16 Of The Best Podcast Hosting Sites For 2019 (Free & Paid)

Grow your podcast faster and more effectively with the right tools

Last updated December 5, 2019


After you’ve done your research and decided that podcasting is perfect for you to grow an audience or let off a little steam, several questions will pop up.


One of the most important questions has to do with podcast hosting. What’s the best podcasting site to host your content?


Unfortunately, you can’t just record a great podcast episode and upload it to iTunes or Spotify.


First, you need a podcast hosting platform that’ll store the files and make it easy to distribute it to directories.

Instead of going through dozens of websites, social posts, and forums to find the answer, I’ve compiled 16 of the best podcast hosting sites to help you get your messages to the hundreds of millions of people who listen to podcasts.


** Please note, a few of the links below may be affiliate links. However, the tools have been vetted to ensure they’ll help you build a successful podcast.

Just tell me who the best are so I can get started


The TL;DR version.


Podbean– Podbean is one of the rare tools that’ll be ideal for you at all stages of your growth. It’s a strong all-around choice for podcast hosting. It's a generous free podcast hosting tool that has tons of unique features to help with monetization. It’s one of the most robust podcast hosts available and you can’t go wrong no matter what your needs are.


Buzzsprout – This is more geared towards beginner podcasters that haven’t found their footing or don’t have the budget for some of the other premium hosts. It has a free tier and simple interface that’ll allow you to get up and running quickly. It has the core features you need and years of experience in the industry.


Transistor.fm – This is a relatively new podcast hosting company but they’re quickly making a name for themselves. It has an intuitive interface and lets you launch and maintain multiple podcasts on your hosting plan. It’s ideal if you have more than one podcast and use a team to produce high-quality content.

Podcast hosting platform ranking criteria


There are 16 total podcasts on this list and each one is ranked against 4 specific criteria. The better the score, the higher its position on this list.


1.    Ease of use


How easy is it to learn how to use the tool? Is the onboarding process clear and useful or will it confuse people who are new to the world of podcasting? Is the interface outdated or have they kept up with modern design trends? What about the language and terminology – is it clear and concise or confusing?


2.    Price


Do they have a free tier and if not are the paid plans reasonably priced when compared to other tools on the market? If it’s more expensive, is there any real justification for that?


3.    Features


In addition to the standard features you’d expect like hosting a podcast, what else does it bring to the table? Does it have analytics, websites, and more to give you an edge when trying to gain traction for your podcast?


4.    Support


What kind of support channels do they offer? Is there a knowledge base, live chat, phone support, email support, a blog or forum, etc.? How responsive is the support and are they knowledgeable?

What is the best podcast hosting


This is the moment of truth. Which podcasting platform has the highest score and is worthy of hosting your hard work?


I’ll be honest, that’s not the easiest question to answer because every podcaster has unique needs. Keep that in mind when you’re looking at the top podcast platforms picks.


1.    Podbean

podbean image

Podbean comes first on this list for several reasons. They’re veterans in the podcasting space and have been around since 2006 before podcasting was a thing. During that time, they’ve grown to serve 300,000 podcasters in almost every niche. Across the platform, they’ve managed over 9 million podcast episodes which have been downloaded over 6.4 billion times.


They can only boast of stats like that because of their impressive collection of features. Of course, you get podcast hosting for your audio files. Once you’ve started your channel, collect the RSS feed URL and submit it to the major directories such as iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play.


Podbean customers also get access to podcast websites. Choose from a large selection of prebuilt themes and put your best foot forward. It also has powerful analytics that gives you deep insights into the performance of your podcast over time. View audience numbers, downloads, and trends about performance.


These features are expected in podcast hosting sites. Podbean stands out from the crowd with the monetization options and extra distribution that’s been built for podcasters. It supports video and when you link your YouTube channel, it can automatically produce a basic video for you. Instead of going out of your way to find advertisers, tap into the Podbean advertising marketplace and find the perfect partners.


If you don’t want to go the advertising route, set up a recurring subscription for your audience and give subscribers access to special content. Finally, monetize your podcast using the patron features. Your true fans can subscribe to pay you a certain amount every month so you can continue to deliver great content without constraints.


The Podbean dashboard is simple to learn and understand. When you first sign up, you’ll have a generic image and podcast name which you can then edit.

podbean ease of use image

After you’ve done the preliminary setup, chosen a category, and added your descriptions you’re free to start uploading episodes and submitting to directories. It has a detailed knowledge base and they can be contacted via email or chat (premium customers) if any issue pops up. The response time is superb and the support staff is knowledgeable.


Pricing is another plus. It lets you get started with podcasting for free with an allowance of 5 hours of uploads a month and 100GB bandwidth. The paid tiers go up to $99/m and include unlimited storage and bandwidth, advanced design options, and the ads marketplace.


It’s a solid choice that’ll be able to support your podcast no matter how popular it gets.

2.    Buzzsprout

buzzsprout headline image

Buzzsprout was founded in 2008 and has become one of the favorites among first-time podcasters. It scores high marks on ease of use and brings solid features to the table that’ll help you grow your podcast.


The core podcast hosting and upload and interface is designed to get you up and running within a few minutes of registering your account. After uploading at least three podcast episodes and getting a minimum of a single listen to each, you get access to detailed stats. You can see total plays, top countries, top directories, and your most popular episodes. These are estimates that are calculated using a unique Buzzsprout algorithm.


The podcast player is customizable to match your brand and can be embedded in almost any website. It also optimizes your website for the best quality possible without extra work. It also has an add-on for 192k stereo optimization. Finally, you get a podcast website which can be customized with your brand colors and a few other options.


Buzzsprout only allows a single podcast per plan so if you have multiple shows (or plan multiple shows in the future), it’s important to consider that.


The Buzzsprout UI itself is simple to the point of feeling dated but it comes with a positive side - there’s almost no way to get lost. If it isn’t broke don’t fix it right? That’s why it’s such a good option for beginners – a tiny learning curve.

image of buzzsprout features


Buzzsprout can be reached via email if you run into any issues and they also have an extensive knowledge base so you can solve small issues on your own. Finally, Buzzsprout is free to start. You can upload up to 2 hours of audio content a month and the most expensive paid plan is $24/m.


The plans all have the same features with the major difference being the number of hours of audio content you can upload every month. The largest paid plan gives you 12 hours of uploads a month.If you're on the fence, keep in mind that it's a free podcast hosting platform you can grow into. 

And get a $20 Amazon gift card when you upgrade to any paid plan.


3.    Transistor.FM

transistor fm podcast hosting site

Transistor is relatively new to the world of podcast hosting. It has an emphasis on team collaboration and ease of use.


In addition to hosting your audio files, Transistor has great analytics that let you understand what’s working and where you should be applying your effort. 90 days of stats, subscriber counts, best directory, and more are included. In addition to the stats, you can host multiple podcasts, invite team members, customize your player and embed it anywhere, and create beautiful branded websites.


As I mentioned before, it’s a simple to use podcast hosting site that’ll get out of your way and allow you to focus on growing your audience. You can access support via multiple channels which includes a knowledge base, live chat, and email tickets. You can also import your podcast from a different hosting platform without hassle.


Finally, Transistor doesn’t have a free plan but it does allow you to test all the features with a 14-day trial. After the trial, paid plans start at $19/m up to $99/m and are limited by the number of team members you can invite and total show downloads.

4.    Simplecast

simplecast podcast hosting platform


Simplecast is one of the most powerful podcast hosting sites on the market and has built that expertise over 6 years.


It has in-depth analytics that gives you insights into the popular episodes, top listening apps, popular countries, and most popular listening time. It also has a unique analytics feature it refers to as audience insights. These insights allow you to compare multiple episodes, get customizable download charts, view an interactive location map, listening locations, device type, and more. It also has another set of analytics that reveals listening speed, retention, and embed locations.


Simplecast also comes with unlimited storage, unlimited uploads, themed websites, team support, and more. It’s a bit more complicated to use at first but the range of features and the detailed analytics more than make up for it. If you run into any issues or want to find out more about how to use the Simplecast podcast platform, you can access a knowledge base, send an email, or communicate with the support team via chat.


Pricing ranges from $15 - $85 a month and comes with a 14-day free trial. The Simplecast entry-level plan doesn’t get any access to the audience insights which limits its main selling point. If you can afford it then I suggest you go with the middle tier or above to enjoy its robust features.

5.    Captivate

Captivate podcast hosting image

Captivate is among the best podcast hosting platforms for a few key reasons. It was built with independent podcasters in mind and focuses on helping them grow their podcast faster with a few key features.


Calls to action on the podcast player to help you send people to the right place at the right time. The player itself is completely customizable so you can match it to your brand. It also provides podcast websites which can be customized down to the smallest detail. Upload your podcast, distribute it to directories, and invite your team.


In addition to the growth-oriented features, it has 24/7 support via email, live chat, and a knowledge base. Just like the website itself, the dashboard is well designed and makes it easy to navigate even if you’ve never used a podcast host before.


Pricing starts at $19/m and goes all the way to $99/m. All plans come with a 7-day free trial to use all the features contained therein.

6.    Castos

castos podcast hosting platform


Castos was founded by veteran podcaster Craig Hewitt who’s been podcasting for over 4 years. The platform is built to make podcasting with WordPress a breeze.


It has the features you’d expect like unlimited storage, unlimited podcasts, and unlimited bandwidth. If you’re coming from another platform, it’ll help you migrate all your shows and episodes at no charge. After installing the WordPress plugin, you’re able to upload podcasts directly from the WordPress dashboard. For an additional fee, you can also get automated transcripts.


It also gives you the ability to publish to YouTube, customize your podcast player, and access deep analytics that let you know exactly what’s working.


It has an intuitive modern interface to make podcasting simple no matter your experience level and the knowledge base will answer most of your questions. In addition to that, you can send an email or chat with the team live.


Castos starts at $19/m up to $49/m – all plans come with unlimited storage and episodes.

podcast websites image

Podcast Websites has an emphasis on building beautiful websites for your podcast. The themes are made for WordPress which allows you to get up and running quickly.


It comes with built-in integrations to popular services such as Aweber and MailChimp to help you grow your mailing list. It also has detailed analytics to help you understand your growth over time. Podcast Websites also takes learning seriously with a dedicated academy to teach you tricks of the trade.


The website builder has a simple drag and drop interface and you can create unlimited landing pages, blog posts, and web pages. It also comes with unlimited traffic allowance, daily backups, unlimited hosting, and more.


24/7 support ensures you’re taken care of at all times and the interface is straightforward but looks a bit dated. Finally, it has two pricing plans of $77/m and $97/m and a 7-day guarantee. It’s the ideal solution if you want everything handled under one roof.

8.    Libsyn

podcast libsyn

Libsyn is an old podcast hosting player and has been in the trenches serving podcasters since 2004. It has evolved into a one-stop-shop for hosting and monetization.


It provides detailed analytics to understand your audience with information like geography, social media stats, downloads, and more. It also has a feature called myLibsyn that allows you to gather subscribers who pay to access premium content. It’s on a revenue share model ranging from 70% – 80% depending on the number of subscribers you have.


Podcasters can also customize the player and publish their podcast to multiple directories at once. The interface is decent and support is responsive and knowledgeable.


The reason it doesn’t get a higher spot on the list is that the data allowances are quite small. If you produce a longer podcast multiple times a month then you’ll be immediately pushed into the higher tiers.

Plans range from $5 - $40 or more every month.

9.    Spreaker

spreaker homepage

Spreaker is a simple podcast hosting platform that focuses on a few key features. It starts with the option to host live podcast episodes right from its app known as Spreaker Studio. It can also be used to record your podcast episodes without going live.


It also has analytics that let you know your listen/download numbers, location of your audience, and traffic sources (how people find you). Finally, it has auto-publish features for YouTube, a show webpage, and the ability to host multiple shows.


The interface is relatively straightforward and should be easy for you to learn and if you have any issues, you can access a knowledge base or send an email.


It let's you start podcasting for free with its entry level plan and works its way up to $50/m. It’s limited by the number of hours of content that can be hosted with the free plan giving you 5 hours total and the largest plan giving you 1,500 hours.

 10.           Podomatic

podomatic homepage image


Podomatic is a free to start podcast hosting platform that’s been around since 2005.


It focuses on getting you up and running quickly so you can produce great content for your audience. It comes standard with analytics, 15GB of bandwidth every month, and free storage of up to 500MB.


You also get access to a podcasting website powered by Weebly, the ability to monetize your podcast with patrons through Patreon. There’s a direct Patreon link on your podcast page so your audience won’t miss it. If that’s not your thing then you can connect with advertisers through Advertisecast.


The interface is simple enough to learn and support is responsive. Contact them via email, phone, or take advantage of the knowledge base.


Plans start at $9.99/m and go up to $24.99/m.

11.           Podiant.co

podiant image


Podiant is a podcast hosting platform that’s starting to make its mark in the podcasting world. To date, it has managed over 3 million downloads.


It comes with detailed analytics to show you the major stats about your podcast and recommendations about how you can improve viewership and engagement. It also allows you to connect social channels like Facebook and Twitter and auto-publish to YouTube.


In addition to the standard hosting (which comes with unlimited storage), you’re able to build beautiful podcast websites with landing pages, bio pages, episode pages, a blog, and more. The support is responsive and knowledgeable and there’s a detailed knowledge base. The interface itself is easy to navigate so you should be up and running pretty quickly.


Pricing starts at $12.99/m to $35.97/m.

12.           Audioboom.com

audioboom homepage image


Audioboom is a combination podcast hosting solution and platform to connect with advertisers.


Audioboom helps you distribute your podcast episodes the largest directories. Add a responsive embeddable player anywhere you can think of and access analytics that gives you detailed insights about episode performance. Get a simple podcast page on Audioboom and also invite collaborators to help make your show amazing. Finally, upload unlimited episodes per month.


When you have a larger volume, you can get access to the advertising partnerships, contributor accounts, sponsorships, sales service, and more.


Support is handled via email and it has a detailed knowledge base to answer the most common questions and problems that may arise.


If you have less than 10,000 downloads per episode then it’s a flat rate of $9.99/m.

13.           Podserve.fm

Podserve podcast hosting


Podserve was created by the people behind PodParadise.com and is unique among podcast hosts because it actively promotes your show to their audience and bills itself as a full-service host. With that being said, we’re here for the best podcast hosting site so that’s just a fringe benefit.


It has a limited amount of features because the selling point is promotion. When you upload your podcast, it will work to get it listed in the major directories. Once you start getting listens, you’ll be able to access analytics that shed light on downloads, geography, and most popular days. It supports unlimited podcasts and episodes.


Podserve is a decent hosting company and you won’t have any issues of you sign up with them but they don’t have many advanced features. The emphasis is on getting your podcast in the popular directories and promotion. There’s only one plan at $19/m.

