Burger King Presents: Scary Clown Night

Burger King is becoming famous for throwing its an annual Halloween promo. Last year they turned a store into the ghost of McDonalds. And for 2017 they’ve created #ScaryClownNight. So On Tuesday, October 31st, from 7PM to close, the first 500 guests that head to select BURGER KING® restaurants in Miami, Boston, LA, Austin and […]

Digital Buzz Blog

A Tour of Indulgences for National Volunteers’ Week

Several events were held at the V&A to mark National Volunteers’ Week earlier this month. This guest post is written by a group of V&A/RCA History of Design MA students, Rosemary Byford, Florence Sandford-Richardson, Elena Jarmoskaite, Eve Allen, Margaret McGrath and Alice Labourg, who took volunteers on a gallery tour to share their research into objects in the collections. The students introduced their audience to different aspects of nineteenth-century indulgences around the world through objects both on and off display, from sugary treats to jewels, via intoxication, smoking, snuff and brothels.

Our tour began amidst the opulence of the Gilbert Collection and its collection of Italian micromosaic snuff boxes.  These highly ornate objects reflected the refined aesthetics and taste of the times with their reworking of classical landscapes and were particularly prized for the skilful way they imitated contemporary oil paintings. The extravagant micromosaic snuff boxes are far removed from more ‘basic’ papier-mâché ones that were also popular at the time. And yet, these too were used by the wealthy as we can tell from the mysterious story behind the hand-painted portrait of an actress on one papier-mâché box with royal connections, currently in store. Indeed, connoisseurs of snuff maintained that papier-mâché preserved freshness and flavour better than any other material.

Black papier-mâché box

Black papier-mâché box with removable lid, the lid painted with an image of the actress Mrs. Honey as Psyche. Museum no. S.611:2-1997

In the Silver Galleries, we travelled further afield to India, by means of a bidri ware huqqa pipe manufactured in Calcutta by Scottish firm Hamilton & Co. During the second half of the eighteenth century, huqqa pipes became very popular with Europeans and could often be seen hanging from the mouths of officials during mealtimes. However, lingering associations with opium use, as well as with languorous behaviour gradually made huqqa smoking less socially acceptable in some circles, although the activity remained highly addictive.

Examining a huqqa pipe in the Silver Galleries

Examining a huqqa pipe in the Silver Galleries

A pewter beer jug brought us back to the pubs and inns of London and the dangers of Victorian drinking habits. Increasingly concerned by the growing popularity of hard liquors in the beginning of the nineteenth century, the government introduced a series of sometimes rather bizarre efforts to sober up the nation by aiding the beer industry and design played an important role in facilitating these endeavours.

Nineteenth-century pewter beer jug

Nineteenth-century pewter beer jug. Museum no. 725-1904

We then focused on another kind of passion: the romance between an English lady and a Hungarian Count, described in several memoirs. The Countess’s tragic early death led to the couple’s collection of Hungarian jewels being gifted to the V&A and various pieces from Countess Harley Teleki’s casket of jewels are on display in the museum, in addition to a less well-known jewel in store made from repurposed garnet and pearl buttons.

Our tour concluded in the Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art with a group of Ukiyo-e, or woodblock prints, which often depicted salacious topics, such as courtesans and the sanctioned pleasure quarters that were the centre of fashionable and hedonistic life during Edo-era Japan.

The tour concluding in the Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art

The volunteers tour concludes with a discussion of Japanese woodblock prints


To see what else V&A/RCA History of Design students and alumni have been up to, check our pages on the V&A and  RCA websites and take a look at Un-Making Things, a student-run online platform for all things design history and material culture.


Facebook News Updates, Why Messenger Marketing Is Growing & More: The Social Scoop 2/15/18

Facebook has sure been in the news a lot lately. Here’s a roundup of several topics that have caught my attention in the past week or so…

The scary Wired magazine cover of Zuck with a very bruised face (artist’s photo-illustration). Yikes. It’s a super long article, revealing insights from 51 current and former Facebook employees that paints a picture of a company grappling with the problems it’s caused. It’s a fascinating read.

And there’s more:

The Fake News Challenge

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently demanded Facebook address its fake news problem. Good.

Consumer goods giant, Unilever (one of the largest advertisers in the world), is threatening to pull its ads from Facebook and Google if the tech giants don’t stop propagating divisive content. Uhoh.

Brazil’s biggest newspaper, the Folha de S Paulo, announced that it will no longer publish content on its Facebook page, accusing the social media giant of encouraging fake news with an overhaul of its news feed algorithm. Hmm.

Hear From Facebook Execs

This news didn’t faze Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of news partnerships.

Both Brown and Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s head of News Feed, were interviewed live on stage at Recode’s recent Code Media conference. Brown stated,

“My job is not to go recruit people from news organizations to put their stuff on Facebook.” … “If someone feels that being on Facebook is not good for your business, you shouldn’t be on Facebook.” ~Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of news partnerships

Watch the full interview below:

Here’s all the ways Facebook IS trying to help publishers, though.

Branded Content Impacts Some Influencers’ Business Models

Facebook recently changed its Branded Content policies to take effect on March 1, 2018. Page owners are not permitted to accept “anything of value” in exchange for sharing content that they did not have a hand in creating through their pages. This change will impact many influencers’ business models on Facebook, including likes of George Takei. [I use the Branded Content feature fairly frequently myself in partnership with my Brand Ambassador relations and, thankfully, I always co-create the content.]

Facebook Invests In Community Leaders

On a positive note, Facebook announced a New Investment in Community Leaders at the second Communities Forum last week, this time held in Europe. Facebook is definitely placing HUGE emphasis on Groups, community building and creating meaningful social interaction… the company is still figuring out what exactly the latter means.

Time will tell.

News Feed Changes

For an excellent article on how to successfully navigate the latest News Feed algorithm changes, check out this one by my friends at Buffer.

I’ll be writing up my latest recommendations for creating success on Facebook very shortly… stay tuned. After leading a Facebook training for one of my top clients in the mortgage industry at an event in Las Vegas last week, I am very, very optimistic. The entire family of Facebook apps is only “1% done,” they say — and there is still tremendous potential for business growth and fostering global positivity.

This Week’s Top 3 Articles

1. Why Messenger Marketing is On The Rise via WhatsBroadcast.com

Is Messenger Marketing on the rise? You bet! Facebook is placing major emphasis on building out business features on its messaging apps — Messenger and WhatsApp. The delivery and open rates on messaging apps is astounding; oftentimes pretty close to 100%. Long may it last. 

On another note, regarding the new ads inside Messenger mobile app, I must say, as a user, I’m not keen at all on this big fat ad placement on my home screen. They are so intrusive and completely out of context vs. the News Feed where we’re used to seeing ads that look just like posts. BUT, as a marketer, I’m super excited about this new ad placement. ha! 

2. We’re Spending Less Time On Facebook, And Mark Zuckerberg Says That’s Great via NPR.org

At first glance it can seem counterintuitive. More time spent means more eyes on our advertising, right? But the reason for the shift is that Facebook is focusing on the QUALITY of time spent rather than the quantity. The company’s goal is to encourage “meaningful connections between people rather than passive consumption of content,” and they already know that when people care about a topic they’re more likely to watch an ad in order to experience it.

