The real risk of Facebook’s Libra coin is crooked developers

Everyone’s concerned about Mark Zuckerberg managing the next currency, however I’m more worried about a crypto Cambridge Analytica.

Today Facebook revealed Libra, its upcoming stablecoin developed to let you send out and go shopping cash overseas with nearly no deal charges. Instantly, critics began harping about the risks of centralizing control of tomorrow’s loan in the hands of a business with a bad performance history of personal privacy and security.

Facebook expected this, however, and developed a subsidiary called Calibra to run its crypto transactions and keep all deal information different from your social information. Facebook shares control of Libra with 27 other Libra Association charter member, and as lots of as 100 overall when the token launches in the very first half of 2020. Each member gets simply one vote on the Libra council, so Facebook can’t pirate the token’s governance although it developed it.

With personal privacy worries and centralized control concerns a minimum of rather attended to, there’s constantly the problem of security. Facebook naturally has a substantial target on its back for hackers. Not even if Libra might hold a lot worth to take, however since a lot of giants would get off on messing up Facebook’s currency. That’s why Facebook open-sourced the Libra Blockchain and is providing a model in a pre-launch testnet. This designer beta plus a bug bounty program run in collaboration with HackerOne is implied to emerge all the defects and vulnerabilities prior to Libra goes cope with genuine cash linked.

Yet that leaves one giant vector for abuse of Libra: the designer platform.

Facebook reveals Libra cryptocurrency: All you require to understand

“Essential to the spirit of Libra … the Libra Blockchain will be open to everybody: any customer, company, or designer can utilize the Libra network, develop items on top of it, and include worth through their services. Open gain access to makes sure low barriers to entry and development and motivates healthy competitors that benefits customers,” Facebook discussed in its white paper and Libra launch files. It’’ s even constructing an entire coding language called Move for making Libra apps.

Apparently Facebook has actually currently forgotten how permitting anybody to develop on the Facebook app platform and its low barriers to “development” are precisely what unlocked for Cambridge Analytica to pirate 87 million individuals’s individual information and utilize it for political advertisement targeting.

But in this case, it will not be users’ ’ interests and birthdays that get grabbed. It might be hundreds or countless dollars’ worth of Libra currency that’s taken. A dubious designer might construct a wallet that simply clears out a user’s account or funnels their coins to the incorrect recipient, mines their purchase history for marketing information or utilizes them to wash loan. When real-world possessions are at stake, Digital dangers end up being a lot less abstract.

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook raced to lock down its app platform, limit APIs, more greatly veterinarian brand-new designers and audit ones that look dubious. You ‘d picture the Libra Association would be preparing to completely inspect any designer attempting to develop a Libra wallet, exchange or other associated app? “There are no prepare for the Libra Association to take a function in actively vetting [designers],” Calibra’s head of item Kevin Weil remarkably informed me. “The minute that you begin restricting it is the minute you begin strolling back to the system you have today with a closed community and a smaller sized variety of rivals, and you begin to see charges increase.”

That equates to “the minute we begin properly validating Libra app designers, things begin to get costly, agitating or complex to cryptocurrency perfectionists. That may harm development and adoption.” You understand what will injure development of Libra a lot even worse? A sob story about a little company or some migrant household getting all their Libra taken. Which blame is going to land directly on Facebook, not some amorphous Libra Association.

Image through Getty Images/ alashi

Inevitably, some unsavvy users will not comprehend the distinction in between Facebook’s own wallet app Calibra and any other app developed for the currency. “Libra is Facebook’s cryptocurrency. They would not let me get robbed,” some will certainly state. And on Calibra they ‘d be. If your Libra are taken and it uses 24/7 client assistance by means of chat to assist you gain back access to your account, it’s a custodial wallet that will reimburse you.

Yet the Libra Blockchain itself is irreparable. Beyond custodial wallets like Calibra, there’s no getting your taken or mis-sent refund. There’s most likely no client assistance. And there are a lot of misaligned crypto designers delighted to take advantage of the unskilled. $1.7 billion in cryptocurrency was taken last year alone, according to CypherTrace by means of CNBC . “As with anything, there’s scams and there are rip-offs in the existing monetary environment today … that’s going to hold true of Libra too. There’s absolutely nothing wonderful or unique that avoids that,” states Weil, who concluded “I believe those pros enormously exceed the cons.”

Until now, the blockchain world was mainly populated by technologists, other than for when increasing worths persuaded typical residents to purchase Bitcoin prior to costs crashed. Now Facebook wishes to bring its household of apps’ 2.7 billion users into the world of cryptocurrency. That’s deeply uneasy.

Facebook creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg gets here to affirm throughout a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee joint hearing about Facebook on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 10, 2018. (Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Regulators are currently bristling, however possibly for the incorrect factors. Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown tweeted that “We can not enable Facebook to run a dangerous brand-new cryptocurrency out of a Swiss checking account without oversight.” And French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire informed Europe 1 radio that Libra can’t be enabled to “end up being a sovereign currency.”

Most roughly, Rep. Maxine Waters provided a declaration stating, “Given the business’’ s bothered past, I am asking for that Facebook consent to a moratorium on any motion forward on establishing a cryptocurrency up until Congress and regulators have the chance to analyze these concerns and do something about it.”

Yet Facebook has simply one vote in managing the currency, and the Libra Association preempted these criticisms, composing, “We invite public questions and responsibility. We are dedicated to a discussion with policymakers and regulators. We share policymakers’ ’ interest in the continuous stability of nationwide currencies.”

That’s why as legislators give about how to control Libra, I hope they remember what set off the last round of Facebook officers needing to appear prior to Congress and Parliament. A completely open, unvetted Libra designer platform in the name of “development” over security is a ticking time bomb. Federal governments need to firmly insist the Libra Association completely audit designers and preserve the power to prohibit bad stars. In this odd brand-new crypto world, the general public can’t be anticipated to completely secure itself from Cambridge Analytica 2.$.

Get up to speed on Facebook’s Libra with this convenient guide:

Facebook reveals Libra cryptocurrency: All you require to understand

Read more: techcrunch.com

Facebook announces Libra cryptocurrency: All you need to know

Facebook has finally revealed the details of its cryptocurrency Libra, which will let you buy things or send money to people with nearly zero fees. You’ll pseudonymously buy or cash out your Libra online or at local exchange points like grocery stores, and spend it using interoperable third-party wallet apps or Facebook’s own Calibra wallet that will be built into WhatsApp, Messenger, and its own app. Today Facebook released its white paper explaining Libra and its testnet for working out the kinks of its blockchain system before a public launch in the first half of 2020.

Facebook won’t fully control Libra, but instead get just a single vote in its governance like other founding members of the Libra Association including Visa, Uber, and Andreessen Horowitz who’ve invested at least $10 million each into the project’s operations. The association will promote the open-sourced Libra blockchain and developer platform with its own Move programming language plus sign up businesses to accept Libra for payment and even give customers discounts or rewards.

Facebook is launching a subsidiary company also called Calibra that handles its crypto dealings and protects users’ privacy by never mingling your Libra payments with your Facebook data so it can’t be used for ad targeting. Your real identity won’t be tied to your publicly visible transactions. But Facebook/Calibra and other founding members of the Libra Association will earn interest on the money users cash in that is held in reserve to keep the value of Libra stable.

Facebook’s audacious bid to create a global digital currency that promotes financial inclusion for the unbanked actually has more privacy and decentralization built in than many expected. Instead of trying to dominate Libra’s future or squeeze tons of cash out of it immediately, Facebook is instead playing the long-game by pulling payments into its online domain. Facebook’s VP of blockchain David Marcus explained the company’s motive and the tie-in with its core revenue source during a briefing at San Francisco’s historic Mint building. “If more commerce happens, then more small businesses will sell more on and off platform, and they’ll want to buy more ads on the platform so it will be good for our ads business.”

The Risk And Reward Of Building The New PayPal

In cryptocurrencies, Facebook saw both a threat and an opportunity. They held the promise of disrupting how things are bought and sold by eliminating transaction fees common with credit cards. That comes dangerously close to Facebook’s ad business that influences what is bought and sold. If a competitor like Google or an upstart built a popular coin and could monitor the transactions, they’d learn what people buy and could muscle in on the billions spent on Facebook marketing. Meanwhile, the 1.7 billion people who lack a bank account might choose whoever offers them a financial services alternative as their online identity provider too. That’s another thing Facebook wants to be.

Yet existing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum weren’t properly engineered to scale to be a medium of exchange. Their unanchored price was susceptible to huge and unpredictable swings, making it tough for merchants to accept as payment. And cryptocurrencies miss out on much of their potential beyond speculation unless there are enough places that will take them instead of dollars, and the experience of buying and spending them is easy enough for a mainstream audience. But with Facebook’s relationship with 7 million advertisers and 90 million small businesses plus its user experience prowess, it was well poised to tackle this juggernaut of a problem.

Now Facebook wants to make Libra the evolution of PayPal . It’s hoping Libra will become simpler to set up, more ubiquitous as a payment method, more efficient with fewer fees, more accessible to the unbanked, more flexible thanks to developers, and more long-lasting through decentralization.

“Success will mean that a person working abroad has a fast and simple way to send money to family back home, and a college student can pay their rent as easily as they can buy a coffee” Facebook writes in its Libra documentation. That would be a big improvement on today, when you’re stuck paying rent in insecure checks while exploitative remittance services like charge an average of 7% to send money abroad, taking $50 billion from users annually. Libra could also power tiny microtransactions worth just a few cents that are infeasible with credit card fees attached, or replace your pre-paid transit pass.

…Or it could be globally ignored by consumers who see it as too much hassle for too little reward, or too unfamiliar and limited in use to pull them into the modern financial landscape. Facebook has built a reputation for over-engineered, underused products. It will need all the help it can get if wants to replace what’s already in our pockets.

How Does Libra Work?

By now you know the basics of Libra. Cash in a local currency, get Libra, spend them like dollars without big transaction fees or your real name attached, cash them out whenever you want. Feel free to stop reading and share this article if that’s all you care about. But the underlying technology, the association that governs it, the wallets you’ll use, and the way payments work all have a huge amount of fascinating detail to them. Facebook has released over 100 pages of documentation on Libra and Calibra, and we’ve pulled out the most important facts. Let’s dive in.

The Libra Association – Crypto’s New Oligarchy

Facebook knew people wouldn’t trust it to wholly steering the cryptocurrency they use, and it also wanted help to spur adoption. So the social network recruited the founding members of the Libra Association, a not-for-profit which oversees the development of the token, the reserve of real-world assets that gives it value, and the governance rules of the blockchain. “If we were controlling it, very few people would want to jump on and make it theirs” says Marcus.

Each founding member paid a minimum of $10 million to join and optionally become a validator node operator (more on that later), gain one vote in the Libra Association council, and be entitled to a share (proportionate to their investment) of the dividends from interest earned on the Libra reserve users pay fiat currency into to receive Libra.

The 28 soon-to-be founding members of the association and their industries, previously reported by The Block’s Frank Chaparro, include:

Payments: Mastercard, PayPal, PayU (Naspers’ fintech arm), Stripe, Visa
Technology and marketplaces: Booking Holdings, eBay, Facebook/Calibra, Farfetch, Lyft, Mercado Pago, Spotify AB, Uber Technologies, Inc.
Telecommunications: Iliad, Vodafone Group
Blockchain: Anchorage, Bison Trails, Coinbase, Inc., Xapo Holdings Limited
Venture Capital: Andreessen Horowitz, Breakthrough Initiatives, Ribbit Capital, Thrive Capital, Union Square Ventures
Nonprofit and multilateral organizations, and academic institutions: Creative Destruction Lab, Kiva, Mercy Corps, Women’s World Banking

Facebook says it hopes to reach 100 founding members before the official Libra launch and it’s open to anyone that meets the requirements including direct competitors like Google or Twitter. The Libra Association is based in Geneva, Switzerland and will meet biannually. The country was chosen for its neutral status and strong support for financial innovation including blockchain technology.

Libra Governance – Who Gets A Vote

To join the association, members must have a half rack of server space, a 100Mbps or above dedicated internet connection, a full-time site reliability engineer, and enterprise-grade security. Businesses must hit two of three thresholds of a $1 billion USD market value or $500 million in customer balances, reach 20 million people a year, and/or be recognized as a top 100 industry leader by a group like Interbrand Global or the S&P.

Crypto-focused investors must have over $1 billion in assets under management, while Blockchain businesses must have been in business for a year, have enterprise grade security and privacy, and custody or staking greater than $100 million in assets. And only up to one-third of founding members can by crypto-related businesses or individually invited exceptions. Facebook also accepts research organizations like universities, and non-profits fulfilling three of four qualities including working on financial inclusion for over five years, multi-national reach to lots of users, a top 100 designation by Charity Navigator or something like it, and/or $50 million in budget.

The Libra Association will be responsible for picking recruiting more founding members to act as validator nodes for the blockchain, fundraising to jumpstart the ecosystem, designing incentive programs to reward early adopters, and doling out social impact grants. A council with a representative from each member will help choose the association’s managing director who will appoint an executive team, elect a board of 5 to 19 top representatives.

Each member including Facebook/Calibra will only get up to one vote or 1% of the total vote (whichever is larger) in the Libra Association council. This provides a level of decentralization that protects against Facebook or any other player hijacking Libra for its own gain. By avoiding sole ownership and dominion over Libra, Facebook could avoid extra scrutiny from regulators who are already investigating it for a sea of privacy abuses as well as potentially anti-competitive behavior. In an attempt to preempt criticism from lawmakers, the Libra Association writes “We welcome public inquiry and accountability. We are committed to a dialogue with regulators and policymakers. We share policymakers’ interest in the ongoing stability of national currencies.”

The Libra Currency – A Stablecoin

A Libra is a unit of the Libra cryptocurrency that’s represented by a three wavy horizontal line unicode character ≋ like the dollar is represented by $. The value of a Libra is meant to stay largely stable so it’s a good medium of exchange since merchants can be confident they won’t be paid a Libra today that’s then worth less tomorrow. The Libra’s value is tied to a basket of bank deposits and short-term government securities for a slew of historically stable international currencies including the dollar, pound, euro, swiss franc, and yen. The Libra Association maintains this basket of assets and can change the balance of its composition if necessary to offset major price fluctuations in any one foreign currency so that the value of a Libra stays consistent.

The name Libra comes from the word for a Roman unit of weight measure. It’s trying to invoke a sense of financial freedom by playingon the French stem “Lib” meaning free.

The Libra Association is still hammering out the exact start value for the Libra, but it’s meant to somewhere close to the value of a dollar, euro, or pound so it’s easy to conceptualize. That way, a gallon of milk in the US might cost 3 to 4 Libra, similar but not exactly the same as with dollars.

The idea is that you’ll cash in some money and keep a balance of Libra that you can spend at accepting merchants and online services. You’ll be able to trade in your local currency for Libra and vice versa through certain wallet apps including Facebook’s Calibra, third-party wallet apps, and local resellers like convenience or grocery stores where people already go to top-up their mobile data plan.

The Libra Reserve – One For One

Each time someone cashes in a dollar or their respective local currency, that money goes into the Libra Reserve and an equivalent value of Libra is minted and doled out to that person. If someone cashes out from the Libra Association, the Libra they give back are destroyed/burned and they receive the equivalent value in their local currency back. That means there’s always 100% of the value of the Libra in circulation collateralized with real world assets in the Libra Reserve. It never runs fractional. And unliked “pegged” stable coins that are tied to a single currency like the USD, Libra maintains its own value — though that should cash out to roughly the same amount of a given currency over time.

When Libra Association members join and pay their $10 million minimum, they receive Libra Investment Tokens. Their share of the total tokens translates into the proportion of the dividend they earn off of interest on assets in the reserve. Those dividends are only paid out after Libra Association uses interest to pay for operating expenses, investments in the ecosystem, engineering research, and grants to non-profits and other organizations. This interest is part of what attracted the Libra Association’s members. If Libra becomes popular and many people carry a large balance of the currency, the reserve will grow huge and earn significant interest.

The Libra Blockchain – Built For Speed

Every Libra payment is permanently written into the Libra blockchain — a cryptographically authenticated database that acts as a public online ledger designed to handle 1000 transactions per second. That would be much faster than Bitcoin’s 7 transactions per second or Bitcoin’s 15. The blockchain is operated and constantly verified by founding members of the Libra Association who each invested $10 million or more for a say in the cryptocurrency’s governance and the ability operate a validator node.

