Throughout my blogs you will undoubtedly hear me preach the need for automation across all areas of marketing as well as any operation. Yet, there are negatives to automation.

Look at your inbox right now (I know you won’t but at least imagine it?) How many of your emails are coming from real people? How many emails do you receive that you are emotionally attached to?

Commonly it is a very small percentage. Automated messages (especially in email) are so easy to create and are making it incredibly easy for marketers to reach an enormous amount of prospects in one send.

But at what cost?

Physical cost.. almost nothing. Email still remains one of the most cost effective mediums in marketing…

The cost of loyalty and attachment to a brand is the cost. They are costing companies more and more each year.

Throughout the digital transformation movement we have been looking for ways to automate the processes across all departments. Although in doing so we have also deteriorated the one-on-one relationships that were typically so important to make a sale.

On the plus side, the cost of acquiring customers has dropped but on the negative side, we are seeing the public lose their loyalty for brands more and more each year.

This is because we are no longer aiming to build a relationship, we are looking to push promotions, sales, and nurture campaigns all through automated messaging.

The truth is, every consumer knows what these emails look like, they have become numb to them and they tend to blend together in your inbox. At no point does someone feel like they are special to that brand in a mass email, because they always know that the email was sent to more than just them.

Many emails have attempted to move to plain text to solves this, but truly it is fooling no one, especially when the unsubscribe button is at the bottom.

Anyways, because of this tactic, consumers and businesses do not have the emotional connection with one particular brand, instead they are moving from brand to brand based on whatever variable means the most to them (this is commonly coming down to price).

This does not mean that you your business should shut down your automated messaging or your large email sends (they are most likely generating a positive ROI), but it does mean that you should be looking into initiatives to delight your customers, create one-on-one relationships, and drive emotion.

In a small business with limited resources it can be tough to build this one-on-one relationship effectively, here are a couple:


1. Personalization to the extreme

Every company is dropping in your contact details from a CRM into mass email cadences. These personalizations do wonders for open rates and click rates, but the truth is they nearly do nothing for loyalty.

In order to really build loyalty you need to show information that goes past the conventional informational plug-ins.

This type of information is typically something that you learned from a discussion and that is commonly a personal trait rather than a company trait. Such as; where you went to school, planned or previous vacation spots, etc. by referring back to these non-typical pieces of information, you prove that an individual is listening and a relationship is able to be established.

This can be easily done with just listening to your customers/prospects and maintaining your CRM. If you know your way around marketing automation, it is very easy to put in a workflow. (Automating works if nobody knows)


2. Presents / rewards (action based)

It feels like everyone has a loyalty program these days. Although do they really drive loyalty? I personally believe they only eliminate even competition but not truly create loyalty.

For example, I loved Delta Airlines. Even before being in their reward club, I preferred their service over any other airline. Even though they are giving me perks to fly with them, I am still cost sensitive. I will happily choose Southwest Airlines if they come in at a lower price.

My point here is that when a rewards program offers the sames incentives to everyone, you can strengthen the preference to use the product, but you do not gain die hard loyalty.

Building Die Hard loyalty takes one-on-one behavior. This can be easily done by sending gifts. Not the typically Holiday gifts companies send “Happy holidays from ABC Company” – that’s not personal at all.

Hungry? Here is the link.

Instead sending them gifts for things then never expected. Some of these events could be; hitting milestones that were not disclosed prior, big news that happened to their company (Google alerts can help you with finding those), promotions, etc.

By catching people by surprise with gifts shows them there is a one-on-one relationship and that they are far more than a typical customer.


3. Putting a face to a product

Think about your shopping experience, how often is another human involved. If you say “frequently” then one of us is shopping wrong.

eCommerce and large bx stores have made the customer service part of buying only there when you need it. Is this bad? Not for me. I wear giant head phones when I shop for a reason.

On a negative side, it makes it really tough to build an emotional connection. You never interact with a human, meaning whatever buy is just a product, which can most likely be found in numerous locations (AKA your competitors)

In an eCommerce setting we have noticed a huge growth in chatbots for this reason (seriously did Drift just become a massive company overnight?) But that is not enough.

Look to putting an actual human face to the experience of buying. Even better the same human face!

