Sean Twomey, Author at Posmay Media

All Posts by Sean Twomey

Creating an Effective Path to Purchase Online Marketing Funnel

An online marketing funnel is an automated system, which when setup correctly once and managed, will operate 24/7 creating new leads and generating sales for your business.

1. What is a funnel?

The purchase funnel, or purchasing funnel, is a consumer focused marketing model which illustrates the theoretical customer journey towards the purchase of a product or service.

According to the original model, the stages of the funnel are: Awareness, Opinion, Consideration, Preference & Purchase. However not all funnel models use these exact stages and descriptions.

Each funnel is made up of different sections representing a unique stage of the userʼs journey.

The funnel becomes narrower as you move further along or down, as more and more individuals naturally loose interest and drop off.

The original marketing funnel — path to purchase model.

2. Path To Purchase Customer Stages

When creating an online marketing funnel, we can define the potential customer stages as follows:

1. Visitor: Unaware of your brand, services or products
2. Reader: Interested and consuming your content
3. Email Subscriber: Has taken action to opt in and provide you with their email address
4. Customer: Someone who has purchased a product or service from you

Two additional stages that can be added are:

5. Repeat Customer: Someone who has purchased multiple products or services from you
6. Brand Ambassador: Someone actively recommending your brand, products and/or services

An email funnel would include stages 1 - 3 and a sales funnel would include stages 1 - 4.

For now we will ignore stages 5 and 6 to keep things simple.

The online marketing funnel — path to purchase model.

3. Funnel Stages: Top, Middle, Bottom and Outer

Top of the funnel represents the stage where visitors are just getting introduced to your brand. Theyʼve just become aware of what you do and what you offer.

Middle of the funnel represents the stage where subscribers, that are aware of your brand and are on your list, are engaged with your content (emails, blog posts, videos, etc.) but have not made any purchases yet.

Bottom of the funnel represents the stage where your customer becomes a buyer by purchasing your product or service.

Outer funnel refers to anything outside of your funnel. Deciding if youʼve got a market/product fit or if your ideal customer avatar has been accurately defined are both outer funnel questions.

4. Marketing Funnel Terminology Explained

A lead magnet is something of value that is offered in exchange for the visitors email address. This asset is usually a digital item like a video or PDF, but can also be a free discovery call or a physical item.

A landing page or squeeze page is a page specifically designed to get a visitor to opt in (provide their email address) or buy a product.

A sales page is a page specifically designed to sell a product or service.

A email marketing service provider is online software as a service (SaaS) platform used to create your email list and send out email broadcasts and autoresponders.

An autoresponder is an email broadcast that is sent out automatically based on some other trigger or action.

Double opt in refers to a process where the email subscriber needs to take to actions to confirm their subscription to your email list.

Single opt in refers to a process where the subscriber needs to only take a single action to add themselves to your email list.

A tripwire offer is a low priced item offered to a subscriber right after theyʼve subscribed. The idea is to get the potential customer, while they are warm, to commit to a small purchase turning them from a subscriber into a customer. Itʼs easier to sell an additional product or service to an existing customer compared to aquiring a new customer.

A lead is an individual who has provided contact information, which signals a potential future sales opportunity.

A prospect is a qualified and interested individual who engaged in two-way interaction with you and thus demonstrated that they are preparing to make a purchase decision.

An up-sell is an an additional offer that is made to a user that has just committed to making a purchase. If for example a user has purchased a course, you can offer them an up-sell of purchasing the accompanying pack of templates.

5. Planning & Mapping Out Your Funnel

Before creating and building your funnel, it's useful and recommended to plan and map it out in advance. You can keep it super simple and draw it on the back of a napkin or a notepad or you can use funnel planning software such as Geru (The Ultimate Funnel-Planning, Profit-Prediction & Simulation Tool) to create a map of your funnel.

Here is an example of what a simple opt-in funnel map would look like in Geru.

6. Creating A Simple Email Funnel

The simplest email funnel is made up of the following stages:

1. An opt in landing page offering the visitor a lead magnet in exchange for their email address.

2. The process of being added to your list, which happens in the back-end straight after the user has clicked the subscribe button. For this to work, your landing page needs to be integrated with your email service provider.

3. A thank you page which the user is directed to after theyʼve successfully been subscribed to your list.

4. Lead magnet delivery - the promised item of value can either be delivered on the thank you page or in a link inside an autoresponder email, which is triggered by the subscription process.

Email Opt-In Example

You can find an example of a simple email opt-in funnel at the bottom of this post where you'll find an opt in form that lets you subscribe to my weekly email newsletter.

Using that form you can opt into my email list and get my weekly newsletter. Try it if you’re interested to see how it works.

7. Creating A Simple Tripwire Sales Funnel

The above email funnel can easily be upgraded into a simple sales funnel by adding one additional step.

1. Tripwire Offer: On the thank you page you can offer the new subscriber a tripwire offer. This could be a discounted ebook, a $1 membership trial, a half price consulting call or any other low priced digital product.

2. Transaction Process: If the subscriber purchases, then the transaction needs to be facilitated by a merchant gateway. A service provider that lets you accept payment via credit cards, PayPal and/or Apple Pay.

3. Purchase Thank You Page: After purchasing the product, the buyer needs to be redirected to a thank you page.

4. Product or service delivery: After the purchase, the product or service needs to be delivered. This can be done on the thank you page or the buyer can be redirected to a page to create an account on your membership site.

8. Avoid Complex Funnels

As you can imagine itʼs easy to develop and add any number of additional steps to create highly complex funnels. Itʼs important to keep things simple and effective, especially if you are just getting started.

9. Step By Step Funnel Setup

Letʼs now walk through the steps of developing your own funnel.

1. Creating A Valuable Lead Magnet - a free resource the user gets access to after opting in.

The best lead magnets are items of high perceived value that can provide the visitor with a quick win. Examples could include a PDF checklist, a video explaining a useful process or a template that will simplify a process and save time.

For this example I recommend creating a simple PDF guide or checklist using Google Docs or Dropbox Paper. Simply create a new document, type up your document and export it as a PDF.

2. Setting Up An Opt In Landing Page - this is the page that youʼll direct traffic to in order to collect email addresses.

The best opt in pages are simple, concise and specific in terms of whatʼs being offered. Avoid spending too much time on the design and focus on the copy, making it a no-brainer for the visitor to opt in. Explain exactly what the customer will get and how it will benefit them.

There are various tools and apps that you can use to create landing pages. Most email marketing providers have built in landing page tools, like ConvertKit.

For building landing pages in WordPress, I use and highly recommend Thrive Architect and Thrive Leads which are premium WordPress plugins that let you create landing pages and opt in forms. If you have a self hosted WordPress website, then this would be a great option. 

If you are however just getting started or donʼt have a self hosted WordPress site, then stick to what you have. Iʼd start by taking a look at what built in functionality your email marketing provider offers. If you donʼt have an email marketing provider, then Iʼd highly recommend ConvertKit.

New to ConvertKit?

Sign up for your forever free ConvertKit account to manage up to 1000 subscribers, get unlimited landing pages, email broadcasts and subscriber tagging.

Get everything you need to get started on the right foot to implementing your online marketing funnels and integrating them with an effective email marketing strategy.

Some of the other landing page tools and apps include LeadPages, ClickFunnels, UnBounce, etc. If you have an active account with any of these, then use whatever you have access to.

3. Landing Page & Email Provider Integration

This is a crucial step in order to make sure that you subscribers email address gets added to your list.

The exact details and complexity of this step depends on what tools and apps you are using.

If you are setting up your landing page using your email providerʼs built in functionality, then this step wonʼt be a problem, however if you’d like to host your landing page on your website, then you need to make sure your page integrates with your website. Most apps generally have built in integrations that are (fairly) simple to setup, but if you’re just getting started then I don’t recommend this option. I’d just stick with ConvertKit.

4. Setting Up A Thank You Page

After adding your new subscriber to your list they somehow need to be shown a confirmation or thank you message. Again depending on what tools youʼre using, there are different ways of doing this. You can redirect your subscriber to a new thank you page URL or you can simply display a message on the existing page.

5. Lead Magnet Delivery

One step not to forget is giving your new subscriber what youʼve promised them - your lead magnet. Depending on what tools you are using this can be done in various ways. You can add a download link or embed your video on your thank you page, which gives them immediate access. Or you can send them a link to the lead magnet in the first email they receive, which can be setup as an auto responder confirmation email.

10. Progress Over Perfection

When setting up your funnel make sure to focus on progress over perfection. Get something that works online as soon as possible and then make improvements over time.

11. Watch Over My Shoulder

Interested in a step by step course about how to create online marketing funnels for your business? Leave a comment below and let me know what type of business you're in.

12. Get Implementation Help

Need hands on help setting up your funnel? Contact us today so we can schedule a strategy call to better understand your desired outcome.

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11 E-commerce Tips That Will Result in Happy Online Shoppers

While adhering to strict lockdown regulations in South Africa, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the one thing I’ve gotten really good at is online shopping.

Over the past few months I’ve made over 50+ online purchases and have shopped from 10+ E-commerce providers including Amazon.com, eBay.com, Takealot.com, Sixity60 (Checkers), Market City, Raru.co.za, Loot.co.za, UberEats, Aramex Global Shopper, Verimark, and Butlers.co.za.  

While making online purchases from all these different online retailers, I’ve learnt first hand from my own experiences what creates a happy and satisfied online shopper and what leaves them feeling frustrated and disgruntled. 

I’ve come up with the following list of tips that will result in happy online shoppers.

1. Make It Easy For Buyers To Find Your Product

When potential customers search for a product that they are interested in purchasing, Google will (if they are available) show shopping ads right at the top of the page.

I was recently searching Google for the Star Wars: X-Wing 2nd Edition Core Set in Cape Town, when the following shopping ads showed up:

I can immediately see that there are at least 3 retailers selling the product that I am looking for (takealot.com, loot.co.za and bidorbuy), with takealot.com offering the lowest price at R789.

It’s never been easier finding a retailer selling a product I’m searching for in my geographic location and it’s never been easier comparing prices of the top retailers. If I want to see even more options, then I can click on the » link to show a full page of shopping search results.

