Demographic Segmentation: Definition, Examples & How to Use it

Last updated October 18, 2019.

A segmented market is one that’s more valuable to you.

Demographic segmentation, in particular, is often the first step in creating customer profiles that help you make better products, messages, and close deals.

Before we had things like Facebook and Google that let you target your customer’s interests, intent, and behaviors, – the things that make up psychographic segmentation – all we had was demographic data.

That’s what print and television advertising empires were built on. If it’s not broken then why fix it?

Demographic data is important but it’s by no means the only information you need to create useful customer segments.

In this article, we’ll look at what demographic segmentation is, how to get the information, and examples of how smart businesses are using it.

Definition of demographic segmentation

Demographic segmentation is the process of dividing your market into segments based on things like ethnicity, age, gender, income, religion, family makeup, and education.

This helps brands spend their advertising and marketing budget more efficiently. Instead of going after their entire market, they’re able to show relevant messages to people more likely to care.

It’s the most common type of segmentation strategy.

Most analytics tools on the web will give you basic demographic information.

google analytics demographic segmentation

Other segmentation methods such as psychographic and behavioral segmentation are more difficult to implement.

How to get demographic data

You may not be able to get demographic information for every one of your customers or audience members. That’s alright.

You can get the data from enough people to build a profile of your most engaged customers.

With that, you can choose the right social media platforms, create better marketing material, and grow your subscriber base more quickly.

There are a number of ways to unlock this information. We’ll touch on two methods.

Analytics software

  If you have a website then you’re using analytics software to understand who visits and what they’re interested in.

Most analytics software allows you to see basic demographic information like gender and age.

Log into your analytics account and check if it’s collating the information. If not, you can use a tool like Google Analytics (GA) in addition to your current solution.

GA will give you gender and age information about a portion of your audience.

Simply open your GA account, click on audience ->demographics -> overview. If you’ve not accessed this area of your account before then you’ll need to activate it and check back in 24 hours.

Quizzes and Surveys

Both quizzes and surveys allow you to ask your audience members direct questions. Once you have enough answers, you can feel safe knowing it represents the majority of your customer segments.

The difference between a quiz and a survey is that with quizzes, people want an outcome. You can’t get away with asking seven demographic questions and calling it a day.

You can sprinkle in a few demographic questions with questions calculated to boost engagement and achieve a higher response and completion rate than surveys.

Surveys allow you to ask direct demographic questions but the engagement rate is much lower. On average, external surveys have completion rates well below 20%.

If you want more data – surveys and quizzes are best.

If you want an easy way to get the data – analytics are your friend.

Note: Be careful about using census data. The information there is an average of small groupings like a neighborhood. Even though it may be attached to a household, it’s not representative of that particular household. The data about you and your next door neighbor is exactly the same.

Demographic segmentation factors (and examples)

Some demographic information is more important than others.

For example, if you’re selling premium online courses for photography, the gender of your audience isn’t as important as their age or income.

They have to be able to afford your courses and age will give you an idea of their willingness to learn a new skill.

We’re going to look deeper at the type of demographic segmentation information to collect and prioritize.

Gender

Gender tends to be the first method businesses adopt to segment their users. There are only two groups that matter.

Males and females tend to have different preferences.Without stereotyping anyone, men are more interested in financial trading and cryptocurrencies.

The owner of LCMS, Jin, uses a lot of imagery and testimonials on his homepage. You can see that most of the people present are males. Females are greatly underrepresented.

Women are more interested in home décor and beauty supplies.

Take a look at Sephora’s Instagram page.

They almost exclusively use female models to showcase their products and the looks you can achieve.

Some companies choose to only serve one gender or the other.

This is prominent in fashion Ecommerce.

Dollar shave club created a movement (and sold to Unilever for a billion dollars) by creating a product exclusively for one gender – men.

ONLY, on the other hand, is for women. All their marketing, imagery, and products are for that gender.

When doing gender segmentation, you don’t have to exclude a gender. The best results are achieved when you know which genders prefer specific products.

That way, you can use your budget to market to them and leave off the other one.

Age

Age is also another common factor used to segment customers. It’s often paired with gender segmentation to create a more robust profile.

There are commonly accepted age groups for marketing and advertising purposes:

  • 12-17
  • 18-24
  • 25-34
  • 35-44
  • 45-54
  • 55-64
  • 65+

Age plays an important role in where and how you market your products.

Toys are obviously for a younger demographic group but certain video games appeal to a mature audience as well.

Juul, the electric cigarette that took the world by storm, and is under investigation for its advertising practices, targets a younger demographic.

The campaigns are reminiscent of the ads the traditional cigarette industry used to target younger smokers.

In a broader sense, different age groups have different values, norms, and ways they interpret messages.

Younger groups are more impressionable. Messages targeted at them are flashy and abstract because their future is still up for grabs.

Older millennials and the 30+ crowd are more secure in the knowledge of what they want and need. Advertisements aimed at this group are more concrete because they’re experiencing the reality of the world in full force.

