Hibbett (HIBB) Gains But Lags Market: What You Should Know

This story originally appeared on Zacks

Hibbett (HIBB) closed at $74.95 in the latest trading session, marking a +0.36% move from the prior day. The stock lagged the S&P 500’s daily gain of 1.71%.

– Zacks

Heading into today, shares of the sporting goods retailer had lost 7.22% over the past month, lagging the Retail-Wholesale sector’s loss of 4.04% and the S&P 500’s loss of 2.25% in that time.Investors will be hoping for strength from HIBB as it approaches its next earnings release. On that day, HIBB is projected to report earnings of $1.45 per share, which would represent no growth from the year-ago period. Our most recent consensus estimate is calling for quarterly revenue of $356.2 million, up 7.49% from the year-ago period.Looking at the full year, our Zacks Consensus Estimates suggest analysts are expecting earnings of $11.30 per share and revenue of $1.68 billion. These totals would mark changes of +84.64% and +18.33%, respectively, from last year.It is also important to note the recent changes to analyst estimates for HIBB. These revisions help to show the ever-changing nature of near-term business trends. As a result, we can interpret positive estimate revisions as a good sign for the company’s business outlook.Research indicates that these estimate revisions are directly correlated with near-term share price momentum. Investors can capitalize on this by using the Zacks Rank. This model considers these estimate changes and provides a simple, actionable rating system.Ranging from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell), the Zacks Rank system has a proven, outside-audited track record of outperformance, with #1 stocks returning an average of +25% annually since 1988. Over the past month, the Zacks Consensus EPS estimate remained stagnant. HIBB is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy).Valuation is also important, so investors should note that HIBB has a Forward P/E ratio of 6.61 right now. Its industry sports an average Forward P/E of 11.45, so we one might conclude that HIBB is trading at a discount comparatively.It is also worth noting that HIBB currently has a PEG ratio of 0.29. This popular metric is similar to the widely-known P/E ratio, with the difference being that the PEG ratio also takes into account the company’s expected earnings growth rate. Retail – Apparel and Shoes stocks are, on average, holding a PEG ratio of 0.64 based on yesterday’s closing prices.The Retail – Apparel and Shoes industry is part of the Retail-Wholesale sector. This group has a Zacks Industry Rank of 19, putting it in the top 8% of all 250+ industries.The Zacks Industry Rank includes is listed in order from best to worst in terms of the average Zacks Rank of the individual companies within each of these sectors. Our research shows that the top 50% rated industries outperform the bottom half by a factor of 2 to 1.To follow HIBB in the coming trading sessions, be sure to utilize Zacks.com.
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Can We Trust View-Through Conversions? An Experiment Reveals!

Can We Trust View-Through Conversions? An Experiment Reveals!

Because display ads tend to have low conversion rates, many advertisers (or their clients) are quick to question their effectiveness and profitability.The truth is, display ads can have a strong positive impact on your conversion rates—but oftentimes indirectly, making it hard to track or measure.

One metric designed to help us out with that is view-through conversions. Even still, many question the validity of this metric. Can we trust it? In this post, we’re going to cover

What view-through conversions are.
An interesting experiment conducted to test their validity.
Tips on how to track and use this metric.

To understand this PPC metric, it’s best to first define a direct conversion (or click-through conversion). If a user sees your ad, clicks on it, and follows through with obtaining the offer, this is called a direct conversion.

A view-through conversion, on the other hand, happens when a user sees your ad, does NOT click on it, but then later returns to your site (whether by organic search or direct) and completes any sort of conversion action then.

The view-through conversion is only counted if it occurs within a certain number of days after a user sees your ad. This is called the conversion window, lookback window, or attribution window, and you can set it to be anywhere from one to 30 days.

However, the more time that elapses between an impression and a conversion, the less certain it becomes that it was that one ad’s impression that influenced the conversion. After all, a person will encounter a lot of material in the 30 days after seeing an ad that could also play a role in whether they return to your site and convert.

As a result, shorter lookback windows are best for the most realistic and accurate data.

View-through conversions are important in understanding the true value of your display ads.

But can we trust view-through conversions? (experiment)

This question is by no means a new one, but when it came up for the folks over at PPC agency Teamedia, they took a unique approach in answering it.

When one of their clients saw that the Display remarketing campaign wasn’t generating many conversions, they requested to stop it and reallocate resources to more profitable ad types.

However, the client was only looking at direct conversions, and almost 50% of the campaign’s total conversions were view-throughs.

Even still, the client didn’t think that view-throughs should be counted while calculating the total campaign’s CPA; and without counting view-throughs, the campaign wasn’t meeting the target KPI.

The question

View-through conversions are a measure of how often seeing an ad influences a person to later return to your site and convert. But how do you know that a user is actually seeing the ad?

Yes, Google Ads tells us that an impression is considered a “view” when at least 50% of the ad is onscreen for at least one second. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a user has seen the ad.

How can we trust that these aren’t just fake or made-up numbers Google uses so we’ll keep running our Display ads?

The experiment

So, the folks at Teamedia set up an experiment to see whether view-through conversions were accurately measuring the influence of their client’s Display campaign on future website conversions.

After letting the original campaign run for 30 days, they paused it and then launched a clone of it, but this time with a completely blank banner ad. That’s right, blank white space, no headline, no description, no nothing.

And surprisingly enough, Google approved and served it!

So this way, if Google recorded any view-through conversions from this ad, Teamedia would know that this metric is not trustworthy.

In other words, since view-throughs say that seeing your ad influenced a user to go to your site later—any view-throughs from this invisible ad would be bogus since there was nothing to see.

The results

The original Display campaign (with the regular banner ad) generated 2,418,973 impressions and nine view-through conversions.

The test campaign (with the invisible ad) generated 315,677 impressions and zero view-through conversions.

Teamedia also checked the time lag report in Google Ads to verify that for the past 90 days, all view-through conversions happened within one day after seeing the ad (which was the setting they chose).

So:

Regular ad: 2,418,973 impressions, nine view-through conversions.
Invisible ad: 315,677 impressions, zero view-through conversions.
Conclusions

A few caveats:

This was, of course, a small experiment done for one campaign on one account.
View-through conversions will never be as certain a metric as click-through conversions, since there is no way to concretely measure a view (let alone any resulting subconscious behaviors) versus a click.
It’s possible that the absence of view-through conversions in the test campaign was simply due to the lower volume of impressions.
Regardless, we like Teamedia’s creativity of thinking here! And for the sake of this campaign, they could use these results to suggest to their client that view-through conversions can be trusted as an accurate indicator that the display remarketing ad in question was indeed influencing website conversions.

