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The #1 Mistake Most Marketers Make When Running Paid Ads



The #1 Mistake Most Marketers Make When Running Paid Ads

Your ability to track conversions is one of the most important foundational pieces of knowledge you can have in the world of paid advertising. 

Biggest Mistake Marketers Make With Paid Ads

The number one mistake we see marketers make across all advertising networks is incomplete or non-existent conversion tracking. Google and Facebook are the closest things to artificial intelligence that humanity has publicly accessible to us. They are trillion dollar machine learning mechanisms. Believe it or not, they’re working towards trying to accomplish your goal!

We want to make sure you have the principles that help you contend with any ad network regardless of what new ad networks pop up or what changes are made.

If all we do is teach you how to push the buttons and build the specific conversion actions inside of a certain ad network…that’s going to be antiquated information the second we publish this video.

Key Terms For Running Paid Traffic

Every landing page on your site should have a specific goal. What do you want each page to accomplish? This is true even if you’re not running paid ads.

On most pages, you should have a primary call to action. The primary call to action is the thing you want your potential customers to do. It is your conversion action. So the primary call to action is the same as the conversion action.

From a content marketing perspective, the call to action is the thing you want your customers to do. From a paid traffic perspective, the conversion action is the way you track it. 


Call to action: Sign up for a free action plan

Conversion action: Fill out the contact form

A transitional call to action requires a smaller commitment from your customer. If the primary call to action requires a lot of time or money from your customer, include a transitional call to action. I would add these to the more important pages in your sales funnel.

A lead magnet is a great way to capture the lead and makes a solid transitional call to action. 

With a primary call to action and a transitional call to action on the page, you have the opportunity to capture the most traffic. And identifying those conversion actions helps tell the search engines what kind of traffic you want.

Examples Of Primary Conversion Actions

Different users engage in different ways. 

  • Some people want to chat. 
  • Some people want to call. 
  • Some people want to fill out a form. 
  • Some people love quizzes or surveys. 

Everyone will engage in different ways. It’s up to you to figure out what your target audience wants. It won’t always be just one thing, so offer a few different ways for people to take that next step.

Pro Tip

ALWAYS direct conversions to a custom thank you page. (More on that in just a moment…)

Form Submissions

If you don’t have forms on your site you should. These are one of my favorite ways to engage users because it allows you to capture the most information. But you have to be careful. Keep forms short in the beginning. Only ask for the absolute amount of information you need for them to convert.

Asking for the phone number keeps lead quality high. If you only ask for only the email address, you might end up chasing phantom leads. 

According to HubSpot, every field you add to a contact form decreases the conversion rate by 11%. So start by running paid ads to a short form.

Also, avoid using captcha codes. They frustrate users. If you get lots of spam leads, add it. But wait until you have data to back up that decision.

If you’re using a CRM (Hint: you should be), use embedded CRM forms whenever possible. If you use integrations, they’re more likely to break.

Pro Tip

If you get an insane amount of leads that aren’t qualified, add form fields to the contact form to help qualify them.


If your primary conversion action is a tour or demo, remember these three things:

1. Have consistent availability

2. Meet your customer where they are

3. Have a very clear offer

If you don’t have availability, don’t offer a tour or demo. You should have at least two slots available every day if this is going to be your primary conversion action. This makes it easier to meet the customer’s needs. 

Also, when it comes to having a tour or demo, the offer should be very clear. Will the tour be virtual or in person? Is there something the customer must do before they show up? How long will it take? Do they need to be in front of a computer?

For appointments, you need to collect the phone number so you can follow-up. You also need the email address so you can send the confirmation email for them to add the event to their calendar.

Phone Calls

When you use a phone number on your website, it needs to be visible. We like to put it in the header, in the top right. That’s where most people go for contact information. But don’t use a button or an image, use text. The click to call button works great on mobile, but not desktop. And when you use an image, you can’t use call-tracking software.

Why should you use call tracking software? When a call takes place, the software can tell you:

  • Where the call came from
  • Whether it was answered
  • How long the call lasted

And, it can record the call. With all that information, you can weed out the poor quality leads and define what a high-quality lead looks like.

