Category Archives: Marketing

4 Over-Hyped Tactics That Don’t Grow Your Business but Do Waste Your Time

There’s a basic strategy that grows every business. If you have been in business for any amount of time, you know that you need lead generation, a customer base, and a way to consistently get in front of your potential audience. Businesses fail when there is no marketing plan. You can have the best product or service in the world, but you won’t generate revenue if no one is there to see it. You have even seen terrible products and services sell like wildfire because of good marketing.

Fortunately, we don’t lack information on creating good marketing plans that help entrepreneurs build their audience. There’s a wealth of articles, podcast episodes and videos on growing your audience and generating leads. There are also some tactics that are passed around as if they’re law. You see them posted everywhere, and it’s not uncommon for you to be treated a certain way if you don’t adopt them. While these over-hyped tactics sound like they’re the only way — beware. Don’t rely solely on these audience-building strategies, or you’ll end up disappointed.

1. Hoping for organic reach on social media.

The social media platforms we know and spend time on have billions of daily users. The rise and growth of social media has created an opportunity, but that opportunity is different today. You can still reach your audience organically, but that reach is very small and only getting smaller. These days, the way you really reach people on social media is to pay for ads. Paid ads are effective but not a strategy every entrepreneur can afford.

What we see too often is entrepreneurs trying to “market” through social media. This entails posting about a product or service and then tagging a bunch of people. Even if you tagged everyone on your list, it would not be a real marketing plan. If your marketing plan relies too heavily on organic reach, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Social media and organic reach should be one part of a larger marketing plan.

2. Adding people who didn’t ask you to.

To build your business, you can build your email list, social media presence, social media groups and exposure. One strategy that has been taught is to add people to your different communities. You have probably been added against your will yourself. It’s super annoying and a tactic that will do just the opposite.

Just because you can add people to your communities doesn’t mean you should. You never get a second chance to make a first impression and adding people hurts that impression. Give people the option. Tell them about who you are and what you offer. Let them make the decision to join on their own.

3. Teaming up with entrepreneurs who are all talk. 

You are who you surround yourself with. Your business will grow if you are connected to entrepreneurs that motivate and inspire you. One tactic that won’t grow your business is teaming up with the loudest entrepreneurs. Actions speak louder than words and there is no shortage of people who will try to get you to believe their words. Don’t fall for the flash and hype. Look at an entrepreneur’s platform and results. Make your decision based on more than their words.

4. Chasing shiny, popular trends instead of doing what’s proven to work. 

Every week there’s a new shiny object. Two months ago, it was Facebook chatbots. Last year, it was Snapchat. Next month, it will be live video. There will never be a shortage of new and exciting marketing tactics that can help your business. A lot of them would even work, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you. It doesn’t mean now is the time to use them.

It’s very easy to get lost in a rabbit hole of learning. Information overload is a real issue for entrepreneurs. If your business is going to grow, you need a focused effort. You should create a real plan that has strategies that will work for where your business is at right now. Don’t chase the shiny objects.

There’s nothing stopping you from growing a business that gives you freedom and financial security. You can use today’s tools, technology and strategies to reach new leads consistently and create a plan to convert them. Don’t get caught up in over-hyped tactics that will ultimately derail your growth.


How to Create Monopoly in the Market

“If you try to remain unique, you will be the only one,

If you try to be the best, you will be number one”

In the current pace of globalization, it is considerably easier and accessible for most of the business enterprises to acclimatize the things already present somewhere around instead of begetting new model. However, market-creating innovations are comparatively more indispensable which generally enhance business’s economic growth. Here is a business success formula which can actually appraise a business organization to create a monopoly and not just be a part of the competition. “Improving 7/10 is far better than improving 3/10”, the formula which constraints on identifying and improving the competent core areas of a particular business instead of mounting the unproductive sections of the business.

A business organization needs to break or change the rules and create new strengths by adopting a monopolistic success formula. This formula will augment business firm in a feat of success and profitability in turn. Because being in a competitive market it leads you facing more marketing challenges while a monopolistic market actually drives you towards grabbing the complete market share. Monopoly is the situation where an organization can regulate the price of products & services by creating various entry barriers for other players to cut the competition. By taking into consideration few more tips an entrepreneur can build their monopoly in the market:

Intellectual Property Protection

If you have come up with a new trade secret, get it protected by getting exclusive legal rights from the government in order to keep limited monopoly power in the market. This is the way to scale up your business by creating an entry barrier in the market. For example, Pharmaceutical industry manufactures two types of medicines; one is generic and another is molecular. Generic medicines are made for normal utility just like substitutes for others but molecular medicines are specifically produced through advanced research and development done by the pharma company which no other can use the formula due to patented mark on it.

