Click Fraud: What Is It & Why Does It Matter?

Digital marketing, and pay per click in particular, have become the go to methods of advertising for most businesses. Everyone from small businesses to global corporations can take advantage of the access to a huge market online. 

With over 4 billion people in the world connected to the internet on a daily basis, and nearly 2 billion of those buying something online each year, a well targeted PPC campaign is the difference between sinking and swimming. Add in the fact that there are 5 billion searches on Google every day, and you’ll understand how big a deal pay per click advertising is.

With this huge volume of traffic, and money, comes an obvious target for fraud. And click fraud has now come to be the most costly form of fraud committed each year surpassing credit card fraud. 

What is click fraud?

Click fraud is the act of clicking on a paid link, such as display ad or sponsored search result, with malicious or vindictive intent.

This can be to deplete the advertisers marketing budget, damage the performance or reach of the ad, or even to steal the cost of that click for yourself (a practice known as ad fraud).

We will look more in-depth at the sources and motives for click fraud later in this article. But suffice to say, there is a huge industry that has spawned around defrauding programmatic ads and advertisers.

From paid-to-click apps, to click farms, generating large volumes of fake clicks is easier than ever.

In fact, the issue of click farms is widely reported, with many of them selling their services to inflate likes and followers on social media. But this same technique can also be used for criminal gain, with millions of dollars at stake for enterprising gangs who know how to make click fraud pay using complex technological solutions and malware.

What is ad fraud?

The practice of ad fraud is an organised form of click fraud. Ad fraud is usually used to fraudulently inflate the pay out for websites publishers, mobile app developers, or on social posts or videos.

Often when referring to click fraud, people use the term ad fraud interchangeably. However, where click fraud can simply be accidental or malicious; for example rivals aiming to deplete your marketing budget; ad fraud is usually intended to line the pockets of the fraudster.

But is click fraud really that big a problem? 

The actual rates of fraud vary based on:

  • Your industry
  • Geographic location
  • Time of year

2020 research found that the average rate of click fraud across the campaigns we protect here at Proecho Solutions is 14%.

However, within that, there is a huge variation of fraudulent ad clicks depending on the industry. For example, the industries with the highest volume of fraud were found to be:

  • Photography – 65%
  • Pest Control – 62%
  • Locksmith – 53%
  • Plumbing – 46%
  • Waste Removal – 44%

Other notable industries subject to high levels of click fraud include real estate (31%), financial services (20%) and legal and law services (14%).

The truth is, click fraud affects almost every industry, with 90% of all campaigns on Google Ads being impacted in some capacity.

As programmatic advertising has become more complex, allowing us different ways to target demographics and a multitude of ways to pay for our advertising, so has click fraud become more sophisticated.

The practice of click fraud

As we’ve seen, there are multiple reasons to commit click fraud or ad fraud. It can occur on any paid link, whether display, paid search, social media, in-app promotion or other forms of paid digital marketing.

There most common reasons to get fake clicks on your PPC ad campaign are:

  • Vindictive competitors or customers who want to negatively impact your ad spend
  • Organised fraudulent developers who have created a way to get paid for clicking your ads, usually using fake publisher inventory
  • Malware apps or software created to collect the payout from ads (often with some help from bots)
  • Paid to click apps which pay users to click or watch ads in exchange for a small reward.

When you consider that the price for some keywords in Google Ads (previously known as AdWords) can be upwards of $50, or over $100 per click, you’ll soon see why multiple fraudulent ad clicks can really start to cause a problem. In fact, even with clicks at a dollar or so each, the volume of click fraud can quickly cause problems to the average marketer.

In 2017 it was estimated that around 1 in every 5 clicks on a PPC ad campaign were fraudulent in some capacity. Since then, the techniques have become more advanced and the sheer volume of fraudulent activity online has increased.

A study by the University of Baltimore found that click fraud cost marketers over $35 billion in 2020. And this is forecast to grow even more in 2021 and beyond.

What are the main sources of fake clicks or click fraud?

If clicking on someones ad repetitively sounds like a lot of hard work, you’d be right. A competitor clicking on your ad five or ten times a day might be a drop in the ocean for your advertising spend, but there are more damaging ad clicking methods.

High volume clicks:

Bots and web crawlers

Designed to crawl the web looking for information, usually for spam or data collection purposes. There can be ‘friendly’ bots, which are just looking to scrape contact info for example. Or deliberately vindictive bots which have the sole purpose of clicking on your ads hundreds or thousands of times to deplete your ad budget.

Click Farms

Either automated set ups, or human powered factories designed to click multiple times on specified links. Yes they do exist, usually in developing countries where people can be paid as little as $5 for 100 clicks.

Click farms are used by all sorts of businesses, often to inflate their following or engagement, and they can be hired to do multiple actions, from liking social media accounts, watching videos, sharing links or information, leaving comments and, of course, clicking on PPC adverts multiple times.

Although the bulk of click farms can be based in developing countries, there have been increasing instances of click farms based in Europe and the USA. By hooking up phones and tablets to a computer, you can automate the activity of hundreds of people.

Fraud rings and bot networks

Criminal gangs establish a mixture of publisher websites and automated bots to defraud advertisers. One of the best known is Methbot, a highly sophisticated scam bot network, with a complex set up which is designed to fraudulently collect the payout on video views using a network of computers. Thought to have originated in Russia, Methbot is estimated to make around $5-6 million each day in fraudulent clicks.

Ad fraud

Publishers create a website designed to host banner and text ads, then channel fake clicks through the website to collect a payout. Ad fraud often involves placing ads on websites with little chance of genuine traffic being able to find it, but with the opportunity for the site owner to maximize their income.

Medium to low volume clicks:


Your direct competitor can try and siphon off your PPC budget so that their ad ranks higher for relevant searches. They might just click your ad every time they see it, or they might instruct everyone in the office to click your ad – which could be potentially quite damaging.

Although competitors can try to manually inflate your PPC spend, you might find that this is a temporary measure or occasional practice.

There are some simple steps to minimise your exposure to competitors clicking on your ads, which we will look at later on.

Human error

People searching for something may accidentally click on your site in the SERPs, but then click out again. They may not even realise its a paid ad. Technically this wouldn’t be classed as click fraud, but an invalid click. There is no strategic sabotage going on here, it’s simply a mistake, although repeated mistakes can cost advertisers a fair amount of money.

Vindictive parties

Your ex employee, unhappy customer or even your sociopathic ex might have a reason to click multiple times on your ad just to pee you off. You’d best go and apologise.

Is it really that big a problem?

Now, you’re probably wondering why the hell would anyone really want to go to all that trouble. Is this really something that people do?

If you haven’t already then we suggest you run a quick search for ‘buy clicks’.

What you’ll find is a whole industry built around fake website traffic, often designed to boost views on websites or inflate the popularity of social media accounts.

Sites like Fiverr offer plenty of options for users to buy ‘likes’ or website traffic. And most of these services can, of course, be used maliciously.

Many marketers can also run bots to find new clients or to build an email list which they can sell. These simple bots may not be fraudulent, but with enough of them you could be looking at losing quite a lot of money through non purchasing site visitors.

Bots can be used in a variety of ways and are relatively simple pieces of programming, meaning that pretty much anyone with a decent level of coding knowledge can make their own bot. You can also buy bots from a variety of sources, for everything from research to more nefarious purposes.

It’s been proven that the bulk of internet traffic is actually bots, with some sources estimating 40% and others putting the figure at upwards of 50%. So when you’re aiming to run your next PPC campaign this is definitely an issue that you’re going to have to bear in mind.

Those running a PPC campaign might find that the amount of click fraud, sits around 20% of their total traffic. Bear in mind that Google doesn’t refer to the practice as ‘click fraud’ but prefers the term ‘invalid clicks’. This covers all bases from genuine mistaken clicks to the actual vindictive bot or click farm traffic.

Who is affected by Click Fraud?

You might think that click fraud is the kind of thing that only really affects the big boys; the Amazon’s, Citibank’s and Tesla’s of this world.

