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10 Digital Marketing Ideas to Consider During the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

10 Digital Marketing Ideas to Consider During the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Our world is facing a very serious challenge with the spread of the coronavirus, but there is hope on the horizon.

Businesses have been greatly impacted as the economy has taken a hit because of COVID-19. Early on, grocery stores were left with empty shelves while restaurants were like ghost towns.

“It’s a unique opportunity for brands to unite together! said Thrive social media manager Savannah Keck. “Our communities need each other now more than ever. People need support, understanding, education, resources. Social media can provide just that and can be extremely powerful if it’s done correctly.”

As a business owner, you’re likely looking for ways to survive the wave that has Americans shifting their budgets.

Why Businesses Shouldn’t Ignore Digital Marketing During COVID-19

Meet the Thrive Team

One definitive about the coronavirus amid many questions that still linger is that COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate.

By now, many of us have had a friend or family member test positive for the virus. Some of us know people who have died. No matter your race, gender or economic status, the coronavirus has invaded all of our lives.

That also rings true in business. Large corporations have filed for bankruptcy while small businesses have been hit hard throughout the country with many closing their doors for good.

More than 72,800 businesses have permanently closed in the United States since March. In Texas, more than 6,500 businesses have permanently closed (almost 2,000 businesses in Dallas alone) since March 1, according to Yelp’s Local Economic Impact Report that was published in June. Many more businesses have closed since June with thousands of others struggling to survive.

One of those struggling businesses in the Dallas area is in the southern suburb of Duncanville. Phyllis Lambert, a 71-year-old who has owned and operated a small jewelry store for more than 30 years, said she’s about to go out of business, according to a mid-August story in The Dallas Morning News.

Like many other businesses, her store, Gold N Things, is closing its doors because of the impact of COVID-19. She said her revenue has been cut in half and she’s now holding a going-out-of-business sale with the expectation of shutting down for good in September.

“It’s the economy and the pandemic,” Lambert told The Dallas Morning News. “I’m a luxury, not a necessity.”

Many business owners can be empathetic of Lambert’s reality. She’s obviously done well to make it 30 years. But unfortunately Lambert also appears to be in the same boat as some other struggling business owners in that she’s ignored the importance of building a strong online presence for her business.

A quick review of her website via Ahrefs.com reveals that www.goldnthings.net is nearly invisible to search engines. Its domain rating is only 3 (out of 100) and its monthly organic traffic is just 64 site visitors. It appears that Lambert also hasn’t invested in any pay-per-click (PPC) online advertising.

It’s a stark reminder to business owners everywhere that if you ignore digital marketing during COVID-19, you might not be around to sell your products or services when the economy bounces back. Businesses can’t simply survive on foot traffic alone when so many people aren’t leaving their homes and risking their health in stores, especially companies that — as Lambert described her jewelry store — are “a luxury, not a necessity.”

Lambert told The Dallas Morning News she wasn’t planning on retiring, but she just couldn’t risk the family savings.

“If no money’s coming, we’re not going to stay here,” she said. “How long are you going to keep floating the business?”

This isn’t the time for business owners to sit back and wait and see what happens. You should be as aggressive as ever now to keep your business afloat.

What you don’t want to do now is come to a grinding halt with your digital marketing efforts, said Matt Bowman, Thrive Internet Marketing Agency president and founder who has led his company to four consecutive appearances on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing businesses in America.

“That would be a mistake and a complete waste of the time and resources you’ve already poured into your business to gain traction in a crowded online marketplace. You would lose ground to your competitors and put your business in a position to fail in the second half of 2020.”

History Shows If You Cut Less During Down Times You’ll Gain More In Better Times

Historically, businesses that have chosen a more progressive strategy of refocusing spending during a recession have outperformed businesses that made sweeping cuts, according to studies that analyzed recent recessions outlined in a blog post Thursday by CXL.com.

One study that focused on what happened during a recession affected a company’s performance after the recession. The study found that “successful leaders, trading lower short-term profitability for long-term gain, refocused rather than cut spending.”

Harvard Business Review study of 4,700 public companies analyzed three years before, during and after recessions. The study identified the percentage of companies that outperformed their rivals: 21 percent for businesses that opted for a prevention focus (more cost-cutting) and 37 percent for a more progressive focus. The study found that “firms that cut costs faster and deeper than rivals don’t necessarily flourish. They have the lowest profitability (21 percent) of pulling ahead of the competition when times get better.”

Furthermore, a Bain report found that getting it right during the lean years has a huge impact on a company’s growth rate after the economy improves.


10 Digital Marketing Ideas To Consider During The Coronavirus

Connect With Your Customers on Social Media

1. Connect With Your Customers on Social Media During a Critical Moment

We’re all dealing with the impact the coronavirus outbreak has had on our lives whether you’ve tested positive or not. We’re all taking precautions. We’re locked in our homes and our kids aren’t in school. We can’t visit our friends. We can’t eat at our favorite restaurants or go out to the movies. Sure, all minor conveniences but jarring nonetheless. This is a time to really show empathy to others and help out where you can. This is a time we all need to be sensitive — and not too salesy or pushy — but it’s a great opportunity for your brand to stand out during a difficult time. More people are on social media now while stuck at home, scanning for updates and trying to stay connected in a suddenly isolated nation.

Also, use your business to contribute to area food banks or assist the elderly with their grocery shopping. And promote your good deeds with social media marketing to help build your brand.

It’s a unique opportunity for brands to unite together! said Thrive social media manager Savannah Keck. Our communities need each other now more than ever. People need support, understanding, education, resources. Social media can provide just that and can be extremely powerful if it’s done correctly.


Make Sure Your Business Can Be Found Online

2. Make Sure Your Business Can Be Found Online

In case you haven’t noticed, more people are online right now than in their cars or walking the sidewalks. Search traffic has increased significantly over the past week and will continue to climb as we hunker down. We’re all glued to our computers and phones looking for updates within our community. We’re also looking for entertainment and ways to pass the time. For many, that includes shopping online.

Anything online right now will be consumed more than ever before. This is not the time to be hidden online. You should be using search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to climb to the top of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) so your business can be easily found. This is not a time for a business to go into a shell and poke out your head every few days to see if the sun has come out.

People still place orders and need things even when at home, said Thrive senior SEO manager Carlos Rosado. “A lot of people still contact companies during work hours, and that is not going to change just because they are home. Your competition may adjust but that doesn’t mean you have to stop everything and lose sales.


Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising is a Smart Move

3. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising is a Smart Move Right Now

With more people at home in front of their screens, it’s a great opportunity for businesses to use PPC marketing to connect with their customers and gain a competitive advantage. Oh, and it’s a great chance to save some money within your digital marketing budget. On average, cost-per-clicks have decreased by 6 percent across all verticals since last week, according to Thrive senior PPC manager Jacob Wulff. And CPC is likely to continue to decrease in the coming week, reducing the amount of money an advertiser pays a publisher for every ad click. That gives your business another opportunity to scoop up that lost market share from others pulling back during this time.

It’s a great time to continue your digital marketing as other advertisers may go offline at this time, said Thrive PPC manager John Powell, “and businesses can capture traffic and conversions because of reduced competition. We have clients’ best interests in mind and work to provide solutions to maintain exposure while prioritizing budget spend during these uncertain times.


Stay Ahead or Jump In Front of Your Competition

4. Stay Ahead or Jump In Front of Your Competition

SEO helps your business increase organic traffic to your website and move past your competition. You want to be on the front page of the Google SERPs — and at the top of the list — so that when your customers search for certain keywords you’re the company they end up calling. To climb to the top of the SERPs takes time and strategic optimization strategies. If you don’t continue to optimize your website and content daily, you lose valuable ground in the search results and your freefall could cost your business thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

It’s important to stay ahead of the curve and do whatever is possible to keep your website updated and optimized, said Thrive senior demand generation manager Alan Muther. The level of competition within businesses will probably increase in the near future and it’s also important to remain competitive with your digital marketing strategy to help your site rank higher than competitors.

What you don’t want to do is halt an SEO campaign. That can be a critical mistake for your business. Your leads and revenue will suffer. But if others choose to pull back on SEO, it’s also a perfect time for your business to push even harder to surpass your competitors.

Competitors may be stopping their campaigns because of their fear of what is ahead or their current situation, said Thrive SEO manager Cesar Zambrano. This is a great time to strengthen your campaign in order to improve your rankings and potentially outrank competitors.


Prepare Your Business For the Bounce-Back Surge

5. Prepare Your Business For the Bounce-Back Surge

As we noted earlier, the coronavirus outbreak should fade (just as it has in China) after a few months. That’s when normalcy returns and consumers’ spending habits stabilize. You have to remember that SEO is more of a long-term strategy. What you do today for your SEO campaign will affect your organic search traffic two months from now. Pausing your SEO campaign now could have a detrimental impact on your revenue potential two months from now when the coronavirus starts to become a distant memory.

As SEO professionals, the work we do today will affect the results months from now, said Thrive SEO strategist Dan Casey. If you stop the momentum now when the market starts to rise you won’t see the results you want. Anticipate the low times, prepare and press now while others are letting up. The results will be in your favor when you will need it.


Provide Opportunities for a Special Offer

6. Unique Circumstances Provide Opportunities for a Special Offer

During this uncertain time period, you have the opportunity to show support for your customer base by offering special discounts that will keep your revenue flowing. Identify your product-market fit and create a special offer. Many people are at home browsing, looking for discounts to save money during a time of unrest. It’s a great way to engage with your customers and keep a steady stream of revenue that will keep your doors open. You can push out your special offers through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and social media.

Be prepared to jump into action with new strategies to help your brand come back to a ‘healthy market,’ said Claudia Cruz, Thrive’s link building manager. The preparation should start today.