When a transaction is submitted, each of the nodes runs a calculation based on the existing ledger of all transactions. Thanks to a Byzantine Fault Tolerance system, just two-thirds of the nodes must come to consensus that the transaction is legitimate for it to be executed and written to the blockchain. A structure of Merkle Trees in the code makes it simple to recognize changes made to the Libra blockchain. With 5KB transactions, 1000 verifications per second verifications on commodity CPUs, and up to 4 billion accounts, the Libra blockchain should be able to operate at 1000 transactions per second if nodes us at least 40Mbps connections and 16TB SSD hard drives.

Transactions on Libra cannot be reversed. If an attack compromises over one-third of the validator nodes causing a fork in the blockchain, the Libra Association says it will temporarily halt transactions, figure out the extent of the damage, and recommend software updates to resolve the fork.

Transactions aren’t entirely free. They incur a tiny fraction of a cent fee to pay for “gas” that covers the cost of processing the transfer of funds similar to with Ethereum. This fee will be negligible to most consumers, but when they add up the gas charges will deter bad actors from creating millions of transactions to power spam and denial-of-service attacks. “We’ve purposely tried not to innovate massively on the blockchain itself because we want it to be scalable and secure” says Marcus of piggybacking on the best elements of existing cryptocurrencies.

Currently, the Libra blockchain is what’s known as “permissioned”, where only entities that fulfill certain requirements and are admitted to a special in-group that defines consensus and controls governance of the blockchain. The problem is this structure is more vulnerable to attacks and censorship because it’s not truly decentralized. But during Facebook’s research, it couldn’t find a reliable permissionless structure that could securely scale to the number of transactions Libra will need to handle. Adding more nodes slows things down, and no one has proven a way to avoid that without compromising security.

That’s why the Libra Association’s goal is to move to a permissionless system based on proof-of-stake that will protect against attacks by distributing control, encourage competition, and lower the barrier to entry. It wants to have at least 20% of votes in the Libra Association council coming from node operators based on their total Libra holdings instead of their status as a founding member. That plan should help to appease blockchain purists who won’t be satisfied until Libra is completely decentralized.

Move Coding Language – For Moving Libra

The Libra blockchain is open source with an Apache 2.0 license and any developer can build apps that work with it using the Move coding language. The blockchain’s prototype launches its testnet today, so it’s effectively in developer beta mode until it officially launches in the first half of 2020. The Libra Association is working with HackerOne to launch a bug bounty system later this year that will pay security researchers for safely identifying flaws and glitches. In the meantime, the Libra Association is implementing the Libra Core using the Rust programming language since it’s designed to prevent security vulnerabilities, and the Move language isn’t fully ready yet.

Move was created to make it easier to write blockchain code that follows an author’s intent without introducing bugs. It’s called Move because its primary function is to move Libra coins from one account to another, and never let those assets be accidentally duplicated. The core transaction code looks like: LibraAccount.pay_from_sender(recipient_address, amount) procedure

Eventually, Move developers will be able to create smart contracts for programmatic interactions with the Libra blockchain. Until Move is ready, developers can create modules and transaction scripts for Libra using Move IR, which is high-level enough to be human-readable but low-level enough to be translatable into real Move bytecode that’s written to the blockchain.

The Libra ecosystem and the Move language will be completely open to use and build, which presents a sizable risk. Crooked developers could prey on crypto novices, claiming their app works just the same legitimate ones, and that it’s safe since it uses Libra. But if consumers get ripped off by these scammers, the anger will surely bubble up to Facebook. Yet still, Calibra’s head of product tells me “There are no plans for the LibraAassociation to take a role in actively vetting [developers].”

Even though it’s tried to distance itself sufficiently via its subsidiary Libra and the association, many people will probably always think of Libra as Facebook’s cryptocurrency and blame it for their woes.

Libra Incentives – Rewarding Early Businesses

The Libra Association wants to encourage more developers and merchants to work with its cryptocurrency. That’s why it plans to issue incentives, possibly Libra coins, to validator node operators who can get people signed up for and using Libra. Wallets that pull users through the Know Your Customer anti-fraud and money laundering process or that keep users sufficiently active for over a year will be rewarded. For each transaction they process, merchants will also receive a percentage of the transaction back.

Businesses that earn these incentives can keep them, or pass some or all of them along to users in the form of free Libra tokens or discounts on their purchases. This could create competition between wallets to see which can pass the most rewards on to their customers, and thereby attract the most users. You could imagine eBay or Spotify giving you a discount for paying in Libra, while wallet developers might offer you free tokens if you complete 100 transactions within a year.

“One challenge for Spotify and its users around the world has been the lack of easily accessible payment systems – especially for those in financially underserved markets” Spotify’s Chief Premium Business officer Alex Norström writes. “In joining the Libra Association, there is an opportunity to better reach Spotify’s total addressable market, eliminate friction and enable payments in mass scale.”

This savvy incentive system should massively help ratchet up Libra’s user count without dictating how businesses balance their margins versus growth. Facebook also has another plan to grow its developer ecosystem. By offering venture capital firms like Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures a portion of the reserve interest, they’re motivating to fund startups building Libra infrastructure.

Using Libra

So how do you actually own and spend Libra? Through Libra wallets like Facebook’s own Calibra and others that will be built by third-parties, potentially including Libra Association members like PayPal. The idea is to make sending money to a friend or paying for something as easy as sending a Facebook Message. You won’t be able to make or receive any real payments until the official launch next year, though, but you can sign up for early access when it’s ready here.

None of the Libra Association members agreed to provide details on what exactly they’ll build on the blockchain, but we can take Facebook’s Calibra wallet as an example of the basic experience. Calibra will launch alongside the Libra currency on iOS and Android within Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and a standalone app. When users first sign up, they’ll be taken through a Know Your Customer anti-fraud process where they’ll have to provide a government issued photo ID and other verification info. They’ll need to conduct due diligence on customers and report suspicious activity to the authorities.

From there you’ll be able to cash in to Libra, pick a friend or merchant, set an amount to send them and add a description, and send them Libra. You’ll also be able to request Libra, and Calibra will offer an expedited way of paying merchants by scanning your or their QR code. Eventually it wants to offer in-store payments and integrations with Point-Of-Sale systems like Square.

The Libra Association’s ecommerce members seem particularly excited about how the token could eliminate transaction fees and speed up checkout. “We believe blockchain will benefit the luxury industryby improving IP protection, transparency in the product lifecycle and – as in the case of Libra – enable global frictionless e-commerce” says FarFetch CEO Jose Neves.

Privacy – At Least From Facebook

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained some of the philosophy behind Libra and Calibra in a post today. “It’s decentralized — meaning it’s run by many different organizations instead of just one, making the system fairer overall. It’s available to anyone with an internet connection and has low fees and costs. And it’s secured by cryptography which helps keep your money safe. This is an important part of our vision for a privacy-focused social platform — where you can interact in all the ways you’d want privately, from messaging to secure payments.”

By default, Facebook won’t import your contacts or any of your profile information but may ask if you wish to do so. It also won’t share any of your transaction data back to Facebook, so it won’t used to target you with ads, rank your News Feed, or otherwise earn Facebook money directly. Data will only be shared in specific instances in anonymized ways for research or adoption measurement, for hunting down fraudsters, or due to a request from law enforcement. And you don’t even need a Facebook or WhatsApp account to sign up for Calibra or to use Libra.

“We realize people don’t want their social data and financial data commingled” says Marcus, who’s now head of Calibra. “The reality is we’ll have plenty of wallets that will compete with us and many of them will not be in social, and if we want to successfully win people’s trust, we have to make sure the data will be separated.”

In case you are hacked, scammed, or lose access to your account, Calibra will refund you for lost coins when possible through 24/7 chat support because it’s a custodial wallet. You also won’t have to remember any long, complex crypto passwords you could forget and get locked out from your money, since Calibra manages all your keys for you. Given Calibra will likely become the default wallet for many Libra users, this extra protection and smoother user experience is essential.

For now, Calibra won’t make money. But Weil tells me that if it reaches scale, Facebook could launch other financial tools through Calibra that it could monetize such as investing or lending. “In time, we hope to offer additional services for people and businesses, such as paying bills with the push of a button, buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code, or riding your local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass” the Calibra team writes. That makes it start to sound a lot like China’s everything app WeChat.

Today, Facebook is coming together with 27 organizations around the world to start the non-profit Libra Association and…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A Global Coin

Facebook got one thing right for sure: today’s money doesn’t work for everyone. Those of us living comfortably in developed nations likely don’t see the hardships that befall migrant workers or the unbanked abroad. Preyed on by greedy payday lenders and high-fee remittance services, targeted by muggers, and left out of traditional financial services, the poor get poorer. Libra has the potential to get more money from working parents back to their families and help people retain credit even if they’re robbed of their physical possessions. That would do more to accomplish Facebook’s mission of making the world feel smaller than all the News Feed Likes combined.

If Facebook succeeds and legions of people cash in money for Libra, it and the other founding members of the Libra Association could earn big dividends on the interest. And if suddenly it becomes super quick to buy things through Facebook using Libra, businesses will boost their ad spend there. But if Libra gets hacked or proves unreliable, it could cost lots of people around the world money while souring them on cryptocurrencies. And by offering an open Libra platform, shady developers could build apps that snatch not just people’s personal info like Cambridge Analytica, but their hard-earned digital cash.

Facebook just tried to reinvent money. Next year, we’ll see if the Libra Association can pull it off. It took me 4000 words to explain Libra, but at least now you can make up your own mind about whether to be scared of Facebook crypto.

Read more: techcrunch.com

Email Marketing: The Definitive Guide for 2019

EMAIL MARKETINGYou know what email is and you know what marketing is – so why is email marketing so hard to get right?

It shouldn’t be. And it won’t be after you read this article.

If you think email marketing can help you grow your online business, you’re right.

In terms of marketing investment, email is still the biggest bang for your buck.

Why?

Because speaking directly to people who have ASKED to hear from you is the most effective way to get (and retain) customers.

This article will show you everything you need to know about email marketing — including how I use it to sell products every day and what business tools I recommend.

Chapter 1: Email Marketing Defined

Chapter 2: How Does Email Marketing Work?

Chapter 3: Email Marketing Platforms

Chapter 4: Email Marketing Strategy

Chapter 5: Email marketing tips

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is the digital marketing activity of sending commercial messages – to a group of people – using an email service provider. In the simplest sense, every email message sent to a person for commercial purposes would be considered email marketing.

Chapter 1: Email Marketing Defined

the definition of email marketing

A basic email marketing definition:

Messages sent by email with commercial intent.

In other words, any time a business uses email to reach prospects or customers, it can be considered email marketing.

If you are picturing the digital equivalent of flyers stuffed into a mailbox, it’s no wonder. Ever since marketers realized they could sell products directly to consumers via email, inboxes have been inundated with “special offers.”

No printing costs, no postage, and instant delivery to inboxes all over the world — email is an advertiser’s dream.

Early on, it was a free for all: companies bought and sold email lists, sent endless spam, and used pushy sales tactics.

Today, email marketing is much different, and better.

Sure, there are still bad actors buying lists and sending spam. But service providers filter out junk mail and (mostly) keep it out of your inbox.

And many countries have implemented laws banning spam.

What else is different about modern email marketing?

It’s permission-based.

Most marketing messages you see in your inbox are a result of you asking to receive them.

That means voluntarily joining a list, submitting your email, and agreeing to receive messages from a business.

We’re surrounded by advertising we didn’t ask to see — flyers in the mailbox, commercials on TV, promoted social media posts, billboards, and even podcast sponsorships.

The difference with email marketing is, generally, we’ve asked to see it.

And done right, marketing emails can actually be welcomed and appreciated.

It’s relevant and personalized.

Whether it’s a newsletter, a product pitch, or a reminder to complete the purchase in a shopping cart, the receiver is interested.

Otherwise, they wouldn’t have signed up.

How much more targeted can you get?

It’s respectful.

Opting into an email list is now a transparent and respectful process.

Businesses typically explain what kind of emails they will send, and with what frequency.

For example, Further promises to send one email per week, with a specific type of content:

email marketing newsletter signup further

The focus of email marketing should be providing added value to the customer. Giving away useful content and resources is usually part of the strategy — not constant sales offers.

And respectful marketing emails clearly explain how to unsubscribe and stop getting emails.

But the purpose of this guide is not to give you a long-winded history. It is to teach you how to use direct email marketing to grow your business, and why it’s essential that you start today.

The most compelling reason:

Every other marketing channel puts you at the mercy of someone else’s agenda.

When you have an email list, you own your traffic.

Consider these popular marketing channels:

SEO: Google updates the search algorithm and suddenly your blog posts are buried on page 43. You had a steady stream of website visitors, but it dries up overnight.
Social media: Your target demographic starts drifting to a new platform, and fewer people are seeing your posts. You now have to start from scratch building followers while you are losing sales.
YouTube: Your niche becomes crowded with competitors and suddenly, nobody is watching your videos (or clicking the links to buy).

All the time, effort, and money spent on those traffic sources up in smoke.

Unless… you’ve been building an email list.

When you collect email addresses (with permission) from people who are interested in your business, you retain a lasting benefit from all of your marketing efforts.

If you take care of that email list, it’s an asset that will drive your business for years to come.

So, how can you use email marketing to grow your business in 2019?

Let’s keep going to find out.

Chapter 2: How Does Email Marketing Work?

how does email marketing workBy now, you should be convinced:

Email marketing is essential to the success of your business.

But if you don’t have an email list, how do you get one?

This section is a step-by-step guide on how to do email marketing when you’re starting from scratch.

Step 1: Sign up with an email service provider

email service provider active campaignEmail service providers are basically software services for managing subscribers and sending email campaigns.

Make sure you read Chapter 3 before you commit to a service. It covers my top picks for email marketing companies, and how to choose the best one for your business.

For now, just know the email service provider is the software you will use to:

Store email addresses and customer data.
Manage lists, add tags, and process unsubscribe requests.
Create sign up forms on your website.
Design and send emails to subscribers.
Step 2: Create an opt-in offer

What will you offer in exchange for an email address?

People are, understandably, reluctant to sign up for more email. For most of us, Inbox Zero is a cruel joke. But we still want free stuff!

“Sign up for my free newsletter” is not likely to convince anyone.

You need to provide a compelling reason for someone to hand over that email address. For example, here’s a lead magnet we use to attract people who want to learn how to start a podcast.

email opt in offer for podcast guide

An opt-in offer is an instant benefit, free of charge, you will provide when someone joins your email list. In digital marketing, it’s often referred to as a lead magnet.

Lead magnets can be different things, depending on the type of business.

Here are three examples for you:

A discount offer like free shipping or a coupon code

discount offer for email address

2. A digital resource like an e-book or course

free email course for an email address

3. A free trial of the service

free trial email sign up

Whatever you decide to use as an opt-in offer, it must provide real value.

Try to think like your customers and ask yourself, “Would I hand over my email address for this?”

Here are a few tips for coming up with an enticing opt-in offer:

Save time by re-purposing resources you’ve already created into a new format. For example:
Books and guides >> video tutorials or email courses
Multiple small resources >> a bundle or a comprehensive package
A paid course >> offer one module for free
A book for sale >> give the first chapter for free

Target a specific and immediate problem your audience has. For example:
Don’t know what to make for dinner? Faster Than Takeout: Top 10 Recipes to Solve Dinner
Yearning for chiseled abs? 7 Workouts to Blast Your Abs Fast
Are new parents desperate for sleep? Bedtime Cheat-Sheet: Get Your Kids to Sleep On Time TONIGHT

Step 3: Place an opt-in form on your website

roasty coffee email signup forms

The opt-in form (also called a sign-up form) is how people will submit their email and join your list. I use Thrive Leads for creating my forms, it enables me to create forms within my WordPress dashboard.

Here’s how it works.

First, choose which type of form you want.

When you log into your email service provider, you will find a variety of form options.

Choose a design and function to suit your website, the placement, and the opt-in offer.

For example, here are a few common types of opt-in form:

Popup box: Pops up in front of the page to grab attention.

popup to collecet email subscribers

Inline form: A box that can be placed anywhere on a page, including within the text of a blog post, or at the bottom of any page.

inline email sign up form

This example is taken from the Soul Salt blog where they are offering a content upgrade to how to find your purpose in life.

Ribbon: A banner across the full length of a page, usually at the top.

email marketing ribbon optin

Next, customize the form.

The objective of an opt-in form is to convince the maximum number of people to opt-in.

Make it as easy as possible to complete.

Every extra field to complete means more work for potential subscribers — and more opportunities for them to change their minds before they hit “submit.”

These are the only things you really need to include:

Headline
Offer
Place to type an email address
Call to action button

perfect email optin box

With the text on your form, remember to focus on the benefit of signing up — think about what the opt-in offer does, rather than what it is.