In other words, their client was thinking that the remarketing audiences they were targeting would return to their site and convert anyway, without the display ads. Teamedia used view-through conversions to show them otherwise, and then ran the blank banner ad test to show them that view-throughs could be trusted.

So if this experiment boosts your confidence in view-throughs (or even introduces you to them!), we have some tips on how to use your view-through conversion data.

Gauge brand awareness

There are many different ways to measure brand awareness, such as through branded search volume, social media mentions, and more. But if you see your view-through conversion rate increasing without having made any changes to the copy and creative of your Display ads, this could be a sign that your brand awareness is getting stronger.

Measure memorability

This post provides some insightful tips on using view-through conversions. The first is that eye-catching ads may produce direct conversions, but memorable ads can lead to those indirect view-through conversions. So you can use this metric to run A/B tests and identify which ads are more “sticky” than others.

Rhyming is a psychological copywriting tactic that can make your ads more memorable. (Image source)

Get a feel for your audience’s shopping habits

The second insight from the article cited above is that view-through conversions can help you understand your audience’s shopping habits. You can get a feel for which of your products or services your audience buys spur of the moment (click-through conversions), versus which ones take more time for a decision (view-through conversions).

Optimize placements

View-through conversions help us to identify if some display or video placements are more powerful than others. For example, let’s say you have the same display ad running on two different pages, each one with the same click-through conversion rate. They’re performing equally, right? Not necessarily. If one placement is showing more view-through conversions than the other, you’ve just identified  placement optimization opportunities.

Image source

How do you track view-through conversions?

So all we have left is, how exactly do you track view-through conversions so you can make the above optimizations?

As long as you have conversion tracking set up, you can see view-through conversion data in two different ways.

Google Ads analytics

On Google Ads, you can modify your columns so that it appears in the “Campaigns” view.

This is the tool Teamedia used to measure view-throughs in their experiment.

Google Analytics

In Google Analytics, view-through conversion data is available through the GDN impression reporting feature.

Go to Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels

If you want detailed reports and deep analyses on view-through conversions, you would need additional conversion tracking software. However, either of the two methods above should suffice in being able to optimize your campaigns according to this metric.

A creative approach to view-through validity

For many PPC metrics, different advertisers have different viewpoints on them, depending on their experiences as well as the industry, account setup, and overall marketing strategy of the business being advertised.

And by their nature, view through-conversions have always been on the more fuzzy side of things.

But Teamedia’s approach—using view-throughs to demonstrate the value of a Display campaign, and then running a blank campaign to demonstrate the value of view-throughs—was a great one in determining the validity of this metric to their campaign.

Thank you to Zinaida Pchelintseva and her team at Teamedia—a performance marketing agency specializing in paid acquisition for SaaS businesses.

S&P, NASDAQ Snap 3-Day Skids Amid CPI and Earnings Reports

This story originally appeared on Zacks

SPECIAL ALERT: Remember, the October episode of the Zacks Ultimate Strategy Session is now available for viewing! Don’t miss your chance to hear:▪ Sheraz Mian and Jeremy Mullin Agree to Disagree on whether the market top is in or has further to go  ▪ Kevin answers questions covering the recent pullback, and where we go from here in Zacks Mailbag▪ Sheraz and Jeremy choose one portfolio to give feedback for improvement▪ Market conditions from both fundamental and technical views▪ The full list of top-performing stocks over the past 30 days▪ New stocks added to the Zacks Ultimate portfolio▪ And much moreSimply log on to Zacks.com and view the October episode here. And please let us know what you think of these monthly episodes. Email all feedback to mailbag@zacks.com.The market had a lot of stuff to process on Wednesday from hot-button issues like inflation and the tapering timeline, but the S&P and NASDAQ still managed to snap their three-day losing streaks. Meanwhile, the country’s largest bank provided a solid start to earnings season.  The CPI report was the big news of the day, especially as global supply chain issues exacerbate the inflation problem and threaten to limit the economic recovery. Consumer prices jumped 0.4% in September and surged 5.4% year-over-year.These results are abnormally high, but they’re only slightly worse than expected by about 0.1% for each time frame. So we were spared the super spicy number that could have wreaked havoc in an already skittish market. In fact, one of our editors called this a “goldilocks” result.  Meanwhile, the Fed minutes from the September meeting were released, which showed the Committee getting more comfortable with tapering. In fact, it could begin as soon as mid-November and end in mid-2022. As with the CPI number, there was really no eye-bulging surprises here. Investors already knew that inflation is on the rise (but hopefully transitory) and that a taper is right around the corner.As a result, the market fought back from some early sluggishness. The S&P rose 0.30% to 4363.80, while the NASDAQ was the big winner with an advance of 0.73% (or about 105 points) to 14,571.63. Both of these indices ended three-day skids that began on Friday with that disappointing jobs report.And then there’s the Dow. The index recovered from an approximately 250-point deficit early Wednesday, but doesn’t get to join its counterparts on the plus side. It ended the day at 34,377.81, which means it was down by less than a point! Technically, it’s now on a four-day losing streak.The CPI and Fed minutes overshadowed the start of earnings season on Wednesday, but we’re just getting started with these reports. And it was a pretty good start with JPMorgan (JPM) announcing a solid quarter that included a positive earnings surprise of nearly 25%. As you might expect though, shares of the banking giant were down 2.6% in the session.Our Director of Research Sheraz Mian made JPM a focus in his latest Earnings Trends piece entitled “Solid Start to Q3 Earnings Season”.Tomorrow’s major reports among the financial giants include Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC), Morgan Stanley (MS) and Citigroup (C) all before the market open. Other noteworthy reports include Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM) and UnitedHealth (UNH), among several others.In addition to the earnings reports, Thursday will also include the weekly jobless claims number and the PPI report. So get ready for another day of inflation and earnings. Today’s Portfolio Highlights:Home Run Investor: Energy prices are soaring these days, so Brian thought this was a good time to add exposure to the oil & gas E&P space. On Wednesday, the portfolio picked up Northern Oil and Gas (NOG), a company based in Minnesota that should capitalize on plunging winter temperatures in the Midwest. NOG topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the past four quarters… and still managed an average surprise of 19% in that time. In other words, the beats are big and the earnings estimates are rising, which explains its status as a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The complete commentary has a lot more on the addition of NOG, as well as the subtractions of Stride (LRN) and Euroseas (ESEA).    Surprise Trader: Sometimes the lower expectations of a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) can “catch the market off guard with a good earnings number”, especially if it has a positive Earnings ESP. That’s what Dave was thinking when he added Heartland Express (HTLD) on Wednesday. The company is part of the Transportation – Truck space, which is in the Top 10% of the Zacks Industry Rank. HTLD doesn’t announce the date of its earnings report, but it usually comes around the second week of October. Therefore, the editor is expecting it very soon. The stock has come down considerably off the 52-week highs and is now near support in this $16 area. Dave added HTLD today with a 12.5% allocation, while also selling Costco (COST) after failing to get a post earnings drift higher. The complete commentary has more on all of today’s moves.  Stocks Under $10: Given the surge in oil of late, Brian wouldn’t be surprised if we see $100 per barrel or more soon. If that were to happen, it would be bad news for the portfolio’s transportation names. Therefore, the editor eliminated the service’s exposure to the space on Wednesday by selling Diana Shipping (DSX), Corporacion America Airports S.A. (CAAP) and Pangaea Logistics (PANL). DSX was the big winner with a 14% return in about four months, while CAAP brought a little over 5% in just under six months.Value Investor: It was another good session for InMode (INMD), as this radio-frequency medical technologies company gained 13.8% on Wednesday after providing a third-quarter outlook that was ahead of Wall Street expectations. INMD has actually been on a tear ever since Tracey added the name back in April 2020. The stock is currently the best performer in the portfolio by a wide margin with a surge of more than 600% since inception! INMD is also one of the biggest winners over the past 30 days by rising 39.4%.All the Best,Jim Giaquinto
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Nutrien (NTR) Stock Sinks As Market Gains: What You Should Know

