Saturday, July 27, 2013

How To Protect Your Shadow Footprint - Part 1

Huh? What are you talking about? What's a Shadow Footprint?

Good Question!   With our Social Web, it is important to protect your Digital Shadow because what others say about you online can either boost your image and reputation, or completely destroy it. This holds true regardless of what people say, whether they are talking about you, your brand or your business in a professional or personal manner.

Your Shadow Footprint is defined by what others have to say about you online. This includes pictures, video's, audio recordings and text posts on blogs, social media and internet websites. On the Social Web, your image and reputation is the the sum of Google's Search results.

Most of us have heard the message “Protect Your Digital Footprint”. Your Digital Footprint is defined as anything you put out on the internet and social media sites about yourself. Your Shadow Footprint is content and information that others post and publish about you or your business online.

While you may take the action to be a good Digital Leader, others may not, and what others say and post about you or your company can really hurt your reputation.

Why is it important to protect our Digital & Shadow Footprints?

In our digital world, most people go to the internet as their primary research tool to look things up on Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other search engines. Thinking about our Digital and Shadow Footprints, anything you, or others, put up about you on the internet is searchable and can have more meaning than anything you might include in a proposal, company overview, a resume or application paper.

Here's the thing, even if what is being said about you is not true, when people see things in print they tend to believe it, especially if the content is published on a credible site like an online article on a newspaper's website, or a podcast on a radio station's website.

The reality is our Digital & Shadow Footprints:
  • Remain on the Internet Forever
  • Are defined as the amount of content that is traceable back to a given individual, brand or company, whether the content is words, photographs, audio, or video … regardless of the publishing source
  • Define our social identity, online brand and persona. As an internet user, we create our social identity in online communities, blogs and websites. It is defined through our actions, behaviors and interactions with others. Through our social identity people determine our online personality / persona which defines our online brand. Our online brand and persona is who we are as a person and how others perceive us online.
  • Over time, our digital and shadow footprints combined, create our Social Identity
  • Can be our new first impression.  By this I mean, people may meet you for the first time online through social media sites or reading about you on a blog or in the news. Think of it this way, you have probably met people online first through reading a news article, through your friends, or by joining an online community, before actually meeting them in-person offline. What they see about you online will create a first impression, and that impression will either be good or otherwise. I am sure many of you have accepted friend requests from people you never met, and did so because they had a positive online image. I am also sure many of you have declined friend requests or blocked people because of their online behavior and negative online image.
  • Examples of Digital Footprint: photographs you uploaded to social sites, blog posts, shared video files, posts you wrote as status updates or comments you made on a friend's wall.
  • Examples of Digital Shadow: photographs, video's and audio clips your friends or family members post about you as their update status, news articles published on the newspaper or radio station's website

As internet users, we are responsible for our own actions, and we need to be Digital Leaders. We can make a conscious decision to protect our Digital Footprint, as well as the Shadow Footprint of others by being a Digital Leader and a good Cybercitizen. We control what we post and we should not let technology betray us or others.

One of my all time favorite authors and speakers in Digital Marketing is Erik Qualman [@equalman]. When we interact through social media and email, he calls me #OhCanada and I just love it! Erik is the author of Socialnomics and Digital Leader, and he is a strong proponent for Digital Leadership. Two must read books for ANY user of the social web is Socialnomics and Digital Leader by Erik. I strongly encourage you to read both of his books as they are truly insightful.

While we can control our Digital Footprint we have no control over our Shadow Footprint. However, we can … and MUST ... take measures to protect it.

Next week, I will share part two of this two-part blog series. In part two, I will share strategies and tactics on how to actually protect your Shadow Footprint. In the meantime, if you have any questions on part one, please post questions on this blog, or you can post them to my Facebook Page

In closing this post, take a moment to watch “A Tale of Two Footprints” by Mr. Sheehy  This video reinforces the content in this post.


Nancy Beth is an Entrepreneur & Small Business Owner, Founder of Sweet Spot Marketing Canada and a Motivational Speaker for Women & Girl Leadership.
  • As an Internet and Digital Marketing veteranNancy Beth has vast experience in Internet Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Online Safety and Protecting Your Digital Footprint.  Since 2010, Nancy Beth has been highly sought after to share her message on being a Digital Leader, using the Internet & Social Media for good, and how to safely navigate the Social Web. 

    Keynote Speaker | Executive Coach | Training Consultant | Founder of  Sweet Spot Marketing Canada (@sweetmarketing) |(@nbguptill) | Digital Leader |
     Women & Girl Leadership

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

MARKETING IS LIKE BUILDING SAND CASTLES : The Rule of Seven In Marketing - Why Frequency Matters!

The rule of seven is one of the oldest concepts in marketing.    

Although it is old, it doesn't mean it is outdated. The rule of seven simply says a prospect needs to see or hear your marketing message at least seven times before they take action and buy from you. Now the number seven isn’t cast in stone. The truth of the Rule of Seven is you can’t just engage in a marketing activity and then be done. Marketing must be an on-going process in order for it to be successful.

Traditionally, number seven has been given precedence over other numbers by many cultures. Therefore, you may notice various things coming in number seven.  The important thing in the rule of seven is not the number, but the message. This simply tells you that you need to let the prospect hear and see your marketing message so many times before they buy it. There are many reasons for the need of repetition. Buyers just can't trust you and make the buying decision at the first time you show your message.

So, this simply means that your marketing effort should be repetitive and consistent. You cannot just run a couple of advertisements one time and expect the customers to buy the product. The hidden message of rule of seven is the continuous and repetitive effort that should be put in for marketing.

