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Digital Marketing On A Budget

On July 8th, 2015, I presented in Singapore at ad:tech Asean 2015 on the topic “Digital Marketing on a Budget.” Here is video of my presentation with slides below.

Full Transcript via SpeechPad:

Hello, everybody. I’m Josh Steimle. I apologize for the little bit of a late start that we’re getting. But we’ve got a full hour together, so we’ve got, hopefully, plenty of time to get through everything. This is Digital Marketing on a Budget, so this is the presentation for people who want to know how to do their digital marketing either with a smaller budget, or maybe you’ve just got a larger budget that you want to stretch a bit further and get more out of. So by way of introductions, I’m from the United States originally but I’m based in Hong Kong right now. I run a digital marketing agency called MWI. We’re headquartered in the States. Our Asia office’s in Hong Kong. I’m also a contributor to Forbes Magazine, and some other publications. I write about digital marketing and startups and entrepreneurship. And I started my agency in 1999 while I was a college student. It’s been about 15 years I’ve been running it. We primarily do SEO, paid search, content marketing, conversion rate optimization.

And so that’s the background for a lot of the remarks that I’ll be providing today, is we, as an agency, do a lot of these services for our clients. But there’s a lot of this that you can do in-house, you can do within your own company, and you can do it for very cheaply if not free. So I’m going to especially focus on digital marketing techniques, tactics, that you can do with virtually no budget or with a very, very small budget. Or if you have a larger budget, you can make your dollars go further by implementing some of these tactics.

So E consultancy came out with a report for 2015. They surveyed companies. Seventy nine percent of the companies that they surveyed said that this year, they plan to increase their spending on digital marketing. Now, what about the other 21%? The 21% who said they’re not going to increase their spending? These people have also been surveyed in the past. They’ve been asked, “Why are you not spending more money on digital marketing? Why are you not investing in this? And so why no digital marketing?” And the reasons that people give for why they’re not spending more on digital marketing, is they have two problems. One is, they don’t have any money. Two is, they don’t have the people to do it, which is really a function of not having enough money to hire the people to get the digital marketing work done that they need done.

So we’re not like the government, we run businesses, right? So when we run out of money, we have a problem. We can’t just print money out of thin air like the government can, we have to come up with these budgets or we have to figure out how to do this work without the money that we would like to be able to spend on these things. So again, I’m going to talk about 10 ways that you can boost your digital marketing efforts with virtually no budget. But to get to the first tip, I’m going to go through a bit of background and info and cover some of the things that I think are foundational for where digital marketing is going over the next few years. So what I want to really focus on is mobile, because everything these days seems to come back to mobile, mobile, mobile.

If you were in here during Thomas Wolf’s presentation, he’s the guy from Google. He was talking a lot about mobile. He was talking about the data that you get back from mobile. So if you don’t believe me about mobile being a big thing, believe him because he’s from Google. Google knows everything, right? So let’s just go through some charts here. And by the way, every time I start showing bar graphs, people start pulling out cameras; they’re taking photos. I always put my slides up on Slide Share. So at the end of this presentation, my email address will come up. My Twitter handle will come up. You can come up and get a card from me, and just reach out to me, I’ll send you a link you can download the slides. You don’t need to take photos. You don’t need to take notes on what’s in the slides because I can send these slides to you and you can get them that way.

So Global Smartphone Shipments, so we’re talking about mobile here. All these graphs you’re going to see are going up when it comes to talking about mobile. So Global Smartphone Shipments, this shows from 2007 through 2014. It’s gone up, up, up. We know this. Everybody’s buying more smartphones, right? Mobile data traffic in the Asia Pacific region, this is forecast through 2019. It’s going up, up, up, as you would expect. Features phone, remember the phones before smartphones, people are still buying those, but they’re tapering off. The dark blue lines are the smartphone shipments. So again, these are going up within Asia. Now, here’s a graph that’s not going up. What is this? Global PC shipments. They’re pretty flat. People still buy a lot of computers. There’s a big market there, but it’s not growing. It’s staying pretty flat. And this is sourced from Gartner. PC sales fell to 12% of worldwide device shipments in 2015. PCs are not what people are using for computers anymore. People are using smart phones. The day’s coming when people will not have a laptop. They’re not going to have a desktop in their home. They’re just going to have their phone, and that’s it. That’s all they’ve got. We’re already seeing that day upon us.

Half of all YouTube traffic comes from smartphones. It’s coming from mobile devices, and that’s increasing. So we’ve got these trends that are all coming together here, especially in Asia. We’ve got cheap smartphones. Smartphones are being developed that are much, much more affordable than they were a few years ago. You want to go buy an iPhone today, of course, that’s expensive. The Galaxy S6, that’s an expensive phone. But there are smartphones being cranked out that normal people can afford, that poor people can afford. And at the same time, that these people have access to cheap smartphones, they’re getting an access to broadband Internet. And at the same time, you’ve got this growing middle class. So income’s going up, cost of smartphones is going down, Broadband is going everywhere. This means a lot of people in the Asia Pacific region on smartphones over the next few years, accessing websites, looking for products to buy, and that spells opportunity for everybody in this room.

