New SimpleCrew pricing plan for small teams

Quick update:

We just reduced SimpleCrew to 19/mo for
you + one additional member.

This means a few things.

With this new plan … you’ll still keep the same awesome features from our higher $49 to $299 per month plans.

Only difference is the seats are reduced to 2 users.

(Which is great for small businesses getting off the ground).

More details?

Take a peek at our new reduced pricing plan.



What I learned about yard sign teams from reading about Netflix

Recently, the co-founder of Netflix wrote a controversial book tilted:

“No Rules Rules”

It has gotten some harsh criticism for their quick-firing practices.

A one-star reviewer said:

“This book offers a good guideline on how to create a business culture that treats your employees like trash. His philosophy of using people and spitting them out when they no longer are useful to him really speaks to his character as a person. His idea of “generous severance” is also a joke compared to many other companies.”

Except …

There’s a good reason why Netflix would immediately “fire” their employees.

Netflix doesn’t have the
traditional pyramid structure.

There is no CEO at the castle top.

There is no list of henchmen executives at the bottom controlling their employees.

But for this “No Rules” system to work …
Netflix needs high-performing team members.

High-performing team members at Netflix can make multi-million dollar decisions … without consulting a higher-level executive.

Giving this power to their employees is risky.

This is why they must be strict at quickly firing employees who are under-performing.

However, the benefit is they can innovate extremely fast. And blow throw their competition.

Now, if Netflix were to build a yard sign marketing team, they’ll want to find who on their team is a “high-performer”.

In that case, they’ll need our software.

SimpleCrew helps you spot who
is a high performer on your team

Our software helps you to do the following:

  • Watch over your sign placer.
  • See how they place your yard signs.
  • Measure their progress and track their performance over time.

Sometime this month,
SimpleCrew will release a two-person plan.

At a very low price of $19/mo.

Which is great for a business owner who is managing 1 sign placer.

More details on this plan is coming soon.

In the meantime, pick up the Reed Hastings book “ No Rules Rules”. It’s a really interesting read.

Alright. That’s enough about books.

Time to kick back and watch some Netflix 😎

Not sure if SimpleCrew is right for you?
Book a Demo


How To Unlock the Power Of Data In Event Marketing

“In God we trust, all others must bring data.”—W. Edwards Deming

As an event marketer in a business dominated by online metrics, you might be under the impression that your job is an “old school” marketing tactic. For lack of easy measurement, others might claim it isn’t as valuable as channels like digital or social.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Each year, event marketing grabs a larger share of brands’ budgets. Also, with the right planning and tactics, brands can use digital analytics tools to measure the success of events.

B2B marketers spendings chart

In fact:

  • Bizzabo found that 62% of senior marketers plan on investing more in live events in the future both in budget and number of events.
  • According to G2, 89% of marketers said software helped them manage their event staff.

This could include things like customer demographics, where people engaged at an event, and whether people actually followed up and made a purchase from them.

There are tools available for event marketers to make more informed decisions and rise in the ranks of data-driven marketers.

Event technology can help increase attendance 20%
Image source:

In the past, the success or failure of an event rode on anecdotal evidence instead of quantitative measurement and logic.

And since data-driven marketing through digital channels produces personalized and relevant campaigns for everything under the sun, consumers expect that level of quality with every brand interaction.

Events are no different.

Attendees expect the same level of personalization they receive every day online, which can be very difficult for event marketers to pull off.

So how do you close that gap to collect real-world data at your events and determine how effective it is at delivering positive ROI for your business?

How To Start Using Data In Your Event Marketing Strategy

There are three areas you should focus on when using data at events, but they all depend on consistency.

Simply having event data is one piece of the puzzle. But once you know how to glean the proper insights from the data you’ve collected, it can benefit every area of your business.

Chart about how event data is used across marketing mix

Planning is paramount here. If everyone on the team works toward the exact same goals, you’ll get the best results.

1. Define your goals and figure out which metrics you want to focus on. This seems obvious at first but if you’re working with a national team with many agencies involved, it can slip through the cracks.

2. Monitor your event in real time and make adjustments while it’s happening.

3. Analyze what happens at the event to see, and prove, that the ultimate goal was achieved.

Reviewing data from before, during and after the event makes it easier to gather intelligence to optimize your next one.

Use Social Reciprocity To Collect Data At Events (Without Compromising Customer Experience)

87% of consumers said they purchased a brand's product or service after an event

Data collection at events can be tricky if you don’t execute correctly.

When done incorrectly it can backfire and give customers a meh impression of the brand.

It’s important to make sure the physical act of collecting data creates little to no friction for your customers’ experience. If your surveys take too long, people will bounce. Stick to the bear essentials that you’ll be able to consistently execute. This is why it’s so important to have a rock-solid idea of the KPIs you want to measure.

Your data collection strategy should revolve around amazing customer experience. If there are bottlenecks and poor customer experiences, they might not come back.

You can have your brand ambassadors hold fun contests, pass out coupons or free product samples.

But here’s your golden opportunity…

Use your brand ambassador team to follow up with a quick survey.


Event attendees are more willing to fill out a short survey when a person physically hands it to them (rather than a link online). Social psychologists call this the “principle of social reciprocity.”

Smart marketers have long been intimately acquainted with this concept.

For example, usually after downloading an app, iOS users will receive an alert nudging them to accept push notifications.

A sample of IOS push notification


This marketing strategy turns people off because, at this point, they have no idea if they even like the app, or if the alerts will be sending them relevant information. Asking them to accept push notifications right away is too much. Their first reaction will often be to resist.

A better example (one that leverages social reciprocity) is Epicurious, which rightly asks for permission to use the microphone only after the user has clicked on ‘voice control.’

A screenshot of epicurious app

When someone hands you a gift, does you a favor, tells you your haircut looks great…

People naturally want to reciprocate. Simply put, people have an innate need to “give and take.”

There’s countless examples of these in business.

Spotify lets people try their Premium service for free before making their decision:

A screenshot of Spotify app

Converse set up a free recording studio called Rubber Tracks for emerging artists in Brooklyn:

And Red Bull dropped a man from space to make sure their brand cannot possibly be ignored:

Red Bull stratos, screenshot of the video

How does this apply to event marketing?

Using this psychological tendency to your advantage will raise your likelihood of gathering that coveted event data. Just make sure the survey isn’t long. Otherwise you might annoy guests and they’ll leave with a negative impression of your brand.

When you think of it this way, brand ambassadors to act like in-person market researchers.

The key is to position your product or service as something that appeals to a large number of people in the location you choose.

“But asking people for their emails and phone numbers is an overstep for my team right now.”

Don’t fret, you can reduce the hurdle by simply asking them to follow you on social media. Then, you can engage them later in data-collection using your online marketing.

Each of these methods aims to accomplish the same goal: collect feedback about your product or service at your event without annoying people, and instead delight them and deliver a positive experience with your brand.

Shift Your Perspective of Events To Their Own Marketing Channels

…rather than one-off initiatives.

Businesses throw around the term “event marketing” but refuse to acknowledge it as an integrated aspect to their marketing strategy. They host events but think of them as siloed, one-off initiatives from the rest of their campaigns.

There’s nobody to blame but technology.

Digital marketing automation platforms have garnered a lion’s share of attention and use. Streamlining workflows and testing campaigns is easier than ever to optimize results of every dollar spent.

But event technologies are following the same blueprint. What’s possible to measure with digital campaigns is becoming possible for live events.

1. Integrate events with other marketing initiatives so your online and offline campaigns reinforce each other.

2. Weave events into the buyer’s journey as high touch-points that will serve as indicators of how interested your prospect is.

I’m not sure a lot of marketers think about events this way—and if they do, they’re not sure what initial steps they should take to start treating events the same way they treat other marketing channels.

Growth-Hack Your Event Through Audience Segmentation

Vizualisation of customers' segmentation

Let’s say you host an event and invite a group of 1500 people. 1200 register for the event, and 800 attend.

Situation 1: You don’t segment your list.

You treat all your event registrants and attendees the same. When they show up, the event goes well and people have a great time. You meet over thirty people who tell you the event is great and they applaud your business for it.

Difficulty: Easy
Outcome: Poor

Situation 2: You vigorously segment your list.

Out of the 1500 people on your list:

  • 500 are prospects
  • 500 are customers
  • 400 are your sponsors’ invitees
  • 100 are friends and family

Wouldn’t you want your messaging for these groups to be different for your event outreach?

For prospects, you optimize their experience for gauging interest and teaching them about your product.

For current customers, you provide them a personalized VIP experience and educate them about new features of your product (and potentially drive upsell opportunities).

Doing your homework beforehand will help you deliver targeted messaging to these groups and will help generate better results.

Difficulty: Medium to Hard
Outcome: Excellent

Why Is A Targeted Approach Better?

Digital marketing has led the charge for organizing your audience. Customer facing teams spend countless hours studying their audience so they can find the right people to talk to in order to drive business growth. They also spend the same amount of time refining their messaging to find the best way to talk to those people.

The same principle applies to event marketing. When you segment your list, you give yourself the opportunity to maximize the amount of insights you pull so you can make your future strategy smarter.

