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.


Outsourcing Digital Process: Is it Right for Your Business?

What is the most valuable commodity to a business owner?

You might be surprised, many business owners do not know the answer. They’ll tell you it’s business assets, sales, profit.

They’re all wrong. These are important but nothing more important than TIME!

You can make more money, but you can’t make more time!

For small and medium business owners, time is even more valuable. There’s not enough hours in a day to run a business and to network to get the job done.

Running every aspect of business – from marketing, finance, and day-to-day operations – is hard to do all on your own.

Sometimes, you have the manpower, but it isn’t enough. You need to have the right people to back you up.

The High Cost of Hiring In-House Staff

Hiring an assistant or a team of individuals can be one of your options. They will be responsible for each business process, so everything is streamlined and running smoothly.

This option can be costly though, especially if you’re starting out with your business.

In fact, you need to offer them a competitive wage and some exceptional benefits before you can get the right people onboard.

What is the most effective strategy to cut business costs?

Businesses turn to digital marketing firms to help them accomplish several of their online marketing processes. Some of these tasks include following:

  • Content Creation
  • Keyword Research
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Web Development
  • Website Creation and Maintenance

In their bid to save time and money, they often consult business management experts who can help them improve their business processes. You can find these experts within the ranks of digital consulting and marketing firms.

Some of them even own an online marketing company, since consulting is one of their main services. These companies can also provide teams of skilled professionals who can handle several of the online marketing processes I’ve mentioned above.

Common Digital Processes that Business Owners Can Outsource

There are several business processes that can be passed on to digital marketing companies. These firms can help you with your online marketing campaign, so you can focus on other areas of your business. Some of these processes include the following:

1. SEO-Related Services

Search engine optimization is a task that you can’t do in a day.

It is time-consuming and requires expertise and knowledge of the field. It’s broad, and most of the time – unpredictable.

A foundation of an excellent SEO campaign is a good keyword research.

There are tools to make it easier like Google Keyword planner or paid tools like Moz, but analysing thousands (if not millions) of keywords also takes time.

Aside from keyword research, SEO experts regularly update their knowledge to cope up with the latest algorithm updates from Google, Yahoo, and Bing. They also analyse results using analytics tools, so they can come up with a more result-oriented campaign next time.

If you are going to put people who do not have expertise in this area, it’s a waste of time and resources. The right people including strategic planning and implementation is a must for any digital marketing campaign to succeed.

Content Creation and Marketing

This is another important process to businesses with websites. When you want to engage your target audience and acquire the much needed leads for your business, it’s essential to have quality content on your site.

Having quality content on your site can give you the following advantages:

  • You gain more credibility with the search engines
  • The content get shared and distributed on other relevant websites, hence you get organic links
  • It can gather considerable amount of traffic to your site
  • Your visitors are more likely to convert into paying customers, since you have something valuable on your site.

Creating your own content is not a mundane task. An engaging and informative post also requires in-depth research and sometimes, time. Take note that content is not only limited to articles, but video/digital storytelling and infographics.

A better solution is to delegate this task to third-party content writers, graphics designers and video editors. A good example for digital storytelling is Sparkol – a whiteboard video creation tool that can take your story to the next level.

It’s a simple tool to work on, but if you’re not yet confident on creating your own videos, then you can simply let a digital marketing firm do this for you. You only need to collaborate with them, especially during the story/plot creation phase.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is a process that will focus on efforts to create valuable content that can effectively attract and encourage followers through various social networks. Just like content marketing, this task can be delegated to online marketing teams.

There are several social media tasks like:

  • Regular updates of social media accounts
  • Creating social media calendar
  • Publishing quality content
  • Answering comments and feedback
  • Scouring social networking sites for relevant content that can be posted on your own company page

Since this process will require regular updates of social media accounts, it will take much of your time.

There are 10 social media management tools that you can use for these particular tasks:

  1. Hootsuite
  2. SocialOomph
  3. Tweepi
  4. Spredfast
  5. Buffer
  6. Sprout Social
  7. Everypost
  8. Bitly
  9. SocialFlow
  10. Crowdbooster

Web Development, Site Management and App Creation

Site creation and management is another essential process for any type of business these days. Oftentimes, you need to create landing pages, tweak your email capture form or simply update the look of your website.

For this purpose, you seek the help of a web developer, or if you have the coding skills – you can do it yourself. But then again, it can be tedious work that you can simply outsource.

In addition, the popularity of mobile devices has paved the way for marketing apps to enter the digital marketing arena. Creating an app for your business is an intricate process that digital marketing firms can easily do for you.

Overall, outsourcing business processes is a flexible and strategic way of doing business. It’s a trend that every business owner should be aware of. Most importantly, it’s the best way to save your resources.

If you want to know more about outsourcing, maintaining an effective website, and gathering leads for your business, you can speak to James first and book in a free 30 minute strategy session.

You can also download our FREE Ebook The Growth Engine to know the exact strategy we are using to grow our clients’ business.

New Website

Why You Might Need a New Website (And Why You Might Not)

Have you looked at your website analytics lately?

