The Secret to Discovering the Top Converting Marketing Channels for Your Business

The Secret to Discovering the Top Converting Marketing Channels for Your Business written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

You switch off the computer, put your phone on silent and look at the blank sheet of paper on your desk. It’s a big moment – you’ll need absolute silence to concentrate. Planning your marketing spend for the next 12 months is no mean feat.

How do you choose where to focus? Facebook seems to have had a lot of press recently so maybe you should commit some marketing budget there. You stare out the window and watch the trees blowing in the breeze, listen to the noise of the traffic from the nearby highway, and still no inspiration comes.

There was that special offer that came through the post from Google to get started with Adwords. Maybe you should give that a go.

There are hundreds of marketing channels competing for your time, attention and budget so how do you learn which ones are going to be most effective in delivering sales for your business?

There are three simple steps to identifying the best channels, which we’ll explore one at a time here, before digging deeper into a couple of key channels using some sneaky (and insightful) techniques.


Before you do anything, you need to know what you’re trying to achieve as this will affect your tactics. For example, an accountancy firm will want to build long-term relationships with customers who go on to deliver a lifetime of sales, while a fast food chain will be looking for an impulse sale.


What’s your budget? A $ 10 million marketing budget offers more scope to reach a larger audience, but if you only have $ 1000 for the year you’re forced to take a more creative and targeted approach. Throwing jelly at the wall and seeing what sticks isn’t an option if you only have one spoonful of jelly (click to tweet).

Facebook advertising, emarketing and SEO are excellent tactics for smaller budgets, as you can create much of the content yourself (with the right knowledge) and build loyalty over time with your growing audience, while large scale multimedia campaigns offer access to a larger audience at a higher price.

Target audience

Where are your customers?

My 90 year-old gran isn’t on Facebook, she’s never ‘Googled’ anything in her life, and doesn’t have an email address (I know!). But she reads a daily newspaper, watches daytime television and loves thumbing through catalogues. If she were my target customer, I might consider inserting a printed leaflet in a newspaper or running an advert on TV. Facebook ads wouldn’t even get close to reaching her.

Do you know the habits of your ideal customer? If you’re still not clear who you’re targeting, check this post from John which walks you through how to create a clear customer avatar.

Before you decide on your marketing channels, identify:

  • name
  • age
  • job
  • hometown
  • family
  • what keeps them awake at night
  • what they’re passionate about
  • who they admire
  • their media habits
  • and much more!

So now you know the basics, let’s explore some more in-depth techniques to finding the marketing channels most likely to convert.

Research tools

We know that it’s important to be on websites and social networks popular with your customers so let’s do some detective work – to get started, visit Buzzsumo – this is a paid tool but you can access limited information without signing up for the paid plan.

Let’s suppose you are a dog trainer – you type “Dog training” into the search bar and the results show that the most popular posts have been shared most on Facebook, with far fewer shares on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Google+.

marketing profs guest post image1 buzzsumo

This initial finding suggests Facebook might be worth your time so let’s go further – head over to Facebook Insights and type “Dog training” into the search box, then navigate to the groups tab:

marketing profs guest post image2 FB groups

We can see some pretty active groups, some with over 20,000 members – Facebook is starting to look more and more attractive as a marketing channel to connect with our audience.

What if your research suggests Facebook is a waste of time? Let’s do some research on Twitter and see if this is a better fit. First visit Twitter and type your key term into the search box:

marketing profs guest post image3 Twitter search

Navigate to the ‘Live’ tab to see what people are tweeting right now around this topic – when I did this, there were plenty of live results, from companies selling dog training collars to people talking about a dog training podcast.

Wait. A dog training podcast? OPPORTUNITY ALERT!

There may be a chance to be a guest on this podcast, or perhaps its popularity suggests you might want to consider starting your own podcast in 2016 – take a look at the podcast in more detail and to see numbers of downloads and reviews.

I would also use this initial Twitter research to identify any popular hashtags and influencers (add influencers to a new Twitter list – having a separate list makes it easier to keep track of their tweets so you can engage with them and begin to build relationships).

marketing profs guest post image4 Twitter lists

Research takes time and effort – but there are tools out there to help. I love Warble – it’s a free tool and it sends daily alerts from Twitter showing tweets containing a particular keyword or phrase.

marketing profs guest post image5 Warble

Doing any type of research takes time – it’s a bit like following Alice down the rabbit hole – you might get a little lost, but you just might discover an engaged hidden micro-community of potential customers, who are just waiting to discover your amazing business that solves their problems overnight.

I aim to do this type of research once a quarter, to evaluate my chosen channels and identify any potential new ones. However, I also pick up new opportunities as they arise simply by being active in the communities and seeing what people are talking about, so don’t be surprised if your plan evolves over the year.