The older generations have traditionally been ignored because it’s thought that they’re set in their ways. An advertisement isn’t going to change their mind. Instead of attempting to sway their opinions, target this demographic segment in a way that informs them about things they already want or need.

Don’t tell them they need a new car. Tell them about the options available to them.  

Another way age is helpful is deciding which social platform you want to use. Every social media platform has an age group that uses it more than others.

For a younger demographic (12 – 24) Snapchat and Instagram are your best channels. The largest group of Twitter users are between 25 – 34.

Basic demographic information about their users is freely available. Do a bit of research to inform which channel you should spend the most time on.

Income

Income demographic segmentation is when people are segmented by their monthly or yearly income. You can segment based on personal income or household income.

This is most effective when you have a specific product for a specific niche at a higher price point.

Use income segmentation when you have both expensive and inexpensive products. When you segment the groups that can afford the products away from the ones that can’t, you get clearer feedback.

You’re able to build a profile of your ideal customers and improve the products based on what they care about.

If you don’t segment like this, you may get feedback from people who would never buy. Based on that, your product development can be derailed.

A good example of this type of segmentation is Mercedes. They have cars that start at forty thousand dollars and ones that start at half a million dollars.

VS

The customers for the forty thousand dollar car may never buy the half a million dollar car. If Mercedes asked them for feedback they’d likely ask them to make it cheaper.

The person who’s willing to pay half a million dollars may tell them to improve the performance or the finishing.

Education and occupation

People achieve different levels of formal education. With each tier of education, there are certain experiences they may have had.

We can all point to common grade school experiences.

If you’ve gone to college, you can point to common experiences there as well.

On the other side, your occupation can play a big role in how you purchase products and services. Doctors and nurses may make different food choices when compared to truckers and construction workers.

Executives in large organizations would make different clothing choices when compared to designers in a marketing agency.

Together, our education and occupation influence our buying decisions.

When segmenting based on education/occupation, it’s important to understand two things:

  • Are the majority of your customers likely to be in a specific education or occupational segment?
  • Does it even matter?

Some products have education requirements before you’ll receive the benefits. You wouldn’t enroll in an MBA course before you did your bachelors.

Certain magazines also appeal to people with specific groups. A medical journal would naturally appeal to Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and related educators.

Some, on the other hand, have no requirements. Do you need to go to college or work in a design firm before you buy a nice pair of jeans?

You can use this type of segmentation to your advantage like Convertkit.

convertkit occupational segmentation

They’re an email marketing company that targets creators. Does that mean they’ll turn away everyone else?

No.

It just means that all their decisions are informed by the main group they target.

Many of the fastest growing companies on the Inc. 5,000 list use occupational segmentation to position their companies and reap the largest benefits.

Family makeup (and lifecycle)

The last type of demographic segmentation we’ll touch on is family makeup. The needs of families are different when compared to the needs of individuals.

You wouldn’t target a family cruise at individuals and you wouldn’t target a night club or dating service towards couples.

Let’s say you offer continued education and skills acquisition for older customers (40+). It wouldn’t be a stretch to position your offer as one that’ll help them achieve a lifestyle that they always dreamed about for their family.

They’re not doing it for themselves alone but for their entire family.

Major events in a person’s life cycle are also when they’re more receptive to specific messages. Before a wedding couples are more receptive to bridal advertisements. After a wedding, they’re more receptive to messages about home furnishings.

Before and after their first child they’re more receptive to message about childcare.

Products that benefit from family segmentation:

  • Amusement parks
  • Movies
  • Food (healthy food for children)
  • Vacation packages
  • Investment/tax advice
  • Anything involving kids

These are just a few suggestions, this list is by no means exhaustive and you could come up with a creative angle to take advantage of family makeup.

Problems with demographic segmentation

Of course, because demographic segmentation focuses on factors that exclude actual behaviors, there are shortcomings.

Not using them at all

The biggest issue you can encounter is not using demographic segmentation at all. You may feel like it doesn’t matter because you’re selling a product that can appeal to all people (like a digital course or software).

While this may be true on the surface, it’s always a good idea to niche down and serve a group of people more closely.

Your messages are more effective and they’re more comfortable patronizing you.

Using the wrong demographic segments

Some demographic segmentation make sense for one product but not another. Income segmentation wouldn’t make sense for a bargain product but it would make sense for a luxury product.

Gender segmentation wouldn’t make sense for food but it would make sense for a beauty product.

Age segmentation makes sense for alcoholic beverages but doesn’t seem to apply to soft drinks.

Occupation is obvious for trade magazines but not as useful for general consumer products.

Whether or not you’re using the wrong segments depends entirely on what your product is, your branding, and goals.  Beyond that, it’s a matter of experimenting.

Limited in scope

People in the same demographic segment can have different needs. Just because two people are male and eighteen doesn’t mean they want the same things.

One may come from a family that values education above all else so they’re keen on buying test prep courses.

The other eighteen year old may have dropped out of school so test prep is the last thing on their mind.

It’s important to combine demographic segmentation with other types of market segmentation to build a complete picture of your best customers.

One variable can never tell the complete picture.