Strong Distributor Network

There must be a strong distribution channel with the business partners which helps in taking competitive advantage. A long-term association can be ensured by providing proper marginal value to the intermediaries who are directly or indirectly associated with the business. This strategy aims to create a good entry barrier in the market.

Exclusive Rights

According to your nature of the business, an exclusive access to an international product for making sales in home country can be reserved by taking the grant from the related country. This strategy helps in creating differentiation in the market. For instance, few mobile phone companies give exclusive rights to retailers like Flipkart and Amazon.

Economies of Scale

Another strategy for an entrepreneur to create a monopoly is to sell the products in large volume at a lower margin. The policy of centralized purchasing adopted by the companies generally enhances the scale of business which causes a reduction of average cost per unit. This economies of scale strategy discourages competitors to enter the market. Electric power, domestic utilities and Gas services are few examples of economies of scale.

Proprietary Technology 

With the uniqueness of your technology, it not only allows you to enhance the competitive advantage of your business but also makes your product impossible to replicate. This is another form of licensing strategy which allows businesses to create customer loyalty.

High Capital Investment

You can create an entry barrier by investing in new technology like Reliance has adopted marketing strategy for “JIO” in networking segment. New invention or research tends to create a monopoly in the market. The existing firms can also create an entry barrier by investing in new market technologies according to the market requirement.

Brand Equity

Creating a good brand name can be another strategy to create a differentiation in the market and enhance customer loyalty. It is the value which creates perceptual experience among the customers’ mind for a particular product.


A List of Effective Marketing Secrets for SaaS Start-ups

Many successful enterprise SaaS companies today have one thing in common – a working inbound digital marketing model. This is for the simple reason that customer acquisition costs are steep and failure to make the model work can make SaaS businesses unviable. A successful inbound function is truly the secret sauce to building organic traffic and growing your customer base! Read on to find out how you can go about doing this.

Google Understands at Least 4 Types of User Intents. Do You?

When Google recently moved their ads from the less distracting 20% column area on the right to the straight-in-the-face ads in search results, I was miffed for weeks. I felt Google was shooting itself in the foot and had set the stage for someone else to innovate on the search front. Soon I realized there was more to this than what meets the eye! “Google knows when to show ads and when to show content!”. The idea comes from deciphering the user intent. This also improves the user experience for search users. There are Google ads haters who don’t like to think this improves the user experience but let’s ignore them for a moment.

Although there can be a whole bunch of user intents that the search engine understands, I have selected four types based on subsequent online research, triggered by this spark. The first step towards building a great inbound model is for your marketing team to understand these four user intents and how to balance SEO and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) efforts.

Navigational Intent

Many users today tend to remember and search for brand names rather than exact website URLs. Of course, this is a classical example of unintended use cases when a product/service becomes as successful as Google. Google also gets to monetize this by allowing competitors to run ads on those brand name searches.

Informational Intent

This is where a user tries to find information, learn something, and acquire knowledge. When someone searches for “Pitfalls in business process engineering,” Google knows that the user’s intent is NOT to buy a product but to acquire knowledge, completely eliminates showing ads and just shows relevant content pages. The way the search engine decides to pick the pages from the domains is another point discussed later in this article.

Transactional Intent

When a user searches for something like ‘iphone 7 price in India,’ Google understands that the user is trying to make a purchase or commercial transaction. You might have observed that Google shows price cards from Amazon, Flipkart, and other popular e-commerce sites as results and directly takes users to those sites to make the purchase if they click on a card. From the user standpoint, they get the best user experience. Period.

Investigation Intent

This treads the line between information and transaction. Search queries like “Nexus vs Moto” or “Hyundai Verna vs Honda City” fall under this category. This is a hybrid intent where a user has an interest to purchase, but not until they research it first. If informational intent is the top of the funnel and transactional intent is the bottom of the funnel, this is right in the middle.

Understanding keywords for user intent and being conscious about it needs to become integral to one’s content marketing strategy. We have even included a section in our content briefing document that clearly spells out what intent we are writing the content for.

