Matt Janaway Matt Janaway, Digital Marketing Specialist - Official WebsiteMon, 07 Jan 2019 18:47:35 +0000en-GBhourly1 for Gold: How to Find Lucrative Keyword Opportunities for PPC or SEO, 07 Mar 2018 13:19:44 +0000 mining, gold prospecting involves a sophisticated string of processes. It requires specialized equipment, experience, and a never-ending pool of patience to pull off. When the mining company strikes gold, however, all the time, money, and resources they spent becomes well worth it. The same can be said for keyword research within the context of […]

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In mining, gold prospecting involves a sophisticated string of processes.

It requires specialized equipment, experience, and a never-ending pool of patience to pull off. When the mining company strikes gold, however, all the time, money, and resources they spent becomes well worth it.

The same can be said for keyword research within the context of marketing.

To find lucrative keyword opportunities, you need time, knowledge, and the right tools.

It matters not if you’re running a content marketing campaign for display advertising or organic SEO. If you want your investments to generate profitable results, you need to be diligent with your keyword research – no exceptions and no cutting corners.

Fortunately, performing keyword research isn’t nearly as complicated as mining for real gold. Of course, in this post, that’s what we’re going to talk about – finding lucrative keywords to target.

Choosing the Right Tool

Before anything else, you need to equip yourself with an effective keyword research tool.

It doesn’t have to be incredibly feature-rich, nor does it have to be a paid one.

A free tool like Ubersuggest already has everything you need to make a killing with your keyword research.

At this point, you might be thinking, “Out of all the keyword research tools on the internet, why Ubersuggest?”
There are several answers to that question, and we will highlight them throughout this guide.

For starters, however, one of the things you’ll love about Ubersuggest is the fact that you have only to go to their site to use the tool.

That being said, you don’t have to commit to anything to apply what you’ll learn in this post.
Without further ado, let’s boot up Ubersuggest.

Providing Your Seed Keyword

As with most other keyword research tools, Ubersuggest kicks off with a page where you can enter a seed keyword.

You can also specify a search platform and language to narrow down your research.

After you click “Look Up,” it’ll only take a few seconds before Ubersuggest provides you with hundreds of keyword suggestions.

For example, let’s go ahead and use “keyword research tips” as our seed keyword. This will yield the following results:

By default, Ubersuggest aggregates keyword suggestions from the AdWords Keyword Planner and Google Suggest. You can include or exclude either source via the checkboxes to the left of the keyword results.

One of the best things about Ubersuggest is that it does a terrific job of pulling in long-tail variations of your seed keyword.

These keywords are usually less competitive than broad terms, which is why they are perfect for smaller brands.

However, the keyword’s length shouldn’t be the only factor you’ll consider when doing research.

Now would be a good time to introduce the other valuable metrics you can unravel with Ubersuggest.

Checking Keyword Metrics

In the results page of Ubersuggest, you’ll notice three more columns alongside the keyword suggestions: search volume, CPC, and competition.

Search Volume

As you may have guessed, this metric denotes the average monthly search volume. This allows you to directly gauge the popularity and, naturally, the profitability of keywords.


Next up, the CPC or cost per click metric is the average amount advertisers would pay for clicks while targeting a specific keyword. Measuring the CPC allows you to check the profitability and the feasibility of keyword opportunities for your brand.


Lastly, Ubersuggest lets you measure each keyword’s competitiveness on a scale of 0.0 to 1.0. As a small business or startup, you should opt for keyword opportunities with a competitiveness rating of up to 0.4.

If you’d like to prioritize a certain metric when analyzing your keyword suggestions, simply click on the “up” or “down” arrowheads in the column headers. These will sort the keyword suggestions in an ascending or descending order based on the corresponding metric.

For instance, if you want to focus on keywords with a high monthly search volume, click on the “up” arrowhead next to the “Search Volume” header.

You can do the same when you’re trying to sort the keyword suggestions based on CPC or competitiveness.

As you can see with these steps alone, you’re on the right track to generating lucrative keywords for your marketing campaigns even if you’re doing your keyword research for free.

Finalizing Your Research

To further refine your keyword research, you can use the filter options on the left-hand side of the results page.

The first option is to pick out keywords that contain a specific term. For this, enter another keyword in the “Filter Results” box and click the “Go” button.

The second method is to specify “Negative Keywords” that you’d like to exclude in your research. This is useful if you want to eliminate branded keywords being used by your competitors.

Notice how the total number of keyword suggestions shrinks as you use apply filters. If used in conjunction with the metrics presented, it’s only a matter of time before you spot the perfect keywords to use for your campaign.

Finally, Ubersuggest lets you quickly export keyword ideas into a CSV file. All you need to do is click the “Export to CSV” button at the bottom of the page.

Just remember that you must first select the keywords you’d like to include in your CSV report. To do this, click the check boxes adjacent to the keywords.

Additional Tips

No matter how capable Ubersuggest is as a keyword research tool, its effectiveness still depends on who uses it.

Now that we’ve covered a good bit of what the tool has to offer, here are a handful of tips that can help maximize your success:

  • Localize Your Keywords Ubersuggest lets you target a specific location right off the bat, so be sure to use them whenever possible.
  • Consider Purchase IntentApart from the keyword’s popularity, CPC, and difficulty, be sure to identify the purchase intent of people who use them. For example, a keyword with the terms “near me” indicate a strong desire to visit or purchase from a local business.
  • Look for Customer QuestionsIf you’re conducting keyword research for content development purposes, you can filter your Ubersuggest results to include question-related terms like “how to,” “why,” and so


Finding profitable keyword ideas is like striking gold. If you process them well, they will surely give your marketing campaigns a significant boost.

Hopefully, the guide above helps you get the ball rolling with Ubersuggest. Just remember to be patient and let the metrics shown by the tool guide your decisions from this point forward. Good luck!

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Small Business Websites SEO: 55 Useful Facts, 14 Feb 2018 12:31:43 +0000 of: Milkwhale

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55 Must-Know Facts for Small-Business Websites SEO
Courtesy of: Milkwhale

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Mastering the Webinar: A Cheat Sheet for Nailing Your Next Digital Presentation, 05 Aug 2016 19:15:02 +0000 business owner, marketer, promoter, and so forth should fully understand the importance of content marketing. Without regurgitating the same jabber that you’ve heard again and again, just accept that content marketing is an absolute powerhouse. Once content marketing is an edible part of your promotional blueprint, you need to zero in on the type […]

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Every business owner, marketer, promoter, and so forth should fully understand the importance of content marketing. Without regurgitating the same jabber that you’ve heard again and again, just accept that content marketing is an absolute powerhouse.

Once content marketing is an edible part of your promotional blueprint, you need to zero in on the type of content that you will produce. While blog posts, articles, infographics, and so forth are still super useful, video content is becoming epically persuasive online. Some of this valuable video content is consumed through webinars.


Webinars are a potent method for driving awareness, engagement, sales, and other critical business metrics in an affordable and scalable way. These digital classrooms will allow you to present valuable information to your audience and position yourself as a thought leader on a given topic. While there are tonnes of fantastic resources for gaining webinar tips and tricks, like this awesome blog from ClickMeeting, there is an equal amount of outdated info that can cause your webinar to flop. Hard.

If you’ve never run a webinar before but are ready to dive in, this is the perfect place to gain an understanding of what you need to do. If you have run them before and are looking for ways to improve, meet your new webinar cheat sheet.