Does your website have much traffic?

Is it bringing you new customers?

More importantly, is it bringing you any ROI?

If your answer to these questions is “NO,” sit down and think. Why did you create a website in the first place when it’s not doing it’s job?

Your website is your business’ 24-hour ambassador.

It’s a platform to convey your messages, to your target audience, to engage prospects and move them closer to your brand.

If it’s not doing it’s job, it’s a tell-tale sign. Rethink your digital strategy.

Starting, of course, with assessing your website.

What are the signs that you need to look into?

1. Your website design looks outdated

You may have heard of this popular adage: “first impressions last a lifetime.” This does not only refer to people. It also refers to design.

According to a study, it only takes 1/1oth of a millisecond to form an opinion about a person. Similar to this, it only takes 50 milliseconds for a web visitor to form an opinion about your website.

What will your visitors think if they see a static website with an outdated design?

They may think you’re not that serious about your business, right?

Keep in mind that having a fresh and responsive website with a good visual design is the gateway to more leads. Web visitors who keep coming back to your site can later turn into paying customers.

2. Your site is NOT mobile-friendly

This is very relevant this year, since Google will release another update that will prioritise mobile-friendly websites on the searches. On the other hand, “G” will penalise sites that are NOT mobile-friendly.

It would be wise for you to know if your site is mobile-friendly through this link:

There’s a good reason why Google is pushing for this update. It’s obvious that mobile devices are now prevalent. People all over the world used them to browse the web. Any type of business that has a website should adapt. Otherwise, you will be left out in the searches.

3. Your site is navigationally challenged

A website should provide a good user experience by having sleek and well-planned navigation. Your visitors must easily find the information they need on your site because this builds credibility on your part.

Having a site with bad navigation can be a huge deterrent to your visitors. They may even go to your competitors when they’re disappointed with your current website.

If your site is difficult to navigate, there are key parts of your website that you can improve.

According to an eye-tracking study from MST, there are website sections that drew the most interest from viewers. These are as follows:

  • The institution’s logo. Users spent about 6.48 seconds focused on this area before moving on.
  • The main navigation menu. Almost as popular as the logo, subjects spent an average of 6.44 seconds viewing the menu.
  • The search box, where users focused for just over 6 seconds.
  • Social networking links to sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Users spent about 5.95 seconds viewing these areas.
  • The site’s main image, where users’ eyes fixated for an average of 5.94 seconds.
  • The site’s written content, where users spent about 5.59 seconds.
  • The bottom of a website, where users spent about 5.25 seconds.

4. Your site isn’t interactive enough

In today’s marketing arena, it’s NOT just about what you have and what you think your prospects’ want and need. It’s more about engaging them. That is why your visitors must have the option to comment on your content, or to give a direct feedback.

If your site is all one way, then you’re NOT connecting with your audience. You must get a dialogue going by giving them the option to respond, express and ask questions.

5. Your site’s search engine ranking is dropping

Although this is a very technical subject to delve into, it’s essential that you are visible online. This means that you are on the first page of the SERPs.

Google, Yahoo and Bing implements standards every site admin should follow. When a site fails to adhere to the rules, then its rankings will surely plummet.

If you think your site is no longer listed on the top three pages of the SERPs, then it’s time to update or change your site entirely.

6. The content on your site (web copy and image) is no longer aimed at your target audience

There will come a time when your site is no longer relevant to your market. You have to adapt to the situation or risk getting left behind. In order to cope up with this situation, your site must have a new look and content that your prospects need.

Posting new content is a good starting point. If you don’t have a blog, it’s a good time to start.

Updating your current site is not only about changing the design. Your web copy and images also needs updating. The aim here is to persuade your site visitors to stay and look around. Your blog’s aim, on the other hand is to engage your customers and leads so they will continue to patronise your business.

Is it expensive to get a new website?

Not anymore. In fact, new site templates are more mobile-friendly, easy to update and more customisable than older versions. You can regularly update the information of your site or adjust it based on the needs and wants of your target market.

Always remember, your audience and search engines respond best to new and changing content.

If you’re planning to get a new website that converts, then speak to James first and book in a free 30 minute strategy session.

You can also download our FREE EBOOK to know how you can grow your business using The Growth Engine.



Digital Marketing Strategies

4 Must Try Digital Marketing Strategies Launched in 24 Hours or Less

Time is important.

The time you prepare and act on any decision decides the growth and success of your business.

So it’s not surprising that many businesses take a few weeks or even months to launch ads and other digital marketing campaigns.

One major decision in a business is the timeliness of a marketing campaign. A classic example is Oreo’s tweet ‘You can still dunk in the dark” during a blackout in one of the Super Bowl Series. It’s brilliant in a sense that it’s timely.

Are there effective digital campaigns that you can prepare and launch in less than a day?

The answer is a sweet yes.

How do you start preparing for your digital marketing campaign?

The answer to the question is simple; you need to research and consistently create valuable content. This content will be distributed to multiple channels and platforms. The information needs to involve relevant industry information that can both entertain and provide valuable insights to your audience.

What are the different tools to use in a digital marketing campaign?

