Simple Guide to Novamind

Novamind is a mindmapping tool with an emphasis on great design. It’s ideal for presenters who want to create first class professional looking mindmaps for use in online or offline presentations. Of course, Novamind can also be used for note taking or brainstorming.

The price ranges from $49 for the most basic version to $249 for the platinum version. To try out the software, just download their 30 day free trial at:

http://www.novamind.com/download

Here’s how to use Novamind.

Step 1: Start Typing to Change the Main Topic

Click on the main topic to select it. Type in the name of the main topic.

1-Start-Typing

Step 2: Learn to Create Topics

When the main topic is selected, just press enter to create your first sub-topic.

When any other topic is selected, press enter to create a topic on the same level. This is called a sibling topic.

Press insert when any topic is selected to create a sub-topic. This is called a child topic.

2-Sibling-and-Child-Topics

Step 3: Creating Callout Topics

Callout topics are attention-catching topics that you can use to draw emphasis to specific points.

To create a callout topic, first select the topic you want the callout to be attached to, then click “Callout” along the top bar.

3-Click-Callout

This is what a callout looks like.

4-Callout-Example

 

Step 4: Creating Floating Topics

Have a second main idea? Put it in a floating topic. Just click on the arrow under “Topic” and select “Floating Topic.”

5-Click-Floating-Topic

This is what a floating topic looks like.

6-Floating-Topic-Example

Step 5: Learn Your Formatting Options

Novamind offers a wide range of formatting options.

Fill color. This changes the background color of the whole topic.

Outline color. This changes the color of the line connecting to the topic, as well as the line outlining the topic.

To change Fill or Outline colors, click Fill or Outline in the top bar.

7-Fill-and-Outline-Color

Text color. This changes the color of the text.

Text background color. Changes the background behind the text.

To change either of these options, click on the arrow next to the “A” in the top bar.

8-Text-and-Background-Color

Bold, Italics and Underline. Click their respective buttons along the top, or use CTRL + B, I or U.

Font. Change the font by selecting the topic and clicking the font box.

Text size. Click the text size box next to the font box to select your text size. Alternatively, click the A^ or Av arrows to go one size up or down.

9-Text-Formating
Here’s an illustration of the different formatting options.

10-Formatting-Examples

Step 6: Change Your Map Design

Different designs work well for different purposes. If you’re taking notes for yourself, then a simplistic and fast design might work best. If you’re creating a mindmap for a presentation, then you might want a more classy design.

Click on Map Design along the top to access the map design menu.

11-Click-Map-Design

Select the map design you want. Each design will look significantly different than other designs. Here’s an example of the Presentation design.

12-Presentation-Design-Example
To change the colors, fonts or backgrounds in any design, just click one of the drop-down arrows on the right hand side.

13-More-Options

 

Step 7: Presenter Mode

If you’re going to be using your mindmaps to make presentations, Novamind’s presenter mode can help.

To use the presenter mode, just click Presenter along the top.

To build a presentation, first select a topic, then click Create Slide From Selection on the left. Repeat this process for each topic you want to focus on.

14-Create-Slide-from-Selection

Each slide will focus on one topic, zoomed in fully. Move from slide to slide to create a dynamic presentation.

Click on either of the Start Presentation buttons to play your presentation.

15-Start-Presentation

Wrap Up

We’ve just covered the most important features to Novamind. You now know how to create sibling and child topics, how to create callouts and floating topics, how to change text, outline and filler colors, how to change map designs and how to structure presentations.

When & How to Use Mindmaps

1-mindmaps1Mindmapping takes note taking and brainstorming to a whole new level. Most people take notes linearly, one item after another in a sequential order. Unfortunately, that’s not how your brain works.

Your brain works out of order. It has many ideas that are interlinked with other ideas. Ideas have important concepts and sub-concepts, some of them related and some of them not.

Furthermore, your brain also thinks in multiple senses. Most people’s brains think primarily either visually and auditorily, sometimes with a touch of emotion or physical sensation as well.

