Weekend Favs April 22

Original Post: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ducttapemarketing/nRUD/~3/KyQFBDhUEjs/

Weekend Favs April 22 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one that I took out there on the road.

  • LicenseSuite – Instantly find out which licenses and permits you need to start your business or to expand your operations.
  • Capzool – Capzool is the only platform of ready-to-use, complete social media posts for businesses. It provides a scheduler, calendar, analytics, and custom posts to create complete marketing campaigns in minutes.
  • Flaunt – Say goodbye to ugly, time-sapping PowerPoint reports! With flaunt, you can create simple screenshot reporting that your clients will love.

These are my weekend favs, I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape

Preparing for local reach in a ‘post-rank’ world, Part 2: Create content for local research

Original Post: http://feeds.marketingland.com/~r/mktingland/~3/UiWmrk95gIY/preparing-local-reach-post-rank-world-part-2-create-content-local-research-212537

Columnist Megan Hannay takes a look at why big brands need to create in-depth local content to boost local reach, even in a world of “instant answers.”

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

Glossary: Link Juice

Original Post: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/crazyegg/~3/mqkfX7ai8K0/

what is link juice

Link juice is a non-technical SEO term used to reference the SEO value of a hyperlink to a particular website or webpage. According to Google, a multitude of quality hyperlinks (or just “links”) are one of the most important factors for gaining top rankings in the Google search engine. The term “link juice” is SEO industry jargon. It’s often talked about in relation to link building efforts such as guest posting, blogger outreach, linkbait and broken link building. How Does Link Juice Work? Link juice, link authority, and backlink authority are all different words that mean essentially the same thing….

The post Glossary: Link Juice appeared first on The Daily Egg.

The Proven Method for Driving 8x More Conversions from Long-Form Blog Articles

Original Post: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Quicksprout/~3/aHWOVq0qC70/

On the surface, blogs appear to be fountains of free-flowing information.

You read lots of rich and valuable research.

You collect plenty of juicy data.

You discover how to do a valuable task.

And, sure, some blogs are happy with lots of traffic and satisfied visitors.

But most content marketers know that blogs have the potential to drive insane conversion numbers.

Yes, conversions—as in people taking a desired action on your website. Maybe you want more email signups, more downloads, more free trials, or more purchases.

But here’s where things get dicey. Even though blogs are supposed to drive conversions, they usually don’t.

Why not?

It comes down to this. There is a disconnect between a blog’s conversion potential and its practical ability to achieve those conversions.

If your blog isn’t converting well, don’t beat yourself up. You’re about to discover some incredibly powerful ways to amp up the conversion power of your blog.

If you can improve the conversion power of your blog, it will transform into an unending revenue stream.

Once you learn how to remove the barriers, there’s no telling how high your conversion rate will soar.

Are blogs supposed to drive conversions?

First, let’s make sure we set the stage for the techniques that’ll follow.

What’s the purpose of a blog?

In a word, it’s this: revenue.

I hate to be so cold and businessy about it, but it’s true. Everything in business comes back to revenue.

Let’s say you’re a small business. Ultimately, you want more revenue, right?

More customers will produce more revenue. And a great blog will help you get those customers.

This infographic from SmallFuel Marketing makes the point:

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Source

But do blogs drive conversions?

Hubspot’s research demonstrates that yes, indeed, they do. Hubspot’s analysis of a business’s blogging efforts showed that content published in the past 12 months gained an increasing number of contacts as time went on:

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Source

Get this. The more you blog, the more customers you’ll gain.

You may be thinking: But what about PPC, social media, and email marketing? What about all those other sexy techniques for driving conversions?

Fair question! Aren’t those effective methods?

Sure, paid search and social media are effective. But when you compare their conversion potential to that of organic search, there’s no contest.

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Source

What’s my point?

It’s simple. Your blog can be a conversion machine.

But no, it doesn’t happen if you simply create good content. Good content is a given—something we should assume is already happening.

What you need beyond good content is the means and methods of persuading users to convert when they access your content.

Basically, it’s how you create that content and what you do with that content that makes all the difference.

So, what should you do to rev up the conversion engine that is your blog?

Instead of giving you granular tactics, I want to show you some of the deep methods that produce conversion power from the very source.

