Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in Pubcon Las Vegas, one of the world’s largest, most popular digital marketing conferences. Before shipping out for the event, I read a few “surviving Pubcon” guides and the most commonly shared piece of advice was to plan ahead and map out exactly which sessions you plan to attend.
When I arrived, it became very apparent that this was a wise move. There were multiple tracks so, at any point during the 4-day event, attendees had the option of listening to one of six presentations, roaming the exhibit hall or networking with fellow attendees.Although I tried to stick with my meticulously planned schedule, it was tough. There were tons of interesting presentations so I frantically bounced from room to room trying to fit everything in. By... > Read more
What makes an outstanding presentation? One that pushes you to think from a new perspectives? One without an endless string of snooze-worthy PowerPoint slides?Perhaps gaining actionable items to implement and grow your business?Nope, you guessed wrong.According to the self-proclaimed poster boy of content marketing, Joe Pulizzi, a great presentation is one you go into with low expectations.
For instance, if you expect to go home with one actionable item, but instead go home with two (i.e. it exceeds your expectations).As marketers and business owners, you’ve probably attended your fair share of unfortunate presentations. As an avid public speaker, Pulizzi’s goal is the make sure this is not the case. Last week I found myself slurping down a lukewarm cup of coffee in the cozy wine cella... > Read more
I recently had the pleasure of hosting a webinar on lead generation strategies with the incredibly knowledgeable Tim Paige, Conversion Educator at LeadPages.LeadPages is a dynamic software company headquartered in Minneapolis – and they're growing fast. They just launched in 2012 and already have millions in revenue from over 30,000 customers.
LeadPages hit a $3.5 million run rate nine months after launching and are now growing at a rate of about 20% each month.Tim and I got together to share the lead generation strategies we've used to build our companies far quicker than most are able to achieve. My own company, WordStream, is now seven years old and has grown 677% in the last three years, to $6.6 million in annual revenue.So how do you DO that?Have a look at what LeadPages learned fro... > Read more
Here at WordStream, we occasionally do a “Make a Wish” exercise where everyone gets to make a few (work-related) wishes and we try our best to make them a reality. Recently, I wished to hire a data scientist for the content marketing team. And lo and behold, my wish has been granted! We’re planning to hire for a new data scientist role in early 2015.
I had a lot of questions about how data science works in conjunction with content marketing, so I turned to one of the best in the field: Peter Meyers at Moz, perhaps better known by his Twitter handle Dr. Pete. Pete was kind enough to answer all my questions about what a data scientist does, what data science tools he uses, the ethics of data science and more.Peter Meyers is a cognitive psychologist and resident Marketing Scientist at Mo... > Read more
Don’t have many bucks to spend on your biz? No worries – there are plenty of marketing tactics you can make use of that won’t blow your budget. Let’s see how far you can stretch those dollars! Here are 20+ marketing ideas for small businesses working on a small budget.1. Publish Great Content.
I don’t think I even need to say this, but it’d be neglectful not to mention the importance of kick-ass content. If you can create it yourself, all the better (isn’t free always better?). Even if writing isn’t your strong point, you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting someone on your team to crank out some articles for your blog. Try top 10 lists, tip collections, best practices for your industry, etc. I shared a bunch of creative content marketing ideas here, and Elisa recently... > Read more
Growing up with a large stack of Martha Stewart magazines scattered around my family coffee table, and learning how to bake my first batch of homemade brownies alongside the crafting legend, I would’ve never thought I would someday be in the presence of such a successful and influential entrepreneur.
Not only did I watch with awe as Martha Stewart graced the stage of HubSpot’s annual Inbound conference last week, but I even enjoyed an organic breakfast with the household name. Martha opened up her keynote by making green juice on stage as shot-glass sized cups were passed along to the audience to sample.To me Martha is the queen of entertaining, crafting and building a brand centered around her identify. As she addressed the audience I felt a sense of familiarity, like we’ve known ea... > Read more
As much as we may hate to admit it, the rules are always different for small businesses.Most of our clients fit in the small-to-medium-sized bucket, and hey, we’re right there in that bucket with you. So it’s worthwhile to acknowledge when the best practices that work for big brands don’t really apply to us little guys.
