Category Archives: Content Marketing

How to Discover Your Customers’ Most-Googled Frustrations (and solve them)

Google is a treasure trove for marketers.

Currently (2017), it “processes over 40,000 search queries every second!”

This “translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.”

And just look at how much Google use grew between 2000 and 2012:

It’s ridiculous!

And this all means one thing.

Google can generate valuable data like it’s nobody’s business.

There’s arguably no other resource in history that compares to it.

Another thing I love about the search engine is the arsenal of free tools it offers for gaining insights.

There’s the Google Search Console, Google Analytics, the Google Keyword Planner and Google Alerts, just to name a few.

These are all ideal for providing you with the data you need to better understand the behavior of your audience and improve your marketing.

And as we all know, data is a marketer’s best friend.

Without data, I wouldn’t know what direction to take, making it much more difficult for me to reach my demographic.

In this post, I’m going to cover an extremely important aspect of marketing.

It’s this: how to discover your customers’ biggest frustrations and how to solve them.

I’ve found that Google is perfect for finding out what irks my audience, and you can implement the same methods too.

Here are several techniques you can utilize.


Let’s start with an incredibly simple yet effective feature: autocomplete.

I’m sure you’re familiar with it.

With the insane amount of data Google has accumulated and continues to accumulate, it offers autocomplete to streamline user searches and help people find the information they’re looking for quicker.

Here’s a screenshot that summarizes how this feature works:

Notice I highlighted two key points.

Autocomplete predictions factor in the popularity/freshness of search terms and terms other people are searching for.

Using autocomplete can provide you with valuable intel on what your customers are searching for and, more importantly, what their collective frustrations are.

Let me give you an example of how you can use it.

Type in a broad keyword phrase that relates to your industry, niche or product you’re selling.

I’ll use “organic soap” as an example.

Here’s what pops up:

Just like that, I can tell what some of the most popular search terms are.

It’s obvious people are interested in organic soap bases, recipes and organic soap-making supplies.

Therefore, this user base has questions and concerns about these topics.

So this is a good starting point.

I recommend recording these popular searches for future reference because you’ll want to create content around those topics.

Performing a question-based search

Another easy way to understand your average customer’s frustrations is to figure out what types of questions they’re asking regarding your niche/product.

You can do this by typing in search phrases such as “what is,” “why is,” “how to,” etc., followed by a broad keyword.

Here’s an example:

Within seconds, I can get a pretty good idea of which aspects of the organic soap topic people are curious about.

Remember, if it pops up on Google autocomplete, you know a large number of people have entered that search phrase.

So, you’re dealing with a high volume of searches.

Again, you’ll want to record those search phrases because you can target them later on.

Performing a problems search

Let’s take it one step further.

Type in your broad keyword followed by the word problems:

Here are some of the results I got:

I also highlighted some frustrations, concerns and questions people have.

Considering the fact these are all on page one of this Google search, it’s safe to say there’s a significant number of people who share these frustrations.

As a result, these are all potential topics I could cover.

Using the Google Keyword Tool

You probably already use this tool for performing keyword research for SEO.

But it can also be useful for finding your customers’ pain points as well.

Here’s what you do.

Type in your broad keyword in the search box:

Then scroll down to see what people are most interested in.

The main thing you’ll want to take into consideration is the number of average monthly searches.

Here are some highly searched keywords that let me know what types of questions and frustrations customers have:

Using Google Trends

I absolutely love Google Trends.

It’s one of the best ways to get a quick snapshot of the popularity of something and see how interest has either grown or declined over time.

I also like to use it to generate graphs for great looking visuals for my content.

To use it in this context, just type in your search phrase:

Then scroll down to “Related queries.”

You can view related queries as either “Top” or “Rising.”

“Top” lets you know what’s most popular over time in the grand scheme of things.

“Rising” lets you know what’s most popular at the moment and what’s trending upward.

Use this information to spot any potential frustrations your customers might be having that you may want to address.

Identifying top blogs in your niche

Here’s one last technique.

Do a Google search that combines your broad keyword and the word blogs.

You’ll get results like this:

Then click on one or more of the results.

This one looks good to me:

Now, I can get a glimpse of the types of topics the top blogs are covering, which are indicative of what your average customer is most interested in:

I can get quite a bit of information by just looking at the description of each blog.

But, of course, I can learn a lot more by actually clicking on a specific blog and scanning through the posts.

This should fill in the gaps in terms of discovering the average customer’s frustrations and can give me even more ideas for content.

Solving those frustrations

Okay, so I’ve discussed several different ways to gain an understanding of what’s irking your customers.

As you can see, Google is pretty much a be-all and end-all tool for this.

But how do you solve those frustrations?

It’s simple.

You want to create robust, comprehensive content that exhaustively answers these questions and addresses these frustrations.

I recommend writing down a list of topics based on your research and prioritizing them in terms of importance.

For instance, I found people were interested in:

  • what organic soap is made of
  • how to make organic soap from home
  • how to make organic soap without lye
  • toxic soap ingredients to avoid

and so on.

Now I can start creating content that covers those topics.

More specifically, my goal is to create content that outranks the competition.

Skyscraper it

As you may already know, I’m a huge proponent of the skyscraper technique: producing content that betters and outperforms your competitors’ content.

If you’re unfamiliar with this concept or need to brush up, this guide from Backlinko will tell you everything you need to know.

By following this formula and addressing the unique concerns of your customers, you’ll quickly be on track to generate traffic, build trust and “scratch their itch.”

Diversifying your content

I’ve mentioned many times before that interactive content significantly outperforms conventional static content.

Here are a few stats from Impact Marketing that show the importance of creating interactive content:

When you break it all down,

interactive content drives 2x the number of conversions as passive content like blogs and eBooks.

Here’s what I suggest.

Look for ways to create different types of content your competitors have overlooked or ignored.

Rather than writing your standard 800-word blog post, write a long-form, 2,000-word post full of visuals, including relevant videos, graphs, stats, etc.

Or if there’s a pervasive question your customers have, try creating an infographic that succinctly answers it step by step.

In other words, think outside the box and be willing to go where your competition doesn’t.

This should kill two birds with one stone because you’re solving your customers’ biggest frustrations and providing them with incredibly helpful information while offering a level of depth your competitors are not.