Linear note taking doesn’t address any of that. Fortunately, mindmapping does.

Mindmapping is an innovative tool that that images, branched ideas, words and idea-linkage to form the ideal note taking and brainstorming tool.

Here’s when to use mindmapping and how to use mindmapping.

 

When to Use Mindmapping

1-mindmaps2

Mindmapping works great for two primary purposes: Note taking and brainstorming.

 

You can use mindmaps to take notes in a meeting, in the classroom, while reading a book or while at a business lunch. The multi-idea format of the mindmaps makes it ideal for almost storing information on a wide variety of concepts.

By using pictures, different textures and different fonts, you store the information in a way that your brain is much more likely to remember. Six months from now, you might not remember the written text on a mindmap, but you will remember the creative doodle you drew to represent the concept.

Brainstorming is another place where mindmaps really shine. The purpose of a brainstorm is to free mental blocks and get creative juices flowing around creating new ideas.

Mindmaps allows this to happen in a way that makes it easy for the brain. The brain doesn’t necessarily brainstorm linearly. You might have three ideas about Topic A, then two ideas about Topic D, then a brilliant idea about Topic B before deciding to change your mind about something in Topic A.

Linear brainstorming in a list makes it very hard to do this. On the other hand, in a mindmap, you can easily jump back and forth.

Mindmaps also make it easy to record graphical ideas and incomplete ideas. Most ideas that come out of brainstorming sessions tend to be half-finished and can be very difficult to write out coherently. On a mindmap however, an incomplete idea is very easy to record and finish later.

In short, whether you’re taking notes or brainstorming for ideas, mindmapping works with your brain rather than against it.

On the flip side, mindmapping doesn’t work so well for things that are designed to be linear. For example, a task list, which is meant to be done from top to bottom, is better in linear form than in a mindmap.

How to Create Effective Mindmaps

1-mindmaps3Here are a few choice tips for creating effective mindmaps.

Start with a central concept or question. Write it large and clear in the middle. When you visualize this mind map later, the central concept should clearly come up in your mind’s eye.

When in doubt, write it out. Write bad ideas. Write half-baked ideas. Write ideas that might be wrong or stupid. The purpose of mindmapping is to get your brain flowing. Don’t stifle the flow by over-censoring.

Use personal shorthand. If there are words and phrases that only you will understand, don’t hesitate to use them. That’s how your brain talks to itself. The only exception is if your maps need to be shared with others.

Make it messy. Don’t worry about making it look pretty. Again, your brain thinks in a more disorganized manner than you might realize. Let it be messy and your note taking will flow better.

Leave room for later additions. If an idea or concept isn’t complete, then don’t use up all the space around it. Leave room to come back later and add other ideas or details.

Link related ideas. It might seem clear to you now that two concepts are related, but it might not seem so clear to you 6 months from now. Link ideas that are related to one another, so later you’ll clearly be able to see the most important related concepts.

Emphasize important points with images. Your mind uses images as well as words to remember. If an idea is important, draw a picture next to it. This will help your brain represent the concept visually and remember it better in the future.

Use simple words and concepts. Your brain works best with ideas that it can easily grasp. If your brain has to spend a lot of time processing before it can understand a concept, it probably won’t remember it in a few months.

Use different lines, colors and shapes. Again, the more variety, the better your brain will remember the content. Our minds in general don’t do very well with boring, rote or monotonous concepts.

Step away then come back refreshed. If you’re brainstorming, step away once you’ve ran out of ideas and come back later with a fresh mind. The ideas will often flow much more freely than if you tried to force yourself to carry on. The same is true with note taking. Take the important concepts now, then come back later to add the details.

 

Mindmapping results in more retention, more creativity and more idea-flow than traditional note taking or brainstorming. Try it for 30 days to see for yourself.

How to set your pricing and charge what you are worth!

 

Are you a service provider, consultant, or solo-preneur and struggle with how to set your pricing?  Then this is for you.