This story originally appeared on Zacks

In the latest trading session, Nutrien (NTR) closed at $70.48, marking a -0.2% move from the previous day. This change lagged the S&P 500’s daily gain of 0.3%.

– Zacks

Prior to today’s trading, shares of the producer of potash and other fertilizers had gained 15.69% over the past month. This has outpaced the Basic Materials sector’s loss of 2.71% and the S&P 500’s loss of 2.37% in that time.Wall Street will be looking for positivity from NTR as it approaches its next earnings report date. This is expected to be November 1, 2021. In that report, analysts expect NTR to post earnings of $1.20 per share. This would mark year-over-year growth of 421.74%. Meanwhile, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenue is projecting net sales of $5.76 billion, up 37.04% from the year-ago period.For the full year, our Zacks Consensus Estimates are projecting earnings of $5.01 per share and revenue of $25.22 billion, which would represent changes of +178.33% and +20.92%, respectively, from the prior year.Investors should also note any recent changes to analyst estimates for NTR. These recent revisions tend to reflect the evolving nature of short-term business trends. As a result, we can interpret positive estimate revisions as a good sign for the company’s business outlook.Our research shows that these estimate changes are directly correlated with near-term stock prices. Investors can capitalize on this by using the Zacks Rank. This model considers these estimate changes and provides a simple, actionable rating system.The Zacks Rank system, which ranges from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell), has an impressive outside-audited track record of outperformance, with #1 stocks generating an average annual return of +25% since 1988. Within the past 30 days, our consensus EPS projection has moved 1.55% higher. NTR is currently a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).Valuation is also important, so investors should note that NTR has a Forward P/E ratio of 14.11 right now. This valuation marks a no noticeable deviation compared to its industry’s average Forward P/E of 14.11.Investors should also note that NTR has a PEG ratio of 1.76 right now. This metric is used similarly to the famous P/E ratio, but the PEG ratio also takes into account the stock’s expected earnings growth rate. The Fertilizers was holding an average PEG ratio of 1.48 at yesterday’s closing price.The Fertilizers industry is part of the Basic Materials sector. This group has a Zacks Industry Rank of 37, putting it in the top 15% of all 250+ industries.The Zacks Industry Rank gauges the strength of our industry groups by measuring the average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the groups. Our research shows that the top 50% rated industries outperform the bottom half by a factor of 2 to 1.You can find more information on all of these metrics, and much more, on Zacks.com.
Zacks Names “Single Best Pick to Double”
From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all.
You know this company from its past glory days, but few would expect that it’s poised for a monster turnaround. Fresh from a successful repositioning and flush with A-list celeb endorsements, it could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in a little more than 9 months and Nvidia which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up > >Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Nutrien Ltd. (NTR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here.

NEW Paid Search Advertising Benchmarks for 2021

NEW Paid Search Advertising Benchmarks for 2021

In today’s day and age, when we want to buy something, our knee-jerk reaction is to head to Google (or whatever search engine we use). Whether we know exactly what we want, are looking for nearby businesses, or want to do more in-depth research, 71% of buyer journeys begin with a search engine.In other words, consumers have the highest purchase intent when on search engines. This is why paid search ads are so highly effective—and yet so competitive. 

In order to compete, you need to have a clear picture of your performance in relation to others in your industry. To help you with this, WordStream and LOCALiQ have partnered up to provide you with the benchmark data you need! 

Below you will find the following metrics across the top 20 industries for Google and Bing search ads:

Average cost per click
Average click-through rate
Average cost per lead
Average conversion rate
Compare your averages to those in your industry and get a solid read on where you need to improve to stay competitive.

Average cost per click for search advertising

Business Category
Average Cost Per Click
Arts & Entertainment
$1.60
Animals & Pets
$2.89
Apparel / Fashion & Jewelry
$2.61
Attorneys & Legal Services
$8.67
Automotive — For Sale
$2.32
Automotive — Repair, Service & Parts
$3.19
Beauty & Personal Care
$3.74
Business Services
$4.90
Career & Employment
$3.90
Dentists & Dental Services
$6.49
Education & Instruction
$4.18
Finance & Insurance
$5.16
Furniture
$2.14
Health & Fitness
$3.97
Home & Home Improvement
$5.75
Industrial & Commercial
$4.14
Personal Services
$3.46
Physicians & Surgeons
$3.63
Real Estate
$1.40
Restaurants & Food
$1.77
Shopping, Collectibles & Gifts
$2.23
Sports & Recreation
$1.73
Travel
$1.40

Cost per click varies according to the level of competition for a keyword, audience, location, and more, and your bidding strategy can impact this metric.

We found the average cost per click for search ads across all industries to be $3.53, ranging from $1.40 to $8.67.
Industries with the lowest CPC include travel ($1.40), animals and pets ($1.60), and sports and recreation ($1.73).
Industries with the highest average CPC include attorneys and legal services ($8.67), dentists and dental services ($6.49), and home and home improvement ($5.75).
These findings are consistent with our past benchmarks reports, with the legal industry having the highest cost per click and sports and fitness being among the industries with the lowest.

