BarnRaisers


12 blog case studies of small beginnings to super success 0

Posted on March 10, 2019 by Rob Petersen

Blog case studies

blog case studies

Blog case studies show the opportunity available to someone with a unique perspective on an area that is relevant to others. Successful blog are consistently supported with content that builds an audience and possibly monetary value.

People who make blogs into a business often start from the humblest of beginnings. It is their unique perspective on a particular topic, its relevance to others and the consistency of keeping the content fresh that makes them stand out.

They may make money from similar sources like affiliate marketing, sponsored content, ads, courses and event. But it is the differentiated way they discuss their area that turns their blog into a viable business.

Here are 12 blog case studies of small beginnings to super success.

ARTOFMANLINESS: Brett McKay founded the Art of Manliness in 2008 and has grown it into the largest independent men’s interest magazine on the web. It is a one-stop resource for actionable advice that covers every aspect of a man’s life: character, career, relationships, fitness, style, skills, and much more. Through weekly podcasts and articles, AoM tackles subjects from the philosophical and serious to the practical and fun. AoM differentiates itself from other men’s lifestyle media outlets in providing content that is intelligent, thoughtful, thorough, eminently useful, and clickbait-free. Estimated annual revenue is now $4,300,000.

COINDESK: Is the most successful cryptocurrency blog in the world, getting over 10 million visitors per month. It was started in 2013 by Shakil Kha, and then acquired by Digital Currency Group in 2016 for an amount rumored to be around $500,000. Today, they’re the go-to source for all news and updates in the blockchain world. They make money through advertising, publishing paid reports, and selling tickets to their conferences.

COPYBLOGGER: Started by Brian Clark with no more than $1,000 in seed cash, Brian worked incredibly hard to build an audience and help people. He engaged his audience and figured out exactly what they were looking for. And then he gave it to them. Brian Clark didn’t even have an idea for a product to sell. This approach led Clark and his growing team to launch Copyblogger’s Authority educational platform, its certified content marketer marketplace, and the StudioPress website builder for WordPress. Brian Clark has built CopyBlogger through partnership. Its parent company, Rainmaker Digital, serves more than 200,000 unique customers across its three brands and earns in excess of $12 million in annual revenue.

CREATEANDGO: Founded by Alex and Lauren (a former personal trainer and CPA), after first creating a health and wellness blog, they turned their attention to teaching others how to start a blog and make money at it in this one of our blog case studies. Last year, they earned over $1.66 million with a little less than $600,000 in expenses putting their blogs at over the million dollar mark in revenues. Books and courses account for the majority of revenue, followed by affiliate marketing, mostly for web hosting, email marketing and landing page building companies.

HUFFPOST: Started as “The Huffington Post” by blogger-cum-celebrity Arianna Huffington. It’s initial focus was on American politics with a decidedly liberal stance. It expanded to include a wide variety of other topics and localized editions. They’ve achieved this through pulling in content from a pool of individual bloggers and content creators. HuffPost makes it money from sponsored advertising revenue through banners and other digital ads across its variety of channels. It is by far the most successful blog of its kind, likely valued today at well over $1 billion, a great investment for AOL.” It is estimated Huffpost earns $1,40,00000 per month.

LIFEHACKER: Launched by Gawker Media and is currently owned by Univision Communications, the staff updates the site about 18 times each weekday, with reduced updates on weekends. The site bills itself simply as the site for “Tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done.” Simple and straightforward, yet highly intriguing. This is one of our blog case studies because who doesn’t need help getting things done?). Daily page views are 2.2 million and monthly revenues are $198,975.