When you treat events like a high-touchpoint marketing channel, be diligent about creating personalized and targeted outreach, in-event experiences, and post-event follow up for different types of invitees and attendees.

One example is the Forbes Under 30 Summit, which brings together young professionals, speakers, pitching sessions and a pub crawl. This event allows eager young professionals a chance to connect with people they look up to and also peers.

Photo from Forbes Under 30 Summit
Image Source:

The immersive event brings together young professionals, A-list speakers, speed-pitching, and the infamous pub crawl. It allows eager young industry innovators a platform to share their voice and network with peers.

This event sells out every year because Forbes knows exactly what type of audience they’re attracting, and markets accordingly.

Marketers would never send a generic email to 20,000 contacts because they know different groups within their contacts care about different things. Event outreach is no different.

But the benefits of segmentation are far greater than simply delivering personalized messaging and registration experiences.

With an unsegmented list, the best data you’ll get is that people showed up. And we both know that’s no bueno. Businesses don’t grow from successfully filling a room—they grow from identifying the right people in a room who’ll buy their product.

With a segmented list (and tracking engagement and the sales you make), you’ll know which audience segment had the highest conversion and attendance rates. If it’s customers and prospects, consider it a success. If it’s family and friends, you can make the adjustment and apply your learnings to the next event.

Following Up After The Event

Attendance rates are just the beginning. You could likely figure out the percentage of prospects who purchased your product long after the event.

CMOs are looking to event ROI as the primary measure of event effectiveness. But what if a consumer saw your brand at a show and didn’t convert into a sale until much later?

A segmented guest list serves as the foundation all actionable event insights—it will not only make your event strategy smarter, but will make your marketing smarter as a whole.

Send a follow up survey

It’s impossible to get everyone’s feedback during the event, and you don’t want to spend all your time gathering information when people should be enjoying themselves. That’s why you send a follow up email with a short survey and clear call to action.

That means it’s not enough to email event attendees to say, “thanks for coming!” Often, event follow-up emails have one or more of the following calls to action:

  • Sign up for the next event
  • Opt-in to an offer and get a discount on another event or product
  • Take a survey or leave a review

Whichever call to action you choose to include in your follow up email, it has to be 100% clear in order to see results.

In this Barclays Center email—the renowned event arena in Brooklyn—the CTA doesn’t quite hit the mark. It takes you around 20 seconds to understand the purpose of the email message, which is too long.

A screenshot of the email from Barclays event center

A few things they could’ve done better with this follow-up email:

  • Switched to a single column design
  • Using less text and possibly an image
  • Make the survey in the actual email or directly link the CTA button

By contrast, look at what Rover, the pet-sitting service, asks its readers in this easy-to-understand follow-up email:

A screenshot of the email from Rover pet sitting service

Right off the bat, you know what they want you to do. They don’t waste a second of your time. Plus, Rover gives readers clear reasons why they should take the action, which likely keeps the responses rolling in.

A third example, here’s a recent follow-up email from Course Horse that has a tailored, customized selection of upcoming classes for the subscriber, based on a previously attended event.

A screenshot of Coursehorse

EventBrite also created a great set of free email templates you can find here.

Important: Make sure you send this email right away. The event will still be fresh in people’s minds, which makes them more likely to give honest and accurate feedback. Shoot for within one week of the event.

Here are some questions you can ask them in the survey:

“How likely are you to recommend the event to a friend or family member?”

“Overall, how would you rate the event?”

“How helpful was the content at the event?”

“How engaging was the speaker at the professional event?”

“How likely are you to attend the event again in the future?”

“Do you have any other questions, comments or concerns?”

Keep it short; you don’t need to create long, multi-page surveys to collect insightful feedback. The types of questions you use, and how they’re written, matter more than simply asking a lot of questions. As a courtesy, indicate in the introduction how long the survey should take to fill out.

“This survey will take you 10 seconds to fill out”:

How likely is it that you would recommend this event to a friend?

In Closing

The event marketing industry is changing.

Stakes are higher.

Pressure has increased.

Quantifiable ROI metrics are expected.

More so than being data-driven, event marketing should be insights-driven.

…are you ready to get smart and make the commitment to take your brand’s event marketing to the next level?



How To Use Micro-Influencers To Target Your Perfect “Tribe”

Read time: 5 minutes

Back in the day, chefs tested spaghetti by throwing a strand against the wall.

If it stuck, it was ready to take out of the boiling water.

The original metaphor referred to a test to see if the food was ready. But over the years, it has morphed into a strategy to see if a business solution will work.

Instead of “throw it against the wall,” the new saying went “throw them against the wall.”

This is how celebrity influencer marketing works.

Brands try to reach the masses by hiring social media influencers with millions (and sometimes tens of millions) of followers.

It’s simple in principle. Find the most influential people and pay them to post about your product to their massive audience. We can assume a small percentage of those people will be interested, right?

But what marketers learned was…

The spaghetti didn’t stick.


Because instead of reaching a few of the right people, they reached a lot of the wrong people.

Their message was spread a mile wide and an inch deep.

The takeaway: Mass-media marketing tactics no longer work in the age of micro-media.

Just ask marketing titan Seth Godin how he feels about mass advertising.

But the tide is turning, and brands are now seeing the benefits of working with micro-influencers. For people with small but engaged audiences, this means you can work with your favorite brands using what you’ve already built up.

They say bigger is better…but for social media influencers, we say the opposite is true. And the data agrees.

Micro-influencers are driving the best results for businesses.

What Are Micro-Influencers?

The term “micro-influencer” has different meanings depending on who you ask.

Most people consider anyone with 1,000 to 100,000 followers to be a micro-influencer. But their small audience doesn’t diminish the influence they hold. It actually has the opposite effect.

Since they have fewer followers, they can be much more engaged with them on a day-to-day basis. If you compare this to [Music Influencer], who couldn’t possibly engage with their audience at the same rate, the value shifts from the sheer numbers to the people who are interested.

We’ll call it their “tribe.”

Also, as celebrity influencers’ popularity grows, their audience broadens more and more. They’ve become celebrities in their own right, which makes them not seem like real people anymore. What’s more, the biggest ones feel out of touch with the general public.

Micro-influencers, on the other hand, have a much more targeted and active audience. This is way more useful when you’re trying to sell something.

For example, look at how sparkling water brand Lacroix uses micro-influencers:

A screenshot about Instagram post about Lacroix

Lacroix doesn’t try too hard, but still gets all the interactions and engagement.

Why do brands want to work with micro-influencers?

It might seem odd to want to work with people with smaller followings when you’re trying to boost sales and build a brand.

But get ready for some counterintuitive knowledge, my friend.

Who do you relate to more?

Kim Kardashian, or your friend Jimmy who likes the same music as you?

Probably Jimmy.

To start, people with a few thousand followers seem more relatable, authentic and down to earth than those will millions of followers. They’re seen as trustworthy peers, or friends, rather than celebrities.

On top of that, micro-influencers allow a brand to target a hyper-specific niche.

If you were promoting a new EDM music venue in Denver, working with Jimmy, who posts about his underground music adventures in Denver, would raise your chances of reaching people who’d actually spend time there.


Brands are starting to prefer working with micro-influencers because they’re more aware and in tune with their immediate audience. After all, they’ve grown them one by one, and might know some of them personally as well.

Music festivals, for example, use armies of micro-influencers to promote the festival long before it begins.

A sample of Instagram post about Coachella
Image Source:

Coachella, even though it attracts people from all over the world, can still be California focused using micro-influencers specific to the area.

Working with smaller influencers also means your brand’s message gets spread in a more authentic way. It goes from promotion to trusted and curated content, which makes micro-influencers one of the strongest marketing platforms at the moment.

Higher Engagement Rates

Compared to celebrity influencers, micro-influencers can interact with their audience at a much higher rate. They can like, follow back and respond to comments and questions more frequently.

This interaction creates a connection between influencer and audience that makes the micro-influencer 10 times more relatable than a celebrity.

A study by Markerly discovered that micro-influencers tend to drive higher engagement rates on Instagram. This encourages small business marketers to find local influencers to promote their brand online.

Instagram likes vs. followership chart

Instagram comment rate vs. followership chart

Your micro-influencer is much more likely to talk through problems and pain points your audience feels with your product. They’ll keep it real with them because they’re not being paid a puke-worthy $750,000 to post one picture.

You want ongoing, real advocates. Not fake endorsements that disappear into their feeds.

Honest promotion from micro-influencers has a better chance of getting you sales, rather than just eyes on your product.

Here’s an example of how a simple, small brand mention by an influencer can generate curiosity about your brand.

A screenhot of Instagram post about small brand

And another one where Adobe teamed up with lifestyle blogger Tieka Ellis to promote their photo editing software.

Software editing promo photo by Tieka Ellis

Do yourself a favor, and make your dollars count by working with micro-influencers.

Companies are seeking genuine brand fans

The general public doesn’t consist of mindless users or followers. Your “audience” is a group of living, breathing people who are aware of how massive these fees can be—and it’s a huge turnoff.

They see the dollar signs behind the celebrity endorsements. They know that the person doing the promoting is turning themselves into a business, and probably being paid an assload of money to do it.

