Article | October 16, 2020
Since Hubspot coined the term “inbound marketing,” every kind of business has been trying to get the coveted inbound lead. And why not? Inbound leads usually buy things more quickly, complain less about price, and renew more often.
As a freelancer, inbound leads are especially valuable. You don’t have a sales team and scaled up marketing efforts - it’s just you and your time. I know this firsthand, because I’ve had a nearly 100% inbound freelance business since day one. My business has been profitable since I started it and increased in revenue each year, all without needing to send cold pitches. In this blog post, I’m detailing the four factors that helped me build my inbound funnel, each one corresponding to a timeless law of freelancing from my book, The 50 Laws of Freelancing.
Step 1: Have a good enough one-liner
I’m a freelance writer for startups and venture capitalists. If you asked me what else I do, I’d tell you that I edit, do content strategy, occasionally work with big corporations and governments, and more. But my “one-liner” when I introduce myself is simply that I am a freelance writer for startups and venture capitalists.
This is the essence of the “good enough” one-liner.
When you introduce yourself, you want to make sure what you say meets two criteria:
1. It’s easy to understand.
2. It’s easy to repeat.
If you want to build an inbound funnel, criterion number two is the most important. If I started all of my introductions with everything I do, people would get confused and understand less. But more importantly, they would repeat it less - or repeat it incorrectly.
The point of a “good enough” one-liner is so that other people talk about you the way you want to be talked about. When you focus on making it easy to understand and easy to repeat, you give people the language you want them to use. This alone has generated lots of clients for me, who reach out and say they heard I did freelance writing, and wonder if I could help them.
Step 2: Try everything and stick with what you like
Freelancers often work remotely, and unfortunately that comes with many pitfalls, particularly around freelancer mental health. Obviously, selling more is a critical element of mental health - making money can not only address anxiety about money but also pay for resources and help if necessary.
The way that I tackle both the pitfalls of remote freelance work and selling more is to try everything but stick with what you like. You try everything because you never know what might work or what you might like. When you only stick with what you like, you’re more likely to engage on a genuine level and more likely to enjoy yourself. Win-win.
In my case, I’ve tried every social media platform I can find, gone to hundreds of events and conferences, and even did a cultural exchange vacation to France to help a family restore their old chateau. If the platforms or experiences didn’t give me clients directly, they provided stories that rounded me out as a human and freelancer, resulting in more sales.
Step 3: Ask for referrals the right way
Asking someone if they will refer business to you is asking for a favor. Even if you pay them a commission, you’re still asking for them to use mental energy to remember your sales pitch then leverage their social capital to send clients your way.
Instead, make them the hero.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Instead of asking for referrals, remind them of your easy to repeat one-liner and tell them that if they know anyone facing the challenges you solve, you’d be happy to help.
Step 2: When that person interacts with someone facing a challenge, they can bring you up as a solution to the problem.
Step 3: Introductions you get from that person will be way higher quality because now you’re presented as the solution to a problem, and the person who referred you is the hero who made the introduction. The third person gets their problem solved, you get an inbound client, and your friend gets more social capital for being a problem-solver.
Step 4: Build partnerships
If you are trying to increase your client base without direct sales, then partnerships are a huge way to go. In making them, though, you have to be clear on the value you provide both to the end user (your potential client) and to the partner. In short, you have to make your partner the hero so they open up their network to you.
Here’s an example of what I did: I was working with a venture capitalist on their content, then we talked about a partnership. We agreed on a few pieces of content that I would offer at a discount to any portfolio company that the VC had. In turn, the VC would market me as the solution to any portfolio company needing content.
It was a triple win:
Startups have limited time and resources, but need good content. The partnership meant discounted rates and a high quality writer.
VCs want to solve problems for their portfolio companies. The partnership meant they got an “exclusive” deal for their startups that no one else could get them.
I didn’t want to chase clients. The partnership meant a discounted rate, but I still profited because I didn’t have to invest any time selling those clients.
Remember: freelancing is a business
Too many people assume freelancing is this in-between zone. You’re not an employee, but you’re not a corporation either. The reality is that freelancing is firmly in business territory. That means you have additional administration to work through, but you also have the ability to leverage business frameworks to make you more successful - particularly around building inbound funnels.
Article | August 3, 2020
Last week, Amazon released several advancements to its Sponsored Display ad offering, which has been in beta since September 2019. With these advancements to the Sponsored Display capabilities, Amazon expands the ability of sellers and brands to take advantage of Amazon’s expansive audience pool. This equally gives more control to brands and sellers to drive traffic not just at the keyword level, but also at the audience level.
Article | February 11, 2020
Geotargeting, also known as location-based marketing, allows your company to laser in on the right personas you want to attend your event, with the ability to choose people who live and work in the specific location where your event is being held. Prior to launching an event, you should lock in on the segment of people you want to invite to it. These people should be based in the same geographic region as the event and be the target audience your event is appealing to.
