Movie producers and inbound marketers aren’t that different when it comes to creating and editing video content.

We’re both telling a story, and whether that story is about a protagonist or a product, we’re both trying to captive our audiences and make them believe in the story we tell.

What happens at the end of the story is a little different, though.

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The best way to ensure that you don’t get a bigger bill than necessary come income tax time is to double check you are getting every deduction possible. There are multiple small business tax deductions available to sole-proprietorships and other small business organizations, such as LLCs.

Different Tax Deductions You Can Apply to Your Business

Keep in mind that while the list below contains some common deductions that may apply to your business, there may be some on this list that don’t work for your specific circumstances. Always check with your accountant before claiming a deduction on your taxes.

1. Home Office

This is one of the most common deductions that small business owners are able to use. In order for you to qualify for the home office deduction, your space needs to pass the needed requirements. You must use the area exclusively for your business. Working from your bed won’t get you the deduction. You should also regularly conduct most of your business from this location.

Beginning in 2013, the IRS introduced a simplified option for you to claim your home office deduction. This allows for you to claim up to 300 square feet at a rate of $5 per square foot. This didn’t change who can claim the deduction. But, it just made it easier to claim the deductions. You are also able to claim your deduction using the standard method. However, this does have a few differences:

It allows you to claim a percentage of the home used instead of using a 300-square foot cap.
Depreciation deduction for a portion of the home used is allowed as well as recapture of depreciation upon the sale of the home.
Actual expenses are used to determine deduction instead of the standard $5/square foot.
Which option you choose when claiming will depend upon your entire tax situation as a whole. Spend some time going over your tax situation in its entirety to figure out what exactly will work better for you.

2. Car Business Use

Just like your home office, using your car for business purposes may allow for you to get a nice deduction on your taxes. This deduction is a bit harder to keep track of if you use your vehicle for both personal and business use.

If you are purchasing a vehicle that will be used at least 50% of the time for business during the year, you are able to deduct this from your taxes. SUVs can yield a deduction of up to $25,000. Smaller passenger vehicles can get you a deduction of up to $11,060.

If you plan on deducting your business mileage, keep in mind that you need to have proper and thorough documentation of exactly how your mileage relates to your business. You also need to keep this documentation on hand for up to seven years after you take the deduction. You are able to deduct either the actual cost of the mileage or take the standard deduction.

Legally, you are able to take the standard deduction even if the actual cost of your mileage is less. However, if you do take the standard deduction, you will not be able to deduct the operating costs of the vehicle. These costs include gasoline, maintenance, or insurance.

Advertising can be one of the biggest, but also the most necessary, expense a small business owner can incur. All of your advertising and promotional materials can be deducted at 100%. Therefore, this expense can also quickly become your biggest deduction as well.

These deductions include not only your paid online and offline advertising, such as billboards or Google ads. It also includes business cards and pamphlets you hand out at networking events. If you paid for SEO services or pay a monthly fee for email marketing software, you are able to deduct those expenses as well.

One advertising expense that is a bit tricky to deduct is vehicle advertising. It’s very common for local small business owners to have their vehicle decorated with their company name, logo, and contact information. The actual cost of adding the promotional materials to your vehicle is deductible. However, the cost of driving around so people can see your vehicle is not deductible.

There are also advertising versus selling costs that need to be kept in mind. If the sole purpose of your business website is advertising, then the monthly maintenance costs and fees are deductible. However, if you also take payments on your website and sell your products there, this is considered a selling fee and no longer deductible under advertising purposes. This also applies to signage. If you post a temporary sign to get attention for your business, you can deduct it. Permanent signs, such as those lasting a year or more, are not deductible.

4. Child and Dependent Care

If you have anyone who is dependent upon you for care, such as your children or a spouse/family member incapable of self-care, you can deduct the expenses you incur while paying for care for them during your working hours.

If you own your business and have employees, offering to pay for your employees’ childcare expenses can also provide you with a fairly lucrative deduction on your taxes. This can add up to $150,000 a year by claiming 10-25% of this expense.

5. Education

It’s always a good idea to further your knowledge and skills in your chosen area of expertise. By attending workshops, taking classes, and purchasing books that are directly tied to furthering the skills you need to properly run your business, you can accrue quite a deduction.

The IRS will definitely take a look at these expenses and determine if they qualify for the deduction. Yet, every single education-related expense that you incur while furthering your education will be deducted at 100%. Any education-related expenses not directly related to your business or that will not help with a new career will not qualify.

6. Retirement Contributions

While you may love what you do, eventually, you will want to retire. Contributing to your retirement fund will give you a great nest egg for the future. It will also give you a great deduction on your income now. You will need to work closely with your tax advisor or accountant to make sure that you set up a qualified plan. Only certain plans qualify, and each plan qualifies only up to a certain amount.

7. Travel

Much like your vehicle expenses, traveling for the sole purpose of work is also deductible. If you are going to be away from your home for longer than one business day, you are able to deduct all expenses accrued during that time as long as you thoroughly document who you are meeting, the purpose of travel, and days of return/departure. Some of the included deductible expenses are:

  • Travel expenses, such as plane or train tickets
  • Meals, including any tips for service
  • Lodging
  • Shipping of any baggage and materials necessary for the business trip
  • Like vehicle expenses, keep very detailed records of your business travel to submit with your taxes. Hold on to those records for a few years after.

8. Legal and Professional Fees

Deductions also include paying for any sort of professional to work with you. These professionals include accountants, business specialists, and attorneys.

Every business owner needs to pay an attorney even if it is just to help get all of their business paperwork in order or draw up partnership papers. These business-related fees deductible. You can also deduct fees for legal matters like creating your will as long as you only deduct the portion that relates to your business inside of the will.

An accountant or another tax professional is crucial to any small business owner. Doing your taxes incorrectly can not only cost you some hard-earned deductions now, but it can also cost you thousands in audit expenses later by not filing everything properly.

Keep in mind that if you pay any of these professionals more than $600 during the year for their fees, you may need to file a 1099-MISC. This will definitely be something you need to consult a professional because it can be very complicated determining who needs to file the 1099-MISC and for what expenses.

Don’t Pay More Than You Need To

While owning your business can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can have, it can also be quite costly, especially when it comes to income tax time. Knowing what you can – and can’t – deduct from your taxes ensures you don’t pay more than you absolutely need.

Turn your passion project into a full-time business. Explore how Weebly can help you take the next step in your entrepreneurial journey.

This article was written by Peter Daisyme from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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toy cars uber lyft gig economy

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

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The gig economy has arrived. Increasingly, fewer individuals are full-time employees, and more are picking up jobs where they get to choose their hours, schedule, and income with companies like Uber, Lyft, Fiverr, Rover, Postmates, and TaskRabbit. In fact, a study by Intuit predicted that by 2020, over 40% of American workers will be independent contractors.

But what is this gig economy, how did it sneak up on us, and how is it making its mark on the partner marketing industry — and marketing as a whole?

Today, an impressive 34% of the workforce is now estimated to be a part of the gig economy. The rise of the gig economy was a perfect storm of sorts, fueled by the rise of mobile apps, which gave everyone access to rides, shopping, and food in a moment’s notice — or “on-demand,” as many companies and apps in the space are known. (The gig economy is also known as the “on-demand economy,” similar to the access economy and sharing economy.) Mobile also sped up standard business processes like orders, delivery, and hires to mere minutes instead of weeks or months of calls, meetings, and contracts.

Currently, the gig economy is responsible for $864 billion in revenue in the United States, with 44% of U.S. adults having participated in gig transactions at one point or another. A Gallup poll estimates that 29% of all workers in the U.S. have an alternative work arrangement as their primary job. This includes a quarter of all full-time workers (24%) and half of all part-time workers (49%). Including multiple job holders, 36% have a gig work arrangement in some capacity.

Part of that evolution was the normalizing of the concept of business not only being done within office walls but in remote work environments. Entrepreneurship has grown in popularity, as today’s workforce craves (and expects) more flexibility and freedom than ever before. It’s no longer the norm for employees to work their way up a company ladder for a lifetime; these days, the average person changes jobs 10 to 15 times throughout their career. Pair this with affiliate marketing, where affiliates can earn extra income by promoting brands as a side hustle or full-time gig, and it’s a natural fit.

And there are benefits to employers as well. For one, they can reduce operating expenses incurred by a full-time hire; gig workers are a quick solution to understaffing problems, and it’s a great way to find a dedicated worker for short-term projects. Affiliate marketing is based solely on performance, meaning employers pay only for outcomes and sales generated.

It’s a win-win: affiliates are rewarded for as many results as they have the bandwidth and audience to generate, and employers pay a small cut of the money they’re making — with little risk as to ROI, and little downside if a certain affiliate doesn’t work out. In fact, 85% percent of executives plan to increase their organization’s use of independent freelance workers over the next year.

Cities are in some ways at an advantage in the gig economy, because cities are usually the first places new apps debut, and their residents often have more expendable income to spend on things like meal delivery and dog walking services. But there are several ways the gig economy can also be a boom for small towns, and may even level the playing field.

