Friday, December 15, 2017

Top 10: Best Video Editing Software for Beginners

If video isn’t already an important part of your content marketing strategy, odds are it’s about to be. Web content is taking a turn toward video whether SEOs and content marketers like it or not. Nearly 50% of marketers are adding YouTube and Facebook channels for video distribution in the next year; one third of online activity is spent watching video; and video itself is projected to account for more than 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. 80%!

For those looking to continue to grow their organic traffic, that means one thing:

Best Video Editing Software for Beginners Moneyball

Not an expert? Don’t have a video studio, or a bona fide video specialist to shoot and cut your features? That’s alright! The goal of today’s blog is to show you that with the right video editing software, you too can churn out sleek, professional video content—regardless of experience—and keep your content strategy ahead of the curve.

Let’s dive in! Here are our top 10 best pieces of video editing software for beginners—from cheapest (i.e. free!) to most expensive.

1. Apple iMovie 

Best Video Editing Software for Beginners iMovie

Ok—so to those of you working with PCs, this one won’t really apply; but we’d remiss to leave it off the list. If you’re looking for simplicity and elegance, it doesn’t get much better than Apple iMovie. iMovie’s ten high-fidelity filters are some of the classiest in the video editing game; and if you’re shooting on your iPhone, or have been editing a project on your iPad, you can use AirDrop to wirelessly and seamlessly transfer your project over to your Mac.

One of iMovie’s most coveted features is its green-screen, or “chroma-key” tool, which allows you to place your characters in exotic locations—Hawaii, say—at a moment’s notice. Want to overlay the scene with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”? iMovie ties directly in with iTunes and GarageBand, so you can easily implement custom tracks and sounds. When your movie’s finally ready to ship, release it into the wild using iMessage, Facebook, YouTube, or any other of iMovie’s succinctly connected platforms.

Standout Features: Seamless Apple product integration; green-screen; audio and social platform integration

Pricing: Free with the purchase of a Mac

2. Lumen5

Best Video Editing Software for Beginners Lumen5

We’ll put this more in the category of a video editing “tool” than video editing software, but for social media marketers who want to create fun, flashy social promos in the blink of an eye, Lumen5 is a no brainer. Here’s a short little feature we made for a recent blog post, 14 Fun & Festive Holiday Marketing Ideas for 2017:  

Lumen5 markets itself as a tool that turns blog posts into social promos. While the process isn’t perfect, and you’ll likely have to do some tinkering to get your blog content looking just the way you want it, the rest of the video creation process is a cinch. Merely refine some copy that teases your blog post; drag and drop some gifs, screengrabs, or video clips; add some music; and your engaging social video will be ripe for Facebook and Twitter.

Standout Features: Blog-to-social-promo creation; drag-and-drop interface

Pricing: Create as many 480p videos as you want with the free version; or, for $50 per month, upgrade to 1080p HD.

3. Nero Video

Best Video Editing Software for Beginners Nero

One of the cheaper options around ($49.99), Nero Video holds its own on this list—it comes well-stocked with a lot of the tricks and effects you’ll find among other products vying for video editing supremacy, and as far as software for beginners, you can certainly do worse. If you’re going to spend money on video editing software, however, you might want to steer clear. Nero just doesn’t have the speed and functionality of some of the other products listed here, and if it’s value proposition is its price, $50 is still not all that cheap.  

Standout Features: Low pricing

Pricing: One-time payment of $49.99

4. Corel VideoStudio

Best Video Editing Software for Beginners Corel

Corel VideoStudio has all the characteristics of the other top-of-the-line products on this list, including 360-degree VR and 4k support, but it also has the distinction of being the first piece of consumer video editing software to offer motion tracking—which, if you’re not already familiar, is a feature that allows you to track specific objects throughout your cut (if you wanted, say, to point an arrow at one of your characters, blur out his face, or bestow him with a funny hat). Most of the products on this list come equipped with motion tracking, but VideoStudio still boasts one of the best motion tracking systems around.

One of the knocks on VideoStudio is its speed, which lags notably behind some of the faster systems on this list, like CyberLink PowerDirector and Pinnacle Studio. Still: for a one-time payment of $51.99? You can do much worse.

Standout Features: Motion tracking

Pricing: One-time payment of $51.99

5. Filmora from Wondershare

Best Video Editing Software for Beginners Filmora

When it comes to free video editing software, Filmora is about as multi-faceted as they come. Filmora is Wondershare’s standard, simple, high-quality video editing offering; but Wondershare also offers FilmoraGo (for mobile editing) and Filmora Scrn (for screen recording and editing). The design is intuitive and easy to use, and comes replete with filters, overlays, motion elements, transitions, and a small selection of royalty-free music. Here are a few more of the “basics” Filmora offers: 

Best Video Editing Software for Beginners Filmora

4k and gif support are boilerplate features for most video editing products today, but one thing Filmora does particularly well is titles. Title tools are trending in video software, and while Filmora’s doesn’t have the functionality of say, an Apple Final Cut Pro X, which can superimpose 3D titles over your videos and rotate them on three axes, it nonetheless has some snazzy titling features for the money you’re spending:  

Another Filmora feature beginners to video editing will find attractive is “Easy Mode,” which allows you to create fun, polished edits by merely dragging and dropping clips, choosing a theme, and selecting music.

Standout features: Title tool; mobile and screen editing; “Easy Mode”

Pricing: Starts at $59.99 for a lifetime license; or, $39.99 for a year.

