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14 Digital Marketing Experts Share Their Marketing Home Run of 2018

As marketers, we hit a lot of singles.

Singles are where our bread and butter come from—consistent success with tried and true strategies.

But, every once and a while, we hit a digital marketing home run…

They come in all shapes and sizes, on all platforms and mediums.

Today, we’re sharing the best home runs of 2018 from 14 digital marketing experts. Swipe their insights to make your business even better in the new year.

Let’s get to it!

Sunny Lenarduzzi, Founder of YouTube for Bosses

Sunny LenarduzziThis year, we generated $100,000 from 1 YouTube video leveraging our signature formula for turning viewers into sales.

I built my business on organic traffic from YouTube, but at first, my strategy was mainly focused on list building as opposed to generating automated sales.

Creating an automated lead gen and sales system from our YouTube channel has allowed us to…

  • Diversify our lead gen platforms
  • Generate profit without paid advertising
  • Build our revenue with an evergreen, automated method

And in the video below, I detail the strategy that helped us achieve this…

We have duplicated the method I shared in the video above on the majority of videos on my YouTube channel, and we are averaging between 10-30% of our revenue directly from YouTube. We have also used this same method to generate over $5,000,000 in revenue for our clients.

See if this strategy can work for you in the new year!

Russ Henneberry, Digital Marketing Consultant, Author, & Speaker at

Russ Henneberry

Selling high-ticket live events is tough.

You are asking a prospect to make an investment of the most valuable things they have: time and money.

And, for those who have never attended the event, you are selling them a “black box.” Unlike selling shoes or office supplies or cars, the prospect cannot hold the event in their hand. They cannot kick the tires or try the event on and walk around the store for a few minutes to see if it’s a good fit.

As a result, great care must be taken to reveal the contents of this “black box” through the use of images, video and… yep… webinars.

I’ve worked on many events over the years, but this year I hit a home run on selling a high-ticket bicycling event.

Here are the details of this 5-day campaign:

  • Business Name: Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers (Yep… seriously.)
  • Event Name: Coast 2 Coast Bicycle Tour
  • Offer Price: $8,900
  • Length of Campaign: 5 days
  • Total Sales: $214,100 (60% Margin. Not too shabby.)
  • Total # of Email Subscribers: 4,226
  • # of Emails Sent: 7

This campaign was divided into 3 phases and email was the primary marketing channel:

Phase I: Awareness, Interest, & Segmentation

In this first phase, the goal was to simply segment the email list so that I could stop pestering those who are uninterested in this ride and start pestering them with another ride. 🙂

I used a LOT of images in these emails (and on the landing page) to help them see what it’s like to be on this ride:

Email heavy with images showing the bike tour

Subject Lines:

  • Announcing the Coast 2 Coast bicycle tour
  • Bike from the Pacific to the Atlantic
  • Bike Coast 2 Coast (Here’s what to expect)
  • Thinking of biking coast 2 coast (You’ll love these pics)

Those who opened or clicked were moved to Phase II. Those that didn’t were removed from this campaign.

Phase II: Subscription and Education

Because of the massive investment of both time and money required to buy and participate in this ride, I decided to use a webinar to educate these prospects.

Yep… I said webinar.

Of course, we didn’t call it a webinar. We called it the “Coast 2 Coast Information Session.”

Bottom line is these people needed to know what was in the “black box” in order to make an informed buying decision.  They wanted to know how they would get a shower, how their laundry was going to get done and what size bike tires they would need.

Coast 2 Coast questions answered email

The Information Session webinar lasted about an hour, and to close it we made an offer of a $500 discount and a free tent upgrade (Total Savings: $700). We did the webinar on a Thursday night and gave them to the end of the weekend to take advantage of the savings.

Subject Lines:

  • Coast 2 Coast Bike Tour (Live, online info session this Wednesday)
  • Get your Coast 2 Coast questions answered
  • Can you come to the info session?

Phase III: Closing the Deal

In this last phase, we simply ramped up the urgency as the deadline for the savings loomed. By Sunday afternoon, we had to close the cart and replace the call to action (CTA) on the landing page with a waiting list. More than 75% of the buyers had attended the webinar live.

A little humor never hurts when you’re closing hard:

One of the closing emails for Coast 2 Coast using humor and a Top Gun meme

Subject Lines:

  • 2018 Coast 2 Coast Tour at lowest price ever!
  • Coast 2 Coast Tour ($700 savings ends soon)
  • LAST CHANCE ($700 savings ends at midnight)
  • 8 hours left to save $700 on Coast 2 Coast…

The results? A sold-out event and north of $200K in sales in a weekend owed mostly to a simple information session that allowed the prospective buyer to “try the event on for size” on a live webinar.

You can view all the emails that were sent for this campaign here.

Sue B. Zimmerman, The Instagram Expert of Sue B. Zimmerman Enterprise

Sue B. ZimmermanThis year, we went into 2018 with the goal to use 1-on-1 engagement through Instagram Direct Message to sell our “big ticket” group coaching programs, Hives.

The offer point is $5k, so to achieve this would be no small feat.

To do this, we directed people to send me (Sue) a direct message (DM) in…

  • Stories
  • Posts on my feed
  • And in my bio

…to get as many DM’s from as many engaged followers as possible.

We realized how important it is to ask our followers to take action in all 3 of these places to spark as much conversation as we can.

We also paid close attention to our most active followers and initiated DMs with them, often sending a personal video.

An example of a Instagram direct message with a customer who bought

Breaking It Down

Offer Price Point: $5,000

We used a 5-week promotion that included a live webinar. The webinar led to an application for the program and then to a live sales call with me.

After the lead expressed interest about the program via DM, I’d provide the link to the application.

Once that was reviewed and approved, I’d have a sales call with the lead. Often on the same day. And close the sale on the same day, too.