Create long-form content

Have you ever wondered why I occasionally write a 10,000-word blog post or a 50,000-word guide?

Is it because I get carried away? Have too much time to burn? Am getting paid based on word count?

No, no, and no.

I write articles like these for several reasons. Here are three of them:

  • My readers love them.
  • Search engines love them.
  • People convert on them.

Content marketing, as I understand and practice it, is all about value.

I am intent on providing the best darn value, free of charge.

I tend to think a really long article will give you helpful information and hopefully have a positive impact on your business.

Second, we’ve seen the massive impact long-form articles have on SEO.

Let me show you.

Top results on Google correlate with content longer than 2,000 words. In other words, the highest ranked pages on Google also have the most content!

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Plus, there’s the social sharing aspect to keep in mind. The longer your content, the more social shares you earn.

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Finally, there’s the bit about conversions, which is where I want to settle for just a moment.

  • When you have higher search results, you get more search traffic.
  • When you get more search traffic, you gain more conversions.

Let’s say your blog’s conversion rate is around 2% at the moment.

If 1,000 people visit your ordinary blog article (1,000 words), two of them will sign up for a free trial.

A long-form article, however, gets more traffic than the average blog article. Using the share metrics as a benchmark, we can safely assume that a long-form article (3000+ words) gets 100% more traffic than a shorter article (0-1,000 words).

Now, you have 2,000 people visiting your content—twice as many! And you have twice as many conversions too!

This introduces a logical question: How long is long-form content?

I hate to be “that guy,” but the answer is: as long as it needs to be.

You were looking for a word count, right?

Okay, I’ll give it to you, but you have to listen to my little lesson first.

I—and Google and the rest of the world tend to agree with me—am more interested in the quality of your content than the actual length of said content.

If you spin out 5,000 words of crap, you’ll destroy your conversions, not improve them.

As cliche as it sounds, quality is more important than quantity.

If you’re looking for a word count, I suggest 2,500 words or more are sufficient for outranking your competitors, turning on the traffic floodgates, and boosting your blog conversions.

The Lesson: Crank out long-form content on your blog, and you will double your conversions.

Create content around long-tail keywords

What kind of content drives the most conversions?

There’s no question about it: using long-tail keywords brings in the highest blog conversion rates.

What are long-tail keywords?

A long-tail keyword is a search query—the words that people type or speak to find stuff on the web.

Long-tail queries are…well, long. They generally have more than three words.

For example, “shoes” is a short keyword (called a head term). But “Nike women’s running shoes” is long.

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Source

The important thing to realize about long-tail and short-tail keywords is this: Your blog is more likely to rank for long-tail queries.

Plus, long-tail queries are focused in terms of user intent. The search volume may not be astronomical, but at least you’re gaining search volume from the right users.

Best of all, the conversion rates on long-tail queries are sky high.

Take a look at this benefit list of the long-tail keyword. Pay special attention to that last point:

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Source

What is a “high” conversion rate? Since “high” is a relative term, let’s do some comparison.

Notice the difference in conversion rates between head terms and long-tail queries. Which is higher?

image27

Source

Long-tail queries converted at 26%, a whopping 160% increase over the 10%-converting head terms!

It’s one thing to know that long-tail terms have higher conversion rates. That’s nice. But the real question is: What do you do about it?

It doesn’t take an SEO whiz to know that your blog probably won’t rank for short head terms like “computer.”

When I query “computer” in my browser, here’s what I come up with:

image22

The bulk of the above-the-fold results are major retailers. Below that are local results.

Sorry, but none of that stuff is long-form content!

I use “computer” as an example because of my personal experience.

I once had a client tell me, “We provide professional web hosting services. We’d like our website to rank for the term computer.

“Hmm. I don’t think that would be the best approach,” I cautiously countered.

“Well…okay. What about server…or maybe web server?” they replied.

I had a different perspective, so I proposed an alternative solution. I said, “Let’s focus on more specific keywords that could provide a more direct source of traffic and revenue.”

  1. First, I did some keyword research to come up with a list of long-tail terms.
  2. Second, I developed an article idea around each of the keywords.

That two-step process, although simple, was all it took.

What were the results?

One of the keywords I picked was “dedicated server capacity for e-commerce site.”

