Social Media Internet Marketing Tips for 2021
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Beyond the Basics: 20 Fresh Social Media Internet Marketing Tips for 2021

February 19, 2021 0

Beyond the Basics: 20 Fresh Social Media Tips for 2021

The complex digital media landscape changes every day, and this year is no exception.

Having advanced social media tips at your disposal certainly has its perks, but finding a no-nonsense list can be pretty challenging.

That’s where I come in.

Since we’ve got a lot of ground to cover, let’s dive in with our first category and get you solving your digital marketing struggles, one platform at a time.

Facebook Tips

social media tips - facebook ads

1. Experiment With Facebook Ads

One of the most popular digital media marketing tools, Facebook Ads is a cost-effective way to market your business. Access to a massive audience and the ability to tailor your audience make Facebook Ads useful in just about any digital marketing campaign.

With that in mind, choosing how you engage with Facebook Ads can significantly impact how well your campaign performs. For example, are you running traditional ads or boosting previous posts?

Are you targeting general demographics or building your custom audiences? The most impactful Facebook Ads take time to develop, so monitor your experiments and test different techniques regularly.

2. Validate Your Audience

Validation is a priority in social media marketing, but Facebook’s capacity for customization and experimentation makes validation particularly important. With hundreds of unique audiences, formats, and content styles available to you, proving each component’s value reinforces the integrity of your campaign.

When you reverse engineer an effective marketing strategy, you can easily disassemble and reassemble your marketing campaign. Take the time to determine the traits that make up your ideal audience. Where are they located? How old are they? What do they do for fun?

As you identify audiences that respond to your brand, you can save those specific groups. This social media tip is especially useful when you’re promoting future content or retargeting that audience.

3. Retarget Using Custom Audiences

As I’m pointing out social media tips for Facebook, I have to explain the value of using ads to retarget warm leads.

Imagine you ran a Facebook Ad on the value of hiking boots. It was presented to a cold lead, so they never ended up clicking on your link. For most marketers, that’s the end of the marketing journey.

Lucky for you, you can advertise to those same audience members in a few days with a retargeting ad designed to take full advantage of your previous content. If you’re retargeting using video ads, you can even set your ads to only retarget users that watched at least 50 percent of your hiking boots video. This approach lets you pre-qualify prospects before you’ve spent a dollar on them.

4. Explore Link Retargeting

Now that you understand the power of retargeting on Facebook, let’s take it a step further and discuss link retargeting.

If you’ve never heard of link retargeting, here’s what you need to know: Link retargeting lets you add Facebook retargeting pixels to your short link whenever you share curated content. Why does this matter? Essentially, anyone who clicks on your content can then be retargeted with relevant ads.

Whether someone clicked on reviews, industry news, or media coverage related to your brand, you’ll be able to retarget them. This works even if the link leads to a third-party website! This lets you leverage your content curation and expand your retargeting ad reach while still offering genuine value.

Instagram Tips

social media tips - instagram ads

5. Understand the Value of Saves

Instagram saves were introduced as both an expansion of the user experience and an alternative to the traditional “like” feature. The idea behind saved content is that users can actively save certain pieces of content to come back to later.

As saves become a larger part of the Instagram algorithm, one of my social media tips is to find creative ways to make a repeat visit to your content worthwhile.

Traditionally a visual-first community, Instagram travel content creators have found success with the mini-blog format. By creating a second, deeper experience for users, these content creators have been able to pack more value into a single piece of content.

6. Experiment With Content Styles

When brands create content for Instagram, they tend to focus on producing original images. Although having fantastic, high-quality pictures is valuable, there are plenty of other content styles to choose from.

Brands can choose to create engaging videos or GIFs to connect with their audience. Everything from memes to micro-blogs can increase retention time, which leads to greater exposure and growth within your social media channel. As far as social media tips are concerned, it’s in your best interest to experiment with a variety of different content styles.

7. Create Your Own IGTV Series

IGTV is fascinating, mostly because it showcases the growth Instagram has had over the years. From pictures to full-blown video productions, Instagram has empowered brands with some incredible marketing tools.

By creating long-form video series, you can live stream events, host Q&As, create tutorials, share reviews, or even host your own live talk show!

Tools like IGTV let you experiment with your content style while connecting with audiences in a powerful, meaningful way. If you’ve wondered how you can expand your content offering, IGTV is worth considering.

8. Collaborate With Micro-Influencers

Possibly one of the most undervalued resources in digital marketing, micro-influencers can make a massive difference in your campaigns’ effectiveness.

When brands imagine an endorsement or a brand ambassador, they tend to imagine celebrities and industry leaders. Those are definitely great aspirations, but there’s just one problem: Most brands simply don’t have the resources to secure celebrities.

That’s where micro-influencers come in. Don’t get me wrong, Instagram Ads are absolutely worth using. However, there’s just no substitute for a micro-influencer with a loyal fanbase in the thousands. You could end up with access to a much higher quality audience with fewer bot accounts and ghost followers.

LinkedIn Tips

social media tips - linkedin ads

9. Post Updates Regularly

Like any social media platform, LinkedIn puts a premium on the connections between users. This might sound strange considering that it’s typically seen as a networking space for employees and employers.

However, the last thing you want to do as a brand is disappear into the sea of business pages. On LinkedIn, developing your relationship with your audience is crucial. That’s why regularly posting updates and content has become a priority for brands on LinkedIn.

Building that audience connection goes further than posting updates. Consider setting up introductions, messaging users, or publishing weekly blog posts. There are lots of inexpensive ways to engage your audience on this platform.

10. Test LinkedIn Ads

As far as social media tips go, experimenting with paid ads usually makes perfect sense. You’re leveraging the reach of social media with a targeted marketing tool.

When it comes to LinkedIn, the rules change a bit. For starters, LinkedIn Ads are notoriously expensive. They also come with low click-through rates (which is usually attributed to the idea that there are fewer leads, but they’re higher quality).

Still, the issue is bigger than budgeting. The reality of LinkedIn Ads is that unless you’re going after a very particular crowd, you can find much cheaper PPC (pay-per-click) ads on a variety of other platforms.

Test ads on LinkedIn and another platform at the same time. Determine your CPC (cost per click), reach, and conversion rate to make sure LinkedIn Ads are a good investment for your business.

11. Avoid Hard Selling

Traditional sales language and tactics are not your friends on LinkedIn.

Trying to brute force your way into being an industry leader simply doesn’t work. Instead, refocus your attempts on building relationships with your audience and selling your brand, not your product.

Users are going to scan through your content in less than a second if it’s not immediately valuable to them. Instead of taking the typical hard-sell approach, you should prioritize honest communication with users above all.

12. Create Multimedia Content

Videos and other multimedia content do exceptionally well on LinkedIn when handled properly. Ideally, the content should start by teaching your audience how to solve their problem in an immediate, tangible way.

Beyond that, as a brand with loads of expertise, you also have the ability to establish yourself as a thought leader by using the right content and helping users address deeper issues in your industry.

Post videos, infographics, or whatever valuable piece of content you can think of. Experiment, test, and discover what truly works.

Twitter Tips

social media tips - twitter ads

13. Social Listening on Twitter

Twitter is constantly changing. As the conversations develop over time, it can feel impossible to follow every new update. My social media tip is to focus on social listening and determine where your brand stands on the latest relevant issue.

Not only should you strive to understand what your audience thinks, but you should also take the time to become part of the conversation in real time. The last thing you want is to be left out of meaningful conversations with both previous and current users.

14. Develop a Clear Brand Voice

Your brand voice on Twitter matters quite a bit. Authenticity and brevity are essential to your brand’s relatability, so take the time to clarify exactly what your brand voice is.

Are you casual? Are you funny? Are you instructional? Identify your strongest options and start experimenting.

15. Run Polls

Polls are interesting because they accomplish two goals at once. The first goal is user-generated content (UGC). Not only that, but polls also help you increase your engagement with minimal effort on your end.

If that’s not enough reason for you, keep in mind you can make these polls for whatever you want. Try out different landing pages, or test different offers. The choice is entirely up to you.