Article | July 19, 2021
What are the significant differences between native ads and display ads,and how do different businesses utilize each type? Get all the answers in a detailed, concise, and systematic manner.
Businesses have various options to advertise their product or service that helps to attract the audience’s attention and boost engagement. Two of the most preferred, prominent, and globally adapted methods are native ads and display ads.
But, the time has changed, and the popularity of native marketing has increased compared to display advertising. So, let’s discover the key differences between both and find out why marketers have shifted towards native ads.
Native ads are designed to look, appear, and function as the original content of the website. Native ads amalgamate with the website content without confusing the viewers from the original content and increase the possibilities of getting a click. Sponsored content and promoted content are excellent examples of native ads.
Native advertising is less intrusive than traditional ads that help inproducinga high click-through rate (CTR) and increase conversions. It provides an excellent opportunity for innovative exposure, which users enjoy without any complexities. Native ads boost your marketing strategy and gain consumer trustquickly.
Types of Native Advertisements
Here is the most prevalent native ads type that marketers utilize to achieve native advertising objectives.
Paid Search Ads
In-Ad with Native Element Units
Survey about Native Advertisements
According to a study, website visitors looked at native ads 53% more frequently than display ads.
25% of visitors remember seeing native ads whereas, for display ads, it is 20%.
Native ads register a 9% higher lift for brand affinity and an 18% lift for purchase intent than display ads.
Native ads receive 53% more views than traditional display ads.
Two out of three Generation X and Z consumers trust branded content more than traditional advertising.
US native ad spend expected to increase by 21% in 2021 to a value of $57 billion.
The native advertising sector is predicted to grow to $400 billion by 2025.
Native advertising is the second-best top-performing channel for video campaigns, according to US publishers.
Native ads recommendations are 27% more trusted than social ads.
Native ads create an 18% increase in purchase intent.
Display advertising is a strategy of attracting a website's audience, social media platforms to make a particular move. These are often comprised of text-based, picture, or video ads that motivate the user to click a landing page and take action. These ads usually appear in different shapes and sizes that can be presented inseveral formats. It shows that it helps in selecting the style and formats of the ad. In addition, its visually alluring quality makes it unique and assists in building brand awareness.
With the help of the Google Display Network, you can access numerous sites and target the right audience by adding ads on appropriate websites. You can track clicks and conversion through Google Ads or Google Analytics for more granular performance. It also allows for remarketing opportunities and helps in familiarizing your target audience with your brand. Display advertising is relatively cost-effective comparatively other advertising channels such as radio, television, etc.
Types of Display Advertisements
There are various kinds of displays ads that helpcapture the target audience's attention, and drive conversions. Let’s take a look at some common kinds of display ads.
• Discovery Ads
• Social Ads
• Retargeting Display Ads
• Responsive Display Ads
• Traditional Display Ads
Survey about Display Advertisements
• 33% of internet users find display ads completely intolerable.
• The average click-through rate for the Google Ad Display Network is 0.46%.
• Responsive display ads are used more than images.
• 43% of PPC marketers say display ads are their least effective channel – yet 84% of marketers are still investing in display ads.
• The most popular display ads are “banners and others,” which includes native ads and social media ads.
• This 2019, 83.6% of U.S. digital display ad dollars will transact programmatically.
• Internet display advertising will be 21.3% of the total global ad spends by the end of 2021.
• Total display ad spend expected to hit 177.6 billion globally.
• The global Programmatic Display Advertising market size is projected to reach USD million by 2027, from USD million in 2020, at a CAGR of % during 2021-2027.
It has become the subject of debate which advertising is superior and beneficial. Both advertising strategies are practical, and result-driven dependingon marketing objectives and how you utilize them. You can go with native advertising if you want to execute a creative and resourceful campaign for your business.Native adswill perform better if you know your target audience can easily be found on different sites, and the same native ads would reach them all. In addition, if you involve native ads in your marketing strategy, it enhances loyalty to your brand and convinces people to share the content with their friends and colleagues.
On the other hand, display ads can be productive, and profitable if you want to experiment and optimize for better performance in the future.Furthermore, display ads are undoubtedly powerful if your campaign goal is retargeting. You can benefit from ad networks which make the phenomenon of placing ads on various sites faster and easier.You can also reach several market segments that don’t go to the same online destination by implementing a display advertising strategy.
Unquestionably, you can implement both strategies. However, it depends on the business to choose which marketing strategy is best for your campaign and give maximum results to reach your objectives. Just make sure you are aware of the benefits and drawbacks of both advertising strategies before selecting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are native ads better?
The effectiveness of native ads depends upon your business objective. However, it does wonders for marketers in lead generation and hasa click-through rate (CTR) which is eight times higher than for display ads.
What are the top three features of native ads?
Native ads help avoid banner blindness, meet the audience's requirements, and keepthe transparency of the ads maintained.
Are display ads effective for B2B business?
Of course, with the proper implementation of display ads,B2B businesses can boost their leads and experience profits.It also allows the marketer to stamp the market with its creative alternatives like interactive displays, videos, etc.
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