Using Pirate Metrics

Using Pirate Metrics

What metrics are you using for your marketing? One of my favorite tools is Pirate Metrics, AARRR. See how you can use these metrics for your marketing in the below Facebook LIVE video and article. I’m experimenting with more LIVE videos to explain the tools, tactics, and concepts I use for my strategy and planning work, stick with me as I get the hang of this lol!

The framework is based on the most important metrics to track:

  • Acquisition: Where are users coming from?
  • Activation: Are users having a happy first-time experience?
  • Retention: Do users keep coming back?
  • Revenue: Are you making money?
  • Referral: Do users tell others?

I’d love to hear how you decide to use this tool!

Pirate Metrics

Talking about pirate metrics! AARRR Matey

Posted by Aha Marketing on Thursday, May 24, 2018



How To Use Pirate Metrics, AARRR Matey



The 3 P’s + Strategic Project Management

The 3 P’s + Strategic Project Management

There’s a few questions that keep popping up for me lately, what do you actually do and when I talk about my experience people often ask why I closed Joy Works Marketing and how what I am doing now is different. I finally feel like I have an answer for those questions! As you know I love to pose questions in return, so what questions keep popping up for you? What patterns are you seeing?

It was on a walk after a chat with a friend about my work that I realized how to clearly and concisely communicate how what I am doing now is different from before. I call it the 3 P’s. They are Personal, Project, and Partner.

While Joy Works Marketing was based on having a team of contractors, my work now is based on partnerships. I’ve formed a web of partnerships for my  work and that includes other agencies and marketing collaboratives (like SheWolf, a women’s marketing collaborative).

The next P is project based, instead of doing ongoing marketing, I focus on project work. Ideally I’m working on a project for 3-6 months and it could include a website redesign, large scale video production, launch of a new campaign, product line, or program, or rebranding.  

Lastly, I feel what I am doing is more personal. You are working with me and my partners rather than a traditional agency. Hopefully that better explains the difference between my previous and current work. If not, please let me know! I want to be able to explain this to people:)

To answer the other question of what I actually do – I am calling it strategic project management. I love to help business owners with their marketing strategy and planning and that includes creating content calendars, brand documents, and promotional plans. Then after providing more clarity and direction in the strategy phase, I like to switch to planning and project management and make sure the strategy is seen through. Ideally I’m the person you talk to first before you give direction to your social media manager, email marketer, or other marketing folks. That way we know they have a solid foundation in the strategy in order to do their best work.

Businesses that have no marketing team or 1-3 team members are a fit for my services as I can help them on special projects. Most marketing people and business owners are so entrenched in day to day management that when a special project comes along like a website redesign or new launch they don’t have the capacity to give it the attention it needs. That’s where I help with strategy and planning and make sure it’s seen through to completion.

So how does this help you? Ideally this gives you an idea for new collaborative ways of doing business and when you have your next major marketing project you think of other ways to move it forward through partnerships and bringing on folks like myself to assist you. I know it can be overwhelming to manage your day to day marketing plus larger projects that come up. There is a way through the chaos though!

Books + Frameworks = My Favorite Shiny Objects

Books + Frameworks = My Favorite Shiny Objects

As an avid reader and life long learner, I love to read marketing books and learn new frameworks. These are the shiny objects I’m easily distracted by, in a good way of course;) Recently I’ve added a few new tools to my marketing kit and am excited to use them for myself and clients! Since I like to keep my posts short and sweet, I’ll give you a list and how I like to use each of them.

Building a Story Brand

  • I’m only 2 chapters in and I am loving this book! The author perfectly balances giving examples and explaining the principales. I also love it when authors include summaries and next steps at the end of each chapter! It shows that they have taken the time to be clear and concise in their communications and want people to use what they are teaching. I’d been wanting to read the Hero’s Journey and this is a digestible alternative for marketing folks and business owners. Below is an overview of the story brand steps, I’ll definitely be using this for marketing strategy and planning moving forward.

Running Lean

  • This is a great guide for startups or any company that is starting a new division or product line. The problem interviews in Chapter 7 are my favorite. I would recommend that every business go through this exercise to better understand their customers and their problems.

Good Strategy / Bad Strategy

  • An interesting read. More academic and less about application. I’d recommend skimming this or looking up a summary online. Basically, he breaks strategy down into 3 parts – diagnosis, guiding principales, and action. I’m not sure how to apply my learnings from this yet.

Pirate Metrics

  • My latest obsession. AARRR matey! Literally it means Acquisition, Activation, Revenue, Retention, and Referral. These metrics perfectly compliment the buyers journey and I recommend having a # and % for each. For example, for acquisition, track the # of website visitors and the % increase of website visitors month over month.

Design Thinking  

  • I haven’t used this yet so I’m putting it hear for me to learn soon!