Topic Authority is the New Page Rank

If you are in the B2B market, you will be familiar with SaaS product listing sites like GetApp, Capterra, and the like. They host content ranging from CRM products to Church Management Software. Despite this diversity, Google is able to accurately feature the right pages in top positions for “Top CRM Software” or “Top Church Management Software” categories from those listing sites. This wouldn’t be possible if Google started associating the entire domain to a specific category or area of expertise.

The only way this can work is if Google starts indexing all the pages in a domain and classifies them into categories or areas of expertise (i.e. topics) and then compares them with other domains that specialize in the same topic, to conclude who fares better at a topic authority.

Finally, the TA of a specific topic within your domain determines whether your page will be displayed as a top result or not. How can you do this? Read our next article in this series….


4 Mindsets That Earn You More Customer Referrals

What’s the first thing you do when you get a referral from a customer? Chances are, you’re so excited as you build your startup that you fire off an email to the new lead hoping to turn them into a new customer.

If you’re doing this, you’re missing out on the quickest, least expensive and most effective new business generators you can find. And you’re also missing the entire point of referrals. Referrals are not about drumming up new leads to turn into new customers, and if you look at them this way, then you’re probably shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to growing your business.

If you want to dramatically increase referrals, you need to radically redefine what referrals are: A customer referral is an opportunity to celebrate and show deeper appreciation to your current customers. Once you can accept this new thinking, you’ll see happier current customers and more new ones.

This model works both for B2B and B2C companies, but let’s focus on a B2B model. At every startup in my career, I’ve approached referrals not simply as new business leads, but as a validation that we were providing value to the customer. With each new referral, we paused and took time to say thank you to our customers rather than rush to email or call the new lead. We didn’t wait to see if the customer’s friend became a new customer to decide if the referral were valuable. After all, the immediate value of a referral isn’t based on whether you get a new customer out of it. The real value is that one of your current customers has gone out of their way to validate and support you, and your recognition and celebration of this leads to happier customers and more referrals in the long run.

I put together a four-step framework for our new approach to referrals. Here’s the blueprint:

1. Earn the referral.

It’s obvious, but it so often gets overlooked. If you want a customer to refer you, make them happy, and give them value. Make that your focus, and ensure that you’re doing this instead of just asking them over and over for referrals. If they’re happy, sometimes you don’t even have to ask.

2. Offer help.

When you’re just looking for business leads, you ask your customers to give you a referral because it helps you. When you believe that your service truly helps your customers’ businesses succeed, you want to offer your services to help their friends’ businesses because it truly will help those businesses. Right after a customer refers you to a friend of theirs, you shouldn’t think, “Great! This is good for my company,” but rather, “Great! This is good for my customer’s friend.” And remember to look for positive moments when a specific customer is having a particularly good experience with you. That’s when people are most receptive to your offer to help their friends.

3. Commit

It’s a big deal for someone to refer a friend. They’re putting themselves on the line for you and spending some social capital. They don’t want to hear a quick, “thanks,” knowing that their friend is now a new entry in your CRM with sales people ready to pounce. They need to know that you’ll genuinely explore whether your service is the right solution at the right time for their friend and that if they become a customer, you’ll bring your “A” game and make sure they have a great experience.

4. Give thanks.

This is the heart of it. Remember, a referral is not simply a sales lead. A referral is a huge vote of confidence from a customer and the ultimate validation that you are truly providing value to their business. When you get a referral, your whole company should pause and celebrate the accomplishment. At that moment, your customer is saying that what your company and your team provides is of great value to their business. Take the time to reach out to the customer, and have others on your team do so. Let them know that you appreciate their support and belief in you, and that the whole company is appreciative of it as well.

To understand how this can work in practice, I once created a referral program called “Awesome Bombs.” The program even had a mascot, “Boomer.” Every time a current customer gave us a referral, we showered them with gratitude for their awesomeness. We gave our staff “awesome dollars” (an in-house currency) to spend on our internal referral website where they could order things like a custom bottle of “awesome sauce,” custom fortune cookies with awesome messages and other fun items that we’d send or deliver in person. Our customers loved it and had never had any company show them that much appreciation.

In the end, this new way of thinking brings positivity to you, your team, your customers and their friends. Transforming customer referrals from a sales and marketing opportunity to a customer appreciation and celebration opportunity will then create a virtuous cycle where referrals earn appreciation and appreciation wins referrals — virtuous cycle indeed.


