13 Must Have Google Chrome Extensions That Will Improve Your Marketing (for Entrepreneurs only) 2018





Have you ever heard the phrase “a craftsman is only as good as his tools?” No matter what your opinion is on the actual validity of that phrase, there’s no denying that we require tools to do our work. Whether that’s powerful analytical capabilities or simple methods that optimize your time, your tools (Google Chrome Extensions) often make or break your ability to be a good marketer. Which is why I love to share online tools that help businesses achieve their goals. And every now and then, new tools come to my attention that I think are worthy of being shared. This is one such moment. I want to share some of the best extensions that you can add to your Chrome Web Browser.

These tools will help you focus, find new customers, and make informed decisions about your marketing strategies.

All of them have served me well at various times, and I think you’ll like them too.

But first, I want to make a case for why you should be using Google Chrome in the first place.

The case for Chrome

I know that there are plenty of browsers out there.

Just to name a few: Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.

Whichever one you use, I highly recommend you take a closer look at Google Chrome.

Why? Because it’s considered by many to be the best browser available, and with good reason.

Like most other browsers, it is free to use.

But it’s also strikingly fast, integrates with any smartphone, carries your email, analytics, and so much more in one place.

And more importantly for our purposes, it allows you to download as many extensions as are useful to you.

Don’t just take my word for it though.

Studies have shown that it’s by far the most widely-used browser available.

chrome use

Going with the crowd isn’t always the best idea, but a 43% gap in usage should at least turn your head in this case.

At the very least, I recommend trying it out.

But let’s talk more about extensions. That’s what we’re here for after all.

Extensions are simple tools that are designed to increase the functionality of your browser while you use it.

For example, the popular extension HTTPS Everywhere changes unsecured HTTP sites into encrypted HTTPS sites automatically when it’s installed.

That means your browsing and information will be more secure without you even having to think about it.

And extensions are incredibly easy to install too.

All you have to do is go to Chrome Web Store and find the extension you want.

store

There are thousands to choose from and each one promises a unique and helpful experience.

Of course, how many you use is completely up to you.

Once you find the right extension, all you have to do is click on it, and add it to your Chrome browser.

add extension

All in all, the process is mind-bogglingly simple, which is one of the reasons why I love Chrome so much.

And don’t worry about test driving an extension you might not like because it’s also easy to remove them from your browser.

Just left-click the icon for the extension, and select “Remove from Chrome.”

remove

So all things considered, you have nothing to lose when trying out these tools I’m about to share.

And I think you can find one that can help you be a better marketer.

To start you off, I want to give you a tool that can help you be a better writer in every facet of your life.

Tool #1: Grammarly

Grammarly is a tool that’s designed to help you edit and improve your writing without the added homework you may have had in high school.

This tool automatically checks every aspect of your writing, including grammar, spelling, and other common issues.

Their normal platform requires you to either write or copy/paste your words into their own editor.

Then, you’re given advice on elements you can change.

But the extension for Chrome acts as a longer arm, reaching into some of the sites you use on a daily basis and giving you advice instantly inside your email or blog post as you write it.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how their extension works:

Wouldn’t you want an extra pair of eyes on that very important email you’re about to send to a client?

It’s a no-brainer, really. If you can mitigate errors that might impact your reputation, you absolutely need to look into Grammarly.

So the value here is pretty clear, but what about the functionality?

When I downloaded their extension, I decided to test it out in Gmail.

gramarly

Just like their advertising promised, my purposefully-placed error created a red notification that warned me not to hit send.

To make sure that nothing else was wrong, I also noticed that you can expand the tool inside of whatever page you’re using.

When I did that, I noticed Grammarly had flagged another part of my sentence.

gramarly 2

The added flag was for an “unclear antecedent,” which means my audience might not know what the word “this” is referencing.

They also provided a quick correction for my blatant misspelling.

I was able to correct both of these errors quickly and then my example “email” was ready to send.

And while this took me a few extra seconds, I like the fact that I can send messages or social posts that are verifiably error-free.

The applications for this tool are limitless for marketers, so go check it out.

Tool #2: Hashtest

I’ve said before that you don’t always need to use hashtags.

However, there are still times when a hashtag is necessary.

On Instagram, hashtags help users see more photos they might be interested in.

So in the instances when you do need hashtags, I recommend making sure that the ones you use are going to provide value.

That’s where Hashtest comes in.

This tool will automatically test the quality of the hashtags you’re considering in real-time.

So when you’re about to create and share a post, this is a great tool to help you see which hashtags are performing best.

hashtest

Since it sits conveniently in the upper corner of your screen, it’s simple to use.

It even lets you copy your best results to your clipboard, which means the entire process should take only a few sections.

I also really like how they color code your results, like in this example:

hash

Clearly, in this case, the #marketing option is better according to their scale.

So while you might not use this tool frequently, it’s still a good one to have around when you need it.

Tool #3: LinkedIn Sales Navigator 

LinkedIn is a great way to boost sales for B2B players.

And finding a way to expand the usefulness of LinkedIn only makes it that much better.

That’s why the LinkedIn Sales Navigator extension made the cut.

What it does is provide a detailed info bank for your Gmail contacts.

While that doesn’t sound like much, it actually makes it easier for you to keep messages relevant without having to dig back into your inbox filled with five thousand emails.

All of the information you need is given to you in the sidebar of your Gmail account, much like this:

lisn lite

This profile gives a name, company, and even links to social media.

And even more usefully, you’ll find a short list of icebreakers, like connections you share on LinkedIn or any mutual groups you might be involved in.

This information can help you cater your message to your target and heighten your chances of starting a valuable conversation.

What’s more, this is just the lite version of the extension.

Upgrading to the premium service offers more custom features like networking and lead saving directly to your Gmail.

li sn premium

So if you use LinkedIn Sales Navigator, I highly recommend checking this tool out.

At the very least, you’ll be able to keep your messages on target and stimulate some good conversation.

And if you really like the functionality, you can get more by upgrading.

At the end of the day, you’ll be a better marketer and a stronger asset to your team.

Tool #4: SEMRush

SEMRush is a helpful tool for all marketers to take a look at.

The entire platform is designed to give you a quick breakdown of your site’s search traffic and performance on Google.

Here’s an example of some of the information they have to offer:

semrush

You can see organic search, paid search, backlinks, and tons of other helpful information about your site.

And the extensions only add extra functionality to this already useful tool.

In fact, you actually get a two-for-one deal here.

Because there are two extensions you can use to get quick info on your site or a competitor’s.

The first is called SEMRush Page Rank, and it’s pretty simple.

semrush 1

It’s just one little button at the top of your screen.

But the real value is in the number it displays.

That number, which looks like a normal notification, is actually telling you how high the page is ranked according to SEMRush’s algorithms.

Which means instead of opening SEMRush, typing in the URL, and then finding that info on your own, you get a quick readout of the authority and status of the page.

It saves you time and gives you helpful information at a glance.

But just like I promised, that’s not all for SEMRush.

You can also use the Open in SEMRush tool to quickly bring up a full rundown of the page you’re on.

unnamed

So once again, SEMRush is saving you from having to open their application and type in a specific URL manually.

You’ll get all the data you need in seconds, which keeps you organized and on track.

If you use SEMRush, take a crack at these extensions. You’ll wonder how you ever went without.

Tool #5: Boomerang

Not to be confused with the popular video looping app, Boomerang is an extension that helps you manage the flow of your emails.

To be precise, it helps you time your emails so that your audience is most likely to see and respond to you in the way that you want.

Here’s a look at all of the cool things it can do:

Overall, I think there’s a lot of functionality in this app that makes it worth everyone’s consideration.

For example, I really love the ability to schedule my emails.

image3

Since marketers have been sending emails, they’ve also been trying to find the best time to send them.

But without the ability to schedule an email, sending emails at the right time has often proved difficult.

Say for example you want to be at the top of someone’s inbox on Monday.

Normally you’d have to wake up at 5 AM to make sure that your email was written and sent at just the right time.

But with Boomerang, you can hit snooze on your alarm with the knowledge that your email will be sent on time.

And that’s just a simple application of that feature.

How you use it is up to your needs and imagination.

But there’s one other function of Boomerang that stands out to me: the ability to see how easy it is to respond to your email.

image22

This is a really innovative idea for anyone who sends a lot of emails because it’s directly tied to your profitability.

If you’re constantly sending emails that are hard to read and respond to, you aren’t going to see very good results.

But with Boomerang checking your messages, you can improve the likelihood that you’ll actually receive a reply.

And again, the best part is that this process is completely passive. The extension does all the work for you.

Tool #6: Oktopost

For the social media geeks of the world, I want to introduce you to Oktopost.

While it specifically focuses on B2B social media management, the applications are really available to anyone using a social media account for business.

And the extension only adds to the value of what Oktopost has to offer because it allows you to share articles and posts directly from your browser.

The result is that you have a custom-made tool for curation efforts and keeping your social posts relevant.

And it’s very easy to use. All you have to do is click on the extension’s tab when you’re on the page you want to share:

oktopost

You’ll see a drop-down menu that gives you a brief preview of how your post will look when you share it.

From there, you just have to type in your caption and then post.

No more clicking through tabs trying to keep everything straight.

Easy peasy.

Tool #7: BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is another one of those tools that every marketer should know and love.

The site itself gives you a detailed breakdown of how pieces of content perform for a specific topic or industry.

And the extension allows you to do the exact same thing with just a few clicks.

buzzsumo

As you can see in the image above, by using BuzzSumo’s extension you can get information on any page you visit.

Say you’re checking out a blog post your competitor just shared.

If you’re using this tool, all you have to do is open the extension and see what it has to say.

You’ll get a readout of social media engagement, unique pageviews, and other items like shares or backlinks.

This helps you target your content strategy in real-time and without hassle.

So if you’re looking for a quick way to get an edge, this is the Chrome extension for you.

Tool #8: LinkClump

If you’re like me, then you probably do a lot of research on topics every day.

And a lot of research means a lot of open tabs, which can be a blessing or a curse.

In the case of LinkClump, it’s definitely a blessing.

Because it quickly opens tons of links when you’re trying to do a little research.

Which means less clicking back and forth between pages or tabs, and more reading your content.

It’s pretty easy to use, too. All you have to do is install it, hold z, and then click and drag.

linkclump

As you can see, the tool will highlight all of the pages you select.

Then when you release your mouse button, all of the pages will be opened in their sequential order.

All you have to do now is start browsing through each of them to see what you can find.

It’s a simple hack, but finding a way to save time while researching is always a good thing.

Tool #9: Liner

Not to keep harping on this, but I love research.

And if you do as much research for your content as you should, it can start to get overwhelming without a way to organize and quickly recall relevant information.

Thankfully, Liner exists to let you quickly highlight from blog posts or web pages when researching.

That way, you can read and highlight the content you like, then quickly rework what you find to be even better than when you found it.

Here’s how it works:

Since it tracks your highlights so easily and keeps a running catalog, it’s easier than ever not to get lost in the clutter.

To activate highlighter mode, just press the “`~” button and then go to town.

in use

Hopefully, this will help you stay on task and keep your content sources well organized.

At the very least, it’s always good to have a visual reminder of tips or tricks that stood out to you.

Tool #10: Save to Pocket

Do you ever have times when you’re reading through a perfect piece but you don’t really have a reason to share it?

I know I do.

When that happens, I like to use the Save to Pocket extension.

This allows you to quickly save articles you want to come back to and reference in a later project.

Or if you’re a social media manager, you can save something to curate at a later time.

And as this video illustrates, you can save any page for any reason you like.

Don’t worry about getting too unorganized either, because the extension allows you save by category.

So if you use the extension both personally and professionally, you won’t have to wade through scores of saved links to find what you’re looking for.

That way, you can never get lost.

And you can also see other recommended articles based on the topic you’ve saved:

save to pocket

That not only makes this a good organizing tool but also a decent research tool when you’re in a pinch.

However you use it, Save to Pocket is a great way to keep useful pieces on the backburner.

Tool #11: Push by Zapier

The Push by Zapier extension is one of the extensions that I like to recommend to marketers who use a lot of tools for the projects they’re running.

It’s just that good.

It’s a workflow tool that lets you integrate a bunch of apps you use on a normal basis.

3bf7b718a06ed1055ffd22d82e400895

But when you start to use it, you’ll find that it’s so much more than that.

The reason I say that is because it allows you to set up a “push” for just about any task.

For example, if you use the Pomodoro technique of high-intensity work interspersed with short breaks, you can set up Push to help you keep your regimen.

You can also use the extension to integrate all of your tools and have them work together.

Say you want to create a regular post on your company’s Slack chat.

All you have to do is set up a push, and you’re able to use the extension to create your post even if you’re not currently in Slack.

And Push by Zapier will save every push you ever create:

pushes

If you need to activate, deactivate, or edit, just head over to your Zapier account and check them out.

The flexibility and resourcefulness of this tool are what make it a must-have for busy marketers.

You can save time and stay on track by creating a regular schedule of Pushes that will keep you going.

Tool #12: Evernote Web Clipper

One of the most frustrating parts of browsing is finding a really helpful image or graph but not being able to easily take a screen capture.

So if you’re looking for a tool that will help you do just that, check out the Evernote Web Clipper.

When you install this extension, all you’ll have to do to take a beautiful screenshot is open it up and let it work its magic.

skitch

What’s more, you can also make simple edits like highlights, arrows, or callout boxes to help your audience see what you want them to.

And as you can see in the image above, the arrows match the style I use.

That’s because I use this tool on a regular basis.

Here’s a deeper look at what the tool can actually do:

By saving entire pages at the click of a button, you’ll never again fumble with another screen-capturing tool.

You’ll be able to create clean, powerful imagery for your own content with just a few simple steps.

Tool #13: One Click Extensions Manager

If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably wondering how many extensions are going to be clogging up your screen.

Well, with the One Click Extensions Manager, the answer will be none.

Because you’ll be able to take a toolbar that looks like this:

extensions

Or make it look like this:

extensions manager

The result is that you’ll have a clean browser that allows you to quickly find and toggle all the new extensions you’re using.

So don’t worry about creating more clutter in your attempt to be a better marketer.

Just clean up the results with this final extension.

Conclusion

Hopefully, by now, you’ve found at least one Chrome extension that can help you become a better marketer.

At the very least, I think you’ll agree that Google Chrome is a fairly handy way to browse the Internet and make the most of it.

Whether you’re trying to stay on task, research, or simply fine-tune a message, there are dozens of options to help you succeed.

I’ve only mentioned 13 extensions in this post, but I can assure you there are plenty more out there.

All you have to do is find the ones that work for you and then let them help you do your job a little better.

Because with the right tools, I think we can all be better at our craft.

What are your favorite Chrome extensions for marketing?

 

 

Compelling Meta Descriptions That Will Boost Your Google Ranking (for Webmasters only) 2018

soe online marketing tips for websites and blogs




SEO (and especially Meta Descriptions) is a tricky subject. One minute you think you have it nailed and the next everything has changed. And when you consider the fact that Google reportedly changes its algorithm 500 to 600 times per year, you start to see the problem. The only constant in SEO is change. This creates a never-ending pursuit of the coveted number one ranking. But thankfully, there are elements that aren’t likely to become entirely irrelevant, which means you can focus on doing them well in the long term. One such area is the meta description on your website or blog. From the start, meta descriptions have been an essential part of a search engine results page and that isn’t likely to change.

So to help you capitalize on this important aspect of your SEO, I want to teach you how to write one that’s compelling and helps you boost your ranking.

But before we get started, let’s talk a bit more about how powerful these meta descriptions really are.

The power of a meta description

In general, meta descriptions have one very important function on a search engine.

That is, they provide a succinct description of the content of your webpage in conjunction with the rest of the metadata in your site’s HTML code.

And even if you don’t set one up yourself, most content sharing systems will automatically generate a meta description for you.

But that’s definitely not what you want, because it almost certainly won’t be as good as the one you create.

Before we go any further though, if you’re still unsure of what it looks a meta description looks like, here’s the one on my site to help clear up any confusion:

As you can see, it’s just a short and simple blurb on the content I offer to my site’s visitors.

And if you look further at the HTML on my site, you’ll notice that it’s there with all of the other metadata to help show Google what the site is actually about.

Every single page of every single website has the ability to contain and share metadata, including the title, URL, and descriptions.

If they’re optimized correctly, they can be used to help Google rank pages.

And while this is just one element to highlight with your SEO, it’s important to understand why your meta description, in particular, makes a difference.

That means knowing how it affects your SEO and what elements are the most important to consider.

To help answer that question, you should start by knowing that not all elements of your metadata actually affect SEO.

Namely, Google has long held that the meta keywords tag doesn’t factor into SERPs.

These tags are embedded in the HTML of your site like everything else, and once upon a time, they factored greatly into SEO.

meta keywords example

But the practice of keyword stuffing from previous decades killed this trend long ago.

But everything else, including the URL, title, and especially the description can affect your page’s on-site SEO.

And surprisingly, the reason for that isn’t incredibly technical.

Because while Google does take into account your portrayal of your site’s pages, the real marker they look for is user behavior.

You see, they don’t just want to know what’s on your website.

They want to know if people are actually using it.

And since user behavior is affected by user experience, you start to see why meta descriptions actually matter for SEO.

Because of all of the elements of your metadata and the search engine results page, the meta description is the most potential-filled part of how you can start optimizing user experience while users are still off-site.

And with Google going into mobile-first mode, optimizing the user experience is more important than ever.

google mobile ranking factors

They want you to be able to provide turnkey moments that deliver on needs by educating, instructing, or showing off what you can do.

And even though it might be easy to miss, your meta descriptions are the frontline of that effort for organic search.

It’s a small part of your website that acts as a first impression, and that means everything when you’re talking about SEO.

Forge and Smith prove this with some fairly impressive results in an SEO case study of their client Sweet Georgia Yarns.

UX seo

By helping craft different elements of their SEO like meta descriptions, they’ve provided a 215% year over year increase in value.

All with just some words inside a line of code.

Think about what that could mean for your site, too.

And according to Google, this trend toward meta descriptions is only logical:

The general assumption under such an approach is that searching users are often the best judges of relevance, so that if they select a particular search result, it is likely to be relevant, or at least more relevant than the presented alternatives.

Google really wants to know what actions people are taking and why they are taking them.

Because they believe that users are the best measure when finding content that’s actually useful and relevant.

And it seems like they’ve found their answer in meta descriptions.

So you can rely on whatever content publisher you’re using to generate it, but that will only create gibberish.

Here’s an example that a marketer caught of an early iteration of Pepsi’s UK homepage:

Screen Shot 2016 04 21 at 23.11.03

As I said, this was a very early iteration of this site, and it’s since been fixed:

pepsi gb

But how much more interested and educated are you by the second as opposed to the first?

The second description gives clarity about what’s on the page and even provides helpful links to popular pages on the site.

And if Pepsi can go back and change its meta description, so can you.

You can also start writing good ones as you go, which will only make your site that much better.

As long as your focus is on making your meta description appealing so that users will want to click, you can’t go wrong.

 

Your goal should be to master this art so that you can do it quickly.

That’s why I’ve compiled a very short checklist for you with only four steps.

I believe that if you follow these guidelines, you can start creating the kind of meta descriptions that will help boost your rankings in the long run.

And to start things off, I want to talk about how long your description should actually be.

Step #1: Stop focusing so much on character count

Google recently updated their character limitations.

And if you didn’t know any better, you would have thought they set the world on fire.

Article after article has been published since then to analyze and break down what these changes mean for SEOs and businesses.

But in my opinion, focusing on character count alone completely negates the point of SEO.

Again, this is about human behavior, not just an authoritative word count.

So if you only focus on creating an optimal character count, you might see good results.

But I believe you’re better off focusing on the content itself, and there’s recent evidence to back this up.

SEMRush conducted an experiment to test this principle and found the variation of the meta tag they used that exceeded the 320 character count performed better and ranked higher.

meta description dynamic brodie clark

As you can see, the iteration of the description that performed better stopped mid-sentence.

This goes against the conventional wisdom that you must stay within the limits of your character count to perform better.

And while the psychology of this isn’t necessarily clear right now, it does lead to some interesting ideas that SEOs need to start considering.

More importantly, it reemphasizes Google’s vision that user experience in any form is the benchmark we need to consider first.

The statistics SEMRush shared only serve to reinforce that idea, too.

screen shot 2018 02 13 at 25859 pm

The longer description that continued above the character count limit saw an impressive 36% improvement in overall click-through rate from its shorter competitor.

So the results aren’t exactly a minor difference here.

And the implication is incredibly clear.

Focus on experience first.

And if you must focus on character count, shoot for around 300-350, as that’s where the majority of high-performing posts fall.

meta desc 2017 8 4609

But as you can also see, some of these pages ranked with as few as 150 characters.

And while the graph stops at 375, I’m sure you could find a meta description with more characters in just a few Google searches.

My ultimate takeaway here is that word count isn’t necessarily the best bar to consider when it comes to creating the perfect meta description.

Some pages will naturally be shorter or longer than others, and that’s okay.

As long as you’re accurately portraying the content on your page, you’ll be on the right track.

And even though Google will likely change things up again, I think the advice to focus on user experience is the only route that will truly stand the test of time.

Now that we’ve turned you away from your word count woes, let’s talk about the second simple way you can start expanding your description’s SEO.

Step #2: Be unique and interesting

If your descriptions are just so-so, they won’t be helping you get clicks or move up in the rankings.

And with user experience still acting as our litmus test for quality, not getting clicks is exactly what you don’t want.

So how do you innovate and find ways to get people to click?

Well, the ultimate application is up to you.

But there are certain practices you can implement in your writing that will help you be more compelling and get more clicks.

Let’s take a look at a few.

First and foremost, there’s a consensus that you should do your best not to be boring.

While that may sound tongue-in-cheek, I can guarantee you it’s not.

And when it comes to your writing, the best way to not be boring is to use the active voice.

active voice

As you can see in this example above, it has a very active voice that provides a momentous push for the reader.

You’re told what you can expect but without any unnecessary details that might bore the reader or turn them off.

If you’re looking for a simple way to help your SEO, you would most likely click on this link after you read it.

You’ll also notice that the example above is very specific and doesn’t contain any fluff.

This is especially important if you want to rank high in the SERPs.

And more importantly, you want to make sure that the description actually matches the content of the page.

For example, this meta description promises that I can find a wide variety of ways to help organize my home or workspace:

specific

What do I find when I click through?

Tons of options that promise a more organized life.

organize

That’s one of the reasons this page is ranked so highly for the simple, one-word search of “organizer.”

It matches my perceived needs closely and it follows through on the promise made in the meta description.

Do you see how this is still about the quality of your site’s user experience?

Another way you can add to this approach is by furthering your promise with a compelling call to action.

You can achieve this by simply giving your reader a straight shot:

CTA

Or, you can still provide a more thorough description with a call to action at the end to invite your reader to learn more:

end cta

As long as you talk to your audience and don’t just ramble on about yourself, you’ll find yourself in a sweet spot when it comes to meta descriptions.

For example, I like to give previews of the actual content on the page that I think will pique the interest of a more casual reader.

preview

Notice that this description has nothing to do with me, my brand, or what I sell.

It’s just a compelling excerpt from the blog article.

My ultimate goal is to signal value and further your interest, not necessarily get you to buy something.

So whatever you do, find a way to be unique and engaging to your audience.

If you simply provide technical details or go straight for a sale, you probably won’t be all that interesting.

And if you’re not interesting, you won’t climb in the rankings.

Step #3: Please use your keywords

You spend a lot of time generating keywords for your digital campaigns.

You put them in your blog posts, landing pages, and even in your product pages.

So why on earth would you not include them in your meta description?

Because nothing signals to Google sooner than your metadata what your page is about.

