How Canva Creates Brand Advocates and Raving Fans

Brand advocates. Everybody wants them. They give you referrals, they advertise for you for free. They stand up for you when you’re under fire. How does a company attain and retain brand advocates? Sometimes the best way to figure it out is to follow the example of a successful company.

We’ve been on Canva since the days when you needed an invitation. We’ve written about them extensively online and even in print. Yes, I said, “them,” without even meaning to because though Canva is a tool, there are very real people behind it, and it is obvious at every turn. And this, my friends, is how they build raving fans who becoming walking billboards for their amazing service.

Brand advocates share your content, they tell other people about you – and you don’t have to pay them a cent. Which is why all businesses need to do everything they can to create and delight your own. Here’s how Canva does it:

With a Valuable Tool

Canva lets us create amazing designs even though we are not designers – for free. …

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3 Ways to Save Money on Inbound Marketing

3 Ways to Save Money on Inbound Marketing

“Money is no object!” said no small business owner, ever. Maybe one day I’ll hear from one of those rarities and get to use all the wonderful inbound marketing magic at my disposal. Until then, budget will always be an issue. Some say that limitations actually foster greater creativity, and I agree. When you can’t spend unlimited time and money on everything, you’re forced to make ever second and every penny really count.

Still, when a business owner comes to me with big dreams and a tiny budget, the first thing to overcome is the “I want it all, but I don’t want to pay for it.” mindset. Part of me wants to give every nice business owner with a great product or service first-class service at a freight-car rate, but I can’t – and usually they understand. Still, this doesn’t have to be the end. There are other options!

Focus on Your Best Bets

So you can’t afford to do it all right now. Should you wait until you can? Certainly not! Doing as much as you can now …

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Market-your-value

How Much Does it Cost – or How Much is it Worth? Market Your Value, Instead!

About a week ago I dropped my iPhone. From about four feet up. Straight on to the concrete sidewalk. I had a “Schrodinger’s Cat” moment. Please don’t be broken, please don’t be broken…

Well, it was. Smashed. In a very pretty spiderweb pattern, but smashed, nonetheless. First thought, “Crud!” Second thought, “How much money did I just cost myself?” And then, “Am I going to have to buy a new phone, or are there people who fix these things?” Yeah, you probably already knew there are lots of places that fix them, but this was my first phone-smash.

Somewhere in the Googling, phone-calling, fingertip-slicing days between smash and fix, I did have to wonder – what is it worth to me to get this fixed? Leaving it as it was was not an option – little pieces of glass were starting to fall out and I knew I was leaving it open to water damage. Not to mention the finger-slicing hazard. But, should I fix this phone (a hand-me-down iPhone4 – I’m cheap) or get a new one. Well, I …

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Being More Human - Marketing's Next Big Thing? via @scalablesocial

The Next Big Thing in Online Marketing – Being More Human?

In January, Mark Schaefer coined the phrase “Content Shock” to refer to the marketing challenge stemming from the fact that we are creating more and more content online, yet consumers have a finite number of hours to absorb it. At some point, and we may have already hit that point, it will become more and more expensive (in terms of time and money) to make content marketing work for your business.

When this post was published, you could almost hear the collective gasp of content marketers worldwide. In fact, that one blog post generated nearly 400 comments. Many argued that “good content always rises to the top,” while others, faced with cold, hard facts, agreed that the golden age of content as marketing savior might indeed be coming to an end.

Of course, there are exceptions. While marketing companies will be forced to create more and better content, spending more and more time and money to keep the same amount of traffic coming in, some businesses in industries that have not fully adopted content marketing may be able …

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whats-your-business-story

What’s Your Story?

Fact, figures, awards and credentials might impress for a moment, but somehow a simple story stays with us so much longer. So, tell me a story. Why did you start your business? Sure, there are likely a number of practical reasons behind your business. Maybe you lost your corporate job during the recession, or you wanted to stop traveling so much and to be there for your kids. But, the business you chose, the people you work with, the way you run it – what’s the story behind that?

Having worked with a number of Home Instead Senior Care franchisees, I’ve heard some really good stories. Oftentimes, the people who own a senior care company are first introduced to the industry when an elderly relative needed more help at home than the family could provide alone. Looking for that kind of support, it became painfully clear that there was a lack of professional, trained and trustworthy options. A personal experience with Mom, Dad or other relative lead to a successful business fueled by passion and compassion. You just can’t be …

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Networking for Introverts - Get Out to Get In!

