Unicorn Marketing

Featuring Larry Kim, CEO of MobileMonkey, Founder of WordStream

 
 
  • - Hello, everybody. Welcome to another HubSpot masterclass. My name is Kevin Dunn, I'm one of the inbound professors with HubSpot Academy. Today's masterclass is presented to you by HubSpot Academy, HubSpot's official learning resource, and the worldwide leader in inbound marketing and sales education. HubSpot Academy offers free certifications and free courses to not only grow your business, but to grow your career. Today, I'm with Larry Kim. He's the CEO of MobileMonkey, he's the founder of WordStream, one of the top columnists for Inc.com, and I think you were ranked number eight on most popular contributors to Medium.com. So, there's also a rumor that there's a slight obsession for unicorns. Sounds like after today's session, maybe that's an obsession we should all share. So I'll gladly hand it off to Larry. Thank you so much for joining us.

    - Thanks, Kevin. Thanks for having me. Thank you, listeners. Thanks for turning in for the session today. Talking about a crazy topic, it's called unicorn marketing, how to achieve unusually great, remarkable growth rates in marketing, basically every channel of marketing that you can think of. On today's agenda, it's mostly, we'll be talking about unicorns, starting with my theory of unicorn marketing, followed by a discussion of donkeys versus unicorns. Next we'll talk a little bit about the latest technologies in unicorn and donkey detection, followed by introducing some new concepts around the unicorn alert, and making the unicorn babies, and just in case you thought maybe you went into the wrong livestream. No, trust me, this is the correct livestream. We will be talking about some marketing concepts there, and specifically some tips and tricks and hacks for getting unusually great results. Guys, all the slides today are available for download at bit.ly, bit.ly/unicorn-marketing, and there's over 150 slides today, so definitely try to download those slides if you can. Before getting all the hacks and tips and trick, I wanted to introduce myself briefly. My name's Larry. As Ken mentioned, I'm slightly obsessed with unicorns, having founded the International Unicorn Marketing Association of the world. I live in Harvard Square in Cambridge. It's just a couple of miles from here. It's a very famous area. It's where Facebook was founded. It was where Microsoft was founded. It's also where I started WordStream back in 2008. Maybe like starting out like a lot of you guys, as kind of a sole proprietor, internet marketing guru, consultant, you know, working out of a Panera Bread bakery because of the free Wifi and unlimited Diet Coke refills. The company's gotten a lot bigger, we're over 200 people, we have an office in the Pru Mall, and managing hundreds of hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising spend for thousands and thousands of clients worldwide. It's the world's leading provider of online advertising software for small businesses, and as Kevin mentioned earlier, I recently took a new job as CEO of a new venture, in the AI mobile chatbot space. Last thing I'll say about myself is I have a three year old. His name is hashtag PPC kid, and you can follow him on Twitter. All right, so enough about me. Back to our story. We're talking about unicorn marketing, starting with part one, my crazy unicorn theory of marketing, and basically, guys, here's the problem. When I look at marketing today, the sad story is that 98% of the marketing efforts that we're working so hard on are going nowhere, and I'm not criticizing you. I mean, this is the case for all of us. It's the case for me. Well, let me give you an example. Last year I published 300 content campaigns. That's a lot of content, and eight of them did well, okay? And the remaining 292 went nowhere. So that's 2.6% did really well, and then 97.4 were donkeys. Okay, so why the heck is this? I think it's a couple of reasons. First problem I see is that there's, you know whenever I talk about this issue with experts, and tell 'em, "Hey, guys, most of my stuff goes nowhere", they say, like, they give me these dumb platitudes about, "Oh, Larry, you gotta focus on the quality, not the quantity," and I'm like, barf, because this is just like, you know, these dumb cliches basically, and basically, when I ask them, so what exactly is the quality in these marketing campaigns, they say, "oh, well, it's campaigns that I worked on", or it's basically a checklist approach, basically the content that has three images, or, you know, 1500 words, or et cetera, et cetera, and so they just make this kind of an argument for a technical definition of quality, in terms of checking the box on 10 or more things, and I'm like, well, guys, I actually checked the box on all those things on 100% of my content campaigns. And yet, still, 98% of these things went nowhere, and so, guys, I think there's more to it going on here, the success rate is actually getting worse and worse, and there's a reason for this, and the main reason I think has to do with the fact that Google and Facebook algorithms have been changing how they distribute traffic to your website. And you know, for Google, Facebook, that's probably like 60, 70, 80% of the typical company's website, you know, they're driving all the clicks, right, and so what they're doing is they've changed those algorithms to really reward unicorns and punish the donkeys. Let me give you an example, and then talk about Kevin. You see that curve there? This is like the top post of the month at Inc magazine, so I'm a columnist at Inc magazine, as you mentioned. Every month, my editor, she says, here's the top posts, and here's how many views they received, and if you go back, like time lapse photography here, go back to August of 2015, it was a flat line. That green line, it's like the number one story got around 200 thousand views, the number two got slightly less, but more or less, like everyone was a winner. Kinda flattened at 2016 August, it's like started to become more competitive. The top three articles sort of got a lot more traffic than the other stories. And then fast-forward to just this past August, just a couple months ago, you can see the top two stories are getting more traffic than all the rest of the stories combined. So there is something going on with the distribution here. It's not just traffic, it's also social shares, so, again, look at 2015, the top 10 stories of the most shares on Inc.com, pretty flat and then fast forward to year 2016, it's like the top two stories got more shares than everything else on the site. So, basically I think what's happening is that these algorithms are changing and what we need to do is to take account of these changes and come up with a new strategy for our various channel marketing strategies. Essentially in a nutshell, it has to do with re-aligning our definition of quality content to be more in line with how Google and Facebook grade content and less about our own biased ways that we use to judge content in the past. Does that make sense?

    - [Kevin] Mmhm, absolutely.