There are tons of tools that are used in various campaigns, but some tools are only applicable for a particular job. You don’t cut a tree with a toothpick, right? Of course, you will use a chainsaw for that job.

Here are some of the tools to consider based on their purpose:

Infographics – if you want to make your message more visual and pleasing to the eye, then you will need this tool. Infographics are great for citing competitive advantages or highlighting benefits of your products and services.

Articles – the most common but still a powerful tool to use in your business website, blogs, newsletters, etc. You can publish short or long articles. It all depends on how in-depth you want to be with your messages.

Streaming Services – if you want a substitute for traditional radio and TV ads, then this tool is for you. A good example is Pandora and Hulu. They can stream your ads in between TV shows on their site.

Google Pay-Per-Click – you can advertise using keywords that are most relevant to your business. Google PPC is a popular tool utilised by digital marketing companies to gather a considerable amount of traffic that clients need for their sites.

Social Media – what else can I say about social media that you don’t already know? Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Instagram are popular channels to take advantage of. They can bring you closer to your target market, and you can use them to promote your business.

Video Streaming – there are several video streaming sites on the web, but YouTube is the most used site for this purpose. You can upload any promotional content about your business for free on this site.

Apps – there are tons of mobile devices and gadgets on our planet today. Your prospects are definitely using one of these devices. The best way to leverage this is to create an app that can capture their attention. An app can also be a useful tool to educate your prospects about your products and services.

Using Effective Digital Marketing Strategies

Now that you know the type of tools you can use, it’s time to incorporate strategies that are proven in the industry. One such strategy is the integrated marketing campaign. There are steps to take to make this method a success.

Step 1: Identifying who your target audience is

It’s important to clearly identify your audience and know their attitudes, behaviours, and pain points. You can easily develop messages for your target audience if you know their wants and needs. That is why it’s essential to conduct proper research to get the information from them.

Step 2: Choosing the right channels

Choose the right media channel that is suitable to your business. Make sure that it is where your prospects are, because your main goal is to get your message to these individuals.

Step 3: Establish your visual identity

Branding is an essential aspect of your business and you need to establish your visual identity.  You must understand though that visual identity is far more than your logo. You must be consistent with your company colours, fonts, and overall graphic presentation of your website and newsletters.

Step 4: Publishing content that is integrated and can be repurposed to different media channels

Your content must be set up to drive traffic to your business website or any of your main landing pages. Whether you’re submitting an article, blog post, video or infographic material to any site on the web, it must have a link that points back to your target site. Also, use valuable content that can be repurposed to other media channels on the web.

Step 5: Tracking campaigns through proper analytics

The most important aspect of a digital marketing campaign is to know the result of your efforts. You must have accurate data of your progress. There are several analytics tools on the Internet, but nothing compares to Google Analytics. It’s widely used by marketers and it can accurately render the numbers and data that you’re looking for.

4 Digital Marketing Campaigns that You Can Launch in 24 Hours

  • Facebook Ad Campaign – if you want to effectively tap into your target market, you can use the paid Ad campaign option on Facebook. This will enable you to allocate a budget for a particular content on your FB page. The system will prioritise that content and it will be more visible to your target audience. You can even set various adverts for different types of audience, so you can identify which content works better. All these marketing activities can be launch within 24 hours.


Facebook Ad (1)


  • Email Marketing – this method will entail two important steps. The first one is to build an email list which you will use as the primary respondents of your message. This will require you to capture the email addresses of your prospects via your website. For this to happen, you must give your site visitors a reason to input their email ad on your capture forms.


Email Advert (1)


Growth HQ has setup a great system for this particular purpose. Once a prospect has signed up to our email list; their emails will be sent to an online database and we can easily send them an email back with just one click.

  • Google Pay-Per-Click – using this method, you can easily target a keyword or key phrase that your target market uses on Google Search. Although this will cost a bit more than any other marketing campaign, you can easily set it up within 24 hours.


google-pay-per-click (1)

  • Ad Retargeting – technically, this method will require you to create a java script code, which creates a list of people who are visiting your site. This will enable you to display your ads to potential customers when they visit other websites. Imagine this, you can easily send your messages to your prospects wherever they go online. It’s truly a powerful stuff at your disposal and you can easily launch it within the day.


ad retargeting example (1)


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business website

Tracking ROI: How Successful is Your Business Website?

I often have two questions for a business owner about their marketing.

How much do you spend to acquire a customer? 

How much is that customer worth over their lifetime with you?

Some can give real numbers. Most can’t.

Knowing those two figures makes a huge difference to a business.

If you know your numbers you can outspend your competition and take customers from them.

If you know your numbers you can get a higher quality of customer who will spend more.

If you know your numbers you can turn low spending customers into high spending ones just by knowing that they are low spending…

The good news is it’s never been easier to know those numbers and how they relate to your website.

Why are metrics critical to your business website?

As a website owner, you need to gather relevant data that gives you an overview for your campaigns. This is why metrics play an important role in improving the performance of your website.