1

The challenge most service providers have when they first get started is they fall into the cycle of:

 

Well I could not afford to pay that much…. Therefore no one else can….. Therefore I can only charge so much…. Or no one will buy from me… or people will think I am greedy…. Or worse… that I don’t deserve to charge that much!”

2

The problem with this way of thinking is that you are setting yourself up for failure right from the beginning.

 

If you want to create a viable, successful, business you need to start thinking like a business owner… and not an employee.

3

All of your business expenses can be divided up into one of 6 categories.  When you are trying to decide how much to charge, you should consider all of these “hidden” costs and set your prices accordingly.

 

Although I can’t tell you exactly what to charge as each business is unique, if you assign a percentage of your fees to each of the six categories, you will be on your way to creating a business that can be scalable.

 

The six categories are: Executive, Client Success, Marketing, Business Development, Operations, and Project Management.

 

Depending on your type of business, your categories may vary as well!  A massage therapist for example may not have Project Management but would need a category for her employees or independent contractors.

 

So what types of expenses go where?

 

 4

Executive

 

  • Percentage of profit off the top for owner draw and salary
  • Continuing Education for Executive Staff

 5

Operations

 

  • Software
  • Phones
  • Rent
  • Computers
  • Accounting / Bookkeeper
  • Lawyer
  • Taxes
  • Merchant Account Fees
  • Bank Fees

 6

Client Success

 

  • Customer Service
  • Customer Gifts for Birthdays and Christmas

 7

Marketing

 

  • Cost to acquire a new customer
  • Website Design
  • Email Marketing
  • PPC Campaigns
  • SEO
  • Video Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Marketing Training and Education for Staff

 8

Business Development (Sales)

 

  • Cost to close the sale
  • Sales Reps Commissions
  • Affiliate Commissions
  • Referral Partner Program
  • JV Manager
  • Sales Training and Education for Staff

 9

Project Management (Contractors, Employees)

 

  • Cost to fulfill your service
  • Independent Contractors
  • Writers
  • Social Media Managers
  • Community Managers
  • SEO Specialists
  • Project Manager
  • Team Leader

 

If in the beginning you are doing all of the work, then you would be paying yourself the full amount you allocate in “project management”.  Just take into consideration that if at any point in the future you want to grow your business, you will have to duplicate yourself.  The only way to do that is if you can hire someone else to take on the work for you.  You should set your pricing so that at any time when your sales justify it, you can hire someone and train them to do the work.

 

A business owner has two jobs: Increase Revenue and Implement Systems.

 

You should be working ON your business and not IN your business to make it scalable!

 

 

3 Simple Ways to Use Pinterest as a Target Marketing Tool

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][custom_frame_left]pinterest[/custom_frame_left]

Pinterest is quickly rising as a referral source for e-commerce business, third behind Facebook and Twitter. Internet marketers can no longer ignore this social media site if you want to stay relevant and maximize online opportunities. To successfully use Pinterest as part of your marketing strategy, you need to know the following things:

  • The majority of Pinterest users are women who enjoy crafts, recipes and home décor
  • Pinterest is a visual medium with a high value on artistic expression
  • Various niches within your market
  • What your target market enjoys or is inspired by

With this information in hand (and perhaps the help of a graphic designer or photographer), you can begin to take aim (in a non-violent way, of course) at your target market.

Use boards to target different niches

One of the great things about Pinterest is the way you can categorize your pins onto certain boards. Each board can focus on one niche within your market. For example, if you’re an online shoe company, you could create a board that has to do with kids, one that has to do with athletes, one that focuses on career women and one that addresses foot care or pedicures. Within each niche, you could promote products as well as pin other items of interest to those viewing your board.

You could also set up a board to promote an event, pinning ideas about planning it, pictures of the venue, door prizes, speakers, inspirational thoughts behind the purpose of the event or silent auction items. This includes your followers in the planning stages while building anticipation for the event itself. If the event is for a charity, you’re promoting the charity and announcing your community involvement in subtle ways, too.