If your products are not showing up in Google Shopping Ads, then you are loosing out on search traffic and you are probably leaving money on the table. 

Recommended Action

Make it easy for potential buyers to find your product listing by advertising your products on Google Shopping Ads. Conduct competitive research to see what other retailers are charging for the same product and see if you can compete on price. 

2. Communicate Clearly & Timely

Some online retailers do a great job at communicating with customers, while others fail dismally. Whether you use in-app notifications, SMS messages, emails, phone calls or a combination, make sure to keep the customer informed. 

A few months ago I ordered a new vacuum cleaner from Verimark.co.za. After filling in all my details incl. credit card details on the checkout page, I clicked to place my order. The next page I saw was an error page. The funds had been debited from my credit card, but I had nothing to confirm my order. No order conformation page, no order confirmation email … just an error page.

This experience left me annoyed and frustrated. I had to send a follow up email to find out if my order had gone through and to get an idea of what the estimated delivery date was. After being told that delivery would be 1 to 2 weeks, I promptly cancelled my order and requested a refund.

With other retailers, like Raru.co.za, Takealot.com, UberEats, etc., communication has been a lot better. After making an online purchase, I get an order confirmation page, as well as an order confirmation email. I can also log into my account and view all my existing and past orders. If an order has not gone through, then I will be notified, so I can retry or cancel. 

Recommended Action

Use clear and timely communication along every step of the purchase process. This will build trust and result in happy and loyal customers.

3. Deliver What the Customer Purchased

This seems obvious, but with a recent frustrating experience, I felt like I had to state the obvious. I recently ordered a Sony PS4 Dualshock PlayStation Controller from Takealot.com. Before making my purchase, I reviewed the product page carefully to make 100% sure that this was the product I wanted. When I received my purchase a few days later, I was shocked to find a cheaper generic “Doubleshock Controller” in the box. This was definitely not what I had purchased.

After requesting an exchange, I was told that the supplier no longer was offering the product I had purchased and that I therefore needed to accept a refund. To cut a long story short, I eventually got a credit after returning this generic product, but it took many messages back and forth via email and Twitter, which wasted a lot of my time.

Recommended Action

Make sure that your product listings accurately describe and depict the product that you are selling and make sure to ship the product or products that were purchased.

4. Resolve Problems with Superior Customer Support

First of all make sure to have clear and adequate customer support channels that customers can easily access in order to get help with their orders. A support@yourdomain.com is usually standard, but you can also use online forms, live chat, Twitter DMs or a phone number. 

They key is to make it easy for customers to contact your support team and acknowledge the receipt of their message. The first thing a customer wants is to be heard and understood. The next thing they want is for you to resolve the issue as soon as possible. The quicker you can resolve the issue, the happier the customer will end up being.

For email support using a support ticketing platform like Help Scout, can be extremely useful, especially if you have multiple team members that are responsible for answering support tickets. 

Recommended Action

Provide your customers and prospects with a customer support experience that will impress them. Support staff should be trained to respond promptly and professionally. Create saved replies for common issues and empower support staff to resolve issues quickly. 

5. Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep

Don’t make the mistake of listing a product as in stock of it’s actually sold out and try avoid offering a product at price X, if the actual price is in fact Y. 

I recently made a purchase on Takealot.com and got an email 3 days later informing me that the product was actually out of stock and could no longer be sourced from the supplier. Or that time I ordered the Sony PS4 Dualshock Controller and was sent a cheaper generic controller instead.

Recommended Action

If you have to disappoint a customer, do whatever you can to resolve the issue, even if it means offering them the product at the cheaper price or sourcing the product from a more expensive supplier. The lifetime value that can potentially come from a happy customer usually far outweighs the expense or loss you might incur in the short term.  

6. Make It As Easy As Possible For Customers To Purchase

Butlers Pizza in Cape Town make use of live chat to let customers order on their website. You fill in a simple form asking you for your name, phone number, delivery address, which branch you’re ordering from and what you’d like to order and a friendly Butler confirms your order within a few minutes. 

Butlers also lets you pay via SnapScan, which makes contactless delivery easy and simple during the COVID pandemic. 

Because I’ve saved my usual order and delivery address as a text template that I can copy and paste into the order form, I can place an order within 30 seconds. No need to pick up the phone, dial, speak, etc. … in a few simple steps my order had been placed and confirmed. And within 30 - 40min hot pizzas are delivered to my door. 

If I’m ready to enjoy a relaxed pizza dinner at home or if I’m in a pinch and need a quick meal, then there is an obvious reason why I’m a repeat Butlers customer … great tasting pizzas, super quick and simple to order, as well as fast and friendly service. It’s a winning formula!

Recommended Action

Make it simple and convenient for customers to order or purchase. Review and refine your order or purchase process.

7. Same Day or Next Day Delivery = Happy Customers

If other online shoppers are anything like me, then they cannot wait to get the delivery of their purchase. Amazon has been raising the bar significantly on their delivery options by offering Two-Day, One-Day, Same-Day Delivery, as well as delivery within a few hours. Generally speaking, the quicker you can get a purchase into the hands of the buyer, the happier the buyer will be.

When ordering groceries from Market City or Sixity60 (Checkers) in Cape Town, I’ve been impressed by their same day delivery. When ordering pizzas from Butlers, my order usually arrives within 30min.

Takealot.com generally offers 1 to 3 Day Delivery, depending on whether the item I’ve ordered is in stock in Cape Town or if it needs to be sourced from Joburg or from a 3rd party supplier.  

If a purchase is not urgently needed, then delivery time is less important, but most online shoppers are keen to get their purchase as soon as possible.

Recommended Action

Offer your customer delivery options including (if possible) a same day or next day delivery option at a premium price. Whenever possible getting the purchase to the customer as soon as possible will result in a happy customer.

8. The Importance of Reviews

The one thing I place a lot of attention on when doing research before making an online purchase is looking at customer reviews. Stores like Takealot.com show the product rating on a product page, based on the ratings and reviews from other customers. If a product has a 4-5 star rating and has 20+ reviews, then I can generally safely assume that it’s a quality product worth buying. 

Recommended Action

If possible, give your customers the opportunity to leave reviews and ratings of your products, as adding this factor to a product page will increase social credibility and assuming the reviews and ratings are positive, will most likely result in an increase in purchases from other customers.

9. Perfect Your Online Checkout Process

A common issue with online shopping is cart abandonment. This is when a buyer is ready to make a purchase, they add the product into their shopping cart, but for some reason decide to not complete their purchase. There could me multiple reasons that could lead to this undesirable outcome. Perhaps your checkout process is too complicated, too long or too time consuming. Perhaps for some reason the purchase did not go through leaving the customer frustrated. 

A while back I made a purchase on Digicape.co.za and after entering my credit card details and clicking the purchase button, the page just would not reload. I was not sure what the problem was and was getting close to giving up and canceling my order. I then realised that I had to make selection using a dropdown menu item, which was not very clear to me. This was a great example of how a small technical hurdle can cause a buyer to cancel their purchase. 

Recommended Action

Make sure to test, review and refine your checkout process in order to maximise the number of orders and to minimise your cart abandonment rate. 

10. Create A Simple, Efficient & Enjoyable Digital Experience

One of my favourite parts of online shopping is saving items to my wish list. I often research products and find them on my favourite online stores. I then add them to my wish list to hopefully purchase them at some stage. 

I recently added a bunch of X-Wing Expansion packs to my Wishlist on Raru.co.za, as I was looking forward to ordering them over the next few months. One Monday morning I got a long list of emails from Raru informing me that these products had all been discounted by 30%. About 15min later, I had purchased all 10 items at the discounted price and had a smile on my face for the rest of the day. 

Giving your users the opportunity to save items to their wish list makes it easy for them to order them in future and it lets you easily send them discount notifications. This exact same experience has also happened to me with items on my Takealot.com wish list. 

Besides letting customers keep track of products on their wish lists, they might also from time to time have the need to return a product. Making it as simple as possible for customers to log a return request will result in a positive experience and give the customer peace of mind.

I’ve needed to return a few products to Takealot.com and with their simple online process, it’s been an absolute breeze.

Recommended Action

Review and improve your online store or website to give your customers the best possible digital experience. Make sure your website loads quickly and offer your users features like adding items to a wish list and a simple return process.

11. Offer A Quality Product That’s in Demand

You don’t need to sell iPhones, toilet paper or hand sanitizer to be successful. If you sell a quality product for a reasonable price that is in demand and people can find it online, then you’re in business.

Butlers.co.za makes it easy for me to order pizzas online and they deliver a tasty meal in under 40min to my door. Takealot offers a wide range of products and provides a great online shopping experience. For me they have quickly become the Amazon in South Africa. 

Some specific products, like books or board games, I’ve only been able to find on either Raru.co.za or Loot.co.za. This has made me a loyal customer of both these online stores. 

Market City and Sixity60 (Checkers) have made it simple and convenient for me to purchase groceries in Cape Town and have them delivered to my door. 

For products that I have not been able to purchase from South African online stores, I’ve managed to purchase from Amazon.com. And recently while buying vintage board games, I could only find what I was looking for on eBay.com. 

UberEats lets me quickly order food from local restaurants that gets delivered to my door and Aramex Global Shopper gives me access to 24 shipping addresses in all major cities, so I can make purchasers from online stores around the globe and have them forwarded to Cape Town.

Each of these brands offers something unique and have made my life better in this new digitally connected world. 

Recommended Action

Make sure to offer a quality product for a reasonable price that is in demand and make it easy for potential buyers to find you online.  

In Summary

1. Make It Easy For Buyers To Find Your Product
2. Communicate Clearly & Timely
3. Deliver What the Customer Purchased
4. Resolve Problems with Superior Customer Support
5. Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep
6. Make It As Easy As Possible For Customers To Purchase
7. Same Day or Next Day Delivery = Happy Customers
8. The Importance of Reviews
9. Perfect Your Online Checkout Process
10. Create A Simple, Efficient & Enjoyable Digital Experience
11. Offer A Quality Product That’s in Demand

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it. If you have any feedback or questions feel free to leave a comment below. I'll do my best to get back to you.

