Monthly Archive: July 2018


There is Nothing Magical About 95% Statistical Significance

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You are probably ending your A/B tests either too early or too late.

The standard best practice in the conversion optimization industry is to wait until two conditions have been met before ending an A/B test. First, that a representative sample is obtained. Second, that the winner of the test can be declared with 95% certainty or greater. You can see the latter standard touted here and here and here.

So why is it that Jeff Bezos writes this in an annual letter to shareholders?

“Most decisions should probably be made with somewhere around 70% of the information you wish you had. If you wait for 90%, in most cases, you’re probably being slow.”

Notice he is not laying down an immutable law; he says ‘most.’ Still, what is the dynamic he is describing?

It is opportunity cost. There is a cost to not acting on the information you have and instead opting to wait for greater certainty, but we rarely make a robust effort to calculate that opportunity cost and compare it to the potential gains of continued testing.

A hypothetical

Let’s take a hypothetical example. These are the results of an A/B test for the lead generation page of high-ticket-value product – perhaps a SaaS company. The test has been running for two months.




Right now there is an 8% probability that we would have seen these or more extreme results in B’s favor if B was inferior to or equal to A. Let’s see an approximation of what the probability curves look like in this situation.

Figure 1

If we continue the test, and if we assume that the data keeps coming in the same proportions, it would take roughly three weeks to get to statistical significance. (Of course, if B’s advantage grows or shrinks the time to significance could shorten or lengthen.)

What are we losing during that time?

If we discontinue the test today then as best as we can guess, we would gain a lift that would give us an average of a 2% higher conversion rate – except that half the visitors are already seeing option B, so it’s likely to be closer to 1%. Still, in absolute terms, we would be gaining an average of about 7 or 8 more leads than we would otherwise over three weeks – a number that would likely be significant to a sales team.

Of course, there is also an 8% probability that A is actually the superior choice.  But not only does 8% represent roughly just a 1 in 12 chance, look at where the pink area in the graph above is falling. The scale of the potential loss 8% of the time – the widest likely gap between a leading A and a trailing B – is about 2%, while the scale of the potential gain 92% of the time – the widest likely gap between a leading B and a trailing A – is about 6%.  When you take into account the effect of these outcomes, the probabilistic value of choosing B increases.

It’s perhaps obvious, but still worth noting that waiting for significance is not the same thing as waiting for certainty. Three weeks later we would still have a 5% chance of making the wrong pick – there would still be a pink overlap area.

95% is just a convention

So why is it that 95% became a standard for statistical significance? In a normal data distribution, 95% is two standard deviations from the mean (a deviation being a measure of dispersion.) Apart from that, there is nothing special about 95%; it is just a convention.

Certainly, a convention is necessary. The probability curves in the graph above never actually touch the axis, but slope towards it until they touch zero on one end and the maximum on the other. What the 95% convention allows us to do is quickly define how widely dispersed the curves are. We can say, “95% of the time, our sample results will fall within x% of the actual results in the total population.” This, in effect, slices the bell curves on their outward slopes so their width can be measured in a standardized way.

This convention also provides a standard for academics to report their results: they can say, “these results are significant” or “these results are not significant.” This makes reports easier to understand and sum up.

But other than these communicative advantages, there is nothing magical about 95%.

When to end an A/B Test

First, let’s not forget the need for a representative sample. It’s best to only check your test on the same day of the week that you started it, so that each monitoring is comprised of complete weekly cycles.

However, we can confidently make these two statements:

In any A/B test that has been running for a reasonable time there is a cost to not presently concluding a test and choosing the version which the data tells you is superior: this is the opportunity cost.
There is also a cost to ending a test and perhaps making the wrong choice: this is the error cost (and, of course, it is present even at 95% significance.)

Rather than using the somewhat arbitrary 95% criterion, a better guideline for ending an A/B test is when the opportunity costs start becoming greater than the error costs.

In collaboration with Santa Clara-based data scientist, Wesley Engers, my company has created an Excel document that tells you when you have crossed this inflection point. You can download it for free here.

How to Use the Calculator

Here is what you put in to the calculator, and here are the most important outputs:



Visitors in version A
Conversions in version A
Visitors in version B
Conversions in version B
Days test has been conducted

Amortization Period (i.e., period of time during which you are calculating your returns.)

Estimated lift of superior version
P-value (Percentage of confidence is equal to 1 – P-value)
Are prospective opportunity costs greater than prospective gains in accuracy? (Yes, discontinue testing/No, continue testing)

The first five items in the input column are fairly self-explanatory, but the sixth might need some elaboration.

In order to calculate what the error costs are we need to project them over a certain period of time from the beginning of a test; we are calling this the Amortization Period. This is the time over which the results of the test are likely to be useful to you.

Given the number of elements that might change in both the page you are testing and your business situation – product line updates, customer preferences, interaction with other on-page elements, etc. – we recommend setting the Amortization Period to 534 days (which comes to 18 months.) However, if you anticipate a complete site re-design in a few months time, then by all means use a smaller number of days for this field. Likewise, if you foresee your situation as fairly stable, then you might want to switch to a longer Amortization Period.

The outputs include the estimated lift of the currently superior version, the P-Value so far (which is easily translatable to a confidence percentage,) and the conclusion of the model to the question: Are prospective opportunity costs greater than prospective gains in accuracy?

The answer to this question is not meant to be a decision-making machine, replacing the arbitrary 95% criterion. Yes, you should make your decision based on ROI rather than arbitrary rules, but there are multiple other considerations affecting your investment and returns that you will want to take into account. Here are just a couple of them:

This calculator only takes into account returns for this experiment. If you are planning on conducting other experiments, which potentially might bear fruit, continuing your current experiment also delays their returns. This favors a quicker conclusion to the experiment.
On the other hand, we often do not calculate the cost for preparing a new A/B. If this model is pushing you towards quicker iterations, remember your time is a cost too. This favors a slower experimental tempo. (You can read about some other ROI considerations here.)

With this or any other decision-making methodology, often the toughest call is when the test is not giving you a clear answer. If you have collected a sizable sample and the result is still too close to call – both in terms of p-value and opportunity/error costs – often the best course of action is to choose a winner before it is declared by the models and look for another testing opportunity that might provide you with greater returns.

How the Calculations are Made

If you would like to know what is under the hood of the calculator, following is an explanation.

Figure 2

The first things we calculate are the Average Number of Daily Lost Conversions from Not Ending an Experiment (Daily Opportunity Cost) versus Average Number of Daily Lost Conversions from Making the Wrong Choice (Daily Error Cost.) In real life, these lines would go up and down in response to random fluctuations of the data, but if we assumed that it arrived consistently in the same proportions, the lines would look something like this.

The Daily Error Cost line is sloping down because as the data is gathered, statistical confidence is gained, and the chances of error decrease. The Daily Opportunity Cost line is flat because, as mentioned, we are assuming that the results are not fluctuating: if the results for each version don’t vary, neither will the average daily cost of not choosing a winner.

How do we calculate these numbers? Daily Opportunity Cost is just the difference between the number of conversions of the better-performing version with the number of conversions of the worse-performing version, divided by the number of days the test has been running and then divided by two, since half the visitors are already seeing the superior version.

Daily Error Cost is a more complicated statistical calculation that you can review in the excel sheet, but here is Wesley’s summary. (Don’t be discouraged… it gets much easier after this.)

Daily Error Cost is calculated by determining how many conversions would be lost if the wrong choice of version was made. For example, if the current higher conversion is version A but the truth is actually that version B has a better conversion rate then the estimated number of lost conversions is calculated for using version A instead of the correct version B. Mathematically, this is done by calculating the estimated difference is conversion rates assuming that version B is actually better. This is based on the normal distribution of the difference between the conversion rates of version A and version B. Mathematically, first let’s suppose that PA> PB then this is the expected value of PA – PB given that PA – PB <0 (i.e. E[PA – PB| PA – PB <0]). This can be calculated by doing the integral from -1 to 0 of x*π(x) where π (x) is the density function of the normal distribution with mean PA – PB and standard deviation . See Data Value tab in Excel sheet for calculation.

Now let’s assume that we are at a certain point in the life of the test, and we are considering ending the test today or tomorrow. In Figure 3, we see the case where we discontinue the test today. We are accepting the Daily Error Cost over the remaining Term of Amortization. In Figure 4 we see the case where we continue the test until tomorrow, accepting the Opportunity Cost over that period, then switch to the lower Error Cost.


Figure 3

Figure 4

Notice that we are adding an area and losing an area in Figure 4. Figure 5 makes this clearer.

Figure 5

When we choose to continue the test, we are adding Area a but losing Area b.

If we are taking away more than we are adding – that is, if Area b is larger than Area a, then the Error Costs we are losing will be greater than the Opportunity Costs we are acquiring. It makes sense to continue the experiment.

However, if we are adding more than we are taking away, if Area a is larger than Area b, then the Opportunity Costs we are paying to continue the experiment will be larger than the Error Costs we are losing with a more accurate data sample. We should discontinue the experiment.

It’s clear then that the Optimum Time to discontinue the experiment would be when Area a starts becoming greater than or equal to Area b, because that will result in increasing costs.

Calculating these areas for tomorrow is fairly easy. Area a is a breadth by length calculation:

(Daily Opportunity Cost – Daily Error Cost) x 1 day since it’s tomorrow

Area b is calculated by projecting data one day into to future, so as to estimate the Daily Decrease in Error Cost, then multiplying it by the remaining days in the Amortization Term:

Decrease in Error Cost x (Term of Amortization – Days Test Has Been Conducted – 1 since it’s tomorrow)

When Area a is greater than or equal to Area b, then the Opportunity Costs start accruing faster than the Error Costs. This is when you should consider discontinuing the test. In the hypothetical case of the SaaS company that we started this article with, the model recommends concluding the test, even though our confidence level is below 95%.


As we’ve mentioned, this article is not intended to replace one hard-and-fast rule (“End your A/B tests when you have 95% significance!”) with another. It is to make these points:

We need to take into account the opportunity cost of not presently ending an A/B test
We should arm ourselves with tools to calculate these opportunity costs and compare them with error costs
Marketers cannot afford to think as academics do, searching for Truth (with a capital T.) Our job is to provide the best ROI, and that might mean operating with less certainty than we would like.

This model might push people who receive a lot of data past the point of 95% confidence. However, I imagine it will be most useful for marketers whose data comes in slowly. The model will give them leave to terminate experiments before they reach statistical significance. Often times, marketers with little data are discouraged from A/B testing because of the 95% shibboleth, and are instead urged to follow ‘best practices.’

That is a disservice. In the real world, if something is 5 or 10 times likelier to be true than not, that is significant; 19x (what 95% translates to) is not a mystical threshold.

Special thanks to Georgi Georgiev from Analytics Toolkit for comments and reviewing statistical methodology in this article.  

The post There is Nothing Magical About 95% Statistical Significance appeared first on CXL.


27 Ways to Increase Website Traffic in 2018

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In this post I’m going to show you how to drive more traffic to your website.

You’ll also see how I used these strategies to take my site from zero to 180k+ unique visitors per month.

It gets better:

All of these strategies are working GREAT right now (in 2018).

With that, here are the strategies that you’re going to learn about:

1. The “Upside Down” Guest Post
2. Overhaul & Upgrade Old Blog Posts
3. Use “Click to Tweet” Links
4. Optimize Your Content With LSI Keywords
5. Get More Traffic From Your Blog Posts With “Content Transformation”
6. Go On Podcasts
7. Promote Your Site With Blogger Outreach
8. The Content Relaunch Strategy
9. Create Content That Appeals to Influencers
10. Share Videos On LinkedIn
11. Host a Giveaway Contest
12. Add “Share Triggers” To Your Content
13. Retarget Visitors With Facebook Ads
14. Reduce Your Bounce Rate
15. Publish Long-Form Content
16. Optimize for Google’s Mobile-First Index
17. Create an Active YouTube Channel
18. Publish Viral Content
19. Promote Blog Posts and Videos on Quuu
20. Republish Old Articles on LinkedIn
21. Use a “Question Analyzer” To Create Insanely Useful Content
22. Add Enticing Content To Social Media Posts
23. Improve Your Organic Click-Though-Rate
24. Publish More List Posts
25. Steal Your Competitors’ Traffic Sources
26. Drive Traffic To Your Website From Forums
27. Syndicate Your Content on Medium
Bonus Strategy #1: Post On Social Media at Strategic Times
Bonus Strategy #2: Find More Keywords With “Keywords Everywhere”

1. The “Upside Down” Guest Post

Here’s the deal:

When most people read your guest post, they completely skip the author bio section.

