You Can’t Reap What You Don’t Sow

Every Friday, my daughter and I have our “Friday Family Movie Night” where we order pizza, pop some popcorn, and watch a new movie that we bought that week. Some of the movies that we have watched recently includes Wall-E, Aladdin, and Beauty & The Beast. The other week, we watched the movie The Lorax which is an adorable movie about greed and the environment. Towards the end of the movie, there was a song, “Let It Grow” which included this line:

You can’t reap what you don’t sow!

Normally, a random line from a song in a movie doesn’t usually catch my attention. However, I had a similar conversation earlier in the day that also had a similar subject.

Start Sowing

Over the years, I have met countless people looking to start or grow their businesses. Almost every person I’ve met has had a dream or goal of where they can see themselves. The issue is that a lot of these people spend so much time thinking about how they want things to be that they forget to actually start. The person I was speaking with earlier in the day before watching The Lorax was someone who had a great idea. The issue was that he was wasting a lot of time on thinking and not enough time on actually doing.

One of the biggest hurdles in accomplishing your dreams is actually starting. A recent study from Bentley University found that 66% of people wanted to start a business. 66% is a lot of people that are interested in starting businesses. However, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor reported that only 12% of people in the United States were involved with entrepreneurial activity in 2015.

66% of people want to start a business but only 12% actually do. What's stopping you from starting? Click To Tweet

Why is there a massive difference between people who want to start their own business and people who are actually running businesses? While there are many reasons that people give for not starting, a lot of the reasons can be summed up in the fear of the unknown. The issue is that you can’t achieve your dreams when you don’t event start.

What’s Stopping You

Naturally, there are good reasons to be hesitant in starting a new project or new business. What if something goes wrong and the project or business doesn’t work out? What if your project results in a lawsuit? How does starting a new project affect your life and family?

These questions are perfectly normal to have. I had many similar questions when I first started back in 2009. I wanted to start my agency My Local Webstop but didn’t know anything about the legal, accounting, or marketing. What if it didn’t work out? I couldn’t tell my electric company to wait until my business took off.

When I was discussing my worries with a friend of mine, he asked me “What is really the worst that could happen?”. I pondered that over. At the end of the day, even if my business drastically failed and I was months behind in bills, I could still get back on my feet eventually. It may take a few years, but I could recover. I knew what my dreams and goals were. Even if this business failed, I could recover and then try again.

So, my next question was “What obstacles were in my way?”.

Removing Obstacles

Everyone is going to have obstacles in their way when they get started. The great thing about the time we live in is that almost any project or business that you want to start has ways that you can reduce the obstacles in easy ways. For most businesses, you can start the business in a very part-time setting around a full-time job. For example, you can start a photography studio by scheduling photo sessions around your day job.

Some businesses will require some money upfront such as a lawn care company or eCommerce businesses. You can find ways to reduce these costs by borrowing equipment or purchasing used equipment to get you started. For your Ecommerce business, you can only order or make a very small amount of your products until you start getting customers instead of bulk ordering anything.

If you aren’t sure if anyone will even need your product or service, you can even try to validate the idea before you start.

Instead of jumping completely in with your time and money, look for ways that you can reduce the amount of cost and risk that will come with starting your project or business. Even if your business doesn’t have much risk, doing this exercise will help you feel even more confident in being able to start.

Reap Your Reward

Something to remember is that you will gain something from whatever you decide to start even if it fails. You may become successful but you will also learn a lot of valuable lessons and strategies as you go. You may learn the basics of marketing, handling customers, email and time management, and lots more.

I have met so many entrepreneurs who have said something like “If only I knew what I know now 5 years ago when I started”. If you keep delaying when you start, you are also delaying when you will start learning. Take the leap today and start sowing the seeds of your future!

How to Use Dashboards in Google Analytics

Over the last few posts, I wrote an introduction to Google Analytics and UTM’s and a guide to tracking conversions. Those guides will help you get all of your data set up and tracking your users, but you probably want to know what you should be looking at when browsing through your Google Analytics. There are hundreds of pages and sets of data inside your analytics which can be overwhelming. You could spend hours going through it all and still not be sure what is going on. Luckily, there is a feature that makes things much easier. This feature is called dashboards.

What are Dashboards in Google Analytics?

