Seun Obatuyi

I'm Seun Obatuyi. You may know me as a Search & Analytics professional. But, where's the best place to find my thoughts on life, startups, digital advertising and business? Here.

8 Qualities High Performers Have in Common – Are You One?

Who wants to be a top performer? Me!

You want to be a top performer. You want top performers in your team. We’re going to take a dive into Rich Tanksley’s (of advice on the 8 characteristics that identify a top performer employee, and how to be one. Learn how to find and keep quality employees in your startup.

Before we talk about the 8 things top performers have in common, why should you be a top performer?

I understand the blue ocean concept of universal abundance (and I agree it’s true), but in many cases, we are consistently in some kind of competition. Competing for limited jobs, competing in class for the best grades, competing with other similar businesses for customers’ attention, competing for fuel.

So there’s a constant expectation to perform better than the competition. Of course, you can get away with being OK, being normal, but it’s high performers who always get you wondering how they did it. What are the qualities or characteristics that make up a high performing employee?

1. High Performers always get the job done

According to Rich, this is the most important quality about a high performing employee. Everyone loves someone they can hand a job to and go to sleep. Every boss loves a high performer.

Every employer loves someone they can hand a job to and go to sleep

2. High Performers can live with minimal direction

This is not about putting “ability to work with minimal supervision” in your CV. Lord knows where those template words come from. It’s a fancy description, but it’s only true for the high performer.

“For example, if I gave someone the task to go open a new branch of my business in a new country, and he comes back to ask me the most basic of questions every single step of the way, the job will still get done –  that’s a normal guy, not a high performer.” A top performer knows how to use all the available resources to get stuff done. She will Google it, ask people, stalk people, go out there and just get it done.

This is not about putting “ability to work with minimal supervision” in your CV

Don’t get it wrong, high performers do ask questions, but only when they have tried different tactics but the solution eludes them merely because there’s one missing piece that the boss could now help with. When she asks questions, they’re high level, not basic.

3. High Performers take initiative

A high performer doesn’t need super-detailed step-by-step instructions, she has ideas on how to do things better and faster. If you have a high performer on your team and you rigidly emphasize the need to do things the traditionally way, be certain she’s looking elsewhere for an environment that fits her better. You’re not good enough for her.

She follows guidelines, but just like you, she understands they were placed there by other people and the rules are open for questioning and adjustment from time to time. If you’ve been able to consistently figure out how your boss can do something better or more efficiently before being asked to do it, you might be a high performer.

4. High Performers feed on feedback for lunch

High performers love feedback. They know they will do well most times, so they don’t mind those negative feedback whenever they come in. “Your work isn’t always gonna be awesome, ask your boss, ‘Is there something I can do to improve?’”

Even when the feedback doesn’t come in an all-so-sexy way, try not get too affected and focus on what the main point of the feedback is.

Your work isn’t always gonna be awesome, ask your boss, ‘Is there something I can do to improve?

5. High Performers get along with people well

Take a count of the most successful people where you work. Are they always the best skilled at what they do? Not necessarily. Are they the ones who know how best to work with people? Do they know how to get along with people a lot? Most likely, yes. High performers know how to do that too.

6. High Performers are open-minded

High performers are open minded. They are able to interact with people, irrespective of who they are, where they come from, their background, their sexual orientation, skin color – even if they are not exactly fond of the other person. They don’t let stereotypes get in the way of work. If you’re an ex-convict gay albino hooked on meth, you support religious and political groups I don’t approve of, you have what I consider to be bad breath, you carry too much hair, and you’re from a tribe that’s been connected with cannibalism; when it comes to work none of those should matter.

7. High Performers find a way anyway

A high performer is an excellent problem solver. She knows how to get around obstacles, anyway. She knows that problems must show up so she looks forward to what shape the next problem will take. She will find a way around it anyway.

8. High Performers understand limitations

High performers are fantastic people. But they can’t do everything by themselves. And they know this. They ask for help when they’re stuck. They take advantage of resources around them. They know that if they can’t tackle a problem at this time, they can try again when they’re stronger in the future.

