Magento 2 Product Import Template – Additional Attributes Column Hack

Anyone that has worked on the backend of Magento 1 importing products knows that Magento 2 has rewritten the book on how you import in custom product attributes in the Product CSV file.  Where Magento 1 used to allow a columnar approach where you could do 1 column for each piece of information (see below)

Custom Product Attribute 1
 Custom Product Attribute 2
Custom Product Attribute 3
Attribute 1 Value 1 Attribute 2 Value1 Attribute 3 Value1
Attribute 1 Value 2 Attribute 2 Value2 Attribute 3 Value2

Magento 2 does not allow that individual column (per attribute) approach, but rather a single area called “additional_attributes” that is used for all your custom Magento 2 product attributes.

Now, if you have a web developer on staff this won’t be any issue because developers can write code to bring together your old format with the new format.  However, if you are an owner operator or don’t have a web developer available it may be difficult or time consuming for you to match the new format of the Additional Attributes field.

I have created a template that does all the heavy lifting for you and all you have to do is update the Google Sheet with your own store’s information information.

View The Google Drive Sheet Document Here

To make your own copy of my sheet go to File and click Make A Copy.  You will need your own Google account to do this.

MAGENTO 2 PRODUCT IMPORT TEMPLATE – ADDITIONAL ATTRIBUTES COLUMN HACK - Make a copy

When you are done with that additional attributes field copy the row and PASTE SPECIAL into your Magento Product Import CSV.  Sample Product CSV here.

MAGENTO 2 PRODUCT IMPORT TEMPLATE – ADDITIONAL ATTRIBUTES COLUMN HACK - Paste Special

How to Setup Value Added Tax (VAT) in Magento 2

Some countries around the would charge what is called a “value added tax”, or most commonly known as “VAT”, on their goods and services.  Depending on which stage your business is in of the supply chain there can be different VAT rates.  If you are a manufacturer, wholesaler, b2b, and offer services all for the same product/product types you may need more than one VAT Tax.  For this case I am going to do a simple product that is shipping within Germany.

Configuring Magento 2 VAT Tax

The following instructions include a tutorial on how to set up a 19% VAT in the country of Germany for direct sales (B2C) to retail customers. For other tax rates and countries, follow the general procedure but enter the correct information that corresponds to your country, VAT rate, customer types that you need Magento to manage for you.

Before proceeding, make sure to find out which rules and regulations apply to VAT in your area and write them out on paper or notepad file.  Organization will keep you from pulling your hair out and keep you on task and focused.

In certain business-to-business transactions, VAT is not assessed. Magento can validate a customer’s VAT ID to ensure that VAT is assessed (or not assessed) properly.  I’ll write on this in the future.

Process Overview:

  • Step 1: Set Up Tax Zones and Rates
  • Step 2: Set Up Customer Tax Classes
  • Step 3: Set Up Product Tax Classes
  • Step 4: Apply Tax Classes to Products

Step 1: Set Up Tax Zones and Rates

HOW TO SETUP VALUE ADDED TAX (VAT) IN MAGENTO 2 - Tax Zones

1. On the Admin sidebar, tap Stores. Then under Taxes, choose Tax Zones and Rates.  See screenshot above.

2. In the upper-right corner, tap Add New Tax Rate . Then, add the following new tax rates:

VAT Standard Rate Tax Identifier: VAT Standard

Zip/Post Code: * (a “*” means all zipcodes)

State: *  (a “*” means all states)

Country: Germany

Rate Percent: 19.00

HOW TO SETUP VALUE ADDED TAX (VAT) IN MAGENTO 2 - New tax rates

3. Tap Save Rate for your new rate.

If you have many tax rates, you can use the grid filter controls to list only the new VAT rates.

Step 2: Set Up Customer Tax Classes

1. On the Magento 2 Admin sidebar, tap Stores. Then choose Tax Rules from the menu items.

HOW TO SETUP VALUE ADDED TAX (VAT) IN MAGENTO 2 - Tax rules

2. Expand the Additional Settings section at the bottom of the screen and do the following steps:

a. In the Customer Tax Class box, make sure that there is an appropriate customer tax class to use with the VAT. If you need to create an additional class, tap Add New Tax Class.  ***In this example I used the stock “Retail Customer” customer tax class group.

b. Enter a Name for the new customer tax class, and tap the checkmark to Save.