Conclusion

Demographic segmentation is an important starting point to understand your market and their needs.

With the right demographic information, you can create assumptions to test and refine your messaging.

Over time, you’ll understand whether age, gender, income, education, or family makeup is the most important variable for your specific products and services.

Use quizzes or surveys to get the demographic information and start experimenting with the information you unlock.

Don’t stop at demographic segmentation alone. Look into other types of segmentation such as behavioral and psychographic to build a better persona of your ideal buyer.

With that, you can craft clear messages that work – every time.

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

Unleash The Confirmation Bias In Business + 5 Examples

Last updated October 15, 2018

Have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to convince someone their beliefs are wrong? It’s even harder to convert them to your way of thinking.

They tune you out when you talk about things that aren’t in line with what they think. As soon as you talk about what they know to be true they’re all ears.

Their pupils dilate, their posture changes, and they give you their undivided attention. It’s the confirmation bias at work.

The confirmation bias is the tendency to selectively search for, recall, interpret, and consider information that confirms your beliefs.

We latch onto information in line with what we already believe.

For example, someone putting together a research paper showing the effects of oil on aquatic environments will search for evidence that bolsters their point of view and largely ignore any other perspective.

A hiring manager that thinks a candidate is a good fit will pay more attention to information that supports their conclusion.

A coach that thinks people over six feet are better players will give taller people preference when choosing the members of his team.

Quizzes are uniquely positioned to give you the advantages of confirmation biases. When you understand your audience, your outcomes will reflect what they already believe about themselves.

We can go on and on about it, but it’s safe to say that the confirmation bias can open huge opportunities in your business. All you have to do is tap into what your customers and clients already consider a truth while confirming they’re on the right path.

Peter Wason did us a huge favor

In the 1960’s, Peter Wason performed a simple experiment with a number of volunteers. The volunteers were asked to determine a pattern that applied to a series of three numbers. The example given to the subjects was “2-4-6” and they were allowed to construct their own series of numbers to test their hypothesis.

When they constructed their own series of three numbers, Wason would tell them whether it conformed to the rule or not. The actual rule was any ascending series, participants had trouble identifying it and would create rules that were far more specific.

What was most interesting was that participants only tested rules that would confirm their hypothesis. For example, if they thought the rule was “increases by ten” they would only test numbers that confirmed it EG 10-20-30 and ignore those that violated it EG 10-11-12.

Wason brought this cognitive bias to light and we’ve been using it ever since.

Examples of The Confirmation Bias In The Wild

Whether we admit it or not, we all want validation from friends, family, and peers. That validation can take many forms and it’s often used subtly in marketing. Here are a few examples of confirmation bias you can steal

Thank You Pages

I’ve written on the power of thank you pages to unlock more engagement and revenue. What happens after they optin or buy from you? Are you using the thank you page to confirm their initial thoughts about why they joined in the first place?

Derek Halpern of Social Triggers throws in some confirmation bias when you sign up for a free Ebook to get your first 5,000 subscribers. He confirms your initial thoughts that he’s a genuine person and asks you to start participating in the community that’ll help you grow your business.

 

If you were wondering if it was too good to be true, he removes that doubt immediately. From that point on, anyone who subscribes will only look for more information to back up their initial impression.

RoboForm goes straight for the jugular with their thank you page after sign up.

 

Roboform

After signing up, they let you know immediately that you’re an amazing person. Not only that, they ask you to show off this validation to your friends by asking them to sign up. The internal dialogue goes something like this.

The person who signs up thinks they made a good decision. RoboForm confirms this by telling them they’re awesome. With this newfound validation, the person would be more likely to spread the information to their social circle.

RoboForm gets more users, you get more validation to confirm your initial awesomeness.

Completing a process

 

When you’re using Mailchimp, you’ll eventually send out a few newsletters. I’ll never forget that first high five the monkey — Frederick von Chimpenheimer IV — gave me when I sent my first one.  This positive reinforcement confirms what I already know, I’ve completed a major milestone, and gives me kudos for doing so.

digital high five confirmation bias

The same process works during a checkout process. Sprinkling in “well done” and “you’re almost there” messages will help increase conversions.

Another way to use the confirmation bias to encourage the completion of a process is to use a progress bar. When you sign up for services like Facebook, Dropbox, or anything that requires a little more information, a progress bar is used to show how much you’ve done.

We use a variation of this inside of our app.

confirmation bias inside KyLeads

If you’re at the beginning of the process, usually, your own momentum is enough to keep you going. Then, something happens and you have to log out or start doing something else.

The progress bar shows you how much effort you’ve already put in and subtly reminds you that there’s just a little bit more to go.

LinkedIn profile completion

 

LinkedIn does this well with their profile strength indicator.

Before you take the time to complete your profile, you probably don’t have much going for you on the platform. It’s likely you don’t have many views or connections. You’re a beginner.

After filling out some more information, you’ll be an all-star ready to take on the world of corporate espionage :).

 

Daniel Ndukwu LinkedIn profile

 

The all-star rating confirms what you already know, you’re amazing.