For one, as technology improves, rural areas will have the same high-speed internet that makes mobile apps function best. For another, as companies embrace telecommuting, people will be able to work as independent contractors from anywhere — rural towns, city apartments, and anywhere in between. Besides, companies such as Airbnb have brought the gig economy to even the most rural areas, where an owner of an especially remote home may be able to earn just as much from travelers seeking to escape the hustle and bustle, as city-dwellers renting out a small urban room.

The beauty of affiliate marketing is that it can be done from anywhere with an internet connection, so the gig economy makes the perfect opportunity to merge these two worlds.

Who are the frontrunners driving the gig economy? Across industries, here are the top gig economy apps and what they do:

  • Meal delivery: Postmates. Any product from any store in under an hour.

    • Caviar | DoorDash | Grubhub | UberEats | Seamless
  • Grocery delivery: Instacart. The Postmates of grocery stores.
    • Amazon Fresh | Safeway Whatever
  • Moving: Buddytruk. On-demand short-haul moving for furniture.
  • Dog walking: Swifto. GPS-tracked walks with your dog complete with pictures.
    • Others: Wag! | Rover |
  • Chores: TaskRabbit. Taskers perform errands and chores you don’t want to do.
  • Beauty: StyleBee. Make-up artists and spa services brought to your home.
  • Transportation: Uber. Of course, the initial gig economy app that changed the game.
gig dog walking service

Gig economy apps cover everything from meal delivery to ride sharing to dog walking. // Photo by Matt Nelson on Unsplash

All of these apps lend themselves well to affiliate marketing because affiliate marketing thrives off of niches — everything from city-living pet lovers to beauty bloggers. Affiliate marketers know their audiences well, often get higher trust and engagement than more traditional advertising routes, and are motivated financially to share in a way that converts for businesses. That makes promoting a gig app or company they’re passionate about a no-brainer for affiliates.

Brands looking to capitalize on the gig economy can get started in a few simple steps.

First, it’s important to identify which parts of your business need to stay in-house, and which can be outsourced to gig workers. Take Airbnb, for example: they provide the software that enables searches, reviews, and payments, while their network of gig employees provides the apartments, homes, and local experiences. Similarly, Uber provides a technology platform, while drivers provide the service. Think through which parts of your business you can use to facilitate the gig side, and open up your bandwidth to gig workers.

Then, consider how affiliates might accelerate your brand’s growth and awareness. Will you have a robust affiliate program where you provide content, graphics, and swipe copy based on special promotions? Will you leverage industry influencers? Or, do a more grassroots approach of coupon codes and referral bonuses? There are countless options to get the word out through your affiliates, with the only limitations being your creativity, goals, and budget.

Then, think through how you’re going to reward affiliates. Based on your goals, you might reward them with commissions, coupons, or free products. The important part is that you have a way to accurately track conversions and capture data in real time, and easily manage payouts and share information with partners.

The easiest way to do this is through affiliate tracking software that enables you to measure, manage, and optimize your partner marketing campaigns, all in one place. Otherwise, your best-laid plans could suddenly turn into mismatched data, spreadsheet overload, and unruly partnerships.

We’re excited to see where the gig economy takes us in the next few years — especially the freelancers wanting to create their own work/life experience, the employers able to find the right contractor at the right time, and the consumers looking for any service, at any moment, in any place.

Power up your affiliate marketing with a 30-day free trial of the TUNE Partner Marketing Platform.

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Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor’s degree in English from Wake Forest University. You can find her waxing poetic about the South and exploring her new home from her headquarters in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood.

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Source: CaliberMind B2B Customer Data Platform

If your digital marketing team struggles with attribution, you’re not alone. Nielsen reports that only one out of every four marketers can confidently attribute revenue to their digital efforts. But does that surprise you?

Probably not — attribution is a pressing issue and can be a serious challenge for marketing and sales teams. Activating cross-channel campaigns through different platforms leads to siloed data in various, disconnected systems. The continued growth of your martech stack could create significant challenges, including attribution accuracy. But despite these challenges, your team still needs to be able to confidently track ROI and communicate value to your organizational leaders.

The attribution issue

Many marketers feel the frustration on a day-to-day basis, and attribution disparities often expose larger organizational challenges. If marketers can’t demonstrate to their leadership the ROI behind their digital marketing, how can they ask furthered martech investments?

Single-touch is likely the most-used model, where attribution is credited to the final touchpoint that converts. Multi-touch attribution models, on the other hand, use a methodology that assigns different weighted values based on how likely marketers believe each touchpoint influences the conversion throughout the whole customer journey.

“Determining your attribution model and where to assign the weight is the largest challenge we face as marketers,” said Natasha Humphrey, strategic digital marketing consultant at SmartSearch Marketing. “Undervaluing one source in the attribution model, however, could present a challenge when we need leadership buy-in on continued investment in that source.”

Part of that challenge, according to Raviv Turner, chief executive officer of CaliberMind, is the standard attribution methodologies most marketers use today. “Many organizations have shifted from single-touch attribution to multi-touch attribution models, but that creates complex challenges without good, clean data sets. We need to start using chain-based models going forward,” he said.

The practice of assigning weight to channels across customer journeys relies heavily on human bias — the channels that we believe heavily drive conversions are assigned the most weight. “But what if instead of bringing human bias to the table, we go back to the lead and reverse-engineer the customer journey?” Turner asked.

That’s where machine learning comes in.

Machine learning and chain-based attribution

The rise of advancements in AI, machine learning and natural processing has become much more tangible to marketers over the past five years, but many still face difficulty understanding how to apply them to our marketing. “With a machine learning model, we’re able to remove the human bias,” said Chris Nixon, vice president of marketing at CaliberMind. “The model learns with your data to look at different outcomes — revenue, pipeline, lead generation, etc. — and identifies the touch points across the customer journey.”

“The machine learning model analyzes buying patterns over time and identifies the patterns that influence a chain of events,” Nixon added. “If you’re looking at revenue from ‘closed/won or closed/lost’ opportunities, what was the path for each?” The chain-based model starts with the outcome and looks back at the steps across the journey taken to drive the end result.

Create marketing intelligence for leadership

Automation and machine learning both have a strong presence in the martech landscape, but CaliberMind’s chain-based attribution tool takes a different approach. The tool connects siloed platforms, tracks ROI by starting with the outcome, and works backward to understand the holistic impact of each step of the customer journey. This method could improve the quality of marketing intelligence and insights we gain. Marketers should feel equipped with accurate knowledge of their digital performance to have well-informed discussions with decision-makers.

According to Humphrey, adopting this methodology could be a large step forward for marketers. “The chain-based approach could make a big difference to marketers who need leadership buy-in for continued investment in undervalued sources,” said Humphrey. “We need the insight to provide ROI to leadership and clients, and into how the full-funnel is attributing to the journey. Chain-based attribution could very well do that.”

About The Author

Jennifer Videtta serves as Third Door Media’s Senior Editor, covering topics from email marketing and analytics to CRM and project management. With over a decade of organizational digital marketing experience, she has overseen digital marketing operations for NHL franchises and held roles at tech companies including Salesforce, advising enterprise marketers on maximizing their martech capabilities. Jennifer formerly organized the Inbound Marketing Summit and holds a certificate in Digital Marketing Analytics from MIT Sloan School of Management.

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Since it launched 13 years ago, creative marketplace Etsy has helped turn countless creators into successful entrepreneurs. It’s easy to see why. As of 2017, more than 1.93 million sellers used Etsy to sell their products, and nearly 33.4 million buyers had purchased goods through the marketplace. For someone just starting out, that’s quite a reach.

The reality, however, is that your Etsy shop won’t necessarily reach 30+ million potential customers, and you are competing for attention with nearly two million other sellers. Starting a shop on Etsy is simple, but it will only take you so far. Think of it as a great way to test the waters with very little commitment. When you are ready to take your Etsy store from a side gig to a full-time job, you’ll want to create your own website. Here’s why.

Controlling the Narrative

Branding is an integral part of building a business. As an entrepreneur, you need to figure out how to best tell your brand’s story — through both words and visuals. Research shows that 29% of small businesses do not have a website, and 31% “use social media instead.” Although social media is important, a website is still the only place you can completely control your brand narrative. While platforms like Instagram and marketplaces like Etsy are powerful tools for increasing your brand’s reach, you are always at the mercy of their algorithms and product updates. With a dedicated website, you control every aspect, and are able to establish a direct connection with your customers. Skilled entrepreneurs know this. It’s not a coincidence that nearly all top sellers on Etsy have their own websites as well.

Legitimacy & Social Proof

The first thing most people do when they see or hear about something they think they might like to know more about is google it. A brand that doesn’t have a website will not only lose out on potential new customers but can also risk not conveying legitimacy. Building a website is so easy these days that there simply is no excuse to not have one.

It may seem suspicious to customers if you don’t have a website. The same goes for social media profiles. Your business should be easy to find and engage with on social media. “Social proof” is a very buzzed-about concept that refers to our innate tendency to follow the crowd. It’s why the more followers you have, the more likely someone is to follow you, and why influencer endorsements and testimonials are marketing gold. Use social proof to your advantage on your website, by incorporating product reviews, testimonials and press mentions.

