Sunday, November 19, 2017
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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

 

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 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

 

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

“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

 

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Content is business. Let’s treat it as such.

We all have read it a million times. Put out relevant content. Use relevant images. Search for what’s trending and try to replicate it. Use content curation. Repurpose popular topics. Occupy a popular niche or no one will ever notice.

Now, here is the bad news.

Last time I checked it’s 2015.

This means that right now, at this very moment all of the above can be increasingly done either through drag and drop applications or through a service such as curationsoft.com, curata.com, repubhub.com or by using any number of similar applications which make the job of a content “curator,” blog “repurpose-or” and post “recycler” increasingly meaningless.

Content is business. Business is about trust. Can you really build it by copying other people’s stuff?

What I find fascinating is that most of the blog posts telling you how to write an effective blog post today are mere copies of some other posts on the subject.

Now let’s take an imaginary trip to, let’s say 2016 at which point dragging and dropping popular content in order to “repost,” “repurpose” and “curate” would be the thing of the past and your presence won’t even be needed. At all.

What would it mean for your “curated” blog, your website or your business?

How will you be able to “compete” for quality content then?

Short answer: you won’t be able to.

So what is there to do? And yes, there is an answer:

Stop Wasting Time on Blogging. Focus on Developing Your “Voice” Instead.

The key word here, of course, is “wasting,” not “blogging.”

So, how do you stop the waste? You do so by focusing on developing your voice.

  1. Don’t Waste Your Time On Blogging Tip #1.

    Start by realizing that by constantly chasing the popular “voices” on the internet, you are losing the only one that matters: your own. And if you don’t spend time developing your own voice you are wasting your time by blogging. Moreover, if you are on the path of copying, organizing, reorganizing and curating content that already exists, you are probably on the path of being replaced by a content curation software in a very, very near future.

  1. Don’t Waste Your Time On Blogging Tip #2.
    Realize that if you are a true entrepreneur (business owner, investor, developer), you will never run out of difficulties, trials and serious obstacles to overcome. And this, in turn, means that you will never run out of quality content to write about. Funny how you can always detect if a person who writes a particular post is really a business person or a free-lance, pay-as-you-go copywriter who knows very little about running a business but tries to make it sound as if he does. Focus on writing about a particular fix in your business, as opposed to chasing the “trend” on how someone else did something for theirs.
  1. Don’t Waste Your Time On Blogging Tip #3.
    Realize that your own content (the one you actually paid for with your own trial and errors) is much more valuable than any content that is currently trending. Especially because chances are, the only reason “trending” content is trending is because it was recycled over and over by a great number of those who cannot come up with any original ideas.
  1. Don’t Waste Your Time On Blogging Tip #4.
    Don’t panic over your next content topic by spending your precious time searching for that next big thing to write about. Next time you are frustrated with something, or whenever something goes wrong in your business, chances are, it will make for a topic others would actually want to read. In addition, if you are a true author of your authentic content, one topic, can easily be expanded to another, which is a difficult task when you spend your day simply copying or “curating” content. In my case, by the time I am done with one post, I already have several new topics to write about. Since I am writing all of the posts myself, my biggest issue has never been about coming up with topics for content, but rather with having enough time to put all the content ideas up on my blog (which will probably be my next topic :)).
  1. Don’t Waste Your Time Blogging Tip #5.
    Don’t sell out. Write for yourself. Build your own business toolbox of concepts, ideas and shortcuts. Understand that even if it takes a bit of extra time to put together content that’s relevant to YOU, the time you spend on it is never wasted, simply because:
    a)      This would be something you can use over and over again for yourself in the future.
    b)      Preparing and posting your own, authentic content is part of your personal and business growth process. It is that “experience” coin (the one I talk about in my book) which can be cashed in for real money as soon as you earn the trust of your readers.

Truly yours,

Max Azarov
Authentic Spin, Author
YoloStartup.com Project Founder

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