Yeah, it’s a mouthful. But a 2,690-word article on “How to Know if You Need a Dedicated Server for Your E-commerce Site” produced thousands of more conversions than a more general article would have.

To begin producing your own conversion-crushing long-tail keyword articles, follow this process:

  1. Develop a list of terms that people in your niche are searching for. Make sure these terms are 4 words or longer. This article will give you a great process for doing so.
  2. Create a blog article for each term. The article title should contain most, if not all, of the words in the selected long-tail phrase.
  3. In the body of the article, be sure to include the selected keyword phrase as well as other relevant terms.
  4. In keeping with the previous point about long-form content, write an article that exceeds 2,500 words.

The Lesson:  Develop your blog’s content to target long-tail keywords.

Deliver content that is aligned with user intent

One of the most direct ways to gain more conversions is to create content that satisfies user intent.

What is “user intent?”

User intent is what someone wants when they type something into Google.

For example, if I want to fly to Delhi next week, I would type in: “tickets from Atlanta to Delhi.”

My intent as a user is to purchase an airline ticket from Atlanta to Delhi, India.

In response to my query, Google would show me some airlines with flight times and rates.

image04

There are three main types of user intent, often called “query types.”

  1. Navigational: The user is trying to get to a specific website. For example, “quick sprout blog.”
  2. Informational: The user is trying to learn information. For example, “how do I increase my blog’s conversion rate.”
  3. Transactional: The user is trying to purchase or make a transaction on something. For example, “Coupons for Huggies diapers.”

image20

Google is pretty good at determining the type of query you’re using and the best results to provide.

When I searched for airline tickets, Google provided a quick and accessible way to make a purchase based on my transactional query.

When you’re creating long-form blog articles, you are most likely targeting informational queries. These informational queries often bring up blog articles. (Transactional queries, by contrast, usually bring up product pages.)

image16

But we still need to understand the following: What does user intent have to do with conversions?

The answer lies within the buying funnel.

The buying funnel is a model that marketers use to demonstrate how users get around to purchasing something.

The iterations of the buying funnel are many. But the basic idea is this:

  1. The prospect becomes aware of the product.
  2. The prospect begins to consider, research, or compare different products.
  3. The prospect makes their decision and buys the product.

Congrats! The prospect has become a customer.

This is what the funnel looks like:

image19

You, as a marketer or website owner, are targeting an individual within the second phase of the funnel—research and comparison.

Notice that the research phase is part of the user’s buying funnel. The information they find based on their query and intent can lead to a purchase.

image37

Your content gives the user what they want.

They want detailed information? They want to hear a solution? They want a helpful discussion?

Enter your content, which satisfies their intent.

image07

Such content can eventually lead to a purchase.

That’s why I recommend you deliver content aligned with user intent.

A simpler way to say it is this: Figure out what the customer wants, and give it to them.

Remember, at this point the person typing in a query is not a paying customer. They are an individual looking for information.

If they trust your website and content, they will move closer to becoming a customer—to converting on your content.

Keep in mind you should not expect to gain conversions simply on account of content that satisfies user intent. As I’ll explain below, you should also make it easy for users to convert.

Let me give you an example of how this process works in real life.

Let’s pretend you want to understand SEO. You type in “how to do SEO.” That’s an informational query.

You are not a customer, but you are in the awareness/research phase of a typical purchase.

This is what you might see in the search results:

image28

The first result from Moz looks hopeful, so you click on it.

You see a comprehensive guide that “covers the fundamental strategies that make your websites search-engine-friendly.”

image05

This is what you’re looking for! Your intent has been satisfied by this comprehensive long-form content.

This feeling of satisfaction is important because it has now prepared you to convert on a call to action.

Let’s take a look at what that might mean.

First, you might be likely to click the yellow button, “Start My Free 30-Day Trial.”

image33

Perhaps, you see this call to action in the sidebar as you’re reading the content.

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Or you may want to subscribe to Moz’s Top 10.

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Moz creates content that satisfies a user’s intent. Then, they provide an easy way for users to convert on that content.

How do you figure out user intent on your website?

One of the most straightforward methods is to use Google Search Console.

(If you do not have GSC set up on your site, please refer to this guide from Google on how to get started.)

