Author: Evelyn Puerto

Video

 

(Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and buy a product, I get a small commission. There is no change to the price you are charged.)

Have you heard about Viddyoze? It’s a piece of software that allows anyone to add advanced 3D animations to their videos in just minutes. Great way to capture more attention and get more views.

Like everyone else, I want to add video to my traffic strategies.

But I don’t know much about making video. And I don’t have the technical skills to create razzle-dazzle effects.

Results Declining

Is it time for you to make a course correction or pivot in your online business?

I’ve asked myself this question often. Too often.

Probably because I have a bad case of shiny object syndrome. I hear about some great method for making money online. I buy the product (or attend the webinar, and then buy the expensive product). I’m convinced I’ll be able to make it work.

But it rarely does.

Then I have to ask myself the question: is it time to try something else?

It’s tempting to reach for a new system that promises so much for so little effort.

But, wait: it’s time for a reality check. I’ve been fooled by those glitzy slick marketing promises before.

None of us want to be quitters. And I certainly don’t like admitting I made a mistake. (Bet you don’t, either.)

But neither do I want to keep throwing money and time at a failing venture.

So, how do you know when it’s time to put your head down and keep going, or to rethink your strategy and go in a different direction?

When is it Time to Pivot?

Receiver catching football

Let’s think football.

Ever watch a great wide receiver pivot?

He’s running down the field. The defenders are chasing him. He’s going to be trapped, unable to meet his goal (which is catch the football.) What does he do?

He realizes that running the pattern they planned isn’t going to work. It’s time for something different.

So he pivots. One foot stays rooted in place, the other moves in another direction. He switches direction.

He eludes the defenders. He runs a few yards. The quarterback (who’s doing his own scrambling and pivoting) spots him. Throws the ball. The receiver makes the catch. Cue applause.

It’s the same with an entrepreneur. (Except for the applause part. You’ll have to do that on your own. One of the downsides of working for yourself.)

The results you planned for, worked so hard for, don’t happen.

Now you have to decide. Keep going? Or keep one foot is rooted in all you’ve learned and move the other in another direction?

Ask The Hard Questions

The only way to make this decision is to put yourself and your business under the microscope. This isn’t a time to make a decision on the fly. Think through each question one carefully.

Is My Vision for My Business Fuzzy or Vague?

If you don’t have a clear vision for how you are going to achieve your goals, then you’ll probably never make them.

Maybe what you need to do is clarify what you want to accomplish and how you are going to get there.

Is My “Why” Simply to Make Money?

You might know what you want to do. Let me guess, it’s some variation of make money.

But why? Reasons like to pay off a $1000 debt aren’t strong enough to get you out of bed in the morning to put the effort into your own business you will need to.

Why are you trying to make money online?

To travel the world? To pay for care for an elderly relative? To help people lose weight or find mates, because you really want to help them? To become a philanthropist, so you can help rescue victims of sex trafficking or orphans or stray kittens?

These are the kind of reasons that will help you stick to what you’re doing when it gets hard. If you don’t have a good why, then any set back is going to make you want to quit and try something else.

Even if you haven’t given your first plan enough time.

What about all that talk of a four-hour work week? Forget about it while you’re getting started. The short work week is for entrepreneurs who already put in the time to build a solid business.

Knowing your why, your motivation for being in business is key. If you have a burning desire to help people lose weight, you’ll be much more enthused about pushing through the growing pains of your new business than if you just want the commissions.

Are My Results Much Worse Than Planned?

Sales, email open rates, click through rates, earnings per click are some of the metrics you should be checking every day. And you should have an idea of what you want these metrics to be.

If your results are close to your targets, then maybe you need to just do a little tweaking to see  if you can improve them.

If you’re way off the mark, well, that’s not good.

It’s important to include in your metrics a time frame. If you set a goal of a 3000 person email list and 10% open rates by the end of 90 days, then give yourself 90 days to get there.

If at 90 days, your list is 168, then you need to figure out why. If you did all the list building tasks you planned and you are not even at 10% of your goal, then something’s not working.

In other words, if people aren’t buying your product, then that could be a clear sign you need a different product. If people aren’t responding to what you’re doing, you might need to try something else.

Am I Feeling Disengaged?

If you don’t feel engaged with your business, no one else will be. You’ll be less likely to succeed.

Another way to ask this question is “what does my gut say?” Often gut feelings are our best guide. If your gut says this isn’t working, you might want to listen to it.

Am I looking for A Magic Bullet to Rescue Me?

If you keep searching for some magic bullet to rescue you, that’s another sign you’re not really engaged with the business you’re in, and not committed to putting in the work to make it succeed.

If you answered “Yes” to most of these questions, it’s probably time for a pivot.

This time around, make sure your vision, goals, and strategies are clear. Write out a Why that inspires you to work.

Most of all, don’t let denial make your decision for you.

Two Ways Denial Can Lead You Astray

Denial

Denial could go two ways.

The first is denying your own failings. If you did not put the time and effort in that you needed to see any results, then changing direction won’t necessarily help. You’re better off committing yourself to relentless focus on what you started and giving it another 90 days.

The second is that you can turn things around with just a little tweaking. You’ve poured your heart and soul into building your business, (not to mention a fair amount of cash) and don’t want to admit defeat. If you followed a “proven” system, worked hard, and got no results, it may be time for a pivot.

Why do so many entrepreneurs end up in denial?

Eric Ries at Entrepreneur explains.

“Ask most entrepreneurs who have decided to pivot and they will tell you that they wish they had made the decision sooner. There are three reasons why this happens.

  1. Vanity metrics can allow entrepreneurs to form false conclusions and live in their own private reality.
  2. When an entrepreneur has an unclear hypothesis, it’s almost impossible to experience complete failure, and without failure there is usually no impetus to embark on the radical change a pivot requires.
  3. Many entrepreneurs are afraid. Acknowledging failure can lead to dangerously low morale. Most entrepreneurs’ biggest fear is not that their vision will prove to be wrong. More terrifying is the thought that the vision might be deemed wrong without having been given a real chance to prove itself.”

What does this mean for us?

Push through the fears. Of failure. Of making a mistake. Take a hard look at your business.

Pivot if you need to. Tweak, adjust and press on if you don’t.

In either case, set your timeframe (30 or 60 days) and re-evaluate where you are.

Just don’t keep repeating what you’ve been doing expecting different results. That is what some people call insanity.

Email message

Everybody talks about the importance of a list. It’s true that an email list is your most valuable business asset. No one can take it away from you, and that you can use that list in just about whatever (legal and ethical) way you want to.

But how do you grow your list, especially if you’re just getting started? The first thing you need to do is do a little setup so you manage your list well. If you don’t have a few important pieces in place, you’re not going to be able to grow and nurture your list to get the results you want.

Google Trends Graphical Result

Statistics, trends, do we really care?  We should, because all that data can help us shape our business strategies.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of businesses that didn’t pay attention to changes in the market (IBM, I’m thinking of you) and were very sorry afterward.

If not bankrupt.

Not too long ago I was amazed by The Financial Brand’s thorough look at recent digital marketing trends, all backed up by solid research.

While the full article listed 54 trends, I picked out 15 that I thought were most relevant to my online business.

And I’ll give you a look at how I dissect these stats and trends to make strategic decisions.

First up:

Trends in Paid Advertising

Paid Advertising

“In 2017, TV ad spending will total $72.01 billion, or 35.8% of total media investments in the US. Meanwhile, total digital ad spending will equal $77.37 billion, or 38.4% of total ad spending. Nearly .60¢ of every dollar spent in the space goes to these two companies. (Source: eMarketer.)”

The two companies, of course, are Google and Facebook.

And why do I care? It means if Google and Facebook are raking in all this money on advertising, it means the people placing the ads are making money. Lots of it.

Which means it may be worth it for me to get into that game. By staying out, I may be passing up a great way to generate leads and sales.

“The click-through rate (CTR) for native ads is more than double regular display ads — 0.33% for mobile and 0.16% desktop. (Source: Business Insider.)”

Good to know. Given my limited budget, I’ll be staying away from display ads. This also gives a metric to compare results to.

“At least 70% of users ignore the paid ads that appear above Google’s organic search results. (Source: imForza.)”

Another reason to stay away from sinking money into these ads.

Trends in Content Marketing

Content Marketing

“Per dollar spent, content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional marketing. (Source: Demand Metric.)”

This one is interesting. On the surface, it seems content marketing is the way to go if you don’t have a lot of money to invest. I’d like to know if they included the cost of the time it took to create the content in their calculations.

While the low cost makes content creation an attractive strategy, it could become a time drain. If it takes away from more productive activities, it might not be that great of a strategy.

However,

“Content marketing is the digital strategy most favored by marketers today. One in five say it is their top method for generating leads. (Source: Smart Insights.)”

So it must be working.

85% of content marketers cited paid distribution, such as social media, PPC, and native ads as the most effective content marketing tactic above organic efforts. (Source: eMarketer.)

Fascinating. I’d always thought of content marketing as a way to get organic traffic. This statistic implies that using carefully placed paid ads is the way to make the content marketing strategy pay off.