The Power of SEO

Building an audience for your brand and getting your products out there is hard work. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a powerful tool that — if done right — can land you at the top of Google’s search results for certain terms related to your business. Although Etsy has built-in SEO tools that allows your shop to be found through Google, a dedicated website will extend your reach beyond the Etsy marketplace. Having your own website show up in search results also builds brand awareness and credibility in a more powerful way than an Etsy store.

Extending Your Reach

Creating your own website does not mean that you need to shut down your existing Etsy shop. On the contrary, having multiple sales channels is often a good thing, at least until your business grows to a certain scale. Etsy is an effective way to find new customers and reach a wide audience, so use that to your advantage. Providing potential customers with multiple entry points is always a good idea.

While it’s true that Etsy has a very dedicated following and has been able to build a large community of buyers and sellers, nothing compares to connecting with your customers directly. As an entrepreneur, you are not just managing an Etsy shop, you are running a creative business that happens to use Etsy as a platform to reach customers and sell your goods. Your own website gives you a platform to tell your own stories and build your own community. On Etsy you will always be one of many. Your website will always be entirely about you.

So why don’t all small businesses have a website? Around 25% of business owners say it’s because they lack technical knowledge and 22% state it’s because they don’t have the human and/or financial resources. Those may have been valid excuses in the past. These days, building a website doesn’t have to take any longer — or cost much more — than setting up an Etsy store. Your customers are out there, and your job as a small business owner is to ensure that they can find you, wherever they are looking.

Ready to give your business a home?

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People are now watching 150 million hours of YouTube every day. Add that to the fact that 60% of people prefer video platforms to live television, placing your ads on Youtube is a good place to start.

Setting up a YouTube Campaign for your ads isn’t as complicated as you think. It’s actually quite easy, that’s why today I’ll be showing you how to setup a YouTube ads campaign in 10 easy steps.

Create a Goal For Your YouTube Ads Campaign

Before you get your ad up and running you first need to decide what the goal is for your campaign.

Without a solid goal in mind, you can end up with either no results or worse… with heaps of wasted ad spend.

So to prevent this, think about what you want to accomplish with your ad. This will help you to choose the right campaign objectives to get the results you want from your YouTube campaign.

Goals can range from building brand awareness, influencing the buyers decision, increasing sales, or increasing brand loyalty.

Step 1: Link Your Google AdWords Account to Your YouTube Channel

If you haven’t created a Google AdWords account, you can click here to get started. If you already have an account log in.

Once you’re in your Google AdWord account (or My Client Center, if your agency managing AdWords) click the “tools” icon. You should see a drop down options, look for “SETUP” on your far right. Under “SETUP” select the option “Linked accounts”

Action: Tools> Set up >Linked accounts

You’ll be brought to a page with a variety of Google products and services. Just keep scrolling until you see “YouTube”, click “Details”. From there you’ll be taken to a page asking you to add your YouTube channel.

From there type in the name of your YouTube channel in the search bar.Once you see it just click on it.

This step is very important, once the channel is yours you can select “I own this channel”. But if the YouTube channel belongs to someone else then you’ll need to enter the email of the owner to request access before you can move forward.

If your working for or with an agency never state to own the channel because unlinking it in the long run will be a hassle.

Pro Tip: If you want to track conversions from your Youtube ad on your website, you can enable Google conversion tracking either before or after you start you campaign. Typically it’s best to get it out of the way first, but I’ll leave that up to you.

Use this to learn how to set up conversion tracking for your website.

The Most Important Part of Your YouTube’s Ad: The First 10 Seconds

Decide which video you’d like to use for your YouTube ad campaign then upload it directly on YouTube.

The video you use for your YouTube ad campaign has to grab your viewers attention 20% of users will leave a video if it hasn’t peaked their interest in the first 10 seconds. That means the first 10 seconds of your ad is the most valuable part of your video.

So you have to make the most out of it. So here are three things you need for a great YouTube Ad campaign to make the most out of your first 10 seconds:

1.Use Strong Emotions: We know that ads that bring up emotions are the most effective and can be highly impactful. This could be speaking to an issue that your target audience can relate to or something your brand can fix for your audience.

WordPress Youtube ad campaigns did this best. They focused on the fact that they had an easy interface to help not so tech savvy business owners to create their website to help their business.

2.Use the Power of Nostalgia: Bringing back feelings of nostalgia is a great way to create an instant connection with your viewers. It also makes your brand feel and look relatable.

Wish’s YouTube ad campaigns connect it’s viewers with the feeling of finally getting a package days after ordering.

3. Add an Element of **Surprise: Shocking your viewers, in a good way, can easily grab their attention no matter how short their attention span. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be clickbaiting them, but putting a twist or spin on your video’s intro can go a long way.

GoPro captured this when they did an ad including Didga: The Skateboarding Cat. The add captured a subtle element of surprise. You’re busy figuring how this cat learned how to skateboard that you’d almost forget that your watching an ad.

Step 2: Select a YouTube Advertising Campaign Objective

Once you have your video fully uploaded it’s time to create your campaign. To your right in your Google Ads dashboard, you’ll see the “Campaign” tab, select it.

After you’ll be taken to a page where you can create your first YouTube ad campaign. Look for a blue circle with a “+”. Click on it and you’ll see the option to create a new campaign.

From there you’ll have to select a goal to determine what would make your campaign successful. Similar to Facebook ads, your goal determines the type of ads you’ll be running, the placements available, and information you’ll need to fill out.

You do have the option to creating several campaign types, based on your ultimate campaign goal.

I find that these three goals are always the best to start with choose one of the following options for your YouTube video ad:

*Leads and Website: This goal helps you to drive traffic to your website for lead generation from your YouTube ads.

*Product and Brand Consideration: This goals is centered around brand consideration and putting your products/services in front of a global audience of potential buyers.

*Brand Awareness and Reach: This goal, as the name states, is focused on giving you more brand awareness and reach to create some buzz around your brand. This is good for new brands that aren’t well known or want to extend their audience reach.

After selecting your campaign goal, you’ll be brought to a page showing the list of recommended ads that match your campaign goals. Select “Video” as the campaign type. Then click continue.

Step 3: Choose Your YouTube Ad Campaign Format

There are three types of Youtube Ads you can choose from on your campaign:

  • TrueView Ads
    *In-Display ads
  • Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads

I’ll be going through each one so you can select the one that you think works best with your ultimate goal, video length and ad budget.

YouTube Ad Campaigns: TrueView Ads

TrueView ads are the most commonly used video ads on YouTube. If you decide to run this type of ad you would only pay for the viewers who watch at least 30 seconds or the entire video, as well as users who interact with your ad (click the call-to-action). TrueView ads can be easily customized and shared across a wide range of platforms.

If you decide to use the skippable version of a TrueView ad your video length has to be between 12 seconds to 6 minutes in length whereas non skippable TrueView ads have to be 15-20 seconds in length.

YouTube Ad Campaigns: In-Display ads

If you’ve been on YouTube, you’ve probably seen this type of YouTube ad the most. In-Display ads show up on the YouTube homepage, search results pages, and as related videos that appear on the right-hand side of your video recommendations on YouTube video watch pages.

YouTube Ad Campaigns: Bumper instream ads

Unlike TrueView ads that normally plays before someone watches a video, In-stream ads let you customize video ads with different CTAs and overlay text, giving you the option to personally A/B test which design or text works best for your YouTube ad campaign. This ad can be skippable or unskippable.

These ads also appear anywhere in the Google Display Network (GDN) or sites that have purchased Google video ad space. Giving you a wider reach and awareness in spaces where your viewers main are.

YouTube Ad Campaigns: Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads

This type of YouTube ad is best used for campaign goals centered around audience reach. In order to use Non-Skippable In-Stream ads your video has to 6-15 seconds, any longer and you’ll get an error message.

Just like TrueView ads, non-skippable ads run before, during, or after the video content. The pros of using this type of ad is that you’re viewer are sure to see your entire video for better conversions.

This ad type also comes with a few cons. It can be annoying to most viewers because their forced to watch your content, whether they like it or not. My suggestion is to try it. If you see more conversions than complaints then keep it up. This type of ad is also one of the most expensive ads out there

Step 4: Set Your YouTube Ad Budget and Bid Strategy

Now that you’ve selected an ad format, you’ll have to name your campaign, set a budget and choose your YouTube ads campaigns end and start date.

You don’t have to bid high when it comes to YouTube advertising but the rule of thumb still stands, the higher the price the higher the impressions and vise versa.

When selecting your bid strategy it’s always best to start with Maximum CPV (the most expensive bid strategy) or Targeting CPV. If your new to Cost-per view (CPV), don’t worry it isn’t as complicated as it seems. Bids for CPV advertisements work in the same way as other pay-per-click style bidding](

Typically a business creates “bids” within Google’s advertising system targeting specific keywords, which are often further refined based on a searcher’s physical location. If more than one marketer has put in bids for that particular keywordmetric combination, the highest bid dictates which ad is displayed for the searcher. So your bidding has to be competitive.

Step 5: Customize Your YouTube Ad Campaign

Once you’re done with step 4, we’ll be choosing where you’d like your YouTube ad to be seen. Where and what type of content you place your YouTube ad on is important.

