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Feb 01

The Hidden AdWords Options Most Marketers Miss Out

By Mohit | Marketing

Setting up effective Adwords campaigns is no easy task. One has to look at several factors like demographics, keyword bids, competition, etc to come up with a campaign that uses the least budget, yet gives the best conversions.

There are some often overlooked features of Adwords that can give you an edge over competitors if you take time to understand and implement them. In this article, we look at a few such options in Adwords that you should definitely consider when creating your next ad campaign.

1. Household Income Targeting

​A tactic unused by many marketers is targeting by household income. This feature is hidden inside the ‘Location Group’ option while setting the demographics of your ad. What this does, as the name suggests, is allow you to target ads based on the household income of potential customers.

Target income

Image by Joshua Earle via Unspalsh

This is currently only applicable to the US market since it uses public data available from the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Using the option, you can select a household income tier ranging from top 10% to lower 50% in a specific geographical location. This enables you to target ads only to specific people who may be in a financial position to consider your product for purchase.

For example, if you are selling luxury watches in Boston, then it is a no-brainer that your adverts be shown only to people who have the income for it. Displaying such ads to people who cannot afford it will only result in the ads being clicked, but no product being sold, or ignored altogether. So, when you setup the campaign for your luxury watch, set the location to Boston, and then choose the option “Top 10%” from the “Select household income tier” drop down menu.

2. Callout Extension

A simple way to add more detail about your product/service to the ad is by using Callout Extensions. Many marketers, especially newer ones, often overlook this feature. What Callout Extensions allow you to do is to add an extra line of information just below the ad for free.

So, if you have an ad content which says “Get the best, tailored suits in New York,” you can add a Callout Extension that says “100% money back guarantee” or “Free delivery in 12 hours” or something else that is relevant to the offer.  With this extra info, your ad ‘real estate’ increases and so does the chance of people actually clicking on the ad and arriving on your landing page.

3. N-Gram

A more recent addition to Adwords, an N-Gram view shows the impressions received by a particular word within a search term, the number of clicks it has received and its conversions.

For example, for a query like “buy cheap locks now,” an N-Gram view might show that the word “cheap” has received 700 impressions, 40 clicks and 1.0 conversions, while the word “now” has received 150 impressions, 15 clicks and 1.0 conversions. By looking at the data, you will easily deduce that the inclusion of the word “now” in your ad campaign offers your ads the most clicks and conversions.

This is the power of the N-Gram view. The feature essentially allows you, with a high level of detail, to pick out words that offer the highest conversions at the cheapest cost. ​You can then use the word in your ad campaigns more frequently.

4. Call Bid Adjustments

Click-to-call ads have been available to Adwords users for some time now. And they have been proven to have high conversions. In fact, Google itself claims that click-to-call ads convert three times more than the usual website click ads.

And with the addition of call bid adjustments, users will now have the power to determine how much of their ads will show a call option. So, if you want the call ads to appear 70% of the time, then Adwords will adjust the bids accordingly, effectively ensuring that more users will see your call ads.

​This essentially gives you the power to use both channels, website clicks and calls, to drive traffic to your business. So, if you think an ad campaign has a greater chance of receiving more calls, then using call bid adjustments is definitely something you should consider.

5. Negative Keywords

One of the most important things that make an ad campaign profitable is to ensure that the keywords that you bid actually converts. And one way to make sure this happens is to identify and exclude all negative keywords that might hog your clicks.

For example, suppose you sell wine glasses exclusively and bid for keywords like “latest wine glasses.” Google might go ahead and display your ad to people who simply type in “latest drinking glasses.” And when they click on your ad, your budget gets depleted without you never having a chance of making a sale since the person might just be searching for a simple drinking glass and not a wine glass.

This issue can be resolved by adding a list of negative keywords. Research all the keywords that can trigger your ad, find out those which may attract people who are not your target customers and then include all the identified keywords in the negative keyword list of your ad campaign. Now, the ads will never be shown to people who type in such irrelevant words.

So, when you include “latest drinking glasses” to your negative keyword list, your ads will not be seen by people who type in those keywords. As a result, your ad budget is used more efficiently.

6. Ad Customizers

Ad customizer

Image by Jens Kreuter via Unspalsh

If you run ad campaigns where the ads differ slightly depending on certain parameters, it can become quite complex to handle the multiple ads. However, with Ad Customizers, you simply have to manage one ad while adding in the conditions to trigger the variation of the ad. This simplifies the entire process of ad campaign management.

For example, suppose you want an ad to display in two different ways on mobiles and desktops. In the usual circumstance, you may create two ads to target the two different devices. But with Ad Customizers, you only have to manage a single ad, and you can trigger the variations depending on whether it is displayed on mobile or desktop. 

Another useful way to make use of Ad Customizers is in countdown offers. When you are providing a time-limited offer, then the countdown feature is of immense benefit to get the message across to prospective customers in an impactful way. Once you set it up, a running countdown will be displayed near the ad which shows the users how many days, hours or minutes are left before the offer expires.

This can create a sense of urgency in the minds of the prospective customer and lead them on to take a positive action. For example, the ad can display that there are “15 hours before prices double,” which will eventually go down to “3 hours before prices double” when the customer is served the same ad 12 hours later.

7. Remarketing

Still underutilized by the majority of marketers, remarketing is a powerful concept that displays ads at people who have displayed an interest in your business and are therefore likelier to make a purchase.

marketing

This is done using a piece of code that is found in your Adwords account. Just copy and add it to your website to start remarketing. Now, every time someone visits the specific page, a cookie is downloaded on their device. This helps in delivering targeted and customized ads later on. 

