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17 February 2016

6 lessons I learned from the best digital entrepreneurs in the world

There is a group of digital entrepreneurs earning millions of dollars by making efficient use of modern digital marketing strategies. I learned lots from them and you could, too.

In 2014 I came across an expensive digital marketing forum. I decided to pay the monthly fee (if it’s expensive it must be good, right?) and what I saw there changed my view of digital marketing forever.

At this forum it’s not the norm to talk about Google updates, some hot marketing trend or a cool new start-up. Instead, there are threads describing in detail how successful digital advertisers are setting up campaigns, optimizing them and scaling them (often from very local to worldwide).

I decided to keep paying the monthly fee so that I could get in touch with them and ask an endless stream of questions. What follows reflects the trends that kept coming back in their answers.

  1. 1. "Marketing technology is an integral part for differentiation"
  2. Marketing technologies, such as analytics, competitor intelligence, servers, marketing automation, etc. They have set it up, and then commit themselves to using it to the maximum. They understand that technology can create a serious competitive advantage. I’ve seen them ranting on forever about a 0.3 sec gain in loading times for mobiles. And with good reason!

  3. conversion_rate.png
  4. The graph illustrates the change in mobile conversion rate compared with the loading time. (A big thank you to Tammy Everts from for letting me use this well-researched image). A 0.3 second difference in loading time makes, on average, a 15% difference in conversion rates on mobile!

  5. Tip: Never use a shared hosting server for your (mobile) website, because it will reduce loading speed. There are great hosting companies, such as, which offer dedicated hosting for a very reasonable price. Interested?I managed to get a coupon code for their starter VPS packet (use “TheHouseOfMarketing” and get 50% discount the first 6 months)*.

  6. *I am not affiliated in any way, but I use Beyondhosting myself and I know some major online advertisers who also do so.

    2. "Focused hard work is the key to competitive advantage"
  1. You know that feeling of going from one project to another without ever really finishing? Most of the guys (and girls) I met at the forum are experts in very specific markets. Within the markets they select, they discovered the best traffic sources, offers, ads and landing pages. This market expertise gives them a serious leverage compared with newcomers.

  2. Tip: A great way to increase your market knowledge quickly is to spy on the ads that competitors are running. The single best tool for this is And guess what? I managed to get a 50% discount code for the first month, just use “thom50” while ordering. (Again, I am not affiliated, just pleased to promote this company).

  1. 3. "Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving"
  2. I am always amazed at how difficult it is to set up A/B testing in some companies when it can make such a big difference. The marketers at the forum have an optimized testing plan for every new campaign. This includes testing as an important part of the campaign process.

  3. And they test more than just the landing page: they test traffic sources and placements, combined with media types, landing pages and offers. I have seen campaigns go from -60% ROI to a +200% ROI, thanks solely to having an optimized testing process in place

  4. .David_Ogilvy.jpg

  1. Tip: Few people know that Google Analytics has an “experiments” tab that allows the user to set up and analyse an A/B test with ease. Another great option is to look at (no discount this time, but they offer a great starter package, free of charge)

    4. Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.
  2. With all technology in place they are able to focus on what is important: customers. They look at previous test results, customer journeys, research, demographics and other data to design an engaging story focused on providing value for their target audience.

  3. Tip: Knowing your customer is important. But understanding what makes people go into buy-mode is incredibly useful for crafting ads and landing pages, I would recommend this book 100 times over to anyone interested in how to improve customer communication:


  1. 5. "Team up!"
  2. These marketers understand the saying: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

  3. They bring together small groups of like-minded marketers to share and discuss results, problems and provide solutions. They also often team up to launch a campaign and last, but not least, they get together just to have fun on a frequent basis.

  4. Tip: I love There are lots of great marketing meet-ups and it is a great way to get to know other like-minded marketers in your area.

  1. 6. "What they are doing now, will become mainstream only in few years"
  2. Video ads, marketing automation, pay-per-call, hyper-targeted mobile ads, pre-landers, self-learning bots to optimize campaigns, etc. – they not only use them, they perfected them before 90% of other companies had ever heard of them. Using new possibilities before the mainstream can be a very cost-effective way of communicating with your target audience.

  3. Adapting new technology used to be a costly scenario; but with the recent API mindset, a new technology can often be implemented quickly, cheaply and with high quality.

  4. APIS.png

Tip: Have a look at this post from to see how other companies combine different technologies called “technology stacks” to set up a very advanced digital marketing technology framework at low cost:

Take action!

There is a great opportunity to include these practices in various markets and increase the level of marketing and fun for all those of us who are willing to go the extra mile and take modern marketing seriously.


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