What's your Panama Canal?

The Panama Canal was a monumental achievement.  It cut significant time off of a voyage from the Atlantic to Pacific.  I doubt any ship that could go through the canal instead sails around south America to cross from the Atlantic to the Pacific.  It’s way more efficient to go through the canal now that it is built.

The value of a canal across Central America was recognized as early as 1513 yet it took another 500 years before construction on the present day Canal was began.
Each of us also have things on our todo lists in our lives or business that are expensive but if done would allow us to do more with the limited resources we have.  Some of these things we have recognized the value of for a long time but we haven’t done them, whether out of fear or perceived lack of resources. Is there a partnership you need to make?  Do you need to spend a few weeks re-working a process?  Do you need a vacation?  A new skill?
Whatever it is, take this time to think of the Panama Canals you haven’t built yet for yourself or your business and see if the time is now right.
Happy Sailing!

Google Analytics Solutions Gallery!?!>

Did you know that Google has a Google Analytics Solutions Gallery where you can find community generated custom dashboards and reports?  There are some real jewels in there.  I tried out the most popular, Occam’s Razor Awesomeness as well as a beginner one suggested by the Google Analytics team.  Honestly not sure why these reports don’t come pre-loaded, but to each PM his own..
If you find a sweet one you think we should look at, let us know in the comments.  Thanks!

What are your business' big rocks?

There is a common visualization where rocks are put in a jar that is already mostly full of sand, not all the rocks fit, but if you put the rocks in first then add the sand it all fits.
Usually this is applied to life, and putting the important things first.  But you can also apply it to business.  What are the things you HAVE to get done in your business to grow?  Work on those first.  Do something everyday that works towards achieving your rocks.
We have our rocks for Q3, and after we choose our big rocks we planned what needed to be done to achieve the big rocks.
So the question is…  What are the big rocks for your business?  What are the things you really need to get done to accomplish your rocks?


What do drones and marketing have in common?

Photo by Diana Măceşanu
Drones are a miracle of modern science.  They take user input (what you want it to do), and look at sensor data, and make adjustments so they can do what you want them to.   Consumer drones were an almost impossibility a decade ago because the low cost electronics weren’t fast enough to see what the drone needed to adjust.  By the time it knew that it needed to slow down one motor to stay level it was already turning upside down and ready to crash.  This same concept of rapid feedback is what enables cars to lower their emissions to what they are today.  Similar to drones, without this fast feedback in your online marketing there are some really awesome things you can’t do.
Most small businesses still have “slow” marketing feedback.  If sales are up for the quarter marketing is good.  If sales are down for the quarter something needs to change.  The way to speed up your online marketing feedback is to fully integrate your Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics with Infusionsoft to record monetary values for conversions.  It’s technically possible to set these things up so that when someone makes a purchase you can tell Facebook and Google how much money that purchase is worth.  For subscriptions you tell Facebook / Google the lifetime value of the subscription that was purchased.
We have already created a tool we use that does this for Google Analytics and we are working on one for Facebook.
If you want to help test the tool and give us some feedback when it’s done, leave a comment below (or on our facebook page) and we’ll email you when it’s ready.  I promise, it will be easy to use.

Tuesday’s Tip: Playing the Long Game

Recently I picked up an old game my friends used to play.  Sid Meyer’s Civilization.  It is a fascinating game.  Combining politics, war, social dynamics, intrigue, supply, diplomacy, science, etc…  A unique difference about it vs most video games is that you have to be playing about 10 turns ahead (this equates to about 30 min of play time, and 50 years in game time).  If you want to attack someone, unless you have boat loads of money to purchase units, you have to start building an army ahead of time.  Armies cost money to maintain and so you can’t keep a large standing army and once you’ve defeated your enemy you have to cut back your army size or else you’ll use all your money just keeping them alive.  Do you need to make friends with someone so you can cross their territory with your army and not start a war with them.
In the world of small business (and life) things are similar.  Everyday we have a long list of tasks that seems never ending many of those tasks likely have little to no long term significance.  I read a great article here: http://blog.crew.co/playing-the-long-game/ that talked about how you should allow yourself to procrastinate to work on significant things.  As I was playing the game, I realized that in my own life, I’m not playing the 10 turns ahead, I’m playing it about a week ahead.  I realized this, and when I got to work this morning I shared my thoughts with Jordan and we identified where we are lacking in Novak Solutions and what we need to do to change.
So I pose this same question to you.  Where do you want to be in 5 years with your business, and what do you need to get there?
I want Novak Solutions to distribute $1m/yr in dividends in 5 years.  To do this, I am lacking some skills, specifically I need to learn to market effectively, and I need to learn how to effectively manage employees so they make us money.
Today, I asked our marketing specialist (Beth Shurtleff) to prepare a summary report on what each of the 5 top digital marketers say a high converting landing page needs. (Not just a check-list, but a 20 page or so report on what she discovers and what the different people think, and what the common threads are).
I also created an Infusionsoft campaign to remind me what my goal is.  It sends me an email once a month (on a Tuesday Morning) reminding me of my goal, and prompting you to think about what you can do today to do what I need to do to get there.
You use it too if you want, just sign up here (you can un-subscribe at any-time, and it really is just one email a month): https://joey.infusionsoft.com/app/form/playing-the-long-game
Of course I have other goals in other areas of my life that are more important then business, but I’ll keep those to myself.
If you are into sci-fi you may be aware of the multi-verse theory.  My religion clashes with it and I don’t think it’s true.  But flip it around and one thing I think we can all agree on is that there ARE an infinite number of possible universes in the future based on our choices.  It’s up to us to choose which one we want to be in.
You CAN make your dreams come true.  Life isn’t like a Disney Movie where things JUST HAPPEN. We have to MAKE them happen.  So Do It!  Play The Long Game, and Reap the rewards.

