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What's the single hardest part about growing a store? The list! I noodle on that topic in today's Sunday Drive

Tony Mantz emailed me to say, "Landing pages befuddle me, what they are supposed to do and or look like?"

This is a guest post by Nick Rojas. Freelance Writer, Californian, Traveler, Loving Husband. Fan of Oxford Commas and cursive.

What goes into a good content marketing campaign? It’s right in the name - content and marketing. A great content marketing campaign fuses both elements together to create informative content while simultaneously selling a product or service. It is a little bit of “give” to the customer, sort of a bonus for visiting your site over your competitor's. The right content marketing can make or break a sale, so you want to best content you can have.

Truly awesome content marketing negotiates with the customer right in the content. It says everything you would want them to know if you were discussing the transaction face-to-face. In fact, if your content is good enough, it can make a negotiation for you. This is the marketing end of a content marketing campaign. Putting your negotiation skills to work in your content can power your marketing campaign to new heights!

What is Content Marketing?

To see that comes up when “content marketing” is searched online, one would think this was a mysterious and arcane concept that Merlin came up with, standing over a bubbling cauldron. However, content marketing is really simple - it is creating articles, blogs, or video with information relevant to your product. For example, if your product is camping gear, you might have content on your site about campsite safety, camping recipes, or even first aid tips for campers and outdoorsmen. A yoga studio might feature articles about where to shop for yoga clothes or what poses are best to achieve certain goals. Quality content is important, but there’s more to it - it has to be engaging, and that’s where your negotiation skills come in.

Writing Awesome Content

Outlining and producing good content is a combination of lots of factors. You need to know your topic, but you also need to know about things related to your topic. The more informative your site, the more opportunities you have to work in some negotiating tricks, like giving the customer information they want. However, it’s even more than that! First, you need to make sure that your content is available to readers in every platform, especially since more people are using mobile devices to access information nowadays. Another important thing to do is to make sure your content is engaging, that visitors to your site are going to want to read it, is also extremely important. As handy as good authoritative links and solid facts might be, they have to be presented in a way that is enjoyable for the reader. You want them to want to read your content, and if they’re bored by it, that will turn them off, no matter how good your facts are. If you don’t think you can write content like this, consider employing a writer or writing service to create or edit the content for you.

Communicating to the Customer

In a negotiation, there are certain things you want to communicate without actually saying them - that you have practical knowledge, confidence, and the authority to negotiate. While content marketing might not involve haggling over prices, in effect your content is making your sales pitch and laying out your side of the negotiation. Effective communication, a grasp of what the customers want, and authoritative knowledge all should be conveyed in your marketing. These are tools you would take into a face-to-face negotiation, so using them in your marketing should be second nature!

Many people look things up online with the intent of learning something about them. Short articles of informative content from companies with relevant authority get referred to over and over again because they’re informative and interesting. Building up authority with content can be the best negotiating tool of all when it comes to content marketing, especially if you’re putting your negotiation skills to work all over the rest of the content!

This is a guest post from Sarah Smith at

Are you tired of getting huge traffic to your website, but still unable to convert it into sales? The main reason why you want them to visit your site is because you want them to buy something from you. This is just like opening a store in a mall. People keep looking at the items you sell, but none of them actually buys something from you.  

This does not have to happen though if you have the best techniques to pull them closer. The first thing you need to do is to evaluate your advertising techniques. What have you been doing wrong? Is it the website design itself? Is it the kind of adverting tools you use? By understanding what went wrong, it would be easier for you to find out how you can improve.

You also need to understand that this is a process. You just can’t expect people to visit your site today and buy from you the next day. They need to be lured. It is the same with regular stores. You have to talk them into buying the products you offer before they actually get one.

This means you need to be patient. You have to wait until you finally convince them to buy what you offer, but also work hard to pull them in. Sometimes, they are already on the brink of buying from you, but they still need a bit more push. Once you have given them a reason to really buy your products or services, they will surely do it.

If you need more help, below is an infographic that presents the best possible ways to increase your conversion rate. Use these tips to make your business more popular. Little by little, you will see how it can boost your business.

9 Easy Ways To Increase Your Conversion Rate (HowSBO)

I was talking to my friend Ross Beyeler, a fellow Shopify Plus Expert, over at Growth Spark last week.

