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Are SERP Features Taking Over Your Search Results?

Are SERP Features Taking Over Your Search Results?

Mark Traphagen

Mark Traphagen is Vice President of Product Marketing and Training for seoClarity. His previous careers as a salesman and then a teacher were excellent preparations for what he does now. Mark’s deep dive into online marketing began about 14 years ago when he was tasked with turning around a failing independent bookstore. He took the store online and developed practices of content marketing, influencer relationships, exceptional customer service, and community building that brought the store to profitability in two years. Since that time he has dedicated himself to learning what really works for online business success. He is a sought after speaker at conferences such as PubCon, State of Search, and SMX, and a featured writer for major online publications such as the Moz Blog, Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, and a VIP Columnist for Search Engine Journal.

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6 Ways LeadJolt Uses The Power Of Social Media To Curate Lasting Relationships In The Real Estate Industry – Social Media Explorer

6 Ways LeadJolt Uses The Power Of Social Media To Curate Lasting Relationships In The Real Estate Industry

6 Ways LeadJolt Uses The Power Of Social Media To Curate Lasting Relationships In The Real Estate Industry

The real estate industry can be cutthroat. Many people are vying for the same customers, and standing out from the crowd can be challenging. However, the marketing experts at LeadJolt believe with the power of social media, you can create lasting relationships with your clients and colleagues that will help you succeed in this competitive field. This article will discuss using social media to build strong relationships in the real estate industry.

Creating And Nurturing Relationships

First, they understand that social media is more than just a platform for sharing photos and updates. It’s an essential tool for connecting with customers and building relationships. That’s why they use social media to create informative and engaging content. They also respond to every comment and message, creating a dialogue that shows customers that they value their input.

In addition, they regularly run contests and promotions, giving customers the chance to win prizes while also getting to know them better. Using social media to create and nurture relationships, they can build a community of loyal customers who are happy to spread the word.

Sharing Relevant Content

In addition to using social media to create relationships, they also use it to share relevant content, which includes blog posts, infographics, and even videos. They post regularly, so their followers always have something new to read or watch.

In addition, they share industry news and updates, keeping their followers up-to-date on the latest developments. By sharing valuable content, they can position themselves as a trusted resource for information about the real estate industry.

Helping Marketers Achieve Goals

At LeadJolt, they understand the challenges real estate professionals face when marketing their business. They also know that a successful marketing campaign can make all the difference in generating new leads and closing more deals. That’s why they’ve designed the platform to provide everything you need to create and manage an effective marketing campaign.

From listing your properties on the site to making custom marketing materials, they’ve got you covered. They also offer a range of powerful tools to help you track your results and measure your success. And because they know that every business is different, we offer a flexible approach that can be customized to meet your unique needs.

Building Lasting Relationships

Ultimately, its goal is to build lasting relationships with its customers. They want their customers to think of them as a trusted advisor who is always there to help. By using social media to create strong relationships, they can provide a level of service that is unmatched in the industry.

If you’re looking for a way to stand out from your competition, you should consider using social media to build lasting relationships with your clients. With the power of social media, you can create a community of loyal customers who will help you succeed in the real estate industry.

Customer Feedback

They understand that customer feedback is essential to any social media strategy. After all, it is only through listening to customers that they can hope to understand their needs and preferences. As a result, they make it a priority to collect feedback from customers regularly and actively. This feedback helps them refine their social media strategy on an ongoing basis, ensuring that they always provide the best possible experience for our customers.

Additionally, their team is always available to answer customers’ questions or concerns about their products and services. They believe that by providing this level of customer service, they will continue to build strong relationships with customers and grow their business.

Always Looking For Ways To Improve

They are always looking for new ways to improve their social media presence and better serve their customers. One way they do this is by constantly monitoring their social media channels for feedback. They also make sure to respond to all customer inquiries promptly. Additionally, they regularly create helpful blog posts and infographics on various topics related to lead generation and social media marketing.

Not only do these pieces provide valuable information for readers, but they also help to promote the brand and drive traffic to their website. Finally, they constantly explore new platforms and strategies to ensure they use the most effective tactics possible. They can provide customers with the best possible experience by continuously improving their social media presence.

Final Thoughts

LeadJolt’s social media platforms are used to create and nurture relationships with customers. The platforms also share relevant content and keep followers up-to-date on the latest news. They strive to provide valuable, engaging content that helps followers achieve their marketing goals. The company is always looking for new ways to improve its social media presence and better serve its customers. Customer feedback is highly valued and critical in shaping LeadJolt’s social media strategy. By using social media to create strong relationships, they can provide a level of service that is unmatched in the industry.

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11 Biggest Benefits of Blogging for Small Business Owners in 2022

11 Biggest Benefits of Blogging for Small Business Owners in 2022

Are there any benefits of blogging? Sure there are. For decades, entrepreneurs have promoted their businesses through content marketing.

The form content marketing has taken has differed over the years though.

Think about the invention of the printing press, the massive impact of television, and then the outburst of digital technologies.

One common trend throughout this evolution has been the fact that companies are constantly finding better ways to…

…give more to customers and see greater benefits.

In recent years, one such digital medium that does just that and creates value for your business is blogging.

Today we want to expand on the benefits of blogging to business owners to show you just why you should have a blog if you don’t already.

And if you do, then we’ve got some tips for you to help you see more benefits from your blogging efforts.

Gillette Understood the Benefits of Blogging Early On

 The best example that comes to mind is Gillette’s transition from promoting its razors via local newspaper inserts on…

…weekends to a convincing lifestyle blog that gives tips about shaving.

The brand understood early on that outbound advertising was becoming passé.

The time had come to assert themselves as an industry leader when people think about shaving.