Why do prospects need to hear your message so many times before taking action? If you are doing your marketing well, you are targeting the right people; your ideal customers. You have created powerful marketing materials that use language your target audience relates to. You speak to their major problems and how you can solve them. Why don’t they jump to their feet and grab what you have to offer the first time they see your message?

What Can You Do?  In order to enhance your marketing through the message of rule of seven, consider the following points.

1. The Noise:  Today's world is an information world. People are overloaded with information; people are being bombarded with messages constantly. It is truly difficult to get past all this noise and be heard.  The first few times someone sees your message it is likely it won’t completely register with them. We all have marketing blinders we’ve built up over time – otherwise we’d be overwhelmed with the constant noise from businesses clamoring to be heard.  It’s no different with your prospects. They’re not sitting around waiting for you to show up. They’re busy living their lives and you may not even be a blip on their radar.

Further, people have access to the best information source at all time, so you cannot fool them at all.  If you want to convey your marketing message to the people who have been bombarded with information, you are gong to have tough luck. It is never easy for a person or a company to be heard by the prospective buyers.  

Due to all the 'noise', you should repeat your marketing message and should consider using special strategies to help stand out from the crowd.  As mentioned, the first few times someone is exposed to your message, they may not even notice it. People are usually resistant to marketing messages by nature. Otherwise, people will be overwhelmed by the noise made by all the different marketing companies are doing.  

Bottom line is, you have to compete in this noisy market. So, you need to repeat your message until they hear you out.

2. Customers may not need your product:  You may be targeting the exact type of ideal customers for your product or service, but there are chances they may not need your product ..... yet.  In cases where they see your marketing message once, they may not remember you when they want to buy the product by next week or next month. Therefore, you need to keep your marketing message in sight.

Out of sight for marketing is out of mind.  Let me take an example. Most people do see and hear about great products or services and they make a mental note that they will buy those when they need it. But in reality, when they buy the actual product, they go with the latest marketing message they heard or saw. That's why you need to keep playing your record.

3. The price may be too high: Sometimes, people do not buy things due to the price. Mos times, this is nothing to do with the price of the product or the service. This simply means that you have not been able to convince the customers fully about the value of your offering.  If someone sees the value of your product or the service, they find a way to buy it. They never worry about the price if it's the right thing they want.  Therefore, through your message, convince them about the value you offer. Through the rule of seven, they will hear about the value you offer many times, so the money will not be a problem.

However, in these troubled economic times, price may very well be an issue. Keep in mind, objections about price are usually code for “I’m not really sure I need/want your product”.  If someone really wants what you have to offer, it’s amazing how quickly they’ll figure out how to pay for it.

If a prospect sees your message and is interested but worried about money, it just means you haven’t quite convinced them of the value of your offer. The good news is you’ve gotten past the noise. If they continue to see powerful marketing messages from you, they may get closer to seeing your value and forgetting about their price concerns. That’s why you need to keep marketing.

4. They don't know you:  The real reason people don’t buy the first time they run across your marketing message is they don’t know you from a hole in the ground. Remember what I said about noise. It’s not just there are too many messages; there are too many messages that aren’t true.

Do you take every commercial, flyer or email marketing message at face value? Or do you have your own personal BS meter that’s shouting “yea, right” when someone makes a claim? Of course you do. I do to. If someone wants to sell to me, they need to prove they can do what they say.

This is the real truth about the Rule of Seven. It takes time for people to get to know you – remember your name, your offer, your message. Once they know you, they need time to get to like you – and your business. Over time, they’ll eventually start to trust you. Once they trust you – trust that you’re honest and provide true value – then, and only then, will they be ready to buy.

How long does this process take? Probably not in seven contacts. It really depends; it depends on the value of your offer, how badly they need it and how many charlatans they’ve run across before.

How do you use the Rule of Seven in your marketing plan?  

First, never rely on only one type of marketing method. Even if you are getting stellar results today, that might change in the future. Think of internet marketing. Email used to be much more effective than it is today. That’s why the spammers got involved. Now with spam filters, it’s harder for legitimate marketing to get through.

The same may be true of other marketing methods. Some factor outside your control may change how easily you can reach your prospects. So even if you have discovered a method that is getting you all the customers you can handle, add a couple of other tools to your marketing toolbox to ensure you don’t get blindsided by unexpected changes.

The Rule of Seven is why “information marketing” is so effective. By providing free information to your prospects on a regular basis, you are building a solid relationship. Information offered in a newsletter or blog doesn’t set off alarms because it’s not a sales pitch; it’s a genuine attempt to educate and help.

Finally, simplify or automate the process as best you can. Too many entrepreneurs only market sporadically because they are “too busy” to market themselves. Then they wonder why they don’t have enough clients. Set aside regular times to engage in marketing activities, even when you’re busy. If you continue marketing even when you’re busy, you’ll have fewer slow times.

Conclusion:  Rule of seven is one of the oldest, but practical concepts in marketing. Similarly, rule of seven can be applied to many other areas where the consumers are concerned. The main learning from rule of seven is the need to repeat what you do.


Nancy Beth is an Entrepreneur & Small Business Owner, Founder of Sweet Spot Academy and a Motivational Speaker for Women & Girls.

At Sweet Spot Academy, we solve and simplify "HOW" to keep your business moving forward by offering a suite of know-how based business training and empowerment programs.  We focus on small group workshops and customized training programs.