    - [Larry] Awesome, so let's go to part two, here. We're talking about donkeys versus unicorns. I've been talking a little bit about donkeys and unicorns in passing, but let's kind of nail down a very specific definition, in terms of what's the difference between a donkey and a unicorn. And the answer is that is has to do with, it's a relative difference and a cross-channel difference. Relative and cross-channel. So, what does relative and cross-channel mean? Well, relative means that no matter how crappy your campaigns are, you will always have donkeys and unicorns. Okay, so, everyone has donkeys and unicorns. This is an example customer that posted 129 status updates on their Facebook page over the last year and basically, you can see most of the status updates, they're getting around 1-2% click-through rates or 0-1, 1-2, 2-3% click-through rates. Those are all the donkeys, but notice, Kevin, on the right side, there's three status updates that got 10 or more percent click-through rates. Those are the unicorns, those are like three, four, five or even ten times more engaging than everything else. Those are the outliers and the interesting thing about this distribution is that this happens everywhere. So, like meaning, it's not just, I'm not the only one that has unicorns, everyone has unicorns, there's always going to be some posts, like most of your posts do badly, and a few of them do really spectacularly well. The other thing about unicorns and donkeys is this cross-channel, it's not just social. Blogging, like typically if you look at Google Analytics, you'll see that 10% or 5-10% of stories will generate 50-60% of traffic, and that's, your unicorns are really driving the lion's share of the traffic. And sometimes, when I talk a little bit about donkeys and unicorns, people, they say, "Oh Larry, you're crazy, I can't create like a viral hit, this is too hard, I can't create like a Gangnam style, like three trillion views or something". I'm like of course you can't, that's like so hard, the chances of that happening is like one in a gazillion, right? I'm not talking about creating viral hits, I'm saying focus on your unicorns, the top 3% of the content that you already have, because we're just looking at a relative distribution of your own content and campaigns. So, when it comes to finding the difference between donkeys and unicorns, you know, we need a way to discern donkey and unicorn performance and it has nothing to do with all those stupid checklists of like 1200 words and infographic, blah, blah, blah. It has everything to do with click-through rates. Click-through rates, these are really important, because, you know think about all the different channels that you're using for marketing. So, AdWords for example, AdWords has always been about user engagement, quality score. If you have an ad with a high click-through rate, you get really, really cheap clicks, but if your search ads have a half a percent click-through rates, then you pay this 400% cost per click penalty. It's the same thing with Twitter and Facebook ads, if you have a promoted post that's garbage, like this one percent click-through rate, then you'll be paying three, four, five dollars for those clicks, but if instead you could raise the click-through rate of the thing that you're promoting to 7% or 20 or 30 or 60%, then your cost per click would fall from three bucks to eight cents to three cents to two cents, to even one half of a penny. So, there's a lot of leverage here in the pay channels. But it's not just about paid, it's also about organic, think about organic search. It used to be if you wanted to rank for stuff, it was all about just getting the key words on the page and having a lot, a crap ton of links to your site. It's not like that any more, so here's an experiment, again it's like time lapse photography. I was taking photos or snapshots of data, of sort of a thousand search listings for a site and kind of taking photos like May, June, July, September, and just noticing how Google was reordering those search results. And what was happening was the stuff that was getting unusually high click-through rates was being reordered to show up in higher organic spots and of course because it's zero sum gain, you know those gains have to come at the expense of someone else, and basically the donkey stuff, the stuff with below average click-through rates is sinking to the bottom. And so, hopefully I've convinced you that it's not just about Facebook, it's also Google. So, what about organic Facebook, like organic social? And the algorithm, it's the same algorithm they're using on the organic side for Facebook News Feed. It's basically whenever Facebook shows you something in the News Feed, they're actually auditioning that piece of content to see if this is something that you're interested in, if you engage with it, you're more like to see that kind of stuff in the future, not only that people like you are going to be more likely to see stuff like this in the near future, if people don't engage, well then you become increasingly less likely to see this kind of stuff in the future. It becomes a death spiral. Like I was saying, it's cross-channel, it has to do with all the marketing channels you're doing, even email marketing, obviously click-through rate, you know the more people open your emails, like we can agree that that's probably a better idea, if we have two or three times more people opening email than deleting it, but it's not just about that, it's also about these new email spam algorithms that are trained using machine learning, and so like Google, Gmail has the Promotion tab, I call it like an email dungeon, basically. Outlook has Clutter, you see what I'm saying, so these algorithms are all triggered by click-through rates. You know how I know this, it's because, even my internal company emails, like the ones like engineering updates or the bug reports that I don't open all the time, they end up in the Promotions and the Clutter box. These are legit things that I signed up for and I'm just not engaging with them. And so, you know, Kevin, what's so exciting about this strategy is that it's not just about driving more clicks to your site through email and social and paid and SEO, it's also about raising your conversion rates. Obviously, who cares if you're getting all these clicks to your site if they're not converting. And basically, I've done a lot of studies on this, and basically, what I find is that the higher the click-through rate of the thing that's leading them, traffic to your site, whether it be paid, organic search, etc., the higher click-through rate, the higher the conversion rate. And so, why the heck is this? Well, it's because if you can get people excited about clicking on something to your site, that excitement tends to carry through to a purchase or a sale, you see what I'm saying, or a lead signup. And just giving you a quick example of this, that was an e-commerce company with thousands of different products, you know what we find is that the different products have different click-through rates, like Picnic Pants is the worst possible invention in the world, you know it's totally unsanitary, you're eating off your own crotch, I don't know why you would ever buy this. This is an example of a product with a very, very low click-through rate and of course running low conversion rate. Conversely, think about drones, you know this is amazing, if this has three, four times higher click-through rates, then three, four, fives times conversation rates, and this is because it's more exciting product. The bottom line, here, Kevin, it's just basically what I'm saying here has to do with these unicorns, in terms of the difference between the two, its cross channel, the thing that they have in common is unusually high click-through rates, engagement rates, and so in summary, let's just agree here that all of the channels we're using, like paid and organic search and social, and even CRO, these all, to some degree, are using machine learning algorithms that reward high engagement campaigns with substantially more visibility in the News Feed or search result or in the ad, sponsored ad or whatever, like more visibility at far less cost in the case of paid, and so if there's one, sort of, moneyball metric that you should be focusing on, in terms of unicorn marketing, it's basically the click-through rates of your campaigns. Any questions, so far?