Google Analytics Default Dashboard

Dashboards are simple pages that include several different graphs and sets of data that correspond to each other. Usually a dashboard will be built around a particular focus. For example, you may have an eCommerce dashboard that shows all the important data sets concerning what affects purchases on your site. Another example would be a content marketing dashboard that helps you see what pages and posts get most traffic from what sources and which convert better.

By utilizing dashboards, you can see all the relevant data from Google Analytics in a meaningful way. Click To Tweet

By utilizing dashboards, you can easily see all the relevant data you need in a meaningful way without having to hunt through all the pages yourself. Each set of data and graphs are referred to as a “widget”. For example, on a content marketing dashboard, you may have a widget that shows the posts with the highest bounce rate so you can see what posts you may want to improve. You may also include a widget that shows the campaigns from a particular social network that convert the best. Let’s take a look at an example dashboard.

Google Analytics Example Dashboard

In the image above, we have an example dashboard with some widgets that are relevant to tracking eCommerce. In the top left, we have the “Transactions by Source” widget. This widget is listing the top sources of traffic sorted by the revenue brought in. At a quick glance, we can see which sources may be sending more converting users. The next widget shows us the pages that have the highest amount of exits so we can see pages that we may want to improve. The pie graphs on the right show us the percentages of the medium that users are coming to the site through. Finally, we have two example line graphs. One keeps track of revenue and the other tracks users and sessions. There are hundreds of different widgets that you could use and they will differ depending on the type of data that you want or need to keep track of.

How to Set Up Dashboards

When you log in to Google Analytics, you will find the Dashboards along the left navigation like in the image below.

Google Analytics Dashboard Link

Your site will already have an example dashboard called “My Dashboard” which has some example widgets to get you started. However, you will probably want to create different dashboards focusing on different sets of data. For example, you may have an eCommerce dashboard, a social media tracking dashboard, an email marketing dashboard, and others. When you first start out, you will likely be unsure where to begin and what types of widgets you want to use. Fortunately there is a dashboard gallery where you can import many different examples to get going.

To import a dashboard from the gallery, begin by clicking the “New Dashboard” link like in the image above. From there you will see a window appear where you can select to create a brand new dashboard. In the bottom right will be a button labelled “Import from Gallery”.

Google Analytics New Dashboard Popup

Clicking that button will open a new popup that will list hundreds of dashboard examples to choose from. Browse through the list to find ones that sound relevant to you. You can always modify the dashboard in the future. For my example, I will be choosing one titled “Site Performance Dashboard”. Once you choose one, click the “Import” button underneath it.

Google Analytics Importing Site Performance Dashboard

Once the dashboard is imported, you will be redirected to your new dashboard. Browse through all of your widgets to see what the data says and how useful it is to you. You may come across a widget that needs to be modified or deleted. To do so, you can click on one of the icons in the top right corner of the widget which appears when you hover over it.

Google Analytics Dashboard Widget

Clicking the edit icon will open a new popup that will allow you to modify the title, type, and data sets of the widget. Take some time to see how each of the widgets in your new dashboard are set up so you can begin to see how these different settings can be tweaked to get the exact data sets and displays that are most helpful for you.

Google Analytics Dashboard Widget Settings

Make Your Life Easier By Having the Dashboards Emailed to You

For dashboards to be beneficial, you have to get in the habit of checking them once they’re set up. Google Analytics has options to export or email you the dashboard. Along the top of the dashboard you will find options for sharing, emailing, and exporting.

Google Analytics Email Dashboard Settings

Using the email option, you can set up the dashboard to be emailed to you daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly so you can review it. Normally I suggest getting the dashboard emailed to you weekly. Not much will happen each day to receive it daily. You will end up over-analyzing and spending a lot more time with it. However, you don’t usually want to wait a month to review the data in case something major changes that may affect your traffic.

What’s Next?

Now that you have your UTM’s set up, tracking your eCommerce and conversions, and have your dashboards set up, it’s time to start using this data to improve your site’s traffic and conversions. The best strategy is to focus on one thing at a time and make small testable changes. For example, you could start with trying to improve the amount of traffic that comes from social media, so you would want to test different posts and tweets and different times which you can now track using UTM’s. Or you may want to improve your conversion rates, so you would use an A/B testing service to test different call to actions, headlines, and more.

In future posts, I will go over more topics for Google Analytics such as filters as well as strategies for improving your conversions. Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to be the first to know when the posts are published!

