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How To Sell Like a Pro Online/Affiliate Marketing Free E-Book

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Secret book To Make Money Online With Affiliate Marketing | Best Affiliate Marketing Tips.

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How To Leverage Long Blog Posts To Build Your Brand

You guys were not joking with the amount of shit posts that are ending up on this sub lately.
So, in order to change that, I thought I would throw out something that I have done in the past and am still seeing success with today.
Leveraging your blog posts/articles to build a BRAND.
I did it, you did it, almost everyone does it. They get started, they crank out some content, and they expect money to come in. You can make a great living doing this, but you will find it almost impossible to hit the "next level" unless you focus on building a brand. You see the rare comment here of people hitting 20, 30, 50k+ per month....I would bet almost anything their site is a brand that people actually CARE about.
In order to actually get there, you have to create value, have a strategy and create trust with your audience. But how the hell do you create value and trust with an audience that does not yet exist?
One of those ways is utilizing a platform that people already trust: Amazon.
The basic idea before we get into the actual guide is twofold.
1: You are going to take your longest article or articles, and turn them into an ebook. You will create a coveinterior and publish this on Amazon via the KDP platform. Chances are, no one will actually want to buy your 99 cent ebook, so you are going to make it FREE (with a work around) and use this as a lead gen for your website/email list.
2: You are then going to take your longest article/articles, and turn these into an AUDIO book, which again acts as a springboard from Amazon to your content to build trust, educate and let them know about your website.
Step 1 brings you no money up front, but if you do this right can net you a LOT of affiliate income and build your list at the same time. Step 2 actually surprised me when doing my taxes. I currently have a single audio book live and it brought me in a few thousand dollars in royalties the past year and I havn't looked at it or touched it since.
Here is a bit of proof that this works and has led to hundreds of thousands of downloads:
So, let's first go over the free book, and then the more exiting method the audio book.
Creating A Free Book On Amazon With Your Blog Posts
I am not going to go into detail on how exactly to create a book (this is fairly straight forward), but you will need two things.
1: Get a KDP Account (free): https://kdp.amazon.com/
2: Get a Smashwords account (free): https://www.smashwords.com/
Create your book, format it, and get it uploaded to KDP. This is so straight forward (Google it)
In order to get your book perma free on Kindle, you need to get your book free on other major retailers that Amazon actually has some respect for. The one that I used was Barnes & Noble and this took about a week. Here is how to do it!
Smashwords
Smashwords is another retailer of ebooks. What makes this service so powerful is that its free, and they also distribute to major retailers such as Barnes & Noble, OverDrive, iBooks, and Kobo.
Upload your Book and set a price of free
It will almost immediately go online at Smashwords as a free book. On your dashboard, you will see that it has been submitted for premium status. This is where the magic happens. A real person will take a look over your work, and if it has followed all of proper formatting, then it will soon show up in the big retailers mentioned above.
It is VERY important that you follow their style guide. It can take a few days at a time for Smashwords to review your book. If it is not up to par, they will deny you, give you a list of things you need to fix, and then you can resubmit it. One of the things that I did wrong was do my table of contents a different way than they wanted.
Another reason I was denied was that my book had links back to Amazon, so remove those as well if you want perma free status.
Premium Status Achieved
Once your book has been looked over and has achieved premium status on Smashwords, it is just a waiting game from here.
Eventually, your book will show up on Barnes & Noble. This is one of the only online retailers that Amazon seems to care about. I tried to ask Amazon to price match me as soon as it was free on Smashwords, but it seems they have no respect for this service and I had to wait.
Emailing Amazon
Now, you could wait and wait and eventually Amazon should pick up on the fact that your book is free somewhere else. If you are not in the business of waiting for months on end, it is time to do something about it!
What I did was take the URL from Barnes & Noble, and email Amazon from inside my KDP dashboard. At the very bottom of your dashboard, in super small text, you should see Contact Us.
Click on Contact Us –> Pricing & Royalties –> Price Matching, and send them an email asking them to help you out. I told them I had a reader on my blog disappointed that he could get my book for free on my website as well as Barnes & Noble but had to pay for it on Amazon. A few hours later I got an email back stating that while they can decide to price match or not, they had forwarded it to the correct department and a few hours after THAT it was priced to free!
Do keep in mind that this is going to be geo dependent. If you want your eBook free on All Amazon TLDs you need to give them links from all GEO URLs from the major retailers
Note: There are a million and a half Facebook groups for free books. Go post in a few of them to get the ball rolling. Once you have those initial downloads, everything should take off and remain a stable stream of downloads and traffic back to your site if you put links in your book. ALSO, make sure to put some sort of ask at the end of your book for a review, a subscribe to the email list, or give the reader something if they visit your site.
Now, let's get into how even more money is made, by taking that same book/books and turning them into audio books spreading your brand around the internet.
Making Money Selling Audiobooks (ACX) Through Amazon
Note: I am going to be copy and pasting images from my own site because there is no way I am downloading a rehosting these. Feel free to complain about self promotion in the comments XD.
In order to be a successful internet marketer, you always have to be testing new ideas and markets. Time and time again I see people who want to make their first dollars online actually succeed in doing so but after many months or many years, it all dries up.
Why?
Because these people were not willing to adapt and keep learning. This is the number 1 reason that people fail. They do not want to test the market but keep doing the same thing over and over again, getting stuck in a vicious cycle.
During some downtime a while back, I stumbled across a video of a guy doing thousands of dollars through audiobooks. What really perked my interest is that these books are being sold through Amazon, or more importantly, Amazon’s audio book platform audible.com.
This is one of the biggest audiobook portals in the entire world and I myself have purchased a few during some long road trips.
When I first started selling t-shirts online, the driving factor and where most of my success came from is that they are being sold on Amazon where the customers already are. I did not have to drive traffic at all, only give an existing audience what they wanted. This opportunity looks EXACTLY the same and the competition is so low, its crazy! Chances are, your blog posts will fit right in.
Why Audible.com (Amazon’s Audiobook Platform)?
The very first thing I did was take a quick look at how much traffic the platform was getting. I was seeing people put up some pretty impressive numbers (into the 10 figures a month range) so before I dove in, I wanted to make sure the market was actually there.
What I did was take the domain (audible.com) and run it through similar web. This website is incredibly helpful in estimating the amount of traffic that a platform receives each and every month. It is WILDLY inaccurate, but gives a brief overview.
https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/audible.png
As you can see at the time of writing this (I wrote this ages ago), there is almost 22 million visitors per month with an average duration of close to 5 minutes.
This is exactly what I want to see!
Lots of traffic, and relatively little competition because there are not that many books out there.
I was down to give this method a try and to my surprise over a year later, it actually worked.
Getting Your First Audiobook Published on ACX
Before you attempt to put up an audio book at all, you need to make sure you RESEARCH the niche. Just as with everything else when it comes to internet marketing, you need to make sure that there is customer demand, but that you can break into the market in the first place.
The way we do this is pretty simple.
Audiobook (ACX) Niche Research
First, you want to look at Amazon.com for books (NOT audiobooks). For the sake of this example, lets use the first niche that came to my head “merch by amazon”.
Head on over to Amazon.com and just type in the niche you are interested in. If you are pulling back results that are not books, just follow it up with “book”.
https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/amazon-page.png
At the very top of the image, you can see that there are over “10,000” results for this niche. This is a good sign, that means there is customer demand there! Customers want to read and learn more about this niche.
I also happen to hold the first and third position for this keyword (those are my books) so it makes this experiment a little easier to start!
Even if there are a lot of results, you want to make sure to click on the first page of products, and look at the BSR or best sellers rank of an item. The lower the rank, the better it is selling.
You can see this in the product details section of the product page:
https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/product-details.png
The best sellers rank is dependent on the category you are selling in. In this particular instance, this book gets about this many downloads per day:
https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/merch-by-amazon-book.png
NOTE: Old screenshot but this book still averages almost the exact same downloads per day even over a year later.
Now that we have determined that there is customer demand here, we need to check the competition on Audible.com
In the upper right hand corner you will see the search box. This is where you want to put the same search term that you checked over on Amazon.com.
Click on search and see what comes up!
In this particular case there are ZERO results (note: there are now more than a few results). That means that there is definitely customer demand over at Amazon.com and there are literally zero books on this subject on the audible platform that Amazon owns (and gets 20+ million visitors each month). There is clearly an opportunity here.
After you get good at searching, you will realize that almost every niche under the sun has very very little competition.
What you want to look for is where there are lots of results with a good BSR (under 100k on Amazon.com) and you want to see that there is less than 100 results on Audible.
The opportunities here are almost endless. Remember, it is all about niching down!
Vegetable Gardening:
https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/veggy-gardening.png
Sleeping better:
https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/sleep-better.png
Make Money Online:
https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/make-money-online.png
If one of the most competitive niches on the internet (making money online) has such small search results, then you KNOW this is an untapped gold mine.
NOTE: Screens are from when I published the book. Numbers are changed, but go check. Still stupid low competition in most niches that your blog posts are in.
Getting Your Audiobook Created
Now that we have a niche, we need an actual book! Any one of you reading this has the ability to write their own books. It does not matter if you are a great writer. However, if you are NOT a writer, no interest in being a writer, and simply want to get a book up to test this method, there is an easy way to do that.
Outsource!
I will be going over how to outsource the actual book creation as well as the audio voice over for that book once it is complete.
Your book can be as long as you like or as short as you like. However, how long it ends up being is going to determine what kind of royalty you get once the entire process is complete. Because of this, I would recommend about 20-25k words per book. This should put your final audiobook at just over 3 hours in length and this is where you make the best money. To hit this, you may want to take a few of your articles and combine them.
We have a niche, we have a target length for the book, now we just need to find someone to actually write the thing!
Go hire someone or do it yourself. This is pretty self explanatory.
I find that having a general outline for your book is the easiest way to get a good quality product. You can do this by looking at the chapter headings of some of the best sellers. Compile a list of all the headings, and then formulate your own online so that your book will be the most comprehensive book on the market for that niche.
Upload Your eBook to Kindle (if you didn't previously)
Before you can actually create your ACX book, you will need to upload your book to Kindle. This is a platform for ebooks that sell on Amazon and ANOTHER avenue for you to make money with your book (outside of audible sales).
Head on over to kindle here: https://kdp.amazon.com/.
Sign up for an account and enter in all your information so that you can get paid.
Now that you have an account, you need a few other bits before you can actually upload your book.
First, make sure you familiarize yourself with the cover requirements here: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201113520
You now need to get a cover for your book created. The idea image requirements for kindle for your book cover are 2560 pixels by 1600 pixels.
Your book cover is important!!
I know everyone always says not to judge a book by its cover but we all do it. You do it, I do it, and your potential customers are going to do it too!
Because of this, head over to upwork and post a job for an ebook cover designer. There are a lot of very very talented artists out there and you should get an amazing cover for your book for $20-$30 dollars.
You can see here the cover that I went with that sticks out on the page:
https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/blueprint-cover.png
Now that you have your book and your cover, let’s upload to Kindle!
Log in to Kindle and click on the Kindle new title button:
https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/create-a-new-title.png
After you are done adding the Kindle eBook, I would highly suggest adding a paperback as well. We will not be focusing on the paperback, but this is just another avenue that you can make money from your book.
Give your book a title (what is on the book cover), an author, and a description.
Make sure your description is long and detailed. I like to tell a little bit about what is in the book as well as outline the chapters and what the customer will be learning when they read the book.
After you have filled those out, it is time to enter in some backend keywords. These are keywords that you want the book to rank for. Think like a customer here. Whatever they might search for, enter these as your back end keywords.
You have 7 boxes of keywords to fill up here. No need for any punctuation. As long as the keywords are relevant, enter them in.
Once you have your keywords selected, choose a category for your book, and then click on continue.
Now all that is really left is to upload your book, the cover, and pick out pricing:
https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/manuscript-.png
You do not need to enter an ISBN so go ahead and click save and continue at the bottom of the page.
Set your book at $2.99 or above, and select the 70% royalty share. If you price below $2.99, you will get a much smaller cut. Since we will not be focusing on the actual ebook, every time it sells, we want to maximize our profit. (This is if you are just doing audiobooks and not the free book method mentioned above)
Now all you have to do is scroll to the bottom and click on publish your book!
https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/publish-your-kindle-book.png
It can take a while to publish, but I typically see all my books going live within 24 hours. You need to wait for your book to go live, so in the meanwhile, I would suggest publishing the paperback version as well!
Publishing Your Book to ACX (Audible)
If you have made it this far and are still with me, impressive.
So far you should have a book with a cover, and it is published on Kindle meaning it is for sale on Amazon.com.
This means we can FINALLY start creation of our audiobook!
To begin, head over to ACX.com and sign up for an account. This is the dashboard for audible.com which is where we want to publish our book.
Again, fill out all your information and take the tax interview. Once you have done that, click on “Add Your Title” from the upper right hand corner.
Search by keyword and find your book on Amazon.com. Once you have found it, click on “This is my eBook”.
https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/my-ebook.png
Once you select your book, you will see a popup that asks what you want to do with your ebook:
https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/produce-ebook.png
Now the fun part starts!
You can either upload audio for the book you already have (which I assume you don’t), of you can find someone to narrate the book for you. This is not going to be free, but you can find some real talent out there that will read your book and allow you to publish audiobooks without ever using your own voice.
Select the first option and click on continue.
Accept the terms and conditions, and click on continue.
The next page is where you want to fill out your book information. Since your book is already on Kindle, most of this is going to be selected for you.
The interesting parts are these:
https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/book-deetz.png
This lets you say that you want to receive auditions from narrators but also lets you describe the voice you are looking for. I like to select this based on the topic of the book and what would fit best.
After you upload a test piece of your book for your narrator auditions, click on next.
The next page is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the entire process. You can pick how you pay the person that is narrating your book.
https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/pay-narrator.png
By default, the first option is going to be selected (Royalty Share) but you do NOT want to do this! If you have a successful book, that means you will giving half your royalty away for many years to come.
Instead, select pay for production and pay your narrators up front. I have found that the lowest level of $0-$50 per finished hour (PFH) works well and you get some quality people applying to narrate your book.
For a book of 20,000 words, you can expect to pay a little over $100, but you do not have to do any of the work yourself!
You will start getting auditions almost immediately over the next few days and you will be able to see this in your top menu.
https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/auditions.png
Make sure to go through all the auditions and listen to each one of them as everyone has their unique style and some attach specific notes about the project to their audition:
https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/auditions2.png
Once you have someone selected, all you have to do is then make an offer, and they will do the rest!
The narrator you chose may send you a few questions over messages, so make sure you are watching your email whenever those come in.
Once your narrator has finished the book, you have to approve it. After you approve it, you MUST pay your narrator before the book will go live on audible. This is not very clear for a first time user.
I was expecting the system to use my card on file, but had to follow up and actually send the narrator the money over paypal. After that occurs, they will also approve the book, and it will get final approval from the ACX team!
https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/approval.png
Once you receive that email, it is just a waiting game as the book is pushed out to retail!
https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/book-to-audible.png
TIP: If you email the ACX team and ask nicely, they will give you 25 codes for free books so that you can give them out to people for review. This is a good way to bump your book inside of audible and start getting downloads.
Wrapping It Up
When building your business, use every tool at your disposal to drive traffic and build up your audience.
Focus on building a brand and not just a website.
submitted by W1ZZ4RD to juststart [link] [comments]

