Invite Reminder

Hi Rockit,

I know you’re busy, but just a quick reminder that I vouched for you to join FounderDating - the network to connect with world-class entrepreneurs, cofounders and advisors. Think of it as an invite-only LinkedIn for entrepreneurs.

Use my link to apply >> http://members.founderdating.comconnect?frvche=1691057&es=r

See you online, MatthewTo unsubscribe from all FounderDating emails click here: http://mail.founderdating.com/wf/unsubscribe?upn=zFcgTazoE2XHbNxplt8PutdB0-2BARDqNv-2FyKlGWkMR6e6I9bpLshYudhk1MtQhzZTiTLrSu6IFNUJwXl981CBf2WyVPbbSX0c14dyV4jpK23Xwn-2F49dnnZZFY28h-2BvKQnl9i0Wb9zBYTV-2BXs904ZD7a1Mh7VsXvOfO-2F76DOI4KtK-2F0bz00mFOOPP73EvxPfEc9AgJ80EUaNLcg-2B2Vm6l43uSeLkNS7UnXK2nZs6zAVSE71zEAnvRYXg9xoCdbOe7MHeshibt-2FBBkKhxTp02P6pUvNc4ad9ZdXzWqbDw-2Fq-2Fw4-3D.

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Cool Opportunity (invite only)

Hey Rockit,

    I have the opportunity to vouch for (recommend) people to join FounderDating, the invite-only network for cofounders, advisors, and startups. You're on my short list. There are amazing people in the network. I highly recommend applying, no matter what stage you're in.

    Apply here > http://members.founderdating.com/connect/?frvche=1691057&s=founderdating.com

    Check it out,
    MatthewTo unsubscribe from all FounderDating emails click here: http://mail.founderdating.com/wf/unsubscribe?upn=zFcgTazoE2XHbNxplt8PutdB0-2BARDqNv-2FyKlGWkMR6e6I9bpLshYudhk1MtQhzZTTVCBLJIIPZ9Hnw1znqXlqdXBJ5X-2FIktPxljEuil9dNrGbh0ZUtRDNklqVmdLtqNy49zByIUXxOGSvXmFuRh0EoXgdapsJ9zaFD0HPMa-2BKbAkb2mTYrQtQj6y-2BqrSxG7P6WEoSVBfzriIn6IwcKM8hMulRb-2FAyIa69ydDirywP5kP9haYBeBcULaxNVUkKlvFwP0VGSoOLaQk7IHRK-2BjIWX2v1LdVnZQzACAQVh5yrCugoZ-2B30oSvjpdCUB8fKixv.

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Cool Opportunity (invite only)

Hey Rockit,

    I have the opportunity to vouch for (recommend) people to join FounderDating, the invite-only network for cofounders, advisors, and startups. You're on my short list. There are amazing people in the network. I highly recommend applying, no matter what stage you're in.

    Apply here > http://members.founderdating.com/connect/?frvche=1691057&s=founderdating.com

    Check it out,
    MatthewTo unsubscribe from all FounderDating emails click here: http://mail.founderdating.com/wf/unsubscribe?upn=zFcgTazoE2XHbNxplt8PutdB0-2BARDqNv-2FyKlGWkMR6e6I9bpLshYudhk1MtQhzZTTVCBLJIIPZ9Hnw1znqXlqdXBJ5X-2FIktPxljEuil9dNrGbh0ZUtRDNklqVmdLtqNy49zByIUXxOGSvXmFuRh0EoXgdapsJ9zaFD0HPMa-2BKbAkb2mTYrQtQj6y-2BqrSxG7P6WEoSVBfzriIn6IwcKM8hMulRb-2FAyIa69ydDirywP5kP9haYBeBcULaxNVUkKlvFwP0VGSoOLaQk7IHRK-2BjIWX2v1LdVnZQzACAQVh5yrCugoZ-2B30oSvjpdCUB8fKixv.

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Free (and Super-Cheap) Tools for Your Nonprofit

Are you working in a nonprofit, or a tech startup, with low budgets and lots of needs? Then this presentation is for you! Find out about dozens of tools that will help you make the most of your online presence, marketing, advertising, and much more.

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Thinking about Crowdfunding? Ask Yourself These Questions First

Crowdfunding isn't for everyone, but if you've determined that an online campaign is right for you, then here are 12 questions to ask yourself as you work through the process.

