lundi 20 juillet 2015

The Anatomy of a Perfect Checkout Page [Infographic]

Having a checkout page in todays’ business climate is essential for any online retailer, but it’s important to get it right and not every site manages to do so – which can end up losing many potential customers in the process.

The State of Abandoned Online Shopping Carts

According to research undertaken by the Baymard Institute, who specialise in e-commerce usability, 68.53% of online shopping carts are abandoned. Multiple reasons can be the cause of this, and that’s why VWO decided to looked at what some of the main culprits for abandoned carts might be and what can be done to fix the issue.

Reasons for an abandoned cart include:

  • the unexpected costs of shipping,
  • heaving to create a new user account before purchasing,
  • payment security concerns ,and
  • a poor user experience.

How To Create The Ultimate Online Shopping Experience

There are four main components to what makes for the ultimate experience: functionality, usability, security and a good design. Get all four on your site and you’ll be surely onto a winner.

Some easy fixes include:

  1. Offering your customers the opportunity to checkout as a guest — This will help accommodate those that want to bypass the user registration. If they have a good experience then it’s likely they will return and may even create an account in the future.
  2. High quality images of your products — 92.6% of the shoppers that were asked said that visuals were one of the top influencing factors that affect their buying decision so make sure you have clear and accurate shots of your products.
  3. Multiple shipping options — Respondents who said that shipping costs were enough to make them leave their cart could be swayed by multiple shipping options. Not every customer will need express delivery, so having an option for a cheaper option but with a longer wait time might be a more viable, tempting offer for those customers.

Every website is different, so what makes your checkout page the most effective may be completely different to what might help other sites so it’s worth continuously testing out new things. Trial and error is the key to figuring out just what needs to be fixed on your website. By having multiple versions of the website, it is easier to discover what needs tweaking and which version helps to increase sales.

So, what are the key elements to a successful checkout page? Have a look at for the infographic below to identify why your users might be logging out of your store, and more importantly, how you can get them back.

Anatomy of a checkout page (Infographic


The Anatomy of a Perfect Checkout Page [Infographic]

The Truth Behind Being a CEO


The path to becoming a CEO is different for anyone with such ambitions. Each man or woman has their own story. But, far too often, there are stereotypes, myths and expectations about how they should lead and what image they should project. Here are a few such myths about business leaders.

They’re always positive.

A CEO may show a sort of professional optimism in public settings, but it’s not something that should be maintained at all times. Steve Tobak explores this in a story for

“I know CEOs who are generally optimistic, pessimistic, and everything in between,” writes Tobak. “Mostly they’re realistic — at least the good ones are. And they don’t over-think things. Rather, they trust their gut and that’s what helps them make smart decisions. In any case, focusing on the positive can at times help, but it can just as easily lead to self-delusion and utopian thinking that holds you back.”

They work smarter, not harder.

Here’s a phrase we often hear when faced with stress and challenges. But is it realistic? Ekaterina Walter says “no” in a story for Forbes.

“I have never fully understood the ‘work smarter, not harder’ statement,” writes Walter. “There are definitely ways to be smarter about prioritizing your tasks effectively, planning your day wisely to increase your productivity, and, as a leader, to know when and what tasks to delegate. But every single successful person I know has always worked very hard on realizing his/her dreams. Great leaders empower their teams to do more, they are very protective of their time, and they are shrewd in applying their knowledge and experience in order to move forward and avoid mistakes either they themselves or others made in the past. One could call that ‘working smart.’ But nothing great has ever been achieved without working hard.”

They’re privileged.

Yes, there are successful people that come from rich heritage but plenty more came up the ranks the hard way. As Tobak writes in his piece, “CEOs don’t just drop out of the sky into cushy corner-office chairs. Most start with zilch and work their butts off for everything they achieve. Granted, some do come from money but not the majority. If anything, growing up with adversity gives you an advantage.”

They should always be “on.”

It would be exhausting to be “on,” as in wearing your title all the time, no matter if you’re a CEO, a clerk or a game-show host. Brian Evje writes about this for

“While it is true that leaders are physically scrutinized more than non-leaders, it is a myth that a leader must actively ‘project’ leadership at all times,” writes Evje. “When a leader feels obliged to constantly ‘perform,’ there is little room left over for authenticity, reflection and mistakes. Sometimes the most appropriate approach is to turn leadership ‘off’ so that others may step up to the challenge.”

They have all the answers.

The boss must know everything, right? Of course not. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and good bosses will know their own, as Walter writes in her Forbes story.

“The best leaders have a clear understanding of their own limitations,” writes Walter. “They know that success is a team sport and there is no such thing as a ‘self-made’ man. They realize that it takes a diverse team to truly innovate. They search for passionate people in diverse areas of expertise and bring them together. Great leaders listen more than they speak. They listen with the goal to understand, not the goal to answer. They hire amazing teams and solicit regular input from team members. They admit their mistakes and empower their people to execute on the company’s vision through their own knowledge and initiative versus a dictate from above.”

The Truth Behind Being a CEO

Days Of ‘Spray And Pray’ Marketing Are Done

Too much marketing communication and too little targeting has been behind a sharp uptick in brand damage.

In a recent study on Millennials, the Aimia Institute coined the term “High Volume Sensitive Consumers” for those segments across all generations most likely to permanently disengage with brands if they receive high volumes of generic email communications.

Of this group, Millennials are the generation most likely (44% more likely) to permanently disengage.

“Millennials are the ‘always on’ generation, but it is a mistake for marketers to make assumptions about their communications preferences. Just because a person shares their details with a brand does not mean they want to be inundated with lots of generic messages,” said Martin Hayward, senior vice president, global digital strategy and futures, at Aimia. “Marketers must work harder to listen to individual customer preferences and tailor communications appropriately.”

Additional insights from Aimia also reveal that High Volume Sensitive Consumers, across all generations, have the same willingness as others to share their personal data. However, they are 2.3 times more likely to disengage when bombarded with large numbers of irrelevant messages.

High Volume Sensitive Consumers will only engage if the content they receive by email, for example, is tailored to them. If it is not personalized and too frequent, they will:

  1. Block numbers (80%)
  2. Close accounts and unsubscribe from email lists (84%)
  3. Delete apps because of push notifications (82%)
  4. Unfollow brands on social channels (86%)

Regardless of which generation you’re targeting, it’s imperative to understand that cohort’s content and media preferences when segmenting your database for marketing communications. Let’s take a look at two successful brand examples.

Malibu Meets Millennials Memorably

Malibu Rum recently ran a mobile-only video campaign to target 18- to 24-year-old men and women for National Pina Colada Day. The campaign ran solely on video for smartphones with time-specific, location-based feeds in a ticker format for brand interaction.

The campaign drove more than 8 million views across four months. According to Adam Boita, head of marketing at Pernod Ricard UK, “With pinpointed audience targeting, the campaign successfully cemented mobile as a vital component in making Malibu synonymous with summer for our target audiences.”

Swanson Health Products Connects With Boomers Online

Many marketers assume that Baby Boomers are not tech savvy and limit digital messaging, but this is wrong because:

  • According to Google, 83% of Boomers use the Internet to find information before any other medium.
  • Forty-nine percent of people over the age of 45 have made a purchase on their smartphones and even more use mobile devices to gather information about a product or company.
  • The number of Boomers using social media has tripled to 43%.

Swanson understands that firsthand. “We own the Baby Boomer market for vitamins and supplements,” said Swanson chief executive officer Ken Harris.

Approximately 93% of Swanson’s new customers are acquired on the Internet, thanks to its Web marketing programs geared to acquire Baby Boomers.

“Baby Boomer women know how to use the Internet,” Harris said. So the company targets its marketing to Baby Boomer women because, it says, they are interested in maintaining heart, joint, and digestive health.

3 TakeAways

Consumers’ tolerance for “spray and pray” marketing blasts is at an all-time low. Sending quantities of irrelevant messaging is an invitation for key segments of your file to opt out, causing damage to your brand. So keep in mind:

  1. When segmenting your database for marketing communications, be sure you understand the generational segment’s content and media preferences. Identify the High Volume Sensitive segment within your customer base, across all generations, and track their expectations and tolerance levels for marketing communications.
  2. Understand that too much irrelevant messaging could be the tipping point for those who would rather opt out than wait for marketers to learn their preferences.
  3. Consumer’s tolerance for “spray and pray” marketing blasts is at an all-time low. Sending quantities of irrelevant messaging is an invitation for key segments of your file to opt out and cause damage to your brand.

