Professor Dr. Ali M. Al-Khouri

Prof. Dr. Ali Mohamed Al-Khouri works for the Ministry of Interior in the United Arab Emirates. Dr. Al-Khouri is also a Professor of Identity and Security and Follow of the British Institute for Technology and e-Commerce in London, UK. He holds a B.Sc. (Hons.) in ’Business Information Technology Management’ from Manchester University, M.Sc. in ’Information Management’ from Lancaster University, and an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) from Warwick University in the field of ’Strategic and Large Government Projects Management’.

The Discover Business Guide to Effectively Learning and Studying - Techniques and Methods

How to Learn and Study Effectively

Note Taking and Learning Methods

Though it may seem simple to learn “by osmosis,” just letting ideas wash over you isn't an effective way to absorb and retain information. You need to stay actively engaged to learn. Whether you’re wondering how to study in college or how to retain information from a business presentation, note-taking is key.

As you read these study tips, remember that the most effective method of note-taking varies from person to person and from situation to situation. It’s best to experiment with a range of techniques and find the method that works best for you.

The Cornell Note Taking System

Cornell University professor Walter Pauk, author of the bestseller How to Study in College, developed this note-taking method in the 1950s. The Cornell Method helps students systematically record, analyze, synthesize and reflect on the material presented in class, and has gained national recognition as a strong note-taking technique.

To start using this method, divide each page into three sections: a main note-taking section on the right side, a smaller cue column on the left and a summary section on the bottom. During the lecture itself, record notes in the note-taking area, using symbols, abbreviations, and short sentences whenever possible. Write down the most important pieces of information: the main ideas and key supporting details.

Within 24 hours of taking notes, and ideally as soon as possible, write down cues and questions in the left-hand column. Write a brief summary in the bottom section as well, no longer than seven sentences. Those cues provide an invaluable resource for going back and studying the notes later, and the summary forces you to synthesize information and prioritize the most important ideas.

The Cornell Method shines because it provides a built-in means to go back and study. Cover the notes themselves with your hand or a piece of paper and try to recall the information based only on the questions or cues you’ve written in the left-hand column. Reciting in this manner isn’t just a helpful memorizing tool; it’s a way to make sure you understand the significance of each fact.

Finally, spend a few moments reflecting on your notes, asking questions such as “Why is this important?” or “How does this connect with what I already know?” This last step takes note-taking beyond a tool for rote memorization and turns it into an opportunity to really internalize information.

The Cornell Method may have originally been developed for college students, but it has applications outside the classroom as well. The same note-taking technique works with any sort of media: books, videos, slideshows and more.

If all you need to do is memorize and regurgitate facts, there are more efficient methods than the Cornell Method. When it’s time to really analyze and synthesize information, though, the Cornell Method offers some unique tools and stands out among potential methods.

The Outline Method

Perhaps the most organized note-taking method of all is the venerable outline method. Dating all the way back to the thirteenth century, with predecessors going back much further, outlining is a careful, orderly way to arrange ideas in order of importance and flow. It’s one of the most commonly taught learning techniques in the Western world, and for good reason.

A classic outline uses a system of capital and lowercase letters and numbers to indicate the relative importance of different ideas. Start by labeling each major idea with a Roman numeral: I, II, III, and so on. Below each Roman numeral, label the main sub-points with capital letters, starting with A. Next up are Hindu-Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3), then lowercase letters, indenting at each level. If you need even more sub-points, start using letters and numbers in parentheses.

The key to successful outlining is to leave a little extra space under each section heading. Not all sources of information are as well-organized as a good outline, after all. That extra space means you can go back and fill in more information if a lecturer later returns to the same subject, or if you notice something new when watching a video for the second time.

Because outlines lay out their information in a clear, orderly manner, it’s easy to use them as study tools. Many students use the outline to write a summary, which requires some analysis and synthesis of the information. If all you need to do is memorize, recite the outline line by line, filling in some questions or cue words off to the side if necessary.

Outlining can be an especially efficient note-taking method when your source of information is a carefully organized document such as a textbook. Most textbooks provide easy outlining methods through chapter titles, section headings, and paragraphs focused on one idea apiece, a structure that easily translates to an outline. Some electronic sources, such as government and educational websites, use an outline-like structure as well. Outlines also have a strong visual component, so they mesh well with certain learning styles.

Outlining can present problems, however, as it forces you to impose a structure on the material that may or may not actually be there. When dealing with free-flowing sources of information, making an outline is an exercise in frustration; it’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. The structure of an outline can also be somewhat limiting because it’s harder to see connections between material in different sections.

Outlining, then, works particularly well when orderly learning is your top priority. If you’re dealing with disorganized information or need to make more abstract connections, seek another method.