Remarketing can be used in many ways. The simplest method is to show ads to people who have visited your website. An e-commerce website can benefit immensely from the high level of customization offered by Google’s remarketing functions.

For example, suppose a user has visited a product page displaying iPhone 7. Using Google remarketing, you can deliver ads featuring iPhone 7 to that specific customer no matter which website they visit. And if they later check out the black colored iPhone 7 product page, you can then show the customer ads featuring a black iPhone 7.

This targeted advertising takes advantage of a customer’s interest in a specific product and therefore has a higher chance of converting into a sale rather than normal ad campaigns which are just randomly aimed at all types of visitors.

A shrewder way of using Google remarketing is to target people who have added a product to the cart but stopped short of checking out and completing the purchase. You can deliver ads to such people with discounts specifically targeted for them.

For example, suppose a person added a PlayStation 4 to their cart but did not complete the shopping. Using remarketing, you can show them an ad offering “15% discount for purchases made before Feb 25” or something similar.

​So, try to incorporate the above tactics in your next Adwords campaign and you are sure to see some positive changes. But as always, the effectiveness will vary depending on many factors. As such, make sure to keep testing and rotating campaigns for your target market before you scale up the bids.

Jan 11

How to Produce Content That Doubles Your Sales Funnel Conversion Rate

By Mohit | Blogging

Come on, do you really expect your new leads to purchase your product without any form of resistance?

If it happens, great. But in real life, it doesn’t work that way.

Trust me, pushing promotional messages to strangers, even though they have just subscribed to your email list isn’t going to help. If anything, it’d discourage them from buying your product.

Content can help you build trust with your target audience. In fact, 76% of marketers plan to create more content in the future. Are you investing in the right content?

Smart marketers know tha​t a relationship isn’t built in a day. Hence, they use the sales funnel to woo the cold lead until they agree to a date, and as soon as there’s a level of trust in the mix—getting these people to purchase any product or service becomes easier.

If you’ve done everything right to generate leads, and you’re excited about your next move, this article will help you understand the sales funnel better—and will give you insights on how to produce content that will double your conversion rate.

But first, let's deal with the basics.

What is a sales funnel?

I’ll make it as simple as possible. A sales funnel consists of different stages that a potential customer is expected to go through before making a purchase.

How to Produce Content That Doubles Your Sales Funnel Conversion Rate

Image source

Though it’s popularly referred to as “sales” funnel, in reality it’s at the heart of your marketing strategy.

In essence, your focus isn’t to get the prospect to quickly purchase your product and leave, but rather,establish a long-term relationship with them.

That’s marketing, right?

Guide customers in their​ buying journey

From looking at your website to placing an order, the sales funnel is expected to walk the prospect through the different stages, nurture them, and help them see how great their lives could​ be—if they try your offer.

Before you can create compelling content that will align with the prospect’s goals and aspirations, you must know the stage they’re in and speak their language.

In most cases, here’s the three-stage funnel to pay rapt attention to:

i). Top of the Funnel (TOFU): This is usually the awareness stage. This is where people are asking questions, making complaints and expecting responses on discussion boards. They want answers, directions, opinions, and more.

ii). Middle of the Funnel (MOFU): This​ is the stage where “evaluation” takes place. Having read through blog posts, received answers to their questions, seen the latest research work, prospects aren’t satisfied yet. In fact, they are usually confused at this stage.

Hence, they spend most​ of their time researching, weighing the options, and​ continuing to evaluate whether they should get this online course or just purchase an ebook, watch video tutorials or download a worksheet.

iii). Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU): Eventually, this is the stage we want our cold leads to get to. It’s the “purchase” stage—and it’s expected that before people get here, you must have proven that you have all it takes to help them.

Because, after they have purchased from you, they’re now your customers and you have a responsibility to ​cater to them.

That said, are you ready to create irresistible content that will speak directly to your “leads” at every stage of the funnel? According to Toprankblog, 65% of marketers are confused and don’t know the type of content to create, and when to create it.

Are you yearning for that magical advice? Before I unlock the vault, I have a question for you?

Do you know why lead nurturing matters?

Listen​ up, ​the top of the funnel (TOFU) is very wide. This means you can use several marketing channels and strategies such as social media, referral traffic, word of mouth, SEO, native advertising, blogging, among​ others, to drive leads to your funnel.

Sadly, about 73% of the people are not even ready to be sold to. Of course, you’ll likely attract qualified leads but ​almost half of these people want to be certain that your product is right for them.

In other words, they’re not ready to buy. They need to be educated, engaged and nurtured. They need to trust you—how long it would take is relative—it will depend on your niche, and how responsive prospects are.

Creating content they can’t resist

1) Creating irresistible content for “Top of the Funnel”

At the top of the funnel, you have the opportunity to answer common questions the prospect is asking.

A typical FAQs page can be boring at times, so it’s better to produce an interesting article that addresses each one of the common questions.

More so, people don’t want to hear the benefits of your product or service at this stage.

To drive people into your funnel, you need to create educational content (e.g., ebooks, blog posts, and “how to” guides.

You could give away a helpful business hack—this works really well. Here’s an example from Noah Kagan, founder of Okdork.
Content creation

Essentially, you don’t have to manipulate, cajole, or use any unworthy technique to exploit the prospect at this stage.

