Your Complete Conversion Rate Optimization Tutorial

“Why doesn’t our website work?” This is a question that is asked time and time again from a prospective client. They had a website up for over a year and it just was not bringing in business. While they were driving in a lot of traffic to the site, conversion rates were terrible. It was clear that they would need a digital marketing agency to find out what could be done about the situation.

Unfortunately, this story is all too common. Most businesses today know they need to be online. The challenge is not convincing them to get a website, but rather making sure they employ the best online marketing strategies. Increasing the performance of your website requires a lot of experience and testing.

The conversion rate optimization process takes time, and most businesses do not have a strategy in place to help them achieve their goals. That is why they will ask a question such as, “Why are our conversion rates so low?”

Sales Fulfillment

How can your website be fixed? How can your conversions improve? This is all starts with understanding your site’s sales fulfillment process.

Define the goals of the website.Website Flow Chart 450x450

Start with an in-depth review of your website. While this is discussed in further detail below how some of the software you can use to track your site, keep in mind that this all starts with clearly defining your goals.

Create personas of your ideal site visitors. Check which parts of your website get traffic, which do not, and where visitors drop off the site. To define your goals, you need to understand where your site traffic comes from and determine the best way to approach that audience.

A great way to do this is to survey your visitors and find out what they are interested in doing.

 

Look at competitors’ websites.

Do an analysis of what they are doing right and wrong. What makes your website different from your competitors?

One way to get ahead of the competition is to offer a unique benefit to your customers. But to do that, you need to first understand what your competitors are doing.

For example, did you know that 62% of website owners that have a mobile site saw sales from their mobile site over the past year? Doing competitive research, you discover different trends in the industry, as well as what you need to have on your website to stay competitive.

Step 3: Create a test plan. Using the conversion tools that we discuss in the next section (online usability tests, A/B split testing, heat maps, etc.) start restructuring your site to better fit your website visitor’s needs.

For example, say you were to use a heat map to determine where your site visitors go on your site. How would that help you create a better website structure?

That it where the test plan comes in. It will help you properly set up a successful sales funnel when the site re-launches.

A test plan is about how you continuously test your site for the best conversion choices on your site. As a small business owner, you will eventually make the transition from purely driving traffic to your site to focusing on how that traffic converts on your site. A testing plan helps you stay on track to continuously improve your site’s conversion rate.

Conversion Tools

Heat Maps

Crazy Egg – Do you know where your website visitors click? Do you know what part of your posts they spend the most time looking at? If not, then you need a tool like Crazy Egg to understand your website visitors’ behavior on your site.

A/B Split Tests

UserTesting– Get screenshot videos of targeted users walking through your website. The site literally takes screenshot videos to follow these users through the site. Understand exactly what their thoughts are as they go through your site. You can then use the videos for research or as social proof of your site working. Additionally, you can interact with the testers after receiving the video.

VerifyApp– Create surveys to find out which version of the site users like best, what options they prefer or generally test out any design and content changes you are planning to make. The site provides you with unlimited surveys that you can run, to test any part of the website. VerifyApp’s testers come from a list of people they invite, based on your demographic research.

Optimizely– It is similar to VerifyApp, however, Optimizely works with your existing site traffic. That way your visitors become your testers. With Optimizely you can test every part of the website, by installing a small piece of code. The information gathered includes clicks, engagements, sign ups, etc.

KISSmetrics – Analyze what actions users take on your website by evaluating page bounces, clicks, engagement, and other factors.

Content/Copy

Design is the pretty part of the website. Good content is the part that convinces users to learn more about the business.

Ask Questions 3d buttonFind out what your target market wants?

Go back to the personas you created earlier during your sales fulfillment planning. Write your content for that audience. Have a specific person or company in mind that fits the criteria and write for that person rather than a statistic.

Stephen King is one of the greatest fiction writers in history. However, he wrote all of his books for one person: his wife. What she likes and does not likes determines what he puts into his books. She gives him honest feedback, and he then creates stories based around what she likes.

The fact that millions of readers around the world have enjoyed his writing too is a happy side effect of this style of writing. Who is the one person who would like to hear about your company’s products and services? Why? Write to their needs.