You should be seeing a page showing you three options:

*Inventory Type
*Excluded Content

YouTube Network

Network options determines where your YouTube ads will be placed, such as:

*YouTube Search Results: This option will only available if your running discovery ads. Reminder to uncheck this option for all other types of ads.

*YouTube Videos: This option has the perfect price point and exposure and the best option most YouTubers choose.

*Video Partners on Display Network: If you select this option you’ll be able to run your ad on sites of partners outside of YouTube. The cost is typically less but keep in mind the exposure is typically less as well.

As you continue down the page, you’ll see the option to choose which locations and languages you want to target.

YouTube Inventory Type

Inventory type gives you control over what type of content you want your ad to run in, before and after. This gives you the chance to avoid videos you don’t want your ads to be associated with. The last thing you want is to put your ad on a video that reflects badly on your brand image. Inventory options include:

Expanded Inventory: This option will help you maximize your YouTube ads potential but your ad will run on ads considered to have sensitive or mature content like videos that viewers need to be 18 and older to watch.

Standard Inventory:This is the most recommended option by YouTube and most marketers. Your ad might still show up on content that might have violence or mature. If that doesn’t work with your brand then you can opt for the next option.

Limited Inventory:This is the safest option if you want to be really careful about your brand image and the content you ad will be associated with.

Now it’s time to exclude any mature or sensitive content you don’t want your ad to be associated with.

You can add excluded types and labels to filter the type of content your ad will show on. Each filter you choose increases the cost of you ad and decreases the reach, so try and limit the number of filters.

You’ll have to experiment along the way to find the best combination of cost and results.

Set Your YouTube Ad Frequency Cap

Before you move on be sure to set your Frequency Cap.

It’s important that because your frequency cap manages your overall cost better, especially if your audience is small. Unlike Facebook ads where there’s a default setting, Youtube actually leaves this option blank. If you don’t control your frequency you being showing your ad to frequently or too little to your audience.

Click “Additional Settings” you find “Frequency Capping” and add your impressions cap and frequency.

Step 6: Choose Your Target Audience For Your YouTube Campaign

Now it’s time to define your YouTube campaigns target audience. Remember that your restrictions you placed earlier can improve the quality of the audience, but can also increase your CPV (cost per view). So for your first round ads try to avoid being too specific.

You’ll have three options when it comes to grouping your targeting like: Demographics Targeting, Affinity and Custom Affinity Targeting and lastly Affinity and Custom Affinity Targeting.

Go through each to see which targeting options will help you to reach your target audience. You don’t have to select all of them, again the more filters you have on your audience the higher the cost of your YouTube ad.

You may want to consider creating a buyer persona so that you can understand exactly who and what your audience interest or lifestyles are like. If your not sure what or how to create a buyer persona, I found Smart Bug Media’s 3 Examples of Buyer Personas as a foolproof guide to help create your own.

You can also use Google AdWords for Remarketing and Audience Targeting for your YouTube ads.

7 Add Keywords and Topics, and Placements to Your YouTube Campaign

After you define your audience, you can choose from these three settings to narrow your reach.

Choosing the right keywords for your YouTube ad campaign is essential but here’s the twist. You’re not going to add keywords that your target audience is looking for rather you’re looking for keywords that will appear in the YouTube videos where your ads will be seen.

How it works is that once you add your keywords YouTube will analyze keywords from the titles, tags, and descriptions of the video content, match them against the keywords you’ve selected, from there insert your ads into the most relevant content.

You can use tools like Keyword tool or Google trends. Maybe you want to take your SEO a little deeper, take a look at Search Engine Land Guide to YouTube SEO: How to find the best traffic-generating keywords.

Choose the Right Topics

When choosing your topics the same approach to keywords applies. When you choose a topic what it does is show your ad on videos related to the topic you’ve selected. So if your ad is about food, you’d want to select topics surrounding food so your ad can appear on video content centered around food, cooking, and snack DIY’s.

Select Placement Targeting

After you’ll need to select your YouTube placements. This is detailed step is allows you to hyper-target your videos for better conversions. You can choose the exact channel (or even exact video) to place your ads on, keep in mind that the more placements you add the more cost will be added to your YouTube ad.

Pro Tip: YouTube lets you prevent your competitors from running ads on your channel or in your videos. Go to the Advanced channel settings in Creator Studio. Go in and select “Disable Interest-Based Ads” checkbox is selected. This may cause an issue if you’re monetizing your YouTube channel.

Step 8: Set a Bid Amount for Your Campaign

Now it’s time to set your bidding strategy. I’d advise you to go back to step 5 and double check to make sure you set your Frequency Cap because this along with your bidding strategy affect the results of your YouTube ad campaign.

If you decided to choose Maximum CPV as your bidding strategy earlier I’d recommend not bidding too low or your ad might not run. It’s always best to calculate your maximum CPV before placing your bid.

CPV is calculated by dividing the total cost by views in Youtube. This is the formula to calculate CPV:

CPV = Cost divided by Views

Pro Tip: Just like any bidding strategy the higher the bid the better your ad performance will be, the same can be said for Target CPV bidding. Most marketers recommend that you set your Maximum CPV at 3–5x the average.

Step 9: Select the Video for Your YouTube Ad

We’re almost at the finish line to complete your YouTube Ad campaign. All you need now is to choose the video you want to use as your ad. You can find it using the search box, as shown below, or you can just copy and paste the YouTube video’s URL. Click “continue” and your ad should be up and running as soon as YouTube processes it.

Step 10: Monitor Your YouTube Campaign Results

Congrats, you just published your YouTube ad, but it doesn’t stop there. Here are some key tips to do after you’ve published your ad:

Monitor your ads performance in Google AdWords, YouTube Creator Studio, and if you linked your Google analytics account during step one, take a look at that as well.
Check to see if your getting the results you want, if your ad is fairly new, give it a couple of days 5-10 days to let you know if your campaign is starting to bring results. If not, take a look at your bidding strategy. Consider increasing it if you’re not getting enough traction.
Nurture your leads. If your YouTube is doing well, bringing traffic, leads and new subscribers. Your ad only opened the door for them to meet you, it’s up to you to create connect and a marketing funnel to keep them in your corner. If you’re not sure how you can use this Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Digital Marketing Sales Funnel.
After your ad is finished, take notes and see what you can take away for your next YouTube ad campaign. Experiment with different features, keywords, placements and filters to find out which combination brings in the best leads. Doing the same old same isn’t always going to cut it.

You might be feeling like you’re going around in a circle or that creating a YouTube ad seems like a long process but when you create your first YouTube Ad it can feel that.

All these little details are to make sure that you’re ad is in the right place at the right time, on the right video content so you can see better conversions. That’s why YouTube campaigns do so well compared or just as effective as other forms of social media advertisements.


Here’s a quick recap on how to setup a YouTube ads campaign in 10 easy steps:

Step 1: Link Your Google AdWord Account to Your YouTube Channel
Step 2: Select a YouTube Advertising Campaign Objective
Step 3: Choose Your YouTube Ad Campaign Format
Step 4: Set Your YouTube Ad Budget and Bid Strategy
Step 5: Customize Your YouTube Ad Campaign
Step 6: Choose Your Target Audience For Your YouTube Campaign
Step 7: Add Keywords and Topics, and Placements to Your YouTube Campaign
Step 8: Set a Bid Amount for Your Campaign
Step 9: Select the Video for Your YouTube Ad
Step 10: Monitor Your YouTube Campaign Results

Remember to take it slow when since it’s your first time using YouTube ads, it’s a bit of a learning curve but the more you try the more you learn along the way.

Have more questions or own tips for creating YouTube ad campaigns? Comment below and let me know.
Let’s talk!

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I’m hitting the road again – and this time around it’s during the run up to one of the craziest periods for advertisers in the mobile app world: Ramadan.

Just like the syrup advertisements and the special Ramadan dramas that’ll soon be filling up the peak hour TV slots, I’m also preparing for this season – in a different way. For me, it means hopping on a plane and heading East, collecting my many thoughts, pulling out my laptop and writing articles like this for my marketing team back in Berlin.

Billions of people celebrate this holiday in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. So, it’s an extremely busy time for me and the team in Berlin, along with leading advertisers and brands coming up with unique proposals that fit their brand.

This is a wonderful month and I miss celebrating BukBer (Buka Bersama) as its always a great excuse to meet old friends and colleagues. Throughout Ramadan families come together to give, share and reflect on what it means to live a better life, but that’s definitely not all. This 4-week period is now also popular for other things like shopping, discovering new forms of entertainment and making travel plans, which have all made their way to the mobile world.

I have worked in the industry and in this region for several years and I can tell you that the impact of Ramadan on the app market is bigger than ever and remains a seriously profitable opportunity. Install rates are higher, in-app engagements continue to soar and in-app consumer spending spikes.

To make the most of all this, companies must plan ahead and inform themselves about the best ways to attract valuable and relevant users.

I’ve collected some of the insightful things I’ve found out about this festival for mobile and marketing.