Sure, if you’re running paid ads, you could send the customer a Tripwire offer (which usually sells for $0.99 -​ $9.99). That way, you can recoup your ad spend and not lose out if the prospect didn’t make it to the middle or/and bottom of the funnel.

2) Content for Middle of the Funnel

In permission marketing, no one can move into the middle of the funnel without first giving you their personal information (i.e., name and email address).

In this evaluation stage, people are aware of their problems, the intensity of what they’re going through at the moment, and why they don’t seem to get results. You’ve captured their full attention.

Content for funnel

The truth of the matter is, you don’t really need to appeal to everyone at this stage. Because if you do, you would run into muddy waters trying to retain customers who are not convinced about your brand.

Since people are still evaluating the best solutions for them, hosting webinars, live demos, behind-the-scene videos, and other forms of content that deliver a memorable and live experience for the prospect is ideal.

Sure, blog posts would work, but make them long-form, step-by-step based, and include lots of screenshots, slides, and other multimedia content.

​3) Content ideas for "Bottom of the Funnel"

So far, you’ve done a great job nurturing your lead. From their first contact with you, down to the middle of the funnel, you have been truly helpful. Now, it’s time to get the sales.

Don’t be boring. And you don’t have to apologize for promoting your product (of course, in the most appropriate manner).

Create original and persuasive blog posts, showcase exclusive data, show results, capture screenshots of your earnings/traffic, create live demos, conduct free strategy sessions, consultations, give away coupons and discount codes, share case studies, give away free versions of your app, and more.

Here’s a persuasive case study from Frac.tl that’s geared at getting prospects to hire them.

bottom of the funnel

Conclusion

The perfect time to build high-converting sales funnel for your lead generation and nurturing campaign is now. The good news is, if you nurture your leads, studies show that you’ll see a 450% increase in qualified prospects.

Most importantly, if you strategically nurture and establish trust with your qualified prospects, your sales conversion rate can grow by 50% at a 33% lower cost.

All you need is to create the right content, for the right people, at the right time. Hopefully, this article has given you a wake-up call to go out there and do it. Will you?

Jan 02

How To Avoid Burnout & Survive Long Term In Digital Marketing

By Mohit | Entrepreneurship

Are you ready to build a successful digital marketing business?

How To Avoid Burnout & Survive Long Term In Digital Marketing

Well, it’s doable. But you need to remember that digital marketing is an umbrella term used to describe different marketing strategies through online channels like websites, search engines, and social media.

Sounds simple enough, right? Just stick some colorful banners here and there and you’re done.

Well, it’s not that simple. In the information age where online channels multiply at an exponential rate and customers digitally zigzag everywhere, keeping up can be next to impossible, making digital marketing ultimately stressful.

Sadly, burnout can cause several negative events to happen to an individual. The Workplace Burnout Triangle illustrates it better:

How To Avoid Burnout & Survive Long Term In Digital Marketing

Why Digital Marketers Experience Burnouts

First, remember that customers are the lifeblood of any business, and digital marketing is the key to making sure the business stays within the customer’s grasp.

Digital marketing can be too huge of an undertaking for just one person as the web isn’t comprised of only one platform.

How To Avoid Burnout & Survive Long Term In Digital Marketing

Even working in teams may not be enough considering the vast amount of data to be dealt with. As a result, entrepreneurs in the digital marketing industry put in long hours that are definitely bound to backfire sooner or later.

It’s a widely known fact that stress is a precursor to burnout and work-related stress is very common among those in the digital marketing game.

On January 2017, Future Workplace and Kronos conducted a survey of the root causes of employee burnout and found that unreasonable workload and too much overtime tied in second place at 32% after unfair compensation at 41%.

Tips to Prevent Burnout

In the world of digital marketing, the amount of workload isn’t something that can be completely controlled.

How To Avoid Burnout & Survive Long Term In Digital Marketing

Often times, the adjustment has to come from the digital marketer himself. The good news is there are a lot proven ways to prevent getting burned out. Here are some that will help you get started today:

1. Release stress in a healthy way. Burnouts are primarily caused by unmanaged stress. In an emotionally demanding environment, it’s particularly easy to make bad stress-release choices like drinking.

In fact, a 2015 study at the Queen’s University in Canada revealed that acute stress increases voluntary alcohol consumption. 

How To Avoid Burnout & Survive Long Term In Digital Marketing

Since it is a known fact that alcohol intake is a setup for long-term health problems, releasing stress through drinking is definitely not an option if you want to avoid getting burned out and staying alive for the long haul.

One expert-recommended method of releasing stress is practicing relaxation techniques.

2.Find a hobby that has nothing to do with digital marketing. This works hand-in-hand with number 1. If you’re trying to avoid getting burned out, you might want to completely distance yourself from what you routinely do once in awhile.

How To Avoid Burnout & Survive Long Term In Digital Marketing

Getting a hobby is a great way of relieving stress and recharging your creative batteries.

Hobbies give you a piece of work-free, responsibility-free life and that means significantly reducing stress.

3. Slowly shift to a healthier lifestyle. The digital marketing world is known to operate at breakneck speed and sometimes, eating healthy and getting exercise can be very difficult to squeeze in your schedule.

How To Avoid Burnout & Survive Long Term In Digital Marketing

But little efforts put in daily do come a long way. You can start by making better food choices and waking up an extra half hour a day to do gentle stretching or walking.

