Category Archives: Submit Links Free

Confirmed: Google To Stop Showing Ads On Right Side Of Desktop Search Results Worldwide


Google is rolling out a dramatic change that removes ads from the right side of its desktop search results, and places ads only at the top and/or bottom of the page. At the same time, the company says it may show an additional ad — four, not three — above the search results for what it calls “highly commercial queries.”

All of this represents the conclusion of a test that began all the way back in 2010, and has been tweaked over the years since then. Search Engine Land readers — particularly some outside the U.S. — notified us late last year that they were seeing the top-only ads more frequently.

A Google spokesperson has confirmed to Search Engine Land that the change is now rolling out to all searches in all languages worldwide. Ads will not appear on the right side of desktop search results, with two exceptions:

  1. Product Listing Ad (PLA) boxes, which show either above or to the right of search results
  2. ads in the Knowledge Panel

The additional fourth ad that may show above the search results will only show up for highly commercial queries, according to Google’s official statement on the change:

“We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries. We’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers.”

To clarify, the elimination of right-side ads impacts all desktop searches worldwide; the addition of the fourth ad above search results will happen for “highly commercial queries.” This would involve searches like “hotels in New York City” or “car insurance” and the like.

The removal of all right-side ads obviously makes the desktop and mobile search results more similar. On mobile, though, Google typically shows either two or three ads at the top of the search results.

Postscript: Search Engine Land was tipped to this change via email from a Google advertiser that wishes to remain anonymous, as well as the folks at The Media Image who wrote about the change yesterday.

Postscript #2: Google originally told Search Engine Land that there were two exceptions to the right-side change: PLA boxes and the Knowledge Panel. A spokesperson tells us that’s not the case, and that PLA boxes will be the only time ads will continue to show on the right side of the desktop search results page. Our article above has been edited accordingly.

Postscript #3: After additional email exchanges, Google is now saying that their original statement is correct — i.e., there may be two exceptions to the removal of ads on the right side of desktop search results: PLA boxes and ads in the Knowledge Panel. Our article has reverted back to its original version.

The post Confirmed: Google To Stop Showing Ads On Right Side Of Desktop Search Results Worldwide appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Study: How Much Of Your Content Marketing Is Effective?

Brands are spending the time and money to publish more content, but that begs a crucial question: How effective is it?

Contently partnered with Adweek and surveyed 745 marketers to find out.

In this free report, “How Much of Your Content Marketing Is Effective?” Contently uses the results from their original study to investigate how marketers measure success, track what resources they allocate for content creation and take a look at their most significant day-to-day challenges.

Visit Digital Marketing Depot to get your copy.

The post Study: How Much Of Your Content Marketing Is Effective? appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Search Engine Land

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Why Your AdWords Competitors Are Making More Money Than You

Don’t go green with envy over the success of your competitors’ Adwords campaigns. Photo via Kaboompics.

I know, that’s a pretty harsh headline. But it’s true.

Some of your AdWords competitors are making more money than you.

Whether you’re trying to generate leads, get new SaaS users or make ecommerce sales, there’s an AdWords competitor out there who’s able to spend more than you to acquire new business while also making more money at the same time.

But here’s the good news: You can get much more from your modestly sized budget if you’re willing to look at things a little differently.

Let’s take a look at the four biggest things you need to change:

  1. You complain about lead quality, but haven’t adapted your offerings
  2. You’re obsessed with your conversion rates, but not your sales rates
  3. You’re getting conversions, but your sales game is weak
  4. You’re getting sales, but you’ve never tried increasing your prices or upselling

Let’s dig in.

1. You complain about lead quality, but haven’t adapted your offerings

If you have an AdWords campaign that’s serving you well, you may be tempted to pump more money into it.

But don’t assume that more traffic = more conversions.

Your AdWords traffic is composed of a colorful bunch of people with a different set of needs and dramatically different budgets.

There’s nothing you can do to change that.

All you can do is adapt your offerings.

Consider how Google has three different products to choose from when it comes to PPC:

adwords options
Which one are you using?
  • Small mom-and-pop shops may get by with Google AdWords Express where not a lot of customization is needed.
  • Smaller to medium sized businesses might have all their needs met with regular Google AdWords with ad scheduling and keyword targeting.
  • Enterprise level companies might only want to use DoubleClick because of the additional abilities like bidding separately for tablets or access to other ad networks beyond regular Google Search and Display.

With our PPC and landing page agency, KlientBoost, we know we don’t want to work with every single lead that comes through our door. We only want to work with companies that fit our requirements (like a certain amount of ad spend per month).

And in the beginning of our agency journey, we were throwing a ton of leads away since all we cared about was signing up people for our month-to-month services, our biggest bread winner.

I felt like Captain Ahab chasing around a bunch of Moby Dicks.

Captain Ahab
Costa Mesa, CA — that’s where our boat is docked, and our office.

But we all know that whale hunting is ridiculously tough on the shoulders (and illegal). Plus there are way more sardines than whales in the ocean.

So how could we profit off those sardines smaller fish?

Since our lead volume kept growing from our marketing efforts, I had to do something different to take advantage of those fish.

So I started experimenting.

What if the people who can’t afford to work with us on a monthly basis could still get help from us?

With that “Aha!” moment, we introduced one-time growth packages where we helped clients set up their AdWords account and landing pages, and then handed them the keys to run it.

We didn’t create new ads, landing pages or change anything in our PPC accounts. Because someone searching “PPC agency” could have a budget of a $ 1 million a month or just $ 100 a month.

Fast forward two months and we’ve made $ 32,500 from that one decision change. Money we’d otherwise have missed out on.

And these new packages then give us the opportunity to potentially work with those customers on a larger scale when they can afford our month-to-month services.

Here’s a quick look at our Stripe history with some of those recent charges. Not bad if you ask me!

So even if you get conversions from people who are ready to buy, but can’t afford your solution, what are you doing to get their foot in the door?

Have you considered offering them something of complementary value to your core offering?

2. You’re obsessed with your conversion rates, but not your sales rates

If you are doing a good enough job getting AdWords traffic, then trust me, it’s not the quantity of the conversion you should be worried about, it’s the quality of those conversions.

You’ll want to make sure you track and qualify your conversions fast enough to understand if they’re worth spending time on (especially if you’re trying to generate leads).

Let’s use LeBron James as an example. On the surface, some AdWords keywords and display placements could be looking like a superfly LeBron James in a golden leotard with fancy dance moves (getting a ton of leads), but on the back-end, they’re not getting you enough championships (a.k.a. sales).

LaBron James
Don’t be fooled by the pants and fancy dance moves. Image via Giphy.

What your competitors already know is to track the entire process from click to close (first AdWords click to you actually making money) and optimize off of sales, not leads.

If you’re trying to generate leads, your competitors might already know which keywords have the highest sales rates (from paying over the phone), not just conversion rates (from converting on the landing page).

And that’s where your competitors are laughing all the way to the bank.

The flashiness of leads (and golden leotards) inside your AdWords account has you focused on getting more, without realizing that you could cut your budget in half and still get the same amount of sales.

But how do you do that?

The secret is called ValueTrack parameters, and it’s a URL parameter string you can append to your final URLs inside the tracking template field of your AdWords account.

ad builder
The “Ad URL options” field is where you want to add those parameters.

