The Great Online Marketing Scavenger Hunt 2014 Winners

Gold cup with crest and laurelIt has been an extremely exciting 3 weeks while the Great Online Marketing Scavenger Hunt has been running. Hundreds of participants led by a crew of exceptionally keen high-scorers have, combined, completed thousands of activities to expand their reach and ability online.

It’s been a great game.

From getting their first guest posts to making new friends and new professional connections, learning new skills, trying new technologies and getting new ideas – I’m pretty confident that everyone who has participated has seen some benefit from having done so.

There have been hundreds of Tweets with the #FPMScavHunt hashtag, dozens of great comments on the blog, a couple of pins and more creativity and cleverness than I know what do do with.

Of course, no games are without their ups and downs. And while we had far more ups than we had downs this time around, I know I learned a good lesson about how to arrange and give credit for bonus points! Next year – a tie-breaker scenario will be planned for WELL in advance. ;-)

Overall though – the technology worked and the new self-scoring worked MUCH better than the peer monitoring of last year. I think next year’s hunt will be even better. [Read more...]

CEI 027: Online Scavenger Hunts With Megan Dougherty

PodcastImage027Today’s show features our very own Megan Dougherty, discussing her project at Firepole Marketing – online scavenger hunts!

What is an online scavenger hunt and why is it useful?

Today’s episode with our very own Megan Dougherty will take you behind the scenes of our own Online Marketing Scavenger Hunt – what it is, why we do it, and why it’s been so valuable to so many people!

For us at Firepole, the online scavenger hunt challenges people to develop their skills in online marketing. Some things we’ve built challenges around have been: researching new blogs in your niche, looking for guest posts, practicing different styles of writing for blog posts or titles, trying new social media platforms, etc.

Listen up to hear how to become a part of an online scavenger hunt, what you and your business can get out of it, and how to use gamification in your own online business!

Click here to download the transcript.

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The Great Online Marketing Scavenger Hunt: Extended for Another 6 Weeks!

winnerThe last five weeks have been so much fun, I just can’t imagine stopping.

So we’ve decided to double the length of the hunt and release a brand new list of challenges – bigger and better than ever. We’re going to be taking things a few steps further, and will be upping the ante on the prizes in a BIG way.

All winners will now be offered an all-expenses paid trip to Montreal for a month to join the Firepole Marketing Team for daily breakfast meetings. (Breakfast not included.)

Of course, this means that there’s going to be a little more work and cost on our part, so we have to add a few extra mandatory challenges to the list.

Don’t worry – it’s nothing big:

  • Everyone currently playing is now contractually obliged to continue, and to pay a registration fee of $127.85.
  • All players must legally change their names to Biz Nuss.
  • Switch all of the text on your website to Comic Sans.
  • Make us a cake. Mail it to the FPM Office. (NB: Danny doesn’t like chocolate…)

Not too big a deal, right?

Read on for the rest of the new challenges…

[Read more...]

How the Firepole Marketing Scavenger Hunt Reveals Different Marketing Styles

marketing-stylesAre you playing in the Great Online Scavenger Hunt, or are you just watching the game from the sidelines?

Either way, it’s a lot of fun!

But scavenger hunts aren’t merely a fun way to spend your time – they’re an opportunity to grow as a person and as a business. For example, scavenger hunts give you a chance to:

  •  Try something you normally wouldn’t
  • Connect with like-minded people (and cool people with different opinions, too)
  • Win a nifty prize, whether it’s cash or fame or a GIF of a trophy with your name on it

AND…

  •  Learn how your strategic marketing style affects your business success

Gamification is popular because it works with human nature – we all love to count our achievements, show off the spoils of our good deeds, and (eek!) compare ourselves to others.

You might not realise it, but the way you handle a multi-task challenge like this speaks volumes about you. Your personality tends to show through in the way you run your business and the way you handle your marketing, too, just like it does in a game.

Take a look at these common ways people approach a scavenger hunt, and let me know if you recognize yourself. [Read more...]

Tips for Creative Writing – Even When You’re Not Feeling Inspired

innovation-73327_640Let’s be honest for a moment.

When you blog – you spend a lot of time writing.

And most of the time – it’s great! It goes well.

If you do it enough to have a readership – where people listen to you and respond to what you say – then you’ve got something going on, no question.

Once you’ve established yourself as a good writer in this way, it can be kind of easy to just sit back on your laurels a little bit, and assume that the ideas and quality will flow from you quite naturally.

Sometimes they do, and sometimes they really, really don’t.

But you almost always need to be producing anyway, whether it’s for your own blog, or a guest post for someone else’s; deadlines must be met, and promises must be kept.

When it doesn’t work, it feels pretty terrible – like you’re bad at what you do – and if you’re so awful at blogging, how can you be good at anything and that feeling just makes it harder to write because your confidence is shot and on and on and on.

We need to nip these feelings in the bud, and so today I’d like to talk about some tips for creative writing, researching and idea generation so you can get back to work even when you don’t feel like it, and how to get over the little times when nothing seems to be working. [Read more...]

How to Start Marketing Online – Even if Time and Money are Short

juggling-entrepreneurSuccessfully marketing your business online is inherently challenging.

Building up an audience of dedicated followers, increasing your online visibility and even finding your “voice” can take up a considerable amount of time, money, and effort. It may involve a lot of tweaking and testing and trying things out till you land on the formula that will work for you and your business.

But, when the majority of your business is conducted off-line, there are additional challenges that can make the path to success even steeper – and that’s not something most online marketers talk about too often.

A business conducted both on and offline is desirable to have – but making the transition in a way that is both cost- and energy-effective can be one heck of a challenge.

