The 10 Best Online Marketing Strategies to Make You a Unicorn


Everyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with unicorns – not just the magical beasts you’ll often find hanging out near rainbows but marketing unicorns.

What’s a marketing unicorn, you ask? It’s one of those magical campaigns that’s so effective it performs in the top 1-3% of all marketing campaigns.

Marketing unicorns are so special that, even though they’re rare, they end up delivering almost half of the value of your overall marketing efforts. For example, here on the WordStream blog, our top 50 articles drive as much traffic as thousands of others (the marketing donkeys) combined. I call it the Unicorn Marketing Power Law.

unicorn marketing power law

This is why it’s so key, as a marketer or business owner, to find your own unicorns and make the most of them. There are unicorns in every corner of the online marketing world – unicorn ads, unicorn blog posts, unicorn webinars, unicorn emails. These are the campaigns with exceptional click-through rates, conversion rates, open rates, and engagement rates.

So if you find a unicorn, CLONE IT! An idea or piece of creative that does well in one online marketing channel is bound to do well in your other marketing channels as well. As I’m always fond of saying, you have to go all in on your unicorns.

I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting with different online marketing strategies this year. Below you’ll find the best of the best – my top 10 favorite online marketing strategies that create and exploit unicorns to give you the best possible bang for your buck.

Check it out and share – I’ll provide a little more detail into each of the 10 strategies, which include strategies for SEO, PPC, content marketing, social media marketing, remarketing, and more, below.

best online marketing strategies ever

My 10 Most Unicorn-Worthy Online Marketing Strategies

#1. Aim for super-high organic click-through rates

Does organic CTR matter? YES! Now more than ever! If you want to compete in the new SEO reality, you’ve got to raise your click-through rates and other engagement factors. Here’s our process:

  • Find content with average or below-expected CTR for its rank
  • Ditch boring titles and test emotional, relatable headlines that promise value
  • Improve intent match to reduce bounce rate and pogo-sticking
  • Bonus: Data indicates raising CTR can move up your rank!

top online marketing strategy

#2. Aim for super-high ad click-through rates

CTR isn’t just important for SEO (duh). It’s also incredibly important for paid ads, because ads with high engagement rates get better placements at a lower cost per click on Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads and pretty much every platform. Here’s what you need to know about raising your ad CTR:

  • Tactics like Dynamic Keyword Insertion are boring and don’t create unicorn ads
  • Ads with the highest CTR focus on four key emotions: anger, disgust, affirmation, and fear
  • Bonus: High CTR ads usually have high conversion rates too!

online marketing ctr vs. conversion rate

#3. Forget everything you know about conversion rate optimization

Sorry to burst your CRO bubble, but the classic A/B test is a fairy tale – too often, we get super excited about early leads, but they tend to disappear over time. Either the test hadn’t reached statistical significance, or people were responding to novelty, but the effect didn’t last.

Here are a few more CRO truth bombs for you:

  • Aggressive CRO often increases lead quantity but reduces lead quality
  • To really move the needle, change your offer to something truly irresistible
  • Brand familiarity has a massive effect on conversions – so try remarketing!

#4. Remarketing is great … but try Super Remarketing!

Maybe you’ve noticed (ha) that in the current online marketing landscape, it’s harder and harder to get your content noticed. The competition is insanely fierce! That means everyone’s attention is spread thin. But all hope is not lost, aspiring unicorns!

  • With a smart social ad strategy you can promote your content to the perfect audience for pennies
  • Use social media remarketing to increase engagement by 2X to 3X
  • Then step it up with Super Remarketing: the awesome combination of remarketing, demographics, behaviors, and high-engagement content

#5. Hack RLSA for a Unicorn Surge of Leads

Regular old, plain-flavor RLSA is kind of a shell game: You’re basically cherry-picking your cheapest leads from a larger pool. Yes, you save money, but your lead volume is greatly reduced! Most people don’t want that, right? We want more leads AND lower costs.

unicorn rlsa marketing strategy

Here’s how to use RLSA to get both, AKA Operation Unicorn Surge:

  • To reduce cost per lead AND increase volume in competitive markets, try Super RLSA!
  • Bias people toward your brand by using social ads to dramatically increase the size of your cookie pool

#6. Get your Facebook organic reach back

Newsflash, Facebook organic reach sucks. In fact, we recently discovered it’s even worse than we thought!!

The good news is, you can recover your reach! Here’s how:

  • Use preferred audience targeting to target organic posts like ads
  • Use Larry’s Unicorn Detector Pyramid Scheme
  • Invite people who like your content to follow your page
  • Post video content for way higher engagement rates – the key to organic reach

#7. Outsmart your competition!

Try these brilliant competitive advertising strategies:

  • Target users whose interests include your competitors
  • Disrupt your competitors’ videos with YouTube ads
  • Use your competitors’ brand names to keyword target your Gmail Ads
  • Download and target your competitors’ Twitter followers

#8. Use social ads to make an impression on influencers

Not a big name yet? No problem!

socia media marketing strategies

Here are some crazy awesome ways to use social ads to fool people into thinking you’re a big deal:

  • Build awareness of your personal brand by targeting ads at specific employees and specific companies
  • Write an awesome guest post for an influencer, then promote and amplify so it makes a splash
  • Tag your fave influencer and do an engagement campaign
  • Become a trending story on LinkedIn Pulse

#9. Learn how to REALLY run a Twitter lead generation campaign

Forget Twitter’s advice for running lead gen campaigns – it’s totally wrong! Do this instead:

  • Twitter Lead Generation Cards look too much like ads and charge you for useless engagements
  • Never use automatic bidding – it’s a trap
  • Instead, use funny images, emoji, advanced targeting options and don’t forget conversion tracking!