How to Track Your Conversions in Google Analytics

In a previous post I wrote an introduction to Google Analytics. In that introduction I discussed why you would want to use it and how to set up UTM’s to learn more about what is driving the traffic to your site. The next step in using Google Analytics is to set up your conversions so you can see what traffic is driving users to your site and how many of these users are converting into customers, subscribers, or any other goal you have.

What Conversions Can Google Analytics Track?

There are a variety of ways that Google can see if your users are converting. Some are easier than others while others may require you to use some code. For My Local Webstop, I offer a free consultation for anyone considering signing up for our service. I then track that in Google Analytics so I can see which source of traffic is leading to the most consultations. For Quiz And Survey Master, I track eCommerce purchases as a conversion and report to Google how much the customer spent. This allows me to see what source of traffic is bringing in the most revenue. You can see an example of how I could use this data in the image below:

Google Analytics Channel Revenue Example

In the image above, I am comparing the different links throughout my Quiz And Survey Master plugin to see what links convert the most users into customers.

How Can Setting Up Conversions Help?

Before you set up your conversions, you probably want to know why you would even want to. Lets look at my example with Quiz And Survey Master above. It’s nice to be able to see the revenue in Google Analytics, but how does that actually help me? Using the UTM’s that I discussed in my introduction to Google Analytics, I can compare the ways people are reaching my site. Now I can combine that with my conversions and acquisition data to see what drives the most users to my site that convert into paying customers.

Google Analytics Channel Revenue

If we look at the acquisition data, we see that more people are coming to the site through searches than emails. However, since we track eCommerce for this site, we can see that people coming from emails actually convert almost 35x compared to people coming from search. We can then use this data to optimize our sales funnel.

Using goals and eCommerce tracking will reveal sources of traffic that convert better than others. Click To Tweet

There are a few ways to set up conversions in Google Analytics. We can track if a user reaches a destination URL, how long the user stays on the site, the amount of pages per session, an event, eCommerce transactions, and more.

Setting Up Goal URLS

Destination URLs are the easiest goal to set up. You can set a destination URL for a purchase confirmation page or a sign-up confirmation page to easily track users that make it to those pages. To do so, log into your Google Analytics account and go to the “Admin” page which should look like this:

Google Analytics Admin

From here, choose your View and then click on “Goals”. On the new page, click the “New Goal” button. You will land on a “Goal Setup” page like in the image below.

Google Analytics Goal Setup

From here, choose the template that is closest to what you are tracking. In this example, I will choose “Place an order”. Select your template and then click “Continue”. Now we can select what type of goal this is like in the image below.

Google Analytics Goal Description

Here is where you can choose what type of goal this is. To track the URL, we are going to select “Destination”. If you wanted to set a goal for how long the user is on the site, you can select “Duration”. If you wanted to set a goal for how many pages the user viewed during their session, select “Pages/Screens per session”. The “Event” type is useful if you want to tell Google exactly when a user performs an action. For example, instead of setting this goal as “Destination”, we could send an event to Google Analytics when the user purchases an item, subscribes to our newsletter, watches a video, and more. I won’t be going into events in this post, but if this sounds like something you are after, check out this great article on WP Beginner about event tracking in WordPress.

Google Analytics Goal Details

The last thing to do is to tell Google Analytics what URL to watch for. Enter your URL into the “Destination” section. In this case, I am telling Google to look for If you want to assign a value to the conversion, you can do so using the “Value” option.

Be sure to click “Verify this Goal” if you have already had users get to that page to make sure you have your goal set up correctly. Once you are finished, click the “Save” button and you are ready to start tracking your goals!

Setting Up eCommerce

Sometimes, you want to know more than just if a user has successfully reached a goal. For example, in my image above, I showed how I can see the amount of revenue certain links and sources have brought in. This is done using the eCommerce tracking in Google Analytics. If you sell anything on your site, you should consider turning on eCommerce tracking to see what sources of traffic bring in the most revenue. The first step is to turn on the eCommerce tracking in Google Analytics. To do so, simply go to the “Admin” page and click on “eCommerce Settings” in your View.