Lean Canvas

  • A great business and marketing model to follow. Personally, I think I’ll use the story brand model with the pirate metrics and then cross reference it with this to make sure that the strategy is complete. A great tool for building a stronger foundation.



P.S. Apparently there is a scientific reason why we like shiny things…

Changes of Scenery

Changes of Scenery

I love to have changes of scenery to generate new ideas and boost my creativity. Whether it’s moving tables at the coworking space, working on a variety of client projects, or traveling. Meeting new people, going out of my comfort zone, and changing my habits all leads to new thoughts and ideas. Which all equals growth and expansion.

Recently I went to a Startup Grind event and a group of us went to dinner afterwards. We were talking about our various business and traveling came up as well. It was great to see the excitement and energy while the whole table engaged in the conversation. It reminded me of the power of travel, connecting with others, and that it’s time for another trip.

I had the opportunity to live 5 months abroad working and traveling 2 years ago and I yearn for that immersive experience again. It really opened my eyes to how others live, work, and play and I am so grateful that my entrepreneurial work allowed me to do that.

I’d like to share with you questions to ponder for your own creativity boost and resources for alternative travel opportunities. Here’s to your own journey!

Questions to Ponder:

  • How do you boost your creativity?
  • What gets you into the flow?
  • What are you comfort zones and habits that could be changed? What habits are working for you?
  • Why do you travel?
  • When do you know it’s time for a change?

Working + Traveling:

Coworkation offers great packages for a mix of work and play in countries around the world.

If you want something off the beaten path, there’s a remote coworking space in Montenegro that offers coliving, coworking, and adventure packages.

For those we want to have a longer experience and have everything planned for them, Remote Year is a popular option.

Roam also makes planning easier with it’s network of international coliving spaces.

20 Digital Nomad Retreats, Spaces, Communities and Conferences Around the World

P.S. So what will my next travel adventure be? Italy feels like home to me and I’d love to go back to Montepulciano and see my friends at Wisionaria, the coworking space in the historical plaza. I’d also like to stay at a castle in theScottish highlands. Here’s a few I’ve been dreaming about!



I needed a pick me up this morning so I decided to write about moodboards. Who doesn’t love the beautiful colors and imagery of a well designed moodboard? Yes, I get excited about marketing tools:) Here’s your #MondayMotivation through moodboards, the why, what, benefits, tools, and examples. Short and sweet.


  • Inspiration
  • Affirmation
    • If you already have brand guidelines, a moodboard supports and affirms the brand identity
  • Guidance
    • Defining your brand is key and with tools like this it gives you and your partners guidance on your look and feel
  • Communication
    • The more supporting documents you have for your brand the better. This applies to communications with all marketing team members and others that are representing your brand.

What to Include

  • Imagery
    • Visual metaphors
    • Photography style
    • Art
  • Colors
  • Words
    • Typography
    • Headlines and tone words
  • Texture
    • Patterns and shapes


  • Faster mockup production (especially for a website redesign, this helps inform pages before they are designed)
  • Smoother team buy-in with a visual
  • More fun, less frustration



dinnerguests moodboard







What Is Going On Here?

What Is Going On Here?

I am reading Good Strategy / Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt and would like to share my notes with you. The key point is in the title of this post, ‘What is going on here?’. The key to strategic work is figuring out what is going on. Not just deciding what to do, but the  problem of understanding the situation.

All of the below are my organized highlights…

Bad Strategy

First, let’s talk about what a bad strategy looks like.

To detect a bad strategy, look for one or more of its four major hallmarks:

  • Fluff. Fluff is a form of gibberish masquerading as strategic concepts or arguments. It uses “Sunday” words (words that are inflated and unnecessarily abstruse) and apparently esoteric concepts to create the illusion of high-level thinking.
  • Failure to face the challenge. Bad strategy fails to recognize or define the challenge. When you cannot define the challenge, you cannot evaluate a strategy or improve it.
  • Mistaking goals for strategy. Many bad strategies are just statements of desire rather than plans for overcoming obstacles.
  • Bad strategic objectives. A strategic objective is set by a leader as a means to an end. Strategic objectives are “bad” when they fail to address critical issues or when they are impracticable.”

If you fail to identify and analyze the obstacles, you don’t have a strategy. Instead, you have either a stretch goal, a budget, or a list of things you wish would happen.

When a leader characterizes the challenge as underperformance, it sets the stage for bad strategy. Underperformance is a result. The true challenges are the reasons for the underperformance.

A leader may successfully identify the key challenge and propose an overall approach to dealing with the challenge. But if the consequent strategic objectives are blue sky, not much has been achieved. The purpose of good strategy is to offer a potentially achievable way of surmounting a key challenge. If the leader’s strategic objectives are just as difficult to accomplish as the original challenge, there has been little value added by the strategy.