14.           Fireside.fm

fireside homepage image


Fireside is a podcast host built by podcasters for podcasters and is relatively new to the game. It comes standard with unlimited episodes and downloads.


It has interesting features such as a customizable website with an attached blog, detailed analytics, and a customizable player that can be embedded anywhere. There are also multiple tools to take it further like sharing stats with sponsors, collaborators, and scheduled publishing.


It has a simple user interface that’ll make it easy to get set up and running and the support center is well thought out. If you run into any problems, contact them via email and it’ll get sorted out sooner rather than later.

It comes with a 14-day trial and single plan at $19/m which removes the hassle of thinking about if you’re going over your limit.

15.           Backtracks.fm

backtracks podcast hosting site


Backtracks is a podcast hosting platform that’s on a mission to change the industry. Traditionally, analytics are hard to measure and there’s no differentiation from a download and a play.


That’s where Backtracks steps in. It has powerful analytics built on an open-source framework it developed. Get historical data, create custom reports, view trends, and take advantage of AI to ensure the data is accurate. In addition to the robust analytics, you get an embeddable player, secure hosting, and API access.


It has a modern interface that even the least tech-savvy person can understand quickly. The support team is knowledgeable but it’s tied to your pricing plan with the lowest plan being excluded to from email support.


It starts at $49/m and goes up to $249/m. Though it’s a powerful podcast analytics platform, it’s much more expensive than other solutions on the market and doesn’t have as many features. In addition to that, support quality is explicitly tied to your pricing plan.

16.           Soundcloud

soundcloud free podcast hosting


Soundcloud is a popular music hosting platform which many people have decided to use to host their podcasts. Though popular, it doesn’t have many of the features you’d expect in a podcast hosting platform.


One of the benefits of using it is the ability to get discovered organically on the Soundcloud website. People can also subscribe to get updates about your content. The pro plan ads detailed analytics, scheduled releases, and removal of public stats.


It can be a solid choice is you’re looking for a free option but you can get a lot more if you take the 7€ - 11€ and invest it in another podcast host.

Why do you need podcast hosting?


If you’re new to podcasting, you may not realize that audio files tend to be huge. Uploading them to your web hosting isn’t ideal. If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, you’ll have a file size upload limit. Of course, you can get around that if you contact your host but that’s not the real issue.


A normal image file, when optimized, is about 100kb. That’s a small file. A high-quality audio file of about 30 minutes, when optimized, can reach 300mb. When someone comes and listens to your podcast episode that’s been uploaded through your web host, there’s not much of a problem. It’s when multiple people are listening at once that it’s an issue.


Your website can slow to a crawl and consume all the bandwidth on shared hosting plans. Even if your hosts claim there’s unlimited bandwidth, there are usually fair usage policies in place. You risk getting kicked off your hosting or having to upgrade to a higher plan. Even then, there’s a limit to what even the best web hosts can handle. A popular show has the potential to cost you a lot of money without proper podcast hosting.


A podcast host is where you upload your audio files. It produces an RSS feed which you can then distribute to directories. Every time you upload a new episode, the directories like iTunes and Spotify are also updated. If someone is listening, the content is downloaded or streamed from the podcast hosting site you’re using.


Another reason is because of the added benefits associated with some of the best podcast hosting companies like analytics, in addition to podcast directories, websites, audio players, and more.


What to consider when selecting the best podcast hosting service


There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when choosing a podcast hosting service. The podcast platform you choose has to meet your needs. In addition to the criteria outlined before, consider the following things.


The focus of the podcast host


Each podcasting platform is slightly different in what they do and the type of customers they’re looking for. For example, Backtracks is focused more on enterprise customers and podcast aggregators. Its main focus is the analytics suite and because of that, it lacks a lot of other features. It’s by no means a bad host but it’s not for everyone.


Pricing (be wary of completely free hosts)


It’s said that if you don’t know what the product is then you’re the product. Take Facebook. It doesn’t charge you for its app but it sells access to your data to advertisers. Because of that, you’re the product. Of course, you don’t want to overpay for podcast hosting. At the same time, it’s important to make sure the price is in line with the features.


Reliability, bandwidth, and upload time allocation


One of the most important things to consider is the reliability of the podcast hosting platform. It wouldn’t make sense if they gave you unlimited everything but were always experiencing downtime. Once you’ve determined they’re reliable, you want to make sure there’s enough bandwidth to support the downloads you get.


Finally, how much storage space is available? Audio files are large so you want to make sure the total allotment will be enough to serve you over time.

Other considerations for podcast hosting

The following considerations may not weigh directly when you’re choosing the best host for your needs but they’re still important. Keep them in the back of your mind because it’ll affect your overall brand and growth.


Website hosting


Reliable hosting isn’t a choice – it’s essential. You can start with an entry-level plan with someone like Bluehost but you’ll need to migrate once your platform grows. If speed and security are important to you then I’d suggest a dedicated WordPress like WPX Hosting. It’s the host we use for the KyLeads marketing site and we’re happy with the performance.


Email marketing & List Building


This is how you get your audience members to do more than just listen to your podcast. It’s also how you build deeper connections and eventually sell products that turns your podcast into a real online business.


We only recommend three tools for this.


  1. KyLeads – yes, we’re biased because it’s our software but it’ll definitely serve you well for list building and even surveying your audience to find out the kind of content they want to see.
  2. ActiveCampaign – This is the exact email marketing service I’ve been personally using for years and I brought it over to KyLeads. It’s a beast of a tool and if you want to select a platform that’ll serve you no matter how big your list gets then this is for you.
  3. Leadpages – Of course, you need landing pages and Leadpages is perfect for that.


Marketing


This isn’t directly tied to your podcast hosting but it’s an important consideration nonetheless. How are you planning to grow your audience, better understand their wants, and turn into a podcasting legend?


If you’ve not given it serious thought then it may be a good idea to write down a plan. Even if it’s not perfect, you’ll be better than 99% of the people who start a podcast and just want to “see how it goes.”.

Conclusion


Podcasting is a great way to build authority, do what you love, and share your message with the world. It’s a bit more complicated than recording audio and uploading to iTunes (which is impossible BTW).


There are tons of moving parts and an important consideration is the podcast hosting platform you choose. The right one will help you more than you know. The wrong one will be a drain on your finances while it hinders your growth.


I’ve gone through 16 of the best while sharing other information about podcast hosting. The rest is up to you.

Demand Generation: How To Use It To Explode Revenue + Examples

It would be amazing if you could create a product or service and people started lining up to buy.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen in the 21st century.

There’s too much competition and choice for people to miraculously notice you.

So what do you do?

How do you bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be with your products and services?

The answer is demand generation.

If knowing the term could solve all your problems then we probably wouldn’t be here.

In this article, you’ll get an in-depth understanding of what demand generation is, different strategies to implement it, and demand generation examples.

What is Demand Generation

Demand generation is a collection of marketing programs or initiatives created for your target market that builds awareness and interest in your products and services.

The key to demand generation is that it’s not a one-off experience or campaign. It’s a sustained effort that usually encompasses more than one channel, involves a sales team, and varies in complexity based on the product you’re selling and the price point.

Most demand generation campaigns are created by B2B, business to government, and business to prosumers companies. B2C companies tend to remove the sales team because the price points allow people to buy with little thought. Of course, there are common exceptions to this rule like cars. They’re sold to consumers but there’s a demand generation process in place because it’s an expensive purchase.

A common part of a demand generation strategy company’s use is attending events and setting up booths. IFTTT, which targets consumers and businesses, takes it a bit further by handing out socks with their logo on it. It may not make you buy but it is an interesting way to create awareness.

IFTTT Demand gen

I’m sure you’ve seen the statistics which state the majority of small businesses fail within a few years. What you may not know is that 42% fail because there’s no market need and another 14% fail because of poor marketing. Both of these issues could be addressed by demand generation.

reasons businesses fail

Before we dive into demand gen properly, it’s important to know the difference between it and lead generation.

Demand generation vs lead generation

Demand generation and lead generation are often confused and, as a result, are used interchangeably.

This is a mistake.

Part of the reason why they’re confused so much is because there’s a lot of overlap. Demand gen, when done right, flows right into lead generation. At times, the things you do for demand generation also produce qualified leads.

For example, Coschedule has a headline analyzer that requires you to put in your email address before you use it.

coschedule headline analyzer

It creates awareness about the brand while also capturing contact information.

We’ve already established what demand generation is so let’s look at the definition of lead generation.

Lead generation is the process of turning prospects or potential customers into leads which you can eventually turn into customers. There are many types of leads including marketing qualified leads (MQL), product qualified leads (PQL), and sales qualified leads (SQL).

Not every business makes a distinction between the different types of leads. At times it’s not necessary.

An organization will create a lead magnet which can take many forms such as:

What you can use for lead generation is only limited by your imagination.

Demand generation gets people to interact with your brand and check out your products. Lead generation is a method you use to capitalize on the attention. They go hand in hand.

Demand generation marketing

Just like with lead magnets, there are many ways to build awareness and interest in your products. They go by many names such as guerilla marketing, content marketing, social marketing etc. but it’s all demand generation.

Instead of getting caught up in a specific strategy or channel, focus on how well it’s working for your business.

  • Are you hitting your sales targets?
  • Is the performance within KPIs you set?
  • Does the acquisition cost line up with what you’re seeing from other channels?
  • What’s the retention rate of people who join via one channel vs another?

The questions you ask will – of course – depend on your business.

Here are 7 demand gen strategies you can use to create awareness and grow your business.

1.      Social ads

Ads are one of the fastest ways to create awareness around a new product or service. You’re able to get in front of different audiences and show them a message that’ll appeal to them.

The rise of social media has taken advertising to another level. Before, you’d have to create an ad for a newspaper or magazine, shell out thousands of dollars, and hope it worked.

Now, you can test campaigns with just a few dollars, refine your messaging so it matches your audience, and reap the rewards. On top of that, your prospects are on social media. Facebook alone boasts over a billion daily active users.

Demand generation Facebook app

Source

Vango curates original art and makes it easy for consumers to find what they want and also buy. The ad above communicates the core value proposition and a benefit in a clear way so interested users can focus on the call to action.

source

Game of Thrones, the uber-popular HBO adaptation, was pirated billions of times during its long run. Needless to say, people know what it is and can’t seem to get enough. HBO capitalizes on this popularity by making an ad that puts the show front and center.

2.      Retargeting ads

It’s been said many times that someone needs to be exposed to a message up to seven times before they take action on it. The internet is no different.

Depending on the statistic, more than 75% of your visitors will never come back. They land on your website, consume your content, and leave. The relationship is over before it began.

Retargeting is an effective strategy to continue showing your messages to potential customers without overspending. The key is to choose the platforms where you can reach your prospects.

Google Display Network and Facebook Audience Network reach almost every internet user in the world. GDN alone can get you in front of 90% of internet users. 65% see an ad served by Google every single day.

Source

LeadPages uses a different approach to retargeting. Instead of sending a retargeting message to everyone that visits its website, it segments its audience based on what they’ve shown interest in.

If someone lands on a product page then they get a different retargeting ad from someone that landed on a blog post. In the image above, the ad is for someone who viewed a relevant article. After clicking on the ad and not converting, the visitor is immediately retargeted with a different message.

3.      Free tool or resource

All of us use tools to get work done or make life a bit easier. Creating a useful tool for demand gen is a strategy that’s been proven to work time and again.

I’ve shared the example of CoSchedule with their headline analyzer. It’s relevant to their audience but isn’t directly tied to their core business – a marketing calendar.

Moz took a slightly different approach. It spent a lot of time and energy creating a suite of SEO tools for the SMB market. The only problem was that SMBs weren’t well versed with SEO and it’s sometimes complicated metrics.

They also weren’t the best at using the tools Moz created for competitive analysis so it like more of a luxury than a necessity. In response to this gap in perception, Moz created a free toolbar and a free account. After a user downloads it, they’re able to get basic metrics about websites while browsing the internet.

Mozbar demand generation

Eventually, the free user will upgrade to get access to the full suite of tools and metrics it generates.

The team behind Unsplash didn’t have a problem with customer education. The problem was generating awareness about the services it offered. One day, the team had a photo shoot for their website redesign and were left with a lot of unused images. Instead of storing them on a hard drive somewhere, they decided to set up a microsite and give the images away.

The website blew up almost overnight and saved the struggling agency. That company was Crew (now part of Dribbble) and the website they built is called Unsplash.

Unsplash

It has since been sold but it’s the perfect example of how a resource can create demand that builds your customer base.

4.      Content marketing

Over the last few years, content marketing has become an incredibly popular way to create awareness. With that popularity comes competition. Today, over four million blog posts have been published.

With that being said, companies are still reaping the rewards from it. 62% of B2B marketers say their content marketing is getting more successful. The key is to create better content and match your strategy to the needs of your audience.

A proven strategy for attracting more eyeballs is using proprietary research. Almost every company has data in some form or another that people would find interesting.

OKCupid uses the information it gets from users to create compelling blog posts and infographics around dating issues.

OK cupid demand generation

Dig through your data or partner with data geeks to find insights that would appeal to your target audience.

5.      Webinars

I hesitate to mention webinars because they’ve been abused in many markets. I’ve personally attended webinars that were nothing more than a thinly veiled sales pitch. The presenter talked about their accomplishments and the results of their students for 30 minutes.

Don’t be that person.

Webinars, when used properly, are an effective way to connect with your audience. Create demand, generate leads, and sell all at once.

Make a presentation that’s relevant to your product and the needs of your audience. For example, if you were selling a marketing automation tool, you could create a webinar about “the must-have marketing automations for your business.”

It’s possible to use ads to get people to sign up for your webinar. An even better strategy is to partner with companies who’re targeting the same audience but don’t compete with you directly.

That’s what Unbounce does with many of its webinars. In the example below, it partnered with Larry Kim to produce a webinar that’s relevant to Unbounce and WordStream.

unbounce partner webinar

6.      Syndicated content

Quality content is a welcome addition to major publications. They’ll happily take your content and republish it for their readers while leaving most of it as is. You hit your demand generation targets and they’re able to keep readers coming back. Everyone wins.

In the image above, the content was syndicated from Quora to Forbes and many of the author’s links were left intact. His company was even given a mention in the byline.

Forbes sydication

NerdWallet also used this strategy to land a content syndication deal with The Associated Press which distributed its content to over 1,500 media outlets. Each one had an honorable mention which helped NerdWallet grow to over 1M monthly visitors.

There are two aspects to this demand generation strategy:

  • Finding the right partners you can fill a need for
  • Building a reputable catalog of digital content which can be syndicated to partners

7.      Events

Events may be the oldest method of demand generation. There are multiple ways to use events to create awareness and there’s a growing trend that uses experiential marketing.