Of course, they are in the firing line as they target high value keywords. But in reality every online business is at risk from click fraud to some degree or another.

Automated click fraud doesn’t discriminate, with bots often just scouring the web for specific search terms. Even accidental clicks can really add up if your banner or sponsored result is in a competitive industry.

An industry with a huge amount of traffic and expensive keywords means more room for fraudsters to hide. It also means less risk of getting caught and a higher payout.

Here at Proecho Solutions we see that the most affected micro industries are: locksmiths, lawyers, water damage repair and… dentists. It seems that local service providers are prone to a higher rate of click fraud due to the competition, high CPC and the knowledge of the market.

No matter how little or how much money gets spent on campaigns, one thing is for sure. Every company that’s using PPC networks like Google AdWords or Bing Ads, is either vulnerable to click fraud or has been a victim of click fraud.

Dealing with Invalid Clicks in PPC Campaigns

As click fraud is a huge problem, and one that is growing by the day, there are several steps you can take to minimise and mitigate your exposure to it. The good news is that the major search engines like Google, Bing and even Facebook, do have some strategies in place to combat ad fraud and click fraud.

However many feel that their efforts fall short and that there is a whole world of invalid traffic, or click fraud, that isn’t picked up.

For example, Google does block things like high bounce rate visits (often the sign of an accidental click or obvious web scraper) or some multiple visits from the same IP address. But more often than not, you’ll need to flag up suspicious activity yourself and request a refund.

In the cases where Google takes a deeper look at the issue, you’ll normally find it can take anything up to a month for the issue to be inspected and for your refund to come through. When you’re looking at batches of ten clicks on $10 keywords, this can run into the hundreds or even thousands.

Spotting these multiple clicks from specific sources isn’t the hard part, in fact we’ll be looking at how to spot fraudulent clicks later on in this guide. It is the increasingly sophisticated click fraud approaches that cause the biggest headaches. With software able to imitate human behaviour, switch IP addresses using VPNs and proxies, or even those click farms pulling the wool over the search engines virtual eyes, additional measures are often needed to minimise exposure to click fraud.

Using dedicated click fraud prevention software is the most effective way to make sure that you’re tackling those invalid clicks.

Is click fraud illegal?

Although there are laws across the world that protect against click fraud, it’s not so simple to answer the question ‘is click fraud illegal’.

In the USA and several European countries, practices such as wire fraud, racketeering, deceptive business practices and data manipulation are illegal. So when it comes to legal challenges against click fraud, it will most often come to proving practices such as these.

The act of defrauding advertisers is also one that is illegal in most countries, but the problem is policing it. Although digital crime is an area that is becoming increasingly complex, and profitable, there are few resources globally to combat it.

Clicking multiple times on a search result; creating a website designed to host banner ads and then channelling traffic though it; hiring a click farm to download an app 100 times a day. This is all obviously highly damaging and fraudulent practice, but hard to prove and a grey area when it comes to legality.

There are some cyber crime authorities who you can report activity to if you believe there is a serious and organised threat occuring. These include EuroPol, the UK’s National Crime Agency, the FBI and InterPol.

However, most of these agencies are set up to tackle more obvious cyber crime threats such as identity theft, people smuggling, drug dealing, terrorism, pornography and other more tangible problems.

How can you identify click fraud?

We’ve established that click fraud is a pretty big issue, with lots of variations and the potential to really sting your cash flow. So how do you identify when you’ve been a victim of click fraud?

There are several manual checks you can do yourself to see if there has been any fraudulent activity on your ad campaigns. These don’t always give a 100% accurate reflection of what has been happening, but can serve as a useful outline and possibly flag up some of the more obvious violations.

Checking IP addresses

Google doesn’t give you the tools to check IP addresses that have visited your site, but you can use tracking tools, including WordPress plugins for IP address logging. You can also check your website visitor logs to see how many times the same IP address pops up over a specified time. If you notice that the same obscure location or IP address has been visiting your site regularly then this might be a red flag for you to try and block this IP address or location.

Google does offer some protection against multiple visits from a single IP address or device. Although it isn’t perfect and the parameters might not necessarily be what you would set yourself, it is a form of damage limitation.

Checking publishers

If you’ve been subject to one of the most popular forms of ad fraud, which is channeling your ad onto a dodgy website, then checking your publisher list will help you keep an eye on it. Look in the ‘placements’ section of your Google Ads and check the high traffic sites for any suspect activity. If you think any of them might be fraudulent you can block them from your publishers list.

A few giveaways that a site is fraudulent include pages which appear to be covered in ads, no content (or very little content of any substance) and recently registered domains.

Monitor campaign activity

Suspicious timings or spikes in engagement might be a sign that someone is targeting your ads. Especially if you seem to be getting lots of clicks and little in the way of engagement.

You might also spot a high click rate from a country that might have little to do with your market. For example if you’re a US based company and you appear to be getting lots of clicks from the Philippines but no conversions/sales, that could be a marker that you’ve been the target of a click fraud campaign.

Identifying other forms of click fraud

Aside from locations, devices, IP addresses and dodgy publishers, it can be hard to spot other forms of fraudulent traffic. Forms of fraud that mimic human behaviour or hide behind proxy servers are going to be hard for you to spot yourself. And as the processes and techniques are becoming more sophisticated, keeping track of developments and fraud can be a Herculean task. This is where using click fraud protection software comes into play and can really make a big difference.

How does fraud protection software work?

One of the main benefits of using fraud protection software is that it is constantly learning about the new threats and adapting its algorithms. When a suspect IP address, device or VPN is identified it’s then added to the list of blocked sources. So if you’re running a PPC campaign and you’re protected by software such as ClickCease you’ll be able to benefit from the ongoing process of identifying suspect sources.

How to manually block click fraud

Of course you’ll want to do everything you can to limit the amount of fraudulent clicks coming through on your ad campaign. It can be tricky and a little labour intensive to get everything battened down, but it is definitely worth doing these manual fixes.

Even if you’re not that tech savvy you’ll be able to find guides to making your PPC campaigns as watertight as you can. And where possible we have linked to the resources to help you use some of the best techniques to minimise your click fraud exposure.

Set up IP and ISP exclusions

If you’ve identified a pesky IP address that seems to be doing something strange and you’re pretty sure they’re messing up your PPC campaign you can set up some exclusions. As an IP address normally refers to a specific device or location, this can cut out fraudulent PPC activity from specific users.

Remarketing campaigns

If you’re not looking to boost your reach at the moment then remarketing could be a useful campaign strategy. It looks at visitors who have visited your site before and pops up on partner websites, ensuring your brand stays in their mind and possibly even encouraging repeat custom.

Of course one of the main benefits of remarketing campaigns is that you’ll only be showing up for people who have shown an interest in your business before. It should also limit your exposure to bots or click farms, especially if you’re not in their target area.

You can find out more about running remarketing campaigns on Google’s support pages.

Adjust your targeting

By tweaking your targeting for your ad campaign you can hugely reduce the exposure of your PPC campaign to fraudulent activity. Excluding certain geographic locations, languages, demographics and devices can make a big difference to the success of your advertising. If you see suspect activity coming from one particular demographic, exclude it and see what happens. 

Facebook Meta Pixel

How to Set Up and Install a Meta (Facebook) Pixel

In this article, we’ll cover how to set up and install a Meta Pixel on your website. To learn more about the Pixel before getting started, check out the benefits of installing a Meta Pixel.

If you already created a Meta Pixel and want to find your Pixel base code, skip to step 2, How to set up the Meta Pixel on your website. Follow the instructions to Manually add Pixel code to your website.

Before you begin

  1. You need a website for your business.
  2. You must be able to update your website’s code.

If you don’t know how to update your website’s code, schedule a call with our team. We’ll install your pixel for you – it’s 100% free. No hassles. No obligations. Absolutely no catch.

If you’re more of the DIY type, then read on for step-by-step instructions for setting up your Meta Pixel.