  • Log in to your GSC account.
  • Click “Search Traffic.”
  • Click “Search Analytics.”

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Search Analytics provides a variety of keyword data with configuration options not easily accessible in Google Analytics.

Turn on “Clicks,” “CTR,” and “Position” by clicking the checkboxes:

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Next, sort the results by position so you can find out what queries you are ranking for. Click “Position” in the results table:

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In the table, look for queries that have a CTR (click-through rate) of 30% or above.

This means that 30%+ of the users who typed in a given query clicked on your results when they appeared in Google. We can safely assume these users are interested in your content.

For this website, I notice that a high percentage of users are clicking on the result for “django benefits.”

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The query is django benefits. This is an informational query.

To satisfy user intent, I should provide comprehensive information on that topic.

You can visit the SERP the query directs to by clicking the icon next to the query.

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From there, you can navigate to the relevant page on your website.

This foundational technique is helpful. If you give users the kind of content they want (their intent), you will provide a way for them to convert.

But that brings us to a really important point: How do you get them to convert?

The remainder of this article will show you some super practical ways to score those conversions.

Content is king. Keywords are necessary. User intent is important.

But what about the actual conversions?

Create a low-barrier-to-entry conversion action

So far, we’re driving relevant traffic to your page.

Now that we have those readers, we want them to convert.

The definition of conversion is pretty simple:

“The point at which a recipient of a marketing message performs a desired action.”

When you ask for a conversion, you’re not asking your blog reader to pull out their credit card and give you their money. You’re simply asking them to take the next logical step.

Often, this is an easy, low-cost, and logical way to take the relationship to the next level.

Here are some common conversion actions. Notice that each of these takes a few seconds and clicks:

  • Email subscription
  • Free trial
  • Download a resource
  • Facebook like
  • Twitter follow
  • LinkedIn follow
  • Pinterest follow
  • Instagram follow
  • Google Plus circle
  • YouTube subscription
  • Slideshare subscription

Let’s take a look at a few of these. Each of these are located on a long-form blog article.

The Content Marketing Institute invites you to subscribe to their mailing list and to read their e-book. This is an example of conversion action that includes email subscription and downloading a resource:

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Buffer invites you to get started with a free account. The header pictured below is persistent, meaning you’ll always see it as you scroll through the article:

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The Optimizely blog invites you to get a copy of their customer stories:

image12

The Marketing Sherpa blog uses a shadowbox popup to invite you to subscribe to their mailing list:

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Qualaroo uses a “Start Free Trial” button in their header:

image08

Kissmetrics asks you to try their SaaS:

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Invitations to social accounts are so common that it’s easy to overlook them.

In the Kissmetrics screenshot above, you can see a list of social icons on the right side.

The Content Marketing Institute uses an entire section on their sidebar to ask for social connection:

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Each of these conversion actions is simple, easy, and painless.

That’s what you want to do. You want to make it easy for the reader to become a regular.

Here are some rules of thumb for effective low-barrier conversion actions:

1. If you use a form, limit it to three fields

I suggest only one field (an email address) if possible, but this depends on the product you’re selling.

SumoMe asks for only a user’s email address:

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For creating an account—a different purpose—they’ve included three fields on the form:

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It’s still easy, fast, and effective.

2. Make it appealing and persuasive

Don’t lie, cheat, or steal when you’re asking for a conversion. Just be honest and ask for what you want.

The right kind of users want to convert. But sometimes, it takes a little persuasion and some good old-fashioned appeal.

Here’s an example.

If you read my blog, you’ve probably seen this little box:

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I’ve put that call-to-action box in my content because I want to persuade you to get your website analyzed.

You have a choice. I’m not twisting your arm.

But I am trying to persuade you.

And the reason I keep using that box is because it’s working!

3. Ask for what you want

You know the expression “ask and you shall receive.”

It’s true in online marketing.

Asking for the user to convert is a gift. They want to do it.

All you have to do is ask.

A business that uses free consults as part of its sales cycle should offer the user a free consultation. Here’s an example:

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A company that provides heat mapping analytics should ask users to create a heatmap, like this:

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A chiropractor can offer users a free exam and x-ray:

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The conversion action you choose depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

All you have to do is ask for it.

