The Unexpected ROI of Non-traditional Charity

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It’s not news that businesses that use data get better results. But while we know this works in business, it’s still rare to see analytical rigor applied in an area like charity. This seems short-sighted. If businesses that use data see 33% more revenue and 12x profit growth, what kind of impact could data have in the work of helping humanity?

If you’re a certain kind of data nerd with aspirations of making the world of better place, you create a charity like GiveDirectly. Two friends pursuing advanced degrees in economic development at Harvard and MIT founded the organization in 2008 when they were looking for the best ROI for their own donated money.

GiveDirectly does something pretty radical for a charity: it raises money, and then gives it away to poor people in Kenya and Uganda. No strings. No requirements. Very little overhead.

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The Human Brain and Data

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Paul Meehl dedicated his life to figuring out who was better at making decisions – human experts or data. After decades of research he concluded with finality that data-driven algorithms are consistently better at making decisions than humans. Meehl summarized his life work with this:

There is no controversy in social science which shows such a large body of qualitatively diverse studies coming out so uniformly in the same direction as this one. When you are pushing over 100 investigations, predicting everything from the outcome of football games to the diagnosis of liver disease, and when you can hardly come up with a half dozen studies showing even a weak tendency in favor of the clinician, it is time to draw a practical conclusion.

The “practical conclusion” was that data outperforms the human brain, every time. Which begs the question, if using data to make decisions leads to such superior results, why don’t we?

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How to Create Predictable Revenue, and Grow Big

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No matter if you’re an embedded member of a long established company, a single entrepreneur just striking out, or if you’re in the first, hopeful stages of start-up-dom — you need a way to reliably predict your revenue.

Last week, we teamed up with the fantastic Aaron Ross, author of “Predictable Revenue.” Aaron played a significant role in the behemoth success of Salesforce.com, and his book has been dubbed the Silicon Valley Sales Bible.

Aaron’s webinar was a crash-course covering Predictable Revenue basics like:

  • The three fatal mistakes sales leaders make
  • How to build an outbound sales machine that can triple your pipeline
  • Why salespeople shouldn’t prospect

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This Data Analysis Doesn’t Speak My Language!

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In both data analysis and relationships, great communication is the foundation. And great communication is built on a shared language.

Data analysis exists in the quantitative world of business. In all the numbers and charts it can be easy to miss the role communication plays in turning analysis into action. Think of it like this, imagine that your idea of the perfect weekend involves playing video games and your partner’s idea of the ideal weekend is a camping trip.

“Let’s have the best weekend ever!” You say.

“That sounds awesome!” Says your significant other.

Excited, you both begin to plan. And immediately begin arguing.

When your business intelligence tool doesn’t speak your language, this is the kind of thing that happens. Except the conversation goes something like this:

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Is That Conference Sponsorship Worth It?

This was the question our founders were asking themselves at the very first conference RJMetrics ever attended. Conferences are expensive and time consuming and, depending on what you’re selling, it can take months before you see a positive ROI.

What we learned at that first event continues to shape our conference strategy. We’re a business intelligence company so, unsurprisingly, we use data to evaluate how well we perform.

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How to Find Sustainable Ecommerce Growth

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Always be testing should be the mantra of every ecommerce store. Incremental improvements on your homepage, product page, or click-through-rates have a snowball effect on your bottom line. Today’s guest post is from, Sean Ellis, CEO of Qualaroo and founder of GrowthHackers.com. Sean has held marketing leadership roles with companies including Dropbox, LogMeIn, Uproar, and Eventbrite. He literally wrote the guide to conversion rate optimization. Read on to hear what Sean has to teach you about optimizing conversion rates to find sustainable ecommerce growth.

Growing an ecommerce business is hard. But what if I told you that the answer to your growth challenges is right in front of you? Conversion rate optimization is critical for any business, but none more so than in ecommerce—where each conversion improvement results in immediate improvement in sales.

But CRO can also be a frustrating, fruitless practice, leading many ecommerce managers to abandon it in search of other opportunities for acquiring new visitors. In my experience, CRO is the most powerful lever you have to improve your ROI and overall site performance. It has the ability to turn unprofitable traffic into profit centers, and delivers sustainable growth that compounds itself over time.

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Two Strategies to Get More Repeat Customers

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We talk about repeat purchases a lot on this blog. We talk about it so much that today we’re thrilled to have Nima Patel from Lettuce on our blog to talk about it for us. From the company that makes order management fun, here are two strategies to get more repeat customers.

By now you’ve heard that repeat customers are an incredibly valuable segment for any ecommerce business and should not be ignored. Although that’s easy to understand at a high level, getting your customer base to buy more often isn’t so simple to implement. Monetary and points based rewards programs are standard, but what if we told you today that there were ways to earn deep customer loyalty without having to resort to generic financial incentives?

It’s definitely possible.

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A PR Hacking Code of Conduct

If you’re a startup marketer, you’re familiar with the term growth hacking. Since Andrew Chen’s popularization of the term in his April 2012 blog post, its usage has exploded:

At RJMetrics, we’ve been growth hacking since 2010. We use a specific tactic we call PR hacking. The formula is simple:

  1. Identify a topic that’s receiving a lot of attention in the press.
  2. Use growth hacking tactics to compile a never-before-seen dataset related to that topic.
  3. Analyze the data in RJMetrics to uncover newsworthy information.
  4. Tell the story in a blog post and/or research report.
  5. Notify all of the reporters who are covering this topic about the analysis.

This works so well because we uncover new information on newsworthy topics. They don’t always generate attention, but when they work, they work really well. Some examples:

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From Testing Newbie to Conversion Optimization Beast

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Over the past four months I have improved RJMetrics’ landing page conversion rates by as much as 74.9% and increased click through rates on our homepage by 88.2%. Pretty impressive, right? Truth is, I wasn’t always a conversion optimizer. Here’s how I went from a testing newbie to a conversion rate optimization beast.

How I learned my baby was ugly

One of my first tasks at RJMetrics involved building a new landing page. With a furrowed brow, I slaved over my Photoshop file, overhauling the textured backgrounds with flat colors and concentrated on inching images just a fewww more pixels to left. Proudly, I unveiled my baby to our designer, received the stamp of approval, and began coding.

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What Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube Know about Product Development

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Netflix, Instagram – companies that changed the habits of millions of people. How did they do it?

Last week Nir Eyal, author of Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products, joined us on a webinar to talk about his research and help us understand how these companies developed products that so effectively changed user behavior.

Nir started by outlining just how customer habits improve business performance:

  • Habits increase customer lifetime value
  • Habits provide greater pricing flexibility
  • Habits supercharge growth. “Hooked” users don’t churn
  • Habits improve a business’s defensibility. It’s hard to get someone to stop using a product that they use without thinking

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