Next time you sit down to plan your marketing spend, you won’t be starting with a blank sheet of paper and a head full of conflicting ideas. You’ll be starting with a clear direction, backed by first-hand experience and thorough research.

What other tools do you use to research the most effective marketing channels? Please share them in the comments.


LUCY THORNTON bio photoLucy Thornton is an online marketer helping tourism businesses get found online by the right people at the right time. She is author or 41 Fresh Marketing Ideas for Your Business which you can download online for free here to be inspired with loads of new ideas to kick-start your marketing today. Come say hi to Lucy on Twitter or connect with her here on LinkedIn.


Blog – Duct Tape Marketing

The Secret Ingredient that Fuels Superior Brands

The Monty Minute

Recent travels took me to New York City, followed by a direct flight to Indianapolis over the weekend. One trip centered around a literary society, the other around a youth travel hockey tournament. 

These two events couldn’t be more different. And yet there’s a common thread flowing through each, and this is the secret sauce that sets stellar brands apart from average ones:


This is a tricky one, because unlike a fantastic product design, unique logo or improved customer service protocol, it can’t be made. You either have passion or you don’t. 

In entrepreneurship, it’s tough to match the founder’s passion for the company. New employees may buy into the concept, throwing themselves into projects with lots of energy. But it’s less common to see the passion that ignites the owner.

It goes behind signing on to the corporate mission and getting excited about the work; you have to believe. And belief requires leadership and communication that make it clear what the challenge is and how the company is uniquely suited to addressing it better than anyone else. With consistent, concise and clear communication to employees, as well as living the tenets of the brand every day, the passionate leader can instill some of the passion to like-minded employees.

But it doesn’t happen by accident. It’s about finding the right people who not only have the experience but who are willing to believe as deeply as you.

When you do that, whether you’re discussing Sherlock Holmes or watching your kids play hockey, you’ve got a common-minded group of people with whom to share the passion. And that’s what ignites larger movements.

Read more of Scott Monty’s “Monty Minute” column here on Convince & Convert.

Convince and Convert: Social Media Strategy and Content Marketing Strategy

The Hidden Secret for a Greater Conversion: Design an Onboarding Process

According to a study done by Intercom, “40 to 60 percent of users that register for a trial of your online services will use it just once and will never return.”

The problems which lead to these results generally are: a) the user does not understand technically how to use our service or b) the user does not come to understand what is the benefit that will be gained from interacting with our application.

The worst of these facts is that surely, in order to attract these potential clients we have spent all the money that was designated for publicity and now we don’t know what to do. This is not an unusual situation; on the contrary, it is the first thing I learned in these previous 8 years while working on 14 different online projects.

In order to avoid this reality, we should focus ourselves on designing a process for taking in clients known as “User Onboarding Experience.” This consists of working in order to improve the chances that a new user will successfully adopt our product and begin using it consistently.

1) What is the final goal?

What we want to do in this process is to be able to arrive at that “magical moment” where the client understands what it is that we will solve for them and says: “Incredible, this is just what I needed!

However, let’s take a minute and ask ourselves how many times we have tried out a new online software on which we, unfortunately waste time and never come to understand how to use it or what purpose it serves. Especially in today’s generation of services where there is little or no customer service offered by the seller.

An excellent example of a successful implementation of this process is Optimizely, where, in less than 5 minutes, one can begin to modify their web page as if they had access to the code or had the abilities of a programmer. All it takes is registering, adding the website address, and ready to go, one can begin to make the necessary changes in order to improve for example a landing page and do trials:

onboarding process

Here we arrive at the “magical moment” where the user understands how our tool works and additionally they perceive completely the benefit that we create for them.

It is important to understand that an onboarding process is not simply about putting together a long stream of steps to follow for the user to complete (registration, video, explanations with an example, etc.). This process is designed with the idea of avoiding all these barriers and going straight to the goal: having the client experience first-hand the value that we create.

A learning point that we utilize greatly in our own business before designing a new onboarding procedure is: “we always keep in mind that what is important is not the number of users that register, but the number of those who continue coming back on a daily basis.”

2) How should it be implemented?

For each business, the onboarding process will be different; however, there are concepts or essential pillars that are the same for all of them.

The first thing that we should do is study the actions of successful users, that is, those who frequently use our product, what it is  that differentiates them from those that try it out once and never return again. Here, most assuredly, is where we find exactly what our onboarding process should achieve with each and every new user.

To make this more clear, we will take as a reference Twitter, where according to that indicated by their leader Josh Elman, “when we analyzed our usage data, we realized that once a user follows at least 30 people, they’re more or less active forever. But those that follow less than 30 in their first interactions with the platform will likely never return again.”

