All Posts by themoali

How Shopify Increased Revenue 90% in 365 Days

In the world of ecommerce, Shopify can’t be beaten. They recently achieved $184.1 million revenue growth in 365 days… from $205.2M to $389.3M.

They’re the 3rd most visited website in the WORLD in the “Business Services” category.

But that’s not all.

Last year Shopify had…

  • 377,500 paying customers (which grew 55% from the previous year). 
  • 100.5 MILLION people buying from stores powered by Shopify. 
  • Doubled the amount of products sold through their platform from $7.7 billion to $15.4 billion.

To figure out EXACTLY how Shopify has grown so fast (apart from having a great product) I completely reverse engineered their marketing so you can use their tactics to take your marketing game to the next level.

Table of Contents

1- [Tip #1] The “Sticky” Free Trial Offer That Gets Customers Hooked On Your Product From Day #1
2-[Tip #2] The $100,000 Business Contest You Can Run To Generate Over 1,000 New Signups Every 6 Months
3-[Tip #3] The 15 Minute “Just-In-Time” Evergreen Webinar You Can Use To Double Your Webinar Attendance Rate
4-[Tip #4] TOFU Tool Content Marketing: Build A Free Tool That Solves A Common Problem Your Customer Has And Rank It #1 On Google
5- [Tip #5] Master The Article+Video+Podcast Content Multiplier Technique To Generate Millions Of Website Visitors Per Month
6- [Tip #6] The 7-Day Email Onboarding Sequence That Converts Your Free Trial Users Into Paid Customers In 5 Days
7- [Tip #7] The Get Rich Quick Partner Program: Make Your Partners $11,000 Monthly Recurring Revenue By Getting Them To Build Your Product For You
8-[Tip #8] Steal One Customer A Day From Your Competitors Using This 2-Step “Light Switch Technique”
9-[Tip #9] The New “Growth UX” Product Update Page That Gets Over 2,000 Social Shares Without Any Social Sharing Buttons
10-[Tip #10] This TOFU/MOFU Paid Search Funnel Hack Is The Exact 1-2 Punch You Need To Convert Your Cold Traffic Into Warm Leads
11-[Tip #11] The 5-Step Integration SEO Technique You Can Use To Land First Page Google Rankings For High Volume Branded Keywords
12-[Tip #12] Use This 8 Section “Mass Market” Homepage Layout To Sell To Both Beginners And Experts
13-[Tip #13] Get Your Tweets Broadcast To Your Customers Followers By Opening A Twitter Support Channel
14-[Tip #14] Convert Your New Email Subscribers Into Product Signups On Day #1 With This 3-Step Value Builder Newsletter Sequence
15-[Tip #15] The 1% Social Hack: Be 1% Better Than Everyone Else To Get People To Share Any Page On Your Website

[Tip #1] The “Sticky” Free Trial Offer That Gets Customers Hooked On Your Product From Day #1

Free trials are a well-known growth hack that improve customer acquisition. 

That’s a fact. 

More than a few customers have been pushed over the edge to try out a product just because they knew they could try it for free.

And so of course, Shopify has executed this hack flawlessly.

But there’s something extra about Shopify’s free trial offer that makes it super effective. 

Once the prospect’s free trial is finished, it’s almost impossible for them not to opt-in to a paid plan. 

Let me explain. 

Shopify has their free trial set up in a way that business owners actually accomplish something tangible during their trial. After all, what could be a more tangible result than actually opening up your first ecommerce store? 

By the time your free trial is over, you have already done a lot. You have: 

  • Opened up your store
  • Begun setting everything up
  • Chosen a domain
  • Chosen a theme
  • Organized your products
  • Runs ads (possibly) and 
  • Maybe even started selling 

Once you have gone through all that time and effort, you aren’t really left with the option to just go and close up shop, are you?

But the growth hack doesn’t end with the free trial. 

Shopify has a pricing system designed to make customers “sticky” from day #1 (no matter what the store owner’s level of experience is). 

Notice how on Shopify’s Pricing page the primary call-to-action is to get you into a free trial with the “free 14 day trial offer” in the headline and big blue “Start your free trial” button at the top. 

This reminds you that there is no commitment if you want to try it.

Then as you grow your online store, Shopify has different pricing levels to scale your store without leaving the Shopify platform.

Here is how they do it:

The takeaway: If you sell a product with a free trial, make sure you have a clear path for people to go from free trial to paid customer (Shopify does this by getting people to set up their whole online store inside Shopify in 14 days and then gets people to pay once their dream is alive on the internet).


[Tip #2] The $100,000 Business Contest You Can Run To Generate Over 1,000 New Signups Every 6 Months

Back in 2010, Tim Ferris and Shopify CEO and founder Tobias Lütke were looking to collaborate on something.

According to Tobias in an interview with MIXERGY, here’s how that conversation went:

“Tim said, ‘Yeah. We should do a contest. How about we give away $100,000?’ 

I almost fell off my chair. [That was] a lot of money. Then you’re thinking, that might work. It’s strange to many people; we’re a start-up giving away $100,000 in prizes.”

And just like that, Shopify’s now-famous Build a Business competition was born.

Pre-competition, Lütke determined he would need at least 600 new accounts to sign up for the contest to be deemed a success. 

As it turned out, the contest performed far better than either of them expected. By the end of the contest, Lütke had signed up more than double that number of new businesses. Here is a more detailed look at the results:

As you can see, this had some pretty potent effects:

  • Added monthly revenue of $400,000 for Shopify at the contest’s peak
  • 1,378 new store signups 
  • $3,543,191 total revenue made by store owners

But here’s the real power of the contest, in Lütke’s words:  

“These people have built life-changing businesses using Shopify and wouldn’t have done so without the extra motivation from the contest.”Reread that last part one more time. 

With this contest, Lütke got a whole bunch of new customers who normally “wouldn’t have done so without the extra motivation from the contest.”

Today, this idea that originally made Tobias fall off his chair has grown into a monster competition that gets them thousands of new customers every year, proving that a contest like this is just the push many people need to get started.

The takeaway: Set up a contest and don’t be afraid to make it big. It could just be the push you need to get hundreds of new sign-ups and encourage some entrepreneurial spirit.

Not ready for the big time? Then try setting up one of these free mini challenges instead.


[Tip #3] The 15 Minute “Just-In-Time” Evergreen Webinar You Can Use To Double Your Webinar Attendance Rate

If you’re on Shopify’s blog, you can’t help but see that little time-ticking box enticing you to sign up for their free online training:

Golden Nugget: Use Just-In-Time evergreen webinars (ie: webinars people can sign-up for and attend straight away) to increase your webinar attendance rate.

They run these trainings every 15 minutes, so clearly Shopify has identified a popular topic that many of their prospects want to know about.

After clicking “Reserve your seat now” and entering your email to sign-up, you’re taken to a landing page that gives you a quick video of what to expect from the training. 

You also get a reminder of the time you signed up for and an ‘exclusive’ offer to go along with your free trial:

Now, here’s the thing. Shopify doesn’t actually care if you go through and watch the webinar or not (they would prefer it if you do, as you are more likely to sign-up for a 14-day free trial after watching the training). 

However, the training is not live. 

It’s the same video every 15 minutes. 

But instead of telling you that, Shopify are using evergreen webinar software to create urgency with a 15-minute countdown timer.

This is done to make you think it’s offered on a limited basis.

This is classic direct response marketing. It’s a tactic internet marketers around the world have been using for years to increase webinar attendance rates and convert more traffic into customers. 

Using the word “training” instead of “live webinar” is a sneaky little copywriting tactic designed to create the illusion of a live event (when combined with a countdown timer most people think they need to sign-up now or they will miss the training).

What Shopify really care about though is getting you signed up for their 14-day free trial on their webinar-exclusive sign-up page. 

And nothing illustrates this more than the emails they send you after you register and choose your time slot.

Take a look at email #1:

To start, they begin the email with some strong copy about why you should actually bother showing up to the training. But really, that’s not their primary goal. 

If it was, they would tell you that you can’t get their ‘special bonuses’ unless you watch the whole webinar. 

What they really want to do with this email is present you with a webinar-exclusive free trial link that includes 2 special bonuses to sweeten the deal (See? You can get the bonuses even if you don’t bother with the webinar).

You find the same type of messaging in the next two emails:

They push the point home even more when you click through to the webinar. Right away, you are reminded that this is the only link you can use if you want to get those 2 special bonuses. 

And of course, in a classic show of exclusivity, they start the webinar by saying this special offer is only for webinar participants:

The takeaway: Set up an evergreen webinar on a topic that a large percentage of your ideal customers are interested in.
Use it as a chance to add urgency by using a special webinar-only offer people can get access to when they signup for your webinar (Shopify does this with an evergreen webinar about Starting Your Own Dropshipping Business and offers a Complete Dropship Business Starter Pack exclusively for people who sign-up on the webinar).

