Hey everyone! In today’s episode, I share the mic with Jimmy Daly, the Marketing Director at Animalz, a content marketing agency.
Tune in to hear why Jimmy believes the hub-and-spoke model is the most effective for driving traffic and boosting content engagement, how Animalz uses content marketing as their main source for leads and where most companies are missing the mark with content marketing.
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Hey everyone, today I share the mic with Daisy Jing, CEO of Banish, the natural solution for skin problems.
Tune in to hear Daisy discuss how she accidentally became an entrepreneur and created her own line of skin care products, how she grew her business to $3 million in revenue, how she maximizes YouTube as a marketing tool (and grew her channel to 60M views & 200K subscribers), and the importance of building a community.
Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: How Daisy Jing Accidentally Became an Entrepreneur and Now Runs a $3M ARR Company TRANSCRIPT
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I want to talk about the art of gifting and what it can do for your business.
You should always give gifts to your clients, and we take it a step further and give gifts to our prospective clients as well. This year, we bought people either an Amazon Echo or nice headphones from Bose or Sony. Each gift was anywhere between $150-$400.
Why give gifts? Because the recipients are going to remember you over time. It’s hard to forget someone who was especially helpful to you and gave you a gift out of the blue.
This idea sprouted from a book called the Giftology. The author, John Ruhlin, is in a group called Young Entrepreneurs Council (YEC) with me. There was a thread where people were talking about gifts in the Facebook group, and he chimed in.
John not only told me about the book, he gave me a free copy. And not just any free copy, but a carefully packaged one—a real gift. It came in a nice little bag with a handwritten note. When I opened the bag, there was another leather bag, and inside that was the book: Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention.
Today, when I need something amazing for my customers or for my employees and it has to be the best gift on the planet, I call John Ruhlin for ideas.
The idea behind gifting is being thoughtful about the gift you give. Ideally, you should investigate someone ahead of time, maybe on their social media profiles or their website, and see what they’re all about, see what they’re interested in.
I’ve gotten really good responses from people, especially current clients, that they’re looking forward to longer-term relationships. What we’re going to test moving forward is researching the top 10 prospects that we’re looking to work with and giving them a nice and thoughtful gift.
You have to spend $150-$400 for a gift, either. The idea is that you’re trying to build goodwill, though you shouldn’t necessarily expect to get something back from it. Once you give without expectation, it just makes your life a lot easier. And it’s 100% worth the money. It’s the same thing as throwing a mastermind dinner, a happy hour, etc. You’re just building goodwill over time.
Related Content: How To Run Masterminds That Actually Bring Business Benefits (Templates & Agendas Included)
It takes time to build up your brand, especially when you’re giving away free content like podcasts, which aren’t face to face. For example, it took me 3+ years to really get the sort of engagement I wanted on Growth Everywhere. But the second time around, with Marketing School, Neil and I got things going a lot faster; we hit a million downloads in about four months.
Learn More: Why Neil Patel Pays $30,000 for Content & Gives it Away For Free
For example, a potential client reached out about a week ago, on a Sunday. He had listened to 20 episodes of Marketing School and he said, “Hey, why don’t I just reach out?”
My point is that good things take time, just like relationships. You want to stand out, but you also want to be helpful. Good things will follow.
You never know when it’s the right time for people. But it’s never the wrong time to give a gift (or free content) to an excited prospect!
This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:
This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition.
Twitter is the perfect place for your business to connect with customers and potential customers. Most brands use Twitter to keep in touch with their fans in real time, but the third most popular social network (310 million unique visitors each month isn’t too shabby!) has a lot more to offer than this simple benefit.
Savvy businesses use Twitter to:
People spend an average of 170 minutes per month on Twitter, which is roughly 5-6 minutes a day, so to successfully grab a user’s attention, you’ll need to Tweet multiple times a day. Doing that manually is near impossible because it’s very time-consuming to write, post, monitor, read, retweet and reply to everything that’s going on, but with the right social media tools you can hit that target and reach your marketing goals.
Here are 10 content marketing tools that will help you increase your Twitter engagement:
What better way to relate to your audience than with quality articles. DrumUp is a social media content marketing and employee advocacy platform that lets you curate content from a large variety of sources, schedule social media posts on multiple accounts, and create/schedule custom posts. You can even add your favorite RSS feeds and save posts to your content library to make sharing easier.
This app provides you with fresh content on a daily basis and comes with a one-click scheduling feature that saves you a ton of time. Additionally, it recommends smart hashtags for your content to help you get seen more. Sharing helpful posts, videos or infographics with your audience — from your iPhone, Android or Chrome extension — is more likely to start a discussion and you can turn your employees into brand advocates with DrumUp’s employee advocacy program.
TweetDeck is an all-in-one Twitter management tool that is particularly useful for audience engagement. You can keep track of multiple accounts, topics, hashtags and mentions — all in one convenient place. You can see when users are talking about your brand and respond to them instantly without leaving the dashboard. Plus you can create Twitter lists, monitor analytics and trends, and export custom timelines to your website. This is one of the best tools for real-time Twitter management.
If you host Twitter chats on a regular basis to talk to your audience, Nurph is a great tool to use. You can instantly start a real-time video-to-video Twitter conversation by sending invitations with hashtags to your followers through text, audio and video. Unlike Periscope, Twitter’s live streaming video mobile app, which is not exactly social (yes, brands who broadcast live can interact with their audience but that’s not the same as a conversation), Nurph allows “free-flowing group chats.” And if that’s not enough, Nurph also offers sound effects and emojis.
With this platform, you can integrate hashtags, replay chats in real time and get insights into your community. Once the chat is done, you can use the post-chat analytics feature to find out details like most influential participants, most active participants, most re-tweeted tweets and much more. In case your subscribers tend to forget, you can also send SMS reminders.
Bit.ly, a link management platform, is mostly known as a URL shortening service (especially helpful on Twitter where every character counts), but it has so much more to offer. You can shorten or create custom URLs and share them across multiple platforms and then track the link you shared via a bitmark to find out which ones work best for your audience — the stats page will show you how many people clicked on it, shared it, and which websites are driving traffic. This is helpful for boosting engagement as you can target a specific set of people with certain links.