5 Marketing Strategies From Major Brands: What You Can Learn From Their Mistakes and Successes

Marketing is a spectator sport. We can all learn from each other by observing what brands do in the marketplace, even if we don’t have big budgets.

Specifically, we’re finding more and more brands making a buzz in the court of social media, and there’s something to be learned from every one of them: the good and the, shall we say, not-so-good.

Marketing strategy mishaps


One of the most newsworthy marketing moments of late came from PepsiCo, which made headlines about snacks designed for women. Twitter lit up like a Christmas tree talking about “Lady Doritos,” asking CEO Indra Nooyi to focus on the bigger issues facing women that are making headlines right now. Even Ellen had something to say about it!

The lesson: Before any public announcement, prepare a message track that you have vetted with those closest to you to make sure it all makes sense. Then, make sure you understand the greater consciousness happening in the world and consider it in everything you say and do.


We recently enjoyed an entire buffet of Super Bowl commercials, many of them scoring quite well with consumers. But, one commercial in particular failed to resonate the way the company must have hoped. Ram Trucks used a voiceover clip from a speech from Dr. Martin Luther King that talks about service, and in the context of the commercial, it came across as disingenuous.

The lesson: Make sure your branding is consistent across the board, from your product or service offering to all of your marketing materials and messaging.

Marketing strategy successes

L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean, via Facebook and perhaps other touch-points, announced that it was no longer offering a lifetime guarantee, but rather a one-year return policy along with further consideration for defects that occur after that time. The company basically blamed those who abused the policy for having to eliminate it.

Yet, many customers explained that the lifetime guarantee was the only reason to purchase and the only justification for the price points. L.L. Bean kept quiet for a moment, and let other customers come to its defense by explaining the reasonableness of the policy and the need to uphold sustainable business policies. I actually joined in myself on that one! As a result, what could have been bad buzz quickly became a non-news item.

The lesson: Let your loyalists speak on your behalf in good times and in bad. Others can be far more influential for you than you can be for yourself.


Retailer CVS announced that it will no longer retouch photography in the marketing of its beauty products and it will stamp or label any other brands who continue to retouch or alter imagery, in an effort to promote positive self-esteem and healthy beauty standards. While viewed in conjunction with its decision to discontinue tobacco products a few years back, this move was heralded as yet another triumph.

The lesson: create a powerful platform that people can rally behind and that is at the core of what you do, and stick to it by repeating it with consistent and innovative initiatives over and over again.


After 140,000 applications to be the new Gerber spokesbaby, the brand picked its first baby with Down Syndrome after 90 years, which met with an immediate standing ovation on social media.The brand announced Lucas on The Today Show. According to Gerber CEO Bill Partyka in a press release, it was Lucas’s “winning smile and joyful expression” that won him the role and by the looks of the pic everyone could see why.  In one moment, Gerber proved its long-lasting mantra of inclusion that says “every baby is a Gerber baby.”

The lesson: Make sure your marketing materials reflect your brand — and prevailing attitudes that are relevant to your brand.

Marketing is certainly a spectator sport, for big brands and small. Pay attention to what’s out there in the marketplace, and you’ll learn things that you can positively apply to your marketing plan, too.


5 Advertising Strategies for Entrepreneurs Coping With Facebook’s Revised News Feed

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Facebook’s News Feed is very much a moving target these days. In early January, the company tweaked the News Feed to emphasize posts from friends and family. In practice, that means that users will see fewer organic posts from brands and publishers. More recently, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the platform will highlight more local news.

Some have speculated that Facebook’s identity crisis will cause a downward spiral. Business owners might want to consider advertising elsewhere while Facebook figures out what it wants to be. That may be bad news for some. Startups in particular have become adept at using Facebook’s ad-targeting capabilities. But as I’ve been arguing for some time, Facebook is a poor vehicle for advertising messages, especially video. With these latest News Feed changes, ad prices are likely to rise.

If Facebook ads have been a mainstay of your media diet, you might want to ponder how you can take advantage of changes caused by these News Feed tweaks. Here are five ways to do that:

Make better deals with publishers.

Though Facebook has said that the changes will take months, publishers are already freaking out about the prospect of losing Facebook-based pageviews. In particular, the change will affect publishers’ branded content efforts, which had offered a 50-70 percent margin. In the short term, some publishers are doubling down on notifications, a tactic that’s sure to annoy users. Since advertisers have been gravitating these past few months to brand-safe A-list publications, the News Feed changes give them a stronger hand in negotiations.