Here are the guidelines for running the perfect webinar.


To get started, you need to set your goals for the webinar. Are you looking to drive sales, acquire emails, or something else entirely? Establish what you want to get out of the webinar first so that you can gear your efforts towards that goal.

It is also wise to set your budget early on so that you don’t end up overspending. Be sure to account for supporting content like blogs, any ads that you may produce, speaker acquisition costs, potential prizes, and any tools you may use along the way.

Next up is the research phase. Identify interests, pain points, career objectives, and other defining features of your audience so as to select a topic that will be valuable to these folks. Once you have uncovered these characteristics, establish a tentative title and choose a host.

Now that you have a subject under your belt, you need to acquire 1-3 presenters who can speak to this topic and provide actionable information. You can uncover these folks using tools like ClearVoice and Kred, searches on social media, and a variety of other identification tools. Begin to reach out to these people via social media and email to see who might be interested in participating. Be sure to ask for headshots from those who agree; you’ll need them for your content and emails.

Setting Up the Foundation

When it is time to begin setting up, you will first need to select a platform. To set up your webinar landing page, you need the webinar’s title, description, time and date, along with a sign-up form, speaker bios, and a promotional video for the event. Most webinar tools automate this process for you, so it’s much easier than it sounds. It is also wise to post a countdown video on the webinar page to remind any visitors when it will be taking place.

Next, create the first draft of the webinar outline alongside the speakers. Be sure to include:
• Speaker introductions along with channels they wish to promote
• Points of discussion
• Approximate length of presentations
• A rough draft of slides
• A deadline for the materials

Now the fun part begins; you can start promoting your webinar.

Marketing Efforts

Start with your email subscribers. These folks are already interested in the materials you produce and will be the most likely to sign up. Be sure to make your emails compelling by pointing out what they stand to learn, benefits of attending, speaker overviews, and other pertinent details like the time and date, and a link to sign up.

To help amplify the number of registrants, you can offer a free gift like an eBook download to anyone who signs up. This will not only encourage people to join but will add increased value to the webinar material.
Be sure also to promote the webinar through social media posts, social ads (if your budget can accommodate), and supporting content. Make sure your speakers are sharing the event as well. Continue your promotional efforts up until the day of the webinar and send out automated emails at regular intervals to remind people about the broadcast.

Pre-Webinar Prep

This will likely be the easiest part of the whole process. In preparation for the event, you will want to provide speakers with any guidelines such as your asks, do’s and dont’s, webinar formatting, the number of speakers, and any other relevant information.

Be sure also to schedule a test run to make sure everyone is comfortable with the format and that there is no conflicting information. You will want to provide presenters with a set of instructions for this as well. You can either hold the test run over the phone or on the actual webinar platform to make sure that all features are working properly and that all are acquainted with the controls.

Webinar Time

When the day of the webinar arrives, be sure to send out reminder emails to any registrants to ensure maximum attendance. Have the host log on to the webinar platform 1 hour ahead of time to verify that everything is working properly. As speakers log on (10-30 minutes beforehand), it is wise to connect via IM in case there are any technical issues.

When the webinar begins, hit the record button and share via social that the event is now live. Proceed by thanking all in attendance, mentioning the name of the webinar, and introduce the speakers along with social information, websites, and anything else they wish to promote.

As the webinar advances, gather any questions posed by the audience that can be presented to speakers in a Q&A session afterwards.

After the Q&A session has concluded, be sure to thank the attendants, speakers again, and mention that the recording of the webinar will be posted online later on.

Post Webinar Follow Up

Finally, convert the webinar recording into a YouTube video or viewable file to share with the web; also send this to the speakers to share.

Then send a follow-up email to those who attended thanking them and asking for any feedback. You can also direct them toward any relevant links where you can try to make a sale. Also send follow-up emails to those who did not attend with the information covered in the webinar and a link to the video replay.

Lastly, analyse your results. Take note of attendance numbers, conversions, email conversions, and successes/failures from the event overall so that you can improve for the next broadcast.

When properly conducted, webinars are an incredible vehicle for driving just about any goal you can think of. Utilise this information to the fullest so that you can construct a webinar that helps you achieve new levels of success.

What is your favourite webinar platform? Any questions about the webinar process that we didn’t address above?

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An Introduction to eCommerce Growth Hacking, 27 Apr 2016 19:01:11 +0000 can guarantee you’ll have heard an enormous buzz about growth hacking recently so I’m jumping on the bandwagon and joining two of my favourite topics; eCommerce & growth hacking. People who want to start a new business often opt for an eCommerce store. Why? Because it seems like a simple business model and one that […]

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I can guarantee you’ll have heard an enormous buzz about growth hacking recently so I’m jumping on the bandwagon and joining two of my favourite topics; eCommerce & growth hacking. People who want to start a new business often opt for an eCommerce store. Why? Because it seems like a simple business model and one that can yield substantial profits. However, there will be a lot of competition out there, so you need to learn some tips to help you drive your company forward.

Growth hacking is a term that’s thrown around a lot, and many people are confused by it. Growth hacking simply refers to doing anything you can do to grow your business. It differs from marketing in the sense that you use any means necessary. I’ll be telling you how you can ensure that your business sees substantial growth, fast!

Achievable Goals to Assist in eCommerce Growth Hacking

The first step to seeing growth is setting achievable goals. You may be reading this with a quizzical look on your face. Surely if you want to see growth, then growth is your goal, right? Well, yes, growing your business is the ultimate aim. But, you can’t make one giant leap and get there with ease. Growing a company is a process and one that requires you to achieve many smaller goals. So, my first tip for all eCommerce store owners is to set achievable goals for yourself. You need a plan. You can’t just set a goal without a strategy of how you will achieve it.

eCommerce growth hacking tips from a seasoned pro

Focus on smaller tasks that you can complete, and they’ll further your business. For example, look at your site statistics and see how many visitors you get each day. Take the average number, and make it your goal to keep this average for the coming weeks. It’s a small goal, but it shows you’re retaining visitors. And, you won’t experience growth if your customers keep leaving you. See, a small goal, that has a significant impact.

Focus On Your Strengths

One of the rules of growth hacking is to focus on what makes your business tick. No doubt there is something that sets your eCommerce store apart from the rest. These companies learned early-on that their strengths were their best chances of growth. You might offer flexible delivery methods that competing stores don’t. Or, you sell products that you can’t find easily elsewhere. Find something that your store does (or could do), or sells, that others can’t compete with.

Growth hacking tip for eCommerce

What you need to do is focus on the strengths you have as a business. Make the most out of your strengths and you’ll soon see growth. If you have a product that has the potential to sell successfully, make sure it’s on the front page of your site and promoted where possible on other pages. If you offer free delivery, then make sure everyone knows about it. You should plaster it everywhere on your eCommerce store, so people are aware of it. Do whatever you can to make your store strengths stand out.

Use Google Analytics

I touched upon analytics and statistics earlier, but now we’re going to dive slightly deeper into it. At its core, what is an eCommerce store? It’s just a website. And, all websites have data that you can analyse. This ranges from the number of visitors per day to the average time people spend on your site. If you want to hack your way to business growth, you’ll need to use Google Analytics. Chances are, you created your store using a web design program or a platform like Shopify, Magento or WordPress. Moz has a great piece of content explaining some things you should track with new eCommerce stores. If you are a bit of a techy, you could take this one step further and make some Analytics custom variables to extract more data from your visitors.