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Working From Home: 10 Frequently Asked Questions Answered

Is working from home good?

Being able to work from home can be one of the best things ever, but it does not come without challenges. Being disciplined, sticking to a work schedule and setting healthy boundaries between your work and personal life can be a huge challenge. 

If you can get those 3 things right, then working from home can be one of the most liberating benefits you’ll ever experience. No need to sit in traffic, spend hours commuting to and from the office and if your work is flexible and you’re disciplined, then you can schedule your work in such a way to blend work and personal responsibilities in a way that will maximise your freedom and enjoyment. 

If however you struggle with those 3 factors, then working from home, might end up being more of a curse than a blessing. 

How can I make money & what jobs are best for working from home?

If you have a job that you can work on remotely online, then you will most likely be able to work from home. You could either find a remote job or you could work remotely as a freelancer or consultant. You could also create an online business that you operate remotely. Wherever you are in the world you should be able to continue getting your work done.

Some common jobs and work that can be completed online includes software development, website development, graphic design, customer support, social media management, project management, paid media management, search engine optimization, copywriting and video editing to name a few. 

There are also various admin related jobs that can be conducted remotely online including book keeping, accounting, data entry and account management. With the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more companies are letting their staff work remotely. 

If you are looking at starting your own online business, then you might also be interested in reading my post titled “10 Proven Online Business Models with Real World Examples”.

What equipment do I need to work from home?

This really depends on the work you’ll be doing, but assuming you’ll be working in a position that you’ll be fulfilling online using a computer, I’d recommend the following:

1. A reliable desktop or laptop computer that has enough processing power, memory and storage for you to complete your work. If you’re a video editor for example, then you’ll need a more powerful computer compared to if you’ll be doing admin, writing, emailing or content management. 

2. A reliable, fast and always on internet connection — depending on your specific tasks you will either need a very fast and always on connection or you might be able to get away with only accessing the internet to upload or submit your work. If you’ll be editing, downloading, uploading and consuming a lot of media files like videos and audio, as well as doing video calls, then you’ll definitely want an always on fibre or LTE connection with unlimited data. 

How can I help my employees work from home?

After having worked in a position as the director of operations at a digital products business for the past 18 months, I’ve learned a few things about working with a remote team. This advice applies to working both with employees and contractors.

My advice would be to make sure your team members have the right hardware and software. If they are employees then you might need to provide this to them and if they are contractors, then they would probably need to acquire and pay for their own setup. You can however assist them in whatever way you can. 

Their hardware should be powerful enough to let then complete their tasks and power the required software. For software it’s important each team member can access a master account or even better have their own team member account. 

Besides hardware and software, I’d recommend defining and documenting standard operating procedures for communication, collaboration and project management. How will team members communicate? Who will be in charge of scheduling and conducting meetings? What tools will the team be using to communicate and collaborate are a few questions to answer and document.

If you are working remotely alone or with a team, you might be interested in also reading my post titled “12 Best Digital Tools, Apps & Platforms for Working Remotely”.

How can I work remotely from home?

If you currently don’t have any work (job or contract), then I’d recommend looking for remote work online. There are various platforms that you can use to find full time jobs (like on https://weworkremotely.com/) or project based contracts (like on https://www.upwork.com/). There are many more options out there, so make sure to do some research.

If you have an existing job or contract that you’re fulfilling in an office environment, then you can negotiate to transition from in-office to remote. Depending on your situation this might be a welcome change or you might face some resistance. If you face resistance, then you can always suggest a trial period to see how it goes and if it goes well, then the trial can be extended into a more permanent arrangement.

What are the disadvantages and challenges of working from home?

There are definitely disadvantages and challenges when it comes to working from home. One of the biggest challenges is remaining disciplined, staying productive and creating healthy boundaries between your work and personal life. 

Also working from home can be very isolating. Without noticing it, it’s easy to spend a vast majority of your time at home, as there is no reason or need to go to work. Also working in isolation at home, can cause loneliness and a feeling of disconnect, as you don’t have an office to go to where you can interact and socialise with work colleagues. 

It is therefore important to remain disciplined, productive and have a structured routine that you stick to. It’s also recommended to regularly get out of the house, even if it means working from some other location whether that’s a out of home office, a co-working space or a cafe.

Is working from home bad for your career?

It all depends what you are working on and how effectively you are using your time. If in your head you are “working from home” but in actual fact you are wasting your time watching Netflix, sleeping late and playing Playstation, then yes, that would not be a good use of your time and in the long run would not help your career.

If however you are building a business, marketing your business, growing your client base and increasing your skills, experience and income in an area that you specialise in, then working from home could be a great way for you to focus on and create what you desire in life, work and business.

What are the advantages of working from home?

I’ve worked from home my entire life and have become aware of the advantages and disadvantages. For me the advantages are that there is less distraction at home and I can focus on my work. I can control the environment within my home, so I can create an environment in which I can thrive. 

If I have the flexibility with the projects I’m working on (which I’ve always had), then I can manage my own schedule and work around my energy levels and mindset. 

If I feel sick, then I can take it easy and rest. If I’m feeling great, then I can get up very early and start working before the sun comes up. Or if I need to, I can work late into the night to complete a project to then perhaps take the next day off. If I’m feeling tired throughout the day, I can take a 30min power nap. And if I’m feeling stuck in my head, I can take a walk or go for a scooter ride to clear my head. 

If you have flexible work and you are disciplined enough to be productive, then you can enjoy amazing freedom by working from home. I’ve also taken that freedom onto the road and have worked from wherever I’ve relocated to in the world, including Cape Town, Chiang Mai, California, Hanoi, Bali & Berlin.

Is it better to work from home or in an office?

This really depends on you as an individual, what work you do and what your home environment is like. If you share a home with multiple other people and you don’t have a private room to use as your home office, then there will most likely be a lot of distractions at home that you need to try avoid in order to get your work done. 

If you live alone or in a large enough home where you have a “home office”, then it will be much easier to focus and remain disciplined and productive. 

Is working from home less productive?

Working from home can be a lot less productive if you don’t create an ideal work environment for yourself and if you struggle with being disciplined and focused. Depending on whether you live alone or with others, there will be different levels of distractions that you’ll need to avoid to remain productive.

If possible I’d strongly recommend using a spare room as a home office where you can close the door and separate your work from your personal life within your home. 

If you do not have a spare room to use as a home office, then it’s important to find a partially secluded corner or area in a room to allocate as your work space. It’s also useful to setup some rules that everyone in your home should respect to minimise distractions and interruptions. 

In Conclusion

Working from home is definitely not a solution that works for everyone. Some jobs and work is not well suited for being done at home. Some homes are full of family members and other distractions that are impossible to avoid. Some people struggle to remain disciplined and productive while trying to work from home because their fridge, TV and bed are just a few metres away and can remain a constant temptation and distraction. 

If you can work remotely from home and you can remain disciplined and productive, then working from home can provide some life changing advantages, assuming that you can stick to a well structured routine and keep your personal and work life separate. 

If you’re currently working remotely or from home, make sure to also check out my post titled “12 Best Digital Tools, Apps & Platforms for Working Remotely”.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it. If you have any feedback or questions feel free to leave a comment below. I'll do my best to get back to you.

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12 Best Digital Tools, Apps & Platforms for Working Remotely

The year 2020 did not quite turn out as expected. The COVID pandemic has and continues to cause massive disruption. One thing we all got familiar with is the term “social distancing”, which should really be referred to as “physical distancing”. 

With these new distancing requirements and lockdown regulations came the need to (if possible) work remotely. For most of us working remotely means working from home. 

Working in the area of digital marketing, web development and online project management, I started working remotely (mostly from home) back in 2008, when I started Posmay Media.

Working remotely has always been my normal and it’s something I’m grateful I’m comfortable with. With working remotely came the need to understand and master the tools and platforms that are commonly used by remote contractors, remote businesses and remote teams. 

In this post I share 12 tools and platforms that I use and recommend for working remotely. I'll update this post regularly, so make sure to subscribe to my newsletter to stay updated.

Zoom — Audio/Video Calls, Online Meetings & Communication

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom has become an app that most people know about. Zoom is an online app used for online video calls and meetings and might become the backbone of virtual face-to-face communication within your business. 

Zoom can be used for 1-on-1 meetings, group meetings and even for webinars. Using the apps settings you can disable video and mute audio, you can share a specific screen or window with your meeting participants and you can record a meeting into the cloud or onto your local hard drive.

Meetings can be scheduled in advance and participants can join by clicking a unique meeting link or typing in a unique meeting ID. You can also protect an online call by using a password that participants need to enter in order to join a call. 

Zoom offers free and paid accounts. A free plan lets you have unlimited 1-on-1 calls with no limitation on features. For calls with 3 participants or more, you will be limited to 45min. 

Paying to upgrade your Zoom account gives you access to additional features like unlimited group calls, recording your calls into the cloud and hosting webinars.

Ready to try Zoom?

Sign up for a forever free plan to get unlimited 1-on-1 video/audio calls and unlimited group calls up to 45min each. Zoom can be used on Mac, PC, iOS, iPad OS & Android.

Skype — Audio/Video Calls, Online Meetings & Communication

Similar to Zoom, Skype is the original teleconferencing cloud app that was purchased by Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5 Billion. Skype offers very similar features to Zoom and if you prefer Skype, then Skype can supplement or completely replace the need for Zoom. 

Skype can also be used for 1-on-1 meetings and group meetings, but does not offer webinar functionality. Skype also lets you share your screen, but you can only share your entire screen, not just a specific window. Skype does let you record your call in the cloud. With a free Skype plan you can have unlimited 1-on-1 and group calls with no feature limitations.  

If needed, Skype also lets you create a virtual local phone number that redirects telephone calls to your Skype account. This can be very useful if you want to give customers the opportunity to reach you by phoning a local landline. And if you need to make frequent international phone calls, Skype makes this affordable by letting you purchase Skype credits. With Skype credits you can phone international land lines and mobile phones from your Skype app.

Ready to try Skype?

Sign up for a forever free plan to get unlimited 1-on-1 video/audio calls and unlimited group calls. You pay to get a virtual local phone number and you can top-up with Skype credits to call local and international landlines and mobile numbers.