That’s not to say the micro-influencer would’ve promoted the product for free. But they definitely wouldn’t have been mega-compensated for their endorsements.

These factors have contributed to an emerging general distrust celebrity influencers. This makes them just another form of paid media. It’s a bubble that’s already starting to burst.

And so we see the shift back to a peer-to-peer level of marketing. At the end of the day, the most effective form of advertising is referral.

Take a step back and ask yourself: What’s my goal with influencer marketing?

If it’s something like “to reward genuine fans and give every consumer the power to collaborate with a brand they love,” then you’re on the right track.

In a few words, influencers are losing influence. They’re becoming less relevant.

Most people don’t care about the size of an influencer’s following. They care even less about the inclusion of #sponsored, #gifted or #ad in the caption. Bottom line, social media product endorsements are much more powerful when the influencer doing the promoting is an authentic advocate of the brand.

So be honest with yourself and your business, y’know?

You could even throw away the term “influencer” and think of them as “real fans” if that helps.

How to choose a micro-influencer

So you’re convinced you want to work with a micro-influencer. Good choice, you have tens of thousands to choose from.

But how do you decide which one to work with?

First, consider their content creation. Are their posts thoughtfully created? If it doesn’t look real and doesn’t fit into what they’re already posting about, followers will be turned off.

Next, consider if your micro-influencer’s lifestyle aligns with your brand. It should make perfect sense why they’d promote you and use your product.

Once you’ve put together a list of influencers to use, you can use a tool like GroupHigh, Buzzstream or Shane Barker’s Instagram Engagement Calculator to start reaching out to them.


21 Things To Look For In a Successful Brand Ambassador (2021)

brand•am•bass•a•dors |ˈbránD Àmbàssádőrs |

Definition from ExpertVoice: “People who have been recruited to represent and talk about a company or organization in a positive way, preferably in front of lots of potential customers (i.e. their friends and family).”

Depending on what your goals are for your brand ambassador team, it’s important to define its role in your business growth.

That said, the more important question is…what characteristics make a successful brand ambassador?

Good news! We’ve got you covered.

Use this guide as your ultimate resource for:

  1. Selecting members of your brand ambassador team.
  2. Figuring out which traits to look for when conducting interviews.
  3. Teaching your team best practices to drive business results.
  4. Referring back to throughout your brand ambassador marketing journey.

This guide covers 21 key characteristics you’ll want to look for in a brand ambassador.

Let’s dive in.

1. The Right Incentives

You have three choices for how to incentivize your brand ambassador team:

  1. Monetary
  2. Non-monetary
  3. Intrinsic

But which one should you use? (hint: there is a right answer)

But first, let’s break each one down.

1. With monetary incentives, team members will treat advocating for your brand like a standard job: show up on time, and get work done. They’ll be super reliable because they most likely need extra cash.

Of course, you need to have highly reliable team members. But with monetary incentives, one thing that you might be missing is genuine motivation.

According to Motivation Crowding Theory, money tends to “crowd out” people’s willingness to work for something out of sheer passion. Brand ambassadors might not showcase the same level of enthusiasm if you motivate them with a paycheck over a genuine love of your brand.

Bottom line, it turns into a job. And there’s no guarantee that people will be passionate. We see this in professional athletes all the time. They show up, play the game, collect a check and leave…like a 9 to 5.

Unfortunately, money tends to distort motivation and throw an elbow at real passion.

2. With non-monetary incentives, you’ll motivate your team with rewards that aren’t physical money. These could include:

  • Free tickets to live shows
  • Products or merchandise
  • Meet & greets
  • Internship/college credit
  • Professional development or industry connections
  • A community of similarly passionate friends

3. The absolute best way to motivate your team, if you can, is intrinsic incentives. It might seem counterintuitive to say the best way to motivate team members is asking them to work for free. But think about it: when someone falls in love with a brand (especially with music/arts), their relationship goes much deeper than promoting it. In many ways, they align part of their identity with it.

Continuum of motivation infographics
Image Source:

This is the ultimate goal. People who love a brand so much that they’ll become an ambassador for free will do by far the best job. Their emotional investment will far outweigh any money you can throw at them.

Types of motivation infographics

2. They Understand Product Seeding

One of the main jobs for brand ambassador teams is to get as much product as possible into local bars, venues and events.

Like product sampling, product seeding is when you give away products for free in hopes of starting word-of-mouth referrals, gaining feedback or creating brand awareness.

One company that does this very well is GoPro. They regularly have giveaways and sponsor events where brand ambassadors hand out new products for free in hopes of getting that coveted word-of-mouth effect going.

A screenshot of Instagram post with GoPro camera

Product seeding can work incredibly well if you’re promoting food products, beer or consumer items that people can cheaply and quickly consume. But this won’t work well for, say, HR software.

Passing out fully packaged products at events might get you social media shares as well.

A screenshot of Instagram post with Graze

Or if you’re trying to promote a local business, you could set up a booth to let potential customers “try you out.”

A photo of person, meditating in a box
Image Source:

3. They Know How To Create An Experience

Experiences aren’t taken as advertisements. People don’t feel like they’re being persuaded to buy something, unlike a banner ad or pop-up screaming at your while you’re trying to read an article.

The difference is, brand ambassadors actually live your brand. When they use your product or service in a genuine way, people notice. This speaks louder than any online ad ever could.

For example, check out how Zappos brought the power of experience to Austin, Texas by handing out free merchandise straight from their online store in exchange for cupcakes.

A giant tech company gave free cupcakes

Or in another example, where Lean Cuisine set up a pop up booth in Grand Central Station in New York City. They asked hundreds of women what they value about themselves, and to post it on the sign.

This ended up creating a highly emotional and resonant experience with unexpecting people who ended up becoming fans of the brand; all with zero promotion of the actual product.

'In 2015, we asked women how they wanted to be weighed'

Takeaways for brand ambassadors:

  • Don’t interrupt people, especially when you’re trying to grab busy city-goers’ attention. When you create an experience that provides value to people who walk by it, they’re much more likely to appreciate it and participate.
  • Nail down the message you want your brand to send out. It doesn’t have to be tied to your product or service, or have to be something your brand has said before. But whatever it is, build an awesome experience around it.
  • Understand your target audience’s goals and aspirations. Lean Cuisine did a masterful job at encouraging body positivity and self-love, regardless of physical weight.

A comparison for ways to grab attention

4. They Understand Your Target Audience

If you don’t have your messaging, branding or value proposition hammered down, neither will your brand ambassadors. A lot of brands launch ambassador campaigns before their products start selling, which can be great for pre-launches if they know exactly who their target audience is.

Take American Express for example: the company has long stuck to its target audience of luxury travel. They hire online ambassadors who regularly showcase their luxurious travel experiences on Instagram.

A sample of AMEX brand ambassador post

By developing relationships with brand ambassadors in the luxury travel niche, Amex has targeted a widespread, but specific segment of the population who have the highest likelihood of purchasing an Amex card.

5. They Can Make Your Message Stand Out

Think back to the last time you were wowed by a brand experience. Did the experience give you pause, or make you stop and think about something important? Did you feel engaged without feeling interrupted? Were you able to find a helpful next step to learn more or engage further with the brand?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then the people who created the experience probably paid close attention to its structure. And they reaped the benefits.

You, along with many others, are now aware of their brand and potentially interested in future opportunities to engage with them.

The comparison of do's and don'ts to engage the team

Like this experiential marketing example from the nonprofit Misereor.

Experiental marketing example from Misereor

As you can see, their marketers created a visually interactive swipe function for people’s credit cards that shows the end goal of their donation: feeding the hungry.

Takeaways for Brand Ambassadors

  • Figure out a way to visually represent the impact people can have if they participate in your experience.
  • Show exactly where people’s money is going; like slicing bread for hungry families.
  • Work with other brands to create better experiences. For this campaign, Misereor worked with Stripe, a payment technology company, and with financial institutions to automate the sending out of printed receipts to donors addresses.

Another brilliant example of standing out is FacebookIQ. FacebookIQ was built to educate marketers how to use the platform to deliver experiences that matter to people–things that revolve around people’s priorities, not business goals.

Facebook brand ambassadors and employees hold live Q&A sessions to help marketers better use the company’s product suite.FacebookIQ banner

Takeaways for Brand Ambassadors

  • Build an experience that focuses on educating people about how they can use your product or service.
  • Creatively spell out how using your product can benefit them.
  • If you’re data driven (which you should be), use your data to teach people exactly what you mean. 65% of people believe live events help them understand a product better, so it’s a great place to start.

Consumers, buying during the event

6. Turning Customers Into Fans

Fandom is a huge part of our lives. It’s how leaders, businesses, artists and entrepreneurs bring people together. For brand ambassadors, understanding fandom is foundational for sustained success.

One way fandom happens online is through user-generated content (UGC). UGC is one of the most powerful marketing forces, able to be sparked by online and offline brand ambassadors. 63% of shoppers trust UGC than content posted by the brand itself.

Comparison of brand promotion vs friend promotion

Online brand ambassadors can share content like product videos and images that show potential customers how to use them in real life. Offline brand ambassadors can encourage people to create content promoting events or online communities that they’ll share with their social media followings.

