Expert advice written on notepad

With the new year fast approaching and the mistakes of this year front of mind, we're all keen to do it better next year.  We thought we'd get a few friends together to help you out.

In this post 5 extraordinary marketing genius's share their keys to marketing success - great food for thought for the upcoming year.  Whether it's partnerships, websites, Youtube, live streaming or generally where do I start - we've got it covered.

FULL DISCLOSURE: These experts have serious depth of knowledge and have shared generously.  The net result - this is post is pretty lengthy (3,700 words + of expert insights).

There are two ways to read this post;

  1. Use "Quick Links" to jump straight to a specific expert
  2. The traditional approach, grab a drink, relax and take your time reading from top to bottom savouring every word

Marketing Expert: Michel Koch​ (CMO @Time Inc)

Michel Koch

We had the privileage of asking Michel Koch the Chief Marketing Officer at Time Inc. UK his thoughts on startup marketing in 2017.  If you've not heard of Time Inc. it owns and publishes over 100 magazine brands (including InStyle,  People, Marie Claire Uk & Amateur Photographer).  It's a $4.8BN international business.

Here's Michel's insights:

1. How can startups leverage large brands to get their name out in 2017?

Large corporates are on the look-out for digital innovation, but often lack the resources, the speed and even the budget to get things done.

Identify areas where your startup can benefit a large brand and offer them to partner with you on a "free trial" basis, where you take care of the installation and some of the marketing... In return, all the brand will have to do is communicate and share the credit for the project.

This will be a way for you to bring your idea to market with a large brand, and then benefit from the brand's equity and get PR that will engage with a large audience.

​2. What marketing trends should startups keep an eye on in 2017?

Marketing Trends

The best marketing tool for a startup is it's product, and word of mouth marketing.  Smart entrepreneurs don't go for large investors in the first place, they cherry pick small to medium size investors that can bring more than just money: visibility, connections and networks, knowledge, influence, credibility...

Then they launch a beta version restricted to a selected number of influencers and early adopters, generating quickly and valuable test results but also creating demand....

Another rising trend for all things marketing is video... One minute of video is more powerful than anything else, and if done well, can go viral on social networks too...

3. What marketing advantages to startups have over large corporates?

one black sheep around with white sheep that mean difference is competitive advantage.

Startups are faster and more flexible than most other types of businesses.  They have something "new" to offer, and everyone from customers to investors likes "newness".

Because they don't have time or budget for it, they need to work with marketing solutions that for most are free resources, and you realise these solutions often provide 80% of what is required in the corporate world.  Starting with a blank page in many ways an asset, as you don't need to adapt to legacy solutions or process, and can scale them as you grow.

​4. What starts can learn from large corporates when it comes to marketing?

I believe the strength of large corporates when it comes to marketing lies in the scale of it, and it's professionalism.  Startups should set themselves up as professionally as large companies, with particular focus on data and customer marketing (CRM). Structuring your data and getting your CRM right from day one will prove invaluable when you end up having millions of customers.

5. ​How can startups approach PR in 2017 for success?

Get the product right, do the right thing for your customers and get your customers to talk about it, on social, with their friends (see q2)

Identify win-win partnerships with brands and media companies and make them happen (see q1)

Use your networks of influencers and investors, celebrities, anyone of your advocates who has influence.

Website Marketing Expert: Steve Woody

Steve Woody Headshot

​So many people ask me ... “How should I promote my website?”

​For the majority of them I simply answer, “you shouldn’t”

See the problem that so many people have is that they want to tell everyone about what they are doing before they are ready to do it. I’m all for promoting yourself and getting your message out there but if you don't do it in an effective way then you might as well open your window and shout down the street.

Words like SEO or Facebook ads are banded about far too casually these days and anyone who has attempted to dive into either abyss can tell you that it’s far more complex than the hyped up ads telling you how to make 7 figures in 6 minutes.

What I’m offering you here is not an answer but some perspective. With this mindset you can start to ask better questions and find the answers which matter to you.

So let's start at the beginning.