    - [Kevin] No, no, that's great. Deal on the official decree.

    - [Larry]Alright, it's settled. Alright, guys, so now with that out of the way, let's talk about the latest advances in unicorn and donkey detection, because the problem with marketers is that nine out of 10 marketers, so 90% of us on the call today, suffer from a terrible, terrible illness, known as Donkey Denial Syndrome. Hate to break this to us all. Basically, the idea here is that marketers think their practices stink, they think everything they work on, personally their biased, so they think, you know, so they start drinking the Kool-Aid, they think everything they work on is brilliant. They think everything's a unicorn that they touch, even though it might not be a unicorn, it could be a narwhale or a mosquito or a rhinoceros or a triceratops, some other creature that they thought was a unicorn, but was actually something else. And so, we need a way to kind of overcome this scourge of Donkey Denial Syndrome, and to do this, I've created a new device, it's very powerful, it's a donkey detector, it's super easy to use, and this donkey detector, it's basically a way to find unusually high and low click-through rates and engagement rates. Engagement rates are basically click-through rates, more or less. And, so it's basically a unicorn pyramid scheme, so what we're gonna do here to make this donkey detector work. We're just gonna produce and audition a lot of different campaigns, like a lot of different Twitter tweets, a lot of different status updates on LinkedIn, a lot of different ads, a lot of different blog posts. We're gonna produce a lot of campaigns and then we're gonna measure the engagement rates for this different campaigns within each channel. So, you have to compare emails to other emails, you can't compare an email to like a Facebook ad or something. The next step, step three, we're gonna kill the donkeys. So, this is the biggest mistake, the biggest blunder that marketers do, they fall in love with their crap, they blast it out to ten thousand people and it has a half percent open rate, and the marketer thinks, you know what we need, we need to send this out to ten thousand more people, and I'm like, "what!". Like if it didn't do well in the first ten thousand people, it's not gonna do any better in the next ten thousand people. You gotta really kill off these donkey campaigns. Like oops, we thought this was good, but it's a waste of time, because you're just wasting your time and effort. It's not gonna do much better, it's just one of those things that's going nowhere. Next, what you do is you keep auditioning things and when you do find, kind of the outliers, the ones that are doing like five to ten times better than usual, you need to identify these unicorns and sound the unicorn alert. Any questions, so far?

    - [Kevin] What is the unicorn alert sound like?

    - [Larry]It's basically this light that you install on the roof of your building, and shine it--

    - [Kevin] Like the Batman call

    - [Larry] We like to think they copied us.

    - [Kevin] Yeah, got it.

    - [Larry] Basically, the donkey detector, it's all about these engagement rates, remember, Kevin, what's the difference between a high engagement unicorn and a low engagement donkey, the difference is, it's cross-channel and relative. So, take for example here, this is a bunch of emails that I sent out, you know some of them have 46% open rate and some of them have 10% open rates. The donkeys are the ones that are kind of at the bottom, you know going nowhere, and the unicorns are the ones that are getting three, four, five times higher open rates or click-through rates. Again, it's cross-channel, so think about, how many offers does your company have, like it used to be that you needed to come up with new offers every week, you know what I mean. And so, you end up with these companies with hundreds of different offers of things to buy. Well, the typical conversion rate for these offers on the internet, like regardless of whatever it is you're trying to get people to sign up for or to buy, it's around 2, 2.5, 2.35% on average, but there's certain offers that are so catchy that they get, you know, four, five times higher click-through rate, conversion rates, like ten plus percent. Alright so, my point here is that we need to kill off all these donkey offers and just focus your time and attention and resources on just promoting the top two or three percent of the offers that you have. There's this Unicorn Marketing Power Law. Basically, it's always been the case that most of the efforts, most of the ROI, comes from a small fraction of the campaigns, but it's just compounding this. These days, what I see is that 85% of the value, like the leads and the sales, comes from just 5% of the campaigns. So, we're gonna focus on these top 3%'s that we've just identified using the detector. This brings me to part four, which is to sound the unicorn alert, there it is, a visual representation. And also to make a unicorn babies. So, sounding the unicorn and making the unicorn babies, you've heard of this before, yes?

    - [Kevin] Yes, yeah I believe so.

    - [Larry] This is an actual, tried and true inbound marketing concept. Basically, guys, remember how I was saying, it's not really a, we just made this up.

    - [Kevin] It's not featured in any HubSpot certification, yet. Yet, yet!

    - [Larry]Oh, I know the guys that work that, now. The professors. So, remember how I was saying, I did 300 content campaigns last year, eight of them did well and the rest were donkeys. Eight were unicorns. This was one of my unicorns, guys. So, this was one content campaign that did unusually well. It got like hundreds of thousands of views, guys, and tens of thousands of shares on social, which is like so much better than average. Typically, like, you know, I operate in like the paid search niche, you know, this doesn't have like as much as views as celebrity gossip and stuff like this, you know what I mean? So, you know, normally I think like 500 or a thousand shares is great, but this was getting 10,000 plus, you know 20,000 shares. And normally, I think like a thousand views is pretty good, so this was getting 100,000 views, okay, so like, wait a minute, this is a unicorn. This is doing so much better than everything else. And so what do we do, Kevin, when we get a unicorn? So, the mistake that marketers make is they kind of congratulate themselves, they say, "We did it! Congratulations!" and then they kind of go back, look at the marketing calendar and they say, okay what's next on the calendar, and they say, oh it's December, why don't we do a twelve days of Christmas themed promotion or something like this. Oh my god, no guys! The marketing calendar in some ways is a relic of kind of the old way of doing marketing in that you would just, it was based on participation points. You would, as long as you filled the calendar with enough activity, you would get a certain amount of points for posting on LinkedIn and posting on Twitter and Facebook and blog posts and all this stuff. You would get participation points. Well, now that's not the case anymore. Remember the algorithms changes? So, it's all the value goes to just a small of campaigns and the rest is basically getting nothing. So what you need to do when you find these unicorns is jump off that content treadmill, which is going nowhere, no matter how much this rhino runs, he's never gonna turn into a unicorn. And instead what we need to do is sound the unicorn alert, which is what we were talking about earlier in order to make unicorn babies. How do you do this? This is an example of a unicorn baby. So, this blog topic was doing so well on my blog, so we, I just wrote it up as a contributed article, like a guest post on Search Engine Journal. This unicorn baby was on an identical topic, I just kind of reformatted it, like you know made it into a listicle, or something.

