Client Management the Mad Men Way

This July, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the premier of season 1, episode 1 of Mad Men, the 1960s era show that validated and united everyone who’s worked in advertising.
Ten years later, we’re still nostalgically sharing marketing insights coined by Don Draper and consoling ourselves with Roger Sterling’s account management axioms:
“My father used to say this is the greatest job in the world except for one thing: the clients.”
Ahh… the double-edged sword of clients.
Despite his mastery of persuasion, Don Draper couldn’t handle client management on his own. After losing

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10 Often Overlooked Website Mistakes that May Harm Your Business

At a local WordCamp recently, I critiqued websites from a group of volunteers during a site clinic session.
While I noticed a number of common mistakes — like extra-loud, auto-play videos and other distractions — one of the weird things that stood out was how many real, substantial businesses had problematic web hosting and domain strategies.
With those in mind, I wanted to make sure you aren’t making the same mistakes. Let’s go through some of the worst offenses, shall we?
Mistake #1: Spending more money on business cards than your web host
It boggles my mind that a company with a great physical-world reputation would risk that goodwill by using a subpar web host.
In other words, if your coffee budget is 10 times higher than your hosting budget, you’re probably not getting a premium service.
Also, if your hosting company brags about having millions of customers, they might not be too upset if your site goes down — but the hit to your bottom line will be substantial.
Mistake #2: Choosing a domain nobody can spell or remember
You said “awesome-and-amazing-dot-com?” Was it “theawesome,” “the-awesome,” or just “awesome?”
Sure, many people are going to discover your site through links or search. But having a memorable (and easy-to-spell) domain does help you attract and retain visitors.
You can’t bank on them bookmarking your site during their first visit.
Mistake #3: Building your business website on a platform you don’t own
Digital sharecropping is even worse than a bad domain.
With this mistake,

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Capture and Hold Audience Attention with a Bold Proclamation

If you’ve studied copywriting, you know the purpose of the headline is to get people to click and start reading. And your opening copy needs to continue that momentum all the way to the offer or conclusion.
One way to do that is to make a bold, seemingly unreasonable assertion in your title or headline. A proclamation so jarring that the right person can’t help but keep reading, listening, or watching to see where you’re going with it.
As far as I can tell, copywriter John Forde (whose site tagline is, not coincidently, “Learn to sell or else …”) was the first to define the Proclamation Lead:
A well-constructed Proclamation Lead begins with an emotionally-compelling statement, usually in the form of the headline. And then, in the copy that follows, the reader is given information that demonstrates the validity of the implicit promise made.
This type of lead works for both sales copy and persuasive content. Let me give you a couple of examples.
Forde illustrates the Proclamation Lead with a direct mail report that is ultimately selling an alternative health newsletter. Written by Jim Rutz, the piece immediately startles and tempts the prospect with a bold statement:
Read This Or Die
Today you have a 95% chance of eventually dying from a disease or condition from which there is already a known cure somewhere on the planet. The editor of Alternatives would like to free you from that destiny.
The copy continues not by jumping to the offer, but instead by

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Expand Your Content Marketing Toolkit

On Monday, our friend Jon Nastor shared the top tips he’s learned from conducting more than 350 podcast interviews in two years. He has a lot of solid advice here on how to better prepare for your interviews — without making your content stiff or robotic.
On Tuesday, our editorial assistant Will DeWitt revealed how his experiences on a recent cruise shaped how he thinks about customer experience — and how you can structure your content to make your audience feel like treasured guests.
And on Wednesday, Stefanie Flaxman saved us from the humiliation of 12 different word choice errors. Because content marketing is just more fun when you’re not embarrassing yourself in public.
On the Copyblogger FM podcast this week, I talked about how to attract the specific audience you want to your business, podcast, or blog. Everything you do will get much easier when you know you’re talking to the right folks.
And on our brand-new Sites podcast, Jerod Morris covered easy ways you can use excellent design to forge a stronger connection with your audience. (By the way, Jerod mentions a free coupon you might want to pick up if you’re looking for better hosting — it expires tomorrow, on July 14, so you’ll want to hop to it.)
That’s it for this week — have a great weekend, and we’ll see you Monday.
— Sonia Simone
Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital

Catch up on this week’s content

How to Conduct Not-to-Miss Podcast Interviews
by Jon Nastor

3 Ways the ‘Cruise

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Create High-Impact Data Visualizations: Nine Effective Strategies

I believe deeply in the value of making data accessible.
In service of that belief, there are few things that bring me as much joy as visualizing data (smart segmentation comes close). There is something magical about taking the tons and tons of complexity that lurks in our data, being able to find the core essence, and then illustrate that simply. The result then is both a mind and heart connection that drives action with a sense of urgency. #winning
While I am partial to the simplest of visualizations in a business data context, I love a simple Bar Chart just as much as a Chord or Fisher-Yates Shuffle. As we have all learned, tools matter a lot less than what we do with the tool. 🙂
In this post I want to inspire you to think differently. I’ve curated sixteen extremely diverse visualization examples to do that. By design none of them from the world of digital analytics, though I’ll stay connected to that world from a how could you use this idea perspective. My primary goal is to expand your horizon so that we can peek over and see new possibilities.
To spark your curiosity, the visuals I’ve worked hard to find for you cover the US debt, European politics, lynching and slavery, pandemics, movies, gun control, drugs and health, the Chinese economy, and where we spend our lives (definitely review this one!).
The sixteen examples neatly fall into nine strategies I hope you’ll cultivate in your analytics practice as you create data visualizations:

1: The Simplicity Obsession
2: If Complex, Focus!
3: Venn Diagrams FTW!
4: Interactivity With Insightful End-Points
5: What-if Analysis Models
6: Turbocharging Data Visuals with

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Stop Making These 12 Word Choice Errors Once and for All

Bill is at a wine bar on Saturday night, enjoying a glass of Pinot Noir.
After striking up a playful conversation with Lisa (who prefers Syrah), he asks for her telephone number. Lisa agrees to Bill’s request, and he creates a new “contact” in his cell phone.
“No,” Lisa stops Bill. “You’ll have to memorize it. I don’t want you to write it down.”
Bill accepts the challenge and confidently repeats the 10-digit number a few times aloud. Lisa proceeds to talk about her cat Nibbles for an hour and then leaves the bar after she realizes how late in the evening it has become.
By the next day, Bill has forgotten Lisa’s phone number. He remembers how much Nibbles loves playing with yarn because he used to have a cat that loved yarn … and although he wants to send Lisa a text message, her digits weren’t meaningful to him.
The same thing happens when you memorize the definitions of two similar words instead of learning how to use them.
When you memorize without any meaningful context, you may quickly forget a definition and continually select a word that doesn’t mean what you think it means.
When you learn how to use the following 12 pairs of words, it will be easier to choose the proper one for your content.
Write the correct words the first time, and you’ll spend less time editing later.
1. Compliment vs. Complement
Compliment
A “compliment (noun)” is an “expression of praise.” When you “compliment (verb)” someone,

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How to Conduct Not-to-Miss Podcast Interviews

When I started Hack the Entrepreneur, I had never conducted a single interview before.
But during the past two years, I’ve hosted more than 350 podcast interviews. I’ve also made a lot of mistakes, embarrassed myself a few times, and learned countless lessons.
So now I have a number of insights to share with you today, as well as tips to avoid some not-so-obvious blunders.
Want to learn a simple path that builds an audience of dedicated listeners? A path that eases the burden of content creation, puts you at the forefront of your brand, and harnesses the power of experts and their audiences?
Although interview-based podcasts may seem like casual conversations, becoming a great interviewer takes practice.
Let’s start at the beginning.
The work required to conduct a not-to-miss conversation starts before you sit down for an interview …
Do the work, then let it go
The foundation of any good interview is knowing your guest and the topic you’re discussing. Podcast hosts need to treat interviews with extra care, especially when they’re performed remotely.
Your job is to quickly and effectively warm up your guest, engage them, and remove any barriers holding them back from sharing compelling details of their story.
Researching your guest before the interview helps you empathize with them. Your research can be as thorough or basic as you want it to be, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish with the interview.
Your research should give you everything you need to ask good questions.
The familiarity you will

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