All Posts By

Martin Shervington

An (almost) Complete Training Guide to Google Analytics

By | Featured Posts, Google Analytics | No Comments

The best free guide to setting up and using Google Analytics that you will find anywhere. Not only will you learn the mechanics of adding analytics to your website, but I’ll also teach you why you want to do this, and give you some amazing tips on how to effectively use Google Analytics to really understand how your business is performing online.

Read More

10 tips on how to find your authentic voice online

By | Communication | No Comments

This month I recorded a new video course for LinkedIn’s Lynda.com.

I was employed to create one titled ‘Advanced Google Adwords’, but after my first day I started to have a bad feeling. The truth is this, I’ve been using Adwords with clients since 2003 but it will come as no surprise that it is not ‘my daily job’. Put simply, my job is to build Plus Your Business – to acquire new clients, create a strategic overview of projects we undertake, to put in place a team that performs at an outstanding level etc.

Read More

7 ways to use Google Analytics: to help understand your audience

By | Featured Posts, Google Analytics | No Comments

So often we can get caught up in the detail that we miss the big picture.
As such, here are five very useful headlines you can look at creating for your own business or with your clients.

This is about:

Where
Who
What (browser, device)
How often?
What are they into?

If you click on the ‘audience’ tab you will be given a load of options:

Google Analytics 1

You’ll need some website data to work with, but if that is not there yet it may well be within the month.

1. Location – where are your main visitors coming from?

Go to ‘Geo’ and choose ‘Locations’:

Google Analytics 2

For me, over 50% of visitors come from the USA and United Kingdom. 5% from India, and with around 9% coming from Canada and Australia.

But actually, let’s say I want to drill a little deeper to know which States are driving most traffic.
Click on the country:

Google Analytics 3

And I can see that California, Florida and Texas are the top three for me:

Google Analytics 4

2. Age – how old are most of your visitors?

Google Analytics 5

As you can see, over 30% of mine are in the 25-34 range, and 50% are 25-44.

Google Analytics 6

3. Gender – are they male or female?

Go to demographics and choose ‘Gender’:

Google Analytics 7

As you can see 63% of my visitors are male.

4. Device – how many people are using desktop or a mobile device?

This is so important to know if your mobile site is ‘friendly’ but still not quite doing its job.

Google Analytics 8

For me 72% are using a desktop.

5. Browser – which one are they using?

Under the technology tab you will see ‘Browser and OS’:

Google Analytics 9

For me 63% are using Chrome, and 23% are using Firefox or Safari.

6. New/returning – how many people are coming back?

Under behaviour you will see this tab:

Google Analytics 10

With 28% returning visitors it means I need to be aware I am serving people who are already paying attention.

7. Interests – what are they into?

Go to the ‘Interest’ tab and choose ‘Overview’:

Google Analytics 11

As you can see 7.3% are into Tech, 5.9% Photography (Shutterbugs), and over 11% are into movies and TV.

Finally:

These are just the 7 items I’ve used to illustrate how to create what follows:

50% of visitors are from the USA (top 3 states: California, Florida and Texas), and United Kingdom
63% are male, and 37% are female
50% are aged between 25-44 years old.
28% are return visitors to the website; 62% are new
63% use Google Chrome, and 37% don’t
72% are on a desktop
Many have an interest in technology, films, movies and photography

Once you have this for your own site, write it out somewhere so you can revisit it later. Then think, are these the people I thought I was serving with content? And how best could I serve those paying attention better?

With Analytics you want to be setting up goals and tracking your conversions. What this exercise does, is give you a high level view of the nature of person visiting your site. It is also a very quick and handy way to create a meaningful top level view of a website for a client or a board meeting with your Directors or team, without drowning in data.

10 tips to prevent Social Media Burnout

By | Social Media Marketing | No Comments

Introduction

Social Media is an incredible way to build your brand online.
With tens of platforms, millions of people active and ready to connect, you have an opportunity.

As someone that has spent 10,000+ hours across social media platforms in recent years, I feel well positioned to give you some guidance based on some mistakes I’ve made.
You probably all know which one I spent most time on, and it was truly mind expanding; it was life changing, and felt like world connected for the first time at a higher level – group video calls do that.
It also took a huge investment of time, so l
et me (hopefully) help you address a few of the ways you can get the most out of Social Media. Putting it simply, burnout is not worth it and I was on the edge of that until March last year.

Before we get to the tips, let’s explore the role of language in our lives…(you’ll see where I am going):

“The world is made of language.”

Ever since Jason Silva picked up the gauntlet of cultural transformation from Terence McKenna, we see the emergence of engagement in one main understanding:

The world is not ‘out there’, it exists as a perceptual construct. And language matters.

As the culture changes, so does language.

I remember as a kid we used to call it ‘Sun tan lotion’ which then became ‘sun block’ a few years later. The sun didn’t change as much as we do – our understanding of health alters our perceptions and our use of language.
Which leads us on to…

Addicting vs. Addictive

Since arriving in the US I am hearing this word more ‘addicting’, as in e.g. ‘Milk chocolate ‘Reeses pieces’ can be an addicting…’
(we don’t use this word as much in the UK)

Addictive is an adjective, and

Addicting is said to be an adjective, but actually I would suggest it is not.

