Sunday, August 25, 2013


Hi there - if you're looking for the latest updates, visit the Zero Budget Marketing blog over at Wordpress as we've moved to that blogging platform. (If you're a subscriber via email, you'll still get your email updates, so you don't need to do anything.)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Three things I didn't know about Google Adwords campaigns (that you might also like to know)

I've been running (mostly small) Google AdWords campaigns for years now. I've been tinkering and testing and largely getting good results - but Google changes things all the time. Plus there's always elements that I see and wonder what they are and never quite get around to learning about.

So I've been off at Google Engage Bootcamp for Agencies 101 - and it was well worth it. I've had many things reinforced but also learned quite a few things that I didn't know (or hadn't had the time to figure out!).

Here's the three top-line items that bear repeating. If you already knew them, big ticks to you. If not, I hope you find them useful!

1. Taking back control over which ads Google displays

When you set up a few ads within a campaign, Google automatically starts to display one more than others quite quickly, basically serving a lot more of one advert than another. This always annoyed me as I couldn't easily work out how to override it.

You can take back control within a campaign by looking at the bottom of ADVANCED SETTINGS, then scroll down to the bottom of the page look for "Ad Delivery" and then "Ad Rotation" it is quite tucked away!

This then gives you four options - one of which is automatic Google optimisation of your ads based on clicks which is the default setting.  But you can also elect to have it rotate evenly so YOU can decide what you want to turn off and on, rather than rely on the overly enthusiastic Google algorithm.

2. Negative keywords

I knew they existed but hadn't ever used them. (If you don't know what they are, they're basically keywords you DON'T want to appear for). Turns out they are very simple to add. When you're "adding" keywords, you just add a negative keyword (or phrase matches) all in the same spot.

So your keyword list might look like this:

Low budget marketing tips
Creative marketing tips
-pyramid selling
[zero budget marketing]

(The top two are broad match keywords, the third is your negative keyword you don't want to appear for and the final one is an exact match).

3. You can track 'conversions' inside AdWords - and it reports different results to Analytics

I was of the mistaken belief that goals had to be tracked in Analytics - no, you can set up goals in AdWords too. And they will give you different results. AdWords will record a conversion for AdWords as the "conversion" is recorded within 30 days of the click, regardless of the LAST thing that was clicked to create the sale. Analytics will track up to a year but Analytics counts as the "converter" the LAST thing clicked prior to the sale.

To set up conversions, you click on the top menu "Tools and Analytics" and then "Conversions". You then click an "Add conversions" button and you'll usually be choosing "webpage". Basically you get some code to add to the page you are tracking as a conversion (like a thank you page) and then you can track your conversions.

Friday, August 16, 2013

What is marketing strategy? And more importantly - what ISN'Tmarketing strategy?

A term I regularly hear used and abused is "marketing strategy". Most people, even smart business and/or marketing people, use it incorrectly.

The most common error is that people use "strategy" when they mean "tactics" or "campaign". Many also seem to think a strategy needs to be hugely complex, or delivered in a language that's so hard to comprehend it would make the management consultants on House of Lies look plainspoken. And marketing textbooks tend to give long definitions that can leave you scratching your head.

So here's my 'line in the sand' on marketing strategy:

Good marketing strategy - What it is:

- A clear direction for how you'll be working to achieve your objectives
- Something that ultimately can be summarised to a page (or better still, a paragraph)
- A brave or bold choice that you need to stick with for AT LEAST a year
- Something that all your tactical marketing activities must tie back to
- Articulates what's special or different about your business (or how you're going to become special or different) 

Good marketing strategy - What it isn't:

- A goal (your strategy is how imagine you'll reach your goal)
- A bunch of tactical activities on a calendar. You need these too, but that's a marketing action plan, not a strategy.
- A lot of big and waffly words
- Only about the size of your budget
- Something you can ask someone to define for you, or make a firm recommendation about, after a brief meeting!

Glad I got that off my chest...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

How to write a more punchy speaker or author bio

Is there anything more cringe-worthy than writing a bio?

Yes, actually: hearing one that you've written read out loud as you're being introduced as a speaker!

So whenever I come across a clever (and mercifully short) bio, I take note. I look for clues about how to communicate better without the cringe.

So imagine my joy when I came across a loooooong page of clever bios. And what makes them even more impressive (or potentially depressing if I think about it too much) is that they're written largely by teenage girls!

I'm talking about the bios at Rookie Mag, a site for teenage girls that I learned about when I saw the 17 year old founder was coming out to speak at the Melbourne Writers Festival.

A few of my faves:

Tavi Gevinson is the editor-in-chief and founder of this site. She is 16 and lives under your bed, so she can eavesdrop on teenage girls and then report back to Rookie’s advertisers and the Walt Disney Corporation with her findings.

Stephanie Kuehnert got her start writing bad poetry about unrequited love and razor blades in eighth grade. In high school, she moved on to punk rock and feminist zines. She’s published two young adult novels, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone and Ballads of Suburbia, and is at work on another.  

Ragini Nag Rao lives in Calcutta and writes pretty much anything for a living. She loves dogs, baking, and fashion and considers herself a cyborg because of the ancient iPhone attached permanently to her hand. She occasionally blogs about fashion and feminism at A Curious Fancy.

Gabby Noone is an 18-year-old college student in NYC. When she’s not busy writing to support her glamorous waitressing career, you can catch her tweeting, embroidering, blogging, or definitely not reading Food Network fan fiction.