Days Of ‘Spray And Pray’ Marketing Are Done

How to Get More Value from Your Business Blog

Jar of change -- How to boost the ROI of your business blog

You’ve spent precious work hours writing this week’s company blog. Or maybe you’ve spent precious budget dollars to hire an employee or contractor to write it. Either way, writing a blog is an expense.

You want a return on your investment.

The good news is, it’s not that hard to significantly boost the ROI of your company’s blog.

Here are three quick, effective and easy-to-do tactics for increasing your business blog ROI.

Post It to Social Media

No matter how great your Google search rankings are, you can’t count on your audience to just find your blog posts. You need to put them out there.

Social media is a very effective way of reaching a broader audience with your blog posts.

Not every social media platform is the same, however. Spend the time to research and understand where your target audience is spending time.

In general, LinkedIn and Twitter are the best platforms for B2B companies. In fact, according to a 2015 B2B content marketing survey from Content Marketing Institute, 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content, making it the most-used social media platform for B2B marketing.

No matter which platform you use, make sure you follow these two rules when posting your blogs:

  • Respect the platform. Each social media platform is unique. Learn how to use them right so your content appears native – not foreign or salesy. For example, learn how to use hashtags to your benefit on Twitter, how to write an effective introduction to posts on LinkedIn or how to use images effectively on Facebook.
  • Post other people’s content too. If your blog posts are the only content in your feed – on ANY platform – it will just look like a billboard for your company. To make your social media feed useful, insightful or entertaining (which will attract more followers), make sure you post things other than your own content. Share articles that your audience would enjoy, post behind-the-scenes photos of your company at work, or share other companies’ blogs. Whatever you do, don’t make your social media feed all about you. It should be all about your target audience.

Add It to an Email Newsletter

If you’re already sending out an email newsletter or marketing emails, congratulations. You are part of the 83% of B2B content marketers who have realized the value of this tactic. But are you using your blog content in your newsletters?

Including your blog content (or at least a link to your blog) in your email newsletter or marketing emails is a great way to get more bang for your blog buck. It helps your blog reach a wider audience and improves the overall value of the emails you are sending out.

If you’re not already utilizing this blog-value-boosting method, there are a few different ways you can try it:

  • Put the full content of your blog into the body of the email
  • Put the first one to three paragraphs into the body of the email with a link to read the rest on your website
  • Write an introduction and include a link to read the blog on your website

Numbers 2 and 3 will also help drive traffic to your website.

Create a SlideShare Deck

SlideShare is quickly climbing the ranks of valuable content-sharing platforms. It allows you to upload presentations (PowerPoint, PDF, Keynote or OpenDocument formats) and share them as slide decks on the site itself, or embed them elsewhere.

Repurpose your blog content by creating a slide deck from it. Then upload it to SlideShare.

Doing this makes it easy for other people to share your content as interactive slide decks. It also makes it easy to repurpose your content yet again by posting it as a slide deck via social media, newsletters, future blog posts, etc.

Here is a great article from Social Media Examiner with even more ways to use SlideShare for your business.

Your Business Blog Is Not the End

Writing and publishing your blog should not be the end of your content marketing effort if you want to see a return on your investment. Stretch your blog content farther with social media, email marketing and SlideShare to boost the value and increase your ROI.

How to Get More Value from Your Business Blog

5 Psychological Tricks To Exploit In Your PPC Ad Copy

Have you ever purchased three of the same exact basic t-shirts to fulfill a “buy-one-get-one free” type deal? Do you continuously return to the same Mexican restaurant on Tuesday to get the $2 tacos and salt-rimmed margaritas?

adwords ad copy tips

Whether you know it or not, you’re being manipulated every day by smart marketers who have dived into our psychological impulses and tricked us into buying another, returning again, clicking on their ad, or re-visiting their website (hint, hint remarketing). The smartest marketers are the ones that have a strong psychological understanding of how we, as humans, operate. Of course each individual is different, and not every psychological test is going to yield parallel results, but from what we know about common behavioral habits we can make conclusions on what works. If marketers aren’t thinking about the brain, common behaviors, and utilizing psychology and data to make better decisions, then they’re doing it wrong!

In this post I’ll focus on using psychological tricks to perfect your PPC ad copy, in turn leading to more clicks and conversions. So, let’s break the habit of writing generic, skippable copy. I’m tired of seeing the same old “Buy Now!” and “Save Time and Money” nonsense. These days, everyone seems to be duplicating everyone else’s ad copy and it’s BORING. Even if it’s working, your ads likely aren’t living up to their full potential, so let’s dive into the 5 psychological tricks to turn your ads from basic into outstanding.

AdWords ad copy similar ads

3 ads that are for the most part the same. Don’t DO this!

#1: Combine Emotional Triggers with Personalized Copy

Brace yourself as I make a bold claim: humans are all selfish beings. I know what you’re thinking, “not me, I’m not selfish.” But analyze your thought process over the span of a day. You wake up and think, “I’m hungry, what do I want to eat for breakfast?” Perhaps on your way to work you hop on Pinterest and think I want shoes like that.” I could go on and on, but the point is you’re always thinking about YOU, and your ad copy should be as well. You need to speak to ME by using the word “you” a lot! Confused yet?

PPC ad copy Clueless meme

In tandem with speaking to the user, your ad copy needs to persuade them to take action. The easiest and most effective way to persuade is by spurring on powerful emotions that entice the searcher to click. Think about why you chose one brand over the other? Study after study proves that we pay more for the same product due to the emotional response we get from brand loyalty. “Most people believe that choices they make result from a rational analysis of available alternatives. In reality, however, emotions greatly influence and, in many cases, even determine our decisions,” says Psychology Today.

So how can you do this in your ad copy? One way is by using genius marketer Perry Marshall’s Swiss Army Knife method. First you identify your customer, a thing your customer loves, a thing your customer hates, your customer’s worst enemy and best friend, etc. Then take your brand and find ways they are related to each entity and form your copy off of that.

Check out this example that has over 30% CTR, beating out the advertiser’s competition by a landslide.

writing better ad copy

Notice how the ad focuses solely on “you,” while evoking all sorts of emotions such as curiosity, jealously, revenge, and satisfaction. It’s incredible what YOU can do with so few characters to work with.

#2: Appeal to the I-Don’t-Want-to-Be-Left-Out Fear

More commonly known as FOMO, or fear of missing out. We’ve all had this feeling – let’s say your friends are going to a summer barbecue while you’re stuck putting in extra hours at the office. Believe it or not, this also happens when shopping online, doing research, and reading ad copy.

Loss aversion is the psychological term – it’s actually in our DNA to feel FOMO. Marketers often use the fact that people prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains to instill this fear of missing out, resulting in more clicks and conversions. The key to instilling this feeling in the searcher is inserting some form of urgency. As in you WILL be left out of this sale if you don’t buy TODAY, or you WILL NOT get a free trial if you don’t sign up before this date.

The easiest way to do this within your ad copy? Implement ad customizer countdowns and limited time sale promos to fuel this fear of loss. Ad customizers come in many shapes and sizes, but the gist is you can run a special deal that updates in real-time without having to maintain ads manually. Learn more and try them.

AdWords ad copy comparing ads

#3: Think Outside-the-Box & Be a Bit Bizarre to Resonate

Believe it or not, there’s a scientific method, known as the bizarreness effect, which proves that people tend to remember unusual material over common material. Joanna Wiebe, Author of Copy Hackers, explains how much she hates standard marketing messages: “I loathe it so much because it’s completely common phrasing which basically wipes out its chance of recall… and recall is kind of a big deal not only for converting visitors, but also for generating shares and retaining customers.”

So, what can you do to stand out and be a bit bizarre within your ad copy? Don’t go nuts and start writing irrelevant headlines just to be different, but instead look at your competitors’ ads and spend time brainstorming language that will spark the user’s interest. Channel your inner comedian and create funny puns within your ads like the one below.

PPC ad copy Braille ad

Get it? Because they can’t see?

Marty Weintraub of aimClear presented on creative ad copy hacks at SMX Advanced in Seattle, and I was lucky enough to have a front row seat. And wow, does this guy have energy! “Creative needs to be more than just good, it must be stunning,” he says. Here’s a few things that Marty recommends trying:

  • Use creative adjectives in your headlines. For example “[KW], Oh My” or “[KW, Incredible]”
  • Leverage the power of bastardized clichés. Everyone knows clichés, which makes the searcher feel included, but if you give the cliché a unique twist it can really resonate. Some examples Marty gave include “1 + 1 = Tooth Decay” or “Eat Carbs or Be Eaten.” Clever stuff.
  • Grab the searcher’s attention! Use actively attention-grabbing words like “Listen Up” and “Calling All”

Those are just a few ideas to get started, but all you need to do is reveal your inner bizarreness and be compelling to differentiate yourself from your neighboring ads.

