5 Simple Ways to Incorporate Video into Your Marketing Strategy

Cisco predicts that by the end of this year, video content will account for 69 percent of all consumer internet activity. What does this mean from a marketing standpoint? Simple. If you want to reach your audience and connect with them in a meaningful way, you need to start investing in video content. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Show your personality.

Your customers may already be familiar with your brand, but what about the people behind it? You are more than just a pretty logo, so show your audience your human side with the power of video. Try filming some behind-the-scenes footage or doing a weekly employee showcase. When people are able to see the personality behind the brand, they’ll feel a much stronger connection.

Film demos and how-to clips.

People love to see products in action, so give them what they crave by filming how-to and product demos. Why are these so effective? Because people are busy. They don’t have the time or desire to page through endless lines of text to figure out how to use your product. Video content is visually appealing, easy to digest and best of all, super shareable.

Tap into your customer base.

What better way to tell the story of how stellar your product or service is than to have a happy customer demonstrate it on video? User-generated content can be valuable for a number of reasons. First, it provides you with content to share that is, in and of itself, also shareable. Second, it serves as social proof, a powerful marketing motivator. And third, it’s a fabulous way to engage with your audience on a more personal level.

Bring testimonials or case studies to life.

Speaking of social proof, nothing boosts the confidence of prospects more than an existing customer singing your praises. Written testimonials and case studies are great, but bringing them to life with video is way more powerful. Ask your biggest brand advocates if they would be willing to share their positive experiences with your product or service via short video clips and then share away!

Go live.

As much as you’d like to, inviting every single one of your customers to join you in person probably isn’t feasible. Thanks to today’s technology, now you can do the next best thing – invite them to join in via live streaming video. Facebook and Instagram both have super easy to use and effective live broadcasting features. You can stream an event, or do something more intimate, like hosting a live Q & A session. The key is to promote your live broadcast in advance so that people get excited to join in.

Given the fact that 85 percent of US internet users are watching videos on a daily basis, the opportunity for businesses to reach more prospects and connect with their customers through video content has never been greater. The five simple strategies above should help you start leveraging this powerful marketing tool for your own business today.

How to Minimize the Cost of Customer Acquisition

Everyone knows you’ve got to spend money to make money, and acquiring customers for your business is no exception. The problem is, if your expenses outweigh your revenue, you’ll be chasing growth forever.

In order to accelerate growth, you need to hit that gold balance of keeping expenses low while increasing revenue.

Let’s take a look at a few ways you can impact expenses by cutting your customer acquisition costs (CAC).

Encourage repeat business.

Not only do satisfied customers return again and again, but they’re also more likely to share their positive experiences with others, which equates to valuable word-of-mouth marketing. To increase your odds of repeat business, invest time and effort into the following:

  • Product-customer fit. Build products and services your customer base will be sure to rave about.
  • Automation: The more you can streamline your workflow, the more efficiently you can serve your customers and provide a human touch in the areas that matter most.
  • Incentives: Motivate your customers to come back to your business and send referrals your way.
  • Service: Create memorable and meaningful experiences before and after the sale to stay forever imprinted on your customers hearts and minds.

Keeping your current customers happy makes acquiring new customers and winning repeat business much easier.

Offer incentives

Offering incentives not only motivates your current customers, but can also influence new customers to do business with you. For instance, starting a loyalty points program or offering a discount in return for a long-term commitment are both very powerful motivators to generate sales without a significant monetary investment on your part.

Furthermore, you can also use incentives in exchange for user-generated content. Participants share their personal experiences with your brand on their social networks for a discount, upgrade or free product. As a result, your brand enjoys a huge boost in exposure without having to pay for advertising.

Leverage marketing automation

Marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead. (Adobe CMO)

Marketing automation is an intelligent, cost-effective way to grow your database and turn cold contacts into new customers for your business. With the power of marketing automation, you can capture new contacts from your website, nurture them with automated emails (personalized to their preferences, of course) and keep tabs on your hottest prospects.

