5 Budget Marketing Strategies For The Self Employed

Paul Glesson Rua

There is plenty written about digital marketing techniques for large corporations with millions to spend on digital campaigns. It’s important to remember that digital marketing can be used at all levels.

I caught up with Magician and Illusionist Rua (Paul Glesson) to find out how he stays ahead of the compe

Here are his top 5 strategies for marketing as a self employed performer.

Website

My first and most obvious point is also the most important. Having a professional looking website that’s user-friendly and easy to navigate is absolutely crucial to anybody who has a service to offer, whether it’s Photography, Videography, Juggling, Comedy or Magic etc.. A slick up-to-date website that is rich in high quality content is the key to setting yourself apart from your competitors, and in my opinion, it’s half the battle.

Nowadays, most websites will have the Social Media Icons built in so that visitors to your site are encouraged to share it via Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or LinkedIn. The bottom line is that if you want to make a living through selling your skill set, you need to be ‘discoverable’, and in order to do that, you need a website. In terms of usability, it’s also wise to have some unobtrusive calls to action strategically placed around your site to get in touch.

Blog Posts

Following on from the first point, one of the best marketing strategies that I use is having a Blog built into my website. Through this I can openly write about the areas of Deception that interest me the most, whether it’s stories about historical performers, some behind the scenes details about my TV series, Fitness régimes that I follow or Tips on hiring Magicians in Ireland.

This fills my website with quality, informative content, laced with high quality images, that people seem to enjoy reading and sharing on Facebook and Twitter, and because it’s built into my website (as opposed to say, a Tumblr blog), visitors are encouraged to have a look around the site, which is littered with calls to action inviting potential customers to get in touch about hiring me for their next event.

Not only that, but it keeps my website regularly updated with fresh new content, and it also helps me to rank for various keyword searches on Google. I like Blog posts that aren’t spammy, because it’s a great way to market yourself to customers without having to be too ‘In your face’ about it.

SEO Research

If you ask me, SEO or Search Engine Optimization is kind of the mythical beast of the online Marketing world. ‘Mythical’ because everybody has their own take on how to efficiently optimise a website through the use of SEO but sometimes, it feels like nobody really has a clue and they’re just making most of it up! And ‘Beast’ because it can turn on you in a heartbeat if you use it incorrectly and end up Sandboxed by Google with more Penalties than a World Cup Tournament!

When I first started my website, I thought I had a fair understanding of how SEO works – I managed to get my site ranked number 1 and number 2 on Google in record time, and it stayed there for months…until one day, I was banished to page 2 of the Google search results! Why? Because Google had changed their algorithms and lambasted my now Keyword-stuffed website with penalties!

Nowadays, I try to stay on top of the new SEO techniques that are all above board, to help my site stay optimised, without upsetting Google or it’s algorithm updates. If you can harness the power of SEO, you’re onto a winner.

Goodgle AdWords Campaigns

Just this year I’ve began working with Google’s advertising system ‘AdWords’. It’s had it’s ups and downs, but it’s definitely netted me some nice returns on my monthly investments. In terms of marketing in my industry, all of the top level competitors use AdWords, so it feels like a must for me in order to stay in the fight. It works well because your potential customers are out there searching for you, and if you’re doing it right, your website should pop right up in front of them when that time comes.

I will say that it’s important to try to learn as much as you can about Adwords before investing any money into it, as it’s extremely complicated, and after sharing multiple phone calls with different members of the Google Adwords team who have each given me starkly different advice on my advertising campaign, I can tell you that it’s very much a double-edged sword – it can cut both ways. That said, it will work wonders for you if you know what you’re doing!

Face to Face Networking

Finally, I’m a huge proponent of just getting out there and networking as much as possible. Put some money into some impressive business cards, invest in a sharp professional looking suit and work on your Elevator Pitch so that you can deliver it naturally without sounding like too much of an idiot (I highly recommend a book called ‘How to persuade people who don’t want to be persuaded’ for some help with this!).