#4: Prioritize the Headline of Your Ad

The serial position effect proves that when given a list of information we tend to recall the first (primacy) and the last (regency) items on the list, and are more likely to forget the items in the middle. So what does this tell you about your ad copy? The headline and end of the ad are the most important! Your headline needs to be the main focus of your ad copy, not only because of the primacy effect, but also because we’ve seen time and time again that the headline is the MAIN component of an ad that searchers are most likely to read.

But, what about the end of your ad? I’d recommend experimenting with postscripts in either the last description line of your ad copy or in the sitelink or callout extensions to highlight critical information (such as your call-to-action or an enticing offering). Let’s say you’re offering a 50% discount, your ad copy or sitelink extension could be “P.S. 50% off for 2 more days,” or “P.S. Order Today For Free Shipping.” Get the gist? “It’s an eye-catching oddity at the end of your pitch,” says Kapost’s Ryan Law.

P.S. Don’t forget to utilize post scripts and create outstandingly eye-catching and clickable headlines.

#5: Utilize Repetition

Do you ever feel like your brain’s tapped? Nowadays everywhere we go there’s some form of marketing message, whether we realize it or not. From the banner ads on the subway, to the display ads we consistently see when browsing the web, to the ads on our coasters at the bar. Even spaces we never expected to see ads are covered in them (think bathroom stalls, personal web space like our inboxes and Instagram feeds, etc.).

ad copy everywhere

“Our everyday lives are filled with competing marketing messages. If we tried to assess the validity of each of these claims, we’d be too busy to make any decisions,” says Law. “The more we hear or read a statement, the more inclined we are to believe it, even when it’s being repeated by a single person or business.”

This psychological concept is known at the illusionary truth effect, and it means that repetition is likely to be interpreted as accuracy over time. Again, this is why customers are so loyal to certain brands. The key is to not be repetitive with a basic statement that anyone of your competitors could duplicate.

So, what should you do to be repetitive in a compelling way? Start by…

  • Creating a slogan or catchy call-to-action that will become your trademark. It must be unique, catchy, and get your main brand message across to your target audience. Utilize this statement in the majority of your text ads to make it resonate with your searchers
  • Using Remarketing Lists for Search Ads. RLSA’s allow you to show your ads to people who have already visited your website by targeting a broader set of keywords. For example if you rent kayaking gear for summer adventures you could target someone who previously visited your site with broad keywords such as “kayaking.” You wouldn’t want to do this with a first time searcher since they could just be looking for a Wikipedia explanation of the sport, but since they’ve already expressed interest in renting you can target them again utilizing your catchy marketing message.
  • Repurposing the same marketing messages across similar channels, like your display and remarketing ads, within social ads, etc.

In no time your target audience will recognize your brand and be much more likely to convert.

grade your adwords account

5 Psychological Tricks To Exploit In Your PPC Ad Copy

How to Prepare Your Sales Team for Adversity

True character appears in times of adversity. Here are 3 tactics for developing mentally tough sales teams.

Every sales rep, on every sales team, faces periods of adversity. Where revenue goes dry, promising deals evaporate, and once-interested prospects vanish like they just flew into the Bermuda Triangle.

So how do the top sales teams train their reps to barrel through these periods, without any collateral psychological damage?

Preparing a Sales Team for Adversity

Before we dive in, this seems like an applicable time to bust out one of my all-time favorite video clips — a supercut of Private William Hudson’s scenes in the movie, Aliens.

Not only is it a classic Bill Paxton performance, it’s the ultimate depiction of a man’s psychological death spiral in the face of adversity. From “ultimate badass” to “Game over, man!”

By contrast, the calm, quiet Ellen Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, maintains her cool. Guess which one survives to see Alien 3?

Not that guy.

Tactic 1. Apply Consistent + Low-Level Social Pressure

Breeding mental toughness via internal pressure and competition is a great way to prepare reps for the dogfight of sales.

In a Harvard Business Review article entitled, “Motivating Salespeople: What Really Works,” the authors found that “social pressure” resulting from a “high quality pipeline of new sales talent” had a distinguishable impact on rep performance.

In comparing a sales organization that had two districts, one lacking a “2nd string” set of performers and the other having a 2nd string, the “salespeople in districts with a bench player perform approximately 5% better than those without one.”

The phenomenon that is occurring here, as the authors suggest, is no different than a football team using internal competition during preseason practice to boost the competitive mindset and mental toughness of its players.

Competition is again the factor at play in another finding from the article, as previous studies from its authors revealed that:

  1. “Contests with multiple winners boost sales effort and performance better than contests with winner-take-all prize structures.”
  2. “More (rather than fewer) prizes should be awarded as the proportion of stars increases [and] executives should offer at least as many prizes as there are stars in a sales force.”
  3. “Increasing the number of prizes in a contest increases the chances that a laggard or a core performer will win a prize in place of a star, which motivates stars to work harder.” “Motivating Salespeople: What Really Works.”

What the Harvard Business Review is talking about here is a culture, more than anything. One that breeds intense competitiveness and finds innovative new ways to incentivize performance across the entire sales force.

As outlined in the article, pervasive competition, a quasi-meritocratic environment and performance incentives that span the entire spectrum of performers are a great way to instill mental toughness across not just your top performers, but your core performers and laggards as well.

Tactic 2. Structure + Monitor Your Sales Process

In a January 2015 HBR article entitled, “What Top Sales Teams Have in Common,” the author delineates a common thread among top-performing sales teams – 50 percent of them have sales processes that are either closely monitored, strictly enforced or automated.

What does that mean? It means reps on those teams adhere to an explicitly codified sales process and are closely-tracked as to how well they follow it.

There are several enhancements this tactic offers in regard to facing adversity.

For one, reps don’t have to think about the broader picture of what they’re doing, as they’re dis-incentivized from questioning and deviating from their core process.

Reps on these teams are thus able to retain their focus on the hand-to-hand combat of sales, rather than the over-arching strategy behind their sales process. By keeping a narrow focus, reps can discover minor tweaks and micro-tactics that will improve their performance.

Secondly, reps who follow a structured, closely-monitored sales process are the beneficiaries of two keys to mental toughness and elite performance: Discipline and repetition.

Discipline is a byproduct of their sales culture and a character trait that, over time, will begin to permeate the rep’s psyche. When times are tough, they’ll be less likely to throw up their hands and more likely to keep their nose to the grindstone.

Beyond discipline, it goes without saying that repetition is the best way to become excellent at a core set of skills — and sales is no exception.

At a certain point, overcoming adversity becomes a matter of muscle memory. A well-trained rep will be able to recall past successes to get him through tough times, and will deploy only the tactics tried and proven to work, even during difficult times.

Tactic 3. Coach Creativity

This final tactic goes to two rising trends in the sales profession negatively impacting the mental preparedness of sales teams toward adversity.

The two trends are:

  1. Automated outreach and reliance on technology.
  2. The influx of Millennials into the sales force.

To the first point, marketing automation, email drip campaigns and other forms of prospect engagement have had massive benefits in creating initial engagement with prospects.

Once upon a time, initial prospect engagement was a duty that largely fell on front-line sales reps, who had a single, adversity-triggering tactic at their disposal: the cold call.

As inefficient as cold calling can be, an underrated, sorely missed benefit of the tactic in technology-reliant sales teams is the practice it gave reps in facing adversity, honing their messaging and developing creative, on-the-spot responses to overcome prospect objections.

For sales managers presiding over sales teams that rely mostly on marketing automation and other technologies to generate leads, it will be especially worth your while to conduct regular training exercises with reps that prepare them for prospect adversity and instill a creative, resourceful mentality.

The second reason many sales teams struggle with adversity involves the influx of Millennials into the sales force.

As John Barrows elucidated in our Sales Influencer Series interview — If there’s one area where new sales hires need coaching, it’s creativity and self-direction.

Millennial sales reps, he asserted, are across-the-board better at following direction than they are at thinking for themselves. They respond well to a formal sales process, but struggle with thinking on their feet when facing customer objections, disinterested prospects and other forms of day-to-day sales adversity.

As much as you practice following a rigid sales process, practice working with Millennial reps on thinking creatively and developing a resourceful mentality when going toe-to-toe with prospects.

In doing so, you’ll help prepare young sales reps not just to develop the proper mentality to overcome adversity, but a mentality that will lead to success.

In turn, you’ll prevent their experiences with a much more perilous form of adversity that comes with prolonged poor performance — self doubt.

Sales Culture that Welcomes Adversity

A common thread amongst all three tactics described above is that they embrace adversity, rather than shy away from it.