[TIP #4] TOFU TOOL CONTENT MARKETING: BUILD A FREE TOOL THAT SOLVES A COMMON PROBLEM YOUR CUSTOMER HAS AND RANK IT #1 ON GOOGLE

This is Shopify’s secret tool for skyrocketing their organic traffic and driving mass market top-of-funnel brand awareness. 

You see, the folks over at Shopify are smart. They know the type of things that go hand-in-hand with setting up an ecommerce website and create content by providing the best answers to common questions their customers have..

But they’ve taken content marketing to a whole new level.

They’ve identified keyword phrases that have high search volume and take complete ownership of them by creating whole subdomains that end up on the first page of Google.  

The first subdomain is Burst, a website dedicated to free stock photos (this is the same tool they promoted in email #4 of their onboarding sequence for people to find product photos for their new store).

The keyword phrase “free stock photos” is a pretty common search term in Google, netting 40,500 searches monthly on average.

Creating this subdomain and optimizing it for the first page of Google for this keyword phrase is putting a whole new set of eyeballs on Shopify.

Besides Burst, Shopify has a subdomain for buying and selling ecommerce websites. 

This subdomain ranks #3 on the first page of Google for the keyword “websites for sale” which gets between 1,000 and 10,000 average monthly searches. 

The search volume for “websites for sale” is only a fraction of the search volume for “free stock photos.” 

This doesn’t mean Shopify wasted its time or money to focus on this keyword phrase. Many companies neglect certain keywords (like “websites for sale”) just because they have low search volume. 

But there is still an audience out there looking for an answer, and now there’s a lot less competition.

This is a prime time for you to step in and dominate the search results like Shopify did.
 
The most successful TOFU tool of all is Shopify’s business name generator. It isn’t a separate subdomain, but it’s a free tool Shopify offers that is killin’ it in Google.

The phrase “business name generator” is searched for tens of thousands of times every month:

And Shopify’s tool is the very first organic listing:

Shopify’s business name generator has done so well that it’s their 5th most popular organic and paid keyword (and it’s one of the few non-branded keywords that made it onto the their top keywords list):

Obviously, this page has been important for Shopify in terms of both organic as well as paid traffic.

More importantly it has strategic business value for Shopify. 

If someone is searching for “free stock photos” or “websites for sale”, they might not necessarily be ready for Shopify’s services. 

But if someone has chosen their business name, what’s the logical next step? To open up shop!

And Shopify makes that next step crystal clear directly below the business name generator:

Shopify has 21 “tools” just like this, so they have clearly doubled down on something that works here:

Here’s a quick look at how much global monthly search volume Shopify’s top tools generate with their rank on Google: 

Keyword
Global Monthly Search Volume
Organic Listing For The Tool
Rank
name generator
110,000
https://www.shopify.com/tools/business-name-generator
10
logo maker
90,500
https://www.shopify.com/tools/logo-maker
5
purchase order template
40,500
https://www.shopify.com/tools/purchase-order-template
1
gift certificate template
27,100
https://www.shopify.com/tools/gift-certificate-template
8
image resizer
22,200
https://www.shopify.com/tools/image-resizer
7
pay stub
14,800
https://www.shopify.com/tools/pay-stub-generator
4
slogans
14,800
https://www.shopify.com/tools/slogan-maker
3
cpm calculator
9,900
https://www.shopify.com/tools/cpm-calculator
9

The takeaway: Build a tool that has strategic value for your business and directly helps your customers solve an annoying problem (Shopify does this with 21 different tools. The most successful helps you generate a new business name based on a word you want your business name to include, where the .com domain is still available) #timesaver


[TIP #5] MASTER THE ARTICLE+VIDEO+PODCAST CONTENT MULTIPLIER TECHNIQUE TO GENERATE MILLIONS OF WEBSITE VISITORS PER MONTH

Shopify has a crazy amount of good content on their website that doesn’t require any email opt-in to get it. Just check out their low bounce rate, long average visit duration and high pages per visit:

They have a traditional blog which they publish on once per day (it got 27,000,000 page views last year):

The have in-depth guides that give their customers value and position them as an authority (they were downloaded 65,000 times last year):

They have a Shopify Masters podcast which gives listeners actionable insights into starting up a store through interviews with successful store owners (it had 1,542,000 listens last year and lets Shopify show off impressive case studies of customers):

They have 5 step-by-step video courses recorded by ecommerce entrepreneurs for prospects of all experience levels (from beginner to expert level):

Here is what one of the free video series looks like (it also requires no email opt-in):

They even have a business encyclopedia!

This encyclopedia gives Shopify a bonus SEO boost. It puts them on the first page to answer to all those “what is [business word]” search queries.

If I search “what is retail” on Google, the “retail” page in Shopify’s business encyclopedia is the #1 organic search result:

For this 1 keyword, Shopify gets 2,900 monthly search volume (plus traffic for related keywords like “what does retail mean” and “what are retail stores”):

Shopify has optimized their encyclopedia pages so well that it often ranks #1 on Google for the short tail keyword “retail” with 40,500 monthly searches.

As you can imagine, this was a HUGE time and money commitment for Shopify to get all of this content up and running. 

Why should they even bother with all that work in the first place? Well, like us here at Sumo, Shopify trusts in the power of content marketing

Sure, getting the payback from your content marketing strategy can take a loooong time (which is why so many other businesses instead choose to invest in something like paid advertising to get that instant gratification). 

But there’s no way Shopify would have bothered putting together all these awesome resources if they didn’t know their effort would be paid back handsomely over time. 

Don’t believe me? Then check out their stats from last year:

Shopify has put together one of the most advanced content marketing strategies I’ve ever seen.

As you will find out in other tips, part of Shopify’s content strategy revolves around taking their audience’s most commonly searched keywords or most commonly asked questions and building content around that.

But Shopify doesn’t just stop there. 

If you can think of a topic, any topic, that’s at least vaguely related to ecommerce, you can bet Shopify has produced some sort of content related to it. 

Shopify has literally become your one-stop shop to learn ANYTHING you need to about setting up and running your ecommerce store.

The takeaway: When putting together your content strategy, build content around answers to your customers most common questions. Provide the best answer (Shopify does this with articles, guides, video series, podcasts and a business encyclopedia so their audience can access the type of content they want in the format they like to consume it)


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[Tip #6] The 7-Day Email Onboarding Sequence That Converts Your Free Trial Users Into Paid Customers In 5 Days

Most companies like Salesforce, GoToMeeting and Customer.io who offer a free trial (without credit card) have reported converting less than 25% of free trial users into paid customers.

So, what does Shopify do to combat this? 

They set up a killer onboarding process and welcome email sequence that walks customers through the exact steps they need to take to be successful during their free trial. 

After signing up for the free trial, this is the sequence of emails prospects receive:

Golden Nugget: Use emojis in the subject line of your most important emails and watch your email open rates skyrocket (Shopify does it in the last 2 emails of their onboarding email sequence to increase open rates).

This is what each of those emails wants you to do:

  • Email #1: Feel congratulated (and get on a paid plan if you’re ready)
  • Email #2: Sign up for a free interactive training to help you setup your store
  • Email #3: Install a free theme
  • Email #4: Find stock photos
  • Email #5: Find products to sell (if you’re very new to eCommerce)
  • Email #6: Claim your domain name before it’s too late
  • Email #7: Make sure you get paid

Let’s look at each of these emails more closely.

Golden Nugget: That micro-copy you see below the CTA button is making people convert like crazy. I’ll explain.

Initially, I was surprised to see that Shopify is trying to sell their paid plans in the very first onboarding email since they push their free trial all over their website. 

But after some analysis, it makes sense.

A free trial offer is a perfect top-of-funnel offer to capture a wide market (both ecommerce beginners and experts). This gets everyone who wants to start an online store signed up and testing out the software.  

The offer in the email however is targeted at experienced sellers who are already  sold on the idea of Shopify. This email gives them the chance to go ahead and sign up while it’s still fresh in their minds.

And Shopify gives buyers peace of mind knowing “You won’t be charged until your trial ends” with the conversion-boosting micro-copy you can see directly below the CTA button.

To most people, the thought of setting up an online store sounds like a long and complicated process. But the thought of a live training that guides you through step-by-step makes things sound a lot easier.  

The key here is to set your customers up for success, so they see your products value as fast as possible (aka reach their first “a-ha” moment).

Email #3: Install a free theme and email #4: Find photos 

Both of these emails are logical, easy-to-follow baby steps for someone who’s just opened up a store. 

Most importantly, these are the 2 most important features Shopify needs you to take to make you a successful paying customer (you aren’t gonna be converting into a paid customer if you’re making no sales… and your store design and product photos are critical first steps to making your first sale).