Give in-your-face levels of value

I don’t know what business you are running.

  • Maybe you’re starting an e-commerce website.
  • Maybe you’ve created a SaaS and want to sell it.
  • Maybe you’re doing marketing for a startup.
  • Maybe you’re running a side hustle.
  • Maybe you’re blogging your heart out and hoping it will pay off.

But whoever you are and whatever you’re doing, this is my plea.

Give value. Metric tons of value. Dump trucks full of value. Warehouses of value.

You believe in the product you are selling. You believe the world needs it. You believe there are people whose lives you can improve.

Do you want them to see it?

Then give it to them straight. Go for in-your-face levels of value.

You should offer so much value that the user can’t help but accept it.

Your goal as a marketer isn’t to take. Your goal as a marketer is to give. You want to provide an enormous amount of value free of charge.

That’s what I mean by “in-your-face.” It’s all about the sheer amount of value you deliver.

The website ConversionXL is recognized for actionable, data-driven, highly-researched long-form content.

When you visit the blog, here’s what you see:

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They are asking you to subscribe.

This is good. Because they are offering insane amounts of value!

And that is why I recommend in-your-face techniques. Value, value, value.

It’s one thing to praise the in-your-face marketing methods, and it’s quite another to actually implement them.

Conclusion

Getting more conversions sounds simple.

Put up a form field!

Add a button!

Use a popup!

Those are fine methods. I’ve used all of them.

But getting conversions requires a lot more than just techniques. It requires a strategy.

That strategy is built on long-form content, enhanced by long-tail keywords, and maximized by giving people value.

Using this method for getting conversions is virtually guaranteed to work!

What are some strategic methods you’ve used to increase conversions on your long-form content?

Transcript of What Personality Poker Has to Do with Innovation

Original Post: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ducttapemarketing/nRUD/~3/iUwH97ybomI/

Transcript of What Personality Poker Has to Do with Innovation written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Transcript provided by Verbatim Transcription Services

Back to Podcast

Transcript

John Jantsch: What do personality and poker have to do with innovation? Well, that’s what we’re going to find out when we talk to Stephen Shapiro on this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. Check it out.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is brought to you by Active Campaign. This is really my new go-to: CRM, ESP, Marketing Automation. Really low cost. Any size business can get into it, starting at, like 18 bucks a month you can keep track of your clients. You can see who is visiting your website; you can follow up based on behavior. Check out “Active Campaign” – there’ll be a link in the show notes, but it’s ducttape.me/dtmactive.

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Stephen Shapiro. He is an author, a consultant, public speaker – which is, you know, the Holy Trinity these days. He is also been on this show. I think we talked about “Best Practices are Stupid” – a fairly relatively new book for him, and today we’re going to talk about something that is a book and a concept and some tools that are called “Personality Poker”. So, Stephen, thanks for joining me.

Stephen Shapiro: Okay John, great to be here again.

John: So, on Personality Poker, obviously you’re playing on the metaphor of the card game, but what is the point of Personality Poker?

Stephen: Well, the general idea is that if human beings beat, you hear this expression “opposites attract” and the reality is, opposites don’t attract – opposites detract. So, if you think about the workplace, we tend to want to surround ourselves with people who are similar to us. And this is good for getting things done if you want to be efficient, if you want to have a good time. But, having spent, you know, over 20 years studying innovation that rarely leads to innovation. We need people with different perspectives coming together in a very specific way to drive innovation thereby organizations.

John: And you, clearly there’s been a lot of times people have a tendency to hire people that are like them, and so consequently almost insulate themselves from innovation.

Stephen: Yeah, I mean, I always joke that if, you know, you always hire that fit the mold the business will grow mold. And I think that’s what we do – we breathe and look, let’s face it, we’re in similar industries in terms of, you know, speaking and writing, and if I hang out with speakers too long I’m just breathing the same oxygen. It’s fun, it’s easy, we speak the same language. But there’s the point where it limits my ability to take my business to a whole new level.

John: Yeah, really, I know. I’m supposed to be a marketing person. I’m supposed to know how to do marketing and all things marketing, but I know that over the years I have had some of my biggest breakthroughs by bringing in somebody from the outside, and saying, “What do you think?” And that person, you know, having that outside perspective – even though, you know, I’m supposed to know what I’m doing in marketing – is really, really valuable.

