Business

  • Optimizing Your Etsy Shop

    When it comes to optimizing your Etsy shop so you’re able to drive targeted traffic to your listings, it all begins with the keywords you use within your product descriptions and titles as well as how thoroughly you’ve optimized your storefront.

    Learning how to properly research and use focus keywords in your product pages will not only help you optimize your listings and overall shop, but you’ll begin to see what’s selling based on actual search volume. 

    Meaning, you’ll get hard data that you can work with. No guesswork. You’ll know what people are actively searching for and buying so you can create those types of products for your own shop.

    To start, you’ll want to focus on just a single keyword that you know you’ll be able to rank for. We call this our focus keyword.

    This keyword is the main one that you are hoping to rank for in a product listing. You highlight this keyword in all areas of your product listing while using secondary keywords to fill in the gaps.

    Your focus keyword should always appear in the title and in the product description.  All other keywords are known as supporting keywords, or secondary keywords.

    The key is to choose the best focus keywords possible that are relevant to your product and will directly target the right audience. 

    Time Saver Tip: I always encourage people to invest in an Etsy-specific research tool such as https://www.MarmaLead.com, rather than a generic, all-encompassing SEO product that isn’t designed specifically for Etsy because they know the way Etsy works!

    MarmaLead has been responsible for taking shops that weren’t getting any visibility and turning them into top-selling superstars. 

    If you wish to go it alone and do the work yourself, there are other ways to build up your focus keyword lists quickly, starting with Etsy itself. 

    Begin by browsing for products in your market and then visit 15-20 different shops. Scroll to the bottom and you’ll find keywords used for those product pages. Write those down and then run them through Google Keywords to determine search volume.

    Google & Amazon
    You can use Google’s search bar as well as Amazon’s and let auto-complete help you identify commonly-used keyword strings.

    Begin by entering in a few seed keywords and then see what comes up. Also, make sure you scroll to the bottom of the first page of search results of any Google search to see other popular keyword phrases used by on-site users. 

    Amazon offers the same auto-suggestion feature as well. With Amazon, take things a step further and check out some of the book pages for journals and planners in your niche. Every low content book could be turned into a printable pack, so the keywords you find on the product pages can easily be used in your Etsy listings. 

    Pay attention to keywords used in the product titles as well as the bullet-points used on planner and journal pages. You’ll quickly find a ton of relevant keywords that you can add to your seed keyword list!

    Pinterest: http://www.Pinterest.com
    A favorite hot spot for keywords based on popular tags.

    You can start by entering in your primary keyword phrase and see where it takes you, but the better way is by browsing the categories. 

    Google Trends

    If you want to be notified of when certain search terms are used so you can figure out how popular a keyword phrase is, hop on over to https://trends.google.com/trends

    Start by entering in a keyword phrase, such as “pregnancy printable” to see what pops up. 

    You’ll also be able to see related search queries which is a great way to come up with commonly used keyword strings that you can later plug into your Etsy shop listings.

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  • Printable Shop: Quick Start

    There are many ways to create an online shop so you can start selling your downloadable products, but one of the easiest ways to get started is with Etsy, available at https://www.Etsy.com

    Here are just a few reasons:

    With an Etsy shop, you can easily build a mailing list of buyers and maximize your income faster and easier than ever before because you are in direct contact with your customer base.

    In addition, you will never be dependent on just one marketplace because you’ll be able to cultivate a tribe of buyers and build a brand that you’re in full control of.

    There’ll be no guesswork.

    You’ll know where your buyers come from, what they’re interested in, and how to create additional products they’ll want to buy.  And making money online will never be easier once you’ve built that community of your own.

    Plus, people are already searching for printables on Etsy! This means that you’ll be able to instantly tap into an ever-growing customer base that is active on the marketplace. 

    So even if you don’t launch your own marketing campaigns, chances are you’ll be able to start generating sales from Etsy’s existing traffic.  Easy!

    And finally, there are valuable tools that make it easy to create Etsy listings that stand out from the crowd. I’m talking about resources like https://www.MarmaLead.com that not only break down your existing Etsy listings to show you how to improve your outreach, but they grade your listings based on focus keywords, exposure and more!

