The Top 5 Marketing Trends for 2018

If you are a business owner planning your 2018 marketing strategy, you might want to incorporate the following to help give you the best advantage over your competitors.

1- The Use of Artificial Intelligence. Although this is something that is already being used, more and more marketers will find more ways to use AI to their best advantage. For example, predictive analytics in apps can help business owners deliver ads and information to specific market segments they want to target.

2- Live Video Streaming. This isn’t new, but you will see this grow exponentially this year. Eighty percent of users said they would rather watch a live stream than read a blog post. According to Facebook, live video gets 3x more views. Go ahead and use live streaming to advertise an exclusive promotion, show off holiday displays or even show a ‘behind-the-scenes’ at an event.

3- Content Marketing Will Become Even Bigger. That’s right! This isn’t going away anytime soon and it’s no wonder – 70% of people said they’d rather learn about a business through an article than an ad. And, content marketing is cheaper than many other forms of marketing (plus it can produce more leads).

Healthy Waterloo Region Online Magazine

4- Digital Marketers are Targeting Local Communities. Digital platforms are making it easier for businesses to advertise to local markets and engage with them. Bigger brands are competing with small local businesses for the same market share. It will be more important than ever for local businesses to be more strategic in appealing to their neighbours.

5- Reviews, Comments and Engagement! It’s important for any business to build trust and one of the main ways the consumer learns about a business is through ratings and reviews. Transparency is more important than ever as it brings the human element to the marketplace. Encourage clients to leave a review on your social media pages. These hold a lot of clout for future business prospects.

For more information, you might want to check out these articles:

5 Genius Tips to Use Emotional Marketing Tactics in Facebook Ads

1-Create a sense of urgency – Without a deadline, people tend to toss the ad aside thinking they will get back to it – only they don’t.  Letting folks know that they are going to miss out unless they act NOW is key.  Here’s how you do it:

  • Ensure the best offer is in the image or in the headline
  • Keep the message brief and as simple as possible
  • Make sure you offer a spectacular deal
  • Date of the offer should be clear (i.e. ONLY TODAY!!!)

2-Use a tactic marketers refer to as “FOMO” – Fear of Missing Out – Do you remember when you were a kid and you thought that ALL your friends had a certain product and you felt left out because you didn’t have it?  Yes, this tactic works and it’s not only useful for promoting products and services but also events.  Here are some tips to use this to your best advertising advantage:

  • Make the reader feel like there is an important community that they need to be a part of
  • Pose a question which hints to the reader that they are missing out. (i.e. Is your SEO as high as it can be?)
  • Mention the number of people benefitting from your product or service
  • Like point #1 above, make it a time-limited offer

3-Demonstrate how you can improve the reader’s life. Give them a sense of hope.  Although we all know (or at least should) that buying stuff doesn’t bring us happiness, we still do it.  Those moments of instant gratification really help kick up the endorphins.  Slogans like “Get More Out of Life” create the illusion that life will be much better if we had the product/service being advertised.

4-Create a sense of belonging – People innately want to feel understood and supported by their peers. A sense of belonging to a community makes us all feel happier, healthier and motivated.   Here are some tips:

  • Mention the number of people using your products or services
  • Name some people that are already part of this community
  • Frame the offer as an exclusive invitation into the community
  • Make the entry to the community just challenging enough that they see its value

5-Show the excitement! There is no question that excitement increases a person impulsive nature. They make decisions very differently as excitement trumps rational thinking. Here’s how to do it:

  • Use an image that depicts excitement (i.e. people smiling or laughing)
  • Keep the ad short and use exclamation marks
  • Use bright colours
  • Make sure that your offer is enticing to your target market
  • Offer an amazing discount to make those fence-sitters jump on the bandwagon

Using emotionally-driven ads are incredibly effective and as noted above, not that difficult to implement.  Increase your sales and Facebook views by employing these emotional marketing tactics tips.  Just remember to create the ad that is appropriate for your target market.

5 Secrets to Keeping Your Online Audience Captivated

Back in 2000, at the cusp of the mobile revolution, it was studied and revealed that the average human attention span was twelve seconds. Now, thanks to the shift towards a more digitized lifestyle where we have become so hungry to consume media on our devices constantly, the average attention span has dwindled to a mere 8 seconds – making goldfish more attentive than we are.

And now marketers are left scratching their heads. At the rate that the average online user goes through content, how do we captivate our audience with the limited time we are given?

Here are 5 tips on how you can hook your audience’s attention from the start and satisfy their growing appetites for content online:

Grab Their Attention with a Captivating Title

Reel them in with a title so compelling that they can’t ignore it. Your title can bring the promise of a fascinating story, a specific number of tips, or guarantee to go straight to answering a question minus the fluff.