The Charting Method

Creating a chart is another time-honored technique that helps to keep your notes clear and organized. By splitting your notes into labeled columns, you can cut down on repetition and make the entire process more efficient and productive.

Charting requires more preparation than most other study methods. First, divide your page into a number of columns; four is usually preferred, but certain subjects may require more or less. Label each column at the top of the page with an appropriate category. For instance, when listening to a history lecture, you might label your columns “Date,” “Important People,” “Major Events,” and “Overall Significance.”

You’ll get that preparation time back and then some when it’s time to actually listen to the lecture. Because you’ve already labeled each column, all you need to do is fill in information in the appropriate column. There’s no need to write, for instance, that World War Two was a major event; just list it in the “Major Events” column and you’re all set.

By reducing the amount of necessary writing, charting makes it easier to keep up with fast-paced lectures, presentations, and videos. It’s also easy to visualize the relationships between the pieces of information and understand the overall flow of data, especially if the information is organized chronologically. When it comes to memorizing facts, you can’t beat a chart.

The biggest difficulty faced with a chart is preparation time. You can’t really pull out a chart off the cuff, and you need some knowledge of the material beforehand to effectively label the columns. The organized structure of a chart can also be limiting, as you may encounter information that doesn’t really fit in any particular box. Be sure to keep a blank sheet of paper on hand just in case you need to jot something down.

If you’re wondering how to learn faster, though, charting is one of the best methods there is. A good chart will give you a systematic, orderly overview of the material that will make it easier to study, memorize and retain information going forward.

The Sentence Method

Among the simplest learning techniques out there is the sentence method, which uses nothing more than the writing skills you learned in grade school. Note-taking in sentence form has several key disadvantages when compared to charts and outlines, but if you’re still learning how to take notes, there’s no easier place to start.

To use the sentence method, all you need to do is copy everything down more or less verbatim. In order to keep up with fast-moving lectures, presentations, or videos, it’s best to use shorthand; abbreviations, acronyms, and symbols all work well. Every time your source moves on to a new idea, start a new line. It’s often wise to leave a little blank space after each line to go back and fill in additional information later.

In many ways, the sentence method is the reverse of the charting method. It requires no preparation and no foreknowledge of the subject matter. Sentence note-taking also has the advantage of thoroughness; unless you physically can’t keep up with the speaker, you’ll record every single piece of information. That means the sentence method is surprisingly useful when you’re faced with a “heavy” presentation where every last fact is important.

On the other hand, if your notes are in sentence form, you’ll need to spend some time immediately afterward converting them into something more useful. The sentence method doesn’t distinguish between major and minor points, nor does it give you any organization except for whatever structure came from the original source. At best, that means you have your notes organized in a manner that made sense to someone else, which may or may not work well for you.

If you’re learning from a resource that you can examine at your own pace, such as a textbook or a video that can be paused, it’s better to use an outline or chart to clearly organize the information. Using the sentence method means you may waste time taking notes twice: once to copy information out of the book and once to organize your notes into an outline. Save yourself the trouble and just make an outline!

If you’re faced with a fast-paced lecture, a live speech, or a streaming video, however, you may have no choice but to use the sentence method. If you’re still learning how to take notes, it’s a simple place to start. The sentence method is a great technique to have in your back pocket for those times when you don’t have enough time to prepare.

The Mind Mapping Method

If you’re a visually oriented person wondering how to learn faster, you can’t beat the mind map. This unique method creates a graphic organizer that clearly shows the connections between ideas as they radiate out from a central core concept. British author Tony Buzan is widely credited as the originator of the term “mind map,” but the underlying principles go back much further. Philosophers were known to use similar techniques to visualize information as early as the third century.

The theory behind a mind map is that it uses the same basic architecture as your brain. Instead of starting at the top of the page, a mind map begins in the center, and ideas spread out from that central point in a logical manner. For each main point, draw a curved line spreading out from the central bubble labeled with a one- or two-word key phrase. As you gather additional information, branch out with thinner and thinner lines labeled with the finer details. Many mind mapping experts recommend using color and, if possible, images to make the map more interesting and thus easier to remember.

A mind map has many of the same benefits as an outline, as it shows orderly, logical relationships between ideas. However, while outlines are linear, mind maps are radial. That means there’s no need to slog back through your notes to find a key piece of information; just follow the branches of the map, and you’ll be there in no time.

Mind maps, though, tend to be fairly minimalist in terms of recording facts. They’re not efficient ways to record huge amounts of data, which means it’s best to have the original resource available for reference in case you need to look up something specific down the road. If you need to get every last detail from a particular lecture, try using the sentence or charting method first, then building a mind map based on your notes.