Local SEO is now More Relevant

7. Local SEO is now More Relevant; So Are Your Online Reviews

We’ve all reduced our travel and are staying close to home. In the rare times when we do leave our house, we’re looking for nearby destinations for services and supplies. So you want to make sure your business is using local SEO strategies to optimize your website for “near me” searches. You want customers in your geo region to be able to easily find you online so they turn to you first. At a time when we’re all looking for more convenience, this gives your business a chance to provide assistance during a critical time for families.

Another way to boost your local SEO during this time is to not forget about the importance of adding positive reviews. During the coronavirus, online reputation management is as important as ever because this is a great time to really connect with your target audience during a chaotic time. To provide the right service or product for people during a stressful time like this — when they need it most during this COVID-19 pandemic — is likely to be rewarded with a glowing review.

Even though Google My Business (GMB) has temporarily suspended publishing online reviews, you should still push to get reviews submitted so they publish when GMB returns to normal. One way to boost your brand during a crisis is turn to a professional online reputation management company such as Rize Reviews to help you with your review responses.

Companies have a tremendous opportunity to improve their Google review profile during this time of crisis, said Tim Clarke, Rize Reviews’ senior reputation manager. Many businesses will not add reviews because of closures and lack of attention, so some companies can create a competitive advantage with a proactive approach.

This is also the perfect time to start an Amazon marketing campaign to take advantage of the eCommerce surge.

Now is a perfect time for eCommerce businesses to leverage digital marketing, said Thrive SEO manager Josh Gazelka. There has been a massive influx of consumers shopping online with recent events, causing businesses such as Amazon to hire nearly 100,000 new employees to prepare for the increase in business. Utilize digital marketing now to stand out.


Inform Your Customers

8. Be Prepared to Pivot as a Business and Inform Your Customers

In a fluid situation, your business should also be fluid. This is a time that you should find ways to connect with your customers like never before. It shows empathy and keeps you relevant at a time when your business may have been impacted by people staying at home. For instance, restaurants are shutting down right now because customers aren’t dining in. You should make sure you’re offering free delivery services. Just the other day, a local Dallas restaurant emailed offering three ways to get their food into their customers’ hands: delivery, curbside ordering and parking lot pickup. Also, let your customers know you’ve increased your sanitary practices and how you’re doing that specifically.

But other businesses should pivot right now, too, as we stay in. Gyms have closed their doors in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but why not offer online workout classes right now? Dentists could offer online consultations. Grocery stores should offer free curbside pickup. All of these opportunities can be boosted with strategic social media campaigns.

Since people are forced to be quarantined at the moment, there will be more eyeballs than ever before online so people will be consuming more digital marketing on all fronts, said Thrive social media director Nhi Shirley. People will be looking to social media especially for updates on closures, new procedures for businesses and news. They will also be looking to see how brands and businesses are reacting to the current business environment. Now is probably the most important time to be visible digitally because other forms of traditional marketing will be stalled.


Don’t Fall Victim to the Panic Move

9. Don’t Fall Victim to the Panic Move

How much toilet paper do you have at your house right now? If your answer is a closet full, you’re likely one of the people who flocked to the store when the coronavirus hysteria started to accelerate over the weekend. That’s not how you want to react if you want to implement a smart digital marketing strategy. You never want to make a panic move. You always want to use metrics and analyze all of the data you have available before making a decision.

Knee-jerk reactions usually don’t end well in digital marketing. Take caution when quickly reacting to a sudden shift in the economy or market.

The economy isn’t stopping, Wulff said. Homeowners still need home service providers. People still need goods and services. Money is still changing hands and consumers are still relying on Google to find people to do business with.


Finish Your Digital To-Do Lists

10. Use this Down Time to Finish Your Digital To-Do Lists

Now that you’re not commuting to the office or taking in-person meetings, your schedule has likely freed up some time for you. Those marketing items that may have fallen through the cracks and been overlooked can now be addressed.

Perhaps your website needs a fresh look with a redesign. Thrive’s website design professionals can overhaul your website in two months all while working remotely. This is also a great time to have a conversion rate optimization specialist perform a CRO audit of your website to ensure your call-to-actions (CTAs) are turning leads into customers. Also, it’s an ideal time to do an SEO audit of your website to ensure you’re maximizing your optimization strategies.

This is a perfect time for self-improvement, said Thrive SEO strategist Matt Garrett. Use your newfound spare time to work on your SEO presence, like cleaning the house on a snow day.

Added Claudia Cruz, Thrive’s link building manager:

“It is a great time to go back to the roots, using some of your hours on your current service contract to revise your marketing strategy with your specialist.”

Also, once you’ve survived the coronavirus shutdown of your company, you’ll need to ramp up your digital marketing efforts to jumpstart your business to make up for the lost time.

64 Creative Marketing Ideas to Boost Your Business

64 Creative Marketing Ideas to Boost Your Business

We’ve all hit it – that wall that seems to sap away all your magical creative marketing juices. Suddenly you feel like Peter Pan without his pixie dust.

We’ve all hit it – that wall that seems to sap away all your magical creative marketing juices. Suddenly you feel like Peter Pan without his pixie dust.

64 Creative Marketing Ideas to Boost Your Business

All you need is a bit of help to kick your marketing strategy back on track. And guess what? We’re dishin’ out 64 creative marketing and advertising ideas plus inspirational tips to help you bust through that brick wall, generate more leads and increase online sales. Let’s get started with…

Social Media Marketing Ideas

Push your handles – If you’re really looking to bump up those Twitter followers, you can’t be afraid to be a bit shameless. Speaking at a conference? Put your Twitter handle on the slideshow (heck, keep it in the corner the entire presentation). Ordering new business cards? Better include that adorable handle!

twitter marketing

Very cool Twitter-themed business card from Luis Felipe Silva

Join in on weekly hashtag themes like #ThrowbackThursday – If you want to build your social media following, you need to be an active participant in the community. This means posting regularly, and also joining in on fun weekly social media traditions that already have a loyal audience. Show the kids how hip you can be!

Vines – Vines, quick 6-second video clips, are largely under-utilized. With a little work and some fun content, you could become a big fish in a small pond on Vine.

vine marketing

Pin your own images (and others) – Don’t underestimate the value of this image-sharing site. Post your strongest visual assets (templates, infographics, etc) on Pinterest and link them to your webpages for some serious traffic.

Keep social tabs on competitors – Facebook business pages allow you to follow other accounts via the Pages to Watch feature. Follow your competitors and see what they post, and which of their posts get the most shares and likes. See what works and follow their lead.

facebook pages to watch

From Inside Facebook

Urban Marketing Ideas

Living in a concrete jungle allows for some pretty creative concepts.

Step out on the streets – In an online age, there’s something to be said for going au naturel and exercising a little IRL marketing. Go old school with flyers and poster in local cafes, do some sidewalk chalk writing. This strategy is most effective for locally oriented businesses, but it can work for anyone.

street art marketing

Street chalk Twitter handle by Marquette ITS

Commission a mural – Try getting permission to decorate the side of a prominent building with a large mural.

marketing mural

Great Di Bruno Bros mural found on Yelp

Use your surroundings – Get a little imaginative and think about how you can use your urban surroundings for potential marketing magic.

street marketing ideas

Very creative urban marketing efforts by Vijar Barbecues, found on Owni

Unusual sponsorships – Urban living results in some unique marketing opportunities you won’t find elsewhere. They secret is, you need to think creatively to capitalize on these opportunities.

urban marketing ideas

Citi Bank sponsoring Citi Bike

Bonus: We’ve pulled all of these tips (and 5 more!) into a PDF for you to read later. Download it here!

Contest Marketing Ideas

Photo Contests – Photo contests are great for a number for reasons – they’re relatively easy to enter (anyone with Instagram and a few spare seconds can submit), and they also provide sponsors with a great form of user-generated content that can be reused and implemented elsewhere.

Check out Harpoon Brewery – they’ve mastered the art of photo contests. (And click here for more Instagram marketing ideas.)

social media marketing ideas

Video contests – Not as many people will enter video contests, but you’re more likely to get a higher caliber of content since creating a video requires more effort on the user’s part. This kind of content can be extremely valuable for businesses down the line, especially when you have talented filmers creating video content just for you!

Submit your vote contests – Voting contests get a ton of entries because they’re so easy to participate in (just click a button, in most cases). What’s cool about voting contests is that you can use the data obtained from the votes to create a mini data study. Share what you learned in a blog post!

Caption Contests – Post a photo and ask users to submit their best caption – this kind of contest can get some pretty great laughs.

caption contest

Sweepstakes – The most traditional of contests, sweepstakes/giveaways are a tried and true classic. They are quick and simple to enter – plus it’s easy to ask for email subscriptions as part of the submission form.

Marketing Ideas for Contest Promotion

Post to deal sites – People love free stuff, some more than others. The people who really love a good deal tend to frequent deal sites and forums. There’s almost always a sweepstake/contest forum section where you can add your contest into the mix.

I’ve seen contests in which 90% of traffic is driven from these types of sites – alright, they aren’t always the most qualified leads, but if you want quantity over quality, this is a sound strategy. Start of submitting to Slickdeals and go from there. This can be a great form of restaurant marketing.

Hashtag-ify your contest – Adding a relevant (and unique) hashtag to your contest helps you keep track of entries and makes them easy to scan through and organize. Besides, they’re just plain fun.

Make contests super sharable – This means adding “share this contest” buttons if you have an entry form on a website, or simply encouraging social sharing in general. The more people who know about your contest, the merrier (for you anyway)! Need more ideas for Facebook? Download our free guide here!

contest promotion ideas

Offer bonus points for sharing – If you offer users bonus points for sharing news of your contest via social media, they’ll be much more likely to concede. Tools like Rafflecopter make it easy to offer users extra entries for different actions (e.g. Joining the mailing list = +5 entries. Sharing contest on Twitter = +2 entries).

contest marketing ideas

(image from Website Spot)

Notify email subscribers of contest – Remember, you already know that your email subscribers like you and are interested in what you have to offer. If you’re running a contest for a free year of your software, you know your subscribers are going to want in!