During the 90’s and mid-2000, website owners did not have the means to track their own campaigns. Web analytics were not yet available to the masses. Only large companies could afford to setup it up. And it was tedious work.

In 2006, Google launched its own web analytics tool. They made it a free tool that everyone could use.

Using the information that Google Analytics provides you can get a picture of where you should be focusing your attention online.

What are the Most Popular Metrics To Assess

At present, more and more online marketers are using metrics to assess strategies. There are different types but here are some of the most popular ones used today:

  • Visits Referred by Specific Search Engine Terms and Phrases

This metric shows keywords or key phrases that are responsible for sending traffic to your website. Some of these keywords can come from any content that you published on your website.

This is good to track on a regular basis as it will help you identify new and profitable keywords. This can also help you understand the performance of your current content strategy and take steps to boost your search ranking, if needed.

  • Pages Receiving Traffic from the Search Engines

Are your pages getting indexed? This metric shows the website pages that are getting indexed through the number of incoming traffic. You can also track certain issues with your site like: link acquisition, site architecture, XML Sitemap, metadata and uniqueness of your content.

  • Conversion Rate by Search Query

What keywords or key phrases continually send visitors to your site and convert this traffic to paying customers?

Tracking this metric will enable you to dig deeper and find out the most effective landing pages on your site. You can also pretty much ballpark how you can tweak your strategy to address the pages that are not performing well.

Using Analytics Tools to Optimise Your Content

There are many types of analytics tools in the market today. For this segment, our focus are metrics in Google Analytics. It is perfect to use since it is free but very powerful.

Some of the most important data you can get from the behaviour report are:

Pageviews – The number of pages viewed by your visitors. This will include repeated views on a single page.

Average Time on Page – Amount of time viewers spend on a particular page on your site.

Unique Pageviews – This is the number of unique visitors who have viewed a page at least once during their visit.

Bounce Rate – This is the percentage of single-page visits to your site. If a visitor goes to one of your pages and exits the site from the same page they entered in. This action will be factored in into the bounce rate.

One other tool that offers real-time analytics tracking is Woopra. This tool is a desktop application that can feed live visitor stats. One awesome feature exclusive to this tool is its capability to chat live with individual site visitors. This is a great feature for e-commerce sites, but it would also be an invaluable feature for any type of business.

Key Takeaway

Metrics help you measure your success when doing online campaigns. If you have identified your buyer persona and know their online behaviour, you can make changes accordingly and segment your market. You can better address their pain points if you have a deeper understanding of how they behave when making selections and finally doing a purchase.

If you can clearly identify who spends more time on your site and on what particular content, when and where they enter and exit,  it can point you to the stage when your customer decides to purchase and give you an idea why they stopped at certain points.

Knowing these, you can already ask yourself the following questions and make adjustments based on your answers:

  • Do I need to change the format of my content?
  • What kind of format works best for my market?
  • What kind of information do I need to give out to my audience?
  • What information is lacking in my content that my audience needs?
  • What particular pages in my website needs adjustment?
  • How can I maintain the interest of my visitors to a particular page?

Enjoyed this article? Download a copy of our Google Analytics Metrics Guide  and get to know what metrics matter most to grow and improve your business.      

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You can also download a copy of our BOOK and get the exact strategy we are using to grow our clients’ businesses.

If you have questions, send us a message or drop us some questions in the comments below.

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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.

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25 Headline Formulas You Can Use Today (#18 will shock you)

Advertising legend David Ogilvy once said that “On average, five times as many people read the headline compared to the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

Headlines create clarity.

They create curiosity.

When done right they compel clicks.

This simply means that you have to pay very close attention to your headline. Most of the dollars you pay for getting customers and receiving an ROI starts here.

People click on attention grabbing headlines.

Even crappy blogs get the click as long as there’s a headline that’s worth clicking. Of course, it’s way better to have a powerful duo of a great headline and awesome content. But it starts with the headline.

If you’re doing any form of marketing, whether it be content, paid, email or any other channel, then a good headline is your first chance to get it right (or wrong).

Your Words Have Power

In 1963, Ogilvy published a list of 20 most persuasive words in advertising. Marketers still use these words now. The list includes:


Articles, copy, email subject lines, social sharing posts; they are used all the time.

These words describe time, emotion/feeling and need.

You see many headlines that are still using these words because it triggers something in your psyche.

How? Here’s a good take backed by science.

The Science Behind a Click-Worthy Headline

Words have power. But they cannot make your customers act unless they touch a nerve, in a good way. There are words that we consider power words, but even words that are not powerful enough can get your message across using a subtle nudge.

What I’m saying is that, science and psychology has something to do with how your customers react when they see your headline – whether it’s using powerful or not-so-powerful words.

While your customers’ psyche is complicated, you can make it work to your advantage. Courtney Seiter highlighted these eight winning formulas and the science behind them, so you can craft your words in such a way that it will trigger your customers to click.

A quick overview, the following include:

1. Surprise

Based on a study, unexpected surprises are more stimulating to the brain. It grabs attention compared to things that we already know.

2. Questions

Questions stimulate the brain to look for answers. So when you use a question in headlines, readers can’t help but jump in to find out the answer.

