The Hero Conf Difference

Of the 50+ search and social conferences you can choose from, we’re here to show you why Hero Conf is a can’t miss event for busy digital marketers like you.






Want to find out more about the largest all-PPC conference in the industry? Read more now»




How to Show Off Your USP (Unique Selling Point) and Gain Conversions

A unique selling point (USP) defines your company, highlights the advantages of doing business with you and sets you apart from the competition. It also gives your company focus, because you won’t try to be everything to everyone. To reap the best business benefits, you need to fulfill your own unique USP.

Today’s business landscape is oversaturated in nearly every industry. For example, if you sell web hosting services, you have a lot of competition, and there are only so many ways to differentiate yourself. The best thing to do is to survey your competition. What is the USP for each of those businesses? How can you stand out from the crowd, provide something unique? Your USP can be anything from the best customer service around to a specific specialty area.

In this blog, I’ll explain five ways to show off your USP to gain conversions and stand out from the crowd. 

1. Solve a Problem

One of the best ways to differentiate yourself from the competition is to solve a problem for the consumer. For example, if you run a blog about jewelry, what is one issue that people who buy or own jewelry have? Perhaps it is figuring out what their jewelry is worth and you can offer an online estimate tool.

Figuring out a problem to solve is as easy as polling your current customers. Ask them what questions they have. You also can search on forums related to your topic to see what people are posting and asking questions about.

Take the meal kit delivery service, Blue Apron, for instance. Their USP is, “Fresh Ingredients, Original Recipes, Delivered To You.” They have provided all of the ingredients in the right proportions to take all of the guesswork and grocery store headaches out of cooking.

2. Collaboration

Even though you might think you should just stick to a single niche, sometimes the way to differentiate your business is to collaborate and provide one or two solutions even better than one company could offer alone. Being one of the first to offer A and B will be your USP. Your selling point is being a one-stop solution for both things.

You have a couple of options here. You can either bring both solutions to the consumer yourself, or you can collaborate with another company to offer a package deal. The key here is to bring two solutions or benefits to the table for consumers. If you can do it for a reduced price, so much the better.

One example of such a collaboration is the Honeywell and Lear Corporation. The two companies have come together to try to create some security solutions for autonomous vehicles. One concern consumers have about automated cars is the possibility of hacking into the computer system. The two companies are working together to overcome this concern and provide security to companies who build these cars.

3. Make Your Proposition Visual

Visual marketing is powerful. 37% of marketing professionals indicate that visual marketing was the most critical type of content for their business marketing. According to FastCompany, this is likely because site visitors share and remember more images and info on social media.

Another advantage to creating a visual element to your USP is that you show other businesses instead of just telling them. So, instead of just telling another company your USP, you would perhaps provide a detailed chart or image.

SpeedPro doesn’t just show off which products they provide for other businesses to grow through text, but they also make the entire process visual for the business owner. If a business was looking for an event graphic, they could see at a glance what types of items SpeedPro provides.

4. Find a Specialty

As a business, it is crucial that you find a niche area. This allows you to really hone in and specialize on that one unique area and develop a USP around it that will let you come up with unique taglines, marketing materials, and advertising that shows off your expertise in that area.

You can find your niche by thinking about what you do best. Next, look at your competitors who offer the same thing and figure out how you can specialize even more. What is still unique about you or what can you make unique?

Just because you have a specialty area doesn’t mean you can’t ever branch out, though. It’s okay to grow your business and offer more products and services, but always consider how they meet your USP and how the new additions can shape your business and allow it to fulfill its potential. Once everything is running smoothly with the first niche, you can add more.

Intermedia offers cloud IT management for businesses with a niche focus on cloud-based business IT services. They seem to have figured out that a problem for medium-sized businesses is managing their IT needs and have come up with a simple solution.

5. Staying Current

When it comes to showing off your USP, you need to stay on top of the newest trends and ideas in your industry. It doesn’t do you much good to hit a unique point only to discover that no one cares any longer. Or, your competitors may be copying what you do, making your unique selling point not so unique.

However, if you’re consistently studying the markets, new trends, interviewing customers and potential customers, and watching the competition, you will always be a step ahead. You’ll come up with new ideas faster than your competitors can copy your ideas, which is key to your success as a business owner.

Flowcrete offers some interesting flooring options, particularly for businesses. One way that they keep their site current is to provide a flooring blog. The blog is mostly a collection of short stories written for B2B decision makers. They show customer projects, share reviews and offer inspiration. It’s a pretty unique and interesting take on a blog.