Don’t think events are limited to the offline world with things such as meetups, industry conferences, and trade shows. More and more people are using digital summits to create the same – in some cases more – amount of awareness for their products and services.

You get to tap the audience of your speakers as well as your own audience to create a unique experience. At the same time, you can continue to use the recordings for lead and demand generation.

Teachabel demand generation with a summit

Teachable used a summit to educate its current users, tap into the audiences of popular course creators, and generate demand for its core product.

Whichever demand generation strategy you choose, be sure to stick with it long enough to understand whether or not it’s working. What often happens is people start using a strategy, don’t get instant results, and quit. In reality, these things take testing and refinement to get right.

Before we call it quits, there’s one more thing to take note of, lead nurturing.

Lead nurturing and demand generation

It’s common for businesses to focus on acquisition while forgetting about the people who’ve expressed early interest. These are the people who’ve signed up for your mailing list, push notifications, etc.

They’ve not purchased from you or the initial welcome campaign didn’t get them to buy. Instead of forgetting about them, it’s important to continue nurturing them over time.

Effective lead nurturing campaigns are more than a few emails sent over the course of two or three weeks. They take into consideration the way prospects are interacting with emails, the pages they visit on your website, and who the prospect is.

In short, they need to be segmented so you can send relevant messages. That’s when your demand generation truly yields fruits, not before.

Conclusion

Demand generation is an important aspect of any business. Without it, people won’t know who you are and can’t buy from you. With it, you open the doors to continued growth.

This article has looked at what it is and the nuances of implementing it for your business. It has also looked at a few strategies you can start using.

Choose a few to get the ball rolling and measure its efficacy over time. If it works for you then double down while still testing other ones so you can build out effective channels for growth.

Let me know what you think about demand generation and the strategies you’re using in the comments and don’t forget to share.

How to use Experiential Marketing For Insane Results (+Examples)

To understand the allure of experiential marketing, ask yourself why people pay hundreds or even thousands of dollar to attend live events.

Why do we go to sports games when you can get a better view from your home?

Why do we go to concerts when it’s possible to watch them on YouTube?

We crave experiences.

Marketing is one of the most challenging and rewarding disciplines in the world. As a practitioner, you’re responsible for generating leads, increasing engagement, and sometimes selling to them. Experiential marketing adds another layer to the mix which can be a benefit or a drawback.

When done right, you’re able to create an immersive experience for your customers. They talk about you, appreciate you, and buy from you.

If you do it wrong then you’ve spent a pretty chunk of change for no reason. Experiential marketing is more than a buzzword, it’s a major key to creating long-lasting impressions in the minds of your customers.

This article defines experiential marketing, the benefits and drawbacks, and how to use it to grow your brand.

What is experiential marketing

Experiential marketing is many things to many people. For some, it’s an in-person activation. For others, it’s an experience that uses multiple sensory inputs and forces the viewer to interact with it.

We’ll define experiential marketing as:

An interactive experience which is fun and memorable that creates a closer bond between brand and consumer. It may or may not have an in-person element but there is an opportunity for the viewer to become part of the experience.

With that definition, this article wouldn’t be considered experiential marketing. In the same way, a radio broadcast wouldn’t be experiential marketing for most of the listeners. If you called into the show and had a great experience with the host then it could be considered experiential marketing for you alone.

At the same time, a webinar in which the host solicits feedback from the audience and reacts to it could be considered experiential marketing.

However you define it, experiential marketing works to increase the profile of your brand and sell more products. 74% of consumers say that engaging with branded event marketing increases the likelihood of them buying the promoted products.

Because of the interactive nature, it can be more effective than any advertisement.

Here’s an over the top example from Tim Hortons:

Benefits of experiential marketing

Experiential marketing allows you as a business to bridge the gap between your public perception and the reality of what your brand and its message. This has become more important in a world that demands transparency.

You’re able to use various mediums to showcase the value you bring to the table, increase engagement, and deliver unique creative experiences. A positive conversation is started about your brand that leads to more interest and, eventually, revenue.

Don’t look at experiential marketing as simply a branding exercise. When activations are done right, it can also result in instant revenue.

An example of this would be taste testing in stores such as Sam’s Club. 48% of people say they are more likely to buy a new product if they can try it first.

Drawbacks of experiential marketing

It’s not all roses. There are also drawbacks of experiential marketing.

First, it can be hard to measure. Yes, people may purchase on the spot but there are many who file the experience away for later. Maybe they don’t need your product right now or don’t have the budget for it. When they do finally purchase, how do you attribute that activity?

While experiential marketing doesn’t have to be in person, it does have to provide a tangible interaction. That means the reach, by default, is limited. People who see videos or images after the fact don’t get the full experience.

Finally, these types of campaigns can inadvertently create negative experiences. While this is a risk with any marketing campaign, it’s heightened when you initiate experiential marketing campaigns because of the shortened feedback loop and participation of viewers.

When and how to use experiential marketing

To succeed with experiential marketing, it’s important to target the right person, at the right time, with the right message, and in a way they’re open too.

You could target someone preparing for a wedding with a message about your new dresses but botch the execution. A culturally insensitive brand activation can result in a lot of backlash which no company wants.

This happened with Puma when it tried to highjack Ash Wednesday for a marketing stunt. They placed “shrines” of the new Italy jersey for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in multiple cities around the world. Fans were encouraged to kneel in front of it.

puma experiential marketing campaign example

It was received in good taste by most but a few people were less than amused. Just like with any other marketing campaign, understanding your audience is key.

A common question about experiential marketing is “where does it fit in the funnel?” is it only good for awareness or can we also use it to turn people into customers on the spot.

The short answer is both. You can introduce people to your brand in a more intimate setting and encourage them to buy on the spot. If people don’t buy immediately, they may still buy later.

There are multiple elements that should be in place to get the most out of your experiential marketing campaigns.

A system of measurement

It’s difficult to measure the total impact of an experiential marketing campaign. Do you measure the number of sales that occur during or after the event? Do you measure the number of impressions received on social media and news outlets?

It depends on many factors such as your goals, the product, and the medium.

For example, in 2016, there was a massive Ghost Busters installation in London’s Waterloo station used to promote the film’s reboot.

It was well received by commuters and plastered all over social media. In the end, it amassed 52.6 million impressions. The campaign itself could be considered a success but did that translate into box office sales for the movie? It grossed over $200 million worldwide but it still ended up as a loss for Sony.

When launching your campaigns, decide ahead of time what you will measure and what you will ignore.

  • Do you want direct sales
  • Are impressions the most important thing
  • Do you want to increase word of mouth

A clear goal

This comes on the heels of a clear system of measurement. When you decide on the goal, it becomes much easier to determine what should and shouldn’t be measured.

With some products, it’s easier to decide on your goal. For example, if you’re selling T-shirts and set up a pop-up shop in the mall then, of course, you want to sell shirts.

If, like in the example of Ghost Busters, you’re selling an intangible product then the goal can take many forms. You set a goal related to total media impressions or your goal can be to increase sales. In certain cases, you may want to generate leads.

Whatever you decide on, stick with it and set up a system of measurement ahead of time.

A compelling story

Finally, you should have a compelling story behind your experiential marketing campaign. The best experiences have a narrative that people are able to talk about long after the event has ended.

Whatever story you choose to create should be a part of your larger brand narrative. It wouldn’t make sense if you were a clothing company that championed sustainable materials then had a brand activation that threw those values out of the window.

It’s an extreme example but still something that you should be aware of and take steps to get right. Now that you’re familiar with the elements that make up successful experiential marketing campaigns, let’s take a look at the different types.

Types of Experiential marketing

Not all events you create need to be grand enough to be picked up by CNN. Experiential marketing campaigns take many forms. Some are large some are tiny. The focus should be on the experience you create not how much money you spend to make it possible.

Classes and workshops

These are the most common, especially in a business to business setting. You can use classes and workshops to engage with your target audience while providing value in the form of education. I like this method because it doesn’t need to be in person but has a similar outcome.

Creative Live is a great example of using workshops and classes. It has a paid membership but you can also view classes live online. The people present at the venue are able to interact with the instructor in real time.

Pop-up shops

I use the term pop-up shops because that’s the most recognizable type of pop-up experience. It’s by no means the only type, there are pop-up art installations, music exhibitions, food tastings, and more.

Whatever form the pop-up experience takes, the goal is the same – to enhance the experience of the customers and build a deeper connection.

The organizations who’ll benefit the most from pop-up shops et al. are those that don’t normally have a physical presence or one that’s limited. For example an online-only retailer or a retailer that only operates out of one location.

Conversely, an artist would be able to use a popup exhibition or concert to connect with fans and spread their message.

Jay Z performed at a type of popup concert for his music video Picasso Baby.

The audience was able to interact with him directly and influence the direction of the performance.

Birchbox is an online retailer that lacks a noticeable physical footprint. When it launched a new line of gifts for men, it also opened a pop-up shop in New York to create awareness.

Impromptu events (small events)

While it may not be impromptu for you, it is for the participants. Remember that your experiential marketing campaigns don’t have to affect as many people as humanly possible. Its goal is to create a meaningful connection. Sometimes, smaller is better.

Focus on how creative and interesting the experience is for the participants.

Ed Sheeran wanted to give fans an experience that money couldn’t buy so he charged $2 for a 30-second private performance. The only caveat: it was located in a seedy place being sold by a seedy salesman. Most people didn’t bite but the few who did were shocked and excited.

A few years ago, Maroon 5 went around Los Angeles crashing weddings and performing the song Sugar. The brides were caught off guard and the video has amassed over 2 billion views as of this writing.

WestJet Airlines took the giving tradition seriously during the holidays. They asked everyone on a flight the night before Christmas, what they wanted for Christmas. Some people were cheeky and asked for socks while others told Santa what they really wanted.

When the flight landed a few hours later, people were surprised. St. Nick delivered.

In each example, the number of people involved was small. It didn’t stop the videos from spreading across the world. This shows us that even if people aren’t there to experience it, they still love watching what happened.

Product demos

The reason we have experiential marketing is to introduce and educate people about your brand. Many times it helps them make an informed buying decision. Product demos, when done right, can be an amazing way to help customers experience your promise.

65% of customers say that product demonstrations help them understand the product better than any other marketing or advertising method. It also creates a two-way interaction between you and your prospects.

To turn this into a true experiential marketing campaign, it’s important to liven the basic demo up.

Nooka watches used augmented reality to make it possible to try on their watches from anywhere in the world. All you need is a computer and a webcam to make it work.

Conclusion

Experiential marketing is an effective way to engage your customers, create goodwill, and increase sales. It can be tempting to jump in and start planning the event but there are a few things that need to be in place first:

  • A compelling story
  • A clear goal
  • System of measurement

When you have that in place, choose the type of experiential marketing campaign you’ll perform and get started.

Let me know how you’re using experiential marketing in the comments and don’t forget to share.

Target Market: Examples, Definition, and Finding the Perfect One

If the world of business were a simpler place, you wouldn’t need a target market or use target market examples as a reference point.

You could create a product, appeal to a few general wants and needs and boom – you’d be successful.

Business isn’t like that.

The most successful companies in the world have a clear target market. Their lead generation is more effective, their customer service is more helpful, and their product sells faster.

How do you find your ideal target market?

What is a target market anyway?

What strategies can you use to appeal to your target market?

This post will help you answer those questions and share target market examples so your business grows faster and more efficiently.

What is a target market?

A target market is a specific group of potential customers within a business’ entire addressable market that they choose to sell to. The business creates marketing materials, ads, and products that appeal to the group they’ve chosen.

Why does it even matter?

A while ago, it didn’t. There was little choice and little competition in the marketplace. People bought what they could find and were happy about it.

Now, there’s an almost unlimited amount of choice, people see thousands of brand messages, and buyer’s remorse is real. As a small business, it’s important to focus your limited resources on the group of people who’re most likely to buy.

Companies like Coke have the budget and resources to market to everyone but even it chooses to go after a specific target market with many of its products.

GLACÉAU Smartwater is a brand owned by Coke. It targets people in urban centers in their early 20s to late 40s who’re more health conscious. It has the resources to market to almost everyone but decided to gain market share by focusing on a specific group.

Marketing, branding, and sales decisions are easier because it’s not trying to appeal to everyone. The focus is on a small core group of customers who are responsible for the majority of sales.

How to define your target market

Many companies fail before they figure this part out because they use a shotgun approach to find their target market. If they find one that sticks then they stay in business. If they don’t then they’re added to the 90% of companies that didn’t make it.

There are countless ways to define your target market but in the end, it depends on your products, price points, and goals.

For example, Acme Inc. sells high-end accessories that range from $500 to $2,000. Its products last for a long time but there’s a high level of satisfaction amongst customers. It can use a number of criteria to define its target market such as income and interest in luxury goods.

Age and location wouldn’t be as useful to them because that’s not a determinant of whether or not someone will buy their products.

Here are a few ways you can begin to define your target market:

Surveys

The fastest way to find your target market is to communicate with the people who already buy from you.

It may not be feasible to call every one of your customers on the phone. You also don’t want to do all the work of building a compelling product page then lose the sale because you asked for too much information up front.

A survey is a great way to bridge that gap. Ask questions that will help you define what your target market looks like. If gender is important then use the survey to break down what the gender mix is. If income or type of business matters then be sure to ask questions that give you a better idea of that info.

A few general data points you may want to capture are

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Interest
  • Family breakdown
  • Etc

Take a look at this post on psychographic segmentation and demographic segmentation to get a better idea of the kind of information that would be useful for defining your target market.

Your analytics tools

You are using analytics tools to understand how people are interacting with your website and social media accounts – right?

Of course you are.

In Google analytics, you can find basic demographic information by clicking audience > demographics > overview.

If you’ve not done so already, you’ll need to activate this feature.

Social media platforms also provide analytics for you to dig into. For example, Instagram gives you information about the location, gender, age range, and best time of day to reach your followers.

Each platform gives you different information and you may even attract different audiences on each one. Check the analytics for all social platforms where you have a decent amount of followers.

It’s always better to ask customers directly but when that’s not possible then your analytics information is the next best thing.

Look at what the competition is doing (use with caution)

Take this suggestion with a bit of salt. It’s important to know who your competition is and what they’re doing but never imitate them outright.

Only use this method when you’ve done preliminary research and have an idea of who your target market is. The goal is to determine if your competition is going after the same market as you and whether they’re reaching segments you’d like to go after.

The information you gather will be topical at best because you don’t have access to their data. You can get a general sense of what they’re doing and how it’s working. That’s enough to decide whether or not you’d like to double down or change directions.