How Getting Out Can Get You “In” – An Introvert’s Confession

To say that I’m an introvert would be an understatement.  I love to work behind-the-scenes, invisible and independent. But you know that old saying, “No (wo)man is an island?” Yeah, it’s true. Drat.

So, as much as I’d prefer to network with Twitter or Google+, sometimes I just have to get out of the office.

Just Get Out, Already!

As much as introverts often do their best work independently, we still benefit from some outside inspiration, no matter what our industry. After all, isn’t that why we go to live conferences? Being physically present cuts down on unproductive multi-tasking, making us really focus on the subject at hand. We also get to learn from others in a very personal way.

Though meeting new people and carrying on conversation after conversation with strangers can be exhausting, it can also fuel new content, product ideas and services and of course, create lasting connections with others in your industry or with potential customers. Totally worth it.

Where the “In” Comes In

About a year ago, I met a business coach at a live …

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What marketers don't know about tracking cookies, but should.

Tracking Cookies: What Most Marketers Don’t Know, But Should

This post originally appeared on Inbound Insiders, a new section on the Inbound Hub blog.

Mmmm, chocolate chip! Oatmeal Raisin! Oreos (more addictive than cocaine, apparently)! Yes, many of us have a weakness for cookies – but those aren’t the ones I’m talking about.

What I’m referring to are tiny files stored on our computers when we visit certain websites and provide information (such as a name, username or email address) in a form.

How Do Cookies Work?

When a web server reads the cookies it previously placed on your computer, it can deliver a page tailored specifically to you or report information about you and your browsing habits back to the site owner.

Ever made a return visit to a website and been greeted by name? That’s because on your first visit, a cookie was installed. When you came back, the website server read your cookie and recognized you.

How Might a Marketer Use Cookies?

Since cookies can also be considered food, let’s go with a tasty analogy to help you understand why cookies are so important for …

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3 Good Reasons to Say I don't know

Three Good Reasons to Say, “I Don’t Know.”

Conventional wisdom says that “I’m sorry” is the hardest thing to say.  If that’s the case, a contender for a close second is the phrase, “I don’t know.”  Not surprisingly, the two phrases have some things in common.

They both require humility. While every one of us would like to think that we are always right or that we always have the answers, humility and reality require that we admit that this is not the case!

They are also both crucial to healthy relationships. Knowing when to say, “I’m sorry” or “I don’t know” builds trust, even though it can be a little scary to allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to say it. Here are a few reasons to be brave and just admit you don’t know everything when it comes to your clients.

1. It’s the Truth

There is certainly some value in living by the motto, “Fake it ’til you make it.” In fact, I’ve learned more than one critical marketing skill because I said, “Sure, I can figure that out.” I bet you have done something …

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How to make the most of your content offers

How to Make the Most of Your Ebook or Whitepaper – A Step By Step Guide

Creating downloadable Ebooks, whitepapers, templates, check lists, or other content offer with information so valuable that people would pay for it is a pillar of effective online marketing or “inbound” marketing. When you create remarkable and useful content, you’re able to build and segment your email lists for more effective marketing and lead follow-up.

But just how do you get from a content offer to a useful email list and lead nurturing process? And how do you get people to sign up for your offer?  This process can be overwhelming, but when you break it down step-by-step, nothing gets left out and your content can be a big success! So, let’s get started. You can also download a very detailed checklist here.

Promoting An Ebook or Whitepaper with Marketing Automation

You can promote your content with a combination of programs for landing pages, email and nuturing – and we’ll try to give you affordable options, but we prefer to use HubSpot. Not sure it’s worth the investment? Check out this …

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Are you marketing with empathy - or contempt?

Are You Marketing with Empathy or with Contempt?

Yesterday I got a new lead from my website. As is my habit, I checked out the “What’s your biggest marketing challenge?” field first. He’d answered, “leads.” Great! We love it when a company puts a high value on leads – generating and nurturing them is our strong suit. Then I looked at his website and read a couple of blog posts. It became immediately apparent why he was having a struggle with leads – and why I don’t think I can help.

Here’s To All the “Idiots” “Morons” and “Dumb Souls” Out There

Yes, the two blog posts I read on his site, before leaving in disgust, used those exact phrases to describe customers, potential customers, and readers of his blog. Wow, if that’s what you think of me, let me become a lead right now so you can help me stop being such a moron!! Sorry, a little sarcasm got out there. Gotta watch that.

True, he did not call out any customer by name, but he gave more than enough details so …

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