You don’t have to overhaul your entire lifestyle overnight to live healthier. Just make sure you work on it little by little every day consistently.

4. Sleep. Sleep is your body’s natural way of rejuvenation, and you certainly can’t do that if you’re constantly checking your work email long after leaving the office.

How To Avoid Burnout & Survive Long Term In Digital Marketing

It’s always best not to bring work at home unless you definitely have to. Spend some time with your loved ones when you get home, take your mind off work, and let your body recharge for another day. Rest is very important as it facilitates your body’s healing and repair.

Time Off: A Wakeup Call for Business Leaders

How To Avoid Burnout & Survive Long Term In Digital Marketing
  • check-circle-o
    The survey conducted by Future Workplace and Kronos last January 2017 serves as a wakeup call for all companies across the world regarding the dangers posed by employee burnout on both the employee and the company.
  • check-circle-o
    The same wakeup call goes to digital marketers and online entrepreneurs in general.
  • check-circle-o
    Avoiding burnouts isn’t a one-way street. Managers and business leaders also have to take certain steps to make sure that their staff aren’t pushing themselves way beyond their limits.
  • check-circle-o

    Taking time off is crucial in preventing burnouts as it allows recuperation from relentless job-related pressures but a recent study revealed some pretty alarming reasons why most Americans prefer dealing with work-related stress head-on than taking time off.


37%

of American workers don’t take time off because they don’t want to return to a mountain of work, which then would be an even bigger chal

32%

of managers don’t talk about the importance of taking time off with their direct reports and 11% only do it once a year.

80%

of employees say they would take more time off if they are supported and encouraged by their employers.

75%

6 in 10 employees report a lack of encouragement from their boss and their colleagues when it comes to taking time off.

65%

 say that they hear either nothing, mixed messages, or discouraging messages about taking time off.

These findings may be overly focused on employee burnout, but digital marketers can can learn from it. Because to a large extent, we’re all employees (whether you’re directly working under someone or you’re a solo entrepreneur).

As a digital marketer, the best course of action is focusing on improving work-life balance. More importantly, encouraging time off to enjoy your life is essential if you want to stay productive and achieve significant results.

Conclusion

A lot of things can be done on the management side to make the work-life bearable for marketers and team like placing flexible work schedules, embracing telecommuting, and providing wellness programs that workers can take advantage of.

Fashioning a workplace that welcomes open communication among its people and creates an ambiance that fuels productivity and creativity can also be a great platform for keeping work-related stress at bay and significantly decreasing the risk of burnout.

Dec 19

How To Value An Online Business — How Much Are Websites Worth?

By Mohit | Entrepreneurship

Everybody wants to get a deal.

Whenever it comes to buying and selling websites, how can you actually spot a good deal, though? How are you going to figure out how much to pay, or how much you should accept for a website that you’re selling?

What determines whether or not it is a good deal?

To help you understand whether or not you’re getting a deal when you’re buying, or you are getting maximum value from the website you’re selling, we are going to take a look at “multiples”.

Multiples, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, is how investors and entrepreneurs place a value on the website they are attempting to buy or sell.

Understanding Multiples

website

Image by Serpstat via Stocksnap

To put it as basic as possible, think about a website that is generating $10,000 per year in net profits. That website sells for $20,000, so it obtained a 2x multiple. The sale price was 2 times the annual net profits.

Every website is different, though.

Understanding “multiples” helps you compare how much value different sites provide that may only resemble each other in the annual net profits they generate.

In general, websites that generate higher revenues will fetch higher multiples. This happens because, in most cases, websites that are generating lower revenues are seen as riskier investments, and typically haven’t proven they can grow over a long period of time.

The business model also plays a large role in how much the website is worth.

Here’s a chart that shows how different business models achieve different multiples:

  • ​Content Websites: 2.91x
  • ​Membership Websites: 2.74 x
  • Dropshipping Websites: 2.48x​
  • ​eCommerce Websites: 2.70x
  • SaaS Websites: 2.83x
  • ​Lead Generation Websites: 2.59x
  • ​Marketplace Websites: 2.72x
  • ​Service Based Websites: 2.21x

You can see how the business model can raise or lower a multiple relatively quickly. The reasons the multiples vary so much has a lot to do with what the business model means to an investor.

Investors are willing to spend more money on businesses that require less overall upkeep and can have a large portion of the business outsourced or hired out. They also prefer businesses with lower risk profiles, and businesses that have more future growth potential.

To give you an example, let’s look at a website that isn’t currently generating recurring revenue, and requires a large amount of effort to maintain.

Investors may still be interested in buying the website, but they’re not going to offer the same price as they would with a website that requires minimal overhead, upkeep, and generates recurring revenue.

These Rules Aren’t Cut In Stone

KNOW THE RULES

Image via Stencil

​Even though multiples make it easy for you to value a website, they can be misleading in some cases, for a few different reasons.

Reason #1 - ​Every website is unique. ​

​I’ll give you a couple examples so you can see how wildly two different websites can vary.

Let’s assume that each website follows the same business model, with both being content-based websites, and that they earn the same $10,000 per year in net profits.

Knowing they’re the same business model and generate the same income, you would think that they are both valued the same.

However, this isn’t the case, at all. One website is 4 years old, and has shown consistent growth while the other website is only 6 months old and has generated those $10,000 in profits over the last 3 months.

This means they are incredibly different beneath the surface.

The younger website is going to sell for substantially less than the older website because the newer website still hasn’t proven itself, and is considered to be a riskier investment.