Google Analytics eCommerce Settings

From here, simply switch the “Status” to “ON” like in the image above and you are all set to start gathering transaction data. Unfortunately, since there are hundreds of eCommerce solutions out there, I cannot show how to send the data for every platform. However, most of the popular solutions have a setting for this. For example, WooCommerce has an addon for this called WooCommerce Google Analytics Pro. Or, if you are already using Monster Insights for tracking your Google Analytics in WordPress, they have an eCommerce Addon which integrates with both WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads. If you are using any other platform, usually a quick Google search for your platform and “Google Analytics eCommerce Tracking” will get you to the right solution.

What’s Next?

Now that you have your goals and eCommerce set up, you will want to start looking at your data to compare what sources of traffic are sending the most users who are converting. From here, you will know what to focus your efforts on or what to work on improving.

In the next few posts I will go over more topics for Google Analytics such as filters and dashboards. Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to be the first to know when posts are published!

Getting Started with Google Analytics

Imagine that your site is getting thousands of visitors per day. Now imagine that about 100 of them are spending money on the site. Obviously, you probably want to get more of the users that are spending money on the site but how do you know where these users are coming from? Or, how do you know what actions they take while on your site before spending money?

What is website analytics?

This is where website analytics comes in. Website analytics collects data about who our site visitors are, where they are coming from, and what they are doing on our sites. We can see where information about our site visitors such as where they are located, the languages they speak, and the devices they used to view your website.

We can also see information about how site visitors got to our site and which pages they spent the most time on. Additionally, we can see what actions they took on the website such as watching a video, signing up for a newsletter, or adding a product to a shopping cart.

Without website analytics, how do you know where your site visitors are coming from and what they are doing? Click To Tweet

By having all this data within one place, we can analyze the different paths visitors take to complete actions on our sites. We can then look into which marketing channels we are using that are the most profitable. This helps us to ensure we are optimizing our marketing to save us time and money.

There are many services out there that offer analytics for your website. Some of the most popular ones include Clicky, MixPanel, Heap Analytics, Fathom Analytics, and Kissmetrics. The most popular service is Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is not only free for most people, but it is also powerful and user-friendly. Even better, you can link it to your Search Console and Google Ads if you use them to add even more information into your reports.

The basics

Before we can get too far with using Google Analytics, there are some terminology and concepts that we want to explore first.

Our first round of definitions correlates to the different levels within your Google Analytics account.


Inside your Google Analytics account, you can have different “accounts” for the different companies or brands that you’re using analytics with. For most people who are only using Google Analytics for their one site, they will only have one account. If you are using Google Analytics with your clients, you may have different accounts for each of your clients.

These accounts are all within your Google Analytics account, so you only have the one login to get into and work with these accounts.


Inside each of the accounts, you can have different properties. These properties are individual sites or apps. For example, if you are using Google Analytics for your own site only, you may have one account with one property in it. If you have multiple websites for your company, you may have several properties within your account.

If you have clients who have multiple sites, you may have different accounts for each client and then different properties within those accounts for each site for that client.


Inside each property will be “views”. These views are where the data is actually stored and where you will be reviewing your data. Each “view” is a set of data within a property. For many sites, you only need one main view. However, there may be times where you have a variety of different views to analyze different subsets of data. We will look more into views in a future email.

Our next round of terms focuses on the data that is in Google Analytics.


This is a single individual visitor to your website. When a visitor comes to your site for the first time, Google Analytics creates a unique ID for that user and stores a cookie in their browser. If the visitor comes back to your site, Google Analytics will look for the cookie to determine if this is a new or returning user.


This is a single visit by a site visitor. If someone comes to your site and views several pages, that is one session. If the person comes back next week to view some more pages, that would be considered a different session. By default, Google Analytics ends a session after 30 minutes of inactivity. So, if a person browses your site, leaves, and then comes back a few hours later, that would be two different sessions by the same user on that day.

Browsing Your Google Analytics

Now that we have a basic understanding of Google Analytics, let’s take a look through some of the content in the service. First, we can look at the Audience page to see some overview data about our traffic and its visitors.

Google Analytics Audience Overview

On this page, we can see a graph of the number of sessions that the site has had. We can also see the number of users, sessions, page views, pages per session, average session duration, and more.

We can then dive into the Audience section to compare the visitors based on a variety of data such as what language they speak, where they are geographically, what type of device they are using to view your site, and more.

Google Analytics Audience Location

Now, let’s take a look at the Acquisition section. In this section, we can discover where the users are coming from. By default, Google Analytics will break down the channels by search, direct access, social, and referrers as you can see in the image below.