You have to keep in mind that there’s an entire generation of potential customers out there who aren’t as internet savvy as the rest of us, but could still use your services, and so a hand shake and a smile will go along way with those people. For me, as a Magician, I can walk into any room and instantly impress a group of people straight off the bat. Now, I’m not suggesting that everybody learn a few quick tricks, but liken that example to how you carry yourself, how you introduce and pitch yourself to a group of potential clients.

For every person you meet, they might not need your services, but there’s a good chance somebody they know will some day, so do whatever it takes to get them interested enough to take your business card and keep it in their wallets. Make a list of upcoming events in your area that are free to attend, and get out there and start networking! As Steve Martin famously said – ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you’

Rua (Paul Gleeson) is the star of TG4’s ten-part magic, mind reading and Escapology TV series ‘Draíocht’. He co-curated Science Gallery Dublin’s ILLUSION exhibition in 2013, and also had a sellout 4 star show in the Dublin Fringe Festival. A student of magic history and the psychology of illusions, he is regularly hired to perform and speak for companies and Universities across Ireland.  Rua currently makes a living performing Close-up magic at Weddings, Corporate Events and Private parties across Ireland, Europe and US.

Why We Should Embrace The Ice Bucket Challenge

My Mother

Over the last week or so the Ice Bucket Challenge has dominated our social news feeds. Countless videos of people taking a bucket of water, filling it with ice water and dumping the contents over their heads before challenging their peers to do the same. All the while, donating money to various charities.

The trend has become a hit and everyone and their mother’s are doing it, including my own!

I usually follow online fads quite closely but rarely engage or express any passion towards them. I watched closely as people acted the maggot in Harlem Shake videos and when girls stroked their egos by putting up no makeup selfies. More recently, I watched teenagers try to poison themselves(and some sadly succeeded) with Neknominations. This last one really irked me as it was the most useless, pointless and dangerous endeavour we as people have ever concieved.

If Neknomination did anything positive, it’s that it paved the way for the Ice Bucket Challenge. Friends of mine recently commented saying “Here we go again” but they’re wrong, this time it’s different. It’s different because it’s wholesome, simple and universal. There’s no danger involved and most significantly, theres relatively no one-ups-man-ship, simply because, watching the shock and horror on people’s faces as they get dumped with ice water never gets old!!* Especially watching people you would never expect to get involved (see Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates etc.)

(so much for no one-upping, but the Foo Fighters attempt is too good not to share)

It’s wholesome which means that anybody can do it, including hordes of celebrities each nominating each other, letting us all know they’re just like us, giving us a window into their little famous social circles.

Most importantly, it raises money and awareness for charities. Ok, maybe not everyone is donating but you have to remember, that anything is better then not doing it, but at least they’re challenging others who might but wouldn’t have donated otherwise. We also get affluent, self involved celebrities making extraordinary donations they might not have done otherwise.

I accept the point that the lack of organisation and focus  may lead to misguided attempts at raising awareness but this isn’t exactly Kony 2012 (of which we will never speak of)  and surely we sacrifice that for the sheer volume of people getting involved. People also complain about wasting water, I’d like to echo Alan Keegan’s response

“I really hope all those people comparing the ice bucket challenge with the lack of water in Africa are planning on bringing loads over there. Given that they are so worried about it.”

It’s a fad that will be over in a very short time, so all I’m saying is, while the going is good, embrace it and keep the momentum rolling. Post a video, make a donation and challenge your mates. If one of them gives anything at all to charity, then you’ve achieved something.

(Apologies for the NSFW Language on account of my arsehole Friends)

 

* I am absolutely aware it will get very old very fast!

 

7 Irish Mental Health Awareness Organisations you need to know about

For the month of May, See Change, the National Stigma Reduction Partnership and 90 other partner organisations carried out the Green Ribbon Campaign which aimed to get people talking openly about mental health problems. The Campaign was a huge success and encouraged over 1,656,654 conversations on mental health during the month of may.

 

To make sure that Mental Health is still in conversation throughout the year, I have compiled a list of the most important organisations who support those living with various forms of Mental Illness.