World Time Buddy — Scheduling Across Different Time Zones

This is a very useful little web app that lets you identify an overlapping period of time depending on the availability of team members or clients in different time zones. 

Assuming James is in Cape Town, Ann is in Bangkok, Jake is in New York and Julie is in Berlin, this app will easily and quickly let you create a visual of when the best time overlap would be for all 4 of you to jump on a call together. See screenshot example below.

The free plan lets you overlap 4 timezones. If you need to add more, then you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan. World Time Buddy is also available as iOS and Android mobile apps.

Ready to try World Time Buddy?

I use this app multiple times a month and the free version gives me everything I need. Give it a try, the free web version can be used without signing up or creating an account.

Slack — Online Text, Audio & Video Communication

Slack has been around since 2009 and has become synonymous with online team communication and collaboration. In order to eliminate back and forth emailing, Slack lets you keep all team communication in one single app. Slack can be used via a desktop app, a web app or mobile app. 

You can create different channels within your team’s Slack account and grouping conversations within threads is a great way to keep your channels and conversations organised. You can tag people in messages, so that your message shows up in their latest threads feed and you can integrate Slack with many other apps including Zapier, Asana, Dropbox and Google Apps.

You can start with a free account, but depending on how many team members you have and how many messages your team will be sending, you may need to upgrade to a premium account.

A feature that was not always part of Slack, but that has in the mean time been added is in-app audio and video calls. Using this feature in Slack users can host calls right within the app, which can at times be very useful.

Slack also makes it simple to share files within threads. This is great for sharing all types of media files, assuming they are not too large. For larger files I prefer hosting them on Dropbox and sharing a Dropbox link.

If you drowning in back and forth emails between team members, then give Slack a try. It will quite possibly revolutionise your online team communication.

Ready to try Slack?

The free plan lets you use majority of the features and is ideal for a small team. You can upgrade if and when you need additional premium features. 

GMail (as part of Google’s GSuite) — Email Mailboxes

This one might be obvious, but I’ll include it anyway. Email is a tried and trusted format for online communication mostly when dealing with customers, prospects and possibly team members.  I’ve personally found that the more email I can eliminate, the more time I save and the more effectively I work, however there is definitely a place for email. 

Having a reliable email service provider is key in making sure that your mailboxes function as intended. I generally use and recommend using GMail, which is part of Google’s GSuite. For $5 per user per month, you can access all Google’s premium business tools including GMail, Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Admin Security and Administration Controls and 24/7 Support. GSuite’s GMail also lets you setup your email addresses using your own domain. 

Using Google’s free GMail can be fine if you’re just getting started or if you need a non-business or personal email address, however if you’re setting up mailboxes for a business, then I highly recommend paying for Google’s GSuite package, mostly because you can setup your emails @yourdomain.com and you have the Admin Security and Administration Controls, which you can use to manage all your team members accounts.

Google Docs, Sheets & Slides (as part of Google’s GSuite)

Like GMail, Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides can be used as part of a free Google account, but they are also part of the Google’s GSuite app collection. 

Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides are great for planning and collaborating on written documents, spreadsheets, and slide decks in real time. It’s easy to create a new Google Doc, Google Sheet or Google Slides deck and share it either with your entire organisation or with individual team members or anyone else (assuming they have a Google account).

Google Docs let you use a feature called “Suggested Edits”. While in this mode, you can edit the document and it automatically adds in the suggested changes without in fact editing the document. This makes it very simple for another team member to review and approve or disapprove the suggested changes.

Another feature that is very useful is the commenting feature in Google Docs. If and when needed you can highlight a section of the document and add a comment for someone else on your team. This is a great way of communicating and discussing a document right within the document. 

One other great use case for Google Docs, Google Sheets or Google Slides is creating a view only template that other team members or anyone else you share the link with can access and easily duplicate, which lets them make their own copy to use. When someone makes a copy of a Google Doc, Google Sheet or Google Slide deck then that new Doc, Sheet or Slide deck is saved to their own Google Drive.

Google Drive is the virtual storage unit that holds all your Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides.

​Google Calendar (as part of Google’s GSuite) — Event Scheduling

Google Calendar is one of many options when it comes to digital calendars, but it’s my preferred option, as it integrates well with most calendar apps including the Apple Calendar apps on my Mac and iPhone, as well as a calendar app I use called Fantastical. 

Google Calendar lets you create various different calendars and the best feature is the ability to send and receive event invites, which participants can easily RSVP to. 

I personally use Google Calendar with my native calendar app on my Macbook. For that to work it’s important to configure Google Calendar within Account settings on the Macbook. Once that has been setup correctly, then the calendar will remain in sync, assuming you have a reliable internet connection.

To schedule a new event, I create the new event in my calendar app on my Mac and I can easily add other participants in the “Add Invitees” field. The thing to keep in mind when adding invitees, is to add the email address the other participants use with their Google Calendar (assuming they are using Google Calendar). If they don’t use Google Calendar, then this feature does not work. 

Assuming my invitees are also using Google Calendar, I can send out invites to them automatically by adding their email addresses to the event in my calendar. The invitees will then see the event show up in their calendars and they will also get a notification email. From within their calendar they can then RSVP by selecting either “Attending”, “Not Attending” or “Maybe Attending”. This status will then show up within my calendar, which is a great way for me to see who will be attending and who can’t make it.

Ready to try GSuite?

At $5 per month per user your team members get access to all GSuite Apps and you get Admin Security and Administration Controls, as well as 24/7 Support.

Dropbox — Cloud File Storage, Sharing & Collaboration

Dropbox has been around since 2007 and is without a doubt my favourite cloud storage app when it comes to sharing and collaborating on media files. Email files back and forth or using free media sharing platforms can work, but usually ends up becoming frustrating and does not end up being the best long term solution for a remote team.

You can setup Dropbox with sync to your local machine, you can share folders and files with other team members and by using a feature called selective sync, lets you select the folders that you don’t want to sync to your local device, which is crucial when working larger files and helps with not filling up the storage on your desktop or laptop.

Another great feature is that you can create a publicly accessible link if you’d like to let anybody with the specific link download a specific file in your Dropbox. This is useful, because the user accessing the file via this option does not need to have a Dropbox account.

Ready to try Dropbox?

Dropbox offers a Basic forever free plan, which gives you 2GB of cloud storage. The next plan up costs $9.99 per month and gives you 2TB of cloud storage. 

1Password — Secure Password Management

1Password claims to be “The world’s most-loved password manager” and I strongly agree with that claim. I certainly love this app and highly recommend it to anybody that wants to safely manage all their passwords and sensitive information in one secure digital vault.

The way this app works is that you save all your passwords and sensitive information in the 1Password app and you use one single master password to access your 1Password app. This means you only need to remember a single password, which protects all your other passwords. It is of course paramount that you use a strong master password and that you keep that safely in your head.

I’ve been using 1Password since 2011 and have never tried any other password managers, because this app is without a doubt the best option. They combine great app design with the utmost attention to keeping your sensitive information secure. 

1Password has apps for MacOS, Windows, iOS, iPad OS, Android & even Apple’s WatchOS. And on top of that they offer browser extensions that let you easily and securely automatically populate your username and passwords into login forms to speed up the login process without compromising your security. I use the 1Password browser extension every single day and it has saved me thousands of hours. 

1Password offers a free trial for all their accounts. When paid annually their paid plans starts at just $2.99 per month for an individual, $4.99 per month for a family, $3.99 per month per user for a remote team and $7.99 per month per user for their more advanced business team plan. This is a small price to pay to get access to all 1Password apps, as well as secure cloud syncing and backups. 

Having all my passwords in 1Password gives me peace of mind knowing that my sensitive information is encrypted and safely backed up.

I highly recommend using 1Password to safely save, manage and backup your passwords. Give it a try and trust me, you won’t regret this.

Ready to try 1Password?

1Password offers a free trial on all their accounts. When paid annually their plans starts at just $2.99 per month for an individual. This is a small price to pay for security and peace of mind.

Help Scout — Online Customer Support Help Desk

If providing customer support via email and live chat is part of your business, then Help Scout is a great help desk platform to use by yourself or as a team. 

Help Scout lets you manage and respond to all your support emails from one centralised virtual help desk. You can configure your support email address to forward all emails into your Help Scout Mailbox from which you or any of your team members can respond to them.

Managing and replying to all your support emails from a centralised system can be advantageous in many ways. In Help Scout you can mark support tickets as active or closed, you can tag them with custom tags, leave internal notes and assign them to specific team members. It’s ideal for keeping everything organised and having multiple team members answering support tickets.  

Help Scout also lets you create saved replies within your mailbox, which is a great way of creating template email replies which get used over and over again. With a click of a button you can search and find the saved reply you’d like to use and have it automatically populate into your response to the customer.    

Another great feature that Help Scout offers is the option of creating a Knowledge Base site, which they call a Docs site. On this separate site you can easily create, categorise, manage and publicly share answers to frequently asked questions or create support articles that you can reference to whenever you reply to a support ticket.

Ready to try Help Scout?

Help Scout plans range from $10, $20 and $30 per month per user depending on which plan you sign up for and how many features you require. They also offer a 14 day free trial.

Asana — Project & Task Management 

Whether you need to keep track of projects and tasks for yourself or for an entire team, Asana is a great solution. Asana is a full featured online project and task management application. 

In Asana you can create projects, break those projects down into sections and then add tasks and sub tasks. You can then add a due date to each task and assign it to a specific team member within the app. If needed, you can also use Asana for internal communication when discussing projects and tasks. 

Each project can be viewed as a list, as a Kanban board, a timeline or calendar. Each view has it’s own benefits. I especially enjoy using the timeline to plan out projects and their corresponding milestones. 

When managing multiple team members in Asana, each team member has their own task list showing them a list of all tasks that have been assigned to them. This list can be sorted by due date and you can choose to show all tasks, completed tasks or incomplete tasks. When a task or sub-task has been completed, then it can be marked as completed. When tasks run over their due date, then that due date shows up in red. 

Asana includes many other features like adding file attachments to tasks and projects, an advanced search feature to list only tasks based on specific search criteria and using reports to better understand how your team is performing. 