Consider using Messenger.

While Facebook limited brands’ presence in the News Feed, the company is eagerly soliciting marketers to try out Messenger. That effort has been going on for a while. Last year, Facebook updated Messenger’s natural language processing to give chatbots more context for conversations. That tweak also included new payment options and a new set of call-to-action buttons. If the past is any guide, Facebook will ensure that brands have a strong presence on Messenger until it feels the platform has taken off. Only then will it make it harder for brands to get visibility there. The focus on Messenger also dovetails with marketers’ needs. A recent survey showed that 80 percent of marketers plan to launch a chatbot by 2020.

Forget about organic reach.

If you were still clinging to the idea that you could get traction with your Facebook posts, then this latest News Feed change should be a wake-up call. Back in 2016, Facebook admitted its organic reach for brands was south of 2 percent and it has fallen at least 20 percent since then. For brands, Facebook is a pay-for-play medium.

Boost the quality of your content.

If you continue to advertise on Facebook, make it count. Create content that has a good chance of breaking through. Rather than a “spray and pray” approach, consider creating less content but spending more time on it. Drop the link bait, in other words.

Of course, quality is subjective. In this case, it means “whatever Facebook users think is good.” Industry benchmarks for Facebook ads also let you know how they’re performing overall. Savvy advertisers also use randomized controlled trials — a method that Facebook itself prefers — to see if exposure to an ad prompted more activity than no exposure at all.

Have less Facebook in your media diet.

Instead of absorbing Facebook’s price increases, consider that a News Feed that’s based more on friends and family will be an even less hospitable place for ad messages. Experiment with other ad venues like the open web, Snapchat, LinkedIn and even Facebook’s own Instagram to see whether you get a better response.

Far from ushering in the end of the world, Facebook’s News Feed tweak will likely restore some much-needed diversity in digital media. As Facebook’s changes sink in, publishers will work harder to build their own brands and marketers will experiment with different formats. That’s why Facebook’s News Feed changes aren’t such a bad thing. You might even say it’s good news.


Best Tips for Creating Google Display Ads and Landing Pages

Assuming you’re not a hands-on graphic designer, you have three good options when it comes to creating Google Display Ads and landing pages:

1. Use Google’s Ad Gallery. Find it by going into an ad group within a Display Network enabled campaign and clicking the blue “+” button. You can use any of Google’s free preset templates and insert your own images and text, or you can use Google’s auto-create feature that automatically generates ads by searching your website and existing Search ads. (The results aren’t always the best looking, but the tool is free, quick and easy.)

2. Find a budget designer. There’s a plethora of online services that will create image ads for you. We like and, where for $20 to $30 a piece, you can have some nice custom designs crafted in a few days or even hours. Both of these websites have portfolio pages, which are worth perusing if you’re short on ideas.

3. Hire a pro designer. Find the right professional freelance graphic designer, one who takes time with the creative process and isn’t grinding out dozens or hundreds of designs per day, and you can end up with some stunning and original images for your campaign.

Google has explicit rules on what is and isn’t allowed in image ads. Check every one of your ads against Google’s requirements before activating your campaign. Here are a few rules that Google Display Network (GDN) users most commonly fail to apply:

Technical specifications

  • Static images must be in jpg, png, or gif format and be of a file size no greater than 150 KB.
  • Animated images must be an animated gif or the correct version of Flash (swf), must run for no longer than 30 seconds (looping images are allowed, but must cease movement after 30 seconds), and be no more than five frames per second (fps) for gifs and 20 fps for swf. In either case, 150 KB is still the maximum file size.

Content specifications

  • No “trick-to-click” ads. The ad must look like an ad and clearly differentiate itself from the rest of the page on which it resides. If the ad is designed to look like a system warning or error message, it will be flagged and disabled.
  • The ad image must fill the entire image size and be correctly oriented.
  • The ad image cannot be “tiled” or appear to be more than one image (for example, one image designed to look like three different text ads).
  • The ad must be relevant to the landing page it’s sending people to.
  • The image must be of a high quality without any fuzziness or blurred images.
  • All text on the image must be legible.
  • Animated images can’t use strobe or flashing lights.
  • The image must be suitable for a family audience. Google takes a hard line on this one. Nothing even remotely borderline will be tolerated.