It’s a win-win situation.


It’s amazing the insights you can gain from Google.

It’s a godsend for doing market research and will provide you with a wealth of valuable intel if you know how to use it correctly.

And the longer people use Google, the bigger the data pool becomes.

The best part is that it’s completely free.

As you’re probably aware, every demographic has its own specific pain points.

Your job as a marketer is to identify these frustrations and provide an effective solution.

By using the techniques I mentioned, you can do this in a very streamlined manner.

From there, you’re in a much better position to create content that hits its mark and can provide your audience with the answers they crave.

This, in turn, translates into a host of benefits including increased traffic, more leads and bigger profits.

Do you have any other suggestions for using Google to discover customer frustrations?

18 Essentials to Creating a Trust-Boosting Facebook Page

Trust has always been important from a marketing perspective.

But in my opinion, it’s never been more important than it is today.

That’s because so many consumers have an underlying cynicism about brands and companies.

And why wouldn’t they be skeptical?

Marketing communications account for 70% of today’s spam complaints.

Just think of all the scam artists, false advertisements and deceptive advertising techniques people so frequently encounter.

Not to sound pessimistic, but modern consumers have a good reason to be suspicious.

As a marketer, you have to put your audience at ease.

And social media is a great way to do that.

Facebook in particular is ideal for creating trust.

You can even use it to turn casual fans into die-hard brand advocates.

In fact, Facebook has been instrumental in helping me expand my following.

As of right now, I have nearly 1 million followers on my Neil Patel page, and it’s growing every day.

In this post, I’d like to cover 18 essentials mandatory for boosting the trustworthiness of your Facebook page.

These tactics have worked for me and countless other brands, and they can work for you too.

1. Verify your page

Just like on Twitter, Facebook has a feature where you can add a verification badge as long as you’re a public figure, media company or brand.

Here’s mine:

It’s a simple way to prove it’s actually you and not a fake account.

Here are the steps involved in getting your Facebook page verified:

Check out this guide from Facebook for more information on the process.

2. Use your core branding elements

In order to build a solid brand, you need to have identifiable branding elements like a formal logo, recognizable color scheme, style, etc.

Facebook gives you an excellent opportunity to reinforce your brand, which helps with trust building.

Include a profile picture and a background picture that incorporate your core branding elements.

Take TechCrunch for example:

They use their signature green and white color scheme along with their logo.

3. Beef up your About page

The About page of your website is important.

In fact, “52% of people” want to see it on your website’s homepage.

It only makes sense to create a robust Facebook About page.

Here’s a good example from Chris Guillebeau:

Notice how he succinctly fills visitors in on his key info?

4. Include contact info

According to the same study from KoMarketing I referenced above, including contact information on your website is even more important than having an About page.

They found 64% of people want to see your contact information after arriving on your homepage.

Of course, you’ll want to include this on your Facebook page as well.

Include as much info as you can.

Ideally, also include a phone number because this tends to be a significant trust factor.

Here’s what I have for my contact info:

5. Link to your website

Any time you can create a link pointing to your website, you should do it.

This is just another opportunity for referral traffic.

It can also add to the trust users can feel from your Facebook page.

6. Post personal pictures

Even if you’re a massive, big-name brand, you still want to create a genuine connection with your audience.

You want to come across as being transparent and authentic.

One thing I love about Facebook is that it enables you to combine business with pleasure.

I know it’s helped me increase my credibility by allowing me to show a bit of my own personality.

If you’ve ever scrolled through my pictures, you’ll see stuff like this:

That’s my mom and me.

Or this:

That’s my nephew and me having an epic intergalactic battle.

You want to be professional, but don’t be shy to share some personal information on your Facebook profile to help you gain trust and to be more likable.

7. Include behind-the-scenes content

Another way to forge a connection with your audience is to let them see what’s bubbling beneath the surface.

Give them a glimpse of what your team culture is like by including some behind-the-scenes content.

Here’s a great example from HubSpot:

8. Feature influencers

I’m sure you know by now just how powerful leveraging key influencers can be.

Associating your brand with an influencer in your industry is almost guaranteed to elevate your trustworthiness.

The bigger the influencer, the bigger the impact.

One of the best in the business at doing this is Tim Ferriss.

Scroll through his Facebook photos, and you’ll see him with countless celebrities and influencers.

Here he is with the founders of Shopify:

And here he is with author and tidying master Marie Kondo.

I know this isn’t viable for everyone, especially if you’re a new or small brand.

But it can have a profound impact on how much your audience will trust you if you can pull this off.

9. Post media coverage

Again, this won’t be realistic for everyone.

And I know this is easier said than done.

But including any type of media coverage you’ve received can increase your trustworthiness significantly.

Here’s a quick snippet of me on Viceland as an example:

10. Add videos

We all know video marketing is blowing up.

Just look at the massive rise of mobile video over the last few years:

Why wouldn’t you want to get in on the action?

I’ve found that adding video to my Facebook page has helped me increase engagement while establishing myself as a trusted voice in the digital marketing realm.

I make it a point to include videos toward the top of my page.

By clicking on the “Videos” section of the sidebar or on “See All,” visitors can check out my full archive of videos.

If you haven’t experimented with videos yet, I strongly recommend giving them a go.

11. Take advantage of Facebook Live

But why stop there?

Facebook and several other social platforms now allow you to create live streams.

You should be interested because “Facebook Live Stream search popularity has risen over 330% since Facebook Live’s rollout.”

Engagement is off the charts, and I can’t think of a much better way to quickly boost your trustworthiness.

Just think about it.

People can watch your videos in real time and get to know you intimately, and you can instantly respond to their questions and comments.

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger takes full advantage of this new trend with great success:

You can check out his archive of videos for ideas and inspiration.

12. Inform rather than sell

The beautiful thing about inbound marketing, and content marketing in particular, is that it gives brands a way to advertise without overt selling.

Rather than blasting your demographic with mind-numbing marketing messages, content marketing allows you to educate, inform and entertain them.

This way they’re learning about your brand and getting real value in an unobtrusive way.

My Facebook policy is to inform my audience—not to sell to them.

This has been a huge contributor to my success, and I recommend you take the same approach.

13. Stick to your central theme

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

This is what you want to avoid with your Facebook page.