Through today’s marketing platforms you can assign a customer to a current employee and make that employee the name that sends emails, the face that is on chat, the one that is on a note in a shipment, etc. By building that one-on-one experience, you can drive a feeling of being a partnership, rather than just a product?

Did I miss other ways to get up in peoples’ personal space? Let me know in the comments below!

Let’s establish this one-on-one relationship

Starting with your email.

I would assume very few houses have been erected without a plan.
The truth is if you are looking to build a quality home, you do not just walk into Home Depot buy a bunch of plywood, two by fours, and nail gun and later end up with a house that your neighbors are all jealous of.
Every structure needs to have a well thought out plan before you start to invest time and money into it.
Architects need to plan for the climate and abide by regulations for every build, similarly, marketers must do the same.
Although many new business owners may think it is impossible to know what kind of marketing plan will help their business grow, there are a couple clear giveaways that will at least help guide to where the best return on investment may lie.
One question that typical marketers ask is
Are we B2C or B2B?
To be fair, this plays a large role in what channels you choose, a B2B marketer most likely will not have a great ROI through SnapChat or Instagram like a B2C marketing campaign would have.
Although, there is another simple question that plays a role in how a business should market, and that simple question is:
Is a business in a blue ocean or red ocean environment?
red ocean business is a company that has numerous competitors and the products and services are fairly well known.
A blue ocean business typically has few competitors (if any) and their offering is fairly unknown to the general public.

How does this help the marketing plan?

By knowing a business type leadership can assess what a typical customer looks like and their knowledge of your offering. This helps you identify your biggest objective.
If you are a red ocean product then your potential customers are most likely already searching for a product and you need to find ways to make yourself first in the hunt for their purchase, or make yourself look better than the competition.
On the other end, if you are blue ocean, very few consumers will be actively looking for your product, therefore your main objective should be to understand your potential buyer and inform them of your offering in their day-to-day lives.
Due to the fact that prospects are not actively looking for the product, marketers need to position themselves between their target market’s typical search and lifestyle.
This can be done through the following ways:

Be Adventurous

If you take only one thing away from this blog I hope it is this,
“Blue Ocean products are full of UNCERTAINTY.” 
What does this mean for your business? It means that nobody can tell a new blue ocean business that a certain channel will drive results. You can not apply typical marketing to this type of business, as it is not a typical business.
To find out the best way to drive revenue, try everything. 
I know what you are thinking – “Try everything? Being a tiny company, I do not have the ability to do it all.” 
But you do!
Small businesses have an extreme advantage, they have the ability to use almost the exact same technology as a large corporation but without the red tape around using it.
Making it easy for a small business to quickly make, test, and shut down campaigns, while automating the entire process to maximize reach, efficiency, and productivity.


Customers are not always easy to get, but once there are one or two they will give clues as to how to get more.
I am not talking about word of mouth as a marketing channel, but I am talking about listening to their journey of finding the business, what they were doing beforehand, what drew them to you, etc.
All of these items play a massive role in finding similar audiences, while giving the messaging to reel them in. 
By dropping these themes into current marketing channels marketers can narrow the target market and be more efficient with budget while of course growing revenue.

Follow the data

Although this goes against the previous paragraph, customers are not always right.
They give clues to help you build marketing, but Blue Ocean is FULL OF UNCERTAINTY.
What a customer says is still loaded with their own personal biases and personal experiences. So before a small business uses their agility and jumps into a large marketing spend due to customers’ suggestions, be sure to test what they are saying. 
What drives a good test? It is the same as what drives a great business, revenue. 
The use of marketing automation and CRMs have allowed almost any business to dive deep into their sales funnel and see what campaigns have had the highest return of revenue.
Although other metrics like leads, engagement, or reach are commonly correlated with revenue, they are not the causation of it and therefore they should not be seen as an indicator of success.
A business owner will always be attached to their customers and their own personal beliefs about how a company should be represented, but the best way to find success is through following unbiased data.

Disrupt the Red Ocean

Just because a business is Blue Ocean, does not mean you can not take sales from Red Ocean companies.
There are a lot of businesses that may offer similar products and/or speak to satisfying similar pain points, by aligning to those target audiences will undoubtedly make it easier to explain how your product works and its public need.
Creating Google audiences, targeting certain social followings, mimicking content, or advertising on specific company or product searches are great ways to jump in front of these audiences.