Sales is a profession where success is quite literally decided by your ability to overcome adversity, be it the micro-adversity you face on a cold call or the macro-adversity you face during a lengthy sales slump.

The best sales managers proactively combat adversity by bringing it to the fore.

You don’t have to transform your sales bullpen into Parris Island to create a battle-ready team. Just subtly, consistently integrate social pressure, healthy competition, process disciple and creativity into your day-to-day sales operations.

You’ll end up with a team full of Ellen Ripleys, not Private Hudsons.

Thanks for reading.

How to Prepare Your Sales Team for Adversity

How Facebook’s See First News Feed Update Benefits Brands

One does not simply see all Facebook page updates

The largest and most dominant social network is planning to give users more control over their own news feed.

Last week, Facebook rolled out a new feature that allows users to identify people and pages that they’d like to see first in their news feed. “To help prioritize stories, and make sure you don’t miss posts from particular friends and Pages, you can now select which friends and Pages you would like to see at the top of your News Feed,” the company said in a blog post.

This new feature is already available in iOS, but the social network promises to roll it out to Android and desktop soon.

The move gives the site’s over 1 billion users more control over the content that they see when they log in to the site. Before this enhancement, what people see in their news feed is determined by Facebook’s mysterious algorithm, which surfaces content it believes to be most engaging for you. While Facebook’s algorithm is pretty darn smart—it will start showing more content from a friend if you regularly “like” his or her status, for instance—this move gives users even more opportunity to dictate what they see in the news feed. It’s another step to make sure that Facebook users remain engaged when they’re on the site.

Facebook gives users more control over their news feed

As a Facebook super-user, I am thrilled about this new change. Even if I check Facebook multiple times a day, I still miss a lot of new content. More importantly, I tend to miss updates from people (and some company pages) I truly care about. The volume of content on the site is massive (as of 2013, Facebook users are uploading 350 million new photos each day). If you have 500+ friends and following a few dozens of pages, missing content (even popular ones) is easy. With this new feature, I am significantly less likely to miss updates from my favourite people and pages. I am less likely to miss my sister’s updates about my nephews, for instance, because I could choose to explicitly prioritize her new posts.

For brands and marketers, however, this new move is not necessarily good news. While people can choose to add as many people and pages as possible (as far as I can tell), I doubt many people would add many brands to their list—no matter how much they love that company. I mean, let’s face it: people go to Facebook to keep up with their friends and family, not to keep up with brands. Your company page will likely see less exposure now since your updates will appear below pages and friends that users choose to prioritize. Organic reach will take a beating again.

Of course, Facebook probably don’t care much if this move is bad for company pages. The company’s ad revenue is at an all time-high ($3.32 billion in the first quarter of 2015, a 46% increase from the same quarter last year year-over-year), suggesting that the company’s aggressive attack on organic reach is proving to be a good business move. Brands are willing to pay to be seen in people’s news feed, and Facebook knows it.

This new feature is another reminder for marketers that organic reach on Facebook is virtually dead. If you’re relying solely on organic efforts to reach your Facebook audience, you’re not maximizing your efforts on the site. You need to allocate some money for paid advertising in your social media budget.

To be fair, Facebook has also been busy rolling out features for brands and advertisers. The company’s foray into native videos has been a success—many companies are seeing higher reach and engagement because of that new feature. The site’s carousel ad format, introduced last year, already drives 30 to 50% lower cost-per-conversion, according to Facebook.

In the end, brands gain more when Facebook focuses on its users. That’s because when users are engaged, they’re more likely to log on the site, check out brands and click ads. And as long as users are engaged, Facebook will continue to have deep data that brands can leverage to create more engaging and relevant ads on the site.

When users get what they want, Facebook wins, and so do brands. That’s a good thing.

How Facebook’s See First News Feed Update Benefits Brands

7 Things I Absolutely Need in a New Creative Hire

7 Things I Absolutely Need in a New Hire

To understand why I need what I need in a new hire, you have to understand the business. The advertising business isn’t just a job, it’s a way of life. Take it from me, it’s like no other business in the world. It’s not a tap you turn on and off. You don’t (in fact, you can’t) turn on at 8:30 a.m. and turn off at 4:30 p.m., particularly if you’re leading a team. I think people who are really good at what they do (in any industry) are always thinking about what they do: how they can do it better; how they can do it differently for better results; how they can streamline the process to get where they’re going more effectively and yes, get there faster. They’re always thinking about “ideas” and marketing and advertising is all about ideas.

A platitude that’s a bit overused maybe, but there’s still plenty of truth in it: “Work smarter, not harder”

Work smarter, not harder: I want people who really believe that. You’ve seen the posters. But there’s plenty of truth in those four little words.

I never know what will spark the idea, or when it will come, I just trust, from experience, that it will come. I want that characteristic in a new hire.

It’s a Saturday morning, my business hat is off. It’s summer, I might be having a coffee on a patio, at the farmer’s market, anywhere; but I’m probably thinking about a new client, a client presentation, or an idea for a new campaign. It’s the middle of the week, I could be in an airport, a cab, at a restaurant, or just taking a walk down by the lake with my husband after dinner. Maybe I’m in the middle of a presentation for clients, totally focused and an idea pops up, completely unrelated to what I’m doing. Everywhere I am, anything can spark an idea. This might sound like I never stop working and in a way, I don’t.

It’s partly the business and partly me. I’m still excited about what I do, even after 27 years. I still get up in the morning passionate about our projects. It’s not that I’m always consciously thinking about work, it’s that I can’t help not thinking about it. I want people around me like that.

The business is not just me – I rely on my team. Most of them have been with 3H a long time. All of them have passion. And I want people with passion. I need them:


  1. Passion for the industry and the creative process.
  2. The desire to win!
  3. Willingness to learn and the ability to wear many hats.
  4. Someone who adds value to the process, who is flexible and won’t freeze when things go wrong, because in our business, like in life, something always does!
  5. Someone who isn’t afraid of ‘working without a net’; meaning that it’s okay if they don’t know the total background and details of a job, they run with the things and know it will work it out and they’ll eventually catch on. Being okay with not knowing is really important!
  6. Someone who is thick skinned and doesn’t take things too personally.
  7. No overblown egos. Confidence is what I want and it’s not the same thing. Egos make life difficult for everyone else. Strangely, it’s the kind of business where ego doesn’t belong, although we don’t think of the advertising and marketing business that way. Ego is insignificant to clients — it would be troublesome. They hire you because they already know you’re good at what you do.

There’s a number 8, but the heading says 7 so I’ll just say that for number 8 a sense of humour is hugely important. I want someone who finds things funny, can see humour where it’s sometimes hard to see it. There’s more to hiring the right person. Things that maybe you don’t often think about when you’re hiring; quirky characteristics that can enrich company culture on a day to day basis. (I’ll talk about them in an upcoming blog.)

It’s such an important aspect of business, finding the right people because it affects so many aspects of the business.

Send me your thoughts on what you look for in a new hire. #NewHireWishList #SharedWisdom #ExceedBeyond

7 Things I Absolutely Need in a New Creative Hire

Combine Inbound Marketing With PPC for Maximum Impact

Are you focused on your inbound marketing as the key to reaching your target audience? A lot of marketers today see inbound as the gold standard, often at the expense of other channels like PPC. But the truth is that there’s a huge opportunity for crossover and collaboration between these two channels; when done right, it’s a surefire way to boost your campaign results. Here are 5 ways to combine inbound and PPC for all-around better performance.

Keyword Collaboration
Marketing teams spend countless hours on keyword research, both at the beginning of a campaign and as an on-going process for website optimization. Inbound marketing provides almost real-time data on the effectiveness of keywords. Tracking the social media graph yields instant insight into target audience response to a piece of content. Think of this as crowd-sourcing your keyword research, another tool to complement more traditional methods. Once you’ve identified your most effective keywords on the organic side, a paid search campaign can amplify its success and increase exposure. On the other hand, keywords that aren’t as effective organically, can be targeted with PPC campaigns to expose your campaigns to a new audience.

Even if you are cautious about using traditional paid search and display marketing campaigns, you should have no doubt about using remarketing campaigns. These campaigns can show paid text and image ads to the same audience that has been exposed to your inbound marketing campaign. This is a great way to bring those visitors back to your site who have not converted before. In fact, a study conducted by Criteo found that visitors who experience remarketing ads are 70% more likely to convert into customers. You can target visitors with different, but complimentary, offers and assets giving you another opportunity at converting them into leads. Remarketing is also a great way of keeping your brand in front of users who have previously shown an interest in your product or service.

