Stop Overspending Time and Money on Marketing Techniques That Don’t Work

I hate to see money wasted on outdated online marketing techniques.

 

It’s not just about money, but also about time and resources that could be used in a better way. Marketing budgets are often tight, and you just can’t afford to spend them on strategies or things that don’t work.

 

To help you cut waste and make your marketing strategy more effective, I’ve created a list of six most common ways small and medium sized businesses lose their budgets online. Here’s how to stop overspending time and money, and turn those losses into gains.

 

1. Using “Guaranteed SEO Services”

 

SEO is not an exact science and getting results overnight is a myth. Google’s algorithm has become smarter and smarter in the last years and there are no easy shortcuts. It’s commonly known that Google uses hundreds of ranking factors, but the truth is that no one knows precisely what all of those are. With time, you get to learn what techniques work better, but anyone that offers guarantees to rank a site on the 1st position for a particular keyword is a scammer.

 

Google warns people not to buy SEO services from companies or freelancers that guarantee to rank 1st for any given keyword. Here’s Google’s take on guaranteed SEO:

 

 

google-seo-firm-warning

 

 

If you are not experienced, you might be tempted to choose an SEO company that guarantees you’ll rank first for your main keywords over a company that doesn’t offer this guarantee. Makes sense, right? But it doesn’t.

 

The SEO companies that offer such guarantees are commonly formed by black hat SEOs that are not fully committed to making your website successful. They are just fine with taking your money for 3 or 6 months, and don’t care so much that eventually you’ll leave disappointed. That’s because at least 1000 of potential new clients search in Google each month for “Guaranteed SEO”. They can easily find another naive person to sell them guaranteed SEO services and replace your contract.

 

 

search-volume-trends

 

 

Be very picky and skeptical when choosing an SEO firm. If you don’t know where to start, Moz has a list of recommended SEO companies.

 

2. Buying Social Media Followers

 

The number of followers you have on social media is simply pointless. What matters is the engagement and how many real users see your posts. It’s not like in your childhood when it mattered if you or your brother had a bigger portion of goodies. Many fall into the trap of believing that the more followers their business has, the more trusted and reputable it will be.

 

You should never buy social media followers. Neither on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or whatever social media platform you choose to use for your sites. Bought “followers” are fake and besides being a waste of money, you can also end up having your account suspended.

 

3. Not Measuring The Success And ROI For Your Marketing Campaigns

 

All businesses and industries are different and therefore what works great for some, might not work as good for others. For example, social media can be a golden nugget for sites in the entertainment or technology industry, but for a business that sells forklifts will not be as important. Just because a channel works great for most sites doesn’t mean that you should block your resources on something that’s not suitable for your type of business.

 

To succeed with online marketing, you have to analyze and measure the success of all your campaigns and then focus most of your attention on the channels that give the best return of investment. Use an analytics tool like Kissmetrics to see where your site traffic is coming from and check how the visitors are funneling through your website.

 

It’s critical to measure how well your marketing campaigns are performing and know what you should prioritize for the future. If social media doesn’t work well for your site, you can focus more on creating quality content, or maybe launch a better advertisement campaign.

 

The most common mistake marketers tend to do is not to measure their campaigns and sources of conversions on a regular basis. It’s not enough to check what works best for your site once and then take decisions upon what you’ve discovered on that analysis. Each week, marketers should check what worked best and how the conversions are going for each channel. Marketers can do all of this within Kissmetrics.

 

4. Content Marketing Done Wrong

 

The interest for content marketing has grown to unexpected levels in the last years. It’s estimated that the whole industry is worth roughly $190 billion and it will grow to $300 billion by 2019.

 

 

content-marketing-interest-overtime

 

 

Content marketing is about creating content in the form of videos, articles, infographics, images, slideshows, etc. With the industry growing so quickly, the competition is also becoming stronger and stronger. Quality is the differentiator between a good and a bad content marketing campaign.

 

The main reasons why most of your content marketing campaigns fail is because:

 
 
    • You don’t write about topics that people are really interested in. Sure, it’s your blog and you can write about whatever you want, but if you are aiming to get more visitors, you have to research your topics. With the help of BuzzSumo, bloggers can find what content from other sites is performing great on social media. It’s a simply way to finding what works best for your competitors and what gets the most shares. The tool gives you access to an endless resource of topic ideas.
       

       

      content-marketing-buzz-sumo

       
       

      It’s also a good idea to check what key phrases people use to do searches in Google. For that, Google’s keyword tool can be very handy.

 
    • You don’t promote the content campaigns you have created. It’s not enough to write an article, video or build a great infographic and then move on. Just because you’ve clicked the “publish” button, it doesn’t mean that your job is over. Not even close. You can’t just create some content, and hope that it will go viral. Things don’t work that way. Chances are nobody will ever find your new piece of content, unless you try to promote it. Do outreach and try to promote the content through influencers.
 
    • You content marketing campaign has no value. You see low-quality content marketing campaigns everywhere. If the content you’ve created doesn’t bring value to the reader, don’t bother publishing it. Instead of posting 10 useless articles or videos, try to make one that will stand out as the best in the niche.
       

      It’s the same with guest blogging. There’s no point to write for sites that have no authority and no one has heard about them. Don’t spend your time and budget to write for several low-quality sites, but instead aim to be a contributor on the big sites in your industry.

 
 

5. Not taking backlinks seriously

 

Backlinks are important not just for SEO, but they can also send relevant referring traffic, help you build partnerships, bring you customers, and measure the success of your online marketing campaigns. Sadly, many tend to ignore backlinks and rarely check the ones of their site.

 

If you are running a content marketing campaign or simply doing outreach to promote your website, besides checking analytics, it’s also important to check your site’s backlinks. That’s so you can know whenever a site links back to you and see how successful was your outreach campaign. If your content marketing campaigns are not generating quality links, you might have to reconsider your strategy.

 

Here are several reasons why everyone should pay more attention to backlinks:

 
 
    • Backlinks are the main ranking factor for Google and Bing and they will continue to be for the coming years. A site that has good backlinks will rank higher for more related keywords and get more traffic from search engines.
 
    • Bad backlinks acquired naturally or because someone has built them to your site can drag your site down in the SERPs. It’s important to know whenever your site gets new backlinks or otherwise all your SEO efforts will be pointless and you’ll end up wasting time and money.
 
    • Backlinks can tell you when a blogger sends a link to your site. You can thank them for recommending your site, and perhaps build a partnership with them.
 
    • Backlinks can show what websites are referring the most traffic to you, and you can try to get more of the same.
 
    • If you are buying ads through banners, it’s important to know if the advertiser removes the backlink.
 
 

To be up to date with all your site’s backlinks, you can use the SEO Tool Monitor Backlinks, which sends you an email whenever your earn or lose links. Besides the email alerts, the tool shows more than 15 different metrics for each backlink, to help you easily see in a glance their SEO quality. Another useful feature is the warning sign that is showed for links that have questionable metrics.

