Category Archives: Marketing

My 2017 Goals – $100k/mo, BJJ Blue Belt, and More

Goals not meant to be reached

Sharing my 2017 goals for the year for reflection purposes later, a little public accountability, and of course, in case this motivates someone else to take action and achieve their goals.

My 4 goals for the year:

1. $100k per month for ZenMaid
2. BJJ Blue Belt
3. Meditate 2x per day
4. Improve my Personal Branding by helping others acheive their goals

An important note: Other than goal #2 I consider these to all be “stretch” goals. I’d be happy with “inferior” results but have set these goals to push hard and aim high.
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I’ve gone back and forth in the past between sharing goals publicly and not sharing them at all.

I started out more on the share-everything side of things but found it detrimental as I started ZenMaid. I identified the reason as being sharing the goals, making steps toward them, then sharing those accomplishments, was giving me subconscious approval and the feeling that I was already accomplishing them. Essentially I would do something one time but share it with multiple people and feel like I’d accomplished much more than in reality.

This did not help my productivity, even though it was designed to give me some sort of public accountability.

After a conversation with my business partner, Arun, I switched to the other opposite extreme to get both perspectives. I found that when I let my actions do the talking (only bringing things up publically when they were complete) to be quite empowering and help me to be more internally driven, rather than doing things for others.

At the same time though not sharing my goals with others sometimes led to me quitting them when I would have preferred to stick with them and public accountability would have helped.

This year though, I’m back to sharing my goals publically. You’ll notice this post is going live a few weeks after New Year’s … this is because I set my goals at the start of the year and have been executing on them daily on my own.

I did this on purpose to set goals for myself first, and share them now that I believe it doesn’t matter:

There’s little external accountability that I can receive from writing this post that would affect my focus and efforts toward achieving these 4 things in 2017.

The 2017 Goals I’ll be basing my life decisions around accomplishing:

 

1. $100,000 per month for ZenMaid – this is my number 1 goal for 2017, it’s what I’ll be optimizing all my other decisions around. It’s a massive stretch goal for our business and would literally require larger month over month growth than we’ve ever had before (for 12 months) but our thinking bigger is already paying dividends.

With this goal it’s less about actually acheiving it than aiming for it. My other goals below are achievable for sure, this one may or may not be, but we’re damn well going to try.

2. BJJ Blue Belt – To be completely honest I don’t care about actually getting my blue belt, I care a lot more about getting to a blue belt level. What’s the difference, you ask?Because I travel and live in 4 or more places (that vary) per year, I don’t have a “home” gym. Most instructors are hesitant to award belts to people that are not “their” students and hence I don’t know who would actually test me for the belt.

If someone were to test me I’d have to be so obviously above and beyond a blue belt that my ultimate focus is on the level, not the belt recognition.

3. Meditate 2x per day – The actual goal here is to meditate daily but I’m enjoying doing a morning and evening meditation so 2x per day is the “stretch” goal, along with working my way up to longer meditations

4. Build up the personal brand – I’m currently working through Neil Patel’s guide to Personal Branding and have identified that I’d like my brand to help me connect with higher level entrepreneurs (like Neil, Tim Ferriss, Ramit Sethi, and many more). I don’t have any intention of monetizing my personal brand but believe it will directly make me more money (and more successful) through positive influences and being able to attract better help to ZenMaid and my other projects.

 A lot of this will be sharing my experiences and thought processes (like this post for example) and I also hope to help others acheive their goals though I don’t have 100% clarity on how/what that might be.

Tools I’m Grateful For: Running ZenMaid Anywhere

This post was inspired by my friend Ark, who recently shared his favorite tools he was thankful for, and was similarly inspired by others.

Today I wanted to quickly share the list of tools that I personally utilize at ZenMaid to run our marketing, sales, and various parts of the business.

I’m personally grateful to the creators and operators of every single one of these as they allow me to live the life I do, from anywhere.

The Hardware

I keep my hardware as simple as possible because A) I have little appreciation for things like better sound and video and B) The more replaceable my stuff is the easier it is to relax and enjoy myself while on the road.