    - [Kevin] And repurposed the content.

    - [Larry] Yep, exactly. Alright, so this was the number one story for Search Engine Journal for the month of May last year. It had 2,200 shares. Their typical story only gets like two or three hundred shares, so this was like ten times better. It got 12,500 reviews, which is around 24 times better than their average article, so like, I knew this was gonna do well, why. Because it's just a clone of an existing campaign that has more than proven itself to be worthy. Do you see what I'm saying?

    - [Kevin] Yep.

    - [Larry] An example of another example of an unicorn baby has to do with kind of just staying on the same topic where you kind of further explore the topic in greater depth. So, it was five things you need to know about these new features in Adwords. Why not just create a follow-up story, one for each of the five features? CNN does this all the time, where like a plane crashes and they'll just stop reporting on anything else and they'll just bring in psychics and radar operators--

    - [Kevin] Dig deeper into that topic.

    - [Larry] Yeah, exactly. Why? Cuz they know that this story is hot. We dug in, we started created follow-up stories. You know one of the interesting things about this, Kevin, is that you actually don't have to have quote on quote quality to begin with, okay. You can always backfill the quality by further exploring the topic in further detail as you go, all that's needed to start this fire is minimum viable content. It was just a listicle, I was just listing out five things, you see what I'm saying?

    - [Kevin] Sure, yeah.

    - [Larry] It didn't go into great depths about what these things do, and why they're great. It was just a listicle, but basically, that's the biggest argument against going all in on quality or conventional notions of quality, is that I just put this together in like 20 minutes.

    - [Kevin] Sure.

    - [Larry] And I kind of backfilled it later. And as you can see, it generated hundreds of thousands of views per post, which is a lot for this niche. It might not be a lot for your niche, but trust me, this is high for a dorky PPC content. Another form of unicorn baby has to do with video and infographication of unicorns. So, generally, what I love about videos and infographics is that they do so well when they do well, know what I mean?

    - [Kevin] Sure.

    - [Larry] But what I hate about infographics and videos is sometimes, often, you spend a lot of time and effort building these assets and they just go nowhere. And it's kind of a bummer. So, what I do is I de-risk the whole initiative by only creating infographics and videos corresponding to my unicorns because they've kind of proven themselves to be great topics. What I've found is that if something does well in one format, it will do well in other formats. This is an example of, this is just an infographic that I did with Brian Dean on how to raise your click-through rates and it was the number two story on Search Engine Land last year. And I knew it was going to be a top ten story because it's just a graphical version of a blog post that I did on my own blog that did spectacularly well. See what I'm saying?

    - [Kevin] Absolutely.

    - [Larry] Same thing with conference webinars and presentations when we got this unicorn, we didn't just like give ourselves high-fives and go home. I said, team, you know, don't go, we're doing a webinar tomorrow to get some registrations so we can drive some leads and of course, we did this and because it was such a hop topic, it generated 5,000 registrations, that's a lot, maybe not a lot for HubSpot, but like our typical webinar might get hundreds of registrations. This was like ten times more than that. It might have done better, the problem is, the GoToMeeting only goes to 5,000 and then it--

    - [Kevin] It capped ya.

    - [Larry]The system blows up. So we had this successful webinar, which is a tremendous amount of leads, and then what we did, I just told my team, guys we're doing this again tomorrow. I just re-sent out the invitations. My team was incredulous, they were like, "What! Don't you wanna change the name or like update some of the content". I was like, "No, no, no". That's the thing about unicorns, there's a reason why it's doing so well, okay, so you gotta resist the urge to screw it up. You gotta kind of go with what's working and get as much leverage as you can out of these things. So, we just did the same unicorn webinar again. I unsubscribed the people who attended, but basically, it got another 5,000 registrations, so like, I just did this over and over five times, making little tweaks to the title, and updating the content here and there. And basically one unicorn webinar and its four kind of repeat and/or baby webinar, baby unicorn derivatives, generated 71% of the value from this entire channel for the year.

    - [Kevin] Wow, okay.

    - [Larry] What I love about this strategy, Kevin, is that it's not only substantially more results, it's also a lot less work. You see what I'm saying?

    - [Kevin] Yeah, you weren't re-inventing the content every time, five webinars of the exact same content.

    - [Larry] A proven unicorn will always beat the unproven new, a new entrant. You see what I'm saying.

    - [Kevin] Yep.

    - [Larry] It's like you're doing more work, it's not even likely to do better--

    - [Kevin] Yield the results, yeah, nicely there.