Pro Tip

Use call tracking software to track, record, and score your calls. 

If you’re in the Saas or eCom space, you may not want to take phone calls. I get it. Not every business does. But in many cases, this puts you at a disadvantage.

When in doubt, check your competitors. If they’re taking phone calls, you should too.

Then, make sure you answer the phone. We had a client who didn’t answer 30% of the calls we generated for them! They kept wanting more traffic, but their entire sales process was broken. They didn’t need more traffic, they needed to pick up the phone!

When it comes to tracking conversions, make sure you only track quality calls as leads. If you’re using Google’s threshold rule for call tracking, but it doesn’t match how you score a quality lead, Google will get a false positive and start sending you MORE poor quality leads.

Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are solid predictive indicators of intent. What is a lead magnet? A Lead Magnet is a nearly irresistible offer made in exchange for a customer’s email address and/or other valuable marketing information.

A lead magnet gives people who aren’t ready to convert an opportunity to engage with you. The point of the lead magnet is to build relationships and start conversations. So give massive value up front. Nothing is more frustrating than getting excited about a lead magnet, downloading it, and finding out that it sucks. 

Finally, make sure not to let the lead magnet outshine the core offer. I like to put them at the bottom of the page or have a pop-up.

How To Avoid Wasting Ad Money

The entire network of paid advertising platforms want you to win. How do you help them help you? How do you tell Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Facebook, etc. your goal?

Tell them what conversion event you want. If your strategy isn’t properly outlined or you’ve missed the technical implementation, then you’re sending these super smart, trillion dollar machines a false positive. What happens then? They fly off in the wrong direction with your ad money!

Your conversion strategy is critically important. The technical implementation of your conversion events is critically important.

Want to become a traffic master? Click here to find out how!

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45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]



45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

Creating content isn’t always a walk in the park. (In fact, it can sometimes feel more like trying to swim against the current.)

While other parts of business and marketing are becoming increasingly automated, content creation is still a very manual job. (more…)

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How data clean rooms might help keep the internet open



How data clean rooms might help keep the internet open

Are data clean rooms the solution to what IAB CEO David Cohen has called the “slow-motion train wreck” of addressability? Voices at the IAB will tell you that they have a big role to play.

“The issue with addressability is that once cookies go away, and with the loss of identifiers, about 80% of the addressable market will become unknown audiences which is why there is a need for privacy-centric consent and a better consent-value exchange,” said Jeffrey Bustos, VP, measurement, addressability and data at the IAB.

“Everyone’s talking about first-party data, and it is very valuable,” he explained, “but most publishers who don’t have sign-on, they have about 3 to 10% of their readership’s first-party data.” First-party data, from the perspective of advertisers who want to reach relevant and audiences, and publishers who want to offer valuable inventory, just isn’t enough.

Why we care. Two years ago, who was talking about data clean rooms? The surge of interest is recent and significant, according to the IAB. DCRs have the potential, at least, to keep brands in touch with their audiences on the open internet; to maintain viability for publishers’ inventories; and to provide sophisticated measurement capabilities.

How data clean rooms can help. DCRs are a type of privacy-enhancing technology that allows data owners (including brands and publishers) to share customer first-party data in a privacy-compliant way. Clean rooms are secure spaces where first-party data from a number of sources can be resolved to the same customer’s profile while that profile remains anonymized.

In other words, a DCR is a kind of Switzerland — a space where a truce is called on competition while first-party data is enriched without compromising privacy.

“The value of a data clean room is that a publisher is able to collaborate with a brand across both their data sources and the brand is able to understand audience behavior,” said Bestos. For example, a brand selling eye-glasses might know nothing about their customers except basic transactional data — and that they wear glasses. Matching profiles with a publisher’s behavioral data provides enrichment.

“If you’re able to understand behavioral context, you’re able to understand what your customers are reading, what they’re interested in, what their hobbies are,” said Bustos. Armed with those insights, a brand has a better idea of what kind of content they want to advertise against.