Blue Ocean companies, need to know 1 thing.. That nothing is certain, but by being adventurous, listening to customers, following data, and advertising to similar markets any business can learn your top channels for growth and grow quickly.


Here’s one way to decrease uncertainty.

One email – right to your inbox every Thursday

If you have met me in person, or read any of my blog previously, you will quickly find out that I am not a very serious person. I love to find humor in everything, whether it is at work, my personal life, or just myself.

For that reason, I fell in love with memes, the mix of humor and truth are typically responsible for a disturbing chuckle in the office. So I decided to make a collection of memes for sales and marketing..

If you end up not laughing at them.. those are probably the ones I made personally.. Don’t worry I am not offended.


TAKEN, your IP


We have all visited sites (if not run them ourselves) that do not like the idea of you bouncing from their site, or calling the relationship off by shutting down your browser.  They constantly remind you of your past experiences with digital ads spread across social media and other advertising networks.. Telling you to come back! Again, again, and again.


We got something to say, and we say it a lot.

There are very few marketing channels that offer the ability to send a direct message to a single client effectively.. Sadly, due to email being the medium with this magical power, people are always tempted to send off an email for everything, mass outbound, product updates, last-minute sales pitch to meet quota, newsletters, blog feeds, etc.

The truth is, with more communication sent the fewer people want to hear from you – boosting your SPAM ratings and unsubscribes.


Being clear, very, very clear.

As funny as this meme is, it holds truth. As marketers, we have been told to make very clear CTAs. Your CTA should at a minimum tell the audience what they do if they click, a sale? an ebook? a demo?

As for is the – “Click Here” – on a banner ad really needed? The better question is, “Can a person that does not understand how banner ads work, become a good customer?”


Chipping away at the competition.

I take the competition seriously. So much so that I click on every ad I see from the competition to get them to pay for it. I am sorry you all had to learn about my dark side.


“Just give me the SWAG and nobody has to get hurt”

Trade show attendees love free stuff, but not always the pressure of talking to a salesperson. I must admit, I am to blame for this too! I have gone to booths solely to get a cellphone power block, coffee, or something to eat with no intention of ever learning about the product.


Enjoy getting the eBook sent to your inbox.

As a marketer, we get excited when we see a lead come in. Sadly, a lot of prospects do not like the idea of giving their real email address. For this reason, many marketers have elected to send you the ebook / whitepaper via email in an attempt to eliminate the anonymous downloaders.

Some of these prospects have adapted to this email technique creating 1-time email addresses, and for that I applaud you. If you put in that much extra work into keeping your email private,  instead of just hitting a single unsubscribe button, then you can keep it. You deserve it!


Let the lead read.

Content marketing undoubtedly brings in great quality and quantity of leads. The thing is, people are downloading content to learn, not to make a buying decision. The second an ebook is downloaded sales is tempted to reach out ASAP. Although reaching out to prospects fast is a good characteristic for a sales team, you have to at least give them a couple of days to read the thing they downloaded!


Watching the Sales FUNnel

The fun of seeing all your marketing payoff! Watching the lead submit a form, engage with the brand enough to MQL, all the way to sales qualifying them as an opportunity.


Boss: “Go viral on Social Media.”

I have heard from numerous superiors to make viral content. But if I knew how to make viral content 100% of the time, I would be a YouTube millionaire.

Making viral content is a little strategy, and a lot of luck.


The Day-to-Day Sales Romance

Writing a cold email is like writing a pick-up line on an online dating platform – in order to be successful, you need to be smart, funny, and witty. You put in a lot of time asking silly questions like “am I personalizing this email enough? Am I personalizing it too much? Should I not include his kid’s names in the email?” – The answer to the last question is a very clear NO.

Although, this is agonizing to write sentences to only delete them, and then most likely rewrite them with a very small tweak. The most nerve-racking thing is actually sending it! That one click of a button that has the power to make your masterpiece into a possible mistake.

“Did I have a typo in that? is he David, or does he go by Dave?” Either way, the decision is done and now it is only a matter of time before you find out if this person likes you enough to escalate the relationship and “BUY”.