You can also customize the colors on forms to stand out from the rest of your site.

If your website is on WordPress, you can take your opt-in forms to the next level with Thrive Leads:

Create all kinds of high-conversion forms.
Test different offers and forms: Automatically display variations of forms to see which ones get more sign-ups.
Target different users: Automatically display different forms, depending on which type of content they are interested in.

thrive leads optin gif

Finally, place the form on your website.

Your email provider will produce a block of code representing your customized form.

Copy and paste into your website.

After you save and refresh the page, this: php code for add optin forms to wordpress

Will look like this:

Image 2019 04 04 at 10.28.30 AM

If you use Thrive Leads, you won’t have to deal with any code — opt-in forms are created and placed from within your WordPress dashboard.

Step 4: Write a welcome series

There are two common mistakes that can derail your email marketing before you see any return on your investment.

The first mistake is not sending enough emails. A new prospect gives you their email address, only to have it sit there for weeks until you feel like sending an email blast.Weeks later, they don’t care nearly as much as they did when they first signed up. In fact, they may have forgotten signing up. Your first email is likely to go straight to the trash.
The second mistake is asking subscribers to buy something right away. Not only is that off-putting, but it’s ineffective. It’s a quick way to lose your new subscriber.

email unsubscribe button in a message

Both of these mistakes tend to get you reported as spam, which harms your deliverability. Being marked as spam means your emails are more likely to be filtered as junk mail.

email marketing message in spam folder

Having a welcome series in place right from the start, you avoid both mistakes.

Right after they sign up to your list, your prospects are most excited to hear from you.

This is when you have the best chance to get their attention and gain their loyalty.

The good news is, you can do it automatically, while you sleep.

A welcome series uses the magic of automation to send pre-written messages on a predetermined schedule.

GET ACCESS TO OUR 4-PART EMAIL WELCOME SERIES

All you have to do is write a few emails and set them up to send over a few days or a week.

If this sounds complicated to set up, don’t worry. Automation is a standard feature for most email marketing companies. You can easily schedule emails to send at certain dates and times, or based on certain triggers.

The hard part is knowing what to write. Chapter 4 covers content and strategy (what to send and when) including how to write an effective welcome series.

I’m also sharing this resource with you:

Email Marketing Template: Welcome Series

Feel free to use the email marketing template for inspiration, or just fill in the blanks to customize for your audience.

Once you’ve written the emails you will send, schedule them to drip out over several days. Here’s a sample schedule you could use:

Email 1: Confirmation email triggered by the opt-in form being completed.
Email 2: Download or success email sent immediately after confirmed
Email 3: Send the next day, at [10:00] AM.
Email 4: Send the next day, at [10:00] AM
Tag and add the subscriber to an appropriate automation offer

Here’s what it looks like in ActiveCampaign:

email automation sequence

Step 5: Grow your email list with traffic

With everything in place on your website, you can focus your efforts on building traffic.

The success of your opt-in email marketing now depends on numbers. Your task is to get your opt-in form in front of as many eyeballs as you can.

grow organic traffic

You especially need the eyeballs of people most likely to become your customers — your target audience.

Attracting targeted traffic to your website will help you fill your list with qualified leads. That’s marketing-speak for: people who need or want what your business offers.

email list growth over time

With a brief search, you will find an overwhelming amount of advice on how best to increase traffic. There are many ways you can pursue this goal.

Most of the strategies involve some form of content marketing.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a catch-all term for any free resources you publish, whether it’s a blog, YouTube channel, podcast, or webinar.

The aim of content marketing is to draw in the right people, by showing them your value.

The term is also a little misleading. Let me explain.

Any blogger can tell you how frustrating it is to toil away, writing and publishing amazing resources, while traffic remains flat. If feels like you’re screaming into a void.

but here is the thing about email marketing

If the right people aren’t finding your work, it’s a wasted effort.

That’s why when I talk about content marketing in 2019, I’m really talking about SEO (search engine optimization).

To make sure your content marketing is effective in building traffic, you have to first:

Make content your audience is searching for.

And second:

Make sure your content comes up in the search results.

Find out exactly how this process works in a step-by-step guide for how to get on the first page of Google.

Once you’ve nailed the process of creating the right content, try some tactics to amplify your reach.

Depending on how much time and money you want to invest, here are some ways to boost traffic:

Paid traffic: Google Ad, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
Guest posting: Write for other blogs and include links back to your website.
Podcasts: Appear as a guest on podcasts to share your message.
Step 6: Testing and tweaks

An email marketing campaign can be automated, but your strategy should never be “set it and forget it.” Like starting a side hustle, email marketing takes consistent effort.

There are lots of things you can do to improve conversion rates for your opt-in form, and I’ll cover some of them in Chapter 4.

However, don’t worry about optimizing until you have some numbers to work with.

I advise my clients to focus 100% of their efforts on building traffic until they have at least 350 unique visits per day.  That gives you enough information to judge how well your opt-in form is performing.

By comparing how many signups you get vs. how many unique visitors you get to your site, you get a percentage.

I shoot for a minimum 5% signup conversion rate from organic traffic.

email sign up conversion rates

From there, test and tweak variations of your opt-in form and lead magnet offers. This is how you can work towards a higher conversion rate.

Chapter 3: Email Marketing Platforms

Choosing the best email marketing service is a process of clarifying your needs, your budget, and the learning curve you can handle.

First, decide what you need.

Here are the basic features you should expect from an email service:

Personalization: Automatically fills email fields with the data of your contact. This is a must, so all of your emails aren’t addressed, “Hey, Newsletter Subscriber.”

personalization in email marketing

Segmentation: This feature enables you to send different messages to different groups of people. For example, you can tag subscribers based on what they purchased, where they live, or the results of a quiz.

Here are what some of the results look like from a quiz we ran. We use Thrive Quiz Builder to build all our quizzes.

segmentation of email lists

Automation: The ability to schedule when your emails will be delivered is essential. It’s the reason email service providers are sometimes called autoresponders.

email automation example

Opt-in forms: You’ll need a variety of sign-up forms to place on different pages of your website and start collecting emails.

email optin forms in action

Analytics: Reporting on numbers like conversion rates, email open rates, and click-throughs, to help you optimize your marketing.

email analytics in action

Compliance: Make sure your email service includes tools to comply with privacy and anti-spam laws such as GDPR and CAN-SPAM.

Now think about any specific requirements your business has, and make sure you choose a provider that covers you.

For example:

E-commerce businesses send purchase confirmations, abandoned cart reminders, and shipping information. Their email service has to integrate with their shopping cart, whether it’s Shopify, WooCommerce, or something else.

abandoned cart emails for ecommerce

Service-based businesses like personal trainers or chiropractors may want to integrate appointment scheduling and reminders with their email marketing.

appointment scheduling email marketing

Information-based businesses like blogs the sell online courses have more straightforward needs. They need standard features for building an email list and engaging with subscribers.Sound interesting? Here’s how to start a blog.

email marketing for bloggers

Not all email marketing services are created equal, and their pricing often displays this. Let’s take a look at pricing.

How much should you spend on email marketing services?

how much should you spend on email services

If you’re serious about using email to grow your business, you won’t get far with free email software.

But here’s the good news:

The best email marketing platforms are not the most expensive. Most email services are priced on volume. That means you pay less in the beginning when your list is small. You can upgrade as you grow your list (and increase your revenue).

pay per email subscribers

Chances are, you’ve seen emails in your inbox sent through popular service providers like MailChimp, Aweber, or Infusionsoft.

These names are ubiquitous not because they’re the best email marketing platforms. It’s just that they’ve been around for a long time — and in some cases, they have a very active sales force.

For example, Infusionsoft is marketed as an all-in-one online business tool. It’s also considerably more expensive and more complicated than most. If you just need an email service provider, there are cheaper and better options.

infusionsoft pricing

ConstantContact has been in the game since 1995 — but they lag far behind the competition in automation.

There are also many low-cost services and even free options like MailChimp. Inexpensive doesn’t necessarily mean low-quality. But in general, you get what you pay for. And you will eventually outgrow your free plan.

email marketing with mailchimp pricing

Don’t make the mistake of choosing based on familiarity or free offers.

Start with a platform that gives you the best tools for your growing business.

These are the platforms I recommend, and some compelling reasons to consider using them for your email marketing.

They’re not the biggest or most expensive players in the game, but they are the best.

ConvertKit

convertkit is email marketing for creatorsConvertKit claims to be the best email marketing software for online creators — and I can personally back this claim.

As the creator of a podcast, blog, a book, and several online courses, ConvertKit has helped me grow my audience and increase my revenue.

If you’re new to email marketing, simplicity and ease-of-use should be one of your top criteria in choosing an email service. Because it’s designed for creators, not marketers, ConvertKit is easy to use.

Beyond simplicity, ConvertKit has all the essential features and powerful automation you will need to get started with email marketing, or to power-up your existing efforts.

Additionally, they have a couple of snazzy tools like A/B testing of email subject lines, varied send times, and premade email sequences to make your life easier and your email marketing better.

convertkit email trialThe bottom line is ConvertKit is an email service provider you can trust to have your best interests at heart.

Here’s what I love most about it:

ConvertKit is NOT trying to be everything to everyone. They have developed and are continuing to develop the perfect email marketing service for creators – bloggers, podcasts, YouTubers, etc.
Simple, yet effective. Yes, ConvertKit does automation and segmenting, but they have managed to create a tool that is intuitive and easy to use.
ConvertKit is founded and run by Nathan Barry, an honest, hard-working, and great guy.
ActiveCampaign

activecampaign email providerI love email marketing, and I’m fascinated by how it works. I’ve been using it for years.

activecampaign email account historyThat said, some of the email marketing platforms I’ve seen are way too complex, even for me. Sometimes I need to set up complicated automation. I do not want to spend weeks figuring out how to do it, or depend on outside help to make it work.

I’ve settled on ActiveCampaign because they make it incredibly easy to set up complex automations – from basic automated emails to transactional emails, and evergreen email funnels to RSS feed automation.

Screen Recording 2019 04 15 at 11.47 AM

Yes, ActiveCampaign has advanced marketing automation built-in, but they make it simple to implement and understand.

I can map out a subscriber’s journey down to the tiniest detail, in minutes.

Chapter 4: Email Marketing Strategy

email marketing strategies

The first three chapters were all about how email marketing works, and how to start building an email list.

Now we get to the juicy part — what and when to email your subscribers.

Your email marketing strategy has one purpose.

(Hint: It’s not to let people know what you’re up to in newsletters.)

It’s sales. If selling doesn’t come naturally to you, don’t worry. It’s a skill you can learn.

And the best part?

You don’t have to be extroverted, pushy, or underhanded to sell products to your email list.

This chapter will show you how to bring subscribers on the following journey:

moving people through you email strategy

An effective email strategy accomplishes this lofty goal with three kinds of email.

I’m not talking about the content of the messages, which can look very different depending on what business you are in.

Instead, consider the three types of intent behind each message:

Engaging: Teaching readers what you’re all about, and engaging them further with your business.
Selling: Making relevant offers, and asking for the sale.
Segmenting: Finding out more about your subscribers and grouping or “tagging” them to sell more effectively.

Here’s how to use each type of email to build a strategy that will maximize your profits, without being sleazy.

Engaging

The first few emails you send any new subscriber should aim to engage them — get them to open, read, and take action.

Why? Because jumping straight into a sales pitch would be like proposing marriage on a first date. You can imagine what the answer would be.

New subscribers are most engaged in the first few days after signing up. You have their attention now, more than ever.

This is your opportunity to show them they are in the right place, and good things are going to happen when they stay on your list.

Writing an effective email welcome series

In terms of a subscriber’s journey, the first few emails should bring them from stranger to friend.

Starting with your very first welcome email, write with these objectives in mind:

Introduce yourself and your business: Personally welcome and celebrate your new subscriber. Help them get to know you a little better.
Tell your new subscriber what to expect: Let people know how often you will email them, and what kind of emails you will send.
Demonstrate the value of being a subscriber: Remind people why they signed up, and why they are going to love opening your emails.
Engage the subscriber to take further action: Ask them to “whitelist” you, by adding you to their contacts. Entice them to further engage by visiting your website and following your social media accounts.
Raise curiosity about what’s coming next: Give them a strong incentive to open your next emails, by hinting at good things to come.

Here’s what it looks like in action:

parts of a welcome email

You can see in the example above that it’s possible to cover all the bases in one email. But sending a few more emails while your new prospect is still engaged and excited puts you in a much better position.

You want to provide plenty of opportunities for them to engage with one of your emails during this phase.

If they were busy and missed your first email, this gives new subscribers a few more chances to get on board.

Staying in touch

After the welcome series, some of your prospects should be ready to become customers. So absolutely, if you have a product to sell, start selling.

But what if you don’t have a product for sale yet? (If this is the case, you could try affiliate marketing.)

What if you’re still working on products for different segments of your market?

What if you have a product to sell, but it’s something with a longer sales cycle?

Even if none of those questions apply to your business, it’s a bad strategy to email only when you want to sell something.

In fact, regularly sending helpful resources, curated content, or news updates can help with a few important objectives:

Establishing authority: Branding yourself as an expert, and your business as a valuable resource.
Staying top of mind: When they need your product or service, you’ll be the first one they think of.
Deepening the relationship: Over time, regular contact helps readers get to know you better, and trust you more. Conversely, you get to learn more about them as you see what kind of messages get the best response.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you exactly what to send. There’s no standard recipe for email marketing success. Frequency, content, and tone can vary widely, even within the same niche.

For example, The Hustle sends an email every single day, and Brian Clark at Further emails once a week.

A big retail store like Ikea sends targeted product listings, but a small independent cabinet maker might send updates from the workshop, or pictures of their latest project.

For Hack the Entrepreneur, I like to send a personal message every time I publish a new resource. Not so much when I just want to share a motivational quote.

While I can’t tell you exactly what to send, I can tell you to keep these guiding principles in mind with every email blast:

Be consistent: Whether you’re going to email every day, or once a month, tell people what to expect when they sign up. Then make sure you deliver.

Make it about them, not you: Always put your customer first. Ask yourself how what you are sending is going to help them. If you are writing about yourself, that’s fine. As long as you focus the message on how your story benefits the reader.

Selling

Direct selling is the bread and butter of your email marketing strategy. This is how you will grow your business and make real sales to real customers.

Ultimately, all of the emails you send are intended to sell customers on you and your brand. But product launches and sales funnels are specific art (and science).

The good news is, everything in this guide so far has been about placing you in a strategically brilliant position to close the sale.

If you’ve followed along so far, you have already “influenced” your potential customers.

With an awesome lead magnet, you’ve already provided value.

With an effective welcome series, you’ve convinced leads that they are in the right place.

Anyone still on your list is ready to consider the next step of the journey, moving from friend to customer.

Segmenting

Segmenting your email list is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy list.

Why?

Because irrelevant messages are a bother. People will unsubscribe.

Chances are, your business offers a variety of products and services that will appeal to different segments of your readers.

For example:

A gardening supply business:
Different plants grow in different climates.
Some gardeners grow vegetables, and some only flowers.
The list includes a combination of experienced gardeners and people buying their very first seed packet.

If this doesn’t sound anything like your business, you might be tempted to skip over this section. That would be a mistake.

Even if your email list is already super-targeted, segmenting emails helps to re-engage readers.

Here’s how segmenting emails work:

Email your readers and ask them to take an action related to a specific topic. For example:
Clicking a link to an article, on your blog or another high-quality website.
Taking a quiz or survey.
Jumping to a landing page for a free download, webinar, or video.
Clicking a button to stop receiving info about a certain topic.

Subscribers who take the requested action identify themselves as interested.
Email software tracks who clicks on the links your messages, and automatically adds tags. If you use a quiz, same thing — the results are tracked and responders are tagged.
You now have a subgroup of subscribers to target with relevant content, and you’ve re-engaged your long-term readers.

Now you know what segmenting emails are, and how they work. But when should you segment?

There are lots of reasons you might want to tag different groups of your audience. Here are a few of the most common uses:

After the welcome series: Filter new subscribers into the most relevant sales funnel after the welcome series.
Researching demand: Send a quiz, lead magnet, or new content to find out who might be interested in a new product, service, or business book.
Launching a new product: Find out who is interested first, so you can avoid pitching to readers who won’t care.

If you’re not actively researching or launching new products, you should still consider a segmenting email once or twice per year.

Why? To re-engage with your subscribers.

Segmenting emails are engaging — you are asking readers to do something.