I can’t blame them…

Most author bio boxes are buried at the bottom of the page, like this:

This is a huge problem.

If people don’t see your link in your author bio, they’re not gonna visit your site.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to this problem: The “Upside Down” Guest Post.

Here’s the step-by-step process:

1. First, write a guest post just like you normally would.

2. Next, include “helpful resource” sections throughout your guest post.

These sections link to 2-3 helpful resources on the topic you just covered.

Here’s an example:

3. Finally, include YOUR content as one of the “helpful resources”.

For example, here’s a guest post I published a while back:

And I strategically linked to my content as one of the “resources to check out”:

And that link brought in 78% more traffic than my author bio link.

Pretty cool 🙂

Which leads us to strategy #2…

2. Overhaul & Upgrade Old Blog Posts

This simple strategy landed me 50.95% more traffic in 7 days:

Here’s exactly how I did it:

1. First, I found a post on my site that was out of date.

As it turned out, my guide to YouTube SEO was insanely outdated:

2. Next, I updated and improved the post.

Specifically, I added new screenshots:

Sprinkled in new strategies and techniques:

And eliminated old strategies that didn’t work anymore:

3. Finally, I updated the new post to make the changes live.

And just like that, traffic to that page shot up like a rocket ship.

(Because this was an old post, as you can see here in my Google Analytics, most of that traffic increase was organic traffic)

This entire process took about an hour.

And I got WAY more SEO traffic than I would from publishing a new post.

With that, it’s time for our third strategy…

3. Use “Click to Tweet” Links

This is one of the BEST ways to get more shares from your content.

In fact, Click To Tweet Links are one of the main reasons that this post from my blog has over 6k social media shares:

With that, let me show you how Click To Tweet links work:

1. Find something “tweetable” in your content.

This can be a bite-sized tip, strategy, quote or statistic.

For example, my post listed a bunch of list building strategies.

So I considered each strategy on my list “tweetable”.

2. Create a Click To Tweet link.

Head over to and write your tweet:

And the tool will generate a special link for you:

3. Finally, include that link in your content.

Whenever someone clicks on the link…

…they get a pre-written tweet for easy sharing:

It’s that easy.

4. Optimize Your Content With LSI Keywords

It’s no secret that SEO is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website.

That said, most old school SEO strategies simple don’t work anymore.

And that’s largely because Google’s Hummingbird algorithm changed EVERYTHING about SEO:

Instead of ONLY looking at keywords, Google now understands topics.

(How big of a change was this update? Google said that: “Hummingbird affects 90% of all searches…”. Wow).

The question is:

How do you make sure that Google understands your content’s topic?

LSI Keywords.

LSI keywords are words and phrases related to your target keyword.

For example, let’s say you just wrote a post about social media.

LSI keywords would be words and phrases like:

Facebook page
Viral content

And when Google sees these LSI keywords in your content, they say: “Great. This content is definitely about social media”.

So: how do you find these LSI keywords?

A great free tool called LSI Graph.

This tool spits out dozens of LSI keywords related to your topic:

Then, just sprinkle these LSI keywords into your post…

…and you’re set.

5. Get More Traffic From Your Blog Posts With “Content Transformation”

Content Transformation is simple:

You simply convert one of your blog posts into another format (like an ebook, video, infographic or podcast).

For example, I published this case study on my blog a while back:

As you can see, this post generated lots of social shares…

…and comments.

But I knew that I could squeeze even more value out of this content.

So I turned that post into a YouTube Video:

That single video has generated over 150k views… and hundreds of website visitors.

(All from a piece of content that I published YEARS ago)

That’s the power of Content Transformation.

6. Go On Podcasts

Podcasts are EXPLODING.

(In fact, one survey found that 24% of Americans regularly listen to podcasts)

Does that mean that you should grab the nearest microphone and start a podcast?


Instead, I recommend going on other people’s podcasts as a guest.

This strategy works so well that I try to go on 2-3 podcasts per month.

In fact, I’ve appeared on over 100 podcast episodes:

And these episodes have brought me tens of thousands of visitors.

For example, I once got 984 visitors in 60 days from a single podcast episode:

As a bonus, you usually get at least one backlink in the show notes, which can help your search engine rankings:

And now it’s time for…

7. Promote Your Site With Blogger Outreach

So you just published an awesome piece of content.

Now what?

It’s time to promote it with blogger outreach.

In fact, one of my latest blog post got a nice spike in traffic largely due to a single tweet from an influential blogger:

The question is…


All you need to do is find bloggers that share content on your topic…

…and send them a non-pushy email.

Here’s a real life example of this process in action:

First, I sent a personalized email to a blogger that’s already shared content on my topic:

(That way, I knew she’d actually want to read my post… before I hit “send”)

When she got back to me, I sent her a link:

(Pro Tip: Don’t ask the person to share or link to your content. If they think your content is good, they’ll share it)

Because I wasn’t a pushy jerkface, this blogger was happy to spread the word:

That’s all there is to it.

8. The Content Relaunch Strategy

This is similar to technique #2 from this guide…

…with an important twist.

Instead of just improving your content, you completely relaunch it.

In other words:

Treat your improved content like a brand new post.

For example:

I recently revamped and relaunched this list of SEO copywriting tactics:

So I shared the post on social media:

And sent out an announcement to my email subscribers:

Which led to a significant boost in traffic (including almost 5k visitors in one day):

9. Create Content That Appeals to Influencers

Here’s the truth:

If you want influential people to share your content, you need to write stuff that appeals directly to that group.


A few years ago I created an infographic for a client in the investing niche.

Even though that niche is far from “interesting”, our infographic went viral. We’re talking thousands of targeted visits in the first two days.

Here’s the infographic:

Now there are dozens of reasons this infographic did so well… from the design to the content promotion campaign.

But a good chunk of its success was due to one simple thing:

It appealed to the influencers in the personal finance space.

I’ll explain.

I noticed that, at the time, a lot of high-powered financial bloggers were up in arms about inflation:

So I decided to create an infographic that highlighted the problem they cared so much about.

And this led to shares and mentions on several authority sites…

…and a boatload of traffic.

10. Share Videos On LinkedIn

LinkedIn is growing FAST.

In fact, a recent study found that the number of people sharing stuff on LinkedIn has increased significantly in 2018:

That’s great and all. But HOW do you use LinkedIn to increase traffic to your website?

Post video content.

For example, here’s a video I recently posted on LinkedIn:

2 weeks later, my video has:

31 THOUSAND views

Try getting that kind of engagement on Facebook 🙂

And now it’s time for me to show you another cool way to get people to visit your site…

11. Host a Giveaway Contest

People love free stuff.

(No surprise there)

But what might surprise you is: you can use free stuff to get more traffic.


Host a giveaway contest.

Here’s an example of a contest my friend Noah Kagan recently put together:

See how that works?

To enter the contest, people need to give you their email address (you then add them to your email list).

It gets better:

You can incentivize people to share your contest with their friends:

(And those shares will drive more traffic to your website and grow your email list)


This contest was done with KingSumo. But if you have the technical know-how, you can set this up yourself.

12. Add “Share Triggers” To Your Content

In my experience, content largely succeeds or fails based on one factor:

Whether or not the content has Share Triggers.

What are Share Triggers?

They’re things you include in your content that push people to share it.

A lot of these principles were first discovered by behavioral scientists like Dr. Jonah Berger, Dr. Katherine Milkman and Jure Leskovec.

And they’ve proven in the lab what I discovered through trial-and-error:

When you include Share Triggers in your content, people are significantly more likely share and link to it.

For example:

One of the most powerful Share Triggers is Social Currency.

Social Currency is the idea that we share things that make us look good. And this Share Trigger is a large part of the reason that The Shrinking Dollar infographic I mentioned earlier did so well.

Specifically, this infographic confirmed what influencers were already saying: inflation is a big problem.

And my content backed up their rants with meaty data:

Every time an influencer shared my infographic with their audience, it boosted their Social Currency.

So they shared it… again and again.

It even got included in Google News thanks to a feature in The Christian Post.

All because I strategically added the “Social Currency” Share Trigger into my content.

Very cool.

13. Retarget Visitors With Facebook Ads

Let’s face it:

Facebook ads are getting EXPENSIVE.

Fortunately, I found a little “loophole” that’s helped me get laser-targeted visitors for pennies:


Here’s how it works:

First, create a Facebook ad that sends people to a blog post.

Here’s a real-life example:

Next, target people that have visited your site in the last month or two:

Finally, run the ad.

And you’ll probably find that your CPC is dirt cheap vs. most other types of advertising (like Google Adwords).


14. Reduce Your Bounce Rate

A high bounce rate damages your site’s pageviews, conversions… and it can even hurt your SEO.

(In fact, thanks to Google’s RankBrain algorithm, bounce rate is now a super important ranking signal).

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that improving your bounce rate is insanely easy.

I walk you through the entire process in this short video:


15. Publish Long-Form Content

A while back BuzzSumo analyzed a million articles.


They wanted to see which TYPES of content worked best.

And they found that long-form content gets more shares and backlinks than short posts (<1,000 words):

In fact, as you can see in the chart above, long content (>3k words) gets an average of 208% more shares than short articles.

I’ve noticed this myself.

For example, here’s a long-form blog post from my blog (a giant list of SEO techniques):

This guide weighs in at a staggering 6,558 words.

And the simple fact that my post is insanely long is a big reason why it’s been shared 12,909 times:

(And those shares have sent over 50,000 visitors to my website)

16. Optimize for Google’s Mobile-First Index

As you might have heard, Google recently rolled out their “Mobile-First Index”:

This update means that Google now counts the mobile version of your site FIRST.

(It also means that Google largely ignores the desktop version of your site)


How do you know if your site is mobile optimized?

Well, Google created a free tool for doing just that: The Mobile-Friendly Test.

This nifty tool tells you if your site is optimized properly for mobile devices…

… and gives you specific recommendations to make your site better:

I also recommend checking out my guide to mobile optimization.

17. Create an Active YouTube Channel

If you want to drive more traffic to your website, YouTube HAS to be on your radar screen.


YouTube has now passed Facebook as the 2nd most popular website on the planet (only behind Google):

In fact, YouTube is one of my top 5 traffic sources (along with Google, Facebook and referral traffic from blogs).

That said:

Getting views on your YouTube videos is HARD.

But it doesn’t have to be.

That’s why I’m going to point you to two resources that will help you get more views on your videos.

Resource #1: Video SEO: The Definitive Guide

This guide shows you EVERYTHING you need to know about ranking your videos in YouTube and Google.

It covers keyword research, video tags and more.

Resource #2: YouTube SEO: 9 Actionable Tips for Ranking Videos (2018)

This video will show you 9 tips that helped me rank #1 in YouTube for competitive keywords (like “SEO tutorial”):

18. Publish Viral Content

Is there a formula for creating content that goes viral?

Nope! Or else everyone would do it…

That said, there ARE 3 things you can do to increase the odds that your content spreads like wildfire.

1. First, viral content tends to contain lots of visuals.

This can be a bunch of images. Or an infographic. Or a video.

The type of image doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you actually use images in your content.


Industry studies show that image-rich content gets 90%+ more social shares vs. content that’s all text:

2. Second, viral content tends to have a high “Utility”.

This simply means that your content is super useful in some way.