 

 

seo-tools-monitor-backlinks-screenshot

 

 

To prevent organic traffic loss, it’s advisable to often check your site’s backlinks. SEO is one of the best online marketing channels that can generate traffic, even if you are in a boring niche. If you’ve hired someone to do SEO for you, you still have to check your site’s backlinks. Don’t sit back and think that everything will be alright. Your business responsibility is still in your hands and you are the only one that’s going to lose in case something goes wrong.

 

One of the worst mistakes people tend to do about backlinks is thinking that they need hundreds or thousands of links to rank high in Google. All that matters is QUALITY. The number of links you have is not important and you shouldn’t be obsessed about it. It’s best to have 10 quality links rather than 1000 backlinks from unknown sites.

 

6. Outsourcing To Bad Companies

 

As your online business starts to grow, you can start to consider outsourcing some of the tasks to a specialized company. You can outsource social media, content marketing, SEO, advertising management, etc. Whatever you outsource, don’t forget that you are still in charge and you can take over if the results are not the ones you expect.

 

There are numerous cases where companies are outsourcing services to a bad content marketing or SEO firm. However, they keep using their services. That’s because when outsourcing, companies tend to rely solely on the reporting provided by the outsourcing firm.

 

If your results are not close to your expectations, and you have a feeling that your money are being wasted, take action before it’s too late.

 

Conclusion

 

It’s hard to succeed with online marketing without measuring all your channels correctly. Set your KPIs and don’t be afraid to change or stop working on a channel that’s consuming too much financial and time resources.

 

Be very doubtful when choosing to work with an outsourcing company and continue to use your own tools to measure the success of their campaigns.

 

About the Author: Felix Tarcomnicu is an Internet marketer with a strong passion for SEO and social media. You can follow him on or Twitter @FelixTarcomnicu for similar articles.

 
 

 

Which Channels Do Customers Trust for Branded Content?

You know that when it comes to getting an unbiased, credible, and trustworthy review of a product or service, you’re most likely to turn to family and friends.  But what about branded content? Are blogs a reliable source of information? Can social media be trusted? Where are people getting their brand information and how much of an influence do different media channels have?  Let’s take a closer look.

 

What Is Branded Content?

 

Previously, the idea of “branded content” was so new and innovative that it didn’t really fit into any single category. It’s not the same thing as advertising, but it is anything that makes people think about or associate with a brand. Confused yet?  Here’s a better way to simplify it.

 

Avi Savar, creative head and founder of Big Fuel, a social media and brand growth firm defines branded content as the difference between “people stories” and “product stories”.  He explains, “Traditional advertising is about delivering features, benefits, and a USP through a product story, and then finding creative ways to connect that to people.”

 

He continues by saying that, “Branded Content is sort of the reverse of this. It’s about starting with people stories first, so what are the things that can help brands connect with the hearts and minds of their audience, and then thinking about how you can creatively link that to your product.”

 

One example of branded content in action is the following video ad from Chipotle. This ad actually won an award for its creativity and was designed to align Chipotle with responsible agricultural practices in the consumer’s mind, rather than cheap burritos.

 
 
 
 
 

Chipotle wants people to envision them as more than just “cheap burritos”

 

 

Other well-known examples of branded content include the famous Volvo epic split campaign, which in addition to getting the “Wow!” factor from a wide audience, gets its core audience (truckers) to ask “How can those trucks go in reverse so smoothly like that?” Another is the Dove Real Beauty campaign, where a sketch artist drew images of women based on how they described themselves versus how others saw them.

 

Although, in the example of Dove, the campaign originally aired in 2013, it’s still being viewed today and with nearly 67 million views and over 75,000 users subscribed to Dove’s YouTube channel, anyone can easily look at this branded campaign and see how it touched people’s emotions.

 

Branded Content and Media Outlets

 

Acquity Group looked at which media outlets customers were more inclined to trust when it comes to branded content. As it turns out, some sources have a surprising amount of credibility:

 

AcquityGroup-Consumer-Trust-Brand-Content-by-Channel-July2015

 

Facebook comes out on top, followed by print newspapers, email and television. Rounding out the bottom are Snapchat and blogs.  It’s worth noting that according to the study, younger respondents aged from 18-30 were more than twice as likely as baby boomers (aged 52-68) to give Facebook the top rank among branded content.

 

In case you were wondering, older consumers gave the newspaper their most trusted vote. As for advertising influence, TV and social media alike were near the top, while older Americans found print and direct mail of greater influence.

 

Who’s Doing the Sharing?

 

Now, before you rush off to create a cavalcade of Facebook ads featuring your company’s branded content, you should know that people are far less likely to share a post directly from the company itself. Instead, they’re most likely to share a product link when it’s recommended by family or friends:

 

Deloitte-US-Consumers-Purchase-Influencers-Apr2015

 

Family, friends and acquaintances hold high sway over consumers’ purchasing decisions

 

What kind of “brand content” Facebook posts are we most willing to share. The all-encompassing “funny video” still gets the most shares, but it’s closely followed these days by content that is designed to support a cause or organization.

 

With branded content, you’re essentially borrowing the customer’s time and thanking them by making them feel something – laughter, insight, amazement.  Although the ads referenced above are designed to make you think, the company behind them is secondary to the story they’re sharing.

 

And if more people become invested in that story, they’ll want to tell others, and the cycle continues.

 

Now you’re probably wondering, “branded content sounds great – but how do I make the most of it?”

 

Content marketers are already struggling to squeeze ROI out of their campaigns in a way that’s meaningful to managers and executives alike, so here’s how to start making branded content work for you:

 

Getting Started with Branded Content

 

First off, Facebook only allows branded content from verified pages – meaning you’ll need to have that coveted “blue checkmark” next to your name (or a grey checkmark if you’re a business) in order to take advantage of this type of promotion.

 

The link above describes how to go about verifying your business account on Facebook, or if you’re an individual, how to see if you’re eligible to be verified.

 

Once you’re verified, you can get started with branded content by going here.  Nearly any type of content can be tagged as branded content, including photos, videos, text (with and without links), live videos and more.

 

How do you know it works? Because you’ll see not only the company name being mentioned, but also the key “with” – and then those tagged in the post:

 

 

live-example

 

 

Now, any time the post is shared, those tagged in it will also benefit from the exposure. It’s a win-win.

 

What’s The Difference Between Branded Content and @Mentions?

 

Excellent question! The difference between branded content and your typical @Mention is that the brand which posted the page gets analytical insights that wouldn’t ordinarily be available in an @Mention.

 

It’s important to mention here that if you’re tagged, you’ll still get to see the post’s organic and paid engagement, sort by organic versus paid or fans versus non-fans – and otherwise see much of the same data as the owners of the branded content themselves. So although it’s not specifically coming from your page, you’ll still get to see a lot of the details that a simple mention wouldn’t have.

 

Now, tie this kind of content leverage in with your own UTM parameters and conversion goals and you’ll be able to see precisely how well your branded content is performing and converting.

 

Squeezing Every Drop of Trust and Credibility Out of Branded Content

 

Let’s face it, you’re already creating content. Why not take to the channel consumers trust the most and make your content work even harder for you?  You’ll be getting vastly more exposure when coupled with influencers in your industry and getting people to take action on your content in ways that a typical ad just can’t match.