Checking out something on your website, clicking to an interesting article, or getting a useful download — all of these things remind subscribers why they signed up in the first place.

Chapter 5: Email marketing tips

EMAIL marketing tips to get you started

With a solid email marketing strategy in place and a few email marketing best practices, your list should be ticking along with steady growth in subscribers.

Time to sit back and watch sales roll in!

Yeah, no. It would be a minor miracle if everything worked flawlessly from day one.

Chances are, you’ll need to make some adjustments along the way to get the results you expect from your email marketing.

Even if you are getting decent results, there will always be room for improvement.

This chapter covers the most common obstacles that trip up many first-time email marketers — and some tips to get phenomenal results.

How do I know if my email marketing is working?

Email marketing covers multiple phases of the sales process, from lead generation to nurturing and closing a sale.

That means there are a few places that things can go… sideways.

The good news about any kind of online marketing: everything is tracked. You can use data to assess performance and diagnose weak points in your email marketing strategy.

Here are the key metrics you need to know, where to find them, and how to improve them.

1. Page impressions:

email metrics

Page impressions is a simple measure of how many people are seeing the page. This metric is also referred to as traffic. It’s the first number to look at.

If you are getting lots of traffic, but nobody is signing up to your list, go on to the next metric (opt-in rate).

2. Opt-in rate:

email signups and conversion rates

The opt-in rate is a percentage of total visitors who sign up (opt-in) to your email list.

5 percent is a reasonable expectation. But if you target your lead magnet well, you can get as high 15 – 20 percent.

3. Open rate:

email marketing series open rates

The open rate is the next thing to look at. It tells you how many people are opening (and hopefully reading) your emails, as a percentage.

Your initial message to a new subscriber will almost always have the highest open rate — 50 to 75 percent is normal.

It’s natural for the rates to drop over time. For example, in an automated welcome sequence or sales funnel, message two will usually drop into a range of 25 to 50 percent.

As the sequence continues, people will unsubscribe and open rates in the 30 percent range are normal.

4. Click-through rate:

click through rates of marketing emails

This is the final step — and the limits of what email marketing can do: getting a subscriber to click on a link in your email.

Click-through rates vary quite a bit, depending on what you are asking subscribers to do.

For example, if your message is selling something, you might include a link to a sales page, and expect a rate of 7 to 30 percent.

If it’s a link to a free download, you 40 to 60 percent is reasonable.

How do I get (and keep) more subscribers?

First, let me answer that question with another question:

Do you have low traffic?

If only a handful of people visit your site each day, increasing traffic should be your most immediate concern. Without enough targeted traffic to your opt-in offer, nothing else you do will make a difference.

Stop reading this right now and learn how to increase traffic to your website (start with getting onto the first page of google)!

As traffic increases to your website, your email list should be growing. If it’s not, the question becomes:

Why isn’t your opt-in converting?

There are many things you can adjust to improve conversions. The easiest thing to try is simply changing your opt-in forms to make them more eye-catching.

Next, you can test different lead magnets to find a more compelling offer.

Finally, consider the sources of traffic to your website. How well do your website visitors match your offer, and how mentally prepared are they to take the next step?

For example, people who are referred by someone they trust are more likely to sign up. People who happen upon your site while looking for something else are less likely to sign up.

How do I get more people to open my emails?

HOW TO GET MORE PEOPLE TO OPEN EMAILS

The first challenge in getting opened is deliverability. So here’s another question for you:

Are your emails arriving in subscribers’ inboxes?

Although your welcome email should direct people to whitelist you, there is more you can do to avoid getting caught in spam filters:

After making it into the inbox, there are some factors that make a big impact on open rates:

1. Timing

email open rates per day

In general, emails are more likely to be opened on weekday mornings.

This is when most people have a minute to scan their inbox for anything interesting — before they start working or going about their day.

Of course, this varies depending on who you are targeting. Some audiences (like mine) prefer to open emails later in the week and weekends.

Find the sweet spot for your audience by experimenting with different times and days.

2. Sender

People are more likely to open an email from friends and family first. And it’s hard to feel friendly towards a corporate entity, isn’t it?

Always use your name as the sender, and not the name of your company.

3. Subject

The subject line is a critical element in open rates. If it’s not compelling, your message will get ignored or deleted.

The subject should be descriptive of the contents, but also intriguing. And it has to be within 30 – 35 characters, or it will be shortened in the display.

4. Opening sentence

Many email clients, like Gmail, show the first sentence or two within the inbox.

Pay special attention to the opening of your message to make sure it grabs attention and promises to be worth reading.

5. Inactive subscribers

Low open rates can indicate a problem with list quality.

Over time, subscribers change email addresses or lose interest and stop reading. Some people provide fake email addresses to get a free offer.

The best thing to do is periodically prune the list by removing inactive email addresses.

How do I keep people from unsubscribing?

The short answer:

You can’t. And you shouldn’t try.

Don’t be afraid of unsubscribes. You can’t expect to keep every subscriber because your business isn’t for everyone.

Of course, you want to keep every potential customer on your list. The best way to do that is to be clear about what subscribers should expect to receive from you — and then deliver.

let your email subscribers unsubscribe when they want

Many first-time email marketers worry about emailing too frequently. They don’t want to be perceived as pushy or annoying. They are also concerned that asking people to buy things all the time is too “salesy” and gross.

These concerns are understandable but wrong.

Your job is to offer as much value as you can with your email marketing. That means sending valuable information and sending frequently. That also includes relevant sales offers.

Never forget — your subscribers are being inundated with other people’s marketing messages. You need to stay in their awareness.

How do increase sales through email marketing?

Email marketing sales funnels are very effective for selling certain types of products. A series of messages strategically composed and timed can:

Create desire
Demonstrate value of the product
Establish urgency to buy

However, it’s difficult for readers to take the leap directly from an email to a shopping cart — especially for higher-priced products.

If you have an online business, your sales funnel should always direct readers to a sales page on your website. Read more about how to create a sales page that converts.

Thrive Leads is an excellent plugin for creating sales and landing pages in WordPress.

Where email marketing take you in 2019?

Now that you know how to get started with email marketing and build a solid list, it’s your turn. If you are looking to make money online, then you need to have a list.

Whether you’re starting an email list for the first time or fine-tuning your strategy, I love hearing what you’re up to and answering questions.

Let me know in the comments what you plan to do with email marketing this year.

The post Email Marketing: The Definitive Guide for 2019 appeared first on Hack the Entrepreneur.

Read more: hacktheentrepreneur.com

99 Side Hustle Business Ideas You Can Start Today

One of the most common questions I hear is how to start a side hustle when you don’t have any good ideas. This is a little list of side hustle business ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

It’s by no means an exhaustive list, and I encourage you to add your own idea to the bottom if it’s not on here.

The beauty of these side hustle ideas is that many don’t require a huge initial investment or even necessarily a highly specialized skill-set. And certainly, not all qualify as “business ideas,” but each has the potential to earn you money in your spare time.

But first, your Free Download:

Warning: This post is a beast! If you prefer to download a PDF version of this post to read later, click the button below:

Click here to download a free PDF version of this post

1. Driving. If you’re free mornings, nights, or weekends, you can earn extra cash driving your fellow citizens around.

Sign up with Lyft (currently offering a $1000 first-month guarantee) or Uber to get started.

One cool “hack”: Both companies offer “Destination Mode”, which basically allows you to earn money on your regular morning and evening commute by telling the app which direction you’re headed and only accepting riders along your route.

2. Food Delivery Service. With services like UberEATS and Door Dash you can earn money on your own schedule delivering take-out orders in your town … and you don’t have to worry about keeping your car super clean for passengers.

3. Notary Public Service. Notary certification is granted by the state and the cost is generally less than $100.

Once you’re certified, you can charge your own fee to notarize documents, or become a loan signing agent like Brian did and make $1500-2000 a month overseeing mortgage signings in your spare time.

4. Customer Interviews. Many companies use customer interviews to get feedback on new products. Respondent is a cool service that facilitates those interviews that take place both in-person and online. (You can totally do this from home; just look for the ones that say “remote”.)

The best part? The average compensation is $140 an hour!

5. Affiliate Marketing. Refer website visitors to buy products online and earn a small commission on each sale. This is actually how I’ve made the bulk of my living over the last 10 years, so it definitely works!

Note: Please do me a favor and don’t buy into anyone’s sleazy affiliate marketing “program” or “system.” There are unfortunately a lot of slimy salespeople out there making their living taking advantage of newbies.

If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing, check out my chat with Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, who consistently earns over $50k a month as an affiliate — all while traveling full-time.

Related: Here’s a step-by-step guide to building your first affiliate website.

6. Earning Money with Credit Card Rewards

Take advantage of the various sign-up bonuses and cash back offers doled out by banks. You’ve got to promise to do this responsibly, but it’s actually earned my wife and I thousands of dollars in free money and travel over the last few years.

What’s the easiest way to get started? Try a new cash back card on for size.

For instance, the Chase Freedom card offers up to 30% cash back — $150 after you spend $500 — with no annual fee.

Compare this card to other cash back cards here.

If you know you’re gonna spend $500 in the next 3 months, that’s #freemoney.

(If you’re worried about your credit score, don’t be. I’ve opened probably a dozen credit card accounts in the last few years and still have a 750+ credit score.)

The Next Step: Check out my free course, Credit Card Rewards 101: How to Earn Free Cash and Travel by Spending Smarter

7. Online Surveys. These won’t make you rich, but can be an easy way to supplement your income and you can do them in your downtime (waiting in line, watching TV, etc.).

If you love this stuff, check out:

Springboard America – Higher payouts than many other survey sites, but requires a $50 minimum to cash out.
Survey Junkie – Popular online survey site with more than 3 million members.
Swagbucks (free $5 bonus; earn up to $35 a survey)
Prize Rebel – Earn $10-12 an hour doing surveys or completing other tasks. Just avoid the low-paying ones.
InboxDollars (free $5 bonus)
Opinion Outpost – Cash out at just $5 via PayPal or Amazon gift cards. Each survey enters you into a $10,000 quarterly drawing.
CashCrate – Get a $1 bonus just for signing up!

8. Virtual Assistant Service. Virtual assistants provide administrative support to clients from their home office. If that sounds like a fun side hustle you can set up shop on your own or jump on board with an established VA company like BELAY or Fancy Hands.

To learn more about starting your own virtual assistant company, check out the free video training from my friend Abbey Ashley, who started her VA business on the side and shares:

Where to find thousands of potential clients.
How to make a full-time living working from home.
What clients are really looking for in a VA. (hint: it’s not prior VA experience)

Click here to learn more about becoming a virtual assistant.

9. Renting Out Your Car. In select markets, you can rent out your car on a daily or hourly basis to earn extra cash through companies like Turo and Getaround.

According to Turo, the average car sits idle 22 hours a day, so their service is a unique opportunity to capitalize on those idle hours. The companies handle all the insurance.

A couple friends used the Turo platform to essentially get a free Tesla!

10. Blogging. Blogging is difficult to monetize but can be a fun outlet to practice your writing or build an audience around a particular idea.

Brock McGoff turned his side project men’s fashion blog into a 6-figure online business, and my friend Jodi earns $5k+ per month from her part-time blog for girl scout troop leaders.

Want to start a blog of your own? Check out my free 6-part video course on how to start your own site.

11. Teaching English Online. Earn up to $20 per hour teaching English to young students in China via video chat with VIPKid. If you’re eligible to work in the US or Canada, a bachelor’s degree and a year of educational experience are the only prerequisites.

Note: Because of the time zones, this is probably better the closer to the East coast you are.

Remember to immediately schedule your video interview after completing your application. This is the single most important component of the application process. You will be asked to confirm a time for a live video interview with a VIPKID teaching team member. Live interviews must be scheduled and typically will happen within a couple days (sometimes up to a week) from the time a candidate applied.

12. Airbnb. If you have extra room in your house, you can earn money renting it out to visitors on Airbnb.com. It’s a pretty cool way to make money and meet interesting people from around the world at the same time.

With a little bit of traction, you could even cover your entire rent or mortgage by hosting guests on Airbnb. Have you tried it?

My friend Jasper travels the world while renting out his Amsterdam apartment.

The next step: In addition to a small portfolio of her own short-term rental properties, Zeona McIntyre has built a side business in “co-hosting” other Airbnbs. She essentially acts as the property manager, coordinating guest check-ins, maintenance, and cleaning, in exchange for 20% of the rent — with none of the risk.

13. Selling on eBay. eBay can be a tough, low-margin, competitive environment, but that’s not to say there aren’t any opportunities left to earn extra cash on the world’s largest marketplace.

I met one side hustle ebay seller who sold $100,000 worth of stuff (mostly used electronics) on ebay in one year, and another who built a 6-figure business as the “Flea Market Flipper.”

14. Selling on Amazon. One of the most popular side hustles lately has been Amazon’s FBA program, in which you find bargain deals locally, and ship them off to sell on Amazon.

I recently sat down with a $1 million seller to learn how she sources profitable reselling inventory from local stores.

I even made a bit of money when I tried it myself.

15. Private Labeling. In this side hustle, you identify hot-selling products and bring your own to market to compete with them. There’s an art and science to this, including negotiating with suppliers (often overseas), but in this episode of The Side Hustle Show, 7-figure Amazon seller Greg Mercer shared his top 3 Amazon FBA product sourcing guidelines and tips.

16. Teaching Online. Udemy is an impressive online education platform where students can connect with teachers from all around the world in any subject. You can create your own course around a topic you’re an expert in and set your own tuition rate.

I did this several years ago and have earned over $20,000 in (mostly) passive income from it!

Related: The 134 Best Udemy Courses for Entrepreneurs, Freelancers, and Side Hustlers

If you have an existing subscriber base to sell to, you might be able to sell the course directly and not have to worry about losing margin to Udemy. One resource with some great information on creating your own online course for “passive” income is my podcast with Ankur Nagpal, the founder of Teachable.

17. Baking. Do people love your desserts? Maybe you could provide cake, cookies, or cupcakes to some corporate event in town.

baking

18. “Alternative” Investments. For me, alternative investments are vehicles like peer-to-peer lending, real estate crowdfunding, business lending, and even cryptocurrency.

This is one of my favorite side hustles because it’s automated and passive. Check out options like Fundrise, which allows you to invest in revenue-generating commercial properties for as little as $500.

Related: 79 Alternative Investment Platforms to Earn Stronger Returns, Build Cash Flow, and Diversify Your Portfolio

19. Lose Weight. Yes, with sites like HealthyWage you can actually get paid ($500 or more!) to lose weight. It works like a bet, where you put the money upfront and get paid out your prize when your hit your goal. Check out their calculator to see how much your prize could be. Here’s more on how HealthyWage it works.

20. Becoming an Adjunct Professor. You may need a graduate degree for this one, but it can be a fun way to share your knowledge with the next generation of students and earn some good money on the side — especially if you can teach online or with pre-recorded lectures.

21. Being a TaskRabbit. Task Rabbit is an on-demand errand-running service that enlists regular people to help out. You can earn money in your spare time completing real-world tasks on their unique platform.

One user in Atlanta makes a full-time living assembling IKEA furniture!

The platform also allows for virtual work like online research and other tasks that can be done remotely.

22. Proofreading. Do you like to read? If you have an eye for detail you can set up shop on Upwork as a proofreader and bid on jobs large and small. I actually offered this service on Fiverr for a while and made some decent money.

23. E-commerce. Sell products online through your own store or through Amazon or eBay. In this episode, Will Mitchell walked me through how to find a profitable import product.

Next Step: Set up your shop with a 14-day free trial of Shopify, the leading shopping cart provider.

24. Raw Land Flipping. This sounds a little crazy, but my guest Mark calls his raw land investing business the best passive income model because he doesn’t have to deal with “problem tenants, rodents, or repairs.”

25. Tutoring. Put that education to use by helping students learn in a comfortable one-on-one setting. WyzAnt is one of the largest operators in the online tutoring world.

In this post, Matt Fuentes shares how he built his tutoring business up to $1000 a week.

If you already have experience teaching or tutoring, you might consider VIPKid, where you can teach English online to students in China.

26. Picking up Trash. Brian Winch has been doing this over 30 years and calls it “America’s simplest business.” He says you can earn $50,000-$100,000 a year for basically walking local parking lots and cleaning up the garbage.

Check out the interview I did with Brian to learn more.

27. Focus-Grouping. I made $100 an hour at an in-person focus group. Here are some companies that facilitate them near you and online.

28. Kindle Publishing. Selling ebooks on Amazon is one of the income streams I’m cultivating. I love the idea of having my work for sale on the world’s largest store!