Google Analytics Acquisition Overview

You can then dive into each channel further to learn more about where the users come from in that channel like in this image:

Google Analytics Acquisition Social

Setting up Google Analytics

Now that you know a bit about Google Analytics and what it can do, it is time to get it set up on your website. The first step is to go to Google Analytics and set up your account. You can sign in with your Google account and then you will want to add a property for your website during their guided setup.

If you are using WordPress, there is a really simple plugin called Google Analytics Dashboard for WP that allows you to simply log in with your Google account and then the plugin will automatically set up Google Analytics for your site. It even displays some basic traffic data in your WordPress dashboard so you can easily keep track when you log into your site. This is the plugin I actually use for this site.

If you are not using WordPress, most CMS’s and platforms have a simple process for setting up Google Analytics so be sure to check out your platform’s documentation or reach out to their support. Lastly, Google Analytics will give you some code when you create your account. So, if you know how, you could simply copy and paste their code into your site and not have to worry about any integration tools at all.

What’s Next

Once you have your Google Analytics set up, there are a few more things you can do to better analyze your data. You can track your conversions and create dashboards to quickly see your most important data.

You can also use UTMs to create custom campaigns and get more specific data.

From there, you can track specific user events such as when a user clicks a submit button or downloads a document. If you are interested in learning more, refer to this article on event tracking with onclick.

Core Values Help Guide Your Team in the Right Direction

Like people, most businesses have certain ideas and views that they highly value. These core values are part of every decision and action you take in your business. If you value freedom from an office, you will grow your business in a way that is different than someone who values having teams working in an office with them. However, most founders and entrepreneurs never take the time to pull the values out of their mind and present them to their teams.

What are core values?

A while ago, I wrote about having a clear vision for your business. Creating your company values and explaining them to your team helps immensely in this process. By knowing exactly what the company values are, your team is more likely to make decisions and take actions in the ways that your business needs them to. For example, if one of your core values is “Have Fun” and it is regularly talked about, it is more likely that your team will evolve into embracing that value.

This also helps as you grow your team. You can use the company’s core values to find potential candidates that fit in with the company’s values to ensure that they are a good fit for your company and your company is a good fit for them. For example, if your company has a value of “Full Transparency” and you can tell that to your potential candidates for positions that you are hiring for, you may find people who feel that your company is not a good fit for their values. This helps identify culture conflicts before you even hire anyone.

Some examples of core values

So, what does some core values look like? One of Zappos’s core values is “Deliver WOW Through Service”. Some of your core values can be longer such as one of Whole Foods core values which is “Promoting the health of our stakeholders through healthy eating education”. Here are Aweber’s core values:

  1. Foster Respect and Cooperation.
  2. Listen to What People Say About Us. Invite Feedback.
  3. Learn. Educate. Innovate.
  4. Don’t Take Ourselves Too Seriously; Have Fun.
  5. Create Remarkable Experiences.

Another example would be Salesforce’s values:

  1. Technology – Offering donated and discounted technologies to higher education organizations and nonprofits
  2. People – Promoting a culture of caring and helping employees give back
  3. Resources – Providing grants inspired by our employees, technologies, and communities

Now, compare those with Barnes & Noble Booksellers‘s core values:

  1. Customer Service
  2. Quality
  3. Empathy
  4. Respect
  5. Integrity
  6. Responsibility
  7. Teamwork

They then further explain each core value depending on where they are using the core values. For example, their Quality value has additional explanation:

Our actions and personal standards reflect our mission of being the best specialty retailer in America. We focus on delivering desired results within established timeframes.

As you can see, core values can be formed in all different ways. They could be one word values that you can explain further. Or, they could be lengthy phrases. Core values are unique to your business and can be worded in any way that feels right for your business.

How to decide on your own core values

Now that we have looked at a few example values and discussed why they are useful, you may be wondering where to start in creating your own. I was first introduced to core values when I read Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business and I highly recommend you checking that out. After looking at many different businesses and their values, I have found that they usually decide upon about 5 values. These values range from 1 word to 15 words.

When I started working on core values for Quiz And Survey Master, I first started pondering what sort of values do I have and which of them heavily influence the business. From there, I started crafting a few ideas that I could write down. Then, I put that list away and stepped away from it for a few days. This gave me time to look at them with fresh thoughts when I visited the idea again.