Google Analytics growth hacking for eCommerce stores

You’ll be given access to all of your site stats and data by the company or platform you created your site with (if not, make sure you get it set up quickly!). But, you can also get your hands on additional apps that help you see things in more detail. It’s important that you have a detailed view of all your stats so that you can analyse them. The purpose of web analytics is to look for patterns and track your progress. You can see how well your eCommerce store is moving along. You’re often given graphs and charts that clearly show you the progress you’re making. By tracking your progress, you can see what things are increasing growth. If you try something new and notice it makes no difference, then you may as well stop doing it. But, say you use one of my previous tips and see that it boosts your progress, you know to keep doing it.

Growth hacking is all about finding solutions to improve your business. If you want to set your eCommerce store on its way, you need to think about growth. The more you grow, the more successful your company will be.

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Top Email Marketing Growth Hacks for 2016, 23 Mar 2016 23:33:28 +0000 post Top Email Marketing Growth Hacks for 2016 appeared first on Matt Janaway. ]]>

This year, digital marketers will be incorporating more email marketing schemes into their marketing campaigns. I have heard lots of noise recently about how email marketing is a dying tactic. I have plenty of clients for whom email marketing is very much alive and thriving so I have put together some of my thoughts on some simple email marketing growth hacks.

The average person receives around 120 emails per day – the global population receives 193.3 billion! – it’s safe to say that we have been overdoing it with the emails. Considering how much competition you have within your audiences inbox, you may now be wondering why so many brands and digital marketers are still utilising email as a form of marketing.

Put simply, its because it comes with a great deal of success, and, perhaps most importantly, it’s inexpensive. The latter is very important in today’s world of constant belt-tightening and ever increasing costs of platforms like Google Adwords.

If you’re not convinced then check out these statistics:

Most important of all: we’re obsessed with our emails, particularly those millennials. Millennials are the age demographic most likely to check their email from bed (70 percent), from the bathroom (57 percent) and even while driving (27 percent). But please don’t use your phone whilst driving!

Whether you want to start an email marketing campaign or you want to update one you already have, there are many growth hacks you can use to your advantage.

Before we begin, Entrepreneur‘s Aaron Agius offered sage advice:

“We don’t hate all email — just the ones we don’t want to read. The numbers agree with me. When it comes down to it, consumers still derive tangible benefits from email, and marketers still get a real payback.”

Here are six email marketing growth hacks for 2016:

  • Collect as many addresses as you can
  • Social Proof Your Campaigns
  • Introduce Social Media Functions
  • Offer an Incentive for Paying it Forward
  • Be Kind: Would You Like to Unsubscribe?
  • Don’t Forget About Automated Messages
  • BONUS: Here are 5 emails that every marketer should send!

Collect as many email addresses as you can

Email marketing should always be considered a long-term strategy. It’s not something you do once and then forget about it. One element of this perpetual marketing campaign is the act of collecting email addresses. There are many ways to gather email addresses: a pop-up form, an interstitial ad or a sign-up section on one (or more) of your pages. There are many ways to do it.

  • Social Media: Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube are great ways to start collecting email addresses for your email marketing campaign. You can create a sign-up form on your Facebook page, establish a Twitter lead generation card to advertise and gain sign-ups and insert a link to your landing page and signup form under the YouTube video clip.
  • Call-to-Actions (CTAs): Call to Actions are imperative to the success of your email marketing campaign. CTAs can be placed anywhere you wish: in every blog post you compose, in any of your social media messages or at the bottom of your content materials, like white papers, webinars and ebooks.
  • Postcards: When was the last time you received a postcard? Probably when you were six years old and you got one in the mail from your grandparents in Florida! Well, try it out again. If you have a list of postal addresses without emails then send a direct mail offer that can be used whenever the individual signs up for your email list. They’ll be pleasantly surprised by something out of the 1990s.
  • Referrals: This isn’t difficult at all. Ask your customers to refer your business and your email list, and if anyone signs up because of them they could receive a discount on future purchases from you.
  • Offline World: A fishbowl for business cards, a free in-person event and sign-up forms at trade shows. You may think these are out-of-date techniques, but they’re effective at achieving your goal: getting as many emails as possible.
  • Reaching Out: In order to reach out, you should contact bloggers who are in your market, post comments (not promotional) in articles and publish articles on websites that discuss a topic that fits within your niche.

It isn’t difficult at all collecting emails. As long as you’re not spammy (that’s a different topic for another day) and intrusive then you should be fine. When you have as many high-quality email addresses as you can gather, the real fun starts. MailMunch put together a guide highlighting how to turn your email lists into revenue.

Social proof your campaign

Social proof, otherwise known as informational social influence, has been key for successful campaigns in all forms of marketing. It’s when consumers reflect the correct actions of others. Simply put: monkey see, monkey do. It’s all psychology.

The first thing you have to do when utilizing the power of social proofing is to tell your customers how many people subscribe to your email list. After that, try a number of things, such as urging customers to write their own reviews, write stories that customers can empathise with and be socially active on social media and with email.

Of course, there are a few other things that you should consider when social proofing an email marketing campaign:

  • Let your customers be your brand advocates; let them do all of the talking.
  • Blow your own horn and celebrate honours and awards your brand receives.
  • Enhance your shareability by including links to your social media accounts.
  • Inform subscribers what and when they’ll be receiving in future emails.

Introduce social media functions

Even if you think social media marketing is slowly coming to an end because it’s too crowded, it doesn’t hurt to integrate social media with your email marketing. It isn’t hard to merge your social media presence with your emails.

Social media integration is crucial because it extends the reach of your emails and messages, helps identify key metrics, increases your email subscriptions, gives users more options and allows another platform to connect with.

You should also understand the difference between social connection and social sharing. The former is asking subscribers to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter and the latter is asking subscribers to share your content on these platforms.

Here are several tips to incorporate social media into your email marketing strategies:

  • Insert social media icons into your emails.
  • Send a dedicated email campaign for your social media channels.
  • Offer an incentive for liking your Facebook page or following you on Twitter.
  • Add a “Tweet This” snippet in your emails.
  • Provide an email opt-in form on social networks.

Offer an incentive for forwarding emails

Back in the day, you likely were one of the many recipients of chain mails. They were essentially an early version of social media.

The same idea can work for your email marketing campaigns. For instance, you could offer someone who forwards your email a 10 percent discount or if you get someone to subscribe to your email newsletter that both you and that person will be given a coupon for the promotion of your choosing.

Some people do anything to receive discounts. So they’ll likely give their email address for some savings, especially if they frequent your store on a regular basis.

Be kind: Would you like to unsubscribe?

Inserting an unsubscribe option to all of your emails is very polite, respectful and courteous. It may seem counter-intuitive because I’ve been explaining how to grow your email marketing lists but it’s effective because its an easy way of offering trust. It’ll help for the long-term strategy. Here are some examples of great unsubscribe pages.

Remember, because of the CAN-SPAM Act, you have to offer recipients an opt-out facility.

Don’t forget about automated messages

Automation, as well as personalisation and customisation, is an important facet of email marketing. The goal is to ensure every new subscriber receives a personal note of thanks (potentially from the CEO or Managing Director). Personal messages are effective in ensuring your new customers are happy and that they will remain a subscriber to your weekly newsletter or monthly promotions.