6. CyberLink PowerDirector

Best Video Editing Software for Beginners PowerDirector

So—we stretched the meaning of “software” a bit earlier; now, we’re going to stretch the meaning of “beginner.” We included CyberLink PowerDirector on this list because its interface is, at the end of the day, pretty straightforward. Head to the product page, run through the tutorials, and you’ll be alright. There is within the interface, however, an embarrassment of options and effects. If you’re not willing to invest the time in learning all of them, it can get a bit overwhelming. 

Best Video Editing Software for Beginners Cyberlink

Don’t be scared of CyberLink’s extra features; just be wary of your commitment level!

In terms of rendering, PowerDirector is regarded as one of the fastest video editing systems around. It also operates consistently in the sphere of the innovative and cutting edge. PowerDirector led the charge in the switch to 4k, and today, it’s one of the first systems to support 360-degree virtual reality footage.   

Price: you get what you pay for! $79.99 gets you unlimited access to one of the most capable pieces of video editing software around.

Standout Features: Lightning-fast rendering; comprehensive suite of effects

Pricing: One-time payment of $79.99

7. Adobe Premiere Elements

Best Video Editing Software for Beginners Premiere Elements

We include Premiere Elements on the list mostly because it’s been an industry leader in the video editing game for some time. And $79.99 is not egregious, but we’re here to say that at that price, you’re mostly paying for the name. In the time since Premiere Elements’ inception, too many other products have surpassed it in speed and capability for us to place it among the cream of the crop. That’s to take nothing away from Premiere Elements’ usability, though—specifically for beginners.

The Guided Edits feature makes Adobe Premiere a particularly attractive option for beginners, as it allows them to take on both quick edits and advanced projects with substantial assistance from the software.  

Best Video Editing Software for Beginners Premiere Elements 2

If you’re not entirely sure what you’re doing, don’t sleep on Guided Edits!

So while Premiere Elements lags behind the competition in terms of speed, 3D editing, multi-cam, and some other advanced features, it’s still a great choice for the beginner looking for a comprehensive suite of effects, and some guidance on how to implement them.

Standout Features: Guided Edits; simple interface

Pricing: One-time payment of $79.99

8. Pinnacle Studio

Best Video Editing Software for Beginners Pinnacle

At the higher end of the Corel product line is Pinnacle Studio—which, at $129.95 (the amount you’ll need to pay to edit 360-degree and 4k content with the “Ultimate” version), costs more than twice as much as VideoStudio. What do you get for the extra money? Well, not only does Pinnacle come readily equipped with all the features you’d expect from an upper-echelon product—motion tracking, 360-degree VR support, 4k support, multi-cam, etc.—but you’d be hard-pressed to find a faster product on the market in terms of rendering.

For all of its features, Pinnacle’s interface is still as user-friendly and intuitive as anything on this list. Thus, is you have the need for speed, and you don’t mind shelling out a few extra bucks for it, Pinnacle might be the product for you.

Standout Features: Top-of-the-line rendering speeds; full range of features and support

Pricing: One-time payment of $129.95

9. Adobe Premiere Pro

Best Video Editing Software for Beginners Premiere Pro

With a virtually unmatched suite of features, 360 VR and 4k support, and a newly implemented ability to store, organize, and share assets online with a team, Adobe Premiere Pro is perhaps the most complete piece of video editing software around. Here’s a recent video promo for our free AdWords account structure guide we cut using Premiere Pro:  

One of the more dazzling of Premiere Pro’s tools is the Lumetri Color tool, which offers color adjustment and manipulation on par with that of a Photoshop. The multi-cam feature is also a winner—whereas most systems allow you to work with a limited number of camera angles, Premiere Pro’s latest iteration allows for an unlimited amount.  

Throw in a wealth of titling options, readily connected ancillary apps (like Photoshop and After Effects), and a flexible, easy-to-use interface, and Premiere Pro is a no brainer.

Standout Features: Multi-cam and coloring options; title tool; easy integration with Adobe Products; straightforward interface

Pricing: $19.99/month

10. Apple Final Cut Pro X

Best Video Editing Software for Beginners Apple Final

For the most advanced, least fiscally prudent of beginners, there’s Apple Final Cut Pro X. $299.99 might be a little steep for a product you may well have a difficult time understanding; but for those among you who enjoy a challenge, and who aspire to some level of professionalism in video editing, why not go for it? Apple has made the transition from iMovie to Final Cut Pro more painless than ever—so if you’re the kind of guy or gal who enjoys him/herself an Apple product, and has worked with iMovie to the point of mastery, it might be time to splurge on Final Cut Pro. The power is still daunting; the interface, significantly less so.   

Standout Features: Magnetic Timeline; Touch Bar support

Pricing: One-time payment of $299.99

Some Final Thoughts

Are you a content or social media marketer looking to get in the video editing game for the sake of keeping up with the growing video trend? Don’t stress! Any of the above products would make a fine choice for a beginner.

Think about your budget, your current level of expertise, and how much time you’re willing to devote to learning a new skill. If the responsibility has fallen on you to get your team’s video marketing strategy up to snuff, or if you’ve taken that responsibility upon yourself, that’s a good thing! Don’t wait around deliberating—get invested in one of these video editing products, and make it yours.

from Wordstream Blog Feed

Advertising Your Small Business: Small Budget, Big Results

Advertising Your Small Business: Small Budget, Big Results written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

If you’re a small business owner with a modest budget, you may be wondering where to begin with advertising. Although the advertising world can be overwhelming, the good news is that you know your business better than anyone else. Here are a few things to consider when creating your advertising plan.

