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Written by Richard Santoro visit Entrepreneur Ideas - Startup and run your own business

Vyco ProThe worlds first viral traffic and engagement suite, find viral trending traffic across the internet, from social networks like Facebook, Youtube, Vimeo And Daily Motion with just a few clicks. CLICK HERE to check out or get the product

What is Viral Marketing?

What is viral marketing? Viral marketing is getting people to spread your message for you willingly. Imagine you just published an awesome post, people love what they see and they start to inform others about it thus driving loads of traffic to your site. If the message continues to spread from others to another person, the message is considered “going viral”.

Word of mouth advertising is powerful

Viral marketing relies heavily on word of mouth marketing. There is no limit on the amount of traffic you will get as you wouldn’t have known how many people are spreading the message for you. Viral marketing is the most effective if you are able to create a “buzz” on the internet. Most people are curious, if they receive the message from somebody they know or trust, they are most likely eager to find out what’s the “buzz” behind.

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Written by Richard Santoro visit Entrepreneur Ideas - Startup and run your own business

Talk to any conversion expert (like me), and you’ll hear them chanting the same song:  “Test, test, test, test.”

It’s monotone, boring, and probably annoying. But it’s the only way to improve your conversion rates.

The truth about testing is that it’s hard and slow, and you’ll encounter challenge, frustration, and the familiar feeling of wanting to smash your keyboard to smithereens using only your forehead. There’s this weird thing going on with testing, where it either scares the jeebies out of people, or they get this elitist arrogance about it.

The truth of the matter is that we all need to be running landing page tests, whether we loathe it or like it. We’ve got to test our landing pages, and we’ve got to understand why our tests are not producing wins.

The problem is, not enough companies are testing — only 71% according to econsultancy.com. In many cases, the more costly or important the marketing effort, the fewer companies were testing, as demonstrated in this chart:

Compounding the problem, many marketers seem to have a difficult time writing copy that keys their prospects into exactly what they need to do. More often than not, that leaves them with landing page copy that keeps prospects guessing.

And guessing leads to confusion… which leads to frustration… which usually leads to a bounce.

Not sure if your landing page is riddled with less than straightforward copy? Worried that ambiguity is hurting your conversions? Then read on…

How many times have you arrived on a landing page with an offer but struggled to find the price? You search and hunt… until you realise the person who created the landing page is going to make you click through to get it.

Solution: Give people known outcomes

Studies on ambiguity aversion have shown that people would rather choose an option with known outcomes over options with unknown outcomes. Even in situations where the probability of coming out ahead is higher but the risks are unknown, overwhelmingly people will opt for the “devil they know.”

How you can apply this to your own landing pages
  • If you’re using “limited availability” urgency triggers, be specific about how long the limited availability lasts. Don’t leave people guessing – remember, people like to know their odds of having a positive outcome.
  • Test placing micro copy below the button that tells them what they can expect as soon as they move on to the next page. You may find that it makes them more likely to complete the desired action.
How testing can improve your landing page conversion

A/B testing is when you test two different pages, and figure out which page converts better. Sometimes, it’s called A/B split testing. It’s basically an experiment to see which version — A or B — is going to make you more money. There is such a thing as “multivariate testing,” but you can hold off on that until you’ve done a few A/Bs.

The whole concept is pretty simple, but for some reason people don’t do it as often as they should. Why not? Maybe because it sounds intimidating or complicated, or they don’t exactly understand how drastically it’s going to help them.

How do you conduct a test?

a. You need a testing tool. Yes, they cost money. Yes, they’re worth it. Unbounce, Visual Website Optimizer, and Optimizely provide solid initial testing platforms.

b. Figure out what you want to test. The options are endless. Different color scheme? Button placement? Picture of a man vs. a picture of a woman? Layout variations? Pick anything. Test it.

Sounds like creating pages can take up time and effort?

Well we found an amazing tool that can help solve this problem in one go, and thats Breeze Builder. With Breeze Builder you can build amazing landing and Opt-in pages, get higher conversions and increase email response.

If you have had enough of having to battle with clunky, slow & Over Complicated WordPress based landing page editors, there we are on the same page.

​Maybe you’re already using one of the monthly paid web based builders… you know, the ones that make it virtually impossible to fully edit their templates to how you want on your landing page to be?

Lets face it… how many weeks and months go past when you don’t even use those builders… but still they are sucking money from your account every single month.​

Many of the features you never even use – so you’re paying for something you don’t even need – and when you do want a particular function you find you need to shell out even more hard earned cash to unlock it.