16. Use Twitter Ads

There are a few different types of Twitter Ads (Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts, and Promoted Trends), but for this list of social media tips, we’re just going to focus on the value of Twitter Ads.

Like most social media marketing tools, you’re paying for performance here. One of the most valuable aspects of this platform is that you can start to create specific social media ads based on what’s happening in the world. This gives your ads a sense of urgency and authenticity that you can’t find anywhere else.

Pinterest Tips

social media tips - pinterest ads

17. Use Pinterest Ads

Much like LinkedIn, Pinterest is a fantastic place to connect with a specific audience. If your market research shows that your audience is populating Pinterest, you can have a compelling experience ready for them.

Once your audience is proven to be a good match, you can use images, make them interactive, and tweak your Pinterest Ads for brevity.

18. Start Using Rich Pins

For those unfamiliar with this, Rich Pins are essentially a way for users to collect more Pins without having to think about it.

There are a few different types of Rich Pins:

  • Product Pins: includes real-time pricing and availability
  • Recipe Pins: lists ingredients, cooking times, and even serving sizes
  • Article Rich Pin: focuses on the Pin’s author

The point is simple. Create content tailored to your specific audience and continue to develop that relationship over time.

19. Optimize for Mobile

Mobile is massive on platforms like Pinterest, so you can make a few safe assumptions about the user experience. For starters, it’s unlikely that they’ll use desktop computers when checking content.

To properly optimize for mobile, you’ll want to set up vertical images in a rectangular shape. Set those images to have a 2:3 ratio to fill the mobile screen, and just like that, your Pinterest account is ready for the modern age.

20. Focus on Keywords

When you think of Pinterest, the term “‘search engine” may not jump to mind. On the other hand, when you consider how easy it is to look up just about anything on the platform, it’s no surprise that it’s become such a useful search engine for others.

My final social media tip is that when you’re on this social media platform, take the time to focus on the keyword viability of the words you’re using.


Navigating social media marketing can be just as confusing as it is stressful. If you’re struggling with elevating your marketing campaigns and need some social media tips, don’t worry. You’re certainly not alone in this.

When using Facebook, make sure to properly validate your audience and use link retargeting regularly. With Instagram, take advantage of their diverse content formats and build something unique.

Use LinkedIn to build a relationship with other users and are actually willing to chat with them.

Twitter lets you stay updated, and it’s time you started updating your audience regularly. Use Pinterest when you want a mobile ads experience with a focus on keywords.

No matter which platform you use, know that by listening to these social media tips, taking control of your marketing campaign, and thinking critically about what works and what doesn’t, you’re one step closer to digital marketing mastery.

Which platform would you like to see covered next? Let me know in the comments below!

The post Beyond the Basics: 20 Fresh Social Media Tips for 2021 appeared first on Neil Patel.


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Internet Marketing

25 Sneaky Online Internet Marketing Tools and Gadgets to Help You Spy on Your Competitors

February 19, 2021 0

25 Sneaky Online Tools and Gadgets to Help You Spy on Your Competitors

There are dozens of factors to consider when spying on your competition–what are they ranking for, what are they doing on social, is there a new platform you should be considering?

It can be overwhelming, but paying attention to what is working and what doesn’t can make or breatk your long-term success.

This is where marketing tools come into play. In many cases, the same tools that help monitor your own web performance can also help you gather data on your competition.

You might be using some of these tools already, without using the features that help you evaluate your competitors. Here are some of the best competitive analysis tools out there:

1. Google Alerts – A Tool for Monitoring Mentions

google alerts tool for competitor analysis

This is a very simple and easy-to-use tool that will send reports right to your inbox. If you want to know every single time your competitor is mentioned online, whether as a link or simply a mention, you’ll get that report. You can monitor keywords as well. It’s up to you what you want to track.

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

  • Get competitors’ backlinks
  • Monitor social (or other website) mentions of your company
  • Monitor keyword mentions

Price: Free

2. SocialMention – A Tool for Monitoring Mentions

competitor analysis tool social mention

This tool has lots of cool features that focus on blogs, video, and social (all the “cool” stuff). Enter in a search term, either a keyword or a company, and the tool will tell you what’s being said about that term across blogs and social platforms.

You can see how many times and how often it’s mentioned and you even can subscribe to an RSS feed for that term, so you never miss a beat.

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

  • Monitor and track keyword mentions
  • Monitor company mentions
  • Cross-analyze what is being said across different social networks

Price: Free

3. Ubersuggest – A Tool for Keywords

ubersuggest competitive analysis tool

Ubersuggest is an all-in-one SEO tool that provides keyword analysis, competitive analysis, and SEO data. You can use it to explore new content ideas, find keywords, and see what your competition is doing. There’s also an Ubersuggest Chrome extension so you can get data on keywords and traffic as you browse the web.

Best Uses For This Tool:

  • See what content and keywords are performing best for your competitors
  • Find keywords to target
  • Get content inspiration
  • Find new competitors

Price: There’s a free limited plan, or you can get a paid plan starting at $29 per month.

4. Owletter A Tool To Track Competitor’s Email

owletter email marketing spy on the competition

Most of the competitive analysis tools on this list focus on SEO, social, or paid ads. This one gives you a window into your competitor’s email marketing strategy. Tell Owletter which sites to track and you get access to every email your competition sends, including when they send it and their spam reputation.

Best Ways To Use This Tool:

  • See how often competitors send emails
  • Track emails based on specific keywords
  • Long term access to data so you can spot trends over time

Pricing: $19 a month for up to 10 sites/$79 per month for unlimited

5. Social Blade – A Tool for Social Media Follower Counts

social blade competitor analysis

See real-time stats about your competitors on social media, including follower counts and the number of uploads. This tool is a quick way to get a lay of the land so you can build a stronger social media marketing strategy.

Best Uses for This Tool:

  • See where your competition stands on multiple social platforms

Pricing: Starts at $3.99 per month, but there is a free limited version.

6. Google Keyword Planner – A Tool for Keywords

google adwords

Formerly the Google Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator, this tool seems to have it all. Although it doesn’t focus specifically on competitor analysis (it’s more focused on your own website), finding competitor data is one feature of the tool. Because it’s from Google, it’s considered one of the best out there.

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

Price: Free, but you need to sign up for a free AdWords account to access

7. Instapaper – A Tool for Organization

instapaper marketing tool for organization

This is a simple tool that allows you to save web pages for later to read on your computer, mobile phone, or even Kindle.

Once you sign up for an account (which takes just a few minutes), you can add the bookmarklet to your bookmark bar to keep things easy. When it comes to spying on your competition, it’s incredibly helpful to know who your competition is, first and foremost, and this tool will help.

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

  • Save webpages to read later
  • Add a bookmarklet to keep your content organized
  • Visit competitor sites and save content that might be of use to you

Price: Free

8. Monitor Backlinks – A Tool for Keywords

monitor backlinks marketing tool

This is another company with great customer service, and you can follow different competitors’ backlinks and have them sent straight to your inbox, with a description of which are the highest domains, which are the lowest, and whether or not they are dofollow or nofollow.

You have a dashboard you can look at and compare your results, but I like to use it primarily to look at links my competitors are earning.

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

  • Send competitor backlinks to your inbox
  • Analyze the highest and lowest domains of the links of your competitors
  • Get a good picture of links that are nofollow vs. dofollow
  • Compare your results with competitors thanks to the dashboard
  • Find new link-building opportunities

Price: Pricing varies based on how many domains you want to manage.

If you want to manage only 1, it is $25.00/month, 2 is a Freelancer plan for $48.00/month, 4 is a Small Business plan for $90.00/month, and anything more is a custom plan which you would discuss with the company to determine a price.

They currently offer a free trial, so you can test before you commit.

9. Semrush – A Tool for Keywords

SEMrush marketing tool for keywords

This definitely is one of my favorite tools because it specializes in competitor data. You can visit the homepage and type in a competitor’s website (completely free) and immediately get information regarding organic keywords and rank, ad keywords, and traffic. The best part: it all comes to you in a graphic format.

