Thursday, August 24, 2017
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“Landing Pages Don’t Work!” Argument

A few days ago I became a witness to a discussion, where an “expert” claimed that landing pages and free giveaways in exchange for emails are not working nearly as good as they used to just one year ago and that we live in a period where something else has to be invented in order to generate leads.

Here are the two reasons offered:

Reason #1. As more and more people become aware of landing pages, whenever they see the sign up form, they simply click away from the page.

Reason #2. When people do decide to sign up for a free offer, they sign up with emails that is not their primary email and there is no way to get in touch with those people anyways.

Those were seemingly valid points and it got me thinking if this was really the case. Of course I, myself, have come across hundreds of landing pages and, of course, I x’d out of most of them. But I did leave my email on a few that I thought were interesting. I signed up with my “other” email, of course.

Have people like me been signing up for things less and less? Have people become desensitized to time-tested lead generation techniques?

Landing Page

Landing Page

All of this got me thinking about the people who typically leave their information in a form in exchange for free content.

Type #1. There are people who sign up for just about anything free. And, at first glance, I am a perfect example. Yes, I am that crazy guy who signed for 3 trial versions of landing page building software, downloaded (almost) all free books that suddenly popped up on my screen and currently being harrassed by a CRM sales person, just because I left my email in one of their sign up forms. Heck, I even created a separate email for downloading free ebooks, free giveaways and CRM signups, so that they don’t interfere with my important, day-to-day emails. You see, I have created that email to make sure that after I get the free stuff, I don’t have to “hear” from anyone about anything!

You see, I will sign up for whatever, just don’t bother me after I do. Get it, ridiculous sales people? Oh, I almost forgot, I am one of them, of course. More on that later.

Type #2. There are also people who would not sign up for anything, no matter what it is, even if it is free. They would not sign up for a free trial or get a free book. One of my “friends” is a perfect example. For him, it seems incomprehensible to give out personal email in exchange for, well, anything that is being pushed by those internet “knuckle heads.” Among the people that surround me, most of the people belong to this category.

Type #3. There is, also, the third type of people who would sign up for everything AND buy some of those things as they, with time, become convinced that they really need a particular product or service. Oh, wait a minute, I am also a perfect example of this third type as well.

So what about the 2 arguments? What about those guys who click away every time the see a landing page?
Well, for every few of those guys who will get scared away by a book and a form next to it, there would always be one person like myself, who will enter his email and get that book on “7 Steps To Increase Conversion Rates” or a free webinar on “How To Increase Your Traffic in 24 hours” (both are made up titles, of course) and will have no choice but to become a part of someone’s sales funnel.

But what about that “fake” email I enter every time I sign up? 
The truth is, I use my fake email for free stuff so much that on some days I check it more often than my real email. So, go figure. After all, I guess my “fake” email isn’t nearly as fake as I thought it was.

But… But… People like you are just a small percentage. Does it really make sense to invest into a strategy where only small percentage of people actually participate?
Good question. Really. But I am NOT going to give you a cliche answer that 1% of one million is, really, all you need because, truthfully, I have not yet reached a million of clicks on, well, any of my landing pages. And when this day happens I will probably rent a limo with a full bar of drinks and a stong wi-fi signal (for my celebratory wordpress blogging event) to drive around Chicago and celebrate. However, my answer is much more simple than that.

I have clients. Just like many of the people that download information in exchange of email have clients. And that means that whenever I am buying something or, more precisely, buying into something, all of my clients (some of whom don’t even know what a landing page is) get to hear about it. And the conversion ratio of my clients who get to hear about something I bought into is, well, probably close to 100%.

This means that if just 1 person in 1000 will download your content in exchange for his or her email and simply will happen to be someone in a position of working with several clients, suddenly you multiply that 1 by however many clients that person has, as well as however many clients their clients have and so on.

blackboard

 

So to those who keep complaining about landing pages that do not work my answer would be: “Improve the content your offer to target precisely the clients you are trying to get. Make it awesome. Make it relevant.”

Oh, and one more thing.

Landing pages do work!

 

Authentically yours,

Max Azarov

Authentic Startup, Author

 

1243

Ah, the social experiments we all so much enjoy.