Not only that… but building high traffic pages using something as fragile as say WordPress is marketing suicide.

If you’ve ever had one crumble under the strain of a good campaign launch… you will know what I mean, talk about terrifying!

Problems  can occur with over complex, under performing landing page builders. Think about it…

​Wouldn’t you rather be using something that’s robust, yet simple to use, fast, and drag & Drop easy?

With beautiful proven templates that you can just glide on the workspace and have a stunning high converting landing or opt-in page… in just a couple of clicks?​

Using a software that not only creates landing pages… but can build amazing ‘Impossible to ignore’ HTML emails, AND Protect Affiliate or tracking links, I.P. Addresses, and track response in just a few clicks…

Something unique in the market…

Now you can get maximum, lightning fast results from your conversions and email campaigns – from the lead capture to the sale in just a few simple steps.

Breeze builder provides an all in one landing page, HTML email builder and delivery tools suite. You can create any landing page in 4 east steps.

  • Super Easy And Quick To Use
  • Effortless Drag And Drop System
  • Amazing Affiliate Link Protection
  • Lightning Pages In 3 Minutes
  • Guard Your Email Sending I.P. Address
  • Explode Your Delivery, Open And Response Rates
  • Write Profitable Emails In Seconds
  • Skyrocket Your Email Marketing Revenue
  • All tools in one easy to use interface
  • Export all templates in HTML to use with your favourite editor
  • Responsive templates (Look great on ALL devices)
  • Catapult Your Conversions
  • Robust and high traffic friendly (Unlike other web and WP based pages)

Click here to find out more

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The post How To Build Amazing Landing and Opt-in Pages That Convert appeared first on Entrepreneur Ideas.

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Written by Richard Santoro visit Entrepreneur Ideas - Startup and run your own business

Want to know how to optimise your analytics, and accurately measure all your marketing campaigns? It’s easy. You just need to use UTM links.
 
Most people assume that you copy Google Analytics code onto your site, and you’re ready to go.
 
Unfortunately, it’s not quite that straightforward.
Google Analytics does do a lot for you. It can tell you how long traffic has been on your site. What percentage bounce you get on each page, where your exit pages are and if you set up goals correctly – how many people purchase.
 
But the thing is. Google doesn’t actually know who these people are.
 
It doesn’t really understand where they’ve come from or why they’ve visited your site.
 
The end result? Google can’t really tell you how your marketing efforts are performing.
 
You think all that email traffic you send on a weekly basis is being tracked properly? Think again!
 
Google actually struggles to identify traffic sources, particularly email. When you click an email link in the Mail app of your phone, or your desktop app, or even just Outlook in a browser, it can all be tracked differently, because Google can’t actually see where it’s coming from.
 
This is where UTM tags come in, and they look a bit like this (deliberate broken URL):
 
website URL .com/email-course?utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=email_course_launch&utm_medium=ppc
 
UTM tags tell Google where traffic has come from, the channel the traffic came through, and why you drove that traffic to your site.
 
Source: Your source describes where your traffic is coming from. Examples of sources would include other websites, and your newsletter.
 
It’s best to be generic with your source; “facebook”, or “newsletter”, but there may be times when you want to be a bit more specific, for example if you drive a lot of traffic from a Facebook group AND your personal profile, you could have “facebook_group” & “facebook_profile”.
 
One big mistake a lot of companies make with the source is using the name of a service provider such as Mailchimp or Intercom. If you switch provider, you start your new source from scratch. Best to stick with ‘newsletter’ or ‘automation.
Medium: Medium describes the channel the traffic came through. This could be email, PPC, affiliate, or something like guest_blog.
 
Again here you want to keep them quite generic. So Bing ads, Google ads, Facebook ads would all come under “paid” or “ppc”, any organic social could be “social” or “social_media”
Campaign: This is the bit you really control, and is the final compulsory tag.
 
This tag tells Google exactly which marketing campaign it was that drove the traffic. So in the example above we have “email_course_launch”.
 
When you combine this with the source and medium, you know exactly where this traffic came from and why it’s coming to your site (to claim your email course).
 
You have complete freedom of choice with the campaign as it can change very frequently. It’s just best to make sure the campaign name is identifiable and not a random string of letters and numbers.
 
We have 2 final tags that i’ll touch on really briefly.
Term – this is pretty much just used for adwords, and is automatically generated by Adwords, so you shouldn’t need to worry too much about it. It just tells you the exact keyword that drove this traffic.
 