Good Strategy

Good strategy requires leaders who are willing and able to say no to a wide variety of actions and interests. Strategy is at least as much about what an organization does not do as it is about what it does.

The kernel of a strategy contains three elements:

  • A diagnosis that defines or explains the nature of the challenge. A good diagnosis simplifies the often overwhelming complexity of reality by identifying certain aspects of the situation as critical.
  • A guiding policy for dealing with the challenge. This is an overall approach chosen to cope with or overcome the obstacles identified in the diagnosis.
  • A set of coherent actions that are designed to carry out the guiding policy. These are steps that are coordinated with one another to work together in accomplishing the guiding policy.

Good strategy is not just “what” you are trying to do. It is also “why” and “how” you are doing it.

Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Optimizing Your Website

Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Optimizing Your Website

Update: As promised, here is the full presentation and 15 questions. 

Actually, the 5 questions are a teaser. I’m presenting at Venture Cafe on the 15 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Optimizing Your Website and I thought it would be content you would be interested as well. I’ll give you the first 5 and then after my presentation on Thursday, I’ll post the full 15. I know you are so excited to optimize your website and want the full 15 now! It will give you time answer the first 5 and read a few articles before jumping into the process;)

  1. What are your top goals for the website?
    1. You need to know if the goal is to increase traffic, conversion rate, or brand awareness. Each has different metrics to measure and there needs to be one primary goal to give you focus.
  2. If visitors could only do 3 things on your website, what would they be?
    1. Once again a question to help you refine the purpose of the website or landing page.
  3. Who are your ideal customers?
  4. What differentiators do your customers say you have over competitors?
    1. The key word here is ‘customers’, now what you think your differentiators are but what your customers actually say. Have you asked them? How did you ask them? I recommend the Running Lean problem interview process or using a tool like
  5. Has your current content been written with your goals in mind?
    1. If not, how would you rewrite the content to better speak to your customers and goals?

To help with the process, here are a few articles on optimizing landing pages in particular. While you may be redesigning or updating your website, it’s helpful to test one page at a time. The principles here still apply to a whole website.

A 9-step guide to increase your landing page conversion rate

How to Make a Landing Page That C.O.N.V.E.R.T.S.


A Letter to Fellow Startup Ladies

A Letter to Fellow Startup Ladies

How often are you asking yourself big questions about the decisions you make day to day? I know for me it’s not often enough. I read books, listen to podcasts, have engaging conversations with friends, yet it’s when I am quite that I’m able to process all this information. It could be a walk in the woods or when I’m at home by myself, this is when I decide it’s relevance in my life, what I want, and ponder the decisions I’m making. So what am I pondering now?

The role of women in the startup ecosystem. I know tech is the hot subject, but let’s just start with women in the startup scene first. Then we can touch on the tech aspect. Yes, we all know there is a gap. What I want to talk about is what we do within that gap and the choices we make.

I’ve founded several businesses over the years and been active in the startup scene off and on through them. I never considered my businesses startups though, they were just businesses. Some I sold, others closed, and some left to go inactive. It wasn’t until recently that I really felt like I was in the startup scene. Why? What made me feel like I was really in startup land? Maybe it was all the pitch events I’ve gone to recently or the fact that I am now starting another venture. It’s been 3 years since I started my last new venture and the world as a whole seems to be moving so quickly let alone the lighting pace of the startup world. I feel the energy and restlessness of the other startups and founders and how hard everyone is working on their idea. It’s intoxicating. Yet it feels very much like a machine. The machine of venture capitalism, of accelerators, pitches, how to raise funds, the list goes on of topics and systems that are set up to support start ups. Don’t get me wrong, this is all great. It’s just figuring out how to navigate it that can be challenging.

Now I will bring it back around to women in this crazy ecosystem. I want to talk about in particular the types of businesses women are founding and the support for those businesses. I myself am founding a new lifestyle business and I’ve seen many other women lean towards that or product based businesses. Tech is still dominated by men. I say that with no connotations, it is what it is right now. The issue here is that a lot of the support for startups goes to tech businesses. I know of some programs that focus on women or creative ventures, yet the top dollars and resources are still for tech.

As a women in this strange startup world I feel like our choices are to stick to our ideas regardless of what the industry leaders or ‘experts’ say or to start a conversation with them about how we could take our product or lifestyle brands and techify them. I know there are other options, at the moment I see these as the 2 bigs ones in front of us. Stay with our original idea or start to experiment with how to modify it to fit into the ever increasing popular tech category.

I want to talk about 3 things around this decision to modify our ideas or product — power, criteria, and what I call the 3 legged stool.