MAKINGSENSEOFCENTS: Started by Michelle Garter as a blog to improve her finances and keep track of her progress to teach others, Michelle managed to pay pay off her $38,000 student loan in 7 months following her own advice. She writes in-depth articles about earning extra income with side hustle and controlling emotional spending. She has developed courses and products to help others. She also monetizes her blog through affiliate marketing and ads. Michelle went from being in debt to earning revenues of $120,000+/month through her blog

MASHABLE: Started by Pete Cashmore in his Scotland home and quickly grew to be the go-to source for social media and tech news. Since then, the outlet’s focus has expanded a bit. But it emphasizes social media news and updates while growing its audiences significantly, thanks in part to pushing content out on a variety of platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Mashable is monetized by offering a variety of advertising formats. Because it has 45M unique monthly readers, certain authors may pay Mashable to be featured on their site. It is estimated Mashable makes $2,000,000 per month.

NERDFITNESS: Cut from his high school basketball team in Sandwich, Mass, Steve Kamb hit the gym. To his surprise, he enjoyed working out. He wanted to create a home for people, like himself, who are kind of nerdy and are interested in fitness but are too self-conscious to go to the gym. Most of the firm’s revenue comes through online courses it sells through its Nerd Fitness Academy. The company also runs Camp Nerd Fitness, where several hundred people gather each fall for a fitness retreat held on a long weekend.  His monthly newsletter has 273,000 subscribers and annual revenue is in the seven figures.

NERDWALLET: Is a personal finance blog that helps people with personal financial decisions. They review everything from credit cards, mortgages, insurance, and all things finance. The affiliate commissions for financial products like these can get into the hundreds of dollars per referral. But what they’ve really mastered is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) understanding search intent. They create the best content and user experience depending on the keyword. These reason explain why they’re worth over $500,000,000.

SHOWMETHEYUMMY: When Jennifer started food blogging, her husband, Trevor, a professional photography, worked a full time. Later, they reversed role and now have a food blog that benefits from the skills of both. Starting with revenue of $28/month, four years later, revenue is at $46,000+/month. The blog makes money from affiliate marketing, sponsored content, ads and a video product that teaches how to set-up, shoot and edit a face-paced food video called Show Me the Yummy Digital Food Video Workshop.

TUTSPLUS: Founded in 2006 by Collis Ta’eed, Cyan Claire, and Jun Rundelivering, it’s been delivering outstanding tutorials and content to designers and developers from across the world for quite some time now. Today, in this one of our blog case studies, they offer a hub of useful content and a tremendous marketplace where 2,000,000 active buyers are searching for site templates and useful paid tutorials that they offer as part of their platform. They earn their income primarily through membership and commissions from sales of digital goods on their platform. TUTS+ revenue is currently estimated at $175,000/month.

Do these blog case studies help you see how blogs can be big business? And how, from small beginning, the potential for super success with the right topic, consistency and perseverance is there?

30 facts explain breakdown in digital trust 0

Posted on February 24, 2019 by Rob Petersen
Digital Trust

Digital trust is going through a meltdown.

What started as an age of opportunities where social channels and open sources platforms opened up publishing, networking and business building possibilities with real, human connections has evolved into a new age of privacy concerns, fake news, fake accounts, bots, unwanted solicitations and spam.

What can brands do about it? Take a more active role in the context where their messaging and ads appear. Monitor the audience being built. Manage and measure customer experience and rely on first-party, not third-party, data.

Here are 30 facts to explain the breakdown in digital trust.

