The Ultimate Guide to Getting Sky-High Conversions From Twitter Ads

Will anyone actually click my ad and buy my product?

It’s a terrifying question, but an important one. Turns out that everyone (including you) wants to get more conversions from a Twitter ad campaign.

You spent countless hours writing lead magnets, creating landing pages and sales pages, and then later you set up a Twitter ad campaign to get some traffic.

While running ads is a great way to get some quick exposure, Twitter is a different ad platform. If you don’t understand the way it works, you might be wasting your money as well.

In today’s post I’ll be sharing some killer tips and resources to get sky-high conversions from Twitter.

So, would you like to know how to advertise on Twitter?

How about more advanced approaches to getting more followers, more leads, and more customers for your business?

But let me make it clear…

If there are secrets or special formulas that can magically unlock the power of Twitter advertising out there, I don’t know them.

What I do know is exactly what the experts are doing – day in and day out.

And now, you will too.

But first let’s take a look at why you should invest in Twitter ads.

Why You Should Invest in Paid Twitter Ads

Twitter is a great social media channel for marketers, as it unofficially has 310 million monthly active users. Twitter ads are an incredible way to complement your social media efforts. With Twitter advertising you can reach thousands of targeted customers and followers.

But why do you need to invest in paid twitter ads?

Organic Reach is Declining

Recently, Twitter made changes to their feed. Now, instead of getting all the recent tweets, Twitter only shows the tweets that they think are relevant to you.

Much like what Facebook did with their platform.

And just a few months ago, Twitter launched Engage, which is for celebrities, influencers, and public figures that’ll curate the most popular tweets, mentions and replies.

This clearly shows that the reach of social media is plummeting day by day. Considering this scenario, Twitter paid ads is a way to go.

AdWords and Facebook Ad Costs Are Rising With Each Passing Day

Just last year, Search Engine Land reported a 20-25% increase in Google AdwWords CPCs. More and more brands are investing in the same keywords, which, of course, increase the competition and thus, the cost.

While Facebook ads were pretty cheap when they first started offering it, nowadays due to millions of advertisers, its platform is also becoming expensive.

For instance, Forbes reported a 21% increase in Facebook average ad pricing and the cost per thousand impressions (CPM) increased by an incredible 29% rate.

Considering both these reports, Twitter now looks like the promising ad channel. Facebook still beats Twitter on average cost per ad, but with some optimization and targeting options you can lower Twitter ad costs, even lower than Facebook.

Your Customers Spend a Ridiculous Amount of Time on Twitter

With each passing day, we’re getting more attracted towards social media. While Facebook is a beast with 1.2 billion monthly active users, Twitter’s 310 million monthly active users can’t be neglected.

According to DMR stats, 34% of active Twitter users log into it more than once in a day.

Looking at all these points, you’ll know that Twitter advertising is the way to go if you’re looking to make profits online.

Now let’s learn how to set-up the perfect Twitter ad campaign.

How to Setup the Perfect Twitter Ad Campaign

Twitter has a robust advertising platform. However, it is quite difficult to understand if you’re just starting out.

But don’t worry. Here’s how to setup your first Twitter ad campaign.

Step 1: Choose your primary objective

To advertise on Twitter you’ll need to log into your Twitter Ads account. For that head over to and enter your credentials.

Now, you’ll need to choose your primary objective. Whether you want to get more leads, more traffic, or just more followers.


Twitter has 6 types of campaigns to choose from, these are:

  2. Website clicks or conversions
  3. Tweet engagements
  4. App install or re-engagements
  5. Leads on Twitter
  6. Video views

Choose a relevant campaign type and click on it.

Step 2: Select your targeting options

Once you’ve determined the campaign type, it’s time to set up the rest of the campaign. Name your ad campaign, choose all the relevant options, and select your targeting options.


Targeting is an extremely important feature for you to reach to your ideal customers. Twitter has 11 targeting options. These are:

  1. Location
  2. Gender
  3. Languages
  4. Devices, Platforms, and Carriers
  5. Keywords
  7. Interests
  8. Tailored Audience
  9. Behaviors
  10. TV Targeting
  11. Event Targeting

I recommend you choose relevant targeting options so you don’t end up wasting your time and money marketing to the wrong audience.

Step 3: Adjust your bid to make your campaign profitable

This is the place where most people get Twitter wrong.

Twitter sells its advertising via auction. That means the more you’re willing to pay, the more likely your ads will be shown, but if you set the bids too low, you’ll get no impressions.

So Twitter provides an option for that. It’s called automatic bidding.


This is how it works: you set a daily maximum budget and set the pricing to automatic bid, and Twitter will make sure your budget is spent very quickly. It might help you in winning auctions, but you don’t want to or have to win every auction.

So, avoid using automatic bid in most of the cases.

In fact, I recommend you to start with $2, then test with the ads, analyze the results and finally scale the campaign.

After doing all the steps, finally launch your campaign.

How to Make Your Campaign Go Viral

You’ve setup your first Twitter campaign. You now understand the platform and know its basics. You also know the way it works.

Now it’s time to optimize your campaign to make it viral. Here’s how:

1. Get High Quality Score to Lower Ad Clicks

First of all, you obviously don’t want to pay higher for ad clicks, when it’s possible to cut them down. Like Facebook and Google, Twitter also has it’s own quality score, which sometimes it refers to as “Quality Adjusted Bids”.

Larry Kim, the founder of Wordstream, actually found that the higher your engagement rate will be, the lower your ad will cost.

Here’s how Twitter determines a quality-adjusted bid:

  1. Resonance: This is a metric to measure your engagement. Basically, the more likes, retweets, and comments you get, the higher your quality score.
  2. Relevance: It checks whether a user is interested in your tweet.
  3. Recency: This metric checks the freshness of the tweet. If your tweet is fresh, then it’s going to get higher priority.

Here’s how to get a high quality adjusted bid:

Keep your tweets fresh

Like I already mentioned, Twitter keeps a check on the freshness of your tweet. That means Twitter is less likely to show your older ads. Here’s an example:

impressions-twitter-ads(Image Source)

This is a snapshot of Larry Kim’s Twitter ad dashboard. Notice how the impressions go down with each passing day.

Twitter wants to show fresh content to its users. So you’ll want to test different variations of each ad and consider replacing them with newer ads, instead of running the same ones for lengthy periods.

Promote your best stuff

The best possible way to get a high quality score and lower your ad costs is by promoting your best stuff i.e., the tweets which organically gained more exposure.

tweet-engagement(Image Source)

This tweet by Larry Kim resulted in 1488 retweets and 1284 favorites.

Larry got these amazing results because his post was truly epic. So, when you write epic content like this:

Your content has 100x better chance of going viral.

Narrow your audience

Relevance is another important metric in Twitter.


You don’t want to promote your content to the audience that shows little or no interest. Instead want to narrow your audience, target a smaller but precise audience who is interested in your content.

This not only helps get high conversions, but also helps you get higher engagement.

2. How to Find Your Best Content to Promote

Tweet engagement is a pretty important metric when it comes to advertising in Twitter. Not only does Twitter determine the pricing based on the tweet engagement but it also decides the exposure it’s going to get.

High engagement posts is the way to go in this scenario. Here’s how to find high engagement tweets:

  1. Login to Twitter Analytics
  2. Once you’re in there, click the tweets tab and then click export to export all your tweets
  3. export-data-twitter-analytics

  4. Twitter will take a few seconds to process it, depending on your account, then it will send a request to download CSV file
  5. Open the file and sort the “Engagement Rate” tab by descending order
  6. twitter-engagement-csv-spreadsheet

  7. Now, the top tweets you get are the ones that are the most engaging. This is where you should spend your dollars

Once you find your top engagement tweets, head back to Twitter and start the advertising campaign for those top tweets.