Let’s start with the 3 legged stool. This includes your values, vision, and mission. This is your core, without this you cannot move forward. (As I am typing this I realize I need to redefine this for my own venture so I feel your pain around digging into this:) What I mean by values are the values of the new venture you are starting. For example, mine are connection, self-expression, passion, growth, beauty, and joy. This is what the business is built on and the filter through which I make my decisions. For vision, this is how the world is a better place because your business is in it, it’s inspirational and aspirational. For me, my vision is to see other women light up. You know the look when you see a woman truly happy and excited about something;) The mission is then how you accomplish your vision. (Still working on the wording for this myself.)

So how does this apply to women in the startup ecosystem? You need to know what these are for yourself in order to make the best decisions for you and your business. If you are debating on whether to seek funding, apply to an accelerator program, or bring on a new partner, these are your guiding posts. Will the core of the business still be the same if you decide to do X, Y, or Z? Keep these values close to your heart, they are non-negotiable.

The next is criteria, how are you and your business being judged and by whom? What is their experience and perspective? I feel like it’s important for anyone not to take anything personally but especially women in this space. Too often I find myself on the feedback loop from hell (I should have applied, why am I beating myself up for not applying and the circle continues) or having a list of coulds, shoulds and have tos running through my mind. The startup space is fierce and there is competition for attention, funding, and spots in programs. Yet take at step back and ask yourself what criteria are decisions being made by. Do the decision makers have this freely available? Also, what criteria are you making your decisions by? It goes both ways.

Lastly, remember your power. Yes you. There are more and more opportunities for startups each day. There may be a day where they are vying for your attention rather than the other way around. Either way, you have a choice on what to do with your business, time, and money. Don’t be intimidated by the credentials of so and so or start to say ‘No, I couldn’t possibly do that’. We are all a little crazy for starting businesses in the first place so we might as well own it. Remember that your power lies with you, not because of any external validation. Yes those are nice, and also fleeting. Everyone that you may look up to or be slightly intimidated by had to start somewhere too.

With these 3 things in mind, your power, criteria, and the 3 legged stool, I find it much easier to navigate this space. I just keep showing up in my own way, that’s what will change the space. Everyone being themselves and not someone they think other people want to see. That’s how the gap will start to change, because each of us fabulous, entrepreneurial women are showing up as ourselves. Not trying to be like anyone else.

Also, going back to my original question of options… How have I changed my business because of the ecosystem? I’ve actually started to toy with the idea of adding internet of things to my idea. It’s in progress yet I know which aspects of my business are non-negotiable and I am playing with the rest. It has taught me to see things in new ways and ask myself tougher questions. Don’t be afraid of these changing dynamics and the focus on tech, start to ask questions and think about where you want you and your business to be.

Ultimately there is always a place for lifestyle brands, products, and any other underdogs in the startup scene. There is a space for it because you say so. Not because of what anyone else says. That has been my lesson. If I want to see more handmade products, then I need to support that. If I don’t, will that go away like my favorite book stores too? We all have a say in these things. What will yours be? What big questions are you asking yourself?

Video Project Examples

Video Project Examples

There is something magical about seeing an idea you’ve worked on come to life. Be it a video, website, or event, it was in your mind and now it’s out in the world for all to see. Crazy right?

There’s the beginning stages of brainstorming and talking about what we want to see as an end result. Then starts the strategy and planning work on paper – the brand guidelines for the video, the goals, vision, and mission. Next it’s creating script outlines. This is the point that the project seems tangible to me.

Yet, that is really the start. After the outline is created the scripts are written and our baby idea is now a teenager and ready to go to the production company. The first cuts are always the most exciting and making sure that the vision we had is brought to life. There is always back and forth and that is the beauty of these projects. Every step of the way they are being tweaked, double checked, and discussed by the team.

Once live, it is time to market them. With the marketing strategy and plan being established in the beginning, it’s time to turn the plan on! While a whole other project, it all fits together.

This is how I love to work on video projects. It is so much fun teaming up with the production company, writer, and the client to bring projects like these to life.

ZAQ Aromatherapy: These videos were for 3 different purposes, for brand awareness, to tell customer stories, and educate customers on how to take care of their diffusers. The customer spotlights and how to videos were a big success on the product pages in increasing their conversion rates. Something ask yourself as you work on your video project is, why are we creating these and what does success look like?




Detroit Institute of Arts: With a passion for the arts, it was a pleasure to work at the DIA and collaborate on these projects. The Rembrandt video was in collaboration with Goodby Silverstein and Partners. While the other videos were produced internally to feature new museum objects and shows.

OREI Travel Adapters: How do you make travel adapters more interesting to consumers? You tell a travel story. For these videos we partnered with a travel blogger to showcase the top selling adapter for OREI. We also had videos that showed the product features and benefits. It was a combination of entertaining and educating customers that led to an increase in product sales.