The Problem With Digital Marketing

31 July, 2014

If you work in digital marketing every day, there’ll probably be a few problems that come to mind. But the main problem ISN’T what you think.

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You already know that building a mailing list, or getting more web traffic isn’t as easy as you thought when you first set up your digital marketing strategy. You’ll spend hours at night thinking of ways to do things differently to improve the situation. But the problem isn’t the doing. The problem is making sure that what you’re doing is right in the first place.

Let’s be honest, whether you’ve been marketing digitally for 6 months, a year, or 5 years, chances are that you’ve probably missed something out in your digital strategy, or have misunderstood another. Both are potentially damaging. But not as damaging as not taking a step out of the Facebook Ads, the keyword research and the YouTube videos, to look at this as a whole.

The main problem in digital marketing is the MEASUREMENT of that digital marketing.

That’s because the digital marketing game has a referee, and he runs the show. Just like in a sports match, he calls the shots and makes the decisions within the game. If a play hasn’t gone right or hasn’t gone by the rules, then he’ll stop the game and will re-start play at his own accord.  You’re basically bound to everything he chooses to do.

This guy with the whistle is the guy that measures your digital marketing activity too. And you’re the only one that can take up that role in your business.

Now, measuring a campaign sounds relatively easy. You’ll think about putting the digital marketing strategies to work and will leave the measurement until later. But that ‘later’ never comes. And when it does come, you don’t spend enough time doing it and won’t be measuring the right things in the right way. You’ll skip the important points, and will never really know how effective those digital marketing campaigns were.

The game goes one, but none of the players know what the hell is going on. It’s a constant tunnel of figures and percentages that you don’t really want to go through.

Sure, offline, measuring your campaigns is a little easier. There’s less variables. While in the digital world, it’s the exact opposite. It’s the exact opposite because there’s so much more that you can get wrong. Connecting the dots when it comes to digital marketing measurement and business performance indicators isn’t an easy exercise.

Talking of exercises, for example, are you measuring your website visits, or visitors? The two seem similar on the face, but what they mean for your business and your digital marketing, are very different.

The problem is in the misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the measurement. And this misunderstanding can result in the wrong decisions – especially when it come to putting a digital marketing strategy in place, and then amending it – which leads to lost customers and lost revenue. That is a huge problem.

I mentioned YouTube earlier; do you think that online videos work the same as those on TV? Of course not. Do you know what you’re measuring for those videos? I think perhaps the answer is no too, or at least it’s a little vague.

With your new promotional offer, are you measuring click-through rates for that offer or are you measuring brand recognition? Both are completely different, and require different measurement.

See what I mean? Need another example?

Will this blog post be a ‘success’ if I get a high number of views or visitors or shares or comments, or will it be a success if I manage to get one email reply in my inbox asking to take part in a joint venture project?

I know the answer…

But these are answers you also need to know when it comes to your business, and your digital marketing campaigns and strategies. If you’re not measuring the right things, then you’re basically going into your business digitally blind. (That’s not a good idea.)

Analytics have made life a little easier for us. They are there to give us an indication (or even a snapshot) of how things are going with our digital campaigns. But they’re not enough. Now there’s an abundance of data that needs to be analysed – and it can only be analysed if you know what your performance indicators are alongside your business goals. It’s a problem that digital marketers need to address in the full.

It’s a problem that can be solved with time, the right tools and the right goals. This is down to you, and you alone.

What Charles Mackay Tells Us About Marketing & Consumer Behaviour

25 July, 2014 — 4 Comments

We’re not too dissimilar to our ancestors after all.

First off, you’re probably wondering who on earth is Charles Mackay? Well, to put it short he was an author and journalist born in Scotland in the first half of the 19th century. He later traveled a little in Europe, namely to Brussels and Paris and along the way learning his trade in literature and languages.

A little later he became friends with entrepreneur William Cockerill and famous writer Charles Dickens. And during that time in 1834, he emerged as a journalist and held various positions with a number of London based newspapers, including The Sun and The Times.

At this early stage in his life in 1841 he wrote probably his biggest achievement: “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.” It’s this book that I want to divert most of the attention towards here.

It’s a monster book that I’ve recently finished for the second time. Only now, have I really ‘got the message’ that Charles Mackay put over.  Charles writes on a number of topics throughout history, such as the South-Sea Bubble in the early 1700s, Witch Mania, Alchemy, the Crusades, Fortune-telling, and even Haunted Houses. To be honest, it’s a crazy book (as these topics will tell you) that’s also written in a crazy and truly entertaining manner, albeit a little hard to follow at times.

Though what makes this collection of topics – which are essentially “follies” or fads – so significant is that it captures the essence that drove these psychological delusions, and what still drives them today.