3. Use Relevant Keywords to Narrow Down Your Audience

Keyword targeting is an amazing feature in Twitter that lets you to find the people based on the words and phrases they’ve tweeted or searched for on Twitter.

Each keyword has 6 options to match your ideal customer:


  1. Broad Match: Broad match searches for all the tweets containing that keyword independent of the order.
  2. Phrase Match: When you select phrase match, Twitter will search all the tweets that contains the keywords in exact order plus there may be other keywords present between those tweets.
  3. Exact Match: It searches for the tweets with exact keywords in the exact order without any word in between.
  4. Negative Match: Negative match will remove all the tweets with that keyword in any order.
  5. Negative Phrase: Negative phrase will remove all the tweets that contain the keywords in the exact order.
  6. Negative Exact: It removes all the tweets with exact keywords in the exact order without any keyword in between.

4. Use Behavior and Demographic Targeting Options to Boost Engagement

Like keyword targeting, Twitter offers behavior and demographic targeting which is a strong metric to find the relevant audience.

You can use behaviors and demographic targeting options to target the people who want to, and can afford to buy your products. Here’s how:


You can select their behavior like business type, industry, and sales revenue to find the customers who might be interested in your offering. You can then select their demographic options like their income, education, and employment to find the customers who can afford to buy your products.

5. Create Tailored Audience for Each Buying Stage

Twitter also offers website tags, which is similar to the Facebook pixel. With this tag you can track different types of conversions for the customers visiting your audience, like:

  • Site visit
  • Purchase
  • Download
  • Sign up
  • Custom


Once you’ve captured these visitors, you can then advertise to these customers in Twitter. And the best part?

You’ll get higher engagement for your tweets, meaning high quality score and low cost of the ads.

6. Leverage Twitter Lists For Best Results

Twitter lists are a great way to organize your followers, clients, influencers, and your team members. Many people know this feature but very few actually utilize it.

In Twitter advertising, Twitter lists are a great way to advertise. Here’s a great example of this:

Larry Kim wrote a blog post for WordStream.

He shared the post throughout his social media account, and then promoted the post to the list of influencers using Twitter Ads.

tailored-audiences-twitter(Image Source

Within 48 hours, the post picked 500+ press mentions and 100K visitors. All of this with just a $50 budget and 10 minutes of campaign setup.


Pretty cool, right?

Your results may vary.

7. Upload Your Email List to Create Your Own Audience

In Twitter, you can upload your email list to create your own list of audiences. With this feature, you can advertise to your email subscribers.

This is a great feature especially when you want to nurture your leads or promote your products. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Head over to Twitter ads. Select Tools and click audience manager.
  2. audience-manager-twitter-ads

  3. Click create new audience. Then, select upload your own list.
  4. upload-your-own-list-twitter-ads

  5. Fill out all the information, upload your email list and click create list audience.


This list audience is extremely beneficial in Twitter. You can promote your blog posts, lead magnets, and promote your products.

8. Use Retargeting to Promote Your Content

Remarketing is an incredible way to advertise to your website visitors or your email subscribers. In Twitter, you can either use promoted tweets, Twitter cards, or promoted tweets.

All of them give you a great option to get more exposure. To use retargeting, here’s what you should do:

  1. You must upload your email list to retarget your email subscribers
  2. You must create a website tag and install it in your website

I recommend you set up a website tag and install it. It’s buried deep in Twitter, but it’s actually the first thing you should do before running any ad. Here’s how to generate a Website tag:

Login to Twitter Ads. Then, click tools, followed by conversion tracking.


Next up, agree to the Terms and Conditions and then click generate website tag for conversions.


In the next page you’ll get the website tag. Install the tag in your website to setup conversion tracking.

Once done, you can advertise to your website visitors based on their behaviors and their purchase.

Measure your Strategy’s Success

You’ve created your first ad. You’ve also optimized your ad to get sky-high conversions. Now, finally it’s time to analyze your ad’s performance and tweak it, if needed.

Let’s start…

1. Test With the Different Variations of the Same Ad

Twitter loves fresh tweets and that’s the reason it gives high preference to fresh tweets. You don’t want to continue running your old ads; instead, you want to create new variations and test with them.

Here are some ideas to test your ads:


  • Test changing the headline of your tweet
  • Test changing the call-to-action button copy
  • Try moving the URL to the front or in the center of your tweet
  • Add relevant hashtags to your tweet, to see if it helps
  • Try adding, removing, or changing the image

2. Use UTM Parameters

UTM parameters are simply the tags to measure your online marketing campaigns inside Google Analytics or Kissmetrics.

It helps you analyze and measure your online marketing efforts.

For instance, if you’re offering an eBook and want to track the number of users who visited the landing page from your Twitter ad campaign, then you simply ad this tag to your URL.

Then, you can track every conversion in Kissmetrics. But, it’s quite a headache to create URL every time you create a new ad. For this, you can use Google’s URL Builder, which does a pretty decent job in generating UTM tags for your URL.


3. Analyze, Tweak, Repeat

Finally, it’s time to measure your ad performance.

twitter-ad-dashboard(Image Source)

Pay close attention to your Twitter Ad dashboard, view your engagement rate, clicks, replies and likes.

Make sure to double-check this data with Google Analytics or Kissmetrics (a more robust option). This will help you find the actual number of clicks you’re generating.

With these results, check which campaigns are working and which aren’t. Delete the campaigns that aren’t working and double down on the stuff that’s working.


Twitter ads can be profitable; they can help you generate great ROI. But you must allocate your time to test with the platform.

Remember, Twitter can be misleading (hello, automatic bid) and at times their suggestions won’t work for you. Forget everything that Twitter told you, forget the best practices they told you.

Instead go by this approach, avoid the major pitfalls that Twitter offers and you’ll get incredible ROI from Twitter ads.

About the Author: Aman Thakur shows marketers and bloggers, simple and effective ways to build their mailing list super-fast. Download his exclusive bonus 101 list building strategies to grow your email list. A writer by day and a reader by night, he can be found online tweeting about marketing, or watching Cricket matches.

5 Online Holiday Shopping Trends You’re Not Prepared For (Yet!)

It’s not even November yet and here we are, already talking about holiday shopping trends. Too soon? Not at all. The truth is, the more foresight you can have to prepare for what will be the biggest shopping season, the more you can adapt to customers’ habits and be ready to adjust to meet their needs and exceed their expectations.

Just how big will the 2016 holiday shopping season be? Let’s take a look:

Holiday shopping between November and December is expected to reach nearly $700 billion. Consumer confidence is higher and 41% Of people surveyed plan on spending more on gifts this year than they did last year – a 10 billion increase in total sales from this time last year.

What’s more, the emphasis on traditional shopping days like Black Friday and online-only Cyber Monday are lessening – especially because transactions can happen anywhere at any time thanks to the rise of mobile. So what kinds of trends should you prepare for this year and how can you get started?

1. Before the Shopping Begins: “I Need Some Ideas!”

Shopping for gifts is supposed to be a time of fun, relaxation and entertainment. Instead, as many of us can attest to, it’s nerve-wracking, frustrating and stressful. According to Google’s own research, there are three moments that the customer goes through before they ultimately make a purchase:

  1. The “I Need Some Ideas” moment
  2. The “Which One’s Best” moment and the
  3. “I Want to Buy It” moment.

We’ll get to all of these shortly, but as you might expect, how you handle the first two will ultimately determine whether or not you are rewarded with the last one. Also, depending on your industry, you may see a larger percentage of your target audience heading to YouTube for ideas:

smartphone-buyers-turn-to-youtube(Image Source)

Gift guides are a huge presence online, and around 70% of the time, these kinds of videos are watched on mobile devices. Want to know how big of a presence online gift guide videos are? In the time people spent viewing them on YouTube last holiday season, you could watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” well over 300,000 times.