You can custom create your own URL parameter string or adopt what I recommend below:


Next, you’ll want to make sure your landing page form has the hidden fields (like GA_network, GA_device, etc.) to capture that info along with the form fields the visitor is filling out.

This URL parameter string that you add to your AdWords ads will help you see which networks, devices, keywords, campaigns, etc. that your conversion came from and how much money that conversion meant for you.

hidden field data
Here’s what that hidden field data looks like inside Unbounce.

In the world of lead generation, let’s break this down with a hypothetical example:

Keyword #1 = 20% lead conversion rate and a 10% sales rate

Keyword #2 = 10% lead conversion rate and a 50% sales rate

If you were only tracking lead conversion rates, then you’d think keyword #1 is performing better because of the higher conversion rates and lower cost per conversion.

But if you do the math, it’s keyword #2 that’s making you more money.

Keyword #1 = 1 lead for every 5 clicks (20% conversion rate), 1 sale for every 10 conversions (10% sales rate). 50 clicks = 1 sale.

Keyword #2 = 1 lead for every 10 clicks (10% conversion rate), 1 sale for every 2 conversions (50% close rate). 20 clicks = 1 sale.

As you can see, not tracking the quality of your conversions can be detrimental.

Even without a fancy CRM, you can quickly backtrack and see which areas in your AdWords account are bleeding money. Better yet, increase bids on the keywords and placements that are giving you high quality conversions to get more of them.

3. You’re getting conversions, but your sales game is weak

Did you know that it takes on average between five and 12 touches of following up with a prospect before you close them?

But I’m not talking about manually spending more time emailing or calling prospects.

Because how many times have you complained about not being able to get a hold of your form leads?

Let me guess — quite a bit.

What you do after they convert matters just as much as what you did before they converted.

If your AdWords competitors are smart (and I know some of them are), then they already have an email nurturing program in place to drip value on their leads.

baby chimp
You know, to keep their prospects engaged, fed and happy.

And while some of your competitors may be bigger than you and have more money, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t do the same.

For our PPC agency, here’s what our workflow looks like when we’re trying to give someone a custom proposal:

Email 1 What our proposal looks like
Email 2 AdWords screenshots of ongoing monthly improvements
Email 3 Monthly service or one-time package
Email 4 Custom goal setting ideas (scale or get lean)
Email 5 Links to our partner webinars
Email 6 Podcast/interview links (showing thought leadership)
Email 7 Case studies from current clients
Email 8 Call to action of getting a proposal
Email 9 New AdWords screenshots of improvements

The goal of each email is to showcase our skills and the features and benefits we can bring to prospects and their business.

We were super impressed with the continuous open rates (50% average throughout the entire sequence), but even more blown away to see that leads we’ve never heard from initially didn’t reply to us until they got the sixth email (out of nine total).

Which, funny enough, is a link to the podcast I did with the peeps here at Unbounce

email campaign
Here’s a snapshot of our first four drip emails.

So if you’re spending precious dollars on AdWords, how are you making sure that none of your conversions are going to waste?

If you think you can afford to have a “lead nurturing program” that’s made up of only two phone calls and one email, then you’re wasting your time and money.

Because it takes much more effort these days to to turn a conversion into a sale, you need to equip yourself with the tools that sales professionals use on a daily basis.

Here are a few to help you out:


MailChimp is one of the easiest email automation tools out there.

If you can map out five emails that would bring value to your prospects, then turn them into a MailChimp automation workflow.

The goal of MailChimp will be to get your prospects to take a specific action. In our case, it’s a simple response that they want a proposal from us. When that happens, we move them over to Yesware.


Yesware is a Gmail tool that helps you track email opens and gives you the ability to automatically remind yourself to follow up with leads after a certain period of time.

Once someone has replied to us via MailChimp, we put them in Yesware as they’ve now moved into our sales funnel.

Yesware helps us track who opens our emails and reminds us to follow up with prospects too.

Autopilot for LinkedIn

Autopilot is a cool tool that allows you to “autovisit” the LinkedIn profiles of your prospects. You set the criteria and the tool will notify your prospects that you visited their profile.

For us, this acts as great touch points without having to manually visit profiles every day and helps us look like we’re everywhere when someone is considering working with us.


IFTTT stands for “if this, then that,” and it allows you to automate some of your lead nurturing touch points.

Let’s say someone comes through as a lead on your landing page. You can then use IFTTT to connect with them on Twitter and LinkedIn (if the emails match) with a certain amount of time delay.

This will make you look like you’re going the extra mile compared to some of your competitors (who your lead could be talking to) to really want to work with the lead.

But don’t take my word for it.

I spoke with Sujan Patel from who gave me a new perspective on the focus of nurturing:

When someone decides to become a lead it means they’ve decided to “explore” or find out more, not purchase (you made a good first impression). Lead nurturing keeps you top of mind (or close to it), builds credibility, trust and helps you passively demonstrate your value.

The same thing applies to AdWords traffic.

If someone finds you via PPC, then they also know they have 10 other options (the 10 others search ads on Google) that they need to explore and will most likely compare all the options.

If you’re fortunate enough to get a conversion, then you must strongly consider the nurturing part as well. Because sometimes, there’s a big gap between getting a conversion and actually making money.

4. You’re getting sales, but you’ve never tried increasing your prices or upselling

I remember my first PPC client.

I just got back from a pitch at a local crossfit gym in Newport Beach and I recall how nervous I was that I nearly sputtered out my price when they asked.

“Uhmm… That would be uhh… $ 250 a month for everything we talked about, which includes keyword bidding, ad testing uhmmm… negative keywords…”

I felt like I had to defend myself, even though they were clearly interested.

Right after the meeting, I went straight home to my bed and fell asleep because I was so emotionally drained.

Then — to my surprise — when I woke up, I had a PayPal notification showing that they’d paid.

Since then, we’ve increased our average price to be almost twenty times what it was back then.

And it isn’t because we’re trying to keep up with the rate of inflation.

It’s because we know, just like your competitors know, that if our profit margins are high enough, then

  • we can spend more money to acquire a client,
  • we can be okay saying no to more of the smaller fish
  • and we’ll have more time to work on the results for our Moby Dick clients so that we can retain them longer and make more money.

Now I know that raising prices can be a scary thing, especially when you might alienate people who aren’t willing to pay what you ask.

But consider the obvious negotiation tactic of starting high and then going low.

You’ll be surprised how many people are okay to pay what you charge, even if you double your pricing on your next sales call.

And when you do, don’t stop there. Be a greedy pig goat.

baby goat

Because as soon as you have a customer that’s already paying, they’re 50% more likely to buy again compared to brand new prospects.

Another tactic to consider is the upsell. GoDaddy gets aggressive with its upsell, even before you’ve bought anything:

godaddy upsell
Sure, I’ll take .net, .org and .info.

So when it comes to paying a decent amount of money for all your AdWords clicks, strongly consider what you can do increase your prices without increasing your resources.

So what’s next?

Now that you’ve been spending the last couple months improving your AdWords metrics and landing page conversion rates, I hope you have a stronger incentive to learn about the other improvements you could be making (both during and after conversions).

In the long run, the changes above will improve your bottom line from other marketing efforts. It won’t be long until you can’t even see your AdWords competition in the rearview mirror.


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The Strategy We Used To Rank #1 for “Unhealthiest Foods"

Today you are going to learn the exact formula we used to rank #1 for the keyword “unhealthiest foods” and #4 in the same search.