3. Instagram Now Allows Businesses to Schedule Their Posts via TechCrunch.com

Ooee, this is such great news! The ability to schedule properly on Instagram is something we’ve all been waiting for and it’s finally here. When it comes to managing your brand’s social media, being able to plan and schedule your content is a game changer. Scheduling posts allows you to be consistent with your publishing schedule, and frees up time to engage with your followers!

That’s a wrap for this week’s issue of The Social Scoop. Keep on enjoying the day, and we’ll talk again very soon!

The post Facebook News Updates, Why Messenger Marketing Is Growing & More: The Social Scoop 2/15/18 appeared first on MariSmith.com.

Mari Smith – Social Media Marketing Success

How to Master Facebook Ad Targeting & Zero-In on Your Audience

With over 2 billion active users daily and an average use time of 35 minutes per user, it’s a top spot for B2C and B2B advertising. There’s never been a  better time to be familiar with Facebook Ad targeting.

Facebook has hundreds of targeting and ad demographic options. To get the most out of your advertising dollars, you’ll need to zero-in on your audience.

In this article, we’ll explore how to get the most out of that money spent on mastering Facebook Ad targeting and zeroing-in on your target.

What is a Facebook Audience?

The “target” or “market” that you’re going to advertise to is called, “audience” on Facebook. You can target super specifically, like by the amount of education or income. Also targeting options include age, location, gender, job title and much more. The options are almost limitless. For real.

Let’s take a look at some examples.

For this GoPro ad, we might target photographers or people that love to hike or ski. Or we could use Pixel (more on Pixel below) to target users who have visited the GoPro purchase page but didn’t complete the purchase.

gopro facebook example

Or for this ad, Soylent might target vegans, people that like working out or moms that have recently liked their Facebook page or Instagram post.

soylent facebook example

The above examples are just a couple of the many hundreds of ways to target Facebook users. Let’s take a look at Facebook’s primary targeting methods:

Targeting on Facebook

Like we mentioned, there are literally hundreds of ways to target people. Keep in mind that you can use any combination of the targeting methods listed below.

    • Location: You can target users by state, locality, zip code, country, etc. You can get more specific too, like targeting them where they work vs. where they live.
    • Demographics: Demographics means data relating to a population, like age, sex, income, marital status, etc. Facebook offers a ton of demographic options.
    • Interests: Interests are really helpful in defining a target market. Let’s say you’ve got an eCommerce store that sells R&B records, you could target users who have liked vintage record player pages, music pages, R&B artists, jazz pages, etc.
    • Behaviors: Behaviors use the Facebook Pixel (discussed below) to target users. Pixel is a piece of code that tracks user behavior so that you can display ads to people that behave in certain ways. This is one of the most profitable ways to target, as for example, you might show ads to people who recently visited your website’s pricing page or subscribed to your blog.
    • Engagement: Engagement is when someone comments, likes or follows you or your pages on social media. If someone has recently liked one of your Facebook or Instagram posts, you can have Facebook show them your ads.
    • Partner Connections: This method of advertising shows ads based on behaviors users take off of Facebook. For example, if you’re a car dealership, you might target users who have recently applied for a new car loan.
    • Automatic Optimization: Use the many demographic and target options above to zero-in on an audience that works for your company. Facebook will automatically optimize your audience for you.
saved audience example

Let’s say you set up an ad to target new parents that recently joined a gym in Richmond, VA.

Facebook might optimize that ad to reach more new moms vs. new dads because new moms tend to click-through more often. Once you’ve settled on a target that works well, you can use that target to build a successful Facebook Audience (a.k.a. target market). Just remember to save your audience to make future audience building easier.

Increase Conversions Dramatically With Facebook Pixel

Facebook Pixel is a unique code that you plug into the backend of your website. The code tracks user behavior on your site so you target web visitors based on their behaviors.

The goal of using the Pixel is to optimize your Facebook Ads and audiences based on user behavior and the data collected. Pixel allows you to do things like; Retargeting users who have abandoned a cart, who have recently viewed your pricing page or subscribed to a webinar.

Installing Pixel

First, you’ll need to create a Pixel for your site. Navigate to the Ads Manager, click All Tools > Pixels.

set up your Pixel

You’ll be prompted to set up your Pixel, agree to terms and name the Pixel. Then, you’ll install it on your site.

Select manually install Pixel.

manually install Pixel

To install the code, you simply copy and paste it into the header of your website.

copy Pixel code

Find the <head> code in your website. Install the Pixel inside the header. It’ll look something like this when it’s in the right place:

locate your site header

Make sure you save your website data with that code snippet in place!

Next, you’ll set up specific events you’d like to track. The behaviors that you will track are called Events. You tell Facebook what each of these Events is for your website.

For example, to track Lead Generation, you’d toggle the Lead Generation button, and copy/paste the code snippet into the <script> portion of the page on which you track leads (see screenshot below).

For example, you might track the confirmation or thank-you page for signing up for a webinar that you’re hosting, since those people are likely qualified leads.

Once you toggle Generate Lead to on, you can copy the code snippet and paste it into the <script> of the webinar confirmation page you want to track.

lead gen tracking example

The <script> section where you want to paste this snippet looks like this:

find the page script code

How To Set Up Event Tracking For an Existing Pixel

If you’re already using Pixel and want to start tracking new Events, navigate to the Events Manager page > Pixels.

events manager page

Next, click Details.

add events to Pixel that exists

Then, click Set Up.

event tracking set up

This will bring you back to the options for manually installing the code snippet. Click manually install and follow the steps above for installing the code.

manually install Pixel

How Do You Build a Successful Facebook Audience?

Building a Facebook audience takes some time since, for the best results, you want the audience to be specific, but not too specific.

The first step in creating a highly-specific audience is to get familiar with your customer persona. You can build out a customer avatar to help you set up successful Facebook Audiences.

Here is an example of a good customer avatar. Notice how specific it is.

Customer avatar example

Additionally, there are three types of Facebook audiences. Each type has its advantages, so let’s take a look:

1. Facebook Saved Audiences

A Facebook saved audience is what it sounds like;  an audience you can create, save and use again in later campaigns. If you know your target market demographics well, you can use that info to create an audience to reuse in many of your campaigns.

To set up a saved audience, navigate to the Audiences page. Then, click Create a Saved Audience. If this is your first time using Facebook Ads, it’ll look like this:

first time using facebook ads example

If you’ve used Facebook Ads before, navigate to the same Audiences page, then click Create Audience > Saved Audience.

facebook ads audience

Next, you’ll see the Facebook Ads Manager audience creation page. This is where you can plug in those useful demographics you discovered during the process of mapping out your customer persona.

When you’re all set with your demographics, location, interests, etc., click Create Audience.

saved audience example

This saved audience will now appear on your Audiences page.

saved audience on audience page

When you want to use this saved audience in future campaigns, navigate to the Audience tab on the left side. Then, click on Use a Saved Audience and select the audience you’d like to use.

using a saved audience

2. Facebook Custom Audiences

Custom audiences are some of the highest converting. Upload a list of emails or phone numbers of the prospects you want to show ads to. You can also have Facebook exclude emails or numbers on that list, let’s say if you know those folks aren’t interested in your product or service.

