Famous colleges

Parents can do their kids a favor if, from an early age, they hear them say “famous college” instead of “good college.”

Because there’s very little data that shows that colleges with big football programs or lots of Nobel prize winners are actually good at doing what a college should do for an undergraduate.

If you want to spend the time and the money and the debt to go to a famous college, that’s your choice.

But don’t be confused into believing that a famous one is a good one.

And in this back-to-school moment, it’s smart to not only consider a gap year filled with intention as a way to engage with the world, but to think about what we’re actually buying when we buy a degree from a famous college.

Education and learning continue to diverge. In-person, real-time learning is too expensive, too scarce and rarely as effective as it could be, and we’re discovering that a commitment to life-long learning is more important than a four-year sabbatical that costs too much and delivers too little. And good colleges are in a position to do something about this, while the ones that are merely famous will fight hard to maintain their status quo.

Scarcity isn’t always needed to create value.

The pandemic has created a significant shift in perception, and the repercussions are going to be felt by colleges for years to come–many of them are going to be refactored, restructured or disappear.


People, Not Channels

If your sales team approached customers the way we communicators talk at our stakeholders, your company would go out of business.

The differences are shocking, and for years they’ve been evident in the different ways each department is treated:


CX Journey™ Musings: The New Purpose of a Business – One Year Later

Stakeholderism. Shareholderism. Two words we don’t talk about much in the CX world – at least not in the “-ism” format. I’ll come back to these concepts in a moment, as they are closely linked to what I’m writing about today.


Change Management Step #1: Sense of Urgency

I’ve written many times over the years about change, including posts on change managementchange visionchange fatigue, and more.


Date certain

One of the most expensive things a service business or freelancer can do is promise that work will be done by a certain day. Which is something we need to do, of course, but we should charge appropriately. “It’ll be done soon,” should be way cheaper than, “It’ll be done at exactly 11 am on Tuesday.”

And one of the most important things we can do to focus our energy and commitment is be prepared to promise a date certain. It sharpens everything.


Systemic problems

… demand systemic solutions.

First, we have to pay attention.

Then we need to acknowledge that a solution is possible.

And then we need to commit. To the long, persistent road to altering the status quo.

The world is forcing us to pay attention to lingering problems more urgently than ever before. Real change on issues of dignity, justice and health are long overdue

Urgent problems are too important to earn only a moment of our attention. Important projects demand that we keep showing up to make the change we seek. Showing up and showing up, at the root and at every turn, consistently working toward systemic solutions.

When we think about the problems we’ve solved as a community, this is the way it always happens. Making things better, over time, with focus. Persistent commitment doesn’t lower the urgency of the moment, it acknowledges it.


Destinations, risks and journeys

Where are you headed? The choices you’re making, the effort, the sacrifices—where is the destination?

We make choices every day about our destination. And because of those choices, we go on a journey.

Along that journey, we take risks but we also experience an internal narrative about those risks.

And so, destinations, risks (perceived and actual) and journeys define our lives.

It’s possible you’ve come to the conclusion that the destination you’ve chosen isn’t for you. That being a pop star, a successful VP of accounting or a receptionist with a secure position isn’t a life you’d like to lead.

But don’t confuse that with the journey. Maybe you’d be happy with the pot of gold at the end of your rainbow, but it’s entirely possible you don’t want to suffer the discomfort and indignities and effort it will take to get to that destination, that you’d like an easier path. You’ll happily take the destination but the truth is, the journey is too arduous.

And don’t confuse that with your imagining of the risks along the way. It might be that you want the destination, that you are willing to put up with (or even delight in) the journey but your narrative of the risks and dangers are just too much to handle.

When we conflate the destination with the journey with the narrative of the risks, we have no hope of improving any of the three. Instead, we often pushed to throw out all three at once or embrace them all. But it’s possible, with effort and planning, to make the journey more palatable or the risks feel more tolerable.

The destination isn’t the journey. And our narrative of the actual risks is up to us.


Building Successful PPC: The Best Google Ad Extensions to Implement

Updated 8/27/20 to include new information and insights.

Google Ads offers several types of ad extensions that can be used to provide useful information to customers. This includes phone numbers, directions, additional products/services, and more.

Ad Extensions are simple to set up and do not cost anything extra. Expect a click-through rate boost when using these too. The differentiation of having them helps your ads stand out from your competitors’ and tends to entice more clicks.

In this post, we’ll explore a few of the highest performing and most popular ad extensions, their features, and how to implement them into your campaigns.

Sitelink Extensions

Sitelink extensions allow advertisers to display a short list of links to internal pages of their website that customers might find useful directly in the ad. They are a great way to provide additional value to your advertising efforts.