Here are a few tips to generate automated personal emails:

  • Be real; ensure that the emails look like they come from a real person within your company.
  • Allow recipients to reply to the email, directly to the person above.
  • Take the time to read and reply to their responses.
  • Make sure the emails are sent based on the behaviour of the email (don’t make them generic).
  • Don’t use gimmicks. Just use plain text.

Final Thoughts

Email is not dead, it’s thriving. At least, provided you have a product or service people actually care about. There’s a huge difference between people needing your product or service and them actually having a passion for it. For example; fashion is sexy and people have a genuine passion, where-as a garage cupboard has no appeal what-so-ever.

At first glance, email marketing may not seem like the most effective use of your time and money. But after a little bit of research, in addition to trial and error, you’ll appreciate the potential impact it could have on your revenue. Hopefully, these email marketing growth hacks help you along the way.

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How to Create a Profitable Content Marketing Business Model, 29 Jan 2016 21:36:12 +0000 or not, nine out of ten companies have some kind of content marketing in place these days – even if they don’t realise. The reason is simple, your customers trust content more than traditional advertising, with 70% of them saying they’d rather learn about a company through an article than an ad. However, very […]

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Strategic or not, nine out of ten companies have some kind of content marketing in place these days – even if they don’t realise. The reason is simple, your customers trust content more than traditional advertising, with 70% of them saying they’d rather learn about a company through an article than an ad. However, very few companies are using content marketing to lead and supercharge long-term business growth. Most small businesses start publishing content without having proper strategy and documentation in place beforehand. Such content marketing efforts soon fizzle out when people see that their content is not generating the kind of engagement they would like to see.

Why Content Marketing is the Backbone of Digital Marketing

The concurrent content marketing revolution stems from our insatiable hunger for more and more fresh content. How many times in a day do you check your Facebook or Twitter feed, or see if there’s anything interesting on Instagram? Suddenly, we need more videos, articles, photos, and other forms of content than we ever did before. Having a strategy for your digital marketing has never been more important. As brands and businesses, we are taking this opportunity to get off our auto pilot SEO strategy and incorporate serving customers with relevant and valuable content. It is clear that content driven marketing:

  • drives traffic and leads,
  • gets linked to from other websites,
  • gets ranked higher by search engines,
  • gets shared on social networks
  • creates brand awareness and builds loyalty
  • and adds to the bottom-line figures
  • Increases your reputation as an authority figure

In order to create and share your content, you need to have a solid content marketing business model that covers how and what types of content you will create and share, the channels you will use, the industry experts you can lean on and the results you’ll achieve. You can always find amazing content marketing tips on Neil Patel’s blog.

The Content Marketing Business Model

Content marketing may not be as expensive as native advertising, but it can still cost you a considerable amount of money. A recent study reveals that companies running the most effective content marketing campaigns are paying their agencies between $5,000 to $50,000 per month for their services. Even if you are planning to spend much less than this range, you’ll still be making an investment in your business, for which you’d like to receive a return sooner rather than later. Like all other marketing activities, content marketing will only make sense if it delivers a positive ROI and long-term growth. That’s why you need to create a comprehensive business model outlining the mechanics, expenditure, and returns of your content marketing campaigns over the next year and beyond. It doesn’t need to be a 100-page plan; even a single page business model can steer your content marketing efforts in the right direction. Your planning process should include the following steps:

Step #1: Share Your Vision and Involve Everyone

To start with, you’ll need to get your boss, partners, and staff in your organization on-board and gain their support for your strategy. The more people you involve, the more ideas you’re likely to get. Ideas are imperative for good content marketing. The people you involve will ‘own’ the model you build and should be willing to contribute and share the responsibility for making the plan a success. For that, you need to communicate your reasons for creating content, your vision of a successful content marketing campaign, and the obstacles or problems that you foresee.

  • Why does your business needs content marketing?
  • How will your content marketing help achieve consumer and organizational goals?
  • Use statistics to make a convincing case for content marketing
  • Explain that there should be room for making mistakes on the way to learning

MCSF Source: Content Marketing Institute

Step #2: Outline Your Content Marketing Goals

Ideally speaking, you should translate all your goals into numbers. This can be relatively easier when you’re defining the objectives for leads or sales, but can be tricky when you want to measure the intangibles, such as brand awareness, image, or recall. You can adopt the following approach:

  • Make a list of the directly measurable and intangible goals
  • Figure out a few KPI’s (key performance indicator) for each goal—these KPI’s will help you in measuring your progress and results
  • Get the available figures for the measurable factors, such as the last year’s number of leads, conversion ratio, sales figures, etc
  • Decide a scale to measure the intangibles—for instance, you can decide to plot brand awareness, recall, and image on a 5- or 10-point scale
  • Adopt a suitable methodology to measure the intangibles before the content marketing campaign starts—you can use surveys, interviews, questionnaires, etc
  • Now that you know where you stand, decide the points where you want to go
  • Once you’ve decided your end-goals and the KPIs that you’ll use for evaluation, mark a few milestones along the way, against which you’ll check your progress when the content marketing kicks into action

Tip: Top content marketing agencies and clients consider the number of back-links that a particular piece of content generates to be a good measure of the content’s effectiveness.

Step #3: Define Your Buyer Persona’s

Many businesses make the mistake of creating content for their brands or products, and not for their customers. You should remember that your buyers don’t go online to read advertisements about your business or product. They will engage with your content only if they find it interesting. And they will find it interesting as long as it offers value by solving their problems, answering their questions, or simply by entertaining them. That’s why you need to know your customers and understand their needs – you have to offer a reason to read your content. pablo (1)Are there different groups of audiences you’ll be creating content for? For instance, you may need different content for males and females, young and elderly, startups and established businesses, or people living in specific geo-locations. What are their content needs? What are the topics that most concern them, with regards to your business or products? For example, Home Depot knows its customers want to DIY as much of their own home-improvement work as possible. So, they’ve been offering how-to DIY guides for many years, and have hosted tons of helpful videos on their website. What are their media habits? Do most of them use Facebook, YouTube, or any other channels? Do they like to watch video more than they like to read text? Do they use mobile or desktop for locating and engaging with the content they like?

Step #4: Prepare a Content Map

Now that you know your audience and their needs, you can decide on what type of content you should create or curate to fulfill your customers’ expectations. The best way to do it is to plot the topics of your content on a visual mind-map. A content map will help you:

  • Match the overall theme and bigger topics of your content with the needs of your audiences
  • Repurpose your content by breaking down lengthy articles into smaller formats, such as tweets or Facebook updates
  • Determine the direction of the content as your audiences’ needs change—for example, you may need product specific content after your audience is past the need-recognition and awareness stages and want to compare the available products
  • Decide the channels and content-mix based on the media habits of your target audiences.

How to Create a Content Map

WCWMFCMEssentially, a content map is a variation of a mind map. There are no fixed formats to be followed. You can draw a tree, with various branches depicting different types of content going to different channels, and the stem being the main theme of the content. You may need several content maps depending upon how many bigger content themes you’ve identified. Here’s a quick sequence to get you started.