Define Your B2B Business

Defining your USP is vital for both business growth and developing brand loyalty. Because you’ll have a narrow focus, you can concentrate on building your customer base within that niche. A clearly-defined USP is one that will stay with possible customers. When they need that specific need filled, they’ll think of you first, and you’ll watch the conversions roll in.

What is your brand’s USP? Has it changed throughout the development of your company? Tell me about it in the comments.

The post How to Show Off Your USP (Unique Selling Point) and Gain Conversions appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.


Improve Your Facebook Ads With Creative Hub and Split Testing

There are many tools and 3rd party platforms that are designed to help with ad testing and creation, but they can come with a steep learning curve and expense. For someone starting out in ad testing who is learning or without budget for a new tool, these options can be out of reach. Luckily, Facebook has created what is essentially an end-to-end ad testing suite right within Facebook itself.


Recent improvements to Creative Hub and the Split Testing feature make ad creation and testing easier than it’s ever been in the past. Using these two tools you can mockup an ad, collaborate on editing it, and load it directly into Facebook. You can then create a split test from within the ad buying side of Facebook. It’s a solution that anyone using Facebook advertising can utilize.


It may lack some of the more advanced features of other tools, but it’s a great place to start while you hone your testing skills or work on securing extra budget.


Creative Hub


Creating and mocking up ads for any platform, Facebook included, can be taxing and frustrating. It can involve lots of back and forth sending image files, spreadsheets, and plan documents to get everyone on the same page. Then when you need to address changes or make edits, the whole back and forth can start again.


While it doesn’t solve all the headaches, Facebook’s Creative Hub does a great job of allowing you to take your Facebook ad assets and mock them up within the various formats that Facebook offers. Where you could once only create mockups, you can now use more advanced features to make the process much easier.


Below are two of the most useful features that have been expanded and added to the Creative Hub. Just remember you’ll need to have access to a Business Manager to use these features, personal accounts only have access to a more limited feature set.


Organize Your Assets into Projects


Collaborate on projects


You can now organize your ad assets into individual projects by whatever purpose it might serve. If you’re a company with multiple brands you can separate projects by brand or if you’re an agency you could filter your projects by client.


Once a project is created you can invite people and share access for collaboration and editing making it easier for everyone to see the ads. All potential ad formats are available and it’s a great way for all to see how ads will visually look in Facebook.


Deliver to the Power Editor


The even bigger update to Creative Hub is the ability to take those mockups and deliver them directly into the Power Editor for live deployment. In the past, you could share mockups with team members and they could see them, but you couldn’t then take a completed mockup and deploy it directly into Facebook.


It was one of the biggest pain points of the Creative Hub. With this update you can now do that and it helps solve some of the headaches around deploying ads.


Creative Split Testing


The Split Testing feature has been around for a while, but it was only able to test delivery optimization, audiences, and placements. The one big omission was creative, probably the single biggest option people wanted to split test.


So, we were forced to either put a bunch of ads into a single ad set and let the algorithm choose a winning ad for us or duplicate ad sets, keeping them the same, and running different ads. The first option was easy, but a bit of a black box. The second time consuming and clunky.


Luckily, Facebook has very recently improved the Split Testing feature with the ability to test creative as well.


How It Works


Split testing diagram


It works like most other ad testing tools. You create one ad set with your audience and other settings, then you create as many ads as you want to test. A duplicate of the ad set you created is then attached to each ad and Facebook will ensure no audience overlap to generate a proper test.


You’ll choose your budget and your ad test will run between 3-14 days depending on audience size, budget, and the point at which significant results are achieved. You’ll be able to see test results within the Facebook interface and have results emailed to you.


Why It’s Good


It offers a proper balance between the black box and clunky ways of ad testing mentioned above. Now we can structure a proper ad test and get concrete results back from it. These results can help us better understand not only what ad won, but under what conditions.


If you’re already using 3rd party tools and like using them, then there isn’t necessarily anything here that would make you switch beyond cost. If you’re not using anything and manually trying to institute tests, this can reduce the number of headaches involved.




With the updates to Creative Hub and the Split Test feature, one can now institute a basic ad creation and testing process directly within Facebook. This minimizes hassle and headaches while providing more detailed information and outcomes to advertisers.


Give the tools a try and see how they might help improve your own ad testing processes.