I was venting to him about how ridiculous startup culture is. How sick it is that entrepreneur sometimes fetishizes the worst parts of being an entrepreneur.

In this 3-minute video, I offer my contrarian view on owning a business:

Optimize your theme's image assets in five minutes.

Jonathan Kennedy asked me a great question in The Unofficial Shopify Podcast Facebook group:

"How do you motivate team members & staff, and how do you keep them motivated for the long term?"

In this Sunday Drive video, I explore the three keys to building a team.

Jim Hudson asks, "I'm profitable. I have my email automations set up. I'm converting well. Now, how can I go large? Scale up! Do you recommend focusing on content marketing? Give away as much valuable stuff as possible?"

This is a guest post by Rebecca Keyes, Marketing Manager for AimTell.

Is there anything more frustrating than getting people to come to your website, only to have them leave without converting? While there will always be visitors who come and go without making a purchase, the reality is that these users have shown an initial interest in your brand. And for that reason, they are valuable to you. Instead of risking these individuals never returning, marketers frequently retarget them in an effort to bring them back. You’ve likely been retargeted in your days of browsing the internet. One day you’re looking at a cool new cell phone case, and the next day that same case pops up in an ad you see while browsing a different website (for example).

Retargeting, sometimes called remarketing, is an incredibly useful tool that all brands should be utilizing in an effort to get their audience re-engaged with their brand. Thankfully, there are plenty of platforms and strategies that you can get started with right away. If you want to get started with retargeting but aren’t sure how to do so or where to focus your efforts, keep reading to see our 5 favorite retargeting techniques. Learn what these techniques are, as well as why we like them and how they can help your brand.

5. Google Adwords

Google Adwords is used by a lot of people, and for good reason. Google is a huge search engine that you likely receive a lot of traffic from. You may already be using Google Adwords, and if so, it will be easy for you to set up a retargeting campaign. With Adwords, you can create ads targeted at different groups of people based on their various actions, such as those who have visited your website, downloaded your app, or have subscribed to your emails.

4. Social Media

Next up, retargeting via social media is just as the name suggests: ads are presented on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Typically, these ads are highly personalized. For example, it is common to see ads highlighting products or places a user has looked at previously (like our cell phone case example from before).

In this example, you are seeing a retargeted ad on Facebook. By mentioning the location, even down to the specific hotel this user was viewing, you can easily see how personalized this ad is. Users expect ads they see today to be relevant to them, and part of what makes retargeted ads so great is that by nature they tend to be highly personalized and relevant, giving them an automatic leg up over other types of advertising.

Additionally, taking into consideration how popular social media is (2016 saw nearly 1.8 billion monthly active users on Facebook for example), this technique tends to also be very popular, and for good reason. You may decide one platform works better for you than others, keeping in mind things like your particular industry and the demographics and social media behaviors of your target audience.

3. Videos

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How much time do you think you’ve spent in your life looking at YouTube videos? Probably a lot, right? You aren’t alone. In fact, there are an average 1 billion YouTube video views accumulated every day just on mobile devices. It makes sense then that we would include video retargeting on this list. These types of ads come in various forms; either videos that play before selected YouTube videos (like in the above example), banner ads that pop up at the bottom of videos, or display ads which are seen next to videos.

Are these types of ads good for everyone? Not necessarily. These ads will be much for successful with brands that typically utilize or produce video content. Plenty of research is out there on the effectiveness of video. In fact, 90% of people find videos to be helpful when making a decision about a product. If your brand is capable of producing top notch visual content, put it to good use in the form of video retargeting.

2. Email

Email still remains an effective marketing platform, and for that reason it should be considered when thinking about places to retarget users. In this case, a user visits your website but ultimately abandons your site having not converted, and is then retargeted in the form of an email that is sent to them. If you already have a lot of success with your email campaigns, you should definitely consider email retargeting.

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For example, you may wish to retarget individuals who have purchased items on your site before but have not recently returned, or have left items in their cart. Including a special offer will only further entice the user to come back to your website.

If you aren’t quite as convinced, research was conducted to see just how effective this type of retargeting was. The results were positive- the average open rate of these emails was 60% and the CTR was 15%. Not bad at all.