1. Chromebook – I bought a Chromebook recently on Amazon (will find a link here shortly) brand new for $235 that does literally everything I need it to operate my business, in large part because of my choice of tools in the section below

2. Headphones – I have a pair of highly rated earbud headphones that I got off of Amazon for $35. I’m happy to replace them in an airport or local shop if necessary but prefer to pick up a highly rated pair of Amazon when my location allows.

I also have a pair of blue tooth over-ear headphones. I honestly don’t use these all that much and they may not make it into my bag when I take off again in a few weeks (leaving for 6-8 months). They’re great headphones and I highly recommend them, I just don’t personally utilize them enough at the moment.

3. Speakers – I have usb speakers I can plug into my computer or any other for Netflix, YouTube, maybe even Courses if I’m trying to get my learn on.

4. Phone – My phone is a Piece of $hit. I hate it and am absolutely going to replace. I’d rather not talk about this situation but let’s just say that unlike everything else on this list, if I lost or broke my phone right now, I’d be relieved and happy.

Also, I’m on T-Mobile which offers an international plan. Everywhere I land I get a text welcoming me to the new country (aww) and letting me know of rates. 2 or 3g data is usually available the instant I touch down and I can still call ($.20 per minute) or text (free) with anyone on my US number.

5. Charging – I have a trusty Anker charger that I use to recharge my phone in emergencies. It’s always charged before any sort of travel and comes in handy most when I just have to finish that damn podcast episode and my phone is dying.  Although the Anker charges my phone (or headphones) faster than my computer so I find myself using it quite often even when I’m settled in somewhere.

NEEDED – I’ve realized that I need to get a mobile hotspot of some sort to give me internet in business emergencies. Thus far I’ve stuck to places around the world with good internet but there’s always a chance that I lose access when I need it. There should be an affordable convenient option I can find.

The Software, Apps, and Extensions

So many business and personal tools to list, many of which overlap

1. Google Chrome – Sounds obvious but I don’t think people appreciate what these browsers can do often enough. Chrome allows me to login to it on any computer in the world and almost instantly pull up my extensions, logins, and bookmarks, so I instantly feel at home (or rather safe in the office) to work on whatever I need to.

2. Hangouts, Drive, PlayMusic, GMail, Google Calendar – I’m obviously pretty darn deep in the Google eco-system. The move to Chromebook has forced me away from Dropbox but other than that I don’t really miss anything from my old computer.

3. Evernote – it’s taken some getting used to to get on the web app but once I made the change I adjusted (obviously). Can’t say it’s better or worse, just different, but it’s still a very, very useful tool for so many things.

LPT: check out this awesome article on how to get started on, and make the most out of, Evernote:
https://byrslf.co/using-evernote-the-right-way-ef61f530d1ad

(fun fact: I used Evernote to quickly find the article about evernote above for you. So Meta)

4. Audible – Why I haven’t been on this sooner I don’t know. I’ve been “reading” like crazy thanks to this awesome app. Any time a friend recommends a book I find it on here and add it to my wishlist.

Book recommendation for y’all: the Fish that ate the Whale – fascinating story on a dude who started a banana business and went on to build the entire railroad system in a central American country and at one point overthrew a government that was co-operating with his competitor. True story. You’re welcome.

 

Ending here for now, will update this article shortly

Want to learn about marketing on LinkedIn? Check out my new site

LinkedIn is one of the best marketing channels for my SaaS (software as a service) company ZenMaid.

I recently started sharing my experience at ZenMaid and helping other businesses to market their services and products on LinkedIn. I also share a lot of my more general thoughts relating to entrepreneurship specifically to the list here if you’re interested:

www.marketingonlinked.in

Cheers,

Amar

Does this mean I now run a 6-figure business?

Does this mean I now run a 6-figure business?

Does this mean I now run a 6-figure business?

Here’s a screenshot of our Stripe dashboard for ZenMaid from a few days ago when we broke $100k in total earnings.

We have a long way to go but it’s nice to take a little break and celebrate what we’ve accomplished thus far. It’s also pretty cool that about half this revenue has come in the prior 6 months (with about 10K coming in during the month leading to breaking 6 figures) so we’re on an upward trajectory.

