On The Hunt: Recruiting and Business Development Tools

Recently, I have taken the reins on some more client-recruiting strategies to bring in new engagements and find compelling projects. Not always so easy. For our part, Oliver + Sons is a boutique agency, and many clients don’t even know that we’re what they need. So personally recruiting interested companies based on my individual resume or profile has turned into the best process to reel in new business. Below is a list of resources and platforms that I do our internal BizDev hustle on.

AngelList: Forget LinkedIn. Okay, don’t forget it, but it’s not my favorite when it comes to getting in front of the businesses who need Oliver + Sons. Remember how notoriously spammy LinkedIn’s onboarding campaigns used to be (you signed up and they auto-emailed everyone in your contacts to “Join You” on LinkedIn? Suuuuuper embarrassing *spam-shudders*) which led most users to turn off their notifications from LinkedIn-related emails altogether. Which is great for your inbox, but not-so-great for actual Networking. AngelList, however, has made a good connection between your inbox and their platform. So when a business is “Interested” in us, I see it front & center without logging in. Additionally, those clicking “Interested” are C-level rather than an HR or recruiting jockey. Even better, the more you use and update your listing, the more popular you become to those looking.

Glassdoor: Know your worth. They’re on a mission and the campaign is working. They have a great tool to truly find out what you ought to be paid, and even if you’re undervalued, it’s a revealing “The More You Know” (cue rainbow) moment. Not only that but reading the reviews and salaries of others in your field is an indispensable tool for any professional, no matter your industry. It is also great for shadowing aspirational companies and agencies. I try to investigate workplaces that treat their employees right and do as they have done. 

WeWork: If you’ve ever been remote or freelance, then I don’t need to explain why WeWork is an essential part of our workplace life. As a co-working office, but also as a field of recruiting, WeWork is ripe for the talent in design, copywriting, coding and networking. Finding that first phase start-up who needs a trusted branding firm (*ahem*) or an engineer who is ready to take their product to market (*cough cough*) makes the networking element more natural. 

MediaBistro: Marketing & design jobs! All of the marketing & design jobs! While larger opportunities than AngelList, MediaBistro offers a look at who’s hiring in the larger creative departments. Witnessing the ever-changing field of design, technology, and digital marketing, I like to use MediaBistro to broaden my buzzword lexicon and job title vocabulary. Plus, it’s always interesting to see how the big media companies pitch themselves and their career opportunities to a highly-targeted group of people. 

Alright, I can’t give you all the secrets, but that will have to satisfy your current cravings for Internet-business-talking for now. Find Oliver + Sons on Twitter and let me know your favorite BD resources.  

Prepare Thyself: Questions For The Client Interview

Your mom was right, first impressions matter. And in regards to client meetings, that initial in-person is the moment to showcase that you know what you’re doing, and understand the clients’ need too. Here’s our basic checklist of questions we like to ask a potential client before we take them on and how we secure ourselves on their shortlist.

What is your target CPA? This should be pretty obvious, but knowing the client’s expectations helps any marketing person set reasonable goals and standards for themselves and the campaign. It’s the clutch number to know for any client because it points you in the direction of just how much they’re willing to spend to get a customer.

What marketing programs or initiatives have you tried already? Asking what’s been done and what’s essentially not worked is imperative to set your marketing plan up to succeed. Don’t tread where others have failed and discover what they haven’t thought to try yet.

What is your biggest company challenge? Most clients have already done the work for you, they just need you to help them execute and solve their marketing problems. As self-aware as they might be, asking the question straight up will give you a glimpse of the actual issue at hand.

What’s your largest improvement area? Might sound redundant to the above question, but an intelligent client will know the difference. By finding out their room to grow, you can establish your place in their longterm strategy.

How is your company different than [Competitor A] and [Competitor B]? This is an opportunity to let them pitch you. Plus, it shows that you’re done the subsequent research to know their main industry adversaries. Nothing shows off a client’s passion for their product like talking about how much better it is than someone else’s’.

How quickly are you looking to hire? Mostly because timelines are important, and working in client services means balancing more than one brand at a time, it’s essential to know how quickly they need their problems solved and how dedicated they are to finding solutions.

Of course, there’s always the client-tailored questions regarding their service and brand in general, but these above questions will have you feeling prepared for the meeting and have any client feeling as though you’ve done the prerequisite work.

And if that doesn’t work, take them to a bar and foot the bill. 