The Million Dollar Case Study: Europe – Session #17: Amazon Seller Analytics

Whilst I was working behind the scenes battling with getting our Europe Amazon Seller Central account approved, organizing shipping, VAT registration and other details, we decided to run a session on Amazon seller analytics. This is something that you will need to get a handle on as soon as your inventory lands and you start making sales. An efficient business always stays on top of it’s important financial metrics. It’s the only way to fully understand the health of your business, and identify areas of improvement or growth. So in this session we had Shane Stinemetz, Director of Fetcher join Greg and myself, to explain how to calculate your Amazon business profit and loss. Jungle Slumber Updates Transparency is key for this case study so here’s some of the latest updates about the launch of my first product, Jungle Slumber sleeping bags. As I mentioned in previous sessions, it took several weeks to get our new Europe Seller Central account verified. There wasn’t anything wrong in particular, they just kept asking for more information, which we provided, and it took them a long time to process things. Again – it’s always best to sign up for things like Seller Central, … Read More

The post The Million Dollar Case Study: Europe – Session #17: Amazon Seller Analytics appeared first on Jungle Scout: Amazon Product Research Made Easy.


How to Measure Digital Marketing Metrics and ROI

Research shows that email, social media, and websites are the top three channels for engaging with consumers. Whether they’re using mobile or desktop, the majority of your customers use these channels to learn and compare products and services. They are also best used for engaging with the customer before and after purchase. If executed correctly, all three can work together to form a smooth, positive experience. And after all of your hard work creating the campaign, you as a marketer are tasked with measuring the metrics and return on investment (ROI) of your campaigns. But measuring your digital campaigns’ ROI can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re looking for. With so many numbers out there to crunch, how do you know which ones to focus on?

You can use soft metrics like impressions, engagement, and visitors which are essential for shaping your marketing strategy into a winning game plan. Or you could focus on hard metrics, like spend and revenue, and are typically where your execs’ will focus. Both hard and soft metrics feed into calculating ROI

You can think of ROI metrics as three separate categories: front-end, middle, and back-end.

  • Front-end metrics, such as click-through-rate (CTR) and engagement ratio, tell you if your content is relatable enough to inspire action by your target audience.
  • Middle metrics note measures like conversion rate and bounce rate that show you the number of leads inching closer to client status.
  • Back-end metrics like pipeline and revenue show you not only how your marketing efforts have been hitting the company card but also how much revenue you’re receiving in return. These are the usual metrics for measuring your financial ROI.

In this blog, I’ll cover how to measure digital marketing metrics and ROI for email, social media, and website landing pages. 


Email has come a long way since its inception—the year when Jean Knight’s “Mr. Big Stuff” swayed all of the hips—to where we see it today, and it continues to be a primary source for brands to engage with their consumers. Whether it’s through newsletters, inquiries, or purchase confirmations, email remains a quality avenue of information and communication between consumers and brands. Thanks to new advances in technology and email marketing services, we now have more efficient ways to carry out campaigns and access to various ROI metrics.

If you’ve run an email campaign before, then most of the following metrics should be familiar to you. But as email evolves, it’s important to keep an eye out for new updates and features—there just might be something new to add to your reports. Don’t forget! Incorporate tracking parameters in your emails, so you know where to attribute any leads and successes.

When measuring the initial success of your email campaign, especially when using A/B testing, pay attention to the following:

Bounce Rate. Are there any emails that failed to send? Remove false emails from your list, so you don’t continue paying for inactive addresses. Plus, a high bounce rate will count negatively towards your campaign and might even label you as SPAM.

Open Rate. Are your emails not getting opened? Test a new headline (or several) to catch their attention.

Unsubscribe Rate. Hello, darkness, my old friend. This metric is an easy way to determine something is wrong. If your consumers are getting turned off by your content, at any rate really, put on your Batman mask and investigate.

Clicks & Click-Through-Rate (CTR). How many clicks are your emails receiving? Are they clicking your links or images? Give your consumers a reason to engage with your email.

Conversions & Conversion Rate. How many people are following through to your email’s end goal? You can have a high open and click rate, but if you’re not converting, then there is room for improvement. You might need to make some adjustments to your email and/or your landing page.

Leads. Add up the number of conversions earned on your emails and note any replies and regularly engaged subscribers. These are your leads—follow up with them!

Though these are important metrics, they may not be your campaign’s sole reason for success. If your campaign’s goal is to bring in pipeline (expected future business) and revenue (dollar dollar bills), the success of these metrics depends on bringing in as many conversions as you can to generate a monetary return.

Ask yourself these questions once you have a fair amount of data from your campaign and/or tests:

  • How many of these conversions became quality leads that led to pipeline? What is my pipeline-to-cost ratio for this campaign? For this quarter, month, etc.?
  • How much revenue did this campaign generate? At what rate?
  • How much did each email, open, click and conversion cost? How much did it earn?
  • Where can this campaign improve to help these ROI metrics grow?

All of these metrics give you a solid summary of your email campaign with great detail to make adjustments and record ROI.