For an investor that is ready to take on a riskier website, though, they may be willing to offer far more for the younger site, because it has earned more revenue per month than the older site.

In this instance, the younger site could possibly be valued at $100,000, because the annualized profits would be around $36,000. For content-based websites, a 2.9x multiple shows a valuation worth $100,000.


Reason #2 - ​Multiples don’t always reflect recent growth trends.

Look at the two examples I just gave you. See how their net profits may not give you the entire picture, until you start digging in and figure out how long it took to generate those profits?

The older, more stable business may take longer to provide an ROI, but the younger business has (arguably) more potential left in it. If it has already generated $3,000 per month in profits after 6 months in business, the same growth rate should be easy to sustain.

While looking into the net profits, you’re also going to need to look at the growth trends over the last 12, 24, and 36 months, if possible.

Is the business remaining stable and consistent? Has it started trending upwards? Downwards? How long have those trends lasted?

Does the current business owner believe the trends can be reversed if they are currently trending downwards, or that the trends are going to stabilize and sustain themselves if they are moving upwards?

What is responsible for the trends moving either upwards or downwards? All of these questions are going to affect the final valuation of the business.


Reason #3 - ​Brokers may use other valuation strategies.

To help you understand this, take a look at another example.

Let’s assume that a broker is selling a website that generates $19,000 in net profits for $44,000.

At first glance, you would see a 2.3x multiple, which isn’t a bad deal. However, when you start digging into the listing notes, you realize that the business didn’t actually earn $19,000 in profits over the last year. Instead, it averaged $1,583 in revenue over the last 3 months.

In this instance, the broker is annualizing the last 3 months worth of revenue to come up with the yearly net profits and the 2.3x multiple.

Many brokers do this because they argue that the previous 3 months are a better indication of the performance of a website instead of the previous 12 months. They may be right, and can defend this position in many cases, but there are some brokers who use this strategy to achieve a higher multiple on a website that isn’t actually worth it.

Most brokers are going to base their valuation off of the previous 12 months of net profits. Some brokers will use the previous 12 months of revenue.

You’ll need to be clear on the valuation strategy that you’re using or are looking at with a website you’re considering to avoid making a potentially costly mistake.

How Do You Find An Accurate Multiple?

How To Value An Online Business — How Much Are Websites Worth?

Image by Hamonazaryan1 Via Pixabay

You know how businesses are valued, now, how do you actually go about finding an accurate multiple, either for a business you want to buy or when you’re preparing to list your business for sale?

There’s actually a hierarchy of needs that breaks down what investors are looking for when they’re ready to purchase a website from you.

Security, in general, is most important. Investors want to know that their money is safe and they can preserve the capital in the business.

Next comes cashflow. The cashflow in a business is how they generate an ROI.

Finally, lifestyle is the last factor considered by most investors. They typically want to enjoy the business they’re a part of, because it makes owning the business and growing it easier.

The highest priority for every investor is going to be preserving their capital. They don’t want to lose money that’s taken them so long to save.

They also want to make sure they are generating a positive cashflow. Passive income is the ultimate goal for the business.

Finally, enjoying what you do makes doing it that much easier. If an investor isn’t interested in the business, they’re going to have to outsource every part of the process, which quickly eats into their ROI.

Using Risk-Based Valuation Strategies

How To Value An Online Business — How Much Are Websites Worth?

Image by Olu Eletu via Unsplash

At the core of their business, an investor will want to preserve their capital. That means they need to start by analyzing the risk associated with the investment they’re about to make.

I’ll categorize each investment as low, medium, or high risk, based on analyzing the most critical aspects of the business:

How much traffic the website receives.How much revenue the website generates.

The product (or content) the website is selling.

Processes used to keep the website running.

How much effort is required to maintain the website.

How dependent the website is on 3rd parties.

What knowledge and skills are required to operate the website.

How complete and accurate the information supplied by the seller is.

Without going deep into each of the different critical aspects, here is a list of examples so you can understand how each aspect plays into the valuation.

Traffic could be high risk, coming from a single source, or shady SEO tactics may have been used in the past.

The content could be highly plagiarized, low quality, and shorter than the industry average.

The products could be riding a trend and potentially go out of style down the road.

These would lean toward a business being extremely high risk, and not necessarily worth purchasing, in my eyes.

If you think that the business is considered to be low to medium risk, or better, you could use the standard multiples valuations listed at the beginning of this post.

However, if you think that the website is on the higher end of the risk spectrum, you may want to reduce the multiple anywhere from 2.5x to 1.5x or even as low as 1.0x the yearly net profits, based on how risk-averse you are as an investor.

Adjusting The Multiple Based On The Opportunity

How To Value An Online Business — How Much Are Websites Worth?

Image via Stencil

When you’re thinking about how to adjust the multiple based on different risks, you may also want to adjust it based on the opportunities presented by the business.

In other words, you could increase it based on the growth potential of the website, or decide how much you’re going to pay based on the historic performance of the site and how stable the revenue has been over a long period of time.

Opportunity is a bit of a grey area, though. For instance, whenever I see a website that hasn’t displayed their ads in the highest converting areas of their pages, I’m fairly certain that optimizing the ad placement can easily improve the revenue of the site.

Sometimes, acquiring the website may mean growing another one of your business. Commercial businesses and real estate investors use this strategy all the time. They’ll buy a business and immediately merge it into a larger business that they already owned.