Step 3: Set Up Product Tax Classes

1. In the Product Tax Class box, tap Add New Tax Class, Then, create the following product tax

HOW TO SETUP VALUE ADDED TAX (VAT) IN MAGENTO 2 - Product tax classes

classes: “VAT Standard”

2. Tap the checkmark to Save each new class.

Step 4: Set Up Tax Rules in Product

1. On the Admin sidebar, tap Products. Then under Inventory, choose Catalog.

2. Open a product from your catalog in edit mode.

3. Under Product Details, set Tax Class to the VAT class that you want to use for the product.

HOW TO SETUP VALUE ADDED TAX (VAT) IN MAGENTO 2 - Product details

4. When complete, tap Save and you should be charging 19% VAT Tax when someone order’s this item.

How To Reset Customer Password Magento 2

In Magento 1 there was a field for easily updating a customer’s password to a specific string, however in Magento 2 that feature has been removed and the expectation is that if you are in the admin panel you will reset their password and Magento will request the user themselves to create a new password by following a link sent to them in their email.

While this is safer and more streamlined it can pose an issue if you have a customer that wants a specific password, or can’t receive emails (or they all go to spam).  I’ll show you how to easily reset a customer password in Magento 2.

This is really helpful for developers as well if they are working on a staging or development site and emails are setup to send.

READY? SET? MAGEN-GO!

1. Login to your Magento 2 admin panel

2. Navigate to the customer you want to modify and copy their email address for later on in the Magento 2 walkthrough.  You need to have their exact customer account email address for this method.

HOW TO RESET CUSTOMER PASSWORD MAGENTO 2 - Customer

3. Now Navigate to System>Data Transfer>Export

HOW TO RESET CUSTOMER PASSWORD MAGENTO 2 - System

4. From the dropdown select “Customers Main File”.

HOW TO RESET CUSTOMER PASSWORD MAGENTO 2 - Export

4b.  If you want the full customer list you can skip step 5.

5. Paste in the email address for the single customer you are looking to modify.  I really like to limit my exposure to “fracking something up” so I only deal with the minimum amount of data that I need to.

HOW TO RESET CUSTOMER PASSWORD MAGENTO 2 - Customer data

6. Scroll to the bottom of the page and hit the “Continue” button.  A file will download to your browser or ask you to save the file.

HOW TO RESET CUSTOMER PASSWORD MAGENTO 2 - Customer data continue

7. Find the location of your recently downloaded file and open it up.  It is a CSV (comma separated values) file so you’ll need an application to open that.  My favorite apps to use are OpenOffice (the excel knockoff) or even Google Sheets if you use Gmail.

8. Scroll all the way to the right and update the “Password” column to be the password the customer, or you, want to use.  Don’t use spaces. It must be one continuous word or numbers.

Helpful tip: If your customer has set a previous password (at ANY point) the column named password_hash will be filled in.  You’ll want to delete that hash value before importing your file.

9. Save your CSV file and go back to Magento.  Navigate to System>Data Transfer>Import.

10.  Choose from the dropdown Customer Main File then on the next screen “Add/Update Complex Data”.  DO NOT CHOOSE ANY OTHER OPTION. 

HOW TO RESET CUSTOMER PASSWORD MAGENTO 2 - Import

HOW TO RESET CUSTOMER PASSWORD MAGENTO 2 - Import Behaviour

11. Find your local CSV that you edited and then upload it.

HOW TO RESET CUSTOMER PASSWORD MAGENTO 2 - Import File

12 THATS IT! The Magento 2 customer should their password reset to the password they want.

Character Count Guide For Blog Posts, Facebook Pages & Social Media

When it comes to writing posts and updating profiles for your blog and social media, one of the most common questions folks have is: What’s the character limit on X, Y, or Z? Another common one: What’s the ideal character count for X, Y, or Z?

For example, you probably know the character limit for a tweet is 140. But did you know that a link takes up 24 of those characters, leaving you with 116 characters to play with? Or that the ideal length of a tweet that includes a link is about 120 characters, not the full 140?

While we’ve written before about what perfect posts look like on your blog and various social media networks, we thought it would be helpful to gather the numbers for character limits and ideal character counts all in one place.

Below, you’ll find the short version, followed by a more detailed guide to character limits and ideal character counts for posts on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. The more detailed version includes links to research studies, our own findings at HubSpot, and advice for how to optimize your posts and profiles.

Length & Character Counts: The Short Version

Click a category title to jump to the detailed version.

1) Blog Posts

  • Ideal Headline Length: 8–12 words & under 70 characters.
  • Ideal Blog Post Length: 1,600 words or 7 minutes to read.
  • Ideal Title Tag Length: 70 characters or fewer.
  • Ideal Meta Description Length: 155 characters or fewer.

2) Facebook

  • Maximum length of a status update: 63,206 characters.
  • Ideal length of a status update: 40 characters.
  • Ideal length of a video: 30–45 seconds long.

3) Twitter

  • Tweet: 140 characters max.
  • Comment with a Retweet: 116 characters max.
  • Link in a Tweet: Takes up 24 characters (leaving 116).
  • Image/GIF/Video in a Tweet: Takes up 25 characters (leaving 115).
  • Link + Image/GIF/Video in a tweet: Takes up 47 characters (leaving 93).
  • Ideal Tweet Length: 100 characters without a link; 120 characters with a link.
  • Ideal Hashtag Length: Under 11 characters; shorter if you can. Use 1–2 hashtags per tweet.
  • Video Duration in a Tweet: Up to 30 seconds long.