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

  • Get organic keywords and ranks of competitors
  • Get ad keywords and traffic numbers of competitors
  • Look at data in a graphic format

Price: You can get a large amount of information right on the homepage search bar. (Try it out yourself and you’ll see in less than three seconds.)

If you want some really detailed data, plans range from $99.95/month to $399.95/month.

10. SpyFu – A Tool for Keyword and Ad Monitoring

spyfu marketing tool

This is an easy-to-use tool that lets you know which keywords your competitors are targeting, both in organic search and in AdWords. You simply type in your competitor and you can download an entire list of these keywords.

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

  • Obtain a list of keywords your competitors are targeting for AdWords
  • Obtain a list of keywords your competitors are targeting in organic search

Price: The Basic plan is $39/month, the Professional plan is $78/month, and the Agency plan is $299/month.

11. Competitor Analysis from WooRank – a Little Bit of Everything

woorank competitor analyssi

This is a tool that has competitor data as just a small section of all it can do. You create your project, and then it will help you track and optimize your website based on the results of that project. If you want to spy on competitors, that’s an option.

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

  • Create projects to track
  • Optimize your website based on project results
  • Spy on your competitors as a potential project

Price: For agencies, they recommend the Premium plan for $179/month. For Webmasters, they recommend the PRO plan (only 1 project) for $59/month. You can start with a free trial.

12. SpyOnWeb A Tool to Find Domain Information

spyon web tool

This is a very popular tool because it’s so easy to use. With this tool, you enter a URL, Google AdSense or Google Analytics code, or IP address to find out what resources belong to the same owner.

In other words, when you type in a domain, you get results for all of the different IP addresses and then a list of domains that have that same IP address (in some cases a site will have more than one IP address).

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

  • Discover the different IP addresses to find domain information

Price: Free

13. SimilarWeb – A Tool for Web Rankings

similar web marketing tool

This is a tool that allows you to get traffic insights for any website. You type in a website and right away you’ll get the global rank, country rank, and category rank of that website, along with a nice graph that shows the weekly number of visitors in the last six months.

You can see how many leads come from social, search, referrals, display ads, and many more. There also is a big orange bar that lets you add competitors and even gives you suggestions on who you may want to watch.

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

  • Obtain traffic insights for any website
  • Obtain global, country, and category rank for any website
  • Receive suggestions of competitors you may want to watch
  • View the data in graphic format

Price: There is a basic free account that offers limited metrics and data. You can contact the company if you’re interested in the enterprise package.

14. What Runs Where – A Tool for Monitoring Ads

what where

Although this resource specializes in online media buying and helping businesses buy correctly, it has some great features for watching your competition. It supports over 40 ad networks across several different countries and allows you to track a list of your competitors. You then get an alert every time that competitor launches a new ad or publishes new content.

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

  • Track ad production of competitors
  • Receive alerts each time a new ad or content is published

Price: Plans run for $299/month for the Basic plan and $399/month for the Full Coverage plan.

15. Link Explorer – A Tool for Backlinks

line explorer marketing tool for backlinks

This tool comes from Moz, so you know it’s got to be good. It’s one of the most popular tools out there today, and it allows you to follow your competitors’ link-building efforts. You can see who is linking back to them regarding PageRank, authority/domain, and anchor text. You also can compare link data, which can help keep things easy.

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

  • Find out who is linking to your competitors
  • Compare link data of your competitors

Price: You can get some data for free right away, but in order to use Link Explorer to the fullest extent, you will need Moz’s Analytics Standard package for $99/month.

16. Ahrefs – A Tool for Backlinks

ahrefs marketing tool

This is another popular tool. It will show you things like top pages, IPs, and external links regarding your competitors. Speaking from experience, the site has great customer service and works with you to make sure you get what you need.

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

  • Find IPs and external links to your competitors

Price: You can start a trial for $7.00, then upgrade to a variety of plans starting at $99.00/month.

17. Alexa – A Tool for Web Rankings

alexa marketing tool

This is one of the more advanced tools available, and it has been rating websites for a long time (much like a PageRank). In fact, if you have the Moz toolbar, you will see the Alexa ranking of a site right there on your SERP.

This tool does it all when it comes to spying on your competitors (linking, traffic, keywords, etc.) and is an excellent resource if your competitors are international.

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

  • Obtain data on international competitors
  • Obtain rankings of websites for an overall picture

Price: The Advanced plan is $149/month for one user and one site. You can upgrade to the Agency Plan to include 20 users and 35 sites. You can start with a free trial.

18. Sprout Social – Social Media Management Software

sprout social social media management marketing tool

Sprout Social helps you find and connect with the people who love your brand. With tools to compare social analytics, social engagement, social publishing, and social listing, Sprout Social has you covered. You can also check hashtag performance and Facebook reviews and track engagement on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Best Ways To Use This Tool:

  • Listen to what your audience wants
  • Track engagement
  • Publish new content

Price: A basic plan is $99/month.

19. Majestic SEO – A Tool for Backlinks

majestic seo backlink marketing tool

One of the more popular tools, Majestic SEO allows you to download the link profile for any of your competitors’ sites. This means thousands and thousands of links will be right at your fingertips. You can export the link profile, and then slice it and dice it as you wish.

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

  • Download the link profile of any competitor
  • Export the link profile and move the data around as you see fit

Price: Choose from the Lite plan for $49.99/month, the Pro plan for $99.99/month or the API plan for $399.99/month. I recommend checking out their pricing page because it lets you know which types of companies should use which types of plans.

20. The Search Monitor – A Tool for Keywords & Competitive Analysis

the search monitor competitive analysis tool

This tool is not nearly as popular as many of the others, but I still think it offers great information. It focuses solely on competitor data. Also, it allows you to monitor affiliates and trademarks. It monitors results from Google, Bing, Yahoo, YouTube, and Baidu along with blogs, websites, forums, news, mobile, and shopping.

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

  • Monitor affiliates and trademarks
  • View results from Bing, Yahoo, YouTube, and Baidu
  • View results from forums, news, mobile, and shopping

Price: There is a Pro package for $599/month or the Ultimate for $899/month. You also can pay a few dollars more for extra keywords. There is an option for an Enterprise package where you call the company and discuss a price.

21. iSpionage – A Tool for Keywords

ispionage marketing tool for keywords

This is another keyword monitoring tool that allows you to type in a competitor and see the best performing keywords for organic as well as for PPC (in both Google and Bing), and how much the competitor spends on both organic and paid search. You can see the competitor’s most effective ad copy, and you can look at graphs that compare all of this data.

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

  • Analyze best performing keywords of competitors for organic
  • Analyze best performing keywords of competitors for PPC (Google and Bing)
  • Find out how much competitors spend on paid search and organic
  • View the most effective ad copy of competitors
  • View the data in graphic form for comparison

Price: The Starter package is $59/month, the Professional package is $99/month, and the Advanced package is $299/month. Contact the company for customized Enterprise package options and pricing.

22. Ontolo – A Tool for Backlinks

ontolo backlink marketing tool

Although often labeled as a backlink tool, this also focuses on content marketing. It helps you know how to prioritize your content to keep things moving, learn where to promote your content by identifying authors who link to your content, and gives you suggestions for link-building opportunities.

Of course, this is a more advanced tool so there are quite a few more details that go into how it works, which is why I highly recommend their free trial.

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

  • Identify authors who link to your content
  • Receive suggestions for link-building opportunities

Price: The Professional package is $97/month, and the Agency package is $297/month.

23. Link Prospector – A Tool for Backlinks

link prospector marketing tool

This is one of my personal favorites because it’s all about link building and how that relates to your content. You choose your type of report – guest posting, links pages, reviews, donations, content promotions, or giveaways – and then enter your key phrases. A list of link-building opportunities based on what you’re looking for is generated for you.

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

  • Get link-building opportunity suggestions

Price: If you are going by the credit system, you can try it for free and pay as you go with 1 credit for $5. After those choices, you can choose to select a package, all of which have monthly fees and price per credit per month. It’s a tad confusing, so definitely check out the website to see their price chart.