Google calls these types of searches “micro moments” – essentially “being there” for a customer when, where and how they need you.

2. The Importance of “Micro Moments”

If you think micro moments are simply a customer going through the stages of AttentionInterestDesireAction, you’d be doing a huge disservice to what’s actually involved in the process. Google took a look at one shopper’s behavior to determine precisely how they interacted with various digital touch-points once they decided to do a basic search. Here’s what they found:

shopping-micro-moments-digital-touchpoints(Image Source)

In this case, the shopper was Leena (a pseudonym), a 32 year old married woman from Washington state who looks for discounts and specials online. As you can see from the chart above, in a one month time period she hit over 1,000 digital touch-points. In taking a closer look at her search query, we can focus on a micro-moment. Leena had run out of mascara and was looking for an alternative to her regular brand.

She had narrowed down her decision to two choices. Then, her mobile search went like this:

shopping-moments-journey(Image Source)

So as you can see, even on mobile devices, it’s not a “once and done” process. It’s a lot of back and forth, a lot of different devices, searches and comparisons being made.

3. Shoppers Ask: “How Will I Buy This?”

If you sell tangible goods, you may be worried that the holiday season is all about showrooming – trying on a product in your store, only to actually buy it on Amazon. But the truth is, whether you’re serving customers locally or you’re letting them shop on mobile (or both), the stores that offer the most convenience are the ones that ultimately get the sale. It is, in short, “frictionless shopping” – being there for the customer, right when, where and how they need you.

90-percent-smartphone-users(Image Source)

Contrary to popular belief, most of them don’t even know what particular brand of item they want, which is why you need to be there during those micro-moments to help guide their decision: not in an overly sales-pressuring way, but in a helpful, convenient way. Google’s own micro-moment inspiration guide shows how major brands like Swarovski crystal and catalog retailer Williams Sonoma do just that, by way of their online Style Finder (how to accessorize depending on the occasion) and rich media presentations of products respectively.

select-your-shining-moment-style-finderHelping customers make buying decisions will be key this holiday season and beyond.

Free shipping is the biggest conversion booster we all know about. But “buy it online and pick it up in store” is another big one. Having multiple ways to get the product is great, but having multiple ways to pay for it is even better. Having the ability to not only accept credit cards, but Paypal and mobile pay systems like Android and Apple Pay are going to get you more conversions than sticking to a single system.

4. Consumers Only Want the Best

consumers-want-the-best(Image Source)

When buying online, you can’t (yet) feel, try on or gauge the quality of a product. That’s when shoppers are seeking out reviews and ratings – but even those can be bought. These days, consumers are shopping smarter by looking for the “best” of whatever gift they have in mind. Google reports that shopping queries with “best” have increased 50% in the last year. But simply claiming your product is the best isn’t enough to win people over. Instead, show them.

For example, you could talk about what goes into making it or the features that truly make it stand out from the competition. What ingredients or qualities does it have that competitors tend to “cheap out” on? What makes your version worth their time and attention (and ultimately their wallets) and perhaps more importantly – are those differences the kinds of things that customers actually care about?

5. The Power of Cross-Device Targeting

As you can see from the touchpoint illustration above, there are a lot of back-and-forth choices to be made from mobile to desktop to mobile again. Throw in other items like TVs, gaming consoles, on-demand streaming, tablets and smart watches, and you get what marketers are calling the “multi-screen explosion”. Cookies just aren’t enough to satisfy the hunger to glean info on customers anymore, so ad networks are ramping up their work on letting companies target customers across devices. Call it cross-device or multi-channel or omni-channel – it’s changing the way we’ll be shopping this holiday season.

But make no mistake – consumers are keen on privacy. There’s a delicate balance between being personalized and convenient, and being too “in your face” with the messaging. Smart companies looking to reap the benefits of the holiday shopping season know that the best way to leverage upcoming trends is to hone in on customer behavior and preferences without that creepy stalker vibe.

In short, it means keeping customers (gently) informed, helping to guide them where possible and making things exceedingly convenient while providing the best possible experience as a whole. Sound like a tall order to fill? It is – and being able to juggle it across multiple customers and devices is no small feat. However, you can do wonders with this information by looking beyond the trend and brainstorming ways to turn your own products into the kind of convenient, accessible, relevant and engaging items that people won’t hesitate to buy – for others, as well as themselves.

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!

How to Create Customers for Life with the Perfect Onboarding Sequence (Regardless of Industry)

Paid search is often the biggest driver of new customers.

Largely because people are typing in exactly what they’re looking for.


These aren’t necessarily the most profitable customers you’ve got. Especially not in the beginning.

Your repeat ones are.

‘Retention’ is often associated with ninja-like email growth hacks. But it’s much more than that.

Proper ‘retention’ and onboarding starts the minute someone sets foot on your site, and their interaction can influence the rest of their experience over the next few hours, days, or weeks.

Here’s how.

How “Loyalty Economics” Works

Everyone says that repeat customers are more profitable than new ones.

Supposedly some book, Marketing Metrics, says that repeat customers have a 60-70% chance of converting.

At least, that’s what every blog post says when you Google ‘repeat customer vs. new customer’ (I personally haven’t read it).

But what about a real study?

Waaaaaaay back in 1990, while most startup founders were still in diapers, Bain & Company partnered with Harvard Business School (ever heard of ’em?) to analyze the, “costs and revenues derived from serving customers over their entire purchasing life cycle”.

When you translate that from Academia to English, you get, “how much repeat customers are worth vs. new ones”.

Originally published in a F-ing paper magazine, the study was groundbreaking in that it finally declared that “increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%”.

Basically it showed, empirically, that new customers are often unprofitable for the first few years based on high costs of acquisition (both hard and soft), and it’s only later with repeat ones do they become profitable.

A decade later (so we’re still talking back in 2000 at this point), Harvard revisited the study to now include online purchases. Not only did those same ‘loyalty economics’ patterns show up, but the differences were also “greatly exaggerated online”.

For example, companies only online (as opposed to both online and brick and mortar) usually had to spend 20-40% more on new customer acquisition.

customer-life-cycle-economics-in-ecommerce(Image Source)

These studies gave widespread notoriety to ‘retention marketing’, as a theory, and in practice, that shows up almost everywhere online today.

And it’s important to note that we aren’t just some trendy, hipster, mobile SaaS apps either. But all industries.

For example, online grocers typically had to retain customers for 18 months to break-even after a $80 customer acquisition cost.

spending-growth-impact-bain(Image Source)

Bain looked at many different retailers, from consumer electronics to apparel and appliances, finding the same exact patterns pop up.

Not only were repeat customers worth more than new ones, but that repeat ones also were more likely to refer you to new customers (thereby dragging down your cost of acquisition on those new people as well).

referral-impact-bain(Image Source)

Former eBay CEO, Meg Whitman, said at the time that, “more than half of its customers are referrals”. And that because word of mouth was so much, they “spent less than $10 to acquire a customer”.

Fast forward to today, and the same exact trends emerge.

Adobe found that repeat customers are 9x more likely to convert (compared to new customers who haven’t purchase prior).

And Sweet Tooth Rewards found that repeat customers have a 54% chance of purchasing again (compared with a 27% chance of new customers).

Or, ask Amazon.

Prime members will spend $75 billion this year alone.

On average each year, they spend about $1,200 compared with around $500 for non-Prime members.

growth-of-prime-membership-in-united-states(Image Source)

Now that we’ve beat the issue to death, here’s the rub:

If repeat customers are worth more, less price sensitive, and more often to refer than new customers…

… Why do we spend 12% of marketing budgets on retention?

(And probably less of our attention?)

1. Define Success Milestones

Before Dave McClure was an uber-accelerator extraordinaire, he wrote incredibly insightful, humorlessly punctuated and often NSFW blog posts.

