An Idea for Facebook Ads

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Disclaimer: It’s just an idea.

Facebook has been pushing its ad platform for a little while now and the benefits are obvious to both advertisers and consumers. On the one end, the advertiser gets to select only the criteria that are relevant for their product; they get to target. You might select an age range, a geographic area, gender, likes/interests, education, etc. The consumer on the other end typically only gets ads that are relevant to them. They get ads for products and services that fit their age range, have local presences, are made only for men or women, and appeal to their hobbies or vocations.

Typically fewer clicks to the destination is better, that’s why we have landing pages, campaign sites, microsites, and so on. More clicks often means more options to exit (unless your content is remarkable). 

The idea is simply this: Facebook ads should have the option to be directed to a form built within Facebook, within the companies page even. The advertiser may customize certain aspects as they do with the text ads, but ultimately it would look and feel like Facebook. The information could even be seeded from the account profile they are logged in as. If needed, you could have the option to go to the advertisers website if you felt more comfortable.

Benefits:

  1. Environment remains the same (The good ole’ Facebook blues)
  2. Information is collected quickly and simply

Possible Issues:

  1. Not enough information to make a consumer feel comfortable enough to submit information
  2. The integrity or legitimacy of the company cannot be evaluated properly (by examining website perhaps)
  3. People might freak out at the fact that Facebook actually has a lot of information on them

Yes, it is possible to develop an application that does this for you. Delta Airlines has a pretty amazing application running now that allows you to book your flight without every leaving Facebook. However, I think the trackability would be enhanced if it was a Facebook function. It would definitely be a welcomed metric as you are viewing your various campaigns in the ad manager.

That’s it for now. As always, thanks for reading.

Behind Church Music with the DC*B

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In one of my new endeavors, I sought to do a couple of interviews with some Christian bands I thought were pretty amazing. Taking a shot in the dark, I went to the David Crowder Band website and sent them an email simply asking if they’d be willing to answer a few questions. To my excitment, Jack Parker contacted me and the rest is recent history.

Since they probably have to answer a lot of similar questions when they do interviews, I wanted to change it up a little. In a recent post, I talked a little about viewing creativity as a lifestyle, not a hobby. I decided to hone in on that topic. In my opinion, these guys are about as creative as it gets when it comes to making music.

Before we go any furthur, there’s something you should know: I’m not a professional interviewer. I just think it’s cool to talk to people about what they love, know, and do best. With that said, here are a few answers to a few questions about the creative process.

[Begin]

Question: Talk a little about your upcoming album Church Music.

Jack’s Answer: church music was our attempt to recreate what the writers of hymns were doing. at that time, they were composing and writing in order to find the “common language” of the people and pushing the boundaries as far as creativity and expectations were concerned. the surprise is it doesn’t sound like hymns written a hundred years ago! 

Question: You guys are obviously very creative (love the fantastical video). Can you share any insights on your creative process? How do you come up with the themes, design elements, etc. for your albums, events, tours….Where do the ideas for the different sounds in your songs come from?

Jack’s Answer: one person usually starts with a rough idea and starts passing it around to the other members of the band. then we start adding, subtracting, restructuring, etc…  in the end, hopefully it’s something usable!

Question: What is the craziest/funnest instrument you have ever used either in a recording or during live play?

Jack’s Answer: i actually find a lot of humor in the tuba even though we haven’t used one. we’ll have to remedy that on the next record.

Question: What is each band members favorite instrument to play (brand/model?)

Jack’s Answer: dave plays tom anderson crowdsters, me and mark play tom anderson and prs guitars (assorted), mike d plays fender basses from the 60s, hogan plays zeta violins, and bwack plays risen drums (assorted models).

Question: Do you guys record your entire album yourselves, or is there an outside studio involved?

Jack’s Answer: as of now, we are pretty much “in house.”  our lovely friend shane d wilson from nashville comes in for a couple of days to make sure everything sounds good tonally and then we ship it off to him for mixing.

Question: For those who are going to be the worship leaders of the next generation, what advice would you give them?

Jack’s Answer: play as much as you can!  don’t turn down anything when you’re starting out — this makes you better as a player.  oh, and don’t forget to tune.

Question: Can you talk about your song writing process?

Jack’s Answer: it’s different for every song.  the most common way it happens is dave will have an idea that is just acoustic guitar and vocal and he passes it out to everyone and we put our “stuff” on it. sometimes a band member will have music and no lyric, or lyric and no music and we pass that around.

[End]

Now, I hope I did okay with this. I have to thank Jack for taking the time to write me given the busy season that it is, so, thanks Jack. Since you’re here, check out the upcoming Crowder’s Fantastical Church Music Conference website. As always, thanks for reading.

 

Creativity is a Lifestyle

One of my favorite things to do is discover something creative, or people doing something creative. Usually it’s artsy stuff, but often times its a good deal of everything. Businesses, youth groups, classrooms…it happens all over the place.

The title of this post is “creativity is a lifestyle.” That’s important because I think that it is something that exists within each of us. Everyone has the capacity to create and be creative. It may be a tiny capacity, but it’s there. We limit ourselves often though by operating under the mindset that creativity is more of a hobby, “When I get home from work, I will paint.” Obviously a simple example, but I think it gets the point across.

We need to figure out a way to input creativity into our everyday work, to make a habit of it. If nothing else, it should at least keep things fresh, and people who keep things fresh get noticed. The other benefit is that we’ll get better at it. Repetition is the success factor here. The more we do something, the easier it becomes, and the better we get at it.