Maybe you show people how to steam broccoli.

Or you teach them to nail their job interview.

Either way, research shows that extremely practical content has a very high chance of going viral.

3. Lastly, viral content needs an initial “push” to get going.

For example, Chris Gimmer got over 17k visitors to his site in one day (thanks to a blog post that went viral):

And it wouldn’t have happened if Chris didn’t promote his content on sites like Reddit… which led to hundreds of visitors within hours.

19. Promote Blog Posts and Videos on Quuu

Quuu is a dead-simple way to get people to promote your content on social media.

All you need to do is submit your best content…

…and they’ll ask influencers to share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more.

I recently promoted one of my posts on Quuu. And got a handful of shares from influential people in the digital marketing space:

Not bad.

20. Republish Old Articles on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an awesome place to syndicate your content.

For example, I published this study of YouTube ranking factors on my blog about a year ago:

This post did well. Lots of people read my post and shared it on social media.

But I KNEW that there were thousands of people that could benefit from my content… but hadn’t seen it yet.

So I republished my content as a LinkedIn article:

Which (along with my other LinkedIn posts) led to a decent chunk of targeted traffic:

21. Use a “Question Analyzer” To Create Insanely Useful Content

This strategy is an AWESOME way to make your content better.

(As you know, the better content = more traffic)

All you need to do is find questions that your target audience asks online.

Then, answer those questions in your content.

Here’s how to do it…

First, use a tool like Buzzsumo’s Question Analyzer or Answer the Public to easily find questions that people ask:

Then, either create entire posts to answer these questions…

…or incorporate the answers into your content.


22. Add Enticing Content To Social Media Posts

Here’s a mistake a lot of people make:

They share their content on social media… without giving people ANY reason to click.

Here’s an example:

Hey, I’m not judging. I used to do the same thing:

But I recently discovered that something:

Adding content to your posts dramatically increase your CTR.

For example, when I tweet out a new post, I include a bulleted list of features:

As you can see, that extra content leads to a ton of engagement:

(And clicks)


23. Improve Your Organic Click-Though-Rate

I have some good news:

If you want more traffic from Google, you DON’T need higher rankings.


Instead, you can focus on improving your click-through-rate (CTR).

For example, let’s say you rank #3 for your target keyword. And your CTR is 4%.

And let’s say that you double that CTR to 8%.

Well, you just doubled your organic traffic… without improving your rankings.

But wait, there’s more 🙂

CTR is now an important ranking signal in Google’s algorithm.

So when you get a higher CTR, you’ll ALSO improve your rankings.

That’s great. But HOW do you improve your CTR?

Here are a few tips that work great:

Add a number to your title (like “17” or “58%”)
Write an intriguing meta description
Test different titles and see which one gets the best CTR
Use titles that are highly emotional
Include your keyword in your URL

Let’s dive right into our next tip…

24. Publish More List Posts

There’s no way around it:

When it comes to driving traffic to your website, list posts work GREAT.

And there’s evidence to back this up.

(Besides the fact that you’re reading a list post right now 😀 )

Like I mentioned way back in strategy #15, BuzzSumo recently analyzed a million articles.

Well, in that same study they found that list posts CRUSHED all other content formats:

As you can see in the chart, list posts got 6x more shares than how-to posts (and 40x more shares than infographics).

And when I look at my own content, I notice the same thing.

For example, this mega list of SEO tools is one of my most shared pieces of content I’ve ever written.

It’s got 18.4k shares and almost 900 comments:

25. Steal Your Competitors’ Traffic Sources

Imagine that you could see the EXACT places that send your competitors traffic.

That would be a goldmine, right?

Well, your competitors aren’t about to send you their Google Analytics password.

Fortunately, you don’t need it.


You can see all of their top traffic sources for free with SimilarWeb.

SimilarWeb not only shows you a sweet overview of a site’s traffic…

…but exactly where they get that traffic from.


26. Drive Traffic To Your Website From Forums

Forums are a VERY underrated traffic source.

When you become an active, respected member of a forum, you’ve built a funnel…

…a funnel that brings people back to your site.

Let me walk you through an example:

When I first got started with my blog, I was starting from scratch.

I had ZERO followers, ZERO visitors and ZERO email subscribers.

And I knew that SEO and social media are both great ways to get traffic… but they take time to kick in.

So to give my traffic a head start, I became an active member of a marketing forum.

I answered people’s questions…

…and even posted some original content:

And this led to a sold influx of visitors to my brand new blog.

And now it’s time for our last strategy…

27. Syndicate Your Content on Medium is one of the BEST places to syndicate your best stuff.

In fact, I recently got 310 targeted visitors in a week from ONE Medium post:

310 visitors isn’t going to change my life or anything.

But they’re 310 visitors that took about 3 minutes to get.

All you need to do is repost your content (word-for-word) on Medium.

Here’s an example of one of my Medium reposts:

Then, once your post is live, share it on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

(This will give the post some juice)

And when Medium sees that people are engaging with your post, they’ll start to promote it within their platform.

Bonus Strategy #1: Post On Social Media at Strategic Times

So CoSchedule recently analyzed the best times to post on social media networks (including Facebook, Instagram, Goolge+ and more).

Here’s what they found:

As you can see, they discovered that the best times to post on each network are:

Facebook: 7am, 12pm, 5pm

Pinterest: 2pm, 9pm, 2am

Instagram: 9am, 5pm, 2am

Google+: 9am, 11am, 1pm

Bonus Strategy #2: Find More Keywords With “Keywords Everywhere”

Keyword research is THE most important part of SEO.

Question is:

How do you find untapped keywords that everyone and their mom doesn’t already know about?

Keywords Everywhere.

Keywords Everywhere is a free Chrome extension that gives you keyword ideas, well…everywhere.

For example…

The next time you do a Google search, you’ll see search volume and CPC data on that keyword:

Or the next time you’re shopping for a toothbrush on Amazon — BOOM — you see keyword data on the terms that Amazon suggests:

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope this post showed you how to increase website traffic using some cool, untapped strategies.

Now I’d like to hear your take:

Which technique from this post are you ready to try first?

Are you going to start syndicating your content on Medium?


Maybe want to publish an awesome list post.

Either way, let me know in the comments section below.

The post 27 Ways to Increase Website Traffic in 2018 appeared first on Backlinko.


27 Best Digital Marketing Podcasts You Need to Listen To

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Here at DigitalMarketer, we love our podcasts.

(For proof, just check out Perpetual Traffic.)

And along those lines, we have some awesome news:

Last month, we launched a brand-new podcast called The DigitalMarketer Podcast, and it’s been getting some stellar reviews…

This new podcast will give you:

A guided tour through the landscape of digital marketing
Introduce you to subject matter experts who are really doing this stuff
Show you what’s working NOW in online marketing

It’s hosted by our own Garrett Holmes and Jenna Snavely, and will be an extension of the DigitalMarketer blog—giving you an even deeper dive into the topics you want to know more about.

We’re biased, obviously, but we think it’s pretty great and you should give it a listen.

And speaking of great podcasts, we asked the DigitalMarketer community and the DigitalMarketer team for the best digital marketing podcasts.

Here are the digital marketing and business podcasts they absolutely love.

Tired of listening to the same old thing? Check out these 27 podcasts and discover something new… or uncover an old classic that may have slipped through the cracks.

Business Podcasts

1. How I Built This

Are you an entrepreneur, innovator, or just a marketer interested in learning more about how businesses find success? Then make sure to check out How I Built This.

In this podcast, Guy Raz interviews founders and team members from some of the world’s best-known companies like Lyft, Lululemon, Stripe, The Knot, Warby Parker, and many more. Get the inside scoop on how companies really succeed in today’s market.

2. EntreLeadership Podcast

Here’s another podcast that shares business and leadership tips from some of the most successful people on the planet—people like Mark Cuban, Daymond John, and our very own Ryan Deiss.

Topics range the gamut from how to create a healthy business culture to dealing with information overload to the danger of complacency and more.

3. Girlboss Radio

Girlboss is an awesome podcast that brings insights from some of the most influential and successful women in business today.

Find out how the founder of Zola got VC funding, and get financial advice from Rebecca Jarvis of ABC News.

But these conversations aren’t limited strictly to business. You’ll also find tips on a wide range of life topics like how to handle grief, dealing with self-sabotage, and how to talk about money with your friends.

4. Recode Media with Peter Kafka

In the Recode podcast, you’ll get an inside look at media and technology today from some of the brightest and most connected people in the industry like Daniel Elk (CEO of Spotify), Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook), and Peter Gould (co-creator of Better Call Saul).

Each guest brings a unique perspective on how the fields of technology and media are evolving and what those changes mean for businesses, marketers, and consumers.

5. Foundr Podcast

Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. Starting any new business from scratch is bound to come with highs and lows. But founding a company might just be a little easier with the help of the Foundr Podcast.

Join Nathan Chan once a week and get the inside scoop on how many of the world’s most famous founders—business people like Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, and Gary Vaynerchuk—managed to succeed on such a massive scale, and what you can learn from their experiences.

6. Skimm’d from The Couch

In this podcast, Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, co-founders of theSkimm, interview many of the world’s most powerful and successful businesswomen. You’ll get a firsthand account of what it really takes to achieve massive success as a woman in the world today.

Notable guests include the brilliant CEOs of Bumble, A+E Networks, Spanx, and many other high-profile companies.

7. StartUp by Gimlet Media

Want to learn what it’s really like to start a business?

Check out this documentary series that interviews real-world entrepreneurs—including the founders of Gimlet Media itself. You’ll get a more realistic idea of the ups, downs, and in-betweens of founding a startup.

Interesting fact: the first season of this podcast was adapted into an ABC sitcom called Alex, Inc.

8. Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman

Masters of Scale promises to show you “how companies grow from zero to a gazillion.”

That’s an exaggeration, of course… but not by much.

Because of host Reid Hoffman’s status in the Silicon Valley, he’s able to attract some high-profile guests from impressive companies like Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook, Reed Hastings from Netflix, and Eric Schmidt from Google. Check this podcast out for its piercing insights and unexpected anecdotes.

Marketing Podcasts

9. Duct Tape Marketing Podcast

Fast Company called Duct Tape Marketing “one of the best podcasts for business-savvy listeners,” and we happen to agree. This show is chock full of marketing tips and strategies from thought leaders like Simon Sinek, Sally Hogshead, and Robert Cialdini.

Want to learn how to monetize your expertise, how to tap into the subscription economy, or how to prepare to sell your business? You’ll learn it all—and more—from this weekly show.

10. Digiday Podcast

There’s no question that business and marketing are becoming more and more digital every year. And that trend is causing a lot of big changes in the marketplace—from issues over privacy to the evolving role of traditional and digital publishers.

Unlike many other podcasts that focus almost exclusively on how-to information, what makes the Digiday Podcast unique is its willingness to take a step back and explore the larger issues going on in digital marketing today.

11. The Smart Passive Income Podcast

Pat Flynn of The Smart Passive Income blog has been around a long time, and in this podcast he shares some of his best tips from over 10 years of experience in blogging and running an online business.

What’s great about Pat is how transparent he is. His site has included income reports for years now, and in his show he shares the truth about topics like why he redesigned his site, what his business goals are, and how and why he chose to write his book. That kind of honesty is really refreshing and one of the reasons you might want to check out this podcast.

12. AskPat 2.0

Pat Flynn makes a second appearance!

With over 1,000 episodes, AskPat is one of the longest-running podcasts on our list.

The first 1,000 episodes took place almost daily, and in those episodes Pat answers questions from his readers and followers. Then starting with episode 1,000, Pat changed up the format to make each episode a deep-dive coaching call where he helps entrepreneurs solve the most pressing issues holding them back in their business.

13. Lion’s Share Marketing Podcast

Want the inside scoop on how big brands are moving the needle with their marketing strategies?

Then definitely check out the Lion’s Share Podcast, which interviews marketing leaders on topics ranging from event marketing to building an email list to the latest ecommerce trends.