Step 1. How to set up a Meta Pixel

  1. Go to Events Manager.
  2. Click Connect Data Sources and select Web.
  3. Select Meta Pixel and click Connect.
  4. Add your Pixel Name.
  5. Enter your website URL to check for easy setup options.
  6. Click Continue.

Step 2. How to install the Meta Pixel on your website

OPTION A: Manually add Pixel code to website

Once you’ve created your Meta Pixel, you’re ready to put the Pixel code on your website. For instructions on how to do this, choose your setup option:

  1. Go to Events Manager.
  2. Click the Data sources icon on the left side of the page.
  3. Select the Pixel you want to set up.
  4. Click Continue Pixel Setup.
  5. Select Meta Pixel and click Connect.
  6. Select Install code manually.
  7. Copy the Pixel base code.
  8. Find the header of your website, or locate the header template in your CMS or web platform.
  9. Paste the base code at the bottom of the header section, just above the closing head tag.
  10. Click Continue.
  11. Optional: Toggle on Automatic Advanced Matching and verify the customer information you want to send.
  12. Click Continue.
  13. Add events using the Event Setup Tool or by manually adding code to your website.

Using The Event Setup Tool

  • Click Open Event Setup Tool to add events and parameters without additional coding.
  • Follow the onscreen instructions to add events to your website.

14. Click Done.

OPTION B: Use a partner integration

  1. Go to Events Manager.
  2. Click the Data sources icon on the left side of the page.
  3. Select the pixel you want to set up.
  4. Click Continue Pixel Setup.
  5. Click Use a partner.
  6. Select a partner from the list.
  7. Follow the onscreen setup instructions.

You can also set up your Meta Pixel on your website by going to the Partner Integrations page in Events Manager, selecting your partner and following the onscreen instructions. Learn more about the benefits of using partner integrations to set up your Meta Pixel.

If you don’t see your platform, use 1 of the other 2 ways to set up your pixel.

OPTION C: Email instructions to your developer

If someone else updates the code on your website, follow these steps to email them your Meta Pixel setup instructions.

  1. Go to Events Manager.
  2. Click the Data sources tab on the left side of the page.
  3. Select the Pixel you want to set up.
  4. Click Continue Pixel Setup.
  5. Click Email Instructions.
  6. Enter the recipient’s email address.
  7. Click Send at the bottom of the page.

Step 3. Set up events

After you add the Meta Pixel base code to your website you can set up events to measure the actions you care about, like making a purchase. You can do this by manually installing the code or by using the point-and-click Event Setup Tool. Then, make sure that your Meta Pixel is working correctly.

You can use one Pixel across your whole website, including multiple pages of your website.

If you use the Meta Pixel to share events with Meta, we recommend that you also use the Conversions API. The Conversions API works with your Meta Pixel to help improve the performance and measurement of your Meta ad campaigns. Learn more about the Conversions API.

Note: Apple’s iOS 14 changes require apps in the App Store that engage in what Apple defines as “tracking” to show a prompt to iOS 14.5 and later users in accordance with their AppTrackingTransparency framework. These changes impact how Meta receives and processes events from tools like the Meta Pixel. If you optimize, target or report on web events from Meta Pixel or any other business tools, you can take steps to update your event setup and manage these changes. 

Best Practices for Meta Pixel Setup

You can use these best practices during and after Meta Pixel setup to check that you successfully installed your Pixel and events.

During Meta Pixel setup

  • Check that your Pixel base code is accurate. If you installed the Pixel using code on your website, make sure everything between the <script> and </script> tags exactly matches your Pixel base code. If you installed the Pixel using a tag manager, then you won’t see the code on the actual web page so you’ll have to troubleshoot within your tag manager.
  • Check that you added the event code in the correct place. Here’s an example of what your website code might look like with the add to cart event installed:
    1. Your website’s original code.
    2. Your Pixel base code.
    3. Your standard event code.
  • Make sure your standard events are spelled correctly in code. Events are case sensitive, so if you accidentally add fbq(‘track’, ‘viewcontent’); to one of your web pages instead of the correct standard event code fbq(‘track’, ‘ViewContent’); you’ll see an event called viewcontent show up as a custom event in Meta Events Manager.

After Meta Pixel setup

  • Use the Conversions API in addition to the Meta Pixel, and share the same events using both tools. We call this a redundant event setup. For example, if you share the purchase, initiate checkout and contact events using the Pixel, share those same web events from your server using the Conversions API. Redundant setups are useful because the Conversions API allows you to share website events that the Pixel may fail to capture due to network connectivity issues or page loading errors.
  • Use the Test Events tool to check that you set up your standard or custom events correctly. If you see any unusual activity, you can also use the Test Events tool to debug your events.
  • Check the Diagnostics tab in Events Manager to find and resolve problems related to your event setup. You’ll also see recommendations to improve your event setup if a problem is detected.
  • If you can’t access the ad account with the Pixel you want to test, download the Meta Pixel Helper. A pop-up tells you what Pixel and events were found on the page, and if they loaded successfully. If the page view event (which is automatically included as part of your Pixel base code) loads on every web page, and each standard event loads successfully (only on the pages you added them to), then you can start using your Pixel.
  • Go to a web page where you’ve installed the entire Pixel base code, including the page view event. The page view event is automatically included as part of your Pixel base code. If your Pixel is working correctly, it will send the page view event back to Meta. The page view event will show up on your Pixel’s page in Events Manager. Your Pixel’s status will also be set to Active.

If you’ve successfully set up your Pixel, you’re ready to use the Pixel for advertising.

Note: You can use one Pixel across your whole website, including multiple pages of your website. However, there may be a need to use two Pixels on one website. For example, if two different agencies run ads for your business, they may each need to set up a separate Pixel on your website. 

Benefits of Installing the Meta Pixel

The Meta Pixel is a piece of code that you put on your website that allows you to measure the effectiveness of your advertising by understanding the actions people take on your website.

You can use the Meta Pixel to:

  • Make sure your ads are shown to the right people. Find new customers, or people who have visited a specific page or taken a desired action on your website.
  • Drive more sales. Set up automatic bidding to reach people who are more likely to take an action you care about, like making a purchase.
  • Measure the results of your ads. Better understand the impact of your ads by measuring what happens when people see them.

Once you’ve set up the Meta Pixel, the Pixel will log whenever someone takes an action on your website. Examples of actions include adding an item to their shopping cart, contacting you over the phone, submitting a contact form, or making a purchase. The Meta Pixel receives these actions, or events, which you can view on your Meta Pixel page in Events Manager. From there, you’ll be able to see the actions that your customers take. You’ll also have options to reach those customers again through future Facebook ads.

If you use the Pixel to share events with Meta, we recommend that you also use the Conversions API. The Conversions API works with your Pixel to help improve the performance and measurement of your Facebook ad campaigns.

Meta’s (Facebook) Business Tools Terms require that businesses (or partners acting on their behalf) may not place Pixels associated with their Business Manager or ad account on websites that they do not own without written permission. Starting May 5, 2021, Facebook shows verified domain owners the events and custom conversions recently received from Meta Pixels placed on their website. While verified domain owners will see all these events, the only events they can use for ad optimization and reporting are events they can access from their own Business Manager Account. If you don’t want your Meta Pixel or custom conversion information visible to the domain owner, you can remove the Pixel from the website or delete the custom conversion before the specified date.

Note: Apple’s iOS 14.5 changes require apps in the App Store that engage in what Apple defines as “tracking” to show a prompt to iOS 14.5 and later users in accordance with their AppTrackingTransparency framework. These changes impact how Meta receives and processes events from tools like the Meta Pixel. If you optimize, target or report on web events from Meta Pixel or any other business tools, you can take steps to update your event setup and manage these changes.

Brand Marketing

How Effective Branding Can Help Grow Your Home Services Business

Why is My Brand Important?

Ever wonder why effective branding is important?

Here’s an example to think about: What is the first thing that comes to mind when people hear the name of your home services company?

Is there a thought that comes to them? What about a visual?

Do they consider anything at all?

Whatever comes to mind, it is because of your branding.