Not including a keyword in the meta description could be a fatal mistake.

Here’s a look at what including a good keyword might look like:

yoast meta

This is a top-ranked search for meta descriptions I found while researching this post.

As you can see, Google has highlighted every instance when the words “meta description” appear in the description.

Since they were part of my search term, this provides an early signal that the page can be useful in my research.

The keyword is used naturally and in a way that educates the reader about the page’s content.

The result is fairly clear since this was on the first page of results.

You can still use keywords to emphasize to Google what your post is about.

One of the best and easiest ways to do this for your own site is with the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress.

focus keyword

By allowing you to set a focus keyword for every page and blog post, this tool makes the keyword implementation process simple.

The only other step you have to take is to make sure that you also use the keyword naturally in the copy and alt tags of your actual page.

This helps create continuity throughout Google’s crawling and subsequent ranking of the page.

And with the Yoast Plugin, you’ll also get a reminder if you forget to establish a focus keyword in the copy or meta description:

analysis

With a checking system like this, you’ll never neglect another keyword in your meta description.

As long as you conduct robust keyword research and try to rank for words that are appropriate to your brand, adding them to your meta descriptions appropriately is just the next logical step.

If you do it properly, you can be one step ahead of your competition and one step closer to the front page.

Step #4: Use more than just your copy

For newcomers to metadata, it can be easy to think that your Title, URL, and description end and begin with the default Google listing.

But this couldn’t be any further from the truth.

Google also allows you to implement structured data that lets you “beautify” your description on the search engine results page.

To give you an example, I want to show you a different version of the highly ranked Yoast page from the previous point:

yoast meta 2

When I made a more relevant search for this page, it looked different.

The data is still the same but now an image is included and the description is above the title and URL.

What changed? The structured data.

Any page that’s highly ranked gets to take advantage of this unique function.

But the catch is that you have to start using this approach before you get to the front page.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can start implementing structured data.

One of the most popular ways you may have seen is when websites implement reviews in their meta description:

reviews

This provides an immediate signal to your viewer that they can find something of value on the site.

Since social proof is such a powerful way to sell and grow your brand, this is a fairly easy hack that lets you start capitalizing on user behavior with ease.

Another good idea is to set up structured data for your branded website as a whole with your logo and company info:

structured data

This increases the chance that someone searching for your brand will actually find you and receive helpful information without having to click the top few results pages.

Since this appears in the sidebar of the results page, you also achieve a bit of a “two for one” deal with this type of structured data.

A user can find your brand, see what your URL is, and then filter their results so that they only see the pages you have to offer.

This helps your SEO, as Google takes these actions as a positive signal toward your brand in the long run.

And if you think you’ll have a hard time ranking for this tactic, you’ll be surprised to learn that 57% of major companies don’t have structured data set up for their site.

Which means you have an opportunity to get ahead of your competitors and boost your SEO that much more.

The easiest way to start is by using plugins like Schema to help you learn the basics.

screenshot 4

This will allow you to edit, test, and improve the structured data on your site without the hassle of digging into your code.

With some simple optimization, you can be on your way to the front page in your industry as your brand grows.

Conclusion

Meta descriptions aren’t going away anytime soon.

The sooner you learn to craft a good description, the sooner you can start boosting your rankings and helping your overall SEO efforts.

Since meta descriptions are a part of the overall user experience of your site, Google takes them very seriously when it comes to your SEO.

And surprisingly, one of the most outstanding ways you can start improving your approach is to just forget about elements like character count.

Instead, try to be unique and interesting.

Engage with your potential visitor and show them what you have to offer.

If you create the right approach and implement solid keywords, you’ll start to see more organic traffic over time.

And if you use structured data elements to position your brand strategically, you’ll stand out even more to both Google and its users.

With time, diligence, and a lot of patience, you’ll start to see the results you really want.

What tactics have you used to improve your meta descriptions through the years?

 

SEO Clickbait – How to Write Website / Blog Headlines Everyone Must Hit (for Webmasters only) 2018

clickbait seo headlines everybody must hit




SEO Website headline. Clickbait Website headline. Which one wins? If you ask me, you don’t have to choose. The battle between SEO and clickbait headlines has raged far too long. If you optimize for both people and search engines — which we know works in body content — you can’t lose. Google has one goal: please its user base. If people are happy with the content in the SERPs, the search engine generates more advertising revenue and enjoys more traffic. Similarly, people click on content because they’re enticed by the headline. If your headline is written strictly for search engines, your prospective customers might ignore it entirely. That’s bad for everyone.

So how do you marry SEO and clickbait website headlines? What makes a great headline — both for searchers and search engines?

Before we answer those questions, though, we need to figure out how people and search engines evaluate content.
Search intent and Google rankings

You know how I feel about SEO.

It’s essential for your website if you want to rank the content you create.

However, that doesn’t mean you can ignore your audience in favor of search engines.

That’s like getting people through the doors of your restaurant and serving bad food.

We know from Google itself that search intent is one of the most important factors in ranking specific types of content.

When people search for a particular phrase, Google wants to know their goals.

2018 04 20 18 51 35 Keyword Strategy A User Centric Approach to Keyword Research

Do they want to compare different products? Do they want to know how to find a particular business? Might they be ready to buy a product today?

From this, we can determine that Google and searchers are looking for the same things.

They want to know whether your content will help the searcher find what they’re looking for.

Informational intent means the user wants to learn something new.
Navigational intent suggests the user wants to visit a local business.
Transactional intent demonstrates a desire to buy.

There’s also one more type of search intent: Comparison intent.

We know that comparison shopping has become extremely popular.

2018 04 22 14 39 29 Comparison Shopping eCommerce Infographic

Comparison intent means the searcher wants to compare one or more products of a similar nature.

So what does search intent have to do with writing SEO-optimized and clickbait headlines?

If you can get into the minds of your searchers and figure out what they want to learn, you can respond with better headlines — not to mention better content.

Fortunately, clickbait and SEO don’t have to get in a headline war.

Let’s look at several ways to unite them both for maximum growth.
Get the keyword in your title

Perform any old search on Google.

For this example, I’ll go with my standby: “content marketing.”

If you scroll through the results, you’ll see one pattern remains consistent. The headlines (or titles) all have the keyword “content marketing” in them.

2018 04 20 18 55 22 content marketing Google Search

That’s pretty telling, right?

Clearly, Google wants to serve up content that’s obviously directly related to the keyword or search phrase.

You have to work your keyword into the title — preferably at the very beginning.

But what about the somewhat nonsensical searches we conduct on a daily basis. For instance, if I need to hire a plumber, I might type “plumber Seattle” into Google.

2018 04 20 18 57 20 plumber seattle Google Search

Google’s a lot smarter than it was 10 years ago. It understands contextual searches.

The results you see above have related keywords in the headlines, such as “Seattle plumbing,” “Seattle plumbers,” and “Plumbing in Seattle.”

One has “Plumber Seattle,” but that isn’t necessary.

When you happen upon a prime keyword that doesn’t make grammatical or logistical sense, feel free to add a stop word (such as a, the, by, or in) to ensure it makes sense.

For instance, if I wanted to rank for the keyword “plumber Seattle,” I’d probably include the phrase “plumber in Seattle” in the headline.

The stopword “in” won’t make a difference in terms of SEO.
Make something shocking, unbelievable, or amazing

It’s incredible to me how adding or changing one word in a headline can turn it on its head.

You go from boring, SEO-optimized headline to instant clickbait.

One option is to add words like “shocking,” “unbelievable,” or “amazing” to the headline.

But here’s the rub:

What you reveal in the article must actually be shocking, unbelievable, or amazing.

You see these words on the website BuzzFeed all the time.

2018 04 20 19 05 44 10 Unbelievable Facts About Third World Countries

Don’t abuse this clickbait trick. Only use it when you can back up your claims.

I’ve used it myself on occasion, such as for my article on how to write better articles.

2018 04 20 19 07 48 How to Create Amazing Articles Even If You Suck at Writing

Statistics and relevant news stories can often be turned into articles with this type of clickbait headline.
Add crazy-high numbers

Everybody’s impressed when you can walk out a huge number.

It could relate to money, percentages, or anything else.

I got a ton of engagement on my article about YouTube advertising spend.

2018 04 20 19 09 47 Why I m Spending 144000 on Video in 2018 And Why You Should Too

In fact, I actually used two forms of clickbait in this headline.

First, I trotted out that huge number — $144,000. Second, I proved that I could be transparent.

If you’re not willing to be nakedly honest with your audience — metaphorically speaking, of course — you’ll struggle to build a following.

People want to engage with people who don’t mind sharing the details.

Is my entire life an open book? Heck no. But I’m willing to put some things out there.
Make controversial claims

Controversy isn’t always good for business.

However, sometimes it can get you more attention.

You don’t want to start controversy just for the sake of being controversial. That’s silly.

However, if you have an opinion that’s contrary to the status quo, go ahead and share it.

I did that very thing recently on a podcast I co-host.

That’s a pretty controversial claim, right?

During the podcast, though, Eric and I back up our claim. We explain why we feel marketers often exaggerate their claims.

Sure, we used an inflammatory statement, but that’s clickbait.

It’s also good SEO.

If you Google the title, our podcast ranks in the number-two position.

2018 04 22 14 19 25 marketers full of shit Google Search

That’s out of nearly 500,000 results.

Clearly, you can use clickbait titles without sacrificing your search rankings.

Assemble a list of simple tricks

We know that listicles work really well — not just for clickbait but also for SEO.

One way to jazz them up is to use adjectives to describe the tips, tricks, or things you’re going to list.

5 simple tricks to…
10 crazy ways to…
8 foolproof strategies for…
31 magical fixes for…

You get the point. Add an appealing adjective to the listicle headline to make it even more clickbait-y.

A little while ago, I wrote an article that combined two of the suggestions in this post: the adjective added to the listicle and the crazy-high number.

2018 04 22 14 25 07 7 Proven Strategies to Increase Your Blog s Traffic by 206

Compare two versions of this headline:

7 Proven Strategies to Increase Your Blog’s Traffic by 206%
7 Strategies to Increase Your Blog’s Traffic

Which one do you find more appealing? The first one, right?

That’s because I started with a compelling adjective. “Proven strategies” sounds better because it suggests I have evidence of my claim.

I backed up that assertion with the crazy-high number.

No, I’m not just going to teach you how to increase your blog’s traffic. I’m going to show you how to do it by a whopping 206%.

Revisit old-school ads

If you think “clickbait” some new strategy that came about because of the Internet, you’re wrong. It’s been around forever.

In the past, though, clickbait-style headlines were used to get people to turn the page in a magazine or to buy a product advertised in the newspaper.

Consider this ad from the early 20th century.

2018 04 22 14 43 26 Quit Work Someday Ad by John Caples Swipe File Archive Marketing Copywri

Look familiar?

It should. The same headline format has been used on thousands of blog posts to sell get-rich-quick schemes.

Studying old ads can help you formulate new clickbait headlines for today’s consumers.

Beef up short headlines with teasers

We’ve all seen the clickbait headlines that call out some revelation in the article.

Consider this article from ViralSlot:

2018 04 22 14 54 27 15 Actual Things People Learned At An Embarrassingly Late Age. Number 13 Is Hila

It’s too long for an SEO-optimized headline, but you get the picture.

This is considered clickbait for three reasons:

The use of adjectives like “actual” and “embarrassingly”
Listicle format
Teaser for “Number 13”

Why does the third example matter?

Because it encourages people to read more of your content. They know something good awaits at number 13, so they’re going to read at least to that point.

And by the time they’ve invested all that time, they might as well finish it.

It’s an ingenious strategy, but only if number 13 is truly “hilarious.”

If you’re writing a short, SEO-optimized headline, you can transform it into clickbait. Here are a few examples off the top of my head:

20 Ways to Boost Traffic by 206% (You Can’t Miss #18)
32 Tricks for Better Lead Gen (Try #30 First)
7 Simple Strategies for Better Social Engagement (#7 Can’t Lose)

You get the point. It’s like a movie trailer — tease what the audience has to gain by watching (or, in this case, clicking).
Start (or end) with “this is why”

People are hard-wired to look for meaning in even the smallest of things.

They don’t want to just know that something happened. They want to know why.

Adding “this is why” somewhere in your SEO-optimized headline can transform it into effective clickbait.

You have two options for this strategy.

The first is to begin with the phrase “This is Why.”

That sounds good, right?

It employs a leading question to get people to click, but it incorporates a popular keyword.

However, modern SEO best practices involve moving the most important words in the headline to the beginning. All we need is some fancy rearranging.

See the difference?

We’ve changed “This Is Why You Can’t Grow Your Blog Traffic” to “You Can’t Grow Your Blog Traffic (This Is Why).

The second might prove even more compelling because it’s a declarative statement.

If I write this article, I’m assuming my target audience struggles with low blog readership.

Plus, I’m naming my audience in the headline. That’s a compelling way to get people to click.

Use “will make you” in a headline

In June 2017, Digg analyzed some of the most popular phrases used in clickbait headlines. (“This Is Why” came in second.)

2018 04 22 15 11 09 This Analysis Of The Most Popular Clickbait Headline Phrases Will Make You Cry

It also highlighted some of the examples it had featured on the Digg website.

Digg measured the headlines by Facebook engagement. The winning phrase was “Will Make You.”

2018 04 22 15 07 44 The Ad For The First Portable Computer Will Make You Appreciate Your Busted Ol

This is a great construction for an SEO-optimized title because it allows you to put your most important keyword at the beginning of the headline:

These X SEO Tricks Will Make You 300% More Money
Check Out X Social Media Hacks That Will Make You Insta-Famous
Our New Paid Search Service Will Make You Sigh With Relief

Evoke a trusted celebrity

No, you shouldn’t turn your website into a tabloid rag. Put that thought out of your mind.

However, you could use a well-known name in your industry to combine clickbait and SEO in your headline.

Consider this recent headline from Market Watch:

2018 04 22 15 14 24 Seth Godin reveals the secret to boosting your productivity. SectorWatch Mar

Seth Godin is arguably one of the most trusted experts in marketing, entrepreneurship, leadership, and productivity.

In this case, the website posted a video of Seth Godin during an interview, but you don’t have to take that approach.

After all, we can’t all sit down for a chat with a celebrity.

You could use quotes from your subject’s latest book or recent blog posts, for instance.

Show how that person’s statements uphold the statements you present in your article.

Alternatively, look outside your industry like AboveTheLaw.com recently did by evoking The Beatles:

2018 04 22 15 17 53 Making Rain Prepare Like The Beatles Above the Law

Genius, right? The Beatles weren’t lawyers, but author Cordell Parvin managed to tie their legacy into the article’s topic.

I’ve read lots of articles in this vein. You can write them, too, if you’re creative enough.

Stumped? Write two titles

When you can’t transform an SEO-optimized title into clickbait, you have another option.

What you might not realize is that you can put two titles in a single article or page:

Title tag: This is the headline that goes within the <title></title> tags on a web page. It shows up in search engines and in the browser bar when someone clicks on it.
H1: The H1 tag goes within <h1> tags and appears at the top of your article if you decide to put it there.

If you use WordPress, you can easily differentiate your title and H1 tag using Yoast. It’s a plugin that gives you more control over your SEO.

After you install the Yoast plugin (free or paid), you get lots of extra options in your WordPress install including an SEO title and a URL slug.

You can also add a custom meta description and a focus keyword.

Why does this help?

Let’s say you have two headlines for your article. One is optimized for SEO and the other is geared toward clickbait.

You would use the SEO title in the headline field on your WordPress post page. Then, you would add the clickbait title to the field in the Yoast section.

This way, search engines will see the SEO-optimized title embedded in the H1 tags, but searchers will see the clickbait title when they peruse the search engines.

Win-win, right?

If you’re writing plain HTML, you can change these two tags, as well. Just alter the text between the <title> and <h1> tags.

Conclusion

People are always looking for ways to see things in black and white.

As for me, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with mix-and-match marketing.

You find two things that work, like SEO-optimized and clickbait headlines. Then you mix them together to see what you come up with.

Start with user intent. When writing a page or post, think about what searchers might actually want to learn.

Once you know that, figure out a way to get the keyword in the title. If it’s at the beginning, even better.

Add some pizzazz to your leadlines. Words like shocking, unbelievable, and amazing work well, but feel free to get creative.

Transform a boring SEO title into clickbait by adding some extravagant numbers. If you have the data to back it up, you might as well flaunt it.

Make controversial claims if you want to stir the pot. Alternatively, add gripping adjectives to nouns in your headlines to give them more interest.

You can also learn from the past by revisiting old headlines or beef up short headlines by adding teasers to the end.

Of course, falling on the old standbys is a great way to craft a perfect headline. Start or end your headline with “This Is Why” or incorporate the phrase “Will Make You” into the headline.

If all else fails, work a celebrity into the headline. Talk about his or her opinions on a topic, but relate them to your own ideas.

Finally, if you’re still stuck, use H1 and title tags to craft two headlines. You get the best of both worlds.

What’s your favorite way to create a headline that will please both people and search engines?

Power Selling on Amazon – How Much Money Do I Need To Start (2018)

how-much-money-sell-amazon




When I first published this article about Power Selling on Amazon, I wanted to share an honest overview of how much it really costs to take advantage of the greatest opportunity of the decade: Selling on Amazon. Since then, this article received a lot of views and comments. In fact, it still continues to be one of the most popular articles on our blog. So, with that in mind, I wanted to give it a little 2018 update. Nothing hugely significant has changed, but I wanted to make this information the most up-to-date as possible. After all, once we get to the nuts and bolts of what is needed to sell on Amazon, the most pressing and common question arises: how much money do I need to get started? Absolutely, a fair question. But my equally fair, yet unsatisfying answer is: it depends. Fear not though, in this post we will review all of the different upfront services and costs you need to prepare for in order to start selling on Amazon.

 

Recommended

 

The future is bright!

Let’s start with some positive news about the future of selling on Amazon, taken from our recent survey of over 2500+ real sellers!

amazon seller survey results

So in direct relation to startup investment, many sellers report that they are making 66% of their original investment each month within 18 months. And, if you launch successfully, Amazon sellers report seeing average revenue growth by up to 5X per year for the first few years.

Whilst some of the investment figures we are about to explore might seem daunting, these promising insights show us how it can all be worth it if you play your cards right!

First, the assumptions that we are making

I want to make this universally applicable, so I need to make some broad assumptions. Every seller will have a slightly different situation with differing goals and requirements. But I hope you can tailor this broad guide to your specific needs.

Prerequisites for this investment guide:

  • We will sell on the Amazon US store (and we are based in the US).
  • The retail cost of the product (i.e. the amount that we will sell it for on Amazon) will be $20.
  • The landed cost of our item (product manufacturing, including packaging, plus shipping all the way to Amazon warehouses) is $4.
  • The product will be standard size—it can fit in a shoebox.
  • The product will be light enough to ship by air.
  • We will purchase with 500 units to sell.
  • We plan to give away 50 units for promotions.
  • We aim for 100% Return on Investment.
  • We will sell our product as a private label product, using the FBA (fulfillment by Amazon) model. This allows for greater scalability in the future.


Note: If you are not in the US, or looking to launch in a different marketplace, then you should be able to use this list of investment costs to research how much it would cost in your country/currency!

Can you guess what the product is? I listed the above points without any particular product in mind, but let’s make this a concrete example and suppose we want to sell jump ropes.the greatest

Of course I have skipped right over the product research process here. The crux of any successful launch. Make sure you do your homework on this stage if you haven’t already found your product with high demand, opportunity and low competition.

The Must Have Items To Launch:

When determining how much it will cost us to start, I am breaking down the costs into three categories: the “must have”, the “nice to have”, and the “luxury item” costs. The most important first, “must have”…

Samples:

When sourcing a private label product to sell using Amazon FBA, samples are imperative. There can sometimes be a significant difference in the quality of the product and the specifications you see on Alibaba or other manufacturing source online. The best way to verify quality and move forward with the best supplier is to order samples.

Quality is just one consideration, although it is a priority. You also want to find a supplier who can provide you a good cost, has good communication and is willing to meet your needs and build a partnership.

So once you find potential suppliers, (again, Alibaba is great for this) I recommend getting a sample from the top three to keep costs low. Obviously, there is an associated cost. Sometimes, the supplier that you choose will reimburse you for these costs if you decide to order with them, worth checking beforehand.

A rule of thumb here is that each sample will cost you $100 all in. That’s from the supplier to your doorstep in 5 days.


 

Recommended

 
 

COST

So that is $100/per sample, for 3 samples = $300

Inventory:

Once you choose your supplier, it’s time to put down some money to purchase your product!

Suppliers that you find on Alibaba will generally have a Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ), so this is something to consider too. We decided earlier that we wanted to purchase 500 units.

For the purposes of this example, we will assume that our product will cost $4 per unit, including the product cost and shipping. You could order a lower quantity, if you can negotiate this with a supplier, but generally that means they will charge you more per item, so it may not be worth it. 500 units is a good number to get started with in my experience, based on what suppliers are willing to produce and keeping costs low.

Additionally, a lower-cost product, that you sell at a lower price point, will also result in lower startup costs. But again, this is all relative, so you need to make sure that it’s still going to be profitable.


 

COST

This amounts to $4/per unit, for 500 units = $2000

Promotional Giveaway:

In our earlier assumptions, we have allocated 50 products that we will give away at a reduced sales price, in order to get some much needed early sales. You can use Jump Send to run promotions, while staying safely within Amazon’s Terms of Service. One thing that has changed in the past year is that incentivized reviews are no longer within Amazon’s TOS. However, we still find that this tactic of running an early promotion helps to improve sales velocity and organic rankings. This is super important for any new product launch, and you may still get some organic reviews in this process too.


 

COST

The cost is $30 for one month of the Promotional Giveaway service, Jump Send.

Amazon Professional Sellers Account:

Whether you have an Individual Sellers Account, or a Professional Sellers Account, you will have to pay Amazon to list your product on their platform. The Individual Account is basically $1 per item sold, and the Professional Sellers Account is $40 per month. Let’s plan, and hope, that we sell more than 40 units per month, in which case a Professional Account makes more economical sense.

Furthermore, you will need a Professional Sellers Account in order to do things like generate promotional codes, which you’ll need for your Promotional Giveaways. This is a cost you need to consider, but you will not need to spend this capital upfront, as it will be deducted directly from your Seller’s account (not your bank account).

A UPC Code:

In order to start selling your product on Amazon, you will need a recognized barcode in order to generate an “FNSKU” which is Amazon’s proprietary barcodes that need to be printed on the packaging of all of your products.

In order to get your FNSKU, Amazon’s TOS requires you to get a GTIN (Global Trade Identification Number), usually in the form of a UPC code.

Around a year ago, Amazon changed their TOS to state that your barcodes must be from GS1, the leading global provider. The costs to do this are significantly higher, with a $250 initial registration fee and a $50 annual renewal fee for up to 10 barcodes.

Alternatively, you can purchase UPC’s from third parties at a fraction of the cost. At the moment, many Amazon sellers are still doing this with no adverse effects but fair disclaimer, you do this at your own risk!


 

COST

The monthly cost of being a seller on Amazon is therefore $40 per month.


 

COST

UPC’s from a third party cost around ~$10

 

Nice-To-Have Items:

Next up, let’s look at some nice-to-haves. These aren’t required but what they will do is help you to launch faster, with more success.

Sponsored Ads Budget:

As you generate more sales (and get more reviews with follow up email campaigns), you will also see an increased organic ranking for your main keywords. Another successful tactic for product launches is to run sponsored ads (also known as Amazon PPC). This can be helpful to get your sales improving quickly, but I also like to run well-oiled Amazon Sponsored Ad’s throughout the lifetime of a product.

But what will this cost? Well, let’s assume that you are running campaigns with a lower-end budget of $10 per day.