Because mind mapping has become something of a hot topic among purveyors of study tips and learning techniques, there are plenty of resources available to make the most of this method. If you need to learn a complex, multifaceted topic, you’d do well to invest in a dedicated mind mapping tool.

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University of Bradford School of Management, view top presentations on SlideShare

The Strange Truth About Conversion


  • 1. ABOUT CONVERSION And 3 Rules To Double Your Conversion Rate By 200% THE STRANGE TRUTH
  • 2. #1 Rule Conversion Is King Double your conversion rate - double your income.
  • 3. The Two Faces of Conversion The Funnel… The Hustle… In the first part we will be focusing on the funnel
  • 4. The Funnel And we’re not talking about your teenage party trick.
  • 5. What Is A Funnel? A funnel is the process of turning people who don’t know about your business into leads, prospects and eventually customers.
  • 6. The funnel is the process of getting leads and turning them into customers. A funnel is like a whirlpool. The wider the top and the longer the funnel the more leads you get and the more value you can potentially provide.
  • 7. #2 Rule Wider Is Better* *If the content is good. Source: The above are just a few of the ways to increase the width of your funnel and potentially bring in more leads.
  • 8. #3 Rule Longer Is Better This, in other words is the upsell. When people buy your product, offer them more value in the form of something bigger.
  • 9. The McDonald’s Way $1.91 is the amount McDonalds spends on getting each customer through the door. $2.09 is average price a customer spends on a burger. $2.09 - $1.91 = 0.18c is the amount they receive in revenue from a burger purchase. So how do they make money?! They upsell you a fries and a coke. On average a customer will spend $1.77 on the upsell which costs McDonalds an extra 0.45c to make. But now they’re making an extra $1.32 profit which means roughly 8 times more profit from the initial sale!
  • 10. Bonus Rule!
  • 11. As Seth Godin wisely put it - being good is the new average. To be successful, you need to start being remarkable. What does this mean? Always provide more value than your customers expect. Don’t aim for a low refund rate, aim for a high ‘wow’ rate. #4 Rule Be Remarkable
  • 12. A Personal Example Let’s take a look at a real life case study of our business.
  • 13. BigBangly (Before) Through Google Adwords alone we directed people straight to our product page. With a conversion rate of 1% our average revenue per visitor was $0.50
  • 14. Uh Oh… This meant we could only spend up to $0.50 acquiring our next visitor. This is the recipe for failure.
  • 15. So What Did We Do? We started making our funnel wider with active (and awesome) blogging, social engagement and advertising through more mediums.
  • 16. We directed people to a free eBook we created that helps them double their conversion rate - you may be able to tell we are passionate about conversion! In exchange we received their email address. Now we have a lead. This gets a 54% conversion rate.
  • 17. We also targeted a different market with a free webinar teaching people how to go from an idea in your head launching a business and getting their first sale (and more!). This receives a 51% conversion rate
  • 18. We then redirected them to an upsell. This upsell aims to provide literally crazy value. Our goal here is to change the relationship from a lead to a customer. We want them to say ‘WOW’. This receives a 21% conversion rate
  • 19. Those who purchased the last upsell get directed another upsell. Again we provide ridiculous value and offer a once in a lifetime opportunity for $20. This receives a 11% conversion rate
  • 20. Finally those that purchase that get directed to our last upsell - a $200 a month consulting package. This receives a 12% conversion rate
  • 21. Best Part? We still have a ton of leads who we provide massive value to each week over email who later become customers when they are ready. This is how they feel over the coming weeks, months and years.
  • 22. The Maths Old Way 1,000 views a day 1% conversion rate on landing page 1,000 x 0.01 x $50 = $500 $500/1,000 = $0.50 in revenue per visitor Result $0.50 in revenue per visitor
  • 23. The Maths New Way 1,000 views a day 50% conversion rate on landing page 1,000 x 0.50 = 500 leads and email addresses 20% conversion for first upsell 500 x 0.20 x $1 = $100 10% conversion for second upsell 100 x 0.10 x $20 = $400 10% conversion for third upsell 10 x 0.10 x $200 = $200 Finally 50% of the 100 trial users become members for $30 a month 100 x 0.50 x $30 = $1,500 Result $2.20 in revenue per visitor
  • 24. AND! We also have an extra 500 leads to email, provide value to and eventually become customers.
  • 25. Bonus Bonus Rule!
  • 26. We never describe our leads or customers as leads or customers apart from when we teach. Once someone reads a piece of content or watches one of our videos, they join the family. We don’t live in a world of mass marketing anymore, we live in a world of connection and value. If those two values are embodied by a business it can radically alter its destiny for the better. #5 Rule Create A Connection
  • 27. Fantastic! If you’ve followed these steps you have just doubled your conversion rate! If you want to grab your own free copy of ‘How To Double Your Conversion Rate Today’ for a more in-depth look on what you just learnt click below!
  • 28. Or… If you’re crazy like us and want to massively improve your business, check out our eBook on Amazon for $3.99.
  • 29. Finally If you want more information about who we are and what we do… Launchcademy BigBangly For a low cost, world class business education with a mission to empower the world! Sign up for the pre-release today. For an ‘improve my business’ option we offer low cost consulting, SEO and conversion optimisation advice, website testing software and more for the startup and small business with a budget!
  • 30. About The Author Founder of BigBangly and Launchcademy. Passionate about empowering entrepreneurs and helping people achieve their dreams. He also loves mochas with marshmallows… weirdo.