From my very first author royalty check in 2012, I keep learning more about self-publishing and am hopefully getting better every time I put pen to paper … or fingers to keyboard.

I generated 20,000 downloads with my first “serious” book launch in 2014, and another title earned nearly $18,000 in its first year.

29. Sperm Donor. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a business, but it sure sounds more fun than donating blood.

30. Postmates Delivery. Ride, drive, or walk to make local deliveries in your town with the Postmates app and earn up $25 an hour doing so.

31. Selling on Etsy. Etsy is the world’s largest marketplace for unique hand-crafted goods. What can you make?

My friend Kara started selling wine-themed wedding decor on Etsy as a side hustle and since turned it into a full-time business.

32. Selling on Fiverr. Fiverr is one of the greatest sites in the world. The basic premise is “what would you do for $5?” You’ll find everything from hilariously weird and useless gags to legitimate and genuinely helpful micro-business tasks.

Check out these fine Side Hustle Nation posts for more on how to make Fiverr work for you both as a buyer and a seller:

How to Build a 6-Figure Side Hustle on Fiverr
How I Earned $7490 in My First 14 Months on Fiverr
$10 from a Single Sale … on Fiverr [Podcast]

I’ve used Fiverr for graphic design, book covers, website optimization, article writing, and even the intro voiceover for The Side Hustle Show. I’ve experimented as a seller on Fiverr, starting with selling non-fiction ebooks.

Getting a little more adventurous with my gigs, I got featured on the homepage and was flooded with orders, ultimately earning $920 in 10 days.

33. Selling on Teespring. Teespring is a print-on-demand t-shirt platform, where you can custom-design your own shirts and sell them through the site.

I created an “Every Day I’m Hustling” shirt and sold enough for the campaign to ship, but didn’t earn much on the experiment because of some not-very-effective Facebook advertising. Still, some opportunity here and a friend of mine is doing REALLY well with this. If you can create awesome designs and reach the right people with good Facebook targeting, Teespring can be very profitable.

On the podcast, my friend Benny shared how he built a 6-figure business on Teespring in under a year — even after a pretty discouraging start!

34. T-Shirt Printing Service. Create silk-screened t-shirts for events and organizations. Bonus points for creating the designs yourself.

My wife and I have gotten into this ourselves lately, but we’ve been letting Amazon do the printing through their Merch by Amazon program. It’s awesome!

35. Ghostwriting. With millions of websites all competing for attention, writing is a service that’s constantly in demand. Someone’s got to create all that content, right?

You can start out on your own, or find gigs through the popular aggregating service Contena. (Use coupon code Sidehustle15 for 15% off any membership!)

Gabe Arnold even turned his ghostwriting side hustle into a full-blown agency!

36. Sports Coaching. School teams are sometimes in need of coaching help and this can be a fun and active side hustle.

37. Podcasting. With a unique angle to your podcast, you can attract a large following, which can translate into serious sponsorship dollars. It costs less than you think to start and has honestly been a life-changing project for me.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. My friend Steve Young turned his part-time podcast into a full-time business with multiple streams of income.

38. Rental Properties. Real estate investing is one of the oldest and most popular side hustles in the books. New platforms like Roofstock make it easy to shop for and buy income-generating properties with tenants and property management already in place.

I liked Austin Miller’s creative approach to building his rental portfolio, which was up to 17 properties worth $1.2 million when we spoke. The kicker? They were all acquired “free”–without any of his own money.

39. Pool Cleaning Service. If you live in a warm climate with a lot of pools, this could be a fun and interesting side hustle to enjoy the summer outdoors.

40. Knife Sharpening. Every house in the country is a potential repeat customer. In this post and podcast episode, Matt Rowell shares how he got started and now earns $30-60 an hour sharpening knives.

41. Swagbucks / InboxDollars. Also not really a business, but you can earn gift cards, cash, and other rewards by answering surveys, watching videos, playing games, and shopping online with both Swagbucks and InboxDollars.

(While rare, you can occasionally earn up to $35 a survey.)

At press time, both companies are offering a $5 bonus just for signing up!

42. Alterations. Handy with a sewing machine? I believe the market for clothing alteration is ripe for disruption because of a lack of transparency in pricing. I’ve had some suits altered from a couple different places with dramatically different rates.

Free marketing tip: Post flyers at the gym or other places where people may have lost a lot of weight and need their clothes altered.

43. Book Flipping. Use the free Bookscouter app to scan barcodes and see what old books are worth. You can do this both for the ones collecting dust on your shelf and for the ones at garage sales or the library book store.

44. Child Care. Is it just me, or does “babysitting” sound amateur compared to “child care”? Register on sites like SitterCity to begin building a client base.

45. Caregiving. This business continues to grow as the population ages, and popular sites like Care.com can help match you with customers.

46. Bookkeeping / Accounting / Tax Preparation Service. Help other businesses with their accounting and finances. This can be a great option for people with an accounting background from school or from their day job.

47. Brand Ambassadorship. Big brands are always looking for assistance with their on-the-ground marketing efforts, and pay pretty well for the help.

Kenny Azama explained it’s a relatively easy (and fun) way to earn $1000 a month part-time, and could even turn into a full-time gig. When we spoke, he was earning $2k a week on a cross-country RV road-trip as a brand ambassador!

48. Building an Authority Website. While niche sites (see below) get a lot of attention, an authority site has a better chance of withstanding the changes in Google’s algorithm and turning into a long-term asset.

You may not even need to be an authority when starting out. My friend Perrin got a new puppy and was disappointed with the information he found online, so he got to work and 20 months later HerePup.com was valued at $200,000.

49. Building Niche Websites. Building niche sites is a popular side hustle because after some initial research and time investment they can be a relatively hands-off income source. These types of sites generally cover a very specific topic and earn money through advertising, affiliate relationships, or digital products.

This tutorial lays out the process step-by-step for creating a simple niche affiliate site.

Want more? Here’s a step-by-step guide on the fastest cheapest way to build a website.

50. Car Flipping. If you’re a savvy negotiator and know your way around cars, you can buy low and sell high and turn a profit quickly with this side hustle.

51. Car Wash and Detailing. A mobile detailing service would be a super-low cost startup and you could get clients in bunches at office parks, shopping malls, schools, sporting events, and other places where cars like to gather.

52. Carpet Cleaning. Carpet cleaning would be a relatively simple and low cost business to start. You could get clients on an annual or semi-annual recurring schedule like the dentist.

53. Catering. If you have a passion for cooking, a catering business has a lower barrier to entry and time commitment than say, opening a restaurant.

54. Residential or Commercial Cleaning Service. It may not be glamorous, but it’s something nearly every business spends money on and usually gets done in the after-work hours.

Cassandre Poblah actually earned $1000 a month doing this part time, and Chris Schwab’s cleaning business does $60k a month — without him ever lifting mop.

55. Computer Repair Service. There are more computers in this country (including tablets and smartphones) than there are people. The repair market is very fragmented which means there is opportunity for solo-operators to break in.

computer repair

(image source)

John Rouda offers monthly IT support and maintenance contracts for local businesses, calling it one of his “for-profit hobbies.”

56. Computer Tutoring. Some of the computer skills we take for granted are still lacking for portions of the population. If you can find them and sell them on the necessity of technical skills for their careers, there might be a business opportunity here.

57. Consulting / Coaching. Consulting is an ambiguously broad field, but there are consultants for practically every area of expertise. What are you a relative expert in that others might pay for your advice?

With platforms like Clarity.fm, you can get started very quickly and earn $60/hour and up.

In this episode, my friend Kai Davis breaks down his step-by-step methods of building a consulting business in 20-hours. Later, Jonathan Stark shared his framework for getting a new consulting business from zero to $5k a month.

58. Cover Letter and Resume Service. Especially if you have experience in HR, there is a massive opportunity to help job seekers with their resumes and cover letters. Since the payoff of landing a job is so high, it can be worthwhile for applicants to seek some professional assistance on their documents.

It would be interesting to see this sold on a pay-for-performance model, where you only get paid if the applicant gets the interview.

59. Craigslist Arbitrage. Craigslist and other markets are still filled with inefficiencies that a trained eye can exploit for profit. There are some great stories of regular people doing just this.

For instance, Ryan Finlay of ReCraigslist.com, makes a full-time living buying and selling on Craigslist and stopped by the podcast to tell me about it.

60. Craigslist Gigs. There’s a little-known section in the bottom right corner of Craigslist (at least at press time) specifically for side hustlers. Check it out and see what kind of gigs you might be able to find nearby or online.

61. Small Business Marketing Service. Many small companies don’t have the staff or know-how to do all their marketing themselves, especially when it comes to putting their best foot forward online and on social media. You can help them with that, much like Sean does in his business.

62. Customer Service. Some companies are now employing part-time customer service representatives to work from home and handle incoming phone or live chat service requests.

63. Dating. The dating site WhatsYourPrice.com actually lets suitors pay women to go on dates with them.

64. Dividend Investing. This has been one of my favorite ways of “buying cash flow” lately, and is a simple way to get paid over and over again from work you do once.

65. Dog Walking. Yes, some people are too busy to walk their own dogs. Post flyers in your neighborhood or set up a profile on WagWalking.com.

66. Doula Service. Doulas can earn $500-$1000 per birth, if you’re into that sort of thing.

67. Dropshipping. Dropshippers set up their own storefront and process sales, but never touch the actual product. Instead, the items are shipped directly to the customer from the manufacturer or wholesaler.

Next Step: I had the chance to sit down with Rene Delgado to learn how he sold $300,000 worth of bounce houses in his first year in business.

68. Estate Sale Service. Estate sales are often managed by a third-party company, who takes a percentage of the proceeds in exchange for handling the event. To learn more about this side hustle check out Robert Farrington’s post on Budgets are Sexy.

69. Event DJ-ing. I feel like DJ-ing is something of a lost art in the era of pre-made iTunes playlists, but there are still plenty of events that have a live DJ.

70. Freelancing. There are millions of people supplementing their income by freelancing in their spare time. You’ll find them on sites like FreeeUp or Fiverr.

On The Side Hustle Show, I really enjoyed hearing how both Gabe and Gina set their freelancing businesses up for recurring revenue.

71. Furniture Making. If you’re skilled in carpentry, maybe people would like to buy your hand-crafted furniture. OK, this one reminds me of Ron Swanson.

ron swanson woodworking

(image source)

72. Gigwalking. Gigwalk is a free smartphone app that pays you to complete small tasks in your neighborhood, like photographing the inside of a store.

You might also check out the similar EasyShift app.

73. Graphic Design Service. Quality graphic design is always in-demand, and never before have there been so many outlets on which to sell your skills. The most popular design-focused site is 99designs, but you can check out Crowdspring, DesignCrowd, or any of the freelance marketplaces as well.

One fun example of a side hustle graphic design business gone global is Design Pickle, where the founder told me, “I sucked at design.” So instead it became his job to match customers with contractors, and less than 3 years later, the little side project was doing $400k a month in revenue!

74. Handyman Service. This is certainly not a great option for my less-than-handy self, but I’m positive someone else with the right skills can make it work. You might try setting up a profile on TaskRabbit (where I connected with an on-demand handyman) or Thumbtack.

75. Home Inspection Service. Certification is required, but this is a viable side hustle because the inspections can be scheduled at your convenience and only take a few hours.

76. House Sitting. I’m more intrigued in house sitting as a way to get free accommodations while traveling, but I guess it can be a way to supplement your income at home as well.

77. Human Billboard. If you’re not afraid of embarrassing yourself on a street corner, there are always businesses looking to hire sign-spinners or people in costume to attract attention.

human billboard

(image credit)

78. Hyper-Local Newspaper. Could you start a small newspaper for your neighborhood? Could you sell advertisements?

Kai Davis and I discuss this idea (among others) in Episode 4 of The Side Hustle Show.

79. Interior Decorating. With an eye for design, interior decorating could be a fun part-time business.

80. Investing in Websites. If you have some idle cash and want to put it to work, buying a pre-existing cash flow may be the fastest path to side hustle income. Stacy Caprio bought a small portfolio of sites that–after a couple early mis-steps–was profitable enough to leave her job.

81. Ironing / Mobile Laundry Service. Holy crap do I hate ironing! I’m certain a decent chunk of the population is with me on this one and would be willing to pay to make that problem go away.

82. Junk Hauling Service. This is an especially feasible side hustle business if you already have access to a large truck or van. Bonus points if you can re-sell some of the junk! I had the chance to sit down with Brian Scudamore, the founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK, to learn how he took the business from a summer gig to doing around $1 million a day in revenue.

83. Medical Transcription Service. Medical transcription, which involves typing out doctors’ recorded voice notes, is often a part-time work-from-home position.

84. Flyer Distribution Service. One listener wanted to find a way to get more FitBit steps–and get paid for it. So he approached a local business and offered to distribute flyers door-to-door. Then he realized it wouldn’t really be any more work to drop off 3 or 4 flyers at each house, effectively earning $75-100 an hour for taking a walk!

85. MLM Sales. MLM (multi-level marketing) programs are frequently derided as pyramid schemes — and many of them are! — but some people manage to do quite well with them, often starting out part-time. Amway is probably the most well-known.

My friend Kellie is crushing it as a Beachbody coach, and shares some of her best network marketing tips here.

86. Mobile Oil Change Service. Save people time by bringing the shop and supplies to them. If you’re comfortable fixing cars, you might actually check out YourMechanic.com, which helps match you with customers in need of car repairs.

87. Modeling. Stock photographers are sometimes in need of subjects for their work. Strike a pose!

88. Movie / TV Extra. Your odds are better if you’re in LA or New York, but there can always be “on location” shoots nearby. Check out Central Casting or Auditions Free to see if there are any gigs near you. Bonus points if you can get your Screen Actors Guild credentials!

89. Moving Service. Moving is never fun, but can be a good way to earn some extra cash on the weekend if you’re strong and don’t mind carrying other people’s stuff.

90. Mystery Shopping. Companies will pay you to verify their in-store or on-the-phone experience, or to spy on their competition. It’s possible to make over $10,000 a year being a mystery shopper.

We live near a place called the National Food Lab and occasionally get called in for taste tests. They pay cash and it’s really easy; just answer a few questions and you’re on your way.

91. Organize a Bundle Sale. An online bundle sale brings together a bunch of digital products for a limited time. Each contributor earns a cut on every bundle they sell and you take a percentage as the organizer.

92. Host Trivia Nights. Bars and restaurants are always looking for creative ways to get customers in the door, especially mid-week. One compelling option is an entertaining trivia game, that you can get paid to host.

93. Party Planning / Wedding Coordinator Service. Put your organization skills to good use.

94. Rent Out Used Baby Gear. BabyQuip.com presents a compelling alternative to getting rid of baby stuff as soon as you’re done with it — which has been our strategy so far!

The platform connects parents with traveling families or grandparents who live in town and need a crib and a stroller for a few days.

The average BabyQuip Quality Provider makes $650 a month part-time.

95. Personal Chef Service. Could you picture yourself making meals in someone else’s kitchen? This could be a good way to break into the food services industry without the time commitment and overhead of starting your own restaurant. Some friends of ours pay $180-200 a week for meals delivered to their house.

96. Personal Training. People are always looking to get in shape and if you have a passion for fitness, this could be the perfect side hustle.

97. Pet Grooming. Just like their owners, pets require haircuts too. A mobile pet grooming service can be a low-cost part-time business.

98. Pet Sitting. When homeowners travel, it opens up an opportunity for pet sitting services to come by and take care of their animals.

pet sitting

To set up shop, try Rover.com. These three people are all making over $1000 a month watching other people’s pets!

99. Photography Service. This is my wife’s favorite side hustle. Turn your photog hobby into an income stream.

Side Hustle Show guest Vincent Pugliese shared how “freelanced his way to freedom” and went from earning $30k a year to $30k in a day.

100. Product Licensing. Who says ideas are worthless? With product licensing you can sell the rights to your idea to large companies, who will pay you royalties for every sale they make from that idea.

I had the chance to sit down with Nate Dallas, who earned $300,000 from Mattel in this way, after licensing an idea to them for a Pictionary spin-off.

Later, Stephen Key stopped by to drop his wisdom on product licensing and why there’s never been a better or easier time to get started.

101. App Development. The mobile app market is hot, but one developer likened it to the gold rush — where the ones who made the most money were the ones selling the gear and the shovels. Similarly, a freelance app developer gets paid whether or not the app goes on to become a hit.

To learn more about app development and some useful tips and strategies, check out my podcast interview with Benny Hsu, where he shares how he made $30,000 in 30 days on the app store, with no programming experience!

And more recently, uber successful app-preneur Carter Thomas broke down what he’d do if he had to start over.