  1. 583 million fake accounts were identified on Facebook last year. Facebook says they removed them in the 1st Quarter of 2018 to try to improve digital trust.
  2. Nearly 48 million Twitter accounts are bots.
  3. 89% of consumers now read businesses’ responses to reviews to see if they should trust the business.
  4. 86% of consumers prefer security over convenience.
  5. 81% of Facebook users say that they have little to no confidence in Facebook to protect their data and privacy.
  6. Yet, 77% of Facebook’s US monthly active users access the app on a daily basis, and this daily habit of hundreds of millions of Americans will be a difficult one to break. 
  7. 77% of Americans believe mainstream media reports fake news.
  8. 68% of Californians believe the tech industry is under-regulated and 69% of people who work in the tech industry in California say their companies could increase oversight to improve digital trust.
  9. 66% of consumers trust Amazon to obey privacy laws; 62% trust Google to obey privacy laws and 41% trust Facebook to obey privacy laws.
  10. 66% drop in trust for Facebook since the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
  11. 65% of consumers want Facebook to disclose how they use personal data they collect.
  12. 62% of US adults get their news on social media.
  13. 57% of consumers will only use a business if it has 4 or more stars.
  14. 56% of Americans trust Facebook the least of any major tech company with their personal information.
  15. 54% of consumers believe organizations will sell their data.
  16. 54% of B2B marketers say Facebook is their most important platform.
  17. 48% of consumers have stopped using the services of at least one organization due to a data breach and breakdown in digital trust.
  18. 44% of the general population gets news from Facebook.
  19. 44% of Facebook users say they recently changed their privacy settings on Facebook, and were sharing less with friends and followers. 80% say it’s due to negative stories about Facebook and privacy.
  20. 43% of Californians trust cannabis growers more than social media companies which only 33% of Californians trust.
  21. 40% of consumers only take into account reviews written within the past 2 weeks – up from 18% last year.
  22. 32% of consumers say a good thing about Facebook is that it is the best way to remember birthdays.
  23. 31% believe mainstream media reports fake news regularly.
  24. 30% of marketers think Facebook offers the highest digital ad ROI.
  25. Only 24% of U.S. internet users think Facebook will do enough to protect privacy in the future,
  26. 18% of US adults get news for social media often.
  27. Only 6% of US internet users say they trust media and entertainment companies.
  28. Only 6% say they trust social media.
  29. Only 3% say they trust marketing and advertising firms.
  30. Facebook ad revenue has increased 2X in last 3 years.

Do these facts explain the breakdown in digital trust? Could your company be doing something to improve digital trust with your audience?

30 straightforward facts why we are fed up with digital ads 2

Posted on February 10, 2019 by Rob Petersen

Do the companies who pour more money into digital ads know less people are watching? And if they knew, do you think they might do something?

See if these statistics mirror your behaviors. Here are 30 straightforward facts why we are fed up with digital ads.

  1. 083% of people say “not all ads are bad but I want to filter out the really obnoxious ones.”
  2. 82% of people have closed a web page because of an autoplaying video ad.
  3. 81% of consumers have closed a web page because of a pop-up.
  4. 79% of people feel they are being tracked by ads.
  5. 77% of people wish there was a way to ad filter instead of ad block completely.
  6. 73% of people disapprove of pop-up ads.
  7. 71% of people believe digital ads are more intrusive now than they were three years ago.
  8. 63% of people say “most ads I see online don’t look polished or professional.”
  9. 60% of online traffic is comprised of bots.
  10. 57% of people say their pet peeve with digital ads are pop-ups that obstruct content.
  11. 56% of consumers say “most ads are insulting to my intelligence.”
  12. 51% of people use ad blockers because too many ads are annoying or irrelevant.
  13. 50% of people use ad blocker because there are too many ads on the internet.
  14. 50% of viewers are irritated by ads that take up the entire screen.
  15. 51% of people think less of brands that use autoplaying video ads.
  16. 51% of consumers believe websites should host fewer ads.
  17. 50% of people use ad blocker because there are too many ads on the internet.
  18. 50% of video ads aren’t seen by a real person.
  19. 48% of people would abandon a website or app if it crashed.
  20. 47% use ad blockers because ads are too intrusive.
  21. 44% of internet users cite two ads as the limit for a website.
  22. 42% of consumers are annoyed by pop-ups that interrupt their shopping experience on retail sites.
  23. 40% use ad blockers because ads take up too much screen space.
  24. 37% use ad blockers to speed up page loading time.
  25. 36% of people would never visit a website or app again if it crashed.
  26. 15% of people say “the ad tricked me into clicking.”
  27. Only 8% of display ads are viewable by real people.
  28. 8% of internet users account for 85% of clicks on display ads.
  29. Only 6% of people like ads that re-target them ay digital ads are more intrusive now than they were three years ago.
  30. The average person is served over 1,700 banner ads per month but only half of them are ever viewed.