I was recently a participant at a business networking luncheon with some 120 sales people in attendance. All are sales people (not necessarily business owners) looking to network,  prospect for new business, exchange business cards and contact information. In fact, all paid a fee to get in and to, specifically, develop new business relationships. To gain some traction with the new crowd my company offered a prize in exchange for coming to our table, exchanging contact info and filling out an email form (or, essentially, doing what most of the sales people came there to do). The prize was a brand new iPad mini (the 8 magic letters that, typically, create a stir during various giveaways I have done in the past).

Of course, I didn’t have to do the prize. The assumption was, of course, that everyone at the luncheon was there to network and build new relationships with potential clients anyways.

Now, a question. How many sales representatives do you think came up to my table to share their business card and/or signed up for the iPad giveaway?

The answer is 18. Yes, as it turns out just 15% of all sales people who came to network were actually there to network (and win an iPad along the way). How crazy is that? Let’s look at it visually.

ipad7

 

Now, when the time came to announce the winner, the “winner” was nowhere to be found as she couldn’t stick around for a chance that she just might be the winner. So take that 18 and turn it into just 17. Now, we are down to just 14.16% of people who were willing to show up during the announcement and hear the name of the winner.

Then, of course, as expected a “replacement” winner was pulled out of the proverbial hat and the thunder of applause had exploded to congratulate him with his new iPad mini. No strings attached.

ipad5

Now, Let’s Talk About The Business Side of Things

Needless to say, the 85% of non-participants did not get a chance to win the iPad or to get my company as their client. So what happened within the 15% group?

ipad8

 

A Note on Success and Showing Up

Woody Allen once, famously, said that 80% of success is showing up and you would typically find his quote under “funny” or “humor” category on most known quote websites. However, humor aside, success, in fact, is about showing up, willing to take chances and participate (or create) business opportunities when everyone one else sits it out on sidelines. My social experiment was small but rather indicative. Take chances, go after opportunities and if it seems like there none left, create one for others as more and more doors will unexpectedly open. Don’t be discouraged if not everything goes as planned, don’t stay on the sidelines; simply do, simply act and when the opportunity presents itself, simply show up for a chance at success.

Authentically yours,

Max Azarov,
Authentic Startup, Author

Authentic Startup: The Concept

Or, Don’t Overthink, Stick To The Model That Works

“Authentic Startup” is a way of creating profitable startups from scratch using personal and business experience you already have, or can easily obtain. It took several years for “Authentic Startup” to be transformed into a system in its present form.  It started as a “cheat sheet” I intended to use to “cheat” on any future exams at my “Experience University.”

In my own example, I was able to launch/co-launch several startups, including graphic design startup, a healthcare startup, a pharmacy (recently acquired by a chain), and even an EMR medical records startup by progressively building on each one of my business and life experiences.

“Authentic Startup” is founded on a concept that all of our experiences have a real cash value and it is up to us to “unlock” it using proper “packaging,” pricing and marketing tools while taking advantage of S.P.I.N. model at its core.

 

Authentic Startup: The Book

Eventually, “Authentic Startup” turned into a book with 40+ illustrations, graphs and inspirational content that takes a mystery out of launching a startup by setting up theoretical and practical frameworks to make your startup (or existing business) successful by keeping you away from overthinking and re-inventing the wheel by focusing on:

  1. How To Become a True Leader Of Your Own Startup and Stop Waiting on Others To Believe In Your Project

  2. How to Be Excited About Your Product

  3. How to Determine When is the Best Time to Seek Financing While Avoiding Traps

  4. How to Define an Authentic Product

  5. How to Package Your Product and Properly Price It.

  6. How to Properly Build a Website and Landing Pages with Conversion in Mind

  7. How to Achieve Explosive Sales Using Online Marketing and “The Nuclear Marketing” Concept

 

addtocart-amazon2

 Contents:

Listed below are the actual chapters of “Authentic SPIN: How To Turn Your Unique Experiences Into a Profitable Startup”:
  1. Authenticity as a Starting Point of Your Startup