You can be addicted and you wouldn’t even know.

If you search Google for ‘meaning addicting’ it hasn’t as yet enabled the result as a separate word:

Addictive

As such, I am not sure this Google Search result cuts the mustard, so to speak.
To me, having failed to learn 7 languages in my lifetime (kind of proud of that, in a very strange way), it looks suspiciously like a verb structure, and likely to stem from the present continuous form of the verb ‘to addict’ i.e. it is addicting.

And this site (Grammar Girl) seems to have dived into this linguistic rabbit hole too, saying “The American Heritage Dictionary lists [addicting] it as a transitive verb.”

Why does this matter?

Well, I would suggest that by making the word a verb it changes how we process the information.
Making it continuous ‘-ing’, like ‘He/she/it is walking/talking/singing’ means that there is an active, ongoing process involved, not a passive descriptive state (an adjective), like it is ‘blue’ or it is ‘fast’. (and adjective being a describing word, but I know you know that – love you Elmo).

Ok, back in the room.

Tips on dealing with Social Media Burnout

Saying something is addictive is a bit like saying ‘fire is hot’. Sure, but so what?
Saying ‘Social Media is addicting’, however, shifts us from this somewhat passive on/off, ‘this is the nature of it’ into a position where it possesses an ongoing power i.e. it continues to have the power of addicting you. But just like fire, it doesn’t have to burn, even though it has the capacity to do so.

These are the global stats for social:

Tips on dealing with Social Media Burnout 2

And these are for social media addiction:

Tips on dealing with Social Media Burnout 3

Saying it is addictive almost makes it, well ‘it’s fault’. Saying it is addicting means there is a relationship you, as a unique individual, has with whatever you are doing.

Fire can be used to cook food, keep your warm, melt metal for machinery (all technology), or it could burn you out. (see what I did there?)
The question is this: what are you trying to achieve through your online activity?
Then approach social in way that serves you best.
Know this: you either consume or your produce. If you are not producing content, then you are consuming. What you really want to be doing is creating quality connections (for business), with the content being the conversation around which those relationships are built.

With all that ‘set up’ in mind, here are the tips:

(And please know, I’m still working on this whole area, and am far from perfect myself.)

1. Switch off your Social Media notifications on your cell phone.
It was my good friend Chris Brogan from Owner.Media that nudged me on this one.
Very pleased he did.
Put simply, stop push notifications and you do Social much more on your terms.

Notifications are digital dopamine. And maybe you need to wean yourself off a little…

2. Close your social media tabs on your browser when you are doing other work.
Know this: your attention can only be on one thing at a time. If it on ‘that’ it is not on ‘this’.
Keep focused and you will get much more done, and enjoy Social Media on your own terms.

3. Go and buy yourself an alarm clock. Like this:

alarm clock
Why? That will stop you turning your phone on at night to see the time. No more will you be all like ‘Oh, I’ll just click a few buttons whilst I am at it.’ No.

And it doesn’t tick. Life changer.

4. Buy a book to write your to-do list in (i.e. know your outcomes)
This is like a rope tied around your waist when you go online.
You can ask yourself, ‘What was I meant to be doing?’, looking at the list in front of you, instead of being pulled any-which-way by the content that is pulling for your attention.

to-do list book image

5. Know that your behaviour is what continues the ongoing pattern
i.e. you continue to behave in a way which keep re-addicting yourself.
If you think that you need ‘more followers’ to be ‘ok’, then you will spend your time chasing that goal.
The follower count, and the engagement though plus ones, likes, emoticons etc, are just metrics within a channel – and ultimately for businesses you need to be brutal as to what is working, or not.

It is not digital (on/off), even though it is (obviously) in the digital domain.
Ok, that could be a linguistic rabbit hole, so let me run with…

6. Pick a carrot, and stick with it. (I’m a writer, don’t you know…)

If you are on social for business then pick one or two main platforms for your attention.
(at least if you want to slow down a little..)
And you can nibble, you don’t have to spend hours on any one platform, consuming.

The complexity you will be experience by posting across seven sites, with seven groups of followers, with seven different cultures…you get the picture.

7. Run these experiments

Do you ‘think of Social’ when you are not on it?
I mean, do you find that thoughts are pulling you back. Are you walking down the street thinking of all the funny Facebook updates you could make? Or, how you could construct the perfect Snapchat story?
And maybe you have the urge to open an app and click a button or two?
Any addicting behaviour requires effort to sustain itself, and it starts with those persistent thoughts.

Test 1
Want to know whether you have a ‘habit’? Well, sit for one hour, or just ‘do stuff for a day’ and notice how many times your mind was pulled toward social. But resist it. Go cold turkey, and then you will get a sense where it is ‘at’ for you.
And yes, posting photos counts.