In order to establish trust, you need to focus on your core competencies and not try to be everything to everyone.

Let’s go back to Darren Rowse.

His name is synonymous with one thing: blogging.

Not home renovation or gardening or crocheting.

It’s just blogging.

This is what has allowed him to be one of the top experts on the topic.

Be sure you’re doing the same and sticking with a central theme.

14. Follow a consistent posting schedule

According to an article from CoSchedule that analyzed research from 10 different studies, one post per day is the recommended posting frequency on Facebook.

Unlike on other platforms, like Twitter or Pinterest, where posting several times a day is acceptable and even encouraged, one post a day tends to work best on Facebook.

I do at times post more often as do many other brands, but this research tells us one important thing.

You need to get in the habit of consistently posting or at least curating fresh content.

15. Respond to comments

You know if you’re getting a lot of engagement, you’re winning on Facebook.

But to keep the momentum going and keep people interested, you need to respond as much as you possibly can.

That’s what I try to do.

I know it can be time consuming, but this is a must for building real trust with your followers.

16. Ask for input

Looking for ideas on which features to include in your new product?

Or wondering what topics to cover on your blog?

Just ask your Facebook followers for their input.

This is a great way to perform market research, crank up engagement and make your audience feel valued.

Here are a couple of specific examples from Mavrck:

You can get more ideas in this post.

17. Publish an occasional poll

Polls are another awesome way to engage your audience.

It’s a quick and easy way for them to give their opinions, feeling included.

Visit this page from Facebook to learn how to publish polls.

18. Have fun

One last thing.

Social media is meant to be fun.

It’s not meant to be overly formal or rigid.

So another key factor in trust-boosting is to have fun with it and let your personality shine through.

Letting your hair down, so to speak, can help you get the trust you’re seeking.


When you get right down to it, trust equals revenue.

Gaining trust is like knocking down the initial domino, which leads to a host of other benefits like engagement, a big following, leads, conversions and ultimately sales.

And the way I see it, Facebook is one of the best platforms pound-for-pound for creating trust.

You just need to understand which elements to leverage and put in the work to give your audience what they’re looking for.

What makes you trust a brand on Facebook?

How to Build an Unbreakable YouTube Brand

One billion hours of video.

That’s how much content is viewed each and every day on YouTube!

That translates to 46,000 years of content annually.

Another amazing thing about YouTube is the amount of time users spend on it.

Believe it or not, the average YouTube session is 40 minutes.

That dwarfs the amount of time people spend on Instagram and Twitter.

Talk about engagement!

Here are a few other ridiculous stats that demonstrate YouTube’s potency:

But here’s what I find really interesting.

Only 9% of US small businesses have a YouTube channel.

That’s kind of crazy if you think about it.

I mean YouTube is second only to Facebook in terms of users.

You would think more brands would be taking advantage of it.

But this is a good thing and means that YouTube offers plenty of opportunity.

You just have to seize that opportunity.

But how do you go about building a YouTube brand?

Furthermore, what are some of the similarities among top YouTube channels?

I’d like to share with you some key strategies that have worked for some of the biggest YouTube brands.

I’ve developed some sort of a template, and following it will help you build a successful, unbreakable YouTube brand that’s distinctly your own.

Come up with a unique angle

One of the most popular channels of all time is Epic Rap Battles of History (ERB).

They’ve featured rap battles that range all the way from Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates:

to Mr. T vs. Mr. Rogers:

It’s pretty hilarious.

ERB has completely killed it and has a massive following.

They had well over 14 million subscribers as of mid-2017.

I’m not saying you have to be as original as ERB, but you definitely need a unique angle.

To decide on an angle, you have to first identify your core audience.

What kind of content would appeal to them?

Would they go for humor and sarcasm?

A lot of the top channels implement humor to some extent.

YouTube is also a place where people openly embrace their weirdness, so it’s generally okay to be a little out there.

Or should you be professional and go for an educational angle?

It depends on your demographic and its collective taste.

I recommend doing some brainstorming to decide on a basic direction to take.

Of course, this will evolve organically over time, but you’ll need to establish a core identity and preferably one that stands out.

Also keep in mind that most people use YouTube for one of two reasons.

They either want to be entertained or informed, and in some cases both.

Make sure you have a mission and a clear idea of the direction you’re going to take right from the start.

Create a killer “home video”

There’s a path that most YouTube users take when learning about a brand or channel.

They’ll first land on an individual video.

They’ll watch it, and if they like it enough to want to learn more about you, they’ll click on the link to your home profile.

Your home video will automatically play there.

This will basically make you or break you in terms of gaining subscribers.

Either they’ll be compelled to subscribe to your channel, or they’ll head elsewhere.

So, you need to completely crush it with your home video.

More specifically, it needs to encapsulate what your brand and channel are all about.

There are a few ways to approach this.

You could:

  • create a video specifically for your homepage, describing your channel and telling viewers what they can expect
  • feature one of your top videos that captures the essence of your brand/channel
  • create a compilation of the top highlights of previous videos

Whatever approach you take, just be sure you connect the dots for first-time viewers so they know what to expect if they subscribe.

Make full use of the About section

Every YouTube channel has an About section that explains the concept of the channel.

Many first-time viewers will check this out to learn more about you.

The information you include in this section will influence whether or not they choose to subscribe.

Don’t haphazardly or carelessly fill out this section.

You want to explain the details and highlight any points potential subscribers should know.

Here’s a good example of a rock solid About section from Fine Brothers Entertainment:

Notice that it gives a clear, succinct description and also mentions the posting schedule.

Here’s another good example from The Needle Drop, one of the most popular music review channels:

This is yet another opportunity to build a homogeneous brand identity and pique the interest of those unfamiliar with you.

Don’t overlook the About section.

Create consistency

“It takes five to seven impressions for someone to remember a brand.”

In order to make your brand both recognizable and memorable, it’s super important to have consistency on your channel.

There are two main ways to accomplish this.

First, your channel should feature recurring characters and themes.

You want to become familiar to your audience to build connections with them over time.

Second, you should strive to stick with a consistent posting schedule.

In order to keep your audience interested and dialed in, you should give them a rough idea of when they can expect new content.

I know I get a little irked and lose interest in channels that go MIA all of a sudden.

It’s generally considered best practice to upload at least one new video a week.