It’s not limited to just social profiles, you can easily use it during the checkout process like the following example.

It lets you know that you’re almost there and for you to have come this far, there must be something worthwhile in the product you’re purchasing.


Conclusion


The Confirmation can be used in many ways which are both subtle and overt. Some of the best ways to intertwine the confirmation bias in your engagement and acquisition strategies are:

Reinforce an impression they already have

Use it to remind them of how much they’ve already committed thus confirming their love of what you’re offering.

Don’t stop there, brainstorm different ways you can use the confirmation bias to build stronger relationships with your tribe.

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

How To Host A Giveaway And Not Crush It – Our Experience


A few weeks ago, we were throwing around ideas about how we could build awareness and an email list for KyLeads ahead of our beta launch. We’ve been blogging and creating content on other platforms so that was bringing in a few visitors every day.

We needed something that was relatively cheap because we had no data about our core metrics like LTV, ARPU, MRR (well, we knew that, it was zero), value of a subscriber, trial to customer conversion rate, etc etc. The only thing we knew was we wanted something that would give us outlandish results – fast.

That means content marketing and website optimization were out. It could give us outlandish results – I can’t say it would be fast.

Advertising was out. We weren’t ready to spend a lot of money when we didn’t know our numbers.

Outreach for promotion wasn’t ideal because we didn’t have anything compelling to share at the time. After a bit of soul-searching, I stumbled on a few posts talking about how to host a giveaway.

After reading up a bit, I thought to myself – this can’t be that hard. Once I pitched it to the team and a few friends, everyone was on board.  We locked it in for the beginning of June and got to work.

Image of crush it gif

This post outlines what we did, what worked, what didn’t, and our key learnings.

How we settled on a prize for our giveaway.

If you look around the internet for information on how to choose the best prize for a giveaway, the advice is consistent. Don’t use an iPhone or any other general consumer good. The reasoning is you’ll get a lot of interest but those people won’t be right for your core offer.

We sell software that allows website owners to make popups and quizzes to generate more email subscribers and personalize their messages.

At the very least, the giveaway should appeal to people who own websites. The best case scenario would be bloggers, digital entrepreneurs, authors, etc who’re actively building their online presence. With the right prize, conversion rates can be as high as 85%.

That meant general prizes like tickets to x, phones, computers, etc were out of it.

We settled on a set of books related to business and marketing. In all, there were half a dozen books I’ve read personally and people have recommended to me. It was a good prize and it was cheap (less than $100).

We could’ve gone live like that but I thought we could do better. Why not give away some relevant software too? KyLeads may be unknown but there are a lot of software companies which would complement our offering.

The more I thought about it, the better it sounded. It took me all of 30 minutes to come up with the idea and adapt a quick template to reach out to folks with.

It took another 2 hours to compile a list of potential partners and get the email address of the decision makers. In all, I ended up with a list of 30 companies who I thought would be a good fit.

I personally reached out to everyone on my list. Within minutes of sending the first email, Ryan Kulp responded and agreed to a lifetime account.

image of reply from Ryan about partnering

I was stoked. That was much easier than I thought it’d be. Over the course of the next week, the replies started to trickle in.

Some people weren’t able to participate but they still replied and let me down easy. They were cool about the whole thing.

Susan from Buzzsumo even thanked me for following up with her. She said no in the end but her response was encouraging. Respect to people like Alex from Groove and Francois from Hunter who are polite even when they don’t have to be.

Side note: The worst thing that can happen in any of these situations is someone telling you no or ignoring your email. No one is going to hunt you down and f*ck up your life because you emailed them. Just go for it.

Once the dust settled, we had seven partners on board and a few more expressing interest. That’s a 20% success rate on a cold email. The reply rate was about 50%.

Gif of boom baby

Our partners included:

Inputkit.io

Tettra.co

fomo.com

Wpfusionplugin.com

Complice.co

Pixelme.me

Ninja Outreach

Big thanks to everyone who participated.

Our prize pool had swelled to over $100,000. Each company was giving away at least one lifetime account. The $100,000 is a conservative estimate.

Needless to say, with a prize pool like this, I was sure we were about to crush it.

Getting ready to host a giveaway

We knew creating the giveaway wasn’t enough. We had to promote it as far and wide as we could. After a bit of deliberation, we decided to attack as many avenues as possible.

That would be organic, ads, and other people’s networks. In preparation for that, I set up a Facebook ads campaign, created custom images, and compiled a list of possible influencers who’d help us spread the message.

Here are a few of the images we used:

image used to host giveaway

To find influencers, I searched for Podcasts related to marketing and entrepreneurship. A few at the top of the list were:

After settling on the podcasts, I ran through past guests and listened to shows that seemed relevant and took notes.

EOF podcast episode list

There were over 2,000 guests to choose from.

I’d then go to the guest website, find their email address, and save it in an excel file. In the end, I had about 80 names and email addresses from doing this.

The other strategy I used to find influencers was by typing “top marketing blogs” “top small business blogs” and “top anything else relevant blogs.”