The “quick conversion” is part of what is attractive. Most of the campaign’s sales came in live, on the call, with 100% of sales coming in within 24 hours due to the urgency of a fast action bonus.

Wins from the DM Selling Process

A high-ticket offer price point like $5k typically requires trust.

So it was great to see that 21% of people who signed up were NOT existing customers.

Difficulties with DM Strategy

It can be a time-consuming process.

It is important to consider both the salesperson and the team schedule, to understand availability.

I ALWAYS reply personally from my accounts, though a company could use the same process with a sales team.

The Continued Lifecycle of a Group Coaching Client

Why does one $5k sale coming in from Direct Message matter so much?

First, we found we can go from a DM to creating a lifelong client and supporter.

Second, our program has a strong retention rate, with 55% of the last session re-enrolling.

Creating 1 intimate connection via direct message has the potential to be lucrative beyond the 1 sale.

Since then, we used the same strategy for a different offer where we sold a 1-day online retreat with the Sue B. Zimmerman team. We promoted it in a series of Stories, encouraging direct messages if interested.

The $497 dollar offer sold out in 3 days, without any ad spend, other social or email marketing.

This is another example of a high-end price point product converting quickly with a strong community in DM.

How We Are Using It in 2019

We now understand and have the numbers to back up how important direct message conversations are.

It’s important to be creative with how you are starting conversations in the DM. Use polls, questions, and other prompts in Stories.

Also, Instagram has recently released a new update for business accounts where you can use “quick replies.” With quick replies, you can craft really intimate yet efficient messages saving time and making this tactic even easier to implement.

Mike Rhodes, Founder & CEO of WebSavvy

Mike RhodesAt WebSavvy, we LOVE playing with the new stuff, the Betas, the crazy stuff…

We want to know does it actually improve client results, or does Google want us to use it so they just get more data!

We test a lot. Every day.

The following 3 Google ad tactics have worked really well for us and our clients in 2018. Hopefully, you can implement them in the new year and keep growing those profits, too. 

1) Pay for Conversions

Google took it’s “Conversion Optimizer” (CO) feature out of beta in January 2008!

Back then it was a pretty basic tool. The idea being that you gave the “Machine” a target CPA (cost per action—i.e. cost per lead or cost per sale) and it would try to hit that target for you. Up until then, the only options had been to pay for clicks (for Search at least).

With CO now we could focus on the goal, maybe getting leads for $50, without worrying as much about the details.

You’ll still get the same amount of leads, but you only pay when you get them.

Except, well, it didn’t work that well!

And you still paid for the clicks, you just helped point the Machine in the right direction.

In 2018, Google expanded a newish feature called “Pay for Conversions” (PFC) and allowed advertisers to use it on ALL Display campaigns, not just Smart Display Campaigns (of which I’m not a fan).

So, now you can run regular Display campaigns, but instead of paying for clicks (and hoping Google hits your target CPA), you ONLY pay if and when Google gets you a conversion.

Not bad huh!

If you’re like me, your first thought might be, “But what about the volume of leads?” That was my concern, but the Product Manager I spoke to said that volume won’t suffer. You’ll still get the same amount of leads, but you only pay when you get them.

Of course, as more and more advertisers adopt this tactic, expect costs to rise. But for now, the results we’ve seen have been excellent.

If you’re running Google Display Network (GDN) ads, and your account is eligible, then give this a try—just look for the “Pay for” section in your campaign settings.

"Pay for" section in your GDN campaign settings

You’ll need to have at least 100 conversions in the past 30 days and 90% of those must happen within 7 days of the click. Also, your CPA target needs to be under $200.

2) Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Google told us recently that we’re the largest user of this technology in Australia. Which probably means wherever you are, not many people are using it yet. Which means opportunity for you my friend!

AMP is designed to speed up the load time of mobile pages (which now account for over 50% of all searches).

Essentially, you create new versions of your mobile landing pages that load super-fast and therefore convert better. You can learn more here.

We’ve seen “Mobile Speed Scores” move from 2-3 to 6-8. Which has led to increases in conversion rates and the volume of conversions. One client saw a decrease in load times from 9.2 seconds to just 2.8! That reduced “visitor loss” by 64%.

Every campaign is different, but the average increase has been 12.3% in conversion rate and just under 10% in the volume of conversions.

Would your clients like 10% more sales from the same ad spend? Give AMP a try.

3) TrueView for Action (TV4A)

This works! Really well.

This format for “pre-roll” YouTube ads gets clicks. A lot of them.

And those clicks convert.

When combined with a Product Feed (for ecom clients) the additional sales have been very impressive with Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) better on many YouTube campaigns than non-brand search!

For instance, a retailer with a target CPA of $32 is getting sales for $8.63 from YouTube campaigns using TV4A ads.

Even really short videos (6-15 seconds) are working well.

Well worth testing.

Hopefully, those 3 tactics help you squeeze more from your Google ads campaigns in 2019.

Shannon Goodell, Social Media Manager of DigitalMarketer

Shannon Goodell

Yes, Facebook is a big focus for us here at DigitalMarketer. And while it remains a big focus, especially with video, we really wanted to hone in and harness the power and growth of Instagram.

So, a major focus of mine since I started in May has been to grow our Instagram account, organically.

Not only the number of followers but also engagements that go beyond just likes and actually drives people to act. From visiting our blog through a link in a Story to starting a conversation that leads to a sale in a direct message, like in the example below…

A direct message conversation that lead to a sale of a DigitalMarketer product

From the end of January 2018 to November 27th, we have seen our account go from around 10,000 followers to nearly 45,000.

DigitalMarketer Instagram audience growth

We’ve also seen impressions increase, which means more people are seeing our content and getting to know our brand!