Then you see it! A response and your heart goes wild! Does he like me? is he telling me to F* off? or is he out of office.. it is the sales day-to-day love drama. Sadly, if he likes you, repeat all steps.


Get Rid of Paper Processes

I have never ordered anything from a catalog. I guess, at my age, when I finally had money to spend eCommerce came around and made the catalog obsolete.. or so I thought.

There are some industries still using it. Which is mind-blowing to me considering I typically do 2 types of purchases.

The first is a purchase I have an immediate need for in which I will go to a retail location for. The second purchase behavior for me is something I do not need immediately and ordering online is more convenient and comes with a HUGE bonus. I do not have to talk to anyone!

Then here comes the catalog, that does not satisfy an immediate need, but is still forcing me to talk to people!

Subscribe to the newsletter – just one email a week

Not the over communication in the meme above.

Whenever you decide to paint a room very few people just pick up a roller and start painting the entire room without looking at multiple swatches, or painting small spots of paint to see how it looks in the room.

I myself definitely need to use a bunch of samples before painting.

Being colorblind I am very unsure about what color I am actually spreading across the wall and how it looks to other people.

In my most recent painting project, I decided that a dark red would look good in the basement with a light tan. (I am a person that values a level of class in my man cave.)

After painting a couple spots on the walls, I invited my brother to come over and give his “full color” opinion.

What I thought was a beautiful khaki color turned out to be a delightful light pink accented by a bright blood red.

My basement basically would have looked like I was inspired by Hello Kitty, but yet the kitty may have been part of a murder scene.


So how does this relate to marketing? Although, in our personal lives we commonly mitigate risk we do not in marketing.

Marketers commonly say no to numerous ideas, saying that trying something new has too many risks. This fear of failure gets us to follow the worst phrase of all time, “This is what we have always done!”

In doing so, we actively avoid opportunities for growth and do not pursue great ideas.

Like this photo? Here is where you can buy it

What marketers should be asking, “how do we mitigate risks?” Looking for ways to continually try new tactics but minimizing their exposure or reach to test their value.

So how do we make little paint swatches instead of going all in? Here are the top ways through marketing segmentation.


Slow rollouts

Marketing professionals commonly think about rollouts for brick and mortar retailers, utility, or communication companies.

For them, it makes a lot of sense to move new products or grids to one geographical location before moving it to a national or worldwide scale to save money and to accurately measure the demand of a target audience.

Although this is the most common application, it is not the only one. This strategy can be applied to any business.

For online retailers, maybe you only wish to put a new product in one distribution center and do not want to ship across the country. By using geo-tracking and/or customer data, only show that product to people in your targeted area.

If the product sells well, think about rolling it out to the next DC. If it fails, you have invested minimally and had a very little negative impact.

For software or service companies, maybe you have local salespeople or consultants.

Utilizing a new service where they are would minimize the exposure and risk compared to a national or international release, while also the potential of increasing market penetration and decreasing travel cost to those services acquired.


Email sends

After you have spent years continually collecting emails and other contact information you want to talk to them, but that does not mean you need to talk to all of your prospects/customers at once.

It’s not always “all or nothing!” You do not always have to SEND IT to all your contacts.

If you are trying something new, or something that seems a little outside of your typical branding why not just do a small send and see how your contacts react to it?

Now don’t just send out 10 emails and call that a test. With that small of a sample, all your data is irrelevant.

Aim to have at least one thousand recipients to make an adequate test. Compare your stats next to your typical engagement, if the numbers are similar maybe test the emails side by side with an A/B test.


Testing messaging through other mediums

Do you have some new messaging that you wonder how your prospects will respond to?

The typical response is for people to change their site and cross their fingers,

“Hope this works!”

The thing is, your website is prime real estate. Although it is a great area to test messaging it is also the one that comes with the highest risk if it goes south.

So, what are some safer, less risky options? Try remarketing ads through social media or through display networks. Use visual ads to target people that have previously been on your site with a variety of different messages.

As the ads increase their impressions, you will be able to notice trends as to which messages are preferred by the audience by seeing the higher click-through rates and conversions.

The best performer may be the best fit for your website messaging.