    When it comes to creating an Etsy shop, you’ll want to carefully choose a shop name, and customize your storefront so it clearly represents your brand. 

    This includes a high-quality shop banner, memorable logo and shop description/tagline, and of course, in-demand printable products.

    Let’s get started.

    Step 1: Create your Etsy Account:

    Head on over to https://Etsy.com and create your account.

    Make sure to fill in all the profile and account areas, including your payment information, address and add a credit card to your account so that Etsy can charge you for each listing whenever it needs to be renewed.

    You will also want to set your shop preferences including shop language, country, and currency.

    Next, make sure to set your shop name so it’s the exact same name as your blog (if you plan to create one, and I recommend you do!). The key is to be consistent across all platforms. 

    Your shop name can be between 4-20 characters and shouldn’t contain any spaces or special characters.

    Whatever shop name you assign will also become your Etsy web address and will look something like this: keyword.etsy.com

    Step 2: Add Your First Product
    The next step will be to stock your shop with at least one printable product.

    Note that you can’t create an Etsy shop without having at least one available product, so if you have yet to create your first printable offer, you’ll want to do that first and then return to your Etsy account to complete the process. 

    Each product listing can include up to 10 images and you’ll want to use every available space.  

    However, you don’t need to have all 10-graphics ready. When adding your first product listing, you can always start by just adding one image and then go back in and add additional images later.

    Step 3: Complete Your Payment Settings

    Set your payment preferences, including how you wish to be paid (Paypal, check or money order, etc.) 

    Then, set up billing. You’ll need to add a credit card to your account.  

    Step 4: Create your Brand Graphics

    Now that you have a brand-new Etsy account, it’s time to customize your shop! The important thing is to make sure all your images look alike while highlighting the different products.

    You want to build a cohesive, memorable brand.  If you look at the top printable sellers on Etsy, we all use a set color scheme and they stick to it. 

    Not only does it look more professional, but it helps people begin to recognize your brand so when they see your pins or visit your blog, they know who you are and what you have to offer.

    Creating your shop graphics doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming.  My personal “trick” is to create one set of templates using a resource like https://www.Canva.com and then re-use them over and over again, simply replacing the product snapshots with ones that represent the current product offered.

    Note: It’s always best to create printables based on evergreen, time-tested markets, and then figure out a way to put your own unique twist on each product.

    That way, you’re offering something fresh and new, while still sticking within those popular, established niches that are continuing to grow.

    Now it’s time to launch your shop!

    When it comes to maximizing your sales, there are a few things you’ll want to do to give your shop an instant boost in exposure.

    To start, you will want to work on building up that inventory. I always recommend setting your initial product goal to be at least 50 printable products.

    Yes, this will take time, but it’ll be worth it!  The more products, the better because it will help you rank for different keywords/focus words which will maximize revenue.

    After you create your shop, you’ll want to add categories for your products.  This will help you rank for the keywords used in category titles, but more importantly, it helps shoppers navigate your store. 

    Note: I recommend starting off with only 3-4 categories until you build up your inventory. You don’t want any of your categories to be empty or to inundate your customers with too many options.

    Categories help to better organize your shop and help potential customers find what they’re most interested in quickly, so keep them targeted.  To do this, use clear keywords such as: Student Planners, Goals & Productivity, Health & Fitness or Business Planners, as examples.

    When it comes to optimizing your Etsy shop, there are a few different areas that you’ll want to optimize.

    Tags:
    You use tags everywhere, not just in the keyword boxes associated with each product listing, but in your titles as well.

    Etsy gives you the opportunity to include 13 tags that describe your product and you’ll want to use all 13 of these so you can increase your chances at being matched to a search.

    Titles:
    A well-crafted title that triggers the Etsy search engine to show your listing will naturally drive in sales, but one thing you need to know is that your tags and titles should be the EXACT SAME.
     
    You won’t increase your ranking by using different keywords in your title and tags. In fact, using the same keywords is a critical step in fully optimizing your listing so you’re more easily found.

    Here are a few other things to keep in mind:

    Etsy allows up to 140 characters in your title. While many people recommend using up every bit of spacing, from my own research and stats, shorter titles often convert better.

    Shorter titles are easier for a buyer to read and understand. And if you construct it so that your title is very clear and direct, you’ll be able to cut out a lot of words that aren’t necessary, nor helpful in boosting visibility.