Alright, that’s enough celebration. Back to building!

Why? So I can do more of this (photo from last night’s FC Barca match vs Bilbao):

Why yes, I did see Messi and Neymar play live. Dream come true.

Why yes, I did see Messi and Neymar play live. Dream come true.

My Book Writing Process – Comprehensive LinkedIn Marketing

This is the first in a small series I’ll be writing about the creation and approach to my first book on Comprehensive LinkedIn Marketing (name still to be determined)

Honestly, these posts are more to help me personally to analyze and improve on what I’m doing, I’ll be honest: I have no idea if what I’ll be doing are the right things to do, but I can tell you why I’m choosing to approach things a certain way.

To start I’ll just list the things I’m currently doing as work for this book:

1) Research:

I went through Audible and bought every LinkedIn Marketing book I could find that didn’t look like a scam/part of someone’s Kindle publishing “empire”. I now have 10+ hours of audio to listen to on LinkedIn Marketing.

This is to help me learn what’s already out there being sold in the same fashion as I intend to but I also expect to learn a lot and make some improvements to our current LinkedIn campaigns for ZenMaid

2) Sales Page:

In addition to additional research on the project right now I’m also finalizing a sales page for early access to the book. I already know that I’m going to write this book because I feel like I can help quite a few entrepreneurs with my story so this isn’t really about validation. Instead I’m trying to build an email list as I’m writing the book that I can go to for feedback or perspective

3) Find my “10”

I want to approach this book like I’m writing it for 5-10 of my close entrepreneur friends who are looking to get started or improve their results on LinkedIn. Right now I have about 3 friends in mind and I’m constantly brainstorming more. These 10 people would be my target audience and I’ve found it’s easier to approach mentally thinking “What would Joe need to know here to succeed with this section?” rather than “What should I include in this chapter?”

Finally, I’m trying to find as many book writing experts and resources as possible to figure out what I don’t know I don’t know.

More on that to come …

If you’re interested in being one of my “10” please don’t hesitate to reach out! Knowing what you need to know in order to succeed on LinkedIn helps me help you!

Here’s a photo from last night for no reason:

Here's a random photo from last night at the FC Barca match in Barcelona

Here’s a random photo from last night at the FC Barca match in Barcelona

6 Tips to Get Started with LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

ZenMaid recently started using LinkedIn Sponsored Updates with a lot of success so I thought I’d share some tips I’ve found through trial and error.

LinkedIn Sponsored Updates help businesses to promote their content and products in a more natural way. They show up in your LinkedIn news feed as posts so you can catch people’s attention with valuable content.

47 keywords LI Sponsored Ad Screenshot

Think of them like Facebook promoted posts (if those are working for you):

– Use them well and you can connect your brand to a new and amazingly engaged audience.
– Use them poorly and you’ll spend a lot of time and money with little reward.

Like any social media posting, our early success has come with targeted posting. We’re currently sharing 4 lead magnets that are highly, highly specific to residential cleaning services and they’re a big hit.

Here are 6 Tips to Get Started with LinkedIn Sponsored Updates.

  1. Keep the Headline Focused On Your Benefit or Deliverable

Catchy, irresistible headlines in your Sponsored Updates mean more clicks, which translate to more sales. Your headline needs to promise a valuable resource of some type, and it needs to do it in very little space. I personally have spent more time working on the headlines of our lead magnets than the actual landing pages.

  1. Add value

Don’t be the marketer that pretends to be helping people only to actually focus just on the potential customers.

If you’re going to sell, then sell, but if you’re advertising a valuable resource you need to make sure it’s just that: VALUABLE.

Our most popular resource is the 47 Keywords Every Maid Service Must Know for Google … it’s just a spreadsheet with all the keywords our target industry should rank for but that’s EXACTLY what we promise and deliver. Our leads LOVE it!

  1. Remember images!

If you see an update without a picture, are you likely to click on it? Chances are, you won’t, and that’s exactly what we’ve confirmed at ZenMaid.