Content – again, it;s not too important, but useful for when you are A/B testing creative, or maybe you have multiple CTA’s and you want to know which one performs the best.
 
So how do you go about doing this right?
 
There’s just a few key rules to follow.
 
1. Every external link you control, should be a UTM link. But NEVER tag an internal link. You’ll override the original tag, and so a link on your blog will be responsible for all your sales, not the original source.
 
2. Your links are public. Anyone can see that link once it’s in the address bar, so don’t use embarrassing or insulting words in there – utm_campaign=poor_suckers_buying_my_ebook for example, would not go down too well.
 
3. Forgetting, or not even having guidelines. You need to be consistent. Decide what special character will break words apart, normally – _ or +. Capital letters or not? It matters. Social_Media is tracked differently to social_media.
 
If you do all the above properly, you’ll know exactly which marketing campaigns are working for you, which social media posts generate sales and even which call to action in your emails are the most effective.
 
You could even go further, and compare the converters vs non converters for all the campaigns. Do certain countries convert better, desktop vs mobile, PC vs Mac and so much more.
I hope this will help some of you, let me know in the comments below?
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Written by Richard Santoro visit Entrepreneur Ideas - Startup and run your own business

Investors are looking for three things: Team, traction, and product. At least ONE of these three things should be huge!

When one of my last startup ventures got into the Barclays accelerator in London a few years ago the above law held:

Team: One team hadn’t written a line of code but the founder had exited a company for around $10million+, others were ex-Google, Zynga, Yahoo, etc.

Product: Another team were very early but had designed a unique widget that could be in every supermarket in the world; another used machine learning algorithms to make language learning faster.

Traction: We were there as we were getting over two million unique visitors a month on our sites.

James Altucher said it best: It take six months to raise money in an AMAZING business, infinity on a mediocre business.

So, heed rule #1: Don’t look for investment until you have one of “the three” absolutely popping’ off.

If I had to choose one of the three, it would always be traction, followed very closely by a unique, defensible product (particularly if it’s a tech product that would be hard to build, or has a community, which also gives you a position of strength).

Also, your pitch will suck the first time you try, so don’t burn it on the best investors

Slide deck

Follow Guy Kawasaki’s dream slide deck process or similar, showing one slide each for: Problem you’re solving, the solution you’ve created, market size/opportunity, team, traction, etc.

Front load the deck with whatever is your most impressive of the three. example: “Before I start, let me tell you a little about our founding team” (If team is strong). “We’re growing fast and are already making £10,000 a month” (If traction), “Let’s dive straight into the product, it’s amazing” (if product).

Make sure it’s clear in your pitch deck how the investors will make a 10x return on your money.

If you are where I was when I was raising money for my startup you are probably f***ing desperate.

The problem with this is investors can smell that and will use it against you.

The way to inoculate yourself against lacking credibility is to have phenomenal market knowledge, and a vision for the future (make sure you talk about the future, people never think about that deeply enough).

If you’re spending time trying to hire someone to make the deck, you’re doing it wrong.

Use Google slides, black background, Proxima Nova Font size 40 or above (not many words per slide or people read the slide instead of looking at you), lots of nice pictures.

If you don’t know your material (very bad) you can just write out your talk on Keynote with the script which shows you your notes next to the slide. Sneaky.

Who should you raise money from?

The mafia (and gangs in modern day, to a certain extent) are looked upon favourably for “only going after their own”, i.e. generally only attacking people who have chosen to be in that lifestyle and have then messed up.

Have the same mentality with investors: Don’t work with people who NEED to make the money back they give you.

Investors are like record labels: They invest in 10 companies (bands) and only expect one or two to be massive, recouping the losses of the others and making a huge profit on the side (Adele, One Direction, Facebook, Uber).

THUS if you take money from institutional investors, they’re not gonna make you sell your house to give you their money back. I was once was offered a $1 million+ investment, then heard that anecdote and had second thoughts.

Established investors know “the game”

Likewise, if you borrow $25,000 off a family member or friend, that is a TONNE of money to them, and they will hate you for losing it.

Institutional investors?

The game is the game.

Your blood is their gold, and they expect you to work until near-death to make them they money, so they have to accept a few failures along the way.

Getting meetings

NEVER COLD EMAIL INVESTORS. They hate it, and it doesn’t work.

Get intros from smart people in your network.

If smart people won’t give you intros, your product probably isn’t that good, always ask them WHY they think your idea will fail/they won’t recommend you.