So I know this sort of irreverant style isn't always suitable, but let's look at what makes these work:

- They communicate their skill or experience
- They reveal something personal so you get a sense of why they are
- They are actually interesting and fun to read
- They do all this in no more than three sentences

So there's inspiration here people!

PS. Why am I talking about bio writing on a marketing blog? Getting out there as a presenter or writer is a great "zero budget marketing" tool.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Why or why do people keep forgetting a CALL TO ACTION?!

We marketers work hard to get a campaign out. We need to come up with a concept, work with a designer, fit into a schedule, set up an email, test a million times, clean up the data, then finally hit send.

So why would you do all this work WITHOUT a call to action of some sort?


What has inspired me to write all this in shouty-capitals? This eDM I received from ING Direct yesterday (on 9 July).

I'm a customer and I was interested to learn a little more about these free seminars they say they're starting. It says registration open on the 10 July - so the very next day. But you can't pre-register your interest or click through to a page for more information.

I could have chalked that up to a ho-hum "teaser" and moved on, but it got worse.

It says to keep an eye on their Facebook page - but then you can't click through to their Facebook page! So I'd have to be SO motivated to learn more that I'd head on over to Facebook, SEARCH for them and then like them to maybe learn about it (assuming Facebook deigns to feature it in my feed which it may very well not due to the way EdgeRank works.)

This eDM has missed TWO opportunities to inspire action at the exact moment it had my attention. I just see this as a massive waste of effort. And as we zero budget marketers know, "effort" is a huge part of your marketing "budget".

So this serves as a great reminder to ALWAYS have a call to action - preferably multiple ones - in any outbound marketing communication. And on your website pages. And in your social media. And on your voicemail. And on your email signature.

You get the picture.

In summary: Don't leave your "Call to Action" missing in action.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Review: Cool free image editing tool to check out - Pic Monkey

Oh, I do love a free online tool. The latest one I've come across is PicMonkey and I'm rather sad I've only just learned about it. It allows you to do a whole host of photo editing but without the complexity (and expense) of Photoshop or the clunky-ness of apps like Acorn.

You can do a bunch of things - colourise, add text, add effects, use filters, fix blemishes, round corners - all very useful stuff. I've been a little OTT with the "before and after" below, but you'll get the idea. This is super-easy to use and uses "real" language to explain the effects.

So if you're not a graphic design pro but need to make occasional image edits - personally or for marketing activities like social media- it's a great solution.

And as it's free it's a tool to test drive and then bookmark in your zero budget marketing toolkit.

Off to have more of a tinker....



Friday, June 28, 2013

10 Steps on How to Create an Effective Content Calendar for Social Media

Handing over the ZBM blogging reigns today to the savvy gals at Fox Marketing, to share their thoughts on how to create an effective content calendar for social media.

Social media marketing can be challenging for marketers and those who are into branding their products and businesses. Social media networking sites are filled with tons of information, therefore, social media strategy needs to be thoroughly planned and carefully executed.

The most common mistake that eager marketers commit is overlooking the significance of two important elements of the strategy: content and timing. Sometimes, they do have the content but the timing is totally out of place. Establishing a clear and concrete social media calendar that contains content and timing is a great tool to make things easier for your social media strategy. Your goal here is to maximize your return on investment and create another revenue generating channel.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a smart and effective content calendar for your social media management.

Step #1. To establish your editorial calendar, determine first the type of content you want to share on your different social media platforms.

Step #2. Create a spreadsheet where you can put all the details needed for your content. This will serve as your framework for your social media management.

Step #3. In your newly created file be sure to add different sheets for different social media platforms. All the important points should be covered for each platform: topic/themes; type of content; keywords/tags; audience; goal; target dates; status of post; and, time to publish content.

Step #4. Add to your calendarlocal events, holidays, and other relevant activities. It is important that you update these details for each social media platform.

Step #5. Use your calendar to plan your marketing initiatives in advance.Remember, you are building your online presence. Brainstorm and select post ideas whichare more likely to engage with your audience.

Step #6. Incorporate visual effects on your posts to make them more compelling and engaging.  In your content calendar make a note of image locations to find them later.

Step #7. Think about timing. It is crucial for your posts to be effective. Record your preferred time of the day for each social media post.

Step #8. Include freebies and other special incentives or discounts. These help your existing audience stay hooked and can also draw new fans. So, offering these in social networks is a good way to generate more fans or followers. Make sure you add all giveaways to your calendar and prepare for higher engagement levelsfrom your fans.

Step #9. Evaluate how your audience responds to your content when you publish it. You will know which is effective and which needs adjusting or modification. Record all details in your social media calendar. It is very important to keep track of all your findings. This will help you to achieve better results in the future.

Step #10. Plan for interaction. Just because you have published several posts does not immediately mean your audience is now willing to buy something from you. These things do not happen with a snap of your fingers. Engage yourself with your audience, answer their queries, and acknowledge their comments. In other words, interact with them. They’ll get that picture that you and your brand or products have credibility.

With proper social media calendar, your business will have the boost it needs. This is your gateway to level up your brand on social media. Be consistent, persistent, and look for ways to fine-tune your marketing strategies when necessary.  

Today's post by Fox Marketing:
Fox Marketing is a young vibrant Marketing Agency. From user friendly website design to innovative search engine marketing and social media, it provides end-to-end digital marketing services that can deliver results. Fox Marketing website: