16 Apr

5 Ways to Become the MacGyver of Getting Clicks


“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Likewise, in online world, if you create content that no one clicks on, does it exist?

If you ever do ANY kind of marketing… SEO, PPC, email, social media… anything where you are luring people to look at your message, you know that copywriting is probably THE #1 skill any one can have.

Sure, you can rank #1 for some intensely competitive keyword on SEO, but if your competitor in #2 is getting all the clicks, all your SEO investment just went to the toilet.

Yes, if you want to get clicks, you’re gonna have to work at it.

Here are some very practical things you can do.

1) Headlines is the King Kong

If you do ANYTHING, this is where you should be spending 70-90% of your time.

If you’ve never heard of UpWorthy, they basically “re-purpose” (*cough cough* STEAL) other people’s content like YouTube, wraps them in a new headline, and generates traffic.

How do they operate? (src)

  • they mine the internet for emotional data (content along with subjects headlines)
  • they write 25+ headlines PER article

They’re so good at this that they went from zero to 10.4 MILLION readers in 2013.


Here are some of the tactics they shared

  • Don’t write about politics.
  • Find story ideas on social media feeds, not other websites.
  • Focus on Facebook, not Twitter
  • Write 25 headlines for every article
  • It’s ok to trick someone into reading an article IF you know they’ll love the content.
  • Use A/B testing and analytics to juice content.
  • Think about advertising differently.
  • Don’t worry about keeping readers on your site.
  • Being first doesn’t matter
  • Mobile is important, but it isn’t everything
  • Only write something 1,000,000 people would be happy to learn about

Now, what does this mean for you?

  • Test headlines: They had about a team of dozen. That’s 2 per person per article.
  • Use A/B testing: Men lie, women lie, governments lie, priests lie. Only the data tells the truth.
  • “Borrow” from others, including UpWorthy/BuzzFeed (how hypocritical would it be if they frowned upon us copying their copy?)

2) Use people’s faces

Ever heard of Facebook? It’s literally about faces.

If you ever watch Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg’s interview on how or why he started Facebook, he mentions how people are genetically programmed to pay attention to other people’s faces.

It’s no different with any social network based on people’s real identity, like LinkedIn.


Here are some interesting case studies:

Miriam Salpeter at U.S. News & World Report says that not having a photo on your LinkedIn profile will make others assume that you’re either “really ugly” or “don’t know how to upload a picture.”

In a study conducted by TheLadders, an eye tracking heatmap shows that recruiters spend 19 percent of the total time they spend on your profile looking at your picture. Then, your current job position and education are glanced at, but not so much time is spent on your skills, specialties or older work experiences.

The “eye tacking” technique examined the eye movements of 30 professional recruiters during a 10-week period to “record and analyze where and how long someone focuses when digesting a piece of information or completing a task.”

In fact, this concept is even picked in SEO with the concept of “authorship”.

In Google search engine results, if you have properly linked your content to your Google+ profile (i.e. your profile picture), your results will actually get higher number of clicks.

EVEN if your ranking is NOT #1. Take a look at this search results page and where people are looking at:



(Source: Justin Briggs)

3) Limit number of links

Have you ever received emails where the links are plastered everywhere, like this?



The CTR on these types of content has probably less than 1% CTR.

Why? It’s the good ol’ paradox of choice.

In the book, Schwartz argues that eliminating consumer choices can greatly reduce anxiety for shoppers.

… sides with the opinion of psychologists David Myers and Robert Lane, who independently conclude that the current abundance of choice often leads to depression and feelings of loneliness.

Yes, too many choice makes you SAD. Sad people don’t take action.

If you want clicks.. or better yet, if you want people to take action, provide just ONE choice and ONE choice alone.

4) Use SIMPLE language

If you’re writing something where you expect people to read, for most people, their 8th grade English teacher pops up in their head.

Good grammar, nice structures, highfalutin words that no one says in real life..

No no no no.

Write as if you were writing to bunch of high school dropouts. Better yet monkeys.