[/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][custom_frame_center]Pinterest board[/custom_frame_center]

Market a message

Is there a particular statistic that your market should know to motivate them to consider your product or service? Create an infographic about it and post it on the appropriate board. Once you know what inspires your target market, find quotes that reflect that message and re-pin them on your board. If you want your market to know how a product is made so they feel good about purchasing a fair trade product or supporting an eco-friendly company, pin a video showing the process. Or if your product can be used for multiple purposes or in multiple ways, create slideshow tutorials or video tutorials showing all the ideas.

Ask for feedback

Find out specifically what your target market wants by asking for feedback. There are a couple of ways to do that. One way is to create a group board asking for ideas about how you could improve a current product or create a new product. For example, if you sell supplies for babies, ask moms what product they wish somebody would make or what they wish was different about the diaper bags you make. You won’t be able to use every idea, but the feedback will be beneficial and give customers a creative voice.

Secondly, ask people to re-pin your stuff or to leave comments. The statistics will not be totally conclusive, but they can give you some idea about what Pinterest users are looking for, which will help you become a better Pinterestmarketer.

This is a Guest Blog Post by Tiffany Marshall from StartRankingNow.com[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Brainstorming Can Be Fun With Mindmapping

BrainstormingIf your marketing team sat down to brainstorm together, what would that look like? Many companies sit in formal conference rooms and verbally spew ideas while some poor individual lists the ideas on an oversized notepad or white board. Often times it is done as quickly as possible so everybody can get to the next meeting or looming deadline. The team ends up settling on something they all agree upon rather than making sure it is the absolute best idea and taking a risk. And so goes the status quo of recycled ideas and hum-drum marketing methods.

If you want your company to stand out as unique (think: Google), to be known as progressive or cutting edge, it will require some additional time for creativity. For starters, before reading any further, jot down all of the projects the marketing team needs ideas for. Use a scratch sheet of paper or that free notepad a vendor gave you last month. Ready? Go.

The rest of this post can wait a minute or two. Just give it a try.

Got it?

Okay, good. Keep that scrap of paper nearby as you continue reading; you’ll want to refer back to it.

Some of the ideas you may have mentioned could be any of the following (if you missed one or think of another, feel free to add it to your paper or in the comments below):

  • Webinars
  • Event marketing opportunities
  • Lecture/seminar topics
  • Videos
  • Trade show exhibit themes
  • Web content
  • Ebooks
  • Lead magnets
  • Email blasts

Individual players performing as a team

After you compared your list to this one, did you think of additional items or get a more specific idea about particular topics? That is how brainstorming should work: making use of the stream of consciousness for the sake of creativity. While there is value to the team brainstorming together, there is quite possibly greater value found when each team member brainstorms individually first and then the group combines and tweaks all of the ideas until the best one has been selected.

Color outside the lines

Before sending individuals off to brainstorm alone (and in more creative spaces than a conference room), give the team some parameters that will get their creative juices flowing. Teach them how to create a mindmap.

Before jumping head first into the how-to’s of mindmapping, look at your scrap of paper again and answer this question: how did you write your ideas down? Most people who grew up in public schools, where notebook paper was lined and each of those lines received its own number before a spelling test, will have composed an actual list made up entirely of words. That is a neat and orderly way to perform the task, but it leaves your brain in a rut of thinking linearly.

Enter mindmapping. Think of mindmapping as a combination between employing your stream of consciousness and playing a word association game. Or if those concepts are too vague, think of mindmapping versus list-making as the difference between walking through a candy store tasting every flavor of jellybean and sitting in a conference room wearing heels or a tie. One is fun, risky and exciting; the other oozes dread and boredom.

Mindmapping

MindmappingIn the center of another scrap of paper, write one of the items from your previous brainstorming time. As you look at that word or topic, what comes to mind? Draw spokes out from the topic for each thing that comes to mind and write or draw or abbreviate whatever that thought was. If one of those thoughts leads you to another, draw a spoke off the secondary thought and record the new one. Continue this process until you run out of space on the page or out of ideas. For example, if you chose trade show exhibit themes as your central idea, the word themes may have made you think of a theme park like Disneyland or themed parties like luaus or a theme song. Each of those thoughts may have led you in a new direction.