Boost Your Branding
Inbound marketers are intimately familiar with buyer personas; they analyze demographic data, Facebook Insights, Twitter dashboards, and Google Analytics to create targeted content that appeals to your customers. They have a unique understanding of your brand’s voice and story. Aligning these insights with your paid efforts helps ensure a consistent message across all channels that nurtures prospects and creates a sense of trust and familiarity with your brand. This boosts conversions and increases overall campaign performance.

Share Assets Between Paid Search and Inbound
The renewed focus on Inbound Marketing ROI means that teams are constantly strapped of resources for developing assets for use in campaigns. This is where PPC and organic really support one another. By coordinating the efforts between these two channels, assets such as design elements can be repurposed in landing pages and banner ads, and creative assets such as white pages, eBooks, checklists and how-to guides can serve as a focal point in paid campaigns. There is also the additional benefit of streamlining the planning process for your PPC campaigns; you can stretch your ad budget when you coordinate campaign planning between these two channels.

Leverage Your Landing Pages
Your inbound marketing campaigns use well designed and optimized landing pages, and chances are good they’ve been thoroughly tested and tweaked to deliver excellent opportunities for engagement. Leveraging these powerful assets in your paid search, display and remarketing campaigns makes good sense from a financial and creative perspective. Why not extend the reach and effectiveness of your inbound landing pages by incorporating them in your paid channel?

Inbound marketing is definitely the main pillar of your online marketing strategy, but you can boost its effectiveness and reach with a coordinated PPC strategy.

Combine Inbound Marketing With PPC for Maximum Impact

10 Inbound Marketing Tactics to Improve Your Brand’s Image


While Blockbuster has closed all of its stores, Netflix has grown to over 60 million subscribers as a new marketing platform, the Internet, grows. This is a classic example of the pros and cons of developing a brand in a digital age.  While Netflix’s brand really doesn’t have that clever of a slogan or a super flashy logo, the company has managed to navigate their brand’s image into the daily lives of over 60 million people (Actually, it’s probably triple that if you consider how many homes have multiple users under one subscription). What does Netflix ode for their success?

While technology and innovative thinking are important components, Netflix owes a lot to the fact that they have built their brand around the customer and customer preferences. They’ve made a cheap, convenient, and commercial free way to watch television. Rather than glorifying their brand through the right pitch, as many cable companies have done, they built a brand that crafts their entire business model around the customer’s convenience, which inevitably brings customers right to their door just like companies who adopt inbound marketing.

Mike Volpe, CMO of HubSpot, describes what works for brand image well when he said, ”Don’t interrupt what your buyers want to consume – BE what they want to consume.” In an Internet dominated world, content is what allows you and your company to “BE what they want to consume.”  A brand image is built on the content they serve and every path and touchpoint that leads to reaching a sale. Inbound marketing works by delivering valuable content along each stage of the journey, which is why brands who adopt inbound marketing reach an average of 54 percent more leads than traditional paid methods. Inbound marketing tactics like SEO, blogging, content offers, social media and much more work because they lead a customer to a brand online naturally, which wouldn’t be possible with outbound marketing methods.

Whether you have an app for budgeting or sell electrical engineering equipment, your content should be valuable and informational to help grow authority in your industry. Brands like Google, HubSpot, and MoZ have all built their brand images on being an authority brands in an online world by providing their website visitors with valuable content . Here are 10 inbound marketing tactics to build your brand image much like that of these well-known companies.

  1. Value proposition: Before you can make any inbound marketing tactics successful at building your brand, you have to have a clear understanding of your company’s value proposition. A clear value proposition states what you do, how you do it, who you do it for, and what makes you different from competitors. It’s at the core of all inbound marketing tactics.
  2. Buyer personas and journey: Knowing exactly who your target audience is by building out a buyer persona allows you to build a brand based on what is interesting or valuable to them. It also helps you to build content that fits each stage of the journey they take to becoming a customer.
  3. Website design and structure: Inbound marketing is all about driving visitors to your website and turning them into leads. Effective website design and structure not only helps to generate leads, but it will also show what your brand is worth.
  4. Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Nothing creates a better brand experience on the Internet than making it easy to be found online. With 61% of global Internet users researching products online, making yourself found through search engine marketing (SEM) will create a smooth brand experience. (Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance, 2012)
  5. Blogging: Consistent blogging is critical to SEM, but it also helps you to keep content fresh. When your content is fresh so is your brand. Keeping your customers and prospects informed regularly through blogging allows you to keep your brand in touch with them more often.
  6. Social media: Like blogging, social media allows you to keep your brand in touch with your audience on a day to day basis. Outside of being a platform where you can offer your audience news, blogs and other valuable content, it is also a platform that improves your brand’s image by giving your audience a voice and a chance to interact with your brand.
  7. Email marketing: From subscriptions to personalized emails, inbound marketing allows you to improve your brand’s image through the information you share and the a email’s voice, tone and design elements.
  8. PR: Typically, PR isn’t thought to go with inbound marketing, but it is actually a very effective channel to distributing your brand’s image and message, especially inbound content.  If your audience finds information through media, then PR allows you to reach them; however, product promotions and typical company news won’t stand out to media like inbound content.
  9. Personalization and segmentation: A one-size fits all approach only dilutes your brand. As you’ve likely heard before, try to be everything to everyone and you become nothing to nobody. A good example of effective personalization is Amazon’s recommended purchase CTAs that are said to generate an additional 10-30 percent in revenue. Personalizing and segmentation allows you to tailor your brand to the micro personas or characteristics of your audience.
  10. Analytics: Inbound marketing is data driven and allows you to predictively build a successful brand by monitoring brand image metrics such as website visits, social media engagement, email performance, search engine presence, inbound links, and much more. Monitoring your brand through analytics allows you to react to negative brand performance and repeat what’s successful. For example, HubSpot’s Social Monitoring tool allows you to automatically get notifciations anytime your brand is mentioned on social media.

In a digital landscape, branding and inbound marketing go hand in hand. Building your brand’s image online means you have to use inbound marketing tactics because forcing your brand into conversations doesn’t work. Learn more about building successful inbound marketing campaigns by downloading this guide.

10 Inbound Marketing Tactics to Improve Your Brand’s Image

11 Ways To Promote And Market Your Blog Posts

Blog Post Marketing

Do you want more traffic for your blog? So many people look for the answer to this question. They focus on bringing traffic to the blog in general. However, it is not the actual blog people are interested in. It is the blog’s content, the blog posts, that people are interested in. Yes, it is important to focus on getting traffic on our blogs, but our attention also needs to shift to getting more traffic for individual blog posts. If you get more traffic for individual blog posts, then you are also getting more blog traffic. It is simply a better way to strive for blog traffic. If you want to get more traffic for your blog posts, and therefore more traffic for your blog, here are 11 ways to promote and market your blog posts so they get more traffic.

#1: StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit

StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit are the three most underrated ways of getting more blog traffic, but at the same time, these three methods of getting more blog traffic are like hit-or-miss opportunities. Some of my StumbleUpon posts got me a grand total of five blog visitors. Others Stumble Upon posts got me thousands of extra visitors to my blog in a few hours. I occasionally use Reddit to promote my blog posts and products. Most of them are swings and misses. However, when I used Reddit to promote a big discount for my Twitter Domination training course on Black Friday (and Reddit was basically the only way I promoted the course at the time), I got over 100 on that day. I have not used Digg yet, but many experts say that Digg is another great place for blog traffic. This blog post explains it really well.

#2: Tweet, Pin, Post

You can use your social networks to promote your blog. One of the biggest mistakes blogger make is abiding to the 80/20 rule where they only promote their blog posts 20% of the time. I practically promote my blog posts all of the time on my social networks. Not only does it result in more traffic, but people appreciate the value (I can tell based on the interactions I get), and many of my followers promote my content. You should make it a point to grow your audience on one social network and post consistently on that social network. I focus most of my time on Twitter which is why my Twitter account is the most successful social media account that I have.

#3: YouTube

Even though YouTube is the third most popular website on the entire web, and over 1 billion people go on it every month, I still believe it is an underrated social network. I feel as if most of the people who go on YouTube either go on it to watch other people’s videos or barely put in any effort to create and promote their videos. In some of your YouTube videos, you can talk about individual blog posts and then promote them at the end of your YouTube video. At the end of your YouTube video’s description, you can add related videos and articles, and all of those videos and articles can either point back to your YouTube channel or your blog.

#4: Guest Blogging

When you write a guest post, be sure to include a link to one of your blog posts in the guest post (you need to check if that’s okay with the person you write guest posts for). Including a link to one of your blog posts will boost your blog’s SEO and also give that blog post more exposure. When you promote your blog post in a guest post, you must make sure that blog post is related to the guest post. Don’t just add a link to one of your blog posts for the sake of adding a link to one of your blog posts.