Custom audiences also work with the Pixel, to help you show ads to folks that have visited your website, or taken another action online, such as viewing your pricing page.

Let’s say you sell a SaaS product for lawyers. And you want to create a Custom Audience and use a list of emails you’ve collected of local attorneys.

To create a custom audience, navigate to the Audience page, then click Create Audience > Create Custom Audience:

using custom audience

Next, you’ll see this page with Custom Audience options. To use a list of emails or numbers, you’ll want to choose Customer File.

upload file for custom audience

Afterward, you’ll have the option of uploading data from a file of your own or from MailChimp.

upload your own file example

If you are going to use your own file, make sure it’s a .CSV file or .TXT file. Check out Facebook’s best practices for uploading files.

After you upload the data, you’ll need to agree to Facebook’s terms and then name the audience. Click Next.

create a custom audience example

You’ll see a preview of how Facebook has classified your data. Make sure that Email matches up with your email addresses. Phone with phone numbers, etc. If the data don’t match the names automatically given by Facebook, just click the name to change it.

make sure data match example

This Custom Audience will now appear in your Audience list. It’ll say “Updating Audience,” in the Availability column while all the data is uploaded. Once it’s ready to use, you’ll get a notification from Facebook.

uploading file example

Just like all Facebook audiences, the more specific (without being too specific) your Custom Audience is, the better your results will be.

3. Facebook Lookalike Audiences

After you’ve created a few valuable Custom Audiences, you can start using the Lookalike Audience option to target users that are similar to the target you’ve defined in your Custom Audience.

Let’s say you wanted to continue targeting attorneys to sell your Lawyer SaaS tool. You could use Lookalike Audiences to target more attorneys in another state. Or even attorneys that weren’t in your email list that Facebook’s algorithms will find based on other criteria.

Navigate to the Audiences page. The, select Create Audience > Lookalike Audience

Lookalike Audience example

Next, you’ll have the option to choose which Custom or Saved Audience you want to base your new lookalike audience on.

Once you’ve selected the audience on which to base your new Lookalike Audience, adjust the settings for Location and Size, then click Create Audience at the bottom right.

save your lookalike audience

Facebook Ad Targeting Best Practices

Custom Audiences gives advertisers tons of options for enhancing ad results as there’s so much that can be done targeting Website Traffic and Events. Custom Audiences is a great way to retarget people that have already visited your site, making your ad dollars go further.

The average click-through rate of a normal display ad is about .07%, while a retargeted ad averages a click-through rate of .7%. So, users are about 164% more likely to click your retargeted ad than a non-retargeted one.

This section explores a few of our favorite ways to retarget website visitors and people familiar with your online presence.

Target Visitors Who Didn’t Complete a Purchase

To show your ads to people who visited a product page on your website, but did not complete a purchase, you can use Pixel’s website traffic events.

The way it works is that you create an event attached to the product page URL. Then, you’d exclude any other URLs, like the Thank You or Completed Purchase page.

First, click Create a Custom Audience from the Events Manager page.

create a custom audience page

Then, select People who visited specific webpage from the drop-down.

tracking events example

Decide how recent the viewers should be for your ad, then enter that number into the days box. Next, enter your product page URL.

enter your product url

If you click on Further refine by, right beneath the URL box, refine users by device and frequency as well.

The following setup would advertise to people who have visited www.yourwebsiteproduct.com, at least two times in the last 30 days from their iPhone or iPad.

refine your url tracking

When you’ve got your product page URL set and have refined it, you’re ready to set up the URLs you’d like to exclude.

This step is important because it tells Facebook that anyone who has gone on and completed a purchase (or any other event you want to exclude) will be excluded from this campaign. To do this, we simply want to exclude people who have seen the purchase confirmation page.

Note* If you have an eCommerce store, then you will have the option to simply exclude “Purchases.”

Change the button next to URL to Equals. This is because we want to exclude this exact URL.

Then name your audience and click Create Audience.

exclude url example

Note* If you want to exclude only people that have purchased certain products, then you’d only include that specific product page and therefore, you would enter that product’s specific confirmation page into the excluded text box (No. 2 above).

To get the most out of a product retargeting ad, you want the ad copy to be brief, maybe you’ll even apply a discount to the product ad. Like this one:

kit and ken example on facebook

Retargeting Visitors That Read Your Blog

As blog readers are much more familiar with your brand than someone that’s never heard of your company, you can bet that targeting your blog readers gets you more bang for your Facebook Ad buck.

This is great for low-touch SaaS companies or any company that sees decent conversion rates from their blog. You can show a product in your ad or even advertise another blog post or an eBook.

First, get to navigate back to the Pixel page > Create Custom Audience (see above).

Next, make sure that you set the URL to contains. We want to make sure that any URL with the word blog in the address is added to the group that we advertise to. So enter blog as a keyword in the space.

This setting will show your ad to anyone that views a page with the word blog in the URL. Example: yourwebsite.com/blog/article123 or blog.yourwebsite.com.

target blog readers example

When you’re finished, click Create Audience and Facebook will save the audience to your audience list.

You can use these two different tactics for a number of scenarios:

  • Target anyone that’s visited your website.
  • To target people who have visited 2 or 3 specific pages on your site, like several products.
  • Target people who viewed a landing page, but didn’t opt-in to the list or offering.

In Conclusion

There are really endless options for targeting on Facebook. The great thing about having all those options is they allow you to zero-in on a very specific market or niche while Facebook optimizes the ads and audiences for you.

Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences can help you achieve higher click-through rates via retargeting and showing ads to folks that are similar to those that convert most.

What Facebook Ad targeting practices are you using that have improved your ad performance?

This post How to Master Facebook Ad Targeting & Zero-In on Your Audience originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Sprout Social

How to Generate Sales for a New Product Release

So you’re ready to launch a new product.


Regardless of your business type or industry, it’s important for brands, both new and old, to be innovative to stay relevant. I know how much hard work you’ve put into this new release, so I want to commend you on that.

Whether you’re releasing a new product or an extension of an existing product line, you’ve got to make sure your marketing efforts lead to sales.

Think about all the blood, sweat, and tears you put into this creation. Okay, maybe not blood, but you get what I mean.

This goes all the way back to your early brainstorming sessions as well as your research and development phases. You may have even had some failed attempts.

Oh yeah, and what about all the money you invested in this new product? Can’t forget about that.

If you can’t get consumers to buy your product, you won’t get an adequate return on that investment.

But those of you who are able to effectively promote your new product will enjoy the high sales. I’ll give you some tips and advice that will help you out.

Build hype early

If you wait until your product launches to start marketing it, you’ve waited too long. Those of you who failed to start early are already behind.

But don’t worry. I’m not here to reprimand you. There are still ways in which you can generate sales after the item is released, but we’ll talk about those later.

A great way to build hype in the early stages is by turning the announcement into a big deal. Apple is famous for this with its keynote presentations.

image5 3

Since the company has been using this strategy for years, consumers now anticipate the announcement itself. By the time Apple announces a new product, people have already decided to buy it.

Announcing new products at a particular event will get your audience ready. They’ll want the latest and greatest product or technology.

The anticipation of the release makes the product that much more desirable. Now you’ve got them hooked before it’s even released.

Consumers will be lined up around the block to buy your new product because they’ve been thinking about it for months. They already know the features and benefits of it because they’ve done the research.