Oh, and be sure to check out Episode 22 with our own Marcus Murphy.

14. eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast

If ecommerce is your thing, then the eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast is your show. This podcast examines the ins and outs of running a digital store, and covers topics like Facebook ads, sales funnels, subscription strategies, content marketing, and much more.

What makes this podcast so great is the wide range of ecommerce businesses they interview—you’ll hear from clothing stores, food delivery services, toy stores, and much more. This variety can really help to stir your imagination and give you some fresh new ideas you may not have considered in your own business.

15. Building a StoryBrand with Donald Miller

We’re big fans of Donald Miller here at DigitalMarketer, and if you want to know why, look no further than the Building a StoryBrand Podcast. If you’re not familiar with Donald and StoryBrand, he’s a world-recognized expert at using the principles of story to help businesses clarify their message to better connect with customers.

And in this podcast, he goes beyond the basics and brings in guests who share their own experiences and expertise in using narrative to grow their own businesses.

16. PNR With This Old Marketing Podcast

This is a great podcast that closed its doors (digitally speaking) in December 2017. Don’t let that deter you, though—PNR With This Old Marketing Podcast still has over 200 published episodes containing all tons of content marketing strategies.

Hosts Joe and Robert pay homage to the fact that while people think of “content marketing” as something that’s relatively new, the idea of telling stories to grow your business is an age-old tradition with a long history of success. For that reason, each episode features a “This Old Marketing” example from the past that we can learn from today.

17. Social Business Engine

For all you social media-ites out there, definitely give Social Business Engine a listen.

This podcast zeroes in on the social side of things and explores ways in which companies are using social media across every part of their business—for marketing, sales, product development, and HR. This is an important podcast to listen to, given how rapidly social media is changing and evolving.

Career, Self-Improvement, & Miscellaneous Podcasts

18. The Tim Ferriss Show

Can I assume you’re familiar with Tim Ferriss and his amazing podcast?

If not, you really need to check it out.


The Tim Ferriss Show was the first business podcast to surpass 100 million downloads, was rated a “Best of” Apple Podcast for 3 years now, and is often the #1 business podcast on the iTunes charts.

Don’t let that fool you though—this is much more than just a business podcast. In this show, Tim explores all sorts of fascinating topics, from ketosis and fasting to personal productivity to microdosing psychedelics and much, much more.

19. Lead to Win with Michael Hyatt

If you’re going to succeed (in business, in marketing, or just in life), there are going to be times when you have to step up and be a leader. But being a leader isn’t easy or simple.

Thankfully you’ve got this podcast to help you out. In Lead to Win, New York Times bestselling author Michael Hyatt shares tips and strategies he’s discovered to help you become a better leader—minimizing stress while maximizing your effectiveness and happiness.

20. The Ken Coleman Show

If your career feels limiting, unsatisfying, repetitive, unstimulating, boring… in a nutshell, if you feel STUCK in your job, then check out the Ken Coleman Show.

In it, Ken dishes out near-daily advice to help you get out of your professional rut and discover a role that will increase your income, your happiness, and your impact on the world. Each episode deals with real listener questions about careers, passion, and talent—and how to make the most of yours.

21. Seeking Wisdom

Here’s another excellent podcast about making the most of your personal and professional growth. In this show, David Cancel and Dave Gerhardt seek out and share some of the most profound life wisdom they can find.

You’ll learn some eye-opening lessons, such as why comfort is the enemy of growth, how to overcome your limiting beliefs, and the lies we tell ourselves the most. They’re important topics that, when properly addressed, can transform not just your career… but your whole life.

22. a16z

If you love software, technology, and culture, you’ll probably geek out over a16z.

This show covers so many cool new tech breakthroughs that I don’t even know where to start. Self-driving cars, self-flying cameras, AI, VR, wearable technology, cybersecurity… really interesting stuff, and a great way to stay in-the-loop about the role of new tech in the world today.

23. WorkLife with Adam Grant: A TED original podcast

Your job is important. It’s where you spend about 25% of your life, earn an income, and forge some of your deepest relationships. So shouldn’t you… like…  enjoy it?

That’s the idea behind this podcast, in which organizational psychologist Adam Grant shares workplace insights from people in unusual jobs to help shed more insight on your own professional life and how you can get the most from your time at work.

24. TED Talks Daily

I’m going to assume you know about TED talks. They’re profound, they’re intriguing, they’re hilarious.

And with the TED Talks Daily podcast you can listen to TED anytime, anywhere. Check out this show to be inspired by the world’s leading thinkers and doers while you’re in the car, at the gym, or just in line at the grocery store.

25. This is Product Management

Here’s a niche show that won’t appeal to everyone, but if you’re in product management… you may have just found your podcast heaven. 

This is Product Management interviews guests across a wide spectrum of topics, from user experience to statistics to design and more. Because this is such a multidisciplinary field, it’s important for product managers to have a wide breadth of knowledge—and this podcast will help you get it.

26. The Official Saastr Podcast

If you work in SaaS, you need to listen to Saastr. This is the best podcast I know of that focuses specifically on giving news and content in the competitive SaaS industry.

If you’re on the operator side, you’ll learn strategies that can help take you from $0 to $100 million in ARR faster and easier. Some episodes deal with the investor side as well, answering questions like—what metrics should you look at, and what should you look for in a SaaS company founder?

27. BiggerPockets Podcast

Imagine you scale up your business successfully and the dough is just rolling in.


But… what are you actually going to do with all that money? So you can achieve true financial freedom.

That’s where the BiggerPockets Podcast comes in. Each episode covers actionable strategies to help you earn a solid ROI with your investments. The goal is simple: put your money to work for you so you can achieve financial security and freedom in your life.

(NOTE: Make sure to check out The DigitalMarketer Podcast for incredible interviews and conversations about all things digital marketing! Subscribe so you don’t miss out on the latest episodes and leave an honest review.)

The post 27 Best Digital Marketing Podcasts You Need to Listen To appeared first on DigitalMarketer.


9 Skills Marketers Need in the Age of AI

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The robots are taking over. They’re going to be better than us, and then steal our jobs, and eventually turn on us and conquer the world. That’s the kind of hyperbolic language you’re probably hearing everywhere today. But some of it is true.

Will the skills you’re learning today be obsolete by tomorrow? Is there a point to learning new things if artificial intelligence (AI) is going to do it better? Is marketing going to become completely automated, and no longer require the human touch?

What Exactly Is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

AI lets computers learn from experience and complete human-like tasks. Computers can take large data sets, catch onto patterns within the data, and carry out critical tasks.

AI has the ability to recognize sounds, faces, emotions, and objects, solve problems, understand languages, and plan. At the core of some AI is machine learning, or ML, which involves creating systems that can change their minds given the available data in order to execute a goal.

On a general level, AI can learn patterns and automate a variety of tasks, become more accurate with its results the more it’s used, personalize content and promotions for consumers, and chat with humans to help them achieve goals.

How Marketers Are Already Using AI

Some examples of AI uses in the marketing world include the following.

Stella & Dot empowers women to start businesses. They target three types of women: those who want to sell jewelry, those who want to buy online, and those who host sales events. The company wanted to optimize performances for these three separate audiences, according to Guy Yalif, CEO at Intellimize. They used AI to run more than 700 versions of their pages, including their shopping bag and product detail pages, to see which ones worked for each audience.They determined that changing the headline on the cart page to include emotionally compelling language contributed to a 52% lift from cart to checkout. Additionally, making the call-to-action stay on the screen as visitors looked through product photos contributed to an 8% lift in adding items to a cart. To drive overall engagement, Stella & Dot tested 25 different versions of headline text on a site-wide banner, and found that the headlines contributed to a more than 400% lift in engagement.
Epson created Rachel, a sales assistant/chatbot, to engage with visitors to the company’s site. With the help of AI, Epson discovered that visitors need to be contacted between six to eight times before they respond, and figured out what times of day visitors respond to best, according to Founder of the Marketing Evolution Experience & Digital Analytics Association Jim Sterne.Thanks to chatbot Rachel, Epson experienced a 240% increase in response rate as well as a 75% increase in “hot leads.” This resulted in a $2 million increase in revenue in three months.
HR GO, an HR recruitment firm, used Sentient Ascend, AI-powered conversion optimization technology, to test 1,080 designs on their site. They experienced over 153% more conversions, according to VP of Marketing for Sentient Technologies Jeremy Miller.

AI can make a huge difference, and we’re only getting started. AI usage is not going to slow down anytime soon.

In 2018, revenues from the AI market worldwide were $7.35 billion U.S. It’s expected to reach about $17 billion in 2020 and jump to $89.8 billion in 2025.

According to Salesforce’s 2017 State of Marketing report, 51% of marketing leaders are already utilizing AI. Seventy-two percent of high-performing marketers use AI for predictive lead scoring and product recommendations.

So if marketers aren’t needed to complete these tasks, then what are they left with? Can they compete with AI? How will they fit into this ever-changing landscape? What skills should they be focusing on to secure their roles now and in the future?

Building Your AI Skill Set

You shouldn’t worry about AI replacing you. Instead, you need to refine the skills that AI does not have and the tasks it cannot perform.

“Just as Photoshop has not replaced artists, Word has not replaced writers, and Excel has not replaced mathematicians, machine learning enabled tools will not replace people but will take over tedious, repetitive functions,” says Sterne. “It will augment the work that people do rather than obviate the need for people.”

Do you want to ensure you’ll be able to keep up in this new era of AI? Then do the following:

Sharpen your soft skills. This includes your emotional intelligence and communication skills so you can deepen your relationships with customers and clients.
Understand your customers through the use of qualitative research.
Keep learning how to use and analyze data. You need to know which data sets should be analyzed and tune out any data that doesn’t.
Go towards math and analytics – don’t shy away from them, so you know what to do with the data when you see your results that AI delivers.
Create content (written, video, audio, etc) that your audience will love and will drive them into the sales funnel.
Weigh and handle the privacy concerns, since AI is privacy-blind and consumers are increasingly concerned with privacy.
Look at how AI will serve all your business functions, and form a bigger picture for how it will fit in.
Come to business conclusions with the help of AI, since AI cannot do that for you.
Think about new ways you can use AI to push your business forward and grow. What new applications does it have in store that will boost your business?

Let’s deep dive into each of these skills and how you will use them in the age of AI.

#1 Refining the Soft Skills

AI can take incredibly large data sets and analyze it better than any human ever could. It can come up with valuable predictions and become more efficient than your average marketer at certain tasks. But it can’t personally connect with a customer or interpret a client’s emotions. And isn’t that a huge part of what marketing is all about?

As Raviv Turner, CEO of CaliberMind puts it:

“All the technology in the world probably won’t help you as a marketer if you don’t have the soft skills such as empathy, communication, and accountability, as well as the creative mindset which is required not only to understand your customer, but also to communicate and explain marketing to the c-suite, starting with your CFO & CEO, that often see marketing as a cost center vs. a revenue center.”

Rebecca Horan, a brand strategist, says that because of the human element, marketers will always be necessary, even as the technology becomes more advanced.

“They may be needed more than ever to bridge the gap between automation/AI and human connection. Great brands are built not just on efficacy, but on connection with the consumer. We align ourselves most passionately with the brands that represent who we are, and who we’d like to be. That connection is sometimes nebulous and hard to pin down, but it almost always begins with emotion. I’m of the opinion that a human is still needed to assist in forging that bond between brand and buyer.”

Strengthening communication skills is key, as is learning how to do segmentation, automation, data, and analytics, and pairing them with a customer-centric mindset, says Turner. “A machine can’t provide the soft skills such as empathy, curiosity, and personal communication that successful marketers posses.”

#2 Understanding your customers through qualitative research

AI can be part of how you understand your customers.Y

For instance, you can use AI to collect tons of data on how customers interact with various parts of your website, including your headlines, product pages, and shopping cart experiences. ou can collect data on thousands of calls between your sales team and your clients, or your customer service representatives and your customers, and see what pain points they have.