 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Google is by far the world’s number one source for traffic. That means optimizing websites for Google search is a great way to get visitors. Be careful to adhere to Google rules though. Over the past few years, they have released a number of algorithm updates that have made it difficult for smaller websites to get ranked high. Here are three rules to keep in mind when it comes to search engine optimization:

First, use proper keyword research. Before the Google Panda update in 2011, SEO marketers would manipulate articles, so they could be on the first page of Google for specific keywords.

Article titles like Search engine optimization and SEO services are not good titles anymore. Instead, come up with catchy titles that intrigue the reader to learn more about your post. If the content is good, then you will be able to attract more prospects to your site.

google adwords

Second, every blog post should have at least 1000 words of content. Google likes to see unique content on each page. According to recent statistics from CopyPress, the top results on Google searches have 2,416 words per post.

The word Content on a newspaper crossword puzzle

Third, write for your audience, not Google. This is in the same category as the keyword manipulation techniques mentioned earlier. Many old school search engine marketers write posts that are for Google. However, if you want to convert then you need to write blog posts for your target market.

One bright color smiling pencil among bunch of gray sad pencils

Calls to Action

There are plenty of things you visitors can do once they land on your site (including leaving it). You don’t want to rely on them guessing their way through your sales funnel. You have to lead them through it. A good call to action (CTA) does just that.

While there are many elements to a good CTA, it should have these three elements.

Action / Power Words – Copy matters, even in something as small as your calls to action. Why would someone buy your product? Tell them quickly and persuasively why they should choose you. Use words like, “Improve”, “Sale Ends Today”, “Save”, “Start Your Free Trial”, “Money Back Guarantee”, “Satisfaction Guaranteed”, and other words to convey urgency and convenience.

aweber sign up form

While not a free trial, AWeber provides a “$1 trial for the first month.” Also, check out the “30-day Money Back Guarantee” to calm new email marketers looking into their premium service.

Eye Catching Design – Make sure your CTA colors stand out. We will discuss colors more in the visual hierarchy section, but keep in mind that a good call to action should stand out visually on the page. Optimizely does a great job of this. With a solid blue background and a modified version of the “Start Your Free Trial” we mentioned above, you type in your URL to sign up.

optimizely home page

Visible / Convenient Positioning – Be mindful of where you place your CTA. Your call to action should be placed in an area where the greatest number of prospects can see it. The more they have to do or scroll to see the CTA, the lower your conversion numbers are going to be.

You might also want to place it in multiple spots on your page. Consider having one call to action above the fold, and one below the fold. Consider your visitor’s convenience and make the CTA available at the point where they are most likely to consider it.

Visual Hierarchy

How your site looks matters. People will judge your site based on the first impression it makes.

Color and Psychology

Color increases brand recognition by 80%. That means that choosing the right color can make a huge difference in marketing your business. Using a calming color like blue is great for Facebook and Twitter that want to make people feel comfortable to stay.

facebook news feed

Notice the mellow blues, so you stay on the page long enough to write a status update, or check your friend’s news feeds on the Facebook newsfeed.

Conversely, using orange or red is great for sites looking to encourage the purchase of products. This is why major sites like Ebay, Amazon, and GoDaddy use these colors to increase conversion rates.

amazon homepage

Look at the bright Amazon fire Phone, and then the colorful Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students advertisement. On a side note, did you notice that they used the word free twice, even though you are paying for whatever product you purchase?

Page Layout

Page layouts are tricky. You cannot just slap up a few pages, and expect the website to function properly. Instead, you need to plan the layout of your site to direct visitors through the sales funnel that we discussed earlier.

Use post it notes to determine the layout of the website. Write down all of your sites pages, and then start categorizing the major elements of the website. Place the post it notes under the appropriate category. Then you can start to create a framework for your site. When finished with this process, you will find the pages are arranged in a manner that makes the sales process more cohesive.

Landing Pages

Squeeze Pages

Your website is only one of the components of your marketing plan. A big part of online marketing is building a buyers list. Squeeze pages are great for expanding your list faster.

Squeeze pages have been proven to bring more subscribers, because they direct the visitor towards completing just one action.