They have been there for over a year and are stuck in the top 5.

This is a white hat method with some grey hat mixed at the beginning since we “built some links”.

What You Will Learn

  • How we ranked #1 for “unhealthiest foods” for years
  • How to blend white hat content marketing with grey hat SEO for huge results
  • The exact strategy we used

The Strategy

We were approached by an online content distributor who wanted help with SEO. My company, Grey Umbrella Marketing’s (now Visiture) process back in 2014 was to pick target keywords, create content and then rank for them.

We didn’t use any black hat strategy, but we did build links via relevant web 2.0 sites and we were very good at it.

This is how we did it step by step.

Step #1 – Keyword Selection

First we selected keyword phrases to go after. Here is what we chose-

Keyword Search Volume CPC
what happens when you quit smoking 5400 5.27
health benefits of honey 5400 1.57
how to increase libido 2900 2.62
honey health benefits 2400 0.21
how to communicate effectively 2400 2.4
coffee nutrition facts 1900 1.41
how to increase s** drive 1600 3.05
natural s** 1300 0.06
increase s** drive 1300 1.83
should i shave my head 1000 4.34
negative self talk 880 0.01
how to have good posture 880 0
shaving your head 880 2.35
college booty 880 0.04
how to increase libido in men 880 1.33
what happens when you stop smoking 720 5.43
foot massage techniques 720 0.11
how to increase your s** drive 720 1.69
what happens to your body when you quit smoking 720 5.81
how to increase your libido 590 1.42
how to have better posture 590 0
what happens after you quit smoking 590 3.26
different types of tea 590 3.68
benefits of smiling 480 0
how to declutter your house 480 1.73
how to prevent bronchitis 480 1.57
famous presidential speeches 390 0
how to boost libido 390 1
healthy frozen pizza 390 4.22
how to get good posture 390 0.74

Overall, 38,000 people a month searched for these phrases. If we could secure the top 1-3 positions, we would be able to achieve a lot of targeted keyword traffic.

We picked these phrases based on the relevance to the website and competition. The lesser the competition, the better the keyword to go after. I always recommend using Adwords keyword tool to do keyword research.


So once we had this list of keywords, we needed to create an article that targeted each one.

Step #2 – Content Creation

We used Buzzsumo to do all of our content research for each keyword.

BuzzSumo makes it really easy to see what is popular and we entered each keyword into the tool and then picked an article to replicate or “make better.”

This is what it looked like-


Once we knew roughly what we wanted to write for each one, a content team wrote the articles for us and published them on the site.

The content team did a great job with a significant amount of research in producing “bad-a**” pieces of content that really blew you away.

Here are all of the articles we created-

Keywords Article
what is personal development
personal growth and development http://
a diet to lose weight http://
medication for sleep http://
what is a heart healthy diet http://
best workouts to gain muscle http://
ways to lose weight in 2 weeks http://
foods you should buy organic http://
healthy high protein breakfast http://
healthy takeout options http://
health benefits of honey http://
worlds healthiest foods http://
healthiest food at mcdonalds http://
what happens when you quit smoking http://
unhealthiest foods http://
coffee nutrition facts http://
top ten healthiest foods http://

We then went in and optimized them for their target keyword.

This was really pretty simple, we just made sure the article was fully optimised for the target keyword using the SEO by Yoast plugin.

Each of the articles was written with a great deal of research and depth. You cannot create subpar content. It has to be the best on the top three search results – this is very important.

A good rule of thumb is to write the content, then look at the content on the top three results. Is your content better? Is it more in-depth or more informative?

If not, keep making it better.


Once we had all of the articles optimised and published, it was time to do the real work!

Step #3 – Building Links

We built some web 2.0 property links to the individual blog posts first. Each one was basically a private blog network which had an article that we could link to each of the blog posts.

They were all created with relevant unique content and I suppose this is what would be considered a grey hat strategy.

Here is a sample link that is still alive:


We used a service called POSI rank back then to create the web 2.0 properties along with some guest posts. We had them pointed directly to the articles and sure enough we popped into the first page for lots of terms.

Important Note

Since we executed this strategy we have updated it. Instead of creating web 2.0 sites now we just create 10 relevant high quality unique articles and perform guest post outreach to other sites to get them published with a link back to your target blog post.

Just make sure that you do not use the same anchor text as the keyword you are trying to rank for!

You should only need a handful of them and then promote the links and the post on your social channels. You can also use other successful pieces of content on your site to interlink to that particular guide.

Once we hit the first page with our posts, over time natural white hat links started appearing–


Because the page was now easy to find on the first page, the natural links just kept on coming!


Then a crazy thing happened.

It exploded on social media.


We found that once someone had shared it, it got shared again and again until eventually a famous celebrity shared it and, sure enough, thousands shared it behind him.


After this, it exploded to the 2nd positon in Google and after one and a half years, it remains #1 (and now has the Schema markup) and the #4 position as well.


Then over the next year, it continued to be shared and now has 70 white hat acquired backlinks.

This page brought hundreds of thousands of views and tons of social signals and also attracted 151 real comments.


I hope you understand that you can use link building to get a white hat campaign started, but at the end of the day – the content has to keep you there.

If the engagement metrics for your content are poor then Google will drop you from the first page entirely!

Lessons Learned

  • Social media has a huge impact on rankings & Google will always keep quality content at the top of search results.
  • One good retweet or share can make a huge impact. Promoting to the right people can make the biggest difference.
  • Acquiring White hat backlinks is often a “the rich get richer” scenario because the people who already rank high attract lots new links naturally with no effort.
  • Spending time & money to create quality engaging content is worth every penny

Wrapping It Up

What I want you to take away from this article is that no matter how much research you do, you will never really know what is going to work until you try it.

Don’t be scared to come up with a small list of keywords and create the very best content on the web for each of them.

With a few backlinks and social signals you will be surprised at what sticks!

But don’t forget – links will get you to the first page but engagement with your content will keep you there.

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How We Ranked #1 for “Unhealthiest Foods” for 1.5 Years was originally published on February 04th, 2016 07:00 AM by Matthew Woodward Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved.
Matthew Woodward

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3 Resources to Help You Publish the Content Your Audience Wants

copyblogger collection - meet your audience's desires

“Oh no. We have to toss them out,” the bartender said with a sour look on her face as she removed a thin, black straw from her mouth. Four intricate cocktails she just made were lined up in a row in front of her.

“All of them?!” her coworker asked.

“Yep. When I taste-tested them, I realized I added too much Fernet-Branca.”

And down the drain the cocktails went.

A couple months ago, I sat a few feet away from this interaction and observed the bartender acknowledge her mistake, even though it was costly. She then produced the proper cocktails before presenting them to her customers.

Although it was arguably not fun to admit she had mixed the drinks incorrectly, she realized it was more important to maintain her audience’s trust and deliver the cocktails they ordered.

Her goal was to serve them what they wanted — and that is the essence of effective content marketing.

Are you willing to change course, if necessary, to deliver the right type of content to your audience? This week’s Copyblogger Collection is a series of three handpicked articles that will show you:

  • How to absolutely, positively know if your content will rock
  • How to avoid 11 common blogging mistakes that waste your audience’s time
  • How to follow the one, irrefutable law of podcasting success

As you work your way through the material below, think of the following lessons as publishing guides for meticulous content creators.

