23 Digital Marketing Hacks That Will Improve EVERY Stage of the Customer Value Journey

by Ian Cooney on March 7 2019

When a new (or prospective) client of ours is first presented with the Customer Value Journey, they’re struck by how easy it is to visualize the journey their customer takes from not knowing who they are, to becoming a raving customer who promotes their business and brand for free.

HubSpot Video

But what they don’t see is all the small, incremental steps that we’ve learned over the years, which will improve your future customer’s movement through the Customer Value Journey.

Here are TWENTY THREE digital marketing hacks we’ve discovered throughout our own digital marketing journey.

(Have your own? Email ian@socallite.ca and I’ll add you and your company and comment to the list).

1. Engage the click (Embedded videos in emails, multiple choice picture, GIFS). (Convert, excite, ascend, promote, advocate)

There are only two goals in the body of an email: a customer clicks or replies. There are also two extremes that are going to lower your click amount: walls of text and over-designed emails.

One looks like it’ll take too much effort (wall of text) and the other is immediately recognized as a mass email (Nobodies overdesigning personal emails) (though both can be effective in certain circumstances).

What you want to do is somewhere in between — a combination of text and imagery.

Here are three ways you can accomplish that: Post pictures of embedded videos that look like they’ll play in an email, use GIFs, and create multiple choice answers that look clickable.

-----> For example, this looks like an embedded video (which you can’t use on an email), but when they go to hit play, you’ve captured their click (and accomplished your goal).

Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 3.28.19 PM

2. Getting the email open (“I thought you were better than that…” | “Just checking in…” (Subscribe)

If the entire point of a body email is to get the click, the point of a subject line is to get the open, and if you don’t get that open, all the work you put into that body is now pointless.

Here are 9 quick tips on opens:

1) Timing is everything: Avoid “inbox purge” by delivering your emails between 8:30-10AM, 2:30-3:30PM or 8pm-midnight.

2) Call them by name: personalization in the subject line can increase open rates by 23%

3) Positive in the AM or negative in the PM. Generate more sales from emails using this method. 

4) Be provocative, controversial, or relevant. No one wants to read boring emails with outdated information!

5) Use odd & specific numbers! If you round up / down people think you’re lying. Use $23,541 instead of $24,000. 

6) Keep it short → 6 to 10 words / 25 characters.

7) Use a second subject line! You’ve got another 6-10 words to tell your subscriber why they should open your email.

8) Use symbols / Emojis. Be fun, be playful.

9) Use a pic or logo: Stand out in the inbox. Take the time to set up your email software.

3. Clickable Reviews (Advocate / Promote)

Remember that video I posted before? There was a reason for it: social proof is everything online.

Watch it below:


4. Growth Hacking Through Forced SHARING  (Engage)

For one of our clients, we wanted to growth hack our way to stardom through getting popular places to share us. How did we do this? We created an infographic promoting places OTHER than our client.

Each coffee shop (and our viewers) re-shared this, then their audience re-shared it, ending up with over 100 shares in a small geographic area (downtown Edmonton).

6 Hidden Gems in YEG - Coffee
Other businesses online want to share and re-promote positive things when you talk about them.

Why? We’re improving the promote/advocate stage of their customer value journey, which is the highest stage possible.

NOTE: This works ESPECIALLY well for industries that can’t spend ad budget on social networks (like CANNABIS).

5. Contests (Tag a Friend) for Industries that can’t spend ad revenue (Cannabis) (and more) (Engage / Awareness)

Can’t spend ad budget? No problem. Put that ad money into a contest and have your viewers do the sharing for you.

Note: At the very least, the two things you want a participant in your contest to do (if you’re after reach and growth) is share the status and tag a friend. Both will exponentially grow the contest.

6. IQ Quizzes or Personality Quizzes (Subscribe)

A quick and easy way to gather leads and improve the “Subscribe” stage of your customer’s journey through the CVJ is through IQ Quizzes and Personality Quizzes.

Some popular IQ Quizzes we’ve done:

-Test your drywall IQ - This was especially effective, because ego plays a big part in the the trades. Drywall workers want to prove they're excellent at their trade.

-Test your Alberta IQ - for a brand well-known across Alberta.

-Test your Guitar IQ - for a manufacturer of guitar parts.

-Test your Suit IQ - For a men’s fashion retailer.

Personality Tests - people want to understand themselves more. You can use this to your advantage; 

-“What Kind Of Car Are you?” - For a used-car dealership.