1. Define your goals

You may think your goal is to increase visibility for your product or service. But take it one step further. You don’t just want people to know about your company, you want people to become customers of your company. In order to covert people from an audience to your customers or clients, you’ll need to solve a problem for them.

Either your product is something they need or would like, or your service offers a convenience or skill that is sought after. As you define your goals, you’ll also need to define your potential customer’s problems and how you solve them.

Then, this solution will need to be communicated in your advertising.

2. Learn where to find your audience

Reaching your audience is important, but do you know where to reach them? If you’re a DIY woodworking company, would a roadside billboard work best or would you be better off targeting bloggers who like your medium?

Advertising is not a one-size-fits-all solution. You must tailor your content and choose your advertising platform based on where your customers are most likely to be reached.

3. Do your homework before committing to an advertising method

If you’ve defined your goals and think you know how to best target your audience, you’ll still need to do some research before signing a contract or sending money to a partner. When working with a local advertising agency or freelancer, do your due diligence in calling references and searching the web for reviews.

Be wary of too many 5-star or “perfect” reviews online. While many companies really are that good, sometimes, a perfect record is forged with fake reviews. You don’t want false advertising for your company, so it’s best to avoid any companies or individuals you suspect may be using these tactics. You want real results from real people.

And you want to know how your advertising partner’s clients felt about their bottom line results.

4. Stay on brand

Although almost anything goes in the advertising world, it’s important that you know who your company is and the importance of staying on brand. What may work well for a beer or entertainment company may not translate to your industry. Knowing what’s appropriate in your field is as important as knowing where to reach your customers.

Many advertising agencies or contractors can help you develop a brand for your company if you don’t already have one. It’s critical to keep the messaging consistent throughout all your campaigns.

By keeping your brand front and center, customers will remember it when they’re looking for your product or service.

5. Learn how to do some things yourself

Let’s say you have a small business that does a lot of online sales. If your business has active social media sites, you may want some help branding those, but if you’re proficient at using the platforms you may want to interact with your customers on your own.

Be aware that the world is watching you. Keep everything very professional. If a customer or client has a complaint or leaves a bad review, acknowledge it, and then try to take the conversation into a private setting.

Above all else, avoid getting into an argument with your client or customer on a public forum. Even in private, this is very bad for business. But one rude or nasty comment from a business owner online can haunt your company’s reputation forever.

6. Be realistic about your goals

If your company is brand new and you’re just getting into advertising, don’t think you’ll become the next national sensation overnight.

Building a quality business with reoccurring and loyal customers takes a lot of time and effort. Every “overnight success” is actually years in the making. You probably won’t have new customers or clients knocking down your doors in the first week of your advertising campaign. But over time results will come.

7. Commit what you can afford to ongoing advertising efforts

Instead of running one or two random campaigns, consider your financial situation and determine how much you can afford to have an ongoing campaign or contract with an advertising agency.

By consistently advertising your business, you’ll drive more traffic. People are more likely to try something they’ve heard about or feel they are familiar with so getting name recognition for your company is often the first step in an ongoing campaign.

After you’ve gained the trust of your advertising audiences, you can move on to promotions, events and other advertising campaigns for more specific things.

8. Make use of free resources

Things like Google Maps, Google Locations, Yelp, and Facebook pages are free to create. If you have a physical location or website for your business, you’ll want to make sure it can be discovered through Google, Yelp, Facebook or other prominent social media sites.

To create a listing in Google, visit the Google Business page and create your listing. You’ll need to verify it, but once it’s done your place of business will be easy to find and review on Google. For Yelp, the process is similar. Visit the Claiming your Business page on Yelp and follow the steps to get your business up on the site.

Remember that when you begin advertising, instant results are unlikely. Advertising should always be part of your long-term business strategy to establish and maintain awareness of your brand.

To keep customers and clients coming back, you’ll need to stay top of mind. Consider rewarding your loyal customers with some sort of incentive to keep using your small business, and focus on customer service. Word of mouth is still some of the best advertising of all.

About the Author

wood work boss

I’m Paul from Woodwork Boss – and as you might have guessed, I love woodworking!

Woodworking is one of my true passions, and I love to share this passion with other interested people on my website. At, you’ll find woodworking tips, free project plans, buying guides, and inspirational posts.

from Duct Tape Marketing

Weekend Favs December 16

Weekend Favs December 16 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one that I took out there on the road.

  • Beaver Builder – The page builder you can trust with your business. Take control and join over 375,000 WordPress websites built with Beaver Builder.
  • Lumen5 – Easily create high-quality videos at scale through automation.
  • Adobe Scan – The free app with text recognition superpowers.

These are my weekend favs, I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape

from Duct Tape Marketing

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Transcript of How to Prepare to Sell Your Business

Transcript of How to Prepare to Sell Your Business written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Back to Podcast


John Jantsch: This episode of the Duck Tape Marketing Podcast is sponsored by Podcast Bookers, Podcast are really hot, right? But you know what’s also really hot? Appearing as a guest on one of the many many podcast out there. Think about it. Much easier than writing a guest blog post, you get some high quality content. You get great back links. People want to share that content, maybe you can even transcribe that content.

Being a guest on podcast, getting yourself booked on podcast is a really really great SEO tactic, great brand building tactic, Podcast Bookers can get you booked on two to three to four podcast every single month on auto-pilot. Go check it out.

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Matt Watson. He is the founder and CEO of Stackify. He’s been a developer/hacker for over 15 years, and he sold his first startup, VinSolutions for $150 million. We’re going to ask him exactly how he did that. He started Stackify to solve the biggest challenge he had as the CTO of VinSolutions, so Matt, thanks for joining me.