What am I? Webdesigner? Developer? Photographer? Fool?

I'm freelancing since 2016. I never studied anything that has anything to do with Web Development or any creative field.
At first i started making websites for myself (Affiliate Blogs) and earned some money of it. This was about 2008. Then i started to get interested in photography and getting more creative in customizing themes with wordpress. Then a friend asked if i build websites, i said yes, not knowing if i would actually be able to. For the first website i received about 200€. At the time i was still studying, but somehow people kept coming and asking if i could make them a website, every time i didn't know if i would be able to, but was surprised by myself that i could do it, with help of the internet and youtube tutorials of course. As time passed on, people came and asked for different stuff, like can you edit this pictures, can you make this image into a vector, etc. and every time (again, not knowing if i could actually do it) i said yes and so i learned, depending on the project different programs like Adobe Indesign, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Lightroom, After Effects, Premiere Pro, etc. .
Website requests got more complicated, shops, booking systems or multilanguage websites had to be made, so again, i got nervous but i got shit done. Every time getting a little more confident in my work i started to wonder if i could make my living with freelance work. So again, i just said yes, and everything kind of worked out. I do have enough projects, but not enough to have kids, and our dream is to have kids.
My idea is to get a part time job and still do my freelancing on the side. I'm about to start searching for agencies, but i don't know what i could actually tell them what i do and what i am. Here are some of the things that i have done:
Those are just some of the things i have done. I feel like i can do a lot of stuff but i can't do something 100% perfectly. What i enjoy most is talking to clients, listening to what they actually want and then giving them ideas, either with words or with sketches and them making the actual website/menus/posters/etc. I enjoy most of my work but i don't know how i could be someone to start working in an agency in a normal position. If someone is looking for a webdesigner, am i a webdesigner?
I feel like a restaurant that offers everything from pizza to hamburger and then some asian food on the side.
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Ideas for startup.

I'm looking to see what kind of idea the community would have for a startup, should they be in a similar situation. Please share, if you can & include issues, benefits, anything related to the business you would enter into.
Around a month from now i'll have around £2,000 to spend, with it i'd like to start a business, i'm not sure exactly what i'll be doing at the moment so thought id look to the community to see if i find anything useful that might help me decide. Things i'd like to get into in future (not with this money) are property development, short term/long term renting of property. I'd also like to buy and resell, property, cars/vehicles, these sre things i find interesting and would like to do, however considering these cost a good dral more money than i'll be getting they'll havr to wait.
Id like to start something similar to these businesses so if you've any ideas similar to these that'd be great but i want to hear any idreas you have if you were to have that level of capital, i'm looking for inspiration and want to learrn a few things.
submitted by Generic_username45 to Entrepreneur [link] [comments]

A SaaS wiki for developers

Since this is my first post here, hello SaaS! My name is Nicolas 👋🏻
I've been learning a lot about SaaS in the past year, and I've collected a long list of resources, stories, links, and advice about this topic coming from the greatest minds in the game and people who've reached their goal of building a profitable SaaS by themselves.
Today I've decided to publish this document as an open GitHub repo, "SaaS 4 Devs", and I hope someone in this community will find it useful. It would've been a godsend for me one year ago.
What does it contain? Here are some of the sections:
and a lot more.
Find it on Github: https://github.com/nicolas-racchi/SaaS4Devs
Disclaimer: This is 100% free. It's a public repo and I'm not monetizing it in any way. No affiliate links, referrals, tracking links, or sponsorships. This document wouldn't exist without the TON of free content I could find online.
If you're still reading this, please give me some feedback!
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Use Google Analytics To See Where Your Best Traffic Is Coming From 📈

![analytics.png](https://svbtleusercontent.com/r8VCqa3SsFKTD1NvtURT380xspap_small.png)
Three weeks ago I got accepted to CXL institutes' conversion optimisation mini-degree scholarship. It claims to be one of the most thorough conversion rate optimisation training programs in the world. As part of the scholarship, I have to write an essay about what I learn each week. This is my third report so far.
In my experience, the majority of people who have analytics set up use it to see how much traffic their website is getting. This is a shame because, with a little bit of effort, it can tell you so much more useful information. Over the next 10 minutes I'll show you how to understand where your traffic is coming from, and what your conversion rate for each source of traffic is.

How Google Analytics Buckets Your Traffic

To make sense of your analytics you must understand that there are 9 default types of traffic.
![sources.png](https://svbtleusercontent.com/94Koef424vVF8T3nbmttp0xspap_small.png)
I prefer to think of these as five main groups:
  1. Organic - If someone finds your website on a search engine then it counts as organic traffic.
  2. Referral - When someone comes to your site from a link on someone else's website then that’s referral traffic.
  3. Social - If traffic comes from a link shared social media platforms like Facebook or twitter then it’s Social.
  4. Email - this is when someone clicks on a link in an email you've sent out.
  5. Ads - Display, Paid Search, Affiliate marketing and all other advertising counts as paid advertising.
The reason I've simplified it down to these categories is because it reflects the three main ways people get traffic online:
  1. You can produce amazing content and work on getting it ranked on search engines to get organic traffic. This takes time, effort and dedication but once you get ranked the traffic keeps coming.
  2. You can work on sharing links to your website on forums, in comments and discussions, and any other place you can find a relevant audience for your product. Referral traffic works instantly, but people's attention churns just as fast so you have to stay at it constantly. Technically, Social is just referral traffic but I like the distinction because people who follow you on social media are already in your orbit. Typically, with other referral traffic you are putting yourself out there and exposing yourself to an entirely new audience. The same rules apply to Email, technically this is referral traffic, plus these people are already in your orbit since they are on your mailing list. Still, the category is practical because it keeps the referral category cleaner by not diluting it with email traffic.
  3. Then you have paid advertising. If you don't want to hustle, you have to pay for your traffic.
These categories are just Google’s default buckets, you can create your own. Lots of people promote their products via public speaking, networking, trade shows, etc; you can set up custom categories so that traffic from these efforts don't end up in another category. For example, if I want to do a cold email outreach campaign then I could label this under the default Email category, but I associate email with my mailing list. Instead I could create an entirely new category called Outreach and have all my cold email traffic show up there.
Lastly, direct traffic, this is when someone types your URL directly into the browser. This is more of a catch-all for when Google doesn’t know where the traffic is coming from. If you give business cards out at networking events, there is no way that Google can know this, so it will just get lumped under direct traffic. The way to solve this is to teach Google where your traffic is coming from.

How To Teach Google Where Your Traffic Is Coming From

Google does a fair job of figuring out where your traffic is coming from. However, with the networking example above, it is impossible for Google to know that you met someone at an event. The solution here is to use UTM links. A UTM link is like a regular website link except that it has a string of information appended to the end of it (UTM stands for Urchin Tracker module, Urchin was the name of the company before Google acquired it).
For example, the link to this article is https://learninglog.svbtle.com/ga
A UTM link would be https://learninglog.svbtle.com/ga?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=my-blog-demo-link
If you click on the first link it will just show up as any referral traffic in my Analytics, clicking on the second one will tell me that you clicked on the demo example link on my blog. That string of information at the end, after the ? tells Google the source of the traffic and how you want to categorize it.
Creating a UTM link is not complicated, you can just use a UTM link generator. I'll link to the one I use in the footer. Most people also use link shorteners to mask these long ugly links.
All you have to do is add the original link to the first field in the generator and then enter the relevant information for the source of the traffic. You are given 5 fields to fill out. I'm not going to explain what all the fields do because you only need to know two to get started: Source and Medium.
The source is where your traffic is coming from. If you parse through the example UTM link above you'll see that it says utm_source=my-blog-demo-link in the string. This means my-blog-demo-link is the source and that is what will show up in my analytics dashboard when people click on this link.
The medium refers to the 9 default categories we were talking about earlier. In this case, it's a link in a blog so I'm labelling it referral traffic. It is important to use lowercasing when defining a medium otherwise it won’t work. The default categories are a known convention so I suggest sticking to one of the category names when possible. Unnecessarily creating your own makes it's harder for new people to understand your analytics in the future.
Telling Google the Medium will give you a traffic pie chart that looks something like this in the Acquisition > Overview pane.
![breakdup.png](https://svbtleusercontent.com/5UZZpNV6ypnYrT3YbdgHg0xspap_small.png)
The colourful pie chart in the top left corner tells me that more than half of my traffic is Social and 6% of it comes from referral. On the other hand 33% of it is labelled 'Direct', this is because I hadn't started using UTM links for that traffic and Google doesn't know how to categorize it. This is why it makes sense to start using UTM links as soon as you can.
If you then click on one of the Mediums in the table, for example Social, it will show you all your sources of social traffic.
![social source.png](https://svbtleusercontent.com/tqYw9rHF3R62GDNe2eda2E0xspap_small.png)
Twitter and Facebook are my top two sources of traffic and about 17% of the traffic is 'not set'. Again, this illustrates why it makes sense to start using UTM tags.

