Six years of blogging, worth it?

Six years of blogging, worth it?

In 2011 I’ve started blogging with Enma.nl. Was it worth it? Yes, definetely. I’d love to share some insights and gainings which I got out of blogging for Enma.nl. And I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all returning visitors! It really sparks me joy to see that 30% of the visitors are returning to read more. It’s a huge difference compared to november 2011, back then I was happy with 150 unique visitors in a month. Here’s why I started and what I learned and gained in the past six years of blogging.

Bye to marketing

Since I can remember my goal has always been to be a business men like my father. That is why I started with a lower level marketing education at the age of 15. I knew this was what I wanted to do and I loved to learn about it. After graduation I got a job offer for data entry at Netherlands largest door-to-door flyer distributor. They quickly noticed that I wanted to achieve a marketing role and gave me the opportunity. In just three months they promoted me to segmentation specialist. Allowing me to work with big corporate customers to target their ideal customer at the age of 19.

But then nine months later I quit my dream job

My mother got cancer, it was uncurable and it made me realize that life can be short. I loved music, so I stopped working and started studying music. After eight months I was accepted at a music academy.

My path to becoming a professional musician

Before getting to music college a lot of professional musicians told me that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I had only played bass guitar for 2,5 years, the average bass player that is accepted plays music for 8 years. But that didn’t stop me, so I practiced and I was accepted. 

However, it then struck me that I was the worst bass player in class.

In the second year in college it turned out that the other bass players where a lot better. Next to this, if I wanted to make money in music, it would mean giving bass lessons to others. Something which I liked doing, but not for the rest of my life. At that moment I realized that a plan B wouldn’t be an luxury plan but might me necessary. 

Statistics for Enma

They hated marketing

Before starting my blog I already tried to explain other musicians how they can use marketing. But most of them hated marketing. They thought marketing meant changing their music style to pop. So, I searched for a way to learn them that marketing isn’t nessecarily about changing your product, but it is about spreading your story.

At that moment in November 2011, I started a blog to inspire people around me.

How blogging helped me to become a marketeer

After music college my blog already had a great following. It made me realize that I could do the same for any company. So, I started looking for a job as a marketeer. I created a slide deck with my CV to show companies what I could do for them. And to show them that I already did it for myself. 

Gain #1: Marketing management job

In february 2014 I received a call. It was my current employer. “Hi, I saw your mail and what you’ve done and I’d like to know more about it.”. Fast forward 3,5 years and I’m experimenting with marketing on the job. In my current role I’ve helped the company to set up a marketing machine with analytics to measure results. Next to this, I try to inspire and help our partners to sell and market Workspace 365, both nationally as internationally. In short, I believe the blog helped me to get this amazing job which helps me to keep improving all my marketing skills.

Gain #2: Visiting events & conferences for free

Alot of my knowledge comes from reading and watching videos. However, I also try to get my inspiration from others. From experts within their branche or niche. And as I have a specific following (mostly marketing people and entrepeneurs) I was able to visit a lot of events for free, in exchange for a blog post. This saved me thousands of euros on event tickets and helped me to increase my knowledge and network.

Gain #3: Speaking opportunities

Next to visiting events, speaking opportunities are great for building your network. Without blogging I wouldn’t have been able to get the opportunity to speak at companies and schools. Do I get paid each time? No. Sometimes I do it as I love speaking about marketing and that I hope to inspire someone to become a expert in their field. And ofcourse, I hope they will remember me and think of me when they face a marketing challenge.

Gain #4: Free books

Another thing which I like is books on marketing and entrepeneurship. As I love to share knowledge I receive books, read them and review them. This is a great way for me to gain knowledge and by writing it down and sharing it with you, it also helps me to lock the knowledge in my brain.

Gain #5: Knowledge.

Last but not least. Writing for Enma.nl has helped me to gain a significant amount of knowledge on all fields in marketing. For each article I read for hours. And I can’t always put all the knowledge in the article, it does help me to become a better marketeer. Something which I think allows me to help others to become better marketeers as well.

Thank you for reading and feel free to connect on LinkedIn.

Why I add you on LinkedIn?

Why I add you on LinkedIn?