    - [Larry] It's crazy. Guys, the most important thing you need to do with your unicorns is to boost them with paid spending on social media, so I'm talking about LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, that kind of stuff. And basically, why is this, it's because Facebook ads, they have that machine learning thing going on, if you boost something that's hot, you actually pay very little. So, here I boost the post that I'm getting the clicks that are usually three, four dollars a click for one penny, that's not a bad deal. This is like competitive markets, like in the USA, you know with certain interest, like love marketing or love AdWords, et cetera, et cetera, are getting these clicks for one penny. It's like a limited time sale, you know, so you want to make sure. It would be like buying bitcoin at like a hundred dollars, you know, instead of paying twenty thousand dollars. Same thing with Twitter, there's sale when you promote really amazing stuff. Here, I'm paying six cents a click for promoting this article rather than the usual three, four, five dollars. Guys, there's this same called Battleship, it's like, it's really old, I don't know if you guys are old enough, but it's like from thirty years ago guys and it's crazy, the goal of this game is to sink the other guy's battleship. And the technology is really bad, so there's no drones, no radar, there's no guided missiles, no satellites. It's just crazy, I know, right? You have no idea where the enemy battle ship is. You have to kind of lob these shots over to the other side and listen for impact and once you get an impact, well then you know that there's a battleship nearby, so then you train all of your firepower, all of your resources like in that vicinity, in order to sink that battleship that you know is in that vicinity and that's basically a metaphor for what we're taking about here, unicorn marketing. You gotta spread the shots around, be open to trying out different, crazy ideas that you haven't thought before. You don't want to keep shooting at the same location, you know that's like where you keep writing the same campaign like a hundred times, you know what I mean? Guys, it didn't do work, you didn't get a hit last time, it's not gonna work this time. You gotta spread them around and listen for the impact and then kind of move all in. One of the things that comes out of the discussion is that marketing is a little bit more of a numbers game than a lot of people might realize. A lot of people, I get push back on that, they say like you should reduce the quantity and increase the quality. My point is, no, no, no guys, you can't find the quality unless you have a sufficient number of shots. You see what I'm saying?

    - [Kevin] Mmhm.

    - [Larry] I'm always surprised at what works, and I'm always kind of demoralized, a little bit, by the thing that I knew was gonna work, that didn't work, you know what I mean?

    - [Kevin] It doesn't always align, your favorite piece as to what ended up performing the highest.

    - [Larry] Ultimately, the arbitrator is the consumers of this content and you know, was the click-through rates 20, 30% or was it 1 or 2%? The numbers don't lie, especially if you got a couple hundred followers, that's a pretty good sample size.

    - Alright guys, so we're almost done for today. Just a quick time check, how are we doing here?

    - [Kevin] Yeah, we got 20 minutes till the top of the hour, I believe.

    - [Larry] Awesome. I just wanted to wrap things up with the discussion on some of my favorite, crazy content promotion hacks cuz I know, inbound marketers, it's all about getting more visibility for the content you create. I wanted to share with you a couple, crazy ideas that I've been running in order to get more value from your Facebook ad campaigns. Number seven, starting with the Russian ad targeting method, so a spectacular way of doing Facebook advertising to great effect is to look at what the Russians did and learn from this. Basically, the other day, this was just like three or four weeks ago, there were all these testimonials on Congress about how Russians use Facebook ads and I wanted to try this out myself. So basically, I just created a fake website, like a WordPress site, called it Citizens News Networks. It's not even a real site, I used a backwards CNN logo. This was a completely fake article, I don't mean to be political here. This is a fake article and then I just promoted the thing on Facebook, using like 50 bucks and battleground states to like people who might be interested in this content. And basically, within minutes of launching this fake Facebook page and fake website, you can see it got a crap ton of likes and shares and comments and people are just going nuts, like 42 likes, 27 shares, 20 comments, don't you wish all of your content performed like this on 50 bucks, you know what I mean? Like hundreds and hundreds of clicks. The bottom line is that you gotta think of those emotional triggers, it's all about the confirmation bias. I knew there was something to this, this confirms my belief, you know. I'm gonna like and re-share because there's this confirmation bias, that kind of thing. Like I'm not saying make up fake things. All I'm saying is have look for those hot button things, you know, in your niche.

    - [Kevin] Now, did your write up of that experiment also turn into a unicorn?

    - [Larry] Oh my god, yeah, it got a gazillion views and look, I turned this into a case study. And I'm on a couple TV shows that are doing long form documentaries on the problem of fake news and how easy it is. So, actually even Donald Trump like tweeted about this. He wrote a Tweet about a story about fake news and how you know, small amounts of money being spent on fake news. He was protesting it and like hundreds of people from Facebook like checked out my LinkedIn profile.

    - [Kevin] Oh, wow.

    - [Larry] Yeah, and it got like dozens and dozens of pickup, like in Forbes and other places. The point is, you gotta find the emotional triggers, the hot button thing, and those are the things that tend to do well. Number six, the inverted unicorn ad targeting method. So, what's an inverted unicorn? So, for many years, guys, I've been preaching that you should be very narrow and targeted in your ad targeting, so that's where you go, you know let's go after people who visited you recently who have the right demographics, interests, and behaviors and then kind of put them, this hot content in front of them. And then that's sort of the key to success because if you can get people who are interested in your stuff who have the right demographic and have checked you out recently, well then you're basically making a lot of money, right?

    - [Kevin] Sure.

    - [Larry] So the problem with this approach, I mean it's still a valid approach, the problem with this approach is that, this is finding the perfect audience for your business, like you can lead a horse to water, but you can't force it to drink, so just because you are the, this person is the right person for your product, it doesn't mean that they'll actually click on it. The inverted unicorn throws that out the window. It says, instead let's take a different approach, instead of going after super, super targeted people, let's go after two completely different and unrelated interests. Okay, so that's like, what, why are you going after unrelated interests. Well, let me give you an example of this. Say we're selling our internet marketing services. I'm suggesting that we go after people who like say, email marketing, but who also like "Game of Thrones". What's the relationship between people who like "Game of Thrones" and email marketing?

    - [Kevin] Technically, nothing, it seems, yeah.

    - [Larry] They're completely uncorrelated, completely unrelated. So, the strategy here, so you can see the targeting here, we're going after people like Arya Stark or Sansa Stark or even Jon Snow, et cetera. And who also like marketing topics. The reason why we're doing this so we can create ad experiences that appeal not to just one interest, but actually two or more of the browser's interests, so they can get twice as compelling for the person to want to click on this. Now, these are some jokes, the mother of all email marketing solutions, the funny thing about this joke is that if you have no clue what that joke is about, the beauty is that you would never have seen this ad in the first place, see what I'm saying? The only people who are going to see this ad are the super fans of "Game of Thrones" who are marketers. So what we find with this strategy of going after uncorrelated interests and then modifying the creative is that it actually yields remarkably high click-through rates and low cost per clicks and low CPMs because you're going after these uncorrelated interests. So, like HubSpot for example, did an inbound conference, very, very successful with Michelle Obama keynoting, so rather than going after people who like marketing and this, you can just go after people who like marketing and who like Michelle Obama.