-“What’s your Forever Home?” - For a real estate company.

NOTE: These are generally very “top of funnel” leads that you are getting, so there should be one question designed to further qualify them. For example; in the “What Kind Of Car Are You?” we asked “Are you interested in purchasing a car in the next year?” so we that we can route those that answered “yes” to a sales person at that dealership.

7. Free Shipping (Convert)

Newsflash: Almost 49% of abandons are because of shipping costs.

Imagine this scenario — You go to purchase a cake and the guy asks you “do you want a box to hold the cake in?”

You say yes, of course you need something to hold the cake in.

He says, “okay, that’s an extra $9.99.”

And you ask yourself this great question: “Why wouldn’t that be included in the price?”

And you’d be right! It would be silly not to include it in the price, because everyone needs the box. It’s a required part of the purchase.

E-commerce is the same. Build shipping into your price then advertise your store as always having FREE SHIPPING.

It's not, but no one has to know.

8. Give them options to purchase (Amazon, etc) (Convert)

We had a client who didn’t want the hassle of having PayPal, Amazon, and Shopify all as purchase options.

Against our better judgement, we removed the button for Paypal and Amazon from their store.

The result? They immediately lost 20% of sales.

People like options. Give the people what they want.

9. Word Email (HIGH REPLY) (All levels after subscribe)

As I mentioned in my first point, you want the body of the email to do two things: 1. initiate a click or 2. force a reply.

There’s one email that is one of our most effective in our automation chain: the 9 word email.

It goes like this:

Subject: “Just checking in…”

“Hey [First Name],

Were you still interested in knowing more about [service]?


It’s our last email in the chain, and the goal is to re-engage a customer who has fallen off.

What we notice is, unlike other emails in our automation chain, this one improves our open rate, reply rate, and click rate.

10. Leave a link in your post (Doesn’t look clean, but it works) (Engage)

When you post on Facebook, leave a link in your post copy.

When people are reading through your copy, you want to give them every opportunity you can to ascend through your ad to whatever it is your linking to.

NOTE: A lot of people new to online advertising have an innate desire to shorten their links using businesses like bit.ly or google URL shortener.

You know who else hides their links behind URL shorteners? Scammers. People know this and avoid them.

Be transparent. People prefer that!

11. Sticky CTAs (Sticky Anything) (Subscribe)

Look to your right →

Always have an ascension / subscribe path that follows your readers wherever they go. At any moment, they should have an opportunity to move through that value journey.

NOTE: on Wordpress, we use a plug in called “Sticky Menu (Or Anything!)” to implement our Sticky CTAs.

12. Reddit Advertising is untapped (Aware, Engage, Subscribe, Convert)

If you’ve been living under a rock, Reddit is a social and news aggregation site. It is that is the 3rd most visited website on the internet (and sixth in the United States).

It’s also criminally underused as an advertising platform.

NOTE: Good content is favoured here. You should be using it to increase awareness and engagement, not sales.

13. Flavour your transactional emails (excite)

Transaction emails (order confirmations, purchase receipts, shipping notifications, etc.) are opened at a much higher rate than marketing messages.

If utilized correctly, the average revenue per transactional email is 2x - 5x higher than your standard bulk email.

Have fun with them and don’t be afraid to include marketing messages inside your transactional emails.

Check this one we added to a shipping notification:

unnamed (1)
14. Invite people who like your posts (Engage)

We learned a long time ago that spending ad money on Facebook page likes, was a waste of money.

What you should be concerned with is post engagement and filling up your Facebook pixel.

However, having a lot of likes on your Facebook page is an example of social proof and it is important. Here’s how to get both.

Simply invite people who like your post to like your page.

Click on the # of people who liked your post:

unnamed (2)

Then invite them:

unnamed (3)

15. Lookalike Audiences of those that convert (Engage / Convert / Excite)

If you’re creating a new audience for a new client who already has an effective store, the easiest (and quickest) way to make a highly converting audience is to use previous sellers and create a lookalike audience from those who have proven to convert.

Facebook has over 400,000 data points to connect the similarities between your past customers to your future customers. Use them!

16. Abandon Carts (Bottom up approaches)

Creating an effective abandoned cart workflow should be one of the first things you do when trying to optimize your store.

And it plays into an e-commerce strategy that you should incorporate. You should optimize your store with a “bottom up” approach where you should optimize as close to the conversion as possible, then work backwards (check out → abandoned cart → product pages → lead generation → traffic → social presence, and so on).