Also, note the way these 2 emails (and all the other ones before and after it) are laid out: 

  1. Shopify logo
  2. Bright, eye catching image 
  3. 2-3 sentences of text telling prospects what they’ll find when they click
  4. Simple CTA button with a personalized call-to-action that matches the content in the email 

You’ll also see the option to “Select a plan” at the bottom (this is the CTA Shopify used in the first email and now made it into a secondary CTA) and “Don’t have products to sell?” at the top.

Email #5: What to do if you don’t have any products to sell (addressing your customers most common objection)  

This email is a great way to break down barriers for ‘newbie’ shopkeepers or those who decided to sign up for Shopify on a whim just because they saw it was free.

This email takes them from knowing nothing more than they’d like to open up an online store, to being able to drop-ship products right away:

Email #6: Claim your domain before it’s too late

This email starts off with urgency by stating that the domain name given at the top (which will be based on the business name you gave when you set up your account) might still be available. 

Naturally, this makes you want to grab that name before someone else does. And once you have officially claimed your domain, your new store moves from imaginary to something much more real.

This is yet another way of getting you fully invested in your online store and pushing you toward a tangible result so it will be harder for you to say no to the paid plan later on.
Email #7: How to get paid

This is the question that’s on everyone’s mind: how do I get paid? 

This email is a reminder of one reason why people signed on with Shopify in the first place (to make money) and moves them forward one more concrete step. 

This powerful little onboarding sequence shows you that Shopify is there to help you, makes you feel like using the platform will be an easy process and ensures you are more successful later on (since you have a complete understanding of Shopify and all it can do).

The takeaway: All of Shopify’s onboarding emails have just 1 simple action for you take (not 2, not 7… just 1). Try out Shopify’s onboarding email sequence for business:
Email #1: Welcome email that congratulates and offers an upsell for your most aware prospects (Shopify’s upsell is for their paid plans)
Email #2: Email that walks your prospects through their setup, whether this is through a free interactive webinar training, evergreen webinar or merely a video (Shopify offers a live interactive webinar)
Email #3: Email to get your prospects to use the most important feature of your product (Shopify asks you to choose a theme)
Email 4: Email to get your prospects using the second most important feature of your product (Shopify asks you to add product photos)
Email #5: Email addressing your customers most common objection and providing an easy solution (Shopify gives you products you can add to your store to sell right away)
Email #6: Email with some urgency that gets prospects to take a next step and gets them invested in your product (Shopify adds urgency by telling you that the .com version of your domain may still be available and you should check now)
Email #7: Email about something everyone wants to know with a reminder of how you make the process easy (Shopify reminds you to enable payments so you can get paid from major credit card and debit card providers)

[Tip #7] The Get Rich Quick Partner Program: Make Your Partners $11,000 Monthly Recurring Revenue By Getting Them To Build Your Product For You

Shopify is known for having one of the most generous affiliate and partner programs.

There are 3 ways you can be a partner. Here are those options:

As you can see, the money you can earn through these methods is pretty generous (20% monthly commission for referrals, 70% commission for ecommerce themes and 80% commission for marketplace apps.)

Average revenue ranges from $2,000 to $11,000 per month per partner.

But Shopify’s partner program is limited, to be a part of it, you have to: 

a) Work in ecommerce already so you have clients you can refer or 

b) Have design and development skills

Which is why there’s also the option of becoming a Shopify affiliate.  

If you become an affiliate, you promote Shopify to your followers and offer them a special affiliate link to sign up with.

If your followers sign up with your affiliate link, you get paid. And the payouts are pretty respectable as well:

The purpose of the affiliate program is to make sure people outside of Shopify’s normal audience are being reached. Basically anyone can be a Shopify affiliate.

I saw Shopify affiliate links being promoted by all different types of people:

  • Marketers
  • Travel bloggers
  • Stay-at-home mom websites

This is what an affiliate promotion looks like (this was at the end of a Drop-Shopping Guide article on a travel blogger website):

This means Shopify has people in a wide range of fields promoting their product.  

And what benefit does Shopify get by dishing out so much cash to their affiliates and partners? 

There are two:

Benefit #1: They’re turning a horde of online influencers into an external Shopify marketing team. 

This is true for their affiliate program. By incentivizing some nice rewards for each sale an affiliate makes, affiliates will be encouraged to promote Shopify whenever they can.

Benefit #2: They’re getting people to innovate and create new things that make Shopify even better. 

Guaranteeing app developers and theme designers a portion of their sales encourages them to create things for Shopify instead of for other platforms. 

This helps make sure Shopify can keep the best ideas, apps and themes for themselves.

And Shopify makes sure to give affiliates and partners what they want and need to be successful. This includes marketing material (like ad banners and templates) and a monthly affiliate newsletter.
This will not only get more people interested in becoming affiliates and partners, but also makes sure the affiliates and partners are actually successful. 

The takeaway: Build a Partner Program designed to make both you and your partners rich. Be generous by paying high commissions that incentivise your partners to promote you (Shopify does this by paying partners anywhere from 20% to 80% commissions).

[Tip #8] Steal One Customer A Day From Your Competitors Using This 2-Step “Light Switch Technique”

When I type “shopify” into Google, these are the results I get: 

You see that first paid search result? That’s Volusion. 

One of Shopify’s competitors.  

They want to steal Shopify’s traffic and hopefully convince people to choose them instead. 

Their landing page tries to make that loud and clear:

Volusion’s landing page isn’t great and I wasn’t convinced that their offering was better than Shopify’s due to the weak copywriting that doesn’t say exactly why they are better than Shopify.

They should take a look how Drift is stealing Intercom traffic (that’s how you do it right).

Still, the original PPC ad was intriguing enough that I clicked on it in the first place and this is definitely a tactic you can use to steal clicks from your biggest competitors.

Volusion isn’t the only ecommerce solution that’s trying out this tactic. A search for “volusion” on Google brings up a PPC ad for Magento, another competitor:

Screenshot showing search results for "volusion"

Shopify takes a slightly different approach to stealing their competitor’s traffic: instead of trying to lure in potential new prospects, they try to get people who are already customers on another platform to switch over.

For example, if I search “magento” (that same competitor that was bidding on the keyword “volusion” above), here’s what I find: 

A large percentage of people search for a brand name to login. If you can research why your customers switch from your competitor to you, you can use that in your ad copy to highlight your why you are better to win their click and make them switch.

Shopify does this by highlighting they are lower cost and less of a headache.

If I click the Shopify ad, here’s the first thing I see:

Golden Nugget: Use the 2-step “Light Switch Technique”:
Step 1: Uncover the big hairy pain point your competitors customers have
Step 2: Convince them to switch to your solution

Right away, I can see that the goal of this landing page is not just to tell me why Shopify is better, but make sure I know it’ll be easy to migrate to (which is one of people’s biggest concerns if they have to switch platforms). 

It then goes on to do this with a breakdown of Shopify’s benefits:

And to finish, a bit of social proof boosts trust and reminds prospects again how easy the switch will be:

The takeaway: Match the offer in your ad and on your landing page to solve the biggest pain people have with your competitors (Shopify does this by addressing people’s concern of migration and offering them a dedicated launch manager to make switching from competitors hassle-free.)

[Tip #9] The New “Growth UX” Product Update Page That Gets Over 2,000 Social Shares Without Any Social Sharing Buttons

This Shopify Year In Review page is a sick piece of content for a yearly product update.

It reminds me of Sumo’s $1.5M name change page which was the most shared piece of content on Sumo.com this year until my Tony Robbins article beat it.

For Shopify, this one content piece had generated 2,400 shares and 40 links (41 now) without any social sharing buttons on the page:

Imagine how many more shares this page could have with Sumo Share 😉

Here is just one of the sections from Shopify’s Yearly Product Update page where you can see Shopify’s merchant growth YoY with a well-designed interactive data visualization and global map:

To replicate this for you own yearly product updates, here are the key sections Shopify use to showcase their growth performance:

  • Section 1: Headline and subheadline ie: [Year] in Review
  • Section 2: Major feature releases, events and company milestones with a link to the landing page to “Learn More” ie: Highlights of [Year]
  • Section 3: Global customer growth by year
  • Section 4: Global customer growth by continent
  • Section 5: How many of [X metric] your customers did
  • Section 6: How many of [X metric] the customers of your customers did by year
  • Section 7: How many of [X metric] the customers of your customers did on Desktop vs Mobile by year
  • Section 8: Total revenue growth by year
  • Section 9: Companies you acquired, apps you added to your app store and partners you added to your partner program
  • Section 10: Content engagement stats for blog page views, podcast listens, guide downloads, Facebook engagement, Twitter engagement, Instagram engagement, support emails, support chats and support calls
  • Section 11: Scaling stats for number of employees, number of offices and number of remote employee countries 
  • Section 12: Closing tagline with links to your Facebook page, Twitter page, LinkedIn page and company website

The takeaway: Stop posting boring product updates to your blog all the time. Instead, build a well-designed interactive product update landing page you can update every month/year that you are proud to share and your fans are proud to share (Shopify does this with their “Growth UX” Year In Review product update page that’s been shared over 2,000 times.)