Building hype before the release will help you generate sales on the release date as well as the subsequent days and weeks.

Start taking pre-orders

Again, this strategy relates to the idea of starting early.

You don’t need to wait for your product to be in stock to start generating sales. Let your customers pre-order the product so you can secure profits right away.

Offering pre-orders has tons of benefits. One is collecting money early. But pre-ordering an item also gives your customers a sense of exclusivity.

It will give customers the illusion that they have something before anyone else does. They’ll be one of the first people to have the product in their hands.

Furthermore, if you take pre-orders, people may think there is a chance the product may sell out. If they don’t order it now, they may not have the chance to buy it on the official release date.

Pre-orders ensure your new product gets off to a strong start, which is better than it would do through the average product life cycle.

image1 3

There’s no reason to have a slow introduction phase if you can avoid it.

In addition to wanting to be exclusive or have the product before anyone else, think of other reasons why a consumer may be interested in a pre-order.


Everyone loves getting a deal. Depending on your brand image and pricing strategy, you could potentially offer a discount to customers who pre-order the product to help drive sales.

Taking orders before release can also help you gauge your inventory. You’ll have a better idea of how much of the product you’ll need to have on hand for the initial release.

This is important information in terms of your production costs, and it will help you maximize your ROI.

Target your most loyal customers

Just because you’re releasing a new product doesn’t mean you need to find new customers.

Don’t get me wrong. New customers are great, and they are always welcome to buy. But you already have an existing clientele of people familiar with your brand and existing products. Those are the customers whom you should contact first.

Your email marketing list is a great place to start.

These are the customers who are so interested in your brand and products that they signed up to hear from you on a regular basis. So send emails before and after the product launches.

Here’s an example of an email sent out by Lululemon:

image7 2

This email is promoting new colors of an existing product. So it makes sense the company is starting with its existing customers, who may already be familiar with this product.

Even if it was a new product, telling your email subscribers about it first is still a viable strategy.

It’s also worth noting that you have a 60-70% chance of selling to a current customer. But you only have a 5-20% chance of a new customer purchasing a product.

If sales are your goal, focusing on new customers won’t be as effective.

Research shows that it’s six or seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to market to an existing one.

When it comes to your ROI, marketing to your most loyal customers is the best bang for your buck.

Run a contest

Another way to generate sales for your new product is by giving it away.

I know what you’re thinking. This sounds counterproductive. How can you make money by giving something away?

You need to learn how to run a profitable giveaway. Contests will get people interested in what you’re selling. Rather than promoting it by saying “here is our new product,” put a unique spin on it by running a contest.

The cost to run a contest is relatively inexpensive as well. The only major expense is the cost of the item you’re giving away, plus maybe some additional shipping charges.

But the benefits will be worth it. In my opinion, social media platforms are the best places to set up your contests. Here’s why:

image2 3

Running your contests on social media will expose your new product to a larger audience. As a result, it will help you generate more sales.

Here’s a hypothetical example to show you what I’m talking about. Let’s say you run a contest on Instagram. To enter, people need to post a picture to their personal Instagram profiles and include a relevant hashtag.

Let’s say 1,000 people enter your contest. That’s 1,000 photos of your brand just from one contest. Tons of people will see these pictures.

Of those 1,000 entries, you’re selecting only three winners. But there are still 997 people who want your product, plus who knows how many people who were exposed to it.

They’ve already built up excitement about using it. There is a good chance a large chunk of that group will still buy it.

As you can see, something as simple as giving away three items can generate hundreds or potentially thousands of sales.

Offer a discount

Typically, most brands don’t offer discounts for new items. When a new product gets released, they discount older items.

While I can understand the thinking behind this concept, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s correct. People love to get a deal. Put your pride aside for a moment, and recognize that consumers are price sensitive. They’re also more intelligent than you think.

If they realize your new product will eventually go on sale, they have no reason to buy it right now. But by the time it goes on sale, they may have forgotten about it and lost interest.

While the product is fresh in the minds of the consumers, close the deal.

Mark down the price right away. If you want, use an age-old marketing trick. Jack up the initial retail price, then discount it making sure you can still profit.

Psychologically, it’s going to be tough for people to justify paying a full price for a product when they see cheaper items surrounding it on your site and in stores.

Blog about it

Use your blog to your advantage.

Start talking about the product in your posts before it gets released. Continue talking about it after the release as well.

Blogging has many benefits:

image3 3

As you can see from these numbers, your blog can help you generate new leads. Consumers trust advice from blogs.

Sure, it’s obvious your readers will know your opinion is biased. They realize you won’t say anything bad about the products you want to sell.

But that shouldn’t stop you from writing about your new release. You can also reach out to other websites and try to get featured in guest posts.

Set up a link directly in the posts that brings the readers to the checkout page with the new product in their carts. Reducing the steps in the process increases the chances of driving sales.

Be innovative

If your new product is boring, is the same as your other items, or is already available from other retailers, people won’t be thrilled to buy it.

But if it’s unique, improves their lives, and enhances their customer service experience, they’ll be much more willing to spend their hard-earned cash.

Be creative.

Start by conducting the right market research.

What do your customers want? Give it to them.

Try to make drastic improvements to existing products that have problems. If your product is revolutionary, it will sell like crazy.

Highlight the new product on your website

Now that your product has launched and is available for purchase, don’t bury it on your website.

Showcase it on your homepage. Take a look at this example from the GAP website:

image4 3

The new arrivals are the first thing featured on its homepage.

Do you notice anything else about this site? It also offers discounts on its new items, a strategy I’ve previously discussed.

You can feature your new product in other places of your website as well.

Let’s say your site has a search filter, which it should, so I’m assuming it does. When someone searches for something by name or by a category that fits the description of your new product, it should be the first item they see on the page.

If they have to navigate through pages and pages of results to find your new product, it will decrease the chances of them buying it.

Here’s a look at how Michael Kors sorts products on its ecommerce page:

image6 3

You can employ a similar strategy to increase the exposure of your new products.

This will help you generate more sales.

Timing is everything

Your new product might be great. However, if you release it at the wrong time, you won’t get lots of sales.

For example, let’s say you’re planning to release a product on a Thursday, which just happens to be July 3rd that year. You can’t just do that without taking things like that into consideration.

July 4th is obviously a national holiday celebrated by Americans. Lots of people will take July 3rd off work and enjoy a nice long weekend with family and friends.

They could be having a barbeque, traveling, or spending the day on the beach. They probably won’t have tons of time or incentive to buy something online.

Your opening weekend is going to be a dud. This won’t build much buzz around your product release.

On the flipside, if you were releasing a product that could be used on the 4th of July, such as American flag apparel, you’ve got to make sure the release date gives your customers enough time to get the item before they need it.

If they need it for the 4th, releasing it on the 3rd won’t get you sales either.

You should also keep seasons in mind as well. For example, nobody in New England is going to buy snow gear in the summer.

When it comes to proper timing, ecommerce brands can build hype for the holiday season. You’ll want to release your products when consumers are ready and willing to spend money.

Use video content as a promotion tool

Don’t just share pictures of your new product. You’ll want to give people as much information as possible about what they’re buying.

