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Get caught up on what you might have missed in the week with The Friday Reload. We hand-curate the best posts, news, and videos of the week.

For the week of November 14th, 2014

NEWS

Twitter Introduces New Small Business Planner

“A mobile app full of tactical guidance for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in North America, the UK, and Ireland.” Using the app you can:

  • browse a daily calendar themed around four main topics: Tweet suggestions, Twitter Ads strategies, information on Twitter tools, and exclusive events.
  • add the most relevant topics to your own agenda, which syncs with your personal device calendar; now you can keep track of Twitter alongside all of your other marketing activities
  • access additional resources such as research, success stories, blog articles and ebooks directly within the app
  • be the first to know about new #SmallGoesBig initiatives.

TOP STORIES

How To Make More Money As A Freelancer

Money

Client flow has impressed me with their content in the past and has done it again.

Focusing on the operational side and positioning of being a ‘freelancer’ they detail how you can optimize your business to get better results.

In this post, they cover ways you can effectively optimize your business to close more projects and make more money.

An outline follows:

  • Stop Calling Yourself A “Freelancer”
  • Create winning estimates
  • Don’t charge hourly
  • Charge for project management
  • Outsource when you’re booked
  • Communicate quickly
  • Iron out the details
  • Get a deposit
  • Be a real business

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Techniques: The Complete List 

conversion rate optimization techniques banner “This is the most comprehensive list of conversion optimization techniques on the planet,” Brian Dean says from Backlinko.   This extensive list covers over 100 techniques depending on your individual conversion goals.  What I really love is the ability to select by techniques, what you want to optimize and CRO best practices. cro It’s almost TOO much.  I’d encourage just drilling down to what you’re interested in (list building, e-commerce, or SaaS) and then starting with one of the areas to optimize.

10 Reasons to Get a Google Business View Photo Shoot

Local Visibility System makes the case for getting a Google Business View photo shoot. They go on to say ‘since 2010 Google has let business owners hire a “Google Trusted Photographer” to come to their store or office, take a bunch of photos, and splice them together into a virtual tour. That tour is called Google Business View. The walkthrough tour and photos get uploaded to your Google Places page. You can also feature them elsewhere, like on your website or Facebook page. You can’t get a Google Business View photo shoot it if you’re a service-area or home-based business.’

Here are 10 reasons you should get a Google Business View shoot

1. Potential customers, clients, or patients want to know what your place looks like. If it’s a nice environment, it can be a selling point.  But even an dingy little hovel can have a certain charm, and it’s usually wise to let people know what they’re in for. 2. The photo shoot may encourage more people to click through to your Places page or website. It shows up in your knowledge graph and in the Maps tab.   3.  It may be a ranking factor. Trusted photographer Jeff Finkelstein explored that possibility in a nice Moz post last year, and he offered some good insights in my follow-up post.  My guess is that a Google Business View photo shoot by itself is at most a very minor ranking factor, but can help your rankings more indirectly, because it can get more people to click (and Google knows when someone clicks).  Again, just a hunch. 4. The “See inside” view is front-and-center when you view the Google Places page on a smartphone. (It’s even more prominent than it is on desktop.)

5. You can embed the photo shoot on your site. 6. You get 10 professionally-taken still photos. 7. Someone else is taking the time to take photos. That saves you time – especially if you’re picky about your photos. To take good photos is rarely quick or easy, because it’s a numbers game. 8.  You can reuse the still shots elsewhere – on your site and on your non-Google business listings. You own the photos for good.  You can do whatever you’d like with them.  And if you don’t have a good cover photo yet, maybe you just found one. 9. It can be the start of a quid pro quo with your photographer. Google Trusted Photographers often have other online-marketing skills, so especially if you like the photo shoot and them personally you can probably get their help in other areas. It’s also possible you could get a link and/or a citation from the photographer 10. Google seems to have plans for Business View. It’s been around for almost 5 years now – which is about 68 in Google product years. Bonus – reason #11. This one comes from Greg T’Kint of JHBathrooms.com. You can send potential customers “a link to a specific location within the virtual tour, in order to show a specific product or display within email communications.” (See Greg’s comment, below.) Update (11/10/14): David Deering just told me about a Google service called PhotoSphere. Maybe it’s well-known in some circles, but I hadn’t heard of it. It’s an app that lets you take and embed your own panoramas. Those have been around for a while, but this one’s from Google. Obviously, you wouldn’t get some of the benefits of an”official” Google Business View photo shoot (see points 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, and 10), but in some ways, it might be a nice DIY alternative.