Social Media

Remember the early days of Facebook when you were so stoked the first time you hit double-digit likes? Triple-digit? For new brands and small business, likes were hard to come by at that time, and it’s probably not getting any easier. If it wasn’t already apparent that Facebook and other social media platforms are legitimate advertising spaces, Facebook recently announced that they are testing the removal of organic page posts in a few countries. Organic content reach has been running out of steam for years now, so this move essentially brings business pages to a “Go Paid or Go Home” mentality.

With Facebook ads, in particular, coming to a wild west shootout between brands, where bullets are replaced with four bits (look it up), it’s going to be very important that your marketing campaigns take precise aim rather than a good ol’ shotgun blast. Build on your strategy and take a deep look at what has or hasn’t been working in your previous campaigns. Facebook’s Insights tool offers a good amount of data from your page as a whole to an individual post.

Before you spend dinero (that’s money) on your next campaign, take a look at these metrics:

Engagement and engagement ratio. Are people reacting, commenting and sharing your boosted posts? The #1 obstacle to consumer engagement is irrelevant content, so find out what it is that gets them to act on your posts.

Clicks and click-through-rate. Engagement on your ad is fantastic, but are consumers actually clicking on your call to action? Choose the route that gets more people to your website over the one receiving plenty of blind-shares and likes.

Though Facebook Insights are great for front-end metrics like engagement ratio, clicks, and click-through-rate (CTR), you won’t have much data on conversions & conversion rate from your website. To really maximize the data—and your spend—out of Facebook, be sure to implement the Facebook pixel on your website for “conversion tracking, optimization, and remarketing.” The way your Facebook fans convert on your campaign depends on what goal you set. If the goal of your campaign is to fill out a form on your landing page, for example, the pixel will record that as a social conversion. These goals are triggered by actions on your Facebook page, and a follow through on a call to action (CTA).

To see how many leads you generate from your social marketing efforts, be sure to include tracking parameters in the URL you are advertising. From here you can see which campaign(s) bring in the best lead conversion rate. With this data and tracking in place you can determine how Facebook and other social platforms are contributing to your pipeline, therefore allowing you to gather more data on pipeline to cost and the cost/earning per click and post.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • How many of these conversions became quality leads that led to pipeline? What is my pipeline-to-cost ratio for this campaign? For this quarter, month, etc.?
  • How much revenue did this campaign generate? At what rate?
  • How much did each impression, click and conversion cost? How much did it earn?
  • Where can this campaign improve to help these ROI metrics grow?

You’ll want to look and pull reports from both Facebook Insights and your web analytics platform to get the full picture of your paid social campaign’s success.

Website Landing Pages

Consider your website as a digital Disneyland: it’s where the magic happens. Though, instead of a shirtless giant mouse in short shorts selling you an overpriced funnel cake, it’s where you send your potential customers to find quality content and information on your products or services.

Be sure to take a look at these metrics on your website analytics using your tracking parameters:

Traffic. See how many visits your landing page received from your campaigns.

Unique & Returning visitors. This is the number of individuals who came to your page and how many kept coming back!

Total page views. Note any other pages visited on your website after your landing page.

Time spent on your page. Not only can you see how long people are on your website, but it also lets you know if your visits are engaged or immediate exits.

Conversions. Whether it’s an online purchase or signing up for an event, find the value generated from users that complete a goal on your website.

Use these initial metrics to gather details as you go further down the lead conversion funnel from campaigns, to website, and finally to revenue. Pulling consumers in through email and social is the first step, now you have to retain them. Pay attention to the bounce rate and exit rate on your landing page or website from these campaigns. Are people exiting at a high rate without converting? Might be a hint that you need to make some adjustments to your site. You could have a significant campaign that falls flat if your landing page doesn’t match your consumer’s expectations.

Is your website generating newsletter signups and email inquiries? These are leads! Perhaps a consumer came through a campaign and didn’t convert initially, but they came back to your website later for more information. Signing up for a newsletter or filling out your contact form can become a potential lead for you to continue your marketing.

Your website also has metrics that your social and emails may not: direct sales attribution. With transactions and revenue records on your site, you can see how much money your campaigns and website are generating. This gives you an immediate sense of ROI, but these are not the only two metrics to look at when it comes to money. If you operate through eCommerce, make sure to look at your cart retention rate. How many people are following through with their purchase after placing an item in their cart? Be sure to always test every function of your campaign, including following through on a purchase, to make sure that everything is working.

Take a look at the funnel visualization data to follow your buyer’s journey on your site. Your campaigns can bring you revenue outside of your initial promotion, so it’s a significant additional metric to see which campaigns and actions are contributing to conversions and sales. Here you can measure each channel’s contribution to your website’s success and compare it to your social metrics and email metrics.

