Archive for the ‘Business & Marketing’ Category

Facebook Ads with Chris

Monday, April 22nd, 2019 | Business & Marketing, News

I’ve launched a new course on creating Facebook ads. Here is the blurb:

Do you want to master Facebook Ads? Maybe you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner looking to reach new customers. A marketer looking for new audiences. Or maybe you’re new to digital marketing and want to find out what it can do for you.

This is a complete beginner to advanced course: we’ll cover the basics from setting up your account and creating your first campaign to advanced topics like split testing, retargeting and instant experiences.

It’s a big course: three and a half hours of full HD video showing you exactly how to create ads as you follow my screen. You can check it out on Udemy here.

Scaling Scrum to a 30 person team

Friday, January 11th, 2019 | Business & Marketing, Tech

What do you do if you need to scale your Scrum team? Ideally, have multiple teams and use one of the many fine methods for scaling with multiple teams. But what if you want to scale a single team? To say, 30 people?

This was the situation I ran into with a recent client. They had an important project and lots of money to throw at it, and they wanted it all to be one team.

You might think “but there is no way that could possibly work”. And you would be correct. It didn’t work that well. But, having no other option, we did find some hacks that made it easier. I’ll present these below.

Kim’s Corners

Doing a stand-up with 30 people is tough. You might think it took ages. But it didn’t. We got done in 15 minutes. There were so many people (in a special meeting room we had to book every day) that people kept it short and sweet. From that point of view, it was a good learning experience.

But it wasn’t useful. There was so much stuff going on that nobody could remember what everyone else has said. Most people did not even try. They just tuned out for most of it.

So, we moved to Kim’s Corners. Each workstream had a corner and we went around one corner at a time. The people in that corner listened to each other intently, while only taking a high-level overview of what the other corners said.

Goldfish Bowl

Having a retro was also challenging because there were so many people wanting to weight in. To solve this, we used the Goldfish Bowl technique.

This involves having five chairs in the middle of the room. Four people sit on them, with one empty chair. Everyone else sits around in a big circle. Only the people in the inner chairs are allowed to talk on the topic at hand, and the discussions are time-boxed to five minutes. The group can vote to allow another five minutes if required.

What if you are sat on the outside? You go into the circle and claim the empty chair. At which point, someone from the inner circle is obliged to get up and go back to the outer circle, freeing up a chair to be the new empty chair. Anyone who has a strong opinion can take a chair, but without too many people talking at once.

Refinement Lucky Dip

30 people were too many people to have sat around looking at a Jira board and pointing stories up. So, we used a lucky dip system in which five people were randomly selected to attend backlog refinement sessions.

Anyone else that particularly wanted to be involved, perhaps because they had the a specific knowledge or interest in a piece of work that was upcoming, was also welcome to attend. But they were not required or expected to attend otherwise.

Get captions working on Facebooks ads

Thursday, December 27th, 2018 | Business & Marketing

If you’ve tried uploading an SRT file to a video on Facebook, you may encounter an error like this:

The captions file you selected is in a format that we don’t support.

What’s wrong? You cry, not that you’re using the standard format for SRT files. It could be that Facebook is throwing an unnecessary hissy fit because you’re using zero-indexing in the blocks, but more likely to be something even simpler: the filename.

Facebook insists that the files are named filename.en_GB.srt, or whatever language combination you are using (for example, filename.en_US.srt. If you don’t include the “.en_GB” bit, Facebook will reject the file, even though it’s a valid SRT file.

As soon as you add that the filename, it works!

Happy advertising.

Digital Marketing for Therapists

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018 | Business & Marketing, News

In June, I launched my course Digital Marketing for Restaurants to help restaurant owners and managers access new customers via digital media. Since then over a thousand people have enrolled on it and it has achieved a 5-star rating.

I’m now pleased to announce that I have launched a brand new digital marketing course, this time for therapists and counsellors.

It covers building websites, using Google Ads, using Google My Business, Facebook pages, posts and ads, and using Eventbrite. It’s available now on Udemy and you can preview it here.

Here’s the preview video:

Become a Mental Health Ambassador

Friday, November 30th, 2018 | Business & Marketing, News

Last week, I launched my new course Mental Health Ambassador Certificate. It offers you the chance to become a qualified Mental Health Ambassador, allowing us to improve mental health across society and help those in need.

My previous courses in mental health have predominantly been around self-help, so I’m excited to launch something that can help people help others. It teaches the fundamentals of a range of conditions, how to assist others using the Real Support Framework (REAL-SF) and how to speak confidentially about mental health.

So far, over 600 people have enrolled and the first wave has already begun to earn their certificates.

You can find the course on Udemy.

Facebook ad fails #6

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018 | Business & Marketing

Recently, I tried to set my targetting on a Facebook ad and the update failed. I didn’t notice and my ad went out to a much wider audience than intended. Luckily, this ended really well. But you’re not always that lucky.

Here are two examples of ads that (I presume) have missed their targeting.

Here is a company selling tights. You would imagine that you would want to target these ads at women. Sure, you might want to sell to men as a gift for their partners. But you would write totally different ad copy for that.