This should generate a few sales, plus it’s not a “cost” per-se but moreso an “investment”. Regardless, if you want to take advantage of this “nice to have” then you need the capital upfront.

It is surprisingly attainable to run profitable paid campaigns with Amazon’s platform.

 

Registered Trademark:

A recent update in the world of Amazon private labelling is that Amazon closed it’s doors on the old Brand Registry and launched a new version of it in May, 2017.

The key changes are that private label brand owners are now required to have a Registered Trademark in order to be in the Brand Registry. This means you need to apply for a Trademark and wait for it to be approved before being able to access to additional features of Brand Registry.

I won’t go into too much detail here about whether to get a trademark or not.

If you are just starting out you have two options:

  1. Launch your product without a trademark or brand registry and see how it goes and work towards this once the sales start coming in
  2. Invest early and get the trademark process underway (you have to wait up to 10 weeks for approval), so that you are able to get your brand registered as soon as possible

Personally, I wouldn’t hold back from launching, but I would seek to apply for a Trademark as soon as possible. Just make sure you do your research when you create your brand, to ensure you will be able to apply for a Trademark without infringing on any existing trademarks or brand names in the future.


How much does it cost? Set aside $350 to apply for a Trademark. I paid a total of £349 to apply for a Trademark for Jungle Snugs, using trademarkengine.com.


 

COST

$10 per day for 30 days is $300.


 

COST

Approx $350 per trademark registration application

Luxury Items (Not Necessary In Order to Launch)

These are items that you definitely do not need, but could use if you want to have a thoroughly polished product launch, with a quicker rate to success!

Design work:

A graphic designer is a tremendous asset in adding legitimacy to your brand. They can help you with a multitude of things such as logos, packaging design, product inserts, photography touchups and infographics for your product listing.

It’s difficult to put a price on good design, the sky is the limit. But for an early product launch, you can find decent rates from talented designers on the Jungle Market where everyone is Amazon experienced. From experience, you can get the work you need done for as little as $50.

For the purposes of this article, let’s say we are going to commission a designer $200, to do some design work to make our skipping rope product look the part.

Cutting corners is not advised, but sometimes there is no correlation between price and quality. Here’s some examples of design work we have had done for our Jungle Snugs product which we are launching as part of the Million Dollar Case Study:

jungle_stix_image This is a neat competitive matrix we use on the Jungle Snugs listing to help shoppers in their buying decisions. You could actually do this on your own with free sites like Canva, which is a superb resource for when you need to make designs up that look the part, without spending a cent!

3_foot_image Here’s some nice packaging design for Jungle Snugs, giving it a high-end feel and making it suitable to sell at a higher price point.


 

COST

$200 for design on logo, packaging, and photoshop services.

Product Photography:

I can not overstate the importance of high resolution and high quality product photographs. When you are competing against other sellers who may have similar products, it is so critical to have your product stand out from the crowd. Remember, in order to get a visitor to your Product Page, they are going to have to be enticed to click on your product listing. In the fast-paced, purchase-oriented mind of the shopper, they are scanning for visual cues.

Your photography is your “shop window”. It’s the closest thing your potential customers get to the real deal. So although we are putting photography in the “luxury” section, if you are going to go with just one luxury, go with this one.

Having said that, if you are on a budget or need photos fast, here’s a pretty in-depth guide on how you could take photos using a smartphone and some household items.

Here’s the key attributes to get right:

  • The best lighting possible
  • A white background for the main image
  • At least 1000 pixels wide on the longest side of the image in order to meet Amazon’s minimum requirements
  • Some photos of the product in use, or lifestyle shots to add a point of difference
  • Think about conveying the size or quality of an item with closeups and comparisons

If you think you need professional help for this, you can get high quality product photographs from $25-$50 per image. If we assume you need 8 images and use the power of negotiation, we can cost $300.


 

COST

$300 for 8 professional quality product images.

 

Let’s total up our costs:

 

Must Have:

$2340

TOTAL

Product Samples: $300

Inventory: $2000

Promotional Giveaway Software: $30

UPC barcode: $10

 

Nice to Have:

$650

TOTAL

Sponsored Ads: $300

Trademark: $350

 

Luxury Items:

$500

TOTALGraphic Design: $200
Photography: $300

 
 

How Can You Reduce These Costs?

Purchase less inventory
You can reduce your startup costs significantly if you source your product on Aliexpress instead of Alibaba. Aliexpress will allow you to order smaller quantities and test the waters before investing in a bulk order. The downside to this though is that you are paying a higher per-unit cost. It also means you are less likely to get customizations and specifications. If you can, I would advise going with Alibaba and spending a little more on your inventory. After all, you are building your own private label brand and it’s important to get this part right.

Find a product with a low cost-per-item
When people ask how much it would cost to launch a product, I think many people are ultimately interested this question: “what is the minimum necessary investment in order to sell on Amazon?”.

If we keep the calculations the same, I think one of the variables that could be altered in order to reduce startup costs is the product you choose to sell.

In our example, we chose a product that is $4 fully landed, and we chose to purchase 500 to start. There are legitimate products with high potential that you can purchase on Alibaba for $0.50.  Assuming a $0.25 shipping fee per unit, that could cut your starting inventory costs to $325 (500 units multiplied by $0.75). Add in the samples ($300, assuming you opt to get samples), Amazon sellers fee ($40), and launch service ($50), and you are looking at $715 in upfront investment.

Do it yourself!
Another key variable is time. If you are strapped for time and resources and unable to do tasks like product research, design, photography and product listing setup yourself, then it will cost more to get started. Particularly for new sellers, or even existing sellers launching a new product, it’s best to keep this as close to the chest as possible. Once the product has launched and is flying off the shelves, that’s the time to start outsourcing.

Remember, this is a passive income because you are utilizing Amazon FBA and not managing your own warehouse and shipping, NOT because there is no time or effort involved in launching.

 

Things I would not spend money on:

Legal Fees: Just to be clear, you do not need to incorporate anything in order to sell on Amazon. I am not a lawyer and not qualified to give legal advice, however, I know a lot of Amazon sellers choose to start without any legal structure like an LLC. Most successful sellers do this down the road, when it becomes necessary and financially viable.

Your own website: This may be an unnecessary distraction if you are just starting. It takes time, money and resources that you could be funneling into driving traffic to your Amazon listing by optimizing your product listing and using Amazon PPC Sponsored ads. A standalone site may be useful in the future, and indeed important for when applying for Brand Registry. But if you are just starting out, keep this one on the backburner, for now!

 

Final Thoughts

I wanted to give you an honest and up-to-date view of what investment is required to get started selling on Amazon. I hope this has helped to answer some of your questions with regards to the financial aspect of building your own ecommerce business with FBA.

As I mentioned before, there are other things to consider and one of the key processes in the early days is doing your product research. You certainly can find product ideas without using a research tool, but if you did want to minimize the risk and find profitable products to launch fast, then that is where the Jungle Scout tools come into play.

If you need in-depth advice, over the shoulder tutorials or any questions answered then check out our free resources:

It’s totally free to view this content and it’s just as good (if not better 😉) than a lot of paid courses you can find today.

As this article outlines, you will need to spend upwards of $2000 dollars on building your Amazon business, so it’s really important to make sure you find and validate the right product.

In closing, I think that we have quantified what it takes to start a business on Amazon: roughly $2000 to $3000, depending on your product, quantity purchased and how much you want to do in the early stages.

Don’t forget, when it comes to photography, design, marketing, trademarks and building your own website: you don’t need to do all of this at once. My advice? Launch. Get started. Keep working hard. The rest will follow!

My goal with every product that I source is to make a 100% Return on Investment. So taking this example, if I were to invest $2000, I would expect to make $2000 after selling all of the products.

If you have any recommendations on how to reduce this upfront investment, please share it in the comments! Good luck to you, you can most certainly make your own success with the right formula of work ethic, strategy, and determination. 

 

Increase Your Facebook Page Likes – 50 Free Ways to Boost your Facebook Traffic (2018)

Woman hands using mobile smartphone in the street with icon social media and social network.




There are now an estimated 40 million small businesses using Facebook to promote their brand and connect with their customers. If you’re managing Facebook Likes marketing for one of these businesses, you already know how hard it is to attract new “Facebook likes” to your page. But while it can be a challenge to increase your Facebook page likes, making the effort is undoubtedly worthwhile: one researcher has estimated the average value of a single Facebook fan at $174. While this number obviously varies depending on the business and industry, there’s no doubt that capturing the attention and loyalty of your target audience on Facebook is important.

 


Related article:
How to get more Facebook Traffic by posting less

Most marketers know how to increase Facebook page likes through Facebook’s paid ad platform, but there are plenty of ways to grow your likes without spending any money. This article will walk you through 50 effective and free ways to increase your Facebook page likes. Some of these strategies will focus on increasing your organic post reach – because the more your posts get liked and shared, the more your reach and visibility increase. And ultimately, this is what will lead to the organic growth of your page.

 

 

1. Use images as a regular part of your content strategy. Despite what you may have heard, captivating and relevant images can still be a great way to increase engagement and reach on your page and posts.

2. The most common reason people unlike a brand page is because their posts are uninteresting. Keep more of the fans you already have by posting engaging content that meets the needs of your audience. See “How to Write More Exciting Content for Your Industry.”

3. Use Facebook’s Page Plugin (formerly Like Box) on your website or blog. A like button next to your blog posts is great for getting your content shared, but the Page Plugin will help you boost your page likes.

4. Engage with other pages in your niche. Regularly leave thoughtful comments in response to other people’s posts. Make sure you’re commenting as your page rather than from your personal profile.

5. Promote your page on your other social media accounts. A simple ‘Like us on Facebook’ is unlikely to work. However, occasionally pointing your Twitter followers or LinkedIn connections to discussions happening on your page just might.

6. Contests are still a great way to entice people to like your page. Promote your contest on your site and to your email list, and make liking your page a contest requirement.

7. Reference your Facebook page on your blog. Draw attention to an interesting discussion happening on your Facebook page by mentioning it in a blog post.

8. Post multiple images. Some research suggests posting albums (as opposed to single images) may lead to increased reach.

9. Keep your promotional content to a minimum. Some experts suggest 80/20 – Posting non-promotional content 80% of the time and promotional content 20% of the time. This number will vary depending on your business, so see what works best with your audience.

10. In the About section of your personal profile, link to your Facebook page as your place of employment.

11. Keep your posts short and sweet. Some research seems to suggest that shorter posts (those between 100-119 characters) may result in the highest engagement. Other research suggests keeping your character count to 40 characters or less for optimal engagement.

12. Offer an exclusive discount just for your Facebook fans. This is a great incentive to like your page; in fact, 42% of people say they like a brand page for the coupons and discounts.

13. Don’t be afraid to get personal from time to time. People want to know there’s a real person behind your company, and will be more likely to engage with a person than with a faceless brand.

14. Regularly visit your Facebook Insights to find out which content is working with your audience. Find the posts that have received the most engagement and highest reach, and share these types of content more often.

15. Target Facebook ads to users by interest. One of the most effective ways to use Facebook ads is to target users who already like pages in your niche. Using Facebook’s Graph Search, find out which pages your existing fans like by typing in, “Pages liked by people who like my page”. Target your ads to users who have liked these pages, as they’re likely to be interested in your page as well.

16. Optimize your Facebook page’s SEO (search engine optimization): Use relevant keywords in your title and About section; Make sure your profile is complete and contains a consistent NAP (name, address, phone number); Link to your page from your website and other web properties.

17. Create a topical Facebook group. Facebook groups can be a great way to reach prospects who are wary of liking a brand’s page. Create an industry-related group that your target market may be looking for, and then use it to build relationships and trust. While a group may not give you the “one to all” voice a page does, the level of engagement you can achieve in a group can be much higher than on a page.

18. Tag other pages in your posts. When you tag other pages, your posts appear on their wall and may spark the interest of those pages’ owners and fans.

19. Create and share your own infographics. Infographics are one of the most shared types of images. Create your own using a tool like Infogr.am.

20. Offer true value. If you’re posting content that fills a gap or meets a need for your fans, your posts will get liked and shared; and this increased engagement will naturally lead to increased likes for your page. Pay attention to conversations happening in your industry, and offer unique insights and commentary that add something to the discussion.

 

Related article:Social Media Follower Boosting

 

21. Leave thoughtful comments on popular blogs in your niche. Be sure to link to your Facebook page when asked for your URL.

22. On Facebook, videos now outperform photos in terms of reach. Now is the time to start incorporating video into your social content strategy.

23. Include a ‘Like us on Facebook’ link on the ‘thank you’ page of your site. Customers are more apt to like you when they’ve just made a purchase they’re excited about.

24. Arrange a partnership with a complimentary page in your niche. Agree to cross-promote posts to help build up each other’s audiences.

25. Join industry Facebook groups and offer thoughtful advice and insights. If people like what you have to say, there’s a good chance they’ll hover over your name to find out more about you. This is one reason why having your business name and Facebook page URL in your About section are so important!

26. Suggest your page to your email contacts. Send a brief email inviting your contacts to connect with your business on Facebook.

27. While hashtags may not work as well on Facebook as they do on Twitter, they can still be a good way to attract new fans. One of the best strategies is to use popular hashtags when posting about breaking news or other trending topics.

28. It seems like nearly everyone is taking advantage of popup boxes on their websites these days. Join the club, and set yours up so that it cycles between asking visitors to join your email list and like your Facebook page.

29. Add a link to your Facebook page in your email signature. It never hurts to let your connections know about another way they can connect with you.

30. Post regularly: Posting sporadically sends the message that you’re not serious about your page. If you want people to invest in your page, you need to establish a regular pattern of posting useful and relevant content.

 

instagram-social-media-follower-increase

Related article: Boost your Social Media Traffic with these 10 Headlines

 

31. Embed your Facebook video posts onto your website or blog. This is a great way to promote your Facebook page to your website visitors.

32. Put your Facebook page link on all your marketing materials: your business cards, pamphlets, signage and even on your print ads.

33. Ask your employees to like your page. The more likes your page accumulates, the more powerful your social proof.

34. Offer flash freebies on your page. Word gets around…if you regularly offer ‘flash freebies’ (e.g., “The first 5 people to message me will receive a $20 gift card”) you can bet your page likes will increase!

35. Submit your page to a fan page directory like Fan Page List. It’s unlikely to result in a ton of likes, but with such minimal effort involved, why not try?

36. Upload photos from live events, and ask your fans to tag themselves. This gets your photos in front of your fans’ friends, extending your visibility and reach.

37. Connect with group admins. Getting on the radar of the admins and moderators of popular Facebook groups can be invaluable. If they see you as an authoritative source of information in their industry, they may share your page with their members.

38. Make sure you’ve claimed a great vanity URL. A catchy URL will be more enticing and much easier to remember.

39. Make sure you have like buttons and share buttons next to all your blog posts. When people engage with your content by clicking these buttons, this action appears in their friends’ feeds, increasing your page’s visibility.

40. Participate in Follow Friday. Although it’s more common on Twitter, some pages regularly host a Follow Friday. Participating can be a great way to build your audience as well as other people’s.

41. Ask your fans to share photos on your page. These will appear in their friends’ feeds, increasing your visibility.

42. Make sure your page’s branding and design are professional and consistent. When people come to your page, it only takes them a split second to decide whether to like it or not; make sure your page accurately conveys your brand’s voice and image.

43. Use a WordPress plugin like WP-TopBar to show a “Like us on Facebook” message at the top of each page of your site.

44. Include a “Connect with us on Facebook” link on your website’s contact or help page to drive traffic to your Facebook page.

45. Include a link to your Facebook page in the author bio of your guest posts.

46. Make sure your cover photo includes a call to action to like your page.

47. Include your fan page URL on every image you share on Facebook. As your image gets shared, so does your page URL!

48. Periodically include an invitation to “connect with us on Facebook” in the P.S. of your email newsletters. Your P.S. can be an incredibly powerful place to put a call to action.

49. Enable Facebook commenting on your site. If you have a WordPress site, you can do this using a plugin like Facebook Comments. If not, you’ll have to enable Facebook commenting the hard way.

50. Make engagement a priority. Answer questions and respond to comments promptly. Your Facebook posts are a starting point for great discussions – not a final destination.

 

Final Thoughts

While likes are certainly an important metric, keep in mind that engagement is the true yardstick for Facebook page success. David Baser, Facebook Insights Product Manager, reminds marketers that increased engagement should be their top priority: “User engagement is the best proxy metric for the ultimate success of [your] brand page on Facebook. It’s great for understanding how much distribution you are getting in the news feed, how many people you are reaching with your messages…From a fundamental perspective, that’s the most important thing for marketers to take away.”

Remember that likes don’t mean anything without true engagement. Converting social media followers to customers should be the goal. Focus on regularly providing relevant and compelling content, and your page likes will undoubtedly increase organically over time.

 

What would you add to this list? What’s your best tip for increasing Facebook page likes? Share below!

 

7 Realistic Ways to Make Money Online in 2018

earn_money_online




Whether you’re looking to make some fast money, or you’re after long-term, more sustainable income-producing results, there are certainly ways you can make money online today. The truth is that making money online isn’t as difficult as most make it out to seem. It does require some discipline. Sure. Without discipline, you’ll find it tough to make a buck both online or offline. However, if you’re looking for realistic ways you can start earning money online now, then it really truly does boil down to seven paths you can take towards profit. Some will provide you with immediate results, helping you to address your basic monthly necessities such as rent, utilities and groceries, while others have the potential to transform your life by revolutionizing your finances in the long term.

No matter what method you select for generating your online income, there’s one very important thing to understand. Today, across this globe, with its 7+ billion inhabitants, there are two recurring things that people are looking for more of. Either people want more time or they want more money. The truth? Time is far more valuable than money. You can’t recreate time. Once it’s spent, it’s gone forever. Not money.

 
 

How to Make Money Online

No matter what method you end up using to generate an income on the web, you need to adjust your mindset to help empower you rather than discourage you. The truth? Making money online can be fraught with avoidable pitfalls. There’s no shortage to the rah-rah cheers of internet marketers looking to find ways to ensure they part you from your hard-earned cash. The trick? Cancel the noise and get to the real meat and potatoes, so to speak.

To do that, you have to harbor a few fundamental guiding principles in your mind. Today, if you’re at all serious about generating a full-time income (and more) from your online activities, then you need to focus on passive income as opposed to active income. Sure, the active income will help you survive. That’s the scarcity mentality at play. But it’s the passive income ideas that will help you thrive.

Considering that you have a finite amount of time, passive income should make up a large part of your work. And if you’re serious about generating any semblance of income online, then passive income should be one of your sole goals and ambitions. Why? Simply this. Wouldn’t you prefer to do the work one time and get paid repeatedly as opposed to relying on your time to generate that income?

Since time is the most precious commodity on this earth, invest the time at the front-end so that you can reap the benefits on the back-end. This means putting in a bit of sweat equity and not getting paid today. Rather, you’ll get paid somewhere down the road. And you’ll continue getting paid whether you keep building that passive income stream or you stop. It’s obvious that this is the preferred route, but clearly the road less traveled.

Anyone interested in making money online should be pursuing passive income, while also working on active income. There are loads of ways to generate an income passively on the internet, many of which start at the foundation of having a blog, generating substantial traffic and building an audience and a list. Is it easy? Nope. Is it worth it? It sure is. But that doesn’t mean you need to start a blog to make money online today.

You could opt for a non-blog-starting route. Sure. But if you’re looking for longevity in your income-producing abilities on the internet, then a blog should be your primary aim.

Related: The 2 Best Programs for Earning a Lifetime Passive Income

1. Leverage the app economy

If you’re looking to address some immediate financial needs, then the app economy is likely right for you. Thanks to the global sharing phenomenon, launched in part by our smartphones and ever-burgeoning global connectivity, you could easily opt for some quick active income by using well-known apps. From ride sharing to deliveries and even quick tasks, there’s an app for that today, as the saying goes. 

Drive for Uber or Lyft: If you’re in a locale where you can find Uber or Lyft (or even one of the many competitors around the world such as China’s Didi), you could easily make a respectable income. The hours are flexible and you can work as you see fit, making it perfect even if you currently have full-time employment but are looking to make some money on the side.

Deliver for Postmates: Apps like Postmates are a dime a dozen today. Still, Postmates is by far the most popular, and you don’t even need a car in some locations to make money with this app. In some urban developments and major metropolises like Manhattan, a bike would suffice. 

iBotta: Earn cash back rewards by purchasing featured products at major retailers. All you have to do is add rebates, go shopping, then snap a photo of your receipt to earn your cash back. Simple and effective. Plus this app has over 50,000 five-star reviews on the App Store. 

Task RabbitAnother simple and straightforward app for making a bit of side-hustle income is the Task Rabbit app. Tasks can be anything from simple repairs to more exhaustive undertakings. The app carefully vets each service provider to ensure the highest quality, and it’s a great way to make some extra income on the side on your own terms. 

Ebates: This app offers a simple way to make money online by buying whatever you’re already buying and then getting a cash-back reward. With eBates, there’s no scanning receipts. Simply click a link in the app and buy from the store. You’ll automatically be credited your cash rewards upon purchase along with receiving an email confirmation. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SwagbucksWith Swagbucks, there are a number of ways you can make money. You can shop online, watch videos, answer surveys and surf the web. The app gives you both cash back and gift cards as a reward for your efforts. 

 

 

 

 

Inbox Dollars: Another app you can use to make money online is Inbox Dollars, which pays you for watching television, taking surveys and shopping. There are cash offers here and it’s relatively similar to some of the other apps in this arena.  

Related: How I mad $100 with Ebates in just 15 minutes

 

2. Use existing websites.

You could also opt to use existing websites for making money. These include both active income and passive income methods. For example, you could sell some used items or invest in creating some digital designs that then can be sold on merchandise. Again, devote a sizable portion of your time to passive income so that you can slowly build up earnings that will arrive on autopilot without any extra added effort. 

Of course, a large portion of these sites do have their own respective apps. But these are certainly less involved in the gig economy, and more so in the longer term projects that exist in the fields of photography, online marketing, graphic design and web development, for example. 

Craigslist: This site has been the go-to resource for over a decade now for people that are looking to make a bit of extra money online. You can easily sell your used stuff, rent out a spare room in your home or apartment, and offer up your services to the world.

Upwork: This website offers a great marketplace for selling just about any professional service. You don’t need a merchant account, website of your own or anything else for that matter. All you need to do is be able to provide a high-quality service at a reasonable price. But be informed, you will have to compete with many others that are constantly bidding on open jobs. 

Cafe Press: This website allows you to create digital designs that can then be sold on the platform. You’ll earn a commission for everything that sells and you’ll never have to deal with printing, warehousing, customer service and so on. The site has over 2 million independent designers that have created products being sold online here. If you have some graphic design skills, then this is a great potential source for your web-based income. 

Fiverr: Israeli-based Fivver was started in 2010 by Shal Wininger and Micha Kaufam. It’s a great resource for selling just about any service online. You can offer gigs as low as $5 but also get paid much more for upgrades and add-ons. There are plenty of providers earning 6 figures on Fiverr so it’s definitely a worthwhile cause for generating a healthy income. Just ensure that you provide some serious value. 

Mechanical Turk: Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is a resource for doing human-intelligence tasks, or as the site commonly refers to them, HITs. You get paid a very small fee for any given HIT and you’ll need a good deal of volume to make a substantial amount of money. But it is a resource you can use in your spare time to generate a small income online. 

Flippa: If you have a penchant for buying and selling, you could use Flippa, and its higher-end counterpart, Deal Flow Brokerage to buy and sell websites for a profit. You’ll need to know what you’re doing here, but you could easily make a sizable income by flipping income-generating websites for profit.