  1. Decide the bigger theme or topic after analysing your customers’ needs—let’s say your topic is “content marketing”
  2. Break it down into several subtopics—such as content creation, distribution, types, etc
  3. Break down each subtopic into several titles that cover that subtopic from different angles—for example, content creation can include text, video, photos, etc
  4. Specify the channels and type of content—Will you publish a particular blog post on your own blog or another website? Will you rather produce a video and publish it to YouTube?
  5. Find influencers to target. They will be industry experts and have an audience that is perfect for your message

Tip: Your choice of topics and channels must correspond to your audience’s needs and media behaviour. Most importantly, the topics must be relevant to your business.

Step #5: Finalise Your Brand Story

Ultimately, the whole content marketing business model is there so that your business and brand can grow. Now is the time to finalise the key messages that you want to communicate through content marketing. When people like your content and visit your website to see who you are, you’ll need a compelling brand story to hold them captive. Think of your brand story as a breathtaking account of your mission, inspiration, values, and goals—the reason your business exists. Before you can come up with your story, you’ll need to do a bit of research on your competitors to differentiate your messages and value propositions from them. Your story must resonate with your customers and connect with them at a deeper level than buying and selling.

How to Write Your Brand Story

There can be so many ways of telling your story. Some companies dedicate whole sections of their websites to brand storytelling, using text, video, and pictures to convey their key messages. Others may just use an About Us page for this purpose. Whatever the method that you decide for telling your brand story, keep in mind that the message in your content will be an explanation of your mission and values as stated by your brand story. Therefore, it’s important to write a story that is free of loopholes and has the right strategic depth to drive the whole content marketing strategy. Most brand stories can be figured out by asking the following questions:

  1. Why does your business exist—your vision?
  2. What is your history and background?
  3. Who were your founders and how they were inspired into founding the business?
  4. What is your corporate mission?
  5. What was your major failure and how it turned into success

Step #6: Prepare a Content Creation Plan

Relatively fewer articles talk about a content creation and promotion plan, but great content marketing is impossible unless you’re creating awesome content. Your content map will provide the guidelines for your content mix, including the posts you need writing, the photos and videos you need producing, the updates you need posting, and so on. In all probability, you’re going to need a professional writer, a graphic designer, a photographer/videomaker, a social media manager, and of course, the necessary gadgets, props or locations for creating what you need. Entrepreneurs and micro-business managers can always play some of these roles themselves and still manage to drive impressive results. I recently wrote an article about visual content, you might find this handy to help with the imagery of this step.

Step #7: Prepare a Content Marketing Budget

While you’re at it, you should also prepare a forecast the amount investment that you’d be putting into content marketing. Estimate the cost of different activities, such as copy writing, photography, video production, the salary of the talent you employ, media buying, etc. Your budget will tell you how much and what types of content you can afford to create, and what kind of returns you should expect from your content marketing campaign. There’s no hard and fast rule for how much you should allocate to content marketing, but two different studies indicate that the majority of the surveyed companies are spending an average of about 25% of their total marketing budget (excluding staff salaries) on content marketing. WPY2015 Source: Vertical Measures

Step #8: Prepare a Content Curation Plan

It will be unwise and expensive to try and create all of the content yourself. Research has shown that the companies that generate the most number of clicks from their content only create 25% to 50% of their own content, while curating third-party content for the remaining part. The sweet spot is around 40% created and 60% curated content. Your content curation plan will spell out the topics and sources of the content that you are going to curate. Apps such as Pocket and others can make your job easier, as you can earmark content that you see anywhere on the web and schedule it to be published to your channels later on.

Step #9: Prepare a Channel Plan

You’ve already outlined the content distribution platforms during the content mapping stage. In this step, you should focus on those channels in more depth. Decide the objectives for each channel in terms of reach, engagement (shares, likes, clicks, etc), leads, and conversions. How will you modify your messages for different channels? What will be the frequency of posting? All these things will go into your channel plan. Here’s a great resource outlining the tools you could use during this step.

The main content marketing platforms include your website, blogs, social media (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and other networks), and email. The channel plan will make it easier for you to track the results obtained from each channel, so that you may focus more on the more profitable ones.

Step #10: Prepare an Evaluation Plan

If you remember, you decided to track some KPIs during the goal setting stage. Your content marketing evaluation plan will describe how you are going to measure the KPIs and how often. Google Analytics is your most basic and important tool for the purpose. Using Google Analytics, you can view the referral traffic sources and determine which channels are performing better than others in terms of sending you traffic. You can further track the conversions and see which particular channels are sending you better quality traffic. Similarly, you can track the number of times that your content is viewed, linked to, or shared by users. Also decide who is going to be responsible for collecting and reporting data. Here’s a simple template that you can use for evaluating different KPIs.

Back to Basics

Learn from your mistakes, see how different types of content are performing, build on your strengths, strengthen your weak areas, and continue improving the output of your content marketing effort. Remember the basic rule—it’s the quality that matters more than the quantity. A high-quality, evergreen piece of content that you publish today will remain there forever. And forever being a long time, the leads and growth it will bring will far exceed the cost of its creation.

Source: Five Channels.

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Six Simple Growth Hack Tips to Drive Your Business into Hyper-growth, 15 Jun 2015 13:24:43 +0000 in August 2008 by three room-mates who couldn’t afford to pay their rent, the peer-to-peer vacation rental company AirBnB is valued at $13 billion today. The phenomenal growth of the company became possible through a series of radical steps, or growth hacks, that the management continuously envision and implement. To kick things off, the […]

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Founded in August 2008 by three room-mates who couldn’t afford to pay their rent, the peer-to-peer vacation rental company AirBnB is valued at $13 billion today. The phenomenal growth of the company became possible through a series of radical steps, or growth hacks, that the management continuously envision and implement.

To kick things off, the AirBnB founders decided to exploit CraigsList as it was being used heavily for renting-out accommodation. They started targeting CraigsList advertisers through emails, asking them to list their rental properties with AirBnB as well. It was a spammy tactic, but it worked. Next, they made a little modification to their website – AirBnB started offering people the option to list their properties with CraigsList after they had listed them with AirBnB. When the listing was added to CraigsList, it had a link back to the AirBnB website. Not only did this generated back-links for AirBnB but it also drove more traffic to their listings.

Does this seem too simple? That’s often how growth hacking work! Below, I have provided some really small and simple growth hack tips to use in your own business.

6 Simple growth hack tips

6 Simple Growth Hack Tips


What is Growth Hacking?

The term Growth Hacking was coined in 2010 by Sean Ellis, who had practically become a one man growth shop for many of Silicon Valley’s dotcom companies.  He set up systems, processes and mindsets that helped businesses leap into hyper-growth. He was, in his own words, a growth-hacker—a term he invented after he found it difficult to recruit candidates with the right skills to fill in his shoes.

Growth Hacking is a modern concept in which you hack your core digital product in a way that the product markets itself. You hard-wire growth in your product’s DNA. Consider the jaw-dropping growth of social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn. Until maybe recently, they had been in hyper-growth mode since they were launched. Why? Because they are viral by their very nature.

However, you can hack growth in any business. In the AirBnB example, people found it irresistible to advertise on CraigsList and generated free publicity for the startup. It was a tactic that helped the business grow very rapidly.

Is Growth Hacking right for Your Business?