DigitalMarketer Instagram impressions

How did we accomplish this? It basically comes down to 3 key things that ANY business can swipe:

  1. Post consistently
  2. Use relevant hashtags (and plenty of them)
  3. Post Stories daily

Yes, and there are other factors that have contributed to our follower growth, but these are the 3 things I make sure to follow.

Consistency is absolutely key.

For one thing, people will come to expect that daily post and look forward to engaging with it. People will be able to discover your brand through your hashtags. And, by making sure they are relevant to who your brand is, you’ll attract more of the right people.

If you are asking why you should really focus on growing your followers?

Well, Stories!

(I’ll explain why in a second…)

You can use Stories to establish your brand as a go-to resource in your field. Stories are huge (and continue to get bigger with over 400 million users), and so many brands are not using them.

The biggest initiative I’ve implemented is using Stories to connect our target audience with content that is relevant to them and gets them in your funnel. We use Stories to share…

  • New blogs
  • Evergreen content that is still super relevant
  • New podcast episodes
  • Special guests
  • Behind-the-scenes at our workshops and Agency Growth Days

…and more.

Fortunately for us, since we have over 10,000 followers, we are able to put the link to our blog or podcast directly in the Story. Accounts under 10,000 are not able to do this.

So, if you are under 10,000 followers, focus on using Stories to showcase why people should follow you (behind-the-scenes, helpful tips, special guests), while also posting consistent content and using relevant hashtags, following relevant accounts, and commenting on posts.

Then, once you hit 10,000 followers, go all in on posting Stories with links for people to “Swipe Up To Learn More!”

In the meantime, you can also use a CTA in your Story to drive people to the link in your bio.

Here’s an example of one of our Stories that we use to drive blog traffic. As you can see, we always include a CTA to “Swipe Up To…”.

An example of a DigitalMarketer Instagram Story that highlights an interview with Dennis Yu

And by posting relevant content and consistently, we’ve seen an increase in our engagement. We’ve gone from 413 likes, 70 comments, and 17 media sent in January to 8,785 likes, 383 comments, and 35 media sent (media sent would be our posts and stories).

DigitalMarketer Instagram Engagement

So, what kind of content has worked to increase our engagement? We’ve mainly focused on 3 content types to consistently share on our feed:

  1. Quote images
  2. Tip/graphic videos
  3. Book images

Yes, if you follow us (and, you totally should 😉 ), you’ll consistently see these 3 types of content.

And, the most consistent performer for us is the easiest to create—quote images!

Any brand can create these and consistently post them. We pull quotes from…

Ryan Deiss is our main source of quotes, and his quote images, in particular, perform consistently well for us.

Instagram quote image example from Ryan Deiss: Dating doesn't stop when you're married, marketing doesn't stop when you make a sale.

There are a variety of resources you can use to pull quotes to create your own quote images. Just be sure they fit with your brand and are interesting and inspiring for your target audience.

There are many different types of quotes you can use. We’ve found that these in particular work for us:

  1. Inspiring
  2. Bold
  3. Controversial

The second type of content we post regularly are short, graphic videos. Specifically: Tips, Podcast Snippets, and Just for Fun.

Video views are one of my key metrics, and these are an easy way to get those views. Plus, they provide value to our target audience (Tips, Podcast) or entertain and engage (Just for Fun).

This Tip video provided value and also drove traffic to our blog. When I posted the video, I also posted a Story with a link to a blog we wrote about Instagram.

An example of a tip video post on DigitalMarketer's Instagram

This Just for Fun was used to engage our audience with the question: “What is the scariest part of being a digital marketer.” It got some great responses and was perfect for the Halloween season!

An example of a Just for Fun

The third type of content we have tested and found has worked well for us may be even simpler to create than the quote images—pictures of relevant books.

Yep, these have been a big winner for us. In fact, this particular post was our TOP-PERFORMER for the year!

Instagram post picture of a book: Simon Sinek's "Start With Why"

This simple book image got over 1,000 likes and 50 comments.

It was literally our graphic designer standing outside and holding the book. That was it. We use a Google Pixel for taking pics for social media, but really any phone will do.

If you’re a marketer or own an agency, there are a plethora of books that you can use. If you’re in a different industry, think of books and other visual resources, like magazines, that are relevant to your brand and audience.

Along with posting these content types, I focus on commenting with hashtags that (a) are relevant to the post and (b) will help our target audience find us.

For instance, I use Mondays to post a #MondayMotivation quote and Wednesdays to post a #WednesdayWisdom quote.

Do some hashtag research, look at the hashtags brands in your industry are using, look at the hashtags your target audience is using and start to test various hashtags. You’ll become more discoverable!

We use Sprout Social to determine which hashtags are really working for us.

DigitalMarketer's most engaged hashtags from Sprout Social

I truly love coming up with ideas for Instagram and testing them to see what really resonates (trust me, we’ve had some failures).

Then, once I found that these 3 content types really work, I honed in on them.

If your brand is on Instagram, but maybe engagement and growth is stagnant, or you’re looking to create a business account and test it out, the biggest piece of advice is to: Just try new things and think about content that is both engaging and helpful to your audience.

And, Stories. Use Stories. They’ll help you stay top-of-mind!

Dennis Yu, CTO of BlitzMetrics

Dennis Yu2018 was a pretty controversial year for Facebook. And for our home run, I’m sharing how our Co-Founder, Logan Young, got on CNN to talk about that controversy.

To get in front of millions of people, live on CNN, to discuss Cambridge Analytica and Zuckerberg’s Congressional hearing places Logan as a perceived authority on Facebook marketing.

Logan Young live on CNN to discuss Cambridge Analytica and Zuckerberg's Congressional hearing

How does a pizza delivery boy go from zero industry experience to the top of the industry in just 3 years?

There are 3 stages and you can implement them, too.