Average click-through rate for search advertising

Business Category
Average Click-Through Rate
Arts & Entertainment
10.67%
Animals & Pets
6.45%
Apparel / Fashion & Jewelry
6.19%
Attorneys & Legal Services
3.84%
Automotive — For Sale
7.93%
Automotive — Repair, Service & Parts
5.39%
Beauty & Personal Care
5.44%
Business Services
4.72%
Career & Employment
5.33%
Dentists & Dental Services
4.69%
Education & Instruction
5.46%
Finance & Insurance
5.07%
Furniture
5.73%
Health & Fitness
5.94%
Home & Home Improvement
4.21%
Industrial & Commercial
5.34%
Personal Services
6.12%
Physicians & Surgeons
6.11%
Real Estate
7.75%
Restaurants & Food
7.19%
Shopping, Collectibles & Gifts
6.33%
Sports & Recreation
7.73%
Travel
8.54%

Click-through rate factors into your Quality Score and guides you in identifying the right targeting, ad copy, and offers for your ads. The metric can be misleading by itself, so be sure to analyze it with respect to other metrics (like conversion rate).

We found the average click-through rate across all industries to be 6.18%, ranging from 3.84% to 10.67%.
Industries with the highest average click-through rates include arts and entertainment (10.67%), travel (8.54%), and real estate (7.75%)—with sports and recreation just behind that (7.73%).
Industries with the lowest average click-through rates include attorneys and legal services (3.84%), home and home improvement (4.21%), and dentists and dental services (4.69%).
In our previous benchmarks reports, we have consistently found the highest click-through rates in the travel and arts industries, and the lowest with legal, health, and home industries. 

On the other hand, sports and fitness have historically had lower click-through rates than what we’re seeing here, and the personals vertical has shown significantly higher click-through rates than these numbers.

Average cost per lead for search advertising

Business Category
Average Cost Per Lead
Arts & Entertainment
$36.23
Animals & Pets
$14.88
Apparel / Fashion & Jewelry
$46.06
Attorneys & Legal Services
$73.70
Automotive — For Sale
$42.95
Automotive — Repair, Service & Parts
$17.81
Beauty & Personal Care
$51.42
Business Services
$62.18
Career & Employment
$53.52
Dentists & Dental Services
$42.95
Education & Instruction
$50.91
Finance & Insurance
$62.80
Furniture
$64.72
Health & Fitness
$41.68
Home & Home Improvement
$47.94
Industrial & Commercial
$43.82
Personal Services
$27.94
Physicians & Surgeons
$26.05
Real Estate
$38.86
Restaurants & Food
$20.49
Shopping, Collectibles & Gifts
$20.91
Sports & Recreation
$27.11
Travel
$37.34

Cost per lead, also known as cost per action, cost per conversion, or cost per acquisition, tells you how much you spent in order to get someone to complete a desired action—whether to fill out a form, call you, or make a purchase. 

We found the average cost per lead across all industries to be $41.40, ranging from $14.88 to $73.70.
Industries with the highest cost per lead include attorneys and legal services ($73.70), furniture ($64.72), and finance and insurance ($62.80).
Industries with the lowest cost per lead are animals and pets ($14.88), automotive repair, service, and parts ($17.81), and restaurants ($20.49). 
This overall average is lower than what we’ve seen in the past, which is good news for advertisers. The automotive vertical has consistently been in the lowest bracket in our past findings.

Average conversion rate for search advertising

Business Category
Average Conversion Rate
Arts & Entertainment
5.90%
Animals & Pets
19.19%
Apparel / Fashion & Jewelry
3.60%
Attorneys & Legal Services
11.54%
Automotive — For Sale
6.57%
Automotive — Repair, Service & Parts
15.23%
Beauty & Personal Care
7.72%
Business Services
6.77%
Career & Employment
5.31%
Dentists & Dental Services
13.81%
Education & Instruction
6.16%
Finance & Insurance
5.51%
Furniture
3.25%
Health & Fitness
10.39%
Home & Home Improvement
13.23%
Industrial & Commercial
9.37%
Personal Services
10.52%
Physicians & Surgeons
19.15%
Real Estate
3.93%
Restaurants & Food
6.89%
Shopping, Collectibles & Gifts
6.70%
Sports & Recreation
6.19%
Travel
6.01%

While cost per lead measures how much you spent to get someone who clicked on your ad to contact you in some way, conversion rate tells you just how many people who clicked on your ad actually converted.

We found the average conversion rate average across all industries to be 8.82%, ranging from 3.25% to 19.19%.
Industries with the highest conversion rates include animals and pets (19.19%), physicians and surgeons (19.15%), and automotive repair, service, and parts (15.23%).
Industries with the lowest conversion rates were furniture (3.25%), apparel/fashion and jewelry (3.6%), and real estate (3.93%).
Our past data also finds the highest conversion rates in the legal and automotive verticals and the lowest in real estate and apparel. On the other hand, the personals conversion rate has historically been higher than what we’re seeing here.

Want more advertising benchmarks?

You can get the full report on these search advertising benchmarks, plus expert insights and tips to improve your results, in LOCALiQ’s full search ad benchmarks report. You may also be interested in these vertical-specific advertising benchmarks:

Data source

This report is based on a sample of 18,316 North American-based LOCALiQ client campaigns in the outlined business categories that were running search advertising across all search engines between May 1, 2020, and June 25, 2021. Each business category includes a minimum of 69 unique active client campaigns. “Averages” are technically median figures to account for outliers. All currency values are posted in USD.

5 Top Charts to Start Earnings Season

This story originally appeared on Zacks

[embedded content]Earnings season officially starts this week with the big banks leading off the charge.

