Gary V, Jay Baer, and 500 Startups all missed this email marketing opportunity

My life is overtaken with email marketing. I even built a startup that runs primarily on email. Over the past 12 months I’ve written, designed, and pressed “SEND” on well over 1 million emails. I also happen to read A LOT of email newsletters, which means I go through the sign up process multiple times a week. I present you these numbers not to share the sadness that is my life, but to back up the claim I’m about to make: such marketing luminaries as Gary Vaynerchuk, Jay Baer, Ann Handley, and 500 Distro (among others) have completely overlooked a huge opportunity to make an impression on their audience through email marketing. Here’s where they dropped the ball….

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Is Everything We Know About Startup Marketing About To Change?

At the celebratory cocktail party immediately following our end-of-cohort demo night for the accelerator BoomboxFM completed last summer, I found myself chatting with Henry Copeland, the founder of Blogads, amongst other ventures. We had spoken a few times throughout my time in Durham and he always pushed us to think a little differently about varying aspects of our business, particularly how we approach startup marketing. On this night, mere minutes after we razzled and dazzled the crowd with our impressive (or so I thought) growth engine that was acquiring 2,000+ new users every single week, Henry posed a question that quite frankly scared the ever loving shit out of me: “What would happen if you turned off all marketing for the next 6 months?”

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Content Marketing Strategy: Steal This Model

Confession time: I used to suck at content marketing. Don’t get me wrong, I was good at writing blog posts, even finding pretty interesting topics to cover and having my own take on them. But that’s kinda where it ended. Write what I think is cool stuff, create some level of value for my audience, then blast the link on Twitter, LinkedIn, and my email list. It wasn’t good enough back then, and it’s definitely not going to cut it today. A while back I committed myself to improving my game, and that culminated in a new content marketing strategy that was easy to model, easy to execute, and easy to measure. Here are the basics of my set-up. Yours might, and probably should, differ based on what it is your ultimate goal for creating content is. But this is a good start.

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Selling a solution when there is no problem

What do you think ranks as the most under-publicized mistake most marketers and sales people make? From my purview, it’s assuming I give a shit about your product, service, or pitch. But this goes deeper than the general public’s aversion to ads or distrust of traditional sales tactics. There exists a fatal flaw in many marketing strategies out there, and it’s hamstringing your results.

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10 MORE KILLER STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP EXAMPLES v.5

[Previous Versions: One, Two, Three, Four]

What better way to cap off the year than some partnership examples? Here’s ten fresh ones involving both startups and big brands. I’m always happy to see the convergence of offline and online products and services. Several examples in this deck include some sort of digital-meets-live scenario, such as the Headspace meditation app as part of the the programming during Virgin Atlantic flights.

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What Defines A Media Co.? Here’s A Formula To Help.

People don’t always immediately “get” what BoomboxFM is from a business standpoint. An email newsletter? An indie blog? A music discovery service? Well, yes. But the long-tail can be summed up by labeling us a media company (or “platform” if you like). We serve an audience specific types of content and hang our hats on affinity and engagement. Okay, great. But in today’s environment of multi-channel networks, blog companies, ecomm lifestyle sites, themed video creators, and even gender-specific curated daily emails, what exactly makes a media company what it is? That’s what I set out to answer by breaking it all down to a relatively simple formula.

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5 Practices All DIY Musicians Should Borrow From These Startup Founders

[This was originally written for and published on SonicBids]

You’ve all heard of startups, right? They’re kind of everywhere right now; from Uber to PledgeMusic to Dropbox to Audiokite, startups touch our lives in innumerable ways. It’s not exactly a stretch to make heavy comparisons between startups and musicians, both standing at the foot of a similar mountain – creating something from nothing, trying to get people to care about what you’re doing, and fighting to survive another day… every day. We think that’s a valuable connection to make and enlisted some industry friends to help share five practices you should borrow from the way startups do things today.

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The Centerpiece Conundrum

How do most decisions get made? Seriously, I’m asking because I don’t actually know the answer. Particularly when designing something primarily for the use or benefit of others. Like a website, or a bicycle, or a party. You have to deal with dozens of micro choices that have a much greater effect on the entirety of an experience than their individual parts. Like the always-crucial dining table centerpieces at weddings. The bigger, the bolder, the better, right?

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