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Success Advice

Why I Had to Drop My Superman Complex and Hire a Marketing Genius

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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For many years I had the Superman Complex. I thought I could handle every aspect of my business, no one could do it better than me, I knew it all and if anyone else put their hands on it, they would stuff it up. I credited much of my business success to the fact that I had done a lot of it myself. The truth was, I had achieved a lot in the first few years utilizing my own skills and creative ignorance, but as the Addicted2Success brand sky rocketed so did the demands for new levels of execution.

So I hired 3 awesome individuals: Tyler, Armando & Joe to help with content management and administration and it wasn’t long after this that I discovered that in order for Addicted2Success and the community to reach the level of impact it deserved I would need to find a marketing analytics and SEO development guy.

That was when I decided to give Joseph Lazukin a shot.

At only 25 years old, this college dropout turned whiz kid has been making a name in all the right circles, and out of good humor and fun, I decided to put Joseph to the test here at Addicted2Success to see if the rumors were true, and here were the results…

Within two weeks of working with Joseph, he doubled our site traffic and increased our revenue by nearly 300%, while at the same time ranking Addicted2Success.com for more keywords than our closest competitor.

Here is our SEO graph :

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After having such a massive impact, I decided to interview Joseph and pick his brain on the advice he had for up and coming entrepreneurs struggling to market their businesses, and to also share an exciting announcement to all of our A2S readers…

So what do you ask a million dollar consultant? I had a few ideas, and I think you’ll enjoy the golden nuggets we extracted out of our conversation below:

“What is the biggest mistake you see business owners making today, and what is your advice on how to prevent our readers from making the same mistake?”

The biggest mistakes I see business owners making today is when it comes to social media, hiring the right talent, and technology. Almost every company I’ve ever come across, whether client or a big brand name like Best Buy, Sears, or even Dell, I notice they have all not placed their Facebook pixel or even set up their Google Analytics correctly to make informed decisions, yet they’re spending millions of dollars a year marketing on these social platforms.

I’ve never seen such a waste of revenue, because even the slightest change to the way they integrate those two elements of their digital marketing strategy, would save them millions in annual spend.

It may sound crazy, but what almost every business owner including Fortune500 business owners and CMOs do not know, is that a growing majority of traffic coming through popular ad networks is bot traffic.

It’s why Facebook was sued a few years ago when a questionable amount of traffic was thought to be bot traffic, and why Google just issued a refund to advertisers.

cost of ad fraud 2017

In fact, bot traffic has become such an issue that by 2025 it’s expected to cost advertisers $50BN USD, which I can send you a link to later, and by the simple fact that these major companies aren’t implementing policies to protect against bot traffic, is tell tale that companies are in desperate need of outside consultants to help educate and help them understand the landscape and risks of marketing in the digital age.

Small tweaks, have saved my clients millions of dollars on ad spend, whether it was in the form of implementing services like Siphon to block and potentially get rebates on that bot traffic or simply delaying their tracking pixels to avoid click jackers, bots, and other nefarious traffic sources from being lumped into retargeting campaigns, and increasing CPAs (cost per action). It’s a 10 minute fix, that has a profound effect, but nobody is doing it!

get refund on facebook bot traffic

Analytics showing bot traffic detected by Siphon on a Facebook™ ads campaign

“Every day we see increasing amounts of click fraud coming into our client’s websites, with some clients seeing as little as 8% with their AdWords or up to 40% on Facebook campaigns. This problem is only getting worse and anyone who doesn’t make the effort to stop it on their accounts is throwing money away. “

– Richard Seppala (CEO of Siphon)

how to get refund from bot traffic on google ads

Analytics showing bot traffic detected by Siphon on a Google Adwords™ campaign

As for anyone reading this who is looking into marketing online, the biggest piece of advice I can give you is that you need to be diligent and learn how to read and interpret data. Everything moves a lot quicker in the digital world than it does in the real world, one day you could be at the top of page one on Google or getting a 20x return on ad spend, and the next day an update can come out that wipes away your profits and offsets your quarterly projections. A year in the real world is like four years or seven years on the internet, staying stagnant and not adapting to new marketing practices is dangerous, and in the coming years we’ll see a lot of the big name brands get disrupted if they don’t adapt before another more agile competitor essentially takes their lunch.

“Wow! That was a lot of advice jumbled into one answer, so if I am understanding you right, advertisers are paying more because of bot traffic and they aren’t even aware of it? Or even how to fix it?”