[Tip #10] This TOFU/MOFU Paid Search Funnel Hack Is The Exact 1-2 Punch You Need To Convert Your Cold Traffic Into Warm Leads

As I’ve said a bunch of times in the article already, Shopify has the challenge of appealing to a wide range of audience members. But one way they make this possible is by creating super specific PPC landing pages that vary based on the prospect’s keywords and specificity of their search intent.

Here are 2 examples of Shopify’s paid search funnels that show you exactly what I mean:

Paid Search Funnel #1:  TOFU (aka Top-Of-Funnel) Search Intent

Even if someone puts in a more general search query about online business and selling online, Shopify knows better than to get the click with a generic PPC ad or send prospects to the homepage.

To start, they set up their PPC ad copy to match your search intent. Each ad highlights one of three main selling points: Shopify’s free trial, low-cost plans or ease of use (with words like “simple”) as an extra reason for people to click.

Then, they send prospects to a landing page that is short, sweet, yet still offers up features that would appeal to anyone who plugged in those search terms.

Paid Search Funnel #2: MOFU (aka Middle-Of-Funnel) Search Intent

If someone types in a phrase like “design and sell your own t shirts,” they are obviously looking for a very specific result. They don’t want to read the overarching “Shopify is for everyone” message on Shopify’s homepage. 

They want to read about how Shopify suits their t-shirt selling needs. So, Shopify makes sure to deliver with PPC ad copy that starts with “Sell T Shirts Online” and a matching landing page about selling t-shirts online that reflects exactly what the searcher wants to see.
 
And as an added bonus? Google AdWords rewards landing pages that are highly-relevant to their PPC ads with a better quality score and lower click costs #doublewin

The takeaway: Setup different PPC funnels for your top-of-funnel keywords and middle-of-funnel keywords to convert more clicks into sales (Shopify does it by matching 5-10 TOFU keywords with 1 landing page and 1 MOFU keyword to 1 MOFU landing page.)

[Tip #11] The 5-Step Integration SEO Technique You Can Use To Land First Page Google Rankings For High Volume Branded Keywords

This is the exact same SEO strategy I saw in our breakdown of Slack’s marketing strategy. Though Shopify gets 27 million blog page views and has a strong SEO strategy thanks to all the content marketing they do, here’s an added tactic they use to generate even more traffic.

Shopify has a huge variety of apps[*], plugins and integrations (1,400+ in total) that customers can tie in with Shopify’s platform. 

Many of these are well-known, very successful companies that people regularly search for (like Sumo). 

So, how does Shopify leverage this? 

By creating individual, keyword-filled landing pages for every single app they partner with. Many of these landing pages then show up in one of the first few pages of Google search results.

For example, if I type “mailchimp” into Google, I find this organic listing on the first page:

Clicking the result brings me to this landing page in the Shopify app store:

Quickbooks and many other Shopify integration partner names have similar landing pages.

If you run a Shopify store and like free money, check out Sumo’s new discount codes that detect when people are about to leave your website and give a % off to people who give you their email:

Shopify uses integration partners like Sumo to boost SEO and have you download the app. But they also use the landing page to get you to grab your Shopify free trial (the green button in the upper right).

To optimize for on-page SEO, many of the pages follow this 5-step sequence:

1) Headline at the top with the name of the integration
2) A 3 bullet point summary of the integration
3) A brief description of the integration
4) A bullet point list of major features once you have the integration
5) Customer reviews

Not all of the pages have the full 5 steps in the sequence (Step 2-4 are written by the integration partner). Yet, these pages are still ranking in Google (as you can see in the table below). So, they’ve clearly found the sweet spot for which of the 5 steps are most essential for SEO (step 1, 2 and 5).

This table breaks down some of Shopify’s most highly trafficked app-based organic keywords, their monthly search volume, the landing page they bring you to, and their first page Google ranking. 

Keyword
Global Monthly Search Volume
Organic Listing
Rank
quickbooks
368,000
https://apps.shopify.com/quickbooks-online
6
mailchimp
301,000
https://apps.shopify.com/mailchimp
2.5
locksmith
165,000
https://apps.shopify.com/locksmith
8
countdown timer
110,000
https://apps.shopify.com/powr-countdown-timer
6
google shopping
110,000
https://apps.shopify.com/google-shopping
6
wholesale
49,500
https://apps.shopify.com/wholesaler
8
facebook chat
40,500
https://apps.shopify.com/facebook-live-chat
8
zendesk
40,500
https://apps.shopify.com/zendesk
2

Shopify is using this integration SEO technique to build brand awareness for high volume keywords.  

The takeaway: Build simple, SEO-rich app integration pages to get your own app featured on the first page of your integration partners branded keywords (Shopify does this with 6 specific on-page SEO optimization tactics.)


[Tip #12] Use This 8 Section “Mass Market” Homepage Layout To Sell To Both Beginners And Experts

As marketers, we often hear that you should direct your marketing message to appeal to the 20-30% of prospects most likely to buy.

But that’s NOT what Shopify does. They just work with too many different types of audience members with too many levels of awareness, background and ecommerce experience for this to be possible.

This means Shopify has to find a way to reach everyone from people who are dreaming of setting up their first online store, to those who are already a well-established big box store. 

And there’s no better place to see how they do this in action than on their homepage. 

The very essence of the headline above-the-fold is that Shopify is something that works for everyone.

Like most companies with a free trial option, Shopify also makes the free trial their first CTA. Free trial CTAs are enticing and low-commitment buttons that don’t need to do a lot of convincing to get clicked on. This makes it the perfect warm-up CTA that’ll appeal to any audience member.

Next up is a 3-picture rotating sequence of successful shop owners:

Once again, this section further solidifies the message of Shopify being the “go to” e-commerce store option, no matter who you are. All 3 women in the images run very different types of stores, but have still been successful. 

This helps less aware prospects imagine the possibilities while also convincing more aware buyers of Shopify’s usefulness.

The next section moves forward by breaking down a major hesitation: that setting up an online shop will be complicated. Instead, this is the message Shopify wants to put out: you can open up a successful ecommerce store even if you don’t have all the technical skillsets. 

This is an effective message to offer prospects who are early in the sales cycle and still trying to gauge how difficult it actually is to set up an online store. 

This little reminder also makes sure these early prospects don’t just throw up their hands in the air and give up because they feel overwhelmed so soon.

Then comes a breakdown of Shopify’s features in scannable bullets: 

Screenshot of some information about shopify

This is Shopify continuing to hone in the message everyone wants to hear: this will be easy and we’re to help.  

But there’s one quick thing we have to talk about here. Why use text links instead of a CTA button? 

Shopify knows that customers coming to its website have a lot of questions. So, they want to let website visitors self-direct themselves to the most appropriate next-step for them.

Shopify considered how its typical audience members feel when landing on the website. They are probably either: 

  1. New to the process and overwhelmed and intimidated or 
  2. Already using another ecommerce platform and frustrated that they have to make a big switch.

So, if someone who’s feeling either overwhelmed, intimidated or frustrated landed on Shopify’s homepage to a barrage of glowing CTA buttons, how do you think they’d feel? 

Chances are, it wouldn’t make them feel any better.

But by instead making these text links, Shopify is able to give prospects clear access to a lotof extra info without overloading them….especially if they are new. 

In this way, this also allows Shopify to direct more experienced audience members to the info they are ready for without getting too in the face for everyone else.

In the following section, Shopify drills home the idea of their platform working for any seller with these real-life examples that you can click through:

GIF showing a slider that shows multiple entrepreneurs on shopify

This would be a perfect place to link some case studies or personal success stories, but this was not something Shopify chose to do.

Towards the bottom of the homepage, Shopify has 3 social proof points and 3 testimonials. This social proof proves to people that Shopify are a big business they can trust:

After that is a quick summary of Shopify’s features and a CTA: 

Screenshot of a features section by shopify

Pay close attention to the arrangement of this section here.

The features section appeals to buyers with more awareness that are already savvy about the product. 

But to make sure this section isn’t off-putting to less aware and less experienced buyers, they have a follow up question to rope them in: “Need products to start?”

If you’re someone who’s just starting in the ecommerce world or have only ever thought about it, this is Shopify acknowledging that they’re still useful to you. 

They say this pretty openly with the phrase “We’re here to help you at every stage of your journey” just below the question.  

Finally, the homepage finishes with a final CTA for Shopify’s free trial: 

Screenshot showing shopify

The takeaway: If you serve a wide audience like Shopify does, have sections on your homepage that appeal to both people starting out and more experienced buyers.