However, two or three videos is even better.

I find the one to three video mark tends to be ideal.

It’s the sweet spot that keeps subscribers interested without fatiguing them with excessive content.

In terms of the best time to post, there’s an article from Tube Filter that offers some good advice on this.

According to their research, these are the best hours to post a video each day:

There’s also evidence suggesting viewership begins rising on Thursday and spikes on Saturday.

And this makes sense if you think about it.

Unlike most other social networks, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where you can casually scroll through your feed with minimal time investment, YouTube requires a larger commitment, where users often view content in larger blocks.

This makes the weekend the ideal time for viewing.

Plus, people can be stealth about checking most of their social sites at work, but YouTube is trickier.

Usually, they’ll need to wait until they’re off work to indulge.

Keep this in mind when establishing a posting schedule for your videos.

Make live video part of your repertoire

Live streaming is a fairly new concept on YouTube.

But it’s starting to spread like wildfire.

According to Mediakix, “YouTube Live video views have grown by 80% and livestreams increased by 130% between 2015 and 2016.”

And here’s the thing about live video.

It’s absolutely perfect for brand building.

There’s a certain closeness viewers experience with brands through live streaming. There’s an intimate vibe to it.

You can even answer questions and respond to comments in real time and interact with your audience in a way that’s not possible with any other medium.

Research from Livestream also found that

live video is more appealing to brand audiences: 80% would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82% prefer live video from a brand to social posts.

This is definitely something to experiment with if you haven’t done so already.

However, there is one caveat.

You must have at least 1,000 subscribers to be eligible for live video.

But this number has actually dropped dramatically, considering the minimum number was 10,000 earlier in 2017.

Collaborate with relevant YouTubers

What’s one of the quickest ways to crank up the exposure of your blog/website and bring in an influx of traffic?

One word: guest-posting.

Collaborating with other awesome YouTubers is basically the equivalent of guest-posting via video, which can boost your brand dramatically.

I’ve had success with this strategy.

Take for instance the time I appeared on Tai Lopez’s channel.

That one video generated over 275,000 views:

If you really want to expedite the growth of your YouTube brand, I highly recommend reaching out to relevant YouTubers in your niche.

It’s really easy.

Find a person’s contact information on their About page, and click on “Send message:”

Introduce yourself, tell them how much you like their channel and explain your idea for a collaboration video.

You don’t even need to do the video face to face—you can record footage, interacting remotely through FaceTime, Skype, etc.

This way, you can leverage someone else’s subscriber base to quickly grow your own following.


It’s really hard to beat YouTube as a brand-building platform.

The massive built-in audience (1.3 billion users as of March 2017) combined with the intimacy that comes with video is the perfect recipe for building your brand from the ground up.

And like I mentioned earlier, fewer than 10% of US businesses have a YouTube channel.

So, competition is still low.

If you can consistently deliver epic content that informs, entertains or both, you’re way ahead of the game.

Not only can you build an audience, you can build a unique, successful brand your competitors won’t be able to replicate.

What methods have you used to establish your YouTube brand?

The Marketer’s Checklist for Establishing a Personal Brand

I remember when having a personal brand was reserved solely for big-name celebrities.

Back in the 90s, you had to be an Oprah-level figure to have your own discernible brand.

But the Internet has changed that.

It’s made personal branding viable for pretty much everyone, provided you put in the time and energy.

That’s why you see people go from relative obscurity to borderline celebrities quite frequently.

A good example of that is Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income.

I remember the time when he was blogging about basic online money-making techniques and had only a tiny following.

Now, he’s crushing it.

He’s writing books, giving lectures, running a podcast and has a massive following.

Of course, he creates great content, but I’d say his success is largely due to his rock-solid personal branding.

And when you get right down to it, the Internet is your vessel for establishing a personal brand.

You just need to know how to properly utilize it.

In this post, I provide you with an essential checklist for establishing your personal brand.

I’m going to point out specific platforms you can leverage to build your presence and get noticed.

I’m also going to outline the correct sequence you should follow to build your brand step by step.

Let’s get to it.

Establish a brand identity

Before you can do anything else, you need to know what you’re trying to achieve.

How do you want people to perceive you?

What do you want people to associate your personal brand with?

You’ll want to give plenty of consideration to this because it will shape your entire approach.

My entire brand identity is based around online marketing.

My personal brand revolves around helping other businesses grow.

I suggest pinpointing a few specific areas you want your name to be synonymous with and focusing on them.

Choose your niche

Seldom do you see individuals with huge personal brands having their hands in everything.

If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that spreading yourself too thin is often a recipe for disaster.

Instead, you’re better off focusing on a specific niche.

“Niching down” enables you to develop a close association between your name and a certain topic.

Take Marie Kondo for instance.

She’s known for her unique method of organizing and tidying—the KonMari Method.

She’s written books about these topics, created an app and is a consultant.

Marie has a very precise niche, and she doesn’t deviate from it.

I recommend taking the same approach.

If you want to branch out later on, that’s fine.

But initially, you want to zero in on a specific niche.

And ideally, it will be something you’re passionate about because this will help sustain you in the long run.

Find your unique voice

Let me preface this by saying it takes time to establish your voice.

I find it’s an organic process that unfolds over time.

But you’ll want to have a basic idea of what you’re going for right out of the gate.

Do you want to sound kind, compassionate and enlightened?

That’s pretty much the voice of Leo Babauta of Zen Habits:

Or are you naturally a little snarky and cynical and prefer to keep things a bit edgy?

That’s how I would define Ashley Ambirge of The Middle Finger Project:

I find you’re usually better off sticking with your true personality and letting that define your voice.

This makes it much easier to be authentic, which is one of the top things people look for in a brand.

It doesn’t really matter what type of voice you go for, just stick with it, cultivating it over time.

Design a logo

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

Your logo is huge and one of the most vital branding elements.

I prefer to keep mine simple, like this:

But go with whatever makes sense for your brand.

If design isn’t your thing, you may want to find a professional designer.

Or use a free platform, like Canva, to create your own design from scratch.

You can choose from pre-made templates or set your own custom dimensions.

I also recommend reading this post from Creative Bloq for logo design tips.

Create a website

A professional, functional website is integral to your personal brand.

Don’t skimp on this.