I was looking for compilations of influencers that would find the giveaway interesting and possibly share it with their audience.

image of google search of best small business blog

This tactic yielded another 75 relevant contacts. In total, we had over two hundred contacts ready to email once we went live.

Apart from that, we set up a Facebook ads campaign. I’ll give you more details about that in the strategy section.

Setting up the giveaway for maximum results

We had a number of goals for the giveaway.

  • Build awareness about KyLeads by getting it in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
  • Get more email subscribers.
  • Grow our social media following on Facebook and Twitter.

We needed software that would allow us to accomplish those goals without having to do most of the work manually. We also wanted a piece of software that had virality built in.

We looked at Gleam, kingsumo, and Vyper.

We eventually went with Vyper. The setup process is pretty straightforward. I liked Vyper so much because they have a great landing page and a leaderboard to encourage additional actions. You can view a screenshot of the landing page here.

You can set it up with tons of custom actions that give participants extra entries and increase their chances of winning the grand prize. We took advantage of those features.

We decided to go with three prize tiers. If you enter the giveaway you get a prize, two winners based on points, and three random draw winners.

Anyone could win and everyone was guaranteed to get a prize.

image of entry page and custom actions

Comment on a blog post, share articles, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, share on social media platforms, etc. Once everything was set up on the technical side, we ran through the giveaway to make sure everything was working as expected.

The giveaway went live on May 28.

Strategies we used to promote the sweepstakes.

No matter how awesome you think your giveaway prize is, it won’t do anything if you don’t promote it far and wide. We did a lot of preparation leading up to the actual giveaway and now was the moment of truth.

We had fourteen days to go big or go home.

Harassed friends

The first thing I did was tap my own network to get the ball rolling. If the people who’re required to support you don’t then something is wrong. Luckily, I’ve got some cool peeps.

Since we already communicate on a regular basis, I didn’t stress myself about how to word the email I sent them. It was basically me telling them to share it on social and a rundown of what’s involved.

Adam from Blogging Wizard came through and tweeted it to thousands of followers:


Your network is only so large. At least, our network is relatively small so it didn’t take long to exhaust that avenue. We moved right into emailing our existing list.

Emailed our list

The very next step was to get my existing audience on board. This is an audience that’s separate from KyLeads but still relevant. The Friday before the giveaway went live, I sent out an email letting them know I had a surprise in store.

I didn’t let them know exactly what it was but I did make it clear that it was epic.

Image of the giveaway email I sent

On the following Monday, I revealed the details of the giveaway with a longer email. The goal was to let them know what was happening, how it was relevant to them, and get them to click to find out all the details.

This is how we got our very first sign ups for the giveaway.

Over the course of the giveaway, we sent out three more emails. One was to let them know it was halfway over and strategies to get more entries (or enter in the first place).

The second one was to let them know about the current leaderboard and keep the giveaway top of mind. The third email was to announce just a few hours left in the giveaway.

I thought about incentivizing the laggards on my email list, but when time rolled around for the final email, I decided against it.

Facebook ads

Facebook is a fickle beast. It showed us its true nature when we were preparing for this giveaway.

I’m an old hand when it comes to Facebook ads. Nothing is written in stone so I follow a simple strategy. Come up with your epic ad angle, get a few creatives, use small budgets, tweak until you have a winner, then scale until people get tired.

It’s straightforward. Until it’s not.

I made an ad campaign for the KyLeads giveaway and followed the normal steps I’d take.

I made three ad sets targeting different groups of people. I set a low daily budget of $15 for each ad set just to get a feel for what was working and what wasn’t.

Facebook ad sets

I won’t bore you with the details because that’s not the focus of this post. After I created the ad sets, I drilled down and created three different ads for each ad set. In the end, I had nine ads primed and ready to go.

Image of facebook ad for giveaway.

Side note: If you’re writing ads, test out long copy as well as short copy. I know there are schools of thought which champion short copy. I don’t know why. I’ve seen long copy perform better in head to head tests more often than not. The thing is, if someone reads all that copy and clicks through then you’re more likely to get a conversion.

I digress.

After everything was set up, I decided to go and pay my outstanding ad balance early so I wouldn’t have any issues during the contest. So, I click pay and boom, this is what I see.

Image of Facebook error

I was pissed. I wasn’t so annoyed with the time I spent or the fact that my account was blocked temporarily. It was because Facebook has the worst customer service I’ve ever seen. I would be lucky if they sorted this issue out in the same month let alone within the timeframe we were working with.

We tried to reach out to them but they didn’t reply with anything useful for the first week. The chunk of change I wanted to spend would’ve made no difference to their billions.

I had to move on – fast.

StumbleUpon ads

The next choice for us was StumbleUpon ads. I’ve used them in the past but I’m by no means an expert with the platform. When I landed on their ads login page, I saw this:

image of stumbleupon ads home screen

At this point, it felt like the world was conspiring against us and this contest. I had a fleeting moment of weakness where I thought about throwing in the towel. It passed.

I logged into my StumbleUpon ad account to see if I could salvage anything. It was a good day. I had a few bucks left from an old campaign. I tried to load some money into my account and they just refunded it instantly. After three times I gave up.