Matt Watson: Yeah. Absolutely. Glad to be here.

John Jantsch: It’s always great to encapsulate somebody’s entrepreneurial journey in one paragraph but tell me a little bit about your story, your entrepreneurial story, how you got started with your first business, VinSolutions.

Matt Watson: Yeah. It sounds really good in a paragraph but we all know it was a lot of pain and suffering for several years, right.

John Jantsch: Yeah.

Matt Watson: I first started VinSolutions. Let’s see, at that time I was about 22 years old. I didn’t know the first thing about business. I was always very entrepreneurial. I grew up working in flea markets, and my family was entrepreneurial, not in the tech side of things or anything, but in different ways, and was always working side projects and jobs for people as a developer.

Was doing some side work for a car dealership and another gentleman came by that car dealership just asking, hey, do you know any software developers that can help me with this project, and that car dealership basically made the connection and I was the technical co-founder that somebody else was looking for. I was that hired gun in some senses. Does that make sense?

John Jantsch: Yeah, absolutely.

Matt Watson: It wasn’t really my idea. It was somebody else’s idea and then I sat down with this guy in Applebee’s and said, he explained to me the time he was basically trying to take photos of cars and upload them into the Internet and this was, you got to remember this was 2003, the iPhone didn’t even come out until 2006, people didn’t have digital cameras back then. They were very much a luxury item. It was a different day and age.

John Jantsch: Yeah, they were pretty crappy too. I had one, and photos on it were terrible.

Matt Watson: Absolutely. They’ve come light years from there, that’s for sure. Basically started as somebody of how do we take photos of cars and the pricing and descriptions of the cars, and put it all in one place, but then syndicate it. You can imagine the dealers advertiser on auto trader and, and their website, and all these different places, and sending that data, in all those different places and updating it every day would be a lot of labor to do manually.

We basically automated that and then the business grew over eight years to do a bunch of different things that were related to sales and marketing for car dealerships.

John Jantsch: Where was the headquarters for VinSolutions?

Matt Watson: Based in the Kansas City area.

John Jantsch: That’s what I thought. We didn’t talk about this ahead of time, but that’s what I’m standing in Kansas City, Missouri recording this.

Matt Watson: Yeah.

John Jantsch: That’s what I thought. In fact, I actually spoke at a conference in Las Vegas for digital dealer. I’m sure you guys had a big presence there.

Matt Watson: Yeah, we would have been there.

John Jantsch: Yeah. Let’s move to Stackify. I said in the intro and it’s funny how many founders of companies start companies because they can’t find something or they can’t get something solved, so they just solve it by creating a company. Would you say it’s fair to say that that was the genesis of Stackify?

Matt Watson: Yeah. I would say that’s the biggest strength and weaknesses, both of an entrepreneur is we’re problem-solvers, and sometimes we try and solve too many problems and get ADD, but I’m a software developer at heart, and been a developer for over 15 years and at VinSolutions is we’re a very high growth company and had every problem you can imagine from the performance of our applications, bugs, and the new features, and scalability.

Just the team, growing very rapidly and just to have the tools we needed to troubleshoot application problems basically and started Stackify really to combine all those tools together. Make them easy to use for developers and make it affordable, and that’s what we’ve done. It’s been six years of that now almost.

John Jantsch: Let me go back to your growth days at VinSolutions. I know one of the things of, you guys grew to fabulous heights, but even that company goes from a million to five million. At what point did you feel like you outgrew your ability, you and your partners, I guess in this case, ability to actually run that company?

Matt Watson: Well, so that’s a good question. Over that eight year, eight years of time, actually some of the partners come and went. The guy I originally started the company with was no longer there. Some new partners coming in, and at the end of it, it was really myself and another gentleman named Mike who was the CEO and I was basically the CTO and I was in charge of the product.

He was really good at sales and leadership and ran the company from that perspective and I took care of the product to making it work and luckily I was able to grow into it and to figure it out, and looking back. Even today, I feel like I’m still learning as a executive and a manager and the right ways to run a business and do things, and all of those things that just learning on the job. We were lucky enough to just work through it and make it happen.

John Jantsch: Would you say with Stackify that you intentionally said hey this is a problem and we’re going to solve a problem, because I think a lot of people think here’s a solution and we’re going to build a solution and they forget that there might not actually be anybody that knows they have that problem that they solve. I think a lot of companies get it backwards. Would you say that you intentionally build Stackify purely to solve an unmet need?

Matt Watson: I would. The problem we were trying to solve was giving developers access to the data that they needed. That problem is still the problem we’re focused on today, but the way that we solve the problem has actually changed over that six years. The initial solution that we built didn’t end up working very well and we did a little bit of a pivot around that and accomplished the same goal, but ended up doing it in a different way basically.

John Jantsch: Now, obviously nobody’s buying or if people are buying and saying it doesn’t work, that gives you the feedback you need, but do you have any ways that you intentionally stay close enough to customers to understand that?

Matt Watson: Well, I think that’s one of the things I’ve learned over time is one of the things I need to do the most of is talking to our customers and understanding the problems they’re really trying to solve, the pain points they have, what they think about our products, and to my own growth as an executive, and a founder, it’s something I’ve had to learn over the years, because my natural.

In the past, as a developer, I’d rather just hide in the closet somewhere and write code. As a founder of a company, a CEO of a company. That’s not what I should be doing.