So it’s all about mobile marketing, but here are some of the mistakes people make when it comes to mobile marketing. First, people have no ideas. They’re not even thinking about mobile marketing: “Hey, I’ve got a website up. Our company has a website. It’s all good. We’re doing online marketing, so we have a website.” They’re not even thinking about the mobile side of things. Mistake number two, they might have a mobile idea but they don’t actually have a plan. And three, they might have a plan but it’s a bad plan. So you want to start out right when it comes to mobile marketing. How do you start out right? You want to focus on the customer. Find out what the customer wants, focus on the customer. Where’s the customer going when it comes to what they do on smartphones? Search is the most common starting point for mobile research when it comes to buying things. This goes for B to B. It goes for B to C. When people buy things, they whip out their smartphone, they start doing research, they start looking around. So 48% of people start to do research for buying decisions on smartphones . . . around search engine, sorry. Search engines. Then they go to branded websites, then they go to branded apps.

So when it comes to mobile and how people are doing research, it’s all about search engines. That’s where people are going first. So tip number one, this is out of the 10 tips, you need to have a mobile website. How many of your companies that you work for, that you own, have a mobile website, or a website that is specifically mobile friendly? Okay. I’m seeing less than half the people in the room. Maybe some of you don’t know, or you’re not sure. So what’s a mobile friendly website? It used to be that you had a mobile web site, and you had your desktop website. Today, it’s all about responsive designs. So you have one website, it shifts as you go from the desktop to the mobile, or to the tablet to the mobile phone; it changes size. So you need to have a responsive website these days.

So here’s the problem. Here’s a non-mobile friendly website. So this came up when I did a search for self storage in Singapore, and this is the Singapore Post website. I know these people have money. This isn’t a tiny company; this is a big company. They’ve got the budget to throw up a mobile friendly website. But this is what comes up when you look at their web site. That pink circle there, that’s about the size of my thumb if I try to tap on a navigation item on their website. That circle covers five navigation items. There’s no way I can click on the nav, even if I could read it on their website, because I’m just seeing their desktop website shrunk down to the size of a smartphone. They do not have a mobile friendly website. Text is too hard to read, my thumbs are too big. The other thing is, most people are right handed, their navigation is on the left side. I have to reach my thumb all the way across that screen to get it over to where their navigation is, instead of them having the navigation on the right side of the screen where my thumb can actually reach it. So that’s one of the problems with a non-mobile friendly website.

So here are mobile friendly search results. Earlier this year, Google came out with a change in their algorithm. They said, “We’re going to start looking at whether websites are mobile friendly or not, and we’re going to start making changes as to how websites are ranked in search results based on whether the website is mobile friendly or not.” So now, if your website’s not mobile friendly, you might actually see your website not showing up in searches done from mobile devices. So if your website is mobile friendly, on the top here where you see this green bracket, there’s a little note there and it says, “Mobile friendly.” Google is actually telling you before you click through from their search results, this is a mobile friendly website. Down below, it doesn’t say mobile friendly. Which one of these are you going to click on if you’re on your phone? Are you going to click on the search result that says “mobile friendly,” or are you going to click on the one that says “not mobile friendly”? The one with the mobile friendly note next to it is going to get a lot more clicks. If you don’t have a mobile friendly website, you’re not going to get the clicks.

So how easy is it to set up a mobile friendly website? It’s easy, it’s cheap, it’s practically free. Here’s HostGator. I’m not recommending this company; this is just one of the many web hosting companies out there. You can go get a hosting package for under $4 a month. That’s practically free. That’s really cheap, right? So you go get your almost free web hosting package there, and then they’ve got WordPress, which is free. You can download WordPress, you can get that installed, and then you go do a search for free response of WordPress themes. You can go find a theme, a design, to apply to your WordPress installation that’s free. And these things are responsive, so they’re mobile friendly. So you can’t tell me that you don’t have the money to have a mobile friendly website, because you can get it for pretty much free out there.

So tip two: SEO basics. So again, you’ve got your WordPress website, which is only cost you $4 a month because you have a free responsive template. You go get the SEO plugin for WordPress. You install it. It pretty much sets up your website to be SEO friendly. Doesn’t optimize your website, it doesn’t do SEO on your website, but it sets it up basically the right way so that it’s search engine friendly. It’s more than a lot of companies are doing out there. So if you just do this one step that’s free and takes about 30 seconds, you’re ahead of a bunch of the other people out there. Now you’ve got your mobile website, and you’ve got your website that’s at least a bit search engine friendly. See down there, “Download this free plug in”? That’s what that big green button there says: “free.”

Okay, tip number three: Google My Business. Now, I’m not saying search my business. This is a specific thing that Google is marketing. So Google My Business gives you benefits, like, if you set up your business on Google My Business and then somebody does a mobile search for what you do, then you get the search result that comes up here and there’s this nice call button right next to there. Notice how it’s on the right side where my thumb is, so I can easily click on it? So you get this call button coming up. So if somebody is searching for what you do and you want to get them to call you as soon as possible because you know that once you get them on the phone you can close that sale, you can get that lead from them, then you want that call button showing up on your search results.

This way, they don’t even have to click through to your website, they just click on that call button in the search results. They never visit your website, but you get them on the phone, you can close the deal. The way you do that is through Google My Business. So here is Google My Business, their page. Oh, look, it’s free. Better than cheap. So you go to Google My Business, you set up your business there. This will make you show up on Google Maps. It will make you show up in other places. It will make you show up better in Google search results. You’ll get that call button in the mobile search results. So Google My Business, that’s tip number three.