So I’d like to talk today about how to start marketing to an online audience for your off-line business without having to invest one or more of your limbs and a month of Sundays to do it.

[Read more...]

Social Media Strategies to Help you Master Your Online Engagement

social_media_2We spend a lot of time on Firepole Marketing telling you how important it is to find your absolutely perfect ideal customer, and build a relationship with them.

It’s a pretty smart way to get your business going.

Finding them can be challenging – but it’s almost always worthwhile.

Social networking is one of the ways we do it, and almost everyone has at least one of the “biggies”: a Facebook account, a Twitter account, A LinkedIn profile – you know the ones – the sites you think of when you think “social media.”

They’re so big and so prevalent that maintaining a presence on them is almost a hygiene issue, that is to say, something you have to do just to be “as good as all the other options.” Having a Facebook page won’t make you special – but not having one might cause a raised eyebrow. You know what I mean.

That’s the problem with the biggest social networking sites: participating is just the price of admission, and they’re so widespread that they hardly matter in terms of differentiation or finding the people you really want to be working with.

Happily, there are other options.

If you’ve ever been sick of the major players in the social media industry, this post is for you. Let’s look at our alternatives and some new ways to use the bigger social networking sites.

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Relationship Marketing Strategies OTHER than Guest Posting

relationship-marketing-strategiesNow, if you’ve spent any amount of time reading Firepole Marketing, you’ll know that we take guest posting pretty seriously.

So seriously that Danny built a name for himself (and, well, this entire business) by becoming an expert in it.

We talk about it a lot, provide a lot of information about how it works and even have a whole program that many of you have taken; dedicated to helping you experience some of the success that we’ve seen from it.

Guest posting is important. It works. And you should do it.

But it’s just one of many relationship marketing strategies you can use to network online.

There are other ways – other valuable and useful ways that you can use to reach out and build relationships with your customers, your community and get more traffic to boot…

[Read more...]

Let the Great Online Scavenger Hunt Begin!

online-scavenger-hunt(The Scavenger Hunt is over – but you can check out the results right here! - This post still has the list and rules, so if you’re interested in how the whole thing worked – read on!)

Come one, come all – because the Great Online Scavenger Hunt is about to begin!

I know you want to get going right now – but you must bear with me for a few moments at least – because I’m going to tell you how it’s all going to work, what you could win, and who the wonderful people who are making it all possible are.

But first, a little reminder: what’s going on here?

This will be a five week event with over 100 challenges to complete for points, skills and glory. We’ll be taking you through the paces of networking and guest posting, mastering the social web, multi-media, writing, researching and maybe even stepping away from the computer and into the real world once in a while.

If you start and stick it through, by the end of the hunt – even if you don’t win a prize – you will have expanded your reach online, made new connections, deepened existing relationships, learned new skills and generally levelled up your business.

Does that sound okay?

Good, let’s get going! [Read more...]

Using Gamification and Play to Create a Tsunami of Traffic, Excitement, and Buzz!

gamificationWhen is the last time you played a game?

You know what I mean – an activity with others where there were rules to follow and specific criteria for victory.

Has it been a while?

If it has – let me extend to you my consolation – playing games is fun.

We’re all so busy these days, with work and business and family obligations that never seem to leave you with enough time to just let loose and enjoy.

Since things aren’t likely to get less busy, the solution isn’t to mournfully accept your game-less fate, but to bring more play into your working life – and see some improvements in traffic hits and engagement to boot.

Yes, this is possible, AND fun.

Just imagine the thrill of a challenge, the sweet taste of victory, the pride in bragging about your accomplishments.

Not only can you have this kind of fun for yourself but you can help your readers enjoy it too. Let’s talk about how… [Read more...]

Audience Research really CAN be fun! Innovative Ways to Learn What Your Audience Wants (and Will Buy!)

audience researchThe idea that you need to have an engaged audience isn’t anything new at this point.

We know. We get it.

We’re doing it, already!

We know that people buy things from people they like, and the key to getting blog visitors to liking you is engaging with them until you’re not just a name on a screen – but a real person.

Once you do this you can look forward to unlimited business success because now that your readers are engaged, you know exactly what they want!

Wait a second - I think we missed a step there.

All the engagement in the world isn’t going to do you a lick of good unless you can leverage that into information about what your audience wants and needs from you.

And that’s not quite as easy as replying to your blog comments… [Read more...]

How Racing My Cats Got Me Thinking About Online Marketing

racing_catsAs you probably already know, Danny, Robyn, Amanda and I have spent the last week relaxing, recharging and planning for the coming months away up in the great white north outside of Montreal.

It was a heck of a week, and I think I can speak for all of us when I say: we’re glad to be back.

It wasn’t all fun and naps, of course – we spent a lot of time talking about the wonderful experience we had launching the Audience Business Masterclass, running the Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest AND some of the exciting plans we have for the future.

I’m in the happy position today, of being able to tell you a little bit about something we’re planning.

But first – I’d like to tell you about one of my favorite Montreal events.

In November of 2012 and of 2011, I, intentionally and with enthusiasm aforethought, made a rampant fool of myself. I ran around the city (sometimes in costume!) making videos, snapping photos and writing bizarre little pastiches. My spouse ate a jar of mayonnaise. For real.

I was participating, with a double handful of friends, in the absolutely epic Impossible Montreal. What else but the thrill of competition could make otherwise sensible adults dress up like pirates and ride the metro for hours? To re-enact internet memes? To invent web-slingers? And yes – try to race cats.

I can tell you – it worked – we did – or at least attempted all of those things and more; meeting people, getting creative and generally having a really, really good time. (In case you were wondering my team won in 2011 and came in third in 2012.)

So what does all of this have to do with you? [Read more...]