    Etsy uses your title to determine which keywords you’ll appear/rank for when someone enters a search phrase on Etsy. Therefore, it’s important that you include some of the best keywords in your title, while also keeping it short and to the point.



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  • Launching an Etsy Shop with Pinterest

    Pinterest is an amazing resource for driving targeted traffic to your Etsy shop. In fact, unlike other social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, Pinterest is designed to perform like a search engine where people can discover new content quickly and then save that content to their own boards.

    In addition, with Pinterest, pins don’t expire or disappear in a sea of posts like most social media posts often do. That means they are always visible and can end up going viral at any time – even months later! 

    The organic reach that you’ll get from Pinterest is also far superior to that of Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

    The most important thing when it comes to building an audience on Pinterest is that you spend time every single day pinning new content. 

    In fact, consistency is often the one thing that’s missing from those who struggle to build a successful business. 

    You want to be diligent in actively working on boosting exposure and cultivating a loyal customer base. Doing so will set you miles ahead of the competition.

    It all starts with creating a fully optimized Pinterest account that clearly defines your brand, activates the search engine algorithms by sending signals as to what your business is about, and then siphoning traffic to your shop. 

    Again, keep in mind that Pinterest is a search engine rather than a traditional social platform like Facebook, so you want to focus on integrating targeted keywords into your account wherever possible, such as on all your boards and pins so that you are maximizing visibility based on specific search queries.

    To get started, if you already have a personal account, you’ll want to upgrade to a business account at: https://pinterest.com/business/convert

    Not only will this help you build a professional presence on Pinterest, but it will give you access to important data that would otherwise be unavailable to you.

    Next, Pinterest will ask you where you’d like to start. Click on “Showcase your Brand”.

    Next, you’ll want to add a profile photo. If possible, you’ll want to use a picture of yourself, but you can always use your Etsy logo or a mascot that represents your brand. 

    The key is to maintain a consistent theme across all platforms. So, whatever business name and profile photo you use on Pinterest should also be used on Instagram, your blog, Etsy, and/or your Facebook business page.

    The important thing is to include 2 or more keywords in that field. Again, you should always include your primary keyword in your business name field.

    Example:
    Your Printable Business Name: Keyword, Keyword, Keyword

    Now it’s time to apply for rich pins. 

    Rich pins are an upgraded version of regular pins that can help increase visibility and overall engagement. The rich pin content is pulled from your blog titles and posts, or if pinning from your Etsy shop, the pin will pull content from your product listing title and description.

    But the greatest advantage to using rich pins is that your pins will include a Follow link, whereas pins that don’t have rich pins enabled will not.

    In addition, unlike regular pins, rich pins will also include a link to your main Pinterest profile, further encouraging engagement!

    Now, before you’ll be able to activate rich pins, you’ll need to create one post on your blog. It doesn’t matter what the content is, it’s just used to verify the metadata on your website. 

    So, create a post on your blog and save it.  Copy the URL at the top of your blog post. You’ll need it in the next step.

    Now, you’ll need to visit:  https://developers.pinterest.com/tools/url-debugger/

    Enter the URL you just copied into the text box (your blog post URL) and click Validate to complete the process.

    Now you’re ready to to level up your Pinterest marketing game, which means you’ll want to sign up for Tailwind here: http://tailwindapp.com/

    When it comes to reducing your workload, staying consistent and getting the most out of your Pinterest marketing, nothing beats the power of Tailwind.

    TailWind is a robust scheduling tool that will allow you to set up bulk pins so that they go out automatically at pre-determined times.


    Not only does it put you in full control of being able to schedule your pins so that you’re not spending hours a day updating your Pinterest account, but this tool will show you the best time of day to post your pins to maximize exposure.

    To start, create your free account and then you’ll be prompted to connect your account to Pinterest.

    Once that’s done, you’ll also be able to download the Chrome plugin so that Tailwind can go to work directly in your browser.

    One of my favorite things about Tailwind is the in-depth analytics they share with you. 

    This allows you to quickly track performance so you can see how people are responding to your pins and monitor your outreach, including follower growth.

