Tuff’s Growth Marketer, John, on Having a Community-Oriented Mindset

John Atkins growth marketer at Tuff

Meet John, a Growth Marketer at Tuff. John partners with Tuff clients to experiment, test, and drive growth across multiple channels – from ppc to seo to email, and others. When he’s not optimizing website conversion rates or launching influencer marketing campaigns, you will most likely find him on a bike or in his kitchen.

Below, he shares clever puns, what he’s learned from Buddhism and music, and common ecommerce pitfalls when transitioning from crowdfunding to setting up shop.

Can you tell me a bit about your 3-5 years before Tuff? What were you working on? 

I’ve worked primarily with early stage ecommerce startups. 

I worked with a parent company in Boulder called Eco Brands Group, which has a few consumer brands. They all use upcycled materials like old bicycle tubes or an old advertising banner to make their products. We were a small team so I was running all marketing channels and working with founders. This structure was not entirely different from an agency model, I think that’s kind of what drew me to Tuff.

Right before Tuff, I was with a company called Bullbird. They make travel accessories. That’s actually where I first learned about Tuff and met Ellen. Ellen pitched Tuff to be an acquisition agency and partner for Bullbird. I was working as Director of Marketing at the time. I was brought on to lead ecommerce marketing and get them off the ground and transition from their crowdfunding roots into a full on ecommerce brand. I was running paid acquisition, email marketing, customer service and pretty much anything that needed to be done for the brand. 

When the pandemic hit Bullbird’s products, for lack of better words, fell out of the sky. At the same time, I saw Tuff was hiring for a Growth Marketer and I reached out the same day. I remembered being impressed by the meeting I had with Tuff at Bullbird and how they talked to clients. I thought the interview process felt really genuine and natural as well. I feel happy to be at Tuff. 

What has the experience been like to go from in-house to Tuff, where you work with multiple clients?

Yeah, it’s definitely been different. I wear a lot of hats at Tuff but not all the hats. I am able to direct my energy more fully into paid acquisition and growth. I enjoy talking with founders and working with them, I’ve been doing this in some way for most of my career. I like learning about what they’re struggling with or where they’re stuck on growth and help them understand marketing on a deeper level. 

It’s been interesting shifting to building trust while remote, just over a video call. I’ve had to learn to bring a new comfort level and intentional focus on relationship building. I want the complicated pieces of growth marketing and metrics to feel accessible. And, I focus a lot on bringing the trust level up.

How do you build that trust?

Setting up a good foundation is really important, that’s something I’ve learned while at Tuff. The team stresses this a lot. I work to be able to quickly explain who we are, where we’re strong, and how that applies to their company. We try not to be jargon heavy, just really clear on the strategy we’re presenting. When we work internally as a team, we can slip into some jargon or just get excited and passionate about this work. With founders, I try to understand the depth of information they want. Founders are often thinking about a million things and formula for cost per sale is probably not top of mind all the time. So, I pay a lot of attention to how much information they want. 

I’ve always had a community oriented mindset. And, think about how my work impacts my immediate community. I think this has helped me learn how to talk to certain people and be a good partner for them, no matter where we’re coming from.

You’ve worked in ecommerce for a number of years now. What do you think first time ecommerce teams typically get wrong?

I think there can sometimes be an expectation of flipping on a switch and making everything sell as fast as possible. That’s often why people started their company in the first place. I think it’s great to have ambitious goals but you also have to answer the question of ‘how are we going to get there?’. How do we make our sales goals work over time? 

Would you ever start an ecommerce business? 

No, not at all. 

I don’t think I would want to run my own business of any kind. I like working on people’s projects with them which is why I think the agency world is so amazing. I’ve worked really close with a number of founders and we’re working day and night to get it to work and there’s a lot of risk involved. And that’s just not for me. 

How has it been working on a fully remote team for the first time?

My personality is on the more introverted side. At work, when I do talk to people it’s for smaller increments of time over video. Like 30-minutes to an hour. And, the calls are planned. So, my energy doesn’t feel as drained. Whereas in an office, you are more likely to have anyone pop into your office for small talk. Having a remote set up, there is more structure and I can plan my week for days with no meetings. 

What is it about your work that gets you fired up? 

Every day at Tuff, I’m blown away by how quickly the day goes. It’ll be two o’clock in the afternoon and I’m shocked. 

I really like client management, talking with clients, and understanding what’s important to them week to week. I also like with Tuff that even though I’m a Growth Marketer, I also handle a channel or two for each account. So I can get into the weeds, plan days where I don’t have any calls, and just focus on working on my accounts. I also like contributing to our blog. I started out my career in a content marketer role, running a blog for a company. Getting back to contributing to a blog has been fun, especially to be writing about stuff that I’m interested in. 

Being able to focus on growth marketing while having a bunch of different ways to play into Tuff’s success is really exciting for me. 

What do you like doing outside of work?

I spend a lot of time seeing films, listening to music, checking out libraries, and exploring Denver. I also like to get out a lot, I go mountain biking and camping pretty frequently.  

Do you ever find inspiration for work in these non-work activities?

I do! Recently, I was watching an NPR series where they talk to musicians about their process. 

They were talking to a hip hop producer named 9th Wonder and he was sharing that he does something called 30 by Thursday. Every week, he tries to make 30 new beats by Thursday and that’s his way to keep himself geared into his profession. He said it can be easy to just be like doodling with different sounds, get lost and not actually make music. 

I thought that was really interesting and starting thinking about how that could work for Tuff. What could that look like from a content production perspective? I shared this with the team in a meeting and it stuck. We created a content strategy into a 30 by Thursday type sprint. Our sprint is over a few months but we’re focused on writing a lot right now.

I enjoy figuring out where your outside life fits into your work life, I think that is pretty interesting. At Tuff, we make it a point to talk about what’s going on in our lives outside of when we’re sitting by the computer. And I think that makes the relationships a lot healthier. We learn a lot more about each other. 

Tuff's SEO Strategist Derek Coleman

Tuff’s SEO Strategist, Derek, on Aligning Personal Interests With Professional Growth

Tuff's SEO Strategist Derek Coleman

Meet Derek Coleman, Tuff’s SEO Strategist. Derek works closely with Tuff’s clients to audit web properties, implement technical SEO fixes, and increase organic revenue.

Below, he shares how Charlie Sheen inspired his career switch from finance to digital marketing, his experience jumping out of a plane his first time flying, and on defining yourself in the larger context of your life (not just work).

Tell us a bit about your 3-5 years before Tuff. What were you working on?

I graduated with a finance degree and I was in finance for a few years. And during that time, in my personal time, I was always putting together WordPress blogs and Shopify sites. As part of that, I was trying to rank them and grow my following on Twitter.