 

What are your thoughts on using branded content? Has your company used this method effectively to increase trust, brand recognition and awareness among your target audience? Share your thoughts and impressions in the comments below

 

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at iElectrify.com and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today! Follow @sherice on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ for more articles like this!

 
 

 

5 Things to Know About Today’s SaaS Customer

Today’s SaaS customers are savvy.

 

Old marketing tactics don’t excite them. And features disguised as benefits are easily recognized.

 

As technology evolves, consumer behavior changes as well. Buyers expect quality products backed by efficient service.

 

This is an opportunity for your business to experiment with new strategies and cater to customers differently.

 

“As marketers, it’s essential to pay attention to consumer behavior and to be creative within the constraints of each marketing channel we use,” states Ash Read, content crafter at Buffer.

 

Start selling like it’s 2016, not 1916. Here are five things you should know about today’s customer.

 

1. They Research First

 

Adweek reports that “81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying.” With access to more information than previous generations, consumers are taking the time to do their homework.

 

Customers want to know if your product is actually worth their money and time. And to gain that insight, they look for reviews.

 

Products reviews are vital in online shopping. They offer an honest perspective from a current customer’s experience.

 

Take advantage of this trend. Post reviews from customers on your product pages. Consider creating case studies to showcase how customers benefited from your services.

 

Unbounce offers their prospective buyers a collection of case studies. Below is a snapshot from the website:

 

 

read-and-watch-case-study-unbounce

 

 

“Businesses that want to generate leads online should focus on making their websites a top destination for information with custom content. People use search engines and social channels to learn about items before purchasing, whether they’re shopping for themselves or their businesses,” states Lauren Kaye, marketing editor at Brafton Inc.

 

And potential buyers aren’t just interested in learning about your product. They want to learn about your whole brand.

 

How are you treating your SaaS employees? Do you use locally sourced suppliers? Are you donating to charities on an annual basis?

 

Your brand’s overall image is important to buyers. So, make your company’s information readily available.

 

2. They Desire Quality

 

Quality, results-driven products will always outweigh more features. People want reassurance that your services will do more good than harm.

 

Customers possess explicit and implicit performance expectations. That includes anything from specific product features to service benefits.

 

For example, if your software experiences an outage, will the problem be solved in a few hours? And do your offer 24/7 customer service?

 

 

slack-status-screenshot

 

 

Quality is a win-win situation. Consumers receive what they desire. And your business has the opportunity to charge customers more.

 

“Customers desire the best product and service quality and are willing to pay a premium for it. High reliability is assumed,” says Ken Dooley, founder of Madison Productions.

 

For quality to exist, your entire team must be on the same page. Inform employees on how their actions impact the customer.

 

“Transparency on quality measures helps create buy-in on quality management and enables employees to understand what role quality plays in how they do work, how they can impact quality, and its effects on their customers’ satisfaction. Transparency breeds accountability at the most basic level…”, writes Holly Lyke-Ho-Gland, research program manager at APQC.

 

Quality is dependent on the customer’s perception. Figure out what they want. Then, work with your team to create a transparent strategy.

 

3. They Demand Speed

 

SaaS customers want solutions to their problems today, not tomorrow. With next day shipping and one-click subscriptions, buyers consider speed a minimum standard.

 

This benchmark holds true for customer service. And buyers are accustomed to using fast communication tools.

 

“Today’s customers are media agnostic, having grown up using the phone, email, Web chat, IM, and social media interchangeably. They are comfortable, and may even prefer, communicating online versus face to face or over the phone,” writes Laura Bassett, director of marketing at Avaya.

 

Some businesses consider speed a downfall. But your customers may think differently.

 

Zendesk found that “69% of participants associated their good customer service experience with the quick resolution of their issue.”

 

 

what-makes-customer-support-interactions-good

 

 

To encourage speedy response times, Facebook also offers brands an opportunity to earn a page responsiveness badge. Companies that respond to 90% of their received messages within five minutes get the designation.

 

 

nordstrom-facebook-page-july-2016

 

 

But offering fast service isn’t a new strategy. Innovative businesses have always strived to perform better.

 

“Forward thinking companies realized how much customers hated being on hold while waiting for a service rep that they invested in technology that would automatically call a customer back when it was their turn,” states Shep Hyken, a customer service expert.

 

So, start responding to your customers’ questions in a timely fashion.

 

4. They Prefer Consistency

 

Trust is the foundation of all relationships. The same is true between your company and customers. Buyers want to know that your website won’t disappear after they swipe their credit cards.

 

Plus, consistency eliminates brand confusion. And builds upon your previous success.

 

“By maintaining the same branding across all your resources – both online and offline – your customers will be able to recognize you much faster and will, hopefully, start to show loyalty to your brand,” says Kelly Haggard Olson, creative content strategist at Blue Zoo Creative.

 

Research shows that “45% of a brand’s image can be attributed to what it says and how it says it.” Consumers prefer a consistent brand experience, whether talking to a salesperson or shopping on your website.

 

Beth Pop Nikolov, content strategist for Venveo, offers a good analogy:

 

“When you’re getting to know a person, you start to develop opinions, ideas and assumptions about them based on your interactions. If they are dressed in a business suit one day, bermuda shorts and a ratty T-shirt the next and then a scuba diving suit another time, it may be hard to nail down exactly who they are and what they are all about.”

 

Align your marketing and sales team to ensure the same messaging is communicated to consumers. Talk with your customer service reps to streamline quality across all channels, including live chat and email.

 

Give your customers the trust they deserve. Be consistent.

 

5. They Seek Novelty

 

Boring isn’t cool anymore (and it never was). SaaS consumers want one-of-a-kind experiences to share with their colleagues.

 

Adding novelty to your marketing mix demonstrates creativity. It sparks customers’ interests and gets them to pay closer attention to your brand.

 

Sid Bharath, an entrepreneur and growth hacker, states, “We all want new experiences. We want to see new places, meet new people, and use new products. So don’t stop creating something new. Create new products, create new features, create new content, and give your customers new experiences.”

 

Build originality directly into your company. For instance, how can you enhance your loyalty program?

 

Coffee maker Nespresso entices their loyal customers with personalized orders, delivery, recycling and customer-service options.

 

 

Nespresso-customer-care

 

 

“Put a smile on their face and in their heart. You can do something special for their child, their parent, and their pet. Make them laugh, thank them in a showy way for a major purchase, have a contest or a drawing for something fun that they could share with family and friends,” says Sydney Biddle Barrows, New York-based business consultant.

 

Go the extra mile. Surprise your customers with your latest product or a free trip to your next conference. Give them an experience worth sharing with others.

 

Know Your Customer

 

Customers are smart. False promotions or useless features don’t fool them.

 

Learn how to meet your customers’ needs. Make product information readily available. Offer quality that can’t be found elsewhere. And give them a unique experience.

 

Be in the now. Know your SaaS customer.