    The better you understand your audience by monitoring what pins are getting more likes and saves, the easier it will be for you to create additional boards that are bound to drive in traffic.

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  • My Love/Hate Relationship with Thrive Cart

    Chances are, this is one of the only reviews you’ll ever read about ThriveCart that doesn’t include an affiliate link. There are literally hundreds of affiliate-based websites promoting ThriveCart, and they all share one thing in common: they fail to give you the whole truth.

    Check out the Thrive Cart affiliate program and you’ll quickly understand why.

    With 50% commissions paid out on every sale of their nearly $600 product, it serves those affiliates best to focus on the wonderful side of ThriveCart, rather than venture into the murky waters of what could very well send you paddling your ass off to the shores of another product.

    And to be frank, this review couldn’t include an affiliate link because I’m just not ready to promote ThriveCart and I may never be. I’m still on the fence.

    Yep, I have a major love/hate relationship with the “shopping cart” that boasts being “the number 1 platform for marketers!”.

    Anyway, let’s get on with the lovey-dovey stuff, so I can explain why I still want to desperately fall head over heels in love with Thrive Cart.

    Out With The Old, In With The New?

    Sometimes I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to simplifying my business life. Despite the growling of my tech-savvy software-engineer of a husband, I still use Dreamweaver to design websites, prefer Photoshop CS3 over their new CC series and yes, I use Firefox (though I’m really trying to move to Chrome, I promise.)

    So when it came to how I processed orders for my digital products, it should come as no surprise to you that I was still using amember.

    I know, I know… save it.

    No diss to amember, but it’s ancient AF. I mean, despite their updates, the interface looks like it’s stuck in 1999.

    But I could get past that if only it was easy for my customers to use.

    Instead, I ended up with dozens of emails from people complaining that they hated the interface, didn’t want to have to create an account before being able to purchase, and the list went on.

    It wasn’t amember’s fault, it was mine.

    They’re designed to be a membership platform, not a shopping cart and while they offer that option, it’s seriously lacking. And cumbersome. And yeah, ugly.

    So despite the “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” kinda gal that I am, I knew it was time to start looking at alternatives.

    And that’s when I spent 3 1/2 weeks testing out different shopping cart platforms.

    Hey, at least I now knew exactly what I was looking for.

    MUST HAVE’S:

    Visually appealing:
    I wanted my checkout pages to look great on both desktops and mobile devices. Modern, sleek… the kind of pretty pages that I can’t get enough of reloading.

    Look how nice they are! >> https://creatives.thrivecart.com/kdp-hot-sellers

    (And no, that’s not an affiliate link for Thrive Cart; it’s one of my own product checkout pages.)

    I will say that as much as I love the default templates and how easy they are to customize, the actual customization options are VERY limited.

    For example, you can choose 4 checkout templates, which would be plenty IF you could really customize the heck out of them to really work with your brand, but you can’t do that much.

    When it comes to order buttons or countdown timers, you only have 4 colors to choose from and rather than let you upload your own background, etc, you have to choose from just a few options.

    Not a deal breaker though. Not even close. I love the look and feel of Thrive Cart wayyyyy too much.

    Thrive Cart? CHECK!

    Simplistic Interface:
    I wanted to be able to move over a ton of digital products quickly, create success pages, and just get on with my life.

    No offense to the geeks in my life who get off on creating elaborate “systems”, but I didn’t want to have to install a ton of plugins, integrate into a blog, or even download and install anything. I was looking for a kick-ass, hosted SaaS solution.

    Not only does the Thrive Cart admin panel load super fast, but you can literally add payment processors and edit your funnels in a matter of minutes. It’s BLAZING fast.

    I think the interface, combined with the dummy-proof system, is my favorite thing about it.

    Thrive Cart? CHECK!

    Quick & Easy Payment Integration:
    I wanted to be able to add multiple payment options, including Paypal, Stripe and Google Pay and I wanted it to be drop-dead easy. No having to configure 10 different things to get it working. Enter my webhook or IPN and voila!

    Thrive Cart? CHECK!

    Mailing List Integration:
    I use MailerLite and oddly it’s not always a mailing list service that’s on the list of integrations. So I wanted my shopping cart to work with them.

    Thrive Cart? CHECK!