I started off with one blog. It was Charliesheenfacts.com when Charlie Sheen was kind of a viral thing. I just kind of took that Chuck Norris style approach And, I grew the Twitter to like 16,000 followers and I started doing a lot of SEO on the website. And then I was like, you know, I kind of want to switch from finance into digital marketing.

I realized finance was not really what I wanted to do anymore. My passion was more in digital marketing. So, I took a job at a tech company and that’s really where my professional SEO experience started. I was there for three years and it was a lot of content-driven SEO. We published almost 750 pieces of content a month. I was quickly learning how to optimize all of this content for SEO on a piece-by-piece basis as well as the large funnel focus of which ones have the most opportunity.

I got a lot of experience there on the content side and then I moved to LA to work at a different startup as a Director of Growth Strategy. This role started off actually as a technical SEO strategist so I got to learn a lot of the technical SEO side working with things like tags, metatags, descriptions, coding and PHP. It was a standalone website, not on WordPress or anything.This role gave me more of a full stack SEO approach.

After that, I started freelancing for about a year and this gave me experience with so many different clients, so many different industries, so many different types of marketing.

Is there any crossover in how you think about SEO based on what you learned in finance?

Yeah, definitely. I’m more of an analytical person so that helps me with the amount of work I do in spreadsheets. Learning those Excel formulas back in the day was more helpful than taking a course to learn SEO. It was more of a muscle I developed or a mindset of analytical work and working in spreadsheets that has stayed with me.

Why did you decide to join Tuff? What was it that made you say ‘yes’?

I had worked with a number of agencies, both in my full-time roles and while freelancing. And, I didn’t really like the culture of a lot of the agencies. They’re very data-driven but not in the client data-driven sense. Rather, singularly focused on their own revenue targets.

And while getting to know Tuff, I felt there was more of a human approach. In the process of seeing the job description, going through the website, and interviewing, I got the sense of a small but tight-knit team. So, I think that is really what separated Tuff and helped me make the decision. I didn’t want to be just like a number somewhere, churning out work with impersonal relationships with clients.

Is there anything about you that usually surprises people when they’re first meeting you?

The first time I went on an airplane, I skydived. And then after that, I started to travel quite a bit. I didn’t really travel until I was 23 but now it is really important to me.

Tuff's SEO Strategist Derek Coleman
You’re quite passionate about traveling. Has this informed how you show up at work?

When I’m meeting people, I try not to default to ‘what do you do for work?’. If I am striking up a conversation with somebody, it’s probably about something we have in common or something we’re experiencing in the moment, like a basketball game that is on. I think it is important to recognize that we’re more than just our job.

What is it about SEO that gets you fired up?

I really love some of the more technical problem solving. I was just working on this for a client, they have like 16,000 ahref language tags and we needed to make some updates. So I was like, ‘okay, let me write a quick script and it’s just going to fix them all so quick. It’s going to be awesome’. And then, it didn’t work.

I put the script in PHP, but it’s on big commerce and they don’t accept PHP. So next up I’m on different forums trying to figure it out. And, I think I got it now. I tested in a sandbox and am getting ready to push it out live. So the challenge of fixing technical SEO at scale is really rewarding.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in SEO and client management?

You have to build trust and become a teacher to help people understand SEO and the importance and impact of this work.

If a company has hired you to do SEO work, they will hopefully have some level of understanding that there’s not an amazingly quick win in this work. Like, you can’t guarantee first-page results in a few weeks. With that being said, I think it’s good to tackle the quick wins first so you can come back to your client, share, and create energy around the work. Like, ‘Boom! 16,000 errors fixed in like day’. It’s good to give some quick results at the beginning while also setting expectations that SEO work is a marathon, not a sprint.

What advice would you give someone starting out at Tuff?

The clients are great. I think there is a good process for making sure clients are equally the right fit for Tuff where we can build a relationship and communicate transparently. This lets you really focus on the results you’re able to get for them and do a great job in that work.

Tuff’s PPC Strategist, Chris, on Designing an Intentional Career Path

Chris Alarcon

Meet Chris Alarcon, Tuff’s PPC Strategist. Chris works closely with Tuff’s clients to identify, test, and scale profitable paid channels. 

Below, he shares how he got so clear on the steps he wants to take in his career, why remote work has helped reduce anxiety, and what advice he’d give to someone new to working in PPC.

How did you get started working in PPC?

It’s almost been exactly five years since I started doing PPC. Once I graduated college, I knew I wanted to do more digital focused marketing. It was 2013 and I could tell that’s where everything was shifting toward. I wanted to learn more hard skills that I really didn’t learn in college. When I got my first opportunity to be in an in-house digital marketing position, I really wanted to learn more PPC. 

Why’d you make the switch from in-house to agency?

I got bored of working on the same account, the same campaigns over and over and wanted to gain a bunch of experience and work in a bunch of different types of industries.

Then, I was looking for a more growth focused agency. I think a lot of agencies that started out as more traditional marketing agencies scrambled to get involved in digital when it became obvious they needed to get on board. This is me generalizing but they never really had to have a laser scope focus on performance metrics. For example, say 1,000 people drive past this billboard a day. Then, multiply that by 30 days and you’ll get 30,000 impressions on this billboard. And what did that really ever do? In digital marketing, you can actually see the analytics behind everything. 

More modern and client-focused agencies care more about these analytics and seeing growth rather than the perfect revenue model to get the most money for the least work. When I saw the posting for Tuff, I was like, ‘Oh, this, this is more in line with the growth marketing focus I want to do rather than just like a traditional agency’. And it was aligned with what I wanted in terms of my lifestyle and autonomy in my job. So once I saw the job posting, I applied and thought let’s give it a shot. 

You mentioned autonomy being important to you in your work. What else? 

I’ve always had a good balance of work and life, that’s always important to me. So, I’ve chosen to work at places that allow that. I think, for me, it’s been more so about learning skills to get to where I want to be. 

When I first started in my career, it was your general marketing coordinator job. And I knew that I wanted to do something with more impact, I wanted to go deeper. What I found was that, in order to do that, I had to learn a specific skill set. So that’s when I started learning digital marketing on my own time. Learning specific skills helped me get my first digital marketing full time job, which opened up more doors for me to go where I wanted.

You’ve been very intentional about your career path and proactive in learning skills to get you there. That can be really hard! How do you identify what you want and then take action?

I knew that having a specific skill set would open up the door to more opportunities and it became about taking the right opportunity rather than just kind of, well, they called me back so that’s where I’m going to work. 