Pitching events work BUT don’t do too many, as investors start to think “If they were that good, they’d be signed by now from someone at one of these events, there must be something wrong with them”.

I’ve been out of the game a long time, but, London: I got my advisor (ex-Facebook) who got me investment pitching at a Lions’ Cage event, and I also recommend Angels’ Den and City Meets Tech.

Angel Lab will give you money quickly if they like you, but it’s HARD to get in there, 5 or 6 members need to nod you into the secret room then you get to pitch them all, as far as I heard (I got 4 interested people but didn’t get into the main pitching room.

Pitching

Start strong. Attend a few small pitching events to get your weight up and get used to it, practice your pitch VS people you respect on Skype, etc.

Have confidence and project confidence and voice, the amounts of money involved are so great that in this case small things DO matter.

Remember, brutality normally prevails where there’s large amounts of cash involved.

So, some thoughts on the process once you have an intro to an investor:

Details matter. Email signature, sending them documents etc. FAST after they request it, showing up slightly early. You have to play their game until you create your own

Concerned about writing this one: If you’re not a youngish (under 40) white male, consider the odds slightly against you. Multiple data points back this up. What does this mean in real terms? Stay on topic, don’t go off on tangents, acknowledge any differences and how they are an advantage, be extremely prepared for the meeting, etc.

You don’t have to be formal, necessarily, but you have to be somewhat serious and intense for a sustained period of time/read the other investor to see how to play this.

If you think this is bullsh*t, that’s fine, but it’s the same reason I assume everyone I speak to is on welfare: Anything above this is a bonus, so if you come correct and presume you’re up against it going in, you can pull in your focus for an outstanding performance.

After the pitch?

People always ask you how it went.

They want to hear “well”, or “badly.” If you can say “I gave the best possible account of myself” you can rest easy, whatever the outcome.

Caveat for all of the above: Strong domain expertise will make a lot of the above irrelevant: You can do a lot worse than bringing up some of Jay Abraham’s questions he asks new clients to see if they have a f***ing clue about the business they’re running.

Knowing the below will also protect you from some of the hardest questions an investor can throw at you (I’ll do a separate section on that below)

Who is your direct competition?

Describe your positioning in the market and why it makes you special

How do you sell? How do you know how well you’re doing?

What are your offers to entice people to buy?

What does your website/app/product do better?

Why do people buy from your competitors and not you?

Why is your price different to others?

How does your produce perform better than others in the market?

Do you know the mindset of the perfect prospect?

What are the alternative solutions available to your perfect prospective client?

What are the current trends in your market? Where is the opportunity right now no one else is taking advantage of?

How is your competition performing?

Getting deal flow

It’s often said that American investors love to be first in the round, while Europeans want to see others in first as they are more risk-averse. To presume the worst-case scenario, once again, let’s presume the latter. So how do you go from zero to bursting with investors?

Start with the above, a warm intro with a good pitch deck, leading to a meeting where you wow the investors with your future-facing ideas, and insane domain knowledge.

Now you need to start dancing with investors. Ask them at the end of the meeting if they want to invest, having already told them how much you’re looking to raise and what you’ll spend that money on.

If they say no, ask them why not, then ask what you would need to come back with (normally a better product or traction, sometimes a team member) for them to say yes.

Email them updates once a month.

SO, is great if they say:

I want to invest the full amount you ask for (then negotiate terms)

It is good if they say:

I don’t want to invest the full amount, but may come in for a little pending who else you get in the round. If it’s the latter, memorise the following carefully chosen words:

“So you’re saying if we can get another investor(s) in the round, you will invest”

If they say “yes”, you are off to the races, believe it or not.

Your next pitch begins, “We are XYZ company, our product is XYZ.

We’re looking to raise $X capital, and already have X committed. You have the other investors word, and that will do for now.

Now once you get the second investor on board with this promise, you knock on the first one’s door and say “I got the other investor, are we doing this or what?” If they back out, you still have the second investor which becomes the first investor and another “interested”.

Join the investors together in a glorious orgy you organised and let the good times roll!

Quick cheatsheet for raising money:

If you are running an agency, unless you have a super-innovative secret sauce or you have seven-figure revenues, don’t raise money. Get more clients.

Agencies only really get bought by other agencies, normally a nominal fee to acquire the talent working for the first agency.

Take advice onboard from people deep in the space: Raising money is an easy way to waste a lot of time if you are doing it in the wrong way, and can kill your company

Close the round as soon as possible and get back to running/managing your company

Ask me any questions you have about this process below/anything else you want to know in the comments.