 

About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter @shaylaprice.

 
 

 

Want a Bigger Marketing Budget? Optimize Your LTV to CAC Ratio

Almost every head of marketing, whether they are a CMO, VP, or Director of Marketing is thirsty for a larger marketing budget. With more money to spend, marketing can (theoretically) drive more growth.

 

But all too often marketing budgets are set without much rhyme or reason – there tends to be a huge correlation to how many sales were made in the previous month or quarter, or worse yet they are set as a percentage of the company’s revenue. This is particularly common in product driven SaaS organizations. But for growth-oriented companies, these means of setting marketing budgets are simply not serving your growth agenda appropriately.

 

How much do SaaS Companies invest sales and marketing?

 

Take the chart below as an example. Based on a sampling of 300+ SaaS companies with greater than $2.5mm in revenue, the median sales and marketing spending as a percentage of revenue is 32%.

 

 

sales-marketing-spend-growth-rate-chartImage Source

 

 

Does this mean all SaaS companies should simply set their sales and marketing budgets at 32% of their revenue? Absolutely not. There are a number of companies spending as much as 43% of their revenues on sales and marketing, with these companies achieving growth rates of 80%+.

 

While some of these companies may be spending so aggressively because they are heavily funded and are looking to capture market share, the companies that are the true darlings of the SaaS space are those that have such a strong ratio between the Lifetime Value (LTV) of their customers and their Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) that they’ve built a compelling case to pour more dollars into their customer acquisition engines. They’ve built Ferraris and have a valid reason to believe that additional sales and marketing spending will keep their growth rates accelerating.

 

In your quest to obtain access to more financial resources, it’s the marketing leader’s job to educate the rest of the organization. And simply put, the idea of a “marketing budget” is outdated if growth is truly what you are after.

 

The Formulas Your SaaS Company Needs

 

Instead, you have two levers at your disposal – both of which can be optimized, and both of which are not typically considered areas of your business that marketing alone should own. The Lifetime Value (LTV) of your customer is impacted by many factors, including but not limited to:

 
 
    • Sales selling to buyer personas that have the best chance of being successful with your product
 
    • Product organizations delivering truly valuable features that make the product “sticky”
 
    • Customer success teams working with your clients to make them successful after purchase
 
    • Marketing developing pricing and packaging that pushes longer term contracts over month-to-month agreements.
 
 

The formulas:

 

 

Lifetime Value (LTV) = Average Customer Lifetime X Average Revenue Per Account

 

 

Average Customer Lifetime = 1/churn rate (expressed in months or years)

 
 

Ex: 1 / 5% monthly churn = 20 month average customer lifetime

 

 

Average Revenue Per Account (in a given period) = Total revenue /total customers added

 

So for example, if last month you made $200,000 in revenue from 25 customers, your calculation would be $200,000/25 = $8,000.

 

And if customers stay with you for an average of 20 months, you multiply 20 x $8,000 and reach the lifetime value of $160,000. So the cost to acquire a customer (CAC) should be no more than $53k. ARPA = $200,000/25 = $8,000

 

In this example 20 months X $8,000 = $160,000 LTV

 

 

Just as there are many ways to extend your customers’ LTV, there are also a number of different strategies that you can employ to lower your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). Marketing can focus on more cost effective lead generation strategies like organic search, conversion optimization, and developing customer advocates. Sales teams can learn to more efficiently move prospects through the customer acquisition funnel and can do away with expensive events and client dinners in lieu of more cost effective inside sales techniques.

 

To calculate the cost it takes to acquire a customer, you simply divide the total sales & marketing spend by the number of customers added in a given period. So if you spent $100,000 in a year and acquired 10 customers during that time frame, your CAC would be $10,000.

 

As a general rule of thumb, a SaaS business with a LTV:CAC ratio of 3:1 is considered healthy – meaning you get $3 in customer revenue for every $1 you spend to acquire them. If you have this ratio or better, you have a customer acquisition engine that is performing well. It is important to mention that this is simply a benchmark – not a magic bullet. This ratio had held up well and provided a valid target at a number of companies I’ve worked with, but every company’s unique situation in terms of funding, growth rate, burn rate, and business goals should be considered. Never put all of your eggs in one basket by looking at any SaaS metric in isolation.

 

3:1 Ratio is Your Benchmark for a Higher Marketing Budget

 

With a ratio of better than 3:1, you have a strong argument for investing more money in customer acquisition programs if maxing out your growth potential is your objective. You can make a simple argument to the CEO by saying, “we know that for every $1 we spend to acquire a customer, we get $3 back in revenue.”

 

So it’s the job of the marketing leader to relentlessly look for ways, across the organization, to lower customer acquisition costs and extended the lifetime value of the customer. If you’re able to do so, you’re making a compelling case for marketing to be given access to whatever financial resources are available, whether you’re a funded or bootstrapped company.

 

In fact, a strong LTV:CAC ratio is one of the most important metrics you can show if you are trying to raise funding. In my opinion, perhaps the most valid reason a SaaS company should raise funding is if they have a very healthy LTV:CAC ratio and their growth is only limited by access to capital.

 

Gone are the days of marketing leaders waiting until after a big sales month to nervously ask for an increase in marketing budget. And gone are the days of the marketing leader advocating for marketing spending to represent a larger percentage of the company’s revenues. Relentless focus on increasing customer lifetime value and decreasing customer acquisition costs will blow the top off or your marketing budget (as it should!) indefinitely.

 

About the Author: Geoff Roberts is the Vice President of Marketing at Bizness Apps. Bizness apps is an app building platform used by small marketing and design agencies to build mobile apps for small business clients.

 
 

 

5 Steps to Recovering from Low Landing Page Conversions

Landing pages are intended to be simple and straightforward – a single page designed to get a specific audience to take an action.

 
 

Marketers use landing pages to get people to:

 

 
 
    • Make a product purchase
 
    • Opt-in to get a promotional product like an ebook or report
 
    • Request more information or a consult
 
    • Urge an audience to subscribe
 
 

You’d think that creating a page for such simple tasks would be easy, especially when you consider the wealth of tools at our disposal for building out landing pages.

 

And, in fact, the act of producing landing pages is actually not complicated – at least, until you factor in the human component of your audience.

 

People, the ones you want to get to take a specific action, muck up the entire process and make landing pages much more difficult.

 

There’s no specific way to design or configure a landing page to ensure it’s going to perform a certain way or deliver favorable conversions.

 

All you have is your research and whatever knowledge you may have picked up about copy and landing page best practices, so you go on intuition.

 

You’re not alone in that. Over 60% of marketers optimize sites based on intuition alone.

 

Then the testing starts. And despite everything you feel you’ve done correctly, you go through what many others experience: lackluster conversion rates.

 

There are a lot of changes and tweaks you can make, but don’t approach your landing page like a master control panel where you start pulling levers and pushing buttons blindly.

 

There are 5 key areas where you can start making small challenges to positively influence your conversion rates.