How to Make Decisions and Solve Problems –
Techniques and Methods

This guide is designed to give you a better understanding of what problem-solving, critical-thinking, and decision-making entail. Not only will you learn about how these ideas can make you a better learner at school or in your career, but give you amazing web links, videos, and research resources to help you continue to learn how to incorporate them better into your daily activities.

Chapter 1 – The Importance of Problem Solving
Chapter 2 – Critical Thinking in the Decision Making Process
Chapter 3 – Are You Asking the right Questions?
Chapter 4 – 6 Effective Methods for Problem Solving

A Business Owner's Guide to
Taking Calculated Risks


Can you distinguish one from the other? Learning how to balance the pros and cons and make well thought-out decisions for your company requires honing your risk calculation skills.

Good risk vs. bad risk

Understanding the fine line between the two can mean the difference between wise business decisions and careless mistakes.

Many people grow up believing risk-taking is a negative trait. Parents, teachers, and administrators identified the rebellious kids in school or the naughty children at church as a problem, but these individuals may also have been risk takers.

And risk is an essential part of life. Whether people internalized those youthful lessons that rebellion and risk-taking are bad will affect how they conduct business if they become CEOs and executives.

When individuals grasp the healthy aspects of taking risks, they can begin to develop methods for taking smart risks to improve their business.

An object lesson

Igor Salindrija, successful entrepreneur and CEO of, has experience with taking risks. "My business model is simple: make decisions today to set yourself ahead of the competition in the future," Salindrija says. "I know the rewards of taking calculated risks, and I regularly push myself to step outside my comfort zone. It's a formula that has worked for me, and it's what I advise other CEOs to do as well."

Beneficial risks require careful planning. Bad risk tends to be a product of thoughtlessness. Fortunately, most CEOs and business owners wouldn't have arrived at their current position if they regularly made the latter type of decisions.

Good risk is the product of assessing needs, identifying areas that need improvement, formulating strategic plans, and executing initiatives while anticipating mistakes.

How to take calculated risks that will be successful

All successful business owners must learn the art of taking calculated risks. The practice may not come naturally, but it's essential for progress and longevity.

Follow this step-by-step guide to make productive decisions for your company.

Understand the value of risk in business. Risk-taking is a necessary part of any business model. Without it, little is accomplished and customers quickly become bored with your product, service, or program. Not only does risk open up the door to new possibilities, but it also shows your audience the firm genuinely cares about the industry and users of its product.

For a business, risk can uncover new markets, new audiences, and new capabilities. Risk forces leaders to set aside their fears and take strides toward future success. Many people are tempted to give in to the voice in their head that says, "this isn't the right time" or "this didn't work last time." Learning to move past such insecurities will lead to new levels of success.

Stop overanalyzing. Leaders become paralyzed in the business world when they spend too much time worrying about consequences and potential mistakes. Overanalyzing details before the plan is set in motion halts progress and weakens the potential of the company. Consistency is different from predictability.

Leaders should work to maintain relationships and communication, but push past the details and take action. It's wise to meet with advisors and conduct brainstorming sessions for future initiatives, but you also need to get past the planning phase if you're truly going to make a difference in the future of your firm.

Identify the risks. Part of the brainstorming session should be devoted to identifying possible risks. A large part of taking calculated risks involves pinpointing the potential negatives and forming plans for putting out fires after the implementation. By evaluating risk in advance, business can more accurately aim for success. On a practical level, consider the cost and business benefits alongside the possible losses if the initiative fails.

Anticipate mistakes. Before executing any plans, prepare for errors. They are an inevitable element of risk taking, and key players in business must be mentally ready to handle the consequences. Accept the possibility of total failure, and develop creative ways to handle it, should it happen. Realize mistakes indicate the presence of risk, which means the company is at least moving in a new direction. Mistakes are a natural part of the process, and learning to handle them gracefully is just as important as taking a risk in the first place.