Some people are reluctant to pay for hosting because they can create a basic website with WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr or a similar platform.

But I highly suggest you get your own domain.

After all, would you take me seriously if my website URL was rather than

Probably not.

Besides, you’ll have limited functionality.

For more on building your first website, check out this post I wrote.

Also, be sure your site incorporates the same color scheme as your logo.

Like this:

It typically takes five to seven impressions for someone to remember a brand, so it’s crucial that you keep it consistent and make yourself recognizable.

Choose your content mediums

I don’t need to tell you how much I love content marketing.

It’s easily the greatest marketing strategy of the 21st century!

It also “costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads.”

One of the best ways to establish yourself as an expert in your niche (or at least as someone worth paying attention to) is to create quality content.

That’s how I got to where I’m today.

I got into the habit of creating quality content—and a high volume of it.

But with so many mediums available, you need to pick and choose which ones you want to focus on.

For me, long-form blog content has become my bread and butter.

Seth Godin opts for short blurbs:

A big part of Tim Ferriss’ success (besides his books) has been his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show.

His podcast is one of the top-rated in the world and has helped him solidify his personal brand.

What I’m trying to say here is you should choose a few different content mediums to focus your attention on.

If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at some of the top content marketing trends of 2017.

Consistently creating great content kills two birds with one stone:

  1. it brings exposure to your personal brand and
  2. it helps create a strong association between your name and a particular area.

Choose your social platforms

Then, there’s the issue of social.

Of course, you’ll want to be active on at least a couple of networks to bring attention to your brand and to network with others in your niche.

However, you don’t want to be active on so many networks that you end up spreading yourself too thin.

Just be sure you choose networks that your target audience is most active on.

For instance, Pinterest would probably be a good choice if you’re in the fashion or culinary niche.

If you’re not sure which social sites are worth your time, here are a couple of graphs that show which networks have been most popular in 2017:

I’d also like to point out how powerful Quora can be in helping you build credibility and authority.

At the moment, it’s not as big as the juggernauts listed above, but I’ve found it to be extremely helpful.

And it’s absolutely perfect for attracting referral traffic.

I suggest checking out Quora and getting in the habit of providing high level answers to people’s questions.

Choose your social handles

There’s another small but crucial aspect of social you shouldn’t overlook.

Choosing uniform handles.

Ideally, they’ll be exactly the same across every single network so that there’s zero deviation.

Unfortunately, I had to use slightly different handles for my Twitter and Facebook.

For Twitter, it’s @neilpatel.

And for Facebook, it’s @neilkpatel.

I understand it might not be easy to have exactly the same handle across several different networks.

But strive to make them as uniform as possible so you can create uniformity and avoid confusing your audience.

Use a killer head shot

As I mentioned before, consistency is key.

This is why I can’t stress enough just how important it is to have a high-quality, professional head shot.

You’ll want to feature it on your website, your social profiles, email, etc. so that people can recognize you instantly.

Here’s the head shot I’ve been using recently:

That’s from my Twitter profile.

And here it is on my Facebook page:

Notice it’s nothing fancy.

It’s just my picture against a plain, white background.

Once again, I recommend keeping it simple.

For tips on getting a great head shot, check out this post.

Select a branded email address

There’s one last thing I would like to point out.

Your email address should include your name.

One option is to simply include it like this:

The other (and better option) is to use your name in the email domain.

It would look like this:

This looks extremely professional and will help reinforce your brand identity.

Check out this article from ProBlogger to learn how to set up an email account that uses your domain name.


Let me just say that effective brand building is a process.

There is no magic bullet, and it’s going to take time.

Sometimes, it even takes years, depending on the level you’re trying to reach.

But you can streamline things considerably by understanding the formula behind personal brand building and following it.

The checklist I covered here includes the essentials and should serve as a blueprint.

It’s not the be-all and end-all guide, but it will definitely get things going.

What do you think the most important aspect of building a personal brand is?

The Comprehensive List of What Needs to Be Above the Fold on Your Homepage

The majority of people have the attention span shorter than a goldfish.

When it comes to your website, it’s probably hurting you.

According to HubSpot, “55% of visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on your website.”

You’d better grab their attention in a hurry.

But how do you do that?

By placing the most important information above the fold.

It’s one of the most tried-and-true web design best practices.

And it’s one that has received a lot of debate.

I’ve heard some people say you need to follow the original formula religiously and keep key information above the fold.

I’ve also heard other people say that it doesn’t really matter because most people are willing to scroll.

And this makes more sense as of late, considering the number of people using mobile devices.

Everyone has their own opinion, and that’s okay.

But in this post, I’ll share my take on what needs to be above the fold on your homepage.

I’m going to cover the key elements and absolute essentials and condense them into a comprehensive list so you’ll know precisely what to include.

What exactly does “above the fold” mean?

Before I dive in, allow me to give you a formal definition of “above the fold” so that we’re on the same page.

According to Tech Target,

above the fold is the portion of a web page that is visible in a browser window when the page first loads.

In others words, it’s what visitors first see without scrolling.

Although we usually think of websites when referencing “above the fold,” this term actually originated with traditional print publications.

It was simply the upper half of the front page of a newspaper where the top story was printed.

Like this:

Why is above the fold so important?

It’s simple.

  • It’s what people see first.
  • It’s what attracts the most attention.
  • It’s where visitors spend the bulk of their time.

A 2011 eyetracking study from Jakob Nielsen found that visitors spend 80% of their time above the fold.

It’s easy to see why people make such a big fuss about deciding what to include above the fold.

While there will always be some debate as to how important placing content above the fold is, there’s no denying that it is important.

And the way I see it, there are a handful of vital elements that need to be included.

Unique selling proposition (USP)

Here’s a screenshot of the definition of a USP from Tech Target:

It’s absolutely essential that you include this above the fold.

Your USP is the way visitors get their bearings after landing on your site.

It’s your way of instantly showing them what you’re offering and how they’ll benefit by exploring your website further.

Here’s the USP for Quick Sprout:

Bam! Visitors instantly know what’s up.

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re part of or what niche you specialize in, a clear, well-crafted USP is a vital element of your above-the-fold content.

Some “explainer” copy

So, your USP provides visitors with an initial orientation.

But it doesn’t usually explain all the details.

