10 April Fools Marketing Ideas For Your Business

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Dominos Edible Box April Fools Day 2014

Dominos Edible Box – April Fools Day 2014

Many companies struggle with how to make their somewhat boring business get passed around social media.  Let’s face it, tax preparers are not usually Facebook sensations.

But April 1st is one day that they can be.

Let’s look at some April Fools marketing ideas for your business.  We’ll talk about a few general guidelines and then 10 specific examples and ideas to make your April Fools Day hoax a hit.  If the list below isn’t enough for you, check out Hoaxes.org.  (Yes, there is an entire database of April Fools Day hoaxes.)

General Guidelines

  • Hit Your Market – If you are a local company, consider anchoring your hoax to a local landmark or recent news item.
  • Tie In Your Product Or Service – Name recognition in your market is good and that may be all you get from your hoax, but for added marketing value, tie in your product or service.
  • Get The Right People Involved – If you have an office prankster, enlist that person to generate ideas and get a couple of marketing-minded folks to refine it and make sure everyone agrees that it’s going to be a hit.

10 Ideas For Your Company’s April Fool’s Day Hoax

  1. Un-innovation – Take your industry back a decade or two.  Un-innovation can be quite amusing.  Check out Conan Obrien on the Future of Twitter.
  2. Give People What They Hate – Design-minded folk love to make fun of the Comic Sans font.  Google took that font and ran with it, introducing the “Comic Sans for Everyone” extension in 2011.
  3. Advertise A Ridiculous Job Opening – If you are clever, you can find a way to tie the job opening to a product feature you want to show off.  Check out how Google offered to hire “autocompleters”, again in 2011.
  4. Reinforce Your Company Stereotype – The Virgin group’s high-profile founder Sir Richard Branson is known for making media splashes with crazy stunts.  It was almost believable when the company announced that he had bought Pluto and reinstated it as a planet.  Of course, this also played into Virgin Galactic’s marketing as they continued to commercialize space travel.
  5. Talk Politics – You’ve probably heard that it’s good to steer clear of politics as a company.  April 1st could be an exception.  BMW didn’t align themselves with a party, but did give their customers a chance to do so with a customized tag in 2010.
  6. 1-Up A Competitor’s Hoax – Hotels.com offered rooms on the moon in 2009.  Competitor Expedia.com bettered their competitor by offering rooms on Mars.
  7. Photoshop Phun.  OK, this illustration is not business-related, but you can use your imagination to apply it to your business.  The picture below is my family Christmas picture from last year.  These things can get passed around social media quite a lot.  How about your company president in a dangerous situation, your product morphed into something disgusting, your building with a giant spider crawling up the wall.Roof Sledding
  8. Bring Back A Villain – We wouldn’t advise going too villainous, but a somewhat more harmless villain might work.  NPR announced that Richard Nixon would be entering the presidential race of 1992.
  9. Serve The Lefties – Burger King claimed they were making adjustments to the Whopper to make it more left-hand friendly.  If you are a dentist, why not advertise that you are getting new state-of-the-art dentist chairs for left-handed patients?  Here’s a whole list of fake left-handed products.
  10. Go Big And Small – Take your product or service and make it ridiculously big or small.  Starbucks claimed they were making both tiny and monstrous cup sizes in this April Fools Day prank.  Insurance Company?  Offer to insure car keys.

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Once you come up with the perfect idea, you need to put a plan in place for how to spread the word.  It could be a social media post, email campaign, blog post, or full blown paid media advertisement.

If you pull off a great April Fool’s Day Hoax, let us know how it went in the comments.

Oh, and stop back by on April 1.  There’s a good chance something will be a little off here at ITD Interactive.

Marketing Blog Writing Styles (Infographic)


Marketing Blog Writing Styles Infographic

Marketing Blog Writing Styles: 12 Pros By The Numbers

Were you surprised by any of these results?  Let us know in the comments.

I’ll relay some of my observations, then tell you how I got the numbers below, if you’re feeling nerdy.

Before we go any further, here are links to the bloggers: Seth Godin, Mitch Joel, Chris Brogan, David Meerman Scott, Marcus Sheridan, John Jantsch, Brian Clark, Derek Halpern, Darren Rowse, Rand Fishkin, Spencer Haws, and Pat Flynn.

Want to subscribe to all of these blogs?  Download this file and upload it to Feedly.

Words Per Sentence

This is the most evenly distributed of the data sets.  The takeaway: there is no common or “right” style.  Darren, Rand, and John use longer sentences with more phrases and Seth and Derek keep the thoughts short and digestible.

Words Per Post

One thing jumps out quickly.  Pat Flynn pours a lot of time into his posts (a lot more than he used to, see below).

“Epic Posts” are considered to be 1000 words minimum and the median of 838 is getting pretty close.  Experts like Yoast (WordPress SEO Guru) say you need at least 300 words to rank well on Google.  Only one of the bloggers I analyzed averages under 300 and only three average under twice that (600).

How long is the median 838 words?  This post is exactly 838 words long (because I wrote these seven words here).

The two guys who write the most words per post are very concerned with search traffic.  Spencer and Pat write on SEO topics quite often, so if you are looking to get more traffic, you may want to follow their lead and spend more time on each topic.