Moving Forward

As marketers, it’s vital for us to pay attention to every detail to ensure that the customer journey is flawless, enjoyable, and shareworthy enough for them to recommend their experience. When presenting campaign data, create your reports using high-level reviews to provide knowledge on where the financial investment is going and how exactly it’s bringing a return. Email and social campaigns work directly with your website for a smooth customer experience—if you do it right. Not only do these metrics help you determine your overall ROI, but it also enables you to find room for improvement on each channel.

What metrics do you measure for your digital channels? How have you adjusted these as innovation happens in the digital space? I’d love to hear about your best practices in the comments.

The post How to Measure Digital Marketing Metrics and ROI appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.


Should You Be Gating Your Content Offers?

Can you remember the last time you were on a website that failed to offer you a guide, coupon, ebook, white paper or something else in exchange for your contact info? (And no, Facebook doesn’t count.) If you spend a good amount of time on the internet, it’s likely you run into a dozen of these every day (I actually have a library of “free” content offers collecting dust on my hard drive). The practice of generating leads through gated content offers, also known as lead magnets, has become so widespread that if you don’t encounter a pop-up or slide-in form during your visit, you might get the feeling something’s missing.

10 Percent Example Email

As a marketer, you might click these things away out of habit. But the pervasiveness of this trend testifies to the fact that they do work—or at least they’re working on someone. The fact is, many of the leads generated by such offers are fake (i.e. people using bogus email addresses). This is becoming easier to do with more temporary email address services becoming available. And on top of that, if these offers incorporate intrusive overlays, they tend to drive most people crazy. So, the question is whether the advantages of gating your content outweigh the disadvantages. Are the leads you’re gathering really worth the damage to your user experience? More importantly, are you really getting the most out of your content assets if they’re sitting behind a form?

In this blog, we’ll explore the pros and cons of gating content so that you can decide for yourself which option is best for your business.

Arguments For Gating

  1. Generating Inbound Leads

The most obvious argument for putting your content behind a form is that it gives you the opportunity to collect contact information from your visitors. Few website visitors are willing to give you their email addresses for nothing. But bribing them (or what should really be called a value exchange) with a quality piece of content is an effective way to get them in. If a visitor is interested enough to download an ebook or white paper and is even willing to give up contact information, it’s likely they’re a good candidate for further sales and marketing engagements.

  1. Coming Across as Premium

In the mind of a consumer, quality is almost always connected to price. If you have to pay for something, you will inevitably attach more value to it than if you received it for free. The same principle is applicable to your content assets. In a sense, users are “paying” with their contact details. The mere fact that they must fill out a form to get your ebook, white paper or brochure will cause them to attribute greater value to it and see it as more authoritative.

  1. Gauging the Level of Interest in Your Content

Gating your assets allows you to determine just how much your readers want your content—especially if you perform some testing. If you begin by offering your ultimate guide for free, and later put it behind a form, the change in download volume will give you some clues. If the downloads stop, it may indicate that the general level of interest in your guide is not so high. If the decrease is only marginal, it means you have something your visitors really want—and that they see you as a trustworthy source.

Arguments Against Gating

  1. Greater Reach

The biggest reason to avoid gating your content is that it will inevitably increase your content’s reach. More people will see it, and—if your content is really good—you’ll have the chance to impress more people. Many internet users are loath to give up their info on principle. And if you’ve spent a lot of time producing your content, it would be a shame to limit its exposure only to those willing to provide contact details.

  1. (Controlled) Shareability

The problem with gated PDFs is that, once they’ve been downloaded, users can simply email them to whoever they want and you lose the ability to track and measure your content’s performance. If your content is freely accessible online, however, you can both include sharing options to increase reach and maintain an overview of how many times your content has actually been accessed, shared and read.

  1. SEO

If your content assets cannot be accessed without first filling out a form, it means that web crawlers won’t be able to access them either. Ebooks, white papers, and guides are typically rich pieces of content that are likely to boost your SEO—but if they’re gated, you forfeit some of that benefit.

It All Boils Down to Your Content Goals

Like so many things in life (and in business), there is no single correct answer. The best choice is always contingent upon your goals. For each piece of content, you need to decide what your primary objective is before you decide whether to gate it or not.

Gated Content Goals

Source: Statista; MarketingProfs; Content Marketing Institute

If your goal is lead generation, gating makes a lot of sense. But if you want the best of both worlds, you may also consider semi-gating your content—allowing users to freely access the first few pages and then asking for contact details to gain access to the rest.