The tool also provides analytics so you can monitor and improve what and when you share — just add a plus sign (+) to the end of a bitmark and you’ll be able to see statistics for that URL. It also adapts to different platforms, detects when a user is on mobile or not and guides them accordingly, and can be integrated with 75 publishing platforms.
Hashtagify is an app that gives you information about any hashtag. Once you enter a hashtag, a word or a phrase, the tool can find up to 500 related hashtags. It can also find the most influential people for your hashtag. It offers four main features: the Hashtags Lab, Users Lab, Hashtagify Library and the Hashtags Cafe.
The Lab can be used to find, track and analyze any hashtag. The Users Lab suggests the best hashtags for you by analyzing your previous tweets and you can find influencers by tracking hashtags. The Library contains over 40 million hashtags to choose from and gives you stats about any given one. And the Cafe is the ultimate hashtag suggestions tool as it prioritizes hashtags by analyzing your tweets. It can also deliver suggested hashtags through email to make it easier for you to use. This tool is great for finding the target audience in your niche and interacting with them.
Visual content is a must on social media because it is more likely to capture and hold the audience’s attention. Piktochart is a simple tool that helps you create visual content in a matter of minutes and share it on multiple social media accounts. All you have to do is follow a simple process – choose a template that matches your style or message (they have over 500), add images, data, icons, text or videos, customize font and color, and voila! When you’ve perfected your infographic or pie chart, you can share it on multiple platforms, create presentations or simply download it for later.
Commun.it is a valuable tool to build relationships by providing insights into your Twitter community. You can manage multiple profiles, know who to follow or unfollow, identify key influencers and monitor hashtags. It separates the real information from all the noise and gives you the ability to prioritize your Twitter tasks by dividing users into three categories: Influencers, Supporters and Engaged Members, depending on multiple factors. You can then browse through these categories and establish your target audience and influencers. The tool also provides free analytics and allows you to invite your colleagues to manage your community and see reports.
Note: Audiense was formerly called SocialBro.
Audiense is all about audience insight. It’s a combination of various tools that can enhance your community management by giving you a much more precise understanding of your community, including what kind of content they like, gender ratios, languages spoken, influential people who follow you, and so much more. With all this information, you can make informed decisions about your audience instead of guessing. You can also target them better by using Ad and Direct Message campaigns. It is a paid tool but if you’re serious about marketing, this platform can be an amazing resource.
As your Twitter account grows and your brand becomes more popular, managing your followers is a lot more difficult. ManageFlitter is “the most powerful Twitter bio search on the planet” and suggests users that you can follow (or unfollow) based on various factors. For example, it will identify people who are inactive, don’t follow you back, have no profile picture, etc, so that you can remove them from your list. It also features PowerPost, an in-app tool that shows you the best time to post in order to be visible to your target audience, analytics, and you can manage multiple accounts.
SocialRank is a tool to identify whom you should attempt to get to retweet you by using your connections to boost your social presence. It essentially uses the Halo Effect by providing you with endorsements from your followers. If X Brand is following you and I love X Brand, then that automatically makes me more prone to seeing you in a favorable light. Co-founder Alex Taub calls it “endorsements for the 99%.”
SocialRank sorts your followers into 5 categories — Most Valuable, Best Followers, Most Engaged, Most Followed and Alphabetical — so you can easily decide who is worth starting conversations with. You can also target specific groups of users by sorting followers through geographical location, verified accounts and interests.
These 10 tools are valuable resources for businesses looking to form relationships with their customers as well as a wider audience — provided that you know how to use them right. Keep in mind that you don’t have to use all of them; experiment a little to discover which ones suit you best.
In addition to these 10 tools, here are 10 useful tips to help you rock your presence on Twitter:
Hey everyone, in today’s episode, I share the mic with Nir Eyal, entrepreneur, educator and author of the best-selling book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products.
Listen as Nir discusses the power of manipulation (and the two types of manipulation), the four essential elements that create a hook to forming a habit, why it’s not the best product that wins but rather the product that comes first to mind, and the three pillars necessary for every successful new product. He illustrates his concepts using Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter—key, successful companies who have mastered the art of forming habits.
Nir Eyal is speaking at the Habit Summit in San Francisco April 4-5, 2017 about “How to Morally Manipulate Your Consumers.”
Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: Hooked Author Nir Eyal On Mastering the Art of Habit-Forming Products TRANSCRIPT
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Hey everyone, in today’s episode I share the mic with Jonathan Abrams, founder and CEO of Nuzzel, which allows you to discover top news from friends and influencers. Jonathan was also previously the founder of Friendster, which was a forerunner to Facebook and had over 100 million members.
Listen as Jonathan explains why you don’t need a social media account to engage with thought influencers and famous people, how word-of-mouth advertising and getting investors is easy when you’ve got something of value, what lessons he learned from founding Friendster, and how easy Nuzzel makes it to curate an email newsletter on your phone while standing in line for coffee!
Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: Jonathan Abrams Reveals Key Lessons Learned While Building Nuzzel (NYT Best App of 2016) and Friendster to 100M Users TRANSCRIPT
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This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition.
In today’s rapidly shifting world, SEO techniques can change on a dime—and the worst part is that you might not even know it. Hacks that could have won you a front-page result as recently as 2016 are not only obsolete now, but they may even hurt your website’s rankings.
That’s why you need to stay on top of the ball. We spoke with Jacob Warwick, Director of Communications at Skedulo, and Jesse Teske, SEO Manager at YLighting, to get their expert thoughts on the most current SEO tactics in 2017.
Read on for some 9 info-packed tips and techniques to help you get the most out of your SEO game in 2017—and improve your traffic and conversions.
Simply put, engagement is the ability to hold a user’s attention. In SEO terms, it is a measure of the amount of time spent on a page.
Although Google hasn’t officially declared it, there is evidence to suggest that this search engine giant does reward sites with strong user engagement with higher page ranking.
Research from SimilarWeb found a positive correlation between engagement metrics and search rankings and a study of 1 million search results by Backlinko found a similar correlation between bounce rate and rankings.