It’s important to me to be able to pick where I want to move rather than have to fall back and say, ‘I’m going to apply to 50 jobs on LinkedIn and if they like my resume, they’ll call’. I want to be specific and selective. So once I found the skill set that let me do that, I was able to narrow it down into that niche.

If you go back a few generations, people spent their whole careers at companies they hated. I feel really blessed that I’m working in a time period where something like remote work can be possible and it is easier to at least have an option to take my skills and work in a place that I feel happy to be. I think that was the catalyst for me. Growing up, I decided I didn’t want to dread those five days a week. 

Why is remote work a priority for you?

I’m really obsessive about certain things and little details. I have OCD, so I do have real anxiety about a lot of things. I don’t have as many noticeable ticks anymore or anything but being in a comfortable environment really helps reduce a lot of that anxiety. 

I have been lucky that I’ve never worked in an office or a company that did make me feel anxious. But I could imagine if I had, how drastically different I would behave. But luckily, one thing that I knew even from college was that I wanted to work at places that were culture focused first. I knew that I wanted to be in a place where I always felt comfortable, even if it wasn’t working from home. 

Why did you decide to join Tuff? What was it that made you say ‘yes’?

The message and the mission stood out to me. I liked the idea of being more transparent and growth focused and having a really close eye on actually delivering positive results rather than just worrying about getting campaigns up. I think a lot of traditional agencies focus more on ‘how many campaigns are you getting?’ and ‘how much money are you getting the client to spend?’ and lose focus on if the work is actually having a positive outcome. 

What is it about PPC that gets you fired up? 

I really love digging into data and analyzing it and trying to figure out the immediate results and long term trends. So that’s one thing that really drew me to PPC over any of the other digital marketing disciplines. With PPC, you can make changes that have noticeable effects in the stats right away. And, that’s what really drew me to it. 

At Tuff, our clients are really fun to work on. Every single one of them is unique so there’s a lot of data to work with. I like the diversity of our clients. 

What advice would you give to someone working in PPC at Tuff?

Be willing to try a lot of different things. And even if you haven’t tried a specific channel before you know more than you think. So like, if you’ve never done a YouTube campaign before you still know the basics of what makes a good campaign. Don’t be afraid to test a lot of different variables and try small experiments to learn. It can be a little intimidating at first but new challenges are what makes work fun. 

 

We feel so grateful to have Chris on the team! And admire the steps he’s taken to design the career he wants. Chris helps other marketers go remote by running semjobs.io. If you’re a marketer looking for a remote role, check it out!

A growth marketing team working at a table.

How We Created a Career Framework For Growth on a Small Team

A growth marketing team working at a table.

At the time of writing this, we’re a 5-person team. 

As a profitable but bootstrapped company, our growth is intentional and focused on the needs of our team and clients. We’re excited to grow in the next few years but not rapidly.

With that in mind, not everyone can (or wants to) be a people manager. We’ve been asking ourselves, “What does a career path look like for someone at Tuff?”.

We have awesome clients and certainly, we’re learning every day when it comes to our areas of expertise. One of the things we love most about growth marketing is the constant experimentation and diversity of client needs and growth channels. This has brought us to our second question, “How can we reward role expertise in the same way management is rewarded?”.

To try and answer these questions explicitly or, at the least, facilitate conversations about them as a team we’ve created a Career Framework for each role at Tuff. 

Our Career Framework serves the team in two ways:

  • A system of Levels and Steps for each role means teammates have the opportunity to grow in flexible ways
  • Each Level and Step has a role salary assigned that serves as a variable in our compensation model

Creating a Career Framework

Let’s dive into the Career Framework! Here are the steps we took to build ours:

  1. List out your Company Roles
  2. Create your Career Framework matrix
  3. Define the Levels for each role and the Steps for your company
  4. Calibrate with your team and make sure everyone knows what Level + Step they are in

Okay, now for the nitty-gritty. Here’s how to apply each step and what it looks like at Tuff:

1. List out your Company Roles

At Tuff there are two core roles on the team. At the highest level, they are:

  • Growth Marketer: Looks holistically at a client’s existing condition, finds the bottlenecks preventing them from achieving their goals, and corrects them with innovative improvements
  • Channel Specialist: Focuses exclusively on one platform or channel (i.e. PPC Specialist, SEO Strategist). They have a strong marketing foundation and specialize in one or two areas

2. Create your Career Framework matrix

Once you have your company roles listed out, the next step is to create a company-wide career progression chart. In the following steps, you’ll customize for each of these roles you’ve now listed out but you want to start from the same set of Levels and Steps for each role. 

Here’s the template we use for each role at Tuff:

Tuff career framework

Levels

At Tuff, there are 5 Levels for every role: Entry, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert, and Principal. Levels are distinct jumps in terms of area knowledge, role complexity, and scope of work. 

Steps

At Tuff, there are 5 Steps housed within each Level that are meant to mark smaller milestones of growth. They are defined by Ownership and Initiative, two behaviors that we believe are important to encourage on our team. Steps are defined company-wide, not dependent on role.

3. Define the Levels for each role and the Steps for your company

This is where you put your Company Roles and Career Framework matrix together, it’s where the magic happens! 

Using our structure of 5 Levels of growth, we’ve defined benchmark responsibilities and what performance looks like based on Knowledge, Role Complexity, and Scope of Work at each Level for both the Growth Marketer and Channel Specialist roles at Tuff. 

We’ll share our Growth Marketer Levels so you can see it in action:

Benchmark

  • Look holistically at a client’s existing condition, find the bottlenecks preventing them from achieving their goals, and correct them with innovative improvements
  • Manage a team of channel experts to enable them to achieve client growth goals 
  • Develop and implement a testing process to collect data and fast learnings to make improvements 
  • Have 5+ years experience in marketing, working across SEO, growth marketing, paid acquisition, conversion rate optimization, content strategy, link building
  • 2+ years experience in client management 

Tuff careers framework

Step Chart

At Tuff, there are 5 Steps housed within each Level meant to mark smaller milestones of growth. We’ve chosen to define them by Ownership and Initiative because, for us, these are behaviors we want to encourage and build on. They might be different for your company. 

Steps are defined company-wide, meaning they are the same for every role:

Tuff careers framework.

How this connects to our compensation model

We wanted to create a compensation model that was flexible enough to adjust for factors like experience and location but broad enough that it didn’t require in depth calculations and research every time we bring on a new team member. 

It was also important to us to use a data source and apply structure to our salaries to reduce bias and hold us accountable to paying people fairly. We wanted simplicity and objectivity. Enter: Compensation Formula.