4) LinkedIn

  • Professional Headline: 120 characters max.
  • Summary: 2,000 characters max.
  • Position Title: 100 characters max.
  • Status Update: 600 characters.

5) Instagram

  • Profile Bio: 150 characters max.
  • Image Caption: 2,200 characters max, but it cuts off in users’ feeds after 3 lines of text.

A More Detailed Guide to Character Counts

1) Blog Posts

  • Ideal Headline Length: 8–12 words & under 70 characters.
  • Ideal Blog Post Length: 1,600 words or 7 minutes to read.
  • Ideal Title Tag Length: 70 characters or fewer.
  • Ideal Meta Description Length: 155 characters or fewer.

Ideal Length of a Headline: 8–12 words and under 70 characters.

The length of your headline depends on what your goals are and where it will appear.

  • Do you want this post to rank really well in search? Then keep the title under 70 characters so it doesn’t get cut off in search engine results, and put keywords near the front to make it more attractive in search results.
  • Are you trying to optimize your title for social sharing? For it to be tweetable, you won’t want to exceed 116 characters. (That’s the 140-character limit on Twitter, minus the 23 characters a URL takes up in a tweet, minus one for the space between the title and the link.)

In our own analysis at HubSpot, we found that headlines between 8–12 words in length got the most Twitter shares on average, while headlines with either 12 or 14 words got the most Facebook Likes.

CHARACTER COUNT GUIDE FOR BLOG POSTS, FACEBOOK PAGES & SOCIAL MEDIA - Content Title Length

The folks at Outbrain found that headlines with eight words had a 21% higher clickthrough rate than the average title. We recommend testing out headline length to see what works best for your particular audience.

Ideal length of a Blog Post: 1,600 words or 7 minutes to read.

This may not be what you want to hear, but the best answer to the question of how long a blog post should be is: as long as it needs to be. Blog posts vary too greatly in topic, depth, and so on for there to be a single benchmark. It should be as long as it needs to be to serve its purpose, whether that’s thought leadership, driving leads, explaining a new concept, or something else.

That being said, if you want cold, hard numbers, there are a few ways to measure ideal blog post length.

Time to Read: The folks over at Medium measure article length based on how long it takes for a person to read the article. According to their analysis, the post length that captures the most attention on average were posts that took seven minutes to read, which works out to be about 1,600 words.

CHARACTER COUNT GUIDE FOR BLOG POSTS, FACEBOOK PAGES & SOCIAL MEDIA - Post Length Graph

Image Credit: Medium

Word Count: Here at HubSpot, we recently analyzed the effect of blog post word count from our own blog on organic traffic and found that the sweet spot was 2,250–2,500 words.

CHARACTER COUNT GUIDE FOR BLOG POSTS, FACEBOOK PAGES & SOCIAL MEDIA - Word Count

We also found articles over 2,500 words got the most social shares and earned the most inbound links.

You might be thinking: There’s a pretty big difference between 1,600 words and 2,250+ words. That’s because of the incredible variation in ideal length for a blog post. We recommend testing out blog post length to see what works best for your particular audience.

Ideal Length of a Title Tag: About 70 characters or fewer.

A title tag is the HTML title element that’s used to describe the topic of a webpage. You’ll find them in the title of a search engine result page (SERP), and in the top bar of an internet browser.

CHARACTER COUNT GUIDE FOR BLOG POSTS, FACEBOOK PAGES & SOCIAL MEDIA - Title Google

A title tag should be about 70 characters or fewer in length so it doesn’t get cut off in a Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page). This number can vary because Google seems to measure in pixels, not characters. In other words, it appears that they cut off a title tag after a certain width: about 512 pixels. Google will also bold certain keywords used in a search query, which can affect pixel width significantly. So at the end of the day, 70 characters is just a benchmark.

You can double-check the length of your meta description and title tags with this handy tool from SEOmofo.

Ideal Length of a Meta Description: About 155 characters or fewer.

A meta description refers to the HTML attribute that explains the contents of a given webpage. It’s the short description you see on a SERP to “preview” what the page is about.

CHARACTER COUNT GUIDE FOR BLOG POSTS, FACEBOOK PAGES & SOCIAL MEDIA - Meta description Google

Like with title tags, Google seems to cut off meta descriptions in SERPs based on pixel width, not character count. Specifically, it seems to cut off a given meta description after about 923 pixels, which ends up being about 155 characters. Again, you can double-check the length of your meta description and title tags with this handy tool from SEOmofo. (Read this blog post to learn more about writing effective meta descriptions.)