Sitelink extension exampleSitelink extension example

The extra links make the ad bigger, allowing you to take up more real estate in the SERP, which in turn provides more brand exposure to your customers. Sitelinks also provide customers with additional options to get what they need from your site with fewer clicks and less work on their end.

Adding sitelinks is quick and simple. First, select a campaign, click the Ad Extensions tab and select Sitelink Extensions from the View drop-down menu.

Where to find sitelinksWhere to find sitelinks

You can create new sitelinks by clicking the +New Sitelink button. You’ll need to set up a link headline and a destination URL.

Create anywhere from two to six for each campaign; it’s a good rule of thumb to stick with an even number to ensure they format neatly.

Call Extensions

Call extensions are a great resource if your business relies on phone calls for leads. Google Ads doesn’t allow you to include phone numbers directly in ad descriptions or headlines. Thankfully, call extensions give you something better by adding an embedded, click-to-call phone number as an extension. You can also optimize call extensions by scheduling the time of the day you want to run them (i.e., only setting them to work during your business hours).

Set up is simple. First, select Call Extensions from the View drop-down menu. Then enter your business phone number and you’re done!

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There is one more key feature within call extensions that we recommend setting up: Google forwarding phone numbers. This is a unique forwarding number provided by Google that allows you to track the phone calls that come from Google Ads.

Setting up call extensionsSetting up call extensions

The additional tracking is powerful information. The downside is that Google can tell when customers call those numbers, which means they can charge you per call (same as the cost of a click). But in our opinion, it’s worth the small investment.

Location Extensions

Location extensions allow you to list your business’s address in your ads. There are a couple of different ways you can get your address to show. If you have a Google My Business account, you can link that up so your ads will pull information directly from there. If you don’t have an account, you can manually add new addresses.

To add locations, select Locations from the View drop-down menu. If you have Google My Business, you should link your account to the campaign by clicking Addresses and selecting the correct account.

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If you don’t have Google My Business (we highly recommend you do if you’re a business with a physical location), you can select Manually Entered Addresses and +New extension. From here, you can enter your business information and apply it to all the campaigns.

Setting up location extensionsSetting up location extensions

If entered correctly, the address should appear as it does below:

Location extension exampleLocation extension example

Callout Extensions

The final extension I want to cover is callout extensions. Callouts are a way to promote unique offers or additional benefits of your product or business.

Callouts can cover a wide variety of offers, whether it be an evergreen selling point (i.e., “Quality Service”) or a monetary offer (i.e., “Free Shipping”). Callouts are the easiest way to quickly and clearly show more value in your ad while also taking up more real estate on the SERP.

Adding callouts is an easy process. First, select a campaign, click the Ad Extensions tab and select Callout Extensions from the View drop-down menu.
You can then add callouts to either the account or a specific campaign. You can add as many as you want, but each callout needs to be 25 characters or less.

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Final Thoughts

Ad extensions are a low effort, high payoff addition to any account that can add a ton of value to your consumers. Whether you want to get them to chat on the phone, go to a physical store, or just see that you offer free shipping, ad extensions can get that done for you.

The four that I mentioned here are easy to implement and are relevant to a majority of businesses, but there are other, less-used and more advanced ad extensions within Google Ads too. To learn more, a great resource is Google Ads Help Center.

Check out the rest of the six-part series:

PRIMER: What is PPC – Pay Per Click Marketing Explained
PART 1: Structuring Your Google Ads Account
PART 2: Understanding Campaign Settings
PART 3: Researching Keywords
PART 4: Writing Engaging Ads
PART 5: The Best Google Ads Extensions to Implement (you are here)
PART 6: Tracking Success

The post Building Successful PPC: The Best Google Ad Extensions to Implement appeared first on Portent.


Why Productivity is Such a Big Deal

Everyone wants to be more productive. The idea that you can get a lot done in less time and in a way that minimizes waste is compelling. Even better is the appeal that we can work better and produce higher quality. But often we mistake busyness for productivity. We pile on lists of tasks and keep trying to punch above our weight. Tim Kreider writes about The ‘Busy’ Trap for the NYT: Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy,…


Small adjustments

Even better than buying a new bicycle is adjusting the seat on your existing bike properly.

That’s because the height of the seat changes your power. It’s the point of maximum leverage, responsible for aligning all of the forces you bring to bear on the process.

When we begin to think about our work, we tend to focus on the largest structures–what it looks like from the outside. But as we engage with the problem at hand, it turns out that our impact changes based on how we stand, what we believe and the ways we interact with the systems right in front of us.

Get the strategy right, then implement small changes, repeated with persistence and generosity.