 

Crowdfunding Questions to Consider

1.    Do I have a real value proposition? What is it?

2.    How will engaging with my campaign enhance the lives of my supporters? What story will they tell themselves about the money they invest with me?

3.    Is my tribe big enough, and committed enough, to support this? How will I reach out and engage them?

4.    Is this the last step in the process – or the first?

5.    Is crowdfunding really the best way to sell this product/service, or are there better alternatives (Etsy, Amazon, CraigsList, etc)?

 6.    What similar campaigns have been run in the past? What can I learn from them?

7.    Have I selected the most appropriate crowdfunding platform for this campaign?

8.    What perks can I offer to financial supporters?

9.    What perks will I offer for spreading the word?

10. What funding strategy will I use (fixed vs. flexible)?

11. What does my social media strategy look like? What will my updates be?

12. Have I maximized my crowdfunding page? (Video, FAQ, etc)

 

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I'm a Startup Business. How Should I Use AdWords to Drive Traffic?

Recently, I was approached by a startup tech company where the entrepreneurial leader had set up AdWords by herself. While I'm a big fan of do-it-yourself'ers, and digital marketing certainly can be self-taught, Sheila was taking a big gamble by taking the future of the company into her own inexperienced hands. That's why I offered her a free digital marketing assessment: let's make sure we was using best practices, spending her investors' money properly, and setting her company up for online sales success. What could I suggest that would help this small startup business succeed?

The answer: a lot. While Sheila had a good handle on PPC 101, in a competitive industry, you have to come ready for a fight. So her branded campaign was a good start, but there were all sorts of other opportunities that she was missing. Take a look at this SlideShare and you'll see how many exciting sales opportunities exist within AdWords - provided you're in the capable hands of an outstanding digital marketing agency like Rockit Results! 

If you'd like your own free pay-per-click audit, please contact us.

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What is a Free SEO Audit?

I'm often asked: "What's included in your free SEO audit?" It's a legitimate question, as search engine optimization is a broad field with a lot of possible interpretations. So, in order to be as transparent as possible, here's what to expect when you sign up for a free SEO audit from Rockit Results. You'll see that the company below received an insightful look into the following:

  1. Analytics - Are your Analytics set up properly? Are you getting quality data? Are there any features of Google Analytics that you aren't taking full advantage of, and could? What are the top referral websites? Are there any traffic patterns that should be noticed and analyzed?
  2. Digital marketing potential - This client didn't have an exact value for their website visitors, but if you are selling online, you should be thinking, "What is the potential ROI of increasing my investment in my online marketing?" You may think that determining your potential digital marketing return-on-investment is impossible, but it's not; Google gives us tons of search data that we can then leverage to determine ROI. So it's not included in this PowerPoint, but if you have just a few basic revenue numbers, it can easily be determined.
  3. SEO breakdown - What does Google think of your website? How are you ranked, and are you driving organic search traffic? All these questions and more are answered through an intensive SEO breakdown.
  4. User experience, including conversion and content opportunities - Where possible, I also like to review the client's website and make sure there aren't any opportunities being missed. How easy is it to sign up for your email list? Can I find the information I'm looking for? The user experience on your website is critical to SEO, and no free audit should miss this critical review.

I hope this has summed up what to expect from a free digital marketing audit. Please, go ahead and request one today. There's no obligation and no expectation, outside of a basic conversation! 

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How to Do Crowdfunding Right - Lessons Learned and Case Studies

Are you thinking about launching a crowdfunding campaign, via Indiegogo, Kickstarter, or a similar site? After helping with several crowdfunding campaigns - including one that was a wild success, and one that was a disappointing failure - I've put together these basic and advanced strategies that will hopefully help aspiring nonprofits and entrepreneurs succeed with raising money online.

Here's a sneak preview and Tip #1: decide if crowdfunding is right for you. Don't be fooled by the amazing success stories you see that trumpet crowdfunding like it's a magic bullet for selling a new product. I've even found articles online that portray crowdfunding as basically an ATM that you can approach and walk away with cash. This is just not the case!

Savvy entrepreneurs understand that, just like with any new technology or specialty field, you need a qualified consultant to help guide you through this process. That's where Rockit Results comes in: we can create your crowdfunding campaign from soup to nuts, help with promotion, and give 110% to power your campaign. While no one can guarantee online fundraising success, Rockit Results has the expertise and passion to give your campaign a great shot at success! Please contact us for more information.