By creating our Career Framework, our compensation model then becomes a formula with two inputs: 

  • Role Salary [Level, Step]
  • Cost of Living Multiplier 

The Role Salary [Level, Step] comes directly from our Career Framework. Using this Career Framework, we’ve entered early-stage company salary data at each level of experience for every role at Tuff. 

Here it is in action for our Growth Marketer role:

Tuff careers framework

This is based on market rates for San Francisco. Then, depending on our team member’s location we adjust the salary based on cost of living. For more on how we calculate the Cost of Living Multiplier, check out this blog post

Continue Reading

We’ve worked closely as a team to develop our Career Frameworks. It’s always a work in progress so please reach out if you have any feedback or questions.

While building our own version that works for Tuff, we’ve also leaned on some great existing resources. If you’re interested in learning more about Career Frameworks, here are some of our favorite reads:

Example of an ecommerce email on a phone.

A Crash Course in Email Marketing for Your eCommerce Store

Man working on a computer.

If you sell products online, you have a lot of options when it comes to marketing tactics. From influencers to ppc, it’s less about what you can do, and more about what you should do.  

Whether your limits are resource-related or budgetary, you will typically want to prioritize the marketing tactics that are likely to have the highest impact on your revenue.  In terms of reliability and ease of implementation, you can’t do much better than email marketing. 

Getting your ecommerce email strategy right, however, can prove a challenge. You only get one chance to grab a potential customer’s attention, after all, and you don’t want to lose sales once you have someone in your funnel. 

Keep reading for tips on how to build your list, the most popular email triggers, and inspiration from some of the greats! 

Building your list

In order for any type of marketing to work you need an audience. To pursue email marketing, this requires, of course, email addresses. There are several ways you can go about collecting these. The easiest is to simply acquire emails at your point of sale. This is a natural part of eCommerce, and customers who do not want targeted marketing can always opt out. Of course, this only allows you to target people who already buy from you.

One popular method to grow your customer base is to institute a “pop-up” that entices website visitors to submit email addresses for a coupon. Keep in mind that you do not need to directly ask for the email address. Instead, simply offer the coupon. If the customer bites and you gain a sale, you will collect the email naturally. 

eCommerce email pop up example from Brumate.

Another strategy involves giving away free content. For example, you could provide “how-to’s” related to your industry, such as recipes if you sell cookware. These are called “lead magnets”, because they lure potential customers to your website through the voluntary submission of contact details. If you have a popular blog, you can request emails for access to a newsletter with exclusive content. 

Picking your triggers

Since online consumers get bombarded with marketing, a straight-forward email-based solicitation likely won’t get you many buyers. Because of this, you’ll need a trigger, or a purpose for your email. Some of the most effective triggers you can utilize include emails for abandoned carts, up-sells and cross-sells, promotional offers, and special promotions for customer loyalty and re-engagement.

Abandoned Cart Emails

We’ve all seen them in brick-and-mortars: the abandoned shopping cart, left idle like flotsam amidst the swift-running current of commerce. The e-commerce equivalent of this happens all the time. Any number of reasons can drive us to click away from our shopping carts before we complete a transaction. A sudden caller may arrive at the door, for example, or the phone rings, the baby cries, or we get diverted through a particularly salient social media post.

Believe it or not, nearly 70 percent of all online carts get abandoned before submission of payment. Shipping fees provide the number one reason for this, as customers get turned off by what they perceive as an “extra cost”. A simple way to transform this loss into a win is to send an abandoned cart email that offers free shipping. If you can’t take this hit to your margins, you can alternately send an email survey to learn the reason for the abandoned cart.

Up-Sell Emails

Up-selling occurs when you invite a customer to purchase a more expensive item in order to increase the overall value of their order. Cross-selling, a similar practice, happens when you recommend a similar or complementary product. Since customers with a three-year relationship spend 67 percent more than new customers, it makes sense that these tactics regularly target preexisting business. One way to capitalize on this tendency is to simply send an order follow-up email with related items. 

Promotional Emails

The promotional email offers a one-time discount or coupon, or announces a sale. These are among the most popular types of email marketing for sellers and consumers alike. Seasonal sales provide shoppers the opportunity for discounts, and give sellers the ability to clear out unsold stock. Coupons can help drive a burst of immediate sales, and can provide shoppers discount on bundles, or one-time savings that convince them to finally buy that expensive new toy. 

Example of sales promotion from an eCommerce brand.

A special type of promotional email is that which seeks to reel back in an old customer. If someone has purchased from you once, chances are they will do it again if given the right incentive. A customer loyalty or re-engagement email can provide just this kind of incentive, through promotions like those mentioned above. What makes these different than straight-forward promotional emails is that they feel exclusive. For example, the discount could only apply for customers who have made a purchase in the last year, or those who made purchases from a specific category.

Creating your emails

Having seen a ton of great emails pass my way, I’d love to share a short list of some of the emails that have stood out to me. 

Uber

Like all of Uber’s brand-related communications, the email was streamlined, clever, and well designed. These qualities help identify their brand, and therefore make Uber’s marketing efforts all the more successful.

Poncho

Some of the most effective communication weds brevity with humor. I like how the customizable weather forecast tool Poncho regularly utilizes this strategy through colorful, short marketing emails punctuated with witty copy. For example, the email below used a bright gif to communicate a forecast of high temperatures, and paired it with a statement about slathering on sunscreen to impress the dermatologist you’re crushing on.

Pit Viper

These emails have character. Pit Viper sells sunglasses online and their brand has a voice unique. Here’s one of my absolutely favorite emails from them that came after I ordered a pair of their sunglasses. This sticks out to me because it’s a simple confirmation email. They already had my money but instead of it being the same boring “thanks for your order” they took the opportunity to leave a lasting impression with their customers. 

Example of an order confirmation email.

Warby Parker

Lastly, Warby Parker, which could probably offer a PhD in emailmarketing, sent me a feedback email a couple of weeks after I bought a pair of glasses. I like this one because it’s short to the point and honest. And the subject line “Three cheers for feedback” is human and inviting. 

Bottom line, all eCommerce sites should get into the practice of email marketing as soon as possible. The benefits are simply too broad, and the expenditure so low, that it makes email marketing a no-brainer. Once you have your list of recipients, you can experiment with which types of emails work the best for your business. Get started soon, and each sympathetic recipient will not only grow your list of subscribers, but also your business’s bottom line.

How We’ve Connected Salary to Both Personal and Company Growth

Comp.

Whether you finish the rest of that word with -ensation or -licated, compensation is an important piece of running a business and hiring a great team. 

We are dedicated to creating a great place to work where team members understand how they can grow and develop at Tuff. Also, as a bootstrapped team, it is important for each of us to understand how our spend impacts our overall profit and ability to help our clients grow. 