Sentences Per Paragraph

This is the statistic that spurred this entire study.  I had been reading a lot of guys who hit the enter key an awful lot.  The result is more white space and the reading seems to go faster.  So I wondered if this was a trend industry-wide and decided to do some calculations.

I did count bullet points as paragraphs, so if the blogger used

  • lots
  • of’
  • bullet
  • points

their sentences per paragraph went down.

This is the most bunched up of the data set, so you may push toward the center on this one yourself.  Most of the top marketing bloggers are breaking up their content — less than two sentences per paragraph on average.

If you are going to read Pat Flynn’s blog, be prepared to scroll.  He’s writing monstrously long posts and his pinkie is sore from hitting the enter key so much.

Words Per Post Change Over 3 Years

I compared five blog posts from the Fall of 2014 to the Fall of 2011.

The median is pretty close to no change at all, but you can see that the guys who are writing more are writing A LOT MORE.  The guys who are writing less per post are writing A LITTLE LESS.

Overall, words per post are trending up at 31%.

Sentences Per Paragraph Change Over 3 Years

My initial guess was that this set would trend negative — guys are hitting the enter key more than they used to.  But I was wrong.  Some are and some aren’t.

A Note On Rand Fishkin

Rand from Moz has changed roles at the company and his blog purpose has changed so significantly that I didn’t think it was worth putting him in the 3 year comparison.  3 years ago he actually wasn’t writing many straight-up blog posts.  He produced a lot of White Board Friday videos, but didn’t often sit down just to write text content.

Why did I include him in the 2014 data?  Besides the fact that Rand is just awesome, it is no-shave November and I couldn’t not have that beard in the infographic!

How I Got The Numbers

Several of the numbers depended on character and word count.  I used Word Count Plugin For Chrome – simply highlight text on a page and you get an instant calculation of the words and characters in the selection.

For sentences per paragraph, I used the find tool in Chrome to highlight periods.  I visually checked for the highlighted periods, question marks, exclamations, elipses, etc.

Did headings count as paragraphs?  Depends.  Some guys used full sentences as headings and some used a couple of words.  If they used full sentences, the headings counted as paragraphs.

Did every blog post count?  Some of the bloggers produce other types of content like videos, podcasts, and interviews.  I only counted normal writing blog posts, not text that accompanied videos and podcasts.  I did not count interviews because the interviewee was the one doing the writing/talking and not the blog author.

If you want to see the raw numbers, check out the spreadsheet.

What Surprised You?

Let us know in the comments.

One more thing that surprised me: the z and the y are switched on this stock image of an old typewriter.  What’s up with that?



Going Where Businesses Don’t Want To Go And BUYERS Do: Cost

SearchHere’s a little secret. The price of your product or service is probably already out there.

It’s a fact with which few in the business, and especially sales, world are not comfortable. For most of us, we set a price on our product or service that is indicative of the value we bring to the lives of those who will purchase it.

We can make their lives easier, better, more enjoyable, etc. And we put a price on our widget/service that matches that confidence.

But apprehension talks to us. It whispers in our ear.

“If you throw your price out there, you’ll lose business. You’ll scare people away who might become customers. Your leads will dry up.”

But leads don’t pay your bills, clients do. And the time you spent on unqualified leads could have been time spent taking care of existing customers, or nurturing qualified leads, or building content that draws in qualified leads. (more…)

A Simple 5-Minute SEO Checklist for your Blog

seo checklistWant to know the secret to dominating search engines for your targeted keywords?  You might be surprised to know that the secret isn’t in how much money you pay your SEO firm – the secret is in the QUANTITY of high-quality content on your website, that is optimized around your target keywords.  It’s true!  Instead of spending thousands of dollars and living in constant fear of the next Google upgrade, build search traffic the RIGHT way. (more…)

MythBuster: Growing Search Engine Traffic Takes Time

As you know, growing organic search engine traffic takes time. Or does it?

We launched a new site for an Inbound Marketing client last month. Here is an 8-day snapshot of the client’s organic search traffic. Keep in mind this is not branded traffic based on the client’s name. This is a brand new site no-one had ever heard of.
Event Blogging (more…)

How To Build Links And Influence People

How To Win FriendsAre you looking to get some momentum with web traffic?  Trying to figure out how to build links and bring in more customers?  This post is for you.

I’ve been listening to that lavishly written classic on human relations “How To Win Friends And Influence People” while jogging lately.  What a powerful book.  This is probably my fourth time through the audio version.  It will not be my last.

It got me thinking about how building web traffic (link building, SEO, social media) is basically winning friends and influencing people online.  So it makes sense that we can take what Dale Carnegie said back in the 30s and tweak and update it some to implement his techniques on the web.

There is a great deal to be learned here for content and inbound marketers.  The outline below is verbatim from Dale’s book with his statements in bold and my comments following each.  Some of the points deal with winning friends (and getting links), while others deal with influencing people (converting visitors into customers).  Parts 1 through 3 of the book relate to content marketing, while Part 4 is about leadership which doesn’t apply here.  These comments are through Part 3 only.

How To Build Links And Influence People

Part One

Fundamental Techniques In Handling People

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.  In all online interactions, keep on the sunny side. This is especially true with the use of sarcasm, which never plays well in text form.  Stay light years away from negativity, whining, and sarcasm. (more…)