What to Do When You Absolutely, Positively Must Know If Your Content Will Rock


Any fans of the band Wilco out there? Brian Clark is one of them.

In What to Do When You Absolutely, Positively Must Know If Your Content Will Rock, Brian shares a story about a turning point in the band’s career.

If you’ve ever wondered how you’re going to move forward when circumstances don’t turn out the way you planned, you’ll want to check out this fascinating article that will guide you toward your next step.

11 Common Blogging Mistakes that Waste Your Audience’s Time

Time Concept

Henneke says:

“We live in a world full of cheap information. At the push of a button, we can get our eyes on far more ideas, blog posts, and news stories than we could ever possibly consume.”

Remember those words every time you write to help ensure your content provides unparalleled value for your readers. If it doesn’t, push yourself creatively and refine your work. Your audience will thank you.

Review Henneke’s 11 Common Blogging Mistakes that Waste Your Audience’s Time when you’re ready to strengthen your current blogging routine.

The One Irrefutable, Universal Law of Podcasting Success


In The One Irrefutable, Universal Law of Podcasting Success, Jerod Morris asks if you’re willing to show up reliably over time for your audience.

He says:

Showing up isn’t half the battle. It’s not 90 percent of the battle. It is the battle.

It’s the battle for audience attention — that grueling war of attrition in which attitude always triumphs over aptitude.

And your attitude is revealed by when you show up, how you show up, and how long you show up over time.

It’s simple to say. It’s hard to do.

Which is why the rewards are so great for those who stick it out.

You’ll never know what could happen until you make and honor a commitment to your audience.

If you didn’t make the correct cocktail, toss it out

Every time we produce a new piece of content, we each have the opportunity to toss out a poorly made cocktail in favor of a delicious treat someone truly wants.

Study this post (and save it for future reference) as you continue to fine-tune your content strategy.

The post 3 Resources to Help You Publish the Content Your Audience Wants appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Just 9 Hours Left: Join The Showrunner Podcasting Course Today

imagine your future in podcasting

One final reminder. :-)

You have until today (February 19, 2016) at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time (7:00 p.m. CT, 6:00 p.m. MT, 5:00 p.m. PT) to join The Showrunner Podcasting Course before we close the doors to new registrants.

To learn more about the course, and decide if you want to join the hundreds of others who have already made the investment to learn our proven step-by-step process, click here:

You will learn how to develop, launch, and run a remarkable podcast — the kind of podcast that can build the audience of your dreams and transform your career and your business.

And all of the risk is on us.

We offer a complete 30-day money-back guarantee, with no questions asked. So if you choose to hop into the course today — but then realize in the next 30 days that it isn’t the right fit — just let us know, and we’ll be happy to refund your money.

Take a look and decide, but don’t wait.

The doors close later today.

Jonny and I are looking forward to working with you!

The post Just 9 Hours Left: Join The Showrunner Podcasting Course Today appeared first on Copyblogger.


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How to Afford an Entrepreneurial Lifestyle: A Comprehensive Guide to Minimum Viable Income

How to Afford an Entrepreneurial Lifestyle: A Comprehensive Guide to Minimum Viable Income

If you’re like the rest of us, you’ve probably found yourself daydreaming about the life of an entrepreneur: set your own hours, live where you want, make money from passive income while you sleep and wake up to the “cha-ching!” of a cash register as you check your bank account.

As much as you might feel giddy about leaving your day job behind, the truth is that employment provides at least one very attractive feature: a steady income. You have a lot to figure out before you can tell your boss to take a hike, and most importantly you need to know exactly how you’re going to put food on the table.

Okay, so you probably already knew that part. But where is the money going to come from, and how are you going to make it happen? These are the tougher questions, and ones we consistently hear inside the Fizzle forums.

It’s all about your minimum viable income

In many cases, making the leap into a new entrepreneurial lifestyle involves some element of financial risk. Many aspiring business owners are making a comfortable living as they contemplate a new path, and this inevitably means a reduced paycheck to start out with.

But just how low can you afford to go? Some people call it a “spaghetti number”, others like to think of getting to “ramen profitable”, but all of these pasta analogies boil down to exactly one question: how much money do you need to make in order to support yourself (and possibly a family) on a monthly basis?

ask yourself:how much money do you need to make in order to support yourself (and possibly a family) on a monthly basis?This monthly number should not be incredibly comfortable — in fact, it might scare you a little, which is why the word “minimum” is in there — but it should be enough for you to keep the lights on without having an anxiety attack.

Think of minimum viable income (MVI) as survival mode; while you won’t have to stay here forever, you will likely have to do some cutting back in the early stages.

The Truth About Minimum Viable Income: It’s probably lower than you think

It’s easy to get worked up over the unknowns of starting a new business, and the nagging question knocking around in your brain is probably along the lines of, “But how am I going to pay for everything in my life?”

Our minds invent so many reasons why we cannot afford to take a step back financially: we’ve worked so hard to get where we are, we have a mortgage to pay, a family to support and perhaps a partner who is very opposed to the idea of short-term turbulence. The prospect of figuring this out is so overwhelming, it’s no wonder most people quit before they’ve even begun.

Here’s a crucial piece of the puzzle: “all the expenses in my life” is not a number. As is the case with most of our fears, putting a real name on it renders it far less scary. Unless you already have a very tight handle on your day-to-day spending, it’s likely that two realities can work in your favor:

  1. You have more financial wiggle room than you imagine right now (because you haven’t really evaluated your true expenses yet!) and, thus,
  2. You don’t need as much as you think you do in order to make this work.

Yes, there will be sacrifices to make here, but know going into this that you might just be pleasantly surprised at how possible your dream is once you’ve ironed out the true dollars and cents.

“All the expenses in my life” is not a number. Figure out your minimum viable income.
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Step 1: Determine Fixed vs. Variable Expenses

In order to determine your minimum viable income, the first step is to gather up all of your expenses, sit down with them and put them all in one place. A simple Excel or Google spreadsheet will do the trick here as you just need to create two columns — one for the name of the expense (i.e. “mortgage”, “car payment”, “groceries”, etc.) and the second for the amount of money you’re spending on average in each area every month.

For right now, make this exercise about the current state of your spending. You aren’t making a budget for yourself by estimating how much you think you need in each category, but instead you are simply recording what you do on a monthly basis currently.

Once you have all of your expenses laid out in front of you, it’s time to differentiate between fixed and variable.

Fixed expenses do not change month after month. They are rigid, predictable and always stay the same. Examples include your rent or mortgage, cell phone, internet or cable bills and car, student loan or minimum credit card payments. Gather up all of your fixed expenses and arrange them together or mark them with a special color.

Variable expenses, on the other hand, fluctuate or vary month to month depending on your habits. This category would include things like groceries, gasoline, entertainment, clothing, dining out and travel. Just like we did with fixed expenses, find a way to visually group your variable costs.

Every expense you incur should fit into one of these two categories. If you have trouble figuring out where something belongs, ask yourself, “Am I able to influence this expense each month, or is this a standard cost I’m incurring every month?”

Step 2: Trim the Fat

Now that we have all expenses sorted into fixed or variable categories, it’s time to pinpoint any financial wiggle room that will make attaining your MVI that much easier.

Total up all of your expenses as they sit in your spreadsheet right now. Jot that number down, then turn your attention to the variable expenses. Take a hard look at these numbers, because they’re the ones we have the most control over and thus are the easiest levers to pull when it comes to lowering our financial needs.

