As Web 2.0 reaches maturity, not all the same digital marketing tactics are as effective as they were ten years ago, especially as people learn to tune out old ones because of a point of hyper-saturation and perk up to new ones that wouldn’t have been possible ten years ago.


To stay competitive in business today, digital marketers have to remain on the cutting edge of relevant and effective. With that in mind here are 10 of the greatest marketing hacks of 2017:


  1. Cupcakes


A marketer at RJMetrics recently recounted a very successful marketing strategy her company had used a few years ago during the holidays to promote the launch of a short survey.


The company decided to go with a cupcake giveaway as an incentive for people to take the survey. Ten survey participants would be randomly selected to receive a dozen cupcakes.


People went absolutely nuts over it.


RJMetrics was receiving a flood of email responses with survey respondents saying they hoped they would be one of the lucky winners of free cupcakes!


People were tweeting left and right their delighted responses to the cupcake campaign.


When the lucky winners received their price, they enthusiastically tweeted pictures of themselves and co-workers enjoying those much sought after cupcakes.


The marketer says the response her company got “was completely out of proportion to the $50 cost.” And as a result, they decided to make cupcakes part of other marketing initiatives.


More Effective Than Giving Away a Free iPad


Yes, you read that right. Apparently giving away free iPads as an incentive to promote webinars didn’t garner the kind of response that cupcakes did.


When they decided to try cupcakes instead of an iPad giveaway and a post-registration page that said, “Tell your friends you’re joining us for a chance to win!” their conversion rate went through the roof.


Why on earth would people value cupcakes more than an iPad? They don’t. They just perceive their chances of winning cupcakes as more attainable than an iPad, so they’re more likely to sign up.


They also envision the fun of getting cupcakes delivered to their place of business and sharing it with their co-workers. Of posting pictures and gratitude to Facebook and Twitter. They value the experience and the fun of it. They value the excitement, so they’re more likely to sign up.


The key takeaway is that oftentimes experiences are more important to people than things, emotion (especially fun and excitement) is more powerful than monetary value, and sometimes when it comes to marketing online, less can be much more.


  1. Current Events


People are engaging with businesses, products, and services that they love on social media more than ever before.


They also use social media to keep a finger on the world’s pulse and stay up to date on the latest news and trending conversations.


You can ride the wave of current events and trending conversations to keep your business relevant and get in front of more people.


One way to do that is to keep track of trending hashtags on Twitter. Use those as an opportunity to make relevant social posts that relate your business, service, or product to the conversation.


This works very well if it’s done right, so don’t shoehorn in your business to a conversation, but don’t be shy about posting when current conversations match what you’re all about.


Keeping up with current conversations on Reddit, Facebook Trending Topics, and Google Search trends can also give you ideas on how to post content that gets traction by addressing a current topic of conversation in the social media sphere.


  1. Curation


If every social media post you make is about your own content and your own brand, it will start to get dull and feel too “pushy” or just like a non-stop commercial.


You can and should ask for the business, the interest, the attention, the sign-ups, the survey responses, the follows, but you should also give, share, and pass along.


This not only creates goodwill and shows good faith, it can establish you as an authority in your niche and massively grow your audience.


To do that share a variety of content from other places that are related to the space your business wants to dominate.


Content curation tools are out there to help you do this efficiently and stay organized in your curation efforts.


Feedly, for example, is a feed aggregator that can help with curation. It serves up relevant content feeds based on target keywords, and files them all in one place. It also allows you to post to your social profiles right from the app.


You can also use social media publishing tools to schedule your posts ahead of time. Buffer is a popular one, and Hootsuite is another great tool.


  1. Round-up Posts


This is another way to curate in a single blog post or article, versus curation over time on a social media channel as described above.


Putting together a really solid “round up” post with information and analysis from all the major players on a trending topic in your industry can have outsized results for the time it takes to create.


There are a number of qualities a good round up post automatically has that makes it very attention-garnering and shareable.


For one, it’s covering a trending topic, so it will get people’s attention. It’s part of the conversation. It’s on people’s minds already.


Roundup posts also have a very high credibility factor, because you are curating the responses of known and respected voices in your industry.


If you get together several responses from lots of influencers in your space, the result is also going to be a long-form article. Long form content is great for search engine optimization, it gets shared more, people stay on your page longer.


You might just get shared by one of the influencers you feature in your roundup. In the old days of Web 2.0 that was called “link love.” You linked to them so they linked back.