Instead of sending the same, bulk newsletter to everyone in your database once a month, marketing automation picks up on your contact’s preferences and level of interest so you can send emails tailored to each person’s unique needs. Then, when a hot prospect expresses interest, you can automatically notify your sales team. It’s a seamless way to keep your sales team in meaningful conversations with your most important prospects. You never miss an opportunity – and avoid wasting time on prospects who will never be a good fit for your business.

Use retargeting.

Lastly, you can improve the chances of a prospect converting to a paying customer by keeping your brand top-of-mind. The fact is most people who come across your products or services will not be ready to buy right away.

By using retargeted ads, you’ll keep your brand positioned in front of them and create additional touch-points so that when the time comes and they’re ready to make a purchase, they’ll naturally want to come back to you to close the deal. Retargeting can generate better ROI than regular advertising because you’ll be targeting people you know are already interested in what you have to offer.

There’s no way to avoid spending money on the growth of your business, but by taking the right approach and implementing smart strategies, such as the ones listed above, you can keep those costs as low as possible. This will allow you to generate more revenue and achieve continued growth over time.

Integration Spotlight: Hatchbuck + Unbounce

By now we’ve likely hammered home the value of email marketing, marketing automation and CRM. But without inbound leads to use these tactics on, you’ll be wasting your time and worse, your business won’t have the ability to grow.

A business website should be at the heart of your marketing strategy. Without it, your business has no digital presence and no way to capture leads. If a full-blown website isn’t in the cards for you due to budget, ability or other mitigating factors, a landing page will more than suffice. Creating a page that’s worth its weight is a different story though.

There are several factors that go into building a landing page that converts – content, a lead capture form, visual aesthetics – and the idea of creating a landing page that works may seem daunting. Lucky for us all, there are plenty of tools out there to take the pressure off and to easily create beautiful, effective landing pages that will capture the traffic you’re driving. One of our favorites is Unbounce.

Unbounce is an easy-to-use landing page builder and conversion tool that integrates easily with other tools (like Hatchbuck) through Zapier. Through Zapier, you can easily capture leads from your Unbounce landing pages and push them into your Hatchbuck database for nurturing.  Similar to our drag & drop email builder, Unbounce requires absolutely zero design or coding experience. They’ve got a pre-designed template library chock full of professional-looking landing pages and popups that are sure to help you capture more inbound leads.




The ability to create a branded, mobile-responsive landing page is an absolute must for businesses large and small. With some many beautifully designed websites and talented web designers out there, it’s easy to feel like a small fish in a big pond. But tools like Unbounce, it’s easier than ever to compete no matter your size or budget.

Zap Recipe

You can easily grab this zap, here:

Here’s a walk-through of how setting up this zap works:

Once you’re logged into your Zapier account, choose “Make a Zap!” to get started.



Select Unbounce as your “Trigger App” in Zapier.



Select “Form Submission” as the trigger for your Zap. This means that the zap will fire every time someone submits a form on your Unbounce landing page.



Select your Unbounce account. (If you’ve never connected to Unbounce in Zapier before, you will need to connect your account, so have your Unbounce username and password ready.)



Choose the Unbounce client and Unbounce landing page you want to connect to.



Test your Unbounce connection.






Now, choose your action app.  This is where you’ll choose Hatchbuck!



You can choose to “Add a Tag” or “Create/Update Existing Contact in Hatchbuck.”

For this example, let’s choose, “Add a Tag.”



Choose your Hatchbuck account.



You can test to make sure your connection is working properly.



Choose the tag you’d like to add to leads that fill out your Unbounce form.



Choose the email address field you’d like to import. This is the Unbounce field that collects the email address. It may show an email address from the test data pulled from your Unbounce test. This is just to make it easy to see what data your fields will be pulling in.



In this example, we can see that our test pulled “donald.duck@unbounce.com” from the “Form Data Email” field. That looks right! We’ll choose the “Form Data Email” field to populate our contact record in Hatchbuck.



Select the contact status you want to give new leads who come from your Unbounce landing page to your Hatchbuck account.



In this example, we chose “Lead.”



Add the first name and last name fields from Unbounce.