That’s why video promotions are a viable strategy. There are lots of ways in which you can accomplish this.

You can use commercial style promotions to showcase your product. This can be done before and after your product is released.

Once the new product is available for purchase on your site, include a video demonstration to show website visitors how it works.

Recognize what type of content your target market wants to see. Consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.

image8 2

Furthermore, 90% of consumers say videos about products help them make buying decisions. Customers are 64% more likely to buy a product online if they’ve seen a video about it.

Share the videos on your website, social media platforms, marketing emails, and all your distribution channels.

Jump on the live video bandwagon. Showcase the product with live video streams as well.

These tactics will help you drive sales for your new product release.


Releasing a new product can be intimidating. You put so much effort into the release that you need to make sure everything goes smoothly.

If you don’t generate sales, your new product won’t turn a profit.

That’s why it’s important for you to start building hype for your product before it gets released. Take pre-orders, and start collecting money right away.

Rather than looking for new customers, promote the new release to your most loyal customers.

Come up with an innovative product. Run contests, and offer discounts as promotional methods. Talk about the new product in your blog posts.

Showcase the item on your website, and consider the timing of your release.

Create video advertisements, and share them on all your distribution channels.

If you follow the advice in this guide, your new product will generate sales and drive high profits as a result.

What marketing strategies are you using to drive sales for your newest products?

Quick Sprout

Brands Could Be The Next Target of Fake News in 2017

This past presidential election saw a major outbreak of fake news.

Buzzfeed News analyzed the final three months of the US presidential election and discovered that fake, clickbait-y headlines were more likely to hook visitors more frequently than headlines for real news. But what, if anything, does this mean for brands?

That’s one of the topics I looked to research in 20.17 Big Ideas for 2017, a new ebook from Firebrand Group, where I asked a number of my favorite award-winning marketing experts, authors, and other thought leaders to recommend one “Big Idea” that companies can take advantage of to get ahead in 2017.

Laura PevehouseTo really dive into the topic of fake news, we spoke to Laura Pevehouse, Chief Blogger at Dell.

Pevehouse has a big job, to say the least: she’s responsible for the development, coordination and execution of strategy and content for Direct2Dell, Dell’s corporate blog.

While presidential elections were the fake news story of 2017, Pevehouse thinks that brands could actually be next the next target of fake news.

“While fake information being shared as news is not really a new thing – think of the Pepsi syringe hoax of the early 90s – the speed and distance that it can travel now has never been seen before,” says Pevehouse.

“The legitimate news cycle has sped up, but the fake one has put on jet packs.”

The reason for this change is, upon reflection, obvious: by the time journalists are able to do research and conduct interviews to determine if your company is actually doing something scandalous, or has “really poor numbers,” the audience has read the initial tweets, absorbed them as truth, and moved on to the next story.

That’s a downer for a lot of us brand marketers, but there’s an upside: the growth of fake news make owned media even more important than ever, so a strategic investment in owned media could set your brand apart from the pack.

Brands Need to Own Their Owned Media in 2017

Owned media is your brand’s first line of defense against fake news, Pevehouse believes, since it provides the ability to present your point of view without waiting for the media to call or a letter to the editor to be printed.

An unvarnished, well-written and timely post on your company blog can become one of the sources news media reference in their stories and that creates long-tail benefit for your brand.

By the way, by “timely” Pevehouse means within hours, not days – so if you’re not set up for that type of speed, you’ve got to improve your processes on that front.

Blog Your Way Out of Fake News

Direct2Dell Dell Corporate Blog

Why will it be such a boon to you to blog your way out of fake news?

Not only do you have the opportunity to say more than will make the typical New York Times piece, but you increase traffic to your owned media and improve future search results with credible backlinks, says Pevehouse. “That’s important to reach individuals who do actually try to fact-check news before they share it.”

Thanks in part to Pevehouse’s leadership, Dell does what it can to take the concept of owned media seriously. When Dell’s acquisition of EMC completed just a little over three months ago, for example, it began a transformation that gives it the opportunity to leverage the strengths both companies posses with respect to owned media.

Pevehouse’s focus for 2017 involves consolidating both Dell and EMC’s corporate blogs and ensuring that the combined entity delivers content through them that meets their audience’s interests, “rather than simply reflecting our organizational structure.”

The goal remains the same – to build ongoing readership by providing interesting and useful information prior to any need for direct communication during a crisis like being the target of fake news.

Look To Dell and REI As Strong Case Studies

REI Co-op journal blog

While Pevehouse is biased towards Dell’s social media brand, she’s the first to admit that other brands have done a great job developing their own owned media. Her favorite stories to write are those of how our customers are using our technology to drive transformation, and she believes REI does a great job telling customer stories on its Co-Op Journal blog.

“Their focus on the situations, like camping or hiking, in which the items they sell can be used keeps it from feeling like they’re just pushing product,” she says.

That’s also the type of activity that builds trust. While brands have always needed audience trust, they’ll need it even more on the day they’re targeted by fake news or mean tweets from an influencer.

Looking for more Big Ideas for 2017? 
Access the entire ebook here. And here’s wishing you lots of success with truly owning your owned media in the year ahead.


Social Fresh

Working with Recent Facebook Updates, Driving Meaningful Group Interactions & More: The Social Scoop 3/14/18

Have you shifted your Facebook marketing strategy in recent weeks?

Since Mark Zuckerberg announced the sweeping change to the news feed algorithm back on January 11th, there’s been a wide variety of responses out there.

I’ve seen everything from recommendations to stop publishing content on Facebook altogether, to only using your personal profile and groups.

Thing is, there is an incredible opportunity right now on Facebook. And, the whole Facebook family of apps for that matter. Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.

“Instagram is Facebook’s next Facebook!”

And, in terms of video, Facebook is today where YouTube was 8+ years ago. Huge. Opportunity. 😉

In my opening keynote speech at the recent Traffic & Conversion Summit 2018, followed by Social Media Marketing World 2018, followed by my own Facebook Business Briefing event, I outlined three powerful overarching themes to focus on this year and beyond…. see below and also view my slide deck from these talks:

1. VIDEO. Publish a mix of videos you create professionally + your Facebook Live broadcasts. Live gets six times the engagement than recorded on Facebook. Consider going Live and/or uploading recorded videos on the same day and time each week so you have episodic content as a potential show on the Watch platform. Watch is currently in private beta in the US only. US business Page owners – apply to get your Show on Watch here.

2. MESSENGER. Start testing the Messenger Home Screen ads – but be careful! Unlike news feed ads, ads inside Messenger are interruptive and out of context. Consider your creative carefully. Be more personal, more intimate. (I have a theory that marketers may ruin Messenger! I hope not, though!) Test Click to Messenger ads, where your audience can begin a private conversation with your business Page. In which case, you should definitely also set up a Messenger bot to automate the initial interactions. Take a look at the bot I’m going all in on!! Mari.chat Or, message my page m.me/marismith with the word ‘chatbot.’ 

3. GROUPS. Proactively build and serve your communities. Facebook has been putting huge emphasis on groups for the past ten months or so with a couple of major live Communities Summits and the release of a slew of new features for Admins and members. The latest? Check out the brand new Watch Party where admins or moderators of a Facebook group can select any public video and host a ‘party’ for group members to watch simultaneously and discuss. Lots of great potential here for businesses, training, community and more. 