In this experiment, I’ve found that “perceived authority” (having the perception that you’re good at something) is a necessary precursor to “actual authority” (having the actual skill to implement).

The former is critical to driving sales, and it’s why most agencies and direct marketers struggle with conversion rates. The latter is critical to keeping clients and being able to monetize.

Because of this 3 phase process, we’ve been able to transform Logan from $9/hour delivering pizza to selling an hour of consulting for $1,000. Two of these per week is a 6-figure income by itself, not counting course revenue.

The cost to do this was:

  • $2,000 a month in boosting posts on Facebook
  • 3 virtual assistants from the Philippines (graphics designer, video editor, Infusionsoft analyst—$800 per month x 3)
  • Travel (mostly paid for by clients)
  • And my time

I’ve spent $350,000 so far on this project to see how much of this is repeatable and practical in driving sales for founders and agencies. Turns out that building authority takes at least 12 months before you see a return, measured in incremental leads and revenue.

And it’s repeatable in most industries, as you shall see from the steps below.

3 Steps to Creating a Figurehead to Scale Your Business

To be able to scale your business, you need 1 or multiple figureheads.

If you’re the owner, it may be you or a celebrity spokesperson. If you’re a major brand, you’ll want multiple figureheads so you don’t risk a “Jared” from Subway taking you down.

And you’ll want a figurehead who…

  • Honors your core values
  • Can make videos reliably on topics (with or without a script)
  • And is a long-term, loyal player

I’ve been building figureheads in multiple verticals since I myself cannot be perceived as an expert in automotive, retail, local lead gen, ecommerce, pro sports, and other areas all at the same time.

Stage 0 (Starting Point)

Your figurehead doesn’t have to be well-known.

Better if they aren’t since a tabula rasa is easier to shape and you don’t have to pay them as much.

If you’re a small business, start with yourself as the figurehead. Determine what you want to be known for, organized into your 6 topics in your Topic Wheel.

An example of a topic wheel with Logan Young's 6 topics

Stage 1 (Build Your Foundation)

Put up a website in your figurehead’s name.

I chose, since was taken and because it works better for “young adults”—to have a young looking role model that speaks on the power of mentorship in digital marketing.

Next, create a public figure page, start inviting connections on LinkedIn, get your Facebook ads account going, and ghostwrite some articles in their name.

Stage 2 (Connect People to Topics)

Find the people in your network who have perceived authority on the topics from your Topic Wheel.

Selecting people of authority based on your Topic Wheel

Have your figurehead interview them. And you can be in the interviews, too, if you’d like to build your authority at the same time.

If you’re able to get on stage to speak, have your public figure be your assistant running the slides so that your people can take pictures of them on stage without the risk of them saying something wrong. As they learn your material better, let them speak at pre-determined points, but be ready to jump in if necessary.

Turn these interviews and speaking engagements into blog posts and Facebook updates. Boost these posts, especially 1-minute videos. Then, remarket off 10-second views into courses, packages, and whatever you sell.

You must connect something to sell since this is what funds your machine. Use the dollar a day strategy to determine where to allocate more money based on a 300% ROAS (return on ad spend) threshold.

Expect 3-4 touches to drive a Tripwire sale and 7-10 touches to drive a course or package. If you sell high-ticket items, expect 20-30 touches.

Stage 3 (Inception)

I got Logan on USA Today several times, which we boosted to other media (people who WORK AT CNN, Forbes, and other outlets—not people who read these publications).

Provided you continue to adjust your Topic Wheel, you’ll get a massive “domino effect” in media coverage.

We got “lucky” with CNN, where Logan was able to be in front of a live audience of millions to talk about Facebook’s raging controversies.

It’s taken several hundred small podcast interviews and guest blog posts (which we boost for $1 a day) to get medium-sized publications (like ReadWriteWeb and Reuters TV), and then to major publications (Al Jazeera, USA Today, CNN, etc.).

The more coverage we got, the larger the pool of items we had to continue to keep boosting, as we want to keep these items alive.

Some posts have been alive nearly 3 years. So your budget will go from a dollar a day on just 1 post to dozens of posts spending a few dollars a day each. That’s how you get to over $100 a day.

And then we have ads in Ads Manager driving sales of our various offerings (consulting, courses, and packages—like the image below), which is what allows us to keep funding this growing library of promoted content.

An example of a course from Logan Young

The irony of all this is that you cannot directly measure the ROI of building perceived authority. So, it’s truly brand-building and openly sharing knowledge to drive inbound marketing.

Yet we know how much traffic we are generating at the bottom of the funnel, and see the consulting dollars we’re earning. People come up to us in random places (like the Melbourne airport or downtown Vancouver), saying they’ve seen Logan’s dog bite video or practice the dollar-a-day technique.

Revealed mechanically in this 3 stage process, the process may seem Machiavellian or manipulative. Yet when you consider that the feed (and increasingly stories) is 85% of Facebook’s traffic, you must be there to build awareness and trust.

People are allergic to what are blatantly ads, but 1-minute stories from people they trust increasingly cuts through advertising clutter.

This strategy will work for you even better as Facebook becomes more saturated, traffic gets more expensive, and the algorithm gets pickier.

Kathryn Aragon, Founder of Kathryn Aragon Media

Kathryn AragonThis year, I decided to revive my copywriting services and, while I was at it, to target 1 company that only works with the world’s best copywriters.

Nothing like setting the bar impossibly high, right?

I needed to create a lead generation campaign targeted specifically to this company, and it needed to be so memorable, they wouldn’t be able to resist the chance to try me out.

I started by developing a concept, or big idea.

What sets a winning campaign apart from all the duds is a big idea that captures the imagination. I wanted my prospect to understand that I’m unique—1 in a million. But to be more precise, I found the number of freelance copywriters listed in LinkedIn, and called myself, “1 in 78,735.”