  2. The Three Words That Will Make All The Difference

  3. The “Experience Game” Strategy

  4. The Omega Mission Principle & The Two Types of Startups

  5. The Startup Capital Trap 101

  6. “SPIN” Packaging Your Experience Into a Sellable Product or Service

  7. How To Create an Authentic Product or Service The Smart Way: Marginal Authenticity Principle

  8. How to “Tweak” Your Product and Improve Conversion Using 7SP Authenticity Test

  9. SPIN Packages and Pricing

  10. Internet Sales 101: 8 Elements Of a SPIN Website

  11. Internet Marketing: Search Engine Timbuktu Dilemma

  12. Unlimited Customer Leads: Adding SPIN Copywriting and Social Media Components To Your Sales Funnel

  13. Even More Customer Leads: Google Bus Scenario

  14. The Nuclear Sales Funnel

  15. The Spin Gravity Theory

 

addtocart-amazon2

Download it now! I look forward to your reviews and feedback.

On Google, a cost of 1(!) click for a word “startup” in my geographical preference is $10.

No, this is not a typo it is $10, yes, American, yes, dollars.

This means that if I needed to launch a test version of my marketing campaign in my niche and run it for 1,000 clicks (as I used to back in the days when a click didn’t cost nearly as much), I will have to spend $10,000, yes, American, yes dollars.

Let’s let it sink in: that’s probably enough money to jumpstart a brand new business.

If you are, let’s say legalzoom.com (sorry, guys, for spending your hard earned $10 on frivolous research) that looks to capitalize on incorporating startups, $10 (may) make sense (I cannot tell for sure, since I don’t know their sales funnel). But one thing I can tell for sure, is that a company trying to promote any product for which it will receive less than $10 is,well, out of luck.

How High Does The Cost Per Click Go?

So how high does Google’s price per click go? According to a recent article on wordstream.com it goes as high as $54.91 (for insurance related keywords). The lowest cost per click on their Top 20 list is for the word “cord blood” at $27.80, which makes my “lousy” $10 per click seem almost laughable.

Below is the infographic chart you can find on wordstream’s website.

where-does-google-make-its-money

Now Let’s Take a Look At The Top 4 Most Horrific Places Where Your Clicks May End Up

Yes, of course your Google clicks may end in the right hands clicking on your link moments before reaching for their very special American Express Black card and become your customers. That’s the ideal scenario and yes it can happen. Very often, however, it is far from being the case.

#1. I’ll admit, my heart skips a beat every time I see a 3 year old chasing a digital frog on a free app (with AdWords’ clickable ads at the bottom) her Daddy downloaded last night onto her tablet. Sometimes she catches a frog. Sometimes she catches an ad costing an advertiser more and more of his marketing dollars.

To a little girl clicking on an ad is a minor disturbance in a fun game. To you, it may be a cost of a long awaited pizza dinner after hours of work. Now, imagine not one, but thousands of those little cute 3 year old kids with their cute 3 year old hands clicking your business all the way into the ground, one $54.91 click at a time. Insert  a track to your favorite horror movie music and fade into black.

#2. Let’s think of those “Top 20,” or “Top 30” anything lists i.e. (Top “Photoshop Fails” and the like), where in order to move to the next “Photoshop fail” you have to click on a tiny arrow, surrounded by Google ads. While someone accidentally clicks on a link and quickly backs out of it, to you it may be another $10 dollar expense you simply cannot afford.

#3. Your 2 year old decides to spend Saturday watching funny kittens on YouTube. Non-stop. No one has taught him how to skip or how to not click on ads. Thus, in a matter of just a couple of hours he “earned” $100s of dollars for Google while costing you as an owner more and more resources.

#4.  AdSense scams. While Google claimed at some point that they are looking into the problem, but I do, personally, believe that AdWord scams are out in full force. This happens when a person who signs up for AdSense clicks away on ads AdSense places on his/her websites.

Fine. Some of it, of course is an exaggeration. The 3 year olds, the no-good fraudsters that click their way into riches at your own expense, it may all not be as bad, but the question remains: at what point the risk associated with paid advertisement outweigh the returns?

Content Marketing vs. Pay-Per-Click Marketing

Content Marketing vs. Pay-Per-Click Marketing

This weekend Google “suggested” I spend $2.75 per click for keyword “fashion” for my clothing startup. I said sure, let’s give this another shot. AdWords gives me a pretty good data on traffic I get to my site and that’s great. And yet, when it came down to what mattered most, i.e. signups, the outcome was very much comparable to what our Twitter account brought to us just one week ago for exactly $0.

