Get More By Doing Less

I want to tell you about an entrepreneur.

She is great at so many things. Building teams, pitching investors, developing her product, strategising and ideas – she has the hustle you need for something to work.

But there’s a problem.

Because she is good at all these things, she does them all. But none of them quite well enough to get the one thing her business needs right now – rapid growth.

We are human (duh)

We all have the same 24 hours in the day. But some people seem to get so much more done

How come?

If you scratch under the surface it usually comes down to one thing.


We are trained from a young age that results and hours are linked. If we work harder then we get more. While that isn’t untrue, it’s not completely accurate. What really counts is the relationship between time and results.

We can achieve outsized results by focusing our time on the things that really matter.

Warren Buffet owes 90% of his multi billion dollar wealth to just 10 investments.

When I was at GrabOne, there were dozens of metrics we could focus on. Traffic, visits, revenue, new members etc etc. The whole business in different ways could affect any one metric but I asked what my team could affect.

One of the key day-to-day responsibilities was email – the largest traffic source and revenue driver.

Every day if they focused on Revenue Per Email that would take care of the other metrics.

It was the one metric.

Did we get dragged away from it constantly? Yes.

Did we all focus on it every single day? No.

But as long as someone was asking themselves the question “Is what I’m doing right now going to improve RPE?” then it was usually going in the right direction.

Your area of focus doesn’t have to last forever. Business goes through cycles where it might not be fit for purpose but having a singular focus on one thing will always give you momentum.

What are you focusing on today?

If it’s moving you towards that big, hairy goal then keep doing it.

If it’s not, stop, think, and focus.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Perfect

In 2008 Andrew Mason was working on a community website called The Point. He wanted to give people the ability to make change occur through collective action. To prove the power of site Mason organised an offer from the pizza restaurant in the building they worked in.

He quickly put together a WordPress site and posted the offer. When someone purchased the deal they had to manually email the voucher to the purchaser.

He called the site Groupon.

Within 2 years Groupon had become the fastest growing company in history with 1600 employees and over $1 billion in sales.

If Mason had waited to build the perfect daily deal platform then his well funded competition would have overtaken him.

I should know. I worked for the competition.

When Shane Bradley saw the early success of Groupon he immediately shifted his development team’s focus to building GrabOne. It was done in a few weeks, launched and went on to define a new business category in New Zealand. No one looked back.

What are you waiting for?

just ship it


Entrepreneur has become a cool word. Movies like ‘The Social Network’ and star founders have propelled entrepreneurs into the public domain and made anyone with an idea an entrepreneur.

But to become an entrepreneur you have to have an idea AND execute it.

In my work with large clients, I’ve seen way too many people pitch overvalued ideas to large businesses. They want someone else to take the risk out of executing it by using their money and resources as they think they need them to make them successful.

Waiting for the perfect conditions means these ideas are unlikely to gain momentum.

If they just started, proved value, then pitched they would have a chance.

7 day startup

Dan Norris sold his web design business then spent a year developing an analytics dashboard. The problem was nobody wanted to pay for it.

Dan was on the verge of taking a job when he started WPcurve, a WordPress support service,  in just 7 days. In the beginning Dan had to answer any customer enquiries 24 hours a day. As he took on paying customers he hired developers. Now the business has over $70k in monthly recurring revenue.

Dan has written a book about his journey.

The 7 Day Startup: You Don’t Learn Until You Launch

If you’re even slightly thinking of starting something I highly recommend you pick up or download a copy. It may even be better than my book

For The Intrapreneurs

The pressure to keep business as usual means that the decisions you can make as an employee need to be different than those of an entrepreneur.

That’s not an excuse to do nothing.

In marketing or growth roles you need to be pushing all the time.

I used to say to my team at GrabOne; in marketing it’s not called failure, it’s called testing.

You will make mistakes but they are very rarely terminal.

Test the new email template, test the new onboarding process, run A/B tests – just test something.

If you are doing your core job well and you are always pushing the margins for more, it will do wonders for your career.

At this stage I would normally offer you a download or a guide to help. This time I just want you to do something you have been thinking about for a while. The idea that won’t go away.

It’s probably not perfect but you should definitely do it.

ecommerce site

5 Quick Wins for Your Ecommerce Site

Optimisation has been a buzz word in ecommerce forever. We are all striving to get that little bit extra out of the traffic we have and the customers who already trust us.

Sometimes we just want to throw out the whole platform and start again. But this is expensive and often does not deliver the results to justify the investment. Sometimes it can deliver a worse experience that impacts revenue, as big ecommerce players like Marks and Spencer discovered.