When the map is complete, look at it as a whole. Research any questions it may have elicited, connect similar ideas that surfaced on different parts of the map or choose the most unrelated items and consider how they could work together to be the best idea. The purpose of the mindmap is to help you think differently; the final solution is up to you.

Huddle up

Now, imagine your team members each creating an individual mindmap and then meeting together at a restaurant or park to share their mindmap ideas. The creativity possibilities are endless.

This is a Guest Blog Post by Tiffany Marshall from StartRankingNow.com

Guest Posting: How to Get Readers to Follow You

Guest Blog PostGuest posting is the latest craze in the online business world. Business owners everywhere want to post an article on a site that has a high page rank because it means they get a backlink, and that backlink can do wonders for their page rank. However, it’s not only the organic search engine traffic that drives people to guest post, it’s also the chance to entice that blog’s huge following to come over to their website.

When a website has a large following, it means good things for you. Hundreds or even thousands of people will read your guest post, and those people can share your article with everyone they know on social media. Now, this might make you think that the only thing you have to do is create a great article, and your work is done, but that’s not entirely correct. Writing a quality article is important, but it’s what you write in your byline that matters the most.

The Secret to a Powerful Byline

Your byline is where you will state your name, what you do, your website, and any other information you want readers to know. It’s your time to sell your business in a paragraph.

You can’t be boring in this section. People won’t read it if they know it’s just some gibberish about your business. They don’t know you, and they won’t feel motivated to know you if you come across as just some prerecorded message.

Byline TipsThe secret to a powerful byline is to give the reader one more piece of information they can’t deny. You have to hide it in the byline, so they don’t even realize that it’s really you trying to sell your business.

So, what’san example of some ways you can write a good byline? Check out these examples:

Want more information to help you [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][state a problem]? Get a complete guide that helps you [solve whatever the problem], come by [website name] for a free copy of [eBook or report you have available]. It can save you from [the consequences of the problem].

[Your name] hosts a [frequency of a webinar] [catchy webinar title] that shows how you can [benefit the reader would like to have]. Sign up now to [solve a problem may have].

The idea behind the byline is to grab their attention, and then offer them something free to persuade them to come to your website. You want to bait them with the byline, so you can then reel them in when they come to your site looking for a solution to their problem.

Not sure what to offer as an incentive? Check out these ideas:

  • A subscription to a newsletter with helpful tips
  • A webinar invitation
  • A free report
  • A free consultation
  • Software download
  • Helpful spreadsheet, worksheet, template or some other tool that they may need or want
  • A video tutorial with instruction on how to do whatever was discussed in the guest post

By using your byline effectively, you can get people to come to your website to discover the power you can give them with your business. Now go out there and start guest posting!

This is a Guest Blog Post by Marcelina Hardy from StartRankingNow.com[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Calculate the ROI of your SEO Campaign and Get Rid of the Guesswork

As I was talking to my business coach the other day I was telling her how motivated I am for this next coming year.  I was telling her that I finally feel like I am at the place where I know the formula.  I know my analytics.  I know my conversion rate at the keyword level.  I know how much traffic is generated per month and per year for specific keywords and where I am currently ranking for each of those keywords.  I know that if I improve my ranking from number 13 to number 1 for a specific keyword then my sales should increase by x amount of dollars.  I know my profit margin on sales and how much money is left over for marketing after expenses.  With all that information I can take my SEO knowledge and invest the specific budget of marketing dollars for a specific keyword and know that it is going to take x amount of time to achieve top ranking and make a profit.  I know which keywords are more profitable and which ones are a complete waste of time and resources.  The guesswork is gone and success is in the numbers.

So let’s get started!

How to determine the ROI of your SEO Campaign!

1. Build Your Website.  Make sure your website is SEO friendly and follows best practices for your visitors.  Focus on the adding features that will improve the conversion rate of your site as well as make it extremely easy to navigate.