They strayed away from outbound strategies and started adopting inbound techniques like blogging that…

…create value for their customer base and helps sell their products in a non-salesy way.

This method suits best with customers.

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This holds true not only for big corporations but for small businesses too.

The benefits of blogging are across the board and can positively impact all businesses of all sizes.

modern blogging

As seen in the example above, gone are the days when the only way to influence a shopper was by seeking out a print ad in a local newspaper.

Or announcing a new product on prime time television hoping that your target audience would see and act on your advertisement.

The dot-com boom changed a lot for business owners.

And above all how they promote their business to capture shoppers who would flock into stores.

Today advertisers rely on something much more adaptive that creates value.

Though the scope of online advertising is huge, we’re going to focus on the topic of blogging and…

…what benefits it brings to business owners like yourself.

Blogging for Business Owners

As a business owner, if you find yourself a little clueless about what exactly is blogging let alone the benefits of blogging, there’s nothing to fear.

You are at the right place!

43% of business owners say they don’t know what blogging is or don’t actively blog for their business.

In this age of online marketing, these businesses are likely missing out on more customers and sales.

Spoiler alert! – 55% out of the ones that do, use it as their #1 inbound marketing strategy and say they have benefited from it.

blogging for business owners

A blog is a compilation of thoughts, facts, and expert opinions relating to…

…the business, industry or its audience.

It is a written piece of information that lives online and can be accessed by…

…anyone who visits that company’s website.

The worldwide web has revolutionized the way business owners think about advertising.

Not just in terms of broadcast media and publications.

It has changed the way consumers actually consume media.

By opening different avenues for information gathering, has made companies rethink and often…

…reconfigure their inbound marketing strategy.

Many companies now practice a strategy where consumers come to them for information rather than them pushing sales via…

…outbound strategies to spread awareness about their products.

This, in our opinion, is one of the biggest benefits of blogging. The change in how companies do business.

But there are 11 other amazing benefits of blogging that we wanted to share with you.

And we think as a smart business owner you should know these when it comes to blogging for your customers.

Here’s some high level data to start with:

  •    Businesses that publish regular content receive 8x more traffic
  •    Blogging helps reduce overall marketing spend by more than 60%
  •    Blogging helps in achieving 3x more leads

11 Benefits of Blogging as Experienced First Hand with Business Owners

  1. Show that you are an expert in your industry

Benefit: Trust

How your blog looks and the way you write can be made to suit your personality or your brand voice.

These things will help your blog to stand out from the rest. And through this, your readers will be able to develop a deeper bond with you.

It makes you a transparent brand that they would love to deal with. 

Also, blogging is a great way for businesses to share knowledge with their customers about the industry or other relevant interest areas.

Successful companies consistently publish blog articles to assert their authority as industry leader and subject matter expert.

It helps consumers build trust and confidence in your brand. A user who reads your blog often naturally has a relationship with you and trusts you.

This is part of the inbound strategy we mentioned earlier with Gillette.

First, you build trust with customers before trying to sell them on your products/services.

Industry Example: Airbnb

benefits of blogging

The above image is from Airbnb’s Belong Anywhere blog page. It connects readers with guest experiences and destination reviews.

When you think of budget vacations, you would never miss out on checking out Airbnb first.

Have you ever wondered what makes innovative startups like Uber & Airbnb industry leaders and thought provokers?

It is things like blogging that make the top of mind when customers are planning their vacations.

  1. Create Value for your customers

Benefit: Add value to the overall customer experience

People don’t follow overly salesy brands. What’s there to follow? There are not interesting stories from a bunch of sales posts.

The most important benefit of blogging is to create value for your customers.

You want to provide a better customer experience than your competitors. We cannot stress the importance of this enough.

Blogging without thinking about adding value to customer experience is like going on a trek without shoes on.

It’s pointless because you are going to get hurt.

With blogging, you’re giving your customers something for free before they make a purchase.

In hopes that free information will lead them in choosing to make a purchase on their own.

Some things you could share would be a helpful checklist, ideas, recipes and so on.

The more your potential customers can get from you for free, the more loyal they will be when they become customers.

Educating first before selling is always a good tactic!

Industry Example: Etsy Marketplace

Etsy is a marketplace for creative goods.

It’s an e-commerce based business like Amazon but for craft decorative products like handcrafted candles, homemade decor, etc.

From a business point of view, they bridge the gap between sellers and users.

But what makes it so big and recognizable?

The fact that users rely on them for their creative needs & ideas. Much can be attributed to their inbound strategy – which is their blog, Etsy Journal.

blog by etsy

This blog consists of articles, checklists, and ideas that don’t promote their products directly but instead give out ideas and inspire users.

They aim to add value to their users who, in turn, trust the brand to meet their creative needs.

  1. SEO

Search engine optimization is more than just ranking.

It is a long-term tactic to make your business visible above your competition in search engine results. There are a couple of ways to do that.

One of the ways is to write blog posts around keywords that your customers search for.

This is a great way to make sure you’re publishing relevant content.

And when the search engine algorithms come crawling, they find your blog to have used the popular keyword multiple times.

Due to its relevance, they determine to rank your business higher on the search results page.

There is a lot of on-page and off-page optimization that goes into this but this is one of the big benefits of blogging for business owners.

Benefit: Rank higher in search engine results

Industry Example: Insurance companies are the perfect example here.

Have you ever Googled what to do after a car crash? You’d probably see something like this.

search engine results

The top three results are all from different companies. This highlights one of the most important benefits of blogging.

Businesses that blog consistently can leverage online tools to increase their visibility in searches.

You can also generate more blog topics from the searches you find popular among your customers.

This is a great tactic in using blogging to your advantage.

  1. Collect Emails

Business owners can use blogging as a way to collect emails of interested prospects by asking website visitors to subscribe to your blog posts.