24. BuzzSumo – A Tool for Viral Content

buzzsumo viral content marketing tool

Want to practically guarantee the success of a blog article or other piece of content? Then look no further than BuzzSumo, a tool that lets you track the virality of nearly every piece of content online.

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

  • Track the types of content most popular for a given keyword
  • Search and contact influencers that have shared content similar to yours
  • Find out which pieces by your competitors have received the most shares

Price: Free for a few searches a month. Paid plans range from $79/month to $499/month when billed annually.

25. Feedly – A Tool for Content Marketing

feedly content marketing tool

Your competitors are publishing content all the time. But it’s nearly impossible to check up on the dozens of competing blogs you want to follow. How can you know what your competitors are publishing? How can you stay up-to-date with their content marketing strategies?

With Feedly. Just plug in their blog and get updates whenever they release new content.

Best Ways to Use This Tool:

  • Track competitor’s content marketing strategies and get instant updates when they publish new content
  • Follow your favorite marketing blogs and learn new techniques as soon as they’re released

Price: Free for up to 100 sources, paid plans start at $6 per month.

Can You Spy on Your Competition Without Using Marketing Tools?

The answer certainly is yes,” but it does take a little bit of planning and preparation. If you’re not interested in investing in any tools or relying on any free tools, use the help of Google and Bing to find the site owners by doing some advanced query searches.

There essentially are two different approaches you may want to take. Both of the following strategies are more advanced “secret cheats,” but they will keep you away from using any tools!

Find All of Your Competitors’ Websites

There are four steps you can follow if you want to find your competitors’ websites:

  1. Reverse Google Whois Lookups
  2. Perform Reverse IP Lookups
  3. Reverse Google AdSense Lookups
  4. Reverse Google Analytics Lookups

The Takeaway

Competitive analysis is the cornerstone of a successful digital marketing plan. Use the data you find to build a stronger social media plan, find better keywords to target, or even up your email marketing strategy.

Keep in mind that most of the competitive analysis tools above offer a free trial of their upgraded version so you can give them a test run before making a purchase. Definitely take a look at the free trials before paying.

If you can’t find one, try emailing the company. You might be surprised at just how many will give you a free trial even if it’s not explicitly offered!

Once you’ve settled on a tool (or two or three!) make sure to add competitive analysis to your overall marketing plan. Keeping your eye on the competition is crucial to long-term growth.

Are there other competitive analysis tools I missed? Share your favorite tools in the comments!

The post 25 Sneaky Online Tools and Gadgets to Help You Spy on Your Competitors appeared first on Neil Patel.


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Internet Marketing

HostGator Cloud Review | Internet Marketing Tools

February 18, 2021 0

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

HostGator is a powerful web hosting service with the most hosting choices, catering to anyone from beginner to expert. While they offer many of the same things a hosting service like Bluehost might, their strength lies in getting specific with their host offerings and allowing you to really personalize what you want in your hosting package.

That’s probably the reason why two million others use them for reliable hosting. Because of this and many more of its useful features, HostGator makes it on my best web hosting services list. 

HostGator Compared to The Best Web Hosting Services

With HostGator, you can start any site on a shoestring budget. It’s accessible to the point where you can start hosting a site for as little as $2.75 a month. And yes, they have plenty of customer support available, along with a live chat feature you can tap into at any time. They also offer free SSL certification and a free domain name. 

This puts HostGator firmly on my list of the top eight web hosting services as one of the most affordable options. I painstakingly raked through each web host on the market to ensure I was recommending only the best to choose the rest. As a result, I created an in-depth guide that’ll guide you all the way through until you feel comfortable making a sound web hosting decision for your website.

See all of our top picks here and get ready to dive deep into how to choose a service and what to look for. Now, let’s look at everything HostGator offers and how it measures up to other web hosts on the market. 

Who is HostGator Best For?

To put it simply, HostGator is best for entry-level beginners searching for a low barrier to entry hosting service. If you’re looking for one of the easiest and affordable website hosts to help you get your site up and running, HostGator is a great place to start. 

HostGator: The Pros and Cons

Like every other website builder, HostGator comes with its list of pros and cons, depending on where you stand. It goes without saying that no hosting service is perfect. 

No matter which service you choose, you’re bound to run into problems like occasional downtime or technical issues. Still, it’s a good practice to look at each website builder’s pros and cons to see who they cater to best. 


Free migration: If you don’t want to deal with migrations and the fees associated with it, HostGator has your back and migrates your site for free. Other sites with similar features can charge you a pretty penny for this type of service. 

24/7 support: HostGator takes customer support seriously. You can reach out to them through their live chat feature whenever you need no matter the day or the hour. 

99.9% uptime guarantee: Not all hosting providers are bold enough to make this guarantee, but HostGator does. As you might already know, uptime is essential if you want your site to keep it’s rank on Google, a good online reputation, and be accessible to your audience at all times. Knowing HostGator cares about uptime enough to offer a guarantee can give you peace of mind. 

Free domain for a year: Much like Bluehost, HostGator lets you register a free domain name with them for a year. Anything free that makes the process of creating a website easier is always a plus in my book. 


Higher renewal prices: Granted, many hosting providers offer you entry-level prices to get your foot in the door. However, when it’s time to renew your yearly plan, those prices tend to go up. For HostGator, this is definitely the case. So, it’s a factor to consider when you’re budgeting and thinking long-term. 

No staging options: Staging is a great option to have if you’re a developer that needs to test changes or fix bugs. Unfortunately, this isn’t something HostGator offers at the moment. You’ll have to install a third-party staging plugin. 

HostGator Pricing

There’s a lot of ground to cover when it comes to HostGator hosting options. As I mentioned before, they offer you a buffet-style spread of hosting options. 

To start, HostGator includes the following options regardless of what plans you choose:

  • Unlimited MySQL databases
  • An uptime guarantee of 99.9%
  • Round-the-clock server monitoring
  • Unlimited FTP users
  • One-click installs
  • 24/7/365 customer support
  • Unmetered bandwidth
  • cPanel control panel
  • Free migration

Once you know those are all included, here are the types of hosting services HostGator offers:

  • Web Hosting
  • Cloud Hosting
  • WordPress Hosting
  • VPS Hosting
  • Dedicated Hosting

Now, how exactly does each one measure up, and what do they offer? 

Web Hosting

  • Hatchling Plan – $2.75 a month
  • Baby Plan – $3.95 a month 
  • Business Plan – $5.95 a month

Each plan is priced on a 36-month billing cycle. But you can always adjust that to shorter billing cycles, though keep in mind that this will alter your monthly prices. For the sake of simplicity, I’ve chosen the longest billing cycle, as it’s the cheapest option.

For web hosting, all three plans include one-click installs and unlimited email. The Business plan offers a bit more. This means if you go with it, you’ll have a private SSL, dedicated IP, and free VoIP phone service. 

In this category, the most basic plan you can go with is the Hatchling plan, and it only allows you to host one domain. This is what makes HostGator a great entry-level hosting provider if you want to get your one site up and running quickly. 

Cloud Hosting

  • Hatchling Cloud – $4.95 a month
  • Baby Cloud – $6.57 a month
  • Business Cloud – $9.95 a month

HostGator stands out as a reliable cloud hosting provider with three different options to choose from. You’ll first need to decide how much RAM you’ll need. Their Hatchling plan with 2 GB can be a solid starter option.

But you can go as high as their Business Cloud option with 6 GB of RAM. The highest tier in their cloud hosting plan includes a dedicated IP and VoIP phone service for as little as $9.95 a month. Learn more about HostGator Cloud Hosting.

WordPress Hosting

  • Starter Plan – $5.95 a month
  • Standard Plan – $7.95 a month
  • Business Plan – $9.95 a month

If you already know you’re hosting your site with WordPress, you’ll want to pay close attention to HostGator’s WordPress hosting solutions. Picking between each tier is easy. All you’ll have to consider is the amount of traffic your site gets and if you’re trying to host one or multiple sites.