3. Curiosity

Upworthy created a buzz when they started creating brilliantly made headlines. Why brilliant? Well people click on them. People are curious about what they were talking about. They tell something about the content but not enough to fully disclose what has happened. They call this curiosity gap.

4. Negatives

Outbrain conducted a study and found out that negative superlatives have stronger impact than positive ones. Theories including negative are more intriguing because they are unexpected and activate an element of surprise. Another is that, they tap into our insecurities in a powerful way.

5. How To

“How to” simplifies things. You can do a lot of variations, but when you use this, you can’t go wrong with your headline.

6. Numbers

This is all about predictability and expectations. It’s all about managing expectations so your customers know what they are getting into.

7. Audience Referencing

People like to involve themselves. Using the word “you” is a good way to do that. Your audience feels a certain connection when you use it.

8. Specificity

Specific facts stick in the mind. It’s interesting to many people because they lead to greater clarity.

Writing Your Headline: How Do You Even Begin?

Many have created secret formulas and weird concoctions to come up with different types of headlines that’s worthy of clicking and sharing. Clayton Makepeace simplified the process by asking these six questions when you want to write a power-packed headline:

1.    Does your headline offer the reader a reward for reading?

2.    What specifics could you add to make your headline more intriguing and believable?

3.    Does your headline trigger a strong, actionable emotion the reader already has about the subject at hand?

4.    Does your headline present a proposition that will instantly get your prospect nodding his or her head?

5.    Could your headline benefit from the inclusion of a proposed transaction?

6.    Could you add an element of intrigue to drive the prospect into your opening copy?

These questions can guide you to include all the necessary elements to make your headline clickable.

25 Headline Formulas that you can Try Today

At Growth HQ, we have gathered some of the best headline formulas and shared them to get you started. Here are some of them.

Negative/Threatening Headline

Negatives get into the subconscious. They create a reflex action to find how the threat or negativity can be neutralised. That’s why people click on these kinds of headlines.

1. Lies that [Trusted Company/People] Tell You

Example: Lies that Your Doctor Tells You

2. [Threat]: [Negative Superlative] + [Action]

Example: Lie: Worst Thing to Do When Selling

3. [People/Organisation] + [Action] + [Threat]

Example: If You are Spending on Marketing, You Will Go Out of Business

4. Warning Signs that [Subject/Product/Event] is a Scam.

Example: Warning Signs that ETrade Expo is a Scam

Headlines that Ask Questions

5. According to Ian Betteridge, any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by no. So you have to be very crafty and creative when using this formula. To make this work though, why not try adding another headline.

Example: Are you going to get rich by selling this product? Yes, if You Do this Steps.

Guide Type Headline

6. The classic “How to” headline is the best default you can use. No matter how creative you think other headline formulas are, you are probably better off using the “how to” headline. First of all, it is easy to come up with a strong and attention grabbing headline using this technique.

Example: How to Get Thousands of Traffic in 60 Days

7. The ultimate list is something that we also love. It immediately tells us that we can find good stuff in there.

“The Ultimate Guide to [—–]”

E.g. The Ultimate List of Growth Hacker Blogs

8. This kind of headline attracts many first timers.

“The Beginner’s Guide to [——]”

9. Starting an epic list post? Then you need an epic headline.

The Big List of [——] or The Complete List of [—–]

Example: The Complete List of Gory Scenes in Game of Thrones

10. People love instant solutions. That’s why headlines with quick solutions are easy clickbait items.

Example: Here’s a Quick and Easy Way to Solve Writer’s Block

11. Need a good list of rules? Do’s and Don’ts can do the job.

[Action] Do’s and Don’t

Example: Sleeping Do’s and Don’ts

Number/List Headline Formula

12. If you want an eye catching headline with a compelling promise, you can try Kozaii Marketing’s Lenka Istvanova’s formula.

[Numbers] + [Adjective] + [Target Keyword] + [Rationale] + [Promise]

Example: 25 Greatest Life hacks that will Cut your Work in Half.

13. List articles are the most powerful blog posts you can do if you want page views. Using a list type headline and followed by lessons you learned is very seductive to your reader’s senses.

Example: 10 Lessons I Learned from Reading Twilight

14. Use powerful adjectives and paint a picture with nouns. Jeff Goins believes in using the right words for your headline.

[Number or Trigger word] + [Adjective] + [Keyword] + [Promise]

Example: 10 Terribly Useful Copywriting Techniques to Supercharge your Blog Post

Headline with Social Proof, Recommendation or Backed by Science

15.  Recommendations convey trust. That is why headlines using this technique get high open rates.

Example: 10,000 Customers of Starbucks said this ….

16. Social proofing is one thing, scientific proof is another. The “backed by science” headline is compelling for people who are logical. Some people are interested about facts and data more than stories.
Example: How to be Happy: The 5 Greatest Happiness Hacks You’ll Ever Need, Backed By Science

17. For a headline that prominently features social proofing – here is a good formula ad used by John Caples, author of testing advertising methods.

Who else [Action] + [Promise]?