Today I’ll be discussing some content marketing “rules” that it’s OK for small businesses to break.Supposed Best Practice #1: You Need a Content Marketing StrategyThis is the content marketing rule I hear over and over again, and it’s starting to grate on me as much as “content is king” and other hackneyed marketing clichés. (Apologies to my strategy wonk friends.)There are a few problems with the “you need a content strategy” refrain. First, it’s ... > Read more
When the classic strategies aren’t delivering, you send in the guerrillas. They’re the extra-special forces – the ones that implement killer strategies to turn the tide and defeat the enemy.Guerrilla marketing is a great alternative to traditional marketing. It thrives on original thinking and creativity, where imagination and ingenuity beat out big budgets.
Guerrilla marketing tends to be cheaper than traditional marketing, relying on smaller, more localized brick and mortar strategies like:Graffiti: Graffiti marketing uses city streets and alleyways as a giant canvas. While smaller, more covert operations will make their mark wherever they want, for most businesses it’s recommended to get permission from a property owner before going Monet on the walls of their establishmen... > Read more
If you run a small business, maybe you have an idea of your target market. However, a vague idea is not enough to compete in today’s ruthless business environment. Without detailed knowledge of your target market, you could be losing business to your competitors or missing out on opportunities to increase sales.
Just don’t target your customers with a compound hunting bow.In today’s post, we’re going to look at what target markets are, how to identify them, examples of target markets, and how to refine and develop target markets by segmentation. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get started.What Is a Target Market?Simply put, a target market is a specific group of people you have decided to target with your products or services.Sounds simple enough, right? Well, the con... > Read more
Do you want your content to be unforgettable? Do you want parents to pass on your blog posts to their children, and your white papers to their grandchildren? Of course you do! And the solution is simple – make your content hilariously, milk-exploding-from-nostrils funny. All right, maybe your creations won’t earn a place in the family hope chest, but a touch of comedy will greatly improve any content piece’s shelf life.
News bloggers can write as many as six articles a day, and while those articles may generate tons of views, they tend to go in one ear and out the other. Most readers won’t remember that article next week, never mind who wrote it.The truth is, if you want to be memorable, you need to be funny. You gotta make ‘em laugh! A Spoonful of Comedy Makes Dry Cont... > Read more
Timing is everything – right? It may not be everything, but it certainly matters, especially when it comes to getting subscribers to notice and open your emails.So when is the best time to send newsletter emails? We have some advice and we’re eager to share.Best Email Send Time: General AdviceThese general email send time tips are widely accepted by the email marketing community.
They are great when you’re starting off, but be sure to read on and see why they won’t always work.Daytime vs. Nighttime. While this one may be obvious, it’s usually better to send out your email campaigns during the daytime. You know, when people are awake. Not asleep.Mad Mondays. The general consensus is that should avoid sending out email blasts on Mondays. Why? People are already bummed out about the... > Read more
I recently came across this video, in which renowned Austrian graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister tackles the stubbornly enduring buzzword “storytelling.” In refreshingly candid and colorful language (some of which is NSFW, by the way), Sagmeister dismisses those who claim to be storytellers, because the majority of people who apply this label to their work simply aren’t storytellers.
Before we go any further, watch the video. It’s only two minutes long. Go ahead, I’ll wait.WARNING: Again, this video contains some NSFW language. If you’re in the office, wear headphones.Although Sagmeister is referring to the concept of the self-styled storyteller within the context of design, his remarks are equally applicable to content marketing. We keep hearing about the importance of storytel... > Read more
Good webinars can be a little like independent movies – they leave you feeling wonderful, inspired, and ready to take on the world. Bad webinars, however, are more like Michael Bay movies – after two hours, you begin to wonder how somebody could have possibly been paid to make something so unapologetically terrible.