GDN landing pages

Generally speaking, you don’t want to send your display traffic straight to a sign-up form or product to be purchased. People who are clicking on display network ads are less ready to buy or hand over their personal information. They need to be given more useful, relevant and valuable content to consume. Treat it like a first date. Let them warm up to you, rather than trying to go straight for the sale.

It used to be that the prime goal of almost any smart site owner was to capture a visitor’s email address on their first visit. That’s changing. Most businesses are now happy to just cookie visitors and remarket to them instead. So the funnel now follows this sequence:

1.Eye-catching display ad
2.Webpage where you provide valuable content (without requiring visitors to take any action)
3.Remarketing ad where you bring them back to see additional content
4.Offer where they can give you their email or make a purchase

The point where you provide something of value and they give you their contact information is now more likely to occur on the second or third date.


8 Old-School Branding Techniques That Will Still Work for You Today

Everything seems so fast-paced these days: You go to bed one night and wake up the next morning to the announcement of an entirely new technology, or a breakthrough on a project that seemed far-fetched until, well, this moment.

If you personally have issues with the speed of change, imagine what companies contend with: To keep up and stay relevant, they have to adapt their branding, marketing and sales efforts at a pace at least as fast as that of the new techologies’ debuts.

Gone are the Mad Men days of designing billboards and magazine ads (those jobs still get done, just in a different way and with different tools). In are the days of instant publishing. Despite the changes that the marketing industry has experienced, though, there are still some old-school branding and marketing strategies that work as effectively as before. Just because they seem old-fashioned doesn’t mean they’re out of date.

Here are eight aged but still workable branding and marketing strategies that are as effective in 2018 as they were back in the day.

Business cards. Business cards are less common now that text and email are so prevalent, but they’re still as effective as ever. Rather than simply telling someone what you do and asking them to email you if they’re interested, (though they may not remember your email address), a physical business card is more personal.
Business cards visually represent you and your brand — they have your logo and contact information, which will visually stand out in your prospect’s mind. Moreover, not only do business cards stand out visually, but because you made a physical, personal connection, the next time that prospect needs your company’s type of services services, he or she will likely contact you first.

Snail mail. Who doesn’t love getting a personal letter? Unfortunately, nowadays, mail most of the time is just bills and advertising disguised as letters or important documents. You on the other hand don’t have to trick consumers into opening your mail, in order to have a successful snail mail campaign. Although impersonal ads are disappointing, coupons and discount notifications are not.

Public talks at events.  Speaking at events is a great way to get your company’s name out to people already interested in your industry. You can search out events related to your vertical or let connections know that you’re interested in speaking; then prepare an address that is educational and meaningful and will make a lasting impression.

Think about the last time you attended an event about something you were interested in. Did any of the speakers stand out to you? Why? When you find a speaker to be impressive, take notes, then apply his or her techniques to the next time you have the opportunity to raise awareness about your company. Offer yourself to speak at an event.
Publishing testimonials.Testimonials are as effective today as they’ve ever been. Customers turn to online reviews and testimonials all the time before making online purchasing decisions or deciding which service provider they want to use.

So, asking existing clients for testimonials and then publishing their words on your website and printed marketing materials will help establish trust between your brand and your customers and potential customers.

Sponsorships for community events.  One old school but great way to get your company’s name out there is your sponsorship of a community event. Whether it be a local high school football team or a charity walk to raise cancer awareness, an event that gets you involved in your community through your sponsorship will raise awareness of your company and the things you do. It makes for great PR as well.

Cold calls. The term “cold calls” has a negative connotation, but why? Perhaps the reason is that rejection is tough and some people just aren’t cut out for sales. Assigning one of those people to cold calling probably won’t result in much success. Others, though, do their best work when making cold calls.

So, if you’re pursuing this strategy, you’ll need a plan in place that includes a list of potential customers, a strategy and possibly a script. Once you feel confident in your pitch, call the customers on the list. Don’t be afraid to digress a little bit or indulge in a personal conversation, since it will warm your prospect up and keep the conversation friendly.
A branding redesign. If your brand has been around for some time, it may be time for a redesign. Although this can be a difficult undertaking, redesigning your brand, logo and the overall look of your company can get you a lot of attention. This is especially true if your branding is outdated. Old customers will enjoy a fresh new look while potential customers will get curious and pay more attention because, let’s face it, sometimes we do judge books by their covers.