One of these clever, punchy posts quickly morphed into startup metrics; becoming a simple analytical framework alternative to the ever-increasing complex dashboards found in most startups today.

The premise was simple: pick a few key metrics for each funnel stage to illustrate when it’s been met.

One specifically, Activation, focused on making sure people had a “happy-first experience” that’s required before any retention could happen.

Get ready to literally travel back in time, as this next image is embedded directly from Flickr.

Startup Metrics: Example Conversion Dashboard (AARRR!)//

“Activation” is similar to “customer centric success milestones” from Lincoln Murphy, in that you’re shooting for a few key moments when things to start to click for a customer.

For example, in a recent blog post, Lincoln uses an example someone starting an online store and defines a few of the possibilities, such as:

  1. Creating the store
  2. Adding logo, designs, etc.
  3. Setting up a payment gateway
  4. Creating new products.
  5. … You get the picture.

The idea is to identify (and eventually instrument) key activities on your site or inside your app that will later be used for forces of good (like follow up), but for now can be signs of success (or problems) that either help (or hurt) people’s customer experience (and thus, your conversions).

For example, the other day I was looking for a hotel. They had a nice suite, and I clicked on ‘show room amenities’ to see exactly what it looked like.

Instead of, oh – I dunno, pictures, video, or diagrams, I was met with this:


A huge wall of text, featuring an overwhelming amount of bullet points that does nothing to (a) communicate their value, but more importantly (b) help a potential customer achieve that ‘happy first experience’ of View Rooms –> Decide to Search Dates.

Those little micro-interactions are critical, because it mimics our unconscious browsing behavior that leads us to say, “Yes! Tell me more…” vs. “Eh, let’s keep looking”.

Design, and more specifically UX, is supposed to guide those interactions; giving customers what they want most while also steering them towards your ultimate business objectives.

For example, if you were to hit the back button (don’t do it now!) or go back to the Kissmetrics product pages, you’ll notice the ‘next steps’ for customers are clearly highlighted, with primary actions featured visually while secondary ones are more subtle.


Providing clear paths through your site (or app) is the first step towards getting a customer generated, or a free trial to become sticky – prior to any retention taking place. And you do that by not making people think.

You can even instrument these ‘customer success milestones’ in your funnel, giving a more nuanced view of actionable steps that you can make better marketing decisions around (like, “Hey – why are all those people dropping off between Cart –> Order?!”)

For example, here’s how a typical eCommerce funnel can be set up, where people visit the site, view products, add to cart, start the checkout process, and eventually place order.


SaaS apps, while different, aren’t really all that different at all. You still have people coming to a site, doing some initial browsing of key pages, signing up for a free trial, actually using the product for a bit before entering their billing info and hitting Upgrade if all looks good.


Now that you’ve got the major steps or milestones outlined, you can begin to dig into the details to uncover gaps inside or out of your product.

2. Map Your Customer Lifecycle

It’s slightly depressing to think that around half of your free trial users will sign up, use it one time, and then never come back again – dropping your app fast like the worst of one night stands.

And while these ‘onboarding’ techniques (or statistics in this case) are often associated with SaaS products, it’s important to realize that it’s no different for how people starting shopping on an eComm site, only to bounce (like 67% of them). Or start punching in their travel dates for a hotel, without ever completing the booking (81% of them).

(It’s also important to note that you can’t do some of the ‘classic onboarding’ stuff like event-based messaging – which we’ll discuss in the third part below – until these first two are sorted out.)

The only saving grace is that you can increase conversions without A/B testing by making changes to how people look for, find, and complete these ‘milestones’ you’ve just identified.

One simple method is to identify friction points as people attempt to navigate the treachery (that is your sitemap) and hit each milestone.

For example, friction points can be at the very start of a customer interaction, when they’re simply trying to find a product to add to cart.


But they’re more commonly in the middle of an interaction, when they’re trying to find specific things but your site is making it impossible.

For example, below is a basic Heatmap analysis showing a service-based site’s portfolio of work.


Notice something missing?

The freaking clicks! It’s a virtual ghost town, with basically ZERO focused clicks and page interactions.

There is a hover animation (that you obviously can’t pick up on an analysis like this), but for whatever reason it’s not doing its job in getting people to click and view the portfolio examples (which is a critical step to them hitting the Contact Us button and reaching out).

Again – these principles apply inside an app as well as outside on the marketing site.

For example: Toggl. Awesome product. Insanely simple time tracking. Even the least technical people enjoy it.

Until, that is, when you’re about to log time against a new project and you need to setup a new client.


And you see… nothing? You can create a project here, but no Client (even though the label tells you to Add a Client).

(This also reminds me of Google Hangouts. Which you can tell was built by engineers. Because while using the product is great, starting one is another nightmare entirely.)

A path report comes in handy here, allowing you to dig deeper into the customer journey and pinpoint where some problem areas exist.

Segmenting your converters vs. non-converters, and then analyzing differences in their path or journey, is one way to surface these issues.


As an added bonus, path reports can also give you better attribution metrics because they’ll pick up all the stuff that happens during (not just before and after) a complete customer journey. You can track this stuff back to which (and how) your marketing channels (and thus, budget + resources) influence each step.


3. Event-Based Messaging

Now, it’s time for the good stuff.

The drip email campaigns to new trial-ers. The shopping cart abandonment. The in-app notifications. Heck, even the picking up the phone!

The key distinction here though, is that your outbound messaging and communication should now be tied to the milestones and path events you just identified (as opposed to static, time-based autoresponders.)

For example, Audible recently emailed me this promotion.

The design is fine (although image-heavy). The offer is good. And the Cialdini-esque urgency is great!


The key here is segmentation. The fine print says I’m receiving this because I have unused credits in my account (as of a certain date).

Unused credits = not using the product.

Not using the product = about to churn.

So they’re proactively targeting based on events to inspire (or dictate) action they want taken.

(Don’t worry Audible – got some travel coming up that will take care of those credits.)

Good email workflows can deliver similar results, spinning off new sequences of communication based on actions an individual might take on your website (or even another channel).

For example, many subscribers and leads often go dormant (see the stats at the beginning of the last section). So you can ‘win them back’ by getting a little extra details about what they’re into or looking for, and then tailoring your own messaging accordingly.

Below, I’m trying to pull out all people who’re implicitly answering this question by clicking on a specific ‘website’ link (as opposed to another topic that was provided, like marketing automation).


Now you have the trigger, which should kick off or refine the next communication they see.

Let’s say someone’s on-site (or in-app) and not moving. They got distracted and went somewhere else for a few minutes (physically, or a new browser tab). But you don’t want them to bounce.

As the stats show, there’s a good chance they’re bouncing and not coming back to (1) complete the purchase, (2) modify their account in your app, (3) leave a booking process, or (4) don’t fill out your long service-based opt-in.

The first step is to identify the trigger, or the idleness in this case, based mostly on time (in seconds or minutes).

You can then throw up a lightbox message to catch their attention, provide a recommendation, offer a promotion or incentive, etc.


You can also customize the location of the message they’re seeing based on importance or priority as well. So while a complete lightbox might be appropriate for an almost bouncing visitor, a simple bumper in the lower right hand side or basic notification might be enough for loyal people already working diligently inside your app.



Research studies conducted over several decades all show that repeat customers are the most profitable and most likely to refer you someone new.

Brand new customers on the other hand, are also shown to be unprofitable for a period of time because of their high costs of acquisition.

All that, and yet we still dedicate so little time and money behind retention strategies as opposed to new acquisition.

This problem is pervasive in most industries – not just SaaS – where online buyer’s typically hit website bottlenecks while trying to give you money.

Until these friction points and paths are smoothed out, it’s impossible to start running sophisticated retention strategies.

Because the most effective communication or messaging strategies are heavily reliant on specific actions people just did (or didn’t take) – and not some arbitrary method like time.