2) Facebook

  • Maximum length of a status update: 63,206 characters.
  • Ideal length of a status update: 40 characters.
  • Ideal length of a video: Between 30–45 seconds.

Maximum Length of a Status Update: 63,206 characters.

Most people refer to Facebook’s character limit on status updates as 60,000 characters, but the actual maximum is 63,206. Why? Facebook’s Bob Baldwin, the man who set the limit, wrote in a Facebook comment: “I set the exact limit to something nerdy. Facebook … Face Boo K … hex(FACE) – K … 64206 – 1000 = 63206”. There you have it.

CHARACTER COUNT GUIDE FOR BLOG POSTS, FACEBOOK PAGES & SOCIAL MEDIA - Facebook Status Length

Image Credit: Journalists on Facebook

Ideal Length of a Status Update: About 40 characters.

“The social gurus will throw around the number 40 characters,” says Chelsea Hunersen, HubSpot’s social media and community growth manager. “That data seems to be backed up by BuzzSumo’s ranking of HubSpot’s own Facebook Page, but ideally, you’ll want to use the copy in a status update to provide context for whatever you’re linking to.”

That being said, Hunersen says that from her experience, the copy of the status update itself isn’t as important as the copy in the meta title or meta description that gets pulled in when you insert a link into your post. “Often, people look at the image of the article and then directly down at the meta title and meta description for context clues,” she told me. “A lot of people don’t realize you can change those.”

(Meta titles should be 70 characters or fewer and meta descriptions should be 155 characters or fewer. You can read about these character counts in more detail in the previous section of this post.)

Ideal Length of a Video: Between 30–45 seconds.

While there aren’t too many studies out there on the ideal length of videos on Facebook, best practices for sharing videos on social are to keep it short: Just enough time to deliver a punch, but without forcing users to leave their environment.

According to AdWeek, Facebook’s auto-playback feature makes 30–45-second videos optimal. Here at HubSpot, we’ve found that our best-performing organic videos have come in at about 30 seconds long.

That being said, optimal length can vary depending on the topic. “If you produce something as catchy as BuzzFeed and Refinery29 are putting out there, it can be up to five minutes long,” says Hunersen.

Regardless of the length of your video, Hunersen reminds us that all Facebook videos start without sound, meaning users have to make a concious decision to stop scrolling through their feeds and unmute the video. Facebook videos should be visually compelling from the get-to, make sense without sound, and be engaging enough to encourage the user to stop and watch.

3) Twitter

  • Tweet: 140 characters max.
  • Comment with a Retweet: 116 characters max.
  • Link in a Tweet: Takes up 24 characters (leaving 116).
  • Image/GIF/Video in a Tweet: Takes up 25 characters (leaving 115).
  • Link + Image/GIF/Video in a tweet: Takes up 47 characters (leaving 93).
  • Ideal Tweet Length: 100 characters without a link; 120 characters with a link.
  • Ideal Hashtag Length: Under 11 characters; shorter if you can. Use 1–2 hashtags per tweet.
  • Video Duration in a Tweet: Up to 30 seconds long.

Max Length of a Tweet: 140 characters.

Max Length of a Comment with a Retweet: 116 characters.

When you use Twitter’s “Retweet with Comment” feature, it means you’ve pressed the rotating arrow icon to retweet a post, and then added a comment in the text box provided. The retweet takes up 24 characters, leaving you with 116 characters for the comment.

Link in a Tweet: Takes up 23 characters (leaving 117).

Links account for 92% of all user interaction with tweets, so you’ll definitely want to include them in most (if not all) of the tweets you publish. They’re your strongest chance of gaining views and shares for your content.

Also, remember to include a space between your tweet copy and your link. Not including a space before the link is one of the most common forms of link errors.

Image/GIF/Video in a Tweet: Takes up 24 characters (leaving 116).

Using media in your tweet is a great way to engage your followers. In fact, research shows using images in tweets leads to higher clickthrough rates — as much as 18%.

Images, GIFs, and videos take up the same number of characters in a tweet for Twitter.com and most publishing tools.

(Note: Different publishing tools may have different character counts for links and images. For example, Twitter.com counts an image as 24 characters, but Tweetdeck counts it as 25.)

Want to add more text to your tweets? One simple hack is to put text in an image, like in the tweet below. Here are some free templates to get you started. (The best ones for Twitter are in the Social Media > Rectangular folder.)

Link + Image in a Tweet: Takes up 47 characters total (leaving 93).

A link often takes up 23 characters and an image often takes up 24. That’s 47 characters total, leaving you with 93 characters to work with for the rest of the tweet — including that space between the tweet copy and the link.

(Again, note that different publishing tools may have slightly different character counts for links and images.)

Ideal Length of a Tweet: 100–110 characters without a link; 120–130 characters with a link.

The 120-130-character range is the sweet spot for high clickthrough rate, according to an analysis of 200,000 tweets with links. This leaves enough space for people to include a short comment if they choose to manually retweet you.