Shopify does it by splitting its home page into the following sections:

Section 1: Headline and call-to-action that speaks to everyone
Section 2: Social proof (3 customers selling different products)
Section 3: Overcome 3 most common objections (needing design skills, setting up a custom domain and having a good looking website)
Section 4: Overcome another objection (one place to sell everything)
Section 5: Social proof (5 customers selling different products)
Section 6: Social proof (3 macro company data points and 3 testimonials)
Section 7: Features (6 core features of the product)
Section 8: Call-to-action

[Tip #13] Get Your Tweets Broadcast To Your Customers Followers By Opening A Twitter Support Channel

You already know customer feedback is super important both for dealing with customer support as well as getting insights into product improvements. 

This is true just as much for SaaS companies like Shopify, as is for companies in other fields.

And this is exactly why Shopify has made it a point to put their customers and audience at the forefront of all they do.

Tobias Lütke said it best: “your audience is your lifeblood.”

Just one way Shopify puts their customers first is by making themselves available 24/7 to help out.

Shopify

The Shopify customer service team means business. Just look at the number of exchanges their support team had with customers last year:

Screenshot showing Shopify

Twitter is Shopify’s most important channel for customer feedback, support and service.

Alongside their official Twitter account, Shopify set up a specific Twitter account dedicated purely to Shopify Support issues:  

Shopify

This not only makes things extra convenient for customers, but gives Shopify a chance to show the world just how good their customer service is (meaning other people can see exactly how Shopify talks to its customers). 

If you look, you will find Shopify replying back to tweets in a way that is friendly, helpful and timely:

Screenshot showing twitter posts by shopify support

Plus, if you provide great customer experiences on Twitter, you’ll generate more positive awareness for your brand. 

Here’s what Tobias Lütke had to say about it in an interview:

What happens regularly and this is so amazing about Twitter… if someone from our support team puts up a new mini application for just one customer, solves one problem and goes above and beyond, that customer might go on Twitter and say, ‘Hey that was so amazing what Shopify did for me’.”

And before you know it, this tweet about Shopify is being broadcast to all of that customer’s followers…opening up Shopify to a whole new audience. 

The takeaway: Show the world your world-class customer service by having a public forum for your customers to ask support questions and get answers (Shopify does this by offering customer support on Twitter in addition to chat, email and phone.)

[Tip #14] Convert Your New Email Subscribers Into Product Signups On Day #1 With This 3-Step Value Builder Newsletter Sequence

There’s a lot of companies out there that make their newsletters either: 

  1. Unappealing to sign up for or 
  2. Boring even after sending to subscribers

Shopify breaks out of that mold in both aspects. 

To start, look at how they introduce their newsletter at the top of their main blog page:

Screenshot showing the blogs tab on shopify

And as a CTA at the bottom of every post:

Screenshot showing an email optin form on shopify

Instead of making a CTA that says “Subscribe” like everyone else, their CTA is “Get lessons.” But let’s be honest. When you type in your email and click that button, what you are really signing up for is a newsletter. 

Yet, calling on prospects to “Get lessons” is an unexpected and far more appealing twist than simply subscribing to yet another newsletter.

Then, instead of a normal, dull welcome email, their welcome email is a super useful gem offering subscribers to “Get your free blueprint.” 

Screenshot showing a content upgrade on shopify

In essence, all this is doing is directing subscribers to a “resources” page…but they’ve managed to make it sound much more exciting by swapping out that word out for “blueprint.” 

This resource-page-in-disguise links to a bunch of other content and gives readers the exact steps they need to set up their store.

The page also has strategically placed CTAs throughout, like this double mention of the dropshipping training/webinar we talked about in Tip #7:

Screenshot showing a countdown and a landing page for a webinar on shopify

And of course, a call on readers to put all this new knowledge to use by “Getting started straight away with a 14-day free trial”:

Screenshot showing copy and a CTA on shopify

You can see the whole page here.  

In summary, here’s the type of generic newsletter sequence you usually see:

“Sign up for newsletter” → “Get free resources” → “Sign up today”

But with Shopify, this newsletter sequence becomes:

“Free business lessons” → “Free blueprint” → “Free 14-day trial”

Which sequence is more appealing? 

The takeaway: Customize your calls-to-action to match what your customers desire (Shopify appeals to entrepreneurs desires by offering free business lessons, a free blueprint and a free 14-day trial.)

[Tip #15] The 1% Social Hack: Be 1% Better Than Everyone Else To Get People To Share Any Page On Your Website

As we saw in the example above, Shopify likes to do things in their own unique, slightly unexpected way. 

In an interview on Hubspot’s podcast “The Growth Show”, Shopify’s Chief Marketing Officer Craig Miller explained that all you need to do is put a little extra effort into places where other companies don’t to get yourself noticed:

“People have tweeted about our Terms of Service, because our TOS has the stuff written by a lawyer on the right hand side and someone actually took a crack at trying to explain what all the legal jargon means on the left. 

Most people don’t think about it, but we took a little bit of effort and created something that we thought was a little bit different, a little bit better, and we’ve literally seen people tweeting “OMG, Shopify has the best TOS I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Screenshot showing the "Account Terms" section on shopify

Craig then continues on to give another example of how they liven up the customer experience with minimal effort:

“You logged out of Shopify. Instead of simply saying ‘You logged out of Shopify,’ it would say have a good afternoon/morning/evening. Literally just 3 lines of Javascript, but people comment on that [and say] ‘that’s so cool, I love logging out of Shopify.’”

Screenshot showing what the post-logout page looks like on shopify

The takeaway: Do the small things better than everyone else if you want your brand to be remarkable (Shopify does this with their Terms of Service and log out screen).


15 Key Takeaways From Shopify’s 90% Revenue Growth

When it comes to marketing and skyrocketing growth, Shopify knows what they’re doing.

And now that I’ve lifted back the curtain and shown you how to do the same, it’s time for you to pick a tip and test it out yourself. 

Here are the 15 key takeaways:

  1. Do more than just offer a free trial. Find a way to make your free trial so sticky that prospects can’t help but convert to a paid plan. 
  2. Sometimes, people need a push to get started on something new like your product. Give them that push by setting up a contest where they can win a big prize
  3. To really catch the eye (and the leads) of people on your website, set up an evergreen webinar on something you know many of your customers are interested in. Bonus points if you can squeeze some urgency in there.
  4. Help your customers solve a problem by building a free, useful tool. Not only will this make customers love you, it’ll also help you show up in Google when people search for solutions.
  5. Stuck on what type of content to create? Build your content strategy around your most common customer questions. Then, answer those questions in several formats (videos, guides, podcasts, etc.)
  6. Set up an easy-to-follow onboarding email sequence that gives new customers just 1 simple step to take (and don’t try to overwhelm them with all they need to do at once).
  7. Design a partner program that makes both you and your partners rich. Be generous in your commissions for best results. 
  8. Steal your competitor’s traffic with ad copy and a landing page that solves the biggest pain people have with your competitors.
  9. Stop publishing boring product updates. Build the ultimate “Year In Review” landing page for your company that you can regularly update. You will be proud to share it and so will your fans.
  10. Set up PPC funnels that match where your prospect is in the buying journey. Shopify does this by sending 5-10 TOFU keywords to 1 TOFU landing page, and 1 MOFU keyword to 1 MOFU landing page. 
  11. If you have integrations, make sure you use them in your SEO strategy. Do this by creating individual SEO-rich app integration pages that get your app page featured on the first page of your integration partners keywords. 
  12. Don’t listen to the naysayers that say it’s impossible to sell to a wide audience. Be like Shopify and split your homepage into sections so you can appeal to all types of prospects. 
  13. Show the world your high-quality customer service by taking it to a public platform that doesn’t hide anything (Shopify uses Twitter for this reason).
  14.  Customizing your CTAs to match what your customers really want performs better than boring, generic CTAs. 
  15.  When it comes to standing out and being memorable, it’s the little things that count. Be 1% better to get your brand shared more.

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Do you need help applying this to your business? If you do, schedule a free 15-minute consultation with Mo Ali, the Business Philosopher.

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How 1% of Your Day Can Drastically Transform the Other 99% (and give you the biggest ROI ever!)

How 1% of Your Day Can Drastically Transform the Other 99% (and give you the biggest ROI ever!)

One of the biggest challenges I had when I was starting my business was the age old belief that I didn’t have time. This was something I’d picked up from social conditioning  as I’d hear everyone I knew say that they didn’t have time.

As I started to build my business, I knew I had to change this. Whenever I felt that I was getting overwhelmed or flustered, I just took out 15 minutes to reset myself and I’d be back to full productivity again.

15 Minutes! I’m sure you are all thinking I don’t have 15 minutes.The truth is we have a lot of 15 minutes a day , if we break our day into 15 minute blocks, you’ll find that 15 minutes is merely 1% of your day.This is how I got over my conditioning of the fact that I don’t have any time. I simply said to myself, am I willing to invest 1% of my day to help me double, triple of quadruple my productivity for the day?