Promote your contest on (all) social media – If you’re running a photo contest via Instagram, make sure you still promote the contest on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. You want all your followers, across all social media networks to know about your great giveaway! And promoting your contest means promoting your business.

social marketing ideas

Share buttons from WordPress plug-in

Content Marketing Ideas

Write for your audience – The best pieces of content are the ones directed at your key audiences. Understand your customer: know their pain points, what gets them psyched, and what keeps them up at night. Killer content addresses your audience’s needs and concerns!

Add a visual element to ALL your content pieces – People get bored with text really fast! To keep visitors reading, it’s essential to have images breaking up your text paragraphs. Don’t overlook the importance of a visual element, even in blog posts that are predominantly text-based. You can see some examples of highly visual business blogs here.

Infographics – We know readers love visual content, and infographics are a prime example of beloved, linkable visual assets.

content marketing ideas

While the idea of creating a top-notch infographic may sound daunting, it doesn’t have to be hard. You don’t need fancy software – in fact, you can make a decent infographic just using Powerpoint. There are plenty of infographic guides templates out there to get you started. Speaking of…

Useful templates – Templates are another powerful form of visual assets that visitors find extremely helpful. Templates serve as a visual framework that can help users create custom piece without completely starting from scratch. Take this landing page template as an example – it explains the basic layout and fundamentals, letting users get a grasp on great landing page essentials before making their own.

marketing ideas for small businesses

Graphs and Charts – The infographic’s less cool cousins, one-piece graphs and charts still have their place as formidable pieces of visual content. They may not be as impressive as infographics, but they require considerably less time and effort to create and are still shareable, so don’t be afraid to use them generously. For visual learners, a graph will be much easier to interpret than a chunk of text and numbers. Make sure you appeal to all kinds of learners!

marketing charts

That’s why you find so many dragons at the animal shelter (image from Reddit)

Videos – Video is an incredible marketing strategy when it comes to promoting a new product or service, or drawing in and retaining the attention of users. The retention rate for visual information can reach 65% vs. 10% for text-based info. Plus, customers who view product videos are much more likely to convert than those that don’t. Video content is a powerful tool, whether you’re trying to demonstrate how your product works IRL or educating visitors.

Statistic lists – Are you hitting a content idea wall? For an easy content marketing fix, collect interesting statistics on a subject matter related to your biz and create a blog post about what you’ve learned. Massive stat lists are easy to make and extremely sharable. Plus, some of the wilder stats may get your gears turning about other content ideas, such as…

Future predictions – Play the soothsayer by predicting future trends in your industry – just make sure you have at least some data to back up your hypothesis.

Controversy – Controversial content always earns attention, but it’s not for the faint of heart – playing with fire can get you burned! Rather than stirring up controversy yourself, the safer road may be to answer or respond to larger industry controversy with your own interpretation.

controversial marketing ideas

Rumors travel fast

Aggregate awesomeness from other sources – Another easy way to create killer content is to curate quality content from elsewhere. No, it’s not stealing … at least, not if done properly.

It’s completely kosher to borrow content from other sources if you’re doing something new with it. For example, take our guide to the best SEO Reddit AMAs. The content we quoted from was originally posted on various Reddit forum threads. We took what we deemed the “best” portions of the Q&As from different threads and put it all together to make a super SEO advice guide. This new post is much easier for users interested in SEO to read, rather than scouring through various Reddit threads. NOTE: Play it safe by always giving credit where it’s due.

Ask the experts – Another great content marketing idea is to interview industry thought leaders with set questions and share their responses in a blog post; for example, our interview with industry experts on the future of PageRank. This kind of content tends to do well, and it’s always interesting to see where industry gurus agree and where they don’t. One great thing about sharing expert opinions – chances are, the folks you write about will share your write-up with their own followers! (Pro tip – ask the opinions of groups with large Twitter followers!)

great marketing ideas

A very impressive panel of experts

Top 10s – People go nuts over top 10 lists – top 10 tools, top 10 blogs, you name it.

Lists – Piggy-backing on top 10s are lists in general. Starting your title with a number can make it stand out more in search listings (e.g. 3 Ways to Slice a Pineapple). Why do people love lists? Because they are super scannable and quick to read. This is probably why over a third of Buzzfeed’s posts have a number in the title. Great content strategies involve a mix of quick, snackable content pieces and more in-depth, long-form articles. Variety is the spice of life, yo.

Product comparison guide – Decisions, decisions – oh, the pitfalls of capitalism. It’s tough being a consumer with so many products to choose from. Help out users with a marketing comparison guide, especially if you have a series of product offerings for different needs. If you’re comparing your product with competitors, be objective and fair; maybe you’re a better fit for small businesses, while a competitor is better for larger corporations.

good marketing ideas

Alternatively, write up a comparison guide for a product you don’t offer, but which relates to your audience’s business. For example, a video game reseller could write a product comparison guide for different video game controllers. This is helpful content that gets relevant users familiar with your brand; and a strong brand makes for strong advertising.

Content is an open door – Don’t just create awesome content and abandon it – feature your best stuff in other related blog posts as well. You can link to or call out other pieces of content mid-post, or list some related articles at the end of your post. Something along the lines of “Want to learn more about ________? Check out our _________ guide and our __________ infographic.”

advertising ideas

Content, love = apples, oranges. (Image from Disney’s Frozen)

Slideshare – The slideshow is back and better than ever! Repurpose PowerPoint presentations for audience-friendly slideshares. Check out these tips from Jonathan Colman on getting more views on Slideshare.

Webinars – Host your own free webinar or partner with another business for twice the expertise (and twice the promotion power). Webinars are a great source of business leads.

Google related search – Checking out the Google related searches (found at the top and bottom of the SERP when you perform a search) for a keyword query is a great tool for generating content ideas. Just Google a term and see what related searches turn up. You may be surprised!

find marketing ideas

Pop-up opt-in – There’s a lot of debate around newsletter opt-in pop-ups. They’re annoying, they’re intrusive, but quite often, they also work! A/B test one and see how it affects your newsletter subscriptions. If newsletter subscribers have proved to be valuable leads for your business, do what you must to obtain them.

Continue your lucky streak – Not sure what to write about? Go into your analytics account and take a peek at your most popular posts to see what subjects users get excited about, then write a variation or extension of one of your most popular posts.

eBooks – Another great marketing idea is to write a comprehensive ebook on a known pain point or popular industry topic, then create a quality landing page around the offer. Better yet, don’t start from scratch; repurpose past blog posts and articles into a mega e-book collection.

101 guides – There’s always someone just starting out in the biz; beginner’s guides and Industry Knowledge 101 content pieces will always get linked to and shared around by newbs.

Even great content needs promotion  Don’t just publish your content and expect it to promote itself; share it with a promotional email or through your social media channels.

Post about industry hot topics – What’s the buzz in your field? Post about topical news and trending topics related to your industry to get in on the burst of action and show that you’re in the know.

Guest Posts  While the SEO value of guest posts has been called into question, there’s nothing wrong with guest posting if done right. Just focus on the value of getting your brand in front of a new audience, rather than the links.

marketing ideas

(Image from Flickr user matsuyuki)

White papers – Guides, e-ooks, white papers – they’re kind of all the same thing, but labeling your assets differently can help your message resonate with different audiences. Test your labels to see which works best with your prospects.

Quality content – This should go without saying, but only produce quality content that you can be proud of! Google hates thin content, and users don’t like it either.

Show some skin – I mean metaphorical skin of course – show that you are not a robot. Don’t be afraid to have some fun and show off your company’s personality. Express yourself; and if that means literally showing some skin, well then, more power to you. You’re human after all.

excellent marketing ideas

Online magazine – Producing your own virtual magazine is another epic form of content marketing. For a great example, check out Dark Rye, a stylish online magazine produced by Whole Foods. For a quick and easy fix, make your own online newspaper with Paper.li.

creative marketing ideas

Podcasts – Podcasts are great because users can download them and then listen on the go! Possible podcast concepts include discussing hot industry news or interviewing experts, in your space.

Cover events – If you attend a conference (or even an online event), consider writing a post about what info you gathered from the event, what you found valuable, etc. Chances are others will find it valuable too! Use the hashtag from the event in your promotional efforts.

Collaboration – Collaboration can extend your reach and build your reputation. Consider all the different partnerships you could build – partner with a charity? A related business? You can co-author a blog post or guide, co-host a webinar, etc.

Memes – Memes are fun and familiar for internet-goers. Get a little cheeky with some fun memes – it’s easy to make your own with sites like meme generator.

super marketing ideas

#SummertimeSadness

Social proof – Sometimes great content marketing ideas also serve as fantastic forms of social proof. Take this inventive content project by a haunted house called Nightmares Fear Factory. They take photos of victims…er, I mean guests, and post them to their Flickr feed. The photos are absolutely hysterical and prove that Nightmares Fear Factory is as scary as they claim to be! (Thanks for the heads up from Shopify).

unusual marketing ideas

Divvy up your content – Don’t go content-overboard or you’ll end up overwhelming users. We live in a competitive attention economy, and if you’re creating new stuff every single day, people may tire of you, even if everything you share is excellent. Them’s the breaks, kid. Figure out what pace works for your audience.

Conduct a content audit – Is your existing content up to snuff? What is driving conversions? What isn’t – and why? Asking these questions might make you sweat, but you’ll be better off knowing the truth. Finding the answers to these questions will ensure that your marketing strategy moves forward in the right direction.