Tip number four: blog. How many of you know that your company has a blog on your company’s website? I’m seeing like five, six, seven hands maybe. Okay. Setting up a blog and keeping that blog active is one of the easiest things that you can do for SEO, for content marketing, for digital marketing all around. If your company doesn’t have a blog on their website, it’s the first go to thing that you should be doing after the other tips that I already mentioned. Setting up a blog, it’s easy in WordPress. WordPress makes it super, super easy to set up that blog. The next part is you need to start posting on the blog, and this is where everybody runs into issues. They say, “Oh, but my business is so boring. I don’t know what to write about. I hate writing. It’s hard to come up with ideas.” We have clients who are in the self-storage industry. Self-storage is a boring, boring business. These people have buildings. The building is divided into rooms. People come and they rent a room and they stick stuff in it, and then they go home and they forget about it for two years. That’s the whole business. It’s really boring. And yet, we can come up with hundreds of ideas for blog posts that are relevant to the self-storage industry.

So if you think your business is boring, you don’t know what to blog about, it’s just a matter of getting creative and finding the ideas. I’ll show you how right here. So we have a client that’s a jewelry store in Hong Kong, so they sell jewelry. We sat down with this client, this is just a month ago, and we said, “We need to start blogging on your website. We need to start coming up with ideas.” She said, “Oh, I don’t even . . . I sell jewelry but I’m not really interested in jewelry.” Well, okay. So we said, “Well, let’s talk about some ideas. What could we blog about with regards to jewelry that is going to attract customers?” Now, we’re trying to help her rank on the search engines. We’re trying to get her traffic in the search engines. It would be great if we could rank for Hong Kong Jewelry Store, or Hong Kong Jewelry, but that’s the old way of doing your keyword strategy. These days, you want to go after what’s called the Long Tail, which is with services like Siri, and Google Now, people are speaking their searches into their phone. So instead of pulling out the phone and saying, “Hong Kong Jewelry Store,” they’re saying, “Where can I find a jewelry store in Hong Kong on this street, that sells this kind of diamonds, or something like that?” I don’t know that much about jewelry. But they’re speaking searches into their phones, and the point is these searches are getting longer.

There are more words in these searches. That’s the long tail of search. Over 20% of the searches that are going on Google every day, have never been searched for ever before. In other words, a lot of the searches that are going on are searches that are brand new, that despite the billions of searches that have already happened, these are brand new searches that are being done. So this is how we start strategizing and coming up with ideas for this client. So we go to Google, and you start typing in, and if you have your instant search turned on in Google, it’ll start giving you suggestions. So I type in, “What jewelry,” that’s all I type in, and already Google comes up with this list of suggestions. Where is it getting these suggestions from? These are based on what other people are searching for.

So Google is telling me, “This is what people search for that’s related to what you’re already typing in.” It’s trying to help me get there faster. So I start typing in “what jewelry,” and it comes up with “What jewelry to wear,” “what jewelry to wear with a black dress.” Well, great. Let’s talk about what jewelry to wear with a black dress. I have no idea. But our client who owns a jewelry store, she has some ideas about what kind of jewelry you could wear with a black dress. So now we look at what comes up when we actually go to the search results for “what jewelry do you wear with a black dress.” So here’s what comes up with Singapore, “What jewelry to wear with a black dress Singapore.” That’s the search I put in.

So number one, you get the images search results. We’ll skip over those. So the website that ranks the highest for this search term is this website, Journey Woman. What should I wear? And part of the reason it’s coming up high for this search result, is you see the pink boxes around there. You see what, wear, jewelry, dress, Singapore, black skirt. That’s why this is coming up, because a lot of the words that I typed into that search are showing up on that website. But guess what? I clicked through to that website, I can’t even find any of those words. There’s nothing about jewelry on this web page. It’s not talking about jewelry. There’s no recommendation for what should be worn with a black dress. In other words, this page is accidentally there. The people who own this website, they’re not trying to rank for what jewelry should I wear with a black dress in Singapore; they accidentally showed up there. What does that tell me? That tells me that if I wanted to get my client ranking number one for that search term, it would be really, really easy to do. All I would have to do is create a blog post that says, “What should I wear the black dress in Singapore,” write a little bit of content, boom. They would be number one for that search term.

Now the question would be, “Wait, but how many people are searching for that?” Well, not nearly as many people as are searching for jewelry store Singapore. But guess what? It would take me years to get the number one for jewelry store Singapore. I can get to number one for jewelry store Singapore black dress in about a week with very little effort. And then I move on to the next keyword, and the next one, and the next one. And I do that hundreds of times, and suddenly, my client’s ranking number one for hundreds of different keyword searches that are very specific, that when somebody searches for that and they click on that link, that person is a customer. They’re a done deal because we know exactly what they searched for, and we matched that with the content that we created on our client’s blog, or that our client creates on their blog, or that you’re going to create on your blog. So this long tail of search, finding these specific long searches, and then targeting those with blog posts, this is marketing gold for you. It’s very easy to do, very easy to target, hardly anybody else is doing this. It’s basically free.

So okay. Tip number five: Infographics. So just in case you don’t know, these are infographics. So infographics, you see these sometimes. They’re these long graphics. They’re usually informational in nature. They have graphs, they have charts, they have statistics. They’re supposed to convey some sort of boring information in a way that is more interesting because you spruce it up with lots of pretty pictures and colors. So these are infographics. Here’s a little bit closer up of these infographics. Usually they’re really big and long. And so how to make the most of big data, top ten agile fails. These are pretty niche techy infographics here. So you can use these infographics to generate leads, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money doing these.