Someone Figured Out the 5 Reasons People Share Content Online

  1. So they can deliver valuable and entertaining information to other people. When people share content, they do it so that they can improve the lives of other people – whether in a practical way, like providing useful information, or by other means, like making them laugh. 94% of people carefully think about how the information they share might be useful to a person reading it before they pass it along.
  2. To define themselves to other people. The things you share reflect who you are – your political beliefs, your personal taste, your interests, and so on. Almost 7 out of 10 people share things specifically for the purpose of cultivating an image and defining/reinforcing their identity.
  3. To grow and enrich existing relationships. When you and a friend or family member have similar interests, you naturally want to share things related to those interests. It’s the perfect excuse to strike up a conversation with somebody you enjoy talking to! In fact, 78% of people share online content BECAUSE it gives them a reason to stay in touch with others who they might not otherwise stay in touch with. (Awwwwww!)
  4. To feel a sense of self-fulfillment. It’s okay to admit it – it’s pretty validating to be thought of as helpful! You feel like a valuable participant in the world when you share useful information. Don’t you just get the warm-and-fuzzies all over when a friend tells you how much they LOVED that thing you sent them?
  5. To get the dang word out. Sometimes, getting the word out means sharing an article about an important election. Other times, it means making sure people know that the iced mocha you got from that new place on 5th Avenue is like, the best iced mocha ever. We all have brands and causes we like to advocate for, and 84% of people share on social specifically for that reason.

  1. Sharing is how consumers connect with each OTHER, not with YOU. When a reader wants to connect with your business, they can leave you a comment or send you an email. When they want to USE your business as a way to connect with other people, though, THAT’S when you get a share.
  2. Your audience has to trust you to want to share you. I talk alllll the time about KLT – that Know, Like, and Trust factor – and here’s one big reason that it matters. If your reader doesn’t see you as an authority they can trust, they’re not going to share your content with others.
  3. The simpler, the better. This is one of the reasons business blogging is so important – it allows you to regularly create content highly focused on a specific topic. Nobody’s gonna link to your homepage, but they WILL link to a well-written post that tackles an important subject.
  4. Have a sense of humor. This one’s not foolproof, so use your judgment, BUT people like to share content that makes others feel good. A little personality and humor can make a big difference!
  5. Embrace a sense of urgency. Timely, relevant information is highly shareable. If there’s an element of urgency to what you’re posting, people are more likely to share it, because it’s potentially VERY valuable information.
  6. Engage after the fact. Getting recognized feels good. (Remember, that’s actually one of the big reasons that people share anything at all!) When other people share your content, it’s totally cool to reach out and say thanks!
  7. Email is still king. Social media gets all the credit these days for its visibility, but don’t underestimate the value of email. Make it easy for your readers to share your content via email with a click.

The Science of Storytelling and How to Use It in Marketing

Fun article from Crazy Egg covering storytelling. First, let’s dive into the science then we’ll cover 3 aspects in the art of storytelling.

The science of storytelling

I apologize for beginning with something completely off-track, but I didn’t want to lose you right off the bat. Your attention span is only 5 seconds long, after all. But what’s more depressing is that even if I held you for 5 seconds, you wouldn’t read more than 20% of the text in this article.

Do stories increase the perceived value of objects?

Yes, they do. Let me share the Significant Objects Project. It’s a story of two guys who sold nearly worthless items, purchased for just a few dollars each, for thousands on eBay. Most of the objects sold for nearly 2700 times their original value. This is how it they did it:

  • After the purchase was made from thrift stores and garage sales, each participating writer was paired with an object.
  • The writer then spun a fictional story about the object. Note that the aim of the project was not to give an impression that the stories were true. The stories appeared with the author’s byline and most people realized that it was a work of fiction.
  • The objects were then listed on eBay, but instead of a description, there were these colorful stories about them.

For example, one of the items listed, called the Russian figure, had a story about the cobbler turned saint, Saint Vralkomir, and an incident (fictional) in which his grandmother tells him about effigies of St. Vralkomir coming to life on moonless winters.
russian toy Bought for $3, the Russian figure went for $193.50. The buyers knew the stories were fictional, but that didn’t stop them from bidding.

What do stories actually do to the mind?

In a study conducted by the Emory Institute in Atlanta, researchers asked 21 students (12 females) to come for a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan (fMRI’s). The first 5 days were spent taking scans of the initial brain structure and, over the next 9 days, participants were asked to read the novel Pompeii. When scans were taken over the remaining 5 days, they revealed increased connectivity in the left temporal cortex (the area associated with language). It also suggested that just thinking about an action triggers the very same areas that are active while performing the action. Researchers have found that stories induce physical changes to the brain, so much so that Gregory Berns, the lead author of the study, said,

“The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist.”