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Is Your SEO Company Asleep at the Wheel? A Digital Marketing Horror Story

I was recently approached by a local manufacturing company. They were happy with their current digital agency, where they were paying some $10,000 per month for SEO and pay-per-click marketing. However, they saw that I would do a free digital marketing audit for interested companies, and took me up on the offer.

What I saw shocked and appalled me. If this were MY digital marketing team, I would not be happy at all. Now, I know that there are some limitations of this company's website, but a lot of what I found was basic SEO 101-type stuff that any website can support. Moreover, when I showed the client the presentation below, they didn't know about any of these problems - so the digital marketing company hadn't communicated what they could and couldn't do to the client directly. Most importantly, their organic traffic grew an anemic 1.3% in 2014. So this digital marketing company definitely wasn't "rocking their results," and they weren't communicating transparently with the client. Appalling!

Here are just some of the basic problems I found in their digital marketing program:

  • Not maximizing Google Analytics: no use of demographics, conversions, filters, and improper referral traffic.
  • Ignoring SEO 101: Google Analytics code not on their blog, no use of schema, no XML sitemap, not paying attention to Webmaster Tools, and not aligning keywords with the business.
  • PPC Issues: No use of paid-specific landing pages, ignoring alerts, not adding appropriate keywords, no display advertising or remarketing, and not talking about campaigns that are limited by budget directly with the client.

All of these issues are easily solvable! Don't let your digital marketing company fall asleep at the wheel. Keep them on their toes with regular external audits of their work.

As always, if you would like a similar FREE assessment, please contact me: matt@rockitresults.com

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Comparing Digital Experiences Online: KeyBank vs. Huntington

As a small business owner, I recently went through the challenging experience of choosing a small business banking account. Here in Cleveland, there are really two main choices: KeyBank and Huntington. I know there are other banks that would love my business, but I really wanted access to a physical branch, and these are the nearest branches to my house; in addition, these two banks have strong records of philanthropic involvement, and I want to support them!

So, which had the better online digital experience? Check out the SlideShare below for a complete analysis of the digital marketing of these two banks. You'll see that they both leave something to be desired when it comes to digital marketing and user experience. Just because it's the financial sector doesn't mean that it has to be boring! I hope these two banks will take my suggestions and improve their financial digital marketing.


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How Can I Spread the Word Online?

You have a great idea, and you're ready to share it with the masses. So, how do you get the word out online? This is exactly the question a Rockit Results client asked us recently. They have a great new program to help unemployed professionals transition into a career as an executive recruiter (often called a "headhunter"). In this presentation, you'll find 20+ ideas for places you can go and tactics you can use to get your exciting message to your target audience.

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Why Choose a Marketing Agency?

The decision of whether to hire an outside marketing agency, particularly a digital marketing agency, can seem like a tough one. Questions of budget, effectiveness, and process all come into play, and most entrepreneurs want to keep their sales and marketing close to the vest. However, the objective, unbiased perspective offered by a marketing agency, combined with their dedicated staff, best-in-class tools, knowledge sharing across clients, and other tangible factors make the decision to hire an outside consultant actually a no-brainer. Check out all these reasons why hiring a full-service marketing agency like Rockit Results actually makes the most sense for your business.

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Here's to More Research in SEO

I for one LOVE data and research, and there's been a glorious spate of new studies coming out recently with cold, hard facts on SEO best practices. I really enjoyed reading recent articles about the impact of Pigeon, recent research about Google's changing of title tags, and 7 Key Factors in On-Page Optimization because they were all well-supported by legitimate research. You don't have to read all of them - but you better know that your digital marketing agency is on top of these important trends!

Though not exactly SEO, this list of 750 subreddits is fantastic for link-building and generating buzz amongst specific tribes.

Here's to more research and data-collection in the SEO/online advertising industry. Thank you, big agencies, for taking the time and energy to do this research, because it really helps all of us in this growing industry.

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Advice for Digital Marketers

So often, digital marketers get caught up in the day-to-day demands of a large client base. At one point during my time at a big digital agency, I was managing 16 different clients; some days, I would speak to all of them, and have to fight fires for each one!

In this presentation, I advocate that all clients are NOT created equal. Using an exercise I call "Client Charting," I propose a methodology for better understanding your client portfolio, communicating priorities to your team members, and, most importantly, how to best spend your time to grow that portfolio. 