The tactics are the easy part. Where to place a link or what pop-up style to use. It’s just a Google away.

The hard part, is figuring out what to Google in the first place. And that comes back to your customer’s (not your) milestones.

About the Author: Brad Smith is a founding partner at Codeless Interactive, a digital agency specializing in creating personalized customer experiences. Brad’s blog also features more marketing thoughts, opinions and the occasional insight.

12 Tips for Making a More Engaging Video for Facebook Live

As a marketer, you know how important it is to create a connection with your audience.

It’s essential for slashing through the barriers that divide us, for establishing a unique brand identity, and for building trust.

There have been times I’ve been successful in doing so. But at other times, I’ve fallen flat.

It’s getting easier than ever to create a unique connection because we now have the technological tools to do so.

One of the best tools enabling you to do this is Facebook Live, which “lets people, public figures and Pages share live video with their followers and friends on Facebook.”

The concept is simple. You record a live video your audience can watch in real time and respond to by commenting.

Facebook Live provides the perfect framework for connecting, and its personable nature is ideal for facilitating interaction.

In fact, initial data has found that people comment over 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos.

But how can you ensure your videos are engaging?

Here are some tips that should point you in the right direction.

1. Consider investing in some equipment

First things first. You really want to strive for quality with your videos.

You want to look like a professional.

Any sign of amateurism can drive a wedge between you and your audience.

That’s why I recommend buying some basic equipment to enhance your quality.

This doesn’t need to be anything over the top, but a simple tripod can help stabilize your videos so they don’t look shaky.

You can usually find a decent tripod for as little as $10, so this shouldn’t break the bank.


Or if you’re recording from a location where a tripod isn’t viable, you can always use a selfie stick to serve as a stabilizer.

2. Experiment with lighting

Lighting is important for producing a good video because it can impact its overall quality in a big way.

If you’re filming outdoors, this shouldn’t be a problem as long as it’s reasonably sunny.

But if you’re filming indoors, you’ll want to try out different lighting options to see what looks the best.

Generally speaking, the more lighting, the better.

If you’re in a room with dim lighting, you may want to bring in an extra lamp so that you’re more visible.


3. Test the process before going live

Let’s be honest. You’ll probably run into a few glitches when first starting out.

It can also be a little nerve-racking when you start broadcasting yourself to a large number of your followers.

That’s why I recommend testing everything beforehand and getting comfortable with the idea of being in front of the camera.

You can do this by switching the privacy setting to “Only Me,” which can be found by clicking on “More” and scrolling to the bottom.


Record a couple of test videos until you’re familiar with the nuts and bolts of the way things work.

This way everything should go relatively smoothly, and you’ll be less likely to freeze up once you’re live in front of an audience.

4. Make sure you’ve got a solid connection

You definitely don’t want a weak connection when recording a video.

According to Facebook, “WiFi tends to work best, but if you can’t find a nearby network, you’ll want a 4G connection.”

This shouldn’t be an issue if you’re indoors. But if you’re in a fairly remote outdoor location, it most definitely can be.

If you’ve got anything less than 4G, you’re probably better off choosing a different location.


If you see that the “Go Live” button is grayed out, you have a weak signal.

5. Create an outline

From my experience, it’s best to have a basic game plan when using Facebook Live.

You don’t want to jump in without knowing what you’ll be talking about.

Of course, you’ll want to ad lib to some extent, but I recommend having at least three or four main points to cover.

You’ll also want to address each point in a logical, sequential order so that your audience doesn’t get confused.

6. Leave some room for spontaneity

At the same time, you don’t want your outline to be so rigid that there’s no wiggle room.

Because your video is in real time, you never fully know what’s going to come your way.

An interesting idea may pop into your head, or a viewer might ask a question that steers your video in a slightly different direction.

This is why I suggest trying to achieve a nice balance between an outline and spontaneity to ensure things stay on track but don’t become boring.

7. Provide context

Before you jump into all the gory details of your broadcast, it’s important you briefly explain to your viewers what’s going on.

You’ll want to introduce yourself, identify where you’re at if you’re out in the field, and provide a basic rundown of what you’ll be talking about.

This will inform your viewers about what’s happening and will provide some essential context.

8. Recap what’s going on


Another thing you need to keep in mind is that viewers will tune in at different times.

Here’s what I mean.

At the beginning of a video, you may have only 10 viewers. But at five minutes in, you may have 100.

At 10 minutes in, you may have 250 and so on.

In order to keep everyone in the loop, you’ll want to periodically restate who you are and what’s happening.

This is why it’s smart to recap the details from time to time. I’ve found that the following intervals tend to work well.

  • Two to three minutes in
  • 10 minutes in
  • 25 minutes in

Just make sure you keep your recaps brief because this can be annoying to viewers who have been watching from the start.

9. Be yourself

This little snippet of advice is quite possibly the most cliché thing ever.

But nonetheless, you’ll want your tone and verbal delivery to be hyper-authentic and match your brand identity.

Most people can spot phoniness a mile away, so I discourage you from trying to be something you’re not.

If you’re polite, courteous, and friendly by nature, keep your video content in line with this.

Or if you’re a little cynical and snarky, that’s fine too. Just keep it real, and let your personality shine through.

The bottom line is that you should make your videos match your brand.

10. Be relaxed

Okay, this is easier said than done.

It’s common to get a case of the jitters and be a little unnerved by the whole prospect of being broadcast live to potentially hundreds, or even thousands, of viewers.

But it’s important to get yourself in the right headspace when recording.

Although it’s normal to be a little nervous, especially if you’re new to Facebook Live, you’ll want to remain as calm as possible.

This should help you be more fluid with your delivery and make your content more interesting.

11. React to viewer comments

One of the easiest and most effective ways to crank up the engagement level is to simply respond to what your viewers are saying.

During a video, viewers can leave their comments and ask questions. Be sure to spend part of the time reacting. This is key to making the process as intimate and organic as possible.

I even recommend addressing some of your viewers by name because this really gets them in on the action.

And because people have a natural affinity for hearing their own names, it’ll give you some brownie points that can pay off in the long run.

If you know you’ll be so preoccupied with recording a video that you won’t have the time to respond to comments (this can be really difficult when comments come in fast), I suggest having a partner who is also logged into to the primary account.

They can be responsible for answering comments and can help facilitate the overall process.


12. Stay live for longer to extend your reach

Want to reach as many viewers as possible and maximize the engagement level?

Stay live for longer.

Facebook recommends you stay live for at least 10 minutes per video, but you can go for as long as 90 minutes.

Think about it. The longer you stay live, the better your chances of reaching a larger audience will be.

While 90 minutes may be overkill when you’re first getting the hang of Facebook Live, somewhere between 15 to 30 minutes can be the right formula.

Once you’re more familiar and comfortable with the process, you can go live for longer and longer.


Facebook Live is no doubt a powerful medium for bridging the gap between you and your audience.

If you use it correctly, you can create incredibly engaging content that “pops” and allows you to connect in a personal, intimate way.

This form of two-way communication can be just the ticket for tightening your relationship with your audience and for taking your brand to the next level.

What has your experience been like with Facebook Live?

A Quick Guide to Data-Based Display Advertising

Here’s a fun fact: In any given web session, your audience is more likely to have a heart attack than click on your banner ad.

Okay, so maybe that’s not so much a fun fact as it is a scary fact, but either way the fact is that most display ads have truly awful clickthrough rates.

The question is, why? Are your ads just unclickably ugly? Do you have the wrong CTAs? Is it just plain banner blindness?

While all of these elements could be contributing to a low clickthrough rate, often display ads struggle because they are simply showing up in front of the wrong audience.

Take this ad, for example:


Decent ad…terrifyingly bad placement.

However, with a little extra effort, your results can be better than this (admittedly, it’s not a very high bar). It’ll take a bit of work and research, but it will get your ads in front of more of the right people.