Stories are far more engaging than cold hard data. When reading facts and figures, only the area related to language (also called the Broca’s area) lights up, but the mention of words like ice cream activates olfactory areas (regions associated with smell) as well.

How does your mind figure out what’s important?

For that, we need to understand how the brain stores things. It’s similar to the way a computer stores data. Compare it to copying a song to a CD. First, the song needs to be encoded, i.e., converted into a form that machines understand—bits and bytes. Next, it needs to be stored and sent to its memory, and finally, when the time comes, played out as a song or retrieved. I will repeat it once again:

  1. Encoding or Gaining Attention
  2. Storage
  3. Retrieval

Gaining Attention

  • White space
  • Rich imagery, color and contrast
  • Moving backgrounds
  • Typography

Storage

In other words, it’s tantamount to saying that if we put out stuff that can’t be easily forgotten then we gain the trust of customers.

Retrieval

  1. Convert them into active subscribers
  2. Retargeting ads, behavioral advertising
  3. Facebook custom audiences

[Free Course] How to Generate Leads and Sales with Your Own Webinar Funnel System ($297 Value, Free)

The_Webinar_Funnel_System_-_thumb
LeadPages releases a compelete course, The Webinar Funnel System for free.  In the 10 video course, they show you how to benefit from the same webinar funnel they’ve used to go from 0 to over 25,000 customers in under 2 years.

Here’s What’s Inside The Webinar Funnel System…

  1. Introduction To The Webinar Funnel System
  2. Your Vision
  3. Attract (Part I)
  4. Attract (Part II)
  5. Attract (Part III)
  6. Engage (Part I)
  7. Engage (Part II)
  8. Scoop
  9.  Leverage (Part I)
  10.  Leverage (Part II)

LeadPages always puts out quality stuff and this is worth checking out

7 Lessons Learned from 567 Facebook Ad Campaigns in One Year

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Digital Marketer runs A LOT of ads.  How many?  567 Facebook ad campaigns in the past year… and we’re just talking campaigns. Campaigns usually contain AT LEAST 2 ad sets and 8 ads. In this blog post, they’ll reveal 7 of the best Facebook ads we’ve created here at Digital Marketer and WHY they outperformed the rest.

1. The Right Message

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2. Great Image

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3. Know Thy Audience

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Why does it work? The Image: After looking at demographics for the audience of website visitors that had already hit this product’s website, I noticed that over 90% of visitors were male. It was also late summer/early fall and football season was starting. In order to tie in with the “game plan” aspect of the offer, we went with a football field.

4. Use ____?

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5. Closing Soon and Scarcity

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6. Retargeting Ad

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Why It Worked The Copy: The most important thing to keep in mind is the copy. We use “Did life get in the way? You forgot to take advantage of this deal?”.

7. Facebook Offer

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Why does it work? Facebook offers are shared a ton and receive awesome organic reach because people want to share deals with their friends. Also, the email touch point is BIG. Awesome work by Digital Marketer.

Why Did Salesforce Succeed?

Dharmesh Shah, co-founder of HubSpot (just IPO’d) answered this question almost 4 years ago. Dharmesh’s 10 points about Salesforce’s success are quite relevant even today. Think about how you can apply them to your own SaaS business.

Here are some of the reasons I think Salesforce.com succeeded: 1. They focused on a large market (CRM) with an incumbent (Siebel) that had many unhappy customers. 2. When they started, they disrupted from below.  They focused on small businesses (many of whom were non-consumers) with simple pricing and low-risk implementations.  Classic “Innovator’s Dilemma” style approach.  In the early days, they didn’t go after big companies using Siebel. 3. They had brilliant positioning with their “no software” mantra — and hammered that message into the market consistently over many years. 4. They built an exceptional sales and marketing machine. 5. They had big ambitions from the beginning and weren’t afraid to bet on that dream.  They raised the necessary capital based on the scope of their ambition. 6. They invested early in making their product a “platform” (so that it was customizable by their customers and third-parties). 7. They understood both the philosophy and the economics of SaaS. 8. They were diabolically clever about how they evolved their pricing over time.  This included very low-end offerings that minimized the barrier to adoption with two-dimensions of growth to capture more value:  One, they had a per-seat subscription fee (more users = more revenue).  Also, the price per subscriber goes up based on tiers of functionality.  The result is geometric growth in revenue driven from their successful customers. 9. Last, but most important, they recruited exceptional talent across the board.  Not just technical talent and product talent (which just about every tech startup tries to do) but also in sales, marketing and operations. 10. They solved for scale — from the beginning.  They understood that to build a multi-billion dollar company, building a great product was necessary, but not sufficient.  They needed all the “execution machinery” around that core product and idea.