Are you surprised to see how much you spend on dining out at restaurants? Do you find that you are throwing a lot of groceries away and could more carefully plan your meals to lower the bill? How about nixing the monthly manicure in the short term?

For example, when my husband and I did this exercise and looked at our variable expenses, it dawned on us that we were spending tons of money on entertainment between dinners and drinks out with friends, frivolous Uber rides and mindless debit card swiping on things we just didn’t need.

I still don’t earn quite as much as I did before, and yet we have paid down an aggressive amount of debt in the last year and are now saving money month after month. We didn’t give up our social lives, but we did consciously decide to become more intentional with the plans we choose to make. We didn’t go on a big vacation this past year, but we did make time for fun, rewarding adventures together around our hometown.

Living on your minimum viable income doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun whatsoever, so avoid getting too ambitious and slashing your spending down to zero. Instead, look for the small adjustments you can make that will add up big.

Note: we’ve created a 3 month email series to help you build your runway. It’s free and simple. Check it out here.

Step 3: Get Creative

At this point, you should evaluate how much you’ve managed to shave off of your monthly number by playing with your variable expenses alone. It’s quite possible you’ll feel pleasantly surprised by your MVI already!

But, if it still seems impossibly high, you might need to take a harder look at fixed costs. How creative can you get? Is your cable TV package worth putting on the chopping block if it saves a grand or two a year? How about your living situation? We’ve known aspiring entrepreneurs who chose to downsize their homes, move to a cheaper area or even move in with parents if that’s what it took in order to be successful.

Becoming an entrepreneur does not need to be synonymous with “miserable”, and we aren’t advocating pursuing your business ideas at all costs. But the fact remains that, for some people, these are viable options when they open their minds and seriously consider it.

Step 4: Do the Math

After evaluating your expenses and making adjustments where you can, you’re left with your own personalized minimum viable income number. But the questions still remains, “How will I get there?”

Now that you have a real monthly number to work with, we can start playing around with different strategies to back into that number.

  • If you have a runway, factor it in. Some entrepreneurs come to the table with a “runway”, or cushion of savings they can rely on to help them offset that minimum viable income for a few months. If this is a possibility for you, figure out how many months your runway buys you, or if you can use a portion of the savings each month to fill any gap between what you’re earning and what you need.
  • Explore business archetypes to figure out your revenue model. If you’re wondering how you’re going to make money with your business idea, spend some time studying up on different revenue models by exploring business archetypes. As you make a plan for reaching your MVI, understanding the different models available will help you figure out how to monetize.
  • Start running the numbers. Armed with your monthly number, this is the part where you begin to play with prices and gain an understanding of just how many workshops you would have to run or widgets you would need to sell. If you’re a Coach or Freelancer, toggle your client prices in order to see how many sessions you need to book. As a Teacher or Maker, work backwards from your MVI to determine the number of ebooks or pieces of jewelry you need to sell.
  • Experiment with mixing services and products. While we recommend focusing on one service offering at a time in the beginning, you can start to plan for the future by envisioning how you can work in an additional income stream. For example, if you plan to offer coaching sessions, you might decide to put together an ebook in the future based on the lessons you teach in your individual sessions. If you’re able to sell 40 copies a month at $ 25, you won’t need to run as many coaching sessions in order to hit your monthly number. As you start imagining your future business state, our free one page business plan worksheet can help.

A few strategies if you need to hit MVI, ASAP

  • Consider 1 on 1 work. While you might ultimately wish to sell products on your website that don’t require trading dollars for hours, you may be able to reach minimum viable income faster by working with clients 1—on—1.
  • Hit your network hard. If you’re working with a time crunch and you need to hit MVI fast, it’s time to dive deep into your rolodex. Reach out to your network and use social platforms like LinkedIn to dig up some work. In these early innings you’ll need to hustle & sell, so take it one prospect at time.
  • Don’t neglect referrals. Once you do start working with clients (or having conversations with potential ones), always ask for referrals. The difference between having another project to work on or not could lie in simply asking for a new lead, so build this practice into your process.
  • Consider a second source of income. When all else fails and you’re desperate to hit MVI, you might need to think about a second source of income, sometimes known as a “bridge job”. Get creative and find out whether it’s possible to reduce your hours in your day job, or consider whether some part time work would allow you to keep building your business without the mental strain that full time work brings.

Stay motivated & build your runway — a free 3 month email series

Figuring out the financial end of entrepreneurship feels daunting at first, but identifying your minimum viable income and designing a manageable path to earning that monthly number will help beat overwhelm and keep you moving forward. You might not be sipping Mai-Tais on your private island just yet, but this is the first step towards the business and lifestyle you dream of.

If you’re worried about staying motivated about budgeting to hit your MVI you’re not alone. So we created a simple email series to help you build a runway for your business in two ways:

  1. We’ll send you reminders to look at your finances every month for 3 months.
  2. We’re going to help you stay motivated throughout those three months.

Learn more about financial runway email series

We recorded a podcast episode about this!

Steph’s article above prompted us to do an entire podcast episode about MVI. If you want some more details, subscribe in iTunes or listen here:

Show Notes:

  • Fizzlers: 6-month runway..the clock starts now! – General Chat – Fizzle Forums
  • What To Do When You Need To Get To Minimum Viable Income Fast (FS139)
  • “Back to Square One.” Rebuilding a Freelance Career
  • “When I started my first business I lost my wife, and it was worth it.” (FS145)
  • 5 Reasons Why I Quit my Business to Pursue my Dream Job (FS144)
  • Personal budget – Wikipedia

Expense Tracking Tools Mentioned:

  • 70+ Personal Budget Categories to Start Your Budget
  • Personal expenses calculator – Templates –


Submit Links Free to this High PR4 Web Directory to get your links indexed.

Don’t Drive Your Business Into the Ground: 5 Ways Metrics Can Cause Bad Decisions


We’ve all done it before…

At some point in our lives, whether it’s related to marketing or something else, we’ve lied to ourselves.

It’s natural to want to feel good, and the brain can distort truths to make you feel that way.

But lies get in the way of progress.

They can make you feel okay about not putting in the effort required for success.

The scariest part is that sometimes we don’t even know we’re doing it.

The cause of this, when it comes to marketing and business, is using metrics incorrectly.

Metrics are very important because they allow us to quantify our results.

However, not all metrics are useful, and some might be useful but are hard to interpret.

A very realistic and common scenario involves marketers believing that they are doing a great job (based on the metrics they track) when in reality, they aren’t producing much.

Other times, metrics might seem to suggest that you should change your marketing tactics and strategies. However, it might be that you are misinterpreting the meaning of those metrics, and then you make a change that actually makes your work less effective.

Do you want to know how metrics can lead to bad decision? Then download this shot pdf to spot them before anyone else.

Any of these scenarios will diminish your chances of achieving the success you want so much.

And that’s why it’s crucial that you understand the ins and outs of metrics, which is exactly what I’m going to show you here.

After this post, you should know 5 different ways in which metrics can deceive you and how to protect yourself from that in the future. 

1. Page views and emails do not equal sales

This first aspect of metrics is the most important.

Basically, there are two types of metrics:

  • vanity metrics
  • useful metrics

Care to guess what each means?

Vanity metrics sound nice but don’t mean much.