Additionally, statistics have shown that in order to get a higher percentage of sign ups to your squeeze page you need to provide an enticement to sign up. The internet runs on freebies, and providing this information to subscribers is a great ethical bribes that you give to your readers to stay in touch with you.

Take HubSpot’s Marketing Grader. This free tool has a brilliant squeeze page. Most of the page’s background is white except for the middle where you fill in your website URL and your email address to find out your site’s marketing grade to determine what you need to do to improve your site’s marketing prowess. HubSpot gets a new subscriber.

hubspot grader signup

Sales Pages

Additionally, having sales pages increases sales as well. It has been proven that giving visitors one action to do per page increases conversion rates. The reason behind this is because too much choice confuses some people.

Look at big retail stores online. Ecommerce sites thrive, because they put one product per page. Essentially, when you buy a book on Amazon you are looking only at that page. If you start comparing books too much then you will start to show indecision. That leads to abandoned pages and shopping carts.

marketing sherpa website optimization benchmark survey

Putting Your Conversion Rate Optimization Plan Together

Throughout this conversation on conversion rate optimization we have covered a number of different aspects to improve your sales. However, each aspect does not operate independently.

Make sure you create a sales fulfillment plan to understand the best methods for finding clients through your website. The information we provided in this article is a starting guide to help you increase your conversion rate on your website. If you need additional help, the best advice would be to contact a digital marketing agency where you will be able to receive a consultation on how to determine the best strategy for your website.

At Shout Web Strategy, they believe that SEO is essential to every businesses success. Priding themselves on being Australia’s leading digital marketing agency, they can help grow your business by delivering more targeted traffic to your website. For more information visit Shout Web Strategy.

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OmniStar Affiliate Management Software Tutorial

Over the past few days, I have had the chance to use the OmniStar Affiliate Program Manager. For small business owners looking to expand their reach through affiliate marketing this software is an easy way to start building your affiliate presence.

The power of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the most powerful ways to build a business on the internet today. Instead of competing for attention by yourself against the barrage of information on the internet, leverage those in your network to sell more and make money for your affiliates and yourself.

Affiliate marketing works, because people in your network are interested in what you sell. However, they do not have time to create the system and products you do. With the right audience, they can help both of you become more profitable.

What is Omnistar Affiliate Program Manager?

The Omnistar Affiliate Program Manager (OSI Affiliate) helps turn the power of affiliate marketing into reality. The system helps businesses turn their network into a sales force with the software to track sales, market the business, and increase your affiliate network.

Here is a quick video tutorial to give you an idea of how the affiliate program manager works.

5 Cool Features of the OmniStar Affiliate Program Manager

1. Easy Set Up Process

They were not lying when they said it was an Easy Wizard Set Up! The process to set up an affiliate program takes about 10-15, including inserting the code they provide into my WordPress website.

Additionally, adding the creatives for affiliate promotion in the marketing tools section is simple as well. They have step by step instructions of different options and sizes that they want included in your program.

FireShot Screen Capture #255 - 'OSI Affiliate Software' - andynathan_myomnistar_com_admin

2. Marketing Tools

My favorite section was the marketing tools. While most affiliate management systems, acknowledge that businesses need to add creatives (banners, emails, social media, etc), Omnistar took this concept to a new level.

Their simple to use program, even allows affiliates to insert lightboxes on their website with the affiliate program using only your program image for guidance.

FireShot Screen Capture #256 - 'Marketing Tools' - andynathan_myomnistar_com_admin_promotional_methods_php

3. Integrations

One of the things that I always look at, when evaluating a platform is how they integrate with other platforms API. While I am not a techno geek, I do appreciate the fact that the various components of my marketing must work together in a cohesive whole.

Fortunately, they do work with many email service providers like MailChimp, iContact, GetResponse, and others. One thing that I was surprised was that they had not integrated with AWeber yet. Since I use them a lot, this surprised me.

However, they do integrate with PayPal. Through PayPal, I can add people to my AWeber list. Additionally, the system works well with many of the major payment gateways and ecommerce stores.

The code that you include on your website ensures that the affiliate gets credit for their referral.

FireShot Screen Capture #257 - 'Third Party Integration' - andynathan_myomnistar_com_admin_third_party_integration_php

4. Social Media Promotion

Shocking, but the social media marketer in me really likes this feature. Some of the integrations that I discussed in the previous point are for the four major social networks. By integrating these networks with OSI Affiliate, they make it easier for affiliates to promote your business through different social networks.

