on the assignment or sub-letting of the premises without the landlord’s consent, and an absolute prohibition on letting part of the premises.

Put simply, the landlord is entitled to ensure the property is not handed over to an undesirable who will devalue the landlord’s property.

However, the landlord is not entitled to unreasonably withhold his consent to alienation. The question of what is “reasonable” is a thorny one, though.

There is no statutory definition of a reasonable refusal, therefore it is a question of fact and circumstances in each particular case. If a tenant is not happy with the landlord’s decision, he can go to Court to seek a declaration that the consent is being withheld unreasonably and allowing the assignment/sub-letting to go ahead without the consent.

The case of International Drilling Fluids Ltd v Louisville Investments (Uxbridge) Ltd [1986] provides a good summary of the principles to apply in determining whether the landlord’s consent has been unreasonably withheld or not.

Many leases will also contain a pre-emption clause. This gives the landlord first refusal on any assignment.

He may also have the right to match any 3rd party offer.

Break Clauses

Tenants will look for a break clause in the lease. This will allow for circumstances changing in the future.

Generally, the breaks clause would be exercisable at the time of the 1st rent review, but this is entirely a matter for negotiation between the parties at the outset.

Most break clauses will only be exercisable when the tenant has complied with all provisions in the lease.

Assignment of Lease

The existing tenant must ensure appropriate references-trade and bank-are obtained and submitted to the landlord, along with the request for consent to assign.

The existing tenant will also have to be released from his personal guarantee, if he has given one.

The new tenant’s solicitor must make the usual conveyancing enquires about title, planning permission, mortgage on the property, and the usual pre-lease enquiries.

Service charges, and any other annual charges, will have to be apportioned between new and existing tenant.

The landlord, and his solicitor, will be anxious to ensure that the new assignee is as satisfactory as the existing one.

Sub-Letting

The existing tenant will be the landlord for the sub-tenant and he will be granting a sub-lease to the sub-tenant. He will need to get references from the sub-tenant to give to the head landlord, and apply for the head landlord’s consent to the sub-letting.

The sub-tenant, in addition to ensuring the proposed sub-lease is satisfactory, will need to ensure that the head landlord’s consent is given for the sub-letting.

The head landlord’s position is not affected from a legal perspective as he will still have his original tenant on the hook as that tenant will remain contractually liable to the landlord.

Partial Assignment or Sub-Letting

Most modern commercial leases will prohibit partial assignment or sub-letting.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you will see from the above that entering into a lease can be a complex matter which should not be undertaken without professional advice.

Quite frankly, it is easy to sign on the dotted line of a commercial agreement. Especially when you are starting a new business about which you are understandably excited.

But it is foolish to do so when you run the risk of running into costly difficulties later on, and find that you cannot assign or sub-let or you are staring at an eye watering rent increase through the rent review.