Etsy: While Etsy’s popularity has declined recently, it’s still a great resource for selling handmade items online. No need for complex ecommerce sites or merchant accounts or any sort of automation. The company takes a commission of every sale and charges a small listing fee per item. But many still use Etsy as their primary source of income. The best part is that you can also sell digital products on here such as poster designs. 

Shutterstock and iStockPhoto: Have a keen eye for photography? Why not sell photos on some of the leading photography sites. You’ll need some design software skills to tag along. But if you do have skill in this arena, it’s a great potential source for passive income. 

Threadless: Similar to CafePress, Chicago-based Threadless also allows you to sell digital designs in the form of t-shirts and other merchandise such as phone cases, mugs, beach towels and so on. 

Zazzle: Another great resource for selling online is to use Robert Beaver’s Zazzle. The site is somewhat similar to Etsy and virtually anyone can make money online selling a variety of items here. From art to handmade items and customizable products, you can pretty much sell anything here.

Related: Ways to Make Enough Side Money to Eventually Quit Your Job

 

3. Sell your own stuff.

Ready to enter the ecommerce fray? Why not sell your own stuff. Of course, along with selling your own stuff on your own website comes a whole slew of both responsibilities and technical configuration and requirements. For starters, you’ll need a website and a hosting account. You’ll also need a merchant account (sure you can use Stripe or PayPal). Then you’ll need to design that site, build a sales funnel, create a lead magnet and do some email marketing.

Example: The Ultimate Marketing Guide

You’ll also need ecommerce software, fulfillment software, worry about warehousing, customer service, refunds and so on. But that’s not all. You’ll also need traffic. Think search engine optimization, Facebook ads, and other social media campaigns. Sound like a lot of work? Sure, it is. Especially if you do it all on your own. You could opt for Amazon’s platform, which might be the easier route. But, then again, at the end of the day, this is a serious business, which could produce significant profits. So you’re either all in or you’re not. 

Shopify Ecommerce: Want to build your own storefront? You could opt to create a Shopify store. You could also install WooCommerce as a plugin and run your ecommerce store from your blog. You’ll need an SSL certificate and a way to process payments, but you might find this easier to get up and running fast to start selling immediately. 

Fulfilled-by-Amazon (FBA): You could easily start selling on the largest online store in the world and forget all the muss and fuss about building out your own infrastructure and worrying about traffic. You will need to pay a commission, but most of the other processes will be automated for you. 

Drop-shipping: Amazon offers one form of drop-shipping, but there are other resources for drop-shipping products that you’ll never actually have to see or handle yourself. You’ll simply need to close the sale. Providers like SaleHoo, Worldwide Brands, and many others, offer you a great resource for drop-shipping your products.  

High-ticket consulting or coaching: You could sell your own high-ticket consulting or coaching products from your website. You’ll still need a website, merchant account, sales funnel, lead magnet and many other items. But you can easily earn a substantial amount of money from each individual customer, making it well worth the arduous setup required. 

Related: 90+ Websites that pay Writers

 

4. Sell as an affiliate.

There are loads of resources for making money online as an affiliate. You could source products from ClickBank, Commission Junction, Rakuten Marketing, Share-a-Sale, Impact Radius and many others. Plus, many of the larger companies have their own affiliate programs as well. Do your due diligence and find the right company with a relevant product or service to your audience that you can sell as an affiliate.

In some cases, you will need an active website with substantial traffic to get approved. Selling as an affiliate isn’t easy by any means, but if you do have the audience, it can definitely amount to a substantial amount of income.

Related: Why Affiliate Networks Are So Important to Online Affiliate Marketing

 

5. Start a blog.

If you’re serious about making money online, start a blog. Blogging is one of the easiest and most sustainable income sources. As long as the blog is setup the right way, in the right niche, with the right content targeted at the right audience, and the offer is complementary to the content, you could make a tremendous amount of passive income from a blog.

While some might think that starting a blog is an arduous effort, when you understand the precise steps you need to take, it becomes far easier. It all starts in the decision of choosing a profitable niche and picking the right domain name. From there, you need to build your offers. You can easily sell things like mini-email courses, full-blown trainings, ebooks, and so on.

 

Related: 33 Ways to Turn Your Blog Into a Money Maker

 

6. Email marketing.

The money is most certainly in the list. If you’re at all interested in online marketing, setup email software and create a lead magnet that you can use in your sales funnel. Then, build up that list. It’s often said that you can expect to earn about $1 per subscriber per month. If you have a list of 10,000 subscribers, that means you can earn roughly around $10,000 per month. You will need to deliver value and not pitch them on every email, but it is a very achievable goal in a short period.

There are many ways to get people onto your list. Lead magnets are one such resource. For example, you can build ebooks, checklists and cheat sheets. But you can also do content upgrades, such as PDF versions of an article with added resources in them, four-part video training series, and more. Think about your audience and what you can offer them to better serve them, then treat them with some respect and you’ll eventually reap the rewards.

Related: 7 Tips for Marketing Success

 

7. Webinars trainings.

Webinars are quite possibly one of the most potent ways you can make an exorbitant amount of money online. Russell Brunson often says that if you do a webinar every single week for a year, you’ll be a millionaire at the end of it. You’ll need an audience to train and you’ll need to know what you’re talking about. Of course, this usually requires having a website and some semblance of an online presence.

However, people can still do webinars without all of that. For example, you might have a sizable social media following and you train them every week on something to do with social media. But you will need a product to embed and sell at some point. Don’t worry about it in the beginning. And by far, the best webinar platform out there is certainly GoToWebinar. Hands down, there isn’t even another platform that comes close.

However, not matter what method you choose to make money online, understand that you might be able to make some money fast, but for the sizable returns, you’ll need significant sweat equity. However, a year from now, you’ll be happy you started today. Remember, time is far more valuable than money. Focus on creating passive income streams that will free up your time so that you can quit the rat race and focus on the things that matter. That’s the important thing here.

 

 

 

Bing PPC (Pay Per Click) Ads – Are They Worth Your Attention? Find Out Now!

Bing Pay Per Click Network Clicks




Google is the King of the Internet when it comes to PPC (Pay Per Click) Ads, right? Sort of yes, sort of no. There’s really no doubt in most people’s mind that if you put the behemoth Google into a cage match with Bing, you’d probably see a KO faster than your search results for a local coffee shop. But what most don’t anticipate is that you can also get a sweaty, scrappy fight that goes into the fifth round with a marginal potential for an upset. Because Bing has some fairly attractive PPC elements that keep them competitive and may just give you an edge.

I want to share with you how Bing can actually be a valuable place to run ads for your business.

And at the very least, I’m going to provide you with a method that will let you see if Bing could be right for you.

But first, I want to disrupt some of your preconceived notions about Bing by showing you what it’s truly capable of.

Where Bing really stands out

Advertising on search engines is nothing new.

But for newcomers to digital marketing, trying to find the best places and methods to advertise can be an overwhelming experience.

And then when you consider that there’s more than one search engine available to you, that just adds to the confusion.

When you start looking into the search engine you want to advertise on, there’s no denying that Google Adwords has simply got a bigger audience.

market share

Most people would look at a graph like this, open up Google Adwords, and never look back.

They can run profitable ads for their business, make plenty of revenue, and never have to consider an alternative.

But that graph can actually be misleading if you just take it at face value.

While its true that Google has the lion’s share of Internet search activity, graphs that show market share don’t convey the fact that millions of users still prefer a different search engine.

That’s right. I said millions.

So what that translates into is that the reality of Bing is very different than what most people imagine.

bing stats

More than 133 million people search using the Bing Network.

That’s almost half the population of the United States.

And even though it might surprise you, nearly 34% of U.S. desktop searches are on Bing.

So if you’re a marketer in the United States, you may be omitting one-third of your audience by not using Bing.

What’s more, it’s been shown that more older users are on Bing:

bing stats 2

So if your target market is above the age of 34, you could really be missing a huge amount of potential business traffic.

And if that’s not enough to turn your head, it’s also been shown that Bing users tend to make pretty good money.

bing stats 3

The vast majority of Bing users make $40,000 or more each year.

But the most surprising fact is that more than one-third of Bing Network users make more than $100,000 each year.

That means if you’re not advertising on Bing, you could be missing out on some of the most profitable leads your business could ask for.

And since Bing Ads are displayed on three search engines instead of just one, you get a lot more reach than a simple measurement of market shares might convey.

Specifically, Bing Ads are shown on the Bing, Yahoo, and AOL search engines.

That means that collectively, the Bing network is the second best place to put your ads according to market shares.

search engines

Almost 13% of searches happen on the Bing Network, which as we’ve already seen, amounts to billions of searches each year.

And for the most part, these ads will look and operate the exact same way they do on your Adwords account.

look the same

There are really only a few minor stylistic differences here, so you won’t be faced with reinventing the wheel.

You can use the same approach that you’ve fine-tuned on your Google Adwords to see if you get good results.

But even more importantly, it could be cheaper and more profitable to run ads on Bing.

The marketing team at Spinutech actually found great success on Bing with a lower budget for one of their clients.

budgets

That’s not just lower. It’s way less than half the budget.

And while a lower budget did mean they got fewer clicks, they also had a lower overall cost-per-click when they added everything up.

cost per click

More notably, the click-through rate of each Bing ad was much higher than its Google counterpart.

So they spent less money, had a lower cost-per-click, and a higher click-through rate.

Does all of that sound as good to you as it does to me?

If your business can potentially mirror these results, it’s definitely worth looking deeper into Bing Ads as an option.

And when it comes to cost-per-click, ReportGarden found that the gap can be even wider than the results Spinutech came up with:

CPC Bing vs Google e1386101910805

That’s less than half the cost to run a Bing ad than an Adwords ad.

That means by using the same amount of money on Bing instead of Adwords, you could essentially double your overall ad budget.

And while I don’t recommend rushing off to throw all your ads into Bing, it should certainly raise an eyebrow.

It should especially be attractive to brands that are stuck with enormously high cost-per-click keywords on their Adwords account.

where does google make its money

It’s a widely shared fact that insurance ads cost the most money to run at a crazily high average of almost $55 per click.

But it could actually be a little cheaper, even marginally, for those same companies to run a similar ad on Bing.

bing cost

At the very least, this shows you just how different the landscape of Bing Ads can be from the Adwords world.

Depending on your individual needs, it could be worth it for your brand to make the switch to Bing.

And even if you only start creating some ads to supplement your Adwords effort, Bing Ads are worth looking into.

So for the rest of this post, I want to show you how you can find out if Bing PPC ads are worth looking into for your business.

Let’s start with a little bit of audience analysis.

Step #1: Know your audience

The ultimate factor on whether you use Bing Ads just depends on what you’re selling and who you’re selling to.

For example, it’s a widely known fact that more people prefer Bing for image related searches.

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So if your business is based on selling stock photos to other entrepreneurs, creating an ad on Bing seems like an intuitive business move.

Again, it just depends on your needs and whether your audience will actually find you there.

I recommend starting your Bing Ads evaluation process with some old fashion customer persona building.

Customer personas are the best place to start for any ad campaign because it tells you who exactly you want to target.

In the case of Bing Ads, you want to look for standout demographics like age and income, because those are the places where you’ll see the biggest impact between Bing and Google.

If you’re already using Google Adwords, this information will be readily available to you in the Demographics section under your Campaign tab.

Here’s the Age breakdown:

age

And then here’s a similar breakdown that shows income:

income

This information can help tell you how varied the age demographic of your audience actually is.

If you trend to the younger side, it may signal that Bing Ads would be a waste of time.

But if you have an older audience, you may want to keep looking further into Bing’s potential.

From there, if you know the careers, locations, and other basic pieces of information about members of your audience, you can find some helpful income information with a service like Glassdoor.

salary

In this example, your audience member makes more than $60,000 per year on average.

That means if you’re selling to a financial analyst in the Atlanta area, there’s a good chance they could use Bing either personally or professionally.

If that’s the case, you just established sufficient reason to test out a Bing ad with two basic elements of a customer persona.

Not bad for a few minutes of research.

Step #2: Find your cost-per-click

After you’ve evaluated the potential of your audience, you also need to weigh the question of cost.

As I showed in my first point, Bing Ads have a different cost-per-click than on Adwords.

But some industries having a lower cost-per-click doesn’t mean all of them will.

So to help you find out if Bing Ads will actually be cost-effective for you, I recommend taking a few minutes to test for your industry.

And thankfully, you can do that without committing any money using the Bing Ads preview tool.

cpc

This service lets you put in your industry keyword and a few other elements to help see if Bing Ads will be cost effective for you.

You’ll even get a little preview of what your ad might look like on the Bing Network.

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Once you input your information, you’ll get a helpful breakdown of the current cost-per-click on the Bing Ads Network.

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You can even input an estimated budget to see how many clicks you would generate with your estimated cost-per-click.

If the estimates are similar or even less than your similar Adwords cost, that’s a sign that Bing may be a good alternative for your business.

And while these values may change over time, your approach will likely change with it.

At the very least, you can step into a Bing Ads campaign knowing that you won’t be at an immediate loss.

Step #3: Set up a Bing Ads account

Once you’ve established that your audience is on Bing and that it won’t be too expensive to run an ad, it’s time to set up your Bing Ads account.

And thankfully, it’s super easy.

All you have to do is head over to https://secure.bingads.microsoft.com/signup to get started.

You’ll see a page that looks like this:

bing ads

Add your email address to get started.

You’ll then be taken to a short page that asks you to continue setting up a Microsoft account if you don’t already have one.

bing start 2

From here, you’ll go through the short setup procedure to verify your email address and contact info.

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And once you provide all of this information, you’ll be in.

You can now start the process of creating and testing a Bing Ads campaign.

Step #4: Import your Google Adwords account

If you’re already using Google Adwords, I recommend importing the information from your Adwords account.

Thankfully, this is also a super easy process that will only take a few minutes.

It will take all of the campaigns you’re running in Adwords and create similar ones in your Bing Ads account.

And it won’t negatively impact anything you’re running on your existing Adwords account, so don’t worry about potentially messing anything up.

This just makes the setup and testing time much simpler.

Start by choosing the option to import your Google Adwords, and then sign in with your user information.

import 2

Then, go ahead and import your existing campaigns.

import

This may take Bing Ads a few minutes to grab everything from your Adwords account, but the wait is worth it.

This will save you the time of painstakingly setting up the same campaign on two different advertising platforms.

Step #5: Set up mirroring campaigns

If you prefer not to import your campaigns, you will have to set up both accounts manually.

If that’s the case, I still want to show you how you can do that effectively to test if Bing Ads are a good option for you.

This one takes more effort, but since you’ve got parallel ad accounts, it’s necessary to truly test whether the conversions you’re getting are worth it.

So to start with, I recommend beginning with Adwords.

Using the audience demographic information you collected in the first step, set up your campaign to make sure that you’re targeting that specific group.

Start by going to your Adwords dashboard and creating a new Campaign.

adwords 1

You’ll have to decide on what type of ad you’re running, as well as input goals for Google to track.

set up campaign

Once you’ve created your campaign and ad, make sure to add groups based on the demographics you found in your persona research for your targeting.

This will ensure that your parallel Bing Ad is being shown to the same group on both search engines and your testing will be much more accurate.

Once everything is set up, hold off on running the campaign.

You still need to set up a mirroring Bing campaign, which will take a little getting used to.

Start by going to your Bing Ads dashboard and clicking on the Create Campaign button.

bing campaign 1

Much like Adwords, you’ll have to establish the parameters of your campaign and ad group.

You’ll also need to create the ad, target it, and add the budget you want to stick to.

bing campaign 2

Once all of this is completed, you’ll want to make sure that your audience information is the same as your Adwords campaign.

To do that, go to your advanced campaign settings tab and click on the Demographics option.

bing campaign 3

Here, you’ll be able to set up whichever age group, gender, income level, or other demographic you need to.

As long as you’re keeping every element as close to Adwords as possible, you’ll be able to conduct an accurate assessment of Bing’s capabilities.

And If you do end up importing your campaigns from Adwords, it is worth noting that Bing recommends you still double check your targeting elements.

targetting options

As each platform does have its unique differences, you want to make sure that nothing gets lost in translation.

To do that, you’ll just have to skip straight to the advanced settings and check that the information is correct.

Once everything is running parallel, it’s time to test.

Step #6: Check your results

Once you’ve launched your campaigns let them run for a while, you should have enough data to start making some assessments.

Thankfully, both platforms make it easy to take a step back and measure how things are going.

First of all, you should verify that your cost-per-click on each platform is accurately representing your findings from step two.

Both platforms give a fairly simple readout of this analytic.

Here’s an example from Adwords:

results

And here’s one from Bing Ads:

bing results

If you’re spending too much for a single click, it could be a signal that something is off with your ad’s parameters.

Or, it could mean that one platform is more cost effective than the other.

While this is a pretty basic measurement, it’s always the first place most marketers look to ensure they’re not overspending their ad budget.

Then, it’s time to check your conversion rates.

Again, Bing makes this look easy, as you can tell in the graph from above.

And Adwords does enable you to set up conversion tracking if you’ve set it up.

 

But unfortunately, the analytics don’t always display conversions accurately.

They often don’t accurately reflect the number of leads or amount of sales that you’ve actually generated.

Once you’ve double checked your metrics and verified your actual numbers, the process is pretty simple.

Just find out how many users completed the action you specified from each ad platform and then divide that number by how many clicks you got.

This will tell you whether you’re getting a good amount of conversions from your ads.

And then finally, take some time to make sure that you’re actually generating revenue from any of your ads.

 

Take your actual sales figures, find out how you made from each advertising effort, and then determine if you’ve actually made money from your advertising campaigns.

Once you’ve gathered and sifted through enough data, you’ll be in a position to decide if Bing Ads are worth continuing for your brand.

And whichever one you pick, I always recommend that you continually test and improve your conversion rate optimization techniques.

That way, you can keep capitalizing on the most successful ways of growing your business.

Conclusion

So are Bing Ads right for your brand?

It’s hard to say without looking at the numbers, which is why I recommend you simply go and test it out for yourself.

The Bing Network is surprisingly robust, and it can be misleading at face value.

But the millions of users that flock to Bing every year could be worth your time and money, so I absolutely recommend giving it a whirl.

Start by understanding your audience and their needs. The more you know, the better you can cater your ads to them.

Once you’ve evaluated your audience, you should also check to make sure Bing will be cost effective.

You don’t want to be too far in the red just from an experiment.

And when you’ve finally finished your homework, take the leap.

Create a Bing account and start importing or setting up your ad campaigns.

As long as you keep the parameters the same while you’re testing, you can get an accurate readout of whether Bing Ads are worth your efforts.

Just keep a close eye on those metrics, and don’t take everything you see at face value.

There are no shortcuts to knowing if Bing Ads will work for you, but it could be worth your while.

And you’ll never know if you don’t try.

How have you used Bing Ads for your business?

 

 

Hack Your Way to 10,000+ Podcast Downloads with These 15 Tips (2018)

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Today I am here to show you you the most incredible tips and tricks to boost your podcast downloads and skyrocket your traffic. Podcasters like Jeremy Ryan Slate are reaching 10,000 podcast downloads in a little over a month. Sound too good to be true? This guide will show you 15 simple hacks to grow your podcast to 10,000+ downloads or more. So whether you are just getting started pushing your podcast downloads or an old pro looking for some fuel, these tips will help you ignite the fire and get your voice into ears around the world.

Podcasts are starting to generate big bucks

Podcasts are going mainstream.

Big investments are starting to flow into podcasts, podcast networks, and studios over the last few years.

Gimlet Media has now raised $27M for its network with popular podcasts like Startup and Reply All.

If you don’t feel like podcasting has truly gone mainstream just yet, then you probably haven’t heard about the Gimlet Media story becoming a TV sitcom on ABC starring Zach Braff.

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Research estimates that there are between 250K and 425K podcasts available to listeners today.

It will continue to get harder and harder to get discovered in this medium when you compete against media and publishing powerhouses who are now investing significantly in podcasting.

You need an edge to be successful.

How you get that edge could make or break your podcast.

Audiences have more options than ever before. It’s your job to make them pick your podcast.

The problem is simple.

Many new podcasters don’t know how to use podcasting hacks to grow audiences and downloads.

You can’t turn off the mic, hit publish, and wait for the downloads to come streaming in–even if you have audiences on other platforms as I did.

Marketing School was able to get over a million downloads in just four months.

This is how we did it:

Where you are in your podcast journey will make a significant difference in the approaches you take to hack your way to more podcast downloads.

As I see it, there a three major phases of every podcast.

  • Pre-launch
  • Launch: The first eight weeks
  • Life after launch

Where are you in your podcasting journey?

With all the big bucks flowing into podcasting, it’s time to start hacking and start seeing downloads.

1. Begin with value before you ever launch

A few months before his death, Albert Einstein said this:

“Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.”

Mr. Einstein may not have been talking about content marketing. But his advice rings true for marketers.

The most successful podcasts deliver consistent value.

Take TedTalks, for example. They offer over 2,700 podcasts, all designed with an educational slant.

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The TED Radio Hour podcast is one of the top most-downloaded shows available today.

Consistently create and deliver valuable content listeners can count on from both your programming and your guests (if interviews are part of your podcast format).

Your audiences will show up if you do.

There are literally hundreds of other things that you can do to make your podcast a success.

Start by sketching out a list of potentially valuable interviews or episode themes.

Q&A sessions do well for episode topics in any area.

Find topics in your niche on AnswerthePublic.com or Quora that you or your guests can answer on your podcast.

Quora has over 190 million monthly users. That’s a deep research pool!

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2. Produce quality audio without the cost 

When it comes to audio and production quality, you have to sound like a professional every time.

The good news is that you don’t have to break the bank to produce a high-quality podcast, thanks to the multitude of cost-effective equipment options available to podcasters.

PodcastQuality

Five years ago you probably could have gotten away with using the speaker on your phone or recording your guest interviews on a cell phone.

Not today. Consumers will just find another podcast that sounds like it was created in a studio.

Many podcasters offer up lists for their favorite podcasting equipment and the best microphones.

Check out what some of your favorite podcasters are using and create your own wish list.

For example, Seth Feingersh, the audio engineer for Gary Vaynerchuk’s podcasts shares a running list of the equipment he prefers.

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It is much easier to deliver professional content when you’re working with professional tools.

3. Find the “super listeners”

96% of the most dedicated podcast fans recommend content to their friends and consume twice the content of the average listener.

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We call these people “super listeners.”

On average, they listen to about 13 podcasts per week and are generally “podcast loyalists”–subscribing rather than downloading individual episodes.

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So how do you attract them?

First, make it easy for them to subscribe to your content in a couple of clicks.

Second, offer in-depth content and consider building on it from episode to episode to keep them coming back.

And finally, create enough content to satiate their appetites for it.

4. Find guests that fit your niche

Securing guests can seem like a catch 22 in the beginning.

You can’t interview top-notch guests without an audience and you can’t build an audience without guests, right?

After all, size matters to big-name personalities who have a lot of requests for their time.

Thankfully, there are ways to get guests to commit, even before you’ve built up a big following.

How?

Look for the right people in the right places.

One way is to look for authors and experts with upcoming book releases or publications. There is nothing an author loves more than a podium to talk about their work.

Just make sure their subject matter aligns with yours.

If your community is their community, then you’ve already won half the battle in booking a guest for a podcast episode.

Amazon is an easy tool to help you find authors who may want to pitch their book.

Simply filter your book search by “coming soon” to see what topics are coming down the pike that fit your podcast.

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Tradeshows and conferences are another great recruiting venue. Take a look at the agenda and exhibitor list of experts that fit your niche.

As you secure guests, don’t forget to ask them for referrals to gain access to future speakers.

It only takes a few high-caliber guests to create a snowball effect.