Does this sound like you? Do you think companies will start producing better ads or will there be better filters to weed out the one that offend us?

Does you company need help creating a better ad experience?

6 audience segmentation tools to find customers that need you most 0

Posted on January 27, 2019 by Rob Petersen
audience segmentation

Audience Segmentation

Audience segmentation is the process of dividing your potential customer base into subgroups based on a common set of characteristics such as behavior, psychographics, demographics, and customer type. 

It is an essential marketing discipline to find the customers who are looking and most need the products or services your company sells. To maximize the business value of audience segmentation, it is best to establish segmentation based on financial goals such as profits, sales, annual customer value or customer lifetime value.

The internet has made audience segmentation tools available that are accessible, trusted and often free to any business with a website.

Here are the 6 best audience segmentation tools to find customers that need you most.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the most widely used web analytics tool in the world and it’s free to anyone who owns a website. It’s designed for audience segmentation as the “add segment” tab is on every page. Segments can be build based on Users (New, Returning, Traffic Sources), Demographics, Geography, Device and Conversion Behavior. Google Analytics has Smart Goals where machine learning is used to examine dozens of signals about your website sessions to determine which of those are most likely to result in a conversion.

Kissmetrics

Kissmetrics was founded in 2008 by Neil Patel. It is highly ranked with a key difference vs Google Analytics in that it tracks people’s actions vs their page view behaviors. Kissmetric is an audience segmentation tool for marketers who are clear about their conversions. Kissmetric offers conversions funnels, A/B testing and can be integrated with popular ecommerce and email platforms. It’s very good for communication testing. Kissmetrics is for internet marketers likely to be focused on ecommerce. Kissmetrics has a 14-free trial with pricing that starts at $400/month.

Segment

Segment collects your customer data in one place and sends it anywhere.
This is helpful for organizations that want to enforce the same data standard across their enterprise. You can then power all your apps with the same data. Using this customer segmentation tool, you can even query your data in SQL for the most convenient experience. Segment also offers Personas, a new product built on the Segment platform. With Personas, you can make sense of your customer data and use it to deliver personal experiences throughout the customer journey. Segment’s pricing is similar to Kissmetrics.

Piwik PRO

Piwik PRO has a straightforward interface that any novice could dive into. This audience segmentation tool tracks visitors to your website and displays reports describing who they are and how they behave. The reports gathered using this tool demonstrate a better understanding of your audience. They are especially effective for a company that is looking to quickly be able to look and compare multiple websites. Piwik PRO is a good audience segmentation tool to consider if you’re experiencing reporting limitations with Google Analytics.

Optimove

Optimove is a Science-first Relationship Marketing Hub headquartered in Israel. It is used by hundreds of customer-centric businesses to drive measurable growth by scaling customer engagement. Optimove combines the art of marketing with the science of data to autonomously generate actionable insight, empowering marketers to deliver highly-effective personalized CRM campaigns across multiple channels. Audience segmentation is taken to an level of “emotionally-intelligent” communication that helps marketers maximize customer spend, engagement, retention and lifetime value.

Adobe Analytics


Adobe Analytics creates a holistic view of your business to truly understand your customer’s journey on the web. Forrester reports Adobe Analytics as the leader in customer analytics last year. Adobe Analytics Cloud allows you to closely track your digital marketing campaigns and their performances, recognize and create different types of data segments for remarketing, offer a customized shopping experience to your site visitors, and works with bare-minimum data latency, particularly during the periods of peak traffic activity. Adobe Analytics Cloud also connects to a wide range of native and 3rd party tools to easily bring in 3rd party data to the tool.  Adobe Analytics is an enterprise tool with pricing for a license that ranges from $30,000 to $300,000 a year.