High Performers…ask for help. They know that if they can’t tackle a problem at this time, they can try again when they’re stronger in the future.

Seun is great at Search Marketing and Web Analytics. He’s mostly working on digital marketing, SEO training, product management and humor with startup businesses that have Africa close at heart.

10 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Digital Marketer in Nigeria, and an SEO too!

10 questions to ask when hiring digital marketing manager in nigeria and seo

A smiling black human resource manager interviewed the applicant with his curriculum vitae for the job vacancy. 

This piece originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse as 10 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Digital Marketer in Nigeria, and an SEO too!

As an employer, no doubt you want to hire the right digital marketer. Caroline Wabara wrote an extremely helpful piece on 10 Digital Marketing Job Interview Questions Nigerian Employers Ask.

You’re probably wondering next why you should be asking these questions, and what kind of answers you should be expecting in return.

Here are those 10 questions again, why you should be asking them and a rough idea of answers you might want to look out for.

1. What is your digital marketing framework or strategy for our organization?

This question lets you understand how the interviewee thinks: holistic or meager; long-term or short-term; sustained approach or quick-wins oriented. You get to know whether they fit your goal of eventual world dominance or not.

Just as there’s no point hiring a digital marketer who has goals way beneath your acceptance, it’s also futile interviewing a digital marketer whose level of achievement and remuneration are seventeen leagues ahead of your organisation’s. You both need to be right for each other.

You both need to be right for each other.

2. What made you choose digital marketing as a career?

If the interviewee is honest, this lets you understand their motive for being in the business. It’s not supposed to be a criteria to judge them, but it just helps you see with clearer eyes the person you’re dealing with. And if they give you template answers that they got from a Google search, it’s a no no.

3. How well do you handle digital media crisis? Give us an example of a crisis you managed successfully?

I reached out to people who are better at social media on this. Princewill advises that you watch out for the interviewee’s understanding of the crisis scope and how they approach the situation.

Adeniyi says you shouldn’t expect that everyone has handled a crisis in the past and that you should watch out for honesty. And lastly, Joe reminds us to look out for choice of words and attitude.

4. What is SEO?

If you’re going to ask someone what SEO is, you need to know it yourself. Quit the over-rambling about “keywords” and forget about reading that Wikipedia article on SEO. The first two paragraphs of this Moz article should give you a functional idea enough.

Once you’ve read up, sit back and listen to your interviewee. If they talk too much about keywords, that’s a red flag. You want to hear a few more advanced stuff like user search behavior, recent user search history, and site architecture (especially if you’re hiring for an SEO).

5. Give us 3 best SEO practices that help a company’s website rank from nothing to front page of Google?

If you focus on the phrase best practice, then you easily see why this is a trick question. Keyword stuffing, suspicious link sourcing such as building links from blog comments and automating linkbuilding with software, are not just Google-unfriendly but can easily get you demotion in search rankings.

It’s also a good idea to ask the interviewee what their view of “curated” content is.

6. If your company website’s SEO rankings suddenly went from 1st position to 3rd page on Google search and your boss is screaming, what would you do?

One of the first things to do would be to find out if there was a recent Google update. Did the website make any big changes, like moving over to a new domain? Was there any change made to the robots.txt page? Sitemap? Or better still, run an SEO audit to find out. Google’s Page Speed Insight and  Mobile-Friendly Test are good places to start. In any case, be very wary of overly short answers.

Really it’s pretty much like checking a car for mechanical fault. Look for the Roll-your-sleeves-to-work-and-find-out-what-the-heck’s-wrong Mechanic mentality in the interviewee.

Really it’s pretty much like checking a car for mechanical fault. Look for the Roll-your-sleeves-to-work-and-find-out-what-the-heck’s-wrong Mechanic mentality in the interviewee.

7. What major successful digital marketing campaigns have you handled in the past?

Success is relative. So, depending on what level of professionalism you’re hiring for, avoid putting the interviewee on the spot, else you force them to lie or claim a team member’s success that doesn’t belong to them.

