Danger Ahead: 10 of the Absolute Worst Marketing Mishaps of 2016

Ah, marketing. Love it or hate it, a well crafted and executed marketing campaign still has the power to move us…to tears, or laughter, or awe, and ultimately, to purchase.

At least that’s the goal. Sometimes though, it falls just a little short.

For every puppy-monkey-baby (although annoying, it did capture a lot of attention for Mountain Dew Kickstart), there’s something so cringeworthy that you can’t help but, well, cringe.

A “good” ad campaign can live forever. David Ogilvy’s 1959 marketing for the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud is widely considered the best automobile ad of all-time.

Unfortunately, a “bad” campaign can live just as long (and likely feels even longer). Some brands and products never get over it.

Every year around this time we celebrate the best of the best. The marketing ads and – in our modern digital world – social media posts that did everything right. The instant classics.  

The best campaigns are good for inspiration…but it’s the worst of the bunch that makes us guffaw and shake our heads in a that-would-never-happen-to-me kind of way.

These ten take the prize for 2016. Read. Watch. Enjoy. But under no circumstances should you repeat.

The Complete Guide to Vetting and Hiring Freelance Writers

Hiring Freelance Writers

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2017 means a fresh start and new budget. While many businesses are excited at the prospect of new resources, they might not know where to employ them to their maximum effect. However, it’s easy to stretch your budget when you work with freelance creatives, especially when the alternative is working with an agency or hiring additional staff.

Freelance creatives remain a mystery to many marketers. They want to tap into this talent pool of mystical elves that magically get work done with minimal supervision, but they’re not sure how to hire them.

HO! HO! HO!

Photo courtesy of Michel Curi(CC Attribution)

Some can’t find the talent they need for their specific industry, while others have found freelance gremlins that produce subpar work and then demand higher pay.

As the gig economy continues to grow, more freelance creatives are offering their services, further clouding the market and confusing companies who are looking to hire them.

To make it easier for brands who need a few extra hands to hit their marketing goals, check out this guide on attracting top freelance talent, extending a job offer, and making sure they’re onboarded to produce amazing work for years to come.

4 Ways to Use Facebook Advertising to Grow Your Business with Examples

Facebook Advertising

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Facebook advertising has taken targeting to a whole new level. It is no longer just keywords’ game like in AdWords where keywords are used as the primary factor of targeting in both search and display network.

In Facebook, the entire social graph of likes and behaviors are used for better targeting ads to end users. As an advertiser, you can drill down your campaigns by demographics such as age, sex, geographical location, etc.

In fact, on average, Facebook ads are a third of the cost of Google AdWords. So if you have never considered advertising on Facebook, you might want to take a look into it.

In this post, I’ll show you a few different ways to leverage Facebook advertising to grow your business with relevant examples. 

One Tool to Rule Them All: How to Score True Social Media Automation

social media automation

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Let’s play a game.

Stand up. For every question I ask, stay standing if the answer is yes (you can sit if the answer is no. Take a break. Go get a coffee).

Are you using social media as part of your blog and/or content marketing strategy?

Do you share your content (your original blog posts, videos, infographics, and more) on your social media accounts?

Do you share curated content (from other sources) on those same social media accounts?

Do you recognize the potential of automation?

Have you implemented automation of some sort into your social media strategy?

Do you at least sometimes schedule your social media posts in one monster session (each morning, or every week)?  

Ever heard of Buffer or Hootsuite?

Still standing? Then this post is for you (yes, you…but those of you who were sitting by the end can still read it, too).  

And thanks for playing (editor’s note – I didn’t say it would be a fun game). But I do promise you’ll come away from this blog post with a better understanding of why and how to harness the power of social media automation the right way.

5 Ways to Make Local Marketing More Interactive

Local marketing

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The world of marketing is ever evolving on a massive scale and at a faster rate than most of us can keep up with. The world’s biggest corporations spend billions on global marketing campaigns, social media ads and award-winning television commercials. Shrink down the scale a bit, and you’ll get an interesting glimpse at a local microcosm of this world.

