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The Secret to Happiness for Marketers

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Scott Yates – Enjoy!

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photo credit: elycefeliz via photopin cc

For the worker standing by the side of a construction site holding a stop sign, marketing must seem like a pretty sweet gig. You don’t need to stand outside in the blazing sun, the rain, or the snow. You get to wear nice clothes if you want to — no orange vest because there’s no danger of a sleepy truck driver running you over.

And yet, happiness eludes us.

It’s not as if marketers are a morose group, swinging our heads low like Winnie the Pooh’s friend Eeyore. But in the day-to-day work, it’s possible that we don’t get a lot of happiness from our work. There’s always another blog that needs writing or editing. Sometimes great work we create gets no retweets, likes or Plus 1s. And the budget for marketing seems always to hang by a thread.

Here in “Personal Growth” month at Duct Tape Marketing, I’d like to share the secret that will not only make you more happy in your work, but more successful and productive as a bonus.

And the secret is NOT to compare yourself to the worker in the orange vest. Just thinking that you are not the person sucking exhaust fumes all day will not make you happy. In fact, it will probably bring you down, and soon you’ll be smelling diesel fumes at your desk.

So, what is the secret?

Well, at the heart, the secret is to reverse the order of what it takes to make you happy.

If you thought you’d be happy if you grew to, for example, 1,000 followers on Twitter, you are setting yourself up to be miserable for a while until you get there, and then you’ll be happy for a couple of minutes before you find out that your new goal is 2,000. Or 10,000. Either way, your happiness/misery index is not good.

Instead, the secret to happiness is to actively do things every day that will help build up your brain to be happy.

Some of the best scientific work on this comes from a psychology researcher named Shawn Achor, who recorded a funny and smart TED talk. If you haven’t heard it, or even if you have, it’s well worth the 12 minutes.

One of the funnier and more poignant lines is when he tells the story about how a prestigious boarding school contacted him about speaking to the student body during “Wellness Week.” They told him that they had talks planned on depression, drug use, eating disorders, etc. “And Friday night we’re trying to decide between risky sex or happiness.” Achor replied: “That’s most people’s Friday nights.”

Funny stuff, but he makes an important point when he goes on to say that what the school was organizing not a “wellness” week, but a sickness week. He’s right that by focusing on all those negatives, the school officials couldn’t help but to bring the happiness level of the whole school down.

Instead, Achor says that we need to focus on the positive, focus on the things that are good, and focus on what we are grateful for. We need that kind of focus not just once in a while, what we need is to make a habit of paying attention to the good stuff.

He has specific tips, including ones that everyone knows, but doesn’t always do, including exercise and meditation.

But he has other tips that merge beautifully into the life of someone who does marketing. For instance, he recommends that you write down three things that you are grateful for every day. Sounds like great advice, and also sounds like the heart of three great social media posts.

He also recommends that you reach out to someone in your network and say something specific and positive. Have you been to the home page of LinkedIn lately? On your home page they show you new jobs, promotions, new pictures, etc., from people in your LinkedIn circles. In just seconds you could reach out to someone and congratulate them in a way that they are sure to appreciate. As a bonus, you’ll get a little lift from paying attention to the positive aspects of the people around you.

We all know that Christmas time can be joyous, but also a bit sad, especially with the shorter days here in the Northern Hemisphere. To be happier in your work, and in your life, and become more effective with your time and energy, you’ll want to invest a bit of time and energy into ensuring that each day is a happy one. That way when people wish you a happy new year, you can tell them that it’s a lock.

And if you want to wear an orange vest just to work to make sure you don’t get run over by negative people, that’s OK with me.

yates-mugScott Yates is the CEO of a content writing service. He’s also pretty happy because he has 3,000 writers who help him get his blogging done. To see some of the work, click to see some blog writing examples.

Videos and Secrets Draw More Referrals

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Scott Yates – Enjoy!

video referrals

photo credit: fensterbme via photopin cc

We are in a funny spot at my company, BlogMutt. We are a business blogging service for people that know how important it is to blog (all the smart ones), but who don’t have the time to write their own posts (nearly all).

I think there is no dishonor in hiring a blog writing service, just as there is no dishonor in hiring an accountant to do taxes, but on the other hand, I can see why people think a blog should be something they created themselves. For those people, we are happy to serve as ghost writers.

Because of that, however, our customers don’t necessarily want to say out loud on the Internet that they have hired a blog writing service, which can make generating referrals a bit of a challenge.

Any business that provides a product or service that people don’t necessarily feel like talking about suffers from this same challenge.

We’ve develop two powerful ways to overcome this particular challenge and develop a steady stream of referrals.

Video Referrals Work

When I visit a customer in person, I pull out my handy phone, that just happens to have an HD videocamera built in, and ask them to share what they think of our service. They don’t even have to give their name, so they are happy to say nice things. And they say very nice things. Their comments are really humbling in fact.

We add these videos to our site and let our current customers hook our potential customers.

I’m not the only one who’s figured this out. Zappos ran the numbers and reported that sales of products with videos attached jumped as much as 30 percent compared to products with no videos. If you’ve read The Referral Engine you know that prospective customers trust other customers more than they trust you.

Don’t have time to launch a whole video page? We use a tool called BuboBox; a couple lines of code and it’s done. If you don’t use this tool, use YouTube or use your brother-in-law with a BetaMax, but do get some video referrals on your site.

Dirty Little Secret of Referral Marketing: Shhhhh.

As I mentioned, not all customers of our blog writing service like to blab from the rooftops that they use our service. That’s fine, I get it.

And yet, when I look down the rolls of our hundreds of paying customers, I see that a huge percentage of them came from referrals. How can that be if there’s no trail of tweets? No flood of Facebook posts? No interest from Pinterest?

My hunch is that it’s related to fact that people like to keep secrets, but they LOVE to share secrets.

Every blog writer who’s been around knows that saying something is a “secret” in a blog post headline is a surefire way to get people to click. I, personally, would never in a million years stoop to such a gimmick.

I mean, unless it really was a secret… Or…

Ahem.

What were we talking about? Oh, yes. Secrets.

You see, I think the reason our customers love us is that it’s like a secret weapon. While they won’t post Tweets about us, if someone asks them what their secret to blogging every week is when they are so busy operating their small business, they first look around to see if anyone is listening and then they say in whispered tones that they don’t write their own blog posts, they use BlogMutt.

And those referrals take that to heart, perhaps even more seriously than if someone had said it out loud. We have a funny tendency to listen more when we think we are getting some insider information.

One way of describing that voice is sotto voce, which is Italian for a soft voice and is known by musicians and orators everywhere to be one of the most effective ways of getting the listener to lean in to hear what you have to say.

So, my secret tip about referral marketing isn’t a secret at all. The secret IS the tip: Harness the power of the secret. In the right situations ask your customers to keep their referral of you kind of hush-hush.

Tell them that you’ll give them a discount code for their friends, but tell them that they are specifically forbidden from tweeting it, or putting it on their own blog. Tell them that they can only spread it to friends, and maybe hint that those friends should be told that it is only for them. That may be just the thing needed to get the referrals they make to actually convert into paying customers.

If anyone asks, you didn’t hear it from me.

Scott C. Yates is Co-Founder of BlogMutt, his third startup. He built MyTrafficNews before it sold to Traffic.com, and started one other that is still operating today. Before starting his start-up life he was a writer and futurist. (He gets to say that because he actually wrote a book with “future” in the title.) Don’t tell anyone, but he also has lots more secrets. You can learn about them on the BlogMutt blog. (See what he did there?)