A/B Testing

A/B testing is by far the most common test and one of the most decisive ways of testing. This is because it compares two separate mediums at the same time, eliminating many of the variables that may play a role in the metrics (like sending a test email during the week vs. a weekend)

If you are testing email, A/B tests are a standard functionality for most email providers, if you are testing landing pages A/B test can be done on WordPress though a plugin and executed through other landing page creators like Unbounce or Hubspot.

Keep in mind, when you do A/B tests. Do not change a lot. The goal of the A/B test is to see what elements your target audience prefers.

If the two mediums are COMPLETELY different, you will have no idea what the actual preference is. Whether the CTA color, overall messaging, background, images, etc.


Customer Surveys

It is funny that most marketers don’t think of asking their prospects/customers for help.

We are not all Steve Jobs, who had a natural instinct for what consumers wanted –


Before launching a new campaign or product release ask your current customers if they feel the messaging would have attracted them in their buying process, or ask them if this new feature would be a benefit.

This step is commonly not executed for what I believe to be due to pride. Sometimes businesses do not like to actively ask for help and want to portray that they know it all.

Asking customers is not a sign of weakness it is a sign of caring. This test helps to gain valuable insights while also driving more loyalty through your client base, simply because people LOVE to be heard.


MVP – Minimum Viable Product

The budget is a quick reason for people to say no to new ideas. Whether it is the creation of a new software product or implementing a new platform.

Take for example B2B companies now moving to eCommerce.

A lot of distributors that do not have an online presence are talking immediately to SAP, Netsuite, Magento, Insite, or other very expensive eCommerce platforms.

Moving to platforms like these cost thousands of dollars, massive consulting fees, a long implementation, and a dedicated staff to maintain it.

This approach is an all-in approach through Waterfall project management.

Meaning you are spending a lot of time and money to create something, and you hope to all god it will meet the needs of your customers at the end.

The less risky option is to create a minimal viable product (MVP) through platforms that are far cheaper – WooCommerce, 3dCart, BigCommerce, or Shopify.

Create a basic site, invite a few customers and diligently listen to and observe what they want. If they don’t want eCommerce at all, then you only wasted minimal capital and resources.



As marketers and business owners, don’t say no to change due to risk or fear of failure but find out ways to mitigate the risks through tests and minimizing the repercussions of failure.

And of course, stay away from:


Never RISK missing a Marketing Carpenter article.


My kitchen is absolutely hideous, like Jake from State Farm Hideous, my cupboards are painted dark green, which is probably the 5th layer of paint covering them at this point.
The instant I moved into my house I ripped off a cupboard door and decided to start sanding and stripping. (not stripping myself, but using stripper).
It was a long process to get the paint layers off, sanding the door was like sucking on a jawbreaker… lots of time to peel away one colorful layer at a time.
Once I got past the paint, I came across the unwanted present of a laminate layer.
I then waged war on that piece of sticky plastic using a gallon of stripper accompanied with blood, sweat, and tears.
After hours of work. I finally reached a single cabinet door that was just wood, no paint or laminate.
So what did I do in celebration?

I gave up.

If you walk into my kitchen today you will still see the one single cupboard door that is unpainted, unfinished, and out of place.
Why is that? Because the time needed to invest into this remodeling it was far more than the value I perceived from it.
I decided that I would rather pay a lot more and remodel the entire kitchen than work on any more of those trashy cabinets.
I know what you are thinking:

This rant is getting long, get to the point or I am gonna stop reading!

Which is exactly my point! The more time it takes someone to complete a task, like reading this blog, the less likely someone will complete the desired action.
Now, this statement most likely did not surprise you!
But yet this common knowledge is rarely applied, especially with complex products.
When a business loves their offering or are too close to the product, their homepage is littered with long paragraphs on how it works, every minor detail is outlined, and an enormous amount of industry jargon is spread through all the pages.
In the process of trying to explain their product, marketers spit out so much information that nobody bothers to read it.
It takes too much time and investment to truly understand what your company does. So they give up and leave.
This is so prevalent that millennials have actually created a term around this exact problem “Too Long; Didn’t Read” (TL;DR)
Millennials actively avoid long paragraphs or anything that takes an extended time commitment – whether it is through a website, or through any communication.
Millennials attention span is getting less and less and to address them you need to be as concise as possible.

So how do you do this?