Determine what you can afford to lose. Companies that know they can't afford a large flop should start with baby steps. Take small risks to test the water and gain confidence. This should help you build a higher tolerance for risk, which means your business will trust itself enough to take larger risks in the future.

Develop a detailed plan. Although unknowns are inescapable, developing a detailed plan for each step of the process can help it go more smoothly. Every part of the plan should be considered meticulously, from finances to marketing. Such planning lowers your risk and creates a better chance of success.

Take the jump. The final and most important element: Take the risk! After all the careful planning and detailed consideration, start implementing the plan and watch the results come to pass. The results might be different from your expectations; the plan could fail completely or enjoy unexpected pockets of surprising success.

Regardless of the outcome, you should continue to accept the process of taking risks as a beneficial function of the company's game plan. The practice of risk-taking ultimately builds confidence and success as a firm learns to set itself apart from the competition.

  PUBLISHED ON: SEP 17, 2014


Manage Your time and Accomplish More - Without Being Stressed Out

There are only 1,440 minutes in a day. Regardless of what fills those minutes, everyone only has a set amount of time in which to get things done. Managing time is not about finding or creating more time during your day. It’s about accomplishing the most important tasks in the most efficient amount of time, so you can do more of the things you enjoy.

Chapter 1 – The Problem of Time Management
Chapter 2 – Techniques to Transform the Way You Work
Chapter 3 – Building a Productive Work Environment
Chapter 4 – Leveraging Technology
Chapter 5 – Four Time Wasting Behaviors You Need to Stop
Chapter 6 – Additional Resources and Sources

Being More Productive: The Problem of Time Management

When it comes to problems in managing time, most fall into one of two equally fallacious trains of thought: “I have so much to do, but I have so little time in which to do it,” or “I have so much time, I can do it later.” No matter which of these traps applies to you, you face the same ultimate problem: the idea that time can change. The first chapter will focus on helpful theories on time management and productivity; these theories will provide a solid foundation upon which later chapters can build.

The problems associated with poor time management skills can’t all be solved with simple tips and tricks. The challenge for most people is developing a clear understanding of what time is and how it gets used. The things you believe about time will guide your understanding of how to use it, and in turn, how you ultimately spend time each day.

Thankfully, some modern theories will help you gain a better understanding of time and how to effectively manage it. There are three theories about time and time management that stand out from all of the rest, helping people develop stronger skills and prioritize more effectively. The three theories covered here are Pickle Jar Theory, the Pareto principle, and Parkinson’s Law. These theories each encourage thinking about the time you spend in a different way, rather than as a generic resource that counts down.

Pickle Jar Theory – The Cost of Small Time Consuming Tasks

The Pickle Jar Theory illustrates how relatively unimportant tasks or commitments can easily take up much of a person’s time. Filling one’s day with small trivial tasks that are not important prevents one from using that time to complete larger or more important tasks and projects.

The theory uses a pickle jar and its contents to represent time management. The inside of the pickle jar represents a person’s time, and all the different tasks and commitments that take up that time are represented by rocks, pebbles, sand and water that are placed into the jar.

  • Rocks are the important things that require immediate, significant attention, and produce a huge benefit when they are accomplished.
  • Pebbles produce a benefit, but they are not as important as the tasks represented by the larger rocks.
  • Grains of sand signify small, time-consuming tasks that are relatively easy to do but are of little importance, filling in the leftover space. Things like text messages, constant email checking, and idle chit-chat all take time, but generate little benefit.
  • The final component, water, fills in what little space remains, and represents the tasks and idle moments that fill all the remaining space.

The key to using the Pickle Jar Theory is to be aware of which tasks are “rocks,” providing large benefits and requiring immediate attention. Once you know which tasks are “rocks,” you can turn your attention to the “sand,” paring it away to make room for more rocks. Various techniques can be used to diminish the number of grains of sand in the jar.

This resource discusses a technique known as batching. Batching is a way to combine many small tasks into one block of time, such as reviewing one’s email inbox only once or twice each day instead of four times an hour, leading to less time wasted on “sand.” Techniques like batching, however, rely on an understanding of the Pickle Jar Theory. Being able to determine which tasks are unnecessary “sand” will allow you to focus your attention on the “rocks” and “pebbles.”

Pareto’s Principle: The 80/20 Rule – Focus on the Tasks with the Greatest Benefit

The 80/20 Rule is similar to the Pickle Jar Theory, in that it suggests people can work smarter by concentrating on the important things from which they derive the most benefit. Activities that reap the greatest benefit, represented by the rocks in the pickle jar, are the 20% of the activities that should consume 80% of your time in the 80/20 rule.

Economist Vilfredo Pareto observed that 80 percent of the wealth in his native Italy was held by 20 percent of the population. You might conclude that a theory regarding wealth distribution in a single country has nothing to do with time management, but the relationship between 80% and 20% holds true in several other areas as well, including time management.