Branding is an important component of your company’s marketing strategy, and it may already be having an impact on your business more than you realize. With a well-executed branding strategy, you can make your home services business memorable to prospective and current customers, and you can become their go-to company when they require the services you provide.

We’ll go over what goes into a successful branding strategy, but first, let’s go over the fundamentals…

What is the Definition of a Brand?

Your company’s brand is much more than its name, logo, and slogan; it is how customers perceive your company.

Let’s conduct a quick test. When you read the names, what comes to mind…

  1. Apple
  2. IBM
  3. Coca-Cola
  4. Amazon
  5. Samsung
  6. Mercedes-Benz

You’ve probably heard of these brands before. And why not? They are one of the top ten brands in the world.

You most likely also considered something you associate with the brand, such as innovation, quenching your thirst, convenience, or luxury.

Check out how these businesses have aligned their brands through catchy slogans over the years:

  1. “Think Different” says Apple.
  2. “Taste the Feeling” by Coca-Cola
  3. “Better Normal For All” by Samsung
  4. “Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company,” according to Amazon.
  5. “The Best or Nothing,” says Mercedes-Benz.

As we can see, how consumers perceive a company is not by chance; it is heavily influenced by how that company structures itself in the public’s mind—specifically, through its brand message.

How Can Good Branding Help You Get More Job Offers?

When you have strong branding for your home services business, it becomes more meaningful, relevant, and enticing to the people you want as new customers.

With a high level of brand awareness, the potential customer:

  • Easily locates your company among a list of service providers.
  • Keeps in mind what you stand for, and
  • Has a conscious or subliminal desire to collaborate with you.

When a prospect is deciding between you and your top competitors, this tips the scales in your favor.

Remember, better branding equals more sales!

3 Tips for Developing a Stronger Brand Strategy

So, how do you create a brand that people want to do business with?

Follow these three suggestions for developing a stronger brand strategy:

1. Match Your Brand to Your Mission and Value Proposition

Consider what is most important to your home services business as well as what your objectives are. What is the main goal you want to achieve for your customers?

Quick service?

A fantastic customer experience?

Do you want to relax?

Define your value proposition or the most important benefits you provide to clients. This should be what distinguishes your home services company from the competition.

2. Maintain Consistent Branding

Nothing kills a brand faster than a lack of consistency!

Customers will be confused or have difficulty connecting with your business if your website does not include the correct business name or logo, or if it does not include a consistent brand voice or tone throughout.

Effective branding involves maintaining consistency in your online presence by:

  • Website
  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Online business listings
  • Social media profiles

3. Increase Brand Awareness Using Online Marketing

When you’re first starting, your goal is to get your company in front of as many potential customers as possible—especially those who fit the profile of your ideal customers (i.e., homeowners, people in certain locations, multi-family residential property owners, etc.).

The Internet is an excellent medium for raising awareness and effective branding.

Why? Because 93% of adults in the United States are now online.

Here are a few of the many online marketing tools that your home services company can employ to get viewed online:

  • Website: Your website is your company’s digital face, and it makes an important first impression.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO allows you to be found by people looking for home services similar to the ones you provide.
  • Paid Search Ads: These ads increase the visibility of your business on search engine results pages and are targeted based on keywords, location, and other factors.
  • Social media ads get your business in front of prospective customers while they’re scrolling through their social media feeds. Audiences can be targeted based on user demographics, location, interests, and other factors.
  • Display Ads: You can place display ads on websites that your potential customers are likely to visit, such as news and industry-related sites.
  • Content marketing entails creating digital content that provides useful information to prospective customers, and plays an important part in customer retention. This includes content such as how-to videos and blog posts that answer frequently asked questions. A content marketing strategy can help you get your name out there and positions your company as an authority in your industry.

Do you want to develop an effective branding strategy that will increase your home services business’ exposure and lead to new job opportunities? Send us an email or call (828) 457-7461.

Content Marketing For Your Home Services Business

3 Essential Content Marketing Strategies For Your Home Services Business

If you’re trying to spread the word about your home services business and find new customers, you might want to consider implementing a content marketing strategy.

What is a Content Marketing Strategy?

Content marketing means creating media content that educates potential customers to become attracted to what your business offers. These can be anything like blog articles, press releases, social media content, marketing videos, infographics, ebooks, case studies, and whitepapers.

This is an easy, effective, and low-cost way to get your home services business in front of a large number of potential customers by using the right content and promotion strategy, all while demonstrating your industry expertise.

Improve Your Organic Search Engine Rankings

When people use search engines to find a product or service, the engine sifts through its catalog of indexed web pages to find the most relevant results for you.

Essentially, the search engine searches for content that relates directly to the specific keywords and phrases entered into the search bar, but it also looks for answers to questions related to your query.

As a result, only the most trustworthy and valued content will gain the top rankings of the organic (i.e. unpaid) search engine results.

What’s the bottom line?

The objective should be to create high-value content on a regular basis. High-value content should be content that serves to provide an answer to your potential customers’ most common questions and needs. It’s important to include the relevant keywords that your customers are searching for within your blog article.

Establish Your Company as an Industry Authority

For a content marketing strategy to work, it requires creating massive amounts of content and is an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise in your field. You become a teacher and guide when you generate and distribute great content – especially with instructional videos and how-to posts. This allows you to build trust with future customers while also being used as a tactic to keep your company in the minds of existing customers.

51% of smartphone users have purchased from a company or brand other than the one they intended because the information provided was useful.


Increase Leads and Revenue

If done correctly, marketing with content can generate revenue for your company at a high ROI. The trick is to develop content that is useful to customers at all stages of their purchasing journey, so you’re always there at the right time of need.

One in every three smartphone users has purchased from a company or brand other than the one intended because of information provided at the time they needed it.


Try to consider what your potential customers require at the start of their journey when they are just becoming aware of their problem. What kind of questions do they ask? What information are they looking for?

The same goes for each step of the customer journey. Determine the kinds of content they require in the middle of their journey when they’re looking for specific solutions? (such as products or services).

And finally, it’s important to determine what content they are expected at the end of the journey when they are ready to contact and hire a service provider.

Here are a couple of examples…


  1. Blog posts and articles that address specific issues
  2. Posts on social media (repurpose blog content)
  3. Infographics
  4. Reasons Why Videos (i.e. videos that talk about the problem you solve)
  5. Checklists & Calculators


  1. Blog posts and articles that focus on solutions
  2. Website landing pages about your specific services
  3. Downloadable educational resources, such as ebooks or user guides
  4. Customer testimonials and case studies


  1. Customer testimonials/case studies
  2. Emails
  3. Your website’s call-to-action (CTA)
  4. Form-based landing pages

If your content is relevant to your prospective customers and you deliver it at each stage of the buyer’s journey, more people will start to find your company online, get their questions answered, and decide to pick up the phone and call you. That means more money in your bank account. And more customer retention.

Are you ready to collaborate with a team of professionals who can help you develop a content marketing plan that will propel your home services business to new heights? Contact us today.

How Many Backlinks Does a Website Need

How Many Backlinks Does a Website Need?

While it’s hard to quantify the effect of a single backlink on a single page, we can look at the correlation between the backlinks and the ranking of a group of pages. Based on a study by Ahrefs there is a clear trend between the number of referring domains to a page and its organic search traffic (see graph below).

What is a referring domain?

A referring domain means a unique website linking to your page. “Unique” means a site that hasn’t previously linked to your page, as opposed to a site that has already linked to your page before.

Why are referring domains important?

The referring domains act as a “vote of confidence” from another website. When Google crawls a site it trusts and sees a link to your site, it considers this as a vote that your site is trustworthy/popular. The more unique votes Google encounters, the more confident it is that users will find value from your page, thus improving your ranking in SERPs.

There are several factors that influence how effective each referring domain is:

  1. How trusted is the referring domain?
  2. Is the page that links to your page relevant to your industry / topic of the linked page?
  3. Is the link “dofollow” or “nofollow”?  (Dofollow backlinks and nofollow backlinks are two ways of identifying a link and telling Google how to associate the website you are linking to your website. Dofollow links are a way to pass on authority to a website, while a nofollow link does not pass on link juice.)
  4. Is the anchor text relevant to your page?