Yes, and I actually have posted about the subject a few times on social media as well as fixes on how to prevent bot traffic from eating away at your margins. One of the biggest discoveries I made recently is when I ran “Engagement” based ads on Facebook vs “Traffic” based ads, and saw a huge disparity between the number of clicks that were being reported and the number of clicks that were being counted by Google Analytics and other 3rd party platforms.

Now I totally understand that there will always be some percentage of drop off, because of people becoming impatient due to load time, and that every analytics platform counts viewers differently, however all things considered when I ran a split test between the two ad types and the number of clicks reported, I saw a much greater disparity in the number of clicks reported by “Traffic” based ads, than I did with “Engagement” based ads, and I’m not talking a few percentage points, I’m talking upwards of 20%, and when I shared my findings, I was turned onto Siphon and other services that have sprung up in the industry that track bot traffic and are accredited for helping customers receive refunds from major ad networks like Facebook and Google and can issue copies of your traffic logs that you can then hand over to your ad network and receive a refund on that malicious traffic.

“Woah! So you can get a refund on your ad traffic?”

Yeah a certain percentage of it, but I would highly recommend companies implement best practices and try to prevent the malicious traffic in the first place.

“That makes sense, it’s better to prevent it than ask for a refund. So what other mistakes have you seen business owners making?”

Honestly, there is a pretty long list of things, but the main thing that businesses hire me for that has been possibly the biggest pain point, would have to be customer experience and follow up on cart abandonment.

So let’s say there is an e-com store that is doing around $10M a year, based on the universal industry average that 2 out of every 3 people abandon their cart, there will be around $20M in cart abandonment. That is an incredible amount of money, and those are not cold leads either, they are warm, they have already been to your site, experienced your brand, and yet when I ask most company owners and CMOs where their marketing dollars are being spent, it’s not on converting this low hanging fruit, it’s on bringing in more hard earned, cold leads.

It is a little insane to me, but hopefully that trend will start to shift as companies continue to adapt with consumer trends, and improve end to end customer experience.

“Interesting, so is that what you do, or what exactly is it that you do?”

I have worn a lot of hats, but most notably I am known as a CRO (conversion rate optimization) specialist. So for example, I’ll come into an e-com or SaaS business that is doing $10M a year in sales, that has $20M in cart abandonment like I mentioned previously, and I’ll use a handful of strategies to recoup around 30% or $6M of those abandoned sales. That is what I am mainly hired for these days, but on the other hand, I can also come in and optimize a site from a technical level so that it ranks significantly higher on Google and other search engines, like I did for Addicted2Success.

It really depends on what the client needs, but mostly companies hire me to recover abandoned cart sales, and put more points on the board to make investors happy. Recently however, I’ve been hired directly by investment groups to speed up their return on investment in the companies they’ve invested in by auditing their portfolios, launching growth hacking campaigns, and implementing the marketing strategies I have bulletproofed across several industries.

Often times, the difference between profitability and ending the year on a deficit could be as simple as implementing a bot filter like I mentioned above, tweaking your site structure to index better on Google, or implementing a solid cart abandonment strategy. If you have ever read Think & Grow Rich and the chapter about being 3 feet from gold, that is where most of the businesses are at when they approach me, I help them achieve those last 3 feet by shifting, optimizing, and re-aligning their marketing efforts.

“That is a really interesting perspective, I myself am a huge fan of Think & Grow Rich and I couldn’t agree with you more a lot of businesses often are on the edge of greatness and may need that fresh pair of eyes and outside perspective or consultant like you to help them achieve it. So all of this is really amazing, and I am glad to make the following announcement, but before I do, where can our readers follow or get in touch with you if they want to learn more about marketing and about what you do?”

The easiest way to follow me would frankly be on Facebook via my personal profile and for anyone interested in learning more about marketing and the strategies I implement for my clients, then joining my strategic marketing group will give you the greatest insight. I cover everything from paid advertising to SEO to social media hacks I use on client campaigns, and every other week I jump in and do a one hour live Q&A where you can ask me anything about marketing or about how to solve a problem you’re experiencing in your business. It’s something of a side project of mine, and although I could charge significantly more for the information I share, I wanted to make it expensive enough for people to pay attention and take action on the content, but low enough for any small businesses, startup, or business professional to be able to afford it.

“That’s a great way to give back, so I guess that leaves us with the big announcement you’ve all been waiting for…”

After working with Joseph and seeing his work ethic and simple dedication to the craft, we are excited to announce that we have brought him in as a permanent partner here at Addicted2Success!

So to all of our followers here at Addicted2Success, please give Joseph Lazukin a warm welcome to our A2S family! We look forward to the growth and expansion of A2S under his direction and the lives we will touch as we continue to grow the world’s #1 site for motivation and inspiration!