For example, a search engine could be reporting 1,000,000 searches per month.

But that could mean many things. Most importantly:

  • you could have one really enthusiastic searcher
  • you could have 1,000,000 single searchers
  • you could be getting this many searches because the searcher couldn’t find the right result

It’s not that vanity metrics are necessarily bad; it’s just that they don’t tell you anything clearly or accurately.

Traffic is one of the most commonly used metrics for content marketers, and relying on it is a mistake.

Traffic is a vanity metric.

You could buy a million pageviews tomorrow from some low quality ad network and get absolutely nothing from them.

While quality pageviews would be a decent metric, it’s very tough to measure something like that.

The same goes for the rate of opened emails or the number of email subscribers on your list.

I’ve seen some businesses make nearly zero revenue from a list of thousands of subscribers while others make thousands from a list of only a few hundred.

If you’re measuring email list growth, it doesn’t tell you a damn thing about how your business or marketing is performing.


This goes for all vanity metrics.

You can always find a few metrics in Google Analytics that are increasing every month. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that everything is running perfectly—it might not be.

What makes a metric “useful”? The simplest way to recognize “useful” (sometimes called “smart”) metrics is to look for the 3 “A’s”:

  1. Actionable
  2. Accessible
  3. Auditable

This concept comes from the lean startup but can be easily applied to just about any business.

Let’s break down the signs of useful metrics one by one, starting with how to determine whether a metric is actionable

As you might have guessed, actionable metrics allow you to take action based on the information they provide. And I am not talking about just any action, but one that actually improves your work.

The second “A” is for accessible. This matters most if you work in a team.

The idea is that if you decide on a key metric for a business, you want everyone in that business to understand what it is. More than that, they need to know how to find it, understand it, and use it.

Certain metrics can make sense to technical team members, but maybe not marketing or sales. A good metric should be easily understood by all.

The last A stands for auditable.

This relates to the concept of accessible, and it means that any person on your team should be able to access any data in your business (related to the metric) and create a report with it.

If it can be tracked with Google Analytics, your problem is solved since all team members can easily be added to your website’s account. They can look up metrics and export reports as needed.

The goal comes before the metric: It’s important to remember why we need metrics in the first place.

Metrics allow us to measure things.

And useful metrics measure the things that show whether your marketing is producing acceptable growth or not.

To find these metrics, you need to start with your main marketing or business goals.

Here are a few common ones that you might have:

  • Make a profit (it may be a certain amount)
  • Have a significant positive impact on your customers’ lives
  • Do meaningful work

It usually doesn’t get much more complicated than that.

For each goal, you want to try to determine metrics that show whether you’re succeeding or not.

Let’s look at a few example metrics.

Goal: Make a profit

Possible metrics: revenue, profit, costs of goods sold, current members, monthly churn (customers lost), retention rate, new customers, customers lost (if applicable).

Since most businesses want to maximize their profits, or at least revenue, these metrics are usually the most important ones to track.

Usually, you’ll pick 1-4 of them to track regularly.

Every time when you or anyone on your team does something, it should, in some way, improve at least one of your chosen metrics.

Some of these metrics depend on your type of business. Things like retention rate and churn apply only to recurring revenue businesses (e.g., subscription boxes).

You want to keep your choices as simple as possible.

If your main goal is profit, track profit first and foremost.

For some parts of your marketing, you won’t be able to track profits directly.

That’s why you want other, related, metrics that could tell you when something’s not going right in your business.

For example, if you all of a sudden see a spike in the number of customers you lost, you can use that information to take action and figure out which recent change caused the loss.

Let’s look at one more goal…

Goal: Have a positive impact

Possible metrics: average time on page, customer survey satisfaction scores, percent of return visitors.

Many goals are qualitative, which, of course, makes them difficult to measure.

And while you won’t be able to find a perfect “impact” metric, you can find others that can guide you.

In this case, it’s really difficult to find out how much customers are loving your products.

You’ll hear from those who had either a really great or bad experience but not from the “average” customer. Doing surveys is usually the best option you have, but you will always have a bit of a sampling issue.

If your product is an online product, like a course or SAAS, it’s much easier to measure a metric like this. You can usually just look at how often your users return to your site or tool.

Some goals correspond to more metrics than others. As long as a metric gives you unique, actionable information, it’s worth tracking.

Finally, you could come up with a way to regularly evaluate how satisfied you are with the work you’ve been doing, but that’s another tricky one to measure.

Some goals, particularly qualitative ones, don’t need to be tracked through metrics (do reviews on a regular basis). Otherwise, make sure that any metric you focus on fit the “3 A’s”.

2. Metrics alone don’t always tell you the whole picture

You should always have justification for any action you take or conclusion you make.

If you are saying that your marketing is working well, you’d better have the metrics to back it up.

Most marketers understand this, which is a good thing.

However, many don’t back up their conclusions correctly. The most common error I see is that marketers back up their conclusions with metrics that don’t tell the whole picture.

Let me give you an example.

Say we have a marketer named Joe.

He tracks customer satisfaction as a metric. He observes that customer satisfaction went up last month and concludes that the business continues to grow as a result of the content he created.


Do you see the issue with concluding this based on this metric alone?

Joe’s boss, let’s call him Neil, isn’t quite convinced.

Neil digs into the business’s data and finds its customer retention rates. As it turns out, the retention rate went down, meaning that the business lost more customers than usual.

Putting these two metrics together reveals a very different picture:

The average customer satisfaction likely went up because many unsatisfied customers left the business.

That’s a serious problem.

This is why you need to ensure that the metrics you rely on don’t mask potential problems.

Selecting metrics that show you the whole picture: It’s never good to rely on a single metric to make a decision (in most situations) because they rarely give the whole picture on their own.

At the same time, you don’t want to have 15 different metrics—it’ll make it hard to draw a clear conclusion.

Instead, aim to have as few metrics—that give you actionable, accurate information—as possible, and base your decisions on those.

Scenario: You’re trying to assess the effectiveness of your current content marketing strategy.

In order to do that, we’ll need more than a single metric.

For reasons I went over earlier, traffic and email subscribers aren’t the best metrics here (although they may be the only choice for young blogs).

Instead, I’d rather focus on either qualified leads or actual sales if possible.

A qualified lead is different for every business. For example, it might be a webinar participant.


Someone who signs up and attends a webinar is obviously interested in the topics you cover and is likely a potential customer. This is enough to make them “qualified.”

This metric is useful because the more attendees you have, the more sales you should make. Unlike traffic, where more doesn’t always mean better, qualified leads correlate well with sales.

Therefore, our first metric is the “# of webinar attendees.”

But that’s not enough. It doesn’t tell us the whole picture.

The number of webinar attendees could be going up, but that doesn’t mean that the content marketing is succeeding.

Instead, it’s possible that most of those results are from your past work, unrelated to your current content marketing strategy.

Or it’s possible that you’ve learned to promote webinars more effectively through other channels than just content.

So, we need additional metrics.

The first one is to divide your webinar signups by source. You want to see which piece of content each signup initially landed on.

The ones that come from your recent content will tell you whether your current strategy is actually producing results.

Once you have this data over at least a few months, it will be clear which content is driving your visitors through your sales funnel.

What about your promotional tactics?

You need some sort of a metric that standardizes your signups. After all, if you create a new pop-up that is twice as effective as your old opt-in, that doesn’t mean that your new content is twice as effective.