This week I was turned on to a guy who happens to fall into the creative music category. I think this is a great example of someone taking their creative gifts and doing something amazing with them. In the words of Seth Godin, “Go make something happen.” Enjoy the video, and as always, thanks for reading.

 

Be A Go Giver

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Last week I flew to Kansas City to meet with some amazing folks we work with here at the university. On the plane I had a little time to kill and I had brought a new book along. The book was given to me by my boss at last weeks staff meeting and came with a few conditions: We were to read it within the week, sign our name on the inside of the cover, and pass the book on to someone new over coffee along with the same set of conditions.

Usually I’m not super excited about being given a timeline for reading…maybe it’s because school is still a little to fresh in my past. However, I’m not one to dissobey the boss either, so I knocked it out on the plane. When I say “knocked it out,” I literally read it once through, and then half way through again. The only reason I stopped was because I had forgotten my glasses and my eyes were hurting.

I heart this book. It has risen to the top of my book ranks over night. At only 129 some odd pages you can read it in a sitting. So the real question remains, “Why???” I think I have several reasons:

  1. The “Five Laws of Stratospheric Success” apply to life just as much as business (you have to get the book to learn them 🙂
  2. The ability to transform you internally
  3. The story is engaging (yes, it’s a story!)
  4. It speaks into your own life without you even knowing it

Our job was to meet with someone at Starbucks and give them this book. That’s not good enough for me. I want EVERYONE to know about it and this is the best way I know how to spread the word. I hope you will pick this book up and share it as well. Here are a few links you might find useful:

If you received the book and found that my name is on the inside front cover, I hope you’ll leave a comment or shoot me an email.

As always, thanks for reading

How Do You Measure Up?

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I had a friend contact me the other day and tell me that they had just gotten a job at a university out in the midwest. The website wasn’t all that great, they had no social media presence, and her job was to change all that. She asked for advice, everything and anything. Truth be told, I had never really thought about it like this before. When I started, most of this stuff was in play or at least in process. We had amazing web designers/developers and a creative director to point them in a common direction.

It was fun to think about starting from scratch. I started listing websites, blogs, and people on Twitter I thought could help give insight as my friend had requested. The very first thing I said, however, was that they needed to find some way to measure. At the university I work for, data matters, as it should just about everywhere. Decisions are made on data, not guesses (most times). If you’re just redesigning a website for the sake of the look, you’re not really helping the user out by neglecting their opinions. When I say opinions, I’m not necessarily talking about asking them (though you certainly can). Using something like Google Analytics, or in our case Omniture, allows you to identify people’s preferences when navigating your site. You identify their behaviors which in a lot of cases is similar to the larger group of users. Once the behaviors are identified, you can design a site that makes it easier for a person to find the information they are looking for. The faster they can get to the information, the lower the drop off or exit rate.

We have now redesigned our website 3 times since I have been here. A lot of times that includes updating the graphics and the images, but we have also added a new dimension, user experience. Through several reports, we can identify the most common paths of users, the things that are clicked on the most within each page, split internal and external visitors (via IP address), and ultimately design an experience that caters to our audience. All that said, measuring is an important function, especially when it comes to the web. Helpful links to get started:

 

Nerd Alert

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Ok, so it’s not really a nerd alert, but I like the way that everyone reacts to this phrasing. You can’t honestly tell me you didn’t say “Nerd Alert” without some form of robotic voice.

To the point of this post: Alerts. For those of us who like to stay active on the internet and within various social networks, it’s important to know what is being said about you, especially if you’re a recognized public figure. The best and perhaps easiest way I’ve found to do this is to set up Google alerts. It’s 2010, so everyone should have a gmail account by now. If you don’t, go there now and set something up. It’s a great passport to wide range of amazing tools.

One you have your Google account, got to this URL: http://www.google.com/alerts. Do a search for your name, your Twitter ID, etc. You can preview the results and see what you get. This may prove difficult for people who share their name with many others, but you can probably narrow it down. You can now sort by type (everything, news, blogs, videos, discussions), how often you want to receive updates, how many results to receive, and where to send the information.

That’s it. Pretty simple. It’s good to know where your information (shared or not) is popping up around the net. While you’re at it, set one up for your organization as well. You might impress the boss with this one if they’re not doing it already. You’re welcome.

As always, thanks for reading.

I’ve Been Building

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Not the kind of building you’re probably thinking of. As soon as I finished my MBA, I decided I had to find something else to do to avoid sitting on the couch at night. So, I took up sitting in a desk chair. I’ve read a couple books, one in particular that’s brought me some excitement. The book is called Problogger and the name says it all.

After reading the book, I’ve officially built two new blog/websites. “Why two?” you may ask. And to you I answer, “Because they each do different things.” Now, of course they talk about different things and cover two totally different topics. When I say “two different things”, I’m primarily speaking about the outcome or purpose for each site.

The first is for reputation building. It is a subject matter I’m well versed in and can comment on fairly easily. The goal is to build my reputation which hopefully in a couple years may lead to some consulting, speaking, etc. The second is for monetization. Now you say, “That sounds cheap and unsophisticated.” And I say, “Harsh.” Much of it is for my own understanding. How does SEO work? How do adsense and adwords work? How can you get relevant and respected sponsors to place on your site? All these questions I hope to answer with my second site.

A few closing words. For both of these sites, I have a passion for what I am writing. I’m not just picking a random subject that I think will sell. Both of them I’ve done and have been doing for a long time. I’ll try and post updates on the analytics of each site over the course of their lifetimes and hopefully be able to teach you something as I learn.

As always, thanks for reading.