To improve the performance of your display ads, though, we’ll need to take a look at your analytics data. So, pull up your analytics platform and let’s get started!

Improving Your Topic/Interest Targeting

Topic/interest targeting is a very easy way to get your ads displayed on a ton of websites. However, if you don’t pick your topics carefully, your ads can easily end up in front of an irrelevant audience.

Imagine you’re marketing for a company like Slack, Salesforce or Moz. You’d probably choose a topic that your target audience is likely to be interested in, like “Business & Industrial > Advertising & Marketing > Marketing.”

Seems like a reasonable topic, right?

The only problem is, what your display network defines as a “Business & Industrial > Advertising & Marketing > Marketing” website may not be what you expect.

For example, is one of the websites under this topic:


Now, I have nothing against GetJar, but if you’re marketing customer relationship management (CRM) software, your ideal audience probably doesn’t consist of people who want to hack Instagram accounts…

I’ll admit that I’ve been researching CRMs, so there’s a chance that Salesforce’s ad showed up because they were using an in-market audience to target people in a CRM purchasing pattern. However, even if this is the case, if I was on GetJar because I wanted to play “Toca Life Town perfect,” I’m not very likely to click on an ad for “The Complete Guide to Lead Nurturing.”

Sure, maybe I might click on an ad for “The Complete Guide to ‘Toca Life Town’ Nurturing”, but “The Complete Guide to Lead Nurturing”? Not so much.

Do you see the problem here? While topic/interest targeting can get you on a lot of supposedly relevant sites, the actual relevance of those sites to your company or ad is often very low.

The good news is, there’s an easy fix for problems like this.

Since most people use the Google Display Network, I’ll use the GDN for my examples, though the same principles apply to most display advertising platforms.

To begin, you need to figure out where exactly your ads are displaying. You can do this by opening AdWords, picking a reasonable time frame (like 6-12 weeks) and then selecting the campaign you’re interested in and clicking Display Network.

From there, click “Placements” and you can see where your ads are being displayed:


Just so you know, if you’ve already chosen certain specific sites that you want your ads displayed on, there will be a “Managed” status on those placements. Websites chosen by Google (from your targeting setting) have their status set as “Automatic”.

Once you’re here, sort by impressions or costs. Check the conversion rates of the traffic on the top websites you have listed and if you see a poor conversion rate, take a look at that website to see if it’s on that’s applicable to your business. If it doesn’t match your advertising goals, click on “Edit” and then exclude that site.

On the other hand, if you find a site with a great clickthrough or conversion rate, click on “+ Targeting” and add it to your list of managed placements. Yes, I know that sorting through and cleaning up your placements can take some extra time and effort, but it will greatly improve the effectiveness of your display ads.

Fixing Up Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting takes a very different approach to display ad targeting. Instead of using topics or interests to identify the websites you want your ads on, with contextual targeting you create keyword lists that Google uses to identify relevant sites.

Of course, whether or not this approach is a good idea for your company depends wholly on your marketing goals and the keywords you choose.

In a lot of ways, picking the right keywords for contextual targeting is a lot like picking the right keywords for paid search advertising: you need to know what keywords and phrases your target audience searches for online. So, if you’re running a paid search campaign, some of your best data can be found in your search terms report.

You’ll be able to find this information by using a relevant time frame (of about 6-12 weeks) and clicking on the tab labeled “Keywords.” From there, click on “Search Terms”:


Sort this list by conversions, clicks or impressions to see which search queries bring in the best traffic.

Generally, most accounts will have groups of 5-10 search terms or keywords that are thematically similar and drive great results. Identify those search terms are build your contextual targeting keyword lists around those themes.

It will take Google about a month or two to find the best sites for you. Once that’s up and running, you can look through your placements list and see which sites are most worthwhile (like we did in the last section). Or, if you’re already running contextually targeted ads, you may want to look at your current placements and search terms list to make sure that you are currently targeting the right keywords in your display campaigns.

Again, this approach isn’t quite as easy as simply writing down all the possibly relevant keywords you can think of and using that list to target your display ads, but the results will be much better.

Refinining Demographic Targeting

Demographic targeting is one of the simplest display ad targeting methods to use, but it’s also one of the least effectively employed ways to improve your display advertising’s performance.

The majority of advertisers forget that they have demographic data they can use to help measure the performance of their ads. You can tell you have a problem with your targeting if your target audience is men over 50 but all of your ads are showing up for women under 30.

Sadly, this sort of problem is far more common than you might think.

To see if your demographic targeting makes sense, open up Google Analytics and select “Audience.” From there, expand the Demographics submenu and choose “Overview.”

Finally, change your segment to “Converters” and you’ll see a screen like this:


Looking at the results in this GIF, you can clearly see that this client shouldn’t be targeting display ads to people who are older than 44 or younger than 25. There are no real conversions coming from that audience.

By the way, this approach only works if you’re tracking conversions, so if you don’t have conversion tracking set up…change that now. However, even in this situation, you can still get some fantastic demographic information for target demographic insight from the AdWords Report Editor (assuming that you get a lot of high-quality traffic through paid search):


You can see here that this client gets about 3x more clicks from men than than they get from women. With that in mind, would it make sense to run a campaign that targets primarily women? Probably not.

Once you know the demographics of your audience, it’s time to compare those demographics to the demographics of your display advertising audience. Just open AdWords and click your chosen campaign, then choose “Display Network”. From there, choose the Demographics tab:


You can find insights on the gender, age and even the parental status of the people who convert from, click on or even just see your ads, courtesy of Google.

In this case, we’re looking at display ad demographic data for the same client as we saw in the other two screenshots. Comparing that data, it looks like their display ads are being shown to 3.4x more men than women, which matches the click demographics of the search ads they have set. That’s probably a good thing.

However, a significant portion of their impressions come from people over 44 and under 25. That’s a potential problem since that demographic doesn’t seem to convert on the client’s site. Limiting this client’s demographic targeting to people between 25 and 44 could significantly improve their ad performance.

Unlike the last two tactics, this approach is very easy to implement, so take a look at your demographic data and figure out where your best value comes from!


With the right targeting, you can get your display ads in front of the right audience. That can be great for building brand awareness and driving relevant clicks and conversions.

Or, your ads could be showing up in situations like this:


However, by using your analytics data, you can put together a good advertising strategy that can get your display ads to the right audience and boost the odds that your display ads will get clicked.

You’ve heard my two cents, now I want to hear yours.

How do you improve display ad performance? Have you ever seen any heart attack-inducing display ad fails like these?

About the Author: Jacob Baadsgaard is the CEO and fearless leader of Disruptive Advertising, an online marketing agency dedicated to using PPC advertising and website optimization to drive sales. His face is as big as his heart and he loves to help businesses achieve their online potential. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

A Thirty-Day Plan for Gaining 100 Authoritative and Relevant Backlinks to Your New Website

30 day

Link building. It’s the backbone of SEO.

The way we build links has changed quite a lot over the past decade, but links themselves are no less valuable.

Like me, you may remember the early days of online marketing, when generating backlinks to a website was as simple as requesting links from link farms and other sketchy sources.

Google put a stop to that, so generating backlinks for a brand-new website is a bit trickier these days.

That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, though. The sooner your site has a decent number of backlinks from authoritative, high-quality websites, the sooner its performance on the major search engines will improve.

Although this is largely a waiting game, there are things you can do right now to generate first-rate backlinks to your new site.

Follow the advice here, and you can easily generate upwards of 100 authoritative and relevant backlinks to your new site in just 30 days. 

Forget the old way of doing things

First, don’t even think about employing black-hat techniques to generate backlinks to your site. Google’s algorithms are far too savvy to be fooled, so such efforts are bound to backfire.

As frustrating as it may be, quality trumps quantity every time when it comes to building a top-notch link profile.