Take author and entrepreneur James Altucher’s podcast, for example.

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His interviews are personable and offbeat, but more than anything, James makes it worthwhile for his guests to invest their time with him by giving them center stage.

As a result, guests are lining up to be on his show.

When I agree to appear as a guest on a program, I always make sure the podcast complements my own message and content before I say yes.

When Nathan Chan, the CEO of Foundr, asked me to be a guest on his podcast, I knew it was a good fit.

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Foundr is geared toward entrepreneurs and marketing professionals.

I was confident that I would add value as a guest of the show and that it would help me gain new followers in return.

It’s worth repeating: Podcast success always comes back to delivering specific value–to both your audience and the guests on your podcast.

Know who you should target for your guest list and then go after them without apology.

5. Brand with clarity

It’s better to be clear than clever with your podcast branding.

Your audience should be able to tell what your podcast is about by just looking at the cover art.

What do you notice about the featured list of podcasts from NPR?

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Simple descriptive titles?

Clear categories?

No crazy spellings of common English words?

All of the above.

Podcasting expert Jeff Haden offers this advice:

Definitely take the time to do the brand work. You need creative, well-executed cover art for your podcast because people scan the Apple podcast app to determine what they want to listen to next. Your goal is to stand out, so put real effort into the artwork that accompanies your content.

Don’t overthink your podcast branding. Help your audience find you quickly or they’ll give up and listen to what someone else has to say.

6. Be everywhere your audience downloads content

Before cable and streaming video services of your favorite television programming, if you produced a program, you sold it to one of the three broadcasting channels.

Today, you can syndicate your podcast on all of them at the same time.

Why would you want to do that?

We’ve already discussed that podcasting is growing.

You need your podcast to be front and center on every channel your audience uses to stream podcasts.

In the car, where many of us consume audio, AM/FM radio and personal media collections (primarily CDs) are giving up ground to media streamed through our smartphones.

Edison research data shows this rise in podcasting:

PodcastListening

At the same exact time traditional radio is dying:

RadioGiveAway

As consumers, we want what we want, and we want it right now.

No more suffering through annoying radio spots to get back to the programming we tuned in to hear.

We are slowly tuning out of radio and turning on our smartphones to deliver the content we want.

Podcasting is simply audio-on-demand.

Consumers demand choices, and among those choices are the major syndicates for media.

The large media and publishing companies that have dominated the airwaves for years are starting to embrace the podcasting trend.

They are shifting their programming and advertising spending to podcasting in an effort to not lose ground to the upstarts.

If you are going to win against big media and all of the other creators trying to get an edge, it starts with getting discovered.

If listeners can’t find you, then you don’t exist.

Start by leveraging visibility in the podcast directories for iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, and Google Play to get more downloads.

Stitcher

The way to get discovered in directories is to know how to play the discovery game.

You need listeners that care.

Kevin Kelly’s assertion that you only need 1,000 true fans to make a decent living as a creator is up for debate for podcasters using the popular crowdfunding support service Patreon.

The top twenty podcasters using the platform have built a large following of supporters and are successfully supporting their podcasts.

Podcasting can be another piece of your evergreen content marketing strategy. You don’t need an immediate ROI, but you do want to reach your ideal audience.

So, if you’re pre-launch or way past launch you will need a strategy to get listeners to become subscribers who will rate your podcast well and then review it.

I will discuss that in more detail later in this post.

First, have you heard of the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform?

If your campaign doesn’t get fully funded, you get nothing from those the people who pledged to back you as a creator.

It seems harsh, right?

It forces creators into a sense of urgency. Since your campaign has an end-date, you want to ensure that everyone discovers you and supports you during your brief campaign.

But only 36% of projects get backed.

So what does crowdfunding projects have to do podcasting?

Podcasts fail for the same reasons that Kickstarter campaigns don’t get funded.

They did not get enough people to care.

Publishing your podcast on a syndication platform won’t get you noticed. You have to do something notable first to get discovered.

Apple

Don’t just submit to the syndication platforms and wait to be noticed. Be worth noticing.

7. Hack to the top of Apple’s “New & Noteworthy”

As a new podcast, you have eight weeks to make the Apple New & Noteworthy list.

To get featured in time, you’ll need a podcast launch plan.

The algorithm Apple uses for the list is still relatively unclear, but the metrics that matter are around the velocity of subscriber growth, 5-star ratings, and reviews.

So how do you get more people to subscribe, rate, and review your podcast during those crucial first eight weeks?

First, don’t forget to email your subscriber list and invite them to listen.

Secondly, reach out to influencers and journalists in your niche and pitch the value of your podcast.

Ask if you can cross-promote with other podcasters.

Finally, create shareable snippets to get the word out on your social media channels.

Wavve does an excellent job of creating buzz in their social networks about their upcoming podcast episodes.

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8. Friend of a friend

Don’t forget to leverage the audiences of your guests.

It’s free marketing.

To take advantage of it, podcasters need to make it easy for guests to share episodes with their email lists and social networks.

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Getting introduced to their networks opens up your podcast to new listeners and potential new subscribers.

If you’re attracting audiences that fit your niche, it stands to reason that their audiences will also enjoy your content.

Grant, from Millennial Money Minutes, knows how to leverage guest networks. His advice:

We’ve tried to interview guests who have their own networks in our niche, so when the episode goes live, they share us within their network – so since we are all in the personal finance space, it gives us very targeted exposure. It’s not a random guest – we always interview guests who always have a following that will align with ours.

Sharing is caring, friends.

It shows that you are interested in helping your guest grow their personal brand as well as your own.

9. Contribute to the tribe

Being a valuable contributor to online communities will expand the reach of your potential podcast audience.

How do you find the right ones?

Communities like Facebook and LinkedIn groups, online forums, and other digital congregations are great places to find an audience.

LinkedInGroups

Spend some time observing to see what group members are talking about.

Can you contribute to the discussion? Great!

Jump in with both feet.

There are even communities just for podcasters to gain insight on how to better interact with their peer groups and audiences.

10. Leverage your social network

Promoting your podcast through social channels like Twitter is a valuable way to traffic back to your podcast, website, or syndication application.

We promote our daily Marketing School podcast on Twitter.

And don’t forget about that “friends of friends” hack.

Influencers will also promote relevant content through their social feeds for you if you ask (and offer a promotion in return).

11. Inspire your audience to take action

I talked earlier about the importance of helping your audience subscribe, rate, and review your podcast.

Apple makes it simple for your audiences to do all three through simple, timely popups.

SubscribeRateReview

Leaving a rating separates the good content from the great content quickly and with an easy visual (stars).

Don’t be bashful about asking your audience members to leave a 5-star rating.

It will help your podcast with that coveted “new and noteworthy” ranking.

Get creative when you ask for reviews.

Offer swag giveaways or run contests as an incentive for your audience to spend their time on a review for you.

12. Show up again and again and again

People expect you to produce new valuable podcast content consistently.

If you call your show a “daily podcast,” then produce every day.

We always produce new episodes well ahead of the daily commitment that we have made to our audience to keep the content well from running dry.

If you turned on the TV for the big game and the players just decided not to show up to play, what would you think?

Don’t leave your audience hanging.

Commit to a schedule and keep your content delivery promises.

13. Improve your interviewing skills with practice

First of all, know that it takes a lot of experience to be a better interviewer.

It doesn’t happen overnight.

You have to interview people to gain experience and get better at the process.

Pat Flynn has been interviewing guests on his podcast since 2010.

Needless to say, he has a ton of practice interviewing guests of all kinds.

PatFlynn

Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your early interviews to podcasters who have more experience than you do, but watch experienced interviewers and learn from them.

14. Interview swap

Booking guests can be a chore.

Just like any other chore, there are services you can enlist to alleviate the burden.

Companies like Interview Valet and Interview Connections can help make the process a little easier to find and book guests for a podcast.

InterviewValet

Some companies, like Interview Valet, connect potential guests with podcast hosts for a fee, but it is a worthwhile investment if you want to keep your focus on content instead of administrative tasks.

15. Get ranked in search

Every podcast needs a home base.

It’s a separate site outside of the syndication platforms where you can grow your audience engagement.

Ranking for SEO with your podcast follows the same principles as ranking for your blog or web pages–it comes down to good writing to engage readers and following search engine best practices.

Creating thoughtful show notes is just one of the ways to improve your SEO for podcast content.

As a bonus, it will also help your guest’s SEO ranking after their interview with you.

BetterNotes

Just like with your podcast branding, be descriptive and straightforward in your notes so your audiences can easily find you.

Conclusion

Hanging out your shingle in the podcast directories and chanting “Produce it and they will come!” is not going to cut it in an ultra-competitive market.

Take blogging for example.

You know you have stiff competition in the blogosphere, right?

It hasn’t stopped you from consistently writing blogs even though there are millions of unique voices typing away right now.

Your podcast is your chance to be heard.

Literally heard.

Make it count.

It takes work–especially if you want to produce quality content for your audience. There is a reason that so many podcasts fail so quickly.

Be the exception.

If you want more downloads and subscriber engagement, you need to do more than turn on the mic and start talking.

The majority will give up too soon.

They will skip a few steps, cut a few corners, and ignore those who have found success before them.

I built an audience of true fans who showed up via a million downloads in four months at the Marketing School podcast.

Now it’s your turn to put the 15 hacks above into action.

What strategies have helped you improve your podcast downloads and grow your audience?

 

 

Top 2 Affiliate Programs with Lifetime Commissions for Maximum Steady Income (2018)





Have you been considering adding affiliate programs to your online business but clueless about how to go about it? Perhaps you are at a loss as to which affiliate program will be worthwhile. This article will shed light on some of the best affiliate programs that will guarantee you residual income for life. Below are the Top 2 affiliate programs with lifetime commissions. This is just a quick overview over the 2 best affiliate programs I earn the most from.

 

1. SEMrush

SEMrush is a company that specializes in digital marketing. It has effective tools that can be deployed for keyword research, competitors’ analysis, advertising research, and Longtail keyword research. As a result, it is a popular company among online marketers. SEMrush is a friend to any blogger or website owner who is keen on taking his site to Google Page 1.
For more information, see my SEMrush review

SEMrush Affiliate program

SEMrush affiliate program is known as Berush. This affiliate program is a revenue sharing program. As an affiliate, you are entitled to a commission when a visitor to your site clicks a reference link to semrush.com and makes a purchase.

The Berush team provides promo materials in five different languages to help you succeed in this program. As an affiliate, you can receive 40% commission on your referrals. SEMrush is, therefore, one of the top 14 affiliate programs with lifetime commissions. You earn commission for life so long as the customer you refer to them remains with them.
To join the Berush affiliate program, click here.

As you may have been aware, I get paid for some products and services that I write about on this website through affiliate relationships with the merchants in that I review their products. If you click on the links and purchase any of the products, I get rewarded with some commissions for my efforts.

However, that does not in any way influence my personal opinion of the products. I always try to give my sincere opinion of the products I review after extensive research on them.

I review each product believing it would be really useful to you. The merchants/advertisers do not directly pay me anything for reviewing the products; I only receive some commissions if you buy through my link – a little reward for my efforts.

 

2. AWE Affiliate

CLICK HERE TO CALCULATE YOUR  INCOME

 

Tiered Lifetime Revenue Share:

Earn 35-45% from the lifetime spending of an account if the user is new to our site network. The account will be tied to your affiliate ID on a database level and you will earn commission after their credit purchases from the site you referred them to. If you refer a user that is not new in our network and has not been tied to any AWE affiliates previously via LIFETIME+ or PPS, you will receive 35-45% commission based on the credit purchases they make with your affiliate cookie, tracked via a 14 day cookie.

Webmaster Referrals (2 Tier):

Refer webmasters to AWE and you will earn up to 36% based on their sales. Have these people refer any affiliate or member, and make up to 18%.

Example:

Cam model referrals:

As of 1 June 2012 our cam model referral system works on an opt-in basis. Click here to apply to our cam model referral program to opt in. Refer cam models, and earn up to 36% of their earnings!

CLICK HERE TO JOIN

 

As always, I’d love to hear any comments or questions that you might have in regards to increasing affiliate commissions on Amazon. Do you have any other tactics that you use that I haven’t mentioned here? Let us all know!

 

4 Social Media Hacks You Overlooked That Will Skyrocket Your Website Traffic (for ‘Webmasters only) 2018





The growth of 21st-century businesses owes a lot to social media. If it weren’t for social media, my brand would not be what it is today. Why? Because these modern platforms have been pivotal for outreach, engagement, and development of authority. There are millions of businesses out there. Social media makes them accessible. It also separates the “weak” from the strong. Digital presence is important. But what’s more important is knowing what the best methods are to leverage that presence in your favor.

If you aren’t sure whether your social media methods are working, you are not alone.

In fact, a recent study has shown that 45.9% of small business owners are unsure if their marketing strategies work.

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A further 16.6% reported that they know their strategies do not work.

That’s a whopping 62.5% of business owners in total that are not confident in their methods.

Even the best of us remember those days. I sure do.

But I soon recognized the importance of getting the greatest return on my investment when it comes to social media.

Whether that’s in the time I invested, resources I invested, or other’s time and resources invested in digesting my own work.

If I had not recognized this and done what’s needed to get the most out of each of those, I doubt my brand would have the impact it does today.

So, how do you separate yourself from the pack?

Optimize your social media use with hacks you have overlooked in the past.

What effect will this have on your business?

Measurable impact that will skyrocket the traffic to your site.

The potential of your social media is only untapped because nobody has taught you the most useful ways to harness it.

Until now.

1. Measure the analytics of your social media use

Progress is not made until you know what’s working and what isn’t, right?

Nearly 75% of small businesses are planning to use social media as part of their marketing tactics in 2018.

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Collective efforts may likely be futile if the right data is not properly gauged.

Let’s tackle this by focusing on how to gather analytics for your social media accounts.

I suggest initially establishing which metrics are most relevant to your specific business.

The next step is choosing which service to use to analyze the metrics you have just laid out.

While there are several freemium and premium options available to track and analyze your social media marketing, I am going to elaborate on a favorite of mine.

I admit it. I love data. The more, the better.

Cyfe is a comprehensive business dashboard that tracks all sorts of relevant data.

This will be of use to determine what is and isn’t having a direct effect on driving traffic to your site.

This is an important part of finding what provides a true value return in your social media.

Here’s an overview of what the social media tracking portion of Cyfe offers:

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It will show you relevant insight into metrics, engagement, and even measure your return on investment (ROI) of your social media use.

This is just one of nine separate individual dashboards Cyfe offers to track. You can click through to get an idea of what the full package provides.

For this, I’m only focusing on how it will help measure your social media efforts.

While there is a premium subscription option of $20 per month, there is a free version you can use to get a feel for things without making any commitments.

Let’s sign up.

First, go to www.cyfe.com and locate the “sign up” button, in one of two places:

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Both buttons require you to provide the same information.

Enter your name in the designated area. Next, enter your professional email. Finally, choose a secure password.

Pretty simple, right?

I suggest recording your login information in a safe place, although account information may be recovered if needed.

Click the “sign up” button and get started.

You will start off with a blank board, directing you to get started by adding the widget relevant to what data you wish to track.

Click where it designates, seen here:

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A window will show in your browser, listing neatly organized widgets. It opens to the featured list.

You will become familiar with which widgets are right for the metrics you wish to measure as you explore different options.

Here are the categories I suggest starting with that will help track your social media use and its effect on your traffic:

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Monitoring and site analytics will generate real-time data and provide insight into how users are reacting to your content.

This will make it easy to know what content they respond best to and how much your traffic increases as you implement these hacks.

The social media section will manage individual analytics for each of your social media accounts. This will make it easy to collect relevant data.

Add whichever ones you feel are relevant to the metrics you laid out.

Use this service to track what does and doesn’t get the ROI you are looking for. It does the math for you.

Attaching a dollar amount to your social media efforts is essential in today’s digital world.

Just see what Arizona-based bicycle manufacturer, State Bicycle Co found.

They discovered 12% of their website traffic comes from Facebook. That’s a fifth of the cost per click compared to other channels that they use.

The best part?

$500,000 of sales came from Facebook coupon codes.

Now, let’s switch gears.

2. Use plugins to harness the power of mobile sharing

So, what’s the next step?

Giving your audience the ability to share your content easily and quickly without compromising design and usability.

Since the start of 2018, it’s reported that there are 3.196 billion active online social media users worldwide. This is up 13% year-over-year.

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Of 5.135 billion unique mobile users worldwide, 2.958 billion are active mobile social users.

Meaning, 57.6% of all worldwide mobile users are active social media users.

Mobile users also outrank Internet users by over one billion. That’s a whole lot of zeros.

What I am getting across here is not only the sheer magnitude of active social media users.

It’s also how many are mobile users. Which is the majority.

Why is this relevant?

Sharing content is more often conducted by mobile users rather than Internet users.

We know this because it’s projected that 70% of digital media time is mobile.

This means that the approach to how your audience can share your content should always cater to mobile users.

Especially considering 95% of adults in the US have a cell phone of some type.

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Over three-fourths of those are smartphones.

I have said before that the harder it is for an audience to share your content, the less likely they will.

To set yourself up for success, use plugins on your blog to make sure your content can be easily shared across any device.

But especially mobile.

A majority of social share buttons that float to the side of content are either lost offscreen or cover your content’s text when read on mobile devices.

Take a look at these social icons on mobile compared to desktop.

Mobile

floating mobile

Desktop

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Nobody is going to read what they can’t see on mobile, right?

My favorite plugin that solved this issue and helps promote content sharing across any device is Warfare Plugins.

This is a WordPress plug-in launched in 2014 that offers three options: free, pro, and affiliate.

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To begin installation of this plugin to your site, let’s go for the free version first to see if you like it as much as I do.

First, go to www.warfareplugins.com/products/ as seen above.

Next, click on the “VIEW” button seen under Social Warfare of the three options.

This will take you to the landing page for the free version of Warfare’s plug-in. Scroll down, just a little, and you will see this:

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To the right, you will see License Options.

Underneath that is a button that says, “FREE DOWNLOAD.”

Click on this button, and it will redirect you to the official WordPress site where the free version of Social Warfare is hosted.

When you are ready to download, click here:

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A pop-up will show saying that you have chosen to open social-warfare.2.3.5.zip. This is the name the current version of the program.

Select the option to save the zip file and press OK.

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After you have the file saved and have located it, you are ready to complete the installation directions outlined by the developers.

Once installed, you will be able to use the Social Warfare plugin to optimize and customize content shares across any device.

You will even be able to collect individual analytics per post, courtesy of their data-tracking for each piece of content.

81% of marketers plan to increase their use of original written content because it is key to constant traffic from new and existing subscribers.

3. Manage a successful social media editorial calendar

Now that you are tracking metrics important to your company and have made your content easily shareable for mobile users, let’s shift our focus to scheduling.

I want to make this clear: knowing the equation of what can make content viral is only half of what it takes to have an actual impact in making content go viral.

The other portion is timing.

And consistency in both quality and posting timeframes.

Staying committed to a solid approach will increase your skill and impact year after year.

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Social media and messaging accounts for 1 in every 3 minutes users spend on the Internet.

This means there is ample opportunity to capitalize on the attention users are willing to give to social media.

This also means that you must keep the content you share current, consistent, and maintain a standard of quality.

First, you need to set up your calendar.

One of my personal favorite ways to do this is a mixture of a Google spreadsheet, Google Calendar, and Trello.

Trello even built this social media editorial calendar template.

Screen Shot 2018 04 17 at 10.16.58 AM

Check out how these three services are synergistic to each other with step-by-step directions in setting up your editorial calendar.

Proper use of these tools will help make you a powerful influencer.

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Now that you have a functioning system on hand, I am going to show you how to cater it to social media and generate loads of traffic to your site.

Of over 400 social media leaders interviewed, a resounding 84% track and measure the effectiveness of their efforts in utilizing social media.

29% are still attempting to prove and/or justify that using social media translates to actual value.

It’s a matter of understanding how often to post and what material to share with your followers.

Sharing at the right frequency with quality content, consistently delivered.

This is ultimately what gets any of us top marketers the most traffic to our sites.

This will streamline your process and ensure your content engages users and spikes traffic.

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Research on 14 different studies conducted has compiled the average of how often and what time to post on leading social media sites.

Here are the stats:

  • Facebook: 1-2 posts per day between 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
    • Bonus: Curate or reshare a post every other day.
  • Twitter: 1-51 tweets per day between 2:00 AM – 10:00 PM
    • Bonus: Retweet or curate around seven tweets a day.
  • Pinterest: 3-30 pins per day, with one pin every hour between 2:00 AM – 4:00 AM, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM, and 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM
    • Bonus: Repin or curate a minimum of five pieces of content from others every day. Some even suggest that 80% of pins shared should be from sources other than your own blog.
  • LinkedIn: 0-1 posts per day between 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
    • Bonus: Curate or reshare a post every other day.
  • Google+: 0-3 posts per day between 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM and 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
    • Bonus: Curate or reshare one post every other day.
  • Instagram: 1-3 posts per day between 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM and at 2:00 AM
    • Bonus: Only curate posts when necessary and if it is beneficial to your audience.

Make sure that your content is engaging, one-of-a-kind, and relevant.

This will optimize your interaction with followers and drive the right traffic to your site.

Buffer is an ideal example. They increased their blog visits to 1.5 million with social media posts like this.

Driving traffic and generating leads is the biggest content challenge, according to 63% of marketers.

4. Launch original content, data, and executive insights

I have shown you how to hack into your social media, use plugins to make your content shareable, and how and when to manage your social media editorial calendar.

So, what’s left?

The final trick is publishing content that performs better than anyone else’s.

Because, let’s face it.

There are over eight billion gigabytes of data uploaded and downloaded every year.

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This essentially equates to one gigabyte of data for every human being on Earth every year and growing.

This is a 300% increase in growth in only three years and it’s only just started.

It’s projected that by 2025, 463 billion gigabytes of new data will get created every day.

Wow, right?

That’s staggering.

I’d go so far as to say mind-boggling.

How in the world are we supposed to stay competitive when the markets flood with so much data at such high rates?

Easy. You don’t stay competitive.

Instead, you lead.

Like Pillsbury did with their Crescent-Wrapped Chicken Parmesan video. This video has over 1 million shares since January 2017.

Or, consider how Wendy’s got the most retweeted Tweet in history with help from Carter Wilkerson.

 

Creating content as compelling as this gives others a choice: to compete or not compete. No other way around.

86% of leading B2C marketers use content marketing.

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For B2B, it’s even higher – 91%.

Position yourself as an authority in your industry.

If you don’t, someone else will.

It’s calculated that content leaders who are a voice of authority in their field receive 7.8 times more traffic than those who don’t.

After all, that’s why you came here, isn’t it?

Curating your own, original content that utilizes the social media hacks I have outlined for you is what will ultimately set you apart from the pack.

Easier said than done is what I have heard a lot of in the past.

I am here to burst that bubble. In fact, that’s what a lot of the material I have written over the years aims to do.

No, really.

I have written an outrageous amount of original content telling others how to write their own original content. Just take a look at this.

And, for good measure, here is a video on how to write engaging content for boring industries:

 

Better content has the potential to drive traffic to a blog by up to 2,000%.

Sure, you’ll need to invest your time (if you’ve got the skill set) and/or resources (if you’d rather outsource), but is it worth it?

Yes.

Yes.

Say it with me.

Yes, it is.

Conclusion

Social media is the first invention to unify brands directly with consumers.

So, it’s no wonder there’s such an influx of business owners searching for ways to ensure their social media efforts return the greatest ROI and boost their site’s traffic.

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In this article, I outlined four hacks you may have overlooked that will have direct, positive impact on the traffic your website brings in.

First, I walked you through a step-by-step process on how to get Cyfe ready to track relevant metrics and analytics for your content.