Cleaning Up Fractured Traffic

The view I like to spend most of my time on is Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium.
![source:medium.png](https://svbtleusercontent.com/r2aiTqEDvhBWCqyZGVzymo0xspap_small.png)
The first column shows me my top 10 sources of traffic sources and their medium. The rest of the columns then help me understand how that traffic is performing.
This table is a bit messy because there are 3 rows with the same sources. There facebook.com, m.facebook.com and l.facebook.com. This happens because facebook uses different servers for different views. This is unhelpful. What I want is a single row that just tells me how much traffic I am getting from facebook.
The way to clean this up is to use a filter.
Go to your test view before you create a new filter. If you don't have one, set one up before you start adding filters. Filters can be dangerous, once data starts getting filtered out there is no way to retrieve it, so you want to set up a test view where you can test the filter works as expected before applying it to all your analytics data.
![combine.png](https://svbtleusercontent.com/qXGpZ1T99Xn3REMZsDEkBQ0xspap_small.png)
In your test view, create a new filter, give it a name and then click on the custom tab and then select the search and replace option.
![search.png](https://svbtleusercontent.com/7dg6VdFd4oA7dKc5MoQa420xspap_small.png)
In the filter field you want you want to select campaign source, then in the search string you want to use regex to tell it to find any source that ends with facebook.com ^.*facebook.com$, and then in the replace string field you give it the new name you want it to use. I've linked to a neat guide on getting started with regex in the links in the footer.
Rather than having three different types of facebook traffic in my sources panel, now it will all just show up under a single facebook label. You can repeat these steps for any kind of fractured traffic by just replacing the domain name in the example above.
The next thing I did was create a UTM parameter for the links I share in facebook groups so that I can distinguish it from when I share stuff with my friends on facebook. This is why some facebook traffic has started showing up as facebook-groups in the screenshot above.
The last thing we need to clean this up is a referral exclusion list. You can do this by going to the property settings. I’ve highlighted the button in red on the screenshot below.
![referral exclusions.png](https://svbtleusercontent.com/5tQ36oyQc13F8tHUDCfUma0xspap_small.png)
Referral exclusion means removing your own domains from your traffic. I have sources like joshpitzalis and learninglog showing up in my traffic. These are both my own sites. To prevent this from continuing to happen I've added both of these domains to the referral exclusion list.
Unfortunately, none of these changes will apply in retrospect so it's important to make these changes as soon as you can. Now that the measures are in place, cleaner traffic will slowly drown out the messiness.
Now we know how much traffic we're getting, where it's coming from and how it gets broken down. The next piece of the puzzle is to figure out which source of traffic is having the biggest impact to your business.

Tracking How Well Your Traffic Converts

A conversion is just a measurement of how many people do something. If 1000 people visit your website and 20 of them sign up to your mailing list then your mailing list's conversion rate is 2% (20/1000 X 100).
Before you can track any kind of conversion you have to figure out what it is you want people to do. In the example above we want people to sign up to our mailing list. For most Saas businesses the goal of the landing page is to get people to sign up.
You are allowed to track 20 goals in google analytics. To keep things simple I recommend just starting with your single most important goal.
To set up a goal in Analytics you must go to the admin section, and then click on the goals in the view column, and then click on the red 'create goal' button. This will take you to the following page:
![goal.png](https://svbtleusercontent.com/qRUCs9SrsL4nb7iC85mshE0xspap_small.png)
If you want to track people filling out a registration form then you will need to set up an event goal so that you can track the registration form submission event. You will need to go into the form in your landing page source code and trigger the event on submit. Depending on how you have analytics setup, you will need to do this with Google Tag Manager or the Google Analytics event trigger (or however else your project tracks events).
![event goal.png](https://svbtleusercontent.com/uHWVXU2PiuUEt8mKWVJc1X0xspap_small.png)
When you fire the event you will need to define an event category and an event action. The category is the broad grouping of the event; so 'sign-up' or ‘registration’ or something like that. The action is the specific behaviour you are tracking, for example 'form submission'. Labels and values are optional. If you have multiple signup forms you can use a label to add info about which form fired the event. If the signup is paid you can also allocate a dollar value to the action. These last two are optional.
That was a bit complicated but you must set up a goal in order to track your conversion rate. If event goals sound too complicated, then a simpler alternative is to set up a destination goal. This tracks when people land on a specific page. To do this you must create a page that people can only reach after completing your goal. You simply add the url of the destination page to the goal and you are done. This is often why people direct you to a thank you page when you download something online. You could also have a welcome page that people only visit once after they sign up. However, you must make sure people don’t see the welcome page every time they login otherwise it will skew your metrics. This is why, for signups, event goals make more sense. There are two other types of goals but those are more suited for blogs and content focused websites so I won't go into those.
Once you have set up your goal, the source/medium page from before will have a whole new section appended to the end of it called Conversion. In this case, my goal for my website is to get people to book in an initial conversation.
![IMG_0089.PNG](https://svbtleusercontent.com/myFXMrfMdXikH4gHf4Z8270xspap_small.png)
This page now has three groups of column, acquisition, behaviour and conversion ( I have outlined the conversion column in orange above).
The acquisition column tells you how much traffic is coming from each of your sources. This is what almost everyone uses Analytics for.
The behaviour column tells you how engaged a source of traffic is. There are three sub columns, you have the bounce rate (the percentage of people that view a page once, do nothing else and then leave), pages per session and the average session duration. These three columns help me assess the quality of my traffic.
If I just looked at the acquisition column (and tally up all my fractured facebook sources) I would see that I am getting most of my amount of traffic from Facebook. However, if you look at the behaviour column you can see that my Facebook traffic has a much higher bounce rate than anything else. It also shows me that people who come from Twitter spend a lot longer on the site and view more pages per visit. So thanks to the behaviour columns I can tell that Facebook might be giving me more traffic, but Twitter is clearly giving me better traffic.
The final column is Conversion, this shows you the result of all this traffic and engagement. In the screenshot above we can see that one person booked a consultation with me (this is the goal I have set up on my website). Unfortunately this person came from the direct medium so analytics can’t tell me how this person found my website. Had I started using UTM links sooner I'd see what source of traffic this conversion came from. As more conversions start coming in with cleaner traffic data I will be able to tell where my highest converting traffic is coming from.
There are lots of other things you can do with the conversion section. You can set up multiple goals, you can have multi channel goals, you can even set up neat visualisations to see where people drop out of your sales funnel but I don't recommend diving into all that until you need to. Trying to learn analytics in its entirety is a waste of time. A much better approach is to ask an important question, and then just learn enough to answer that question. A good baseline is to understand how much traffic you get, where it is coming from and how well it is converting. Now you know how to answer all three of those questions.

Links Mentioned

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How to Make Money with Instagram: The Ultimate Guide [2020 Update]

Making money with Instagram is no joke. On the contrary, BusinessInsider shows that popular Instagram influencers can already charge a minimum of € 15,000 for a single sponsored post on their accounts!
So what does it come down to?
When it comes to making money with social media and how much money you will really make, your results will depend on your experience, how many followers you have, and your confidence.
Of course everyone starts from a different starting point or situation, but here are the 4 main ways that we recommend to make money via Instagram.
What you can do:
You can use one, several or even all 4 of these methods simultaneously to make money via Instagram - it's your choice!
Now that that's said, are you ready to go ?
Following are the details of each method of how to make money with Instagram

How to Make Money on Instagram - The 4 Methods


1 Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways of making money on Instagram.
Simply put, affiliate marketing is when you get a commission when someone clicks on a link from another company from your account, and then buys a product. You usually get a commission when someone buys something, but sometimes when they just click on the link.
Affiliate marketing is so simple because all you have to do is show the product with a “story” around it, for example in a review, a video or a post with a little paragraph about the product, then put it in link your Instagram bio to. You can also have your own website where you send people to learn more about the products you show.
Keep in mind that when you recommend something, your good name and reputation are associated with the product, so only recommend products that you have used yourself, that you trust and like.
Affiliate marketing is an extensive topic, and we have written about it many times. You can dig deeper into it in our article: the Guide to Affiliate Marketing .
You can also visit the following websites that have affiliate lists of products that offer affiliate programs, which will take you one step further in learning how to make money with Instagram

2 Sell ​​your photos

You spend a lot of time and effort to get the scene, light and captions just right… so why not convert all the effort you've already put into your IG account into more money ?
There are many sites online where you can host and sell your photos.

3 Sponsored Posts

Sponsored posts are another way of making money with Instagram, and it is expected that by 2020 there will be around 32.3 billion sponsored Instagram posts to be paid by brands.
You can also participate and get paid like this !
What exactly are sponsored posts? First you grow your number of followers, by supporting a certain message or by specializing in things like health, things that men / women need (think of cars, beauty, etc.), cats, or whatever your thing . If a sponsor likes what you do, they will ask you to promote them!
Not only do they pay for you talking about them, but they usually combine it with an affiliate link, so you get a commission when one of your visitors buys something from the sponsor!
Some people think that sponsoring and making money is about having millions of followers, but that's not true . Sponsors are not stupid, they know you can just buy "fake followers" to make the number look better.
What they're looking for is the real, engaged followers who trust you. A sponsor would rather have 1,000 people ready to buy what the influencer recommends than 2 million accounts that actually mean nothing.
It's all about trust and commitment .

How Much Can You Ask?

Now you're probably wondering how much money to charge per sponsored post.
Unless you're extremely experienced with Instagram and a big influencer, it's likely to be determined by the company itself. It can depend on whether you post a photo, video or story and how long the video is when it is a video or a story.
Good news is that when we look at the rates on AdFactor of some influencers, and the number of Instagram followers they have, it looks like you can already ask € 500 per sponsored post with just a few thousand followers.
That can give you an idea of ​​how many brands are willing to pay, and what number you can play with during the negotiations.

How To Find Sponsors

The easiest way to find sponsors is to compile a list of companies and brands you like, and write them an email describing who you are, why you like them, and how you can help them when you promote them on Instagram.
Here are a few examples of emails you can view and use.
Another way is to list yourself and your account on an influencer marketplace, where brands “shop around” to find the accounts they would like to sponsor or contact.

How to avoid being called a defector (or why you shouldn't have too many sponsored posts)

It can be tempting to turn every post into a sponsored post, but there has to be a balance. Remember, your audience originally followed you for the sheer content of your posts and because they liked YOU, not because they want to see ads all the time.
We recommend that you consider using a #sponsored or #spon hashtag to indicate that it is a sponsored post . If you're worried about using sponsored posts at all, we've got some good news for you!
For example below, you can see that beauty blogger and Instagrammer Mascha Feoktistova indicates that her latest fragrance from Guess is sponsored using the hashtag #spon.
Instagram now also has a "Paid Partnership With ..." tag that clearly identifies sponsored posts. Some brands even require that you use this as an influencer. You can here read about the tag.
When you're trying to find a balance in how you make money on Instagram, fewer sponsored posts are better than more. Try a certain number first (eg 1 per week), and you could even create a live survey with your “Story” feature to ask your audience if they are satisfied with the number of sponsored posts, and if they like the recommendations .
Always try to be as careful as possible with sponsored posts, and keep in mind: LESS is more!

4 Make your own products

Making your own products is a great way to turn your Instagram account into a money machine. And it can also be a lot of fun!

Paid Services

Most Instagrammers start with paid services because they are the easiest to set up. You basically choose the talents you have, and you work as a freelance consultant for someone, while setting your own rates for your talents! If you'd like to learn more about that, check out our guide on how to start freelancing .

Digital Products

Another good example, besides paid services, is that you create something like an e-book about your favorite topic and sell it on your website through an online shop program.
Online products are one of our favorites, because once you have set up your website and your online shop program, the “shop” is always open, and you can get paid for your knowledge while you sleep!
The return on your investment can be HUGE!
If you want to research how to make money with Instagram, we recommend that you sign up on SendOwl for your online shop program and use it to sell your online products.