A Brilliant Google Goof

(Or Did You Mean: Your small business is screwed?)

Google’s search algorithm (GSA) is among the most robust automated projects ever undertaken. More than just a new verb it’s given us new research methods, new techniques for marketing businesses and, of course, new problems.

Google’s Did You Mean functionality can be useful, well-reasoned and compassionate:

Google’s Did You Mean function can even be hilarious:

Much of the time though, especially for small businesses, Google’s Did You Mean is a nightmare. And when paired with Showing Results For it can do active and measurable harm by obscuring a business’ results or pushing them down the ranking.

Good News, Bad News, A Little Background

The good news is Google, many small business owners and digital marketers are aware of this issue already.

The bad news is there isn’t a simple solution. Why not? Well, Google has its own sort of modern usage dictionary (a default spelling database) that learns words from the documents it crawls while performing searches. Ubiquitous, but strictly speaking incorrect, usages like “alright” as well as common but newfangled words like “lol”, “muggle” or “noob” are added to Google’s spelling database once they’re found a certain number of times in a certain number of crawled documents.

Before the feature launched (around November of 2008), GSA analysts noticed a non-optimal behavior that was occurring tens of millions of times: a user searches a term, doesn’t find the results she want and then lightly edits her query. This was a huge issue for Google – for a sense of scale, look at three weeks’ worth of misspellings of Britney Spears.

You can imagine the tidal wave of positive feedback data that must have come in immediately after the feature’s release: all of a sudden, those minor query edits might have dipped 10, 20, 30 percent, since not only do most people misspell and typo all the time but the Did You Mean placement is located in prime visual real estate, atop all results.

The problem is, as with any machine learning or algorithmic solution, that what works in 90 plus percent of all cases might not work in the remaining 10. And for new, obscure or acronym-based business names, Did You Mean not only doesn’t work but can actively deter growth and visibility.

What’s To Be Done?

If your business has this problem, there isn’t a hard and fast way to fix it. For one thing, Google hasn’t provided any formal mechanisms for requesting term inclusion in their spelling database: no form to fill out, no way to make a request (no humans, just algorithms maintaining the dictionary). This makes a perverse, Age-Of-Internet-Giants kind of sense: why would Google provide a solution to something it doesn’t view as a problem?

So the harsh reality is that time and growing traffic to your site will heal this wound more than most other efforts. That said, there are some simple SEO activities your business can start work on today that will help increase the probability of Google including your business name in it spelling database more quickly.

Below are a few relatively-easy-to-implement tricks that will, in time, help resolve this issue.

  • So much of SEO is getting other sites to link to yours. Link building campaigns are available, but often costly, so don’t forget the simple stuff: are there links to your website on your LinkedIn account and other social profiles? Do you have links to your website included in email marketing content and other customer messaging? Do you have partners or friends who run their own blogs and websites who might link to yours?
  • On-page SEO is the least you can do to make your site more visible to Google. Fixing things like Title tags and Meta tags on all your site’s pages to include full, explicit references to your company’s name and, if necessary, url is a big step in the right direction.
  • Search yourself. At the end of the day, Google Search is a fully automated endeavor that responds best to humans using it. If you’re not happy with your search results on Google, one slow but steady way to train it is to search for your own business on Google, ignore the Did You Mean suggestion and click your own link anyway. This won’t deliver results quickly (but it may give you peace of mind).

Has your business encountered the dreaded Did You Mean problem? Do you know anyone whose business has been affected by Google’s suggested results? If so, contact nick@oliverandsons.com – I’d love to hear your story.

Client Spotlight: Martin Marino

Martin Marino is the purveyor of made-to-order, gorgeous, Italian handbags that emphasize style, individuality, and craftsmanship, and coincidentally one of our favorite clients. We can easily picture ourselves sipping Prosecco on the shores of Santorini in head-to-toe luxury with one of their tailor-made handbags.

With over 150 years of Italian craftsmanship at your fingertips, Martin Marino has a passion for fashion. From their classic silhouettes, to the leather color option, the beauty is in the details. Martin Marino’s bags are strikingly versatile, able to go from everyday wear to evening ready.

They make it perfectly simple to get the bag of your dreams. Choose from one of their six silhouette designs and get to customizing. Crafted in Italy to your specifications, in four easy steps your bag will arrive at your doorstep, without the middle-man or up-pricing that happens with other luxury brands.   