The strapline for my business is Plan, Build and Promote your website. There is a reason it’s in that order and we need to start by understanding that before you can promote anything, you first need to ensure it’s been built properly and for that to happen you need a plan.

When I talk about building a website properly from a marketing perspective I’m talking about two very simple things.

1. The customer Journey

2. Analytics​

The first is important because you need to know that visitors who land on your page are intrigued by what you offer, become engaged with your content and then convert into customers. This is the first step before you even consider sharing the URL with the public.

The second is equally important because if you can’t track the data coming in and leaving your site then you have no idea what works. You should never post naked links ( anywhere. Rather you should consider shortening your URL using services like Google or Bitly.

man tracking footprints

This page will help you to construct a proper URL which tracks the source so you can see which marketing methods are most effective and which need work.

There is a great Google Chrome extension that makes this process very easy called Google Analytics URL builder. (Check out for a great how to for this extension).

This really is the place that everyone should be at before they start marketing. Either paid or organic marketing needs to be tracked before they arrive on the page and whilst they are there. You can start to build a picture of how many people need to visit your website from a specific link until you convert a sale. From here you have facts to work with rather than just opinions from so called experts.

I could write an entire book on this subject and all the different marketing methods so for the purpose of this blog post I’ll just give you a 6 step process which you can use to dramatically improve your websites organic rankings in search engines.

1. Keyword Research

This is the most important aspect of your marketing because it will help you identify with your target audience. You need to know the problems people have and what they are likely typing into Google to find the answers.

If you are selling winter products to homeowners then consider things like:

  • Snow
  • Ice
  • Cold Weather
  • How do I clear my driveway
  • What is the best way to remove snow

The mixture of short tail (one word) and long tail (a sentence) keywords will make up your research and you should have anything from 20 - 50 which you can pull from at any one time. I would recommend focusing in on the top 5 and also ensure that every post/page /marketing campaign has one focus keyword.

​There are many tools you can use to achieve this. I personally use

2. Check the competition

Like anything in business, it’s about where you stand compared to others. The more competition, the harder it is to get noticed and the most expensive it becomes to try and get heard. During your keyword research phase it helps to identify high traffic keywords with low competition. THAT is the golden vein which will help drive people to your website.

3. Fix on-site issues

Google and other search engines won’t touch you if you are riddles with bugs. You need to ensure you provide a safe clean environment for the viewer. Secure, fast and relevant.

4. Optimize pages

There are many things which can determine the success of SEO and these can be accessed using many tools. One of my favourite if you are using WordPress is a free plugin called Yoast.

5. Get rid of toxic links

Something which most people do not even consider but reputation is everything and if you are somehow attached to something which a search engine does not like, it will most likely affect your rankings. Websites which might have linked to you and promote hate crime, spam or illegal actions will cause you to remain hidden from the top pages of google.

6. Build quality backlinks

image of links to your website

Following on from point 5 you want to ensure that you build as many positive connections to your website as possible. Getting a .gov or a .edu website to link to yours is far more powerful than a or a .com.

You want to ensure that you get not only the connections from different places but also the interaction. Comments on blog posts, social interactions. All these things add up to provide a picture of how good your content is and that is what Google looks for.

Don’t forget that Google is a search engine. The way it works is very simple. It uses a computer program to search the internet for links. Each link takes it somewhere else and it starts to create a picture.

It’s outcome is to organise the content into a simple user interface that allows you to get anything you need by simply asking. It is not Googles job to find your website, its your job to tell google that you exist. The best way to do this is with a well written sitemap of your website which Google understands and can use to index all your pages into its database.

For more information about promoting your website please visit​

Live Stream Marketing Expert: Katya Varbanova

Katya Vabranova

250,000 eyeballs on your brand in 30 days.​

How much would that be worth for your business?

What if I told you that's what I got for FREE as a Periscope Broadcast for the month of October?

Live Streaming is more powerful than most people can ever imagine. It has helped people create thriving brands online, it has helped people build profitable businesses.