You can then add these users to your content marketing funnel. Where you can then send more communications and promotions about your business.

The more touch points you have with a customer, the greater chance you’ll have of them converting.

benefits of blogging

Benefit: Build email lists of interested customers for future marketing touch points.

Industry Example: Beauty blogs use blogging to their benefit a great deal when it comes to collecting emails for marketing purposes.

Beauty brands often give out tips and best practices.

As a part of this experience, they encourage their readers and visitors to sign up for their newsletters to receive consistent tips or features.

This tactic can be applied to many other industries.

  1. Demand Generation

Demand generation is the first step in lead generation tactics that capture interested or potential prospects via a contact form.

Demand Generation is the part where businesses need to generate enough demand from the market to be able to sell to them.

Businesses often use blogs and content presentations as a channel to announce new products, features, and inform customers about…

…their brand and the solutions they can provide.

Benefit: Create and cultivate an interest in your brand and products

Industry Example: Apple

Apple is a great example of demand generation via content presentation.

content presentation

Each year when an iconic software or product is released.

Leaders at Apple give a detailed keynote presentation to excite brand followers about the new release.

Steve Jobs started this, and it continues even after his passing because it works.

  1. Lead Conversions

In the most simple terms, there are three stages of capturing a customer to your business.

  1. The Awareness Stage
  2. The Consideration Stage
  3. The Decision Stage

The benefits of blogging can be extended across all three.

And it is even more important to understand that all three stages play an equal assertive role in converting a customer.

For example, checklists and tips in a blog post can help attract a new customer and get him or her interested in your products or services.

Additionally, “how-to” topics can convert customers in the consideration stage that might need a little push and a little more info about a product.

And finally, testimonial content marketing can help a customer in the decision stage who may need social proof before purchasing from you.

Blogging is an important element of the lead conversion process.

Benefit: Push a customer through the lead conversion process (awareness, consideration, decision) without “selling” to them.

Industry Example: Slack

Slack Stories

Slack, an internal messaging tool for workplaces, fits best when we think of the benefits of blogging in terms of aiding in lead conversions.

When a user browses through Slack’s pricing web pages or opts to receive a custom quote.

They are greeted with communication regarding customer Slack Stories.

A blog dedicated to customer success stories.

This can very well prove to be the final sales tactic that makes a potential customer convert.

  1. Get Exposure & Visibility

Sometimes, business owners feel their money is better invested in things like operations and management of the brand rather than…

…advertising and promotions.

But then how do you build brand awareness about your business without spending resources to promote it?

As we tell our clients, blogging is oftentimes the answer to many of their questions.

If your blog truly creates value for users, search engines are going to pick it up.

No matter what. This strategy is a great way for brands to house information about new products and services on their website.

Where users will visit not just to get the information they are looking for, but they will also learn about the business in general.

Benefit: Increase brand visibility

tesla blog

Industry Example: Tesla’s Blog

Companies like Tesla spend very little on promoting their business.

So how are they so popular? Instead, they rely on adding value to their community with blogs and articles that will earn a story in a publication anyway.

This is their way to spread awareness about new products and features. And sometimes, the only way.

  1. Build Your Network with Influencer Marketing

Another way blogging can benefit business owners is when they work with influencers as a part of their content marketing strategy.

You would generally give an influencer your product to have or use in exchange for a blog post reviewing the product and your company.

The key here is to make sure you work with an influencer that your customers admire or follow.

This is an important benefit of blogging, often overlooked by business owners. Think of yourself as a new business owner. Your business is young and has few followers. So your blog most likely will not make a large impact initially.

Influencers, on the other hand, already have hundreds of thousands of followers that…

…they can promote your business to with a simple blog post reviewing your product.

Benefit: Wider reach with influencer marketing

Industry Example: Home Depot when introducing a new range of furniture, tools, and hardware.

Challenged a group of influencers to build out a stylish patio using just Home Depot’s products.

Home Depot Pinterest

The idea for the brand was to document how easy their tools were to use.

And the influencers wrote all about it on their blog sites.

Which Home Depot their shared on their site and social platforms thus helping the brand to achieve a widespread reach.

Home depot blog

  1. Generate Backlinks

Inbound links are links on other web pages that link back to your website.

Other than being a great SEO growth tool, it finds its place among the benefits of blogging as well.

As we discussed earlier, blogging creates value for customers by giving out tips and important information about the business or industry in general.

If these blog articles are valuable enough to solve a customer problem, they might get picked up by other websites or blogs too. 

When other sites link to your information, it looks like a strong recommendation to Google.

Just like with any product, the more someone recommends it, the more you want to use it.

These digital recommendations (backlinks) help increase your website authority and signals your website as favorable to the search engine algorithms.

Benefit: Backlinks increase your domain authority and ranking in search engines.

Industry Example: The New York Times is a great example of this.

Though it has made its mark with news coverage, it maintains its own blog too that talks about its opinions about…

…different topics ranging from healthcare to technology.

The topics are so relevant and touch the everyday lives of people that brands often link back to the New York Times when citing a similar topic.

  1. Feedback

Blogging is also a great way for customers to leave comments about your business.

Because of the easy availability of blogs on a brand’s website.

Blogging has become an extension for customers to learn more about what they like and don’t like.

Customers can share stories with other users about your products/services. Or just leave feedback on the blog pages.

Similar to social listening, brands can easily adjust their marketing/advertising strategy accordingly based on the…

…engagement and feedback they receive on blog posts.

Do you have any other benefits of blogging you’ve noticed for your business? Share them with us in the comments below. See what we did there 😉

Benefit: Blogs can be inviting enough for users to leave feedback and opinions.

Industry Example: Trip Advisor

One such example is Trip Advisor’s blog that mentions different holiday destinations around the world.