Asana is great for planning, managing and completing projects on time in a easy to use online app.

Ready to try Asana?

Asana offers a forever free plan that gives you access to their essential features and gives you the opportunity to see if this app is worth adding to your workflow.

Airtable — Online Databases, Forms & Data Management

Airtable is a relational cloud based database app. It’s like a spreadsheet with super powers. 

In Airtable you can create tables made up any selection of customisable fields. Some of the many field types that you can select from include single text, long text, single select, multiple select, number, date, checkbox, file attachment, URL, currency, percentage, or duration.

You can also create formula fields that let you create a customised formula to display whatever you need. This could be a calculation, a string of text or an if statement.  

Within a table you can then create different views of your data. Each view can be setup differently and any given table can have as many views as you need. In one view you could for example filter down and only display records that have a specific value or selection in a specified field or you could filter down and only display records that have a value that is greater than 100 in a specific numeric field. The options are endless for how you can capture, manage and view your data within this app. 

Airtable also lets you create a customised forms that let users submit data directly into your database. If for example you are accepting applications, you could embed an Airtable form on your site and have users submit their application straight into your database. From there you can create a Kanban view and using the status field, you can drag records from one application stage to the next, and then you can create a gallery view showing your short list of applicants.

You can use Airtable for internal systems like a custom CRM system, manage a sales process, capture and process orders or setup a content publishing calendar. Using this app, you can create whatever you need if there is not an existing solution out there or if you don’t want to invest in more expensive premium software.

This easy to use and powerful cloud based application is a great solution for online databases.

Ready to try Airtable?

Airtable offers a forever free plan that gives you access to their essential features and gives you the opportunity to see if this app is worth adding to your workflow.

In Conclusion

There are a ton of apps, tools and platforms out there that can help us achieve many different outcomes. Before signing up for anything new, make sure that you have a genuine need and that you and your team will learn how to best use that app.

In one of my other blog posts "The Truth About Tools, Apps, Courses And Marketing Software" I explain that it's important having the right tool to help you achieve your desired outcome, but the tool itself won't do the work for you. You and your team still need the know-how and system to effectively integrate a new tool into your existing workflow to be able to use it efficiently.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it. If you have any feedback or questions feel free to leave a comment below. I'll do my best to get back to you.

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My Daily Writing Workflow: 5 Apps That Make Writing Simple & Effective

Whether you’re working on a new blog post, sales page, email sequence, online course or video series, the creative process generally starts with writing down your ideas and turning those ideas into a rough draft. You then take your draft and refine it down into a final version.

In this post I’d like to list and explain the 5 apps that I use in my writing workflow that has helped me develop a daily writing habit. My desired outcome for implementing this new habit is to publish a new blog post and a new YouTube video every week, that provides value to those looking for inspiration and advice on how to create a simple and repeatable process for creating valuable content. 

Before I get trapped in a “meta-vortex” as I write a blog post about writing, let me get on with explaining my workflow. 

1. Notes for iPhone & Mac

First on my list is an app that comes natively installed on all iPhones and syncs across your Apple devices using your free iCloud account, assuming you’re an Apple user. If you don’t use an iPhone, then I’m sure your phone has a similar note taking or writing app that you can use instead.

For me my Notes app on my iPhone is the perfect app for easily and quickly capturing ideas and writing when I’m not at my desk in front of my MacBook. I might be in bed, on the balcony or in the car somewhere, if an idea worth capturing comes to mind then I use notes to capture my thoughts.

Whatever I write in my Notes app then automatically syncs across to my notes app on my MacBook. So when I get to my desk it’s easy to continue from where I left off and it’s simple to copy my ideas from the Notes app on my MacBook to a document in Dropbox Paper, which leads me to the next app in my workflow.

2. Paper from Dropbox

Over the years I’ve used many different word processing apps including Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, Google Docs, Day One and Textwrangler to mention a few. 

In 2015, Dropbox launched a new major feature called Paper. Similar to Google Docs, Paper is a cloud based word processing app. The only difference is that paper is a simple, beautiful and minimalist writing app that is built right into your Dropbox account.  

After trying it for a while, then switching back to other options, I recently decided to go all in on Dropbox Paper as my main cloud based writing app. I still use Google Docs and Pages when needed, but for all my personal and professional writing, I rely solely on Dropbox Paper.

The simple user experience and the minimal formatting options keep distractions to a minimum and let me focus on my writing. I recently started a 500 words per day writing challenge and writing in Paper has helped me create this new daily writing habit.

Paper also offers mobile apps for iOS & Android. The mobile app is worth downloading if you want the option of viewing and editing your Paper Docs from your mobile device. On occasion I use the Paper app on my iPhone, which generally works really well.

After creating a new Paper Doc, I immediately copy the link and paste it into my content production plan in Airtable, which leads me to the next app in my writing workflow.

3. Airtable for Tracking Progress

Airtable is a cloud-based relational database app that looks and feels similar to a spreadsheet with super powers. You could of course simply use a spreadsheet to track your content creation progress, but I personally love using Airtable.

With Airtable I can customise the table (in Airtable it’s called a base) to include fields/columns for Title, Content Type, Status, Paper Doc URL, Word Count, Featured Image Attachment, Scheduled Publishing Date, Published URL, etc.

And then I can group my records by ‘Status’ and sort them by ‘Scheduled Publishing Date’. As I work on articles, I can easily update the status from ‘Idea’ to ‘Draft in Paper’ to ‘Ready to Edit’ to ‘Published’.

I can also create a seperate view in Airtable that shows me my content calendar grouped my ‘Month’ and sorted by ‘Scheduled Publishing Date’, so I can see which items have been published and which items I need to work on next to meet my deadlines.

Besides tracking my content creation process in Airtable, I also track the amount of words I write every day in a shared Google Sheet which takes me to my next app in my workflow.

4. Google Sheet for Tracking KPIs

Together with my accountability and mastermind partner, I use a shared Google Sheet to track our daily key performance indicators (KPIs), of which one for me is capturing the amount of words I’ve written every day - with my goal being 500 words per day.

From being part of various masterminds and online challenges, I’ve realised that a simple shared Google Sheet is a great way of tracking daily progress for a group of 2 or more. Using a spreadsheet like this creates a healthy dose of competition, accountability and gamification.

To create a Google sheet like this, you simply list out the dates in the first column. I grey out the weekends, so the list is naturally divided into weeks. In the next columns you enter your daily goal. For me this goal currently is set to writing 500 words per day and publishing a new blog post and video every Tuesday.

This Google Sheet is a powerful one pager that lets me track my progress and keeps me accountable to hit my daily KPIs. Make sure to bookmark your Google Sheet for quick access.

The last step of my workflow is not directly linked to writing and is therefore optional. This step does however help me stay motivated and accountable.

5. WhatsApp for Messaging My Accountability Partner

Being part of a mastermind group or having an accountability partner is not essential, but it can be a great way of being supported and supporting others in an effort to develop a new habit or reach specific goals. 

I have an accountability partner from my mastermind group that I communicate with via WhatsApp. We don’t necessarily message each other daily, but we share wins and challenges if and when appropriate. It’s a great way of staying in touch and holding one another accountable, which is why I recommend this and have included it as part of this workflow.

In Conclusion

Like many other skills, writing is like a muscle … the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. Creating a simple and repeatable workflow for writing has helped me strip away any complexities and excuses and has helped me write more in less time. 

If you’re just getting started, then start by writing just a few paragraphs every day. Make it so simple that it’s impossible to fail. Once you’re ready to level up, you can challenge yourself to writing 500 words per day and then eventually 1000 words per day.

By writing at least 500 words per day, I’ve managed to write a total of 16 516 words over the past 36 days. And I know for a fact that my simple workflow has made it fun and effective..

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it. If you have any feedback or questions feel free to leave a comment below. I'll do my best to get back to you.

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The Truth About Tools, Apps, Courses And Marketing Software

In this article the term tool can also refer to an app, a product, a course or a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform.

Using the right tool for the task is an essential part of creating a desired outcome. And having the right tool makes all the difference from wanting to achieve an outcome and actually making it a reality.

The tool itself will not achieve the desired outcome alone. The combination of the best tools and the know-how and skill of using those tools will result in achieving your desired outcome.

This applies to everything in life. A great example would be golf. You can spend thousands of dollars buying the best golf clubs money can buy, but without mastering your technique (i.e. your swing) and knowing how to best use these golf clubs, you won't become a better or pro golfer.

For centuries marketers have advertised products by linking them to a desired outcome, which tends to work really well ... this could be a desired emotion, behaviour, lifestyle or feeling. 

For example the commercial for the Apple Watch Series 2 (see video below) includes footage of swimming, surfing and other appealing outdoor activities. The ad showcases a desired lifestyle that many want to experience, however the Apple Watch itself will not help you swim or surf more often, it merely offers features like tracking your strokes, playing music or displaying the time.

To experience an active lifestyle the user needs motivation and discipline to get out and live an active life. Adding an Apple Watch may enhance that experience. The watch might motivate you to move more, but it won't move for you.

A gym membership is another great example. Every year thousands of ambitious individuals invest in a gym membership, but fail to regularly go to the gym. The membership will give you access to the best equipment and environment, but it won't work out for you.

In his book The War of Art, Steven Pressfield calls the force that holds you back from achieving your goals and dreams "the resistance". To make things happen, you need to overcome the resistance. And a shiny new tool, app, platform or membership won't do the work for you and won't overcome the resistance on your behalf — that will be up to you.

Another thing to keep in mind is that having access to the tool itself won't help you know how to best use it. More importantly than having access to the right tool is having the know how and experience of how to use it to get the desired results.

Another example, that may be more applicable to online marketing and business, is email marketing platforms. Many eager business owners purchase access to one of many available email marketing apps (like ConvertKit) paying every month, but they struggle to or outright fail to make use of them. 

Don't make the common mistake of buying a new product, app, service or course with the subconscious belief that the the purchase alone will solve your problem.

Make sure to actually use whatever it is you have purchased and gain the knowledge and guidance you need to succeed.