Test different messaging

At this point, you have a pretty clear idea about who’s using your products and services because you’ve asked them directly and have done your own research.

This will help you create a hypothesis about different messaging you can use and find a unique value proposition that resonates with your target market.

I say hypothesis because, until you test them, they’re educated guesses that haven’t been proven or disproven. The way you go about proving them is through systematic testing.

Create a series of landing pages that use different messaging you think would appeal to your target market. Set up social media ads or search ads that match the messages on the landing page and measure how well people respond to each one.

Measure conversions, not clicks.

Strategyzer is an online business education platform that helps small businesses and enterprises reach their goals. It was hosting a 2-day workshop with Alex Osterwalder and wanted to fill up seats so it turned to Facebook.

In the above image, very few people were able to connect with the message and the company ended up spending over $4,000 to acquire a single customer.

It later changed the ad copy and focus of the message.

The cost of acquisition reduced from over $4,000 to roughly $123.

Continue researching and testing

Your target market may change over time. It might be clear now but that may not be true in six months, two years, or the next decade.

That’s not a bad thing but it’s something you should be well aware of.

Your customer mix changes, your products evolve, and consumer preferences shift. Together, these factors may change what your target market looks like. Revisit the information you’ve gathered often to ensure you have the most accurate description.

Target market examples

It’s difficult to find target market examples because it’s not something that’s publicized like a mission and vision statement. With that being said, there are a few iconic target market examples to pull from.

The first one comes from Apple.

It created a series of commercials that compared Mac to PC. Mac was a hip young man while PC was the opposite. These ads targeted PC users as well as those who were looking to buy a PC. From the language used and the way the characters were depicted, it was clear Apple was targeting a young tech-savvy demographic.

Corona is a popular beer company but its massed produced and doesn’t have much flavor like a craft beer. Because of that, it can be marketed to a large group of people who drink beer. Their messaging seems to focus on a younger crowd that’s out drinking casually with friends.

Mercedes is one of the most successful car companies in the world and have cars that range from a few thousand dollars to over a million dollars. A single target market example is more difficult to pin down because, technically, it doesn’t have one. It has many.

In the following commercial, Mercedes uses humor and a bit of awkwardness to appeal to a young professional market while highlighting key features.

Target market strategies

There are a few target market strategies you can use after you’ve identified the groups most likely to buy from you.

Single Segment

Focus all your attention and energy on a single market segment. This can be a good strategy when there’s a market that responds much better than any other or you don’t have the resources to go after multiple target markets at once.

When you gain ground in your key segment and expand your business operations, you can move on to the next strategy.

Multi-Segment

This is ideal when you have multiple products or multiple target markets that respond well to your messages. This takes a lot of resources. If you’ve not differentiated in this way before or haven’t gained considerable ground in your first target market then it may be best to hold off on the multi-segment approach.

Multiple product businesses lend themselves to this strategy but it’s not a requirement. You can market a single product in a different way to multiple target markets.

A target market example from Vonage is health organizations. Vonage provides business phone services to everyone but it creates specific messages for each market it targets. It has a specific page for health organizations where it uses languages that relates to the industry.

Product specialization

You can position your product to appeal to multiple segments or you can create a product for only one segment.

Rela creates software that small business owners use to build microsites and generate leads. The features are peculiar to the needs of real estate agents. As the product develops, it continues to add tools for the target market instead of all small business owners that need a website.

Conclusion

There are two ways to market your business.

  • As the solution to any and everyone’s problem
  • As the solution to a problem a specific group of people have

It’s been proven time and again that choosing a target market is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Why?

Because you’re able to create products, services, and messaging that appeals to a specific group as opposed to every one.

Use this post as a springboard for choosing the perfect target market for your business.

Let me know what you think of the target market examples in this post and how you’re using them to grow your business.

41 of the Best Marketing Books to Upgrade Your Game

School doesn’t create great marketers.

The proper education – no matter where you get it – does.

There are two ways to go about it:

  • Fumble around and do a lot of trial and error
  • Stand on the shoulders of giants and cut your learning curve in half

This article is for those who choose the second route. I’ve compiled the best marketing books across a wide variety of disciplines.

These marketing books are about more than just marketing. They’re about consumer psychology, copywriting, advertising, and branding.

You don’t need to read everyone on this list. Choose a few from each category and apply what you learn.

Marketing books on psychology

Great marketing doesn’t start with tactics.

Those are the least important.

It starts with a deep understanding of human psychology.

These marketing books focus on human and consumer psychology. After reading them, you’ll have deep knowledge about how your prospects function as human beings and consumers.

With that information, you can make marketing campaigns that strike a nerve and compel people to take action.

1.      Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

This is an oft mentioned book on psychology and for good reason. It peels back the covers and shows us that we’re not as rational as we’d like to believe.

There are 6 principles which are mentioned.

  • Contrast – comparing one solution to another is incredibly effective
  • Reciprocity (this is why people give away value through things like lead magnets before asking for the sale)
  • Commitment and consistency – when someone commits initially, they want to appear consistent with their earlier decisions. That’s why micro commitments are so powerful in conversion optimization.
  • Social proof – If others think you’re awesome then your prospect may form the same opinion
  • Liking – If someone likes you they’re more willing to give you an opportunity to sell them something
  • Authority – We seek out experts to solve our problems. Be the expert.

2.      Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

The author proposes we have two systems at play in our heads.

System One makes automatic or snap decisions for us. It’s difficult to control or even detect. These are our biases developed from experiences in the past or skills we’ve acquired.

System Two is the slower, calculated, and methodical thinking we do. This is the conscious part of the mind that analyzes decisions before making them. This is where beliefs and justifications for our actions play out.

As a marketer, you have to appeal to both systems. System One allows people to make impulse decisions but System Two helps them justify it later. If you appeal to only one system then the sale won’t happen (or it’ll happen but there will be buyer’s remorse which may lead to a refund).

3.      Contagious: The Way Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

This book deals with the way ideas are spread from person to person and has a few major pillars.

  • Social currency – As they’re sharing it, it should make them look good.
  • Triggers – Something makes it appear top of mind (Facebook notifications, lyrics from a song, etc.)
  • Emotion – Before it can be shared, people need to feel something (any emotion will do).
  • Public – Your prospects should see others using your product or performing the desired action
  • Practical value – People should believe it’s useful for them to spread it
  • Story – We’ve evolved to find the narrative in almost everything. Infuse your message with a story.

4.      Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

Dan is a professor of psychology and economics so a lot of his work deals with the psychology of buying.

This book focuses on three major areas:

  • Our love of comparing products and prices. You should give people a point of reference when presenting your offer.
  • Free isn’t free. It’s a price point but one that’s hard to pass by. Offer something free (buy one get one free) so people are more likely to take action.
  • People overvalue things they own and will put in more work to keep something than to gain something.

5.      Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

There’s a reason why regular users of apps like Facebook and Instagram spend so much time there. The creators have built them with dark patterns so we form habits and even take actions we don’t want to.

Anyways, this book is about the psychology that goes into product creation. It needs three things:

  • It needs to get users to form habits around them
  • The rewards should be variable
  • Answer two questions (the answer should be yes)
    • Does the product make life better for users?
    • Would I use the product?

6.      Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die Chip and Dan Heath

Good ideas die because they’re presented poorly. I’m sure you can think of a few yourself. The world is a busy place so an idea needs to catch attention quickly or your prospects will keep moving.

The major elements are:

  • Simplicity
  • Unexpectedness
  • Concreteness
  • Credibility
  • Emotional
  • Story

Are you seeing any patterns here?

7.      The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by chip and Dan Heath

This is another one by Chip and Dan. In The Power of Moments, they look at how certain experiences can remove us from our comfort zone and change us. It goes on to build out a strategy to apply that in business and life.

There are five central ideas:

  • We remember three parts of an experience. The peak, the pits, and the transitions. Your job is to remove the pits and create peaks.
  • A defining moment is one that’s memorable and meaningful. These are the peaks.
  • Defining moments start with one or more of these elements: Elevation, insight, pride, or connection
  • If there’s a struggle with transitions, create a defining moment that marks the new and the old
  • Transitions are marked, milestones celebrated, and pits filled

8.      Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy by Martin Lindstrom

This book is built on research conducted in the ever-evolving field of neuromarketing. It’s not an exact science but the conclusions drawn are useful.

  • Product placements work better to influence buying behavior than ads
  • Subliminal messages can work but people actively resist logos
  • The most powerful brands in the world create rituals and follow the same pillars as religion (Apple, Nike, Oreo, Etc).
  • Full sensory experiences, when you can create them, are one of the most powerful ways to elicit a response in your prospects
  • Sex is overrated.

9.      Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping by Paco Underhill

This book focuses on the factors that affect a buying decision.

It deals mostly with retail but the lessons are applicable in multiple settings.

In short, small changes to the shopping experience (placements, prominence, presentation, etc.) can have a huge impact on your sales.

10. Consumerology: The Market Research Myth, The Truth About Consumers, and the Psychology of Shopping by Philip Graves

This book argues that market research is only a small part of the puzzle because human beings are irrational. Market research is rational.

Instead, Graves has a different approach to market research which will help you unlock insights based on the unconscious behaviors people perform when they want to buy.

11. The Paradox of Choice: Why Less is More By Barry Schwartz

Schwartz talks about two types of consumers. The satisficers and the maximizers. Satisficers buy the first product they find which meets their needs. The maximizers perform exhaustive research before they make a purchase decision.

The book outlines the psychology behind the groups and how to position your products for each one. He also goes on to discuss the pitfalls of offering more choice to consumers.

Marketing books on copywriting

Copywriting, no matter how you feel about it, is an essential skill.

These books will help you up your game.

12. The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joe Sugarman

Sugarman was one of the great copywriters of his day and used his skills to make millions through direct response advertising.

This book is a classic copywriting guide that walks through the fundamentals of writing compelling copy. Many of his techniques have been applied to modern web copy.

If you’re completely new when it comes to copywriting then this book is essential reading. Even if you’re an old hand, it’ll deliver a few nuggets for you to digest.

13. The Gary Halbert Letters by Gary Halbert

Gary Halbert is another copywriting legend who built an empire, lost it, and rebuilt it with the written word.

His regular letters teach copywriting lessons from a different age like how to place an ad in newspapers and the proper way to buy lists. That notwithstanding, he also teaches fundamental copywriting techniques that’ll serve you well.

There’s a website aptly named The Gary Halbert Letter but the newsletters are out of order which can make it a difficult read. Shoot us an email and we’ll see if we can’t find a PDF file for you with all the letters in order.

14. Breakthrough Copywriting: How to Generate Quick Cash With the Written Word by David Garfinkel

Though the title of the book makes it seem like they’re selling a get rich quick scheme, it’s not.

Garfinkel is a tested copywriter who distills years of wisdom into Breakthrough Copywriting. It focuses on proven principles that most people will be able to copy and paste into their current marketing campaigns, letters, or website for quick results.

15. How to Write Seductive Web Copy: An Easy Guide to Picking up More Customers By Henneke Duistermaat

This is a modern book that looks at how to write content for the web – a discipline on its own.

It goes through six pillars that help you research and write copy that will sell your products, get people on your site, or take your desired action.

16. Copy Logic By Mike Masterson and Mike Palmer

The authors are responsible for building Agora into the multimillion-dollar financial advice powerhouse it is today. Needless to say, their techniques work.

The book focuses on a methodical approach to transforming subpar copy into the stuff that converts all the traffic you throw at it. It’s full of examples and templates you can use to speed up the copywriting process.

17. The Robert Collier Letter Book by Robert Collier

Collier wrote a lot of ads in the early 1900’s. He specialized in books because he felt that if you could sell books then you could sell anything.

The Robert Collier Letter Book is a “how I did it” kind of thing. Even though it was published almost 100 years ago, it’s still effective.

18. Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got by Jay Jay Abraham

This isn’t a 100% copywriting book but it does relate to marketing.

The first part of the book focuses on guarantees that are so compelling your customers and prospects have no choice but to try it out. These are guarantees that go above and beyond risk-free like the 110% guarantee that Tim Ferris offered or the one-year return policy from Zappos.

19. The Copywriters Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Copy That Sells By Bob Bly

As the name suggests, this is a handbook that should be readily available whenever you’re writing copy. There are five main points in the book:

  • Copy must get attention, communicate, and persuade in order for it to be effective.
  • Free is a powerful tool – use it wisely
  • Most people will only read the headline and skip the rest of the copy. Spend most of your time here.
  • Don’t’ over polish testimonials.
  • Look at the product from the perspective of your customers and highlight features/benefits they’ll find useful

20. The Ultimate Sales Letter: Attract New Customers. Boost your Sales by Dan Kennedy

Dan Kennedy is a successful copywriter and pretty funny to boot. The Ultimate Sales Letter focuses on removing the art from copywriting and boiling it down to a process.

Key takeaways:

  • Figure out what your buyer wants
  • Enter the conversation in your reader’s head where they are. Don’t try to start by changing the subject.
  • Present features/benefits based on importance
  • Acknowledge the drawbacks of your offer
  • Remember, people are busy so get to the point

Marketing books on advertising

Advertising is where the money is made and lost.

It’s a multibillion-dollar industry for a reason.

A good ad can earn you your first million. A bad ad can lose you your next million.

The following books will help you create compelling ads that are ROI positive from the first day.

21. Breakthrough Advertising: How to Write Ads That Shatter Traditions And Sales by Eugene Schwartz

This is one of those classics that everyone should read at least once. Yes, everyone.

Schwartz focuses on a few key areas that’ll set your ads apart.

He touches on so many aspects of advertising and also bleeds over into copywriting.

A few lessons you’ll learn are:

  • Stages of awareness
  • How to develop a compelling headline
  • Market research/analysis
  • The maturity of your market (first mover or last mover)

It’s worth a read but is expensive. Look for the Ebook or check it out from your public library.

22. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy

Ogilvy is considered by many to be the father of modern advertising. He help put Puerto Rico on the map as a tourist destination and grew his agency into a powerhouse.

This book distills a lot of the lessons he learned. Keep in mind that it was written in the Mad Men era. Things were different then.

 

23. Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples

John Caples is another prolific copywriter that made quite a few ads in his day.

In his book, Tested Advertising Methods he doesn’t just give you a bunch of tactics. He admonishes you to test everything. In fact, he creates two categories of people.

  • Those who test
  • Those who don’t test

The ones who test win more often than not.

He touches on multiple subjects like headlines, appeals, testing, writing the lede, etc.

24. My Life in Advertising & Scientific Advertising Claude Hopkins

Do you know why it’s common to brush your teeth every day? It’s not because of the FDA or any public health push.

It’s because of Claud Hopkins work with Pepsodent. Over the course of a decade, the number of Americans who brushed their teeth daily increase by roughly 10x.

That’s effective advertising.