AI can show you how customers get through different points of your sales funnel and what interactions they have along the way.

But AI and raw data alone aren’t going to help you understand your customers. You have to look at the data it gives you, and then decide what elements and strategies to test.

Yalif says that marketers need to strive to understand their customers, no matter how advanced AI becomes:

“Spend time speaking with and studying the needs of your customers. Look for chances to walk in your customers’ and prospects’ shoes. Experience what they experience with your brand, your product, and your website. Think through what it is like for your customer to go from prospect to interested buyer to customer to repeat customer.”

#3 Choosing the correct data sets to analyze

Your customers are going to generate a ton of data. But it’s a waste of your time to use AI to analyze all of it. You must be able to identify which data sets should be considered and can give you the outcomes you’re searching for.

“Too little data results in highly confident answers that are wrong,” says Sterne. “If you flip a coin three times and it comes up heads each time, the machine will predict heads on the next flip with 100% confidence. An insufficient variety of data will leave blind spots. The machine will recommend reaching out to customers who haven’t been in touch for years, without knowing that they have moved or died. Too many types of data will simply be noise and cause the machine to waver on any result. It will predict that all outcomes have the same chance of success.”

#4 Getting up to speed with analytics, coding, and math

AI is excellent at identifying patterns, and it may eventually be able to perform all the hard skills of today. But marketers will still need to figure out how to use the data to propel their businesses forward.

According to Turner, you should stay curious about your data and technology. That means going on marketing forums and looking at code samples and video tutorials.

“It’s fairly easy to learn the basics of machine learning using Coursera or other online courses,” he says. “I see marketers failing with predictive marketing tools because they don’t even have a basic understanding of how machine learning works or what data they need to be successful.”

You also have to be excellent at math so you can make key business decisions after reviewing your data.

According to Mike Moran, former IBM Distinguished Engineer and Senior Strategist to AI marketing technology startups Converseon and SoloSegment, “If you are going into the marketing profession as a refuge from math, that’s likely a mistake. You at least need to be comfortable making decisions based on data, even if you’re not the one collecting or calculating the numbers yourself.”

#5 Creating engaging content for your audience

Content marketing is highly important today: 60 percent of marketers are putting out at least one piece of content per day. It has proven its value, since it costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing and can generate around three times as many leads.

In the future, content marketing will continue to be critical: By 2020, content marketing spend in Europe alone is going to reach 2.12 billion Euros, up from 740 million Euros in 2014.

AI will work hand in hand with content marketing. It can deliver personalized paid ads that surround content, and even curate content itself. But it can’t write blog posts, make videos, or take photos that are going to entertain, inform, and connect with customers.

Director of Digital Marketing at Solodev and DigitalUs Wes Marsh says that in 2020, 2025, and beyond, marketers will still need to know how to be great at content.

“Content is king is a motto that’s been around for decades, but it won’t go away any time soon. The ability to create relevant content for unique audiences will be just as important in the 2020s as it was in the early years of the millennium.”

#6 Understanding the ethical concerns

AI may be highly “intelligent”, and it can collect a huge amount of consumer data, but it doesn’t have a conscience. As marketers have experienced with GDPR, ethical concerns are going to be key moving forward. Marketers have to be able to communicate how they are protecting consumer data and make their customers feel comfortable.

“Ethical considerations will also be paramount as we navigate privacy and automation issues,” says Courtney Herda, CEO of Smarter Searches. “This will demand a certain ethical understanding and moral compass from the marketing industry in previously uncharted waters.”

#7 Looking at the big picture

AI is only one part of running a successful marketing firm. Marketers also need to tie all their findings together and see how they fit into the big picture.

“The data hounds are the ones that will be able to drive the most value not just by crunching numbers, but by identifying the key trends, casualties, and relationships that businesses can leverage to improve results,” says Marsh.

When you combine the number of tools in the MarTech stack with AI and ML, you can become better at marketing, according to Marsh. “However, being able to see how various marketing activities impact each other and overall results is still a relatively rare skill, and tremendously valuable.”

#8 Codifying analytical thinking skills

AI is going to outperform humans when it comes to tasks like reviewing campaigns and finding the low performers, as well as analyzing marketing segments and picking the ones to target, says Moran. But it can’t come to business conclusions for you.

“What you should be doing instead is codifying the thinking that leads you to your conclusions, because the machines can do these jobs better and faster than you. Instead, you should be aiming at higher-level thinking around building the right teams, thinking up the new ideas, and coming up with that better, simpler marketing message.”

Moran continues, “AI does not automate jobs, it automates tasks. So fill your job with more tasks that are hard to automate. If you do, I think you will always find more of them as time goes on.”

#9 Adopting a growth mindset

AI can’t suggest new ways to use AI to propel your business forward. Only you can think creatively about how to leverage it for your business needs.

“Having a growth mindset means believing you can improve your skills and value by continuously learning and improving over time,” says Yalif. “This usually means fostering a spirit of curiosity and continually testing, learning, and iterating. In the context of this discussion, a growth mindset may mean developing new skills so that you can better leverage AI to do rote work while you ideate more and deliver better results for your company.”

Instead of manually fine tuning email and ad campaigns, constantly testing different strategies, and using a plethora of platforms to run analytics, marketers will need to go old school in this new landscape.

Miller says, “I predict the future of marketing for the professional to look a lot like marketing of the past. [This means] less time spent on pulling the levers of different analytics tools, DSPs, and marketing automation platforms and more time spent on strategy and planning, ideation, and creativity.


Above all, learn how to love AI and work with it. It’s here to stay, and it’s here to help. Learn how it can complement you and you marketing activities. Determine how it can boost your current efforts and amplify your marketing spend. When you combine AI with human skills, you can achieve fantastic results and boost your bottom line.

The post 9 Skills Marketers Need in the Age of AI appeared first on CXL.


Writing Content That Is Too In-Depth Is Like Throwing Money Out the Window

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You’ve heard people telling you that you need to write in-depth content because that’s what Google wants.

And it’s true… the average page that ranks on page 1 of Google contains 1,890 words.

But you already know that.

The question is, should you be writing 2,000-word articles? 5,000? Or maybe even go crazy and create ultimate guides that are 30,000 words?

What’s funny is, I have done it all.

I’ve even tested out adding custom images and illustrations to these in-depth articles to see if that helps.

And of course, I tested if having one super long page with tens of thousands of words or having multiple pages with 4,000 or 5,000 words is better.

So, what do you think? How in-depth should your content be?

Well, let’s first look at my first marketing blog, Quick Sprout.

Short articles don’t rank well

With Quick Sprout, it started off just like any normal blog.

I would write 500 to 1,000-word blog posts and Google loved me.

Just look at my traffic during January 2011.

As you can see, I had a whopping 67,038 unique visitors. That’s not too bad.

Even with the content being short, it did fairly well on Google over the years.

But over time, more marketing blogs started to pop up, competition increased, and I had no choice but to write more detailed content.

I started writing posts that were anywhere from 1,000 to a few thousand words. When I started to do that, I was able to rapidly grow my traffic from 67,038 to 115,759 in one year.

That’s a 72.67% increase in traffic in just 1 year.

It was one of my best years, and all I had to do was write longer content.

So naturally, I kept up with the trend and continually focused on longer content.

But as the competition kept increasing, my traffic started to stagnate, even though I was producing in-depth content.

Here are my traffic stats for November 2012 on Quick Sprout.

I understand that Thanksgiving takes place in November, hence traffic wasn’t as high as it could be. But still, there really wasn’t any growth from January to November of 2012.

In other words, writing in-depth content that was a few thousand words max wasn’t working out.

So what next?

Well, my traffic had plateaued. I had to figure something else out.

Writing longer, more in-depth content had helped me before… so I thought, why not try the 10x formula.

I decided to create content 10 times longer, better, and more in-depth than everyone else. I was going to the extreme because I knew it would reduce the chance of others copying me.

Plus, I was hoping that you would love it as a reader.

So, on January 24, 2013, I released my first in-depth guide.

It was called The Advanced Guide to SEO.

It was so in-depth that it could have been a book.


Heck, some say it was even better than a book as I paid someone for custom illustration work.

Now let’s look at the traffic stats for January 2013 when I published the guide.

As you can see my traffic really started to climb again.

I went from 112,681 visitors in November to 244,923 visitors in January. Within 2 months I grew my traffic by 117%.

That’s crazy!!!!

The only difference: I was creating content that was so in-depth that no one else dared to copy to me (at that time).

Sure, some tried and a few were able to create some great content, but it wasn’t like hundreds of competing in-depth guides were coming out each year. Not even close!

Now, when I published the guide I broke it down into multiple chapters like a book because when I tested out making it one long page, it loaded so slow that the user experience was terrible.

Nonetheless, the strategy was effective.

So what did I do next?

I created 12 in-depth guides

I partnered up with other marketers and created over 280,000 words of marketing content. I picked every major subject… from online marketing to landing pages to growth hacking.

I did whatever I could to generate the most traffic within the digital marketing space.

It took a lot of time and money to create all 12 of these guides, but it was worth it.

By January of 2014, my traffic had reached all-time highs.

I was generating 378,434 visitors a month. That’s a lot for a personal blog on marketing.

Heck, that’s a lot for any blog.

In other words, writing 10x content that was super in-depth worked really well. Even when I stopped producing guides, my traffic, continually rose.

Here’s my traffic in January 2015:

And here’s January 2016 for Quick Sprout:

But over time something happened. My traffic didn’t keep growing. And it didn’t stay flat either… it started to drop.

In 2017, my traffic dropped for the first time.

It went from 518,068 monthly visitors to 451,485. It wasn’t a huge drop, but it was a drop.

And in 2018 my traffic dropped even more:

I saw a huge drop in 2018. Traffic went down to just 297,251 monthly visitors.

And sure, part of that is because I shifted my focus to, which has become the main place I blog now.

But it’s largely that I learned something new when building up

Longer isn’t always better

Similar to Quick Sprout, I have in-depth guides on

I have guides on online marketing, SEO, Google ads, Facebook ads, and the list goes on and on.

If you happened to click on any of the guides above you’ll notice that they are drastically different than the ones on Quick Sprout.

Here are the main differences:

No fancy design – I found with the Quick Sprout experience, people love the fancy designs, but over time content gets old and outdated. To update content when there are so many custom illustrations is tough, which means you probably won’t update it as often as you should. This causes traffic to go down over time because people want to read up-to-date and relevant information.
Shorter and to the point – I’ve found that you don’t need super in-depth content. The guides on rank in similar positions on Google and cap out at around 10,000 words. They are still in-depth, but I found that after 10,000 or so words there are diminishing returns.

Now let’s look at the stats.

Here’s the traffic to the advanced SEO guide on Quick Sprout over the last 30 days:

Over 7,842 unique pageviews. There are tons of chapters and as you can see people are going through all of them.

And now let’s look at the SEO guide:

I spent a lot less time, energy, and money creating the guide on, yet it receives 17,442 unique pageviews per month, which is more than the Quick Sprout guide. That’s a 122% difference!

But how is that possible?

I know what you are thinking. Google wants people to create higher quality content that benefits people.

So how is it that the one ranks higher.

Is it because of backlinks?

Well, the guide on Quick Sprout has 850 referring domains:

And the has 831 referring domains:

Plus, they have similar URL ratings and domain ratings according to Ahrefs so that can’t be it.

So, what gives?

Google is a machine. It doesn’t think with emotions, it uses logic. While we as a user look at the guide on Quick Sprout and think that it looks better and is more in-depth, Google focuses on the facts.

See, Google doesn’t determine if one article is better than another by asking people for their opinion. Instead, they look at the data.

For example, they can look at the following metrics:

Time on site – which content piece has a better time on site?
Bounce rate – which content piece has the lowest bounce rate?
Back button – does the article solve all of the visitors’ questions and concerns? So much so they visitor doesn’t have to hit the back button and go back to Google to find another web page?

