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. Find your true culling.
“The thing is that leads age – they become uninterested in what you have to offer for a variety of reasons (job changes, bankruptcy, already found a better product/service, etc.) Or they just don’t bother to open your emails. It’s only natural that the open rate goes down in the long-term – you keep adding new people, but at the same time, the number of inactives keeps growing. So, what should you do with those inactive leads? Keep them on the list, try to reactivate them or remove them altogether? We went for the latter.” Meelis Ojasild, from the software company Pipedrive, on why they decided to delete 83,000 people from their email list and how it benefitted their company. (I know what would benefit our company: having a huge enough list where we could delete 83,000 email addresses and still have a big email list left over.)
2. Laying the ghost to rest.
“Stop shrinking into some small little ball-less version of yourself—you know, so you don’t make all the other ball-less twats feel uncomfortable. Or risk offending somebody. Or do something controversial. Or doing all of that and then totally screwing it up and feeling stupid. God forbid. I’m sick and tired of it. I’m sick of seeing you hesitate. Second guess yourself constantly. Smile weakly. FUCKING WILT. You’re wilting away and you don’t even see it. But you feel it. God, do you feel it.” That’s the inimitable Ash Ambirge, wielding a sword of compassion to help you wake from your slumber so you can step out into the world and be you, unapologetically. To stop second guessing everything. To stop trying to please everyone else by being something that you’re not. To finally answer the question of why you feel like a hollowed out shell of a ghost. Since she posted this piece last week, this post has been shared over 800 times on Facebook alone. Seems it struck a chord.
“Psychologists from Northern Illinois University found that using swear words to emphasize a point can improve the persuasiveness of your argument by increasing the perceived intensity without hurting credibility.” That’s Shanelle Mullin, from ConversionXL, on a question that I struggle with from time to time: does swearing make your copywriting more persuasive, or less? The answer? It depends. For some audiences and some topics and some brands, like Ash Ambirge’s The Middle Finger Project (which I linked to in the above item), swearing becomes a rich, and often hilarious, part of the brand…and it works brilliantly for her.
Swearing, for Ash, helps convert people into huge fans of hers, and it’s important to note that they are the right people, for her and her brand. Those who are offended by her swearing don’t hang around too long, but that’s okay because they wouldn’t have likely been a good fit for Ash’s products anyway.
I don’t know exactly how much Ash is making each year, but I know she’s into the 7-figure realm now, so, I’d have to say, given the amount of swearing that she does, it’s definitely not hurting her brand or revenue. And my hunch is that the swearing is likely helping her. A lot. If you normally swear, and if it works for the personality of your brand, I say fucking go for it. (Aaaaaand this is the part where I keep hitting refresh in my Aweber account to see how many people unsubscribe today because I dropped an f-bomb.)
4. Hit me with your best (sling)shot.
Here’s an interesting new app just launched by Bryan Harris, founder of VideoFruit. It’s called Slingshot. It’s an app that helps you plan and implement your launch strategy and timing for launching a product, like an online program or book or a software application. It comes with loads of content and swipe copy for emails and sales pages for you to use as a starting point, and allows you to follow the same kind of launch structures that Bryan and other successful entrepreneurs have used to make multiple six-figures and seven-figures in one year.
5. Stick the landing.
Landing pages. You’ve seen hundreds of them in just the last year. They can grow your email list like crazy, increase your businesses revenue, and thus give you more time to do non-businessy things, like riding bikes with your kids on a Saturday morning in the middle of summer, or, trying to figure out how to not use the word “thus” in a sentence because it makes you sound like a pretentious university professor.
Landing pages look deceptively simple to create, but there’s a lot that goes into creating the kind of page that converts well (meaning, a good percentage of the people who come to the page sign up for the thing you’re offering, which is usually free.)
If you’re new to creating landing pages, here’s an incredible guide from the folks at Sumo Me that will show you how to craft every element of a landing pages that will convert like candy. (I’m starting to use landing pages in our household. I made one for my son last night with the headline “12 Things To Do Around the House in 5 Minutes That Will Earn You More iPad Time.”)
