No-one likes being told what to do

Site Launch Day User Count Going right Going wrong Comment
 Got a good review for a product
Reviewer said they hadn’t actually tried the product yet
Was pathetically grateful for any review at all.

Actually plenty of people like being told what to do. S&M Submissives. Brainwashed disciples. Insecure depressives. But I am not yet classed in any of those categories.

So when I informed my boyfriend yesterday that I felt like eating a packet of crisps (pregnant woman’s prerogative) and he told me categorically that I shouldn’t get them after last pregnancy’s experience of big butt syndrome, I found myself all of a sudden 20 minutes later sitting in the depths of the Swedish forest eating the most ginormous packet of Cheese Doodles…the cheesey wafery bits ground under my nails, the E-packed cheese powder caked round my mouth and in between  my teeth and 7 cheese doodles melting on my tongue sticking to the top of the roof of my mouth. The birds twittered, the leafy sunlight dappled my skin and the bag was finished within quarter of an hour. Heaven.

And then I went home and told him 🙂

“But why?” he said. “And why now are you telling me if it was supposed to be secret?”

“Because you SHOULD know by now that the word SHOULD, SHOULD be banned.” I said. “Telling me what to do means that you don’t have enough respect to treat me as an adult to make my own decisions.”

“And eating an entire bag of cheese doodles just to prove that to me is the behavior of a grown up? I told you not to because you will be miserable when you get fat and have to exercise to get slim again. I don’t want you to go through what you went through last time, because I love you,” He said.


“Having children ruins your body and I’m not complaining about the sacrifice I have to make – the pain, the back ache, the saggy tits, the sleep deprivation and the split pelvis. My butt might be big for a while, and it might make me unhappy to have to work it off in a year’s time, but it’s still my decision to make. If you just have to suffer a bigger butt than you find attractive, then that’s your sacrifice. I DESERVE those cheese doodles.”

What does this mean for a business? Well for one, that you should never tell your prospective clients what they SHOULD be thinking or they SHOULD be doing. Although you might possibly get away with telling them a tongue-in-cheek “SHOULD NOT”.

“You should absolutely not eat this delicious packet of cheese doodles. It will cause you immense pleasure and relatively less weight gain. ”

Or you could just let them do what they want without selling yourself at all.

“You may or may not eat this packet of cheese doodles. Here it is, if you want to buy it. Or not. Whatever.”

Or you could try and balance out a little temptation with a little product placement on the LinkedIn “Snack discussion Forum”

“Cheese doodles. Not the kind of snack you want to be addicted to…but you can have the first packet…for FREE….”

Me? I plumped for what they call the “Freemium” model combined with an open review system to allow users to give stinkingly honest feedback. The beta testers get products for free, and then get to say what they like.  Very scary.

Why did I do it this way?

A) Because no matter how much I considered it, I couldn’t see myself trying to do the hard sales (I’m not a saleswoman either). The products and services needed to be good enough to stand on their own two feet, or if they were shit, users had every right to say it.


B) Because I hate being told what to do.

(BTW, that entire cheese doodle conversation was made up. Or was it. I never told him. He’s sitting there at his computer now reading my blog wondering whether I did indeed eat an entire bag of cheese doodles. I guess you’ll never know, honey, will you :))))

Do freebies work?

Site Launch Day User Count Going right Going wrong Comment
21 35
Huffington exposure has driven traffic stats far higher.
Have been told by Huffington Post that am too prolific. Have advised me to combine several posts into one so it doesn’t appear as if they are “favoritizing” me. Also amount of time spent on site has decreased. Huffington is clearly blanket publicity not targeted.
As far as publicity goes Urban Times far more targeted. Doubtful if people will now scroll to the end of Huffington Posts. More and more admin required to manage writing side of Biz Dev. Not really complaining tho…

It’s the start of every morning. The anticipation as the analytics web page loads to show me whether my ever increasingly desperate touting has gained me more visitors than the day before. Like anxiously watching your inbox for that post-3rd interview job offer to come through, it creates me more stress than it should really merit. What’s done is done, I can’t change the past. But unfortunately yesterday I found out you can watch the stats in real time.

08.50…6 visitors (only 50 more to go to til I beat yesterday’s visitor count)

08.51…6 visitors (only 50 more to go to til I beat yesterday’s visitor count)

08.52…6 visitors (only 50 more to go to til I beat yesterday’s visitor count)

Well, you see how my morning passes fairly slowly.

In an effort to propel my visitor count ever higher, I have succumbed to the Google AdWords lure. Because frankly I know nothing about Sales & Marketing and clearly they do. A LOT.

(You may well ask, actually what DO I know, since I have listed so many things I don’t know. Among the short list, I can cook a mean Boeuf Bourguignon – but that doesn’t help me get customers. My boyfriend also says I’m pretty awesome in other ways, and although this might be more likely to get me customers, it’s not really up for the selling – unless my website goes very poorly).

Most dishearteningly, despite my buying keyword searches, “Consultancy Firms”, “Financial Analysis” and the like…my AdWords venture has so far resulted in this:


And have paid 21 dollars for that. So today, I am going to concentrate on those people who are theoretically registered with my site but haven’t taken advantage of their free credits. Conversion from the apathetic. Reasons why

1. They think its a gimmick and I will spam them (partially true, there’s no newsletter, but I can still write to you)

2. They are growing tired of the constant use of the word FREE in block capitals when it doesn’t really mean FREE.

3. They are cunningly disguised spambots.

I can do nothing about the third, but for the first and second, I blame Dan Ariely. His book Predictably Irrational (marvelous, if you happen to like behavioral economics like me) told the whole world that the word FREE was a great tool for marketers. But it’s been overused so much that people have wised up to the fact that – helloooo – there’s no such thing as a free lunch. For a FREE download, your email address is mine. Gotcha. So just to experiment, I posted a link on LinkedIn putting a time limit on the free-ness of something. Apparently this creates urgency and unprecedented desire in something previously “meh”. I’ll let you know the response rate.

The thing is, apart from the interest in conducting an experiment the ‘free’ thing really does work empirically. I’ve seen it. And by empirically, I mean of course…my boyfriend. Who finds it absolutely impossible to refuse anything that is free. Especially birthday cake when dished out at work.

Unfortunately, the hypothesis therefore becomes – freebies work when they

a) Have no obvious clear ulterior motive. Obvious being the key word.


b) Serve some self interest already present.


c) Evoke delicious childhood memories.

Wonder how exactly how financial analysis, strategy and marketing consultancy can take advantage of the third.