It doesn’t matter if you’re targeting doctors, engineers, politicians, or better.. English teachers.

David Ogilvy, the father of modern advertising, gives these tips:

Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.

Write the way you talk. Naturally.

Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.

Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.

Never write more than two pages on any subject.

Check your quotations.

Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it.

Read it aloud the next morning — and then edit it.
If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.

Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.
If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.

Even Hitler knew about the power of simple words to get the masses into action.

I don’t recommend you become a genocidal dictator maniac, but do learn from the best.


5) In advertising, BENEFITS first. Features second.

Ever since my article on how I saved a dentists $250k, I managed to land a few dentists as customers.

Whenever I come up with a campaign, they would almost always ask me to change some of the wording.

I try not to argue with my local marketing customers, especially since it is their ad budget.

Almost always, their version tanks.

Why? They focus on FEATURES, not benefits.

No one wants “latest and best tech”. No one wants “friendly staff”. No one wants “friendly family dentists”.

No, they want THIS:



Yes, people go to dentists not because they have nice chairs and friendly staff.. they go because they’re in pain and want that pain removed.. NOW.

Focus on benefits, never the features.

Scary? Yea. But it works because it brings the point home.


14 Apr

How to Test Your Business Idea at (Almost) Zero Budget


Who do you think of when I say “first in flight”?

The Wright brothers, right?


Interesting though, back then, it wasn’t the Wright brothers, but a man named Samuel Langley.


Back when there was a race to be the first in flight, a bunch of men were trying different things.

Langley was the expert of the time, and even had government backing him with money. $70,000 USD, which was the financial equivalent of $1.7 million to $64.4 million of today’s money, depending on your rate of return, inflation, and all that fun stuff. (src)

So how did Wright Brothers, who back then were bunch of nobodies, win?

Simple: focus.

Langley focused on the engine. The Wright brothers focused on the flight.

If you have a really powerful motor on a non flying vehicle, that’s called a car.

If you have a flying vehicle with no motor, it’s called a slow plane. But still a plane.

Most entrepreneurs start out just like Langley. They focus on scale & operations when no one wants their stuff.


I wrote a lengthy post about why the latest “buzz” in growth hacking is useless to most startups, because no amount of fuel is going to start a fire.

Now, this isn’t just for companies. It’s with any human endeavors where you are trying to get something in exchange for your work.

Companies launching new products, writers launching new books, non profits launching a new charity, governments launching new service, etc etc.

So how exactly do you find out if the THING you’re building has any kind of traction before you plunk your hard earned money (or god forbid, someone else’s hard earned money) into your new venture?

Simple: ASK people if they want it.


Now, if you read a bunch of blogs, there’s a lot of buzz about how you should be doing MVP (minimum viable product) but you gotta take that with a grain of salt.

In one of the entrepreneur Meetups I organize, someone asked me if they could pitch their company, which was basically a MVP. OK, im fine with that so I asked him what the URL was. When I checked it out, it was a GoDaddy parked page with nothing on there but GoDaddy ads. He then explained that he was going to “explain” his idea to people.

Story cut short, he didn’t get to present because if he can’t invest 2 weeks of his life trying to show people what his stuff is to do, why does he think that his customers are gonna commit to him or, better yet, give him cash for this supposed “idea”?

So here’s what you can do.

1) Build a squeeze page

Squeeze page does NOT mean you get to spam them.

Squeeze page does NOT mean you get their email in exchange for some useless ebook.

Squeeze page does NOT mean you can just throw up some headline & call to action and you’re going to get 1000 sign ups.

Come on, get a reality check.

No, you have to deliver REAL solid value.

Take a look at the squeeze page I buit around marketing tactics that boosted my lead generation by 1800%. That ebook you get is 27 PAGES long.

And this is why my email open rates are 38%+ every time I send anything.


Not because I’m sexy or good looking (which by the way, isn’t so far from the truth), it’s because I give a lot.

I “trained” people to look for my stuff because I give away more than my competitors do.