Like this Instagram post for Buffer’s online community:

A screenshot of Instagram post about Buffer

That’s because consumers have become professionals at tuning out the millions of branded messages they get bombarded with every minute of every day. The stark difference between staged ads and surrounding, relevant posts means ads are easily ignored.

Infographics about user-generated content
Image Source:

7. Push Content, Not Product

There’s no more room in the world of marketing for interruptive messaging. One of the core tenets of brand ambassadorship is genuine human interaction.

A better way to turn strangers on the street into customers is to bring them to you, instead of fighting for their attention in an ocean of screaming marketers.

Experiential marketing is no different. It’s often best to take a “you’re already there” approach. This means knowing where your audience is already hanging out, and helpfully engaging them there.

Traditional publicity vs. content marketing

This goes for both B2B and B2C brands. B2B brands can partner with consumer businesses like local restaurants or stores to convert the space to something like “strategic speed dating,” where other businesses can learn about your product or service in a way that’s not a boring presentation in a board room.

Here’s an example of how Progressive Insurance engaged potential customers by creating a pop-up motorcycle shop:

Sometimes it's about the journey

“But I’m not working with a budget of a major Hollywood Studio.”

Yes, this is true for most of us. But that shouldn’t stop you from brainstorming ways to stand out from the crowd and reach people in thoughtful and creative ways. Especially if you know where you’re audience hangs out already.

8. They’re Strategic Marketers

Your ambassadors don’t need a marketing degree, but they should have an understanding of your strategic goals as a brand. The best ambassadors care deeply about authenticity and grasp the role that experiential marketing, social media and digital channels play in driving business growth.

If you can, pick people who understand how to gather and analyze data on the job. This allows the entire organization to learn what’s working and what’s not working in the field.

Bottom line: for the best results, your brand ambassadors must:

  • Become experts in your brand and your audience.
  • Encourage user-generated content at events.
  • Watch and analyze how the audience reacts.
  • Evaluate their efforts to inform future decisions.

bad criteria vs good criteria

9. Leadership Skills

Brand ambassadors work mostly without supervision. This means to be effective they have to be self-starters who already have the ability to spot good potential customers.

A few things they should already have:

  • Poised, confident and exude positivity.
  • Like salespeople, they’re alright with rejection.
  • Able to speak persuasively.

Once they’ve worked a few shifts they should also be able to guide other brand ambassadors. When choosing brand ambassadors for your team, look out for those who’ve worked in other leadership capacities or positions of authority in the past.

This is a good indication of how they’ll perform in this role.

The future of marketing in leadership

10. Passion For Building Relationships And Communities

Brand ambassadors aren’t door-to-door sales people whose main objective is to make quick, one-time sales.

They’re business advocates who aim to forge long-term relationships based on honesty and trust.

To do this, your brand ambassadors should be:

  • Passionate about and intimately familiar with your products or services.
  • Skilled at making deep connections with others on your behalf.

11. The Ability to Gather Feedback at Events

Inevitably, brand ambassadors will gather feedback based on their experience with your product or services, as well as their conversations with your customers and competitors. This information can provide critical intelligence that helps you improve your referral marketing program (and, more broadly, your business).

87% of consumers said they purchased a brand's product or service after an event

Data collection at events can be tricky if you don’t execute correctly.

When done incorrectly it can backfire and give customers a meh impression of the brand.

It’s important to make sure the physical act of collecting data creates little to no friction for your customers’ experience. If your surveys take too long, people will bounce. Stick to the bear essentials that you’ll be able to consistently execute. This is why it’s so important to have a rock-solid idea of the KPIs you want to measure.

Your data collection strategy should revolve around amazing customer experience. If there are bottlenecks and poor customer experiences, they might not come back.

You can have your brand ambassadors hold fun contests, pass out coupons or free product samples.

12. They Understand Social Reciprocity

This is huge for brand ambassadors.

Event attendees are more willing to fill out a short survey when a person physically hands it to them (rather than a link online). Social psychologists call this the “principle of social reciprocity.”

A man, offering Coca Cola

Smart marketers have long been intimately acquainted with this concept.

Using this psychological tendency to your advantage will raise your likelihood of gathering that coveted event data. Just make sure the survey isn’t long. Otherwise you might annoy guests and they’ll leave with a negative impression of your brand.

When you think of it this way, brand ambassadors to act like in-person market researchers.

13. They Apply The Principle Of Proximity

The principle of proximity

This tactic is a little more advanced, so if you have a brand ambassador who understands proximity, have them teach a class.

For brand ambassadors to be most effective in their in-person communication, they have to know how to consciously manage the physical space between themselves and others.

The principle is this:

The significance of each level of proximity (physical closeness) can be precisely predicted and managed so as to create the most optimal outcomes.

For example, when we’re close to people we don’t know, like on a subway, we’re wary. We can’t help that response. It’s built into all of us. We’re preparing to flee or to fight if presented with any sign of danger.

On the other hand, when we’re in close proximity to people we trust, a personal connection develops. People who are able to cultivate physical closeness with customers by engaging with them face-to-face can create stronger emotional bonds.

14. An Established Online Presence

Your ideal brand ambassadors will have an established social media presence. If they can couple their online channels with in-person referrals, your message becomes more effective–with essentially no effort on your end.

Obviously, they don’t need a million Twitter followers. But they should be actively posting and have a decent following. Their entire job is about reaching people, after all.

15. They Integrate Themselves As A Brand Interaction

The first thing a successful brand ambassador will do is study the ethos and history of your brand. As a result, they’ll be able to reflect the personality of your brand. This is extremely important nuance of being a brand ambassador, because they’ll integrate with your brand and become a huge interaction.

Once they have a lot of knowledge of your brand, they’ll be able to create a more meaningful connection with it. When they’re working trade shows, events or street teaming they’ll be more successful.

16. They Combat The Marketing World’s “Sea of Sameness”

Nearly 3 out of every 4 users (74%) think there are too many ads online. The number grows to 78% for adults 35+ years old.

6 out of 10 people say they only see a few things advertised, over and over again.

It’s a sea of sameness!

And the ads aren’t going anywhere. So say the results of the annual CMO survey that asks marketing leaders about industry trends and performance.

Bottom line, consumers are tired of being targeted by companies on social media. 56 percent of people surveyed admitted to cutting back or quitting social media altogether just to avoid exposure to the high volume of paid advertisements.

This is where brand ambassadors can help you stand out in this sea of sameness. They aren’t ads, they’re humans. And they have a genuine appreciation for your product or service. So this sentiment will come across naturally when they’re sharing it with others.

If your ambassador is being disingenuous or recommending something they don’t believe in, it will be clear. This is especially true with social media brand ambassadors who are communicating with their networks.

17. Professional Speaker

A brand ambassador doesn’t just speak for the brand. He is the voice of the brand itself.

Every word that comes out of your brand ambassador’s mouth will reflect your business. The most successful ones strike a balance between a diplomatic and engaging speaking style.

If your ambassador does this, people will make a connection between his speaking style and the brand’s speaking style.

Professional speaker

This might sound extreme, but it holds true. Any moment where the speaker doesn’t introduce or describe the product properly might make customers associate confusion with your brand.

The audience will not just lose their interest, but also subconsciously connect the two.

Remember, no matter how great your product is, if it’s not delivered the right way to the public, it’s useless.

18. Authentic Passion

Like I mentioned before, ideally, your brand ambassador team will be motivated by intrinsic factors.

You ever notice how someone’s face lights up when they talk about something they’re passionate about?

This is how your team members will foster a strong connection between themselves and others. Genuine passion cannot be manufactured. Customers will pick up on it if it isn’t, and it can hurt your brand perception. When people see genuine enthusiasm, they’ll be more likely to try it themselves. 

Net: Passion is persuasive.


A good idea is to let your brand ambassadors try the product themselves before they promote it.

This way they will know it well and have an established opinion on the product. They will also be better equipped to give nuanced answers for any questions that arise.

19. Credibility

This goes for online and offline brand ambassadors. Building authority and respect within an industry will sustain your business longer than any advertising.

For online, think niche bloggers, social media influencers, and small publishers making recommendations of your brand to their trusted audience.

For offline, think genuine fans of your brand having conversations peers at festivals and events. This is the hard work, because it takes more thought than blasting an advertisement and crossing your fingers.

From Yotpo:

Let's start with the facts

We all know that brands grow with trust. But when you apply that knowledge to your brand ambassador team, your marketing becomes much more effective.

20. Tech-Savvy

Simply posting content on social media isn’t enough.

Your brand ambassadors should understand how to promote their content in the digital world. They should also be able to drive traffic to your website.

They should understand outreach. they should be posting their content to the right niche communities who may be interested in your brand.

The best example for this is the winner of Daytona’s Digital Race, Danica Patrick and Go Daddy. She understands not only how social media works but also its potential in tapping people worldwide. With over 700,000 followers, she generated so much traffic to Go Daddy’s site by updating the fans of the happenings in the racing including behind-the-scene information and insider interviews with Danica. This then makes Danica not only an image to Go Daddy’s business but also an essential key to driving her own fans to her long time sponsor.

21. They Find Satisfaction In Helping Others

The best brand ambassadors are like teachers. They’re energized by helping people make the best decisions and educating them.