Key Takeaways

  • Identify and use the most effective tool to achieve your desired outcome.
  • Understand that the tool itself won't create your desired outcome.
  • Adding more tools to your toolbox alone won't make you or your team more effective.
  • You (or a team member) will need to have the know-how, skills and time to effectively use the tool.
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    The 5 Types of Website Traffic & How To Leverage Them

    In this post I’d like to explain the different types of traffic sources as well as provide ideas for increasing your traffic from each of these sources.

    1. Direct Traffic

    Direct traffic includes a visit of a user that types your website URL directly into their browser or clicks through to your website from a bookmark that they’ve added to their browser.

    Direct traffic would account for someone seeing your website URL on a business card, a poster or flyer or hearing about it by word of mouth and then typing it into their browser. 

    In Google Analytics, direct traffic has a medium of “none”.

    How to increase direct traffic?

    If and where appropriate, add your website URL to any physical promotional material including business cards, posters, flyers, brochures, and signs. 

    2. Email Traffic

    Email traffic includes a visit when a user clicks through to your website from a link in an email that you or someone else has sent out. 

    If you have an email list that you regularly email and in your emails you link back to your website, then this will lead to an increase in email traffic.

    In Google Analytics, email traffic has a medium of “email”.

    How to increase email traffic?

    Create an email list and regularly send out emails that link back to content and sales pages on your own website.

    Click the link below to watch my free comprehensive video tutorial on how to use ConvertKit for your email marketing. 

    3. Organic Search Traffic

    Organic search traffic includes traffic that is directed to your site from organic search results on a search engines’ search results page. 

    If, for example, a user searches for something on Google.com and then clicks through to an organic search result, then this would count as organic search traffic.

    In Google Analytics, organic search traffic has a medium of “organic”.

    How to increase organic search traffic?

    Regularly publish content that gets indexed by search engines and that ranks well on search engine results pages. Make sure that your website and the content on your website has been optimised for search engines.

    4. Referral Traffic

    Referral traffic includes traffic that is directed to your site from some other site. These other sites include social media networks and all other websites online, excluding search engines.

    In Google Analytics, referral traffic has a medium of “referral”.

    4.1 Referral Traffic — Social Media

    When we talk about referral traffic from social media websites, we are referring to traffic from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube & Pinterest, excluding any traffic generated by ads running on these networks. Traffic generated from ads on social media would fall under paid media traffic.

    How to increase this referral traffic from social media sites?

    Regularly share valuable content to social media sites on which you have a strong presence and remember to link back to your website if and when appropriate.

    4.2 Referral Traffic — Other Websites

    When we talk about referral traffic from other websites, then these could be any other websites online other than social media websites. 

    So for example if a news site mentions your business or brand in a news article and links out to your website, then any traffic that comes to your site via that link will be referral traffic from that specific site.

    Or if you run a local tourist attraction and a destination specific travel blog mentions your brand or business in one of their blog posts and links out to your site, then any traffic that comes to your site via that link will be referral traffic from that specific site.

    How to increase this referral traffic from other websites?

    Getting mentioned on websites that are owned by others can occur organically or it can be formally arranged. A link from someone else’s website is like an endorsement or recommendation. If you build up a reputation for the work that you do, then you will most likely be mentioned on various websites online. 

    You can however also take a more active strategic approach, which is referred to as link building. You could submit your business or website to local directories and submit articles to other larger online publications that will publish your content which usually includes a link back to your website. This is commonly referred to as guest posting.

    5. Paid Traffic — PPC/Paid Search

    Paid media traffic includes traffic from paid advertising on platforms including Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. Anybody with an advertising budget can start running ads on these platforms and can pay to drive traffic to their desired landing pages, which can be a specific offer, a specific piece of content or a simple contact form. 

    In Google Analytics, paid media or paid search traffic has a medium of “cpc”, which stands for cost per click.

    How to increase paid search traffic?

    Increasing the amount of ads you’re running and increasing your ad spend will generally result in more paid media traffic, assuming your ads are enticing enough to get user to click through to your specific landing page. 

    In Conclusion

    The 5 sources of website traffic are direct traffic, email traffic, organic search traffic, referral traffic and paid traffic. 

    You can strategically invest time and money into increasing each of these traffic sources.

    1. Direct traffic requires word of mouth and a strong physical brand presence. 

    2. Email traffic requires you to grow your own email list and to frequently email your list promoting new content and/or offers. 

    3. Organic search traffic requires your content to rank well in search engines and in order for that happen you’ll need to invest in content marketing (i.e. regularly publish new and valuable content).

    4. Referral traffic will require a strong online brand presence, which can be developed through content marketing (publishing valuable content that other websites link to) or through strategic link building and guest posting.

    5. Paid traffic will require an advertising budget, advertising account management and ad creative in form of images, videos and text. You will also need to have a landing page to link to from your ad. You can place ads on Google Ads, Facebook Ads, YouTube Ads, LinkedIn Ads or on various other networks. If you can develop a profitable advertising strategy, then paid media is the best way to scale your business online. But if you don’t have product-market fit or your advertising strategy is not generating a profit, then it’s a quick way to burn money.

    What to focus on based on where you're at:

    If you are just starting out and have a fairly unknown brand and website, then organic search traffic, referral traffic and email traffic would be your best sources of traffic to start with.

    If you have an established brand that is well known with existing product-market fit, then paid traffic is a great option for expanding your brand and your income online. 

    Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please click the heart below this paragraph. If you have any feedback or questions feel free to leave a comment below and I'll do my best to get back to you.

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    8 Key Business Growth Metrics To Track

    To grow your business, you need to know your numbers! 

    At times it’s easy to focus on vanity metrics. These are those numbers that look impressive and appealing, but don’t directly contribute to the revenue, profit, growth and efficiency of your business.

    In this short list I will share with you 8 key metrics to focus on and I’ll compare them to similar metrics that are less important.

    1. Profit vs Revenue

    Revenue is the more appealing figure to quote when discussing the financial performance of your business. The truth is that there are companies that generate massive amounts of revenue, but they fail to make a profit. 

    • Profit = Revenue - Expenses
    • Profit Margin % = Total Profit / Total Revenue

    Focus on measuring and increasing the total profit and profit margin percentage to grow your business.

    You can do this by increasing revenue while keeping expenses constant or decreasing expenses while keeping revenue constant, or both.

    2. Paying Customers vs Likes or Followers

    The most quoted vanity metric in online marketing is likes, followers and fans. These figures paint a picture of how well your brand is performing online, but they don’t directly generate income. Paying customers, on the other hand, generate the revenue and profit. 

    Focus on sales to increase your amount of paying customers, as well as your customer retention rate. Increasing these will increase your revenue and profit, and ultimately help you grow your business.

    3. Engaged Subscribers vs Subscribers

    When it comes to email marketing, having a smaller engaged list of subscribers is more valuable than having a massive list of disengaged (or cold) subscribers. More engaged subscribers will open your emails, click your links and buy your products and services. 

    Keep track of and improve your engagement metrics (email open rates and click-through rates), and regularly purge your list by removing cold subscribers.

    4. Opt Ins/Leads vs Traffic

    Traffic is the lifeblood of online marketing success. We all need traffic to our web properties in order to get our message in front of our target audience, however what’s more interesting is the opt in rate. In other words, the total number and percentage of users that opt into your list (sign up for a free lead magnet or add themselves to your notification list) and become a lead. 

    Focus on providing valuable content to increase your opt in rate. Your main goal is increasing the number of leads that join your email list and enter your marketing funnel.

    5. Champion Customers vs Ordinary Customers

    As mentioned above, it’s crucial to focus on the total number of paying customers your business serves. You can however take this one step further and focus on those extraordinary customers that:

    1. Rave about and recommend your business to family and friends — i.e. Brand Ambassadors
    2. Make up a large portion of your revenue — i.e. High Value Customers
    3. Send you high value referrals — i.e. Affiliate Partners or Strategic Partners

    Figure out how you can convert more ordinary customers into champion customers and make sure to communicate your appreciation to your existing champion customers.

    6. Recurring Purchases vs Once-Off Purchases

    While focusing on attracting new customers, don’t neglect and underestimate the potential value of your existing customers. Instead of focusing on once-off deals, shift your attention to creating more value that you can sell as a recurring purchase or an additional purchase. 

    On average it costs less to sell more to an existing customer than to acquire a new customer. And recurring purchases, like subscriptions, increase your monthly recurring revenue (MRR), which is more predictable and lead to more business growth. 

    Consider offering your customers a subscription or membership or a monthly, quarterly or annual payment plan in exchange for an ongoing product or service package that adds value.

    7. Engagement vs Views

    When it comes to online content the most appealing metric is usually subscribers and views. What’s more interesting is looking at user engagement. How many viewers or readers are taking the next step and engaging with your content — for example leaving a comment or asking a question?

    Encourage engagement and interaction to gather feedback from your audience. This will help you better understand your audiences' challenges, so you can refine your products and services to better meet their needs and market to them using the language that resonates with them.

    8. Testimonials vs Compliments

    It’s easy for friends, family members and even customers to compliment your business. What’s far more interesting is focusing on individual customer success stories, case studies and testimonials.  

    Source and document customer testimonials, case studies and success stories and use them as part of your marketing material.

    Document how a specific customer has benefited from using your service and/or product and how your business has helped them experience a transformation. Written testimonials are great, but video testimonials can be even more effective. 

    Bonus Metric: Customer Lifetime Value

    Customer Lifetime Value (CLV, CLTV, LCV or LTV) is a prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer. 

    CLV = (Ave. Monthly Revenue per Customer * Gross Margin per Customer) ÷ Monthly Churn Rate
    For example: ($100 average monthly spend * 25% margin) ÷ 5% monthly customer churn = $500 CLV

    Calculating your estimated CLV will help decide how much you can afford to spend on acquiring a new customer. 

    For example: If your CLV is $500, then you can spend up to $499 to acquire a new customer, while still making $1 in profit. If your CLV is $5000, then you can spend a lot more to acquire a new customer.

    In Summary

    1. Track your revenue and profit and maximise your profit margin.
    2. Focus on sales to increase paying customers.
    3. Track and increase your email engagement, as engaged customers are customers that purchase.
    4. Track and increase your opt ins to get more leads into your marketing funnel.
    5. Convert more ordinary customers into loyal champion customers and brand ambassadors.
    6. If possible, increase recurring revenue by offering a subscription or payment plan.
    7. Increase your user engagement to learn more about your audience.
    8. Capture testimonials, success stories and case studies and use them in your marketing material.
    9. Track and increase customer lifetime value.