Branded tools – Create awesome, valuable tools that your audience will find useful. You can use parts of the tool to push towards your product offering, but make sure the tool itself is high-caliber – don’t just make it a glorified sales pitch. Providing free tools will make users think fondly of you and extend your brand as more people share your awesome free tool!

Mobile! – With 79% of internet users conducting online shopping via  mobile devices, you should be embarrassed if you’re not mobile-friendly. This is not optional, although many still treat it like it is.

Gameification – Gamification is a great marketing idea to get users excited about engaging with you. As on Whose Line is it Anyway, the points are meaningless, but you’d be surprised how much people really enjoy getting points. We all love instant affirmation – it’s like virtual crack!

Apps like Belly and Foursquare combine gamification with customer loyalty programs. Starbucks also has its own tame version of gamified loyalty programs in which you earn stars for Starbucks purchases. Consider if gamification could work for your biz.

loyalty programs

Get by with some content help from your friends – There are a ton of great tools out there to help you find quality content (Storify & Buffer to name a few). Remember, you don’t want to just share your own content – sharing great pieces by others in your industry shows that you’re a team player and valuable source of unbiased knowledge.

Comics – While newspaper funnies are a dying breed, online comics are alive and thriving! Consider making your own internet comics that relate to the absurd and surreal aspects of your industry. Try free tools like Pixton or Strip Generator to get started.

unique marketing ideas

Copy the masters – Watch to see who is creating great content, and follow their lead. Take a close look at clickbait sites like Upworthy and Buzzfeed that get a ton of shares; while their audience and content subjects will be different from yours, they serve as an excellent study in how to improve your marketing strategy. What are they doing right? Can you implement something similar?

Take your time with titles – While we’re on the subject, Upworthy is famous for their killer, clickable headlines. Even a superb blog post won’t get the attention it deserves without a good title. Should it be clever? Eye-catching? SEO-friendly? Think about what will appeal to your audience. It’s recommended you write as many as 5-10 titles for every article, then choose the best!

4-1-1 – The 4-1-1 concept comes from Andrew Davis, author of Brandscaping. Davis’ social media sharing strategy dictates that for every six pieces of content shared on social media:

  • 4 should be content from other industry influencers that is relevant to your audience
  • 1 should be your own original, educational content
  • 1 should have a sales aspect (coupon, product news, press release), aka, a piece of content most people will simply ignore.

The philosophy behind the 4-1-1 concept is that when you share industry thought leadership, you’re building relationships within the industry and demonstrating a certain level of selflessness which earns serious reputation points that come in handy in the long haul.

Seasonal marketing: While National Fruitcake Toss Day isn’t exactly exciting, there are plenty of observances and themes for every month of the year that can help you come up with creative and authentic blog articles, social media posts, email campaigns, and more. Here are some seasonal marketing idea posts to help you out (with plenty more to come!):

 

Creative Marketing Ideas [Summary]

Ready to grow your business? Try out these 64 creative marketing ideas:

  1. Promote your social media handles, even in person
  2. Join in on popular hashtags
  3. Create short, engaging Vine videos
  4. Pin your site images and graphics on Pinterest
  5. Keep tabs on competitors’ social profiles
  6. Try urban marketing like flyers, posters, and sidewalk chalk
  7. Commission a mural
  8. Use your surroundings to your advantage
  9. Consider unusual sponsorships
  10. Host a photo contest
  11. Host a video contest
  12. Host a voting contest
  13. Host a caption contest
  14. Host a good old-fashioned sweepstakes
  15. Post to deal sites like Groupon
  16. Add a hashtag to your contests
  17. Make contests super sharable on social media
  18. Offer bonus points for sharing contests
  19. Notify email subscribers of contests
  20. Promote your contest on (all) social media
  21. Write content catered to your audience
  22. Add a visual element to ALL your content pieces
  23. Create data-packed infographics
  24. Use templates to make content creation easier
  25. Include graphs and charts in your content
  26. Use videos for interactivity
  27. Leverage the power of lists
  28. Make bold future predictions
  29. Inject controversy into your copy
  30. Aggregate awesome content from other sources
  31. Create an “ask the experts” roundup
  32. Write relevant top 10 lists
  33. And other lists, too!
  34. Write a product comparison guide
  35. Link to your existing content with CTAs
  36. Post presentations on Slideshare
  37. Host free webinars
  38. Get ideas from Google related search
  39. Use pop-up opt-ins on landing pages
  40. Use analytics to take advantage of popular content
  41. Write eBooks
  42. Create 101 guides to teach the basics
  43. Promote your content
  44. Post about industry hot topics
  45. Write (and allow) guest posts
  46. Create white papers
  47. Only generate quality content
  48. Give your company some personality and don’t be afraid to use it
  49. Contribute to online magazines
  50. Host a podcast
  51. Cover local and news related events
  52. Collaborate with peers
  53. Create viral memes
  54. Use social proof in your content
  55. Divvy up your content
  56. Conduct a content audit
  57. Create branded tools
  58. Make and promote mobile-specific content
  59. Use gamification to promote interaction
  60. Find and share content by others
  61. Create hilarious web comics
  62. Copy the masters
  63. Take your time with content titles
  64. Stick to Andrew Davis’ 4-1-1 content strategy
  65. [Bonus tip] Use monthly awareness themes and observances for creative and authentic marketing.

What are your best creative marketing ideas?

Tips for Unleashing Your Creativity at Work

Tips for Unleashing Your Creativity at Work

Innovation is the lifeblood of any successful company today. For many companies, however, the pursuit of innovative ideas is missing a key element  (something typically not associated with business professionals): creativity.

Nurturing your creative self is the only way to truly unlock your strategic mind and bring your business skills to bear in new, meaningful ways that can benefit your entire organization. Here are 10 tips to help you unlock your creativity at work:

1. Get visual. Regardless of your role, industry or responsibilities, visualizing data and ideas is an incredibly powerful tool to get your team thinking. Get off the phone, go in a room together (a virtual room will work, too) and use a whiteboard until your hand hurts.

2. Throw out the rule book. The next time you get your team together to brainstorm, create and enforce a “no holds barred” idea session. Nothing is off the table; nothing is outside the realm of possibility. Avoid words and phrases like “but,” “how would we” and “we can’t.” If necessary, designate someone to police those phrases and keep everyone honest.

3. Work backward. Figure the goal or ideal scenario 10 to 15 years down the road. Start there and work your way backward. Don’t worry about the “how.” Focus on the “what.” Your road map will literally unfold itself.

69 Highly Effective Lead Magnet Ideas to Grow Your Email List (Updated)

69 Highly Effective Lead Magnet Ideas to Grow Your Email List (Updated)

Lead magnets are one of the best ways to increase subscribers. If you don’t have a lead magnet or you don’t have a good one, then this resource could literally be a game-changer for your business. Here are 69 highly effective lead magnet ideas and examples to grow your email list.

What Is a Lead Magnet?

lead magnet is an incentive that marketers offer to potential buyers in exchange for their email address or other contact information. Lead magnets usually offer a piece of digital, downloadable content, such as a free PDF checklist, report, eBook, whitepaper, video, etc.

Why Every Business Needs a Lead Magnet

If you want to generate leads online, then your business needs a lead magnet. Period.

Why? Because email is a very personal thing. People aren’t simply going to give you their email address without a good incentive, even if they like your brand. As a marketer, it is your job to give them a compelling reason to do so.

For example, let’s say you have a blog post on the top 10 ways you can improve your customer service. At the end of the post, you ask readers to join your email list for “updates”.

Or instead, you could ask readers to join your email list and get a free, downloadable PDF case study, detailing a real-life example of one business who used these 10 strategies to improve their customer service.

Which offer do you think will get the most email signups?

Precisely—the second one!

So, now that you understand the importance of lead magnets, you may be wondering what makes a good lead magnet.

What Makes a Good Lead Magnet?

There are 7 things that your lead magnet should do if you want it to be absolutely irresistible:

  1. Solves a real problem – if your lead magnet doesn’t solve a real problem that your customer avatar has, or if it doesn’t give them something they really want, it won’t work at all.
  2. Promises one quick win – your lead magnet should promise (and deliver) one quick win for your avatar. In other words, it should help them to easily achieve something.
  3. Super specific – don’t create a lead magnet about something general. The more specific you are about the benefit of your lead magnet, the better it will convert leads.
  4. Quick to digest – PDF checklists tend to convert really well because they are so quick and easy to digest. eBooks or lengthy reports may make your prospects feel overwhelmed.
  5. High value – your lead magnet should have both high perceived value and high actual value.
  6. Instantly accessible – your lead magnet will work best if it is something that can be delivered right away. People love instant gratification.
  7. Demonstrates your expertise or UVP – when someone consumes your lead magnet, it should demonstrate your expertise or your unique value proposition. This helps turn leads into customers down the road.

Here on OptinMonster, one of our lead magnets is “12 Proven Ways to Convert Abandoning Visitors into Subscribers” (see screenshot above).

This lead magnet converts really well for us for several reasons:

  1. Solves a real problem our customer avatars have: visitors abandoning their site, never to return.
  2. Promises one quick win: converting those abandoning visitors into subscribers.
  3. Specific: we aren’t teaching you how to convert all your visitors, just your abandoning visitors.
  4. Quick to digest: it’s a PDF checklist.
  5. High value: following these 12 tips can directly translate into a big increase in sales for your business.
  6. Instantly accessible: you can download it at the click of a button immediately after entering your email.
  7. Demonstrates our expertise: we are really awesome at converting visitors into subscribers, and this lead magnet proves that.

OK, now that you know how to create a good lead magnet, let’s dive into the lead magnet ideas and examples…

69 Irresistible Lead Magnet Ideas

Here are 69 lead magnet ideas, broken down into 5 major types.