The 80/20 rule, in its broader form, says that a small number of causes is responsible for a large percentage of the effect, in a ratio of about 20:80. In time management, you will often find that 20% of your tasks generate 80% of the results, or that 20% of tasks absorb 80% of available time. By finding the ideal 20% of your tasks to spend 80% of your energy on, you can avoid wasting time or effort.

Parkinson’s Law – Reduce the Time Assigned to Each Task

Parkinson’s Law is simple and straightforward: the time required to complete a particular task will expand according to the amount of time it is allotted. Giving yourself less time to do something will lead to faster completion. Slowly reduce the time allotted for any given task, and eventually you’ll find the sweet spot in which it gets completed without feeling rushed. Like the other theories, this changes the way you approach using your time, illustrating that less time can lead to better, more effective work.

Cyril Northcote Parkinson was a British author who once observed this phenomenon firsthand. Assigning two hours to complete a task that could be completed in less than one hour will result the two hours being consumed anyway, but with the excess hour spent on planning, worrying, and agonizing. People will almost always fill all assigned time, but what they fill it with changes if they have too much excess.

Interested in testing the theory? Try allocating half as much time each morning to a mundane task like checking your email. If necessary, set a timer. You will likely find yourself dealing with each item in your email account’s inbox a little faster. At the end of the time, look at how much you accomplished in the time you set. The odds are good that you’ll exceed your own expectations.

Before you go too far congratulating yourself for a job well done, try cutting the time again the following day. As you continue to allow yourself less time, you will likely begin prioritizing only those emails that actually matter, skimming subject lines and dumping spam, advertisements, or other meaningless messages. Your attention will zero in on the most important emails that must be addressed immediately.

This exercise helps people pare away unnecessary worrying, planning, and frivolousness, finding the tasks that truly need to be completed. Parkinson’s Law should help you maintain awareness of the truly necessary time to complete any task or project. Try allowing yourself a little less time than you think you need; the odds are good that you’ll only need the time you set aside.

University of Bradford School of Management, view top presentations on SlideShare

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Secrets to Raising Venture Capital


  • 1. Content Marketing Lessons From 10 Years and 41,525,103 Website Visits Hiten Shah
  • 2. View this presentation online:
  • 3. DoingBusinessontheWeb 12 Years Finding and Solving Marketing Problems
  • 6. Our B2B Businesses Have Had 41,525,103 Visits Since 2003 Because of Content Marketing
  • 7. Content Marketing
  • 8. ContentMarketing LESSON 1 Content = Marketing
  • 9. You already create lots of content
  • 10. The art of marketing is to create better content. The science helps you measure its performance.
  • 11. January 2015 1,876companies January 2014 947companies
  • 12. Find pages with high traffic and high bounce rate HTTP://GOOGLE.COM/ANALYTICS
  • 13. Find pages with high traffic and low conversion rate HTTP://UNBOUNCE.COM
  • 14. Find sources with high traffic and low conversion rate HTTP://HUBSPOT.COM
  • 15. Increase Conversions By A/B Testing Do a Happy Dance But Watch it Closely Get More Traffic So You Can Start A/B Testing Get More Traffic So You Can Do a Happy Dance High Traffic Low Traffic High ConversionsLow Conversions How To Figure Out What To Improve
  • 16. LESSON 2 People ignore ads but they love great content. They’ll even search for it!
  • 17. Only 32% of marketers say they are effectively executing enough content. HTTP://KISS.LY/CONTENTSTATS
  • 18. SIMPLE RULE OF CONTENT Easy to understand. Difficult to execute. Quality + Quantity = EYEBALLS
  • 19. 30+ marketing guides
  • 20. 70+ webinars
  • 22. SIMPLE RULE OF MARKETING Figure out what’s working. Do more of it.
  • 23. Figure out what’s working. for others Imitate it. but don’t rip it
  • 25. LESSON 4 HEADLINES ARE EVERYTHING! They get people to click.
  • 26. HTTP://KISS.LY/TAM To impress your offer on the mind of the reader or listener, it is necessary to put it into brief, simple language…No farfetched or obscure statement will stop them. You have got to hit them where they live in the heart or in the head. You have got to catch their eyes or ears with something simple, something direct, something they want. John Caples
  • 27. 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 people will read the rest of your post. HTTP://KISS.LY/HEADLINEFORMULA
  • 28. ✓ Negative words and numbers cause more clicks ✓ Keep under 65 characters to ensure search visibility ✓ Use specific headlines that match your content ✓ Odd numbers perform be er than even ones ✓ Aim to have six words in your headlines ✓ Avoid words that have multiple meanings ✓ Include power verbs and interesting adjectives Tip For Be er Blog Headlines
  • 30. ✓ Negative words and numbers cause more clicks ✓ Keep under 65 characters to ensure search visibility ✓ Use specific headlines that match your content ✓ Odd numbers perform be er than even ones ✓ Aim to have six words in your headlines ✓ Avoid words that have multiple meanings ✓ Include power verbs and interesting adjectives Five Shocking Facts That Will Change Your Entire Approach to Social Media 5/7
  • 31. LESSON 5 Organic Search is the TOP traffic source for content marketing
  • 32. Content Marketing
  • 33. SEO vs Content Marketing
  • 34. Where traffic came from for five popular blogs in 2014 1%5% 10% 4% 21% 58% 0%6% 7% 29% 18% 39% 0%3%5% 5% 11% 77% Organic Search Direct Social Referral Other Email 14% 2% 9% 8% 21% 47% 3%2% 8% 9% 15% 64% A B C D E
  • 35. A couple of outliers 1%5% 10% 4% 21% 58% 0%6% 7% 29% 18% 39% 0%3%5% 5% 11% 77% Organic Search Direct Social Referral Other Email 14% 2% 9% 8% 21% 47% 3%2% 8% 9% 15% 64% A B C D E
  • 36. 60+ infographics
  • 42. When things are bad :(
  • 43. When you want to share customer successes
  • 44. When you’ve got a new feature =)
  • 45. And so much more…
  • 46. LESSON 7 CONTENT CREATES CONVERSION OPPORTUNITIES Which leads to sustainable growth!
  • 47. For KISSmetrics, content directly leads to… Newsle er Subscribers Webinar A endees Website Visitors Trial Signups Downloads Backlinks A ention
  • 48. 30+ marketing guides
  • 49. 70+ webinars
  • 50. 1,145% Increase in Trial Signups
  • 51. Visits and Signups
  • 52. 33% Increase in Signups from the blog!
  • 53. Hiten Shah @hnshah How can I help you?