I won’t go too much into detail because you can google “how to do squeeze page” and there are BILLIONS of resources that talk about this, but some of the main points I want to emphasize:

  • squeeze page is just a permission for them to start engaging with you. You must first earn this trust.
  • you have to A/B test your offer (or at least the page – headline, body, image) to maximize your results


Case Study

For one of my local marketing customers, I had a hair & nail salon that wants to use email marketing to drive traffic to their store.


We gave away free lip waxing ($10 retail value) in exchange for their email/info. Even though it’s not the most powerful incentive, it was enticing enough for hundreds of white collar women office workers 25-45 in NYC area to want to hear from them week after week.

(You can read their entire case story here:  How I Turned Local Business Freebies Into $2k per Month Revenue)


2) Build an autoresponder sequence

If squeeze page is getting the permission to speak to them, .. then why don’t people talk to them after?

Simple: people are too lazy to write an autoresponder sequence.

If you don’t do this, there is no POINT in doing the squeeze page. Why bother collecting information that you’re not gonna use? In fact, if you don’t plan on doing this step, might as well close your browser now and leave this post because without this, you just wasted time reading this.

Repetition is the tool you use to build up your reputation, your expertise, and further desire for your customer to want to buy from you.

Here’s how I build mine:

a) Build out 24 sequences

Why? Email open rate across the board is around 25%. In another words 1 in 4 get opened. On the average, it takes about 6 impressions of a message before your buyer decides to take any action. So 4 x 6 = 24.

If you sell really expensive stuff (like insurance, houses, cars, solar, etc.), you might want to consider doing longer.

Each one should deliver really SOLID value, meaning you give away LOTS and LOTS of great information, including how-tos, case studies, white papers, videos, etc. (Like this local marketing case study.)

The last thing you want to do is sound sales-y.

B) Space them out anywhere between 2 to 4 days apart from each other

The number of days spaced out depends on

  • how close they are do the buying part of the funnel (i.e. ready to buy or are you completely new to this idea) – if you’re ready to buy now, hell, get aggressive.
  • how receptive they are to the messages I am sending (i.e. open rate, engagement rate, CTR) – if I am losing them , i might be overwhelming them or sending irrelevant information

Remember, it’s not set it & forget it.

You have to constantly test your subject line, your landing page, your offer, etc etc. Once you get to a “ratio” that you’re comfortable with, you can relax but doesn’t mean you should forget it.


3) Host a webinar

The odds are that your customers

  • aren’t going to buy just because you have some kick ass landing page
  • aren’t located anywhere NEAR you

Solution: you have to do virtual sales presentation via webinar.

The great things about webinar are that

  • one you can do them in your pajamas
  • it’s about as close you can get to a in-person sales presentation
  • it’s fairly cheap these days (under <$100/mo for up to about 100 attendees, depending on provider)
  • you can record them & use them in future use (but i don’t really recommend this approach because you’re conditioning people to not attend your webinars because they know you’re gonna replay the same stuff)

Most of all, if you build in a really great selling proposition with some sales tactics (limited time offer, today only, special promo codes that expire), your conversion rates can be REAL high (as in 30%+ conversion ratio).

So people ask… when in the sequence do you ask people to join the webinar?

My answer? It depends.

There are three primary methods that i personally use

  1. Ask them to sign up for the next webinar in every sequence
  2. Designate a specific sequence (say the 12th) and ask there
  3. Same as B, but on the LAST sequence

It all depends on what vertical you’re in & how close they are to the purchase part of the funnel. If you were bidding on “compare XYZ software provider”, then they’re in the “ok show me what you got phase”. If you were bidding on “what is XYZ software”, then you shouldn’t be asking them to join your webinar in sequence 1.

Key Takeaway

  1. Build a squeeze page, build an autoresponder sequence, and actually show your face & do a presentation over webinar.
  2. In this world of too much options & not enough trust, you have to build trust by giving a lot first before you can ask.
Like this Post?

Let me know what you like by Liking, Tweeting, and +1'ing it so I write MORE of what you like: