Social Media, Crowdfunding, and $56M Nail Polish

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I’ve always been fascinated with crowdsourcing and crowdfunding. Hunting the subjects online, I came across Carol Tice’s Forbes article about a Seattle-based company called Julep that cranks out skin care products, makeup, and funky suede-look and 3-D holographic glitter nail polish. Julep has made quite a name for itself through social media marketing and crowdfunding since its 2007 debut as a single nail salon.

Why should we care? Julep applied rapid iteration—something foreign to the beauty industry—and their ecommerce sales have skyrocketed. Forbes estimates Julep’s 2013 revenue topped $20 million.That’s why.

And get this—Monday Julep announced it acquired $30 million in financing from venture-capital firms, including Starbucks founder Howard Schultz’s Maveron.… Continue Reading

How Google Adwords Consumer Ratings Can Benefit Your Business

google-adwords-consumer-ratings-tipsIn March, Google announced the debut of the English-only Consumer Ratings Annotations in AdWords. Users can review ratings, social endorsements, and reviews for your business as part of your Google search ads. The ratings data makes your ads more useful to prospects and can improve ad performance, says Google. After all, people rely on the opinions and experiences of others whether searching for products or services.

The ratings data is pulled from the Google Consumer Surveys platform. Publisher sites host survey questions that appear in pop-ups as paywall alternatives. Each rating is based on approximately 1,000 consumer opinions.

At the moment Consumer Ratings Annotations are benefiting mostly large brands who have been included in surveys.… Continue Reading

Why Your Website Is Not Making Money

Location, location, location… it’s vital for brick-and-mortar storefronts and online businesses. It takes a lot of online marketing muscle and search engine optimization to ensure your website attracts targeted, qualified customers. If your website isn’t making money despite your best efforts, what can you do?

why-your-website-is-not-making-moneyJayson DeMers wrote an article for Forbes about what to do if your website isn’t making money. He explains that you may have traffic, but it isn’t converting. Conversion is the second most important part of online marketing—traffic is the first. The two have to work in harmony to result in revenue.

Here are common reasons why your website visitors may not be converting:

  • You’re attracting “window shoppers.” These are people are browsing and have no intention of buying.
  • Continue Reading

7 Simple Ways to Improve Ecommerce Conversion Rates

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It’s a new year. Boosting your company web store’s conversion rate is surely on your list of resolutions. The smallest rate increase can make a big difference in sales and profitability. Jordan Lindberg at Practical Ecommerce has written a great article about easy and inexpensive ways to make conversion rate improvement with little effort.

Jordan describes a hypothetical web store that gets 10,000 visitors per month, with an average $100 sale, and a 3 percent conversion rate. In this equation, 10,000 visits net 300 orders and $30,000 in sales.

By improving the conversion rate to 3.5 percent, an additional 50 orders on the same number of visits and an extra $5,000 in sales per month would result, he says.… Continue Reading

Dissecting Google’s Penguin 2.1: Make Your Links 100% More Powerful

Google logo with penguin 4Google’s recent Penguin algorithm update has many online marketers frustrated. How does the update affect website traffic? What does it mean for a site’s SEO?

I’ve combed the Internet to learn what I can about Penguin 2.1. One of my most interesting discoveries is how U.K.-based MathSight used reverse engineering to analyze websites impacted by the algorithmic update to determine what factors resulted in the site being hit.

MathSight’s data reveals a secret… websites that gained and lost traffic from Penguin 2.1 had links from web pages with the following:

  • Body text with a higher (good) or lower (bad) number of words per sentence
  • Body text with a higher (good) or lower (bad) proportion of rare words
  • Body text with a higher (good) or lower (bad) number of syllables per word

MathSight’s data supports the belief that linking to poor quality sites is bad, and that the “quality” factor is determined by content.… Continue Reading