Trade shows. Trade shows like CES are still as popular as ever. Whether you attend trade shows in your local area or travel to national and even global events, participating in and presenting at trade shows is a great way to increase brand recognition. Not only can you get your name out there, but you can show potential partners and customers your products, what they do and what else you have been working on.

Alhough these strategies may not be the newest ways to brand and market your business, they have been tried, tested and proven true. Which have you found to be the most effective for you and your business?


The 4 Most Common Troubleshooting Scenarios and What to Do About Them

The following excerpt is from Perry Marshall, Keith Krance and Thomas Meloche’s book Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising with guest writer Traci Reuter. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound

What do you do when your Facebook Ads tank? It’s time to troubleshoot!

Following are the four most common troubleshooting scenarios we see most often when running campaigns and what you need to do to salvage them.

1. Zero conversions

You launch your campaign, 24 to 48 hours go by, and you’ve got nothing. Alarms start to go off in your head. This is the worst of all scenarios.

First, verify that the Facebook pixel is on every single page. Start by checking every URL in your funnel. Click on the URL in every ad that has zero conversions and verify that the pixel is there.

Next, look at is whether you have the correct pixel on every page. Go to Ads Manager, select all tools in the dropdown menu, and then go to pixels. Once you’re there, you’ll find your ad account Pixel ID on the right side. Then you’ll want to cross-reference that Pixel ID with the pixel the Facebook Pixel Helper is listing. Make sure these two numbers match up on every page of your funnel.

Next, make sure you’re optimizing for the right conversion event and that your reporting columns match. You can verify the conversion event you are optimizing for at the ad set level.

Once you’ve verified that you’re optimizing for the correct conversion event, go back to your reporting columns and make sure that’s what’s being shown. If it isn’t, customize your ad report columns to show the correct conversion event. Simply select the correct conversion event that you want to show up in your reporting, and then save this reporting view as a preset. Name it something that makes sense to your campaign, and then save it as a default view so that it will be the first thing you see in your reporting. After you’ve verified that all the pixels are on the right pages, check and make sure all the URLs in your funnel are loading. If this turns out to be the case, you’ll need to have someone resolve what’s making the URLs load slowly.

If you’ve made it this far and still haven’t found the culprit, check the landing pages. Make sure all the call to action (CTA) buttons on all your URLs are working properly. Click on every single CTA button or link and make sure they’re going where they’re supposed to go. The final thing to look for in this process is to make sure that your landing pages actually have a CTA button or link..

2. Click-through rate (CTR) is high — cost-per-click (CPC) is low

CTR is the percentage of people seeing your ad who click through to it. In this case, we’re referring to the link CTR, and not the general CTR, which measures any clicks on your ad. CPC is the cost per click each time someone clicks through from your ad to your URL. A CTR over one percent is considered high, a low CPC targeting consumers is typically under $0.50, and a low CPC in the business to business area is usually $1 or less.

You might be thinking “It seems like a high CTR and a low CPC would be a good thing,” but not if you’re not getting any conversions or your cost-per-action (CPA) is high. There are three potential issues in this case — landing page, ad scent and targeting.

If it’s your landing page, people are clicking on the page but not converting. If it’s your ad scent, you don’t have any scent between your ad and your landing page. If it’s your targeting, you’ve been sending unqualified traffic to your page, and it’s time to take another look at your targeting.

If your landing page is the culprit, you should consider split testing your landing page. Average conversion rates for a landing page are around 20 percent, and if you’re running below 10 percent, you’ve got a problem. Rework your landing page, your registration page and your sales page, and see if you can increase your page conversion rates.

Ad scent is easy to overlook but pretty easy to fix. Look at your ad and look at your landing page — are there any similarities or familiar components?

Interest targeting seems like something you’d get right, but we’ve often seen people where people target an audience that really has no correlation with their target market. Take a little time to make sure you’re putting your ad in front of the right people.

3. Social shares are high — conversions are low

You might expect that if you have an ad that gets super crazy social engagement — people liking, commenting and sharing — that you’d get great conversions. That’s not always the case. If this happens, especially if your ad is getting lots of social shares, the first thing to do is re-evaluate your campaign objective. If you’re running a campaign with a traffic or page post engagement as the objective, that’s what the Facebook algorithm will give you — traffic or engagement but not conversions.