The Starter plan is best for around 100k monthly visitors, while its Standard plan can manage with up to 200k site visitors. If you have a popular site that gets around 500k monthly hits or more, it’s safest to choose their Business plan. Each tier is reasonably priced and accessible for the amount of web traffic they can manage. This is yet another reason why I highly recommend HostGator as a hosting provider for starter sites. 

VPS Hosting

  • Snappy 2000 – $19.95 a month
  • Snappy 4000 – $29.95 a month
  • Snappy 8000 – $39.95 a month

With HostGator’s VPS Hosting plan, you’re in for fewer service limitations and a slew of additional features. As you grow, you can easily add more RAM, CPU, or disk space to accommodate your site.

A virtual server dedicated to your site ensures you have more control over your site’s hosting environment in a cost-effective manner. This is yet another example of the flexibility of HostGator as a hosting provider, which is a favorite feature of mine. 

Dedicated Hosting

  • Value Server – $89.98 a month
  • Power Server – $119.89 a month
  • Enterprise Server – $139.99 a month

HostGator’s dedicated hosting category can be summed up in one word: maximization. You choose a hard drive and how much RAM you want depending on your site needs. Then they provide you with IP-based firewall protection. 

Dedicated servers are equipped to host sites that are in full growth mode. They need powerful features that enable them to grow while minimizing downtime, space limitations, and technical difficulties that might arise with a less robust hosting plan. 

If you decide to go the dedicated hosting route, you can be sure HostGator offers you all the hosting and site management tools you could ask for. And again, their ability to personalize their offers to your needs sets them apart as a powerful web hosting provider. 

HostGator Offerings

We’ve already established that HostGator is a great option for either entry-level sites or sites that need advanced options ranging anywhere from blogging and personal use to the entrepreneurship space. But what are their main offerings?

Here’s a closer look.

Shared & Cloud Hosting

HostGator offers you the standard package that you can find with any reliable hosting provider with these options. What sets them apart in this camp are unlimited storage features and unmetered bandwidth. Keep in mind this all comes with guaranteed uptime as well. With the entry-level prices, you get with shared hosting on HostGator, it definitely stands as a contender to other providers like Bluehost

The difference between shared and cloud hosting is straightforward. Shared hosting is when you shared a server with multiple other sites, and all clients share the available bandwidth. Cloud hosting is when your site is hosted on multiple shared servers instead of just one.

WordPress Hosting

As you can expect, their WordPress hosting option includes a free domain, having WordPress ready and installed so you can start publishing on your site, and an easy to use control panel. HostGator also offers plenty of site security features like site backups and malware protection. The WordPress hosting option is exactly what it sounds like: hosting in a way that directly caters to WordPress sites.

VPS Hosting

VPS hosting is when an entirely virtual private server is divided into dedicated hosting spaces for each client. HostGator’s VPS hosting option is the way to go if you’re looking for top-tier site hosting tools like the ability to host unlimited domains, create unlimited email addresses, databases, and FTP accounts. The web hosting feature that takes the cake for VPS hosting is the off-site courtesy backup it does for you weekly. 

Dedicated Hosting

If you want the absolute best hosting, HostGator has dedicated hosting to offer you a number of valuable web hosting tools. You’ll have plenty of customization options to maximize your site’s efficiency with a dedicated server all for your site. 

They guarantee your site stays up and running, and they give you the option to manage it yourself or have their team fully manage it for you. HostGator will also help with any technical or custom software installations. This makes HostGator’s dedicated hosting packages one of the best in their industry. 

The Best Website Builders

I encourage you to read through my in-depth guide to the best hosting providers. In it, you’ll see how each hosting provider stacks up in comparison to the rest. That way, you’re informed well enough to make the best decision possible. So, check out my top picks here. To help, here’s a quick overview of who made it on the list: 

  1. Dreamhost Best option if you want quick and responsive website changes
  2. Hostinger Low-Cost shared hosting options for startups
  3. Bluehost Best for WordPress hosting
  4. Nexcess Best ecommerce hosting
  5. HostGator Most affordable option for startups
  6. WP Engine Best option if you know your limits
  7. InMotion Best option for scaling BIG
  8. Siteground Best for WooCommerce hosting

HostGator is a powerful hosting provider for first-time site builders who want a reliable and choice-rich option they can rely on. With HostGator, you not only get plenty of hosting options, but you also get access to added perks like free SSL certification and free domain registration. What’s great about HostGator is that you can start small and then switch hosting tiers as your site grows without having to migrate if you’re happy with their service.  

Now it’s your turn. Let me know your thoughts about HostGator below.

Or better yet, if you’re starting your site and don’t want to wait any longer, get started with HostGator today. 

The post HostGator Cloud Review appeared first on Neil Patel.


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Internet Marketing

10 Direct Response Internet Marketing Examples

February 17, 2021 0

10 direct response marketing examples

With the competition for customers becoming stiffer by the day, brands have to be savvy about the way they do their marketing.

You must employ marketing strategies that work.

One such marketing strategy is direct response marketing.

Unlike other marketing strategies that focus on building relationships with prospects first, direct response marketing seeks to turn prospects into customers in one step.

What is Direct Response Marketing?

Direct response marketing is any marketing technique designed to elicit an immediate response from your target audience. The required action can be anything from reading a blog post to downloading a resource or making a purchase.

It focuses on making things happen as soon as the prospect digests your marketing material.

For it to be effective, your direct response marketing campaign must cleverly package your value proposition, pitch, and call-to-action (CTA) in one place. This strategy results in the prospect moving quickly from your buyer journey’s consideration stage to the decision stage.

While most people associate direct response marketing with direct mail, that is only one part of it. This strategy can also include:

  • landing pages
  • social media ads
  • email
  • paid ads
  • TV/radio commercials

In a nutshell, it’s any type of marketing that requires an immediate response with the primary goal of getting a return on your investment as soon as possible.

Advantages of Direct Response Marketing

Direct response marketing has many advantages, including:

  • Trackable: One of the most significant advantages of direct response marketing is that it’s easy to track and analyze performance.
  • Measurable: Breaking it down by return on investment (ROI), it’s easy to measure how much you spend to reach each customer. You can also easily measure the success of the campaign.
  • Targeted: Direct response marketing is fueled by data, making the campaigns more targeted. The result is higher conversion rates.

Of course, the most significant advantage is the speed with which direct response marketing produces results. This and other benefits make it a marketing strategy you should employ as much as possible.

4 Key Components of Direct Response Marketing

Every direct response marketing campaign has common elements that ensure its effectiveness in reaching your marketing goals. Here are the key components:

1. A Personalized Offer

The key to an effective direct response marketing campaign is to know your target audience. You must know their pain points and aspirations to create an offer that’s personalized. Research indicates that 80 percent of customers are more likely to do business with a brand that offers personalized experiences.

2. Clear and Compelling Content

For a campaign to be effective, you must craft content that’s:

  • Clear: Use simple, everyday language so anyone who reads it can understand what you’re selling (especially the benefits) and what action you want them to take.
  • Compelling: Direct response is all about getting customers to react immediately. Use active voice and power words to make your message elicit the desired reaction.

Invest in good writers as your campaign’s success hinges on your copy.

3. A Sense of Urgency

A critical component that helps drive conversions is a sense of urgency. Human beings have a natural tendency to procrastinate, especially when spending money is involved.

Creating a sense of urgency encourages quick interactions and decision-making. As a result, your campaign will have higher conversion rates.

4. An Irresistible CTA

Another important component of effective direct response marketing is the CTA. Your CTA must be:

  • clear and easy to understand
  • focus on one action
  • easily accessible
  • personalized

With these ingredients, your CTA will succeed in achieving its purpose of evoking the action you want your customers to take.

10 Examples of Excellent Direct Response Marketing

Now you know what direct response marketing is, its advantages, and the key components that make it work. Let’s go a step further and look at ten examples.

1. Referral Program

One of the most powerful forms of marketing is word of mouth marketing (WOMM). Studies show that 83% of people trust recommendations they get from family, friends, or colleagues.