Helpful hint: Back in Unbounce, make sure you’re asking for separate First Name and Last Name fields, rather than just one “Name” fields. This will keep your data nice and clean as it comes into Hatchbuck.



Send a test tag to Hatchbuck using your test Unbounce data.

Success! You’re ready to name your zap and turn it on!



Now, Zapier will add any new leads from your Unbounce landing page form to Hatchbuck and add the tag you selected to them.

This is super awesome, because you can use tag rules to do even more when that lead gets to Hatchbuck, like:

  • Start a campaign
  • Send an autoresponder
  • Notify a sales rep
  • Create a follow-up task
  • Create a deal

Back in Hatchbuck, go to your Tools > Rules.



Create a new rule.

Select Tag Rule.


Give your Tag Rule a name, and find the Tag that you’re adding to your Unbounce leads from Zapier.


You’ll also provide a “Score.” This will increase or decrease your lead’s contact score every time they fill out your Unbounce form. You can learn more about lead scoring with Hatchbuck, here:




Now add your automations.



The sky’s the limit, but in this example, we’ll just add a task for a sales rep to follow up with the new lead.



There you have it — you’re all set up! See other Hatchbuck integrations in our full Zapbook. Happy Zapping!

The Most Important PPC Trends to Be Aware of in 2018

The pay-per-click industry saw lots of serious changes in 2017, and experts are forecasting more in 2018. What areas should you keep aware of? The verdicts are in, here’s what you need to know:

Get used to machine learning

Google dove big into machine learning with their PPC networks in 2017. Their “smart bidding” system, meant to optimize conversions using machine learning, was just one of several major developments: smart display campaigns and new ad rotations also showcased the influence of artificial intelligence in the PPC sphere.

Understanding how machine learning and artificial intelligence affect PPC will be important to digital marketers in 2018, since the industry is likely going to be leaning more and more on that tech. It wouldn’t surprise us if, within five years, manually altering PPC bids becomes a thing of the past.  

Get used to the new Google AdWords interface

Most marketers cried out in unified hatred at the new AdWords interface. For folks who spent most hours each day adjusting bids and keywords as quickly and efficiently as possible, this redesign came as a kick to the stomach.

But when you think about it, the old design—we’ll just say it, it was plain and clunkier—was introduced in 2009. That’s close to a decade ago. And if you spend even just an afternoon reacquainting yourself with the system, and accept that this is the new normal, you will probably get over your hatred and learn to love the new layout.

As well as being noticeably faster, the new layout is frankly easier for newbies getting into the game. Remember, folks: it’s not just about what you’re used to. It’s about adjusting for the future.

Focus on audience search

While Facebook has long reigned over the detailed audience search, offering PPC marketers remarkably specific targeted audience groups, Google has begun to wade deeper into this field. The search engine giant has long hesitated to give away too much of its users information, citing privacy concerns (which is fair—they have a tremendous amount of personal data on, well, basically everyone), but if they don’t want to lose more market share to Facebook, they’ll have to be competitive.

In 2018 and beyond, expect to see less emphasis on keywords and more consideration of targeted audiences. That will likely make the difference in digital marketers’ success.

Emphasis on social media

Given how Facebook saw a 40-percent ad revenue growth in 2017, and looking at its dominance in the realms of audience targeting and video marketing, social media is going to be a major focus for PPC marketers in 2018. Even LinkedIn is likely to gain traction as marketers realize what works and what doesn’t on one of the Internet’s most niche social networks.

Social media is particularly great for tracking users (like with Facebook Pixel), and for remarketing to increase your conversion rate. And speaking of audiences above, the ability to create lookalike audiences based on past success is something the social giants have been honing for a long time and is going to continue being a primary focus for marketers in 2018.

Get ready for voice search

As more searches are performed quickly on mobile devices, and AI assistants take over our search consoles, predicting voice-controlled search will be a quickly emerging PPC trend.  

Searches are going to become even longer-trail, as people tend to search for sentences rather than easily typable phrases: not “indoor plant brown help,” but instead “how to stop an indoor plant from turning brown,” since the latter is what you might actually say aloud.