For this reason, during the onboarding process for new users we see messages like the following where, in 1 click we can follow 30 or more people:

Note: An excellent onboarding process has the least resemblance as possible to those old printed manuals that came in the boxes we bought years ago and more similar to a personal trainer. We do not focus ourselves on explaining how each button of our software works, we concentrate on showing our user what will be achieved at the end of the road, the added value that we have for them.

3) First in manual form, later we automate it.

An error I frequently see is wanting to do the onboarding process automatically from the very beginning. Unfortunately, this is not the best strategy for a start-up.

First we should do it ourselves, the founders. We should be the ones who carry out the onboarding process with the client in a direct way, be it through an online chat on our website or using other communication methods such as Skype or even personally, face to face with the user.

In this way, we will spend more time learning from the interactions with the client, from their needs. Additionally, we will put all of our focus on our product, in efficiently resolving a real problem that the user has and not in developing an onboard procedure for something that perhaps no one needs!

Lastly, the product over time (and more in the beginning), will change and constantly be altered, and in consequence, if the onboarding process was already created, we will be forced to dedicate time in updating it without much sense.

But when is it time to automate the process? For each company it can vary, but as a reference, I would say that the right time is when the number of paid users or the number of frequent users completely exceeds the amount of time that the founders have available in order to talk with each one of the new clients that come to our online project.

onboarding process

For example, a start-up that now has an automated process is CoSchedule, an editorial calendar for WordPress that takes each new user in the onboarding process to schedule the redaction of an article:

When a user arrives at our website, we should understand that this is due to the fact that they are full of frustrations and that they need our product in order to solve a specific problem. The onboarding process will be responsible for showing the user that we understand their situation, to indicate the path to follow, and to take them as fast as possible to the solution that they were looking for. It is our job to connect all of these dots in the process.

onboarding process

For example Duolingo does this well, because being a site for learning languages, the first thing that each user does is translate a sentence in the language of their choice, even before asking them their email or that they register. Before we realize it, in less than 5 seconds, the process already began! We are already sensing value, that is, we are already learning!

We should never forget: for an onboarding procedure to be successful, it should first make our clients successful!

These learning points were transmitted by the Director of Design of MT, Mr. David Carreras. In charge of mobile development for the platform in Latin America.

32 Shopify eCommerce Websites for Design Inspiration

The post The Hidden Secret for a Greater Conversion: Design an Onboarding Process appeared first on SpyreStudios.


Paul Lukas: The Street’s Secret Code

Image © Paul Lukas

When I first moved to New York, I remember seeing these little poker chip things in the street and wondering just what the heck they were. At the time, I thought they were some sort of street art, like Toynbee tiles. It turns out they are pieces of a larger communication system, as Paul Lukas writes in “The Street’s Secret Code”:

These markers are called A-tags (short for asphalt tags). They’re more commonly used in other municipalities as “Call Before You Dig” warning markers, but in New York they’ve been adapted to create a recordkeeping and accountability system. When a utility or contractor is issued a permit to excavate a hole or trench in the roadway — something that happens about 280,000 times a year in New York — the asphalt patch that’s applied at the end of the job must include an embedded A-tag. Each tag has three anchor legs, which, along with a bit of epoxy, help keep the tag in place. The number at the center of the tag indicates the year of the job (“12” for 2012, “14” for 2014, etc.), each broad contracting category has its own color, and each individual contractor or utility is identified either by name or by a unique five-digit number.

So simple and useful. What’s more, they’re an iteration of a previous attempt at the same:

“Before the A-tags, we used painted marks,” says Joseph Yacca, Director of Operations for the New York City Department of Transportation, who helped initiate New York’s A-tag program in 2006. “But the painted marks were just color-coded — they didn’t identify the individual user. For example, every plumber was green, so if you found a green marker, you knew you were looking for a plumber, but you didn’t know who. So we used to have to pull all the old permits and so on. Now we can pinpoint it much faster.”

I love how small ideas like this can organize huge systems such as a city like New York.

Jason Santa Maria

Secret Productivity Tip That Transformed My Business

Productivity tipDo you have lot’s of ideas? Do you end up doing loads of things? Do you then burn out and wonder what has gone wrong?

Me too.

How great would it feel if we had a productivity tip that turned thoughts into actions and gave you clarity on why you were so busy?

You need two words to add to each idea, to each task in your busy working day…just two little words that transform a thought, a task into something that will drive value.

Ready for the two words? Ready for a simple productivity tip to bring more clarity and focus to what you do?

Just add “so that” to any sentence.

Those two little words are so powerful. Just 6 letters that add focus and act like a test to your thinking.

You see as an entrepreneur you have to work hard not being pulled from pillar to post, these two little words bring focus and clarity to everything you do. They also bring focus to those around you, too!