Google’s reasoning is that if a user spends more time on a page, it’s probably because she found the page useful. And since Google only wants to deliver the best possible results to its users, it will push sites with strong engagement up in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
So how can you improve your site’s engagement? Here are five tactics you can use with your existing content:
Good formatting can instantly improve your page’s readability. This, in turn, can improve your engagement rate. According to an eye-tracking study by Nielsen, the following three formatting tactics can help increase your content readability:
Here’s an example of poor formatting:
Nebraska is filled with internationally recognized attractions that draw large crowds of people every year, without fail. In 1996, some of the most popular places were Fort Robinson State Park (355,000 visitors), Scotts Bluff National Monument (132,166), Arbor Lodge State Historical Park & Museum (100,000), Carhenge (86,598), Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer (60,002), and Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park (28,446).
Here’s an example of the same paragraph, but with good formatting (which improved usability by 124%):
In 1996, six of the most-visited places in Nebraska were:
A “bucket brigade” is a copywriting technique designed to keep capture a reader’s interest and keep them on your page. It essentially involves breaking an idea into multiple sentences, using a trigger word or phrase (as simple as Look: or as lengthy as The secret to great copywriting is this:) and then ending the sentence with a colon.
Look at this example from Backlinko:
Including professional, high-quality images (photos, graphs) throughout your content is an easy yet powerful way to increase engagement. For one, images help you show an idea, not just tell it (a picture tells a thousand words, right?). Secondly, images help you break content into different sections. And finally, people just like pretty pictures.
For example, take a look at how Growth Everywhere uses images to clearly illustrate the step-by-step content in How To Do A Content Cleanup (And Grow Your Organic Traffic):
On Single Grain, charts and screenshots are frequently used to divide up content into separate sections, like this example from The Ultimate Guide to Mobile Advertising:
If you went to journalism school, you know all about the inverted pyramid style of writing:
This method means giving away the most valuable information at the top of the article, and following it up with less important information. If readers tend to scan and rarely make it to the bottom of an article, it makes sense to give them what they want as soon as they land on the page.
Writing well, delivering value, and proper formatting only go so far. Another key part of engagement is lowering your bounce rate, which is the percentage of visitors who land on your website and leave without interacting further. Bounce rates can be raised by a number of factors, from incorrect implementation to poorly designed landing pages.
More often than not, however, high bounce rates result from poor usability and an awkward user experience (UX). While these problems vary from site to site, they are very easily remedied with several popular online tools, such as:
For instance, heat maps are colorful representations of where users have clicked on your site, while scrollmaps show you just how far down the page your users scroll before leaving. With this data, it’s possible to figure out what your best design features (or flaws) are, and correct them accordingly. Here’s an example of a heatmap that shows you where visitors clicked:
In A/B testing, multiple versions of a web page are randomly shown to users, compared against a control page (generally the existing website), and then analyzed for effect. The biggest advantage of a proper A/B testing process is that marketers can understand how even the tiniest changes can positively affect their website, such as moving the buy button to the left or changing its color from red to blue.
Take a look at the sample A/B test below from 5 Important Landing Page Elements You Should be A/B Testing:
In this test, hygiene company L’Axelle is trying out different headlines, pitting a comfort-oriented headline against an action-oriented one. The change is subtle, but it’s there.
It’s clear that A/B testing is an integral part of both the copywriting and the UX design process. The genius of Optimizely is that it massively simplifies something that would otherwise require a team of dedicated, experienced UX designers and researchers to carry out.
Image Source: Optimizely
But perhaps the biggest draw of Optimize is that it seamlessly integrates with Google Analytics, allowing marketers to further leverage their existing resources. With Optimize, marketers can use existing Analytics metrics as a starting point, which allows them to rely on a familiar interface as they move on to deeper and more complicated experiments.
Here’s a shot of the Google Optimize user screen. Notice that it gives recommendations and suggestions for the optimal interface.
Pro Plan subscribers, however, have the option of receiving the help of UX professionals who will conduct research, analyze user behavior, and measure and benchmark. In this form, User Testing.com offers customers the benefits of an in-house UX team at a fraction of the cost.
With its conversational tone and engaging manner, Krug’s work gets readers into the habit of critically examining and rethinking everything about their websites, including even the tiniest details, like misplaced buttons or unwieldy site maps.
There’s also strong evidence that click-through rates will influence your website’s Google search ranking, though this is difficult to confirm given the company’s secrecy surrounding their algorithms. Either way, improving CTR is absolutely a good investment for the long-term health of your business.
Luckily, there are programs like Google Search Console and Tableau, which allow marketers to identify critical keywords which are performing (or underperforming) for their position, understand why and, most importantly, quickly visualize the terms and pages to target. With these programs, marketers can turn around underperforming terms by rewriting titles and descriptions, thereby increasing CTR and drumming up traffic.
Learn More: 10 Google Search Console Hacks to Boost SEO
A recent study by Backlinko concluded that the longer the content, the higher the likelihood of it ranking at the top of the SERPs.
However, writing 2,000+ words for every blog post is not for everyone; it’s an intensive, time-consuming process. Instead, it’s much easier to take a page from 1,200 words to 2,000 words than to go from 0 words to 2,000 words.
Existing content already has authority and an established readership. So rather than writing something entirely from scratch, it’s much simpler to find a post of yours that is already doing well on Google, refresh it with updated information and extra content, and rely on existing signals to make it rank for terms.
Here’s how you do it. First, under “Search Traffic” in Google Search Console, click on “Search Analytics.”
On this page, check “Position” and select “Pages”:
Try to find pages that are ranking between positions 11-30 on Google. These are ideal candidates for additional content that can increase their rankings.
55% of all keyword searches on Google return at least one video and 82% of those videos are from YouTube. YouTube is also the second most popular search engine with more than 3 billion searches per month, surpassing Bing and Yahoo combined.
Focusing on YouTube SEO will push your website onto the first page on Google and get you traffic from YouTube as well.
The result? Twice the traffic with the same content.
Learn More: The Complete Guide to Youtube SEO
Here is how you can improve your YouTube SEO (after creating your videos, of course):
The filename, the title, the description—all these elements affect your rankings.
Here’s a great example:
Another tactic is to use your keywords at the start of the title, then add a sub-header after a colon to drive clicks. Here’s an example:
At the very least, your title should have 5+ words and include a broad target keyword. This will not only help you rank in SERPs but also get you more clicks on YouTube.