To support these behaviors, we compensate our team in two ways: Base Salary tied to a Career Framework and Profit Sharing

Base Salary through a Compensation Formula

We wanted to create a compensation formula that was flexible enough to adjust for factors like experience and location but broad enough that it didn’t require in depth calculations and research every time we bring on a new team member. 

It was also important to us to use a data source and apply structure to our salaries to reduce bias and hold us accountable to paying people fairly. 

We wanted simplicity and objectivity. Enter: a compensation formula.

We share this with the whole team:

We’ll break it all down below.

Role Salary: How do Levels & Steps work?

We’ve created a Career Framework with a system of Levels and Steps for each role to make sure teammates have the opportunity to grow in flexible ways. 

Levels: Levels make up the vertical axis of the career framework. At Tuff, there are 5 levels for individual contributors: Entry, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert, and Principal. Levels are defined for each role at Tuff and mark distinct jumps in terms of area knowledge, role complexity, and scope. 

Steps: Steps make up the horizontal axis of the career framework. At Tuff, there are 5 steps housed within each Level and are meant to mark smaller milestones of growth. Steps are defined at a company level, not specific to your role. Rather, they are defined by increasing amounts of Ownership and Initiative. 

Using this Career Framework, we’ve entered early-stage company salary data at each level of experience for every role at Tuff. 

Here it is in action for our Growth Marketer role:

Cost of Living Multiplier: How do we adjust for remote?

We have been remote from the start and a big piece of that decision was wanting to access talent from anywhere in the world. We chose a high cost of living city as our benchmark so we can keep our salaries competitive. 

We start by understanding the difference in cost of living in the team member’s city compared to San Francisco. Using Numbeo, we calculate the Adjusted Cost of Living + Rent Index to compare two cities. Then, using this number the city falls into a defined Cost of Living Band. 

Adjusted Cost of Living + Rent Index

This compares the Cost of Living + Rent Index between two cities. By starting with a base of $1,000 in San Francisco, we look up how much money we would need to have the same standard of living as the city we’re comparing. 

Cost of Living Bands

By finding the Adjusted Cost of Living + Rent Index, each city falls into one of the following bands:

 

The Cost of Living Multipliers

These calculations help us get to the final number needed for the compensation formula. Once we know what Cost of Living Band a city falls in, we can use the Cost of Living Multiplier to reach our final base salary. 

Putting it all together

As a reminder, here is our compensation formula:

Let’s pretend we’re about to make an offer to a new Growth Marketer on the team who is based out of Portland. We were looking to hire someone who fell into our Level 4 definition of a Growth Marketer and we found someone great! 

We decided to make them an offer at Level 4, Step 2 and pull that Role Salary from our Career Framework.

To dive deeper into our compensation formula, you can view our spreadsheet here →.

Profit Sharing

The other piece to how we compensate Tuff employees is through Profit Sharing. 

Because we’re a small team, everyone works directly with clients and shares responsibility in driving their growth. The more our client’s grow, the more we grow and we wanted that to reflect in our compensation. We don’t offer the traditional stock options that some startups and public companies do but Tuff’s team members are critical to our success on every level.

We distribute profit sharing on a quarterly basis so once you’ve been at Tuff for a quarter, you are eligible. We look at Tuff’s profit balance, your time at Tuff, and your performance to calculate each team member’s share. 

At this point in Tuff’s growth, the amount we offer in profit sharing is quite low. It’s not going to give someone the ability to retire anytime soon! But, it’s important to us to offer profit sharing so early because each team member truly is an owner in our Tuff’s growth. 

Continue Reading

We’ve worked closely as a team to develop our compensation formula and to make the decision to offer profit sharing. 

While building our own version that works for Tuff, we’ve also leaned on some great existing resources. If you’re interested in learning more about compensation formulas and profit sharing, here are some of our favorite reads:

A team of marketers sitting at a table with computers.

Best Growth Marketing Agencies in Nashville in 2020

A team of marketers sitting at a table with computers.

There are a ton of great growth marketing agencies in Nashville and it can be hard to stay on top of them all. Since we have team members throughout the US, I spend time researching agencies in the cities we operate in, including Nashville. 

In this post, I’d love to share 10 growth marketing agencies in Nashville who have been partnering with clients to drive meaningful results. Some of these agencies specialize in specific tactics, like SEO or Google Ads, and others offer more end-to-end solutions. 

  1. Social Link 
  2. Tuff
  3. redpepper 
  4. Spark Marketer 
  5. Speak Creative 
  6. Astute Communications
  7. Dash Two 
  8. Taillight 
  9. Parachute Media
  10. LSM 

Social Link 

Growth marketing agency website in Nashville.

Social Link was founded in 2018 with a mission to connect people with your brand. 

Their primary focus is on digital marketing strategy using inbound marketing. The agency’s expertise includes Brand Strategy, Lead Generation and Nurturing, and HubSpot Developer and Partner. 

Social Link has 11 strong reviews on Google and the team is led by Brady O’Rourke. 

Sample of clients: Remax, Best Western, and North Shore  

Tuff 

Screenshot of marketing website.

Tuff is a plug-in growth marketing agency for hire. The team was founded in 2017 by Ellen Jantsch and hired it’s first Tennesee employee in 2019. Since then, the agency has grown it’s client base in Nashville and surrounding areas.

They are a small, fully remote team that specializes in tactics like: Conversion Rate OptimizationTechnical SEO ImplementationFacebook and Instagram Ads, Google Shopping, Google Search, Display Ads, YouTube Ads, Retargeting, Content Strategy, Link Building, Influencer Marketing and Email.

Sample of clients: Thalamus, CITI Program, and WatchBox 

Case study: Felt 

redpepper 

redpepper is a full-service agency that specializes in branding and creative services. They are experts when it comes to brand design and brand identity. 

The agency was founded 15 years ago and the team now has 60 full-time employees. redpepper was founded by Tim McMullen and they’ve worked on brand projects for some top companies in the US. 

Sample of clients: Slack, Verizon, and Mars 

Case study: Urbane 

Spark Marketer

Spark Marketer is a one-stop-shop for local service and small business owners looking to navigate the world of online marketing and social media. They work with HVACs, Restaurant Owners, Remodeling Contractors, and other local businesses. 

The agency was founded in 2012 by Taylor Hill and Carter Harkins and has 16 full-time employees. If you’re a local business, Spark Marketer could be a great fit. 

Sample of clients: A to Z Window Screen, Winston’s Chimney Service, and Legacy Hill Dentistry

Speak Creative

Jacob Savage founded Speak Creative in 1991. Since then, they’ve partnered with dozens of brands to help them with website development and brand identity. 