Emotional storytelling combined with interactivity

Unlike other festive seasons with 1-2 days of celebration, Ramadan happens for 30 days, allowing more time for advertisers to reach more audiences. Most of the video ads will highlight the emotional aspect of things, like forgiveness, family and harmony with people from different religions and ethnicity. The reason? Simple, the more touching the ad is, the easier it will go viral – and the easier it will be to remember the brand. But I believe mobile marketers should take this a step further and incorporate interactivity.

Recently we’ve heard that even if people don’t necessarily click on a video ad online, the ability to interact makes it 32% more memorable compared to non-interactive ads. Investing in this format can bring the long-lasting effect advertisers crave.


Knowing your audience should not be understated

One of the first, and most obvious steps for a successful Ramadan campaign is knowing exactly who you want to target. There’s a lot of people out there to speak to, but there isn’t much point in having conversations with the ones who aren’t interested in what you have to say.

I’ve seen businesses spend big on the scattergun approach to reach as many users as possible. This can reap big rewards too (especially for massive branding campaigns), however, with improved understanding of user behavior and advanced segmentation methods, marketers now have access to so much more precise information, which wasn’t as readily available in the past. This can be used to show relevant content.

I recently came across Google’s “Winning Ramadan with Digital” and I encourage you all to take a look. They have taken their own data from 2018 and build a comprehensive guide to what should be considered when planning media spend around this holiday. Within this, you’ll find a fantastic breakdown of the different audience types you should be marketing to – from the Devoted Faster, who searches for and downloads religious related content and apps, to the Tech Follower, who watches product reviews and installs e-commerce apps.


Facebook is still playing its part

Did you know more than 280 million people globally had approximately three billion interactions with content related to Ramadan 2018? Well, Facebook did. And according to their official data, at the end of Ramadan 2018, more than 150 million people worldwide also came together on the platform to wish a “Happy Eid” to their community.

Those are some significant numbers and tells me that marketers should still allocate spend for social media this Ramadan. We know Muslim audiences spend more hours on their devices throughout the holiday and from Facebook IQ’s insights, we can see there is still high engagement on this channel.


Hashtags continue the conversation

The biggest stores and brands in SEA continue to use hashtags as part of their marketing strategies. Shopee used #memberidarihati (giving from heart) to get people involved in conversations about Ramdan. Zillingo went for #siapasihlo, while Watsons encouraged people to spread acts of kindness, positivity and sincerity with their #MisiIkhlasAidilfitri campaign.

As I said, social media still matters, so adding a # can help build and maintain momentum throughout the holiday.


How will brands get creative this year?

Last year was a special and rare opportunity for brands to get even more creative during Ramadan. The 2018 World Cup took place in June, just before the holiday started, and there were some that decided to combine these two massive events for their campaigns.

Vodafone is probably the best example. They made effective use of the hype around Ramadan to capture people’s attention and carry this through to the summer’s football tournament – where Egypt featured in the group stage. The network brought in some famous faces, which included stars from the Egyptian national team. You can see how they did it here.

I’m intrigued to see what today’s global players come up with this year.


What do you think?

Did you notice anything from Ramadan 2018 that you’d like to share? Or maybe there’s something from 2019 I’ve already missed? Join the conversation on our social media channels.

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We’ve all been through it. You know, the moment you’re about to dig into the best darn pile of spaghetti and meatballs you’ve ever seen.

Just as you twist your fork in the pasta, spear a mouth-watering meatball, and go in for the first savory bite … the phone rings. “May I speak to Lindsay Kow-low-witch?” asks the telemarketer on the other end. “This is an important message regarding your oven preferences.”

This frustrating interruption is exactly why we’re here to discuss inbound lead generation. What is inbound lead generation? It’s a solution that can save your business or organization from being that annoying, disruptive cold caller who is ruining spaghetti nights for pasta lovers all over the world.Download the beginner's guide to converting website visitors into leads for  your business here.

Let’s start with defining a lead, and then we’ll cover what online lead generation is, why you need lead generation, how you qualify someone as a lead, how you generate leads, and why inbound lead generation is much more effective than simply buying leads.

What Is a Lead?

A lead is a person who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service in some way, shape, or form.

As a lead, you’d hear from a business or organization with which you’ve already opened communication … instead of getting a random cold call from someone who purchased your contact information.

For example, maybe you took an online survey to learn more about how to take care of your car. If you got an email from the auto company that hosted the survey on their website about how they could help you take care of your car, it’d be far less intrusive and irrelevant than if they’d just called you out of the blue with no knowledge of whether you even care about car maintenance, right?

And from a business perspective, the information the auto company collected about you from your survey responses helps them personalize that opening communication to address your existing problems.

Whenever someone outside the marketing world asks me what I do, I can’t simply say, “I create content for lead generation.” It’d be totally lost on them, and I’d get some really confused looks.

So instead, I say, “I work on finding unique ways to attract people to my business. I want to provide them with enough goodies to get them naturally interested in my company so they eventually warm up to the brand enough to want to hear from us!”

That usually resonates better, and that’s exactly what lead generation is: It’s a way of warming up potential customers to your business and getting them on the path to eventually buying.

Why Do You Need Lead Generation?

When a stranger initiates a relationship with you by showing an organic interest in your business, the transition from stranger to customer is much more natural.

Lead generation falls within the second stage of the inbound marketing methodology. It occurs after you’ve attracted an audience and are ready to convert those visitors into leads for your sales team (namely sales-qualified leads). As you can see in the diagram below, generating leads is a fundamental point in an individual’s journey to becoming a delighted customer.


How to Generate Leads

Now that we understand how lead generation fits into the whole inbound marketing methodology, let’s walk through the steps of the lead generation process.

First, a visitor discovers your business through one of your marketing channels, such as your website, blog, or social media page.

That visitor then clicks on your call-to-action (CTA) — an image, button, or message that encourages website visitors to take some sort of action.

The CTA takes your visitor to a landing page, which is a web page that is designed to capture lead information in exchange for an offer.

An offer is the content or something of value that’s being “offered” on the landing page, like an ebook, a course, or a template. The offer must have enough perceived value to a visitor to merit providing their personal information in exchange for access to it.

The form on your landing page consists of a series of fields (like in our example above) that collect information in exchange for the offer. Forms are typically hosted on landing pages, although they can technically be embedded anywhere on your site. Once a visitor fills this out — voila! — you have a new lead! (That is, as long as you’re following lead-capture form best practices.)

See how everything fits together?

To sum it up: Visitor clicks a CTA that takes them to a landing page where they fill out a form to get an offer, at which point they become a lead.

By the way, you should check out our free lead generation tool. It helps you create lead capture forms directly on your website. Plus, it’s really easy to set up.

Lead Generation Marketing

Once you put all of these elements together, you can use your various promotional channels to drive traffic to your landing page to start generating leads.

But what channels should you use to promote your landing page? Let’s talk about the front-end of lead generation — lead gen marketing.

If you’re a visual learner, this chart shows the flow from promotional marketing channels to a generated lead.


There are even more channels you can use to get visitors to become leads. Let’s go into depth on these and talk about a few others.


Content is a great way to guide users to a landing page. Typically, you create content to provide visitors with useful, free information. You can include CTAs anywhere in your content — inline, bottom-of-post, in the hero, or even on the side panel. The more delighted a visitor is with your content, the more likely they are to click your call-to-action and move onto your landing page.

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Email is a great place to reach the people who already know your brand and product or service. It’s much easier to ask them to take an action since they’ve previously subscribed to your list. Emails tend to be a bit cluttered, so use CTAs that have compelling copy and an eye-catching design to grab your subscriber’s attention.  

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Ads and Retargeting

The sole purpose of an ad is to get people to take an action. Otherwise, why spend the money? If you want people to convert, be sure that your landing page and offer match exactly what is promised in the ad, and that the action you want users to take is crystal clear.


The great thing about using your blog posts to promote an offer is that you can tailor the entire piece to the end goal. So, if your offer is an instructional video on setting up Google Search Console, then you can write a blog post about how to select your marketing metrics … which would make your CTA highly relevant and easy to click.

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Social Media

Social media platforms make it easy to guide your followers to take action, from the swipe up option on Instagram stories to Facebook bio links to bitly URLs on Twitter. You can also promote your offerings on your social posts and include a call-to-action in your caption. Learn more about social media campaigns in this post.

Product Trials

You can break down a lot of barriers to a sale by offering trials of your product or service. Once a prospect is using your product, you can entice them with additional offers or resources to encourage them to buy. Another good practice is to include your branding in your free versions so you can capture other potential customers, too.

Referral Marketing

Referral, or word-of-mouth, marketing is useful for lead generation in a different way. That is, it gets your brand in front of more people, which, in turn, increases your chances of generating more leads.

Whatever channel you use to generate leads, you’ll want to guide users to your landing page. As long as you’ve built a landing page that converts, the rest will handle itself.

Why Not Just Buy Leads?

Marketers and salespeople alike want to fill their sales funnel — and they want to fill it quickly. Enter: The temptation to buy leads.

Buying leads, as opposed to organically generating them, is much easier and takes far less time and effort, despite being more expensive. But, you might be paying for advertising anyway … so, why not just buy leads?

First and foremost, any leads you’ve purchased don’t actually know you. Typically, they’ve “opted in” at some other site when signing up for something, and didn’t actually opt in to receiving anything from your company.