Therefore, your final metric in this set needs to be a scaling metric.

Before you fully implement a new tactic to get more webinar signups, you need to split test it against the old one.

Once you have a sufficient sample size, you’ll have results that’ll look like this:


Based on these results, with almost 100% certainty, we can tell that the new tactic is better.

However, the improvement has a range from 177% to 323%.

Ideally, keep running the test until you have a tighter range, but the average number is usually the best choice.

Overall, you have a few options:

  • take the worst case scenario (only improved by 177%)
  • take the average (250%)
  • take the best case scenario (improved by 323%)

You could also take a combination.

Based on each of these, you get a scaling factor by dividing these numbers by 100 (to convert from percent to decimal):

  • 177% becomes 1.7
  • 250% becomes 2.5
  • 323% becomes 3.23

Then, you need to multiply the number of webinar leads you had in the past by the number you chose.

For example, pretend that these are your original results and that you implemented the new and more effective tactic in April:

Feb March Apr May
Webinar leads 100 120 325 360
After 2.5x adjustment 250 300 325 360


Notice that you adjust the values for the months that used the old, ineffective method by multiplying them by the scaling factor.

Now you can make a fair comparison.

In this case, with a 2.5x adjustment, it shows that there is steady growth in the number of webinar leads.

After considering all possible factors that could skew our original metric, we now have a set of metrics that we can use to determine whether our hypothetical content marketing strategy is effective or not:

  • number of webinar leads (original metric)
  • webinar leads by source
  • scaling factor based on promotional methods (could be more than one)

How to come up with your own sets of metrics: I understand that this isn’t the easiest thing to do, but it will get easier with practice.

To simplify things, let’s break this process down into a procedure.

Take it step by step, and it won’t be very difficult.

  1. Clarify what you’re trying to determine (a goal of sorts).
  2. Determine your primary metric, the most important one directly related to your goal.
  3. Brainstorm possible situations in which your primary metric could be positive but not actually indicative of the results (like content marketing not improving even if webinar leads increased).
  4. Come up with at least one metric that will help you determine whether those situations happened (they are essentially safeguards).
  5. Write down your final set of metrics, and monitor it on a continuous basis.

Now, when you need to make a decision or draw a conclusion based on your metrics, you can be confident that it’s the right one.

3. You can’t measure everything

Some things are easy to measure…

But others are extremely difficult.

As a general rule, quantitative things, like the number of customers, views, or dollars, are going to be straightforward to measure.

But what about qualitative things like customer satisfaction? Or if you want to measure how much of an impact your content is making?

You can’t just go into Google Analytics and find a metric called “customer satisfaction.”

So, what do you do?

Your only choice is to find the best metrics that represent those things you are trying to quantify somehow. It’s not perfect, but it gives you something concrete to base your decisions on.

Finding the next best thing: We’ve already looked at this to some extent. When you can’t measure something directly, you find other metrics that measure things that correspond with your main concern.

For example, you might not be able to measure sales directly. Or sales may not occur for an extended time, and you want to make sure you’re on track.

So, you measure the next best thing: qualified leads.

These could be webinar attendees like I mentioned earlier, or they could be email subscribers.

You need to be careful with this because they need to be qualified leads. A random email address or one that you get because the user just wants a free bonus is not qualified.

However, if they request a demo or opt in without any bonus, they are likely potential customers.

The reason why this distinction is so important is because qualified leads will correspond to revenue. The more qualified leads you have, the more you will make in a fairly linear fashion.


However, unqualified leads may or may not correspond with revenue. It’s really difficult to determine how much more money, if any, additional leads will make you.

The takeaway here is to find a metric that corresponds closely with your goal.

This applies to both quantitative (like revenue) and qualitative aspects.

Consider customer satisfaction. What metrics are related to it? Here are a few possibilities:

  • results from surveys given to customers
  • return customer rate
  • complaint rate or number of complaints

None of these are perfect solutions, but if you combine them, you’ll get a pretty good idea whether your customers are happy or not.

Beware of sample bias: One of the biggest issues with this type of approach is that you have a sample bias.

For example, customers who’ve had a very negative or very positive experience are the most likely to fill out your surveys.

And while it’s good to hear from them, you also want to hear from the rest of your customers. Your “average” customer is arguably the most important one.

You’ll get a sample bias with many metrics that describe qualitative aspects of your business.

Take your return customer rate.

If a customer buys something else from you, they’re probably pretty happy. Then again, just because someone doesn’t buy from you doesn’t mean that they are not happy.

Additionally, someone might not be very satisfied but still buy again from you because of some other reason like price or lack of other options.

What does this mean for you?

It means that none of these metrics are perfect. Taking multiple factors into account will help give you a more accurate picture, but even that’s not enough.

The only effective way of dealing with this is to understand the sampling biases you have.

For example, when it comes to survey results, put the most weight on the ones that aren’t especially negative or positive. Each of these likely represents several other customers that didn’t fill out a survey.

Likewise, put less weight on the extremely positive or negative surveys because you hear from a much larger proportion of these types of customers.

Think about the potential issues you might have with your samples, and put more emphasis on those areas that don’t provide you with much information.

4. Metrics can be manipulated, so make sure you know how you track them

Judging work performance using metrics can be a very dangerous thing to do.

The clearest example of this can be found in fast food restaurants and retail stores.

Managers and employees are told to meet certain quotas, e.g., food delivery times or number of sales, or else they risk being penalized or even fired.

When you take that approach, you shouldn’t be shocked to find out that employees are willing to manipulate metrics however they can.

They will start timers late or create fake accounts (to be cancelled later) to meet those quotas (yes, those kinds of things happen).

And while you may not take that approach with your team, maybe you give out raises, promotions, or something else to those who meet a certain performance metric.

Metrics are thought to be a way to track employee performance.

But they are often easily manipulated.

The good news is that if you chose “useful” metrics (from part 1), you are tracking metrics that are harder to manipulate.

But consider vanity metrics such as social shares or traffic.

If you told a writer or social media manager to get a certain number of social shares on each post, many would simply create fake Twitter accounts and schedule them to share each post 10+ times each.

Of course, this wouldn’t lead to real traffic for you, but it looks good on their metrics.

Same goes for traffic. It’s easy to buy hundreds of junk views for pennies even though they’re completely useless. You’ll see plenty of these gigs on Fiverr:


The best solution is to pick difficult to manipulate metrics, like profit, and to not judge your team members solely on metrics. Metrics should primarily be used as feedback that guides how you spend your effort.

However, if you do decide to incorporate metrics into performance evaluations, you need to know how to track them accurately.

For example, if you’re looking at social shares, you need to specify a certain expectation. You could say that only one social share per social account counts towards the metric and that the account needs to have at least 50 followers.

To track something like this, you will have to create your own simple tracking system.

For views, you might only count the ones that don’t bounce or are from certain countries. If you suspect fake views might be a problem, you probably wouldn’t want to count traffic from countries like India, which is often used for view bot IP addresses.

5. Metrics don’t always lie, but they can easily be misinterpreted

Metrics are important, but they have to be recorded and interpreted correctly, or you’re at risk of making big mistakes.

All marketers and business owners should have at least a basic understanding of statistics.

If you don’t have any background in statistics, sign up for this free “Introduction to statistics” course online. There are many other similar courses offered by top universities, so take advantage of them.