The agency describes the team of 42 as “web design company with a passion for all things digital” and they can help you with things like mobile app development, video production, and website design. 

Sample of clients: Ballet Memphis, OKC Zoo, and BROOKS  

Case study: Graceland

Astute Communications

Astute Communications is a digital marketing and web design agency that focuses on developing cohesive brands and comprehensive digital strategies that generate leads and grow businesses. 

The agency was founded in 2013 by Anna Stout, a web designer and developer with a background in business development, the company was built to create harmony between client interests and production realities. It’s a smaller shop, with 9 full-time employees. 

Sample of clients: Nashville recovery center, aerial innovations, and vintage millworks

Case study: Verdi Oncology 

Dash Two  

Dash Two is a digital marketing firm headquartered in Culver City, CA, with a second team and location in Nashville. The agency was founded in 2009 and now has 30+ team members. 

Dash Two specializes in end-to-end digital marketing, with solutions for paid ads, landing pages, conversion rate optimization, and data and analytics. 

One thing that makes Dash Two particularly unique is that they combine the power of online channels with more traditional marketing like billboards, print, and outdoor advertising. 

Sample of clients: Adidas, Puma, and Universal Studios 

Case study: Klarna 

Taillight 

Taillight is a creative video production company based in Nashville. The agency was founded in 2000 by Tom Forrest and has a team of 10 employees that provide video production, branding, and content marketing services.

The team has extensive video production experience and focuses on TV programming for live music specials, comedy specials, awards shows, original series.

Sample of clients: CMT, Glow, and Hallmark 

Case study: Lady Antebellum Global Tour 

Parachute Media 

Parachute Media is a go-to creative agency in Nashville with a passion for brand-storytelling. The agency was founded in 2012 and now has 13 full-time employees. 

The agency’s expertise include photography, web design, data and analytics, reputation management, brand development, and paid ads. 

Parachute Media strive to have their clients view them as their in-house team rather than a distant, third-party agency.

Sample of clients: Kirkland, Alpha Park, and Camping with Dogs 

Case study: Evolve Pet Food 

LSM 

LSM is a 50+ person agency focused on helping local and small businesses succeed with online marketing. The majority of the team is located in Tennessee with support from an Indonesia office. 

The agency was founded in 2006 by Tevor Emerson and has since helped hundreds of business owners build and grow their online presence. This includes services such as local reputation management, local SEO, website design, and more. 

Sample of clients: DMMG, European Wax Center, and YMCA

Case study: Thompson Burton

Woman on a video call.

When You Sign Up For a Discovery Call with Tuff

Whether you are curious about our team and how we work, or you’d like to know your growth marketing potential, we’d love to chat with you.

The first step is to schedule a 30-minute discovery call with us.

This is a pressure-free conversation (30-minute discovery call) about what you’re trying to achieve and whether or not our teams could be successful together. 

Here’s what you can expect on the call: 

When you sign up for a discovery call, you can plan for a 30-ish minute conversation with our team to discuss:

  • Practical tips on your existing marketing strategy 
  • Your challenges with and opportunities for your company’s user acquisition 
  • How we plug-in teams with on-demand growth marketing services
  • An honest conversation about whether or not we’re a good fit 

During this call, we’ll ask you questions about your business and what you want from a partner. Things like: 

  • What are your north star goals and core KPIs?
  • What are your existing acquisition channels?
  • How much are you spending on ads currently?
  • Do you have any major roadblocks right now? 
  • What’s an acceptable CAC or CPS? What’s the ideal CAC, CPL, or CPS? 
  • Do you have someone working with you today? 
  • If you’re looking for a partner, what’s your ideal timing? 
  • If you are looking for a marketing and growth partner, what are you looking for with that relationship? 

We’ll also spend a chunk of your time sharing a bit more about Tuff – our team, how we work, what the first 30 days of working together looks like, how we structure our weekly marketing sprints, what tactics we specialize in, and how we get good results. We want you to get to know us, honestly. 

What happens after the discovery call? 

After the discovery call, if everything makes sense and feels good, we’ll get access to your core accounts. This data gives us the insights we need to prepare a custom partnership proposal. 

The accounts we typically get access to include:  

  • Google Analytics 
  • Google Search Console 
  • Facebook Ads Manager
  • Google Ads 

Using this data and insight, we’ll then put together a Partnership Proposal that puts down on paper what working together would look like. 

If it doesn’t feel like a good fit or we don’t think we can help you achieve your goals, we’ll send you over a list of vetted agencies and freelancers we think could help. Our goal is to be as helpful as possible and get you paired with the right growth marketing talent – whether that’s our team or someone else. 

Ready to chat? Let’s talk. 

A paper with growth marketing strategy.

11 Best Growth Marketing Agencies in Denver in 2020

Sign in downtown Denver.

There are a ton of great growth marketing agencies in Denver … almost too many. Since we have team members throughout the US, I spend time researching agencies in the cities we operate in, including Denver. 

Having seen a ton of great growth marketing agencies in Denver, I’d love to share a short list of these teams –  many of which specialize in different aspects of performance marketing. 

Check out the list below. And hope you find some great new teams! 

1. Metric Theory 

Screenshot of Metric Theory website.

Metric Theory focuses on User Acquisition and works with clients in nearly every industry, including Retail, B2B, eCommerce, and B2B. They are one of the larger agencies in Denver with 150+ employees and over 500 clients. They have extensive international experience and manage over $200M in ad spend. 

Metric Theory was founded by Ken Baker and Jeff Buenrostro and in addition to Denver, has offices in San Francisco, NYC, Orange County, and Salt Lake City.  

Case Study: FabFitFun 

Sample of Clients: Lyft, Winc, and Optimezly 

2. Tuff Growth Marketing 

Screenshot of marketing website.

Tuff works with startups and scale ups by plugging in as their extended growth marketing team. They work with teams in nearly every industry, from solo-founders to larger enterprise brands. Tuff was founded in Denver, with team members in Portland, San Francisco, Boston, and Nashville. 

They are a small, fully remote team that specializes in tactics like: Conversion Rate Optimization, Technical SEO Implementation, Facebook and Instagram Ads, Google Shopping, Google Search, Display Ads, YouTube Ads, Retargeting, Content Strategy, Link Building, Influencer Marketing and Email

Case Study: Renogy 

Sample of Clients: WatchBox, QuietKat, Xendoo and EnVision 

3. Booyah Advertising

Screenshot of marketing website.

Booyah is an end-to-end advertising agency, helping clients with paid search, creative services, display media, SMS, social media + more. They are a go-to in Denver for paid ads. 