 

1. Trust Signals

 

Simply put, if you don’t have trust, then you don’t have sales. You may have been funneling traffic to your landing pages as a result of lead nurturing, but chances are you’ve got some fresh landing page traffic made up of people who have no idea who you are.

 

Even if you’ve been nurturing your leads via email and building a relationship, you still need strong trust signals to boost the confidence of your audience and help tip them over into a conversion.

 

 

perry-marshall-endorsed-trust-signal

 

 

Social proof

 

Social proof tells your audience that you can be trusted because other people have trusted you and made an investment of time and/or money. If you’ve got the attention and business of these other people, then you must be credible to some degree.

 

Some of the most common ways of adding social proof to a landing page include highlighting social shares, number of purchases, subscriber counts, or social followers.

 

Supplier/manufacturer affiliation

 

If you partner with any brand, be it a major organization or an influencer, getting their name or logo on your landing page creates an affiliation in the mind of the audience.

 

The audience will perceive you as more trustworthy and credible because you’re working with X brand, which must mean that X brand trusts you.

 

You’ll see this a lot with brand mentions that include “As seen on” logo placements.

 

Third-party certifications

 

They may not seem like much, but certifications can put a lot of people at ease, especially if you’re asking them to give you money or personal information. Using third-party certifications such as the Better Business Bureau and VeriSign create a perception of authority around your landing page and brand.

 

Testimonials

 

Testimonials are another form of social proof, and are one of the strongest trust symbols. According to Nielsen, 83% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, and 66% trust consumer opinions posted online.

 

If you can, share the full details from customers, including their name and city if they’re comfortable with it. Because it’s easy to fake testimonials (and many online consumers know it) it pays to be as transparent as possible.

 

 

most-trusted-ad-formats

 

 

2. Fix Your Call to Action and Make it Obvious

 

Remember what I said above: your landing page has a single goal. The only way you’re going to get your audience to take action is if you make that goal 100% clear to the people landing on your page.

 

If you don’t have your call to action where it’s visible, above the fold, then it’s virtually impossible to direct people to take action.

 

The reason for this is because most people spend less than 15 seconds on any given web page, which means most won’t even bother scrolling. They’ll glance, their brain will decide whether you’re relevant or not, and they’ll bounce.

 

If you hide your call to action below the fold, bury it in clutter, or don’t make it stand out, then you’ll lose a considerable amount of conversions.

 

 

lean-startup-landing-page

 

 

Eric Ries’ Lean Startup keeps the call to action above the fold and clearly visible.

 

Everything your audience needs to make a decision should be above the fold, but don’t necessarily try to put all of your content above the fold.

 

Likewise, it takes more than the placement of the call to action to make it effective. It also needs to be compelling.

 

Use power words

 

Avoid using corporate babble and industry jargon. Stick with practical language and power words that are proven to compel people to take action.

 

Use active language

 

Remember that your call to action is telling your audience to do something. Use verbs that inspire that action, such as “Join,” “Subscribe,” “Download,” etc.

 

Make it stand out

 

You want your call to action to stand out from everything else on the page, but you also want it to be consistent with the design and theme.

 

Tim Ferriss uses a great CTA design that clearly shows his audience where to begin.

 

 

4-hour-workweek-landing-page

 

 

I also want to point out the trust signals he uses on his landing page.

 

Use brevity

 

The best CTAs say the most in the fewest words, so limit them to around 90-150 characters. That’s about 5-7 words. If your call to action is too long, then you lose the hook, and if it’s too short, it may not clearly convey what step visitors should take (or why.)

 

Make it personal

 

Avoid using broad calls to action like “Start today.” Instead, personalize it to the user so it reads more like “Start your trial today.”

 

 

my-perfect-resume

 

 

3. Remove the Ability to go Elsewhere

 

Clear navigation and links are great to use in your content marketing and on your website to help you expand on concepts and help the audience get to a destination, but they don’t belong on your landing page.

 

Your landing page is the destination.

 

You never want to give visitors the ability to click out of this endpoint in your funnel. Remove the navigation from your landing page, and avoid adding links to your content at all costs.

 

 

no-navigation-variation-page

 

 

I also recommend adding in an exit pop-up that will appear based on user behavior, such as if the user moves their mouse toward the top of the browser. This pop-up should encourage them to stay and focus their attention on the main call to action.

 

 

social-triggers-get-subscribers

 

 

4. Add Visual Engagement

 

If you’re getting great traffic but the conversions are low, try to incorporate visual elements as a way to improve engagement and keep the attention of your audience.

 

People who view video are almost 2x as likely to make a purchase, and, according to another study, the addition of video to a landing page can increase conversions by as much as 80%.

 

 

video-crazy-egg

 

 

Even if you can’t create high-quality video content, you can still use relevant images to seal the deal with your audience. Include high-definition product photos, illustrations, or quality screenshots for digital services that show some behind-the-scenes product/service use.

 

 

cheezburger-showcase-your-humor

 

 

Think like a shopper – people often want to pick up, look at, and handle a product before they purchase it. Visuals make the audience feel like they’re doing just that. This is why e-commerce sites rely on detailed and numerous product photos to help sell their goods.

 

5. Improve the Copy

 

Your copy consists of every written element on your page, especially the headlines. It should be compelling, free of errors, and written in a way that makes an emotional and psychological connection with your target audience.

 

It also needs to be presented in a way that’s easily scannable, with the most critical points standing out with formatting and design elements like bullets and callouts.

 

 

money-like-an-expert-landing-page

 

 

I can’t tell you what you should say – that’s going to be based entirely on your audience and what they need to hear, so that’s where your own research comes into play.

 

Test Everything You Do

 

Every change you make is going to have some kind of an impact on your conversions. Hopefully you’ll see a lift in conversions, but it’s possible for a change to cause them to drop.

 

That’s why testing is so important. There are two ways to test the work you’re doing.

 

A/B testing lets you pit two elements against each other so you can test one or two updates, such as a headline or call to action. Once you have a winner, you can test again or move on to another element.

 

Multivariate testing lets you evaluate a larger number of changes across your page at the same time, helping you find the best combination. It’s more complex to do, and many marketers prefer A/B testing over this method, but it can get you through testing a lot of changes more quickly.

 

If you’re getting low conversion rates, you don’t need to scrub it and start over. Make small, strategic changes to your copy and calls to action, and monitor your performance using the recommendations above. With the right approach, you should begin seeing substantial lifts in your conversion rates.

 

What kind of changes tend to bring you the best results with your landing pages? Share your success with me in the comments.

 

About the Author: Aaron Agius is an experienced search, content and social marketer. He has worked with some of the world’s largest and most recognized brands to build their online presence. See more from Aaron at Louder Online, their Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

 
 

 

The Poor Man’s Marketing Stack: How to Hack Marketing Automation

There are over 2,000 marketing technology companies today.

 

Each one doing something a bit different, filling some unique yet critical need.

 

That means on a daily basis, marketers might choose from 100 different software programs to fulfill relatively basic tasks.

 

That inspired somebody, somewhere, to misappropriate the word ‘stack’ from the development world to describe how a particular company might be aligning all their pieces of a marketing and sales pie.