These people are a second away from becoming lifelong customers. They just need a little help.

NOTE: Here are the major reasons people abandon cart. Notice that the largest % comes from shipping concerns?

unnamed (4)

17. Use personal pages on LinkedIn, not company pages (aware / engage).

We were having problems with company pages and our organic reach. A company page that doesn't  already have a lot of followers is extremely hard to grow.

The solution? Share from your company page to your personal page.

Example: We had a company that routinely got 20-50 organic reach on their company page. The first time we shared one of their posts to their personal page, we had almost a 10x increase in organic reach (see below).


18. Self-sustaining advertisements (Subscribe, Convert, Excite, Ascend)

There’s a lot of ads out there, at varying prices — Facebook, Reddit, Google, Bing, and so on.

These get expensive.

What if I told you there’s a way you can strategize your sales to have your product advertisements be self-sustaining?

This is called a Self-Liquidating Offer (or a SLO).

1. You need a low end, entry offer (tripwire) which you will lose money on.

2. Then you need to up-sell a mid-range core offer (between $197 and $497) directly after the sale. ANY TIME this product is sold, you put that money back into the advertisement.

3. Then you need a third offer, the profit maximizer. This should offer the customer the maximum amount value (but be the most expensive.) 

An easy way to imagine how this works is how subscription services often operate:

-TRIP WIRE: A video ad selling a $1 trial to your subscription service (acquire customers).

-CORE OFFER: The monthly subscription service that is $37 / month (Pay for ads)

-PROFIT MAXIMIZER: A backend offer that is 33% off, equaling $297 / a year (Profit).

19. The content upgrade (lead magnet) (Engage / Subscribe)

Can’t think of a lead magnet? Write a stellar blog and simply give them a little more in a lead magnet.

We’re talking about the CVJ this whole time, so we’ve given you the option to have a blank CVJ (so you can create your own digital marketing strategy) sent right to your inbox.

Click here to do that.

20. Tell a story (All stages)

Do you remember where you were on 9/11?

Of course you do.

Why? Because something interesting (and terrifying) happened — it’s a story that you’ll continually tell yourself for the rest of your life.

For example; check out this experiment where someone bought thrift store goods, added stories to them, and saw their resale value increase 6258%.

Of course, if you remember, we also used that same method in our transactional email story (up above).

If you’ve never written a story before, here’s the general story arc, as follows:

unnamed (7)

21. Always test both the headline and the body text (Subscribe, Convert, Ascend)

If you’re using an email list that has more than 2000 people on it (it’s the only way you’re going to get relatively accurate data), here’s a method you should use when sending out important emails:

  • -7AM: Send out to 10% of list an A/B test of your title (test for opens)
  • -8AM: Send out to 10% of list an A/B test of your body (test for clicks)
  • -9AM: Send out optimized email to the 80% of list
  • -2PM: Send out a tripwire deal to those that opened
  • -7PM: Send out a tripwire deal to those that clicked

In one experiment, this gave us an instant 360% increase in traffic to our sale, when compared to sending out a single, untested email.   

22.  Narrative opt in forms (Subscribe):

On the theme of stories, here’s another way to effectively use them:

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23. Long for cold, short for warm (Engage, Subscribe, Convert, Ascend).

The old way, before Facebook became a DATA giant, was that the only goal of an ad was getting the click.
That meant, in order to get a conversion or lead, the landing page had to do about 95% of the work.

Today, with Facebook’s 400,000 data points on a customer, you can create ads that will optimize themselves to show up in the feeds of the people who they are most relevant for. You should be making Facebook work for you.

How do you do that?

Increasing time on ad, read time, forcing them to click the “see more” button, having them watch videos, or engaging with the post.

That means when you’re sending to a cold audience, you want them to spend more time on your ad.

5 or 6 years ago, that would be counter-intuitive. Today, it's the only way to do FB marketing. 

That means super long ads are the best for cold audiences. Some of the most effective advertisements are more than 1000 words long. They take a look time to make, but they’re worth it when it works.

Yes, less people will click your ad, and it will feel like it isn't working as well on the front end, but those that click will opt in at a much higher conversion rate than normal. 

On the other hand, when you’re retargeting to warm audiences, you should be doing simple, re-affirming copy that is one to two sentences long.

And that's it. That's 23 digital marketing hacks that I've learned from five years of digital marketing experience. 

Again, if you want to add YOUR hack, send me an email at ian@sociallite.ca and I'll throw it up. 

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