Join the #GrowthNotLuck live tweetchat!

Twitter Chat GrowthNotLuckTaking Luck Out of the Equation: Strategies for Small Business Growth in 2018

Thursday, March 15th, 2018 at 11am PT / 2pm ET

Just go to Twitter and follow the hashtag #GrowthNotLuck

For this tweetchat, I’m delighted to team up with my fellow small business influencers, @SteveStrauss @Rieva and @EbongEka. I’m also thrilled to be a new columnist for Bank of America’s Small Business Community, alongside Steve, Rieva and Ebong. I’ll be writing a bi-monthly column for BofA SMBs on Facebook and social media marketing success tips! I’ll keep you posted when the column publishes.

This Week’s Top 3 Articles

1. Three Ways To Make Facebook’s Updates Work For Your Business via Forbes.com

The dust has settled a bit after Facebook’s News Feed change announcement, and it’s time to take a look at how we can work with the changes. After all, Facebook remains an excellent way to grow your business and engage with customers. Targeted video ads, Facebook Live and a more detailed approach are all part of a successful plan.

2. How to Drive Meaningful Interactions in Facebook Groups via SocialMediaExaminer.com

The goal of the recent news feed changes is to help us have more “meaningful social interactions”. One of the best ways to achieve this is in Facebook Groups. After all, people love to belong and groups give us the chance to connect with like-minded individuals on a topic that interests us.

3. How to Create Winning Videos for Your Ecommerce Brand via Sellbrite.com

There are many reasons why ecommerce brands should be using videos in their marketing. For example, product demonstrations increase conversion rates, behind the scenes stories help to connect with potential buyers, and social media networks give video content priority. This post has great tips on creating better videos and several good examples for inspiration.

That’s a wrap for this week’s issue of The Social Scoop. Keep on enjoying the week, and we’ll talk again very soon!




The post Working with Recent Facebook Updates, Driving Meaningful Group Interactions & More: The Social Scoop 3/14/18 appeared first on MariSmith.com.

Mari Smith – Social Media Marketing Success

Google Home now understands Spanish

Google Home, Google’s artificial intelligence-powered smart speaker, is learning a new language. Starting today, all three speakers in the Mountain View company’s lineup — the Google Home, Google Home Mini, and Google Home Max — support Spanish. Spanish speakers can listen to top songs by saying, “Ok Google, reproducir mi li…Read More
Social – VentureBeat

6 Tips for Building Your Marketing Career

You’ve read the books. You’ve watched the videos.

You’re convinced that you belong in marketing.

Now, all you have to do is put that resume out there and wait, right?

Unfortunately, that won’t cut it anymore. Getting into marketing is easy. But how do you make it big?

That’s a different ballgame with its own set of rules.

And when you look at the projected growth rates for the marketing field – an increase of up to 10% by 2026 – you can’t afford to not get savvy with those rules.

marketing jobs percent change in employment

That growth might be good news for the economy, but it can create challenges for the beginner marketer.

Luckily, there are a few tricks you can use to get the edge on your competition.

Here’s a peek into my rulebook for crushing it in marketing. Use these strategies to boost your marketing career and leave the competition behind.

1. Improve your communication

Whether it’s social monitoring tools, voice search, or multi-channel marketing automation, technology regularly changes the way we reach our audiences.

But it’s a lot to keep up with.

71% of marketing executives use six or more types of marketing technology in their day-to-day lives.

marketing executives using marketing technologies

Trying to master one, let alone six, can be daunting and downright impossible for new marketers.

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution:

Go back to the basics and then dominate them.

No matter what new technology rolls out tomorrow, your basic communication skills are always in demand.

For proof, take a look at the top skills employers want when hiring fresh graduates for entry-level positions:

top skills employers want

Over 80% of employers want to see written communication skills, and under 70% want verbal skills.

Comparatively, less than 60% of survey respondents highlighted technical skills as a top attribute. Less than 50% are looking for computer-specific skills.

computer skills employers want

That’s all great news for new marketers.

Whether you’re a fresh graduate or you’re making a career transition, you can develop communication skills on your own time.

And you can do it without spending any money or with only a small financial investment.

These skills will make you a better marketer. After all, what is marketing if not applied communication? And, it will make you a more employable in any industry.

It’s a win-win, right?

But how do you develop your fundamental communication skills?

It’s going to sound a little cheesy, but the answer that shows up in professional manuals is the same:

To become a better communicator, communicate more. And, specifically, write more.

As you practice your writing, let me give you a few resources to help you fine-tune your writing skills.

First of all, you should check out My Copyblogger.

become a member copyblogger

Besides their regularly-updated blog, Copyblogger offers e-training courses, webinars, and resources through their My Copyblogger membership.

Signing up gives you access to exclusive e-books that help you develop your written communication and marketing skills.

Look at this top-level preview of their e-book releases for members:

ebooks from copyblogger

With all of the e-books they offer, both long and short, Copyblogger is a killer resource for any marketer wanting to improve their writing.

Next, Grammarly is a must-have tool.

level up your writing chrome

Grammarly is part proofreader and part personal writing assistant.

It offers more help than just catching typos. It uses contextual analysis to understand what you’re trying to say, and then it helps you say it better.

It also tracks your progress and shows how your skills stack up against other Grammarly users so you can see the trends.

In turn, that makes it easier to figure out what you need to focus on improving.

accuracy and vocabulary on grammarly

It also tracks your total word count, and it will show you advanced errors if you’re a premium user.

Being able to track your progress isn’t merely a marketing gimmick, either. Monitoring your own progress can help you stay motivated, set realistic goals, and improve your quality.

Grammarly is probably the best all-in-one tool that you can use. But there are a couple of others worth mentioning.

The web version of Hemingway Editor is a free resource for improving your writing. It tracks passive voice, adverbs, and readability – all of which impact how your audience perceives your writing.

hemingway editor grades

Count Wordsworth is also a free analysis tool helps you polish your word flow. It tracks sentence length, syllables, and pauses.

count wordworth

Here’s the bottom line time:

If you want to get ahead of the technology rat race, then you need to get out of it. Focus on sharpening your foundational skills like writing to help your resume stand the test of time.

2. Specialize and socialize

Thanks to significant job growth, opportunities in marketing are expanding. But so is the competition.

And competing with other marketing hopefuls means that you’re going up against a field chock-full of communication experts.

It’s a lot to stack up against on paper. If you want to separate yourself from the pack, you have to specialize your toolkit.

In a 2017 study, the top-three skills that employers desired in new marketers were digital advertising, content creation, and content strategy.

demand for skills within digital marketing

Creating content and flaunting your curation skills can go a long way toward establishing yourself as a digital marketing guru. And here’s the best part:

You can get started free.

In fact, you can even convince other marketers to spread your reputation for you. How?

Create content for other people.

Specifically, create blog posts for major publications. It’s a great way to associate yourself with industry authorities and get your name out there.

But even more importantly, it also gives you the skill that 53% of marketers list as their company’s top priority.

inbound marketing priorities

This is probably why so many big-time marketers are such prolific bloggers. Take a look at this sample of the blogosphere.