In his book, he tells his personal story as well as how to create a compelling ad. Both aspects are worth reading.

25. How to Write a Good Advertisement by Victor Schwab

Do you know why How To Win Friends And Influence People was such a success? You can praise Victor Schwab for that. He’s the ad man responsible for getting it in front of the right people.

His book details the lessons he’s learned in the field.

He considers only four parts of the ad:

The headline

Body copy

The promise and supporting information

The summary and call to action

26. A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Webb Young

This isn’t about advertising but it’s all about advertising.

Let me explain.

Ads are effective when they’re relevant to the product but also have a novel element. Unfortunately, there’s nothing new under the sun.

What are you to do?

You create ideas from what’s been done before and combine them in a new way. That’s what this book is about.

27. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This by Luke Sullivan

I first read this book a few years ago and I loved how it was hilarious while distilling sage wisdom. Few books toe that line successfully.

Sullivan is an advertising veteran. In this book, he talks about different forms of advertising, his experiences, multiple mediums, and how to break into the ad business (if that’s your thing).

28. Cutting Edge advertising by Jim Aitchison

I like this book because it’s written from the perspective of the sharpest minds in the business. It takes successful ads and gets the people who created them to break them apart and reveal why and how they did what they did.

29. The Advertising Solution: Influence Prospects, Multiply Sales, and Promote your Brand by Craig Simpson

This book by Simpson distills information from many of the great copywriters of the age. It’s meant to be used as a reference guide when you’re creating ads or writing copy.

The emphasis is on testing and you’ll notice that each one of the people profiled had different techniques and philosophies.

Don’t copy them. Learn and improve on what you find.

Marketing books on marketing

I’ve focused on everything but pure marketing.

Now, it’s time to learn the business of marketing with a few hard-hitting books.

Some of them will be familiar and some may make you go what was he thinking. All of them are useful.

30. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate them at your own risk by Al Reis and Jack Trout

I’m not a fan of calling anything in marketing a law. With that being said, this book is a good primer.

A few lessons I appreciated were being first in peoples mind, creating a new category for yourself, and the opportunity costs of products.

31. How Brands Grow by Byron Sharp

Byron takes a contrarian view in his book. There’s a lot of information that says consumers want a relationship with a brand or that they want a deeper meaning. He disagrees.

While I don’t agree with everything he says, it’s worth a read to see what it’s like on the other side. After reading, you’ll be better equipped to form your own opinions on the matter.

32. Marketing in the Era of Accountability by Les Binet and Peter Field

This book takes 880 case studies of campaigns submitted to the IPA Effectiveness Awards and dissects them to find out what worked, what didn’t, and why.

It also has rare insights into ideas that are more detrimental than good when it comes to effective marketing.

33. All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin

The title is a bit misleading. Godin doesn’t make a case for how marketers lie. In fact, the consumers are the liars about their true motivations and beliefs.

He talks about stories and how they shape our lives as well as how to harness them for better marketing. The best product doesn’t win. The best story does.

34. Purple Cow by Seth Godin

What would you do if you were driving down the road and saw a bright purple cow? If you’re like most people you’d slow down, stare, and possibly stop to take a selfie.

It would definitely be a talking point at your next get together or over dinner. The concept of this book is simple – be remarkable and it’ll be much easier to sell.

35. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuck

Gary Vaynerchuk is one of the most vocal entrepreneurs alive. He made his fortune by being visible on social media.

Now, he’s one of its biggest champions.

In his book, he talks about how to tell your story on social media in an authentic way.

36. Trust Me, I’m Lying

This is one of the first books from Ryan Holiday and focuses on how influential blogs have become and the effect on society as a whole.

The author has a less than nice opinion of bloggers but the lessons he teaches are real. Blogs are businesses, they will publish your content if you pay them or if it turns heads, and it can get ugly fast so take note.

It’s an insightful read about how the internet currently works.

37. Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind by Al Reis and Jack Trout

There’s nothing new under the sun.

Facebook was just another social media platform and so was Snapchat. They’re both billion dollar companies.

What’s unique is the way products and services are positioned inside the customers head. Facebook marketing can be positioned as Facebook marketing for doctors. It’s the same service – trust me.

This book shows you how to win the positioning battle.

38. To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink

The title of this book truly says it all. We’re always selling something whether that’s an idea to your family, a business to another company, or a pitch to a client.

Instead of looking at it like a burden or something to dread, embrace it for what it is. Use honesty and service to convince your prospects and customers.

There are a few nuggets in the book which makes it worth the read.

39. Everything I know by Paul Jarvis

I wouldn’t say this is a pure marketing book but the lessons can be applied to your efforts. Paul Jarvis talks about a lot of things in this book but there are two lessons that stand out:

  • Find your values and align your life mission around that
  • Share what you’re doing out in the open – welcome the feedback and take the criticism in stride

40. On Writing Well by Willam Zissner

Marketing includes writing. This is true whether you like it or not.

You can say you don’t like to write and struggle or you can bite the bullet and improve. I started out as a horrible writer.

While I can’t hold a candle to Stephen King just yet, I can compose prose that gets people to think and occasionally buy.

I’m content with that.

On Writing Well looks at how to write compelling nonfiction. It’s the kind of book you keep by your desk.

41. They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer by Marcus Sheridan

Inbound marketing is a new discipline when compared it to print or radio advertising.

The principle is simple: create content so people come to you instead of vice versa. Even though this seems simple on the surface, it can be much more difficult.

Marcus Sheridan is in a unique position to talk about it because he used inbound marketing to build a multimillion-dollar fiberglass pool business.

His approach is simple. Answer every question and teach every lesson. If you do it well you’ll get more customers.

Conclusion

I’ve gone through over 40 marketing books that deal with multiple aspects of the craft.

Even if you read everything on this list, you’ll still need to put it into practice. I suggest you take one or two books from each section and read it while applying the lessons you learn.

Rinse and repeat until you’re ready to write your own book or until you finish the list. Keep in mind that this list isn’t written in stone because marketing is always evolving. If you find something useful then, by all means, use it.

Let me know what you think of my list of the best marketing books in the comments and don’t forget to share.

Marketing Myopia: Definition, Examples, and How to Move Beyond it

Last updated November 11, 2019

I have a confession.

I suffer from a condition known as myopia.

If anything is more than ten feet away from me I have trouble seeing it. It’s also known as nearsightedness.

It’s the same way some people look at marketing.

Many businesses have had to close their doors because they were, without their knowledge, practicing marketing myopia.

In this article, we’ll look at what marketing myopia is and the impact it can have on your business. More importantly, I’ll share a way to move beyond marketing myopia and build what your customers love to achieve lasting success.

What is marketing myopia?

The phrase was coined in 1960 by Theodore C. Levitt. It’s a theory that states companies focus on their needs and short term growth strategies. They neglect the needs and wants of their customers and fail as a result.

In short, businesses are busy selling what they have instead of improving it based on what their customers tell them. The market votes with its wallet and will force anyone out of business who doesn’t meet its needs.  

The perfect example of this is Blockbuster. People were leaving the video rental service behind and instead of making the painful changes needed to survive, they buckled under the pressure.

source

There are countless examples just like this. Huge as well as small businesses were doing well for a period but failed to adapt to changing times and were left in the past. A few examples:

  • Circuit City
  • Nokia (Microsoft bailed them out)
  • JCPenny
  • Kodak

These are just the notable ones. There are countless small businesses that’ve failed under similar circumstances.

What causes it when people should know better?

What causes marketing myopia in the first place

There are many reasons. Some say hubris and some say it’s naiveté. In reality, it’s a mix of both. One of the most common causes is the business landscape.

Growth industries

In the mid to late ninety’s the internet was the only place to be. If you opened a website and got a few people to visit it then investors would be throwing millions of dollars your way.

It didn’t last long.

Almost overnight, the bubble burst and billions of dollars in value were wiped out. It’s not that the companies weren’t innovating – they were. It was innovation in the wrong direction. They created products people didn’t truly want or were too far ahead of their time.

source

Webvan tried to pioneer online grocery delivery and was valued at over a billion dollars with 4,500 employees. They couldn’t get their business model or message right and went bust in two years.

In 2010, Bitcoin was worth $100. At the beginning of 2018, it peaked at nearly $20,000 a pop. If you would’ve invested $20,000 in 2014 and sold at the peak, you’d be a millionaire many times over.

Bitcoin is a bit abstract and it’s not technically a business. The Dot Com Bubble was almost two decades ago. We’ve learned from our mistakes right?

Not exactly.

Just a few years ago, Juicero received millions of dollars from investors and was considered a Silicon Valley darling. It produced an expensive juicing machine with expensive refill packs. It said the packs needed to be squeezed under high pressure only the juicing machine could produce.

Those claims were proven wrong by two reporters from Bloomberg who squeezed the packs by hand.

https://youtu.be/5lutHF5HhVA

It suffered from marketing myopia because it fooled their customers in the hopes of short term gain. Did it believe no one would ever try to squeeze the packs by hand?

I wouldn’t buy a $500+ juicing machine that didn’t juice fruit, but if I did, my son would be the first one to squeeze the things by hand when I wasn’t looking.

The mystery would’ve been solved and millions of dollars saved.

Oh well.

Lack of competition

Innovation is expensive because you invest a lot of money for products and services that may not catch on.

If no one can challenge you and people are patronizing you, there’s no incentive to innovate. You can get by doing what you’ve always done.

Eventually, competition will come out of the woodworks and even though they may not be as cheap as you, they can compete on different aspects.

An example of competition is Google and DuckDuckGo. While it’s not hurting Google’s revenue, it’s a viable option if people don’t want to be tracked while using search engines.

A more serious example would be Standard Oil or the railroads in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. John D. Rockefeller created one of the most successful companies to have existed up until that time.

They controlled the entire value chain from production to distribution and the competition simply couldn’t stay afloat. The ones who tried were bought or run into the ground.

Source

Eventually, the Supreme Court stepped in and disbanded the company in 1911.

During its most successful years, oil was cheap but there was no incentive to develop products that meet the needs of its customers or deliver top tier service. Either you bought what it produced or you didn’t. End of story.

It felt it was untouchable and its marketing myopia combined with the public outcry was its downfall.

Even if there’s no competition, continually innovate so when you do encounter competitors, you’ll be lightyears ahead of them.

Shifting consumer trends

They say the only constant in the world is change. In the 20’s women were required to wear skirts that were a certain length.

Now, well, that’s not the case.

People change. Things go in and out of style. Technology improves. In the early 2000s we were using AOL in my house. Now, I’m streaming Netflix on my LED TV.

As long as we have the ability to make decisions and change our minds, no product will last forever.

Do you remember fidget spinners? They were all the rage a few years ago.

https://youtu.be/Ge_22K0UTIY

Now, it’s part of a niche movement and most people can’t be bothered.

If you don’t keep an eye on the pulse of your industry and where people are headed, you’ll be left behind. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a hundred dollars a year in revenue or a hundred million a year in revenue.

Implications of marketing myopia

You go out of business.

That made me chuckle.

The reality is that marketing myopia can eventually cause your business to fail. It doesn’t happen overnight.

First, customers become dissatisfied with an aspect of the product or service delivery. They’ll reach out, complain on social media, and a few will leave.

Over time, it compounds. Reviews turn negative, it’s harder to acquire new customers, and business gets worse.

That’s the tail end of it all. A business that fails to evolve fails. It’s pretty simple. Let’s say you used to solve the need of getting from point A to point B. At first, you did it with horses. After a while, you started to do it with trains. Finally, you adopted busses.

Now, your customers want planes. They’re expensive and you’re not interested so you ignore them. For a while, people will continue to use the trains and buses but more and more will leave you because they don’t want to use a bus to cross the country.

How to move beyond marketing myopia

In a word, customer development.

As far as marketing myopia is concerned, this is the universal panacea. The reason why marketing myopia affects businesses is that they lose touch with their customers.

Customer development makes sure you’re always abreast of the wants and needs of your customers.

There’s one note about customer development though, you can’t truly innovate if you only follow what they say.

Before there were cars, if you asked someone what they needed to get from point A to point B with more comfort and speed, they would’ve told you to breed faster horses.

When cars came along, horses were replaced in short order.

Understand the job your customer needs to get done but also think of novel ways to achieve the end goal. It’s a difficult road to tread but no one said your business would be easy.

Look at and understand their jobs to be done

We each have a job we want to get done when we buy a product or service.

You buy a pair of jeans to clothe you when you’re going out to the park as well as a night on the town. The jeans you wear for each occasion are different.

You may wear a suit to an important meeting.

Someone signs up for KyLeads to finish a different job. There are a few, segmenting their audience, capturing leads, and understanding their wants. It’s an intermediate step between interacting with their brand and becoming a customer.

People stop by Starbucks in the morning to drink coffee but the job they’re getting done is filling their stomach. If there’s a better or more convenient way to do that same job then they’ll ignore Starbucks.

I recommend the insightful book When Coffee and Kale Compete by Alan Klement to better understand the Jobs To Be Done Theory.

Only one solution can fulfill a job at once. Make sure it’s yours.

Customer development surveys

A great way to find out what people want from you is to run customer development surveys. There’s a lot of information about it around the internet so I won’t go too deep.

Here’s the basic premise.

You ask your existing and potential customers a series of questions about your products and services to better understand how they’re using it and how they feel about it.

Don’t send it to your entire customer base at once. Rather, segment them into different groups based on demographic qualities, psychographic qualities, or even behavioral markers. The choice is yours but make sure you’re tracking who’s getting the survey and why.

  • Optimize for the most engaged users, not the largest group
  • Ask open-ended questions that lead your survey takers
  • Request a phone follow up after the survey
  • Don’t put too much explanatory text or you’ll risk leading your customers
  • Keep them short and to the point. You can get more detail in the follow up call.

Conclusion

Marketing myopia has real implications in your business. If you’re not aware of it then a slow decline can set in right under your nose.

Knowing it exists isn’t enough though. It’s important to take action to prevent it from affecting your bottom line.

There’s a simple two-step process you can employ:

  1. Understand your customer’s Jobs To Be Done
  2. Send out regular customer development surveys and have conversations

Let me know what you think about marketing myopia in the comments and don’t forget to share.

How to Craft a Damn Good Unique Value Proposition (UVP)

Here’s a quick question. As soon as someone lands on your websites do they know what you’re all about? Do they have to continue scrolling or read the copy to figure it out?

If they can’t figure it out immediately then your unique value proposition (UVP) isn’t doing its job.

A UVP should:

  • Let them know how your product solves their problem.
  • Show the quantified value
  • Illustrate why you’re better than the competition and therefore receive my hard earned cash.

It’s like a condensed elevator pitch.

A drive-by pitch (I chuckled when I wrote that).