But it's not a magic bullet. It rewards the early adopters. The earlier you join the live video party on Periscope and Facebook, the higher your chance to get the most eyeballs on your brand.

All you need to do is...

1) Pick a topic or a show you will do consistently.

2) Do it and engage with the viewers.

3) Evaluate and tweak so that your numbers improve. It's the closest thing to having your own show and it costs you nothing.

​To learning more about how to use Periscope strategically for your business, for your business, download my FREE Periscope Guide here

Design Marketing Expert:  Rich Clayton

Rich Clayton Headshot

​ So, you asked for tips to market on a budget.  Okay... I think I can get this down to a few key points....

1. Breathe

2. Understand

3. Test

4. Listen

5. Learn

Okay, that's it I think!​

Seriously, you want more? Okay, here goes:

1. Breathe Firstly, before you do anything, just stop and take a minute.  That new fancy video thing you saw on Facebook? Leave it. That new, super effective twitter strategy that Mr Shiny is harping on about?

Don't even think about it.

It is so easy for you to get caught up in the last platform, craze or technology, and it's even easier to waste an insane amount of money executing a marketing campaign based on an activity you think looks cool, and I'm sorry to say.

It's normal the people that don't have the money to waste that fall into this trap.  So, as exciting as this next step is for you, and as urgent as it is for you to make a profit, just stop, and breathe for a minute.  

Feeling nice and calm?  

Good, now e can get started...

​Firstly, let's be very clear and look at the lay of the land:  You've got something amazing to say.

Quite simply put, whether it's a product, a service or a message to the world, you've got something that people need to hear about.  The problem is getting them to hear it.  Now it's really tempting to just go out there and shout about things as loudly as possible, but let me ask you something.  If you were got to try and convince someone of something, what do you think would be more effective:

A: Picking up a megaphone, and walking into a football stadium on a cold winters day full of other people with megaphones, all shouting about why you have to listen to them?


B: Finding someone that you know is interested in what you have to say, taking them somewhere where you can sit down comfortably with a nice cup of tea (or coffee) and have a nice one to one chat with them?

Good choice...

So how do we do that?​

That brings us to our next key point:

2. Understand: You already understand your product, so now we need to understand your audience: Who will be buying this thing from you? There's only one wrong answer for this question... Everyone.

Now, it's easy to envisage that your product will be good for the entire world, and it may well be, but getting your message to the entire world and having the entire world respond positively is much more difficult than finding that small niche of people this product is PERFECT for and converting them into raving fans​.

1. Are they male or femal we?
2. Where do they live?
3. do they have a family
4. What type of job do they have?
5. What are their worries in life?
6. What problem are you solving for them?
7 This list goes on...

All of these answers will help you get paid

It's a picture of the people you are looking to talk to, it will help you understand when is the best time to speak to them, what to say to them, in what format, through a particular channel or set of channels.

Man holding up sign saying

This phase is highly important, if you are working with a large marketing team you will notice that no activity is committed without being backed up by research or documentation with existing understanding, and these type of organisations are highly capable and can afford to make a mistake or two... I can't see any reason why there are small companies and start-ups that are missing out this type of activity.

Now it's time to understand your audience

It's time to get your message out there​

But before you spend your entire budget, here are a few cue's to follow:

Test: Is this thing working? Are people responding to what you are saying? Do they like what they are hearing? Whether you speak to them face to face, through a survey through a poll or competition, tracking click throughs or just watching certain message​s drive sales, you MUST check how these messages are recieved.
Listen: It's all well and good using people what they think, but you have to take the time to understand their responses.  Why is something working or not working? This bit is a lot like dating... Is it you? Is it them? Is it the message? Is it the format? Understand what is going on is vital if you are going to be able to figure out how to make your marketing more effective.
Learn: This is the most valuable lesson of all when undergoing your marketing activity.  Whether it's about your product, yourself, or your audience, marketing is a learning process... Learning about yourself as a company, or your product is vital as you can get feedback from people tht don't owe you anything... It's the most brutally honest feedback you're going to get, and more fool you if it doesn't teach you something.