Instead, ask if they have been involved in digital marketing campaigns in the past. What specific things did they do to help the campaign? How did they determine what success meant? How did they measure those?

8. What ideas do you have in order to reduce your company’s Pay Per Click ads budget spending from $3,000 dollars a month to $2,500?

Usually, answers will revolve around looking deeper into ad data for opportunities to better target the right customers  in areas including interests, geo-location, device, timing of day, demographics, and optimising to avoid bidding for non-converting over-competitive search terms.

But anyone can easily learn all of those by reading a few blog posts before coming to your interview; so you can’t feel too smart yet. What you’re looking for areideas; they don’t have to be 100% actionable. Look for the reasoning behind the answers.

Ask further “How did you arrive at that answer?” “Why do you think it’s better to do it that way?” How does that method compare to this other method?” Then you can be sure that your prospective digital marketer’s answers are original and they have what they need to push on for your business.

9. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What area of digital marketing are you really good or weak at?

If your dude says something like, “Nah, I’m equally great in all aspects of digital marketing”, and you go along with him, it’s really your risk to take such dishonesty lightly.

Digital marketing involves social media, SEM, SEO, display advertising, email marketing, content creation, content marketing, analytics, design and more. For your candidate to say that they are evenly rounded in all aspects of digital marketing would make even Superman scared of them. And so should you too.

For your candidate to say that they are evenly rounded in all aspects of digital marketing would make even Superman scared of them. And so should you too.

10. Where do you see yourself 3 years from now?

Career question. You don’t need my help figuring what the right answers might sound like. You’re the CEO; you’re the Boss. Hiring and keeping staff will remain your toughest job but you can succeed.

To be honest, many factors contribute towards nailing a successful digital marketing campaign.. Find 7 of them here. That your digital marketer interviewee was successful with their past employer don’t mean they will automatically be for you. Asking the right questions means you can get an accurate picture of the person before both of you commit into a long-term relationship.

Happy Hiring!

Seun is great at Search Marketing and Web Analytics. He’s mostly working on digital marketing, SEO training, product management and humor with startup businesses that have Africa close at heart.

High Employee Turnover Rate in Your Startup? Here’s What You Can Do

If you run a startup with little perks, chances are you face many challenges including building the right online marketing strategy for 2016, and a possibly high employee turnover rate. How do you keep your best minds working on your team? You have bigger brands in your industry all guns out not just for your small share of the market but also for your young bright champs whom you worked hard to groom. It’s annoying. If you notice you’ve been losing quite a number of staff lately, here’s some more things you can add to what you’re already doing.

The Recruiting Process & A High Employee Turnover Rate

With all due respect to your level of experience, could you pay more attention to how you hire?

For example, do you usually send out invitations to vacancy applications or do you more often meet people at events and invite them over for a chat about working with you? Perhaps you rely on some other methods like referrals from friends or you use a recruitment agency.

All recruitment methods have their strengths. Look back into your turnover history and see which methods have been causing you a high employee turnover rate so far. Consider whether you would like to experiment with other methods of recruiting or cutting out a problematic method is good enough.

Consider Recruiting before NYSC

Your Alma mater is often a good place to start.

Work actively to arrange meet-ups with young students.

Use fellowships, conferences, seminars and the likes to meet young people and sample their minds. You’d be surprised what value you can find. It doesn’t have to be a meet of 5,000 people – just the right kind of people. It could be a small one. Like this one.

Repeat process next year or in another six months.

Remember to make friends and take selfies.

 Maybe you don’t want to have to facilitate a conference. No problem. Go through your list of contacts and find someone who knows someone who knows someone who does. If you have the guts to run a business, chances are you have friends who are doing similar fantastic things around, too. This is recruiting, it’s serious business, and no effort is too much.

On Competition

When some of your great minds leave, where do they leave to? Bring up a list of ex-employees, chat up your current staff and find out. A discovered pattern could help you get an idea of something your employees want that they get elsewhere and that you probably haven’t paid attention to yet. You never know until you find out.

On Employee Work Experience

You think you know what it feels like working for you? Think again.