Now to prove it…

A digital campaign wasn’t going to cut it. But my campaign did need a digital component since this company leans heavily on VSLs (video sales letters).

I chose to create a physical mailer that illustrated my concept. In the box, I’d include a letter with a link to the VSL I’d create. Then I’d follow up with an email that had the link, just in case they didn’t have time to type in the URL I’d give them.

Building the campaign took time. And some creativity.

It’s easy to say you’re 1 in 78,735. But I wanted my prospect to “see” it. So, I set out to buy 78,735 toothpicks to illustrate the magnitude of that number.

I then needed 1 fancy pick to illustrate my services. I chose a cocktail pick with a gemstone head.

A cocktail pick with a gemstone head

Next, I needed to find a box big enough to hold all of this… while still making a good visual presentation.

Box filled with 78,735 toothpicks with the fancy pick in the center, tied with a bow.

Then the letter would sit on top, explaining this big box with a small gift… and why they only needed to consider 1 copywriter—me.

copywriter pitch letter

That’s Stage 1 of the campaign.

Stage 2 was a micro-site that included a video of me explaining the concept and inviting my prospect to call me.

Micro-site video

The video was just a few minutes long. Below it was my CTA: to call me.

But I gave my prospect a few other options too:

  • In case they weren’t ready to pick up the phone yet, they could request a Lead Magnet, which I created specifically for them
  • In case they didn’t want to watch the video, I included a link to a text-based landing page

Now, with everything built, it was time to execute.

I had already connected on LinkedIn with the person I wanted to send the box to. I messaged him to ask for his mailing address so I could send him a gift.

Then the day before the box should have arrived, I messaged him again to let him know it was coming.

Now came the waiting game…


At the end of the week, I messaged him again to see if he’d received the box. Turns out he had been out of the office that week. He told me he’d be back in the office on Monday.

More waiting…

I didn’t get a response right away, but I didn’t worry about it too much. I knew he was likely busy catching up on work. And I also knew there was a chance he hadn’t taken the time to sit down to open the URL I’d sent him.

Whether you’re targeting thousands of people or just 1 special prospect, your lead generation campaign needs to be memorable.

(That’s the biggest drawback of a physical campaign. Your prospect can’t click the URL to open it.)

So, on Thursday, I sent an email to follow up the campaign. Notice I didn’t message him in LinkedIn for this. In LinkedIn, we had developed a good rapport. Sending a marketing message could have messed that up.

Even more important, an email would let me show off my email writing skills… And marketing messages don’t feel out of place in your inbox.

What I sent was short and sweet.

Email pitch letter to client

Within 20 minutes, I had my response.


Client's email response that they'll be in touch soon

Whether you’re targeting thousands of people or just 1 special prospect, your lead generation campaign needs to be memorable.

If it looks like everything else they’re seeing, there’s no reason to choose you.

But if you create a campaign that sparks the imagination, intrigues, and leads your prospect a step at a time to choose you…

You can’t lose.

Brad Martineau, Co-Founder & CEO of SixthDivision

Brad MartineauI approached this question a little differently than most people, for 1 main reason: I’m not really looking for home runs.

Instead, I’ve found that my business runs much smoother and much more efficiently when we focus on consistently hitting singles.

Don’t get me wrong—home runs are great.

But keep in mind, the baseball players who hit the most home runs almost never have the highest batting average. In other words: they strike out a lot, too.

And what I’ve found—and again this is just in my business—is that we score more “runs” overall when we forget about swinging for the fences and instead create a system that helps us to simply get on base over and over and over again.

It’s nothing fancy. It’s fundamental. But it works.

So, what does that mean, practically speaking?

It means getting back to the basics.

And when I say “the basics,” I mean doubling down on these core aspects of any successful business:

  • Creating a thing that people want
  • Positioning it in a way that they REALLY want it
  • Blowing the customer’s mind and over-delivering so they have an amazing experience
  • Automating the marketing and delivery as much as possible so we can repeat the process over and over while minimizing the cost and time involved

It’s nothing fancy. It’s fundamental. But it works.

And it works even better when you follow the process repeatedly, using it to improve your offer and your customer experience in an iterative fashion.

Many businesses don’t seem to understand the fact that you have to continually work on tweaking your offerings to keep them fresh and compelling. After all, markets change and evolve over time. The offer that excited people 3 years ago is NOT the same offer that’s going to excite them today.

One example of how we followed this process to improve our business in 2018 came from a presentation that I gave at an agency summit.

During this conference, I talked about a concept called “The Small Business Spine.” Basically, it was the idea of how you define and capture what your business is about in a way that really serves the business. It was geared primarily for new, small agencies.

This wasn’t the only thing I talked about. It was just 1 of many subjects that I covered in my presentation. But I noticed, as I talked about this Small Business Spine, that people really resonated with the idea.

Their eyes lit up. They sat up straighter and paid more attention. Asked more questions. These are all clues that you’ve hit a nerve, found something people are interested in.

So, what I did next was test out this idea by presenting on it a couple more times. I talked about it on calls, with business owners one-on-one, and finally, I gave a presentation at a live event. And every time I talked about The Small Business Spine, the response was really positive.

We had discovered something our audience really wants (#1 in the steps I described above).

So, what we did next was to create a training around The Small Business Spine and added it to our offer as a bonus. (This is Step #2, positioning.) And when we pitched this offer at the end of the live event, the response was tremendous: 22 out of 60 people took our offer for about $5,000 each.

From there, we worked our butts off to over-deliver on the product itself (Step #3). And when it became clear that this was something we wanted to continue doing, we began automating it as much as possible (Step #4).

They like and trust you more, which makes it easier to work together.

So that’s just 1 tiny example of this process in action. But we’ll go through these steps many times each year.

To apply this in your business, begin by paying attention to your audience—what gets them excited? What do they want more of?