102. Real Estate Wholesaling. In this side hustle, your job is to connect motivated sellers with real estate investors. You earn the difference between your negotiated contract price and the eventual sales price.

The best part? It doesn’t put your cash or credit at risk. On the podcast, J. Massey shared some more tips on how to find distressed properties.

103. Rec Sports Officiating. Recreational sports leagues are often in need of referees and umpires, and this can be a fun way to spend your evenings and earn a little extra cash.

104. RentaFriend. RentaFriend.com facilitates (strictly platonic) paid companionship. Friends report earning $20-50 an hour to hang out with strangers. Yeah, this sounds a little creepy and weird but I guess if you’re lonely and have got the money…

105. Snuggling. Sam Varnerin of Boston, snuggling has turned into a serious business. She told Student Loan Hero, “I work around 18 hours a week, charging between $80 and $100 an hour, and make between $3-4k a month.” Sam started part-time through the SnuggleBuddies.com agency, which allowed her to earn $40 an hour on her own schedule, before striking out on her own.

106. Software Mogul. Software is one of those “perfectly scalable” business models, in that you can theoretically create something once and sell it over and over again.

The cool thing is, you don’t even know how to write code. Christopher Gimmer built his SaaS business by getting outside help on the technical side.

107. Teaching Music. With a love for music, teaching, and working with kids, you could start a part-time music teaching business.

108. Music Licensing. Singer-songwriter Cathy Heller found a unique way to “reverse-engineer” her dream job by licensing her catchy tunes to big brands and TV shows. Alternatively, licensing stock music is a bit of a numbers game, but can be a cool way to earn passive income from your art.

109. Teaching Yoga. A certain level of expertise and certification may be required, but becoming a yoga instructor could be a fun and healthy part-time business.

(image credit)

110. Tour Guide Service. Do you want to show off your city to visitors? You can create your own unique tour experience with the help of websites like Vayable.comToursByLocals.com, and LocalGuiding.com.

For example, Alex Kenin leads urban hikers through the hills of San Francisco at $50 a pop.

111. Translation / Interpretation Service. A translation service could be an excellent way to put your bilingual skills to good use. There are always translation jobs on Upwork, as a place to start.

112. Travel Agent Service. Are you a seasoned traveler? Do you always know where to get the best deals and the best experiences? It might be surprising that despite widespread access to travel information there is still a healthy demand both for insider travel knowledge and the hands-off experience of letting an expert handle the booking.

Plus, you can put your travel-hacking skills to the test and earn money at the same time with services like FlightFox.

113. Vehicle Advertising. According to Wrapify, you can earn up to $500 a month by putting an advertising “wrap” on your car.

Has anyone tried this yet? Let me know!

car wrap

(photo credit)

114. Vending Machines. Matt Miller’s passive income vending machine empire started with just $36 and a bag of gumballs. He’d been flipping used books, but found it took too much time. Looking for something a little more automated, he settled on bulk vending.

115. Voiceover Acting. Companies are always on the look for professional voiceover talent. Once you start listening for it, you’ll hear voiceover work everywhere.

One Side Hustle Show guest reported turning her voiceover side hustle into a full-time gig in just 4 months, earning up to $3000 an hour in the process.

116. Web Design Service. There’s no shortage of crappy looking websites out there. Pitch the benefits of good design and help them out.

Even though I’m not super-technical, I was able to build out a pretty nice looking site in a few hours using this rapid-launch method.

117. Window Cleaning Service. Window cleaning can be a nice little weekend side hustle, and requires minimal startup capital; you may already have a ladder, a bucket, and a squeegee.

118. Working on Mechanical Turk. Mechanical Turk is a service provided by Amazon to help companies complete micro-jobs that sometimes only pay pennies for each one.

The good news is they are relatively simple and fast to finish so you may be able to earn a modest side hustle income in your spare time from home. One reader reported earning $21,000 in his spare time over the last couple years.

I’m not sure the hourly wage will be anything amazing here but I wanted to include it as an option in case you wanted to check it out.

119. Yard Work Service. Much like the cleaning service above, it’s not the most glamorous side hustle in the world but the fact is nearly every yard in the country requires some sort of maintenance. That means there’s a big business opportunity.

120. YouTube Channel Host. Google (which owns YouTube) pays channel-owners to host their ads on their videos, meaning if you generate a lot of YouTube views, you can earn a lot of money with their revenue sharing program.

Several YouTube users report earning more than $100,000 a year, and I recently sat down with Gabby Wallace, who turned her YouTube English teaching channel into a full-time business.

121. Storage Unit Auctions. Popularized by TV shows like Storage Wars, bidding on abandoned storage lockers can be a viable side hustle — and a bit of a treasure hunt.

122. Local Rental Business. Corey Jeffreys wanted to get into rental real estate, but lacking capital, bought a bounce house and began renting that out instead. In his first year, he turned that $800 investment into $3,000 and has gone on to build the business into a 5-figure side hustle.

123. Reader’s Choice! Help me out by adding your part-time business idea in the comments below!

And yes, I know the list has grown beyond the promised 99 ideas 🙂

What’s Next?

Fill out the form below to join Side Hustle Nation for free and I’ll send you my report: The 5 Fastest Ways to Make More Money.
Subscribe to The Side Hustle Show (Apple Podcasts link, but available everywhere).
Pin it for later:

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Note: Comments are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Comments have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Read more: sidehustlenation.com

Nintendo exec on E3, streaming and game delays

This year’’ s E3 was a little bit of a variety. Sony was totally missing, Microsoft was looking towards the future and Nintendo, as ever, was everything about the video games. The program came at an odd time in Nintendo’’ s launch cycle.

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The business just recently spilled all the information about soon-to-be-released titles Mario Maker 2 and Pokémon Sword and Shield, making Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Luigi’’ s Mansion 3 the structures of the business’’ s huge Nintendo Direct reveal on Tuesday early morning.

Animal Crossing, Zelda and Gooigi – – The finest of Nintendo ’ s E3 occasion

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The long-awaited Animal Crossing title, regretfully, featured the caution that gamers are going to need to wait up until even longer (2020), however the business had a lot of playable titles at the program, consisting of the Link ’ s Awakening remaster and the previously mentioned Luigi follow up. That included probably was the surprise hit of the program, Gooigi– which, as the portmanteau recommends, is undoubtedly a gooey variation of Luigi.

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Absent throughout the occasion were any brand-new hardware statements and any brand-new news on the 4th Metroid Prime. The business did, nevertheless, have a significant surprise up its sleeve in the type of a teaser trailer for an unnamed follow up for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

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We took a seat with Nintendo ’ s Senior Director, Corporate Communications Charlie Scibetta following the huge reveals to go over the business ’ s handle streaming, mobile and what things appear like following the departure of Reggie Fils-Aim é .

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TC: I wished to begin by speaking about some more comprehensive patterns. Microsoft, Sony and even Apple see streaming as being the future of video gaming. Where does Nintendo come down on that, from both the point of possible hardware agnosticism and purchasing versus subscribing?

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CS: Streaming is definitely intriguing innovation. Nintendo is keeping a close eye on it and we’re assessing it. We do not have anything to reveal today in regards toembracing that innovation. For us, it’s still physical and it’s digital downloads through our eShop. A lot of downloadable material to keep the video games fresh, however in terms of streaming as a method to run the video games, we do not have anything to reveal on that front.

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TC: Hardware’s constantly been a huge differentiator for Nintendo. Do you believe we’re approaching a point of hardware agnosticism? Or is hardware going to be a significant differentiator for Nintendo?

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CS: Well, we believe our video games truly come to life best on our hardware due to the fact that our software application and hardware designers work carefully together to make the very best carrying out video game based off the method to bring that software application to life. You return to the Wii, for instance, the method it brought tennis and bowling to life was with movement control. That actually worked well for that, it was a launch title that included every system that actually offered the system since you comprehended the worth proposal immediately. Simply even by strolling by someone that was playing that you comprehended it, and we believe we captured lightening in a bottle the exact same method with Nintendo Switch due to the fact that it’s an entire console you can dip into house, delight in on a cinema TELEVISION, and after that you can take it with you.

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And the marketplace has actually reacted. Since completion of our which, ended in March 2019, we offered over 34 million systems worldwide. Fourteen million in North America. Individuals are purchasing the software application. This previous crossed 70% more software application than the previous year, over 23% more hardware. Individuals are purchasing the video games to play on the system. And a program like this, at E3, is everything about showcasing the video games that are going to power that system. For us, it’s about revealing video games and getting individuals to connect with the video games. They’re going to enjoy on the system.

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TC: Obviously the line has actually softened a bit on Nintendo’s position when it concerns mobile. The business had actually taken a really difficult line versus that of just using video gaming experiences on very first celebration hardware. How essential is mobile? How essential are iOS and Android, to Nintendo’s play moving forward?

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CS: Mobile is extremely essential to Nintendo. You’re best that we did not get involved with mobile video gaming for a great deal of years, however we have actually leapt in headfirst now and are bringing a great deal of our most important IP to mobile — Mario Kart being the one that’s upcoming.And what we like about it is, as I was speaking about with the mix of the software application and the hardware, we just bring the software application to mobile that we believe you can actually play well on a mobile phone with the control speed that a phone deals, so not — every IP is proper. The ones that have actually come out are the ones that our designers have actually figured out are suitable for that. Individuals can have an excellent time with our IP on a mobile gadget.

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TC: Sony ’ s lack looms big on the program. It ’ s moved some focus and the spatial dynamic in this hall. Nintendo undoubtedly made a shift into Direct and Treehouse, so all of the material is being fed to the basic public, and us. How essential are programs like this for Nintendo?

CS: We’ve been to lots of E3s. We’re a fan of the program.’We believe it’s an excellent method for us to connect with individuals, like yourself, reporters, influencers who make YouTube videos, retail partners and, most significantly, most just recently, with customers. We like seeing the responses of customers to our video games in the cubicle. We do interviews here and attempt to bring those video game to life by describing more; the Treehouse Live method is great due to the fact that we do a Nintendo Direct the early morning on the very first day. We go deeper on those video games with individuals that are interested in those with our specialists and with designers.

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We believe it’s a fantastic method to display, not just our offerings and what the market is as a whole. We’re part of the market, so we support the program. Other business need to make their own choices based upon what’s right for them, however for us, we like E3. We believe it does a fantastic task of assisting link us with the customers and individuals that cover the market so they can discover the items.

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TC: Doug [Bowser] took control of for Reggie [Fils-Aim é] Whenever that takes place, even with an actually big business, it tends to be an excellent chance to reassess things, reconsider things, take a look at the wider context. Do you see there being any reversal or a reassessment of the function that Nintendo is playing in the marketat the minute?

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CS: Reggie was a fantastic leader for us for a great deal of years. We want him well and he’s still a fan, in his own words. He stated he’ll constantly be a Nintendo fan, so he’s constantly going to be with us. Doug is a market veteran himself and he ‘d been with numerous business and he’s been at Nintendo for over 4 years, so he’s well-grounded in the manner in which we do marketing. I would state that thing that hasn’t altered is that we’re a product-first business. We constantly like to bring our messages back to what is the video game about, how does it make you feel, what is the feeling we wish to create with that video game, therefore Doug is actually continuing the tradition of Reggie and others that preceded him.

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TC: There have actually been a great deal of reports about a Switch Lite and Pro, having the dedicated portable, and things of that nature. Does it make good sense to have a Switch that is simply portable? How important is that hybrid experience? And are we getting near to or approaching that point of the life process when it’s time to begin considering brand-new variations of the hardware?

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CS: We have absolutely nothing to reveal at this program in regards to brand-new hardware. We do have more than 2,000 video games readily available today. We believe as long as we have terrific video games to power, the system is going to have an excellent life. When they believe that it’s time for brand-new hardware to bring whatever their innovative concepts are to life, our designers will have to make the choice. When it’s time for brand-new hardware, that’s actually what drives the choice on. Exists something that can’tbe provided for their imaginative vision with the existing hardware?

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Then they take it in a various instructions. When it comes to the Nintendo Switch, undoubtedly we have the Wii U and our designers wished to begin thinking about video gaming in a various instructions where you can take it on the go, whenever, or you can dip into house. That’s why the Nintendo Switch was developed. That’s why they wed the software application and the hardware that method. There’s absolutely nothing to reveal in regards to where we wish to choose the future, because today, what we have on our hands is working actually well.

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TC: What occurred particularly with Animal Crossing? When a video game gets postponed, plainly no one ’ s truly psyched. Exists any type of information you can provide, simply in regards to why it’s being pressed back to 2020?

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CS: We’re not going to put a video game out prior to we believe it’s prepared to be delighted in by fans. When it comes to a franchise, like Animal Crossing, that has a lot of faithful fans, we ‘d be doing them an injustice if we put out an item that was hurried. It’s a tough choice for a business to make to move a ship date out. We believe relocating to March 20 of next year was the ideal choice, due to the fact that we required to offer the advancement group sufficient time to make it the video game we wish to make. That’s been the Nintendo method from the start and it’s something that we’re going to continue to do. Since we desire to keep that quality bar high, we’re not going to hurry a video game out up until it’s all set.

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TC: Metroid [Prime 4] was type of notably missing. Exists any upgrade on that end?

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CS: It’s in the hands of Retro now; they definitely have a historical history with that franchise. They do a terrific task with it and we’re eagerly anticipating what they make with this variation of it. There’s absolutely nothing brand-new in terms of any ship date or any information about the video game.

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Read more: techcrunch.com

LinkedIn’s List of 24 B2B Marketers You Need to Know

LinkedIn’s 24 B2B Marketers You Need to Know

LinkedIn’s 24 B2B Marketers You Need to Know

In honor of it’s fifth anniversary, LinkedIn has released a revamped edition of The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn. The eBook features a powerful array of digital marketing smarties, each who shared their insights and practical advice on how to get the most out of LinkedIn—from optimizing your profile to expanding your network.  The TopRank Marketing team was privileged to work with LinkedIn team to identify, engage, and gather fresh insights from these brightest marketing minds.

If you’re anywhere near the B2B marketing world, social selling or recruiting, getting to know LinkedIn is more essential today than ever. Why? Check out these statistics:

With over 610 million members in over 200 countries and territories, more than 1 out of every 3 professionals worldwide is on LinkedIn.
Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second.
LinkedIn counts executives from nearly all 2018 Fortune 500 companies as members
More than 30 million companies are represented on LinkedIn

There simply isn’t another social network with that kind of community and momentum for business professionals. And while most professionals have been using LinkedIn for years and may see it as a jobs marketplace, many simply haven’t taken the time to optimize or maintain their profiles. They also haven’t discovered all the ways you can capitalize on LinkedIn as a marketing and social selling tool. The good news is that quite a few people have.

In The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn, there are 55 pages of advice on reaching the right people and taking your marketing to the next level directly from marketers within LinkedIn, as well as some of the top B2B marketing professionals in the business.

There’s also an excellent list of 24 B2B marketing experts in the U.S. that LinkedIn suggests we get to know, selected by staff at LinkedIn—and that’s where we’d like focus today. Many of the names on the list will be familiar to you, such as our own CEO Lee Odden. But some are likely to be new discoveries.

