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Zero-Cost Marketing Strategies That Provide Instant Traction




New marketing strategies come and go all the time. There is always something new to test out and try, but many brands quickly revert to the proven strategies that produce results month after month, like SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Google pay-per-click advertising, Facebook ads, and occasionally email marketing.

The “OG” marketing strategies will always drive results, but brands that rely solely on those and don’t test new trends will never realize their full potential. While many marketing trends eventually slow down and lose their effectiveness with time, some hidden gems can drive fast results if you strike while they are hot.

Knowing where to allocate your marketing budget can be tricky, and if you go big on a marketing strategy that ends up failing, you can miss out on revenue opportunities had you pushed those marketing dollars into your tried and true campaigns.

When you hit a winning trend, the return exceeds far beyond just revenue. You gain valuable brand exposure and acquire new customers that you can market to in the future, but also increase your valuation as a company. My marketing firm, X Network, specializes in SEO and paid advertising, and we have proven case studies about this topic. We are constantly innovating new strategies and marketing angles for brands of all sizes, from new direct-to-consumer products to worldwide household brands. Here are a few marketing strategies that you can try out that will cost you nothing and have delivered some outstanding results for our clients:

Cause-Driven Campaigns and Purpose-Driven Initiatives

We began experimenting with purpose-driven marketing campaigns during the beginning of the 2020 pandemic. With consumers at home and looking for outlets to stay entertained and distracted, it naturally opened the door to online sales.

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Consumers were spending an absurd amount of time online and there wasn’t any hold back when it came to purchasing. Brands that rolled out purpose-driven campaigns were thriving. Consumers had more time to shop around and take a peek into the backstory of the brands they encountered.

With so much uncertainty at the time, it opened up the opportunity to connect with potential customers by triggering emotions. Consumers were willing to support brands that supported a cause and set out to make a difference.

There is no shortage of causes, from environmental issues to human rights and equality, without forcibly doing so, you can naturally always get behind a cause that you truly believe in. Authenticity speaks volumes, and if your message is truly authentic, the audience will be drawn in instantly. On the other hand, if the message is not genuine and reeks of a marketing ploy, consumers will be turned off and you can lose consumer trust.

Audiences of any brand are more willing to part with their money knowing that some of it will be going towards a purpose they can get behind. By supporting your brand, you can make them feel that they are contributing to your cause — that feeling of making a positive difference is what fuels a lot of purchases.

Launch a FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) Campaign

Let’s continue using the pandemic as our case study. Data shows that it caused an increase in the online competition simply because more consumers were shopping at all hours of the day. Brands could launch a targeted Facebook ad campaign and run a profitable campaign with little to no effort in the beginning because the consumer supply was so large.

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As more states in the United States and countries around the world began to lift stay-at-home orders and begin to open back up, it required a little creativity to maintain those healthy sales figures. FOMO offers are very underestimated and effective because the average person does not like to lose and miss out on what they believe to be perceived as popular or trendy.

Game-changing brands shift towards FOMO marketing campaigns because it’s brilliant to increase sales without decreasing a brand’s value. Be it with limited-edition drops, time-sensitive special offers, or special ‘online only’ exclusive offers. You can take almost any product or service and create a FOMO-based version to spark interest and drive sales.

Consider reaching out for well-being follow-ups.

Early on in the pandemic, brands had to be very cautious as to how they delivered their marketing messages and came across. It was a time of sudden crisis and there was no blueprint to how brands should behave or approach their audiences.

Some brands avoided the topic like it didn’t even exist, while some offered relief in the form of discounts or pledged a certain percentage to COVID relief efforts. As things started to resume to normal, an opportunity began to open for brands to reach out to their customers for a little well-being communication. 

A simple, “We hope you are doing well and we are here alongside you while the world adjusts and shifts back to what we remember as normal” without a pitch or discount was a great way to genuinely connect without it appearing to be just a way to slip in an offer.

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Reconnecting this way shows your customer that you truly care about their health and safety. It demonstrates to your existing and new potential customers that your brand is there to provide the best possible customer service beyond what they’re used to. Always put yourself in the shoes of your potential client and make decisions that would positively impact your decision if you were on the other side. I myself use my own Instagram account to frequently check on the well-being of my corporate contacts and agency partners, but you need to find the perfect way to create that line of communication that best compliments your brand or company.


How marketers can use behavioral data to improve customer experiences



How marketers can use behavioral data to improve customer experiences

“Marketers are expected to deliver campaigns that cultivate rich customer experience and drive brand awareness, all within a quick turnaround time,” said Megan Sangha, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Wrike, in her presentation at our MarTech conference. “Things could be different if science and data were combined within a single source of truth platform to help drive better outcomes.”

Digital disruptions are occurring more than ever before thanks to the 2020 pandemic and technological innovation. These changes have altered the way consumers behave in the purchasing process, which has in turn forced brands to accelerate their digital transformation efforts.

“With consumer behavior drastically shifting to digital, this world is crowded with competitors quickly working to capture consumer attention,” Sangha said. “Marketing executives are struggling to stand out from competitors while trying to keep their current customers. “

“Now more than ever, marketers need to be innovative and creative with their tools and data to quickly deliver eye-catching and innovative campaigns to stand out among the rest,” she added.