 

MHR

Mental Health Reform – Mentalhelp.ie.

Mental Help is a brand new service only launched by the Mental Health Reform within the last month. Mental Help is the one stop shop for helping service users and professionals find the help and support they need when confronted with mental illness.

bodywhys

Bodywhys

Bodywhys are the national voluntary organisation supporting people with eating disorders. Bodwhys are committed to the belief that people can, and do recover from eating disorders. They strive to empower people affected by eating disorders to access information, support and treatment.

Aware

Aware

Aware offer information and support for individuals suffering from depression and their families. You can find information about your nearest support group and confidential e-mail service.

Samaritans

Samaritans

Samaritans is a 24 hour helpline service providing confidential emotional support for people experiencing feelings of emotional distress or despair including those which may lead to suicide. Their website provides information and support as well as information on how you can become a volunteer.

logo

Reachout.com

ReachOut.com is Inspire Ireland’s practical on-line program which has helped to improve young people’s health and well-being. Using new technologies and social media,Reachout.com encourages users to seek help and facilitates connections between young people so they can share their stories and provide support to each other in a positive environment.

 

SpunOut_ie

Spunout.ie

Spun Out are an independent youth powered national charity working to empower young people to create personal and social change.

pieta

Pieta House

Pieta House, the centre for the prevention of self-harm or suicide, opened its doors in Lucan in January 2006. Counselling is aimed at those who have already attempted to take their own life. Their vision is to provide suicide and self-harm support services within 100 kilometres of everyone in Ireland.

 

5 Of The Best Advertising Reactions To Luis Suarez Biting

Luis Suarez World Cup Marketing

This is opportunistic marketing at it’s finest. Within hours of the match ending, major brands were tripping over themselves to have copy written and artwork created and get their ads promoted on twitter while it was still fresh in people’s heads. The quicker they got it out, the more relevant the content would be during a tweet’s limited shelf life.

Here are my favourites,

1. Specsavers

We’re all aware of the beautiful marriage between Specsavers tagline and football. Here’s another classic.

2. Nandos

Not the most inventive, but it’s timing and use of images deserves a mention

3. Snickers

Great artwork, clear message and well timed distribution really are the key elements to successful advertising and Snickers ticks all the boxes here.

4. Bud Light

Where they found a guy who looks this much like Luis Suarez on such short notice, I have no idea! Unless of course, they had it in their back pocket, just in case…

5. Listerine

Not as flashy as some of the others but its 1k+ Retweets prove that you don’t need a budget to take maximum advantage of a golden opportunity.

DDM Facebook Marketing Summit

On Thursday the DDM Alliance held the first ever Facebook Marketing Summit in the Terence Larkin Theatre in Dublin City University. The event showcased 30 companies from across the world who presented technologies for optimizing Facebook marketing &advertising.

Check out some highlights from the day

Thanks to @Kehoeser, @WebfactoryIRL, @CarolSmith_ , @NeimhMcGlynn, Digismartparent, NetAffitinity, @Gerard_mm,

5 Shameless Product Placement Dialogues in TV

waynes world product placement

Most of the time I dont mind product placement in TV. To my mind, put as many brands and logos around the actors/presenters as you like, just don’t make them talk about it…

1. Shark Tank 

Does this sound like normal organic conversation to you? Cringe-worthy doesn’t cut it! When’s the last time you mentioned your mobile carrier when telling someone that you’ll send them a picture?

2. Head and Shoulders – Evolution 

This whole movie is an advertisement for shampoo. Part of me thinks they were trying to be clever with some tongue in cheek by being so obvious. That is before the entire movie descends into farce…

3. Hawaii Five-O

This takes the biscuit for shameful writing in trying to work product branding into character dialogue. There are no words for how awful both of these clips are.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, watch as this guy painfully tries to turn ‘Bing’ into a verb.

Mean girls Bing Product Placement

4. House of Cards – PS Vita

This one broke my heart a little as I am a huge fan of House of Cards but listening to Frank Underwood’s weak endorsement is gut wrenching.