Each blog post is concluded with a comment section where users can leave their…

…opinions, feedback, and suggestions about the location if they have visited it.

This is a great way businesses can take advantage of feedback, engage with customers, and improve their business.

  1. Stay Ahead of the Competition

A business that has an active blog on its website is more likely to get a visitor to make a purchase.

A recent marketing study concluded that 55% of users are encouraged enough to buy from a business if they have a consistent and interesting blog.

A business with a steady blog is not only seen as an expert by users.

But it also creates value that indirectly helps a consumer choose products and services.

Benefit: Have a better market share over competitors.

Industry Example: American Express

online blog

American Express is probably one of the best examples to note when it comes to using blogging to stay ahead of the competition.

While other competitors were busy talking about their new products.

American Express saw a rise in small businesses across North America and decided to capitalize on that.

They started a blog that shared ways business owners can grow their businesses and how the community should support small businesses.

The tactic was successful because these blogs were not promotional in nature but…

…sponsored a dear cause of how American Express supports small business owners and their dreams.

This gave a unique competitive advantage to the brand as it now represented the very idea of doing business.

The Benefits of Blogging Don’t End There…

We’ve seen all of these benefits first hand with our blog. So we know these tactics work, and we know they’re true.

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The benefits of blogging don’t just stop with you having a blog on your website.

If you can divert enough traffic to it, soon you will start to see an uptake in sales.

People will not only start trusting you more but also buy more products from you. It can be a key tool in your marketing arsenal. 

Our team of content wizards has worked with clients across multiple industries.

There are many types of blogging tactics that suit a business and its target audience.

Finding the right ones for your brand is all it takes. And we can help you out with that.

We are a full-service digital marketing firm that manages more than just blogging for your business.

We can also manage your SEO, social media profiles, website design, and email marketing to increase your blog traffic, leads, and conversions. 

Get more for your marketing money today with the personalized attention your business deserves.

Contact us to get started on a customized content marketing plan tailored to your industry, brand, and target audience.

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Messaging during Recessions: 3 Opportunities for Marketers – Email Marketing Rules

Messaging during Recessions- 3 Opportunities for Marketers

Regardless of whether the US is technically in a recession already or not, the majority of Americans have been under increasing economic pressure for a while already due to the highest inflation in 40 years, which is dramatically eroding their purchasing power. Despite the fact that many of the forces driving inflation are well outside of the Federal Reserve’s sphere of influence—the pandemic, the national housing shortage, Russia’s war against Ukraine, snarled global supply chains, etc.—the Fed is committed to additional steep rate hikes. Higher interest rates on mortgages, credit cards, and other loans will reduce economic activity, almost guaranteeing a recession by the end of next year.

In the meantime, marketers need to make the best of the current circumstances by tuning into consumers’ economic anxieties and concerns. Here are three strategies to consider…

>> Read the entire article on

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Push Notifications (2022 Update)


It’s a very well-known fact that push notifications are an exceedingly popular tool in the world of marketing today.

Not only can you attract and engage the possible clients, but you can also KEEP them engaged.

There are many tools at your disposal and all are effective in their own right.

Tips for Using Push Notifications

As mentioned above, these push ads can be highly effective if you do them right.

Here are a few tips on how to make the most of them for your business:

The first thing to remember is that you should NOT come across as desperate, obsessive, and flat-out clingy.

When it comes to direct sales, keeping a distance and respecting your product is essential. Also, customization is key.

Pick the target audience – It’s one of the most crucial things you need to succeed while sending push notifications. If the information you show is personalized, there’s a high chance that it will convert.

There’s an opportunity to customize every little aspect of your message while tailoring it to match a very specific client.

Gender, age, and various other parameters must be considered when personalizing the messages.

Make sure that the content is relevant – First, you must ensure that the information is up to date: ongoing promos, news, it should all be as up to date as possible.

There’s nothing worse than irrelevant push notifications informing the receiver about something that is no longer valid (e.g., Christmas promos in mid-January).

Pay attention to the GEO – Most advertisers say that context is everything, and that contextual advertising is this be-all-end-all of modern marketing.

By mentioning their city or region, you make it more personal. There’s also the advanced option of using GPS data to be more precise, but that’s a different game anyway.

Incorporate social networks – You have to include the option to share. People like sharing things on social media these days.

Advertise on time – Your target audience should only receive a push notification when the timing is right.

Nobody wants to read about unmissable discounts in the dead of night.

After a few misguided notifications, the customer might just unsubscribe right away.

Be sure to let them unsubscribe – There’s no point in forcing them to stick around if they actually want to unsubscribe.

Avoid being obstructive when it comes to unsubscribing.

Don’t be intrusive – You have to time it just right and have the most perfect amount of information.

Bombarding people with notifications is a surefire way of decreasing revenue and earning a bad reputation.

Keep it simple, be polite, and keep them informed.

You can use push notifications for:

Advertising – More often than not, these messages are used for advertising a certain product or service.

First, there’s a user database that’s been gathered for the sole purpose of advertising through push notifications, calls to action, and so forth.

The best thing is that the recipient doesn’t have to do anything – they will be transferred to the right page after just clicking on the push notification.

Improvement of the user experience – Publishers and webmasters, take note! You can keep your target audience engaged forever and ever.

They will most likely stay on your website forever if you keep informing them about the latest improvements, additions, etc.

Order status – This allows the webmaster to save money on text notifications. You can just send push notifications whenever the order changes status. It’s wise to supplement these push notifications with emails that provide additional information.

App and social media activity – We can all easily remember it. Many apps and social media sites have distinct sounds that are meant to notify of an incoming message or a post. Use it. It’s very convenient to engage an audience by notifying them in such a way.

No matter what the notification might be, try to make sure that it’s also memorable.