Since so much of today’s business works on recommendations from friends online, this is a powerful tool to help businesses improve their conversions.

Each social network is allowed one shared post to go out to affiliates. Guide your affiliates with effective updates they can post about your program.

FireShot Screen Capture #258 - 'Twitter Integration' - andynathan_myomnistar_com_admin_aff_twitterint_php

5. Reporting Features

Another great part of the OSI Affiliate is the reporting functions. You can easily track all actions your affiliates take from clicks and impressions to sales.

Understand where their traffic comes from, and how to help them develop that income stream.

FireShot Screen Capture #260 - 'Search Sales' - andynathan_myomnistar_com_admin_sales_php

6. Bonus: 2 Tier Affiliate Program

The other part of the program that is cool is that with OSI Affiliate you can have a two tier affiliate system. This means your network can invite their network to promote your products. It expands your affiliate network and provides a potentially bigger income source.

FireShot Screen Capture #259 - 'Add Affiliate Program' - andynathan_myomnistar_com_admin_product_groups_php

Using OmniStar For Your Business

The OmniStar Affiliate Program Manager is great for businesses looking to increase their sales by leveraging through current network of vendors, clients, and partners. This system provides a profitable way for everyone involved to make money on selling your products. Let me know if you have any further questions about the software in the comment section below. Or check out OmniStars’ website for yourself.

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How to Market Your Small Business: Marketing Checklist

Marketing ChecklistNo matter what business you are in, there are many more ways to market your small business today than you are using. Read on or you may miss an easy way to increase your income.

1) Customer Loyalty from Current Customers

The easiest sales you will ever make are to existing customers. Your highest priority is to strengthen your relationships with anyone who has already bought from you. While this can mean autoresponders and emailed newsletters, anything with a more personal touch will work better.

When is the last time you gave your customers a call to see how they are doing? Have you asked them how they feel about your products or services? Do you tuck thank you notes into your deliveries?

The #1 reason people give for changing companies is that they don’t think their current provider cares. Make sure they know you do and you will get more business. Customer loyalty grows from personal relationships built over time.

2) Business Website and Blog

You need to have an online presence somewhere. Domain names are inexpensive (about $12 per year for .com) and hosting doesn’t have to cost much, either. You can even put your content on pages on an existing site and point your domain name to it for free. But the best option is to put your site on WordPress and have a blog you update regularly.

A business blog does NOT need to publish daily. Once a week is sufficient. If you find it challenging to keep your business blog updated, you can even hire a service such as WriteCollective to provide content or even manage the publishing for you. When you provide your customers with solutions to their challenges in your blog, they are likely to make a purchase. 61% of consumers say they have bought because of a blog post.

Businesses that blog have 434% more indexed pages, 97% more indexed links, and 97% more inbound links. B2B marketers using blogs generate 67% more leads. 90% of consumers find customer content useful. (More stats below.)

Business Blogging Stats

3) Local Listings

If your business has a physical presence, you must get it listed in all the major local directories. Quality directories are still important. Google just changed the name AGAIN. The new name is “Google My Business”. (Old names were Google Places, Google Plus Local, Google Local.) Google has the lion’s share of searches so this is your priority.

Make sure you use exactly the same name, address, and phone number on every local listing. Upgrade your listings with images, videos, mentions of cities and counties you serve, categories that apply, coupons and deals.

Beyond Google there are many more local listing opportunities. These are valuable links you can easily get that will help your business site or blog rank better. Even if you are an online only business, if you have a physical location to use do not pass up these listings. There is more information about where to get listed in Local Search Directories.

4) Social Media

While social media may seem overwhelming, there are now many experienced people who can get your accounts set up quickly for very little money. At a minimum, you should decide on a username that you can use consistently across all social networks. Check to ensure the username you are considering is available on all the major sites before you get started. You can check them all at once for free using Knowem.com.

You do not have to be active on every social network, but you do want to claim your username, upload an image, enter a short bio and link it to your site. These are valuable links easily obtained, so do not neglect them.  If you aren’t going to be active on a site now, include where you can be found in your bios.