I am the the Founder of Addicted2Success.com and I am so grateful you're here to be part of this awesome community. I love connecting with people who have a passion for Entrepreneurship, Self Development & Achieving Success. I started this website with the intention of educating and inspiring likeminded people to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances.I'm proud to say through my podcast and through this website we have impacted over 100 million lives in the last 6 and a half years.

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Success Advice

Why You Should Prefer Emails to Phone Calls if You Want to Be More Productive

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“Email” and “productivity” rarely go together in a sentence. Emails have been declared as one of our largest time wasters. A McKinsey report stated that people spend around 2.6 hours each day responding to emails. That’s 13 hours a week, 52 hours a month and over 60 days a year! Imagine what you could’ve achieved in 60 days!

Emails also negatively affect our cognitive resources. When we think of responding to them while doing other important tasks, it takes up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds after being disrupted to return to full attention to a current task. Imagine how much our cognition and productivity gets fractured when we get distracted over and over again.

Constant emailing also drains us mentally. And at the end of a day, we realize that we’ve achieved nothing worth mentioning. With a phone call, you can sort issues and solve problems quickly, right? In theory, you’re right. But we live in a practical world where many variables come into play.

Below are three variables that make phone calls adversely affect our productivity, and why emails are a better alternative:

1. Wasting Time

Most “five-minute conversations” can quickly turn into 35-minute calls because people ramble about irrelevant aspects. This derailment, several times a day, severely limits the limited time and energy you have for important tasks.

Emails, on the other hand, force writers to streamline their thoughts and stick to the point. Emails can save you plenty of time and energy because you avoid lengthy phone calls. The constant strife to keep your own emails short and crisp also makes you a clearer thinker, which rewards you in other aspects of your life.

“It’s better to waste money, than it is to waste time. You can always get more money.” – Hal Sparks

2. Inaccurate Responses

An unexpected phone call can catch me caught off guard on a topic. I might respond emotionally or give an answer that doesn’t do justice to what I want to share. In a world dominated by panic buttons and fire-fighting, these don’t just stress me out but the caller as well.

Emails give me flexibility to prepare a coherent response and share it when I’m satisfied. If I feel a surge of emotion, I can sleep over the thought and share a better (more rational) response the next day. Many page-long email responses to emails that upset me have turned into a simple “thank you for your email” the next day.

3. Constant Back-and-Forth

Phone calls often are ineffective to solve business problems. Accounting for multiple people, their views, their timelines… One phone call can quickly turn into three.

Emails are quicker and more effective than even conference calls. They let you communicate with multiple people at the same time. You can share information, assign tasks and give status updates while being as specific as possible.

You must be wondering, “What about back-and-forth emails then? Why do we waste precious time on them?” Yes, email has earned a bad rap. But it’s not because of the medium; it’s because we handle it ineffectively.

A Better Approach to Emailing

For most people, constantly refreshing the inbox is part of the daily to-do list. It keeps them busy and gives them a kick of dopamine – the feel-good chemical.

Ironically, this quest to remain busy makes people compromise on taking action that can move them forward. Using emails prudently, rewards you with plenty of energy and mind space to focus on tasks that truly matter.

Here are three steps that benefited me without succumbing to the side effects of email:

1. Checking Them Less

I check emails just 3 times a day – at 9:30 AM, 12:00 PM, and 4:30 PM. If you don’t have the luxury to do the same, you can start by checking your emails for ten minutes at the end of each hour. Most senders expect a response in a little over an hour. So they won’t mind a slightly delayed response. This gives you 45 undisturbed minutes each hour to work on your core tasks.

2. Responding Quickly

People delay responding to emails at least 37% of the time, which turns finding emails and responding to them into additional tasks that cost time and lead to attention residue. Most emails take under two minutes to respond. When you can respond to an email, do so instead of putting it off. This won’t just put your mind at peace, it’ll also reduce the number of “did-you-see-this” follow-up emails in your inbox.

“I do love email. Wherever possible I try to communicate asynchronously. I’m really good at email.” – Elon Musk

3. The If-Then Technique

The If-Then technique helps you address multiple scenarios at once. For instance, an email that says, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM?” becomes, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM? If not, please advise three other times that work for you.”

This technique is also effective when you want to suggest ideas or provide instructions on alternative steps. For example, “Here’s Plan A. If it doesn’t work, connect with [name] and ask for [specific information]. If you don’t get what you need, inform me.”

I’ll admit. This sounds like more work in the current moment, but it drastically cuts down the number of trail mails, confused correspondences, and fire-fighting instances that occur due to miscommunication.