    I hope you found this list useful. If you have any feedback or questions, feel free to leave a comment below or contact me via our contact page.

    15 ConvertKit Email Marketing Tips

    In this post I’ll be sharing 15 of my best recommendations. These are tips, tricks, best practices and strategies that you can apply to your email marketing using ConvertKit. So let’s get started.

    New to ConvertKit?

    Sign up for your forever free ConvertKit account to manage up to 1000 subscribers, get unlimited landing pages, email broadcasts and subscriber tagging.

    Get everything you need to get started on the right foot to implementing an effective email marketing strategy.

    1. Remember that your subscribers are people just like you and me

    Whether you send them down a funnel of opt ins and thank you pages, with up sells or whether you send them a broadcast email. Always remember that you are speaking with a person with dreams, hopes and challenges. Write to them accordingly.

    2. Respect Your Subscribers

    Always remember that by reading any one of your emails your subscriber is taking time to pay attention to what you have to say. Respect that commitment and share value — help them solve their challenge. Also always give them an option to opt out of your sequence or unsubscribe from your list.

    3. Make Use of the Resend to Un-Opens Feature

    ConvertKit has a very powerful feature which is really easy to use. The “Resend To Un-Opens” function, let’s you resend an email broadcast to those subscribers that have not opened your email. When using this, I strongly recommend making some slight changes to the subject and the body of the email. Avoid sending out the exact same email.

    You can find the "Resend to unopens" option on the report page of a Broadcast that's been sent.

    4. Track Your Numbers

    ConvertKit provides a bunch of metrics that we can use to better understand how our emails are performing. 

  • Email Broadcasts:  Recipients, Open Rate, Click Rate, Clicks & Unsubscribes 
  • Sequences: Subscribers, Open Rate, Click Rate & Unsubscribes 
  • Forms: Visitors, Subscribers & Conversions
  • Track these numbers. They will give you the insight to understand what’s working and what isn’t working. What’s resonating with your subscribers and what they don’t care much about.

    You can stats for your email broadcasts on the All Broadcasts page.

    5. Get To Know Your Subscribers Using Tags

    Every time we send our subscribers an email we have an opportunity to learn something about them and tag them accordingly. But the thing is, we need to build this into our emails.

    Whenever you include a link in an email, make sure to tag the user if they click this link. Don’t overdo this, but tags are there to add additional information about each one of your subscribers. 

    Make use of tags to better understand each subscriber.

    You can view and edit your tags on the right sidebar on your Subscribers page.

    6. Use A Descriptive Tag Naming Scheme

    When setting up your tags in your account use some naming convention that makes sense and document the process so you can share it with your team or with whoever needs to understand it.

    You might use LM: Descriptive Name, Purchased: Name of Product, AS: Name of Sequence, etc. 

    Just keep it standard and keep a record of these names in your own internal documentation.

    7. Use Trigger Links To Save Time & Avoid Errors

    When including a link in an email you can either set this up in the email or you can create a trigger link as a Rule under Automations. If you’ll be using this same exact link and associated tag in multiple emails, then set this up as a Trigger Link under Rules. 

    It will save you time in applying this inside of emails and you’ll avoid making mistakes. Also if the link changes, you’ll be able to change it in one location and it will automatically update in all emails where you’ve made use of that specific trigger link. 

    8. Use Sequences & Automations

    What makes ConvertKit so powerful is sequences and automations. 

    In ConvertKit you can setup sequences and automations that will run based on events and triggers. This might be a simple onboarding sequence that you send to subscribers after they’ve signed up or it may be a more complex automation of a purchase funnel.

    9. Broadcasts vs Sequences

    Broadcasts are time specific and sequences are event specific. If you need to send an email at a specific time, send it or schedule it as a broadcast. 

    If the email needs to be sent out after a specific event has happened (for example an opt in, or a purchase), then set it up as a sequence.

    I often see people get confused with these two. Understand them and use them accordingly.

    10. Exclude Subscribers From Irrelevant Emails

    Make sure to exclude subscribers from broadcasts and sequences that are irrelevant to them. The best example is sending a buyer the remaining emails that are inside a sales sequence. As soon as someone becomes a buyer, they should no longer receive emails promoting the product they’ve purchased. 

    You do this by always tagging a subscriber when they make a purchase. This will depend on what system you are using. I’ve used this with SendOwl and WishList Member and it will work with all the other eCommerce integrations that ConvertKit offers.

    Assuming you tag buyers with a purchase tag. Then when setting up a Sequence, you can add that tag to the Exclusions field. That means that any subscriber that is tagged with that tag, won’t receive future emails in that sequence.

    It’s simple enough, but unless it’s setup and configured, buyers might still be getting sales emails, which is what you want to avoid.

    You can exclude subscribers that have been tagged with a specific tag when compiling a new broadcast.

    11. Automations Are Powerful 

    I’ve setup an email course in ConvertKit for a client that takes into account engagement. When a subscriber opts in for the email course, they immediately receive lesson 1, but what happens next depends on their engagement. 

    A: if the user clicks the link in the lesson 1, then they will receive the next lesson 24 hrs later.
    B: if the user does not click the link, then they will only receive the next lesson 72 hrs later.

    The idea is to reward a user for engagement by sending them the next lesson sooner.

    12. Make Use of ConvertKit Integrations

    I’ve used ConvertKit with many other apps including Thrive Leads, SendOwl, WishList Member, and Gravity Forms to just name a few. There are loads of integrations and what you will want to integrate with, will depend on your specific setup. 

    Just keep in mind that the functionality of ConvertKit can be expanded tremendously using integrations.

    13. Cleaning Your List

    Our main aim is obviosuly to build a list, but we want a quality list. A quality list has a high level of engagement, so high open rates and click rates. We don’t want subscribers that have gone cold on us. So, there is a simple way of deleting these subscribers to increase the quality of your list.

    ConvertKit has a page explaining this process, which is fairly straightforward.

    1. Select all your cold subscribers
    2. Tag all your cold subscribers with something like “Cold Subscribers”
    3. Create an automation rule — link to a page that says “Thank You, You’re Still On The List”, and when a subscriber clicks that link, the “Cold Subscribers” tag is removed.
    4. Send A Breakup Email
    5. Re-Send The Email using the “Send to Un-Opens” function
    6. Wait 7 - 14 days
    7. Delete everyone that’s still tagged as a “Cold Subscriber” — these are the people that did not click the link in the email to remain on your list.

    14. Use Segments To Group Subscribers

    Make sure to use the segments feature to group subscribers. This can be very useful when it comes to including or excluding subscribers from future email broadcasts or sequences. 

    Using Segments is a great way of better organizing your subscribers into groups or buckets and it will definitely save you time and avoid any errors.

    You can for example create a segment of subscribers that have been tagged with multiple tags.

    15. Important Things To Remember & Consider…

    … when setting up sequences and automations.

  • A subscriber can online go through a sequence once
  • A subscriber cannot go backwards in an automation or a sequence
  • All automations come to an end, but you can create a loop
  • Subscribers can’t be in multiple branches of an automation
  • Subscribers can be in multiple workflows/automations
  • Keep those in mind when planning and developing your sequences and automations inside of ConvertKit, because I know from my experience that it can get complicated and confusing.

    Bonus Tip

    Keep it simple and build things up over time and enjoy the power and simplicity that ConvertKit offers you. Wishing you all the best for using ConvertKit to manage your email marketing. 

    I am always working on improving and expanding my content so that it provides the most value. Let me know if you found this useful and if you have any other questions — I’m happy to answer.

    New to ConvertKit?

    Sign up for your forever free ConvertKit account to manage up to 1000 subscribers, get unlimited landing pages, email broadcasts and subscriber tagging.

    Get everything you need to get started on the right foot to implementing an effective email marketing strategy.

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    Weekly insights & the latest content straight to your inbox. 

    2

    10 Proven Online Business Models with Real World Examples

    In this post I'll explain the 10 proven business models that will let you create and grow a successful online business that generates online income. 

    One of the most common mistakes new entrepreneurs make is they jump into a business idea and start executing without understanding and clearly defining their business model. 

    Make sure to understand the different business models and focus on the one that best aligns with your skillset, experience, goals and aspirations. 

    Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

    1. Selling digital services — freelancing or creating an agency

    This option entails providing digital services to a client in exchange for a set project fee, an hourly rate or a recurring monthly retainer.

    Example: MashMetrics is an agency that offers Web Analytics services — mashmetrics.com

    Becoming a freelance digital service provider has the lowest barriers to entry with the highest short term earning potential. If you have marketable skills that others are willing to hire you for, then you can in a short space of time find a handful of projects or clients and generate an online income. 

    The rate that you will be able to charge depends on your ability, your experience and your past success stories. What can you offer a potential client, what can you help them achieve or achieve on their behalf and what success stories do you have under your belt that will convince clients that you are the right service provider to work with.

    Example: UpWork is a market place that matches freelancers with rewarding projects — UpWork.com

    Any area of expertise that can be delivered digitally and worked on remotely can be sold as a digital service. These can include, but are not limited to:

    • Web Development
    • Copywriting
    • Graphic Design
    • Video Editing
    • Social Media Management
    • Paid Media Management
    • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    • Customer Support
    • Conversion Optimization
    • Lead Generation
    • etc.

    It’s fairly easy to start freelancing, but as a freelancer your income is capped by the total number of hours you can work per month or by the number of clients that you can service at any given moment. Also keep in mind that your income potential and potential for being hired is directly proportionate with your skill level, your experience and how competitive the market is for what you are offering. 

    If your goal is to earn more and take on more clients than you can handle yourself, then you will need to start hiring contractors and/or employees to build a team. By expanding your freelance business will grow into an agency. Building a digital agency comes with it’s own set of challenges and opportunities, and can be very lucrative in the long run if done correctly.

    You can find many freelancers on UpWork and Fiverr. And here is a list of top 100 agencies.