Because we have a lot of lead magnet examples to show you, feel free to use the navigation below to jump to a particular type of lead magnet:

  • Useful Lead Magnets
  • Educational Lead Magnets
  • Entertaining Lead Magnets
  • Community-Building Lead Magnets
  • Bottom of Funnel Lead Magnets

Ready to create your lead magnet? Let’s dive into the 69 highly effective lead magnet ideas to increase your subscribers.

Exclusive Bonus: Download the 69 Irresistible Lead Magnet Ideas to grow your email list.

Useful Lead Magnet Ideas

Useful opt-in bribes help to save your user time, energy, money, and more. This type of lead magnet is the most irresistible of all the types because it’s a “silver bullet”: one specific, actionable solution to a problem.

It’s human nature to want the greatest outcome for the least amount of work, so make sure your lead magnet does all the hard work for them.

Let’s take a look at some useful lead magnet examples…

1. Checklist

Let’s start with our favorite lead magnet of all: the checklist.

Checklists convert the best out of all the lead magnets, probably because they are so easily consumed. They condense everything that the user needs to know into one, actionable list.

They’re also super quick to create. For example, you can summarize your popular blog posts as a checklist, and turn it into a content upgrade. Then combine that content upgrade with a 2-step optin form, and you’ll see a big boost in your conversions.

Here are two examples of checklists we’ve created for our users like you…

Ultimate Optin Form Checklist– this checklist contains a list of all 63 elements that you need to create the ultimate optin form.

Ultimate Optin Form Checklist

On-Page SEO Checklist: How to Fully Optimize Your Posts– you can print this out and consult it every time you search engine optimize a page.

Download the OnPage SEO Checklist

2. Cheatsheet

Cheatsheets are essentially the same thing as checklists, but they give the user a list of guidelines or a process that they can follow over and over again to achieve a specific benefit.

They’re so irresistible to people because they take away the need to think.

 

leadmagnets-2

Bloggers want their blog posts to go viral, so this is a very benefit-driven lead magnet for them. It also removes the need to think: no more racking your brain about how to get your blog posts to go viral when you have this cheat sheet!

3. Template

A template can be anything that provides an outline, or some sort of starting point, so all the user has to do is fill in the blanks.

The Magic Email Template is a great example– it’s something that entrepreneurs and small business owners can simply copy and paste, customize a few words, and then send off to instantly connect with influencers and VIPs in your industry.

leadmagnets-7

To take your lead magnet one step further, create an entire collection of templates, like Digital Marketer’s Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library.

leadmagnets-28

4. Swipe File

Swipe files are arguably even more irresistible than templates because all you have to do is copy them in their entirety.

For example, The Ultimate Social Media Swipe File includes 72 headlines for social media posts that you can simply, well, swipe!

leadmagnets-6

5. Examples

Examples work really well as lead magnets because people are searching for examples all the time, in all different industries.

For instance, Bidsketch (a proposal software) uses a Sample Client Proposal as a lead magnet.

leadmagnets-5

In fact, you could turn one of your popular posts into a lead generating machine by optimizing it for “[your keyword] + examples”, and then adding an example lead magnet as a content upgrade.

6. Script

Scripts are great lead magnets if your buyer persona needs something to help them speak or write.

For instance, if they need help prepping for a job interview, you could offer a script for pitching themselves to a potential employer.

Another great example is this popular lead magnet created by Marcus Krieg: 3 Persuasive Video Scripts You Can Steal.

leadmagnets-63

7. Toolkit

A really popular type of lead magnet is the toolkit. Why? Because everyone wants to know what tools the pros use!

Syed’s Toolkit for Growing Your Online Business is no exception… it’s a huge hit!

 

The best part about toolkits is that you can usually become an affiliate for those products. So not only does the toolkit provide a really useful resource to your visitors, but it can also generate additional revenue for your business.

8. Web App

A web app is a free tool that lives on your site, and which requires a login to use. Of course, users have to sign up by email to get the login.

For example, Bryan Harris created this web app called ListGoal, which is completely free to use. However, when you sign up for it, Bryan gets your permission to email you.

leadmagnets-31

9. Resource List

Lists of resources are really valuable because they are huge time savers. Whenever you pull all of the best stuff together, you’re saving your users a ton of research time.

My Giant Guest Blogging Index has been a huge hit for that very reason. For someone looking to write guest posts, all the tough research has been done for them.

leadmagnets-15

10. Calendar

Calendars can also be extremely useful in a variety of industries.

For example, if you’re in the fitness industry like Blogilates, you could offer a workout calendar. That way, your users don’t have to think about what exercises to do each day, because you’ve already mapped it out for them.

Campaign Tracking and Reporting – Google Analytics

Campaign Tracking and Reporting – Google Analytics

The next five tips are about how to optimize your campaign tracking and reporting efforts to save time for data analysis and website optimization.

Automate Google Analytics Campaign Tracking

Your data doesn’t have any meaning if you haven’t implemented campaign tracking in the correct way.

By default, Google Analytics recognizes three channels. On the medium level, those are:

  • (None): direct traffic via bookmarks or directly typing in a URL
  • Referral: incoming (untagged) links from other domains
  • Organic: organic traffic via search engines

A fourth could be Google AdWords. This one is easy to set up if you link your AdWords to your Google Analytics account.

But, what about email, affiliate campaigns, or paid banners on other domains? This is where campaign tracking is crucial for getting your numbers right.

Very often, websites tend to have large buckets of direct traffic. And, do you know why? It’s because of untagged campaigns… And, it’s a disaster!

There is a huge chance that you will make the wrong decisions in your website optimization efforts. Happily, it’s easy to prevent this from happening.

Five Parameters

Google Analytics distinguishes among five parameters for campaign tracking purposes:

  • Campaign Source (utm_source)
  • Campaign Medium (utm_medium)
  • Campaign Term (utm_term)
  • Campaign Content (utm_content)
  • Campaign Name (utm_campaign)

Google Analytics likes for you to always use Campaign Source, Medium, and Name when tracking “unknown” links.

Every link that does not fall into one of the four default categories needs to be tracked separately.

How to Track Campaigns

If you have just a few links you need to track, I recommend that you use the Google URL builder.

It’s a completely different story if you need to track dozens or maybe even hundreds of different campaign links.

In this case, you will want to use a spreadsheet.

A good option is to use Google Docs.

Here is an example (click on image to navigate to Google Sheet):

google analytics campaign tagging tool

Get access to Campaign Tracking Sheet.

My advice is to read the “Instructions” tab first.

After that, you can start experimenting with the “Link Tag Generator.”

If you have some experience, you should design a format that works for you.

I recommend that you add a few extra fields to your spreadsheet:

  • Campaign period (when does your campaign run?)
  • Campaign owner (who is end responsible for the campaign?)
  • Naming conventions (it is a must to create a naming structure for your campaigns)

Real-Time Reports

There is one more thing you should know. I recommend that you test every link you want to track, especially if you are just starting out with campaign tracking.

It’s easy to do if you set up a view with an include filter on your IP address. If your website receives a lot of traffic, this is definitely a must to test your campaigns without effort.

And, the good thing is, you can even test in real-time. There is no need to wait until the actual data is coming in.

It’s a huge time-saver if you set this up in an efficient way! And, it makes your analysis a lot more easy and accurate.

Make sure campaign tracking is on your to-do list!

Automate Google Analytics Reporting

It’s important to report on the main KPIs of your business. However, it shouldn’t eat up all your time!

From experience, I can say that automating your reporting efforts will save a huge amount of time.

A lot of companies still need to switch from 80/20 to 20/80 in terms of reporting vs. analysis.

Automation via Google Analytics Spreadsheets Add-on

The Google Sheets Add-on helps you automatically export complex data queries. It’s a great option if you are looking for a free solution.

Make sure to check these links:

How it Works

Add the Google Analytics Add-on to Google Sheets (in my case, it is already installed).

Create your first report.

paul demo screenshot

  1. Fill in some basic information, including metrics and dimensions you like to work with.

fill in some basic info

Fill in the required fields/information:

  • Report name
  • Google Analytics Account name
  • Google Analytics Property name
  • Google Analytics View name
  • One or more metrics
  • One or more dimensions

Add a report name and hit Run reports on the next screen.

hit and run report

And, your report is right here!

and your report is right here

As a final step, you can schedule your report for updates.

schedule report for updates

By now, you have learned how to build a basic report via the Google Analytics application programming interface (API) and Google Sheets.

I recommend that you start with simple queries.

The Google Analytics Reference Guide shows you what functions to put in the corresponding fields.

Further, I recommend that you check out the metrics and dimensions guide. It contains all the metrics and dimensions that are available in Google Analytics.

There is a huge win in automating your data export (and dashboards), and it saves time for data analysis and website optimization.

Build Powerful Custom Reports

Another Google Analytics shortcut worth mentioning is custom reports.

You very often need to combine the information of different reports to get a clear picture of what’s going on. There are 80+ standard reports in Google Analytics, and the list is growing.

But, there is a better way: custom reports.

Custom reports help you to see your most important metrics and dimensions in one report.

Turn Standard Reports into Custom Reports

This is a great trick, especially if you are new to custom reports.

Most standard reports can function as a template for customized reports.

Click on the customize button of a standard report.

all traffic customize

Review the metrics and dimensions of the report.

blue and green rectangles

Finally, name your new custom report and click “save.”

It’s a quick way to build custom reports based on already available reports in Google Analytics.

After a while, you might want to build them from scratch as well.

Share Your Reports with Your Team

Would you like to share your reports with your team?

Great! This is very easy in Google Analytics.

Click on the Customization tab.

google analytics customization

On the right of your screen, there is a link named Actions; click on Share.. Then select Share template link, and click Share.

share template link ga

This is it! By following the link, your colleagues have access to the same report. They can save it in their account.