The If-Then formula is the single most effective technique I’ve learned from The 4-Hour Workweek. All of this doesn’t mean that you abandon phone calls, In fact, it’s better to use the phone for sensitive topics or if an email conversation gets dragged. But remain mindful to not let phone calls waste your time.

If you want to pursue a meaningful life, place a premium on your time. Do things that create time for you to pursue meaningful actions and avoid doing what pulls you away from them. In the knowledge economy, this is the key to success.

Do you prefer email or talking on the phone? Share your thoughts below!

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Success Advice

4 Questions You Need to Answer Before You Reach the Level of Success You So Desperately Crave

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It’s normal that every person in the world wants to reach success and happiness. Yet, everyone defines both of these things differently. For some, success is making a whole bunch of money while for others this can be to become a good parent. Happiness is defined differently as well. Some people need to own a jet, boat and 3 cars to be truly happy, while others are happy just to be able to wake up in the morning.

It doesn’t matter how you define success and happiness, the truth is, you want to achieve them both. But, to be able to reach success and happiness, you need to answer 4 questions for yourself.

Here are the 4 questions you need to answer before you can achieve success and happiness:

1. Where Are You?

No, not geographically. It doesn’t matter where you live. What matters is where are you in life. Where are you in your way to success and happiness. Let’s say you are lost in the woods. You know exactly where you want to go, but you don’t know where you are. Even a map doesn’t help you with that.

The same is true in life. You may have a goal, but until you truly define where you are in the moment, you can’t move toward this goal. So, step 1 on your way to success and happiness is to define where you are right now.

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn

2. Where Do You Want to Go?

When you define where you are in life, then you can think of where you want to be.

There’s this saying:  When you don´t know your final destination, you´ll end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. Until you don’t know clearly where you want to be in life and who you want to become, your life doesn’t have a true purpose.

Without purpose, there´s no motivation. Without motivation, there´s no energy. And without energy, you´re not living, you´re just existing. I am sure you know someone who looks like a walking corpse everytime you see them. Do you think this person lives a successful and happy life? Most likely not.

So, step 2 on your way to success and happiness is to clearly define your goal. What do you want to accomplish and who do you want to become?

3. Why Do You Want It?

Okay, you know the basics. You know where you are and where you want to be. But, as Rocky Balboa said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” And as you already know, life usually doesn’t go according to your plan. There will be hard times and to overcome those and not give up, you need to know WHY you do what you do.

You need to know WHY you want to accomplish your goals. When you answer this for yourself, you don’t struggle so much to motivate yourself. You will be motivated every minute of every day.

So, as a step 3, sit down and think of WHY you want to accomplish your goals. What’s the big purpose?

“We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” – Tony Robbins

4. How Are You Going to Get There?

And finally, how are you going to get there? What’s your plan? You may know where you are, where you want to be and why you want to do it, but until you truly understand how you are going to get there, there won’t be much success and happiness in your life.

For example, you want to become a bodybuilder. You want to do it because you want to have big muscles and you want to look fit. But, you have no idea how to work out, how to build muscle and how to lose fat. Do you think, you´re going to be happy? No. As Tony Robbins says, “true happiness comes from progress.”

To make progress, you need to have a specific plan; how to get from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to be). So, as a step 4, sit down and make a specific plan for how you’re going to get what you want in life.

In order to reach success and happiness, there are 4 questions you need to answer for yourself. Without answering them, you´re not going to  get ahead in life, you´re just bouncing around. Success and happiness never come from just bouncing around in life.

Good news is, that these questions are really simple. It won’t take much time to answer them. Just be aware of where you are and where you want to be. Don´t forget to understand why you are pursuing your dream and finally, how are you going to get what you want.

Answer these 4 simple questions today and you won’t struggle with finding success and happiness in life anymore.

Which one of the above 4 questions resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts and ideas below!

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Success Advice

The Empathetic Heart: How The CHO of VaynerMedia Is Changing The Way We Work

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Claude Silver CHO of Vaynermedia
Image Credit: VaynerMedia

A month after I had joined LinkedIn back in July of 2018, I sent Claude Silver a connection request and began following her content. One day she made a post saying “Ask and you shall receive, what can I do to help you today?”. I commented on that post asking for a 5 minute interview and to my surprise she agreed by asking me to send her a message (I was given a full hour). This was the first example of pure kindness I witnessed from Claude.

The first message you see on Claude’s website is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. That message spoke to me on an emotional level, and I believe it will speak to you too. I wanted to know how she created such an amazing culture, what being a “culture carrier” meant, and how the employees at VaynerMedia have been changed by her work there.