John Jantsch: Yeah. That’s actually, it sounds like you made that transition but that’s actually one of the hardest transitions for, and I think particularly technical folks to make. I remember I was interviewing, Guy Kawasaki for the show and he said that of all the entrepreneurs he’s talked to over the years, the biggest challenge they have is managing people because most of them don’t really want to do that. Would you say that that proved true for you that that idea of managing people was a hard skill to learn?

Matt Watson: It is a hard skill to learn and I love our employees dearly, but managing employees is hard. It’s definitely, it’s the hardest part.

John Jantsch: Talk a little bit about how you attract clients today, and whether or not that’s evolved.

Matt Watson: Yeah, so that’s actually was our hardest problem, and if I have any feedback for any other founder is always, you got to understand who your customer is, how you find those people, validating that, how you’re going to find all of them and tell them that you exist. It’s your go-to-market strategy.

That is not the part that I figured out six years ago when I started. It took us three years to figure that out. We do a lot of soul searching around how do we built this product, when nobody knows it exist. How do we get it out to market, and we read a book, and I remember it was called, it was about traction channels, and there was like 18 different traction channels. Do you know the book I’m talking about?

John Jantsch: I think it’s actually called traction.

Matt Watson: Yeah. For example, I have things that are about writing a book, or speaking to events, to going to trade shows, or blogging, and content marketing, and paid advertising, all these different types of traction channels. One of them that was in that book was called engineering as marketing, which make sense to us, our customers are engineers, and so basically the point of that was to build a tool that our customers could use, that they would be searching for this tool.

They will get a lot of value out of this tool, but then that would help them learn more about us and buy our products. A good example of this is somebody like HubSpot who has different website, grader tools, and stuff like that. That people may go to their website and use, and that attracts you to HubSpot and you don’t even know it.

John Jantsch: Yeah.

Matt Watson: That worked well for us. We built a product two years ago that’s been very successful for us. We’ve had over 20,000 people download that free tool that we built, and the key metric there is if somebody has used that free tool, their conversion rate on our paid product is three times higher than those who have not. It was a huge piece of the puzzle for us.

That part of it was great. We saw the issue of how do we get people to know that our free tool exist, and it has grown organically very well, it has a viral effect at this point, but the other thing we really did a year ago was double down on our content marketing, so one of the biggest challenges we have is our customers are software developers.

Software developers don’t have telephones. They don’t want to talk on the phone. They are the first people to complain about any sort of spam and emails mayhem. They use AdBlockers. They’re very finicky about all those sorts of things. How do you reach them? For us, there’s one thing that is always true. When they have a problem, the first thing they do is they go to Google and they search for it.

Our whole focus over the last year has been really on content marketing and when we started this year, we were doing about 40,000 visitors a month to our website and probably 10,000 of those are from one blog post that we did three years ago. That got a lot of traffic, but today we get over 500,000 visitors a month to our website in the course of the years, so we’ve grown that more than 10X this year.

John Jantsch: That’s awesome. Let’s talk about getting a business ready to sell. You sold a business and I’m not sure what the goal is, if that’s the goal for Stackify, but did you get that business ready to sell intentionally or did it just happened because I know a lot of people, at certainly a long-term or maybe even a short-term goal, but I think there’s probably more to it than people realize, isn’t it?

Matt Watson: Well, our original goal was to raise capital. We started that company in 2003, and we sold it in the 2011, so you frame up the timing. In 2008, and 2009, we were really starting to grow. We were really hitting our stride, but that’s when the economy went south. That’s also when GM and Chrysler went bankrupt and Ford closed a bunch of stores. We were in the wrong industry in a terrible market, and so we couldn’t raise any capital.

Fast forward a couple years. In 2011, before we sold the business, we had a business that was making $30 million a year in revenue, but we’ve never raised any capital. It had been bootstrap the whole way, and so we were still wanting to raise some capital partly to infuse more cash in the business, because we knew the business was going to continue to grow at a very fast pace.

Our problem was we’d hire a support person today, but they wouldn’t be useful for three months or six months from now, but we couldn’t afford to hire a salesperson six months ago. We could never get ahead of the expenses, so we were really trying to raise some capital, and take some of the chips off the table, some of the key shareholders could take a little money off the table. Ultimately, we ended up selling it for about twice what we thought it was worth and it became hard to say no.

John Jantsch: Yeah. Were there, I guess the one question I had is were there things that you did intentionally that made the business attractive or made it easier to have a transaction or had you really run your business that way? Partly what I’m getting is a lot of people want to sell their business, but it’s actually very difficult for somebody to even valuate it.

Matt Watson: Yeah, we worked with a firm that was out in San Francisco that represented us, and so they ran a big process for us when we were trying to raise capital, to do that round. We were very prepared and we had the craziest forecasting spreadsheets I’ve ever seen in my life with pivot tables within pivot tables, and then another headache, and then another pivot table, however they do that.

I’d say we were really prepared, had all that stuff together. We had a great story. We had a great growth and again it just ended up being worth twice what we thought it was worth.

John Jantsch: It’s awesome. Did you learn some things then after getting out of that, I’m sure you’re like, okay, I’m going to start another business, but this time it’s going to be different and maybe you didn’t say that, but did you feel like there’s some things that you learn in your first go around that you’ve been able to bring into Stackify maybe earlier?

Matt Watson: Well, I would say I learned mostly how not to do things.

John Jantsch: Take a few of those off the list.