Stephen: Yeah, and so the whole idea of Personality Poker is to recognize that, I mean, we were just talking about, maybe, different areas of expertise, but I also believe that different personality styles are critical to drive innovation thereby organizations. So it’s not just hanging out with people from different industries, but it’s also different personalities.

John: Now I think it was Tom Pearson, he probably stole it because, you know, he stole from everybody too – like we all do – but I remember a book of his, and one chapter was called “Hire Freaks”, and I think that was kind of his point was, you know, to get some people in there that didn’t act, and look, and feel, and smell like you. So, explain the rules of, and there are props involved in this actual game that you’ve created called Personality Poker.

Stephen: Yeah, so basically Personality Poker’s a deck of cards that looks like a regular deck of poker cards with suits, colors, and numbers, but there are also words written on each of the cards. And so what we do is, we deal out the cards, first, we shuffle the deck, deal them out, and actually people trade cards, and the goal of the game is to get five cards where the words best describe how you see yourself, based on those words. And then, when we look at your hand, based on the suits, the colors and the numbers, we can tell an amazing amount of things about who you are, but more importantly, we can also tell a lot about who you are not. And that to me is one of the key insights is, if I have five cards in my hand there’s a 95% chance that I’ll be missing at least one, one or more suites from my hand. That tells me those are the people I need to partner with because each suite ties back to a style, which ties back to a step of the innovation process.

John: Well, so tell me this, though. I think that a lot of people if you go around a room and ask people what they are, you know, strong suites are, they may not actually be aware of what they are. Or they may not, or they may think they’re something different than everybody else perceives them. I mean, how do you factor in, you know, how we see ourselves as opposed to how the world sees us?

Stephen: That’s fantastic. I’m glad you asked that because one of the steps of the process is the actually gifting of cards. So, usually what we’ll do is, we’ll get a group of people to stand up, they’ll trade cards, get five cards that best describe how they see themselves, and then we’ll play a game of “52 card pick-up”, and we literally take decks and decks and decks of cards, throw them on the floor face up. It’s a chance for people to improve their hands, but it’s also a chance to give cards to other people too so that we can see how we’re perceived. And, you’re right, I mean, we don’t really necessarily know what we’re good at. And people don’t even necessarily know what they’re good at, so it’s a triangulation process that we go through that helps people get a better sense.

John: So, this all sounds like a great drinking game. Is this, is there science behind this?

Stephen: There actually is science behind it. We partnered with Columbia College and Harvard University, and the development of the Harvard component was actually building another third tool when we triangulate, built the third tool which is around how do we test our subconscious beliefs about our personality, and then the work that I do with Columbia College is all around verifying the words and the color. So we did a number of statistical analyses to correlate particular words with particular styles to see which ones cross over, and so we do have a fair amount of science behind it, because the skeptical spades are probably wondering that very question, what’s it about.

John: Well so, how would you compare your instrument to some of the more, you know, Myers-Briggs and, I know you’re not trying to exactly be that, but some of the more, you know, the kind of test-based types of questionnaire and personality test?

Stephen: Yeah, I mean, there’s a few different comparisons, a few different differences. I mean, that each serves a purpose, I think that’s the important thing is to recognize and not try and create, or recreate, a Disc or a Myers-Briggs. This is something different. The first thing, this is specifically designed for innovation. So each of the different innovation styles, the suites, have halved the step of the innovation process, which is actually where it all started. But also the fact that we’re card based and we give people cards, and we tell stories – that’s really where the value comes from. When I give you a card, John, and say, “Hey, I think you’re really creative, because remember that time we were working on this project …” You know, people love the stories behind it, and I think that is … The guy that I was working with to validate this, … I just want to tell a quick story, because you know it’s really interesting and it sort of changed my life in some respects, and it’s … I know it works. But I don’t know if it’s valid. You see, there’s a difference between being useful and valid. He said he was involved in some work where they were trying to develop a statistically valid test to determine if someone was depressed, and they spent millions of dollars, and in the end they came up with a tool that was valid. But the most useful thing to determine if someone was depressed was, ask them, “Are you depressed?” And so, I like usefulness with validity, but not validity as the primary driver always. Because I think if we get good conversations the value comes from it.