This is important because you must know what is and isn’t working in order to know which methods are worth your time and which ones need a different approach.

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Second, I explained why optimizing for mobile users is so necessary.

Third, I outlined how to manage a successful social media editorial calendar.

This will keep your content publishing organized, consistent, and reliable while optimizing the amount of interaction your social media use receives every time you post.

Fourth, I put into perspective how much data consumption there is and why it is so important to position yourself as a voice of authority.

Every single one of these social media hacks has a common denominator.

Driving engaged traffic to your site.

The happier your followers, users, and clients are, the happier you’ll be.

This is a fundamental truth when it comes to business.

One that I operate by still to this day and always will.

Which social media hacks have you used to skyrocket your traffic?

 

 

16 Entrepreneur Strategies to Keep Your Small Business Organized in 2018 / 2019 and Beyond

entrepreneur-small-business-organization




Entrepreneurs often face difficulties starting their Business the organized way. If you’re looking to grow your business in 2018 and beyond, you need to get started in the right way. To get the massive growth you’re hoping for the coming years, you should make sure your business is organized. This is easier for a large business and a huge budget — and hundreds (or thousands) of employees — plus plenty of time to dedicate to staying organized. But how can you make sure your small business is in order when you’re strapped for cash and you only have a few employees?

Well, I’ve been there before.

I know the pain of fighting desperately against the disorganization that affects every small business.

And I know that even if you’re using the best tools to grow your business, success can lag if you aren’t putting the right things in place to make sure you’re growing.

Here’s how to stay organized in 2018 and beyond.

1. Manage your office space and storage

To get started, you need to make sure your physical surroundings are neat and organized.

This ensures that you’re able to perform at your highest level. In many ways, the organization of your entire company is determined by how organized your desk is.

To start with, make sure everything has a specific place, even if that place is in a pile of papers on your desk.

To make the best use of this space, Bellevue Business Journal recommends using vertical storage opportunities to improve your workflow and efficiency.

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Since paperwork tends to consume a lot of the time and resources of most modern office workers, you should consider storing this offsite.

This means you’ll spend less time managing your documents, and you can be sure they’re safe and protected better than you could do yourself.

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If this isn’t exactly your style of working, however, I’ll show you another method that can help reduce your paper workload in a minute.

2. Keep track of customer support

Your loyal customers are the heart of your business.

While they take up a lot of your time and resources, it’s time well spent to keep them happy and pleased with the services you have to offer.

To make sure you’re reaching them effectively, consider using a program like Groove that allows you to manage your customer tickets effectively.

groove ticket inspector cropped f495c379535182fe435ea930207e2f4c

This allows you to spend less time managing customers and more time improving your product and business systems.

It’s important to automate your system, but it’s a bad idea to automate your relationships with customers.

Use software like Groove that allows your employees to strengthen your relationship with your customers, but don’t try to automate the process.

This will only leave you feeling frustrated when customers leave you behind for competitors that treat them better.

Instead, make it easy to treat your customers with world-class service and they’ll reward you with continual business and referrals.

3. Plan your social media campaigns in advance

If you’re running a social media marketing campaign on a budget, you need to reduce the time you’re spending keeping things online.

Instead of wasting time publishing posts every few hours, you should schedule things beforehand.

This simple organization technique will save you countless hours and help you improve your efficiency and productivity.

There’s also another technique that can take things to the next level. Instead of just writing social media posts for the next few days, why not let a tool publish them for you?

Meet Edgar is a great way to manage your content beforehand, allowing you to write social media updates once, and then have them sent out multiple times afterward.

Edgar s Social Media Scheduling Features MeetEdgar

This is a great way to keep things organized without repeating yourself by constantly updating your social feeds.

4. Manage your expense receipts

If you’ve been running your small business for any length of time, you know how frustrating it can be to manage all your expense reports.

They’re a hassle to track and record, but they need to be managed so you can stay up to date with taxes and ensure your finances are in order.

You can’t just put them off when more important work comes up, though. You should track each purchase and transaction weekly.

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The solution?

Use software like Expensify that does all the work, keeping your expenses organized and recorded so you can focus on the things that really matter.

Expensify Expense reports that don t suck

And speaking of letting software handle your paperwork, you can extend this to other areas of your business for stellar results.

5. Go paperless

If you want to reduce the clutter and management that are associated with all the papers you need to keep up with, it might be time to go paperless.

This means that, instead of keeping track of dozens of files and folders all the time, you just reduce everything to digital scans of the most important documents.

If you’re going to try this, you need a way to quickly scan documents on the fly so you don’t struggle to keep up with the workload.

CamScanner is a great app for scanning your bills and other papers quickly and easily.

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CamScanner allows you to keep the files in the app, but you can also transfer them to your computer.

If you need to share these files with a team of individuals, I recommend keeping your archived files in a program like Dropbox.

Dropbox Business

This ensures that everyone in your small business is up to date with the most recent documents, but you don’t have to worry about extensive file management offline.

6. Organize your passwords

If you’re like most people, you have one of two systems for managing your passwords.

Either you use the same password all the time for different websites, or you constantly forget the passwords you’ve set for each site.

Instead of either of these, I recommend a third system: letting an app handle your passwords for you.

Yes, you can do this automatically in a browser like Chrome. But unfortunately, this isn’t completely safe, as anyone who has access to your computer can use them.

Instead, I recommend using 1Password to manage your passwords. This is a program that stores your passwords together in the mobile and desktop app.

1Password 1

Unlike Chrome’s autofill feature, however, you must enter a single password to access the other passwords.

This is a series of a few words, which is easy to remember, but nearly impossible to hack.

Here’s how it works. Let’s say you need to log in to your account on Stripe. You would go to the Stripe login page.

Stripe Login 2

You can either click the 1Password icon in Chrome, or you can enter the keyboard shortcut Command + \.

This brings up the 1Password form, where you’ll enter the word-based password that gives you access to other passwords.

Stripe Login

1Password then auto-fills Stripe with your login information and saved passwords. It also logs you in automatically, so it’s one less click you need to make.

Stripe Login 1

1Password will store information for a variety of accounts.

The best part is that every site can have a complex, unique password, but you can access them all with your single phrase.

In fact, 1Password will even generate a random, high-security password if you want it to.

1Password

This means less of your memory is dedicated to passwords, and you can get more done by working efficiently and keeping your logins organized.

7. Improve your workspace for increased productivity

If you’re going to make progress with your business, you need to create an environment that supports that vision.

There are a few proven techniques that can help you get more out of your workspace.

Believe it or not, by adding a few plants around your office, you can increase productivity by 15% through improved concentration.

You’ll also get a boost by using a standing desk and cleaning up your cables.

These techniques help you stay energized and focused without the distractions that come from a cluttered workplace.

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They may only take a few minutes, but even small changes that improve your productivity can make a huge difference in how organized and productive your small business is.

8. Keep track of notes in the cloud

If you write notes, to-do items, ideas, and contact information on scraps of paper or whatever’s closest, it’s time to get more organized.

While you probably already know that Evernote is a great way to do this, you should start implementing it immediately.

Get organized Work smarter Remember everything Evernote

To make Evernote work best, you need to decide which philosophy you’ll apply.

Will you record everything there, and then use the search feature to find your notes later?

Or will you carefully place your notes in folders and use tags and headings to make sure you know what’s in the program?

Either of these is a valid option. The key is to create a system that works for you and then keep using it.

9. Keep your computer’s desktop organized

Just like your physical desk should be clean and in order to help you stay organized and get work done, your digital desktop should be clean and organized, too.

A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t see your desktop background, you should work to reduce and remove the items cluttering your computer.

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Once you’ve cleaned up your main screen, consider eliminating your downloaded files and removing any links or other files you aren’t using.

If you like, you can even clean out your trash and save some hard drive space.

This is a great way to provide a refreshing look at your work processes that will help you stay organized.

10. Improve your scheduling system

If you have frequent meetings, video chats, or windows for others to schedule times to work with you, you need a way to manage those time blocks effectively.

Most people tend to use back-and-forth emailing and calendar invites to schedule events like this.

But the continuous adjustment of schedules can be taxing and a waste of time. Instead, find a perfect time to meet using a program like Calendly.

Calendly lets others schedule a time to work with you, so you don’t need to message back and forth at all.

Calendly Scheduling appointments and meetings is super easy with Calendly

It’s a simple way to stay in contact with others without the confusion that usually accompanies scheduling hassles.

11. Track your time effectively

If you’re a freelancer, you know the importance of tracking your billable hours.

But even if you don’t need to track hours to ensure you get paid, it’s a good idea to start using a program like Toggl.

Toggl is a quick and easy way to track your time, which can be helpful for any small business owner.

Toggl Features calculate work hours billable hours employee timesheets

By creating separate projects and tasks in Toggl, you can easily keep track of the hours you’re putting in to reach your most important goals.

Instead of wondering why you haven’t met the benchmarks you set earlier, you can use Toggl to stay organized and track how you’re spending your most valuable resource — your time.

12. Keep track of invoices and payments

Every small business needs to manage payments, invoicing, and billing. This is a critical set of tasks that keeps the business alive, but it can be a struggle to keep everything organized.

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Instead of constantly working to make sure this is effective for you, consider using a program like FreshBooks to handle your invoices.

Invoice and Accounting Software for Small Businesses FreshBooks

Remember, the vast majority of the payment information you need to manage doesn’t directly affect the quality of your work or appeal to your core competencies.

For any of these types of administrative tasks, direct them to software to save time for yourself.

The fewer tasks you need to complete in a day, the more you can focus on the areas that really appeal to you and help you to accomplish what you need.

13. Plan ahead for quarterly taxes

If your business is based in the United States, you’ll need to make sure you pay the quarterly taxes that are due every few months.

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Even if you’re not based in the U.S., however, you need to stay updated on the tax policies for your country and region.

This isn’t just something you should think about organizing.

If you aren’t in compliance with the tax regulations where you live, you could end up paying fines or even being shut down.

To make sure you’re staying up with the taxes and paying the amounts that are due at different times, look into a service like inDinero.

Learn How inDinero Can Work as Your New Back Office

It will guide you to ensure you’re keeping up with your taxes without spending too much time staying organized with the requirements for your locality.

14. Tame your email inbox

If your inbox is overflowing with unread emails, it can be frustrating and it might consume far too much of your time.

You’ll be more successful with your small business if you reduce this to a low number of important emails and clean out your inbox regularly.

Productivity expert Brian Tracy recommends keeping a clean email inbox, deleting your junk emails, and only saving the ones you’ll need again.

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If you struggle to manage your inbox effectively, you can try Inbox by Gmail. This app bundles different types of emails together.

That means you can quickly see your social updates, purchase receipts, or trip itineraries without sifting through important personal and work emails.

Inbox stephen g roe gmail com

By skimming the less important emails, you can work through your inbox even more quickly.

This is one of a lot of different tools that can help reduce the time you spend sending and receiving emails, and it will save you plenty of hours while keeping you more organized.

 

15. Clean up your reading list

If you’re like a lot of entrepreneurs, you’re constantly finding articles you know will help you grow your business and increase your revenue and conversions.

If you don’t have the time to read the article, however, you probably store it somewhere else, like as a bookmark in your browser or by emailing it to yourself.

If that’s the case, you’ll want to change this unwieldy list of articles into something you can easily manage.

I recommend Pocket, which helps you keep track of articles and videos you want to read or watch later. It’s a simple system that keeps interesting articles you save.

Pocket My List

To use it, you’ll want to first find an article that looks interesting. If you install the Pocket Chrome extension, you’ll need to click it in the browser window.

In the drop-down menu that appears, you can add a tag and see related articles that others have saved to read later.

Instantly, the new article you save will appear in your main list of pieces to read on Pocket.

Pocket My List 1

Even better, the articles you save on Pocket are available to read on all your devices. This makes it easy to keep reading on your phone when you’re traveling.

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Having a reading list of articles on Pocket allows you to quickly save interesting pieces without creating a messy list somewhere on your computer.

If you do a lot of reading online, it’s a great way to organize your reading material and keep it available to access on all your devices.

16. Reduce your physical paper storage

I mentioned earlier that paperwork is a huge frustration for many small business owners.

You can reduce the amount of time you spend managing paperwork by first creating an organization system for your workplace.

If you like, you can take your paper management from an in-house task to something another company does for you.

If neither of those sounds like an appealing option   , all hope isn’t lost. Start by organizing your stored documents in a logical order.

Be sure to keep your most important papers close by for easy access.

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For any papers you don’t need anymore, you should get rid of them. The more papers you get rid of, the less space you’ll need to worry about.

This is the single most effective way to keep your papers organized without extensive management systems. Simply throw away what isn’t needed.

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If you keep important files and documents that can’t be thrown away, consider using a service like Shred-It to destroy your documents.

This is a great way to stay secure and reduce the workload and hassle associated with the papers you need to manage on a daily basis.

Paper Shredding Document Destruction Services Shred it

The fewer pieces you need to worry about in your small business’s organizational system, the more you’ll be able to focus on what matters most to your business.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to grow your business in 2018 and beyond, you need to make sure you’re organized to handle the inevitable growth you should expect to see.

In order to do that, you need to make sure your finances are in order. Be sure to track your expense receipts and transactions.

Ensure you’re ready for any taxes that need to be paid during the course of the year.

If your finances are organized, you need to make sure your office space is organized, too. Use some proven methods for boosting productivity by organizing your storage space.

And while it might not be a solution for everyone, considering going paperless. Store all your documents in the cloud, and shred the extra papers cluttering your workspace.

Your time is one of your most precious commodities as a small business owner, so make sure it’s organized with time tracking and scheduling.

Look to reduce your tasks by improving your email workflow, managing your reading list, and keeping your notes, passwords, and desktop organized.

Finally, automate your marketing campaigns and keep a process in place to handle customer relations and support.

What strategies will you use to keep your small business organized?

 

 

Social Media Followers Boosting (Without Creating Content) – for Influencers only 2018

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What’s your Instagram / Facebook / Twitter Social Media Follower Count? Whether you like it or not, people do look at your follower numbers. Other users consider your numbers when deciding whether they should follow you or not. Influencers look at your numbers to determine if you’re worth partnering with. You probably look at your numbers to determine whether you’re succeeding as a brand. Even though a high number isn’t necessarily reflective of the quality of your brand or content, your numbers do matter.

So how do you grow your following?

It’s the million-dollar question that everyone wants the answer to. So I’m going to answer it today.

Why is it so hard to build followers on social media?

There’s usually one big piece of advice that most marketers will give when someone asks, “How do I get more social media followers?”

It’s this: Produce more content.

While content is a great way to grow your influence on social media, it’s not a perfect strategy.

Social audiences can be fickle when it comes to content. If you’re not posting exactly what they want, they probably won’t engage with you.

Researchers at Rutgers University found that there are only nine types of content you can produce:

6 Research Backed Ways To Get More Followers On Any Social Media

But when you boil it down, these content categories leave you with just two options:

-You can talk about yourself, which makes you what Rutgers calls a “Meformer.”

-Or, you can share information that benefits others, which makes you an “Informer.”

Your brand is either about self-promotion or about giving back to the community.

Can you guess which one is the most successful for social media growth in the long run?

Yeah, you guessed right. Informing is the long-term winner.

6 Research Backed Ways To Get More Followers On Any Social Media2

That’s because most people these days (especially younger social users) want value out of the brands they follow.

They’re not following a brand so they can see sales pitches all day long. They’re in it because they believe in what a brand has to offer.

So what does that say about getting more followers?

It means that it’s not about the type of content you’re producing. It’s about who you are as a brand.

You need to grow your social following in a way that says, “Hey, we’re trustworthy and reliable.”

But that doesn’t mean relying solely on organic traffic.

Here’s how to build up an authentic social media following using strategies that actually work.

1. Make your brand follow-worthy

People today want to find meaning in the brands they follow.

It’s not enough to have flashy ads or a ton of content. If you’re inauthentic or sleazy in your approach to marketing, you won’t get very far.

Millennials, for example, are some of the most brand-loyal followers you can get:

COTD 15 Aug 2017 BLOG

But they can also be a difficult “catch.”

Millennials tend to follow brands that have some sort of social impact.

In a 2015 study from Nielson, 73% of millennials they surveyed indicated that they would be willing to spend more on a product if it came from a sustainable brand.

Additionally, 81% expected their favorite brands to be socially responsible.

When Sprout Socials released its “Championing Change in the Age of Social Media” report, they found that the majority of social media users wanted brands to speak out on social and political issues.

sprout social championing change eileen brown zdnet

So what does this mean for you?

For starters, it simply means that if you want to build an impact with younger audiences, you have to find a way to engage with them on their level.

Whether that means tweeting at your Congressperson or not is up to you.

But start cultivating a brand image that says, “We care.

2. Follow other brands, influencers, and users

As a practical step, following other socially-conscious brands is a good place to start.

You want to avoid the whole “follow/unfollow” game, though. You don’t want to follow people just to get follows back and then unfollow them.

It’s pretty obvious when this is happening because you’ll see a disproportionately high number under “following” with a lower number of followers.

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The whole point of growing your social following is to get real, authentic people to engage with your brand.

So you don’t just want to subscribe to a ton of brands with no purpose.

Instead, break down your search for users into three distinct categories:

  • People you know
  • People you sort of know
  • People you probably should know

Most social sites will give you recommendations for people you may know or for brands that might appeal to you based on who you already follow.

Twitter’s algorithm is usually pretty good at finding users who are likely to engage with you, so take advantage of this feature whenever you’re on your account.

For instance, it might recommend other accounts you should follow based on your own tweets:

screenshot recs

When you get recommendations like this, follow them.

But then send a quick message to a few of the people you follow (you don’t have to message all of them, just choose a few).

Say hi, let them know why you followed, and start forming a relationship with that influencer.

This will give you some credibility with their audience while you’re establishing your following.

You can also use a tool like Tweepi (for Twitter) to see suggested followers who might be in your wheelhouse.

It will look at your social activity and your current followers and then suggest actions to take.

Take advantage of all of the resources at your disposal to find other socially-conscious brands that you can follow.

3. Retweet or share another brand’s content

Let me get this out of the way and say that you don’t want to steal content.

That’s a big no-no.

For the most part, when you’re posting content, it should be original.

While I’m not really here to talk about content, I have to mention that you do need posts. So how do you get them without spending hours creating content?

From time to time, you can repost and share content from other influencers whom you appreciate, of course.

Here’s an example of a “regram” from Instagram:

Tic Tac tictacglobal Instagram photos and videos

You’ll notice that they tag the original owner of the image, and they included the hashtag “regram” to signify that it was reposted content.

This is an easy way to show love for other users (or your own followers) without creating something new.

You can also share posts on Facebook and retweet on Twitter.

Content Marketing CMIContent Twitter

The reason this works to build a following is that you’re co-building relationships with anyone whose content you share.

In most cases, your “share” shows up on their social media page.

It makes them aware of you and gives you the opportunity to connect with them.

Again, it’s a long-game way to build your following, and there’s no guarantee that every post you share successfully gain you new followers.

But it will help you build relationships with other influencers while you’re getting your post count up.

And, generally speaking, more posts = more followers.

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4. Cross-post your social content

You want to make it easy for people to find your social content.

If people can’t find you, they can’t follow you.

One way to make your content more visible is to use cross-promotion across all of your social channels.

Here’s an example:

buffer instagram facebook

You’ll notice that Buffer includes all of their other social profiles on their Facebook page.

If someone engages with them on Facebook, they’re more likely to engage with them on Instagram or YouTube because those links are right there.

Buffer is also doing something smart here because they’re leveraging visual content from Instagram to bolster their Facebook page.

A BuzzSumo study that looked at more than one billion Facebook posts found that images that users post to Facebook via Instagram receive more engagement than natively-published content.

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So every time they post to Instagram, both platforms win.

Really, Buffer wins.

But by linking the two together, they create a powerhouse of content that encourages followers from both platforms to engage.

You can cross-promote your content in other ways, too.

HubSpot, for example, promoted their Snapchat account on Facebook as an announcement.

How to Get More Followers Fans and Likes to Increase Your Social Reach

The point here is to leverage the followers you already have on one platform to grow another.

You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to growing a social media following.

Take the followers you already have and get them to follow you somewhere new.

5. Get involved in social communities

Of course, if you do want entirely new followers, there are ways to find them organically (or at least more authentically than buying them).

The best way to “court” followers is to become a member of a social community or group.

LinkedIn, for instance, has groups. They’re simply communities of brands and LinkedIn users who have the same interests or are part of the same industry.

To find relevant groups, go to the Groups homepage (it’s separate from your LinkedIn profile).

Highlights from your groups

Click “Discover” at the top of the page to see your suggested groups.

You can ask to join a group via the “Ask to Join” button under the group description.

Discover new groups

The more active you are in the group (the more you provide insights, share content, etc.), the more members will likely follow you back.

If you’re not sure how to start, check out this article: “The Definitive Guide to LinkedIn Groups for Marketing.”

Twitter also has a feature like groups that they call “chats” or “tweet chats.”

These are pre-scheduled chats using specific hashtags at specific times. You can find the schedule here.

Twitter Chat Schedule TweetReports com

If you want to a host a chat, you can use a website like Twubs to register a hashtag and host your chat.

Hashtags Twubs

Twitter chats work well to build a following because you’re there to engage with others, not just to spectate.

You’re not self-promoting, and you’re not there to shout at people to follow you.

The whole reason you’re participating is to give insights and input. There’s no way to build a better following than by being genuinely valuable to someone else.

If you want to find more relevant chats to participate in, here’s an easy-to-read and thorough listing of available chats.

6. Start answering common questions

Another way to actively engage users is by answering questions rather than posting content.

There are many ways you can do this.

First, you could join forum sites like Quora or Reddit and look for relevant questions.

Marketing on Facebook Quora

If you find a question that you know the answer to, you can respond with a link back to your social channels or other content on your website.

What are the best interests to use on Facebook ads for watches Quora

You’re not only providing something practical for someone else, but you’re also promoting your social media channels, too.

You can also answer questions on “abandoned” Facebook posts.

If there are brands that don’t respond to questions that you know the answers to, then why not leave a comment from your business page?

I frequently get comments on my own pages that I can’t always answer due to time constraints, but I sometimes see people jump in to respond.

The idea isn’t necessarily to poach the followers of your competitors.

It’s simply a way to engage potential followers and be helpful.

If they see that you’re responsive and knowledgeable and that you follow the same people they do (instant trust, right?), they might give you a follow.

Alternatively, you can host your own Q&A sessions on Twitter.

You simply create a hashtag and respond to questions for a short amount of time.

jpmorgan twitter launch tweet

There is a word of caution with a Twitter Q&A, however.

You want to be careful that you don’t respond to rude or inappropriate questions and that you pick some talking points.

Otherwise, you could end up harming your brand image.

But, generally speaking, Q&A sessions are a great way to connect with your followers.

7. Utilize paid ads

Paid ads don’t have to be gimmicky or unauthentic.

There are ways to market your brand without sacrificing that quality that your followers want.

The key is to create an advertising strategy geared toward engagement rather than self-promotion.

Take a look at this ad, for example:

Rogue Fitness Europe

This is by no means a bad ad. It got good engagement (1K likes).

But it’s very clearly a sales ad. It might even be a retargeting ad for someone who already visited the site.

If that pops up on your feed, you know what to do with it, right? Either you’re going to click (and browse or buy), or you’re going to ignore it.

Compare it to this ad:

Monster Energy

Again, there’s nothing wrong with this ad at all.

It exists to promote content. But it’s not necessarily selling you anything.

Now take a look at this ad:

142 Best Facebook Ad Examples 2018 Learn to Create Better Ads

It’s a little in-between, right?