2. Install Google Analytics or other favorite analytics software and track your sales and conversions at the keyword level.  This step is essential.  If you are not tracking your sales and conversions at the keyword level, it will be impossible to determine which keywords to focus your SEO campaign on.

3. If your site is new or does not yet have analytics data, then set up some PPC tests.  This also must be done correctly and at the keyword level so that you can track the impressions, click through rate, and conversions.  Set your ppc budget high enough so that your ads will show but not so high that you lose your shirt (or house) in the process.

4. Determine the average transaction value of an order.  If you can, also determine the lifetime value of a customer.  This is particularly true for sites that have a low front-end, but offer a membership or other products.

5. Narrow your list of keywords to the top 20-100 based on search volume and the conversion rate for your site.

6. Record the following info into an excel spreadsheet:

a. Keyword
b. Global Search Volume Exact Match
c. Monthly Search Volume Exact Match
d. 50% of Monthly Search Volume
e. Actual Page Views
f. Average Transaction Value
g. Current Organic Rank
h. Conversion Rate
i. Profit Margin

7. Determine what percentage of traffic you are currently receiving by dividing the Actual Page Views by the Monthly Search Volume.

8. Determine your annual sales by multiplying your actual page views by your conversion rate and the average transaction value and by 12 (for each of the 12 months).

9. Determine what your annual sales could by if you were ranking number one for the keyword by multiplying the 50% of monthly search volume by your conversion rate and the average transaction value and by 12 (for each of the 12 months.)

10. Subtract the number from the calculation in step 8 from the number in calculation in step 9.  This is how much your sales could increase if you moved from your current organic search rank to be number one in Google for your keyword.

11. Repeat the above for each of your keywords and determine which keyword will give you the most increase in sales.

12. Calculate your Annual profit margin and divide it in half to determine what your marketing budget should be for each keyword.

Although the above 12 steps might seem overwhelming at first, most of the steps can be outsourced to a virtual assistant for a few dollars.  The most difficult part, the analysis, should be done by the business owner or search marketing manager.  Also please note that the 50% click through rate for a number one organic listing is only an estimate.  The actual percentage rates are only known by the search engines themselves.  If you do the analysis however, you can safely determine which keywords will be the most profitable and know where to focus your efforts on for your search engine optimization campaign.

For a personalized ROI report for your business and to determine which keywords are the best to focus on for your site, give us a call!

Failure is Just a Stepping Stone

failureIn today’s economic climate, it’s safe to say that there are businesses that are failing. Because of this, it seems a good time to be reminded of the real purpose of failure – to be a stepping stone and a learning experience.

There are steps that one can take when faced with failure – or even just plain old hard times for that matter. Maybe you’re in the same boat as many online retailers (or any “traditional” business) in terms of profits. Sometimes it’s just a matter of redirecting efforts, and sometimes a business just won’t be able to pull through. Knowing how to deal with failure will help you as an individual to continue your climb to success and keep you from plummeting into a downward spiral of continued disappointment.

So how can you maintain a positive attitude when the very business you have been living and breathing is faltering? Separate yourself. That’s right. You are not the sum of the failures and setbacks you have experienced in your life. If that were the case, you would never have learned the simple task of walking. But because, as a toddler, you lacked the capability to think of falling as failure, you picked yourself back up and set back to the task of accomplishing your goal. How is it that children seem to be braver than we adults at times?

Being able to understand that A failure doesn’t make YOU a failure is huge. Without that understanding, your very belief may become dangerously perilous. So let’s just remember that we can walk, and all will be fine. Just keep taking one step at a time and you will be back on your path of success in no time.

Change your perspective of failure in general. Here’s a new way of looking at things. Failure is actually an integral part of success, for it provides the learning experiences that we so badly need in order to fill the big shoes we are trying to jump into. Everyone loves the idea as being viewed as prominent and successful vs. being seen as a failure. But the truth is, we need to fail. If we are not failing, we are not putting it all on the line and innovating new ways of doing things.