Physical Products

You can then develop further by delving into physical products with services such as Shopify , which help you to set up a real online shop.
Physical products can be challenging because you have to make sure the quality is good enough as they are made from factories. Services like Printful and Teelaunch can do all the work for you when printing certain photos in shirts and mugs, as well as finding recommended factories.
If you follow this route, we recommend that you always see a sample of the products before selling it to your audience. You can't make money by putting your name on poor quality products!
Reference:
Entreprenuers Hustle Free Style
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How you can buy & sell profitable digital assets

"The rich invest their money and spend what is left. The poor spend their money and invest what is left.”
This quote has stuck with me for years since I've read the Rich Dad book.
By 2020, it’s estimated that a staggering 27 million Americans will leave the traditional workplace in favor of full-time self-employment.
A large percentage of these new entrepreneurs will start an online business.
So, is there still room for you online?
The answer is a big “YES”.
Unlike real estate investment, digital assets can be built even if you have no money to invest. If you have the right skills and are ready to invest your time, you can still build a high-value portfolio of online assets.
The faster path, however, is the one in which you invest both money and time in acquiring promising online businesses, improving them, and selling them for a higher price (just like flipping real estate)
For example, one investor acquired an online business for $7,500 from Flippa, worked on it for a year and sold it for $550K. (1)
This is why flipping websites, and other forms of digital assets, is one of the fastest and most lucrative ways to grow your wealth.
And many smart investors, including Robert Kiyosaki, are already doing it.
In this detailed guide, we’ll tell you exactly how the business of buying and selling websites works, why investing in digital assets is a smart move, the risks involved in this business model, and how you can get started as a website investor.
Types of digital assets
Every online business can be called a digital asset if it’s making money and has the potential to grow. Below are some of the common types of digital assets that people invest in:
  1. Websites Affiliate sites, eCommerce stores, blogs, magazines, etc. are all different forms of websites that are frequently traded on the internet. There are dozens of examples of high profile website acquisitions that turned common people into multi-millionaires For example, Viral Nova, a viral news blog run by just one person, was acquired for $100 million in 2015.
  2. Domain names Domain names (website URLs) become more valuable as they age which is why they’re considered a popular digital asset that people frequently invest in. For example, CarInsurance.com, bought for $49.7 million, is the most expensive publicly sold domain name ever. Business.com was sold for $7.5 million. The original owner bought them for a fraction of that price but held on long enough to profit.
  3. Mobile apps Mobile applications are harder to create as compared to a website which is why you don’t hear as many common people making a fortune by investing in them. Example, Summly, an app that served customized news content, was acquired by Yahoo for $30 million.
  4. Digital products People also invest in acquiring digital and info products like video courses, training programs, and membership programs that have the potential to grow by making small improvements. Acquiring digital products is slightly trickier as compared to other digital assets since they are mostly sold because of the original owner’s credibility and brand image. Unlike real estate, the value of a digital asset does not depend on its location (or the location of its owner) which is a huge advantage as compared to physical property. For example, 10Beasts is a simple product review site, started from scratch, by a marketer in his 20s a few years ago. Within a year of its inception, the site started making nearly $80K/month from Amazon commissions and sponsored content. The owner eventually sold it for $600K+ after profiting from it for over 2 years. Overall, he made more than $2 million from the whole project. You need to be careful though with some marketplaces charge high brokerage fees. There are some that have no buyer fees, do the due diligence for you and provide the legal docs. (2)
1 https://blog.flippa.com/blush-and-bar-sold/
2 https://investors.club/
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Monthly discussion topic - Best passive income ideas for women

We will use this thread to note down all ideas which are effective in earning a substantial passive income. We will only consider those ideas which are -
  1. low risk, high reward
  2. Should earn you money even while you sleep
  3. Have the ability to expand exponentially
  4. Should help you reach your wealth goal (I will explain in another post on how to set your wealth goal)
I will list down some of the ideas that I feel are best for this purpose. You all also list down some ideas in the comments below.
  1. Make an app - It doesn't have to be anything too fancy. Many simple apps are also pretty popular on Apple and Google store. There is a period-tracking app that I use, which is pretty basic, but thousands of people buy it's pro version every day. The same goes for some apps that I tried for staying focused. I ended up uninstalling the ones with too many bells and whistles and paid for a simple one instead. Apps have the potential to go huge and give you enormous returns for a long time. The key is doing your research properly. Checking out other apps. Reading what kind of feedback people are giving it. Making notes of what people are saying in their reviews. What features they would like to see. Remember it is not about inventing something new altogether, rather making some changes to what is currently available. Like there were plenty of messaging apps already available when Snapchat was introduced in the market, yet it became popular because it came with a feature where messages are deleted upon opening which is what many people wanted from their messaging app. People always crave something new. Give it to them and you have your profits.
  2. Develop a game - Similar to an app, a game also has the potential to bring in tremendous returns. And just like an app, simple games can also become pretty popular. We all know the profits that simple games like "Angry Birds", "Talking Tom" brought in for their makers. You can develop games for iOS, Android, or create indie games as well. Game engines like Unity have made it possible for beginners, having basic coding knowledge, to start making games. Here also you have to do your research and see what people like and don't like. Join gamer forums, Reddit subs, Facebook groups to interact with gamers. Also, use these platforms to promote the new game that you developed and get feedback from users. Keep some money aside to advertise your game on social media, it provides a huge boost.
  3. Create online tutorials - Online education is seeing enormous growth in recent years. There are multiple ways you can earn money by making online tutorials. Make videos and upload them on free websites like YouTube to earn ad money and from affiliate marketing. Or you can make videos and put them on websites like Udemy to earn money when someone buys your course. The paid model mostly works for courses that are STEM and technology related. Even if you do put your courses on Udemy, you have to provide some free content on websites like YouTube or Facebook, so you can build your audience. Give some free coupons to your Udemy course every month so you can get reviews on them. Remember if your course has no reviews, no one is going to trust it and pay money for it and this is the mistake most people do when they upload their course on Udemy. Courses with a decent amount of reviews are guaranteed to bring good sales. So focus on reviews and not money in the initial stage.
  4. Upload YouTube videos - Apart from tutorials, there are many other types of videos that you can put on YouTube. Comedy, vlogging, cute pet videos, cooking, make-up, technology, fashion, even how to organize your stuff. One of my favorite channels from which I have learned a lot about organizing stuff in my house - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2GT4HiSvUipWNwcWUM7iJQ. Of course, your videos have to actually provide some entertainment or information for people to watch them. If you are just making videos that are similar to other popular videos, people will have no incentive to watch your videos. But don't go around making videos in genres that no one watches. Try making videos in a popular genre giving them a unique twist. This Mexican grandmother amassed more than a million followers in just one month on her cooking channel by making her dishes in an outdoor kitchen - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLhxVgG4MHE
  5. Create an online blog/website - Blogging has become pretty oversaturated in recent times and doesn't provide very good returns anymore. What I would recommend is providing some free content on your blog or website and then also creating premium content for which users need to pay. Just like YouTube, you can use this medium for affiliate marketing as well.
  6. Become an Instagram influencer - You might think you need millions of followers on Instagram to start earning money from affiliate marketing or sponsored posts, that's not the truth though. I have seen influencers having around 13 thousand followers making sponsored posts and hosting giveaways. I look for mostly STEM based content which is not overcrowded so maybe that is why even with low followers women are able to earn money in this area. Some genres on Instagram are very oversaturated like Fitness and Travel. I would suggest not venturing in them. Also don't do anything if that requires you to invest tons of money like getting expensive clothes, jewelry, gadgets. Start with a limited budget and do something creative. Make-up, artwork, cooking, home organization, STEM related posts. Choose a niche and stick to it. Post regularly and use as many hashtags as possible. Also, if you are choosing something like STEM, post some interesting content in the description along with the picture. Interact with other Instagram accounts in your niche. That's the best way of pulling the crowd towards your account.
  7. Make money from your artwork - If you have some hobbies like crocheting or painting, put it up on image-based social media like Instagram and Pinterest. People like watching pretty things on social media. Give them escapism and you can earn money from it. Try combining different things. This artist uses fashion designing with real-world elements like flowers, leaves - https://www.instagram.com/edgar_artis/. Create an audience and not only can you earn money by affiliate marketing and sponsored posts but you can also create your own merchandise by printing your artwork on t-shirts, mugs, etc, and sell it on Etsy or Amazon. Try making some artwork which the rich will like to purchase, so even if you sell very products, you get enormous profits on it. Have some expensive quality items in your shop, some big-ticket items for the huge payout, but make sure to entice smaller wallets with "bread and butter" sales that are the backbone of your profits with frequent sales. Also, don't forget to include items that complement each other. As an example, if you're selling handspun yarn, don't forget to include things like knitting needles, nice needle holders, patterns, etc.
  8. Create a brand - If you use multiple ideas given above, you can create a brand. You are getting great views on YouTube, your courses are making good money on paid online platforms, you have a decent number of visitors on your website/blog and you also make sponsored posts on Instagram and most likely you have a hit app of your service. Congratulations, you have a brand in your control now. You could be offered millions of dollars by giant corporations in lucrative buyout deals. Whether or not you want to sell your brand is your personal choice. I would suggest selling it off while it's still popular and making huge money off it, while still retaining some stake in it. This is why I don't recommend starting your YouTube channel, Instagram account, a website using your name. If Facebook was named "Mark Zuckerberg" it wouldn't look such an attractive prospect to buyers, would it? Create a brand name and promote that instead.
  9. Write a book - Once you have established yourself in your field and people are willing to pay money to gain knowledge on your area of expertise, consider writing a book. You can market it on your personal social media handles. Even if you sold out your brand to someone else your name will be popular by now thanks to the brand you created. Of course, if you have some brilliant story in your mind as J.K. Rowling had for "Harry Potter", you can start with writing a book right away. Books are ageless and will keep making money even after your death.
  10. Monthly allowance and Gifts from Boyfriend/Sugar-Daddy/Husband - If you are open to dating men, find yourself a provider type. Instead of getting traditional gifts from him like clothes, handbags, make him give you money or jewelry or some other stuff which you can sell and get money. The key here is using the money you get from him to start your own business or investing in the above stated passive income sources. Don't stay dependent on him forever giving you money.
  11. Investing in real estate - Real estate is generally considered a good investment provided you do your research and purchase land in a prime location. The rent money you get from real estate is purely passive and you can always sell it back and earn a profit on it when the market is good. Once you have secured enough money using the above-stated methods, buy some real estate and start getting rent from it.
(Note - I only suggest women above 25 to actually implement these ideas. Younger women please just read and learn for now. Concentrate on your studies and get a job in your preferred field. Once you feel you are ready and have the correct mindset, only then venture out to try the above ideas)
An average Millionaire is said to have at least 7 different sources of passive income. So you should be using all these ideas in conjunction with each other. Let's illustrate this with an example -
Suppose it's cooking you are very good at. You have decided that you want to do something in this field. So ideally first you should get a job related to cooking. You can learn many things in a job. What the customers demand, what they like and don't like. You can also hone your skills there. Learn new recipes, the art of presenting food. Meanwhile, save as much money as you can by cutting down all unnecessary expenses (I will make a separate post on how I achieved this and can now live without a job for at least 3 years while I focus on my business). Now when you have saved enough money and ideally got a partnesugar-daddy/husband to support you financially just in case, quit your job and focus on building your brand. I say quit your job because building a brand is full-time work. Doing it after office hours, you will most likely be tired, not have enough energy or motivation and it will reflect in the quality of your work. Once you have embarked on your journey of building your brand, the first step is to learn as much as you can. Watch YouTube videos of various food channels. Read various recipe blogs. Notice what people like and don't like. Also join various Facebook groups, Instagram accounts, and Reddit subs based on the topic of cooking or food. See what type of content users interact with most, what they are demanding. Make note of everything you learn. Go to Pinterest boards to get ideas of how to present food in a way that is aesthetically pleasing. Inspiration and creativity come from regular learning and observations.
When you feel you have gathered enough information, start being a producer. Start a YouTube channel for your recipes. You can select a niche like vegan recipes, recipes for PCOD. One of my favorite Youtuber posts various types of diets. I have personally tried and benefited from some of them - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCduPI5l8EcksRVi5Sdpa1gw. Of course, when you start, you will have no views. Don't worry, we will solve that. Keep sharing your videos on various Facebook groups. Post on Instagram using multiple hashtags. Recommend them on Reddit cooking communities that you are active on. Basically promote, promote, and promote some more. Don't lose hope if you do not get the views and subscribers that you would have liked. This is the stage where most people give up. Keep posting quality content. The views will come. Meanwhile start a blog and showcase your recipes there also. Sharing them on social media is mandatory too. Interact with Instagram accounts and Facebook groups in your niche, help users who are asking some questions, they will be more likely to subscribe to your page if you interact and help them. Build your audience on social media. Remember this is a hard thing to do and that is why I say it's a full-time job.
After you build an audience, you can enable ads on YouTube and your blog/website. Start affiliate marketing and make sponsored posts on Instagram. Keep growing bigger and better. Create an app for your service, maybe an interactive game where users learn your recipes while cooking them using Bitmoji avatar. Write a book describing your struggles in the Cooking industry and how you made it big. Maybe you will be called to a talk show or as a judge on some cooking show. Or maybe you get your cooking show. Dream big and don't give up until you achieve your wealth goal. Always remember "you miss 100 of the shots you don't take".
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How to achieve explosive startup growth!