    - [Kevin] Sure.

    - [Larry] They're both, those are uncorrelated and in the ad, you would prominently feature Michelle Obama, in the ad, you see what I'm saying?

    - [Kevin] Yeah, makes a lot of sense.

    - [Larry] So, what's interesting about this is that in marketing, it's all correlated. So, when you do a blog post, it's like, it's gonna be the same type of people who visited your last blog post, you know what I mean?

    - [Kevin] Mmhm.

    - [Larry] If you do television advertising, there's a certain demographic associated with a certain program, it doesn't really change. So, never in the history of mankind has there ever been a way to like really go after such uncorrelated, unrelated interests and come up with really clever ads. You see what I'm saying.

    - [Kevin] Mmhm.

    - [Larry] Number five has to do with unicorn projection. So, there's a crazy hack having to do with how to get your bestselling book onto The New York Times Bestseller List. So, this is a really dumb hack, you just buy it like 5,000 of your own books, you just buy them---

    - [Kevin]Right.

    - [Larry] on Amazon. Order 5,000 of them and take the delivery all at once.

    - [Kevin] It's not a matter of who bought it, it's just the volume of sales.

    - [Larry]Exactly, it's a stupid algorithm. So, that, just doing that will make you debut on the bestseller list and then all the people who look at this bestseller list will say, oh what's this new thing, maybe I should buy this, check it out. You can claim in your marketing material that you're on The New York Times Bestseller List. So, it comes to like self sustaining.

    - [Kevin] Yeah, for sure.

    - [Larry] So, like all the different sites like Digg, Hacker News, Medium. These are all basically the digital equivalent of The New York Times Bestseller List. They employ the same stupid algorithm. I'll just give you a stupid example. Medium is like a long form blog post, social network. And basically, this is an article that I wrote about a year ago, it got 10,000 likes, over a million views. It was so popular Arianna Huffington shared the damn thing. It was indicated on Time magazine. It's generated millions, half a million in views per month. It's catapulted me to the number eight spot on Medium, likenumber eight most popular author, like just behind Hilary Clinton and Gary Vaynerchuk and these really popular people. And it's not because I'm such a great writer, it's actually because I'm a clever marketer with a good promotion strategy. And basically, all I did was just downloaded a list or scraped the list of active Medium users, right? Cuz you need people to heart your article to get more distributions so I just created a custom audience of Twitter users, corresponding to active Medium users, spent a few dollars to get this thing in front of them. They then hearted the thing, which was the equivalent of me buying like a thousand dollars of my own books So, like Reddit, the chances of getting something on Reddit to the front page or one of the popular subreddits is like one and a gazillion, right? But I can actually get like dozens of these things in my career on the homepage of these things. All I do is I just find the users of Reddit and then target an audience that is interested in the topic of the article plus are, you know, Reddit users, because those are the ones that have the possibility of voting.

    - [Kevin] Sure.

    - [Larry] Number, any questions on that one?

    - [Kevin] No, that makes sense.

    - [Larry] Number four, Larry's Donkey Removal Ad Targeting Hack. So this just says like when you're creating the targeting for your Facebook ads, it's not enough to just target the people who will like the stories, you have to exclude the people who are going to hate this. So, this is an article on LinkedIn Pulse, another one of these kind of top, top list, because it's basically like an algorithm. Mothers, working moms raise more successful sons, or daughters, according to some private study. Who's going to like this? The working moms, obviously, they want to justify their life choices. Who's going to hate this? The stay-at-home moms who make just the same amount of sacrifice, you know every work is hard. Obviously, reflect that in your ad target to exclude the people who are going to hate this. Guys, another crazy idea has to do with my unicorn slush fund. This is my number three hack today. Kevin, have you ever heard of a unicorn slush fund?

    - [Kevin] I have not.

    - [Larry] So, a unicorn slush fund is basically, it's kind of like the paid advertising equivalent of a, remember how I was kind of like saying the content calendar is crazy?

    - [Kevin] Yes, a relic of the past, yes.

    - [Larry] The PPC monthly budget is kind of a crazy concept. What I mean by this is as we've now discovered, there's huge differential performance amongst your campaigns. Some of them, most of them go nowhere and a few of them do really, really well. And so like if I give you a thousand dollars to spend on content promotion on Facebook, are you really gonna say well I have like 10 articles this month, let's evenly divide the budget. A hundred dollars per post and put a hundred dollars behind each one. That's crazy, cuz like 98% of these are gonna go nowhere, so that's the problem with these use it or lose it pay-per-click monthly budgets, is that it's like a poker strategy, where you have to kind of go all in on every hand. It's like, "What!". Like I have two nine's, okay off suit, all in. I'm like, "What!", this makes no sense, guys, but this is what all the companies are doing. So, basically the unicorn slush fund just says let's add rollover to the monthly budget.

    - [Kevin] Sure.

    - [Larry] And let's just wait for it, like just keep doing your marketing activity, and when you have something that's doing fantastically well, that's when you move all in because we're trying to maximize the return on investment. Any questions on that one?

    - [Kevin] No, that makes a lot of sense.

    - [Larry] My favorite unicorn hack has to do with making people think you are a unicorn, even though you are a donkey. That's kind of you gotta fake it till you make it. These top articles on Business Insider, like the top trending articles, the reason why you have to get on these lists is two fold because people see them but also the social media managers of Business Insider look at these numbers and they more aggressively promote the ones that are doing better. See what I'm saying?

    - [Kevin] Oh, okay, sure.

    - [Larry] Like there's probably something like 2,000 articles being written on Business Insider in any given day and they only post like a hundred of them to the Facebook page. You see what I'm saying?