When you identify those things, create a product or service around them and integrate it into your offer in the most compelling way you can.

And when you start doing this consistently, something really cool starts to happen: your offers begin to speak to the things your customers really want, which makes your customers feel like you really understand them. They like and trust you more, which makes it easier to work together.

This empowers our employees to do more work and handle more clients in less time—increasing our revenue at a fixed cost.

And that leads to some really great improvements in other areas of your business, like:

  • Increased customer satisfaction. (We document this, so this isn’t just a subjective observation—rather it’s a measurable improvement.)
  • Decreased workload and stress levels for the people doing the work. (Because your clients are happier, they’re easier to work with.)
  • Improved economic engine in your business.

The third bullet in that list comes from the automation side of things. Once we discover something new that works, we automate the marketing and delivery of it as much as possible. This empowers our employees to do more work and handle more clients in less time—increasing our revenue at a fixed cost.

And that’s how we create a system for consistently hitting singles in our business.

We may not hit as many home runs, but we don’t strike out, either. We’re keeping the bases loaded so a single is a run. And we’re constantly taking the next step forward in the growth and evolution of our business.

Nathalie Lussier, Founder of AccessAlly

Nathalie LussierThis past year, we successfully converted 80% of “started sales” into clients for our software.

At AccessAlly, we understand that buying software is a commitment and that people might get cold feet when signing up.

So we leverage abandoned cart functionality, and if someone doesn’t complete their order within a few hours of starting the process…

We kick off an email sequence, which starts off by asking if there were any technical problems during the ordering process.

Email sequence asking if were any technical problems during the ordering process

According to stats collected by Moosend

  • 45% of cart abandonment emails are opened, and now it has grown to 49% in 2023 [updated May 2023] 
  • And from there 21% of people click-through
  • And 50% of these people complete their orders

Our stats differ a little with…

  • A 50% open rate for our abandoned cart emails
  • An 8% click-through rate
  • And 50% of these people completing their orders

Our stats differ a little with a 50% open rate for our abandoned cart emails, an 8% click-through rate, and 50% of these people completing their orders

We experimented with different variations of content in the follow-up emails to see if a different approach might increase response, too. It’s an ongoing refinement process!

We experimented with different variations of content in the follow-up emails to see if a different approach might increase response, too. It's an ongoing refinement process!

We’re happy we’re able to follow up with people who are interested enough to start the purchasing process, whether they end up signing up within our abandoned cart email sequence or further down the line.

Seeing an 80% success rate for someone starting the checkout process means we can be confident that our ad spend and other marketing efforts aren’t sending people to a leaky bucket.

Especially when you look at stats that show that most websites have on average a 75% abandoned cart rate.

It’s a home run for our business many times over because once someone signs up they’re likely to be a customer for years to come and that ongoing revenue helps us grow!

Brett Curry, Co-Founder & CEO of OMG Commerce

Bretty Curry

YouTube ads gained considerable buzz in 2018.

Updated ad formats and new targeting options have propelled YouTube ads into the top 2-3 paid channels for many of our ecommerce clients.

In 2018, a huge win for us was targeting Custom Intent Audiences with TrueView for Action campaigns on YouTube. TrueView for Action campaigns utilize the YouTube pre-roll video ads that are skippable after 5 seconds.

This ad format is not new, but just in case it’s new to you, here’s how it works. As an advertiser, you only pay if someone actively engages with your ad by watching at least :30 seconds or by clicking through to your site.

TrueView for Action ads are a new spin on TrueView ads and are relatively new. It’s the same concept, but these ads also include strong CTA buttons around the video to encourage someone to take action.

An example of a TrueView for Action skippable pre-roll video ad

Custom Intent Audiences are also pretty new. They allow you to combine the precision targeting of search ads with the selling power of video ads. These audiences are built based on someone’s search behavior on Google. Now you can build an audience of people who’ve recently searched on Google for keywords related to your product or service and then target them with your YouTube ads.

This audience type is consistently one of our top audiences in terms of performance. No surprise there. If you know what someone has been searching for on Google and you can then serve them a relevant YouTube ad, you’ve got a shot at sparking some interest in your products.

We’re often seeing cost per acquisition (CPA) in the $20-$50 range for these campaigns. And that conversion is an actual sale. When someone sees our YouTube ads and then purchases our widgets, we’re often paying $20-$50 per sale.

It allows us to scale our marketing efforts without a lot of waste.

While we often build dozens of custom intent audiences to test, it’s usually best to start with your top converting keywords from your search campaigns. For example, if you sell tankless water heaters and you actively run search ads on Google, take your top 50+ keywords and use them to build a custom intent audience.

So that list might include keywords like “tankless water heater,” “best tankless water heater,” “Tankless water heaters under $1,000,” etc.

OK, so how do you build it?

First, go to your Audience Manager under Tools in Google Ads.

Go to your Audience Manager under Tools in Google Ads

Then under Custom Audiences chose to create a custom intent audience.

Under Custom Audiences chose to create a custom intent audience

Then you’ll be prompted to paste in your top keywords.

The beauty of targeting this audience type on YouTube is that it allows us to scale our marketing efforts without a lot of waste.

The goal of any marketer is to find new customers at an acceptable CPA. When you can hit your CPA target and achieve some scale you can radically change your business.

For one of our ecommerce clients we got the following results from just 3 different Custom Intent Audiences during the summer of 2018:

  • 2,414 unique purchases
  • Cost per conversion of $10.62, which was 43% better than our average for this account
  • Return on ad spend was 50% better than our goal

Audience targeting isn’t the only factor for success, but it’s arguably the most important factor. Serving the perfect ad to a bad prospect will never work. Serving a decent ad to the perfect prospect might work.

While every business is different and Custom Intent Audiences may not be your best YouTube Audience, you should definitely test them!