 

The result often becomes a head-bangingly frustrating process where you’re piecing together several to deliver a single campaign.

 

Sure, you could opt for an all-in-one solution like HubSpot. But it’s also F&*#@*G expensive.

 

What if you don’t have that kind of loot?

 

Here’s how you can use even the most basic, inexpensive or free pieces of software to replicate sophisticated marketing automation and business process hacks.

 

How to Eliminate Bottlenecks with App-Connecting Tools

 

Marketing automation, when implemented properly, has the power to increase leads by 451% and boost sales by 34%.

 

But… a shockingly high 85% of B2B marketers admit to not using it correctly.

 

The secret ‘inbound marketing lie’ that no-one wants to admit is how F-ing time consuming this stuff is.

 

Not to mention, if you don’t have the right tool setup, it’s nearly impossible to pull off.

 

HubSpot is amazing. I’m a super happy partner and advocate. It makes marketing automation relatively easy to implement at scale. But most can’t (or won’t) fork over the ~$10k a year. That’s completely understandable.

 

When I started consulting, there was no way my clients or I could afford it either. (Although there is a compelling argument for making your money back relatively quickly if you’re using any all-in-one, database driven tool properly.)

 

That led to an endless search for tools that played well natively. Existing integrations between key pieces of software, like hooking up Gravity Forms with MailChimp, can make your life 10X easier.

 

But it’s difficult to construct an entire marketing funnel with only tools with native integrations. And it’s not realistic, as other departments or teams within your organization will probably have their own tools that need to work seamlessly with yours.

 

Fortunately, tools like Zapier and IFTTT (If This Then That) began popping up to help solve this problem.

 

They’re pretty basic once you get the hang of it. Simply connect two applications, create a ‘trigger‘ (the thing that starts this process in motion) and an ‘action‘ (what happens when the trigger is, well, triggered).

 

For example, Gravity Forms (an excellent WordPress plugin) can then automatically send new form submissions to your favorite CRM like Contactually – even though there’s not native integration between these two applications.

 

 

contactually-gravity-forms

 

 

Best of all, with a little ingenuity, you can use them to re-create a marketing stack and begin automating your marketing.

 

We’re going to walk through examples in a minute, but first the theory.

 

Get Started by Outlining Your Marketing Funnel Steps

 

In an ideal world, strangers find out who you are and develop interest and trust in your brand before agreeing to become a customer.

 

Digital marketing 101 talks about creating a seamless customer experience by creating tactics that align with each stage of the buyer’s journey:

 

 

marketing-funnel-stages-brad-smith

 

 
 
    • Awareness: A stranger becomes aware of some problem in their life.
 
    • Information: They begin looking for ways to help solve said problem.
 
    • Evaluation: Recognizing a need, they begin actively searching for a solution between different alternatives.
 
    • Decision: They make the conscious decision to move forward with the alternative that best meets their criteria.
 
 

Sophisticated tools can help you hit all of these points without ever switching around. But that’s gonna be tough with inexpensive software that typically specializes in one small area or another.

 

So instead, the goal is to recreate what these other platforms can do, moving people logically from one step to the next when they’re ready. Ideally, in the most automated and simplistic fashion possible.

 

The goal is to recreate what HubSpot and other sophisticated (read: expensive) marketing automation software does, for a fraction of the price.

 

Sounds nice in theory, right?

 

But practically, how would that look?

 

 

funnel-steps-marketing-automation

 

 
 
    • Awareness: A new lead converts on a landing page, getting added to your email marketing software.
 
    • Information: As the lead begins searching for more information on your site and interacting with other resources, they should be added and removed from other automated marketing sequences to continue nurturing.
 
    • Evaluation: Once the lead begins getting serious about considering you as a solution, they need to be updated in your CRM system as such and qualified (if appropriate).
 
    • Purchase: If they decide to move forward with you, things need to be paid, they need to become a customer or client, and their project or account needs to be set-up immediately.
 
 

The important thing to note here isn’t the tools themselves, but your process or workflow. Once that’s defined, you can figure out which tools might be best to slot in each category. For example, even the free Google Contacts might be a good CRM choice (and it integrates easily with Zapier).

 

Enough small talk though.

 

Let’s take a look at each stage of this funnel to see how you can use Zapier to recreate steps that typically only expensive marketing automation platforms deliver.

 

Awareness: Landing Page to Email Marketing

 

Rule #1 of Permission Marketing (which pre-dated Inbound Marketing by, oh, like a decade) is to get somebody to give you their info in exchange for something of value, allowing you to continue following up with that person over time.

 

This can be old school, like an email address. Or new school, like their Snapchat… um, err… I have no idea what these kids call it.

 

In any event, the process is the same.

 

We already spoke about Gravity Forms, which can be used to power basic eBook forms to collect submissions.

 

But how about something a little more complex, like a webinar?

 

Zapier integrates easily with GoToWebinar, allowing you to capture new registrations (and even new attendees).

 

 

triggers-searches-actions-zapier

 

 

This is perfect if you’d like to add these new registrations to an email list.

 

Even better, is if you create an automated workflow in for a specific email list for the upcoming webinar. That way, you can continually send out new messages to the contact to make sure that they attend the event (thereby boosting your Attendance Rate).

 

MailChimp is perfect for this. The pricing is very affordable, especially considering the beautiful templates, ease-of-use, and pretty decent automation options. Plus, that damn Chimp is so cute.

 

 

gotowebinar-zapier

 

 

Simply select the upcoming webinar, add the new registration to a specific list in MailChimp, and you’re done.

 

Easy peasy.

 

But… what happens if people DO (or DON’T) show up? What happens if they DO (or DON’T) take you up on that customary end-of-webinar call-to-action?

 

You gotta update their status.

 

Information: Email Marketing Updates

 

Let’s say that you’re getting clever now, and that you’d like to create two different sets of messages based on if people did or didn’t attend your webinar.

 

Obviously, getting this right is important because if somebody receives the wrong email it could damage your credibility.

 

There are a few ways to do this, but the most straightforward is to simply create two additional lists in your email marketing service – one for those who do show up, and one for those who don’t.

 

THEN, you’ll want to unsubscribe people from the initial list (like the original webinar registration one) and add them to one of the new lists you created based on their actions.

 

Most basic email marketing services don’t have this feature already. However you can create a simple Zap to take care of it for you.

 

 

mailchimp-triggers-zapier

 

 

Another example where this comes in handy is if you offer a free trial or demo.

 

In that case, you don’t want a new lead (or even customer) to continue receiving promotional messages. Fortunately this same simple little hack, creating different lists for different segments of people, being unsubscribed automatically when they join a new list, can take care of a lot of the headache.

 

 

mailchimp-zapier-remove-paying-customers

 

 

Evaluation: New Lead to CRM to Qualify (or Disqualify)

 

So far you’ve been nurturing this new lead with a few different campaigns or tactics. Everything’s gone well so far and they’re ready to get serious.

 

For product or software companies this is straightforward and easy: they download the discount or join the free trial and either purchase (or not).

 

However it’s a little more complicated for service companies.