    - [Kevin] So, they pay attention to favorite content, the top trending--

    - [Larry] They're only highlighting the top stuff, so if you're a columnist for one of these places, like Anchor, Fortune, or whatever, you really need to get to the top of these trending articles, and so the key here is that you're gonna have to drive real traffic to it, but I'm saying like, you don't have to spend like $5 a click for this stuff. I'm not saying buy a bot or something. Let's send real traffic, let's just be a little less picky about, like what countries and what display network placements that we're choosing from. So, like rather than New York City, which is a very expensive demographic, let's go worldwide and then instead of saying the Facebook News Feed algorithm, which is kind of the most premium real estate, let's go with the audience network which is a cesspool.

    - [Kevin] You're saying, welcome in the low quality clicks just to gain some visibility and traction to appear.

    - [Larry] So, yeah, for few dollars here, we're spending, I can't see exactly, but it's like maybe $12.08, I'm buying you know 800-1200 clicks for this thing. Yeah, it's from an unusual places I haven't visited. But, you know, those are real people. Different IP addresses and that will catapult you to the tops so you can get the attention that you deserve. Another crazy hack that I have for you has to do. You know if I could summarize all the crazy hacks we've been talking about, it's all about raising your click-through rates, right? The higher the click-through rate, the higher the visibility and the lower the cost. But there is one crazy hack that remains, that has the most powerful click-through rate, doubling and tripling potential and that is basically, it's a brand hack. And so when it comes to click-through rates, there's a huge difference in click-through rates based on whether or not people have heard of you before. I've done tons of experiments on segmenting search traffic and social traffic, based on whether or not they're new and repeat visitors. And the people who have, the repeat visitors, of course have higher brand affinity because they've heard of you before. And people who are new visitors are lower brand affinity cuz it's their first time visiting. What we find is that it's not a coincidence that people just click on the things. They tend to click on things they've heard of before. So, shopping, tourism, education. The click-through rates on return visitors are substantially higher, two to three hundred percent. We're not talking two or three percent. We're talking two or three hundred percent. It's not just click-through rates, the conversion rates are two to three hundred percent. Like people tend to buy from places they've heard of. And so the hack here is we're gonna have to create a lot of brand affinity outside of our core niche, okay? To get in front of these browsers before they decide to be in market for your products and services. You see what I'm saying? Because if you're just showing up in search at the last minute, you're kind of lost, like I mean if you have a chance at winning, but it's like the other guys has two or three times advantage over you. And so, the hack here, we're gonna create content outside of the niche, okay? So, you know like WordStream sells advertising solutions, Monkey sells chatbot solutions, but if I only blog about those damn niches, I need to cast a wider net. How? You do audience analytics, try to figure out of the people who are buying your stuff, what are the topics that they're interested in, so we can get in front of them, before they start thinking about buying stuff, okay? How do you do this? Google Analytics has user explorer. Facebook has audience insights. Twitter even has the stupid audience insights, so if you look at the content I produce, at least 20% of it is off topic. It's like stuff like this, like you know, "The Ugly Truth About Being An Etrepreneur". Why do I do this? It's because I know, do you see that insight there? 70% of the people who follow me on Twitter are interested in entrepreneurship. There's a good chance that this will resonate with my audience and later when they decide to actually want to buy something, like a chatbot or an advertising solution, they'll think of one of my companies.

    - [Kevin] It feels very persona-driven, understanding what they care about before they're actually looking at chatbots and PPCS, that's right.

    - [Larry] Exactly and by the way, this is the whole point of this content marketing. Why are we putting all these stupid blog posts and Tweets in the first place? We're creating awareness and demand for the products that we're selling, right? We're creating inspiration, integral stuff and then getting it in front of the right people, so a bias forms in their head, so later when they do decide to buy your stuff, they'll either do a branded sub search for your thing, like MobileMonkey or WordStream or HubSpot, you know. We've won, right, because it's a branded search, those tend to get 60-70% click-through rates. Or they'll do an unbranded search, they'll recognize one of the names and they'll have a 2-3 times more likelihood of clicking on that. And that's the hack. So, this is kind of the crazy summary of my Facebook ad hacks. You can download the slides today from bit.ly/unicorn-marketing. What does it all mean? Guys, just wrapping things up today. We've been on an epic journey together from donkey land to unicorn land, so congratulations to everyone for making the journey. Basically, there were five really key milestones along the way. Step five was optimizing for engagement. Why? Because all the channels that we're engaging in, email, search, display, Facebook, they all, organic and paid, they all employ machine learning algorithms that greatly reward high click-through rates with high visibility in the platform. The idea was to, is a bit of a numbers game, you have to audition a lot of content ideas and be open to trying out different ideas other than just the same stupid idea over and over again. You need to kind of find those unicorns, everyone has them, I'm not talking about Gangnam style here, I'm talking about your top 3%, which you have and we need to find and focus on promoting those and doing more of that kind of stuff. You have to kill the donkeys, like all those campaigns that are going nowhere, they're not gonna change, they're going nowhere, no amount of, don't put lipstick on this donkey, just kill, slaughter them, just stop wasting your time on them, instead you sound the unicorn alert, go all in on your best stuff, this is how we're going to make our numbers in 2018 and beyond. Guys, one of the most interesting thing about the unicorn theory of marketing is that there's this really powerful flywheel effect. Because the first time you execute a successfully, a unicorn alert with unicorn babies, what you will do is you'll actually generate a crap ton of exposure for you and your brand, so you'll actually create a tremendous amount of brand affinity, you see what I'm saying. What that does is the next time you go through this process of finding and promoting a different unicorn, you're way ahead of the last time. Because remember the biggest factor impacted click-through rates was brand affinity and now you've got all the other people who've heard of you from the last campaign.

    - [Kevin] Builds upon itself.

    - [Larry] Exactly. You get bigger and bigger and better and better unicorn alerts, the more and more you go. So, guys, we have a few seconds here for questions, like what time is it?

    - [Kevin] Yeah, so I think we still got a few more minutes. I know there have been a couple questions on social, so maybe Larry we'll spend the last couple minutes or so and let me see what kind of questions we've got from the audience.

    - [Larry] Awesome, Kevin.

    - So, let's see, here's one here. "So, hi Larry, you've obviously done a ton of work over the years to test and learn what you're sharing today. I think that, you know, obviously, now how much of your success today do you think comes from the strategies or your bulletproof personal brain? So do you think an unknown person using these strategies will find similar success?"

