[Video] How to Create a Joint Venture Contest for Just $1,000

If I had to promote a brand new business and had $0, the first thing I’d do (besides social media marketing) is look to setup mutually beneficial (i.e. win-win) partnerships.

In this video I’ll show you a simple strategy for creating a joint venture contest from scratch. By partnering with companies who sell complimentary products to yours, you can have your products promoted to their customers and subscribers via email, Facebook and Twitter. Your only cost is a few hours to setup the contest and $1,000 in prizes.

The cross-company synergy you get from a contest of this type is huge, and best of all you can implement this strategy if you’re just getting started because all you need to do is come up with prizes to give away. You don’t need a huge brand or a marketing team either.

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Free Guide: Guerilla Marketing With Social Media

eBook: Guerilla Marketing With Social Media

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Well, the holiday season is almost upon us. As a way to say “thank you” for reading our blog (which now has over 50,000 readers a month – woohoo!) I wanted to give you a 27 page ebook that’s been 6 months in the making.

In Guerilla Marketing With Social Media I share the 7 social media strategies we’ve used to grow our business by 480% in the last 3 years (proof). And because these are all guerilla marketing strategies, you’ll learn how to reach a huge number of people for a very, very low cost.

This has been one of the most successful guides we’ve ever produced – it’s already been downloaded well over 5,000 times by people on our email list (sorry, they got it first!) so I’m confident you’ll love it.

Whether you want to increase sales, attract thousands of Facebook followers, launch a contest, partner with the big wigs in your industry or turn one-time customers into raving fans, it’s all here in this 27 page ebook.

Click here to download our free guide: Guerilla Marketing With Social Media

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[Video] How to Double Your Productivity Using NET Time

NET time stands for No Extra Time and is a method to effectively double your productivity during periods of work or exercise that don’t require all of your senses to perform the task at hand. The best example is running: it requires physical effort but very little mental juice.

So how can you implement NET time while running? Easy. Before you run, download an educational podcast (here’s ours) about business growth or marketing and listen to it while you run. If you run for one hour then you essentially accomplish two hours of productivity – one hour of running and one hour of learning from the podcast.

Another example is driving. If you have a 45 minute drive ahead of you then you can turn that into a 45 minute productivity session by listening to an educational podcast, CD, etc.

The most successful people treat their time like gold and don’t waste a minute of it.

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[Video] Under the Radar Strategy: Surveys + Blog + StumbleUpon = Monstrous Traffic

In this video I’ll show you a dead simple yet super effective marketing strategy which involves using surveys, StumbleUpon and your blog to get extremely targeted visitors to your website for just 5 cents each. This strategy is infinitely scalable, which means if it works then you can get as many visitors as you need.

The basic idea is simple. You first build your ideal customer profile using a survey. Then, you create an ad campaign on StumbleUpon using demographic and geographic targeting. You setup your ad campaign to point to useful content on your blog (such as a “Top 10 Craziest Shoe Designs” post if you sell shoes) and at the bottom of your blog you include a call to action which directs visitors to your online store where they can buy what you mention in your blog post.

This is one of my many “under the radar” traffic getting strategies which I’ve recently decided to start sharing. Make sure you implement this before your competitors do.

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Thanksgiving Holiday Support Hours

During the Thanksgiving holiday, we’ll be working support tickets and covering the phones, but with limited hours and staffing.

Hours of coverage:

-Thursday, Nov 25th (Thanksgiving Day), phones from 9AM – 2PM CT
-Friday, Nov 26th, phones from 9AM – 2PM CT
-Saturday, Nov 27, phones from 9AM-2PM CT
-Monday, Nov 29th, back to full support coverage

Support tickets are of course being replied to as usual.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

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New York Times: “A Web Retailer Starts Over” (With BigCommerce, Doubles Her Traffic Too!)

BigCommerce client La Grande Dame featured in The New York Times today

The New York Times is running a before-and-after case study for La Grande Dame, which is a BigCommerce store owned by Catherine Wood Hill selling plus-sized clothing for women. The article shares some interesting before-and-after details about Catherine’s online store, including:

  • She switched from a custom-built solution to BigCommerce
  • Page load times dropped from 2.7 seconds to just a few milliseconds
  • Traffic has more than doubled from 300 to 626 unique visits per day
  • Loves BigCommerce’s SuperZoom photo zoom feature
  • Sales of $16,000 in September without using Google AdWords
  • Predicting $20,000 in sales for December

The stand out piece from the article is definitely the greater than 100% increase in traffic since switching to BigCommerce:

While it’s too early to assess the new site’s impact on sales, traffic has increased sharply. From Oct.  1 to Nov. 1, Ms. Hill said, La Grande Dame averaged 300 unique visitors and 370 total visitors a day. In the first six days following the redesign, she reports a daily average of 626 unique visitors and 689 total visitors.

As we all know, traffic can make or break an online store. Although we can’t promise switching to BigCommerce will give you a 100% increase in traffic, there are so many testimonials saying the same thing, so it’s definitely something to consider if you’re not happy with your current shopping cart software.

Here’s the full article if you’d like to read it.

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Podcast #9: Your Social Media Marketing Questions Answered

Length: 14:06

Overview: Today I answer questions about social media marketing as posted by clients on our Facebook page.

Description: In this, episode 9 of the BigCommerce podcast, I answer social media questions from fans on our Facebook page. Topics include how to turn email subscribers into Facebook fans, how to create value for your Facebook fans and how to turn your social media fans into actual paying customers. If you’re confused by social media and don’t know how to integrate it into your marketing mix then this is a podcast you won’t want to miss.