The messages you send them are therefore unwanted messages, and sending unwanted messages is intrusive. (Remember that disruptive call I got when I was trying to eat my spaghetti? That’s how people feel when they receive emails and other messages from people they didn’t ask to hear from.)

If the prospect has never been to your website and indicated an interest in your, products or services, then you’re interrupting them … plain and simple.

If they never opted in to receive messages specifically from you, then there’s a high chance they could flag your messages as spam, which is quite dangerous for you. Not only does this train to filter out emails from you, but it also indicates to their email provider which emails to filter out.

Once enough people flag your messages as spam, you go on a “blacklist,” which is then shared with other email providers. Once you get on the blacklist, it’s really, really hard to get back off of it. In addition, your email deliverability and IP reputation will likely be harmed.

It’s always, always, always better to generate leads organically rather than buy them. Read this blog post to learn how to grow an opt-in email list instead of buying one.

How to Qualify a Lead

As we covered in the first section, a lead is a person who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service. Now, let’s talk about the ways in which someone can actually show that interest.

Essentially, a sales lead is generated through information collection. That information collection could come as the result of a job seeker showing interest in a position by completing an application, a shopper sharing contact information in exchange for a coupon, or a person filling out a form to download an educational piece of content.

Gauging a Lead’s Level of Interest

Below are just a few of the many ways in which you could qualify someone as a lead. Each of these examples shows that the amount of collected information used to qualify a lead, as well as the that lead level of interest, can vary. Let’s assess each scenario:

  • Job Application: An individual that fills out an application form is willing to share a lot of personal information because he/she wants to be considered for a position. Filling out that application shows their true interest in the job, therefore qualifying the person as a lead for the company’s recruiting team — not marketing or sales teams.
  • Coupon: Unlike the job application, you probably know very little about someone who has stumbled upon one of your online coupons. But if they find the coupon valuable enough, they may be willing to provide their name and email address in exchange for it. Although it’s not a lot of information, it’s enough for a business to know that someone has interest in their company.
  • Content: While the download of a coupon shows an individual has a direct interest in your product or service, content (like an educational ebook or webinar) does not. Therefore, to truly understand the nature of the person’s interest in your business, you’ll probably need to collect more information to determine whether the person is interested in your product or service and whether they’re a good fit.

These three general examples highlight how lead generation differs from company to company, and from person to person. You’ll need to collect enough information to gauge whether someone has a true, valid interest in your product or service — how much information is enough information will vary depending on your business.

Let’s look at Episerver, for example. They use web content reports for lead generation, collecting six pieces of information from prospective leads.


Episerver provides a great example for what to ask for in a lead gen form:

  • Full Name: The most fundamental information needed to personalize your communication with each lead.
  • Email: This serves as a unique identifier and is how you will contact your lead.
  • Company: This will give you the ability to research your lead’s industry and company and how the lead might benefit from your product or service (mainly for B2B).
  • Role: Understanding an individual’s role will help you understand how to communicate with them. Every brand stakeholder will have a different take and perspective on your offering (mainly for B2B).
  • Country: Location information can help you segment your contact by region and time zone, and help you qualify the lead depending on your service.
  • State: The more detailed information you can obtain without sacrificing conversions, the better. Knowing your leads state can help you further qualify them.

If you’d like to learn more intermediate-level tips on information collection and what you should ask for on your lead gen forms, read our post about it here.

Lead Scoring

Lead scoring is a way to qualify leads quantitatively. Using this technique, leads are assigned a numerical value (or score) to determine where they fall on the scale from “interested” to “ready for a sale”. The criteria for these actions is completely up to you, but it must be uniform across your marketing and sales department so that everyone is working on the same scale.

A lead’s score can be based on actions they’ve taken, information they’ve provided, their level of engagement with your brand, or other criteria that your sales team determines. For instance, you may score someone higher if they regularly engage with you on social media or if their demographic information matches your target audience.

Borrowing from the examples above, you might give a lead a higher score if they used one of your coupons — an action that would signify this person is interested in your product.

The higher a lead’s score, the closer they are to becoming a sales-qualified lead (SQL), which is only a step away from becoming a customer. The score and criteria is something you may need to tweak along the way until you find the formula that works, but once you do, you’ll transform your lead generation into customer generation.

Lead Generation Trends & Benchmarks

So … you’re getting web traffic and generating leads. But how are you doing compared to other companies in your industry? How many leads should you really be generating?

It’s tough to figure out if your lead generation strategy is working if you aren’t looking at industry data. That’s why we partnered with Qualtrics to survey more than 900 marketers from all different industries in North America and Europe to create a demand generation report with data on website visitors, leads, opportunities, customers, and revenue.

Did you know that 74% of companies that weren’t exceeding revenue goals didn’t know their visitor, lead, MQL, or sales opportunities numbers? How about that over 70% of companies not achieving their revenue goals generate fewer than 100 leads per month, and only 5% generate more than 2,500 leads per month? These are just a few examples of what you’ll find in the report.

For in-depth reports, download our Demand Generation Benchmarks Report. Below are some useful highlights.

Cost per Lead, by Industry

The media and publishing industries report the lowest cost per lead at $11 to $25. Software, information technology and services, marketing agencies, and financial services companies all report the highest average cost per lead at $51 to $100.


Leads Generated per Month, by Annual Revenue

Unsurprisingly, the more revenue a company has, the more leads they generate. The differences are most drastic at the highest and lowest end of the spectrum: 82% of companies with $250,000 or less in annual revenue report generating less than 100 leads per month, whereas only 8% of companies generating $1 billion in annual revenue report less than 100 leads per month.


Leads per Month

We found that 58% of companies generated 500 leads per month or fewer, and 71% generated 1,000 or fewer. However, as we saw previously, the companies having the most success are also the ones generating the most leads.

Here’s how the data broke down by company size:


Lead Generation Software

We found that the most successful teams use a formal system to organize and store leads: 46% use Google Docs, 41% use marketing automation software, and 37% use CRM software. (Hint for HubSpot customers: Google Drive integrates with both HubSpot Marketing Hub and HubSpot CRM.)


Lead Generation Strategies

Online lead generation encompasses a wide range of tactics, campaigns, and strategies depending on the platform on which you wish to capture leads. We talked about lead capture best practices once you have a visitor on your site … but how can you get them there in the first place?

Let’s dive into lead generation strategies for a few popular platforms.

Facebook Lead Generation

Facebook has been a method for lead generation since its inception. Originally, companies could use outbound links in their posts and information in their bios to attract strangers to their websites. However, when Facebook Ads was launched in 2007, and its algorithm began to favor accounts that used paid advertising, there was a major shift in how businesses used the platform to capture leads. Facebook created Lead Ads for this purpose. Facebook also has a feature that lets you put a simple call-to-action button at the top of your Facebook Page, helping you send Facebook followers directly to your website.

Get some lead generation tips for Facebook.

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Twitter Lead Generation

Twitter has Twitter Lead Gen Cards, which let you generate leads directly within a tweet without having to leave the site. A user’s name, email address, and Twitter username are automatically pulled into the card, and all they have to do is click “Submit” to become a lead. (Hint for HubSpot users: You can connect Twitter Lead Gen Cards to your HubSpot Forms. Learn how to do that here).

Learn some lead generation tips for Twitter.

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LinkedIn Lead Generation

LinkedIn has been increasing its stake in the advertising space since its early days. When it comes to lead generation, LinkedIn created Lead Gen Forms, which auto populate with a users profile data when they click a CTA, making it easy to capture information.

Get tips from our experience using LinkedIn ads.

PPC Lead Generation

When we say pay-per-click (PPC), we’re referring to ads on search engine result pages (SERPs). Google gets 3.5 billion searches a day, making it prime real estate for any ad campaign, especially lead gen. The effectiveness of your PPC campaign relies heavily on a seamless user flow, as well as your budget, target keywords, and a few other factors.

Learn more about how to setup successful PPC ads.

B2B Lead Generation

B2B is a particular business model that requires a particular approach to lead generation. HubSpot found that SEO is the top resource for capturing business leads, followed closely by email marketing and social media. Not to mention, effectiveness varies by channel.

Learn the B2B lead gen techniques for every channel.

Tips for Lead Generation Campaigns

In any given lead generation campaign, there can be a lot of moving parts. It can be difficult to tell which parts of your campaign are working and which need some fine-tuning. What exactly goes into a best-in-class lead generation engine? Here are a few tips when building lead gen campaigns.

Use the right lead generation tools.

As you saw in our data, the most successful marketing teams use a formal system to organize and store their leads. That’s where lead generation tools and lead generation software come into play.

How much do you know about the people visiting your website? Do you know their names or their email addresses? How about which pages they visited, how they’re navigating around, and what they do before and after filling out a lead conversion form?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, chances are you’re having a hard time connecting with the people who are visiting your site. These are questions you should be able to answer — and you can with the right lead generation tools.