Link building has long been the most volatile field in SEO. There has been much misinformation and rancor over the best way to build links, how quickly to build links, which links to build, and even whether or not to attempt link building at all.

Google’s algorithm changes are less frequent and impactful than they once were. However, we’re still discussing algorithm changes around the subject of links.

The latest of these was the September 2016 update to the Penguin algorithm:


The most substantial change of the algorithm was that “Penguin doesn’t penalize for bad links.” The conversation among the SEOs suggested as much:


What does this mean for link building?

Link building today: What matters most

First, don’t be afraid of link building. No, you shouldn’t be pulling any old-school link wheels, but neither should you be afraid of creating and unleashing a link-building strategy.

Unlike in the past, when a link was a link was a link, effective backlinks today share a few key characteristics.

First, they occur naturally. Rather than being compelled to add a link to your site for whatever reason, website owners link to yours because your content is too terrific to pass up on.

Effective backlinks come from authority sites relevant to yours. I’ll delve more deeply into what constitutes an authority site later, but suffice it to say that your links shouldn’t come from just anyone.

As for relevance, a hundred links from sites that have nothing to do with yours pale in comparison with a single link from a highly relevant site.

What constitutes an authority site?

Authority sites usually share the following traits:

  • They’re credible
  • They enjoy a high ranking on major search engines such as Google
  • They receive huge amounts of traffic and lots of shares on social media
  • They’re influential

Additionally, they lack the characteristics of a bad website, which include blatant keyword stuffing, high link-to-content ratios, excessive numbers of ads, and low-quality content and website design in general.

How to find relevant authority sites

The first step in your 30-day plan is to identify authority websites relevant to yours.

You can easily use Google for this. Use search operators to zero in on suitable sites more quickly. For example, use, .edu, or .org to limit your search to such sites.

Search for the keyword of your choice to find sites that rank highly for it, and go from there.

Another option is to use the Moz SEO toolbar, which is offered as a free extension for Firefox and Chrome.

It displays useful metrics and information about the site you are currently visiting, including its page authority, domain authority, links, and a general analysis of the page itself.

What to offer

Okay…so far, so good.

Here’s the rub, though: You can’t approach these authority sites without offering anything in return.

Since your website is brand new, what can you possibly offer?

I hate to break it to you, but you should ideally build up a decent content library before attempting to solicit backlinks from authority sites.

Luckily, the content doesn’t have to rank well. It just has to be top-tier in terms of the quality of the information it provides.

Prior to launching your site, devote a few weeks to developing a small arsenal of content. When the time comes to work on your link-building strategy, you’ll have stuff to offer other website owners.

After all, why would they link back to you if you have nothing for them to link to in the first place?

Making contact

When it comes to approaching website owners for backlinks, you already know what to do. Navigate the site in question to track down contact information.

If you can’t snag an email address, use a contact form.

Don’t be blatantly promotional. In fact, you might even hold off broaching the subject until you’ve had a few exchanges.

Flattery will get you somewhere, so try breaking the ice by complimenting the site owner on a piece of content.

Later, show them some of your stuff, and suggest swapping links.

10 tips for getting quality authoritative backlinks to your site this month

Okay, now that you got the gist of tracking down and soliciting relevant authoritative sites for backlinks, it’s time to get down to brass tacks regarding effective link-building strategies.

I have all sorts of tricks up my sleeve, and I’m sharing the very best ones right here.

1. Blog – A LOT

According to HubSpot, companies that blog on a consistent basis have up to 97% more backlinks than those that don’t. From day one, commit yourself to posting new posts consistently.

Quality still counts, though; so, create a schedule that allows you to post regularly while offering readers real value.

2. Offer free resources

You’ve got something to offer free, right?


Like you, other website owners are always looking for useful, credible sources of information. There’s no reason why you can’t provide it.

Create a library of white papers, e-books, and other pieces of content that provide detailed, useful, and well-researched information.

Offer these resources free, but make one small request: credit in the form of a link back to your website.

Alternatively, offer the content free as long as it’s directly linked to from your site.

3. Become a PR whiz

When they’re done properly, press releases can effectively plant seeds for new backlinks to your site.

By “properly,” I mean that they provide newsworthy information and that they include a non-promotional link back to your site.

Reserve press releases for truly newsworthy events.

You should have plenty to go on with a new site since so many things are in the hopper.

4. Create and share infographics

Breaking up text with high-quality images is smart.

Not surprisingly, there’s a strong demand for top-notch images online, and infographics are especially popular. Build a library of infographics that relate to your industry or niche.

Whenever possible, create an infographic for an important trending topic that affects your industry or business. Readers love to share newsworthy graphics and use them as a form of social currency on social media.



Sprinkle in a bit of SEO to ensure your infographics are easily found through the search engines.

People will want to share and use your infographics. When they do, organic, high-quality backlinks to your site will ensue.

5. Develop charts and tables

Humans are visual by nature, so charts, tables, and other visual representations of data tend to go over very well.

Load your site with tables and charts pertaining to your niche to plant the seeds for more backlinks.

You don’t have to be a data scientist to make this happen. Find reliable sources of information, and put their data into graph or table form.

Use a site such as to quickly and easily create eye-catching charts and graphs others will gladly link to.

6. Build an image library

Website owners are always looking for images in general-especially if they are offered free.

Make sure the images are of high quality. If you don’t possess the skills to take excellent photos yourself, you need to be willing to hire someone who does.

Post each image on its own page. Include a detailed description, and use SEO best practices to increase the odds of it ranking well in Google Image Search.

Include a form for quickly grabbing the file and link code to ensure you get your links.

7. Repurpose effective content

A quick note: never, ever copy content from the Internet.

I’m not just saying this because plagiarism is wrong; I’m saying it because Google will penalize you so hard that your site may never recover.

That being said, there is nothing wrong with identifying useful pieces of high-ranking content from other sites and repurposing them to suit your needs. But make them truly your own by optimizing them to be relevant to your website.

And don’t just repurpose text-based content as text-based content.

Take a text-based piece and turn it into an e-book, an infographic, a video, or some other form of media.

8. Fill a gap

Yes, the Internet is jam-packed with content.

Chances are, much of what needs to be said regarding your niche or industry has been said. Still, others have surely overlooked important topics. Identify those gaps, and fill them with high-quality content of your own.

Similarly, look for gaps in the types of available content. For example, perhaps there’s an overload of posts and articles about a subject but no in-depth pieces or e-books.

Be the first to provide them, and you will reap all kinds of great link karma.

9. Interview influencers

Seek out influencers within your niche, and create a roundup post.

Such a post essentially includes several links to several different influencers while covering a specific subject.

A great way to round out this type of content is by interviewing the influencers in question. After finding key influencers, follow them on social media. Interact with them to establish a relationship, and then approach them about interviewing them.

Even very busy influencers can usually take time to answer a question or two via Twitter or another social media site, so this is a worthwhile option to consider.

10. Scope out the competition

What kinds of backlinks do your competitors have?

Chances are, you could benefit from receiving links from similar sources too. Do a little sleuthing to discover who’s giving them link love.

Use a site like to track down your top competitors based on relevant keywords. Next, input each competitor’s URL into a site like

You’ll get a list of links to your competitors’ sites, and you can follow them to see where you might want to concentrate your efforts.

11. Try broken link building

This technique is especially valuable for new websites.

Put simply, you seek out broken links on relevant websites and approach site owners with replacement content they can link to instead.

Since 404 pages can negatively impact a site’s ranking, website owners usually appreciate being alerted to the issue. Use something like the iWebTool Broken Link Checker to search a specific URL for dead links.

Contact the owner, but make sure you have something for them to link to instead.

12. Make useful comments

In the old days, conventional wisdom said to post links back to your site in comments sections to boost your link profile.

These days, that comes across as spam, so you need to take a subtler approach.