If the website you’re thinking about buying sells a product that competes with you, or compliments your current product or service offerings, it could be worth far more to you than another investor, so it may be worth it to increase your offer based on the opportunity presented.

A Quick Sample Valuation

How To Value An Online Business — How Much Are Websites Worth?

Image by Geralt via Pixabay

To help you walk through how to put a value on a website you’re either trying to sell or are thinking about buying, I want you to understand how I would look at it.

Let’s assume that you are looking at a lead generation website that’s currently earning $10,000 per year, broken down evenly over the last 12 months. The website is 1 year old, and only has 1 buyer currently accepting the leads. Traffic coming into the website is from a single source that can’t really be manipulated or scaled.

I would consider this website to be high risk. That means I may only give it a 1.6x earnings multiple. In other words, I would only be willing to offer $16,000 to buy the website.

Even though it looks like the website may earn more than the initial $10,000 in the 2nd year, I would still stick with the $16,000 offer. Being so volatile, relying on a single traffic source, and a single revenue source, means that if one factor changes at all, the income could change drastically.

Using Other Valuation Strategies

How To Value An Online Business — How Much Are Websites Worth?

Image by Helloquence via Unsplash

At the end of the day, a website that is generating revenue is a business.

That means you can use any strategy that you would use to value an offline business.

What the business is worth is ultimately how much you are willing to pay for it, and you’re going to be required to use your own judgement.

Some investors prefer to focus on the historical performance, while others will look more into the future potential of the business.

If you want to play the long game, and can afford to be wrong about decisions you’ve made in order to uncover that one diamond in the rough and tap into a literal gold mine, by all means, go for it.

There are quite a few different factors you can use to determine how much a website is worth, with a good portion of them being featured here.

When you understand what goes into figuring out the value of a website, you can make sure you’re getting the highest offers possible for websites you want to sell, and are getting a good deal when you’re ready to buy a website that’s being sold.

Dec 14

5 Proven Ways To Find Profitable Websites To Buy

By Mohit | Investing

So, you’ve recently decided that you’re interested in getting started investing in websites, only to find out that you don’t actually know how to start finding websites for sale?

Not to worry.

I’ve put together a fairly comprehensive list of strategies you can use to find established, profitable websites that either are currently being sold, or can be sold if you make the right offer.

Even if you’re not necessarily ready to buy right now because you’re still working on building your skill set and learning how to perform due diligence, the list I’ve created may still be useful for you.

The best way to get good at performing due diligence is to look at live websites and figure out how much you would be willing to offer them, and understand how you’re putting together your valuation.

Looking at live website listings and even websites that may not already be for sale can help you figure out the different types of sites that are currently available, and how to tell the difference between quality listings and fly-by-night sellers that are looking to pull the wool over some unsuspecting investor’s eyes.

Most of the due diligence you’re going to perform doesn’t actually depend on any input from the seller or website owner.

Website to buy

Image by Jens Kreuter via Unsplash

If you want to dig deeper on a website you’ve found, most brokers and sellers (that have their websites listed publicly) will be more than happy to give you access to their Analytics with a quick phone call or email message.

It’s also worth noting that you’ll want to focus your efforts on learning how to perform due diligence on the types of sites you’re actually thinking about buying.

For instance, how you examine a site that’s worth $3,000 is substantially different than how you examine a site that’s worth $30,000, or even $300,000.

As the price range of the websites you want to buy increases, the nature and difficulty of the due diligence you’ll need to perform goes up, as well. To give you another example, a website that’s worth $300,000 is going to require more legal paperwork and an accountant to help you navigate through the sales process.

Without going too much deeper into the due diligence aspects of buying a website, here is a list of places and strategies you can use to find websites that may be worth buying.

1) Public Marketplaces

public marketplace hoarding

Public marketplaces are great for getting to see the listing before you reach out to the seller.

They can also help you dial in your due diligence skills because of the types of listings that you’re going to be looking at.

While some of those listings are for legitimate websites, many listings on public marketplaces are going to be scams, full of inaccurate information, or trying to hide certain aspects about the business.

That means you’ll get good at spotting the red flags seller’s try to cover up, and you’ll get good fast. The high number of scams is exactly why I recommend many investors get started learning how to perform due diligence by using public marketplaces.

Below are 4 of the most reputable marketplaces you can start finding live websites for sale.

Flippa

Flippa is one of the most well-known public marketplaces currently available, but with being well-known comes one major caveat: there are a ton of scams and the marketplace is, in general, a free for all.

All this means for you is that you’ll quickly learn how to tell the difference between the scams and low-quality listings, and those diamonds in the rough that are actually valued less than what they’re truly worth.

Freemarket

Freemarket is a mix of both websites and domain names. I’ve looked over some of the listings and there does seem to be a good number of established, profitable websites, but the platform, itself, is harder to use and navigate than Flippa.

SideProjectors

Just like the name implies, SideProjectors is a marketplace where entrepreneurs can sell of their side projects. I’ve looked over some of the listings and it appears that they focus more on SaaS (Software As A Service) websites and web apps.

While the website may appeal more to developers and those with a technical background, if you happen to know a developer that you could partner with while you focus on the growth and marketing, you could find quite a few deals on SideProjectors.

WebsiteBroker

WebsiteBroker seems to have a reputation that’s worse than Flippa, with a huge number of low-quality and dubious listings. However, as a beginner, it’s great for learning how to perform due diligence. It’s also a great way to find starter sites and new industries that may interest you.