If your goal is brand awareness, it makes sense to aim for maximum reach and shareability. Leave your content freely accessible so that it can be shared, indexed by search engines and found by as many people as possible.

If your goal is customer engagement, then gating your content is probably not going to be of much value considering you already have your customers’ info. If you don’t want content to be freely accessible, you should allow customers to access it with their existing credentials.

If your goal is sales enablement, you probably want to introduce as little friction as possible. Product brochures, pricing pages, specifications and other sales collateral should be easy to access for prospects nearing a purchasing decision.

So, before you jump on the bandwagon and put your new ebook behind a gate like everyone else, take a moment to think about your content goals and overall marketing strategy.

What successes have you had with gating content? What successes have you experienced with ungated content? Do you have hard and fast rules that you follow at your company as to what content is gated and what content is ungated? Let’s keep our conversation going in the comments.

The post Should You Be Gating Your Content Offers? appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.


Work Habits & Resources for the Stressed-Out PPC Manager

I don’t think I need to remind anyone that having good work habits are important during the stressful holiday season. As online marketers, the holiday season is often the busiest time of the year with promotions, holiday sales, and pressure to close the gap as the fiscal year ends. Meanwhile, the days get shorter and colder and we find ourselves sitting in pitch dark rooms, staring at spreadsheets unblinkingly while wearing three sweaters (and maybe a beanie), a few empty coffee cups before us. Winter can be, in a word: Stressful.



Problem: “I’m freakin’ stressed, man.” Solution: Work Smarter, Not Harder.


But how do we make our working lives more efficient? The following tips will help.


1. Schedule Everything


There’s no need to do your work by hand anymore, with the wide variety of automation tools to make your life easier. This holiday, consider using Hanapin’s painless promotion management and let your labels, automated rules, and scripts do the hard work for you. There is no better feeling than logging into your email on Black Friday and seeing a ton of unread email confirmations that read, “Your Automated Rule Ran with 2,569 changes”. It looks like winning to me.


I don’t trust my memory for anything, so I always drop notes on when to check deadlines or when new tests are due into my work calendar, with email reminders turned on. This way, I never lose track of recurring tasks. It also works great across teams to schedule “all day” tasks with email reminders in place, so nothing ever gets lost. This technique works especially well for recurring weekly or monthly tasks.


Try to give yourself every reason to happily forget a task because the reminder is stored safely with a smart system that will handle it for you. Or at the very least, let your system be a task-master and disallow you from letting the task slip away without the prod of reminder from an automated system.


2. Prioritize Everything


As I said, my memory cannot be trusted, so I’m an old-school handwritten note kind of person. But you may not be, and that’s fine too. There are tons of note-taking organizational tools such as EverNote, Microsoft OneNote, and todoist. I find that the hardest part of getting things done is deciding on which tasks take precedent over others. If you have difficulty managing priorities too, you may want to use a prioritized checklist, like the following:



Always give yourself a deadline, and if there is a particular task you’re dreading, try to do it first thing in the morning when you’re fresh and caffeinated (and when you haven’t had the time to start dreading it.) This is a technique known as “Eat The Frog”.

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the monring. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” -Mark Twain


3. Realize that Nothing Lasts Forever, & Appreciate How Far You’ve Come.



When I’m staring down a large new task, I often forget to step back and consider the big picture.


When was the last time you looked back at that old quarterly presentation to see just how many of the new exciting ideas you put into place? If you haven’t had a moment to look back, the end of the year is a good time to do so. Consider what successes you’ve seen that you’d like to expand or push more budget into. Maybe you saw some big wins on the display side, or maybe you discovered that your remarketing lists are having great success because of some brand new segmentation.


Give yourself a pat on the back as you look back on 2017. You’ve come a long way, and there have been a lot of changes, what with the new AdWords dashboard layout, AdWords shopping showcase ads, Facebook Analytics & Canvas updates, Bing DSAs, and more. You’ve done a good job keeping up with the changing tide of digital marketing.  The next time you screw up (and there will be a next time, because we are humans and humans do make mistakes) take a look back at what you did right: That meeting that felt so productive, those ROAS numbers that were unbelievably high. As you look forward, it is so easy to dismiss the big wins. Take time to reflect as you move forward, and take the winning strategies into 2018. As action items,

  1. Keep a journal of what you’re proud of, events that were notably positive, or start a kudos file to gain confidence when the going gets rough. Use these notes to assess what went well this year.
  2. Set a date of when you’d like to start your new initiatives or continue your successful efforts, and remember it’s just as important to set a deadline as a launch date.
  3. Take comfort that the initiatives you’re stressing about today are things you may not remember in a year (or 5 years, or 10 years) from now.