Congratulations to those on the list and to anyone who downloads and reads The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn.
24 B2B Marketers LinkedIn Says You Need To Know

Robert Rose
Chief Troublemaker, The Content Advisory
Twitter: @Robert_Rose
LinkedIn: /in/robrose


Aaron Orendorff
Founder, iconiContent
Twitter: AaronOrendorff
LinkedIn: in/aaronorendorff

Ryan Robinson
Ryan Robinson
Content Marketing Consultant
Twitter: TheRyanRobinson
LinkedIn: in/theryanrobinson/

Carla Johnson
Carla Johnson
Chief Innovator, Type A Communications
Twitter: CarlaJohnson
LinkedIn: /in/carlajohnson

Allen Gannett
Allen Gannett
CSO, Skyword
Twitter: Allen
LinkedIn: /in/allengannett

Shane Barker
Shane Barker
Co-Founder and CEO, Content Solutions
Twitter: shane_barker
LinkedIn: /in/shanebarker

Ann Handley
Ann Handley
Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs
Twitter: MarketingProfs
LinkedIn: /in/annhandley

Katie Martell
Katie Martell
Marketing Consultant, On-Demand Marketing
Twitter: KatieMartell
LinkedIn: /in/katiemartell

Mandy McEwen
Mandy McEwen
Founder and CEO, Mod Girl Marketing
Twitter: MandyModGirl
LinkedIn: /in/mandymcewen

Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner
CEO, Marketing Insider Group
Twitter: BrennerMichael
LinkedIn: /in/michaelbrenner

Lee Odden
Lee Odden
CEO, TopRank Marketing
Twitter: LeeOdden
LinkedIn: /in/leeodden

Nancy Badillo
Nancy Badillo
CEO, NancyBadillo.com
Twitter: NancyBadillo13
LinkedIn: /in/nancybadillo

Jay Baer
Jay Baer
Founder, Convince & Convert
Twitter: jaybaer
LinkedIn: /in/jaybaer

Jason Miller
Jason Miller
Brand Marketing Lead, Microsoft
Twitter: JasonMillerCA
LinkedIn: /in/jsnmiller

Vin Clancy
Vin Clancy
Founder, Magnific
Twitter: vincentdignan
LinkedIn: /in/vincentdignan

Andrew Davis
Andrew Davis
Keynote Speaker, Monumental Shift
Twitter: DrewDavisHere
LinkedIn: /in/drewdavishere

Heidi Bullock
Heidi Bullock
CMO, Engagio
Twitter: HeidiBullock
LinkedIn: /in/hbullock

Gina Schreck
Gina Schreck
CEO, SocialKNX
Twitter: Ginaschreck
LinkedIn: /in/ginaschreck

Doug Kessler
Doug Kessler
Creative Director and Co-Founder, Velocity Partners
Twitter: dougkessler
LinkedIn: /in/dougkessler

Gabe Villamizar
Gabe Villamizar
Global Sales Evangelist, Lucid
Twitter: gabevillamizar
LinkedIn: /in/gabevillamizar

Suzanne String Nguyen
Suzanne String Nguyen
Video Evangelist, Shootsta
Twitter: StringStory
LinkedIn: /in/stringstory

Joanna Penn
Joanna Penn
Director, The Creative Penn
Twitter: thecreativepenn
LinkedIn: /in/joannapenn

Janet Murray
Janet Murray
Content Marketing Expert
Twitter: jan_murray
LinkedIn: /in/janet-murray74

Julia McCoy
Julia McCoy
Content Marketing Expert
Twitter: JuliaEMcCoy
LinkedIn: /in/juliaemccoy

No list is ever perfect, so who would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments.

If you’re ready to dig in to the 2019 The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn, start now and grab your own copy here:

2019 The Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn

The post LinkedIn’s List of 24 B2B Marketers You Need to Know appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Read more: toprankblog.com

How to negotiate term sheets with strategic investors

Share on Twitter Alex Gold is co-founder of Myia , a smart health platform utilizing unique biometric information to forecast and avoid expensive medical occasions. Formerly, Alex was Venture Partner at BCG Digital Ventures and a co-founder of Traction, a market of digital marketer.

Three years back, I consulted with a creator who had actually raised an enormous seed round at an evaluation that was at least 5 times the marketplace rate. I asked what company made the financial investment.

She stated it was not a standard endeavor company, however rather a tactical financier that not just had no ties to her area however likewise had no previous financial investment experience. The tactical financier, she stated, was seeking to ““ get their hands unclean” ” and “ participate the ground flooring.””

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Over the next 2 years, I kept a close eye on the creator. She had adequate capital to pivot her organisation focus numerous times, she appeared to be at chances, serving the requirements of her tactical financier and her consumer base.

Ultimately, when business required more capital to make it through, the tactical financier didn’’ t concur with the’creator ’ s focus, decided not to prop it up, and business needed to close down.

Sadly, this is not an unusual story as examples are plentiful of tactical financiers affecting start-up instructions and management choices to the point of damage for the start-up. Business strategics, not to be puzzled with devoted funds concentrated on monetary returns like a conventional endeavor financier like Google Ventures, typically care less about roi , and more about a start-up’’ s focus, and sector uniqueness. If business imperatives alter, the tactical might stop to be the best partner or might press the start-up in a difficult instructions .

And yet, thankfully, as the disruptive power of innovation is being released on almost every significant market, tactical financiers are now getting smarter, both in regards to how they invest and how they partner with business owners.

From making strong acquisitive plays (i.e. GM’’ s purchase of Cruise Automation or Toyota’’ s early-stage financial investment in Uber ) to constructing devoted funds , to performing business arrangements in tandem with capital expense, strategics are getting savvier, and by extension, progressing partners. In some circumstances, they might be the very best partner.

Negotiating a term sheet with a tactical financier requires a various set of factors to consider. Specifically: the choice for a tactical to assist in business turning points for the start-up, a mindful technique to prevent the ““ over-valuation ” trap, an intense concentrate on info rights, and the restriction of non-compete arrangements.

Read more: techcrunch.com

The Ultimate Guide to Content Curation (With Examples!)

Saving time, making connections with influencers, building
authority — these are just some of the benefits of content
curation.

But you might also have lots of questions like…

How much time should you spend curating content versus creating
great posts of your own?
How can you make curated posts stand out amidst all the noise
out there?
What tools can you use to speed up or even automate the
process?

Well, here’s the good news:

In this post, I’ll answer all those questions about content
curation and more.

If you’re new to the topic, I’ll explain exactly what
content curation is and why you should do it. We’ll also explore
some tools and tactics for streamlining your content curation
process, saving you loads of time, even if you’ve been doing it a
while.

And the best part…

Lots of real-world examples! You’ll see what’s working in
the trenches right now, so you can model it for yourself.

Table of Contents

Why Should I Consider
Content Curation?

What is Content
Curation?

The Benefits of
Content Curation

The Myths of Content
Curation

Content Curation
Strategy: How to Get Results

10 Examples of
Killer Content Curation

Content Curation
Tools

Can You Hire a
Content Curator to do This?

The Bottom Line
on Content Curation

Why Should I Consider Content Curation?

There’s an overabundance of information out there.

As I write, in the early evening, around 3 million blog posts
have been published today, all vying for your attention.

Every second there are:

8,320 Tweets sent
888 Instagram photos uploaded
3,550 Skype calls made
66,233 GB of internet traffic logged
71,596 Google searches performed
76,892 YouTube videos watched
2,758,518 emails sent

By 2020, an estimated 1.7 GB of data
will be created for every person on earth — every second!

No-one can possibly keep up.

But with content curation, they don’t have to. Think of it
like this:  

Imagine there was only one radio station that played every genre
of music and broadcast all the news and talk-back shows ever made.
 Your passion is country music, but it’s too hard to find amidst
the noise of the other content.

Along comes a small, independent radio station dedicated to
bringing you the best country music it can source. Everything about
country music that entertains and informs you. All curated in one
place for people like yourself to enjoy.

Which radio station will you tune into the most?

That’s why content curators are becoming increasingly
important in a world of time-strapped, overwhelmed
content-consumers. And that’s why every blogger, brand and
business should consider curation as part of their content
marketing strategy.

Back to Top
What is Content Curation?

Content curation is the art of sourcing,
filtering and repackaging all
forms of existing content to
share with a specific audience to
add value to their lives and save them
time.

Phew. That’s quite a mouthful.

Let’s break it down into more bite-sized chunks before we
delve into the detail of how to do it.

Sourcing:  First, you’ve got to find
content that’s relevant to your niche and worthy of curating.
Luckily, this post is jam-packed with tools to do just that.

Filtering:  This is where you sort the wheat
from the chaff. Anyone can find a bucket load of content, but top
curators add a filter of human analysis to make sure they’re
sharing something valuable.  

Repackaging: Your curated content needs to
look good. It needs to be well branded, consistently presented,
easy to navigate and enticing enough for your audience to click
through to the original content.

Existing content:  This can be blog posts,
articles, videos, books, reviews, podcasts, music, infographics,
lists, news, images — anything that is currently on the Internet,
including your own content.

Specific audience: If you are doing any form
of online marketing, you are serving a specific audience. Curated
content is no different.  Their goals and intentions should be at
the epicenter of your curation strategy.

Share:  You can share curated content in
several ways. On social media, in a blog, a website, YouTube or an
email newsletter. Or go for a combination — whatever works for
your audience.

Add value:  This is at the heart of content
curation. You need to make sense of it for your audience by putting
it in context with their interests and lives. In its most basic
form, this can be a summary of the content to allow readers to get
the gist of the subject matter, but it should be an original
summary created by you.

Save them time:  You are preparing and
presenting content they need in an easy to digest format, which
means they don’t have to go schlepping through the web to find it
for themselves.

Back to Top
The Benefits of Content Curation It Makes You a Trusted Authority

When you consistently curate relevant content for your audience
— and add value with your insights — you become a go-to person
for your topic.  

Before long, your audience will turn to you as one of their
trusted sources because you know how to filter out the noise and
deliver what’s important. You’re making it easier and faster to
find what they’re looking for.

Example: Social Media Today is a
website and daily newsletter with 104k subscribers. In addition to
curating the top news stories and publishing their own articles,
they also provide information on industry events and jobs and run
regular Twitter chats on all things related to social media
marketing.

Social Media Today

It Builds Your Credibility

Most businesses publish original content as part of their online
marketing strategy. And that’s still a great approach. But
sometimes it’s good to combine your advice with those of others.
Curating work by other experts proves you care enough about your
audience to bring them the best content — not just your own voice
— which gives you greater credibility.

Example:  If anyone has the right to voice
his own opinions it’s Brian Clark of CopyBlogger
fame, one of the world’s most influential blogs. But Brian also
chooses to share curated content through his weekly email Unemployable for freelancers. It is
this generosity of time and knowledge that boosts his credibility
and pays back big time when it comes to selling his fee-generating
services.

Unemployable

It Establishes Connections with Influencers

Every time you curate content produced by an influencer or
include their expert opinion in a curated list post of your own, you are
endorsing their views and opening them up to a new audience.

It also helps put you on their radar.

You can draw their attention by tagging them on social media
when you share their work, or emailing them a link to your curated
blog post. Content curation is a great way to build solid
relationships with top influencers in your niche, but only if you
get it right.  Like this:

Example: Mashable.com is a digital media
site, which published a
guest post
by Aaron Orendorff about
growth hacking strategies.  In it he curates advice from 25
influencers and includes their headshots and links back to their
sites.  The post received a total of 4.4k shares across social
media, and I bet I know where 25 of those came from.

It Makes You a Trend Spotter

When you spend a couple of hours a day sourcing relevant and
interesting content, you can’t help but increase your knowledge.
You’ll start recognizing patterns and trends as they’re
happening, and gaps in existing content you might be able to
fill.

Not only does this add value for your audience, but it also
makes you a credible expert in your niche and one to watch.

Example: CB Insights mines
massive amounts (I’m talking terabytes) of data to identify and
make sense of emerging technology and business trends for its
customers. And it puts this to good use by sharing its
often-irreverent insights and curated findings in its free daily
newsletter to over 537,000 subscribers.

CB Insights 

It Can Boost Your Google Ranking (When You Get It Right)

Many people think curated content could harm your Google ranking
because it’s seen as duplicate content. And that’s true, if you
do nothing but reproduce the original.  

But content curation is all aboutadding value.

Here’s proof.  The folks at Bruce Clay Inc. ran a
test to see what ranking Google would give to curated content on
their blog versus the original. You can read the full details

here
.

Bottom line: When they reproduced the original post without
adding value, the ranking went down from 4th place to 10th. But
when they published an excerpt of the original with theirown
summary and links, the ranking shot up to 1st place — even higher
than the original post.

Bruce Clay Google Rankings

Example: SmartBrief.com
 (“We read everything. You get what matters.”) is a curator of
industry news. It’s easy to navigate with every piece of content
summarized in their own words, which adds value for their readers
and brownie points with Google.

SmartBrief

It Can Help Build Your Social Media Following, Faster

As a curator, your output of content will increase, giving you a
lot more to Tweet about on a regular basis. But remember, always
aim to add value, not simply retweet or share.

Example: TheSkimm is a curated subscription
service for female millennials — over 7 million subscribers. It
delivers its content via audio, video, an app, and of course,
social media:  They have 608k followers on Instagram, 246k on
Twitter, over 1.1m likes
and followers on Facebook, and 465k views
on YouTube.
 That’s an impressive social media presence.

theSkimm

It Can Grow Communities and Conversations

Great content curation encourages debate and feedback.  When
you add your own insights and respond to audience comments by
providing them with more of what they want, it can attract other
like-minded people to your knowledge “hug.”

They come not just to seek information from you but also to
share content and support each other.

Example: TED.com is one of
the best-known global communities. At its core, it’s a curator of
ideas, or as they put it in their mission statement: “We’re
building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world’s most
inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage
with ideas and each other.” With an online community of tens of
thousands, over 11 million Twitter followers, and 35 people
watching a TED Talk every second, I reckon they’ve accomplished
their mission.

TED

Back to Top
The Myths of Content Curation It Saves You a Truckload of Time

When done properly, the full process of content curation can
take just as much time as creating original content. Sometimes
more.

You have to source, repackage and share a ton of information.
Sure, this can be done more efficiently with automated tools. But
you must also spend time filtering the content, adding insight and
perspective, and building relationships with influencers and other
publishers.

This is where the real value of content curation kicks in. And
it takes time.

With curation, the volume of your published and shared content
will increase, but your ability to spend more time with your feet
up enjoying a beer won’t.

So, don’t become a content curator if your sole purpose is to
save time.

All You Have to Do Is Find Relevant Content and Pump It out to Your
Subscribers

If you just share every blog post and article you find on your
topic without any filtering, you can do more harm than good to your
brand and reputation.

The content you curate will reflect directly on your credibility
and reputation, so choose wisely.

You Never Have to Worry About Creating Your Own Content Again

Undoubtedly, content curation is a great way to build authority
in your niche, but it’s rare to find a site that relies 100% on
curated content. Research has shown that creating your own content
is more valuable regarding conversions.

And let’s face it. That’s one of the main reasons we do
content marketing of any kind.

The research is explained by Tristan Handy in
this post
, who says the ratio for publishing curated v.
original content on social media is around 60:40.

This isn’t a hard and fast rule, and everyone needs to find
their own sweet spot, but it’s not a bad guideline if you’re
just starting out.

Back to Top
Content Curation Strategy: How to Get Results Give Your Audience
What It Wants

What are they looking for when they seek information? What are
they sharing on social media? Are they looking for comparisons and
reviews, or the latest industry trends? Do they want to be
entertained, inspired or informed?

If you don’t have an existing audience, read this post.  If you do
have an audience, but you’re still not sure what they’re
looking for, read this post.

Example: Further.com is a curated weekly
email targeted directly at Generation X, by Brian Clark, one of the
most influential Generation X-ers on the net. He knows what
they’re thinking, feeling and aspiring to, and he delivers in
spades.

FURTHER

Source Valuable Content

Overwhelming as it seems when you start out, sourcing great
content is not hard, especially with so many
automated tools
at your fingertips.    

RSS feed readers are the first go-to source of content for
curators. Using tools such as Flipboard allows you to search by URL
or topic and collate your content into categories.

Social media is the next main source, and again you have a
myriad of tools at your disposal. For example, Social Searcher is a free
platform that allows you to search by hashtags or topics and brings
up every post published on the major social media sites.

Or you can create a Twitter
list
to collate the accounts you follow.

Find the right tools from the list below for your content
sourcing and collating purposes, and remember to stay focused when
you go searching. You can easily disappear down a rabbit warren of
irrelevant information.

And finally, don’t forget your own blog or social media pages
as a source of content.

Select posts that have done well in the past and may resonate
with a new audience. Or think about repurposing or updating an old
post.  Here’s a great example of curating your content from
Copyblogger.

Filter Your Content

Content curation without filtering is a no-no. This is part of
the process that’s going to demand time and attention, but it’s
worth it.

Once you have a good collection of content, filter each piece
through these questions:

Is it well written or produced?
Is it relevant to my audience? Does it satisfy a need or
curiosity of theirs?
Is it timely, or has it been recently updated?
Is it in context with everything else I have published or
curated?
Will it reflect well on my brand?

If the answer is yes, keep that piece of content and move on to
the next step. If it’s no, dump it.

Always Add Value

There’s one more important consideration before you hit that
share button.  You need to add value.

You know the content is worthy of sharing because you’ve
filtered it. Now you need to tell your audience why.  The
following are some of the ways you can add value:

Add a brief introduction in your own words.
Put it in context for your audience. Make them understand why
you think it’s important for them to see.
Highlight something specific in the article.
Change the headline using the language and voice your audience
would relate to.
Likewise, think about using a different image to add your own
personality or perspective to the original.
Add a call to action or a link to a relevant post or free
download of your own to give them further information relevant to
the curated piece. Doing so also helps to keep your original
content on their radar.

Make It Look Good

Think about a museum curator. Their job is to present an
exhibition of works in a manner that makes sense.