Here is another example. My guess is that it is a scam because of the username and 70% discount. But, even so, it’s advertising an Australian bike shop even though I’m in the UK.

Do take the time to set your targetting and to check that it is correct.

Facebook ad fails #5

Thursday, August 30th, 2018 | Business & Marketing

Here is someone selling a “Default Description” chain.

This one is an interesting one. You can see what they are getting out trying to pique your curiosity. But they don’t even hint at what it is. And it’s for both runners and people who go outdoors, so how specific or interesting can it be? I didn’t request their free download.

This company did include a description. But it’s mostly HTML tags.

This one isn’t an ad, but while we’re on the topic of including code, here is an Instant Article from The Independent.

This advert for Bar Soba looks fine. However, as soon as you click it you get a “page not found” error on their website.

Castore’s Facebook ad

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018 | Business & Marketing

This advert popped up in my Facebook feed recently and I thought I would re-post it as it is an excellent example of an advert.

It’s great for two reasons. The first is that they pick a really specific pain point and promise to take that pain away. In this case, it’s literally a pain point: no more bleeding nipples.

If you’re a runner, which is their target audience, you will probably know how sore and painful your nipples get after a long run. And having to vaseline up. And forgetting to vaseline up and running along thinking “it’s just a matter of time until this gets unpleasant”. They promise to fix this problem.

They could have talked about loads of different things. The material is designed to keep you cool, to wick away sweat, dry quickly, etc. But they don’t get distracted by that. They keep it for separate adverts. They pick one specific point to get people hucked and then sell them on everything else later.

Second, it’s an excellent offer. Try it for 100 days and if you don’t like it, send it back. It takes all of the risk out of buying with them.

Digital Marketing for Restaurants

Friday, June 29th, 2018 | Business & Marketing, News

I’ve just launched a new course.

Given that I am a software consultant by background, and now a psychologist, you might imagine that courses on computer programming and mindfulness are my thing. And they are. But, surprisingly, my highest selling course is Get More Restaurant Customers.

It runs under the Restaurant Psychology brand, which given my experience as both a line cook, a critic and the author of Why Restaurants Fail has proved to be popular. So, I’ve followed it up with this one, combining my food, psychology and digital marketing knowledge into a single step-by-step course.

So far it is proving popular, with over 1,000 students in the first weekend and a 5-star rating.

I can’t imagine that many of the readers of my blog also fall under the “people looking to market their restaurant” category, but in case you do, you can check the course out here.

22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

Friday, June 8th, 2018 | Books, Business & Marketing

22 Immutable Laws of Marketing is a book by Al Ries and Jack Trout. It aims to present 22 “laws” which it says will cause you to fail if you violate.

The first law is that of leadership: it’s better to be first than to be better. It does seem true that often the first company to do something is the leader many years later. You can typically substitute “leading” for “first” to find out how created the market. And it’s true that I can’t name the second person to fly across the Atlantic. Although I was able to name the second person to walk on the moon (Buzz Aldrin).

Shane Show argues the opposite in Smartcuts, where he claims research shows only 11% of first movers go on to maintain their status as the market leader. He says the big advantage of being second is that someone else has already figured out how to fix the big problems.

The book then talks about the category law: if you can’t be first, come up with a new category you can be first in. This is similar to what Peter Thiel says in Zero to One, where he urges people to carve out a tiny market to dominate rather than taking a small percentage of an existing one. For example, eBay started by specialising in collectables, and PayPal started by targetting eBay power sellers.

In terms of differentiation, you need to pick something that will put you on the opposite view of someone else. For example, you can’t say “quality” or “honesty” because everyone wants to say that and nobody will take the opposite view. You need to pick a segment or a view that other companies will disagree with.

The book also suggests you should stay specific. They repeatedly use the example of Donald Trump, having no idea he was going to go on to be president 25 years later. They discuss how he was initially successful but then went on to put his name on everything. And when you do everything you stand for nothing. Which is why he was already in $1.4 billion of debt.

Many of the books on marketing are timeless: they talk about the basics of human nature and these things don’t change. You would expect a book that talks about “immutable” laws would be the same. But it isn’t. It has dated. It was originally published in 1993 and shows its age.

Some of the predictions they make were incorrect, for example. The book claims that USA Today is entering a market too late. But, 25 years later, they’re doing well. They claim that because the market is already owned by other companies, Microsoft will never catch up with Lotus spreadsheets or WordPerfect. Of course, now most people have never heard of these programs and everyone uses Microsoft Office.

The idea that line extension is doomed seems somewhat flawed, too. Richard Branson’s Virgin group describes itself as a “brand based capital house” and gets into every market it can stick its name on. Clearly, they have been incredibly successful. It may not dominate the markets it enters, but with £20 billion in revenue it is hard to argue that what they do does not work.

There is definitely some good food for thought in there. But whether the game has changed, or whether the knowledge was just misapplied, some of the ideas just don’t fit the facts. So, we can at least conclude that the laws here are not immutable.