I set up a campaign and let it run. This ended up bringing in a few hundred hits.

Side note: StumbleUpon itself is also going through a transition. They’re moving to Mix.com at the end of this month (June 2018). It may be a good opportunity to be an early adopter for a platform that promises to have millions of users.

Twitter ads

I’ve advertised on Twitter once before. That was way back in 2016. The results I got then made me decide to write it off.

I was running out of options. Facebook was shot. Stumbleupon was shot. Pinterest was acting like a dick.

I turned back to Twitter and decided to give it another shot. For the most part, it was similar to other ad platforms. What I disliked was how to implement the tracking. Instead of putting it in the head tag, it goes in the body.

I couldn’t get it to work properly with the software I was using. In the end, I had to do some magic in Google analytics.

We created four Twitter ads and let them loose on the world.

Image of twitter ad examples

The absolute results weren’t bad.

Image of twitter ad results

Our targeting seemed to be off because even though we got thousands of clicks, they converted poorly. I switched up the targeting again and this time the cost per click shot up by 100x.

Needless to say, I turned that one off and turned Twitter off as well.

Side note: People at Twitter. It’s hard to find data on your platform.

Quora ads

When Quora rolled out ads, I requested access and didn’t hear back from them. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it and went on with my life.

It wasn’t until I saw ads from a company I knew was in the early stages and couldn’t afford $5,000+ a month that I got curious again.

During the contest, we decided to give it a shot. The interface is similar to Facebook in that it has campaigns, ad sets, and ads.

What I didn’t like was how limited the text space was and their punctuation rules. The kept disapproving my ads because their software didn’t like the way I constructed my sentences. I’m a fan of long copy which helps pre-qualify the people who click to my website. Over time, I’m sure their real customers – the advertisers – will change this.

What am I supposed to do with that?

The CPC seems a bit high in comparison to other platforms I’ve used. Usually, your CPC goes down when your CTR goes up. With one of the ads I sent live, the CTR was about 1.5% (decent) but the CPC was over $2. It was odd to me. I kept the ad running to see if it would balance itself out.

In the end, the CTR and the CPC dropped to .06% and $1.50 respectively.

Though it didn’t drive much traffic, I’ll revisit Quora ads at a later date and really dive in to see how to make it work for us.

At this point, we’d run through our paid advertising options and didn’t even consider Google because the Keywords we’d be bidding on were too expensive. We’d burned a few days and didn’t have the time or motivation to tweak a Display ad campaign.

That left us with a few options.

Email outreach

We knew we were going to do a lot of email outreach from the beginning. We just thought we’d have more engagement before starting the process.

Whatever.

We pulled out our list of hundreds of emails and got to work.

Our results weren’t too bad considering the context. These were cold emails we sent out to people in the hopes that they’d promote what we were offering with no visible kickback for them. Our conversion rate from this was ~ 15%.

Maybe they’re betting on our future and our ability to return the favor later. Not likely. Looking back, I think it was because the contest was epic and they were generous people.

A few people were really cool about it and shared on Twitter and even emailed us back. In a few instances it led to interesting conversations and possible opportunities in the future.

People like Sam Hurley and Nick Loper did us a solid.

Nick Loper Twet Sam Hurley Tweet

Tapping into existing traffic

We didn’t have a lot of traffic to KyLeads at the time so there wasn’t much traffic to tap into. That’s not to say I couldn’t tap into traffic from other websites I own.

I put a single page takeover on one of my websites announcing the giveaway.

Image of full page takeover

I tested two versions of the CTA and it seems people liked the phrasing “learn more” over “enter to win.”

It converted over 53% more visitors.

Through all these strategies, it was difficult to monitor the conversion rates via specific channels. I was busy slicing and dicing Google analytics data. After a while, I just monitored conversion rates in aggregate.

If KyLeads had more traffic, there were a number of things we could’ve done.

  1. Use a floating bar on all pages to increase awareness.
  2. Added a call to action in the sidebar to capture blog readers
  3. Add a site wide pop up to build more awareness.

Posted on social media

Of course we published the giveaway on all of our social channels. We added it to multiple group boards on Pinterest, used this tool to post in multiple LinkedIn groups, posted on Twitter multiple times, made a Facebook post about it, and hit the other major social networks.

It was surprising to me that the post was almost completely ignored on Reddit. Not even the troll who told me to get a life. It just got buried.

There are a lot of guides out there about how to use specific social media channels so I won’t get into that.

Things we could’ve done better.

We’re a small team by design. This is one of those times when more could’ve been better. Even if it was just a temporary increase in headcount by way of virtual assistants.

That’s neither here nor there. Looking back, there are specific things we could’ve done to improve the results of our giveaway.

Prepared for setbacks.

I didn’t think Facebook would kick us in the ass like it did. We spent a lot of time and budgeted considerable resources betting on it. When it fell through, we were left scrambling to find alternatives.

Though Twitter drove a lot of traffic, it didn’t convert well for us. At the same time, other avenues closed before we had a chance to explore them.