Some marketeers don’t like adding people on LinkedIn with whom they don’t have a personal connection. In my opinion, that’s weird. If you are working on your personal or company branding you should expand all your networks. Does this mean that I have to accept everyone? No, ofcourse not. I also decline people, usually if they are fake or if I don’t see any worth in connecting. But this is why I do add people on LinkedIn who I only spoke with once:

1. Accepting and adding strangers on LinkedIn

In sales and marketing it is common knowledge that a buyer usually needs 7 – 13 contact moments with your brand in order to move forward. In order to speed up that process, you can grow your LinkedIn network to include potential clients or people who, eventually, could introduce you to potential clients. By posting regularly they will recognize your name when you mail / call them, next to this they will see you as the expert in your brand, if you follow the next steps.

2. Share knowledge of others

Next to adding and accepting people, you should differentiate yourself and use LinkedIn’s power. By sharing usefull articles or videos within your branche, people will automatically link the knowledge you share, to you as a person. This can be very easy when you set up a tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule posts.

3. React to others

By replying to posts you’ll get noticed. The algorithm of LinkedIn will see that you are an active user and will be more likely to share your post with the persons you interact with.

4. Create and share knowledge

By reading a lot on a subject, you are also able to gain the knowledge. It would be a waste to keep all this knowledge to yourself. So, I’d like to challenge you to write an article. Simply sum up what you have read in other articles and  give your opinion on the subject. By doing this people will not only see that you share knowledge, but that you are also able to reflect on others.

5. Use your skills to put people into action

After the previous steps, it’s time to put people into action. Engage with people who react on your articles. Send a direct message thanking them for their response, and try to get their phone number / Skype name / etc. to establish a call about the subject. Speaking to someone personally is the time to make a sale, don’t do it in the previous stages as people don’t trust you yet. If they see your name on a weekly base, they will feel that there is a connection with you.

3 tips to demo like a pro: observations on a random Russian

3 tips to demo like a pro: observations on a random Russian

Today Facebook gave me a throwback to my holiday in Moscow four years ago, a memorable trip to one of the most vivid cities I’ve been to. One of the things I liked most was practicing hand gestures to order food and beverages as there aren’t many people who spoke English. One time I even ended up ordering one spoon of rice, hah. But during this trip, I also met the greatest sales person you can imagine. He showed the craft of demonstrating. That’s what I’d like to share with you today.

Vlad the demonstrator

So there was a man, let’s name him Vladimir, who showed how you should give a perfect product demonstration. While I was sitting in the subway Vladimir entered the coupe with a bag full of knives, something which you probably shouldn’t do in 2017. He started talking loudly while waving a knife, nobody seemed interested and as the knife was quite small I couldn’t bother giving it attention either other than keeping my eye on him to see if he didn’t approach me.

But then something happened.

Vladimir walked towards an elderly woman, put his hand in the bag and slowly pulled out a potato. He started peeling the potato. While he was doing this, he looked happy as it seemed to be very easy. After demonstrating how easily the potato lost its skin he walked through the subway coupe and sold at least six knifes. And as Vladimir left the coupe to enter the next one I followed him. Although I don’t speak any Russian, I noticed that he said the same things as well as putting on the same show.

 

A random subway station image from Pexels.com (not in Moscow).

So, what can Vladimir teach you about giving demonstrations?

1. Prepare & practise

Create a solid story and start practicing. Do this over and over, until you can dream your story. Discover what triggers people and keep repeating it in each demonstration.

2. Don’t show the product, show its purpose

Vladimir was waving a knife in public transport, though he only got attention when he also pulled the potato. Why? People don’t need knifes. Everyone already has a knife in their kitchen. However, seeing how easy it was to peel the potato, that is something they would like. Remember this, when demonstrating your product, it’s not about what it does, but what it solves.

3. Demonstrate with love

Although I couldn’t understand anything what Vladimir was saying, as soon as he pulled that potato he looked enthusiastic and showed passion. He peeled the potato while he looked through the coupe, demonstrating that this knife was perfect. You don’t even have to look to the potato, it just cuts of the skin with ease. This also shows that Vladimir demonstrates his knives a lot. The knives are probably even normal knives, but the craft is in his skills. But the people who watch don’t care, they love the result. They are willing to pay for the end-result. Show that you love your product and show that you love the result.