Most importantly, you need to understand concepts such as variance.


Variance measures how far results can deviate from the average expected result.

For example, you might use a specific email outreach template and track the number of backlinks it generates for your content.

Let’s say you get five links from the first 100 emails you send.

Does that mean that you’ll get five for every 100 emails you send from now on?

Not at all.

Depending on how big the variance is, sometimes you might only get one link, and other times you might get 10 links.

Imagine that the first time you sent 100 emails, knowing that you’d judge the results based on your links metric, you only got one link. If you judged your results right away, you’d say that this email template sucks.

But as you send more and more emails, your link percentage would rise to the average expected value.

In other words, you need to have a valid sample size before you interpret results; otherwise, they mean nothing.

When you go through an introductory stats course, you’ll learn about variance along with sample size and other related concepts.

The main takeaway here is to first learn about basic statistics and then to ensure that your metrics are accurate before you take them into account.


You should rarely make decisions concerning your business or marketing based on gut feeling alone.

Metrics give you confidence to make decisions because you know that you have numbers to back you up.

However, it’s crucial that you choose the right metrics and know how to track and understand them correctly. If you don’t, you’ll end up drawing incorrect conclusions, which are bad for your marketing and business as a whole.

I’ve shown you the 5 main ways that metrics can play tricks on you as well as ways to avoid making the wrong decisions based on them.

If you have any questions about using metrics in your work, I’d like to help out. Leave me a comment below with as many details about your business and the metrics you use as possible, and I’ll try to provide some insight.

Quick Sprout

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If you like email marketing because it connects you with your customers, you’re gonna love mobile apps. You may have thought you have to choose one or the other, but there’s good news – you can (and should) take them as a pair. The two go together – like PB&J, peas and carrots, or Jay-Z and Beyoncé. They’re each great on their own, but you’ll be amazed to see how stellar they are as a couple. They’re quite different but in many ways the same. And they complement each other quite nicely.

Email marketing – the steady one
Email Marketing and Mobile Apps
Email marketing is familiar and comfortable. Nearly every consumer or business you serve uses email. In fact, by the end of 2016, there will be over 4.6 billion inboxes worldwide – and growing.  And individuals are sending and receiving over 215 emails per day.

You’ll find your audience is receptive to your messages once you’ve been invited into their inbox. Provide a good reason for them to join your list, make it easy to sign up, and you’re in business. Results are predictable, and it’s easy and affordable to reach, engage, and convert subscribers into loyal customers.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Communicate the value of subscribing – offer “VIP” status with members-only offers, including the instant gratification of a “welcome” deal
  • Build your audience – add a signup form to your website, promote it on social media, collect signups at the point of sale
  • Send valuable content regularly – including news, product announcements, events in mobile-responsive templates to look great on every device
  • Surprise & delight them occasionally with special “members-only” offers

Mobile apps – young, sexy
Mobile Apps for marketing
A bit younger and definitely sexier, mobile always has people talking. Mobile apps are where the action is – U.S. consumers spend 2.8 hours per day on smartphones and the majority of that using apps. Consumers are finicky, though, using only about 26 apps in an average month. Yours should be one of them! Mobile apps offer great branding on the home screen and push notifications allowing you to reach out to customers and rise above the chaos of the inbox, so you’re not competing for attention with hundreds of other emails.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Communicate the value of downloading your app – offer “VIP” status with members-only offers, including the instant gratification of a “welcome” deal
  • Build your audience – promote your app in email, in-store, on the web, through social
  • Send valuable content regularly – post text, photo, and video updates (or pull the feed from your website), send push notifications to get your audience’s attention
  • Surprise & delight them occasionally with special “members-only” offers which can be tracked by a loyalty program in-app and transactions can take place in the app

Hmmm… does this sound familiar? We’ve got a perfect match for mobile apps!

Email + Mobile apps = Better Together
As a busy small business owner or group organizer, should you take on both email marketing and mobile apps? The answer may surprise you – yes! Though it may seem daunting to add another channel to your marketing strategy, remember these easy tips for email and mobile app marketing and you’ll be on your way to mastering your own multi-tier marketing program!

Like every compatible couple, both email marketing and mobile apps share a number of similar characteristics – listed above. But also like every perfect pairing, each is unique and has complementary, but different strengths. Use email and mobile apps the following ways to support your marketing to all audiences on all devices:

Email marketing

  • Send weekly or more often, predictably, and reach people on PCs, tablets, and smartphones
  • Send emails to promote your mobile app and encourage downloads
  • Link email content to a responsive website OR your mobile app with for videos, loyalty punchcards, scheduling, or e-commerce on every device

Mobile app

  • Land on the home screen for valuable branding to stay top of mind with customers
  • Offer the same rich content text, images, and videos, and transactions all in one experience
  • Reach your most loyal customers more often with push notifications, even refine your focus to nearby customers with geo-fencing


Mobile Apps and Email Marketing

You could settle for just one of these great marketing tactics, but you’ll be much better off offering both. Like Jerry says to Dorothy, “You… you complete me.” By bringing email marketing and mobile apps together on an ongoing basis, you can ensure that you’re reaching your customers whether they’re at their computer, on the go, or anywhere in between.

Ready to share the love and get started on mobile apps to complement your email marketing? We’ve launched a brand new service that makes building mobile apps scalable and affordable.

Learn More

© 2016, Jaime Borschuk. All rights reserved.

The post test appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

Vertical Response Blog

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New Features: Preview Text, Comparison Report, and Add Contacts

The newest release of VerticalResponse is live and ready for you to check out its newest features:

Hidden Preview Text

Sometimes referred to as snippet text, or a pre-header, the Preview Text is the short line of copy displayed in your subscriber’s inbox along with From Name and Subject Line. Watch this two-minute video to learn more.

This text is typically pulled from the body of the email if not specifically defined. Think of the preview text as an alternative subject line. It’s another opportunity to convince subscribers to open your email which is why you want to use the space wisely and avoid repetition.

When creating your email in VerticalResponse, now you can designate the preview text under the Header Settings.

New Features: Preview Text, Comparison Report, and Add Contacts

This customized text will display in your subscribers inbox only, not in the body of the email. Note: Preview text is not supported by all email apps. Depending on browser size and subject line length, the amount of preview text displayed varies.

Add Contacts

If you’ve collected contacts from an event or a paper list at the register, you can now quickly add these names and email addresses on the Contact page. Simply add your new subscribers information, select the list you want to add them to, and then click ‘Save.’

New Features: Preview Text, Comparison Report, and Add Contacts

Another new feature allows you to quickly fix invalid emails. Once you upload a list, VerticalResponse will display any contacts not added. Here you can easily correct the addresses and click ‘Save.’

New Features: Preview Text, Comparison Report, and Add Contacts

Comparison Report

Easily see how your email campaigns are performing compared to one another. To view this comparison, choose a sent email campaign and scroll to the bottom of the results page. Here you will now find a bar graph of up to seven of your most recent campaigns including open and click rates.

New Features: Preview Text, Comparison Report, and Add Contacts

To view more campaigns, click the ‘Download Reports’ button to get a comparison of your past 50 campaigns and stats.

To read more about new features and updates, check out the Product Updates category.

© 2016, Linzi Breckenridge. All rights reserved.

The post New Features: Preview Text, Comparison Report, and Add Contacts appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

Vertical Response Blog

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