Sharing stats and/or data – You can show the current currency exchange rates, stock value hikes, or a graph of the traffic on a website. This is one of the most effective ways of using push notifications to keep the audience engaged. They think that this data is important and they will sometimes take action on it.

Trending content – Trendy discussions like politics or hot topics like religion or celebrity gossip helped make several moderately respected news sources.

Every news app is ready to send a push notification whenever a trending story is about to explode.

Even the most reputable news media don’t shy away from using push notifications – CNN, for instance, uses them masterfully.

Now, it’s obvious that push notifications can be a great tool in the right hands.

They can and should be used alongside other marketing methods.

Here are the biggest Pros & Cons of push notifications.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Push Notifications

Advantages Disadvantages
Easy to set up. Some people think that push notifications are an inherently intrusive advertising tool.
Easy to subscribe; only a couple of clicks are needed. Most people block notifications by default.
Users don’t have to input personal information, making them more likely to subscribe. The frequency of notifications is difficult to figure out, and requires some fine-tuning.
Push notifications pop up even if the app/site is closed. It’s possible to inadvertently unsubscribe whenever re-installing the OS, updating, or switching to a new device.
Seamless transition from clicking on notification to being transferred to a specific page. The amount of text is very limited.
It’s possible to adjust the time and frequency of notifications. Push notifications are only used once.
It’s possible to personalize the notifications themselves.
It’s possible to use segment-specific settings based on location, web browser version, or device language.

Now, if you’re still interested in giving push notifications a spin, sign up for free for TheSender, a push service created by RollerAds. See just how efficient it can be!


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GTM for early stage startups

GTM for early stage startups

The most common question a new startup faces is — how do we acquire users -starting from your first 1000 users? How do we go from 1k to 10k users? How do we launch our product? Or if you like to complicate it with VC talk, what’s your Go-to-Market(Aka GTM) strategy?

In this post, I shall focus primarily on consumer companies and products. This is part I where i will go in detail on few of the 12 methods for generating user interest and acquisition. In the next post, I will share examples of the other methods. I’ll share some tricks for b2b startups separately.

Over the years, I’ve been lucky to work on several early stage products. Whether it was at my own startup — building Whatsapp Status Saver(grew it to 700k+ users organically) & Mshup(a short video app) or with existing players — launching Smartapp — a smart bill payment or more recently launching OneScore — a new app to check & improve your credit score & right now OneCard — India’s Best Metal Credit Card. And across these startups and products, I’ve come across similar problems.

A few problems are unique to a new product/startup –

  1. No users or set definition of users. Thus unable to verify hypothesis
  2. No/Low marketing budget
  3. Beta/Unfinished product
The circle of death for early stage startups

Early stage startups suffer from something i like to call the circle of death. Since they don’t have any money, they find it hard to get the right users. Since they don’t have the right users, they can’t validate their hypothesis/get feedback. And thus they continue to work on the wrong problem or solution resulting in loss of time and thus eventual death. The simplest way to break this cycle is to — get some users! Paul Graham’s blog post on ‘Doing things that don’t scale’ is very popular for this very reason.

One of the most under-estimated points in figuring out your go-to-market is acquiring the right users. Do these users have the problem you’re solving for? Is the problem big enough? Does your solution adequately cover their problems? Are you using the right messaging to communicate your value proposition to your users?

4 steps to finding your gtm

This also applies when you’re launching a new product or exploring an entire new segment of users for your product. We can alternatively look at these as solving in 3 layers. Let’s explore how we can solve for step 3 of GTM.

Framework for finding GTM. Solve one layer at a time.

What is different about your product? What do you know or understand that others don’t? What’s your secret? The secret helps you define the positioning. It can help you acquire users at a cost. For Sharechat, the secret was a ton of new users suddenly wanted to share on Whatsapp but had no way to get that content.

Secret of Sharechat

Let’s examine the secret of Dollar Shave Club — a subscription service for nice, cheap razors.

Secret of Dollar Shave Club

They started with a core insight — razors were too expensive. And mixed it with a killer secret — men hated buying them again and again.

The GTM is the process of converting the secret/insight into the right channel/positioning to acquire users. In the case of Dollar Shave Club, it meant creating a video.

Positioning — Dollar Shave Club. Get blades just for a dollar.

The AIDA model is useful to understand how we can use the insight to grab the attention of the user.


Now that we understand why it’s important to generate interest, let’s understand some ways in which we can generate interest.

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12 ways to generate interest and get users

There are 12 core ways to generate interest as shown above.

  1. Make a killer video
  2. Use Ads(if LTV is very high)
  3. Leverage content/social media
  4. Go offline
  5. Create a waitlist — pre-generate demand
  6. Create FOMO — included in invite systems & referral
  7. Crazy pricing
  8. Be present — go where your users are — this includes SEO, ASO, Marketplaces, Malls etc
  9. Have great design
  10. Game-changing product — Example iPhone. This is very hard to do.
  11. Use influencers
  12. TV marketing/Ads

All GTM strategies are a result of focus on one or the other of the strategies mentioned above. Typically one starts out using a particular strategy & then expands to add new channels. At OneCard, we used a combination of 1, 5, 6, 9 and 10 to launch the product.

I’ll go into point no 8 — Be Present. It’s a strategy used by FMCG products for the longest time to sell Shampoo. Be there when the user goes to buy. This strategy encompasses several different channels based on the product –

  1. SEO — be the top search result when a user searches for your product/similar product
  2. ASO — be the top ranking app in the appstore when user searches for keyword
  3. Marketplace — be the top phone when user searches for reliable phones or be present in the choice
  4. Airport parking — If you’re a cab service, be present when passengers want to go back home/work

To give you an example of a strategy i implemented myself, let’s look at the OneCard video. I was inspired by Steve Job’s demo of the iPhone and the Dollar Shave Club video. I combined it with a few behavioural economics concepts of scarcity of information generating curiosity. And focused it around a single message we wanted to deliver — a lot like the Dollar Shave club video.