Example: Who else wants to earn six figures using a proven system?

Mini or Zen Headline

18. Our brain immediately pushes that button in us when something intriguing gets our attention. It tells us to click that headline and get into the bottom of that secret. So we click away.

Example: The Secret of [——-]

19. The mini headline is about 4 words or less. This headline formula was popularized by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. Why is it powerful? Because it creates a sense of mystery that makes the reader curious to read more about the headline.

Example: In Praise of Limit

SEO Charged Headline

20. Of course we don’t discount seo when creating headlines. It’s still necessary for search but you can use this formula to give your title some personality.

[Adjective] + [SEO Keyword] + [Promise]

Example: Great Content Marketing Strategies to Boost Your Sales up to 500%

Combo Headline

21. This makes a rather long headline but it does the job. Just check out this headline from Kevan Lee.

Example: The Burrito Principle and Beyond: 12 New Marketing Ideas That Are Memorable, Actionable and Useful

Other Headlines that are Worth Trying

22. If you want to use a headline where you intend to inspire your reader to achieve something greater than what they think they are capable of, then you can use this formula:

How to [do whatever] like [example of world class personality] without [something negative]

Example: How to Write Copy Like a Rockstar without any Formal Training

23. Another great headline technique is to use a colon in your headline to create a little bit of spice and avoid monotony in your writing.

Example: Buyer Persona: How to Make Your Customers Tick

24. The SHINE headline is something developed by the Braintrust of KISSmetrics. I’d like to borrow and share this formula with you because of its usefulness.

S – Specificity

H – Helpfulness

I   – Immediacy

N – Newsworthiness

E – Entertainment value

Example: How to Write a Blogpost in 5 Minutes or Less Using Twitter as a Research Tool

25. Niche or Industry Specific

Industry specific headlines are great when you have a highly-targeted audience.

What [your industry or niche people] + [Adjective/Adverb] + [Action]

Example:  What First Time Marketers Stupidly Sell Online

What next?

Headline formulas are good way to start. Remember though that there’s always some room to break the rules. It’s best to think of your target market and use words that trigger an emotional response from them.

Need help triggering response from your target market and becoming No. 1 in your marketplace? Download our FREE BOOK and find out our strategies for getting to number one online.

If you want help formulating a killer headline then leave a comment and we will hand you one on a plate.





20 Ways of Capturing Emails the Easy Way

How often do you check email?

The average person does it 15 times a day.

We know we shouldn’t do it so often but there is also an opportunity there.

Many have predicted the death of email marketing but it remains the best digital channel for ROI.

Email marketing is not dead. It is massive.

and it’s easier than you think.

How can you capture emails for your business? Is there a top secret tactic to grow an email list?

It is a core requirement of any email marketing campaign to build an email list. An email list is considered a key asset to your business; more so if you have a big list. The more recipients you have, the better your chances of making money.

As a business owner, you want to gather as many emails as you can. Are there easy ways to do it? Yes, there are!

First requirement though is you must have a well-designed capture form. This must be strategically placed on your web site. This means you need a good tool to help you design opt in forms and landing pages.

Different Email Capture Tools That You Need to Check Out

There are so many available tools in the market to capture emails. You may already be using some of them. But for business owners who want to bring their marketing to the next level, these softwares/programs should be part of your marketing tools.

  1. KickoffLabs

One of the best landing page creators on the market. It offers several benefits to its clients. It provides email templates, integrated capture forms, newsletter builders, and some tools to create affiliate programs. These marketing tools and features can help you capture a decent amount of traffic to your site. It also integrates well with AWeber and MailChimp, which is an essential feature for online marketers.

You can try out the service for free. It allows you to create 1 landing page per site. But if you want to take advantage of all its features and create 5 landing pages on your site, you can upgrade your account to premium for 10 dollars per month.

  1. Unbounce

Unbounce is a substantial landing page creator that offers several user-friendly tools for any type of marketing campaign.  You can try out the 30-day trial and use the various marketing tools provided by this service. Most importantly, you don’t need any coding skills to create the pages; you can easily drag-and-drop the elements until you have created your preferred landing page.

  1. Optimizely

Optimizely is an optimisation platform solution that provides A/B testing for websites and mobile apps. It has been used by various companies on the web to test the effectiveness of their landing pages. If you want to improve the performance of your website, especially its email capturing capabilities, then this is the tool you need.

You can also easily track your pages by just copy and pasting a one line javascript code that is rendered through the system. Also, you can change any icon, re-colour or resize, and even remove any web element on an existing page in your site.

  1. Active Campaign

This is a popular email marketing automation platform used by freelancers, small to mid-size businesses, non-profit organisations, and public administration. You can send various types of newsletters or setup automated email campaign sequences. It’s even possible to create sales processes including managing your contacts.

If you want to test out this platform, you can create a free account that allows you of up to 2,500 contacts. But you can upgrade your subscription starting at $9/month. That will lift several limitations.  It also integrates well with various email marketing tools and softwares like MailChimp, AWeber, LeadPages, etc.