If you’ve ever wondered how to do a webinar that people will actually want to watch, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s post, we’re going to look at whether you should even be planning a webinar, a checklist of webinar best practices, and we’ll also learn some valuable lessons from two of WordStream’s seasoned webinar pros along the way.Should You Even Produce a Webinar?Believe it or not, this is a question that most marketers fail to ask before diving he... > Read more
We live in a wondrous age my friends. Knowledge and learning can be obtained with a few clicks of the mouse, opening education and intellectual stimulation to anyone with a scholarly spirit.Below is a list of our favorite online marketing courses, most of which are free or very nearly free. Let the learning begin!WordStream’s PPC UniversityPPC University.
Our new PPC University is an awesome one-stop shop for learning all the ins and outs of PPC. With easy-to-browse lessons for beginners and advanced PPC users, there’s something for everyone at the grand old PPC University. In addition, PPC 101 is available as a free marketing course download. Toga, toga, toga!Google’s Online Marketing ChallengeGoogle Online Marketing Challenge. Is there a better source to learn about online marketin... > Read more
Ask a marketer or business owner what they’d like most in the world, and they’ll probably tell you “more customers.” What often comes after customers on a business’ wish list? More traffic to their site. There are many ways you can increase traffic on your website, and in today’s post, we’re going to look at some of them.
1. AdvertiseThis one is so obvious, we’re going to look at it first. Paid search, social media advertising and display advertising are all excellent ways of attracting visitors, building your brand and getting your site in front of people. Adjust your paid strategies to suit your goals – do you just want more traffic, or are you looking to increase conversions, too? Each paid channel has its pros and cons, so think carefully about your objectives before y... > Read more
Everyone knows the old saying – the more email subscribers you have, the better you feel, so get folks to signup, and give them a good deal! What, you’ve never heard that one before? Something about beans? Whatever, you’re crazy.Email newsletter subscribers are valuable soft leads that, with the right amount of gentle cajoling, could end up one day as full-fledged customers or clients.
That’s why today, we’re bringing you 27 genius (if I do say so myself) strategies to boost newsletter subscribers! Can you sense the impending full inbox? I sure can! Here we go.RELATED: Perfect Timing: What's the Best Time to Send an Email Campaign?Blowout the incentives. One DMA report shows that 60% of users sign up for an email newsletter to receive offers and sales. So push it – push it good... > Read more
Today I’m happy to share an interview I did over email with Erica McGillivray. Erica is a die-hard geek who spends a ridiculous amount of time being nerdy (her words, not mine!), both professionally and personally. At Moz, she's the senior community manager and helps wrangle a community of over 400,000 members, co-runs the annual MozCon conference, and works on whatever else is thrown her way.
She's also a founder of GeekGirlCon, a nonprofit run by volunteers that celebrates and supports geeky women with events and conventions. In her spare time, Erica's a published author and has a comic book collection that's an earthquake hazard.We’re all secretly jealous of the community that Moz has built over the years. Let’s hear from Erica how they did it.We’re so impressed with the online ... > Read more
Many companies approach brand voice as an afterthought. Although it’s important to ensure that you’re creating great content, publishing on a regular basis, and keeping an eye on your overall content strategy, without a cohesive and consistent brand voice, you could end up confusing your most loyal fans or deterring would-be customers.
In today’s post, we’ll be looking at the elements of brand voice, how to develop brand voice through content, and we’ll also examine several examples of brands that have leveraged content to strengthen their brand and reinforce key messaging.What is Brand Voice?Simply put, brand voice is how your company expresses its messaging. Brand voice touches virtually all aspects of corporate communications, from advertising and slogans to blog posts and visu... > Read more
Long gone are the days when clickthroughs and time-on-page were the most important content marketing metrics. Today, many publishers are changing their approach to shifts in audience behavior to focus on attention and engagement as the defining measurements of success.Although pageviews and unique visitors are still relatively valuable metrics to marketers, they don’t paint a complete picture of how people are interacting with your content.