Yes, of course, you may say that I am not providing you with enough data and that, of course, the number of users I added with Twitter last week ultimately reflected the amount of followers on my specific Twitter account. Sure. But this goes beyond the point I will attempt to make here.

 

Content Marketing + Social Media Clicks vs. Paid Clicks

It is year 2015 and pay-per-click by large search engines become less and less affordable, while their clicks become more and more questionable. Google’s 35 allowable letters for $1-$54 per click in 2015 cannot compare with Twitter’s 140 letters for $0. The idea that your Google dollars can go to a click-happy toddler with no interest in your product may seem to be okay at $.10 per click as it was in the good ol’ days.  At $10 per click, it is no longer reasonable. And just like 10 years ago, when it took everyone to realize that Google was a much more profitable model over, let’s say Excite or Yahoo when it came to ROI, today everything looks completely different and paid clicks today gradually become what billboards became to businesses 10 years ago – an exceedingly losing proposition.

 

An Exceedingly Winning Proposition: Building Your Own Superior Resource of Niche-Specific Valuable Information via a Niche-Specific Blog, One User at a Time 

Google didn’t have AdWords to market itself. It built its customer/user base one visitor at a time, by providing a superior product.

Back in the early 2000s Google won everyone over by being an efficient “content broker” and a hub for all things valuable on the internet. It was better than Yahoo, Excite, HotBot and whatever else we were using back in the days as a search engine. It re-defined the internet by giving us what we wanted when we wanted instantaneously though its unique algorithm of prioritizing more popular websites over less popular ones. It made sense. The AdSense.

However it is 2015 and users are going more and more beyond popular and into a content that is more and more useful within a specific nicheFor example, a particular piece of information may be extremely useful, but not particularly popular outside of its niche and, as a result, Google will not make it readily available on its search pages.

Users Looking For More Useful Content Tend To Find It Outside of Search Engine Results

Today, the technology allows us to exceedingly do away with various non-niche “content brokers” and non-niche resources (i.e. big name search engines). In the past decade or so, we’ve all learned our way around the internet and we now tend to hangout on what I would like to call “tribal platforms,” i.e. twitters, wordpress blogs, and various quality online communities we have learned to love and enjoy. It is those “tribal” blogs, sites and platforms that are gradually taking more and more bites out of Google’s main function of a superior “content broker.”

There lies and opportunity for all of us.

Today, using blogs and community-based platform we have the ability to “build tribes” of like-minded individuals, one user, one fan at a time using WordPress or whatever other content hosting platform of your choosing. Today, anyone can, if you will, become an efficient content hub, as well as content “broker” with a website or a blog  that can provide exceedingly more useful (not just more popular) content for its visitors within a specific niche.

If you are reading this post today, chances are you came here either from another blog, a social media post, or any number of other tribal platforms that have nothing to do with a typical search engine as we know it. Those “mini-content-broker” blogs and social platforms are here to stay for many years to come and I see the advertisers in a very near future moving away from search engines and into individual blogs and social communities within targeted niches.

High volume, high quality blogs in a specific “niche” do not have to pay a penny to search engines and at the same time charge thousands of dollars for ads and blogposts as their audience within their niche keeps expanding independent of any non-niche search engines.

One user, one fan, one blog subscriber at a time. This means that if you woke up this morning thinking that the 1 blog fan you gained on your company’s blog (after spending 2 nights putting together a useful article) is not worth the effort, think again. This is the future.

 

Truly yours,

Max Azarov
Authentic Spin, Author
YoloStartup.com Project Founder

When I came to America with just a few hundred dollars in my pocket, I didn’t yet understand the full potential of what it means to build an American dream from scratch. I didn’t know that an average Joe like myself had the capacity to make thousands, and later, tens of thousands of dollars in a single day as a part of my journey of consistently learning from, and building on both positive and negative experiences.

So, How Much Money Do You Need To Start a Startup?

Is it $5,000? $10,000? 100,000? 100 million?