This is a service called Canva [SP]. Has anybody heard of Canva in the room? I see a few hands. Great. So Canva, you go to this website and you can create graphics really easily. It gives you a bunch of different templates you can choose from, and then you can type in text over this. So I did a test with myself. I’d never used Canva before. I’ve heard of people using it. I knew about the service. I’d never used it before. So I did an experiment, I asked myself, “Okay, how fast can I create a simple infographic on Canva, never having used it before, for no money?” So I thought, “Okay, I’m not going to do a big, long infographic. I’m just going to do a simple one.” So I went out, I found the little stat. People who eat seven helpings of vegetables per day are 10% less likely to die prematurely. It’s sourced to happycow.net, which is a vegetarian website. They have a Singapore reference. And I found some pictures of vegetables and this nice, little template. I stuck the text in there, and I created a graphic. That’s a very simple infographic. Took me all of about five minutes to put this together, cost me nothing; it was free.

You might look at that and say, “Well, that’s dumb. How is that going to create customers? How’s that going to generate leads?” I have a friend who does this for a living, just does these kind of infographics. They’re very simple, they’re very small. He’s created infographics like this that have generated 200,000, 300,000 visitors to websites, using this exact same technique. So this is very inexpensive. It’s quick, it’s easy, and anybody in this room can do this and start generating leads with these. So once you have the infographic, the question is, “Well, where do I go from there?” You share it out on social media. You put it on Pinterest. You put it on Instagram. You put it on your blog. You write a blog post about the infographic. You post it on Facebook, Twitter, anywhere you can, and you get people to share it. There it is a little bit larger. That doesn’t look too bad, right? Five minutes, easy.

All right. Tip number six: Haro, or H-A-R-O, which stands for Help A Reporter Out. This service, I haven’t seen this used a lot in Asia yet, but it’s still very effective here. I just don’t see people using it as much. So Haro’s a really interesting service. And I use this from both sides, because I’m a journalist, I write for Forbes, and also I run an agency, so I’m also trying to find journalists who will cover my clients with stories. So what Haro does, is it connects journalists with sources. So I’m writing a story and I’m on a deadline, and I have this nice story but I need to add a little bit of meat to it or something interesting, some credibility beyond just me saying what I think is true. So I want to go find a source, I want to go find an expert who can give me a stat, give me some sort of data, give me a quote and say, “This is the way things are.” So when I need to find a source fast, I can go to Haro. And as a journalist, I log into my account, and I post a message saying, “I need an expert on such and such topic, to give me a quote about this.” And then what Haro does, is they send out an email. You can’t really read this but it’s just a list of links, and each of these links goes to a journalist request for an expert.

So you, on the other side of things, as a marketer, you go to Haro and you sign up as a source. You get these emails every day saying, “Journalists are looking for experts in these areas.” And you might look through this email and you say, “Well, none of these match for me. I can’t respond to any of these.” That’s how it’s going to be most of the time, but every once in a while, you’ll see a request come through and you’ll say, “Hey, I know this. I know exactly what this journalist is looking for and I can respond to this.” And you respond to that, and the next thing you know, you’re being quoted in Forbes, or the Los Angeles Times, or The New York Times, or any other major publication. This works a lot, and it’s really easy and it’s free. So again, that’s more of what the email looks like but you can’t read it here.

So here are the keys to success with Haro. First, you have to respond quickly. These emails go out three times a day. So three times a day, an email goes out from Haro with all these journalists making requests. They’re not duplicated. Every time they go out there, unique requests. So these requests go out. You read those as soon as that email comes in, and when you see something that you can respond to, you respond as quickly as you can to that journalist, because guess what? Every time I post on here and I say, “I need an expert on such and such,” I get about 200 responses. I don’t have time to look through 200 responses, so guess who gets me to read their responses? The people who responded first. So I might go through the first five or 10, and if I find what I’m looking for in the first five or 10 responses, I’m done. I’m not going to read the other 190 responses that I got. So you have to respond fast to these requests. When you respond to a Haro request, you put H-A-R-O in the subject line of your email so that when the journalist sees that, he knows exactly what that email is, and he knows that it’s not some other email that he can leave for later.

When you respond to a Haro request, you give the journalist exactly what they want, nothing more, nothing less. None of this “Thank you so much for reading my response. I read your articles. I really love it.” They don’t want to hear that. They just want your quote. They want exactly what they ask for.

Okay, tip number seven: SlideShare. SlideShare is YouTube for PowerPoint slides. Doesn’t that sound exciting? Doesn’t that sound great? Wouldn’t you just love to sift through PowerPoint presentations all day long? It sounds boring, but a lot of people are going to SlideShare and looking through SlideShare. It gets a lot of traffic, gets about, I think, 15 million visitors a month or something. So this is where everybody goes when they have their slide presentation. They post them up at SlideShare. And it’s amazing how much traffic you can get from this, how many leads, how many sales you can get. This is mostly effective for B to B marketing. A little bit less for consumer marketing, but definitely effective for B to B marketing.

So here’s the MWI Hong Kong SlideShare page. So there’s a presentation, past presentation that I did there. And that one has 899 views showing here. But here’s some traffic. So I did this Digital Marketing for Tech Companies presentation. I gave this presentation at a conference. I uploaded this on, I believe, right at the end of May. Yeah, it was on the 22nd of May, it looks like. And this shows one month. In one month, that PowerPoint presentation got almost 6,000 views, in one month. So out of the 6,000 views, we got about five or six leads. And we have some leads that we’re working on now that are potential clients. I already had the presentation. I already did the presentation at this conference. All I had to do is take my presentation and upload it to SlideShare and I got all these extra leads out of it. I got more leads from uploading it to SlideShare than I did from doing the conference. So you create a PowerPoint or a slide deck, you upload it to SlideShare, and you get these views. Now, the real trick is to get on the home page of SlideShare. That’s why this got 6,000 views. Most of my other presentations, they’ll get 300, 400, 500 views. But if you can attract the attention of SlideShare, they’ll promote your slide presentation on the home page, and then you get a lot of traffic like this.