Arming your team with as much intimate knowledge about your brand as possible helps them educate your audience in the most effective way.

Like we said, this unique interaction supercharges your marketing results and maximizes your investment in a brand ambassador team.



7 Free And Proven Ways To Manage Remote Teams

To say “remote work has become more common” would be the understatement of the last decade.

Remote worker. Digital nomad. Telecommuter. Whatever you want to call it, millions of people are ditching the office for the freedom and flexibility to work wherever they choose.

Normal offices aren’t dead. But they’re clearly starting to age.

In fact, 7 out of 10 people work remotely at least once per week, and our data tells us that number will keep growing.

Chart about trends in remote work

Just go to any office on a Friday afternoon (or morning) these days, and you just might be the only one there.

What does this mean for you, the manager of a remote team?

Maybe you’re based in your company’s LA headquarters and most of your team works out of offices in Austin. Or maybe you’re in Atlanta and manage a group of developers in Philly or a field marketing team in New York City.

  • How do you manage workers in different locations and time zones?
  • What steps do you take to build trust and accountability?
  • How should you establish work processes?

This guide covers how to create a positive team environment and make sure your remote team feels connected to other colleagues.

Whether your team members are in distant countries or you have local people who would rather work from home, the same rules apply.

This post covers seven tips for managing your remote team more effectively:

How to use these tips:

  • This post covers a lot of ground, and you probably won’t be able to implement every single tactic at once. That’s why we recommend you refer back to it as a refresher as you go through your remote team management journey.

Set Clear, Specific Expectations

Tag: Communication
Difficulty: Easy

When you tell someone face to face, “I need this done quickly,” they can read your body language (tense expression, quick pacing) and your tone (anxious, rushed) that “quickly” means asap.

But if you email someone, “I need this done quickly,” it can mean different due dates to each person. Some might think you mean “end of the week” or maybe “in a few days.”

A good idea is to send each member of your team a creative brief and have them fill out each section to define their role within the project.

Here’s a great template from CoSchedule:

A screenshot from CoSchedule project brief
Image Source:

Remote workers tend to be less willing to ask questions than in-person. And they won’t be able to tell what you mean by your body language or tone of voice. Having templates adds structure to the job that keeps both sides closer to being on the same page.

For those reasons, be clear and specific with your expectations when using email or chat apps (e.g. Slack).A visualization of how to set a deadline

How to give instructions

Bottom line: Get to the point! It sounds simple, but has a massive effect.

This goes for managers and remote workers. Try really hard to convey everything you need to say in one email.

Here’s what gave as an example of BAD messaging between manager and remote workers…Conversation screenshot

…versus GREAT messaging:A screenshot of asynchronous communication

See what I mean?

Measuring Your Team’s KPIs

Tag: Management
Difficulty: Medium

It’s important to measure your remote team’s KPIs. Depending on the type of work your team does, this could involve metrics like:

  • For development teams: the overall code coverage.
  • For a writing team: number of valuable blog posts written.
  • For a street marketing team: number of flyers and total number of photos uploaded.

KPIs shouldn’t have “number of hours worked.” This is generally not an accurate indicator of high performance.

A comparison of good and bad ways to set KPIs

It can be tough to shake this mindset. After all, hourly wages and the classic 40-hour work week have primed us to measure our work by the number of hours we punch.

But research has shown that this mindset is dead wrong. The value of employees is in the value they create through their knowledge, not number of hours spent on the clock.

In a 2010 study, two researchers interviewed 39 corporate managers. They found that these managers generally thought of the employees who spent more hours in the office to be more committed, hardworking, and dependable, regardless of how much work they got done.

Percentage of participants falsely identifying trait words

After all, if your street team member can hang every flyer in the right spots in half a day, that’s better than a team member who only hangs 75% of their flyers while working the whole day.

In some cases, it makes sense to have a “leaderboard.” This creates a healthy sense of competition between different team members and can boost performance.

But the key is, it makes it more about the work actually getting done than the person who showed up early and left late.A comparison of 2 approaches: value vs hours worked

Cal Newport, best-selling author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, said that “three to four hours of continuous, undisturbed deep work each day is all it takes to see a transformational change in our productivity and our lives.”

Acknowledge and Reward Remote Employees’ Achievements

Tag: Employee Engagement
Difficulty: Easy

Location-independent work can sometimes foster an “us versus them” feeling. This kind of environment makes remote workers feel like their actions go unnoticed. Giving public praise signals to them that they’re pulling their weight.

Does your business have a recognition program for your remote team members? This’ll give them a chance to be rewarded for reaching certain milestones or goals.

You won’t be able to round up everyone and give an “employee of the month” plaque. But there are plenty of ways you can acknowledge remote workers contributions:

  • Thank them in a public way (e.g. email blast or Slack thread) for everyone to see their accomplishment.
  • Mail a handwritten thank you note to let them know how much you appreciate their work (this will go a long way).
  • Give a gift card (e.g. Amazon or Starbucks)—you can also send these electronically.
  • Give remote workers a bonus or pay increase. If your budget allows it, this can motivate them to continue providing outstanding work.

Unless you have a reason for remote workers to be on a different plan (e.g. they’re freelancers or contractors), try to reward them in the same way as in-office employees.

Here are a few appreciation messages you can consider sending to your top performing remote employees:

{{Thank you for everything you do. Your dedication to meet deadlines, your commitment to make every hour at work count is deeply appreciated. We love what you do and we hope you continue to give your best.}}

{{Commitment is about doing your best and not abandoning ship even in the worst crisis. You have shown us commendable commitment during this time and we want you to know that we are happy to have you with us.}}

{{Your ability to coordinate with remote team members and getting them aligned and onboard with tasks is truly commendable. We are happy to have an efficient team player with us.}}

Provide Appropriate Positive Feedback

Tag: Communication
Difficulty: Medium

Recognition programs can be great ways to provide positive feedback for remote workers. But it’s more important to do it in quieter ways on a consistent basis.

It’s clear to you when your remote employees are meeting all your expectations, but do you make it clear to them?

You should aim to provide regular feedback with each project. This could be a quick “Great work, thanks!” when they turn in a completed piece of work. This alone can strengthen the relationship.

Rob Warner, CEO of InvisiblePPC, agrees. He shared his experience with collaboration platform recognition with Bonusly:

Rob Warners quote

But when possible, get more specific with your feedback. Let them know you appreciate how they labeled every photo they uploaded for the campaign. That way, they can focus on repeating and building on that behavior in the future.

A sample of appreciation message
Image Source:

Here’s an example of what specific positive feedback might look like:

I was sent a report on your street team campaign performance and I see you’ve exceeded your goal by 20%! This is an impressive result and we’ve already seen a positive impact on our marketing. Great job! Would you mind sharing how you did it so quickly? It would help to keep that performance going and I’m happy to help however I can.”

Here’s a template you can follow with your own remote employees:

I just got a report of your {{what they did}}! This is a great job as we’ve already seen {{impact their performance had on business}}. Great job! Would you mind sharing how you did it?

Provide Appropriate Negative Feedback

Tag: Communication
Difficulty: Hard

It might be awkward to talk about performance issues over video call, rather than in-person. But those awkward conversations are an important part of managing remote teams.

It helps to have a system in place where you check in on a regular basis. For example, you could have a review of each remote team member once a month, followed by quarterly reviews.

From Trello’s blog:

Do's and Dont's in providing negative feedback

With in-house workers, you can spot who’s having a rough time at home, who’s getting sick, or who’s struggling in their personal lives.

But with remote employees, you won’t be aware when these situations happen. For instance, if someone who generally hits every deadline suddenly starts sending in late work, you should gently check if they’re going through a tough time in their personal life.

Here’s a template email you can send a reliable remote employee you might suspect is going through something:

Hi {{First Name}},

I hope you’re well.

I’m just getting in touch because I see you’ve been late on a few recent deadlines. So far you’ve been on top of every due date, which I really appreciate.

I realize life happens, and I wanted to gently check in and see if {{your current deadline schedule or calendar}} still works for you. I’d be happy to work with you on making an adjustment.



Encourage Employees to Give You Feedback

Tag: Communication
Difficulty: Easy

Do you encourage your remote employees to tell you how you can make their lives easier? If not, you’re missing a huge opportunity to be a great manager and make your team run better.

Ask, and the answers might surprise you. They might want to move a Friday meeting so they can pick their kid up. Or a daily five-minute check in to go over project updates. You won’t know unless you ask.

Here are a few questions to ask your remote team members:

“Is there anything I can do for you?”

“What else could we cover today?”

“Do you have any questions for me?”

If they seem reluctant to make suggestions to you, offer to give them an anonymous survey.

Use the Right Remote Team Tools

A screenshot of the online team meeting
Image source:

Tag: Management
Difficulty: Easy

Project management apps have made it possible to have a productive remote team who might not ever meet face to face.

There are yet other ways you can use technology to strengthen your remote team. Here are a few options:

  • Facebook Groups: if your team isn’t in constant communication, then a Facebook Group can bring everyone together for occasional updates and team announcements. This could work if you’re managing freelance writers, for example.
  • Slack: this is a popular tool that many remote teams use already. The downside is, it’s limited to chat. And project management consists of so many other things.
  • Email: yes, emails can help you run your team. Send out quick reminders, summaries of weekly goals and what everyone’s working on. But with email, things tend to get buried in a mountain of messages. Most managers agree how frustrating email can be.