Learn More: 20 Ways to Grow Your SEO Rankings
It can be as short as this example from Growth Everywhere:
Or as long as this example from James Stafford:
This tells Google—as well as your readers—exactly what your video is about. Since most of your competitors aren’t doing it, it will also help you rank way faster.
Like content, longer videos tend to do better in YouTube search.
Try it yourself: type in a popular keyword or topic and see what shows up at the top of the page. For example, here’s what you’ll see when you type in “wordpress”:
Or when you search for “photography tips”:
Try to make your videos at least 5 minutes long. As with written content, longer videos tend to get the most traction.
Learn More: A Youtube Video Marketing Guide to Increase Prospects in Your Funnel
A better video thumbnail won’t necessarily help with your SEO, but like a great headline, it will help you get more clicks. This means that you can often earn more views than higher ranked results, all thanks to your choice of thumbnail.
A strong thumbnail should tell viewers exactly what the video is about. Try to use a compelling image along with a title card. Here’s an example:
Back in 2010, Google announced that it would be using site speed as a ranking factor and since then, Google has consistently emphasized the importance of site speed.
First, it launched the PageSpeed tool to help developers improve site performance, followed by the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project to boost speed on mobile sites.
Recently, it launched another tool called Think with Google to help gauge how responsive (or mobile-friendly) a site is, which includes speed as a parameter.
Clearly, Google wants your website to load faster than it is right now. But how fast?
Unfortunately, the exact definition of “site speed” is open to speculation. According to the surveys done by Akamai and Gomez, nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less. If the site fails to launch in 3 seconds, there is a good chance they’ll abandon it.
You should work on your site’s speed not only to work your way up Google’s rankings, but also to increase conversions. For instance, one survey found that nearly 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with website performance won’t return to the site to buy again.
While improving site speed is a pretty big topic, check out this HubSpot article to improve page load times.
Learn More: Using Google AMP to Boost Site Speed and Mobile Optimization
Images are usually the largest components on any site (in terms of file size). By compressing them, you can often cut down page size by 30-40%.
A quick way to do this is to use Kraken.io. This tool automatically compresses all images uploaded to your WordPress blog. It also has an API to make image compression for non-WordPress sites easier.
Caching is the mechanism for temporarily storing web data such as HTML pages and images in order to reduce bandwidth usage.
If you’re on WordPress, enabling browser caching is as simple as installing a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache.
For non-WordPress sites, browser caching is a little trickier. One quick way to do it is to change your .htaccess file. Follow the instructions here to learn how to do this.
A CDN is a network of servers based throughout the globe. When visitors access your website, they are delivered the site from a server that is as close to their physical location as possible, thereby improving site speed.
Using a CDN is a easy fix to instantly improve site speed and will have an immediate impact on site performance.
Image Source: Moz
Google is evolving and so is its algorithm. Its objective now is to understand the intention of the users: what users expect, what they are looking for, and more specifically, what search results would best help answer their query.
Plus, for an increasingly large number of queries (19.45% to be exact), Google shows “rich results” that include the best answer at the top of the results:
In 2017, don’t expect your website to end up on the first page of Google simply by creating keyword-focused content. Tom Anthony from Moz concludes, “We need to stop looking at keywords and starting looking at queries.”
In short, you must consider what your users are looking for rather than coming up with different ways that users can phrase a search query. Here are two things in particular you should consider:
What kind of content you’ll create will depend on your audience. The better you know them—their location, age, and likes—the better the content you’ll create (and the better your SEO).
For example, suppose your keyword tool shows that “android” has a lot of search volume. People searching for it could fall into several categories:
Without knowing your target audience, you might end up creating content for all these topics, which would win you neither readers nor good rankings. By building a detailed buyer persona, you’ll be better able to zero in on topics that matter to your readers.
Instead of focusing on standalone keywords, organize all your content into different “themes.”
For example, if you run a website about WordPress, you might have three types of readers:
To target each of these types of readers, you can organize your content into different themes that cover multiple topics, such as:
This is far more reader-friendly than simply creating content for specific keywords.
At the same time—keywords still matter. Organizing content thematically is very important, but it’s a mistake to ignore keywords entirely, given that they serve as signposts to Google’s spiders, signaling topics and giving hints as to the nature of the content on the website.
Still, the keyword aspect of SEO is becoming increasingly difficult with Google Adwords hiding volume data.
Luckily, there are a number of tricks and tools that can help marketers find topics and volume data. Google itself is a good way to get related search ideas. Just type “sushi restaurants in San Francisco” into the search bar of Google Chrome and you’ll be presented with carousels of related images at the bottom of the page, such as the names of specific restaurants or dishes to order.
This is a strong hint for developers to include these topics in their content, or to create pages to leverage these related images.
Read on for some extremely useful tools that can help you find and optimize keywords:
Image Source: SEMRush
Interestingly, SEMRush also allows users to use a competitive positioning map, where they can see overall website traffic and keywords: Title Boxing boasts 120.9k in search traffic and 15.3k in keywords, far outpacing their closest competitors.
Image Source: SEMRush
When considering which keyword tools to use, look for something that allows you to monitor a high volume of keywords broken down by relevant themes. Additionally, the best tools must ensure that you can track all your competitors, from large corporations to small, up-and-coming firms.
As always, go for quality and not quantity. It’s better to get 10 conversions from 100 visitors than it is to get 10 conversions from 1,000 visitors. Rather than casting a too-wide net, focus on keywords and topics that are within your niche, ones that you can optimize for and be the authority on. Fill in these gaps and establish yourself as an expert in this smaller field before tackling larger and broader keywords where the competition is much fiercer.
Despite what you might have heard, building backlinks is still crucial for good rankings.
As per Moz, a site’s backlink profile is still the most reliable indicator of its eventual rankings. Another Moz study shows that without backlinks, it is nearly impossible to rank well, even if you have great content.
Image Source: Moz
What has changed is the way you must build backlinks if you want good results. Low-quality links that are easily spammed—blog comments, paid links, etc.—don’t seem to work anymore and can actively harm your site.
Links that are earned—through high-quality content, outreach and influencer marketing—on the other hand, are safe and extremely effective.