Think of that ROI?We often hear that the best investment is in yourself , well here is the proof, put in 1% of your day and you will see double, triple or quadruple your productivity and your results.So, now you are probably wondering, how can I invest this 1% of my day? What is the best thing to do.

Well, here are 5 things I like to do that help me greatly:1. Exercise  when you exercise, then feel good  benefits of exercising can last up to 8 hours. Surely 15 minutes of exercise for the sake of feeling good through your whole work day is a great investment.

2. Meditation : Just as you start the day with breakfast for your body, meditation is the breakfast of your mind and soul. 15 minutes of meditation will set you up perfectly for the day and ensure that very little will distract you and take you off purpose

3. Prayer : I love to start my day with prayer  to remind myself that I’m a small part of a picture so big that I can’t even imagine it  and to know that any time I need guidance, support or power from my creator, Allah always delivers.

4. Healthy Food : When we take control over what we put into our body, we feel so much more alive, have so much more energy and perform so much better. Take 15 minutes to organize your food for the day, otherwise you’ll be left to the hands of the convenience food that is quick and easy in the short term but damaging in the long term

5. Gratitude : This shifts your mindset from scarcity to abundance and your outlook from reactive to creative. These 2 words are active and creative are made from the very same letters but have such different impacts in our life. Begin with gratitude to be thankful for what you have and you will live your day like a King or Queen.Now I want to challenge you, invest the next 1% of your day , the next 15 minutes  and see the impact it has on the rest of your day. Choose one of these 5 points I made or suggest your own and start enjoying the highest ROI there is!

Do you need help applying this to your business? If you do, schedule a free 15-minute consultation with Mo Ali, the Business Philosopher.

Free 15 - Minute Consultation

 

5 Powerful Life Lessons from the Filming of Lord of the Rings…

5 Powerful Life Lessons from the Filming of Lord of the Rings…

Today, we were fortunate enough to enjoy the Ride of the Rings, which took us on horseback around some of the magnificent places where they filmed Lord of the Rings.
Sarra was lucky enough to ride one of the horses that was actually used in the movie itself!
However, along the way, 5 powerful points from this great movie really stood out as great life lessons that really motivated and inspired me, that i thought I’d share with you:

1. Go the Extra Mile
Sean Bean played the role of Boromir in the movies. Most of his scenes were filmed high up in the mountains and in areas that most of the other actors took helicopters to.
Sean, however, was terrified of helicopters. In order to get around this, he would wake up hours before the rest of the cast and hike up to where his scenes would be shot.
Sean, literally, went the extra mile, many times!

2. Give to Others
During the shooting of Lord of the Rings, a riding double was used for Liv Tyler’s character, Arwen. This specific riding double was a lady called Sonia Duncan.
Sonia spent a lot of time riding a specific horse during the filming and developed a strong bond with that horse.
At the end of the filming, all of the horses were auctioned off. Sonia was so heartbroken that she did not attend that auction as she couldn’t bare to be parted from her horse.
Vigo Mortensen, who played Aragon, realised this and as a surprise for Sonia, bought that horse for her in the auction, so that they could be reunited forever.

3. True to Your Word
During the scene where Sean Bean’s character, Boromir, is killed, Tolkien specifically says in the book that the leaves on the ground were golden.
The forrest where this scene was filmed has a very specific species of tree that has its leaves that go golden a couple a couple of times a year and shed them.
Peter Jackson specifically times the filming of this scene so that it would take place during this short window, so that he could stay true to the book.

4. Respect Your Environment
After Lord of the Rings, the set for Hobbiton was dismantled and removed. When the Hobbit trilogy was filmed, a permanent set was built.
Apart from Hobbiton and one arch near Wellington that was created for the movie, nothing else is left.
Peter Jackson was very particular about the environment and wanted to ensure that his filming had very little impact on New Zealand.
In many of the forests, most of the cables were laid by hand and moved by hand to not affect the natural environment.

5. Think outside the box
The panning shot up towards the top of the Tower of Isengard is one of the best shots in the Lord of the Rings movies.
However, the problem was that the Tower was too big to build inside the studio.
So, instead of the tower being built vertically, it was built horizontally and that vertical panning shot was filmed horizontally and then flipped to vertical, to give the magical effect it now has.

These powerful lessons really helped me to appreciate the movies more and, more importantly, how the same principles you need to make amazing movies are also similar to the same principles you need for an amazing life!

Kia ora!


Do you need help applying this to your business? If you do, schedule a free 15-minute consultation with Mo Ali, the Business Philosopher.

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Doing too Much in too Little Time or Doing too Little in too Much Time – the Paradox of Every Entrepreneur

Doing too Much in too Little Time or Doing too Little in too Much Time – the Paradox of Every Entrepreneur

As I look back over my entrepreneurial journey, I see three phases that clearly define my journey:

1. Trying to do too Much in too Little time – When I first started my own business, I still had a hangover from my day’s working for others, where I gave myself ultra-tight deadlines and ended up working longer and longer hours to meet them. I was trying to fit too much into too little time.

2. Trying to do too Little in too Much time – After a while, the penny dropped and I realized that I was my own boss, I could set how much I did and how long it took. This new found freedom was soon enjoyed a little too much – as I started setting myself too Little to do in too Much time – which now meant that I started to procrastinate and not be as productive as I could be.

3. Doing the Right Amount in the Right Timeframe – Finally I found the right balance, I could do the right amount of work in the right timeframe – which meant that I was hitting my targets, working too my full potential, getting things done efficiently and, most importantly, enjoying the process!
In this post, I’m going to share with you a few of the golden rules that I learned from getting from Phase 1, through Phase 2 and finally to the Promised Land, Phase 3 – where I’m earning more, working less, performing at my peak and enjoying life the most!

Rule 1: One Focus Per Day…
The very first statement I make in my head when I wake up is this:
‘I am one day away from…..’
Each day this statement changes – it could be that I am one day away from a great post, a new ad campaign, a better strategy that is mapped out, a successful client meeting – whatever that may be.

Once I know what I’m one day away from, I then look at the steps I need to take to get there, if I’m one day away from a great post – I meditate on what I want to write about, think of a few angles that I can take, set myself a certain time to write the post, set myself a time to post the post and then set myself some time to review the comments and feedback.

If I’m one day away from a great strategy being mapped out – I often like to do this away from home as my mentor taught me that when you are in a different place, you have different ideas and see things from a different perspective. I first look to find a nice place to strategize, I then travel to that place, I spend some time walking around (as although the brain is only 2% of your bodyweight, it uses 20% of your oxygen, so you want to do some exercise before thinking so that your brain has an abundance of oxygen to utilize), I then find a nice quiet place to strategize, I then strategize, I then take a walk around and have some lunch and then come back to look over my new strategy.

What are you one day away from and what are the steps you are going to take?

Rule 2: The key to achieving more is doing less…

I can remember the days when I had a to-do list of 30 items. I would often go after the quick wins first and then life would get in the way and the big, impactful items would get left to the next day. Now, the opposite is the case, my to do list doesn’t have 30 items, it has 4 or 5 at the most. This means that the important ones get done, what isn’t important can be done after the ‘big rocks’ have been dealt with.

How many items are on your to do list? Are you doing the most important or trying to feel busy by doing all of the quick wins that won’t matter a year from now?

Rule 3: Relax and Enjoy your work…

The reason why we are entrepreneurs is because we want to do what we love! What’s the point, otherwise? Why would you go through all that you have to build a business if you’re not doing what you love to do?

One of the biggest learnings I undertook was the ability to say no. Just yesterday I got myself a new notepad that says: ‘Do More of What Makes You Awesome’ – this is one of the key questions I now ask myself before I begin something – will this be an awesome experience, will it lead to an awesome result, will it help build my awesome legacy?
Back when I started, I would ask a very different question – would this help pay the bills, would this get me a quick sale, would this lead to a project?
Notice the difference in the questions. What questions are you asking yourself before you start something new? What questions did you ask when you started what you’re currently doing?

The questions you ask yourself are the seeds from which everything will grow. Ask better questions and the fruits of your labour will be more and, more importantly, be more enjoyable too.

Rule 4: You Cannot Fail…

Back when I started as an entrepreneur, I had a lot of fear about making the wrong decision or doing something wrong. I made a lot of mistakes, of course.
However, I then met a lot of other successful entrepreneurs and realized that many had made even worse decisions than I had and had made bigger mistakes than I had!
As I started to look deeper into my journey and their jouney, I realized 2 key things:

1. Mistakes happen more when you’re doing more – when I started to slow down and spend more time on doing something right, it saved me a lot of time in the future with having to go and re-do or rectify what I had done

2. Mistakes are journey accelerators – every mistake I made helped me get to where I wanted to get much quicker than if I had not made that mistake – the lessons I learned from it, the experience, the distinctions I got and the understanding I got about myself and the situation were actually catalysts that got me further.
Now, I try to have the best of both worlds, I speak with people who are where I want to be so I can learn all of the obstacles that they faced and the mistakes that they made – so that I can learn from their experience without it becoming a part of my experience.
What’s your attitude towards failure? Does it scare you or does it fuel you?
What phase of this journey are you on? Are you in Phase 1, 2 and 3? What is holding you back? What’s helped you move forward? What are the golden rules that you have learned along the way?