  1. MailerLite

MailerLite is a simple email marketing tool for small businesses. It is affordable and mobile-friendly.  You can easily design attractive email newsletters using its drag and drop editor. It can also track email statistics, so you will know the open and click-through rates of a particular email.

You can test its features by creating a free account that is limited to 1,000 subscribers. However, you can upgrade your account to a paying one and you can send unlimited emails from 5,000 up to 50,000 subscribers per month.

  1. Constant Contact

It is a popular email marketing tool that is commonly used by small businesses.  You can create several email marketing campaigns through its integrated dashboard. You can also run a Facebook promotion, send email newsletters, and sync data-gathering tools like Google Analytics and Salesforce in your campaign.

You can test drive this tool for 60 days, but you can upgrade your account anytime starting at $15 a month.

Once you have the tools, it would be a lot easier to capture emails of casual visitors and convert them into returning one.

Once you have any of these tools, it’s time to capture your target audience.

Strategies to Capture Emails the Easy Way

We have listed 20 strategies that will help you capture emails of your site visitors. Some combine these strategies to become more effective.

  1. Tempt Your Visitors with a Freebie

A freebie can be an ebook, white paper or anything that you are willing to give away to your prospects. Make sure that your freebie has the capability to encourage prospects to give away their emails.

capture email

  1. Offer a Discount Coupon

Another good tactic is to offer a discount coupon that your visitors can take advantage of. Require them to sign-up to your opt-in form before they get the code. Lazada is a good example. It is an online shopping portal that offers huge discounts in exchange for their consumers’ emails.

capture email - freebie

  1. Ask Visitors to Subscribe to your Blog Post

If you have written an epic blog post about a certain topic that you think is valuable, you can ask visitors to subscribe to that particular post. Offer them the opportunity to download the post in PDF form, or automatically send the file to their emails once they subscribe to your opt-in form.

capture email - subscribe to blog post

  1. Offer a Free Membership to your Site

You can sweeten the deal by offering a free membership to your site. Your site should have an exclusive page, additional benefits or functionality that can only be accessed by members. The only requirement to access the members’ page is for them to give away their emails.

capture email - membership

  1. Hold a Raffle or Sweepstakes in your Site

Another enticing way of encouraging visitors to give their contact information is through a raffle or contest. You can give away a special item or one of your premium products. Set a timeframe for the contest, and make sure that it is within a five-week period. This method is commonly used by ecommerce sites.

capturing emails - raffle

  1. Offer a Free Consultation

If you want to engage your prospects as well as gather their emails, then you can offer a free consultation. All they need to do is to fill out a web form in your website, you can then answer their questions via email.

capturing emails -free consulations

  1. Let your Visitors Fill Out a Short Survey

If you want this method to be successful, you need a short survey that your visitors can answer within 2 minutes.  Reward them with a free gift after they complete the form. Of course, one of the requirements for the gift is their email addresses.

capturing emails - survey

  1. Let your Site Visitors Submit a Free Classified Ad

Allow your visitors to submit a free classified ad, but require them their valid emails.  This is a great strategy for acquiring targeted leads. If you are aiming for business owners, then this is the strategy that you need.

capturing emails - free classified ad

  1. Conduct an Interactive Poll on your site

Holding a poll about a certain topic, or asking your visitors for their feedback on your product or service can also be a valid tactic for gathering emails. However, it is essential that you ask your visitors to email their opinion or vote.

capturing emails - interactive poll

  1. Offer a Free Trial Period for your Services

If your business is service-oriented like an online marketing company or you own a car repair shop, it is possible to offer a free trial for any of the services you provide. To avail of these services, your visitors are required to input their emails in your opt-in form.

capturing emails - free trial services

  1. Refer a Friend Program

This method is commonly used by online marketers because it is an effective tactic. The main goal is to acquire as many emails as possible in just a short period of time. Although you need to give an exceptional reward or incentive for each email generated by your visitors or existing customer.


  1. Invite your Visitors to Take a Test

Think of your prospects and the most popular questions they may have in their mind. Help them find the answer to their question through a test or quiz. If you want to target business owners who want to grow their email list, then you can create a quiz with a title like this: “How do I grow my email list the easy way?” They will need to enter their email address before they can take the test.

  1. Offer your Visitors a Chance to get a Website Award

Many site owners are looking for a way to promote their site, and getting a web site award can be a big boost to their popularity.  Fuel their need to be known on the web and acquire their emails in the process.

capturing emails -

  1. Put a Guest Book on your Site and Ask Your Visitors to Sign It

Ask your visitors to sign your guest book and offer a unique freebie as a reward for their time. Keep in mind that you need to offer a reward or else it won’t be that effective.

capturing emails - guest book

  1. Utilise Pop-Up Boxes to Various Pages on your Site

Pop-up boxes are annoying to visitors, but they work and they can be an effective tool to capture emails. You should also set how often they appear on your site. Make sure the messages rotate within a certain timeframe.

capturing emails - pop up box

  1. Offer an Affiliate Program for your Visitors

Affiliate programs are suitable for ecommerce sites, since they usually sell various types of products. We all know the drill when it comes to affiliate programs, visitors are required to sign-up to get the commissions and marketing materials that they need for their site.

capturing emails - affiliate

  1. Ask for Emails During the Shopping Cart Process

For most business owners, asking emails from guests during the checkout process can be too aggressive, but you can sweeten deal by offering an additional discount. Always keep in mind that you need to give your customers the option to sign up to your opt-in form, wherever they are on your site.