Raised money already? what was the process and how did you pull it off?

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Written by Richard Santoro visit Entrepreneur Ideas - Startup and run your own business

Here are 13 Mind Blowing Entrepreneur Business Ideas For Turning $100 into $1000 Fast

I couldn’t sleep last night, despite going to bed at around 10:00pm because I was exhausted… I got into a funny game in my head, here’s the result.

The name of the game is turn $100 into $10,000.
Ethically, unethically… It doesn’t matter.

Here’s some that I came up with, it doesn’t matter if these things take time either. Some ideas are 90% automated, others are 90% hard work

1) Free cold email techniques, using free data sources. Aim for $1k a month contracts to do copywriting, digital marketing or freelancing.

2) Spend $100 on getting public speaking gigs. Aim to do 1 gig a week for a year, speak about your chosen topic. I.e PT’s talk about gym routines, nutritionists talk about food/diet and business owners talk about business.

3) Spend $100 getting onto podcasts for a year, you can easily get $10,000 in business deals or clients.

4) Automate journalist outreach, aim to set of 10 articles featured in a large publication. Once featured, you’ll have social proof that’ll help you get and close leads.

5) Promote your Facebook posts to very relevant potential partners or decisionmakers you can do a lot with just $1 a day. Connecting with decision makers at awesome companies.

6) Send a CMO a handwritten direct mail piece with a $50 note inside. Gently offer to work with his company, or if it’s not relevant. Pass your details on to a company that needs your services. (I’m not sure if this is legal…)

7) Buy 10 $10 boxes of cupcakes/cookies and deliver them with a letter to corporate decision makers. Offer some consulting/coaching/services. You’ll have to hand deliver the cookies, because you don’t have money for petrol or stamps.

8) Get 5,000 Facebook friends. Rent a Lamborghini on a credit card (you might have to pay $100 interest or spend it on some software). Then film a set of 31 videos and pictures in different locations, post them to Facebook in order. Then sell your “get rich quick scheme”. (this is how most internet marketers live, I am not condoning this, it’s just for fun).

9) Old-fashioned buy low, sell high
Here is one of my favourite tricks. Fire up the web browser and go to your local Craigslist, Gumtree, ebay or Kijiji if you’re in Canada. These are buy/sell/trade websites.
For example, Kijiji Look for “buy and sell” in the dropdown and leave the search field blank, it throws up 395,055 items. That’s good, because it means the potential to find common items that people are selling and others are buying is quite strong.
Now I know I only have $100 to start with. In the left column, Kijiji allows me to define a minimum and maximum price. I insert $0 for the minimum and $100 for the maximum, and I then click on “offering” for the offer type.
What would be a good choice? The item needs to be commonly used or else I may not find a buyer, and it needs to be generic enough that a buyer might be interested. That rules out furniture, art, clothing etc. What I need to hone in on is stuff like electronics, sports equipment, computer-related items and books.
Oh look, here’s a basketball net that’s someone’s giving away for $10! Surely, someone would be interested in that? Let’s find out.
This time, I do a search for “basketball net” and then click on “wanted” for the offer type.
Here’s someone who is looking for a “real basketball net” with a base, and is willing to pay $50 for it! I expected it would take a lot longer to get to this stage but we’re already halfway there.
Then search for items with a value of between $40 and $50, find something like a second-hand fridge that another buyer is willing to pay $80 for.

You can continue this process until the $100 of seed capital has been turned into $10,000

10) Website or domain flipping
One of the methods that I like is flipping domain names. If you don’t know what is flipping, let me tell you that flipping is simply buying something and selling it at a higher price.
As a result, you make a profit. Now you may ask why would someone pay you 10 times more?
Most of the times, the value of a domain name is not known or realized by people who are just starting businesses online.
There are many ways a domain should be evaluated. However, I am not going into those metrics now. But from my experience, you can quite easily sell a $50 domain name for $250 or even more.
It just depends on how you promote and how you make people evaluate the domain you are selling. It also depends on the kind of people you are promoting to and where you are promoting.
When you are able to do it, you can easily scale it up. But you will learn it slowly with experiences. Don’t be afraid of failures. It’s a part of life.
Obviously you may not get the same results always. But what you do expect is very much possible with domain flipping. At least this is what I believe and have learned from my experience.

11) Write a book and print one copy. Put a bestselling author sticker on it, and go public speaking. Sell from the stage, offer $50 + a limited edition of your book to the first person who buys your mentorship. Rinse and repeat.