You need to keep up on industry news anyway, so get into the habit of regularly reading relevant blogs and websites. When you have a useful comment to contribute, do so.

When someone comments on your site, acknowledge the comment!


Chances are, they’ll remember the gesture and reciprocate in the future. Even if they don’t, it’s good karma.

13. Write guest posts

As you already know, generating enough content for a business isn’t easy.

Site owners are often happy to be offered free content for their sites, and you can do so by offering to create guest posts and articles for them.

Get to know a website or blog before approaching the owner. Make sure your content complements theirs. Have a unique angle or insight to offer, and then make your pitch.

One more thing: reciprocate by offering to let them guest-post on your site too.

14. Solicit backlinks in person

If it’s feasible, attend trade shows and other events within your niche to meet influencers in person. Face-to-face interactions go a long way.

When interacting with an influencer in person, make sure you know who they are and why you want a link from them. If the opportunity presents itself, ask about getting a link.

At the very least, you can forge a new connection that could pay off well in the future.

15. Harness the power of social media

Your site is new, so your social media game has to be strong.

Whenever you create new content, promote it across all social media channels. Even if each post generates only a few shares, the odds of backlinks being generated increase.

Later, don’t be afraid to promote old content on social media again. You may have new followers now, so it certainly doesn’t hurt.


The trick to getting backlinks from the tips provided above is putting them to work right away.

Again, before doing anything else, get a decent stockpile of quality content.

If necessary, pay good money for it. It will be worth it in the long run.

Which of the suggestions above are you likely to try first?

Why Your Unique Value Proposition Isn’t as Important as You Think It Is (and What Matters More)

A hot prospect has demoed your software or product, and now you’ve got Sales talking with the decision-makers about an enterprise solution that will be your biggest yet. You find out they’ve narrowed down their decision to you and two of your competitors. This should be a slam dunk-you just spent the last three months doing market research and sharpening your Unique Value Proposition (UVP), and you know your team now clearly communicates the unique value you provide.

But the sales process drags out weeks and months. . . and the prospect is asking for discounts and extra customization at no additional charge. You’re crunching the numbers, trying to figure out how to keep the deal alive and asking yourself why you’re stuck competing on price again. And then you find out the prospect chose a competitor.

What went wrong? Your UVP was strong. Your sales team was at the top of their game. What happened?

As it turns out, UVP isn’t as important as we think it is. CEB research surveyed 3,000 B2B buyers across 36 brands and 7 industries and revealed that only 14% of buyers perceive enough meaningful difference between brands’ business value to be willing to pay extra for that difference. Unless you’re selling something truly revolutionary-solving a problem that has not yet been solved in any way, shape, or form-your UVP is pretty much the same as your best competitors’ UVPs. Although there are subtle differences, your prospects are saying they’re not willing to pay for them. So you end up competing on price.

difference-between-supplies-enough-to-payOnly 14% of buyers saw enough difference between suppliers to be willing to pay a higher price for it. (Image Source)

What’s the solution? It’s not that UVP doesn’t matter at all. B2B buyers demand ROI-you have to deliver at least as much business value as your competitors do, in order to get into the consideration set. So all the work you put into developing your UVP isn’t wasted.

Personal Value Beats Business Value

But while nearly all B2B companies focus on business value and treat B2B buying as a rational decision process, the reality is that people are making these buying decisions-people who have emotions and who are concerned about things like getting a promotion, being respected by their peers, and not making mistakes. They fear risk. They want admiration. They are driven by the desire to be successful.

According to CEB’s research, over 90% of the B2B buyers surveyed would either put off the purchase indefinitely or would buy from the lowest-price supplier in their consideration set. If you’re going to consistently win deals profitably, you need to address personal value at least as much as you address business value.

buyers-who-see-personal-value-versus-those-that-dontBuyers were much more likely to purchase from the supplier that demonstrated personal value. (Image Source)

There are two sides to personal value-a positive and a negative. If you tackle both in your marketing and sales materials, you’ll build a strong case that will motivate buyers. Let’s look at each of these in detail.

Address Personal Benefits

The positive side of the personal value coin is personal benefits-how your product or service benefits your prospects personally. While every individual will have his or her own goals and desires, you’ll want to identify two or three that are shared by most of your prospects so you can focus on these in your marketing. (If you break out different market segments or personas and market separately to each, you have the freedom to get more specific with the personal benefits you highlight.)

To identify the personal benefits that will resonate with your prospects, you’ll need to do a bit of research. The easiest way to learn this info is to set up brief phone interviews with current clients or prospects who fit your ideal client profile. Here are a few questions you can ask that will give you insight.

  • What is important to you as a [title or role]?
  • What are you currently working toward? (A promotion? A role change? You’re looking for what motivates them.)
  • What are your one-year goals?
  • Where do you see yourself in two years?

Once you’ve completed your interviews, look over the words and phrases that your interviewees used to describe what matters to them. What words and phrases were used the most? These are the ones that you’ll want to incorporate into your messaging to ensure prospects fully understand and instinctively react to what you’re saying.

Address Personal Risk

The negative side of the personal value coin is personal risk. Fear is one of the strongest forces that prevent people from taking action-even action they logically know they need to take. If you want prospects to move forward in the buying journey, you’re going to have to address their fears.

Nearly every B2B buyer, no matter what his or her job role, has the following fears.

  • Potential loss of time. Would-be buyers are busy and almost always have more on their to-do lists than they can possibly get done. They worry that implementing your solution will take up too much of their valuable time.
  • Potential loss of respect. To get the deal agreed upon, buyers have to champion your solution to their teams. They worry that if your solution doesn’t deliver as promised, or if it’s a nightmare to implement, they’ll lose the support of coworkers and superiors.
  • Potential loss of job. If the performance of your product or service is bad enough and causes a large loss of money or potential revenue, a buyer could lose his or her job over the purchase. This is a fear that can easily and completely derail a purchase.

If you want to close the deal, you’ll need to address each of these fears in your bottom-of-the-funnel marketing content or sales materials.

Personal value is a powerful driver of purchase decisions.

It’s important to note that “showing” is more effective than “telling” prospects that they don’t need to worry about these potential hazards. Besides that fact that it would be weird, no one would believe you if you simply stated, “And there’s no reason to fear losing your job if you buy from us-you won’t!”

Use testimonials and case studies to demonstrate the results you’ve achieved for other companies similar to theirs. Point out how quickly or easily the implementation went and the specific ROI you delivered. Social proof (especially if you’ve got testimonials or case studies from companies well-known in their industry) will alleviate their fears better than anything else.

Dig into the Pain of Non-action

The best way to overcome that last bit of doubt remaining after you’ve addressed potential fears is to dig into the pain that will result from not moving forward with the purchase.

Find out what the buyer will lose if he or she puts off the decision, and quantify it. How much revenue is he or she sacrificing? How much time is he or she wasting?

Then compare the loss resulting from inaction to any remaining potential risk. You need to show the buyer that the reward greatly outweighs any potential risk. This is the final kick-in-the-pants that buyers need to make the purchase.

The best time to point out the pain of non-action is in your proposal. After you’ve clearly communicated business benefits and personal benefits, and after you’ve assuaged their fears, make sure they feel how much the status quo hurts-and how that pain will just continue to get worse the longer they stay there.

Never Forget You’re Selling to People

The companies that win will be the companies that thoroughly understand their prospects and clearly communicate personal value as well as business value. Never lose sight of the fact that, even as a B2B company, you’re selling to people. Show off that shiny UVP, but don’t stop the conversation at business value. And you’ll find that price is no longer holding you back from those highly-coveted enterprise deals.

About the Author: Laura MacPherson is a freelance writer who integrates persuasion psychology and research into copywriting and content for B2B companies. Follow her (or connect) on LinkedIn for an unlimited supply of marketing tips and tricks.