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From Donkey to Unicorn: 8 Digital Marketing Tactics SMBs Should Do ASAP

From Donkey to Unicorn: 8 Digital Marketing Tactics SMBs Should Do ASAP

Check out the 8 digital marketing tactics SMBs should do from MobileMonkey CEO, Larry Kim. As a small or midsize business (SMB) making important decisions for resource allocation, there’s a better way to execute guaranteed marketing tactics. This post details how.

Want to sell more, scale efficiently, and create more high-impact marketing campaigns?

As a small or midsize business (SMB) making important decisions for resource allocation, you may be wondering if there’s a way to execute guaranteed marketing tactics.

The eight high-growth marketing tactics I’m about to suggest come from my own experience as an SMB marketer. I turned my first startup into a $150 million acquisition this year thanks to a 75% annual compound growth rate. While marketing isn’t the only element of a successful company, it is an important one. In my experience, we achieved the growth we did by harnessing marketing "unicorns" — in other words, top-performing ideas that make other campaigns look, shall we say, like donkeys.

Ready to start seeing unicorn-quality growth for your business? Here are eight digital marketing tactics with a proven record of success to get you there:


1. Optimize your current unicorns


Unicorns make up the top 3% of marketing efforts and are responsible for 95% of results.

At my first company — PPC management platform, WordStream — we had access to marketing data for millions of customers. Using that data, we were able to see the donkey vs. unicorn divide of digital marketing campaigns. For example, only three out of 129 business Facebook posts that we analyzed at random got 10% or higher engagement rate.




In terms of blog content, we also noticed that 10% of our customers’ posts tend to be responsible for 60% of total traffic.

While it’s impossible to avoid donkeys altogether, it’s equally important to identify unicorns and go all-in on them. If you come across a campaign showing all-star stats, repurpose it, syndicate it, promote it, and do more like it. In other words, analyze, optimize, and repeat.


2. Embrace new, trending platforms for first-mover advantage


Jumping onto emerging channels in their early stages of growth is how I got my first business to an annual growth rate of 75% and bootstrapped my own career as an Inc columnist, top Medium author and international speaker.

Today’s stand-out marketing channel is Facebook Messenger. It’s home to 1.3 billion monthly active users, best-in-class user engagement, and generally low competition. Yet, in spite of all this, fewer than 1% of businesses are equipped to connect with customers there.

The marketing opportunity for SMBs to engage on the platform opened up big time in 2017 with the rise of easy-to-use visual Facebook Messenger marketing campaign creation tools, like my new startup, MobileMonkey.

What you may not know is that Facebook Messenger automation is quite similar to email marketing automation just with higher engagement, interactivity, and click-through rates (CTR). The typical email open rate is around 15% with 2% CTR. Social media posts these days get about one percent organic reach. Open rates in Messenger, on the other hand, can reach up to 80% with 20% CTR.



With a Facebook Messenger automation platform you can:

  • Activate drip campaigns that get higher engagement rates than email.
  • Reduce CPAs with Facebook Messenger ads because prospects go straight into an automated Messenger session.
  • Integrate apps (like your CRM) to seamlessly manage potential customers and customer relationships alike.


3. Maximize your ad budget with advanced audience targeting


I recently stumbled upon an advertising tactic that increases both engagement rates and ad relevance scores.

The “Inverted Unicorn Ad Targeting Strategy” works by pinpointing two vastly different interests to target your social ads against — instead of two very closely related interests. You then use incredibly specialized ad creative to get noticed by your audience. You’ll get more shares, more comments, and a much better cost per ad (CPA) by using this unexpected targeting technique.



Think about it. Are you more likely to notice an ad that’s written for the general public or for you and your specific interests?


4. Use your email copy to entice recipients


If you’re like many businesses, email marketing is a leading source of visitor generation to your website.


(Image Source)


To make your email list work even harder for you, SMBs can try these tactics:


  • Add a visual element to your subject lines with emojis.
  • Use language in your subject line that will pique the recipient’s interest.
  • Optimize body copy for clicks by teasing the information, instead of giving it all away.
  • Include primary and even secondary calls to action in your signature.
  • Converting email contacts into Messenger contacts to engage with them on an even deeper level.


Adding even a few of these tactics will provide you with greater leverage from email.


5. Manage placements in display ads


If you’re running ads on Google’s Display Network, rather than letting the display network choose the sites where your ads run, always opt to choose your own placements. This will help you achieve better quality conversions and avoid wasting your ad budget on fake conversions.



6. Build brand affinity to boost remarketing efforts


If a consumer has any prior affinity or knowledge of your brand, you will likely see 2-3x higher conversion rates. To achieve this, be sure to set up remarketing lists for search ads or RLSAs, a Google Ads feature that lets advertisers remarket to customers or visitors with search ads.

Here’s another little-known marketing power move: promote content outside your niche to expand the pool of people you can eventually remarket to. A native advertising service can help you remarket more effectively because the cookies on your site will have captured a wider audience automatically.



7. Add visual cues to entice opt-ins


To remove the friction of filling out a form, you might approach it as a design issue. A good example of this is the landing page below, which uses a subtle arrow sticking out from the video as a simple design element to prompt users to click the CTA.


(Image Source)


Another classic example is to use pop-up overlays on your site. You can even add a Facebook Messenger opt-in checkbox to your web forms — a simple checkbox on any existing forms you have on your site that give people a low friction way to connect instantly and directly in Messenger. This improves the effectiveness of forms because it both provides you with a contact’s email address and the ability to contact them directly via Facebook Messenger. Basically, two communication avenues for the price of one.


8. Take big risks and fly your unicorn flag


As an SMB, it’s  important to not play it safe. Project the boldest vision you can imagine — and then, when you look back, you’ll likely find that your vision wasn’t as big as what you actually accomplished.

Now that you have a few tricks up your sleeve, there’s no reason why you can’t create high-quality unicorn content from here on out. And once you get that in place, be sure to invest in marketing channels with less competition and higher engagement. Doing this will get your marketing tactics more views, more traffic, better engagement, better reach, and top-tier ROI — the ideal recipe for growing your business.

Looking for more ways to step up your marketing game? Download the SMB Trends Report to learn how marketing, cross-channel strategies, and AI can help grow your business.



Salesforce can help you find customers, win their businesses, and keep them happy so you can grow your business faster than ever. Follow @SalesforceSMB on Twitter to learn more about Salesforce Essentials, the easiest way to get started with CRM.

Larry Kim

Larry Kim is the CEO of MobileMonkey, the World's Best Facebook Messenger Marketing Platform. He's also founder of WordStream, Inc., the leading provider of AdWords, Facebook, and keyword tools used by over a million marketers worldwide. The company employs over three hundred people and manages billions of dollars of ad spend on behalf of tens of thousands of customers. WordStream was acquired by Gannett for $150 million. Larry is ranked the #8 most popular author on Medium. He's a contributor to CNBC and Inc. Magazine. Key interests include: Chatbot Marketing, AdWords, Facebook Ads, Entrepreneurship, and Start-ups. He received Marketer of the Year awards from Search Engine Land, US Search Awards, and PPC Hero.

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