#10. Master the art of Medium publishing

There are insanely good reasons to republish your content on Medium – like reaching a much bigger audience with minimal effort. Here’s how to make the most of the Medium platform:

  • Don’t just republish your post – make it go hot! Include a powerful image immediately after the headline

syndication strategies for marketing

  • Promote your post – if you get 200 hearts in a day, your article will trend and pageviews will skyrocket
  • Follow people who engage with your content to build your audience

That’s it – my absolute favorite online marketing strategies of the year, all of which I’m going to keep using next year too.

Now go and find your own unicorns!

Top 10 Online Marketing Strategies [Summary]:

  1. Raise your organic click-through rates for more search traffic AND better rankings.
  2. Improve your ad CTR in paid search to dramatically lower costs.
  3. Forget about traditional conversion rate "truths": Instead, offer something irresistible and improve brand familiarity with remarketing.
  4. Use social remarketing in combination with demographic and behavior data and high-engagement content.
  5. Leverage Google RLSA – Remarketing Lists for Search Ads.
  6. Hack your Facebook strategy to improve your organic reach.
  7. Rise above the competition with brilliant competitive advertising strategies.
  8. Use social ads to make an impression on influencers.
  9. Ignore Twitter’s advice and learn the best way to drive leads through Twitter ads.
  10. Republish your existing content on Medium for much more exposure.

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Dec 05, 2016

really superb article...and the images or the infographics are very easy to understand...facebook and twitter are best to use for online marketing...since more than half of the world is online on twitter and facebook so we should always explore the power of these social networking and microblogging sites.

Feb 17, 2017

Hi there, after reading this remarkable post i am also glad to
share my knowledge here with mates.

Dec 06, 2016

This is one of the most in-depth articles I have seen regarding online marketing. The infographic is great! The most important thing you really drive home here is that this is all still possible organically!

Dec 06, 2016

Get your Facebook Organic Reach back is my Unicorn. Idk about the others.. But thanks for the list. I'd most definitely use it. Not to mention Clone it ;)

himani mahajan
Dec 12, 2016

Nice post.Content is the cornerstone of online marketing.Content builds credibility,authority with the audience.Video marketing is an easier method to connect with audience.Videos are informative and entertaining

Feb 16, 2017

What's up, its good post concerning media print, we all understand media is a
impressive source of data.

Michelle Chavez
Dec 15, 2016

Hi Larry,

It's awesome to read here the best online marketing strategies and thanks for sharing the Unicorn Marketing Power Law. I'll definitely follow this and be passionate to find a unicorn and CLONE IT. I love the infographic that you have presented especially on mastering the art of medium publishing, and will truly aim for more hearts than page views.

Jennifer Young
Jan 13, 2017

Great read Larry! This was very easy to understand especially with the images. I'm curious though on to what your thoughts are on website push notifications? It's a relatively new marketing channel that I don't see much about and I think it is a very effective way to retarget audiences with high CTR and conversions. The application I use is Aimtell, O would recommend checking it out! Do you think it is a Unicorn?

Jan 21, 2017

Great post Larry, really liked the point about brand affinity, the Wordstrem does a great job at this.

Feb 17, 2017

Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up plus the rest of the site is really good.

Feb 28, 2017

Hey, I just read your post and I felt that it was amazing, I am going to use your Marketing techniques fr my classified ads website and I believe that this is surely going to help me improve my CTR.
I did not understand the RLSA section, can you please explain it a bit more.
I really loved your post, especially the way you described twitter lead generation campaign, I am looking forward to your next post.

Mar 06, 2017

Hi, thanks for the great information..most of marketers don't know about this stuff,especially "the donkey" ones as you call and yeah it's a smart step to begin with social ads

24/7 Digital
Jun 01, 2017

Thanks for the detailed information. I somehow get ideas from your article. I've learned many strategies which is very possible to apply. Thanks.

Stevenson Brown
Aug 11, 2017

Hi. Tks for the tips, the article was really interesting. It has helped so much with my activities... :)

Gaz Hall
Oct 23, 2017

I love the use of unicorns here. Lots of detailed information which when used correctly and helped by the goat-like animal with a long horn and cloven hooves will defiintely help your marketing efforts.

Feb 07, 2018

Hello, Nice article. But...

Mar 08, 2018

Good ideas about marketing strategies! The internet has radically transformed how we build and promote businesses online. These infographics will help me with lot of tips and tricks to streamline the marketing strategies for my company. Being a digital marketer, I need to keep myself updated in this space. I found the best way to run my business beneficially is by working with people who already know the best way to achieve results. I searched online regarding outsourcing my business needs and stumbled across Habiliss’ virtual assistant services who provide with some really good digital services.

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