There is a lot to doing social media well. Consider paying someone else to set up your accounts and teach you to use them. It doesn’t have to be costly and it will save you a ton of time and frustration. The main thing to remember is not to always be selling or broadcasting about yourself on social media. What you want to do is identify where your target audience is already active and then socialize with them. As you create relationships they will lead to business.

5) Protect Your Online Reputation

Claiming your social accounts and submitting local listings provides protection for your business by having your business name indexed many times. If someone writes something negative about you online, it is unlikely to rank above these authority sites so it won’t automatically land on the first page of search results.

Set up alerts to notify you when your business is being talked about. If you ever see negative comments online, do not automatically respond to them. Stop and think first. If it is a valid complaint you may want to respond. If it isn’t, and the person complaining does not have authority do not lend them yours. You may want to get advice from someone familiar with reputation management before deciding what best to do.

6) Don’t Forget About Offline Marketing

Even if you do business entirely online, that is no reason to ignore valuable offline marketing methods. Order signs or bumper stickers and put them on your vehicles. Consider advertising in free and inexpensive classifieds such as Craigslist, Thrifty Nickle, Pennysaver and others.

Use business cards, fliers, promotional materials, thank you notes and other printed items. Consider going to meetups or live events. If you do, give people you meet something interesting to remember you by. Promotional products that have a useful purpose can keep your business name in front of your clients a long time.

  • 85% say they do business with the advertiser
  • 88% remember the name on their products
  • 91% have promotional products in their kitchen
  • 74% keep products in their work areas
  • 83% say they want to receive promotional products
  • 53% use their promotional products weekly
  • 47% keep them for more than a year

7) People Buy From People They Like – Be Likeable

The most important part of business is people. Focus on figuring out what your customers need and give it to them in a cheerful, helpful manner. Think about why you do business where you do. Do you eat at a particular restaurant because the hostess remembers you or you have a favorite waitress?  Do you shop at a mom and pop store even though you suspect they’re more expensive? People buy from people they know and like.

Marketing Your Small Business Summary

Grow your business by being consistently good at what is most important (what they buy from you) and being someone your customers truly like.

Optimize Your Site for Smartphones, Tablets and Other Devices

These days, it’s not enough to have a content rich website capable of loading in any web browser. The personal computer used to be the only device capable of browsing the Internet, but since the onslaught of smartphones, people now access web pages from their tablets, phones, and even their televisions.

If your website doesn’t work across multiple devices, your product or service may fail. In order to remain effective, you need to provide a quality browsing experience regardless of what device is being used.

Why Fix What Isn’t Broken?Graphic Fuels iPad

You may be thinking you’ve already targeted your customer base. Perhaps you’ve been online a long time and continue to do well. You may be asking yourself, “Why fix what isn’t broken?” In an effort to substantiate the effectiveness of a multiple device strategy, Google compiled a list of already established websites that reported incredible traffic boosts after redesigning and offering a quality browsing experience via devices.

  • The Huffington Post boosted mobile visitors 37% after their initial site redesign.
  • Beyond the Rack saw their mobile conversion rate double after optimization.
  • Plusnet saw their traffic grow 2x and their sales grow 10x.

Optimizing Your Site for the Multi-Screen User

According to Google’s whitepaper on the topic, mobile devices are the fastest growing device with “1.5 billion mobile subscribers globally, with an astonishing growth rate of 31%. In the U.S., smartphone adoption has passed 61%.”

So, how do you optimize your site for the multi-screen user and thus get a piece of the mobile market?

First, you’ll need to do some research. Take a look at your competitor’s multi-screen platforms. Load your competitor’s pages on tablets, PCs, and smartphones to determine the standard for your industry. If you see anything that could be improved, be sure to include that in your design down the road. By improving even just one feature, you’ll be setting yourself ahead of the competition.

Second, you’ll want to go ahead and adopt the right technology. You can streamline all of your pages, by using responsive design, which uses a simple HTML code across all your pages. If you wish your main site to remain more complicated in design, responsive design will not work for you. Responsive design provides a single URL for all content, with no redirects. It’s streamlined, but if you’ve put a lot of work into your main site, or the site that loads on a regular computer, you may not want to shuck that work in favor of a more streamlined look, simply because it loads faster on a smartphone.