It’s likely that voice search will prompt PPC marketers to create a new build. While the results may not be noticeable in 2018, it’s probably that the year will mark the beginning of a new trend and a lessening of typed-in classic search terms.

5 Inbound Marketing Buzzwords You Need to Stop Using

Once upon a time, articles were articles, and photos were photos. People called anything on social media a “post,” and moving pictures were referred to as “videos.”

That doesn’t happen as much anymore. We are now living in the age of #content.

Social content, video content, inbound content—everything is content. And yet, when you tell someone that “this will make great content,” even though we all understand you, and we may all agree, we’re all cringing a little. I’m just going to say it: the phrase sounds dumb.

But it’s not just our internationally collective overdose of content that’s the problem. It’s a lot of buzzwords. The marketing universe is filled with them, and the inbound galaxy—solar systems of social media, blogging, SEO, et al—is rife with nonsense.

The irony? Bluntness works. Nobody thinks the phrase “We produce high-quality, original inbound written content” is better than “We write great articles.” Specificity trumps generality. One sells, the other obfuscates.

The World of “Content”

I mentioned this above, but let’s clarify. “Content” is vague. It’s worse when paired with fancy-sounding adjectives: bespoke content (you mean “original”?), grabby content (it’s assumed your marketing should grab audiences), evergreen content (okay, admittedly “evergreen” is a distinct and useful word), sticky content (you mean articles that people actually want to finish?).

Instead of broad terms like these, drill down to specifics. If you’re producing an original video series for a client, you’re not creating “bespoke content.” You’re producing an original video series. We are not living in George Orwell’s 1984; more words are not always worse.

“Leverage” or “Optimize”

These have their place, but they’re still vastly overused. People do not “leverage their reputation to promote a product”; they simply promote a product. I’ve personally never heard anyone say “leverage” in casual conversation and not sound pretentious.

That basic rule of thumb works for most of these buzzwords: if it wouldn’t sound natural to say it out loud, don’t optimize your language for inbound marketing. (Like that.)

“Multichannel” or “Multimedia”

What agency is still working only with text anymore? If your inbound strategy doesn’t have multiple media involved, you’re doing it wrong. You don’t need to run an expert video campaign to promote something on multiple social platforms.



So much media! So multi!

Calling your campaign “multichannel” is a foregone conclusion. Save the energy it takes to type out those letters and, instead, explain what channels you’re tackling. “We’re running a multichannel campaign on Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest” means the same thing as “We’re running a campaign on Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest.”

“Social Reach” or “Impressions” or “Audience” or Whatever

It is embarrassing to see how many marketers and salespeople will throw out a massive number like 5 million, only to undermine it by preceding the number with “a global social reach of.” The very definitions of “reach” versus “impressions” have changed enough that some people will genuinely believe “a global social reach of 5 million” means 5 million people saw your campaign.

It doesn’t. It means 5 million people could have seen your campaign, based on the social connections of each person who engaged with your campaign on social media. If 10 people with 100 followers used your hashtag in an Instagram contest, your hashtag did not automatically get 1,000 impressions. You maybe got 300. That social reach of 1,000 is a profoundly meaningless number.

Everything is a “Brand”

I don’t know at what point we started referring to companies as brands, or people as brands, or products as brands, but suddenly everything is now a freakin’ brand.

We’re over-branding. If I told you I ran a lifestyle-management brand, you’d have absolutely no idea what I do for a living.


“Do not take my name in vain” – Russell Brand, probably

Branding is meant to evoke an emotion instead of a literal concept of a thing—so Gucci would be a luxury fashion brand, which theoretically makes it more alluring than calling it a company that produces luxury goods. I get it; it’s sexier. But it’s also frequently confusing.

Inbound marketers could do with a little less branding and a little more selling—what makes the product great? What makes it unique? What makes it worth my time? Use specific language, not fluff. You’ll find you’re no longer speaking in marketer’s tongue; you’re speaking the same language as your clients, your audiences, and the rest of the world.