What is guest posting?

Guest Posting is the vehicle by which we optimize the 4 criteria:

  1. The websites we choose to post on are filtered by a third party metric that measures the authority of the website
  2. Since we write the article ourselves, we control the content and can ensure the article is highly relevant to the page we link to
  3. A “nofollow” basically means here’s another resource, but we’re not giving it a vote of confidence, whereas “dofollow” means we are giving it a vote of confidence. We only post on sites that allow us to link to your page using a “dofollow” link.
  4. Anchor text is the actual text of the link. If you wanted to rank a page for the search term “leather boots” a link with anchor text, “premium leather boots” would be more effective than a link with anchor text, “click here”. Again, since we control the content, we can optimize this text to be highly relevant to your page.

Why are guest posts important?

Let’s take a look at it from Google’s perspective. When a website begins to gain more and more votes of confidence, the algorithm’s thought process goes a little like this:

“Wow, this is great content, let’s see how it compares to existing articles…Okay, it’s better than most but there are a few that are similar quality. Let me look at the other metrics to determine how to order these. Ah, I see that these other articles have upvotes from other websites and have been around for a while and I know that our users are finding what they need in these existing articles because they’re staying around long enough to read all of the content. I’ll put the new one below these for now and reconsider its position if things change.”

The links from guest posts help break this tie with your page winding up higher in the results. Even if the content on your page is much better than a competitor’s page, the page with the better links will often win the exchange. The “quality” of content is subjective by nature and difficult for a human to compare accurately. It’s even more difficult for an algorithm. This is evident if you’ve ever seen popular websites on the first few results of the SERP but not found what you’re looking for in the articles and had to click on results at the bottom of the SERP to find what you’re looking for. The big names won the top spots because they’re more trusted, rather than because their content surpassed the others.

Final Thoughts

A final note on why guest posts are important — when we research the keywords or search terms we want to target with blog articles, we look for the terms with the highest traffic that we have a good chance of ranking for. We can see how many referring domains the competitors have and what quality those referring domains are. Knowing we will have a few referring domains shortly after article creation allows us to target search terms with higher traffic. Without referring domains we may only be able to confidently target search terms with 50 – 100 searches per month as opposed to terms with 500 – 2000+ searches per month.

Instagram Updates 2022

New Instagram Updates for Businesses and Marketers in 2022

Instagram is constantly evolving and changing, so today we’re sharing all of the new Instagram updates 2022 that all businesses and Instagram marketing agencies should be aware of.

This includes a significant one that will carry more weight with the algorithm than anything we’ve seen in a long time. 

Instagram is now offering free credit to users who shop on their platform.

The first on our list of Instagram updates 2022 was a pleasant surprise for us was an Instagram popup offering us $5 or $10 to shop at our favorite Instagram shops. Another thing we’ve noticed is that Instagram is offering consumers a 20 percent discount and free shipping!

When we click the hamburger icon on the profile and then click Cart, our offers appear at the top. As a result, this is consistent with the significant push we’ve seen to transform Instagram from a photo and video sharing app to a shopping platform.

You can now use another Reel to respond to comments on your Reel.

Someone commented on one of our team’s Reels on her creator account, and Instagram prompted us with the following message:

“You can now respond to a comment with a Reel that contains the comment as a sticker.”

Your reply Reel will be visible in the comment thread as well as anywhere else you share Reels. We’ve seen this format on other social media platforms like TikTok, so Instagram is naturally following suit. If you get a lot of comments or questions about your reels, this presents a great way for you to engage your audience while also increasing your exposure.

Added text-to-speech and voice effects to Reels

The next item on our list of Instagram updates 2022 is about Reels once more. The text-to-speech feature, according to Instagram, “lives within our text tool in the Reels camera and allows an auto-generated voice to read your text aloud.” Text to speech allows you to add narration to your Reels without using your voice, allowing you to be more creative and add fun and humor.

You can see how the text-to-speech tool looks in this image. These tools simply give you a little more creative freedom as a small business owner to create trendy, attention-grabbing Reels.

Instagram is now allowing US creators to use Live badges.

“By enabling badges, you can get paid for the Live content you’re creating,” Instagram claims. Your viewers can buy badges in $0.99, $1.99, and $4.99 increments, and as supporters, they will receive a personalized thank you message as well as increased visibility in your Live. This is big news for creators because they now have the ability to monetize their content within the Instagram app.

This feature is now only available to creators in the United States who are 18 or older and have at least 10,000 followers. In addition, they must have a creator or business account. Finally, they must adhere to Instagram’s partner monetization policies as well as community guidelines.

You can check your Professional dashboard to see if you’re eligible. If you aren’t, you can apply for monetization on that page. This feature will not only help creators earn a little extra money, but will also encourage audience engagement.

The algorithm’s chronological order has been restored.

If you’re an early Instagram user, you’ll recall that the posts you saw on your feed were determined solely by the order in which they were posted. That was replaced a few years ago by an Instagram algorithm that allegedly serves you posts based on what it believes are your preferences.

However, after years of complaints from users who were dissatisfied with the algorithm- both on the consumer and business owner sides- Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri revealed that the company is working on a version of its feed that will display users’ posts in chronological order, in contrast to its current ranking algorithm, which sorts posts based on user interests. Apparently, this feature has been in the works “for months,” with Instagram aiming for a release in the first quarter of 2022.

Small businesses and influencers have been attempting to decipher the algorithm for several years by requesting as many likes, comments, saves, shares, and story engagements as possible. Despite all of their engagement, many of their followers were still not seeing their posts.

As a result, this one on our list of Instagram updates 2022 would be extremely beneficial to small business owners.

This is because a chronologically-based feed will increase your account’s chances of organic exposure and engagement. However, it is important to note that the chronological feed will be an option that users can choose to toggle on their home screen.

However, this leaves it up to the user to decide whether they want to keep the algorithm as is, view their feed as it has been for the last few years, or switch to a chronological view. According to one article, “the current feed uses AI to create what Instagram considers a more personalized feed, based on user activity.” Despite the company’s claims to the contrary, it has remained unpopular with a large number of users.

As a result, we may see a large number of people opt for the new chronological version. If you’re looking for Instagram marketing services to help you with your IG marketing, don’t hesitate to reach out.


7 Facebook Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses on a Modest budget

One of the most difficult challenges for small businesses may be achieving sustainable growth. Your company’s future must be able to generate leads and expand your customer base. Facebook marketing strategies can be used to your advantage. Concentrate your efforts on a few key areas, and you’ll be able to grow your brand while also attracting paying customers.

What Are the Differences Between Organic and Paid Social Media?

Both organic and paid social media tactics can help you achieve your objectives. The distinctions are in the amount of exposure your content receives and the speed with which results are obtained.

Paid social is a great way to get results quickly after placing an ad or paying to boost a Facebook post. When it comes to paid social, your exposure ends as soon as your budget runs out.

Organic methods require a little more time to implement, but the results can be more long-lasting.

Because online promotion can be costly, you must maximize the return on your investment. You can achieve excellent results by combining organic strategies with the best return on investment for paid methods. Check out these 7 Facebook marketing strategies and tips to help you grow your brand.

1. Optimize Your Profile Page

Most Facebook marketing agencies will tell you to start off with optimizing your profile page to provide your audience with as much information about your company as possible. Check that your contact information is complete, correct, and up to date.

When you reach 25 followers, don’t forget to choose a vanity URL. A vanity URL is a unique page address for your company’s website. Typically, it will be your company name or a phrase associated with your brand.

Your profile page should link to your website, and your website should link to your profile page. Create a banner for your cover image and use your logo as your Facebook profile picture.

2. Make a Content Plan.

Successful Facebook marketing strategies necessitate regular content posting. To ensure that you do this, create a content calendar that includes the following items:

  • industry and social events,
  • seasonal patterns,
  • popular subjects,
  • as well as interactive content

Additionally, keeping your communication linear will encourage people to return to your profile.