Despite the prevalence of tight deadlines and dwindling resources, marketers are expected to provide customers with engaging experiences. To combat this, Sangha recommends turning to psychology, gleaning behavioral insights from buyer journeys.

Use behavioral science to understand decisions

“Behavioral science is a great strategy for optimizing campaign performance through the help of psychology,” Sangha said. She pointed to a helpful diagram (shown below) that illustrates the customer decision-making process from a psychological perspective.

Source: Megan Sangha

“The large circle is exposure or brand awareness,” she said. “Brand awareness can be found in obvious areas like the ad you see when you’re scrolling through social media or a pop up that you click on . . . Exposure is always on, always changing, and always influencing decision-making.”

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Sangha then went on to describe the top and bottom points of the circle, which represent the “triggers” and “purchase” phases, respectively: “Triggers are where a consumer starts their journey. It is influenced by either exposure or a need.”

Consumers then move down into the “messy middle” of the circle, which is the phase wherein they being exploring and evaluating brand offerings.

These explorary and evaluation stages are where brands have the opportunity to build brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. Sangha said these are strengthened through “great customer experience, smooth transaction, and in today’s world, fast delivery.”

Understand cognitive biases that influence purchase behavior and decision-making

“Consumers are moving back and forth between exploration and evaluation, depending on the size of the purchase,” said Sangha. “For marketers, it’s not so fun. And it’s definitely not efficient. How can we get our customers from triggers to purchase? Through psychology.”

She added, “As people explore and evaluate within the messy middle, cognitive biases shape their shopping behavior and influence why they choose one product over the other.”

Source: Megan Sangha

Sangha described six primary cognitive biases (shown above) that affect consumer behavior. Whether it’s consumers’ propensity to buy things perceived as scarce or those recommended by authoritative sources, it’s vital that marketers know what’s affecting their decision-making processes.

“Understanding behavioral bias and the customer journey are really important,” Sangha said. “Marketing teams that use these principles and psychology see higher customer satisfaction, lower customer turnover, improve the sales process and finds better advocacy from current customers.”

Use behavioral data to optimize channel performance

“To drive better [customer] decisions, marketers need to ensure the information being provided is consumable to the masses,” said Sangha. “We don’t want stakeholders to be overwhelmed with spreadsheets and intricate dashboards that become complacent with their decision-making.”

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Presenting this behavior data in a coherent fashion to other departments will help coordinate your marketing efforts companywide, leaving less room for discrepancies in customer experiences across channels. But with so many signals being tracked, it can get overwhelming quickly.

“There is so much thrown at digital marketers,” she said. “They’re using different channels, platforms, solutions, and tools to track assets, campaign, user, customer performance data, etc. And every piece of data gives them insights on market trends and consumer behavior.”

“The only problem is that right now most digital marketers are manually piecing everything together, which means they’re spending way too much time tracking and pulling together data instead of viewing, strategizing and executing,” she added.

Sangha recommends marketers adopt a project management platform to help ensure customer data is clean and applied to the relevant channels, which helps optimize campaign performance: “A recent McKinsey study showed that digital marketers spend 80% of their time manually sifting through data, pulling together spreadsheets or dashboards to track performance data, and only 20% of their time is spent on strategy.”

She added, “Think what you could do with your campaign strategy and overall outcome if you were able to get more time to strategize versus sifting through data.”

Marketing work management: A snapshot

What it is: Marketing work management platforms help marketing leaders and their teams structure their day-to-day work to meet their goals on deadline and within budget constraints, all while managing resources and facilitating communication and collaboration. Functions may include task assignments, time tracking, budgeting, team communication and file sharing, among others.

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Why it’s important today. Work environments have changed drastically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has heightened the need for work management tools that help marketers navigate these new workflows.

Marketers have been at work developing processes that allow them to work with those outside their own offices since marketing projects—campaigns, websites, white papers, or webinars—frequently involve working with outside sources.

Also, with marketers required to design interfaces, write content, and create engaging visual assets today, more marketers are adopting agile workflow practices, which often have features to support agile practices.

What the tools do. All of these changes have heightened the need for marketing work management software, which optimizes and documents the projects undertaken by digital marketers. They often integrate with other systems like digital asset management platforms and creative suites. But most importantly, these systems improve process clarity, transparency, and accountability, helping marketers keep work on track.

Read next: What is marketing work management and how do these platforms support agile marketing

About The Author

Corey Patterson is an Editor for MarTech and Search Engine Land. With a background in SEO, content marketing, and journalism, he covers SEO and PPC to help marketers improve their campaigns.

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3 Principles of “Post Digital” Marketing with Ryan Deiss [VIDEO]



3 Principles of "Post Digital" Marketing with Ryan Deiss [VIDEO]

When it comes to digital marketing what do you need to OWN to make sure your business thrives in this post-digital world?


DigitalMarketer is the premier online community for digital marketing professionals. It’s a place where you can learn how to market like a pro, connect with industry experts, and get the strategies and tools you need to grow and scale your business to new heights.

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The Quick & Easy Guide To Freezing Rows in Excel



The Quick & Easy Guide To Freezing Rows in Excel

Without freezing rows or columns in your Excel spreadsheet, everything moves when you scroll through the page, as shown in the gif below.


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