Due to my laziness we started out with one lead magnet (5 tools we used to grow our maid service) that did not have an image on the sponsored update. It did terribly until we added a similar image to our other ads (see above)

Posts without pictures often seem incomplete compared to ones that do. If there is a curious or interesting picture that supplements the headline, your curiosity might urge you to click on the post.

Note: The best image size for LinkedIn posts is 698 x 400.

  1. Repurpose Your Content

There’s an adage about television: if you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you. Maybe your company conducted a study that was relevant to your readers? Perhaps you produced a killer infographic?

For ZenMaid we took an email series called Systems Week that we’d sent to our subscribers and turned it into a 4 day video course you can opt-in to. By Sponsoring an update that sent LinkedIn users there we’ve generated new leads that learn a variety of strategies for their businesses that we can help them with further.

Systems Week Screenshot

If you’re worried about what you’ll share in Sponsored Updates, take a look at what you’ve already done in the past. I bet you can find something to re-package and generate you mass leads.

  1. Use a Laser, not a Shotgun

You are not going to appeal to all of the people all of the time, so put your marketing efforts into your target demographic. Sponsored Updates need to speak directly to your niche. The more on-point you are, the more likely they will click on your links.

As mentioned above, our lead magnets are all highly targeted to residential cleaning services. Not carpet cleaners, not commercial cleaners, just maid services. We target them using the groups they’re in and focus our value propositions very specifically.

  1. Test. Test. Retest. Test.

Even the optimization experts test all the time (ESPECIALLY the experts). Try out different headlines and formatting. Change your images to see if your clickthrough rate rises.

By testing and retesting, you are not only tweaking for your own campaign, but you are tweaking for future campaigns. There is value in knowing both sides of the coin. Knowing what doesn’t work is just as important as knowing what does.

We’re using our current LinkedIn campaign to determine the best lead magnet to promote on our blog.


 

This was a quick overview of some of the best practices we’ve found that should be used for LinkedIn Sponsored Updates.

By providing a clear, concise, and valuable content to your target audience, you are opening them up to learn more about your products and services.

What else do you want to know about marketing your business on LinkedIn?

Doubling ZenMaid’s Traffic in 1 Day – A Quick Video Series

This post is part of a 9 video series (each less than 5 minutes) following actions I’m taking to double the traffic of http://www.zenmaid.com in one day’s work.

Will it work?

I don’t know. But I’m going to try…

You can find links to all the videos at the bottom of this post.
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After some strategy discussions and pondering lately I’ve come to the conclusion that the most important thing I can work on for ZenMaid is increasing our traffic.

We’ve put in a lot work recently into our website, email funnel, and marketing automation and I’m finally at a spot where I feel comfortable getting us as much exposure as possible.

(Or rather, I feel like we wouldn’t wasting maximum exposure at this time)

After strategizing this morning I decided to see how many quick wins I could find in our business and make an attempt to double our traffic in one day’s work.

It’s a quick video series I recorded throughout the day, each video is very short (less than 5 minutes, I think).

Check out the first video below and don’t hesitate to leave a comment about what you would do in my shoes.

Cheers,

Amar

View the next video on Evaluating options
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Video Series Links

Video 1: Explanation of what I’m doing

Video 2: Evaluating Options

Video 3: Directory submissions for SEO and Visibility

Video 4: Posting Quality Content Regularly to LinkedIn

Video 5: Doubling Down On LinkedIn with LinkedIn Ads

Video 6: Getting involved with an industry-specific non-profit: Cleaning For a Reason

Video 7: Using VeeRoll to Increase YouTube Traffic

Video 8: Joining the MyHouseCleaningBiz.com Membership to Talk to More Maid Services Directly

Video 9: Conclusion/Review

The ZenMaid Marketing Funnel – From Start to Finish

The following was originally an email I wrote up for my business partner to help us set up better analytics for our company. What it turned into a written out breakdown of our entire marketing funnel that we’ve built out over the past 2 years…

What’s covered:

 

  1. Where we get our targeted Traffic from
  2. How we turn that traffic into email addresses
  3. How we nurture those leads and get them to learn more about our software
  4. Converting leads into trial signups
  5. Turning trial signups into long-term, paying customers
  6. What we do and track once they convert

It ended up being one of the most useful things I’ve documented for ZenMaid and really clarified for me a lot of things in our business.