He states, that “men, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.” This is very real with consumer fashion products and lifestyle choices now.

“We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first,” Charles also states.

Think gambling, alien abductions, social networking, reality TV shows and dare I say it even religion. It’s the same principles that drive the popularity within these things.

Almost 200 years since it was published, the book still proves we are no different to our ancestors, where extraordinary financial and non-financial behaviours are still present.

So what does it tell us about marketing and consumer behaviour? Well, bluntly, is that we as a species are easily manipulated by modern marketing methods and propaganda campaigns. This will never change. Because once we discover a new fad, or craze, or as Charles Mackay puts it: a folly, its human nature to want to join in on the delusion.

Simply because we still think in groups. It’s a classic example of the bandwagon effect that you as a knowledgeable marketer may think you’re immune to in consumer buying situations. This may be so. But when you’re selling, if you know how consumers behave, you possess one of the greatest skills that anyone in business could ever own.

For more on the books I read, including my list of recommendations, stop by my Reading List.

Free eBook: Unorthodox Marketing

21 July, 2014

10 marketing strategies that you’re probably not utilising right now…

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The marketplace has now become cluttered, tangled and completely messed up.

Marketers, Advertisers, Salespeople and Business Owners are all fighting for new customers and product sales each day of the week, but the problem is that there’s too much fighting going on. There’s just too much messages, where it’s more difficult to get the attention of the consumer to drive businesses further and to grow.

Competition is increasing, yet the desire for buying in general is decreasing. It’s a classic catch-22 situation. It’s not a case of the demand being there to supply, it’s a case of demand not being there and the supply is in abundance!

Despite this trend, over the past few years, I’ve managed to bring in hundreds of thousands of unique visitors into websites and web pages, which have turned into tens of thousands of product sales, on existing and brand new products. And this eBook represents the strategies that enabled me to do so.

Today marks the day where I make this eBook available for FREE for the first time.

Here I’ve compiled a list of marketing ideas that’ll enable you to stand out of the crowd a bit more and better target and engage with the marketplace. This short eBook, UNORTHODOX MARKETING, lists 10 “alternative” strategies and presents simple and actionable points to get to grips with them.

(Super-fast read) In the pages you’ll discover…

  • The best way to talk to your prospects that’ll increase engagement and conversions
  • How to get more out of your current customers
  • The most effective way to launch your products and services online
  • How to become a master at networking and connecting with potential JV partners in your industry or niche
  • Plus much more! 

These are unorthodox strategies and ideas that you’re probably not using right now. Some simple and others not so, but what is certain is that they’ll help to you start bringing in more traffic, more leads, more customers, and more importantly more revenue. They’ve served me well in the past (and still do now) so I hope you’ll be able to take something away. I know you will.

Are you ready to take a leap of faith and change the way you sell to combat the current difficulties in modern marketing?

Download your free copy here (no opt-in).

What Is Market Segmentation, Anyway?

16 July, 2014 — 5+ Comments

Dividing a broad market into scalable segments is the only way that you’ll be become truly remarkable. And only then you’ll actually be able to broaden your reach (if that’s really what you want to do).

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Common belief is: when you market a product or service, you market it to everybody.

Market it to the everyday man, his brother, his mother, his neighbour, and even his dog. But this is all wrong. The reason that this is wrong is that if you end up marketing your product to everybody, it’ll get picked up by nobody. And even if you do pick up a few customers, they’ll probably end up being generally poor customers.

Take a look at any big company in any industry. Very rarely will you see a marketing message that’s aimed out to the masses. Here’s some of the biggest footwear brands out there for example: Nike, Hush Puppies, Converse and Dr. Martens. Those brands don’t all target the same type of customer. In fact, they all target a different type of customer… even though everybody needs footwear!

Those brands are aiming their marketing at a specific market segment. If they’re targeting multiple market segments, then the message will always be different for each segment. But the fact it that those companies have made it to the top because of their outright focus – and specialty – on creating one type of shoe that will bode well with the type of customer they chose to target in the first place.

Sure, the idea of trying to please everyone is a dignified objective, but it just doesn’t work in a crowded marketplace. If we realize this, then we stand a better chance at grabbing a bigger piece of the pie that is market share.


“A product or service that tries to appeal to everyone winds up appealing to no one.”
Al Ries and Jack Trout


This all goes back to what I said earlier about picking up the “best kind” of customer.

Would you rather target 10 people that truly love your products, or 100 people that are simply content with your products? I know which I’d rather – and that’s a choice not determined by short-term revenue.

So to get these customers, the ones that will love you and your brand, you’ll have to zero in on a specific type of customer who has a specific type of need. You’ll have to identify the buying characteristics within your niche.