Any business can test their marketing materials with the 3-second test:
Show an advertisement to a person for 3 seconds, then ask them what you do. – If they do not know, then it failed.
But truly what marketers need to do is to base their marketing off the following:






K.I.S.S. is a common term used in advertising to help copywriters and creatives speak to their audience in the shortest and most comprehensive manner. How do you apply it?
  1. Always look to shorten sentences – After you write copy, look through it and find ways to say the exact same thing but in fewer words.
  2. Is it adding value? – Understand where your copy is going, if you are describing product details on the homepage, most likely you can delete it and move it to the product pages.  Be sure to check all your writing and find repetitive information and eliminate it.
  3. For those of you with very complex products, use other means of communication – Look into other ways of communicating, common ways of doing this would be through diagrams, product images, plainer videos or product demonstrations.


^ Simplicity #ForTheMillennials

When you host a dinner party and want to spread the word, how often do you say:

come over to my collection of piping, wood, metal, and wire to have dinner?


I would assume you would not have many takers. Most of your guests and maybe even some family members would offer the quick response of, “I got plans on whatever night you are talking about!”

It’s weird to be that descriptive so, let’s instead be less descriptive in this invite:

You have been cordially invited to a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath for dinner


This invite is better than the first, but yet… I am sure all the guests will be expecting you to make a sales pitch on why they should buy this amazing property you have invited them to!

Ok. One more time, let’s get even less descriptive.

Dear friends, please come over to a building to drink to our heart’s content and devour an ungodly amount of food.


The ending completely sold me.. but still, most of the guests will still be a little wary of attending because of “a building”.

The point I am trying to make is that in our personal lives we always speak about purpose. You would always tell people to come over to your house or home for dinner.

What the word house or home adds though is the “Why” it is there.

Why is there a collection of piping, wood, metal, and wire? Why is there 4 rooms and 2.5 baths? why is there a building?

Answer: You live there!

House or home, makes it clear that it is for protecting residents, it is a residence, and that there is most likely furniture inside.

By knowing the WHY of something people are comforted and it drives an emotional connection.

Yet, in marketing, we do not always follow the same practices.

Commonly, businesses get so caught up in their offering or what they are creating, that they forget why they are doing it.

To make things even worse industry trends play a big role in this too:

  • blockchain
  • big data
  • artificial intelligence
  • cryptocurrencies

These terms are so popular that companies just drop them into their product descriptions out of nowhere.

By adding these keywords companies are getting further away from why they do what they do and making the product less comprehensive to the end user.

For example, one of my favorite content marketing tools Atomic Reach.

The What – Big Data and Ai for Content marketing

The Why – Grow traffic and conversions using data pulled from your audience

As you can see “the what description” may tell me what the product is, but it has not told me the benefit of having it.

The why gives me a reason to try the new technology in order to boost my marketing performance.

This all seems like basic knowledge, but when you are a business that is so proud of what you have created, you tend to want to tell every person every detail.

The truth is, most people simply do not care.

I use Atomic Reach all the time, not once have I asked them their algorithm, how information is gathered, or how content specifics are scored.

The only thing I care about is that the performance of the content I create increases and that I can produce high-quality marketing with more precision.

Now before the technical people start freaking out!

I am not saying that companies need to delete all your product details or remove “the WHAT” from all your website and marketing materials.

What I am saying is that “the what” should never lead your marketing or sales pitch.

At times, especially for complex products, specific details are needed to make a final purchasing decision.

This is a great use for a product specifications page, a table on the website, a one-pager, or a brochure.

Anything that the user can quickly obtain to get the more information once it is needed, this is preferably distributed without the need to contact personnel in the company; eliminating sales friction and speeding up the sales process.

To engrave this thought a little bit further, I leave you with Simon Sinek. For a further deep dive into this topic, I would also recommend his book “Start with Why.”

Why subscribe to Marketing Carpenter? Because I want to grow with you.

Romantic.. right?

After a large rainstorm, it became very evident that my gutters were no longer doing what they were intended to do.

Unless water spilling over the edge of the gutters and filling a 5-gallon bucket like it was a shot glass is normal.

I did what every rational person would do, jammed a long 2×4 to raise the gutter up to stop the leak.. and it worked! Well, in that specific location.

As great of a solution that was, I decided maybe it would be better to get a professional to do a more “Long-term” fix.