6. Mind the gap.
“There’s a space between where you are now and where you want to be, ought to be, are capable of being…The magic of forward movement is seeing the space as leap-sized, as something that persistent, consistent effort can get you through. The most likely paths are the ones where you can see the steps.” That’s Seth Godin, on how to manage the gap between where you are and where you want to be. I’m pretty sure Seth is a reincarnation of Dogen Zenji, who founded the Soto school of Zen Buddhism in the 13th century. Seth’s writings on marketing read like Zen koans, those hard to solve riddles used in Zen to awaken your mind to the true nature of reality. Sit with them long enough and, like Godin’s writings, they’ll cause insights to happen.
Two days ago I received a soft package in the mail from a company called MeUndies. I opened it and found 3 brand new pairs of underwear in the style and size I wanted, but the thing is…I didn’t order them. Along with the undies was a handwritten note from Kara, a customer service agent I had been emailing with a few days before. Her note thanked me for being patient, kind, and understanding around the delay in the customer support team’s response time the previous week.
I had ordered 3 pairs of a style of underwear that didn’t fit right, so I wrote in asking how to exchange the unworn undies for a different style. But they took 3 days to get back to me, and in that time, the nice, soft undies that were the wrong style kept calling my name (largely due to the fact that I needed to do a load of laundry and was out of undies.)
So I started wearing them, which means I couldn’t return them. By the time Kara wrote me about the issue, I had already worn the three pairs of underwear. I told her not to worry about it. I’d just get used to that style of undie and would order some more in the style I wanted.
Three days later, that package arrived with the 3 new pairs of underwear in the style and size I had wanted to exchange the other pairs for. She sent them to me for free, unexpectedly, and saved me $60. She wrote a kind note thanking me, and then glued a Starbucks gift card with $5 on it, and said: “And have a cup of joe on us!”
Not only did I get 3 free pairs of super comfy underwear and a free cup of coffee, but Kara made a human connection with her unexpected gesture and handwritten note. Guess who I’ll be buying underwear from for years to come? Yup. MeUndies. (That link will get you a 20% discount off your first order of undies, if you want to give them a try for yourself. Comfiest undies I’ve ever had.) Kara and MeUndies nailed a critical part of customer service called “delighting your customers.” (Zappos is another company that’s great at this.)
So, when you think about your business and customers this week, if you don’t think of it all through this lens very often, try contemplating this: how can you delight your customers? And on that note, here’s a beautiful, well-written, free ebook by Sujan Patel that will show you exactly how to go about delighting your customers. (You didn’t think I was just going to tell you a story about my underwear without linking to some great content, did you?)
8. A happy medium.
Medium, the popular blogging and social network for writers, continues to gain momentum and adoption not only by writers, but by small business owners. If you’ve started using it as a place to publish your work and gain new traffic to your website, or if you haven’t yet begun and want to know how to best use Medium, here’s Ali Mese, startup marketer and founder of Growth Supply, with a brilliant list of quick action steps to take in order to get the most out of your Medium posts.
9. Corner the (content)market.
“As content marketers, we may find it tough to uncover the valuable gems in the big sea of content. It can be hard to learn about brands — beyond Red Bull, GoPro, and BlendTec — that are executing successful, creative content marketing.” Unless, that is, you take a look at this post of 38 hand-curated examples of brands who are knocking it out of the park with their content marketing. Watch the first video example on that page, about a guy who got a rescue dog. It had me in tears. (I know that sounds like an UpWorthy click bait headline, but I was honestly crying while watching that video. It’s powerful…plus, I love dogs.)
10. Analysis paralysis.
“Here’s the thing about analytics: all those numbers and metrics serve a purpose. They tell a story. They give you instructions. They tell you how to become a better marketer. The purpose of analytics is to show you what’s going on with your marketing and what needs to change.” And the best place to start with website analytics? Google’s free tool, Google Analytics. Here’s Neil Patel, on the three most important metrics to start with in your Google Analytics account. I’m still waiting for Google to show me what people are actually thinking to themselves about our content or copywriting while they’re on our site. THAT would be absolute gold.
Hope you enjoyed today’s issue of Signals in the Noise!
I’d love it if you share it on Facebook if you have a moment.
Or, share and share alike on Twitter, if you please.
Until next time, have a chew on this: what’s the one thing you can do today, such that by doing it, everything else in your business will become easier or unnecessary?
Rock on with your brilliant self,
Editor-in-briefs for Signals in the Noise
Founder at Clarity Lab
p.s. You can find the archive of past issues of Signals in the Noise right over here.