What if I told that the amount of money you need to start your own business equals to, precisely, whatever you have in your bank account + however creative you can be to get the rest of what you need to get your startup going  ($0 in additional costs) + whatever experience you can bring to your business ($0 in additional costs), plus the cost of knowledge you will gain in the process.

I will explain.

A startup with $100MM does not have to be nearly as creative as a startup with only $1,000 to play with.
Similarly, a person with $1,000 in startup money will have to bring a lot more experience to, and be willing to learn a lot more from running a brand new startup:

before

 

10 Startup Courses (and Lessons I have Learned) at My True Alma Mater, “The Experience University”

Of course, the “knowledge” part can be a tricky one. During just the first few years of my startups I racked up a pretty hefty tuition fee payable to my true Alma Mater I call “The Experience University” (disclaimer: “Experience University” is not an actual university :)) The following is a short list of some of my pretty expensive “courses” I took at the “E.U.” while paying to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue and unnecessary business expenses (while the lessons below are real, course numbers, of course, are not :)).

1. Being Authentic 101 
A real life lesson where I found out that selling unique, authentic product(s) is the best way to maintain control of my pricing and profit margins. Startup that is founded on a unique/authentic product is, generally speaking, much more likely to succeed. Selling a high priced, unique product is much more rewarding and keeps your anxiety level within the normal range :). In addition, whenever you sell a product that is neither unique nor authentic you run a risk of competing with others over increasingly slimmer profit margins, thus automatically running a risk of losing your business.

2. Don’t Start a Business Just Because Someone Thinks You Should Start A Business 101
You can easily get yourself in a total disaster of a situation by jumping into, let’s say, a social networking project, or a brand new coffee shop business, expecting it to work just because it worked for someone else. Or perhaps because your friend told you that coffee shops in general make a lot of money.

3. Your Product Does Not Have To Be “Disruptive” to be Unique 101
Most of the billion dollar ideas (i.e. Facebook, Amazon.com, Google.com, Chobani Yogurt) are not all that “new” and not all that “unique.” All of them are slightly modified versions of products/services which already existed in the market at the time they were introduced. And yes, it took me a lot of valuable time to determine how much modification is needed for my product to be in demand.

4. Not Waiting On Others 105
Another real life course where I learned not to spend so much valuable time waiting on others instead of taking a lead and proactively doing a lot of the things (sales, etc) on my own.

5. Just Because You Have A Business It Does Not Mean It Will Make Money 201
Strange, but true. Going to work early and staying up late while working on your business does not equate to making money. What I have learned was the fact that one type of businesses is more likely to succeed and make more money than others and, ironically enough, the businesses that are likely to make more (a lot more) money, typically, require less (a lot less) work.

6. Being Your Own Boss Does Not Always Make You Free 205
Pick a business that does not tie you up to one geographical location. If you do not follow this advice, say good-bye to your travel plans and vacations. When planning a business, choose one that can be eventually managed via your phone and a laptop. I call it “The Agency Model.”

7. Many Already Have A Best Selling Product Or Service To Sell. They Just Don’t Know It Yet 305
Most of your business and life experiences can be packaged and sold by turning it into a new innovative service (consulting, graphic design, brokerage, a book, etc) or an innovative product (actual physical or software product). The problem for so many is not the lack of experience, it is the inability to turn experience into sellable packages and eventually into actual dollars. (Read my book, Authentic Spin, to find out more).

8. You Don’t Always Have To Spend Money To Make Money 401
Marketing can be very costly. Or it can be very cheap. It all depends on whether you are willing to spend some time learning how to do it. If you do it properly, you can get unlimited leads at very little cost. Yes, I am talking about online marketing.

9. Nuclear Sales Funnel 405
Don’t spend another dollar on advertisement until you can be sure that the sale of your product to just 1 customer will bring 2 more to your doorsteps.

10. Life Goes By Fast: The “Now” Method 410
From the time we are born util the time we die, only one moment matters. This moment is called “now.” Yesterday cannot be changed and tomorrow is not guaranteed. So if you want to start something. Start now.

 

Authentic Startup: The Concept

Or, Don’t Overthink, Stick To The Model That Works

“Authentic Startup” is a way of creating profitable startups from scratch using personal and business experience you already have, or can easily obtain. It took several years for “Authentic Startup” to be transformed into a system in its present form.  It started as a “cheat sheet” I intended to use to “cheat” on any future exams at my “Experience University.”

