Chapter 9¾:
Mystery Marketing to Engage Your Customer

Chapter 9-3/4: The Hidden Chapter
from the book | page 154

So you want to learn about Mystery Marketing?

Well, as I mentioned in my book, Lobster on a Cheese PlateI wrote a bonus chapter on that very topic! 

But as I also mentioned, it’s a hidden chapter (and this post isn’t exactly “hidden,” now is it?)

So you’re going to have to find it. And all the clues you need have already been provided to you.

Don’t worry; I’ve also provided “an out” if you get stuck (or don’t want to make the effort).

If you need help or are not interested in solving the puzzle on your own, click here for three clues and, ultimately, the answer. 

But before you take the easy way out, you should give it a shot. Seriously, everything you need to find it is right here in front of you. 

So… as Forest Gump would say, “that’s all I have to say about that.” 

I’ll see you on the other side.

Until then, here’s something else to read. (I didn’t want to leave you high-and-dry). It’s an article I found after a quick Google search. It has nothing to do with mystery marketing, but there’s some good info in it. ;-)not 

Why Small Businesses Fail With Facebook Ads

Do you know what Facebook is? You may think it’s a social media platform. But, technically speaking, that’s not how it generates revenue. In reality, Facebook is in the advertising business.

That’s right, Facebook is nothing more than a massive, worldwide advertising platform 9 10 marketers use to generate leads.

And it’s very good at it. Primarily because it’s so incredibly affordable. But many small businesses aren’t seeing the return on their investment that they should.


Below is an article I found on that explains the problem:

Why Small Businesses Fail with Facebook Ads — Social media marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach targeted audiences. However, a recent study shows that a majority of small businesses aren’t seeing a positive return on investment (ROI), specifically from Facebook.

According to a study, 62% of small businesses found their Facebook advertising efforts to be ineffective.

Why most of the small businesses are unable to make ads work for them? This is because there is a string of mistakes that businesses make that leaves their Facebook ad ROI vulnerable.

Ineffective use of Content Marketing

Understanding of content marketing is necessary if you want to succeed, content is the hero of your Facebook ads. If your content is of poor quality, the ROI will fall flat on its face.

To make content marketing work, make sure you create high-quality content and post is regularly.

Lack of strategy leads to set unclear goals

The top reason brands fail to see results from their efforts on Facebook is a lack of strategy. Like any other marketing channel, Facebook is used for a specific purpose. Without any proper strategy or objective, the ads are bound to fail.

To get the most out of Facebook advertising, you need to identify your objectives, outline your content plan and allocate an advertising budget.

Targeting the wrong audience

Despite working hard on Facebook advertising if you won’t target the right audience you would not get the desired conversion. Facebook does provide massive outrage but your target audience should be limited and selective.

Facebook enables you to set the exact preferences of your target audience. You can set the filters down to specific geographic locations, age, gender, and so on. If you are facing difficulty to find out the right target audience, try using Audience Insights feature available on Facebook for business.

Stop cold sale

Facebook is not for cold selling, it is mainly for socializing. You can make friends, have interactions with them and possibly turn them into customers. But if you try straightway to sell, it won’t happen.

For customers, Facebook is a medium to stay connected with a brand and to interact, they don’t expect direct selling.

Some other mistakes:

  • Not investing enough time on Facebook
  • Not investing enough money on Facebook Ad Campaign
  • Paying little attention to optimizing where ads lead
  • Not tracking ads efforts
  • Ignoring the mere-exposure principle


Almost two-thirds of small businesses are unable to get ROI from Facebook Ads. To get a higher ROI, follow the best practices and make Facebook ads work for you.

Facebook is a social media channel, be social and build relationships. Determine the strategy, define your goal, invest more time and money into it if you want results. As long as you invest wisely, targeting the right audiences with the right messages, you will see a positive ROI.

The Big List of 404 Pages to Inspire You

from the book | page 134

As I mentioned in Chapter Twenty-Three, the 404 error page is an opportunity to show off your brand and impress upon your visitors exactly who you are. Here are some 404 pages that do just that. I’ve included a screenshot since there’s a good chance they will eventually change over time.

Obviously I need to start with Marvel. They’ve put their characters front and center on their 404 pages. That’s right, I said pages… as in plural. There are a bunch of versions that are displayed randomly to visitor, which is pretty cool. Even cooler is that every page includes some type of subtle (or not-so-subtle) animation. 

Talk about being on brand! Most people visit to see the brilliant cartoons by Scott Adams. So, doesn’t it make sense that if you take a wrong turn, you should still get a Dilbert cartoon?

Besides entertaining you with a very funny take on the 404 error, Scott has a call to action to buy his latest book. Now that’s making use of an opportunity!

Here’s one of the 404 pages I referenced in the book. The UK-based web hosting company Kualo is so passionate about their core values, it’s in their name. Knowledge. Uptime. Accountability. Love. Originality. Are you seeing any of those core values in their 404 page?

Dogstudio’s brand personality comes through in 1.8 seconds. The moment you arrive at their 404 page you are either “in” or “out.” (Which makes it a prequalifying tool, too.) For those that are “in,” you can’t help explore the site and learn more about who they are. 