Matt Watson: Yeah. This was definitely been different as being the CEO of a company and being the founder. I was the sole founder. I decided I was going to do this on my own and so that was a little bit of a leap of faith as well. I would say things are just so different from one business to another. This type of product. Our go-to-market strategy. How we sell it. For everything that’s radically different and I think what bring forth more than anything is just understanding that it’s a journey.

Things are going to change and move and no matter what you plan, it almost doesn’t matter what you plan, because the plans always change. Just understanding that part of it and understanding being through a startup and the hustle that it takes. I think that’s the number one thing that I learned.

John Jantsch: I always love to ask this question to entrepreneurs. What’s the best thing about what you get to do everyday?

Matt Watson: I love talking to customers, and solving their problems, and getting their feedback. I talked to one of our customers yesterday, and it was just great to get that feedback from him, and he actually worked at one of our competitors in the past, and was just a huge fan of ours. It was just so cool to talk to somebody like that, but then also the fact that he had worked at one of our competitors before. It’s just that kind of feedback I think always makes your day.

John Jantsch: Who does make an ideal client for Stackify?

Matt Watson: Most of our customers are other software development teams. They range across all industries, all geographies. We have customers in over 50 countries, and from little [inaudible 00:17:46] software companies to a cruise line to an airline to companies like Carbonite who does online backup to a magazine. You name it, we’ve got it. It’s really just anybody that has a development team.

John Jantsch: I guess I always love to ask this too. What problem are you solving for them?

Matt Watson: Yeah, the key problem that developers have is that they’re trying to ship their codes as fast as possible. A lot of companies these days do releases every week, some do them every day, and the only way they can do that with any confidence is to have a tool like ours, that can help them find problems with their software, before they release it, during the release, or shortly after the release.

We’re really their eyes and ears to make sure that that release cycle goes really well and if there’s any kind of problem. We can give them all the data that they need to find it immediately.

John Jantsch: It’s not always just a code problem. It’s a device problem or different types of devices. You’ve got mobile devices and Apples, and PCs, and so I mean a lot of the testing has to be, it has to work on all of those, right?

Matt Watson: Yeah. A lot of things these days all run in a cloud, and even though they run in a cloud, that provides ton of benefits. Things like Microsoft Azure and AWS have problems too, so it’s always a bumpy thing and there’s always problems. That’s just the nature of technology.

John Jantsch: Matt, if people want to find out more about you and Stackify, where would you send them?

Matt Watson: At, which is S-T-A-C-K-I-F-Y dot com, and you can check out our product and look me up and shoot me a message if you have any questions.

John Jantsch: Awesome. Well, thanks for joining us, and hopefully I’ll see you out there on the road.

Matt Watson: All right. Thank you.

from Duct Tape Marketing

How to Prepare to Sell Your Business

How to Prepare to Sell Your Business written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Matt Watson
Podcast Transcript

Matt Watson

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Matt Watson. He has been a developer for over 15 years and is the founder and CEO of Stackify. He started the company to solve the biggest challenge he had at his first company, VinSolutions, which he sold for $150 million. He and I discuss how to get your business ready to sell.

Stackify provides the ultimate combination of tools for .NET & Java developers to monitor and troubleshoot their applications. They combine application performance monitoring (APM) with server monitoring, app metrics, advanced error tracking, and log management in a single, easy to use platform for developers.

Questions I ask Matt Watson:

  • How do you attract clients today and how has it evolved?
  • Were there things you did intentionally that made your business attractive to be sold?
  • What were your key learnings from your first business that you could bring to your second?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How Watson got started with his first business
  • How to stay close enough to customers to understand them
  • How to get a business ready to sell

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Matt Watson:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Podcast Bookers. Podcasts are really hot, but you know what else is really hot? Appearing as a guest on one of the many podcasts out there. Being a guest on a podcast is a really great SEO tactic and brand building tactic. Podcast bookers can get you booked multiple times every month on auto-pilot. Check it out at

from Duct Tape Marketing

3 Steps to Create Content That Turns Readers into Subscribers Like Clockwork

3 Steps to Create Content That Turns Readers into Subscribers Like Clockwork written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Subscribers are a goldmine of marketing potential.

They share your content, heed your advice, buy your products, and tell their friends. They are easier to upsell, more profitable, and more loyal.

They return again and again, not because they have to, but because they want to.

Sadly, knowing the value of subscribers isn’t going to help you get more of them.

Which is why you’re here.

So how do you start mining for gold?

Start with email to collect subscribers.

In the world of subscription, emails rule.

If you build an audience on Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, or Medium, your success is at the mercy of the platform you’re using. And I don’t need to show you another example of a self-made celebrity who upset their digital place of business at the cost of their career.

With email, though, the audience is yours. No one can tell you what to send, say, offer, or do. And that’s a nice dose of freedom for a growing business.

But email isn’t just the safer option. It’s also an effective place to build a subscriber base.

A study of 605 businesses done by HubSpot, the massive marketing company, found that businesses that collected subscribers by email had 12 times more subscribers than those that used RSS feeds.

3 Steps to Create Content That Turns Readers into Subscribers Like Clockwork

To start collecting emails, you’ll need approachable content that you consistently promote to new audiences. And you’ll need to add a dose of incentive.

Here’s that three-step process.

Make your content approachable

The first step to gaining subscribers is creating approachable content.

Content that attracts your ideal customer, delights them once they click, and encourages them to enter their email address in that glorified empty text box.

But creating content that is approachable is a lot easier said than done.

After all, what makes content approachable? Is it the way you talk? The way you write? The way you design?

Well, it’s a little of all three.