A great value proposition is able to communicate the main benefit of using your solution over the competitions.

In this article, we’ll take a deep look at the steps needed to create a Killer UVP.

Your UVP taps into existing desires

You and I don’t create motivation on our websites.

We don’t create desire (according to Eugene Schwartz in Breakthrough Advertising).

We don’t create need.

The only thing we do is tap into it.

We channel it.

We amplify the motivations, needs, and desires already present.

You can build on them to create something even more powerful. It’s not created out of thin air.

So who creates motivation that makes your UVP shine?

Motivations are created by society, marketing, family, friends, PR, propaganda, and many other factors. When you understand those motivations — when you’ve done the research — you can piggyback off of it.

Your value proposition is a reflection of the motivations, desires, and needs of your audience. It also encompasses how you’re going to make them a reality.

That’s why you do research before you get to this point.

Your unique value proposition is the first thing most people see when they land on your website. It can be defined as:

A unique value proposition is a clear statement that reflects your audience’s motivations, explains how you, your product, or service solves their problems, and lets your ideal customer know why they should buy from you.

Your UVP has a lot of work to do.

Setting yourself up for a compelling UVP

There are a few preliminary criteria before you jump into writing a compelling UVP.

The value proposition should never be written in marketing speak.

  • World class leader in x
  • Setting the industry standard for x
  • A purveyor of best practices for x industry over the last 50 years

All of these are marketese. They don’t help the person viewing it determine how the hell you’re going to help them solve a real problem.

A value proposition is not:

We make widgets that increase the connectivity throughout the system to ensure maximum output and interlinking capabilities for better digital transfer.

Translation: Widgets that make calls clearer.

Run from marketese.

Run from useless grammar.

Your aim is to communicate and convince. Not to show them you know how to speak English.

The elements of a UVP

A unique value proposition has a few moving parts.

Headline: This is the big promise. You tell your customer what they stand to gain from signing up, reading your content, buying your products and services, or just following you around the internet. You can mention the product or the person you’re targeting here.

Subheadline: This is 1-3 short specific sentences that does one of two things:

  1. Further iterate the benefits.
  2. Further explain what you offer.

Bullets: List out the primary benefits of your solution (a rule of thumb is no more than 5 bullets, but test it).

Visuals: Images help us imagine what the “big promise” of the value proposition means in our lives. A hero image, in action image, or graphic image work well.

How does your current Value proposition measure up?

  • Does it have a compelling “big promise” your ideal customer instantly understands?
  • Does it speak to a particular group of people?
  • Does it incorporate at least 3 of the 4 elements that make a great value proposition (headline, sub head, bullets, and hero image)?
  • Is it specific?
  • Is it free of marketing jargon like “world class” “industry leader” or “innovate?”
  • What is your unique angle?

So, a good value proposition is:

  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Illustrates your unique difference
  • Communicates the end result of your product, service, or message.

How to craft a winning value proposition

If a visitor stays on your website for more than a minute, you’re doing something right.

You’ll spend a lot of time and energy driving clicks to your website through social media, SEO, advertising, and other methods.

Once there, they’ll meet your headline.

What is your headlines job?

Yes, it can convey the benefits of your product/service. Yes, it can show your visitor how you’re different. Yes, it can communicate your big promise.

It can do all these things but that’s not its real job. Its real job is to make people so interested in what you’re offering they read the next line.

Let me repeat that.

Your headline should be so compelling that it gets your visitor to read the next line.

Your subheadline should get them to read the line after that.

Your bullet should get them to read the line after that. On and on until they’ve gotten beyond your value proposition, are in the body copy, and have finished the last word on the page.

If the UVP isn’t read then it’s all for naught

If no one reads the next sentence then all the time you’ve spent fighting to create a value proposition is lost.

Not to mention the time you spent creating everything else on the page. Understand, the only purpose of each line is to be so compelling that the one after it has to be read.

While they’re reading, your message will jump out.

Now, Back to The Big Promise

The headline of your UVP is the big promise. It’s what you can do for your customers and what they can expect from you. In essence, it’s how you position yourself in the market. Unlike some titles in blog posts that can be curious, click bait, or resemble a news headline, the value proposition must be clear.

  • If it’s not clear, no one knows what you do
  • Without clarity, no one will stick around
  • If it’s not clear, you’re wasting your time and your visitor’s time

A clear headline has your unique promise. By unique, I don’t mean you need to be the only one in the world with that promise. I mean you need to be the only one in your customer’s mind that can do what you – and do it well.

The value proposition doesn’t start with you; it starts with your customer.

Sure, 30 people offer fitness services in the metro Atlanta area. Your unique value proposition can focus on how you offer a bespoke fitness service for busy executives so that they can….

Fill in the blank.

Being unique in something your customer doesn’t care about or something that doesn’t have utility is just as bad as not being unique at all.

“The inner lining of our pants are green.”

And so bloody what?

Conversions don’t happen in a dead space in the world. They happen in the minds of individuals.

Finding The “Unique” of your Unique Value Proposition

What pains and objections are your customers repeating on Amazon, forums, Reddit, and every other place you’ve checked?

Why do they want to alleviate that pain?

What benefits are they happy they’ve been able to receive while interacting with the products, services, and messages being used in your niche?

Here are a few examples from a quick search through Amazon.

Just from these Amazon reviews, I can see messages I can work into my headline. Messages people care about.

  • Easy workouts
  • Not time-consuming
  • Foods to eat and not to eat
  • Meal plans
  • No more dieting
  • Simple way to measure food servings for protein, fat, and carbs
  • Well researched
  • Prefer videos
  • Bodybuilding without weights

These messages can become a part of your big promise — your headline — and many of the others can become the subhead and the bullets of your value proposition — on to that in a moment.

Go through your data and reevaluate what people say they want and already have.

Now, move on to what your competitors are talking about and showing their customers.

Are they emphasizing the same things you picked up in your review mining? Can you do it better than them?

Can you do it in a slightly different way?

Can you target a different segment?

Your big promise isn’t something you rush into because it’ll determine the direction you take for the next few weeks, months, and even years.

It’s a combination of what you can give and what they want.

Take your time. You only need one big idea.

The Subheading and Bullets

After you figure out a concise headline that’s done its main action — resonate with visitors enough to get them to read the next line — it’s time to create a stunning subhead that follows up.

The subheadline can take one of two forms.

  1. Can show off benefits
  2. Can further explain what you offer

Let’s look at benefits.

A common thread you’ll see on many websites is confusing features with benefits and listing fake benefits.

What’s a fake benefit you ask?

A fake benefit is something that seems useful on the surface but actually isn’t.

“Lose weight naturally!”

There’s no true benefit therein.

Clayton Makepeace — an amazing copywriter — prescribes a simple test he calls the “forehead slap” test. Have you ever stopped what you’re doing, slapped yourself on the forehead, and exclaimed: “I need to lose weight naturally!”

You probably never will.

Getting me or anyone else to buy that is going to be tough — really tough.

Nobody really wants to lose weight for the sake of losing weight. The real power behind that statement is what can happen if you don’t stay in good shape. Public ridicule, lower self-esteem, premature death, predisposition to diabetes which comes with its own host of problems, hypertension, increased risk of stroke, cancer, blindness, kidney disease, heart attack, etc etc.

An overweight person wants to avoid the dangerous complications associated with obesity. That’s the real benefit of the fitness program or dieting regime being offered.

Features Vs Benefits

Features and benefits can be hard to sort out and easy to confuse — especially when you’re close to the message or product being sold.

Features are facts about what you’re offering.

Benefits are the ways it helps your customers.

A good portion of your time will be spent educating your customers on what you’re offering and how it can make their lives better.

Sure, they know they need to lose weight, but they don’t know why you’re the best person for the job.

Take off the glasses of the creator and put on the glasses of your customer and ask yourself “and so what?” about every benefit and feature you think you have.

Imagine you’re selling laptops and one of the features of is a 1 terabyte hard disc. It’s a feature because it’s a fact about the laptop you’re selling.

The laptop has 1 terabyte of hard disc space.

And so what?

So you can store more things.

And so what?

Life is less stressful, you don’t have to worry about what you download or store because there’s enough space to accommodate it. Take as many pictures, record as many videos, and install as many games as you want knowing your laptop will always have room for more.

Let’s keep going.

The chairs have a reinforced steel frame.

And so what?

No matter how much weight you put on it, your chair will keep your loved ones secure.

Our shirts or made with patented stain resistant fibers.

And so what?

Your life becomes easier because you won’t have to worry about your children messing up their clothes five minutes after being dressed.

Real Benefits Connect Desires

The real benefits to your customer mirror their desires, wants, and needs. Saving time, cutting costs, making money, becoming healthier, and being happier all qualify.

When you know the real desires of your customers, you can write a string of benefits that work every time.

When you don’t know the desires of your customers, your benefits will seem hollow and uninspired.

That’s why you’ve done the research.

That’s why you’ve picked out their exact words.

That’s why you took the time to figure out their real objections.

Go through your research and figure out what your customers really want — listen to what they’re telling you. At the same time, look at the benefits your competition is offering your customers for choosing them.

Look for ways to structure your message so it taps into their deepest desires.

Perform the “and so what” test on every benefit you list in your subheadings and bullets to make sure it’s filling a real need/desire.

When you’re done, the subheadline will be a short, powerful, benefit-driven sentence. Your bullets will continue that interaction.

Let’s talk about that hero image

Is a hero image strictly necessary? No, it’s not.

Does a hero image help? Yes, it does.

The hero image is usually the first thing someone sees when they land on your page. It sets the tone for the rest of the interaction with your website. It tells a story.

If your hero image shows class and sophistication that’s what they’ll expect throughout your website. If your hero image has a playful edge then that’s what they’ll expect throughout your website.

Here are a few tips to help you make or choose a better hero image.

1.     Show them where to look.

Directional cues have been used for a long time in advertisements. Countless studies have shown that we tend to follow the gaze of people we’re looking at. Use a photo or image that points your customers in the direction of your UVP. People work best but arrows and other directional cues are still effective.

Fashion Metric, an analytics agency that caters to fashion ecommerce brands, uses this approach well. Notice how the lady is looking at her tablet which happens to be blocked by their value proposition.

The proposition could be clearer.

 

2.     Let the Image Support Your Value Proposition

Your promise to the people visiting the page should be supported by the elements and images on that page. It’s shouldn’t overpower it. A hero image can mirror the exact statement of your value proposition.

For example: if you’re a fitness trainer, a hero image of people in action at the gym or obviously healthy smiling people would be in line with what you’re promising.

I have no idea what the value proposition is but the image makes it clear that they make fit people happy. They get points for using directional cues.

3.     Emotions

An emotional appeal, used the right way, can almost never go wrong. A thick, guttural, emotional reaction will entice visitors to stay on the page and find out more.

Another benefit of an emotional image is quickly showing the world — and your customers — who you’re serving.

4.     Bold Colors

Nothing grabs attention like the right colors. You have your brand colors and then you have complimentary colors. Switch it up here and use a color that contrasts sharply with the one’s you’ve chosen for your brand.

Conversely, you can choose a plain color background that puts more emphasis on the message of your value proposition.

The green against the muted background begs to be clicked and interacted with.

5.     Illustrations

Your hero image doesn’t have to be a picture. You can use illustrations to set yourself apart. They’re harder to get right and usually require a deeper understanding of the people you’re serving.

Just make sure your illustration doesn’t overpower the message of your value proposition but rather compliments it and you’ll be fine.

6.     Show your customers themselves

If you know your customer is a young college student, a hero image of young college students works well to reinforce that.

Grain and Mortar does a good job of letting you know real people — normal people — are behind the spectacular results they achieve for their clients. This is a hero image of people who aren’t heroes at all.

 A few Things to consider for your UVP

Your hero image is there to compliment your unique value proposition, not overpower it. Let’s dive into some things you should always keep in mind when choosing a hero image.

  • Subject and Text Placement

There are a few ways you can use a hero image on your page. Subject left aligned, subject right aligned, and no subject. Let’s look at each one in turn.

  • Subject left aligned. The hero image is pushed to the left and the text is on the right. Usually, the text will also be left aligned — not a must — to keep the overall balance on point.

  • Subject right aligned. This is the exact opposite of the subject left aligned. The images are on the right and the text is on the left. The text itself can be right or left aligned.

 

  • No Subject. No subject seems to be the most popular type of hero image and it’s easy to see why. This keeps the messaging front and center and truly makes the image complementary to the value proposition.
  • Contrast

No matter which type of image alignment or hero image format you’ve chosen, there needs to be contrast. There’s nothing worse than people struggling to see what you’ve written.

If possible, add an opaque overlay or slightly blur the background image so you’ll be able to see the text more clearly. I know it’s going to sound obvious — use dark text on light backgrounds and light text on dark backgrounds.

If you’re ever in doubt about the readability, change the image. As far as where to source your image, I suggest you take one or design one yourself.

If neither of these are an option, you can use a stock photo service, but avoid the free ones. Shell out the few dollars it’ll cost for a compelling image.

Why? Because people in the same space browse the same websites and you don’t want your hero image to be the same image someone else has used as a featured image for one of their blog posts.

Now it’s your turn, sit down and think about the message you want your hero image to deliver and the type of images that’ll embody that. Once you’ve gotten an idea, capture it yourself with your camera or design it.

If those options aren’t viable, go to a premium stock photo site like Fotolia or Shutterstock and browse their library for something you can use.

Examples of Unique Value Propositions

Stripe

What is the company selling? Web and mobile payments platform.

What is the benefit of using it? It lets you easily accept and manage your online payments.

Who is the target customer? It’s been built for developers and businesses that know a thing or two about technology.

What makes the offering different? They start out with tons of API’s so you — as a developer — can easily integrate it with custom payment solutions you’re using in your business.

Bonus The two mobile phones have the apps of two well-known Stripe customers for a bit of subliminal social proof.

Dollar Shave Club

What is the company selling? Shaving supplies.

What is the benefit of using it? Blades and other accessories delivered directly to you.

Who is the target customer? It doesn’t explicitly say it, but it should be men (for something as universal as shaving, it’s not necessary to be so explicit).

What makes the offering different? It’s incredibly cheap. If you’re a guy, you know how much it can cost to buy good razors. On top of that, they’re delivering it to your doorstep.

Vimeo

Vimeo UVP example

What is the company selling? Video hosting platform.

What is the benefit of using it? No ads (like YouTube), strong community, privacy for your videos.

Who is the target customer? People who create videos, but there’s a catch. You agree to “make life worth watching,” not to spam the platform with dozens of cat videos. You can go to YouTube for that.

What makes the offering different? They don’t have an advertising model so you watch only what you want to watch. Another benefit, which you can infer from the value proposition, is a community of high-quality creators.