#5: Joint Ventures

Joint ventures are mutual relationships between you and another blogger in which you promote each other’s content. You can use joint ventures to get more visibility for your products and individual blog posts. If you believe one of your blog posts is related to your partner’s niche, ask that partner to promote your blog post. You don’t want to turn this into a daily habit because your partner may get annoyed, and your partner will definitely want you to promote something for them in return. Regardless of how you use your joint ventures, they are great to have.

#6: Hubs

Hubs are great places to write niche-related content and promote your blog posts at the same time. Normally, I would recommend Squidoo, but since they merged with HubPages, HubPages is now the best place to publish hubs on the web. I occasionally publish hubs related to digital marketing that then point back to some of the blog posts on this blog. You can see some of these hubs in action here and here.

#7: Forums

Forums are one of the most underrated ways to get more blog traffic. If you join a forum with like-minded people, you can promote one of your blog posts and then get more traffic that way. Before you jump in and promote one of your blog posts, take some time to see how the people in the forum communicate with one another. See how the community accepts promoted blog posts and what they like to talk about before you jump in. You don’t want to look like the outsider of a forum filled with like-minded people.

#8: Related Articles Section

At the bottom of your blog posts should be a related articles section. In this section, you should display 3-5 articles related to the article your visitor just finished reading. This serves two major benefits:

  1. Your individual blog posts get more traffic
  2. Your bounce rate decreases which is helpful for SEO

If you get people to stay on your blog for a long period of time, chances are those readers will come back to read your new content. This is the most effective way to get more traffic: keep readers on your blog for a long period of time so they frequently return to your blog, and as a result, increase the traffic for individual blog posts.

#9: Popular Articles Section

On your blog’s sidebar should be a popular articles section that allows your visitors to see which of your articles are getting the most traffic. Most visitors associate the most popular content with the most valuable content. That means when people see your most popular articles section, they will visit those blog posts expecting to get wowed by valuable content. This is yet another reason to make sure all of your blog posts have the valuable content that could wow your audience.

#10: Promote Blog Posts Within Blog Posts

Some of your older blog posts can add value to the newer blog posts that you wrote. Not only can this strategy add value to your content, but your individual blog posts get more traffic, and this strategy will decrease your blog’s bounce rate. Similar to promote your blog posts within guest posts, you want to make sure the blog posts you add relate to the newly written article. If I wrote an article about increasing SEO, I would add a link to an article that explains bounce rate, but I would not add a link to an article about entrepreneurship. Only include links to the older blog posts that provide value to your new content.

#11: Fix Big Media Outlets’ 404 Error Pages

Believe it or not, the big media outlets have 404 error pages. While some 404 error pages such as the 4-0-Forbes error page are creative, other simple display 404 error messages. Regardless of what happens when someone encounters a 404 error page, it can be frustrating, and most visitors won’t know what to do from there. Some visitors may simply leave the site.

If you find a 404 error page on a big media outlet’s website (or anywhere for that matter) that relates to your niche, you can offer the solution. You can tell these big media outlets that they have a 404 error page and you know of a blog post that could be used instead (a.k.a. one of your blog posts).

The time it takes to find a 404 error page and make your blog post the solution has very rewarding results. The first benefit is that you can say your content was featured on a big media outlet which adds to your social proof. The second benefit is that blog post will get more traffic when people click on the link, and when these people decide to share it on their social networks. The third benefit is that your blog gets a very valuable backlink which increases the blog’s SEO rank as a whole. This is an underrated way to get more blog traffic, and if you find a 404 error page on a big media outlet that was supposed to lead people to an article about promoting and marketing blog posts, I hope you’ll suggest this one :)

In Conclusion

Many people focus so much on the big picture that they forget to focus on the smaller parts of the picture. Many people strive to get more blog traffic, but it is a series of blog posts that generate traffic that results in a popular blog. If you can increase the traffic to your blog posts and get your visitors to read multiple blog posts on your blog, then more of those visitors will become returning visitors.

Which method of promoting and marketing blog posts was your favorite? Do you have any additional thoughts or advice on promoting and marketing blog posts? I want to hear from you.

11 Ways To Promote And Market Your Blog Posts

Not All Links From High-Powered Sites Are Created Equal

As I speak with other SEOs and business owners, I’ve noticed a trend that I wanted to address. People will say “oh, I got a link from Forbes the other day,” as if Google doesn’t distinguish between different articles within Forbes. Let’s consider the following two scenarios:

Scenario #1– Your site gets mentioned on The article links out to 15 other sites and for whatever reason the post gets very little social media activity.

Scenario #2– Your site gets mentioned on There are only 2 other links on the article, and the post gets a lot of activity. People are sharing it, liking it, pinning it, etc.

Which of these two scenarios do you think Google would put the most SEO value on? Scenario #2 would probably give you 10x more SEO power than a link like in scenario #1. Just because you get a link from a high-powered site does not mean you will get a lot of SEO power from it. If there a bunch of other links on the page, the link juice will be greatly diluted and you won’t get a big boost from the link.

Furthermore, Google is able to tell whether an article is popular. Most people don’t think social signals matter, but they really do. They really help Google distinguish whether the article is really important and popular. If you can get a link from a high-powered site with an article that goes viral on social media, you will have a hugely powerful link on your hands. I’ve seen links from high-powered sites give a small boost to a site’s rankings, and I’ve seen the opposite where a site gets a huge jump in the rankings. The difference is almost always the number outbound links in the article and how much social media love the article gets.

Google is getting a lot smarter at being able to tell how worthwhile articles across the Internet are. Just because you are able to get a link from a site likes doesn’t mean it will be an amazing link for SEO purposes. The articles needs to prove to Google that it is popular on an individual basis first.

Understanding this important nuance is very important for your overall strategy. If you are able to get a link on a high-powered site, do whatever you can to make sure it gets a lot of attention on social media. That’s the best way to maximize the SEO power that you get from your link.

Not All Links From High-Powered Sites Are Created Equal

SEO versus UX: Are the Two Fields Frenemies?

When someone mentions UX, the association is usually good – you’re crafting great experiences for people who matter. Google searchers seem to regard it pretty well:

user experience is

By the way, the one thing that looks bad there, “user experience is like a joke,” isn’t a bad thing at all. It finishes, “if you have to explain it, it must not be very good.”

Meanwhile, when someone mentions SEO, the association is, well …

seo is

That is, good UX is what people recall most, but the cheap, trick-based, blackhat version is the thing that people associate most with SEO. That’s really strange, given how intertwined those two fields are, these days. So it pays to understand… what are the areas in which these two things are friends, and what are the touch points in which they are enemies?

SEO and UX: Friends

First, let’s debunk some myths.

UX and SEO practitioners agree that you shouldn’t stuff your pages with keywords at the cost of readability. In both fields, it’s not recommended that you have a lot of ads at the top. And large images that make the page load time longer is a no-no in both fields. Let’s unpack that:

  1. Large images – page load time is a factor in search rankings, and long load times hurt the user experience. If you aren’t optimizing your images for desktop and mobile experiences, you are hurting both SEO and UX.
  2. Keyword stuffing – this is one of those things that used to work for SEO, but is now actually penalized by Google. (Go Panda!) If readability suffers because you’re targeting terms, you are tanking both search rankings and user attention.
  3. Ad heavy pages above the fold – Google penalizes sites with mostly ads on first page load, and users freaking hate those.

SEO and UX: Rivals

Google and other search engines have been making gigantic strides in ensuring that good UX and good SEO largely overlap. And some practitioners in the space seem to think they basically amount to the same thing, these days.

That would have been ideal, but in practice, there are still some areas where they clash.

For all of Google’s strengths, they still send robots to pages on a wide scale, and augment those robots by observing user behavior. Robots don’t “see” images, and can’t assess if the image helps answer a question. On top of the image limitation, robots face a range of challenges that make them imperfect systems to judge experience – and they lead to situations where you need to choose between SEO and UX.

1. Content Length

For UX practitioners, the content needs to be as long as it needs to be to answer a user’s question in the best way possible.

For SEO professionals, the content needs to be long enough to establish relevancy, thought-out enough to pass the check for latent semantic indexing, and meet a range of criteria that Google’s robots require to have the best shot at ranking.

Often, those do not lead to drastically different forms of content, but they are worth noting. This is why Google’s “create good, unique content” to rank doesn’t exactly ring true quite yet. Your job is to determine where you are weaker – acquiring potential customers, or satisfying readers, and then adjust accordingly.

2. H1 Use

For UX practitioners, there should be as many H1 titles as a page requires to be useful.