The publisher does need to have a certain level of first-party data for the matching to take place, even if it doesn’t have a universal requirement for sign-ins like The New York Times. A publisher may be able to match only a small percentage of the eye-glass vendor’s customers, but if they like reading the sports and arts sections, at least that gives some directional guidance as to what audience the vendor should target.

Dig deeper: Why we care about data clean rooms

What counts as good matching? In its “State of Data 2023” report, which focuses almost exclusively on data clean rooms, concern is expressed that DCR efficacy might be threatened by poor match rates. Average match rates hover around 50% (less for some types of DCR).

Bustos is keen to put this into context. “When you are matching data from a cookie perspective, match rates are usually about 70-ish percent,” he said, so 50% isn’t terrible, although there’s room for improvement.

One obstacle is a persistent lack of interoperability between identity solutions — although it does exist; LiveRamp’s RampID is interoperable, for example, with The Trade Desk’s UID2.

Nevertheless, said Bustos, “it’s incredibly difficult for publishers. They have a bunch of identity pixels firing for all these different things. You don’t know which identity provider to use. Definitely a long road ahead to make sure there’s interoperability.”

Maintaining an open internet. If DCRs can contribute to solving the addressability problem they will also contribute to the challenge of keeping the internet open. Walled gardens like Facebook do have rich troves of first-party and behavioral data; brands can access those audiences, but with very limited visibility into them.

“The reason CTV is a really valuable proposition for advertisers is that you are able to identify the user 1:1 which is really powerful,” Bustos said. “Your standard news or editorial publisher doesn’t have that. I mean, the New York Times has moved to that and it’s been incredibly successful for them.” In order to compete with the walled gardens and streaming services, publishers need to offer some degree of addressability — and without relying on cookies.

But DCRs are a heavy lift. Data maturity is an important qualification for getting the most out of a DCR. The IAB report shows that, of the brands evaluating or using DCRs, over 70% have other data-related technologies like CDPs and DMPs.

“If you want a data clean room,” Bustos explained, “there are a lot of other technological solutions you have to have in place before. You need to make sure you have strong data assets.” He also recommends starting out by asking what you want to achieve, not what technology would be nice to have. “The first question is, what do you want to accomplish? You may not need a DCR. ‘I want to do this,’ then see what tools would get you to that.”

Understand also that implementation is going to require talent. “It is a demanding project in terms of the set-up,” said Bustos, “and there’s been significant growth in consulting companies and agencies helping set up these data clean rooms. You do need a lot of people, so it’s more efficient to hire outside help for the set up, and then just have a maintenance crew in-house.”

Underuse of measurement capabilities. One key finding in the IAB’s research is that DCR users are exploiting the audience matching capabilities much more than realizing the potential for measurement and attribution. “You need very strong data scientists and engineers to build advanced models,” Bustos said.

“A lot of brands that look into this say, ‘I want to be able to do a predictive analysis of my high lifetime value customers that are going to buy in the next 90 days.’ Or ‘I want to be able to measure which channels are driving the most incremental lift.’ It’s very complex analyses they want to do; but they don’t really have a reason as to why. What is the point? Understand your outcome and develop a sequential data strategy.”

Trying to understand incremental lift from your marketing can take a long time, he warned. “But you can easily do a reach and frequency and overlap analysis.” That will identify wasted investment in channels and as a by-product suggest where incremental lift is occurring. “There’s a need for companies to know what they want, identify what the outcome is, and then there are steps that are going to get you there. That’s also going to help to prove out ROI.”

Dig deeper: Failure to get the most out of data clean rooms is costing marketers money

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Ascend | DigitalMarketer



Ascend | DigitalMarketer

At this stage, your goal is to generate repeat buys and real profits. While your entry-point offer was designed for conversions, your ascension offers should be geared for profits—because if you’re serving your customers well, they’ll want to buy again and again.

Ascension offers may be simple upsells made after that initial purchase… bigger, better solutions… or “done for you” add-ons.

So now we must ask ourselves, what is our core flagship offer and how do we continue to deliver value after the first sale is made? What is the thing that we are selling? 

How we continue to deliver value after the first sale is really important, because having upsells and cross sales gives you the ability to sell to customers you already have. It will give you higher Average Customer values, which is going to give you higher margins. Which means you can spend more to acquire new customers. 