Give it a try…make an action list and add “so that” to the end of sentence….then write down the reason why you have to invest your precious time in doing that task.

It works for you. It works when you ask the team around you to think about what they are doing. It works when you struggle to understand the ‘why’ of your business, it works when you think about those two little words before writing on the social web.

Try it, let me know whether it works for you!

The Engaging Brand

Secret Trove of Resources for Entrepreneurs

resources for entrepreneurs

As an entrepreneur you understand the phrase “The buck stops with you”. You feel the burden of making that business dream become reality.

What if though we didn’t feel it was a burden, what if we saw this as an opportunity? An opportunity that needs you to make it happen not carry it on your shoulders each day, weighed down with expectation.

And that is why that original phrase needs a little help….

“The buck stops with you so let the book lead you”

People often ask me how many books do I read and I simply can’t answer the question. It is like being asked how many calories did you eat yesterday, you know you had them but you enjoyed them too much to count!

Books are what leads me to the right questions to ask myself. Books are the light at the end of the working day tunnel that guide me to what I need to do tomorrow.

However, I don’t read for any answers;  I don’t believe there is one magic formula.

There are only the ‘right questions’ you should be asking of yourself. And how do you spark the right questions as an entrepreneur? For me, through books, magazines, podcasts….any vehicle for different opinions, facts, news, stories.

Note that the word vehicle is how I see books. Books are not a product to me; books are the vehicle into a secret world of ideas to spark your own imagination.

Books are too often seen as passive objects to consume.

Books shouldn’t be consumed, books shouldn’t be read. Books are interactive; they make you question, think and challenge.

Books are my prompts. Always there, always challenging me.

What is your spark? How do you find the right questions to ask?

The post Secret Trove of Resources for Entrepreneurs appeared first on The Engaging Brand.

The Engaging Brand

Discover The Secret of An Successful Marketing Plan

What does your customer wantWe create our business to provide a solution to the market. We love our solution, we are passionate about what we offer and yet we forget one important step.

The business is the bridge; a bridge between the customer and our offer.

So how do we build a bridge that people want to walk over? By answering two important questions.

What does your customer have? What does your customer want?

Is there a gap and can you see how to bridge the two?

Your marketing plan represents the bricks of that bridge.

Each tweet, each blog post, each article, each traditional marketing campaign…are bricks that will form to create a bridge for the customer to move from what they have to what they want. When you create a marketing plan you need to step back at see where your customers are and where you want to take them.

And your brand personality is like the cement between those marketing bricks.

If the marketing plan provides the why a customer should buy into your brand, then the way you convey your messages cements the brand in the customers mind.

People love to think about what they are going to do…..and that is one element of your brand strategy…BUT the why and the how are just as important.

Imagine bricks without cement. Imagine building a bridge without know which banks you want it to span…it just wouldn’t make sense would it?

That is the same for businesses.

So which is most important – the bricks or the cement….the plan of what you are going to do or how you do it?…..BOTH. They are interdependent. They need each other. They help shape the ultimate strength of your brand.

If your marketing is just not connecting with the marketplace then step back and ask 3 important questions

  1. Do we know what we are trying to do?
  2. Do we know how we want to do it?
  3. Do we do it in a way that shows our consistent, distinctive brand personality?

For 30 more questions to improve your social media marketing and develop your social business leadership download The Engaging Brand ebook.

The post Discover The Secret of An Successful Marketing Plan appeared first on The Engaging Brand.

The Engaging Brand

Victoria’s Secret Loses U.K. Trademark Infringement Battle

Victoria's Secret can no longer promote its Pink line in Europe after a United Kingdom court ruled the brand infringes on trademarks owned by the London-based clothier Thomas Pink. 

While not affecting Victoria Secret's U.S. practices, the ruling will threaten the lingerie company's attempt to expand its presence in the U.K., according to a Bloomberg report. Judge Colin Birss's decision stated that the "sexy, mass-market appeal" of Victoria's Secret would be a "detriment to the repute" of Thomas Pink, a traditional designer of shirts and formalwear. 

Victoria's Secret introduced its Pink clothing line in 2004 to specifically target "college girls" with its vibrant t-shirts, swimsuits and lingerie for younger customers. At the trial, Victoria's Secret had mentioned that its customer-base of young women would not likely shop at Thomas Pink; however representatives of Thomas Pink, whose flagship store is in London, claimed the lingerie company's use of the word "pink" was too similar. 

The judge agreed with the formalwear company, stating "consumers are likely to enter one of the claimant's shops looking for lingerie and be surprised and disappointed when they find they have made a mistake," per Bloomberg.

The business publication also noted that L Brands Inc., whose biggest brand is Victoria's Secret, saw its stock fall 1.4 percent the day of the ruling. 

Adweek : Advertising & Branding