Once I narrowed down the ideas to around 5, I started trying to come up with different ways to phrase them that may make it easier to explain or convey the value itself. Finally, I presented my current ideas to my team and asked for feedback and their ideas.

Eventually, we crafted these 5 core values:

  1. Our Team – We treat our team like family
  2. Customer Success – We strive to ensure our customers are successful
  3. Respect – We respect every person
  4. Curiosity – We are always curious about learning new things and self improving
  5. Transparency – We always have honest, open, and transparent communication

From here, I created a document to keep these values listed in that I can include in various content such as communication with team members, new hires, content packets with new clients, etc…

What’s next?

I have found it very helpful to refer back to these core values to re-iterate what we stand for. For example, when a support person is trying to help a particularly difficult user, we ask “how can I ensure this customer is successful?”. This is a useful exercise to keep the core values a part of the team.

So, once you finish creating your core values, what should you do next? The first thing to do is to communicate your core values with everyone on your team.

This first thing you should do with your core values are share them with your team! Click To Tweet

This can be a simple team meeting or a company-wide keynote speech. The goal is to not only tell your team what your core values are but also why those are the core value and how is the team benefiting from having core values.

Finally, tell everyone else about them. Make it a part of your “get to know you” campaign and your onboading process for new clients and users. Your users want to know about you and who you are. Telling them about your core values is a great way to connect and share a little about your business with them.

If you are trying to figure out what your core values are, take your time. This will not be something you whip up one afternoon. I have created a set of questions that you can download that will help you in the brainstorming part of the process. Check it out below:

Several of the example core values came from a post on YFS Magazine.

Quickly Gain More Subscribers With These Lead Magnets

With many online businesses, growing your email list is one of the best ways to grow your community, loyalty, and revenue. But, how do you get your site visitors to want to join your mailing list? Email addresses are very important to people and they do not want to just give out their email address to anyone.

That is where lead magnets come in. Lead magnets are a free item that the user can get in exchange for joining your email list. There are many type of lead magnets out there and some are more effective than others. How do you know which ones you should try and how to get started? This is what I am going to answer today.

Choosing a Lead Magnet

If you look at the following list of lead magnets, you will see several different ones that you might be interested in trying with your audience. But, how do you know which one will work best? The key to creating a lead magnet is that it is relevant to your audience and also your content.

The key to creating a lead magnet is that it is relevant to your audience and also your content. Click To Tweet

For example, if you are a florist, recipes may be not as beneficial to your audience as a guide or checklist. However, if you have a post about choosing flowers for Valentine’s day, then a pdf of great Valentine’s dinner recipes may be beneficial to viewers of that post. So, look over the lead magnets and find some that are relevant to different parts of your website. Start with one that benefits your target user. Then, you can create others for particular parts of your website.

9 Lead Magnet Ideas


This is my least favorite lead magnet as it tends to be the least effective. However, it is the easiest and quickest to set up. In this lead magnet, a user gets a coupon for their next purchase when signing up for your mailing list. The issue is that this offer is usually seen before the user decides to purchase. For example, if you are using a popup on your site, the user will probably click out of the popup before deciding to purchase. Once they decide to purchase, they have to either try to track down a form again or just not use the coupon. The other concern is that if the user hasn’t decided to purchase by the time he or she leaves your site, offering a coupon will not want to make them want to join your mailing list as the user does not intend to buy.


This is one of my favorite lead magnets. Offering a checklist for the user to follow that relates to your business or content is a great benefit for the user and tends to convert well. An example would be a checklist for the user to follow to improve their site’s SEO. This is great to go along with a post that follows a step by step process. For example, if you create a post about what the most important items are for a chef, you could create a checklist that the user can print out to go to the store with or check off as they purchase the items. An example of this is my pre-launch landing page article which had a free pdf checklist users could download to use when building their launch pages.


Similar to the checklist, you can create a pdf guide for your users to download. An example would be a guide for taking care of the flowers. Another example would be a guide for setting up an email marketing campaign.

Free Tool

Consider building a free tool that is useful to your target user. A great example of this is HubSpot’s Marketing Grader which grades how well your site is set up for marketing and SEO. This tool collects your email address in order to use the tool which allows HubSpot to communicate with potential users.