And those are just a few things that Google looks at from their 200+ ranking factors.

Because of this, I took a different approach to, which is why my traffic has continually gone up over time.

Instead of using opinion and spending tons of energy creating content that I think is amazing, I decided to let Google guide me.

With, my articles range from 2,000 to 3,000 words. I’ve tried articles with 5,000+ words, but there is no guarantee that the more in-depth content will generate more traffic or that users will love it.

Now to clarify, I’m not trying to be lazy.

Instead, I’m trying to create amazing content while being short and to the point. I want to be efficient with both my time and your time while still delivering immense value.

Here’s the process I use to ensure I am not writing tons of content that people don’t want to read.

Be data driven

Because there is no guarantee that an article or blog post will do well, I focus on writing amazing content that is 2,000 to 3,000-words long.

I stick within that region because it is short enough where you will read it and long enough that I can go in-depth enough to provide value.

Once I release a handful of articles, I then look to see which ones you prefer based on social shares and search traffic.

Now that I have a list of articles that are doing somewhat well, I log into Google Search Console and find those URLs.

You can find a list of URLs within Google Search Console by clicking on “Search Traffic” and then “Search Analytics”.

You’ll see a screen load that looks something like this:

From there you’ll want to click on the “pages” button. You should be looking at a screen that looks similar to this:

Find the pages that are gaining traction based on total search traffic and social shares and then click on them (you can input URLs into Shared Count to find out social sharing data).

Once you click on the URL, you’ll want to select the “Queries” icon to see which search terms people are finding that article from.

Now go back to your article and make it more in-depth.

And when I say in-depth, I am not talking about word count like I used to focus on at Quick Sprout.

Instead, I am talking depth… did the article cover everything that the user was looking for?

If you can cover everything in 3,000 words then you are good. If not, you’ll have to make it longer.

The way you do this is by seeing which search queries people are using to find your articles (like in the screenshot above). Keep in mind that people aren’t searching Google in a deliberate effort to land on your site… people use Google because they are looking for a solution to their problem.

Think of those queries that Google Search Console is showing you as “questions” people have.

If your article is in-depth enough to answer all of those questions, then you have done a good job.

If not, you’ll have to go more in-depth.

In essence, you are adding more words to your article, but you aren’t adding fluff.

You’re not keyword stuffing either. You are simply making sure to cover all aspects of the subject within your article.

This is how you write in-depth articles and not waste your time (or money) on word count.

And that’s how I grew without writing too many unnecessary words.


If you are writing 10,000-word articles you are wasting your time. Heck, even articles over 5,000 words could be wasting your time if you are only going after as many words as possible and adding tons of fluff along the way.

You don’t know what people want to read. You’re just taking a guess.

The best approach is to write content that is amazing and within the 2,000-word to 3,000-word range, assuming you’re in a competitive industry. If your industry isn’t as competitive (and it lacks content online) then you can get away with posts under 1,000 words.

Once you publish the content, give it a few months and then look at search traffic as well as social sharing data to see what people love.

Take those articles and invest more resources into making them better and ultimately more in-depth (in terms of quality and information, not word count).

The last thing you want to do is write in-depth articles on subjects that very few people care about.

Just look at the Advanced Guide to SEO on Quick Sprout… I made an obvious mistake. I made it super in-depth on “advanced SEO”. But when you search Google for the term “SEO” and you scroll to the bottom to see related queries you see this…

People are looking for the basics of SEO, not advanced SEO information.

If I wrote a 2,000-word blog post instead of a 20,000-word guide, I could have caught this early on and adapted the article more to what people want versus what I thought they wanted.

That’s a major difference.

So how in-depth are you going to make your content?

The post Writing Content That Is Too In-Depth Is Like Throwing Money Out the Window appeared first on Neil Patel.

The 5-Message Sequence: A LinkedIn Marketing Strategy that Generated $101k+ in 9 Months 0

The 5-Message Sequence: A LinkedIn Marketing Strategy that Generated $101k+ in 9 Months

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You don’t need thousands of leads.

You just need the right ones. The question is… how do you find them?

A lot of people focus too much of their time being everywhere and everything to everyone in the hopes that something will work, and they’ll finally get traction—we call this the “Spray and Pray” approach.

But as a DigitalMarketer reader, you already know that it takes a well-planned strategy and action plan to have success.

What may surprise you, however, is that being on all the social media outlets, pumping out content, and putting ads everywhere…

Is not always necessary, especially when you’re looking to sell a high-ticket service offering.

Being on all the social media outlets, pumping out content, and putting ads everywhere is not always necessary, especially when you’re looking to sell a high-ticket service offering.

This may seem blasphemous to many a marketer, but in these cases, a more simple, straightforward approach based on building strategic business relationships can many times trump big ad spends or complicated funnels.

And one of the BEST places to do this is actually on LinkedIn, where there are TONS of businesses to compete against, true, but where you also have all the big-name prospects you’d ever need at your fingertips.

You just need a way to stand out and rise above all the noise. And building relationships is the key to that.

Following this simple, straightforward approach, we’ve been able to help our clients build relationships with their ideal prospects. This system has generated appointments with decision makers at big-name companies like…


This works for nearly any industry, as long as you have a specific prospect and a high-ticket offering.

Today, you’ll learn about Matt Jones, a corporate health and safety consultant, who finally saw major traction in his business when he streamlined his marketing efforts to focus on relationships and, using a simple 5-message sequence on LinkedIn, generated over $101,000 in fewer than 9 months.

You’ll also learn:

How the common approach most people take on LinkedIn backfires and how you can stand out from your competitors in a crowded market
Why LinkedIn is a gold mine for building strategic relationships and starting business conversations
What successful salespeople do to stay top-of-mind with their best prospects without being pushy or salesy
The exact messaging scripts we taught Matt Jones and hundreds of other business owners like him to generate appointments and sales with his high-ticket prospects
How the scripts work within a larger relationship marketing strategy and how you can implement this for your own business to build major trust with your prospects, create undeniable industry authority and influence, and even close high-ticket leads

But first, let’s talk about what doesn’t work on LinkedIn…

The Hard-and-Fast Sell

Coaches and consultants are everywhere. Take a look at how many are on LinkedIn…

And if you want to blend in with the rest of them, try this:

This is extremely commonplace, even though it doesn’t work…

Sure, you might get 1 or 2 people to bite eventually because, like they say, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.

But when you are targeting your MOST valuable leads, many of us can’t afford to burn through prospects left and right.

Let’s explore why the hard-and-fast sell doesn’t work.

No one explains it better than Chet Holmes, author of The Ultimate Sales Machine, with his Demand Generation Pyramid. It looks like this:

Chet’s research revealed that only 3% of your target market are actually ready to buy at any time. Which means that if you send a message on LinkedIn encouraging someone to buy right away, there’s a 97% chance that they’re not ready to hear your offer and will immediately shut you down—not the result we’re after!

This requires a complete switch in how we sell…

When you focus on building a relationship instead of going directly for the hard sell, you’ll not only build trust with your prospect, you’ll also position yourself as an expert authority in your industry.

THIS is how you stand out from all the other vendors fighting for your prospect’s attention so that when they do move into that 3% that’s ready to buy, they know exactly who they’ll turn to.

(NOTE: Before you can start targeting your audience, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel: Do What the Most Successful Salespeople Do

The question is, how do we actually build that trust and nurture a sincere relationship? To answer that, let’s take a look at what the most successful salespeople are already doing…

They already know that a hard sell like the one above isn’t going to cut it. They also know that it actually takes 7 to 13+ touches before most prospects will even consider doing business with you.

Microsoft shared their research on this…

What buyers and decision-makers respond to is a positive experience and a valuable relationship, especially if they’re one of the 97% that’s not ready to buy yet.

(*As a side note—this is one reason why LinkedIn is so perfect for this strategy… it allows you to easily message your best prospects in a FAR less crowded inbox than email.)

The problem is, most businesses don’t even make it to 5 touchpoints. As you can see from the graphic above, Microsoft’s study shows that by the fourth contact, a full 89% of salespeople have moved on.

What buyers and decision-makers respond to is a positive experience and a valuable relationship, especially if they’re one of the 97% that’s not ready to buy yet.

In fact, Salesforce explains it perfectly, “To win at selling now means helping your customers win too, fostering a discussion that uncovers their needs and proposing solutions that best fit them.”

See the chart below for their findings:

All this tells us that business buyers respond most to those they trust and have a relationship with.

Now let’s take a look at how business owners like Matt Jones are able to build relationships with their best prospects using our process…

The Exact Process Matt Jones Followed to Generate over $100K in 9 Months

Matt Jones is the Owner and Operator of Advanced Safety, a health and safety consultancy in New Zealand, and before he started using the exact process I’m about to show you, he was in a very sticky place. He knew he had something to offer, he knew that he could make his business work, but he just hadn’t figured out how to do it.

He needed a consistent stream of good-quality leads, giving him opportunities to close new clients every single month. With only a few hundred in the bank and pressure from all sides to return to the corporate world, he needed to do something different…

“I was a start-up business. I literally had a few hundred dollars in the bank. It was a crossroads moment in my life where I had the choice of turning back to the corporate world or going out myself. I had a lot of people in the background advising me to get back to the corporate world where I had a guaranteed income and could pay the mortgage and the bills.”

So, using the system we taught him, he gave it one last effort and started to create simple relationships with his primary targets.

Once they trusted him as an expert in his field and as someone who could deliver results for them, these relationships naturally turned into the conversations that fueled his business growth and allowed him to produce more than $100,000 within 9 months.

Here’s the exact process we helped Matt, along with hundreds of others, implement on LinkedIn to build more trust with their best, high-value prospects:

Niche Down

First, he niched down and got very clear on exactly who he wanted to target. This is key to the whole system!

(RELATED: [DOWNLOAD] The Customer Avatar Worksheet: Finally, Get Clear on WHO You Are Selling To!)

If you target the wrong people…

The sale will be harder
They’ll likely be more difficult clients to work with
They won’t help your business move forward. You want to target people who will become excellent clients, people you know you can get results for, and people who will pay you appropriately for those results

You might have heard the phrase, “the riches are in the niches,” or like Seth Godin said, “Everyone is not your customer.” And it’s ABSOLUTELY true. Because you cannot be everything to everyone.

Matt decided to target small, medium, and large businesses specifically in New Zealand. He created a LinkedIn group to attract these very people…

Is he missing out on business?

No. It’s the opposite.

He’s able to speak to a specific group of people who have very specific, shared experiences and interests. In his communication, he is now able to speak directly to those specific needs and interests, positioning himself as THE go-to guy for anyone in that situation who needs help with their taxes.

Here are some other examples of what that looks like…

And don’t worry, as you grow, you can expand outside your chosen niche. In fact, look at what our client, Aaron Agius did…

He initially started out targeting “Marketing executives and directors in Australia.”

Now, he didn’t ONLY work with Australians. But he tailored his LinkedIn work more specifically to that audience to help him stand above the noise. Once he began to get a following in that niche, he expanded to include international audiences.

But it doesn’t just have to be finding your niche based on geography.

Just look at Tom Swip, CEO of Swip System, a software development company specifically for manufacturers.

We have clients who tailor their LinkedIn campaigns to all sorts of different niches—from job position or title to industry, gender, age, and more.

Starting with a well-defined niche and following the rest of the process in this article is what has led Tom to generate over $600,000 in new client revenue.

Build and Nurture the Relationship

Once Matt knew exactly who his BEST prospects would be, he began messaging them in a very strategic way designed to build trust and nurture the relationship.

To do so, he used a multi-point messaging process that looks like this…

Message 1: Thanks for Connecting

Message 2: Link to quality resource

Message 3: Link to high-level discussion in group

Message 4: Request for call

Message 5: Follow up to Message 4

Let’s dive into each of these messages now…

Your Multi-Touch Messaging Campaign

Below is an example messaging template we recommend to Matt and other consultants and coaches to help open the door to sincere business conversations. You will want to update these scripts to include specifics about you, your business, your prospect, and your industry.