There are a few different tools and templates out there that’ll help you create different lead gen assets to use on your site:

  • CTA Templates: 50+ free, customizable call-to-action (CTA) templates in PowerPoint that you can use to create clickable CTA buttons to use on your blog, landing pages, and elsewhere on your site.
  • Lead Generation Software Tools: This free tool from HubSpot includes lead capture and contact insights features, which will scrape any pre-existing forms you have on your website and add those contacts to your existing contact database. It also lets you create pop-ups, hello bars, or slide-ins — called “lead flows” — that’ll help you turn website visitors into leads immediately.


Example of a slide-in lead flow.

  • Visitor Tracking: Hotjar has a heatmap tool — a virtual tool which creates a color-coded representation of how a user navigates your site — that helps you understand what users want, care about, and do on your site. It records visitors and tells you where they spend the most time on your site. You can use it to gather information on your lead generation forms, feedback forms and surveys, and more.
  • Form-Scraping Tool: A form scraping tool that collects submissions on your website’s existing forms helps you automatically consolidate all your leads into your contact database, regardless of which form visitors submitted on your website. HubSpot customers can create and embed forms using HubSpot, which automatically populate into your CMS. Non-HubSpot customers can use a form creation tool like Contact Form 7, JetPack, or Google Forms, and then use HubSpot’s free collected forms feature to automatically capture form submissions and input them to a contact database.

Create amazing offers for all different stages of the buying cycle.

Not all of your site visitors are ready to talk to your sales team or see a demo of your product. Someone at the beginning of the buyer’s journey might be interested in an informational piece like an ebook or a guide, whereas someone who’s more familiar with your company and near the bottom of the journey might be more interested in a free trial or demo.

Make sure you’re creating offers for each phase and offering CTAs for these offers throughout your site.

Yes, it takes time to create valuable content that teaches and nurtures your leads down the funnel, but if you don’t offer anything for visitors who aren’t ready to buy, then they may never come back to your website. From checklists to templates to free tools, here are 23 ideas for lead generation content to get you started.

If you want to take personalization a step further — which will help boost your conversion rate — try using smart CTAs. Smart CTAs detect where a person is in the buyer’s journey, whether they’re a new visitor, a lead, or a customer, and display CTAs accordingly. Personalized CTAs convert a whopping 42% more visitors than basic calls-to-action.

Keep your messaging consistent and deliver on your promise.

The highest-converting lead gen campaigns are the ones that deliver on what they promise and create a seamless transition from ad copy and design to the deliverable itself. Make sure that you’re presenting a consistent message throughout the process and providing value to everyone that engages with your lead capture.

The aspects of your lead gen campaign should mirror everything else on your website, on your blog, and within the product that you will eventually try to sell. If not, you’ll have a difficult time getting your lead to the next lifecycle stage. Your campaign should be about more than just obtaining an email address — it should be about developing a new customer.

Link your CTA to a dedicated landing page.

This may seem obvious to you, but you’d be surprised how many marketers don’t create dedicated landing pages for their offers. CTAs are meant to send visitors to a landing page where they can receive a specific offer.

Don’t use CTAs to drive people to your homepage, for instance. Even if your CTA is about your brand or product (and perhaps not an offer like a download), you should still be sending them to a targeted landing page that’s relevant to what they are looking for and includes an opt-in form. If you have the opportunity to use a CTA, send them to a page that will convert them into a lead.

If you want to learn more about how to build and promote high-converting landing pages, then download our ebook on optimizing landing pages for conversions.

Get your sales team involved.

Remember when we talked about lead scoring? Well, it isn’t exactly doable without your sales team’s input. How will you know what qualifies a lead for sales without knowing if your defined SQLs are successfully sold? Your marketing and sales teams need to be aligned on the definitions and the process of moving a lead from MQL to SQL to opportunity before you even begin to capture leads.

Also, be open to evolving your relationship with sales and how you guide leads along your funnel. Your definitions will likely need to be refined over time; just make sure to keep everyone involved up-to-date.

Use social media strategically.

While marketers typically think of social media as best for top-of-the-funnel marketing, it can still be a helpful and low-cost source for lead generation as shared in the lead gen strategies above. The key is using social media strategically for lead generation.

Start by adding links directly to the landing pages of high-performing offers within your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media posts. Tell visitors that you’re sending them to a landing page. That way, you’re setting expectations. Here’s an example from one of our Facebook posts:

You can also do a lead generation analysis of your blog to figure out which posts generate the most leads, and then make a point of regularly linking social media posts to them.

Another way to generate leads from social media is to run a contest. Contests are fun and engaging for your followers, and they can also teach you a ton about your audience. It’s a win-win. Read our step-by-step guide for growing your email list using social media contests, which covers everything from choosing a platform, to picking a winner, all the way to analyzing your results.

Remain flexible and constantly iterate.

Your lead generation strategy needs to be as dynamic as the people you’re targeting. Trends change, behaviors shift, opinions morph … so should your lead gen marketing. Use A/B split testing to see what CTAs perform best, which landing pages convert better, and which copy captures your target audience. Experiment with layout changes, design, UX, content, and advertising channels until you find what works.


There you have it, folks. Now that you know more about how to generate leads for your business, we recommend you try HubSpot’s free lead generation tool. Use it to add simple conversion assets to your site (or scrape your existing forms) to help you learn more about your site visitors and what content prompts them to convert.

The basics we’ve gone over in this blog post are just the beginning. Keep creating great offers, CTAs, landing pages, and forms — and promote them in multi-channel environments. Be in close touch with your sales team to make sure you’re handing off high-quality leads on a regular basis. Last but not least, never stop testing. The more you tweak and test every step of your inbound lead generation process, the more you’ll improve lead quality and increase revenue.

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Originally published May 14, 2019 10:49:00 AM, updated May 14 2019

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When setting up a paid Facebook ad, there are a lot of boxes to be checked.

Are you targeting the right people? Are your image dimensions to scale? Are you running the right type of ad? If we’re being honest, it can get a little confusing.

With more than 2.3 billion people using Facebook every month, and nearly 1.6 billion users every day, Facebook offers up a unique opportunity for marketers to augment their organic efforts. The trouble is, with both an investment of time and money on the line, there’s not much room for oversight.

Free Lookbook: 50 Facebook Ad Examples That We Actually Clicked

To help, we’ve put together a checklist to help you keep all of your campaign details straight. Or watch this short video on how to increase the effectiveness of your ads and budget. These will help ensure that you’re tapping into the right audience with the right ad at the right time.

How to Run Facebook Ads

Facebook offers a variety of paid ad options and placements, but all ads can be broken down into three elements:

  1. Campaigns. The campaign houses all of your assets.
  2. Ad sets. If you’re targeting separate audiences with different characteristics, you’ll need an individual ad set for each.
  3. Ads. Your actual ads live within your ad sets. Each ad set can hold a variety of ads that vary in color, copy, images, etc.

With that terminology out of the way, let’s dive in to creating an ad.

reating an ad through Facebook’s Ads Manager.

You can create a paid ad on Facebook using Facebook’s Ads Manager.

Once you log into this page, you’ll see a performance dashboard where all of your campaigns, ad sets, and ads will be listed including the results they’ve driven for your Facebook page. Unless you’ve already created an ad for your Facebook page, this dashboard will be empty.

To create a new campaign, ad set, or ad through the Facebook Ad Manager, tab over to the type of ad you want to create and click the green “Create” button to far left of these ad types, as shown below. You can see from this screenshot that we’re currently set to create a new campaign.


Choose an objective.

Facebook’s Ads Manager, like many social media advertising networks, is designed with your campaign objective in mind. Before getting started, Ads Manager will prompt you to choose an objective for your campaign:


There are 11 different objectives to choose from. The list includes everything from general brand awareness, to getting installs of your app, to increasing traffic to your online store.

By choosing one of these objectives, you’re giving Facebook a better idea of what you’d like to do so they can present you with the best-suited ad options. As shown in the screenshot above, Facebook’s ad options include:

  • Brand awareness
  • Reach
  • Website traffic
  • Engagement
  • App installs
  • Video views
  • Lead generation
  • Messages
  • Conversions
  • Catalog sales
  • Store traffic

Let’s say, for sake of this blog post, you’re looking to drive more traffic to your website. When you select this option, Facebook will prompt you to enter the URL you’re looking to promote. If you’re using marketing automation software, be sure to create a unique tracking URL with UTM parameters for this to ensure that you’ll be able to keep track of traffic and conversions from this ad. For HubSpot customers, this can be done using the Tracking URL Builder.

Once selected, Facebook will then display the ad option that makes the most sense in terms of achieving this objective.

Choose your audience.

Your next step is to configure your target audience — you can do this for each ad set that belongs to the same campaign. If you’re just starting out with paid advertising on Facebook, it’s likely that you’ll have to experiment with several different targeting options until you reach an audience that fits just right.

To help you narrow your focus, Facebook’s targeting criteria are accompanied by an audience definition gauge. This tool — located to the right of the audience targeting fields — takes all of your selected properties into consideration in order to come up with a potential reach number.

If you’re wavering between choosing a specific audience over a broad one, consider your objective. If you’re looking to drive traffic, you’ll probably want to focus on the type of people you know will be interested in your offering. However, if you’re looking to build brand awareness or promote a widely appealing offer, feel free to focus on a more general audience.