  1. Poaching


Poaching your competition’s disgruntled customers is easier than ever before. How could you have known before Twitter who your competitions disgruntled customers are?


Now customers are taking to Twitter in droves to voice their complaints to brands they have had a bad experience with and they expect a quick response.


Online Reputation Management is now becoming an entire sub-field of marketing in its own right, but not everyone is doing yet, and not every business is responsive enough.


While traditional marketers (if they’re staying on top of their business) are doing ORM for their own customers, clever and aggressive businesses are targeting their competitions’ customers.


To do this make a list of your competitors and their Twitter handles. Then search for their Twitter handle (sometimes they’ll have a separate support handle as well) and view the results under the “Tweets & Replies” tab.

There you will see all the tweets that mention your competitor’s handle, including all the complaints and negative reviews.


Twitter even allows you to filter for negative emotion in advanced search so you don’t have to comb through the entire stream if you don’t want to.


Now you can tweet out to all your competitors’ disgruntled customers and offer your company’s solutions to their problem if they switch to your service.


To really make it pop, offer a special welcome discount for new users who switch from your competitor. Your competitor may think you’re “fighting dirty,” but your new customers will be delighted that someone is taking notice of them and helping solve their problem.


  1. Segmenting


Email, one of the oldest channels on the Internet, is still the highest converting one with the best ROI for online marketing.


On average, companies today attribute 23% of their sales to email marketing. What makes email marketing so successful and so powerful is the use of segmentation in your email marketing strategy.


Email segmentation is the process of using email marketing to segment your email list into different groups based on their different interests.


As you engage with your email list over time and interact with your customers, the data you should be collecting will give you a better understanding what they like.


This allows you to be more precise in crafting your marketing message to your customers and which customers on your list to target with which messages.


This means more emails opened, more emails actually read, more customers that actually care about what they’re reading, and more conversions to sales when you ask for the business.


  1. Answering Questions


There are a lot of people online asking a lot of questions related to a problem they want solved. Some of them are asking about a problem that your business solves.


Getting on Google Product Forums, other forums related to your niche, Quora, Twitter, and Reddit, you can find people asking questions that you have the answers to, and that established your credibility as an authority, drives community engagement with your brand, and creates leads that turn into business.


The more you engage the more you increase the status of your profile in these forums as well, adding addition credibility for your business and growing your pool of leads.


On Twitter, you can do hashtag searches for keywords relevant to your niche and find questions about problems that you know how to solve with your product or service.


On Reddit, you can establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and connect with other movers and shakers if you keep your conversations genuine and be very generous with your contributions and not spammy.


  1. Video


The signs of video’s imminent predominance over all other media forms online are everywhere. The statistics on video’s rise over the last couple of years are absolutely staggering.


One study by Cisco predicts that this year 69% of all consumer Internet traffic will be driven by video content. And by 2019 a million minutes of video content will fly over the network every second.


People love consuming video and they are increasingly consuming it on their mobile devices. The average time spent on a YouTube session is now up to 40 minutes.


To stay relevant and in front of this enormous and growing audience, you can create incredible growth by uploading quality video content.


It does not necessarily take a disproportionate amount of time and resources to do. Your smartphone if it is up to date takes incredible quality video.


Free video editing software that is up to the task now comes standard on most computers. You can simply repurpose your most popular written content to create videos and put your brand out there on YouTube.


  1. Competitor Analysis using Tweepi


Tweepi is a tool that helps you grow your Twitter followers and social media engagement. It also allows you to analyze information about the followers of your competitors.


That information includes their locations, their influence, their follow ratios and their bios. You can use this to better understand your market and to study your competitors as well.


By using Tweepi to glean information about your competitors’ Twitter followers, you can list out their followers and start filtering them by different variables.


You can also find information about their employees, freelancers, vendors, and partners by creatively filtering their followers using the right filters.


You can then export this data into a spreadsheet and perform useful high-level analyses on your competitors to get a good profile of their business and where it sits in the marketplace.


  1. Acquisitions


Which sounds more cost-effective in terms of time and money for your business to do: build your Facebook group up to 500,000 likes organically, or buy a 500,000 strong Facebook group with a reach of 100K people a month for around $3,000?


Which is going to be faster?


Yeah, it’s not even a comparison.


Websites and social media pages are becoming increasingly commoditized, and growing your business through the acquisition of digital real estate is becoming more and more viable for businesses of every size.


With a little bit of investment, you can use acquisition as an extremely effective marketing hack to instantly and massively increase your brand’s reach and online visibility.


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