There’s plenty to engage with (“Like Page” in the upper right-hand corner, “Learn More” at the bottom right, and a link in the middle), and it clearly wants you to engage.

But it’s not quite salesy.

I would consider this ad to be a good blend of authentic and promotional.

It’s giving you something you kind of want (forcing engagement) without coming off like the company overtly needs your business.

That should be the goal of the majority of the ads that you use to grow your following.

Drip

If you’re selling a product, sales ads work. If you’re raising brand awareness, content-based ads or videos work fine.

But if you’re trying to get people to engage with you on a level of trust (it does take trust to follow someone on social media), then you have to hit the right blend.

To create ads that are in the “blended” zone, here’s what you want to do.

  • Look at your Facebook Audience Insights for information about your audience, the communities they engage with, their demographics, and their hobbies and interests.

dk facebook audience insights demographics 3

  • Send out some surveys to see if your audience wants to learn about any specific topics or if they’re craving any specific type of content.
  • Look into your most engaging content with a social media analytics tool so you can pinpoint further behaviors.

When you have this data, you should be able to see what kind of content is the most engaging for your potential audience.

Then, create ads around that content.

8. Track your social traffic

Part of the process for both social ad creation and organic growth will involve tracking your social metrics.

You want to know where your followers are coming from and how they are engaging with you.

If you don’t already have a system in place for this, there are several tools you can use.

First, start with Google Analytics. That should be a given.

google analytics

Look for the social platforms that are already giving your website traffic.

For example, if you know that you have a lot of referral traffic from Twitter but not from LinkedIn, then you might start by doing some of the Twitter-focused things in this post first and skip LinkedIn Groups.

You can find your social traffic information by going to Acquisition > Social on your dashboard.

Next, you might want to use a free tool like Followerwonk.

followerwonk

This will give you detailed breakdowns of your Twitter followers (or someone else’s) and their activity on the site.

You can see stats like when they come online (so you know posting times), what categories they fall into, total tweets, follower counts, and so on.

A tool like this can be helpful for recognizing trends so you know when to engage, answer questions, and so on.

You might also want to follow popular trends and hashtags. A tool like Keyhole can help with that.

keyhole

It gives you a preview of popular hashtags, keywords, and accounts as well as information like reach, top posts, and shares.

You can use this to keep an eye on your competitors to see what they’re doing.

This might be helpful if you’re going to respond to questions (“abandoned posts”) or simply want to know what other people in your space are doing.

These tools should get you started, but there are more tools out there depending on your needs.

The goal of monitoring your social metrics is simply to point you in the right direction.

If you know where people are hanging out, you know where you have to be to get noticed.

9. Be amazing outside of social media

Consider these names: Katy Perry, Barack Obama, Ellen Degeneres, and Gary Vaynerchuk.

What do some of the biggest names in social media have in common (other than the fact that they have a lot of followers)?

Top 100 Most Twitter Followers Friend or Follow

They are doing some pretty amazing things outside of their social media platforms.

Katy Perry is not only an award-winning, platinum-selling artist. She’s also a shoe-design mogul, and she partners with charities all around the world.

Obama was the president of the United States.

These people are living their lives. They’re not just social media brands.

You have to be the same way.

Roy Povarchik puts it this way: The biggest names on social media are also big names in the news.

Twitter pyramid

I see a lot of brands that spend too much time worrying about their social media following while neglecting other aspects of their brand that are more important.

When you’re out there doing cool things, you’re going to get attention.

Yes, you can use the other strategies on this list to help propel yourself into the media. There are plenty of things you can do to actively pursue getting new followers, especially you aren’t the president of the United States.

But the point is that it’s okay to go out and do something amazing first.

Then worry about followers.

Conclusion

You’ve probably noticed that a lot of these tips aren’t for instant growth.

While there are ways to grow your brand by hundreds of followers a day, there’s value in the slow burn.

When you take time to build up your brand by leveraging influencers, sharing content that matters, and focusing on your own brand’s message, you get authentic followers.

This means that people are in it for the long haul.

It means that your followers will eventually convert.

You didn’t use sneaky “tricks” or tactics to get them to follow you. You just had a really great brand.

I’ll take a great brand with 1,000 converting followers over one with a million half-hearted followers any day.

What have you done to grow your following without creating content?

 

Instagram Selling Secrets Without Spending a Dime (for Influencers only) 2018

instagram selling secrets earn from home




Instagram has become a powerhouse for businesses around the globe. Scrolling through your Instagram feed allows you to get an up-close and personal view of products, places, and experiences that your friends recommend and share. Brands are taking advantage of the word-of-mouth marketing features offered by Instagram, and they have quickly recognized the platform as one of the best places to make money. However, Instagram ads cost money. But it’s possible to sell on Instagram without ever having to spend any of your hard-earned cash.

Creating an Instagram storefront that takes your sales up and away is easier than you probably think.

You’ve already got followers, prospective customers, and loyal ones waiting to buy. You just have to engage with them.

Here’s how you can sell on Instagram without ever having to spend a single dime.

No links make it harder to sell on Instagram

If you’re new to marketing on Instagram, you may not know that links don’t exactly work on photo posts like they do on other platforms.

That’s why it’s harder to sell on Instagram in comparison to almost every other popular social networking site.

On Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, you can post links that accompany your images to direct users to landing pages or product pages where they can make purchases.

On Instagram, you can post a pretty product image and a description, but clickable links that take users to your site can’t be added.

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Try and add one in and the link won’t turn into a clickable hyperlink, which might distract from the description or photo altogether. Talk about a huge mistake.

That means that if users want to buy the items in your posts, they have to visit your site and find each product on their own.

Most sites feature a long list of products, and most users don’t have the time or patience to sift through them all to find what they saw on your page.

This is what makes it so tricky to sell on Instagram.

In fact, Instagram only gives you one clickable link that you can place on the entire platform: the link in your bio. We’ll talk more about that later.

Despite Instagram being a difficult place to make sales, it’s always been a great place to promote products.

An engaged follower on Instagram is actually worth more than an engaged Facebook follower by about $10.

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Luckily, there are ways around the link problem that let you unlock the value of engaged Instagram followers, like shoppable posts.

Sell directly through posts with a shoppable Instagram

According to Yotpo Instagram data, 72% of customers believe that seeing Instagram images of a product increases their chances of buying it.

The same research revealed that as many as 38% of customers said that they frequently buy products that they see on Instagram.

That means that it’s up to you to let customers shop your Instagram page with ease.

One way to accomplish this is with shoppable posts.

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These posts allow users to click on products that you “tagged” in an image to be taken to the product page where they can make a purchase.

That way, followers won’t have to go out of their way to find the products you’re sharing. It’s as easy as discover, shop, and buy.

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All of this can be done by users without them ever having to leave the Instagram app, too. Talk about convenient.

How can you enable the ability to tag your products on Instagram?

If you’re in the U.S., you’re in luck. The feature is currently rolling out to businesses that are eligible and approved in the U.S., so you’ll have to wait if you’re based out of another country.

Once you’ve connected your Instagram business profile with a shop on Facebook or a catalog in Business Manager, you’ll be able to turn on Instagram product tagging.

Before you start the process, make sure that you’ve got the latest update on the Instagram app. You also need to be the admin of a Page or a Business Manager account.

Then, go to your profile and tap the “Get Started” alert.

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If you don’t have an alert, tap the gear icon.

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Next, tap “Products” and “Continue.” Then, select a product catalog that you want to connect to your business profile.

Finally, tap “Done.”

Now, your Business Profile will allow you to tag products in Instagram posts.

If you don’t see these options, your account may still be under review or may not have been approved.

Another free way to make sales on Instagram is to harness the power of an old-fashioned call-to-action (CTA).

Add a CTA in your Instagram bio that links to an Instagram landing page

One of the easiest ways to drive sales on Instagram is to make your links stand out.

Nearly everyone who finds your business on Instagram will head to your bio, which is the perfect place (and the only place) to link them over to your store.

To make this link stand out, add a simple, short, and sweet CTA, like Forever21.

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Write something as simple as “Click the link to view our latest products” or “Shop our products here.”

This kind of CTA encourages profile viewers to take a look at your products, which will boost sales and traffic.

Mobile is beating out desktop and tablet traffic at a pretty steady rate. And that trend probably isn’t going to change anytime soon.

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In fact, mobile will probably dominate desktop usage by a landslide in coming years.

This means that mobile-first sites like Instagram are the best place to post your products. Most users access the platform through the mobile app.

You can see huge results if you combine your ads with Instagram landing pages. What is an Instagram landing page, you might ask?

An Instagram landing page is a landing page that uses elements like video, testimonial, or other persuasive content to convince visitors to convert.

It’s important to make sure that this is a mobile-friendly page.

You can even add CTA buttons to specific sponsored posts that include phrases like “Sign Up,” “Learn More,” “Download,” and more.

For example, after clicking on the “Sign Up” button on this post, Acquisio users are taken to an Instagram landing page designed to greet everyone who clicked the button.

instagram landing page acquisio ad

Here’s what the landing page for this post looks like:

instagram landing page acquisio

The landing page matches the tone and goal of the ad, explains why the webinar is important and includes a simple form that reduces friction.

Create your own Instagram landing pages that can accompany certain specific posts. It doesn’t have to be for a sponsored post with a fancy CTA button, either.

Simply add a CTA to your bio or a specific photo that links to an Instagram landing page.

Another free way to sell on Instagram without spending a cent is to post behind-the-scenes content.

Post behind-the-scenes content with Instagram Stories

When Instagram released their “Stories” feature, it immediately became a direct Snapchat competitor.

Now, it’s daily use is even higher than Snapchat. Over 200 million people use Instagram stories every day, and more than one-third of the most viewed stories are from businesses.

Talk about huge!

Stories posts go away in 24 hours, and there aren’t any public comments or likes. They won’t appear in your profile feed.

Text and drawing tools, stickers, and more make stories the place to bring your brand’s creativity to life.

Unlike the regular photo feed, users will see Instagram stories at the top of their regular feed every day.

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When you post stories, your chances of your customers seeing them are much higher than if you post a regular image or video. There’s no true algorithm involved, unlike the photo feed.

Users will see your brand’s profile photo at the top of their screen, where they can click on it to access and click through the photos or videos in your stories.

Instagram stories are your chance to get creative and worry less about quality. You can easily showcase your brand’s behind-the-scenes culture in stories to boost your trust with followers.

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If you want to showcase product development or a special event, Instagram Stories is the best place to do it.

Followers will appreciate the insider scoop and get excited about upcoming releases.

Just look at this Stories post from Ben and Jerry’s. Doesn’t it make you want to run out and buy a “Chill-aco” before they’re all gone?

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Stories posts aren’t the only place you should be giving followers a preview of your upcoming products, though.

Preview upcoming products in your posts to pique interest

If you want to boost the hype around one of your new products that has just launched or is about to launch, post a quick product image.

You’re probably already taking product shots to add the item to your shop. Why not take a few shots for Instagram while you’re at it?

Post a caption that says something intriguing, like “Exclusive product alert!” or “Coming soon!”

This works especially well for seasonal items. Here’s how Bath and Body Works showcased their exclusive easter products.

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Teenage Engineering and IKEA recently collaborated on some compact, bold-colored speakers.

On Instagram, IKEA posted a sneak peek of the upcoming product line that the two brands collaborated on to update followers on the product development process.

Aside from being an eye-catching image, the description plays a huge role in making this photo a success.

The description, which starts off with “From sketch to final prototype…” shows just how much hard work that the two brands put into the product.

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You could also be missing a huge Instagram marketing resource that doesn’t cost a thing: your current customers.

Let your users sell your products or services for you

At least 77% of people prefer customer photos to professional ones when making a purchase decision.

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What does this mean for you?

You’ve probably got tons of customer photos on Instagram just waiting to be found. You have the right to repost and share these images, as long as you give credit where credit is due.

Customer photos accomplish social proof by showcasing that someone believes in your product and has found success purchasing it.

Curve Fragrances does a great job at sharing and highlighting customer photos, like this one:

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While it’s a high-quality image, it’s a normal person’s “selfie.” That adds a unique personal touch.

Professional, branded photos, on the other hand, often feel like ads. Customers are less likely to swipe past a relatable, personal selfie image than a branded shot.

Customer photos are more eye-catching because they’re more authentic. They look and feel more like what your friend would post to Instagram rather than a brand trying to sell a product.

Prospective buyers can identify with the person who is in this image and imagine themselves holding the fragrance in their own hands.

User-generated content also gives shoppers a more realistic sense of the shape, size, features, and colors of the product, because they’ll know it probably hasn’t been photoshopped.

That’s probably one reason why 93% of consumers find user-generated content to be helpful when they’re trying to make a  purchasing choice.

Tons of users are probably already posting user-generated photos of your brand on Instagram. If you have a branded hashtag, search for that first.

If you don’t, create one that users can add to images when they share product photos to their own pages.

Featuring customer photos also shows that you’re loyal to customers. You’ve noticed their passion for what you’re selling, and you want to use your Instagram page to shout them out.

Carbon 6 Rings uses the hashtag “#CustomerPhoto and tags the original poster in the user-generated images on their page.

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Always tag the original poster of the image when you share it. You have to be transparent when posting images that your brand didn’t capture.

Did you know that you can even sell in the comments section of Instagram?

Sell in the comments

What if buying on Instagram was as easy as posting in the comments section? Well, it actually is.

Spreesy primarily uses the comments section of Instagram to sell items.

A seller uses the Spreesy app to create a shoppable Instagram post which can contain tons of unique information, like trackable quantities or shopping cost.

The app is available for both iOS and Android devices.

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All that a user has to do is comment their email address on one of your posts created with Spreesy.

Then, Spreesy sends the buyer a secure checkout link to the branded check out page created by the seller.

Buyers can purchase items with a credit card or PayPal.

The only con to using Spreesy is that some buyers may be wary about putting their email addresses on public posts, which may lead to spam emails.

However, sellers can direct customers to delete comments once they have received the checkout link.

Spreesy also chooses featured users to showcase on their own Instagram page often, so if you create a Spreesy shop, the brand just might feature you.

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As users create shoppable posts, they will create a shoppable store on the app.

Every store features a customized link that users can post in their Instagram bio. Having a mobile-friendly store that you can direct followers to is as simple as creating a Spreesy account.

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All products are posted with an image, product name, and price. Once a user clicks on an item, that can select custom options like size or color.

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Instagram users can also subscribe to Spreesy merchants by commenting #subscribe on photos.

Once they post this comment, their email address will be sent a checkout link for any and all future products posted by the merchants they are subscribed to.

The best part? Spreesy is free for both buyers and sellers to use.

The only fees associated with the platform are merchant fees from PayPal or credit card companies.

Comments aren’t the only way to sell on Instagram, though. You can even sell through hashtags.

Sell through hashtags

If you’re familiar with Instagram (or any social media site), then you already know the importance of hashtags.

 

More specifically, you probably know how important that branded hashtags are. Branded hashtags represent the majority of all branded posts.

The most used hashtags on Instagram come from powerful brands who have coined their own branded hashtags, like BMW or Mercedes Benz.

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Inselly is an easy to use platform that encourages selling on Instagram through hashtags.

It uses a storefront link selling method, like Spreesy, but users can add the unique #Inselly tag to posts to notify users who search the tag that their image is buyable.

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Once you add the #Inselly tag to your product description along with other relevant tags, users will be able to find your buyable content.

Karma Charms Jewelry uses the #Inselly tag often.

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Buyers on Inselly can content sellers through messaging available on the Inselly website or app.

It’s completely free to use, just like Spreesy.

There are no fees or commission costs. Buyers, however, can purchase “coins” to promote their content on the platform.

Finally, you can utilize the power of Instagram live to send out notifications to followers about real-time content.

Use Instagram live to notify users about real-time content

Instagram came out with a new way to share real-time content shortly after the release of Instagram Stories: Instagram Live.

You can create a live stream on Instagram just like you can using Facebook Live videos.

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The real-time content makes it easy to sell on Instagram because you can announce when products are officially live to everyone who follows you.

Better yet, live video may be more effective than a regular Instagram post. Why?

Because the platform sends out notifications to followers once you start a live video, which lets them know you’re posting.

It also creates a sense of urgency, since live videos usually disappear once you stop recording.

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Product announcements aren’t the only way you can take advantage of Instagram live video, though.

You can view comments from users and the total number of viewers in your post, so live video is a great way to interact with your loyal followers instantly.

Or, you can hold question and answer (Q & A) sessions to showcase how personable your brand truly is.

You could even take it a step further and hold a live video interviewing an industry influencer where your followers can ask their own questions.

It doesn’t cost a thing to use the feature.

Conclusion

Instagram is one of the best places to sell online.

But Instagram ads cost money. Luckily, there are ways to sell on the platform without spending any money.

And they’re much easier than you might think.

No links make it much harder to sell on Instagram. If you try to add a link to a photo, it won’t work. You only get one shot to share a clickable link on Instagram: your bio.

You can sell directly through your posts with a shoppable Instagram page. If you live in the U.S., it’s easy to enable product tagging.

Add a CTA to your bio (next to your link) and link out to an Instagram landing page that’s optimized for mobile users.

Post behind-the-scenes content via Instagram Stories. They’ll show up at the top of all photos in your followers’ feed.

Upload preview shots of any upcoming products to your page to pique interest.

You can also let your users sell your products or services for you by re-posting user-generated content. Just search your branded hashtag to find it.

Sell in the comments with a free tool like Spreesy or sell through hashtags with a tool like Inselly.

Don’t forget about Instagram live. When you start a live video, your followers will receive a real-time notification that they can’t ignore.

How do you save money by selling on Instagram?

 

Social Media Traffic Share Boost Through These 10 Headline Formulas

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Want to know something scary? No one is reading your blog posts. But they are reading the headlines you put on them on Social Media. It’s true. And a rather silly satirical article that went viral is a perfect example of how I know this. That link is to an article by the satire site The Science Post entitled “Study: 70% of Facebook users only read the headline of science stories before commenting.” Rather ironically, it’s been shared 67,000 times. Want to know the best part? Most of the copy of the article was just “Lorem Ipsum” filler text. Thousands of people shared nonsense. We judge books by their cover. Or, to be more specific, we judge books by their title.

And that means we judge blogs by their headline.

Have you ever considered that? Your audience will only gravitate toward the most attention-grabbing headlines.

So in this post, I’m going to show you how to boost your social shares with headline formulas that get you the clicks and social shares you’ve been trying to win.

But first, you need to understand just how powerful the right headline can be.

Here’s why you should care about headlines

Headlines leave a lasting impression on your audience, whether you want them to or not.

Copyblogger found that 80% of users who see your post will read the headline, but only 20% will actually read the content.

And if you want further proof, I was able to improve my conversion rate by 40% just by improving headlines.

But how does that work?

 

A large part of it is because headlines actually help determine how we think about the contents of an article.

New Yorker published an article back in 2014 that contained information from an Australian study that undeniably proved this point.

They tested a group of participants by presenting the same article to them with vastly different headlines.

The article itself talked about an anomalous increase in burglaries for that year but emphasized an overall downward trend.

The headlines indicated two completely different stances though.

One read “Number of Burglaries Going Up” while the other read “Downward Trend in Burglary Rate.”

The headline not only succeeded in reframing the article, but it also impacted the reader’s ability to recall information in the piece.

Crazy, right?

And this isn’t a new phenomenon. We’ve been crazy about headlines for centuries.

For example, Newspapers have been creating and recreating the way we read the news since their inception.

Even when they mess up, like the famously wrong “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline, newspaper headlines had a powerful influence.

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Perhaps even more powerful is the headline examples we see from propaganda.

Even though we typically see propaganda as a bad thing, we instantly recognize some of the more famous pieces of it.

Like this American poster influencing young men to find their nearest recruiting station:

i wnat you

We remember these tags and headlines because they leave an immediate impression.

It’s an all-out attempt to capture and keep our attention on a specific topic and keep it long enough to ask for something.

And now, the baton has been passed to the digital nomads, marketers, and journalists of our time.

It’s our job to find and create the headlines that capture the imagination and inspire action.

So I want to teach you how to write better headlines that engage your audience and intrigue them enough to read your post.

These ten formulas will help you achieve your digital goals and generate a stream of social sharing that will help your brand go viral.

Formula #1: Show your audience the future

Anything that offers your audience a future that is better than their present will always be intriguing, exciting, and worth a gander.

This may sound selfish, but people want to know that things can be better.

If you can inspire someone to get out of bed in the morning with the quick dose of brighter future, you’ll have an advocate for life.

And this is verified with data, too.

Buzzsumo found that the number one phrase in a viral headline is “will make you.”

TopHeadlinePhrases

That means your audience is looking for things that will make them different.

Maybe it will make them stronger, faster, or a better person.

Whatever it is, your promise to show it to them will be intriguing.

For example, you could create headlines like:

  • Be the most influential person in your neighborhood!
  • Get paid to see the world in 6 months.
  • You can get any job you want with this month-long class.

All of these promise something unique and growth-oriented.

As long as you follow through on these promises, your audience will be inclined to share this with anyone they think it can help.

Here’s an example of how this could work from The Art of Manliness.

art of manliness

By tapping into a topic that many guys hate (shopping) and promising a way that you can save money, AoM does a wonderful job of catching your eye.

They also tantalize the prospect that by learning one simple concept called the Style Pyramid, you can make these changes permanent.

All in all, it makes you want to at least see what they have to say, right?

Let’s look at another example from TedEd Video, but this time in the negative.

teded

This one catches your eye for a completely different reason, right?

Not quite.

It’s still attempting to show you the future.

It promises that you’ll see something so bad that you won’t be able to keep yourself from being angry.

And doesn’t that make you want to test it? I know it does for me.

That’s why it’s so effective, and why it has more than six million views.

When someone sees this, gets angry (like promised) and then shares on their own social media, you’ll have created a viral storm.

Formula #2: Tell the reader what they will get from you

This formula is a more feature centric approach, but that’s sometimes useful.

Why? Because sometimes we like to start with benefits rather than features.

When your audience is more interested in learning the what rather than the how, this is a perfect way to grab their attention.

Start with the various features of your offering.

Phrase them as so earth-shattering that it’s unignorable.

Create a tantalizing image that conveys power and utility.

Then watch the magic happen.

Take this Slate article on what you can expect from Apple’s new iPhones:

slate

If you’re a fan of Apple’s phone products, this could be interesting to you for any number of reasons.

Maybe you want to see how the camera has been updated.

Or, if there are any new improvements to their Facial Recognition software.

At the very least, you’re intrigued by the fact that the image says “It can swim, too.”

All of this makes you want to read more.

But that’s not all because now I’m going to show you how you can break the rules with this formula, like in this Buffer article:

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That’s right. Now we’re using this formula to offer a benefit and insight on Instagram’s features.

It’s a two-for-one deal that works like a dream.

You get the benefit of not having to sift through 20 whole Instagram studies.

And you get to share in the insights about how to properly use Instagram.

The trick here is not to do this too often.

But properly it can yield great results.

Formula #3: Hit where it hurts

Hitting on the direct fears of your audience is a perfect way to grab their attention and show them there’s a better way of accomplishing their goals.

You see this a lot in more B2C industries that want to show customers a highlight of their product or service.

But you can use it for B2B too, with a word of caution first.

Don’t go too negative here.

This style of post can easily backfire if you’re too negative or directly insult someone.

That’s going to be even worse for your brand and will have people sharing for the wrong reasons.

Here’s how to do it well:

PsyBlog, a popular psychology blog with over 50,000 subscribers, recently posted this article:

psyblog

I think this is a great example of how you can thread the needle here.

It hits where it hurts because a reader with depression will be able to empathize and then see what advice the article gives.

But it doesn’t shame individuals with depression at all.

It merely builds curiosity by targeting a sensitive spot: eating habits.