[tr-shareit ]If you are a digital marketer, you can build #growthhacks into your content marketing, website, and even your product itself[/tr-shareit]

You don’t really need to be a digital marketer to implement growth hacks. If you are a digital marketer though, you can build hacks into your content marketing, website, and even your product itself. Growth Hacking doesn’t rely on advertising or PR to spread the word around. It doesn’t follow any particular principles from the old world of brick and mortar products. There are plenty of tools to help you hack into growth, but you need to know how to apply them. The results of growth hacking are widespread word-of-mouth publicity, more conversions, and incredible business growth. One of my favourite examples of growth hacking is the way Foundr Magazine clocked up 110,000 Instagram followers in 5 months.

6 Simple Hack Tips to Push Your Business into Hyper-growth

Alright, that’s enough theory and concept. Let’s get right to the meat. The following simple growth hack tips can be applied to any online business within days, and deliver a significant improvement to sales in the short term and eventually (and potentially) taking your business into triple-figure growth.

1. Hack Lead Capture

It’s such a shame if a good quality visitor comes to your site or landing page and bounces without converting. You must do everything in your power to keep the visitor glued to your website and take the action that you want them to take. There are plenty of ways of doing this, but most of website owners do nothing.

One of the ways to boost your lead-capture performance is to lure your visitor with a lucrative offer or give them some free stuff. Take a look at the GroupOn homepage below and see how minimalist it is. The visitors can clearly see the advantage of subscribing—a 50% to 90% discount on deals. To make it easier for them, the subscription box just asks them for their email address, no first and last names, no DOB, nothing! I can tell you that GroupOn have an almost never-ending mailing list as a result of this simple conversion hack.


2. Schedule Email Blitz

How often is too often in email marketing? Smart Insights have a great piece on this topic.

Each niche will differ but some businesses have good success from being very in-your-face. AirBnB sends daily emails to their subscribers about the latest rentals that they may be interested in, and the strategy has worked for them so far. You should use an email program like ConstantContact or Mailchimp, import email contacts from your social media profiles and mail lists, create a knock-out mail sequence, and put it on fire-and-forget.

It’s even better if you automate your email marketing with your latest deals and offers. There are several CRM’s available which you can use for this purpose. Check out Contactually. It allows you to integrate LinkedIn into your contact list and sync your contacts with your Facebook friends, email subscribers, Gmail contacts, etc. You can send out group, individual and batch emails, and can also track every mail to see whether it is being opened and clicked.

3. Create Scarcity and Urgency

Did you ever wonder why people pay stupendous sums of money to buy antiques and paintings? It’s scarcity! If the visitors coming to your sales pages get the impression that they can buy your product whenever they choose to, chances are that most of them will never make the decision to buy. “Oh, I can buy it another time” …a time that may never come.

Instead, you should drop clues about your product being scarce and/or time-sensitive. Using phrases like “Limited time offer”, “First come first serve” or “Offer expires in hh:mm” can often do the trick. If a visitor really likes your product, he/she will be tempted to buy right there and then. Notice how GroupOn, another company in hyper-growth mode, creates scarcity and urgency on its sales pages.


Another way to create urgency is using a sticky notification bar on top of your page header. Check out the Unbounce header example below:


4. Make Your Content a Must-share

The Cheese and Burger Society currently has more than 135,000 engaging Facebook fans, which it has gathered over a short period by applying a simple hack—it makes it almost obligatory for its followers to click the Share button. How?


Most social media users are tough nuts to crack. They may like your content and still not click the Like button. Getting them to share your stuff is even harder, but not if you are using a content locker plugin. These plugins restrict access to your premium content until the visitor shares the content that you want to spread. In my opinion, this method can be a little aggressive but there’s no doubt that some have had huge success with it.

The Cheese and Burger Society gets their customers to share or tweet pictures of their favorite cheeseburgers in order to be eligible to win free gifts. It’s probably a custom API that makes it possible for them, but you can always scale any growth hack up or down.

Here’s another way to get people to share your offers:


5. Revamp the Buy Button

Yes, write something else on it instead of Buy. Try “Get Awesome” or “Get it Now” button. It’s a subtle change, but the effect can be powerful if you have the right audience. If someone else is selling similar products as yours, the customer may prefer to buy from you, because they could perceive you as more creative. There’s also a psychological issue with the word buy, because it sounds like a commitment to pay. As ever, you will know your own demographic (or you should!), so you can adapt this tip to suit your own website personality.

The area around the button is also very important. Here are a few things you can put there to encourage people into clicking that button.

  • A price comparison
  • Key product benefits
  • Customer rating and reviews
  • The number of people who have bought that product
  • And, of course, some elements to create scarcity and urgency, such as a countdown timer, limited stock indicator, etc


6. Gamify Your Website

Gamification is a vast subject, but it’s basically centered around people’s interest in publicising their actions and thoughts, and learning about others’. A simple example of gamification is providing a vote up or down option on your content, which you can do using a simple plugin. People can express their like/dislike about your post or page, and can also view how others have reacted to it.

There’s no end to gamification, and your visitors should love it. See how Poshly uses a number of gamification elements including countdown timers, quizzes, and free prizes to keep its audience engaged.


You can also create a system of badges, medals or bonuses to reward loyal as well as first-time customers. Gamification is customizable as well as scalable.  4Food, a website promoting healthy junk-food, has added plenty of gaming features to its website. You can build a burger for a cause and share it with your social media friends. 4Food will donate 25 cents to your cause each time a burger is sold.


Growth Hack Tips – Conclusion

As you may have noticed, growth hacking is dynamic and fluid. It’s hard to define the boundaries between different growth hacks. Gamification can merge with social sharing; scarcity can be turned into a social activity; email marketing can be blended with social media, and so on.

In order to be good, a growth hack must deliver significant growth. Every hack may not work for every business, and a lot of testing may be required before you can apply the right combination of hacks. But once you do, it should only be a matter of days before you see your growth spiking.


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Q&A with Yaniv Navot, Director of Performance Marketing at Dynamic Yield, 30 Mar 2015 08:19:28 +0000 don’t partake in too many interviews on my blog, but as soon as I met Yaniv Navot, I knew I could extract some great answers from him which would benefit the readers of my website. Yaniv has a vast wealth of experience, especially in conversion rate optimisation (CRO). He is the Director of Performance Marketing […]

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I don’t partake in too many interviews on my blog, but as soon as I met Yaniv Navot, I knew I could extract some great answers from him which would benefit the readers of my website. Yaniv has a vast wealth of experience, especially in conversion rate optimisation (CRO). He is the Director of Performance Marketing at Dynamic Yield where he focuses on website optimisation and analytics. I hope you enjoy reading Yaniv’s thoughts just as much as I have enjoyed getting to know him.

Q. How did you get into digital marketing?

“I started out on this path by joining an SEM agency as a SEO and PPC optimizer. After trying my hand at about every service the agency had to offer, I managed to accumulate tons of practical experience on SEO, PPC, Web Analytics and A/B Testing. Over the years, I have deeply expanded my knowledge regarding the entire digital marketing industry, gaining valuable experience from hundreds of top-tier customers that I had consulted for. When the opportunity to move to a hyper-growth, super-interesting start-up presented itself, I stepped up to my current role as Director of Performance Marketing at Dynamic Yield.”