Small changes can have a huge impact. At GrabOne we changed the design of a yellow box on the mobile site and improved conversion by $256,000 per year. Testing should be part of your culture but I want to hand you some quick wins that you can implement in the next 30 days.

Criteria I used to choose these:

  • Easy to implement
  • High upside, low downside – little risk
  • Platform agnostic – you can do all of these with what you have or simple tools

1. Chat

Online shopping inherently lacks the retail experience of having someone walk a customer through a purchase and deal with objections and questions as they come up. Chat is a way to improve engagement with the customer, discover frequent problems and hidden issues. I’ve seen chat linked transaction average double than those without. Anecdotally younger users use chat in higher numbers as its a more natural experience for them.

How: Olark only requires a single line of code and starts at $15 a month.

2. Payment options

Offering customers an alternative way to pay has been proven to boost conversions. Payments company SeeWhy analysed payment methods by platform and showed an increase in performance when offering customers more options.

How:  QCard

ecommerce marketing

Paypal has obviously gained market share but digital wallets haven’t really gained traction in NZ. The quick win I would recommend is you focus on payment solutions that increase your average transaction value. GrabOne’s implementation of QCard was successful in increasing transaction values.

How: Speak to QCard. It will seamlessly sit next to your existing payment gateway.

3. Social Proof and Urgency

Daily deal sites have some of the highest conversion rates online. They do this through a unique product but they have also been very successful in increasing urgency and layering social proof onto a purchasing decision. Displaying the number of purchases, how many have been sold, stock remaining or recent purchases can all be effective.

image01 have always been my favourite implementation and I know they have a extensive conversion testing regime so ‘taking inspiration’ from them would be wise. Look at the daily deal sites for design ideas as well.

Two important caveats don’t create false urgency and don’t overdo it.

How: Userstats offer a lightweight tool from $18 a month

4. Onboarding

Customers who have already bought from us are far easier to re-engage than new customers. Getting a new user to a purchase and experience your product as early in the relationship as possible ensures the lifetime value is maximised. Onboarding them to let them know what they can expect from you and potentially incentivising them to purchase is a fast and simple way to do this. The art is nurturing them rather than chasing them.

Onboarding should:

  • Set expectations about how you are going to communicate with them eg email frequency
  • Start to build a relationship with them eg your company’s values and usp
  • Let them know about any other actions that would be beneficial eg mobile, app, account preferences

Generally onboarding is done via email but a thank you page post sign up can be a good early introduction to your relationship.

The next time a customer sees and email from you or an ad out there they will be slightly more likely to engage.

How: Fire up your email program and write an email (preferably from a person) telling them exactly what to expect from you and suggest some next steps in the relationship.

5. Cart Abandon

Are people really still not doing this? If it’s not the most profitable email you send in your stack then I will personally send you $11.50 which happens to the value per email of the last onboarding email I wrote.

Seriously just do it. The customer has got all the way through to the cart and left for some reason. Give them a nudge.

Test messaging sequences, frequency and content later but please start. FYI A two email abandon reminder seems to work best for most ecommerce types. But start with a single email and find out later what is optimal.

How: It is likely built into your ecommerce platform of choice but if you need a third party solution Salescycle offer this along with remarketing functionality.

Priorities are always challenging but if there are gaps in your strategy please fill them with one of the above ideas as soon as you can. I guarantee it will make you more sales.

Want someone to make these small but important changes for you? Check out Growth Advise. There’s a waiting list right now but register and I will let you know when an opening becomes available.

Read Our Most Popular Posts:


James’ Secret Formula for Creating Content that Converts

You’ve got a website and it looks great so you’re ahead of 50% of NZ businesses who don’t have one.


….the incoming traffic isn’t what you expected and there’s bugger all conversions and sales. i.e. it ain’t making you $$.

There are well over a billion people using Google Search and yet you are invisible to just about everyone.

This makes you want to bang your head against the wall, right?

Well don’t.

What you forget is that a website is just the tip of the iceberg. As the saying goes “it’s what’s on the inside that counts”.

Your website cannot do what you expect of it if you don’t have a plan and the right tools to get found. You can’t break the ice with just a website. You have to communicate with your prospects, give them something of value and build trust with them.

These things take time but they’re worth it. One day you will have a site that generates leads and sales automatically.

Creating Content for Search Rankings

Search engines are tools that you can use so that prospects find your website. You have to befriend Google and feed it with valuable content. By doing this you are feeding your prospects too.

When creating content for search rankings, keep in mind that your content should:

  • Be accurate and provide valuable information to your readers
  • Be relevant to your products or services
  • Include optimised keywords that you readers are using
  • Be in line with Google’s search algorithm

You need high quality content to build authority for your website and eventually sell your products or services. There is no point in producing content that doesn’t have a purpose.