    Okay, so that was my absolute must-have list of features and I wasn’t too worried about it because nearly all shopping carts have those features by default.

    Then there was my wish-list.

    WANTS – not – NEEDS

    Upsells, Downsells, Meh.
    Anyone who knows me is aware of how much I personally hate upsells & downsells, so I rarely use them. Yeah, I know, I’m probably losing a lot of money, but my customers appreciate knowing they pay, they get the product, they move on. No endless dark hole of sales pitchy nonsense.

    Still, I kinda wanted the option of incorporating upsells/downsells because hey, a girl can change her mind. But it wasn’t a must-have.

    Thrive Cart? CHECK!

    Affiliate Program
    I really wanted a built-in affiliate program IF possible, but it wasn’t required. My plan was to purchase iDevAffiliate and just use that. However, when I saw that an affiliate program was part of ThriveCart, it sweetened the deal.

    Up until then, I had been using amember’s affiliate program which is pretty bare-bones and doesn’t give affiliates a lot of options.

    Thrive Cart? CHECK?

    Well, sort of. And this is where my first fizzle of WTF came into play.

    ThriveCart definitely offers built-in affiliate management, but it’s not quite what it appears to be.

    The first road block came when I realized that your affiliates don’t simply sign up and gain access to all of your products. You have to choose one main product that they sign up to promote.

    Okay, but what then?

    Well, THEN, you have to manually (yes, one-by-one) create rules for every single product you have that goes something like this:

    When an affiliate is approved for Product A then add them to another product and select the product. And on and on.

    I have more than 50 digital products, so it appears I’d have to create 50 rules JUST to make sure my affiliates can promote them all. And then every time I add a new digital product, I have to go back in and add another rule.

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around how to get this set up correctly because it feels like this just can’t be right. But after researching as much as humanly possible, it seems to be the required method.

    But baby, it gets worse.

    So I spent an hour creating all these affiliate product rules, saved my page and then decided to log in as an affiliate just to see what it looked like.

    And that’s when I found this:

    Say, what?

    Thrive Cart recruits YOUR affiliates to promote THEIR product?

    Worse, they don’t even integrate that huge promo box with your affiliate link so at least you get compensated for sending customers to them.

    These are YOUR affiliates. You work hard to recruit them, to build that army of people who want to help you take your business to the next level. The last thing we want is to distract them with offers from Thrive Cart.

    And did you notice the “your product here” box next to it?

    Apparently, marketers’ can contact them about paying for ad space. When that rolls out you won’t have a clue what else is being promoted on your affiliate page.

    Nor will you have any control over it.

    My initial “Hell, yeah! Thrive Cart is exactly what I’ve been looking for”, turned into a bitter internal conflict about whether I’m okay with allowing them to potentially swipe my affiliates and pull them away from what should be a focus on promoting my products.

    So I did as any nice Canadian would do and I decided to contact them before I totally freaked out.

    Here’s their response:

    Thanks for getting in touch. It needs to show ThriveCart there because essentially, the affiliate is signing up for a Thrivecart account when they sign up to become an affiliate. They can use their account to sign up to promote other products from other vendors using ThriveCart. Also, it is our team that they would be reaching out to if they have any questions or problems. If Thrivecart is not mentioned there, the affiliate will not know who to contact.

    I would also just like to address the cost of ThriveCart. ThriveCart is one of the cheapest carts on the market right now. Yes, it is $600, however, other competing cart platforms cost between $100 – $200 per month. So to put that in perspective, that is between $1200 – $2400 per year. Not lifetime, but per year. And you get less of an extensive feature set for your money.

    Inside the affiliate centre that the affiliate signs into, there is a banner add where they can sign up to also promote ThriveCart. This in no way takes the focus away from your own product. This is also very common practice for affiliate platforms, I know other cart platforms do the same, if you look at JV Zoo or ClickBank for example, when you sign up to become an affiliate, you have hundreds of products listed that you can promote.



    I’ll be honest, I was left kinda speechless. I really don’t know how to feel about any of this.

    Starting from the beginning, he mentions:

    “Also, it is our team that they would be reaching out to if they have any questions or problems. If Thrivecart is not mentioned there, the affiliate will not know who to contact.”