Let’s not forget the 21st century customer. He is well connected, demanding, social and knowledgeable. But more than anything, he wants you to speak to him like a real person. He wants you to know his needs and wants. And not only does he expect you to satisfy those, but he’s expecting you to go above and beyond with everything you do that involves him.

How else are you going to be able to satisfy his SPECIFIC need, if you’re trying to satisfy his brother’s need, his mother’s need, and his dog’s need too? The answer is simple, you simply can’t. That’s why you have to focus on YOUR customer, in YOUR market segment.

Think about who your ‘perfect’ customer is – the most profitable ones and the repeat buyers – then work around the needs and wants of this customer. That’s your niche. Your market segment.

And even if you’re still sceptical about market segmentation, think about giving something really outstanding to a specific audience first – because that idea can still be appealing to the masses. It just needs to have a niche focus that can go “mainstream.”

That’s how the unorthodox marketer thinks.

Selling Without Selling

10 July, 2014 – 4 Comments

The best way to sell your products is by not having to sell them in the first place.

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As customers, we love to buy. But, on the other hand, we hate being sold to. If you think about that for a second, it’s a pretty strange crossroad to be at. As marketers, we often think that even though people may like our products, we can’t push that sale because we could possibly scare off that potential customer as he or she doesn’t want our intervention.

In the desperate times we’ve found ourselves in (mainly down to the global economic downturn), we’ve been sold and pitched to too many times. Now, we’re sick of it.

Okay, it may come over that I’m not a fan of selling with aggressive pitches here. Don’t get me wrong as this simply isn’t true. What I’m saying is, that constantly trying to sell day-in day-out to the same customers isn’t going to work unless you alter the way that you’re selling in the first place.

“It’s not you, it’s me.”

For me as a teenager, it was a case of trying to get a girlfriend by any means possible. Hell, I’d ask the entire bar out if I had to. What happened? I kept getting turned down. I wasn’t going out picking girls and throwing a chat-up line at every one of them (which is the wrong way about it too by the way). I was just asking them – yes, pretty much any one of them – for a date kind of thing. But, I was too pushy. I was too stupid and I was getting nowhere. So, I gave up and decided to relax and chill out with my friends, toning everything down whilst I spoke to girls. And guess what?! They started coming to me! I couldn’t believe it. They were pursuing a relationship with me.

It’s exactly the same whilst selling; we have to stop thinking about the quick sale.

And it all comes down to one single element: TRUST. People are not buying with the businesses that offer the best products anymore. They’re buying with the businesses they feel they can have a successful long-term relationship with. So, as marketers and sales people, we now have to share more of the things we’re doing, and simply just be ourselves. Be human! Because here you’ll be showing the potential customer what they’ll be getting before they get it, without directly selling anything.

This is a kind of trust that takes time to build, and sadly, it can take just seconds to diminish. But that doesn’t mean that it cannot be done. There are a few simple ‘tweaks’ that you can add into your day-to-day communications to help get a successful and trusting relationship going. Here are seven:

  • Find things in common to talk about and engage.
  • Listen to the other person – this is a two-way street.
  • Always tell the truth (even if it’s bad).
  • Be sincere and show respect.
  • Demonstrate your exceptional knowledge.
  • Be consistently reliable.
  • If you break trust, always put your hand up and seek to recover.

When those girls back then started talking to me – much like when a potential customer starts to engage with a business – that’s when I would put my salesman hat on. Simply because they’ve given me ‘permission’ to do so. The difference was that I would be much less ‘salesy’, and more subtle. I wanted the sale/relationship eventually, though I knew it would take more time, so I had to stand back and offer a little bit more room to breathe.

Sure, you can use the classic sales techniques that are still ever so effective in selling situations, but these take a little longer to build trust in order to have that platform to implement these techniques – to be able to get the pitch in.

So, how about letting natural human psychology take over for a bit, and see where you get when it comes to selling?

10 Areas Of Focus That Will Increase Your Website Traffic

05 July, 2014

Answering one of the most common questions every digital marketer is asking and identifying where the areas of focus for better quality traffic are.

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At a certain point last year, not one day would go by without somebody asking me: “How do I get more traffic to my offer?” It’s a million-dollar question. It’s the final bit of the puzzle, but it’s one that bears the most weight. So to be honest, I don’t blame those people who are concerned about their traffic.

Just do a quick search in Google, and you’ll see that there are tons of articles, blog posts, eBooks and infographics on boosting the traffic that hits your websites. Most of them are just mediocre, and others even worse than that.

So in this post, I’ll briefly touch on the areas of focus that will increase the traffic to your website. And these are real practical stuff that you can get started with right away and see results fast.