We could’ve cut down on the effect this had on us by preparing a few contingency plans. That may have looked like preparing ads on different networks ahead of time and testing interest through other avenues.

The best laid plans can and will go south. That’s what happened to us and we ended up being reactionary instead of proactive dealing with situations as they occurred.

I’m sure we could’ve had a different outcome if we’d been able to recollect ourselves midway and go in a different direction.

Lesson learned. Always be prepared for when your plans go wrong – they will.

Written a blog post

I debated writing a blog post because, as I’ve mentioned earlier, KyLeads doesn’t have much traffic. That being said, it wouldn’t have hurt us if we’d written the post and taken a unique angle.

It would’ve been another opportunity to promote the brand itself in addition to hosting a giveaway.

At the very least, it would’ve made for an interesting read. As it was, most of our efforts focused on the things we did offsite.

Going forward, we’re using our blog as much more than a way to contribute to customer success. Yes, posts about how to create compelling lead magnets are indispensable. They’re not the only thing we can produce.

The fact that I’m writing this post is evidence of that commitment. The old me would’ve kept quiet about it and gone on with my day. Now, I’m much more inclined to share.

Coordinated with partners better

The only thing we did to get our partners on board with promotion was to send them a few emails before, during, and after the giveaway. Now, don’t confuse this with not communicating with them.

We kept them up to date during every step of the process. What I mean is we didn’t push promotion on them. I felt like they were already doing us a solid so it should be our responsibility to get the word out.

With that line of thinking, I shared a few graphics we made for social media and encouraged them to share to their following. There were no other dedicated messages asking them to participate.

In hindsight, I could’ve chosen strategic opportunities to get them to involve their respective audiences.

  1. At the launch
  2. The midway point
  3. With just a few hours left.

Not everyone would’ve taken me up on it, but the ones who did could’ve made a big difference. Going forward, we’ll create collateral for all stakeholders when we’re cross promoting:

  1. Social sharing images
  2. Templates for posts to different social media networks.
  3. Email templates

It’s their choice whether or not they use it. People are more likely to participate if you make it easy for them to say less by reducing their cognitive load and risk.

Better Identified influencers

Another area where we fell short was communicating with the right influencers through outreach. We used a generic approach and the emails to top bloggers fell on deaf ears for the most part.

Not surprisingly, the emails to podcast guests that mentioned specific parts of their podcast episodes got the highest response. In some cases, that was just to tell us it wouldn’t be a good fit.

Think about that, not only did they open the email we sent, they read it, and felt compelled to reply to a complete stranger.

That shows the merit and power of a tailored email.

Going forward, we’re going to focus on the quality of our outreach as opposed to the size of our outreach pool. It’s obviously easier said than done but I think we’re equal to the task.

Breakdown of our giveaway stats

Finally, let’s look at the results we got from the giveaway.

Total impressions: 150,000 (win)

Facebook: 10,000

Twitter: 100,000 (paid and organic)

Quora: 25,000 (paid and organic – I’m an active member of the community)

Other (hacker news, Reddit, Stumbleupon, etc): 15,000

Click through rate: 3.0%

Total visitors – 4,500 unique visitors

Page views 5,000

Conversion rate (aggregate): 3.62%

Total new email subscribers: 163

Fake/invalid or catchall email addresses: 9 or 5% (average is roughly 15-20%)

Average email open rate during the giveaway 42%

email open rate image

New Facebook likes: 27

New Twitter followers: 8

Blog comments: 14

Virality score: 42

 

Virality score is a metric from Vyper.io that lets you know how well referrals are working in your contest. It’s from 1-100 and the higher the number the better.

As you can see from our stats. We got a lot of raw exposure but in the end, that exposure didn’t bring the result we’re looking for.

Conclusion

We did a lot of things right and we did a lot of things wrong during our giveaway. I’m happy about the learning experience and the connections we were able to build.

Do I wish we got 10,000 email subscribers? Of course.

Am I worried this is part of a larger trend? Not at all. You win some and you lose some.

I want to say thanks to all of our partners once again, you’re the real MVP (the teammate kind, not software 🙂 )  and for everyone who participated in the giveaway.

If there’s anything you think I left out let me know in the comments and don’t forget to share.

We Wrote on Medium Every Day for 30 Days – This Is What Happened.


Medium has been around for a while. Some people sing its praises. Others are vocal about how Medium continues to change their business model to their detriment

Whatever.

That’s not why I’m on Medium. Though I’ve been republishing articles on the platform for a while, I’ve never focused on it. It’s never been and will never be our base of operations. It’s more like a loosely defended outpost.

It was always a small piece to an overall content marketing strategy. One of the reasons I never went too deep into it was because when you publish on Medium, you’re just another Medium writer.

I cease to be Daniel Ndukwu or KyLeads. You lose your identity unless you’ve already brought a huge audience with you. I didn’t. Apart from that, the reporting features leave a lot to be desired.

I’ve never adopted a consistent strategy specific to Medium. If I wanted to write something that didn’t fit into the topic of our blog then I’d just publish a Medium article. That was all the thought I gave to it.