CHARACTER COUNT GUIDE FOR BLOG POSTS, FACEBOOK PAGES & SOCIAL MEDIA - Tweet Length

Ideal Length of a Hashtag: Under 11 characters; shorter if you can.

While Twitter hashtags can technically be any length up to 140 characters, remember that people will want to accompany the hashtag with other copy. Short hashtags are always better. Ideally, your hashtags should be under 11 characters — shorter if you can.

Also, in a single tweet, stick to one or two hashtags, and definitely don’t go over three. Buddy Media found that tweets with hashtags get double the engagement metrics that tweets with no hashtags get — but tweets with one or two hashtags have a 21% higher engagement than tweets with three or more

Video Length in a Tweet: Up to 30 seconds long.

You can post a video on Twitter by importing a video or recording it using the Twitter app. Either way, the maximum length is 30 seconds.

4) LinkedIn

  • Professional Headline: 120 characters max.
  • Summary: 2,000 characters max.
  • Position Title: 100 characters max.
  • Status Update: 600 characters.

Maximum Length of a Professional Headline: 120 characters.

Your professional headline is the brief description about what you do that appears right below your name on LinkedIn.

CHARACTER COUNT GUIDE FOR BLOG POSTS, FACEBOOK PAGES & SOCIAL MEDIA - LinedIn Headline Length

Maximum Length of a LinkedIn Summary: 2,000 characters.

Maximum Length of a LinkedIn Position Title: 100 characters.

LinkedIn Position Description: Between 200–2,000 characters.

Maximum Length of a LinkedIn Status Update: 600 characters.

Keep in mind that if you update your Twitter status through LinkedIn, you’ll want to keep the character count to 140 characters or fewer.

5) Instagram

  • Profile Bio: 150 characters max.
  • Image Caption: 2,200 characters max, but it cuts off in users’ feeds after 3 lines of text.

Maximum Length of a Profile Bio: 150 characters.

Max Length of an Instagram Caption: 2,200 characters.

With a maximum of 2,200 characters, Instagram provides an enormous amount of space in their Instagram captions. But it’s worth noting that they recently started capping captions at three lines without users having to click “more” to see the whole thing, if they’re viewing the post in their general feed.

CHARACTER COUNT GUIDE FOR BLOG POSTS, FACEBOOK PAGES & SOCIAL MEDIA - Instagram Caption Length

That being said, we don’t recommend keeping your captions super short so users can see 100% of it without having to click “more.” Instead, frontload your captions with the important content or text calls-to-action, and leave any hashtags, @mentions, or extraneous information for the end.

10 Types of Blog Posts Proven to Drive Sales

Use it correctly, and a blog can be an excellent source of both traffic and links. However, while I’d never discourage you from creating the sort of content that can boost your traffic and potentially bring in links that will help you to climb further up the search engine’s rankings, on their own, traffic and/or links are not going to make a difference to your bottom line.

On that note, I’m going to take a wild guess that you’re here because you want your blog to do more than bring in traffic – you want it to drive sales, too. Well, don’t worry – there are plenty of ways to get your blog working harder for you. Stick with me while we look at 10 of them.

1. The how-to

The how-to blog post is generally (though not always) a step-by-step guide that takes readers through a particular process. The best ones are based around clear, easy-to-follow instructions, and include images or video that help to illustrate each step. They should also be easy to skim through, so readers can quickly find a particular instruction.

The how-to is an effective sales tool in part, because it’s easy to optimize. Questions which begin with “how to” are common search terms – so much so, that whole websites have been built around answering these types of queries. Write detailed, useful, optimized how-tos and you should start to reap the rewards of additional targeted traffic arriving on your site.

Of course, we know that traffic alone won’t make us money. Real results happen when we’re able to convert that traffic.

To do this you need to…

1. Choose your topics wisely

Answer questions that your target market is likely to have and likely to ask towards the middle of the sales funnel.

For instance, a key goal of neilpatel.com is to encourage people to reserve consultations with Neil himself. It comes as no surprise then, that he’s writing posts like this. Link good or bad

“How to Determine if a Link is Good or Bad” is exactly the sort of question people who would be interested in one-on-one marketing consultancy would be asking.

2. Hold back just enough information to leave your readers wanting more.

Sometimes (though not always) if you give your visitors all the answers, they won’t need you. The more complicated your industry, the less this rule applies – sometimes you can give people all the information, but they will still need your help to apply the knowledge effectively. Still, it helps to keep a small part of the puzzle unsolved, to keep your readers wanting (and needing) more.

Key takeaway: Write detailed, long-form blog posts that answer “how-to” questions and target potential customers from the middle of the sales funnel onwards.