12) Buy a painting for $50 – use your masterful Growth hacking and marketing skills to get it featured in a large presentation. Sell it for $10,050.

13) Buy 100 movie themed toys, paint numbers on them 1/100 etc. Then sell them for $100 each as limited edition…

What ideas do you have for turning $100 into $10,000?

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Written by Richard Santoro visit Entrepreneur Ideas - Startup and run your own business

Ok guys its a bit random but here is an irresistible business idea that could make you millions – that I’m gonna give away for free.

Sex dolls and sex robots are going to be massive in the near future.

The first ever sex doll brothel has opened in Barcelona.

There are NONE in the UK (or anywhere else in Europe).

Lumidolls. com is the site – You could (easiest route) franchise what they’re doing there, or if you can raise investment, buy them yourself.

Launch through Instagram (ads with pornstars and glamour models) and press.

Press will be very, very easy to get.

I’m certain this is going to be a big idea because:
– There is a % of men who visit prostitutes anyway (I am not condoning this)
– This is a FAR BIGGER % who would visit if not scared off my medical/legal reasons
– The taboo element will bring people in out of curiosity
– This would not count as cheating for all the men in relationships (lol, that point is seriously deep, if true)

You may need retail experience to handle customer service, but I doubt you’ll get any problems as people won’t want to be seen causing trouble and going public!

What does everyone think?

Have I gone without sex for too long and lost my mind?

Or am I on to something here?

The post An Irresistible Business Idea That Could Make You Millions appeared first on Entrepreneur Ideas.

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Written by Richard Santoro visit Entrepreneur Ideas - Startup and run your own business

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Aspiring Growth Hackers. Here are 13 Tips and Mistakes to Guide Your Growth

There is a painful amount of terrible advice in the Growth Hacking space. It annoys me to see entrepreneurs wasting so much of their time on strategies that only work in extremely niche cases, or methods which have zero chance of scaling into anything that will affect a company’s’ bottom line, particularly if they’re a startup with no money or money running out in the next 3–6 months.
Most growth hacks can move the needle pretty fast, but no one wants to give those away. So here’s a cheat sheet anyone can use to find and use growth hacks today. Feel free to ignore it, of course!

1. Growth Hacking is a successor to (black hat) SEO.

By that I mean there are white hat (ethical) strategies that can work, like Uber’s refer-a-friend program, and black hat strategies — like the “sharing economy” site that spammed thousands of ads on Craigslist to get early traction, the social network that texted and emailed your entire phone book when you downloaded it, and the social news site which started with hundreds of fake user accounts.

You can find all three easily enough with a bit of Googling, if interested.

Here’s the catch: the best growth hacks are kept secret by a tiny segment of people who make money through affiliates (more on that later) and running marketing agencies with seemingly magic results. You won’t be able to find them.

2. It’s virtually impossible to hire good growth hackers.

They can make thousands of dollars every day from affiliates, controlling thousands of fake accounts or websites to send a tiny trickle of traffic from each one of them.
In aggregate, this adds up to a TON of traffic/revenue/users… which, naturally adds up to a ton of money. So most will never need to join a startup for a comparatively small monthly wage.

3. As such, you need to learn how to growth hack yourself.

You’ll have to hire someone eventually, but having solid knowledge will reduce the amount they can bullshit you.

4. Disregard basically everything you read on blogs about Growth Hacking.

Ditto if you wanted to find out how to do content marketing, social media, or SEO. It’s 49% people who have no idea what they’re talking about, and 49% those who do know — but don’t give away any of their key secrets.
About 2% can be useful, but it’s probably a bad use of your time to try and find it.

5. Forums and secret groups are where the real gold is if you want to be a growth hacker.

Jump into a time machine and step back into the 1990’s, when people would converse on message boards that look horrible (by today’s standards), and be certain that no one is using their real names.

Because these sites are hidden away from the public and look so off-putting, the real growth hackers can converse and share secrets& knowledge in peace. They never share the niches/products/services they’re working on, but the methods can be applied to lots of different products, and by helping each other, all ships rise with the tide.

Some of these boards will cost you to keep the n00bs (amateurs who are new to Growth Hacking) from hijacking the threads with questions they could solve with a simple Google search. Many of these private forums are worth paying for. Finding the right ones, of course, will require some testing.

6. Buying traffic is for losers when you’re starting out.

There are so many ways to get free traffic. If you can’t get any, you aren’t fit to be a growth hacker. Having said that, you will need a budget to try out tools, software, e-books, memberships, etc. to find growth hacks out of the box.
Some will work, some won’t. That’s the game we’re in. Trial and error. Some of these are known as “zero day” hacks: they are loopholes that will eventually get found and plugged by Google or the social networks.