A couple people looked the email over and suggested I share it so here it is.

Please note that it’s a pretty long in depth write up, you may want to skim it to see what’s of interest before diving in.

[I’ve added my comments for you, the reader, to the post in brackets and italics like this]

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Traffic Generation Sources:

 

Capterra [Capterra is a software review site that ranks #1 on Google when you search “Maid Software”]

LinkedIn

Organic Search (minor)

Word of Mouth (minor)

 

Coming soon:

 

AdWords

Retargeting (Google display network)

 

Comments:

 

The vast majority of our traffic comes from Capterra and also converts the best. [over 1 of each 4 people that visit ZenMaid from Capterra provide us their email address]LinkedIn gets us good exposure but lower conversion rate due to people not usually looking to buy when they land at our page (usually there for the content). Longer sales cycle at the current time and more difficult to track.

 

AdWords has gotten us reasonable results in the past though with a lower return than Capterra. [1 out of 10 AdWords visitors gives us their email address] 

 

Should be noted that the last time we ran an  AdWords campaign our funnel was not refined to anywhere near the point it is currently. Fair to expect an immediate improvement from our previous results when we turn that back on.

 

Retargeting is something I think we should put at least $10 per day into immediately (by immediately I mean when we add to our PPC budget after some of the changes we’ve already discussed). Those ads are only shown to people that have landed somewhere on ZenMaid and I believe in a short test run we were paying considerably less for these clicks (need to confirm this and check what our conversion rates were from click to email capture)

 

Analytics needs – Would be good to get all of this information into one place and integrate it with the rest of the funnel (the point of this email/conversation obviously). At the current time I rely on LeadPages to tell me how many people are hitting us from Capterra.

 

I can look up on our blog how many people are looking at our specific posts but this traffic comes from both our email list and LinkedIn and I can’t differentiate which is which.

 

I also don’t know when people sign up on our home page if they came from Capterra (and clicked to the home page for more info) or from LinkedIn/our blog)

 

Lead Capture / Generation Pages:

 

47 Keywords

5 Tools

4 Ads

404 page (haven’t figured out when or why people are hitting it)

 

ZenMaid home page (changing soon)

 

Coming soon:

 

The ZenMaid Free Resources Page (part of the changing ZenMaid home page, also will be visible on our blog)

 

Comments:

 

The home page will be changing to educate people more on the software and also to help them enter “our world” through our blog and other pages. [due to the fact that most of our traffic came to targeted landing pages through PPC we’ve neglected our home page which is admittedly pretty terrible]

 

Specifically we’ll be trying to direct more traffic to our trial page using HelloBar (already live and viewable on our blog) and directing people to our new “Free Resources” page which allows them to download any of our lead magnets and see some of our more popular content and infographics. This free resources page may be our highlighted header button as it’s our best opportunity to show authority, build trust, and capture the email to get them in our funnel.

 

Analytics needs:

 

Big thing here is knowing where our converting traffic (by this I mean website visitor to captured email address) is coming from. I have a good idea when it’s direct from Capterra but if they find us through there and don’t register immediately, I won’t know if that was the story when they do come back. I also don’t have a way of differentiating between visitors who find us organically vs LinkedIn or other sources (Sharon maybe?)

 

These analytics will also help us analyze how our retargeting is working and where our best leads truly come from.

 

Lead Nurture (once email is captured)

 

We currently have 1 email sequence set up for new leads that is focused on building authority and trust then directing to the software (directly and via webinar).

 

Comments:

 

The series is 12 emails and currently gets opened 36% of the time (up from 25% with our previous series) and clicked almost 9% of the time (up from 5% from our previous series).

 

[Leave a comment below if you’d like me to share more information about the changes we made from our previous sequence to our current one]

 

More importantly our webinar promo emails are performing insanely better (36% open / 13% CTR vs a pitiful 23%/2%)

 

I’m wondering if we should have 2 email series, the one we already have and another that focuses on different features of the software and is more sales-focused. Our current series does a good job of this but the fact that it doesn’t feel as much like we’re trying to sell might not actually be helping us, at least in some cases.