What strategies are you using to better communicate with your clients? How are you communicating with your team, so they best understand how to prioritize?

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5 Ways Philanthropic Foundations Need to Evolve in 2015 - A Manifesto

It's Fall, and with Thanksgiving around the corner, it's time to start thinking about the New Year. For 2015, I'd like to challenge philanthropic foundations nationwide to evolve and improve the way they work with fundraisers. Here are five ways to do just that:

1. Reduce the Power Gradient - Many philanthropic foundations, particularly the larger ones, seem to pride themselves on having an intimidating process, from overly-complicated online applications on their websites to offices that trumpet the foundation's opulence. It's not uncommon to show up for a meeting with a Program Officer and have to wait 15-20 minutes, without an apology or any hint of why they kept you waiting that long. I remember one family foundation member keeping us in the room, talking non-stop for three hours - simply because he could, and he wanted us to know it. Foundations large and small should stop lording their money and power over the nonprofits they fund. Remember, you are stewards of the public's money; your donors, may they rest in peace, bequeathed their money to the public trust, and your job is to give it to worthy causes.

Yes, Program Officers, you have great power based on that number in your bank account. But that number is nothing without the nonprofits on the ground doing the back-breaking, thankless work of repairing our broken world. So get your heads out of your spreadsheets and start making connections, being creative, and helping spur innovation. And please, stop acting like you are doing us a huge favor by taking that meeting with us, and at least offer us coffee while we wait!

2. Read Our Grant Reports, and Ask Good Questions - It's amazing how rarely I've been asked a single question on the grant reports I've filled out. Never a "Wow, how did you handle your finances so effectively?," "What factors influenced your success/failure?", or even a "Why did you choose to use this particular metric?" If you let our reports gather dust in your filing cabinets, then you are wasting your donors' money and, worse, not helping move our field forward. If you don't care about our reporting, then don't ask us to collect the data at all. And if you do care about reporting, then get our permission to share our data widely.

3. Share Our Stories - It's time for the funding community to use and share the data that we work so hard to collect, whether that's Excel spreadsheets or powerful anecdotes. We share our experiences with you because we want you to feel good about your gift and, if you have donors and Board members, we would respectfully ask you to share these stories with them as well. We all deserve to feel good about our inspiring work, right?

So, carve out 15 minutes at the beginning of each Board meeting to tell these stories and remind your trustees why you're there. Helping grantee organizations tell their story better or to a wider audience is a huge value-add that the foundation community can bring to the average nonprofit.

4. Doing Good Isn't the Same as Making Real Change - In 2015, let's resolve as a nonprofit industry that we are going to make some tough choices. And one of those choices should be that foundations will make larger, more substantive, and more powerful grants that can actually move the needle on some of our society's most pressing issues. And those smaller, legacy grants that many agencies rely on? Well, those are going away. Yes, moving the needle will leave some nonprofits behind. So it's incumbent upon the funding community to communicate these strategic changes in an empathetic, transparent manner.

5. Foundations Need to Morph Into Partners - How's this for a radical idea: instead of just a simple rejection letter or phone call saying, "You don't fit our strategic priorities right now," how about funders connect applicants to organizations that are doing the same work, only better? For example, "We didn't fund your social service program because, based on our data, the same work is being done in a cost-effective manner by an organization down the street from you. Please connect with their CEO, Tom, at the following phone number and email address, to discuss your idea, as we would consider funding a collaboration between your organizations in the future." There, isn't that refreshing?

Instead of just begrudging check-writers, philanthropic foundations need to transform into partners, connectors, and conveners of important discussions. One great example is that of the PNC Foundation, which recently made a grant to convene the first-ever Re-Entry Summit here in Cleveland, so all the organizations working in this space can come together to discuss how to better collaborate. A second great example is the Weinberg Foundation, whose staff has been incredibly warm and approachable, and gladly offers up connections to its other grantees and partners.

Great foundations see the world as one deeply interconnected place, and are moving to break down the silos. For example, you can't have workforce development without focusing on improving education and economic development simultaneously; workforce development is an imaginary construct based on those two pillars. So funders in those areas need to work together. And don't be afraid to use the CASE method or R&D.