When planning your content, research keywords: find out what keywords are being searched for in your field and create content around those keywords. You can also use a tool like Google Trends to find out what topics are trending in your niche.

After you’ve created your keyword list, you can use Facebook Creator Studio to schedule your content ahead of time, saving you a significant amount of time by doing all of your social media and content planning for the month at once. 

3. Be Authentic. Be Consistent.

Though regular posting is necessary, you don’t want to get to the point where you’re simply uploading content for the sake of posting. If you want to maximize your return on investment, you should post with a specific goal in mind.

Try to relate to and understand your customers when creating content: how will your audience perceive your content? After all, you’re doing it for them. Be approachable, engaging, and informative.

Writing a useful post will not result in sales unless you can persuade your audience to take action. That is why you must include a strong, visible call to action – and don’t forget to include a phone number or page link.

4. Be Aware of Your Competitors.

Your small business isn’t the only one playing the Facebook marketing game. You’ll need to keep an eye on your competitors so you can compare your efforts to theirs. Try to take advantage of any additional research that you may have that your competitors do not.

When benchmarking, you should also consider what is working for your competitors: what types of posts generate the most interaction for them? What kind of return on investment do they get from their paid ads? What kind of money are the big players putting up?

5. Concentrate on Developing Your Community

Create a Facebook Group centered on the interests of your customers. The more tightly knit the community you build, the more people will trust your brand. Because not all small businesses can benefit from the creation of a Facebook Group, you must first consider whether your target audience requires this and then determine what conversation topics will pique their interest.

What will entice them to join your group? People appreciate having their own space. Consider how you can give back to your community while also supporting your clients. This will undoubtedly pay off, as you will soon notice an increase in brand loyalty and may even discover some brand ambassadors!

Participate in other community interest groups as well. By positioning your company as an authority in your industry, you will gain a loyal following, which will translate into sales and brand equity.

6. Make Use of Custom Retargeting Audiences.

Retargeting on Facebook is a type of digital advertising that targets users who interacted with your brand but did not convert. Here’s how to get started with custom audiences:

  • Navigate to your Facebook Ads Manager.
  • Audiences should be chosen.
  • Select Custom Audiences to create an audience.
  • Then, from the dropdown menu, select a target audience.
  • This will generate a pixel code, which you must then insert into your website.

With the Custom Audiences feature, you can use retargeting on your email and eCommerce lists. You’ll also be able to show ads to a custom audience that you’ve created using your email lists.

7. When Possible, Increase the Visibility of Your Posts (i.e. boost them)

When you share content on Facebook, it is not shown to your entire following. This is done to encourage businesses like yours to pay a small fee to boost their content. Though this may appear to be an unusual business model, it can be beneficial to your company. You can increase your following and generate leads by spending $5 to boost a well-crafted piece of content. Don’t forget to invite people to like your page and follow your brand when promoting a post. If done correctly, a small investment can go a long way.

Using Facebook to Get the Most Out of Your Marketing

With over 2.6 billion monthly active users, Facebook is a robust platform. With so many people spending time on Messenger, in groups, and simply scrolling through their feed, your company’s target audience may be on Facebook as well. If they are, use an effective marketing strategy to convert them into paying customers.

The best way to use Facebook marketing strategies for your small business is to combine organic and paid methods. Monitor your metrics to track engagement and compare your methods and results to the market’s top players.

With over 80% of businesses on Facebook, why leave the extra revenue on the table for someone else to take? Even on a shoestring budget, your small business website and a solid Facebook marketing strategy can generate leads and sales.

Even more importantly, you will have the opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your audience. This can only lead to increased business authority, as well as higher conversion rates.

Marketing Strategy for Startups

An Effective Startup Marketing Strategy for Accelerated Growth

Startups, like any other firm, can’t flourish without a solid startup marketing strategy. A well-documented plan for startups explains a company’s strategy for achieving its objectives. In other words, a good marketing plan serves as a road map for a startup’s success.

Startup Marketing Plans Are 100% Necessary

A marketing plan consists of strategies for the promotion of a startup’s products and/or services. It’s important to know, while there is no standard template, it usually includes details, information, timelines, and checklists that serve as the starting point for guiding the marketing process.

Standard marketing plans assist startups in identifying the right customers, media channels, and ways to target them. For most brands, the success of the business is highly dependent on a solid startup marketing strategy that is implemented on time. Marketing plans for startups can help by:

  • Determining the efficacy of a startup’s marketing strategy
  • Clarifying the market position of services and products
  • Understanding your market, competitors, and customers
  • Defining a company’s products and services
  • Recognizing and implementing various marketing strategies

The Elements of a Startup Marketing Plan

After reviewing hundreds of case studies from different digital marketing agencies for startups, we developed a marketing plan outline that can help you get your business off the ground quickly and easily.

First, customers must be identified.

First and foremost, you need to determine who exactly are your customers in as much in-depth detail as possible. Simon Sinek suggests beginning with “WHY” before moving on to HOW. Determine who your customers are and then develop a startup marketing strategy for them. You should be aware that numerous other startups are selling nearly identical products to yours. So, what is your competitive advantage? First, you must determine which type of consumer you are attempting to reach. Your efforts would be rewarded if you provided a comprehensive description of these categories. Describe the target audience in great detail so that everyone understands the goals you’re trying to accomplish.

For instance, here’s a buyer persona sketch for an e-commerce store selling yoga leggings.

Demographics: Primarily females between the ages of 18 to 28, University and College education, with median income of $40K per year.

Psychographics: Interests include athletics, gymnastics, fitness, yoga, and exercise.

Objectives: To become more attractive and slim.

Purchasing Power: $50-$100


  • Lacks time to go out and purchase fitness gear from a local store.
  • Desires to lose weight quickly
  • Wants compression pants that will help lose weight and gain muscle

Follow the Buyer’s Journey

After there is a good understanding of the customer and buyer’s persona, you can begin tracking them to gain additional information about their purchasing habits and preferences. This will uncover the future marketing focus of your startup. It’s important to develop clear and actionable information into how to expand your business further. As a result, it is critical to track the buyer’s journey using various tools and software.

For example, you can use analytics tools to translate website traffic into the buyer’s journey. Google Analytics is a free tool that provides a wide range of tracking options, including purchases, phone calls, and contact form submissions.

Differentiate Yourself From the Competition

The only way to stand out from the crowd is to leverage your unique position. A key component of a startup marketing strategy is by implementing features and benefits that competitors do not offer. Search forums, social media, and other online communities are great places to learn what your customers like and dislike. Then, simply incorporate those features into your offer.

Then promote the features in the same places so that potential customers are aware that you offer these features. A simple yet comprehensive positioning statement of how you will meet the needs of your customers while outperforming the competition can work wonders for you. A positioning statement with a goal-oriented approach to problem-solving is preferable to a skewed vision.

Include Marketing Concepts for Specific Niche Markets

Anyone who is starting a business from the ground up should find a way to give their company an advantage. One of the most important ways for a company to gain a competitive advantage is to identify a market niche where it can best implement promotions to outperform other players in that market segment.

Finding a niche can be challenging. However, owning a specific niche should be one of the primary goals for the business. By researching the details about the niche segment, you can really gain an understanding of the market in which you’re operating, where gaps in the market are, and how to capitalize on the niche segments.

To summarize:

  • Look for new trends.
  • Experiment with new technology.
  • Discover and pursue market opportunities.
  • Create novel solutions to a problem.
  • Ensure startup marketing strategy is documented before starting.

Selecting Profitable Marketing Channels

When you first start, you will focus on multiple channels, but after a few months of trial and error, you should have identified a few channels that work.

Forbes reports that:

Among the hundreds of marketing channels available (PR, influencers, events, digital, podcasts, print, newsletters, partnerships, and so on), it’s critical to choose the ones that will work the hardest for you for the least amount of money. A good marketing strategy begins with strategically placing bets on a few channels where your customer is most likely to see your message AND take action (like, share, buy, comment, sign up, review).