 

If we were to implement this it would likely be that our current lead magnets would lead to our current email series and instead of direct people to our trial page we’d shoot them to our explainer video page. When they entered their email there we’d send them the more sales focused series.

 

The only issue I see with this is that our current series does a good job building trust with people who sign up after seeing the explainer video and I’m hesitant to change that. This issue is totally solvable though if we decide this is the way to move forward.

 

Another consideration is adding in our launch sequence somewhere down the line. The current email series ends after 33 days and it’s on me to keep content flow going from there. We do have the option of putting our launch sequence into that series something like 10 days after that or anytime in the next 30. My only concern here is this has definitely burnt our list in the past. People will be less likely to open emails from us after we send them all these (it’s something like 12 emails in a 10 day period) but the results might be worthwhile. Let me know your thoughts on this. We do have a list of maybe 150 people that I’ve looked into on our list that we can run this launch to immediately to see how it performs (I’d guess we’d pick up 3-5 new clients and get 15+ unsubscribes).

 

Analytics needs: 

 

The more integrated we can get this email series into all of our data the better. I don’t know which people on our list are more likely to open and read our emails and this would be good info to have obviously. I’m not sure that Google analytics would be the place for this but even know how many people are clicking to our blog then tracking from there if they’re making it to our trial page would be good information to have.

 

Trial Sign Up Page

 

Interested leads will eventually make their way to the trial sign up page and register. At the current time I have no data on this page or ability to edit. One of the most insightful things I learned at Tropical Think Tank was to focus on the smallest numbers in our funnel first. If this page is converting at 2% then finding a way to bump it to just 3% would mean 50% more leads and customers (in theory). Finding what the current percentage is and how many visitors hit this page each month (and their traffic source) would be a great start here. After that we can look into some A/B tests to bump this number.

 

I’ll also take a look at the current copy on there and see if there are any changes we should make based on info gleaned since creating it.

 

In Trial

 

In trial the customers receive a series of emails and messages through Intercom. This series is performing well and I’ve reviewed it recently. I expect to make more adjustments to it as we get info back from the surveys we’ll be implementing as those should tell us what we need to educate our potential customers on further.

 

Here I think we need different analytics that are more focused on activity and feature use. Intercom appears to be able to do a pretty good job on this, I need to look into setting up more alerts for people likely to churn or even upsell opportunities.

 

Paying customers

 

Same analytics as in trial regarding activity and feature use. It would also be nice if we could get Stripe info into our analytics to paint a complete picture of who goes from website visitor all the way to paying.

 

BareMetrics is also a good option in terms of tracking our churn and growth rates as well as current MRR and etc. We’ve looked into this in the past and probably still isn’t necessary but might be good to invest in at some point when we have more data nailed down and coming in.

 

Current analytics:

 

Google Analytics is set up for tracking website visitors and traffic but not currently utilized (by me).

 

When people are converting to leads I get most of my current information from LeadPages (this is pretty much only the visitors to lead magnets, conversions, and conversion rate).

 

SalesForce is where we currently track most of our lead and sales activity. MailChimp integrates somewhat with SalesForce (shows campaigns I send out but not opening or clicks and doesn’t show info on our automated lead magnet campaigns). I use SalesForce for notes on customers and call logging and etc.

 

I also use YesWare to track the emails I send through gmail which can integrate with SalesForce (logging when people open the emails and click links) on a higher plan ($30 or $40 per month)

 

Once in trial our analytics info comes from Intercom but I still log most things in SalesForce (communication between me and them). For another $100 a month we can integrate SalesForce and Intercom but not sure how much this would help us tracking wise. I haven’t looked into this in too much detail as it wasn’t a real option/consideration for us at that price.

 

If they convert this is apparent when they pay us on Stripe and I currently log this information in SalesForce manually.

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Conclusion:

 

I hope this was somewhat helpful for you if you’re still reading. This funnel has been pieced together over about 2 years (part time) and we’re now in the process of tracking and optimizing.

 

If you managed to make it through (or skim) this entire brain dump, could you leave a comment below and let me know what you’d like me to expand on?