OneCard — It’s Metal. Coming Soon. Pre-launch video

Increasingly startups and new products are using influencers to launch or grow their products in a big way. MPL used Virat Kohli, Khatabook used a combination of 11 and 12 — MS Dhoni as influencer and TV ads as the channel to rapidly build trust and grow, more recently Cred used Bollywood stars in a series of Ads. Other players are experimenting with Harsha Bhogle, Akshay Kumar as influencers/ambassadors though not promoting them in a huge way.

Invite programs are a personal favorite because it’s becoming harder to execute a program without direct incentives. I’ve written in depth about the mechanics of an invite program here —

The final part of the GTM is positioning. Essentially it’s about what story you’re telling your users. Why should they care about you vs a zillion competitors? Why should they prefer your product?

That’s it for now. If you want me to dig deeper into a particular area, please leave a comment. If you found the article useful, please feel free to hit the share with your friends..

I’m a product builder currently re-defining credit in India. If you’re interested to work with us, please DM me here or on Twitter. I love all things consumer — fintech, social, video and music. You can follow me on Twitter or Linkedin.

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Zillow sees slowing demand for ads in housing downturn

Zillow sees slowing demand for ads in housing downturn

Zillow, led by CEO Rich Barton, makes most of its money by selling marketing services to real estate agents, who may reduce ad spending as they adjust to the slower market.

While demand indicators stabilized in July compared to June, the company expects the dollar volume of transactions industrywide to “meaningfully contract” in the second half from a year earlier, Barton said in a letter to shareholders.

Zillow’s big bet on iBuying, a tech-powered spin on home-flipping, crashed and Barton shuttered the business in November, pivoting to a housing “super app” to integrate tools consumers and agents use to navigate the buying or selling process.

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What Are Native Ads and How Can You Use Them? | ClickCease Blog

What Are Native Ads and How Can You Use Them? | ClickCease Blog

As the way we use the internet has changed, so has the way we consume ads. Increasingly marketers are searching for methods that are more subtle, or approaches that catch our attention without disrupting our online experience. And this is where native ads come in.

If you use social media, read online news or magazines then you will have come across native ads. They are a mainstay of pretty much every ad platform and a popular way to both create engaging content and improve your brand visibility.

So in this article, we’re going to take a look at what exactly are native ads, and how you can use them in your own marketing campaigns.

What are native ads?

Native ads are sponsored posts which are designed to blend into the style and aesthetic of a website. They will normally appear as part of the feed on social media, or with suggested content at the bottom of a news or magazine article.

However, as the name suggests, these ads are designed to be native to the web page. They often include any promoted content that is designed to look like it’s not actually an ad. Native advertising can take the shape of promoted search results or sponsored digital content like YouTube videos; although the caveat is that they usually have the words ‘ad’ or ‘sponsored’ in some part of their frame.

These ads are particularly effective and more preferable to the site visitor as they don’t interfere with the user experience or stick out like a sore thumb.

Take this example from the GQ home page for example….

An example of a native ad on
Spot the native ad content on’s home page

You probably spotted the anti-ageing content highlighted as an ‘advertisement feature’. But it fits in with the style and content of the rest of the website.

In fact, in this example, the same content makes a similar appearance further down the page.

Native advertising banner on GQ Native advertising banner on GQ

Once again, this native advertising feature blends in seamlessly – and it isn’t hiding the fact that it’s an ad.

So what difference between this style of native ad campaign and traditional ads such as banner ads or pop-ups?

Native ads vs banner ads

There is a time and a place for both native ads and banner ads. As a general rule, banner ads are great if you’re trying to improve your brand visibility and are generally running campaigns targeting high impressions (CPM). Whereas native advertising is much more effective if you’re targeting a specific audience demographic. 

Banner ads are obviously designed to stand out, which serves a purpose such as building brand visibility.

For example, you might want your banner ad to be displayed clearly on popular websites, perhaps as part of a rich media campaign.

Banner ads also come in a huge selection of shapes and sizing.

For native ads, you’ll have less of a choice of formatting options, for example you may need to cram all your information into an Instagram post, or Stories or Reels post. However the benefits are that native advertising does see more interactions than the bolder alternative.

Types of native ads

There are several different formats for native ads. 

1. Sponsored content

Often displayed as suggested content at the end of a post, with a header such as ‘you might also be interested in these articles’ or ‘more from around the internet’.

This is what people typically think of as a native ad, as the article is usually promotional copy leading directly to an external website or landing page.

2. Paid search results 

Paid search results are a prime example of native content. By sitting at the top of the SERPs, even with ‘ad’ next to the title, these ads blend into the format and style of the website. 

Although this may be native content, in style, they are not normally seen as native ads for the purposes of marketing campaigns. 

3. Promoted listings

Unlike the other forms of native ads, promoted listings are mainly used to target shoppers. You’ll see these forms of native advertising on sites like Amazon, where an advertisers has paid to push their product to the top of the home page. But you may also spot these on Google Shopping  – with the top results usually coming from paid campaigns.

4. In-feed social ads

Ads on social media platforms are designed to blend into your feed and be less intrusive, making them native by default. Of course, people are increasingly aware of ads on social media, even if they are designed to blend in. But they still remain a strong part of the ad strategy for many businesses, for good reason.

5. Native video ads

You don’t have to use written content or social media posts for your native ad. You can also use native video ads which can be embedded into either a web page or social media page. These also serve the extra benefit of being eye-catching and more engaging than written content or simple image based posts.

Why use native ads?

