Blitzscaling – how to grow fast

During the fall of 2015, several well-known entrepreneurs, including Linkedin-founder Reid Hoffman and former Mozilla CEO John Lilly, taught a class at Stanford about Blitzscaling; how companies grow very fast. This post contains videos of each session, links to class notes and eventually a short abstract about each session.

Blitzscaling session 1: Household stage

Class notes Blitzscaling session 1: Household stage

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Blitzscaling session 2: Sam Altman

Class notes Blitzscaling session 2: Sam Altman

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Blitzscaling session 3: Michael Dearing

Class notes Blitzscaling session 3: Michael Dearing

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Blitzscaling session 4: Ann Miura-Ko

Class notes Blitzscaling session 4: Ann Miura-Ko

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Blitzscaling session 5: Tribal stage

Class notes Blitzscaling session 5: Tribal stage

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Blitzscaling session 6: Jennifer Pahlka

Class notes Blitzscaling session 6: Jennifer Pahlka

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Blitzscaling session 7: Mariam Naficy

Class notes Blitzscaling session 7: Mariam Naficy

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Blitzscaling session 8: Eric Schmidt

Class notes Blitzscaling session 8: Eric Schmidt

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Blitzscaling session 9: Village stage

Class notes Blitzscaling session 9: Village stage

 

Blitzscaling session 10: Selina Tobaccowala

 

The Small Business Owners SEO Bible

Small business SEO bible

During the last 18 months, I’ve completed more than 20 SEO audits for small businesses and global brands. I enjoy analyzing the data in Google Analytics and identifying areas for improvement to help businesses grow their organic search traffic. We’ve helped a lot of businesses grow during this period. It’s been fun.

Whether you sell products online or you want to generate leads via your website, our research has found that by not optimizing your site for search engines, e-commerce stores are losing up to $100,000 per year. That’s a lot of money, isn’t it?

So you have now launched your website and you want to increase organic traffic. Where do you start?

This post has been created to act as a bookmark for people like you who have just launched a new website and want to immediately fix your SEO issues. You can revisit this post time and time again, and the issues outlined can be fixed by yourself, without the need to invest in hiring agencies/ consultants.

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2014 Online Marketing Tips From The Experts

As 2013 draws to a close, it’s helpful for online marketers to start to look ahead as to what 2014 will offer.

At the end of 2012, we asked 7 online marketing experts to share their best advice for 2013. In this post, we’ve gone one step further and gathered 12  experts to share their best tip for 2014 when it comes to online marketing.

In 2012, the expert tips were to focus on mobile, conversion optimization and content creation. And they were right, as these trends exploded. What’s interesting is that similar tips are shared for 2014.

If you missed out on last years tips, you won’t want to miss out on this years advice. We have authors, keynote speakers, founders and CEO’s and all of them are instantly recognizable.

12 online experts share best marketing tip for 2014

rand-fishkin-1

Rand Fishkin | Moz | @randfish

Surveys, interviews, usability tests, phone calls, and emails can all help, but there is no substitute for experiencing your audience’s pain yourself. If at all possible, I love to make myself and my team into real users of our product, trying to solve actual issues with our tools (or find information targeted by our content). That builds a personal experience from which you can project yourself into many other audience mindsets. The only caveat – be careful about over-extrapolating a single experience out to a wide market.

Bryan-Eisenberg

Bryan Eisenberg | Best Selling Author | @thegrok

The single biggest reason why people fail to convert on a website is that they could not get their buying questions answered. Most often this happens because they land in the wrong place and navigation (or internal search) makes it difficult or impossible for them to push their confidence levels high enough to purchase (or become a lead) and not feel any buyers remorse. This year it would be great if you started thinking about your business the way Jeff Bezos thinks about Amazon.com; they are not in the business of selling books but in the business of helping customers buy books. This is true customer centricity. A Bain survey recently shared that 80 percent of company executives believed they delivered a “superior experience” to their customers. But when Bain asked the executive’s same customers about their own perceptions, only 8 percent of customers felt those companies were really delivering. Which camp will you fall into in 2014?

Neil-Patel

Neil Patel | Quicksprout | @neilpatel

My best marketing tip for 2014 is to create really detailed content. I do so on Quick Sprout through advanced guides that are 30,000 to 40,000 words and it is causing me to get hundreds of thousands of visitors.