Short attention spans mean that you have to get straight to the point. Make titles concise with enough detail to let your readers know exactly what they’ll be getting. Convey outright what’s in it for them.

Value over Volume

Overwhelming your audience with loads of information that is otherwise useless or irrelevant leaves them feeling as though you’ve wasted their time. And they’re more likely to walk out mid-sentence once they’ve established that they’re being dragged along.

Focus on the quality vs. the quantity of your content by knowing who your audience is and addressing their needs. When you understand who you’re talking to, you’re in a better position to deliver the right message.

Make an Emotional Connection

If you haven’t done your market research and created detailed buyer personas for your business, you’re basically talking to an audience you don’t know. You can’t meet their demands when you haven’t recognized what they are. And you certainly cannot relate to them on the level you’re hoping for.

Your audience wants to be drawn into a conversation and feel something. To communicate and connect with your audience on a personal level, know what triggers their emotions.

Don’t Take Too Many Risks

Be inclusive. You lose people when you take chances on trying to be too clever with inside jokes that only a select few will understand or industry jargon that goes over most people’s heads. While this may attract a small and specific set of people, you risk losing the majority who have come to learn something from you.

Keep Your Promises

There’s no point in capturing your audience’s attention if you intend to risk losing it by going back on your word; unless you want to damage your brand.

If your headline or title assures that they will get a compelling story or the answer to a thought-provoking question, deliver the content that you guaranteed. Take the first chance you get to introduce your brand or include a sales pitch in the intro, and your audience will quickly feel they’ve been deceived. And they will be just as swift to click that back button.

As both a marketer and a consumer, what titles instantly grab your interest? What type of online media captures your attention and keeps it? When it comes to tips to sparking your online audience’s curiosity, perhaps the biggest secret is to think as they do.


13 Questions to Ask for Better Facebook Engagement

Ever wonder why some posts seem to get more comments, shares and likes than others? Is there a secret recipe to help increase the number of clicks and engagements from your cyber audience? In fact, there is. It’s all in how you ask the question.  Below are some tips on how to ask questions to help generate a greater number of responses.

Next time you post, give these questions a try and see how they work for you.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please don’t hesitate to connect with me.

For more tips to help increase your social media engagements, you may want to read this.

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads vs Klusstering: What should you be doing?

When it comes to advertising, many view Google Ads and Facebook Ads as competitors vying for your precious marketing dollars. Which of the two is the better option? Could there be another solution? Here we try to provide a simple explanation while also offering other options.

The Difference Between Google Ads and Facebook Ads

Before you can decide which platform is better for you, it’s important to understand the main differences between the two.

Google Ads

Google is the world’s largest and most popular platform. It handles more than 40,000 queries per second and more than 1.2 trillion searches per year. No other search engine can offer the same audience potential that Google can. What sets it apart from Facebook is search intent which means that searchers use the platform to specifically search for something. This is also referred to as ‘pay-per-click’ advertising. Advertisers bid on keywords or specific words and phrases typically entered by Google users. Each time someone clicks on an ad, the advertiser is charged a certain amount of money. The goal is for the advertiser to find new customers based on the keywords and search terms they enter into Google.

Facebook Ads

Facebook ads work differently in that they enable a business to advertise to people who are not specifically searching for their products or services. They are a good way to generate interest and awareness. The major difference with Facebook ads is the ability to target people based on various factors such as age, sex, interests and more.

Another option – Klusstering

Klusster is a platform that uses a simple combination of four distinct marketing approaches. By combining these four components, Klusster marketing provides businesses with a cost-effective, comprehensive, and uncomplicated marketing strategy. These four components are:

• Social Media Marketing– Social media marketing uses social networking sites as a marketing tool. By building various social networks around your business, you create an engaged audience. A crucial piece most businesses miss is to provide value back to their audience. Social media marketing should be used as a means to the message – not the message itself.

• Cooperative Marketing– Also known as referral or network marketing, cooperative marketing is as simple as leveraging your existing networks to build on your customer base. By working as a group, each business gains access to the other business’ audience. This is the idea behind everything from BNI’s, BIA’s and trade shows.

• SEO Marketing– Using search engine optimization is crucial to any business wanting to build a strong online presence. There is a general assumption that SEO is difficult -when really it is entirely common sense. By implementing a few simple SEO strategies (which is built right into the system) your content and your business will be found by search engines – so your customers find you faster and easier.

• Content Marketing– Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach that focuses on information sharing rather than direct selling. By focusing on providing valuable and relevant information to your audience, you create a relationship and build trust – which both attracts and retains a growing customer base.