Mary Kathryn Johnson, Founder & CEO of Messenger Funnels

Mary Kathryn JohnsonHow many webinars do you actually attend after registering, let alone cause you to buy once you reach the CTA?

Webinars… many use them to sell, and many are tired of them.

So, we took a different approach to increase attendance, and hopefully sales, to our clients’ webinars through Messenger marketing by developing the Webinar ChatBot.

Webinar ChatBot

This is a marketing formula delivered in a chatbot, and it uses Facebook’s mission statement to full effect.

Instead of using a Facebook ad that leads to a landing page that collects an email registration to attend the webinar that delivers the webinar and sells us the thing, we turned that process on its head!

We start on the Facebook business page.

Okay, I hear your groan. Facebook has taken away our reach on our Facebook pages, right?! Well, we are getting it back!

Here is the general flow of this marketing funnel (visuals below)…

  1. FB Live/IG post/Pin/YT Video → One Page Lead Magnet delivered in Messenger
  2. Wait 30 seconds for prospect to consume the PDF
  3. Ask if they want a second piece of free value, then deliver a second PDF
  4. Ask if they heard about your amazing success with XYZ and if they want to hear more
  5. Nurture with benefits to attend the webinar
  6. Integrate with CRM to track conversions

General flow of the Webinar ChatBot marketing funnel

General flow of the Webinar ChatBot marketing funnel

Notice that we are giving value first. Social Media focused value, which means short video posts that lead to short, quickly consumable, high-value PDFs.

To implement this strategy, we have our clients go live once per week delivering 10 minutes or less of specific value on their Facebook business page that can be condensed into a one-page PDF we then deliver as a Lead Magnet in the ChatBot.

Think marketing, not advertising.

Think of the things your prospects are struggling with BEFORE they sign up for your course.

Something like… “The 3 things you should never do when starting your Amazon store, and what to do instead to start with a bang,” or maybe… “15 business startup mistakes and how to avoid them when starting your consulting practice.”

If we are all tired of the high cost of advertising to get people to our webinars, and we’re frustrated by the ever-shrinking conversions from those advertisements, we should actually be marketing to get prospects to attend, and this Webinar ChatBot formula does exactly that with amazing success!

We all know that attention spans are decreasing by the second, and being heard through the noise is one of our biggest marketing challenges, but we have found a way to get Facebook to generously help our clients get seen by their exact target audience.

The second most difficult marketing challenge is to get subscribers to stay and engage once they’ve found us, and Facebook willingly helps us with this one, too.

An example of this is our client Alison J. Prince, who sells a $997 course called 0-100K, which helps people start an ecommerce business. Alison had been very successful with the Facebook advertising webinar model and sold $1MM worth of her course in about 10 months using Facebook ads.

When we turned on this Webinar Chatbot marketing formula in January 2018, within 8 weeks Alison was consistently converting an average of 30 sales of her course each week, and at the height of her momentum, she sold $1MM in 99 days through this Webinar ChatBot.

Alison's first 8 weeks results of the Webinar ChatBot

She is still converting an average of 20 sales per week after almost a year of using this formula every week.

Here’s a general overview of her ManyChat Webinar ChatBot…

Overview of Alison's ManyChat Webinar ChatBot

So, how does Facebook help us with that marketing challenge of being heard above the digital noise?

When our clients go live on their business page and offer a PDF in exchange for becoming a subscriber, Facebook sees the engagement on that post in the form of comments, because we use the comment tool in Messenger to translate that comment into a subscriber.

Remember Facebook’s mission statement… connecting people and engagement…? That is how Facebook generously helps our clients with their business page post reach.

In the first few weeks of implementing this new marketing formula, our clients boost their Live posts, and Facebook consistently gives them 50% or more organic reach because of the engagement that already exists on that post.

One client is getting 75% organic reach from Facebook!

OK, I hear you calling me out on the advertising angle. To be clear, not all clients need to boost posts, but when they do we’re only talking a hundred bucks, not tens of thousands of dollars per month.

The post boost just helps our clients gain that momentum.

So, what about that second obstacle to webinar marketing success… getting subscribers to stay engaged, attend the webinar and buy?

Consistent value delivery and the high open and CTR of Facebook Messenger are the answers to that.

Having implemented this formula since January 2018, we have gathered some pretty impressive statistics of subscriber behavior. For instance, we know that it takes 2.8 times watching a Facebook Live and opting in for that corresponding Lead Magnet before a subscriber becomes a customer (in other words, before they buy from the webinar).

That means the subscriber consumes the value from up to 3 Facebook Lives and 3 PDFs before they decide to trust that this expert can deliver exactly what they need through the course.

Not only that, since these Facebook Lives are evergreen on your business page, your audience can discover the exact content that speaks to their specific issues months after you initially recorded and published it.

Remember that attention span issue?

Well, we have also found that the most highly engaged people spend hours on our clients’ Facebook business pages scanning the valuable content before they find the specific Facebook Live with the PDF they need that was published 8 months ago, and they opt-in to start their journey with this expert.

Ralph Burns, CEO of Tier 11

Ralph Burns2018 has been a big year for us at Tier 11. And while we’ve had a lot of home runs in a lot of areas, the biggest game-changer for us was the creation of our Ecomm Ad Amplifier™ (EAA) Facebook marketing framework.

As a Facebook ad agency spending millions each month on behalf of our clients, we’re always looking for new ways to scale up Facebook campaigns while maintaining (or even improving) the return on ad spend (ROAS). And when we hit on the system that eventually turned into the EAA, I knew we had found something special.

Here’s what the EAA looks like:

The Ecomm Ad Amplifier™

In a nutshell, the EAA is a system that we use to remarket to people based on their depth of engagement.