In today’s post, we’re going to examine the trend of analyzing how visitors are engaging with your site, not just how many, and look at some examples of this shift and how you can start measuring audience attention.RELATED: 32 Free Content Marketing ToolsWhat is the Attention Web?Firstly, while the so-called “attention web” is a genuine shift i... > Read more
By Sean Ellis, Founder and CEO of Qualaroo and GrowthHackers.comSearch marketing is the ultimate in mature channels, dominated by best-practice marketers who have honed their programs to the point of near-perfection. In particular, Google AdWords is ultra-competitive and there seem to be little to no low-hanging fruit, making it difficult to find positive ROI without a sizable marketing budget and a lot of SEM expertise.
Taken together, these factors combine to make search engine marketing one of the most crowded, competitive acquisition channels out there—and for good reason, because all that active commercial intent can lead to quick conversions.While it might not be readily apparent on the surface, growth hackers and search marketers share a lot of the same DNA. I should know. I coine... > Read more
Love it or hate it, clickbait has become yet another weapon in the content marketer’s arsenal. These days, it seems as though no site is above resorting to dastardly tricks to get you to click on their content, and these techniques have become so familiar, some experts have questioned whether clickbait has a future.
Image credit: SlateTable of ContentsWhat is Clickbait?The Benefits of ClickbaitThe Dark Side of ClickbaitWhat Is Clickbait?As its name implies, clickbait is content that is written specifically to attract as many clicks as possible. Just about any type of content can be considered clickbait. News stories, blog posts, interviews, infographics, videos – packaged in a certain way, you can make any web content clickbait. However, clickbait typically has several of the following ... > Read more
Marketers spend most of their time trying to appeal to their target demographics, but when it comes to women, many of them are missing the mark. Given that women make up half the population and have a disproportionate amount of purchasing power, isn’t it in your best interest to try to understand them? Here are 23 surprising facts you probably didn’t know about women and advertising.
Facepalm - because actions speak louder than words.Women account for 85% of consumer purchases (She-conomy)Despite this, 91% of women say advertisers don’t understand them (Ibid.)Women control 73% of U.S. household spending (Boston Consulting Group, 2009)Women account for 58% of U.S. ecommerce spend (Women’s Buying Behavior Index 2013)22% of women shop online at least once per day (Ogilvy & Ma... > Read more
The chances are pretty good that, even though you may not have realized it, you’ve seen several examples of native advertising. These days, native advertising is everywhere – and it’s getting harder and harder to spot.There’s something not quite right about this cheeseburger…In today’s post, we’re going to look at what native advertising is, why it can be so controversial, and several native advertising examples that are really impressive – as well as a few that are downright terrible.
What is Native Advertising?Simply put, native advertising is paid content. Articles, infographics, videos, you name it – if a content producer can make it, corporations can buy it and publishing platforms can promote it.Now, you might be thinking, “How does a native advertisement differ fr... > Read more
Word of mouth marketing (lovingly nicknamed WOMM) can make or break your biz. It can build you up and tear you down faster than an OC socialite. Do word of mouth marketing right and you’ll have (almost) no need of an ad budget; customers will share stories of your sublime service at dinner parties across the country, and that’s better than any billboard.
The popularity of sites like Yelp and Angie’s List, and even Health Grades for the medical industry, show how important the old Word o’ Mouth is. While anonymous online word of mouth is plentiful, savvy users are aware of how reviews can be manipulated and faked, which is why person to person WOM is still the most powerful form.The WOMM wombat shares it’s opinions with friendsWord of mouth marketing is, at its heart, using happy ... > Read more
We’ve all hit it – that wall that seems to sap away all your magical creative marketing juices. Suddenly you feel like Peter Pan without his pixie dust.If you’ve never seen Run Fatboy Run, it’s a great movie!All you need is a bit of help to kick your marketing strategy back on track. And guess what? We’re dishin’ out 64 creative marketing ideas and inspirational tips to help you bust through that brick wall.