2. The cheat sheet

Cheat sheets are similar to how-tos in that they provide your visitors with valuable information that should help them to complete a particular action or set of actions. The cheat sheet differs from the how-to in its execution: they’re more of a “quick reference” kind of guide than a step-by-step walk-through. They also lend themselves well to infographic-style images.

Think: Cheat sheet

And: typefaces

In contrast, the how-to is usually presented as a text-based article.

Like the how-to, cheat sheets drive sales because they bring in highly-qualified traffic. The trick is to create content that captures potential customers at the right point in the sales funnel. By all means, create cheat sheets that help existing customers get the most out of your product or service. Anything that helps your customers use you more effectively will increase customer loyalty and retention rates. However, if you want to drive new sales, you need to create cheat sheets that help assist those who are in need of something you sell – not those who already have what you sell. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples.

Sorry for Marketing‘s Jay Acunzo’s specialism is guiding others on their content marketing. This cheat sheet fits the bill perfectly. It’s designed to help speed up the content editing process and is aimed at marketers who want to streamline and improve their content creation. Tier one

This cheat sheet on browsers that do or don’t support HTML5 targets consumers that are ready to – but probably haven’t yet started – design a new website. These are precisely the type of visitors that a company that offers web design and hosting services would want to capture. Browser support

Key takeaway: Create cheat sheets that act as quick reference guides to consumers who could benefit from your product or service. If you can get a designer involved to up their visual appeal, even better.

3. The checklist

Checklists are an excellent sales tool because they help readers identify missing components in an important equation. Imagine a store that sells products people buy before they go on vacation – a “packing checklist” would make a great piece of content for them. The checklist

In this context, a packing list could help drive sales because it would allow the store to link to relevant products from within the list and influence purchases from consumers who had forgotten they needed to buy x, y, or z.

A checklist can help drive sales in pretty much any industry. I see my fellow marketers use them all the time.

The brilliant Heidi Cohen rang in 2015 with a seriously-comprehensive marketing checklist.

Postplanner created a checklist to help ensure that marketers are getting the most out of social media.

Moz compiled a detailed site audit checklist (if you’re ever carrying out a site audit, you need to use this – it’s awesome).

In marketing, this type of content works because it can help a potential customer realize how much help they actually need. Maybe they hadn’t considered they needed to do x and y. Maybe they don’t know how to do y and z. Either way, it illustrates to visitors how much or how little they know and encourages them to pick up the phone and make that call.

Key takeaway: Create on-topic checklists that are designed to help potential customers realize what tools or knowledge they’re missing that your company can provide for them.

4. The comparison post

Comparison posts pit your product against one of your competitor’s, as we see here in this post where HubSpot compares their CMS with WordPress’s. Is this sneaky? Maybe a little, but we see this strategy used all the time, across the board – not just online, and certainly not only in blog posts.

Ever noticed a supermarket advertising how much cheaper they are than the competition? Comparison

That’s comparison marketing in action. The supermarket is selling their products to you by highlighting how much you can save when you shop with them, instead of the competition.

You might wonder how you can legally get away with stating how much better or cheaper you are than your competition, and I wouldn’t blame you. Naming your competitors in your own advertising and marketing strikes me as something that would land you on shaky ground, too, but it’s actually okay… most of the time, at least.

The law surrounding comparison marketing differs somewhat around the world. However, it generally comes down to this: as long as you’re truthful, it’s fine.

This means you have to be damn sure about any claims you make, and be sure to include a disclaimer that gives the date that the claim was found to be true, in case something changes down the road.

Key takeaway: Write comparison blog posts that explore how your product or service matches up to your competitors.’

5. The guest post from a brand advocate (think extended testimonial)

If you’re a regular here, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of guest posting and that I regularly welcome guest authors to this blog. I do this to:

Diversify the voices on the blog
Build relationships with the people who write for the blog
Drive new audiences to the blog
Alleviate some of the pressure on me to keep the blog updated, all of the time
However… there’s another way you can leverage inviting a guest author to contribute to your blog – by asking a brand advocate to write for you.

Brand advocates are those people that love your brand so much that they regularly shout about it, and are willing to go out of their way to do so.

If you can track these advocates down, you should take the opportunity to speak to them about how you might be able to work together. This could entail getting them to write, or even film, a testimonial for you. It might mean asking them to mention your brand in some of their social media posts.

Alternatively, it could mean asking them to write you a guest post.

“Walmart Moms” is an excellent example of a brand that leverages their advocates. Walmart

The Walmart Moms are a group of Walmart advocates that have been selected to speak out on behalf of the brand because of how they embody the average Walmart customer.

The “chosen” moms (who are, I assume, paid) write blog posts for Walmart that offer advice and touch on their own experiences, while also linking to Walmart products and additional articles. Take a look at Linsey Knerl’s post “Growing from baby to toddler” to see what I mean.