Why does this matter? It matters because of this universal law of marketing and customer acquisition, he or she who is able and willing to spend the most to acquire a customer wins.

Very often the business with the best product messaging very often is the business that can throw the most into customer acquisition. Now there are two ways to do that.

The first way is to just raise a lot of money. The problem is if you have a lot of money, that doesn’t last forever. At some point you need economics. 

The second way, and the most timeless and predictable approach, is to simply have the highest value customers of anyone in your market. If your customers are worth more to you than they are to your competitors, you can spend more to acquire them at the same margin. 

If a customer is worth twice as much to you than it is to your competitor, you can spend twice as much trying to acquire them to make the same margin. You can invest in your customer acquisition, because your customers are investing in your business. You can invest in your customer experiences, and when we invest more into the customer we build brands that have greater value. Meaning, people are more likely to choose you over someone else, which can actually lower acquisition costs. 

Happy customers refer others to us, which is called zero dollar customer acquisition, and generally just ensures you’re making a bigger impact. You can invest more in the customer experience and customer acquisition process if you don’t have high margins. 

If you deliver a preview experience, you can utilize revenue maximizers like up sells, cross sales, and bundles. These are things that would follow up the initial sale or are combined with the initial sale to increase the Average Customer Value.

The best example of an immediate upsell is the classic McDonalds, “would you like fries with that?” You got just a burger, do you also want fries with that? 

What distinguishes an upsell from other types of follow up offers is the upsell promise, the same end result for a bigger and better end result. 

What’s your desired result when you go to McDonalds? It’s not to eat healthy food, and it’s not even to eat a small amount of food. When you go to McDonalds your job is to have a tasty, greasy, predictable inexpensive meal. No one is going there because it’s healthy, you’re going there because you want to eat good. 

It’s predictable. It’s not going to break the bank for a hamburger, neither will adding fries or a Coke. It’s the same experience, but it’s BIGGER and BETTER. 

Amazon does this all of the time with their “Customers Who Bought This Also Bought …” But this one is algorithmic. The point of a cross sell is that it is relevant to the consumer, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be aligned with the original purchase. What you don’t want to do is start someone down one path and confuse them.

You can make this process easy with Bundles and Kits. With a bundle or a kit you’re essentially saying to someone, “you can buy just one piece, or you can get this bundle that does all of these other things for a little bit more. And it’s a higher value.”

The idea behind bundles and kits is that we are adding to the primary offer, not offering them something different. We’re simply promising to get them this desired result in higher definition. 

The Elements of High-Converting Revenue Maximizers (like our bundles and kits) are:

  1. Speed

If you’re an e-Commerce business, selling a physical product, this can look like: offering free shipping for orders $X or more. We’re looking to get your customers the same desired result, but with less work for them.

  1. Automation

If you’re a furniture business, and you want to add a Revenue Maximizer, this can look like: Right now for an extra $X our highly trained employees will come and put this together for you. 

  1. Access 

People will pay for speed, they’ll pay for less work, but they will also pay for a look behind the curtain. Think about the people who pay for Backstage Passes. Your customers will pay for a VIP experience just so they can kind of see how everything works. 

Remember, the ascension stage doesn’t have to stop. Once you have a customer, you should do your best to make them a customer for life. You should continue serving them. Continue asking them, “what needs are we still not meeting” and seek to meet those needs. 

It is your job as a marketer to seek out to discover these needs, to bring these back to the product team, because that’s what’s going to enable you to fully maximize the average customer value. Which is going to enable you to have a whole lot more to spend to acquire those customers and make your job a whole lot easier. 

Now that you understand the importance of the ascend stage, let’s apply it to our examples.

Hazel & Hem could have free priority shipping over $150, a “Boutique Points” reward program with exclusive “double point” days to encourage spending, and an exclusive “Stylist Package” that includes a full outfit custom selected for the customer. 

Cyrus & Clark can retain current clients by offering an annual strategic plan, “Done for You” Marketing services that execute on the strategic plan, and the top tier would allow customers to be the exclusive company that Cyrus & Clark services in specific geographical territories.

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