First, let’s take a look at the design of your website. When people arrive on your website to view your content, what is their immediate reaction? Is it one of neutrality, enjoyment, or outright horror?

Imagine, for instance, that you arrived on this website: Gates N Fences.

3 Steps to Create Content That Turns Readers into Subscribers Like Clockwork

I don’t know about you, but I’d leave the moment I arrived.

Which means that I wouldn’t read any of the actual content, and I definitely wouldn’t subscribe.

With a design like that, practically no one would.

That’s exactly why you need a website that communicates expertise, confidence, simplicity, and above all, trustworthiness.

And you can do that on a low budget. Just keep your website design simple and include plenty of whitespace. When in doubt, don’t add any extra elements.

Booktrep, for instance, is a low-budget WordPress website that is simple, elegant, and, for those reasons, trustworthy.

3 Steps to Create Content That Turns Readers into Subscribers Like Clockwork

Of course, the bigger your design budget, the more intricate your website can be. Just ensure that you don’t overdo it like the good ‘ole Gates N Fences example from above.

Consider something like the BigCommerce blog where its intricate design doesn’t confuse navigation, crowd content, or provoke distrust.

3 Steps to Create Content That Turns Readers into Subscribers Like Clockwork

The last thing you want to do is spend hours upon hours creating quality content, only to drive traffic to your website that sows distrust among visitors.

The whole point of creating content is to generate subscribers who will turn into customers in the future.

If you place the unnecessary roadblock of a poorly-designed website or lazy navigation between you and that audience, then your subscriber base, customer base, and thus, revenue, will suffer.

Riffing on that same note, you also need to consider the load time of your website. The longer your site takes to load, the fewer people who will stick around to see what you have to offer.

But a fast website means more visitors, which means more subscribers.

Unfortunately, too many large image files, locally-hosted video content, or HTML and CSS discrepancies can kill your website’s load speed faster than you can say, “But wait! There’s more!”

To check how fast your website is, you can visit Pingdom.

3 Steps to Create Content That Turns Readers into Subscribers Like Clockwork

But it’s not just the design or speed of your website that determines whether or not your content is approachable. It’s also the content itself.

Research from Medium, the massive online public blog, found that the ideal blog post takes 7 minutes to read and sports about 1,600 words.

3 Steps to Create Content That Turns Readers into Subscribers Like Clockwork

That might sound like a long blog post. But notice how the four-minute marker on that graph doesn’t show much decline?

The real punishment arrives when the reading time is three minutes or less. In other words, you can probably get away with 800 to 900-word articles and reap many of the same benefits.

When it comes to video content, that rule doesn’t apply.

In fact, with video, shorter is better across the board.

You have 10 seconds to grab the attention of a viewer. 33% of people will leave after 30 seconds, 45% will leave by one minute, and 60% will leave by two minutes.

3 Steps to Create Content That Turns Readers into Subscribers Like Clockwork

This means that you should structure your video content a bit like a journalist. Start with the most important, intriguing, visceral information, and then gradually include less critical information as the clock ticks.

For pacing within a blog post, consider sprinkling images throughout the piece like I’ve done thus far. This gives the reader a break between blocks of text and makes the article easier to read.

Finally, you can practice empathy within your blog posts to create approachable content.

Be empathetic to the visitor’s concerns, experiences, and current understanding of the world.

Consider how Colin Newcomer starts his blog post on the massive online blog, Smart Blogger.

3 Steps to Create Content That Turns Readers into Subscribers Like Clockwork

Here’s what Colin does so effectively.

  1. He recognizes the problem that his reader is facing.
  2. He agitates that problem to show him how well he understands their pain.
  3. And he offers a solution.

3 Steps to Create Content That Turns Readers into Subscribers Like Clockwork

And that formula makes for an article that readers feel understands them, is trustworthy, and offers valuable information.

A clean web design, fast load time, and optimized content length have a similar effect on visitors.

Which means that people will be more likely to give you their email address.

Promote your content to new audiences

If you’re not reaching new people, you can’t gain more subscribers.

So once you’ve created that share-worthy content, it’s time to show that content to new audiences.

One of the benefits of publishing content on your own blog is that you still reserve all of the rights to that content — with other publications, that might not be the case. This means that you can reuse the content whenever and however you like.

For instance, you can republish the piece on Medium, Quora, and LinkedIn. Which can be a wildly effective way to gain email subscribers. Daniel Ndukwu writes about how he increased subscriber base by 339% in 60 days using Medium and Quora.

3 Steps to Create Content That Turns Readers into Subscribers Like Clockwork

This strategy doesn’t take any extra time, and it gets your content in front of a brand new audience.

It’s a no-brainer marketing strategy that should become part of your regular publishing routine.

Another no-brainer strategy you should use is Social Media sharing. Every time you post a new piece of content, share it on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter with a link to your website.

But here’s the part that might not be such a “no-brainer.”

Tag any friends you think might be interested in the piece of content. Sort of like Shopify content marketer Aaron Orendorff does with his Facebook posts.


Because doing so won’t just encourage the people you tagged to look at the article. It will encourage all of their friends to look at the article as well.

You see, when you tag someone in a post on LinkedIn or Facebook, that post will show up to all of the friends of the people you tagged. That’s a massive audience increase by just typing the “@” symbol.

By using social media tags, Medium, Quora, and LinkedIn to get your content in front of new audiences, you’ll build a subscriber base in no time.

Create a lead magnet

Some visitors will be more difficult to turn into subscribers. They’ll require more… incentive.