Local marketing comes with its own unique challenges. With a limited audience (i.e. the consumers in your neighborhood, city or state) and many local agencies all competing for their business, it can be tricky for entrepreneurs and small business owners to stand out.

Key Principles To Improve Your Marketing ROI

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In the world of business, your ROI is one of the most important areas that needs to be constantly monitored. In monitoring your ROI it tells you if your business is a profitable investment to place your time and energy into or if changes are needed. If you’ve found that your marketing ROI needs some improvement, but are unsure as to how to make this happen, this expert guide will give you the top key principles to improving your marketing ROI so you can see more profits in your pocket. But first…

Scaling Your Editorial Calendar from Zero to 60

Marketers tend to apply the same level of commitment to their blogs as their diets and gym memberships. Getting back into the habit of publishing might be a New Year’s Resolution (or a Q3 resolution) but after a surge of posts, the content sputters and the blog goes dark.

While the content manager certainly intends to maintain a strict publishing schedule, life gets in the way. Projects crop up that require their undivided time and attention, a crisis hits and it’s all hands on deck, or internal turnover increases the workload of everyone on the staff.

Either way, the blog gets pushed to the bottom of the priority list until the next time someone sets quarterly goals.

This stops today.

Ten Examples of Social Media Campaigns Using Psychology

Examples of Social Media Campaigns Using Psychology

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Do you suffer from boring social media syndrome?

You know what I mean – your social media channels have the odd drip of one or two random comments, a handful of likes, and little to no sales conversions, and you would almost literally give an arm and a leg for even a hint of social media activity. 

What you need to do is spice things up. And one of the best ways to do this is through psychology.

Obviously, using psychology to improve your marketing is not a new concept: the intentional use of psychological theories to improve marketing was pioneered by Edward Bernays, otherwise known as the “father of public relations”. The nephew of popular psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, Bernays realized that by applying his knowledge of psychology his marketing campaigns would be far more successful.

Since then, some things have changed. We have moved from advertising on old transistor radio sets and fuzzy tv channels Tweeting, Instagramming, and Snapping.

But what hasn’t changed is the use of basic psychological principles to market various products on services, even if it is contained in a short video on Vine or 140 characters on Twitter.

Here are ten examples of social media campaigns that used psychology to attract customers and increase sales, along with some advice on how you too can use the same principles in your own social media marketing to improve your business:

Lifesaving Lessons for First-Time Freelancers

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This is a guest post by Gareth Simpson.

From how to find the best leads and high-paying clients, to understanding how to write winning proposals and set rates, freelancers of every ilk often cite trial and error as the key to finding and maintaining successful careers. We’ll take a look at what you can do to avoid the pitfalls.

As remote work becomes more commonplace, thousands of agencies, organizations and individuals post millions of jobs online to attract and vet talented freelancers for short- and long-term work.

Still, getting your freelance career off the ground can be a daunting experience. But there is no reason to believe that you can’t make a good living from freelancing alone. In order to succeed, you’ll need to make a sustained effort, and hone your marketing and negotiating skills.

If you’re just getting started, gaining experience through online services is a great way to attract new clients, build a portfolio and good reviews.  

4 Ways to Establish Trust on Your Product Pages

Establish Trust on Your Product Pages

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Most companies are happy with an average conversion rate of 3-4%. The marketing department will spend hours debating about the color of buttons and studying heat maps like tea leaves to understand how they can increase their conversions.

When the conversion rate increases from 4% to 5%, there’s a party. — and so there should be! An increase of an additional percentage point can result in thousands of dollars in revenue for company.

But did you ever stop to think that a 5% conversion rate is a 95% failure rate?

Nine times out of ten you’re disappointing your audience. You’re not giving them the right information or providing enough perceived value to convince them to buy.

The key to long term conversion rate growth isn’t special orange buttons, it’s building value through knowledge and trust. Here are a few reasons your customers are nervous about pulling the trigger, and how you can convince them otherwise with the right content.