Do you see how brilliant this approach can be?

And here’s another example from Psychology today that attacks another sore spot:

psychology today

The idea that you could be losing money, even accidentally, is frightening to almost everyone.

That fear makes you want to click, read, and share with your friends who are perhaps in a similar predicament.

But again, it doesn’t try to make you feel bad about yourself.

And it promises a solution to your issues.

Use this formula when you’re targeting your audience’s biggest pain points, and make sure it’s follow up with some awesome copy and imagery.

Formula #4: Share the love you’ve been getting

A testimonial headline is a proven method of grabbing attention and proving value to your audience.

When Basecamp switched a few of their headlines over to testimonials, they reported a 102.5% increase in conversions after they launched.

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Notice that it also simplified the design of their page.

They went from confusing and jumbled imagery to a single shot of a very happy customer.

They showed the actual review right where you can read it and highlighted their favorite excerpts.

Which would you rather click? I think the results speak for themselves.

But how can you use this in a blog post that encourages social sharing?

Take a look at what Match.com does on their blog:

match

As you scroll through their posts, you’ll find hundreds of these Match Made posts.

All of them are real stories from how real users found a partner on their site.

And there are so many. You can’t help but think that something must be working on this site.

Finding ways to use your own success stories can create a powerful impulse for someone to click and read your posts.

We gravitate toward success and what we can achieve, remember?

Use this formula to share success and spread the positivity of your brand.

Formula #5: [Do something] like [world-class example]

This social proofing formula comes at the recommendation of CopyBlogger.

It was too good not to share.

Think of all the brands that have milked a headline like this.

The “Be Like Mike” campaign of the 1990s comes to mind immediately for me.

It was such a powerful attempt to tap into the image of one of the most famous basketball players of all time.

But you don’t have to have a celebrity endorsing your brand to use them as a comparison.

In fact, I use this formula myself in this post encouraging you to Be Like Bond.

neil patel

As cool as I am, I’m in no way the level of super-cool that super spy James Bond is.

So I use his image to capture your imagination and show you ways you can keep tabs on your competitors.

It’s an effective tool that, as you can see, has almost 400 shares.

And I’m not the only one who uses this approach.

This Quartz article is another great example of how you can tap into the image and habits of the rich or powerful.

be like

In this case, the admonition is to find ways to learn and grow as an individual.

The implication that it will bring you wealth and satisfaction is what makes you click through, and it influences what you’ll expect to find.

Use this formula as a way to piggyback on an established and reputable name to help your audience learn something useful.

Formula #6: Tell them what everybody should know about…

Curiosity is a huge magnet for anyone.

One way you can tap into your audience’s curiosity by implying that there may be a few things they don’t know about a beloved topic.

Or, in the case of the examples I want to show you, you can give a more general overview of “helpful life tips.”

Like in this headline from LifeHack.

lifehack

It draws you in with the promise that there might be even one thing on the list that you don’t know how to do.

When you compliment an article like this to helpful guides, it’s a powerful way to spread thought leadership.

Here’s a second look from Mental Floss.

mental floss

I really like these, because of the inherent challenge inside of them and the unlimited amount of shareability.

Posting this on your social media channels with a directive to “share what you don’t know with your friends” can make it explode overnight.

Use this if you want to gain some traction as an expert and want to tap into new audiences on social media.

Formula #7: Use a listicle

You were probably expecting this one, and here it is.

For good reason though. An impressive 36% of people prefer list-based headlines to other types.

And OkDork even found that lists just underperformed infographics. Shares by Content Type

So whether it’s helpful Twitter tips or a huge compilation of jokes,  lists have been proven to boost social shares.

Besides this very post promising ten formulas, I want to show you some ways you can use this approach.

This example from HelpScout shows you how you use a list to liven up an otherwise less than exciting topic:

helpscout2

Live Chat software may not be the highest priority on your list, but the promise of 15 quick takeaways makes this easy to browse and digest.

It also helps it stand out as a guide you can return to when you do get around to tackling live chat software.

But that’s not the only way you can use this formula, as Buffer shows us.

buffer

Not only are they giving you a six-step framework (list), they’re also giving you 87 ideas you can use (an even bigger list).

It’s another two for one deal.

You create curiosity with a simple list and inspire action with the promise of a vast resource.

And what makes this even better is that Content Marketing Institute showed us back in 2011 that odd numbers really stand out.

Use a listicle as a way to grab attention and almost promise too much.

When your information is as good as you promised, your audience will want to share.

Formula #8: Go with a how-to

Once again, it can sometimes be difficult to create an interesting spin on an otherwise heavy or boring topic.

When all else fails, consider a classic how to post.

Like this post, again.

This is a great default for anyone in a technical field because “how to” is one of the most popular phrases in viral posts.

People visit Google every day to find how-to posts about something, so why not create one for your brand?

Here’s an example from WPBeginner’s blog.

wpbeginner

This is a great example of how you can take a complex topic and create a step-by-step guide to success.

Online marketplaces require a lot of patience and know-how, but using this guide promises to make it easy.

And here’s another good look at a heavy topic from HelpScout.

helpscout

Without a guide like this, would you know how to create a multichannel customer support strategy?

You might be able to, but why not click and see if they know something you don’t?

Creating the right how-to will boost your brand and help you stand out as an expert in your industry.

And when someone has a question, who do you think they’ll come to?

Formula #9: Leave a cliffhanger

According to Buffer “This is” also ranked as one of the most popular phrases in a viral headline.

Using any variation of this puts a powerful tool in your hand.

Creating a cliffhanger and tantalizing a juicy story will compel your audience to click and learn more about your topic like I did in my Your Bounce Rate is a Lie post.

bounce rate

By claiming something contrary to popular thought and then teasing a new opinion, I aimed to snag curiosity.

It clearly worked too, as you can see this post has over 500 shares.

But you don’t have to use a contrary opinion with this formula.

Travel blogger NomadicMatt has a great example of this from his announcement of a highly-anticipated contest winner.

nomadicmatt

The idea here is to create suspense.

Give your reader an immediate reason to click and learn something exciting or helpful.

As long as you engage quickly and provide a solid resolution for your cliffhanger, your audience will be happy to share your post.

Formula #10: Show a quick way to solve a problem

Everyone loves a quick solution to a persistent problem.

It’s one of the easiest formulas you can use.

But if you do it right, your audience will forever be grateful.

Especially if you can show a shortcut for something that they aren’t particularly fond of.

Like math, as this example from Prodigy teases.

prodigygame

A student that struggles to learn and implement math will love any advice that helps shorten the burden.

Even though this post is directed at teachers, it’s just as likely that a student can find it and teach themselves.

If it’s as helpful as promised, that student will share with his friends.

Which helps Prodigy increase their organic audience.

Pretty smart, right?

And you see a lot of examples of this on your social media feed.

Like this post from NDTV Food.

hair gorw

You might not need hair growth tips, but I bet you know someone who does.

The promise of a faster solution than the natural route is sure to draw some interest.

And where there’s interest, you can expect people to share.

Conclusion

Headlines are the part of your post that nearly everyone is reading.

Are you paying enough attention to them?

Just because something sounds good to you doesn’t mean it will resonate with your audience.

Finding the formulas that work is the only solution to capture your audience’s attention and hold their gaze long enough to convey your thoughts.

By using the ten formulas in this post, you’ll create new opportunities for your brand to reach your audience.

You’ll be able to generate new page views and shares.

And ultimately have a powerful brand with an enormous following.

What headline formulas have you used to inspire your readers to share?

 

Social Media Traffic Analytics: 12 Hidden Reports to See if Your Social Strategy is Working (for Webmasters only) 2018

Social Media Analytics




Social Media Traffic is a huge opportunity for growing your business. From organic reach to paid ads, social media gives you the ability to build traffic, engagement, and sales. The problem is that even when you follow all the steps to create profitable campaigns, how do you really know they’re working? Only 43% of B2C marketers measure their ROI. Why? The main reason given is that it’s just too hard. They say they need an easier way. You could pay for a social media tool or service to do it for you. Or you can use these 12 different hidden reports I’m about to show you. This way you can see for yourself, for free, if your social media marketing strategy is working.

But first, let me ask you a question.

Why is social media analytics so important?

More than 3 billion people are using social media and close to 3 billion use mobile social media.

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This means that roughly 2 out of every 5 people on this planet have an active social media account, and most of them use it on their phone.

Not only are we online, and on social media, but we’re on it a lot.

The average amount of time spent on the Internet every day is 6 hours and 30 minutes just here in the US.

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Out of that, close to a third is spent on social media.

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It’s not just one social media platform either.

73% of US adults now watch YouTube and 68% are on Facebook.

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If your target audience is teenagers, your social media analytics are even more important.

94% of teens are on YouTube, 80% are on Facebook, and 78% are on SnapChat.

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People are using social media platforms multiple times a day.

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With such widespread use, social media presents an incredible marketing opportunity.

If you’re not succeeding at social media marketing, you’re going to lose in the long run.

But how do you know if you’re succeeding?

Only 6% of B2C marketers feel that the metrics that they’re using are an excellent way to measure their progress towards their goals.

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Add this to marketers who feel their metrics are at least good, and you still only have 53% of people.

That means almost half of respondents are not properly and successfully measuring their success.

If you can’t tell if your latest Facebook Ad is tanking or knocking it out of the park, how do you adjust?

You can’t improve your business if you can’t measure your results.

85% of marketers are already using analytics tools. But almost half still have no idea if their strategy is working.

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This is why not just any analytics tool will do.

The following are the 12 reports you should be using to make sure your social strategy is succeeding.

Google Analytics Custom Reports

Google Analytics offers a ton of ways to monitor how your social media efforts are paying off.

Unfortunately, the default dashboard on your homepage doesn’t give you a lot of valuable information.

It can tell you how much traffic is coming from social media.

However, the more valuable information can only be gathered through custom reporting.

Here are the top 5 Google Analytics custom reports I recommend using in 2018:

1. Attribution Monitoring Report

One of the first things you’re going to want to understand is exactly how customers are arriving at your website.

If you want to understand how your social strategy is working, you need to isolate the traffic coming from social media.

The default way Google Analytics tracks conversions can be very misleading.

Currently, it defaults to the Last Interaction Model.

Here’s an example of how this Attribution Model works:

  1. John is researching affordable sedans and finds your website via Google Search. He browses around and likes some of the cars you sell, but he’s not ready to buy yet.
  2. John clicks to “Like” your company’s Facebook profile and then leaves your site.
  3. Your company writes a blog about how happy one of your customers is with their new affordable sedan purchase. You post a link to your Facebook page. John clicks on the link and reads the article on your site. Then he once again leaves.
  4. John’s back researching on Google and this time he sees a pay-per-click (PPC) ad for your website. He clicks on it and buys a sedan.

The last interaction model would attribute the sale entirely to the PPC ad.

multi channel report2

You can see how this is a bit misleading when it comes to the success of each marketing channel.

John twice interacted with your company through social media. This report wouldn’t let you see that your social strategy was in fact working.

Thankfully, there are other options.

Here’s a look at the other available attribution models:

attribution models

In the example above, the First Interaction Model would look like this:

multi channel report4

It gives the first interaction with the customer all of the credit.

This is useful if you want to know which channels are driving awareness.

For more information about different types of attribution models, read this.

The Last and First Interaction Models are fairly straightforward.

Time Decay is a model that gives more attribution to recent interactions and less to those further in the past.

Be aware that analytics aren’t perfect.

Any report can be skewed by people switching devices, deleting cookies, or blocking javascript.

This particular report also only looks back 90 days. If your customer’s first interaction was more than three months ago, the report won’t catch it.

I recommend trying a few different attribution report models to see where and how social media is showing up.

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Which one you find most useful will depend on your goals.

If you primarily use social media to target CTAs at consumers who are ready to buy, then the last interaction model might suit your purposes.

2. Dark social media traffic reporting

If you share a link through social media, such as on your Facebook profile page and a consumer clicks it, that interaction gets attributed to social media.

Let’s say that consumer then visits your page and reads something they think is awesome.

Instead of using your social share buttons on your site, they copy the URL and paste it into a Messenger conversation with their friends.

Any friends who click that link won’t be attributed to social media by the default Google Analytics reports.

They’re “dark social traffic” since GA can’t tell where they’re coming from.

Being able to track this type of traffic is more important than ever in 2018.

Social messaging is now more popular than social media. More and more people will choose to share info through messaging apps over social platform sites.

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In fact, if you’re adopting the use of chatbots, you’ll be increasing the volume of dark social traffic.

To identify dark social traffic, you need to create a new segment inside Google Analytics to isolate it.

Now drill down into “Audience” and “Overview.” The next thing you’ll want to do is select “Add Segments,” followed by “New Segment.”

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You need to create a new segment of traffic for people who are currently being reported as Direct but are actually likely dark.

The first thing you need to do is identify all of your visitors that Google currently believes are Direct traffic.

In Google Analytics, on the left-hand side, select Traffic Sources.

Then under ‘Source’ select contains (direct). image 75

Now filter out the ones who may actually be typing in your URL directly.

Start by ruling out your homepage.

Since your homepage is generally your shortest and most well-known URL, it is the most likely one to actually have direct traffic.

To exclude it from this dark traffic report choose ‘Conditions’ on the left, under the advanced section.

Then go to the ‘Landing Page’ filter and select “is not one of” or “doesn’t contain” and then add a forward slash “/.”

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Now you can save this segment, and you will be able to track all traffic that is likely “dark.”

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3. Social media performance analysis reporting

You can download this report here, rather than building it yourself.

The report has three tabs: summary, content analysis, and device analysis.

The summary will tell you where social media traffic is coming from, how often, if they find what they’re looking for, and if they purchase.

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The content analysis report will tell you what landing pages are most popular and which types of content are most valuable.

You can drill down to see what social networks tend to lead to which landing pages.  content setup 568x296 1

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The device analysis tab tells you which devices people are using when they come to your site through social media platforms.

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4. Google Cohort Analysis

Cohort simply means a grouping of similar people.

It compares what a group of similar customers bought now compared to last week or last year.

Tiny changes can have a big impact on the bottom line.

This report helps analyze trends and patterns to help show you which changes resulted in different results.

Comparing traffic or time spent on a page from now compared to a year ago might not be very relevant if it has undergone a huge visual change in the meantime.

Cohorts can help add context.

Pull up Google Analytics, click the Audience drop-down in the left-hand sidebar and look for Cohort Analysis:

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Here’s how the Google Analytics cohort analysis report will look like at a glance:

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I selected Acquisition Date for this cohort type, so the graph sorts it that way.

Here are the main factors you can analyze using cohort reports:

  • Acquisition Date
  • Metrics by category
  • Goal completions
  • Pageviews
  • Revenue
  • Session duration
  • Sessions
  • Transactions
  • User retention
  • Total users

cohort analysis metric dropdown

If you want to know how many pageviews each user had by day for the last seven days, you simply enter the following into the drop-down menu:

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Which brings up the related graph:

acquisition date cohorts by pageviews

You will see:

  • The May 9th cohort of users had 1.5 pageviews per user
  • That same May 9th cohort also had an average of 0.03 pageviews per user the next day (Day 1)

This means only a tiny percent of first-time visitors are returning the next day.

You’re probably wondering what you can do with this info.

To obtain actionable data from it, Google Analytics allows you to break it down further.

At the top, you can add different segments to break down our report further:

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You can select Mobile and Tablet traffic, for example.

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Now you can see a comparison from your original dataset vs. the Mobile and Tablet traffic:

mobile and tablet traffic google analytics cohort

You can see that the report is now showing groups or cohorts of people by date, and it has separated out mobile and tablet traffic.

It illustrates the percentage of visitors that came back to your site the next day, broken out by device.

This may indicate that your site is mobile friendly or is appealing to the mobile crowd in some way.

Of course, our conclusions are limited because it’s a tiny sample of a small date range.

Hopefully, you can see the potential here.

5. Daily eCommerce Traffic Report

This report is essential for e-commerce sites.

It gives you a complete at-a-glance overview of your performance per source.

You can import this report directly.

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You can also add the conversion rate metric.

When you drill down, you’ll be able to see specific campaign information.

Here’s how your report will look:

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“Average Order Value” and “Per Session Value” are very powerful.

They allow you to measure how buying behavior changes depending upon the traffic source.

This way you can see how your social media traffic is performing and make sure your social efforts are being rewarded.

Social Media Custom Reports

The largest social media platforms are now offering their own free analytics reports.

Facebook is currently boasting the most powerful analytics reports.

It’s not really surprising since they’re the leading platform for marketers.

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I’m going to walk you through 5 social media reports you can use to monitor your social strategy on each individual platform.

I’ll use Facebook as an example but keep in mind that other platforms such as Twitter and Pinterest offer similar reports.

6. Real conversions

Your Facebook Ads Dashboard offers a ton of potential metrics you can report on.

You can find them all under the ‘Customize Columns’ option.

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If you tried to run reports on all of these, you wouldn’t have any time left to run your business.

I recommend you just focus on the main reports. Don’t get sidetracked by vanity metrics.

The first one you should be reporting on is conversions.

This should be your main focus.

Conversion reports tell you how often your ads are making people complete the action you wanted them to.

Remember that conversion rate is more important than conversion number.

5 clicks and 5 conversions is incredibly more significant than 1,000 clicks and 5 conversions.

Conversions are also one of the only metrics that you can easily tie back to ROI to understand Ad performance.

Conversions on Facebook are diverse and not every metric gives the same value.

For example, the Ads Manager allows you to track tons of different conversion-style metrics:

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You want to focus on conversion metrics that tell you end-goal results.

Depending on your goals, you should be tracking metrics like website leads, website purchases, and website conversions:

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These all tie back to sales and ROI so you can easily tell if your social strategy is working.

7. Cost Per Result (CPR) Report

Conversions should be your starting place, but they’re not enough on their own.

You can’t just base your efforts on how many sales your campaigns bring in.

The problem with looking at just sales is that it can easily lead to you spending too much.

What happens if you spend $1,000 to promote your product and it only brought in $800 in sales?

Even though you increased your sales, you actually just cost yourself $200.

Cost per result helps you understand how much you’re spending on each conversion.

When you log onto your Facebook Ads Manager, the report will look like this:

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The lower your CPR is, the more efficient your ad campaigns are.

High CPRs tell you that you are spending too much money on acquisition, which hurts your profits.

You can monitor your CPR and prevent it from getting too steep by creating a new rule in your Facebook Ads dashboard.

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Go into your Campaigns, then ‘Create Rule.’ Then select ‘Conditions’ and change your chosen action to be ‘Cost Per Result.’ pasted image 0 124 1

Once you’ve done that, choose a value for your condition criteria. pasted image 0 136 1

This number should be whatever amount you’re not willing to spend more than per sale.

If your product costs $50, you wouldn’t want your cost per result (conversion) to be greater than $50.

Then decide what the action will be if your cost per result is greater than that specified number:

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For example, if your cost per result goes too high, you can do any of the following:

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Once you’ve selected your appropriate response, here’s what it should look like:

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Cost per result is just as important as conversion metrics.

It warns you if you are spending too much to acquire conversions and can help you manage your ad spend.

8. Ad frequency reporting

If you have a daily Facebook Ad spend of $50 or more, this metric is definitely one you should track.

Your Ad frequency is how many times a single consumer sees your ad over the course of the campaign.

This is something you need to track since no one wants to see something too many times.

Your audience can actually get annoyed by you and react unfavorably if they feel like they see your ads too often.

According to Ekaterina Konovalova, a frequency of 10 results in the lowest possible relevance score.

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This means that if a single viewer sees your same ad 10 times, they will respond negatively.

The more you show them the ad, the more annoyed they can become, resulting in a lower relevance score and higher costs.

AdEspresso found similar data on how devastating ad frequency can be:

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As frequency increases, CTR decreases and cost per click increases.

According to AdEspresso’s results high frequency leads to a steep increase in CPC and a nosedive in CTR after just four views.

To get started, navigate back to your Facebook Ads Manager and create a new rule:

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From the dropdown list select “Frequency” as your new condition:

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Apply “4” as the greater-than value.

This will guarantee that once your frequency passes 4, your end action will automatically kick in.

For the action, I’d recommend pausing the ad set:

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Frequency reporting and control is crucial for lowering ad costs, staying in the good graces of your customers, and increasing conversions.

9. Click-through rate (CTR)

Click-through rate (CTR) is a simple yet critically important metric.

Facebook describes it as the number of people who clicked your ad, relative to impressions.

It is calculated by taking the total number of clicks on your ad and dividing it by the total impressions.

Why is CTR so important?

A high click-through rate tells you that a high percentage of the people seeing your ad are taking the desired action.

This means you’ve put the right content in front of the right people and you’ve done it in such a way as to make it elicit responses.

You know your offer is good enough to get people to drop what they’re doing and click your ad.

If your ad CTR is low, it’s telling you that something just isn’t working.

CTR packs tons of data beneath the surface of what seems to be a vanity metric.

According to WordStream’s 2017 Facebook Ad CTR Study, the average CTR in Facebook Ads across all industries is .90%:

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If your CTR is even in the 2-3% range, you have struck gold.

Keep in mind that the average CTR for e-commerce and retail ads is under 2%.

This means that a ‘high’ or great CTR is 2% or more. Don’t expect click-through rates in the double digits.

If one of your campaigns suddenly starts showing CTRs of 2% or more, you need to take advantage of it.

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We know 2% or more is good.

So, for example, you can create a rule like this one that will automatically increase your daily spend by 25% if your CTR jumps over 2%.

Why increase your budget?

You know this ad is working and a higher than average amount of the people seeing it are taking action. You don’t know why.

Since you don’t know why there is no guarantee that extending the campaign will extend the CTR rate.

CTR is extremely informative for understanding how well your ads resonate with your audience.

Be sure to track this in your next advertising report.

10. Focus on PPC

When you shift from “more is better” to “being more specific is better,” you start to drive more sales with less traffic.

To do this, perform a basic audit of your current pay-per-click platform and campaign.

The goal is to look for indicators of wasted ad spend or a focus on the wrong metrics.

Look at your overall campaign dashboard for current keywords or ads and look for trends in traffic and sales:

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Do you notice any trends?

Is there anything glaring that jumps out at you?

One thing I noticed in the example above is that some ads are generating conversions, but they are crazy expensive compared to others.

This might point to poorly targeted traffic.

In other words, you’re getting a lot of people to see your ads, but they’re not the right people.

Let’s say your audience size is 100,000 people, but your target market was poorly defined. Here is how to boost your social media followers.

Since most of those people aren’t going to be interested in your product, you may end up spending $1,000 on an ad campaign, and only 500 people (0.05%) end up converting.

This gives you a PPC of $2.00.

Now let’s say you had an incredibly well-defined target market. Your audience size is only 50,000 but 2% convert. This means you have 1,000 conversions.

Assuming your campaign cost the same, now your PPC is halved (1,000 / 1,000 = $1.00 PPC).

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If you see that some of your campaigns have higher PPCs, consider either retargeting them or pausing them.

Focusing on the right analytics can generate significantly more sales with less traffic.

Conclusion

Having a successful social media strategy is critical for business success.

But almost half of all marketers struggle with properly measuring the success of their campaigns.

I’ve now shown you ten different types of reports you can use to see if your social strategy is working the way you planned.

You can start with modifying Google Analytics to make it more powerful. Take advantage of their custom reporting options around attribution, dark traffic, behavior flow, and custom funnels.

Track where people are coming from to your site, understand what’s driving your real conversions, and what your click-through-rates and cost-per results are.

Measure the frequency your audience is seeing your campaigns and how your pay-per-clicks are trending.

Don’t forget the free analysis tools provided by social media platforms.

Use all these little known, free analytics tools, and you’ll see results in no time.

What hidden reports do you use?