Return on investment and on-brand search ads

Before you start any kind of online advertising, you need to do some preliminary work. You need to figure out how you will define a conversion, how much revenue (or profit) you will assign to that conversion and use those numbers to build a return on investment equation. When you start tracking return on investment, it’s important to point sales back to the medium that actually brought them in. This can get a little tricky.

If your company invests in Google Ads, there’s a good chance that you run campaigns on your brand. Consider this example where the Google query “google ads” shows an ad for Google Ads’ official site:

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Struggling with log files

Barely a weekend has gone by since I completely removed Google Analytics from my website and I’m already having regrets. Log files are fine, but I miss being able to go deep into visits as easily as I could with Google Analytics.

Thus far, with log files I can still go deep, but I have to write code anytime I want to go deeper than basic traffic counts and simple click flows. I use Python and their re module so it’s fun code to write, but it seems like such a strange waste to write code to go deep into my log files in late 2019 when those analytics problems have already been solved for years.

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Two questions for all content marketers

If your website (or client’s website) went seriously viral, could it stay up? Would it still be fast?

If the answer is ‘yes’, that is great news. You and your brand are in a good position to capitalize on going viral. Your site will likely stay up and you’ll give first time visitors a great first impression.

If your answer is ‘no’, you have some work to do. At minimum, I suggest that you find a good web developer with a background in ops and performance testing to take a look at your site and figure out how/why it goes down or gets incredibly slow. Beyond this, I can’t give you any specific advice because it depends on how/why your website goes down. In some cases, the culprit is clear but in other cases, the culprit is a number of small issues that all cascade into an outage.

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Building high ROI marketing campaigns – one hour at a time

One of the questions I hear most from (especially new) startup founders is along the lines of ‘how can I increase my marketing ROI if I only have a few extra hours a week?’ My answer often seems to catch people out of left field because it has nothing to do with new customers. In fact, it has to do with old customers.

Still, if I only had a few hours a week and I wanted to do something with a high return on investment, I would talk to my existing customers. They don’t have to be long conversations. Ultimately, I’m interested in what they like/dislike about working with my company, what they would improve if they were in my shoes, and what made them decide to do business with me.

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Behavioural advertising and return on investment

Several months ago, I was helping a friend do some user interviews. His startup was killing it with Facebook ads but then his returns started to drop. At first it was okay because he was still making money on Facebook but then Facebook dried up. His growth metrics flattened out and he had no idea what to do. So, he asked for my help and I started contacting some of his customers.

While I spoke with them, I noticed a narrative like this coming up again and again:

I researched your company online and was going to sign up for an account but sort of forgot about it. Then I saw the ad on Facebook and it reminded me to sign up.

(Typical customer story)
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A reasonably complete guide to cold calling

Cold calling.

Few phrases strike as much terror into the hearts of entrepreneurs as that one. Inherently, we all know that it’s a great way to move the needle, but holy shit, cold calling is scary.

I’m here to tell you that you can do it. And I’ll show you exactly how I have built successful cold calling campaigns that have moved the needle on my own businesses.

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Public Relations For Startups

Years ago, my friend Stacey and I published a magazine. It never got huge, but it got big enough that we started attracting inbound interest and press releases. Through learning how to handle those and talking with real journalists to learn how they handled those, I developed a sense of how to work with the media when you’re new and don’t have a track record.

For me, it always comes down to story. Journalists do not exist to be your personal marketing force – they exist to find truth in compelling stories. This implies a couple of things. The first is that they likely won’t print any finely crafted marketing speak or sales pitches. The second is that they will seek balance – they will interview your competitors or print quotes that are critical of you and your business. They will also comb through your social media accounts and read what other people say about you. Just because you don’t give them a quote or access to a source, it doesn’t mean that they won’t seek out other quotes or sources. The entire finished piece may be extremely critical of you and your business and if so, it is the mark of an incredibly good journalist, not an asshole. Got it?

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