Now you just need to repeat this process until you've achieved world domination! The more you know and understand your audience, the more effectively you can communicate with them, converting them from skeptics, to adopters, to raving fans that will actively help you sell more of your product!

This takes time and this takes care; Have you ever heard the phrase;

"The amount of time it takes to become an overnight success
is vastly underestimated."

Well it's true, so dig in for the long haul.

Coffee mug on top of a napkin with the words written "you always have a choice"

One final note is that at no point have we actually discussed which platform you should use, and the reason is that I just don't know.  

While it's true that there is an amazing range of physical or digital tools available, all of which allow you to mine data and get some amazing insights, depending on your offering they may not be the most suitable thing for you: Until you understand your audience and their needs, who am I to tell you which tools you should be using in order to communicate with them effectively?

As designers, my team and I are often told to execute on particular platforms because a client has seen a particular good execution somewhere, but it's at points like these where we can add the most value, by asking 'Why'?  Make no mistake, the process can get very long and complicated if that is what the project requires, but simply running through the simple steps I have just outlined above takes nothing but a little time and focus, and the results will speak for themselves.

Connect with me at

YouTube Marketing Expert:  Danielle Ford


Danielle Ford is a Creative Video Marketing Strategist and thought leader. She shows entrepreneurs how to make their business live, reach thousands and make millions.

By helping these world-changing individuals expand their influence online, she enables them to make the impact they're meant to make.

The number 1 search engine is Google.  Falling behind at a close 2nd is YouTube (is it coincidence that Google happens to own YouTube?) It's worth it to put the work into creating professional videos and uploading onto YouTube because babies will last, no matter what trend or social media platform pops up next.

Although YouTube does require a level of professionalism, don't make the mistake most people do of putting all or most of their energy int the production quality of the video.  What matters most is that your videos convert viewers into leads and leads into sales.  Here are some key pointers for your YouTube vids:

Your video should be about your viewer - not you!

This is a hard pill for a lot of professionals to swallow because they've been conditioned to think that they need to run down a list of qualifications and certifications for people to hire them or buy from this.  This is just not true.  The truth is that nobody cares about you or what you've done, they only want to know how you can help them.

Obviously there is a place for you to brag about yourself but it's not in your YouTube videos.  Your video should open with your viewers struggle, and then it should deliver content to fix that specific problem.  That's it.  You can then back up that content by explaining how you know this information or sharing a related story.

Include ONE strong Call To Action

Once you’ve given value in your video, let your viewer know there’s more where that came from and tell them exactly what to do next. Use 1 specific call-to-action per video. If you want their email address, say, “Visit my website and enter your email.” You can ask them to follow you on social media, visit you online store or come into your place of business. Whatever your call-to-action is, make sure the viewer knows how they can reach you, get more great content, hire you and buy from you.

Optimise with Keywords

You can have the most wonderfully produced, strategically filmed video that is ready to convert to sales but nothing will happen if nobody sees it. It’s simple math… More eyes= more buys. The secret sauce to success on YouTube is SEO. SEO= Search Engine Optimization. In other words, optimising your video to get in front of your target viewer. To do this, you need to know what they’re searching for. Luckily, this information is free and at your fingertips, courtesy of Google.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Go to Google, type in “keyword planner”
  2. Click “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category”
  3. Type in a few potential title ideas for you video and click “get ideas”
  4. Switch from “ad group ideas” to “keyword ideas” and a list of phrases that your target market is searching for will populate.
  5. You can now choose keywords that get thousands of monthly searches and use them in your YouTube titles, descriptions and tags which will push your video to the top of YouTube and Google when people search for that term. And if you’ve followed tips 1 and 2 above, your video will start turning those searches into clients and sales.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve ever put your heart into a video that only reached crickets. I’ve put together a free guide “10 Reasons why your YouTube Video only got 20 views and how to instantly fix it” at

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5 marketing genius’s share their keys to startup marketing success. Topics include using Youtube, Live Streaming and Website SEO