Should you find yourself in the position of having to dip into savings, having to get a regular 9 to 5 job, or even selling some things off in an effort to see your real dreams come to fruition, don’t waste time in despair. Talk to your partners, your friends, your mentors about the feelings you are having. But then stop talking and start doing. It is in the actions we take after a perceived failure that success has the opportunity to grow.

Failure strikes even the most prominent of figures. Here’s a great example:

• Family forced out of their home. He had to work to support them
• Mother died
• Lost his job
• Ran for state legislature and lost
• Wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get it
• Borrowed money to start a business. Ended up bankrupt within 12 months. Spent the next 17 years paying off his debt.
• A WIN! Elected to state legislature
• Fiancé died, leaving him alone and heartbroken
• A total nervous breakdown put him in bed for six months
• Defeated in run for House Speaker
• Defeated in run for nomination for U.S. Congress
• A WIN! Elected to Congress
• Lost re-nomination
• Rejected for officer position
• Defeated in run for U.S. Senate
• Defeated in run for Vice President
• Defeated in run for U.S. Senate
• Elected President of the United States in 1860!

linconNow you probably know the history of Abraham Lincoln quite well. Here is why all of it has been displayed once again. Abraham Lincoln is not known for his failures. He is known for his enormous impact on the world. Had he not bounced back from failure, he would not be known at all. Failure is just a stepping stone. Do not let setbacks stop you when they are meant to make you stronger.

Calculate the ROI of your SEO Campaign and Get Rid of the Guesswork

As I was talking to my business coach the other day I was telling her how motivated I am for this next coming year.  I was telling her that I finally feel like I am at the place where I know the formula.  I know my analytics.  I know my conversion rate at the keyword level.  I know how much traffic is generated per month and per year for specific keywords and where I am currently ranking for each of those keywords.  I know that if I improve my ranking from number 13 to number 1 for a specific keyword then my sales should increase by x amount of dollars.  I know my profit margin on sales and how much money is left over for marketing after expenses.  With all that information I can take my SEO knowledge and invest the specific budget of marketing dollars for a specific keyword and know that it is going to take x amount of time to achieve top ranking and make a profit.  I know which keywords are more profitable and which ones are a complete waste of time and resources.  The guesswork is gone and success is in the numbers.

So let’s get started!

How to determine the ROI of your SEO Campaign!

1. Build Your Website.  Make sure your website is SEO friendly and follows best practices for your visitors.  Focus on the adding features that will improve the conversion rate of your site as well as make it extremely easy to navigate.

2. Install Google Analytics or other favorite analytics software and track your sales and conversions at the keyword level.  This step is essential.  If you are not tracking your sales and conversions at the keyword level, it will be impossible to determine which keywords to focus your SEO campaign on.

3. If your site is new or does not yet have analytics data, then set up some PPC tests.  This also must be done correctly and at the keyword level so that you can track the impressions, click through rate, and conversions.  Set your ppc budget high enough so that your ads will show but not so high that you lose your shirt (or house) in the process.

4. Determine the average transaction value of an order.  If you can, also determine the lifetime value of a customer.  This is particularly true for sites that have a low front-end, but offer a membership or other products.

5. Narrow your list of keywords to the top 20-100 based on search volume and the conversion rate for your site.

6. Record the following info into an excel spreadsheet:

a. Keyword
b. Global Search Volume Exact Match
c. Monthly Search Volume Exact Match
d. 50% of Monthly Search Volume
e. Actual Page Views
f. Average Transaction Value
g. Current Organic Rank
h. Conversion Rate
i. Profit Margin

7. Determine what percentage of traffic you are currently receiving by dividing the Actual Page Views by the Monthly Search Volume.

8. Determine your annual sales by multiplying your actual page views by your conversion rate and the average transaction value and by 12 (for each of the 12 months).

9. Determine what your annual sales could by if you were ranking number one for the keyword by multiplying the 50% of monthly search volume by your conversion rate and the average transaction value and by 12 (for each of the 12 months.)