– Zacks

We’ll hear from all four of the largest American banks including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo.But there’s plenty more to keep an eye on outside of the financials as there’s a diverse group of large cap companies also reporting this week.These 5 companies have the top charts of the week. One hasn’t missed in 5 years, not even during the pandemic, and another one is up 105% in 2021.Can those who “won” in 2020 keep winning in 2021 and beyond?5 Top Charts to Start Earnings Season 1.    JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM has beat 5 quarters in a row. Considered one of the “top” banks in the country, investors have pushed the shares up 31% year-to-date. They’re at new all-time highs. It’s trading with a forward P/E of 12. Is this just the start of its next big rally?2.    UnitedHealth Group UNH hasn’t missed in 5 years. Impressive. It’s so consistent. Shares are up 15.5% this year and are trading around its all-time highs. What will be the catalyst for the next break out?3.    Domino’s Pizza, Inc. DPZ has beat 2 quarters in a row and has come through the pandemic as a “winner.” Shares are up another 25% year-to-date. But will labor and commodity costs as well as the delta variant COVID outbreak bite in the third quarter?4.    Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. TSM has beat 3 quarters in a row but shares have been treading water throughout 2021. Shares are up just 1.1% year-to-date after a 2-year rally of 123%. Manufacturing issues have hit the semiconductor industry in 2021. Will they come out of it in 2022?5.    Alcoa Corp. AA has beat 6 quarters in a row. It’s been a surprise winner in 2021, with shares soaring 105% after a big 2020 coronavirus rally. Yet it has a forward P/E of just 7.2 as earnings are expected to be up 650% this year. Is there more gas left in the tank?
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After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%.
You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE > >Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM): Free Stock Analysis Report UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH): Free Stock Analysis Report Alcoa (AA): Free Stock Analysis Report Domino’s Pizza Inc (DPZ): Free Stock Analysis Report Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. (TSM): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research

What Growth Marketing Really Means (+22 Strategies to Do It Right)

What Growth Marketing Really Means (+22 Strategies to Do It Right)

To many business owners and marketers, the term “growth marketing” may seem redundant. Marketing is what you do to grow a business, so isn’t all marketing growth marketing? 

Too many professionals get this definition wrong and end up missing out on major opportunities for growth. So what exactly is it? In this complete guide to growth marketing, we’re going to cover:

The true definition of growth marketing and its benefits.
Growth marketing vs traditional marketing and growth hacking.
How to do it using the five stages of the AARRR framework.
Growth marketing strategies and important metrics for each stage.
Let’s get started.

What is growth marketing?

To understand growth marketing, let’s take a look at it in comparison to traditional marketing.

Traditional marketing focuses on campaign-oriented short-term goals. It’s typically company-centric, largely focused on acquisition, and most of the planning is opinion-based and evaluated annually.

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Growth marketing, on the other hand, is strategy-based with long-term goals in mind. Planning is evidence-based and it focuses on acquisition, retention, and cross-selling and upselling,

Simple example of growth marketing

Let’s say your ecommerce business is not making enough money because customers only buy one or two products. The order value is low and the profit doesn’t cover the acquisition costs.In this case, you might use cross and upselling to get the customer to buy more products the first time, and engagement strategies to get them to buy more often, because with the second or third sale you won’t have any acquisition costs to cover—especially if you use email marketing to communicate with your customers.

Growth marketing vs growth hacking

Growth hacking is not the same as growth marketing. Growth hacking focuses on short-term results while growth marketing focuses on the bigger picture. Here’s a deeper dive into the differences between the two:

Growth hacking looks to achieve rapid growth, usually with acquisition, while growth marketing seeks to achieve long-term growth with a set of full-funnel strategies.
Growth hacking looks at data to experiment and refine an outcome, while growth marketing looks at data to identify patterns and refine a strategy.
Growth hacking involves hands-on tactics with testing and tweaking, while growth marketing involves automated and algorithmic processes with periodic adjustments.
Growth hacking is centered around business pain points and goals, while growth marketing is centered around customer pain points. 

An example of growth hacking in action (Dropbox)

What’s great about growth hacking is that through experimentation and iteration, growth hackers can often develop something unique in a short time—like the Dropbox Referral Program.

The company was having difficulties acquiring new users, and paid ads were not doing the trick. Their growth hack, a double-sided referral program, resulted in a 60% increase in signups.

An example of growth hacking turned growth marketing (Slack)

Slack is the fastest-growing B2B SaaS company in history.

While this freemium communication tool was still in beta, founder Stewart Butterfield used widespread media coverage to invite organizations to request access to the platform and try it out—landing them 8,000 signups in 24 hours and reaching 15,000 signups in two weeks. Now that’s a growth hack.

Over the next six months, Slack gathered feedback from these users to refine the product. Once the tool was launched and Slack established its brand and upward growth curve, it could then focus on more consistent and sustainable strategies for acquiring new users and enhancing the platform’s experience to retain them. And that’s growth marketing.

Slack now has over three million paid users today. 

Benefits of a growth marketing strategy

Here are some of the many benefits you stand to gain through a growth marketing mindset:

Better decisions: Growth marketing eliminates the idea of a gut feeling (as with traditional marketing). This data-packed approach to marketing shows what works and what doesn’t to help you make better decisions. 
Enhanced brand perception: This ideology focuses on understanding the customer journey, delivering better experiences, and establishing personal relationships with the customer—ultimately enhancing your reputation. 
Elasticity: Growth marketing is a scalable strategy. You can scale up or scale back your marketing efforts according to your cash flow instead of blindly spending money on big campaigns.
Unification: Growth marketing necessitates cross-functional collaboration. The marketing team is as involved as the product and sales team, customer support, and analytics team.
Achieve revenue targets: With the goal of sustainable progress, growth marketing focuses on agile goals to drive revenue. Rather than shooting in the dark, growth marketing seeks promising targets and works toward achieving them strategically.
Now let’s walk through every stage of the growth marketing funnel and its key metrics. 

What is the AARRR framework?

AARRR is one of the most popular frameworks for growth marketing. Also known as the Pirate Funnel, this framework divides your growth marketing strategies into five stages and assigns metrics to map this journey.

Acquisition: Turn viewers into leads and customers.
Activation: Create the aha moment where customers realize the true value of your business.
Retention: Keep customers coming back to purchase or staying subscribed.
Referral: Turn customers into brand advocates.
Revenue: Enhance customer lifetime value.

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Let’s use this framework here to understand the best strategies and metrics for growth marketing.

Growth marketing strategy: AARRR acquisition stage

Your goal with the acquisition stage of growth marketing is to find the right leads and turn them into customers. It’s the process encompassed in the traditional AIDA model where you take people on the path from awareness to purchase.

Customer acquisition costs are constantly on the rise. If you want to scale your (bootstrapped) business, you have to build a cost-efficient acquisition strategy. Define your budget for this stage and explore multiple channels to create a set stage for acquiring customers. 51% of companies use at least eight channels to interact with their customers.

Growth marketing strategies for acquisition

This aspect of growth marketing encompasses a number of marketing strategies and channels, but here are a few examples.

1. Content marketing

Create a lead-generating content marketing strategy through blog posts, ebooks, online courses, videos, and more that inform, educate, and interest your audience. This demonstrates your expertise, authenticates your business, builds trust with your audience, and drives traffic to your website where you can convert them into leads and customers.