CASE = Copy and Steal Everything
R&D = Ripoff and Duplicate

Let's bring great ideas from one city or neighborhood to the next. Funders need to continue to look broadly, even internationally, to find the next great idea and bring it to their own geographic focus. And that involves a paradigm shift from check-writers to partnership-brokers.

Here's looking forward to a fantastic 2015, where we all work together to shift philanthropy and make an even bigger difference worldwide.

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The 5 Key Ingredients to Launch a Successful Social Enterprise

As someone who worked at an award-winning social enterprise, MedWish International, and then helped launch Cleveland’s first and only nonprofit restaurant, EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute, I am often consulted on how to successfully launch a social enterprise. Given that EDWINS is one of the hottest players in Cleveland’s flourishing culinary scene, let’s boil it down to determine the five key ingredients necessary to take your idea for a social enterprise from dream to reality.

1.       Pragmatism – Every social enterprise starts with a dream and a visionary leader who is able to put aside their ego in order to espouse crazy, innovative ideas. Unfortunately, in my experience, it’s very rare to find someone who can both dream big and execute the strategic steps necessary to make that dream a reality. For various reasons, these just seem to be two different skill sets; in order to visualize that brighter future, the visionary has to overlook all the challenges and hurdles that stand in the way. That’s why I believe strongly that great ventures require partnership between a visionary and a pragmatist. Like Batman needed Robin and Moses needed Aaron, the pragmatic partner can see the necessary steps to progress from A to Z.

2.       Product – To be successful, a social enterprise must deliver a product that is both unique and of unquestionably-high quality. There is so much competition out there, having one without the other means your organization is destined for failure. At EDWINS, we have always focused on providing amazing meals, as we know that the restaurant business is incredibly precarious. Along with the idea of social justice present in our mission, we also offer a warm, romantic French atmosphere that is unique to Cleveland. At MedWish, we were the only game in town for the repurposing of surplus medical supplies, so being unique wasn’t difficult; however, our “product” of delivering humanitarian aid required that we tell the stories of our recipients, a Herculean task when you’re talking about working in some of the most under-served areas in the world.

3.       Passion, Persistence, and Patience – These are three legs of the same stool, as each of these intangible factors are necessary for balance – and the long haul of making it “big time.” Passion alone isn’t enough: EDWINS took four years to launch, and it took MedWish 17 years to get the right staff in place to take the organization to that proverbial “next level.” In practice, you must demonstrate persistence in pursuing those meetings with funders; then, once in the same room, let your passion shine; and finally, show patience as you educate them on your cause, follow up regularly, and wait for their final decision. Live and breathe these three personality characteristics and you will survive the marathon that is launching a social enterprise.

For aspiring change makers, these five ingredients are critical to your success. Just as there are no shortcuts to delivering a gourmet meal, there are no shortcuts to developing a sustainable, effective organization. Now get cooking!

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Lessons from a One-Year Old Social Enterprise

On November 1, 2013, a small team of dedicated social entrepreneurs made history by launching the country’s only nonprofit restaurant dedicated to training ex-offenders for careers in fine dining. At any time, EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute is training roughly 40 formerly-incarcerated men and women in the intricacies of fine dining service, cooking, French cheeses and wines, and more. EDWINS is a combination of our motto, “education wins,” and the middle name of our CEO, Brandon Chrostowski. During their six-month education program, EDWINS students rotate through various positions in the restaurant, serving up to 250 people on a Saturday night. So far, we’ve exceeded even our highest expectations: 40 of our 44 graduates are employed in restaurants throughout Northeast Ohio, we have more job openings offered to our current students than we have students to fill them, we’ve been able to address the many needs of our students through an in-house case manager and strong partnerships with other nonprofits, and, on our first birthday, the restaurant is profitable and contributes roughly 75% of the revenue necessary to run the educational program. Happy birthday, EDWINS! So, what have we learned in the first year of operation? I recently sat down with our CEO, Brandon Chrostowski, to assemble some of the lessons.

First, our success is based on the care we demonstrate every day for our students: we offer personalized instruction when they are working inside the restaurant, and we diligently help them face their personal issues outside the restaurant as well. Unlike most businesses, our whole goal is to see our students succeed not just in their jobs, but in their lives, so we offer life coaching, counseling, substance abuse recovery, and much more to ensure that we’re addressing the whole person. Our case manager proactively meets with students, so we stay one step ahead of the myriad of issues – literacy, outstanding warrants, housing, anger management, and drug abuse, to name just a few – that await our students outside our four walls. When we first started working on EDWINS in 2010, I thought we were opening a restaurant that just happened to employ a population with some significant barriers; what I’ve learned in the first year is that we opened a social service organization that just happens to manage a profitable restaurant to help pay the bills.