Reach out to “lower-rank” employees and really find out what it feels like working for your company. Could there be certain stumbling blocks that some of your employees have been facing lately? Find a few honest people who aren’t trying to play you and find out from them.

For example, have your employees had to stay back late consistently for a while now and perhaps you didn’t notice because you’re hard worker yourself? Yes you do tell them when it’s 5, “Go home. Get a life.” But in an economy that’s so tough it takes many people about half a-day’s work to earn a dollar, your employees are hardly going to be willing to believe you mean it when you say “Go home.”

Neither hardworking professionals nor lazy rookies prefer to stay late at work. Could they instead run shifts on who stays earlier and later, and on what days?

On Employee Happiness & Company Culture

Yes, you treat them right. You’re a good CEO, fantastic team lead or selfless manager. But sometimes humans are damn right selfish. Sometimes your employees may think that a salary raise will make them happier. But you know better. This is where a company culture helps against a high employee turnover rate.

Build a Company Culture. Spread it. Take the lead in living it.

The goal should be to create and imbibe a culture that’s so strongly pronounced your employees see that you are the true epitome of it. So strong an interviewee who comes within your midst smells it in the air and instantly knows whether they fit in or not. They won’t need more money to stay on working with you. You can read more on company culture.

But I could be wrong; if you prefer to pay more money than build a company culture – your way.

Still on Employee Happiness

It’s normal that a company continues to improve a good employee policy over time.

If you’re reporting an unusually high turnover rate, it’s a possibility that people aren’t feeling fulfilled on your job. Work on adding some unique “silent” benefits that your employees won’t get anywhere else. Benefits that should make your employees think before leaving: “What would I be losing if I left this company now?” Free food? A close-knit brotherhood? Or perhaps unlimited vacation.

I don’t know what will work for you, but I’d really like a company that allows me the option to stay and work from home say, up to 5 days a month. I hope my employers are reading this.

Another idea could be making sure each of your employees spends, say 1 hour of their time at work working on something that is not directly work-related. Encourage them to share frequently what they learn with everyone on the team. This method is related to what is called the 80-20 principle. After an initial failed attempt, Google found a way to adjust the principle to fit their model.

Now just before you go, there’s a common belief that Nigerians have that things like these can’t work for us. Let me know if you disagree with my article on the typical Nigerian mentality.

Please I don’t exactly understand what they mean; maybe what these people are trying to say is that we’re sick. And maybe that’s why we only have a few other world-class companies other than Dangote and GTBank. We all want to play safe. “Stay onside.” If you’re among those people who think that way, you need to stop. Anything you put your heart to – that’s what works.

It’s quite overcrowded here. We need people to get their asses out there and do stuff. Anything.

About getting and keeping your great hires, aka, reducing a high employee turnover rate, you never want to compromise quality. Let this post remind you that there are the good people you seek out there. You’ll find them, you’ll treat them the way you would want to be treated when you were at their stage in life. They’ll sense it, most won’t want to leave, and you’ll all be happy doing so.

Some however will still itch to leave. It’s OK to let them.

You did all you could.

Find this post on LinkedIn Pulse

Seun is an SEO professional who has worked with 13+ businesses and start-ups on their digital advertising: search engine optimisation, PPC, ecommerce content development & marketing, SEO training for teams, and SEO hiring. He’s worked with teams in 16 countries and has written more than 1 million words for the web. 

Find him at seun[at]

How 41% Rise in Ad block Use Affects Your CMO’s Advertising Strategy for 2016

Rethinking Digital Advertising

Just recently, PageFair noticed that:

The way the public has taken to [ad blocking] technology suggests users aren’t happy with Internet advertising. And if ads are annoying potential customers more than enticing them to buy your product, you’re spending a lot of counterproductive money.

(In another post, I’ll talk about why ad blocking software is more of a win solution for ad buyers than it is for any other group: ad sellers or ad consumers.)

As a digital marketer, you’ve had clients come to you say excitedly, “We want our ads appearing everywhere. We want to show up everywhere.” Then they add: “Like Jumia. Like Konga.”