Email Course

This is one of my favorite lead magnets. In this lead magnet, you have to create several lessons on a particular topic that your target user will find beneficial or want to learn more about. For example, my WordPress agency (My Local Webstop) offers a free 6 day email course on WordPress security. Once users sign up, they receive a lesson a day for the next several days. This is great because it positions you as an authority on that particular subject. Even better, is that you can re-purpose old content such as blog posts for these lessons or re-purpose these lessons for future content.

Quizzes or Surveys

A great way to gain subscribers is utilizing quizzes and surveys. You can have users take your quiz and provide them the results after the enter in their email address. For example, one of my previous clients runs a paleo diet site and offers a free carbohydrate intolerance quiz to help users discover if they have carbohydrate intolerance. The user can enter in their email address to receive their results. If you use WordPress, you can quickly and easily set this up using a tool such as Quiz And Survey Master.

Resource List

Something that can benefit new users in your industry is a resource list. This compiles all of your most used tools and resources so they can easily discover great tools to use for themselves. For example, my Blogging Toolkit is a list of the tools and services I use to improve my blog.


If you run a site that your users may benefit from recipes, these are a great and easy lead magnet to create. Simply create a pdf that includes the ingredient, instructions, and maybe an image and you are good to go. However, you can apply this same thought to other industries as well. Maybe knitting patterns, paint-by-numbers kits, or even some woodworking how-to’s could also fall in this category.


If you are comfortable with hosting a webinar, having users register to attend is a great way to gain subscribers. An average webinar is 30 to 40 people. So, running a couple of webinars a month can quickly grow your mailing list.

Now that you have some ideas, go create some lead magnets to grow your mailing list! Be sure to check out some of my lead magnets such as the Blogging Toolkit or the Pre-Launch Landing Page Checklist for ideas.

Reach Success This Year By Creating Smart Resolutions

Rainer Maria Rilke, the poet, once said “And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been”. I have always like that particular quote about the new year. The new year brings unknown adventures, exciting new challenges, and potential successes. Most people create goals that they want to achieve during the year. This could be anything from wanting to lose weight to wanting to grow their business. However, many people create their goals without much thought or any accountability to reach them. I encourage you to create SMART goals this year.

Many people create their goals without much thought or any accountability to reach them. Click To Tweet

What are SMART goals?

SMART is an acronym that stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

The SMART system has been around for many years and helps guides us to creating objectives and goals in various settings from project management to personal development. Let’s take a look at each part of the SMART system to see how using it can improve our goals.


The SMART system encourages you to create a specific goal rather than a vague or general goal. This helps us reflect back on our goals and see our progress. Some questions that you want to ask about your goal to get specific include:

  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • Who is involved?
  • How will I accomplish this goal?


In your goal, you should establish criteria for measuring your progress towards accomplishing your goal. This is useful to reflect back on and determine how far along you are on your goal. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • How will I know that I am successful?
  • How much?
  • How many?


When setting your goals, you want to make sure that these goals are actually possible in the time-frame you want. For example, setting a goal of growing your business by 1000x is a great goal to want but it probably isn’t achievable within a year.


With your goals, you want to make sure that they are relevant to your long-term goals. For example, you can set a specific, measurable, and achievable goal such as “painting 100 houses in 2 months”. However, if you are a cupcake shop owner, then that really wouldn’t help you in the long term. Be sure to ask yourself questions such as:

  • Does this help me achieve my long-term goals?
  • Is this a worthwhile goal?
  • Does this align with my company’s vision?


Lastly, you want to attach a time-frame to each of your goals. For example, you can say that you want to lose 50 pounds, but by when? In a month? In 6 months? When setting your goal, plan your time-frame so you can measure your progress more effectively.

What are examples of SMART goals?

Now, let’s take a look at some of your possible goals and see how we would create SMART goals for them. First, if your goal was “to lose weight”, you could turn that into:

“I want to lose 50 pounds in 6 months.”

If your goal was “to grow my business”, you could turn that into:

“I want to grow my company’s revenue by 300% by the end of the year.”

If your goal was “to write more”, try something like:

“I want to write at least 500 words per week in blog posts and email marketing” or “I want to write at least 2 blog posts a month”.

Now, go create your goals!

Now that you have a framework for creating your goals, take some time to think about what you want to achieve this year. Always try to at least have one personal and one business or work-related goal. Also, try not to have any more than 5 goals for the year. These should be big and focused goals, so you may not have time to achieve as many as you think you might. So, what are your goals for this year? Comment below and let everyone know what your goals are!