For SEO professionals, the H1 is kind of a big deal – it’s one of the more prominent on-page factors you can tweak. There should only be one of those per page, and it should contain the term that you are targeting.

Here, the SEO concern should usually be the one you prioritize. It actually makes sense for most companies to just decouple H1s, H2s, and other headings and the style of the text. That is, you can control the text size and weight using other methods, but you can only signal the H1 for search engine robots one way. If you do separate out the styling, you can have one H1, with the relevant text included, and still have as many titles as you need to make a page as useful as possible.

3. Image Use

For UX practitioners, you should answer a user’s question any way you can, in the most helpful way possible. Photos, text, video, infographics – they are all fair game, if they are useful.

For SEO professionals, the story does not really end there. Robots can read the alt text for images, but that’s it – they can’t really see the image, let alone assess how useful it is.

In practice, this is something online marketers need to balance. You need to review the organic traffic, review the bounce rate, and see where the site needs the most help.

4. Footers

For UX practitioners, footers with just the right number of links, the most used links, help users find what they need.

For SEO professionals, footers with more links help spiders crawl through the site efficiently, preserving the precious crawl budget that they have so they can index more of the site.

Here, the UX concern should probably win out. There are other ways to optimize the crawl budget, like building good, separate sitemaps on Google Webmaster Tools and using robots.txt to keep irrelevant pages from being crawled.

Optimizing for the footer, meanwhile, can mean a fairly good bump for satisfaction.

Trade-offs are at the Heart of Online Marketing

In a perfect world, these two fields will not be at odds. And indeed, in the past 5 years, Google and other search engines have made significant strides to ensure that good SEO and UX mostly overlap.

But since we’re not there yet, it’s good to know what trade-offs you need to make, depending on what your current strengths are.

SEO versus UX: Are the Two Fields Frenemies?

The Greatest Content Marketing Asset You Aren’t Using Yet

Today’s content marketers have a plethora of tools and tactics at their disposal for researching, creating and distributing content effectively. Most are familiar with keyword research, trending topic identification, social monitoring and other online tactics of behavioral research.

Those that are more “old school” understand the value of focus groups, customer interviews and regular feedback from sales representatives. When it comes time for promotion, social channels, email, PR and paid distribution tools like Outbrain and Taboola are the typical tools in the content marketer’s toolbox.

Yet one of the most commonly overlooked assets is one that content marketers can use to capitalize on every aspect of a content campaign—from research and ideation to creation and promotion. Subject matter experts, or SMEs, are the individuals outside your organization (but still in your space) that are capable of taking your content marketing game to the next level when leveraged effectively.

Here are a few tips for doing just that.

Research, Ideation & Creation

Use media outlets, social media, organic search, PR tools and personal connections to identify the experts in your space who have deep knowledge on the topics areas for which you create content. After creating a list, outreach is simple—this guide is a great resource for pointers on how to get response rates above 20 percent from the SMEs you identify.

When the right questions are asked, interviews with SMEs have the potential to provide perspective above and beyond your previous comprehension of a topic area. SMEs can provide the context and syntax you need to truly speak the language of your audience. You’ll be able to talk more directly to the pain points of your prospects and, more importantly, answer their questions with greater expertise. The end result is simply better content that is more likely to resonate with its consumers.


The goal of working with SMEs is, of course, more than just getting interviews for unique angles on topics; it’s building relationships. Relationships can make the difference between outstanding content that falls flat and outstanding content that excels. After all, creation is only half the battle.

By involving subject matter experts in the earlier phases of the content marketing process, they’ll have a vested interest in seeing that content perform well. For this reason, it’s a strategic move for both parties to leverage the expert’s network to broadcast and distribute the content.

It’s important to note that not all experts are industry influencers. However, many will be. This should be a consideration during your initial outreach phase as you consider the long game and the end results you’re striving for. Most SMEs that can be found online have broad social followings or are members of important industry communities to which they can broadcast content.

Tap Into SMEs for Content Marketing Success

Establishing partnerships with subject matter experts will allow you to be a better content marketer all around. You’ll do more thorough research, you’ll write more engaging content and you’ll open up a variety of doors for promotion opportunities.

This is not to say that other tools and tactics for creation and promotion should be tossed aside. Rather, this is a call for content marketers to consider an incredibly valuable asset that is often overlooked: the subject matter expert.

Relevance’s new guide, Tapping Into Subject Matter Experts for Content Marketing Success, goes into great depth on this topic. From the tools for identifying industry experts to interview preparation tips—it’s the all-in-one resource for incorporating SMEs into your content marketing strategy.

Subject Matter Experts: The Greatest Content Marketing Asset You Aren’t Using Yet

The Greatest Content Marketing Asset You Aren’t Using Yet

Monthly Giving: The Key to Big Gifts from Young Donors


If I asked you to donate $1,000 this year to my organization, your gut reaction may be, “Well, that’s a significant amount. I’m not sure I can afford it.” But what if I asked you to donate $83.33 per month via an automatic credit card payment? That’s less than the cost of two tanks of gas. Suddenly the same “ask” seems much more plausible.

Young donors want to give. But many do not give more because they haven’t been asked to give more. I don’t know about you, but a letter with an envelope and a box to check doesn’t exactly inspire me to go above and beyond.

The Secret to Reaching Young Donors and Inspiring Them to Give

Breaking down a significant contribution over the course of several monthly contributions is a significant opportunity that most organizations overlook when it comes to engaging younger donors.

Consider this: An organization decides to offer a premium only to donors who will write a check for $500 or more. What if they were to give away the premium to anyone willing to make a monthly commitment of $75 or more over the next three years?

Monthly giving is a valuable behavior that shows ongoing commitment to your organization. More than that, it is an effective way to lift donors and encourage them to upgrade their contributions.

If you have a system in place to process automatic monthly credit card transactions, monthly giving commitments can be extremely valuable for your mid-level program. Putting a system like this in place could be a massive game-changer for your organization.

Bottom Line: Asking for multiyear commitments fulfilled in monthly payments is an effective way to upgrade younger donors because it makes contributing a significant gift an easier and more comfortable financial decision.

What’s holding you back from implementing a new process?

Monthly Giving: The Key to Big Gifts from Young Donors

B2B Messaging Platform — Don’t Bother; It’s Likely a Waste of Time

B2B Messaging Strategy - Desired Effect

Do you know what a Messaging Platform (aka Messaging Framework) is?

A Messaging Platform is a guide to help people in a company or people working on content (whether spoken or written) ‘sing to the same hymnal’ when it comes to talking about the company’s value proposition and offering.

It usually includes insights about the target audience, the company’s brand strategy (positioning, brand promise, offer overview, etc.), messaging approach inc. rules & policies (aka do’s and don’ts), and sometimes suggested sales angles and calls-to-action as well approved answers to customer frequently asked questions.

A Messaging Platform is used by marketers, sales reps, executives, writers, human resource personnel, designers, videographers, etc.  Everyone will have a different way of using it, but the main purpose of having a Messaging Platform is to have an ongoing resource that all stakeholders can use when creating sales/marketing messaging and content on behalf of the company. It is supposed to be a tool for creating communications.

The problem is: Many growing B2B companies invest a lot of money for a consultant or agency to develop a messaging platform because they know it’s important. But then it never gets used. I’ve seen it happen many times; people just forget about it or they work in silos and use their own ideas as time goes by.

If you want to create a messaging framework but never intend to use it, I’d say “why bother?”. You could put that money towards something else.

That said, below are a few examples for where a pre-planned messaging strategy comes in handy. This may not only help you decide whether or not to create a Messaging Platform, but also to motivate you to USE it.

Keep in mind: A Messaging Platform is not exact copy or scripts. It’s a guide to show the general idea of what needs to be communicated as well as the company’s tone, approved terminology, etc.

1.  Website

You: “I want you to revise the content on our website.”

Web agency: “No problem, please send us information about your brand and content strategy, relevant analytics, as well as your Messaging Platform (so that we can figure out good copy angles and images).

You: “We don’t have a Messaging Platform, but I can tell you in general what we want to say.”

Be careful. Your website may be the first thing people rely on to understand why they should care about you. This is a great example of where a strategic messaging approach can come in handy (your creative staff will love you and you’ll get projects like these done faster).

2.  Sales Presentations and Collateral

You: “I was able to get a meeting with the executive team at ABC, Inc. to pitch our story and solutions. I could sure use some help from the marketing team to put together the presentation; and I need it in 3 days please.”

Marketing partner: “I’d be happy to do it. I suggest we confirm the story and come up with a tight message so it flows well and engages them.”

You: “Great, let’s get started.  We can work late so that we meet the deadline.”

