Cheap alternative? NerdyData

If you’re looking for a cheap alternative, check out NerdyData.

It’s not as powerful as, but better value for money for teams that aren’t making heavy use of

Case in point:

Not saying that one is better than the other. It really depends on the value the tool creates for your company.

Competitive research: Find out which Facebook ads a company is running

There’s a pretty cool tool for doing competitive research that shows you which ads a given company is running: The Facebook Ads Gallery by AdEspresso.

Now it should be mentioned that their database isn’t complete, and their data isn’t 100% accurate.

Especially if you’re with smaller advertisers, you often will find that they don’t have their ads in their database. It’s still a useful tool though.

It’s very easy to use and straightforward:

You just type in either a URL or a company name or a keyword. I find that the keyword search is, after the URL search, particularly useful, since it will often yield more results. While the relevancy isn’t always as tight, you’ll still get plenty of ideas from doing so and might come across companies you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.

The results page is organized like a gallery, with pinterest-style pins.

facebook ads gallery

Clicking on any of the ads will give you further information, like the actual ad itself, the link of the destination URL, the associated Facebook page, the Placement, Objective, Special Attributes, Industries and other data.


More on validating content before you create it

Yesterday I wrote about a tool for content marketers that’s build to predict how your content idea will perform. Today, I’ll talk about a way of validating content ideas that doesn’t require this tool.

It’s based on this post by Sujan Patel:

  1. Your idea isn’t original. Someone else had this idea before. That’s great news! Because you can now check out how their idea performed and use that to gauge how your idea will perform. Do a (broad) google search for your idea and look at the results that come up and that look like they’re similar to your idea.
  2. Analyze how the post performed using Buzzsumo or ahrefs Content Explorer. (Just put in the URL and see the results)
  3. Do outreach before you write the post. Then measure the responses you get. This way you’ll have a great way of gauging how interested other people are in your content before you actually write it.
  4. Survey your audience (website visitors, blog readers, email subscribers, customers) what content they want.
  5. Learn the basic principles of content that performs. Buzzsumo did an analysis of content that performs well. Here’s what they found:
    * It inspired awe, laughter, or amusement in its audience.
    * It appealed to its audience’s narcissistic side (think personality quizzes).
    * It’s long-form.
    * It’s presented in list form or as an infographic.
    * It looks professional and trustworthy.
    * It contains visuals.

Now, one thing that IS for sure is that there’s no way of predicting how successful your content will be. No content marketer can tell in advance. Just like no music producer can tell in advance how successful a song will be, no movie production company can tell in advance how much a movie will gross.

But you can build a process that allows you to better gauge the success of your content. That’s what you should aim for: continuous learning.

Sales tools with a “schedule email” / “send later” feature

If you’re doing a lot of sales via email, then you know how important it is to get emails in your prospects’ inbox at the right time.

Oftentimes sales people now work at unusual business hours but don’t want to send emails at that time.

Here’s a list of sales apps that you can use to schedule emails to be sent later:

Email unsubscribe survey questions

If you’ve got an email list,you’ll also have unsubscribes. Now one thing you want to do is to put an unsubscribe survey into place so that you can learn why people actually unsubscribe.

What’s the reason that they went through the whole trouble of signing up in the first place… only to unsubscribe again later on?

In many cases, the reason is probably just that there’s misalignment between what you offer and what they need… and these kinds of unsubscribes are cool. You want to keep your list relevant and engaged, and anyone that’s not a good fit should not be on your list.

But in some cases, where it’s actually the people that you do want to reach, if they unsubscribe, you definitely want to know why they did so, and what you can do to improve your emails for these kinds of people.

So the feedback will be incredibly valuable.

Here are the typical unsubscribe exit surveys questions that you could ask your unsubscribers:

  • Your emails weren’t relevant to me anymore
  • Your emails are too frequent
  • I don’t remember signing up for this
  • I’ve got other reasons

Now there’s an art and science to writing exit survey questions. The above were actually taken from a blog post from CampaignMonitor.

But there are 2 things I would improve about these questions:

  1.  they switch up You and I. They should keep it consistent, and they should make it from an I point of view.

Here’s why: when I unsubscribe from a list, it’s easier to tell you the reason why I decided to unsubscribe, rather than telling you what you did wrong. The I-perspective is much closer to what’s going on in my head.

2. They use fancy, difficult words. “not relevant”. “too frequent” Now they’re not too fancy, but they’re still not the way most people think in their heads in the middle of a busy day.

Better ways to phrase these questions would be:

“It didn’t interest me anymore.”

“I got too many emails from you.”

But before you take these unsubscribe survey questions and stick them into your process, take a step back for a moment and ask yourself if these are the best questions you could be asking your unsubscribers.

The best way to get to a meaniningful answer to that question is by asking yourself:

If I see that a high percentage of people choose this answer… what will be the action that I take based upon that information?