So if someone engages with our ad but doesn’t visit the website, they’re saved as a Level 2 audience. We retarget them with educational videos, product ads, product carousels, and testimonial videos.

Or if they add a product to their cart, we save them as a Level 4 audience and remarket to them using Dynamic Product Ads and click-to-Messenger ads.

The reason why the EAA works so well is because it’s efficient.

At every step along the funnel, we’re creating a new audience and retargeting those people with the best ad formats and messaging for their location in the Customer Value Journey.

Which means that nobody falls out of the marketing funnel, and everybody sees an ad that’s perfectly suited to where they are in the buying process.

The other awesome thing about the EAA is that it isn’t a one-off success. We didn’t just get lucky and hit a big home run here. Instead, we created a system that we can use to hit home run after home run—predictably and consistently.

You can apply the EAA framework to any Facebook campaign and it will help you to do 2 things:

  • Scale up (AKA generate more sales and revenue)
  • Get more efficient (AKA improve your ROAS)

And to prove that, I’m going to share our results using the EAA for 3 separate clients in 3 completely different industries:

Client #1 sells bath products—relatively simple items retailing for around $20-$60.

When they came to us they were spending $5,000/month on Facebook ads and generating a 2x ROAS. Not bad, but we saw the potential for a lot of improvement.

So we used the EAA to build out and scale up their campaigns, and as a result, they’re now spending $20,000-$50,000/month with a much higher ROAS (5.8x).

  • Increase in scale: 4-10x
  • Improvement in ROAS: 2.9x

Client #2 sells a hair growth product with a $700 price tag. Initially, they were spending $30,000/month with a 2.0x ROAS.

Using the EAA, we were able to improve that to $160,000/month with a 2.7x ROAS.

  • Increase in scale: 5.3x
  • Improvement in ROAS: 1.4x

Client #3 sells powered health drinks like green juice smoothies and protein powder. When this client approached us, they were spending $30,000/month with a 0.25x ROAS after 30 days.

(Their product involves a monthly recurring subscription, so they don’t need to break even on their ad spend right away.)

And after implementing the EAA, we helped them scale up to $570,000/month in spend with a 1.1x ROAS after 30 days. A huge improvement that absolutely transformed their business.

  • Increase in scale: 19x
  • Improvement in ROAS: 4.4x

To sum it up, the EAA is a proven system that’s modular enough to be effective for every Facebook advertiser.

So if you’re having trouble scaling up your campaigns, give the Ecommerce Ad Amplifier™ a try—I’m confident it will be a game-changer for you.

Rachel Miller, Organic Traffic Strategist, Moolah

Rachel MillerWe created a Facebook group in 2017, but in 2018 we invested in that Facebook group—supporting it with content and retargeting group members with content from our page.

(RELATED: 5 Types of Community-Building Content DigitalMarketer Used to Engage an 11K+ Member Facebook Group)

Our goal was to build community in a BIG way. And we did. We gave often and asked for nothing in return. We made getting our community members results our priority.

And we were doing it all for FREE.

The result? We saw the numbers of members in our group rise, but more than that, we saw the number of conversations rise.

Graph showing rise in community comments and active members

Not only that, by increasing the conversations in our community, we saw a direct increase in the number of sales and a decrease in the cost per acquisition of each of those sales. We saw a 53% increase on purchases as well as a significant drop in our cost per acquisition ($9 decrease in cost to acquire a customer).

Conversations are what sells. The more conversations you can have with potential buyers, the more they will trust you, the more they will buy from you.

So how’d we do it? How’d we increase our conversations with our members?

The more conversations you can have with potential buyers, the more they will trust you, the more they will buy from you.

We added an onboarding process to our group. This helped…

  • Establish patterns in our members
  • Demonstrate how they can start conversations in the group
  • Get members to begin interacting with each other as they entered the group

Our onboarding sequence also helped Facebook realize the priority that our group content should have in their feeds as new members engaged with multiple pieces of our content as soon as they entered the group. This meant that our group had a more relevant affinity to the user on Facebook and increased our deliverability of content into their feeds.

These were all-organic placements!

Seeing the power of conversations on organic reach is HUGE!

Josh Turner, Founder & CEO of LinkedSelling

Josh TurnerLinkedIn ads in general, for our business and our clients, have really made major strides in the past year. Specifically, a big home run has been retargeting visitors to core pages of our website through Sponsored Inmail.

(RELATED: 3 Tips to Set Up a Retargeting Campaign in 24 Hours (Even if You Have Never Heard of Retargeting Before))

When we have a site visitor that has checked out our Services Page or our Contact Us page but they didn’t purchase or book a call, we automate a Sponsored InMail through LinkedIn ads to reach out and repitch the offer for a consultation call.

This approach has resulted in us spending under $30 for each high-quality lead booking an appointment with a member of our sales team.

Performance of 4 LinkedIn ads from June 30th to November 8th

This is low-hanging fruit that everyone using LinkedIn Ads should add to their playbook.

Its effectiveness is partially due to a Sponsored InMail showing at the top of your audience’s inbox the next time they log in to LinkedIn. It includes a CTA button and banner ad.

If you are targeting high-ticket prospects and want to automate a personal retargeting strategy—look no further than LinkedIn Ads and create a Sponsored Inmail Retargeting campaign.

So…  find a good strategy in here to use in your 2019 initiatives? We hope so!

Here’s to another prosperous and successful new year!

Matt Douglas

Matt Douglas

Matt Douglas is the Content Manager of Product at DigitalMarketer. He oversees and manages the content creation of DM's products, taking an idea and an outline to a finished product that our customers will get value from. Before that, he was Copy Editor and then Managing Editor for DigitalMarketer. Growing up in Pennsylvania, he traded in Northeast winters for Texas sun. He is a graduate of Ithaca College, earning a degree in Integrated Marketing Communications. Connect with Matt on LinkedIn.

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