2. Create a community around your brand

Add value for your target audience by building a community around your specialty. For example, CRM brand Pipedrive has a knowledge hub dedicated to sales professionals with useful content and the means to share knowledge with their peers.

3. Create a free tool

Always address your target audience’s pain points. Offering them something they need will naturally increase their interest in your product or service. Build something useful—like Hubspot’s set of free tools ideal for different segments of its user base, or WordStream’s free Google Ads Performance Grader. 

(Get your grade!)

4. List your products on Product HuntList your product on Product Hunt to boost your visibility. Optimize your listing with keywords, attractive and visual content, well-timed launches, and upvote invitations

5. Build an automated LinkedIn lead generation machine

As a B2B brand, you can make turn LinkedIn into a lead generation machine by optimizing your company page, building a hyper-engaged network, creating value-packed content, and through targeted outreach. You can even build a sales pipeline through video nurture campaigns.

6. Leverage YouTube ads

Running ads on YouTube is both affordable and effective. A top-notch promotional or explainer video can reach a large audience and generate interest—like this one by Hello Fresh.

7. Exit-intent popups

Use exit intent popups to elicit some action from the users. 

AARRR metrics for acquisition stage

Since there are so many different strategies involved in acquisition, your metrics will depend on the platforms you use.

Channel-specific metrics: PPC metrics, SEO metrics, social media metrics, email metrics, and more. An important metric is cost per acquisition (CPA) also known as cost per action or cost per conversion, which is how much it costs to acquire a lead. 
Conversion rate: Test the conversion rate for different channels, including your website, landing page, social media, and emails. This metric compares the total number of conversions within a bigger pool of interactions.
Customer acquisition cost (CAC): This metric measures the cost to acquire a customer. While CPA is a campaign-level metric, CAC is more of an overarching business-level metric that divides the total cost of all your marketing efforts (online and offline) by the total number of paying customers generated in a given time period.

Don’t confuse CAC with CPA!

Growth marketing strategy: AARRR activation stage

The activation stage is when customers using your product or service realize the true and unique value your business offers. So it’s all about providing the best customer experience and integretating that “aha moment” into your customer’s journey. 

The fact that a customer is five times more likely to purchase again from you has motivated companies to invest in customer experiences, ultimately fuelling the popularity of growth marketing.

Growth marketing strategies for activation

What makes for the best customer experience? Personalization. 80% of customers shop from brands that create personalized experiences for them. 

8. Use personalization technology 

Personalization technology enhances the customer experience, building loyalty, multiplying conversion rates, decreasing cart abandonment, and increasing average order value. Ecommerce brands can create a customized shopping experience to suit the shoppers’ preferences, while B2B brands can personalize their website based on behaviors and context with tools like Hyperise.

Another example of personalization technology is dynamic LinkedIn outreach personalization, where you can send personalized messages and images to contact prospects and drive conversion rates. 

Head here for more ways to gain and retain clients through B2B marketing automation.

9. Create hyper-personalized email campaigns

Along with your website and videos, you can also hyper-personalize your email campaigns to create more meaningful communication with your customers—from onboarding and welcome emails to feature announcement and feedback emails.

10. Use chatbots and video chats

Customer support is one of the most important aspects of user experience. Automating the sales and support process allows you to optimize communication with your leads and customers. Chatbots and video chat tools are great options for doing so.

11. Conversion rate optimization

For both the acquisition and activation phases, conversion rate optimization is key. By creating a conversion funnel based on the actions you want your website visitors to take, you can find dropoff points and identify ways to patch them up through segmentation and A/B testing. 

Using a data-driven approach, you can remove the guesswork about what your leads and customers like and create the best experience on your website, social media profiles, emails, landing pages, and more. 

AARRR metrics for activation

Here are some metrics to help you formulate your “aha moment.”

Active users: The daily active user (DAU) count is crucial to determine user engagement. This metric allows you to see if users find utility in your product or service.
Abandonment rate: This metric looks at the percentage of users leaving before they complete the desired action. It gives you an insight into the stage where the users are leaving and helps you take the right mitigation measures.
Activation rate: This metric measures the pace at which new customers find the optimum value in your product or service. You have to define a particular action to deem a user “activated” when performing this action. The activation rate then calculates the number of users who performed this action against the total number of users who signed up.
Your customers will become loyal customers only when they find value in your product or service. Keep an eye on whether they feel satisfied with your brand through these metrics. Evaluating this data will allow you to take timely action and reduce churn.

Growth marketing strategy: AARRR retention stage

The retention stage, as the name suggests, aims to retain your existing customers by providing consistent value that in turn further strengthens customer loyalty and reduces churn rates. It’s about proactively managing the customer experience.

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Growth marketing strategies for retention

The best way to retain customers is to engage with them consistently. From the moment they sign up to the moment they buy a product or take a premium subscription, send them helpful content, offers, and support to keep them engaged and taking action.

12. Send personalized email perks

Make the most of marketing automation with email automation tools like MailChimp to communicate with your customers and keep them returning to your website. Use these free small business email templates for help!

13. Run reenagement campaigns

According to RJMetrics, a company with a 2.5% churn rate can become 50% larger in five years than a company with a 5% churn rate. That’s how big difference churn rates can make!

Devise methods to reduce churn rates using targeted reengagenemt emails. Use behavioral segmentation to identify people who have gone dormant and send targeted emails to identify and solve their pain points. Groove did this and reduced their churn rate to 1.6%.

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Find these patterns for your business—understand user behavior at different points on your website or product using data. Evaluate this data to identify patterns of this behavior and arrive at reasons for your churn rate.

14. Run rewards promos and programs

A big part of customer retention is making them feel special. Reward your loyal customers and express gratitude by sending special discounts and offers, early access to sales, a freebie, thank you notes, or new products tailored to them. Give them reasons to feel special and feel closer to your brand.

VIP and loyalty programs incentivize users’ loyalty and create exclusivity to build a stronger connection. Sephora’s Beauty Insider program is a perfect example of how brands retain customers through appreciation.

15. Build strong employee loyalty

Your customers can only be as happy as your employees. Create core company values and cultivate a culture of freedom and happiness for your employees to strengthen their loyalty towards your company. Their feelings will naturally reflect in how they talk to your customers and ultimately drive retention rates.

16. Create a customer support knowledge base

In addition to providing blog articles and social media content that educate your audience and bring in leads, consider creating a learning hub for your product specifically, like Asana. 