This is why you need to include a bit of “explainer” copy that tells first-timers what your product does.

Here’s a great example from the Ahrefs homepage:

It’s brief and concise, but visitors can quickly tell what they can accomplish by using Ahrefs.

In this case, they can learn what’s helping competitors rank high and what steps they can take to outrank them.

Notice that it doesn’t drone on paragraph after paragraph with long-winded copy.

It matter-of-factly elaborates upon the USP and explains what the product does.

In turn, this should raise the interest level of visitors and encourage them to keep exploring the website further.

Your brand logo

This is a biggie.

In a world with super-saturated industries, where companies often have to scratch and claw their way to the top, brand recognition is of the utmost importance.

That’s why you want to establish consistent branding across the board and take every opportunity to reinforce your brand identity.

Take a look at the homepage of any major company, and I can pretty much guarantee they’ve included their brand logo above the fold.

Below are just a couple of examples.

Here’s HubSpot’s homepage:

And here’s Dropbox’s homepage:

It’s your way of letting visitors know who you are, and it plays a role in your long-term brand building.

Simple navigation

Let’s say a visitor has just landed on your homepage for the first time.

After seeing your USP and explainer copy, they have a pretty good idea of what you’re offering.

And after seeing your brand logo, they associate it with you.

At this point, you’ve piqued their interest, and they want to learn more.

It’s your responsibility to provide them with the framework to explore your site in a streamlined, systematic fashion.

This, of course, is done through simple, intuitive navigation.

Allow me to provide you with a few examples of brands that do this really well.

First, there’s ConversionXL:

Next, there’s Buffer:

Finally, there’s Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income:

Pat’s homepage incorporates a feature that I’m a big fan of.

The “Start Here” page.

It’s not necessary for every website, but it’s a great way for some sites to give first-timers a quick and easy way to get acquainted with the site, providing them with the best content to accomplish that.

Notice that all three of these examples feature simple, easy-to-spot navigation.

This way visitors can quickly find what they’re looking for with minimal effort.

This is crucial for encouraging visitors to browse your site in-depth and for getting conversions.

Contact info

This element is more important than you may think.

According to a web usability report from KoMarketing,

51% of people think ‘thorough contact information’ is the most important element missing from many company websites.

On top of this,

64% of people want to see contact information on a vendor website homepage.

It’s especially important if you’re running an e-commerce store, selling online.

People want to be sure you’re a legitimate business and not a scam artist who’s going to take their money and run.

Having full contact information tends to put your visitors’ minds at ease once they land on your homepage.

Your CTA (sometimes)

The fact that I put the word sometimes in brackets may have made you raise an eyebrow.

I mean, why would you not include a CTA above the fold?

This is the absolute basics of homepage design, right?

But here’s the deal with CTAs.

Several studies have been done to determine the impact of CTAs placed above the fold versus below the fold.

One of the more interesting studies involved The Boston Globe.

The experiment was simple.

They ran an A/B test where the CTA was first placed above the fold on the homepage and then below the fold.

Here’s what the first homepage looked like with the CTA above the fold:

And here’s the second version, where the CTA was below the fold:

Conventional logic would suggest that the first version with the CTA above the fold would outperform the second version, right?

Not exactly.

In fact, the results were virtually the same, and there were no significant differences in conversions.

This tells us that maximizing conversions isn’t about simply placing your CTA above the fold.

Anyone can do that.

It’s more about nailing it with all the other elements and writing great copy.

If you pique the interest of visitors, many will make their way further down your homepage and ultimately stumble upon your CTA.

That being said, I generally recommend placing your CTA above the fold as long as it makes sense and flows with the rest of your content.

This tends to be the approach of most successful brands.

However, you never want to force it.

Your main priority is to motivate visitors and to write compelling copy.

Also, be sure you’re not overwhelming visitors by stuffing the page wtih several CTAs above the fold, e.g., signup forms, a link to your product, etc.

Instead, keep it simple, and focus on a single CTA.

Like this:


The formula for what to include above the fold on your homepage is pretty straightforward.

Here’s a recap:

  • A well-written USP
  • Some brief explainer copy
  • Your branded logo
  • Simple, intuitive navigation
  • Contact info – especially important if you’re running an e-commerce store

The CTA is optional and doesn’t typically affect conversion rates as much as you may think.

But if you can incorporate it in a seamless, non-disruptive way, by all means, include your CTA above the fold.

While there are other elements you could include, these are the essentials.

By putting them all together, you should be able to entice a sizable portion of your readers to continue browsing and even go through your sales funnel.

What do you think the most important element to include above the fold on your homepage is?

How to Make Your Facebook Page Visually Appealing to Your Target Demographic

Facebook is closing in on nearly two billion monthly active users!

There was even an 18% increase from 2016.

If you think about the sheer size and scope of Facebook, it’s mind-boggling.

And when you consider the fact that one in five pageviews in the United States occurs on Facebook, the power of this social media behemoth is undeniable.

So, of course, you want to do everything within your power to connect with the largest possible percentage of your target demographic.

This enables you to build your following, generate more leads and rake in plenty of referral traffic to your website.

Of course, there are numerous variables that ultimately determine your success on Facebook.

But the way I look at it, your first order of business should be to make your Facebook page visually appealing to your target demographic.

It needs to pop.

In this post, I’m going to discuss the fundamentals of designing an eye-appealing Facebook page and cover some specific elements you should include to impress your specific audience.

Start with a customized cover photo

The most important element by far is your cover photo.

It takes up the most amount of real estate and is typically the first thing visitors see.

It needs to be perfect.

I recommend creating a customized cover photo that encapsulates your brand identity and instantly gives people a feel for what you’re all about.

Here’s the cover photo I use for the Quick Sprout Facebook page:

If you notice, it includes the same branding elements as, with the green background.

And in my opinion, this is the number one thing you should strive for.

You want your cover photo to mesh with your existing brand so that visitors can connect the dots.

This is key for strengthening your overall brand identity.

Here’s a screenshot of HubSpot’s Facebook page, meeting this requirement perfectly:

It utilizes their signature orange color and their distinctive logo.

And here’s another thing.

If it makes sense, try to incorporate your unique selling proposition, like I did with the Quick Sprout page.