And the best way to create incentive is by creating a lead magnet. Basically, an exclusive piece of content that you only give to those who opt in to your email list.

Aaron Orendorff does this on his website, iconiContent.

This is what his homepage looks like.

3 Steps to Create Content That Turns Readers into Subscribers Like Clockwork

Then, if you scroll a ways down the page, this will pop up on the side.

3 Steps to Create Content That Turns Readers into Subscribers Like Clockwork

Lastly, if you scroll through one of his blog posts, this scroll-depth-triggered overlay will appear near the end.

3 Steps to Create Content That Turns Readers into Subscribers Like Clockwork

To create your own lead magnet, ask yourself these questions.

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What is their biggest struggle?
  • What kind of content could I create to solve that problem?

Then, create the piece of content for your audience, turn it into a PDF, and make it a downloadable resource for those who opt in. Or, you can repurpose a piece of content you’ve already created and do the same thing.

You can use PDF Converter to turn an old blog post into a lead magnet for free.

3 Steps to Create Content That Turns Readers into Subscribers Like Clockwork


You know the potential of subscribers.

You know that they represent a goldmine of selling and upselling potential – that they’ll tell their kids, spouse, friends, and coworkers about your business.

That they are loyal, profitable, and revenue-driving.

But you also know that they aren’t automatic.

Building a loyal audience takes work. Specifically, you should focus your efforts on email-subscription, create approachable content, consistently promote that content to new audiences, and build a lead magnet for an additional incentive.

Only then will you dip your pan in the correct stream.

About the Author

Brad Smith

Brad helps SaaS startups create actionable long-form content for a fraction of the price of a content writer. Give him a pug and a pencil and he’s off to the races!

from Duct Tape Marketing

Introducing New & Improved Success Reports for Cross-Platform Campaign Analysis

Over and over again, we’ve heard from our clients, both advertisers and agencies, that reporting is a pain. When we run informal polls before webinars, reporting is usually named as one of the top two time sucks for marketers.

To make matters worse, it’s particularly difficult and time-consuming to get a clear picture of performance across multiple ad platforms, where native reporting metrics are often apples to oranges. You have to:

  • Pull data from multiple sources
  • Compile it and try to make sense of different metrics
  • Analyze and interpret success to make recommendations
  • Share all that information across the business

It’s hard enough for any single business, but it’s decidedly one of the most inefficient and dreaded tasks for agencies. And according to HubSpot, “agency staffers spend around four or five hours per client each month reporting on digital.” The more clients you have, the more that adds up and gets in the way of all the other work you have to do.

WordStream Advisor new Success Reports activity graph

In our quest to make online advertising easier for all our clients, we just released new and improved Success Reports in WordStream Advisor that compile results from all your online platforms in one place and give you the big picture of your success. Hallelujah!

Introducing the New Success Reports

WordStream Advisor new Success Reports cross platform report

If you’re a WordStream customer, this is what you’ll see in your account as of today. The new Success Report provides:

  • A single version of the truth – You’ll immediately see a single-source, easy-to-interpret funnel view of key metrics across all your ad platforms.
  • Highly customizable data slices – Include or exclude campaigns or platforms at will.
  • Aggregate spend, impressions and performance across platforms – At a glance you can see how performance for each metric has changed.

How the New Success Reports Work

As always, Success Reports are included in WordStream Advisor as your default reporting; if you’re already a customer, you don’t need to do anything to get access to the new reports.

The Success Report pulls in campaign data from all of your connected platforms including Google AdWords (search, display, shopping, video, and universal app campaigns), Bing Ads, and Facebook Ads (including Instagram placements).

The key metrics your Success Report includes for each platform are:

  • Spend
  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Conversions
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Conversion Rate
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA)

If you’ve got Easy Tracking in place, the report also pulls all the leads you’ve generated together, whether those leads were from phone calls, landing pages or directly from your Facebook lead ads.

WordStream Advisor new Success Reports leads graph

The Performance Funnel in your Success Report is a “big picture” view of your performance. You can start by seeing topline aggregate performance results across platforms and then drill down by platform for a more detailed view.

Once you drill down, you’ll see unique reporting elements for each platform. For example, when you’re looking at your AdWords results, you’ll see a word cloud of your top-performing keywords (our clients LOVE this feature!).

WordStream Advisor new Success Reports top performing keywords list

You’ll see your Quality Score health for Search platforms in both AdWords and Bing.

WordStream Advisor new Success Reports AdWords performance funnel report

For Facebook, you’ll see results by campaign objective along with your top performing posts.

WordStream Advisor new Success Reports top objectives by spend

Your reports are fully customizable – you can include or remove any section and add your own analysis and insights as desired. This is a great feature for agencies who might want to annotate reports before sending to clients – and as a bonus, you can also white-label the report or add your own agency logo.

Finally, the Success Report can be scheduled automatically or produced as a one-off report whenever needed.

Benefits of the New Success Reports

Why did we revamp these reports? To make reporting and analysis easier and more effective for you, our clients! Starting today, we feel confident you’ll see these benefits:

  • Agencies will discover dramatically improved workflows and efficiencies – you’ll spend more time on client strategy and growing your business, less time on mindless data aggregation.
  • You’ll easily and intuitively share reports across your business or agency with a modern, concise design.
  • Reporting will actually be an enjoyable part of your job – not something to dread every week!

As mentioned, if you’re a customer, you’ll find the new Success Report in your account today. Please let us know what you think!

Not a customer? No problem. See how it works for yourself with a free trial of WordStream Advisor

from Wordstream Blog Feed