In Conclusion

Managing remote teams can have two outcomes:

  1. Disaster
  2. Skyrocket productivity and sales

With the above remote team management tips, you can raise your chances for the latter. Keep these tips and templates in mind when you start hiring or managing a remote team.

They’re proven and time-tested to work over and over again.

“I Want to Learn More About Remote Team Management…”

If you’ve gotten to the end of this, and you still feel like you need help understanding how the right remote team management tool can help you do your job—or if you just want to say hi and ask a few questions—let us know! We’re always here and happy to help.


4 Things You Should Focus On When Building A Brand

Read time: 15 minutes

They say hard work is a reward unto itself.

But for most marketers and business owners—you know, the kind with bills and a constant eye on their bank account—it’s a lot more rewarding when work turns into results.

Let’s face it: There’re only so many pats on the back you can survive on when you’re trying to build a brand.

Like, three. Maybe five tops.

Eventually, probably sooner rather than later, you need to take those pats on the back and turn them into concrete business results, or sales.

In other words, you need to build a unique brand that actually grows your business.

A quick Google search will bring you over 15 billion definitions of what people on the internet say a brand is.

A screenshot of Google search with 'what is a brand' search term

And, like most information on the internet, around 99.9% of them are unhelpful to you.

So let’s define what a brand really is.

But before we do, you need to first understand that your brand doesn’t belong to your marketing team or PR department, or even your CEO. Your brand exists only in the brains of your customers.

In a few words, a brand is the sum total of all the interactions a customer has with your business.

“A brand is the sum total of all the interactions a customer has with your business.”

These interactions could be customer support calls, emails, social media, etc. Pretty much any physical or digital interaction your customers have with you.

And each of these interactions tells a tiny piece of your story to your customers.

If Tom believes your product is fresh and innovative, those attributes make up your brand in his mind.

If Lucy thinks your packaging is beautiful, she might think of your brand as cultivated and elite.

On the other hand, if your website takes forever to load, customers might think you’re cheap or amateur. If your customer support is poor, you might come off as rude or difficult.

Marketing isn’t just a department. It’s the story of how you make your customers’ lives better. The difference between a clever brand and a commercially successful brand comes down to three questions:

  • How concrete is your understanding of your target market, product or service?
  • How deeply do you know your customers?
  • Do you market yourself in smart ways?

This post teaches you how to answer these three questions and gives you the tools for what to do next.

Whether you’ve got nothing but a business idea or want to pivot your existing brand. Here’s what you need to know about building a brand that gets real results in 2021.

Buckle up. Here we go.

Jump to a section.

  1. Find your brand’s niche.
  2. Define your ideal customer and how you want to speak to them.
  3. Invest in (the right) content marketing for your brand.
  4. Generate new customers and delight current ones.

Find your brand’s niche.

…and then absolutely dominate it.

A ton of businesses offer a broad variety of products and services. But they struggle to become a market leader for any of their offerings.

Is it possible to go too niche?…

A screenshot of custom pet pajamas
Image source.

…I’ll let you decide (but before you do, be sure to check their earnings report).

Instead of targeting a broad population, you should focus on a smaller, more specific segment of potential customers. This gives you the opportunity to become the best at what you do.

You won’t get there by doing field marketing, CRM software, copywriting—and massages and drum lessons—all at the same time.

You’re better off concentrating all your efforts on a small, well-defined segment of your target audience.

In other words, specialize, don’t generalize.

You don’t have to get this specific, but Lefty’s dominates the lucrative, super niche left-handed scissors market we’ve never even heard of.

A screenshot of Google search for left hand scissors

If you’re looking for a niche or are looking to rethink or refine your current business niche, you’ll want to take the first step of choosing a niche in a well-planned and systematic way.

This is where most people fall off the wagon.

You shouldn’t make finding a niche market harder than it needs to be. But it’s more important to not rush the process.

Chasing trends might give you some short-term wins. But that won’t help you build a long-term brand that customers choose on a consistent basis.

Criteria to Help You Identify Your Brand’s Niche

Your niche selection can make or break your brand. When finding or refining your niche, you should target markets that meet the following criteria:

A good niche:

  • Lots of sales.
  • Relatively low amount of customer service needed.
  • High profit margins.
  • Not too much, but some competition.

Now, following these criteria to the tee isn’t required to finding a profitable niche market, but it will yield the most consistent results.

On the other side…

A bad niche:

  • No sales, or many problematic sales.
  • Tons of customer service needed.
  • Small profit margins.
  • Overabundance of competition.

When researching your niche, you might find several similar products, but not an overabundance. This shows that your brand idea might be profitable. It gives evidence that consumers are buying products from brands in that niche.

A great place to start is Amazon. They’ve done the research for you and update their best selling products in real time. This shows you exactly what people are searching, clicking, and whipping out their credit card for on an hourly basis.

Here’s a screenshot from NichePursuits:

A screenshot of best selling goods on Amazon

If you’re curious about ideas, log onto Amazon Best Sellers right now and check out what the top sellers are in your niche of choice.

Another thing, have you ever noticed the suggestion engine in Google Search? These spots are where the majority of people find the product information they’re looking for, so it’s important to drill down on your niche at the right times.

A screenshot of Google Search

Define your ideal customer and how you want your brand to speak to them.

How well do you really know your customers?

The biggest barrier to building your brand is usually the lack of a deep, detailed understanding of the target customer.

If you’re trying to optimize your customer experience, create better content, write copy or generate more leads, knowing your customer is key.

This means you get to dig around in their heads and figure some things out about them.

  • What are they interested in?
  • How old are they?
  • Where did they go to school?
  • Do they have kids?
  • What does a typical day look like for them?

These questions might sound specific, but here’s the thing…

Creating very specific buyer personas can dramatically improve your business results.

According to Neil Patel’s blog:

“Many marketers make the mistake of using generic demographics like age, profession, and location to develop their buyer personas. These data points simply don’t provide enough information to create messaging that resonates with your audience on an emotional level.”

If you don’t know the answers to questions like these, it’ll be hard to create an effective marketing strategy. Your goal is to educate, help and delight these people.

What do you do?

Create a robust buyer persona.

Here’s an example we found on the Alexa Blog:

A sample of buyer persona

This buyer persona by Indie Game Girl uses little blurbs to personify their target customer, Brandi. The persona brings them through her shoe buying process, and details her frustrations and hesitations along the way. It even includes direct quotes from real customers.

Grouping people into persona categories makes it easier to tailor your content, messaging and copy to support your brand.

This B2B example from Suddita Yang’s blog includes a personality and technology scale that rates her knowledge and character.

A sample of buyer persona_Tobi Day

It’s important to understand that these personas don’t belong just to the marketing department. Give your persona to every member of your business—sales, product, customer service—and implement it across your entire funnel.

How can you use buyer personas?

When combined with buyer journey (how far along someone is in your sales lifecycle), you can create highly targeted content.

For example, instead of sending the same promotions to everyone on your email list, you can segment by buyer persona. This lets you tailor your messaging based on what you know about those different personas.

Use your well-researched persona to determine their buying behavior and what challenges they want to overcome. This’ll give you a deeper understanding of how your business can provide value to your niche market.


Because different people want different things.

Would you target a product to 13-year old the same way you would target a product to a 25-year old?

Of course not.

On top of that, we live in a world where people see an estimated 4,000 to 10,000 marketing messages every single day. That’s why learning your audience is vital to building a brand that customers love.

Invest in (the right) content marketing for your brand.

A screenshot of a graph with content marketing search term numbers

The online marketing world has matured, and it still is. It’s safe to say that:

  • People don’t want to be “sold” when making a buying decision—they want valuable information (content).
  • Valuable information (content) is what spreads on social media, which generates powerful word of mouth for brands.
  • Valuable information (content) is what people seek out online, and it’s valuable information that Google ranks well in the search results.
  • Valuable information (content) is the best way to get people to understand, like, and trust your brand.

If you’re interested in building your business’s brand online (and if you aren’t…?), you’ve heard the term “content marketing.” It’s everywhere, and soon to achieve buzzword status (if it hasn’t already).

But how can content marketing actually help you build your brand? What makes it different from what you’re already doing?

Marketers spend 62% less on content marketing than traditional marketing, but generate 3x more leads from it!

Marketers spend 62% less on content marketing than traditional marketing, but generate 3x more leads from it!

That’s why it’s no surprise that content marketing is now a $300 billion industry.

To be clear, I’m not saying content marketing is the only way to grow your business. But it’s a channel you should pursue to grow your brand in a cost-effective way that’s proven to get results.

So brands need to get with it. Otherwise, they’ll risk lagging behind their competitors who are using it.

Which brings us to the question: How can you create valuable content to build your brand?

You can’t always rely on outsourcing if you want high quality. And you should want high quality.

Quality. Over. Everything. 

Almost 9 out of 10 of businesses use content marketing today. But the ones who use it in effective ways? Not so easy to find.

A picture of caveman creating content
Not today, caveman marketer.

The best content marketers:

  • Clearly explain the benefits customers will get if they use their app.
  • Write compelling calls to action at the end of each online promotion.
  • Create helpful videos that explain the service they offer.
  • Write captivating articles that solve their customers problems and fill in their knowledge gaps.

And here’s what I mean by invest in your content marketing:

You know all the blood, sweat, and tears you put in to promote your product or service. (In other words, the features of your business.)

You know in detail what happens behind the scenes. But your customers might have no interest in the mechanics of your business. They may care deeply about other things that are barely on your radar.

In the book Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath provide an example:

“Think of a lawyer who can’t give you a straight, comprehensible answer to a legal question. His vast knowledge and experience renders him unable to fathom how little you know. So when he talks to you, he talks in abstractions that you can’t follow. And we’re all like the lawyer in our own domain of expertise.”

It’s tough to move from features to benefits because it’s hard to be objective about marketing your business.

Sometimes a pair of outside eyes can be the perfect thing to communicate the most important benefits to customers. Your business’s winning difference might be something you overlook, but your customers find wildly useful.

That’s where hiring a professional writer can help [keyword: professional]. Preferably a specialized one. Not your cousin’s friend who wrote a vegan recipes blog once.

Good writers know how to remove themselves from a story and keep it about the reader, who in your case is a customer or lead.

They understand marketing. They can write scripts for product videos, persuasive website copy with CTAs, thoughtfully researched blog posts, in-depth case studies and white papers, and any other marketing collateral you want to leverage.

But make sure your writer is looking at customer feedback as much as possible.

This could be feedback from interviews, Amazon reviews, social media listening, or survey responses. Analyzing this data lets you pull out useful little nuggets of information you can use in your copy.

A process of content creation process

As long as they have direct access to real customer language about why people like buying from you or doing business with you.

Most companies who do content marketing right increased both the quality and quantity of leads.

The key takeaway: mastering content marketing and working with experts gives you the tools to stand out amongst the millions of me-too content pieces published every single day.


One thing to know about content marketing is…

It takes a massive amount of time and energy up front for a return that’s not immediate.

Former CEO of WordStream explains the concept of the flywheel effect (I know: science!).

When Larry was starting out and building his audience, it took him six years to generate just 12,000 followers. But once he had put out enough quality content and hit WordStream’s tipping point, the growth accelerated.

Just one year later, his following grew by 50,000.

This perfectly demonstrates the flywheel effect: It took a huge investment of time for Larry to get the flywheel moving, but once the momentum built up significantly, it set the flywheel in motion and produced disproportionate returns.

A graph of content viewers
Image source

Larry’s story paints the picture for content marketing. The vast majority of blogs and companies give up on content marketing before they can gain the momentum needed to experience the benefits they envisioned in the first place.

In the figure above, it took two years of daily blogging before the site saw a real traffic lift. But once the content marketing strategy paid off, the results were awesome.

Generate New Customers and Delight Current Ones.

Your brand’s identity attracts people who agree with what your business has to offer. But once they do become loyal customers, use that same brand identity to give them a sense of belonging. This’ll move them from customers to advocates.

Like content marketing, this will take some work.

Like we talked about, tailored content for your marketing is going to be key here. But where should you be sharing this information? Will it just sit on your blog and never leave?

This is where you, the savvy marketer, can use social media and brand ambassadors as your ultimate business tools.

Brand Ambassadors

Not all of your promotion has to be online. Brand ambassador teams can set up booths at events and in city squares to distribute your marketing materials.

You might have a new protein shake tasting stand outside a local fitness complex. Your brand ambassador team could pass out samples, flyers, and nutrition information.

Using this type of strategy can grow your brand by bringing it offline and giving customers something tangible. You physically engage your audience by getting them involved. This works especially well if you have a lifestyle or entertainment brand.

Red Bull kills it with their famous “Wings Team”. They travel to cities and sporting events across the world to pass out free samples and promote their brand.

A photo of Red Bull Wings team

Marketing has always been about knowing who your brand is for, and then figuring out how to align your product with their desires. There are so many marketing channels to use. But word of mouth always works, and that’s exactly what brand ambassadors do.

Social Media Content

Content on social media can delight your current customers and place new ones into the sales funnel. Learn which channels your customers use and the type of content they want to engage with (see: buyer persona). Then give the people what they want.

The breadth of online platforms gives you a ton of space to build your brand identity.

Social media is also a spot to talk directly to your customers. If you’re mentioned on Twitter or tagged in a Facebook post (especially if the customer has an issue or question), be sure to make that brand interaction a worthwhile one by responding promptly to your customers.

If you have an event coming up, for example, the first thing you should do to promote it is to create a Facebook event page.

Facebook events are one of the best and easiest tools to use. They’ll help you use Facebook’s traffic to spread the word, give your audience valuable information, interact and respond to their questions, and accumulate social proof.

This means more visibility for your brand. When people see their friends attending, they’ll want to check it out too.

Comedian Jim Gaffigan’s team creates Facebook event pages for every one of his shows.

A screenshot of Jim Gaffigan's event in Facebook

Another example is Chipotle, who used meme humor to describe a familiar situation.

A screenshot of Chipottle screenshot from Facebook

Humor can delight!

Connection & Emotion

People are wired to love stories. Better yet, people love stories that inspire them to take action. Building a strong brand identity can establish the emotional connection to inspire this action. This could include sharing your articles on social media, signing up for your email list, or purchasing your product or service.

Customers will be your very best allies when it comes to building your brand. After all, it’s in their heads where your brand matters after all.

Ready, Set, Build your Brand

Remember, and this bears repeating, a brand is the sum total of all the interactions a customer has with your business. It’s that intangible feeling your customers get when they interact with your business. It’s their experience.

That’s what separates the professionals from the average. The hard components all contribute to this — beautiful logo, snappy copy, well-written blogs, a user-friendly website design–but brands thrive when they know who they’re selling and speaking to. Get to the heart and soul of your audience and your business niche, and the brand will follow.


Can Brand Ambassadors Be Your Edge For Strong Growth?

Read time: 5 minutes


Markets have shifted. Customer behavior has changed.

And so should you.

With the glorious rise of the internet, the way customers behave and interact with brands has taken a completely different form.

Information gathering about anything used to take an insane amount of time and resources. Before we had access to all the world’s information, we had to learn about products and services—features and benefits, markets, and how they can help us—by talking to sales reps.

We both know that’s no longer the case at all. When’s the last time you let a sales rep make your buying decision for you? Like many others, I buy 99.999999% of my stuff online. So I guess the internet’s my sales rep now?

Think about it. Since 1998, Google’s recruited thousands of the world’s top engineers and spent hundreds of billions of dollars to build algorithms designed to give us the most accurate, targeted and specific answer to any of our search queries.

In other words, we can learn anything about anything that exists.

This means we’re the most informed consumers in history.

And this shift has really hit the sales team.

We’ve become self-serve consumers. Once we actually do talk to a sales rep, we’ve usually already made our buying decision.

We show up the store, pick the laundry detergent we’ve already researched online, and away we go.

Historically, sales reps played a much larger role in the buying process—and often still do. They educated people and helped them find the product they were looking for. The best ones were the best educators. And education is still the top way to sell products and services.

But now we’re often seeing sales reps pigeon-holed into a role that only closes the sales process.

And so we see a new version of the sales rep: brand ambassadors.

A photo of Uber brand ambassadors
Uber brand ambassadors in Chicago work to persuade drivers to join the service.

Traditional, in-your-face marketing is being eclipsed by better ways of spreading the word about your brand. Companies are seeing the change in how their customers can skillfully tune out information that’s not relevant or useful to them.

9 out of 10 people trust recommendations from others over promotional content directly from a brand. This is why we’ve seen more brand ambassador programs in recent years. Brand ambassador programs can be extremely effective tool to grow your brand.

What Is A Brand Ambassador?

On the outside, your business sells a product or service. But your brand is much more than that. Your brand tells a meaningful story your customer identifies with or use to express herself.

Related: Complete Guide to Brand Building (Must-Read for Growth Marketers)

Rolling out a brand ambassador program gives you another channel to develop meaning around your brand. When brand ambassador teams infiltrate communities, people attribute faces to an otherwise faceless brand.

Sure, we live in the digital age. Businesses post lots of “meaningful content” on social media now. But that’s no substitute for real human interaction.

In this post you’ll learn how to make it as easy as possible for your brand ambassador team to reach the right audience.

But before we do, you have to understand the difference between the two types of brand ambassadors: online influencers and offline brand ambassadors.

Offline Brand Ambassadors

Two words: human interaction.

Repeat after me.

Human interaction.

It’s so important.

Offline brand ambassadors nail the human aspect of your business. Sometimes they’re called street teams or field teams. They give you a few options to promote your business by facing customers in the real world:

  • Distributing print marketing materials. An example of this would be your street team passing out flyers or posting photos around music festivals, college campuses, or city squares.
  • Sampling and product demos. For example, a new energy drink that sets up a booth at a skate competition. Or Red Bull’s famous Wings Teams.

An offline brand ambassador strategy works very well in industries like entertainment, lifestyle, real estate, and even political campaigns. Your team can be either paid or volunteer.