Here is the summary of the book Traction: How any startup can achieve explosive growth.
I hope that you find it useful!

Traction is a sign that your startup is taking off. If you charge, it means customers are buying. If your product is free, it means your user base is growing.
If you have traction, all your technical, market, and team risks become easier to handle. It becomes easier to fund-raise, hire, do press, partnerships, and acquisitions.
Traction trumps everything.

How to think about Traction?

Almost every failed startup has a product. What failed startups don’t have is enough customers.
You should spend your time in parallel, both constructing your product and testing traction channels.
This is what we call the 50 percent rule: spend 50 percent of your time on product and 50% on traction. This rule seems simple but it’s hard to follow because the pull to spend all your attention on the product is strong. You’re probably making a startup because you want to build a particular product. You have a vision, but a lot of traction activities are unknown and outside your vision and comfort zone. So you try to avoid them. Don’t.
Doing product and traction in parallel has these benefits:
Before trying to get traction, you’ll need to define what traction means for your company. You need to set a traction goal. Maybe your current startup goal is to raise funding or become profitable. How many customers do you need and at what rate? You should then focus on marketing activities that result in a significant impact on your traction goal. It should move the needle.
Your startup has 3 phases:

Phase I: Make something people want

In phase 1, your product has the most leaks, it really doesn’t hold water. You shouldn’t scale up your efforts now, but it’s important to send a small amount of water through the bucket so you can see where the holes are and plug them. \ Your goal in phase 1 is to get your first customers and prove your product can get traction. You focus on building your initial product and getting traction in ways that don’t scale: giving talks, writing guest posts, emailing people you know, attending conferences, and doing whatever you can to get in front of customers.

Some founders believe that startups either take off or don’t. Actually startups take off because the founders make them take off!
– Paul Graham

Phase II: Market something people want

Once you hone your product, you have product-market fit and customers are sticking around. Now is the time to scale up your traction efforts. You fine-tune your positioning and marketing messages.

Phase III: Scale your business

As your company grows, smaller traction strategies stop moving the needle, so you’ll start to scale.
In phase 3 you have an established business model and significant position in the market, and you’re focused on scaling to further dominate the market and to profit.

Traction for funding

When pursuing funding, first contact individuals who understand what you’re working on. The better your investors understand what you’re doing, the less traction they’ll need to see before they invest. Also, try friends and family who may not need to see any traction before investing as they’re investing in you personally.

To pivot or not to pivot

Many startups give up way too early. The first thing to look for is evidence of real product engagement, even if it’s only a few dedicated customers. If you have such an engagement, you might be giving up too soon. Look for the bright spots in your customer base and see if you can expand from that base.

How to get traction? The Bullseye framework

The Bullseye framework helps you find the channel that will get you traction. Most businesses actually get zero distribution channels to work. If you can get even a single distribution channel to work, you have a great business. If you try for several but don’t nail one, you’re finished.
You’re aiming for bullseye: the one channel at the center of the target that will unlock your next growth stage. Here are the 3 Bullseye framework steps:

Find what’s possible: The outer-ring

The first step in Bullseye is brainstorming every single traction channel. It’s important not to dismiss any channel in this step. Think of at least one idea for each channel. For example, social ads is a traction channel. Running ads on Facebook or Twitter is a channel strategy within social ads. You could research what marketing strategies worked in your industry as well as the history of companies in your space.

Find what’s probable: The middle-ring

Go around your outer-ring and promote your best and most exciting ideas to your middle-ring. For each traction channel in your middle ring, now construct a cheap traction test you can run to find if the idea is good or not. These tests need to answer the following questions:
  1. What’s the cost of acquiring customers?
  2. How many customers are available?
  3. Are they the right type of customers for you now?
You want to design small scale tests that don’t require much up-front cost or effort. For example, run 4 Facebook ads instead of 40.

Find what’s working: The inner-ring

The final step in Bullseye is to only focus on one channel that will move the needle for your startup: your core channel. At any stage of your startup, you should have one traction channel that you’re focusing on and optimizing.
Most founders mess this up by keeping around distracting marketing efforts in other channels.
If search engine marketing is significantly better for you than other channels, you should focus all your efforts on this core channel and uncover additional strategies and tactics within it.
If no channel seems promising after testing, the whole process should be repeated. If you tried several times with no success, then your product may require more tweaking and your bucket might be still leaky.

How to test traction?

Middle-ring tests: You should be running several cheap tests that give you an indication of how successful a given channel strategy could be.
Inner ring tests:
You’re doing two things:
  1. Optimize your chosen channel strategy to make it the best it can be.
  2. Discover better channel strategies within this traction channel.
There is always a set of things you can tweak. For targeting blogs, you can tweak which blogs to target, type of content, call to action, etc. For search engine marketing, you can tweak keywords, ad-copy, demographics, and landing pages.
A common approach is to use A/B testing, where A is the control group and B is the experimental group. The purpose of it is to measure the effectiveness of change in a button color, an ad image, or a different message on a web page. If the experimental group performs significantly better, you can apply the change, get the benefits, and run another test.
You can use tools such as Optimizely, Visual Website Optimizer, and Unbounce.
Over time, all marketing channels become saturated. To combat this, you should always be trying to discover new strategies and tactics within your channel and conduct small experiments. Also, experiment with new marketing platforms while they’re still in their infancy.

Tools

To track your tests you could start with a simple spreadsheet or use an analytics tool with cohort analysis. You’ll need to answer these questions:
  1. How many people landed on the website?
  2. What are the demographics of my best and worst customers?
  3. Are customers who interact with my support team more likely to stay?
A basic analytics tool like Clicky, Mixpanel, or Chartbeat can help you with these questions. You can use a spreadsheet as the tool to rank and prioritize traction channel strategies. You should include columns like how many customers are available, conversion rate, the cost to acquire a customer, lifetime value of a customer for every given strategy.

How to focus on the right traction goals? The critical path framework

Define your traction goal

You should always have an explicit traction goal you’re working towards. This could be 1,000 paying customers or 100 new daily customers, or 10% of your market. You want a goal where hitting the mark would change things significantly for your company’s outcome.
Once that is defined, you can work backward and set clear time-based subgoals. Such as reaching 1,000 customers by next quarter.
The key is to follow the critical path towards that goal and exclude all features and marketing activities that don’t help you reach your goal. Everything you decide to do should be assessed against your critical path.

Avoid traction biases

Your competitive advantage may be acquiring customers in ways your competition isn’t. That’s why it’s critical to avoid have traction biases. Stop your urge to refuse channels like speaking engagements, sales or affiliate marketing, business development, or trade shows just because you hate talking on the phone or you find the channel annoying or time-consuming.

Targetting blogs

Targeting blogs that your prospective customers read is one of the best ways to get your first wave customers.
Mint’s initial series of tests revealed that targeting blogs should be its core channel. They asked users to embed an “I want mint” badge on their personal blogs and rewarded them with a VIP access before other invitations were sent out. They also directly sponsored blogs. They sent bloggers a message with “Can I send you $500” as the subject and told them a bit about the product.
To find smaller blogs in your niche:
You can also target link-sharing communities like Reddit, Product Hunt, and Hacker News.
Dropbox, Codecademy, Quora, and Gumroad all got their first customers by sharing their products on HackerNews because their products were a good fit for users on that site.

Publicity

Starting out, an article in TechCrunch or The Huffington Post can boost your startup in the eyes of potential customers, investors, or partners. If you have a fascinating story with broad appeal, media outlets will want to hear from you.
It’s easier to start smaller when targeting big media outlets. Sites like TechCrunch and Lifehacker often pick up stories from smaller forums like Hacker News and subreddits. Instead of approaching TechCrunch, try blogs that TechCrunch reads and get story ideas from. It’s easier to get a smaller blog’s attention. Then you might get featured on TechCrunch and then The New York Times which reads TechCrunch!
What gets a reporter’s attention?
A good press angle makes people react emotionally. If it’s not interesting enough to elicit emotion, you don’t have a story worth pitching.
A good first step is using a service like Help A Reporter Out (HARO), where reporters request sources for articles they’re working on. It could get you a mention in the piece and help establish your credibility. Also, you could offer reporters commentary on stories related to your industries.
You can use Twitter to reach reporters online; almost all of them have Twitter accounts and you’d be surprised how few followers many of them have, but they can be highly influential with their content.
Once you have a solid story, you want to draw as much attention to it as you can:
Once your story has been established as a popular news item, try to drag it out as long as you can. Offer interviews that add to the story. Start “How We Did This” follow-up interviews.
As your startup grows you may consider hiring a PR firm or consultant.

Unconventional PR

Nearly every company attempts traditional publicity, but only a few focus on stunts and other unconventional ways to get buzz.

The publicity stunt

Customer Appreciation

Be awesome to your customers. Shortly after Alexis Ohanian launched Hipmunk, he sent out luggage tags and a handwritten note to the first several hundred people who mentioned the site on Twitter.
Holding a contest is also a great repeatable way to generate publicity and get word of mouth. Shopify has an annual Build a Business competition.
Great customer support is so rare that, if you make your customers happy, they’re likely to spread the news of your awesome product. Zappos is one of the best-known examples of a company with incredible customer service and they classify support as a marketing investment.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM is placing ads on search engines like Google. It’s sometimes called “pay-per-click” because you only pay when a user clicks on an ad.
SEM works well for companies looking to sell directly to their target customer. You’re capturing people who are actively searching for solutions.
Click-Through Rate (CTR) The percentage of ad impressions that result in clicks to your site.
Cost per Click (CPC) The amount it costs to buy a click on an ad.
Cost per Acquisition (CPA) How much it costs you to acquire a customer, not just a click. If you buy clicks at $1 and 10% of people who hit your site make a purchase. This makes your CPA at $10.
CPA = CPC / conversion percentage

SEM to get early customer data

You can use SEM as a way to get early customer data in a controlled and predictable way. Even if you don’t expect to be profitable, you can decide to spend a certain amount of money to get an early base of customers and users to inform you about important metrics such as landing page conversion rates, average cost per customer, and lifetime value.
Archives.com used AdWords to drive traffic to their landing pages, even before they built a product, to test interest in a specific product approach. By measuring the CTR for each ad and conversions, they determined which product aspects were the most compelling to potential customers and what those people would actually pay for. When they finally built their product, they built something they knew the market would want.

SEM strategy

Find high-potential keywords, group them into ad groups, and test different ad copy and landing pages within each ad group. As data flows in, remove underperforming ads and landing pages and make tweaks to keep improving results.
Use tools like Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer to run A/B tests on your landing pages.

Keyword research

Use Google’s keyword planner to discover top keywords your target customers use to find products like yours. You could also use tools such as KeywordSpy, SEMrush, and SpyFu to discover keywords your competition is using.
You can refine your keyword list by adding more terms to the end of each base term to create long-tail keywords. They’re less competitive and have lower search volumes which makes them ideal for testing on smaller groups of customers.
SEM is more expensive for more competitive keywords, so you’ll need to limit yourself to keywords with profitable conversion rates.
You shouldn’t expect your campaigns to be profitable right away, but if you can run a campaign that breaks even after a short period of time, then SEM could be an excellent channel for you to focus on.

Writing ads

Write ads with titles that are catchy, memorable, and relevant to the keywords you’ve paired with it. Include the keyword at least once in the body of your ad and conclude with a prominent call to action like “Check out discounted Nike sneakers!”
Each of your ads and ad groups will have a quality score associated with it. A high-quality score will get you better ad placements and better ad pricing. Click-through rate has the biggest influence on quality score, so you should tailor your ads to the keywords. Google assigns a low-quality score to ads with CTRs below 1.5%

Tactics

Social and Display Ads

Display ads are banner ads you see on websites. Social ads are ads you see on social sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Large display campaigns are often used for branding and awareness, much like offline ads. They can also elicit a direct response such as signing up for an email newsletter or buying a product.
Social ads perform exceptionally well is when they’re used to build an audience and engage with them over time, and eventually convert them to customers.

Display ads

The largest display ad networks are Google Display Network, BuySellAds, Advertising.com, Tribal Fusion, Conversant, and Adblade. Niche ad networks focus on smaller sites that fit certain audience demographics, such as dog lovers or Apple fanatics.
To get started in display advertising, you could start to find out types of ads that work in your industry. You could use tools like MixRank and Adbeat to show you ads your competitors are running and where they place them. Alexa and Quantcast can help you determine who visits the sites that feature your competitors’ ads.

Social ads

Social ads work well for creating interest among potential new customers. The goal is often awareness oriented, not conversion oriented. A purchase takes place further down the line. People visit social media sites for entertainment and interaction, not to see ads.
An effective social ad strategy takes advantage of this reality. Use ads to start conversations about your products by creating compelling content. Instead of directing people to a conversion page, direct them to a piece of content that explains why you developed your product or has other purposes than immediately completing a sale. If you have a piece of content that has high organic reach, when you put paid ads behind that piece, magic happens. Paid is only as good as the content you put behind it. You should employ social ads when you know that a fire is starting around your message and you want to put more oil on it.
Major social sites you may consider are LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Foursquare, Tumblr, Reddit, YouTube, and many others.

Offline Ads

Even today, advertisers spend more on offline ads than they do online. When buying offline ads, You should try to advertise to demographics that match up with your target audience. Ask for an audience prospectus or ad kit.
Not sure if magazine ads are a good channel for you? Buy a small ad in a niche publication and give it a test. Want to see if newspapers would be good? Buy a few ads in a local paper. You can also try radio ads and billboards.

Magazine ads

A compelling magazine or newspaper ad will have an attention-grabbing header, an eye-catching graphic, and a description of the product’s benefits. Also, you should have a strong call to action, like an offer to get a free book.

Direct mail

You could also try direct mail by searching for “direct mail lists” and find companies selling such information. (Beware that it can be perceived as spammy)

Local print

You could also try local print ads like local fliers, directories, calendars, church bulletins, community newsletters, coupon booklets, or yellow pages. These work really well for cheap if you want to get early traction for your company in a specific area.

Outdoor advertising

If you want to buy space on a billboard, you could contact companies like Lamar, Clear Channel, or Outfront Media. Billboards aren’t effective for people to take immediate action, but it’s extremely effective for raising awareness around events, like concerts and conferences.
DuckDuckGo bought a billboard in Google’s backyard and it got big attention and press coverage.
Transit ads can be effective as a direct response tool. You can contact Blue Line Media to help you with Transit ads.

Radio and TV

Radio ads are priced on a cost per point (CPP) basis, where each point represents what it will cost to reach 1% of the station’s listeners. It also depends on your market, when the commercial runs and how many ads you’ve bought.
TV ads are often used as branding mechanisms. Quality is critical for it and production costs can run to tens of thousands. Higher-end ones can cost $200K to make. You’ll also need an average of $350,000 for actual airtime. For smaller startups, you could try local TV spots which is much cheaper.
Infomercials work really well for products in categories like Workout equipment, household products, health products, and work-from-home businesses. They can cost between $50,000 and $500,000, and they’re always direct-response.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is improving your ranking in search engines in order to get more people to your site.
The most important thing to know about SEO is that the more high-quality links you have to a given site or page, the higher it will rank. You should also make sure you’re using the keywords you want to target appropriately on your pages, like in your page titles and headings.
There are 2 strategies to choose from: fat-head and long-tail.
Fat-head: These are one and two-word searches like “Dishwashers,” and “Facebook.” They are searched a lot and make about 30% of searches and are called.
Long-tail: These are longer searches that don’t get searched as much but add up to the majority of searches made. They make up 70% of searches.
When determining which strategy to use, you should keep in mind that the percentage of clicks drops off dramatically as you rank lower. Only 10% of clicks occur beyond the first page.

Fat-head strategy

To find out if fat-head is worthwhile, research what terms people use to find products in your industry, and then see if search volumes are large enough to move the needle. You can use the keyword planner tool for that. You want to find terms that have enough volume such that if you captured 10% for a given term, it would be meaningful.
The next step is determining the difficulty of ranking high for each term. Use tools like Open Site Explorer. If a competitor has thousands of links for a term, it will likely take a lot of focus on building links and optimizing to rank above them.
Next, narrow your list of targeted keywords to just a handful. Go to Google Trends to see how your keywords have been doing. Are they searched more or less often in the last year? You can further test keywords by buying SEM ads against them. If they convert well, then you have an indication that these keywords could get you strong growth.
Next, orient your site around the terms you’ve chosen. Include phrases you are targeting in your page titles and homepage. Get other sites to link to your site. Links with exact phrase matching from high-quality sites will give you a significant boost.

Long-Tail strategy

Because it’s difficult to rank high for competitive fat-head terms, a popular SEO strategy for early-stage startups is to focus on long-tail. If you bundle a lot of long-term keywords together you can reach a meaningful number of customers.
Find out what are search volumes for a bunch of long-tail keywords in your industry? Do they add up to meaningful amounts? Also, take a look at the analytics software you use on your site or google search console to find some of the search terms people are already using to get to your site. If you’re naturally getting a significant amount of traffic from long-tail keywords, then the strategy might be a good fit. Also, check if competitors use this strategy. If they have a lot of landing pages (search for site:domain.com in google), then it’s a sign that this strategy works for your market. Also, check Alexa search rankings and look at the percentage of visitors your competitors are receiving from search.
If you proceed with a long-tail SEO strategy, you’ll need to produce significant amounts of quality content. If you can’t invest time in that, you can pay a freelancer from Upwork to write an article for every search phrase you want to target.
Another way is to use content that naturally flows from your business. Ask yourself: what data do we naturally collect or generate that other people may find useful. Large businesses like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Wikipedia all gained most of their traffic by producing automated long-tail content. Sometimes the data is hidden behind a login screen and all you need to do is expose it to search engines, or aggregate it in a useful manner.

How to get links?

Don’t buy links, you’ll be penalized by search engines for it. Instead, you can do:

Content Marketing

Companies like Moz and Unbounce have well-known company blogs that are their biggest source of customer acquisition.
Unbounce started a blog and an email list from day one. They used social media to drive readers to your blog. They pinged twitter influencers to ask for feedback, gave away free infographics, and e-books. These actions don’t scale but they push them to a point where their content will spread on its own.
OkCupid is a free online dating site. They intentionally wrote controversial posts like “How your race affects the messages you get” to generate traffic and conversation.

Tactics

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a personal channel. Messages from your company sit next to emails from friends and family. That’s why email marketing works best when personalized. It can be used to build familiarity with prospects, acquire customers, and retain customers you already have.

Email marketing to Find customers

Email marketing to Engage customers

If a customer never gets the value of your product, how can you expect them to pay for it or recommend it to others?

Email marketing to Retain customers

Email marketing can be the most effective channel to bring people back to your site. Twitter sends you an email with a weekly digest of popular tweets and your new notifications.
More business-oriented products usually focus on reminders, reports, and information about how you’re getting value from the product. Mint sends a weekly financial summary to show your expenses and income over the previous week.
You can also use it to surprise and delight your customers. Planscope sends a weekly email to customers telling them how much they made that week. Photo apps will send you pictures you took a year ago.

Email marketing to Drive revenue

You can send a series of emails aimed at upselling customers.
WP Engine sends prospects an email course about Wordpress, and near the end of the email, they make a pitch to signup for its premium Wordpress hosting service.
If one of your customers abandoned a shopping cart, send her a targeted email a day or two later with a special offer for whatever item is left in the cart.
You can use email to explain a premium feature a customer is missing out on and how it can help them in a big way.

Email marketing to get referrals

Groupon generates referrals by incentivizing people to tell their friends about discounts.

Tactics

Viral Marketing

Viral marketing is getting your existing customers to refer others to your product. It was the driving force behind the explosive growth of Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Dropbox, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.
It’s so powerful that even if you can’t achieve exponential growth with it, you can still get meaningful growth. If your customer refers a new customer within the first week, you’ll go from ten customers to twenty and double every week without any additional marketing.
The oldest form of virality occurs when your product is so remarkable that people naturally tell others about it — pure word of mouth.
Inherent virality occurs when you can get value from a product only by inviting other customers, like Skype, Snapchat, and WhatsApp.
Others grow by encouraging collaboration like Google Docs.
Some embed virality like adding “Get a free email account with Hotmail” or “Sent from iPhone” to default signatures. Mailchimp and other email marketing products add branding to free customers’ emails.
Some incentivize customers to move through a viral loop, like Dropbox giving you more space if you invite friends to sign up. Airbnb, Uber, and PayPal give you account credits for referring friends.
Some add embedded buttons and widgets to grow virally, like Reddit and YouTube.
Some broadcast users activities on their social networks, like Spotify posting on Facebook when you play a song, or Pinterest when you pin content.
The viral coefficient K is the number of additional customers you can get for each customer you bring in. It depends on i, the number of invites sent per user, and conversion percentage (who will actually sign up after receiving an invite)
K = i * conversion percentage
Any viral coefficient above 1 will result in exponential growth. Any viral coefficient over 0.5 helps your efforts to grow considerably.
You can increase the number of invites per user i by including features that encourage sharing, such as posting to social networks. You can increase the conversion percentage by testing different signup flows. Try cutting out pages or signup fields.
Viral cycle time is how long it takes a user to go through your viral loop. Shortening your cycle time drastically increases the rate at which you go viral. You can do it by creating urgency or incentivizing customers to move through the loops.

Tactics

Engineering as Marketing

You can build tools like calculators, widgets, and educational microsites to get your company in front of potential customers.
HubSpot has Marketing Grade, a free marketing review tool. It’s free, gives you valuable information, and provides HubSpot with the information they use to qualify you as a potential prospect.
Moz has two free SEO tools, Followerwong and Open Site Explorer. They’ve driven tens of thousands of leads for Moz.
WP Engine has a speed testing tool that asks only for an email address in exchange for a detailed report on your site’s speed.

Business Development

With business development, you’re partnering to reach customers in a way that benefits both parties.
Google got most of its initial traction from a partnership with Netscape to be the default search engine and an agreement with Yahoo to power its online searches.
Business development can take the form of:
You should have already defined your traction goal and milestones, and you shouldn’t accept any partnership that doesn’t align with it. Many startups waste resources because it’s tempting to make deals with bigger companies.

Sales

Sales is the process of generating leads, qualifying them, and converting them into paying customers. It’s particularly useful for expensive and enterprise products.

Structuring the sales conversation

Situation questions. Ask one or two questions per conversation. The more you ask situation questions, the less likely they’re going to close.
Problem questions. Use sparingly.
Implication questions. Meant to make a prospect aware of the large implications that stem from the problem.
Need-payoff questions. Focus attention on your solution and get buyers to think about the benefits of solving the problem.

Cold calls

Be judicious about the people you contact. You want someone who is one-two levels up in the organization. They have enough perspective on the problem and some authority for decision making. Avoid starting at the top unless you’re calling a very small business.
Try to get answers about:

Tactics

It’s better to gain traction through a marketing channel first, then use sales as a conversion tool to close leads. The next stage is lead qualification: determine how ready a prospect is to buy. Once you’ve qualified the leads, you should lay out exactly what are you going to do for the customer. Set up a timetable for it and get them to commit with a yes or no whether they’re going to buy. Closing leads can be done by a sales team who does a webinar or product demo and has an ongoing email sequence that ends with a purchase request. In other cases, you may need a field sales team that actually visits prospective customers for some part of the process.
A checklist that can help you with sales:
I removed the last sections because of the post character limit. Here are two:
submitted by alollou to startups [link] [comments]

Free marketing guide for startups: How to achieve explosive growth!

Here is the summary of the book Traction: How any startup can achieve explosive growth.
I hope that you find it useful!

Traction is a sign that your startup is taking off. If you charge, it means customers are buying. If your product is free, it means your user base is growing.
If you have traction, all your technical, market, and team risks become easier to handle. It becomes easier to fund-raise, hire, do press, partnerships, and acquisitions.
Traction trumps everything.

How to think about Traction?

Almost every failed startup has a product. What failed startups don’t have is enough customers.
You should spend your time in parallel, both constructing your product and testing traction channels.
This is what we call the 50 percent rule: spend 50 percent of your time on product and 50% on traction. This rule seems simple but it’s hard to follow because the pull to spend all your attention on the product is strong. You’re probably making a startup because you want to build a particular product. You have a vision, but a lot of traction activities are unknown and outside your vision and comfort zone. So you try to avoid them. Don’t.
Doing product and traction in parallel has these benefits:
Before trying to get traction, you’ll need to define what traction means for your company. You need to set a traction goal. Maybe your current startup goal is to raise funding or become profitable. How many customers do you need and at what rate? You should then focus on marketing activities that result in a significant impact on your traction goal. It should move the needle.
Your startup has 3 phases:

Phase I: Make something people want

In phase 1, your product has the most leaks, it really doesn’t hold water. You shouldn’t scale up your efforts now, but it’s important to send a small amount of water through the bucket so you can see where the holes are and plug them. \ Your goal in phase 1 is to get your first customers and prove your product can get traction. You focus on building your initial product and getting traction in ways that don’t scale: giving talks, writing guest posts, emailing people you know, attending conferences, and doing whatever you can to get in front of customers.

Some founders believe that startups either take off or don’t. Actually startups take off because the founders make them take off!
– Paul Graham

Phase II: Market something people want

Once you hone your product, you have product-market fit and customers are sticking around. Now is the time to scale up your traction efforts. You fine-tune your positioning and marketing messages.

Phase III: Scale your business

As your company grows, smaller traction strategies stop moving the needle, so you’ll start to scale.
In phase 3 you have an established business model and significant position in the market, and you’re focused on scaling to further dominate the market and to profit.

Traction for funding

When pursuing funding, first contact individuals who understand what you’re working on. The better your investors understand what you’re doing, the less traction they’ll need to see before they invest. Also, try friends and family who may not need to see any traction before investing as they’re investing in you personally.

To pivot or not to pivot

Many startups give up way too early. The first thing to look for is evidence of real product engagement, even if it’s only a few dedicated customers. If you have such an engagement, you might be giving up too soon. Look for the bright spots in your customer base and see if you can expand from that base.

How to get traction? The Bullseye framework

The Bullseye framework helps you find the channel that will get you traction. Most businesses actually get zero distribution channels to work. If you can get even a single distribution channel to work, you have a great business. If you try for several but don’t nail one, you’re finished.
You’re aiming for bullseye: the one channel at the center of the target that will unlock your next growth stage. Here are the 3 Bullseye framework steps:

Find what’s possible: The outer-ring

The first step in Bullseye is brainstorming every single traction channel. It’s important not to dismiss any channel in this step. Think of at least one idea for each channel. For example, social ads is a traction channel. Running ads on Facebook or Twitter is a channel strategy within social ads. You could research what marketing strategies worked in your industry as well as the history of companies in your space.

Find what’s probable: The middle-ring

Go around your outer-ring and promote your best and most exciting ideas to your middle-ring. For each traction channel in your middle ring, now construct a cheap traction test you can run to find if the idea is good or not. These tests need to answer the following questions:
  1. What’s the cost of acquiring customers?
  2. How many customers are available?
  3. Are they the right type of customers for you now?
You want to design small scale tests that don’t require much up-front cost or effort. For example, run 4 Facebook ads instead of 40.

Find what’s working: The inner-ring

The final step in Bullseye is to only focus on one channel that will move the needle for your startup: your core channel. At any stage of your startup, you should have one traction channel that you’re focusing on and optimizing.
Most founders mess this up by keeping around distracting marketing efforts in other channels.
If search engine marketing is significantly better for you than other channels, you should focus all your efforts on this core channel and uncover additional strategies and tactics within it.
If no channel seems promising after testing, the whole process should be repeated. If you tried several times with no success, then your product may require more tweaking and your bucket might be still leaky.

How to test traction?

Middle-ring tests: You should be running several cheap tests that give you an indication of how successful a given channel strategy could be.
Inner ring tests:
You’re doing two things:
  1. Optimize your chosen channel strategy to make it the best it can be.
  2. Discover better channel strategies within this traction channel.
There is always a set of things you can tweak. For targeting blogs, you can tweak which blogs to target, type of content, call to action, etc. For search engine marketing, you can tweak keywords, ad-copy, demographics, and landing pages.
A common approach is to use A/B testing, where A is the control group and B is the experimental group. The purpose of it is to measure the effectiveness of change in a button color, an ad image, or a different message on a web page. If the experimental group performs significantly better, you can apply the change, get the benefits, and run another test.
You can use tools such as Optimizely, Visual Website Optimizer, and Unbounce.
Over time, all marketing channels become saturated. To combat this, you should always be trying to discover new strategies and tactics within your channel and conduct small experiments. Also, experiment with new marketing platforms while they’re still in their infancy.

Tools

To track your tests you could start with a simple spreadsheet or use an analytics tool with cohort analysis. You’ll need to answer these questions:
  1. How many people landed on the website?
  2. What are the demographics of my best and worst customers?
  3. Are customers who interact with my support team more likely to stay?
A basic analytics tool like Clicky, Mixpanel, or Chartbeat can help you with these questions. You can use a spreadsheet as the tool to rank and prioritize traction channel strategies. You should include columns like how many customers are available, conversion rate, the cost to acquire a customer, lifetime value of a customer for every given strategy.

How to focus on the right traction goals? The critical path framework

Define your traction goal

You should always have an explicit traction goal you’re working towards. This could be 1,000 paying customers or 100 new daily customers, or 10% of your market. You want a goal where hitting the mark would change things significantly for your company’s outcome.
Once that is defined, you can work backward and set clear time-based subgoals. Such as reaching 1,000 customers by next quarter.
The key is to follow the critical path towards that goal and exclude all features and marketing activities that don’t help you reach your goal. Everything you decide to do should be assessed against your critical path.

Avoid traction biases

Your competitive advantage may be acquiring customers in ways your competition isn’t. That’s why it’s critical to avoid have traction biases. Stop your urge to refuse channels like speaking engagements, sales or affiliate marketing, business development, or trade shows just because you hate talking on the phone or you find the channel annoying or time-consuming.

Targetting blogs

Targeting blogs that your prospective customers read is one of the best ways to get your first wave customers.
Mint’s initial series of tests revealed that targeting blogs should be its core channel. They asked users to embed an “I want mint” badge on their personal blogs and rewarded them with a VIP access before other invitations were sent out. They also directly sponsored blogs. They sent bloggers a message with “Can I send you $500” as the subject and told them a bit about the product.
To find smaller blogs in your niche:
You can also target link-sharing communities like Reddit, Product Hunt, and Hacker News.
Dropbox, Codecademy, Quora, and Gumroad all got their first customers by sharing their products on HackerNews because their products were a good fit for users on that site.

Publicity

Starting out, an article in TechCrunch or The Huffington Post can boost your startup in the eyes of potential customers, investors, or partners. If you have a fascinating story with broad appeal, media outlets will want to hear from you.
It’s easier to start smaller when targeting big media outlets. Sites like TechCrunch and Lifehacker often pick up stories from smaller forums like Hacker News and subreddits. Instead of approaching TechCrunch, try blogs that TechCrunch reads and get story ideas from. It’s easier to get a smaller blog’s attention. Then you might get featured on TechCrunch and then The New York Times which reads TechCrunch!
What gets a reporter’s attention?
A good press angle makes people react emotionally. If it’s not interesting enough to elicit emotion, you don’t have a story worth pitching.
A good first step is using a service like Help A Reporter Out (HARO), where reporters request sources for articles they’re working on. It could get you a mention in the piece and help establish your credibility. Also, you could offer reporters commentary on stories related to your industries.
You can use Twitter to reach reporters online; almost all of them have Twitter accounts and you’d be surprised how few followers many of them have, but they can be highly influential with their content.
Once you have a solid story, you want to draw as much attention to it as you can:
Once your story has been established as a popular news item, try to drag it out as long as you can. Offer interviews that add to the story. Start “How We Did This” follow-up interviews.
As your startup grows you may consider hiring a PR firm or consultant.

Unconventional PR

Nearly every company attempts traditional publicity, but only a few focus on stunts and other unconventional ways to get buzz.

The publicity stunt

Customer Appreciation

Be awesome to your customers. Shortly after Alexis Ohanian launched Hipmunk, he sent out luggage tags and a handwritten note to the first several hundred people who mentioned the site on Twitter.
Holding a contest is also a great repeatable way to generate publicity and get word of mouth. Shopify has an annual Build a Business competition.
Great customer support is so rare that, if you make your customers happy, they’re likely to spread the news of your awesome product. Zappos is one of the best-known examples of a company with incredible customer service and they classify support as a marketing investment.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM is placing ads on search engines like Google. It’s sometimes called “pay-per-click” because you only pay when a user clicks on an ad.
SEM works well for companies looking to sell directly to their target customer. You’re capturing people who are actively searching for solutions.
Click-Through Rate (CTR) The percentage of ad impressions that result in clicks to your site.
Cost per Click (CPC) The amount it costs to buy a click on an ad.
Cost per Acquisition (CPA) How much it costs you to acquire a customer, not just a click. If you buy clicks at $1 and 10% of people who hit your site make a purchase. This makes your CPA at $10.
CPA = CPC / conversion percentage

SEM to get early customer data

You can use SEM as a way to get early customer data in a controlled and predictable way. Even if you don’t expect to be profitable, you can decide to spend a certain amount of money to get an early base of customers and users to inform you about important metrics such as landing page conversion rates, average cost per customer, and lifetime value.
Archives.com used AdWords to drive traffic to their landing pages, even before they built a product, to test interest in a specific product approach. By measuring the CTR for each ad and conversions, they determined which product aspects were the most compelling to potential customers and what those people would actually pay for. When they finally built their product, they built something they knew the market would want.

SEM strategy

Find high-potential keywords, group them into ad groups, and test different ad copy and landing pages within each ad group. As data flows in, remove underperforming ads and landing pages and make tweaks to keep improving results.
Use tools like Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer to run A/B tests on your landing pages.

Keyword research

Use Google’s keyword planner to discover top keywords your target customers use to find products like yours. You could also use tools such as KeywordSpy, SEMrush, and SpyFu to discover keywords your competition is using.
You can refine your keyword list by adding more terms to the end of each base term to create long-tail keywords. They’re less competitive and have lower search volumes which makes them ideal for testing on smaller groups of customers.
SEM is more expensive for more competitive keywords, so you’ll need to limit yourself to keywords with profitable conversion rates.
You shouldn’t expect your campaigns to be profitable right away, but if you can run a campaign that breaks even after a short period of time, then SEM could be an excellent channel for you to focus on.