John: Yeah, and so it, it’s, I think in some ways the difference .. that what you’re saying is not necessarily trying to test as much as facilitate in some cases, and maybe easily show you’ve got some gaps.

Stephen: Yeah, I think that’s a great way to describe it. And I think sometimes, you know, we do have a tough time telling who we are, but very clearly, and there’s a wad of conversation we’d have around that, but we usually know who we are not, and sometimes the fun way to play the game is to just put the cards out and say, “Choose the card that describes who you are not.” And then you get a chance to say, okay, well this is not, this is who I’m not – this is who I need on my team. And that’s really clearly the big insight.

John: Yeah, and I actually find whether doing something like this or just even trying to describe somebody’s ideal customer, it seems like a lot of times it, it seems easier, just human nature, to say, “Here’s who I don’t want.” You know, here’s how I don’t want to be perceived. Or, here’s what, as you said, here’s what I’m not. So I do think sometimes that’s easier for people. You have an online version, an online game version, personalitypokergame.com – is that something that somebody can really run this fully, or is that really more just, “Hey, play around with it so you get the concept”?

Stephen: It is actually shockingly accurate. It’s not designed to replace the cards because again, the cards are about facilitating conversation. I think you said it well. But the online game, which looks like a Vegas slot machine, basically in 30 seconds you will get a pretty good read of who you are. And people told me that, in just a, in less than one minute they get a snapshot that’s probably more accurate than most of the other things they’ve taken. They can save their hand, share their hand, and it doesn’t cost anything – so that’s another great thing about it.

John: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is brought to you by Thrive Leads This is the tool that we use on the Duct Tape Marketing website thoroughly for content upgrades, for slide-in boxes, actually we used the visual editor for all the pages and landing pages that we design, so go check it out at ducttapemarketing.com – we’ll have a special link in the show notes for today, and check it out.

Is there, you know, one of the things about personality tests that people talk about, is that there seems to be a bias, almost, that we tend to believe what it is that test tells us, whether it’s accurate or not, that’s what so many people, I think, do claim that those tests are accurate even though, you know, you can run someone else’s to kind of show them inaccurate. In one of the cases is, and I don’t know if I’m just rambling or not, making any sense here, but is there a, is there that same type of chance for bias in just using, you know, simple words to describe people?

Stephen: Of course there’s always a risk of any kind of bias in these types of situations, but here’s another thing that we do know, is if you think about the typical test that we take to determine our personality. You’re sitting there and you’re thinking, and there’s a part of the brain, the dorsal or prefrontal cortex that kicks in, which is really that judgmental part. So as we start to analyze our responses we are thinking, “What’s the best answer? How should I respond?” And so we are tapping into the conscious brain rather than the subconscious mind. And when you’re playing games, when you’re having fun, when you’re laughing, which is really the environment before people start trading cards, we have a lot of fun getting people warmed up and just really in that mode of play, and at that point actually the subconscious mind is more actively participating, so we find that in many cases we get a really good, and sometimes a more accurate read, just for that one reason alone.

John: So, have you found that, I mean, is the, does the tool work better in larger organizations, in teams that work together all the time? Could you actually bring together some people that, say, were assembled to collaborate on a project and actually have it be a value to them even though maybe they don’t know each other that well? I mean, is there, is there sort of like a scenario where it works better, and some maybe, where it doesn’t?

Stephen: I, it really does work in all scenarios. I do think the most powerful way to use it is with a small group of people who have, or will be, working together on a regular basis. So I’m on a TV show right now, which is all around creating female, young female entrepreneurs. And it’s interesting how the teams are formulated as totally random, but they were formulated around people with very similar styles – the creative people with the creative people. The analytical people with the analytical people. And each of those teams are struggling. So we’re bringing Personality Poker in behind the scenes, not necessarily on TV, to help the teams, and these are small teams, understand what are their blind spots. So, these are people who don’t work together other than like the past few matter of weeks, so they don’t know each other that well, but it really creates a sense of “What do we need that we currently don’t have?” And I think that’s really the whole conversation, is, “What do we need that we don’t have? How do we appreciate people who are different than us?” Because I’m a big believer that diversity is helpful to innovation only when we actually have an appreciation for what those divergent points of view bring.