Like this podcast? Why not subscribe on iTunes?

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Top 10 BigCommerce Blog Posts of 2010

I was looking over our traffic reports in Google Analytics earlier today and saw that our blog now gets close to 50,000 unique visits a month! I was also able to pull posts in order of popularity, so here they are – the top 10 most viewed posts for 2010:

  1. Presentation: Bootstrapping to Seven Figures – This is a presentation I gave just once to about 3,000 business owners via webinar. In the presentation I run through the guerilla marketing and positioning strategies we’ve used to grow our e-commerce platform, BigCommerce, to just under 10,000 clients without any funding or debt in just over a year.
  2. How to: Promote Your Business on TV In Front of Thousands of Potential Customers for $100 With Google TV Ads – This post is even more relevant now that Google TVs are starting to hit the market. Right from your Google AdWords account you can create a TV advertising campaign for around $100 and start reaching potential customers in under 24 hours. This post explains how.
  3. [Video] How to Spy on Your Competitors Keywords, Traffic & Visitor Demographics -  In this video I show you how you can use two free tools to see how much traffic your competitors get, which keywords they rank for on Google and also the age, income, location, etc of their visitors. You can then use this information in your SEO, SEM and marketing campaigns.
  4. Innovation in the Cloud – 10 Game Changing SaaS Applications – In this post I talk about 10 innovative software applications which are making the move from desktop to cloud easier and faster for consumers and businesses.
  5. How to Write a Profitable Returns Policy – In this post I look at a few things which should be included in your returns policy. Returns policies are extremely important when selling online. If you sell expensive products or if you’re a new store looking to build up your customer base quickly, the best thing you can offer new customers is a lenient returns policy.
  6. Would You Spend 10 Cents to Almost Guarantee Repeat Customers? – By thinking outside the box it’s easy to impress the hell out of new customers. In this post I share one real world example that a crafty Australian tea company is using to get the word out about their brand – at weekend markets of all places.
  7. Head to Head: Product Page Design From Top Online Retailers – In this post I share, compare and discuss screenshots of product pages from sixteen of the top online retailers. You will of course notice a lot of similarities on their product pages, but I’m sure you’ll also notice a lot of small differences. All of the best practices implemented by these top online retailers can be found in BigCommerce.
  8. [Video] 6 Tips for Designing a Beautiful Online Store – In this video I share six tips to help you design a beautiful online store which will attract customers and increase your conversion rate. If you’re not a designer but are thinking about hiring an ecommerce website designer then this video will help you make the decision.
  9. [Video] How to Build a Loyal Fan Base Who Buy From You on Facebook – In this video I explain why setting up a Facebook fan page for your business is so important. I show you the steps involved and discuss how Facebook’s viral effect can attract thousands of people to your business for no cost at all. I also discuss SocialShop, our free Facebook application.
  10. How to Track Visitors and Sales From Facebook and Twitter Using Google Analytics – Using Google Analytics to track visitors can be tricky. In this post I teach you how to track visitors from Facebook and Twitter in a simple, step-by-step fashion, complete with screenshots.

Our blog is now one of the 10 most popular e-commerce blogs in the world, so thank you to everyone who keeps coming back and also to everyone who takes the time to leave a comment. 927 comments were posted on the blog in 2010! If you’re new to the blog then make sure you subscribe to our RSS feed, fan us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter so you don’t miss a post!

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Choose a Design, Win a T-Shirt: We’re Giving Away 1,000!

Last week I posted about our t-shirt design contest. This week we need your help to choose the winning design. We’ve also setup a sneaky little bribe which could see you walking away with a t-shirt from the first batch ever printed.

So here’s what you need to do if you’d like to win one of our limited edition t-shirts:

  1. Take at look at the two finalist designs below
  2. Choose the one you like the most and vote using the poll below
  3. Like us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter
  4. When the first batch of t-shirts is ready, we’ll post a link on Facebook and Twitter
  5. The link will take you to a form to type in your shipping details, etc
  6. When all t-shirts in the first batch have been claimed, we’ll pull down the form

We’re spacing the giveaway out over a few weeks and in batches, so the first batch might have 100, the second might have 200, etc until all 1,000 have been given away. Shipping is of course free and you can be anywhere in the world.

So let’s get on to choosing which design we should print up…

Design #1 – “Ninja Mouse”

Design #2 – “Big Man on Campus”

Which design do you like better? Tell us by completing this poll:

Now make sure you like us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter so you’ll get notified when the first batch is printed. Remember, first in best dressed (literally) so make sure you keep an eye on our Facebook page and Twitter account over the coming days and weeks.

Hat tip to our friends at Mailchimp for the idea!

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Calling All Designers: Create T-Shirt, Win 300 Bucks

We’re huge fans of custom t-shirts (our Sydney office probably buys more Threadless t-shirts than any other software company) and want to print up a few thousand to give away via contests, on our Facebook page and to our clients just because we can.

The first step in the process is getting a t-shirt designed. To get things started, we’ve just launched a t-shirt design contest and will be awarding $310 for the most creative design. We’ll also profile the designer on our blog (which gets more than 50,000 visitors a month), so if you’re a designer this could lead to some major exposure for you.

If you just want a t-shirt then make sure you fan us on Facebook. When the winning design is selected we’ll create a few contests and Facebook will be the first place we’ll announce them.

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