7 Rules for Keeping Emails Out of the Spam Folder

Did you know that email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than social media? Of course, that stat really won’t make an ounce of difference if your messages are ending up in your recipients’ spam folders. The fact is, email service providers (ESPs) are constantly trying to keep unwanted mail out of clients’ inboxes. That’s great for your inbox, but can be tricky for marketers trying to reach those who have given permission to keep in touch. If your marketing efforts are being hindered by poor deliverability numbers, here are seven rules for reaching the inbox.

Be compliant.

First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure all of your email communications fall in line with the CAN-SPAM Act, which establishes requirements for all commercial messages. Not only does non-compliance with this act reduce your email deliverability, but it could result in penalties of more than $40k for each violation. (You can learn more about the seven main requirements here.)

Get permission.

The best and easiest way to improve how many email messages reach their intended recipients is to get their permission in advance. Coincidentally, this is also the most effective way to stay compliant with the aforementioned CAN-SPAM Act. To gain express permission, incorporate opt-in forms on your site with a message that makes it perfectly clear that by sharing their email address, your visitors are also subscribing to your email list.

Ask to be whitelisted.

Oftentimes even those who willingly sign up to receive your email communications may end up unreached due to their ESP’s filtering mechanism. To avoid this, remind email subscribers to add you to their whitelist – that is, add your “From” address to their list of contacts. Once done, this will ensure that all future communications are delivered free and clear of any spam filters.

Avoid spam “triggers.”

As part of their effort to help protect consumers from being inundated with unwanted messages, ESPs have set up comprehensive filters designed to identify and redirect spammy content to the junk folder. While there’s no be-all-and-end-all list of which words trigger the filter, certain risky terms, like “free,” “buy,” “prize” or “bonus” can be enough to send your beautifully developed and well-intended message in the wrong direction.

Be consistent.

The goal of most email campaigns is to stay top-of-mind with customers and prospects, thereby increasing the chances of conversion. If you are only sending emails once or twice a year, chances are your recipients have already forgotten about you. What’s more, if they don’t recognize the sender, they’re more likely to physically flag your messages as spam, hurting your deliverability rates. The key is to deliver quality email content on a consistent basis – not too frequently, but just often enough to keep you connected.

Be relevant.

A generic or uninspiring message can cause recipients to send you right to the spam folder. Marketing automation can help you send emails that hit home with your audience and make them want to take action. With marketing automation, you’re constantly gathering information about what your audience is interested in, making it super simple to segment your list and trigger relevant emails when they hit a specific goal – like checking out a product or service on your website, or filling out a form.

Test and tweak regularly.

There’s really no magic formula for getting more of your emails into your recipients’ inboxes. This is why A/B testing is so important. Don’t be afraid to play around with different subject lines, email lengths and image-to-text ratios, measuring results to see what works and what doesn’t. This will help you to determine what types of messages get the kind of results you’re after so you can optimize future campaigns for better performance.

According to the Data & Marketing Association, email marketing can provide an ROI of $38 for every dollar spent. But those results are only possible if your messages are successfully getting through. Our comprehensive email marketing tool, along with the tips listed above, can help you manage, execute and optimize your campaigns like a boss, improving the chances of turning those email recipients into loyal, paying customers.

7 Creative Ways to Grow Your Email List

Developing a solid list of engaged email contacts is a critical component of any successful email marketing strategy. For most business owners, however, it also happens to be one of the most challenging. Thankfully, with the right tools and approach, growing your email list doesn’t have to be a burden anymore. That said, let’s take a look at seven creative ways to get more subscribers and start generating more valuable leads.

Include sign-up buttons everywhere.

First and foremost, if you want people to sign up for your email newsletters, you have to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. That includes adding sign-up forms and buttons everywhere you will be in contact with your target audience. And don’t forget about your emails themselves. If you’re sharing really great content, chances are your messages are being shared, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to gather more sign-ups that way as well.

Host an event.

Hosting events that require people to sign up or purchase tickets ahead of time is a great way to gather contact information and stay in touch. In fact, you can include an email newsletter sign-up box right on the registration form, which makes it fast, easy and convenient for people to opt-in. Even if it’s as simple as a webinar, this is a great tool for staying connected and growing your list.