Consider this a starting point to boost your own messaging campaigns and spread them out over a few weeks.

Message 1: Thanks for connecting

This message sets the tone for the relationship.

Instead of being another sales rep with commission-breath on the tongue. We are simply thanking the prospect for connecting and looking to build on that connection on LinkedIn.

Message 2: Link to quality resource (3rd party content)

This message is about value and positioning.

You are providing your prospect a resource they’ll find useful without an immediate benefit to your bottom-line.

That positions you differently in the mind of your prospect.

You led with value that wasn’t directly tied to a sales funnel.

You are now a resource.

Message 3: Link to group discussion

For our clients with a LinkedIn group, this is where we love to promote the group through the lens of it being another resource the prospect can use.

If you have created a group that is specifically for your prospects and about what they care about (not just your solution), then this will cement you as an industry resource in the mind of your prospect.

You aren’t another vendor. You are different. You can be a trusted advisor.

Message 4: Request for phone call

A key addition to Message 4 is providing a quasi-specific timeframe for this conversation.

The easier you can make your call to action on a prospect, the more prospects you’ll have follow through.

This approach is looking to further build the relationship with your prospect.

We find in our campaigns that giving general timeframes (i.e. day of the week + morning/afternoon) is the best practice.

This approach is looking to further build the relationship with your prospect.

By getting them into a conversation or appointment, you are effectively taking the relationship to the next level. Think of this as moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend. You haven’t yet made the pitch (proposal) or sale (marriage), but you’re moving toward that point.

Message 5: Follow-up for phone call

Always, always, always follow-up.

Don’t leave your call to action by itself. Add a follow-up, and you may try a different angle with this one. For example, you see above the place in the template to add some information about your business and who you help.

This is a more direct approach, but it can be effective as a follow-up.

How You Can Get More Appointments with Your High-Value Prospects

This messaging strategy has seen success in numerous industries and with various company sizes, from small to big businesses. It has also helped our clients get their foot in the door at otherwise nearly-impossible-to-reach big-name companies—and it can do the same for you.

The best part is, targeting your best prospects and sending out a multi-touch messaging campaign doesn’t take nearly as much time as you think, especially once you break it down into a manageable system. Then, once you’ve developed the relationship, the sales conversation happens much more naturally, so that when your client eventually moves into the 3% of prospects that are ready to buy, you already have the relationship and you’ve already proved your value.

However… remember that this messaging campaign should be part of a larger LinkedIn strategy; success on LinkedIn isn’t just about logging on and blasting out messages to everyone.

While the messages we just reviewed are a key factor in a successful LinkedIn campaign, they work best in synergy with other components of a strategic plan. So, in order to maximize the effectiveness of your messaging campaign, here are a few other things to keep in mind.

You need to:

Properly optimize your profile to attract your best prospects in the first place
Have an efficient system to continually bring new prospects into your network
Use the right language in YOUR specific message that will compel them to take action
Know how to convert them from an appointment into a paying client

When you use a marketing method that focuses on creating and nurturing strategic relationships with the RIGHT prospects, you can stop the “Spray and Pray” approach that is too common on social media these days and start booking high-ticket sales appointments on LinkedIn.

(NOTE: Before you can start targeting your audience, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

The post The 5-Message Sequence: A LinkedIn Marketing Strategy that Generated $101k+ in 9 Months appeared first on DigitalMarketer.


[DOWNLOAD] Score Your Paid Traffic With The 5-Point Paid Ad Audit

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If you gave your paid traffic ads a grade…

Would they pass or fail?

No matter the traffic platform or the type of ad you are running, you must have the right elements in place for your traffic campaign to be successful!

That’s why I’ve created the Paid Traffic Audit to help you see how your paid traffic measures up (or to score your employees, competitors, or total strangers just for fun)!

(NOTE: You’ll get a downloadable version of the Paid Ad Audit at the end of this article.)

The Paid Ad Audit has 5 components (labeled above):

Grading Elements: Evaluate elements like copy, creative, scent, offer, and targeting of the ad
Grading Criteria: Grade these elements based on specific criteria
Element Scores: Score each element separately on a scale from Exceptional to Unsatisfactory
Final Score: Receive an overall score out of 20
Action Items: Take action to improve elements that don’t receive a perfect score

The Components of the Paid Ad Audit

This article contains a process for conducting a Paid Traffic Audit. You’ll learn the 5 elements to score on every paid traffic ad and get access to our Paid Ad Audit tool.

(RELATED: Crafting a Digital Advertising Plan)

There are 5 elements to a paid ad audit:


Who Should Use the Paid Ad Audit?

In this post you’ll learn to evaluate and improve each of these elements. Then, you’ll get access to our Paid Ad Audit spreadsheet.

Here’s how to put this audit to work:

Paid Traffic Specialists: Audit and improve your own ads
Business Owners and Managers: Audit the ads of your employees to improve their performance
Agencies: Audit ads of potential clients as a way to show them how much you could help if they were to hire you

Let’s dive into the 5 elements of the audit.

Paid Ad Audit Element 1: Offer

Ah, the offer. This is where we see the majority of mistakes when it comes to traffic campaigns… or marketing in general.

You build a great marketing campaign, execute on it, and… nothing. No one buys.

When you examine the campaign, you realize it has nothing to do with the marketing.
You were promoting something that no one wanted (or at least that market didn’t want).

Are you sending traffic to something that people actually want?

Plain and simple. 

That’s the theme of this first element.

Whether you’re sending traffic to a blog post, Lead Magnet, webinar, physical product, online product, local discount… ANY offer under the sun, you must make sure that it’s something that people actually desire.

The best way to determine whether your offer is the problem is to analyze your data. Use this troubleshooting guide to figure out what exactly is ailing your campaign.

Paid Ad Audit Element 2: Copy

There’s one thing that successful ad copy CANNOT be…

…and that is BORING.

If your copy sounds robotic or overly salesy, then it’s simply going to miss the mark.

You are, after all, marketing to human beings, so ad copy with voice and personality are going to perform much better than pitchy pleas to separate a customer from their money.

When it comes down to it, the role of a marketer is to explain the value that a product or service will bring to a potential customer in a way that will make that customer take action.

To do so, it’s vital that your ad copy speaks to a pain point or a desired end benefit that strongly resonates with your target audience without overselling or over-promising.

That includes the call to action (CTA).

CTA’s don’t have to be “Click Here!” or “Buy Now!”. They simply tell the reader what to do next—it doesn’t have to be aggressive.

Exceptional ad copy will…

Speak to the a specific pain point or desired end result of the target audience
Make a clear call to action without being misleading or “hypey”
Be overall compelling without being misleading or “hypey”

Learn how to write great ad copy using these Facebook Ad Templates.

Paid Ad Audit Element 3: Creative

Your ad creative includes..

any other visual elements of your ad

The creative you use will depend on the traffic platform your ad will run on: video for Youtube, images for Pinterest, etc.

What’s important is that your ad creative depicts your MARKETING MESSAGE.

(RELATED: Find My Market: How to Choose The Right Traffic Source For Your Market)

If your reader can get the gist of your message without having to read the copy, you’re going to have a very successful ad.

It’s important to note that ad creative shouldn’t draw attention away from your marketing message by being flashy or off-brand.

This is doubly important if you’re running a series of ads and the prospect is familiar with your brand—the creative on those retargeting ads should remain consistent and maintain brand recognition.

(RELATED: Facebook Ad Design Inspiration: Veteran Graphic Designer Critiques 10 Facebook Ads)

Elements of exceptional ad creative:

It catches attention of the reader without being flashy or off-brand
It portrays the marketing messages
It reflects the brand and customer journey

(NOTE: Want The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library? Copy & paste these 7 proven Facebook ad campaigns to create low-cost, high-converting ads on demand. Get them here.)

Paid Ad Audit Element 4: Scent

As I discussed before, “ad scent” can be described as the user experience from the moment they click on an ad to the moment they land on the landing page. If the landing page looks, feels, and says different things, your ad just won’t perform.

This means everything from the ad creative to the copy to the offer should remain uniform.

For a strong ad scent, keep 3 major elements consistent:

Design (think color scheme, layout, imagery, and font selection/size/color)
Benefits (the headline, sub headline, and image should highlight the same benefits as the ad)
Offer (use the same language from ad to landing page headline)

If the scent from what was promised is incongruent with what is delivered , virtually every visitor will bounce immediately.

Elements of exceptional ad scent:

Design elements are consistent between the ad and landing page
Copy and voice in the ad are reflected on the landing page

Paid Ad Audit Element 5: Targeting

You can build the best advertising campaign in the world, but if you put that campaign in front of the wrong audience—it will fail.

At DigitalMarketer, we teach that the key to successful targeting is SPECIFICITY.

You must ensure that your target audience isn’t too BROAD—instead, make sure that you’ve really narrowed in on the avid part of your market… the people that actually want to BUY.

When an audience is too large, platforms have a hard time optimizing your ads because there are just too many people it’s trying to reach.

(RELATED: [DOWNLOAD] The Complete Guide to Facebook Ad Targeting)

On the other side of the coin, be mindful that your target audience isn’t too SMALL—or your ad will end up getting no impressions.

While you’re narrowing down your audience, be sure sure you’re targeting the market living in the specific areas your product or service is available.

If you’re a local business, you don’t want to market across the country. If you’re a global business, you’ll want to make sure you’re only selecting countries with the same language that your service supports.

(RELATED: How to Use Facebook Advertising to Grow Your Local Business)

Elements of exceptional ad targeting:

It’s specific to the part of your market who is willing to buy
The targeting is not too broad or too small
Ads are only targeted to geographic locations where you can sell your product

Now let’s take a look at the Paid Ad Audit in action.

5-Point Paid Ad Audit Scoring Scale

I recently evaluated some Facebook ads and gave them a grade based on the five paid ad elements and this scoring scale:


Exceptional: 4
Competent: 3
Needs Improvement: 2
Unsatisfactory: 1


Exceptional: 4
Competent: 3
Needs Improvement: 2
Unsatisfactory: 1


Exceptional: 4
Competent: 3
Needs Improvement: 2
Unsatisfactory: 1


Exceptional: 4
Competent: 3
Needs Improvement: 2
Unsatisfactory: 1


Exceptional: 4
Competent: 3
Needs Improvement: 2
Unsatisfactory: 1

Let’s take a look and see how these ads measure up.

Offer: 4 is a service that helps people find jobs.

It definitely fills a need that people have and is an amazing product.

Copy: 4

The copy hits a pain point in the first sentence and provides a solution in the second. Most people that are dissatisfied with their job can relate to counting down the hours until they leave the office.

This copy sounds personalized, like you’re talking to a friend.

Hired then transitions by saying “it might be time for a change,” and uses social proof (3,500 companies) to entice someone to click to find a job that they are passionate about.

I love how they call out “Sales Pros” in Austin with the ad’s headline. It definitely catches your attention.

Creative: 4

This creative is AWESOME. It really portrays the marketing message “Get more out of your work/life balance”. I love how literal they are with the image. They use a gauge that is leaning towards “life.”

The image is eye catching without being too salesy or flashy.

Scent: 3

Hired maintains their messaging as you click over the landing page. The landing page speaks specifically to sales professionals, as the ad did.

I wish they would have maintained messaging around work/life balance or the pain point of watching the clock. The image design and colors also could have been more congruent from the ad to the landing page. 

Targeting: 4

I live in Austin and I am a Marketing/Sales professional so they really hit the nail on the head with this one. Running geographically specific campaigns is very smart.

FINAL SCORE: 19/20 = Exceptional
Talk Space

Offer: 3

Talk Space provides counseling to individuals through a phone app. This makes counseling much more accessible to people who are on the go. This is a great product.

Copy: 3

I love the hook “don’t bottle up your emotions”. It’s very creative.

