For two and a half years, every two weeks I sifted through over 140 blog posts and podcasts that talk about how to build successful online businesses. I found the best content, summarized it, added a bit of my commentary, and delivered it to the inboxes of entrepreneurs around the world…for free. I’m no longer writing Signals in the Noise issues (because my business partners and I are focusing on other parts of Clarity Lab), but please enjoy these archived issues. There’s a ton of useful information in them!
1. This American Wife.
Here’s something brand spankin’ new from my wife and me: The Art of Money podcast. It’s part narrative storytelling and part interview style. Sort of like a mixture between This American Life (narrative journalism storytelling) and the Tim Ferris show (all interviews), but focused on money stories that help people change their financial reality. The feedback on this new show has been through the roof. What started out as a little podcast idea validation experiment will probably turn into a regular show now. Folks are eating it up. Squeee!
2015 was a very frustrating year regarding trying to use Facebook to organically grow our business for free. Getting a ton of traffic and leads from employing a solid, non-paid advertising social media strategy on Facebook used to work. In 2015, it stopped working. Organic reach for all businesses across the board, including ours, plummeted to less than 2%. If you have 1000 fans who have liked your business page, when you post something there, 20 people will see it, on average.
I started to get really mad at Facebook but then realized that they’re a business trying to make money, just like ours. So, I decided to try playing their game: giving them money to reach new prospects. I hired a great Facebook ad consultant, mapped out a plan, created an ad for our free 7-day email course, and started giving Facebook money.
The ad began working immediately. Hundreds of new leads were coming in within a couple of weeks. So I started giving Facebook even more money, and it started working even better.
We’re in the middle of a month-long launch for our year-long Art of Money program and so far, in the last two and a half months, we’ve gotten over 500 new people on our email list. We’ve also made eight sales for our program from new people that have come to our site from Facebook. We’re close to a 4X return on our ad spend so far. For every $10 we give Facebook, we get $40 back. I like Facebook now. A lot. We’re like serious BFF’s.
Here’s a fantastic, in-depth guide to getting started with your own Facebook ad campaign, from the good folks at Adesspresso. Get your ads on, yo.
3. The launch lad.
Curious to see a detailed, behind the scenes run through of how a relatively new information marketer, Bryan Harris, made over $732,216 from two launches of the same product in one year? Then have a look at this epic post. It’s a mini-course on launching an online program all contained in one blog post.
4. Run Forrest, run.
“If you haven’t had your big break yet, keep going. Consistency is the most fundamental virtue to becoming the person you want to be. Almost everyone can sprint for a while. But most burn-out and quit. Everything meaningful in life is a marathon — meant to test your commitment and will.” That’s Benjamin Hardy, on how to become the best in the world at what you do. There’s a lot of great things in his post about building a business doing the things you love to do. After an analysis of what I’m practicing myself, it seems that I’m aiming for the top 10 best pun headline writers. Hey, everyone’s got to aim for something, right? Plus, I just have so much pun coming up with them.
5. Stream team.
“As you scale your company and hire people who are much smarter than you, it’s scary at first but eventually it becomes liberating. You definitely spend less time “in” the business and start to work more “on” the business, which means a lot more time on strategy and helping to reel in the “big fish” for important roles, key partners, etc.” Mitchell Harper, founder of Big Commerce, on how to become less busy as the leader of your business. The whole “working ‘on’ your business instead of ‘in’ it” is a valuable concept, but it’s missing a third option: working “under” your business, which is when you’re overwhelmed in a deluge of never ending tasks during a work sprint (like the one I’m in right now 😉
6. Neuromyth busters.
Study information marketing and how to create successful membership sites long enough and you will undoubtedly run across someone talking about the “multiple learning styles” concept. You’ve probably heard of it before in other contexts. It states that some people learn better visually, others auditorily, and yet others learn better kinesthetically. But, it turns out that the whole concept is a “neuromyth.” UC psychology professor Harold Pashler explains that “Although the literature on learning styles is enormous, very few studies have even used an experimental methodology capable of testing the validity of learning styles applied to education…We conclude therefore, that at present, there is no adequate evidence base to justify incorporating learning styles assessments into general educational practice.” Woopsie. Science pulled a MythBuster. Guess we better revisit the guidance around making sure to include audio, video, and written content inside our online programs.
7. Goat with the wind.
You’ve likely noticed a popular web design trend over the last year where there’s a giant video playing in the background of the header of a website. If you have a site with a video background, or you’re thinking of creating one (or creating a landing page with something like Lead Pages that will have a video background), here’s a fantastic resource: royalty free video backgrounds on Coverr. There’s even one where a bunch of goats have their butts to the camera while they eat. Goats videos are the new cat videos.
8. Wedding blog crashers.
“After working with thousands of students, I can confidently say there are only a few hundred topics where blogging really works. For instance, ever noticed how many parenting blogs there are? Or marketing blogs? Or social media blogs? There’s a reason why. Blogging works really well for those types of topics. But there aren’t any popular blogs about retirement, weddings, or becoming a better real estate agent. And here’s the real shocker…There never will be.” That’s Jonathan Morrow, from Boost Blog Traffic, on the reason so many of his students weren’t able to actually boost their blog’s traffic after going through his online program. The punchline? Make sure you choose a topic for your blog (or your business) that passes these seven tests. Also, don’t try to start a blog about retired real estate agents who want to get married.
9. Ascent horizon.
Okay. Are you ready? Let’s kick our marketing skills into overdrive and learn some advanced tactics from studying the results of sciency experiments run by the folks at Marketing Experiments. Here are their most popular posts and test results from 2015. Make sure to catch the 104% conversion rate increase from using preheader text for mobile search results. (Preheader text appears just below your site’s name in mobile search results.)
10. Folly your passion.
“One of the most glaring things we’ve discovered is that trying to pursue some preordained “passion” is entirely the wrong way to find a career you enjoy that makes a big difference to the world. Why? Well for starters, most people’s passions just don’t fit well with the world of work.” That’s Will Macaskill, Oxford professor of philosophy and founder of the nonprofits 80,000 Hours and Give What We Can, on why the “follow your passion” maxim doesn’t work. Will is one of my new favorite humans. I discovered him from this episode of the Tim Ferris podcast.
Not only did Will turn me on to effective altruism (using a scientific method to find ways to make the biggest positive impact with your financial donations to charities), but with his article above, he also helped me understand, finally, why I’ve always had such a hard time trying to make money from my passion for meditating in the wilderness.
Thank you for spending some time with me today!
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Here’s to you having a massively productive week!
Catch you next time, my friend.
Signals in the Noise
p.s. You can find the archive of past weekly content roundups right here.