Audience creation page in the Facebook Ad Manager

Facebook’s built-in targeting is vast, including options such as:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Languages
  • Relationship
  • Education
  • Work
  • Financial
  • Home
  • Ethnic Affinity
  • Generation
  • Parents
  • Politics (U.S. only)
  • Life Events
  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Connections

You also have the option to select a Custom Audience — this allows you to target people on Facebook who are in your company’s contact database, visited a page on your website that has a tracking pixel, or use your app or game. To learn more about how to set up an Custom Audience on Facebook, check out these instructions. (And for more on the specifics of these criteria, visit this Facebook targeting resource.)

Once you find a group that responds well to your ads, Facebook allows you to save these audiences to be used again later — so you may not need to dive into this step once you’ve been running Facebook ads for a while.

Set your budget.

Facebook allows you to set either a daily budget or a lifetime budget. Here’s how they differ from each other:

  • Daily budget. If you want your ad set to run continuously throughout the day, this is the option you’ll want to go for. Using a daily budget means that Facebook will pace your spending per day. Keep in mind that the minimum daily budget for an ad set is $1.00 USD and must be at least 2X your CPC.
  • Lifetime budget. If you’re looking to run your ad for a specified length of time, select lifetime budget. This means Facebook will pace your spend over the time period you set for the ad to run.


To further specify your budgeting, turn to the advanced options — this option is linked at the bottom of the screenshot shown above. This section allows you to specify a few things:


Choose whether or not your want your campaign to run immediately and continuously or if you want to customize the start and end dates. You can also set parameters so that your ads only run during specific hours and days of the week.

Optimization & Pricing

Choose whether or not you want to bid for your objective, clicks, or impressions. (This will alter how your ad is displayed and paid for.) By doing so, you’ll pay for your ad to be shown to people within your target audience that are more likely to complete your desired action, but Facebook will control what your maximum bid is.

If you don’t want Facebook to set optimal bids for you, you’ll want to opt for manual bidding. This option awards you full control over how much you’re willing to pay per action completed. However, Facebook will provide a suggested bid based on other advertisers’ behavior to give you a sense of what you should shoot for.


Delivery type falls under two categories: standard and accelerated. Standard delivery will show your ads throughout the day, while accelerated delivery helps you reach an audience quickly for time-sensitive ads (Note: this option requires manual bid pricing).

Create your ad.

What do you want your ad to look like? It all depends on your original objective.

If you’re looking to increase the number of clicks to your website, Facebook’s Ad Manager will suggest the Clicks to Website ad options. Makes sense, right?

This ad option is broken down into two formats: Links and Carousels. Essentially, this means that you can either display a single image ad (Links) or a multi-image ad (Carousel) with three to five scrolling images at no additional cost.

A Links ad will be displayed like this:

Facebook Ad with link to Shop Now

A Carousel ad will be displayed like this:

Example of a Facebook Carousel Ad with images of Grand Canyon

Once you decide between the two, you’ll need to upload your creative assets. It’s important to note that for each type of ad, Facebook requires users to adhere to certain design criteria.

For single image ads, Facebook asks that users adhere to the following design recommendations:

  • Text: 125 characters
  • Ad Headline: 25 characters
  • Image ratio: 1.91:1
  • Image resolution (including CTA): 1080 x 1080 pixels

For multi-image ads — also known as Carousel Ads — Facebook provides the following design recommendations:

  • Recommended image size: 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Image ratio: 1:1
  • Text: 125 characters
  • Headline: 40 characters
  • Link description: 20 characters

Keep in mind that these are the ad options for the “Traffic” objective.

If you selected “boost your posts,” you’d be presented with different ad options like the Page Post Engagement: Photo ad. This ad has a unique set of design recommendations. To explore all of the ad options and their design specifics, refer to this resource.

Once you select an ad type, the Ads Manager will prompt you to identify how you’d like to display your ad. The options they provide are as follows: Desktop News Feed, Mobile News Feed, and Desktop Right Column.

Here’s how each ad would appear:

Desktop News Feed

Facebook Ad with single image on a desktop news feed

Mobile News Feed

Facebook ad with single image on mobile news feed

Desktop Right Column

Facebook Ad with single image on desktop right column

Be aware if your ad isn’t associated with a Facebook page, you’ll only be able to run Desktop Right Column ads. To leverage all three display locations, you can learn how to create a Facebook Page here.

Report on your ads’ performance.

Once your ads are running, you’ll want to keep an eye on how they’re doing. To see their results, you’ll want to look in two places: the Facebook Ad Manager and your marketing software.

Facebook’s Ad Manager

Facebook’s Ad Manager is a sophisticated dashboard that provides users with an overview of all their campaigns.

Upfront, the dashboard highlights an estimate of how much you’re spending each day. The dashboard is organized by columns, which makes it easy to filter through your ads so you can create a custom view of your results. Key numbers like reach, frequency, and cost are readily available, making reporting on performance a no brainer.

According to Facebook, here are some of the key metrics to look for (and their definitions):

  • Performance. Can be customized further to include metrics like results, reach, frequency and impressions
  • Engagement. Can be customized further to include metrics like Page likes, Page engagement and post engagement
  • Videos. Can be customized further to include metrics like video views and avg. % of video viewed
  • Website. Can be customized further to include metrics like website actions (all), checkouts, payment details, purchases and adds to cart
  • Apps. Can be further customized to include metrics like app installs, app engagement, credit spends, mobile app actions and cost per app engagement
  • Events. Can be further customized to include metrics like event responses and cost per event response
  • Clicks. Can be further customized to include metrics like clicks, unique clicks, CTR (click-through rate) and CPC (cost per click)
  • Settings. Can be further customized to include metrics like start date, end date, ad set name, ad ID, delivery, bid and objective

Your Marketing Software

While there are certainly a lot of details to keep straight when planning a paid Facebook ad, it’s important that you don’t lose sight of the big picture. Reporting on clicks and conversions from Facebook is important, however, if you’re using URLs with specific UTM codes, you have an opportunity to measure your ads’ full-funnel effectiveness using your marketing software.

Tracking URLs will help your marketing software keep track of how many leads, or better yet, how many customers you’ve gained from your advertising efforts. This information is useful in determining the ROI of this source, and can also be used to inform your overall Facebook marketing strategy.

If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can create unique tracking codes for your Facebook campaign by navigating to the Tracking URL Builder on the Reports Home page. All you’ll need to do is plug in the URL, attach a campaign, and choose the source you want the URL to be attributed to in your Sources Report. Once your ad launches and you start getting traffic and conversions on your website, you’ll be able to easily track how many visits, contacts, and customers you’re generating.

FB Ad Examples

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Why do marketers routinely ignore one big thing that can make or break their marketing strategy?

Dan Gingiss
Dan Gingiss

This week on The Inbound Success Podcast, Dan Gingiss talks about why customer experience trumps marketing every time – and how you as a marketer can create viral customer experiences.

Dan is an author, podcaster, keynote speaker, and noted customer experience expert who has headed up social media and customer experience for a slew of Fortune 500 companies. He has made it his business to curate examples of the best and worst customer experiences and distill the lessons learned into actionable strategies for companies looking to take their game to the next level.

In this week’s episode, Dan shares both why customer experience is so important as well as how marketers can develop a customer experience strategy, including actionable tips on things like writing marketing copy and getting more in touch with what your customers actually want and need.

This week’s episode of The Inbound Success Podcast is brought to you by our sponsor, IMPACT Live,  the most immersive and high energy learning experience for marketers and business leaders. IMPACT Live takes place August 6-7, 2019 in Hartford Connecticut and is headlined by Marcus Sheridan along with special guests including world-renowned Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith and Drift CEO and Co-Founder David Cancel.
Inbound Success Podcast listeners can save 10% off the price of tickets with the code “SUCCESS”. 

Click here to learn more or purchase tickets for IMPACT Live

Some highlights from my conversation with Dan include:

  • If you don’t have a great product or service, then really no amount of marketing is going to work in the long run. It might get people to buy your product to service, but then they’re going to be dissatisfied with it, and they’re going to return it, or they’re going to tell their friends that it’s terrible, or what have you.
  • Today there’s no longer such a thing as an offline experience. Any experience – good or bad – throughout any stage of the customer journey, has a strong likelihood of being shared online.
  • 30% of consumers say after a negative experience, that they would post a negative review online, or on social media. But, almost 50% of consumers say the same thing about a positive experience.
  • Being responsive on social media is so critical, especially to the people that are complaining because you have an opportunity to make things right.
  • People who complain, complain because they care. The ones who don’t care have already left for your competition. They’ve already switched providers, and they don’t care whether you fix it or not.
  • The best place to start when building a great customer experience is with language. So many companies are using language that frankly, most consumers either don’t understand, or can’t connect with.
  • One way to do this is by writing marketing copy that is witty (this is not the same as being humorous, which may or may not resonate with your audience).
  • If you struggle to be witty, the easiest way to start is to eliminate jargon and technical terminology from your copy, and then to read what you write back to yourself and ask yourself, “does this sound like something I would say in conversation?”
  • The best way to identify opportunities to create shareable customer experiences is to actually be a customer of your own product.

Resources from this episode:

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