Read More: 5 Ways Cold Emailing Can Help Generate Backlinks
A critical part of SEO is reporting and analytics, which are indispensable to improving marketing strategies. By setting up an analytics platform to track both micro and macro events, you can understand your customer’s journey from your sales and marketing funnel.
For instance, what content really appealed to your customer? What part of the website had the most UX issues? Which page was the least (or most) visited, and why?
Having the ability to tie online data back to offline data to get a full 360 view of how your content and marketing is performing.
One great tool to help you do this is Google Datastudio, which helps you aggregate data from multiple sources (rankings, traffic, conversion data) into a single interface. You can even share your data internally or with clients. Most importantly, these metrics can help you determine the effectiveness of your SEO strategy, and whether you need to pivot or change tactics.
Along those lines, always be on the lookout to see what your competitors are doing, and how well it’s working. What techniques are they using? How have they changed their approach? What mistakes have they learned from?
One great tool to see how your competition has changed is Wayback Machine, which allows marketers to access petabytes of archived web pages. By sifting through Wayback Machine’s extensive database, you can track the evolution of your competitor’s brand and web presence, taking note of factors such as changes in UX design or differences in copy from one web version to the next.
Still, you shouldn’t implement something just because your competitor is doing it, whether that’s designing a website a certain way or using specific copy or images. This is especially true for larger websites like Amazon, which have much more leeway with search engines. Thanks to their numerous, highly skilled staff, they can test small changes and measure results with a high degree of accuracy.
If used correctly, Wayback Machine has some interesting lessons to offer any company. Take a look at these two screencaps of Title Boxing. The top picture is a screencap of Title’s homepage from Wayback Machine, circa 2007, while the bottom one is a screencap from 2016.
Image Source: Wayback Machine
Image Source: Title Boxing
The differences are pretty clear. In 2007, the web layout was much more cluttered and crowded, with small, hard-to-navigate sidebars squeezing some small, insignificant-looking pictures in the middle advertising daily specials.
In 2016, however, the user experience is much more streamlined. Visitors are greeted with a clear, easy-to-use sidebar at the top, labeled with categories like “Gloves,” “Punching Bags,” and many more. A large, sliding image in the center replaces the tiny, hard-to-notice ads from 2007, allowing buyers to see exactly what is on sale. The new website is almost minimalist, doing away with the previous confused, slightly chaotic format.
Clearly, Title has come a long way when it comes to UX, testing their changes and eventually settling on this new, simpler design. Still, it’s very likely that plenty of testing, design and redesign was put into this process, which is clear when you track their changes through Wayback Machine.
Be strategic about your changes, test them thoroughly, and examine how your competitors’ websites have evolved with Wayback Machine.
SEO and content tips aside, it’s absolutely essential to have a solid website, without worrying about any technical issues that may arise. With that being said, here are some tips and techniques to help you ensure that your website is up to par.
First off, do yourself a favor and switch to HTTPS, the most commonly used, securest version of the old http web protocol. HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP.
It’s a best practice that will help your website boost its SEO presence, stay secure, and make it harder for malicious parties to break in and take advantage of your website.
Granted, transitioning to HTTPS is easier said than done, and requires a multi-step process. When the Atlantic, a highly-regarded, well-established media organization, decided to move to HTTPS in early 2016, the transition was complex. First, content had to be scanned individually, then ported over and checked for compatibility. The process was repeated with ads, and once compatibility and security were ensured, the website slowly went live in order to guard against traffic loss and unforeseen errors.
If you’re a smaller organization, your process will likely be less painstaking or time consuming. All the same, moving to HTTPS is a necessity in a world of cybersecurity threats and heightened SEO and SEM requirements.
AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, began as a Google-backed open initiative to allow publishers to easily create responsive, mobile-optimized content.
Image Source: Toobler
Envisioned as a way to quickly render content on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, AMP combines three components:
Since AMP was only incorporated into the search giant’s results in February 2016, the format itself is still fairly new. For those of you who use WordPress, AMP should be much easier to implement than a home-grown CMS from scratch.
Learn More: Using Google AMP Pages to Boost Site Speed and Mobile Optimization
To ensure that Google is crawling your preferred pages and not pages that don’t appear in its index, turn to crawl programs like Deep Crawl or Botify. These SEO crawler programs are similar to Google’s own crawlers and will give you an overview of how your page will perform in SEO rankings.
Image Source: Botify
To help Google understand your data or to show your website smartcards and voice searches, you need to ensure that your semantic markups are correct. Semantic markups are essentially HTML tags which can help emphasize key information on your website.
For instance, a heading tag (H1) can help a crawler understand precisely what your content is about. If you tag “Five Holiday Destinations in Eastern Europe” with a H1, then a crawler will know to sort your blog post under relevant categories, such as holidays or Eastern European travel. In short, edit your semantic markups so that they reflect your data and information as accurately as possible.
Nothing will sink your website faster in search rankings than a 404 error, when a search engine can’t find the desired web page and leads to a dead end. It’s in your interest to fix these broken or missing pages and re-engage your users as soon as you can.
Whatever platform you use, be it Google Analytics or Oracle, take a look at the number of pageviews for your 404 page. Then add URL as a secondary dimension and fix the biggest offenders first. This way, you can boost UX and regain any inbound links from those pages.
Image Source: EyeEm
Learn More: Data-Backed Best Practices for Building a Killer 404 Page
To make your job easier, there are a number of web browser and WordPress plugins that you can use. We’ve listed a few of them below, along with a brief description of their capabilities and common uses.
Image Source: Ultimate Nofollow
In the digital era, it’s easy to forget that people still visit physical shops and establishments. True, they may use online resources to research, but plenty of commerce is still conducted in real life. If you have a brick-and-mortar business, you can’t neglect local SEO and listings if you want to stay profitable.
As powerful as search engines like Google or Bing are, they still can’t be everywhere at once, and have to rely on additional information from local, on-the-ground sources, which gather, aggregate, and submit relevant data for area businesses. These aggregators will do much of the legwork, pulling information from physical directories (like Yellow Pages) or scanning business registrations.
In a nutshell, bigger search engines will rely on these data aggregators to fill in the gaps of the existing information already in their databases, and will also cross-check to make sure that the facts are up-to-date. Problems arise, however, when aggregators collect out-of-date data, leading a search engine like Google or Bing to list the wrong information, like an old address for your business or a disconnected phone number.