Like Marvel, this page is animated and there are a number of different versions that are shown randomly.

Staying with the dog theme for a moment, Amazon has a major “dog culture.” Every day is bring-your-dog-to-work day at their Seattle headquarters. And their 404 page randomly displays the real dogs that “work” at Amazon.

The Jersey girl that built a socially conscious digital empire has a uniquely humorous personality. Her 404 page actually sounds like it’s her speaking, declaring that either she broke something or you can’t type.

She also offers an “entertaining video” that you can watch. If you like outtakes, then you should check it out.

Another page that I call out specifically in the book is the Internet Movie Database. IMDb has totally nailed it. It’s simple and effective, randomly showing a different (spoofed) movie quote every time you visit.

And, as you might have guessed, it’s one of my favorites.


Yes, I listen to NPR when I drive. Well, when I’m not listening to an audio book or podcast that is. (I get my music listening in at the gym, so don’t judge me). So, I was pleased to see that they, too, have embraced the opportunity to engage their audience on the 404 page. 

And they do it with a bit of humor, inviting you to read stories about “other lost people,” (like me).

When I’m not writing books, I’m Vice President of Remodelers Advantage. Which means if anything breaks, the responsibility falls squarely on my shoulders. So our 404 page lets you vote to fire me if you so choose. Of course, I try to talk you out of it first.

(If you’re not familiar with new construction and remodeling, at the end of a project the contractor will have a blue tape walk through with the client. This is the process of putting little pieces of blue tape to mark any ‘issues’ that need attention.)

A follower from “down unda” sent me this one. Like IMDb, the Australian features spoofed quotes. These by Australian politicians. Apparently, they are very similar to actual quotes.

I don’t know any of these people, and it’s still funny as hell.

Sometimes short and sweet is all you need. I don’t think there’s anything more appropriate than throwing a flag on you for ending up on the 404 page. 

It’s even more appropriate (in my opinion) because sometimes it’s “a bad call.” I mean if I click a link on your website and it’s broken, how is that my fault? And yet you’re flagging me? Really ref? REALLY? That’s total B.S.

I love the Deadpool movies. So when I heard that Ryan Reynolds bought a majority stake in Mint Mobile, I had to check out their 404 page. 

I wasn’t disappointed (nor surprised). Mint Mobile’s brand personality has definitely taken on that of it’s owner.

But it works here because “Ryan Reynolds” is an established brand in itself. So, it’s basically a merger of two brands. And as you know, (since you read my book) you can only have one brand personality. 

Medium is an open platform where anyone can write. They proudly proclaim that “thought-leaders, journalists, experts, and individuals with unique perspectives share their thinking here.”

Their 404 page does a great job of reinforcing their message by declaring, “out of nothing, something,” and offering stories about how finding something you didn’t even know you were looking for will take you somewhere new.

Okay, the way I heard about this one is just as creative as the 404 page itself. Rival Digital posted the following on LinkedIn:

We just hit 404 followers here on LinkedIn! In honor of this milestone, we want to know what your favorite 404 page is. Let us know in the comment section! 

What a cool post! And to kick it off, Rival digital’s president, Eric Thomas posted this Wendy’s 404 in the comments.

Wendy’s 404 is great. Like KUALO, they created a playable version of the classic video game “BurgerTime.” Naturally, instead of the chef, you control Wendy herself as you put together a value meal. Lot’s of fun.

Hmm. I wonder if this website has a unique 404 page…

Where to Get Free Images (Without Stealing)

Photo by MARK HESSLING on Unsplash
from the book | page 154

If you know anything about me, then you know the importance I put on content marketing.

I believe it is the lifeblood of an effective online marketing campaign.

I can cite study after study that provide the undeniable benefits of blogging, such as:

  • B2C companies that blog get 88% more leads per month than those that don’t.
  • Leads generated from organic search have a 14.6% close rate, vs. PPC leads at 1.7%
  • Blogs with relevant images receive 94% more views than text only posts

And so on. As you can see from the third statistic, images play an important role in getting your content read. I strongly urge you to use images in your articles.

However, don’t think you can just do a Google image search, grab a pretty pic and post it on your site. That could land you in court if the photographer or graphic designer that created the image finds you.

Think it can’t happen to you? Don’t be so sure. 

In fact, it’s as easy as dragging-and-dropping an image into Google image search to find other sites that are using the same image.

And if you get caught it’s not fun. I know four people that have had to deal with the headaches of take-down notices and copyright infringement penalties.

But don’t fret! There are plenty of places to find images that you ARE ALLOWED TO USE. As long as you stick to sites like these, you’ll be just fine.

You could almost just stop right here at number one. As it says on the home page, it’s “The internet’s source of freely usable images. Powered by creators everywhere.”

According to their license page: “All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible.

More precisely, Unsplash grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Unsplash for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Unsplash. This license does not include the right to compile photos from Unsplash to replicate a similar or competing service.“

The catch: None.