Building a knowledge base and hosting online courses will allow you to:

Establish credibility as a brand
Onboard new customers with ease
Troubleshoot any problems
Enhance customer engagement and satisfaction
AARRR metrics for retention

By analyzing these metrics, you’ll be able to revise your retention strategies for better results and build a solid recurring client base for your business.

Customer retention rate (CRR): This metric shows how many customers actively use your product or service. It looks at the number of customers who remained with you by deducting the new acquisition in the concerned period.
Churn rate (for SaaS or app): The churn rate measures how many users have stopped using the product. Also known as the attrition rate, it measures the number of customers who have left the app in a given period.
Increased average order value: This metric allows you to measure how much customers buy more from you compared to baseline. An increase in the average order value means the customers are happy with your product and eager to buy more. 
Average customer lifespan: An average customer lifespan is the number of days between the customer’s first order date and last order date.
Reactivation rate: Reactivation is when you’re converting a churned client into an active one. This metric finds the number of churned customers who came back.
Remember, retention is always cheaper than acquisition!

Growth marketing strategy: Referral stage

The referral stage is when you leverage your customers’ loyalty for marketing your brand. It’s when customers love your product or service so much that they willingly recommend it to others.

Growth marketing strategies for the referral stage

Referral marketing is one of the best approaches out there, and there are different types of referral incentives:

Referrer saves money
Referrer helps a friend
Referrer and friend both get something of value
Referrer contributes to a social cause

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Here are some referral marketing strategies to try.

17. Create a referral program

The first step to make the most of the referral stage is to create your loyal customer base. When you have this loyal base ready, strategize a referral program to promote your products. Italic’s refer a friend program of $30 credit helps to drive signups on their members-only shopping platform. 

18. Leverage early adopters as marketers

Some of your earliest users can act as the best marketers for your product or service. Your early adopters are the risk-takers who align themselves with your brand for its core values. Use their belief in your product or service to market the brand effectively and create awareness.

19. Leverage influencers

Influencer marketing is another great strategy for the referral stage. Connect with popular social media influencers in your industry for collaboration and drive sign-ups and conversions through their audience.

AARRR metrics for referral stage

Referrals can be a game-changer for driving your business growth. Analyze these metrics consistently and build on the tactics detailed above to secure the profits of referral marketing.

Customer referrals: This metric measures how many clients are willingly referring your brand to others. It gives you insight into your customers’ satisfaction levels.
Customer reviews: Social proof is the key to driving referrals and conversions. Ask for reviews, follow these tips to get more Google reviews, and then analyze them to gauge your customer satisfaction.
Influencer recommendations: Measure how many influencers are open to recommending your brand or are organically recommending it on social media.
Net promoter score (NPS): This score measures customer satisfaction based on an array of factors like customer support, pricing, usability, performance, and overall experience
Turn your loyal customers into brand ambassadors and position influencers to promote your product or service.

Growth marketing strategy: AARRR revenue stage

The last stage is about the revenue you can generate from all your marketing efforts. It seeks to enhance customer lifetime value by delivering better experiences, increasing average order value, and enhancing retention rates.

The rule of thumb for boosting revenue is to triple your customer lifetime value against the acquisition costs. 

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Growth marketing strategies for revenue

A lot of the strategies for enhancing customer lifetime value are built into the previous stages of the growth marketing framework. But here are some:

20. Focus on repeat customers

Look at your analytics and identify the repeat customers to improve their experience. The better brand loyalty you establish, the more revenue you can generate.

21. Promote “eyecatcher” products

Promote entry-level products that work well with additional products. In doing so, you can increase signups and sell more products later, ultimately increasing the customer revenue.

22. Hone your pricing strategy

You might try a price increase. If you have strong customer loyalty towards your product, they are likely willing to pay a substantial price for the same. 

AARRR metrics for revenue

Your business growth ultimately lies in the revenue you secure. So, measure these metrics to check the revenue you earn and lose with every customer. These metrics are particularly crucial for subscription-based business models.

Customer lifetime value (CLV): This metric is crucial to determine the overall customer experience. It measures the value of a customer for your company over the period of their relationship (see average customer lifespan).
Average revenue per user (ARPU): This metric gives you an idea of the revenue you’re generating from each user in a specific duration. It divides revenue generated in a period by the number of average users in that period.
Annual recurring revenue (ARR): This metric is for subscription products or services. It evaluates the revenue generated every year for a subscription.
Monthly recurring revenue (MRR): This metric measures the predicted income from subscriptions sold in a month.
Revenue churn: This metric looks at the revenue lost in a given period. It calculates the MRR lost in a month and deducts the total price of upgrades or additional services bought in the month. 
Keep a check on these numbers to fuel revenue-driven growth for your business.

The real definition of growth marketing (recap)

Growth marketing is more than just a buzzword for growing businesses. It’s a well-devised plan for sustainable progress and taking your business to greater heights. We’ve covered a lot, so let’s recap:

Growth marketing is a strategy-based, data-driven approach to achieving sustainable success and improving revenue.
Growth hacking seeks to reach short-term goals or solve a business problem, with rapid experimentation and iteration to produce a solution or product.
Growth marketing seeks to achieve dominance in the market over time, with a framework of carefully devised strategies that use automation to tailor to customers’ needs and scale.
Benefits of growth marketing include better decisions through data, improved brand perception, scalability, cross-functional collaboration, and higher revenue.
AARRR is one of the most popular frameworks for growth marketing and includes acquisition, activation, retention, referral, and revenue.
Growth marketing strategies and metrics span across the entire lifetime of the customer, not just the campaigns used to acquire them.

Foot Locker (FL) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know

This story originally appeared on Zacks

Foot Locker (FL) closed the most recent trading day at $46.57, moving -1.54% from the previous trading session. This change lagged the S&P 500’s 0.69% loss on the day.