A culture carrier in Claude’s own words is “someone who is aligned with our values, I can’t teach someone to be kind they have to already be kind. The process of developing a culture carrier takes about 6 months. It’s about bringing people together and having strong core values of kindness and empathy.”

Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder of VaynerMedia, is often referred to as a combination of hustle and heart. With the hiring of Claude and the work she has accomplished within the company, it speaks to the level of empathy that can be felt throughout the entire operation.

Although business can be a challenging, tough, and often cut-throat terrain, by putting employees first and providing honest feedback the company has grown to include offices in New York, Chattanooga, Los Angeles and London, and continues to dominate the market.

Below we’ll see 3 different ways the CHO of VaynerMedia is changing the way people work:

1. By being unafraid to share her own story

Claude has been an influential part of breaking the stigma surrounding vulnerability in the business arena. Not only does she openly share her own story, but she sits down with employees to better understand their vulnerabilities and how to use characteristics that previously would have been considered weaknesses as strengths.

When asked what her biggest adventure to date was she replied “Having Shalom (her daughter). I have had an amazing life, I moved, worked hard, landed an amazing job and fell in love but it didn’t come without its challenges.”

Claude is openly gay and is living proof your sexual orientation doesn’t matter. Nothing matters but your character, your track record, and if you leave people a little better off than before you met them. From Claude, business leaders, employees and entrepreneurs can learn to be more open both on social media and in person, allowing them to build more meaningful relationships and connect on a deeper level. A deeper connection can mean more leverage but it also means a more lasting impact on the world.

“Everyone has something they can share. I’m not famous. I don’t have anything that would be newsworthy, but I have stories.” – Tafta Johnson Watson

2. Committing to a strong value system

VaynerMedia has some serious values for such a large company and those values are expected to be upheld by every employee and visitor. Values like kindness, empathy, honesty, hustle and the art of not complaining.

With Claude holding the title of Chief Heart Officer, she is the guiding light for others. When recruiting, she says she “takes the time to evaluate an individual’s talents but most importantly their own heart”.  

Gary Vaynerchuk is quoted as saying:”To me, there’s no debate that kindness is a strength. And it breaks my heart to know that so many people believe it’s a weakness. So many people are afraid that other people will take advantage of their kindness or make them feel “used.” But the truth is, those who take advantage of your kindness are weak on the inside. Feel bad for them, don’t let them make you feel bad about yourself“.

Both Claude and Gary teach aspiring entrepreneurs that it is okay to live with an open heart and that having the strength to commit to and live with a strong value system, will be a powerful tool during the hustle journey. It also allows you to go to bed at night actually liking the person that you are, nothing will kill a business faster than going to bed at night and hating yourself.

3. Listening with action

As mentioned above Claude’s slogan is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something.  As a woman who wears many hats, she is also an Outward Bound Instructor, taking individuals on amazing adventures in the outdoors.

Taking action on any given day can mean a number of different things but it speaks to her own character and driving force that she is able to not only guide people through the world of office politics but also through the serene and sometimes challenging wilderness.

Claude cultivates an environment of trust by first offering individuals her own trust. It is a huge and vulnerable action that leads to a relationship of love – heart – and productivity. Listening as an action is something that has the power to change an entire organization from an unproductive, toxic environment to one that promotes creativity, passion, inclusion and positivity.

“Relationships are leverage. If you give value to someone else first, you have leverage.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

To get the truest sense of how Claude was changing the way people work, I asked her co-workers to tell me what working alongside Claude has done for them. Here is one of the answers I received:

“During my time working alongside Claude, I’ve really come to appreciate her example of being a good listener. As a society, we tend to praise the power of speaking. But Claude demonstrates on a daily basis that the most important thing everybody wants is to be heard.” – Steve Babcock, Chief Creative Officer VaynerMedia.

I tried looking for images of Claude on her website and I think it speaks to how focused she is on holding space for others, because I couldn’t find a single full sized image of her to use. I googled. Writing this piece has opened me up to evaluate my own values and the way I connect with people in my daily life.

From this article, it is my own hope that entrepreneurs come to the understanding that although tenacity and true grit are really important, the whole of what Claude represents is something to strive towards. The “soft” skills you develop are humongous strengths and to truly impact an entire organization.

What’s the last random act of kindness you did for someone? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

The 7 Secrets of High Achievers Revealed

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We all have goals in life, but very few of us ever learn to consciously set, work on and see our goals through. In our naturalness bias, we marvel at those who have set and reached their goals thinking they have some esoteric abilities that we don’t. We overlook that the final product is the result of a series of mistake-ridden, unrecorded pains. What if we could learn from the process, the habits and rituals of the high achievers? (more…)

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