They encourage visitors in by making the collection look
enticing. They often separate subcategories by rooms or open
spaces. They add information and insights to each piece and present
them in a logical flow.

They don’t take random artworks, dump them in the middle of a
room and expect visitors to work it out for themselves. Neither
should you.  

Think about how you’ll best present your curated content on
your website or in a newsletter.

And above all, make sure you consistently represent and reflect
your brand, whether that’s through the use of your logo and
colors, your voice, the
language you use
or the content you curate.

Example: brainpickings.com by Maria
Popova is a fine example of a well-presented and branded website
with some of the most thoughtful and insightful curations on the
web today.

Read more: smartblogger.com

Five backlink analysis tools agencies should try out

A healthy and quality backlink profile can assist you remainahead of the competitors. After Google presented the Penguinalgorithm in 2012, it ended up being clear that the qualityof backlinks matters , not simply their amount. The more is notthe merrier any longer.

Luckily, throughout the years, it has actually ended up being much easier to examine and.screen backlinks thanks to a variety of specialized tools readily available.on the marketplace.

Through making use of such tools, you can dissect any backlink.profile and find where the rivals reverse engineer their.SEO method to produce brand-new backlinks. Plus, you can learn what.type of material carries out finest for getting particular kinds of.backlinks or social engagement.

This post concentrates on 5 tools companies can make the most of.to benchmark the link quality of their customers versus rivals,.watch on particular backlinks, and find chances to.collaborate with other sites to reach the set SEO objectives.

.1. SE Ranking  Backlink listing of SE Ranking

Source: SE Ranking

SE Ranking uses a total variety of tools developed to assist you.remain on top of your whole SEO workflow, consisting of backlinks.

With the Backlink Checker tool, you can find all inbound.links to any site, despite whether it comes from you, a.customer, or a rival.

Along with the complete list of backlinks, referring domains, and.Do/NoFollow links, the tool supplies information on the backlink’’ s. status, defines the anchor text, the date the link was last seen.and included on, the location URL, and the Domain Trust rating.Plus, you can include filters to easily arrange the information.

The whole list of backlinks can then be contributed to a site in a.single click where the information can be additional examined. That’’s where. the other backlink tool enters into play.

 SE Ranking's Backlink checker tool

Source: SE Ranking

The Backlink Monitoring tool allows you to work carefully with.the backlinks that have actually been contributed to a site, and get daily.reports on any modifications. This is where all the daily backlink.management jobs are carried out.

By linking Google Search Console, the list of backlinks will.continuously get upgraded immediately. Otherwise, you will need to.usage Backlink Checker from time to time to bring up an upgraded list.of backlinks.

Furthermore, you can change in between tabs to get an introduction of.the backlinks, see all the anchor texts, and established a Disavow file.to signify to Google what backlinks you put on’’ t desire it to take into. When evaluating the referral weight of the site, account.

Now, in addition to the criterion information supplied in the Backlink.Checker tool, the Backlink Monitoring tool uses a lot more.details on each backlink, such as Google Index Status, Moz DA,.Referring IP, Country, External Links, Alexa rank, and Social.shares. This information provides you a great grasp of the backlink profile at.hand.

Besides supplying a range of backlink criterion information by.default, the Backlink Monitoring tool provides you a chance to.define extra info on each backlink through customized.specifications that require to be completed by hand, such as Source,.Rate, Anchor type, Category, Backlink supervisor, Setting up dates,.Credibility duration, and Notes. Doing so will provide you a hassle-free method.to go through big quantities of information.

All in all, the tool offers thorough information, the user interface.is spick-and-span, modern-day, and certainly not an eye-ache to take a look at.The white label function along with automated.reporting makes it simple to interact with customers.

.What else features the bundle.Site audit.Keyword rank tracker.Keyword idea tool.Rival research study.Page modifications keeping track of.Social network management.Keyword Grouper.Lead generator.Browse volume checker.Index status checker.Page modifications keeping an eye on.API.Prices.

It’’ s a paid tool (beginning at $39/month) however it provides a complimentary.14-day trial. The Enterprise bundle appropriate for firms is.offered for $189/month.

.2. LinkMiner.

 Listing of backlinking chances in LinkMiner

If you’’ re looking for a backlink analysis tool that’’ s. specifically particularly created help assist find backlink building opportunities Chances LinkMiner is the.option for you.

Just like other backlink analysis tools, LinkMiner likewise makes it possible for.you to inspect the backlinks of any you can possibly imagine website, including your.customers’ ’ and their rivals ’. Naturally, it likewise has a lot.of other beneficial functions.

With LinkMiner, you can evaluate approximately 50 backlinks a day at no.expense despite the gain access to level. When evaluating such, and.backlinks, you can click any one to get an immediate sneak peek of that.site together with the highlighted anchor text, referring site.title and URL —– and choose whether it makes good sense to.reproduce the backlink.

Furthermore, the service immediately breaks backlinks down.into groups based upon their classification like Q&A, blog site, online forum,.making it simpler to find brand-new backlink chances and tag your.preferred backlinks for later usage. LinkMiner likewise offers a number.of third-party metrics such as Citation Flow, Trust Flow,.Do/NoFollow credits to assist you examine a link’’ s. strength.

The supplied third-party metrics can be a fantastic method of studying.the backlinks and identifying the most important ones. Plus, the.System will inform you if any backlinks break or go missing out on.it’’ ll depend on you to recover the link from the website owner.

As for LinkMiner in basic, it has some defects that are an outcome.Of the tool being too basic for skilled SEO professionals.it’’ s terrific if you ’ re simply starting with structure links, so. make sure to try.

. What else includes theplan.

LinkMiner is a part of the Mangools SEO suite which.consists of:

.KWFinder.SERPChecker.SERPWatcher.Prices.

It is a paid tool (beginning at $44/month) however it uses a complimentary.10-day trial. The Agency bundle is readily available for $79.90/ month.

.3. URL Profiler.

 Screenshot of bulk information noting that URL Profiler offers at a URL and domain level

URL Profiler is an effective software-based SEO tool that can pull.bulk information from websites at a domain and URL level. Thinking about the.reality that there are lots of SEO tools out there like Majestic,.MozScape, Ahrefs, Google, MY Addr and Copyscape, among others, URL.Profiler was created to group such tools to supply thorough.insights under one roofing system.

The tool can really be utilized to carry out a variety of SEO jobs.that consist of the audit of material, social networks, and Google.charges, link prospecting, keyword rank tracking, and, many.notably, backlink analysis.

URL Profiler examines the quality of backlink profiles, enabling.you to rapidly go through a substantial variety of links by examining.numerous information such as area, link type , and the anchor text for spamming and abnormal usage.of keywords.

Since there’’ s a great deal of information to work within this tool,it is up. to your understanding and experience to choose the metrics that you.worth most.

Once you fill whatever out, the tool produces an Excel file.with several sheets consisting of a comprehensive analysis of every.defined URL. You can take a look at the link rating together with its.description, see a list of URLs on Google’’ s blacklist,.immediately get the contact details of all the websites you wish to.connect to, and a variety of other metrics.

With the power of this information, you can make educated choices.concerning each and every single backlink. To assist in information analysis, you.can tailor the settings and take a look at URL and domain information.individually to have a clear grasp of why particular URLs rank.greater.

To summarize, URL Profiler is a tool for sophisticated SEO experts.as there’’ s a knowing curve newbies will need to go through.If you’’ re currently utilizing a number of the most significant SEO.tools on the marketplace, then URL Profiler is a what you require as it.puts whatever in front of you in a single data-rich, however,.Uninteresting user interface.

.What else includes the plan.Keyword tracking.Analytics.Information export.External combinations.Link tracking.Information import.Multi-user.Prices.

It is a paid tool (beginning at $19.95 + VAT/month) however it does.use a totally free 14-day trial. The Agency bundle is offered for.$ 64.95/ month.

.4. Screen Backlinks.

 Monitor Backlinks' control panel that assists keep an eye on backlinks and Google keyword rankings

The name is an instantaneous free gift, however, in any case, Monitor.Backlinks was developed to assist experts inspect their and their.rivals’ ’ backlinks.

.

With this tool, you can discover and keep an eye on backlinks , and Google keyword rankings on.auto-pilot by means of e-mail notices. Whenever a rival.effectively utilizes a keyword to acquire a brand-new quality backlink,.you’’ ll have a possibility to act rapidly and not let your customers fall.behind.

Monitor Backlinks provides you an introduction of your backlink.profile, supplying information on the domains that are assisting your SEO.efforts, and those that are not. In addition, the tool sends.reports filled with insights on the competitors, highlighting what.keyword led to a high Google rank, along with backlink information.With information like that, all that’’ s needed from you is toreverse. engineer the procedure to develop an option that works for your.customers.

The tool is targeted at assisting you develop a strong backlink profile.and develop an SEO method to cultivate service and traffic.development. To assist you accomplish this, the tool is loaded with the most.crucial SEO metrics that provide you all the information you require in one.cool user interface.

The chart in the control panel is worthy of an unique reference. It permits.you to determine keyword-based website traffic characteristics, along with the.efforts to develop a much healthier backlink profile. Such charts offer.details to customers that they can quickly aesthetically comprehend.without doing any digging.

.What else includes the plan.External link count.Backlink status.Import/Export.Bookmarklet.Expiration date.Disavow links export.Notes and tags.Rates.

It is a paid tool (beginning at $24.90/ month) that uses a complimentary.30-day trial. For firms, you can ask for a customized quote, if you.wish to manage more than 10 domains ($ 187.43/ month).

.5. Reference.

 Monitoring and handling web and social networks brand name credibility in Mention

The last tool from this roundup is a web and social networks brand name.credibility management and tracking option called Mention.Obviously, unlike the other tools explained here, this one isn’’ t. a backlink analysis tool per se.

.

In reality, we included it in the list since it can truly assist.you get excellent topical backlinks by informing you of all online.discusses you’’ re thinking about. State somebody is going over a.customer’’ s brand name, material, item, or service, however doesn ’ t link. out– participate in on the discussion and demand that a link to the.target site be included.

The tool can quickly keep an eye on keyword-based discusses in over.40 languages throughout billions of sources online in genuine time..what you wish to watch for are posts that discussed.your customer however did not connect out to the website. Plus, the tool’’ s. influencer discovery functions can help you in discovering popular.individuals who can assist you get the word out.

Fortunately, you wear’’ t need to do this work by hand. Establish.to get day-to-day e-mail informs of all points out on that day, or,.Get informed through the desktop/mobile app. Plus, you.can get laser-precise outcomes by filtering them by belief,.place, and gender.

The finest part for companies is that all the information, reports, and.points out can be white-labeled with the customer’’ s logo design and sent out to.them immediately.

.What else features the plan.Filter out online resources you wear’’ t wish to track. Share informs with customers and designate jobs to associates.Get alerted about top priority notifies.The service research studies your habits to conceal unimportant.informs.Rates.

It is a paid tool (beginning at $29/month) however it has a totally free.14-day trial that enables you to track 500 points out for 3 search.terms. The Enterprise bundle is offered for $600/month or perhaps.more.

.Summarizing.

Although all of these tools aren’’ t totally free, they use some type. of cost-free trial. For this factor, we’’d suggest attempting them.all out prior to picking one option for your backlink analysis and.keeping track of requirements.

The bottom line is that you need to combine the information from all.these tools to get a clear image of your customers’ ’ andtheir. rivals ’ backlink profiles. Even a few of these options with.big quantities of information are doing not have in user-friendliness and style,.and might even offer various crawl depths, index statistics, and other.important metrics for the exact same URLs.

So, if you’’ re major about backlink analysis, it’’ s best to.start utilizing numerous of the discussed tools and picking those.that fit your requirements most as you go along.

.Diana Ford is a digital marketing expert with composing.competence that covers throughout internet marketing, SEO, social networks,.and blogging. She can be discovered on Twitter @diana_ford

The post Five backlink analysis tools firms need to check out appeared.On Search Engine.Enjoy .

.

Read more: searchenginewatch.com

How Marketers Can Reach Peak Personalization in 2019

“Basic” is a bad word. OK, maybe that’s a stretch. But it’s certainly not an inspiring word.

If basic is all we aim for, we fail as marketers. That’s especially true when it comes to personalization.

Addressing an email to an individual, sending a prospect industry-specific content, and inserting a lead’s first name and company logo into a retargeting ad is the bare minimum. It’s what everybody does. It’s basic.

Today’s marketers must go the extra mile and shoot for peak personalization. You need to understand your customers and prospects intimately. When they receive one of your custom-tailored communications, they should think, Wow, that company really does listen to me. It cares. Only then can you truly wow your audience and maximize campaign performance.

Marketing automation systems enable you to take personalization from basic to brilliant. Here are a few ways it can help:

Creating a foolproof data strategy

Data makes personalization possible. It’s the blood running through marketing’s veins. If you don’t have a data strategy in place, you need to create one—now.

As a marketer, disregarding data in 2019 is like dismissing the internet as a fad in 1995. You’ve been connecting with customers through print ads for years. There’s no way this email thing takes off, right?

Wrong.

Marketing automation systems allow your company to mine essential prospect and customer data so you can personalize your communications and build better relationships. They allow you to collect diverse information—from birthdays to brand interactions to transaction histories—and use it to your advantage.

But they’re much more than data-gathering tools. With automated marketing systems, you can organize prospect and customer information in a centralized hub, enabling you to easily search for key data points. And by sharing access to this insight, your entire company can begin engaging people in more personal, meaningful ways.

Sending segmentation into the stratosphere

Once you have a data strategy in place, you need to think about segmentation.

You might be familiar with simple segmentation: grouping customers based on similar characteristics, like job title, industry, and company type, and personalizing communications to them.

That’s a great first step. But again, it’s basic. You need to go beyond basic and shoot for the moon. And one way to do that is through AI.

Leveraging innovative AI technology in your marketing automation system empowers you to create microsegments. Rather than targeting dozens of CFOs at large private construction companies, you can narrow your focus on the three executives who:

Manage finances for privately held organizations with more than 1,000 employees
Have been involved in an active opportunity over the past 12 months
Live within a 100-mile radius of your upcoming event

This will help you develop captivating content tailored to your prospects’ needs to convince them to attend your VIP lunch-and-learn session. And if you later decide to open up your event to finance managers, you can send alternate messaging that appeals to those specific professionals.

AI gives you the sophistication to test near-infinite possibilities so you can create valuable microsegments and deliver the perfect personalized marketing experience to each and every person you engage with.

Getting in tune with your customers and colleagues

Marketing is all about building relationships. Think of it like making a new friend at the gym.

Every day, you attend the same Pilates class. At first, you casually exchange polite nods and smiles with a classmate. Those interactions soon segue into small talk about the weather. At some point, you make a deeper connection and begin discussing more personal things, like your job and family.

You eventually get to know your classmate well. You remember hearing them talk about how much they love playing games and solving puzzles, so you invite them to an escape room outing.

This is precisely the idea behind personalized marketing. You take the time to learn about your prospects and customers and their interests. You then use the information they share with you to bring value to your communications and create a tighter bond with your audience.

But it isn’t enough for only your marketing department to do this. For your business to provide exceptional personalized customer experiences, your entire company—including sales and customer service—needs to be on the same page.

An automated marketing system can help make sure all your organization’s departments operate in harmony. It allows you to log customer interactions in a centralized location, improve cross-functional communication and collaboration, and avoid stepping on one another’s toes.

If sales already sold an item to a customer, marketing knows it no longer needs to push that product to them. And marketing will never mistarget a product in a series of digital ads, because sales is always aware of the exact product the prospect is considering.

It’s like your classmate at the gym. If you tell your other workout buddies about your new friend’s love of riddles, your whole crew will know they can count on your new pal coming the next time they plan an escape room adventure.

Arriving at the pinnacle of personalization

Elevating your marketing personalization efforts beyond the basics is easier than many people think. As I see it, there are four ways to make it happen:

Listen: Leverage your data strategy to prioritize gathering the right information necessary to create a wonderful experience for your customers and prospects.
Analyze: Don’t just collect—inspect. And make sure you have the tools you need to turn your data into actionable insight.
Learn: Adjust based on what your data tells you. This could mean making small changes, like refining segmentation, or broader ones, like integrating customer-facing teams.
Predict: Start anticipating what kind of content and messaging would resonate most with your audience. AI can act as a powerful ally in helping you increase intelligent decision making.

By placing a marketing automation system at the foundation of your personalization efforts, you’ll be well on your way to enhancing customer experiences and achieving exceptional results in no time.

The post How Marketers Can Reach Peak Personalization in 2019 appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

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