It’s also important to ensure that you’re engaging with customers at every step of the purchasing journey, from brand awareness to customer purchase. Also, be sure to stay in touch with customers after they’ve purchased to nurture brand loyalty and consumer advocacy.

Now, repeat the process.

Stay with your plan once you’ve devised one. Implement the plan for six months and then measure results to understand what worked and what didn’t. There will be times when the strategy does not go as planned; keep track of these instances and monitor your progress. You’ll have gained enough experience after six months to make better-informed decisions in the future.

Marketing Channels for Startups

Now let’s look at tactics for promoting your startup to gain new customers. Aside from the traditional approaches such as radio, print, or broadcast media, we have compiled a shortlist of various communications channels that can help grow your business.

Let’s look at how to use them effectively to make an impact.

Social Media

Social media has especially grown in popularity over the last 15 years, and serves as a good starting point for modern-marketing methods. It has transformed into an essential component of any marketing strategy because it allows you to reach a larger audience without a big investment. By taking a strategic approach, you can concentrate on smaller goals. Use it in conjunction with your other content, such as newsletters, blog articles, influencer collaboration, ebooks, and so on.

Points to remember:

  • Test content across all social media channels, but focus on a select few that are successful.
  • Post engaging and helpful content that raises brand awareness.
  • Assist potential customers by answering their questions in communities and groups.

Search Engine Marketing (SEO)

The majority of digital startups continue to rely heavily on search engines for increasing site traffic and growing revenue over a long-term timeline. They generate traffic organically from search engines like Google through blogging, earned media via public relations, and building backlinks through guest posting. That is why startups should prioritize improving their rankings on search engines, but not rely solely on it. A solid SEO strategy significantly reduces spending while increasing potential ROI.

When you first start with search engine marketing, make sure to:

Email Marketing

Whoever said email marketing is dead, is dead wrong! Email marketing continues to be an effective medium of promotion and marketing for most companies. It is also an essential component of a marketing strategy and can be effectively used for retargeting. Email marketing tactics can help businesses expand their reach, and to convert visitors into customers, email marketing necessitates the automation of drip marketing campaigns.

Email marketing is implemented as a way to move visitors from the awareness stage to the conversion and loyalty stages by sending relevant marketing material to customers at different steps of the buying journey.

Startups that want to grow their business through email marketing should:

  • A/B test email subject lines, headlines, and content.
  • Subscribers can be segmented based on their interests and preferences.

Simply put, paid advertising is absolutely crucial to the grow of any business. As a startup, you must first become acquainted with your brand before advertising it to the appropriate audience and target market. You can impress your audience and extend the reach of your business by targeting customer preferences and advertising relevant messages to them. It’s important to ensure that you identify the most effective paid marketing channels for gaining new clients. For example, Facebook marketing strategies like paid ads work great for consumer products but are less effective at driving growth for business-to-business brands.

There exists a degree of uncertainty when it comes to paid marketing and digital advertising. That’s why experts advise that your strategy should not rely solely on paid advertisements as the primary source of inbound traffic. Please keep in mind that paid ads rely on either purchasing intent or impulse purchases. People who use search engines have higher purchasing intent, whereas people who browse social media feeds in their spare time are more likely to make impulse purchases. 

Referrals and Affiliates

People frequently affiliate and referral programs confused.

  • Affiliates are other businesses that are attempting to make money by promoting your products.
  • Referrals are repeat customers who recommend your business to their friends and family.

Obtaining affiliate partnerships for your startup is one of the most effective ways to gain new customers quickly. Affiliate recommendations typically come with more authority, which positively influences people to sign up for your program. From an ROI perspective, you only have to pay your affiliates a commission when someone signs up through their referral link, rather than spending on tactics that drive traffic to your website.

In comparison to paid marketing, affiliate partnerships are a more effective way to acquire customers.

Another effective way to grow sales is through referral marketing. Generally speaking, referrals don’t perform as well as affiliate marketing, but it’s still a good marketing strategy for startups. For instance, companies like Lyft and Uber make excellent use of referral marketing. When someone downloads their app, they receive a message informing them that if someone else uses their coupon to get a ride, they will receive a credit to be used in their app.

Because of the direct impact on increasing profitability, affiliate programs deserve special attention in your startup marketing plan.

Startups can use this marketing strategy to grow their exposure and gain more customers. However, to pull this tactic off successfully, it’s important that customer support is superior. If not, you’ll risk losing your affiliate programs if errors occur with customers sourced from affiliates.

Blogs and Public Relations

Startups should also concentrate on developing content as part of their strategy. This entails developing six-month keyword research, blog marketing, and outreach strategy focused on organic rankings. According to the Content Marketing Institute, blog articles alone are an effective way to raise brand awareness about your product than any other medium. Another benefit of content marketing is you own the content. You don’t know when the social media algorithm will change, or when the paid marketing channel you use to promote your products will increase in price. But you do know your blog will always be working for you, 24/7/365.

Marketing Through Influencers

Influencer marketing is another approach to generate buzz for startups. As a result, it is a critical component of the startup marketing strategy. It entails identifying, collaborating (and most times, paying) a social media influencer to spread your message within their network. Influencer marketing does not guarantee sales, but it is an excellent way to raise brand awareness.

It’s important to remember:

  • Influencers can be used to test new products in the market more quickly.
  • More ROI can be obtained by utilizing micro-influencers.
  • Focus on a variety of micro-influencers to expand your reach.

Offline marketing should not be underestimated.

Digital marketing is absolutely sufficient to spark growth on its own. However, some startups require traditional marketing mediums to succeed. Print media and television marketing, billboard and transit advertisements, event marketing and sponsorship, and guerilla marketing are all examples of offline marketing channels. Because of their impact on effectively growing a brand, these marketing options should be considered when developing a startup marketing plan.

Other examples also include sales brochures, business cards, flyers, and vouchers. Before deciding on the type of offline channel to use, it is critical to first have a deep understanding of your customers.

Marketing Performance Metrics

Now that you’ve determined all aspects of your marketing strategy, it’s time to put your plan into action. Begin by marketing through various social media channels, start broad then narrow your campaigns to a few that work.

Prepare to Make Changes

Lastly, don’t be afraid to change the direction of your campaign to find a successful marketing strategy for your startup. Things have a habit of changing. To meet market demands, all businesses must be ready to change the course to maintain a competitive advantage.

Were you able to use this guide to create a startup marketing plan? What else should we say about it? Let us know by sharing this article on social media and tag us in the post!


Guest Posting: How & Why You Should Be Doing It

Guest posting has risen to become one of the best Search Engine Optimization practices for any website, from everyday bloggers to large corporations. One of the biggest challenges for an online business is getting your messages to your potential leads, and though a solid social media strategy will always be beneficial, it can take a while to see the fruits of your labor. This is where guest posting can come in. Below you’ll learn how guest posting can help your bottom line, and how to do it the right way.

First, it’s important that we answer the question, “What is guest posting?” According to

Guest blogging, also called “guest posting,” is the act of writing content for another company’s website. Generally, guest bloggers write for similar blogs within their industry in order to: Attract traffic back to their website.

It may seem counterproductive to spend time writing articles for other sites (that you may even look at as competitors no less), when you could be using that time to create content for your own site. But the opportunities that guest posting can offer you can be monumental for your SEO and sales goals. Here are some of the things that guest posting can do for your site.


Writing blog posts for other blogs allows you to get in front of their audience, thus raising your brand awareness to potential prospects who may be unfamiliar with your brand.


If your brand provides quality content, people will come back for more. It’s really as simple as that. Building authority in your industry goes hand in hand with building customer trust. Guest posting on other related sites allows you to display your depth of knowledge in your field.


A website without traffic is a website without profits. When your article goes live on another site, this can supply you with months and years of traffic, depending on the popularity of the site that it’s posted on and how helpful your post is.