Ahrefs pulls this off flawlessly with their cover photo:

This is helpful for first-timers, who may not fully understand what product you’re offering.

I suggest staying away from mediocre-looking stock photos because they tend to come across as being inauthentic (and sometimes cheesy).

Fortunately, creating your own customized Facebook cover photo isn’t difficult to do.

If you’ve got even an ounce of “designing chops,” you can use a free tool like Canva to create a professional-looking image.

The last time I checked, cover photos display at 828 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall on computers and 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall on smartphones.

You’d want to stick with 828 x 315 pixels to ensure your image doesn’t pixelate.

Here’s how to do it on Canva.

First, sign up for Canva:

It only takes a minute.

Once your account is set up, go to “More” from your dashboard.

Then scroll down to the “Social Media and Email Headers” section.

From there, you’ll see “Facebook Cover.”

Click on that.

Now, you can choose from Canva’s pre-made layouts, upload your own to edit or create one completely from scratch.

It’s quite easy.

You don’t even need to have any coding skills.

There’s no excuse to use some crappy stock photo when you can create your own epic Facebook cover photo free.

By the way, here are a few other ideas of the type of content you can feature in your cover photo besides just your brand name:

  • a photo of your main product
  • an event announcement
  • a contest announcement
  • a testimonial
  • icons of companies you’ve worked with

Be creative, and try to stand out from the rest of your competitors.

Rock your profile picture

The next thing most of your visitors’ eyeballs will gravitate to is your profile picture.

Just like your cover photo, this too needs to be professional-looking and fully customized.

Here’s what the Quick Sprout profile picture looks like:

And here’s what I use for my Neil Patel Facebook page:

As you can see, they’re both in line with the branding I use on each site.

They’re also fairly simple.

I recommend you don’t get too busy or cute with your profile picture and keep it fairly sparse.

After all, you don’t have much space to work with.

In terms of ideal dimensions, Facebook suggests going with 170 x 170 for computers.

Again, you can use Canva if you need to create your profile picture from scratch or edit it.

The bottom line is you shouldn’t skimp on either your cover photo or profile picture.

These are the first things your visitors will see.

Not only should they look great, they should also tie in to your brand as well.

Post relevant photos

The first thing you’ll see when you scroll down most business pages is a “Photos” section.

This is another chance to crank up the eye appeal of your Facebook page and make it even sexier.

It’s also another way to reinforce your branding.

Add a handful of high-quality images to populate this section of your Facebook page.

Keep in mind visitors will see only three photos on your timeline, so you don’t need to be over the top in terms of quantity.

In fact, there are only three photos on the Quick Sprout page, and it’s done just fine:

What is important is that they all look great and enhance the overall aesthetic of your Facebook page.

You can then organize them into relevant albums like profile pictures, cover photos, timeline photos, etc.

Just be sure the three images displayed on your timeline are all home runs.

Ideally, they’ll be branded, and you can save the other images for the various albums that visitors can find by clicking on “Photos.”

Consider adding videos

I probably don’t need to tell you how huge video is right now.

In fact, “79% of internet traffic will be video content by 2018.”

Therefore, I’m a big proponent of using video anywhere I can.

One technique I’ve had tremendous success with is incorporating video into my Neil Patel Facebook page.

If you scroll down past the photos section, this is the next thing you’ll see:

Using video accomplishes three important things:

  1. It allows you to quickly explain who you are and what your brand is all about.
  2. You can instantly build rapport with your audience and begin to gain their trust.
  3. It’s an easy way to bring additional exposure to your Facebook page (people can easily “Like” it and share it).

On top of this, it improves the overall aesthetic of your page.

As long as your videos look professional, they can boost the visual appeal considerably.

And I can pretty much guarantee people are going to take you more seriously.

Experiment with video.

More specifically, upload at least three videos to your Facebook page.

If you already have video content on your website or YouTube channel, this is incredibly easy.

Just upload the same content.

In fact, I use videos from the “Neil Knowledge” section of

Otherwise, you can just record a few videos specifically for Facebook.

I’ve found this to be a great way to build trust and generate more leads.

It also helps beef up my Neil Patel Facebook page and makes it more robust.

Pin epic content to the top of your page

There’s one more feature I love.

And that’s the one that allows you to pin a top post to the top of your page to maximize its exposure.

Let’s be honest.

Some posts are better than others.

Although you always strive to maintain quality standards, some content naturally rises to the top.

Maybe it’s an epic, long-form post or an article that received a ridiculous amount of engagement.

Whatever the case may be, pinning it to the top can boost your authority and credibility.

Here’s what you do.

First, make sure the post has a brilliant-looking image.

If it’s only so-so, I suggest changing it to something that looks amazing.

Then, scroll down to the post, click on the arrow in the top right-hand corner and click on “Pin to Top.”

That’s all there is to it.

From now on, this is the first post that visitors will see when they browse through your content.

If you want to switch it for a different post later on, follow the same process.


As humans, we can’t escape our love of visuals.

Visual content is king because “90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual.”

When it comes to your brand’s Facebook page, your main area of focus should be aesthetics.

By following these steps, you should be able to instantly grab the attention of visitors so that they explore more of your content.

And when it’s all said and done, this can have an extremely positive impact on your Facebook lead generation and increase your following.

Can you think of any other ways to make your Facebook page more visually appealing?

Should You Be Using Live Video to Make More Money?

Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Periscope.

All the major social platforms are integrating live streaming in some form.

Several up-and-comers, like Meerkat and MeVee, are also creating buzz.

And this all means one thing: Live video is hot. Scorching hot.

It seems everyone is now using live video in some fashion to connect and interact with their audience in real time.

I’ve noticed a good chunk of the YouTube channels I’ve been subscribed to for years are now taking it live.

It’s definitely catching on.

But does using live video make sense for you?

Is it a viable means of making more money?

In this post, I’m going to take a close look at the state of live video, how people are using it and what kind of results they’re getting.

I’m also going to look at the benefits as well as the drawbacks that might not be very obvious.

By the end, you should have a pretty good idea whether or not you should add live video to your sales and marketing repertoire.

Market outlook

First, let’s see what the live video market looks like at the moment.

Of course, video in general is booming.

According to, “digital-video ad spending will rise from $9.9 billion in 2016 to $20.08 billion in 2020.”

More than doubling over the course of five short years is pretty dramatic.