Because these answers will only be meaningful if they help you change something in your current marketing efforts that will then lead to an improvement in your overall process and help you send better, more engaging emails to the right kind of people.

Welcome mail when signing up for a newsletter

Here’s a great example of a welcome mail I received when signing up for a newsletter:


Hi, I’m Sol.

I just wanted to pop this quick email to say thanks for joining the family.

I don’t want to bore you with a “look how amazing” paragraph is… so if you want to know why I’m even talking, head on over to my About page.

The purpose behind is pretty simple – I wanted an avenue to talk about entrepreneurship and the balance between that life and your personal-life.

My promise to you is that I have no intention of monetizing SJO. There will be no (e)book. There will be no (e)course. There will be no coaching nor consulting or any kind of client work. Ask anyone who has ever met me and they know – that’s just not how I roll.

At the most, has opened up some fun speaking gigs (if you know of any, send them my way), but I am very serious when I say promise you that I will have nothing to sell.

I will send an email anywhere from a few times a week to once every few weeks. I do recommend you follow me on Facebook – I muse a lot more freely there, and I love interacting with people. And none of that inspirational/aspirational garbage – ugh.

Over the next few weeks you’ll receive a few emails I’ve setup that I think you’ll find interesting. Some are links to stuff I’ve written, some are musings, and some are links to others. But all-in-all, they are well-worth your time

That’s about it. Feel free to reply to this email and introduce yourself. I love getting to know people (and how they found me).

– Sol



Here’s what I like about this email:

It’s all about building a relationship. He’s not asking you for a favor. He’s not asking you to share something on social, or buy this cool new thing that will make your life more awesome. It’s kinda like you’re getting to know him and what he’s about.

And it accomplishes one thing that’s hard to accomplish on the internet: it creates trust. The experience, the tone, the content—all of it conveys that Sol is coming from an authentic place, that he keeps it real.

Collecting leads without lead forms?

Lead forms are dead!

That’s what many marketing experts proclaim nowadays. The most compelling case was probably made by the Drift team

But while nobody likes filling out forms, that’s not a new thing.

These people say that lead forms are a thing of the past, as if back in the days people enjoyed filling out forms. They didn’t. Nobody ever did.

The attitude people had towards forms was always: all right, this seems something that could be valuable enough for it be worth giving them my data in exchange.

It’s one of these things that people like to say because it’s a little nuisance we’re all dealing with. Like cold calls (how many times has that been proclaimed dead? Yet, it continues to generate billions of dollars in business every year).

But when I read a recent article by Jenn Lisak, as much as I disliked the attention getting approach of proclaiming once again The Death of the Lead Form, she made a great point:

There are alternatives that work better than lead forms. She focused on interactive content:

Appointment Scheduler – Invite prospects to test-drive features or benefits by setting an appointment
Assessments – Zoom into personal needs, and deliver helpful recommendations
Calculators – Help buyers gauge value
Chat – 1:1, real-time assistance just as a customer is evaluating a purchase
Custom Path/Promos – Custom tools, recommendations or promos based on buyer preferences, history, or peer purchases
Instant Check – Remove buying obstacles by clarifying whether they can buy now
Instant Win – Combine incentives with curiosity
Interactive Infographics – Infographics with interactive elements like motion and on-demand elements like info panes or videos
Pay with a tweet/social share – Reward visitors with access when they share your content with their social media network
Quizzes – Let visitors test and showcase their knowledge
Story Microsites – Online microsites that walk a visitor through pages and videos through to a conversion
Trivia – Satisfy their curiosity and show’em how much they know
Video – Show vs. tell

Sales tool: ZenProspect

If you’re doing outbound sales, ZenProspect might be an interesting solution for you. It’s a unified lead gen and sales communication platform to help businesses build more pipeline in minutes.

They’re a pretty fresh company, so this might be a case where getting in early could pay off… or be a total flop 🙂

They seem similar to LeadGenius.

They way it works is that you define what kind of customer you’re looking for (e.g. specific job title, industry, company size, revenue, location, what software tools they use, funding, keywords in social media profiles or on their website, and other criteria).

It also dedupes all these contacts against your existing lead lists.

They’re also automating the email outreach to warm up those colds leads.

A lot of the things that sales reps care about are in there:

  • automatic smart follow-up reminders
  • open, click and reply tracking
  • custom scheduling for sending emails
  • detecting out of office replies
  • automatic A/B testing of outreach emails
  • salesforce integration

They’re backed by companies like Y Combinator, SVAngel, SocialCapital and Nexus Venture Partners.

Customers which they list on their website include, wework, Segment and more.

Learn more:

Calendly + UTM tags = Know which campaigns get appointments

Calendly has a pretty neat feature that allows you to add UTM tags to your calendly scheduling links.

Simply attach ?utm_campaign=campaignname to the end of your calendly link and Calendly will keep track of the data, and you can even export it into a CSV.

Check out their documentation for more.