35 Lessons from 13 Years of Marketing

  1. Marketers often suck at selling themselves. Thank you Imposter Syndrome. Also, this includes me. :)
  2. Marketing automation is a great technology, but must be used wisely with appropriate segmenting down to a small percent of your list size.
  3. While we all hate vanity metrics, they are some of the easiest numbers to explain to investors, the general public, or anyone outside of marketing.
  4. Nothing is as easy as it seems. Coding the simplest thing can take hours. I once took almost 2 hours to write 3 sentences of important copy, and it was fun.
  5. No matter how much you read, you will always be missing some of the latest and greatest information, tools, and education. Don’t live your life around the FOMO.
  6. Even extremely intelligent people make poor decisions outside of their comfort area. You do this, too. Hire experts to help.
  7. When you are hired as the expert, make sure you have control to use your expertise, or bad results come back on you.
  8. Developers and designers do not write great copy. Don’t leave it up to them to turn your homepage into conversions.
  9. Every solution (thing you are selling) starts with a problem: What problem does the customer/user have?
  10. The answer often leads to the benefit that sells. Your features do not sell. You must know the difference.
  11. Headlines should explain the end benefit of what your customer gets from using your product/service. You cannot be generic.
  12. Imagery is ridiculously powerful, it changes mood, impression, conversion rates, and your level of success.
  13. Breakthrough content often surpasses the rules, it can be ugly, have poor formatting, or use distracting colors, but it’s more likely that your content is not breakthrough, so put in more effort.
  14. Networking is absurdly important. It most definitely is who you know in this industry. Spend time getting to know as many people as possible, have experiences and real conversations with them.
  15. After all these years, it’s still a pain in the ass to get a decent result on Google (as a user).
  16. You could know more than the leading expert, they are just phenomenal at personal branding.
  17. Email marketing, Facebook advertising, Cold outreach are still widely under used.
  18. Writing content is apparently easy, and the internet is full of blah content. Writing something worth reading is not easy, not cheap, and still not a priority for many content marketers.
  19. A useful, quality, life changing, startup can go out of business for stupid reasons, and most of us have no idea they even existed.
  20. Most companies still hire based on resume alone vs experience plus personality, passion, and dedication. (Yes, I’m still looking for a job)
  21. Business owners decide how to market their companies based on something they’ve seen and liked, compared to what is best for their business.
  22. What you share with the world should never be about what YOU want to show. It must be about what the world wants to see, hear, and know. Think about this as you add content to your website.
  23. People who say they have no competitor, or that they don’t worry about their competitor are making a poor business decision, and usually lying.
  24. People value comfort, experience, status, and control over price.
  25. Pain and discomfort sell! Cute puppies and babies sell too, test all of them.
  26. Actually, start with best practices, and then test everything.
  27. It is always worth it to pay a highly talented copywriter: ALWAYS!
  28. Content is evolving, we are evolving, businesses need to constantly evolve as well.
  29. We want to feel important, cared about, and sought out. Personally addressing someone by sourcing something important to them is far more valuable than their name, company name, or city . For example: “Hey Brian, Your new SEO course looks hot, did you get a lot of new students?” is far more interesting to him than “Hey Brian, How’s (insert city)?”
  30. Your audience easily picks up on fake messages and B.S. mass emails. You must sound like a real person taking the time to address them only.
  31. Direct messages, personal messages, Facebook messages or other 1 on 1 messages usually convert at a higher rate (since they are difficult to do at mass scale, and come across as personal). If you want something shared, or read, approach people individually.
  32. I am not a highly talented copywriter… but I can help in other ways.
  33. Longer content gets higher SEO value. We still need to come up with a solution for concise answers that are easily found in long content pieces.
  34. Infographics often get links and clicks, but I hate that they don’t print well, are difficult to quote, and are not clickable.
  35. You can never know your customer too well. Spend more time with them, ask them questions, and value every word they say.

Those are some of the most important lessons I’ve learned. How about you?