University of Bradford School of Management, view top presentations on SlideShare

Billionaire Wisdom: 8 Insights From The World's Most Effective Entrepreneurs



[Photo: Flickr user Samantha Marx]


For teaching the skills workers need now. This learning center, which expanded last year from nine to 13 cities, teaches the skills that businesses need today—digital marketing, mobile development, data science, and the like. And students are flocking in. General Assembly’s annual class hours have shot up from 117,012 to 260,176. The organization already has 10,000 alumni, and 90% of them have found a job within three months of completing their courses—and 99% of grads have secured employment within a year. Tuition ranges from $3,500 for part-time courses to $10,000 for a full-time, 10-week program. So far, $1.57 million in financial aid has been distributed to students, thanks to partnerships with loan providers Earnest and Climb. And the organization is now establishing certifications for its curriculum, to reinforce to companies that their degrees have merit.


For reminding schools that healthy bodies lead to healthy minds. Every Day, Revolution Foods provides 300,000 of what it calls "real food" meals to schoolchildren in 25 cities, for only $3 apiece. That’s 300,000 fewer mystery meats gut-bombing America’s future. And get this: Kids like it. Revolution is tweaking foods that students are familiar with—engineering a healthier hot dog, say—and then involving its tough critics in the recipe design process. The company’s chefs visit classrooms to do taste tests, providing children whose idea of food criticism is often, "Eww!" with colored cards to express themselves. The proof is in the (natural, additive-free) pudding, with revenue quadrupling from $18 million to $80 million over the past five years. And to achieve greater bargaining power with suppliers, Revolution is now also expanding into healthy Lunchables-style boxed meals. The products are sold in 2,000-plus grocery stores, including Safeway and Whole Foods.


For bringing high-quality, affordable schools to the developing world. A fragmented market of for-profit schools has been exploding in Africa and Asia for over a decade. Now Bridge International Academies is introducing scale and quality control, with a tightly managed model that provides a year's worth of schooling for the cost of dinner in Manhattan. The organization operates the largest chain of for-profit schools in Africa; this year it’s expanding beyond Kenya and Uganda into Nigeria while serving more than 120,000 students, all taught by local, Bridge-trained instructors. Already, one in 100 Kenyan students attends a Bridge academy—and outperforms peers at neighboring schools in reading (scoring 35% higher than average) and math (19%), with results continuing to improve. The company’s wildly ambitious goal: to educate 10 million students per year by 2025.