So make hay while the sun is shining, kids.

7. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

The higher the risk, the higher the return. It gets easier with time.

8. Aggression is the precursor to success.

It runs through every high-achieving business for the last 100+ years. Growth Hacking is just a new channel for an old emotion. As my Secret Sauce co-author famously said: “Organic growth is almost always a complete lie.”

It’s in everyone’s interests for companies not to reveal the tactics they used going from zero to one.

9. One catch: Growth Hacking can’t save a bad product.

Even worse, the amount of traffic/users/revenue growth hacks can bring in for virtually any awful product/service can convince investors/founders/employees that everything is going well, until it isn’t.

Use Net promoter score and try and get 40% or more of people you survey about your product to say they would be “very disappointed” if the product went away. Hat tip Sean Ellis for that one.

10. Don’t worry too much about how your site looks, the placement of the buttons, or anything else until you have some traffic.

Many a startup have spent weeks on the perfect layout, design, and user experience, only to have no idea how to get traffic to try the site out. Once you have the traffic coming in, it’s real easy to tweak and change things to improve your conversion rates.
When you don’t have the traffic, it is IMPOSSIBLE to be successful.

11. Once the word gets out about a growth hack, the clock starts ticking.

Influencer networks used to be the cost effective way to reach millions of people easily, by paying teenagers who suddenly found themselves with more eyeballs than most television channels.

Once the genie was out of the bottle though, agencies rushed in, prices went up, and people with 5,000 followers started charging $50 to put an Instagram post on their profile for four hours (lol).
Influencer marketing is still just about better than more traditional forms of online advertising, but two years ago was an absolute steal.

12. Always be on the lookout for the next channel/avenue/source.

By the time Forbes or Buzzfeed is doing exposes on how kids on Snapchat/Vine/Periscope are earning big bucks as they have thousands of followers, it’s already too late. Whether building the channels yourself or paying others for their reach, being first is everything.

13. Growth hacks don’t have to be online.

My friends at events like App Dojo printed out letters saying “We all quit our jobs to start this startup. If you like going out in London please download our app,” stuck them in envelopes, and stood in a train station every morning for three weeks handing them to everyone on their way to work, presuming they may want somewhere to go out after.

They got thousands of downloads, met partners and investors, and accidentally found their perfect audience: they had presumed hipsters would be into what they were doing, and in fact found city boys working in finance who were flush for cash and had no idea where to go out in London loved it.

The 45 minutes it took each morning was time they would have otherwise spent drinking coffee.

Find out where your target audience hangs out, and how you can you get in front of them.

We’re almost through, so here are some questions you might want answered: 1. Won’t I feel a bit awkward doing this?

Yes, you will. Being an entrepreneur is more than just sharing “hustle” memes on Instagram and Facebook and drinking the free beer at a noisy co-working space. If you’re not prepared to make yourself uncomfortable, go and do another job. There are plenty out there.

2. Do I have to do this?

No. If you have a war chest of money, you may be able to spend your way to profitability. People tend to this through Facebook ads, where there’s still a massive opportunity. This is, of course, very hard to do right. And you’re losing money, which never feels good.

3. How do I know any of this is true?

You don’t. Everything I’m saying is, ideally, meant to point you in the right direction and give you enough tools/ideas to find your own strategies for growth, and to realize the potential the internet has to grow your startup/business.
Once we’ve shown you the basics, you could and should be applying it to new channels in ways no one has thought of before to get the best results.

If you’re an events app, why not take a photo of you with a sign saying “Download our app and find a great date spot” and right swipe/heart everyone on all the major dating apps and sites? It’s your target audience, who will soon need a place to go out. Those damn things have millions of users every day, and no one thinks to use them in this way.

Caveat: tread lightly, for obvious reasons. That was meant as an example only, not an idea for you to actually do. Besides, I love using dating apps, so don’t ruin them, ha!

4. I don’t think this will work.

Why shouldn’t I use traditional marketing methods? Growth Hacking isn’t a replacement of traditional marketing methods, it’s best use case is at the very start, when you have no idea where to get your first customers/users, (and dare I say it, you don’t have a brand to ruin).

Once you have revenue coming in (or investment $$$) you can start to use paid and more traditional methods (even Facebook have ended up doing ads in train stations, you might have noticed) in order to scale.