Writing ads

Write ads with titles that are catchy, memorable, and relevant to the keywords you’ve paired with it. Include the keyword at least once in the body of your ad and conclude with a prominent call to action like “Check out discounted Nike sneakers!”
Each of your ads and ad groups will have a quality score associated with it. A high-quality score will get you better ad placements and better ad pricing. Click-through rate has the biggest influence on quality score, so you should tailor your ads to the keywords. Google assigns a low-quality score to ads with CTRs below 1.5%

Tactics

Social and Display Ads

Display ads are banner ads you see on websites. Social ads are ads you see on social sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Large display campaigns are often used for branding and awareness, much like offline ads. They can also elicit a direct response such as signing up for an email newsletter or buying a product.
Social ads perform exceptionally well is when they’re used to build an audience and engage with them over time, and eventually convert them to customers.

Display ads

The largest display ad networks are Google Display Network, BuySellAds, Advertising.com, Tribal Fusion, Conversant, and Adblade. Niche ad networks focus on smaller sites that fit certain audience demographics, such as dog lovers or Apple fanatics.
To get started in display advertising, you could start to find out types of ads that work in your industry. You could use tools like MixRank and Adbeat to show you ads your competitors are running and where they place them. Alexa and Quantcast can help you determine who visits the sites that feature your competitors’ ads.

Social ads

Social ads work well for creating interest among potential new customers. The goal is often awareness oriented, not conversion oriented. A purchase takes place further down the line. People visit social media sites for entertainment and interaction, not to see ads.
An effective social ad strategy takes advantage of this reality. Use ads to start conversations about your products by creating compelling content. Instead of directing people to a conversion page, direct them to a piece of content that explains why you developed your product or has other purposes than immediately completing a sale. If you have a piece of content that has high organic reach, when you put paid ads behind that piece, magic happens. Paid is only as good as the content you put behind it. You should employ social ads when you know that a fire is starting around your message and you want to put more oil on it.
Major social sites you may consider are LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Foursquare, Tumblr, Reddit, YouTube, and many others.

Offline Ads

Even today, advertisers spend more on offline ads than they do online. When buying offline ads, You should try to advertise to demographics that match up with your target audience. Ask for an audience prospectus or ad kit.
Not sure if magazine ads are a good channel for you? Buy a small ad in a niche publication and give it a test. Want to see if newspapers would be good? Buy a few ads in a local paper. You can also try radio ads and billboards.

Magazine ads

A compelling magazine or newspaper ad will have an attention-grabbing header, an eye-catching graphic, and a description of the product’s benefits. Also, you should have a strong call to action, like an offer to get a free book.

Direct mail

You could also try direct mail by searching for “direct mail lists” and find companies selling such information. (Beware that it can be perceived as spammy)

Local print

You could also try local print ads like local fliers, directories, calendars, church bulletins, community newsletters, coupon booklets, or yellow pages. These work really well for cheap if you want to get early traction for your company in a specific area.

Outdoor advertising

If you want to buy space on a billboard, you could contact companies like Lamar, Clear Channel, or Outfront Media. Billboards aren’t effective for people to take immediate action, but it’s extremely effective for raising awareness around events, like concerts and conferences.
DuckDuckGo bought a billboard in Google’s backyard and it got big attention and press coverage.
Transit ads can be effective as a direct response tool. You can contact Blue Line Media to help you with Transit ads.

Radio and TV

Radio ads are priced on a cost per point (CPP) basis, where each point represents what it will cost to reach 1% of the station’s listeners. It also depends on your market, when the commercial runs and how many ads you’ve bought.
TV ads are often used as branding mechanisms. Quality is critical for it and production costs can run to tens of thousands. Higher-end ones can cost $200K to make. You’ll also need an average of $350,000 for actual airtime. For smaller startups, you could try local TV spots which is much cheaper.
Infomercials work really well for products in categories like Workout equipment, household products, health products, and work-from-home businesses. They can cost between $50,000 and $500,000, and they’re always direct-response.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is improving your ranking in search engines in order to get more people to your site.
The most important thing to know about SEO is that the more high-quality links you have to a given site or page, the higher it will rank. You should also make sure you’re using the keywords you want to target appropriately on your pages, like in your page titles and headings.
There are 2 strategies to choose from: fat-head and long-tail.
Fat-head: These are one and two-word searches like “Dishwashers,” and “Facebook.” They are searched a lot and make about 30% of searches and are called.
Long-tail: These are longer searches that don’t get searched as much but add up to the majority of searches made. They make up 70% of searches.
When determining which strategy to use, you should keep in mind that the percentage of clicks drops off dramatically as you rank lower. Only 10% of clicks occur beyond the first page.

Fat-head strategy

To find out if fat-head is worthwhile, research what terms people use to find products in your industry, and then see if search volumes are large enough to move the needle. You can use the keyword planner tool for that. You want to find terms that have enough volume such that if you captured 10% for a given term, it would be meaningful.
The next step is determining the difficulty of ranking high for each term. Use tools like Open Site Explorer. If a competitor has thousands of links for a term, it will likely take a lot of focus on building links and optimizing to rank above them.
Next, narrow your list of targeted keywords to just a handful. Go to Google Trends to see how your keywords have been doing. Are they searched more or less often in the last year? You can further test keywords by buying SEM ads against them. If they convert well, then you have an indication that these keywords could get you strong growth.
Next, orient your site around the terms you’ve chosen. Include phrases you are targeting in your page titles and homepage. Get other sites to link to your site. Links with exact phrase matching from high-quality sites will give you a significant boost.

Long-Tail strategy

Because it’s difficult to rank high for competitive fat-head terms, a popular SEO strategy for early-stage startups is to focus on long-tail. If you bundle a lot of long-term keywords together you can reach a meaningful number of customers.
Find out what are search volumes for a bunch of long-tail keywords in your industry? Do they add up to meaningful amounts? Also, take a look at the analytics software you use on your site or google search console to find some of the search terms people are already using to get to your site. If you’re naturally getting a significant amount of traffic from long-tail keywords, then the strategy might be a good fit. Also, check if competitors use this strategy. If they have a lot of landing pages (search for site:domain.com in google), then it’s a sign that this strategy works for your market. Also, check Alexa search rankings and look at the percentage of visitors your competitors are receiving from search.
If you proceed with a long-tail SEO strategy, you’ll need to produce significant amounts of quality content. If you can’t invest time in that, you can pay a freelancer from Upwork to write an article for every search phrase you want to target.
Another way is to use content that naturally flows from your business. Ask yourself: what data do we naturally collect or generate that other people may find useful. Large businesses like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Wikipedia all gained most of their traffic by producing automated long-tail content. Sometimes the data is hidden behind a login screen and all you need to do is expose it to search engines, or aggregate it in a useful manner.

How to get links?

Don’t buy links, you’ll be penalized by search engines for it. Instead, you can do:

Content Marketing

Companies like Moz and Unbounce have well-known company blogs that are their biggest source of customer acquisition.
Unbounce started a blog and an email list from day one. They used social media to drive readers to your blog. They pinged twitter influencers to ask for feedback, gave away free infographics, and e-books. These actions don’t scale but they push them to a point where their content will spread on its own.
OkCupid is a free online dating site. They intentionally wrote controversial posts like “How your race affects the messages you get” to generate traffic and conversation.

Tactics

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a personal channel. Messages from your company sit next to emails from friends and family. That’s why email marketing works best when personalized. It can be used to build familiarity with prospects, acquire customers, and retain customers you already have.

Email marketing to Find customers

Email marketing to Engage customers

If a customer never gets the value of your product, how can you expect them to pay for it or recommend it to others?

Email marketing to Retain customers

Email marketing can be the most effective channel to bring people back to your site. Twitter sends you an email with a weekly digest of popular tweets and your new notifications.
More business-oriented products usually focus on reminders, reports, and information about how you’re getting value from the product. Mint sends a weekly financial summary to show your expenses and income over the previous week.
You can also use it to surprise and delight your customers. Planscope sends a weekly email to customers telling them how much they made that week. Photo apps will send you pictures you took a year ago.

Email marketing to Drive revenue

You can send a series of emails aimed at upselling customers.
WP Engine sends prospects an email course about Wordpress, and near the end of the email, they make a pitch to signup for its premium Wordpress hosting service.
If one of your customers abandoned a shopping cart, send her a targeted email a day or two later with a special offer for whatever item is left in the cart.
You can use email to explain a premium feature a customer is missing out on and how it can help them in a big way.

Email marketing to get referrals

Groupon generates referrals by incentivizing people to tell their friends about discounts.

Tactics

Viral Marketing

Viral marketing is getting your existing customers to refer others to your product. It was the driving force behind the explosive growth of Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Dropbox, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.
It’s so powerful that even if you can’t achieve exponential growth with it, you can still get meaningful growth. If your customer refers a new customer within the first week, you’ll go from ten customers to twenty and double every week without any additional marketing.
The oldest form of virality occurs when your product is so remarkable that people naturally tell others about it — pure word of mouth.
Inherent virality occurs when you can get value from a product only by inviting other customers, like Skype, Snapchat, and WhatsApp.
Others grow by encouraging collaboration like Google Docs.
Some embed virality like adding “Get a free email account with Hotmail” or “Sent from iPhone” to default signatures. Mailchimp and other email marketing products add branding to free customers’ emails.
Some incentivize customers to move through a viral loop, like Dropbox giving you more space if you invite friends to sign up. Airbnb, Uber, and PayPal give you account credits for referring friends.
Some add embedded buttons and widgets to grow virally, like Reddit and YouTube.
Some broadcast users activities on their social networks, like Spotify posting on Facebook when you play a song, or Pinterest when you pin content.
The viral coefficient K is the number of additional customers you can get for each customer you bring in. It depends on i, the number of invites sent per user, and conversion percentage (who will actually sign up after receiving an invite)
K = i * conversion percentage
Any viral coefficient above 1 will result in exponential growth. Any viral coefficient over 0.5 helps your efforts to grow considerably.
You can increase the number of invites per user i by including features that encourage sharing, such as posting to social networks. You can increase the conversion percentage by testing different signup flows. Try cutting out pages or signup fields.
Viral cycle time is how long it takes a user to go through your viral loop. Shortening your cycle time drastically increases the rate at which you go viral. You can do it by creating urgency or incentivizing customers to move through the loops.

Tactics

Engineering as Marketing

You can build tools like calculators, widgets, and educational microsites to get your company in front of potential customers.
HubSpot has Marketing Grade, a free marketing review tool. It’s free, gives you valuable information, and provides HubSpot with the information they use to qualify you as a potential prospect.
Moz has two free SEO tools, Followerwong and Open Site Explorer. They’ve driven tens of thousands of leads for Moz.
WP Engine has a speed testing tool that asks only for an email address in exchange for a detailed report on your site’s speed.

Business Development

With business development, you’re partnering to reach customers in a way that benefits both parties.
Google got most of its initial traction from a partnership with Netscape to be the default search engine and an agreement with Yahoo to power its online searches.
Business development can take the form of:
You should have already defined your traction goal and milestones, and you shouldn’t accept any partnership that doesn’t align with it. Many startups waste resources because it’s tempting to make deals with bigger companies.

Sales

Sales is the process of generating leads, qualifying them, and converting them into paying customers. It’s particularly useful for expensive and enterprise products.

Structuring the sales conversation

Situation questions. Ask one or two questions per conversation. The more you ask situation questions, the less likely they’re going to close.
Problem questions. Use sparingly.
Implication questions. Meant to make a prospect aware of the large implications that stem from the problem.
Need-payoff questions. Focus attention on your solution and get buyers to think about the benefits of solving the problem.

Cold calls

Be judicious about the people you contact. You want someone who is one-two levels up in the organization. They have enough perspective on the problem and some authority for decision making. Avoid starting at the top unless you’re calling a very small business.
Try to get answers about:

Tactics

It’s better to gain traction through a marketing channel first, then use sales as a conversion tool to close leads. The next stage is lead qualification: determine how ready a prospect is to buy. Once you’ve qualified the leads, you should lay out exactly what are you going to do for the customer. Set up a timetable for it and get them to commit with a yes or no whether they’re going to buy. Closing leads can be done by a sales team who does a webinar or product demo and has an ongoing email sequence that ends with a purchase request. In other cases, you may need a field sales team that actually visits prospective customers for some part of the process.
A checklist that can help you with sales:
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