1. Web Push Notifications

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Last but not least, one of the best new ways to retarget visitors to your site is via web push notifications. While push notifications for mobile apps have been around for the better part of a decade, website push notifications only became available in the past year or two and are still a relatively new concept to most.

It’s simple. A user opts in to your notifications with one click, and then you can begin retargeting based on a large variety of factors. No need to capture emails. No obtrusive forms. Just one click and you now have permission to market to that individual.

Did a subscriber view your site but never return? Abandon their shopping cart but never interact again with your website? You can send targeted web push notifications based on all of these actions, and more.

Web push notifications differ from typical retargeting methods because they are not ads presented on websites or social platforms, but instead are messages from your brand that are delivered instantly to your audience on their desktop or mobile devices. As a result these notifications are not only dramatically more effective than other retargeting methods, but also one of the most affordable.

To learn more about website push notifications for your Shopify store, visit

This is a guest post by Nick Rojas. Freelance Writer, Californian, Traveler, Loving Husband. Fan of Oxford Commas and cursive.

Entrepreneurs have it rough, we won’t sugar coat it. Getting your business off the ground in today's fast paced world isn’t easy.

For every brilliant idea you have, someone else has had that idea, or will have that idea fairly soon.

Don’t believe us?

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 325,979 patents were granted in 2015. What’s more, the number of patents granted per year has doubled since the early 2000s.

Everyday we see entrepreneurs participate in online marketplaces. The financial barrier to entry with online marketplaces like Shopify is nearly zero.

The internet’s creation of new low cost markets has left many entrepreneurs wondering if traditional investment opportunities are still worth their time.

We say yes. Venture capitalists are still very much alive and well.

In fact, venture capitalists are evolving to keep up. The television show, Shark Tank, invites entrepreneurs to pitch ideas to investors in a game show format.

Since its inception in 2009, entrepreneurs have received millions in start up money from a variety of investors. This makes Shark Tank a valuable learning tool for budding entrepreneurs.

We’re breaking down the show’s three types of investors, some good and some bad, to give you an idea of what personalities real investors respond to.

The Honest Abe
This person will pitch their idea, the valuation they have in mind, and answer every question about their business, even if it paints them in negative light.

They’re honest, sometimes to a fault.

For example, pre-valuation plays a large role in the investor process both in the real world, and on Shark Tank. It’s the price contestant put on their business, or in other words, what their company is monetarily worth.

Pre-valuation is an entrepreneur's bargaining chip. It determines how much equity they’ll give away in return for investments.

Honestly about their company's worth is strategic. After all, they’re looking for the highest investment possible. Sometimes fudging the numbers isn’t a bad thing. On the other hand, investors spend their lives detecting lies. They know more about pre-valuation than the entrepreneurs do.

Above all else, honest abe's will earn respect.

The Know-It-All (And They Sometimes Do)
The know-it-all comes off as arrogant. They’re recognized by an undying determination to impose their opinions on the investors.

These contestants are frequently from a sector rife with venture capitalists. Entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley often fit this mold.

Negotiations with the know-it-all are ruthless. Investors often disagree with a company’s valuation, and thus offer lower investments than an entrepreneur would like.

Know-it-alls infallibly believe in their business, and if anything, will argue that their valuation is too low. Insulting the investors knowledge sometimes leaves them with no offer at all.

Though, for all their faults, the know-it-all sometimes actually does know what they're talking about.

Ultimate belief in their product leads to shrewd negotiating. High ball offers can come across as confidence, and might convince the investors that the product holds significant potential.

The Scammer
Both of our previous categories had their strengths and weaknesses. The scammer, however, has no redeeming qualities.

They’re the folks who take quick short cuts and use deception to convince investors their business strategy is profitable. The truth is, they’re only in it for a quick buck.

Scammers have also appeared on Shark Tank for publicity.

One incident saw a man purposefully undervalued his already financially backed company, and turn down all investment offers. He eventually admitted to appearing on television for marketing purposes.

Of all the competitors, the scammer is the least respected.

Life as an entrepreneur is difficult. However, you can make it slightly better by approaching investors in the correct way.

Confidence and honesty go a long way in convincing investors you’re worth taking a risk on.