Stunning photography by Ryan McGuire offered completely free. He doesn’t even require attribution, although he does mention that credit is “always appreciated.” His images tend to be surreal and whimsical, which is rare to find in free images.

All images are super big, 240dpi, and he posts new images every week.

The catch: None.

Flickr (pronounced “flicker”) is an image hosting and video hosting website owned by Yahoo. It’s a great way to store your images on the cloud.

However, many Flickr users have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license. If you go to the Creative Commons section of the site, you can browse or search through content under each type of license available.

The catch: There’re a lot of junk images to wade through. (Although there are certainly some gems, too.)

Free for both unlimited commercial and private use, these stock photos and backgrounds have no attribution requirements or royalty fees. Images have no restrictions.

The catch: This site is ad heavy. And there is no search function; you have to browse through the categories. Beware of clicking the “search” boxes, they are actually ads made to look like a search function.

You read that right. The king of images copyright lawsuits now offers over 50 million images for free. But before you get all warm and tingly, there are some restrictions: apparently these images are still not approved for commercial use. Although there’s some debate over what Getty Images considers an actionable commercial use violation.

The (other) catch: You can’t download the images and upload them to your site. The only authorized use is to use an embed code on your site (much like embedding a YouTube video). Which means a) they get the SEO link juice and b) if they take it down, you end up with a broken image on your website.

Touting over 400,000 images in their database, this is one of the larger free image sites available. As with most of these sites, you need to watch where you click. Paid ads made to look like the search results can quickly land you on another domain. Still, the search function makes it relatively easy to find what you’re looking for.

The catch: Image restrictions vary by image. You’ll need to review the “availability” box below the image to see what restrictions apply to the one you’ve selected.

This is Searchable database of public domain images. Most images are CC0, which means you can copy, modify and distribute the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.

The catch: None that I’ve found.


Obviously, this isn’t a comprehensive list. I’m sure there are other sites that offer free images. So, if you have any sites you like to use, please share them in the comments below.

And please remember: I’m not dishing out legal advice here. If you’ve ever met me you know, I’m the farthest thing from a lawyer.

If you want more information about image copyright rules you can check out this post or consult an attorney.

Remember, images are a critical component to your content strategy, and as long as you do it right you will reap the rewards long after the original article has sunk deep into your archives.

Struggling to write copy that evokes emotion? Try this.

If there’s one thing you know about me, it’s that I like movies. And you also know that I can find marketing analogs in virtually any movie I watch: From how Multiplicity perfectly illustrates the need for having a psychographic profile on your target customer to how the six Infinity Stones teach us the power of positioning.

So, it should come as no surprise that I also see a common thread between the film industry as a whole and marketing. 

You see, all movies fall into different genres, such as action, adventure, comedy, drama, suspense, horror, mystery, and more. The genre selected for a story defines how that story is told. It determines everything from the tone, voice, and mood to the style, aesthetics, and pace.

The thing is, any story can be told in any genre. 

Consider the 1993 comedy classic Mrs. Doubtfire starring Robin Williams. It’s a comedy about an eccentric dad who dresses as a British nanny so he can spend more time with his kids after his wife leaves him. 

But this story can also be told as a drama: 

Daniel Hillard is an out-of-work actor whose whole life revolves around his children. His wife Miranda is tired of waiting for him to “grow up” and kicks him out. After losing custody and visitation rights, Daniel must find a way to reconnect with his children against all odds.

Of course, it could also be a horror flick: 

Daniel, a deranged man suffering from multiple personality disorder, is denied custody of his children. His alter ego, Euphegenia Doubtfire, will stop at nothing to get them back, leaving in their wake a trail of fear and destruction.

Does that sound like I’m “reaching”? Well, here’s the trailer for our horror version of Mrs. Doubtfire:

How does this relate to marketing? 

Good question. The unfortunate truth is that most brand stories are told in one genre; the documentary. Not that there’s anything wrong with documentaries. I love them. But if you really want to stand out from the competition and connect with your target, you need to venture into other genres. Comedy, drama, and yes, even horror make for compelling brand stories. 

It may be difficult at first, but I challenge you to stretch the limits. Word choice and tone significantly influence the emotion that your copy can evoke. And we want people to feel emotion when they read what you have to say.

Take your about us page, for example. This is an excellent place to start. I give it a 99% chance that it’s told as a documentary. Reimagine the content as a drama, or adventure, or even a comedy. Take into consideration your brand personality and the interests of your target market before choosing the genre.

Or better yet, try it out in all three. You may be surprised to find which iteration works best.


Still not confident?

I understand. You may need some practice before tackling your own content story. Here’s an exercise to stretch your brain and practice. Like I did with Mrs. Doubtfire, choose a movie and swap its genre. Then write the brief synopsis that you’d find on Netflix.

Bonus #1: I went ahead and made a simple excel-based randomizer for you. You can download it here.

Bonus #2: A fun group activity! If you have a team, break them into groups of two or three and have them each select a different movie and swap the genre. Then have each team present their synopses and see if the other teams can guess the film!

Bonus #3: If you enjoyed the horror trailer for Mrs. Doubtfire, then you’ll enjoy this fun romantic comedy version of The Shining 🙂