In my own example, I was able to launch/co-launch several startups, including graphic design startup, a healthcare startup, a pharmacy (recently acquired by a chain), and even an EMR medical records startup by progressively building on each one of my business and life experiences.

“Authentic Startup” is founded on a concept that all of our experiences have a real cash value and it is up to us to “unlock” it using proper “packaging,” pricing and marketing tools while taking advantage of S.P.I.N. model at its core.

 

Authentic Startup: The Book

Eventually, “Authentic Startup” turned into a book with 40+ illustrations, graphs and inspirational content that takes a mystery out of launching a startup by setting up theoretical and practical frameworks to make your startup (or existing business) successful by keeping you away from overthinking and re-inventing the wheel by focusing on:

  1. How To Become a True Leader Of Your Own Startup and Stop Waiting on Others To Believe In Your Project

  2. How to Be Excited About Your Product

  3. How to Determine When is the Best Time to Seek Financing While Avoiding Traps

  4. How to Define an Authentic Product

  5. How to Package Your Product and Properly Price It.

  6. How to Properly Build a Website and Landing Pages with Conversion in Mind

  7. How to Achieve Explosive Sales Using Online Marketing and “The Nuclear Marketing” Concept

 

addtocart-amazon2

 Contents:

Listed below are the actual chapters of “Authentic Startup: How To Turn Your Unique Experiences Into a Profitable Startup”:
  1. Authenticity as a Starting Point of Your Startup

  2. The Three Words That Will Make All The Difference

  3. The “Experience Game” Strategy

  4. The Omega Mission Principle & The Two Types of Startups

  5. The Startup Capital Trap 101

  6. “SPIN” Packaging Your Experience Into a Sellable Product or Service

  7. How To Create an Authentic Product or Service The Smart Way: Marginal Authenticity Principle

  8. How to “Tweak” Your Product and Improve Conversion Using 7SP Authenticity Test

  9. SPIN Packages and Pricing

  10. Internet Sales 101: 8 Elements Of a SPIN Website

  11. Internet Marketing: Search Engine Timbuktu Dilemma

  12. Unlimited Customer Leads: Adding SPIN Copywriting and Social Media Components To Your Sales Funnel

  13. Even More Customer Leads: Google Bus Scenario

  14. The Nuclear Sales Funnel

  15. The Spin Gravity Theory

 

addtocart-amazon2

Download it now! I look forward to your reviews and feedback.

I have recently read an article about “the right way” to start a startup. It had a list that included having a great team, sufficient financing and a plan for “monetization.” I am pretty sure it was a true eye-opener for those who were ready to launch their startup by hiring an unruly team, no financing, and no plans to make any money (sarcasm).

Yes, you can find an amazing team of developers and you can also be a step ahead of your competition by thinking “monetization” first and, in fact, you can read every major book about a startup and funding and yet, NONE of it will ever matter until you have the key component of your startup: quality audience.

But before we discuss the significance of having a quality audience for your startup and offer a few clues to your audience’s whereabouts, let’s talk about a very sensitive startup clock that makes having the quality audience a priority #1 prior to having your startup go “live.” I am talking about the ROI Clock.

 

The ROI Clock.

What many of new entrepreneurs don’t realize is that the proverbial ROI clock starts ticking as soon as the very first dollar is invested into developing a logo, making your very first set of business cards, your website and that state of the art software to run your business. At this stage, many new businesses don’t make any money and yet the business expenses begin to pile up, one charge after another.

 

Googlenomics of Today: Bidding Your Small Business CPC Against Multi-billion Corporations

It is true that Google Adwords can quickly resolve your audience problems. And yet, it is also true that in today’s Googlenomics, based on its system of more and more competitive bidding you may end up “competitively bidding” against multi-billion corporations that have no concern of whether to spend a $1 or $100 per click, as long as it puts them on that coveted front page of Google.

As your costs per click begin to add up, you may begin to wonder if the startup game was worth it (as was the case with some of the app developers I met some time ago) and if there was anything else you could have done prior to having your startup go “live.”

 

A Social Marketing Structure Designed to Save On Costs Per Click.