That is why you need to establish your buyer persona. Get to know your audience and take the necessary steps to determine your target market. This is your key to success.

Conduct Market Research

Doing market research can be daunting. You can simplify the process by creating and using a buyer persona profile.

What exactly is a buyer persona?  It is a profile of your ideal customer; the one that you need to influence with your content.

Market research will provide you with the necessary data about your buyer persona. It will decode your audience’s most urgent needs. It will enable you to focus your content on the people who are interested in your business.

The core of your research must answer the following questions:

     What are their problems that need solving?

  • What factors are they focusing on when they make a buying decision?
  • What are the remedies they are looking for to fix their problems?

Planning your Content

Time to get into the meat of this. You want to know my secrets don’t you?

Before you start writing do these four steps:

  1. Know the purpose of your content

First you need to understand why you are creating the content in the first place. What do you want to achieve? What particular group of people are you trying to reach? What are the topics that you need to highlight in your content? These are the questions you need to answer before you begin creating anything.

  1. Determine your target audience

You must get to know the people you are targeting. Once you understand your target audience you can move onto the next step. Before you move on read my article on creating buyer personas. If you don’t have a buyer persona already take the time to create one.

Now it’s time to organise all your personal opinions, ideas, thoughts and the information you have gathered.

  1. Get information from credible resources

When you post content on your website, it needs to be accurate and reliable. You don’t want to create the wrong impression since one of your goals is to build authority within your market. When collecting information make sure your sources are kosher and keep track of the websites you use.

  1. Highlight your brand

Your brand should stand out in all your content, so you need to be consistent. You do not want to confuse your audience by shifting to various topics that are not relevant to your business. Make sure you only tackle topics that are closely related to what you offer in your business.

Types of Content for your Website 

There are different types of content for your website. It all depends on the goal you want to achieve. You may want to write content that can:

  • Entertain
  • Educate
  • Persuade
  • Convert

You may think that the most important thing is to persuade your prospects and convert them into paying customers – think again! You should produce content that entertains or educates or both.

Entertaining content helps you reach your target market more effectively. This sort of content is emotional and very shareable.

But you need to give your readers some substance – you want content that educates your readers and opens their mind on how they can benefit from your brand.

Are you familiar with brand storytelling? Big names like Apple, Coca-cola and Lego are using this. Did you take your kids to see the Lego movie? It really is awesome because it is a great big piece of brand storytelling.

Brand storytelling ties emotional content that has the capability to draw in your prospects closer to your brand. Great storytelling has the power to convert the usual site visitor into an avid and supportive customer. All you need to do is to tap into their emotions and give them a reason to follow and share the content on your website.

A good example of brand storytelling is Coca-Cola and its popular 20-20 project. This emotionally connected content can be found on YouTube. Coca-Cola boldly used content marketing as a major driver of growth for their company. Consumer-generated stories are featured in their 20-20 project. Its impact is huge if we count their ads that have gone viral.

The Importance of Headlines

Do you click on articles with boring headlines? Or do you click on headlines that interest you and offer you something? Headlines are crucial and they will make or break your content.

Create clickable headlines by:

  • Putting special emphasis on the first three words
  • Make sure it’s within the 65-character mark or less for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes
  • Making it concise and direct to the point – your audience must immediately understand what your content is

The anatomy of a good headline starts with a good, short and catchy phrase. It must be easy to read and generate enough curiosity that the reader will be compelled to click on the article. Here are some good examples of strong headlines:

  • Home Saving Hacks for Busy Mothers
  • The Shocking Truth About Information Overload
  • 13 Surprising Reasons Why Your Business Fails
  • How to Generate Leads without Burning Your Pocket

Make the Necessary Revisions

Get in the habit of revising your content until you find it worthy of your website. Keep in mind that you must post high quality and valuable content. You have to refine your content before you hit the publish button.

When revising any content, you need to check the following:

  • Check your grammar – you can use Grammarly or any other free online tool to check for grammar or spelling errors in your content.
  • Examine the structure of your content – always remember coherent content will lead the reader through a clear line of thinking.
  • Review all the parts – starting with your headline, then the introduction, body and ending. Each part must have a purpose and relevancy to your topic.
  • Assess the overall value of your content – before you publish the content put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and ask yourself this: “What value will I get from reading this?”

If you have now created an epic piece of content it’s time to publish it on your website.

Download my Content Creation Checklist and follow my easy but extremely effective guide.

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Download this checklist to use when creating your content:

content that converts checklist

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