5. 30 Rock – Verizon

Ok, this isnt shameful. This is genius and they got me hook, line and sinker. Well played Tina Fey, well played.

 

What have i missed? @mclesham

Why This World Cup Marks a New Era For Marketers

world cup logo

The World Cup has always been the biggest sporting event in the world and despite how highly the Americans regard their precious SuperBowl, it pales in comparison. The 2014 Superbowl was the most watched U.S telecast ever with a record 115 millions views. As impressive as that sounds, American Football, as its name suggests has geographical limitations to its reach. To put it in context, the last World Cup had over 3.2 billion viewers.

Because the rules of Football require 45 minutes of uninterrupted play, advertisers are limited to the amount of ads they show during games. However, this World Cup shows the dawn of in-game ads with Ireland’s very own RTE vowing to show ads during water breaks. FIFA have sanctioned a 3 minute water break during each half (at the 30th and 75th minute respectively). This gives the players a chance to re-hydrate while it gives television broadcasters a chance to line their pockets.

These ‘Water Breaks’, not so subtlety coincide with an increasing interest in football amongst U.S sports fans, where the sport has never been more popular. The MLS is snowballing with momentum and channels like FOX and ESPN are showing Football round the clock. As the U.S is still the holy grail of consumers, the pressure from major advertisers is obvious.

The other reason that this World Cup marks a new era for marketing is how prominent mobile has become on the digital marketing landscape over the last four years. During the last world cup final, 20% of online searches came from mobile while in comparison, 53% of search UK traffic about the 2014 Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich came from mobile. This along with an Nielsen’s study of American smartphone and tablet users (which showed 84% used their gadgets while watching TV) shows a distinct shift towards ‘dual screening’.

This is a perfect time for brands to employ well timed ‘push notifications’ (half time, full time etc.). What we will also see at this World Cup is brands capitilising on mobile marketing and using digital signage around the playing fields to display dynamic content captured by fans. Would you endorse a brand by sharing it’s hash-tag in order to get Twitter handle displayed to a few million people?

This is simply the tip of the iceberg in terms of new marketing techniques used during the worlds biggest sports tournament. I’ll do my best to share what i notice over the next few weeks as I try to catch as many matches in as I can. For research of course…

 

 

Scammed into buying Fake Ray Bans

Image

 

We all say it will never happen to us, that we’re far to web savvy for this kind of thing but I’m here to raise my hand and admit I’ve been made a complete fool of and take full responsibility!

3 weeks ago, an acquaintance on Facebook posted a link to http://www.onlinerayban.com (the site has since been shut down) to a one day sale being held by Ray Bans, offering discounts on glasses with up to 80% of the original price. I investigated the link and read the excited comments on Facebook from people saying they would buy up to 4 pairs.

Having always wanted a pair, I was satisfied with the recommendation from a peer and and ordered a pair. Not only that, but as soon as I was done, I contacted my unsuspecting (and not very web-literate) parents and advised them to pick up as many as they could, before the sale ends.

I thought nothing of it for 3 weeks and decided to go through my emails to check up on my order. As soon as I saw the link and the name of the URL, my heart sank and I knew I’d been completely duped. Admittedly, the website looked passable but anyone who spends as much time critisising websites and social media as much as I do should know better.

I’ve tried contacting the website, and I’m now hoping that I at least get passable fake glasses instead of completely losing my money for nothing.

Normally, I would hate to admit to this kind of stupidity but the whole reason I fell victim to the scam was because it came recommended to me from a trusted source (i.e a guy I knew from college and haven’t seen in 4 years.)

Mashable just posted a article stating that  Millennials Trust User-Generated Content 50% More Than Other Media. and this example just highlights that. As a potential digital marketer, I found my own experience of this fascinating little example of how trust is developed online amongst peers.

 

Update: The site has since been taken down.

My Facebook friend did indeed get his fake glasses and is very happy. 

The glasses were shipped but because we ordered so many they were intercepted by customs.  They sent the following letter.

Letter from irish customs