– Zacks

Heading into today, shares of the shoe store had lost 9.39% over the past month, lagging the Retail-Wholesale sector’s loss of 5.22% and the S&P 500’s loss of 2.58% in that time.Wall Street will be looking for positivity from FL as it approaches its next earnings report date. The company is expected to report EPS of $1.32, up 9.09% from the prior-year quarter. Our most recent consensus estimate is calling for quarterly revenue of $2.12 billion, up 0.87% from the year-ago period.Looking at the full year, our Zacks Consensus Estimates suggest analysts are expecting earnings of $6.91 per share and revenue of $8.88 billion. These totals would mark changes of +145.91% and +17.65%, respectively, from last year.Investors should also note any recent changes to analyst estimates for FL. These recent revisions tend to reflect the evolving nature of short-term business trends. As such, positive estimate revisions reflect analyst optimism about the company’s business and profitability.Our research shows that these estimate changes are directly correlated with near-term stock prices. We developed the Zacks Rank to capitalize on this phenomenon. Our system takes these estimate changes into account and delivers a clear, actionable rating model.Ranging from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell), the Zacks Rank system has a proven, outside-audited track record of outperformance, with #1 stocks returning an average of +25% annually since 1988. Over the past month, the Zacks Consensus EPS estimate has moved 2.99% lower. FL currently has a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold).In terms of valuation, FL is currently trading at a Forward P/E ratio of 6.85. For comparison, its industry has an average Forward P/E of 11.41, which means FL is trading at a discount to the group.Also, we should mention that FL has a PEG ratio of 0.24. This metric is used similarly to the famous P/E ratio, but the PEG ratio also takes into account the stock’s expected earnings growth rate. Retail – Apparel and Shoes stocks are, on average, holding a PEG ratio of 0.66 based on yesterday’s closing prices.The Retail – Apparel and Shoes industry is part of the Retail-Wholesale sector. This industry currently has a Zacks Industry Rank of 26, which puts it in the top 11% of all 250+ industries.The Zacks Industry Rank includes is listed in order from best to worst in terms of the average Zacks Rank of the individual companies within each of these sectors. Our research shows that the top 50% rated industries outperform the bottom half by a factor of 2 to 1.To follow FL in the coming trading sessions, be sure to utilize Zacks.com.
Tech IPOs With Massive Profit Potential
In the past few years, many popular platforms and like Uber and Airbnb finally made their way to the public markets. But the biggest paydays came from lesser-known names.
For example, electric carmaker X Peng shot up +299.4% in just 2 months. Think of it this way…
If you had put $5,000 into XPEV at its IPO in September 2020, you could have cashed out with $19,970 in November.
With record amounts of cash flooding into IPOs and a record-setting stock market, this year’s lineup could be even more lucrative.See Zacks Hottest Tech IPOs Now > >Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Foot Locker, Inc. (FL): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here.

Want to Pivot? Read Your Small Business Boom

A simple guide for small business owners who want to pivot successfully.If you buy something through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.When you hear the word “pivot“, what does it make you think? If you ask me, it makes me want to stick a fork in my eye. It’s one of these words small business gurus throw around as advice and something you should do without actually telling you exactly how you are supposed to do it.At least until now.My friend, Steve Strauss has just released a new business book “Your Small Business Boom: Explosive Ideas to Grow Your Business, Make More Money, and Thrive in a Volatile World” that should be titled “How to Pivot” because that’s really what it’s about.Meet Steven D. StraussYou can call him Steve. And don’t let the fact that he’s USA Today’s senior small business columnist and “America’s leading small business expert” make you think that he’s anything less than the most approachable guy in the room.He wrote “The Small Business Bible” and 16 other books that have been translated into eight languages. This is why you’ll often see Steve partnering with brands like Yahoo, PayPal, and Microsoft. His company, The Strauss Group creates cutting-edge content for everyone from Fortune 100 companies to small non-profits.On a personal note, the one thing I admire about Steve is his refusal to breathe that rarified air of small business celebrity. He continues to play on the court with small businesses and solopreneurs helping them solve practical problems. This is what “Small Business Boom” lays out in detail.If Someone Else Can Do It, So Can YouWhenever you pick up a business book, it’s important to understand the underlying philosophy or belief of the author. And Strauss believes very strongly that if someone has succeeded by doing these things — so can you.The question you have to ask yourself is — do you believe this as well?If you DO believe this, then you have a mindset that will benefit the most from this book.On the other hand, if you’ve had a bad experience with trying something where it didn’t work, you might find yourself giving the “I’ve tried that before and it didn’t work” excuse.If that sounds like you, my advice is to read this book critically. And, where you see a tactic that you think will work for you, focus on what it takes to be successful with this tactic.Let’s get started.What You’ll Learn in “Small Business Boom”“Small Business Boom” makes some bold promises along with examples of real small business owners:Create a tribe of fans, followers, and customersMake money while you sleepUse webinars, podcasts, live streaming, and funnels to make your business boom.Make social media work for you by going beyond likes.Have big clients with bigger budgets seek you out.These are all popular and emotional talking points that every business wants. The real question is how are you going to implement this in your business?Here’s how “Small Business Boom” Answers the “How” QuestionThe book is written in five parts:In Part One, Strauss gives you six chapters of very specific ways to pivot. By far, this is my favorite part of the book as it’s powerful and practical. Again, the way to get the most from this section is to take the time to reflect on how these might apply to your business and think it through.My advice is to make a shortlist of pivot ideas that you get from this section and then choose ONE that you most want to implement. This will help you get the most out of the other sections.Part Two of “Small Business Boom” is dedicated to making sure that your business is taking advantage of online and digital marketing. This section of the book gives you a 30,000-foot view of what it takes to achieve that bullet list of promises I mentioned above.You won’t find anything you haven’t seen before in this section. What you will get is a wonderful and complete overview of all the ingredients involved in delivering on the promise of 1 million hits.For those of you who have “tried” these strategies and gotten less than stellar results and are still feeling confused and frustrated, I’ll say that your issue is one of focus and choice. You simply won’t be able to do all of these things all at once. This is why I recommend choosing a single pivot strategy to play with. Then choose the tactics that are critical to making your pivot strategy successful.Part Three of the book focuses on solopreneurs and freelancers. Kudos to Strauss for not ignoring this segment like so many business books do. More than 90% of all small businesses in this country have zero employees and many business books overlook this group and force them to adapt strategies and tactics that work for larger businesses.In this section, Strauss lists the most popular sites where you’ll find projects and clients. Then, in the chapter titled “Millionnaire Solopreneur,” he provides just enough structure, examples, and information to help you focus your thinking and strategizing.Part Four is all about money, collaboration, and how to make other people’s money work for your business. You’ll love that it includes more than going to the bank, although that’s covered. As someone deathly afraid of “other people’s money” I would have appreciated some type of discussion or resource to help me decide which is best for me. For example, “Use credits cards if…” or “Crowdfunding is best for business that…”The last part of the book is about your business superpower; that special something that sets you apart. I was a little surprised that this chapter was last. I would have put it first. But this is where Strauss shows that he knows his audience. He recognizes that small business owners are more task-oriented and want tips first and thinking later. I admire that.Boom or Bust — It’s Up to YouStrauss covers all aspects of running a successful business by providing specific ways that entrepreneurs can grow their businesses as well as making more money through collaboration and leveraging innovative ideas.The real question is, do you believe that you can do it too.Image: amazon