  1. Host a Forum or Message Board on your Site

Building a strong relationship with your prospects as well as your existing customers is a must. If you want to hit two birds with one stone, then you can host an online forum on your site. Your visitors will be required to register an account to access the message board. This is also a good opportunity to acquire their emails. Online forums can be a platform for engaging people to your brand.

capturing emails - cart out

  1. Hold a Webcast on your Site

Holding a webcast about an exciting topic can entice visitors to participate in the program. It is also a good way of promoting your brand. You must require your visitors though to give their emails before they can attend your webcast.


  1. Leverage Social Media to Build your Email List

You can use various social media sites in building your email list. The most effective tactic is to promote links that redirects to your email sign-up forms. Post several call to action to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn account. Try offering a discount or reward to encourage people to sign up to your opt-in form.

Sky’s the Limit

There are many ways of capturing emails and building your business’ email database. The one I have included in this article are the most popular methods used by email marketers on the web. The key to a successful list-building campaign is to use as many methods as possible. You should not limit yourself from the examples I have mentioned above. Try researching for more ways of gathering emails from your prospects. You will eventually gather the leads that will convert into paying customers.

Want to know how we are helping businesses and delivering ROI at Growth HQ. Download our FREE Book and you will see the whole process.

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More than a Website: How to Create a 24/7 Engine for your Business

You have to own your online platform if you want to call the shots and control the growth of your business.

At Growth HQ, we decided do stop using the word ‘website’ when we describe what we built for our clients. For our clients, a website is not enough. Many of our clients have been burnt before. They have had websites built for them and spent up in a big way only to find that their sexy new site does nothing other than look pretty. There’s no ROI and there’s no traction.

Now we don’t want to discriminate against pretty, but it really is what’s on the inside that counts. It’s about laying down the foundations and building a skyscraper one level at a time. Building the tallest skyscraper in town takes time, but when it’s built, you have the best view across the land. You then just need to maintain your property to keep it top notch.

How can your business stand out from the rest online?

How can you dominate the competition via online marketing?

The definition of an engine is:

“a machine with moving parts that converts power into motion”

We build Growth Engines, not websites.

A Growth Engine is an adaptable and scalable platform that allows you to feed it with fuel over and over again.

As a business owner, you want a platform that is high performing, consistent and gives you a ROI.

This all starts with your prospects. Who are they and what makes them tick? What are their needs and what problems are they trying to solve? How can you help them?

Once you know what your prospects value most, you can focus on building a platform that will feed you leads and nurture them into paying customers.


7 Steps to Building Your Very Own Growth Engine

  1. Product – How do you create a product that stands above the rest? By making sure it serves the needs of the marketplace. Your product is nothing if your target customers don’t need it (or think they don’t need it) and don’t understand it.
  1. Persona – The new way of marketing online is to pick one group of customers and focus on their needs and wants. Kiwi business owners try to do too much. As a nation, when it comes to business we say yes too much. Because we are a small country, we think we have to do it all and please everyone. This is an outdated approach. New Zealand has grown up and we haven’t noticed. It’s time to think micro rather than macro and niche down. Focus on one type and others will be attracted organically. This approach means that you can provide clear and direct messages. You get inside the heads of your prospects and you give them what they want.

In order for this to work, you must be clear on who your target market is. Then you focus on them and only them and provide solutions to their problems.

When you focus on a buyer persona, you tailor and direct everything in the business – from product development to marketing and delivery.

  1. Platform – The third step is to create a platform that you own and control. You will communicate with your audience via your Growth Engine. It must provide valuable content that your prospects and customers are looking for. In short, it’s your platform that will build strong relationships and convert leads into paying customers.
  1. Attract – After identifying your buyer persona – you now attract that group of people. You do this simply, by producing content that solves their problems. In addition, you choose the right channels to distribute and promote the content through (this is where social media comes in).
  1. Capture – Now you have traffic and loads of it. You are giving away valuable content but you want something back in return, their email address. The best way to get this is through direct response marketing. You offer a freebie like a guide, book or software in return for their email address. You now have permission to start a beautiful relationship.
  1. Nurture – The next essential step is to nurture your relationships, so no kissing on the first date. Keep adding value to their lives. Keep communicating until they are ready to take the next step. Always be there for them.
  1. Conversion – This step focuses on converting prospects into paying customers. You must determine which offer will most likely make the sale. Keep in mind though that you need to craft an offer that matches the different stages of the buying cycle. Timing is crucial to conversion since you need to build a strong foundation. You can only focus on conversion when you have done everything else. Build your foundations first and your skyscraper will follow.

Successful real estate agency, Apartment Specialists built a Growth Engine and went from $0 – $1 million. Want to get your own Growth Engine? Download our FREE book.

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