As I have learned from my own experience, there are at least 3 things one should do (especially prior to having a business go “live”) to save his/her company or a startup tens of thousands of dollars by building a true and engaged audience at minimal cost prior to, or while building a new business. All have to do with maximizing social media as a part of overall marketing strategy.

Start Building and “Working” a Twitter Following In Your Niche (Higher quality, free contacts)
It is  just now, after years of complete denial, I only wish I could tell you that I have started Twitter years ago and now I have tens of thousands of followers. I haven’t. I did start setting up Twitter accounts for all, myself and my clients just a few months ago and at this point, all of the accounts combined can start bragging about finally getting thousands of highly engaged followers who are noticeably contributing to our overall website registration rates and email signups at NO (or very minimal) additional cost.

Start Niche Blogging
After spending a good amount of my “younger” years in a highly regulated pharmaceutical world I was, at least initially, against blogging as a form of marketing altogether. In fact, the idea of blogging as a part of a marketing strategy for a very long time appeared to me, to put it politely, not very serious. As recently as several years ago, the idea of blogging away at a local Starbucks always appeared to be an activity more suited for someone who doesn’t really have a “real” job, or “real” marketing strategy.  If I could drive thousands of visitors to my and my clients’ websites using a proven formula of Fine-tuned SEO combined with an ironed-out adwords campaign, why bother changing things, right? Wrong. Because ironed-out Twitter+Blogging campaign has a potential to drive even more visitors at NO (or very minimal) additional cost.

Start and “Work” your YouTube Channel
Ok, unless you have an extremely engaging content, or you already have a pretty big following, trying to build your YouTube Channel from scratch my appear like a daunting task, and yet, there are 2 things to consider.

  • Properly structured video content will lead users to your website and, eventually, to your product at absolutely NO cost.
  • Even, if your content is not engaging enough to  become viral, the cost-effectiveness of YouTube AdWords ads when it comes to driving traffic to your website in my experience significantly exceeds that of using plain, non-YouTube text ads.

 

Old Model vs. New Model.

Overall, to me this blog is personal. The formula for  building an engaged audience for my businesses and businesses that work with us has been irreversibly changed. While just several years ago, most of our efforts were focused on SEO and Google AdWords with minimal efforts put into blogging and Social Media, today our strategy had a 180 degree turnaround:

OldModelvsNewModel

 

What Was Your Experience?

Are you on Twitter? LinkedIn? Instagram? How did it help (or not help) your business and your marketing/sales strategy?

Look forward to hearing about your experience.

Authentically yours,

Max Azarov, “Authentic Spin”  Author

 

 

You get overwhelmed. You start spinning in circles. The website development is delayed. Business cards are not being printed on time. Jeff, the designer guy does not answer to his phone. Or email. Or texts. The landing pages are in disarray. Another meeting with your teammate is put off because of other commitments.There seems to be so many things to keep track of and there are days you get so frustrated that begin to wonder whether that startup idea was really worth it to begin with.

Calm down.  In the business of running a business, dealing with being overwhelmed should become your second nature. Just like being able to quickly prioritize what matters to you TODAY and what  doesn’t.

Find a comfortable space. Clear your mind. Relax. Close your eyes. Imagine a serene place (maybe even a fantasy place) where you feel safe and think of just one word that matters to you at this present time.

Think of LTP-100 C O N V E R S I O N.

LTP-what?! What the…?! Is there another thing I need to put on my to do list?

LTP-100 is not as much about adding another thing on your to do list as it is about setting the right priorities. If you are a startup that does not have a system for tracking your conversion, you need to continue reading, as not many things in your business matter more than your CONVERSION and if whatever you plan on doing today is not related to CONVERSION, you are probably wasting your time.

So what in the world is LTP-100 conversion? It has to do with being able to measure 3 very important parameters related to how a market sample of at least 100 of your potential consumers responds to your product, your sales and your marketing efforts. The higher your overall LTP-100 conversion, the higher the chances of your startup being a success. Specifically, the three parameters we are talking about are:

L) Leads (how many leads did a particular sales/marketing campaign generate, per 100 potential consumers)
T) Trial users and (how many trial users came from a particular campaign
P) Paying customers (how many actual paying customers did a particular sales campaign generate).