    2. Selling digital consulting, coaching or training services

    This option entails providing strategic advice and support to an individual or a company via online video calls or sessions.

    Example: Willo Sana offers coaching services — WilloLovesYou.com

    If you have the knowledge and experience in a given area and you are willing to share your expertise and guidance with your clients, then this is a viable option. With this model you are not doing the work on behalf of your client, but you are merely accompanying and guiding them along their journey. 

    As a coach or consultant you can offer one-on-one, group or team sessions. If needed and when possible you can offer in person sessions, but sessions can also be conducted online via platforms like Skype or Zoom.

    Here are some examples of coaches and consultants based on their expertise:

    • Life Coaching
    • Business Coaching
    • Career Coaching
    • Fitness Coaching
    • Musical Instrument or Voice Coaching
    • Psychotherapy
    • Corporate Consulting
    • Financial Consulting
    • Legal Consulting
    • Language Teachers or Tutors

    Here are 3 examples of life and business coaches: Willo Loves You, Charlie King Coaching, & Million Dollar Coach. And here is an example of an online language tutoring platform: iTalki

    3. Selling physical products online — eCommerce

    This model entails creating your own physical product and/or selling someone else's product in exchange for a margin or a sales commission. 

    Creating a new product from scratch is generally speaking no minor undertaking. You’ll need to start with an idea, come with the design, manufacture a prototype, conduct extensive product testing, and market the product well enough to generate sales. Even though manufacturing has become a lot more accessible, it still has major risks and requires a fair amount of start up capital. 

    Having said that it also depends on your specific product. Creating and selling custom designed and hand made face masks or swim wear is less complicated compared to designing, manufacturing and selling electric skateboards or a DIY hydroponics system. 

    If you do manage to design, manufacture, distribute and sell a new or improved physical product profitably, then you are in a position to build a bigger brand and product portfolio. You’ll also have a competitive edge over your competition, assuming the product you sell is unique and cannot easily be copied. 

    Here are three great examples of products that are being successfully sold online: The Roost StandSwitch Pod,  and Minaal.

    Example: The Roost Laptop Stand — therooststand.com

    Besides creating a brand new product, another option would be to sell an existing product either via your own online store or via a larger online retailer like Amazon, using their FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) program. If you do not hold your own stock and you outsource the fulfilment of your orders, then this model is referred to as drop shipping.

    Here are examples of the top 500 Shopify stores: and here are some of the top Etsy stores.

    4. Selling digital products

    This option entails creating, marketing and selling a digital product online. Digital products can include books, audio books, games, online courses, templates, sheet music, musical recordings, recipes, building plans, checklists, or software to name a few.

    The benefit of selling digital products is that distribution has become a lot easier to scale and once the initial production is complete, you can sell unlimited copies of your product. 

    Once you’ve coded a game, written a book, recorded a song or finished filming and editing the lessons of your online course, you package the product once and can keep selling copies of it for years to come. By keeping overhead and recurring costs low, it’s possible to generate high margins when selling digital products.

    Example: Data Driven U sells online courses, as well as a monthly or annual membership — datadrivenu.com

    One major downside of the digital product business model is that digital products can easily be copied and pirated, but don’t let that hold you back.

    One other thing to keep in mind is that creating the digital product is only part of the challenge. A major part is finding product market fit (i.e. creating a product that people want and are willing to purchase) and getting your product in front of the right audience.

    The right audience can either be an audience that you have built up over time or you can rent the attention of an audience by running ads.

    Here are some examples of websites selling digital products:

    5. Affiliate Marketing

    This model entails promoting someone else's product or service in exchange for a % commission for each sale that you generate.

    Instead of spending their marketing budget on running ads and promotions, some companies offer an affiliate program where they will let anybody willing to promote their product sign up as an affiliate. After being accepted into the program, the affiliate will get their own unique affiliate link which they use when linking to the product online. 

    Any sales that are generated via that affiliate link will then get credited to the affiliate’s account and the company will pay the affiliate the agreed upon commission on the agreed upon payment schedule. The commission is paid out by the company selling the product at no additional expense to the customer making the purchase.

    Affiliate marketing has a low barrier to entry, but generating enough traffic and sales to earn significant commissions takes time and effort and is something that most affiliates never achieve.

    Most affiliate commissions are once off commissions, but some companies do offer recurring commissions for the lifetime of a customer that the affiliate referred. Recurring commissions are great for affiliates, as they will continue getting paid every month as long as the customer remains a customer.

    Affiliate income can be a great stream of passive income, but it’s important to understand that you won’t generate any sales without putting in the work that is needed to build an audience and generate the traffic to the specific offer that you are trying to sell.

    Example: Amazon Associates Program — affiliate-program.amazon.com

    There are many different ways of driving traffic to your affiliate links. Many YouTubers add affiliate links to the description of their videos recommending their preferred gear. Other affiliate marketers will add their affiliate links to review videos and blog posts. Travel bloggers might recommend specific listings on a booking site by linking out via their affiliate links. 

    Here are some real world examples of well known affiliate programs:

    And here are examples of some real world affiliate marketers:

    Example: Smart Passive Income — smartpassiveincome.com

    6. Advertising & Sponsorships / Influencer Marketing

    This model entails building an audience and then selling their attention to advertisers. 

    The most most common examples of this model would be YouTubers, authority or news site owners, Social Media Influences (Instagram, TikTok, etc.), and podcast hosts.

    A YouTuber will regularly publish videos to build grow their audience on the platform. As they increase their subscriber count, their views, and their engagement, so their channel will become more valuable in terms of displaying ads. In order to monetize their account (i.e. activate ads on their account) a YouTube account needs at least 1000 subscribers and have at least 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months.

    An authority or news site owner will create a website that focused on a very specific niche and contains valuable content about that niche. They will create content that ranks in search results and will therefore attract readers (i.e. traffic). They can then sign up with an ad network (for example Google AdSense) to place ads on the pages and blog posts on their site. Ad networks will either pay out CPM (cost per thousand impressions) or CPP (cost per click). In order to generate significant ad revenue a website will need a significant amount of traffic. Some authority sites will also charge advertisers for a sponsored post on their website.

    A social influencer will spend their time regularly publishing new content to grow their following on the most popular social media channels including Instagram and TikTok. As their subscriber count and view count grows, so they will have more and more attention to sell to advertisers and so the cost of placing ads on their accounts will increase. Social influencers can charge per sponsored post or can sign endorsement deals in which they feature and promote a brand on their channels.

    A podcast host will grow their audience and subscribers by regularly publishing new podcast episodes. As soon as their channel is large enough they can sign start incorporating ads or promotions as part of their episodes. If you become popular enough you could even license your podcast to Spotify for a sweet $100m — yip, I’m looking at you Joe Rogan.

    Example: Armchair Expert Podcast — armchairexpertpod.com

    With any of these examples, keep it mind that it takes consistent effort and determination and it can take a considerable amount of time to grow a channel to a significant size to make advertising a viable option. 

    Here is a list of top social media influencers by industry and here is a list of top YouTubers in 2020

    Podcast Examples: The Joe Rogan ExperienceArmchair Expert & The Tropical MBA Podcast.

    Authority/News Site Example: Mashable

    7. Membership Sites, Events & Exclusive Communities

    This model entails creating and selling access to a private membership and/or creating and selling tickets to in-person events, retreats and conferences.

    Running a successful membership site can be a great source of recurring revenue, assuming that you can convince your members to keep paying their monthly membership. 

    Membership sites generally provide exclusive access to premium resources and can also include an online or in-person community that gives members the opportunity to expand their network by meeting like-minded individuals.

    Example: The Dynamite Circle — tropicalmba.com/join-the-dynamite-circle

    Events can be run virtually or in-person and can provide the attendees with a specific experience which might include an educational element, like training, presentations or workshops. Formats can include conferences, retreats and masterminds. Creating a monthly, quarterly or annual event can help solidify the experience as a recurring one in the minds of attendees. And it also lets you pre-sell tickets for upcoming events.

    The Dynamite Circle is an example of an online community membership site that brings together business owners and location independent entrepreneurs.

    DCBKK is the exclusive annual conference that is hosted by the Dynamite Circle, which is only available to DC Members. 

    And Lineage of Light is an example of online training and in-person educational retreats in an area of Ancient Wisdom Sciences, Core Cellular Healing & Ke Ala. 

    8. Software as a Service (SaaS)

    This model entails creating and selling access to a software application that provides  a valuable solution to a common and recurring problem. 

    The SaaS model is great for regenerating recurring revenue, assuming you can build up a loyal user base and customers that keep paying the monthly or annual renewal fee.

    Developing a new piece of software is a challenging under taking, as you will need a to create a solution that users are willing to pay for on a recurring basis. You also need to either build it yourself or hire developers. You will most likely also need to keep improving your product in order to keep users from switching to a competitor.  The development, marketing, maintenance and customer support will need to be financed and managed. 

    Example: Dropbox Business — dropbox.com

    There are higher barriers to entry when it comes to developing software, but if you can create a valuable solution that is delivered in an efficient and enjoyable user experience, then you can create a business that can be scaled almost indefinitely. And because it’s a digital product, your team can work remotely and digitally.

    Here are some real-world example of successful SaaS products:

    9. Brokerage — Online Market Places

    This model entails bringing together buyers and seller to facilitate some form of transaction. This could involve facilitating the sale of an online business, a website or a service. 

    Example: AppSumo — appsumo.com

    Here are some real world example of online brokers and/or market places:

    • UpWork — A marketplace for freelancers selling their services and those looking to hire
    • Dynamite Jobs — A remote job board bringing together those hiring and those looking for work
    • AppSumo — Featuring and selling discounted online products and services from 3rd parties
    • Empire Flippers — Facilitating the sale of websites

    10. Or of course, a combination of the above.

    Last but not least it is common for a business to use a more than one of the above business models. For example a brand selling online courses or books, might also offer done for you services. Or a YouTuber might include affiliate links in their video descriptions, but also monetises their channel with advertising. 

    Using more than one of the above models can work well, but trying to implement more than two or three will probably result in a dilution of your efforts. A strong recommendation would be to have a clear focus and stick with what works best for you. You can always expand at a later stage. 

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