With online advertising, there can often be a case of ad fatigue, especially for brands with big budgets pursuing a strong marketing campaign. People quickly get bored of seeing the same banner ads, or being hit with the same video on YouTube or social media, which can be detrimental to a brand. 

So to improve engagement with target audiences, native advertising offers a way to keep your marketing rolling without annoying your target demographic.

Here are the main reasons to use native ads:

Less intrusive advertising

Let’s be honest here – no-one really likes ads. We know they essentially provide us with a free internet, but to have ads pushed in our faces can be obtrusive and, to many, annoying. And the move to less intrusive ads is driven largely by the need to run ads without putting people off your brand (ad fatigue). And also because they convert well.

Since they are essentially integrated into the design of the pages like other page content, native ads are less grating on our browsing consciousness. 

For example, with native ads, you’ll never see pop up notifications or ads obstructing page content. So therefore surfing our favorite websites is much smoother and more pleasant.

Native ads are more effective

Since native ads don’t face the same prejudice that display ads get from internet users, they may enjoy better reception online. For example, people are more likely to click a link within seemingly organic content, or on social media, than a pop-up ad of the same product placed on the same website. 

The advertisements are more relevant to consumers since they fit the context of their searches. This significantly boosts the efficiency of marketing campaigns. 

Since they’re practically part of the website, they are usually not blocked out by ad-blocking software, and are more likely to reach more people. Studies show that they are viewed up to 53% more than display ads.

People prefer and trust organic content

As people have become more wary of being advertised to, we prefer to find and research our potential new products or services ourselves. As such, we are more likely to spend time engaging with organic content than ads. In one study, it was found that 32% of people find native content more informative compared to traditional or direct ads.

The same study found that people are 33% more likely to trust information from native advertising content than from banners or traditional ads. 

How much do native ad campaigns cost?

As native advertising is offered as part of the standard offering on the advertising platforms, prices are normally comparable to other ad formats.

But, like other PPC ads, the actual cost of a native ad campaign will vary depending on the ad platform, your audience targeting, your industry and even your budget.

It is possible to set up a campaign using native ad placements for $10 or less. And of course the sky’s the limit. Facebook, for example, allows you to run ads on their platforms, which use native placements across their sites – which can cost under $10. But you can easily pay hundreds or thousands per day to run your native ad campaign.

If you’re paying per ad impression (CPM), cost per click, or cost per acquisition, the price will also vary.

Examples of native ads

The most popular use of native ads is evident in social media apps like Instagram. In fact you may have noticed that one in four posts on your Instagram feed is a sponsored post, presented in a native ad style.

Instagram Stories have also become a major platform for digital advertising, with regular ads.

Here are some great native advertising examples as seen on Instagram and Facebook:

An example of native content within an Instagram stories feedAn example of native content within an Instagram stories feed

Although these placements are obvious adverts, they also blend into your viewing experience. 

Below, you’ll also see an example of a Facebook Ad -which you’re probably familiar with already. And even though it’s very obviously promotional, it also blends into the aesthetic and the overall style of the Facebook page, a typical example of a native ad.

Facebook Ads use native advertising as standardFacebook Ads use native advertising as standard

Even though this isn’t an organic post, it still doesn’t interrupt your browsing experience in quite the same way as a traditional ad, or a more intrusive advertising style such as a pop up.

Another native advertising example that you’ve probably seen is the suggested content box. These are what people often think of with regards to native ads, and are found at the bottom of articles on many news and magazine sites.

A typical example of native ad contentA typical example of native ad content

These ad examples are obviously quite click-baity, but their content blends into the feed of the website. 

Other social media sites such as Reddit, Linkedin, Twitter, TikTok and Snapchat also have a native approach to ads.

Both Google and Microsoft Ads offer tools to create native advertising campaigns. Setting up a native campaign usually requires that the advertiser surrenders some control of the ad styling so that the platform can adjust and customize the display to fit the publisher. 

How to use Google native ads 

If you use Google Ads, you can use Google Ads manager to place your ads using native advertising. You simply add your creative, such as images, videos and copy and let Google do the rest.  

These ads will then be placed on the huge portfolio of websites and apps on the Google Display Network (GDN). 

Watching your ad traffic

Although native ads offer better engagement, and are preferred by the ad viewing public, you also need to factor in the issue of fake or invalid traffic.

With huge volumes of bots, fake accounts and malware apps, ensuring your ads are viewed and clicked by genuine humans has become a key focus for savvy marketers. In fact, most ad metrics such as customer acquisition costs, quality score and reduced bounce rates are increasingly reliant on delivering clean ad traffic.

What are fake accounts and how do they affect your marketing?

As the industry leading click fraud solution, ClickCease blocks the most damaging invalid traffic on Google, Microsoft and Facebook Ads – allowing your native ads to shine.

If you’re creating ads, or looking to optimize your native ad spend, run a free traffic audit with our no-obligation trial. You’ll get an unbeatable insight into who is really engaging with your ads, and view data that you just don’t get anywhere else. 

Run a free traffic audit today.

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TypeError: ‘NoneType’ object is not iterable

TypeError: 'NoneType' object is not iterable

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Have you wondered why you cant iterate over a NoneType but never had it properly explained? Read on as here we will fully explain the concept and how you can fix it.

So what is a NoneType anyway?

First of all, to understand a none type, you need to understand what none is.

None is essentially no value, so in other words, nothing is present. It differs from the integer zero, as the integer zero is an actual value and it exists.

If you were to put both of them side by side on a database table, one would be empty the other would have a value of zero.

Also, None is a type in itself:

a = None

Gives the output:

<class 'NoneType'>

Whereas zero is an integer datatype:

a = 0

Giving output:
<class 'int'>

So how does a none type object is not iterable occur?