Attend industry events.

In addition to hosting your own gatherings, attending events like tradeshows and conferences that are aligned with your industry is another great way to make quality connections, both with new prospects as well as other partnering businesses.

Provide something of value in return.

You’re probably already enticing visitors to sign up for your email newsletters with things like discounts and other exclusive email-only offers. Another effective way to gain more traction is to provide something immediate in return for sharing contact information, such as a free e-book, whitepaper or another downloadable resource. This type of instant gratification can be a very powerful motivator.

Harness the power of mobile.

Given the fact that 80 percent of Internet users today do their web surfing on a mobile device versus a traditional computer or laptop, it’s safe to say that mobile is where it’s at from a marketing perspective. To that end, you should be making it simple and convenient for new customers to join your email list using a mobile device, such as providing the option of joining via text.

Leverage social media.

Social media is a great tool for connecting and growing your audience, but it’s also a powerful platform for encouraging fans and followers to sign up for your email list. For instance, Facebook offers the option of including sign-up forms, making it quick and easy for them to opt-in without having to leave the app.

Offer free Wi-Fi.

If you own a brick and mortar business, extending free Wi-Fi in exchange for contact info is a great way to grow your list. In order to connect, guests must enter their email address and “opt-in” to your emails. It’s easy and super effective.

These are just a few of the many creative and sometimes out-of-the-box ways to grow your email list. Give one or two of them a try, measure the results and take it from there. You can also come up with some ideas of your own by thinking about how you interact with your customers and identifying areas of opportunity that you may not have tapped into yet. You might be surprised at what you come up with.

5 Simple Tips For Flawless Customer Retention

There is one golden rule of sales: selling to returning customers is a heck of a lot easier than selling to new ones. Returning customers, by definition, already know and like your brand, making it easy to entice them with deals and coupons.

The only way to ensure you have returning customers is by focusing on customer retention. Problem is, it’s difficult to achieve. If someone buys one of your organic goat-milk soaps once, and you never see them again, that’s a bad sign—did they not like the smell of your soap? Did they find a cheaper organic soap somewhere else? Did it give them a rash? You rarely have a way of knowing for sure, which is why you want to eliminate as many of those possibilities before the customer’s transaction even takes place.

Ensuring your product or service is of a high quality, your customer-service lines are always open and your price is comparable in the market are all ways to stave off lost customers. Let’s go over some of the best tips one-by-one.

Appreciate Your Customers

This should go without saying, but running a business is being involved in a relationship. If you want your customers to appreciate you, you should start by appreciating them.


View post on imgur.com


This starts with the first interaction—your inbound or outbound marketing efforts should entice prospects in a way that encourages them to be curious about your brand. Your website should be as clean as your living room during a dinner party.

Once you have a customer in your banks, always keep things personal. Emails are ideal for personalized, tailored communication, particularly with regards to rewards and customer service. Respond to people where they are – whether on social media, a phone call, or live chat and never let your customers feel forgotten.

Have a Great Social Presence

If you’re doing things right, you’ll have your fans tweeting or posting to review sites about your company. (You might even encourage this with a contest giveaway.) You’ll have comments on your Facebook posts and blog articles, if you’re going down that road.

The most important thing in social media is to stay engaged. Never forget the “social” part: it’s a conversation, a two-way dialogue. It’s a great platform for customer service, sure, but also marketing and joke-telling. Create a strong personality, stay human, share posts you enjoy, and your audience will be more likely to stay engaged with your brand down the road.

Focus on Exceptional Customer Service

When it comes to customer service, data has proven that people value speed more than any other aspect. They have a problem; they want it fixed quickly.

Imagine if you just switched Internet providers, but the new network doesn’t work. You’re on the phone with the company, but their call-in waiting time is over an hour, and they only respond to your email after 24 hours. They tell you it will take a few days to solve the problem—and if it doesn’t, you’re back to emailing them and waiting for a response.

It doesn’t matter how friendly the customer service is; it matters that it took a week to get online. Offering a prorated discount is a good solution, but the damage has already been done: the experience has been soured.