Other technology options to consider:

·  Dynamic serving – this method detects the type of device the user is using and loads the correct page.

·  A separate mobile site – this method redirects users to a mobile-optimized website

People Expect Safety

No matter how you plan to optimize your website for multi-screen users, it’s important that devices remain as safe as traditional PC browsers. Remind your users that it’s important to have smartphone security to reduce their risk of downloading viruses and spyware. As with traditional PC users, anti-virus protection is necessary to navigate the dangers on the web.

Make Your Device Site Easy-to-Use

Finally, as a reminder, your customers are browsing your site with limited visibility, so streamline everything. Handheld devices have a much smaller screen than the typical PC. They expect your website to load on their screens, typically 7” or less, without any issues. Make sure the site is touch-friendly and doesn’t use pop-ups. By streamlining your device page, you’re ensuring your multi-screen customers are getting the best possible experience.

 

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The Power OF Teams-Learning From Failure

The power of teams are awesome! At the end of February, as part of Start Up Gap, we gathered a number of authors and entrepreneurs together for the purpose of writing a book together. Instead of just showing small business owners how to develop their business, we wanted to create a project that would help them build their audience and leverage their brand.

Over the course of the past six weeks, 11 entrepreneurs, authors, coaches, and internet marketers came together to create a book called Learning From Failure: 11 Surefire Ways To Turn Your Worst Nightmare Into Your Biggest Success.

While I will get back to how you can get the book at the end of this post, I want to spend a few minutes explain how having a team come together to create a book is so powerful.

How Do You Write A Book With 11 People

When the idea first came up of creating a group book, there were a number of questions. Is it paid? Do we all have to be writing this at one time? How do we collaborate across theweb, and across the United States. How will everything be continuous throughout the entire book? What are the legal ramifications?

learning from failure

The truth is that this was an experiment in how to complete a group book project. Part of this process was based off of Amazon Kindle’s 90 day period for promoting books. You get 5 days to promote your book, as long as Amazon gets a 90 day exclusive rights to the book. The same deal applied here. For 90 days, you give exclusive rights to the chapter you wrote over to Start Up Gap, where the book resides on Amazon.

Then at the end of those 90 days, you can do whatever you want with your own chapter. However, the book stays on Amazon.

Moreover, collaboration proved to be pretty easy with modern technology. Conference calls happened on Fuzebox and Google Hangouts, Microsoft Word chapters were emailed back and forth. Note: Thank you for the review features on Word!

Also, we coordinated the marketing through Google Docs. A few gigantic spreadsheets reside their with the information about who contacts whom. Then email and tweet templates were emailed out. Personally, used Hootsuite to schedule all my book posts.

While the majority of the writers were here in Chicago, there were some writers in Texas, Oklahoma, Boston, and New York. I guess this was not a West Coast project! :)

The compensation and the legal part I will leave out, as a courtesy to the other writers. Needless to say there were contracts that everyone signed.

My Failings With The Book

So often in business, success is merely a product of failure. The lessons we learn from those failures are the gift that spark our success.

With that in mind, let’s look at what we did wrong, so we can see the successes in this book. Furthermore, the next group book that we write in May will benefit from this analysis.

Top Three Lessons

First, we had a number of planning meetings. While, I know they would not be private, I would switch from Fuzebox to Google Hangouts next time. Personally, I think Fuzebox is a better system. However, a number of members had trouble logging into the system. Big issue!

I have been debating back and forth on this internally. Do we have a private planning meeting, or a public one that could spark interest in the book? Personally, with any book that has more than 10 writers, keeping it a secret until launch is not realistic. Might as well, leverage the campaign in advance.

Sort of make it free for those who might be interested in writing this with us, and the paid members get to make decisions and get the additional attention of those watching the meetings.

Second, I should have been more specific with the formatting of the book. In fact, for the next group book, I am creating the template ahead of time. Then I am requiring everyone to use Microsoft Word 2010 or later. Personally, I use Office 365 to stay up to date with Microsoft’s updates.

Third, my time frame was off. We all get ambitious sometimes with projects. Of course, we can put together a full book in 30 days. Why not? OK!