Booyah’s CEO is Troy Lerner and has over 15+ years of experience helping companies scale up with advertising. The team now has 60 full-time employees and manages digital ad spend for major brands like Unilever, Discover Card, and Backcountry.com.

Sample of Clients: Discover, Pearl Izumi, and Bobo’s 

4. Bounteous

Screenshot of marketing website.

Bounteous is a full-service digital marketing agency with expertise in design, as well as campaign management. The agency has been working together for the last 20 years alongside global brands and innovative startups. 

Everything we do is designed to optimize that flow so that we create big-picture digital solutions that drive growth for our clients and our business.” 

Bounteous was founded by Keith Schwartz and has over 500 employees, primarily located in Chicago. 

Case Study: Teach For America 

Sample of Clients: Dominos, Harvard, and Wilson 

5. Location3

Screenshot of marketing website.

Location3 is a growth marketing agency in Denver that helps global brands activate local markets. They specialize in high-level enterprise campaign strategy and execution. 

This agency was founded in 1999 with a portfolio of primarily franchise brands. The team has 75 employees and is led by Alex Porter. 

Their services include SEO, Paid Search, Content Development, Franchise Marketing, and Media Management. 

Sample of Clients: Honey Baked Ham and Mountain Mike’s Pizza 

6. Campfire Digital

Screenshot of marketing website.

Campfire Digital is a Denver digital agency specializing in inbound marketing, websites, SEO, and more.

The team is small (4-total) and was founded in 2012. Since then, they’ve grown an impressive client roster, focused almost exclusively on outdoor brands. 

In addition to social, email, PPC, SEO, and blog management, they also build, design, and manage websites. 

Case Study: KAABOO 

Sample of Clients: Catalyst Coaching, World Cinema, and Cottonwood Residential 

7. 9thWonder

Screenshot of marketing website.

9thWonder is a full service, creative marketing agency. Their specialties range from research and brand strategy to digital marketing, media, and creative. They are extremely strong with brand identity, creative, and website design. 

While they are based in Texas, they have a small team and office in Denver. The agency’s CEO is Jose Lozano and he’s been managing the 150 person team for 9 years. 

Case Study: Adam’s Camp 

Sample of Clients: LAX, Pilatus Bank, and Coleman Natural Foods

8. 90octane

Screenshot of a marketing website.

90octane is a growth marketing agency based in Denver. Their approach is simple: They get to know your business like our own and provide a dedicated team of specialized experts to tackle your challenges with a fresh point of view.

The agency has 50+ employees, all located in Denver. Sam Eidson and Jim Grinney started 90octane in November of 2000. 

Grinney’s favorite client quote: “Nowhere else in our marketing mix have we seen a greater return. What makes it work is a combination of their knowledge, process, and a healthy dose of rolling up their sleeves and understanding our business and marketing goals. We consider the 90octane team an extension of our department.” – Steve Born, VP Marketing, Globus family of brands

Case Study: RES Software 

Sample of Clients: Paladina Health, Timbers Resorts, and PENTAIR

9. Elevated Third

Screenshot of a marketing website.

Elevated Third is a growth marketing agency in Denver that blends strategic thinking with technical execution to solve enterprise B2B challenges. 

Unlike some of the other agencies on this list that work with multiple industries, Elevated Third focuses on enterprise B2B. 

The agency was founded in 2004 by Jeff Calderone and since then has worked with brands like Comcast, CVENT, and Kaiser. 

Case Study: Numerator 

Sample of Clients: Central Square, Water Research Foundation, and Xactly 

10. Zenman

Screenshot of a marketing website.

Zenman is a web design agency in Denver, Colorado offering website development, branding, content strategy, and more. 

The agency has over 30 reviews on Google and a team of 10. Zenamn was founded in 1998 by Keith Roberts. One thing that makes Zenman unique is their 5-step “zen process” shaped to help you focus on efficiency.

Case Study: Richey May 

Sample of Clients: PlumVoice, Relocate, and Bonanno

11. Cast Influence

Screenshot of a marketing website.

Cast Influence is a marketing agency in Denver that specializes in PR and their expertise are with small businesses and startups. 

The agency was founded by Justin Kraft in 2017 after serving in senior marketing roles in-house for 16 years. They have a smaller shop, with 4 full-time employees in Denver. 

In addition to their pillar service, PR, they also partner with clients to help with SEO and website design. 

Case Study: 1UP Aerial Drone Services

Sample of Clients: OnDeck, Revivify Surface, and escapex 

 

iPhone scrolling on YouTube.

How to Make YouTube Ads Work For Your Startup

iPhone scrolling on YouTube.

Advertising doesn’t work unless people see it. This obvious piece of analysis guides all aspects of marketing, and explains everything from the cost of ads (those Super Bowl commercials don’t come cheap) to their overall impact. Thankfully, you don’t have to take out a full-page ad in the New York Times to get broad exposure. YouTube advertising has evolved along with the company’s transition into a media megalith, and now offers opportunities for established businesses and startups alike to reach practically any audience. 

As the world’s second-largest search engine, YouTube can not only spark interest in your startup, but also push traffic to your website. Whether your work is B2C or B2B, YouTube advertising can and will provide an engaging avenue to connect with your target audience. Best of all, you can build and nurture an established channel to maintain direct contact with your consumers, and thereby establish the all-important trust you need for startup growth. Before we get into all that, though, let’s consider some statistics.

YouTube by the Numbers

Many people have the impression that YouTube only matters to young people. This simply is not true. Regardless of your target audience, YouTube offers an encompassing platform to reach practically any demographic. Consider the following info YouTube ad stats, with some of our favorites highlighted below: 

In the years since this study, YouTube’s growth has only continued to accelerate. Overall, 73 percent of all adults in the U.S. now utilize YouTube in some fashion. Think about that for a moment. YouTube advertising exists on a platform that reaches almost three-quarters of the population. When you consider that the highest rated television broadcast of all time, the final episode of M*A*S*H, reached only 60 percent of people who owned a television, YouTube’s pervasiveness becomes mind-boggling. No other piece of media, not a television show, billboard, or newspaper ad in the world can approach YouTube’s level of influence.

An additional myth persists that YouTube users are primarily young men. In reality, women are just as likely to utilize the platform as men. As for education level and household makeup,  YouTube users are more likely than non-users to have both a college degree and children. What does this all mean? It shows that, whether your target audience is twenty-something men, 35-year-old women, retired couples, young families, or anyone else, YouTube advertising offers a clear line of communication.