It takes a lot of time and energy to create these guides, but the traffic is worth it.

Ben-Jesson-Karl-Blanks

Ben Jesson & Dr Karl Blanks | Conversion Rate Experts

Again and again, we observe that our most successful clients have great products (or services). A great product trumps everything.

  • So our tip for this year is: Do whatever you can to create a great product.
  • Once you have a great product, you’ll find it easy to create a great conversion funnel.
  • And once you have a great conversion funnel, you’ll find it easy to afford traffic.
  • A great product is like a firework. The marketer just needs to light the touchpaper.
  • A poor product is like a wet firework. It takes a lot of skill to light it, and you might wish that you hadn’t.
 Chris Goward

Chris Goward | Wider Funnel@chrisgoward

Stop worrying about your bounce rate!

If you’re improving the wrong goals for your web marketing, you could be moving very fast—in the wrong direction. If you’re not sure, start with how to improve the right website optimization goals. Once you’re focused on the right goals, the other decisions become easier.

Then, make a commitment to continuous A/B split testing and optimization in 2014.

 Brian Massey

Brian Massey | Customer Creation Equation | @bmassey

Look at your analytics as a fluffy snugly toy, the kind you take to bed with you every night when you kick off your bunny slippers. Marketers and business owners who can’t grasp some simple graphs and reports are sleeping alone in the cold night of the internet. You don’t have to be “mathy.” But you do have to be friends with data and understand some simple rules about it.

 Peep Laja

Peep Laja | Conversion XL | @peeplaja

Data-driven approach is the future, and if you’re not a master of analytics and testing, you will be left behind. In 2014, invest heavily in becoming really, really good at gathering and interpreting data into actionable steps, and validating your hypotheses through testing. You need to know *exactly* what’s happening on every page of your website. Learn to go from “I don’t know” to “I’ll find out”.

Linda Bustos

Linda Bustos | Get Elastic | @Roxyyo

My best marketing tip for 2014 is to experiment with Twitter Promoted Tweets. It can be tough to build your own audience on Twitter, but this new ad option enables you to reach followers of other users’ accounts and pin your promoted tweet to the top of their feeds for more exposure. It’s inexpensive to run a $100 test campaign to see how it performs, and you can promote individual tweets. So for example, if you are an ecommerce site that sells vintage style clothing, you could target followers of @asos, @nastygal and @modcloth (among others in the niche), and be sure to include images or Vines in your tweet to show off your wares for highest response. It’s a very targeted way to get your message out to new people for customer acquisition.

Stephen-Pavlovich

Stephen Pavlovich | Conversion Factory | @conversionfac

The opportunity in mobile conversion optimization is huge. Having a responsive site is a good start, but testing now will give you a huge advantage over the competition. (And if you don’t have a responsive or mobile site, pick one crucial page on your website and split-test it against a mobile version of just that single page – it’ll quickly show you the opportunity.)

Brad-Geddes-1

Brad Geddes | Certified Knowledge | @bgtheory

In 2012 search marketing started to shift from keywords to audiences and this trend accelerated in 2013. Today, you must understand your target market beyond the keyword. What are your audiences, their demographics, their similarities, their differences, and their online behavior? While we won’t abandon keywords in 2014, if you want to stay on the cutting edge of marketing techniques, you must begin to switch your promotions away from just relying on keyword groupings and towards audience segmented offers.

 Chris Hexton

Chris Hexton | Vero | @chexton

2014 looks like it’s going to be about mobile, at least when it comes to email. There’s a lot of great data out there at the moment about increasing open rates on mobile devices so marketers need to make sure they’re optimizing for this!

Gerry McGovern

Gerry McGovern | Customer Carewords | @gerrymcgovern

Treat your existing customers as if they were prospects. Get to know them better by observing what they are doing online, not what they say they are doing. Recognize the shift in power and influence towards the customer. Always keep in mind that a current customer is a potential not-a-customer-anymore.

There you have it. 12 great tips from some of the best online marketers in the world, which covers mobile, content creation and data driven marketing. If you want to add to the list of marketing tips, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

What is your best marketing tip for 2014? Do you agree with the experts?