How do you get their attention? Have a nice looking, really interesting presentation. Actually, mine aren’t all that interesting, but they still make it somehow. So this shows traffic on our SlideShare account since March of 14, so over the last 12 months, over 26,000 visitors over the last year. We’re not even really trying. We’re not doing this as a marketing tactic. This is just something where I’ve been taking my presentations, sticking them up there because “hey, let’s throw them out there. Let’s see what happens,” and we’ve gotten 26,000 views of our presentations over the past year. Anybody can do this. This is easy. And SlideShare is completely free.

Okay. Tip number eight: curate content. So curating content means you’re taking other people’s content, you’re collecting it together, you’re re-packaging it, and giving it to your audience. Here’s an example of somebody who does this really well: the Moz top ten. If you’re looking for more information about digital marketing, Moz is a fantastic resource, moz.com, M-O-Z.com. So Moz, they have this email newsletter. It goes out two times a month. And it’s called The Top Ten because they link to the top ten articles that they think are interesting. These are articles that are focused on digital marketing, so they’re about SEO, they’re about paid search, they’re about content marketing. Usually, one of these articles will be one of their own blog posts. So they sneak a little bit of their own content in there, but most of the links, nine out of 10, are going to the blogs of other people in the digital marketing industry.

The great thing about this newsletter is these are really great articles, and I would never find these articles any other way. Somehow, Moz is able to go out and scour the web and find the best articles from the past two weeks on digital marketing, and they’re able to send these out. What does that mean for them, that they send out this email? It means hundreds of thousands of subscribers, hundreds of thousands of people opening that email, seeing the Moz brand every two weeks, and be reminded that, “Oh, yeah, Moz also sells these other services for digital marketers. Maybe I should check those out, too.”

That’s huge for Moz’s business. They’re not even creating the content, they’re just curating the content. Here’s what that email looks like, or at least the top half of it. It’s got a little simple banner at the top, it says, “Moz Top Ten,” and then one, two, three four, down to ten. They’ve got the articles that they’re linking to. That’s it. That’s the whole email newsletter. The value in it, is that they’re curating really good content. But can you do this in your industry? Can you send out an email newsletter and say, “Hey, we’re going to link to all the best content in our industry”? There are people out there who want that information. If you do that, you become the expert; you become the person who knows what’s going on in your industry. You become the people that other people look to when they have questions about the industry.

So here’s how simple it is. You can start out with this service called Tiny Letter. Now, you could just send an email from your inbox and do an email newsletter that way, but that would be kind of a pain and kind of messy. And plus, Tiny Letter, it’s free. So why not? So Tiny Letter is a super easy email newsletter management system. You sign up on here, you set up your email, it gives you a sign up form that you can put on your website so that people can sign up for the email newsletter, and you can maintain that database of subscribers. And then you go in there, you set up the mail and you send it out. That’s it. There’s a link for people to unsubscribe, a link for people to subscribe to the email newsletter, just makes it super easy. Tiny Letter is not very fancy. There are a lot of limitations on it. It’s for very simple newsletters that are just starting out. But hey, it’s free.

Now, if Tiny Letter isn’t enough for what you’re doing, it’s owned by a company called Mail Chimp. And Mail Chimp is one of the leaders in email marketing systems. I think their entry-level package is something like $10 a month or something, so it’s still pretty cheap. You sign up for Mail Chimp, for their entry level package, you get all sorts of tools, very sophisticated. And when I say sophisticated, I don’t mean complicated and hard to use. I mean they’ve got powerful tools for managing an email subscriber database, for formatting your emails with all sorts of different templates, but it’s actually very easy to use. So you set up with Mail Chimp if Tiny Letter’s not enough for you, and you manage your newsletter through that. Very easy to do, very inexpensive if not free. And the great thing about managing in the email newsletter database is you own that audience.

Now, if you put a lot of time into maintaining a Facebook page, you don’t own that; Facebook owns that. All those likes, all the people who subscribe and follow your Facebook feed, all the people who follow you on Twitter, you don’t own that. Twitter owns that. Facebook owns that. If they ever decided to kick you off, turn it off, change things, you’re out of luck. You lost that. But with an email, you get that subscriber database. You own that database. Worst case scenario, Mail Chimp goes out of business, their servers get hacked, you have this list of emails because you’re downloading and backing it up, right? You have this list of email addresses, you can import that into another system, but you own that database. That’s extremely valuable.

Okay, tip number nine: write as an unpaid contributor. So this is what I do. So I write for Forbes, but I don’t get paid a dime by Forbes. I’ve written maybe 150 articles for Forbes over the past two years; they never paid me a dime for that. How does Forbes get away with getting people to write for free? Because it’s Forbes. Of course I’m going to write for Forbes if they say, “Would you like to write for Forbes?” So I’m willing to write for Forbes because I get credibility by writing for Forbes. So I’m willing to write for free because of what I get in return that’s not money. Now, it’s hard to get in and write for Forbes, or write for a major publication, although it might be easier than you think it is. But it’s very easy to write as an unpaid contributor for an industry publication, or a local publication.

These people are desperate for more content, especially when it comes to the online version. You think of a website, there’s no inventory there. A magazine, you have a set number of pages, right? You’ve got 200 pages. If the publisher of a magazine comes to you and says, “Hey, we want you to write an article,” they’re giving up two or three pages for you to write an article. If you don’t get that right, they just wasted a certain percentage of their inventory. But with a website, gee, if Forbes can find another thousand people who would write high quality content for forbes.com, they bring those people on in a heartbeat. Because they’ve got unlimited inventory. They can publish more pages. It doesn’t cost them any more money to have more articles on the website.

So if you want to get your name out there, if you want to get the name of your company out there, go find publications that your customers are reading and say, “Hey, I want to write about my industry for your publication, and I’ll do it for free.” Why are you going to do this? Because it’s going to set you up as the expert on your industry, or the expert on a certain topic. Once you become the expert, people start inviting you to conferences, they start inviting you to write other places, they start coming to you to hire you or to buy your products and services. So there are lots of reasons to write as an unpaid contributor. So again, for me, I get to write articles like this: Nine Steps to Prepare your Website Marketing for the Holiday Shopping Season. That’s going to generate leads for my company because that’s what we do. We help companies prepare their websites for the holiday shopping season. I go write an article on that topic, I give advice away for free, and it results in leads coming back to my company. You can do this for your company as well.

Okay. Tip number 10: YouTube. YouTube is this big barrier for people, because everybody thinks that video is really, really hard. And there’s some truth to that. It’s a little bit more difficult to do a video and get that right and edit it than it is to do a blog post. So right now, I’m actually experimenting. I’ve got a Go Pro camera here clipped to the front table here, and it’s filming me right now. I just bought that a week ago and I spent the last week learning how to use it. And I’m trying to film myself so I can put this presentation up on YouTube. So there are, what, maybe 100 of you in this room, but I stick this up on YouTube, guaranteed that’s going to get at least a few hundred views, several times the number of views that it I’m getting right now speaking to you in person in this room. So I’ve got that video going. This is a very easy way for me to get my content online and spread that content farther. I can also chop this video up into little clips and spread it out that way and get more value out of it that way.

But here’s a guy who’s the master of using YouTube in my industry, for getting traffic. This is Will Reynolds. Will Reynolds is a mentor of mine. That is, he’s somebody I look up to in my industry. He has another SEO firm just like mine except it’s a lot bigger. It’s a lot more successful. He’s been around for longer. And this guy is an animal when it comes to YouTube. He films everything. He’s got tons of presentations online. In fact, let’s see, it doesn’t show that . . . Well, he’s got 74 videos under his own account here. Oh, but they’re up at the top, 2,720 results when I did a search on YouTube for Will Reynolds. Go do a search for Josh Steimle. You’ll probably pull up like two or something. So I’ve got a long way to go to live up to my hero here, Will Reynolds. And you look at these videos… So seven years ago, Will Reynolds did a presentation somewhere on SEO best practices. That video has now been viewed about 40,000 times. That’s the first video.

The next video: Link Building for SEO, 18,481 views. The next one: Using Twitter for Link Building and SEO, 14,674 views. These are just videos of him talking before an audience just like this. A lot of these videos, you can tell it’s some guy holding their camera in the back of the room, and he’s just filming it from a distance. There’s no high quality audio. He hasn’t got a mic or anything. It’s just somebody holding up the camera, filming this presentation, but he gets 15,000 views. And he’s got hundreds, thousands, of these videos up online now, and so he’s getting tons of traffic, tons of leads coming to him because he just throws up these videos that cost him virtually nothing to put out there.

I don’t have any slides for this next one, but there’s a company in Utah where I moved from, called Blendtec. They make blenders. Has anybody seen the Will it Blend? commercials that came out a few years ago? There’s a hand in the front. There’s a few up there. So this was a small blender company in small Utah. Their manufacturer and one of the guys one day got the idea, “Hey, it would be kind of fun to just throw stuff into a blender and see what happens to it, and videotape it.” So he got a cheap camera, he pointed it at a blender, he put on a white lab coat to make it look funny, like he’s a doctor or a scientist doing some sort of official experiment, and he started throwing stuff into their blenders to see what would happen. So he did broom handles, and then he had the right idea. He threw an iPhone into a Blendtec and asked, “Will it blend?” And that video got millions of views. And all of a sudden, Blendtec is this huge blender manufacturer now, and they can’t make these things fast enough to ship these blenders out. Because people saw these YouTube videos that cost virtually nothing to produce, nothing to distribute. You Tube’s free, you can throw anything you want up there. They built a business off of YouTube videos.

So what kind of videos could you create for your company that people are going to be interested in? And again, a lot of people are looking for the blockbuster. They’re saying, “What video can I create that everybody would love?” You don’t care about everybody; you just care about your customers. You care about the people who want to buy what you’re selling. Think about the people who want what you have. They just don’t know who you are; they just don’t know that you exist. How can you reach those people? What kind of video might they be looking for, that you could put online so that when they find it, they say, “Aha! I’ve been looking for this, and now I found it”? So these are ten tips for building your digital marketing on a budget, or on virtually no budget, or expanding what you can do with the budget that you have. And now I’ll turn it over . . . We’ve got 14 minutes, and happy to answer any questions that you might have. Yes?

Woman 1: [inaudible 00:42:35].

Josh: Just say it to me, and I’ll repeat it so everybody can hear it.

Woman 1: [inaudible 00:42:41 to 00:43:07].

Josh: So the question is: B to B is harder than B to C. It’s harder to strategize for B to B sometimes, to know what you can do for digital marketing. Is that the question?