That’s why one of the best examples of effective direct response marketing is a referral program.

A typical example would be running a campaign where you ask your current customers to refer your brand or product to their family and friends. You could do this by:

  • sending them an email inviting them to participate in your referral program.
  • asking them for referrals on your “thank you” page after they’ve purchased your product.

However you decide to do it, make it easy for them to refer a friend by furnishing them with a link to a specific page you want their friends to visit.

Additionally, incentivize your customers to participate by offering them a gift, discount, or any other perk that suits your business model.

This is direct response marketing because you’re asking your customers to take immediate action on your offer. Here’s an example from MeUndies in the form of an email they send to customers after they’ve received their purchase:

direct response marketing is a great way to encourage customers to join your referral program. here's an example from Me Undies.

Executed well, this type of referral marketing is a great way to drive both sales and brand awareness at the same time.

2. Upselling

Upselling is the act of encouraging a customer to buy a more expensive version of a product they have or are in the process of buying. It’s a powerful technique for driving sales as it’s easier to sell to an existing customer than to a new prospect.

How can you implement direct response marketing to upsell your customers?.

Before a customer completes the buying process on your website, you can send a message asking them if they would rather have the more superior version of the product or service they’re buying.

Make sure to clearly spell out the benefits of upgrading and make it easy to switch to the new product.

3. Social Media Ads

With approximately 4 billion users globally, social media has become one of the most powerful marketing platforms to deploy direct response marketing campaigns.

Whether you’re selling a physical or digital product, a service, or promoting a lead magnet, you can use social media to get your prospects to act quickly on your offer.

Direct Response Marketing - Social Media Ads

To do that, make sure your ad:

  • uses high-quality and relevant visuals
  • has short, punchy copy
  • has a clear CTA

Design your visuals to grab attention, and your copy will do the heavy lifting of pitching your offer.

4. Contests or Giveaways

Everyone loves contests.

They are full of excitement with the prospect of getting something for free.

For marketers, contests and giveaways are terrific for grabbing attention and generating buzz.

Yet, the biggest advantage of giveaways is that they are good at obtaining an immediate response from your target audience, which is precisely why they make for good and effective direct response marketing.

You’ll have to be careful with the gifts or rewards you offer, though. Make sure they align with your brand. Doing so ensures that only your target audience will respond to your campaign.

5. Text Messaging

Research shows that 77 percent of consumers say they use texting more than other forms of communicating. Add to that the fact that people regularly check their text messages, and you’ve got the perfect channel for your direct response marketing.

To leverage text messaging in direct response marketing, your target audience must sign up to receive marketing communication from you. As with email marketing, you must segment your contact list to ensure your campaigns are personalized and targeted.

Text messaging is a great way to alert your customers about exclusive deals and offers you have. It’s also an easy way to get them to head to your website as you can include a link in your message.

6. Chatbots and Social Media Messaging

Chatbots have been the rage in marketing for some time now. The reason for that is simple: They help you communicate with your customers in real-time.

That’s why chatbots are excellent tools for direct response marketing. After all, what better way to drive engagement and encourage customers to take action than by communicating with them instantaneously.

That’s where the powerful combination of chatbots and social media comes to play.

For example, you can create a Facebook Messenger chatbot to interact with your prospects and market your offer to them while they use Facebook. A significant advantage of this is that social media provides you with a wealth of data you can use to hyper-target your campaigns.

7. Google Ads

Google Ads are a great way to market your brand and product with the ability to reach a wider audience than other direct response marketing channels. Besides that, you can easily target a particular audience by using the right keywords, location, and other criteria.

Because your ads appear when a prospect is searching for something related to your product, it’s easier to grab their attention and get them to respond to your ad.

8. Direct Response Marketing for Job Recruiting

This strategy can also be used in recruiting talent for your brand. It’s particularly effective in a cutthroat industry where talent is scarce and speed is of the essence. Direct response marketing can also be used by recruiting agencies to source talent for their clients.

Here’s an example for job recruiting:

Direct response marketing can be used in recruitment. Here's Lyft's example.

Getting reliable drivers in the ride-share market has become a difficult task. Lyft recruits most of its drivers through direct response marketing campaigns, and these give them a great level of success. Not how the ad:

  • goes straight to the point on what it’s about and what the prospect is expected to do.
  • sweetens the deal with guaranteed earnings.

These two factors help elicit an immediate response from the prospects.

9. Use Pop-Ups to Generate Leads

Lead generation is an integral part of marketing, and direct response marketing is one of the best ways to drum up valuable leads for your business.

One of the best methods for lead generation is to use pop-ups on your website. The fact that a visitor has landed on your website shows they’re interested in what you have to offer.

Don’t miss the opportunity to build a relationship with them. Use personalized pop-ups to encourage them to sign up for your email list.

10. Direct Mail Still Works

Sure, it may be old-fashioned, but direct mail still works. Because many brands have abandoned it, your direct response marketing campaign will stand out when sent through the mail. Use assets like brochures, coupons, newsletters, etc.

While it may be old school, you can still align direct mail with modern techniques to increase its impact. For example, you could use QR codes to transition your prospects from the mail to your website.

Don’t snub your nose on direct mail. It’s still useful today as it was in its heyday.


If you want to run a campaign that gets you results fast, consider the examples above. Speed up the buyer journey and get your prospects to take action now.

Because it can be used across many different channels to achieve various marketing goals, its versatility makes it one of the best marketing strategies in the marketer’s toolbox.

Which of these direct response marketing examples have you used in your business?

The post 10 Direct Response Marketing Examples appeared first on Neil Patel.


Internet Marketing Strategies
Internet Marketing Strategies

How to Use Employee Spotlights In Internet Marketing Strategies to Grow Sales

February 17, 2021 0

how to use employee spotlights to grow sales

As a business owner, you know your employees are vital to your company’s success. That doesn’t mean they always feel appreciated, however.

Regular recognition at company meetings is essential, but so is making your appreciation public. Employee spotlights let you tell the world about top employees and explore their contributions to your company.

Employee spotlights aren’t just a way to recognize and reward loyal, hardworking employees. They are an uber-effective (and perennially underused) marketing tactic. They can help humanize your brand and, ultimately, boost sales.

It’s time to stop taking our employees for granted. Here’s how to use employee spotlights to give your staff the recognition they deserve while growing your business.

6 Benefits of Employee Spotlights

First and foremost, employee spotlights are about recognizing the wonderful people who work for your company, but that’s not the only benefit.

They also make for incredibly effective marketing collateral. There’s no corporate sales message with an employee spotlight. Just authentic brand storytelling that shares what makes your company stand out.

That kind of message comes with some significant benefits—the kind that can send revenues soaring.

Boost Your Recruitment Strategy

Employee spotlights are a fantastic tool to help your company attract the very best talent. The kind of talent that takes your company’s sales to the next level.

It’s a huge commitment for someone to take on a new role. Even more so if it’s senior management or an executive position. When all job adverts look similar, potential employees look for as much inside information as possible.

They want to know what it’s like to work at your company, who their colleagues might be, and what perks they can expect.

Employee spotlights highlight the day-to-day experience at your company and could be the deciding factor that sways a candidate’s decision in your favor. If you are hiring, you can run ad campaigns about job positions featuring real employees.

Foster Meaningful Connections Between Employees

There are few better ways to create meaningful connections between your employees than a series of articles and interviews that shine a light on individual employees.

Employee spotlights can be particularly powerful in large enterprise companies where it can be hard for employees to get to know people in different departments.

They break down barriers and silos that separate departments and give employees a nifty way of striking up a conversation between teams. This can increase productivity, communication, and your bottom line.

Increase Engagement and Reach on Social Media

Employee spotlights are usually incredibly popular when shared on social media. Employees, their friends, and families love to share posts about people they know. While corporate sales messages might only pick up a handful of shares, this kind of social media engagement can be transformational.