“Companies that publish at least 16 blog posts per month get almost 3.5 times more traffic than companies that publish four monthly posts or fewer. (Source: HubSpot.)”

Hmm. Right now, I’m only managing to post once a week. This is telling me that posting more frequently could pay off.

I have to balance this, however, with the fact that one superb and helpful post is better than several fluff or bland ones.

“On average, long-form blog posts with over 1,000 words generate 9x more leads than short-form posts. (Source: Curata.)”

Another good fact to know. The same caution holds true. The posts ideally are only as long as the need to be to provide good content.

Telephone

Trends in Mobile Marketing

“84% of mobile marketers believe they’re providing a positive experience. Less than half of consumers report their experience was positive. (Source: Unlockd.)”

Ha. What do we learn from this?

  1. Don’t assume your customers are enjoying their mobile experience with your website.
  2. Find out some way to find out what your customers do think.
  3. In any case, keep trying to make the mobile experience as good as you can for your customer.

“Emails with a responsive design get 24% more clicks on mobile, but only 17% of marketers are using responsive design in their emails. (Source: YesMail.)”

Which could explain some of the negative feeling on the part of consumers.

“Marketing in the mobile channel now makes up 21% of online spending, up from a mere 4% in 2010. (Source: comScore.)”

All the more reason to pay attention to the mobile user’s experience.

“The average white collar professional sends and receives 121 emails a day. (Source: The Radicati Group.)”

Which is one reason why your email headlines absolutely positively must be attention-seizing and irresistible.

“Segmented email campaigns have an open rate that is 14.32% higher than non-segmented campaigns. (Source: Mailchimp.)”

And we all know, the higher the open rate, the higher the sales.

Social Media

Trends in Social Media

“Visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. (Source:HubSpot.)”

Images, infographics, memes, and videos are the way to go.

Yes, we all knew that. But did you know how much of an impact those images have?

As proven by these last two statistics:

“Image posts on Facebook 179% more interaction (likes, comments, shares) than an average post. Posts ending with a question get 162% more interactions. (Source: Facebook.)”

“Tweets with images get 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets. (Source: Buffer.)”

So What?

So what do we take away from all this when creating or refining our business strategies?

I pulled out seven action items to think about in my own digital marketing:

  1. Think about paid advertising on Google or Facebook, but focus on native ads instead of display ads.
  2. Bolster your content marketing with longer, more frequent posts, as much as you can without sacrificing on quality.
  3. Get better reach with your content marketing with some paid ads or distribution.
  4. Pay close attention to the mobile responsiveness of your website.
  5. Write my ads with the mobile user in mind.
  6. Try some segmented email campaigns to boost your open rates.
  7. Add images to your social media posts and tweets.

Many thanks to Financial Brand for the stats quoted in this post and for many other digital marketing stats.

What about you? Did you pick up anything from these trends that makes you rethink your strategy? Or did they tell you that you really are on the right track? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Everyone knows about Gmail and Chrome. But there are loads of free Google tools.

So many it seems like a list of them goes on for infinity.

Some of these tools provide handy information. Others are powerful resources that I don’t know how I lived before I found them. (Well, not really. But you get the idea.)

What’s amazing to me is that many of these free tools aren’t well known. In fact, I found out about several of them while I was researching this article. The more I dug, the more wonders I unearthed. My list of free Google tools kept growing.

Internet Jet Set logo

 

(Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and buy a product, I get a small commission. There is no change to the price you are charged.)

 

People are buzzing about Internet Jet Set, so I thought I’d take a look at the program that’s advertised as the fastest way to build an online business from nothing.

The program was created by John Crestani, who dropped out of college before working for an ad agency. From there he became a wildly successful online entrepreneur.

So successful, even Forbes magazine noticed.

Plan SEO Campaign

SEO is by far one of the best ways to get free traffic to your website. But just how do you get started? Just think of it the way you would any other strategy. Like a campaign.

You’re just going to make a series of actions for a set purpose. The short-term purpose is to get your page or post ranked high by the search engines. Long term, well, that’s up to you.

(Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and buy a product, I get a small commission. There is no change to the price you are charged.)

What’s the biggest challenge facing online entrepreneurs?

If you said getting the attention of an audience or traffic to a website, you’d get no argument from me.

The problem is that with all the competition out there, it’s easy to feel like a little minnow trying to make a splash in an ocean filled with sharks, swordfish and the occasional octopus.

Not to mention the walruses and whales. It seems like they’ve got everything all locked up. Why would anyone want to listen to you?