2) Business Brokerages

When you want to see high quality website listings, business brokerages are, by far, the best way to do it.

However, brokers tend to only work with people that they know are interested in submitting offers on the businesses that they’re selling.

This means that you may need to get creative on how you’re using them to perform due diligence, unless, of course, you are actually interested in buying one of the businesses you’re looking at.

Below are 4 of the most reputable brokerages you can use to find those businesses.

Business broker

Image by Helloquence via Unsplash

Digital Exits

Digital Exits is as the higher end of the spectrum, with most of their deals pushing the 7-figure mark. While they do list some businesses that are low 6-figures, those are typically few and far in-between.

They have a blog that’s full of information, along with a podcast that can help you learn how to perform due diligence, if you’re looking to start investing in websites.

Empire Flippers

The websites that Empire Flippers list tend to get bought up relatively quickly, so using them to learn how to perform due diligence can be difficult. As a business, though, the guys at Empire Flippers have built something special.

Their sites are at the lower end of the spectrum, ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 in value, with a few here, and there that exceed the $100,000 price point.

FE International

FE International is another professional brokerage that focuses on a wide range of sales. Websites they list start at $50,000 and quickly move upwards to more than $1,000,000 in some cases.

They also feature a wide range of business models, so they’re an excellent source for websites to evaluate.

QuietLight Brokerage

QuietLight is a brokerage on the higher end of the spectrum. Most of the websites they list are above the 7-figure mark, with a few select businesses coming in around the 6-figure mark.

Because of the range of deals they list, it may be harder to get in and perform due diligence, but they are definitely worth having in your arsenal if you get creative and find a way to start examining the businesses that they’re selling.

3) Tap Into Your Network

network

Image by Rawpixel via Stocksnap

If you’ve built up a network of entrepreneurs and website owners, you can reach out to them every so often to find out if there are any websites they own that they may be willing to part ways with.

Many entrepreneurs and webmasters will find themselves getting bored after working on the same project for so long, which means they’ll readily sell you a site they’re no longer interested in.

Even if you’re not on the market to buy right now, it’s worth it to build your network so you can tap into them one day when you are ready to start investing.

4) Use Social Media & Forums

social media forum

Imag​e by Geralt via Pixabay

Some forums, like DigitalPoint, are great places to find websites that are currently for sale. Others, like the Warrior Forum, will have posts from time to time with entrepreneurs wanting to sell a website that they’ve build.

Getting active in entrepreneurial-focused Facebook groups is another great way to find websites that may not currently be for sale, but owners that are open to accepting offers you may be ready to submit.

Staying active in both forums and on social media can help you understand what drives a website’s value, the types of websites that typically come up for sale, and what you can do to position a website you own so that it sells for a higher asking price.

5) Reach Out To Webmasters

Webmasters

Image by Rawpixel via Pixabay

One of the best ways you can find websites to buy is by looking at websites that currently aren’t being sold.

This strategy works especially well if you already own a website and are looking to secure more under-developed sites to merge into your own, or you know the niche and industry you want to get into but want to shortcut your path to success.

Most website owners that are open to working out a deal with you privately will want to avoid working through a middleman, like a broker, and will be more flexible with their final asking price.

If you’re going to cold email webmasters with an offer to buy their website, though, you are going to need to make sure your due diligence skills are top-notch before you get into negotiating the deal.

Buying off-market websites can help you avoid the fees associated with most marketplaces and brokerages, which can help reduce the valuation of the business -- typically, in your favor.

Many sellers have simply neglected their site and will be surprised to hear that someone is willing to offer them money for it, which can set you up to uncover some amazing deals.

Sellers that hadn’t already decided to list their business on the open market may also have lower expectations about what their business is worth, which gives you more wiggle room during the negotiation process.

Regardless which strategy you use, I’ve just given you 5 proven ways to find websites to buy.

​Even if you’re not already on the market and ready to buy a site, you can use each of the different strategies to start developing your due diligence skills, learn how to spot the good sites and filter out the bad sites, and get a good idea for how much website you can get within your budget range.


Nov 21

How to Use SEO & Content to Deliver Value at Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

By Mohit | Blogging

Imagine for a second.

You’re driving around town, and you found a nice shirt inside a shop from the window—and you know it’d fit perfectly on you. But at that time, you’re not ready to spend $44.99.

Often times, in real life, that’s exactly how purchase decisions are made. In most cases, customers go through a journey before they finally place an order, or buy from your store. The buyer’s journey is a marketing concept that has been around for years. It’s not a buzzword either.

Buyers-Journey.jpg

Sadly, 65% of marketers are still challenged when it comes to understanding which types of content are effective and which types aren’t at the different stages of the buyer’s journey.

More so, considering that 81% of buyers conduct research online before making a buying decision, it’s important that you optimize your content at each stage that your ideal buyer is in—and ensure your pages are found in search engines.

This would help you to attract and deliver value to your target customers who are actively searching for the solution you offer.

That being said, I wrote this article to help you understand how to use content and SEO to attract customers and deliver value in your marketing funnel.

Let’s get started…

Stage #1: Top of the funnel: Discovery/Awareness

TOFU – Top of the Funnel is the first stage the buyer must go through before buying a product. Recall our story earlier: It’s the point when the customer drives by and sees (discovers) the shirt.

tofu

It’s important to note that at this point, customer’s aren’t ready to buy anything yet.

Of course, they’re trying to solve a problem. Obviously, they’ll be looking for answers which you’re expected to provide. At this stage, they’re looking for top-level educational content to help point them in the right direction.