Test 2
Take one day off from Social, and notice how many times you are ‘tempted’ back.

Test 3
Now imagine months with no posting, no snapping, no liking…
Could you live without it?

(I pretty much stopped for months last year, and trust me, the world didn’t end. Good people were still there when I returned.)

8. Stop. Clicking. Buttons.
I write articles, so I click a lot of buttons most days (like 10,000+) but even when I don’t I reckon I click 3000+ buttons every day. And a lot are relating to social.
How often do you check your notifications? Even when they are not showing any new message? (just to check)

9. Email counts too.
I started on Social Media back in 1998, but then it was friends on email lists (I used to share jokes with people I’d met on my 3 years living overseas).
Email is often more on your terms, but it can still be addicting as you feel you are missing out, or waiting until ‘something’ happens.
Here are some tips for taming your inbox.

10. Be present in your body

Until we get those snazzy contact lenses to wear, and fully connect our neo-cortex to the Cloud to gain an extra few RAM, I think we can learn to put our phones away and simply ‘be here now.’
It may well help restore more presence in the real world, and give you better quality time on social when you are ‘there’.

Finally…

Social Media has become a lifestyle for many people, and it is still early days as to how it will pay off for some.

What I do know is this…

Social Media has opened the doors of the world, and we are all connecting.
The main thing to do is treat it as a tool that helps you connect with the right people for you.
Then you can tell your story, and build your business.

I hope the suggestions I’ve made help you navigate your way through a little more easily.
Get in touch here if you want to chat!

How to get 5 star reviews (inc. quick hotel case study)

By | Customer Service, Reviews | No Comments

When it comes to reviews, the Google Local eco-system is really starting to build out in this area.
Personally, I’ve now done over 200 reviews, and given most of those businesses five stars when I believe they deserve it.

There are some obvious ways to win people’s hearts and minds – which (when approached correctly) is likely to get you more reviews. 

In my Managing Online Customer Reviews course on Lynda.com (a Linkedin company) I give the process of how people can get more reviews.

My tips tend to include the following:

  • You should not incentivize any reviews (e.g. offer a free coffee/meal etc)
  • To deal with bad reviews – reply to them, and take the conversation to email or phone call
  • Be careful asking for reviews – Yelp don’t like it, but Google and Tripadvisor seem ok. Having more control over who leaves a review is an idea that really appeals to people serving in business.
  • Find the link to the website you want to direct people towards i.e. your listing on that website,
  • Create a QR code and shorten the URL to make it easy for people. You can create a QR code for free and super easily. Just Google ‘QR code generator’ for loads of options.
  • For a shortened URL (only as they are quicker to type in) then you could use Bit.ly or Google’s goo.gl services, or create your own branded one.
  • On iPhone people may not have the Google Maps app downloaded, so they will be prompted to do so.
  • Create flyers, cards, posters that really grab people’s attention – and move them towards wanting to support you.

But the course has an enormous amount more that will help any businesses looking at social care (i.e. customer service, reflected by online reviews) – do check it out if you want to learn more.

Seeing, I’ve spent the past couple of weeks on the road, I thought I would give a few extra tips for anyone in the hotel industry on how they can please their customers too…

Quick case study for hotels:

As an official Google Small Business advisor I tend to be on the look out to help small businesses grow, as well as larger ones ensure they are doing their best too.

If you have a hotel, or area a local consultant, please do check they are ‘on the map’ with Google.
It is free, and easy to do:

I recently had two very different hotel experiences.

$350 a night (the quoted price) at the Marriott Marquix in San Diego (below):

How to get 5 star reviews by not messing up

And ‘an other hotel’, at a rate of $120. 

The Marriott experience was near perfect, the latter was far from it, and needless to say, I didn’t bother taking pictures.
I know what you are thinking, if you pay $350 you’d expect to have a great experience, right?
But actually you should have a great experience at the lower price point too, should you? Otherwise you are paying for a bad experience.

As such, if you have an $120 hotel you can act like a $350 one by doing the following:

Supply free water

Don’t force people to have to go to a vending machine to buy it.

Get a simple filtration system.

They are not going to fill their swimming pools. Let it be free.

Supply free Wi-fi

Yes, please don’t charge for wi-fi. It’s like air and water now.

And give your guests information on how to access it when they arrive, don’t make them work for it.

Does the room really need a fridge?

Noisy fridges in rooms, and without water. Grrrrr….

Have a supply of phone chargers

Android and iPhone. They cost $10 from a CVS. Buy a few. Take a deposit if you want, or give people the option to purchase. But someone will have lost theirs, or left it on the plane.
Make it easy for people to feel served.

Enable the rooms to be dark.

Turn off the lights outside please- there is no need to have lights beaming through the cracks in the curtains.

Finally…

Customer service is more than just smiling nicely, and there is so much you can do to improve people’s experience, and when the time is right you get in touch with my old friend Jon Hall and he’ll do you a great deal on the software you need to dominate the reviews space.

You can contact me here too, and we will put in place a customer service plan that will make your customers smile.