Some of them were successful. Most weren’t.

In April 2018 that changed. I decided to give it 30 days of consistent effort and measure the results. This article sums up my learnings.

Where I started my Medium experiment

On April 12, 2018, I started my Medium experiment. The premise was simple. Write an article every day for thirty days. I also put a few limitations on myself:

  • I couldn’t email my list
  • I wouldn’t promote it (apart from Twitter) across the internet
  • The only extra push would be from Medium publications
  • I wouldn’t tell anyone about the experiment so they wouldn’t visit my Medium profile more often.

Apart from that, I was free to write about any and everything. The only other thing I tried to do was link back to KyLeads on relevant articles. This wasn’t a big deal; it was just something I kept in mind.

I started the experiment with 731 followers.

first day profile page

I had 420 article views and 134 reads in the thirty days before I started the experiment.

Medium writing stats

It’s important to note I wasn’t exactly starting from scratch. I’m by no means the most popular writer on Medium but a few people follow me and clap for my articles regularly. In addition to a few followers, I’m also a writer for a half a dozen publications.

During the course of the experiment, I didn’t hustle for my articles to be featured in any new publications. If you’re brand new to Medium, that may be one of the most effective things you can do to get more eyeballs on your content.

Now, let’s look at what actually happened during my Medium experiment.

The Medium Writing Experience

As I mentioned before, I’m a writer for many publications on Medium. The plan was to write an article and submit to them on a daily basis.

I quickly ran into a snag. The editors are busy people. They get submissions all day every day. It takes time for them to review and accept a submission. I didn’t take that into account.

I’d submit one article a day and sometime three of them would get published at the same time. If you look at my timeline, you’ll see I would publish up to four articles at the same time.

That wouldn’t work for what I was trying to accomplish.

I stopped submitting first. Instead, I’d publish directly then submit to publications. They could accept at their leisure and I’d get the benefit of adding my work to a publication while keeping a consistent schedule.

It worked out pretty well. Not all my articles were accepted. Either it wasn’t a good fit or I removed it from one publication and added it to another because I felt like I’d get more exposure that way.

In the end, out of 30 articles, 19 were accepted to publications. Not bad.

Engagement increased

One thing I noticed was an increase in engagement across the board. I was expecting a few shares and claps. I got more than that. People were commenting on the articles and highlighting parts that stood out to them.

medium writing highlights

I think this was in part due to the way I was writing. Usually, I write about topics related to entrepreneurship and marketing. During the thirty day period, I touched on a wider range of topics. With many of them, I was shooting from the hip.

image of medium engagement and comments

What I mean by that is my articles weren’t as narrow in scope. I wrote about a variety of subjects like how I felt like giving up at times, not going for broke, and overwork. It appealed to a wider audience.

There was just a larger amount to consume. Gary V refers to this as content, on content, on content. His process is a bit more sophisticated.

Many of those people may not become subscribers or customers. It’s all good. They may still introduce me to the person that will. Apart from that, it’s interesting to see which parts of an article resonate with people the most.

The results of my Medium writing

The part you’ve been waiting for. What actually happens when you write on Medium for a full month?

For me, the metric I wanted to improve the most was my Medium follower count. While I got a little boost, it was negligible. This is probably due to the fact that I didn’t promote the articles much.

I started with 731 followers and ended with 759 followers.

30 day profile results

That’s an increase of 28 followers or roughly 4%. My target was to hit a thousand followers or a 36% increase. I failed woefully in that regard.

Looking back, I could have utilized more calls to action. For the most part, I just wrote and published. Only a handful of the articles had any sort of call to action to speak of.

Let’s look at my traffic stats.

After thirty days of writing on Medium, I got 1421 views on my articles and 488 reads.

medium writing stats after 30 days

I started with 420 views which is a 338% increase. Not bad. As far as actual reads, I started with 134 and increased it by 364%. Also not bad.

Even though I started with pretty low numbers, I’m happy with the increase. But these are stats for my Medium activity. More important to me is how many people left medium and went to my websites.

Google seemed to have trouble picking up the referrals sent from Medium. Luckily, I was also using a short link via bit.ly.

That one picked up 27 clicks to our website.

Out of the 488 people that read my articles a little over 5% clicked through to my website. Ehn, it’s not great and it’s not horrible. If it was an advertisement I would be jumping for joy.

It could’ve been improved a lot if I was actively promoting something. What I was doing was linking in the body of my content. There was no call to action or anything of that nature. So, I’m ok with the results.

Conclusion

I still believe in the power of Medium. Even though the results of my case study appear to be lackluster, you have to consider a few things. I basically published and prayed. I tweeted each article once, maybe twice, and did absolutely no more promotion.

If I were to do that on a normal blog, my views would’ve been much lower. I was also able to drive traffic to my website. Even though it was only 27 clicks, that translates to about two subscribers (the website is converting at 10% or so.

That’s two subscribers we didn’t have before so it’s a win.

If you’re going to throw your weight behind Medium, make sure you promote your articles and get accepted to publications. You can get much better results than me.

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