 

How do you know if the lead is any good? You can’t just agree to speak with everyone nutjob who fills out your form (and there will be plenty, believe me).

 

You can start by filtering your results, setting up qualifying questions in your forms to make sure that you’re tailoring your follow-up process accordingly.

 

For example, you can set-up different zaps between products based on how people answer a specific question.

 

 

set-up-zapier-only-continue-if

 

 

Now you can begin segmenting the people who ARE interested in your services, with the tire kickers who are primarily interested in wasting your time.

 

But you still have no idea if they’re even a good lead or not.

 

To be on the safe side, let’s automatically send an email to someone in your company to qualify each new prospect who’s interested in your services.

 

Simple! Just use Gmail based on the form filtered submission you just set-up. You can even pre-craft the message, pulling in form data, along with helpful links for the person who’s helping you to know exactly how you want them to be qualified (delegation FTW!).

 

 

marketing-process-email

 

 

You can send this email to an assistant, employee, or whomever, and at the same time create a new project management task to make sure they’ll see it immediately as it comes in (along with a due date to make sure each lead is followed up with ASAP).

 

 

todo-list-project-management

 

 

With a few simple steps and some foresight, you’ve just set-up and delegated the first few steps of your sales process.

 

Congrats!

 

But you’re still not quite done yet. What happens when those people decide to pay you money?

 

Decision: New Client to Point of Sale and Project Management

 

Again, product or software transactions are insanely straightforward.

 

When someone wants to become a customer, they whip out a credit card and it takes a few seconds. Then you can update your email or contact lists accordingly with the previous tips.

 

However what if this is a larger transaction?

 

First, you can automatically create a new Freshbooks invoice when someone fills out an appropriate form. You can even have someone fill this out internally while on the phone with a new client-in-waiting.

 

 

freshbooks-zapier

 

 

Freshbooks already integrates with both Stripe and PayPal (along with a few others), so you can even take this a step further by automating all of the tasks related to onboarding new clients too.

 

For example, let’s create a new Dropbox folder for each client when a successful first payment is made.

 

 

dropbox-zapier<

 

 

Pretty helpful. But let’s keep going.

 

Let’s also create a new TEMPLATED project in your favorite project management tool (like Asana in this case).

 

 

dropbox-asana-zapier

 

 

Just like we did earlier with the email message to qualify a new lead, you can select a pre-built template for the new client to get everything set-up in seconds (rather than hours).

 

Best of all, there’s no shortage of tips or tricks here. If you take notes during your Kick-Off Call with Evernote, a task can immediately be created in your PM tool to make sure these notes are added to the client’s project accordingly.

 

 

todo-list-zapier-evernote

 

 

A Time-Saving Caveat

 

Tools like Zapier or IFTTT open up a brand new world of possibilities.

 

It’s super interesting and you can geek out on this stuff for HOURS if you’re not careful.

 

Just think about all of the possibilities you can accomplish if even the most basic software options like Gravity Forms and MailChimp can do this stuff.

 

But don’t start with the tools.

 

Instead, start with the process. What exactly are you trying to accomplish? How should people move seamlessly through your own marketing funnel?

 

Begin by setting up the basic stuff and testing as you go. Once you’ve got the process down, it’s easy to dive into the details and begin customizing each little aspect.

 

For example, just start by automating how each new lead is followed up with. Then you can get clever with implementing different marketing campaigns that funnel down to this step.

 

Not only with this approach save you tons of time on the front-end, but you’ll drastically increase your odds of this system delivering better results too.

 

About the Author: Brad Smith is a founding partner at Codeless Interactive, a digital agency specializing in creating personalized customer experiences. Brad’s blog also features more marketing thoughts, opinions and the occasional insight.

 
 

 

Which Lead Generation Tactics Get the Best Results?

When it comes to lead generation, quality matters over quantity. But by the same token, people don’t like being sold to and they resent the notion that they’re simply “numbers in a database somewhere”. With that in mind, Ascend2 conducted research on the most effective tactics for both lead generation and lead nurturing. What they found out may surprise you.

 

 

 

Which Strategies Were Most Effective?

 

most-effective-lead-gen

 

Email marketing is still king of the hill when it comes to lead generation effectiveness

 

It may come as no surprise, but for sheer ease of implementation and effectiveness of results, nothing beats good, old-fashioned email marketing. Websites and landing pages are close behind, with content marketing making noticeable gains. It’s also worth noting that the survey shows email marketing as one of the easiest tactics to implement.

 

lead-gen-difficulty

 

Email marketing is one of the easiest tactics to launch

 

But notice the relative difficulty of other measures such as content marketing. Sure, it gets decent results, but at what cost? Effectiveness and difficulty are tied. Keep in mind, email marketing has been around much longer, and therefore we’ve had much more time to experiment and learn how to interact with prospects. Huge strides are being made in creating new tools that make content marketing more relevant and personable, but we’re still in the collective crawling stages with it.

 

And while we’re on that topic, take a look at testing and optimization. Low effectiveness, relatively high difficulty. Surprised? Don’t be. That’s because testing and optimization isn’t a lead generation strategy in and of itself – it’s something you do with the other strategies.

 

So now we know that email marketing is both one of the best converting and most cost effective measures – what next? Before you load up and catapult a bunch of messages to your prospects’ inboxes, remember that you need to nurture the leads you’ve gotten into your funnel at this point. Fortunately, Ascend2 also looked at the most promising lead nurturing strategies and what trends were getting the kinds of results their teams had hoped for.

 

Lead Nurturing Goals

 

When asked the question about the most important objectives of a lead nurturing campaign, the answers were varied. Most responded as you might imagine – to increase conversion rates or open up more sales opportunities.

 

lead-nurturing-goals

 

Right behind these two responses was a surprising answer thrown into the mix – “lead qualification”. This idea namely revolves around ensuring that a lead is best poised to make a decision and convert. This means understanding the difference between “interest” and “intent” – many people are interested in something, but far fewer have an active intent at that point to purchase. As of yet, there are no tools which can seamlessly predict this kind of action, although there are many ways to go through the process. No matter what, it’s still a heavy burden on the sales team to discern who’s ready to act and who’s just a well-meaning enthusiast.

 

So when it comes to nurturing leads, which strategy came out on top? Here again, email marketing:

 

lead-nurturing

 

But what, specifically is it about email that people respond to? As it turns out, the best effects on lead nurturing come from creating relevant content:

 

lead-nurturing-effective-tactics

 

But notice the other points below these – points which have far fewer reported success rates:

 
 
    • Campaign personalization
 
    • Targeting by persona
 
    • Targeting by stage in the decision-making process
 
 

These are all the very things that email marketing excels at! You can use your CRM data to segment leads based on the persona they most closely match, as well as what stage they’re in when it comes to making a decision. You can personalize your campaign with all the relevant details in the world, but prospects still won’t bite.

 

The Crossroads of Relevance and Relate-ability

 

So far, marketing has tried to create the appearance of relevance in campaigns. We try to do this by personalizing emails to give the prospect more of a sense of “me-to-you” communication. We try to align them with personas like theirs in an attempt to get inside their minds and find out what motivates them to purchase. We look at how close they might be to making a decision and we market accordingly.