Woman 1: Yes.

Josh: Okay. So the answer is still the same. It’s all about focusing on your customer, whether you’re B to C, or B to B, you have a customer. Even if you’re in-house and your customer is somebody else within the same business, you still have a customer. And the question is: how do you tell a story? How do you get out information? How do you produce marketing materials that when that person sees that, they’re going to respond in a way that you want them to respond? So really, there are different tactics when it comes to B to C, and B to B, but you’re still focusing on the customer. And that’s what really matters. So you put yourself in the shoes of the customer and you say, “Okay, I’m the customer. What do I need? What are my problems? What are my pain points? What am I looking for? What would be something that if I saw it, I would say, ‘Aha! I need that. I’ve been looking for that'”? And then you work backwards from that way and you say, “Okay, now how do we create marketing materials that does that job? That answers that question for that person, that shows that person that we have the solution to their problems?” Let’s see, what does your company do?

Woman 1: [inaudible 00:44:30 to 00:44:36].

Josh: Okay. So technology solution for mobile advertisers. So your customers are mobile advertisers. Okay. So again, so you look at these mobile advertisers and you say, “Okay, what do these people want? What pain does our product solve for them?” Because those people are looking for a solution. If they’re feeling that pain, even if they don’t know they’re looking, they’re still looking. It’s still in their minds. So you create an infographic, you create a blog post, you create something, some sort of content that when they see it, they’re going to say, “That’s the solution to my pain. That’s the solution to my problem.” And then you go test it out with them, too. Meet with a few of your existing customers and say, “Hey, if you had seen this before you were a client, would you have responded to this?” Go call up some your perspective clients and say, “Hey, we’re just trying to hone our marketing materials here. Can we just show this to you and just ask you what you think of it? We’re not trying to give you a sales pitch; we just really want to know what you think of it,” and you’ll learn a lot from that interaction. And once you have that content, and you know that the people will respond to it, then you blitz it out there and you get out there any way you can: YouTube, Slide Share, LinkedIn of course is great for B to B.

LinkedIn, which I didn’t even cover it in this, LinkedIn’s advertising solution is great. And you can do retargeting through LinkedIn, so you can put up the ads on LinkedIn that follow people around and then creep away. So you can do this retargeting on LinkedIn, target the people that you really want to go after, based on their profile on LinkedIn, and really drill down to the customer segment you want. So those are some ideas. Of course, it can get more specific and customized, but . . . Other questions? Is that Chris in the back?

Chris: Hi, Josh. How you doing?

Josh: Good. You want to know more about LinkedIn? Talk to this guy. That’s the guy.

Chris: Good presentation lining up. [inaudible 00:46:29]. You didn’t cover social media. It’s the most obvious free marketing digital platform in the world, by the way. It’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tinder, whatever you want to do. So I just want two minutes on that. For social media, what do you recommend to people?

Josh: Well, I kind of mentioned it offhand, but yeah, I didn’t cover it directly. We only have 10 things. So social media is your channel. So I talked a lot more about producing materials, producing content, content marketing. But once you have the content, how do you get it out there? How do you distribute it? We talked about Youtube. We talked about SlideShare. LinkedIn is a great way to distribute your content as well. They have what’s called the Pulse Network now. So essentially, any of you can go on LinkedIn and you can write an article, blog post, if you want to call it that, and you can publish it on the Pulse Network on LinkedIn. And a lot of people are doing this, and so you might think, “Well, who wants to listen to me? Who cares.” So I’ve experimented with the Pulse Network on LinkedIn. I put up some articles there, just to see what would happen. And I got 600, 700 views on each of my articles, which is quite a bit for anybody who just publishes on LinkedIn to get.

So now I’m not going to keep publishing on Pulse. Well, I will but in a different way. But if my choice were will I publish this article on Forbes, or am I going to publish it on Pulse? I’m going to publish it on Forbes. That’s a bigger audience. But for people who are not publishing on Forbes, Pulse is an amazing opportunity, because you can go publish your post there and you can get 300, 500, 700 thousand. And if you have something that goes viral, that becomes really popular, you can get, of course, a lot more. But at a minimum, you’re going to get several hundred reads of anything you publish on the LinkedIn Pulse Network, and that’s going to go to prospective customers. It’s a very efficient use of your time to get it out there.

Now, when you do a blog post on your own blog, what you do is you take part of what you put on your blog post, you publish it on Pulse, and then you link to the full content on your blog. And that way, you’re getting out on the Pulse Network but you’re also getting traffic back to your blog. So that’s one way that you can generate a lot of B to B traffic through LinkedIn. Now, the other social networks, there’s Instagram and PInterest for visual, there’s Google Plus, which nobody quite knows where it’s going or what’s going to happen to it but it’s still out there. And then of course you’ve got Facebook, which you have to pay now to do much of anything on, but you can still get some easy wins there, even if you’re not paying. Twitter is still, I think, kind of an unknown gem when it comes to their paid advertisements. Because not a lot of people are using the paid ads on Twitter, so there’s still some opportunity there.

And of course, there are all sorts of opportunities to do viral stuff on these social networks, but that’s hard. It’s hard to get something to go viral. But like this Pulse Network, it’s easy to publish something there on LinkedIn on the Pulse Network, and have it get at least a few hundred reads. That’s a very efficient use of your time. Thanks, Chris. He’s presenting . . . Are you right after me? Yeah. So he’s presenting later today, so come listen to him and learn more about LinkedIn specifically. Any other questions? We’ve got a few more minutes, if you want to ask more questions. Yes?