Learn More: How to Do a Comprehensive Local SEO Audit
Image Source: Moz
That’s why it’s critical to ensure that your physical contact information is as current as possible.
The first step is to identify any obsolete information that may be out there. Because Google is the largest search engine, start with Google My Business, its free-to-use listing service, and update your data accordingly. Be sure to list important details like extra locations, the latest opening hours, and what forms of payment are acceptable.
Then, use a local directory management service, which carries out the painstaking, tedious work of scanning countless local directories, interacting with data aggregators, and correcting any old information. The best of these are Moz Local and Yext, which can help you avoid any glaring inconsistencies that can hurt your revenue stream, or even worse, trick Google’s algorithms into thinking that you’re a different business entirely.
Learn More: 10 Free Local SEO Tools for Small Businesses
Next, use your directory management service to hit at least four of the major data aggregator services. While these companies do vary by location, some of the bigger names are Infogroup, Acxiom, and Localeze, all of which provide information on millions of business listings to larger search engines.
From that point on, local search listings should be accurately and automatically updated by your management service.
Carrying out technical SEO for local search engines is a similar process.
You may be questioning the point of optimizing for local search engines, especially given Google’s unquestioned dominance of the search landscape. Even so, local search engines are still extremely useful. After all, if you’re a physical, brick-and-mortar establishment, you will benefit greatly from having in-store visits.
Learn More: How to Get More Reviews for Your Local Business
If you’re a digital business, local searches are still important. One study shows that consumers are 36% more likely to begin with local search engines, rather than general search sources like Google. Even if they’re looking for a digital marketing agency rather than a hardware store, if you don’t optimize for local search results, your business could lose potential customers.
Image Source: IDC
Here are some useful terms and techniques to ensure that you optimize your business for local searches:
First, understand that schema markup is one of the most powerful, least used parts of SEO today. Schema are basically brief snippets of data that can give extra information to search users and search engines. Best of all, schema markups don’t require extra coding, and can be inserted through Schema.org, a rare collaboration between Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
In the case of the example below, the schema gives extra information about showtimes at the following venue:
Image Source: Google
As you can see, schema is a game-changer: you can make your site more visible in Google and quickly add brief, useful data for the benefit of users.
Image Source: Moz
Ultimately, SEO is rapidly changing from one year to the next—even from one month to the next. Business owners and marketers have to adapt quickly, but it’s still possible to give your business website the edge on your competition.
Just remember to focus on solid content creation and copywriting fundamentals, engage your viewers deeply, and stay abreast of technical trends like backlinks, SEO health, site speed, and schema.
If all this seems overwhelming—take a deep breath. Taking the effort to understand even the basics of SEO will help your site gain higher click-through rates, engagement, and of course, rankings. In 2017, a little bit of reading and tinkering on your own can still go a very long way.
Feel free to reach out to us for a friendly chat to see how our team at Single Grain can help you with your SEO!
This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition, by Peter Boyle.
The marketing world can be pretty confusing, right?
We all want the best results, but it’s hard to know whether you should focus on the current model of content marketing, e-mail campaigns (the king of ROI), or the social crowd (Twitter, Facebook, and other social media networks).
The list goes on and on. Every year new marketing methods spring up and with them a new set of gurus who vehemently defend that particular approach as the best thing for taking your business to the next level.
Rest easy, I’m no guru and I’m not going to push a new marketing method with some terribly hyperbolic sales pitch on you. What I am going to do is examine one of the more popular marketing approaches that has not only outlived many fads, but has adapted to the times.
I am, of course, referring to paid advertising.
The act of paying a third party with better visibility or larger distribution to promote your business is as old as marketing itself. But one of the reasons paid advertising has remained so popular is that it’s managed to adapt with the times.
Technological developments have enabled marketers to set up and implement a campaign in next to no time, and the data that’s available from these campaigns makes getting the most out of your campaigns easier than ever before.
One of the more recent developments, and the one I’d like to focus on in this piece, is how paid advertising has crossed over into the world of social media.
Large numbers of people use social media in their day-to-day lives. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other networks each attract anywhere from hundreds of millions to billions of monthly users. With such a huge user base, social media is the ideal platform for you to increase the reach and visibility of your business.
While all networks share some common features, getting the most out of each with a paid campaign is an entirely unique effort. This article is going to focus on how to get the most out of your Twitter paid ad campaign.
Read More: The Complete Guide to Gmail Ads (How We Got $.10 CPCs & Leads As Low As $7)
I know what you’re thinking.
Paid ads are great and all, but is Twitter really the best option? I mean, if you’re set on a paid social media ad campaign why not go with the big fella—Facebook?
I can’t argue that the reach Facebook offers is greater, quite a lot greater in fact!
But as folks are given to saying: size isn’t everything. Yes Facebook might be bigger, but Twitter has a few little gems that make it a pretty worthwhile contender for your attention.
What really makes Twitter worthwhile is its effectiveness.
Call me old fashioned, but if I’m running a paid campaign, I’m most interested in the financial side of things. I want to know how much it’s going to cost and how great the ROI is. As such, I’ll track:
You might notice how I’ve completely omitted a few favorites.
As far as I’m concerned, CTR, impressions or any of the other favored metrics don’t affect your bottom line and as a result shouldn’t be your focus. They’re still important and will play an important role in optimizing your campaigns, but your primary focus should always be on how it affects the company’s bottom line.
And it’s here that Twitter excels.
A couple years ago there were a number of studies conducted on the effectiveness of paid advertising on different networks. Below are the results for lead gen from Optify.
Studies also point to Twitter dominating the mobile space. A pretty big deal considering that 2015 saw the first instance of mobile browsers exceeding their desktop counterparts.
But this was a few years ago; surely the faster growth of Facebook has skewed these results and left Twitter in the dust, right?
Not according to this study by Yotpo, which found that Twitter still has a higher conversion rate and average order value.
Twitter may well be smaller and have a more limited reach than Facebook, but that hasn’t stopped it from pulling ahead in the metric that counts: conversions.
The question, then, is how to ensure that you’re seeing the greatest conversion and revenue gains with your Twitter ads.
What do you want to achieve with your Twitter advertising campaign?