4.  Ask For Help, then Ask Again


It’s business, it’s not not personal. Well, it isn’t personal until you wake up in the middle of the night, wondering if you really did apply that coupon code to your client’s merchant center with the correct sale dates. Work is inherently personal. It can get your heart racing during a call or answering an email, or as you hurry to make campaign changes.


If you have a team, delegating your work can help take the stress off quickly. You aren’t a superhero. You don’t need to do every little thing. Take time to decide which tasks could be better suited for another team member, so you can focus your energy on what you do best, or one what only you can do.


I learned this lesson well in an old food service job, where I worked as a catering manager. Quickly I learned that I could not physically make every sandwich, especially when 650 box lunches are due by 11am. I could wake up at 3am, get to the cafe at 3:30, and still not get the work done. So, don’t make every sandwich. Ask your co-worker to pull some vital data for that upcoming meeting. If you aren’t sure what strategy to take to prevent a future mistake from happening again, reach out to your team or your boss for advice. If you find yourself working on search query reports when you should be making search volume estimates, decide to let someone else take on the menial tasks and focus on what you’re good at,  and the work you deserve to be doing. We all have a tendency to fall into patterns of safe, cozy, menial work. But as you move into the manager position, you cannot afford the luxury of doing work that someone else could do just as well. Even asking for a second opinion can be useful when you’re uncertain of the direction in which you’d like to proceed.


5. A List of Stress Relieving Tools & Resources for the Holiday Season and Beyond!


Focus-Building Tools

  • Cold Turkey website blocker
  • Write or Die: An app that makes terrible noises when you stop writing, great for blog post or report writing!
  • The Pomodoro Technique (which I’m using right this moment as I write) with the Tomato Timer desktop page or free Focus Keeper app. Using the Pomodoro method is killer for my report writing, which allows me to tightly focus on tedious tasks and get them done faster and with less distractions.
  • Habitica: For nerds that like to earn new pixellated swords for completing daily tasks, habits, and personalized To Do lists. I love to use Habitica since I work from home and at times will forget to take a walk outside or eat a vegetable every day.
  • Meditation Resources:
    • Headspace, a wildly popular guided meditation app that has the first 10 sessions for free.
    • Calm: a really beautiful meditation app with a variety of settings
    • Do Nothing for 2 Minutes: Great for recharging between Pomodoro sessions, and really difficult at times!

Boosts to Your Calm Office Environment

Remember to rest, and have a very happy holiday season, digital marketing manager friends!


The Paid Media Cube: A Framework to Clarify and Communicate Your PPC Strategy

Imagine you’re a PPC marketer working at a retailer specializing in hip, junk food clothing. Your clever use of paid spend made the Bacon Strips Crew Neck an all time best seller, nice work!

the bacon crewneck

Pictured: the highly successful Bacon Strips crew neck (via Getonfleek)

Then, let’s say you get a new VP of Marketing, and in your first meeting together she asks you to explain your PPC strategy and ways you’d improve it.

You spend all day optimizing PPC campaigns, but you’ve rarely needed to step back, evaluate, or justify your PPC strategy to others.

So self doubt kicks in, and you start asking yourself questions like:

  • “Do I really understand my PPC strategy?”
  • “How can I explain my approach to this VP without getting into the weeds?”
  • “Do I know what my next steps are?”

Without a clear understanding of how you’re approaching your paid spend, stakeholders only see your hefty budget, leaving you under pressure to deliver results.

In this post I’ll cover a framework for clarifying and communicating your PPC strategy to any and all stakeholders to prove confidence and good understanding. Because—no matter how complex your plan— stakeholders on your team should ideally understand how you’re defining success, and how to support you in execution.

Andy CrestodinaAndy Crestodina of Orbit Media agrees:

“Clarity is key. Keep [your paid strategy] simple and explicit. If there’s anything confusing about your plan, you’ll pay for it later in wasted time and/or budget.”

Further, this post will walk you through the Paid Media Cube framework for identifying any opportunities you might be leaving on the table.

Four questions to clarify your PPC strategy

To better clarify and communicate your PPC plans, first answer these four questions:

  1. Who are you trying to reach?
  2. Where are you going to reach them?
  3. How are you going to reach them?
  4. What are you going to offer them?

If you can’t answer the above in one to two sentences, your strategy is not clear. Go back to the drawing board, go through your campaigns, and get these answers.