Your goal at this stage of their journey is to allow them to discover your brand (Pro Tip:  create brand awareness). Your goal isn’t to sell them your solution yet but to educate them.

If you provide helpful information to your customers, it positions your brand as a trusted authority which is very important for creating a distinctive brand identity.

According to a recent study by Key Difference Media, 78% of consumers believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building a good relationship with customers.

Creating custom content for your target customers is extremely important. Here are the types of content that are proven to work—when you want to make it easier for the target customers to discover your brand and become aware of your solutions:

  • Blog posts

  • Ebooks

  • White papers

  • How-to guides.

  • Tutorial videos.

  • Long-form content.

On one hand, you have to identify informational and educational keywords which you can use to optimize your content properly.

On the flip side, you need to determine your best-performing landing pages from Google Analytics—they usually generate the highest amount of traffic to your website.

For these landing pages, you need to improve them with the keywords you found to boost their search rankings and traffic.

To find landing pages on your Google Analytics account, simply log in and follow this path:

BEHAVIOR > Site Content > All Pages.

site-content

​Ensure that the keywords are also integrated into the landing page’s meta data (i.e., URL structure, meta description, title tag, header tags) and align with user intent.

Stage #2: Middle of the funnel: Consideration

The middle of the funnel (MOFU) is a very critical point in the buyer’s journey. It has a smaller more targeted audience than the Awareness/Discovery stage.

In this stage, the customer is already aware and they are either considering your offer or your competitors. To stand out from your competitors and inspire potential customers, make sure you create dedicated landing page for each piece of content in your funnel.

create targeted landing pages

If your marketing funnel is synced with your email autoresponder service (it should), then you can easily segment your list based on user behavior and content.

What potential buyers need now is information that can help them determine the best solution out of the lot they have read. They are usually looking for product reviews, product comparison, best brands for xx, and the like.

This stage is where you drive your marketing message into hearts of your target audience. No marketing hypes or trick, but by delivering enormous value.

Note that their search pattern will equally change. For example, they might likely search for “best stain removal” instead of “how to remove stain”. Do you see the difference?

This shows a transition from TOFU (top of the funnel) to the middle of the funnel in the marketing funnel. Your targeted keywords for this second stage should change as well—as you’ll be targeting a more specific potential buyer who is expressing interest.

Of course, the content that you produce for potential buyers at this middle stage will still be educational, it must be actionable as well because you want people to take an action.

The content that performs well include expert guides, webinars, live interactions, case studies, data sheets, swipe files, buyer guides that compare your features and benefits with that of your competitors, and a lot more.

Don’t stop at producing great content though, there’s a lot more you can do at the stage to maximize your impact and sales as the buyer moves to the conversion stage.

Acquiring links from authoritative and industry-specific websites can boost your domain authority and improve your rankings, as well as drive targeted search traffic to your landing pages.

Stage #3: Bottom of the funnel (BOFU): Conversions

​The bottom of the funnel is the stage in the buyer’s journey where your prospects make a buying decision—the prospect becomes a paying customer.

bofu

Your goal at this stage is to close the sale. You want to create content that will convince your prospects to pull the trigger and to feel happy and empowered to make a buying decision right now.

At this stage, it’s important that you leverage your branded keywords to drive sales from search engines.

Because customers are aware of your products and services and are already familiar with your brand. If they add your branded keywords in their search query, it will help facilitate the buying process.

According to Kapost, 34% of B2B buyers said the number of team members involved in making a purchase decision has increased. That means you must create compelling content that your customer can share internally with stakeholders to keep the purchase conversation smooth and rewarding.

With that in mind, the bottom-of-funnel content should clear all customer’s doubt and prove that your solution is worth their time and money, and of course, it should explain how the products and services will be implemented within the organization.

The type of content that makes a lot of impact at this stage includes case studies, trial offers, demos, product literature, among many.

This example by KISSmetrics is my favorite example of the type of content that will nudge customers to complete a transaction.

Conclusion

All in all, search engine optimization plays a vital role in ensuring that your target customers find you easily. Of course, it takes a lot of time but the rewards can be worthwhile.

However, don’t try to compete with big brands with a huge marketing budget, but instead, research and optimize your content pages for long-tail search terms. This would help you generate 70% of search traffic without building too many backlinks and social signals.

In all, you’ve got to understand that no stage in the buyer’s journey is more important than the other. However, each stage plays a key and dependent role in the marketing funnel.

Aug 11

How to Spot a Good Content Writer That You Will Want to Hold On To

By Mohit | Freelance

Most websites these days are in constant need of new content. Content writers, freelance or otherwise, are absolutely necessary for websites to keep publishing a continuous stream of quality content to attract and keep the attention of their faithful readers and visitors. Hiring content writers, be it through any medium, has to be handled very […]

Aug 11

5 Tips for Writing SEO-Friendly Content

By Mohit | Freelance

Search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. have forever changed the lives of internet users. Research on any topic under the sun now takes less than 10 milliseconds and the knowledge of everything is just a few keywords and the push of a button away. Anyone who puts out content on the internet has […]

Aug 11

5 Easy Tips To Improve Your Writing

By Mohit | Freelance

Anyone who writes, as a hobby or professionally, dreams of getting better at it progressively. That is true for every form of art or expression, but especially so for writing because it offers the quickest and least expensive way to express ourselves, regardless of intention or prospect. If you’re someone who wants to write, but […]