Use Pre-Built Dashboards for Generating Ideas

Some people prefer to work with Google Analytics dashboards.

If you would like to set up your dashboard in Google Analytics, there are two resources you don’t want to miss:

Once again, you can save a lot of time that you can invest in data analysis and website optimization instead.

Copy Your Reporting Screen URL

Imagine you are working in your report and suddenly you hit the wrong button and your report and settings are lost.

Here is what I suggest to overcome this issue:

  • Copy the URL of your report.
  • Open another tab, screen, or notepad.
  • Paste the URL.

This is especially helpful when conducting deeper analysis with advanced table filters or regular expressions.

You can also use this if you would like to perform another type of analysis for the same data set so that you can compare them.

This is another timesaver that might come in handy!

Features in Google Analytics

Google Analytics contains a lot of hidden features. The next five tips describe features that should be on your list if you want to “create” more time.

Enlarge Your Screen

This is a great tip if you want some more space to work in or if you want to avoid distractions.

Here is the default reporting view:

audience overview ga2

The left sidebar (where you can choose your favorite report) is still visible here.

If you want to minimize distractions and maximize your view, click the small arrow shown above (in red).

audience overview ga3

As you can see, your reporting screen becomes much wider.

I find it very helpful in two situations:

  • When I’m working in a large report and want to have enough space to analyze all the data; e.g., I’ve built a custom flat table with 3+ dimensions and quite a few metrics.
  • When I’m presenting / giving a Google Analytics workshop and want to avoid any distractions.

Memorize Basic Keyboard Shortcuts

Navigate to the reporting interface and hit question mark (?).

The following screen pops up:

ga keyboard shortcuts 2015

I find the date range shortcuts to be very useful. You can quickly select the desired data set without touching your mouse.

Most analysts could save quite some time by using these hidden keyboard shortcuts.

In my experience, it is also great if you quickly jump around and present useful data to your audience.

Save Report Shortcuts

The Google Analytics Shortcuts feature is very powerful.

It allows you to save your favorite reports with all settings included.

using shortcuts in ga 2105

Here is how it works:

Step 1. Select the report and all settings you would like to save.

select the report and settings

Step 2. Click Shortcut and add a unique shortcut name.

Step 3. Click on the Shortcut name in the report view to access it.

It’s easy, fast, and very handy; really useful for everyone who works with Google Analytics.

Also, this is a must have for consultants who are working with many websites. You can save your favorite reports and settings for each of your clients in their specific accounts.

Use “Find Reports & More” Module

Do you sometimes struggle with finding the report you need? You know its name but have forgotten exactly where it’s located.

No need to worry, the find reports & more function comes in handy here!

Take a look at the screenshot below:

This feature applies to three different reports/features:

  • Standard reports
  • Custom reports
  • Shortcuts (to favorite reporting settings)

Type in the first few characters, and you should be able to find your report.

It’s another smart way to quickly navigate through Google Analytics.

BONUS

Always Start with a Question in Mind

strongly recommend that you come up with a business question first before diving into Google Analytics or any other web analytics tool.

Your business question should be connected to one or more of your micro or macro goals (discussed in the first tip).

If you don’t know what you need to solve, how can you decide where to start? It’s simply impossible.

You can literally lose days of time if you don’t take a structured approach in your data analysis and website optimization efforts.

How to Analyse your Website Traffic with Google Analytics Custom Reports

How to Analyse your Website Traffic with Google Analytics Custom Reports

Every blog you write, every landing page you publish, every campaign you run, every social media post you make – aims at one thing.

Increasing visits to your website.

You expect people to visit your website, understand what you offer, get impressed by your offer and eventually buy it. But how do you know if your marketing efforts are leading to this?

Website Analytics Tool.

Every business will(must) have an analytics tool that tracks website traffic and conversions. These metrics will give you an idea of how your marketing campaigns are performing. However, mere traffic and conversion metrics won’t tell you the entire story. Website traffic, traffic sources, and conversions are very basic metrics. There are plenty of other metrics you need to track to completely understand your visitor behavior and truly measure your website performance.

So, what are the key website metrics?

If you try to find answers to these questions and track them regularly, you’ll drive plenty of insights on how your website is performing and how to optimize it.

I’ll discuss how to track these metrics using Google Analytics, knowing how overwhelming Google analytics can get.

But before we get into the metrics and reports of Google Analytics, let’s do a quick fact check! If your Google Analytics account is not configured properly, you might be looking at the wrong numbers to begin with. That’s even more dangerous than not tracking at all. So, follow this checklist to see if you’re capturing the right data.

Google Analytics Health Check  

1.Tracking Code Check

It all starts with the tracking code. Google Analytics requires to place its tracking code on your website to track the data. Where and how you place this code is very important.

Make sure you haven’t placed this code in multiple places or in the wrong place. Verify your Google Tag Manager implementation. Most importantly, ensure that Google Analytics ‘Universal’ Code is being delivered through Google Tag Manager. Do a quick check with the help of this Google support document

2.Property Settings Check

Make sure all the attributes in your property settings are right. From default URL to user analysis, check everything once with the help of this support doc.

3.View Settings Check 

Here’s where you set up the time zone, country, currency, and more importantly, the URLs you want to exclude to filter out data from bots and internal IP addresses. Make sure every field is keyed in properly. You can find the right way to do this in this link.

4.Data Check 

Despite doing all of the above properly, your metrics can still go wrong. Make sure all your paid and referral channels are tagged properly. Check out this link for more details.

5.GDPR Check 

Google has the right to delete your entire account if they find any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in your properties or views. Ensure no PII like emails, phone numbers, etc.are sent to your Google Analytics account. Learn all about this here.

After a thorough Google Analytics audit of your account, you’re now ready to crunch some numbers. Google Analytics comes with numerous default metrics and reports. Chances are that you’re probably only checking half of them. Google Analytics also lets you create custom reports.

Seems complicated? Don’t worry. Let’s go step by step.

First things first. Let’s discuss the standard metrics and reports available in Google Analytics.

Previously, we discussed the key website metrics like user persona, acquisition, user behavior, and conversions. Google Analytics has classified its metrics and reports broadly in this fashion. Once you understand how this classification works, you’ll find it easier to navigate through Google Analytics and find what you want.

So, here’s how Google Analytics classification works:

 

Each of these sections have sub-sections and segmenting options. Depending upon the data you’re looking for, select the section and navigate accordingly. For example, if you want to know the source of your traffic, from the above table, you know that this metric would be available under the ‘Acquisition’ section. Because with the source of your traffic, you trying to understand where your customers are coming from.

Likewise, all the reports are broadly categorized in these 5 sections. In each of these 5 sections, you can further find different reports. Standard metrics and reports are quite simple and self-explanatory. You can easily figure out where to find them and how to use these reports with the help of this doc.

Apart from this, you can also change certain metrics in your standard reports as well. For example, you change all the elements marked in the below image. From date range, type of view to adding a secondary dimension, you can customize the view.

Still, the standard reports provided by google analytics only gives you basic metrics and data. There are still plenty of hidden insights as well. How do you discover these powerful insights that are hidden in your GA account?

Custom Reports. 

Custom reports can help you pull up different insights from different segments in one single report. For example, your traffic spread across the world is available under ‘Audience’ whereas the source of the traffic is available under ‘Acquisition’. Now, what if you want to know the source/medium of the traffic in each geo location? After all, what works in the USA might not work in Canada. Right? The answer is custom reports.

So, try and play around a little and you’ll be pleased with the insights you can pull up. But still. It’s all very basic. Custom reports go much beyond this.

How to create a basic custom report in Google Analytics 

Creating a custom report is pretty simple and self-explanatory. Go to the ‘Custom Report’ section on the top left corner of your Google Analytics account.  You can also create one from the ‘Reports’ section.

Once you start creating your custom report, you are presented with plenty of options. Based on the data you need, you mix and match the metrics and dimensions of your custom reports. But first, let’s take a look at the different options you have while creating a custom report in Google Analytics.

This is how your custom report looks like.

Report Name: Self-explanatory, isn’t it? Just name your report.

Report Tabs: These are multiple reports within a custom report. Example: You can split your reports into multiple segments based on geographical location, age, device and have all of these reports on different segments in one single place.

Report Type: If you want a trends chart, select the ‘Explorer’ tab. Choose the ‘Flat table’ for plain table view and ‘Map overlay’ for reports based on the geographical location. Use ‘Custom Funnels’ if you’re tracking customer journey or behavior. Example, homepage to purchase  – stage-by conversions.

Here’s how a custom funnel looks like:

Metrics and dimensions

Google Analytics reports have a set of rows and columns. The rows are Dimensions and the columns are Metrics. Read more about it here.

Filters and views

You can also make use of filters if you want to restrict your report to a particular segment. It could be based on devices, geo locations and so on. A ‘Views’ option is applicable if you have multiple accounts.

After you select all of these attributes and click ‘Save’, you’ll be able to see your custom report with all the metrics and dimensions you wanted. It’s that simple.

Top 5 Google Analytics custom reports with actionable insights 

Now, let’s see the most useful custom reports that’ll give you powerful insights to help you drive more traffic and conversions to your website.

Top 5 Google Analytics Custom Reports:

  1. Website Traffic (Overview) 
  2. Organic Traffic 
  3. Paid Traffic 
  4. Social 
  5. Acquisition 

1. Website Traffic (Overview): 

Track Visits by Hour of the Day (Hourly), Day of the Week, or the Date of the Month (Daily)

How is this helpful? 

  1. Know the peak hours of engagement for any given date range and also the day of the week that brings maximum conversions.
  2. Strategize Adword campaigns on these times and days to maximize your return on investment.
  3. Schedule your social media posts on these times for better engagement.