 

The fact is, marketers are both swift and smart in using technology to automate much of their follow-up and nurturing tasks. The problem however is that people know it. They know you’re just filling in blanks in a software program or trying to put them into neat boxes based on a few scraps of information that you’ve gleaned from them.

 

Of course that begs the question, “How are we supposed to create relevant content when people won’t tell us anything about themselves?” They will – you simply have to ask. When was the last time you connected with a prospect and really meant it when you said, “how can we help you?” We’re so conditioned to answer that we’re “just looking” for fear of being sold to.

 

Creating Better Communication

 

Maybe the better question is, “what’s challenging or frustrating you? What can I help solve for you?” If a prospect knows that you can relate to them personally, they’ll be much more open to sharing with you. And while it’s not currently possible to write content that appeals to everyone at every moment, it is possible to open up communication and get suggestions for new content, while acknowledging the source.

 

The bottom line whether you’re looking to attract more leads or help grow the leads you have is shifting your approach from pure sales and marketing to problem solving. Email is a prospect’s open invitation to get as close to them as you possibly can. It’s something they can access anytime, anywhere. And it’s the best shot you’re going to have at learning about their unique issue and demonstrating precisely how your product or service solves it. Not in a high-pressure, hype-filled way, but in a friendly, open, personal way.

 

We have all the right tools and processes – we just need to add in the human factor.

 

What are your thoughts on using email marketing for lead generation and nurturing? Have you found in your own experience that other tactics work better? Do you think we should spend less time automating and more time communicating? Share your thoughts and perspectives with us in the comments below.

 

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at iElectrify.com and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today! Follow @sherice on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ for more articles like this!

 
 

 

How Philip Morris & Co. Created One of the Greatest Marketing Campaigns in History Using Aristotle’s Logic

“Philip Morris & Co. (now Altria) had originally introduced the Marlboro brand as a woman’s cigarette in 1924,” according to Wikipedia.

 

In 1954, however, that all changed. Launching what’s known as one of the most universally successful advertising campaigns in history, Leo Burnett created The Marlboro Man.

 

 

Whatever you think about smoking, put it aside for a second. Right or wrong, The Marlboro Man produced serious results for Phillip Morris.

 

 

The thing that’s interesting for readers of this blog is that Phillip Morris’ team did it by employing a repeatable strategy.

 

It’s not a strategy that makes it all right to outright lie to your customers, but it is a strategy that you can employ for both great products and bad products.

 

And it was invented 2,300 years ago by a man named Aristotle.

 

Aristotle created the notion of the “syllogism,” or “deduction” as it is often translated from Aristotle’s Greek.

 

Here’s an excerpt from Aristotle’s Prior Analytics that defines “deduction.”

 

A deduction is speech (logos) in which, certain things having been supposed, something different from those supposed results of necessity because of their being so. (Prior Analytics I.2, 24b18–20)

 

– Quoted from The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

 
 

In last week’s web clinic, “Repeatable Brand Strategy,” Flint McGlaughlin explained it like this:

 

 

 

syllogism-definition-branding

 

 

 

Aristotle’s syllogisms are at the heart of every successful brand strategy whether the creators are aware or not. Brands can leverage Aristotle’s idea of the syllogism to create a repeatable and successful brand strategy by creating what Flint calls a “virtual syllogism.”

 

By creating The Marlboro Man, Phillip Morris and Leo Burnett incidentally created the following virtual syllogism:

 

 

 

syllogism-branding-example-marlboro

 

 

 

It seems simple, but it set Marlboro apart from their competitors who were still trying to highlight things like the “health benefits” of filters or flavors.

 

 

 

You might also like:

 

Repeatable Brand Strategy  [MarketingExperiments web clinic replay]

 

Inbound Marketing: HP turns interns into brand ambassadors with Twitter contest [From MarketingSherpa]

 

Brand Affinity: Mellow Mushroom builds engagement via original content, e-club program [From MarketingSherpa]

 

Hacking Patagonia’s PR Strategy: How to improve your brand’s voice and influence [From MarketingSherpa]

 

7 Surprisingly Successful Brands on Instagram [From MarketingSherpa]

 

Does Brand Really Matter? [MarketingExperiments web clinic replay]

 

An Executive Look at Newspaper Industry Transformation [From MECLABS Institute]

 

 

 

How Philip Morris & Co. Created One of the Greatest Marketing Campaigns in History Using Aristotle’s Logic

“Philip Morris & Co. (now Altria) had originally introduced the Marlboro brand as a woman’s cigarette in 1924,” according to Wikipedia.

 

In 1954, however, that all changed. Launching what’s known as one of the most universally successful advertising campaigns in history, Leo Burnett created The Marlboro Man.

 

 

Whatever you think about smoking, put it aside for a second. Right or wrong, The Marlboro Man produced serious results for Phillip Morris.

 

 

The thing that’s interesting for readers of this blog is that Phillip Morris’ team did it by employing a repeatable strategy.

 

It’s not a strategy that makes it all right to outright lie to your customers, but it is a strategy that you can employ for both great products and bad products.

 

And it was invented 2,300 years ago by a man named Aristotle.

 

Aristotle created the notion of the “syllogism,” or “deduction” as it is often translated from Aristotle’s Greek.

 

Here’s an excerpt from Aristotle’s Prior Analytics that defines “deduction.”

 

A deduction is speech (logos) in which, certain things having been supposed, something different from those supposed results of necessity because of their being so. (Prior Analytics I.2, 24b18–20)

 

– Quoted from The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

 
 

In last week’s web clinic, “Repeatable Brand Strategy,” Flint McGlaughlin explained it like this:

 

 

 

syllogism-definition-branding

 

 

 

Aristotle’s syllogisms are at the heart of every successful brand strategy whether the creators are aware or not. Brands can leverage Aristotle’s idea of the syllogism to create a repeatable and successful brand strategy by creating what Flint calls a “virtual syllogism.”

 

By creating The Marlboro Man, Phillip Morris and Leo Burnett incidentally created the following virtual syllogism:

 

 

 

syllogism-branding-example-marlboro

 

 

 

It seems simple, but it set Marlboro apart from their competitors who were still trying to highlight things like the “health benefits” of filters or flavors.

 

 

 

You might also like:

 

Repeatable Brand Strategy  [MarketingExperiments web clinic replay]

 

Inbound Marketing: HP turns interns into brand ambassadors with Twitter contest [From MarketingSherpa]

 

Brand Affinity: Mellow Mushroom builds engagement via original content, e-club program [From MarketingSherpa]

 

Hacking Patagonia’s PR Strategy: How to improve your brand’s voice and influence [From MarketingSherpa]

 

7 Surprisingly Successful Brands on Instagram [From MarketingSherpa]

 

Does Brand Really Matter? [MarketingExperiments web clinic replay]

 

An Executive Look at Newspaper Industry Transformation [From MECLABS Institute]