I called a specialized gutter company to give me a quote,  the salesperson arrived on time and was incredibly kind.

He went around the house for an hour and a half measuring stuff and looking at his tablet in a state of confusion, like he was handling some really tough trigonometry.

Eventually, the numbers must have come together and he came to me with the quote.

The cost of the job was definitely higher than I was expecting, especially since I looked up the cost of materials at Home Depot.

After the sticker shock, he asked if he could do a couple more measurements. Whatever he found must have been good, because he came back with a cost that was $200 more than the original quote.

Oddly enough, he did not explain the reasoning for the sudden price hike, and yet he was shocked when I did not want to buy immediately.

The thing is when his pricing jumped for no reason, I moved from thinking that this company was calculating labor and materials to give me a standard price, to thinking –

he is just trying to rip me off.

Because of his inability to explain the pricing structure, he lost any chance of a sale due to my newly found distrust in him and his company.

What does this mean for your business?

Be upfront with your pricing, and your customers will trust you more and buy from you more.


How to build trust through Price Transparency

To build trust with your buyers you must be clear about what your pricing is, and if it is a service, how the price is calculated.

For B2C, this comes as no shocker. Although for B2B, the typical response is:

Trust me, I get it! B2B is complicated, it involves a lot of variables, volume pricing, service tiers, etc.

For this reason, many businesses have said it is not possible for them to show pricing to the general public, and their exact reasoning is most likely one of these:


1. We do not want competitors to see our pricing

In the past years, I have researched thousands of B2B eCommerce sites from a variety of industries and I am always shocked to see how many of them choose either:

A. Lock their site from the general public; or

B. Hide pricing from non-logged in visitors.

This behavior is very common in heavily competitive markets that are selling very similar goods.

Their focus relies so heavily on competitive pricing for their current customers, that they do not offer pricing to visitors on their site.


Sadly, the main reason most people go to eCommerce sites is to find something they have an immediate need for, and demand a streamlined digital commerce experience that will allow them to accomplish that.

By not showing pricing, you have added a lot of friction to the sales process that will most likely end up with the prospect leaving the site and purchasing from a competitor that offers a function website for their needs.

So what is the best tactic?

Show standard pricing for a single product purchase, if you wish to encourage larger orders from new buyers, include volume pricing.

On top of that, include a large call-to-action mentioning lower prices can be accomplished through an established customer account to encourage repeat purchases and more buyer savings.


2. Our pricing is too complicated

Pricing is not always straightforward and exact, but this is not an excuse to not be transparent.

Like the gutter explanation told previously in the blog, my issue with the company was not based on the price, but the fact that the price seemed to be randomly chosen out of a hat and had no explained reasoning.

For those companies that have these complex pricing structures, the best thing to do is honest on how your pricing structure is equated.

So what is the best tactic?

Show how you quote your customers.

Do not focus on how to be exact, but focus on the variables that play a role in your pricing, these could be: cost of labor, goods, customer service, etc.

You just need something that can help your prospects generate a pricing range for your offer.

Whatever these costs are, they should be clearly shown on your website. Events that expose customer later in the sales process to hidden fees or unexpected costs will be a sure cause for distrust.


3. Not displaying pricing is a lead generation tactic

Commonly businesses feel like mystery is a great tactic for lead generation. I am not one to judge, I have created a lot of content that are questions to provoke engagement and form submissions.


This tactic is excellent for content marketing, but not for your business’s pricing.

Recently, I have experienced this tactic on the Dun & Bradstreet website (

I found myself wandering around their site looking for any identification of the pricing, but I did not find anything!

So what do I do? I go back to Google and search for a website that is not to give me their pricing.

As you can imagine, I stumble upon a lot of negative reviews, a very complicated outdated pricing sheet, and their competitor Experian.

Due to the fact that can not tell me ANYTHING about their pricing structure, I have immediately perceived them as a company that intends to charge me as much as possible.

This experience led to me losing all trust in Dunn and Bradstreet, and if a time to purchase this service arose, it would lead me to immediately purchase from Experian instead without thinking twice.

So what’s the best tactic?

Be upfront with your pricing, but you can leave a small hint of mystery for lead generation.

If you have a complicated pricing structure, explain it to your best ability, but use a CTA of “Contact Us for a Quote” that will be more precise based on the customer’s inputs.