6 Awesome Examples of High-Converting B2B Landing Pages

Bizible take a look at 6 different B2B landing pages that are working very well.  Get inspiration and see what’s working for them to create your own. They say:

B2B products are complex. It’s an artfom to create simple and clear messaging, and high-converting B2B landing pages have an eloquent way of doing this. It all revolves around good copy and good presentation. These are the two ingredients for high-converting B2B landing pages. Together they put the user first, answers their questions, and communicates value propositions clearly.

1.  Avalara Provides a Tool and Good Copy

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 2.  Spacecurve Chooses Visualization

spacecurve

3. Payscale Asks Two Questions

payscale1

4. Dreambox’s Social Proof Has Context

Dreambox_2

5. MyUnfold Cuts To The Chase

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6. Optimum Energy Says Buildings Learn Stuff

optimum energy.jpg

Zero to 353 Pages: Bringing My WebBook to Print and eBook

or How I made the Print and eBook Versions of MyWebBookk

Ever wanted to publish your own book?  Learn everything you could possibly want to know and more. Read more about it on Hacker News.

TOOL TIME

Tools for Sales People

Sell more efficiently and effectively with these useful tools. An awesome Product Hunt collection.  Check here to see all of the other Product Hunt collections.

Amazon Echo

amazon echo Read opinions on Hacker News and Product Hunt.

How to Start a Startup

YC Stanford Class as an Audio Podcast Available on iTunes.

Jawbone UP3

With the holidays coming, so is awesome tech gear.  I’ve heard great things about this activity tracker and might finally grab one. Brian Lovin said:

We use Jawbone UP company-wide at Buffer to track our activity and sleep patterns. The whole hardware + software integration is quite smooth, and the UP24’s wireless syncing was just icing on the cake. The new UP3 looks pretty intriguing – I’m quite happy to see that they’re now claiming water-resistant up to 10m which will make this a lot less of a hassle for everyday wear (i.e. washing dishes, showers, etc).

 

SlideShare Announces Haiku Deck for SlideShare

Screenshot_111314_031646_PM “SlideShare users can quickly and easily create compelling visual presentations and share them directly with SlideShare’s community of more than 70 million people, through a special integration with Haiku Deck.”

Slated – The Translating Keyboard

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Bespoke 

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MORE STORIES

A few more stories.

How To Propose Annual Contracts To Your SaaS Customers [Phone Scripts And Email Templates]

Doing sales? Want to get more people to purchase annual contracts? This blog post is for you. Don’t forget to check out the tips at the end on how to address customer objections.

Tiny Ad Tests That Make a Huge Difference

  1. Display URLs
  2. Starting Price vs. Price Range
  3. Sentence case vs. Title Case
  4. Question in Your Headline?
  5. {KeyWord: DKI}

23 Data-Backed List Building Strategies From Top Experts (with case studies and experiments)

21 Data-Backed List Building Hacks From Top Experts

Okay the image isn’t great but the list of list building hacks is.  A great list of 23 methods to build your email list further. While some of the methods may be known to you — such as pop-ups and overlays — some may spark new ideas to increase conversion rates from visitors landing on your site.

HONORABLE MENTION

How Groove Increased Their Net Promoter Score by 45%

Boost Your Black Friday and Holiday Sales with These 10 Landing Page Ideas

Developing Innovative Content: What You Need to Know

The Danger of Crossing Algorithms: Uncovering The Cloaked Panda Update During Penguin 3.0

Fall of the Banner Ad: The Monster That Swallowed the Web

In Defense of Banner Ads: Everybody Hates Them, but They Work

One Major Reason Why Startups Still Fail to Find Product-Market Fit

The Truth Prevails: Transparency in Crisis Communications

Facebook Marketing For The Holiday Season: 10 Things To Implement Now!

How to attract the best talent in the world

Slimming Down Content on Category Page Increased Sales by 106.26% [Case Study]

This Startup Built Internal Tools to Fuel Major Growth — Here’s Their Approach

 

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Phew!  What a heavy reload.

Hope everyone enjoyed it, as always!