Q. What are the three things you consider to be the most important factors in CRO?

“That’s a very good question! The first and most important factor in any conversion optimization process is planning a solid optimization strategy and testing methodology. Without it, all that follows is both insignificant and inherently misleading. Personally, I use a simple 4-step process when crafting an optimization plan. I’ve written about it in detail here: The 4-step Conversion Optimization Model. The second most important factor is segmentation. Segmenting visitors using sophisticated behavioral-based conditions enables us to deliver the most relevant content in the right context. It also allows us to implement automated personalization solutions, deeply understand who our visitors are, find interesting new opportunities for optimization and run tests more efficiently. Lastly, I would say that CRO requires us to be patient. We usually set a course and steer towards growth, but the truth is that CRO is a never-ending process, and the destination is never really clear. With CRO, patience is a not just a virtue, it’s a requirement. So, to summarize my answer, the three most important factors in CRO are: (1) Planning, (2) Segmenting, (3) Being patient.”

Q. What are the biggest mistakes you see businesses making when attempting to optimize their site to increase conversions?

“There are two mistakes I keep seeing: First, I see marketers concluding the wrong insights based on limited data; many marketers jump to conclusions way too soon. Some tests simply need more time, and some may even need re-testing for additional validations. The second mistake is optimizing for the wrong KPIs. While increasing conversions is a great thing in itself, the ultimate target is to increase the bottom-line revenue. Revenue can be reflected in various KPIs, such as Customer’s Lifetime Value (LTV), online purchases, etc. Determining the right marketing optimization objective is crucial, and unfortunately, most marketers simply settle for directly optimizing conversions or conversion rate.”

Q. If you were to give website owners just one tip, what would it be?

“The cost of acquiring new traffic is always on the rise. Instead of spending your entire marketing budget on acquisition, invest a portion of it on optimization and reduce your acquisition costs for each customer. Conversion optimization will help you maximize your profits and improve your business bottom-line.”

Q. Which blogs are your favourites to read?

“Oh, there are so many! One of my favourite blogs right now is Simo Ahava’s Google Analytics blog. Another great one that I follow is Intercom’s blog. There’s also Occam’s Razor by Avinash Kaushik and User Onboarding by Samuel Hulick. In addition, I recommend following stories on and These are all great resources for inspiring and educational content consumption.”

Q. What is your favourite CRO tool?

“Well, obviously I’m biased, as I work for a company that produces, in my humble opinion, the most sophisticated and powerful personalization and optimization solution available on the market today. That being said, if you’re looking for more research and analysis tools, I recommend (there’s a free, limited version they offer called Peek), Qualaroo (brilliant for getting real feedback from customers) and recently, I’ve started working with by Yousaf Sekander (Director at RocketMill) to help with analyzing what some of our competitors might be experimenting with.”

Q. Do you see a growing trend of website owners realizing the importance of CRO?

“There’s definitely a change in focus on conversion optimization. Many marketers today acknowledge CRO to be a key pillar of their overall digital marketing strategy. In fact, for more than four in five companies, the internal focus on CRO has increased over the past year, according to the 2014 Conversion Rate Optimization Report by Econsultancy and RedEye (source). As more and more companies realize they can highly benefit from embracing CRO, I believe the focus on CRO will grow even more over time.”

It’s difficult to disagree with anything Yaniv says. He’s a nice guy with a plethora of knowledge in his field. It was my pleasure to conduct this interview post.

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5 Risks of Not Tracking Your eCommerce Conversion Rates, 19 Mar 2015 13:25:16 +0000 rates are one of the most significant factors to the success of your eCommerce site and are usually the most overlooked. Analysing your conversion rates is simple, but taking the time to improve them can be challenging, especially those who don’t have much experience. Ignoring conversion rates and not participating in Conversion Rate Optimization […]

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Conversion rates are one of the most significant factors to the success of your eCommerce site and are usually the most overlooked. Analysing your conversion rates is simple, but taking the time to improve them can be challenging, especially those who don’t have much experience. Ignoring conversion rates and not participating in Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) can negatively affect your website and your profits. In this article, we’ll be looking at the five most common risks associated with a lack of CRO, and what you can do to avoid them.

This post does not tell you how to improve your eCommerce conversion rates.

The purpose of this post is not to tell you how to improve your eCommerce conversion rates. It is to tell you why you should monitor your conversion rates so you can then try to improve your conversion rates. If you want to learn how to improve your CR, check out this article I wrote on Search Engine People.

1. You might not get the chance to improve the quality of your visitors

Your website needs to attract high quality visitors that are the best fit for your business and products.  To do this, you need to focus on your marketing and optimize the correct, specific keywords for your target audience. If you use and optimise broad keywords, the total traffic may rise, but your total conversions will drop because you’ve hooked a larger spectrum of visitors, not all of whom need or want your specific services. Furthermore, if you try to improve your traffic from a specific keyword, your conversion rate will also rise. If you choose not to track your conversion rates for specific pages, you might not realize if a page performs poorly.

2. You might not have the correct landing pages

By using Search Query Referrals to see which keywords have the highest conversion rates, you can also determine what pages visitors are landing on when they search for specific phrases. If they’re landing on a page that isn’t optimized properly, the visitors will leave before taking any additional steps to navigate your site. If your keywords are directing the visitor to the “About” page instead of your primary landing page, there is a major optimization flaw. Each landing page needs to be a part of the Conversion Funnel, and it also needs to direct the visitor to your specific call to action (CTA). By focusing on a simpler navigation, an easy conversion funnel, and optimizing each landing page, you can increase your conversion rates. If you don’t use a CMS for your website, you could always try driving traffic to a custom landing page using a tool like this.

3. You’re not reducing bounce and exit rates

High bounce and exit rates should throw up red flags immediately. A Bounce Rate is the amount of visitors who exit your site after only viewing a single page. An Exit Rate is the percentage of people who leave after viewing your page, and this rate is specific to each page. A high exit rate on a specific page is telling, and if you don’t focus on CRO for that page, you’re going to continue losing traffic. If you’re not tracking conversion rates in addition to bounce and exit rates, you’re not going to know which page or what content is causing visitors to leave your site.

By using A/B testing, you can determine which pieces of content need to be changed and optimized in order to enhance your conversion. A/B testing simply tests your current page against a new version to see if the changes make any significant increase or decrease in conversion, so you know what works and what doesn’t.

4. You’re not creating the best possible user experience

Your site needs to be easy to use, streamlined, and accessible in order to boost conversions. By tracking conversion rates and focusing on CRO, you can create the best possible experience for your customers and increase your turnover. To do this, you need to ask yourself some questions. First, is your page relevant? Is there an obvious call to action? Are there too few or too many CTA’s? Are there too many links and ineffective images cluttering up your pages? Is your checkout process streamlined or is it cumbersome? Is it visually enticing, or is it boring?

One area which eCommerce stores tend to neglect is the search functionality. Getting search right can make a huge difference to the revenue you generate and the ROI from your marketing spend. Also hiring an online store management company can really help your company, check it out here.

Each of these questions can be addressed and fixed by implementing and tracking A/B test results, as we mentioned earlier. Take this testing one step at a time, because changing too much at once can give you mixed results. For example, if you switch from short form copy to long form and change your headline, you won’t be sure which of those affected your conversion rates the most.

5. You’re wasting money and losing valuable customers

This is the most obvious and important risk factor when you don’t focus on Conversion Rate Optimization, and it is intrinsically tied to the all of the above risks as a direct effect. If your website is not converting traffic into customers, you’re losing money, plain and simple.