Now I know, at this stage, you’re likely thinking:

  • “It’s not that simple, Tom. My PPC strategy is more complex than these four questions!”
  • “We are running PPC ads on several channels like AdWords, Bing, Facebook, and Display.”
  • “We are targeting multiple buyer journey stages such as awareness, consideration, and decision stages. We can’t possibly answer four questions for everything.”

To ensure the aforementioned four questions are helpful, I’ve found it’s best you further visualize and map every piece of your PPC approach into buckets. Beyond explaining your strategy, you need a tool to help you identify opportunities for improvement and growth.

Enter the Paid Media Cube: a tool to visualize and clarify your PPC strategy

Typically your PPC campaigns will involve display, paid social, and paid search channels within the awareness, consideration, and decision stages of your buyer’s journey.

The Paid Media Cube below helps you visualize your PPC traffic at the intersection of both your traffic channels and buyer journey stage. Once filled out for your paid campaigns, it can help you spot gaps and opportunities for growth.

Below is an example of what your campaigns would look like using the Paid Media Cube. I’ve mapped it out below as though we were planning paid spend for our junk food clothing line…
The PPC strategy Paid Media Cube, by SCUBE

Pictured: The Paid Media Cube featuring traffic channels and buyer stages (via SCUBE Marketing)

Looking at Paid Media Cube for the first time, you likely have 3 questions:

#1. Why do the names vary in all squares?

The names you see in each square stand in for campaign names. You may have a different terminology because of targeting or your naming conventions.

#2. How do I fill in each square?

Consider all the campaigns you have in your paid media accounts and think about the buyer journey stage your target would be in. Then map each campaign group to the appropriate square for the right stage and the right channel. Of course this leads us to the third and the most important question.

#3. Why map all campaigns to traffic channels and buyer journey stages like this?

This exercise helps ensure strong message match.

Your message and offer have to align to your buyer’s expectations at different stages of their journey, and make sense via the traffic source from which they discovered you.

This means your ads, landing pages, and offers will be different for display campaigns in the awareness stage versus paid search campaigns intended for the decision stage, for example.

The cube gives you an opportunity to step back and re-evaluate (and improve) your message to the paid media traffic you’re targeting.

Moreover, to better represent buyer intent, the colors of each square are different, beginning with cold colours (low buyer intent) and gradually increasing to hot colours (high buyer intent).

The reality is that your PPC campaigns may not be as complex as the example above. Instead, you may have something like this:
the partial paid media cube

Identify gaps in traffic channels and buyer stages with the Paid Media Cube (via SCUBE Marketing).

Once you map your campaigns to the Paid Media Cube, you can grow in few different ways:

  • Launch campaigns for a few buyer stages within the same traffic channel. If you notice are only running campaigns in the decision and consideration stage, you can expand into the awareness stage to ensure you’re not missing out on any opportunities.
  • Launch a new PPC channel you haven’t tried yet. If you are only running campaigns on paid search and paid social channels, test the display channel.
  • Expand your PPC channel approach. I.e. If you are running paid search campaigns on AdWords, replicate them in Bing Ads.

For best results combine the four questions with the Cube

Now you have two important tools: the Paid Media Cube and four questions to ask yourself about your campaigns.

Since each square in the Paid Media Cube represents a different stage of buyer intent, you’ll want to answer the four questions for each square.

For example, your company comes up with a new Chicken Ramen Sweatshirt product line, and you want to target geeks, EDM music fans, and junk food eaters on Facebook (paid social traffic in the awareness stage).
The ramen sweatshirt

Chicken Ramen Sweatshirt (via Beloved Shirts)

Here is where your campaigns would hypothetically fit into the Paid Media Cube:
four questions in the paid media cube

Answer the four strategy questions for each square above…(via SCUBE Marketing)

The answers to the four strategy questions would look like this:

  • Who are you trying to reach? Geeks, EDM music fans, and junk food eaters.
  • Where are you going to reach them? Paid Social (Facebook Ads).
  • How are you going to reach them? Target pages about geeky gadgets, EDM music, and junk food.
  • What are you going to offer them? Free ideabook with apparel ideas featuring Ramen noodles along with a 20% coupon for their first order.

Overall, after you complete one square, repeat the question process until you can clearly articulate the factors of your PPC strategy in full.

Stay ahead of the game

Once you have clarity yourself, you can easily communicate your PPC strategy to others.

Paid media marketers face pressure from all sides. Not only are you expected to produce results, but it’s also up to you to prove the value of your campaigns to those without a thorough understanding of your efforts.

Using the four questions I outlined above, alongside the Paid Media Cube, you’ll have a great start for clearly outlining your PPC strategy to others, but even if you’re fairly autonomous or independent the Cube will help ensure you’re running a full funnel of campaigns and not missing any potential opportunities.