Let’s take an example and walk through it. In the below code we have a variable that is empty. In other words, we are asking the program to loop through something that does not exist and does not have any values.

a = None

for i in a:

Giving output:
for i in a:
TypeError: 'NoneType' object is not iterable
<class 'NoneType'>

Repeating what we said above, it is not possible to loop through something that does not have a value.

But if we change it to a string value of ‘1’, the loop will work.


for i in a:

So in summary:

(A) NoneTypes are useful if you just want to return an empty value or check for an empty value.

(B) You cannot loop over NoneTypes as they do not have any values, they are empty!

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6 Steps to Hack-Proof Your WordPress Blog | MonstersPost

Hack-Proof Your WordPress Blog

The fact tha WordPress is open-source, among other factors, also adds security concerns to the
WordPress experience. This article will name the most significant security threats and give you
six steps to follow to hack-proof your WordPress site.

6 Steps to Hack-Proof Your WordPress Blog | MonstersPost 28

Over 50% of the world’s websites use WordPress. If you have a blog, chances are you’re using
WordPress. It’s the most widely-used open-source platform, famous for its ease of use and

The most common WordPress attack vectors

An attack vector is the means or path by which an attacker gains access to a system. In
WordPress, attackers mainly find vulnerabilities in third-party plugins and themes. Being an
open-source platform is great for creativity but does lead to various security concerns.
The most common methods hackers use to breach WordPress sites are:

Cross-site scripting (XSS)

Cross-site scripting is an injection of malicious code into otherwise legitimate and trusted
websites. XSS vulnerabilities are very common with WordPress. They mainly stem from plugins.
Hackers can embed harmful code into a plugin, which executes once the plugin is added to the

Brute force attacks

Hackers can use bots to bombard a site’s login screen with thousands of login combinations. If
the website has a weak or commonly used password, the bot will likely find the correct

PHP file manipulation

WordPress runs on PHP, an open-source coding language ideal for web development. Hackers
can add harmful PHP scripts onto a site’s directory and do harm.

Steps to hack-proof your WordPress blog

Thankfully, even though WordPress comes with vulnerabilities, it’s primarily up to the user to
protect their site and prevent a cyber attack. Here are some steps you can follow to maximize
your WordPress site’s security:

Protect your site with a strong password

As mentioned above, brute force attacks are a common attack vector for hackers. If you have a
generic password, it’s not a matter of “if” but rather “when” a breach will happen. If you’re
serious about security, it starts with creating a strong password that no one can guess logically.

Here are some best practices you can follow when selecting your WordPress password:

● Have a combination of digits, upper and lowercase letters, and special characters;
● Keep the password length over 12 characters;
● Make the password random (unrelated to your personal life);
● Don’t use the same password for other accounts.

Enable two-factor authentication

Aside from a strong password, two-factor authentication (2FA) is the second barrier between a
hacker and your website. 2FA is nearly impossible to break. The reason is that it requires an
extra verification step, even if someone enters the correct password.

The extra verification step is often a text message or authentication app code. It can also be an
email, although that’s not as secure since someone can have access to your email. It’s best to
set the verification step to work via a second device such as your cell phone. If the hacker
doesn’t have access to your cell phone, they won’t be able to get into your site.

Use the free SSL certificate offered by WordPress

A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate authenticates the identity of a site and encrypts its
connection. The encrypted connection makes it much safer for users to communicate with your

SSL/HTTPS certificates are not only necessary from a security standpoint. They will also boost
your reputation and your readers’ confidence in your site. Not having an SSL certificate in 2022
is a big red flag for all internet users, even the non-tech-savvy ones.

Many domain hosts offer a free SSL certificate if you install WordPress on your site. You can
select that option when buying your domain. If you installed WordPress without adding the SSL
certificate, don’t worry. You can still get a free SSL certificate by installing a plugin.

For some added encryption, you can also use a VPN. When you download a VPN, it encrypts
all of the data on your device, not just the data related to your website. They do cost money,
though, so you can try out a vpn free trial before making any decisions.

Create site backups regularly

One cool feature that WordPress has is the ability to easily create site backups. Even cooler is
that you don’t have to back up your entire site each time. You can focus on the more critical data
for regular backups and create a full backup once or twice a year.

Backups can come in handy in many situations. The obvious one is if a hacker does damage to
your site. You can then use the backup to revert the damage and get the site back to normal.
Save the backup files locally on your computer so a hacker can’t delete them.

Backups are also helpful if you encounter any errors with your site. Errors aren’t uncommon on
WordPress. They mainly happen due to an incompatible update or plugin. Be extra careful when
updating WordPress, as a new version may be incompatible with some of your plugins, causing

Install security plugins

While plugins carry some risk, it’s unfair to say that all plugins are bad for security. There are
many reputable plugins out there, some of which can boost your site’s security. The most
popular type of security plugin for WordPress is scanning tools. These plugins will monitor your
site and detect any suspicious activity.

More advanced tools will perform additional functions like updating the WordPress database,
changing the URL for WordPress dashboard areas, and more.

Update WordPress and plugins

Last but not least, remember to update your WordPress, PHP, and plugins regularly. These
updates contain various security fixes to known vulnerabilities that hackers can use to breach
your site.

Automatic updates are also available but aren’t recommended if you have a lot of plugins
installed. It’s best to update the plugins one by one, so you can easily identify when an
update-caused error occurs.


WordPress is the most popular content management platform on the internet. It’s very
convenient to use, easy to set up, and offers plenty of customizability. With its popularity,
though, it has become a major target for cyber attacks.

The key to hack-proof your WordPress blog safe is to protect it with a strong password and 2FA.
Also, create regular backups and update your site to maximize security.

The post 6 Steps to Hack-Proof Your WordPress Blog appeared first on MonstersPost.

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