It’s worth bearing in mind that, as mentioned above, you may have to compensate your advocates for their time. Asking them to write a short review is one thing; asking them to craft a 500+ word blog post is quite different. This effort should be rewarded, if not with cold hard cash, then with some sort of freebie or special benefit.

Key takeaway: Invite a brand advocate to write a guest post for you in which they talk about the merits of your brand or your products or services (just be prepared to reward them for their time).

6. The case study

A case study dives deep into a particular “case” in order to demonstrate the potential and effectiveness of a certain product or service. A case study is an excellent sales tool because rather than simply saying to a customer, “Use our product and you can achieve x, y, and z,” you use real-world examples to show them exactly how your product or service is going to accomplish x, y, and z.

It’s understandable then, that they’re a popular sales tool – the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Prof’s 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report found that of all of the tactics B2B marketers use, 58% percent of those surveyed said they found case studies to be effective. This graph shows the case study as the 5th most-effective B2B marketing tactic. Effectiveness ratings

Neil Patel regularly writes case studies. In this one, he details the processes used to help earn Timothy Sykes an extra $1.2 million a year: Timothy Sikes

Here he shows how he grew Gawker’s traffic by 5 million visitors: Gawker media

Putting an alternative spin on things, in this post, Neil actually writes a case study about case studies. Its purpose is to demonstrate how case studies can be used to generate more leads and sales.

In short: Case studies work. Although publishing case studies didn’t have a huge effect on the number of leads Neil was generating, they clearly helped his leads convert: He saw his sales increase by an impressive 185%.

Key takeaway: Hone in on a particular example of how your product or service helped a customer achieve a goal by writing a case study.

7. The wake-up call

The “wake-up call” is geared toward shocking your visitors into the realization that they’re doing something wrong, or at the very least, could be doing something better. The idea is that this scares your visitors into action – that action ideally being to purchase your product or start using your service.

It’s a common strategy used by digital marketers and SEOs. There are still a lot of shady companies out there and in-house practitioners who know less than they think they do. Consequently, it’s not difficult to “shock” companies into action. You just need to help them realize that their own online efforts, or the efforts of the people they employ to improve the performance of their site, are not up to snuff.

Take this post by Kissmetrics that explores how to determine whether or not your SEO company is in fact hurting, rather than helping, you. Or this article from BlogPress, which looks at 7 things you might be getting wrong when trying to write click-worthy headlines. This post from New State Films is another great example of this strategy: It explores five things you might be getting wrong when promoting your brand through video.

The key here is to avoid getting into a slanging match, or making yourself look petty. Be the bigger company and use a “wake-up call” post to not only show how others are getting something wrong, but to demonstrate that you have the skills, knowledge, and resources to do it better.

Key takeaway: Write a blog post that details what your potential customers might be doing wrong and how their mistakes could be affecting them.

8. The unique-findings post

Make a bold statement online, and you should be prepared to back it up with evidence. Why? Because it lends credibility to your argument. As stated in Lifehacker, “Information is knowledge, and knowledge is power. If you want someone to rally to your cause, support your position, or put you in a position of authority, you need to be able to back up your position and sway others from theirs.” (See what I did there?) Unique findings

However… sometimes you might have a theory or want to make a statement that can’t be proven with existing evidence. Alternatively, you might question or distrust the information that’s already available.

When that situation materializes, what’s the logical solution? To carry out your own research, of course. Especially when the information you hope to find has the potential to help drive sales.

Want to see what I mean?

Here’s a post in which Marie Haynes, author of “Unnatural Links: The Complete Guide to Recovery” uses first-hand data to demonstrate why removing thin content can help site owners recover from a Panda penalty. Panda recovery

This is the ideal topic for capturing visitors that have been hit by a Google penalty, and consequently, may be interested in purchasing her book.

In this excellent piece from Moz search scientist Russ Jones, we see Russ perform his own research to figure out what makes content from the little guys (i.e. sites that don’t have a huge domain authority) rank.

This sort of content has the potential to drive visitors to Moz’s Content tool, but it’s also a pretty neat plug for the content services offered by the post’s guest contributors – Mark Traphagen of Stone Temple Consulting and Garrett French of Citation Labs.

Key takeaway: Perform your own research and use it as evidence to help drive home why potential customers could benefit from your product or service.

9. The expert roundup post

An expert roundup is a post based around quotes from industry experts.

Sometimes a roundup post is formed almost entirely of quotes from experts, with nothing more than a short intro from the actual author. Take a look at this post on Small Business Ideas Blog to see what I mean.

Sometimes the expert’s quotes will provide the framework for the article, with the author adding their own commentary and filling in the blanks. I wrote a post back in July that should show how this works.

Bloggers love them because, with a bit of luck and/or the right connections, they’re really easy to create, they can be super-valuable to readers, and they make the author look good. Quote

Most importantly however, they provide the opportunity to tap into new, big, and engaged audiences. How? Most of the time, the experts who have contributed to the post will share it. This can potentially cause a domino effect whereby the post goes viral.