    That kind of turns me off. I thought I’d be in full control of my affiliate program. That it would be up to me to respond to affiliates. That they would simply email ME if they needed help. I just wasn’t aware of the fact that any affiliate I recruit becomes part of Thrive Cart’s affiliate army.

    And no affiliate blogs out there cared to mention this.

    Second, he goes on to say:

    “ThriveCart is one of the cheapest carts on the market right now. Yes, it is $600, however, other competing cart platforms cost between $100 – $200 per month. So to put that in perspective, that is between $1200 – $2400 per year. Not lifetime, but per year. And you get less of an extensive feature set for your money.”

    I have no argument to make over the value of paying a one-time fee for lifetime access over a monthly charge. That’s one of the main attractions of Thrive Cart. Pay once, cry once. I think $600 is a more-than-fair price to pay for a lifetime license to a “shopping cart”.

    But if we’re being really honest, if I was paying $100-200 per month for a “shopping cart”, I’d expect a lot more out of Thrive Cart, such as my customers being able to add multiple products to one cart.

    That’s the basis of a shopping cart, isn’t it?

    Yet Thrive Cart allows customers to only add one product to the cart at a time. Sure, they let you add product bumps (where you can promote one other product), and you can create a funnel with upsells and downsells, but a SHOPPING CART typically means that customers can add multiple items to their cart, check out and go on their merry way.

    But that wasn’t a deal-breaker for me. I wasn’t thrilled to discover this huge limitation, considering I thought I was buying a “shopping cart”, but I could deal.

    Here’s what made me want to break up with Thrive Cart:

    “Inside the affiliate centre that the affiliate signs into, there is a banner add where they can sign up to also promote ThriveCart. This in no way takes the focus away from your own product. This is also very common practice for affiliate platforms, I know other cart platforms do the same, if you look at JV Zoo or ClickBank for example, when you sign up to become an affiliate, you have hundreds of products listed that you can promote.”

    Umm, come again? That monster-size advertisement box certainly DOES take away the focus from our own products. Their big promo banner is right there in the face of every affiliate I recruit to promote my products. It just shouldn’t be there.

    But then he goes on to say that it’s “very common practice for affiliate platforms…” and references Clickbank and JV Zoo.

    I didn’t sign up to sell my products through ClickBank or JVZoo! I bought what I thought was a “shopping cart system”.

    Thrive Cart doesn’t position themselves to be a marketplace. If they did, they wouldn’t get away with charging $600 for access to use their platform. ClickBank and JVZoo don’t charge those prices. No one does.

    And after digging around a bit more, thinking that maybe their optional upgrade to buy a “client license” removes their branding, I was left disappointed. Paying another $100 removes the “powered by thrivecart” that appears at the bottom of all of your checkout/sales/success pages (yeah, you have to pay to get that removed), but paying that fee doesn’t remove their branding from your affiliate pages.

    That’s there for good. Or at least until enough people throw a fit and force them to back away from your affiliates.

    And no, despite how many other platforms/tools Thrive Cart integrates with, such as:

    Payment Processors: Authorize.net, Paypal & Shopify.

    Membership Platforms: Teachable, Member Mouse, Memberpress, WishList, OptimizeMember, and Digital Access Pass.

    Autoresponders: All of the major players.

    Webinar Platform: Demio.

    Fulfillment Service: Zapier, Disk.com, Google Sheets, ShipStation, Shopify, Vervante, Printful, Lulu, Kumaki and Shippo.

    – There doesn’t seem to be an option to work with another affiliate platform while still selling your products using Thrive Cart.

    But I may be wrong… and I hope so because it might be the only way I can stick with them. Based on my research so far, I haven’t found a solution while being able to stay strictly ThriveCart order delivery, which is the point of buying this shopping cart.

    Remember how I mentioned I didn’t want to have to work with countless systems just to sell my stuff? So even if there is some work-around, it’ll likely require too much configuration and integrational headaches for me to take on.

    So, there you have it. Why I have a love/hate relationship with Thrive Cart and what no affiliate blogs seem to warn you about.

    Are these deal breakers for you? I know they will be for many of my team members who understand the importance of being in control of every aspect of their brand, especially their team of affiliates they worked so hard to recruit.

    Are these things deal breakers for me?

    That decision has yet to be made.




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