That should be the first question you ask yourself. Admittedly it’s pretty broad and can encompass a lot. Thankfully, Twitter’s selection of campaigns should help you decide on what next steps are best for your needs.
Upon logging into the Ads dashboard you’ll be greeted with the below:
Here’s how each campaign breaks down.
As you’d expect, this campaign is aimed at increasing your Twitter following. The cost for the campaign works on a cost-for-follow basis, meaning that you only pay when you gain a new follower.
The ads appear in two different formats depending on whether you include a tweet or not. Those who don’t will have an ad that looks like this:
And those that do will have an ad that looks like this:
This is a great option for new businesses on Twitter but it’s not really the best option for an established brand. If you’ve been around a while, there are plenty of other smart tactics I’d recommend over paying for new followers.
Web clicks or conversions
This is one of the best options for those looking for quick traffic or conversions. The parameters you set when establishing the campaign define the audience that will see these tweets. The tweets you create are accompanied by a ‘learn more’ button which redirects them to your website or landing page.
Read More: LeadPages CEO Clay Collins Talks About How To Ramp Up Your Conversion Rates – Up To 75%! (podcast)
This is one of those options that’s really only useful if you’re looking for an incredibly engaged audience. It’s not a bad campaign by any means, but it’s not necessarily going to have the same impact on your bottom line.
Aside from the obvious benefits of increasing reach and visibility, this campaign can be a goldmine for marketers doing a little audience research.
Ask a question to which you need to know the answer so that you can optimize your marketing and promote it. More people will see it and, on top of the retweets and favorites, you’ll get some great answers to help hone your approach.
App installs or re-engagements
Got an app? Want more people to use it? Then this is the campaign for you.
This campaign puts a direct install link on your tweets so the prospects you’re targeting can quickly and easily install the app at the touch of a finger.
The great thing about these ads is that you’re not going to waste money through dumb folks on desktop computers clicking the install button. These ads are only displayed to Twitter users on mobile.
Leads on Twitter
Twitter offers an easy sign-up procedure that integrates with many of the popular e-mail marketing services. You’re able to include a lead generation card in your ad which then adds the prospect directly to your list.
These are great. They not only contribute to a meaningful metric (the money’s in the list, right?), but they abolish the need to fill out a form. With these, your prospects literally just click a button.
This is a relatively new feature.
Twitter will promote your videos to targeted customers. What’s key to note here is how they charge. According to their info page, they consider “a chargeable view as 3 seconds of playback in 100% view in the timeline, or a click to watch in fullscreen/unmute — whichever comes first.”
Of course, video is well known as being an incredibly engaging and successful form of content. However, you’ll need to keep an eye on whether that three-second rule is ruining your campaign budget.
Remember, this campaign is costing you cash. You’re going to want every click you pay for to have the best possible chance of converting into a paying customer.
The biggest mistake marketers make with PPC campaigns is going on gut instinct. You might know your product better than anyone else and you may well have some pretty kickass audience personae mapped out, but that doesn’t mean that you can implement your targeting without doing a little research first.
The targeting parameters with Twitter Ads aren’t going to present anything you haven’t seen before.
The only things that may surprise veteran marketers are the specificity of the locations (seriously, you can target specific postal codes which is great for local businesses!) and perhaps the option to target by TV show preference.
The rest are pretty run of the mill so I’m not going to waste time with a redundant explanation of what location is or how to target followers of larger related accounts.
Instead I want to quickly touch on how to get your campaign off to the best start. Not by targeting those you think might be interested in whatever it is you’re offering, but by using the data of those who have already converted.
Your Google Analytics account has a wealth of information to get your campaign off to the right start. to begin with, you can pull interest data straight from GA as is. Organize this data from highest-converting interest category to lowest and you’ll have a great starting point for your interest-targeting Twitter Ads.
You can do exactly the same to pull pertinent information for other key demographic information.
After you’ve done this you’ll want to find the keywords that convert on GA. You should already have tracking set up on GA so you know the exact behavior of those who convert and the revenue they bring.
The next thing to do is implement this custom report created by Griffin Roer over on KISSmetrics. The report will show you your landing pages organized by organic searches. Again, filter this by conversion rate to know which landing pages have the highest conversion rate.
Make a note of the top-converting landing pages before heading over to Webmaster Tools. Open Search Traffic > Search Analytics and use the filter option on pages to find the highest-converting pages outlined in the above GA report.
Once you’ve filtered by your top-converting pages, click on “Queries.” This will bring up a great list of the terms that garner the highest number of clicks on Google.
These terms, while from organic results, obviously appeal to the segment of your audience that converts, so they’d be a good starting point for you in your targeting.
Once you’ve done the whole GA thing, you’ll want to supplement and cross reference the information with the engagement rates that your Twitter account is already receiving.
Your next stop is over on Twitter’s Analytics suite.
There are lots of visually impressive results in Twitter’s Analytics dashboard, but more often than not they’re just a visual representation of your audience. I’m not aware of any way to track conversions unless you’ve already set up Twitter’s conversion tracking. Something that very few people I’ve spoken to seem to have done.
Read More: 13 Quick Tricks to Increase Conversion Rates that You Can Do Right Now
However, you can track which of your tweets gained the highest engagements by clicking on the “Tweets” heading in the menu.
Ignore the pretty graph at the top of the page, scroll down, and click on “Top Tweets” and you’ll find a list of your tweets with the highest engagement rate.
Copy the text from your top tweets and cross reference them with your GA data. Doing so should help you understand the kind of copy that resonates well with your audience.
If there’s a keyword or phrase that pops up across both platforms regularly, it’s likely that it’s going to grab attention and convert those users into list subs or paying customers. Use it in your keyword targeting and in your Tweet copy.
Over 80% of Twitter users access the platform through mobile. If you’re redirecting users to a landing page on your site, make sure it’s optimized for the device and OS they’re using.
There’s nothing worse when on mobile than clicking a link and finding yourself on a page optimized for desktop. Links are too small to click with a finger, copy gets cut off by the smaller display, and the whole process just seems to run sluggishly.
These little annoyances are enough to put anyone off converting. Target your ads to appear only to those on mobile or desktop, but ensure that the links within those Tweets link to pages that are optimized for that audience.