10. Subtract the number from the calculation in step 8 from the number in calculation in step 9.  This is how much your sales could increase if you moved from your current organic search rank to be number one in Google for your keyword.

11. Repeat the above for each of your keywords and determine which keyword will give you the most increase in sales.

12. Calculate your Annual profit margin and divide it in half to determine what your marketing budget should be for each keyword.

Although the above 12 steps might seem overwhelming at first, most of the steps can be outsourced to a virtual assistant for a few dollars.  The most difficult part, the analysis, should be done by the business owner or search marketing manager.  Also please note that the 50% click through rate for a number one organic listing is only an estimate.  The actual percentage rates are only known by the search engines themselves.  If you do the analysis however, you can safely determine which keywords will be the most profitable and know where to focus your efforts on for your search engine optimization campaign.

For a personalized ROI report for your business and to determine which keywords are the best to focus on for your site, give us a call!

Failure is Just a Stepping Stone

failureIn today’s economic climate, it’s safe to say that there are businesses that are failing. Because of this, it seems a good time to be reminded of the real purpose of failure – to be a stepping stone and a learning experience.

There are steps that one can take when faced with failure – or even just plain old hard times for that matter. Maybe you’re in the same boat as many online retailers (or any “traditional” business) in terms of profits. Sometimes it’s just a matter of redirecting efforts, and sometimes a business just won’t be able to pull through. Knowing how to deal with failure will help you as an individual to continue your climb to success and keep you from plummeting into a downward spiral of continued disappointment.

So how can you maintain a positive attitude when the very business you have been living and breathing is faltering? Separate yourself. That’s right. You are not the sum of the failures and setbacks you have experienced in your life. If that were the case, you would never have learned the simple task of walking. But because, as a toddler, you lacked the capability to think of falling as failure, you picked yourself back up and set back to the task of accomplishing your goal. How is it that children seem to be braver than we adults at times?

Being able to understand that A failure doesn’t make YOU a failure is huge. Without that understanding, your very belief may become dangerously perilous. So let’s just remember that we can walk, and all will be fine. Just keep taking one step at a time and you will be back on your path of success in no time.

Change your perspective of failure in general. Here’s a new way of looking at things. Failure is actually an integral part of success, for it provides the learning experiences that we so badly need in order to fill the big shoes we are trying to jump into. Everyone loves the idea as being viewed as prominent and successful vs. being seen as a failure. But the truth is, we need to fail. If we are not failing, we are not putting it all on the line and innovating new ways of doing things.

Should you find yourself in the position of having to dip into savings, having to get a regular 9 to 5 job, or even selling some things off in an effort to see your real dreams come to fruition, don’t waste time in despair. Talk to your partners, your friends, your mentors about the feelings you are having. But then stop talking and start doing. It is in the actions we take after a perceived failure that success has the opportunity to grow.

Failure strikes even the most prominent of figures. Here’s a great example:

• Family forced out of their home. He had to work to support them
• Mother died
• Lost his job
• Ran for state legislature and lost
• Wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get it
• Borrowed money to start a business. Ended up bankrupt within 12 months. Spent the next 17 years paying off his debt.
• A WIN! Elected to state legislature
• Fiancé died, leaving him alone and heartbroken
• A total nervous breakdown put him in bed for six months
• Defeated in run for House Speaker
• Defeated in run for nomination for U.S. Congress
• A WIN! Elected to Congress
• Lost re-nomination
• Rejected for officer position
• Defeated in run for U.S. Senate
• Defeated in run for Vice President
• Defeated in run for U.S. Senate
• Elected President of the United States in 1860!

linconNow you probably know the history of Abraham Lincoln quite well. Here is why all of it has been displayed once again. Abraham Lincoln is not known for his failures. He is known for his enormous impact on the world. Had he not bounced back from failure, he would not be known at all. Failure is just a stepping stone. Do not let setbacks stop you when they are meant to make you stronger.