Related: Learn how to track and manage street teams using SimpleCrew.

The advantages that come with using offline brand ambassadors are clear:

  • Most people feel more comfortable talking to a brand representative in person than tripping over a Facebook or Google ad.
  • Brand representatives can collect direct feedback from prospects.
  • In-person interaction creates a stronger sense of urgency to buy than online.
  • Offline marketing is harder to block out (easy: blocking an ad…super awkward: blatantly ignoring a friendly human being).
  • Even today, not everyone spends a lot of their time online—so this is still a way to reach new people.
The team of brand ambassadors from 121c with the carbon skateboard
Source: 121C Boards launched the ultimate carbon fiber skateboard.

Online Influencers

An online influencer is a person with sway over your target audience in your industry or niche.

They might have specialized knowledge or experience with a certain subject. And their already- established presence in a niche makes them great resources for credibility with brands.

9 out of 10 marketers said their influencer marketing campaigns were effective.

Influencer marketing can be effective because instead of taking years and years to establish your own credibility, you’ll make use of the pre-existing authority of another person’s reputation.

7 out of 10 millennials trust peer recommendations. Influencers provide a common touchpoint between brands and their audience.

A girl ordering in the online shopSource: Social Media Week

Benefits of working with an influencer include:  

  • Increased exposure to your influencer’s audience: your target market is already engaged and expecting relevant content.
  • Improved SEO: Tapping into an influencer’s audience brings more opportunities for link-building. More links leads to higher search rankings.
  • Build trust: People in your target market already trust the influencer you’re working with.
  • Positive brand connection: Associating yourself with a trusted influencer causes a “halo effect” in the eyes of consumers.

Ideal influencers are users of your brand with a medium to large sized social media following. They should also closely embody your buyer persona. Their values should reflect what you value as a brand.

While they do have some ties to your business, influencers are mostly independent. They represent themselves on social media. This is why their endorsement of your brand seems more like an honest recommendation than an ad.

Differences between brand ambassadors and influencers

Understanding the differences between offline brand ambassadors and online influencers can help decide which ones would best fit your marketing strategy:

  • Offline brand ambassadors promote your brand through word-of-mouth (handing out flyers, posting brochures), and influencers promote your brand through online content (social media posts, videos, etc.).
  • Influencers might not have used your product before. Brand ambassadors have usually used it actively.
  • Influencers are used based on their reach. Brand ambassadors are chosen either because they love the product or for their experience in the field.
  • You find influencers by messaging them with product samples. With brand ambassadors, who’ve likely promoted your product already, you recruit them into a street team or ambassador program.

Measuring Your Brand Ambassador Team’s Success

While the internet is a godsend, endless information has its downsides. We’re getting more messages, promotions and content from brands than ever. As a result, we block out most of it.

If you have trusted people championing your brand (online or in person), you rise above the information overload.

That said, your brand ambassadors’ progress or results won’t be so easy to measure. Their job is more about building trust and establishing relationships with your target customer.

While there are some ROI items you can measure…

  • Social media likes, shares and follows
  • Number of sign-ups for company newsletters or emails
  • Number of business cards and contacts collected
  • Total number of items handed out at events

…brand ambassadors make your brand human. Your business needs analytics, but it also thrives on trusting relationships. This is where brand ambassadors can contribute to that growth, because they fill in the gaps between faceless businesses and customers.

But I still want to know my brand ambassadors actually provide results for your business growth…


5 Proven Ways to Promote a Concert

Concert promotion matters.

While that might seem like an obvious things to say (especially coming from us), you can, at times, come across concert promoters who believe that the gig will “sell itself.”

What these promoters don’t realize is that, most of the time, that’s just not the case. You can have the best artist in the world booked to play, but if no one knows about the show, no one’s going to turn up.

So once you’ve got the date, the venue, and the band in place, you need to sell tickets. And for that, you need to know how to promote concerts.

It’s not a dark art – although it might sometimes seem like one. Rather, it is a skill.

Marketing and promotion is a huge subject area, but there are a few basic rules that can help you on your way.

Figure out who your audience are, and be led by them.

Almost everything you do will be led by your audience, rather than the band.

If you don’t know who your existing and potential customers are, how old they are, where they hang out, or what matters to them, you’re not going to have the first clue about how to market to them.

Selling a gig to rock kids between 14 & 25 is a very different job to selling a jazz gig to the over 50s.

Some audiences might be very similar, but they’re never identical. You can very easily waste a lot of time (and a lot of money) on the wrong path, and the best way to avoid that is to put the audience at the center of your marketing plan.

Make sure you leave yourself enough time.

I’d honestly say that you need four weeks minimum, to promote a concert. Ideally you want much longer, but if you get offered a job with less than a month to go, for a band who don’t have a solid local following, you’re going to be up against it.

When you’re learning how to promote concerts, time is one of your most precious resources. And unless you’ve got a really hot show – which will need minimum promotion in the first place – fans probably won’t buy a ticket the first time they’re asked, and you’ll need to remind them.

That means leaving enough time to make sure that posters get refreshed, and flyers that go out several times leading up to the show.

You also want to make sure that word of mouth has time to build, for Facebook event invites to get some circulation, and for fans to invite their friends.

Leveraging the networks of a band’s fans is a powerful way to promote – word of mouth is still pretty much the most trusted form of recommendation – but it takes time to reach its full potential.

Set a budget, and stick to it!

How much cash you’ve got to spend will define how much promotional activity you’re able to do. Is the budget realistic? If you only have a small amount, and you’re expected to sell a huge number of tickets, you may want to reassess.

You may want only to pick those marketing channels which give you the best return. Remember it’s very easy to overspend, so getting really complicated and really pretty posters printed might be less important than making sure you have enough of them.

If you’re not in charge of printing, make sure that you’ve asked for enough to cover your area, and don’t be scared to ask for more if you need them.

Learning how to promote concerts isn’t just about which kinds of activities you’re able to carry out, but also how much of each you’re able to do.

Decide on your channels, and get the right balance of offline and online

Posters and flyers are the mainstays of concert promotion. Even in a digital world, it’s worth having them in the right places around town.

If you’re worried about being able to see where they’ve gone (and indeed if they’ve gone up), then that’s where our street team software comes in.

Press ads can be great if you’ve got the budget, but unless you get a good deal from the publication in question, they can be expensive, and it can be pretty difficult to measure ROI.

Editorial space in the right publications (online or offline) is highly sought after, but you need a good angle, and a good relationship with the publications. Learning how to write a press release might well be time well spent!

Online promotion on blogs, Facebook and Twitter is essential, but it can be time consuming – so like posters and flyers, it’s something that your street team are really well placed to do.

Get them to upload screenshots of their postings to SimpleCrew and you’ll be able to keep track of their work in the same way you keep track of their work on the ground.

Getting the balance between offline and online promotion is important, so remember to be led by your audience: what will they respond to?

Monitor, evaluate, adapt

This is probably the most important factor in making your gig promotion a success.

If possible, link the work you’ve been doing to ticket sales, so that you can very easily see what’s working, and what isn’t.

If posters in one particular neighborhood are effective, that’s worth knowing. If activity on a Facebook event page is getting lots of attention, put more energy into that.

The point about linking it to ticket sales during the promotional period is that you’re able to adapt: by the time the gig’s happened, it’s too late!

If you’re working with a street team, and using our app, the Stats tab will help you monitor how much work individual team members are doing, and so you’ll know who needs a push, and who you should congratulate – which will help you in the long term, as well as the short.

Lastly… and this is one that you won’t find in marketing textbooks: wherever possible, only work with people you trust, and once you’ve found good people, stick with them.

The concert and events industry can be hard work, there can be long hours, and it can require a serious amount of flexibility. But the joy of pulling off a successful show with a team of people you trust is worth the effort.

So go out and do it! We’ll see you on the dancefloor.


Business Lessons Learned from Atlassian

I like picking out heroes in business (and in life). People and companies whose mindset, actions, and achievements I respect and admire.

Folks like Paul Graham37Signals/Basecamp, and Instagram – these guys have been there, walked the path, and have left plenty of inspiration on everything from product features to marketing copy to business strategy.

Today, I stumbled across a Forbes article chronicling the rise of another badass company that’s firmly in this camp for me: Atlassian, a software company that makes collaboration, project management, and communication tools for enterprise companies.

These guys have turned the traditional sales/marketing model for the enterprise market on it’s head:

Unlike the model of behemoths like Oracle , or even contemporaries like Workday or Box, Atlassian chose to minimize costs by not investing in sales staff or marketing, focusing instead on research and development. It simply sold their competitively priced products on the website.

“We felt if we could sell something at a reasonable price and sell it on the internet then we’d be able to find a market there. And that’s what worked out,” Farquhar said.

Like many start-ups, early sales were from friends of friends and acquaintances. But the company knew it had broken through when, without solicitation or any human interaction, the credit card information for a purchase from American Airlines came through.

Sales and marketing will continue to play a huge role in how we push SimpleCrew forward, but it’s inspirational to see Atlassian pushing the boundaries of whats possible with just a maniacal focus on product and development.

That, and they just seem like a cool bunch of guys and girls. Hero status confirmed.