The Ahrefs blog is full of data-rich (and often original) research, making it a great place to dive into the details of marketing’s technical side.

ahrefs blog header in 2018

This also helps establish the Ahrefs team as subject domain experts. Tim Soulo, for example, is a prolific writer for their blog.

tim soulo ahrefs blog

Tim doesn’t post to Ahrefs every day. But when he does, I know that he writes reliable blogs with research-heavy information about SEO.

He regularly introduces new ways of looking at data and marketing with rich technical details and an easy-to-read style.

And that alone is reason enough for you to follow him.

But his blog posts do more than get Ahrefs out there. They cement him as a quality writer and marketer.

Something he corroborates even further with his work at BloggerJet.

what's in my bag 2018 update

Do you want another real-life example of a professional making blogs (even other people’s blogs) work for them?

Look no further than Ann Handley.

ann handley homepage in 2018

Part marketing legend and part writing genius, Hadley uses her expert skills to keep her name at the top of the marketing influencer list.

Ann’s work is both witty and relatable. Her blog reframes complicated marketing concepts into easy and digestible posts. I never come away from her work without laughing and learning.

I guess you could say I’m an “annarchist.” If you want to hone your content skills, you should become one, too.

subscribe to annarchy

But it’s not just her razor-sharp sense of humor that keeps readers coming back for more. She’s consistent, she’s authoritative, and she doesn’t hoard her talent.

In addition to her work with MarketingProfs, she also guests posts for Entrepreneur and for Huffington Post.

If someone influential enough to author two Wall Street Journal best-sellers still guests posts for other organizations, shouldn’t you consider doing the same?

So, how do you get started with guest blogging?

Although there are a lot of avenues for publishing content as a guest, one of the easiest – and one of my favorite – ways to get started is through Medium.

Ultimately, no matter how you choose to hone your communication skills, adding authoritative pieces to your name won’t just help you sound like a better marketer.

It’ll make you look like one, too. And that brings me to the next topic:

Your portfolio.

3. Grow your portfolio

Your skills can’t grow without the opportunity to sharpen them.

But you won’t get many opportunities until you demonstrate that you already have some of the skills that you need to improve.

Because you aren’t able to secure opportunities, your skills deteriorate and don’t develop. You miss out on even more future opportunities because no one will give you one to start with.

This starts a self-defeating cycle.

In a 2017 survey, 64.5% of employers indicated they preferred hiring candidates with relevant work experience. This was even true in the case of college graduates.

hiring preferences with work experience

So, whether you get into the marketing field through school or Internet hustle, you need experience in order to get more experience.

That’s frustrating, right?

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to break the cycle and make you look pretty impressive, too.

You can volunteer. Specifically, volunteer with a nonprofit.

This will help expand your network and gain professional portfolio pieces.

It also helps signal your values to future employers and commitment to social causes like education and animal welfare.

You might even meet other marketers in the process. Radish Labs, a creative agency specializing in nonprofits, regularly promotes creative volunteerism.

radish labs creative volunteerism

Are you looking for ways to volunteer and beef up your portfolio but can’t find any local opportunities? VolunteerMatch is a great directory with plenty of remote opportunities.

virtual volunteer opportunities

With ample opportunities to grow your portfolio and get some serious Good Samaritan street cred, what are you waiting for?

Get out there and start making a difference for others to see a difference in your career.

4. Jumpstart your network

In some industries, it’s more about who you know than what you do. But in digital marketing, it’s about both.

And if you’re an inexperienced marketer, that can create a significant obstacle to launching your career.

It’s almost a chicken before the egg problem. How do you meet the right people if you don’t already know the right people to set up introductions?

After all, according to SilkRoad’s 2017 Sources of Hire report, employee referrals still lead the way as the top avenue for new job hires.

sources of hiring

It’s the same kind of defeating cycle as the “experience without experience” conundrum I described in the above section.

You can’t grow your network because you need a network first to look reputable and gain people’s trust.

Fortunately, the solution to ending this cycle is just as simple:

Log out and look to the offline world to bolster your online network.

Are you needing to meet people in the industry? Attend local meetings and conventions and then make your connection online.

Here’s the great news:

Two of the biggest marketing conventions – INBOUND and the Growth Marketing Conference – are still on the horizon for 2018.

Hubspot backs INBOUND.


inbound 2018 conference homepage

It includes all things marketing and selling in three strategy-packed days.

If you don’t want to commit to the sessions or their price tag, INBOUND also offers “community passes” for networking events. It’s a great option for new marketers with tight budgets.

inbound conference ticket in 2018

The Growth Marketing Conference is also well worth your time.

growth marketing conference 2018

Some of the biggest names in marketing attend the conference. It’s a two-day event full of networking events, tactical sessions, and innovative workshops.

Like INBOUND, this conference offers several tiers of participation, including access to networking and training sessions at a fraction of the full price.

passes to growth marketing conference 2018

Of course, one of the big downfalls of this approach is that the larger conventions tend to happen in larger cities.

But don’t worry.

Even if you can’t fit a major convention into your schedule, there are still a few other options for expanding your network.

You can host or join a local event through a service like Meetup.

Meetup homepage 2018

This not only cuts out your travel costs but it also helps you build a local network and find – or organize – events on your own schedule.

Lastly, even if you can’t find any offline networking opportunities, there are some online options for building your credibility and network.

One solution is LinkedIn groups. Take a look at the four most popular groups below:

popular linkedin groups

That’s pretty promising, right?

With three million connections possible, you should be able to find like-minded connections in no time and start growing your network.

5. Go big with data

If you want to beat the rat race, get ahead of it. And there’s no better way to get ahead than to develop some of the most in-demand skills on the job market.

And in 2018, that means you need to go big with data.

Statistics and analytics help marketers understand their audiences in a quantifiable way.

But that’s not all they can do.

Data-driven marketing techniques also help professionals make better decisions and acquire new customers.

They have the receipts to show for it, too.

Between 2016 and 2017, data-driven marketing expenditures and revenues rose to their highest ever, according to a DMA study.

data driven marketing spending and revenue growth

But despite this significant growth, the marketing world is still experiencing a major talent shortage.

The datasets keep expanding, but the talent pool and preparedness of organization are on the decline.

Check out this later 2018 survey about marketers’ confidence in the ability of their organizations to handle data for marketing:

confidence in organizational talent

So what does this mean for your career? I can tell you in one word:


With data becoming critical for marketers and business leaders across the board, there’s never been a better time to learn how to analyze data.

And thanks to the advent of several e-learning platforms, it’s never been easier, either. Here are a few of the places where you can dig into data and earn your analytic credentials from home.

Coursera offers university-grade education at an elementary school price point. Usually, courses run between four to six weeks.

coursera homepage in 2018

Many of their courses provide free videos, and the selection for marketing analytics is huge.

coursera courses for marketing

And best of all, all of their classes are fully online, and they reward certificates upon completion.

In addition to career credentials, the forum can jumpstart your network and help develop your portfolio with peers.

Are you looking for a less academic option, or do you need to set your own schedule? If so, try Lynda.com.

lynda homepage 2018

LinkedIn acquired Lynda.com in 2015. Now, it’s a powerful resource for learning the ins and outs of marketing, SEO, content, design, and much more.

Unlike Coursera, the lecture series on Lynda.com consists of videos and guided exercises, so you can learn entirely at your own pace.