No business should pursue marketing without audience segmentation. With this range of audience segmentation tools to meet the needs of any business, there is no reason not to.

Does your business need further dialogue on audience segmentation?

ROI research on the 5 hottest digital trends 0

Posted on January 13, 2019 by Rob Petersen
ROI research

ROI research (Return on Investment) is a key consideration for companies pursing or thinking about pursuing the hottest digital trends:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Big Data
  • Digital Transformation
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Mobile Apps

Each of these areas is about innovation with the goal of saving companies time, money and providing better and more personalized customer experiences.

But the reality is they are big endeavors that also require big investments and often infrastructure change. So how much? For how long is required? When does it pay off?

Here is the ROI research on the 5 hottest digital trends.

ROI research on Artificial Intelligence (AI)


70% of companies claim they’re using a form of artificial intelligence (AI). This includes machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, and cognitive computing. Manufacturers worldwide are looking to technologies through artificial intelligence (AI) to increase efficiencies and avoid disruption from industry newcomers. KPMG surveyed 299 global manufacturing CEOs, and another 73 from the US. The conclusion for their ROI research: AI investment could take up to 5 years, 56% of manufacturing CEOs say.

ROI research on Big Data


Big Data adoption reached 53% of companies in 2017 according to the NewVantage Partners Big Data Executive Survey. 84% of survey respondents name factors related to speed, insight, and business agility as the primary reasons for big data investment. Tech Republic reports that ROI on big data can be delivered in 6 months if companies outline a very specific business case and outcome for the big data investments. Examples include sensors to shorten delivery routes or reduce in-transit theft. Behavior data to better understand consumer preference and relationship to sales. Wikibon research claims, the average Big Data project delivers a 55 cents ROI for each dollar invested.

ROI research on Digital Transformation

88% of companies report they are undergoing digital transformation. This year, according to IDC, companies around the world are expected to have spent a total of $2.1 trillion on digital transformation. The network is at the heart of any digital transformation according to IDC. No network means no business. Yet IDC has stated that in the next two years almost a third (30%) of large and midsize businesses will suffer a service failure due to mismatches in power delivery and IT workload profiles caused by hardware obsolescence. A DT-ready network can be surprisingly affordable achieving an average return on investment of 349% over five years and payback in as little as six months. Automation is an essential element of such a network; an IDC study found that companies lowered their networking costs by 33%.

ROI research on Influencer Marketing

75% of marketers are using influencers as a marketing tool and many plan to increase spending 43% in the next 12 months. A study on influencer marketing showed that it can give an ROI of 11X more than banner adsA Celebrity Intelligence survey found for $1.29 beauty brand spend on beauty influencer, they are generating a return of $11.38. According to Tomoson, $6.50 in revenue is generated from every $1 invested in influencer marketing strategies. Finding the right influencers for the right campaign is one of the most frequent difficulties faced by nearly 68% of the marketers.

ROI research on mobile apps


58% of all connected consumer time takes place in mobile apps, according to digital research firm comScore. According to a report by Gartner, mobile apps will be responsible for generating a revenue of $77 billion by 2017. Mobile apps are a core ingredient in the future of tech in our everyday lives. ROI research on mobile apps is determined based on the function and goals of the app. It’s different to develop mobile games to make money than to create a free corporate app to enhance your brand and be able to connect more directly with your customers. But ROI is also pretty basic for mobile app. The primary markets are the Apple Store and Google Play. They offer tools for keeping a record of the times our app gets downloaded, as well as from which countries it was downloaded from and user performance data. You can also check the comments and opinions left by those who have tried our app and the error reports it may have generated to act accordingly and get these problems solved in future updates.

Does this ROI research help you in your pursuit of these innovative technologies. Could your company benefits from a ROI assessment for any initiatives you may be doing or thinking in these areas?

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