While, we finished the book in roughly 45 days, I did not think through the editing process fully. Because of this, I created a publishing schedule for the next book that will be closer to reality.

Successes

If you write a book about Learning From Failure, then you have to expect that in a blog post where I demonstrate the failings of this book we will then go over the successes.

First, we are closing in on 1000 downloads over the past 5 days. While not New York Times Best Seller level (yet), still something to be proud of accomplishing.

Second, we have consistently ranked high on Amazon in the Entrepreneurship and Business And Money Short Reads category. (See below)

amazon rank learning from failure

Third, we actually wrote a group book. Writing a book by yourself is challenging. Coordinating with 10 other people to write a book has a new level of challenges as you get everyone on the same page for creating the book.  Something I was not fully expecting when this project started, along with about 1000 questions I had not considered before other writers asked me. Henceforth, live and learn.

Note: My apologies to Judy Knoerle for using the word, actually, twice in a blog post.

To The Future

So, what’s next? Well, first I predict you want to download the book on Kindle before the clock strikes midnight tonight. To do so, click on the button at the bottom of the blog post.

Second, if you are interested in learning more about future book releases then make sure to get on our list for future free ebook releases. Go here!

Third, if you are more interested in growing your brand and benefiting from the power of teams, then contact me to learn more.

That is it! Now prepare for the future! Prepare to click on the big, slightly obnoxious download button! Prepare to read Learning From Failure!

Ultimate Download Now Button

The Importance of Word of Mouth in Marketing

Guest Post: Tanner from Utah Video Marketing team contributed this guest post on the power of word of mouth marketing.

Marketing is one of the most important things in business. Without marketing, you are not going to be able to have any clients or customers. Even if you are the best company for your niche, it will mean nothing if you aren’t well known in the industry. When you are looking to grow you company, you need to spend a considerable piece of your budget on marketing. This will assure that your company is able to reach the target market that is going to bring in your revenue. If you are marketing to other companies, actually contacting those companies directly could be a great from of marketing.

Regardless of the product or service that you are marketing, you need to be able to reach your customer base. There are many different ways of going about marketing, but there are certain types of marketing that work best, whatever industry you may be in. Word of mouth marketing is one of the most valuable types of marketing that is out there. The importance of word of mouth marketing can be the difference between your company being very successful, or not successful at all.

Word of mouth marketing is unique to your business

Word of mouth marketing is one of the most important types of marketing because it can not be duplicated. Other companies won’t be able to look at your marketing campaign and copy it. Word of mouth marketing is completely unique to your business, products, and services. You can buy all of the marketing in the world, and it still wont be as genuine to your business as word of mouth marketing. Word of mouth marketing will give your potential customers a great feel for how your business really is. They will have a much better idea of what to expect from your products or services.

Word of mouth marketing is free

One of the best things about word of mouth marketing is that it is free. Word of mouth marketing is one of the most effective types of marketing, yet you don’t have to spend any money on it. Your customers are doing all of the work for you, with you having to spend a fortune on that great marketing. They will spread the word at no cost, simply because they love your products or services. Sometimes the most work can simply come from referrals.

Word of mouth marketing helps build your brand

When you are looking for brand recognition, nothing helps more than word of mouth marketing. For example, if a friend shows someone their favorite music group, they are way more likely to download their music than if they just heard it on the radio. They are even more likely to download that music if their friend is wearing a t shirt from that music group. This type of word of mouth marketing makes it cool to be into what your friends are into. Sometimes people will buy a product simply because that is what their friends are buying.

People trust what their friends and loved ones have to say

When a random person comes up to you on the street and tries to tell you their opinion about something, you could care less. Although, when we get together with our friends and family, we actually ask them for their opinions on certain matters. It is easy for us to trust our friends and family members, because they have been with us through so much. They know what we like, and what we dislike. We are much more likely to listen to what our friends or family members have to say, rather than just some advertisement.

Word of mouth marketing can help products spread fast and go viral

The world of internet marketing has really changed up the game. It is very easy for a video, picture, website, or Facebook page to get a lot of attention when people start sharing it. With the click of a button, people can literally click share and instantly all of their Facebook friends are aware of this awesome new product, video, or page that their friend is into. This makes it very easier for their friends to click the share button as well, and have all of their friends know about this awesome product, page, or video. This can create a chain reaction which makes a video go viral. Everyone continues to share this video, product, or page, until many many people know about this. There are videos now on the internet that can gain tens of millions of views in a short week due to effective word of  mouth marketing. It is easier than ever for people to share with their friends the love they have for a new product, video, or page. This helps build a huge customer base fast for these businesses.

Word of mouth marketing is quite possibly one of the most important types of marketing in the world today. There is no amount of money that can replace the effectiveness of word of mouth marketing. In this digital world, word of mouth marketing can take a small business or product, and turn it into a world wide recognized brand. Word of mouth marketing may seem hard to achieve, but as long as you are working on making your companies services and products top notch, this will be no problem for you. If you focus on word of mouth marketing, you will have a big company in no time.

Take A Look AT The Graphic That Will Help Me Win The $500 Brother “Back To Business” Contest Prize

Brother Creative Center

Entered Biz Sugars’ Brother CreativeCenter Contest

Yes, I decided it was time to take my shaky design skills to the next level. Fortunately with the Biz Sugar Brother CreativeCenter “Back To Business” Contest, I did not need to brush up on my graphic skills to rock your eyes with my works of greatness. The process was pretty simple. Spend about 10 minutes on the Brother CreativeCenter creating a graphic that I can then use to promote Start Up Gap. Then I created the absolute beauty below to shock and amaze you all! Are you shocked? Are you in awe? Why not?

start up gap flyer

practicing vood traffic

Practicing Voodoo Traffic at the Chicago library to get you to the Start Up Gap Episode with Anita Campbell tomorrow

Ulterior Motives

So, why am I sharing this with you. Well, three reasons:

1. I plan on winning the prize for the contest, and thought doing a blog post would help garner more attention. Always important to get compensated for writing and designing.

2. My subconscious NLP method for getting you to check out StartUpGap.Com tomorrow at 4 PM CST when I interview Anita Campbell, the owner of BizSugar. Working on getting some serious voodoo traffic to the event tomorrow with this post. Look into my eyes. Burn this date onto your Google Calendar! Join us for this session to learn how Anita Campbell built her business. On the count of three you will wake up with a sudden urge to watch this show.

3. I thought I would take this time to show you how to actually use the Creative Center to create your own graphics. When I do win, I want to make sure that I had some serious competition. Are you up for the challenge? He! He! He!

 

 

How To Set Up Your Own Flyer Or Business Card

I thought that one of the easiest ways to show you how to use the Creative Center would be to do a quick video, as I set up some business cards for Start Up Gap. Be prepared to be amazed. Now, that I have worked my voodoo on you, I am sure that it is sure to happen.

What do you think? Pretty easy for you to set up your own graphic as well right? Then join in on BizSugar, so I can have some additional competition.

What Do You Think?

I know this was a visual explosion for your eyes. Definitely join in on the contest, so you too can claim international fame for your graphic skills (or at the very least have a great flyer or business card made up on the cheap.)

In the meantime, quick question. Should I now become a professional graphic artist, or stick to writing? Let me know in the comment area, along with a link to your own design.

The Six Insider Secret’s Of Contagious Content

Viral content is everywhere on the internet. People are always saying that a video “went viral”, which usually means it received a vast amount of views in a short amount of time. There’s a lot of psychology that goes into creating a viral video, though, and a lot of skill for those who are attempting to achieve viral success. Viral content is, in and of itself, emotional content. And emotional content will always drive people to share, comment, and send the video to their friends.

It has been demonstrated that practical, useful, surprising content goes viral more quickly, because the person sharing it is seen in a more positive light for having done so. Causing someone to be positively affected is one of the easiest ways to create a viral video, but the “shock and awe” factor also helps to make a video share-worthy.

There are many ways to ensure that the content you’re creating will be shared, possibly even at a viral level, but in order to really make the best out of all the knowledge pertaining to how to make a video that will be a hit, you need some actionable steps. This infographic can help you understand the psychological basics of human behavior, and steps regarding how to apply that behavior to your video creation.

The Six Insider’s Secrets of Contagious Content [Infographic] by Who Is Hosting This: The Blog