Freshbooks

What is the company selling? Small Business Accounting Software.

What is the benefit of using it? Made for small business owners who’ve not gotten a degree in accounting. Simplicity

Who is the target customer? Service-based small businesses.

What makes the offering different? Built exclusively for service-based businesses as opposed to anyone and everyone that needs accounting software.

Bonus Great hero image showing the type of people who’re using the software.

Tortuga Backpacks

What is the company selling? Traveling backpacks.

What is the benefit of using it? You can carry everything you need without extra luggage.

Who is the target customer? Travelers.

What makes the offering different? That’s where it gets dicey. It’s not exactly clear how they are different from other backpack companies.

Skillshare

What is the company selling? Online creative courses.

What is the benefit of using it? Large library of courses to learn a new skill at your own pace.

Who is the target customer for this product or service? People who want to learn new skills but can’t (or don’t) want to commit to a physical location.

What makes the offering different from competitors? It specifies that you’re going to be learning creative skills. Not accounting, not financial planning, and not fundamentals of engineering.

Bonus: They use a background video that shows people learning and practicing their newfound skills.

Zapier

What is the company selling? A way to connect the apps you use.

What is the benefit of using it? Automate tasks that would otherwise be repetitive and utilize your data more efficiently.

Who is the target customer for this product or service? People who want to be more efficient with their apps. Anyone who uses more than six apps has had the trouble of organizing all that information and would love to connect them and make it easier to manage.

What makes the offering different from competitors? Instead of offering another app, it’s a way to connect your apps through one app. On top of that, many of the functions are automatic.

Conclusion

You’re equipped with all the information you need to make a truly powerful value proposition.

  • How to create headlines that communicate your value by using your customer’s words.
  • The ins and outs of creating a powerful subheading that showcases benefits rather than features.
  • How to use bullets to engage your reader
  • The different parts of a hero image and how to choose the right one for your business.
  • Examples of companies that have made great value propositions.

The only thing left is to create a unique value proposition and test it in the wild.

Let me know what tricks and insights you use to craft a powerful UVP in the comments and don’t forget to share.

 

44 of the Best Affiliate Marketing Tools, Programs, and Resources for 2019 (Free and Paid)


Last updated October 4, 2019

In 2018, Affiliate marketing was responsible for billions of dollars in sales for vendors.

It was also responsible for billions of dollars of revenue for the affiliates promoting the offers. Instead of shrinking, the industry is growing. The problem is a few super affiliates are taking home most of the earnings.

Not anymore, we’ve compiled a list of affiliate marketing tools, platforms, and resources to build your affiliate marketing empire. These affiliate marketing tools will cut down the learning curve, make it easier to implement campaigns, and help you find the best offers available.

    1.   KyLeads

There are a lot of solutions that do one thing well but force you to get other tools to pick up the slack. KyLeads combines multiple tools together to help you create a lead generation and feedback powerhouse.

KyLeads allows you to create popups and quizzes that turn more website visitors into subscribers. That would be cool in and of itself, but it goes deeper. Instead of guessing who your subscribers are and what they want, you can unlock that information through the quizzes and specialized survey popups.

Once you add that information to your email marketing service – you can personalize the experience even further.

For example, you find out your subscriber is new to strength training through a survey pop up or quiz. With that information, you can market products to them that match their level of expertise.

Ready to build a massive mailing list? Start your free trial of KyLeads by clicking here and mention you came from the post about affiliate marketing tools – we’ll hook you up.

Affiliate marketing tools for research

The first step in optimizing your website for conversions is knowing what your audience wants. Once you know that, you can create the right content, messages, and offers. In this section, we’re going to look at tools that’ll help you research.

 

2.      SemRush

SEMRush is a powerful competitive analysis tool. The number of features it has and continues to add is impressive. What makes it such a useful affiliate marketing tool is the ability to spy on paid advertising campaigns.

You get to peel back the covers and look at what your direct and indirect competitors are spending money on. With this knowledge, you can start to craft your own profitable campaign.

The paid advertising research is just one of the things this robust tool can do for you. You can also see the organic rankings of websites, get a picture of how many links they have, know how much traffic they’re getting, Etc.

Sign up for a free account to play around with the tool and you’ll quickly realize how useful it is. We’ve started to use it more and more and now log in at least a few times a week.

3.      Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is a content research tool with a host of features. It lets you search the web for content which has done well on social media in the past. They’re partnered with Majestic and give you a snapshot of links pointing to a particular piece of content.

There are many options to narrow down your search. For example, you can choose to only search for long-form content, infographics, or videos. If you’re familiar with the competition, you can search their website for the best-performing articles.

Once you know what has done well, you can create better content and reverse engineer the promotion process to get massive traction. It’s an indispensable tool in your arsenal if you want to be an effective affiliate marketer.

4.      Google Keyword Planner

The Google Keyword Planner is a mainstay when it comes to researching profitable niches, products, and topics. Over the years, the amount of information they give has been curtailed, but it remains useful.

This is where you should start your keyword research journey. Even though the data is limited, it’ll give you a solid picture of where to dig deeper. Here’s a quick way to find some useful keywords.

On the home page of the keyword tool, after you log in, there’s a place for you to type in the seed keyword. Below that, you can also type in a URL to a landing page. Usually, it’s your own, but you can also put in the URL of a competitor’s landing page.

Here’s an example:

After you insert the URL, you’ll be taken to the page where keyword results are shown. It brings back lower volume keywords that look promising. From here, you can further research the keywords to until you pull out a few gems that’ll work well in your niche.

5.      CoSchedule Headline Tool

We all know a headline is seen 5x as much as the body copy. It makes sense you spend 5x as much time creating a powerful headline. Lucky for us, this is the internet age.

The CoSchedule headline tool analyzes your headlines based on a number of criteria. It takes into account the length, power words, uncommon words, and common words. They use these factors to give you a score. The higher the score, the better your headline.

Always remember it’s just a tool. Use proven headline formulas to give you a headstart and tweak it from there. Always test your headlines. You can always go back and change it later.

6.      Ahrefs

Ahrefs is another competitive analysis and research tool. The reason it got a separate mention here is two-fold. The first reason is because it has a backlink profiler that blows every other tool out of the water. The only one that comes close is Majestic.

It also has some different features from SemRush which makes it a great standalone affiliate marketing tool. The Ahrefs suite has something called the content gap. Type in your website and the websites of your closest competitors and it’ll show you opportunities you have to create more relevant content.

I can’t mention all the features this tool has. Some that stick out are the keyword cloud, the ranking tool, the TLD (top level domain) distribution, the robust backlink profiler, the content research tool, and the content gap feature.

7.    Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool that allows you to monitor your website. Add a line of code to prove ownership of your website and watch as the data starts to flow.

From Search Console, you can submit a sitemap which will help Google index your website more quickly. Over time, you’ll also get data that shows you which search terms you’re ranking for, how often people are clicking through to your website, and search impressions.

In addition to that, you’ll get insights about crawl errors, speed suggestions, and mobile optimization.

You can take these insights and fix errors on your website and further improve your organic click through rate.

8.     Keyword Spy

Don’t let KeywordSpy put you off by its design. It looks like it hasn’t been updated since the early 2000’s. Fortunately, the keyword index is still useful. They claim to have over 127 million keywords and growing.

If you know your competitors, plug them into the tool and find out which keywords they’re ranking for. That’s a plus but the main benefit of this affiliate marketing tool is the ability to uncover high performing affiliate offers.

They have over 300 affiliate networks in their database that are analyzed and updated every day. It gives you a snapshot of the top selling products so you can add them to your promotions and reap the rewards.

Finally, you can track your keywords in the three largest search engines and make sure you stay on top.

9.    Long Tail Pro

Google is one of the best ways to get consistent traffic to your website. It’s free (kind of), consistent, and long term.

It’s also difficult to rank for competitive keywords because everyone is working on it. LongTailPro helps you find long tail search terms that can drive a huge amount of cumulative traffic.

Instead of going up against a huge brand like Mens Fitness, you’ll be ranking search terms that make you money before you know it.

Their tool uses a few simple metrics like keyword competitiveness, competition, and ranking value to give you a better idea of the keywords to target.

An interesting feature is the ability to see the search results breakdown. Google has started to introduce things like featured snippets and local search results which push the organic results further down and reduce traffic.

When you have this information up front then you can make better decisions about which keywords to target.

10.    Moz

Moz is one of those tools everyone stumbles across when they’re doing anything online. They have a robust suite of tools that allows you to check everything from the likelihood of a domain to rank on page one to a keyword research tool.

Not only do they have the tools to help you get the results you need, they also maintain a comprehensive blog that covers everything related to digital marketing.

One of the tools we find the most useful is the domain authority and page authority calculator. This is a unique metric they’ve created that’ll let you size up your competition in organic search at a glance.

They allow you limited use of some of their tools every month like Link Explorer, Keyword Explorer, and Moz Bar to name a few.

11. ContactOut

contactout header image

ContactOut is a simple browser extension that helps you find email addresses and phone numbers of anyone on LinkedIn. ContactOut finds emails from 75% of Linkedin users (2x better than the next closest competitor) at a 97% accuracy rate.

It’s considered one of the best freemium email outreach tools by many and for good reason. Sign up to get 50 free credits per month by default.


Email Marketing Providers


Everyone has different needs and won’t buy some things you’re offering, the best strategy is to capture their email addresses and market to them over the long term. Here are some of the best email marketing services to make that a reality.

12.      ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is the email marketing service we’ve used for some time and we have very little to complain about (they’re differentiating into the ecommerce space so a lot of the features they’re adding aren’t necessarily useful for us). In a nutshell, they’ve been able to combine enterprise-level email marketing with a solopreneur budget. You get the best of both worlds.

If you’ve never tried marketing automation, here’s your chance without paying an arm and a leg. Click here to read a full review and get some deep insights on how to use the platform.

13.      Get Response

GetResponse is another great option when it comes to getting the most out of email for affiliate marketing. If you’re new to everything, it has a  docile learning curve which means you can set up and run your first campaigns within a few minutes or hours. They have a comprehensive knowledge base, allow you to create landing pages, and even allow you to host small webinars.

They focus mostly on autoresponders. If you’re looking for more automation then you’ll need to upgrade to one of their tiered packages.

That notwithstanding, GetResponse will get the job done and help you make a solid affiliate revenue for your business. One of the features I like most about GetResponse is the intuitive interface. As I mentioned earlier, even if it’s your first time working with an email marketing service, you can be up and running within a few minutes.

14. Drip

Drip image

The people at Drip bill their software as an Ecommerce CRM. I don’t think that description does their service justice.

With affiliate marketing, it’s important to be able to react to what your website visitors have done on your website. For example, if they’ve visited certain pages, you may want to send relevant emails.

Drip was built from the ground up for this kind of behavioral segmentation.

Inside the platform, you’re able to create email marketing automation campaigns that fire when certain conditions are met.

One of the most powerful features of Drip is their deep integration with Facebook ads. You can control all your campaigns from within Drip and drive real results for your business.

15.      ConvertKit

 

ConvertKit is a newer service when compared to some of the others. Don’t let that discourage you. It was started by Nathan Barry, someone who’s no stranger to what a good email marketing service should provide.

They have marketing automation baked right into the product and there’s no tiered pricing. You get all the perks and features no matter what plan you choose. The pricing is based on how many subscribers you have.

One thing ConvertKit chas going for it is the ability to trigger emails based on actions taken either in the email or on your website. For example, if someone has visited the same web page multiple times, you can start a specific email sequence. If someone has interacted with a particular type of email multiple times then you can trigger a different email sequence.

You can take your email marketing to the next level with the amount of control ConvertKit offers.

16. MailChimp

MailChimp has been around for a long time and boasts hundreds of thousands of customers. If you don’t have the money to invest in a premium affiliate marketing tool for email then MailChimp may be for you.

They allow you to collect up to two thousand subscribers for free but keep in mind the plan is limited. All you can do is send newsletters. You lose out on all the premium features you’d expect in an email marketing service.

The learning curve with MailChimp can be steep, but the pricing is

17.    Mailerlite

Mailerlite affiliate marketing tools

Mailerlite is an email marketing tool that combines your standard email newsletters with marketing automation features. It comes built-in with landing page software and popups that you can easily embed into your website.

If you need more functionality than what’s possible with their built-in landing page builders and popups, you can easily integrate with other tools.

One of the best features of this product is they give you full access to the platform for free until you pass the first one thousand subscribers. There’s no sending limit or reduced functionality. It’s ideal to get started on a shoestring budget.

18.    Vertical Response

Vertical Response is another email marketing platform that allows you to speak to your customers and email subscribers at scale.

They have a neat feature to send surveys to understand what your subscribers want from your business.

The reports are comprehensive and easy to read. Vertical Response has struck a nice balance between functionality and insights which is difficult to attain.

Though it doesn’t have a few of the advanced features many email marketing tools come with, they make up for it by nailing their core competency. Their delivery rate is high and you can tailor emails to fit your needs.

In the end, all the bells and whistles don’t matter if you can’t get your email in your prospects inbox.

19.      Aweber

Aweber is an older service on the market. Some of the largest websites and most successful marketers use it on a regular basis. If there’s one thing I can say about the service, it’s that they get your emails where they’re meant to go. Aweber prides itself on deliverability.

If the backbone of your affiliate marketing success is email then the backbone of your email marketing success is deliverability. Without one, you can’t have the other. Though it doesn’t have as powerful a feature set as some of the other providers, it’s still worth the investment.

Another plus is that it’s easy to learn the ins and outs of the service.


Affiliate marketing platforms


Affiliate marketing is built on partnerships, when you can find the right partnerships, you thrive. The following are a few platforms that make finding those partnerships simple so you can get down to the business of making money.

20.   Clickbank

Clickbank is by far the largest network to find people and organizations willing to partner with you. They have everything from dating products to fitness products. All products on the platform are digital so once you sign up, just find a product that works for you and you’re good to go.

I’ve been a member of this platform for years while working on different projects and haven’t had a bad experience yet. They pay on time and resolve any issues you may have in a quick and professional manner. The only drawback is that many of the vendors use overly formulaic sales pages which turn me off.

Remember, any product you sell or promote is a reflection of you and your brand. If you promote something that comes off as sleazy then you and your brand, by extension, come off as sleazy. Apart from that, if you’re looking for digital goods then this is a great place to start.

As an added plus, Clickbank has a training library. If you’re willing to invest in it then you can join Clickbank University as well. Finally, they have built-in analytics that let you know which offers are converting the best for you and which ones are holding you back.

21.    FlexOffers

FlexOffers has a wide range of products, strong reporting features, and different packages to meet your needs. For a little extra, you can even get a personal manager for your affiliate marketing campaigns. If you have the necessary experience, you can find what you need using the self-service dashboard.