But live video is what’s really blowing up.

Socialbakers found that “half of all big media pages publish live video.”

And the number of videos is growing.

I can only imagine what the numbers will be like once 2020 rolls around.

Another interesting thing I’d like to point out is the engagement level that comes along with live video.

In fact, live video blows pre-recorded video out of the water.

Forrester reports that “live video gets three times the amount of engagement as non-live video.”

And it’s easy to see why.

There’s a certain buzz that comes along with watching a video in real time.

There’s a connection that isn’t there otherwise.

Not to mention that viewers can directly interact with the person recording the video via live chat.

It’s pretty cool and shows just how far video has come in a relatively short period of time.

Remember when simply watching videos on YouTube was cutting-edge and really big deal?

Live video has built upon the original concept and made it far more interactive.

How live video is changing content marketing

It’s safe to say that content marketing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

And that’s fine by me.

Content marketing and inbound marketing in general have been a breath of fresh air in a world where conventional advertising mediums have become stale and quite obnoxious.

But the way I look at it, live video is poised to shake up content marketing.

Massive social networks, like Facebook and YouTube, could become a new form of TV big-name companies funnel more and more money into.

The traditional text-based blogging format could change as well.

Rather than always writing regular blog posts, people might start sprinkling in live videos here and there.

As you can see, there are some far-reaching implications.

The benefits of live video

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

How can live video benefit you?

If you’re putting in the time and energy, it’d better be worth your time.

The way I see it, there are some huge advantages.

It helps your audience get to know you

For starters, it allows your audience to get to know you on an incredibly deep level that’s simply not possible with any other medium.

Just think about it.

A live video combined with a real-time comment/Q&A session is arguably the most effective way to inject your true personality into your content.

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger uses live video fairly frequently to answer questions and connect with his viewers.

It adds a whole other dimension to his overall content.

And, in my opinion, it makes him more personable and relatable.

You feel like you know the guy.


Next, there’s the increased engagement.

If you’ve been blogging, active on social media, copywriting, etc. for any length of time, you know just how important engagement is.

And by all accounts, live video is a natural catalyst for boosting engagement.

As I mentioned earlier, live video gets triple the engagement of pre-recorded video.

More specifically, “streaming videos on Facebook are viewed at much higher durations (3x) than non-live content.”

And here’s the kicker.

Facebook’s per-video engagement rate is a whopping 6.3%!

That may not seem like a lot at first glance.

But keep in mind the normal engagement rate for many industries on Facebook is less than 0.15%.

That’s a massive difference!

The brilliant thing about live video is that it naturally begs for engagement.

It’s basically like sitting down and having a face-to-face conversation with your audience.

They can ask questions, leave comments and really get to know you.

Increased engagement naturally comes with the territory.

Extend your reach

Live video is just about everywhere these days.

Scroll through your Facebook feed, it’s there.

In fact, “Facebook videos have increased 360% across everyone’s news feeds.”

Check out what your favorite YouTubers have been up to, and odds are someone is recording a live video.

Getting in on the action is virtually guaranteed to help you extend your overall reach.

It allows you to reach a larger percentage of your demographic that may have been inaccessible before.

Generate massive leads and sales

When you put it all together, it translates into more leads coming your way on a regular basis.

Not only that, the quality of your leads should increase as well.

They know you, trust you, and have rapport with you.

Therefore, a sizable portion of your leads is already primed to buy.

And it’s not unrealistic to expect repeat sales and long-term brand loyalty.

The Funky Fairy, a children’s clothing store in England, ran three sales over four days on Facebook Live.

Their goal was to liquidate their overstock inventory and quickly crank up sales.

The owner, Vicki Stewart, displayed the items for sale, while chatting about them.

Viewers, using comments, were also able to request specific items they wanted.

And it totally worked!

Views increased from roughly 7,000 during the first two sales to 10,000 for the last one.

This enabled The Funky Fairy to quickly move stock that otherwise would have probably just sat there.

Monetization strategies

There’s one last thing I would like to point out.

Increasing sales isn’t the only way to make more money through live video.

There are several ways you can monetize your videos to make money directly.

I came across an article from DaCast that highlights some specific ways you can make money broadcasting live video.

  • Offer pay-per-view or subscription-based videos.
  • Promote advertisers on your videos (“ads appear in the lower thirds of your video or as clips before your broadcast begins and/or interrupting it like standard television commercials”).
  • Ask for donations and link to sites like Patreon.

I suggest approaching these monetization strategies with caution (you don’t want to create a rift between you and your audience), but I felt they were worth mentioning.

Under the right circumstances, they could definitely help you drive higher profits.

Does it make sense for you?

At this point, I think we can all agree the market outlook for live video is extremely promising.

It’s also clear that using live video can be highly beneficial to your brand and help you increase revenue.

But it doesn’t mean it’s right for every single brand.

Not to burst your bubble, but live video may not be viable if you have a small audience.

For instance, YouTube mandates that a channel must have a minimum of 1,000 subscribers in order to live-stream.

This number was reduced significantly: earlier in 2017, you had to have at least 10,000 subscribers.

And quite frankly, it could be embarrassing if you go live and no one shows up.

Another issue is it can hurt your brand equity if you don’t nail it.

You’re basically gambling on your image by live-streaming.

Putting yourself out there could potentially backfire, and people may not necessarily like what they see.

Or maybe it’s just not for you.

It’s pretty common for people to freak out once the camera is on them.

All of a sudden, your mind goes blank and the whole thing is just awkward.

Remember, there’s no editing with live video.

Viewers see everything in real time.

I’m not trying to kill your vibe, but it’s important to look at all the angles before you decide to start using live video.


Live video is a powerful new format, changing the content marketing game.

Most experts are predicting it will continue to grow and more companies will funnel big money into it.

The potential is huge.

If you follow the right formula and create engaging live video content, you can strengthen existing relationships, increase the size of your following, boost engagement, generate more leads and increase sales.

On top of this, there are several other ways to directly monetize your live videos.

But it’s important to note this medium isn’t viable for everyone.

I suggest giving it careful consideration before diving in head first.

If it’s something you’re seriously interested in and makes sense for your brand, give it a shot.

For examples and ideas, check out this post from IMPACT.

How often do you watch live videos?