    - Wow, so, guys, this is absolutely is repeatable. Like, the distribution of crap content versus really remarkable content, I see this in every customer that I focus on. This is all about just changing the strategy, really, like monthly social paid budgets, like that's ridiculous. Like, really, a content calendar? Where we're just ignore the fact that this thing did like 200 times better than the last one and we're just gonna jump onto the next piece? Guys, this is absolutely has very little to do with my own, basically what I'm saying, the unicorn concept is relative, so I may be able to extract more value out of this strategy as a result of my personal brand, but the distribution curve is the same for me as it is for you. Only eight pieces out of 300 did fantastically well for me last year, that hasn't changed. It's just the difference is that, it's like in poker, when you have a full house or something, you're not just gonna go after the blinds, you're gonna play that hand in such a way to kind of smucker people into like betting as much as you can, so you can maximize the winnings for that rare hand that you managed to have.

    - That goes back to the relative piece. Your unicorns are probably gonna be, a higher engagement rates than mine, but still my unicorns, they're gonna be relative to my average post, right?

    - Yeah, yes.

    - Is that how an unknown would be able to approach it, the same way?

    - Absolutely. So, this is, if you're trying to get three, four, five times more out of your internet marketing efforts for the same amount of work, this is the strategy that you should be playing. Maybe, our starting points might be different, like HubSpot has a bigger brand than I personally do, so the starting points are gonna be different, but the results are the same

    - Now, another question. We've talked about content calendars and we're trying to put them to rest, so how do you balance, like okay, this is all of the content that I want to audition, but then once a unicorn is identified, pivoting into unicorn babies and promote mode? So, how do you balance those two? Like, well we have to audition, but you know, here's when we hone.

    - So, first of all, you still need a content calendar, don't get me wrong. You still need to come up with a list of ideas to try, okay. All of I'm saying is let's build some flexibility into this damn calendar, so we're not a slave to the calendar.

    - That campaign does not have to get out December 15th. Yeah.

    - Let's just do, you might lose some of the topical, the seasonal things like March Madness and stuff like this, but those never do well, you know what I mean.

    - Sure.

    -Cuz everyone else thinks to do a March Madness campaign.

    - Right

    -It's not a new idea, guys. But basically, it's just having the flexibility across the team, particularly amongst executives, right, to know that we should spend calendar operations from time to time and move all in on certain, more timely pieces like basically how a news organization works, and jumping on hot pieces. It's not about participation points, it's about results and if results are what we care about, then this is the strategy for you. It's a little bit more dynamic calendaring.

    - Sure, so you need a calendar of content to audition, but you need the flexibility and buy-in to move all in once a unicorn identifies itself.

    - You got it.

    - Here's another interesting question, I believe this is from Sam. I think this goes to what, is this the inverse unicorn, but, "Are there any copyright issues when using memes or like 'Game of Thrones' references in ad creative and blog posts?"

    - So, you can definitely, people can sue you for anything, you know, it's like people can sue you, there's no, but there is this thing in America called the First Amendment, and the First Amendment protects certain concepts like parody, okay. So, that's why like memes aren't illegal, cuz you're not just copying a copyright image, you're kind of marketing of it, in a way, in a clever way, and adding kind of your creativity to someone else's creativity, creating a derivative piece. So, while, I'm not a legal scholar, that's actually the legal basis of why memes still exist. It follows in theory, what we're doing is we're creating some kind of derivative of a piece, you know. Just, you know, check with your lawyers.

    -When you said "mother of all email marketing tools", not game of, you didn't like use any sort of like, you didn't mention "Game of Thrones" specifically.

    - Yeah, we didn't use their font, we didn't use their characters--

    - Just enough imagery to instill the recall, the.

    - Exactly, you got it.

    - Cool. Let's see, another question here from Turner. "Would you add or change anything about this information, as it relates to B2B?"

    - I would say like 80% of my work is actually B2B, so I think this is a B2B strategy fundamentally. Like this notion of the inverse unicorn, like oh my god, like these B2B offers are so boring, like sign up for this damn white paper, like really, like you really need to use these hacks to raise the click-through rates of your stupid white papers. Because you're basically being judged on a scale, like for our own Facebook, like the ads that are competing against you are like cat warmers and all these weird consumer products basically--

    - Picnic Pants.

    - And video games, and like mobile games. You're kind of fighting with like a hand tied behind your back, unless you're using some of these creative strategies because B2B stuff is never gonna be as sexy or compelling as B2C stuff.

    - So for sure, and I mean, this is the same, like you can approach it the same way, B2C or B2B.

    - Absolutely. Especially like B2C, this notion of the conversion rate unicorns, like if you are an online shopper, you know, a few of your things are gonna be selling off the shelves, and a lot of your products, you know, they just get no sales, you know what I mean?

    - Sure.

    - So, if you have like a small amount of money to promote the products in your shop--

    - It's gonna be the ones that sell.

    - Exactly.

    - Yeah, that's great. Looks like that might be it for questions. Oop, maybe one more. Alright, "In the example of working moms, would it help to include people who will hate the content, like stay-at-home moms because it's pressing buttons, so you will get more engagement?"

    -Well, that's a, so definitely engagement is the key to this game. I mean, I think, most brands love engagement, they shy away from controversy. So, what I was posing was a way of getting the engagement while mitigating the controversy, by having like an argument in a vacuum.

    - So engagement might be up, but the controversy might not be wanted or desired.

    - Yeah, it's like comedy, you want to go up to the line, but you don't want to cross the line.

    - Sure. Great point. Awesome. Well guys I think that pretty much wraps it for us, so I just wanted to say thank you again Larry for coming in and then everyone on social media, thanks for joining us. We will see you again next time.

    - And just to add, if you need to download these slides, since they're were a hundred and fifty of them, and they take forever to do, just go to httpbit.ly/unicorn-marketing. Hope you can get some value out of that.

    - Perfect.

    - Thanks guys.

    - Awesome, thank you guys.

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