* Update: Gerry McGovern added to the list of experts on 19.12.2013

Speaker prep notes

I go to a lot of conferences and I see a lot of bad presentations. According to world renowned speaker Guy Kawasaki, 99% of presentations suck. If you´re scheduled to present at a conference in the near future, you need to read this blog post!

First of all: A presentation is not a series of powerpoint slides. The slides should not be the central part of your presentation. If you´re dependent on you slides, you´re not ready to present.

 

  1. Read PresentationZen. Get the basics right: Show up on time, know your stuff, be yourself and more.
  2. Tell a story. If you want your presentation to be remembered – tell a story!
  3. Learn from the best. The 5 best presentations in the world – what makes them so special?
  4. Nail the first 60 seconds. If you want to captivate the audience – nail the first 60 seconds!
  5. Avoid the obvious mistakes. Watch this 2 minute video and NEVER make these mistakes again.
  6. Really BAD powerpoints. Avoid  powerpoint mistakes.
  7. How to not suck at presentations. CEO writes

If you don´t have time to review the above sources, please at least make sure you avoid the basic mistakes in the world´s worst presentation! Feel free to add your best advice and share with conference organizers around the world. If you attend a boring presentation, feel free to share this post with the presenter. Don´t be rude, just help them become better presenters.

 

Other resources:

Will Google ask the Syrian government to hide their chemical weapons?

Last week Norway´s largest newspaper Aftenposten published an article with the headline  “Google asks online stores to ‘hide’  weapons” . The article tells the story of how Friluftsmagasinet, the largest hunting and fishing store in Norway , was suspended from advertising on Google. The reason being that they sell hunting and fishing equipment – weapons – that obviously can hurt animals.

This week Google is threatening to shut down Norway´s largest online cosmetics  shop because of UPS Revitalash . Google claims this word/product is an illegal supplement . What are the people in Google´s global policy team thinking?

Global Policy or Local law?

I’m no expert on the law , nor on Google policy. I like Google and I think it is positive that Google prohibits advertisements for alcohol, tobacco and chemical weapons , but where should Google draw the line? Is it possible a large American company to keep track of all local laws and regulations in all countries? Is it really Google’s responsibility to ensure that businesses worldwide have appropriate ethical guidelines? If that is the case :

Google’s core values

In the Aftenposten article, the issue is whether Google should abide by the Google global policy and/or local laws and culture. I admire Google and how they operate in the marketplace, but in this case I think the search engine company have ignored the Google core values . Here are some of Google´s core values: (with my comments below):

Google core value #1: Focus on the user and thus solves the rest by itself

Comment: Focus on the user has been a mantra at Google since its inception. This user centric approach has turned Google into one of the world ‘s strongest brands.  In this case Google is not focusing on the users (local Norwegian businesses and local consumers ). Instead Google employees are acting like bureaucrats referring to the the great “Global Policy”.  Where´s the critical thinking?  Are lawyers and bureaucrats  running Google now?

Google core value #2: It is best to do one thing really well .

Comment: Google is good at search technology . Google should continue focusing on search. It is impossible , even for a large American company (even with some assistance from the NSA ;)) to keep track of all local laws and regulations worldwide. Perhaps Google’s central policy department should hand over responsibility for policy to those of its employees who are really good at NORWAY ?

Google core value #4: Democracy on the web works

Comment:  Why should a central body in Google determine what is legal and what is illegal in democratic countries. Shouldn´t a democracy decide? Why not create a system that gives people the opportunity to decide what should be allowed in each country ? Give users the opportunity to complain about the ads ( Facebook does it already) . If enough people complain, a  local Google representatives in consultation with local authorities and NGOs should decide whether ads should be banned. Look to Wikipedia. Their system seems to work quite well!

“Do no evil” or abide by Googles global policy?

Google´s mantra is “Do no evil”. But what happens if the notion of “evil” is different in countries where Google operates. Who defines evil? If someone within Syria had created an Adwords account with the sole purpose of identifying the location of chemical weapons in Syria, how would Google´s central policy team react? Would they blindly follow the Google policy? Would they apply critical thinking? Would they notify the Syrian Government about a potential national security breach or would they ignore it and let a foreign state bomb the locations? My point is that Google should strive to let their core values determine what they do – not a global policy that is forced upon all the countries in the world. I like Google, but I don´t think Norwegian hunters agree that an American company should that decide what Norwegian companies should be allowed to advertise for!