How to create this custom report:

This report is created by Rattan | FIRST Digital NZ and you can import it here.

 

2. Organic Traffic 

SEO Insights for Google Organic (not provided)

How is this helpful? 

  1. Find out the landing pages that drive maximum organic traffic.
  2. Find (Not Provided) keywords that form a large chunk of your organic traffic. This report shows you the landing pages to which these unknown organic keywords are leading to.
  3. See landing pages along with their page titles for SEO optimization.

What are ‘(not provided)’ keywords? 

When you see the default organic search traffic report, you’ll notice that the majority of the traffic comes from (Not Provided) keywords. Google chose not to reveal these keywords to protect the privacy of Google users. However, there are other ways around it. You can either pull up the landing pages to which the organic traffic is directed or you can use Google search console to pull these keywords as well.

How to create this report:

This report is created by Loves Data and you can directly import it here.

 

3.Paid Traffic 

PPC Keyword/Matched Query Report

How is this report useful? 

  1. Find out if your user queries are matching with your ads.
  2. Optimize your ads based on Match Type (Broad, Phrase or Exact) to drive more conversions
  3. Make your ads more relevant to your user search queries.

How to create this report:

This report is created by Justin Cutroni and you can import it here 

 

4. Social

Traffic Acquisition from Social Media

How is this report helpful?

  1. Get the entire break-down of your social media traffic.
  2. Analyze different metrics like sessions, users, bounce rate and goal completions for all your social media channels in a single report.
  3. Get a trends chart to track engagement for a given time period.

How to create this report:  

This report is created by Vagelis Varfis | Nudge Digital and you can import it here.

5. Acquisition 

Visitor Acquisition Efficiency Analysis

How is this helpful? 

  1. Know which of the acquisition channels bring maximum conversions.
  2. Get per session goal value to know which of the acquisition channels have profitable engagement.
  3. Analyze efficiency for all of your acquisition channels.

How to create this report: 

This Report is created by Avinash Kousik and you can import it here.

That was our top 5 custom reports that we think would help you gauge your website performance better. Here are some quick pointers on what we discussed in this blog:

  1. Measuring and tracking website performance is vital.
  2. Make sure your Google Analytics account is capturing the right data (Google analytics audit and health check)
  3. Make the best use of standard metrics and reports in Google Analytics.
  4. How to create a custom report in Google analytics?
  5. Top 5 custom reports that help to gauge your website performance better.

Prepared to Pivot as a Business and Inform Your Customers

Prepared to Pivot as a Business and Inform Your Customers

In a fluid situation, your business should also be fluid. This is a time that you should find ways to connect with your customers like never before. It shows empathy and keeps you relevant at a time when your business may have been impacted by people staying at home. For instance, restaurants are shutting down right now because customers aren’t dining in. You should make sure you’re offering free delivery services. Just the other day, a local Dallas restaurant emailed offering three ways to get their food into their customers’ hands: delivery, curbside ordering and parking lot pickup. Also, let your customers know you’ve increased your sanitary practices and how you’re doing that specifically.

But other businesses should pivot right now, too, as we stay in. Gyms have closed their doors in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but why not offer online workout classes right now? Dentists could offer online consultations. Grocery stores should offer free curbside pickup. All of these opportunities can be boosted with strategic social media campaigns.

Since people are forced to be quarantined at the moment, there will be more eyeballs than ever before online so people will be consuming more digital marketing on all fronts, said Thrive social media director Nhi Shirley. People will be looking to social media especially for updates on closures, new procedures for businesses and news. They will also be looking to see how brands and businesses are reacting to the current business environment. Now is probably the most important time to be visible digitally because other forms of traditional marketing will be stalled.


Don’t Fall Victim to the Panic Move

10 Digital Marketing Ideas To Consider During The Coronavirus

10 Digital Marketing Ideas To Consider During The Coronavirus

1. Connect With Your Customers on Social Media During a Critical Moment

We’re all dealing with the impact the coronavirus outbreak has had on our lives whether you’ve tested positive or not. We’re all taking precautions. We’re locked in our homes and our kids aren’t in school. We can’t visit our friends. We can’t eat at our favorite restaurants or go out to the movies. Sure, all minor conveniences but jarring nonetheless. This is a time to really show empathy to others and help out where you can. This is a time we all need to be sensitive — and not too salesy or pushy — but it’s a great opportunity for your brand to stand out during a difficult time. More people are on social media now while stuck at home, scanning for updates and trying to stay connected in a suddenly isolated nation.

It’s a unique opportunity for brands to unite together! said Thrive social media manager Savannah Keck. Our communities need each other now more than ever. People need support, understanding, education, resources. Social media can provide just that and can be extremely powerful if it’s done correctly.

Make Sure Your Business Can Be Found Online

2. Make Sure Your Business Can Be Found Online

In case you haven’t noticed, more people are online right now than in their cars or walking the sidewalks. Search traffic has increased significantly over the past week and will continue to climb as we hunker down. We’re all glued to our computers and phones looking for updates within our community. We’re also looking for entertainment and ways to pass the time. For many, that includes shopping online.

People still place orders and need things even when at home, said Thrive senior SEO manager Carlos Rosado. “A lot of people still contact companies during work hours, and that is not going to change just because they are home. Your competition may adjust but that doesn’t mean you have to stop everything and lose sales.


Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising is a Smart Move

3. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising is a Smart Move Right Now

Oh, and it’s a great chance to save some money within your digital marketing budget. On average, cost-per-clicks have decreased by 6 percent across all verticals since last week, according to Thrive senior PPC manager Jacob Wulff. And CPC is likely to continue to decrease in the coming week, reducing the amount of money an advertiser pays a publisher for every ad click. That gives your business another opportunity to scoop up that lost market share from others pulling back during this time.

It’s a great time to continue your digital marketing as other advertisers may go offline at this time, said Thrive PPC manager John Powell, “and businesses can capture traffic and conversions because of reduced competition. We have clients’ best interests in mind and work to provide solutions to maintain exposure while prioritizing budget spend during these uncertain times.

4. Stay Ahead or Jump In Front of Your Competition

SEO helps your business increase organic traffic to your website and move past your competition. You want to be on the front page of the Google SERPs — and at the top of the list — so that when your customers search for certain keywords you’re the company they end up calling. To climb to the top of the SERPs takes time and strategic optimization strategies. If you don’t continue to optimize your website and content daily, you lose valuable ground in the search results and your freefall could cost your business thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

It’s important to stay ahead of the curve and do whatever is possible to keep your website updated and optimized, said Thrive senior demand generation manager Alan Muther. The level of competition within businesses will probably increase in the near future and it’s also important to remain competitive with your digital marketing strategy to help your site rank higher than competitors.

What you don’t want to do is halt an SEO campaign. That can be a critical mistake for your business. Your leads and revenue will suffer. But if others choose to pull back on SEO, it’s also a perfect time for your business to push even harder to surpass your competitors.

Competitors may be stopping their campaigns because of their fear of what is ahead or their current situation, said Thrive SEO manager Cesar Zambrano. This is a great time to strengthen your campaign in order to improve your rankings and potentially outrank competitors.


Prepare Your Business For the Bounce-Back Surge

5. Prepare Your Business For the Bounce-Back Surge

As we noted earlier, the coronavirus outbreak should fade (just as it has in China) after a few months. That’s when normalcy returns and consumers’ spending habits stabilize. You have to remember that SEO is more of a long-term strategy. What you do today for your SEO campaign will affect your organic search traffic two months from now. Pausing your SEO campaign now could have a detrimental impact on your revenue potential two months from now when the coronavirus starts to become a distant memory.

As SEO professionals, the work we do today will affect the results months from now, said Thrive SEO strategist Dan Casey. If you stop the momentum now when the market starts to rise you won’t see the results you want. Anticipate the low times, prepare and press now while others are letting up. The results will be in your favor when you will need it.

 

 

10 Digital Marketing Ideas to Consider During the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

10 Digital Marketing Ideas to Consider During the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Our world is facing a very serious challenge with the spread of the coronavirus, but there is hope on the horizon.

Businesses have been greatly impacted as the economy has taken a hit because of COVID-19. Early on, grocery stores were left with empty shelves while restaurants were like ghost towns.

“It’s a unique opportunity for brands to unite together! said Thrive social media manager Savannah Keck. “Our communities need each other now more than ever. People need support, understanding, education, resources. Social media can provide just that and can be extremely powerful if it’s done correctly.”

As a business owner, you’re likely looking for ways to survive the wave that has Americans shifting their budgets.

Why Businesses Shouldn’t Ignore Digital Marketing During COVID-19

Meet the Thrive Team

One definitive about the coronavirus amid many questions that still linger is that COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate.

By now, many of us have had a friend or family member test positive for the virus. Some of us know people who have died. No matter your race, gender or economic status, the coronavirus has invaded all of our lives.

That also rings true in business. Large corporations have filed for bankruptcy while small businesses have been hit hard throughout the country with many closing their doors for good.

Like many other businesses, her store, Gold N Things, is closing its doors because of the impact of COVID-19. She said her revenue has been cut in half and she’s now holding a going-out-of-business sale with the expectation of shutting down for good in September.

“It’s the economy and the pandemic,” Lambert told The Dallas Morning News. “I’m a luxury, not a necessity.”

Many business owners can be empathetic of Lambert’s reality. She’s obviously done well to make it 30 years. But unfortunately Lambert also appears to be in the same boat as some other struggling business owners in that she’s ignored the importance of building a strong online presence for her business.

t’s a stark reminder to business owners everywhere that if you ignore digital marketing during COVID-19, you might not be around to sell your products or services when the economy bounces back. Businesses can’t simply survive on foot traffic alone when so many people aren’t leaving their homes and risking their health in stores, especially companies that — as Lambert described her jewelry store — are “a luxury, not a necessity.”

Lambert told The Dallas Morning News she wasn’t planning on retiring, but she just couldn’t risk the family savings.

“If no money’s coming, we’re not going to stay here,” she said. “How long are you going to keep floating the business?”

This isn’t the time for business owners to sit back and wait and see what happens. You should be as aggressive as ever now to keep your business afloat.

What you don’t want to do now is come to a grinding halt with your digital marketing efforts, said Matt Bowman, Thrive Internet Marketing Agency president and founder who has led his company to four consecutive appearances on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing businesses in America.

“That would be a mistake and a complete waste of the time and resources you’ve already poured into your business to gain traction in a crowded online marketplace. You would lose ground to your competitors and put your business in a position to fail in the second half of 2020.”

History Shows If You Cut Less During Down Times You’ll Gain More In Better Times

One study that focused on what happened during a recession affected a company’s performance after the recession. The study found that “successful leaders, trading lower short-term profitability for long-term gain, refocused rather than cut spending.”

Harvard Business Review study of 4,700 public companies analyzed three years before, during and after recessions. The study identified the percentage of companies that outperformed their rivals: 21 percent for businesses that opted for a prevention focus (more cost-cutting) and 37 percent for a more progressive focus. The study found that “firms that cut costs faster and deeper than rivals don’t necessarily flourish. They have the lowest profitability (21 percent) of pulling ahead of the competition when times get better.”

Furthermore, a Bain report found that getting it right during the lean years has a huge impact on a company’s growth rate after the economy improves.

Pros And Cons Of 7 Top Online Business Ideas For College Students

Pros And Cons Of 7 Top Online Business Ideas For College Students

Detailed knowledge of a demanded subject and well-developed academic skills can serve you well if you use them wisely.

#1 Temporary freelance job
Thanks to the platforms like Fiverr, you can offer paid help to the people looking for assistance in the fields of programming, graphic design, video creation, copywriting and translation, and other matters that even include specific business and legal tasks.

Pros: Everyone can sign up on Fiverr and register their account for free, so your startup costs amount to zero.

You can choose the client queries that match your personal skills and interests, and also suit the equipment you currently have (if you don’t own a sophisticated PC, skip the video montaging and graphic design sections – a tablet or even a smartphone will be enough to do proofreading, or to leave paid reviews on social networks, or perform any similar tasks).

Most likely, you will be dealing with short-term project that don’t require much personal emotional engagement or thorough background research. It means that you can take an undemanding project any time you’re free from finals and essays, and complete it without making a long-term commitment.

Cons: Sadly, undemanding jobs are not paid generously. To make a considerable profit from this activity, you need to take lots and lots of small projects, and gradually build up your reputation to be trusted with more fundamental offers. Obviously, it might interfere with your studying schedule.

#2 Online tutoring
Your studies, as well as your hobbies, provide you with unique and valuable knowledge that you might as well share with others – and make money from it.

Pros: Since you already know this particular field pretty well, you don’t need to spend your time on learning it from scratch, which means that you can start working right away.

Plus, since you’re providing a distance learning service, you can set flexible working hours that are convenient for you personally.

What is more, you don’t necessarily have to buy any professional software: basic Skype lessons are a suitable option for the majority of learners.

Cons: If your area of special knowledge is quite narrow, it might be difficult to identify and reach your potential clients, and to promote yourself as an expert in this area. Moreover, even if you won’t develop a full-scale educational course, you will still need to spend some time to prepare for every lesson, and to check your clients’ homework.

Also, it’s crucial to estimate your own soft skills: if you don’t feel you can always be empathic and patient enough with your own students, you might experience a professional burnout really soon.

Entertainment-related business ideas for college students
entertainment.jpg

Strictly speaking, this type of online business still requires you to produce some kind of a product – more specifically, content. But, in this case you’re making an intangible, virtual product, which means that you, at least, are free from the stocking and shipping issues – and you’re anyway making money without creating and keeping an inventory.

#3 Game streaming
Much like professional gamers, streamers make serious money from a seemingly non-serious activity: their income is mostly generated through the paid subscriptions or donations from the viewers who enjoy watching a charismatic or unusually skilled person playing a popular game.

Pros: Basically, you’re just making money from playing a game: instead of an office job or coal mining, you simply so what you like, relax, and get paid for this. You can register on a streaming platform like Twitch for free, and therefore, get a broadcasting channel for your engaging content with zero costs.

Cons: To begin with, online gaming and a higher education is, um, a very tricky mix to manage, so your priorities must be set straight.

Plus, you will have to make some startup investments: this activity requires at least a powerful laptop or PC, headphones and a microphone of a decent quality, and a stable Internet connection, so you must take care about these spendings in advance.

And, most importantly, you need to figure out what’s so distinctive or unusual about your channel, and differentiate yourself from thousands of similar players. If there is nothing special about your gaming technique or personal presentation, the whole venture simply won’t pay off.

#4 Video blogging
From ASMR artists to exotic cat owners, from popularizers of science to astronauts, video bloggers across the globe witness a growing interest towards the product they’re making – and benefit from it heavily.

Pros: For the videos distrubution, you can choose a free and insanely popular platform like YouTube; quite surprisingly, social networks like Facebook and Instagram are also used for this purpose widely and successfully.

Since YouTube belongs to Google, the videos placed on the platform are indexed and ranked by search engines. This way, you can drive free traffic to your videos through the appropriate SEO efforts, such as writing optimised titles and descriptions, integrating subtitles, etc.

Cons: It takes long hours to plan, film, and edit a video in a way that would be demanded by the viewers. Also, the startup investments are quite high: you need a wide range of top quality filming equipment (camera, microphone, lighting devices, stands, etc.)

Obviously, much like game streamers, video bloggers can only succeed if their channels have some clearly distinctive features: a unique content relating to an untapped niche, or an exceptionally charismatic and likeable presenter.

#5 Blogging
For many people, a personal blog written in a smart and witty way has turned into a starting point for something much bigger: a column in a popular magazine, a self-published book, or even a self-owned business.

Pros: For the purpose of posting your texts, you can choose any free blogging platform, or even simply create a dedicated Facebook page to share your writings with the wider audience. At the first stages of your blog existence, you can also promote it for free through the relevant traffic channels and well-thought-out SEO strategies.

Don’t forget that writing itself is quite a flexible activity, which means that you can put aside a half-finished article when your studying schedule gets harsh, and return to it later.

Contrary to video blogging and game streaming, text blogging doesn’t necessarily require you to reveal your identity, which is great for your personal safety: unfortunately, the cases of haters stalking and threatening video bloggers are not that uncommon.

Cons: A captivating blog should be dedicated to the topics that are warmly welcomed by the readers’ audience. If you’re writing about the minor issues that are only interesting to a narrow circle of your friends, relatives, or hobby comrades, you have a low chance of succeeding in the blog monetization.

Ecommerce business ideas for college students
business.jpg

When it comes to a full-scale ecommerce business that doesn’t require the owner to manufacture goods or keep product stock, two options are considered most often: affiliate business and drop shipping business.

#6 Affiliate business
We have already covered both the most favorable and the least promising examples of running an affiliate business, so, now it’s time to go through their benefits and disadvantages once again.

Pros: Affiliate programs are free to join, which is why the startup costs in this case amount to zero.

Plus, since you’re not the business owner, you are free from all the managerial problems: all you need to do is comply with the program terms, and provide your PayPal details to receive the earned commissions.

Also, many program owners give the participants an access to the pre-developed promotional materials: if you don’t quite know how to market the program carefully, you can count on the professional guidance.

Finally, for many people, the affiliate business is a some sort of ‘introduction’ into ecommerce in general: after gaining the necessary experience, they move on to more ambitious ventures.

Cons: Since (again) you’re not the business owner, your affiliate income solely depends on the provider’s actions. If the program terms get changed with no prior notification, or if the provider doesn’t approve your promotional methods, you can easily get banned for the ‘non-compliance’.

Plus, in the majority of the affiliate programs, you don’t have an immediate access to money, and you need to wait up to 60 days to finally receive the commissions you’ve earned.

#7 Drop shipping business
History knows enough examples of drop shipping stores transforming into large ecommerce empires; but, before you finally graduate and get the opportunity to devote all your time to such huge projects, it’s a good idea to start with a smaller venture.

Pros: Drop shipping business works best when you’re passionate about the niche you’ve chosen; this way, you literally can make money from the things you love and cherish deeply.

With the carefully picked automated solutions, you can forget about handling the daily management routine manually. In fact, you can comfortably combine your full-time studies with running your very own store; even for a medical student this task turned out to be easily achievable.

Cons: You will have to learn a lot – from the specific features of the market and products you’ve chosen to the most suitable marketing tips. Still, there is good news: there exist enough guides, video manuals, and industry-specific libraries to help you gain the necessary knowledge conveniently.

What else to consider during your search for the best business ideas for college students?
roman-mager-59976-unsplash-2.jpg

Before you finally commit to a certain online business model, ask yourself the following questions:

What is the real purpose of launching the business? Do you simply want to get a supporting income, or you also wish to gain a future-oriented experience and develop your personal brand?
Is it legal for you, as a student, to run the business you’ve chosen? (Even though the listed business types don’t necessarily require you to register officially, it’s still a good idea to play it safe and discuss this matter with your university/college administrators).
What is the average amount of time that you can safely dedicate to your newborn business without compromising your studies?
What are the startup resources (skills, experience, money, gadgets, etc.) that you currently possess, and what can you easily acquire in addition?
The answers to these questions will help you get your priorities straight, and choose the online business model that totally suits your personality and possibilities. We wish you the best of luck with your venture, whatever direction you choose!

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