Tuesday's Tip: Add an SSL Lock And Text To Infusionsoft Order Forms or Shopping Cart

Ever seen those “Secured by SSL” locks / images?  That means a lot to some people.  So we created an easy way to add it to your order forms and shopping cart.
First, download this image (right click and select “Save image as…”):

Next, you need to upload it someplace.  Doesn’t matter where, as long as it is on an ssl site (Amazon S3 is a quick and easy place to put it).
Finaly, just paste the HTML below into the “Footer” area of your Shopping Cart or Order Form.  Change the “image-url-here” to the url of the image.  This will give you a nice looking compact image and text that re-assures people who are concerned about the security of their information.

   This site is secured by SSL (Using AES256 and RSA)
   <img src="image-url-here" align="top" width="16">

Tuesday's Tip: Identifying Your Most Interested Leads

It’s the end of the month, you need to close one more deal, and you KNOW there is somebody in your database who wants to buy, you just aren’t sure who…  What if you had a count of how many interactions you had with each customer.  How many links they’ve clicked, forms filled out, and you know the last time they interacted with you.  Do you think you could find that person you can close today?
While Infusionsoft has Lead Scoring, it doesn’t give you a running total you can use in this case.  However, an easy way to track this is to use a custom field, and our free “Field Math” tool that is included in our Free Campaign Tools.  Use the Field Math tool to increment that custom field value every time a contact does something that indicates interest.  This could be filling out a webform, clicking a link, or other actions.
Checkout how to use our Field Math plugin:

Tuesday's Tip: Get More Opt-Ins with Icegram

A client of ours told me about this gem.  It’s called Icegram.  It lets you bring attention to Call To Actions on your website with a multi-tude of options from chat boxes, to headers, to popups.  And! You can use it with Infusionsoft!!  But wait, There’s More!  It’s Free!
Rather then downloading it, install it just like a normal wordpress plugin.
Now, go ahead and create a new “Campaign” by clicking in the wordpress admin bar on “Icegram” (should be under comments). And then “Add New Campaign”.
2015-09-28 16_44_53-Page Cache _ W3 Total Cache ‹ Novak Solutions — WordPressNext, you need to create a new message.  Play with the options some, and see what you like.  Once you have what you want, scroll down and click on the “Use Opt-in / Subscritpoion / Lead Capture Form” button.
2015-09-28 16_44_05-Edit Campaign ‹ Novak Solutions — WordPress
Now, open up an Infusionsoft Web Form, click on “Get The Code” and get the un-styled code.  Paste it into the “Form Embed Code”.  Now save everything and check out your hard work.2015-09-28 16_44_25-Edit Campaign ‹ Novak Solutions — WordPress


Tuesday's Tip: How does Chip on Card / EMV effect eCommerce?

With the October 15th deadline for EMV cards rapidly approaching.  You’ve probably noticed some of your favourite retailers have gotten new credit card terminals.  For those of us that depend upon credit cards as a form of payment, this has raised some questions about the future of how we accept credit cards.  First off, the october 15th deadline isn’t a law, it isn’t a day where all magnetic stripe cards will stop working, it isn’t even that terrible if you aren’t ready for it.  On October 15th, if you are a brick and mortar store, and you don’t yet accept EMV cards, if you accept a fraudulent credit card, you have to pay for it, the bank won’t reimburse you.  chip-card-square-header
This all stems back from the big data breaches we’ve seen in the last few years.  Magnetic stripe cards are insanely easy to read and duplicate.  You can buy everything you need from Amazon for less then $200.  This wasn’t a huge deal because credit card numbers are encrypted on the terminal before being sent to the bank for verification.  The target data breach was a new class of cyber attack.  Criminals injected new code into the credit card terminal itself so that they could grab a copy of the card number before it was encrypted.  To prevent this from happening again, card readers are now built with the encryption built right into what is called the “Read Head” this is the magic thing that turns the magnetic data into ones and zeros the credit card terminal can understand.  The card data stays encrypted all the way to the bank.
But, since credit card skimmers are still a problem, as a country we’re switching to EMV.  It’s worthwhile to note that most of the rest of the world has been using EMV instead of magnetic stripes for a long time.  Jordan (the other Novak here) even told me that when he was in Mexico, some merchants had no idea how to use his normal american credit card because it didn’t have a chip in it.
Nordea_e-kodSo, how does this effect those of us who take credit cards online?  The great news is.  It doesn’t…  At-least not much.  Some people believe that online fraud may surge since thieves won’t be able to make fraudulent credit cards any-more.  I’m a little sceptical that this will effect niche markets, and information marketers as much as big-box retailers that sell things that can be converted to cash at WalMart or other brick and mortar stores (like DVDs, CDs, clothing, etc…).
There are a few ways to process transactions using EMV online.  But they require each consumer to have a special machine that looks like a calculator that they put the card into, type in a number provided by the online site, and then read a number off the device back to the website.  The problem with this, and the reason banks haven’t started shipping these calculator things is that each bank has a slightly different way of doing things, so there isn’t a Standard yet.
My conclusion…  Unless you are selling generic goods that can be converted to cash, or easily re-sold.  I wouldn’t worry.  We’re not worried.