For creating a best-in-class model of blended learning. Education insiders seem to love California-based Summit Public Schools—and all for different but related reasons. Some point to the public charter-school network’s approach to blended learning, with an ever-evolving curriculum of personalized "playlists." Others praise Summit’s poachworthy teachers, who led the design of the playlist model and successfully prepare 96% of the school network’s students to attend a four-year college. Still others note the eight-week Expeditions, when students pursue passion projects—and teachers have time together to reflect, plan, and innovate. And increasingly, fans mention the network’s generosity, as Summit has convened other schools for a peek under the hood of its custom-built technology. All told, the network’s influence far outstrips its growing footprint of nine schools.


For sparking a new willingness to battle for education reform. A California lawsuit made headlines last summer when a Los Angeles judge ruled that the state’s laws concerning teacher hiring, firing, and tenure were unconstitutional, due to their disproportionate impact on low-income and minority students. The suit, backed by deep-pocketed donors, revealed an important shift: Education’s most contentious debates increasingly play out in local elections and legal filings, and early mover Democrats for Education Reform is in many ways responsible for awakening a new generation of Democrat-leaning leaders (and donors) to the realities of political hardball. Whether or not you agree with DFER’s policy positions, their impact is undeniable: "There were a lot of people who believed that if you supported good ideas, good schools, people would make room for you," says Joe Williams, the executive director. "I think that that notion has been nipped in the bud."


For nurturing a grassroots teacher movement. Most teachers' professional development is a check-the-box chore, mandated from on high and led by nonpractitioner "experts." Edcamps—loosely affiliated, teacher-run "unconferences" that take place on Saturdays and during the summer—are turning that traditional model on its head. Teachers lead sessions based on their own interests and expertise; recent topics include "How do we define ‘literacy’ in a new media world?" and "How can we foster creativity in problem-solving?" Cofounder Kristen Swanson works by day as senior director of the research institute at education startup BrightBytes, and by night collaborates with Edcamp organizers around the world, who in the last five years have hosted more than 550 events in 15 countries. She hopes to encourage educators to see themselves, and their colleagues, as professionals with valuable expertise to share. "I want to get to a day where we say, ‘Edcamp, we do that all the time, it’s just the way we do business,’" she says. It’s not an impossible dream: Sweden has already adopted the model as its preferred form of professional development.


For developing teacher-friendly tools at budget-friendly prices. Chromebooks, Google’s cheap but functional answer to Apple’s iPads and laptops, are fast becoming school districts’ hardware of choice, with analysts estimating that education buyers snapped up over 4 million of them in 2014. Google Apps, which last year introduced new functionality for tracking class rosters and assignments, has in turn won over teachers. And don’t forget YouTube Education, which boasts over 10 million subscribers and prominent content contributors like Khan Academy, which initially built its entire learning platform on the Google-owned video site. Like many companies, Google cloaks its education activities in the language of social good, but you can bet that its CFO keeps close tabs on those business lines. And they’re paying off.


For redesigning the SAT. It takes guts to radically change the iconic test known to generations of aspiring college students, but that’s just what the College Board, the nonprofit that oversees the SAT, has committed to doing. Starting this fall, high school juniors across the country will prepare for an assessment that has been reworked from its very core in response to criticism from students, parents, teachers, and academics. If College Board president and CEO David Coleman is successful in his overhaul, the SAT will lose its reputation as a test that can be "bought" via expensive test prep, and colleges will once again be able to rely on the test as a reliable gauge of students’ academic promise. With several years of tweaking and review now complete, it’s pencils down for the College Board and game time for test takers and admissions offices. Higher education : consensus :: oil : ___________?


For offering teachers a marketplace for their knowledge and experience. Watch out, Scholastic, here comes a horde of tiny new publishers. Founded in 2006 by a teacher frustrated with the resources available to him, Teachers Pay Teachers is an open marketplace for buying and selling lessons and classroom tools. The site grew in fits and starts for years before finally hitting its groove in 2014, when it topped $100 million in lifetime sales and hired former Etsy COO Adam Freed as its new CEO. "The best marketplaces often have a dynamic where the buyers and sellers are working together in concert," Freed told EdSurge.


For bridging the gap between school and home. Thanks to messaging tools like Remind and ClassDojo, teachers and parents communicate far more frequently and easily than they did in the days of printed letters lost in the murky depths of student backpacks. Kaymbu, a young startup focused on preschools, stands out from the pack for three reasons. One, it’s visual: Photos and videos documenting classroom work and activities are at the heart of product experience. Two, it’s tech-novice friendly, with preloaded iPads for teachers paired with a simple and welcoming user experience. And three, it’s generating off-the-charts parent engagement, with email open rates fluctuating between 200% and 300%. "Here’s your child saying the alphabet for the first time, here’s your child reading"—those are kinds of email messages that parents open again and again, says CEO Kin Lo, who founded the company after his own daughter started preschool. "We’re not about assessment, we’re not about grades. We’re focused on engagement in a very human way."