Let’s get started with…Social Media Marketing IdeasUrban Marketing IdeasContest Marketing IdeasMarketing Ideas for Contest PromotionContent Marketing IdeasSocial Media Marketing IdeasPush your handles – If you’re really looking to bump up those Twitter followers, you can’t be afraid to be a bit shameless. Speaking at a conference? Put your Twitter handle on the sl... > Read more
eBay along with researchers from the Universities of Berkeley and Chicago, have just released the final version of a study claiming that paid search ads have “no measurable benefit.” This is not really new news; we heard about the preliminary results last year, and pretty much everyone in search marketing had a good hearty laugh – because eBay has long been known for its embarrassingly crappy ad strategy.
The study is done now, and while it’s not completely terrible, it’s definitely misleading, as well as confusing in terms of what this says about eBay’s marketing strategy. In this post I’d like to go over a few points worth rebutting, especially when it comes to trying to apply these findings to the average Google advertiser out there.It’s Not the Channel, It’s How You Us... > Read more
Hurrah! A visitor has come to your site and completed a conversion – whether it be a white paper download, a webinar signup, or a purchase order, you should be feeling pretty good.Don’t pat yourself on the back yet though – you need a thank you page, and it can’t just be any hodgepodge mess that’s thrown up by the nearest website lackey.
In order to get the most out of your coveted converted user, you need a stellar thank you page.What is a "thank you page"? Your website's thank you page is where users are taken after completing a desired conversion. Often a website thank you page features – big surprise – a “thank you” message in response to a visitor’s order/download. A great thank you page has more than just that though…Yes, You Need a Thank You Page!Why do you nee... > Read more
How well do you know your audience? If your messaging just isn't connecting, resonating or converting to its full potential, you haven't yet tapped into that elusive marketing sweet spot. Marketers strive to provide the best possible experience to their audience, but reaching that pinnacle of customer connectedness doesn't happen by accident.
Small business guru and Google AdWords expert Perry Marshall joined us recently for a fun and information-packed webinar on what he calls “the Happy Juice Principle.” We often look to Perry for inspiration and copy strategy and were struck by his unique approach to content creation, lead capture and conversion. It all started with our team reading this post on Perry's blog – at first, we laughed (happy juice?!), but the underlying principle quick... > Read more
Ask Me Anythings, or AMAs, have long been a popular conversation format on Reddit. More recently, they've really taken off on Inbound.org, giving marketers of all stripes the opportunity to pick the brains of industry influencers and thought leaders.Annie Cushing, Brian Clark, Avinash Kaushik and other thought leaders in our industry have participated in AMAs on Inbound over the last 18 months.
Typically, it's announced a few days ahead of time and participants come back over several days to answer questions from the community. The content tends to be laser-focused and super-high-quality – they don't go as off-track as you might see on Reddit, probably due in large part to the fact it's a niche site and the audience tend to be well-versed in the basics.Not a lot of questions like “Woul... > Read more
“The attention auction” is a phrase that has stuck in my head since I first read it earlier this year, on AJ Kohn’s blog Blind Five-Year-Old. The idea is that we’re all competing for a finite amount of attention, and it’s a zero-sum game. If people are paying attention to your competitor, they can’t pay attention to you at the same time.
Another term for the same basic idea is “attention economics” – in an attention economy, attention is treated as a scarce commodity. We’ve got access to more information than ever before, but no more time or attention to give.The concept is pretty key for us content marketers. When you publish new content, you’re putting a bid into the attention auction. And not everybody can win.Here at WordStream, we put a lot of thought and planning... > Read more