Both you and the marketing team would be better off if the general approach to a sales presentation was figured out long before a deadline. That way everyone could use the same template and just customize it for various situations. A Messaging Platform (that people know about and use) can help reduce content development fire-drills like this; not to mention it helps ensure consistency in how the company is being positioned by the sales team.

3.  Tradeshows and Conferences

You: “I will be speaking at a large conference about the benefits of our solution. I need some feedback on my presentation.”

Colleague: “The presentation seems all over the place. I don’t see any statements or angles that mirror the company’s Messaging Platform.”

You: “That’s because I just came up with it on the fly, based on what I know and think.”

Hmmm, so in an instance like this where a Messaging Platform actually exists, seems that the $10,000 spent on research and time to create it was a bit of a waste.

The point is: Investing in a messaging platform is a great idea, but not so much if you spend good money and never use it.

B2B Messaging Platform — Don’t Bother; It’s Likely a Waste of Time

How To Turn One Piece Of Content Into Five Pieces Of Content

Content Creation Tips

The web has made it extremely easy for us to provide a variety of information. Billions of blog posts and videos are on the web. It is fair to say that we are in the Information Age. Millions of people realize the power of content on the web, and many of these people scramble to add content to their social networks, blogs, YouTube videos, and products.

Most people have the belief that the content needs to be different on each blog and social network you have. However, there can be repeats. In fact, many entrepreneurs and bloggers repeat themselves. Take, for instance, the New York Times bestselling author who goes around the country talking about her book. Some public speakers have been using the same speeches for decadesThe reason so many public speakers make the same speeches is because the message still works, and not everyone has heard it yet.

The same idea can be applied to content on the web. Believe it or not, there is a way to turn one piece of content into multiple pieces of content, even if the message is the same. Below are five pieces of content you have at your disposal. The next time you write something, know that it can become one of these five things, or even all five of these things.

#1: Blog Post

Most people who think of putting content on the web think of blog posts. The advantage of writing your own blog and publishing blog posts there is that your blog is your home on the web. While social networks contain distractions (i.e. someone else’s Facebook post may be more interesting, a trending topic on Twitter must get clicked on), your blog only contains your content. With that said, putting advertisements on a blog would be a big mistake, but before I go too far off tangent, I’ll come back to the point of this article.

If you optimize your blog to make people stay on it longer, and you have it optimized to get more subscribers, your email list will grow. Your email list is a crucial element of your online success, and some marketers go as far to say that the money is in the list. Valuable blog posts will provide as a strong incentive to get more subscribers, and if you write blog posts every day, they will become fun to write, regardless of what type of a writer you are. I used to hate writing, but now I can’t imagine a day when I didn’t write something.

#2: YouTube Video

After you write a blog post, you can create a YouTube video about that exact blog post. The best part is that the script is already written for you. You can simply read your blog post word for word or make slight changes that let people know they are still watching a video (if your blog post says, “in this post,” say “in this video” instead).

Since you have all of the scripts in front of you, creating your own YouTube videos will get easier. If you write a great blog post, then all you have to do is read that blog post, have a professional picture of yourself that people see for the entire video, and then you have a YouTube video.

Your YouTube channel can lead to more blog traffic. Promoting your blog on YouTube is a great way to boost that blog’s SEO, and if you include your blog’s link in every video description, some of your viewers will click on the link and read your blog’s content.

#3: Podcast

In the scenario of turning one piece of content into multiple pieces of content, podcasting is very similar to creating a YouTube video. All you do is read the blog post you wrote and then put the recording on your podcast. As you add more recordings to your podcast and start to turn it into an authority, you can interview experts in your niche. That way, your podcast will be associated with the most successful influencers in your niche, and you get to learn more about your niche at the same time.

#4: Book

If you already wrote numerous blog posts, you can turn a collection of those blog posts into your own book. That way, instead of writing a new book, you can use your old content, have another book for the world to see, and then you will make more revenue.

The tricky process of using blog posts to write your own book is to make sure the dedicated readers of your blog don’t feel cheated. It is hard to make someone not feel cheated if they have to pay for content that they can legally access for free on the web. Luckily, there are ways to give your readers value even if the content is already available on your blog for free.

The first way to make your readers happy to buy your book with your blog posts is by making your book organized. Most blogs, even the ones that are high value and focus on a specific niche, are knots of information. Sure, there are categories, but on most blogs, it is difficult for a visitor to find  a series of blog posts that all have the exact information that visitor wants. When you write your book, you can arrange your blog posts in a way that allows one blog post to lead into the next blog post.

The second way to increase your book’s value is by providing content that can’t be found anywhere else. You can call these the bonuses or the lost blog posts that never got published (and were then found). Your most loyal readers may buy your book just to get access to the lost blog posts. My recommendation is to have a few thousand words of content exclusive to the book itself.

#5: Training Course

In a training course, you have the option to include PDFs and videos. That means in a training course, you have the option of using pre-published content from your blog, YouTube channel, podcast, book, or any other content that you have pre-published. My recommendation is to make anywhere from 5-20% of your training course consist of pre-published content. Since training courses are priced far above books (the $10 book vs the $100 training course), most of the content you put on your training course needs to be new content.

The great thing about putting pre-published content on your training course is that you can promote yourself. Several marketers throw in some of their YouTube videos in the bonus section because the people who like the YouTube video may decide to take a look at the marketer’s channel, and some people will even subscribe to that channel. The same can happen if you choose to promote your blog posts, podcasts, and a free sample of your book.

Your customer will also feel as if you over delivered because if the customer subscribes to your YouTube channel that gets updated weekly, then your customers will see all of your YouTube uploads as bonuses. They may have went to your YouTube channel after watching one YouTube video, and then, there are 50 videos for your customers to watch. I consider these as bonus videos for the public. You will even make additional revenue when someone clicks on an Adsense ad in your video or waits for the five second ad to go away.

In Conclusion

Just because you publish a piece of content somewhere on the web does not mean you can repackage that content somewhere else. I turn several of my blog posts into YouTube videos, include 1-2 of my blog posts in some of my books, offer free samples of one of my books in my training course, and when I start my podcast someday, I imagine the same process trickling into that area.

What are your thoughts on repackaging your content into other areas? Do you already repackage your content into other areas on the web? Please share your thoughts and advice below.

How To Turn One Piece Of Content Into Five Pieces Of Content

4 Ways to Keep Afloat in Summer’s Saturated Market

Summer is in full swing with sand, sun, and surf. But that’s not all the summer season is about. It’s also the time when the marketplace swells with the demand for seasonal B2C services. In other words, ’tis the season for weddings, tourism, lawn care, and air conditioning maintenance, among other seasonal services. But while relevant small businesses may find that there’s more demand than ever for their products and services, they also have to face the problem of standing out among the surge of competition. So, how do you keep afloat in summer’s saturated market? Here are four quick tips that will not only keep you swimming, but rising above the tide:

1. Find a niche.
Subgroups are often forgotten by industries. These underserved groups are looking for someone to give them what they need. Most of all, they want companies to show them that they matter to the group at large. Maybe a traditional wedding planner notices that same-sex couples don’t have access to the same resources in her neighborhood, so she starts catering to them. As more couples spread the word and she discovers groom/groom and bride/bride cake toppers, she finds her business is booming.

2. Solve a problem.
Perhaps, the market at large is facing a conundrum that no one else has figured out yet. For instance, say you own a heating and air company, and many of the neighborhoods you serve have older homes without central air. Because of the cost most don’t or can’t invest in installation, and they find the air conditioning units that fit in the window inconvenient and in some cases dangerous. You come up with a product that allows them to cool rooms in their home efficiently without having to put anything in their window or spend big bucks on central air. Your ability to confront a challenge facing the larger group will give you an edge.

3. Offer competitive pricing.
No one is saying you have to give away anything, nor should you engage in a price war with competitors. That’s usually just a big turn off and everyone usually loses. Instead, you should get creative about offers and promotions. For instance, you could provide a free trial offer to win the trust of potential clients, when your competitors are locking them into a long-term contract from the start.

4. Provide variety.
This does not have to contradict the first suggestion of reaching out to a niche group. Providing variety is another way of saying you should diversify. While you should target subgroups and solve problems, you don’t have to limit your business to just those exchanges. And you should make sure to offer clients something your competitors aren’t. For example, to stand out among the 12 ice cream shops in town, you might offer homemade gelato, including flavors, such as hazelnut, that are usually only found in Italy.

Unique is the word of the day. Ultimately, your ability to be unique, serve unique target groups, and market your business uniquely is what will help you conquer a saturated market.

What have you done to proudly surf among a sea of saturation? Let us know in the comments below.

4 Ways to Keep Afloat in Summer’s Saturated Market