This is not Vladimir. Sorry, didn’t take a picture as he was waving with knives.

On to the next coupe

The margin on Vladimir’s product is probably quite low. That is why he enters one coupe, throws out a perfect demonstration, sells some knives and goes on to the next coupe to repeat it over and over again. And sometimes people might not buy it, but as I’m doing now, they will tell about it to their friends, family or internet public. So, start planting seeds. Start demonstrating your product. And if you get to much demonstration requests you can always make a separation. Low potential clients receive a pre-recorded demonstration, mid-range clients receive a personal online demonstration and high potential clients receive a demonstration on location. Just remember, don’t stop at the first coupe, keep on going and you will succeed.

And you might think, easy for you to say, Vladimir has an easy product. But I hope that your product has more impact and use than a simple kitchen knife. Would you like to show of your work? Feel free to leave it in a comment below shortly describing your product and a link to request a demonstration.

Writing clearly

Writing clearly

Today I’d like to share an awesome article containing 20 rules for writing so crystal clear even your dumbest relative will understand: https://smartblogger.com/crystal-clear-writing/

My favorite Rule is #1: Use the “X who Y” formula to pigeonhole your readers. For me that would be ‘Entrepreneurs, leaders or marketers who want to stay relevant’. And I believe that you can keep relevant by using modern or futuristic technologies. What is your favorite rule?

Kind regards,
Mark Grasmayer

Leadership Localisation

Leadership Localisation

Leadership Localisation is a book containing a comparative study on leadership styles across 16 nations. And as you might know, I believe digitalisation will have a huge impact in the coming years. Not only on our private lives, economy, health and work processes but also on leadership skills. As the world grows smaller and smaller, it keeps getting more important to develop global leadership skills. I’m very thrilled to have worked on a book on this subject with a group of talents. And as I believe in open-knowledge, I’m happy that it will be available for free on Google Books. I’ll share a link as soon as it’s available.

Leadership Localisation: Comparative studies on leadership across 16 nations

This book provides a comprehensive analysis of management practices in Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Ghana, Ireland, Italy, Morocco, New Zealand, Romania, Surinam, Sweden and Vietnam. Within the chapters you will discover how leaders gain empathy in different countries. Next to this, you will learn differences and similarities in leadership styles across cultures. To write the book, we performed a comparative desk research, focus interviews with, and online polling of thousands of C-level professionals. The book was written during Cross Cultural Business Skills (CCBS), a university course by Sander Schroevers and Aynur Dogan.

Leadership Localisation - Mark Grasmayer

What’s next?

As writing a book takes a lot of time, this was also the reason that I lacked posting blogs. So from now on, I’ll be actively blogging again. There will be some interesting content, as I’m currently busy with improving my digital marketing skills and working on a national marketing campaign. On these topics I am following trainings (at Google + growth hacking pro’s) and I’ll be interviewing other marketing professionals. Let me know if you have any questions on cross cultural leadership or (digital) marketing, because I would love to share all the knowledge and try to keep you up-to-date on this journey, it will be an exciting one!

Kind regards,
Mark Grasmayer

1 Tip for understanding laggards

1 Tip for understanding laggards

During my work I get to meet a lot of people working at IT-companies. And I love it, it’s great to work in such an innovative branch. At this moment I have gathered a such a great group of innovators around me, that I sometimes forget that there are also people who are afraid of change.

Tip 1: Meet the non-techies

As I am aware of this, I know it is important to speak with non-techies (the late majority & laggards). This gives a reality check at what speed new innovations will be adopted. I plan activities in which I surround myself with people who are afraid of new technologies, who want to keep working like they are used to for years. I even purposely plan meetings with people who are too busy to innovate.

Why would you do that Mark?

Good question. Doing this broadens my view, and it will help you as well. It helps you to understand the challenges non-techies face and widens your view on the world. Things which are so logical for you and the people around you can be really weird, futuristic or even scary for those you are less likely to meet on a daily base.

Awesome, I want that

My advice to you is to plan meetings with people who are doing the opposite of what you do (or even of what you think is right). Try to understand why they are so afraid of change and use that knowledge to either develop yourself, your product or your company.