Paint Facebook red with ads. Bid off all of the competition on PPC. Take up all the spots on Mobile. Leave none for competition. Remarketing used to be cool. We remember we once thought, “Oh wow! These Jumia and Konga guys follow me everywhere I go!”

Then the habit turned annoying. We began to ignore the ads.

Big brands over-kill interruptive marketing to the point that ad consumers began to sort of protest. They began installing ad blocking software.

Our dear friends who used to be our loyal ad consumers now block us vehemently.

If your CMO’s 2016 strategy for marketing online is to “throw ads in their faces; make them buy”, then you and your team will need to be a bit smarter this time around. Ad consumers are smarter already.

Interruptive advertising is dying.

We’re in a different disposition now. What disposition, then? Some say we’re in the Content Marketing disposition.

Content Marketing is Great. But Keep Your Consent Marketing Game Stronger

In 2014, $145 billion was spent around the world on Content Marketing and that figure is expected to double next year. Content marketing is one of the most successful media for lead generation. We’re getting deeper and deeper into the Content Marketing Dispensation. But relax your oars not, as content marketing is not the Promised Land. It too will fade out. Here’s why:

What we call Content Marketing changes over time. It started with simply blogging.

Then some brands over-killed it.

Then the focus moved to delivering content into the email of our buyers. Overkill follows.

Then Infographics came.

If there’s anything we’ve learnt, it’s that how the consumer wants to be marketed to changes over time. Sometimes very fast. Those changes are heavily influenced by her experience with both you and other marketers. At a time, she begins to look away. Then we have to figure out another way to get her attention.

To get your customer’s attention in a way that contributes positively to ROI, you need to find a way to seek her consent first. If she doesn’t want to hear from you, she’ll ignore your banters. No matter how much you spend, you’ll lose most of it. Make sure she wants to be spoken to when you speak. Let her feel that she’s truly in control. Isn’t she?

“Install our app to get 5% off”
*gets her attention*
*Installs app*
“Ah so you do want us. Great”

Your buyer should be glad that you’re showing up, not sighing that you’re there.

Let your buyer say exactly how she wants to be marketed to. Respect her.

Here’s more on how to do this:

Give away something first

Find a common ground between you and her. Draw her in. Blog about things your audience cares about. Don’t sell when you’re connecting. Don’t sell. Don’t put unhelpful links in your content.

Let her realise that it’s not like she’s here, and you’re there. She’s here and you’re here.

Build Trust

If money can’t buy your love, why would it buy your customer’s? Your Director doesn’t have a chill. The board has targets on your neck, and to make matters worse your company’s stock prices are falling. But guess what – your buyer doesn’t give a H.O.O.T about all those. (Why would she? She doesn’t even read the stock market report.) And if one person’s opinions should matter now, it should be her’s. Building trust takes sincerity on your part, a willingness to give more to the customer than you may ever get back. Most of all, building trust takes time  years.

PS: One day I got an email from a brand I cared about. They said to me in the email: “Hi Customer” Please, don’t be like them.

Social Media is an Institution. Use it with Sense

Would you want to interact with a brand whose social media only tweeted about sales? I wouldn’t. You don’t have to be fantastic with social media to be profitable. But don’t be a jerk either.

Reward for Sharing your Business

Hint your customer about the possibility of sharing your business to friends and family. It’s great if you can give a reward for that. It’s these little things that matter to her.

Invest in Search Optimization & Search Marketing

*Types “I need tornadoes” into Google*
* shows up*
“Aha there you are! Been looking for you”

You want your ecommerce product pages to lead to 500 more product sales, don’t you? Spend time and money on search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). Do the work once; make sales over and over again. Your average net profit per product sold should determine how much you budget for SEM. Find someone who can help you determine the right point for your business.

Search optimization pays good dividends. Good enough for you, if a customer has spent considerable time interacting with your website recently, your website has a better chance of showing up slightly higher in the natural search results the next time she searches on Google.

In conclusion, don’t get me wrong. Traditional “pushy”, interruptive marketing methods do work. They work for big brands who have deep pockets. They’re only more expensive and with generally lower conversion rates. It doesn’t have to be same with your business, does it?