You’ll also want to target ads and have specific landing pages for:
It seems like overkill, but the best way to ensure a higher rate of conversion is to provide an ultra specific and tailored experience.
You’ve got to ensure that the page you’re directing people to is perfectly optimized for their needs and behaviors.
Twitter often seems to get overlooked simply because it doesn’t have the reach of Facebook. But studies clearly show that it’s an incredibly effective platform for gaining a higher level of conversions.
Implementing any form of paid marketing strategy shouldn’t be done without thorough planning. Before you pay for your campaign to go live make sure that you’re not only comfortable with the way Twitter Ads works, but also feel confident that you know exactly who you’re targeting.
Have you used any other methods to help better target your Twitter campaign? Leave a comment below and let us know!
How do you get smarter?
Simple—you ingest as much information as you can and parse out the information that really resonates with you. Warren Buffett spends over 5 hours reading each day just so he can keep up with the important events happening around him.
People often talk about reading books, listening to audiobooks/podcasts, going to conferences and reading blog posts. How about newsletters?
Although numbers show that e-mail is starting to die, it’s still a highly engaging channel. It’s still one of the best ways to drive revenues online. So engaging in fact, that for every $1 spent on e-mail marketing, the average return is $44.25.
E-mail engagement has been decreasing over the years. Just take a look at this image from Bear and Beam:
The most important thing is getting the right information in front of you since so many e-mail newsletters are just an abundance of promotional spam.
But if you can get it right, the information flowing to you will be an invaluable addition to your content consumption schedule. If one of the richest men in the world can make time to read 5+ hours a day, I’m sure you can block out some time to as well.
I tend to skip a lot of e-mail newsletters, but there are a select few that I hold dear to my heart because I LEARN a lot from them. The newsletters I subscribe to cover the following:
If you’re an entrepreneur (or aspiring entrepreneur), it’ll be beneficial for you to check at least one of these out. Venture capital is always interesting to me because it points to where capital is flowing for ‘the next big thing’.
Without further ado, I’m pleased to share my favorite newsletters (in no particular order):
Investor and Digg founder Kevin Rose curates a monthly newsletter with his latest ramblings. He shares favorite products he likes, how-to’s that he finds useful, his favorite TED talks, interesting topics (e.g. fasting, ice baths, etc.), and more.
You can sign up for it here <==
Tim Ferriss’ weekly newsletter gives you a peek into the world of the best-selling author. He’ll recommend books, something he really enjoyed reading that week, interesting quotes, and a recent purchase.
You can sign up for it here <==
This is by far my most favorite venture capital newsletter for the week. It’s PACKED with information on things that I typically don’t think about (e.g. emerging layers, world diseases, how the world is running out of groundwater, and more).
There are a lot of things in this world that you don’t know you don’t know. But when you start to move things to the territory of ‘know you don’t know’, you can start to take control and go deeper down the rabbit hole on subjects that you’re truly interested in. If you haven’t seen my interview with Social Capital Partner Mamoon Hamid, go listen to it now. You’ll enjoy it!
You can sign up for it here <==
KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg co-founder Hiten Shah is someone I consider to be a mentor figure who’s always consuming and sharing interesting knowledge. Just follow his Twitter or Facebook and you’ll find that to be the case. Luckily, he also curates a weekly digest of his favorite readings which is even more valuable because he’s spent the time to distill what really resonated with him. You can listen to my interview with him here.
You can sign up for it here <==
Echosign (sold to Adobe) co-founder and SaaS godfather Jason Lemkin knows a thing or two when it comes to software-as-a-service (Saas). In fact, he throws one of the best conferences in San Francisco each year called the SaaStr annual.
For people building a software subscription business, this is a must-have. In fact, you should also add his Quora posts to your list of reading material because it’s damn good. So good, in fact, that he has crossed well over 10 million views. If you haven’t checked out my action-packed interview with him, you can listen in right here.
You can sign up for it here <==
The Mattermark Daily is a hand-curated newsletter compiled daily to bring you first-person accounts of entrepreneurship, investment, and insights from the startup ecosystem. I enjoy the weekly digest the most because it features the top 10 posts. You’ll learn about topics such as fundraising, first-time founder lessons, convertible debt, and more.
You can sign up for it here <==
How many of you get confused by the world of finance? I certainly do. What if I told you there was a newsletter that condenses important financial news and makes it understandable to a 5th grader? Well, maybe not that simple, but you get the point that I’m trying to make.
I think it’s important to understand what’s going on in the financial markets but when I don’t have a strong understanding of the vernacular, it makes my eyes just glaze over. Finimize calls itself ‘pocket-sized financial news’ and it’s exactly that. Each tidbit of news is broken down into sections:
You can sign up for it here <==
CBInsights’ digest is another great newsletter that talks about emerging industries, venture capital, and disruptive startups. There’s more of a flair/attitude to this newsletter because they aren’t afraid to speak their mind. If they think something sucks, they’ll tell you upfront.
As with a lot of venture capital newsletter, it’s LOADED with data. In fact, content marketing has consistently been one of their top growth drivers for the past few years. You can listen to my interview with CEO Anand Sanwal on how he gets $1,000+ signups per month using content marketing.
You can sign up for it here <==
Growth Hackers is a marketing community where people share growth strategies and tactics. Top posts are upvoted by the community to make it easier to find the “best of the best” content. Topics on growth hacking include growth case studies, AMA with marketing executives, advertising, SEO, and more.
To get access, simply sign up to be a member of Growth Hackers.
HubSpot co-founder Dharmesh Shah and Moz co-founder Rand Fishkin teamed up a few years ago to create an inbound marketing community. Inbound.org is similar to Growth Hackers in the sense that the best posts are pushed to the top via upvotes from members of the community. Topics you’ll typically see will center around SEO, conversion rate optimization, copywriting, and more. They also have great discussions on the forum itself.
To get access, simply sign up to be a member of Inbound.org.
In today’s age where 2.7 million blog posts are published each day, it’s hard to tell signal from noise. But when you’re able to fine tune your radar and truly hone in on information that matters to you, you’ve struck gold. From there, you’ll be able to quickly parse out the most relevant information and take action that will make an impact on your life.
How many newsletters do you subscribe to? What are some of your favorites?