Interested in learning more about Martin Marino? Here’s an event in the Bay Area on March 28th. And by attending, you immediately get 25% off the regular retail price! Click here to sign up.

Oliver + Sons Life Hacks

It’s 2015, which means the Internet has to have some tricks up its sleeve. And guess, what we’ve found a way to hack them! Below are three ways to hack the system this year.

Make Your Own Ringtone!

While shopping around, you hear the default ringtone to almost all Apple iPhones. You, and everyone else in the vicinity, immediately dig around in your purse or fish your phone out of your pocket, quickly trying to answer the call before you miss it. But, then you realize it’s not your phone that’s ringing and now you may be annoyed. Well, not to worry, we’ve got the answer to all your default ringtone issues.

Ever want to create a ringtone that you knew would be yours and yours alone? Well now you can by following these 10 steps!

  1. Figure out which part of the song you want for your ring tone—about 30 seconds worth.
  2. Right click on the song and select “Get Info.”
  3. Select the “Options” tab and plug in the start time and stop time from step 1 and click “OK.”
  4. Listen to the shortened song and make sure it is the right clip.
  5. Right click the song again and select “Create AAC Version.” (After you do this you will notice there are two version of the song in your iTunes library).
  6. Right click on the new (30 second) file and select “Show in Finder” if you’re on a Mac or select “Show in Windows Explorer” on a PC. This will open up a new window and bring up both versions of the song in the iTunes Media folder.
  7. Right click, select “Get Info” and rename with .m4r. The file has to be in this format so it can be recognized as a ringtone. Hit enter after overwriting it. It will ask permission to say it will be a different file type, select “use .mr4.”
  8. Copy the .mr4 file to your desktop then go back to iTunes and delete the shortened version of the sing by right clicking and selecting “Delete.”
  9. Drag the file from your desktop to your iTunes library under Music. It will then appear in your “Tones” section
  10. Sync your iPhone to your computer and your ringtone will be ready to go!

Woohoo! But wait, there’s one last step. You have to get your original song back to normal. Get back into iTunes on your computer and find the original song. Right-click on it and select “Get Info” and then “Options.” Uncheck the boxes next to the “Start Time” and “Stop Time.”

Now that that is settled, feel free to do a dance like Turk and the rest of the Scrubs cast when they hear his N*SYNC ringtone “Bye, Bye, Bye!”

Prank Your Roomie with Targeted Facebook Ads

By now you have probably noticed the advertisements that are in your timeline and on the side panel of your Home pages on Facebook. Maybe you have even noticed how personalized they can get. That’s called targeted marketing. Facebook’s ad targeting tools called “Custom Audiences” allow marketers to build a campaign geared towards 10,000 people to just 1 person. And Brian Swichkow took it to the next level.

Swichkow is a marketing pro and continues to test the limits of Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit advertising, among others. It said he likes “pushing the boundaries, seeing how I can break things” and that was definitely true with the campaign her ran specifically for his sword-swallowing roommate Roderick Russell.

Roderick Russell is a professional sword-swallower but has trouble swallowing his vitamin pills without gagging. So, Swichkow decided to run a series of personal ads directed at Russell pertaining to the difficulties of swallowing pills. See the ad below:

After noticing other weird ads pertaining to sword swallowing he began to become paranoid, thinking that his digital life was being tracked. He even stopped using his phone for fear of it being bugged. Swichkow finally admitted to the prank and said he was researching the effectiveness of one-to-one marketing and the success rates and says “social media allows your digital sales team to stalk your customers with an accuracy that we’ve never seen before.”

So, if you’re interested in pulling a prank on your roomie or your archenemy, it can cost you as little as $1.70. Happy advertising!  

Stop Getting Annoying Notifications from Group Messages

Raise your hand if you hate group messages!

Well, we know how to stop your phone from blowing up without having to block your friends and family. Here are the simple steps:

  1. Make sure you have iOS 8.
  2. Open the Group Text you want to Leave
  3. Go to “Details” in the upper right hand corner
  4. Click “Leave this Conversation”

If “Leave this Conversation” is not an option, that means that one of the users doesn’t have an iPhone or is using an older software. So, simply click “Do Not Disturb” and the notifications will be muted for the conversation, giving you the ability to choose when you want to catch up with the message.

We love to help you not be bludgeoned every 10 seconds with 20+ texts from your overly zealous friends.