And, while you won’t have a forum to interact with other course learners, many of the videos include guided exercise files to help you practice your skills.

Plus, thanks to the integration with LinkedIn, you can automatically display your learning paths on your profile.

Check out a preview of some of the courses they offer for data analytics in marketing.

lynda analytics training

Lynda.com has classes that range from beginner to advanced levels. It has everything you need to hone your data skills from start to finish.

Another option is DistilledU.

distilledu learn seo

Some of the largest names in business like Adobe, eBay, and Capital One use DistilledU. It’s an at-your-own-pace, interactive training option for SEO marketers who want to learn more about the field.

They also offer classes for marketers of all levels. They have classes that can teach you the fundamentals of SEO.

distilledu seo basics class

And they have highly advanced classes, too.

analytics classes on distilledU

This makes it a fantastic resource for marketers of any experience level.

DistilledU offers annual and monthly memberships. So, whether you want to master marketing or just get a crash course in analytics, there’s a module to fit your schedule and budget.

Similar to Lynda.com, Skillshare provides e-learning for everything from design to data science to advanced marketing.

skillshare homepage 2018

Here are some of their course offerings that are currently popular.

skillshare courses

Instructors provide class projects to supplement video lectures with hands-on learning, making this ideal for those of you who prefer interactive education.

In summary, no matter what platform you choose, adding data analytics to your skill set is a great way to make yourself more attractive to future employers and outshine the competition.

6. Build your branding

Finally, if you want to step outside of your competition’s shadow, you have to build your branding and build it well.

That means that, besides developing your writing skills, you need to establish a distinct visual identity.

Without one, your brand can easily get lost in the fray, especially if you’re using stock images.

Getting lost means that your audience is ignoring you. And if your audience is ignoring you, you’ll never see your marketing career reach the next level.

But getting a grip on core marketing concepts and strategies is hard enough. How are you supposed to develop branding and make yourself stand out?

And what makes a brand’s visual style distinct?

No matter what channels you’re using, consistency is key.

Take a look at Content Marketing Institute’s homepage:

content marketing institute homepage in 2018

Now, take a peek at their YouTube channel:

content marketing institute youtube header

By keeping the typeface and colors consistent, they establish an easy mental link for their followers. Users know that if they see that shade of orange, they’re looking at something from Content Marketing Institute.

Here’s another example. Look at MarketingProfs’ homepage.

marketingprofs homepage in 2018

Now, here’s their YouTube channel.

marketingprofs youtube cover image

Again, you can see consistent colors and styles of images.

This is what it boils down to:

If your social media accounts don’t share branding, you’re making it harder for people to identify you as a marketer.

If you think branding is difficult, then think again. You can start your branding by creating a logo in about five minutes.

But if you want to take it a step further and you don’t have an army of in-house designers behind you, then you can turn to freelance boards for help.

Fiverr, Upwork, and 99designs are three of the most popular platforms for finding great visuals that fit any budget.

On Fiverr, freelancers (which they call “sellers”) provide service packages with their unique skills.

fiverr homepage in 2018

One of the upsides to using Fiverr is that they offer scalable bundles. These bundles will let you get as little or much design work as you need for a predictable price.

And because buyers reach out to sellers first, you won’t receive pitches that you aren’t interested in.

But that’s also the downside.

If you’re short on time, you can’t wait for offers and let the designers come to you. That means that this may not be the best option for marketers with a tight schedule.

Upwork (formerly oDesk) is another major freelancer board with a significant design community.

upwork homepage in 2018

After setting up a business account, you have the option of posting a job and letting the pitches come to you. You can also invite some of Upwork’s top talent to apply.

Unlike Fiverr, you typically pay by the hour or project. Freelancers submit their proposals along with their price estimations.

Upwork is ideal for both big and small budgets. It’s a great option to test the visual branding waters without making major commitments.

Lastly, 99designs is a freelancing platform that specializes in branding and product design.

99designs homepage in 2018

They provide matching services where they fit you with a graphic designer who meets your design needs. There’s also a contest option where the community competes to win your project.

The higher price of 99designs may not be ideal for your first project. But for those ready to commit, all design contests come with a 100% money-back guarantee.

No matter where you get your designs from, consistent branding colors are key for integrating older and newer designs seamlessly.

One easy way to do that is by using Adobe’s color system.

Here’s how.

Head to Adobe Color CC.

Click on “sign in” in the top-right corner. You want to be able to save your palette to share, so it’s important to get this step out of the way first.

adobe color analogous

Follow the link for “Get an Adobe ID.”

get an adobe ID

Fill out the sign-up form and click the blue “sign up” button to go back to the Adobe Color CC homepage.

signup adobe color CC

Once there, begin picking colors by manipulating the color wheel. Here’s the default suggestion for my orange.

adobe cc color orange

To play with the auto-generated palettes, use the left-hand menu to navigate. If you want to build a custom palette, you’ll need to select the last option.

Once you have a color palette you like, click the blue save button.

adobe color cc save button

It will then prompt you to name your theme.

name your theme adobe color cc

Click “save” and head over to “My Themes” using the top navigation menu.

my themes adobe color

You should now find your palette waiting in your library.

my library in creative cloud

Hover over your palette to see your saving and sharing options.

save share options for color palette

Hit the download button to share your palette with future designers.

Since Adobe is the king of design suites – 90% of creative professionals use Photoshop – anyone you work with can open the palette directly in their choice program.

You can even use the same palette to customize resume templates and give your credentials the same eye candy from start to finish.

By the way, don’t forget to check out Adobe Color CC’s “Explore” option for inspiration before you go.

adobe creative cloud explore button

Ultimately, whether you use multiple freelancers or none at all, using the same color palette throughout will give your brand consistency no matter who is at the design wheel.


The field of marketing is expanding rapidly, and experts expect it to keep growing.

That means that you have plenty of opportunities. However, that also means that you have plenty of competition.

So, how can you stand out?

For starters, don’t get too caught up in new technology. Keeping on top of marketing technology trends as a newcomer to the industry is expensive and time-consuming.

Instead, focus on dominating your fundamental communication skills.

Next, you can separate yourself from the competition by specializing and socializing.

Create content for other industry blogs or use publications on Medium to give your name authority.

Portfolio pieces are a killer way to make your resume shine, even if they’re unpaid gigs.

Volunteer your marketing skills with a nonprofit to polish your sample pieces. Plus you’ll make a difference in the world and your career.

Networking is still a vital part of landing a job. More new hires come through employee referrals than through job boards.

Building an online network can be tricky. One way to expand your network rapidly is to look to the offline world and attend industry conventions.

Candidates with data skills are some of the most in-demand hires in any industry, marketing including. Build your analytics skills on your own time to elevate your career potential.

Branding doesn’t stop at written content. Having a distinct and consistent visual identity is key.

Even if you don’t have designers on tap, you can find great (and cheap) freelancers through platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, and 99 Designs.

Establishing a color palette keeps your branding consistent no matter who is behind the design wheel.

Adobe Color CC is a fast, easy, and free way to set up a color palette that the vast majority of creative professionals can use later.

A marketing career can be challenging to start, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Follow these six strategies to give your career a boost and stay at the top of the trendline.

What strategies have you used to separate your skills from the marketing pack?

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