I wish they would have gone with a different headline than “start e-counseling today”.

Although it’s a great call-to-action, people are not ready to hear the call-to-action yet, they need to know the WHY first. They could have been much more specific in calling out specific pain points in their copy.

For example, “Tired of struggling with anxiety, stress, and depression, but don’t want to go through the struggle of visiting a therapist? Use our app today.”

Creative: 4

This is one of my favorite creative of all time.

They did a wonderful job portraying the marketing message with this image. Like the Hired image above, they did a great job of making the image visually appealing without it looking spammy or off-brand.

Scent: 3

Talk Space maintains the offer of being matched with a counselor and signing up for e-counseling. I wish they would have maintained the “hook” from the ad of not bottling up your emotions.

The color pallet is consistent from the ad to the landing page, so great job there.

Targeting: 4

I wasn’t able to decipher how I was targeted with this ad. But, because it’s a broad offer and the accessibility of having a counselor at your fingertips is appealing to millenials, I’m giving them a 4.

FINAL SCORE: 17/20 = Exceptional


Offer: 4

Graphly is a reporting platform that integrates with Infusionsoft and helps you measure and track campaigns.

Copy: 3

Graphly leads by calling out Infusionsoft users—this is very smart.

Anyone who’s currently using Infusionsoft would respond to that call out. The use of “voted #1” is also smart to build credibility. They then lead into “track where your leads come from, measure campaigns and grow your sales,” which is great to give the user a specific end benefit.

I wish they would have had a stronger call-to-action at the end of the newsfeed copy. You don’t see anything about the $1 trial offer until the very end of the ad.

Creative: 1

The creative pretty much kills this ad. Using stock photos makes your brand look like an advertiser, not a company with a fun personality on a social platform.

Using the coins stacked up also can be mistaken for a scammy offer. I understand that they were trying to portray the idea of growing your sales, but this image is very repelling.

They should create images in-house that look more on brand.

Scent: 3

There is design scent between Graphly’s profile picture and the landing page, but the scent is not congruent in design between the ad and the landing page. Swapping out the ad image would solve this problem.

There is congruence between the ad copy as you can find “the reporting platform voted #1 by Infisionsoft’s founders” in the ad and on the landing page.

Targeting: 4

We use Infusionsoft and I like Infusionsoft’s page on Facebook, so this was a good use of targeting.

FINAL SCORE: 15/20 = Competent

It’s so much easier to figure out what you need to improve when you can evaluate specific areas of your ads and see how they measure up!

This audit will give you a great starting point for improving your campaigns.

Download your 5-Point Paid Traffic Audit here.

(NOTE: Want The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library? Copy & paste these 7 proven Facebook ad campaigns to create low-cost, high-converting ads on demand. Get them here.)

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The Most Vital SEO Strategy I Learned Came From a Google Employee

sourced from:

I don’t think I am the best SEO out there. And I am not the most well-known SEO.

But when you have been doing SEO as long as I have, eventually you meet most of the players in the space.

And over the years, I’ve met a lot of Google employees. Some of them were in high positions, while others were not.

Out of all of the Google employees I met, none of them told me anything that shouldn’t be made public. And I also never put anyone in a position that would compromise their job.

But what was crazy is that the SEO advice I got on August 4, 2015, from a Google employee changed my life.

And what’s even crazier is that the advice I got on that particular day, is probably known by almost every SEO out there, but I bet less than .1% of SEOs use this strategy.

In other words, a Google employee shared knowledge that was readily available on any major search blog, yet I was too lazy to implement what I already knew.

So what did I learn?

Well, before I go into what I learned, lets first share the results of this one SEO tactic. The reason I’m doing this is that if I just share the tactic with you, most of you are going to ignore it like I did.

But if I share the stats with you first, hopefully, you’ll be more open to implementing what I am about to teach you.

So here are my traffic stats from August 2015 for

And here are my traffic stats for the trailing few months after I had learned this new strategy:

As you can see from the image above my traffic was growing. I went from roughly 100,493 unique visitors a month to 144,196. Not too bad.

But here is the thing… my traffic was naturally growing from all of my other marketing efforts. And I didn’t even start implementing what I learned from Google until November 28, 2015.

And the results didn’t kick in right away. It took over a year before I really started seeing growth. But once I hit the 21-month mark, things really started to skyrocket.

So, what was the big lesson?

Well, maybe you’ll be able to figure it out by looking at the screenshots below. What’s the big difference in the screenshots below?

Here’s the first one from

And here’s one from the KISSmetrics blog (which I now own – I’ll blog about this another day):

And here’s one from my older blog, Quick Sprout:

What’s the big difference between them?

All three of the blogs are about marketing. The content is similar… so what’s the difference?

KISSmetrics and Quick Sprout generate their traffic from roughly the same regions. But, on the other hand, generates traffic from regions like Brazil, Spain, and Germany at a much higher percentage.

So why is this?

Google told me to go multi-lingual

It’s hard to rank on Google.

No matter how many blog posts I write about SEO, most of you won’t rank well because it takes a lot of time and countless hours of work (or money).

But as my friend at Google once told me…

There is already a lot of content in English but not enough in other languages even though the majority of the people in this world don’t speak English.

In other words, you need to translate your content.

On November 28, 2015, I published my first article in Portuguese (if you click the link there is a good chance it keeps you on the English site, so you may have to click the flag next to the Neil Patel logo and select Brazil after you click on the link).

Fast forward to today and I have 4,806 blog posts published on of which 1,265 are in Portuguese, 650 are in German, and 721 are in Spanish.

I slowly starting to go after more languages because the strategy is working. Here are my traffic stats in the last 31 days in Brazil:

And here are the stats for German:

And Neil Patel Spanish:

It takes time to do well within each region when you localize the content, but it’s worth it because there is literally no competition.

Seriously, no competition!!!

And I know what you are thinking… people in many of these countries don’t have as much money, so the traffic is useless and won’t convert.

If that’s what you are thinking then let me be the first to tell you that you are way off!

You need to look beyond English!

Let’s look at the most popular languages in the world:

Now let’s look at the countries with the largest populations:

And lastly, let’s look at GDP per country:

The data shows the majority of the world doesn’t live in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, or Australia.

There are so many other countries to focus on.

Not only is there a lot of people in regions like Brazil, but their GDP isn’t too bad. And yes, there isn’t as much money to be made in Brazil as there is to be made in the United States… but in the U.S. you have a lot of competitors.

While in Brazil, it’s much easier to dominate, which means you can probably make as much money in Brazil as you do in the U.S.

To give you an idea, when my ad agency expanded to Brazil, we generated over a million dollars in revenue in less than 12 months when I can’t even speak one word of Portuguese.

Well, technically that’s a lie. I know enough Portuguese to order a water and tell the waiter that I don’t want salt on my food 😉

Just think of it this way, we were able to grow when only 3% of Brazilians speak English. That means I had little to no involvement, yet we still do decently well.

And my efforts look minuscule when you compare them to companies like Amazon. They keep investing in regions like India even though it keeps losing them money. They even announced how they are going to pour in an additional 2 billion dollars.

If you want to grow fast like Amazon, you have to start thinking big.

And international expansion should be one of those big thoughts.

Even if you aren’t able to service some these regions, what’s the harm in spending money to first build up your company’s brand and traffic in those regions? You can then worry about monetization later on.

But you better hurry… time is running out.

It’s like the wild west

During one of my trips to Brazil, I had a meeting with Andre Esteves. The meeting was only supposed to be an hour, but it lasted almost 3, which is a very long time considering he’s worth $2 billion.

In that time, we talked shop, we shared stories from our personal life, he convinced me to stop investing in hedge funds, and to put all of my money back into the web… and best of all — he explained how regions like Brazil are the wild west.

But he didn’t mean that in a negative way. The opposite really.

Instead, he was just explaining how regions like Brazil have little to no competition and are growing fast. Those who are patient will make a lot of money in the long run.

He was spot on!

It’s why Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft focus heavily on internationalization. They all know you can’t build a gigantic business if you only focus on the English-speaking market.

To give you an idea on how much energy these companies spend on globalization, one of my Microsoft friends (who’s an executive), broke down why Microsoft is trying to stop piracy in China.

If everyone in China stopped pirating Microsoft products and paid for them instead, it would add roughly 138 billion dollars to their market cap (according to him).

That’s insane!

Now, of course, if they stopped privacy, not all of those people will pay for their products. But still, it just shows how much more money is to be made by Microsoft in China.

There is even a ton of money to be made overseas for you. You just have to be willing to make the bet.

You’ve already seen my traffic stats and you know I’m growing fast overseas. I’m not monetizing in enough of those regions and that will change as time goes on.

But I made the internationalization bet years ago, and I keep increasing the amount I spend each year.

Here’s how you expand internationally

I’ve done better in Brazil than Germany and all of the Spanish markets. It’s not because I started to go after Brazil first, it’s because I had people on the ground in Brazil from day one.

It took me too long before I started to add people from those regions to the team and expand.

If you don’t speak the language and you don’t understand the culture you won’t do well no matter how good you are at marketing.

This was my biggest lesson I learned, you need people on the ground!

The second lesson I learned is translating your content isn’t enough.

Even if you adapt the content to the region by adjusting everything, you still won’t be successful because people within each region maybe looking for something else.

For example, in the United States, companies are looking for me to write more advanced marketing content. In parts of Latin America, on the other hand, people are looking to learn the fundamentals of online marketing.

For that reason, my team had to start creating new content just for regions like Brazil. This helped tremendously.

As you can see from the screenshot above, the most popular piece of content written for Brazil wasn’t a translation (it’s number 2 on the list, number 1 is a tool).

I rank #2 (behind Wikipedia) and before the YouTube results for the popular search term portfolio: 

And that image above also gets me to my last point. You need to really build a brand in each region or else you won’t do well.

I speak at more conferences in Brazil than I do in Germany or any Spanish country.

Although people believe there isn’t much money to be made from Brazil, I get paid $25,000 to $50,000 for an hour speaking spot every time I fly out there.

Eventually, I learned better ways to grow my brand internationally than speaking (as that isn’t scalable).

I acquired the tool Ubersuggest for $120,000 as it has a lot of traffic from different parts of the world. Now I am improving the tool and expanding its functionality betting that in the long term it will bring me even more traffic and awareness.


I know the advice my Google friend gave me wasn’t rocket science, but hey, it worked really well.

We tend to forget and even ignore the things that are staring directly at us.

We all know the majority of the world doesn’t speak English, yet we all focus our marketing efforts on the English market.

If I were starting all over again, I wouldn’t create a website in English. Instead, I would pick a region in Europe, like France or Germany, where it isn’t as competitive and where their currency is worth more than the dollar.

Not only would I see results faster, but I would make more money because there wouldn’t be as much competition.

And yes, it did take me a while to see results, but since then I have run many more experiments and if I had to start over again I would:

Create separate sites per region – it’s easier to rank a localized site that is hosted within that country than it is to rank a global site. If you already have strong domain authority like me, don’t use subfolders, you are better off using sub-domains (I did this wrong). To give you an idea, when we create brand new sites with their own domain, focused on one region, we typically are able to climb to the top of page 1 within 3 to 4 months.
Use hreflang correctly – there are many ways to use hreflang tags. If you aren’t familiar with what they are, in essence, it tells Google which pages focus on which regions. What’s tricky about hreflang tags is that you can either focus on a specific region or language (or both). You have to make sure you pick the right one.
Buy instead of creating – if you really want to grow fast, just buy sites within that region that aren’t making much money and then fix them. This is the quickest way to grow.

And I will leave you with one final thought…

Google doesn’t penalize you for duplicate content. Translating your content and using hreflang won’t get you penalized.

Now, if you use an automatic translation software and your translations are done poorly, your user metrics will probably suffer and there is a higher chance you’ll suffer from a Google penalty. So translate your content manually.

Are you going to go global? Or are you going to stand on the sidelines and watch others pass you by?

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