Cost for Each Platform

Google Ads are by far the more expensive platform. Advertisers can pay up to $100 per click depending on the industry. With Facebook, advertisers typically pay under $1.00. With Klusster, the cost per click can run from $0.08-$0.15.

Final Words

While there are advantages and disadvantages to each option, my feeling is that you should diversify your options. Depending on your budget, you may want to use Google’s Adwords. If you are more conservative, you may want to experiment with Facebook Ads. However, if you’re ready to work with other businesses to increase your online visibility, you may want to consider joining a Klusster-based e-magazine.

I would love to hear from you. Feel free to connect and let’s chat!

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Blogging

Imagine that just 20 years ago, blogs didn’t exist. Did you even know what it meant the first time you heard the word? Now, there are over 150 million of them! Well, it’s no secret that in order to be found online, you have to have content residing online. One of the best ways to do that is through blogging. Below are a few reasons why blogging is so powerful, beneficial and helpful in getting you recognized online.


1-SEO – Having good content online is a must in order to be found online. Create good quality content that people are interested in sharing and Google is bound to take notice.

2-Increases new business – A constant stream of visits to your blog will also increase the potential to attract interest from prospects.

3-Great for feedback – It allows and encourages constant engagement with readers. Whether they agree or disagree, you will know it immediately by their comments.

4-Gain influence – If your material is good, you will attract repeat visitors and will gain their trust and respect.

5-Learn more about your followers – One of the things businesses spend a lot of money on is in learning what their consumers want from them or what they like/dislike about their products. Blogging is an easy and effective way to obtain this information.

6-Establish yourself as an expert in your field – This won’t happen overnight but over time, as you post more blogs and share your genuine knowledge with the community, your readers will begin to see you as an expert.

7-Help others – A good blog can educate, inspire and help readers in ways the blogger may never know.

Although the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, you should still be made aware of them.


1-Poor content – Poorly written content can reflect badly on your brand. Put some thought into what you blog about and ensure your work has been edited and reviewed.

2-Inconsistent posts – If you decide to blog, make sure you do it consistently. Imagine how it would look to people visiting your site and your blog is over a year old. An old blog is worse than no blog!!

3-It takes time – Yes, you need to give some thought and plan out what you are going to blog about. The good news though is that the more you do it, the easier it will become. Start writing!

4-Risk having no one see your content – What? Although good quality content is key, you need to drive traffic to your site so people know there is a blog to read. If you’re active on social media you may share it there but again, you’re limited by how many followers you have. Here’s some great news! There is a new concept in online marketing that involves working with other businesses so that everyone leverages all of their social media connections in order to reach a broader audience. Want more information? Reach out and connect. I’d love to hear from you.

Marketing Trends for 2017: Print vs. Digital Advertising

While online marketing is set to exceed television as the number 1 advertising medium for 2017, that doesn’t mean that print has become completely obsolete. In fact, I was actually curious about this and set out to do a little investigating. Every Wednesday I receive a neatly bundled mass of flyers, circulars and coupons tightly bound with an elastic. It made me wonder how many other households receive the same stack which eventually finds its way into the recycle box? How many people actually go through them? The answers may surprise you.

The Decline of Print Advertising

Would you believe that in North America alone, over $15 billion is spent on flyer advertising? Clearly businesses still see the value in the printed ad, but why? One of the reasons is that print is viewed as a more credible form of advertising. With increased use of the internet and social media, identifying truth from fake news may require more critical thinking. While printed ads may appear as more trustworthy, this type of marketing continues to decline in favour of the digital media. Predictions indicate that it will continue to decline well into 2019.

Despite the rise of internet marketing options, most marketing experts would agree that print isn’t going away anytime soon. Surveys show that when it comes to looking for a bargain, paper-based flyers and circulars continue to be sifted through even over digital flyers. This is especially true with an older demographic that still appreciates the tangibility of paper.

Retailers have moved to a combination of print and digital flyers. Although they recognize that the digital world continues to be on the upward trend, they still dedicate a smaller budget to print. There are many advantages to using the internet and social media feeds for marketing but the main reason is cost. It’s far less expensive and sometimes even free.

Print advertising may not be as popular with some businesses these days, but it is still a very useful method of promotion. The best option is to use a combination of both online and print marketing, to reach as many people as possible in as many ways as possible.

As for that pile of flyers I get every week? Well, to be honest, I rarely go through them. In fact, it often goes from the front door straight into the recycle bin. I simply don’t have the time or inclination to go through them. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please don’t hesitate to connect with me.

If you want to read more information on this topic, you may be interested in the following articles:

Print Advertising Trends For 2017

Why printed flyers still work

10 Low-Cost Ways to Market Your Small Business

Budgets can be tight when starting a new business and one of the expenses most small business owners tend to skimp on is marketing.  However, it is a necessity if you want the community to know about you.  The good news is that there are tactics that won’t break the bank. Here are 10:

1-Create great content-Think about every question any client has ever asked you and start writing about that.  Don’t forget that you know your business better than anyone.  What you think is obvious isn’t so to someone else.   Post it as a blog to your website.

2-Practice your elevator speech – The average attention span of an adult is six to eight seconds so crafting a great elevator speech to entice your audience is important.  Make sure it’s designed to grab attention to encourage engagement.

3-Where does your ideal client hang-out? – Are there any clubs, organizations or groups where potential clients may frequent? If so, get involved and meet people.  Get to know your community.

4-Build relationships – People are more inclined to do business with people they know.  Ask clients if you can add them to an email list and periodically communicate with them via newsletter.  This way, they continue to see your name, logo and brand so that when they need your service or product, they will be more inclined to call you rather than a competitor.

5-Develop a customer referral program – Whenever possible, ask for referrals.  Better yet, give out incentives to current clients to bring you new clients. Offer them a free month of service, a free product or some other incentive.  They enjoy the reward and you get a new client.

6-Engage in Social Media – Create accounts with the major social media platforms (ie. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.) and start posting.  Find out which platform your client demographic  spends most of their time on and spend some time engaging with them.

7-Network – Join networking groups. This is a fabulous way to connect with other entrepreneurs and forge new relationships.

8-Collaborate – Get a group of like-minded businesses and agree to cross-promote.  By having another business vouch for you, it acts as a referral and gives you added credibility.

9-Give a talk – Many networking groups offer their members a chance to showcase their business and talk about it. As uncomfortable as this may sound to you, don’t dismiss an opportunity to do a presentation about your business.  It’s a perfect opportunity to connect with others and explain the details about your products or service.

10-Create short videos – In this day and age, all you need to create a video is your cell phone and a video-editing software.  Demonstrate what you do on camera. It’s a powerful medium to connect with your audience. Post your videos straight to Facebook , YouTube and embed them in your website.

Many of the above tips can now be addressed by participating in online magazines such as this one.  For more information, don’t hesitate to connect with me through my contact page.

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Co-operative Marketing-What is it and how does it work?

Is there a secret sauce for successful marketing of a business? I suppose that depends on who you ask. There are no doubt several ways of getting yourself ‘out there’ but none have come close to this new concept which I’ve been so fortunate to embark on.

If you could create a magnificent dish with just the right amount of quality ingredients, then that’s exactly what you’d have in this marketing recipe. Have I peaked your interest yet? Let me explain.

First, let me say that I’m referring to a digital platform involving online magazines, but with a few twists.

One of my favourite quotes is “teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success”.  Enter co-operative marketing.  Local businesses are beginning to realize that they need to band together to help each other grow. Big corporations have already mastered this concept. All you need to do is drive down a major highway and notice a sign advertising a service stop which has several restaurants. These restaurants are competitors but they know that if they cluster together, they will drive far more traffic than if they were all on their own. Are they afraid of competition? No! That’s because they realize that there are enough consumers for each of them. Thankfully, small business is beginning to see the logic of this thinking. In our digital format, businesses work together to leverage all of their social media connections to help promote each other. Because they are vouching for each other, it becomes as powerful as a referral.

Have you ever heard of content marketing? Yes, it’s actually a term. Joe Pullizi wrote a book, “Content Inc.” explaining the steps to building a business based on this model. I urge everyone to pick up a copy of his book. In short, if you love your business, you should be writing about it. It’s a powerful way to showcase yourself as an expert in your field as well as educate and inform the consumer. This is a passive way to market and brand yourself. No need for neon signs urging people to come see you because you’re the best. By virtue of what you’re providing in terms of content, you’re already showing your credibility. By the way, writing is one way to provide content but video is also a very powerful way to connect with your audience. Combining the two, whoa!

By working together, businesses form a sense of camaraderie. Essentially, it’s like forming a networking group. Most would agree that building relationships is key to any business involvement.

Finally, our platform provides a slick audit trail that monitors how many views of your content you are actually getting. It’s an amazing way to gauge how many people you are reaching through your social media channels.

So what do I do? I pull it all together for our participating businesses. I also help develop magazines for other people too. Am I having fun? You bet. We are providing an outstanding opportunity for businesses to increase their exposure, thereby increasing their business.

Wouldn’t you like to be a part of this too? For more information, please do not hesitate to contact me at Oh and what’s this platform called?  It’s Klusster!