At the first graduation of EDWINS students, Brandon congratulates Joey on his completion of the program.

At the first graduation of EDWINS students, Brandon congratulates Joey on his completion of the program.

Second, building a culture of success is extremely difficult and requires tough choices: we care about each other, but we also have to care about the business’s bottom-line profitability. Because delivering a perfect meal is critical to our long-term health, students who can’t cut it are gently offered other opportunities outside EDWINS. Culture is also about showing that every staff member cares about our business, so it’s not unusual to see Brandon mopping, painting, or otherwise sweating to make EDWINS a successful restaurant.

Third, as Board President, I feel it’s important to talk about the challenge of running a Board of Directors for a social enterprise. Because Brandon is our CEO and is by far the most qualified to run the business, the Board generally has very little say in the staffing or operations of our most visible and tangible asset. Since we don’t need fundraising in the traditional sense, and no one on the Board would presume to tell Brandon how to run the restaurant, figuring out what we as a Board can do to help EDWINS has taken some creativity and is sometimes a struggle. Also, it’s worth mentioning that most foundations aren’t yet set up to work with social enterprises – they aren’t sure what questions to ask, what to expect from organizations like ours, or even how to measure our success.

Finally, what drives EDWINS is Brandon’s desire to constantly improve, and his impatience with even our successful status quo. Next on our agenda is to offer our students housing: we’ve discovered that it’s awfully tough to learn during the day when you aren’t sure where you’re sleeping at night, and we’ve realized that “supportive” housing is anything but. If we can truly support our students both at home and at work, we can offer the guidance they need to make better decisions. Raising $2.5 million for a massive dormitory – including the amenities they deserve, like a gym and a library – is no small task, but EDWINS is nothing if not ambitious.

In closing, I want to wish EDWINS a very happy birthday! We’re building a national model for re-entry here in Cleveland, one delicious dinner at a time.

EDWINS Graduation

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Increase Your Website’s Conversion Rate with These Tools

As you’ve seen on this website, Rockit Results has many services that drive traffic to your website. Unfortunately, all the traffic in the world won’t help grow your business or nonprofit if it doesn’t convert; in other words, visitors aren’t helpful if they don’t convert to leads, buyers, or donors. So how do you get them to convert? Well, in my digital marketing experience, I’ve come across several tools that I highly recommend:

1.       Google Analytics – For those of us in the digital marketing industry, using Analytics to understand our bounce rates, conversion rates, and user engagement is a no-brainer. But for your average small business, GA and the jargon around it is a completely foreign language. Yes, it’s a little bit intimidating, but every small business should have an annual GA audit and analysis; just like your annual physical is critical for your body’s health, regularly checking your Analytics is critical for your business’s long-term success.

2.       40Nuggets – We’ve all seen lightboxes pop up on websites, and many of us find them annoying because they continue to bother us, or show offers that aren’t relevant. The technology behind 40Nuggets addresses those issues by creating a user-friendly interface and sophisticated calls-to-action that respond to the user’s activity. If you’re looking to expand your email list, get quick user feedback, or have your visitors take other quick actions, then 40Nuggets is for you. Here's what 40Nuggets looks like in action:

For Talbott Recovery, we wanted to drive downloads of their Addiction Recovery Guide. Notice how it only pops up when you're reading pages relevant to that particular guide.

For Talbott Recovery, we wanted to drive downloads of their Addiction Recovery Guide. Notice how it only pops up when you're reading pages relevant to that particular guide.

The reporting dashboards for 40Nuggets are incredibly simple and easy to use.

The reporting dashboards for 40Nuggets are incredibly simple and easy to use.

3.       Visual Web Optimizer – Don’t have time to test? You can’t afford NOT to! Having strong A/B testing is critical for any business to understand what really resonates with your audience. VWO is my favorite of the many testing tools out there.

4.       Unbounce – Want to launch a landing page quickly and easily? Unbounce is the best provider out there for simple landing pages that don’t require IT support.