Each comment, like and share, gets your company in front of a much bigger audience. That could lead to new applicants and even new clients. Potential clients feel good about working with a company with incredibly engaged, connected, and happy employees.

Employee Spotlight Twitch

As you can see, Twitch’s employee spotlight got over 250 likes and shares and showed off their company branding.

Win Over Potential Clients

Employee spotlights are a fantastic tool to win over new clients. When there’s not much difference between firms in terms of price or previous work, the decision can often come down to which company the client thinks will be more enjoyable to work with.

Think about which company you would choose to work with: a faceless corporation that doesn’t even have a team page on its website or a company that is proud of every single employee and goes out of its way to show them off?

Grow Existing Client Relationships

Employee spotlights aren’t just great for winning new clients. They can also improve the relationship with your existing clients. When you send out employee spotlights in your email newsletter, you give your existing clients another opportunity to engage with your brand and reaffirm their choice to work with you.

They can follow up on services that employee offers or learn more about their contacts at your company.

This may give you more business as a result of something mentioned in your spotlights.

Improve Your Company’s Reputation

Glassdoor and other job review websites have made it all too easy to dig up dirt on companies. Employee spotlights give you the chance to bolster your company’s image.

The time and money invested in creating employee spotlights show your company cares about its employees. The content of each spotlight can further bolster your reputation.

What gets said by employees can prove your company is committed to creating a rewarding and challenging working environment. That tells possible recruits there is a great company culture, and you have nothing to hide.

How to Create an Employee Spotlight

Now that you understand the many benefits of creating an employee spotlight let’s cover how to create them.

Before creating the content, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Who are you going to highlight?
  2. What are you going to include in your spotlight?
  3. Where are you going to post it?

Who to Highlight

No one should be off-limits when it comes to creating employee spotlights—unless they don’t want to participate, of course. (Don’t force employees to take part against their will.)

For those who are willing, however, make sure you highlight a broad cross-section of your team. Everyone from the executive leadership team down to the new intern deserves the opportunity to be recognized.

What to Include in an Employee Spotlight

While you can include whatever you like in your employee spotlight, there’s a common format that most employers tend to take.

The Essentials of an Employee Spotlight

There are several elements no employee spotlight should be without. These are:

  • employee name
  • employee picture
  • job title
  • direct quote

An employee spotlight doesn’t have to be as comprehensive as you might think. This information alone can be enough to achieve some of the benefits we covered above.

The Optional (but Recommended) Extras:

If you want to make your spotlights shine, consider adding a lot more detail to help readers get the full picture. For example:

  • a detailed description of their role
  • the length of their employment
  • a question-and-answer session
  • their hobbies outside of work
  • anything else interesting about the employee

What to Ask Employees in a Spotlight Feature

A video interview or a written Q&A session can bring your employee spotlight to life. Make sure to ask questions that will make it easy for employees to talk favorably about your company and give readers and viewers a good idea of what working there actually looks like.

Here are some topics to cover:

  • employee perks
  • company culture
  • company leadership
  • the job role, and why it’s enjoyable
  • why the employee took the job
Employee spotlight questions

Civis Analytics uses a Q&A style spotlight that helps readers get to know their employees.

However, be careful not to get too hung up in the minutiae of their roles or trying to get the perfect soundbite. Canned questions can result in stale answers. Instead, trust your interviewer instincts and delve deeper into anything interesting the employees share.

The more unusual and different each of your employee spotlights, the more likely people will be to read every one. That also means mixing up the format of different spotlights can work well.

Short-Form Spotlights Vs. Long-Form Spotlights

Your employee spotlights can be long-form written pieces of short-form snippets, videos, or social media posts. There are benefits to both short-form and long-form spotlights.

So, why choose?

If you’re going to the effort of creating employee spotlights, consider doing both. Start the employee spotlight with a short-form executive summary or introductory video so readers can learn everything at a glance.

Then go into more detail for those who want to spend time getting to know your employees. You could post the full-length video interview or transcribe your entire Q&A session. You could even have employees write an in-depth blog post.

Don’t be afraid to chop up long-form spotlights into short, digestible chunks that can be shared on social media platforms, either. The more ways you can repurpose the content, the more valuable they become.

Where to Post Employee Spotlights

Post your employee spotlights anywhere and everywhere. Your brand blog is a great starting place. Create a new post for every employee spotlight and have a dedicated section of your blog where readers can easily browse past spotlights.

Use social media to get the word out and link back to your blog posts. Platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are a great way to significantly increase the number of people who will read your spotlights.

Don’t be afraid of using video snippets or direct quotes from each spotlight to create posts, either. You can also spotlight employees by letting them have complete control over your social media accounts for a day.

Employee Spotlight Instagram

It’s also worth including every new spotlight in your corporate newsletter. We’ve already discussed the benefit of showing potential and current clients your spotlights, and this is a great way to make sure everyone knows about them.

If you’ve filmed your employee spotlight, you should upload it to YouTube, too. Not only is YouTube a great way to host your videos, but these types of videos are also incredibly share-worthy and can increase exposure on the platform.

Finally, don’t forget to share your employee spotlights on your company’s intranet or instant messaging app. Spotlights are great for boosting employee morale and helping employees get to know their colleagues better.

What to Do After Publishing Employee Spotlights

Once you’ve completed the first few employee spotlights, spend time gathering feedback from your team and your audience. Ask them what they liked about the interviews, what they didn’t like, and anything they thought was missing. You can even ask who should be highlighted next.

Armed with this information, you can make your next batch of employee spotlights even better. Collect more feedback after and then optimize them again. Whatever you do, don’t stop creating them. The more spotlights you create, the more chance your business will benefit from them.

It won’t take long before employee spotlights become ingrained in your company culture. You’ll wonder how you ever did without them.


It’s not an over-exaggeration to say employee spotlights can transform your company for the better. You can use them to:

  • attract better talent
  • improve employee morale
  • expand your reach
  • win new clients
  • build stronger relationships with existing clients
  • improve your company’s reputation

It’s not hard to create them, either. A simple Q&A or a short video is all you need to start changing your company culture for the better and improving sales as a result. What’s stopping you from getting started today?

Who will be the star of your next employee spotlight? Share in the comments!

The post How to Use Employee Spotlights to Grow Sales appeared first on Neil Patel.


Internet Marketing
Internet Marketing

10 Clever Sales Promotions for Internet Marketing Paid Campaigns

February 17, 2021 0

10 sales promotions for paid ppc campaigns

We all love a great sales promotion.

Whether it’s 20 percent off, buy one get one free, or a limited time offer, we’re all suckers for a deal, so why aren’t you using sales promotions in your paid campaigns?

Sales promotions can make your ads jump off the page, boost engagement, and grow your sales. Let’s look at ten of the best sales promotions for your paid campaigns.

What Are Attractive Sales Promotions for Paid Ads?

Sales promotions are a marketing device designed to boost sales and convert potential customers into actual buyers. We see them everywhere we go, whether it’s on TV, on the internet, or even when we drive by a billboard:

  • “buy one get one free”
  • “free entry for veterans”
  • “25 percent off when you buy in the next 24 hours”

These are all sales promotions, and they’re designed to get us to part ways with our money and buy products!

How does this fit with paid advertising?

It’s in the name! Sales promotions aren’t useful unless you promote them, and one of the most effective ways to do this is through paid advertising. Whether you advertise on Google, Facebook, Amazon, LinkedIn, or any other platform, you need to attract people’s attention. Sales promotions can be the perfect way to do this.

Sales Promotions  in PPC Ad Copy

Sales promotions and paid campaigns go hand-in-hand, which is why you likely see them all the time on paid ads.

10 Sales Promotion Ideas for Paid Marketing Campaigns

There’s no limit to what you can do with sales promotions; one of the few things that could be holding you back is your creativity.

However, when you run a sales promotion, you’ve got to remember that sales aren’t the only measurement of success.

Think about your margins and understand exactly how your promotion fits into your business plan. A deal for “90 percent off all products” might be the most talked-about sales promotion you ever run, but if your goal is to make a profit, it’s not much use to you.