Stop. Ask yourself a question.

At this very moment, do you know your LTP-100 Conversion ratio?

If you don’t, you are not alone. Most likely the reason for that is because you are, like so many startups:

a) have never attempted to present your product in front of 100 actual living customers.

b) stuck “perfecting” your product, website etc. and live in denial of the fact that you HAVE to know your LTP-100 number as a pre-requisite to your business moving forward

c) you believe that as long as you make a good product, someone will miraculously discover it and buy it and you will be profitable as long as you have faith in your product.

 

A “Trick” Question.

Assume you have presented your product to 20 potential customers (leads), out of which 0 customers tried it and 0 later paid for your product. What is your LTP-100 ratio?

At this point the only correct answer is: I don’t have enough data to give you the correct answer. You see, LTP-100 assumes having a minimum of 100(!) actual potential customers who have clicked on your ad, visited your website or your store, were contacted by you personally, or called your toll free phone  number, etc.

This means in order to find out your LTP-100 conversion ratio, you have to do whatever it takes to get and, subsequently, measure an actual response from at least 100 potential consumers!

Why do I need to know my LTP-100 ratio?

Remember the 1-1-1 Technique we talked about earlier? Remember how Product Development, Marketing and Sales cannot exist without each other in a startup? Well how do you know where is the problem: is it your product, or is it your marketing and sales?

Your LTP-100 ratio is a unique tool that gives you the ability to pinpoint a particular weakness in either your sales/marketing or your product development (more on this later).

Work on your Product Development, Marketing and, most importantly, Sales (see the 1-1-1 Technique) to hit higher LTP-100 conversion numbers week after week, month after month, or quarter after quarter, depending on a how your beta-product launch periods are set up.

And whatever it is, start working on it today!

Authentically Yours,
Max Azarov “Authentic Spin,” Author

If you have ever started a business you are very familiar with this: a Facebook “Like” button on your page was installed days ago and yet the number of likes has been stuck at 11, seemingly forever. Does this mean no one likes your product?

Not necessarily. But this does, however, mean that your product may need a lot more exposure, and that, in turn, can lead to a lot of stress and unnecessary pressure.

Big established companies have this thing I call “a lot.” They already have a lot of users and, as a result have “a lot” of leverage when it comes to hiring best employees, best developers, best sales people, you name it.

For obvious reasons young startups do not have this type of leverage. A startup may have the most amazing product out there and yet, limited users means, well, limited everything. How in the world are you going to hit your first million users if, as of last Thursday you counted only 32 new user signups in your admin console?

Unless you already have an experience of quickly gaining hundreds of thousands of users, chances are, the idea of gaining, let’s say your first million users may seem like a rather daunting task. On top of that, as a new startup you probably simply do not have the skill to manage this amount of users in any meaningful way. This is why the tool I most often recommend is:

 

Doubling To Infinity

The premise of “Doubling To Infinity” is this.

At any given point you already know how to double (or increase by 100%) the amount of users you ALREADY have, since you have ALREADY done it before, thus you can be pretty certain that you can do it again. For example if, so far, your website has 32 users after you promoted it on Twitter, you can be pretty sure that by doing the same amount of effort you can get another 32 users, thus doubling your number to 64. The number 64 now becomes your new point of certainty and you can now focus on your new goal of 128, without the stress of  getting to a million users, since, chances are, the leap from 128 to a million users at this point may appear unreachable.

Of course, each round of doubling your users will push you to be more and more inventive, while allowing you to always see your user glass as half full as opposed to nearly empty.

“Doubling To Infinity” will allow you to subdivide your goals into 100% doable tasks, the goal setting structure I have often used in the past.

Surprisingly, in my experience, doubling my users to, let’s say, a couple of thousand took less effort than doubling from 50 to a 100 (a task that also seemed impossible at the time).

Thinking in terms of graphs, this is how “Doubling To Infinity” strategy looks visually:

ladder-edited

 

One user, one measurable step at a time, doubling your users from 64 just 16 times will get you to a promised land of milk, honey and over 2 million users.

Don’t let the opportunities pass you by. You are who you are. You do what you do. And if you plan on doing something, I urge you to do it now.

 

Sincerely yours,

Max Azarov
“Authentic Spin,” Author