#1 Content. You already know this, but just by creating good quality content (often) you’ll bring in more natural visitors. Make sure this content is optimized with relevant keywords, headlines, photos, tags, meta descriptions, with plenty of links and trackbacks to other blogs. These guys will take notice and may even return the favour.

#2 Interaction. Another simple tool to increase traffic is via comments. Leave comments on other blogs – this is a daily task that doesn’t take long. Those blogs will in turn take note of your website, or alternatively, if you drop your URL in the comments, the other readers will also stop by too. This can also be done within industry specific forums and social groups. Just remember to reply to every comment!

#3 Social Media. Not only should you be sharing your pages and content on your social profiles (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.) but you should also use social bookmarking websites to share (StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit etc.), and also target the lesser known networks (Quora, Tumblr, Technorati etc.) You should look to reciprocate and interact here and build your community.

#4 Directories. There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of web directories online. You should look to list your website/business on all of the big directories, including all of those related to your business and niche. Purchasing feature listings on each will drive even more traffic your way if you have a small budget.

#5 Search Engines. It’s been at the forefront for digital marketers for years, and will be there for years to come. Do your keyword research, get your pages and posts SEO friendly and seek backlinks. Just make sure you keep an eye on them algorithm changes which Google announce from time to time so you don’t get caught out. This is more important than you think.

#6 Pay-Per Click. Use Google AdWords and Bing Ads to create text or display ads that’ll really get you the targeted visitor that you want. You can also do this (and I highly recommend that you do) on Facebook and other social media platforms, it’s a great way to laser target as they offer valuable demographic information that’s virtually impossible to access elsewhere so accurately.

#7 Video. You can use Vine to upload 6 second looping video shots to your posts or YouTube if you post more in-depth videos to you profiles. People can access these from anywhere, and are more likely to take notice of what you’re saying as it’s great way to get up close and personal. It’s exactly the same principle with images – it increases interest and interaction.

#8 Friends. I’m not talking about your online buddies, I’m talking about your real-life friends now. Encourage them to read your stuff and discuss in person with them what you’re saying and thinking. Seeing you passionately talk about this stuff will encourage them to talk to somebody else about your website which can generate even more traffic.  

#9 Joint Venture Partners. So powerful I cannot even begin to describe. If you build relationships with the key players in your industry or niche, they can mail their list, blog about you, place a banner on their website, share on their social media profiles, the list goes on. Seriously, you can get a ton of responsive traffic this way because you can actually pay them commission if a visitor converts. Everyone is happy. What are you waiting for? Start building relationships.

#10 Be Unique… and don’t be shy. Everything you should be doing should be unique. Just standing out from the crowd of usual bloggers will get you traffic by itself – so get out there and stand out!

And there you have it. My top 10 traffic generators that have served myself and others well in the past, and still do to this day.

You’ll need to look into each one in more detail (there’s a possibility that this is something I could expand on in the future) and really get to grips with them. Once you’ll unleash the power they posses you’ll find yourself swamped in visitors and will need to focus on other areas such as conversions thereafter to deal with this traffic. Not a bad place to be, huh?

Minimal Subliminal Advertising

01 July, 2014

Subliminal Advertising and placing hidden messages has received much attention over the last few years, most of which have been negative. But there are signs that it CAN work, therefore it’s worth taking a closer look. 

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Do subliminal messages work in advertising? Now that’s a question.

Born within the US in 1957 in a hoax by market researcher James Vicary, “subliminal messages” have received a mixed reception throughout the world and have since been banned in some areas (that includes UK TV). This alone would suggest it has some effect on our perceptions, right?

Take a classic study on cigarettes for example.

Smokers were shown two sets of photos. The first was of old cigarette advertisements that had images of cowboys from the American West along with Formula 1 and NASCAR images based on the Marlboro adverts. The second had photos of general advert-style images of logos and product photos, basically all of the ingredients a generic advert would include. To everyone’s surprise, the first images that were in no way tied to smoking were the ones that triggered cravings.

On the other hand, the vast majority of previous research has shown that subliminal messages don’t produce any significant or long-term changes in behaviour. Albeit that this experiment is something that is hard to argue with even on this topic of massive controversy that is the marketing of cigarettes. Even the warnings of the dangers to health on cigarette packs prompt activity in the brain’s craving centres by unintentionally triggering all the cues that smokers associate with – not that those smokers would ever realize this.

Therefore subliminal messaging is an essential weapon in the unorthodox marketers’ arsenal, but proceed with caution. Consumers aren’t stupid. They see advert after advert on TV and naturally switch off. But once a message gets displayed differently – just like in the Marlboro experiment – they find themselves interested (and exposed). This is because consumers aren’t consciously aware that what is being displayed is a piece of well-thought out marketing communication with minimal coverage – which is all it needs.

You have been warned.