Get in on the Action

Hopefully, these statistics have showcased the value of YouTube advertising for early-stage companies. Numbers aside, you still need a clear strategy to get started. Of course, your ultimate goal is to create a brilliant ad that resonates with your audience and leads them to your website. Before visiting your website, however, many of those target audience members will want to see what other videos you have available. To get the most out of YouTube advertising, make sure you have first developed a channel that offers relevant, compelling content. 

Everyone wants a viral video. The problem is, without an established channel, a viral video acts like a one-hit wonder. It might bring you some notoriety, but it won’t help your brand over the long term. Think of it this way: would you rather your brand be the Rolling Stones, or Vanilla Ice? One of these has an established record of hits over many years, with each new hit driving renewed attention to a back catalog of other hits. The other made a big splash, then disappeared entirely. For sustainable YouTube advertising over the long term, in which you develop an audience alongside your brand, you don’t just need a viral video. You need the strong foundation of an established channel. Here are some of our favorite YouTube ad examples for inspiration. 

How to Build Your YouTube Advertising Channel

The way you build a channel is through the regular education of your audience on issues and topics that matter to them. If you are consistent in the production and quality of your efforts, you will develop the asset that all brands want: an audience you can count on for future growth. Your goal with a YouTube channel is not to generate loads of traffic, but rather to establish a loyal audience. The value of an audience is the creation of a brand relationship. For example, Volvo did an excellent job establishing an audience on its YouTube channel. When a particular video starring Jean-Claude Van Damme went viral, they were able to capitalize on the infrastructure of their established channel. 

To establish a brand, you want to create content that both educates and entertains your audience. To lure viewers back again and again, your content must have utility. For example, BigCommerce, which is an open SaaS e-commerce platform, did an excellent job with this. The company utilizes its YouTube advertising channel to host educational videos in a series branded as BigCommerce University. Some of the videos address valuable topics not directly related to BigCommerce, such as tutorials on keyword research and SEO

Another way to build your channel is to use consistent themes and characters. Nasty Gal, an online fashion retailer, created a series of behind-the-scenes videos that show how its team functions, and gives viewers the opportunity to watch photo shoots and other activities. The result? Almost 12,000 subscribers and 2 million YouTube views. 

Lastly, you want to bolster education with some key elements of entertainment. These could include everything from a short narrative, to a celebrity appearance, how-to video, or provocative elements that spike viewer interest. Also, when it comes to celebrities, you don’t need Taylor Swift. So-called micro-celebrities have generated notoriety not through movies or the music industry, but through Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. In addition to availability, these micro-celebrities will already have their own platform to share your content.

To summarize, keep in mind the following rules for the establishment of a successful YouTube advertising channel:

  • Page views are less important than subscribers.
  • Educate your viewer on things that matter to them.
  • Use consistent characters and themes.
  • Spike interest through entertainment.

Find Your Target Audience

Of course, YouTube advertising won’t do much unless you gain exposure to the right people. There are many ways to accomplish this, and the implementation of more than one strategy will aid your overall effort. 

First of all, you want to make sure that any ads you create appear on videos similar to your own content. Choose topics that fit your niche, and try to get as specific as possible. One beneficial tool is Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords). This helps with your search engine marketing on Google, but can also be linked to your YouTube advertising channel. If you use Google Ads, you can take advantage of topic categories to place your ad within a similar video. Google Ads also lets you target specific YouTube videos. If you do this, however, make sure that the videos you choose have enough traffic to serve your advertising goals.

In addition to these, YouTube offers three options for advertisers to target new customers:

  • Retargeting
  • Affinity Audiences
  • Life Events

Retargeting

Retargeting can mean one of two things. One the one hand, it means you incentivize the return of someone who visited your site but did not convert. When you retarget to this audience through YouTube advertising, they see an ad meant only for them. This ad reminds them about your startup and attempts to bring them back, sometime with an exclusive offer or coupon.

Retargeting can also occur through YouTube when you market to people who viewed your videos. When you retarget a group of people, you have to make sure that you match the message to that particular market. For specific information on how to retarget with YouTube, you can find detailed instructions here

If you use Google Ads, there are many different ways you can reach an audience with a display ad. For example, you can use not only YouTube, but also Gmail, search listings, and Display Network. This last venue is a group comprised of more than 2 million websites, apps, and videos that will run your ads. Display Network has an incredibly broad influence, and reaches more than 90 percent of internet users. 

Retargeting YouTube ad audiences.

Affinity Targeting

Affinity targeting presents another way to aim your ads at the right people. With this, you define exactly who you want to reach. When you factor in a consumer’s most recent and ongoing interests, you can rest assured that your message will reach the right people. YouTube allows you to create custom affinity options for your ideal audience. To define who this is, you will want to use:

  • Keywords that reflect personal interests
  • Where people live, or types of places that interest them
  • Apps they may use

Affinity targeting can accomplish a great deal for certain types of startup marketing efforts. For example, if you are currently engaged with the establishment of your brand, have real-time content you want people to see, and need to increase market reach with incremental conversions, affinity targeting can work wonders.

Life Events

One final YouTube advertising strategy involves the use of Life Events. This option allows you to target specific consumers as they achieve a personal milestone or experience an important life event. If done correctly, the ad you create can trigger a strong emotion. This type of reaction from a viewer can forge an intense personal bond between them and your brand. Life Events you can target include:

  • The creation of a business
  • Colege graduation
  • Changing a job
  • Marriage
  • Moving to a new city
  • Buying a home
  • Retirement

Youtube ad targeting options.

Let’s Get Creative

Once you’ve done all this preparatory work, you can finally get to the creative aspect of your YouTube advertising: choosing which particular type of ad to run. To make the most of your ad, you need to gain the familiarity necessary to develop your chosen format in a dynamic, engaging way.

Example of a YouTube ad.

The main types of YouTube advertising you can run include:

TrueView In-Stream: These ads play before a video. As a marketing tool, they offer a pathway to your website. However, your audience can choose to skip the ad. In-stream YouTube advertising tends to work better in retargeting campaigns, and can result in more subscribers to your channel.

TrueView Discovery: These show up on the right-hand area of the video viewer, on search result pages, and as thumbnails on a person’s homepage within YouTube. The best time to use Discovery YouTube advertising is for traditional search campaigns, prospecting efforts, and retargeting.

Bumper Ads: These short ads come in at less than six seconds. They appear prior to a video, and can create an instantaneously strong impression. Bumper ads are an excellent tool to employ during a retargeting campaign.

When you market your startup through YouTube advertising, it’s important to remember that you’ve entered into an ongoing process. With the analytics provided through tools like Google Ads, you can monitor and continually refine your campaigns. Though marketing a new company in the jungle that’s the internet can feel intimidating, you’ve got a massive platform in YouTube. If you employ the right tools, you will capture the audience you need for long-term success.