This platform is mainly focused on cost per sale which means you only earn a commission when you make a sale for a vendor. They still have a few offers that are cost per action. These can include free trial signups, lead generation, and downloads.

Many industries are represented by FlexOffers so it’ll be simple to find an offer that’ll appeal to your audience.

22.    CJ Affiliate (Formerly Commission Junction)

CJ Affiliate is one of the larger affiliate platforms and they’ve been operating for a while now. Their offers are cost per action meaning someone has to sign up, buy, download, or perform another action as stipulated by the vendor before a publisher is paid.

Since they’ve been around for quite a while and have been to attract many vendors to their platform. That translates into a wide range of offers for you to promote. Their reporting interface can get a bit tricky so spend some time learning it before you dive in headfirst.

To implement ads and start generating revenue, you need to be approved by the advertiser. This can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few days. Most often, it’s an instant process. They have a minimum payout threshold of $50 every 20-30 days.

23.    Linkshare (now Rakuten)

Linkshare was founded in 1996 which makes it one of the oldest networks of its type, but is significantly smaller than CJ affiliate. Linkshare is a cost per action (CPA) network like CJ affiliate which gives you the flexibility to earn without making the final sale.

One of my favorite features of the platform is the ease of reporting. When they designed Linkshare, they made sure to keep reports front and center. They have a very low payout threshold of one dollar. The drawback of their payments is that they don’t pay regularly.

It’s a solid alternative to the other networks and should provide a good pool of offers for you to promote while growing your empire.

24.    ShareASell

ShareASale is an affiliate marketing platform that connects merchants with publishers. They’ve been around for almost as long as the internet and specialize in merchants that sell physical goods such as clothing, accessories, and automotive.

They have a small area for online dating services.

Because of their specialization in physical goods, their commissions are much lower than you’d see on other platforms. That doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile, it just means you need to do the research and build your list from day one.

They have a relatively straightforward sign up process. Once you’re approved, you can choose from almost four thousand merchants.


Analytics tools


You only grow what you measure. When it comes to affiliate marketing tools, the ones that help you keep track of where people are going and coming from are the most important. It’ll give you a feel for the traffic sources that are converting the best for you. Here are a few tools to make your job easier.

25.    AffJet

AffJet is your affiliate marketing HQ. It’s built to help you monitor all your affiliate marketing networks performance in one place. AffJet is a tool that enables you to streamline your affiliate income reporting.

Once you’ve mastered the basics of affiliate marketing and you are starting to see the sales come in, of course, you want to start reporting on your success. AffJet connects to all your networks for you and gives you one central dashboard to monitor your performance.

Once you have an account, just add your networks to start importing the data. Create custom reports including affiliates across different networks, or see an overview of your entire earnings.

You can keep on top of programs or networks that are doing particularly well, ones that aren’t as popular, or even spot ones that have stopped working. This means you can spend more time optimizing your site to get more sales for you – and less time dealing with the reporting side of things.

26.    Bitly

Bitly is a popular link tracking and URL shortening software. You insert your long ugly link like http://example.com/my-affiliate-link-ddsafesk and it’ll spit out a shorter link. The reason for this is twofold.

1. You get a shorter link. Affiliate links are notorious for being long and unwieldy. This will shorten it and make it easier to work with. At the same time, you can make it pretty or even add a custom domain to the link. Your long affiliate link can turn into something like ky.co/link. It’s easier for you to remember and keep track of.

2. The Bit.ly app allows you to track all the clicks on your links. It gives you information such as device, location, and gender. You can then use this information to determine what type of traffic is converting best and optimize your campaigns. EG mobile traffic is converting or people using Android devices are converting.

There are many options for link shortening and tracking services on the market. We use Bit.ly for KyLeads and I use clk.im for many of my personal projects. An added benefit of Clk.im is the ability to monetize every shortened link you use.

This feature can turn into a viable source of income for you if you’re so inclined.

27.    Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most robust platforms of its type on the internet. For this type of functionality, you’d be happy paying a few hundred bucks a month. It’s free.

Since the tool is so powerful, it has a lot of functions which escape the average user. In addition to the basics like knowing the number of site visitors and how long they stay on your website, you can go advanced.

Of course, you can track where people are coming from, but you can also segment the visitors and get granular with your assessments. For example, let’s say you’re active on Facebook and get a lot of traffic. You can drill down and see what device, demographics, usage activities, interests, and a whole host of other information.

You can use the information to build robust customer profiles and create highly targeted affiliate offers for them. Running through how you can use the platform is beyond the scope of this article, but here’s a resource to get you started.

Be sure to check out the Google Analytics knowledge base as well. It’s helpful.


Affiliate marketing tools for social media


If you’re not using social media in the digital age, you’re dead in the water. If you’re spending all your time on social media, you’re dead in the water. The following tools are ideal for managing and scheduling your posts to your social media accounts. In addition to that, I’ve included a few social media analytics tools.

28. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is an older player when it comes to social media management. They’ve built an easy to use platform and have a free forever plan that allows you limited access to the tool for multiple social media accounts.

Here, you can schedule your tweets, Facebook, Google+ and other social media accounts. Hootsuite was built to serve as the hub for your social media management needs. More than just scheduling, you can monitor the feeds of multiple social media accounts and add teammates for easy collaboration.

One of my favorite features is the ability to manage social media from a mobile device. You’re not always at a computer. I’m not always at a computer, but we need to get stuff done. The mobile app makes that possible.

Hootsuite doesn’t stop with their app. They have a comprehensive training library and certification program that’ll keep you on the cutting edge of social media.

The last thing I want to mention about Hootsuite is the built-in analytics. If you’re using them as your predominant social tool then you’re in luck. At the end of every week, they’ll send you a breakdown of your most popular links, number of clicks, and the geographic location of the users.

29. Buffer

Buffer is another social media management tool that’s widely known and used. They boast a user base in the millions and have an uber-popular blog to boot. That’s not what this is about.

Their social management tool allows you to schedule to all the major social platforms with just a few clicks and even pulls some of your metadata for you. They have a host of complementary services like Pablo that makes it easy to create engaging social only content.

Buffer only takes a few seconds to set up and start using. The emphasis is on scheduling updates to your social accounts and because of that, they don’t have a strong reporting feature.

The one thing that sets Buffer apart from other platforms is their amazing customer service. They practice what they preach and have created an enviable culture that rubs off on their staff and customers alike.

30.    SumoGram

Instagram is one of the largest social media platforms. With that size comes opportunity and something else – competition.

Without the right Instagram strategy in place, it can be difficult to peek your head above the noise and gain a huge following. Content is just one part of the puzzle.

Unless you have a dedicated social media manager or the right tools, it’ll be impossible. SumoGram is an Instagram automation app that allows you to do almost everything from the backend.

You can schedule posts, automate liking, and follow targeted users. SumoGram doesn’t stop there, it allows you to interact with specific hashtags, blacklist accounts, and access detailed reports about your activity and growth.


Websites and Landing Pages


31. WordPress

You can’t do affiliate marketing properly without a strong online presence. How else would you rank in the search engines, build your email list, and create specific offers?

WordPress is free and one of the simplest ways to build a website. It’s what our marketing site is hosted on. They have thousands of plugins, a built-in blog, and a community of committed developers.

There’s almost no task that can’t be completed with WordPress.

Please use a wordpress.org account with your own hosting instead of wordpress.com. WordPress.com is free but it’s unprofessional and also limits your ability to customize and promote products the way you’d like.

32.    Instapage

Instapage is a landing page creator that’s positioned as the best tool for agencies. That doesn’t mean an affiliate marketer can’t use it.

The reason this tool gets on the list is because the page builder itself is one of the best I’ve used. There’s a free form editor that allows you to place elements anywhere on the page instead of snapping it into place.

When you’re done editing the desktop version, you’ll also be able to edit the mobile version separately.

They have another feature called global blocks. The problem I’ve experienced with landing pages is that if you make a change on one page, you’ll have to go back through every page individually. With Instapage, you can make a change to the global blocks and it gets changed everywhere you used them.

A priceless time saver.

Instapage only has two plans and is the most expensive option on this list. It’s a powerful tool but not reasonable if you’ve not started generating money from affiliate marketing.

33.    Unbounce

Unbounce is one of the most powerful landing page creators out there. You can do a lot with this tool and it may be a steep learning curve if you’re just getting started with digital marketing.

Unbounce, in a word, is robust. They have featured bars and popups in addition to their landing pages. A few of the features you may be interested in include:

  • Unlimited A/B testing
  • Dynamic text replacement
  • Duplicate your forms
  • A wide range of targeting options

It’s on the higher end of the pricing scale but if you can swing it then go for it.

34.    Leadpages

Leadpages is a popular landing page builder and the most affiliate friendly one on this list. They have over a hundred templates and a marketplace to buy more.

There’s an interesting integration with Facebook ads that allows you to set up and manager your ad spend from directly inside the app.

Integrations are taken seriously over at Leadpages. All of the major email marketing services are accounted for and they also connect with other services such as Stripe and Zapier.

If it’s useful in marketing then they probably have an integration to go with it.

Last on the list are their unique popup tools. The allow you to embed links that open into popups once users click on them and progress bars which improve your conversions.


Writing tools


35.    Grammarly

Grammarly isn’t an affiliate marketing tool per se. It’s a tool that helps you check your grammar. A large part of affiliate marketing is writing. There’s no getting around that.

With Grammarly, you can install the free Chrome extension and check your writing on almost any website (it’s blocked from a few). That way, all your comments, social updates, and short form posts will be grammatically correct.

It’s free for most of the features but to get advanced grammar checking, you’ll need to pay for it. We use it all that time when we’re creating content for KyLeads and other appearances around the web.

36.    Hemmingway

Ernest Hemmingway was a novelist, short story writer, and journalist that became well known for his preference of economic prose.

Where his peers would use a paragraph, he’d use a sentence. When others were using perplexed, he’d use confused. In essence, he believed that less is more and the success of his novels is a testament to that truth.

Hemmingway App is a tool that tries to emulate the style Hemmingway called the Iceberg theory. When you’re done writing, copy and paste your text into the editor.

It will highlight long sentences, confusing words, passive voice, and other issues in your writing. When you follow the suggestions, you’ll find your writing cleaner, clearer, and more powerful.


Affiliate marketing tools for traffic


Without traffic, all your other tools are useless. Here are the most powerful tools you can use to generate traffic to your website over time and on demand.

37.    Facebook

Facebook is the one thousand pound gorilla in the room. When you talk about referral traffic from social media, Facebook is always at the top of the list.

It’s different from a few years ago. The reach of Facebook pages has reduced and you have to pay to play. How to use Facebook properly is beyond the scope of this post. I’ll just touch on a few things to keep in mind.

  • People aren’t on Facebook to buy. It’s best to get them off the platform, onto a blog post, and into your mailing list. From there you can market to them over time.
  • Engage with your target audience in groups by being helpful. Don’t join the groups and drop your links everywhere. It’ll destroy what little goodwill you have.
  • Set up campaigns for cheap clicks to your posts to establish social proof before you set up a campaign to drive traffic.

Over time, you’ll see just how powerful Facebook can be.

38.   Pinterest

Pinterest image

Right after Facebook Pinterest is the social media platform that drives the most referral traffic. This is even more surprising when you think about the fact that Pinterest has less than 20% of the monthly active users Facebook commands.

Pinterest has been described as a platform for women. It was at first but the highest growing demographic now is men.

A good thing about Pinterest is the high income of the people that visit the website. If you’re promoting a reasonably priced product then the people there have the resources to buy it.

The backbone of generating Pinterest traffic is through groups. Use Pingroupie.com to find relevant group boards and request an invite.

39.    Google Ads

Billions of search queries are processed by Google every month. Not all searches are made with commercial intent.

Some people are just looking for information while other people are ready to pull the trigger.

Before you sink your money into ads with little to show for it, there are two things I recommend.

  • Make sure your affiliate offer is converting your current traffic
  • Start with a low budget and relatively broad keywords.

Cull down your list until you find a few high performing keywords. Optimize your landing pages until you can turn them off and on at will and generate revenue.

40.    Twitter Ads

Twitter has a problem with bots and the traffic has been said to convert poorly. From our experience, Twitter is a great way to create awareness around your brand but may not be the best platform to drive tangible conversions.

The only thing to do is test it.

Set up campaigns that use a video for the creative. These have been shown to receive higher engagement and click throughs.

41.    Scoop.it

Scoop.it is a smaller social platform which has roughly fifteen million visitors a month. It’s built for content discovery and curation.

It’s divided between a free service and a paid service for businesses and individuals. When you sign up for an individual account, you’re limited to just a few actions a day.

You can curate your content into topics which makes it easy to organize and find. The more you interact on the platform, the more traffic you can accumulate.

Users have the ability to suggest content for your topic boards and you can also do the same for them. Look for active boards that generate a lot of daily traffic.


Affiliate marketing tools for design and media


42.    Canva

canva image

When you don’t have the skills to create beautiful images in Photoshop, you’re left with two options. The first is to buy stock images and the other is to hire a designer.

Neither one is ideal when you need custom work in a short amount of time.

For that, we have Canva. You can start with a high quality image and add your own touch to match your brand.

Use Canva to quickly make the perfect images for social media, blog posts, and marketing collateral. They have tons of templates to choose from and most of their services are free.

43.    Pexels

Pexels image

Pexels is full of high quality stock images that you can use whichever way you choose. I mean that literally. There’s no limit to how you can use the images on the platform.

It’s easily searchable and more photos are being added every day.

If you need high-quality images for your website or a blog post then start here. Use Canva to customize the images you get or adjust them to more closely match your brand.

The platform is monetized with ads so keep that in mind while browsing so you don’t get redirected somewhere else.

44.    Unsplash

Unsplash is similar to Pexels. They both allow you to use high-quality images however you like without having to pay.

It’s also easily searchable but seems to have a larger selection than Pexels in specific categories. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on Pexels (or vice versa) then try out the other platform.

Between the two of them you’ll come across what you need.

The only difference between the two platforms is the layout and how the photos are presented. Even though you can use the pictures however you want, it’s a good idea to customize them.

Why?

Because they’re free, a lot of other brands use them. If a prospect in your niche browses more than one website, they’re likely to come across one image on multiple websites.

With a bit of customization, they become wholly yours. Use Canva to accomplish this in just a few minutes.

Conclusion

Affiliate marketing is a discipline that requires a wide skillset and can bring amazing returns if you’ve got all the pieces. A major part of the puzzle is having the right tools in your arsenal. Check out the tools listed here and use the ones that make the most sense for you and your business.

Let me know which affiliate marketing tools you’re using or the ones you think I should add to this collection.

Exit Intent Popup