I recently spoke to Adam Connell of Blogging Wizard and the topic of conversation quickly turned to roundup posts. Turns out he’s a big fan. He said he’s done “a few expert roundups over the years, always got a decent amount of shares from it and traffic has been huge.” Then… he published this. Within a few days, it had been shared about 2000 times and had about 5000 views. Not f*in bad.

He told me he did this by:

Tweeting the influencers mentioned
Mentioning the influencers in a Google Plus post
Sending individual emails to each influencer to let them know the post was live and to thank them for taking part
But he didn’t stop there. In Adam’s words, “I then got in touch with Niall at TweakYourBiz.com about repurposing it as an infographic and publishing on TYB, so it would be a unique infographic for them.”

The resulting infographic (which you can see here) has had more than 32,000 visitors and been shared more than 2000 times.

Of course, we know by now that while traffic and shares are pretty damn awesome things to get, they’re not sales. But they do provide the chance to make more sales.

So how do you get them?

Choosing the right topic is key. It should be heavily aligned with what you do and should encourage visitors to want to take action. If you offer pay-per-click management services, you probably wouldn’t want to ask experts to comment on growth hacking. But if you can get them to talk about the biggest mistakes they’ve seen companies make with their PPC campaigns, you might be onto something.

Key takeaway: Ask experts to contribute to a roundup post with their answer to a question that is intrinsically linked to why someone might use your product or service.

10. The reverse psychology post

When we use reverse psychology on somebody, we are getting them to do what we want by asking them to do the opposite. It doesn’t work on everybody all of the time, but when it does work, it’s because the person fears their control is being taken away from them. In other words: They don’t like being told what to do. Reverse psychology

It’s particularly effective on children and teenagers. Ever tried telling a child not to play with a certain toy? Chances are, they grabbed it the moment your back was turned. Even more concerning, research has shown that warning labels on violent TV programs actually encourage young viewers to tune in.

But this doesn’t mean adults are immune to the effects of reverse psychology. In an experiment led by psychologist Daniel Wegner, participants were told not to think about a white bear. Over the next 5 minutes participants were asked to think aloud, saying everything that came to mind. If they thought, or spoke, about a white bear, they had to ring a bell. Participants were ringing that bell every minute. More interestingly, when the 5 minutes were over, those who had been told not to think about a white bear were thinking about a white bear twice as often as those who had been told to think about it. You can read a little more about this experiment over on Business Insider.

This research should mean it comes as no surprise that reverse psychology is a tactic commonly used in advertising and marketing.

Do you remember Little Caesars “Do Not Call” ad? It explicitly told customers not to call, and was accompanied by a clear instruction for visitors not to enter their address on their website. Little Caesars

How about Patagonia, who ran a full page ad in The New York Times instructing people not to buy a jacket? Patagonia

Or Oakwood School’s celebrity-packed donation drive, which asked people not to give?

I think you get the point! But while we’re on the subject, whatever you do, do not share this post. (Cheers iMediaConnection for rounding up the above examples).

Key takeaway: Write a blog post that’s based around telling your visitors to do the exact opposite of what you want them to do. The trick is to be clear it’s tongue-in-cheek. You’ll tempt your visitors into doing exactly what you want them to do, without inadvertently making them think poorly of you or your product or service.

Finish Line

That’s it for today. Do you know of any other types of blog posts that drive sales? Or have you tried any of these out and are able to fill us in on the results you saw? Comments are below… you know what to do!

Magento Tutorial #1 – How to Install Magento Community Edition (1.9) on Hostgator server

Step 1: Buy a domain from GoDaddy

Step 2: Buy a hosting plan (Baby Plan – Link below)
To purchase a Hostgator account please go to: http://secure.hostgator.com/~affiliat/cgi-bin/affiliates/clickthru.cgi?id=mikecristancho

This is an affiliate link, meaning that if you are getting value from my videos I will get a small return on investment.

Step 3: Drop the files on your server via FTP and create a Database to link the two. If you would like a video on this I can create it. Documentation from Magento is here: http://www.magentocommerce.com/knowledge-base/entry/magento-installation-cheat-sheet

This tutorial got us to a place where we can use Magento Community 1.9. Download the free platform – http://magento.com/blog/magento-news/magento-community-edition-191-now-available-download

Magento Tutorial #2 – What is Magento and A Review of the Magento Dashboard


Today we will go over What exactly is a Magento and where it started.

Magento is owned by eBay Inc and was started in March of 2008. Since then it has become the domination eCommerce platform for small, medium, and mid-large sized ecommerce companies.

You can read more about Magento as a company at http://magento.com/ .  It is important to note that with eBay’s backing it is deeply rooted in the technology sector and Magento won’t be going anywhere soon.