Growth Hacking takes you from just you and a laptop with an idea (like every other kid trying to make it in the startup game) to a player in the game, doing real things with real people. As the old saying goes, the first time you receive money online is LITERALLY MAGIC. You are doing all of this for that feeling. Let Growth Hacking try and help you get to that feeling faster. The traditional methods will always be there.

5. I still don’t think this will work.

The only way to know is to try. Start small with some zero risk hacks on Twitter and Instagram (the best places to get attention/clicks for free in a very short space of time) and then work out to the bolder moves. Or don’t. Growth Hacking doesn’t have to be risky. Plenty of companies use very mild hacks alongside traditional methods.

6. I still don’t… We get it.

At some point you’re going to have push past your old momentum and ways of doing things. Chances are, your old ways haven’t got you to where you want to be anyway.

7. Where do I start?

Everything starts with the user. Identifying them, what they want, where they hang out, what platforms they use. Get this wrong and nothing else will work.

8. Which is the best growth hack?

One which doesn’t exist yet, you find, and keep all to yourself. It could be on a new channel, or a new way of reaching people on an existing channel. If you want to share it with me, that would be cool also!

9. What are the biggest mistakes I could make in Growth Hacking?

Breaking the law, and not being aggressive enough. Aggression doesn’t just mean reaching out to people, it can be in aggressively optimizing what you’re doing and your conversion funnel, aggressively finding new channels to test.

Also, remember that classic line from Jurassic Park before you do anything which your gut is telling you IS A VERY BAD IDEA: “You spent so much time wondering whether you could, you never stopped to realize whether you should.”

10. What do I do once I have traffic?

Nail the following: who your ideal users are, (and which group of users to sidestep to next if you reach a saturation point), how your site looks/feels, perfect user on-boarding and great first week experience, build a great referral program, and automated or semi-automated systems to reduce churn.
I ain’t even gonna talk about revenue and business model, you should have that covered!

11. What else can be growth hacked?

Virtually everything, particularly anything that involves the internet, so… online dating, becoming internet famous (which can often lead to real-life fame), or getting a job — for instance — are all made immeasurably easier using Growth Hacking tactics.

12. What makes you so sure?

Outside of the hundreds of stories from virtually every successful internet company ever I’ve ever met/read about, it has taken me from being on welfare/benefits 3 years ago to launch two websites that got over a million visitors a month, get into the Techstars accelerator, start a successful agency, and travel the world giving talks. It continues to change my life every day.

13. Any final pieces of advice for anyone who would want to start Growth Hacking today?

Twitter and Instagram are, in my opinion, the best platforms for day one Growth Hacking. So much can be done for zero budget, and the returns are so instant that you’ll feel inspired to try other platforms/techniques.

Get in touch and let me know how you do!

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The post Earn More Money: How To Think Like A Growth Hacker appeared first on Entrepreneur Ideas.

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Written by Richard Santoro visit Entrepreneur Ideas - Startup and run your own business

If you want to be a successful entrepreneur one of the things that you’re going to have to do is be able to recognize opportunity when it knocks. An opportunity to fill a much needed gap in the market or to change your business to take advantage of a trend could mean the difference between a little bit of success and a huge amount. But you must know what these opportunities look like so that you can grab them when you see them. Here are three ways to recognize an opportunity.

It Might Not Be Perfect

One of the earmarks of a good opportunity is that it doesn’t sound too good to be true. A true opportunity that has great potential isn’t going to be perfect when you encounter it. You’re going to have to do the work to make it into a successful venture. However, one thing that should have is potential. If you can see it becoming a great idea in the future than it might just be the opportunity that you been looking for but just be sure that just because an idea is imperfect that you don’t discard it completely.

It Is Built on Previous Failures

The best ideas are the ones that have evolved over time because they have been honed through past failures. If an idea has been through the furnace of discovery, there is a much greater chance of it working when you decide to implement it. In other words, you might want to give an idea time to fail a few times before you decide to run with it yourself, because otherwise, you’ll be making all of those mistakes yourself and that won’t result in the grand opportunity the you’re envisioning.

It Might Not Be What It Was Intended to Be Used for Originally

Some of the best ideas that have ever been thought of were completely different takes on what a product or service was originally intended for. The idea might’ve been a failure as it was intended but it sparked an entire new thought process and brand-new applications.

These accidental inventions ended up being something completely different because someone had the ability to see past the original application. For example, both the slinky and silly putty toys were intended for industrial application. However, they failed as intended and instead became some of the most popular toys ever invented.

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