I would love to hear your thoughts.


Do you need help applying this to your business? If you do, schedule a free 15-minute consultation with Mo Ali, the Business Philosopher.

Free 15 - Minute Consultation

The greatest reward is being of service:

The greatest reward is being of service:

As we start another week, we have another opportunity to serve and help others with our talents.

At the end of that week, we will look at what we have received financially during that week and use that as a measure of how well that week has gone.

However, is our sales figure at the end of the week the only true measure of how well that week has gone? We all need money for surviving, but is it the only measurement in deciding if we are thriving?

One of my greatest spiritual mentors taught me that we should not give others and measure what we have given by what we receive. The very fact that they are receiving and, in doing so, giving us the gift of giving to them, is a blessing.

One of the core beliefs that I try to live by is that private victories always proceed public victories and, more importantly, private victories ALWAYS lead to public victories.

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said that of all work, farming is the greatest because for each seed you plant, tens, hundreds or even thousands of fruit or vegetable will grow from that. From one apple seed, an apple tree will grow and over it’s lifetime, how many apples will come from that? He then said business is second as from that you get multiple rewards, whilst being employed is the lowest as you have literally sold your destiny for a fixed amount.

Wouldn’t be great if, at the end of the week, we didn’t just look at the sales we made, but also the people we served (the greatest service is, after all, helping someone in a way that they could never possibly repay you) and at the seeds we have planted for the future, that like the apple seed, will yield not just once or twice, but hundreds of thousands of time?

Happy planting everyone!


Do you need help applying this to your business? If you do, schedule a free 15-minute consultation with Mo Ali, the Business Philosopher.

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A few years ago, my mum gave me the best advice I have ever received

A few years ago, my mum gave me the best advice I have ever received. ‘Learn the trade, not the tricks of the trade’. Learn success, not the tricks of success. Read biographies, not short articles. Short articles will give you the story of ‘overnight success’, biographies will tell you about the ‘dark’ years of struggle that lead to the overnight success.

Forget the media bias that wants to sell you on the idea of get rich quick and shortcuts. Speak to people who have lived through the ups and downs of life, not just the ones who have hit a home run. It takes time and effort to sculpt a brilliant life, you can’t do it in a day, or a week, or a month, but you can do it by consistently growing each day, each week and each month. Bill Gates got in to computers at the age of 12. He didn’t take a day off from the age of 20 to 30. That’s why he was a billionaire at age 31. Start today on your journey to really studying success. Start today on sculpting a brilliant life.


Do you need help applying this to your business? If you do, schedule a free 15-minute consultation with Mo Ali, the Business Philosopher.

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Our 4 Energy Levels and How to Ensure that Each of them is at it’s Optimum

The biggest shift in my life came when I started to realize just how important managing my energy is. As I study more and more successful people, the more I am convinced that energy is the fuel of success.

In this post, I will go over the 4 energy levels and how to maximize each of them, so that you can have more fuel towards your success.

1. Physical Energy

I remember talking to my mentor about soccer when he made a great point. He said that soccer players only train for 2-3 hours per day and they only play for 90 minutes at a time. This is because when they are training and playing, they are performing at a world-class level and, to do this, requires a lot of physical energy.

Likewise, to perform at a world-class level in any area require a lot of physical energy. I know from experience that when I’m fit, healthy and exercising regularly, my productivity is much higher. When I’m over-indulging and not exercising as often as I should, my energy drops and, with that, so does my productivity.

In order to keep my physical energy high, I try to do the following:

i. Get an early night (I count each hour before midnight as being worth 2 hours sleep, as that slight change in perspective helps me get to sleep earlier)
ii. Hydrate properly (I like to have at least two litres of water each day as it’s amazing the difference I feel when I do this)
iii. Exercise in the morning (when you exercise, you feel better for about 8 hours after that, so by exercising in the morning, those 8 hours follow through my workday and as I feel better, I perform better!)
iv. Try to avoid fizzy drinks (I use to love fizzy drinks before and would have at least 1 can each day, however, now I have it much less and can feel a huge difference in my physical energy because of this.

2. Mental Energy

All problems are created in our mind and all solutions are also created in our mind. By managing our mind properly, we can unlock enormous amounts of mental energy that can help us to come up with better solutions and clearer strategies.

The problem, however, is that we are not taught how to do this. As a result, most of us have messy minds which means we have messy lives. Ultimately, it means we have very little mental energy and that’s why we feel mentally drained so quickly.

Here’s a few things that I do to ensure that my mental energy is optimized:

i. Write things down (I know that when I write things down, its no longer taking up ‘space’ and energy in my mind and, as a result, my mind is clearer and has more mental energy
ii. Focus on one thing at one time (Multi-tasking is the biggest mental energy drain there is as it takes a lot of energy to keep changing your focus from one thing to another to another)
iii. Give myself time (By giving myself enough time to do things, it takes off the mental pressure and releases more mental energy – and saves me time as I make less mistakes and don’t need to go and correct them)
iv. Focus on the big things first (Our mental energy is often highest in the morning, so by focusing on the key tasks in the morning when my mind is freshest lets me get those tasks done better)

3. Emotional Energy

The emotional part of our brain is much more powerful than the logical part of our brain. In fact, it is 5 times more powerful, which is why emotions have such a huge impact on us and why our emotional state is so important.

I have always found that I work best when I’m happiest, as that’s when I have the most emotional energy.

Here’s a few things I do to keep my emotional energy high:

i. Do what I love to do (I personally love movies and going to the cinema to see great films. I also love watching comedy and old Frasier episodes. This helps me keep my emotional energy high).
ii. Avoid drama (I try to avoid drama and situations that happen that can suck my emotional energy. I once heard a great quote ‘Leave drama to the soap operas.’)
iii. Spend time with the right people (I try to spend as much time with people who lift my energy and little time with those who lower it – this has been a huge factor as by changing my social circle has lead me to having more emotional energy)
iv. Meditation (Meditation is what regulates my emotions and ensures that when I’m not feeling at my peak, I can easily shift that and start to feel great again and have high emotional energy).

4. Spiritual Energy

I strongly believe that our Spiritual Energy is our biggest energy source, as we would often do more to help others than we would do for ourselves and we often do not realize just how much we can do until we start looking for that inner-drive and IN-spiration to do so (isn’t it ironic how the word Inspiration and Inspire start withIN?)

Here’s a few things I do to keep my spiritual energy high:

i. Gratitude (By looking at all of the blessings I already have, I feel calm, reassured and energized to do more and give back more as my core philosophy is that the more that I give, the more I will be given)
ii. Prayer (For me, prayer is a way to reconnect with my creator and with the creative force within me)
iii. Being inspired by the Great Prophets (To me, the way they lived their life, their character, their faith and their actions are great inspirations and give me the spiritual strength to do more)
iv. Writing (Allah chose to communicate us with us through the written word as that is timeless and can spread forever. Whenever I write, I know that I am creating something bigger than myself that may be helpful to someone I do not even know – just that feeling inspires me immensely).

These are the 4 energy centres that are so important to us. They are the fuel of our life, the oxygen of our success. It is crucial to keep each of our energies as high as possible as they will have an immediate impact on your life.

Which energy centres are currently full and which need maintaining? What can you do to ensure that they are always at their optimum?


Do you need help applying this to your business? If you do, schedule a free 15-minute consultation with Mo Ali, the Business Philosopher.

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Little Sticks with a Big Lesson

Firstly, I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year!

Every New Year’s, I like to take some time to meditate on the key philosophies that I want to apply to my life in the upcoming year.

This year, I was meditating and a story of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) came to my mind.

It’s a very simple story, but the meaning and the wisdom within it is very profound.

One day, the Prophet (SAW) was sitting in the desert with his companions. The Prophet (SAW) then asked them to go out and collect sticks.

The companions assumed it would be to light a fire in the night and went by this task, as the Prophet (SAW) had advised them to do so.

As it was a desert, it was not easy to find these sticks. The companions spent a long time finding small sticks and bringing them and putting them all in a pile.

Once the companions had built a large pile with these small sticks, the Prophet (SAW) explained to his companions why he had given them this task.

The Prophet (SAW) wanted his companions to understand how quickly lots of small things can add up. Lots of small sticks can soon add up to a large pile.

Similarly, lots of small victories can add up to a large victory, lots of small good deeds can add up to a great impact and lots of small good words can add up to enhancing great relationships.