One of the most common mistakes eCommerce site owners can make is to sink large amounts of money into Pay Per Click advertisements and SEO without taking the time to focus on conversion rates. By doing this, you effectively spend more effort on gaining large amounts of traffic and trying to rake in new customers instead of cultivating a lasting and trusting relationship with the customers you really want. Because CRO is essentially free and only requires time, you’ll get significantly more return on your investment, and it all goes to the bottom line of your business. If you want to be a trusted authority and a valuable eCommerce site, you need to focus on CRO.

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10 Tools for Creating Great Visual Content, 08 Jan 2015 22:14:06 +0000 vast amount of content created online is staggering. More than 350 million new photos are uploaded to Facebook every single day. One hundred hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. On average, more than 3000 tweets are retweeted every second! Its difficult to comprehend the sheer volume or videos, photos and articles that […]

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The vast amount of content created online is staggering. More than 350 million new photos are uploaded to Facebook every single day. One hundred hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. On average, more than 3000 tweets are retweeted every second! Its difficult to comprehend the sheer volume or videos, photos and articles that exist on the Internet.

In order to make that great piece of content you wrote stand out you sometimes have to go that extra mile because it often takes something visually special to cut through the sea of mediocrity.


Here are a few tools that can help you build visually persuasive content. Most of them are free (or free to try) so take them for a spin.

Photos and Graphics

Photos can almost double the chances of your content being clicked. And with the following tools, your photos will can be at the same standard as your content.


Not only does ThingLink allow you to make your photos highly engaging, it’s also a lot of fun to use! The online app allows you to insert tags and icons on your photo, which appear on mouse-over. When the user touches any of the icons, a pop-up with your message appears. You can also link these icons to relevant videos, music or photos, which will be superimposed on your photo.

The app also lets you search for relevant content right off its dashboard. Here’s a photo I created in less than 10 minutes. Scroll over the image. Go on, you know you want to!


Gone are the days when you need a master degree in Photoshop to create great visual content. Enter: Canva, the “fun-tastic” online tool that takes 21 seconds to master. Seriously… That’s the length of the tutorial video on their homepage. Design awesome images by simply dragging and dropping pictures and icons, add text, change the colours to go with your brand or theme, and you’re ready with a great custom image to share with your audience.

You can design different types of visual content such as Twitter posts, posters, Facebook cover images, and more. The app is free to use, but most of the images and icons cost you $1 each.

Adobe Creative Cloud

For those of you who need more control (like me), there’s Adobe Creative Cloud. The online creative suites eliminates the need for installing heavy graphics software on your computer, allowing you to access, work and collaborate on your visual content from anywhere in the world. Adobe has hosted tons of desktop and mobile apps on the cloud. And you can use the entire collection by paying $29.99 per month. Great if you are also into photography.

Creative Cloud also lets you share your visual content using Behance, get amazing fonts using Typekit, build apps using PhoneGap, manage projects on StoryPlus, and really do quite a lot. Adobe CC is great place if you are a creative designer, although it can be a little baffling for a beginner.


PicMonkey is another easy-to-use visual picture tool that allows you to edit, touch up, and design images, add text, and share the results with your audience. It works in much the same way as Canva, but PicMonkey also allows you to create collages from your own photos and enhance them visually. Remove the wrinkles and blemishes from photos, make people blush, whiten their teeth, apply lip color, grow whiskers, and do a lot more.


Have you ever pondered how people can create infographics so quickly and easily? You don’t need to be a designer to make your data attractive by depicting it graphically. Infogram allows you to pick up one of the several templates and customize it with your own text and data. Just like with Canva and PicMonkey, you can just drag and drop items and objects to bring your infographics to life.

The free basic plan gives you plenty of features and charts to play around with and also publishes your infographics online. A must-use tool if you don’t want to bore the heck out of your audience with text, figures and tables.

Videos and Slideshows

A video or slideshow on your landing page can boost conversions by as much as 80% or more. People are 160% more likely to buy from you if they watch through the end of your video, but how to make them do that? Here are some tools that can make your videos and slideshows captivating.


Tired of publishing boring slideshows? Prezi gives you a whole new perspective on your presentations. You can create a wide area snapshot of your whole presentation using one of the attractive and meaningful templates. Prepare your slides and position them on the template. Use the tool to zoom in and out of your slides and fly around the presentation to give a unique and dynamic feel. You can customize the path or the sequence in which the slides will display and add audio to the presentation. Unlike a regular PowerPoint presentation, a Prezi presentation looks more like a video and emphasizes the way in which your slides are interconnected.

Prezi might take a while to master. You can view a plethora of public presentations shared on Prezi to get inspired. Here’s an example of a random video created using Prezi.


If a picture is worth one thousand words, a video must be worth a million. Why use text when you can capture your viewers’ attention with an entertaining, slick video? GoAnimate is a great tool for producing fun animated videos using a variety of cartoon characters, backgrounds, props, and smart sets. There are plenty of themes available to go with any type of video, including business presentations, white board animations, cartoons, comedy, Sci-Fi…you name it.

GoAnimate is easy and fun to use. Just select the theme, scroll your mouse over different objects and characters, and enjoy playing with a huge number of cool features and functionalities. You can try the video maker for free, but you must purchase a plan (starting at $39/month) if you want to download or export your video.


This is the Doodle video website that claims their one-of-a-kind animations are 800% more engaging than words. These videos use a human hand to sketch your story on a whiteboard at high speed, as a crisp voiceover speaks to the viewers. The videos they make are compelling and keep the audience hooked through the very end.

Sellamotion is a customized service and their team will offer you a price after learning about your requirements in detail. Their process starts with a conference call and includes script, original artwork, voiceover, and editing. The prices start at $297/minute, so this might not exactly be the cheapest or shortest route to producing a video.

You can see some of their work here.

Common Craft

CommonCraft is similar to Sellamotion, but here, you tell your story with the help of paper cutouts and props instead of the whiteboard sketches. This can give you more versatility and visual appeal. It’s a great way to translate a complex idea into simple and interesting videos that stand out. CommonCraft videos can keep your audience glued to the screen (and on your page longer).

Plans start at $49 a year, but you’ll need to buy the $99 plan in order to be able to download or embed the videos that you create.

Haiku Deck

HaikuDeck is a great tool for creating compelling slideshow presentations that you can distribute through multiple channels. It gives you plenty of attractive layouts, stunning images, and bold fonts to play with. You can build delightful presentations pretty quickly; however, if your slides are really detailed, HaikuDeck may not be able to handle all the text. With that said, it’s a wonderful way of telling your brand stories and making your presentations stand out from the stock PowerPoint slideshows.

The website offers plenty of sample presentations that you can draw inspiration from. When they are ready, you can download or share your presentations via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or email. You can also embed them directly into your webpage, just as I did with the following sample slideshow.

10-Minute Content Marketing Miracles – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

These are just some of the tools that can make your visual content deliver the “wow” effect. Of course, there’s Instagram, Vine, Windows Movie Maker, YouTube Video Editor, and plenty of other free and paid tools that you can use for taking your static and dynamic visual content into a different dimension. Most of these tools come with easy tutorials, but they tell you little about your customers, their needs, and the type of content that they’d love. Tools still haven’t replaced the marketer, at least completely!

The post 10 Tools for Creating Great Visual Content appeared first on Matt Janaway.