These articles can be sent directly to your mailbox!  Well your digital mailbox.

aka – Your email

In home ownership, you always run into situations or small problems, that may be a simple fix but you are too scared to do it yourself.

For many homeowners, this is electrical work.

Having an old house, I had a lot of electrical work to take care of.

Although the thought of paying an electrician scared me more than electrocuting myself.

So instead of opening up the pocketbook, I removed outlet plates, switched off the circuit breakers, cracked open a beer, and got my hands dirty.

Yes, I may have shocked myself once or twice, but to this day all my outlets and lights work better than ever before!

The point I am making is that on the surface some projects look like they need a professional.

Although undoubtedly an electrician will do a slightly better job, make fewer sparks (but they are pretty), and doesn’t drink beer while on the job, their improvement to the project is incremental and not worth the cost for simple projects.

The same goes for businesses that are looking to grow through Search Engine Marketing or specifically Ads.

I will tell you why you should take on this project internally, and how to plug this marketing channel into your toolkit.


Why Small Businesses Should Not Outsource Search Engine Marketing

1. The ease of implementation

If you talk to any consultant in SEM, they will tell you how complex Adwords is.

The truth is, it is in their best interest to tell you how tough and tedious it is to make sure that you do not try to implement it yourself, and instead pay them.

But is this really the truth?

What if everything you knew about Adwords is wrong? And Adwords was actually quite a simple channel to learn?

If you took the red pill keep reading – If you took the blue pill, keep reading too but I am disappointed.

Let’s leave this consulting world and look at this scenario from Google’s point of view.

It is in Google’s best interest to make SEM as easy as possible, because the more people use it, the more money they make. Also, the more conversions you get, the more you will spend your budget on it.

To make this dream a reality for Google and their shareholders, they structured their Search with a simple user interface and streamlined the campaign creation process.

Just to help you get started – I included a little crash course at the end of this blog.


2. Who knows your customers best?

In the past whenever I have hired an agency, it always kicks off with a “getting to know your company”

These meetings are usually super creative and fun, but it makes something very evident.

Rarely does an agency or consultant have an in-depth knowledge of your customers, prospects, or buying behaviors.

Just recently, I trained marketing personnel on how to run an effective SEM campaign. The first time looking into their campaign was shocking.

I knew what was wrong structurally, but because I did not have knowledge about their business I was unable to create appropriate ad groups, figure out which search terms were negative, or which terms should be added.

The people that know this information best are the people in your company.

Your sales and marketing teams deal with customers every day and are the most qualified to create an outstanding campaign.


3. Who knows your business best – Promotions, new products, etc

At work, how often do things change? If you say never… I am so sorry, that sounds incredibly boring.

If you said all the time, then let me hit you with a little scenario.

You are an electrical wholesaler (sticking with the electrical vibe) and you sell a wide variety of parts. Each part you sell is being actively bid for through Google Search.

Sadly, your inventory manager, Larry, messes up and there are a couple of parts that go out of stock.

Image Source

While you are yelling at Larry:


You are still paying for clicks to these product pages that say out of stock, wasting your marketing budget and giving potential customers a bad user experience.

How do you fix this?

When you keep the program in-house you have more control for quick changes to turn campaigns off, or to quickly adjust campaigns to meet the needs of temporary promotions.


4. How do you know if it is working efficiently?

Typically, when companies decide to outsource their SEM they say they know it is working because it brings in leads or revenue.

But if you yourself don’t know how to correctly use Adwords, how do you know if their campaigns are structured appropriately? And since you are not running an AB test, how do you know you are not capable of performing better internally?

If you work for a digital agency or are a consultant in the area, my apologies.

I have had multiple occasions where I had to inspect or fix a consultant’s work in Google Search.

On every occasion, I have been stunned to see the absolute slop that went into structuring their campaigns and maintaining their keywords.

I am not implying that all SEM consultants lack the training or the ambition to produce great work.

But I am saying, how can you hold them to great work if you have nothing to compare it to nor have an idea what good campaigns should look like.

Therefore, even if you wish to outsource, please review the actionable items below, because of course:


Actionable Google Ads Takeaway & Strategy

I created a nice short presentation to get you started!

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