Likewise, lots of small moments of laziness can add up to a year wasted, lots of small missed commitments could lead to a big opportunity lost and lots of small indecisions can lead to a lifetime without achievement.

The more I think about this incident, the more wisdom I see in it. When I look back over 2016, I realize that my success came because I was working hard each day:

Successful Days = Successful Weeks = Successful Months = A Successful Year

When I look back at my most successful projects, I realize I put my all into even the smallest tasks.

When I look back at my biggest changes, I realize that they weren’t overnight transformations, but a small gradual improvement each day, which over months, translated into a big result.

As we enter the New Year, take a lesson from these little sticks. Focus on the small things: the daily habits, the recurring tasks, the small decisions and dealing with small issues, before they become big.

Over the course of the weeks, months and year ahead, you will start to see these small piles of victories get big, then bigger and, ultimately, will lead you to achieving more this year than any other.

Good luck for 2017!


Do you need help applying this to your business? If you do, schedule a free 15-minute consultation with Mo Ali, the Business Philosopher.

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How I Grew My Business 300% in 2016 and Why Patience and Faith are the Most Important Characteristics of Any Entrepreneur

How I Grew My Business 300% in 2016 and Why Patience and Faith are the Most Important Characteristics of Any Entrepreneur

As a Business Philosopher, every year I spend a good amount of time in reflection, to see where I have grown, what I have done well, what my clients have done well and, most importantly, how I can incorporate this so that my tribe can benefit from this.

This year, I’ve been incredibly blessed and want to share the gems that I’ve learned, with you, over the next 4 days. This is the first of 4 points where I’m going to do as much as I can to give you the best experience, ideas and wisdom I’ve used to grow my business.

Today’s post is about, what I feel are the two most important ingredients to be a successful entrepreneur, patience and faith.

One of the first business lessons I started applying was something I learned from Stephen Covey, which is a very simple but profound statement:

‘Private victories precede public victories.’

What this means is that the hard work always comes before the reward. Unfortunately, in this age of Social Media where everyone is showing off their successes, its very easy to take this as the norm. What Social Media doesn’t show, however, is the years of hard-work, sacrifice and discipline that came before the success.

Every successful entrepreneur has faced this. I was speaking to one of my mentors today and this topic came up and together we brainstormed just some of the successful people who had to put in serious hard-work before they made it:

  • Marie Forleo struggled for 9 years before her big break
  • Tony Robbins had years where he was speaking in front of small crowds
  • Oprah worked her way up over many years from local TV to where she is
  • Wayne Dyer spent a year living in his car and driving on the road just to get his books delivered
  • The list is endless

If I look back over my career, I tried pretty much everything from selling Mobile Websites to blogs to affiliate marketing, practically everything you can imagine. Each time, I would surrender to the dream and think why is this person making this and I’m not. I’d blame the solution, instead of applying the patience I needed to make it work.

As I matured in my business and my life, I now have the discipline to be patient and to see it through, to put the hard-work before the reward, knowing and believing it will soon come.

This year, I’ve seen that happen. This is my second year in business doing what I’m doing and each day is getting easier and more rewarding, because now the private victories are turning into public ones.

If your business isn’t where you want it to be, keep remembering this phrase ‘private victories precede public victories’. Keep putting in the hard-work and believe you will get the rewards, you will do, I promise you. It’s natural law.

The second key characteristic of a successful entrepreneur is faith. One of my mentors once gave me a beautiful analogy about starting a business.

He said that when a boat goes out to sea, when it leaves the dock, it’s often swaying and wobbling in the tide. As it gets further out to sea, it settles down and soon is on a straight and calm path.

Business, and in truth, starting anything, is just like this. In the beginning, there’s the swaying and the wobbling, the uncertainty and fear.

Most are put off by this and, as a result, try something new. However, any successful business is a successful business because it has gone through the unsettling start and found its course.

This is why faith is so important. This is what gets you through the turbulence and helps you steady your ship. As Rudyard Kipling said, that ability to keep your mind whilst all around you are losing theirs is a crucial characteristic of being a successful entrepreneur, growing your company and creating your legacy.

If your year hasn’t gone as well as you expected or you’ve had mixed inconsistent results, don’t be disheartened. Use the wisdom I’ve given you and ensure that you have enough private victories, put your focus on making the next hour amazing, then the next day, then the next week, then the next month, then the next year. Once you do that, your business and your life will be amazing.

Lastly, have faith. Have faith in yourself, have faith in the value you are providing, the systems you’re building, the team that’s supporting you, the powers that are beyond you that are guiding and protecting you. Being an entrepreneur is challenging, but only a brave person can do so and give up the convenience of a normal life for the bounties of an abundant one. Your courage will be rewarded, just as long as you believe it will.

If you need any help with your private victories, just reach out and send me a message.

Until tomorrow.
Mohammed Ali
The Business Philosopher


Do you need help applying this to your business? If you do, schedule a free 15-minute consultation with Mo Ali, the Business Philosopher.

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The One Key Distinction that Transformed My Business and Made It Fun, Profitable and Gave me the Freedom to Travel the World in 2016

The One Key Distinction that Transformed My Business and Made It Fun, Profitable and Gave me the Freedom to Travel the World in 2016

This is the second part of my 4 post series of what I learned in 2016 that really transformed my business and my life. The reason I am posting this is simply to give back to you, my tribe, so that it can help you to grow your businesses and get to the level that you want to be.

If I look back at my business over the last few years, it’s very easy for me to pinpoint the one key insight that transformed everything. One of the very fundamental lessons that I learned and applied from my mentor, Sanjib, is that my business is just an extension of myself.

In the past, when I tried something and it didn’t work, I would blame the system and try something else. That would then not work and then I would try something else. I was in a constant cycle of try, blame, find something else and wasted a great amount of time stuck there.

Looking back now, I can see where I went wrong.

Our business is just an extension of ourselves. When I was stressed, confused, having personal problems, unmotivated, full of fear and doubt, how could I expect my business to do well? When I became focused, calm, strategic, structured, motivated and centered can you guess what happened to my business?

One of the most common problems that my clients have is that their business is very unstable, it has great months and not so great months, there isn’t consistency. When they look back historically, they realize that their best months were the months when they were on top of their game and their weaker months were when they weren’t.

One of the very first decisions I made, and my clients make, is to realize that in order for our businesses to work, we need to first work on ourselves. Once we’re firing, the rest is history.

You are probably wondering how can you start to apply this. Let me share a few tips I use:

  1. Have a schedule:

If I look back at the time I was doing best, it was when I was at school. I was learning languages, science, music, art, geography, history and lots more. The reason I could do so much is because I had a schedule that I would work to. This schedule and structure forced me to have the discipline I needed.

As a result of having a schedule, every day I’m performing well. This means that each week is successful, each month magnificent and each year see tremendous growth.

  1. Meditation:

The first and most important part of my schedule is my morning meditation. I see it very simply. In the morning, if you don’t have breakfast, you’re body will be hungry and struggle throughout the day. Meditation is the breakfast of my mind and my soul. If I don’t meditate in the morning, my mind and my spirit will struggle through the day, and as an entrepreneur, that’s my biggest asset, so I need my mind to be sharp and my spirit to be high.

I recently sent out the morning meditation I do to some of you, if you didn’t get that and want a copy, just let me know.

  1. Don’t Multi-Task

When I first started out, I’d do everything all the time. I’d be writing emails, checking my stats, updating my lists etc

However, I soon realized that if I did that, it took up much more time and the quality of each wasn’t as high as it could be.

That’s why I then created my schedule, so everything is done at its allocated time, to the highest quality and, as a result, I have more time to myself and for my family.

One further tip that I have learned that’s really helped my productivity is this. I always write down my key tasks for the next day the night before. This means that as I am sleeping, my subconscious mind can get to work on my list and figure out the best solutions for each, so when I wake up, I can literally fire through my list as I’ve had an 8 hour head start on the day!

  1. Live Your Perfect Day

One of the first exercises I did with my mentor, Sanjib, was to plan out my perfect day. I decided when I wanted to get up, what I wanted my mornings to look like, my afternoons to look like and my evenings to look like. I literally wrote it out in great detail over several pages, focusing on the feelings I wanted to have whilst I was doing what I loved doing.

One of the secrets of Vedic wisdom is that everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality. It was because I created it first in the mind that I now live it in reality.

When you apply these 4 principles to your life, you will notice just how much more powerful you will feel and be. As a result of this, your business will grow, your relationships will flourish and you will really start to see just how much you have to give and how easy it is to do so.

I would love to help you to master these 4 areas so that you can have the same breakthroughs that I did. Simply reach out and send me a message and we can arrange a time to speak this week.

Until tomorrow.

Mohammed Ali
The Business Philosopher


Do you need help applying this to your business? If you do, schedule a free 15-minute consultation with Mo Ali, the Business Philosopher.

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