The next thing to look at is your ad copy. Is your hook strong? Is the copy leading to the next step in the customer journey?

Another possible solution to high social shares with low conversions is to rework your offer. If you’re getting high social shares, your ad is resonating with your audience and you’ve got a solid hook. It’s most likely the offer that’s missing the mark.

The final thing to consider is your ad copy and creative. It’s possible your ad is engaging people for the wrong reasons, and they totally miss the point that would lead them to convert because they’re focused on the wrong thing.

4. Relevance score drops or is low

Before you can begin troubleshooting this scenario, you’ve got to understand what relevance score is. It’s a huge priority for Facebook to only show people ads that are relevant to them. Facebook determines relevance score based on the positive and negative feedback they expect an ad to receive from its target audience. As people interact and provide feedback on the ad, Facebook adjusts the relevance score of the ad.

While relevance score isn’t the only factor in a poor performing campaign, it can impact your CPAs and conversions. A low relevance score is ultimately the result of a poor message to market match. Rewrite your ad copy to better connect with your target audience. Make sure your copy is hitting on their biggest pains, desires, and fears. Focus on taking your prospect from their undesirable before state to their desirable after state.

Original Article:

How Marketing and Advertising Are Bound to Change In 2018

Digital marketing hasn’t seen any major shifts in a while. Sure, we had to optimize our websites for mobile user experience, tweak SEO a little as the algorithm gods required and make a few other minor changes. Social media has been booming, too — but nothing very thought-provoking.

This new year is bound to be a different story, and we can’t sit around and wait. Look at what’s already happening: social media is changing, the law is changing, and there are murmurs about how net neutrality (or lack thereof) will affect digital advertising. It’s easy to predict the industry will face significant changes in 2018. Here are four key aspects that will shape the new landscape.

1. Privacy.

One successfully could argue the internet is funded mostly through ads. Websites use cookies that allow companies to target their customers based on what those consumers view in their own browsers. But users constantly are changing devices, and that makes it difficult to keep track of all the consumer touch points. Even savvy marketers are working hard to determine the channels with the most impact and justify their methods to clients.

Still, it’s doable. Robust marketing tools can track and connect user data to target individuals. But certain privacy concerns make this a little harder for internet advertising.

Ad blockers are just one of the challenges. According to a PaigeFair report published in January, 11 percent of internet users employ some type of ad blocker — a 30 percent increase from the previous year. Consumers want to protect their privacy, security and time from ad interruption. To curb this, some websites use walls that prevent browsers with ad blockers from viewing their content. These sites ask users to manually disable the blocker, but 74 percent of people in the PaigeFair report simply abandoned the site.

2. Live video.

Visual content has become more popular on the internet, and many companies are poised to make this their primary communication tool in 2018. That means rich media, creative videos, GIFs, memes and more are bound to be trendier this year. And there’s a good reason for it: Users interact better with visuals.
Of all the options, live video is the one to watch. A 2016 Buffer survey discovered more than 80 percent of marketers wanted to create more video. At the time, an impressive 42 percent wanted to target live video. In the same year, Facebook reported live videos were seeing as much as triple the watch time as traditional video. It also was garnering 10 times the comments. Live video is so effective because it’s authentic, human and littered with errors.

It’s not just live video versus recorded video — it’s live video versus everything. According to Livestream, 82 percent of users would rather watch a brand’s live video than read the same company’s social-media posts. A close 80 percent would rather tune in to a live video than read a blog post.

3. Artificial intelligence (AI).

Think it’s too early to talk about AI’s impact on marketing and advertising? Think again. AI already is entrenched in our daily lives, and it’s quickly becoming a rib in marketing. Worldwide, 58 percent of chief marketing officers believe companies will have to compete within the AI space to succeed in the next five years.

Enter AI marketing. This is how to bridge the gap between data science and marketing. Technology enables marketers to sift through a drastically multiplying data load to unearth insights that will help them provide value to target customers while gaining returns on their investments. Even better, this form of marketing doesn’t have to to take up all their time — they can automate much of the tasks to run in the background. With so many benefits, why would AI be incorporated into marketing strategies?

Over to you.

Whether 2018 turns out to be a good or bad year for the industry wholly depends upon the stakeholders in this marketing disruption. Professionals must begin to study the trends (if they haven’t already) and adjust their current strategies. What they have right now might not get them past the first quarter of what’s sure to be a highly competitive year.