Of course, warmth and courtesy help too. Having a reliable CRM means always having customer data on hand, which can let your customer-service agents digest the customer’s information quickly for a more efficient resolution – all while fostering a personable, friendly experience.

Don’t Bother Your Customers

The most ironic way to kill your own business leads is by hugging them to death, so to speak.

For example, when honing your email marketing strategy, if you’re emailing your customers more than three times a week and your open rates are in the single digits, you’re probably bugging them. That will lead to more unhappy unsubscribers than anything.

Space out your social posts, email blasts and other communications evenly, so as not to overload your fans with too much too quickly.

Create a Foolproof Loyalty System

Whether it’s coupons, cards or referral bonuses, a strong loyalty system is a must-have for customer retention.


customer retention

Cookies make the heart grow fonder.

This is in many ways the crux of customer retention: give them something that makes them want to return. Email coupon codes are ideal for this, particularly when paired with their purchase history. If they just bought your online course, you could email them a code asking how they enjoyed the course, while mentioning an exclusive 20% coupon for your consultation services.

A surprise welcome gift can work wonders, too. Airbnb sends local gift baskets to new renters; Help Scout has been known to send a tin of cookies; Wufoo sends handwritten thank-you cards to their first customers.

These gestures, particularly early on, will resonate in your customers’ minds. They’ll remember it, tweet about it and keep your brand above the rest for years to come.

7 Common Mistakes That Are Destroying Your PPC Ad Conversion

Did you know that for every $92 you spend on acquiring new customers, a measly $1 goes toward actually converting them? That could have a lot to do with the fact that only 8 percent of people pay enough attention to online ads to actually click on them.  That means you have a very tiny margin of error. Making a mistake on top of these low odds can make it even more challenging to get conversions. To help you avoid such errors for your own business, here are the top seven to watch for.

Forgetting the human factor.

One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is developing ads and marketing messages based on a faceless audience rather than the human beings they’re actually targeting. In fact, according to a recent report by Nielson, the biggest influencers of trust in advertising are those factors that resonate with human nature, such as humor, value-oriented and real-life situations. When creating ads, focus on speaking the language of your ideal customer and talk about what matters most to them.

Not focusing on copy.

Words are very powerful. If you’re not paying enough attention to things like bold headings, clear value propositions and strong, compelling calls to action, you are probably missing out on business as a result. Avoid using business jargon and keep your messages short, clear and easy to understand. Use power verbs that appeal to human emotion and create a sense of urgency whenever possible. If you really struggle in this area, consider hiring a writer who has experience in sales copy.

Emphasizing features vs. benefits.

You love the many features of your products or services, but to put it bluntly, your audience doesn’t care. What matters to them is what your products or services can do to make their lives better or easier. If you want to capture their attention and get them to convert, you have to appeal to their needs, preferences and pain points and you do this by showcasing the benefits you have to offer.

Marketing to your existing audience.

If you’re spending a good portion of your marketing budget on social media advertising that targets your existing audience, you probably aren’t going to get much in the way of a return. That’s because most of these people already know you and what you have to offer. Social advertising can be effective if your offers are good enough to entice sharing, but just be careful not to overdo it.

Not using social media tools effectively.

Social media provides many awesome tools that can help marketers reach and connect with their audiences better, but if you’re not using them properly, things could end up going in the wrong direction. Take, for instance, the time McDonald’s created the hashtag #McDStories with the goal of having customers use it to share nostalgic stories about the brand. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t explain it well enough and people ended up using it as a way to complain about their negative experiences. The lesson? Make sure you totally understand the tools available to you and clearly explain your purpose.

Taking social issues lightly.

In many instances, jumping on a trending news story can be highly effective for a business. But it has to be done correctly, otherwise you risk having the opposite effect. A good example of this is companies referencing global disasters in their marketing efforts. If not done in the utmost of good taste, this approach leaves many consumers to feel as though brands are taking advantage of a tragedy for perceived marketing goals. Such negative reactions can damage brand reputation and result in a loss of business.

Not tracking results.