John: So, so if a team then found that, okay, we now know what we do have and we do know what we’re missing, I mean, would you make a case for saying, okay that that allows them to go out and say, “Hey, let’s go find this”?

Stephen: Absolutely. Now it doesn’t mean you have to hire somebody onto a team. In some cases, it could be a freelancer or a contractor. I mean, if you think about, you know, companies, you know, they bring you in because you bring in something to the organization from a marketing perspective that they don’t have. So, it doesn’t mean you have to be on the payroll, as a, you know, probably to an employer, but you should be definitely aware of when you need these different staff, because if you don’t, we’ve done so many tests that show that innovation will fail if you don’t do that.

John:  So, have you seen people successfully, you know, buy the product, because you can just purchase it, right? The card deck. So have you seen people successfully then use it just kind of in a DIY format, or do you believe it takes training facilitation from somebody that, you know, that truly understands it? I know you also do engagements where you help people through this, but is it, is it possible for people that do it effectively on their own?

Stephen: You know, the first time we sold the decks commercially was about ten years ago, and I had just done a speech with, I was using the prototype version in earlier speeches for a couple of years to work out some of the kinks, and I got a call from a CEO who said, “Hey, I just saw your speech, I want to use it with my team.” I’m like, I’m not selling the deck, that was training material. And he was like, “Ah, I can figure it out.” And we talked afterwards. The things he did in his organization blew my mind. He gave me things that I had not even thought about, that he could do with his organization. So, people can do it on their own, we now have what we call the starter kit, which is a series of videos, you get the CD actually deliver your whole session for 45 minutes, instructional videos. So that’s there if people want it, but it’s amazing how so intuitive … it’s sort of like an iPhone. You don’t need the instruction manual for an iPhone – it’s pretty intuitive, and I think that’s what people like.

John:  So where can people find out more about whatever version they want to, I know I already gave your URL for personalitypokergame.com, but if they want to buy the starter kit, they want to see the video, or maybe they want to hire you to come out and just facilitate.

Stephen: Personalitypoker.com is probably the best place because if you go to personalitypoker.com you’ll find the game, you’ll find the videos, you’ll find the decks, you’ll find me. That’s the simplest way.

John: Okay, so, a bridge from, we’ve been talking mostly about the deck itself, but as you said earlier on, it’s really about facilitating innovation. So you also have some other resources and work that you do too, you know, so we’ve got the team to go, we’ve done Personality Poker, you know, how do we now get more innovative?

Stephen: Yeah, I mean, I use Personality Poker as almost like a starter for innovation conversations. It’s actually a small part. So for example, a lot of my work is spent talking with companies about differentiation. How do you distinguish yourself in the marketplace from the competition in a sustainable way? How do we offer better questions as a means of driving innovation? Now all of this ties back to Personality Poker. Every single thing that I teach my clients brings back to a step of the Personality Poker process. But Personality Poker itself is a very small fraction of the work that I do with clients to create a culture of innovation.

John: And I’m looking at, I know you have a course, innovationgym.com – is there anywhere else you want to send folks?

Stephen: If you go to stephenshapiro.com or steveshapiro.com, this is my website, steve, so go to steveshapiro.com – I have, I have the … my e-learning course, I have the, something called the 30-day innovation challenge which is actually the mobile game, which is really a lot of fun. But I also have a lot of videos and other free resources. So, that’s the best way to learn about me and what I do.

John: Well, we’ll have all the links in the show notes for the various things we talked about, and maybe I’ll even, I’ll go ahead and do the Personality Poker game and I’ll let you know what I, what I turn out.

Stephen: Excellent. Do me a favor – when you do it when you get your results, save your hand – you just type in your name in there or whatever you want – save your hand and then you can send me the link to it and I’ll be able to see your, all your hand. Your cards, your description, and everything.

John: Okay. Well, and then you can tell me what I’m, what I’m missing. Where I’m broken.

Stephen: (Laughs) Okay.

John:  Alright. Thanks, Steve, it’s so great to catch up with you and your really interesting concept and tools. So hopefully we’ll, we’ll see you out there on the road soon.

Stephen: Awesome, John. Thanks so much.

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