5.       White Papers – OK, while this isn’t exactly a tool, this is the standard free giveaway for most businesses because white papers work. If I’m searching for a service I don’t know much about, and you give me something that educates and enlightens me, I have no problem giving you my contact information. How you nurture me, online and via email, is a subject for another blog post. My main point is that, if your website isn’t converting, consider offering a piece of thought leadership as an incentive to convert that traffic.

I hope you’ve found these conversion optimization (CRO) tools. If you have other favorites, please list them below!

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Want to Do Something Great? First, Find a Partner.

Early in June, I had a very strange day. I walked into work, and my colleagues were all congratulating me on winning an award called Fundraiser of the Year for my work with EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute. Apparently, my former employer had actually sent out a press release on it, along with a blast to the entire company! The fact of the matter is, I don’t deserve much credit. It’s my partnership with our CEO, Brandon Chrostowski, that deserves all the kudos and recognition. On my own, I would never have the courage or craziness to launch this groundbreaking social enterprise – but I was inspired by Brandon, who actually quit his job to pursue this dream. For other social entrepreneurs thinking about doing something great, I would encourage you to find a collaborator who inspires and motivates you.

The ancient rabbis weren’t kidding when they exhorted us, “Acquire for yourself a friend.” In fact, the Bible is full of examples of great partnerships: Abraham and Sarah were a dynamic duo, long before Batman and Robin popularized the term. Moses and Aaron co-led the Israelites through the desert. And, perhaps most relevant, Adam and Eve defined partnerships for all time through their “ezer k’negdo” relationship – good collaborators simultaneously support and challenge each other, depending on what the situation requires. There’s a reason why so many of America’s most successful companies – Microsoft, Apple, and Google to name a few – were started by co-founders, two individuals who balanced each other through the good times and bad.

The opposite is also true: Biblical figures who were loners tended to really struggle. How great would Samson have been with a partner to help him control his temper? Or Joseph, if someone had worked with him to tone down that ego? Or Noah – perhaps if he had had a co-builder of the Ark, he wouldn’t have gotten inebriated shortly after the flood. A partner, chosen well, balances your strengths and weaknesses and speaks the truth regardless of the consequences. In my experience, one visionary and one pragmatist can make great things happen. In addition to creating a well-rounded team, your partner's hard work will motivate you to complete your own tasks. Without one, the work – particularly when it comes to social justice or fundraising – seems lonely, frustrating, and downright daunting.

EDWINS is off to a great start, and the organization won’t need me forever. As I think about my next venture, do I have the courage and chutzpah to launch something groundbreaking on my own? Definitely not. But do I have the humility and vulnerability to find a partner to work with me? Absolutely.

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What to Expect from a Digital Marketing Audit

The decision whether to launch a digital marketing campaign is a complicated one, but it doesn't have to be a decision you make blindly. Ask your agency for the data necessary to make an informed decision; that data is available for free online. For example:

  • Are people out there searching for your service? Google will tell you the average monthly search volume for relevant keywords.
  • Is pay-per-click a good option? Google will give you all sorts of information on the cost-per-click, competition for specific keywords, and more.
  • What are your competitors paying for clicks? SpyFu is a great service that has many free options for competitor analysis.
  • Most importantly, what is the potential ROI for your campaign? Using your AdWords and Analytics, we can easily run the numbers to figure out what the potential return-on-investment would be from your hypothetical marketing campaign.

How do you do this? First, start with the overall search volume for your relevant keywords:

Google will tell you the average monthly search volume for relevant keywords and competitors, and even estimate what it will cost to be competitive through paid advertising.

Then, project out what you'd be willing to spend for both paid and organic traffic. One equation to use is this:
Estimated monthly traffic (number of visits) x conversion rate of traffic (%) = Number of Conversions
Number of Conversions x Average Order Value ($) = Estimate monthly revenue in Dollars
Estimated monthly visits (number of visits) x cost of traffic ($) = Cost of traffic
Estimated monthly revenue / Cost of traffic = ROI for digital marketing

Now, obviously this is slightly different for PPC advertising, which brings paid traffic, and SEO marketing, which brings organic traffic. For this company in the software bootcamp space, their numbers look like this:

600 clicks per month x 1% conversion rate = 6 conversions x AOV of $10,000 each = $60,000 in monthly revenue. With a monthly cost of $10,000, the ROI is $6:1.

This is the type of equation and background research your digital marketing agency should be doing for you - before you sign a contract. For your free digital marketing assessment, click on our Request a Quote button.


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