If you’re not properly testing and tracking how your ads are performing, you could very well be wasting money in the process. Marketing and advertising is as much of an art as it is a science. Something as simple as using a different color scheme or changing just one word can mean the difference between a scroll and a click-through. Make sure you are regularly measuring each campaign and don’t be afraid to test new things until you get the results you’re after.

Do any of these mistakes sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone, and more importantly, there’s no need to panic. Simply take a step back, reassess your approach and move forward more strategically keeping the above advice in mind. Over time, you will begin to see your advertising results take a turn for the better.

6 Reasons Your Small Business Must Utilize Email Marketing

Forty-two percent.

That’s the number of Americans who check their email in the bathroom, according to Adobe.

Ninety-one percent say they check their email at work, and 70 percent check their email while watching television, according to that same report.

And that’s not even getting into the number of people who check their email while in bed, while on vacation, or even while driving.

Here’s some more interesting news: Those coveted millennials are just as obsessed with email.

If these stats aren’t enough to convince you that your small business needs to utilize email marketing, here are five more reasons to win you over.

People Engage With Email

We’re programmed to do something with an email.

We’ll read it, skim it, click through it, mark it as spam, or delete it. While those aren’t all desirable options, if you think about it for longer than the time it takes to sigh at the word “spam,” you’ll realize something:

An email holds a reader’s attention long enough for them to somehow engage with it.

In other words, you have a chance.

Unlike social media where people scroll by your posts at mega speed, a recipient will at least read the subject line of your email. You have a shot at convincing them your email is worth reading. That’s the kind of challenge any marketer or copywriter should embrace.

Email Offers a Personalized Form of Correspondence

Hooray! You did it. You got someone to join your mailing list and agree to receive emails from you.

Don’t take it for granted.

Email is one step under texts when it comes to personal communication. Subscribers expect great content delivered to their inbox, not lackluster material that makes them check the notification and go, “Urgh, these people again…”

If you have nothing of value to say, don’t send anything at all. People don’t unsubscribe because a business contacts them too infrequently. When you do send an email, send an email worth opening. This could be:

  •       A promotional offer like a free month when you refer a friend
  •       A free tool or resource that makes their life easier
  •       An announcement about a new location
  •       The launch of a new app
  •       The roll-out of a new loyalty program

Communicate With Customers In Real Time

Forty-nine percent of all emails in the United States are read on a mobile device, according to a study conducted by IBM.

Think about the last time you received a notification on your phone – you likely checked it out almost instantly. And this stat by IBM doesn’t take into account the number of people who receive an email, look at the subject line, and decide to open it on their desktop.

What this means is that a lot of people notice emails in real time. This means you have a shot at communicating with customers in real time. This is great for creating a sense of urgency if you’re sending out an email blast about a limited time offer.

Email Marketing is Measurable

Nothing feels worse than spending money and not knowing if it’s worth it.

If there’s a slight uptick in business after you put out a newspaper ad, was that thanks to the ad or just a coincidence?

Email marketing significantly reduces this ambiguity. To manage an email list, you’ll unavoidably use an email marketing tool and they all come built with tracking tools that let you know how many emails were actually delivered, how many were opened, how long people spent on each email, and whether they linked to your website or bought a product.

These sorts of tracking tools let you do the following:

  •       Manage your list by eliminating email addresses that bounce back
  •       Determine which subject lines work by comparing open rates
  •       Experiment with email length/placement of CTAs based on clickthrough rates

It’s Cheap!

This is what you wanted to hear, right?

Honestly, if you figure out your brand voice and what sorts of emails your customers like to receive, you can generate leads at a low cost. The trick is figuring out how to convince customers to subscribe (don’t email people without their permission) and what to send to customers.

Reach Many Demographics

A person’s email account serves as the gatekeeper to their social media (i.e. Facebook) and online accounts (i.e. banking, shopping). It’s also the legacy online communication tool. This means that everyone from your grandmother to your sixteen-year-old niece has an email address.

The moral of the story: If you’re not already using email marketing as part of your marketing mix — it’s time get started. Check out our free email marketing course.