I’ve seen businesses record a 0.50% CTR after a “pushy” ad campaign – and that was considered success! A successful search engine CTR on another hand, depending on competition or industry, would usually start from about 9% – at least!

Truth is in the end, no one can guarantee you 100% results even if you do all that’s needed to do. Besides a lot of factors affect what happens in the end other than your digital marketing efforts. Will you go bankrupt? No one knows. You don’t, either. Kodak did. Delta Airlines once did. And $690-billion company Lehman Brothers did, too.

But what we do know is, if you make the decision to respect your customer while planning your 2016 advertising campaign, you’ll be ahead of most in your industry.

The smaller your company is, the swifter you’ll move with these principles.

Find this post on LinkedIn Pulse.

Seun is an SEO professional who has worked with 13+ businesses on their digital advertising: search engine optimisation, PPC, ecommerce content development & marketing, SEO training for teams, and SEO hiring. He’s worked with teams in 16 countries and has written more than 1 million words for the web. 

What’s the Difference Between Kaymu and OLX?

The major difference between Kaymu and OLX is that while OLX continues to be majorly a consumer-to-consumer model, Kaymu seems to be projecting itself to be more of a platform for already real-time sellers to meet new customers online. Thus Kaymu is fast becoming both a C2C and a business-to-consumer model at the same time. What this means is that Kaymu may well be positioning itself to be the winner in this silent war between itself and OLX.

Though both started out as C2C businesses, there’s a market differentiation currently going between OLX and Kaymu. But before you see it, you need to understand first, how are Kaymu and OLX similar in the first place? How are Kaymu and OLX different from other conventional buying and selling platforms in Nigeria such as Jumia and Konga?

What are the Similarities Between Kaymu and OLX?

Kaymu and OLX do not use the conventional online store method. Kaymu and OLX both use the marketplace model. The marketplace model allows a user to make transactions with other users on the same platform. Fellow users sell to fellow users. Many people already knew this to be true for OLX, but Kaymu plays its game so well, most Nigerians actually think that Kaymu sells from its own inventory. I wrote a few days ago about the similarities between Kaymu and OLX.

Kaymu and OLX: Both sell to consumers. Neither runs a physical inventory. Both use a 100% marketplace model.

What makes Kaymu and OLX Really Different?

While Kaymu and OLX may be similar in their product offering, their target market and hence, market strategy, are quite different. And here’s how:

OLX runs a typical consumer-to-consumer (C2C) model. This doesn’t have to be true with all the products on OLX. But that’s OLX’s major focus. You have a Samsung S5 smartphone and you want the new Samsung S6 smartphone. You decide you want to sell your smartphone. What comes to your mind: OLX! Consumer-to-consumer.

True, Kaymu is known also for the C2C model it started with, but on the other hand, its focus recently jeers towards a business-to-consumer (B2C) model. This is clear from the company’s new focus to register full-time sellers from major markets. Kaymu has a system on ground whereby it adopts real-time sellers from major markets and gives them a chance to sell to its large community of buyers online. Call it Operation bring the sellers online or something; it has a teams of employees fully on this project and they have extensively covered markets including Balogun and Trade Fair, at least.

What Are The Similarities Between Kaymu And OLX?

by Seun Obatuyi

Just like most other online shopping sites in Nigeria, Jumia, Konga, Kaymu and OLX sell to consumers. But where the products come from is not exactly the same for all of them.

There are 2 Possible Online Shopping Models: Online Store or Online Marketplace

There are majorly two major online shopping models any shopping site can use.

Conventional Online Store Model: Jumia and Konga are Similar

The first method is the conventional online store model; a shopping site sells to buyers from its own inventory of products. This gives the online store more control over pricing, it can issue out vouchers quite flexibly, update prices for its promos and work with brands more effectively. The fact that Jumia and Konga both typically run the conventional online store model is what makes them similar. Other shopping sites that use the conventional online store model include Payporte and Kara. Kaymu and OLX are not online stores (more…)