Woman 2: [inaudible 00:49:59 to to 00:50:03]. So the question I have for you is you’ve talked about tips, but what about looking at it from the perspective of activation, of getting a brand, a go to market strategy versus long tail and long [inaudible 00:50:19]? Are there better things that you should be doing with your time? [inaudible 00:50:26 to 00:50:30]?

Josh: Let’s see, to make sure I understand the question. So you said activation, are you talking about short term versus long term?

Woman 2: Let’s say you’re a new brand. [inaudible 00:50:43 to 00:50:46] which has been around for some time. What are some good activation strategies when it comes to marketing tips, when you have a go to market strategy versus a long-term strategy of the brand?

Josh: Okay, got it. So you’ve got a new app, swiperapp.com. Is that what it is? Okay. We’ll give it a plug, right? Well, one thing you can do, is you can ask questions in the conference and get the guy to repeat you, right? So swiperapp.com, so that’s your app. You’re launching it, you need to get a lot of people on there fast. Otherwise, it’s going to lose momentum, right? So the question is: how do you get short-term results for something that nobody knows about, like an app? So with an app, the challenge you face here is that nobody knows it exists, right? Or a very small group of people know it exists, and you’re going after a mass market. So when you have something that nobody knows about it, nobody understands it, they aren’t necessarily looking for it, then SEO isn’t very good for you. Because SEO depends on people searching for something and then you’re there for them to find. But if they’re not searching for it, it’s not going to work very well for you. So you have to push a message out to people. And so what’s going to be better for you, is going to be content marketing and PR, because that’s a way that you can push the message out. So Haro, the H-A-R-O service, for example, you can start responding to Haro requests that might be related to what you do. What is Swiper App? What is it?

Woman 2: Swiper App is essentially an app where you swipe to the left for content you don’t like, and swipe to the right if you do like it. It’s like a Tinder for content, about stories, [inaudible 00:52:32], all kinds of categories. And you get served up one at a time story. It could be about a brand, it could be about an offer, it could be an actual story from a journal. But you swipe to the left on the story if you don’t like it, and you swipe to the right if you do like it.

Josh: Okay. So it’s Tinder for content. So you swipe right or left, depending on whether you like the content or not. Okay. So you want to get that out there. That’s an interesting app, right? Because anything that’s riding on the Tinder wave is automatically kind of interesting. And then content is this big thing these days, too. And plus, the people you’re going after when it comes to PR, they love content, right? They’re PR people, so they have to like content, journalists and such. So that’s an interesting story. So there’s a story there for PR, but you don’t want to go after just a story when it comes to PR.

Journalists don’t want to write about your business. They don’t want to profile your business, because your business is only interesting for about one story, and that’s it. Unless you’ve got 20 million in venture financing and you’re the next hot thing and Elon [SP] Musk invested in you, then journalists want to write about your business. But otherwise, what they want to write about are topics that are interesting, not businesses that are interesting. So what’s the topic that you can relate to your business that’s hot right now? So maybe it’s something to do with content, in your specific case. I mean, you can probably get some mileage out of the fact that it is just like Tinder, or that it’s similar to Tinder. You can also get mileage out of it as a discovery tool for people who are trying to get content out there. So you can say, “Hey, if people are trying to get content exposed, we’ve got this app. If you put your content on our app and make sure that it’s getting in our app, then you’re more likely to get exposure through our app.” So there are different angles that you can hit, but what you want to do, is you want to get journalists interested in your story so that you can push that out.

The other thing that you want to do, is you want to create infographics and blog posts that aren’t about your company but they’re about things that are related to your company. Now, your company does content, so there are a lot of stories just around the topic of content that you can come up with. You can come up with 200 ideas in an hour or two, for a blog post that you can be writing. When you write those blog posts, or if you create an infographic, then you push that out. Specifically go look at a company called Buffer, buffer.com. And I’m not telling you to go look at it to go look at the social media tool they have, although that’s awesome, but go look at their blog and how they manage their blog. And this goes for everyone.

Buffer does one of the best jobs of any company I know in terms of managing a corporate blog and generating traffic through their blog. So if you want to see how it’s done the right way, go check out Buffer’s blog and see how they do it. They have a social media tool, but most of their posts on their blog are not about their social media tool or about social media at all, they’re about other topics. But it brings in the kind of traffic that they want. So go check that out. And then the other thing is, of course, if you haven’t gotten into Growth Hacking, then you need to go do a search for Growth Hacking and go read all the Growth Hacking books, because that’s all about getting lots of traffic for apps. I assume you’re all over the Growth Hacking stuff already, but go read all those books. And the rest of you, go check out the Growth Hacking stuff too. Growth Hacking is just another word for marketing. It’s the new buzzword. But there are a lot of great Growth Hacking books out there that talk a lot about this kind of stuff, getting marketing done for free and getting it done fast.

Okay. We’ve got 38 seconds left, so I don’t think we have time for any more questions, but thank you all so much for your time, for coming. Feel free to come up and ask me any other questions you have. I’ll give you a business card. Or you can send me an email. Send me a note on Twitter. I’d love to talk to you. Thank you very much.

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Written by

Hi! I'm Josh Steimle, and I started MWI from my apartment while a college student in 1999. I'm responsible for MWI's overall strategy and marketing. I'm also the author of CMOs at Work (Apress, 2016) and a frequent contributor to Forbes, Mashable, Entrepreneur, and other publications. Read more of what I'm writing on my blog.