One last advantage of guest posting is that it allows you to get a backlink to your website, which is a major factor in SEO ranking. Why? Because backlinks are the lifeblood of SEO, and typically the more backlinks a website has, the higher Google will rank it in search results.


  • Start by making a list of anywhere from 10-50 sites that you’d like to guest post for.
  • Determine whether or not the site accepts accept guest posts first. 
  • Bypass your competition and instead look for related blogs to write for.
  • Shoot for sites that are bigger than yours, but not so much that you’ll likely get ignored.
  • Don’t forget to continuously do keyword research to find new opportunities. 


When you’ve discovered the sites you’re going to write for, you now have to figure out how to produce an astonishing pitch that is sure to make the blogger you’re reaching state yes without fail. Here are a few ways to do this.


How can you make your ideas stand out from the rest? Try to think of unique angles to subjects that have been discussed recently, or consider re-hashing an old post and spinning it with new ideas and updates. Be sure to create a title that is attention-grabbing and memorable, and don’t be afraid to include links to other noteworthy pieces that you’ve published. It’s OK to show off a little bit.


Your content strategy can’t rely on a one-size-fits-all approach. Don’t send the same template email to every site you pitch. Make sure to tailor all of your pitch emails to the specific person (and site). Also, be sure to include the person’s name (and the name of the site) as well as a reason why your pitch should be considered.


Attempt to make an actual connection with whoever you’re contacting. Keep in mind, there is a human behind that site as much as there is behind yours, and regardless of whether their blog is bigger than yours, we’re all human at the end of the day. Be yourself and be clear about what you want from them. When it comes to effective outreach, people are more receptive than you may think.

Lastly, don’t spam your prospects. Create a spreadsheet or other tracking document and note all of your follow-ups. Try following up once or twice, and if they don’t respond then simply cross them off your list.

Guest posting can offer a great way to meet and share with other bloggers, introduce your content to new audiences, and get valuable SEO backlinks. Remember to be personable, direct, and unique when conducting your outreach. It’s really just a numbers game at the end of the day.


Understanding Your Customer’s Wants And Needs

Successful Marketing Requires Understanding Your Customer’s Wants and Needs

At the end of the day, the basic customer’s wants and needs are the primary driving force for taking action to engage with your brand and buy your products or services. Whenever a need goes unsatisfied, there exists a gap between what a customer desires and what they currently have – whether on a physical or psychological level. This is important to remember for global mass-market organizations, mid-market companies, and small-to-medium-sized businesses because the impact is the same. If a need in a market is unmet, the competition will have an opportunity to gain an advantage when contending for the same customers.

Consumer Needs

This is where human psychology and behavior come into play, which focuses on the premise that every human has a need. Needs can be a basic physical need critical to our survival, such as food, drink, shelter, and sleep. People also have social and emotional needs that are critical to one’s happiness and mental health, such as belonging, security, esteem, love, and self-fulfillment. Needs are what motivates the behavior of people to make a decision to find a solution, which in many cases is “consumption behavior”. Having needs fulfilled do not come from marketers or social forces; they come from the basic biological and psychological aspects of human existence.

Similar to customers, businesses also have needs that must be satisfied to assure survival and well-being. The driving force behind the needs of an organization is determined by the strategic objectives and the resources required to achieve the objectives, such as capital, equipment, inventory, supplies, or services.

Consumer Wants

A consumer’s wants usually reflect the desired preferences for specific ways of satisfying a need. Thus, people usually want particular products, brands, or services that satisfy their needs in a specific way. A person is thirsty but wants something sweet, so perhaps they choose a Coke. Someone may need a new car, but they want a pickup truck because they live on a farm (a truck will best fit their needs) but they want Ford because “they’re tough” or perceived a dependable. When considering a B2B organization, a company may need office space, but they want an office with a prestigious address in midtown Manhattan.

Usually, needs are relatively few, but wants are shaped by social influences (celebrity or influencer endorsements), past history (recalls or awesome charitable work), and consumption behavior (the product or service is practical, functional, and effectively solves a problem). It’s important to remember that different people have different wants to satisfy the same need. Everyone needs to keep warm on a cold winter night, but some people want to use a down comforter while some people want to crank up the heat, and others may even want to use an electric blanket.

These differences between the customer’s wants and needs help to shed light on whether or not marketing campaigns and advertising can actually meet people’s wants and needs. Neither a marketing agency nor any other social force can create the physical and emotional aspects of being human. However, marketing and social forces can influence and customer’s wants and needs. A major role of a marketing agency is to help develop and promote products or services by simulating a customer’s specific want for a specific brand that helps them better satisfy one or more of their needs.

Photo by Demian Smit from Pexels

Do Customers Always Know What They Want?

Some business owners question whether or not a strong focus on customer needs and wants is always a good thing. It’s been argued that a customer may not always be able to articulate what they need or want. For instance, the smartphone is a good example of how consumers may not know that a product or service is technically possible, however, the need for more convenience always exists.

Akio Morita (late CEO of Sony) once said:

Our plan is to lead the public with new products rather than ask them what kind of products they want. The public does not know what is possible, but we do. So instead of doing a lot of marketing research, we refine our thinking on a product and its use and try to create a market for it by educating and communicating with the public. (1)

In fact, the Chrysler Minivan was developed with little or no market research. (You’re welcome, Karen.) In comparison, the Ford Edsel, New Coke, and McDonald’s Mclean low-fat burger, were all flops that were developed with a lot of customer feedback. (2)

When you think about it, the laws of probability dictate that some new products will succeed and even more will fail, regardless of how much money is invested into market research. Although, we should point out that without fault, critics of customer market research argue that paying too much attention to needs and wants can suppress innovation, leading companies to produce only marginal improvements, or even settling for producing line extensions of products and services that already exist, wrapped up with brand messaging as something different. How then, should business owners and marketers find a balance in this dilemma?

Conduct Market Research

While end-consumers may not always be able to accurately describe what they want, the same usually is not the same for business-to-business customers. In fact, the customer’s wants and needs of a B2B business are generally very clear and easy to understand. Oftentimes, B2B products are developed by the urging of customers and are designed in partnership between vendor and customer.

In contrast, gaining an understanding of consumer markets through research and opportunity analysis should be approached from an R&D perspective. This can be achieved by a conversation (conducted via focus groups, surveys, etc.) about technical concepts that can then be turned into salable products or services. The following is a great example of how we utilized social media to conduct market research for our client, Well Played Board Game Cafe.

A customer focus is critical for business development. It’s important to utilize analytical insights, market experience, and customer inputs to decide what products or services to make, what benefits they will offer to customers, and whether customers will value the benefits – at least enough to make it commercially viable.

The success factor of focusing on the customer often becomes clear when businesses attempt to develop a variety of new product offerings from an already well-established and successful product or technology. (i.e. Crystal Pepsi). In the case of new innovative technology like Augmented Reality, the tech must first be developed into a prototype or product concept before consumers can react and the commercial potential can be determined. In other cases, customers are able to describe the specific benefits they need or want without knowing what is technically feasible.

Customers usually find it easier to express what they don’t like or want about a product or service and what additional benefits they would like from something new. For example, before Apple introduced the iPod (yes, even before the iPhone), very view people knew about the convenience the product provided or were unaware of the possibilities of digital technology. At the time, if you asked a customer if they would buy a product smaller than a Sony Walkman that could store 10,000 songs they could import from their computer without messing with changing CDs and the songs won’t skip we all would say “YES PLEASE!”


Although a strong focus on customers is necessary for developing new innovative products, it also shouldn’t hinder business owners from focusing on satisfying the wants and needs customers are able to articulate by improving current products or services. More importantly, even though organizations can succeed in the short run by ignoring customer desires, incorporating a strong customer focus pays off over time in terms of market share and profit. (3)

1. Quoted in Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad, Competing for the Future (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press. 1994)

2. Justin Martin, “Ignore Your Customer”, Fortune, 5/1/1995/ P121-126

3. “The Effect of Market Orientation on Business Profitability,” Journal of Marketing 54 (4/90) p1-18