With this in mind, here are 10 of the best sales promotion ideas for paid marketing campaigns, but as always, it’s how you make them work for your business that’s going to be the most important thing.

1. Offer Seasonal Sales Promotions on Your Products

On average, 19 percent of all retail sales are made during the November and December holidays.

Before you even consider Valentine’s Day, Easter, Independence Day, and every other holiday, seasonal sales represent nearly a 5th of all revenue. That’s an incredible amount, and it goes to show the power of seasonal sales promotions.

Sales promotions - a seasonal promotion

You may think, if it’s such a busy period, then why would I discount my products with promotions? However, this is also one of the most competitive times of the year, so it’s vital that your paid advertising stands out.

Great seasonal promotions allow you to do this.

For example, which ad copy is more appealing in February? “Beautiful diamond necklaces at great prices,” or “The perfect diamond necklace for Valentine’s Day, now with a free Cupid bracelet?”

As with this example, seasonal sales promotions make your ad copy relevant, allowing you to capitalize on the buzz surrounding seasonal change.

The other big bonus for sellers is that it’s a great way to control stock. If your products are very seasonal, you want to maximize their exposure at the right times of the year, and using seasonal sales promotions with paid campaigns can help you do this.

2. Feature Flash Sales

Putting a time limit on offers creates urgency, which can be a powerful marketing tool.

As consumers, we’re very accustomed to seeing this. Countless websites have offers that expire after a specific time, and they do this for a reason: It works.

Flash sales are a great way to sell a lot of stock quickly, so it’s very effective if you’ve got a product that’s not selling very well or you want to get rid of it to make space for a new line. However, flash sales are only applicable if you get the message in front of enough people.

This is where your paid advertising comes in because it’s one of the easiest ways to ensure your target audience sees your message.

The kind of promotion you come up with is up to you, but the ability to create urgency with your ad copy will generate the buzz you need to make your sales promotion a success.

3. Offer Temporary Sales Promotions With a Countdown Timer

Of course, you can create urgency with your PPC ads through good copy, but there’s also a way of customizing your ads, so they show a countdown timer.

A study from Experian found that emails inducing a sense of urgency had a 59 percent higher transaction-to-click rate, and a countdown timer is a great way to do this in a highly visual way.

Not only is including a timer in your PPC likely to boost your CTR, but it also improves conversions, which can make a big difference to your ROI.

Setting up a countdown timer on your Google PPC ads couldn’t be easier. Set up your ad campaign as you usually would, and when you get to the point where you enter your copy, write your headline and then enter a curly bracket: {.

A dropdown menu will appear with different options, where you can select “countdown timer.” Put in the date you want your promotional sale to end, and you’re ready to go.

creating a countdown timer for your sales promotion

Not many advertisers make use of this option, so adding a timer to your PPC ads can be a great way to boost your performance.

4. Provide Free Samples

Forget the fact that people like free things, and the word free tends to jump off a page.

Free samples play on something our culture programs us to do: reciprocate. When someone does something nice for you, you want to return the favor, and in this case, it results in sales.

It’s probably not a conscious thought, but deep down, there’s a feeling that people want to return your kindness of a free sample by making a purchase.

However, free samples go even further than using societal norms to encourage people to buy your product.

They’re also a great way to cut through the noise. When someone looks at a product, they go through a complex calculation of whether they want to buy it: the buyer decision process.

When you give someone a free sample or trial period, it allows them to make a logical, informed decision that can result in more people purchasing your product.

example of a sales promotion for paid campaigns

You can easily incorporate free samples into your PPC campaigns. Experiment with your offer and find the one that works best for your business.

5. Buy One Get One Free (BOGO) Sales Promotions

I already mentioned the power of the word “f ree,” and BOGO sales are a great way to capitalize on this.

As consumers, we place a tremendous amount of value on the idea of getting something for free, even at the expense of getting the best deal.

For example, if you only need one of something, then getting that item at 25 percent off is probably more beneficial than getting two of them for the price of one. You’ll end up paying 25 percent more and have an extra item you might not even use.

For retailers, BOGO sales promotions are an excellent way of benefiting from people’s natural love for anything free. As you’re selling more products, it’s a way of boosting revenue, particularly for products where you’ve got excess stock.

BOGO sales promotions can easily factor into your paid advertising for both products and services, so make sure you’re getting your message across with your copy. T

his can be particularly beneficial for businesses selling time-based services during the low season. If people are paying you for your time, and you’ve got plenty of it, then BOGOs can increase revenue since your cost is your time.

6. Offer Incentives in Your Sales Promotions

There are two main objectives with PPC advertising: First, you have to get the clicks, and second, you need to ensure enough of those clicks result in you achieving your goals.

Adding incentives to your sales promotions is a great way to help you achieve both of these objectives.

Offering little incentives such as “free video consultation,” “free shipping,” and “Amazon vouchers” doesn’t cost your business much, but they create excitement about your promotion and give people the encouragement they need to take the first step and eventually become a customer.

7. Discounts for Groups of Customers

You’ll often hear of promotions such as “veterans go free,” “50 percent off for teachers during back to school,” and “free appetizer for emergency service workers.”

Rewarding these hardworking people might be a part of your business culture, but it’s also a form of promotion. You’re showing that your business values its community, and it wants to give back, which is excellent PR.

When veterans come to your theme park, they bring their families with them, and the same goes for emergency service workers eating at your restaurant. This means you’re still bringing in all-important revenue, but you’re also reaching new audiences and building your public image.

Don’t forget that certain groups have their days on the calendar (Veteran’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc.), so think about how you can celebrate them with a great promotion.

8. Social Media Contests As Sales Promotions

A big part of marketing is reaching people wherever they are, and for more than half the people in the world, that’s on social media. If your sales promotions aren’t taking this into account, they won’t have the maximum effect.

Social is all about creating engagement and getting people to share and interact with your content. A smart way to do this is by running a social media contest as a sales promotion.

For example, a website about running could partner up with Usain Bolt and run a competition where anyone who shares a certain post gets entered into a hat to win a run with Usain.

Every business, whether big or small, can come up with prizes people will want to win, and it’s yet another way to create a buzz around your promotions.

Another benefit is that it significantly boosts your social media reach, introducing new people to your brand and helping create your customers of the future.

9. Loyalty Promotions

There are over 3.3 billion loyalty memberships in the US alone!

Earning customer loyalty is incredibly important for businesses. While a lot of earning loyalty is about being genuine, loyalty programs are also a great way of keeping customers coming back to you.

While you can incorporate this idea into your PPC copy, this is an area where you can make use of all aspects of your digital marketing. One method that’s particularly useful for promoting your loyalty program and rewarding your customers is email marketing.

If you’re getting great engagement from your email campaigns, then it’s a good way to reach people with your loyalty promotions and ensure they translate into real-world results.

10. Offer Vouchers for Sales Promotions

Vouchers are another way to make your paid campaigns pop and boost conversions. For example, if you’re looking to create leads, then a paid campaign offering a discount voucher when people give you their contact details can be very effective.

Vouchers or discount codes are easy to make through your e-commerce site or plugin, and they can allow you to reach a very targeted audience. Simply generate your voucher in Shopify, Woo Commerce, or whichever platform you use and send them out to your customers.

When they check out on your site, they can enter their discount code, and it will be deducted from their total price.

Again, the only limit with vouchers is your imagination, so think about how you can use vouchers for sales promotion to stand out from the crowd and engage with your audience.


Sales promotions are popular because they work.

Your paid campaigns are a perfect opportunity to work promotions into your marketing strategy, and they can greatly improve your click-through rate, the level of engagement your audience has with your landing page, and your conversion rate.

Remember not to get too carried away, and make sure you consider how your offer fits into your overall business goals. Revenue without profit generally isn’t useful, so you’ve got to find the right balance.

These 10 best sales promotions for paid campaigns can help you stand out from the crowd and create a serious buzz around your brand.

Which of these sales promotions will you try to work into your strategy?

The post 10 Clever Sales Promotions for Paid Campaigns appeared first on Neil Patel.