Because we are just past Thanksgiving in the U.S., and heading into peak holiday time globally, I want to do a flip on “Christmas cards in July” and talk about a July “incident” that I was made aware of this past June 27th–which is appropriate to talk about anytime during the year, including Christmas season.
That’s why this post is now officially “Fireworks in December.”
One of my loyal (and original) Titans Xcelerator members, David Foley, (who is going on his fourth year inside the mastermind) sent me this for the July 4th holiday:
It was a Tweet from David on Twitter…but it caused him some pain when he repeated it as a post on Facebook…which was rejected/suppressed by the “Facebook police” with no reason or explanation…banning him in the process.
The only thing we could surmise that could be deemed offensive was the word “border” …and note he is referring to the United States’ northern border, a less controversial one than the southern border.
And it is clearly not a political post…and neither is what I am writing today.
Today I want to talk about “owning your platform(s)” (as much as you can), in order to become less dependent on rules regarding proper use of someone else’s platform that either don’t make sense or are simply arbitrary.
In addition, they are rules sent down from on high from institutions where you can never reach an actual human for a rebuttal.
Sadly, even if you could make your case to a living, breathing person, it’s their game with their rules. And it’s not always pretty how they take us down.
We have had expert speakers appear at Titans Xcelerator and Titans Mastermind to give advice on “when you get shut down by __________” …and while sometimes their advice can get you back in business on whatever medium has suspended you, it is always a long process with lots of frustration…and often, it is easier to surrender and move on.
Or take on a new identity and start over. 🙂
And we’ve all heard the horror stories.
One that made me cringe was when Amazon shut down a $30 million supplement company (who sold exclusively on Amazon) for an “offense” as minor as the one above about “the border,” ultimately shutting down their business completely.
It was also a messaging error in one of their ads that could have been corrected easily.
One of the obvious lessons is to never be dependent on one medium, one form of advertising or any one company or person for 100% of your revenue and sales.
But even with their violation of Dan Kennedy’s golden rule of marketing and business— “the most dangerous number is ONE (of anything)”—it is still a marketing crime when companies do not get a second chance to come back from the death penalty that is imposed on them.
And in most cases, they are well beyond making a first impression when they are shut down.
That is, the good guys/white hats (like all of you!) might have a long history of positive results, feedback, customer satisfaction, low refunds…but one false move (perceived by the platform owner) can spell doom for you on that channel forever.
There is no simple answer to this problem…but someone interviewing me on a podcast this past week asked me about something I talked about in my book, Overdeliver, in the chapter on “Multichannel Marketing.”
The question was:
“How can we own at least some of the channels we advertise on?”
The answer: It’s not easy…but you can certainly hedge your bets when choosing the media you advertise on.
Clearly, with Facebook, Google, Amazon and all social media and e-commerce platforms, you are the mercy of the platform owner; but there are different ways to pivot away if that worries you…and some kinder and gentler forms of media that are not as arbitrary (or quick to shut you down without explanation).
An example of a pivot:
A well-known online marketer created an interactive paid mastermind, with revenues in the millions, all existing on Facebook.
And while he never got shut down, it kept him up at night for the two or three years it was in existence.
It was so much easier and less expensive to use Facebook than to build out the online mastermind on his own…but it came at a price, always anticipating a call from an anonymous bot letting him know that the group has been shut down.
Luckily the call never came…but he never got a solid 7 to 9 hours of sleep during that time. Not even close.
He took things into his own hands, before getting that inevitable call, and began to invest in his infrastructure, which included developing his own software, buying additional software, partnering with like-minded marketers in his category and added many other improvements to his overall business that he would own (rather than “rent”)…and he quickly superseded the revenue and profit from his “Facebook mastermind.”
He walked away from the Facebook group on his own (and made more money and slept like a baby while doing so).
He is more the exception than the rule…very few online entrepreneurs would walk away from a multi-million-dollar profit center just because it was hosted by a potentially fickle third party who could go nuclear at any time.
Even if you can’t pivot like this, you should always be thinking about where you might be most vulnerable.
Sometimes it is better to make it rather than buy it.
It’s more expensive but it’s valuing survival above all else…especially if you think you may be at risk of losing the golden goose of your business.
You don’t need to be 100% beholden to anyone or anything if you think it through carefully.
Two kinder and gentler media choices:
Email marketing is one of those mediums where you can gain more control…and almost own the platform.
If you are paying a reputable email service provider, they could temporarily shut you down for a huge spike in “undeliverables” or “bounces,” but because you are their client rather than just another user, you will always be able to make your wrongs right, unlike the previously mentioned “authoritarian” (and arbitrary) media sources.
But even with email, you should always have your list(s)/online families backed up (to the cloud or something you “own”) …and you should use at least two email broadcasters—maybe three.
That is, always more than one. 🙂
Direct mail, a medium “owned” by the United States Postal Service (USPS) (and international postal services in other countries) is a kinder and gentler medium than most online media.
Having well over 500,000 employees inside the USPS—employees who are more real and less digital than their online counterparts…and yes, even reachable–means that someone will eventually hear you out if they accuse you of mail fraud or if they find irregularities on your postal list/offline family—and you will have your day in court.
It has been said that the USPS is overstaffed but in this case it’s almost a blessing.
Not to mention that direct mail is an “opt out medium” rather than an “opt in medium.” It makes for a cleaner and less stringent relationship.
I am not saying that everyone should be using email and direct mail for those reasons alone—and there are others to research–but finding and using channels where you can control your destiny a little more is worthwhile as you choose your eventual media mix.
I hope your Christmas fireworks are only celebrations of success and not futile attempts to resolve a conflict.
And please…when the fireworks happen, be safe, do not let minors get involved (they should never play with matches)…and pivot (or run to other media?) when necessary. 🙂
P.S. While my book Overdeliver came out in 2019, I feel like it is on a “perpetual launch” …mainly because of the site (and bonuses) I created to go along with it, OverdeliverBook.com.
The fact that I had a near fatal stroke the day after it was released was a blessing (of sorts)…because the “launch date” became just another day in my life…and I was given many more days afterwards to sell my book.
It was the days I was given that were important, not the book sales. 🙂
Those days also gave me an opportunity (option) to share the principles within Overdeliver…and share (and remember) my mentors who gave me the wisdom behind those principles.
When I wrote today about direct mail being a kinder and gentler media choice—one where you can almost control your own destiny, and much easier to do that than with Facebook or any other social media or online platform–I thought about some of those bonuses (and mentors) which are part of “The Overdeliver Collection” at OverdeliverBook.com–specifically the two complete PDFs of the books written by my mentors in direct mail, Dick Benson and Gordon Grossman.
These two books are out of print and out of circulation, which makes them priceless (and timeless) resources which are free for buying Overdeliver.
Another reason Overdeliver will launch forever is outlined in my post, “The view from below ground”, which talks about why being remembered (e.g., Benson and Grossman) will be the key to my mentors never dying.
And that includes other mentors who are still alive with their valuable books, writings, videos and swipes available at OverdeliverBook.com (such as Gary Bencivenga, Jay Abraham, Dan Kennedy, Perry Marshall and many more).
So…please support my launch!
Today and every day.